Thursday 19 December 2013

Seasons Greetings

Here at CTK HQ we'd just like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy Christmas and New Year.

2014 will of course be the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, and there will no doubt be commemorative events galore for the next four years - every month will be an anniversary of something! We will be just as busy as ever next year getting out and about to shows and look forward to seeing you!

In the meantime, have a great Christmas.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Photos from Crisis Antwerp

Back now from the excellent Crisis show in Antwerp last weekend. This really is one of the best shows around, and this year it seemed to be busier than ever. It was great to meet everyone, a big thanks to all of you who stopped by to say hello and especially to all at Tin Soldiers of Antwerp who work so hard to make the show so enjoyable.

As I have posted so many pictures of the game I only took a few this time, and here they are. Unlike other years we didn't go anywhere WW1 related on the way home as I had to get an earlier ferry!


And finally, as it is that time of year, let's all remember them...

Thursday 31 October 2013

Off to Antwerp

Getting ready now for the last show that we go to this year, which is the excellent Crisis show in Antwerp. It's one of the best that we attend, and always really enjoyable. I'll be packing the car up later today ready for an early ferry tomorrow morning, as we like to get there in plenty of time to set up and then have a few Belgian beers! As ever I'll post photos when I get back. See you there Sander!

Monday 21 October 2013

Pictures from SELWG

Having now worked out how to load pictures from my phone onto the PC, here are a few photos from SELWG. I didn't take my camera to this show, so had to make do with just my phone but the pictures have come out fairly well and give a good idea of our game at the show.

Transport moving forward
Howitzers open fire!
Uhlans advance
SELWG trophy for Best Scenery

Wednesday 16 October 2013

News from the Front

Firstly, my apologies for not posting for some time but it's been a very hectic summer!

We've been to a couple of shows since the War and Peace show in July, having spent two days at Colours at Newbury last month and just come back from SELWG at Crystal Palace on Sunday. The good news is that we won an award for Best Scenery at SELWG which we are delighted about! Like most gamers we don't go to shows to win awards, it's much more about meeting and talking to people, but winning best scenery is a nice bonus!

I took photos on my phone, and if I can ever figure out how to upload them onto the PC I'll post some!

In the meantime, it's great to be back and I will be posting again shortly about our next show, which will be the excellent Crisis show at Antwerp at the beginning of November.

Monday 15 July 2013

War and Peace Show 2013

We are just about to go to the War and Peace show at its brand new venue of Folkestone Racecourse. We have been down there already to set up the camping gear and it's a huge site, one and a half times the size of the Hop Farm.

It should be a really good show - the actual show runs from this Wednesday to Sunday. If you are coming to the show do drop into the Model Marquee (when it's built - it isn't up yet!) and say hello!

As usual I will post photos and a show report next week when we get back.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

More pictures from Bovington

Here are some photos of WW1 tanks at Bovington. Unfortunately I missed taking pictures of the reproduction A7V that they have at the museum as it had been out at Tankfest the week before and was still in the sheds for cleaning. However, here are a few of their exhibits!

First off, the one that started it all, "Little Willie"
Another "reproduction", the Mark IV used in War Horse:
The Mark V:
And the Mark IV:
An FT17:
And lastly a Whippet:

Pictures from Bovington - watched over by "Royalty"!

We are back now from the Tank Museum at Bovington in Dorset, and what a great weekend it was! The show was excellent, one of the best atmospheres for a show and in a unique venue as all the traders and games are set amongst the tanks in the museum. Our game was positioned just in front of a massive Tiger II or "King Tiger" - hence the royalty! It was good to see everyone who stopped by at our game to say hello (hi Matt!) and to chat about the games.

The other advantage of being in a tank museum was of course the chance to look at the tanks "up close and personal". The First World War Hall has got quite a few tanks including a Mark IV and a Mark V, as well as a Mark II and a Mark V**. Highlight of the weekend for me was the chance to climb inside the Mark IV and sit in the drivers seat. It was interesting to see how small it was inside, and to realise how little they could see of what was going on outside the tank. I took loads of photos of course, and will post a few of them here.

In our game we were using the excellent new vacform trench system by Early War Miniatures:


In the next post I'll include a few pictures of the exhibits in the museum!

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Bovington Tank Museum

I'm off on Friday to the Battlegroup South wargames show at Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset. It's my first time at the show, which is held over the weekend and should be really good as the games and trade stalls are all around the tanks in the museum!

We are not taking our Miracle of the Marne game to this show, as one half of CTK is also one of the organisers of the show and so I'd be left on my own for the weekend! Instead I am working alongside Early War Miniatures with a game using their excellent vacform trenches and our figures, tanks and planes. Should be fun - expect a report and pictures as usual next week!

