Saturday, 22 March 2014

Military In Miniature Show - Guildford

Having seen the recent messages on TMP for the Military in Miniature show in Guildford I took myself down the A3 for a quick visit. Whilst on route I picked up my old man who just happens to be into painting the bigger lead figures (54mm)

Probably the quickest show I have been really wasn't that big - a few stands, a couple of games, a couple of re-enactors and a coffee van parked outside.

I bought a some cheap resins walls (not that I need any more) and some paints - roll on Salute.

I also had the fortune to meet Legatus Hedlius ( - his blog is always a great read... we met and said hello and an invite to the shed was cordially given.

A few photos of the day...

There were more people there when I left !

The local reenactors

All credit to these guys for asking if I wanted to join in

These guys didn't - wasn't entirely sure of their role - they weren't selling anything - maybe they were life size models

There were a few games on display but I do wonder about the merit of slinging out a few trees and lead pieces on a green table top. If these events are there to drive interest in the hobby there really does need to be a concerted effort by organisers to put on the very best displays.

A simple game of bolt action

Lots of tanks so its flames of war

Really big robot - you guessed it GW 40K

I have left the best til last - seriously. These are really nice models look a bit like the creatures from that Jim Henson movie - its not labyrinth but I can't place the name.

The model tree was stunning

Check out their details here

It is a seriously good range of figures - just not my cup of tea

Until next time...

Friday, 21 March 2014

Zulu - Back on the Big Screen

Yesterday I celebrated my 49th Birthday – can’t believe I am almost half way to a century!

I am however chuffed to bits with one particular present I received last night from my wife. What is this I hear you cry?

She is well aware that my favourite movie ever is Zulu, I recall fondly the very first time I saw this movie in the cinema with my father and brother in the early seventies and since then I have never been able to see the movie again on the big screen but that is all about to change. On the 10th June at Leicester square will be a 50th anniversary screening of this Iconic movie in aid of the charity of walking with the wounded.

I am the proud possessor of two silver tickets. After much soul searching and a load of pleas from my teenage son (he is equally keen on seeing this) I have decided that its only right that I take my old man – not wishing to sound morbid but rather a celebration, I figured it is probably the last chance either he or I will ever get to watch this on the big screen together.

Not to sure if tickets are still available but they can be sourced from here.

Who knows maybe Michael Caine might make an appearance !


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Bridge to Farncombe

A Bridge to Farncombe

The BUF is steadily making advances south down the Old Portsmouth road – its strategy is two fold.

Firstly it wants to sever the supply links from the Anglican leagues heartland in the East and their forces in the west, and secondly, it wants to try to wrestle control of Portsmouth from the Communists. By spitting the  Anglican leagues forces in two it aims to deliver the knock out blow and force the renegades to the negotiating table. Pivotal in this plan are the southern rail links, specifically the London Portsmouth line.

The Village and river crossings at Farncombe  (looking from BUF point of attack)

The top half of a PMC medieval building - makes a nice bungalow - bunker to the right

The bridge across the river Wey
Down towards the crossroads

Our scenario takes place in near the village of Farncombe, near Godalming surrey. The Village lies aside the river Wey and two key bridges cross at this point.

The BUF mission is simple  - take the bridges and secure a bridgehead on the South side of the river. The BUF can expect some stiff resistance from local Anglican League volunteers troops.

The BUF forces have pushed forward in some strength along the Northern Road in tow columns.. Last night the commander on the ground sent a flanking force to the East. These are expected to join the battle at some point in time to the East on the other side of the river.
Looking from the North East
The river crossings

Leading your line are elements of the Mosley Armoured Brigade – two light tankettes and an old antiquated tank called Big Boris – it is apparent that Boris is not going to be able to cross the bridge nor can he scale the rail embankment. He is merely there for fire support.

Supporting the armour are 3 six men squads (regular troops) – two of these are supported with Light Machine Guns

A further command unit under the leadership of Captain Percy Winterbottom are available.  This Command group consists of Captain Winterbottom, his banner bearer, a medic (nurse Chapel), and an HMG

Two further six men sections under the command of Lieutenant Parker will arrive on the Eastern road from turn 3  (roll d6 – on a 5-6 they appear at beginning of turn – add+1 to die roll thereafter.)

All the Infantry squads have their own vehicles

A total of 47 men, two tankettes and a tank – 10 units

The crossroads - scene of the fiercest fighting

My embankments finally make it onto the table

The Anglican Forces opposing the BUF have for sometime expected the BUF to attack Farncombe and have made ready the defence of the bridges.

