Thursday, 30 December 2021


 One more calcium-deficient unit...slingers.  While the weapon distinguishes them as slingers, the lack of clothing or headwear can have them available for any ancients, or indeed a fantasy army, but they will constitute a skirmish unit for my Ancient British force.

I added a styrene belt and attached bags adapted from plastic WW2 model pouches.  Wire produces the corded slings.

For decorating the table,  a Celtic house, as seen in the background, built from a packing tape roll,  cone-shaped cereal card, some foam-core, and teddy-bear fur for the thatch.  

Now to go out a dig out the walkway of snow.

Monday, 27 December 2021


Nothing says the Holidays as much as bones. Going ‘caveman’ and gnawing on the thigh bones of the turkey is a particular favourite treat for me, so not surprising, during these Holidays, I am painting up bones, many bones.  Skeletons to put a fine point on it. 

My Romans “were getting lonely” so I decided to make an opposition for them. The spur was a box of plastic Celtic Chariots (formerly made by Wargames Factory).  I had sold the other part of that force to a wargamer friend who decided that the chariots were not compatible to the Victrix versions he had just picked up, so I was left with them. They sat for a while, but during the late summer, I had tried to make some plastic horses from melted sprues (*see note below) but as you can see from the photos they did not quite come out as I would have wanted…. However, they still had the shape of a horse and the rather ‘rough’ surface did look like decaying flesh. Skeletons in the making, as it were.  The original ponies are now set aside and these de-fleshing horses will transport the chariots driven by Ancient British skeletons. 

The reins are from the Victrix versions which were given as the wargaming buddy decided to do his in thread.  They were the perfect length, fit into the yoke fittings perfectly and had the hands attached so could be given the boney arms with ease.

I consider the whole collection less fantasy and very much a historical armed force…. well, OK, minus the flesh.   

Firstly I have bulked up the Roman force by adding an Auxilia unit.  I managed to find some faceless Roman helmets. Recent research suggests that Auxilia and Legionnaires were more closely equipped than once thought and it is offered that only the oval shield would be the major distinguishing feature.  But I did not have any oval shields laying about.  As I was pondering this, I noticed that I had not thrown away the bases cut away from the previous batch of skeletons used for the Romans placed on the flat ‘palace tiles’.  As seen from the following photo these former bases are of a perfect shape and size.  The newly repurposed pieces were quickly sanded down a bit flatter and received a new GS boss using a paint dropper bottle top as a mold.  It was surprisingly easy to do.  As these shields were, presumably lifted from the ground by their users and so would not be factory new, I did not worry overly about perfect copies.  

note the similarity of the shields to the bases of the figures!

The mold for the shield bosses

The other Roman unit created are archers.  These are helmet-less but do have a small shield which came in the box, along with the quivers (duly scraped smooth of any ‘fantasy decorations’!) and used strips of styrene for the belts to hang all the equipment upon.

note the two markers in the foreground for those units who have 'legged it' (these lower legs were not needed but I try to repurposed most plastic bits) 

Photos of the rest of the Roman force.

(*  The sprues - the frames on which the plastic parts hang and of the same material as the models themselves - are not recyclable. Rather that throw away, I thought to melt down with acetone and try doing a few different things with this mash.  The horse molds did not really work but the bubbles and miscasting certainly have a zombie jive to them!)


Tuesday, 14 December 2021

“Nateville Campaign” the first engagement


My new wargaming pen-pal offered to create scenarios for me to play out for which I am using one of my War of 1812 collections. This is the solo-play of the first of the engagements. The set up can be seen at:link to my previous post of this campaign

While Canada was, at the time of 1812, very much British territory and all those (well most anyway) would say they were British citizens, this particular miniatures collection has only military units made up of people who were of North America and has no British Regulars.  It is based on an all-Canadian, both French and English speaking inhabitants, who fought the Americans along the Chateauguay River in 1813. Thus, I will call them "Canadian" throughout the narrative. 

 The Canadian raid on the Town of Nateville had party of Abenaki Natives, the Canadian Fencibles (Regulars) and supporting Sedentary Militia downriver of the main force of Select Embodied Militia (SEM) (well-trained militia), and Voltigeurs (well-trained, experienced light infantry) to cross the main bridge to take out the American ammunition caisson to hamper the forming American invasion of Canada.

The engagement thus formed two distinct areas of operations which we shall call "the left flank" and "the centre" at the bridge or town.

The day started on the left with the Abenaki crossing the river together with the Fencibles.  The American Combined Light Infantry (a unit of those companies of the various regiments who were considered to be light infantry trained.  Some debate as to their training or even if they had distinct uniform differences) quickly formed up into close order to meet the oncoming Fencibles who would forego any shooting and use the bayonet charge.  A bloody melee ensued causing casualties and disorder on both sides. 

