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!

Sunday, October 30, 2022

And Now For Something Completely Different

Ok, maybe not. 1809 Austrians being yet another German speaking Napoleonic army, so not very different from the Prussians or Bavarians,  except in coat colour. I seem to like the Germans. Must have something to do with my heritage and a genetic predilection for sausages, sauerkraut and strudel. 

Victrix are molded in white. Perry in grey.

Victrix are molded in softer plastic which is easier to cut, but so many arms! 4 of 6 figures on each sprue require one or both arms to be glued on. Positives: some greater variation in leaders, and you can make skirmishers. Negatives: slows you down a lot, very fiddly and not as much variation as you'd like to think. Not a very good fit with the packs. At least Victrix gives detailed and well illustrated instructions. Mounted officers are a nice addition. 

Perry's are molded in a harder plastic and simple construction: glue on pack and pick a head. NCOs (2 of them!) are nicer. It was difficult sussing out an NCO pose with Victrix. The Perry officer is limited to head choice really.

Victrix use the same sprue layout and then just change the heads with each set: helmets, shakos, Landwehr hats, or Grenadier bearskins. So each set has both Fusilier and Grenadier packs (grenadiers have swords), which is useful for the occasional NCO who also carried swords. The Perry set has choice of helmet, shako and Landwehr hat on the sprue. But only the one pack, so you need the metal conversion set to make Grenadiers. 

As I assemble groups of Fusiliers, I am also trying to ensure that I do a 2 figure skirmisher base for every 16 figure "battalion" so I can use these for General d'Armee as well. Although a group of skirmishers for Sharp Practice will be useful as well I'm sure.

Now that I've assembled four 8 figure groups and some Big Men etc I should probably get a few primed so I can start painting them.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Forth Eorlingas!

I have finished the second box of Gripping Beast plastic Goths at last! Took me 18 days to paint 6 cavalry. Ok I did prep my game for Lard Eh 3, make some autumn trees and record a podcast plus assemble 2 Sarissa churches (they aren't done, so I haven't shown you yet) in there, but still. 

I based these ones on singles to add to my previously completed figures so that I could form the 6 figure squadrons into even ranks of 3.

This gets me to 1x mounted hero, 4x squadrons of heavy cavalry and 2x squadrons of lights, plus 3x shieldwall foot units and archers. At Lard Eh I bought a them a shield maiden as well, so there's a 2nd hero once she's painted.

That should keep the orcs busy. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Lard Eh 3

On a beautiful October Saturday, when I should have been doing some gardening, I instead drove with Weirdy-Beardy to deepest, darkest, downtown Hamilton for a Lardy themed game day. A change in route thanks to recommendations from a Hot Lead friend made the drive there and home much less fraught with peril, unlike my last three trips to play in Hamilton. Victory for old fashioned map reading! Take that Google Maps and GPS!

I got a spot in friend Brian's 6mm I Ain't Been Shot, Mum game refighting the 1/Suffolk Regiment's 2nd assault on Strongpoint Hillman during the afternoon of D-Day. See also a Youtube video here.

Brian is a fantastic game master who always brings his depth of knowledge about the battle being played to the game to help the players understand what is going on and facilitate any rules interpretation required. His terrain is also very well made and thought through. 

This scenario was one of the players fighting the GM/table since the Germans were pretty static and didn't have much to do except react. Looking at the situation I quipped to my team mates: "Two up, one back, bags of smoke?" One of them replied, "Yeah, sounds good." 

Fortunately our supporting 25 pdr batteries got on the job quickly and the first missions were on target so we had the most dangerous German MG emplacements blinded for the critical break in phase while the Engineers widened the gap in the minefield to let the tanks in.
Our Briefing

Starting the assault

16 platoon storms the kitchen bunker!

Bags of smoke. Engineers are busy widening the gap in the mine field.

Clearing the trench

7 platoon has cleared the AT gun and assaulted the MG next over the garage. Lucky 13 Platoon is getting ready to leapfrog forward.  Lucky because despite being caught moving in the open in a crossfire, they took no casualties. 

The tanks are in the perimeter (two troops still under blinds!) and helping the infantry with short range fire. German Force Morale collapsed just after this.

Brian introduced me to using Force Morale for IABSM, which is a great idea that I'll use from now on instead of troops fighting to the bitter, ragged end.

After lunch I ran my Bag the Hun game. I decided to tart up my cards for the public and considering I haven't played the system for a long while I thought it went pretty well.

Used as my template the cards Richard Clark put out on the internet for an IABSM scenario for the 1st edition 

The scenario involved two chotai of Zeros (6 aircraft) escorting 3 Vals and 3 Bettys to sink an American destroyer. 8 Wildcats in 4 flights have been sent to provide cover. Any game with a ship is automatically 100% cooler in my opinion (so why am I not a bigger naval gamer?!), and it was good to have an objective for the players instead of just groups of fighters swirling about.

Oh dear! Fortunately for the USN the American player rolled very well and the IJN player not so much.

Dive bombers! Vals get 2 solid hits on the destroyer. 1 is splashed by flak and the other 2 are shot down by hungry Wildcats 

Fish in the water! Bettys finally make their attack. 1 crosses in front of the bow. Other 2 hit! But both fail to detonate. 

