Author Archive

Wilsons Creek – An ACW Battle

Posted on April 27th, 2017 under . Posted by

If truth be told the American Civil War is not a period in history that I am particularly interested in. I have tried to analyse why this might be the case but I continually fall short of a comprehensive and valid reason. From a wargamers perspective I do feel it is a little sterile – volumes of infantry marching into one another and doing their very best to wrestle control of the battlefield. As a precursor to the Great War of 1914 (another period I find little favour with) it was a massive tragedy in human cost but did redefine the world we know today. Why am I rambling on…?

Well on Monday night my good friend John offered to run a game in the shed (using his excellent figures and terrain) and who was I to refuse? To be honest it was a relief that another of the shed wars gaming group was willing to ‘host’ the evenings event. Knowing that Mark (my regular gaming chum in the Shed) is particularly obsessed with this period I could certainly count on his support for such an event. Our foursome was made up with the redoubtable Rolf still sporting his shorts in this particularly cold spell of weather.

John had decided that we would refight the engagement of Wilson’s Creek. This was an historic battle set in the early part of the war in the western theatre with both sides were relatively inexperienced and indeed some of the rebels arrived at the battle without guns or ammo.

We used Black Powder rules as set out in the Glory Hallelujah supplement recently released by Warlord Games. All the figures are 15mm (apologies don’t know the manufacturers)

Of course I had to raise the Union and Confederate Flags on my flagpole. Not to sure what the neighbour’s think about seeing the banned Southern Cross

The following photos tell the story as the game unfolded

The battlefield with the Union to the left of the picture

The Confederate brigades advance on their right flank…

Union troops await in the Orchard

A gun battery moves up onto the hill that dominated the battlefield

The Rebels advance to the creek

A single Union battalion looks on

The Union right flank moves up then sits there for most of the game – the officers just cant issue their orders

The Confederates push up on their right flank

First Fire on the Union left flank as the rebels push forward
The creek is crossed and the rebels surge forward

Furious fighting erupts along the line

The Union trap is sprung as a hidden brigade on the confederate right flank emerges from the trees to give battle

Rebel horse circle round the rear of the Federal troops to be chased by the Unions own cavalry

More Union batteries on the hill – they proved rather ineffective

Its still quiet on the Union left flank as both forces struggle to engage

Meanwhile the Reberls are forcing the Unions left flank…two battalions are pushed back into the orchard

A firefight between the two cavalry skirmishers in the fields leave no winners

The Union surprise attack pushes forward but rebel reinforcements are ion their way

Battle breaks out across the table

Rebel forces advance on their left wing forcing back the Union troops

The rebels have almost broken the centre – one last push

The push is successful…

Rebel skirmishers advance on the guns on the hill

The Union line is starting to waver

The Union is broken – a victory for the rebels…

A big thank you to John for a great game….

More soon

Salute 17 – My haul and observations

Posted on April 25th, 2017 under , . Posted by

Hi FolksSo Salute 17 is done and dusted – and as before I have uploaded all my photos of the games in a previous post and this can be found here. Judging by the number of visitors to my blog this was a popular post with the latest count showing around …

Salute 2017 – The Pictures

Posted on April 22nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Good Afternoon FolksHad a fantastic day at Salute and I’ll write up my views and total up my haul in a later post but in the meantime here are my pictures – apologies if I have missed any key gamesA big thank you to the South Warlords for organising th…

Napoleonic Skirmish – NO longer a Skirmish project – part 3

Posted on April 15th, 2017 under , . Posted by

Oh dear what have I done now?

A few weeks ago I announced on this blog that I was embarking on a 28mm Napoleonic skirmish project well the scope of this project has changed.

It’s no longer a skirmish based project but a bloody great big battle project. I just couldn’t help myself.

Previous part here

The British Forces 12 Battalions of Infantry (each 24 men) line up for inspection in various states of painting ……and some cavalry

I think it is fair to say that the sight of hordes of 28mm figures on the table has hooked me line and sinker. Last year I completed my ECW and Zulu projects almost and these have been some of the best wargames I have ever played. So why not go for the granddaddy of all 28mm visuals – the Napoleonic period.

