Thursday, 5 March 2015

Freebooter's Fate: Pirate Crewman

Introducing Stabby Pete, a crewman for my Freebooters Fate pirate crew. I bought him almost twelve months ago at Salute and just finished painting him. A nice characterful model that was a pleasure to paint!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

French Indian Wars: Ambush in the Forest

In the second instalment in the Songs of Drums and Tomahawks games the British major of the garrison, upon hearing of the massacre at Johnson's Farm, has dispatched a patrol of British Regulars into the valley to find and punish those responsible for the attack. Sargent Skinner is leading the patrol, a man with a reputation for really hating the French. Unfortunately for the British an Iroquois turncoat has informed the French of Sargent Skinners movements. The French Commander, Lieutenant Philippe de Champion, has decided to lead a force of his militiamen to ambush the British as they march through the woods.

In this ambush the French has slightly less points that the English, but they set up using hidden deployment and the British can not retreat into cover if they are shot at  so long as there is Frenchmen hiding in the trees. If the results of an attack compels them to move towards cover they musty instead go prone. Once one flank is secure then the normal rules take over and the British can fall back into cover as normal. 

Skinners Patrol through the forest
French Force
Lt de Champion Q 3+ C 3 Musket, Leadership
11 Canadian Militia Q 4+ C 2 Musket

British Force
Sergeant Skinner Q 3+ C 3 Strong, Primitive Weapon, Leadership
10 Line Infantry Q 4+ C 2 Musket
2 Light Infantry Q 4+ C 2 Musket, Elan

A light infantryman spots the ambush- a bit too late for him, as he is shot and killed!
The ambush was sprung when the British light infantrymen moving ahead of Skinners column came under attack. One of the lights was killed outright, and another musket-ball came perilously close to Skinner. The sergeant, who was jolly annoyed, charged into the trees to take the fight to his French foes. Armed only with his pole-arm, he set too, killing a Frenchie with a powerful blow. The Redcoat infantrymen formed into two lines, facing each flank,  and fired their muskets into the forest. It was difficult for them to see their foes, but even so a few Frenchmen were wounded by the attack. 

Skinner goes 'barbarian' and charges into the woods after the French he so despises.
Sargent Skinner and the remaining light infantryman dashed through the woods and eventually killed or captured the remaining French militiamen on the one flank, while his men poured relentless musket fire at their foes on the oppose side of the road. The militiamen were forced back by the English firing, although they managed to wound two more redcoats. 

The Redcoats form two lines and fire into the trees

The final blow for the French came when a lucky shot from an English musket wounded Lieutenant de Champion, and the remaining militiamen dispersed back into the forests, carrying their stricken officer with them. The English were not about to charge into the forest after them, so they collect their dead and wounded and head back to the garrison. The French had lost six men, compared to the English, who had three casualties. 

Lt. de Champion (in the white) is shot and wounded, ending the ambush. 
Despite the difference in points it was felt that the game was balanced. The fact the French had split their troops up made maintaining command and control was difficultly, while the English benefited form Skinners leadership throughout the battle. Skinners skill in close combat proved quite effective as well. He has the trait "Strong", and a Combat statistic of 3. The combination of the two make him a serious threat in combat. 

Friday, 27 February 2015

French Indian Wars: The Raid on Johnson's Farm

This week at Earlswood Wargaming we decide to try out the French and Indian Wars game Songs of Drums and Tomahawks, from Ganesha games. It is very similar to Songs of Drums and Shakos, as you might have guessed, but with some tweaks that add to the feel of the French and Indian wars. The game emphasises small unit tactics, and dispenses with the rules for volley fire, fighting in ranks etc. The author rationalises that this is a better representation of the way the British, German, French and Indians fought in the claustrophobic confines of the forests and rivers of Northern America. The tweaks certainly add to the character of the games, especially rules for scalping and hidden deployment. 
I was GM for two game for James and John, two of the clubs younger players: being young they are more inclined to try out novel things. The games were quite short, so we could get two games in in an evening. James has played Drums and Shakos before, but John was a complete novice: Even so he managed to pick up the rules in just a few minutes. John played the French, and James was the British. Both of them said they enjoyed the game, especially the peace and drama. James said he preferred it to the games of Drums and Shakos, but that might be because there was more cover and terrain to fight over, making the environment more 'interactive'.

