Monday, August 8, 2022

Weekend WIP: Victrix Early Imperial Roman Cavalry

In thinking of ways to get me blogging more regularly (is blogging a lost art in the age of social media?  Discuss), I was going to start a regular Weekend Work in Progress Feature, but now it’s Monday evening, so I missed that deadline.  In my defence, it was a bit of a lost weekend, as I started feeling crummy on Saturday morning, By Saturday night I’d shoved the nasty little wand up my nose and gotten my first ever positive COVID test.   Gradually started feeling better today, just not a lot of energy, a dry cough, and a distinct lack of appetite.   Glad I got the jab and the boosters, I’d hate to think what I’d feel like without them.

Here’s a batch of 28mm Victrix Roman Early Imperial cavalry, about half done.   As I think I mentioned in my last post, the SYW get the maximum effort from my brushes, but these chaps will just get wargames standard from the three foot rule.  I do however want to put some work into getting the horses right.

I am realizing how shockingly ignorant I am of Things Romani and keep asking my mate James for help with niggling details like what colour should this officer’s crest be?

I also realize that other than the fight scene at the start of the film Gladiator, I know precious little about Roman cavalry, their organization, tactics and employment.  I know that each legion had an attached group of cavalry, and I imagine they would be engaged in scouting, escorting supply convoys, line of communications stuff, and so on.  I’m sure I’ll learn more as this project progresses and grateful for any pointers in the comments.

Cheers and blessings to your brushes!

MP+

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Foundry Prussian Dragoons: Regt. No. 1 (Von Normann)

The next unit to be mustered into Prussian service is Dragoon Regiment No. 1 (Von Normann), the last of my brushwork for July.  This unit is made up of 13 Wargamer Foundry figures, including one based individually for small-scale shenanigans using rules such as Sharp Practice.

As is my method for 28mm SYW figures, these are painted using Foundry tri-tone paints on a black undercoat, in my own rough approximation of the Dallimore method.    The flag is from my go-to guy for SYW flags, Madrid’s Adolfo Ramos.  Four of these figures have been half-painted and lost in a box for the last 5 years, and rediscovering them recently got me serious about including them in a batch of Foundry figures languishing in my Pile O’Shame.   Some of them may actually be Russian dragoons, the labeling on the packages was unclear, but a dragoon is a dragoon, I think.  There are some tell-tale flaws that would tell the knowledgeable SYW game that these are slightly off - the Normann Dragoons had a red pompom on either side of their tricorn, which wasn’t cast with these models, and so I decided to leave well-enough alone.

Otherwise they are lovely figures.  I like how the saddle and equipment is cast on the rider, though occasionally there’s not a good fit between the rider and the horse.

I’ve been very intentional about putting my all into painting my Seven Years War figures.  With other periods, and certainly with other scales, the three foot rule of good enough on the wargames table is fine, and there was a useful discussion of this rule on the most recent Yorkshire Gamer podcast.   However, I want the SYW to be my showcase period, the elaborate uniforms and the colours practically demand maximum effort and as much talent as my aging hands and eyes can muster.  In fact, I went so far on Twitter recently as saying that unit for unit, the SYW is more aesthetically pleasing than Napoleonics in the larger scales.    Feel free to report me to the Heresy Police.  :)

 Here’s a madcap, hell for leather fellow, his tricorn long since lost in the charge and just wearing his protective harness, tearing around looking for someone to bash.  If he survives, I’m sure he’ll attract Frederick’s attention for his bravery and for the shapeliness of his calves.  I’m currently reading Tim Blanning’s biography of DAF, and he sends a lot of time detailing Frederick’s homoerotic tastes, whereas the late Dennis Showalter (bless him) merely mentions in passing that DAF was a bit grumpy towards women. 

With this project done, a unit of Victrix Early Imperial Roman cavalry has thundered onto my painting desk and is getting a more rapid brush treatment.   I hope to have some WIP pics of them here shortly.   What’s your current WIP?

Cheers and blessings to your brushes!  MP+

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Seven Years War Prussian Mounted Command

It’s another Alte Fritz!