In the last couple of weeks I have been hunting down deals on the internet, asking for unwanted boxes on the Lead Adventure Forum and slowly steadily building a rather large plastic and metal mountain. The learning curves from my previous grand scale projects have been taken on board which chiefly fall into three categories.

  1. Determine the size of units in advance and before you buy.

For the Napoleonic period this has been quite simple – infantry battalions will be a standard size – 24 figures strong and cavalry units will be 12 figures strong. Each of these figures will be based singly but in movement trays of four. This allows for a rapid change between large blockbuster games such as Black Powder and individual based games (eg Chosen Men). Furthermore most rulesets that come out tend to group figures in units that are divisible by four (think Saga, Lion Rampant) and hopefully by doing this I’ll future proof the armies.

In the case of Line Battalions of the Napoleonic period two of four slot bases will be reserved for the Flank companies, one for the command base and the remainder standard infantry units. The flexibility of basing also allows for units to be shrunk or added to. Finally the four man bases can be positioned in line, marching column, attack column or square with little difficulty (march harder if the were based on 8×2 trays)

  1. Determine what size of game you want to play and buy the figures before you start painting

Believe me when I say there is a rather perverse logic in amassing the forces before you start painting and yes this could mean a significant financial outlay at the beginning. Firstly bulk buying offers greater opportunities to save on postage and multi deals, secondly it forces you to accept that this is the next big project and deserves your attention rather than meander from one genre to another (that’s what I tell myself but NOT Mrs Shed).

Based on my crude calculations to have a meaningful game each player needs to command a minimum of 8-12 units (estimates based on our Pike & Shotte, Warmaster and Zulu Games. This means to support a 4 player (2 vs 2) games in the Shed I need a minimum of 16-24 units per side. So at the very least I need 16 British and 16 French units. On the basis that at least half need to be infantry I need 8 battalions per side (that’s 184 figures each) – a third will be cavalry (5 cavalry regiments per side) and three gun batteries per side. I decided on 12 Battalions for the British (this includes Rifles & Highlanders)

When you start looking at the numbers this way you can make an estimate of cost and total volumes. This is all based on plastic ranges at the moment – Warlord, Perry & Victrix

Infantry – 360 figures at c50p per figure = £180

Cavalry – 120 figures at c£1.50 – £180

Artillery – 6 Batteries at £8 each – £48

A total of £408 note this excludes command etc

With the judicious use of ebay etc I reckon this overall cost can be reduced by at least a third.  

Painting the Figures

There is no easy way to say this but when you embark on such a project you cannot expect to be playing in a matter of weeks. It will take months but dealing in volumes has its advantages.

For starters I’d recommend painting one complete battalion from start to finish – learn the figures, their shapes and nuances. This will provide an estimate of the total time it takes to complete a unit. The first British Line Battalion (actually 40 figures) took me around a week to complete in five sessions each lasting about an hour and a half. That’s 9 hours for 40 figures – works out around 10 minutes per figure.

Painting production can be sped up considerably by painting en masse…

For example last night I painted the boots and trousers of over 100 British Line infantry in one sitting. By the end of the week I’ll have painted the rest of the base colours – jacket , shakoes and flesh. Only then will I start finishing off each battalion in turn. 

I should add that I don’t do shading or highlights – just a block paint approach and the army painters dip and then varnish. These are for the tabletop and not display.

Oh yes whilst collecting the British Infantry I also started on the French…

11 Battalions assembled and a couple still to go

I am not going to work out the man hours required to complete this project (it’s too scary but as it progresses the momentum will drive me forward).

So with Salute just round the corner I think my focus will be on Artillery and Cavalry at the Show.

Until next time

10mm Napoleonic Battle Report

Posted on April 10th, 2017 under . Posted by

Last Monday night four of us got together to drag another genre out of the cupboard. This time it was my 10mm Napoleonics collection using Black Powder. The last time this featured in the Shed was back ion 2015 on the annniversary of Waterloo.So Monday…

So what shall we play next week….

Posted on April 6th, 2017 under . Posted by

You might have noticed over the last few posts that the Shed has been hosting a variety of games each Monday night – it’s been one of my priorities for 2017  to dust of some of the collections I have in shed and remind myself why we embarked on these projects in the first place.