The destroyer was heavily damaged but at the cost of 3 Vals and 3 Zeros, including their Top Ace. The USN lost 1 Wildcat with a 2nd damaged.  If even one of the torpedoes had detonated, the destroyer would have sunk, giving the Japanese players a clear victory. 

Lee of Crucible Crush was there with his wares, including some of Pulp Figures new 1066 range, so I picked up a warrior princess for my Rohirrim. 

Grouchy's Waterloo: a review


Grouchy's Waterloo: the Battles of Ligny and Wavre by Andrew W. Field, Pen & Sword Books Ltd. 2019.

This was a fascinating read. Most accounts that I've found of the Hundred Days focus on the politics, Napoleon and the march to Waterloo. Or they're anglocentric and focus on Wellington. I've read so much about Waterloo itself as a youngster that I started avoiding the subject. But this book, detailing the right wing of Napoleon's campaign is quite fascinating. 

This is part of a trilogy examining the campaign. A companion volume explores Ney and the Battle of Quatre Bras. This book is also unique to me in that it examines events from the French perspective. In depth analysis of the battles of Ligny and the pursuit to Wavre and the battle of Wavre itself are a big part of the book.

He concludes with an analysis of the facts as they were known to the participants at the time. A lot of ink has been spilled saying what Grouchy or Napoleon or Ney ought to have done, but those are all talking with the benefit of hindsight and arrive at very unjust criticisms. The composition of Grouchy's force is also looked at to give insight into its mission. 

But the clear analysis of Napoleon's orders and appreciation for the fact that Napoleon did not approve of initiative or independent action by his Marshalls are the most convincing. Grouchy did what he was told to do. The fault is entirely Napoleon's. 

Field is a very good historian and more importantly a very good writer. 

Highly recommended. 

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Autumn Trees

I bought some bare tree armatures from Model Builder Supply at Hot Lead in March to make some winter or autumnal trees for added character on the table.

Between reading about Tolkien and his affection for trees, and watching Gardener's World, I've been looking at trees a lot lately. This week the trees on my street have begun putting on a pretty nice show so that inspired me to get cutting.

With a sharp blade on my heavy craft knife I hacked out irregular shapes from some fiber board I had on the shelf and beveled the edges.

I then used a drill to make holes and glued the trees in place. There will be stubs to cut off underneath.

The trees were spray painted with charcoal grey and then light grey paint. The bases were painted dark brown and before the paint fully dried they were covered in glue and flocked with some rather awful tasting tea from a discount store.

Tea leaves were then drybrushed with Bestial Brown and Vermin Fur.

I then got my absolutely oldest jar of flock, some 45 year old coloured sawdust that has been waiting for decades for this time!
Now is your time!

This was added in patches to represent fallen leaves.

A bag of Autumnal Mix coloured lichen is then used to add some leaves to the branches and it can be removed for later season games.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Mass Media Mass Imagination

I have decided to drop Rings of Power, and I'm glad to have now that I read of some of the nonsense the show is putting into the Tolkien fanspace about elves and mithril. This will be uncritically accepted by folks who haven't bothered to actually read anything and they will push it in any online discussion of Tolkien's writings.

Some folks are just happy to have any kind of story and visuals to fill their need for ever more material in their fan universe as they passively consume whatever crap the production studios push out. Lot's of thigs I just don't care, I enjoy the show, eat my snack and laugh at the silliness. But Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth are just far to big a psychological touchstone for me to put up with bad writing, poor characterizations, plot holes and changes to the lore.

But what bothers me, is how pervasive movies get in the fanspace. You can't imagine Aragorn now without Viggo Mortensen's face can you? Hard isn't it? People tell me "Oh it's just fanfiction, enjoy it!" Fanfiction is easy to ignore. But once some bad fanfiction is made into a show, well it gains a lot of weight in the on line community.

We run into this all the time on the Wargaming in Middle Earth Facebook group. We try to be very clear that we want to preserve a space for miniature wargames inspired by the books, not the movies, because there already are loads of Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game groups on Facebook for those players. But regularly someone comes along, wanting to discuss MESBG and talk about the official GW models (or worse, IP stealing knockoffs!) and we get accused of being elitist gatekeepers when we ask them to take that somewhere else.

It's really hard now to Google any images for The Hobbit without having to filter through the movie. Rings of Power will do the same for the rest of Middle Earth I fear. Instead of finding art by Alan Lee you'll just find stills from the show. When you try to talk about the Valar, elves and the philosophical underpinnings of Tolkien's writings, some show-fan will say that the show is now just as valid a source material as the writings of the person who created the setting. Honest, I had it happen with some chap when discussing the Scouring of the Shire. He called me a "elitist of shallow intellect" because I insisted that the books should have primacy when actually trying to talk about Tolkien's themes (not Peter Jackson's interpretation). I had, by the way, already agreed that for the movie structure the Scouring had to be cut out. But the removal does affect the themes, doesn't it?

And if you voice the opinion on line now that you dislike the show, you get jumped on. And blanket accused of not having watched it, but just being an elitist snob, or worse racist, hater. So even though I'd love to discuss Tolkien and his writings on line, I avoid the fanspace because one becomes a target if one doesn't just enthusiastically and uncritically lap up the next bit of media that Big Media shoves at us.

Now, I'm going to go back to painting my very not movie Rohirrim. And I have some very not movie Dwarves coming in the mail.