Continuing with brushwork completed in July, here’s a trio of 28mm mounted Prussian Seven Years War generals from Wargamer Foundry.   The chap in the centre of course, is DAF, though I’m not terribly happy with the degree of facial definition on the figure.  The foot version from Front Rank in my last post is better, in my estimation

On the other hand, I’m quite happy with the finished faces on the two accompanying officers.

Earlier this year I treated myself to the Foundry Horses Paint Set.   I wanted to up my game painting horses, not my favourite task, really, and decided that it would be a good incentive for me.  I’m reasonably pleased with the results.  When I added the two rather greyish highlight tones to the black horse on the right, I wasn’t at all confident with it, but here it looks fine to me.

Several of you were kind enough to rise to the challenge in my last post and take a guess at which map I used as the inspiration for the map on the 3D table I printed for Front Rank Freddie.   No, it’s not the classic Diplomacy map, though that’s a fine guess.  It’s actually the map from the award-winning game Friedrich (Histogames, 2006) which is a very clever and elegant design for 3-4 players using a map that cries out to be used as a miniature wargames campaign setting.   

 Thanks for looking, and for the comments and encouragement.     In my next post, I’ll finish off showing July’s brushwork and some more SYW Prussians for my slowly growing army.  

Cheers and blessings to your brushes,  

MP+

 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Der Alte Fritz! SYW Prussian Command Vignette

Hello dear friends and readers:

July was a busy month with travel and family commitments, and precious little blogging, but a lot of Seven Years War brushwork to show you in this and the next few posts.

Here’s a Prussian command figure, Der Alte Fritz himself!  The figure is by Front Rank, one of a four casting foot command set.  Black undercoat, painted using the Foundry tri-tone paints and system.

I wanted Fritz to have a table as a focus for the command group vignette, and found an STL file from Vae Victis called The Cartographer’s Table which of all the 3D tables I found was the most interesting.

The book (Voltaire, perhaps?), the map and the compass, all point to the image of Frederick as the Philosopher Soldier King.

The sharp-eyed and sharp-witted among you may recognize the map unfolded on the table.   If you recognize it, leave a comment (hint, think of a related board game).

The staff assemble to hear Frederick’s complicated plan (another frontal attack with horrendous casualties?  a flank mark starting hours before dawn through unreconnoitred terrain?  Do tell, Your Majesty).

 

Something about the expression and face on the chap in the blue cape reminds me of Derek Fowld’s character on Yes, Minister.

Cheers and thanks for looking, more Prussians coming soon!

MP+

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Prussian SYW Fusliers: IR 41 (Wied)

The latest unit of my 28mm SYW project is complete and is mustered into Prussian service.    These are Front Rank Prussian Fusiliers, and may have been one of the last shipments made by the now retired owners of that company before it was acquired by Gripping Beast.  I’m very pleased to see that this venerable product line is now available again on the GB website.  While most of my SYW figures in recent memory have been purchased from the extensive Foundry line, I began the collection in the 1990s with Front Rank figures, ordered from the legendary and now defunct Emperor’s Headquarters in Chicago. 

 These figures came as a Front Rank battalion back, and while I should have ordered a few more of the chaps with muskets, I think it’s fine and realistic to have units of slightly different sizes on the wargames table.  I chose the paint scheme for the Wied Fusiliers, a regiment which takes its name from its commander, who rejoiced in the name of Franz Carl Ludwig Count von Wied zu Neuwied.   According to the Kronoskaf website, the regiment, which had existed since 1716 as “ Erbprinz”, was purchased outright by Frederick II in 1741 from the Duchy of Wurtemberg, which obviously needed the cash for pressing reasons, and became Infantry Regiment 41.

 The unit is painted in Foundry paints using their tribute-tone system on a black undercoat, which I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with.   I chose Foundry’s Ochre paints for their trousers and waistcoats, which to me looks very Prussian, though it was noted to me on social media that Von Wied’s troops wore white trousers.   Kronoskaf notes that as of 1756 the trousers were of a yellowish hue, so I think I’m on firm ground, and honestly, in games where these figures could be any Prussian fusilier unit, does it really matter?

