Saturday, 17 December 2022

Terrain up

 When asking "What have you been up to?" to the wargamer, the inference is usually "What have you been painting?"  And fair enough, as that is the big chore for most miniature wargamers. But I have tried in the past while to work on the terrain aspect of the tabletop.  Using some lightweight but very sturdy poster boards which seem not to warp with water/drying, I can apply terrain in large areas. Thus I can indulge in creating mini terrain boards of building complexes or fields.

As with the recent posts I usually scratch build out of whatever material is at hand.  Foamcore and coffee stir-sticks are my go-to from which I built a farm house and put together with a small sample of rather realistic looking astro-turf as a crop.

The field utilized some of the "straw" fences previously built but as they were very susceptible to knock over or damage, added them permanently to a layer of plaster for a medieval/renaissance field.

These took the afternoon to accomplish while I listened to wargamer podcasts some of which content complained about the lack of "appropriate" terrain on the average tabletop!

Finally over the week or so, needed some added "jungle" for placement on jungle-print neoprene mats bought a while back.  Not really sure I like the look of the printed mats and they certainly look worse in the photos.  The jungle is, of course, the every popular aquarium plastic plants which were embedded in leftover chunks of styrofoam covered by ground up natural lichen and moss.  As the weather is rather not conducive to the spraying of matt greens to lessen the 'glossy effect' of the plastic, that must wait til spring. 

Poor 'Ieko' with his lunge-mine chasing an Australian Matilda tank somewhere in South-East Asia. While he did manage to hit the tank, he did no damage to the tank...but of himself?...say no more...
The leafy print on the mat is over-scale and not that convincing.  I might sell the mat and just build more jungle.

Again poor "Ieko" this time exposing himself to the rifle fire from the accompanying Australian infantry  - in the background - during the second game with the boys on Friday night. The first rifle bullet put a big hole in his shoulder, the second mortally.  The jungle bits look a bit better in this angle. The non-commercial made body of water was purchased at a convention years ago forms a very nice terrain piece. This open ground allowed for "Joey's" fine shooting. - a rare night of good dice rolls by me!

Saturday, 10 December 2022

HYW 3-way(ish) scenario

French with mounted knights approach from the west, the Dunkirque contingent from the bottom, the English longbow on the hills near the village. The tower is just visible on the top of the photo.

Miniature wargaming is, well, a game.  Yes, it can represent a historical battle with surprise attacks, mismatched forces, and lop-sided results; however, in the usual games with friends at the end of a hard week at work, a frustrating "That was un-winnable!" scenario is probably the last thing desired.  Mine you personally I don't have a problem with those...and my dice rolling usually give me that result anyway!

The mismatch is all the more difficult to remove should there be only three players. Most (All?) battles are one side vs the other.  Therefore, how is the simple army vs army be done should the evening have three participants?  To give enough per side to get a game in and everyone have enough to command is a challenge.  Thought must be given to other considerations of terrain restrictions, defensive works, command abilities of the rules to provide a more even combat abilities for each side.

Decided to bring out the Hundred Years War (Crecy era) collection and provide the English (PeterM) with enough units to command in a central defensive position to fend off myself attacking with the Dunkerque contingent and a force of French under CraigM.  The French had a cannon on the far side, pounding the English tower with a cannon and defended by a small group of men-at-arms.

the village with the English defenders and the bridges across the stream.

Do you, the reader and sometimes gamesmaster,  get any pre-game discussions which start with, "what about the terrain?, what is light woods and which are heavy?, is the river crossable?, at which points?, are the fields open or rough ground?" sent to you in rapid fire questioning at the start of every game?  Obviously some need to be discussed but the question of fordability has always been one of those sore points with me. When a player asks about the, say, eight feet of river sections on the table stretching the entire table, would the army even know?  I would say "I don't know, find it yourself"; and getting, yes, the inevitable response of " Umm, how?" In this case I had the player disperse one of his units, the Bidower Woodmen, to sections he wanted to cross and roll for success. This unit would be lost to him due to this deployment.   He did the difficult rolls sucessfully to allow a portion of his army to cross rather than the bridge to his front.  As a GM, make it difficult, time consuming, and troop costly for the player to obtain such information, as just in real-life.  Lots of battles are a result of unknown terrain influencing affairs.  For example, American Civil War Corps commander Burnside kept feeding in troops to cross a well-defended bridge not knowing there was a crossing point of the Antietam Creek only a short distance away from which the defending force could be outflanked.  Tell that location in advance to the player whose army has never been to the location ahead of time certainly changes the subsequent action in the game.

