Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Welsh Bowmen

These 24 Welsh archers were the easy to paint on account of the  general lack of gear. As you can see, the majority of the figures wear a tunic and little else. When you do not have to paint chainmail or shields (or even pants, for that matter) the process is greatly expedited! These are from the 30 figure set ("Welsh Bowmen" set number DA-22) by Old Glory Miniatures, which comes with 5 poses in 25mm, but sadly no head variants.

I'm a fan of the pose where the fella has one end of his bow on the ground.

Another amusing feature is that all but one of the poses is not wearing on shoe on one foot. This is a reference by the sculptor to a 13th century illustration of a Welsh archer. Historians do not quite know what to make of this depiction. It did originate from London, so one has to suspect the intrusion of metropolitan (as it were) attitudes about the provinces by the artist.

These fellas have not seen a lot of use on the table. The Welsh in SAGA carry javelins which precludes the necessity of having a ranged unit like archers in your warband a bit. I anticipate using them as Anglo-Dane levy archers, however.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

"Cozy little village you got here. Y'know, Northumbria's a dangerous place. Be a shame if anything happened to your village. Real shame."

Friday, December 26, 2014

Red vs. Black - a Drum & Shakos Large Battle tryout

I wanted to get my experimental "freelance Napoleonic" 54mm figures in use but also wanted to try another horse and musket era ruleset. All the King's Menis a clean and simple ruleset designed specifically with 54mm figures in mind, but the activation system (drawing playing cards) is a bit limiting. For one thing, there are no group activations and this tends to isolate units with the result that action tends to become centered around one or two units who are the fray and other units (which you did not move earlier) end up forgotten at the edges. 
I'd read the Black Powder rules and at least those have the option for group orders and movement, but I have also recently become more aware of the large family of skirmish rules based on the Song of Blades & Heroes "engine".  This led me to purchase the PDF version of the relation Drums & Shakoes: Large Battles on the inkling it could be adapted to 54mm. 
The first conversions were easy enough: DS:LB features infantry battalions of four stands with a width-to-depth ratios of 3:1 with about 3 or 4 figures per stand.  This translates pretty easily into the AtKM standard of 12-man infantry units. Cavalry are two stands of the same width as infantry stands, which will give you a four-figure cavalry unit (which is an immediate economy over AtKM's six-figure cavalry units).  DS:LBuses a VS-S-M-L movement scale (similar to SAGA) which I translated into 3"-6"-8”-12".  Artillerty is DS:LB is two stands per battery with one gun each – this caused a slight problem because I have only three guns completed at this point. For the purposes of figuring out the rules I used a single gun.

I really like D&S:LB!  The reaction moves created a nice simulation of simultaneous movement, with both sides' front lines drifting towards each other at roughly the same speed.  The group activations were also nice, with the red side in particular being able to move thier left flank up in an orderly fashion.  The 12-figure single file line formation took some getting used to visually, but make the line tactics and formations more in your face.  I went through a few combats and they were interesting. Red was able to drive back Black, but in one case Red took more disorder markers than Black (there is no figure removal), so I thought that was a different take on things (victorious at a cost).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

9th Century Irish Warriors with Axes and Command

Here are 27 "9th Century Irish Warriors with Axes and Command" (set number SVS-05) in 25mm scale by Old Glory Miniatures.  The bag comes with 30 figures: there are 24 of the two handed axe wielders (five poses with head variants), plus one standard bearer (with a separate wicker shield), a horn, and a warlord (the set comes with two each of the "command" figures). 

The head variants are I believe cast separately, and possibly attached with solder? The heads are not only different but faced in various directions. You can also slightly twist the axe head's orientation which helps the overall pose seem more sensible. The horn and standard bearer figures plus one of the axemen poses wear a sort of short fringed poncho which allows you to break that group out as elite bodyguards or noble warriors if you want. 

When painting I used a lot of yellow because I found internet references to Irish warriors favoring clothes dyed saffron.  I also experimented a bit with painting red hair.

For SAGA I have not actually used these fellows much – I don't have the Irish supplemental information (yet) and would probably need some other figures to round out a warband. I have used small groups of them as Welsh hearthguard on occasion, and I use the warlord as a Welsh warlord all the time. I do anticipate fielding them as medium infantry in a non-skirmish big battle ruleset sometime soon, however.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Little Regiments

1. Corps Royal de l'Artillerie (France)

BMC figures. The feller hefting a cannonball is a modified figure.

2. Mordaunt's 10th Dragoons (British)

The 10th Dragoons (established 1715, veterans of the '45) were commanded by Colonel John Mordaunt, the MP for Cockermouth and proud owner of the coach of Bonnie Price Charlie, which was presented to him as a gift by the Duke of Cumberland after the British victory over the highlanders at the battle of Culloden.

