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, July 30, 2023

This Band of Quar

To reward myself for getting so much painted, and spending 5 hours on the highway Saturday, I set up a game for the Quar Saturday evening after Mrs. Rabbitman and I had returned home and eaten dinner. 

I used "The Village" scenario/map from Wargames Soldiers & Strategy issue 125. Just a straight forward equal points meeting engagement with the objectives to: 1. get figures on the table, 2. roll some dice, and 3. try out the unit profiles I had worked up.

Piece of dowel marks table edge

Croftyrans enter this edge

The Croftyrans had 22 points, but rolled a "Logistician" for a leader trait, so I let them take a squad of rhyflers that aren't flocked yet.

The Crusaders had 23 points and rolled "timid" for their leadership trait. So I put their Is-Caerten into the LMG squad instead of the bombers squad. 

I suppose if I was going to break my rules and let unflocked bases into a game I could have also let the Croftyrans have their heavy shotgun team and then the Crusaders could have their Kite.

Croftyran sniper infiltrates into the tree line on the right flank

Tractor and 3x rhyfler squads move into the village

Crusaders cross the worm fields

Sniper, followed by bomber section in the center

Heavy shotgun follows

Bombers clear the first farmhouse

Rhyflers sweep along the right flank

Sniper starts taking shots at the tractor, hoping his AP might do some damage

MG team and bonus rhyfle squad take Croftyran left flank

Sniper moves forward to hide in the grain, effectively locking down the right flank

Crusader LMG squad holds the Crusader left

HSG starts engaging the tractor

Crusader rhyfle squad makes a tactical error hoping to sneak up on tractor

Tractor takes the easy target, killing 2 Crusaders

Bombers advance, LMG section occupies the house they've just left to get a better field of fire. Bombers, assisted by sniper fire, will storm the house on the right

HSG keeps pounding on the tractor, eventually causing the crew to bail out. (They failed their courage test and should flee, but I couldn't see them getting their tractor turned or backed out of where it was, so I marked it with some smoke as abandoned)

"Ssssh... be very, very quiet."

Crusaders do an flank move, after a couple of turns of shooting the MG team breaks them.

Fighting in the lane. Royalists assault farmhouse occupied by Bomber squad

Bombers counter attack but get driven back!

After this things rather fizzled out. The HSG team finished off the Royalist squad. The Royalists were down the tractor and two rhyfle squads wiped out, including their commander. The Crusaders had two very depleted squads. One would evaporate if it failed the next Rally test.

Slight Crusader victory, but only just.

Lessons learned: Crusaders need more cheap, bog standard Rhyfler sections for numbers. Heavy Shotguns should maybe have Anti-Tank as well. I should think of something cool for the cook and pigs. Just using them as another squad doesn't look/feel right.

It was fun just moving toys around. I am pleased with how my Napoleonic terrain looks with the Quar. I'm already wondering how this would play with Through the Mud and the Blood or Chain of Command. I am also now thinking an awful lot about vermiculture and what a Quar farm would look like. I think I need some more haystacks from 6Squared Studio and I should build some bee hives/worm bins/ termite boxes and dung heaps.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Kite Flying

Leading Kite Quar Pwyl helped Flight Yawdryl Hedbog fasten his harness and they ran a final check on the bomb racks, spare magazines and the machine gun. He then hopped down to grab the rope attached to the wheel chocks. 

"Contact!" yelled Flight Yawdryl Hedbog as he pressed the starter.
"Contact!" yelled Leading Kite Quar Pwyl. He looked to the rear of the fuselage where Kite Quar 2nd Class Tymi was standing between the tail booms, hands on the propeller. 
"CONTACT!" Tymi bellowed, giving the propeller a mighty pull to get the engine started. 

With a whine and a cough of black smoke, the engine started.
"Chocks away!" shouted the Flight Yawdryl as he revved the engine.
"Chocks away!" repeated Leading Kite Quar Pwyl, and he yanked on the rope to pull the wheel chocks out.
Now free, the Kite started rolling forward. Kite Quar 2nd Class Tymi was still between the tail booms. He tried to duck and roll out of the way, but the metal tail skid bashed into his head.
Pwyl shook his head as other ground crew rushed over. "Oh dear, oh dear. Looks like we're going to need a new Tymi!"

Flight Yawdryl Hedbog increased the throttle as his Kite bounced down the field. With a final bounce he was airborne and climbing over the trees for the clouds.
He circled the airfield once to join the other kites and then they headed for the front. 