Nevertheless in this game the French had a crossing point in addition to the obvious bridge.  The tower was improbably destroyed early with Craig's remarkably high dice rolling activations [ gunpowder cannon are not in the Lion Rampant rules,  so I would have the cannon activate on ever more difficult activation rolls theoretically limiting the number of shots during the game but his lucky dice allowed him to have successive firing rolls quickly gaining the pre-determined but unknown amount of hits to inflict upon the tower to bring it down. I allowed the number of dice this hidden amount would be based upon to be known, and Peter, ever the statistician, worked out exactly when to move out of the tower with a hidden(*) unit before this might occur. - note to self: keep unknown rolls unknown! 

 Interestingly we rolled to see how the tower would collapse: points of the compass with a d6 and if any 6 rolled per each figure would result in its demise.  Only one of Peter's troops was killed by a falling stone.  It was suggested that if I made the pip number a 1, he would have lost far more.  All game long, Peter and I were competing for the 'poorest dice roller' award.  We did agree however that he won that dubious honour.  

Mid-battle and the French knights are taking a scenic route to the tower, the knights are out of the tower minus one of their number (top of image), and the clash for the hill position has begun with my Dunkirque mixed weapon foot units (lower right)

(*) the tower (see previous post link) has a removable roof and I endeavoured to hide some knights within for Peter's use.  Craig, rather clumsily, knocked it over, revealing the hidden troops.  Well done reconnaissance or perfidious fortune?  Oh, that,  and the resultant "how YOU are to prevent it getting knocked over in the future" engineering discussion.....

Friday, 2 December 2022

Inspired by La Haie Sainte

 Inspired by the famous farmhouse in the Battle of Waterloo, and with a brick imprinting roller purchased by happenstance from the local hobby store, I set about to create my version of a Belgian farmhouse from pieces of foamcore, card, and sheets cut from those styrofoam meat trays from the supermarket - served both in black and white.  These give you a cheap means of thin walls of brick to work with although the 'gate tower' used a one thick piece insolation pink foam which makes a better/deeper impressed pattern (softer material undoubtedly).

For good or bad I tend not to use precise measurements and simply suggest "it's close enough"  (my wife states it is "The Tao of Doug"). Well, what's 1 or 2mm off, going to make a difference.... Obviously no real planning and certainly missteps in the design and execution.   I probably should fill in some of the corners and such but I tend to get too excited or impatient or dis-inspired to bother.  When the rest comes together I regret the negligence. The tao-ism it must be said.   However, it is the old-timey way and inexpensive, and it may be said in a sadistic way, fun part of the hobby. 

                                                                Early construction views:


Initial painting:

                                                                 Final result:                                                   

French dismounted dragoons (Perry plastics) advancing upon the farm defended by Brunswicker lights in the courtyard (converted Perry British Napoleonics) and Brunswicker Jagers in light grey (converted from Perry early ACW plastics). The farm will undoubtedly form the centerpiece for many of my Waterloo campaign games.


Saturday, 19 November 2022

New Napoleonic units- Duchy of Baden

Finally got some units painted recently.  Two more Duchy of Baden formations. These are HaT 28mm figures originally late Prussian infantry.  HaT has a limited range of 28mm in hard plastic in addition to their usual 1:72 scale. The heads seem too small for the wargamers 28mm so spare Perry heads were added which brings them more in line with the rest of my collection. 

The Badener Lights in green wearing both their 1813 shako (left) and some with earlier helmets (right).  The Baden Grenadier Guard are on the right wearing their full-dress bearskin headdress.  

Sunday, 13 November 2022

"The Redoubt" Beach Landing

At one point Peter's British in the Redoubt had enemies coming at him from three directions but all the assaults dissipated from my die rolling!

Prompted by fellow wargamer CraigM's pirate campaigning deliberations, I thought a 'Pirate' game might be fun and brought out - for the first time for a game- my tropical beach neoprene mat.  It has a lot of jungle print on it which I sought to cover with dollar store plastic vegetation for the 3D effect. ( really ought to add that to the long list of 'projects' that must be properly done! ) 

I added the focal point of the game with the newly made "redoubt" made from a styrofoam meat tray from the supermarket, inverted and covered in wood putty as a newly built-up cannon platform complete with 3D printed gabions and coffee-stir stick flooring.

