Thursday, December 30, 2021

There's Something That Needs To Be Dealt With.....

 And Prince Micheal & I intend to deal with it, first thing in the New Year!

Wishing all my readers and their loved ones a safe and happier new year in 2022.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Battle of Ville Saint Etienne.

This was a battle well worth some story telling but Christmas, as quiet as it was, has left me contented and lazy (not to mention over fed and tired) so I'll just set the scene and let the captions of the pictures explain the action. 

This action is a fictional one set in the Low Countries in late December 1793.  The allied army has been scattered in penny packets along the frontier and has settled in for a sparse but quiet Christmas. Across a small frozen river, an ambitious French commander has decided to try and strike a blow against the aristo's and their lackeys. On the morning of the Feast of St. Stefan, he has planned a surprise assault across the bridge by his demi-brigade with his skirmishers  distracting the enemy as well as supporting the assault and a flanking move by four squadrons of Hussars.

The allies had placed a battery on a hill within long range shot of the bridge and supported it with the Black Watch.  A mixed Brigade of cavalry is camped behind them. Companies of Jaegers are on picquet duties  near two known fords. In the small town is an understrength battalion of Emigres and a full battalion of Hessians. 

An overview of the battlefield as the game began.

Several turns later, when the illustrator reappeared, we find that the French infantry have taken the first half of the village after a stiff fight, and the French cavalry have finally arrived.

Beyond the village, the cavalry fight has begun with charge and countercharge.

 In the town, the French pushed on and captured the Stone House but counter attacks by the Highlanders and the Hessians recaptured the two white houses behind them. All in all, it was beginning to look like an Allied victory, but their losses had been very heavy and only the French had fresh troops to commit.

In the blink of an eye things changed, beyond the town,"les canaris" shattered the Scots Greys and remaining York Hussars.

The fighting along the riverbank was fierce but the volleys from the French Whitecoats, supported by artillery firing cannister, and sharpshooters, mowed down the unsupported Black Watch. The allied force had been cut to pieces and their commander had no choice but to retreat while the route was still open.

Next post, behind the scenes.


Sunday, December 26, 2021

General Wenceslaus Looked Out On The Feast of Stephen

It was dawn when the General was woken by the sound of musket fire. Those damned godless revolutionaries making some kind of trouble. He called for his aide and reached for his boots.

As dawn broke, the French skirmishers opened fire while columns of infantry left their cover and rushed slowly towards the bridge.
 (I blame the brandy for their poor rolling.)

The picquet at the bridge opened fire and held their position just long enough to allow the garrison to begin falling out, arms in hand.

Despite the urging of their officers, les Bleus seemed to reluctant to advance but les Blancs made their way gingerly over the frozen river and closed on the town. Even the tardy brigade of Hussars had finally appeared behind the enemy left flank. It was all taking too long though and the allies were already forming up and concentrating.

To be continued..........


Friday, December 24, 2021

All is Calm, All is Quet

Christmas Eve in the Low Countries, 1793. An allied outpost in the little town of Belmont. 

Believing that the fresh snow and Christmas will keep even the republican French in their billets, the allies have posted picquets and settled down for the night. The officers of course, have gathered at the local inn.

I have a feeling that its not just Santa who is planning a surprise.

Merry Christmas to everyone who has stopped by. May you and your families and friends have a safe and happy holiday season.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Just in the St Nick of Time

I was beginning to wonder if I was going to find a few hours to finish these guys off before Christmas when suddenly, everything went quiet. Covid made a sneaky flank attack with the new variant bringing back tougher restrictions, the weather turned wintery and  my wife closed her dog grooming shop a few days early so didn't need her gofer.  Suddenly I had some time to myself while still awake.

More shiny toy soldiers ready for the wars. (and a 2nd coat of green on their bases!)

At first it was tricky getting the painting style to match the ones I painted 2 years ago, but it seems to be becoming natural and by the time I had them glossed I was having trouble identifying which 6 of the 16 were new figures. 

It helped that one of the things I did  instead of painting this week was to rearrange my hobby space. I now have a more comfy set up and chair and can make better use of the available lighting. In fact, it was good enough that I was able to clearly watch my hands shake as I tried to paint the stripes. Can't help but think that's likely to get worse rather than better but I've just about managed to adjust my painting style to minimize the impact. 

