Sunday, 16 February 2020

Recent activity - old books, Wars of the Roses and some Malifaux

Here is some of my ongoing activity. 

First a couple of vintage books which I was prompted to read. The Spike Milligan book is a recent edition of his classic. 

I think it was painting the Wars of the Roses figures that prompted me to read Donald Featherstone's book again. I don't care if there are more shiny and current publications available, this is still a great little book. 

I'm also borrowing all Spike Milligan's other war books from a friend.  I reckon at least two of them, "Rommer. Gunner Who?" and "Mussolini. His Part in my downfall", are two of the best first hand accounts of British soldiers in world war 2. If you haven't read them, I would urge you to do so if you have an interest in the era.  

And on to game stuff. Some of my Wars of Roses stuff is now looking the part.  

And a couple of home made banners help to make these mounted figures.  

Another little project is Malifaux; a skirmish game that mixes steampunk, wild west, samurai and gothic horror. Though I don't like the horror elements in the game, I do like many of the figures. 

Here, I'm getting around to finishing the Lady Justice crew. These are the original metal figures and the crew is is made up of flame-haired Lady Justice, the Judge in white and three death marshals. I've still to finish off the bases.   

And finally, after a bit of reading about Saxons and Normans, I decided to watch this again. It's a Channel 4 docu-drama from 4-5 years ago. 

 More later ... 

Club activity - Black Powder and Lion Rampant

Here are some photos from recent club games.  

First a Black Powder game of Briar Creek from the AWI. I was commanding the British advancing here from left to right. And there are a couple of interlopers in our game; Great Northern War cavalry as painted substitutes as the chap who owns the figures doesn't yet have AWI cavalry. 

Here is the mounted clash. The British came off best. 

The lines come together. My British are advancing up the table. Two units have charged.  

To the British left, the rest of the lines clash. 

And the fun part ... the British lose a unit on the right, but win the remaining combat shown below. And the American militia are already Shaken with 3 casualties and have failed their saves and taken 4 excess casualties this turn. 

However, the American player rolls a 12 for his Break Test, and survives. And for the 3rd turn. The British are beginning to lose heart. 

And here my British are falling back, morale failing all round.  It was a great game, played in great spirit.   

And now Lion Rampant. This was the first game in our annual tourney. My Free Company is advancing towards the Hungarians.  Not long after this, I lost my commander to a Lucky Blow.  C'est la guerre. 

Here are my mounted serjeants, relegated to the baseline after about 3 turns and completely failing a courage test.  

My crossbows advance. They and my longbows proved to be the game changers. 

My half-painted skirmishers sneak round the hedge trying to avoid the Hungarians.  They took some casualties and failed a Courage test a few turns later. 

In the end, victory went to my Free Company. Just. I won by 2 points. Another great game, where the advantage swung from side to side, till my bows finally did enough to win. 

More later ... 

Saturday, 11 January 2020

How to mess up perfectly acceptable figures

I'm sure everyone has done it at some point.  You have some painted figures, well painted, perfectly acceptable, and some voice in your head says "you could re-do that bit; make them better." 

Well, I started from 6 bowmen here who are part of this group. They are the ones will the blue / deep red livery.  Here, they are fine; nicely done and ready for the addition of some flock grass .

Now, there's a colour used in medieval and Wars of Roses times called Murrey, Sanguine or Bloody. No one is quite sure just exactly what the colour is, as different authors describe the same colour by different terms. It's often described as a purplish-red crimson.

These bowmen were intended to be in blue / murrey livery.  And for some 3 years they have been fine; they've been used in many games of Lion Rampant and some games of Hail Caesar. They've been fine for me and neither has anyone else.

And so this week a little voice in my head says "You could re-do that half of the tunics, make them better. Make them more murrey-ish."

And so I reached for purple wash, purple ink and paint and tried to "make them better". I didn't. I just made a muddy mess. This picture doesn't do justice.

I then moved into damage-limitation mode. The figures on the left of this picture are still the mistakes whilst the figures on the right have had some of the ink and wash removed. 

I then gave the red half of the tunics a couple of thin coats of white as a fresh undercoat, and reached for some reds that were close to hand. I chose the Citadel Red Gore colour as a base representative of murrey. It's good enough and gets me back to where I was a few days ago.

And here I am again. I've added some shading with the Miniature Paints Burgundy colour and some black was carefully applied in folds.

