Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Work In Progress.....September 2014

The end of September 2014 and due to my arbitrary decision to start my ‘Wargaming Year’ at the beginning of October it’ll soon be time for me to write an irrelevant outlook on the last 12 months of wargaming action.  But for now I’ll concentrate upon the last month and news of a purchase, and not only that a purchase of Battlefront German Flames Of War models!  Truly a momentous occasion considering by my reckoning my last addition to my 15mm Jerry’s was the Open Fire boxed set in September 2013, and I bought that for the Shermans so the German bits are still all packed away.  I have so many Germans that I have not been able to find the willpower to overcome my financial guilt and add to them until now when I filled a gap in my arsenal by buying a pack of 3 15cm Nebelwafer rocket launchers.  Super cheap and very effective I’m hoping they will replace my 10.5cm guns in smaller Flames of War games in supplying smoke and anti-infantry cover, once I make them that is.

Painting & Modelling:

Busy month for painting as I finished off the first batch of my Wars of the Roses troops, and then got my air brush out for the first time in months.  The 3 units of combined bowmen and billmen have already seen service in a game with Aidan’s collection, and I added to them by making 12 mounted men-at-arms and a breach-loaded artillery piece which are spray painted and awaiting attention at some time in the future.  Taking a break from 28mm, and with the suggestion of an October Flames of War tournament, I moved on to my pile of damaged, unmade and badly painted halftracks, 12 in total.  Having made the 3 Plastic Soldier Company ones that Pete so kindly gave to me last month I repaired the other Old Glory models and moved onto air brushing them.  Before I knew it I had spent a good 2 weeks with the air brush set up on the dining table (shoved over when not in use obviously) and an additional 4 RSO tractors, 1 field car, and my 4 Brumbarrs had been dragged into my efforts at building a FOW army I can put down without poorly painted shame.  All still a work in progress and clearly needing their own post.  As will be obvious I have only managed to find short segments of time to airbrush, hence why its taking so long!


Plenty of that in evidence on a Thursday evening as I inducted Dave McClumpa into the mysteries of Saga (although I suspect he already knew about them), played Bolt Action against Luke and reassured Phil that we’d played Flames of War in his campaign, and a clash with Aidan between his/my Yorkists and his Lancastrians.

Painted Vs Purchased – the final totals for 2014:

The painted total for this wargaming year now includes 37 Wars of the Roses 28mm figures, 2 of the excellent Foundry Wild West figures, and a very large porter (54mm+?) and his baggage trolley for my dad’s LGB railway in the garden; 41 in total.  The 3 15cm rocket launchers, plus command stand and observer added an additional 5 models to the purchased total.  A very respectable amount.

Purchased: 32
Painted: 167

 Bio-Titan Special:

Finally; the bio-titan is showing signs of liking playing with toy soldiers.  So far in the last few months we’ve had out my 28mm Romans, Royalists, 6mm American Civil War, Wars of the Roses (cue his explanation to his teacher about ‘Yorkists’), Boromir and half the fellowship and a bunch of goblins, and finally the skaven who are a staple of the playing day on their battlefield in the dining room.  If it was me I’d have been told by SWMBO to pack that rubbish up within hours, how does he do it?  Currently some 15mm Sherman’s are fighting a running battle with several German half tracks and a bunch of cheap plastic toy soldiers through wargaming trees across the coffee table.  I think the Germans are losing.  Surprisingly very few breakages, he’s following the instructions (and squeaks of panic) to be gentle very well, couldn't let any of his friends near them however because in comparison they are all quite rough with their toys and others.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Hastings' Folly - A Wars Of The Roses Battle

My first three units of Wars of the Roses troops took to the field alongside a goodly chunk of Aidan’s Yorkists, and bore down the main road towards the Lancastrian defended village in our latest 15th Century match up.  Unfortunately my commanders, led ineptly by Lord Hastings and his horse division, failed to realise the urgency required, and Hastings found himself out on a limb stranded in front of the village and blindsided by the Lancastrian horse to his right.  One of my three horse units was swiftly dispensed with, and the second wasn’t far behind, falling victim to a sweeping advance.  The third lasted just long enough to give half the Lancastrian horse a bloody nose but then succumbed and Hastings slunk away to hide in a wood by himself. 

After this exchange the battle turned into two separate engagements.  Firstly my Yorkist right clashed with a strong bunch of Lancastrian re-enforcements.  My own models, commanded by William Herbert, blunted the enemies attack before Lord Salisbury led his men-at-arms and mercenary pike men in to throw them back and crush them utterly.  The second engagement saw the second half of the Lancastrian horse come thundering out of the village, having survived an earlier artillery-related scare.  They then successfully overcame their initial of closing fire and pointy arrows to smash into the Yorkist left wing (commanded by Faulkenburg – a peer on a warning after last time out!).  Faulkenberg’s troops had advanced swiftly and aggressively to the edge of the village, particularly impressive when compared with Salisbury’s paltry efforts at crossing one hedgerow.  Now they faced the wrath of a small group of heavily armoured mounted nut cases, who pushed them back several times despite the Yorkists numbers, and came perilously close to breaking the whole division.

