Tuesday, November 29, 2022

While I'm At Loose Ends .....

It seemed like a good time to tie up a loose end. 

My small, miscellaneous, haphazard, 1/72 pre-gunpowder collection, is a bit of a lost lamb, due originally to nostalgia. At last however, I'm beginning beginning to awaken to some practical advantages it might have in some plausible versions of my future. Since I had no particular "call" to paint any of the waiting hordes of recruits for my acrive collections, or play a game, it seemed like as good a time as any to revisit my ideas about having an emergency or unpleasant future situation where I had to pick one compact 'game in a box' that I could coax potentially non-wargamers into playing as well as playing it solo. A wargame that might be suitable to tempt people without an interest in military history into playing a game, perhaps those who enjoy fantasy movies and books, (LOTR, GofT, etc).

This motley collection was distinctly NOT acquired for this, or any other purpose actually. 

Some might recognize the game pieces from "Feudal". My copy was a present back in the late 70's. It was a time when my collection of miniatures were in storage some 5,000 km away, and I did not know any local miniature gamers. I was reduced to being trounced regularly by a board wargaming friend, and picking up and painting whatever miniatures I could find, the best source being a small card and gift shop where I bought some Armada ships and some Heritage Napoleonics which I converted to ECW Scots to go with the handfull of Minifigs, my first 15's, that I had painted in my cabin on HMCS Otatwa on the opposite coast, a year or so earlier. Board games aren't first choice, but are better than nothing for a social activity. Naturally, I stated painting the miniatures.... I even managed to play a game or two with a friend, bless her heart. Anyway, not long after, I got posted to Halifax and my gaming drought was over, but I kept the figures largely I suspect, for the good memories of those days.

Apart from my first, brief dip back into ACW, my reconnection with 1/72nd came when Hat released the old Airfix Ancient British set. As it happens, I had  received the Britons and Romans on my first Christmas leave from Military College in '72. I broke out Featherstone and played a quick solo game but by next year, Simon MacDowall had arrived and I had a copy of WRG 3rd ed Ancients. Soon, two small airfix armies were learning the ropes. Those armies were long gone and I wasn't  doing anything in 1/72nd, but could not help supporting my local hobby shop by buying the occasional box. So, for nostalgia's sake, I bought the Ancient Britons. 

The last key piece was that I had always yearned for the 4cm Elastolin figures. I used to ogle them at Eaton's and Simpson's at Christmas time but they were well outside my parents' budget. When I found out that a Revell set included  scaled down copies and later found that Orion's vikings included not only copies of some Elastolins, but also copies my old Marx 25mm vikings, well, had to have them!

So that's where the gaggle of pieces came from. At some point, I painted up two small DBA armies as a travelling game, but didn't do much with them, until Rob Dean decided to run a 6 player 1/72nd Dragon Rampant event at Huzzah a few years ago.   Since we've been co-hosting events since the turn of the century, I volunteered to bring 2 of the armies. After that they went back into the cupboard until one hot summer day in 2021 when I took the non-fantasy elements out for a quick solo game. 

That was enough to make me think there just might be a place for them as a 'game in a box' at no expense.  The Horse & Musket era one I built earlier this year is fine, but the attraction for non-wargamers might not be great. Something with a wider audience was needed, possibly something for people who enjoyed Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc, and something compatible with several published rules sets as well as homegrown rules.  

Shouldn't take long to paint up the last few figures, non-human units might be considered later...

Friday, November 25, 2022

He Marched Them Up The Hill ......

 At last!  Today I got to play a OHW scenario through in one, roughly an hour, session! 

The French launch a speedy attack, but the Allies reaction was even faster. 

I will admit that earlier this last week, I played the scenario over several days, a turn here and another there, using With MacDuff to the Frontier but the fit just wasn't right and the games went too slowly with the wrong kinds of decisions needing to be made. (Low level details were over shadowing the formation and execution of a battle plan.)  So, I looked back to the "Whiff of Dice" rules that I had been working on for these French Revolution scenario games.

The French fire caused heavy casualties so the allies fell back to reorganize.

The rules still needed honing so I under took that, once again delaying a proper game, then reset the table.

