Tuesday 29 December 2020

It’s all gone Epic!

 I would think that the majority of you by now will have seen or heard the announcement of Warlord Games new ‘Epic’ scale ACW their journey into plastic small scale figures to provide a variant for playing Black Powder games.

Two things seem to have upset a number of gamers. The first is the size of the figures 13.5mm from top of base to eye ( 15mm to top of head) the second is the size of the bases 60mmx20mm  on top of that there are then the moaners who want more variety of position, uniform etc etc. 

To be honest I’ve grown quite tired of the moaners and skip over, my usual thinking is if you don’t like it move on, why they need to go on a rant and try and drive their negativity home because it’s not what they want defeats me.

I’m not a fan of Warlord Games but some of their stuff is good and they have brought people into historical gaming. This foray into small scale gaming in plastic I feel should be applauded.

John Stallard does a Q and A on you tube about this and I guess the bottom line is it’s his project and he can do what he wants and if it doesn’t sell there will be no more and if it does there are hints about Napoleonic and Ancients!  Bearing in mind the Warlord shopping cart ‘broke’ due to demand on day 1then initial demand seems high.

Anyway you get a free sprue with Wargmes Illustrated and of course the butterfly in me couldn’t resist

There are 10 strips of infantry ( 100 figures) a mounted Officer and an artillery piece with crew on each frame- it’s taken me around 9 hours to paint this little lot, they’re more detailed than I anticipated and I think I could knock quite a bit of time off if I wasn’t so finicky on painting all the detail and if I used more washes ( contrast paints possibly) overall I’m quite pleased.

The cost works out somewhere between 3p-4p per figure. In many ways 15mm figure manufacturers should be quite pleased they're not more compatible otherwise I think these chaps would pose a serious threat. Something I think the moaners overlook.

My local store is selling the starter sets for £72 that’s 2400 infantry, 24 artillery pieces and 24 officers and for those that don’t want to paint then they come in blue and grey plastic ( sacrilege ) Personally I hope this system works for Warlord. The units look impressive and if it was Napoleonic it would be awesome.

Finally I mentioned gamers moaning about bases sizes, most of the rules I play use bases, I would just count one of these as two that way ground scale isn’t affected but of course some people don’t want to do that!

Have a Happy New Year, keep safe and hopefully see/hear from most of you in 2021.

Saturday 26 December 2020

Battle of Towton

 I’d mentioned in an earlier post that as my wife was working a 12 hour shift today I decided to indulge my self in the Men Of Iron scenario of the Battle of Towton.

Allegedly the largest battle to have taken place on English soil and a Battle field that is unspoilt and one I have walked many times.

I’m not going to bore you with a round by round engagement. 

Key points of note in the real Battle is that it was a windy snowy day, the wind and snow was in the Yorkists. The two armies had deployed on low ridges facing each other and neither army was keen in launching an attack. However it’s reported that the Yorkists unleashed a volley of arrows which fell amongst the Lancastrian archers, with the snow in their faces they returned fire but their arrows fell short.

Within the game this is represented by the archers firing with the wind in their favour having a range of 7 hexes ( normal range 6) Archers firing into the wind have their range reduced to 4 and have a -2 modifier to their dice roll! 

In addition The Yorkist Duke of Norfolk with around 8000 men hadn’t arrived at the onset of Battle, in the real engagement he arrived as the Yorkist line was being gradually forced back with and beginning to creak.

The mechanism used in the game means there is no guarantee Norfolk will arrive. First he has to be activated ( 3 or less on a d10) then a score of 8+ on a d10 adding the number of times he has been successfully activated.

Finally the Lancastrians sprung an ambush, unleashing 200 horse on the Yorkist left flank which initially caused some disorder and forced the line to give before being held.

Within the rules the horse get a double move and any troops they end adjacent to are disordered - if already disordered they are destroyed so potentially a very effective one shot weapon. As I was playing both sides may initial plans were for the Yorkists to hold, they had no incentive to move and they needed Norfolk to arrive to bring balance to the armies. 

Faucenburg who was deployed with the Longbow was to cause as much disruption as possible to the enemy before withdrawing and redeploying to the Yorkist right.

