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!


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!

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!


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!


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