Some modelling skills required

By Rob Morgan

I built my first Airfix kit almost 60 years ago, and despite my youthful inexperience I made a fair go of it (the Boulton Paul Defiant 1940 Night Fighter, since you ask). Most of my older cousins were steeped in the flying model aircraft field — Kiel Kraft, I think they were called. All balsa wood and razor blades — far more complicated than plastic construction, at which, if I say so myself, over the decades I have become a skilled operator. I even built the Airfix Churchill Tank, and the Panther, both horrendous in terms of the suspension.

Now, as it’s Advent and I was feeling rather jovial, and in town with my eldest granddaughter, I bought a sort of  gingerbread house thing, which seemed a sound idea at the time. Hm?

“Can we build it this evening, Grandad?”

“Of course!” Be positive.

The house, about 10 inches long and six inches high, came from TYGER, the Danish shop, plenty of them around all over the UK. Cost three pounds. It bears the splendid title, Byg Selv Brunkagehus.

A kit? So no problem. Right up Grandad’s street, eh?

All Nanna (that’s my wife) had to do — well, I like her to feel involved — was make a cup of stiff icing sugar for the joints, and provide some sprinkly things, snowflakes and such like, from her baking cupboard.

“Are you sure about this?” she said, after 40 years of marriage, no faith in me. Me. A man who once  assembled 10 1/72nd Bren carriers in an hour.

There was, of course, no warning on the box , there’s  just a two-part roof, and four walls and a four-sided chimney construction. All simple enough. One of us, she’s six, was very enthusiastic; well, the gingerbread smelled lovely. I have no idea if any of you, skilled modellers as you all surely are, have ever been defeated by a simple box structure made out of frankly … biscuit!

It’s taken three days to get it sorted, and I — all right, we — still haven’t finished. The roof just won’t sit right, and as for the ***** chimney! My wife’s icing sugar store has been sorely depleted and we have a rash of small crunchy things all over the cake board on which I’m supposed to be building it. This, ladies and gentlemen is causing me more trouble than the upper wing and struts of an Airfix 1/72nd WWI R.E.8, reconaissance plane.

Evie’s gone to bed, and I’m just pouring a stiff malt whisky. Be warned, some modelling skills definitely required. Merry Christmas to you all.

Posted in Battle reports, Periods - Modern | Leave a comment

Next issue of Lone Warrior coming up

The next issue of Lone Warrior is in the final stages of production and should be e-mailed within a few days, according to Editor Rich Barbuto.

Here’s a preview of the articles in No. 209:

  • “Ill Met By Moonlight” (or The ‘Black Spot’ Returns) by Steve Turner. This includes charts to determine just how certain characters are wounded or killed during campaigns, to add to any narratives.
  • “M.U.Sk in Space” by Kevin White. Some skirmish rules for space combat, with suggestions for trying the period without a lot of cost.
  • “Victory in the Pacific 2.0” by George Arnold. Sequence of Events and Order Charts to “solo-ize” this old Avalon Hill board game.
  • “A Solo Wargame Engine” by Joao Lima. Ways of simulating the tactical decisions by a soloist’s opponent, with charts and explanations for an Ancients game.
  • “Sentinels of the Multiverse Game Review” by Craig Dunglison. A review of the card game, with suggestions for creating a campaign based on the game.
  • “Lord of the Rings …” by Rob Morgan. A review of a paperback called “Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare” which offers many insights into the original Tolkien books.
  • “The Crusade of Nicopolis” by Robert Stevens. An historical look at a lesser known crusade, plus some notes for gaming out the battle of Nicopolis itself.
  • “Bunker Hill Reconsidered” by Marvin Scott. A refight of the American War of Independence, with the potential to change the battle’s outcome.
  • “Ship Rules for the Middle Ages” by Rob Morgan. Quick rules for naval encounters during the Middle Ages.
  • Plus a so-far unidentified article, as promised by the Editor.

With the usual complement of color photos, maps and charts, this is another “shot in the arm” for soloists looking for ideas for enjoying the hobby. Coming soon!

Posted in Latest issue of LW | Leave a comment

‘Kamikaze Attack’ rules added

Mike Crane’s World War II naval/air rules for the later Pacific war have now been added.

“Kamikaze Attack” is on the Complete Rule Sets page.

Posted in Air gaming, Naval gaming, Periods - World War II | Leave a comment

Women and table-top wars

By Rob Morgan

H.G. Wells, when he wrote his legendary wargaming work, didn’t exclude girls and women from the potential of playing those “Little Wars,” so how did about 50 percent of the population slip away from the several genres that make up this hobby? I don’t recall ever coming across a female wargamer in historical gaming. There are plenty out there who role-play and who game in the science fiction and fantasy genres, but I have never met a girl or woman moving her Bonapartist armies or her Roman legions across the table, or her ironclad fleets over the ballroom floor (that’s an allusion to Fletcher Pratt, incidentally). Maybe things will change.

Is the problem the lack of female warriors and military generally? Women have been involved in warfare — front-line warfare, not merely supporting roles — since antiquity. Medieval Warfare issued a special on warrior princesses and heroines not long back, and there are some well known individuals in history. Not just Jeanne d’Arc and Matilda either! If you look at the modern era, in the Great War and the many conflicts referred to as the Russian Civil War these days, there were numerous all-women combat units. A photo of a group of British re-enactors of one of those units is shown here.

Women re-enactors.

In World War II (or the Great Patriotic War), the USSR had thousands of female combatants, from aircrew and tank crews to elite snipers. In earlier wars, of course, women tended to dress up as men in taking up arms, and to do so individually rather than as large organised groups. Partisans and guerrillas were a different kettle of fish, and I suspect that someone is going to be able to point to an armed force of female soldiery that I don’t yet know about. But there’s only one female militia fighter in BUM’s Spanish Civil War Militia set!