Fortunately for Falconberg enough time had passed and the end of the battle came before he could suffer the ignominy of being chased off completely.  Aidan declared a generous draw given I had destroyed one of his divisions and damaged his horse, but I’d lost my horse and general, and Falconberg was in all kinds of trouble (again) while the Lancastrian defenders of the village untroubled in my quest to capture its crumbling ways and single low-cost tavern.  In hindsight I had managed to choose several commanders who were at the wrong end of the leadership scale – Salisbury in particular managed some fairly indecisive actions.

Photos are poor – I relied on an iPhone camera which was a mistake last time, but clearly my memory was as good as Hasting’s grasp of tactics.

Yorkists to the fore, horse heading for the village at the top.

Lancastrian defenders.

Dammed hedgerow. 
Hastings' outflanked.

Lancastrian re-enforcements.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Wars Of The Roses - Part 2

Part 1 of my Wars of the Roses label came on the now long past date of the 10th October 2012.  That is quite a while ago, and apart from a battle report and a mention or two of how I was going to think about painting some bowmen in my Work in Progress post they have been scarce mentioned since.  However today is the day, because following another (un-chronicled) battle using Aiden’s lovely Lancastrians and Yorkists I have found the motivation, stirred myself, and painted a whole 37 models!  I then added to this total by building and spray painting my breach loading artillery piece and crew, and 12 mounted men-at-arms. 

This work has left me with 2 units of bowmen, 1 of billmen, and a commander on foot to lead them – all units being 12 strong for foot, and 6 strong for horse.  The painted models have had the army painter Dip used on them, hence why they don’t look too bad and I’ve actually managed to finish them, although I cannot take credit for the commander apart from his base because it’s a model Aidan donated to me, and he came already painted to a better standard than I could aim for.  One fly in the ointmen - I managed to knock the quite flimsy flag pole off the billmen while 'Dipping' them.  I'm not sure whether to try reattaching a sturdier one, or to leave them bereft of flag.  

On the production line are now the 12 horse and artillery piece and crew, and if I get through those a further boxed set of 3 units of foot (the 2 bowmen and 1 billmen arrangement again) awaits construction.  I’ve also to solidify my commanding officers and their mens background, with a man named William Herbert the prime choice and the men destined to support the Yorkist cause.

Pictures came out terribly on reflection, the models actually look better than  that.  Damn.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Historical Wanderings - Hardknott Roman Fort

While in the Lake District I walked the 5 mile round hilly journey with my brother up to Hardknott Roman Fort which stands next too Hardknott Pass.  It rained.  Correction; it rained a lot, and we got fairly wet.  Luckily it was still relatively warm, and the effort was worth it for the stunning views and interesting site.  The fort itself is small; the information suggests that a cohort of Dacians was based here for much of its use, and it was meant to protect the trade route from a hostile population.  The route ran from the sea, and the Roman fort, bathhouse and port at Ravenglass (approximately 10 miles away), up over the pass.  

Standing in the rain it really felts like you must have annoyed someone to get posted there at the time; wet, remote, hostile territory, and with only a bunch of sheep to keep you company.  The remains of the fort includes the outlines of walls, corner towers, the commandants quarters and the central HQ building.  For comfort a small bath house was just outside the gate on the roadside of the fort (cold room with plunge pool, warm room, hot room, and even a sauna - they were way ahead of us!), and a parade ground of naturally flat land was a couple of minutes walk through boggy ground just above the remains.  Unsurprisingly the fort had the characteristic 4 entrances, at least one of which was out onto a cliff side.

For those who don't like walking you can drive up and park in a lay by by the fort, but its a challenging drive with 25% gradients, and the Wainright walk we followed was very rewarding.  I took a few pictures, although the scale of the views and site is difficult to convey.  There are also some pictures of the best way to get there - the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway!

Inside the fort looking up at the pass.

North (cliff) side.

Centre of the fort - stepped up with the land.

Two very wet foolish people laughing - this was the second attempt at taking this picture, the laughter is caused by the camera being blown over by the wind first time out!

Looking back on the return journey the road up towards the pass can be seen.

Douglas Ferraria.

Wroxham Broad.


Work In Progress........August 2014

This month I've spent most of my painting time on the 3 units (36 models in total) of Wars of the Roses bowmen and billmen.  The second bowmen unit has nearly finished the painting stage, and once that’s done I can move onto the Dipping, Flocking and Matt Spraying stage and my painted total will shoot up a bit further just in time for the end of my painting year.

