Commission Figurines 20mm Farm

I’ve had a surge of enthusiasm recently since switching off the Flight Sim server for a little while and having a break/wind down from all the stress that was causing. As a result I’ve had a number of real productive sessions doing one thing or another for wargaming.

We have been trying to sort out a calendar of games for the near future, as too many weeks end up being “what are we doing next week” and as a result we either end up with Dominion, Carcassonne (Both great games in their own right) or something completely new. What we aren’t doing is playing a ruleset for a few weeks to get back into the groove, and therefore nights are spent more looking at the rulebook and trying to remember what the hell is going on, rather than enjoying the game. Anyway, this prompted me to look at what I wanted to do for a few weeks and I decided I wanted to play Combat Patrol with Matt, Richard and Peter, first in it’s WW2 setting, and then possibly moving into Vietnam again.

My 20mm terrain is looking pretty tired, and to be honest desperately needs revamping. So I bought the farm below from Commission Figurines. (

Commission Figurines Farm

I’ve got some of his other ruined terrain and like it so thought I’d splash out on something a bit bigger. A couple of days later I had a box of MDF in front of me. The kit itself is very straight forward to put together, to be honest I think it slotted together without glue for the most part in about 5 minutes. However, once built I wasn’t entirely happy with it. MDF is fantastic for some things, but representing slate and stone I don’t rate it up there.

So I set about customising the kit a little

First I glued some window cills and lintels cut from thin card. Using the same thin card, I cut some individual stones to put on the corners of the main farmhouse, as if that had been standing first, then the yard walls had been joined onto the building. Then I got some mounting board and made some shutters, scoring the front to represent planking. Then I remembered some laser cut shingles from Warbases which were left over from the 28mm Barn. So I used them on one of the 3 roofs. Of course, this just made the other two look even worse, so I took an old cereal box and cut some strips of tiles myself. They’re too big really for 20mm, and I did each strip freehand without reference to the one before, so some of the tiles don’t overlap quite right. But, the general impression is reasonably good. Last thing to do was to coat the entire surface in a mix of PVA, water and some ready mixed filler I had knocking around. This tip from Richard Clarke is very good, and it really does a lot to give a textured surface without going to extremes. It also is very useful for disguising the corner tabs of the MDF.

Commission Figurines Farm

Commission Figurines Farm

Commission Figurines Farm

Commission Figurines Farm

Commission Figurines Farm

Commission Figurines Farm

An overall spray of Matt Brown, then a heavy dry brush of “cashmere” and a lighter dry brush of “Ivory” (both Homebase tester pots) and the main walls were done. Dark green paintwork for the wooden fixtures, and black roofs dry brushed with Vallejo Black Grey and then very light GW Space Wolves Grey and we’re done, with the usual ground texturing and paintwork to match my figure bases.

I’m quite pleased with the overall effect. And it’s proved a useful test bed for painting buildings which will come in handy as I have 6 new scratchbuilds coming from Stephan at HACME Construction (Rapier Mini’s). Only problem is that I’m now even less satisfied with my old scratchbuild terraces, I think they’ll be getting a repaint and some shutters/new roofs shortly.

LOTR Rohan

Over the past year I’ve been doing something I never thought would happen, buying Games Workshop figures. Now, clearly, I’m not buying them FROM GW, that would be ludicrous given their prices and the vast amount that is kicking around on Ebay second hand.

I painted Theoden and Eowyn some time ago, but have only recently got their basing finished. Which is a happy coincidence as I’ve only just finished trimming the roofs on these two 4Ground Viking buildings I purchased at Hammerhead in February. I can’t quite stretch to buying the full blown Hall that 4Ground do, but I think these two buildings, supplemented by some stuff that Matt has will fill the “Rohan Settlement” scenery requirement for a while, although the buildings could do with a bit of weathering and so forth, they look a little too clean for me.

Rohan Smallholding in the woods somewhere

A couple of Rohan troops

Theoden King


I’m quite pleased with the figures look, the ordinary troops are simple block painting with an Army Painter Strong Tone wash, while the characters are getting a little more layering etc. Eowyn’s eyes were a pig, my usual technique struggled since her hair is in the way when approaching from the side of the face. Still, they’re not terrible.

Not sure whether I ever posted this, but here’s Aragorn as a little bonus. Painted him several years ago having been given a bunch of old models.