I thought it might be a bit of fun to list these collections and the typical rules we use so folks out there in the blogosphere can see what might be coming up in the future. 
I should add that some of these collections belong to my good friend Mark who owns his own shed and once he gets it refurbished Shed Wars will go back out onto the road (Woking actually !)

In no particular order….



Armies Available

Typical Rules



Warbands and Monsters

Frost Grave & Dragon Rampant



Empire, Undead, Elf, Dark Elf, Orc, Goblin


Greek Mythos


Greek Heroes & Monsters

Home brew set in development


10mm (Mark’s)

Romans & Celts

Warmaster Ancients



War of the Roses/ 100 Years War

Warmaster Medieval



Crusaders, Saracens, Robin Hood

Hail Caesar, Lion Rampant, Crescent & Cross

Dark Ages


Vikings, Danes & Saxons


English Civil War


Royalist & Parliamentarian

Pike & Shotte, Pikemens Lament

English Civil War


Royalist & Parliamentarian

Pike & Shotte

French Indian Wars


British, French & Native Allies

Muskets & Tomahawks

18th century Pirates


Pirates & Above

Home rules based on M&T



British & French

Black Powder, Legacy, Age of Eagles



In progress

In progress

American Civil War

15mm (Marks)

Union & Confederacy

Fire & Fury

Anglo Zulu war


British & Zulus

Black Powder

Colonial Expansion


All Factions


Very British Civil War


All Factions

Bolt Action

1930’s Pulp


All Factions

Pulp Alley., Bolt Action

World War 2 (early)


British & German

Bolt Action

Aliens v Predators


Predators, Aliens & Colonial Marines

Bug Hunt (Home Brew)

Post Apoc


Terminators, Mad Max

Home Brew



Russian & British

WRG Modern Rules

When I sit back and look at the list its quite a surprise to see that virtually all the major conflicts us wargamers are interested in are covered.

There are a few omissions – for example the Wild West, the Crimea, Indian Mutiny and Late World War 2 – but to be frank many of these do not interest me and are unlikely to feature in the shed (but we should never say never).

You will also notice that there are two primary scales – 28mm and 10mm (aside from Marks ACW stuff) – the rationale is quite simple I don’t have to have multitudes of terrain in different scales.

The games can all be fought in temperate, arid or jungle conditions and aside from my Frostgrave boards most of the stuff is quite generic and can fit with a multitude of periods. Afterall a tree in the middle ages is going to look the same in the 1930’s.

So whats up next…well as you will see in the upcoming post I have been somewhat carried away with one of my projects…

SAGA – Two versus one (until the doublecross)

Posted on April 5th, 2017 under . Posted by

Following on from our big Pike & Shotte battle a fortnight ago I  managed to put together a Saga game last Monday (10 days ago) for Alastair and Mark – a three way fight to the death.Alastair has a nice write up on his blog which is worth whil…

Pike & Shotte – Big Battle

Posted on April 3rd, 2017 under . Posted by

A couple of weeks ago the Shed hosted its biggest game of the year so far this year – a big Pike & Shotte game with three players aside on an extended table nearly 20feet long.I’d love to say that I had a great game. But I didn’t !The extra large t…

Napoleonic Skirmish part 2

Posted on April 2nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Hi FolksI have been a very busy boy at the painting table over the last few weeks and can now reveal some of the work in progress on my Napoleonic troops – its going to take sometime to get sufficient forces ready for our first game of Chosen Men…Par…

Spring is in the air – so its time to do some planting

Posted on March 31st, 2017 under . Posted by

Hi Folks

With the weather now warming up I can justify spending more time in the shed and so over the last couple of weeks I have been both building some new terrain and refurbishing some old. 
Hope the following is of interest

Up first are some simple fields. Whilst clearing the shed back in the summer I found a small bag of plastic aquarium plants. These are no more than a cm in height and have a small plastic stem. These look like great cultivated plants for 28mm (don’t ask what type of plants thought !).

It was a simple job to cut out some hardboard sheets – mark out and drill the peg holes and glue the plants in place. Once dry the field was given a basing of sand and ballast. This was painted up using chocolate brown emulsion. A quick drybrush and some grassy patches helped bring this to life.

