Sunday, 10 December 2017

new project and ongoing stuff

Just when I thought it was safe ... after last weeks game I decided to put together some plastic Saxons that I got from a friend some time ago.  That then led to me ordering 4 boxes of the Gripping Beast plastic Saxons and Vikings.  

Here's the test figures so far.  But the big decision at this point is whether to go for 20mm or 25mm circular bases.  Most of the figures (all headless) are on the 20mm sabot bases from Warbases. At the front is one chap of a plastic 25mm base.  

The 20mm option is attractive, particularly as I have the sabot bases, but I do like the bigger 25mm bases. They are also the same size as those for my Wars of Roses figures for Lion Rampant. Decisions, decisions.  

And ongoing stuff - the Seven Years War Austrians move along slowly. Two infantry units are pretty much finished and will mounted in two ranks later.  

More later ....

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Last week at the club - a dark ages variant of Lion Rampant

Here are some pictures from our game on Thursday.  All the terrain, 28mm figures and QR sheets were provided by one chap who's thinking of writing an article for a magazine on this game (though not necessarily our specific game). The forces were Normans against Vikings, Saxons and Welsh. 

The setup was eight 24pt forces set up near the number counters on a random basis.  The letter counters were the objectives, with the sides having different objectives. There were only 4 of us playing as other chaps had work shifts or family stuff, so it meant we took 2 forces each. I had Normans. 

First the overall table near the start. It was about 8 to 10ft x 6ft. 

And some closer views.  There were peasants defending the villages and fields. They were controlled by the referee and they were hostile to both sides.  Also, we know that units should remain 3 inches apart, but ... who cares, we're here to get stuck in and have a good game.  

Here's my Norman knights after a tussle with some axemen.  The unit is now down to 3, though my leader has survived so far.  

The single horseman is the remnant of my unit of mounted serjeants. He is off the table next turn.   

A final view towards the end of the game.  The end result was a draw, though I don't think we cared that much.  

The game was great fun and well worth the effort.  It was good to see such a big table and I hope we can do something like this again. 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

More ongoing stuff

Just to show that gaming activity has not stopped, here's a bit more.  

One project I have is to replace basetex with flock on some bases.  Basetex looked OK to me for a while, but then I went off the look and decided to replace it.  I could have taken all the miniatures off the bases and started again, but I figured it was easier to just replace the basetex patches.

The majority of my models which feature basetex are 15mm American Civil War, though there are some medieval I've yet to get around to working on.  It's not something I feel I have to do right away as the figures are good enough for tabletop battles, so this is a gentle on-going project.      

Here's where they start.  

I then brush water over the green basetex and let it soak for a few minutes. I may repeat the process before scraping off the basetext with a small screwdriver, modelling tool or old worn out brush. The bases then look a bit like this. 

Then I paint over what ever green is left to get back to a bare earth finish. I probably don't have to do do this stage, but I like getting back to a clear surface.  

Finally I apply the flock where the basetex once was, and the finish is more pleasing to my eye.  

Most of the bases I have to do are ACW infantry and artillery, and probably in the region of 200 - 250 total.  I've done about 50 so far and will do more as and when I can.

Meanwhile, other gaming activities carry on.  Here are two boardgames I've played recently at the club.  Squad Leader is still a venerable classic, and one of the best games for squad level combat.  

At the other end of the scale is No Retreat: The Russian Front, an operational or strategic game on that conflict.  It's a card supported game with a few units and another really fun game.  I'll do a fuller post on this game in the future.   

And just to show that painting has not ceased, here are some of my 15mm SYW Austrians which I've finally got around to starting.  I'm going to try to do enough Austrians and Prussians to refight Kolin for the Maurice rules.  It's an achievable target. 

Everything is based on 40mm front bases, with 4 bases per infantry or cavalry unit and 1 base per artillery unit.  

I've always liked these Essex figures, and I've put together my infantry as 23 figure units and my cavalry as 12 figure units.  I say 23 instead of 24 because I'm using a mounted officer in place of 2 foot figures.  This works out neatly with the Essex figure packs as 2 infantry packs of 8 figures and 1 command pack of 6 figures get me my unit, and all I need to add is a mounted officer.  