The French followed, but not fast enough, and casualties were heavy on both sides. The British commander decided to take a chance and threw the 11h Light Dragoons at the French Hussars which had been working their way around the allied infantry's flank.
It was a gamble, but the dice were kind and the 11th LD won honours in their first action!

The result was worth it. For once I managed to play a One Hour Game in roughly an hour. More than that, the game was loaded with critical command decisions and hard to predict combat results, keeping me engaged right down the  last die roll which broke the French morale at the end on Turn 14 of 15.

The French made a desperate attempt to hold their own till dark, but it was not to be.

Of course, there'll have to be more test games.......oh well, if needs be.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Early Report

Well, I say report but really, its just a quick sketch of the battle as the main clash looms about 1/3 of the way through the day.  

More on Friday.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Recycle, Reset, Replay!

After returning the battle weary 16thC lads to the shelf today, I was about to clear away the terrain when it occurred to me that it would be more efficient and energy saving if I just reset with a different period and played the scenario again.

"Formez vos battalions! Marchons, Marchons............ "

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 18, 2022

Cometh The Hour

I am soooooo looking forward to winter where, apart from the probably excessive snow which is due in Feb-Mar, there should be much more hobby time (but no outside games!). Anyway, I did actually manage to play the scenario earlier this week, 1 or 2 turns at a time over 3 days, with rather  unsatisfactory rules. In the end, the game ended after less than 1/2 the alloted number of turns, but that "one hour" scenario still took me 2-3 hours of actual playing to get through even that small number of turns, 1, or occasionally 2 turns at a time.  That was a little too quick turnwise but too long timewise for me, and the results had largely been a matter of really good English dice vs abysmal Scottish dice, every time it mattered. So, it was back to the drawing board for yet another rewrite of the rules.

The second game was closer to the mark taking about an hour to play in a single session, taking 2/3 of the allotted number of turns but being often on the edge wnd with my decisions having a stronger influence than the dice. There is a story in there somewhere about how this collection began over 20 years ago, why this period is a strong contender for my One Wargame 'Period' if I had to make such a choice, and why its been such a struggle to get it flowing right.....BUT....I'm not going to deal with any of that right now. The  re-re-re-revised draft of the rules worked quite well and the lads should be back on the table and at it again with hammer and tongs ere long, but right now.....

On With The Show! 

The Scenario, was "Unfortunate Oversight" from "One Hour Wargames". The Scots, being canny and on home ground, knew where the unmarked ford was while the English were cozied up in the village inn by the bridge. Red markers indicate a lost English stand, Blue a lost Scots stand. The first army to lose over 1/2 their units retreats (or routs or just plain loses the game).

Dawn breaks and as the morning mists clear, the alarm is sounded!
TO ARMS! Form for battle!! THE SCOTS ARE UPON US!

Notes: Please click on the pictures to see the full size version. If you click the + sign on the full version it will zoom in if you want a closer look at the figures. 
The little dice track hits. A stand is removed for each 4 hits on a formation.

Casualtties: Red markers indicate an English stand removed, Blue for a lost Scots stand,

The Scots army, led by the young Sir William Lennox, grandson of the Earl of  Lennox's 2nd Cousin (nicknamed "Wee Willie" by his men), consisted of 3 stands of light horse, 6 stands of Highlanders (1/2 archers), 7 stands of pike and 2 of arquebusiers.   The English, under Sir Thomas Wight, ( nicknamed 'Ghost Rider of the Borders'), had placed a garrison of 2 stands of bills, and 2 of archers  in the town to hold the bridge, then bivouacked the remaining infantry, 4 bills, 4 bows just out side it with the 3 stands Lancers and 3 of Border Horse behind the town. The English had shown no indication that they knew about the hidden ford so Wee Willie decided to cross the ford, seize the heights  cut off the English and crush them! (Well, it was his first battle after all.)  

The Scots send forward some pike and shot to distract the English garrison  and pin them in place..
The veteran English commander wasn't fooled and quickly moved his cavalry to seize the dominating hill on his left, backed by the Red Coat Bills and Bows.

The English reacted more quickly than the Scots had expected, while the Scots had been a bit dilatory. Still, a pitched battle in the open was better odds than storming a bridge and town before coming to grips with the main enemy body! Luckily, the English were soon in range of the Scottish archers who were able to commence shooting without waiting their turn to cross. 

