Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Men of the North

Wow, it's been a REALLY long time since i've posted anything on the blog. A lot has happened since the last post back in October. Besides the usual festivities associated with Christmas and the silly season, I spent six weeks visiting Vienna, Prague, and travelling around Turkey.
Much more on that in future posts, suffice it to say that as someone with an interest in history, particularly Habsburg Austria and the Byzantine Empire, it was a pretty amazing experience. For now, i've included a picture of sunset over Istanbul and one of yours truly in front of the 14th century Byzantine fortress above the town of Andalou Kavagi. Armed with some excellent first hand research on Byzantine military costume and equipment from the cave churches of Cappadocia, I'm really keen to get my Byzantines finished. At the moment, i'v got a unit of six Gripping Beast and Crusader cavalry nearing completion. My Byzantines are going to be for Terror Mundi, the upcoming Dux Britanniarum supplement i've been working on set in 11th century Italy and Sicily. I'll keep everyone posted as this progresses, some AARs will be on the way soon.
Sunset across the Golden Horn to old Istanbul 
Me in front of Yoros Castle on the Bosphorus

I also *may* have rather impulsively invested in 15mm Austrian and French armies for the 1859 Second Italian War of Unification. Ahem... Well, they're currently first in line to be de-flashed and undercoated, so we'll see where that project goes. I've no idea what i'll do with them yet, but I've always found the war fascinating. Perhaps by the time i've completed both forces, the TooFatLardies Napoleonic rules will be out and ready for some tweaking.

Speaking of the Lardies, Rich has release the latest of his Pint Sized campaigns, Kampfgruppe von Luck. This is based around the defence of le bas de Ranville on D-Day +1. As the 6th Airborne Division and the 21st Panzer division are the forces which my Chain of Command forces are based upon, i'm very keen to have a crack at this campaign down at the club. As with the 29th Division pint sized campaign, this is useable with Battlegroup, Bolt Action or your WWII ruleset of choice, and as before the research and presentation is exceptional. At the price of a pint, (actually cheaper than a pint down under!), you simply cannot go wrong. Expect to see some AARs of the campaign coming up in the next few months.

Anyway, enough blathering for now. One of my goals for this year is to increase the frequency of updates on the blog. I've completed loads of stuff over the last few months, it's just a matter of photographing it and posting it up.

For today, here are some additions for my Dux Britanniarum Romano-British. I had rebased some Late Roman figures to use as commanders, however they felt a little too Roman for a campaign set in the Kingdom of the North. Not that anyone really needs an excuse to paint up the gorgeously sculpted Musketeer Miniatures figures. Incidentally, these are now available from Footsore Miniatures, following Bill Thornhill's move the the states.

Defenders of the Old North
The Gwyr y Gogledd forces muster

I've used the Dux Brit rules to role up names and some background information for these guys. A campaign based around the Kingdom of the North (using the Gwyr y Gogledd adaptions from Dux Brit: The Raiders) is on the cards for later in the year.

First up is Gwerthefyr the Able, the commander of my Gwyr y Gogledd - that's Men of the North for those of you not fluent in old British. The 29 year old Gwerthefyr is a fine warrior, despite his diminutive size. The son of a Decurion who served on the wall before the eagles left britain, Gwerthefyr is an entirely honourable commander. In campaign terms, this means he can never commit regicide and seize the kingship.
Gwerthefyr the Able
Pedrog is the champion of the Romano-British force. 26 years old and of average build, Cerdic is a dutiful follower and a skilled warrior. The superbly grisly Pedrog and Gwerthefyr figures are some of my favourite sculpts.

Pedrog, the British champion

Next up is one of the nobles, Conan, tall and strong with the constitution of an ox. Son of a British warlord formerly allied with Rome, the 28 year old Conan is a formidable warrior.
Conan, son of a warlord. LMBS shield transfer

The 30 year old Vortiporius the Ambitious is an expert horseman. It is rumoured that royal blood flows in his veins, and that his birth was the result of a drunken encounter between King Iddon and the daughter of a stable hand. While there is an uncanny resemblance between Vortiporius and the old King has led to the sobriquet 'the Ambitious,' it would be a brave man who would question the honour of this fearsome warrior.