Friday 14 June 2013

Day trip to Villers Bretonneux part 3

The rest of the day was spent at the Australian National Memorial and the museum in the Victoria School at Villers Bretonneux. The memorial has the names of all the Australian missing in France - those missing in Belgium are on the Menin Gate. We ended the day by driving through the area where the first tank v tank battle took place between Villers Bretonneux and Cachy.

The Australian National Memorial:

And here's a picture of the fields in which armoured warfare began!



Day trip to Villers Bretonneux part 2

After Crucifix Corner we moved on to the memorial to the Australian Corps at Le Hamel. This is sited on ground formerly occupied by the Germans in a position called the Wolfsberg, and was the final objective for the 4 July 1918 Australian assault. It also gives a great view of the Somme valley, and is one of the positions from which the attack on 8 August - the "Black day of the German Army" was launched.

Here's a few photos, firstly Le Hamel and the direction of the Australian attack from Corbie (the church with the twin towers, to the right of Le Hamel church, is in Corbie).

Here's a picture of the Somme valley, along which von Richthofen flew on his final flight. The crash site of his plane is near the brickworks chimney on the skyline in the photo.

The Australian Corps memorial:
And the remains of trenches near the memorial; the 8th August 1918 attack started from here.


Thursday 13 June 2013

Day trip to Villers Bretonneux Part 1

We went for a day trip (with the Western Front Association) this week to the Villers Bretonneux and Hamel area of France near Amiens. We had an excellent guide for the day who took us to some really interesting areas and explained what was going on in 1918.

We went first to the area south of Villers Bretonneux near the Crucifix Corner cemetery. It was here on 30th March 1918 that the 33rd Australian battalion (commanded by Lt Col Morshead, of Tobruk fame in WW2) and the 12th Lancers were thrown in to plug a gap that had appeared in the line. This action may well form one of the scenarios we are working on for Where the Poppies Grow as it has all the potential for a great game! The wood later became known as Lancer Wood. Here are some pictures of the ground over which the 33rd and 34th Bttns and the Lancers attacked. You can see how flat and open it is!

Later parts of this post will cover the Australian Corps and National Memorials, and the museum in Villers Bretonneux!

Pictures from Broadside 2013

We had a really good day on Sunday - if you came along to the show and said hello to us it was great to see you!

Broadside is certainly growing as a show, there was more space to move around than other shows of similar size and having the games and traders in two halls helped too. It was a very busy day, although we did manage to get a few turns of the game in too!

As well as gaming and chatting to other gamers shows are of course for buying, and I picked up some of the excellent Early War Minatures trenches. If you haven't seen these yet they are well worth checking out - you'll see more of them on the blog when they're done!

In the meantime, here's some more pictures of "Miracle of the Marne"


Thursday 6 June 2013

Broadside Sittingbourne

We are off this Sunday to the Broadside show, which is in the Swallows leisure centre in Sittingbourne Kent. This is a growing show that is getting bigger and better each year, and we are really looking forward to this year's show. If you are anywhere in the South East UK it is well worth a visit - last count they had nearly 40 traders and 19 games including ours of course! If you do come along, do stop by our game (which will be the Miracle of the Marne game of course) and say hi!

As ever I will post a report and photos after the show.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Pictures from Campaign 2013

We had a really enjoyable two days at Milton Keynes last week, and to those of you who came to see us at the show it was a pleasure to meet you!

As the show is in a shopping centre it is often difficult to tell who is a gamer and who is a member of the "general public". Awards for the daftest comments of the weekend go to one gentleman who, on looking at our game, spent about ten minutes explaining the American Civil War to his wife (ok, one side is in grey and the other in blue but that's as far as it goes!) and to another chap who asked us if our game was set in Vietnam! On the whole though we were very busy chatting to people and answering more sensible questions, and hopefully have done our bit to promote wargaming in general, and wargaming the Great War in particular, to the wider public.

We did get to play the game too, and unfortunately the Germans took a sound thrashing!

As promised here are a few photos from our game at the show.



Thursday 9 May 2013

Campaign at Milton Keynes

We are off this weekend to the Campaign show, which is held on both Saturday and Sunday in the middle of a shopping centre in Milton Keynes. We went to the same show last year and had a great time, so hopefully this year will be just as good! It's a very relaxed show, probably because it is in a shopping centre so there is lots for the wives to do while the gamers chat! The other bonus is that there is natural light coming in through a glass ceiling so its quite good for photos.

I will of course post an after show report with pictures next week!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Pictures from Salute 2013

Well we had a really busy day at Salute on Saturday! It certainly seemed to be busier than last year at the show and we met lots of people during the day. I'm posting a few photos of our Miracle of the Marne game below!