While the opposing horsemen eyed each other warily, the Scots pike and Highlanders clashed, while bill and pike locked in combat, the Highlanders charged again and again. Casualties were heavy on both sides. 

At last, after heavy losses, the English foot was forced to fallback. Wee Willy immediately sent orders to his left wing commander to send his shot to fire into the English flank and to march his pikes over the ford. to reinforce the main attack.  

Freed up to abandon the town, the White coats advanced to succour the Redcoats, but harassed by arquebus fire and some fierce charges by the Highlanders, they made little progress. In their absence, the Redcoats broke and fled the field.
Upon the hill, Sir Thomas considered sending his demilances in to try to break the obviously battered Scots pike but if it the charge failed, his army might break, and so he hesitated. If the White coats could break those stubborn Highlanders and his cavalry slip past the Scottish horse and disperse those archers, he could still pull this off..... 

Alas for Sir Thomas, while he weighed his options, his enemy advanced onto the critical hill and the Whitecoats, under a galling flanking fire, and  seeing the approach of more Scots pike,  had had enough and gave way. There was nothing to be done but pull back his cavalry to cover the infantry's flight and burn a few farms and villages along the way. 

Wee Willie had just won his first battle!  

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Better Late Than Never

At last! I've managed to square things away and finally played the game today! 

A short game but good and tomorrow I'll post a report.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Just a Roll, Just A Roll Of The Dice

 "and the Wargame has begun".   ( not an exact quote of Fairport Convention's "Sloth"

OHW Scenario 12: An Unfortunate Oversight.

It feels good to have a game on the rable again!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Ready For The Fight

A hasty and frustrating job with much cursing of shaky hands and blurry eyes but they turned out well enough for gaming. Now, I just need to do another 5 or 8 stands to paint, but not this week.  The three figures closest to the camera are Triguard 13th C  Scots, lightly modified with two of them wearing my own homecast sallet heads, and one with a blue tam added over his helmet.   The 4th figure is the Day of Battle figure I reviwed.

Some of the Earl of Lennox's pikemen

But now.......now its time for a battle!


Friday, November 11, 2022

Battle of Otterlo, April 1945 and why I have a commendation signed by Monty on my wall.

At last, thanks to Menno J. de Vries who posted the attached video about the Battle of Otterlo, 16-17 April 1945 on Youtube, I have found something about the action which led to Dad being issued a certificate signed by Montgomery.

Dad only talked to me about that night once, when I was in uniform and in my 20's. I forget where the discussion started, but it wandered its way here and there, as such chats often do, but ended up with some largely humerous stories from Sicily and Italy and then about the only mention I can remember hearing of his time in NW Europe. That is not to say that he was much given to talking about the war, a few memories of the pubs in England (he was 19 when he went overseas) and having to talk a bit of gaelic with some of his Scottish aunts. What stories he did have from active service from Sicily and Italy were generally humerous. Indeed, this story started with a humerous annecdote. He was a Corporal in charge of a signal attachment assigned to an HQ unit and they were having a frustrating time trying to repair a telephone line at night, only to have it cut again immediately each time they fixed it. When the battle was over the next day, they found that they had been yards away from a German MG post and these had probably not wanted to give away their position, and were probably enjoying listening to the 'tommies' cussing and swearing as they went back and forth trying to get the line working!

Anyway, eventually they headed back to town and bedded down in the basement of a house, until the German attack rolled in. In the morning, when the Canadian tanks rolled in, Dad and his sidekick were still defending their basement. He did then get serious and talked about the horrible, sickening stench of the burnt bodies etc, human and animal, after the Wasp flamethrowers rolled through.

Lest we forget.

Thank you Menno J. de Vries for posting the following video about the Battle of Otterlo.


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The Pike's Must Be Together......

My 16thC Scots need at least 7 more stands of Pike but I think even 1 more stand will help for a small game. 

To be continued.....

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Pass In Review: #5 Day of Battle 3d Printed 40mm Sir William Wallace conversion.