However, as I moaned in a previous post, I've never liked the cast on flags so I'm replacing all those figures with other officer figures, to which I've attached wire standard poles.  That will let me attach paper flags. 

And that's it for now.  In a couple of weeks at the club we'll be playing a Dark Ages variant of Lion Rampant rules, so I'm hoping to get a few pictures from that. More later ... 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

First game of To the Strongest - infamy, infamy!

Last night I joined two friends to play my first game of To the Strongest ancient rules.  These are a very interesting set of rules, played on a square grid and with units activated by playing cards.  Here are some pictures. The armies were 28mm Polybian Roman and Chinese belong to our host, and we played in a very relaxed manner, exploring the rules as we went.  Each army was about 12 units in size, which makes the game comparable to DBA or Basic Impetus. 

First, and very funny, the Roman commander drew a stratagem card.  What better way to start than with one the greatest quotes from British cinema.

Here's an overview after some turns.  This is a Roman turn and the centre command is being activated.  Each unit has played a card to move.  The value must be greater than 2. Then if the unit is to do more, such as move again, shoot or initiate combat, they must play a card of a higher value.  

And a view of the Roman right. The Chinese had advanced in their last turn.

The Roman left.   

And here's the classic moment when the Roman commander played the strategem card against the Chinese commander.

The situation on the Roman right.  My Chinese cavalry are outflanked.  The Romans and the leading Chinese lancers have taken a 'hit'.  Two hits and they are removed from the table.  Skirmishers are removed after one hit. 

 A view of the centre as the Romans advance.  The little dice behind the Chinese are ammunition markers to indicate how many shots of bow-fire the unit can make. 

The game was a close match.  For a time it looked as if the Chinese were going to win, but the Romans held their ground and defeated the Chinese left and right, then at the last gasp, the Chinese came back to defeat the Romans. 

It was a fun game, and I would like to play again. I'll be looking at my 15mm armies to see what I could use in the future, and the other chaps talked about also using 6mm and 28mm armies. 

More later.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Ongoing stuff, games and reading

I've not posted in a while, and though painting has dropped off a bit, games are still being played.  Here's a quick update of stuff at the club.

Our Longstreet  campaign continues. Four others who joined in have now played two games each and that brings all six of us up to the same campaign point of mid-1862.  I don't know how the Epic Points are looking for everyone, but most have been good games. 

If I've not mentioned before, success in the Longstreet campaign is measured in Epic Points, i.e. if you participate in a battle, if you launch epic charges or successfully defend against charges, you get points.  It's all about getting your name in the papers and history books and having statues put up in your honour (statues that will be taken down 150 years later!). This is not a campaign about winning or occupying enemy territory. 

The only game that was a bit 'iffy' was the attack across a river at 4 fords. It seemed a difficult task for the attacker and we couldn't figure out how an attacker might win to gain the objectives.  Maybe this scenario might be easier with later war armies and a lot of artillery.

Anyway, onwards into the second game of 1862. Now we can mix and match players a bit more.

A few weeks back I played the Salamanca scenario from CnC Napoleonic.  A great game, even though I lost. Sadly, with so many other games to play, the CnC games don't get played as much as I'd like.

Rommel is my newest game and we played an introductory scenario of Operation Brevity. This was a basic scenario with 4 chaps playing and me in the middle on rules n stuff. Everyone seemed to have a good time.  This is a game and a scale that appeals to me, rather than more skirmish oriented games, but only time will tell if we can fit more games into the club schedules.

The game is based on a square grid and units represent reinforced companies or battalions of artillery. Each grid square represent 1000 m / 1km across. It's very close to some of my favourite old boardgames, Wacht am Rhein, Highway to the Reich, Korsun Pocket etc. Some scenarios and suggestions for modern and WW1 variants have already been proposed on the Honor forum and I'm going to try work up some Battle of the Bulge ideas soon. 

And now some painting. When we were doing Longstreet and I was providing figures for two armies on each side, I realised I was a bit short of painted cavalry.  I've no shortage of unpainted stuff, but I decided to try get some more painted stuff on the table.  I also need to apply flock to my ACW bases and replace the old basetex with flock. 

All these were done with my more usual semi-wash painting style, that creates it's own highlights and shadows over the white undercoat. 

