Sunday, January 15, 2023

Things I Did in 2022: Early Imperial Roman Cavalry

Parish work has been rewarding this last week but has left me with precious little time to paint or to post here.   With a slight respite this afternoon, here’s a return to some of the projects I completed last year.

Following on the heels of a surprise turn to Ancients Gaming, I decided to paint some Roman cavalry as adversaries for my Germanic warriors.   I have only a vague idea of how the Romans used cavalry in Germania, probably more as scouts and line of communications troops than on the battlefield, but I’m sure they had their share of skirmishes and patrols.  I showed this figures to my friend, Consul Homo Lepus, who knows more about Romans than I do, and he was impressed that the Victrix figures come with quivers (right word??) for their javelins, as well as blankets, canteens and other useful kit.

These are 28mm plastic Victrix figures, with shield transfers by Little Big Men Studios.  The horses are painted using Foundry tri-colour paints from their “Horse” paints set.   I’m still figuring these paints out but in general I’m pleased with them and would use them again.

Command figures:

I have quite a few more ancients to paint, including Roman auxiliary infantry and archers, and more lead Germans thanks to the Wargames Foundry Diamond Jubilee sale last year where my finger slipped and I bought rather a few.As I may have posted here earlier, I acquired the Germans last year when the local gaming group was playing a lot of skirmish games using Clash of Spears rules, and I may stick with them or perhaps look at Too Fat Lardies’ Infamy rules.   I also have a set of rules from Helion, Three Ages of Rome by Philip Garton, which I confess I’ve barely looked at since it arrived.  

So ancients are not a back burner project, exactly, more of an interesting diversion which I’ll pursue this year.

Blessings to your brushes,

MP+

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

#Terrain Tuesday: Warbases Prussian Barn WIP

Hello friends:

I’m reviving a feature here which I’ve called Terrain Tuesday.   Here’s a bit of progress on a project carried over from last year, this 28mm Warbases T-Shaped Barn from their Napoleonic Prussia series.   I can use these in a variety of horse and musket settings, and this particular model could possibly be used in a North American setting, assuming the barn was built by settlers of German origin.

I wasn’t happy with the MDF roof, so I ordered some of the Warbases cardboard roof tiles sets and laboriously glued them on.

Now I have to decide how to paint the roof.   I was thinking a brown base coat, and then a dry brush of red, as most German roofs I’ve seen in paintings of the period seem to have red roofs.   Any advice?

Blessings to your modelling.  MP+

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Things I Did in 2022 - Tiny Prussians

I don’t think I’m going to do a full year in review blog post, but I will do a few posts to highlight some projects and directions that seemed fruitful to me.  3D printing was definitely the big thing of 2022 for me, and while it was often enormously frustrating, it also opened some doors, including the possibility of doing SYW battles in a big way.

In 2022 I agreed to help Henry Turner by printing and painting some figures from his recent 6mm/15mm Seven Years War Kickstarter, in return for a discount on the range of STL files.    Henry sent me some files, including these Prussian musketeers, which you see here.

 The figures print in strips of four, including one strip of musicians (seen above in the front left of the second base) and below on the far left, and a command strip.  I would say that the detailing is comparable to Baccus, and while these figures look lumpish and squat when scaled up, at 6mm they look fine.   Fairly easy to paint and they look good when based, using the same size bases I use for my 6mm Napoleonics and with my scenery.  There’s definitely a large battle project here if I want to pursue it.

 

If there’s any downside to 3D printing, it’s simply the time cost of cranking out figures - a print run of this size, assuming it all goes smoothly, is a day to set up and print, and another to clean and cure the figures.    It may be easier to just order some starter packs from Baccus, and then flesh them out with prints as I choose to.   At any rate, this project was a successful proof of concept.

Blessings to your printers and brushes!

MP+

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Resisting (?) The Allure of Big Napoleonics

Hello and Happy New Year.

One of the last two games of 2022 for me was a game of Sharp Practice with my friend and podcast partner James at his place.   Besides the pleasure of spending time with an old friend, there was the thrill of playing with James’ 28mm kit, which he has been assiduously assembling and painting for the last two years along with our mutual friend Scott.   While Scott has been focusing on the French, James has done Bavarians, Russians, and is now working on Austrians and Prussians.

Here is the force of invading Bavarians that we assembled for this skirmish on the steppes of Russia.  The figures are a mix of metal (including Front Rank) and various plastics including HAT.

And the defending Russians, which I took.

It’s hard not to be tempted by how attractive these units are. James is a decent, workmanlike painter who has a knack for turning out figures that are wargaming standard, in large numbers, and in fairly short time.   When he wants to he can kick it up a notch, as with the Russian officer in the centre, on his prancing horse waving his expensive hat.  The overall effect is very impressive.