Likewise I was told that the flags should be reversed, as the Colonel’s flag should be on , and I will remember that when they pop off and need to be reglued.  Someone else told me the flagpoles were two tall.   Whatever, they look good to me.  The flags are from Adolfo Ramos, who in my opinion does stellar work.

 That the troops with muskets are all in one pose gives this unit an old school look, which I rather like, and seems in keeping with the Prussian mode of drill.

 I am currently working on a regiment of SYW Prussian dragoons, so soon I should have a modest sized Prussian brigade ready for the table.  Cheers and thanks for looking.

Blessings to your brushes!

MP+

 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

#Terrain Tuesday: Visiting Old Russia

I saw this photo recently on Twitter, courtesy of one @nickfshort, and found it slightly haunting as a glimpse of a lost world, though the houses aren’t much different from some of the humble buildings seen on the front lines of the current Ukraine war.  

The caption reads:

"The village of Pokrovskoe in Siberia. An original colour photograph from, astonishingly, 1912. When Nicholas II was on the throne, and one year before the Romanov tercentenary.” Pokrovskoe was the birthplace of Rasputin, which is cool, but what interests me most here is the white painted church.

I’m wondering if it should be a guide for this lovely little 6mm model, which I bought as an .STL file from a German published called 3D Print Terrain. I have to say that this gave me fits, and it took multiple attempts on my Elegoo Mars printer before I had a successful print. Much trial and error with angling the building, adding supports, cursing and praying.

A Google search, “Rural Russian churches”, produced varying results, such as this one. 

 I suppose I could paint it a heavily weathered brown if it was some tiny village on the way to Borodino, with perhaps a bronze onion dome, but it could also be a white one if it’s a more impressive and prosperous town.   Hmmm, good thing I printed two.

Finally, on the terrain and scenery front, tonight I finished the three tree stands featured in last week’s post.  Two for 28mm gaming and one for 6mm.

Blessings to your hobby endeavours!

M+ 

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Boys in the Hittite Sports Cars: Some 15mm Biblical-era Chariots


Here they come,

The boys in the Hittite sports cars,

Waving their bows in the air,

Who do they think they are?

And where did they get those cars?

(With apologies to Trooper)

Earlier this month I posted some photos of my first completed 15mm ancients DBA army and promised some chariots to go with them.   These four two horse chariots are also from the 15mm Syro-Canaanite range from Gladiator/Fighting 15s.   I imagine I could use them to represent Canaanites, Syrian city states, Philiistines, or later Hebrews, anyone from the late bronze age middle east, basically.

 Each chariot, team, and crew are colour coded.  I don’t know how accurate this is, but since chariots were the sports cars of the period, I imagine they’d be a showy bunch.

 The bowmen are armoured in the scale mail of the period, so these models would also do as upgraded elite 2 horse chariots in a rules set such as ADLG.



As fate would have it, an order of back issues from Against the Odds magazine arrived recently, including their game on Kadesh, so if I want to play a game involving thousands of chariots without having to paint them all, that’s waiting for me.  I hope to have a report on this game this summer.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

#Thursday Napoleonics: CWP Episode 16 - Are Naps Wargames Rules the New Tower of Babel?

Picking up a somewhat neglected Thursday theme for this blog, there is some Napoleonics wargaming content to report on.

For the June (E16) edition of the Canadian Wargamer Podcast, James and I put together an impressive panel of four veteran grognards of the Naps side of the hobby to discuss why everyone and his/her dog seems to want to write and publish a set of Napoleonics miniature rules, and what any self-respecting new set of rules should bring to the table.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

#Terrain Tuesday: Trees in Various Scales

Today I’m reviving an occasional feature on this blog/diary, Terrain Tuesday, a chance to talk about tabletop terrain projects I’m working on.   

I don’t think we can ever have enough trees on most battlefields, unless it’s the Western Desert, perhaps.    Lately I’ve been trying to find the odd few minutes here and there to base trees, using some irregularly shaped bases I bought from the Litko website, and trees that I found for sale at Hot Lead in March courtesy of Model Builders Supply, a local company specializing in architectural and hobby scenics.  