Now, do I stick with painting for the French Rev or turn to Elastolin and Prince Valiant........wonder what the last game of the year will be....hmmmm.....any requests?

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Nil desperandum

Its been a rather frustrating, what can go wrong will go wrong, kind of day, both for chores and hobby. However, I can get a bit stubborn, and anyone who claims that swearing at inanimate objects is silly and ineffectual, either hasn't tried it or doesn't swear with sufficient feeling. 

So, all of today's self selected crucial prewinter outside tasks for today were done and the six skirmisher recruits for my Revolutionary French are converted, assembled and primed. 

The kneeling body is one of the new Prince August Jaegers, the rest are Zinnbrigade Napoleonic French, with some arm conversions. All have been awarded my original homecast heads.  

Tomorrow is Sunday and I predict that paint will flow.


Friday, December 17, 2021

A start

Its going to be a while before I can do any casting so I dug about in my supply of spare parts and bodies, reviewed the holes in my existing order of battle and chose an alternate unit to work on.

French skirmishers in the making.

To bring my French skirmishers up to scratch, I need to convert 6 more. The work has begun. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

And Now....

....well....I'm not sure. Busy days ahead and when in doubt, paint.  Back to the 1790's I think.

If I can coax one more heavy cavalryman and an officer out of the moulds, (hmm make that 2 cavalrymen given the shanks on that first horse) I'll balance the opposing cavalry forces. If not, I  could use a second gun and crew and always, more infantry, especially more skirmishers for the French.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

First Battle of Newfield Crossing

At last the preliminary skirmishing of the opposing Advance Guards was over and enough troops were present for battle to begin.

<Note: you may click on the pictures to enlarge them.>

After a short cavalry clash, the Dominion cavalry pulled back. Their job was done, they had delayed the Rebel army long enough for the Grenadiers to occupy the little town on Newfield Crossing.

Slowly the opposing forces arrived and deployed. General Lannigan, wondering where the heck the Black Hats were, ordered Blue River Battalion to move around the left and attack the town from the north while the Oberhilse Blues attacked from the West supported by the Redcap battery.

The fire from the town was fierce and the Blues were eventually forced back, exhausted.

To the south, Colonel Nolan's Black Hats had finally arrived, but with signs of more redcoats arriving on his flank, the Colonel was reluctant to push forward without orders. MacDuff's Highlanders were also reluctant to push on to the town leaving the Bluecoats behind. At last MacDuff's impatient nature got the best of him and he sent his men into the woods.  

By dusk, the Dominion had a firm grip on the crossroads and the Rebels had suffered heavy losses and made little progress. General Lannigan ordered the men to fallback for now.

Will General Lannigan renew the assault in the morning? Only time will tell.


The Model Major General

54mm figures, mostly home cast on a 4ft x 6ft table.

Friday, December 10, 2021

And Will Soon Continue

 Its a long boring story.......however.....

A couple of turns in and the boys are ready to "get down to it".

The battle should resume and be fought to a conclusion by this time tomorrow. Rainy days and Saturdays really pick me up.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Now It Begins

 The game is set, ye old clash of advance guards at a crossroads.  

The opposing armies begin to deploy and jockey for position. 

More to follow! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

One Step Closer

I got a little bit more done this morning. The general idea for the scenario is in place and I got a bit more 'work' done on the table.

The central section of the table, waiting for the armies. The roads are made from traction sand which I can't get anymore (black grit seems to have taken over) which is why I sometimes use painted masking tape roads like the streams. The woods are formed by placing trees, rocks and "bushes" on painted cloth bases. Fields and so on can be added the same way. The table top itself has been mottled a bit. This will continue to be added to and changed as time goes by. 

One of the things that I like about a painted wooden table top is that in addition to terrain items that are placed on top, I can add features such as rivers, roads and woods with paint or painted masking tape and then over paint them when I want to change them. After a few months and years, the table top loses its unrealistic monotone colour and begins to look as messy and irregular as most real terrain.

The colours are slightly off in this shot due to a lighting issue this morning but at least it gives a better look at a quick masking tape stream. Essentially the tape is laid down then painted with the same green as the table (I keep a quart of my custom mix on hand.) The stream was then painted over top. When leisure time is available, the painting can be gussied up with rocks, currents and ripples, reeds etc on the banks, and maybe a bit more gloss on the water.   

