Monday, February 11, 2019

All for One!


James has been busy working on a new project, and arranged a game for us using his shiny new 18mm Blue Moon Three Musketeers collection.  We played the game using the 'En Garde' rules from Osprey, a set which my limited experience to date have proved to be quite appealing.

Each of us would take a Musketeer - I got Athos, which was nice! - in an effort to escort lady Constance, with the assistance of Planchet, the loyal servant.  Facing us were 16 of the Cardinal's Guard, determined to ensure the information lady Constance held, was never placed in the hand of the King...

The suburbs of Paris
 Our mission was simple, to get off the opposite side of the board in ten turns or less, but we were heavily outnumbered, speed and stealth would be the order of the day.

En Avant!
 However the Guards had a good idea where we would be, and although initially dispersed the soon gathered on our position.

Most of the Cardinals' men waited in the Marketplace
 The Musketeers moved through the alleyways of Paris, hoping to dash past the Guard, but they soon began to appear in ones and twos before us, and the more bold amongst them soon sought the glory of felling a Musketeer by the sword.

Porthos goes climbing
 His boldness ended with a deft thrust to his heart by Aramis, blessed with speed and skill.  Still his valour bought time for his allies to encircle our heroes.  Athos soon found himself in a brawl with a number of the Cardinals' men, as did Porthos.

Athos distracts a cluster of Red Guards
 Meanwhile, D'Artagnan had no end of trouble providing a distraction for lady Constance; he seemed to have met the finest swordsman in the Guard, and it was only the aid of Planchet that saved his bacon.

D'Artagnan struggles... 
Aramis was scything through the Guards, and helped all of the Musketeers in one way or another.  This permitted the Musketeers to advance, but by now the final Guards had arrived en masse, including the dastardly, and skillful Captain - Count De Rochefort.

Ultimately D'Artagnan falls to the Cardinals' Captain of the Guard

As time ran out the Musketeers gathered at the wall of the Eglise d'St Mary.  Where Rochefort fought D'Artagnan to a standstill, delivering him finally what could easily have been a mortal wound.  Lady Constance had to avoid attacks of the Guards too whilst Planchet too was grievously wounded.  The final Guards were dispatched and Rochefort retired, but his work was done, at great cost,  but the messages of Lady Constance would not arrive in time to save the day.

We were defeated alas, but it was a fun game none the less.  My thanks to my brothers in Arms, Matt, Joe and Charles; and thanks to James for arranging the game.

Here's to a rematch sometime soon...


Thursday, January 31, 2019

The rise of the Bodurian Army...

Readers may recall my Fantasy Cliches post last year, it had its' tongue in cheek but it made a clear point; Fantasy gaming tends to stick to fairly narrow tropes.  Which is not true of fantasy fiction for example.  Consequently I thought I should maybe spend some time on a project that tries to break a few, if not all of those rules.

So what to do, well, Given my present Historical interests, it seemed there was an obvious choice:

 Yes, a Napoleonic-esque force.  Drawing a little inspiration from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell perhaps, alongside a little bit from several other sources, and lastly a big chunk of my own imagination....

As a tester for an overall style I kicked off with a unit of Scouts, using Perry British Rifleman parts, paired with Russian infantry heads and a French Dragoon sword for their commander.

I went for a winter scheme, as my vision is of Boduria as a rising state in a Eastern European context.  Mixing modern Black Powder and military theory, with the old ways of dark arts and sorcery.

Part of this would allow for magic and mystery to be a part of the force, but I wanted it also to feel like an established structure in the military; Hence the Regimental command is a mix of a traditional officer corps and a religious order.

 The composition of this elite infantry unit has a rather Transylvanian tone to it perhaps.  A young witch is accompanied by monastic cultists and her protective Golem and ever present eyes and ears (bat swarm), as powerful as she may be though, she is junior in command to the Colonel, who military skill, tactical knowledge and discipline are what truly leads men.