Combat Patrol (TM) – A second look

Matt and I played through a goodly number of turns tonight of a test game, set in Vietnam pitching a regular rated American platoon against a number of Green rated VC Cells. Table was mainly jungle with paddies and a village in one corner but the action was firmly within the bounds of the jungle.

We started at around 8.30pm, and by around 10pm had played 5 turns, including explaining the rules, reading through to find specific answers and so on. Pretty good going and to be honest it felt like we were motoring compared to other sets. Resolving movement distances, activation sequences, shooting were all done in a very slick fashion so CP gets a firm thumb up for speed. Matt had picked up the sequence and mechanics easily within a turn.

We only had a few exchanges of fire, which being at short range in the woods were extremely bloody affairs, with only a few shots being saved by the terrain. I wonder if this is because the rules were developed for discrete “areas” of woods, rather than 5/6ths of the table being wood. I shall ask. It could also be down to the cards, we definitely need to play through a few more games to get a feel for the distributions of damage/cover etc.

I still think that there could be work done on the physical rule book to lay out concepts in both their basic and advanced forms in a more logical and flowing manner, and that some clearer pictures/graphics would be beneficial. However, one of my previous criticisms turned out to be wrong, there is a pictorial explanation of the cover icons, it’s just not where you’d expect it! (Kudos to Buck for not pointing out my mistake either!)

As ever when you play a new ruleset on your own, you end up with questions. However this time, we had only a few and I will post them on the Yahoo site in the next day or so in the full expectation that a swift response will be given, Buck’s support is extremely good from what I have seen. As you’d expect, some of our queries are more in line with using a WW2 set for Vietnam, “how should we treat RPG’s, M79’s”, “should we treat jungle like woods”, etc and not direct rules misunderstandings although one has just been asked and answered in the past couple of days!

All in all, we are very impressed with the rules and look forward to using them again. I suspect that the rules will not receive the praise and interest they deserve (there’s precious little out there on the blog-o-sphere and on TMP), and will be doing what I can to rectify this.

And now a few pictures of the table and figures.






Combat Patrol (TM) Review

Combat Patrol (TM): WW2 is a set of WW2 skirmish rules released by Buck Surdu featuring some innovative features designed to speed up play and maintain friction and player interaction in a multiplayer environment. I bought the “bundle” from Sally 4th here in the UK, which priced at £25 (+£2.80 P&P) got me the rules in hardcopy, an activation deck and 2 action decks of cards (enough for 2-4 players – Extra action decks are available priced at 4 for £22.50) . I bought them Thursday, they arrived Monday well packaged in a padded envelope.

On unwrapping the package and getting the contents out, the first thing I saw was that the rulebook was on decent quality shiny paper, and although not hard backed had a decent card cover. The card decks were decent enough quality, a bit thicker card might have been nicer, and the “tabs” where they’ve been held in a frame having been die stamped (presumably?) are a little prominent on the sides. More concerning is that they appear to be losing their back colour at the edges already, but that might be something that doesn’t get any worse.

Reading through the rules I’m struck by a couple of things, the first is that the font used is something similar to a Remington Typewriter font. I can see why there’s been a few complaints about it, it’s not that easy to read and doesn’t look sharp and clear. More importantly however is that the illustrated examples of the rules in action are not very clear, you cannot read the cards that are being displayed because they are so low res. I don’t know if this is a function of my copy being produced in the UK from a different file to the original US versions, or whether they all look like this. The rules themselves are laid out in an odd fashion IMO, almost like they were meant to be two documents. The intro talks about “quick start rules” and these I think are the 6-8 pages of basic infantry rules with few frills and chrome. There’s then a whole series of advanced and/or optional rules to add detail and chrome, which refer back to the basics. Personally I would have preferred to have had everything in one place to do with a topic. I noticed a couple of seeming inconsistencies within the rules and examples also which suggest maybe previous iterations of the rules have crept in or not been changed out – easy to do when you’ve been involved with something for 2+ years but suggests that proof reading wasn’t done by a fresh pair of eyes. The worst issue though is that despite using graphics (not particularly clear or high res I might add) throughout the cards to indicate various things, there’s no pictorial glossary, just lists of them referencing the unclear image of a card on a previous page in the rules. Problem is that at least for one of these lists (Cover) these are almost certainly in the wrong order despite being explicitly stated left to right. It would have been a simple thing to do, and much more obvious than the list buried in the middle of relevant mechanics. All in all, my reaction to the components of the rules are a little muted compared to my expectations.