In terms of gaming I actually missed 3 weeks in August due to a holiday in the Lake District, a social event on a Thursday evening at Chirk, and not arranging a game in time – for the latter I was also feeling a bit of gaming burnout/disinterest which comes over all of us at some point.  Fortunately a few weeks off and I’m rather keen to get back into the fray.  Before the time off I played Will at Carrcassone (a great board game, and one I will definitely get a copy of), and afterwards joined Aidan and Luke in trying out Gates Of Antares (Darleks vs humans!), and put in a late appearance at a good English Civil War game in Frodsham.

A slight alternation to my Purchased/Painted total due to Pete very kindly giving me 3 halftracks for my Flames of War Germans.  These, added to the number of seated personnel to go in the others, are being stored ready for a massed halftrack making session at some point.

Purchased: 27

Painted: 126

Monday, 1 September 2014

English Civil War - The First Battle Of Frodsham

With my days work finished by 11am (the price; a 5am wakeup call) I took a drive to Frodsham where Aidan had organised a big English Civil War bash to give our armies an outing, amazingly their first since their Gauntlet appearance over a year ago.  I came late, with the other 8 participants having arrived, set up, and already reached turn 3.  Things were already going badly for the Parliamentarians, with several regiments having already quit the field, and my own collection was split, with the bulk being spread amongst the weakened Parliamentarian left and centre while I retained a horse and small foote brigade as I joined the Royalists.

The Participants:

My fellow Royalists were as follows - Andy; fighting a sluggish battle around the church and amongst the village buildings on the Royalist left.  Secondly Chris, whose large horse brigade had already rampaged through the rebel centre, those Parliamentarians who wished to survive had retreated into hedgehog formations.  Finally Luke; whose foote regiments were now putting the screw upon the remains of the Parliamentarian centre and holding the star fort on the Royalist right.  My own limited forces supported Luke.

The Parliamentarians had an Ian (Hedley) on their left facing me and Luke, an Ian (Shaw) next too him loosely holding the centre but still shell-shocked from Chris’ onslaught, and to their right Michael (still bemoaning his lack of Swedes – banned by the umpire due to their justified reputation!) who was controlling the Parliamentarian right along with David who both faced Andy across the village.  Aidan’s name is absent as he was acting as an umpire for the day, and had designed the scenario at the last moment – the key objectives for each side being to capture the others redoubts.

The Battle In Short:

Or perhaps in Very Short because my wide position on the right meant I missed much of the action on the left, and Aidan has done a report too.  The Parliamentarians poor luck with dice continued to dog them throughout; Ian H’s infantry, and in particular his storming parties, being very reluctant to advance.  It felt very much like 1643 with the Royalists able to do little wrong and the rebels struggling.  Chris’s horse were joined by Lukes and then mine in further devastating the rebels centre and mounting a brief (and unsuccessful) assault on the rebels main redoubt, while Luke and Chris also sent forward infantry.  Andy, David and Michael found themselves in a stalemate before a tremendous amount of damage was caused in the last couple of turns.

Pike blocks engaged across the battlefield as Michael and David’s troops finally stormed forwards, Lukes men pushed into the two Ian’s foote regiments, and my sole foote regiment clashed by the star fort.  Ian Shaw’s command practically ceased to exist, and foote units vanished across the field.  The powder supplies (a special rule in use) having run out this was the only way to cause damage!  With time up it was left to the umpire to declare a win, and although the Royalists hadn’t managed to claim the rebels redoubts the enemy had never come close to the King’s ones, and had suffered numerous casualties in the process.  Victory to the Royalists.

Aidans Report: http://rgmb.forumatic.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=445

The Eye Candy:

I spent more time walking the table looking at the lovely models than paying attention and taking pictures that showed the progress of the game.  The size of the battlefield swallowed the huge armies in use – I actually had to ask Aidan and Michael if they had brought their entire collections because there were still spaces.  Ian Hedleys vignettes provided most of my highlights because I hadn’t seen them before, and they were well worth spending some time studying – adding class and character and period feel to the board.

The battlefield at 12:30pm when I arrived.  The star fort on the Royalists right is in the foreground, and the Royalist left in the village right at the top of the picture.

The star fort defended by Lukes troops.

Lukes Royalist foote going forwards to clash (successfully) with the two Ian's foote around the windmill.

Some of Ian Hedleys lovely Parliamentarians.

Note the rampaging Royalist horse.

Vignette time - the war on the Royalist left seem to have been held up while both sides watched this.

Pig on wheels.

Royalist alcoholic supplies. 
One of Ian H's storming parties.

The rebel left which had been battering away at the star fort with no appreciable effect.

Rebel commanders.

The Royalist horse attack in the centre.

Foote closes to short range in the centre.

My horse help break Ian (Shaw) infantry centre.

Sheep stop play as the Royalist attack is held up by the woolly bunch.

Push of pike on the Royalist left.

The village and church.

Cannon and toilets.

Rebel encampment.

The Royalists have the heights and the advantage.