This unit is a Perry Russain command figure, two Perry Crusade Monks I had spare, a couple of Reaper Bones models and an antique Julie Guthrie scuplt for the witch.  From the old Grenadier range.  I think this had sat unpainted in a box since I purchased it in about 1989!

Finally, to begin with, I prepared a unit of Heavy Riders, making sure I broke the rule about humans only using horses as mounts.  In fact the beasts of burden here are to become a theme across the army (See the army standard above).  Wolves:

 Bodurian Guard Hussars ride massive wolf-like creatures, in fact an ugly but effective crossbreed with blood from savage heavy jawed dogs, giving it enough docility to be trained by normal means.  True wolves in Boduria are far more massive, and generally only controlled by magical means, and deep bonding with their masters.  But more on those another day...

These are a blend of spare parts from several Perry French cavalry sets, combined with the Games Workshop Hobbit series Fell Wargs.  All the 'horse furniture' was sculpted with GreenStuff; making these a slow process to prepare.

In  the interest of speed I used a glaze technique to paint these models up fast; wanting a good wintry finish I dusted the bases with a frosty highlight and then added globs of fake snow.  I hope it gives the right impression.

These three units represent about half of the initial 24pt army, with lots more in the works.  Hopefully this project will continue to develop quickly in the coming months; and continue to steer away from the usual fantasy gaming tropes...


Sunday, January 13, 2019

General Jacques Thomas Sarrut

Another command addition to my Napoleonics collection.

"Jacques Thomas Sarrut (16 August 1765 – 26 June 1813) joined the French army and became a division commander in the First French Empire of Napoleon. He led a regiment at Hohenlinden, a brigade at Jena, Bussaco, and Fuentes de Onoro, and a division at Salamanca. He was mortally wounded while leading his soldiers against the Anglo-Allied army at the Battle of Vitoria."

Not otherwise especially notable, being something of a journeyman commander, the figure I've used for Sarrut is one of the Front Rank generic French command figures.  That said he has a rather natty cape to protect him from the weather (it's not always sunny in Spain!)  This resulted in a lot of chopping of details from the horse furniture to get the figure to sit at a decent position.

The wheel seemed a nice added touch, and came from a stockpile of Victorian 28mm artillery wheels I was given years ago.  It may be a little later in date but I doubt there's much difference.

A useful little figure.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Mandalorian

As suggested, I've knocked out a quick Star Wars model from the pile of shame.  In fact this chap had sat in the corner of my painting tray for about 18 months!

No prizes for guessing who this notorious bounty hunter is:

There is some tricky undercutting on this model from a painting standpoint, but the hardest part seemed to be getting a decent reference for the costume colours - simply as there was too many choices, but film stills were not as definitive as you'd like.  This is based on a costume replica, letting them do that legwork for me.


Thursday, January 03, 2019

Imperial Assault: Skirmish Mode

After an eternity, longer than it takes to crank out a Star Wars sequel anyway, I had the chance to get the Imperial Assault minis back on the table in the last month or so.

Not in campaign mode however, myself and Gav - for a change of pace - tried the Skirmish mode, a head to head wargame mode with some role-play wrinkles thrown in.

Darth Vader leads a Raid on a Cantina hiding Rebel scum 
The mechanics are largely the same, but given the rebel player is no longer comprised of heroes, the game plays more the less like the Imperial role in Campaign mode for both sides, with simpler actions, but special orders cards to add back a level of uncertainty.

Local drinkers are quickly dispatched 
Whilst there may be issues with certain troops being very powerful (Darth Vader is a beast), this all works very well, and as can be seen, with painted models on the lovely terrain tiles, looks glorious.

Red robes support the Sith lord against Han and Chewie 
Having the rare novelty of playing the Rebels, I soon found myself outgunned and outmanoeuvred.  Gav led the shiny forces of evil forward in a way that cost scarcely a Stormtrooper even.

It's not going well  
Turns out Droids are a bit of a points sink when you don't have enough firepower to back them up.

