Welcome to my blog!

News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
or on Mastodon @balkandave@mastodon.scot, or Threads @davewatson1683

Wednesday 30 June 2010

British in Egypt

Latest additions to the British in Egypt project have left the workbench.

These are the 27th Foot, one centre and one flank company of 18 figures each. The figures come from the Victrix range of hard plastic figures. I picked up these figures as the subscription offer with last year's Wargames Illustrated sub. The detail on the figures is excellent. A bit fiddly to assemble and I would have been happy with less variety. You also forget how light they are, falling over at the slightest touch.

Still they are very good value and one friend told me that he puts one metal figure with two plastic ones for stability. Might try that next time. These figures will see action at the GDWS display game, Alexandria 1801 at the Claymore wargames show in August.

Monday 28 June 2010

Brothers in Arms

This is the latest in the Jack Steel series by Ian Gale. Essentially Steel is a Sharpe type character in Marlborough's army. A Captain of Grenadiers, although of course he is given detached duties, appropriate to his heroic status, in the best traditions of the genre.

This book covers the Battle of Oudenarde, the siege of Lille and the smaller actions over supply lines including Wynendael. In between he is sent on a spy mission to Paris. It all ends sadly with his wife betraying him and then getting herself killed by an evil French Major. Who of course dies at Steel's sword.

If you like Sharpe you will like this series. Well written, plenty of action, hard to put down. Recommended.

Saturday 19 June 2010


It was Glasgow's annual wargames show, Wappinshaw, today. This is a small show, largely due to the limitations of the venue. Just a few, mostly local traders, although most of Scotland's wargames clubs put a game on.

On the plus side it is fairly central with good transport links and free, albeit limited, parking. It has basic catering facilities and a bar. The downside is a small venue that does not attract  the range of traders you get at the larger shows, or allow for bigger display and participation games. The numbers attending are correspondingly low. Still, I picked up some more Highlanders for my British in Egypt project in the Bring and Buy, so I left happy.

GDWS put on a display game Stramash on the Struma. 28mm WW1 battle in Eastern Greece in WW1 using the Warhammer Great War rules. The Turks occupied a small village with their Bulgarian allies holding the ground to their right. The Entente skirmished with the village but put their main effort against the Bulgarians who were pushed back and then fled. A fun game with a good pacy set of rules.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Medieval Bosnia

Just finished the June update to the Balkan History website. A number of changes this month with sections being updated. Plus a plug for the Wappinshaw show at Woodside Halls, Glasgow next Saturday, 19th June. I will be there with the GDWS display game Stramash on the Struma, that will feature a fine collection of WW1 figures in 28mm from a number of GDWS members.

The feature article this month is medieval Bosnia with a selection of Old Glory figures in Bosnian colours.

Friday 11 June 2010

Empire - Wounds of Honour

Just finished my latest historical novel - Empire: Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches.

The story line revolves around the son of a Roman senator who is sent to Britain to escape the wrath of the Emperor Commodus who has executed his father. A friend of his father changes his name and appoints him as a Centurion in an auxiliary cohort.

The action takes place on Hadrian's Wall and the cohort is quickly involved in repulsing a barbarian attack. Lots of twists and treachery as our hero proves himself as a leader of his unit.

There is a fast paced narrative and the story is action packed without losing sight of historical accuracy. It gives a real feel for what it must have been like to live and fight in an auxiliary cohort. Highly recommended and I look forward to the next installment.

Sunday 6 June 2010


Played my first game of the new edition of Warhammer Ancient Battles rules today. Played a new member at our club by dusting down my Seleucids to play against his army of Alexander - essentially lots of pike and light infantry.

Lots of opinions out there on the forums so here is mine.

The production quality is good, plenty of eye candy and a decent (if not perfect) attempt at a reference section. Price is a bit steep, but not too high for the size and quality. What is not acceptable is poor editing and proof reading. From a professional company charging commercial prices, this is really very poor.

As the intro says this is evolution not revolution. The rules are not radically changed, so it is simply a matter of getting used to the changes. Most of the ones we came across seem sensible. The 1" proximity rule, open order and skirmishers and the restrictions on marches felt right. Fleeing towards the table edge again seems right as is counterchargers moving forwards. The new flanks are fine, but needs some clarification if this is the same for shooting - important today with the Phalanx rule.

Getting rid of the musician roll off is welcome and I like the +1 for momentum in the combat results. Fewer ranks bonuses should make units look more realistic. I don't like the restrictions on lights turning into skirmish formation. This was an historical tactic with a number of armies, so I don't see the problem. One ferocious charge is right - even if it will weaken my Normans! Shooting at elephants also doesn't seem right to me. Crew protection should be higher if in a howdah and I don't understand the scatter rule from shooting.

In summary more pluses than minuses and no doubt an errata sheet will sort out the errors. It just shouldn't be necessary for a production at this price.

Friday 4 June 2010

More Bulgarians

More Bulgarians for the Salonika campaign. This time regular line infantry. Again from the impressive Tiger Miniatures range.

Settled on a scenario for the Wappinshaw show in Glasgow on 19 June. It will be Stramash on the Struma. Loosely based on the actions in the Struma Valley in the winter of 1916. British and Greek troops attacking Bulgarian and Turkish positions. The rules will be Warhammer Great War. If you want to read about the actual fighting, the official history (Volume1) of the Macedonian Campaign has a good description.