Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Coming up on 2016

As is the done thing at this time of year, I have been reviewing the year from a hobby perspective and looking ahead to next year.

I think I've made decent progress with some projects, and none at all with others. But I guess that's the norm for most gamers. I spent more than I should have but hopefully nothing will be wasted and all will be used/painted/read within a couple of years!

The key projects were:

  • 28mm Post-Napoleonic/19th Century Colonial - for Sharp Practice and Ayton 2015
  • 6mm Franco-Prussian War - for the 4 player game in March and further formations added after that
  • 25/28mm Fantasy (largely re-paints) - for Frostgrave, which I haven't played yet..
  • 6mm Seven Years War - at the end of the year, as a start to a major renewal of an old period

I dabbled with other things too, including Lion Rampant forces for future games, but didn't get properly into it in terms of much painting - although I tried the rules out using 15mm figures and borrowed a retinue for the LAW forum day at Foundry.

Painting totals were:

  • 28mm   100 (plus about 80 I had painted for me)
  • 15mm   11 (crap, but still the best year's output for a while!)
  • 6mm     900

For 2016 I have a few plans in mind already and the good thing from a motivational point of view is that I really want to get stuck into several of them immediately.

  • 6mm SYW - I have spent a fair few Christmas break hours basing (or re-basing) hundreds of figures for this project. I have about 800 painted already, but (gulp) 2,000 to do. It'll take a while, and several re-visits to this project to get everything done, but now I've fixed the rules and the unit structures I'm very motivated to get as much done as possible in this first push.
  • 28mm 18th Century (not a duplicate of the 6mm, definitely, absolutely not). Ayton 2016 (end of April) is the target for this, but I haven't decided on an order of battle for what I'm taking yet. Whatever, it's unlikely to require a lot of painting and I intend to get into this from Feb/March onwards.
  • 6mm 1859 Austrians - I may of course become burned out doing SYW Austrians in this scale, but you never know. I really want this army and I'll make it happen somehow.
  • 25/28mm Fantasy - I want to play Frostgrave and need to spend a bit of time on scenery. I already have the 'winter' terrain boards, I just need to assemble and paint the MDF ruins I've acquired this year, and scratchbuild some more using the high density polystyrene, which I've already had a play with. Figure-wise, there's not a lot to do and I'm not far off having 2 decent warbands to start out with.

There are other things I'm interested in pursuing in 2016, and  possibilities include:

  • 1/3000 Naval - the age of sail. Originally bought (some a very long time ago) for Napoleonics, but now I'm thinking that the SYW, AWI and Revolutionary Wars would be more interesting. Easier to paint too! Who knows?
  • 15mm Ancients. There is a small group of LAW nutters who want to get together and play some Punic Wars battles in this scale. The lack of an agreed approach, set of rules, basing style or philosophy are merely ankle-high obstacles that we will inevitably overcome.. If so, I have a few more to paint to round out my existing armies.
  • More terrain boards, including a few additional river bends and some bigger hills
  • Jungle scenery (trees, suitable buildings, boats, etc) for a 28mm Colonial Sharp Practice campaign. The 2nd Edition of the rules will be interesting to see too.
Perhaps more importantly, I intend to get plenty of games in too. There's the FPW campaign to finish with GM, hopefully in January, and then further one-off and campaign battles in a number of periods and scales. 2015 was pretty good for games all in all, and I'd like to do just as well in 2016.

So, lots to do and look forward to, which is the way with this brilliant hobby.

I'd like to wish all visitors a Happy New Year, and hope you re-visit in 2016.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Small Forest

I'm not exactly short of trees for my 6mm games, but the occasional foray onto a 6x4 foot table has left my thinking that a few more wouldn't go amiss. I needed to borrow a few last time just to be sure - clearly not a long term solution.

Step forward Amphibmods and their eBay shop. 32 trees, each 50-60mm tall and coming with a nicely sculpted base, and only costing about 50p each.

Naturally I needed to give the shiny brown plastic bases the Medetian touch so that they blend into the terrain boards nicely. Not too much work, and voila! A small forest to help with those big battles.

Everything's come out a bit pinky due to the light outside at the time of day the pics were taken!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

White Christmas

I'm not the only blogger to use this title this December - great minds think alike Phil O. :)

Naturally this isn't a festive reference (as I haven't finished work yet and am therefore not fully in the spirit), it's about the next batch of SYW Austrians I've completed.