For the Lancastrians I accepted the Northumberland and his archers would not last long against the Yorkist longbow but they were to advance cause what damage they could and screen Somerset’s line for as long as possible. 

The remaining troops were to advance as quickly as possible stretching their line to outflank the Yorkist with the aim of turning one or both flanks before Norfolk arrived.

The ambush was to be sprung once the Yorkist left flank was heavily engaged and disorder was starting to appear.

Here’s the initial deployment.

The opening rounds went pretty much as expected with Faucenberg and his archers gaining the upper hand against Northumberland who advanced into range but was clearly out shot by the Yorkists. Somerset commenced his advance extending troops to the flanks in order to force the Yorkists to do the same, despite a poor activation level (a 2 ) Essex also began to move in support of Somerset. 

On the second round Norfolk was activated but failed to score sufficient to arrive.

Faucenberg delayed too long in withdrawing his archers and they were caught by Somerset’s lead troops.

It was clear this was to be an attritional battle, the main problem for the Lancastrians was their Leaders were rated a 2 for Essex and a 3 for Somerset which meant on average they would only activate one leader each round with the free activation and the second was unlikely to succeed. 

Despite losing some archers Faucenberg managed to retire his disordered troops and Warwick became engaged with Somerset, the  early rounds of combat went in favour of Somerset causing a number of Warwick’s troops to retire to their rally point.

On the Yorkists fourth round they again succeeded in activating Norfolk -this was followed with a throw of 9 and Norfolk’s troops poured onto the right flank thus negating the Lancastrian threat..

Although too early the Lancastrians launched the ambush on the Yorkist left flank for with the arrival of Norfolk it was unlikely that the pressure on the Yorkist right flank could be maintained.

The ambush met with limited success it disordered a number of troops and the troops of Essex and Somerset managed to destroy some dismounted men at arms and infantry.

Then Wenlock managed to surround and destroy the ambushing cavalry and shore up Warwick’s left flank.

For the next few rounds both sides failed to activate and additional leaders after the free activation, the Yorkists focused on keeping Norfolk pushing on the right and then Wenlock pushing on the left leaving Warwick to hold the line.

Casualties on both sides were mounting and Warwick’s was the first battle to reach break point however his troops proved steady and continued the fight.

As the Yorkists and Somerset’s troops paused to reorganise Faucenberg brought his archers back into play disordering a number of Somerset’s men and preventing them from pushing forward.

With gaps appearing in both lines it gave the opportunity for both armies to try and recover some disorder although pressure was mounting on Somerset’s men as his losses were close to break point. Norfolk was starting to push the Lancastrian left and a double activation for the Lancastrians would be useful but wasn’t happening.

Wenlock managed to launch a small counter attack which proved successful in destroying sufficient units to force Somerset over his break point, however this attack cost Wenlock his life.

Somerset failed his break test ( he threw high) with the result that all of Somerset’s troops fled the field and were removed from the map. Although these troops are not added to the army break point it was obvious that Essex on his own would struggle to defeat the enemy on his own. However I fought another two rounds to see what would happen, Essex’s troops had limited success in causing more casualties but Norfolk was about to start working around Essex’s flank and it was only a matter of time his mounted troops began to attack the enemy in the flank and I called a halt. 

A true attritional battle, Norfolk arrived early and had a significant impact on the game , taking the pressure of the Lancastrian attack really before it had begun to tell. A most enjoyable game and certainly worth a replay to see how it would play if Norfolk arrived later.

Saturday 19 December 2020

Merry! Christmas ?


Well without getting into any political, moral or scientific debate  as to the rights or wrongs over the decision to effectively ban Christmas, feels like the good olde days of Cromwell 😩. I sincerely hope that you can all find some festive spirit this Christmas.

For my part my wife is having to work Christmas Day and Boxing Day and right through New Year so a low key Christmas was already on the cards. I will go for a walk with my son Christmas morn and we may have a wee dram to celebrate but that will be it. 

In all honesty I quite welcome a quiet Christmas this year with time to reflect and plan but  I sincerely hope you can all find something positive at this time and let’s hope 2021 starts to bring an end to this pandemic.