Vortiporius the Ambitious. LBMS shield transfer.
The Gwyr y Gogledd rules allow the Romano-Brits to field units of their warriors of hearth guard as mounted troops. I painted up some of these excellent Gripping Beast late Romans as mounted warriors along with a mounted version of Vortiporious. The figures came with the old style GB horses, so I remounted them onto some Aventine nags. The shield patterns are from Little Big Men Studios.
Vortiporius the Ambitious a cheval. 
Gwyr y Gogledd horsemen

I also finished a unit of Gwyr y Gogledd Comanipulares, heavily armed hearthguard. Again, these are the exceptional Musketeer/Footsore figures. Alongside the figures, i've finished off a couple of fenland / marsh terrain pieces. Here is one along with my Romano-British watchtower. This was scratch built along with some other dark ages buildings. The design was taken from Mitch's blog.
Thats it for now, i'll be back soon with more updates. Thanks for reading!
Guarding against the Saxon menace
Fen / Marsh terrain

Comanipulares and nobles

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Medieval Musings and some Jerry reinforcements for CoC

Well, after a lovely break enjoying lovely weather and a trip or two to the beach, i'm back at work. We're now into term 4, and the final reporting period is upon me, so this update will be a short one.

I've managed to get a bit of gaming in down at the club and at MOAB, the annual show held in south Sydney. Down at the club, I managed to get in a game of the much lauded Sword and Spear ancients/medievals rules by Mark Lewis. Sutto and I took the Achaemenid Persians and, despite a few hairy moments, walloped the Greek City State force commanded very ably by Thomas. I have to say that the game really does live up to the hype. Some intuitive mechanics, particularly regarding activation and friction, give a realistic and fun game where your focus is on the tactical decisions, not on charts, tables or percentages. It actually had a very Lardesque feel to it, and regular readers of this blog will know that that very much ticks all the boxes for me. Now i'm looking at building up an early Hungarian force for the rules. A tad obscure I know, but we're looking at the period of the early crusades, and the chaps down at the club are putting together Crusader, Ayyubid, Fatimid, and Byzantine forces. I was quite taken with the Magyar people and history during my time in Budapest in 2012, and figure that the Hungarians fought Crusaders and Byzantines at various times. Also, they can stand in for other central and eastern european armies at a pinch.
Sword and Spear - Achaemenid Persians attack the Greeks
Spartans and Greek hoplites 
Massed Persian cavalry advance
Spartan hoplites and Persian sparabara clash 
Persian immortals and sparabara dominate the high ground
If you have the slightest interest in Ancient to Medieval gaming, head over to Mark's website and grab yourself a pdf copy. Seriously, for £6, it's hard to go wrong!

Last weekend I headed down to MOAB, located about in Sylvania Heights, just south of Sydney and about an hour and a half south of home. I checked out a few games, including a very good looking Napoleon at War game, where Sutto's British were valiantly holding off two forces of dastardly Frenchies. That said, i've got a dastardly French force for this great little ruleset being painted up now. I had a game of Napoleon at War down at the club last month, and despite my skepticism, it was great fun and played with the 'feel' of Napoleonic combat. The prospect of painting up six 24 man battalions of 15mm figures has led me to my first painting commission. Of course, the glitter of Napoleonics has been impossible for me to resist, and I've got a few command bases on the painting dest at the moment, and plan to paint the cavalry and artillery myself. Stay tuned for some lovely AB Napoleonic goodness in the not too distant future.

Napoleon at War at MOAB - French assault the British thin red line.
Meanwhile, last month at the club... French Cuirassiers clash with British Hussars
French Leger hold against British light infantry bobs.
As well as the Napoleon at War game, I got a chance to meet up with some lovely chaps flying the Lard flag. Resplendent in their Lard ambassador shirts, they were hosting a great little Chain of Command participation game pitting a platoon of Australians against Japanese 'somewhere in the Pacific' in 1944. After picking up some bits and pieces, including some of the new X-Wing ships, I sat down and took command of the Aussies. I was very surprised to find that my opponent was Chris, who had played one of the Chain of Command games I had hosted at MOAB the year before, and who is a regular poster here. Hi Chris! Small world. Anyway, It was interesting to see how the Australian's and Japanese played, and the Aussies were just beginning to break through when we both realised we had to go. That night was the Rugby League grand final, and my route home took me past the front of the stadium. Last year I left late, and found myself stuck in traffic for well over an hour. MOAB is a great show, and it was fantastic to see so many good looking games on display. I also noted how many young people were present. I've read a lot about wargaming being a 'greying hobby', but I saw little evidence of that at the show. Seeing a load of young people getting into games has encouraged me to start planning some type of wargaming club at school, which I hope to get up and running next year.
MOAB Chain of Command - Aussies assault the Japanese
The Australian war-games show calendar is rather sparse, and the next big show is Cancon in January. Since i'll be trekking through Anatolia in Turkey at that time, MOAB is probably the one big show for me this year. Still, I've been getting a load of gaming in at the local club, which is great.

