Why is this here..

A Lead Odyssey is about my hobby, collecting, painting and playing with toy soldiers. It will cover the various rulesets I use, the figures I am painting (very slowly), and some games. Thanks to Harry Pearson for the Achtung Schweinehund reference. The uniform jacket in the picture was adapted from a safari suit, the weapon is a wooden sub-machine gun made by me and my dad. Cool eh?

I play a range of scales, rules and periods.. scales are anything from 6mm, through 15mm to 28mm for little men, but I also use 1/1200 for Napoleonic Naval, and 1/3000 for Pre-Dreadnought period Naval.

My tastes are eclectic, but I have avoided most 'Fantasy' Games for a few years, as I couldn't get into the usual suspects for Fantasy Battles, and didn't have a decent group to play role-playing style games.

Friday, 28 October 2016

A Quick Nef - or 10.. later

Some time ago, I invested in the Imperial Skies Kickstarter, and as part of the package, picked up the French Fleet from Brigade.

Lovely Cast Iron, Steampunky Floating Dreadnoughty rules goodness, plus dice, markers.. I somehow managed to forget the new cast French Dreadnought.. but no matter.. on with the build!

Hannants helped out with a couple of these...  much drilling, wiring, glueing (and cursing at teeny tiny parts and tremulous tweezers) later... et Voila!

I also did some surgery like drilling out turrets to replace with open gun positions, adding crosspieces to masts, and so on. Scale is an issue... but whatever.

I also bought the deck cranes pack, plus the heavier than air aircraft from Brigade, added rails, cranes, boats, etc..  as clutter and brass are the essence of the period in my view.  Here's one example - ready for the paintshop.

Now it's time to get dramatic with the colours, after all, these are giant floating dreadnoughts, and as long as no-one sneaks up below them where there are no turrets, they rule the skies!

Starting to look the business I reckon.

Glamour shots of the Heavier than Air before decals are added.

The fleet in review.


One think I didn't buy was the French carrier, which to my mind wasn't impressive enough.. so - two cigars and some MDF later looked like this.

Add bits from a defunct USB key. a plastic kit mantlet, some sprue cutoffs, cranes, parts from the Tamiya detail kits, and two defunct Lithium CR2 batteries..

More USB parts, funnels from a pen, rear steering from MDF..   ready for paint.

In all her undercoated glory..  the 'Fraternite'..  ready for paint.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Basing Napoleonic French in 6mm

So a quick follow-up to the previous post, a guide to my basing.

First steps.

Using a wedge tipped brush, apply slightly thinned PVA glue, and dip into fine sand. The wedge shape lets me get in between the ranks, then turn the brush flat for maximum coverage. Once the base has been suspended in the sand for a minute or so, remove and tap off sand.

Once dry, (I normally allow about 24 hours), irregularly apply slightly thinned ink wash. Don't worry about making the coverage even, or splashing a little up the legs. Once dry, which should be minutes only, I then paint almost neat PVA onto the stained sand, and dip into some basing flock. I generally use two colours, green first (from Baccus), and then repeat the process with autumn colours,

Finally, I add a couple of grass tufts to the base. I normally use 'Leadbear's Tufts', but in the meantime, MiniNatur Short tufts, early fall.

I've also added the flag (Baccus), touched up the flag edges with v70.930 dark blue, and v70.947 dark vermilion, and then a few squirts of Spray Matt Varnish. All done!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Painting Napoleonic French in 6mm

Someone asked me how I did my 6mm painting, and it's also handy for me as a guide, so here's how I paint a base of French Napoleonic infantry. These are the Baccus 6mm 1806 - 1812 French.

This is how they look on the Baccus website...  

And Lovely they are too..    here's my version below.

