Sunday 29 April 2012

Wargames Factory WSS Artillery

Yes, you did read that right.

I need some for my Imagi-nation army, the Duchy of Elland, and (despite the title of this post) Wargames Factory don't yet make any.

Now, I could have bought some metal artillery, but to be honest, I couldn't be bothered :D So after a little research, I acquired a box of Victrix British Napoleonic Foot Artillery, and (at Salute) a spare sprue of Conquest Games' horses (for the aforementioned nefarious purposes).

Now, I'll be the first to admit that the guns are probably well out of period, but ... hey, it's an imaginary army, so I'm not going to get that worked up about it.

The image on the right gives you a rough idea of what I managed: gun, limber, arms and tools from the Victrix box, onto WF WSS Infantry bodies and the heads with floppy hats. The limber horse is from the Conquest Games sprue, because a) it doesn't have a saddle to speak of, and b) they actually make a horse that's only walking. Missing from this shot is the extra bit of harness to affix horse to limber: not quite sure how I'm doing that yet, but a spare rifle strap from the WSS Infantry set is being eyed up.

I've in fact made two sets of guns and crew, and the final painted versions will be on the Duchy's blog in the next week or so.

As an aside - the Duchy of Elland blog is reserved for (for the most part) in-character updates and battle/campaign reports - modelling activities will continue to be posted here, with a link to and from the other blog.

Saturday 28 April 2012

Battle report - 9 Apr 2012 #2

Some rather tasty French Hussars,
part of my command
Catching up slowly with a backlog of battle reports!

Gary at the club arranged (and umpired) a Napoleonic encounter under the Black Powder rules, using his own rather extensive and very nice collection of largely plastic 28mm Napoleonics. We had 6 players, so myself, Carl and Chris took the French, and Gavin, Reuben and Grahame the Allies (I hope I remembered this right, it was nearly 3 weeks ago!).

Initial set up, viewed from the French
right wing (mine!)
The French got to go first, and with a disgustingly good set of command rolls, managed to basically charge across the table in both flanks and the centre, and get well and truly stuck in.

With hindsight, and I'm sure Gary won't mind me saying, Black Powder at full scale doesn't lent itself to 4' wide tables - after all, it was play tested in the Perry's palatial wargames room - and next time we'll play on at least 12'x6', I think.

Having said that, the ensuing scrap was pretty close, although Carl's punch right through the Allied centre did ultimately break that division. I held my own on the right (oh look, a British force on the reverse slope of a hill - never seen that before), and Chris got a bit of a pounding from Reuben's forces on our left flank.
The Allied centre, garrisoning a lovely farm model.

It was, all in all, great fun, and much kudos and thanks to Gary for organising it. I suspect we'll do it again sometime soon.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Changing paints

For a while now, as is probably clear from the blog, I've been using Army Painter primers and dip, but my main paints are, in fact, Games Workshop's Citadel range.

Several things have recently combined to change this.

First off, dear old GW have just announced a complete revamp of their colour range, which seems to me to be a completely pointless exercise in selling more paints with different names that you can't match to the previous ones. Colour me cynical if you like, but there was nothing wrong with the previous range...

Ok, actually, there was. Two major things, in fact. Number one, the £$%^&*() lids. Ok, there are tricks to keep them open with a cocktail stick, but the lids plain do not stay open. Second, the paints are, at least as far as I've found, very variable in thickness and consistency - sometimes from pot to pot in the same colour.

Now, I have to admit, I've tended to be somewhat sloppy in the past, and I will dip brushes into the pot, which unless you're very careful, is ultimately bad for the brush, as, when you get further down the pot, it becomes progressively harder to dip a brush without getting paint caked on the ferrule. This changed recently, as I picked up (while in Maelstrom) an Army Painter 'Wargamer: Character' brush. Now, sure, it's just a brush, and I could have spent the same at any art shop and got something of similar quality. However, a) the triangular handle actually works for me - my hand seems to cramp less while painting and b) the Army Painter guys do have their psychology of brand naming right! It is a brush I find myself not wanting to ruin, so I have been taking more care, and using a palette rather than dipping the brush into the pot. Which does lead to point three about GW paints - they're a pain in the backside to get small quantities of paint out of.

