Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The quest for 6mm mounted crossbowmen...

My newly completed 6mm 15th century project has prompted me to start thinking about the next step. I have some other bits and pieces that need doing first, but I've a mind to build a 15th century Low Countries, Scandinavian or German army.

The thing is - and there is always a 'thing' - Baccus don't do mounted crossbowmen who will certainly feature in the next project. I know that both Irregular and Heroics and Ros do produce them, but I'm not really convinced that I want to mix the styles in the one army and I already have lots of unpainted Baccus stuff to get me going.

As a trial run, I've begun playing around with the first of several conversion ideas to see how they work. These four chaps are Baccus light cavalry with their spears cut off at the hand. The off-cut was then reduced in length again by almost a half, bent slightly, and glued back on the hand as the arms of the crossbow. 

Once I order a pack of foot crossbowmen I will also play around with cutting off the rider at the waist and sticking on half a regular crossbowman, but the effect of this quick and easy fix is not so bad I think. We'll know more once they are painted.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Late Medievals in 6mm

Part way through last year, a regular gaming mate of mine got himself a Medieval itch. Now, this was not the sort of itch that you can get creams for these days from any high street apothecary, but something a bit more.... 6mm and made of lead.

He burst ahead and ordered his weight in figures from Baccus. With an impending sense of uncertainty - and a pinch of doom, I followed him into a folly of bill and bow. Totally out of my comfort zone, I also bought and read my first book on the Wars of the Roses (Dan Jones' The Hollow Crown), which at least gave me a very readable context in which to wage wars across the table top.

After a slow and much stalled start, I finally finished my first ever late Medieval army/ies early this month. We started with the intention of playing Bloody Barons from Peter Pig (hence the use of 30x30mm bases). The pre-battle skulduggery in that game is fantastic and very flavourful but in the end, we decided that L'Art de la Guerre gave us a more enjoyable game for the battle itself. Some of the treachery the abounds in BB's pre-game phase can be easily abstracted with the 'unreliable' commander trait in ADG, and we might end up trying to adapt the other aspects once we are more familiar with what we're doing. 

We played a great game over the weekend where all sub-commanders were unreliable. My rear ward commander decided to be hesitant about the battle (result of rolling a natural 1 in the first turn), but was soon reminded that his beloved nephew was locked away somewhere as a hostage by the C-in-C and he quickly decided that joining battle was the best course of action. Brett's rear ward lord did exactly the same thing, but sat tight for four or five turns before committing himself, effectively losing Brett the game. 

ADG uses significantly less bases than BB, so with my current forces, I can run them as either War of the Roses Yorkists, or Anglo-Irish.

Here are my three lords, all sufficiently generic - from left to right, milord Black-on-Yellow, milord Blue-on-Red (the lord commander), and milord Yellow-on-Blue.

My little camp. The tent is a little resin job from Leven Miniatures. The figures are from a range of Baccus packs including a Crusader personalities (to get the bishop with cross and kneeling knight).

A bombard (heavy artillery) from Irregular Miniatures with Baccus crew.

A scratch built organ gun (light artillery) made from a couple of spare chariot wheels, some 15mm copper spears and a cut up old credit card.

Hand gunners (light infantry) in red and green livery.

Gallowglaich (heavy swordsmen). I used Baccus early Medieval Saxon Huscarls for these. On each strip of four wee chaps, two of them have kite shields on their backs so were practically unusable for this project, but the other two worked wonderfully for axe-wielding Islesmen.
Irish kern - another substitution. These figures are actually Baccus Moors/Numidians. However, they are lightly clad javelinmen with small round shields, so they work fine for kern.

Less-than-heavy knights, used as Anglo-Irish nobles with their retainers, or WotR currours. The front rank of each base are Baccus knights, the rear rank are Baccus light horse. Liveries are red and white, red and yellow and green and white.

English foot knights and retinue bowmen. Liveries are blue and red, and white and black.

Anglo-Irish (or less well equipped English) retinue bill and bow, liveried in yellow and green.

 Militia bow, themed (rather than liveried) in blue.

Here is the full 200 point army for the Anglo-Irish. From the rear, mounted nobles and camp, militia bow, English retinue, Anglo-Irish retinue, gallowglaich, bombard and kern.

And here they are again presented as Yorkists - no galloglaich or kern, less cavalry, but another retinue of foot knights and bow, some hand gunners and the light artillery.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Downtown Berytos - street racing with Bread and Circuses

My 6mm street track for chariot racing is finished and, I'd like to think, it's pretty nice. I intentionally went for a robust, blocky feel, with minimal detail. I want the attention to be on the racers, not on the streetscape.