The Front was easy to find. A line of angry storm clouds with flashes of lightning at their base writhed across the horizon, reaching high into the blue sky. On this side their chaps were fighting and on the other side of the line of black clouds was the enemy. They climbed higher to avoid the turbulence from the explosions and the rain of shells causing them. They began circling looking for likely targets and scanning the sky around them for Croftyran kites.

Some flashes in a blasted wood caught Hedbog's eye. Some Croftyran artillery. A fat juicy grub of a target! He waggled his wings to get the attention of the rest of the flight and pointed. They nodded and the Is-Caerten gave a thumbs up. The kites swooped down on their prey. The broken trunks of the woods and the shell craters rushed up to them and they could discern gun pits, stacks of ammunition and waiting lorries. Gunners worked their pieces. Other Quar ferried crates of ammunition to the gun pits. Some saw them, dropped their burdens and ran for nearby shell craters.

Hedbog lined up on a gun pit and squeezed the trigger. His machine gun began chattering. Keeping the joystick steady with his knees he used his other hand to reach over to the bomb rack. He lined up on a stack of boxes and let the bomb go like tossing a dart. As he began to climb he was rewarded with a large explosion behind him and a big cloud of billowing smoke.

Again and again they swooped, dropping their bombs. Suddenly streaks of fire whizzed past Hedbog's snout! "Flaming ancestors!" he cursed. He quickly chucked his last bomb, not caring if he hit anything and grabbed the stick to pull his kite up into a hard, twisting climbing turn. A Croftyran scout kite whizzed past, it's machine gun chattering death. He watched as the top wing of the Is-Caerten's kite suddenly crumpled and the machine spun into the ground. 

Hedbog flipped his kite in the other direction and dove now, pursuing the enemy machine. He lined up the sight on the nose of the target and squeezed the trigger. A long burst tracked along the nose, engine, through the cockpit and along the tail. He saw the pilot slump over and the kite went into a spin as the engine began flaming. "Got you!"

He quickly changed direction. Instinctively climbing and turning to shake off any pursuer before even beginning to look around.

The sky was clear. The enemy scout had been flying alone and paid the price. Hedbog checked his racks. All the bombs were gone and he was on his last magazine. Time to head back for a debrief and earthworm sandwich before another sortie. He got the other pilot's attention and pointed towards their airfield. His wingquar nodded and they both began climbing to get back over the barrage again to safety.

About a month ago, Dan was over to play and said. "Hey! I've got a DH2 model I built for my Back of Beyond games. But I've only used it once in 20 years, so I'm going to give it to you for the Quar." Like I said, I think the Quar are inspiring Dan's creative imagination as much as mine. So I gave him a spare head with goggles. Dan cut off the human pilot's head, made a scarf from greenstuff and stuck in the Quar head and put a bomb in his hand. He then added the bombs and bomb racks and spare magazines. All I had to do was over paint the Royal Flying Corps rondels, which took four coats. I didn't repaint the tail flash. Perhaps the colours signify squadron and flight as well as nationality.

For Xenos Rampant I started with the Lesser Xenos profile and added flight and ranged attack bringing it to 6 points.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

You Want Grubs With That?


Milwer Clwngher dumped a scoop of fried earth worms into the mess tin.

"Is that all?" The young rhyfler whined.

"That's it, kit" he gave a sharp sideways nod. "I've got 200 Quar behind you to feed still. Grab a fried grub on a stick and move along."

The hungry youth visibly cheered up at the offered treat, but Clwngher noticed that he snaffled a second termite roll on his way out. "Ah well,  lots of those." The youngsters were always hungry. Extra rolls were an easy way to keep them fed.

Just then Maeb was pulling another tray of rolls out of a hatch in the side of the mobile kitchen. "Hot stuff comin' through" Maeb called as she carried the hot pan behind the serving line. "And she's got fresh buns!"

"Everyquar likes fresh buns!" Laughed Ryzzo, who was ladling moth soup into the tin cups held out to him. 

Maeb dumped the tray of hot rolls on top of the serving pan. A veteran Yawdryl quickly snatched two, cut them open with his bayonet and held them under Clwngher's spoon of fried worms. Clwngher watched amazed as the Yawdryl balanced his worm sarnies while he munched on a fried grub stick on his way to the tea urns.

He noticed his spoon clunking on the bottom of the pan. "Maeb! More worms!" 

"Right away Boss!"

"More grubs on a stick too!"

"On it!"

"And check the urns. It's cold. Nowt like a hot cuppa to warm a Quar up, as muh Nan always said."

