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 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

An update of sorts...

Well, it's yet again been some time between blog posts, so the usual apologies and excuses are in order. This time it's been my first ever round of school reports, along with mountains of essay marking which has meant that my best intentions to keep up with the blog posts have been scuppered again!

There was a conversation on the Toofatlardies yahoo group recently about striking the balance in your hobby time between wargaming,  painting, and blogging. Over the last few months, i've found that i really do value my painting time as a much needed wind down after what can often be a busy and stressful job, and also the social experience of gaming. Unfortunately, this has meant that almost all of my hobby time over the last few months has been devoted to painting and gaming.
A Saxon priest tries in vain to use the power of the old gods to mark assessment tasks.

Considering that, I'm thinking that this long overdue post will be an update of what i've been up to, and what's coming on the horizon as far as the blog is concerned.


The release of Dux Britanniarum: The Raiders from TFL, together with conversations down at the club about running a Dux Brit campaign have seen me dust off my half finished Romano-British and Saxons and get painting. I can now report that the Romano Brits are finished, (it only took two years!) and the Saxons are well on their way. Ad I must say that I do really enjoy painting up dark ages figures, especially when the figures in question are the superb Musketeer miniatures offerings.

I've also managed to knock up a load of scratch built buildings and some terrain. Since studying in Leeds, I've developed an affinity for the North, and so my Romano-Brits are based around the Kingdoms of the Old North,  Elmet and the Pennines. This not only gives me a chance to build some craggy mountains, fenland, and scruffy looking thatched buildings, but the new Gwyr y Gogledd (Men of the North) rules in Raiders means that I can swap out some of the Romano-Brit milites and comanipulares for the superb Arthurian mounted types from Musketeer and Gripping Beast. While my wife was recovering from laser eye surgery, I used Mitch's excellent blog as inspiration to build all the buildings required for a Dux Britanniarum campaign, and they've also come in handy for SAGA! As far as terrain, I knocked up some fenland, a couple of large hills and a huge craggy mountain (2"x1"), and I also picked up some fake moss sheets from eBay which look to be ideal for moorland. All of this should stand me in good stead for a Gwyr y Gogledd campaign, and come in handy for SAGA too.

The Northern British landscape. My terrain project is aimed at reproducing a similar 'look'

In the near future, I'll be posting up some pictures of the finished Romano-Brits, followed closely by the Saxons. As far as what is coming up in the pain ting queue, after having a crack at SAGA, I'm also very keen to get my Normans and Byzantines painted up and on the table. Then I've also got a Pict starter force for Raiders which might be fun as well. And then there's the rest of my early war CoC project. On the whole, i'm very happy that despite the sometimes overwhelming workload, I've managed to keep plodding along with my painting and modelling.

A Romano-British community takes shape, watchtower, church, even a pigsty!

I've managed to get a load of gaming in, having ventured down to the Central Coast Wargamers Club a couple of months ago. The club is made up of a great bunch of blokes with a wide interest in historical gaming, and at the monthly meetings, i've managed to get in a load of diverse games. Last month, I introduced Chain of Command, which went down a treat, and I've also managed to have a crack at Impetus, some homebrew Napoleonic grand battle rules, and finally got a chance to play some SAGA. After playing a game through, I do see what all the fuss is about this set, it's fast, fun, and is very evocative of the types of scrappy, exaggerated skirmishes found in the sagas. I'm keen to try out the Normans, and once they're all painted up I might even start up a gaming club at school, as this would be an ideal intro into historical gaming.

In the next few months, a few of us are planning on starting up a Dux Brit campaign, so i'm very much looking forward to that. Some of the campaign blogs, like Dalauppror's, Mike's Trouble at T'Mill, Guitarhero Andy's, Moiterei's bunte Welt, Conflict of Interests, and Trailape's blog, along with a load of others, have provided some fantastic inspiration.