Anyway, I looked around in 20mm, and found a few examples of women soldiers. Surprisingly, no manufacturer makes a Soviet female group, though there are individual figures in a few sets — traffic police, pilots, and women officers — but not in combat poses. There are few others. I like the female figures in two of the Red Box sets. Their “gangsters’ provide two 20th century armed women, with a wide range of possibilities. Their “police and citizens” set has a very good woman with a rifle and in a long dress. She’d suit most wars post-1850. Take a look too at the Red Box civilian volunteers from the Boxer Rebellion, two good armed women there, and a couple of suitable, convertible figures in the IMEX Pilgrim pack.

Not much before that period. Few female figures at all, in fact. There’s a good woman in a long dress in the Airfix Wagon Train set. She can have a weapon added to her right hand with little effort and “do” service in wars in the 17th century and beyond.

In the medieval period, well, yes, there’s Joan of Arc in the set of her army by Strelets. She’s mounted, harnessed and bearing a ridiculously small pennon — all in all, not particularly warlike, in my opinion. She has only one companion and that’s the single mounted female Maid Marian in the Airfix Robin Hood set.

That is, until someone adds some female combat troops to their WWII and WWI sets, and to their SCW figures, to their Napoleonic guerrilla forces and to their partisans and rebels of all periods. Certainly, to their 16th century and 30 Years War ranges.

A thought: Who makes a decent baggage train or camp followers (often armed and in combat) in any of the Horse and Musket period wars? I haven’t considered what can be converted, of course, and some figures can do without too much difficulty. Others certainly can’t.

Something of a gap, eh?

Posted in Periods - General history, Wargaming | 3 Comments

A sample article for December

Paul Le Long describes the ECW Battle of Alton (and how the town became his home), then adds in a refight of the battle in this month’s sample article from past numbers of Lone Warrior.

It’s on the Sample Articles page.

Posted in Periods - Pike and Shot | Leave a comment

Review of ‘The Medieval Cannon 1326-1494’ (Osprey)

Rob Morgan finds a recent title from Osprey’s New Vanguard series to be an excellent resource.

His review is on the Ospreys at a Glance page.

Posted in Periods - Medieval | Comments Off on Review of ‘The Medieval Cannon 1326-1494’ (Osprey)

A gift for Troy?

By Rob Morgan

My memory being what it is, as in ageing, I try never to miss writing down any useful, or potentially useful, wargame material I come upon. This is an example.

Now, I don’t actually wargame a great deal in the Ancient World. I do have a number of small, oared fleets, of course, and readers may recall a couple of odd items which I’ve slipped in over the years — Cyclops, centaurs, that sort of thing, mostly mythical. I’m currently making a few notes on Xenophon’s Anabasis, and where Troy’s concerned, I’m hoping that at some stage I can write up a Trojan v Greek naval action or two, ignoring the literary limitations of Virgil’s Aeneid naturally.

This model, of course is something slightly different. Breathes there a wargamer who hasn’t heard of that unique piece of apparatus in siege history — the Trojan Horse? I doubt it. However, if there’s a manufacturer somewhere who makes one in a wargame scale, I don’t know of it. Please write in!

This model is sturdy, and well-made, I’ve seen one assembled. It’s all wood, and a foot long, about seven inches tall, with a rather roomy troop chamber and a big opening for egress. I think that with say 20 or so Greeks in 20/25mm or 28mm scale, it would make the centre-piece for a superb wargame. A display game would be particularly enhanced by the beast. Yes, I realise that it is very much a ‘one-off’ model, in a ‘one-off’ wargame, but at least you know now that it exists.

It’s available, by the way, from

and appears in their Winter and Christmas 2019 catalogue on page 42. It’s 20 pounds, not cheap by any means, but if you need one …

Posted in Periods - Ancient | Comments Off on A gift for Troy?

Movie trailer for ‘Midway’

Here’s a trailer for the current movie about the World War II air/naval battle:

(Sorry, you’ll have to copy the link into your own browser to get to the trailer.)

I saw the movie this weekend and the CGI is quite amazing, well worth the ticket price for the spectacle alone. The individual stories, i.e. the script/writing, well … let just say that they struggle sometimes.  Nevertheless, the movie is something to see on a big screen.

–George Arnold

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Tabletop Gaming Live 2019 – a great new show in the UK

By Jonathan Aird

Tabletop Gaming Live is an oddity in the UK convention calendar – a two-day show run at a prestige venue, Alexandra Palace in London. It’s also quite a new addition to the list of annual events we enjoy as this was only the second year it has run. Unlike American multi-day conventions, this is very much Two Days of activities – Tabletop Gaming Live (TGL) opens at 10AM and closes its doors at 5PM – there are no organised evening activities. I’d originally planned to attend both days, but we all know what happens to the best laid plans of mice and men – as it was, I was only able to make it on Sunday 29th September.

Having made the steep climb up the hill from Alexandra Palace rail station to Alexandra Palace itself, one is informed that a shuttle bus service runs to and from the station at regular intervals – worth knowing!

Continue reading

Posted in Gaming conventions | 1 Comment

Sad news for us all

Jeff Bayton, a Co-Vice President of the Solo Wargamers Association from its earliest days, informs us that Honorary Member Stuart Asquith passed away on November 4th. Among his many contributions to our hobby, Stuart was the author of The Partizan Press Guide to Solo Wargaming. May he rest in peace.


Posted in Solo wargaming, Wargaming | 3 Comments