In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Procrastinating Projects

Nordic Weasel asked "What gaming projects do you keep putting off?" on Twitter last week.


I quickly came up with a list, which I have since added to:

  • My 18th cent Imagination "Mantovia" & it's 20th cent manifestation with Centurion tanks. 
  • A castle for my Medieval stuff (although I probably need 2 really: 1 for 11th cent & 1 for 15th cent/WotR)
  • Urban ruins for WW2 Eastern Front. 
  • A couple of dice towers (one as a North West Frontier tower and one more medieval/Middle Earth)
  • Dwarves for Middle Earth 
  • Finish up my Swiss
  • Finish up my samurai 


I should probably just start at the bottom and work my way up!

Well maybe move the Dwarves up a bit. They will be a significant expenditure. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Legio Ballistari
















Latest installment in the Late Imperial Roman army that I've been painting for a friend for almost 5 years now.









I think they are Foundry.

Their owner will base them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Battle of Ste. Marie dans les Navets

 
















From the Chronicle of St. Frobenius:

In the Year of Our Lord, 1102, Baron Fulk, bastard son of Count Raymond, did with the urging of Cardinal Berengar raise his Raven banner in rebellion and bring an army of rough and ungodly mercenaries to torment the land of Mantovia. Saracens came from heathen lands to join with the Black Company and landless knights seeking fortune. 

The army of Fulk the Bastard










Count Raymond did marshal his host and met the foe at the church of Ste. Marie dans les Navets. All the chivalry of his court did join his banner. The Red Knight commanded the right battle and the White Knight commanded the left. Even the Hermit Knight left his prayers to command the front line and defend the realm and Holy Church ftom the depredations of rapacious unclean hands.












Fulk did array his host thusly, the Saracens were in the van while the Black Company came next. Behind he did array his horse.

The feudal host of Count Raymond the Good 


The Godly host of Mantovia waited their advance. Shields held before them like the walls of Jerusalem. Horns sounded. Arrows and quarrels found many a mark. Saracens went down into the dust. The Black Company charged three times, crashing against the shieldwall like the sea. The Hermit Knight bellowed over the clash of arms, "Stand ye churls! Stand or by the love of Christ I shall send thee to the Devil myself!" Thus, with holy zeal he held the line firm until the foul mercenaries withered like straw before a flame. 














On the left knights did charge and swirl in great melee. The Black Knight, his lance in hand lead Fulk's knights and did break the shieldwall before him. But Sir Adhelbert kept his bloodied and depleted squadron in hand and did charge the Black Knight stopping his assault. 













On the right, the Red Knight did perceive some rebel horse passing through the uncut barley closest to the village and lead his squadrons to meet them. Through the corn they charged each other but the Red Knight,  a valiant and puissant man at arms did overthrow them all, even into the village pond. 
















Seeing his plots overthrown, Cardinal Berengar spurred his horse and bade Baron Fulk to take ship before Count Raymond the Good's men at arms caught him.










This was a big solo game of Lion Rampant with 56 points per side and I didn't even use all of my troops. Each army was divided into 3 battles or commands. I also tried out my ideas for character abilities which added some fun without being too much. I played it out over two days. The irony that I set up an elaborate village which was completely peripheral to the action isn't lost on me either. But it's all about the eye candy. 



Sunday, October 4, 2020

Characters in Lion Rampant

 My Anglo-Saxon literature professor in Grad School once remarked that "history got boring when it stopped being about Otto the Fat and became about Corn Laws."

Characters make a story. My early feudal collection has quite a few characters and I've left them individually based because I didn't want to bury the Red Knight or the Golden Knight among the press of crashing chivalry.

But what to do with them? As you can tell, I was feeling very Arthurian when I named them, and the figures each gave me a sense of a distinct character.  

L-R: White Knight, Red Knight, Golden Knight, the Fool, Black Knight 

The White Knight is a Gripping Beast figure. His sense of fatigue and defiance really appeals to me. The Red Knight and the Black Knight are both Old Glory Crusader figures. The Golden Knight is from the Old Glory Norman command pack. The Fool is from Games Workshop back when Bretonnians were cool and had the HYW/Mort d'Arthur aesthetic. 

L-R: Iago the Black, Captain of the Black Company,  unnamed Captain, Cardinal Berengar, the Hermit Knight 

Iago is an Essex figure. The unnamed Captain is from the Old Glory Norman command pack. I have a second figure from the same bag. The Cardinal and the Hermit Knight are I assume Military Order commanders from the Old Glory Crusader command pack. The Hermit Knight is presumably a Hospitaler commander. But he looks old and grumpy. He's come back from the Crusades with great battlefield experience and bitterness, so he has retired to a chapel in the woods to pray and only emerges to protect the poor and defend the realm.

I had first thought I could just get some more knights and give everyone a banner, effectively making two more squadrons by mixing them into the cavalry. But that involves buying and painting more figures. 

Then I hit on the idea to leave them as singles so I can attach them to whoever, infantry as well, and let them move around the battlefield using their special abilities where needed. Many of these abilities are inspired by the magical rules in Dragon Rampant. 

White Knight - attached unit rerolls any failed Courage test.

Red Knight - attached unit rerolls any missed combat dice. 

Golden Knight - his uplifting songs of chivalric glory gives a +1 to any Courage test within 6".The Fool provides an extra figure for hits etc. 

Black Knight -any 6 rolled in combat causes 2 hits

Iago the Black - rerolls one failed activation within 6" per turn 

Captain - one free Move or Shoot activation per turn

Cardinal Berengar - any unit he is with gets +1 on all activation rolls. 

The Hermit Knight - gets one re roll of any Rally, Courage or Activation within 6" per turn. 