These are the first brigade of infantry, which includes a couple of battalions of grenadiers and 3 of musketeers. I do need to paint a brigadier, who'll be along shortly.

I'm building the armies in brigade-sized batches, so that they grow in logical proportions and so that I can keep my interest up by switching between infantry and cavalry, Prussian and Austrian, and add the relevant commanders at the same time.

Next, though, will be some Austrian artillery and elite horse grenadiers for variety.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Leipzig DBN Refight

A bit late in posting about this, but never mind...

Over the first weekend of October I was fortunate enough to take part in a multi-player refight of the Battle of Leipzig 1813. This was put on by Alex Testo, who is one of the original authors of the DBN rules and who runs a very nice hotel in Scarborough. October being closed season, Alex likes to arrange a big game for people to come and play, and to stay in residence over the weekend. I attended the Gettysburg game a couple of years ago and when I heard about this year's subject battle, I signed up immediately as it's one I've always been fascinated by.

In the end there were 10 players (some of whose names I've forgotten in the intervening weeks - sorry) who assembled on Friday evening to receive a warm welcome from Alex and his family, an introduction to the custom-built table, the rules and the background to the battle itself. Then off for an excellent fish and chip supper, followed by some social time over a beer or two, during which we divided into two sides/teams to look over the table and forces, and make some plans for the battle.

Some of the armies, laid out by Corps:

I fancied playing on the French side and duly became that dashing fop, Murat. Our leader was Phil, who made a fine Napoleon (or possibly Custer), and our plan was reasonably historical - to hold Blucher in the north and try to bash the Army of Bohemia among the high ground and villages in the south. I had the left flank, from Liebertwolkwitz onwards, to defend against hordes of Austrians, Russians and Cossacks.

We hid the whole army behind the high ground and villages, leaving only 2 artillery batteries in view. The enemy didn't seem fazed, and deployed in strength pretty much everywhere.

Needless to say, a 2-day multi-player wargame is about as difficult to accurately recount in detail as a real battle, so I won't be attempting this!

The gist is that there was hard fighting everywhere, with the allies trying to take Mockern in the north in the face of desperate defending by the French. There were cossack shenanigans all over, trying to get behind the French into the baggage and to occupy objectives (fortunately I dealt with the attempt on my flank).

Mockern as the storm approaches:

The big fight was around Liebertwolkwitz, stretching away to both to me on the left, and the Imperial Guard on the right flank. Everyone seemed to have good and bad turns, and the combat swayed back and forth around the villages and ridges. The Guard went in, and a lot of it went down, but not before taking a lot of Prussian and Russian Guard with it.

The Austrians under Simon tried to swoop on Lindenau to block the French escape route, but they seemed to be walking in treacle and took an age to deliver their assault. He took the gibes well though :)

Leipzig and its garrison:

I got hold of the Reserve Heavy Cavalry Corps (lots of tough elite Saxons, etc) and managed to crush much of the enemy's right flank, shoring up my own position at the same time. That was a lot of fun, and a highlight for me!

At the end there was a very fine line between winning and losing, and it came down to a couple of key combats to see which army would reach its break point first. The French just fell short, and Napoleon would once again have to retreat over the river to live to fight another day.

All in all it was a brilliant weekend, with very good company and an excellent game that played out so well. The social side was very good too, including some beer and curry on the second evening, and lots of banter throughout the two days. Thanks go to Alex and family for putting on such a great event, and I look forward to another one of these weekends next year hopefully.

Friday, 18 December 2015

SYW 6mm: a Re-start

After a long while, this is a project I am finally returning to - with an actual plan this time.

I have a lot of figures (all H&R), quite a number of which are already painted. But.. everything needs a minimum of a re-base and most need painting or at least a bit of touching up. A big project then, and naturally other things will need to go onto the back burner to accommodate this change of direction.

I'll be using a heavily revised variant of the Realtime Wargames FPW rules, ie. retaining the core 6" grid to govern unit positioning and movement, and unit bases to denote combat effectiveness. This will allow me to play some big battles with simple mechanisms, but of course I'm adding in the period flavour with specific rules for the SYW (and WAS).

The armies will be Prussian and Austrian, with a few Reichsarmee or allied auxiliaries for the latter, and to add a bit of colour and variety. After lots of thinking, prevarication and discussion with a fellow gamer, I've finally decided on the unit sizes and basing, which frees me up to get started. I've had many of the figures for over 20 years, and some for over 30. It'll be good to get them ready for action again - hopefully there'll be enough done for a small game or two next year. My initial target is to have enough to refight Mollwitz, or at least a SYW version of it.