Looks like Thursday will be a Snow Day which means the dice are very likelyt to be rolling.. 

You'll Wonder Where The Hexes Went When....

Serendipity really. I recently bought some OSB for some non-wargaming projects.  Having cut 1 piece down to 6'x4', tested the footprint and functionality, the project was unanimously cancelled. Well, it never hurts to have spare materials hanging around but it suddenly  hit me that I've been itching to extend my table to 6'x4' again and make it it sturdier. Serendipity!

My latest experiments with a gridded table have finally failed beyond redemption. I can see some of the attractions, especially for a small, sit-down, cardtable sort of game but over all, the minuses equal the positives and its not my style.  So, I  tore down my flimsy patchwork table and replaced it with a more solid one piece of OSB then painted it. 

Now to test it!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Now The Battle is Lost and Won

 The battle has been fought and a report posted on the Gathering of Hosts blog.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Interruptions Always Interruptions

The first couple of turns have been played, reinforcements  have begun to appear, and Federation scouts are discovering that the recent rains have raised water levels leaving few practicable fords.

Then "real" life intervened...sighh.....the game will continue!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Now, Where Was I?

Oh yes! The hosts have gathered, the table is set, and one day this week I plan to play the game using the revived Rough Wooing rules since they are close to the Gathering of Hosts rules and cover basically the same general troop types and weapons. The fewer rule sets I have to remember, and tinker with, the better!

The following is a direct copy of today's post on my Gathering of Hosts blog.


Rumours are constant on the frontier. Few are true but none can be ignored so the garrison at Eastford has been on alert for a week. A call for reinforcements has gone out, and mounted patrols of the river have been doubled.  Then one day.....

Alarm! Enemy in sight!

The local frontier garrisons are used to small raiding parties but this looks like an army marching towards them. The men peer over the palisade and some could be seen clenching their fists, shaking them and then opening them like men throwing bones in a tavern while muttering: "Lady Luck be with us".


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Scraping Off The Rust and Oiling the Joints

 What a wonderful day! 

Turn 2 or 3. The armies have marched on and begun to deploy prior to the clash.
Sorry for the quality of the pics. The lighting in the space where there was room for the table was not the best for taking pictures of miniatures, so the flash on my phone had to be used to get any pics at all.

It was a cool grey morning with the threat of showers and/or snow flurries in the air and on the radio and I was a little behind my time, so instead of my usual route of taking the secondary highway which cuts across the peninsula, I took the longer divided highway, nipping onto a secondary road shortcut which would also skirt Halifax and avoid the heaviest least it used to 15 years ago.... Crikey! The woods have exploded with subdivisions, malls, stop lights etc etc since I used to frequent that road. I should have realized that since the process had begun before I moved out of the city.  Next time I'll stick with the quiet path.

All of the troops on the table are 70's era Minifigs painted back in the 70's by 4 or 5 different people, including a handful of those wonderful kilted...pikemen!? and highlanders painted by me back when. (They are in the background here with the big Macfarlane crest on one flag and the cross of Saint Andrew on the other.) 

Anyway, I was still the first to arrive which was good because I had all the terrain. Naturally there was as much catching up as laying out of terrain and troops, interrupted  periodically by a new arrival and a new round of catching up! We were five in the end, in addition to myself there were 2 of the old (sic) gang that I've been friends with since I came to Halifax in the late 70's and 2 veteran recruits from  the boardgaming world that we had met at a local open gaming day in the year before COVID. Still, eventually we got troops and terrain sorted, players briefed and the game began.  Since there were five of us, two of which were new to miniatures, and it was only the third outing for the 'one side of a page' rules that I had written up hastily for a group game in 2018, I offered to be GM and coach.

An overhead view shortly after the previous picture. The Highlanders are recoiling from a surprisingly tough bunch of raw Covenanters. 

We managed a couple of turns before the excellent chili was ready....then with the troops fed and rested we resumed. It seemed like no time at all that the intended departure time had gone by and darkness with showers tending towards snow flurries were imminent. Luckily, the last turn had set the Royalists back on their heels and it was looking like a long reach for them to be able to turn the tables and rout the Covenanters, so we were able to call it and hurriedly pack up and head out. 

More Highlanders but these guys are being a bit tougher. The fact that I painted most of the Highlanders on green bases doesn't really have any significance at all, nope.