I've also managed to have a few games of Dux Brit, albeit with half painted forces, and the other night had a load of mates over for a game based around the 70th anniversary of D-Day. This was another Chain of Command initiation for the lads from my other gaming group and we saw British Paras backed up by a DD Sherman holding off a determined attack against Ranville by 21st Panzer troops with armoured support. Despite some hairy moments, the paras held firm, and the end of the game was decided by the British team's use of the Chain of command dice, which interrupted the German panzershreck team's shot at the Sherman and wiped them out. Out of interest, we then rolled as if the CoC dice hadnt been played, and the panzershreck brewed up the Sherman and the explosion took out half of the accompanying para section! Good job the CoC dice was there, it would have been poor form for the dastardly Hun to win on the 70th anniversary! Everyone seemed very impressed with the system and great fun was had by all.

I must say that i'm really enjoying the regularity, as well as the diversity, of the games i've been able to get in this year, and am looking forward to more of the same!
D-Day +70 Game. Ranville, with Pegasus Bridge just off table beyond the town.
Steve, Brian and Noel command the heroic defenders.
Battle rages in Ranville
The 13/18th Hussars Sherman DD moves up to support the beleagured paras.

A FOG Renaissance Conquistadors v Aztecs game at CCWC
Kevan's superbly painted Nikephorian Byzantines march against an Arab army, a Hail Ceasar game at CCWC
My first game of SAGA. My unblooded Vikings face Steve's Anglo-Danes. The buildings are the scratchbuilds I recently completed for Dux Brit.
My Warlord and his Beserkers charge the Anglo Danes. The SAGA board 'Odin' ability saved these guys from the English archers more than once!
The Anglo-Danish Housecarls fall
Clash of Warlords. Sorry for the blurry pics, my beloved Canon IXUS 120 died!
And the Danish lord falls slain!


So, that's what i've been up to. I'm really interested to hear how you all manage your hobby time. I know that in the past browsing forums and blogs have swallowed a load of my time, and I'm not unhappy that in spending less time on the computer i've been able to get so much of gaming and painting done in the last few months. That said, I do feel that wargaming has a very strong online community, one which it's a real pleasure to be a part of, and with my lack of 'online' hobby time, I do feel like I'm missing this online community.

Hopefully I'll be posting on this blog a little more regularly, even if the posts are a little shorter, and I'll try to post some comments on many of your blogs as well, all of which I read and enjoy. I'm constantly amazed by bloggers like Sidney Roundwood and Mike of Trouble at T'Mill and their ability to keep pumping out engaging posts on a very regular basis, while managing real life and painting up a never ending line of little masterpieces.

For those of you who read this blog, I'm afraid that for now you'll have to make do with my sorry, sporadic ramblings! Until the next one, happy gaming and painting!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Go To It! - British Parachute Platoon for Chain of Command

Well, it's been a busy few months since the last update. Full time teaching is rather full on. Besides being exhausting, it's also rather enjoyable though, and at the moment I'm teaching Year 9 all about the First World War. They all seem rather engaged, and we've been having some rather stimulating discussions about the nature and experience of the war, and the way it is seen in popular culture. The introduction of the new national curriculum has allowed a much more global, less parochial view of the conflict. We celebrated 'harmony day' last week by examining the roles of a variety of cultures and nations in the war. The kids were very interested, and often surprised. Investigating the Indian commitment to the war, and the war in East Africa in particular provoked a lot of discussion.

I'm still aiming to introduce some kind of gaming group in the school, and there are a number of students who are rather keen. I think I'll wait till after report time though.

Anyway, i've been cracking on with the painting in the odd spare moments, and have managed to get some bits and pieces painted up. The new airbrush does tend to speed things up a bit, particularly with the intricate 1940 French and late war German vehicle camo patterns.

Anyway, I'm thinking that the best way to get images of these up on the blog is in a series of posts, each 'parading' one of the force's i've been working on.

