Sunday, October 31, 2021


I've made another attempt at writing some quick play rules that will allow me to get through some of the larger or more complex scenarios that I want to play (or run at a Con ) lasting at least 3 hours but not more than 4 hours.

End of Turn 1.

I figured that replaying the last scenario which was over in about an hour after playing less than 1/2 the maximum number of turns would be a good test for the new rules.

To be continued...

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Almost There

I'll do last looks in the morning, fix any glaring misses, and then gloss them.      

These figures were a clumsy conversions of my clumsy conversions of some of Rob Dean's homecast  figures which  Rob & I  then had commercially spincast, but they were my first units of unique figures so I have a sentimental attachment to them. Apparently the milliput I had used did not stand up to well to the spin cast mould making process, and melted away losing some of the detail so some of the problems were my early sculpting and part was my choice of material. Still they got me started.

I'm not sure what to do about the bases. When I painted up the first 12 about a decade ago, I was gluing traction sand to the base then gluing patches of flock on top. I don't think I have anything to match it so the choice is to try to match them with what I have or just repaint the older ones green to match the rest of the bases in both armies. That seems sensible and I'll probably do it, but......... 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Phase One

 The 2 Hesse-Darmstadt units are now up to full strength of 8 and 16 respectively. The two additional Jaegers are from the new Prince August SYW Jaeger moulds but with my own heads to update them to 1793.

I didn't bother with a picture of the additional infantry since they are just 4 more of my existing Hessians upgraded from tricornes to bicornes and thus looking just like their fellows who've been appearing on my table over the last year.

The two new figures are in the foreground.......

I just need to upgrade two more bonnets to feather bonnets and I can paint up the last 4 Highlanders. Mine are almost certainly too feathery for 1793 but probably OK for 1797+ish though contemporary details and illustrations of the uniform changes over the decade, including the change from belted plaid to small kilt, and bonnet with a few feathers to a feather bonnet,  are a bit vague, like no-one thought the details of the intermittent transition in style, regiment by regiment, would be of interest to toy soldier enthusiasts 200 years later.  So, when in doubt, go with what you can make from what you've got and make 'em shiny.

By the time I get the Highlanders finished and ready for the table, I should have a new version of my old Hearts of Tin rules ready for  test game.  

Monday, October 25, 2021

We're Going To Need More Men!

The most recent solo game was enjoyable enough, but......... there were a couple of little issues. Mostly they came from backing into this every developing "project" (though I hate the term for an open ended hobby undertaking,).   I'll write more on the issues later but the short term result was to decide that I needed to enlarge my existing infantry units slightly, from 12 to 16 for line infantry, and from 6 to 8 for light infantry, with the option to detach 4 figure "companies" to occupy houses or provide an outpost and so on.

New recruits in various states of training.

Turning to the QM store of cast bits and bodies I started on the Hessians. The Highlanders and Emigres will follow and then the French. 

Mock up.

This should keep me occupied for a week or two.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Baptism of Fire

The 42nd Foot was taking their turn at providing an escort for the Royal Artillery battery posted on a small but steep hillock overlooking the main road. As the morning mist began to clear,  the beat of drums heralded the approach of a French attack. A courier was quickly sent back to call forward the main body while the advance guard braced themselves knowing that the French would be there long before the supports could come up.

The first assault was slowed by heavy and accurate fire while a rash charge up the steep slopes by the Black Hussars was easily thrown back by the Highlanders.

The French artillery was also slow and they barely got off one road before The York Hussars, eager to  show their metal in this, their first fight, rode them down,  

Undeterred by their heavy losses, the French infantry pressed forward overrunning the British guns and forcing the Black Watch back. They had taken too long though and the allied reinforcements were on hand before the French could consolidate their hold on the hill.

In minutes it was all over. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Meanwhile, Back In Flanders

 A British outpost is under attack:

Bur help is on its way!

To be continued.......

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Ready For Action?

 Yes Sir!

The York Hussars meet Les Hussards de la Mort!
Twin spirits, cast in the same mould you might say.

Right, well done lads, now Major, take your boys off and go play a game!

Now to choose or design a scenario and set the table for tomorrow.......hmmm

Thursday, October 14, 2021

After The Sergeant-Major Was Through With Him

When you are only doing a few small units, there's no point in stopping till you are OK with what you've done.

So I went back and did a very little bit of shading, redid the sheepskins, and  checked for missing details like the white bands on the waist sash. NOW I'm happy with how they are coming. Not "model" or modern "wargame standard" nor "toy soldier",  maybe "enhanced toy soldier" or maybe even "early 70's Old School Wargaming", or just "Ross' style".  

