Saturday, 31 December 2016

Ice Demons - Cos 'Tis the Season

I've had these Demonworld figures for a few years, having bought them on ebay when the range was out of production. Although I prep'd and based them at the time, I've only just now painted them. They didn't take very long, so as always it's a mystery why I kept putting them off!



I decided that they'd look best in icy colours, and I've dry-brushed the bases with white over the top of my usual green/brown.



They'll be used in my 15mm Dungeon game as big demons, and potentially in 25/28mm Frostgrave as man-sized demons.


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Testing Downsized Buildings from Supreme Littleness Designs

Despite my intentions to make all the rustic buildings I need for my 6mm SYW setting, I have recently been tempted to drop down a scale for them. I think there's a sliding scale for the aesthetics of matching buildings to figure size - and it relates to the size of the conflict being represented.

For skirmish games you need a good match, as the individual figures will generally interact closely with the buildings, sometimes even being placed inside them. For a big battle, the main problem with matching scale buildings is the footprint. You end up saying 'this cottage represents the whole village', etc, which is fine, but coupled with the towering height of the building over the supposedly substantial troop formations, this can jar a bit.

Others have taken the approach of going to the next 'wargaming scale' down for their buildings, and I've always been interested in this approach. Goat Major is putting 1/300 buildings with his 10mm DBN Napoleonics, and I've liked what the Baccus guys have done in the past with their miniature big battle show games, using 2mm buildings.

So, when I saw an advert for the new 3mm MDF buildings from Supreme Littleness Designs I decided they might just work with my Heroics & Ros armies, as these figures are a bit smaller than the more modern approach to '6mm'. I ordered a few packs from their central Europe range and they arrived very quickly via their friendly and efficient service.

I put the first one together, a partially walled farm on a 40x40mm base. Everything popped out of the pre-cut MDF sprue very easily and then I set-to with the glue. What I hadn't realised was that the buildings come not as 'boxes' to be assembled, but rather as a sort of swiss roll that needs to be built up layer by (vertical) layer. This was a bit tricky, but I was probably just being inept. Adding the long side fascias helped align them better, but I didn't manage to get them 100% right. Still, rural buildings don't always adhere to straight lines do they?

First one assembled:



With a battalion of Prussians:



Painted (I added some timbers with the brush), with a bit of texture on the base:




I have more village and farm buildings to do, plus a church and a manor house. Most are about £2, which is very good value.

All in all I really like these models. They're fun to put together and very easy to paint. Some climbers on walls, the odd tree drilled into the base, and some tactical dry-brushing, and they fit in well with my terrain and other scenery. In terms of size, I don't think they look too small compared to the figures, although I won't be sure until I've done enough to create a settlement from several bases. I also like the 40x40mm basing approach, which makes them modular and easy to place, and move when more space in a game grid square is required.

I'll aim to get more done over the Christmas period and post again when I finish them.

Merry Christmas to everyone who's visited this blog in 2016, your interest and encouraging comments are much appreciated. Have a good one.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

A Few More Fantasy Additions

A few 15mm fantasy figures received some paint recently. These will see action in my Dungeon Game, as well as for Dragon Rampant and bigger fantasy battle games.

Below, Reaper Bones beast hound, Demonword beholder and demon wizard.


The other 4 figures are conversions I did a few years ago (about 50 more to paint, including mounted versions). They're Museum Miniatures medievals to which I've added greenstuff cloaks with fur mantles, some weapon upgrades, and of course horns on their helms. They are inspired by GW's take on Chaos Warriors/Knights and I wanted some for my 15mm Chaos/evil army. Now I've settled on a simple paint scheme, I'll hopefully be able to get the rest done at some point.


Chaos on Chaos action:



Satanic beasty Sorceror. He's going to get a partial re-paint as his skin looks like he's some sort of water-based guy, and it's a bit of a clash with the lava!



Lots more to do, but I'm enjoying picking away at them slowly.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Warbases MDF Gun

Since painting the Warbases engineer cart I thought I'd move on to the the artillery piece kit next. The carriage is all MDF and the gun is metal. It represents a French piece of the Gribeauval system. I'm not expert on artillery models, but it does the job just fine for me. I've already painted the limber that comes with this kit, and overall I think it's excellent value for an outlay of a few quid (£4.50).

I'll use it as a generic piece for either side in my imagi-nations games, most likely in a colonial setting. If I need any more, I'll be back to Warbases for sure.





Monday, 19 December 2016

A Militia Brigadier

I'm slowly working through some minor bits for my 18th century armies, the most recent being the brigadier for my militia brigade. The figures in the brigade's 2 battalions are Perry AWI, as is their commander.

I painted him in slightly more muted colours than I normally would for a general, to fit better with his troops. The militia can take the field for either side (Medetia or Fleurie) as required, and I think this figure looks the part - a bit of an amateur trying to puzzle out his orders..