The pictures don't readily give justice to the mistake and the repair, but it's a little lesson in not listening to the voices. If figures are fine and look good enough for a game, then that's what they are - fine and good enough.

My next task is to get back to tidying the rest of my Wars of Roses figures. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Painting again

So with a new year, I've got started on painting again, thought it is older half-finished Wars of Roses stuff. 

These have had a few games in their half-painted state, but I'm going to try to get them all finished. Here's the re-touched archers and horses for the knights. Just got the bases to finish off here.   

And here's my first figures for a major undercoating session. Most of the figures round the outside are AB Napoleonics. I'm eventually going to try to do these for my old Quatre Bras project. These are Dutch-Belgians and French. My project idea is to paint the forces as they came into action.    

In the centre are large fantasy and sci-fi type figures. Most are Raging Heroes, though these is a Malifaux crew in there (the 3rd edition Colette crew).  

My first task will be to try to complete my Wars of Roses figures, then to move on to whatever next takes my fancy. 

More later. 

Games review of 2019

Here's my games review of 2019.  Not a bad year overall, even if time was a bit limited in the last few months. Sorry, there's no pictures in this post. 

The rules and the number of games played were; 

Black Powder - 6
A mixture of AWI, Napoleonic, SYW and GNW. Still a whole lot of fun for me.

Hail Caesar - 6
Again, a lot of fun. Most games played in 28mm, though one was played in 15mm and was just as much fun.

Cruel Seas - 3
Reasonably fun games with small boats, but we were surprise to see larger and heavier merchant vessels turn far easier and more quickly than the MTB's.  

Warlords of Erehwon - 3
This is a fantasy game based on the Bolt Action mechanisms. Games were quite fun, though the Bolt Action mechanisms guarantee that every unit will get to do something. Sadly, there's no variable turn-end that would put a spanner in the works,and these type of games tend to get favoured by deterministic players who like every unit to do take acion by radar control.  

It's an OK game, and I did buy a goblin army cheap to use with it. The whole Bolt Action / Warlords game mechanism would be greatly improved if an end of turn dice was put in the bag.  

Bolt Action - 2
Yes, it's still being played, though with so many new fads coming along, it's not got the appeal it once had at the club. 

Blitzkrieg Commander - 2
This is a world war 2 game based on the old Warmaster mechanisms. I wanted to use it for games on the 75th anniversary of Kursk. We played in 15mm, because lots of us still have Flames of War stuff in boxes. I think it's fun, but it didn't seem to catch on at the club, maybe because ... 

Battle Group - 2
Some of chaps have taken to this, though I find it a bit slow and dull.  It's another 1 to 1 scale game, so 1 model equals 1 tank etc. The firing mechanism introduces a spotting die roll before the actual firing die roll. It's OK, and a nice idea, but it does up the die rolls required in the game, and that just takes time. I prefer simple shoot and save mechanisms.

Breakout: Normandy - 2
This is the boardgame by Avalon Hill. Still a great favourite of mine, and we played it for the 75th anniversary of D-day.

Maurice - 2
Another favourite, though I fear it's going to get squeezed out by other games. Still, two of us really like it, so I hope we can play more this year. 

The following games were played only once in 2019. 

Bataille Empire 

This is the new Napoleonic set by the chap who wrote Art de la Guerre. It looks an OK game, though we came across a couple of odd things in our first game. We probably got things wrong, and we'll play it again. 

However, the club fad merchants who jump on every new product are pushing for it, and I do have a fear that the competition crowd will spoil it. But we'll see how it goes in 2020. 

Flames of War
I did a game for the 75th anniversary of Kursk, but people in the club seem to have given up on FoW. 

I ain't been shot mum
Lardy sh*t on WW2 at the same scale as FoW or Battle Group. It may be OK for 1 vs 1 game, but if there are more people on a side, the whole card turn mechanism because a slow snooze fest as players wait for the one player to take his turn. 

Lion Rampant
I think it's a great game, but sadly too many other games have crowded it out.
And the deterministic, radar control players never seemed to like the idea of a unit failing an activation test and doing nothing.  There's nothing quite as funny as seeing control freaks going in the huff because they can't control a unit.  

Rebels and Patriots
The latest incarnation of the Lion Rampant / Dragon Rampant system. It's for horse and musket era games, and we played with one chaps AWI figures. A great little game, though sadly too many other games will mean it won't be played as much as I'd like.