The unit should be table ready by Sunday, hope the table is too!

I do miss the days when I could see the figure and the paintbrush tip and the painting desk at the same time, didn't have to watch my hand wobble as it approached a fiddly bit, and didn't have to rest my back every 1/2 hour, but I am extremely happy that there is every likelihood that I will be able to enjoy my hobby for years to come. 

In other news it looks like the US will be letting the Northern Barbarians cross the wall again before the year is out so planning for a 40mm French Rev game at Huzzah in Portland, Maine in May has resumed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Advanced Guard

Sometimes, especially when beginning a relatively complicated uniform, I find it best to paint one all the way through to get a feel for it.

Advance one and be recognized!

Its easier in execution when its a toy style figure but its tricky sometimes deciding what to leave out and how to fool the eye into seeing what should be rather than what was sculpted. There is also a lingering subconscious urge to shade and highlight the figure.

This Hussar seems simple enough now that I've done one though I see that I need to add some vertical stripes on the girdle and the sheep skin shabraque could use a slightly creamier white I think. Anyway, shouldn't take long to finish them.

The red/green combination reminds me of Christmas but also of something else. Today I realized what: in the the early 80’s I  painted up 15mm First Coalition and Republican French forces as well as Vendeans, Turks and Haitians. One of the British units was of course, the York Hussars.

So what was, will be again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Recruits in Training

 They have a way to go but at least they are now  in training.

York Hussars, served in Flanders and the West Indies. How convenient is that? 

I'm still miffed that having decided to start paying a lttle more for my paints again, that the line I chose to sample are actually glossy without any indication on the label.  Yes I know, I  was planning to gloss varnish them anyway but.......

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Tomorrow Was A Better Day

Well, this afternoon was better anyway. After being up to completing some pre-winter outdoor chores and doing some baking chores this morning.   I turned on  the melting pot again after lunch.

Emigre hussars catch some French skirmishers in the open. (Undressed rehersal.)

My main goal this time was to cast enough figures for 1 of the 2 remaing cavalry units I want to fill my initial OB's. (2 units a side for the initial OB, 1 light, 1 heavy). Since the new(ish) multi part cavalry moulds that I plan to use for French heavy cavalry in bicornes are again giving me problems, I decided to cast my planned Emigre Hussar unit.

Since there is necessarily a pause before repouring a mould, I turned back to the new moulds for some alternates to keep things flowing. I managed to get an arm waving a tricorne for General Montcalm and a number of the Austrian caps as well as some of the light infantry firing bodies who will probably supply bodies for both French and British units.

I think I  might have shortened this front plate a mm too much.

I managed a number of the false fronted caps. It was easy enough to flatten the top with a few stroke of a file, but I'm not sure about the front plate. The Austrians aren't really 'my thing' and my 15mm French Rev Austrians were all off the shelf castings, so I don't have many sources. Naturally, they seem to disagree about how tall the front plate was and exactly what its shape was.  Luckily, I wasn't initially planning on any Austrian units so there is no rush. 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Some Days Things Go Smooth

Other days, not so much.

I had time and opportunity to do some casting today. Having had a look at my first attempts, I  did a little venting and some test pours, then a little more, then I played a bit with the clamping....... 

SYW Prussian body with new Jaeger head. Now to turn this into a 1793 Austrian or maybe I'll start with an Hungarian unit if I can find the bleeping Hungarian mould. (Hmm looking at this,  I think I need to flatten the crown of the cap.)

Finally I  tried a few trusty moulds to see if they were still working well. Hmm.... not so much. Whether it was me, atmospheric conditions or something else, some days its just not worth the hassle or risk spoiling a new mould.

Anyway I have a few more fully cast bodies and some pieces including an arm waving a hat for General Montcalm, just no complete casts from any one mould let alone enough skirmishers to make a unit of Grenz or Friekorps for my Allied army. 

Another day then.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A Confused Affair

Like many a skirmish, only the vaguest stories bear witness to what took place during the long struggle to get the convoy to the town. (ie 10 turns played over 4 days with various rule changes)  Partly this was because of domestic distractions not to mention minor pain, a foggy head, and the like, but largely due to the unresolved uncertainties that I have about the style of the rules and desired "feel" for these Prince Valiant inspired games. 

With the Hun Chieftain having unexpectedly driven back Prince Micheal's riders, wounding the prince in the process, the Persians pulled out all the stops, flipping the initiative and reaching the crossroad Oasis before the Roman light troops could get clear. A confused, inconclusive melee followed before the Roman light troops could escape. 