Interestingly, I seem to paint better from a palette - as it's less of a pain to load the brush, I find I tend to paint with less paint on the brush. Combined with having a decent brush I want to take care of, this has actually made me prepared to have a stab at smaller details than I otherwise might, and get them a lot better.

Next off, I started painting a unit for my imagi-nation, which (for complex imaginary historical reasons) have yellow uniforms. Since I'm lazy, this involved a can of Army Painter Demonic Yellow primer, and annoyingly the Citadel yellow I have isn't quite a match for touchups. However, the new Army Painter Warpaints explicitly do have matches for the primer colours. And they come in dropper bottles, which makes the whole 'getting paint onto a palette' process much easier with less waste of paint. At the same time, I've also been trying ink washes rather than dip, and the AP inks are much better than the Citadel washes.

And the final nail in the coffin? My FLGS is hopefully going to stock the Warpaints.

Result: I'm planning on ditching my Citadel paints as they run out, and replacing with the Warpaints. If I can convince 'er indoors, I may well ask for the complete set for my birthday in August.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Back from Salute

Back from Salute, where an excellent time was had. Carl from the club drove - very odd to be being picked up by a club member without loading up a box of figures still smelling of varnish.

First port of call on arrival (after a cashpoint and a long queue) was Gripping Beast, for some Saga dice (finally), a box of Wargames Factory 15mm Germans (at last, the start of a force for IABSM), and a copy of "Muskets and Tomahawks" for Andy Hawes (about 5 minutes before they apparently ran out). It did seem as though half the entrants from this year's WABGT were working the stall, though.

Thence to a coffee and a read through the programme and scan of the goodie bag, to find I was one of the 250 lucky winners of a backpack from KR. Useful for keeping the purchases hidden from the wife!

On to Warlord, where I limited my purchases to what I came for, which I was rather proud of: five pots of the new Army Painter Warpaints and three of their brushes. I'll post about these in another post, as I've been learning stuff about painting lately (above and beyond the fact that I'm nowhere near good enough!)

I next paid a visit to Conquest Games, for a chat with the owner, Mike, and to pick up some of their new Norman Crossbowmen for my upcoming El Cid army and a sprue of horses for nefarious purposes, with the last of my cash. A few stalls down, Magnetic Displays, probably fortunately for me, only took cash, so I'm deferring magnetic bases for all my armies till Partizan!

Strolled around for a bit - admired, among other things, a massive naval display with utterly gorgeous ships, and Victrix's big 54mm Penninsular battle. Ran into Henry Hyde from BattleGames (and got a question answered, of which hopefully more in yet another post, but not for a while). Final purchase was some Plastic Solider Company 15mm Panzer IVs, and a long drool over the Fireforge Templars, which I was very close to succumbing to  - their painted example figures were beyond gorgeous.

By then it was 1 pm, so I ambled over to the seating area, to find a small, but growing, gathering of bloggers. I apologise in advance for not catching everyone's name and/or blog, but present included me, Ray, Lee, Tamsin, Curt, Dave, Postie, Fran, and several others - we think around 16 or 17 bloggers at some point or other. Great fun chat, too. If I missed mentioning you, please comment!

I met back up with Carl and Rob at 2, and we headed home - made it back before 4, which was pretty decent.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Salute 2012

I shall be at Salute this weekend - look for the mid-blue GamerXL Peterborough Wargames Club shirt on a tall bloke with grey hair and glasses :)

As much going to meet folks as to spend money, though I do have a small wish list. Hoping to meet up with the Rejects little gathering between 1-2 pm - hopefully I'll see folks there.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Oh, really, Amazon?

Apologies for the silence - the past couple of weeks have been taken up with Easter break, organising a live streamed concert and painting figures.

