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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Warlord Games - SPQR

In a weak moment the other day I decided to treat myself to the new SPQR starter set by Warlord Games.
Resin archers mounted on the 25mm bases provided and textured using Vallejo Grey Pumice.
I was actually attracted to this by some of the criticism I'd read on line...in that many historical buffs felt it was too dumbed down and over-simplified!

Primed with Wilko's matt white spray - ready for contrast paints!
Having watched some "how to play" videos on YouTube, I couldn't help but feel that I could probably play this with my Grandson as the rules literally fit onto one side of A4.
Another treat, a Citadel Figure Handle to help with painting
As an aside, I was curious to try out figures that were cast in Warlord's new resin. So off I went to Firestorm Games and parted with just £36. An utter bargain price for 70 figures (40 plastic Gauls, 12 Resin Gaul archers, 16 Romans and two heroes and bases), a dozen D6, decals for all their shields and a nearly 200 page long, glossy rule book!

The plastic figures are standard sprues they've produced for some time and the resin archers are former metal figures now cast in the new material.

Detail on these resin figures is very good. They are quite flexible (not in the Airfix figure bracket though!) but I did not find them that easy to clean up. The Warlord blurb says they can be sanded, filed or scraped but I found that this wasn't easily achieved. In the end I carefully removed the few mould lines with a scalpel blade by cutting, not scraping.

Painting them up is going well. They are ideal candidates for Citadel Contrast paints and the 12 archers were finished in just one day.

Le Havre - Cap de la Hève, Battery Dollemard & Sainte-Adresse Bunkers

North of Le Havre, on the cliff tops are a number of remnants of Atlantic Wall fortifications.

The most complete is the battery Dollemard which was built between 1892 and 1894 on the heights of Le Havre set back from the cliff edge. Built originally to protect the estuary and the approach of the port of Le Havre an attack against the enemy of the time, England. For a time, it was used by the German occupation troops, but its exposed position invited air/naval attack and its guns were eventually relocated to the harbour area. Post-war it was used by the French army, and today is a museum supported by volunteers. This was closed at the time of my visit so I could get any pictures as it's all fenced off.

To the west of battery Dollemard is the area of the Cap de la Hève. This is open to the public and is an area of important flora & fauna.

The area is interwoven with narrow (somewhat over-grown) tracks and heavily graffiti decorated bunkers in a position known as Sainte-Adresse.

These bunkers originated with the French Navy but were taken over and enlarged for use as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.

The cliffs here are eroding fast and the four large gun emplacements (Type 671’s?) have now fallen to the beaches below!

In fact, the whole area is somewhat dodgy where health and safety is concerned.

There is a selection of ammunition bunkers & observation bunkers that are still secure, however the whole area seems to be a venue for elicit teenage drinking etc. and best visited in daylight!

German built observation post

To the west of this battery is the remains of a Cap de la Hève German Radar Station – “Gustav.

Guard Bunkers
Here can be seen the radar mount, generator building and guard bunkers all in the shadow of a modern lighthouse.

Generator Bunker to the left and Radar mount just to the right of modern lighthouse
Ample places to park can be found on the residential roads close by and the whole area can be explored in an hour or so. Just take care….I cannot stress how dangerous (and exposed) the cliff edges are, and it’s a very long way down!

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Colours 2019 - Part Two

Here are some of the things that caught my eye at Colours on Saturday. Not an exhaustive review I confess, but it should give you a taste of the demo games if you were unable to attend. I've tried to get the credits correct wherever possible, but I apologise in advance if I have got them wrong.

Society of Ancients, David Edwards 28mm Ancients
South London Warlords, Desmond Darkin, ACW Battle of Aniteitam
South London Warlords, Desmond Darkin, ACW Battle of Aniteitam
To the Strongest, Simon Miller, Romans vs Iceni
Naval Wargames Society, Simon Stokes, Stingray – 2065 undersea battle vs aliens

Grand Tactical Rules, Bruce Weigle, Solferino
Penarth & District, Andy Brace, 40mm AWI Skirmish
Maidenhead Reapers WS, Michael Holman, 28mm WW2 Tanks
South London Warlords, Tim Atkinson, Dark Side of the Moon
Wessex Wyverns, Tim Aitchison, Peter Pig 15mm Vietnam
Friends Who Like Rapid Fire, Don McHugh, 20mm Normandy
Contact Front, Philip Millard, Operation Enduring Freedom - Modern war
As well as the games, here's a few of the things I saw for sale that caught my eye....

1/56th Omaha Diorama on the Rubicon Stall - awesome..

1/56th Omaha Diorama on the Rubicon Stall - awesome..
1/56th Rommel Diorama on the Rubicon Stall
1/56th Pak 40 & crew - nice to compare with the one I built a couple of months ago 😄
Sarissa's new modular terrain mdf tiles. I really liked the idea of these, but £30 for 9 blank tiles seemed just a little steep to me. There was a really nice storage box you could stack them in too. This was a further £25! 
Brigade 3mm terrain - buildings etc....lovely
Commission Figurine's Berlin Ruins in 15mm. Really nice terrain pieces.
Well that's it for another year, inspiring stuff! Better get assembling & painting my stash!

