Tuesday, December 29, 2015

1910 German Empire toy soldiers

Every once and awhile, a figure-painting project just really comes together.  I recently took advantage of a good sale at Armies in Plastic and in rather record setting time painted up a 54mm German Empire "army" of 36 infantry, 3 officers, a gun and 4 crew.  They are wearing the greenish version of "feldgrau" and pickelhaubs with tan covers which roughly corresponds to an early WW1 scheme.

The infantry all use only five colors: flesh, the "feldgrau" green, dark brown, tan, and bright green for the bases.  The figures were soaked in batches in a mason jar of SimpleGreen, then in a jar of white vinegar, then primed with white gesso.  After they were block painted, I did a "magic wash" of 3 parts water + 3 parts matte medium + one part light brown.  This gave the figures a little shading, especially around the face and hands. I then sealed with the figures by brushing on clear gloss polyurethane.

I am extremely satisfied with the end result.  The magic wash had darked the green of the unifoms a bit but the gloss coat lightened them back up again, I feel.

The gun crew were originally colonial British with pith helmets, but with the ol' exacto-knife, a few pins, and krazy glue I swapped the heads.

Since I had three boxes of infantry (60 figs) I was able to avoid using poses I wasn't very fond of (so no kneeling-shooting guys, and all the grenade throwing guys became head-swap donors for the artillery crew).   I also cut off all the bayonets since (a) they are the most bendy part of the figure and paint always chips/flakes there first, and (b) I think the figures look a little more "The Business" with out the bayonets than with.  Final count is 12 figs advancing at a walk, another 12 advancing at a run, and 12 standing/shooting.

Next up is a mirror opposing force of British with pre-1910 uniforms and pith helmets (khaki uniforms - no red tunics).  Envision using the Charge! rules and/or All the King's Men for mechanics but with a healthy dose of Wells' Little Wars for set-up and scenario design.  Also trying to decide if I want to deal with hassle of adding cavalry or not...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Saxon-Irish Blood Feud (Song of Arthur Campaign Finale)

Part 3 of our Saxon-Irish campaign, in which the Irish have been savagely owned thus far. BUT I thought I had a strategy (finally).  I'd do my darnedest to bumrush one of his flanks with everything I had and see if I can break his line and trigger some morale checks.

There's a somewhat complex rule that says that if you have surrounded your enemy in such a way that if they are making a "flee" move and they always come within one 'S' move of your figures, then that enemy figure is removed (think of them as surrendering or being cut down).  Oh, and the enemy figure has to flee towards the closest available edge, as well. So they have to be surrounded but not really surrounded. More like "loosely corralled," like this sorta…
                  O              X
           X   X

I was thinking I needed to just send my Riders on a long flank move, and get them behind the flank I want to attack.  Then I'd charge that flank with my foot Warriors and Champion, and if they can trigger some flee moves, those will turn into 'kills' by virtue of the 'surrounded' mechanic. 

So the actual game was a "kill the other leader" since this was supposed to be the big finale.  My strategy was doing *okay*, but a lot of the attack's inertia was wasted wiping out some Saxon slingers.

Then the grind started and thing started going poorly with the Irish warriors steadily getting cut down or fleeing.



Finally it was just the Irish warlord (on horseback) by himself, but he was totally going out METAL style, rolling a lot of 5s ans 6s while Kyle kept thowing 1s and such for his Saxons.

THEN Kyle let his warlord wade into it, and mine just split his skull. Morale check, and game over. With extra VP for me killing warlord, I squeaked out the win 11 to 10!!! METAL!

Overall campaign defeat for the Irish raiders, but it was nice to get the dramatic implausible win for the finale.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Charge! Battle of Market Chipping

Army Red and Army Black clash in full force near the suburbs of Market Chipping.  Dispositions were as follows:

Four infantry battalions of 12 figs each.
Two cavalry squadrons of 6 figs each.
Army Black had two guns and Red just one.
Various and assorted officers and staff.

Astute observers may notice that one Army Red battalion has traded in its scarlet coats and hats for olive green.  Both sides are contemplating changes in dress. 

Army Red deployed with its gun in the middle, flanked on each side by two infantry battalions and one squadron of hussars on each far flank.

Army Black deployed somewhat obliquely, with two infantry battalions to advance up through the suburbs of nearby Market Chipping, and the entirety of its cavalry deployed to its right flank in force.