 Two newly based large conifers shown with a 28mm Victrix figure for scale.

 

My friend Joe Saunders from Miniature Landscape Hobbies   has a wise saying, that irregularly shaped bases work well for nature, whereas human-made structures tend to look better on geometrically shaped bases.  I’m keeping that in mind as I use up the rest of these nice Litko bases for trees in various scales, including a small 6mm forest (top left).    Hopefully I’ll have that ready to show this time next week.

What terrain are you currently working on?

Cheers and blessings to your modelling!
MP+ 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

First DBA Army Completed: 15mm Early Hebrews

Back in October I announced here a project called “Getting Biblical”.  A friend of mine had previously expressed surprise that I as a wargaming clergyman had shown no interest in biblical era armies and battles, and I thought, “good point, why is that?”  The question was especially perplexing as, early in 2020, I spent a month in Ethiopia teaching the book of Isaiah to some young seminarians, and I thought at the time, what great inspiration.   Every power of the Middle East - Egypt, Ethiopia, Assyria, Israel and Judah, and Babylon - is mentioned in that book.

In the last few months, I was introduced to DBA, and that made the whole project seem far less daunting.   Working in 15mm, generating 12 bases for a complete early Hebrew army, that all seemed doable.   So, I dug out the Fighting 15/Gladiator ancients figures I purchased last year and got to work.  It’s hard to find dedicated ancient Jewish figures, but the Fighting 15 Syrian/Canaanite range seemed close enough.  It didn’t take me that long to get these figures finished and based.  Don’t ask me about the shields, I just had fun with them.

 Out of these figures I can assemble this army, which in DBA parlance is 1/27 Early Hebrew c 1250BC - 1000BC.  Baker and Laflin-Barker write: “This list covers the Hebrew armies from the selection of Joshia a Judge until David’s accession as King and is largely based on the Biblical - which, unreliable as this may be as history, is often the only source available” (DBA 3 WRG 2014 p. 42).  

The lighting here is uneven, but in the front row left there are 2 X Gadite or Issacharian skirmishing javelin men (Psiloi), with the choice of third unit of Ps front right.  I could have chosen either retained mercenaries - 4 Aux (Auxiliary), but I wanted the whole army to be Fast and the extra unit of Ps to exploit rough terrain (the only battlefield on which this army survives).

In the middle row, starting on the left, is 1 X Benjamin archers or slingers - 3 Bw (Bow), then 2 X Simeonites or Ephraimites - 3 Wb (Warband) - and on the right the General based as 3 Ax.  In the rear rank are 5 X other tribesmen (3 Ax).

Historical opponents for this army include 1/6b Midianite or Amalekite Army or early Arab Army, 1/20a Ugarit Army, 1/20b Other Syro/Canaainite Army, 1/22a or 1/22b New Kingdom Egyptian, 1/29a or b Philiistine, and 1/31a or b Neo Hittite/Later Aramean Army.

I have four chariot stands complete which I’ll save for another post, which would give me the nucleus of a Syro-Canaanite army, but a Hebrew/Philiistine matchup would be fun and would take me back to Sunday school days.    I mentioned the Book of Isaiah at the start of this post, and all of the armies mentioned above pre-date the period of the two kingdoms, the exile, and post-exile.   Never fear, a recently arrived order from Essex gives me three DBA armies to paint and play with: Late Hebrew, neo-Assyrian and Babylonian, so I’m quite spoiled for choice, really.

Blessings to your brushes!

MP+

In the 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

My Napoleonic Game at LardEh - Wertingen1805

Following on the heels of my last post, about the LardEh games day in Hamilton, here’s a report on the Napoleonics game I ran in he afternoon.  It was the first time I’ve stepped into the role of Games Master at an event, so I was quite nervous and wanted to have the game right, balanced, fun, and looking good.   The rules I chose were Too Fat Lardies’ large battle Napoleonics rules, General d’Armee (GdA), by Dave Brown and published by TFL’s Reisswitz Press imprint.