The scenario was designed by Paul based on the Battle of Tippermuir. He had written some special scenario rules such as dicing for the quality of some of the newly raised troops on both sides, limited ammo for the Irish, and so on. We made a few unfortunate choices about things such as how to categorize the open woods under the rules and the what effect the special rules would have, but nothing serious. 

We didn't have enough time to play the game through to the point where the Royalists could make a come back, due largely to the socializing and learning how the rules worked, but the socializing was the main event and we played enough turns to declare that Montrose was unlikely to achieve the sort of victory he won historically, if he could win any sort of victory give how the first part went. Indeed more very special scenario rules would be probably be needed to reproduce the historical quick collapse and rout of the Covenanter army but I'm not sure there would be any way to do that AND have an enjoyable GAME rather than an exercise.  

The scenario was interesting though and the game presented some good but different challenges to both sides so, with a little tweaking to the special rules, we plan to play it again. 

The one side of a page rules are available from my rules page (here). They treat units much like a board game counter and aren't likely to satisfy knowledgeable ECW or Pike & Shot aficionados, but were designed to be easy for inexperienced miniature wargamers to pick up and play. So far, the test games have all been enjoyable with new players picking it up fairly quickly, so I am resisting tinkering.

Game's end: The first Royalish assault has been held. The approach of bad weather and darkness have convinced Montrose to pull back rather than renewing the assault.

I have a feeling that it will be a while before there is another public miniature wargaming event here in Nova Scotia but that smaller gatherings like this one, in people's homes, will continue to happen more and more frequently, at least until the next wave comes.....   

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Teaser: It Happened!

First face to face game since the fall of 2019!

The armies enter the field. Covenanters to the left, Montrose to the right.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

ECW Battle Preempts Solo Fantasy and Leads To Building Boom.

 A Game! A REAL game against REAL PEOPLE!  In PERSON! First one since the summer of 2019. 

The game will be ECW hosted by Paul at his house on the other coast...of Nova Scotia, about an hour's drive from here. We'll be using his 25mm army but I'll be bringing along some terrain. The scenario requires a village and a church. I don't have much 25mm terrain anymore, but since the ones I built for my 40's are deliberately under scale and compressed,  I thought they'd do and Paul gave the thumbs up. 

However, I didn't actually have  a

Hammer Hammer Saw Saw...
So, quick and dirty and the cottage is wider than intended...but I think they'll serve. 
Hmm, the cottage wasn't supposed to be that fat! Oh well, once I paint the door it'll serve.
btw, if you're wondering: Yes. In real life my handyman work is just as sloppy and practical.

Well that's the plan for Saturday, which is still 2 days away so anything could happen, but....... 

Our last ECW game, played in October 2018


Meanwhile planning for the  Great Raid continues on the Gathering of Hosts blog.

My 15mm Scots have been idle since they chased the English right out of Nova Scotia so I though a few of them might serve as map markers. 

One way or another, there will be a game this weekend with a battle report to follow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Two To Get Ready

I managed to get the Horse Lord and Household finished today:

The Horse Lord.
(A bit of a rushed job and the glue on the base hadn't even dried but table ready.) 

These are Garrison figures from the Hyborian range....hmm.. well mostly Hyborian, the armoured horses and the lancer are from the historical ranges. The Chieftain had a nice sword, which he appears to have broken over his knee at frustration over his decade long wait to be painted, so I replaced it with a mace. Well actually, I was using a map pin to clean out a drilled pilot hole for a new sword and inspiration struck.

In addition, I refurbished another stand of the Federation Horse Guards, descendants of the old Valdurian Royal Horse Guards. They are Minifig ME range Rohirrem, led by a Southron officer, and originally mounted on the older,  S range era 1/2 armoured horse but are now remounted on Garrison horses.

1st and 3rd Squadrons of the Northern Federation Horse Guards.

The Horse Guards were amongst the first metal wargames figures I owned and are the more special because I bought them in person in 1974 from the Minifig stand at the Wargame tent at Aldershot, part of some sort of Military Show,  a weekend event of some sort. (I saw 'Wargame' and didn't really notice what else was going on......)

