Review of ‘Last Stand’ book

Rob Morgan reviews a book about last-stand battles from Napoleonic times forward and finds some accounts useful for solo gaming, others not so much.

It’s on the Reviews page.

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A report on Salute 2018

Jonathan Aird reports on his annual trip to Salute, the big wargaming show in London.

His report is on the Miscellaneous page, to give adequate scope for his many excellent photos of games and displays at the show. Thanks, Jonathan!

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Review of ‘Outremer: Faith and Blood’ skirmish rules

Paul Le Long reviews a new set of rules for medieval skirmish games and finds them excellent for solo play.

It’s on the Reviews page.

Posted in Periods - Medieval | Leave a comment

Review of Daniel Mersey’s ‘Wargamer’s Guides’

Paul Le Long reviews wargamer guides to four different periods and finds them useful, even if basic.

It’s on the Reviews page.

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A sample article for April

Here’s a link to this month’s sample article from past issues of Lone Warrior magazine. This one’s by Rob Morgan, who uses a pair of book review to discuss South American wars and where to find useful figures for the period.

It’s on the Sample Articles page.

Posted in Periods - Nineteenth century | Leave a comment

‘Little Wars’ magazine (1978)

By Rob Morgan

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, there were half a dozen model and wargaming shops within a few miles of where I live. They often threw up odd items which might never be seen again. Like the complete range of Atlantic figures and scenarios, those useful Wild West sets with rafts and tepees and figures which just about fitted with the old Airfix stuff. Still got some of them.

There were also magazines which seemed to flourish and then vanish. One small shop on the arcade sold this magazine for about five or six months in 1978. Little Wars was rather costly, selling at far more than the $1.50 US price, but I bought a couple. The magazine, rather light with only 30 pages, and more than a third of it advertising, did have some interesting short articles and brief reviews of material we simply didn’t see here. It was an entirely US-oriented publication. Any mention of UK manufacturers gave the US agent as contact.

There were articles on medieval weapons, on museums like the Victory Air Museum in Illinois which was under threat of closure in 1978, articles on the ‘Legion of the United States,’ and a few battle reports. One I kept was hilarious, an OstFront scenario in which eight Panthers and four Tigers with a few a/t guns destroyed an attacking force, a table-top attacking force, of 60 T-34s and masses of infantry. In the same issue, there was a delightful analysis of the Fascist Italian command structure, which proved invaluable later on.

The editor of Little Wars was Joe Orlowski, a name vaguely familiar to me from wargaming publications elsewhere, I think. I don’t know any of the other writers’ work. It was published by TSR Hobbies, and may well have survived much longer on the shelves of hobby stores in the USA than it did in this small town.

Anyone know more?

Posted in Wargaming | 3 Comments

Review of ‘Towton 1461’ Osprey Campaign booklet

Rob Morgan reviews an Osprey focused on the campaign and Battle of Towton 1461 during the Wars of the Roses.

It’s on the Ospreys at a Glance page.

Posted in Periods - Medieval | Leave a comment

An early wargaming disaster

By Rob Morgan

If my mother had allowed me the use of one of her crisp, starched white bedsheets, it wouldn’t have happened, but she was convinced I’d tie-dye it or something like that. So it was ‘No!’ Anyway, I think I’ve mentioned the sound advice given long, long ago (well, that was the 1960s) in the old Cardiff Wargames Society’s newsletter: If you make a botch of the conversion of your 1/72nd Stug, Panther or T-34, slap a lot of whitewash on it and use it on the OstFront in Winter. Seemed a good idea to me, and actually reduced the need for, shall we say, competent and accurate paint jobs by 100%.

That’s what started my still erratically growing OstFront scenario, and I was usually heartened by the interested nods my afv’s gained when laid alongside the super-detailed autumn ambush Panthers, different, eh? Of course, the big problem tended to be landscape, but that eased when the Matchbox people began to issue their lovely kits, with blown-apart buildings and bits of track-worn slope, etc. I painted them grey and slapped whitewash (or, snow as the official term calls it) on them. I used the little wire Christmas trees you used to get on festive cakes for forests, thin forests, I admit, but wargamers back then had imagination.

My old mate, well he’s old now, John, suggested we photograph one of the OstFront battles and send it in to a wargame magazine. That’s where the problem started. The lovely and well camouflaged white tanks stood out on the green table cloth. Hm?

We had this idea. Salt, from a distance looks like snow. Well we thought it did. So, one Saturday, for a few shillings, we bought an industrial quantity of table salt, and poured it in little drifts and a mild covering across the table, which if my mind recollects, and there’s no guarantee of that, was about six feet by four and a half — something by something else in metres.

Looked lovely. The photography took place, and this was going on 50 years ago, so it was in black and white, and the film was going to be taken to the chemist’s to be developed later. John went home. Inevitably, my mother wanted the table back, as my Gran was coming around for supper.

No problem, the tanks and troops went back in their boxes, the buildings and trees too. Which left me with about four and a half pounds of slightly soiled salt on top of a greenish cloth. Now salt came in cardboard boxes then, and you poured the salt out through a corner of the packet, which you cut off with a pair of scissors. The instructions were accurate, lacking only in the necessary information about repackaging the product. I couldn’t. It didn’t actually like being moved around the table with a dustpan and brush either! It took ages to gather it into a pile, and then, to find some way of storing it. The 1960s were not the era of the plastic bag. In the end, it all went in a bucket, which ended up in the bottom of my wardrobe, while the dining room table retained a sort of grittiness for days afterwards.

Which leads me, brethren, to this week’s sage advice to the young wargamer: Don’t use salt as a medium for winter landscapes.

The photographs were rubbish too, and the now-vanished wargame magazine we sent them to didn’t even reply!

Posted in Periods - World War II, Wargaming | Leave a comment

Review of ‘River Plate 1939’ (Osprey)

Jonathan Aird reviews an offering from the Osprey Campaign series, this one on the naval campaign and battle between the German pocket battleship Graf Spee and the British forces assigned to destroy her.

It’s on the Ospreys at a Glance page.

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

South China Sea scenarios

By Rob Morgan

A while ago, I looked for the first time in years at my old 1/1200th scale Peoples Liberation Army Navy (Chinese Navy) flotillas. Beyond the idea of wargaming the Chinese Civil War, which did in fact have a very vigorous naval component, most western wargamers and naval enthusiasts regarded the PLAN as a small fleet of elderly coastal defence vessels. But of course, times have changed. The revelations in The Times of the massive militarisation of the Spratly islands, with airfields, missiles, large garrisons and fleet support capabilities, together with the remarkable ordnance news that the PLAN have developed an electromagnetic supergun and mounted it on a warship made me think that it’s time to reconsider the Far East. The gun, with an astonishing velocity, is based on the same technology the US Navy uses to launch planes from its carriers.

This is almost certainly where the next naval conflict in the world will begin, around the disputed shipping lanes and half submerged territories of the South China Sea. Now, I’ve dipped back into my old copies of the South Korean Defence Journal for a little background research. There’s plenty of it. However, at the moment, here are a couple of photos of my old PLAN warships, two frigates, a Kiang Hu and Kiang Tung in company. Together with Anshan, a Soviet ‘D’ Type destroyer, a Shanghai II patrol craft. The third photo is of three Komar missile boats and a Luta class destroyer.

Posted in Naval gaming, Periods - Modern | Leave a comment