These figures are my first conversions of HaT Industries Napoleonic French dragoons into Seven Years War period cavalry.  These HaT figuers have decidedly smaller heads than the many BMC/Americana infantry whom have received millliput-sculpted tricornes to replace other headgear, so the modifications by me are a bit inconsistent.  After painting the figures have been dipped in polyurethane to protect and to give them a shiny metallic look.  If I'd been more thoughtful, I would have trimmed off the epaulets on two of the figs and also trimmed off the holstered carbine on their right legs.

3. Marquis de Vogüé Cavalry (France)

This heavy calvary regiment was first established in 1665, disbanded 1668, reestablished 1671 under the comte Marcillac.  The comte de Vogüe purchased the regiment in 1734 but then sold it in 1744.  The regiment finally returned to ownership of the Vogüe house in 1759, when Charles François Eléazard, marquis de Vogüé, purchased it for his son Cerice François Melchior de Vogüé (and company within said regiment for his second son Florimont).  The regiment fought at Bergen on April 19, 1758 and was badly mauled at Minden on August 1, with Cerice François being seriously wounded and captured by the Allies.

Like my other Seven Years War cavalry this unit is made of converted HaT Industrie Napoleonic French dragoon figures.  The dragoon helmets have been cut off and replaced with tricornes fashioned from milliput.  Wish I had thought to also shave off the carbine hip holsters and some random epaulets.  The tricornes are okay but look a little too big if you look at them too closely - its tricky to get the right look as the HaT figures have rather small heads.

4. Hanoverian Artillery

As with the French artillery, BMC figures and the ones lifting shot are a modified figures - arms and cannonballs sculpted from milliput.

5. Mestre de camp Général Cavalry (France).

Second generation of modified HaT Industrie Napoleonic cavalry.  This time I trimmed off the holtered carbines and the random epaulets. I was also less shy about slightly oversized tricornes.  Mainly I remember being overjoyed to find a French cavalry unit that didn't wear white or red!

6. Prince Friedrich's Dragoons (Hesse-Kassel)

The other half of the second generation of HaT Napoleonic cavalry conversions. More of the same. Again, happy to find a unit wearing color I hadn't used yet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Welsh Spearmen

Here are 24 "Welsh Spearmen" (set number DA-21) in 25mm scale by Old Glory Miniatures.  The bag comes with 30 figures in 5 poses with head variants. I only painted 24 because the last six were a shirtless pose that I didn't care for.  Some of the heads have poor detail (or are a completely undetailed flat smush) on one side of the face. I did my best to just paint around these – they are in the minority and not too noticeable when ranked up.


The color scheme features a lot of red shirts. This is because I found a reference [1] stating that Welsh "warriors were dressed in a linen shirt (often red) and linen drawers; they covered these with a woolen cloak hanging to their knees".  This is probably referring to a later period than the dark ages, but it's good enough for me!  The same source notes that "a circular shield was carried by the foot soldiers, decorated white, yellow, silver, or blue." [2] I didn't like the idea of silver shields, so I stuck to white, yellow, and blue. 

The spears are styrene rod cut and carved by me to look spears. Some of the figures had poses where the hand is too close to the body and makes getting a spear in pace rather difficult. I would rather more of the poses had an overhand arm pose to hold the spear to give them more of a javelin-using skirmish look. As is they rank up rather like a phalanx.

The mounted warlord is by Gripping Beast. I have managed to photograph him in just the right way that shows off the mistake I made painting the mane that I keep neglecting to fix over and over again. 

[1] "Medieval Welsh Warriors and Warfare." http://www.castlewales.com/warfare.html
[2]  Ibid.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Heathend Hill

Heathend Hill is the name given for this 'sacred ground' scenario we played for the SAGA dark ages skirmish tabletop miniature game.  We used full six-point war bands, myself using Anglo-Danes with no ranged weapons (5 warrior units at 8 figures per units plus one hearthguard unit at 4 figures - 44 figures!) and Gabe fielded his new Norman war band which was our first experience with mounted troops.
The scenario involves three terrain pieces across the middle of the board (here, woods, a hill, and some rough terrain) which both sides must place as many figures as possible on. At the end of each turn points are tallied and then whomever has the most points at the end of 8 turns is the winner.

In turns one and two the Normans shot out ahead early and occupied the woods and 'Heathend Hill' in the middle.  The Anglo-Danes did formation dances and dressed their lines.

Then the Normans impetuously charged the Danes with 8 knights - the elite of their army. And were thoroughly trounced! The Danes took not a single casualty1


Meanwhile the Danes got toeholds in the woods and on Heathend hill and started accumulating points finally.  They were also able to play the 'trapped' ability two turns in a row and dropped a ton on fatigue on various Norman units, neutralizing them.

Numerous assaults in the woods failed to dislodge the Normans but the Danes massed and seized Heathend Hill in force.  By this time we were around turn 5 or 6 (of 8) so the rest of the game devolved into making sure all available models were on a terrain item to gather points.