The first fight (it seems over egging it to call it a 'battle') was a French raid on an English farm. The valley has been disputed territory for for some time, as English settlers encroach on the hunting grounds of the French fur traders and their Huron allies. The fur traders were particularly incensed when they returned to the valley for the hunting seasons to find that the settlers had built a farm in the middle of the valley. The head fur trader, Guy de Ville, lead his men,and some Huron allies in an attack on Johnson's Farm. Unfortunately for him a Mohawk scout- Two-Rivers, and his young brother, Little-Bear, spotted the French and hurried ahead to warn the English settlers, giving them a vital few minutes to grab their hunting rifles and send their womenfolk to safety. 

French Force
Guy de Ville Q 3+ C 2 Pistol, Tomahawk, Leadership, Woodsman
5 Couriers de Bois Q 4+ C 2 Musket, Tomahawk, Marksmen, Woodsmen

4 Huron Warriors Q 4+ C 2 Musket, Woodsmen, Scalper

English Settlers Force
Bill Johnson Q 3+ C 2 Pistol, Rifle, Leadership,
The Johnson Boys, 5 Settlers Q 4+ C2 Rifle
Two-Rivers, Mohawk Elite Brave, Q 4+ C 2 Musket, Woodsman, Strong, Tomahawk, Scalper
Little-Bear, Mohawk young warrior, Q 4+ C2 Musket, Scalper

The French deployed poorly, attacking from the open, while their Huron allies moved slowly through the forest on either flank. The French had not appreciated that the English rifles were better suited to the long range attacks than their muskets, and after the first few scares as the rifle bullets whizzed past' Guy de Ville and his fur traders sprinted for the cover of the trees and advanced more cautiously. The Couriers de Bois were used to hunting deer and beavers, and they don't tend to shoot back. 

French Couriers de Bois attack the Johnson Farm

Most of the shots fell wide, or failed to do much damage, as the Couriers de Bois preferred to dash out from cover, fire a shot without aiming, then dive back into cover. This hit and run tactics eventually paid off when Little Bear and two of the Johnson Boys fell, collapsing one flank. Old man Johnson ordered his boys remaining boys back to the  farm house, as their position was indefensible, but as they sprinted across the yard a musket-ball of a Huron warrior cut Mr Johnson down. 

Guy de Ville and the Johnson boys exchange fire at very short range- without much effect
Two Rivers, the Mohawk brave, had been in the woods on one side of the clearing, holding off two Huron warriors on his own. When he saw Old Man Johnson fall Two Rivers raced across the clearing to tackle Guy de Ville. Guy's pistol was unloaded, and the brave staved his skull in with his tomahawk, before he was killed in turn by one of Guy's men.

Old man Johnson leads his boys in the defence of their home
With only two men left the English lost the fight, and the farm was burned to the ground, and the Huron took the scalps of the fallen Englishmen, including Old Man Johnson!

I will post the next 'battle' report in a few days. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Home Front 1941: The Fallschirmjager (German Paratroopers)

Here are my first three finished Fallschirmjager. They will be part of a platoon of paratroopers dropping in to invade England during Operation Sealion (the will also be used in the Ardennes games we are working on at Earlswood- double useful!

I took me a while to get to grips with the Splinter Pattern camouflage the Fallschirmjager used, but I a pretty happy with it now. I used a Youtube video which broke it down into quite simple steps. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Some Stuff From Earlswood

Here are some fabulous photos I took of a Indian Mutiny game at Earlswood last week. I wasn't part of the game as I was test-driving 'March Attack', but the game looked so damn cool I couldn't resist a few photos. The game featured a beleaguered garrison of British trying to hold of a horde of rather irate Indians. 

