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.  

Some club games

Some quick pictures of games played at the club recently. First Cruel Seas ( or Bolt Action in boats, if you want to call it what that!). Here I'm British, escorting a convoy moving from left to right. 

The enemy has hit one of my boats, but I can't remember now if the additional smoke was deliberate or due to enemy action. Then one merchant ship got sunk. 

But then the second merchant ship got rudder damage and turned to the right, heading for an enemy boat and an island.  

A game of Rebels and Patriots using AWI figures. This game is the latest in the Lion Rampant series, and was great fun.  If you haven't played these games, and you fancy a great skirmish game that's fun for all involved, then do give them a try.  To me, they're far better than other glossy and more convoluted skirmish game systems out there.    

The objective was to capture the wagon between the two hills, but for our club it's more a case of getting stuck in.  

At the end we captured the wagon, and thus bragging rights, but it didn't really matter as we had a great game. 

And a few random shots of a game of Maurice. Here the forces are 15mm Great Northern War. Maurice is a card driven game that we return to on a regular basis. Always a great game.

The views are all from my Russian side, though in here a couple of Swedish units are substituting for Russians. Above is the Russian right wing cavalry, below the centre advances. 

The Russian left of centre holds it's ground for now. 

But the Swedish centre starts to crumble. It seems on this night, the dice gods did not favour the Swedes. 

Another great game, and one that we hope to return to in a few weeks for a Seven Years War bash. 

games still going on

I realised I've not posted anything for ages, though games are going on at the club and I'm still waffling about from project to project. 

Here's some recent activity. I was working away at these dark ages figures, then a couple of things bubbled up.  

A project I revisit over the years is the forces at Quatre Bras in the 1815 campaign. I've fascinated by the battle for maybe 50 years or so, and a lot has to do with the different uniforms in such a small battle - British line, rifles, highlanders, Dutch Belgians in green and blue, French line and light, lancers and chasseurs.  

So I thought about clearing out lots of my figures and just focussing on Quatre Bras. !5mm / 18mm is the chosen scale this time (though 10mm is still bubbling under 😂). I was thinking about doing it all with AB miniatures and I got a batch which a friend picked up for me at Salute. 

But I've also had an interest in Campaign Game Miniatures (CGM) so I bought a batch.  And here, I must give a big positive shout for Dermot Quigley of CGM.  I ordered figures and two days later they arrived in Dunfermline from Barcelona. 

If only my painting was as fast as the delivery.  However, I got the figures mounted on bases and undercoated with my usual white, so we'll see how the painting goes. In the box are Dutch Belgian, French, British and French cavalry.  

And then, before much more gaming stuff happened, the guys at the club suggested playing the fantasy game, Warlords of Erehwon - though essentially it's just Bolt Action with swords. We played a game and I used my Perry Wars of the Roses figures as substitute elves, and it was OK. Them I bought some Mantic elves. 

I did my usual undercoat of white, put them on temporary bases and decided to 'paint' most of them with inks and washes. Here are the experiments with various greens, with the bottle placed behind the figure. Of them all I like the GW biel-'whatever name it has this year' green, but more so the Vallejo black green ink.  

Then I carried on and used every wash and ink I could lay my hands on. Not too bad overall, though I suspect the yellow chap will be redone in a different colour.   

I'm not sure if I'll carry on with elves. I'll finish these off, but they could end up on that well-known auction site. 

Then I got the chance to get these goblins, and had a great game with them.

And not forgetting these shield maidens I got a while back but which are still on sprues. Someday they'll get finished. 

And so the games go on … 

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Seven Years War Austrians finally done and a club game of BP

I can finally say, "yay!".  I got the 4 units of SYW Austrians finished. These have been on the tray for a while, but too many other projects have interrupted my attempts to get them finished.  

Photos are not the best with a shaky hand, but here they are.  

And some pictures of a Napoleonic game we did last week, using Black Powder rules. British and Allies versus the French on a 'battle for the crossroads' type of scenario, loosely based on Quatre Bras.  All the figures and terrain were provided by one of the chaps. The figures are mostly Napoleon at War 'big' 15mm.

Here the French advance through crops to attack the British defending the crossroads. The French were repulsed.   

Here the French right advances on the Allied left on a hill. 

Now, I have to admit, the gamer tactic of using French columns in a kind of phalanx, kind of annoys me.  But at least Black Powder usually only allows one unit to attack one unit at a time, so it's not too bad. Still, I wish players would not try to mass everything in the front line so they can roll maximum number of dice every turn. 

And later in the game, the French still struggle to clear the crops and never make it near the crossroads or houses before nightfall.  

The game was a lot of fun, and in some respects showed what happens when players ignore the victory objective and want to win on their side of the table.  The French advanced on both flanks but ignored the centre. I could imagine the French general reporting to big boss afterwards.

General : "I captured the hill".  
Boss: "What about the crossroads?"
General: "I captured the hill, and nearly took the crop fields."
Boss: "And what about the crossroads?"
General: "Errr…."

Post game discussion brought up another interest ( a slight pet peeve), and that is that no Napoleonic rules set ever demands players deploy units or brigades by the seniority of the regiment. i.e. what I've seen repeatedly on tables is units massed together, or heading off in all directions in a kind of firework display, and where a column is just any old column and can form another formation in any direction.

Now, I may be a bit anorak (geekish) about this, but I am not aware of ANY set of Napoleonic rules that asks players to deploy battalions or brigades by seniority.  e.g. If a French column is being led by the senior grenadier company, who's place is the right of the line, then the following companies should form up to the left of the grenadiers. So, 

        1st Fusiliers
        2nd Fusiliers
        3rd Fusiliers
        4th Fusiliers

They would form in line as,
Voligeurs 4th Fusiliers 3rd Fusiliers 2nd Fusiliers 1st Fusiliers Grenadiers 

I am aware than units could form, "left" in front, or "right" in front, and in other combinations, but as far as I know, the battalion would not form up in any old order, to please the general (game player), as officers need to know where everything is. 

And this focus of seniority deployment can be seen in maps and descriptions of brigade level deployments.  e.g. British deployment tended to be senior regiment on the right, next senior on the left, junior in the centre.  French deployments were similar, though they tended to deploy by battalions within regiment. e.g. look at the deployment of D'Erlon's columns at Waterloo. If I remember correctly, the order of advance was; 

2nd battalion junior regiment 2nd brigade
1st battalion junior regiment 2nd brigade 
2nd battalion senior regiment 2nd brigade
1st battalion senior regiment 2nd brigade,
then repeat for 1st brigade, so that the senior battalion of the senior regiment is at the rear of the column or on the right of the line.

I also seem to recall an incident during the Nine years war or WSS, where French units got themselves in a muddle, because an Allied rear attack meant that the senior regiments 'les vieux', were not on the right, and they refused to co-operate until they were given their rightful place at the right of the line.  

Historical accounts contain these details, but I don't think I've ever seen or heard of any rules set or any games requiring forces deploy by seniority.  So while gamers focus on uniform details and weapon capabilities, no-one seems to focus on historical deployment.

Bah! Humbug! Charge and throw lots of dice! Who cares about history.  :) 

More later …