Wednesday, 30 December 2020

First World War project revived

While 2020 was in many ways one of the worst of years ironically it has proven to be a great year from a gaming point of view. Despite a lengthy lockdown in March and April the latter half of the year saw a return to face to face gaming. Aside from my usual opponent Dave I managed to play games at two different clubs, one of which has now become a regular fixture. 

That led to my first ever game using the TooFatLardies First World War rules Through the Mud and Blood. As it happens, not a game set amidst the trenches of the Western Front, but a more exotic game set in East Africa that provided a very good introduction to the rules.

I bought Through the Mud and Blood about five years ago, at the same time I invested in enough 28mm figures from Great War Miniatures to make up platoons for British and Germans for the latter part of the war. My intention was to try to convince an old board gaming opponent of mine to try miniatures (another Dave as it happens and a mutual board gaming friend of both of us from ours days playing Advanced Squad Leader). Sadly, despite a big interest in the First World War, he didn’t take to miniatures and so the project became dormant. So on the bright side, the combination of  joining a new club, finding a ready opponent and generating some interest with my regular miniatures opponent Dave, was more than sufficient to give me the impetus to bring the project back to life. 

I had started painting the British and so it made sense that these would be the first to be completed. All the figures are from GWM and they are a splendid bunch of sculpts. Fired with renewed enthusiasm I picked up the Lardy published supplement Stout Hearts and Iron Troopers, which is an excellent introduction to the rules. I’m using the platoon lists provided there for the introductory scenarios as the basis on which I’ll build the core platoons.

For the British that means a platoon lieutenant and a sergeant as the two men to command the platoon. The platoon itself is made up of four sections - riflemen, rifle grenadiers, bombers and Lewis gun, each of which is commanded by a corporal.

The individual soldiers are based on 25mm rounds and the officers and NCOs are on 30mm rounds. The platoon lieutenants tend to be either a Status III or IV Big Man and so I decided it might be useful to mark the bases in some way. Rather than opt for using sabot bases as I have for my leaders in Sharp Practice, I’ve decided to theme the bases. In the case the of the lieutenants that’s been done using a number of sandbags to signify their status.

I’ve tried something similar with the NCOs. In the case of Status I leaders I’ve used a single item such as a blasted tree stump or stanchion of barbed wire, doubling the number in the case of Status II leaders.

The other ranks in the various sections of the platoon have nothing specific on their bases and so it should make it easier to identify the Big Men. Here are some of the rifle grenadiers.

The rifle men.

The Lewis teams.

And the bombers.

For the first time I have magnetised the bases of my figures and tried a different storage method. These are metal letter trays that I bought from IKEA from their Kvissle range of office furniture. The trays are covered in a thin layer of cork which prevent the magnets working effectively but this can be peeled off.


What I like in particular is that the trays can be removed, which means they can be taken straight to the gaming table ready for deployment.


I have a Vickers machine gun team to paint, as well as a few additional leaders and some men to act as scouts or runners with the platoon HQ. Behind them in the paint queue are their opponents, the Germans. Lots of those to paint as I have enough for a platoon of regular infantry and one of stormtroopers.


19 comments:

  1. Lovely work there! The sandbags do indeed blend in better now as compared to the shots you shared on Twitter. Still I prefer the look of the Junior Leader bases. Very reminiscent of all those Great War movies.

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    1. thanks, sorry for the slow reply but my iPad wouldn't let me reply as me (weird I know).

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  2. Yes, lovely work Mark, the figures are full of character and hope you have a good new year.
    cheers John

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    1. Thanks John, happy new year to you. It will be strange not seeing familiar faces at events like Cancon, let's hope we have enough normality later in the year to hold MOAB.

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  3. The sandbag idea is genius. Very clever, I shall be nicking.. err repurposing that one at some point. We tried using ITLSU for WW1 Mespotamia but haven't done anything else WW1, part of that perhaps the terrain demands for trench systems etc. Your figures look fantastic though.

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    1. Thanks Doug. Trenches are certainly a stumbling block for many but I have a few ideas and don't mind a bit of terrain building after all. Lots of good ideas out there on the web so still weighing up the ideal solution for my needs.

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  4. Very nice WW1 figures there ­čśÄ
    Cheers
    Matt

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    1. Thanks Matt, excellent sculpts from GWM that make the job a lot easier.

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  5. Excellent figures and a neat storage solution. Very smart!

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    1. Thanks Jim, yes I'm really happy with the way the storage has worked out.

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  6. Nicely done figures, and the storage unit's a neat idea. Looking forward to seeing a game with these chaps.

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    1. Thanks. I'm working on the Germans at the moment and hope to be able to get some gaming with them by February.

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  7. Looking good so far!

    And I have that same Ikea organizer, except I just flipped the shelves over, rather than peeling the cork off.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I thought about flipping the shelves over, however that doesn't work so well if I want to remove the whole shelf and place it next to the table for a game (although it is possible), the shelf lip stops it lying flush, but not a big deal to remove the cork.

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  8. SUCH a good job on those British figures. You really nailed the colours. I should look into getting one of those Ikea boxes, as more and more of my figures are now on magnetized bases. Thanks for the idea, and happy new year!

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    1. Thanks. Funny how non-gaming stores like hardware or furniture stores like IKEA become sources for gaming material. You never look at those stores in the same way again once you've discovered miniature gaming!

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  9. Wonderful painting and figures Mark. Hopefully you will be doing some game/battle reports for this period with the same quality and standard that you have done with WW2.

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    1. Thanks Pat. Once I have the Germans completed I'm looking forward to getting some games organised. Will try playing Mud and Blood but will also try the CoC variant to see which I prefer, it looks like both give a good game.

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  10. There great rules, I use them for 1914 with French and Germans.
    I have both French and German cavalry, the Germans are being painted.

    I'd be happy to play a game of early or late War TM&B if you were interested.

    Regards
    Darren

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