As usual at this time it’s also time to think about projects etc for the coming year. I think I have just about sold all projects I identified as making no further progress or unlikely to be started.

So next year 18th century will continue to feature large, the Culloden project I went to get on display, 28mm Saxons to be completed, new skirmish games in the FIW and the Caribbean and the 30mm  flats in action.

There’s also a new 18th century plan bubbling away - more anon.

The 15mm ACW I would like to complete for the first day at Gettysburg and I’d like to expand the 15mm ancient armies to maybe return to some WRG 5th/6th edition gaming!

Napoleon if naval will continue to progress slowly and I’m hoping to get a lot more board gaming in as I’ve enjoyed the return to this particular part of the hobby- let’s see where I’m at same time next year?

 I am so grateful for the friends I have gained all round the world through this hobby even if I have never met the majority and during this year this hobby and those individuals have kept me sane - so thank you and finally can I seriously wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL.

Friday 18 December 2020

2nd St.Albans

 Yesterday saw me have a bit of a lazy day! Needed a break from figure painting and sorting stock out so I thought I would revisit Blood and Roses 2nd Battle of St.Albans. 

This is the third battle I’ve fought from the set, I reported on my refight of Blore Heath in August and gave an overview of the game system. A more detailed review can be found on Norms blog Battlefields and warriors https://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2020/08/refighting-bosworth-1485.html.

Suffice to say that in essence you need to activate leaders to be able to move the troops in their command, failure and play passes to the other side. A free activation comes first, followed then by the die roll for the next commander - as most leaders are rated as a 3 or a 4 you can see that it’s not easy to gain momentum.

2nd St Albans was a battle the Yorkists couldn’t really win - surprised and outnumbered they have a hard fight. In the game each side has an army break point - the Lancastrians is set at 40 and the Yorkists 25, however one the Lancastrians reach 20 Neville can start withdrawing troops and their value is added to the Lancastrian break point so you can see if Neville can inflict casualties quick enough and then withdraw the Yorkists can win. Warwick with a force of mounted men at arms and a strong infantry force are reinforcements who’s arrival is diced for.

I forgot to take a photo of the initial deployment!

But this shows Nevilles men in camp to the east of St.Albans  - within the town are 5 units of archers ( these count as independent and have no leader so can only activate using the free activation.

The Lancastrian Trollope is their only force on the board at the start  once an enemy archer is destroyed or the 5 units have been forced from their starting positions then he can move to St. Michael’s Church - inform Somerset and call the Lancastrian army to battle.

Trollope wasted no time in bringing his men down the street and dispatched troops to make their way through buildings to attack the enemy on a broad front. The initial Yorkist archery proved effective disordering the enemy and managing to kill one of Trollope’s infantry. Once melee was joined the Lancastrians failed to cause casualties only succeeding in forcing the archers to retreat which the Yorkists were happy with.

Here Trollope has gone to St. Michael’s church whilst his men draw breath and reorganise, the Yorkist have lost one independent archer but the bowmen so far have held on well. Nevilles men have deployed caltrops and spiked nets amongst the hedgerows to the North in order to protect their flank. I diced for Nevilles action either to deploy to the east of St.Albans and wait or advance into the town in order to either make the enemy fight their way through the town or to cover the bridges and use longbows and hand gunners to fire on their flank if the moved around the North. 

It wasn’t long before Somerset (Lancastrian commander) arrived with Shrewsbury and his battle

I used the Lancastrian free actions to push Shrewsbury towards the Yorkist camp a handful of men were sent to the south of the dike in an attempt to filter through the houses and stretch Nevilles line.
I then forgot to take a few photos! Once the Yorkist troops have been fired upon or engaged in combat then Warwick and his men can be shaken for - they were to arrive after 3 Yorkist actions. A good result.
The early exchanges between Neville and Shrewsbury went the Yorkists way, their archers and hand gunners were disordering and occasionally killing the Lancastrians , but numbers were telling and Neville was being pushed back.