At the time, I was on a 7 week, (which turned into 9 weeks due to an airline strike which threatened to make us awol!) , $5 a day, tour of Europe with a friend from military college. Yes, even back then, $5 wasn't much so we mostly travelled by thumb with occasional train rides and slept mostly in youth hostels or where ever we could find space to roll out our sleeping bags. At Waterloo, after closing, we crept back through the hedge  and rolled out our sleeping bags at the foot of the Lion Mound, a highlight for me. (ahh to be 18 again!).

The wargame weekend wasn't on our agenda but it was one of several solo breaks and I had hitched out to visit the Castle Dore, at the time thought to be from the "Arthurian" Dark Ages which was "my thing",  and just happened to see a poster for a Wargame Tent at Aldershot, part of some sort of Military exhibition. Took about 2 seconds to ditch my plans and hope Eric wasn't too po'd at me being a day late for our rendezvous  (pre cellphone). All the hostels in town were booked but acting on a tip from an old feller in a pub I spent the first night in a police cell (unlocked!) the only time in my life to date. Got to the show and there was Peter Gilder and Phil Barker and a Minifigs booth and.... Heaven! to a young wargamer from the boonies! Having spent the day there, the group of folks running the tent graciously invited me to join them for supper and talk, a prototype game of chariot races, and to roll out my sleeping bag in the tent. Another real highlight, even better than that co-ed hostel in  Copenhagen and the two Swedish...but that's getting way off topic.

Back to the matter at hand: 

The raiding force mustered and ready for the raid to begin.

I was planning to play Wednesday or Thursday but I've been invited to join a couple of local (within 100km) friends for a 25mm ECW game on Saturday and am pledged to build and bring a village. At the moment, the village is just a sheet of foamcore so I have some work to do. It might, or might not, interfere with the game. In any case, the details of the mini-campaign, once worked out,  and the battle reports when the battles happen, will appear on the Gathering of Hosts page but I'll post links when the time comes.   

Saturday, November 20, 2021

One Down

One stand is done and the other is nearly ready.

Theodora is mounted on an individual stand in case I need her to do double duty should I decide to do some 25mm skirmish games

Mind you, with a forecast for a 3 day storm that includes winds of 90kph or more and in excess of 100-150mm of rain, which around here probably means a loss of power at some point, I can't guarantee just when the game will  be played and blogged. 

(Don't worry we are always ready to see out any weather for several weeks.)

Friday, November 19, 2021

Where Are The Horses & The Riders? (sic)

 "They are mustering Lord."

Captain Theodora and her riders.
or Guinevere if memory serves...a stray  figure I picked up from the Wee Wolf booth at Huzzah! a few years ago. 

"We shall be ready to ride to battle in 3 days."

The Horse Lord dresses for battle.

With 3 votes for Knights vs 1 for Prince Valiant, work has begun on preparing a Gathering of Hosts game. 

The last GorH post (disregarding the brief report on an impromptu 1/72 game) was about a meeting to discuss a raid against the Eastern Midlands in retaliation for the Midlish raid on the Federation nearly two years ago. Now, we will find out how it fared.

I suspect that a Prince Valiant game will follow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Bitter Enders Indeed!

 I was doing a bit of sorting and tidying the cupboard under the eaves today, and look what I found!!

The little Boers are Mike's Models painted c1982.
 The big guys are 40mm Scruby ACW castings for comparison. I  tried to get the firing chap to point his rifle somewhere other than straight at the cameraman but......  Think he's got a grudge?

The rest of the Mike's Models were rehomed years or decades ago but these two must have hidden in ambush all these years. 

I never know what I'm going to find in the dark corners.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Looking Ahead

 Its a cold, damp, blustery day. Lots to do but.....not a bad day to put in an hour or two of hobby time.

Happy to be home again, the armies are preparing for their next game by having the bottoms of their bases painted in case they should fall over in public, and having their company number painted onto the back of their bases to aid sorting at conventions. (Next May in Portland oh Powers that be!

I am still set on reducing the number of collections and rules that I use to 8 so that I can dedicate more time playing with what I do have and play some more mini-campaigns.  I also want more free storage space and fewer distractions so sometime this winter there will be a call for brave volunteers to give new homes to old loved soldiers now retired and to 'recruit's who will never be activated, but that is for later.

Time now to think about a game for this cold, damp, blustery week. My 54's have been longest on the shelf of my remaining main collections, but I think its time for some armour, spears and bows. It just remains to pick a scenario and period. Will it be: 

These guys?


or these guys?

Time will tell.