From Amazon, for your amusement:

We regret to inform you that we have been unable to source the following item:

Steve Morgan, Rick Priestly "Pike & Shotte: Battles with Model Soldiers 
in the 16th and 17th Centuries (Main Rule Book)"

Our supplier has informed us that this item is no longer available.  
This item has now been cancelled from your order #026-3334028-5607515 and we 
can confirm that you have not been charged for it.


Tuesday 10 April 2012

Battle report - 9-Apr-2012 #1

Busy day, wargaming-wise, yesterday. Club in the evening, of which more later, but I have been promising to teach my 12-year old son James the rules of WAB for a while, and since Anne was deep into Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii, Monday afternoon seemed like a good time.
Initial deployment. I need to buy
more scenery.

We went with 1500 points from the AoA lists - I built both lists and gave him the choice of Romans or British Tribes, and to no-one's surprise he took the former.

Forces were:

Romans - James:

1 General, 1 Standard Bearer + 16 Veteran Legionaries
18 Seasoned Legionaries
9 Numidian Cavalry
16 Archers
9 Skirmishers
1 Light Bolt Thrower, with 2 Artillery Crew

British (Brigantes) - me:

1 High Chieftain (in chariot) + 4 Noble Chariots
1 Chieftain + 31 Fanatics
1 Chieftain + 39 Warriors

7 Skirmishers

Matters opened with the Romans advancing in the centre, but waiting to see what the Brigantes chariots did on the flank. The Brigantes, needless to say, did what warband armies the world over do, and pressed forward. On the flank, the Numidians flung javelins at the chariots then used their annoyingly useful Parthian Shot ability to get out of their way, so the chariots charged the archers behind them, taking one casualty from incoming fire.

The Brigantes fanatics charged by
the Romans.
Meanwhile, in the centre, I explained to James the point of skirmishers, as far as being tempts for warband armies, and then proceeded to demonstrate it by failing a warband test with the fanatics, resulting in them charging and chasing off his skirmishers and leaving themselves in charge range of the veteran cohort. Couldn't have planned it better myself.

The cohort did exactly that, needless to say, and rather impressively won the first round of melee, chasing off the fanatics. Having the general and ASB in the front rank certainly didn't hurt, but what clinched was the brief stats lesson in which I pointed out that the likely roll on 11 dice wanting 4s and 5 more wanting 3s was more than 6 hits, and using their Veteran re-roll right then would be smart. So James did, and landed about 13 hits, converting over half. I still saved three!

The Brigantes fanatics about to get
charged again by the Romans.
Next turn, I failed to rally them, and charged the other cohort with the other warband. Meanwhile, the chariots chased off the archers, twice before they made it stick, and the Numidians and they played a form of Parthian Shot/Feigned Flight tag while the Roman artillery tried and conspicuously failed to shoot them, despite having a flank shot three times. 

Back in the centre, the fanatics failed to rally, and got charged in the rear, with predictable results, by the veterans, The other melée turned into a mammoth slugfest that lasted about five or six rounds of combat, with several roll-offs, the cohort using their Stubborn Give Ground ability, and several passed leadership tests. 

It was a damned close run thing until the veteran cohort turned round and made up the distance between the two (despite being march-blocked and generally harried by my skirmishers). At which point, sadly for me, that was pretty much it. The veterans charging into the rear of the warband did for them (extra rank, +1 strength pilum hits smart) and they had nowhere to run.

So. Victory to James (with a little tactical assistance). We'll see how he does next time!

Sunday 8 April 2012

Battle report - 2-Apr-2012

The master campaign map as well as
smaller copies.
A very minimal action report, but the precursor of things to come.

This was the start of the club ECW campaign - effectively starting with 500pts a side using Warhammer ECW and the Perfect Captain's "Tinker Fox" campaign rules. Carl was in charge of the campaign admin, with myself as Royalist CinC (again!) backed by Carl and AndyH (in a change from his usual Dark Ages), and Grahame was CinC of the Parliament forces, along with Dewi and Gary.

Carl's still fine-tuning the rules, particularly the interaction between Tinker Fox and Warhammer ECW, and none of us have played Tinker Fox before, so the first campaign day was largely figuring out how the rules worked.