Here are some of the first sample units, testing out the basing and the general look. Lots more to come!

The first Austrian Cuirassier brigade, regiments Stampach and Kalkreuth:

The first infantry battalions for each side, from the Prinz Moritz and Kaiser regiments respectively:

I'll need some rustic German buildings too, for the villages of Bohemia and Silesia, and have plans to scratchbuild some basic cottages to add to commercially available churches, etc.

Monday, 30 November 2015

A Few Extras Painted

I'm happily lacking any hobby deadlines at the moment, so have been dabbling with whatever takes my fancy (ie. whatever is already prep'd and undercoated).

The latest minor additions to several projects include:

Two units of skirmishers for my 15mm Punic Wars armies. Numidians (Corvus) at the back and blurry Carthaginians (Strategia e Tattica) at the front:

A unit of 6mm Grenzers for my Seven Years War Austrians, which I might finally make a proper start on soon. Heroics and Ros figures.

The first 3 Austrian battalions for my 6mm 1859 army, H&R again. Two of these units need flags, which I'll be making from pin and foil - so I can scrunch them up and not have to paint perfect double-headed eagles, etc! I've tried the Baccus ones and, for me, they suffer from being printed - the symbols are a bit pixelated and they're faded rather than full of colour.

Who knows what I'll do next, more soon.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Lion Rampant Game Day

Last weekend saw a dozen gamers gather together from far and wide (Scotland to Essex anyway) to celebrate Goat Major reaching extreme old age and to play some games of Lion Rampant.

The venue was Foundry's premises at East Stoke Hall, and they generously laid on some superb terrain tables for us to use. Even if you don't collect their figures it's a great place to visit, as their ranges are extensive and go on for room after room. The recent addition of a huge display cabinet with thousands of beautifully painted figures is a real treat too. I have to admit that their old fantasy ranges got me interested, with a Frostgrave project to get back to sometime..

We had a great day, with 3 x 4 player games in the morning, using scenarios from the rulebook and card-driven random player activations. It worked very well and the guys on my table (Iain, Andy and Dave) had a lot of fun watching Iain hide (but win..) and Dave/Buff get massacred. The boasts element of the game is interesting and adds some characterisation and storyline to the on-table action, beyond just going for the objectives and killing the enemy. Not having painted my own retinue yet, I was very grateful for the loan of a lovely Wars of the Roses force from Gary. It was a small, tough, force of 4 x 6 point units and was interesting to use. That said, even a small force can be difficult to do anything with if you fail your first activation roll..

GM had worked up an interesting back-story and we were all fighting for either the King or the Usurper, as well as for ourselves. Scores were kept (I scored a net zero in the first game once I'd deducted unfulfilled boasts from the tax points I gathered!) and added to a scoreboard where both individual and team progress was recorded.

Some action from the morning game I played in:

After lunch we put all the tables together and set up for a big 6 v 6 bash, with players' positions drawn randomly along their faction's baseline. We had 3 objectives to fight for overall. There must have been over 500 figures in use, so it was a BIG skirmish game, but actually it played very smoothly and I think it demonstrated the flexibility of the rules. We reverted to IGO-UGO, with each side of the table taking its turn before swapping back to the other side.

Inevitably the game provided some excellent moments and a lot of entertainment, and after a couple of hours we had a result (by which time there were far fewer figures on the table). Scores were counted up (I scored about 8 this time, which at least contributed something to the Usurper's side which I was on) and individual and team winners were declared.

Somehow Iain, who's courage and parentage have since been extensively (and quite rightly) questioned on the LAW forum, won the Best General award amid great mirth and mockery. All's fair in war and wargaming though, so well done Iain. The Usurpers won the overall campaign though, so a new and enlightened era was heralded.

Then we packed up and went off to warm ourselves up (it had been a cold day!) with a beer and curry night in Newark. All in all an excellent day with a lot of fun, good company and good gaming.

I like the Lion Rampant rules and the games they generate, and it's very easy to pick up and get stuck in. I have the Normans in Italy retinue planned, and intend to switch my 15mm Dark Ages collection to this as well in the future.

Thursday, 12 November 2015


Bought a few years ago, based and undercoated over a year ago - I've finally painted this very small herd of cattle. They're 28mm (from Redoubt possibly?) and will serve as generic scenery in some games and specific loot-type objectives in others.

I took the lazy route and went with an easy colour scheme!
Not much more to say really :)

Cows (in skirmish order):