Sunday, October 14, 2018

Kobold Reserves

Rooting about in a box after the move, I retrieved a unit of Kobolds I'd picked up when I began the army.  I figured these would make for a quick paint project:

13 new warriors
 This provides another light infantry unit to bolster the force.  It sees all of the initial collection painted now, including the handful of metal character models.
Metal leaders
Back to historical models next I think.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Asgardian Allies (vol.1)

I'm a big fan of creating fantasy armies from unlikely items; plenty of evidence for that in the past on the blog.  it's one of the reasons I end up with so many fantasy armies, I keep getting inspiration for turning lemons into lemonade.

My Frost Giants are a classic example of this:

35mm scale evil knight on left
 An army of 5 giants cost me a fiver.

However in the case of this particular army, they are a bit one dimensional, and lack variety, being 5 big blokes who hit things.  close to a year ago I picked up some models to thematically add to them and improve variety.

For these I wanted o use some of the Tehnolog range, some of which I've used in the past to represent overgrown Orcs/Trolls.  This time I went for more attractive models, in the same 54mm scale.  Vikings.  I managed to source some on import for about £5 a pack:

Mmmm, toys
 Which got me a total of ten models, so at a pound each they aren't bad value.  They are also a decent size, as stated, around 2 inches tall; the equivalent of a ten foot tall humanoid against most 28-35mm miniatures.

I finally got around to painting three of them up, to represent a reduced model unit of heavy missiles in Dragon Rampant.  Styled to match my Frost Giants:

When your bow is the size of a Ballistae
I had good fun with this light blue skin tone, but these actually took quite a lot of painting; for toys they have a heck of a lot of detail.  

I have enough for two more units of Heavy foot or similar again with three models as a unit.  The idea being that these are the Asgardians, Nordic warrior heroes, who ascended to the heavenly land of the Giants to indulge in unending war.  They are Giants among men, and but few of them will rise to the greatness of becoming a true giant.

Or something.  In real terms these models add some ranged fire to my Giant army, something it had to rather improvise up until now.

Another bargain.

Additionally I have ideas/plans for three more DR forces in development.  Too Many Projects indeed!


Friday, October 05, 2018

Not exactly light reading

Two recent reads of interest to the blog audience I think.

Firstly Charles Esdailes' exhaustive examination of the Peninsular War.  I say examination rather than account or story, as from a pure military history buffs viewpoint, Esdaile is rather skimping on the battles themselves.  Despite some 600 pages relatively few engagements are covered in more than a couple of pages, this rather is a book of grand strategy, politics, economics, social upheaval and bureaucracy. 

Not that this should be seen as a criticism.  If you want to read about the battles in Spain, or the specific organisation of units, hence ye to an Osprey book!  Rather this examines the context of the war with thorough, somewhat academic, reviews of the plans of all sides, their grand execution and impacts.  Whole chapters are devoted to the politics of the Spanish Junta, a prolonged debate on the purpose and effectiveness of Guerrilla's, and life in Josephian Madrid.

This is an invaluable read for those interested in the War in detail, but not a particularly engrossing one.  It took me many months to finish largely due to only being able to manage 5 or 6 pages at a time.  It's a dense, academic book, that at times manages to rise to the dizzying heights of being enthralling. 

At times, but not all times.

This is a book I was put on to by a Youtuber, having never heard of it before.  It is quite the discovery.

From the City, From the Plough, is fiction, but only just.  Author Alexander Baron leans heavily on his own experience and observations during the war to write what becomes a powerful account of the British experience in Normandy.  No slice of Daring Do this, and few cliches either, in a book that avoids the obvious and sentiment in an effort to really hit home with the brutal conclusion. 

Baron writes with an easy, poetic style, that in the first half of the book covers the training and waiting for action of an infantry regiment in the south of England, vignettes of army life are plentiful, alongside character sketches and insights on daily life.  So far it feels very safe, cosy at times, and terribly, terribly, British.  Characters help local farmers, after drill, court girls at the local dances, sneak off to London to gamble.  Their Colonel and Major worry about them, they fight, and fall in love.

Then the regiment goes to war and nothing is ever the same.

The final eighty pages of this short tome are utterly brutal, whilst holding a macabre beauty all their own.  The unit finds itself at the lead of an attack so well and clearly drawn from real life, that veterans of the battle were able to identify it and whom some of the characters in it were.  Before that there are yet more scenes, simply, poetically and more importantly, accurately drawn that do more than many better known works to epitomise the experience of battle.  Heroes are few, but cowards are fewer, it becomes rather a tale of the soldiers experience.  And how the choice to carry on is simply not there.

It is, incredibly affecting.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

TML - Too Many Projects perhaps?

I have a neat little Austrian 15mm army, it doesn't see a lot of action however; as it has no opponents.