Any of the knights or captains can challenge each other or a leader to a duel. They are also subject to Lucky Blows. They count as an extra figure when taking casualties delaying half strength by 1 figure. 

If they are attacked on their own then they count as a knight for armour, attack and defense values  and roll 6 dice, but are killed if they take 4 hits. 


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Renewed Normans!

The Norman Reinforcements and Renovation project has gone faster and easier than anticipated. I worried that I would fnd myself come mid-November, surrounded by debris and scattered figures, filled with self-loathing and despair as the massive rebasing bogged down.


But since my last post I bashed on, finished the final two batches of cavalry and then started sorting the cavalry into new squadrons, trying to mix shield colours and mixing new figures in with the older figures where I could.



Removing the old bases made from heavy card (I did find one still based on a piece of balsa wood which I haven't done in 30 years I think!) proved easy. So after they were all glued down I started rebasing the infantry. All the infantry. So many infantry....



The mostly Old Glory infantry have the usual weird discordant mix of poses. Fellows swinging two-handed axes in with fellows standing with spears. So I took the opportunity to regroup figures into more active posed units and less active unts. Lion Rampant has an "Expert Foot Sergeant" (or "Offensive Heavy Foot" in Dragon Rampant) upgrade who have a better attack value. So now I can deploy two 12 figure units of chaps swinging axes and hacking with swords who can be easily distinguished as "Expert/Offensive" from the chaps standing around leaning on their spears.


Waking up with a sore throat on Friday, and with new Covid Protocals at work, I called in sick and used my sick day very productively to smash on with The Great Rebasing and got all the bases painted brown and flocked.







I have found myself short a few kite shields to finish one command group and a couple of characters, so that squadron is behind in the rebasing and flocking scheme. But Pasha Dan has investigated his spare parts inventory and has some for me when next he passes this way.


So the final tally is:

  • 3x squadrons of unarmoured mounted Yoemen
  • 9x squadrons of armoured knights/sergeants
  • 6x mounted characters
  • 3x 12 figure companies of yoemen
  • 6x 12 figure companies of foot sergeants
  • 3x 12 figure companies of crossbowmen
  • 1x 6 figure unit of Bidowers with crossbows
I also rebased my scruffy, ugly, second hand and highly notorious mercenary unit The Black Company while I was at it. They've been fighting for the Necromancer in Middle Earth a lot lately. But they've been sorted into

  • 1x squadron of heavy cavalry
  • 2x characters
  • 2x 12 figure companies of heavy infantry/sergeants
  • 1x 12 figure company of offensive heavy infantry/expert sergeants

They've been looking for some skirmishers for several decades. When they're in Middle Earth they just employ goblins, but that's not really an option in Normandy or Aquitaine is it? I may just need to buy the Gripping Beast Dark Age archer set. My Anglo-Normans and Goths/Rohirrim could do with run of the mill, bog standard archers anyway. Until then my super busy Ral Partha archers will do yoeman service.

While sorting everyone into regular stands I culled out a nice little handful of figures that I might add a few others to as I find them and make a small 12 figure "castle garrison unit" with a mix of knights, sergeants, crossbows and archers.



I think I shall clear off the table reward myself with a battle! Watch this space.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

September SitRep

Been plugging away at a few things in my off time. Work has picked up and all the fall chores like cleaning up the garage naturally press upon me.

Also Cadets has started up, but Covid and Social Distancing has complicated that, so there's Zoom meetings and virtual lessons on Google Classroom and training schedules put in disarray to take me away from painting.

But I have been bashing away at the Norman cavalry renovation and am within a pip of finishing them! At least the painting. Then all 72 need to be based or rebased. Plus the infantry. Then they can go loot the village and set fire to the church, or something. 


Off with the old shields! 

On with the new!



So many bases!

I have also been cleaning up and priming my 1/600 scale aircraft and trying to research IJN aviation  colour schemes. It seems the Japanese weren't very precise in their colour regulations. Of course very few examples survived the war so it's hard to tell. Plus sitting on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier exposed to sun and salt water weathers the paint considerably.

L-R Me110, He111, Me109

Mosquito, Spitfire, Hurricane 

Taking advantage of the last good evenings. RAF and Luftwaffe getting primed

Avenger, Dauntless, Wildcat, Hellcat 

Teensy weensy landing gear to glue on teenie tiny Vals. So glad I didn't get any Stukas! 

Betty, Kate, Val and Zero 

And just to keep another plate spinning I've read two books on Afghanistan:


Operation Medusa was a good strategic overview. Fraser was certainly highly complimenatry of everyone he worked with during the lead up to and execution of the battle, from allied commanders down to the squaddies in his Close Protection Detail. The chapter headings featured a lot of quotes from "Mother" his Brigade HQ Sergeant who was in Tactical command of his Tac HQ when it rolled out several times a week. More detail about the tactical aspects of C Company's ambush or B Company's push in from the north would have been welcome, but I suppose that is out of the scope of the book. General Fraser's worry about losing access to all the allied air assets before he could conclude the battle and destroy the Taliban shaped some key decisions. He does also point out that TF31s actions on the southern flank as detailed in Lions of Kandahar were pretty key in winning the battle. Still an interesting read. 

Combat Mission Kandahar was also interesting for the soldier's eye view gritty detail. There is information on a few engagements. The chapter covering the Recce Squadron for instance told me that minimum patrol size was 3 vehicles and the sensor operators provided the dismounts as required. I had a third Coyote in the lead pile. A metal and resin kit from S&S Models which I had vague plans to add a sensor mast to, but I decided to just paint it up. A couple of large scale ambushes were also detailed, including one on a large vehicle convoy, and another featuring Canadian advisors and an ANA company. Both  could make for an interesting solo game at least.

Another piece off the lead pile!