And here is a little bonus. Dave is the talented guy who made the amazing Dead Man's Hand scenery we use at Earlswood Wargamers. This is a sneak peak at his latest project- All Quiet on the Martian Front. Dave made these superb smoke and heat ray markers for the game. I don't think they have any kind of game play use, but Dave is just so damn talented he can't help himself!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Battle of the Bulge

Here is the first building in a ruined village I am making to be used at Earlswood Wargamers when we wargame the Battle of the Bulge (using Chain of Command) later in the year. It was made using a Warlord Game Ruined Village kit, and a MDF base form Warbases. 

Also useful for a number of other settings, including Regardez! Zombie!, my Napoleonic Zombie Apocalypse game set in the depths of a Russian winter. 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

ECW: Reinforcments

I just about finished painting these English Civil War figures ahead of the To Defy a King game last Sunday, but never got round to photographing them until today. This is a big field cannon called a demi-calverin, from Perry Miniatures. I call it Big Blue. 

And here are my dismounted dragoons. Mostly Perry Miniatures, with a few Warlord Fire-lock armed musketeers left over from my fire-lock unit. I opted for the same red coats, but most of the dragoons sport buff overcoats as they like to think of themselves as cavalry. Dragoons of this period didn't fight mounted, and perform a skirmish role protecting the flanks, baggage train etc. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Scenery for Pirates (Arrh! Jim Lad!)

Here is a few of pictures of the latest bits of scenery I have been making. These are from 4Grounds and they are from their Fabled Realms fantasy rage (they are from the Mordenburg range- not at all based on inspired by Mordhiem) They certainly wouldn't look out of place on a Warhammer table but I think they will do for a number of other genres as they are mercifully free from grinning sculls and other Games Workshop inspired oddness.

Included in the range is three different types of houses- Dockside, High Street and Back Street. Dockside is the grandest quarter, where the burgers and merchant's homes and so on. They are three stories: The ground floor is accessible from the street and is a cellar or a shop. The main family residence is accessed via an external staircase. High Street houses are simpler affairs, but still impressive, while back street houses are simple single story structures. There are also a number of ruined versions of the houses and a very imposing inn. 
I picked up a back street house and a dockside dwelling, principally to use for On the Seven Seas and Freebooter's Fate. They are pre-painted and Laser Cut from MDF, and come with a step by step photographed instructions which were very useful. The smaller house took about an hour to build but the larger one was more complicated and took about 5 hours (I would probably be quicker next time, and I used PVA, which I had to wait to dry during a few of the more delicate stages). 

They are lovely models, with lost of nice details like doors that open, and even a trap door. They also have fully detailed interiors, which is great too, especially for skirmish games. I lightly dry brushed the timber work and roof tiles to help pick out the detailing and cover a few burn marks. This took about five minutes, but really enhanced the over all look. I particularly liked the way they are made to look a bit 'wonky': the roofs and walls slope at weird angles. Having grown up in Chester, where we have some of the best preserved Tudor timbered buildings in England, I really liked this as it looks very realistic and stopped them looking too boxy. 

While I intend to use these houses as pirate dwellings I can also see they will be useful for Lord of The Rings, VBCW, ECW or a whole host of other settings. My regular gaming buddy Pulp Citizen is getting a couple too, and when we put the together we will have the start of a little town!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

ECW: TO Defy A King

Today I had my first game of the new English Civil War wargame 'To Defy A King', alongside the chaps down the Earlswood Wargamers, under the expert eye of the games designer, Keith Johnson. We played a game set in the Scottish highlands, pitching Royalist again Covenanter (I was on the side of the Covenanters). I fielded, for the first time, my two cannons, a regiment of firelocks, a regiment of dismounted dragoons and a roughly regiment sized rabble of scummy clubmen. Luckily some other players brought some proper troops. 