  Chewbacca in deep doodoo...
The Imperials were soon triumphant.  But the main benefit of this was to establish the IA in Skirmish mode is actually a fine game I should have been playing more of for a long time.

 Sad losses to the Rebellion
Given the difficulty of running the campaign (Read - organising sessions, herding even a very small number of cats is still hard!), I think I will be rolling this out instead, and it may prompt me to paint the last couple of miniatures I have knocking around too.

Oh, and buy some more rebellion troopers, or maybe some new heroes, or add some mercenaries, or......



Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Bavaria: 1st Dragoons

So, these were completed thanks to insomnia on Christmas Eve, before setting out to do the Xmas festiveness; still you make the use of the time as and when you can.

roughly half of the Bavarian cavalry regiments were Dragoons, the others being Chevaux Leger, who visually at least are basically different coloured coats and little more, Nevertheless Warrior do make distinct miniatures for each...

I also finished an infantry commander at the same time.  He'll pass for a Brigadier, but not much higher a rank.  Curiously, Warrior do not make Bavarian generals, as I suspect they think French commanders would normally be in charge!

Here he's accompanied by a Grenadier captain of the fifth regiment.
That's not bad progress for this year, hopefully we can get another foot regiment or two done in January, but I'll be away some of it so one can't count ones' chickens.


Monday, December 24, 2018

T'was the Fight Before Xmas...

...And all thru the house, all the creatures were fighting, to the death or the rout!

 For Santa was lingering in his magical village,
But five armies of evil arrived, it to pillage!

Frost giants, and Kobolds, and Orcs with their kin,
And hordes of the Undead; all hearts full of sin,

 And lo, did the greenskin send gigantic Trolls,
to sit on poor Santa, to keep him controlled,

 Whilst Santa was trapped the Skeletons fought,
Both undead commanders keen not to get caught,
But each also maneuvered to fend off  more rivals
Slaying Dogmen and Goblins by stabbing their vitals!

 Lo, Giants so frosty, tho towering and tall,
Could hardly fight anyone properly at all,
And several fell to the claws of the Wocky
Whose acid and claws stopped them being too cocky!

 For though the village let them sneak up on kidnappers,
A blast from the Kobolds sent them off like the clappers!

 And whilst Santa by Trolls, was slowly deflated,
The Dogmen beat the Giants and so were elated,
Five giants arrived via their magic portal,
And four swiftly returned with wounds proving mortal,

Lo, Santa remained a captive of Greenskins,
Yet glory still beckoned, and undead would seek him,
The chariots rumbled and charged into battle,
But the Trolls that received them defended their chattel,

And soon the undead crumbled into the snow,
And the threats from their peer group force them to go,
Defeated and weakened once force thus retired,
And the other undead troop to glory aspired,

But time was a wasting and their roll of the dice,
Was too late a gamble, so the victors in vice,
Were the feindish Hobgoblins and Orcs, large and small,
Who looted poor Santa of toys for one and all!

So if you see Santa on this Christmas eve,
And he's covered in bandages and look ill at ease,
Consider that maybe he just had a fight,
And hope that he has more fortune tonight!


Monday, December 17, 2018

Pedroche 1811 - a Small Matter

Well, it's a modest game, but we got another 28mm Napoleonics bash in this year.  Not the one we had in mind, but a pleasant diversion nonetheless.  James S had purchased a basically (but acceptably) painted British force online for a decent price and wanted to get them on to the table, I felt sure we could oblige, so myself and Gav took control of some of my French to face them.  I loaned James some Artillery and Riflemen for the night to fill out his ranks, but it turns out he had enough infantry for 8 regiments at my normal 24 figure unit size!  Too much for my French, the table size or one evening to handle.

The deployed arrays

The battlefield is split by the Arroyo da Santa Maria river, a fairly insubstantial water course, fordable with difficulty at any point, but obviously easier at the bridge on the West-East main road.  A small farmstead lies to the northwest on the British side of the field, whilst, open woodland covers the eastern side.