So, for this update the focus will be on my British Parachute platoon, and accompanying support units, all for Chain of Command. I've managed to get a few Chain of Command: At The Sharp End campaign games in with these guys (AARs to come, I promise!), and they are very interesting, flexible and potent force to play with. I've based my force around the 6th Airborne Division in Normandy, but they could easily be used for 1st Airborne at Arnhem or 6th bouncing the Rhine in 1945.

The figures are all '20mm', so somewhere around 1/72 scale. They are mostly the superbly sculpted and realistically animated Battlefield/Blitz figures, with a leavening of Britannia. I think that despite the differing sculpting styles they fit together rather well. I've included the background info generated using At The Sharp End for the command figures. The platoon is based on one from the 12th Parachute Battalion.

Platoon Command
This consists of the platoon commander, platoon sergeant, one two man PIAT team, a sniper, and one two man 2" mortar team.

Lt Rawlinson
Lt. Edward Rawlinson is the platoon commander. A former factory worker from Northampton in the Midlands, Rawlinson enlisted in 1940 as a private. He saw action in the Mediterranean and Sicily, where his practicality, capability and bravery saw him rise through the ranks. 27 years old, and of average stature, Rawlinson jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for the Airborne.

Sgt Threepwood
Sgt Reginald 'Lofty' Threepwood is the platoon sergeant. A bohemian from a wealthy family near Tonbridge, the intellectual looking 27 year old studied the classics at Trinity college, Oxford before moving to London and living the good life off family money. During the blitz, his favourite club was destroyed by bombs. Threepwood was injured badly, and his many of his friends and his fiancee were killed in the explosion. Since that night his joie de vivre has been replaced by a burning hatred of all things German. Following his recovery, he signed up for service. Posted to a training unit near Bristol due to his injuries, he was promoted quickly. He jumped at the chance to volunteer for the airborne and so finally take his revenge on the enemy. 

No.1 Section 

Sgt McReedie
Parachute sections follow the standard British infantry model of Section commander, three man Bren light machinegun team, and six man rifle team. The difference is that the Section commander is a Sergeant rather than a Corporal, and Sten (or even looted MP40) submachine guns are more prevalent. 

No.1 section is commanded by Sgt Douglas McReedie. 25 year old ‘Dougie’ McReedie was formerly apprenticed to the sole mechanic in the small North Ayrshire village of Glengarnock before jumping at the chance to enlist in the regulars in ’40. He fought with the 51st Division in North Africa, before transferring to the Airborne. McReedie is short in stature, a real bantam.

No.2 Section

Sgt Hitchens
No.2 section is commanded by Sgt. James Hitchens. An Irishman born in the outskirts of Ulster, Hitchens fudged his age to join up in 1933, since then the army has been his true home. He’s served in many campaigns, from the Northwestern Frontier and East Africa to Narvik, North Africa and Italy. He was one of the first to volunteer for the Airborne. 27 years of age, he is a strapping six-footer.

No.3 Section

Sgt Ballantyne
This section is 'beefed up' with an extra Bren gun, making it a potent force to provide a base of fire. This section comprises two fire teams, one of five and one of four men, each based around a Bren light machine gun.

No.3 section is commanded by Sgt. John Ballantyne, a farmer’s son from the North. He worked on the family farm near Ripon on the Yorkshire Dales before volunteering in ’39. He saw some action in North Africa before volunteering to the Airborne. He is 27 years of age, and physically an average sort.

Support Options:

Vickers heavy machine gun team. All Britannia

6 pounder anti-tank gun and crew. All Britannia, excepting one Battlefield crewman

FOO team. Britannia.

Medic. Britannia

Recce Jeep. Britannia

Recce Carrier. Britannia

Tetrarch light tank. Milicast.

Horsa Glider. Not really a support option, but thought I should include it. It is from Italeri.

So there you have it. The only items which I have to add to this unit are a flamethrower team and some engineers.

Next up, I'll be covering my 21st Panzer forces. I've just begun working on Dux Britanniarum forces, as I want to get the remainder of my Romano-British and Saxons finished off so I can get some games in.

Thanks for reading!