Following Shrewsbury, Exeter’s battle arrived his troops pushed through St.Albans his main task being to destroy the independent archers and then move South West to outflank the Yorkists.
Within the game each army has a break point in their battle the Yorkists were 25 and the Lancastrians 40 but more importantly each battle also has a break point and when reached a die is thrown to see if the battle breaks or remains on the field. This was to prove crucial later. In addition once the Lancastrians had lost 20 points the Neville could start to withdraw troops and their points cost is added to the Lancastrian break total so the more troops he could withdraw the quicker the battle would end.
The bottom photo shows Warwick’s arrival he was moving as quickly as possible to Nevilles left flank to allow the Yorkists to withdraw.

The Lancastrian command activations proved erratic but bit by bit they pushed forward Exeter’s men began to outflank the archers in the town destroying another unit they reached their break point but held.
Warwick’s mounted men at arms struck infantry who had advanced to the South of the ditch and rode them down. Warwick led a charge against Shrewsbury and became unhorsed but Shrewsbury’s troops were disordered and Yorkist troops killed him. The Lancastrian battle had reached break point but again their morale held .

On the next activation the Lancastrian uphill struggle suddenly swung their way, Nevilles troops were also near break point, the replacement commander for Shrewsbury led one final push and destroyed two more Yorkist units. Taking Nevilles battle above break point, on this occasion they failed to rally and the battle fled. Within the rules the victorious side shakes to see how many troops pursue, 60% of Shrewsbury’s battle pursue and then each unit shakes to see if the destroy an enemy unit - 5 more Yorkist units were cut down bringing them above the army break point. Warwick withdrew his forces and the Lancastrians held the field. Percy Duke of Northumberland never got chance to arrive for the Lancastrians.

Thank you for bearing with me, I was pleased I had remembered the majority of the rules and found the game most enjoyable. Even a one sided affair such as this has a lot of playability.

Since my wife is working Boxing Day I’m thinking of doing Towton and seeing how a set piece battle plays out.

Saturday 12 December 2020

Workbench catch up

 The workbench continues to be full with my diverse! Projects. Anyway this week I managed to finish basing all the Macedonian pike I have - 15mm Forged in Battle figures with Little Big Man transfers.

Next up the rest of the Companions and Hypaspists.

Another Saxon infantry regiment is based together with some artillery crew, need to finish the standards for these and have started painting the horses for the Prinz Albrecht Cheveaux legers 

Currently enjoying a Glenlivet Caribbean reserve malt whilst finalising projects for 2021 more on that later.
Keep safe.

Friday 27 November 2020

Port Edward - The beginning and real value for money?

 I think I have mentioned before on the blog my desire/plan to present an 18th century raid on a Port.

In all the notes I’ve made on the war between Scotia Albion and the Duchy of Comyn, Edward Island and its main Port ( Port Edward) has always been earmarked as the setting. For many reasons I haven’t done much with the imagi-nation campaign but I do hope to change all that next year.

So with the advantage of 3D printing I thought it was time to start printing buildings to populate the Port,

my aim is to have a built up area taking up a 5x4 area for what I envisage will be a large skirmish game.

The first few buildings are done, a rather impressive Inn, a warehouse and two houses - tower house and the Port Administrator.

The  buildings have been printed at 90% their normal size!. I have taken ideas on layout etc from Whitby and Port en Bessin and more will be revealed as the project progresses.

As to the second part of the post, like many others I use and electric mini drill for working on conversions of figures etc. I’ve had the set for quite awhile and it was a gift from my mam and dad but it was only yesterday I found the paperwork for it. Bought in 1985! Without tempting fate I think it’s done good service and definitely has been very good value for money.

Keep safe everyone 

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Garage/gaming room conversion almost done

 It’s been a while but my winter project to insulate the garage and rebuild the gaming table is now into final stages.

All the construction work is done, so walls and ceiling suitably insulated and boarded, rubber mats laid on floor and table rebuilt to now give a 9’x5’ playing surface with the option to extend to 12x5.

The new bike store arrives shortly so bikes, ladders and all the other non gaming bits will be removed.

Anyway mighty pleased, it is noticeably warmer.

I also bought a sheet of 2mm neoprene to lay over the table to act as a base layer, it takes out any little variations, screw holes etc.