This was James' firs game of Black Powder in several years, so it was to be largely a rules refresher, plus an introduction to mine and Gav's fast'n'loose style of gentlemanly play.  Nonetheless, to ease James' comprehension of the rules, I stuck to the actual Albion Triumphant (Vol.1) army lists for the forces; developing small matched forces without our usual tweaks to the system, and slapdash "that feels right" army composition.

Broadly the forces were:

British left

British right
 James had two brigades, one with a Guard and two line regiments, supported by a Battery of 6lb guns and a company of riflemen; the other of a Highland regiment and two line Regiments, with an attached regiment of light dragoons.

French left

French right
 We had slightly more infantry on account of the sheer quality of British troops in the rules (lordy, they are ridiculous!), our first brigade being two French and two German line regiments, with an 8lb Battery attached; our second having three French line regiments and a regiment of Heavy Dragoons.

Opening moves
 The British led the attack marching a unit in line up to the eastern road, but James Guards blundered off to the rear of their own guns.  Progress around the farm was slow by comparison, but reliable.  The French opened up a steady artillery fire in response, alongside a more effective general advance.

Early hits on Brits
 Jmes revised his lines to allow for the confused Guards, and his realisation that the British in line may have more firepower, but took up so much more battlefield real estate, reducing his tactical options.  He aimed to cover the river and make the farm a fortification.  For our part we covered our left with a Square to trap his cavalry, whilst aiming to use our more mobile units to attack his troops with greater force.

 Attacks develop on the French Right
 Tied up fighting the square (British cavalry can't help but charge), we were able to charge our heavy horse into the British flank and drive his cavalry off.  Meanwhile Gave aimed to outmatch the British in the farm with fire.  Optimistic, but the British shooting proved cautious as James tried to save his 'First Fire' for the opportune moment.
The Light Dragoons run,  The Heavies line up a new target
In the centre a French line regiment caught the Highlanders in Square and slowly pushed them back.  Meanwhile on the far right the German regiments hit the British line and only their 'Steadiness' saved them from flight.

But at the river crossing the French did suffer a reverse as a line unit broke from vicious fire from the British before them.

Late on
But alas, with the extensive clarifications of the rules and the limited time available to us of a Thursday night (further curtailed by our club AGM being the same night)  we had to call it quits at this stage.  With only one unit each lost I felt it fair to call it a draw, although I naturally felt the advantage at the stage we reached lay with the French.

Still it was mainly the intention to get James back up to speed on the game, and to consider options for the future.  James has at least as many French as Brits somewhere, so it could allow us to much enlarge our games if we so wish in future.

And to be honest, it is another good reason not the switch to BP 2.0; as I feel no urge to relearn or reteach another version of the rules!


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Terrain updates.

A few weeks ago I was able to retrieve some of my remaining collection from storage with family, this resulted in my finding myself with four new armies, lots of figures to add to a fifth project and a bunch of scenery; the vast majority of all in dire need of updating.

Some of these jobs were going to be easier than others; I've quickly turned around some of the easiest.

FIrst off I decided to tackle a couple of my old Viking/Medieval buildings.  Here's a very old photo of them from the blog; in fact the only one I could the distance:

Not great resolution
You can make out the thin, curling, card covered with green flock.  Top notch.  The bases went swiftly, and were replaced with thick MDF and texture:

 It's also clear here that the model's had variable paint jobs, the stone hut is kinda okay, but the wattle and daub hut needed a fairly complete revision.  None of which took too long though:

A bit better
Layering and dry-brushing sorted the buildings, whilst the usual terrain base formula was used.  These will find a new home on any number of battlefields.

I also had some trees, good for 15mm scales and above.  But their basing was in need of a rework; here again we use the wayback machine to see how they looked in 2006:


Nice models though.  Better bases were all that was needed:

 Also some Merit fir trees, Zvezda and others have subsequently produced these; I think they are pretty good actually:

There are a few more bits to tackle, but they can wait.  These will all come in handy however.