In the end the 22 or so Anglo-Danes on Heathend Hill generated enough points to win the game.  Aside from winning, what I enjoyed about this game was that it was another scenario where the conditions had the effect of a very different game being played as opposed to the standard standby 'clash of the warlords.'  This was a long game (8 turns rather than 6) and took just under four hours to set-up and play although the last two turns went pretty fast.  I also enjoyed that I could experiment with army composition (no ranged attack units, only one elite unit) and have my war band (which I have played many times now) feel 'new' again.  Post-game this time involved a lot of browsing of the rules for the larger 8, 10 and 12 point games!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Effilstan's Pig Farm

'Effilstan's Pig Farm' is what Gabe titled this Vikings vs. Anglo-Danes SAGA game played almost a month ago.  We used the basic clash-of-the-warlords scenario with small four-point war bands.
I experimented a bit and did not include any ranged weapons in my Anglo-Dane war band - three warriors (8 figures each) and a hearthguard (4 figures).  I had recently constructed a bunch of cardboard village houses and Gabe had built a pig pen. We had a lot of terrain on the board which ended up being lumped together in the middle.  Since there was a cluster of buildings with a sort of village square space I chose to be aggressive and try and move into the constricted space of the buildings and use those defensively.

Viking archers occupied the long house first and refused to be evicted despite several assaults. Then viking berserkers decimated a band of Dane warriors (really good dice) and then proceeded to attack and slay the now exposed warlord (who in retrospect was way too close to the front lines).

Loss of your warlord is an automatic defeat in the clash of the warlords scenario so it was the sudden end to relatively short game.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Postman's been!

In today's mail, my list online auction score: a presumably Prussian field command set!  I'd seen this pictured somewhere before so grabbed it. The paint's so awful it comes off on your fingers just holding the figures.  Its hard to tell but the map table actually has little raised elevation lines and stuff.  I thought this was a Britains set but the bottom of the table says Strombeckers Chicago IL.  Sorta seen in the background are marching and at ease soldiers that appear to be from the same set or at least the same maker and series, but with broken rifles and arms.

The set also has one Britains hollowcast mounted trooper with a missing arm and a hole in the side of the horse. Imprint on bottom of horse says W.Britains and 1906.

Also in the lot were some old plastic figs and the strong scent of a smokers home.  

The command set's getting a dip in Simply Green and then its a quick repaint.  The hollowcast I haven't decided on yet.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


After an extended break, the 18th century collection in 54mm returned to the table last weekend.  Gabe had been busy painting three battalions (regiments? units? gangs of 12?) of Russians.  Even though they were not 100% done, Gabe wished to get them on the table, and my philosophy is THROW EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE, so we fudged it a bit and contrived a Seven Years War Franco-Russian joint operation against the Hanover-Hesse-Brunswick-Britain allied forces (pictured below at game's commencement).

Not completely fudged, however. The allied armies in western Germany were usually outnumbered so the French and Russians were given a slight numerical advantage of one extra infantry battalion.

The map was an approximation of the battle of Gohfeld during the Seven Years War.  The river at the French and Russian end of the table could only be crossed at the bridge, and at the allied end could only be forded up to one foot from the table's edge. This was our largest game to date: over 180 figures on the table!  It was also the longest one so far: almost three hours of actual game play.
Being the first game playing from the shorter ends of the table, a lot of early moves were burned up with little action as both sides approached each other.  The allies successfully screened the advance of their line infantry with skirmishers (pictured below).

Here's the two armies still maneuvering closer to each other.

French grenadiers and infantry (the bright blues and the whites) come in range of Hessian line infantry. However, the allies' skirmishers prevent direct fire between the two.

On the river's opposite bank, the Hanoverian contingent of the allied forces, along with all the allied cavalry, approach two battalions of Russians.  The cavalry would subsequently be decimated by some uncanny accurate French artillery fire.

Things start getting hot!  Below, the allied skirmishers have finally given way now that Brunswick infantry has taken position to the left of the Hessians. Not pictured is British infantry atop the small hill to the right of the Hessians. Coming through to the right of the bright blue-uniformed French Grenadiers is a French heavy cavalry charge.

Pictured below is the scene a couple of turns later - the French cavalry broke the Brunswick infantry and then proceeded on to break the last of the allied artillery.  The center Hessian infantry withstood all fire for multiple activations (til the end of the game, really).  The British, despite a superior hilltop position, flubbed every single dice roll, failing to rain cheap plastic fiery death upon their 1/32 scale French assailants, and also getting handily chopped up by French return fire.  On the opposite bank, Hanoverian infantry was effectively handling the Russians.

Despite their numerical advantage the French and Russians were the first to take a break test (from losing at least half of their starting units).  However, they made this roll successfully.  When it was my turn to take my first break test I once again totally flubbed the throw and the game was over.