The Fencible charging the defending American Lights (in blue uniforms), the British officer on this flank directing the attack.  During the entire battle the American commander did not emerge from his headquarters in the town. (I would have him on a separate activation as the raid was to catch the Americans by surprise)

Meanwhile at the bridge the Voltigeurs were in mid-stream fording the river when they heard much screaming and stopped frozen in place - well, they failed to advance for whatever reason! - as the American Volunteers ran passed in front of them in rout away from the charge of the 3rd SEM.  The American Pioneers simply put down their tools and surrendered.

The rout of the American Volunteers from the 3rd SEM (left) and watched by the grey-clad Voltigeurs (bottom) in the river.  The artillery can be seen on the hill.

The rout of the Volunteers did clear the field of fire for the American gun on the hill, but in the haste to load the cannon they inadvertently reversed the cartridge...or because I rolled a poor 4 on their activation dice?...

In Nateville, the bulk of the US infantry seemed obvious to all this fighting as they did nothing. At this time I had now rolled under 4 pips - on two d6 - for four successive activation rolls!  Do note that for Rebels and Patriots rules activation for a unharmed unit is only 6+ on two dice.  Perhaps the dice did have a bias this day as the Canadians favoured well than the American rolls.

The brave 3rd SEM kept up to task and quickly proceeded up the road to Nateville and a double-sixes activation roll brings into action the reserve of the 1st SEM unit. 

The 30th US Infantry moving up (slowly....) to support the Combined Lights 

Back on the left, both the US Lights and the Canadian Fencibles reform after their combat but the Natives continued musket fire causes further disorder to the Americans.  The fight would continue until the action in the town was resolved to signal the Fencibles to give up their fight with the American Light company who gave a surprisingly good account of themselves.  Both units sustained 30%+ casualties.

But it was on the road to Nateville that the battle hinged. The 3rd SEM, not seeing anything of the Voltigeurs (yes, yet another failed activation from this unit.  It was to have two more in turn and thus play no part in the engagement) saw the gun on the hill as a distinct threat and poured a devastating fire upon it causing half the crew to go down and breaking the morale of the artillerists.

The marker to the left indicates 50% casualties on the artillery unit.  A grave morale situation indeed in the Rebel and Patriots rules.  

The officer with the 3rd SEM at the ammo wagon. 

The sounds of gunfire finally drifted to the town and eventually all three Infantry Regiments started to move in its defence.  

The final moments of action as the wagon is alight and the Canadians (in red) about to depart. The American units could only fire off a single weak volley of fire. 

With the new reinforcing 1st SEM moving up to the bridge to secure the route of retreat and ignoring the plight of the artillery, the heroic 3rd SEM continued up the road to find the prized ammunition wagon just ahead of them with the teamsters desperately trying to move out of harms way.  The SEM officer also could see the masses of the 10th and 31st US regiments emerging from the camps towards him.  He decided to risk a further run up the road might get his unit up to the wagon to disable it or alight it and hope the following 1st SEM would help his inevitable hasty departure. And indeed fortune favoured the brave as a fortunate Attack Activation roll of 10(") and a quick thinking musketeer jamming his weapon into the spokes of the rear wheel had the wagon come to a stop. A lit cloth was deposited under the lid of the wagon and the unit made a hasty departure under rather poorly aimed gunfire by the oncoming American regulars to the sound of a mighty explosion.  The American ammuntion supply was destroyed and the Canadians made their escape.

Casualty count:

Americans: Combined Lights  4 figures out of 12, Artillery 3 of 6, Volunteers 1 killed, 4 missing (rolled for), Regulars - all three units 0 of 18 each.

Canadians: 3rd SEM 2 of 12, Fencibles 5 of 12, Abenaki 0 of 6, Montreal Sedentary Militia, Voltigeurs, 1st SEM all 0 of 12.  




"dog-sniffing", WaT, Early WW2 winter tank action

As mentioned in the previous post, my Early War 1941 winter Eastern Front “What a Tanker” game that evening had four players (including myself) with a very simple “us v them” shootout.

My t-26 in the foreground running from the German looking to shoot 'up my butt'

A PZIII and PZII against a T-34 and T-26. The night’s dice were fickle indeed as the one necessary die to complete the desired activity - usually shooting of course - failed to occur.  Everyone was affected. But for me, the rather exasperating failure to do anything useful from a full set of dice only happened once, so that was good.  And I got a kill, taking out the PZII with one shot. Rare indeed.  It was early in the night, so I had the defeated player bring on a PZ35 (a rather better tank and game equivalent to a PZIII.  I spend the rest of the game trying to avoid it!  All the while looking to see if the other German had a shot at me!

"dog-sniffing" In the background the German is chasing my t-26, while in the foreground, the partially-whitewashed t-34 is ready to shoot at the rear of the heavily camouflaged PzIII.  ED NOTE: This was only part-way through the battle; this would continue for quite some time.  Weird game indeed.

