Monday, 19 May 2014

Legion de Fleurie - Light Infantry

Further to my previous post on the development of this imagi-nation formation, since the Ayton weekend I have made some progress. I have continued to put off doing the main battalion (through laziness), so it was the light infantry next. The tremendous Minden Legion d'Hainault grenadiers chose themselves for this and I have kept the uniform blue and red in line with my plans for the Legion as a whole. Basing comes next of course, but I've run out of pre-mixed plaster so have posted anyway. I intend to add a complementary unit of Crann Tara Royal Ecossais advancing figures (purchased at Triples) as the uniform is very similar and I think they'll work well together.

Eventually the Legion de Fleurie will muster the following:

Commanding Officer
1 Infantry battalion (30 figures)
2 Light infantry companies (12 figures each)
2 Hussar squadrons (6 figures each)
1 Light gun (3 crew plus limber)

I've thought about also having a battalion gun with the main infantry unit but for now I think the light field piece will do.

The first picture suffers for light a bit, but hopefully you get the gist.





Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Bit of Structure

With the Ayton painting deadline behind me I have been enjoying the freedom to dabble with various mini projects. Some scenery items have included finally (the receipt says September 2010!) constructing the GW Fortified Manor kit I've been intending to do. Say what you like about them, but this is a superb model and decent value - at least at 2010 prices! I've left most of the building components separate so I can use just part of it or change the configuration as I want for specific games. I've also added 2 floors in the tower so that figures can be placed within on the various levels. Although it's a fantasy model, I left off many of the more 'Warhammer' options to keep it as generic as possible and it will see use in 17th century skirmishes and no doubt 18th and 19th century battles and games of Sharpe Practice. Painting it will be a bit of work however..



I also spent a few minutes (literally) painting this guard hut from Warbases that I'd bought and assembled a while ago. It's nice and simple and will be a nice scenery piece to add to the table on occasion.


I'm also currently working on some pack animals and a bit of livestock - just for variety!

Triples

It must be 10 years or more since my only previous visit to the Triples show, but yesterday the weather was fantastic enough to demand a drive in the countryside to Sheffield, only 45 minutes away for me.

As a show, it was OK, much as any other I guess. I arrived in the afternoon and it was fairly quiet although there did still seem to be quite a few people around. The lighting was better than that at Salute (not saying much) but not great. Still, I was able to see what I wanted to see and the lack of crowds made it that bit easier.

Two priorities for me to see were Bruce Weigle's St Quentin FPW game in 6mm and The Ilkely Lads' Zorndorf. Both were superb and worth the trip alone. The scenery and sense of accuracy/reality of the St Quentin table were among the best I've seen, and it was nice to see some Heroics & Ros figures in use rather than the inevitable Baccus you tend to see these days. The battle had been played through earlier in the day so all was quiet by the time I was there. There was to be a re-play on Sunday.

I specifically sought out James Roach (Olicanalad) at the Zorndorf game as he'd recently painted a commission for me (the Saxon Rutowski Dragoons posted previously) and I hadn't met him before to say hello. James was very welcoming and we chatted for a few minutes before confirming some further commissions that he's going to fit into his busy schedule. The game itself was very impressive and it was great to see close up the large table covered in James' work. The cavalry especially, and the hussars in particular, were awesome, as were all the hand-painted flags. Definitely eye candy!

Shopping wise I did pretty well. Some bargain old Ospreys (The Black Watch, Sudan armies and Ottoman armies), a handful of paints and some brushes, as well as a few figures - not something I generally buy at shows actually. I picked up a couple of packs of Perry's from Dave Thomas, and a pack of Copplestone 15mm fantasy (bears and shape changers) for something completely different. Best of all was a good chat with Graham at Crann Tara (and Bob who was there at the same time), who in between discussion on future release plans, future games and flag commissions, did me a very generous deal on some superb Royal Ecossais who will be accompanying my Legion de Fleurie when they are done. Graham is a real enthusiast for the hobby and always a pleasure to spend time with. His corner of one of the halls was fairly warm, so he would definitely have earned the beer he was promising himself when he got back to his hotel!

A good trip out then, a bit of spending, and some familiar faces.

A couple of pics of the St Quentin game (I forgot to take any of Zorndorf, but James will have better on his blog anyway):



Saturday, 10 May 2014

Ayton 2014

Ayton 2014 - What a way to fight a war!