Every time I seem to have a set of rules that I think should work, I either play a particular scenario which doesn't work with some part of the rules so that I have to improvise or I find myself  not enjoying the way a new version works, or the "feel" just isn't quite right, or I've let myself be detoured by a harebrained idea like rewriting the rules to play on a portable hex grid suitable for playing in an institute in some uncomfortable future and thus need a good slap to the side of my head to bring me back to the task in hand. 

Ellie charges through into the Roman infantry. It turned out to be scary and not much fun for either side. (Never put your trust in dice son.)

There are also a few inner conflicts I have about mechanisms like armour saving throws vs combat modifiers for armour and fixed vs adhoc units that I need to sort since the answer to these love/hate/habit questions will affect the whole system but these are questions of preference and 'feel' rather than better vs worse. In other words I have to make up my mind.

It was an odd dice day for sure and the handful of light, but apparently tough, Hun light infantry along with the last Huns, held back the Duke's cavalry until the convoy could move clear. 

At the very least, having reviewed each Prince Michael game report and the rules used, and trying several minor variations during this game, I have identified most of the issues. I also have a pretty good idea of how the rules need to be structured to handle the sort of variety of scenarios and games that I want to play: flexible, not too simple or too complex, and not involving too many tediously repetitive die rolls or being too random or too predictable.  

After one last effort, and a short, inconclusive duel with the Satrap, the Duke waved his men back as they came into range of the artillery on the town walls. Rearing their horses, the opposing commanders saluted each other as the wagons rolled through the gates.
(The red discs indicate "wounds" on characters who can survive more than 1 hit.

Unfortunately for me, no one page quick reference sheet is going to do it. I need to sit down and write something more comprehensive and that is going to take me a while.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

It has begun

 More tomorrow.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Milord, The Raiders Are Returning

 " They aren't the only ones approaching!  Turn out the garrison!"

Now we'll see how elephants fight.

Not a Shipwreck After All

I'm finally about ready to play. I rather liked my idea of a shipwreck followed by a prisoner rescue mission or a daring escape followed by an Anabasis but, once I realized that the game would be taking place while the Eastern Roman Empire still controlled the eastern Mediterranean including Palestine, Egypt and most of Anatolia, it got harder to come up with a storyline I could buy into even if I shifted the scene to the Black Sea. Rather than beat my head against the wall, I've decided to make it a Roman expedition across the Persian frontier for some purpose (tbd) and the Prince, might or might not tag along or make a cameo appearance.

Introducing the Persian "knights".

Along similar lines, I have struggled with my Persian knights. I had been wondering what to do with a number of medieval knights with barrel helms, big triangular shields and couched lances, not exactly typical Late Roman/Dark Age/Early Medieval stuff but the Persians had fully armoured lancers and some of them wore face masks, so I figured that this was going to be the easiest conversion to a Prince Valiant level of authenticity. I decided that removing the shield was more work than it was worth so I drilled a hole in one corner and rounded the bottom to look vaguely Eastern-ish, wrapped a scarf around the helmet, added a plume and then painted the front of the helm as a bronze facemask. 

Well, they are done, just not as well done as I had hoped. Partly this was a matter of needing to spend some money on new paints as several of my old dependable, no longer available,  colours finally came to the end of their  long life this summer and none of the replacements I've bought are satisfactory. But it was partly because I was a bit distracted and kept doing things like squishing the epoxy putty helmet plumes and scarves, which one can only do so often before you have to live with it or cut it all off and start again.

Much of this distraction was a side effect of why I've suddenly found hobby time in the middle of my busiest "get outside work done before the weather gets cold then snowy" season. In short, for about 3 weeks I have been suffering from what has now been diagnosed as a "Baker's Cyst" (nothing to do with flour, its named after the doctor who first diagnosed it ).   From the patient's POV this is a rather painful growth, the knee is one of the most  common sites so I went with that, which eventually bursts making the whole leg swell and hurt like...  I managed to hobble about aided by a walking stick and look after our pack of hounds but I admit that I was greatly relieved when my wife got back from her first week of dog shows since COVID and drove me into town to get a professional diagnosis. Didn't really need it by then since three of her friends read the symptoms she listed and all said that it sounded just like the Baker's Cyst they had had but it was good to get a professional opinion once the worst was over and much better than a potentially lethal blood clot.  So, I am slowly on the mend without intervention being needed......       

Now, back to the border between the East Roman and Persian Empires, patrols clash and then..........

Well, not a big force but I can add some more Huns and at least there is room for some more Persian conversions if it goes well.

Stay tuned!