In defence the Anglican League can call upon the following

An advanced party of  scouts in the small hamlet of on the Northside of the bridge – 1 rifle squads + hmg, a Rolls Royce armoured car – under the command of Reverend Peters

On the Southside under the command of the Bishop of Godalming

4 rifle squads (two with LMGs)

1 HMG & Mortar + Bishop (all sited in the command bunker)

A tank Reinforcements arriving from the Village Road from turn 1 (6+)
A total of 37 men, 1 armoured car and a tank

The village of Farncombe - the Leagues tank winds through the narrow streets

Anglican troops climb up on the embankment

The Anglican armoured car pushes forward to support the troops on the North side of the river

The HMG and Mortar open up on the advancing BUF forces in the North East
The second BUF party advance on the North East road

The Anglican HMG claims the first casualty

The Anglican defensive line
The BUF dismount from their vehicles and begin the assault on the bunker

Big Bertha trundles forward
A firefight breaks out on the embankment

The League forces take up defensive positions on the far side of the bank - their tank rumbles forward

The BUF pour fire into the Bunker

The Anglican Tank squeezes across the bridge

The BUF in the East unleash a torrent of lead onto the soldiers hiding on the embankment

A vicious fire fight erupts in the road tunnel - the BUF victors
The Anglican forces panic - FUBAR and open up on their own men

The BUF seize the initiative in the East pinning an HMG on the embankment
With the Leagues Infantry disposed of the BUF swarm forward
The mortar opens up on Big Bertha - lucky shot knocks out the tank (2 sixes in a row)

As Big Bertha smokes away...The BUF vainly try to storm the Anglican tank
The BUF forces skulking in the woods move forward - they are spotted by the mortar and an entire squad is virtually wiped out
At this point it became obvious that the BUF were never going to get across the road bridge - the railline crossing was in their hands but the Tank on the roadbridge was virtually impervious to fire.
A draw was called.
Great game, fought in good spirits...onto the next game

Saturday, 15 March 2014

VBCW - Pillboxes 28mm

The Shed Wars terrain factory keeps giving !


A couple of weeks back when we played our first VBCW game my good friends Mark & Matt suggested that a couple of pill boxes might not go amiss on the table for future games. How could I refuse and my mind began whirring on how such items could be constructed.

Again the following outline is not meant to be an exhaustive tutorial but does demonstrate how easy it is to build these defensive structures. In the following photos you’ll see how these have come about and will hopefully provide inspiration for others out there. Before I kick off I should say that my builds are meant to be easy, anybody with a modicum of artistic ability could do what I do, it just takes a bit of planning, the right tools and materials and some patience. If you can rope in others to help even better – despite offering to pay my 13 year old son to do some of the painting I have yet to find a willing helper myself!

Virtually all my projects have something in common – they do not start with a plan, I let the image of what I want to do ferment in my head for a few days and then taking the materials I have to hand I start the build. There’s no pre drawings, no sketches and no measurements !  

In this particular case I started with the view that I wanted to build three units – each slightly different and ranging in size. To begin with I was going to build all of the structures from foam core (5mm) but when I discovered some off cuts of blue foam in the shed I switched two of the units into this material.
Recalling from memory that pill boxes and block houses can come in a variety of shapes – squares, rectangles and hex style shapes I began to think about the design – again in my head. I settled on a height of 4cm, thereby allowing a 28mm mini to stand upright in the finished structure..

Pill box #1 (foam core)


Like all my constructs they are based on hardboard – rough side up to give a better key fort the glue.  Three bases of different sizes were cut.

Pill Box #2 (blue Foam)

The shape of the pill boxes themselves were then roughly drawn on the board using a permanent marker. Then taking the ‘wall’ material I measured out the walls and the firing slits. The firing slits were cut out first with a really sharp blade – it is much easier to do this n a larger sheet than the smaller wall sections if they are already cut. Once the slits were done the walls were cut out. These were then glued with pva to each other and onto the base. One of the units would have a mortar pit attached. After a few hours they were dry and I could move onto the next stage.



I wanted to give the impression that the positions themselves were slightly buried so I needed a bank to run up half way round the walls. This was achieved in two easy steps. I firstly cut triangular banks from polystyrene (the cheap packing stuff to fit round the outside of the walls. These were glued into position and once dry they were covered in filler to give a hardened surface. Drying time for this stage was about 12 hours. Once dry I didn’t bother sanding the filler as it was going to next be covered in ballast and sand. This was fixed using pva – I use so much of this stuff!


Pill Box #3 (with raised embankment)
Pill Box #2 (with raised embankment)

Again this was left to dry for 12 hours. Each of the following steps only takes a few minutes so I tend to do them just before I go to work – getting up early can be so productive – as I then can proceed with the next step that evening or the following morning. With the sand and ballast fixed the units were then painted black using an acrylic paint.

Pillbox #2 (painted black/brown)

Pill Box #3 (the mortar pit is closest)


Before I moved onto the final painting I realised that the roofs were yet to be manufactured. These would be constructed from hardboard. Two units would have plain simple concrete surfaces and the final one would be grassed. The measurements of the buildings plus a 5mm lip were drawn onto hardboard and cut out. In the case of the concrete tops these would be shiny side up whereas my grassed unit would have a roof rough side up. A piece of foam core the dimensions of the inside of the building was then cut and glued to the underside of the roof to give it a snug fit.

Inside of roof

Testing it fits

For the grass topped unit I simply covered in ballast and treated this the same way as  the base.

Onto the final stretch and the best bit. The ground areas were highlighted light brown.
The bunker walls were painted dark grey then highlighted with light grey.



The final touches were some static grass patches - ill add some other detritus later

And here they are in all their glory


Ill be using these in Monday nights action so more photos on the way

Thanks for reading

Eric the Shed