What can I say? Once you've spent 12 months anticipating an Ayton wargaming weekend; planning, collecting and painting your forces, and looking forward to meeting up with good friends again, expectations are pretty high. Fortunately this year's event, as with all the previous ones, hugely exceeded those expectations.

Although I'd promised myself there wouldn't be a frantic rush at the end this year I was still finishing off the last of my new hussar unit, St Angelo's Ghosts, on the Friday morning - just as I knew deep down I would be. Those Perry plastic French hussars do take some painting..! Fortunately I'd packed all the rest of the army a day or so before, so once the paint on the bases was dry I was ready to set off.

My journeys there and back were very easy, considering the first one was on a Friday afternoon before a bank holiday. I stayed at the Lodge which was very comfortable, and for some reason I had a suite including a full kitchen and four poster bed. Not bad for the standard room rate! Most people gathered at the hall from about 5pm onwards, which allowed time for the tables and scenery to be set up for the 2 opening battles that would be fought on the Saturday. It was also a great opportunity to say hi to everyone again, catch up generally and of course admire each other's newly painted figures. To say there were some stunning units present would be an understatement - the photos of the event will do them better justice.

Everyone took pictures during the weekend and many have been posted on the LAW forum. They're well worth a look. Mine are here for day 1 and here for day 2
Henry's YouTube videos are excellent too, giving an overview of the final battle and capturing the atmosphere very well.

Here are a couple of tasters from the final battle just to add some colour to this post:



In brief then, our team of Simon, Paul, Ken and Dave M (and Peter on day 1 as the Duke) were invading Granprix to recover it for Duke Zigor. We even had a plan, worked up over the preceeding weeks under Henry's umpireship. Opposing us were Mark, Iain, Richie, Mike, Andy (and Peter on day 2 as the King of Grenouisse). Due to the way the campaign progressed, we pretty much achieved our aim of approaching the capital, Pescadrix, from east and west simultaneously and this resulted in the 2 battles on day 1. There were also naval actions taking place off the coast and these has some impact on the success and timing of our amphibious landings. A final show-down between the 2 main fleets is to be played out by Henry who will hopefully let us know how things panned out. Hopefully we will be victorious!

On day 1 we clearly outnumbered our enemies in the east (things appeared more even in the west) but that didn't prevent Iain and Andy fighting a tough defensive battle for the coastal village, inland hills and the plain between them. We prevailed however and pushed them back on the capital, following up for the big denouement before the city walls on day 2 (actually set 2 days later after some R&R and a brief march). Here, after a much harder battle, we were again victorious and captured the King to round off the liberation of Granprix in glorious style. I've written up an account of the campaign from the Medetian perspective for Henry and am happy to see what use he makes of it before posting anything in more detail here.

Despite winning the war however, the true highlight of the event was the social side with its cameraderie, fun and wargaming in the best possible spirit. Everyone was clearly there to ensure that their opponents got as much enjoyment from the games as they did themselves. I played against Andy and Iain on the 2 days and more pleasant, good natured, company you could not hope for. My allies, Paul and Simon, were equally enthusiastic and fun to play alongside.

There were also a few other games staged by members of the group who wanted to attend, but had plans of their own that they'd been working towards. Tim and Tim have got seriously into the world of proper toy soliders (54mm etc) and put on a couple of stunning games over the 2 days. Albions vs Europans in the age of empire was superb, as was Aussies vs Japanese in the Pacific. The scenery on both ocassions was excellent, fittingly so for the sumptious armies on display. Bob and Heather played a couple of good looking VBCW games too, with the usual interesting forces being deployed (it appeared to be police vs ladies). They were clearly enjoying themselves and everyone was welcome for a natter.

Of course no Ayton weekend would be complete without copious food (courtesy of the Dennison Arms) and copious beer (the social club next door to the hall this time), which was all consumed against the backdrop of very enjoyable wargaming conversation. Naturally next year's game was a hot topic and I'm pleased to say that we're returning to the 19th century for this one, and in rather hotter climes..

Thanks again to everyone for attending and putting in the effort and creativity, in particular Peeler for organising things again, and Henry for his fantastic umpiring and background work. All in all a superb weekend with a great bunch of guys. Roll on 2015!