Battle of Benevente Pt1

The campaign has been continuing on a somewhat slower than intended pace due to various domestic issues. I think we’ve turned a bit of a corner now though as our house has sold and we’ve had an offer accepted on a new one which will hopefully mean that I end up with an 18 foot square games room all to myself sometime early next year. In the meantime, I’ve pulled my tables and Geo Hex out of storage again now the house doesn’t have to be a showhome and have set up a table to fight the latest battle that’s been thrown out of the campaign.

Some of the chaos that results when the Geo Hex comes out. Boxes and pieces everywhere!

The battle is taking place at Benevente a few days after the battle of Leon. V Corps, after falling back to Mayorga have been reinforced by VI Corps and both French Corps have pushed into Benevente, where the Anglo Portuguese forces from Leon followed up the French.

Table, with the town of Benevente across the river. This is the view from the Mayorga Road. The road to the right leads to Leon, the road to the left leads to Zamora and the road furthest away leads back to Puebla de Sanabria.
The same view, showing the elevations not immediately apparent from above.
View from the Puebla road.

The Anglo Portuguese will be deployed around the town of Benevente since they are the “defenders” (in the campaign, the turn sequence is randomised between the two sides and while movement for all units on one side is considered simultaneous it is not completely simultaneous across both sides). Some elements of VI Corps which initiated the fight will be deployed at the start of the game, while more troops will arrive during the day as reinforcements.

I’m just reviewing the forces to determine which ruleset to use, the choices being either Blucher or March Attack. I have just purchased Et Sans Resultat! but I doubt they will be here tomorrow morning besides which I sense they’re not a straight forward set of rules to learn solo.

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.



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

New Hex Terrain

I’ve been wanting to get a more dynamic and modular hill system for some time. A while ago Matt and I commissioned some hills from S & A Scenics which gave us a variable length ridge, up to 7 foot of it in fact, but the truth was once I got it I realised that it wasn’t going to do it for me. Sure, I could do a whopping long hill, or two opposing ridges, but there was something wrong about them, they were too straight, too clinical. I started searching for alternatives, and shortly after posting on WD3, had an offer of some hex terrain. Not just any hex terrain either, Geo Hex and in such quantity (and two colour schemes), it really sold itself to me. I agreed to purchase it and in the meantime I managed to get an absolute bargain on Evilbay of a single part set. This confirmed to me that it was what I wanted, and I picked it up at a secret Service station meet on Saturday.

Unfortunately with the Kitchen still being in the process of being done, I’ve lost my games room but tonight when I got home to an empty house for an hour or so I took the opportunity to get a bit out on the living room floor. As you can see from the pictures, I still haven’t found the right edge pieces, or the clips which hold the tiles together, but bearing in mind it was hastily thrown together on a laminate floor, I’m pretty pleased even so. All I have to do now is catalogue all the pieces and work out where I’m going to store it. As you can see, there’s rather a lot of it! Just for the record, that area’s 4ft by about 5.5ft and there’s easily enough hexes to double it, and probably triple it in each colour.

Hex Terrain

Just how much is there?

Dark Age Village

Matt has been working on his 15mm terrain for a year or so now. I had the opportunity of going round last week and taking some pictures of the village set up. It’s still missing livestock, civilians, troops and what have you, but it’s still pretty impressive for 15mm. He’s paid particular attention to those little details which set layouts like this apart from your average club game. There’s midden heaps, wood piles, fishing nets drying, even toilets – presumably inspired by the groaning Viking in the Jorvik centre. I’m really looking forward to playing on this set up, if he ever gets the Saxons painted anyway! He’s thinking of doing North America too, using the Vikings I painted for him and some Skraelings. We’ve got Pig Wars and Dux Britanniarum to play with, so we’ll be experimenting to find what we like best.

Anyway, here are the photo’s

Gamecraft Miniatures 15mm Buildings Review

I took advantage of an advertised sale for the American Labor Day at Gamecraft miniatures and ordered 8 of their foamboard buildings on September 2nd. They arrived two days ago, but I’ve only just been able to pick them up from the postbox.

They arrived in a smallish box, which when opened had a number of polythene bags containing the “flat pack” buildings, all surrounded by packing peanuts and rather interestingly several American sweets which was a very nice touch and made the unpacking and first try at putting a building together a very sickly sweet affair! (I must say that I rather like Tootsie Roll!)

I’d ordered a selection of different buildings for use in Force on Force or similar modern setting games in the Middle East. The three I’ve unpacked so far and put together are extemely nice models. They’re laser cut, which has a small downside in that it clearly melts the foam between the layers of board to a depth of about 2-3mm. This will need filling. However, the buildings go together very well, nothing I’ve seen so far suggests that the cuts are in the wrong place or anything is missing. The slots for the roof to go in are very tight fits and take a bit of concentration to get them in. The wall joints are the opposite, I think they could do with being a little bit tighter but since they need pinning and gluing and then finishing they’re probably good enough.

Here’s a couple of photo’s of some of the buildings in pack form as well as made up. Figures are 15mm Peter Pig.

GameCraft buildings

GameCraft buildings

GameCraft buildings

A couple of my buildings are more than 1 story high, and the models contain no interior floors. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest as the roof doesn’t come off either, but it may affect some people depending on what level of detail they want.

I’m extremely impressed and while I’ve outlined a couple of negatives, I think I cannot fault the product. The shapes for the windows and doors would be almost impossible to do by hand yourself, and the time taken measuring and laying out is just not worth the measly cost of the buildings. My only regret is that I ordered a couple of days before Allen released a Mosque model. I believe he’s now extended this method out to MDF kits too, which offer substantially better stability I’d guess and has also allowed him to use his laser to etch detail such as bricks on parts of the wall. When painted it’ll look just like the plaster has come away in that section.

Please check GameCraft out for yourself here

Explosion Markers

I thought I’d have a go at making some explosion markers like those demonstrated in the recent Wargames Illustrated issue 281 March 2011.

They are relatively simple to make and I happened to have all the materials lying around to make them bar a glue gun which I bought from Homebase for 15 quid including 24 glue sticks. Let me tell you, I don’t really remember these from school but boy do I wish I’d had one sooner!

Here’s a couple of shots of the 5 I’ve made so far. The figures are 28mm TAG for size comparison. I’m pretty pleased with them but a couple of them don’t look quite right. Still a learning curve!

Explosion Markers

Explosion Markers

Explosion Markers