Onto the very limited playtest I ran. The basic rules themselves are fairly clear to understand, excepting the issues above. Additionally there are a series of video’s on youtube featuring walkthroughs by Buck of various mechanics which is how I got interested in the rules in the first place. Having an idea of what is going on can be pretty dangerous when trying a new ruleset as it’s easy to let prejudice and expectation get in the way of actually how mechanics work. It can of course be helpful in filling in blanks where needed also.

I happened to have some troops on table from an abortive Force on Force game we (tried to) play last week, so I quickly rolled some dice to get a few squads their activation numbers, and shuffled the decks (not quite as well as I could have done as it turned out!). I had to make a few quick judgements on how to rate the Vietnam weaponry, opting to simply make M16’s and AK47’s the same as rifles, M60’s and RPD’s the same as Light Machine guns, and RPG’s the same as rifle grenades. I rated the US as regular and VC as green to see both in action. Jungle halved movement as per the woods rules, and off we went. The The “Double Random Activation” sequence works well, and is quick to use. Troops who activate get one action, Move, fire, throw grenade, reload etc. Movement was quick and ran from the cards easily although the rules make reference to an optional D10 there was no mention of how that worked or why it would be necessary in the basic rules. Shooting initially was a bit of a joke, I managed to pull 7 out of ammo cards in succession. Clearly the Force on Force game had used it all up!  After a couple of activations for some of the fireteams, one for others and none for one, the “reroll and shuffle” card came up. This is basically like the Tea Break card in IABSM, however unlike that card, there is no obvious “end of turn” activation for troops who haven’t activated and are in range or what have you. Thus it seems entirely possible that some troops may do nothing all game given the right combinations of dice and cards (Unlikely but not impossible). After the next couple of activations, troops had managed to reload, and I started shooting again. The VC were in bunkers and the US in the jungle, so I expected it to be relatively casualty light and it indeed was, one US trooper was hit (twice in the same activation), the first time a wound and the next in the head so he was out of it, and another was hit but cover saved him. I was somewhat unclear as to whether this stunned figure accrued a morale marker, the rules seemed to be inconsistent on this point – “When a figure should have been wounded or incapacitated but cover protected it, ….still accrues a morale marker” yet in the illustrated example this is not the case and the text for the morale tests says “whenever a figure is wounded or incapacitated, it’s leader figure accrues a morale marker” – no mention of near misses. Still, one of the figures had been hit, so a morale marker was placed and on that unit’s next activation a card was turned for the mandatory morale test which was fine.

All in all, from a limited reading and very quick partial play test, the rules seem promising and above all seem quick and focussed, which is what we desperately want. Yes there appear to be a few issues here and there, but there is a Yahoo group for players to ask questions on, and I have experienced lightening fast responses from Buck when posting some initial questions. Yes the (TM) and the acronym for the GAMER system are a bit odd and a bit OTT as an Englishman but Buck is American (they do stuff differently over there!). I do tend to the overly critical side of the spectrum but I do not think these rules warrant a rant, there’s simply a few disappointing factors from what I have seen thus far. What I need to do now is work out exactly what amendments I need to make for Vietnam if any, and play a full game incorporating all the rules in the advanced section that are relevant. Frankly if they work, or can be made to work then they are a damn sight more useful than Force on Force to us!

6mm Spanish/Peninsular Buildings

I bought some buildings from Baccus Miniatures whilst at Hammerhead in Newark earlier this month. Amazingly given how little I’ve done recently (18mths) I have painted them over the bank holiday weekend.

The models themselves are nicely cast, with few blemishes and visible bubbles. The pack consisted of 2 large and 2 small buildings, the larger ones have a footprint of 60x60mm and the smaller ones 60x30mm. They also come with sabot bases, which are quite chunky and I’m not sure if I will use them or not.

6mm Spanish Buildings

A second look a Blucher and Brigade level games in general

This week Matt and I played Blucher again, my second time and the first for him. This time around I’d read the rules a bit more having printed the PDF (I had real [Read more…]

First thoughts on Blucher

A year or so ago when Blucher was released, Richard bought a copy and we said we would try it out aince it seemed basing agnostic and generally at the level we wanted to play Napoleonic games, namely with a Brigade as the movement element. Last night we finally got round to trying it out. When i knew we were playing i decided to buy the pdf which is my first issue. £20 for a PDF? Ouch. That is quite frankly gouging IMO. Mind you looking at the rest of the offerings, with card sets being around £28 and the hard copy rules at £40 then I got off lightly.