Colours 2019 - Part One

Another trip out to my now annual Colours pilgrimage, is over.

Similar format to previous years, but to my mind, much quieter than previous years. The plus side to this was plenty of space to walk around and ogle the trader's stock!

Some bargains to be had (see below) but not too many. The bring and buy looked to be better supported than last year and was very well organised. The prices, however, were not really bring and buy levels! I think people now expect to get similar prices to eBay etc. and price at 75% of it's retail value. Oh well....

The demo games I'll cover in a later post. Suffice to say, they were all of a very good standard though not as diverse in historical periods as they have been on previous years? I also thought they lacked the energetically run participation games of previous years. Everything was very quiet and civilised.

Altogether a good day out and I spent all my pocket money bar 20p! 😀

This year's stash included; -

  • Mdf movement trays & bases for my 28mm Medievals from Product for Wargamers
  • Mdf penny movement trays from Product for Wargamers, to make a "Cache Loop" for the Men of Company B
  • Grass tufts form Great Escape Games - best price!
  • Perry 28mm ECW Culverin & Crew for my Pikeman's Lament Armies
  • 6 x Polyurethane Resin 28mm trees from tablescape.com. These look good on a table an appear almost indestructible.
  • The inevitable dice tray from Deep Cut Studios....£3 bargain
  • 2 x What a tanker mdf dashboards
  • An introduction to Desert WW2 Wargaming by Dan Mersey for just £5
  • A driving guide to the Ypres battlefield for £5
  • Wargames Illustrated's Lord Flash Figure ...Woof!
  •  A bag of 1/300 Battle of Britain aircraft from PSC for £5
  • (not in the photo) 2 x 10mm Vietnam War armies for Men of Company B, from Pendraken.
Not sure what to do with the aircraft! I wanted a couple for Cruel seas, but when I emptied out the bag I found there were 74 in total!!

These were produced for early runs of PSC's Battle of Britain game but were unpopular with purchasers (bent wings & fuselages that needed the hot/cold water treatment) and were replaced with hard polystyrene alternatives.

They're really not too bad. Ok not sure how well they will take paint just yet. And they need a bit of straightening out. But they're nice enough little sculpts.

For the Germans; -
  • ME109s
  • ME110s
  • JU87 Stukas
  • JU88s
  • HE111s
  • Dornier DO17s

For the Brits there were;-
  • Spitfires
  • Hurricanes
  • Gladiators
  • Defiants
  • Beauforts
Maybe they could be what I need to finally try out that Bag the Hun set of rules I bought a couple of years ago?  We shall see.....

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Operation Biting - The Bruneval Raid 27th February 1942 Part Two

A couple of week's ago I had the chance to visit the site of the Bruneval Raid once again.

Lighthouse at Cap d'Antifer
Whilst there I took the opportunity to visit the Freya site at Cap d'Antifer, that wasn't part of the scope of the raid, but was just north of where the attack took place.

The concrete base for the Freya Radar. A similar construction is easily accessible on the high ground overlooking Arromanches and I believe has been restored with a replica aerial.
From the Rue de Major Frost in the village of La Presbytere, take the Rue de Phare towards the Lighthouse at Cap d’Antifer.

Personnel Bunker
Visit the lighthouse and the German Naval Radar buildings around it before heading back the way you came.

At sharp left hand bend, park your car by the gate. Here you’ll see immediately a good example of a Tobruk bunker. Now walk towards the cliffs and you can climb up onto the first flak position you come to.

Nice Tobruk emplacement....popular with the locals!
From here you can view the other bunkers, the Freya base (in the distance) and the old entrance blocks that were either site of the flak position’s gate!

Flak Bunker
These two concrete blocks are the former entrance gate posts to the flak position. The way in was blocked by slotting in a steel pole between the blocks. Another flak position is in the distance
I also (rather foolishly as it was a very hot day) decided to climb up the path to the concrete bunker at the site of "REDOUBT". 

"REDOUBT" looking across to the modern day memorial
The bunker is likely to be a later addition, but this was the path down which the raiders evacuated to the beach. 

If you ever go there be aware that it is very steep, not very wide and very challenging!

                 View from "REDOUBT" across to the drop zone where two sections accidentally were dropped
Hotel Beauminet in Saint-Jouin-Bruneval (just up the road from the beach), that housed the Luftwaffe personnel who manned the radar and which was visited by two members of the French resistance to gain intelligence before the raid. The mission was a total success, they even found out that the mine fields at the beach were dummies!
I hope you find the photographs of the areas I visited interesting, and perhaps inspire you to take a look yourselves one day!