Well, what was planned as a short update has, as usual, grown into a monster. So, i'll finish off with a bunch of German support options which i've completed for Chain of Command. My German force is based around the 21st Panzer Division which fought in Normandy against the British. I love the clunky looking conversions developed by Colonel Becker to fill out the divisions strength, and really enjoyed putting these together and painting them up.

First off, here are some recce halftracks, SdKfz 250/1s and a 250/9. All are from Shaun at SandS miniatures, and are the (neu) models, with the simplified, more angular design used from 1943 onwards. The crew, a mix of AB and Britannia, are based on sabot bases made from thin plasticard, to enable me to show them crewed up or empty.

Next up is an SdKfz 234/1 armoured car, also from the recce battalion of the 21st Panzer Divison. One of the great things about Chain of Command is that vehicles like this, which are usually just cannon fodder, can actually perform a valuable function.

Below is the delightfully awkward and catchily named 7.5cm PaK 40 auf Somua S307. Doesn't quite had the ring of Tiger or Panther. This dangerously top-heavy looking model is from Raventhorpe, and the AB crew are again based on a sabot. The camp pattern was me messing about with my new airbrush, and was inspired by a similar paint job I saw over on the guild forum.

Challenging the S307 in both ungainliness and awkwardness of name, below are a brace of 7.5cm (Sf) 39Hs. These are from Britannia, crew is AB and again, they are based on sabots. It was a bit of trouble basing them this way, but I really wanted crew on these, and don't like the look of a 'brewed up' tank with a crew casually sitting there amidst, or rather beneath, the flames. Just doesn't look right to my eye.
Next up, a Marder I. This is the type of vehicle used but the 716th Infantry Division during their attack against the 7th Paras and Ox and Bucks at Benouville during the early hours of D-Day. The vehicle is from Early War Miniatures, and mighty nice it is. Crew is AB on a sabot. For some reason, the pigments on the tracks look particularly red. I was going to re take these pictures using my new Canon G16, but never got around to it. 

Below, a brace of Tiger ausf Is. I know, I know, when am I going to need TWO of them in a Chain of Command game. Both are prepaints repainted, the zimmerit one is from Dragon the other is Altaya. 

To finish off the armour, I painted up a second Panzer IV ausf H, this one sans skirts. This is from the Plastic Soldier Company.

Crewed weapons in Chain of Command usually have a five man crew. While this is historically more accurate, almost every crew pack of figures i've seen comes with only three figures. I painted up five figures using a Battlefield and Britannia figures. These guys serve as crew for the Battlefield 7.5cm PaK 40 anti tank gun, and for the Britannia 7.5m leIG 18 infantry gun. They also fill out my sustained fire mount MG42 crew to the full five figures.

Finally, a couple of support choices from Britannia. These are a two man forward observer crew, to rain down fire upon the Tomis and Amis, and a scharfschutze, or sniper. I really do like the poses of the Britannia figures.

That's it for me for now. I've recently finished some more Dux Britanniarum Saxons and Romano Brits, along with some Norman Knights for the Dux Brit 11th Century supplement, Terror Mundi, and a load of 20mm 1940 Frenchies for Chain of Command. I expect to post some updates of these soon, along with an AAR or two. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lords, Nobles, Champions...and Sheep?

Just a quick update this time. I've had some exciting happenings in real life, as last week I heard that I have managed to get a permanent teaching job at school i've been working at for the past 9 months. Full time teaching jobs are like hen's teeth on the Central Coast region of NSW, particularly history teaching positions, so I’m very, very chuffed!