The current array

Hungarian Grenadiers 
Foot Artillery 
Chevaux Leger and Kuirassiers

A common complaint, many wargamers build armies then find an absence of an army for them to fight; not an issue in fantasy games generally, so long as you are flexible over rules or stick to a major game system, and not much of an issue if you throw historical accuracy out of the window.

The latter is tolerable for Ancients through to the middle ages, to a point, but I'm not going to field a carefully researched Napoleonic Austrian army against someone's American Civil War Union army, or blooming Zulu's, just as they come from the same century; am I?

One battle with the models is just not enough, so I guess I'll have to make the tough choice.

To paint another army.

Hah, you may have thought I would sell them.  No way, they are far too nice, and moreover, permit the prospect of good sized games at home in TML towers modest gaming space (room for a 6x4 foot at a pinch), and games out and about without a hernia from shifting crates of miniatures.  But they still need an opponent, one I can place in the hands of willing commanders without the need for them to supply their own minions.

I've always preferred to provide both sides anyway, it just makes life easier; opponents can be fleeting and transient, and if they take their armies with them you can be left with a lot of underemployed bods in boxes, preying at the mind suggesting a retirement to eBay as more worthwhile than the prospect of eternal damnation on a dusty shelf.

TLDR:  I bought a new army.

Good old Warrior Miniatures will provide an ideal challenger to my established force.  After much pondering I opted for two starter armies of Bavarians, and some additional packs to fill out units, for the princely sum of £50 with postage!  This is enough to scratch together 6 regiments of foot, 4 of horse, and 4 batteries of artillery with 2 guns each.

Now the reason for the extra 15mm terrain should become clear.  It could take a few months to get these to the table (to say the least) but at least they should eventually provide an appropriate force to face an Austrian invasion.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Treasure of Ungray Pliskie

Clementia and Gebrovia were never the best of friends.  Two small states on a fractured continent, they survived the ravages of plague, pestilence, war and religion to enter the new age of enlightenment with shared borders and fistfuls of disputes.  Each nation eyed the other with suspicion, and relied on spies for information and vigilant border forces for security.

Whilst the citizens may carry on trade and agriculture as if there was no border, princes, dukes and generals alike preferred to move coloured blocks across maps, and plan for the war that would in their eyes - of whichever nation alike - unite two nations as one under their rightful fist.

All that was needed was an excuse, a spark for the flame, grounds for a war.  In 1718 such matters appeared to come to a head, and the smoke that warned of fire first rose...

Formally Ungray Pliskie fell in the domain of Gebrovia, but the crossroads outside the village was considered to be a part of the border.  Ordinarily this would have been no issue, but when a chest of sensitive documents was lost from a Gebrovian military despatch in the area, tensions arose.

Rumours swiftly abounded that the chest contained a small fortune in regimental paye; but the word that garnered most attention from the Clementinians was rumour of Gebrovian military plans within the chest.  Both sides gathered a handful of available troops, in an attempt to find and retrieve the lost materiel at the first opportunity.  Fate would ensure each fell upon it at the same moment.

Local peasants had already discovered the chest, and it had been cracked open to reveal a great mass of coin, startled however, they dropped their booty and fled as two parties of Jaegers closed on the prize, one Gebrovian, the other Clementine.

Lieutenant Pozniezy of the Uscary Jaegers was leading one of several patrols in the area, but it was his that would encounter the enemy this day.  Drawn by the movement of the peasants, he led his half-dozen men towards the crossroad.  Hat the same time Clementine light infantry were stalking towards the treasure in their distinctive grey uniforms.

Clementine Jaegers, led by Lieutenant Toft
Lt. Pozniezy and some of his troops
The first Pozniezy knew of the contest ahead was the crack of fire as a Clementine sharpshooter found his mark.  Corporal Cheiznay slumped to the ground with a howl, never again to stir.  In a mixture of rage and panic the Uscary Jaegers dashed forward, making the best of the ground as further shots rang out.  Clementinians were renowned for their training with the musket...
But for Gebrovians, the truest weapon was the blade, going forward was their favour, and combat with daggers drawn their forte.
Gebrovian men reached the chest and began to drag it back to their territory; in doing so another bullet found its' mark and one of the privates joined his corporal in the cold earth.  But by now the Clementines were closing with the Gebrovians, believing their numbers would carry now.  Seargent Khehknosi went toe to toe with a Clementine soldier, and deftly finished his opponent, with the butt of his musket.
Lt. Toft, leading the Clementines, braved the hopelessly inaccurate Grebovian fire to charge down their leader; hoping to turn the tide.  A duel would ensue, but not before a shot hit Pozniezy in the flank, causing a grievous wound.

