Sunday, January 29, 2006

First wargame photo.

A Morning in Spain - Nailsworth Dec 2005

A mock up game from last year, played on table top with aim of honing up the rules more than impressive scenery. If someone wants, I can put up the extensive notes on the actual game. In this picture, CV 35s have snuck around republican militia to cross bridge. Those Republican militia about to be surrounded by Italians ahead and italian milita advancing between village and river. If you look carefully, you can also see the battle extends into the background (down the road between woods and river), again with a pair of CV35s advancing towards the bridge in the distance.

Didn't have a camera with us for the Sesena game. The visuals have markedly improved, however (what with new table and buildings). Will put picture up when available.Posted by Picasa

Wargames Website (miniatures)

There's lots of these out there! I'll post up sites here when they particularly grab my imagination. For example, check out the forum boards at .

I have noticed that there doesn't appear to be a dedicated 6mm SCW site. Maybe that can be my contribution in time to come?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Game Report - Attack on Sesena

January 28, 2006

The tanks began moving at dawn, storming into the town square of Sesena before the company of Moroccans hidden in the church were able to mount a proper attack upon them. The Moroccans were shot down as they charged towards the approaching tanks, their remanants eliminated by the tanks as they drove by. The 75mm gun on the other side of the town square managed to immobilise the HQ armoured car of the Russians before it too fell victim to short range machine gun fire. Thus, by the time the rain lifted (around 0930) and a heavy fog blanketed the battlefield, there appeared to be no opposition lying between the armour and the highway to the West. The only problem for the Republican, the infantry was still approaching Sesena.

Nationalist reinforcements dribbled onto the field over the next couple of hours, with morroccan cavalry skirting woods to the North of the Sesena road down which the russians were approaching. A company of CV 35s similarly skirted around woods to the South of the road, attempting to encircle the russians who were, by this time, engaging foreign legion elements who were seeking cover within those woods.

As midday passed, it became clear that Republican infantry had secured the town, but had not managed to advance west to the highway. Realising this, the T26s contented themselves with hunting down the last CVs, leaving one platoon stuck on the edge of the wood and two platoons a collection of smoking wrecks on the Western approach to Sesena.

The last hurrah of the day, however, went to the Morroccan mounted troops to the north of the highway. Two platoons of T26s peeled off of the highway to engage them with fire. The Morroccans charged home and engaged the tanks in close quarters combat. Over the final hour of battle, they managed to eliminate the two platoons.

The game concluded with the Republican occupying the road junction and main buildings of Sesena, with scattered nationalist reinforcements forming a thin but unbroken screen between them and the highway. Thus, as historically, the tanks had demonstrated their tactical worth and won a comprehensive local victory. The strategic goal of the operation, however, remained beyond their grasp as the Toldedo Madrid highway continued to flow with reinforcements heading towards the fascist front lines at the South of Madrid.

The only real variation to the rules as written was to allow more than one element in a unit to conduct a fire attack in a turn. (albeit, they will have a lot less bonuses). The one lack in the rules appears to be specificity to tanks limited visibility. Otherwise, a good game.

The battalion level encounter took less than 2 ½ hours to play. And, despite the final point total of 9 – 4 in the republican’s favour, it had its moments of high tension.
We are ready, I believe, to expand and start incorporating other players.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Prelude to Sesena

I have completed my new buildings with a mix of Wine Red and Leather (about 4:1) on their rooves. I also purchased three sheets of flocked grey felt measuring 12" by 9" for 60c @. I have cut these into several squares, leaving only one full sized. Placed next to each other, they pretty well stretch across my table. Thus, I have been able to construct a barrier of the township of Sesena across the battlefied, populated with enough interesting buildings to make it visually attractive. Looks good.

Tomorrow morning Wayne will call around and we will see if we can get through a battalion sized battle in a morning. Basically, a republican armoured company of Russian T26s will try and punch through the weakly held township of Sesena (defended by a company of Moroccans and a 75 mm gun). A couple of communist infantry companies will move up and, hopefully, follow suit. There will be scattered nationalist reinforcements arriving from the Western edge (totalling a company of foreign legion infantry, a company of CV 35s (lead tankette with flamethrower), and another platoon of mounted moroccans). Should be okay.

The game will have a 15 turn time limit, and will start raining. This will make some of the land boggy. The winner will be determined by a point system. 1 pt for each enemy element destroyed, 2 for each AFV destroyed, 2 to the nationalist for each unsupported T26 that leaves the Western edge, 4 to the republican for each T26 that leaves that edge if that tank is matched by a communist infantry platoon. The T26s can leave the table and return on a later turn. There is only one highway, and it only reaches from the Western edge to the town square of Sesena in the middle of the table.

Units are all veteran or elite (Morroccans are regular in urban area). I have made the Morroccans 'reckless' - death or glory in the charge! Foreign Legionairres have molotov cocktails. The armoured units of each side will find it difficult to cooperate with their infantry. The T26s will always use the Republican's first 'command point' (thus, on some turns they will be the only republican unit to move).

The scenario is a slighlty modified form of Steve Bagalan's "Tank attack on Sesena" scenario ( ).

I'll report the result soon.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Model buildings

The scenario I have in mind requires an urban area to almost stretch across the board. The 17 buildings I have a hard pressed to do that, even in a threadbare manner, so I have to build more. In 2 weeks I have created 16 more buildings, some of them getting reasonably complex in construction. They are simple, effect creating, terrain items for my 6 mm wargames. I look at them ultimately as utilitarian in nature, with the aesthetic and realism modes of judgement coming behind that goal.