Friday 19 April 2013

On our way to Salute 2013

All packed up now and ready for an early start in the morning to go to Excel London for Salute 2013. Our game this year, called "Miracle of the Marne" is loosely based on the battle for the village of Soizy-aux-Bois, which was fought over for two days in September 1914. And no, there won't be any taxis! That famous event took place in a small part of a very big battle that lasted nearly two weeks - and it's not the part we are using!

This year we decided not to post pictures of the game as we built it, but rather to launch it on an unexpecting Salute without preview! I will however post pictures after Salute (I can't promise to do them tomorrow as it's a very long day) of the game, and maybe some of how we built it as I did take some as we were working. Unlike last year I have remembered to charge my camera battery this time.

The other feature of the game is that it plays out the rule examples given in "Over by Christmas", so people will be able to see the examples being played through.

If any of you are going to Salute, do come along and say hello!

Friday 15 March 2013

Over by Christmas is here!

Over by Christmas is here and ready for sale from right now!

Traders will have stocks in a little while, but in the meantime you can buy them directly from us if you would like to do so. As a special introductory offer we are selling Over by Christmas, Where the Poppies Grow and Tools of Victory at a cost of £14.00 for one copy, £25.00 for any two copies and £35.00 for all three, all plus p&p. You can contact us by email on so don't delay!

Over by Christmas has lots of period flavour, and includes rules for trench catapults, improvised mortars and hand-grenades. In addition to detailed organisations for infantry, cavalry and artillery for British and Empire, French, Belgian and German Armies it includes details for all the aircraft in use in the early part of the war, and in some cases allows for troops to shoot at aircraft of their own side if they get too close!

Thursday 28 February 2013

Over by Christmas

In the past few weeks we have been working hard here at CTK HQ to get Over by Christmas ready for publication and at last we are almost there. It is due to go to the printers shortly and will be available in the next few weeks - we'll let you know here as soon as it is ready for sale.

It is a stand-alone set of rules, so you won't also need to have Where the Poppies Grow (although of course we hope that you do!) and covers the War on the Western Front from August 1914 to early 1916. The new rules include things such as using mounted cavalry and horse artillery in fast moving open warfare, with new special rules for cavalry charges and period weapons such as trench catapults and improvised mortars and grenades.

Over by Christmas includes full organisations for British and Empire, French, Belgian and German Armies and has special rules for each, reflecting for example the British rapid fire of 1914 regular infantry units and the French "attaque a l'outrance".

Just as a teaser, here's the front cover:

Thursday 24 January 2013

Portuguese in the Trenches

As well as working on the fortified farm, I've been doing some work on the first pieces of the new linked trench system from Early War Minatures. This looks to be an exciting range, with trenches with dugouts available now and the promise of both British and German trenches to come. The trenches, which are vacform, link up very well using an innovative magnet system, although I haven't used this as I have based mine on 2mm MDF because I usually artex my vacform pieces.

I have added extra sandbags from air-dried clay, and will do some trench bridges to cover the slight gaps where the trenches join.

Occupying the trenches in the pictures are the first figures completed from my 1917/18 Portuguese army for the Western Front, using HaT British (ok, Canadian!) infantry and Portuguese figures from the range by Lancer Minatures, which are very good too and well worth checking out.

Lewis gun team get ready to fire

Wednesday 9 January 2013

News from the Front!

Sorry not to have posted for a while! Hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year. Here at CTK HQ I've been working on some scenery for our weekly games. At a show last year I came across the old Bellona vacform The Menin Road - those of you who are of a certain age will fondly remember the Bellona series! Anyway, I picked it up for a £1 as in true wargamer fashion I thought "I can do something with that". And now I have, as I've turned it into a fortified farm of the kind often seen on the Western Front, especially in Flanders, in 1917. It should make a good objective in a game, with one side trying to capture it and the other to hold it. Having first based it on 2mm MDF and covered the vacform in artex to give it some texture I took out the middle of the cellar and replaced it with a pillbox from Ironclad Minatures, which handily takes an MMG and crew. I added some sandbags using air-dried clay, and that was it. I also made some knife-rest barbed wire entanglements out of plastic strip and rod, which were a bit fiddly to do! Here's a couple of pictures. Firstly, to show there is an MMG in the bunker:
And here's one of the knife-rests:
I have also been working on several of the new linked trench system bases from Paul at Early War Miniatures, and hope to post some pictures of these soon too. And of course we've been busy on getting Over by Christmas ready for publication, which has taken a little longer than we had hoped, but we are nearly there!