My first challenge was to finish the French ADC chits, to go with the Austrian ADC chits I made last year.   In GdA, ADCs are like command or initiative points in other rules sets.  They are a finite number of opportunities for the player as the CinC to influence the battle by giving orders to his brigades, and hopefully getting them to overcome the friction of the battlefield and actually do what he the commander wants.   Here are eight French officer caricatures, shouting at the player or giving looks of disdain at their lack of battlefield prowess.  I wanted something to add period colour and a little humour to the game.

 Now to decide on the battle.  I have been thinking about Wertingen, the opening fight of the Ulm campaign, which in turn led to Austerlitz and Napoleon’s stunning defeat of the Third Coalition of Russia and Austria.   As the Grande Army advanced through Bavaria, two French corps (Murat’s Cavalry Reserve and Lannes’ III Corps) ran into an Austrian infantry corps under Auffenburg that Mack rashly sent swanning about on an ill-conceived reconnaissance in force.   Historically the French made short work of the Austrians, but in the GMT Command and Colors scenario which introduced me to the battle, it seemed like an even and manageable fight.  

Here’s the playlets table, kept fairly simple as I didn’t want the players interacting with terrain pieces when they could be fighting.   I find that for 6mm games with lots of troops on the table, simple is better.  The cloth mat and roads are from Geek Villain (UK), the fields are latex from Barrage Miniatures (Sp), the buildings are Timecast and the hills are scratch built.

 

Here is the order of battle, printed on individual unit markers that will be fixed onto 3D printed unit markers courtesy of Aaron at Project Wargaming.   Each marker is for a regiment or for an individual commander.  There were some mistakes that I caught when I took a closer look at the rules.  In GdA only Guards units are Elite, whereas good units like your typical Grenadier unit would be rated as Veteran.  Thus I told the players that for Elite, read Veteran, and for Heavy Cavalry, unless marked Cuirassier in the case of the two Aus units, the French cavalry are considered Battle Cavalry, which in GdA is most well horsed line cavalry (Hussars, Chasseurs, Dragoons).   The French still outnumber the Austrians 2-1 in cavalry units, with two of the Aus regiments being Small or understrength.

All is quite in the village of Wertingen.

A view of the dispositions early on.    That’s one of the voices of the Canadian Wargamer Podcast, James, setting up the Austrians at top left.  The Austrians have to hold on the road intersection for 12 turns to win.  In all the photos that follow, two bases placed together indicate a single cavalry or infantry regiment or battalion.

The two French players put both of Murat’s cavalry divisions and both his batteries of horse artillery on their left, with Lanne’s corps on the right.   The French tried to get off to a fast start, realizing the clock was against them, but had trouble coordinating their advance in the centre.

One of the Austrian players sees a chance when the French rashly push their horse artillery forward and attack with a regiment of hussars, still in column.   The Austrians suffer terribly from canister, but remarkably the survivors close, and in the melee that follows, the French gunners manfully stood by their guns and saw off the chargers.  It was one of several remarkable upset results.  Charging is always a bit of an uncertain business in GdA, it’s a two-edged sword indeed. 

 

In another case of a surprise result, the Austrians throw their horse at Lasalle’s hussar brigade that is holding Lanne’s right flank, and despite their advantage of having one regiment of cuirassiers, they are thrown back.

James realized that the key to survival was aggression, and pushed his infantry forward.   A fortunate volley drove the French light foot out of the north half of the village (the church square) and that reversal seemed to perplex the French players, who never used their four veteran grenadier regiments to full advantage after that.

On the Austrian right, Murat’s two dragoon brigades are slowly and relentlessly pushing forward, but they are too far away from the intersection and it is too late in the day for this to be a disaster.

With the Austrians firmly holding the centre of the table, and only a few turns remaining, the French players conceded defeat.

I had worried that the game would be a one-sided affair, with the French cruising to an easy victory, but in fact it was a close battle and the Austrians, ably and aggressively handled, had a convincing victory.   Most importantly, the players had fun, I gained enough confidence to run another game at another event, and I got to know the rules much better.