The hungry soldiers kept shuffling past with their mess tins. The veterans thanked him with a nod or a grunt. The recruits looked shocked at the stringy worms or grey thin moth soup. "Quit whinging! I'm not your ma. Now get moving."

It was a nice set up they had. A tarp was strung over the prep and serving areas. The heat from the mobile kitchen kept the chill off. Today's rain was a light, soothing patter that almost drowned out the steady rumble of the barrage at the Front.

The Yawdryl-Major and Adjutant walked past, inspecting the meal line, putting snouts into pots, observing the cleanliness of the cook tops. Both took a deep fried grub on a stick and munched happily. 

"B Company is coming out of the line tonight, have summat hot ready."

"You bet, Yawdryl-Major. We'll be ready."

Aye, nae so bad, he thought to himself as he kept dishing fried worms. He thought it might be a good idea to have a food stall when he'd finished his service. Hot tea, fried worm sarnies, deep fried grubs on sticks. Set up in the market or beside the pitch at Mhudd ball matches. Be a tidy earner. 

His reverie was broken by a commotion. He looked past the line of rhyflers, who had also turned to look. A photographer was setting up and a shiny staff car had pulled into the farmyard where they had set up the kitchen. The driver and one of the motorcycle escorts opened doors and saluted. A couple of Very Important Quar got out. Clwngher could tell they were Very Important because their uniforms were very clean.

"Pickle my snout" Ryzzo whispered.

A Syrnol he'd never seen before strode forward. Another walked beside him in clean fatigues but without rank badges. A red tabbed staff-Caerten hovered behind them. The strange Quar strode over to the serving line all smiles and cut in. With a flourish he produced a silver spoon from a pocket and dipped it into the soup. A flash bulb exploded as he lifted it to his snout.

"Ah yes, moth soup" he stated airily. "A basic, traditional favourite. Such a comfort when far from home. Interesting tangy undernote to the broth though. What is it?"

Before Clwngher could speak Ryzzo opened his snout. "Well, sir, we was bombed this morning and that'd be the dirt and shrapnel what fell into the pots, see?"

The visitor coughed and spat the soup out.

Maeb whispered in his ear. " That's Chef Ymil! He has The Dung Heap, only the biggest restaurant in Llantwit."

"Yes, the restaurant reviewer of the Blaen-ty-Wad Bugle said my moth wing suspended between two stag beetle horns was sublime!" The celebrity chef looked at the mess tin of the rhyfler beside him. "Although I don't suppose you have much time for artful plating here, do you?"

"Moth wings an' beetle legs is fine for the La-di-dah folk mindin' their weight. But it'll nowt fill a 'ungry rhyfler just out of line."

Chef Ymil drawled. "Quite. But it tells my story in food. What's your story?"

Clwngher shrugged. "Story? I like fried worm sarnies and a cuppa. Thats my story."

Chef Ymil chuckled in a pratonizing way and bent his snout over Clwngher's pan. "And what have you got here?"

"Fried earth worms sir." 

"Ah!" The chef dipped his spoon in and took a fat, glistening worm out. He chewed thoughtfully. "Basic, but an interesting piquant note, with a slight crunch." He dropped the uneaten half back into the pan.

"That'd be the red ants that Peppa found for us yesterday."

The chef looked around. "Who is Peppa?"

Clwngher nodded at the spiny pig stretched out in a warm dry spot underneath the field kitchen. "Our pig sir. She found a big nest o' ants yesterday. Good nose on her."

He spotted the tray of grubs on sticks. "And what are these?"

"Deep fried grubs on a stick, sir. Use the termite roll mix to make the batter."

Chef Ymil ate it with relish. He took a second. "Spicy and sweet. How do you do it?"

"I mix honey and red crickets into the termite batter." Clwngher straightened up slightly. "It's muh own recipe! Gonna sell 'em at Mhudd-ball games like, when I Demob."

"Are the grubs locally sourced too?"

"Oh yes sir. We got them from the farm right here." The rhyflers had kicked down the barn doors and ransacked the farmer's crop of grubs, termites and beetles, barely leaving enough for the family.

"So what about these buns, eh? What story do they tell?"

"I can't say what story the buns is about sir. Maeb here bakes them fresh every day. Hundreds and hundreds. We're not sure what's in the flour mix. But it says termites."

"I do like a termite bun! Simple and homey." He bit into one. "Hmmmm, quite. You should try my recipe for candied flies!" He turned to smile at the camera again and then left the bun unfinished on the counter. Just as quickly the party was back in the shiny staff car and driving away. The young rhyfler next in line surreptitiously grabbed the unfinished bun. 

