Tuesday 22 December 2020

Can't play games - so lets build terrain !

Hi Folks

Since I last posted London has now gone into tier 4, Christmas has been cancelled and I am very grumpy. 

God this pandemic has been a real pain in the arse. 

Any way this blog is not about rantings, its about wargames. Which if you haven't noticed have been in very short supply.

With a hopeful view that we might get games going again in spring I have been looking ahead and preparing for the next set of WOTR games. In particular I need a custome table for the Battle of Towton. History tells us the battle was fought in late march yet there was a snowy blizzard across the field. So with time on my hands a new battlemat has been created.

Once again I used the technique devised for my desert battlemat (HERE). This comprised of a large plastic backed dust sheet covered with decorators caulk, paint, pva glue and sand.

The picture below shows half the mat covered in this gloop. The mat itself will be 5ft x 15ft when finished.

 With the mat covered in gloop I painted large brown patches over the ground to break up the uniform colour. Being winter and relatively cold outside there were several days between coats as each cost needed to dry before moving onto the next stage. 

Once the surface was finally dry I drybrushed the surface with cream. It was then a case of covering the whole mat in green flock.

To begin with I covered large sections in flock with a distinct pattern emerging

Once I got halfway I realised that my green moorlands of England needed to be totyally green so I filled in the brown spaces across the table apart from a few areas.

The final affect was quite pleasing and with this coat done the whole mat was sealed with diluted pva. This took a week to dry.

With the mat drying I turned my attention to the snow covering. I tried plenty of different options including snow flock, bicarbonate of soda and paint. With the exception of a straight forward paint coating the others had a tendency to bleed into the green flock and end up green when sealed. This was extremely frustrating.

In the end I plumped for straightforward acrylic white paint across the field. This gave the light snow effect I was looking for.

The below picture I think gives quite a good chilly effect.

A close up with some of my archers. I am not going to redo the bases on the figures

With the mat complete I could turn my attention to the other features of the battlefield. These include an extensive wood that will hide a Lancastrian ambush party. The trees were all sourced from ebay.

First up we have some plain trees...

and I have a large box of snow covered trees just waiting for such a battlefield

The plain trees were covered in pva and dipped into snow flock. The woodland bases have been started using hardboard covered in sand and paint.

The idea is to create mixed wood bases so a test was conducted - these lookquite smart and I should have enough to cover about 3 square foot of the table.

Towton is bisected by two roads so using some off cuts of the cloth I covered these in gloop and ran some tracks into them using a toy car. The edges of the tracks will be treated in the same manner as the battlemat.

finally I needed a stream for the battle field so using some tile offcuts (spares from my river project) I have started on about 24ft of narrow water courses.

So as winter progresses I'll crack on with these and get them finished for the big game.

Take care and stay safe everybody

Sunday 6 December 2020

Shed Wars - Nine years old today !

 Hello Folks

Apologies for the lack of posts recently but thanks to these stringent lockdowns all gaming has ceased and I have been rather busy helping Mrs Shed with her business.

Well as the title states Shed Wars is nine years old today and perhaps most importantly I am still as enthusiastic about it today as I was almost a decade ago when started sharing my hobby on the big wide web. It really doesn't feel like nine years !

As per previous birthday posts I'll give a quick run down on the past years highlights and key achievements. I'll update the scores on the doors and finish off with some thought on what my plans are for next year. Hopefully and god willing 2021 will be better than the past twelves months.

This year has been a very strange year in more ways than one. In December last year my employment contract came to an end and at the time I was quite keen to enjoy a short sabbatical before kicking off employment again. 

As we moved into the spring Covid hit the UK and any opportunity of finding work in my sector quickly dissipated so I resigned myself to an indefinite period of unemployment. This provided an impetus for me to focus on the family financial position and after totting up various numbers on excel spread sheets I do find myself in the extremely fortunate position of not actually being desperate to return to work in the immediate future. This of course opens up a wonderful opportunity to change tack in careers, do something completely different, or even potentially retire early. The jury is still out on the final decision and until Covid blows itself out I shall keep my powder dry.

As mentioned Covid has done its damnedest to curtail much of the games in the Shed this year but there have been some highlights...

Armies painted this year

Each year I have been relatively consistent in bringing a new period to the Shed and as such I have a need to field the various forces. Last year I focused on Romans and Celts and this year attention was turned to War of the Roses, with the exception of about 100 afghans the all my painting has been very much on my WOTR project. From a standing start I can now field the following..

Please note this does not include command stands so the total is probably around 900. Not bad for a years work. The cost I'd rather not think about ;-)

I don't actually have a picture of all of them so this will need to be rectified soon below is about a third of the total forces painted.

Games Played: 

Wars of the Roses

Most recently was the Shed's decision to try a refight all of the battles of the War of the Roses - sadly we got four games in before the latest restrictions ended our games' evenings. These were all mega games using the new Never Mind the Bill Hooks ruleset written by Any Callan and published by Wargames Illustrated. Andy was suitably impressed with the Shed efforts to bring these big battles to life using his rules and subsequently I have been invited to write a chapter in his upcoming Billhooks 2 book. 


The Battle of Northampton


Battle of Blore Heath


First Battle of St Albans

More on the War of the Roses in the new year...hopefully

Muskets & Tomahawks

In the summer we revisited Muskets and Tomahawks for some good old fashioned French Indian wars

English Civil War

Despite being in lockdown for much of the year we still managed to deliver on our January weekend game. This saw our refight of the first Battle of Newbury during the English Civil War. This was a truly epic three aside game that was fought through out the day. The end result a very bloody draw.

Other games included in no particular order...

Roman Britain using Hail Caesar

At the end of 2019 Mark and I completed our Roman and Celtic armies - sadly these have only seen the table a couple of times so far...

The first game was a mega affair with two legions facing off against each other (almost 1400 figures on the table)

Napoleonics - Black Powder

VBCW - The Port Assault

The Sudan - Battle of Abu Klea. We fought this one twice as it was so much fun.

Terrain Builds

This year has seen a few terrain builds including a Celtic village

the biggest project was to make a desert battlemat - this was over 18ft long and six foot wide

and some wadis to complement my new desert battlemat

Finally I mustn't forget my medieval tents.

However perhaps the biggest build this year was extending the Shed for the fourth time. I pushed out the wall in the main games area to deliver a bigger table.

The Shed Extension

The whole shed was given a lick of colourful paint and four new tables built ob casters to hold terrain. These can be configured in several ways to deliver the right size table for a game. The largest is 16ft x 6ft,

Statistics for 2020

As per previous years here are the statistics.

Both pageviews and followers continue to grow and total advertising revenue for this year was just over £50 quid.

What's next for 2021

First up here's hoping the promised vaccines get delivered and work. Assuming they do the Shed should hopefully be back in the gaming zone in the Spring. It is very much the ambition to complete all the WOTR battles in 2021 and we are already planning the big one at Towton. This should hopefully feature the best part of 2000 figures.

I am building a custom snow covered mat for this game and work has already started. Once complete I'll share the build and final product in the near future.

In terms of new projects I have had a hankering to look west and specifically look at the Plains Wars - US Cavalry versus the Native Americans. I have already started amassing the lead and I am starting to think about rules that might work.

Other projects in the pipeline include a revisit to the Dark Ages - Santa should be bringing me some Victrix Saxons and Vikings. Plus I have recently caught up with an old gaming buddy who wants to play more Napoleonics.

so 2021 could be a good year.

In the meantime please everybody stay safe and happy wargaming

all the best 

Eric the Shed