Three fields which cost next to nothing

Add Walls for effect
Pretty good…will they work for arid climates

Yup….and yes I have two different coloured wall sets

Up second are my vineyards  – now when I decided that the peninsular was going to be deserving of my interest I quickly realised that I was going to need some custom terrain. Chiefly vineyards and olive trees. An internet search revealed that Noch produce both of these. An order was made.

The Noch Olive trees are good (if a littler small) but the vines are lousy and at £9 a box I was going to need a lot of these for meaningful terrain. I had to build my own. Casting around for inspiration on the web found a site that used woodland scenic armatures for the vineyards – Diary of a Gaming Magpie(

What a brilliant idea !!

Again I cut out some board for the fields (four in total) and then measured out the posts for each end of the vine run. The posts were bamboo skewers cut to length and fixed in drilled holes with pva. Between these posts were drilled several holes for the armatures. These were then cut to the right height with clippers.

A mature and immature vineyard in progress
The finished article

Once the tree armatures were in place I treated the base with the same material used for the above crop fields. Before the base was painted brown I sprayed the tree bits dark brown. Added clump foliage with a hot glue gun and hey presto

These will serve well for any mediterranean based game

Now whilst on the subject of fields I had some coir door mat lying around – perfect for wheat fields. These I cut into an irregular shape stuck them down on hardboard and treated the base. Easy job and they look great. Indeed we have used them recently in our M&T game.

Add caption

You might notice that one of the photos above has shows a tree in the field – lets turn the base around….

and you can see there is a peg for the tree to slot in – this helps enormously with storage and allows trees or NO trees on the terrain. The peg can always be covered up with a bit of lichen

So I decided to rebase all my deciduous trees – you know the cheap ones that come from China.

Up until now I had been basing these simply in hardboard bases. A drill was used to create a hole and then the truck pushed through and hot glued in place. The problem was that the storage for these was massive and they looked unsightly. A new option had to be found.

Again I stuck with the hardboard bases – all the old ones were re-purposed but this time I drilled out hole and then glued in a two cm high tube of styrene.

Prior to cutting the styrene tubes I sprayed them all brown on a piece of wood with bbq skewers to hold the tubes upright.

prior to the spray

These were planted dark brown to simulate the trucks. All I have to do now is pop the trunk into the tube and hey presto a tree is standing. Not only that they store so much better…

a woodland base with pegs….
The finished wood

Here you can see half of the trees based – could noit be bothered to set them all out for the shot but as my regular gamers can always testify – Eric the Shed loves his tree covered tables ! 

More very soon

Jason & the Argonauts part 6

Posted on March 30th, 2017 under . Posted by

Just a brief post this afternoon – I haven’t forgotten this project promise !Indeed I promised myself that this weekend I would get round to finishing the plinths for the valley of the Gods. The other news is that the rules are coming along nicely and …

The Siege of Fort William

Posted on March 21st, 2017 under . Posted by

Our second Muskets and Tomahawks game in a week – the French try to take the FortWith most of the terrain set up from the previous game I reconfigured the table and following the events of the previous game the French pushed up to siege Fort William.- …

Retreat to Fort William – A Musket & Tomahawks scenario

Posted on March 20th, 2017 under . Posted by

Hi FolksBelieve it or not its been over a year since the Shed had seen any action from the French Indian Wars so on Monday night I decided to put things right.The plan was for four players to take part in the game but sadly Legatus had to talk to Peru …

More Troops for Pike & Shotte

Posted on March 8th, 2017 under . Posted by

Hi FolksSince Christmas I have had a number of things on the go on my painting table (kitchen table actually) and I have finally finished off the units I needed for my Pike & Shotte ArmiesIf you are interested in heading back to the beginning of th…

Beachhead – A VBCW battle report

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 under . Posted by

Good Evening Folks

As my last two posts will testify the Shed has already seen two games so far this year – our Frostgrave Monster Crawl and an ECW Pike & Shotte battle. Last night we kept up the impetus with a Very British Civil War Game using the Bolt Action Ruleset.

As you can see from the pictures below I pushed out on the layout – a coastline complete with quaint village and industrial area.

Picturesque Sea Front
Not so picturesque – its called progress

View from Industrial area to Village

The Background (please note that this is entirely fictitious)

Over the last few months the Fascist forces of Sir Oswald Mosley have been pushing south down the A3 Portsmouth road and following their successful capture of the royal Dockyards at Portsmouth turned their attention to the Anglican stronghold on the Isle of White.