Fawsley - a location card
from the excellent Tinker
Fox (renamed for our
Basically, each senior commander in TF gets a 'letter' per turn, which they can use to instruct troops to do various things: plus the overall CinC gets another which he can use to override one of his subordinates. 'Letters' are things like 'requisition provisions from this unoccupied area', 'garrison this area', etc.

Turn one provided a little more surprising than we actually wanted: I (acting for Andy who was unavailable due to a prior commitment to play SAGA - gee, who knew?!) sent a unit of horse and some commanded shot to garrison the same village Grahame had orders to requisition.

The Battle of Fawsley
Result - a battle! The Battle of Fawsley, in fact - a small skirmish that probably felt like many small ECW battles of the early part of the war, such as Powick Bridge.

Tinker Fox's campaign setup provided the deployment rules - essentially the Royalist troops came in on the north road from Canons Ashby House, and the Roundheads from the direction of Blakesley, and we got to deploy 12" down the road. As the commanded shot I'd sent were Forlorn Hope, they got an extra march move, which I used to spread them out across the road in the path of Grahame's horse.

The two units of horse get stuck in.
(Campaign) history will record, that the Battle of Fawsley was in fact very short and sweet. The Royalist gallopers spread out in line in rear of the shot, and the latter opened fire at close range with a full salvo on the approaching Roundheads. Grahame's cavalry charged, without deploying from two ranks deep, and the shot fled, leaving the gallopers to charge into the Cavaliers. Two rounds of combat went, ultimately, in favour of the Kings' men, and that, pretty much, was that.

Which was about the time we realised that it might be useful to work out how to deal with post-battle bookkeeping of casualties etc!

We did play turn 2 of the campaign, and placed orders for turn 3, and... well, more next month!

Monday 2 April 2012

Campaign report - 01-Apr-2012

After actually practising beforehand (I know, I know, it's really not on!), Andy and Grahame turned up on my doorstep at 0-whatthehelltimedoyoucallthis-30 (actually about 7:10, but hey), and we duly headed off to Maelstrom Games in Mansfield for a day of Age of Arthur gaming. Andy was packing the Romano-British I'd fought a couple of times, Grahame had his Franks (which I'd fought last Monday) and I had my trusty (and more play-tested than previously!) early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms list. Basically, 21 Gedriht, two lots of 24 and 21 Duguth. 24 Geoguth, one lot of 10 archers, one of 14 javelinmen, and 11 mounted Duguth - all units including a Thane, with my Cynrig in with the Gedriht.

Sunlight in the woods of Cat Cait Calidon. My Gedriht and
Duguth advance on Geraint's Romano-British, with Bishop
Oswulf's second unit of Duguth in reserve to plug any gaps.
We made it to Maelstrom in time for one of their bacon rolls for breakfast, to discover - oh, the horror - no kitchen working. so it was a mug of tea and a Yorkie bar for breakfast, before we trooped upstairs to set up.

First up was a doubles battle - myself and Tom, the other Anglo-Saxon player, against the Romano-British of Andy and the other newcomer, Geraint. We fought an extended (i.e. wider) version of the Cait Cait Celidon scenario with the Romano-British as the attacker (cue protestations from Andy as to how exactly his laden-down 3" move Comanipulares were supposed to make it 36" across the table in 8 turns ...). For those unfamiliar with the scenarios from Age of Arthur, basically the attacker has to break through and exit units off the defender's edge of the board.

Rattling good scrap, this - Tom started off well, but lost a couple of critical fights at the end against Andy, and Geraint and I pretty much fought each other to a standstill. I can't really accuse Andy's cavalry of mincing this time, since my Gedriht were the ones avoiding combat, but they were doing a good job of intimidating Geraint into not trying to break through. End result was a close fought victory to the Romano-British.