All colours Vallejo other than the washes..    Now assuming that you are going to highlight, use the sky grey v70.989, otherwise replace the sky grey with ivory v70.918

Undercoat matt black (I use a basic car primer aerosol, couple of thin coats.)
Sleeves and tunic backs and tails - ultramarine v70.839 
Dull red collars, cuffs, other trim (shako cords, shako ttim & epaulettes for Grenadiers etc) and turnbacks  -red v70.926 
Crossbelt left to right - sky grey v70.989

Errr.. Yuck at this stage
Other trim (voltigeurs) yellow - deep yellow v70.915 and deep green v70.970,
Paint main veste, trouser top, inside of turnbacks and shako trim - sky grey v70.989

Still pretty rough eh?
Packs - tan earth, v70.874
Greatcoat rolls - london grey v70.836
Cartridge box, tops of gaiters, top of shako, elites sword scabbard - dark grey v70.994

Back of the Grenadiers - I missed the standard bearers strap. You can just about see the white/red turnbacks 
Muskets - mahogany brown v70.846
Flesh - flat flesh v70.955
Bayonets & Officers sword blade - gunmetal grey v70.863
Shako plate, musket trim, drum barrel, and officers gorget, chinstrap -   old gold v70.878
Company colours - deep green v70.970, skyblue v70.961, bright orange, v70.851, violet v70.960

Skipped a few steps...
The voltigeurs look pretty rough!

Still rough
Ok, at this stage, Provided you used the optional 'white' initially, you could apply a dip or wash, and call them done..   but you are going to highlight aren't you?

Ok, first step -

Black wash over face, shako cords, white habit-veste areas and musket -  Citadel Nuln Oil

Step away from the models..   let the wash dry, it only takes 30 minutes, provided you weren't too heavy-handed with the wash.

Now get a fine brush, and make them pop...

Highlight white areas,just a touch at the bottom of the habit veste, the top of the breeches, and the cross straps, as with the red shako cords, I dab the hanging peces, then use light vertical strokes to create an illusion of braiding, and paint greatcoat roll straps & drum cords using ivory v70.918,
Highlight blue, a dab on elbows and back of coats, and paint flagstaff using mix of v70.839 ultramarine & ivory v70.918
Highlight red, again,, just a dab on cuffs, use slight downward strokes on the grenadier cord to create a 'braided' illusion using dark vermillion v70.947
Highlight yellow using lemon yellow using v70.952
Highlight green using mix of deep green v70.970 & ivory v70.918
Highlight bayonets silver v70.997
Highlight muskets using mix mahogany brown v70.846 & ivory v70.918
Highlight face light flesh v70.928 I paint a v shape down cheeks and chin, then dab the nose.

All done!

Showing rear view

Close up of command strip

Peel off the painting base

Ranked Up on the base (60mm x 30mm)

Other side..
And as they say.. Et Voila!

Chinggis rides out in Derby

So a quick update about the 'Worlds' at Derby, I played in the DBMM Teams competition, which thankfully had a nice round 8 teams, each team having three players, playing in each of three periods aligned with the DBMM List Books 2, 3, and 4. Teams were paired based on their progressive total score, i.e a Swiss Chess for teams.

I took the only army I had in 15mm, which I had finished the week before; Mongols, to discover I had one of three Mongol armies in the Book 4 pool.

Game 1 - Phil Hosker, Later Hungarian..  wedges, a mix of Light Horse and not much else.

I used exaggerated enemy strength and flank attack stratagems to try and get him to focus on my left, while sending a flank march on my right.  I basically misjudged the distance, and the small LH command was hit by an overlapped wedge vs my General, plus two other Kn marched into the LH at the other end of the command... I had of course forgotten that Kn wedges weren't overlapped, and a series of 1s and 2s on the dice against his 5s and 6s.. and I had lost the general, plus two LH to break the command ...   Not great.

Oops. my left hand command is monstered, as the flank march arrives.
My flank march came on and very quickly caught and eventually broke the LH opposing, but in the meantime, I was having to dance to try and line up attacks on the numerous Kn wedges. Phil did a brilliant job of minimising chances for a successful attack with really strong local tactical and PIP ise skill. I had 3 or 4 opportunities with the wedges hard flanked at even or better odds, including one with a flank, and my CinC using a brilliant stroke at 4(S) to 2..   not a single one came off and Phil's dice continued to be exceptional. I managed to knock over 20% of his army with his broken LH command, and I had my chances.. but eventually the Kn(S) wedges were simply unstoppable.  21-4 to Phil.

Game 2 - Peter Kershaw, French Ordonnance

Game start
Peter saw what he thought was an exposed space, and perhaps assumed he should push forward as fast as possible before a possible flank march arrived. Except that I had a concealed command behind the central hill, which rushed forward and charged downhill into his column.