As far as painting and gaming has been going, I've finished painting up and basing the nobles and lords for my Saxons for Dux Britanniarum. I’ve used the rules to generate a background for them. My Dux Brit campaign will see the Saxons attacking the lands of the British Kingdom of the North. The figures I’ve used are the excellent Musketeer Miniatures. Shields are all the superb LBMS offerings. I used the same basing formula as I have for my SAGA vikings, which I feel works for a Northern Britain feel.

26 year old Ecgwald is the leader of the Saxon warband. Ecgwald may be of average build, but he has the constitution of an ox. The Saxon is wodenborn, the scion of an aristocratic family across the sea in Germany.

Ecgwald’s champion is Offa, a tall and strong 28 year old. Offa is a master at arms, skilled in the use of sword, saex, and spear.

Fighting with Ecgwald is Aedelbehrt the Able, a short and wiry 31 year old. Aedelbehrt is also wodenborn, the son of a chieftain leading foederati along Hadrian’s  wall. Growing up in the foederati fort, the young noble developed an unquenchable appetite for the fairer sex. Aedelbehrt is not entirely happy under the command of the younger Ecgwald, believing himself more suited to leadership.

21 year old Oswine is the last of the nobles fighting with Ecgwald. The young Oswine is the son of a lesser foederati noble serving on Hadrian’s Wall, and he grew up alongside Aedelbehrt. Oswine is in awe of Ecgwald, to whom he is entirely loyal. He also does not approve of Aedelbehrt’s lustful behaviour and self serving attitude.

On a similar vein, I’ve been working on a supplement for Dux Britanniarum centred upon the Norman conquest of Southern Italy in the 11th century. I’m a fan of SAGA, and acquired starter armies of Byzantines and Normans. While SAGA is great fun, it is not really the most historical ruleset about. I started working on an adaptation of Dux Brit to use down at the club, and it snowballed into a bit of a monster. 
The working title for this is Terror Mundi, after the epitaph of Robert Guiscard, and Rich from TooFatLardies is going to be prettying it up and releasing the supplement as a pdf next month.

The supplement will allow the player to take the role of Norman, Byzantine, or Italo-Lombard. I’m painting up a Norman and a Byzantine force at the moment, so have posted the first few nobles. As with Dux Brit, Terror Mundi includes background generation for the nobles, so as with the Saxons, here are the first few Byzantine and Norman leaders with their potted bios. The Byzantines are from Crusader minis, and the Normans are Gripping Beast. I've really enjoyed painting these up, and even did a little bit of modification. The Norman warlord has a greenstuff scarf added to his helmet, and the Byzantine commanders have had sashes added. These were coloured according to rank, although no record exists of the exact colours. With the basing for these, I wanted to emulate the sunburnt Apulian landscape, dry but still green. 

The Byzantine commander is John the Ambitious, a 35 year old man of average build. John is a deeply devout man who loves nothing more than debating an obscure theological concept. He is a bureaucrat, faithfully and dutifully administering his district, collecting taxes and enforcing the will of the Catapan.

32 year old Marinus is one of John’s subordinate commanders. Tall and strong, Marinus is the consumate professional, fulfilling his duties for Christos and Basileus. Marinus is a veteran, having marched with the imperial armies in campaigns against Lombard, Bulgar, Turk and Saracen.

The Norman warlord is Tancred, a 30 year old of average build. Nobody dares ask Tancred where he got the scars on his face, but the men whisper that he was once a brigand. Regardless, his skill in sniffing out hidden wealth is well known, and he is known as ‘bras de fer,’ a man skilled with lance and sword. Tancred's shield is a hand painted design based on the de Hauteville arms.

Tancred’s champion is the 26 year old Ludolf, a tall and strong man with an uncanny skill when fighting in the saddle.

Finally, I recently acquired a load of sheep, rabbits, pigs, boar, and even a stag and a hind from Warbases, where I usually get all of my laser cut mdf bases. I figure i'll use these to spruce up my terrain a bit, and the sheep can also be used in SAGA and Dux Brit raids scenarios. This lot are some rabbits and some Soay sheep. They are lovely little figures and paint up a treat.

So there you have it, a bunch of Saxon, Norman and Byzantine nobles, champions and lords. There will be lots more coming in this vein. I’m working my way through basing