Next will be a battalion gun and crew, which will complete the small brigade. I'll get them on parade for a pic or two when they're finished.

Friday, 16 December 2016

More Sharp Practice 2 - A Raid Scenario

Varesi, the Medetian Lieutenant of Engineers, never had liked the bad-tempered nag that pulled his equipment cart. It was ironic then, when it fell on him and the two of them died together on the outskirts of Auterlin. Such are the fickle outcomes that games of Sharp Practice can produce, and a good laugh they provide too.

Last weekend Jase and I returned to the post-Napoleonic conflict between Medetia and Fleurie and played a game of Sharp Practice 2. I devised the plot for a 2-part scenario, and we played through the first game. The second will hopefully take place early in the new year.

The Medetians have landed an assault party on the Fleurian coast with orders to march inland, cross (and hold) a bridge - which will be the scene of game 2 - and destroy part of the enemy's siege train which is temporarily holed up at the village of Auterlin.

Selecting 5 groups of infantry (a mix of grenadiers, line and bersaglieri) and an engineer team from his overall force, Jase took command of the Medetians and set off on his mission. As the Fleurian commander I had 4 infantry groups and a light gun with which to defend the important heavy guns, ammunition and powder.

The scene of the impending action, as dawn approaches:



The siege guns outside the church, which was being used to store the powder and shot:




On the first 2 turns the Tiffin card came up before any significant forces had deployed onto the table. I managed to get the Fleurian light gun crew woken up and assembled in the village square, which was to be very helpful in the early stages of the game.



Before long, though, the Medetians had arrived, formed up in a couple of formations, with skirmishers moving among the trees and Lieutenant Varesi bringing up the rear with his engineers and cart (and its horse).



A bonus move (4 command flag cards being played at once) allowed the commander, Major Corvina, to get everyone dashing towards the village at the double. Goaded into action, the horse shouldered Varesi out of the way and left the Lieutenant sprawled face down in the dirt and being left behind...



With few Fleurians as yet on the table and the Medetians coming on fast, the light gun opened up with canister and did some damage to the lead formation. This slowed things down and gave the rest of the Fleurian force time to make an appearance.



Fortunately for me, my main force then arrived and took up positions to prevent the enemy from reaching the church. The first Medetian controlled volley, however, hammered the Grenadiers and sent them reeling back from the lane, to try to rally behind the cottage.





The shooting seemed more deadly than in previous games we've played, with lots of 6s coming up and plenty of casualty removal. This was pretty evenly divided between both sides, so things remained in the balance for some time as various groups took up positions and continued to fire away at each other.



A Fleurian patrol came on from the table edge and started to make its presence felt, distracting the enemy's Bersaglieri for a few turns.



Things got more interesting when a group of armed locals, led by a monk, decided to intervene when the Medetians finally entered the village. Their timing was good, as they plugged a gap left by a shot-up and routing group of infantry.



Varesi's big (and last) moment came when the engineers responded to an order to advance and dashed forward at an unexpected pace, leaving them squarely in the sights of both Fleurian infantry and a fully loaded gun! Engineers went down like nine-pins and the Lieutenant was wounded. Almost inevitably the next card out of the re-shuffled pack led to another volley. The horse took the brunt, falling dead and crushing the hapless officer. Thus, their uneasy relationship was brought to a grim end.



As time wore on and Force Morale levels started to drop, the Medetians moved in to decide the issue at close quarters.



With bayonets fixed, Major Corvina bravely follows his men in a charge intended to put the villagers firmly back in their place..



Heroically they slaughtered the lot with no loss to themselves. Interestingly, the Fleurian Voltigeurs (top right of the picture below) subsequently charged the Medetians, and not one of the figures in this picture survived the game, including the Major who was killed with the rest of his men. Fisticuffs sounds a bit like 'handbags' but it's VERY bloody in SP2!

Below - pretty much the end of the game, with the last Fleurians about to relinquish the village and the siege train to the victorious attackers. Both sides' Force Morale took a tumble with the losses from fisticuffs, but the Fleurians hit zero first and that was that. We agreed that it was probably a good thing that the remaining engineers didn't have to actually attempt to blow the church in-game, as with the way their luck/competence had been so far, it would have inevitably ended in catastrophe!



So, a posthumously successful mission for the Major, and now they'd have to get back to their ship via the bridge that their colleagues were hopefully still holding. This will be the focus of game 2, when Fleurian patrols try to cut off the invaders from the coast.

The game was great fun, played in the best of company.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

One Hour Wargames - SYW

The blog's been a bit quiet lately, but I do have some updates on recent games and painting efforts.

Since my previous posts in October about trying the rules and scenarios in Neil Thomas' 'One Hour Wargames', there have been some further games and even a mini-campaign.



I wanted to play a series of linked games so wrote some simple campaign rules to govern the movement of various forces on a map and deal with the outcomes of battles, etc. I decided to go with a trusty square grid map, partly for convenience when it came to movement and terrain effects, and partly so I could use MS Excel to create it and avoid having to fall back on non-existent artistic skills.