The Redoubt with the British gunners - and Peter - trying to determine if the troops landing were allied Portuguese or enemy Spanish - I had flags for both!

the styrofoam meat tray frame for the redoubt

I made the scenario a three-way fight for the three of us, using for the most part a Dungeon Master roleplaying approach with PeterM defending the Redoubt and my British Marines, CraigM approaching on shore with Portuguese - actually Spanish (with a flag change ), and myself handing the slaves approaching by jungle and pirates by beach with dice rolls handling their activations and activities.  Due to the random activities - and with MY dice rolling - not much happened to have the various contingents come to blows other than long range fire,  so casualties were surprisingly light - not many figures were removed.  More the fact that my activation rolls for the three slave units were SO abysmal that the only mischief they achieved was to loot only half the British camp before running back into the jungle!

the slaves looting the camp only to leave shortly thereafter apparently not will to risk any more.

CraigM's Spanish managed getting to the beach after much trouble;  the surf must have been very rough indeed only to exchange a few ineffective shots with the British before departing back to their ship to defend it against a pirate boarding party.  The pirates meanwhile having another group land on the beach had many possible targets with to engage; BUT, again, with my rather low dice rolling, merely left as they came and without engaging.  

CraigM's troops finally are getting on shore.  And yes tropical waters can be that colour....

While this would suggest a rather dull affair but with the doubts, randomness of activities, and differing objectives, we found it entertaining nevertheless.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Ruined Temple of ???

the Hellenistic pike next to "the temple".  I didn't realize I also photographed my markers for those units which have "legged it".  The chopped off legs are remnants of my plastic constructions and might make these as useful indicators for other rules.....

 Having done a "Roman Temple" and a Celtic Roundhouse for those respective armies, I thought I might need to make a corresponding Ancient Hellenistic something.  So a while back now - having just found these photos deep within the memory card - I put together a temple based on a small photo within a travel promotional pamphlet.  It is constructed out of a piece of foam core, pieces of styrofoam and card with columns made from very old cardboard tampon applicators.... Needless to say, my wife, now well past that stage of womanhood was surprised, firstly, she had given or that I had asked for such items, and, secondly, I had kept them for these many years!  

after a quick primer, colour of the styrofoam and card still visible.

Certainly no prize winning example, but it was a very quick build - no more than an hour and a half from first cut to finished painting, having primered it shortly after gluing and then painting it immediately after that.  

Added some terrain basing which helps the look of it.  Interestingly, the paint color of the "stone" has not changed from the first photo to this, however the camera certainly has noticed a difference! 


Tuesday, 1 November 2022

War of 1812 Fictional affair

Having concluded one of the interesting Campaign battles between Craig and KevinA using PeterM's campaign rules, the troops and terrained tabletop had me bring out my bigger battalions for a long-neglected War of 1812 solo-battle. 

Canadian Militia (in early war green tunics) deploying within the village. The regulars of the 89th Foot can be seen in the distance.

I can quickly describe the action: the Americans with two units of Kentucky militia (poor) and the 28th Infantry (also recruited in Kentucky and also poorly trained....) came up against two units of Canadian militia and the 89th Foot. The mounted Kentucky Rifles leading the American advance were in scout mode which covered the American advance but when ordered into formation decided their duty was done a sulked in the rear for the remainder of the engagement - rather unfortunate dice rolls for them were made!  

While the Canadian militia are rated poor, the 89th Foot is good.  Not having played the rules for awhile, and that they are based on random dice for unit control, nevertheless the outcome was what might be predicted.  The Americans marched up (mostly in column so to actually move!) only to be frozen in place and decimated by musket fire. The Canadians even had the gumption to move against the rattled militia, routing them and their friends with them.  The American regulars of the 28th, not having much resolve, so followed as the British 89th, having poured several volleys into them, rolled high enough to advance and have these Americans follow their fellow Kentuckians back across the bridge so confidently crossed only a short time before. 

The Americans marching on the road from the bridge crossing. The American horsemen seen behind the trees would soon call it a day and leave the infantry to do the fighting.... The simple terrain was left over from the campaign I have been hosting.

The lead Canadian militia unit, upper left, is advancing upon the shaken Kentucky militia in their hunting  jacket attire. The other Kentucky militia is aggressively advancing but needing to be in march column which will soon face fire from the 89th Foot ( at right ).  The buildings are my old home-built models.