While Army Black's infantry made its slow flank through the streets of town, Red's blue-jacketed hussars changed tack and instead of hitting Black's infantry in the messy confines of town, attempted to charge across the field and attack Black's center.

The result was the Blue Hussars were totally destroyed by artillery and musket fire.  However, as seen below, Black was emerging from the Market Chipping suburbs into the face of well disposed Red infantry and artillery. On Red's left, the Green Hussars had been beaten back by the combined cavalry of Black, but Black's cavalry was about to receive a volley from a nearly full strength Red infantry unit at point blank!

Red's infantry completely bungled the volley, however and the massed cavalry charged home to great success, leaving Red's left flank decimated.

Red tried in its last move to try and force a tie via some musket volleys on the right flank but all of those went pear-shaped as well and Army Black carried the field.  A satisfying game and Charge! proves itself to be a great match with 54mm figures!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Royalists Triumphant!

Another round of Pike & Shotte with both of us applying lessons learned (sort of).

 Both royalist and parliament forces deployed in fairly dense lines, which follows historical practice.  After two games of this is has become clear that you cannot rely on commanders to execute plans of any complexity or subtlety, much less any 'grand strategies.'  Your best bet is to line 'em up and do your best to corral the whole lot forward a bit.  Even with this mind,  however, I could not resist deploying the Royalist cavalry on my left to attempt a flanking maneuver through the woods.  I anchored the right flank against the river which I felt would protect it enough from the opposite numerous Parliament cavalry.

Things chugged along. My flanking maneuver, to the surprise of no one, was unbelievably slow. We finally remembered to use the first fire rule (add one dice to shooting total).  Gabe wasted no time having Parliament infantry blast away at the Royalists once in range.  I had the Royalists hold their fire, hoping to concentrate multiple first volleys at a single target for devastating effect, which did not pay dividends.   

As with the prior game, Parliament was able to send a sleeve of shot on the Royalist right running almost immediately.  Fortunately the looming presence of the Royalist cavalry, finally making their way around the Parliament flank, prevented Gabe from pushing his advantage.  Some of the Royalist cavalry even succeeded in overrunning the Parliament artillery, but then chanced a reckless charge into a Parliament pike block and was destroyed.

Back in the center and Royalist left, the Parliament cavalry began to advance as both sides exchanged musketry.  Both sides were near the breaking point, but a Parliament cavalry squadron was caught out alone in front its own lines, and the Royalists delivered a truly "withering volley" (the first time I have seen such a thing represented on a tabletop) which broke the Parliament cavalry battalion and subsequently sent the whole army into retreat. Victory at last for the Royalist cause!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Charge! Or How to Play Wargames

A fast evening game of Charge! Or How to Play Wargames was played on a 3'x4' field on the living room using 54mm plastic figures.  These are my 'freelance Napoleonic project' figures, and are not painted to any specific units or nationalities.  I meant to throw together some background story with my oppoent (age 7) but forgot.

Both sides were compositionally identical: 24 infantry, a cannon with 4 crew, 6 cavalry, and 2 officers. 

The Charge!rules are wonderfully simple: the entire 'elementary' game rules are summarized on two pages!  They are also good simulation rules, both in terms of the effect of musketry and the back and forth of cavalry melee. Both sides began trundling forward.  Army Red's (me) artillery fire was spot on and Army Black took dreadful casualties as they advanced.

No pictures but there was a swirling melee to the left between the cavalry.

Infantry finally close in and the musketry fire commences. Army Black begins to chip away at Army Red.  The break point is first to loose 19 figures. Things get down the wire: Red has lost 18, Black has lost 17.

A great musket volley by Black's infantry at point blank seals their victory: 6 casualties in one blast!

Including set up time, I think we played this whole game in 45 minutes or so.  The figures are a mix of HaT infantry, Timpo cavalrymen on Imex horses, Armies in Plastic cannons, Call to Arms crew with All the Kings Men heads swapped on, and Italeri command figures (phew!).



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cavaliers Embarassed in ECW Defeat

We played our second English Civil War game, again using the Pike & Shotte rules. Each side had twice as much infantry as the last game (so two infantry 'battalias' of one pike block and two musket 'sleeves' each) and two cavalry battalias of two squadrons each (last game had one battalia of three each).  We also used medium guns instead of light falconets for artillery. 