On the tabletop, these figures are paired with some fine scenery.   As with the figures, James aims for a wargaming standard with his scenics, but the overall effect, as with these Russian houses, is quite pleasant.   

 

Likewise this MDF church (Our Lady of Cabbages) is nicely presented with a scratch built fence, and the unfortunate billiard ball dome will be replaced by a nice 3D printed spire for future battles.

Here’s one shot of the battle, which went badly for me.   We advanced from the long ends of the table, and spilt the village, where my light infantry was slowly evicted by the better fire of the Bavarian rifle-armed jaegers.   I foolishly led with my weakest infantry formation (bottom left) which were ripped apart by James’ grenadiers.   James has an intuitive grasp of Sharp Practice and used the order cards to best effect, seizing several extra moves/volleys for his grenadiers.  The only real success I had was a cavalry victory as our light horse basically cancelled each other’s out of the game.

As readers of this blog now, I made the decision a decade ago to do Napoleonics in 6mm and I have not regretted that decision.  However, all this is building up to the confession that this period in 25/28mm is hopelessly infectious.  The figures are just so much more dramatic in the larger scales, which reward painting and uniform details in ways that 6mm can’t.  It’s like comparing an impressionist painting (6mm) with a romantic but realist painting such as Lady Butler (28mm).  The big scale wins in the close ups.    That being said, I am firmly convinced that 28mm for Napoleonics works best with larger skirmish games.    For battles of a brigade on up, I’ll take 6mm any day.   

But, I still feel the need to paint a force in 28mm!    So here’s the likely solution.   Piano Wargames, a very clever fellow named Lucas, has been labouring away for some years now on the troops of minor German states, and has just wrapped up a very successful Kickstarter focusing on the Tyrolean Revolt, which will feature rebels, Bavarians, and Austrians.   The KS offers .STL files as well as metal figures, and I’ve decided that it will be a good opportunity to use my limited 3D printing prowess to do some of these rarer figures for James (and I get to play with them from time to time, so win win).  

Since my experience with printing 28mm figures is minor, I thought I’d practice by ordering some of Lucas’ files already on his webstore, in this case, six light infantry figures from the Duchy of Wurttemberg, which would themselves be the basis of a nice little Sharp Practice force, since they can fight as French against Russians or Austrians until, as invariably happened, they turn coats and fight against the French towards the end of the Napoleonic period.

I had a devil of a time getting the pre-supported files to print, for some reason known only to my Elegoo Mars2 printer, but when I decided to print the unsupported figures, I was fairly successful, though there are some minor flaws in some prints.   Still, I now have enough to print and to see if 28mm is as seductive as it appears to be.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Carnage In Middle Earth, an End of the Year Battle Report

Sylvan Angodnil sat uneasily on his spotless white charger (and it was spotless because be and his whole troop spent long hours grooming them when off duty) watching the dark hosts approach.    Aglardor, their troop captain, laughed like silvery bells in a high tower, which Sylvan found annoyingly pretentious, and said coldly “The more of them, the more glory for us, am I right, lads?”   The laughter of the troopers sounded a little forced and just slightly nervous, because there were a LOT of them.   Sylvan counted four armoured trolls on the right flank, anchoring at least six bands of orcs and goblins marching towards them, and how many more on the left, or behind the tall trees which screened their centre.

The elven host was divided into two wings, that of King Cuildil on the left, and the right wing under the command of The Lady.    A band of her nymph scouts had passed by earlier, taking up position in the woods on the right, only pausing to pet the horses of the Evenstar Hussars.   “Pretty ponies!”  they giggled, before flitting off into the foliage.  Sylvan thought them underdressed and insubstantial.   And then there was that damned giant bear, Bjork or Bjorn or something, one of the Lady’s pets, and his smell got the horses whinnying every time he ambled by, muttering loudly about how many goblins he would eat before the day was done.    Sylvan wished he’d also wander off into the woods, as if you could tell which were woods and which were the tree spirits ambling about, more of The Lady’s friends.

Now the horns were sounding on the left, as Cuidil began shifting some of his reserves to that wing.   Sylvan could hear the howls of wolves, rather a lot of them.    That also made the horses nervous.    Next, a company of light archers, their gray green cloaks flowing, trotted in front of the troop and took up positions.   Felanor, the trooper on Sylvan’s left, looked at them critically.    “Oh, that they were not in front of us, to steal our glory!”   Sylvan scowled and thought, “What a birk.   As far as I’m concerned, they can stand in front of us for the whole battle."