There were a couple of nice twists in the campaign I should mention - first off each army got a bonus card, which was about 60 points worth of extras: things like making one unit Stubborn or Veteran, or a small group of skirmishers. In addition, there were artefacts scattered around the land, which one could pick up by landing a unit on. I got the Holy Grail early on in the first battle, which conferred extra leadership range on my Cynrig for the next battle.

Advancing on the Franks while the skirmishers lead off
the spoils of war. In the foreground, a unit of Duguth who
are complaining bitterly that their new standard keeps
whapping them in the face.
Game two after lunch (that red velvet cake was amazing - it defeated almost everyone) was a Foraging scenario against Steve's Franks. Basically, there were two units of cattle in the middle of the table which your skirmishers could steer - and the object was to come away with the most cattle. Also, there turned out to be another artefact just lying in the mud around the cattle.

It was all going so well - one unit of skirmishers nabbed one group of cattle, the other nabbed the artefact, and both proceeded to hightail it out of combat behind a line of warband, Then my Gedriht got charged by two Frankish units: they survived the first round, and I'd just about cleared the skirmishers out of the way for my Duguth to even up the fight, when, lo, round two and the Gedriht lost. No problem: the bonus card for this battle meant they were stubborn, so fell back in good order. Lurking about 5" behind them were some very nervous bowmen leading some equally agitated cattle. D6 roll for how far they fall back...


As the rules say, if you have no room to fall back, you flee. As the scenario says, if you flee into cattle, they're destroyed.


That one went downhill from there. Mass panic. Major Victory to Steve, who also picked up the Holy Grail AND the artefact my skirmishers had grabbed. Moving swiftly on...

By game three I had a splitting headache - several things kick this off, one or two food-related, and I'm suspecting the spice in the chicken drumsticks at lunch (no blame to Maelstrom's catering, needless to say) - so no pictures of my refight of Cat Cait Celidon, this time as the attacker against Alex's Romano-British as I was concentrating on... erm.. concentrating :D

The attacker starts off with a number of units potentially fatigued (-1 toughness on a 1 on a d6), and I managed 1's for ALL my Duguth, the cavalry reinforcements included. However, nothing venture, nothing gained, and I'm firmly of the opinion that there's only one way to play most warband armies - get stuck in. In fact, if you don't almost welcome failed warband tests, I contend you're working with the wrong mindset. I certainly could have done with a few,

So, stuck in we got. With some inordinately lucky dice rolling, both my Duguth foot punched unit-sized holes in Alex's ranks (you know you're rolling preposterously when the unit your fighting has nothing to roll in response to your charge) and hightailed it for the border, with units in pursuit. My geguth and Gedriht tried the same trick, but were ultimately repulsed - the Geguth hit Alex's Comanipulares, which punched well above their numbers, and the Gedriht didn't win on round one, and thus got to take two ranks of thrusting spears from then on. Meanwhile, my cavalry reinforcements turned up on one flank, went 'ah, yes, remember the objective' and promptly left by the far edge of the table.

Somehow, the Duguth warbands got off the table. One unit were chased by a unit of legionaries in march column, which couldn't afford the time to get OUT of march column to charge them, the other got shot to bits by a bunch of skirmishers, who would up needing to kill two in the last round (having been averaging about 3 a volley) to prevent them escaping with enough numbers to count. Close-fought win to me. Sadly, though, in the meantime, Alex had completely stuffed my Gedriht and Geguth, and shifted the result one in his favour to a Bloody Stand-off

And that was it. The Franks in the person of Grahame from the club wound up holding the most territories, and thus being the ruler of Britannia, and Andy from the club and Steve with two artefacts each squared off in single combat to determine who was the source of the legend of the Once and Future King. Seven days and seven nights (erm, turns, ok, turns...) they fought, till on the eight day each man struck a mighty blow at the same time, and both fell, dying, to the ground. Which kind of seemed a fitting end to a great day.

Many thanks to Scrivs for organising it, to Andy, Geraint, Steve and Alex for being great opponents, and everyone else for being generally good fun and friendly. For more reports, check out both Scriv's and Andy's blogs (and I suspect Tom's shortly, too). Thanks, all. I'll be back.

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