The board had essentially three terrain features arrayed along the center: a village surrounded by hedgerows on the south edge, a hill at the north-center (complete with grazing sheep), and woods on the north end. At the center and center-south was as fairly open space.

The Parliament forces (Gabe) spent a lot of turns trying to set up an infantry battalia (the 'Orange Regiment') in the cover of the hedgerows by the village while a cavalry battalia moved quickly through the streets.

The Royalists (me) responded with (attempted) aggressive cavalry attacks on both flanks. The melee in the village streets went poorly with the defeat of the entire Royalist cavalry.The cavalry melee around and on the hill to the north was an effective stalemate. All this in spite of inferior Parliamentarian cavalry commanders!

In the center the Royalist Blue Regiment lost a musketeer company early on and the Red Regiment failed to form-up as intended.Parliament's cavalry charged from out of the village as the Orange Regiment finally climbed over the hedgerows and got in musket range.

The Royalist Reds formed hedgehog causing the Parliament cavalry to pull up short and the Blues were already broken and leaving the field. The Parliament Green Regiment also began to break up but the game was over as the Royalist cavalry battalia lost in the village plus the breaking Red Reg. meant that half of the army was broken.

For next game:

1. Consider placing starting-lines 18" from table edge rather than 12".This could reduce the game time, as a lot of time is wasted as the infantry of both sides struggle to get into musket range. There would still be a large back-space behind each army for maneuvering and reserves.
2. Continue to forget to use the 'first fire' rule for all musketeers – each unit gets bonus for the first volley of the game.
3. Might be time to drop the 'marauder' rule for both sides' cavalry. Same thing for Parliamentarian cavalry's 'caracole' rule. Parliament cavalry commander could also have an '8' rating rather than a '7'.

I have now lost two games, somewhat badly, but I am enjoying myself immensely.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Little Towns

The collection of self-made 25mm buildings shaping up nicely (suitable for dark ages through early modern era)!  Future plans include some larger buildings such as a tavern, earthworks, perhaps an inn with a courtyard, and a 'manor house'.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SAGA Game (Welsh vs. Vikings)

These pics are from a game played at Guardian back in January.  Gabe fielded his Vikings and I fielded my trusty Welsh. 

An interesting game in that the Welsh spearmen in the wheatfield there were knocked out in the second round and I was even considering conceding the game. 

However, the rest of the Vikings came over the hill there and into the woods.  There the Welsh ambushing tactics paid big dividends and basically got me back in the game, which was then won by a thin margin.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pike & Shotte Playtest (English Civil War)

Inaugural game of Pike & Shotte was played Friday before last using my collection of English Civil War figures (Old Glory metals and Warlord plastics, with some old Garrison painted cavalry figures I brought on auction mixed in as well).  I have already noted the preparation for thisgame, which turned out to help a lot in getting us set up and going pretty quick. Gabe took the Parliamentarians and I the lisping Royalists. I won the dice toss and chose to be defender and set up the terrain. I had already arranged some terrain and building the table the night before and I decided to just keep it that way for the game. We strayed from the prep notes by forgetting to designate two units each as "freshly raised" and two as "steadfast", but oh well.

The Pike& Shotte rules are not difficult but the book is a bit wordy and spread out. I had gone to the trouble of making my own index to the book and this served us well until our cavalry began mixing up on the Royalist right flank and it became evident I had not gotten to the hand-to-hand part of the book on my index!

We enjoyed the little ways the rules forced the action to mimic the historic record a bit. The use of light artillery (each side had one light cannon) as infantry support rather than long-range bombard was noted, as was the Royalist cavalry rashness and Parliamentarian hesitancy (this clash being set early in the war). The firearms were likewise dreadfully short-range and ineffective and the cavalry melees appropriately back-and-forth and chaotic.

In the end the aforementioned Royalist cavalry on the right had been chased from the field (not after sending some Parliamentarians running first), opening the way for the Parliament horse to sweep into the flank of the Royalist infantry. However, it was getting on late at this point, so I suggested Gabe have one last turn and we call it a night.To see what would happen, he had his infantry make a general advance and we had a 'push of pike' with the opposing pike blocks (which was fairly uneventful in its outcome).

The next game is set for this coming weekend and will feature roughly twice the figure count (having kept things on the small side for the first outing).