Venerable, justified and ancient. Just a great little game, and I'm glad some chaps suggested it. Got several games in on the one night. 

And finally, boardgames (though I did put Breakout Normandy above). 

Cambrai - an area movement game on the WW1 battle.  Great fun, with fixed lies of advance for the British and limited initial reserves of the Germans. 

Commands and Colors Napoleonics.
Still a favourite, though didn't get to play more than one game in 2019.

It Never Snows
This is a nice big little game on Market Garden. Big in that it covers the campaign. Little in the sense that it has lots of small scenarions. We played to commemorate the 75th anniversay. Again, sadly, the British could not hold the bridge. 

Stalingrad: Verdun on the Volga.
Played two games of this. It's an area movement game by the same chap who did Cambrai and others, all of which are based on the original Storm over Arnhem / Breakout Normandy system.  A nice game, though I don't know when I'll get back to it, so it will probably go to ebay. 

Powergrid, Spain and sundry other Euro games. 

Fun games for nights when we want to do something lighter. They are multi-player, usually involve minimal set up and are quick to play. We can usually get in a few games in an evening. 

And that's it for 2019. Not a bad total. My main disappointment is that some really good games got pushed aside by new games, and I fear this will continue in 2020. This may well see me pulling back from the club for a bit to concentrate on painting and playing things I want to play. 

A couple of local chaps have suggested playing more Lion and Dragon Rampant, Pikeman's Lament and DBA. This has got my vote, and I'm going to try to completely finish painting my Wars of Roses figures for Lion Rampant, and some other fantasy stuff for Dragon Rampant. 

And who knows - maybe some 28mm pike and shot will get painted, though I do have some other favourites to get on with, including 15mm Napoleonics for Quatre Bras.  

More later. 

Back to (the future) posting

I've not posted for a while because we had a lot of family stuff going on. But here we are in a new year and looking ahead to getting back to painting and games.  

Here are some pictures from club games. 

First a couple of shots of a game of Blitzkrieg Commander I did for the 75th anniversary of Kursk. 

The some pictures of a Black Powder 'napoleonic' game using a mix n mash on any and all 28mm figures that players had to hand. It was basically French vs British.  French advancing from the right. 

French occupy the hill top, but a few British units are about to close and open fire. 

The French left advances though takes casualties in it's advance. Eventually the game ended as the French left crumbled and the right flank was losing. 

A shot from a game of Hail Caesar. If I remember, the closest chaps are Rus or similar. The chaps on the other side are Scots isles and highlands.  

Some of my recent reading.  Shortly after I mentioned these, a chap at the club gave me a loan of the book by the poet Keith Douglas, which was a really excellent read.  

Some of my desert games. I was prompted to pull them from the shelves after reading the above books. 

Another game of Hail Caesar. This time, I'm playing with my Wars of Roses figures, pretending to be feudal English. They are the half painted figures at the bottom right. My ally at the top are Russians. 

The opposition. French closest to the bottom. 

A close up view of a chaps Russian infantry. These were painted then 'dipped' with the Army Painter stuff. 

And that's it for now.  A review of 2019 coming up.  

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Edinburgh Castle visit

I'm not sure if these pictures may be of interest, but I'll post them anyway.  

Recently a good friend and I went to Edinburgh Castle. She's a fan of Mary Queen of Scots and the visit was prompted by the recent film. 

We approached the castle from the north and went round the rock.  Here are views from below, so you can get an idea what it might have been like in years gone by if anyone wanted to attack.  

A quick view of St Margaret's Well. 

Now round to the north-west side of the rock. The mesh is there to stop any loose stones falling.

A little more to the west.  

And now to the south. Imagine in medieval times if some nobleman order an attack up here.

A quick picture of the Esplanade looking west towards the castle entrance.  

And a picture looking the opposite direction towards Arthur's Seat. 

 Some views from the battlements. First looking north across the river Forth to Fife. 

View to north-east. 

A view to the east from the northern battlements. Here is a rough idea of the northern slope. 

 And a view to the west. 

Inside the castle, this is the entrance to the war memorial.  

And finally a few pictures from the 'half-moon battery' on the north of the castle. I tried to get a couple of pictures of the line of sight.  

And a view of the moat as we left. 

I left out pictures of the royal palace and various rooms, but I hope some of these pictures were of interest to gamers and historians.