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 

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!