This also means that I can reorganise the loft where I’m very fortunate to have my painting table and a 4x4 gaming table which is ideal for skirmishes or board games.

So hopefully once I’m able to allow son and or friends access game on.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Off the bench

 Apologies for the long gap between posts, my main efforts have been focussed on finishing the garage conversion to gaming room. All the structural pieces are in place - some tidying up required and then I can paint the walls and lay the flooring. I needed up with a 9x5 table - I could have gone to 12’ but felt having space was also important. I can always build an extension piece.

In the mean time managed to finish off basing etc of the Prinz Gotha and the red regiment of Polish Uhlans For my Saxons. Thought it was about time this army received some Reinforcements.

Thursday 8 October 2020

Preparations for the long winter!

 Apologies for the recent lack of posts, I’ve been slowly insulating the converted garage so it can be used as a year round gaming room. It is taking longer than I’d planned due to the recent inclement weather forcing me to move everything around inside the garage as I do each wall! Anyway 75% completed means I can start to find a little time for the hobby.

Following on from what I think is the final sell off of figures terrain etc. I have used some of the money to invest in some board games - I am finding that my interest in board games has grown. I used to play a lot of games and have kept a number that I felt make good campaign systems for figures. However production quality has improved dramatically and offer a great opportunity to try battles or campaigns I haven’t time to collect figures for.

Jacobite rising is the third addition to the Command and Colours ‘Tricorne’ series and is one I couldn’t avoid given my interest in the period. I find the series hugely enjoyable even if the O.O.B’s can be a little inaccurate at times but nothing that isn’t easily addressed.

Flying Colours by GMT is designed for actions in the age of sail, the series has received a lot of positive reports and the rules do not seem overly complex, with 300+ named ship counters in the box it is an opportunity to indulge in some fleet actions on the table top.

Finally This War Without an Enemy by NUTS was a kickstarter game and covers the English Civil War it looks extremely interesting and includes both campaign and battle  but I think would be excellent for a campaign system to generate figure battles.

Just in case you thought I’d given up on figures - another 2 units of Prussian flats are under way and I managed to paint up some of the latest releases from my FIW range.

As the only thing that is certain at the moment is that this restricted lifestyle being imposed upon us is going to continue for some time and who knows if there will be anywhere to go for a drink or a meal when this is over! In the meantime keep safe and keep gaming

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Tom The Wargamer - The future?

 A bit of an unusual post, there has been a lot of ongoing discussion about the future of the Hobby. Littlewars TV ran a piece on the future of Historical War gaming and I know Robbie on the Independent Wargamers blog has had some recent thoughts.

However I came across this young mans you tube channel. Tom is 12 years of age and as to be expected has many wide and varied interests ( a true gamer :) no 40k) and I guess will remind many of us how we were at 12.

He is articulate and is worth listening to his take on the hobby and how he is trying to do historical gaming - refreshing.


Wednesday 9 September 2020

A busy bench and foam gaming boards?

 Well the work bench this week is more a production line. Going through a lot of basing of the flat figures and some final touching up required. At the same time the ‘round’ highlanders are waiting to be based and some 10mm AWI have crept onto the bench shouting out to be finished!

In the background is the warehouse I’ve printed to kick off the preparation on the raid of Port Edward!

I’ve also been trying out some brush pens, I can’t recall where I read about these but I think they’re great, the points are very fine and hold their point and the line is broader the more pressure you apply. The pigmentation in the red,orange, light blue etc isn’t strong enough to cover anything but a lighter colour but will be very good on flags etc. I use the black on horses reins etc and the dark blue is very effective for shading, lining in etc. All in all really pleased with these.

Finally a colleague has made, what I think, are some very effective game boards. He’s building a WW1 battlefield and as his base has used 1” upholstery foam. 

Easy to cut, easy to paint over using spray which forms a light crust on the foam but doesn’t peel off. To add rigidity he has stuck them to some MDF, I have ordered some an 80”x45” piece but smaller sizes are available. More reports in the future.

Finally hope everyone is keeping safe. Glad I have this hobby at times like this.