The 89th Foot.  These have been around for awhile as the flags are hand-painted a requirement before all the nice printed flags became available.  I have the 21st Fusiliers yet to paint because I have the regiment's hand-painted flag done and ready to be used for many years now!

Sunday, 30 October 2022

1956 Sinai Tank Battles on the Tabletop

 Of course i am all-over the map with my painting, including doing a What a Tanker!  rendition of the Egyptian-Israeli conflict of 1956 (Suez Crisis) as had picked up cheaply some 15mm plastic kits T-34/85s and Shermans.  They did not fight against each other in WW2 but DID in the Sinai thus this joining my growing and rather eclectic collection of wargaming subjects. Only 4 tanks a side but still needed to be built and painted (and a whole lot of internet research as having very little knowledge of the conflict or the weapons!)

In the right background of the photo is my attempt at mocking up an Israeli M50 “SuperSherman” with the up gunned French 76mm high velocity  I use the Firefly or Panther fire rating for this gun. They had only a few during this war. 
M-50 Israeli Sherman
 Later the Sherman it would be up gunned yet again to a 105mm as the M51 but with the M4A1 hull not the presented M4A4. All the other ratings per the rules.  However I have the Egyptians always buttoned-up due to Soviet training doctrine and their crews 'poor' ignoring all Wild Dice but one and having extra to make hits.  This game had the Egyptians victorious over the Israelis nevertheless.  The T-34/85s are much more powerful than the Shermans within "What a Tanker" rules. 

The ‘on fire’ Sherman at left, is a result of me messing up on the two-part treads and, whilst tearing apart - after the glue had almost set - had it damaged too much…so I REALLY tore it apart!  It now becomes an obstacle on the rather featureless desert.

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Chasseurs d'Afrique 1834


My small unit of 28mm Chasseurs d'Afrique during the French occupation of Algeria in the 1830’s.  This is much earlier than the Beau Geste era so the uniforms are more Napoleonic than ‘colonial’. 
I based the army as my original infantry I made (converted from Napoleonics in overcoats but with the distinctive tall red cap -see below) are the French Foreign Legion who would be sent to Spain in 1836 for the Carlist War.  The uniform in Algeria would be changed in the meantime. Thus the early time frame. Still flintlock muskets at this time.
Obvious not based up yet.  Made from Perry plastic ACW cavalry horses, 3 of the riders are also ACW but the others kitbashed from various Napoleonic bits - French and Austrian. A bit of scraping and different colour of paint hides the American-ish of them <grin> 
French Infantry in the common overcoats worn in Algeria (it can have quite miserable weather).
These are my earlier edition. I have subsequently have removed the tent roll and changed their epaulettes to red fringe and green to represent the Foreign Legion during this era. 

French Zouaves in green turbans (2nd Batt.) in 1834

Still haven't an opposition however. Sigh.  Might wait for the company "1898" to develop their Berber range or still have them as 'hidden' marksmen in hill and scrub....

Thursday, 13 October 2022

Samurai Clash

 Hosted a Samurai game using Lion Rampant at the local mini-con.  

While the new 2nd Edition of the rules has the rule's author Dan Mersey argue for the one-failed-activation-and-you-are-done rule to be continued, I and many others have not done so as the players have felt dejected from not having any involvement for turns - or for the entire game in one famous event! However, as this game was essentially a four-way fight and each player only had 2 or 3 units, I made this original rule in effect.  Of course, there were many failures but this had the turns fly by and kept everyone very much engaged.  "What? My turn again? Excellent"

One event of the game stands out.  The banner of Okudaira Sadamasa was "stalled" lacking the activation to move with the army by PeterM's usual rolling.  However my also usual poor activation dicing had this prime target for the villagers to gain victory points out of reach.  This sorry state would last for much of the game, turn after turn.  Meanwhile the other players had a time with great slaughter.... 

The camera must have been on one of those funky settings.  The villagers are massed behind the building ready to come out of the gate...if i could only roll high enough dice.....

latest ancients/skeleton units

 Did some points counting of my Ancients armies with Dragon Rampant and came up with, if I purchased yet another box of the boney ones, I could even my three armies all at a nice large 32 points. 

The Romans got an additional "legio" 

A merge of Wargame Atlantic skeleton and Warlord Veteran Roman plastics

The textured marker is to indicate they have a 'pila' bonus to use adding to their attack. This is a small additional rule add by myself.  In typical Rampant style (along with evading and skirmishing at 7+) it must be activated and successful - or not - they are used up.