A week later, Ryzzo was reading the Rhyfler's Report and laughed. "Hey Clwngher! You made the front page!" Clwngher snatched the paper away. There was a picture of him in knit cap and greasy apron looking like a right daft plonker behind his pan of worms while Chef Ymil smiled. He read in mounting disbelief.

Celebrity Chef Cheers the Troops.

Chef Ymil, Executive Chef of the celebrated restaurant The Dung Heap, visited a mobile field kitchen near the Front to see how the troops were being fed. 

"The cooks of Field Kitchen Cawtrad 31 were doing a fine job providing a locally sourced, organic, farm to table menu for the hungry rhyflers. They really captured the terroir of the place. Something that I naturally do with my new recipe for deep fried grubs on a stick. You can get the recipe in my new cookbook: Chef Ymil's Victory Kitchen. I'm also pleased to announce that I am opening a factory to provide candied flies and tinned moth soup for the army."

Maeb was reading over his shoulder. "It would've been nice if he'd brought some of those candied flies with him, wouldn't it?"

Clwngher gave the paper back to Ryzzo, who turned to the Mhudd-ball standings. "Chance'd be a fine thing, wouldn't it?"

He had some Clanquar posted in Llantwit. He'd write to them. They'd sort the big snout out....

A couple of months later, while they were filling thermos packs with moth soup for a waiting ration party to take forward, Maeb commented. "See the paper? Yon snooty snout chef what was 'ere? 'is restaurant burned down."

"Huh." Grunted Clwngher as he packed a satchel full of rolls. "Dangerous places kitchens. You can never be too careful like. "

My friend Dan likes to kit bash and convert things. He's getting as big a kick out of the Quar as I am I think. My Quar cook inspired him to make a field kitchen. He bought a metal FT17 kit many years ago and it came with an option to make a Command Tank with a big boxy top instead of a turret. He'd always thought it would make a nice field kitchen. For the Quar it doesn't matter if it's an exact historical model, does it? So he added a smoke stack and supported it between two American Civil War artillery limbers. I just had to paint it and finish the base.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Crusader Reinforcements

Finished a 15 figure batch of Crusaders on the weekend. When added to my first group of 5, I now have five units for Xenos Rampant.

For my Crusader army, I'm aiming at a First World War British/Canadian platoon organization: a base of fire made up of rifle grenade section and Lewis gun section and a maneuver element made up of bomber section and rifle section. I'm a bit stumped how to make rifle grenade launchers with the Bogens and Ryshis, so they may get a mortar section instead.

First is a squad equipped with a light machine gun, very reminiscent of a Lewis gun. Gunner, No. 2 carrying a drum magazine and spare barrel and three rhyflers with Bogen automatic shotguns. These count as heavy infantry with the heavy weapons upgrade in Xenos Rampant. Note the rhyflers are all 2nd generation with cast on arms and rolled down sleeves.

A heavy shotgun crew. These count as a Support Infantry with heavy weapons and armour piercing upgrades.
The Quar standing is holding a magazine of shells to reload. 

I like that the kneeling Quar and the gunner have special magazine pouches for more shells.

Then there is a sniper. A Single Model Unit of Recon Infantry with Sniper Team, Counter-Sniper Training and because he's armed with a large caliber anti-material rhyfle (i.e. shoulder cannon), I'm giving him Armour Piercing too.

A couple of extra rhyflers to round out my 1st generation Bogen armed rhyflers from the first batch to make a 5 figure squad of Heavy Infantry.

Next some heavily armed assaulters for a "Bomber" section. Rhyfler with Bogen and handgrenade, plus grenade pack. Same figure as in my first batch of Quar. Then two 2nd generation one piece, with long sleeves Quar armed with the Ryshi automatic rifle. The bayonets make me think they're more of an assault weapon. So this squad will have Assault Doctrine and Close Quarters Doctrine.

Finally an officer. I gave him a regular helmet, because I like it better than the officer's helmet. I am aiming for a Canadian WW1/WW2 feel, so officer's wearing the same headgear as their troops looks better in my opinion. I think I'm going to have to see if I can buy extra heads with basic rhyfler helmets at this rate. But he's got a browner jacket with gold buttons, collar pips and belt buckle. He's also awfully well armed, and about to lead an assault with his trench axe, pair of grenades, pistol and bandoliers of extra cartridges for the Grifkis Double shotgun (shot pistol?) that he is loading 

This gets the Crusader infantry to 23 points for Xenos Rampant. 28 if they take their Cadier transport and 34 with their incoming air support form an aircraft Dan has converted for me (watch for an upcoming post soon)!