Perhaps I’ve made the same fudge that the designers of the Command and Colors Wertingen scenario did by giving the Austrians more units on the table than the historical battle would suggest - from what I’ve been able to gather, the French had a 3-1 advantage.  Perhaps I could adjust that by taking away one of the Austrian cavalry regiments, but I’d like to play this though again with some other players to see if there’s a different encounter.    Hopefully I’ll write up this scenario for one of the magazine.

Cheers, thanks for reading, and blessings to you die rolls!

MP+

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

A Too Fat Lardies Game Day in Canada

Last Saturday I made the two hour trek south from Barrie to Hamilton, Ontario, for LardEhs, the second such event run by some dedicated Canuck gamers, the first being in November.    The name LardEhs is a play on Canadian speech patterns (IYKYK, if not, Bob and Doug will explain it to you here).  I ran a game in the afternoon, of which more in a subsequent post, but here quickly are some of the photos I had time to take in the morning.  The event attracted about 40 game masters and players, a small but impressive selection of vendors, and brought in at least one person from out of province.

Thomas Sero ran a Large Chain of Command game in 20mm featuring British and German troops fighting for Rauray, Normandy.   Thomas’  village, seen here, featured many of his own scratch-built structures, including a rather fine looking church.  I ran the British armour, and made the mistake of rolling too far forward in my Sherman, paying the price for not looking to my right and noticing the Panther in the orchard (top right).   It was a close fought game still in the balance when we had to finish the session.   Well done Thomas!

Howard Tulloch made an even longer drive than I did, coming down from Orillia to host morning and afternoon games of What A Tanker!  Howard’s skills running games, honed running DBA events for years, were fully on display here, with a novel and very interesting table taking the players to somewhere in Burma later in the war.    

 Japanese tanks, not often seen on the wargames table, stalked British Shermans and Stuarts for much of the day.    Tanks were continuously exploding, new players came and went, and much laughter was heard.   

 Roger Chrysler hosted one of two games of Sharp Practice, featuring a War of 1812 scenario by the late Mike Hobbs in which British troops and their First Nations allies are wreaking their revenge on Americans as they stumble out of their tents.   My friend and podcast partner James (top left) along with Dan played the British/Indians, and appeared to have victory well in hand as the Mohawk warriors were last seen crashing into what was left of the American flank.  Ouch.

 Sean Malcomson ran a game of Infamy! Infamy! pitting angry Britons against Claudian Romans, seeking to impose their evil metric ways.   I played in Sean’s Infamy game at Hot Lead this March, and was glad to have the chance again to see his colourful armies on the table.

 I do love me a chariot.  These are very tasty.  Somebody should write a chariot rules set called “Wicker and Whinnies”, I’d buy it.

Romans grimly hold the line.  I didn’t see how the game finished, but it looked like the Romans were a tough nut to crack.

Chis Robinson, a friend of the Canadian Wargamer Podcast, ran another game of Sharp Practice, an ACW battle that featured abundant numbers of cavalry.   Chris ran two distinct but linked games, with the morning game having a bearing on how the afternoon game played out.  Chris’ 18mm figures are highly distinct, sitting in the sweet spot for size and detail between 15s and 28s, and are very well painted.  Both Chris’ games were popular and well subscribed. 

 A high point of this event was the $400ish dollars raised from the charity raffle to support the local university children’s hospital foundation.   I want to thank Richard Clarke of TFL for donating a handsome number of red Lardies dice, which we sold as part of the fundraiser.   That along with other prizes donated by various vendors and by a certain Canadian podcast show the spirit of our Lardies community.

There were a few notable absences - no games of I Aint Been Shot Mum or its successor, O Group, no flying games, and it seems that the latest Lardie publication, Mark Backhouse’s ancient big battles rules, Strength and Honour, haven’t made it over the water yet.   There will be a LardEh 3 in late September, I hear, so maybe we’ll see the newest Lardie game then.  It would also be wonderful to see Lardies fans in other parts of Canada follow Ontario’s lead and run similar events.

Well done to Chris, Barnaby, and all the good folk who made this event a success.

Blessings to your die rolls!

MP+

Blog Archive

Followers