For materials I used some left over balsa (3mm) for walls, a smaller part strip of 1mm balsa for roofing. These were all leftovers from a castle I built with my daughter last year on a school project (highest mark the teacher had given in nearly thirty years!). They had already been undercoated. Apart from that I used a round edged fine cutting tool (mainly to carve out window and door recesses in the balsa), a pointy edged craft knife, ruler, pencil, cheap model glue and paints and white spirits to create my village expansion.

The buildings vary from single floor hovels to four storey apartment blocks. I have corner blocks and statley commercial and governmental buildings, and even a three level barrio area.

I made them in groups of three or four, the main limiting factors being the shrinking dimension of roofing material to hand and the scale I was operating in. I am not however, building anything to any scale other than that that looks kind of good and that allows itself to be integrated in my game system should I change it (ie, roof lengths and widths are capable of holding either narrow or wide base frontage elements (eg. Machine guns and Infanty platoons respectively)).

Having decided on the roof section (s) to be used, I then did my imaginative work, deciding on the basic heights of the varying walls. Also, for the more complex, I had to envisage how I would finally glue it together and thus determine support walls and outside walls and the varying effect this would have on the widths and lengths of what height of wood were required. The simplest buildings used 5 pieves of wood (4 walls and a roof), the most complex used 11 pieces (corner block three level bario, 8 wall sections and 3 roof layers). The trick is to work out how one will actually assemble the pieces when done, so that then one can cut the pieces to the exact size required (rarely the actual measurements of the completed structure).

I would then mark these wall sections out on the balsa, but not cut that until the next phase of construction was done. This consisted of carving out the balsa where the doors and windows were. This is to assist later when painting them in and also creates a better 'look' for the finished product. This is the most fiddly piece of the whole procedure, as one must be careful to get the 'look' desired, combined with carved out reliefs that are neither too shallow nor to deep. I usually mark out the windows and doors with pairs of parallel cuts several millemeters apart, and create between different buildings (or facings of buildings) different 'meanings' in the facade. For example, my corner blocks often have larger commercial premises, with display windows and large entrances facing the main street, with narrow doors and small ventilation windows facing the inner courtyard area.

I then carve out the windows and doors, trying to keep within my scored markings and to make the corners and edges roughly straight as required.

Next, I cut out all of the wall and roof pieces. I may need to trim some of them to make sure they are close to the same dimension or whatever is required.

I then glue the bits together, usually creating small assemblies first and then fitting them together before placing the roof last of all.

I then painted them with a first coat of Humbro paints, a bit of white mixed into 'stone'. I then painted a second coat with a bit of 'stone' mixed into white. I then mixed up some black with thinner and, using a thin brush, 'ran' it into the carved window and door recesses. Done properly, this last step is when the buildings 'spring to life', giving the modeller a nice feeling.

The last step will be to paint all of the rooves with a mix of brick red and leather.

Their first battle will be as the township of Sesena.

Wargames Table

I completed my wargame table during the end of my holiday. It is now composed of two boards, each about 50" x 40". They are heavy chipboard (particle board), and covered in green felt. The total cost was about $28 and several hours. The felt was the most expensxive, the chip board rescued from disposal from a factory, and the bottle of wood glue was bought from a 'bargain' store for about $6. There's a bit of a bow in the sheets that doesn't align when the boards are laid out. I think I accidentally covered different facings of my boards once I had cut the initial sheet in half. Frustrating, because the rest of the job is pretty neat. It's not so significant, however, that it majorly interferes with the table top view, although its presence reminds you always that it IS a tabletop that you look at.

I have enough felt leftover to make some countour levels in future.

Melbourne holiday gaming

I had a couple weeks holiday over xmas new year. Family went to Melbourne and stayed with other family. Played a few games over several nights with each other. The ones I played were pretty good fun (except the last). Played two games of 'Gang of Four' (a wonderful chinese card game from the days of the cultural revolution), I won one. Played two games of Lord of the Rings Risk, once with the first/basic edition, the other using the full game (which has the additional regions of Mordor and Gondor). I didn't win either of them, and in the first game I ended the game with a single unit of elvish archers in Hobbiton as my sole remaining force! Also started a game of it where a fellow gamer got upset at my first turn attack and quit the game. I didn't like that.

Bad sportsmanship in games, the setting of ethical absolutes that apply to everyone else except oneself, are things that leave me feeling agitated. I can deal with people getting shirty and upset (don't we all at times?), but not trashing of either game or gamer as consequence. Anyway... all good gamers should know what I speak of, and why we keep going back!

Friday, January 06, 2006

6mm Wargaming update

Happy New Year!

I am now about to cut my 7' x 4' board in half to make it more manageable, and then cover the halves with green felt to make my wargaming table.

I am presently thinking of a one session scenario based upon the first major tank attack by the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, Arman's raid through Sensena October 13 1936. At the front he is reported to have said, "The situation is not so hopeless. They have fifteen thousand soldiers, we have fifteen tanks, so the strengths are equal!" As a quote, I like it. Should also make for an interesting wargame (there's a brigade level infantry tank happening at the same time as the raid).

Will let you know more as it happens.