I set the campaign in Silesia in about 1757, but created the specific local area to suit what I wanted. The outline was for the Austrians to invade Prussian-held territory and recapture the key town of Werthenstahl. Each side had 2-3 forces initially, with the potential for more to arrive later on.

The campaign starting positions - the Austrians are about to cross the river, for which they'll need to lay a pontoon bridge in the north if they want to capture Felshelm early on.



The pontoon is successfully laid with a decent dice roll and this will now release the Prussians to move. Their main priority will be to get Force A underway to support the observation forces before they're overwhelmed.



Last pic - the action has been going on for several turns and there have been 8 battles so far, using a variety of scenarios from the book. The latest encounter has seen Austrian Force C beaten and forced to retire. This will generate some relief for the Prussians who have been on the receiving end of a few defeats of their own.



The Force Strength tracker in the bottom right corner shows the relative size of each force on the map. Where they are the same, I play a 6 vs 6 unit scenario, where there is a difference of 1 strength I play a 6 vs 4 unit scenario, and where there's a difference of 2 strength, the weaker force must withdraw or, if trapped, face scenario 30 Last Stand! I try to match the scenario and terrain to the general situation on the map, in terms of who's attacking/defending, whether there's a river involved, etc.

The campaign has been fun and has encouraged me to try similar things, with very simple campaign rules, in the future.



Recent Games

Last weekend my mate Jase and I played 3 stand-alone games, resulting in one marginal win and two draws, illustrating how well-balanced the scenarios are (or how mutually crap we both are at winning).

We re-visited Scenario 4 - Take the High Ground a couple of times, and then had a go at one with unbalanced forces; Scenario 20 - Fighting Retreat. Both scenarios are well designed and provide for interesting games.

Mid-game in Take the High Ground:



The Austrians decide to run for it in turn 1 of Fighting Retreat:



These games were very enjoyable and hit the spot in terms of providing some quick, challenging entertainment while drinking quite a lot of beer. :)

Warbases Engineers' Wagon

Another nice model kit from Warbases, this wagon was quick to put together (once I'd worked out the assembly order). Everything fitted neatly and the engineers' equipment load can remain loose for removal when not required.

Great value and perfect for Sharp Practice, either as a general wagon, engineer option, or just as a piece of scenery.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Big Battle Weekend - Punic Wars with To the Strongest

On Saturday four of us (Goat major, Essex Boy, Count Belisarius and I) played a big 15mm Punic Wars game at Wargames Foundry's premises near Newark.


We planned the weekend months ago, and more recently did the final prep to ensure we had everything we needed on the day - scenery, tokens, army rosters, and so on. As these things tend to, it came around very quickly at the end but fortunately there was little last minute panic painting to do (except for the Count of course!)


We chose the Punic period because 3 of us had suitable figures (most of which hadn't seen the light for day for a lot of years), and To the Strongest because it offered a relatively quick-play experience and, being grid-based, wasn't going to be fazed by mild variations in people's unit basing.



We collated a list of available figures and drew up two armies, each about 550 points in game terms. As a first go with the rules (apart from a solo test game I played a while back) this was rather ambitious, but we wanted a bit of a spectacle and the look and feel of a big battle. Hopefully the pictures give the impression that we achieved this.



You do need quite a few bits and pieces to play TtS - playing cards, activation markers, ammo markers, as well as a gridded battlefield. We chatted through all this beforehand and were able to turn up with the right items on the day. We used two 6'x4' Mat-o-War cloths, foliage clumps placed at 6" intervals, and some other scenery, then deployed the armies and got stuck in.

Inevitably we were playing more slowly at the beginning than we were by the end, but we soon got the gist of things and enjoyed the way the rules worked.

EB and I drew the Carthaginians, with their various Spanish, Numidian and Italian allies (plus some elephants of course). GM and CB each had two Roman legions, plus hordes of Gauls and other allies.




Naturally everyone advanced and got stuck in, infantry in the middle and cavalry on the flanks. 4 or 5 hours of play later we hadn't quite got a decisive result, but we had had a lot of fun. Elephants had rampaged back through friendly troops, generals had died and hat-tricks of aces had been drawn (an unlikely occurrence but repeated several times - mostly by the unlucky GM). By the time we had to stop and pack up I had a slight positional edge over GM's Romans/Gauls, and hadn't committed many of my doughty African Spearmen, while to my left EB and CB had fought out a fairly bloody draw. A close thing all-round then, and a very enjoyable day.







Great company as always and the game was played in a friendly spirit all-round. We had a good night out in Newark too, with a few ales and an excellent curry.

There are some tentative plans for games next year, which will hopefully happen. It'll probably be mine and Simon's turn to travel, if EB and the Count can get their gaming spaces sorted!