Highlights for me were halting a Irish regiment mid-charge with some devastating musketry and cannoneering, and Allan failing two consecutive moral roles (a roll of 3 and a roll of 2 on 2d6) causing an entire regiment rout away from a howling, kilt wearing regiment of highlanders, even though they hadn't even taken a single casualty!

Keiths game, To Defy a King, is a great game, fast paced and easy to pick up. It's best suited for clubs or for players with very large collections of ECW figures, as you really benefit from having lots of regiments on the table. It is well crafted and flows well, coping easily with the complications of having lots of figures on the table, and it played out a whole battle in just a couple of hours. 
Royalist Cavalry moving down one flank

Cavalry making a mess of my clubmen

The wind blasted highlands disturbed by battle

Big Blue and Little Red, by new cannons

At short range cannon can make a mess of Irishmen

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 Round Up

2014 has been another busy year for me from a painting point of view. At best estimate I reckon I have painted over two hundred miniatures, although not all of them ended up on the blog. I began the year by joining Earlswood Wargamers, which has been a great move,as the guys in the club are very welcoming and I have been introduces to new games and wargaming genres. I continue to expand my English Civil War and Napoleonic War collections, and have even branched out into X Wing and Dead Man's Hand as a direct result of joining the club. 

My Napoleonics continued to develop throughout the year, with me completion my British line infantry, French grenadiers, and Royal Navy Sailors. I have enjoyed making scenery and painting the more unusual figures like the supply cart, Spanish civilians and French sappers. Having discovered Songs of Drums and Shakos I have continued to relish painting these characterful figures, which seem a bit useless in big battalions games, but really bring small skirmish games to life. 

I have also completed the bulk of my 'Dad's Army' Home Guard army for Bolt Action, although I have yet to paint more than a few test models fro my Fallschirmsjaeger force so I can carry out Operation Sealion games. The Home Guard may see some action soon in VBCW. 

I have continued to add to my Modern African range, and they have been posted over on my other blog- Hotel Zugando, throughout the year. I have yet to get a game in for that this year, as I have gone a bit cold on Force on Force, I have heard that 2 Hour Wargames may be doing an Ultra Modern rules set in 2015, which might be something to look forward to. I have looked at Skirmish Sangin, Flying Lead and Spectre, but they don't seem to do it for me. I backed the Empress Miniatures and Spectre Miniatures Kick Starters, so I have plenty of Africans and UN troops waiting for  their turn under the paint brush in 2015. 

Other ranges I have added too, as and when the mood struck me, have been Four Colour, French and Indian Wars, Wild West Zombies and my Regardez Zombie! range.

So what were the highlights, from a gaming perspective, of 2014? 
  • Salute , which saw me spending A LOT of cash on lead men, was great fun, with some impressive tables to be seen. 
  • Zombtober was a success again too, with bloggers from all over the place painting their icky zombie hordes. 
  • Kick Starter has proven a biggy this year for me too. I backed Spectre Miniatures, Across The Dead Earth, Empress Miniatures (well that was 2013, but the figures were late), and Pulp City (which haven't tuned up yet). All of these have been successful and great fun to be part of. 
  • Pulp Citizens Halloween and Christmas Madness games have been great fun too, especially making the Monkey God idol and the giant snowman. 
So what is for 2015? Well painting this massive pile of lead is on my priority list. Expect more napoleoinics, more modern Africa, and a return to two old ranges- Scum and Villainy and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Finishing my Dad's Army and Fallshcirmjager would be good too. I will add a few more elements to my ECW army, but them I think that will be enough.
New projects will be limited to small, easily contained projects (a dozen figures at the most). I am going to avoid big projects as for the last three years I have been churning out whole armies, which I hardly ever get to use, an it is very frustrating. Pulp City, Dead Man's Hand, War Machine and On The Severn Sea are all looking likely at the moment.  

Hope you have a great New Year!