The final review in this series of reviews of 3d printed figures is: 

Medieval Sir William Wallace 28/40mm
see Day of Battle Medieval Scottish Range On Line Catalogue (click)

Since I tend to do a lot of conversions, I decided that I would see how easy or hard it is to work with resin figures. The figure comes dressed and equipped as a 13th/14thC knight. Being a Character and Hero, he is helmetless which was good for my purpose, which was to turn him into a Captain of Light Horse for my 16thC Scots.   

Sir Wee Wullie Lennox charging into battle.

The 16thC was a time of transition and it seems that a mix of old and modern weapons and equipment was not unusual, something that made this conversion practical and easy. The surcoat is definitely dated for the 16thC but wearing kneelength  coats was in fashion, sometimes opening down the front. If the figure was less dramatically posed I would have tried to capture that look but decided to just sand, scrape and cut the chainmail from his leggings and hauberk. I had intended to use putty to shape the boots but found myself able to do it by carving and sanding.  

The figure comes with a separate "heater" shield which luckily I could set aside with no work at all. I was going to let him go shieldless, but there was a strap for the shield, nicely sculpted on and unable to be removed without messing with the chainmail it touched. Since many 16thV Scots and English light horse still carried round bucklers, I just dug one out from the spares. I think this one might have once been a 25mm Dark Age shield, but its a 16thC buckler now.  Wallace's resin shield took its place in the spare shields box because... well, you never know when you might want one.

Before conversion.
btw The Scots lancers in the background are amongst the 1st figures I cast from a mould that I made,
 roughly 20 years ago. The master was a heavily converted Meisterzinn napoleonic figure but the head was one of the first original heads that I sculpted.)

In the process of preparing the figure, I managed to drop the poor guy and his faithful horse. Naturally, the horse's tail hit the floor first. OUCH! (I've always been a bit of a clutz but its seems that the faster my eyes fade, the shakier and less firm my grip is on brush or knife. )  It took me minute or so to find the tail then several seconds to drill a hole in the tail and in the part of the horse that it connects to. A piece of wire and some superglue, and all was as right as rain in a minute. 

Resin is definitely easier to drill and shave than most metals and adheres to glue well, doubtless the light weight helping. In fact it was alot like working with the hard plastic Elastolins and the few newer hardplastic figures that I've worked with, but easier and less fragile. 

Look at that horse! Like a bronze statue. The rearing metal horses I have seem to have a tendency to droop over the decades as opposed to the Elastolin plastic ones who have been rearing proudly since I was knee high to.......

Overall, I was impressed by this figure, the details (before I tampered) all looked correct to me and the sculpting of the dramatic pose was excellent. He looked good before painting but even better afterwards, (despite the wobbles) So, there he is!   5 stars! *****

So now my Scottish cavalry has a second commander and can form two troops of 3 stands, each with a leader. I sense there's another English incursion coming but there should be time to add some more pikemen before the armies clash on my the table sometime this month!


Almost There!

 Just have to do 'Last looks', dust the sawdust off, apply a protective coating, and the base.

OK, 4 legs visible on the standard bearer (or the lancer until I get a standard painted) and 3 legs on Himself but if you look carefully at the off-side front hoof which is off the ground, you can just see the hoof on the rear near-side leg.

And two tails!

Now I better paint up a few more light horse to give the wild young Lennox chap a full troop ro command. 

Friday, November 4, 2022

On The Desk

I have one last sample resin figure from Day of Battle. Since so many of my figures ended up being modified or converted, I decided to see how I like working with resin. 

The standardbearer is homecast from my master borderhorse figure done c2003,  based on a Miesterzinn Napoleonic light cavalryman body, mounted on......a....probably Sash & Sabre, horse from the spare bits hoard. 

The figure is listed as Sir William Wallace but I don't need a 40mm Braveheart, what I need, is more 16thC Scottish cavalry. After a careful inspection, comparison to some of my 16thC toy soldiers, and referral to the illustrations in a couple of books, I decided to take this chance to see how I like carving, sawing, shaving, drilling, sanding etc resin, (to which I added 'pinning and gluing' after managing to drop the figure, horse tail down, onto the hardfloorHappens way too often these days, I'm sad to say. Apparantly aging isn't a cure for being a clutz, but more of a accelerant. ).

So far, so good, hopefully the result should be posted sometime tomorrow afternoon/evening.