Wednesday, 30 April 2014

To Horse!

More cavalry for the Medetian expedition to the battlefields of Granprix at this weekend's Ayton event.

First off, some older cavalry which I've finally gotten around to equipping with lance pennons. This is the El Z'teeth regiment (RSM Ottomans) who fought in the sands of Byzarbia a couple of years ago. I contacted GMB Designs to ensure I got some pennons in red and blue (turned out the Silesian Landwehr Uhlans were what I was after). I touched up the white paper edges with appropriate daubs of Vallejo. They enhance the unit nicely and give them a little bit more uniformity - important now they're off to war in Europe and everyone else is in serried ranks of splendour!

Then we come to a brand new regiment, the Saxon Rutowski Dragoons, who are in the pay of the Kingdom of Fleurie and who will be fighting alongside the Medetians in Granprix. These are Minden Miniatures Austrian dragoons, and lovely figures they are too. After talking with John Ray I came round to the idea of having some historical units among those of my imagi-nations, and this unit appealled both due to its interesting (but not necessarily glorious) history and its attractive colour scheme.

I have had these painted by the very talented James Roach of 'Olicanalad' fame, whose painting on his blog has always impressed and inspired me. James kindly fitted these in among other larger commissions he's working on and has produced a fantastic looking unit. All I've done is base them. Little is known about the flag this regiment would have carried, so James created one based on his research and understanding of the Saxon army of the period. I'm delighted with it and hope the first picture does it justice. More unpainted cavalry will certainly be winging its way to Ilkley soon!

Obviously with all of these recent additions, I am going to be at serious risk of 'shiny new unit syndrome' at Ayton, but at least pretty much everyone else is too!

The Army Prepares to March

.. well, be carried more like.

As my figures almost always fight at home I've not had much need to prepare proper transport facilities for them. However, with the increased size of the force I'm taking to Ayton this year I needed something a bit better than just the usual boxfiles, bubblewrap and prayer - especially for individually based figures which will be vulnerable to falling over if not packed properly. Advice from other gamers (in particular Goat Major) led me to KR Multicases, who have a vast range of storage and transport packaging for wargame armies. Their stand at Salute was suitably grand but it was a bit crowded so I didn't queue up for advice (also, I had no intention of buying anything there as I'd have had to lug it around for the rest of the day).

I did pick up a catalogue though and had a good look at the options before ringing the company last week. I spoke to a very helpful young lady who talked me through the different options and helped me come up with a useful mix of foam trays, all fitting inside a single touch cardboard case. Everything arrived a few days later and I'm very pleased with the quality and practicality of the KR stuff. I've gone for half-sized trays, in 2 different compartment sizes. This gives me plenty of flexibility for skirmishers, artillery crew, artillery pieces, scenery, dice and even cavalry. I easily managed to fill all the trays, which makes me think I might need to buy another case before too long!

All in all I'm impressed with KR's products and service, and I think £25 is decent for something like this that's going to last a long time.

Here's a quick pic of some of the packed trays in situ.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Latest recruits

With the big Ayton weekend galloping towards us, I've been hurrying to base some figures I've recently finished painting. So let me introduce Sebastiani's battalion of converged Medetian Grenadiers, containing a company from each of the first 4 line regiments. This is a 30-strong unit of Huzzah Miniatures.

I've also added a unit of Wurttemberg Jager who are in the pay of Fleurie. These are Perry Hessian AWI figures which have lots of variety of pose. I bought a dozen on eBay which were made up of one pack of command and one of Jager. This meant I needed to convert one of the two figures carrying horns, as otherwise the unit would look more musical than martial! He's not hard to spot, but at least I managed to arm him and paint him as just one of the guys.

Next up will be some cavalry, but with the need for some pre-game secrecy I may not post pics of them for a couple of weeks. Can't let the despicable enemy (you know who you are) have too much information!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Ayton Event 2014 - Grenouisse Ascendant

Now that we're into April, the preparations are gathering pace for the multi-player 18th century game at Ayton at the start of May. There are 3 and a bit weeks to go, and painting still to be completed (and not just by me - I'm sure most of the other participants are feeling the pressure too). A little bit of time most evenings seems to be moving things on fairly well, but no doubt the final push will be just as frantic as last year!

Over the last week the momentum, and excitement, has started to build. Although local arrangements are mostly in the hands of Peeler (as he's widely known), the game and background are the work of Henry Hyde, who is currently working feverishly at the multitude of tasks and communications a full-on unpire needs to look after. The volume of messages and intelligence reports that 12 players can generate is clearly enormous, but Henry is handling it with style and creativity, and there's always a period flavour to what you receive back, and a sense that we're involved in great events and embarked on a course that will re-shape history. Some of the general information/news items are being reported by Henry himself at Henry's Blog but naturally most exchanges are private and bilateral with the unpire, unless players' characters are understood to be face to face with each other in which case we can contact each other directly.

At the moment the 2 sides, one nobly seeking to recover the Duchy of Granprix which was lost to the dastardly invaders from Grenouisse in the 2011 game, the other seeking to hold onto these ill-gotten gains (you can guess which side I might be on!) are beginning to assemble and manouevre. Plans are being made, well sort of (due to the challenges of differing opinions and troubled communications), and there will be some pre-weekend campaign moves by land and sea which will hopefully set everything up nicely for some dramatic on-table action as the culmination of the story.

Orders of battle are of course secret too, and that's where the painting pressure really comes in. No-one will want to take the field with fewer troops than they've previously committed to, as the only one to suffer will be themselves. I will of course post pictures of my recent additions soon, but have to be careful not to give too much away to any enemies that may be watching..