The Successor/Seleucids received a third pike unit making a nice pike block and a "mercenary Greek hoplite" sword unit.

Three units of pike combined.  If together, they move under only one activation (making movement all together).  Attacks and defence is increased and casualties are spread out making individual unit courage less difficult to pass.  

a Greek mercenary losing one's head for the upcoming battle......      The expediency of creating another figure to fill in the ranks of the unit, but not having enough legs(i.e. figures) to do so - as the Legio has 10, the pike unit has 11 and this unit with only 11 for the total of 32 plastic figures in the box - had me glue on arms backwards on a spare torso and squish out the hands to feet-like proportions so the miniature would appear to be gathering up himself after losing his head temporarily.

Yes, an all-together silly 'project' but serves my 'needs' all the while keeping the time consuming part shorter for an ancient collection - and I suppose also fantasy if I require.....

Monday, 19 September 2022

The Cavaliers down the High Street

 My solo "Tersey River" fictional ECW campaign has made an appearance on the table.  Memorable for the effectiveness of the cannon fire from "Little Maggie" which discouraged the Tawney attack across the bridge of the Tam and the headlong charge by Lord Blare down the highstreet of Carweal village being met with the veteran cavalry of the Murrey faction charging down the street from the opposite direction!

Blare's troopers took the brunt of the force and were forced to halt causing a traffic jam of milling horses within the town and were soon forced to flight.  

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Somewhere south of Battleford....

The ‘birth’ of my new unit of NWMP newly painted last night.

 The North-West Mounted Police, were the Canadian Constabulary of the later 19th Century used in modern-day Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba “the Prairie Provinces”.  This is a vast area, some 1,780,000 km2.  For comparison, the UK is 243,000 km2.  The southern area of Saskatchewan, the primary theatre of operations during the North-West Rebellion is approximately the size of modern Germany.  For all this area of patrol, only some 500 officers were employed and so thus the very small contingent for my force made from conversations of the Perry American Civil War plastic cavalrymen.  The dismounted trooper happens to be a Brigade Games Boer with a new plastic Home Service head to represent the mounted infantrymen status of the contingent. 

While the historical relationship of the NWMP and the native aboriginal population was generally good, some of the Cree joined the Metis of Louis Riel in conflict with the Canadian government.  Under this guise, I created a very small scenario to use my newly painted NWMP contingent for that campaign and that of the native teepees built during the summer.

Not sure about the accuracy of this work but certainly presents an interesting portrait of the NWMP 

NWMP on parade at Fort Calgary. Note helmet and white gloves from which I took my inspiration. Actually doubtful that the patrolling troopers would continue to wear such gear but this IS wargaming and we all do the full-dress appearance of our miniatures, don't we?

The scenario has the NWMP to determine the belligerent status of the native encampment.  The camp was large with a woods to the south and unknown to the policemen, a slight escarpment in front of the camp.

 Cree tipi/teepee.  My tipis are from old conical drinking paper cups held in storage for many years!

The Canadians trotted toward the camp with careful view to the small copse of trees to their right. A high-pitched voice was followed by firing, wounding one of the troopers. In the commotion the NWMP were unaware of the firing from the escarpment (no hits from this direction at all, so presumably no effect or reaction from the otherwise involved troopers).  

The log marker represents a 'pinned' status, the blackened cotton ball (those often stuffed in oversized pill bottles are wonderful for this purpose) represents a shot from the Cree hidden in the trees. The troopers are converted from Perry plastic American Civil War cavalrymen. While the mounted fellows have retained their heavy gloves (which I have given them from 'green stuff') their dismounted companion has placed his under his belt on the back - also green stuff.

Recovering their motivation (making the pinning test) they moved away from the fire and toward the camp.  More firing came from the woods but to no effect. However the troopers were now startled from the close range fire from the hidden position in front of them, and the same trooper was again hit ( I diced to see which of the three would be hit)  Pinned once again, they waited the Cree reaction but none was forthcoming.  Unbeknown, the Cree were short of ammunition and arrows thus equally unable to continue the fight. (I rolled very low for the amount of shots the Cree could deliver)

But the policemen had their answer about the Cree attitude and decided to quickly retire to report. ( I rolled maximum on the dice for their morale/activation!)