The buildings started as cheap wooden blocks which were glued into assorted house shapes and them received a rough smothering of crack-filling wall putty. I always call it spakfilla, because that is the Australian brand I used to practically build/repair my first appartment, but it goes by many names and is easily found in hardware stores.

Everything got a priming cover of dark brown paint, followed by two top coats of textured off white to look like lime-washed mud-brick. I then used left over tiled roof segments from my 15mm ancient city (oo gauge Spanish roof tiles for train sets from memory) to add tiled roofing to my two shrines.

A quick set up of a hypothetical racing circuit, complete with short cut through the alleyway. I'm quite happy with that.

... and it all fits in a small tub!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Galleys & Galleons: Foul Winds - The smell of the sea, coal and dwarvern sweat

Dwarvern Dreadnaught – The stout heart of any Dwarvern fleet, a dreadnaught’s powerful ordnance and heavy metal hull make it a slow but steady force to be reckoned with.

Q4 C4

Gun turrets, Ironclad, Sluggish, Steam engine

Monday, 11 January 2016

L'Art de la Guerre - Pyrrhic Victory

Over the weekend, we got together to try out a large game (300 points) of L'Art de la Guerre. As I wanted to get Pyrrhos of Epeiros and his Italian 'allies' on the table, we set the date at 280 BC. My foe therefore, ran Camillian Romans rather than his more usual mid-Republican (Polybian) selection. That meant less Gallic (et al.) auxiliaries, more Italians, substantially more heavy spearmen (Principes count as spear in this period) and, to my dismay, more cavalry than I could muster.

We also discovered that I can get a good 200 point Pyrrhic army, but that I don't have enough appropriate figures for 300 points. Sod. Happily I was joined by our Hellenistic Spartan player who fielded a 100 point allies Spartan army which formed our left flank.

Here you can see the lazy, stubborn Romans hanging back while our boys storm across the field. The Roman line, from left (top of picture) to right consisted of a heavy Roman legion, a medium Italian division skulking in some fields, and them two more heavy Roman legions.

Our forces from right flank (top of pictures) consisted of the Pyrrhic cavalry, the heavy infantry, the medium infantry (Samnites) and elephant, and ended with the pike heavy Spartan division.

The lines crunch together. The Roman force massed cavalry from two division on his right, seeking to outflank the Spartans. The Spartan elite hoplites held back, forming a very persuasive flank guard.

The bigger picture mid-way through the game. We found that the 300 point game ground on much longer than we expected, with the balance of victory hoovering very slightly in favour of the Romans most of the time. They had a breakpoint of something silly like 38, while ours was a slightly less silly 32 (or something simmilar - it was a long nights craic and gaming).

Although most of my troops behaved as expected, the undeniable men of the match were my Samnite medium swordsmen. Those wee buggers stood toe to toe with Roman heavy swordsmen (impact and armour) and consistently got the better of them. Meanwhile, the Spartans were having a real hard time of it against the better part of 1.5 Roman legions.

The Epeirote and Tarantine phalanxes slowly beat back the Roman Italian allies, while my cavalry division once more got locked into a struggle with formed heavy foot. Although they held out for a while, they were eventually bettered by the stoic farmers of Latium. What we did discover on this flank was how very well light infantry behave in rough terrain. My Cretan archers seized the plantation on the table's edge and refused to be shifted.

As the Pyrrhic/Spartan flanks collapsed and the Roman centre dissolved, both armies reached their break points in the same phase. The Romans ended up 5 points over their break, and the good guys just three points over, so with the narrowest of margins, we called that a truly Pyrrhic victory. There was no way that either army would be fighting again anytime soon with such heavy casualties.

We enjoyed the game again (with some reservations from the Spartan), but felt that the recommended 200 point game size probably made for a more enjoyable experience, and certainly resolved itself faster. We learnt a few more things about the game, and did a few things wrong, but on the whole, another two thumbs up from this happy gamer for a fine set of rules.

Constructing downtown Berytos - part 2

Continuing on with my low-cost:medium-impact approach to constructing 6mm buildings to run street races for Bread and Circuses, I caught a couple of dry hours (over non-consecutive days I might add), to spray all the kiddie-blocks from the first post in this series dark brown and them textured off-white. This left me with the almost finished product. Just a couple of tiles roofs to mock up for the Greek style temple and the propylaia (entrance) to the Semitic temple.