Downhill attack and Mongols redeploying
Peter took heavy casualties from the initial Mongol charge, and proceeded to put on a master class in using PIPS to fall back, get exposed elements out of the way, and hold off the Mongols to the end of the game. A draw with Chinggis unable to convert a winning position into an outright win. 15-10 to me.

Unfortunately, none of the team had been very lucky on day 1, and as day 2 started we had drifted inexorably to the bottom tables.

Game 3 - Javan Brierley, Teutonic Knights

You had to feel for Javan, this was his third Mongol opponent in three games, and I benefited from his frustration after spending the first two games swinging at air. I must confess to doing the same. I deployed a massive total of 14 fighting elements at the game start...   with one Concealed Command and another on a Flank Attack. Javan decided to come out fighting, and just got caught front, flank and rear all over the place. Not much else he could do except try to kill a few.

The Mongols dance
And that was that.. 25-0. Somewhat undeserved; as Javan had been softened up by the previous Mongols, and had no combat dice luck at all.

Game 4 - Steve Scott, Mongol

Another Mongol, this one larger, but with fewer elite cavalry, and with allied generals. Steve wasn't having his best day, and I made it worse. We literally finished before the neighbouring game had rolled their first movement PIP dice.

Mongols Charge!!

After my first move! His ally general on my left was unreliable, so I decided just to go hard..   having Cavalry versus Light Horse in several spots. I rolled good PIPS and was within 15mm of him after my move. He had nowhere to go...  so charged me, and did some damage, but my second move was also good for movement, and I was able to exploit where overlaps had been created to blow several holes in his line. I had three Cavalry generals in combat, and was able to get the bonus for their wing men (in DBMM a General who destroys his opponent, inspires his neighbouring troops).  His ally became reliable, but was simply too late to do any damage to my flank guards before I broke his army. 25-0 to Chinggis.

So at the end of the day, a couple of lucky wins, and with maximum points from Games 3 & 4 against unlucky opponents, I somehow managed to sneak into 3rd place in the individual standings. I will draw a veil over the overall team results, where we managed to manfully hold up everyone else. Oops.

Pretty happy for my first DBMM competition outing in the UK, and fantastic hospitality from John Saunders, but I can see from the games against Peter and Phil that I will have to really up my game.

Saturday, 8 October 2016


I have been holding off on this post for a while, because I intended to play at the Derby World Team Championships..  (Wargames seems to be like wrestling, there's IWF, WWF, XWF, and WTF.. ok, the last one was made up..)

Anyway, Jeff Caruso announced some time ago on Fanaticus that he was stopping casting his figures, and having seen pictures, I contacted him, and asked what he had left.. almost enough to make a DBMM 400 point army, (assuming I took a Brilliant General and some 'stratagems') - I was still four figures short, and Greg found some in the pile and very kindly posted them to me. So with a month to go, figures available..   it's painting time!

The whole army...  one of the smallest I have ever used

Mongol Light Horse

More Light Horse, Pack Camels in the background

And yet more..

Light Horse and the Khitan Liao Sub-General with his escort cavalry

Thursday, 25 August 2016

At Long Last

Firstly - if you actually follow this blog, it has been a very long interval between posts. Real life, in the form of a new job, an international move, and so on, has intervened. Virtually all of my toys have been sold, put in storage or loaned out to friends. So wargaming has been on something of a hiatus, not least till I find some players here in my new home in Scotland.

But all has not been lost, I managed to make it to Carronade - the wargames show in Falkirk, and to Claymore, which is the big Scottish show in Edinburgh, and I picked up some bits and pieces at both. My Indiegogo and Kickstarter stuff has started to trickle in, a good friend in Australia has sent on some lead, and I have even picked up a paint-brush. So - a quick recap:

Arrived with all my 6mm Baccus stuff packed into a small box, hidden in a cardboard box of clothing along with paints..  Rules, I brought Horse, Foot & Guns, and DBMM, ordered a replacement copy of DBA3, and when I got here, got my copy of Sharp Practice 2, plus counters. So, have rules, figures next.