The game tended to resemble a “tail sniffing at a dog park” as one wit suggested, during which we circled around the snow-covered burnt-out buildings looking to shoot each other up the tail pipe (the weakest armour point) However throughout the night each of us would fail dramatically to get the relatively easily achievable 3+ on the dice, and roll lots of 1s and 2s instead. Ce la guerre!


Big v Small

If you are hosting a game is it very good to know ALL the rules so I wanted a practice game before hosting a “What a tanker” game that night.  But I already packed up my usual winter terrain, so I put out a very plain table of a Russian village, a couple copses of trees and my latest t34/85.  But what about an opposition?  Well I do have a 1:56 R-35…. A bit mis-matched admittedly.  Understatement no doubt as the Russian is a 8 Armour, 8 Strike beast vs the early-war two-crew 4 Armour and only 3 Strike. 

obviously the R-35 to the left and the Russian t-34/85 behind

Thus, I would have the R-35 (run by a Romanian crew being Eastern Front and all) only wanting to go back home, to cross the table and exit.  The Russians were sleeping in a village house.

Perhaps rather foolishly the Romanian commander decided to take an open pot-shot at the “sleeping” Russian hoping for a lucky shot. He failed to hit.  The Russians were slow to wake up and get active.  The Romanian’ further move past an intervening house allowed him a second shot. This too failed, but the Russians were fully awake and on the move.  They rounded the church but the dice failed them and the shot on the rear of the Romanians could not be taken.  

Yikes! the Romanian is shitting bricks!

The Romanian command dice then blessed them with a long move to - almost - off the table - and freedom.  But not quite, so allowing the Russians to get one more shot off with their big gun. They took the shot but it failed to hit the rear of the small French-built tank! (8 dice needing 3+ but getting only two hits —-I am such a terrible dice roller when needed! )  the Romanians managed to get enough saving rolls to sigh a big relief as they exited the battlefield and continue their way home…. 

The R-35's turret is facing the Russian while the vehicle is making off the table..

Saturday, 4 December 2021

The 'Nateville' War of 1812 campaign #1


A new wargaming pen-pal suggested the following to be a idea of a scenario:

“For you, Doug H,  I'm thinking some War of 1812 action to blog about.  A solo campaign that i can feed a bit.

The Americans are preparing an offensive and are gathering supplies and mustering troops in a town.  The Brits have caught wind and have decided to launch a spoiling attack before their own reinforcements arrive.

Scenario #1.  River crossing raid.  A smaller British force with Iroquois allies launches the spoiling attack versus the inferior quality but superior numbers American force.  A bridge (defended) and/or boats can be used to cross the river.  The river is only partially defended, then the heights to cross (also partially defended) before the town can be reached.  The majority of the American troops are in/near the town.  The British objective is to destroy the ammo dump and retreat without catastrophic casualties.  Terrain is wooded with a few farms and the major road to and from the town, bridge, and table edges.

-American activation.  Units are unaware of the raid and can not activate unless they make a successful roll.  Roll modifiers include LOS to British units, or being x distance from a firing unit”.  


I therefore came up with the following table set-up for my upcoming “Nateville Campaign”:

the War of 1812 theatre of operations around the fictional border town of Nateville, Vermont in the year 1813.

The American volunteers guard the bridge while the Regular Pioneers (stand on the left) do repairs on the bridge strengthening the timbers to allow the artillery to cross supporting the upcoming invasion of Canada. The artillery is in guard position on the hill in the background before the town.  Little that they know the Canadians have other ideas than to accept the invasion with little activity of their own....

The object of the Canadian raid: the important American ammunition supply. A unit of American regulars form up in front of their tents. Of note: the horse teams are Perry British but I replaced with Old Glory early war American heads.  The wagon is a Warbases MDF version of a Napoleonic baggage wagon painted in the light blue color of the American equipment during this time.  These Warbases wagons are quite good and easy to put together.

More American regulars camped on the far side of "Nateville, Vermont".  Of interest are my wooden tents. Yes, indeed they are made from wood found abandoned at a construction site in a nice triangular shape ready to be cut into tent sized portions and carefully sanded edges to give that 'canvas-draped-over-a-pole' look. The rest is just paint.

Further to the east of the bridge, the Abenaki natives (left), the Canadian Fencibles (Regulars near the creek), and French-Canadian militia (at right in the red caps) are ready to surprise the American 'Combined Lights'' Battalion (near the cabin).  The bridge is at the upper right ready to be assaulted, and  Nateville is in the distance. Most of the buildings are scratch-built by me.

I think I will use the Osprey Publishing rules "Rebels and Patriots" for the games.  Hopefully soon, but currently I find I am drifting from one 'project' to another in rapid fashion worse than a Ritalin-deprived butterfly.