Soon battle was joined across the whole front.   Elven horns, the deep voices of the treefolk, the brazen trumpets of the orc hosts, and the howls of countless wolves came from the left.   A messenger from the king came and told Aglardor to be ready as the reserve.   Aglador acknowledged curtly, watching enviously as Lindor’s troop of Hussars trotted towards the right wing, while ahead of them Bjork the Bear raged forward, bellowing in his uncouth and monosyllabic tongue.  “BEAR SMASH!” , Sylvan thought he was shouting.   

Both companies of elven archers were now continuously drawing and loosing, their bowstrings emitting a continuous thrumming sound, and as the battle lines shifted, Sylvan could see black orc and goblin bodies piling up before them like windblown leaves.  “Good," he thought, "keep it up”.

With silver horns braying, Lindor’s troop of horse smashed into a goblin regiment and scattered them.  “See them ride like the furies!” Aglardor cried to his men.  “Oh, that we were with them!”  “Oh that you’d shut up” thought Sylvan.

From their reserve position, Sylvan could see that the pressure on their right wing was easing.   There were fewer orc and goblin trumpets sounding, and through a break in the trees he thought he saw goblin bodies flying into the air as the bear ripped their ranks apart.

On the left, though, things were still dire.  A regiment of armoured foot trotted left to seal a gap on the flank, struggling to hold off a surge of goblin wolf riders.   A bloodied nymph came running past them, clearly done with fighting.  “Those wolves were REALLY MEAN!” she complained to no one in particular.   More wolves were surging against the King’s bodyguard.

“See how the king staggers!”  cried a trooper, and in horror, they saw Cuildil wander aimlessly, clearly under some sort of enchantment, while the few of his guard left standing struggled to protect him.   Aglador drew his long and expensive sword.  “Trumpeter, sound the advance!  We ride to the king’s rescue”.     But, scarcely did the troop begin to move before cries of triumph began to rise through the elven ranks.   “They flee!  The day is ours!"

Sure enough, the dark hosts, now much reduced in number, were streaming to safety, while the Nazgul leading them shook his fist at his fleeing minions before turning about and himself galloping away.   Elves ran to steady the king, who, recovered, beamed in triumph and summoned a minstrel for a first draft of the victory lay.

Aglador sheathed his sword in disgust.  “Never you mind, sir”, said Sylvan consolingly, “I’m sure we’ll get to charge one of these days.”  

“Shut up, and go wash my horse.”  

So ended another big game of Dragon Rampant fought just before the end of the year in James’ Basement of Quondam Rabbits.   As is our tradition, we try to get together at least annually for a big Lord of the Rings themed game, using our preferred rules, Dragon Rampant.  Almost all the figures in these photos are from James’ exquisite collection of old school figures from Vendel (now Thistle and Rose), though I brought a mix of my own, some GW, some Foundry.   We put about 100 points aside on the table.  I don’t mind saying that I was quite pessimistic at first, as I didn’t see any clear way of stopping James’ hordes, but my archers did yeoman’s work, and James had some bad dice luck with the morale roles in response to their volleys, so the archers bought me the time I needed to counter attack and gradually break James’ army morale.  Some of my reserves, like poor Aglador’s riders, never got into battle.

It was a good lesson for me as a player in keeping my nerve, as I’d lost the first (Napoleonic) game we played that day and I was feeling a little pessimistic.  As is our custom, the winner of our big Dragon Rampant game gets to keep Smoochy, the plush dragon, so he will remain with me until our next match up.

James has already put some of these photos up on the Wargaming in Middle Earth Facebook page, here.  I hope everyone else’s gaming year is ending on a similar high note.

Cheers and blessings to your dice rolls.

MP+

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Friday, December 16, 2022

WIP: British Regulars For My Alt-ACW Project

Hello friends:  

With my new clerical job feeling more under control, and with Twitter becoming more unpleasant and weird, I’m deciding to double down on the Old School and blogging more, so this is a head start on my new year’s resolution.

I’m currently working on a regiment of 28mm British redcoats that were gifted to me by an old friend.  As far as I know, these are Warlord sculpts, I think by Paul Hicks, from their Crimean War range.  I think they’re OOP, the Warlord website shows British Crimean War infantry but in shakos, whereas these fellows wear Kilmarnock pillbox hats so they look the part and are compatible with my Perry figures from their British Intervention Force Range.

About two thirds of the way through the Foundry tri-tone paint method, though the shoulder ruffs and cuffs are done with GW contrast green.  I am not aiming for a specific British regiment, I just liked green.  

Fortunately I’m well equipped with wine corks!

Hoping to have these fellows finished by Christmas.

Cheers and blessings to your brushes!

MP+

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