The Dock yard
In the early hours of a spring morning the Fascist forces launched a surprise attack on the village of Cowes. Their advance forces quickly seized the beach head and waited in anticipation for the second wave to cross the Solent. However the weather in the channel turned nasty and this spear head was quickly isolated from the mainland. All they could do was to hunker down and wait for the storm to abate. The Fascist forces spread their forces out along the coastline facing inland waiting for the inevitable counter attack.

As the background describes the Fascist forces have already landed and are now defending the beach head. Their objective to simply hold fast until reinforcements could arrive. We agreed that if the Fascist troops could hold out by the end of the gaming evening they would be declared the winners. Of course the Anglican forces on the island were not going to take this lying down and had a counter attack plan in place.

The Forces were evenly matched with John & Mark K leading the Fascist defence, Mark F and myself would lead the Anglican counter attack. We typically find that with each player commanding 8-10 units the game can be concluded in an evening session

Fascist Forces – these were deployed on the table 12-18 inches in from the coast

Grey Dice – Village Deployment

1 X Panzer Mk1 (armour 7, LT AT Gun, MMG)

1 X Armoured Car (armour 7, MMG, LT AP )

1 X Medium Mortar & Observer

1 X Grew Served MMG

1 X Light AT Gun

4 X Rifle Squads (six men strong)

1 X Command


Black Dice – Industrial Area

1 X Panzer Mk1

1 X T17 ( armour 7, LT AT Gun, MMG)

1 X Observer

1 X Sniper

1 X Crew Served MMG

4 X Rifle Squads

1 X Command

The beachhead commander inspects his forces
Looks a bit like Balamory …Sir

The Anglican Forces – these could enter any point on the table opposite the Coast

Green Dice (Anglican Regulars) – started opposite Village

2 X FT 17 (armour 7, LT AT Gun, MMG)

6 X Rifle Squads

1 X Crew Served MMG

1 X Medium Mortar & Observer

! X Command

Red Dice ( Postal Brigade) – split entrance village & industrial area

1 X Big Tank (Big Red) Armour 8, LT AT Gun, 2 X MMG turrets)

1 X Half Track (Armour 7, MMG)

1 X LT AT Gun & Tow

3 X Rifle Squads

1 X Medium Mortar & Observer

1 X Crewed Served MMG

1 X Command

The dockyard and industrial area
Canal Crossing

How did it play…

Once the Fascist forces had deployed the Anglicans were free to enter the table anywhere along the back edge of the table – my postal Brigade forces would attempt to pin down the opposing units ion the industrial area whilst Mark would assault the defences from the Rail Line. Our first units moved on.

The first Anglican unit to appear was my Postal Brigade Half Track – it crawled into the dockyard area and opened fire on the Fascist MG on the power station – a rapid burst of fire sent the loader into heaven.

Before the unit could get out of dodge the Blackshirts armour swung round the dockside buildings and Kaboom !!

The second unit on was Big Red – with his double MG turret he riddled the lighthouse with bullets taking down the fascist sniper !

He didn’t last long !

Mean whilst Mark had advanced his armour along the rail line and made short work of the Panzer 1 defending the church grounds

With the armour taken out he pushed up his infantry under smoke (delivered in the wrong place by the enemy)

The Anglican assault was full speed ahead with the bunker (facing the church a key target) – fortunately is was undefended and quickly secured)

Using the rail line walls as cover Marks forces advanced forward – the enemy mortar observer in the church was taking a keen interest in their advances. Within seconds the medium mortar was delivering some devastating and accurate fire. 
With the pill box taken the Anglican troops poured fore into the eastern end of the church quickly dispatching the hidden forces. Mark then through the full weight of fire against the MG and observer hiding in the tower

By now my advancing forces into the Dockyard were having a torrid time – the half track had been destroyed and two thirds of my infantry gunned down by the black shirts.

The Fascists started to push forwards. 