Anyway, on to the game. With Peninsular armies i put together a very small force with 2 Infantry corps and a cavalry corps for the French, and similar Divisions for the Anglo Portuguese. This seemed extremely small for the rules and indeed the Momentum (MO) rules only came into play once preventing Richard from moving his entire force. This system however seems pretty neat and i think we will like it. Maybe we should only have been using 2 dice instead of 3? I couldnt find it in the setup rules unfortunately, nor could i see anything for establishing how many turns there were. The game track has 30 turns on it but id imagine that for pickup/ meeting engagement type games you would not play a full day?

Overall we found the system to be enjoyable and quick. There were a few quirks which didn’t feel particularly right, melee seems riskless for attackers as the most damage you will recieve will be 2 fatigue while defenders can be swept away. My biggest concern is with the Corps Activation for the British. The scenario in the book (Fuentes) stipulates there are no corps but the army list for building forces says that in effect Divisions are corps. Queries on the Honour forum seem to have elicited a “are you stupid?” Type response from the author so I will play a few more games without questioning anything. As it was we didn’t use Commanders (feels a bit wierd not having commanders on table ) or artillery (most of the Peninsular artillery counts as attached batteries).

28mm Livery Stables

Bought this at Salute last year to add to Matt’s wild west town. Can’t remember the manufacturer, it’s not a 4ground one or Warbases. The kit itself went together relatively well, apart from having the wrong holes drilled for the lengths of fencing I had, and no instruction sheet. It wasn’t rocket science however. Used some Warbases shingle sheets to massively improve the roof however.

Quite pleased with the way it turned out, suitably old and weathered.

Livery Stable

Livery Stable

Livery Stable

Tally Ho! – Why it’s all gone quiet on the blog front

Two weeks ago I went to the Hammerhead show at Newark, the first time I’ve been to that particular venue and as usual at any show, I bumped into lots of old acquaintances. One of these (no names – no pack drill) suggested that I had been less than diligent on updates here and that even popping round every other month was not showing anything new. This guilt trip made me realise that I did need to post a few things here and there that I’ve done over the past few months (Last update in June 1014?!)

The main reason that I’ve not been posting much is that I’ve not really been doing much painting recently. I think I’ve managed about 15-20 hrs of painting in the 9 months since the last update and the reason for this is not lack of enthusiasm but lack of time. I’ve been spending inordinate amounts of time on and in a flight simulator game on the PC – IL2 Cliffs of Dover. I’ve played this online/multiplayer for over a year now, and am part of an online “virtual” squadron – more geekery I’m afraid. However, the dearth of updates here has coincided with my involvement with a server which in October last year I bought along with another chap. We are now running the Storm of War server, with associated website which provides one of, if not the, best multiplayer environment available for this game (if I do say so myself). We have a vision of a cross between a strategic meta game and the flight sim portion, covering the Battle of Britain. Much of this has meant learning two new programming languages and the ongoing development of the server code means I’m spending about 20-30hrs a week working on the website, server code or general forum admin.

To give you an idea of what Cliffs of Dover is capable of, this video filmed by another group, shows just how immersive and graphically beautiful the game can be. It truly is worth watching the full thing and although it’s scripted it’s all the better for it.

I will be posting some pictures of more recent wargaming endeavours soon, as I am still gaming pretty much weekly. I just need to get my arse into gear and put some more effort into updating the blog.

20mm Jump of Points for Chain of Command

We’ve been playing quite a bit of Chain of Command by Too Fat Lardies recently using my 20mm figures. One of the key aspects to these rules is the use of Jump Off Points from where your troops deploy onto the table. Up till now we’ve been using some laminated markers as the sets of resin ones sold by TFL are for 28mm rather than 20mm. Today however I finished the first half of the replacement markers. Made from 40mm steel bases from Precision Wargames Supplies (and a couple of cardboard ersatz bases as I ran out) and using resin pieces sold by Value Gear and a couple of silfor tufts. I’m pretty pleased with these ones, which are for the Allies to use, and I have 4 more for the Germans on the workbench.

Allied Jump Off Points

Allied Jump Off Points

Allied Jump Off Points