The skirmish was swift, and bloody, but from this point it all fell into the grateful hands of the Gebrovians.  At point blank range enve their cheaply made muskets could find their mark, whilst even sorely wounded Pozniezy proved a more wary and able swordsman than Toft, who slumped to the ground, a sword in his heart.

Private Janusei delivered the final blows, making short work of two of the enemy.  Allowing his surviving comrades time to gather up the rewards and withdraw to safety.

 As for the Clementinians, they left empty handed.  Three of their men made it back safely to their lines, whilst three, including their commander died, and one, severely wounded, was taken prisoner.  The Gebrovians suffered two dead, and the wounds to Pozniezy would see him recuperating for some months.  But the vast majority of the pay was recovered, along with the secret orders hidden beneath it.

Tensions flared, with Gebrovia accusing the Clementines of violating their border in an act of outright theft.  The prisoner was exhibited as evidence of the transgression.  The question would become, what the next move would be...

Only time would tell.

Being the first part of our loose, narrative campaign set in our Imagi-nations: Gebrovia and Clementia.  Myself and James will hopefully continue this tale soon, in escalating numbers!  This opening game however , was extremely small, and used the Osprey Games 'En Garde' rules.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A second batch of Ojibwe

These were finished a couple of weeks ago, but prior to that, they were in danger of languishing indefinitely.  In painting terms I've found an issue with painting irregular troops, that they tend to become more complex in design with each set, and that it gets harder to make them diverse at the same time.  You feel like you are in danger of repetition, whether it be poses or paint schemes.  Truly random is had to achieve, patterns show up all to easily.

Anyhoo.  Another 8 of the 24 Ojibwe tribesmen I want to produce:

Same guys, different arrangement
Not much else to add really.  Progress is progress...


Monday, September 24, 2018

15mm terrain time...

New projects abound, and this brings its attendant demands on other strands of modelling.  I decided I needed some 15mm terrain, all the every day countryside stuff you need for a basic tabletop.  However I didn't want to spend a fortune, so most of the following items were made from leftovers and items scrounged at best.

A few hours work
The fences are the ever reliable coffee house stirrers, sliced roughly down the middle and assembled flat before gluing to artists board.

Whole stirrer ends make good stone gateposts
 For the walls I experimented with stripping the outer surface from foamcore, in the hope of finding a textured surface.  At first I had my doubts, but paint showed up a lot of texture.  I had already added an impression of stonework along the top of the walls with the back of a craftknife blade.

Simple but effective
 Lastly the bridge, surely a gaming essential, was from the Warbases super cheap terrain ranges, and was added to an order of bases, as I'm sometimes lazy.  That said, I used off-cuts and cereal box card to improve the setting and surface.  This double span bridge is large enough for my budget art foam river.

15mm Austrians for scale
Overall I reckon I spent a fiver on this collection, most of which was on the bridge.  I need a few trees yet, but I'm not going to attempt to make those; that is definitely a job for someone else...


Sunday, September 23, 2018

TML on Tour 2018....

TML has been on holiday with the significant other to Anglesey.  Managing to pick one of the stormiest weeks in many a year to do so.  Just us, 5 dogs and hundred mile an hour winds...

Consequently, games were played, as I introduced the good lady to a selection of accessible modern classics:

Valley of the Kings - Deckbuilding in a compact box

Azul - Abstract tile laying magic!
Also played was NMBR9, another tile laying puzzle game, Scrabble and cardgame classic Sh**head!

Weather favoured sheltered spots on a number of days, and Anglesey is at the heard of medieval English castle building.  No surprise we ended up in a couple, the lady loves castles!

First up was Caernarvon:

Roman inspired, purportedly.

One of the largest and best maintained castles in Britain 
The castle also contains the regimental museum for the Royal Welch Fusiliers; which was of interest to me:


Early uniform modelled 


 Napoleonic scene



Boer War equipment

WWI Vickers MMG
 The museum went up to the present day, the RWF having had a long and varied history.

Another day involved a rain-sodden trip to Holy Island; the highlight of wich for this nerd was the stumbling on to a beautifully preserved Iron Age (Celtic) farmstead or village:

 The Preservation of the Stone walled huts was remarkable.

Hut  with south facing entrance corridor

Large hut with Northern 'Altar' stone
 Post storm we risked another castle; Beaumaris:
 Never entirely finished in its' day, it was nevertheless made a functional fortification, and would've been an imposing challenge to its opposition.

 Still it fell to siege at least twice.


 The Chapel has been restored to something like it's original condition:

 Anglesey was a lovely break, and had plenty for the history buff, military or otherwise, to enjoy.  Wales overall was dramatic (thanks Storms!).  I'll remember the long walks on the beaches as much as the ancient fortresses and crumbling ruins...