The Anglican village forces continued creeping along the rail line – intent on securing the houses facing the coastline

mean whilst back in the docks the Fascist had finished mopping up the Postal Brigade resistance

Their next target was to get across the bridges into the village – this was not going to be easy. Postie had set up an MMG in the general store (building to left of pub) and on the wharf side lurked Big Red.
What was left of Posties brigade had joined the fight in the village and a vicious close quarter battle was raging across the back gardens.
By now Marks Armour was engaging with the Fascist AT gun – rounds were exchanged and despite their cover the gun soon fell silent to a barrage of mortar fire
With the AT Gun out the way the Anglican troops surged forward through the memorial garden – Ambush. A section of hidden fascists in the school house opened fire at pointblank range 
The Anglicans died to a man but the Fascists had given away their position. Mortar rounds landed on the school building disintegrating it in a weight of high explosives
Big Red was now supported by the Postal Brigade artillery – nobody was coming across these bridges !
Trying to wrest back the initiative on the wharf side the Fascist Armoured car trundled along the docks a popped out behind the pub to take a pot shot at Big Red – he fired, he hit but the rounds just bounced off the armour. However one round managed to immobilise Big Red. 
Scuttling back the armoured car tried to attack the weaker rear of Big Red – again he hit but his light guns failed to penetrate. The response was devastating as Big Red turned his turret…well you can guess the rest. 
Big Red then switched his attention to the Fascist forces pushing in from the docks. In successive turns the Pz ! and T17 were soon silenced 

With little or no fascist forces left in the village and the fascist forces in the docks deprived of all their armour the Anglican assault on removing the beachhead was deemed a success.

An Anglican FT17 stops for refueling after a hard fight 

The Isle of White remains in the Church of Englands hands

Until next time

Jason and the Argonauts part 6

Posted on March 2nd, 2017 under . Posted by

Just a quick update on the Jason and the Argonauts project – this time a few beasties and the remnants of the Heroes left to paintHoping to get the terrain finished for this project in the next few weeks.The last few heroes (Foundry and Black Tree)Herc…

The Powder Mills – An ECW engagement

Posted on February 27th, 2017 under . Posted by

With winter almost disappearing Mark and I were able to get back into the shed last Monday. I’d been hankering for a game of Pike & Shotte for most of the winter and Mark kindly agreed to pit his Royalists against my Parliamentarian forces.As alway…

Monster Bash Frostgrave Style

Posted on February 26th, 2017 under . Posted by

Hi FolksIts been ages since I have played Frostgrave and when my chum John mentioned that he and a friend of his had a session planned for Saturday afternoon I jumped at the chance to join in..Rather than play out one of the scenarios they had decided …

Some Beasts for Congo

Posted on February 22nd, 2017 under . Posted by

A few months back my good chum Alastair bought along Congo to play in the Shed – it was great fun.Our first AAR can be found here prompted me to go out and buy the rules. I …

A new Project – Chosen men Napoleonic Skirmish

Posted on February 20th, 2017 under , . Posted by

Hello Folks

Its been almost a month since my last post on the blog and since we re-fought Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift back in January. Work commitments and a sunny holiday in the Caribbean have meant much of my hobby time has been curtailed however I have been doing some bits and bobs over the last few weeks so this post is just a quick update.

I have also made a start on my next project, yes I know the Jason one isn’t finished (more on this soon) but like all good wargamers we tend to flit from one period to another. This project was prompted by two key events – the first was the release of the Chosen Men ruleset by Osprey and the second was a wonderful acquisition I procured on ebay – a complete Spanish town for £80.

So I have kicked off Napoleonic skirmish. The first troops arrived back at the beginning of February as an order from Warlord Games and their great deal on Army builders – I settled on the British peninsular with a box of Rifles, Peninsular Infantry, light Dragoons, a n artillery piece, mounted commanders and a mule train. The plastics are all assembled and just need a coat of paint.

A quick read through the rules suggest that these will be fast and furious – perfect for the games in the shed.

14 British Light Dragoons from Perry – the sprues actually come with enough kit to make a further 14 riders – just need to find some spare horses.

Fairly basic British Peninsular infantry in marching order – these will be based eventually in two rank trays from warbases

and of course the British Rifles – these loom fantastic figures. Full of character.

This purchase from ebay really was fantastic and such a bargain. The buildings are all hand built from mdf and have proper pantile roofs

Some of the free standing town houses even have flower beds !

The green boards I have laid this out on don’t do the building justice. They’ll probably look better on my desert boards. At a push these buildings will also serve well for my pirate games.

More soon…