Baueda sent me the Indiegogo funded packs I had been waiting for,'Italo-Normans' - lovely figures, but unfortunately, still pending their release of crossbowmen. These will eventually form a DBMM Early Crusader army, led by Bohemond, once Claudio gets the crossbowmen done.

In other DBMM news, John sent me over the Pass of the North Mongols, a tiny army, and even padding with a 'Brilliant' General, plus stratagems, left me two elements short of a 400AP standard army. A quick appeal on 'Fanaticus' and the very generous Greg K. dropped some leftovers in the post. Absolutely lovely figures, with a huge number of variants, and sadly out of production now. These guys have to be ready by October to compete at Derby so painting is underway!

At Carronade: the second hand stall had a whole bunch of American War of Independence (AWI) British, 28mm Foundry so I picked up enough for Sharp Practice, and a box of the Perry Plastics for their opponents..   Warbases supplied a pack of carts..  some dice, and bob's your uncle.

Claymore - hmm..   Baccus was there, so I came away with a whole WSS Imperials pack, plus flags.

And for some inexplicable reason - I had a look at the 1st Corps 28mm WW2 range, and ended up with a pack each of their German and British infantry squads...

Oh well, at some stage I will add another couple of squads each, and get some Chain of Command games in..

Back to the Mongols...   Bactrian baggage camels arrived in the post yesterday. Now there's a phrase you don't use very often!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

WSS - Game 2

Back at the club - and the 6mm War of the Spanish Succession (Marlburian period if you want to be Anglo-centric). Again, Nick and I faced off - approximately 150 points each. As I left bases in the box, I realised that I must have had a fair bit of a points advantage in the first game, at least 15 or so, which was at least a 10% edge.

Nick was featuring as 'tired general' coming directly off a flight, so I grabbed the club terrain tiles, tried to make the terrain interesting, and gave him choice of long edge on the 150cm x 90cm table. (5 x 3 foot).

British are on the left, French on the right. The British have loaded the flank with German firelock brigades, their horse are concentrated there as well. On the British right, a small village obstructs a straight forward fight.

View from the British Right
The French have horse (well in 'Horse, Foot & Guns' - 'Pistols') massed on their left, and a lot of foot.

View from the French left
 The 'thin red line' in the distance, you can just see French dragoons and foot on the French right.

View from the British left
In front of the British you can see a sunken lane, which became a key feature.

French Left
The French left never really got into the game, struggling with enclosures and buildings.

French Centre
The French centre, lovely flags and detail by Nick. I really like the way he has varied the officers and drummers positioning to add colour and movement. I will be stealing this idea when I do my own French army.

And the engagement is on!
At the far end the German firelocks are pushing through the village on the French right, the British assault on the sunken lane is in full swing, and in the centre, Marlborough is having to reposition brigades to shore up his centre, after Blood's regiment is blown away by a close assault (the brigade routed and could not be rallied).

The French defenders of the sunken road, dragoons and firelocks..
The sunken road was backed by a wooded hill. This created real problems for the British. Their horse charged the dragoon lining the road - which we treated as an 'ELF' or linear feature that added a bonus to the defenders.  The dragoons then returned through the woods and started taking potshots at the Horse. Unable to respond the horse were withdrawn and two Irish brigades brought up to try and displace the defenders.

Crunch point
The French assault has stalled in the centre with heavy casualties from the British foot, while the defenders of the sunken lane have a problem with German firelocks turning their flank (foreground). A brigade of French dragoons entered the village to try and hold up the Germans, but were bundled ouy and forced to withdraw into the woods.

British assault the lane with infantry backed by Horse
 This became an expensive proposition for the British.

The end
Casualties in the French centre caused Villars to end the engagement while in the foreground, despite being outnumbered, the French dragoons still hold the woods as the British cavalry reform behind their screening infantry.

Overall, another cracking game. The French firelocks really struggle against the British/Dutch infantry that are superior in a firefight. The French left never really got into the game, and the French dragoons did sterling work on the French right.

Not sure what the answer is for the French. In some respects they have command advantages (they have an Army HQ as opposed to the Allies 'Command Party' so they have a much greater command radius). Massing of artillery, use of heavy artillery, and pressing all along the line, using the press forward to get into combat might even things up a bit.