And finally, some current reading.  I've wanted to get these comics (graphic novels) on the Night Witches for a while. It was a story that fascinated me some years ago, about the women who flew Russian PO2 biplanes in WW2. The history is far more fascinating than fiction, though this 3 part novel is quite good and serves to supplement the history. 

I liked the passage where it said, "who coins the nickname is a mystery". But as I understand it, it was the Germans who gave them the title The Night Witches and they came to wear that name with honour.  A bit like our own Red Devils. 

There's stuff online about the The Night Witches / Nachthexen.  There's some on youtube, including interviews with veterans and even a subtitled Russian TV series called The Night Swallows.  It's quite good, though lighter in tone than Band of Brothers. I suppose the Russian censors didn't fancy the name "witches" and  chose the milder "swallows" instead, though they did dedicate the series to the women of the 588th / 46th Guards night bomber squardron.  Anyhow, you can find it here.

And finally, I got this is the post this week. This is about a series of battles on the eastern front in WW2. Little is known about because it was mostly a series of failures and the Soviet Union suppressed the details, preferring to focus on the much more successful operations round Stalingrad. 

More wargame stuff soon I hope. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Longstreet campaign - the walled farm scenario, spring 1862

Here are some photos from our first 1862 game. It's my fault the picture quality is not the best, but I hope they give a reasonable impression of our game.

We rolled for the scenario and got the walled farm and rolled again and I was attacker. My objective was to take the building at the rear of the farm and score lots of Epic Points. My opponent was slightly hampered by having to put one of his units off-table in reserve till turn 6.  

Here's an overview after the first couple of turns. I've decided to throw my attack on my right and outflank the walls.  My opponent had his artillery behind the wall in the middle but began to withdraw it when I moved right. I messed up the placement of my own artillery as I should have left myself with a clearer field of fire.  

Here's the other flank. I had two artillery bases, but a good shot by the union guns destroyed one of my guns (I'd say they were just lucky !) . The black smoke marker in front of the union battery shows they have fired.  My intention on this flank was just to keep the union occupied. In the centre, moving through the woods are my (semi-painted) dismounted cavalry. They are here because opposite them is the union cavalry behind the wheatfield. 

A closer view of my attackers. Note the number of confederate bases at this point. Still the strength with which they started the scenario. 

A couple of things to note here. There's a big patch of rough marshy ground appeared in front of my advance. That's because my opponent played a very good 'Poor Surveying' card as an interrupt in my movement phase. Because this is rough terrain, I needed to play 2 move cards to be able to move through it. Luckily I'd had done that to make sure my dismounted cavalry kept moving through the woods in the centre.

In Longstreet, like Maurice, a player can play an interrupt card in his opponent's turn and this can often mess up a deployment or move or a combat. 

Also here is the view after my opponents turn where I managed to play a 'Confusion' interrupt card and his defenders behind the wall advanced out into the open. They became a nice target for my next turn.

A couple of turns later and I've defeated the advanced union unit, though I have taken some casualties to do so. I also managed to play the 'Old Rivals' interrupt card on my opponent which stopped his reserve unit advancing. Essentially this card means two officers in  my opponents army start arguing over a girl and don't order their unit to do anything till they resolve their differences. 

Some views of the centre and right. In the centre my dismounted cavalry press ahead through the wheatfield. On the right it continues to be handbags at 100 paces though I have tentatively started to advance. The sad thing here is that both of us have veteran units with a hero on this flank. They were to remain unused throughout the game.

The confederates press on. Note the Cupar Volunteers in the centre are now down to 3 bases, the Dunfermline infantry on the right are 4 bases and the Leven infantry on the left are 5 bases. It was just after that point I took the objective, my opponent's morale crumbled and the union gave way. A victory for the Army of Southern Fife, but at a cost.

To finish up the campaign game, we then go through the post-battle process. This is when we might get promoted, get Epic Points, get replacements, possibly recruit new units and maybe even loose some bases to 'camp fever' or disease. I was lucky enough to launch a few grand charges in the game so got a few Epic Points for that, along with some for winning the battle and the objective.

Roll on the next battle. Luckily two more chaps at the club liked what we've started and want to join in. A third chap may also join in, so we could have a few players for the rest of the campaign.