Wednesday, 21 October 2020

An Edgcote Refight by e-conferencing

Our online Skype games from the Wars of the Roses run by MNG member Richard using his rules has come to the point where he decided he'd have a go at Edgcote. 

There were three of us, Richard, me and Steve. I took the Royalists, and Steve took the Rebels. The last time we did this battle (other than a show game before lockdown) was with Basic Impetus, last December link. The best write up of the show game using Hail Caesar is here link

The game started with the leave-taking in Banbury... the rebels appeared over Culworth Hill.

Here's a quick photo of Richard's technology in action.

Pembroke turned up at Edgcote Lodge Hill, and I elected to keep him mounted.

I ordered everyone off the hill immediately and went hell for leather at the rebels. Don't want to stand around and get all shot up.

Here we come, rushing off the hill top, into a hail of arrows. Not too bad, as the rebels were moving as well, which reduced their accuracy. That hill slope caused a few figures to fall over.

The rebel archers turned and fled for the relative safety of the stream bank, pursued by Lord Pembroke and his cavalry.

In the shooting exchange in the centre, my few archers succeeded in severely wounding Sir John Conyers with a double six.

The archers turned at bay on the stream edge...

...I took a few hits then clattered home, losing some impetus due to the stream.

In the centre Sir Richard Herbert's men had engaged with Conyers' battle. Sir Richard fought heroically with his poleaxe in his hand.

In the distance the Vaughan clan were pushing the rebels back up the slope. I had benefitted in both melees by switching my archers to the back as we closed, and I wrong footed Steve slightly, catching his bowmen in the front rank. Organising your passage of lines is one the key things to get right under these rules.

Steve finally got his archers out of the way, but brave Sir Richard was not to be denied.

The Vaughans were on the point of victory too. At this time Rebel reinforcements had arrived under Gates and Parr to bolster the battles facing the Herbert brothers. It was very timely, as I had them both on the point of breaking. I was forced to withdraw Pembroke's cavalry, so as not to suffer from an attack by fresh troops. Steve stepped his archers forwards to let off a last volley at me, and that gave me an opportunity to charge back into them, and hopefully break the whole unit. I didn't.

And then John Clapham and his rowdies from Northampton arrived.

This is an overhead shot of the closing position (we'd been playing for over 3 hours). I'm winning on the left and in the centre, but it is tight. Pembroke is in danger of getting trapped by the new arrivals.

It is probably too close to call. With a lucky roll or two I could break the rebel right and centre, but possibly not before my right collapses.

A really interesting game. Richard has got something that is a bit different, and it really does feel like Wars of the Roses combat. I think he needs to make a few small changes to move the game on a little quicker, but otherwise it's a good system.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Photo Shoot - WSS Strelets

I trailed a few shots of the fusilier regiments earlier in the year, but I've had a chance to finish  the tricorn wearing fellows over the last couple of weeks.

These figures are from the Strelets "British Infantry in Attack" box. You can see the basic figures here: link, and there's a review here: link. I bought the first box from my local model shop, as I hadn't realised they'd been released, and I like to support them when I can. I then picked up a couple of boxes at a show to enable me to produce coherent units.

First off, here's what I don't like about the figures. The line troops are good, mostly clean, castings, but the officer sprue is a mess, with loads of flash. The poses are a bit of a mix, with some that you really can't use in a battalion in a sensible way (I've used them anyway), and there are way too many grenadier/fusilier figures (and too many officers with spontoons). They'd have been better off with a separate box. On balance I would have preferred to have bought the "Firing Line" box. In future I will be buying the "French Fusiliers" box, as they have no grenadiers, and all the poses are usable.

What do I like about them? Well, the detail is nice and clear and well defined, the firing/charging poses are good. The officers look good once cleared up, and the fusilier figures aren't that bad either. They're also way easier (and cheaper) to get hold of compared to the Airfix figures I normally use.

It may upset the purists, but my main concern is that the hats are right, and I'll happily swap figures from different armies for this period. After all, my core figures are Airfix Washington's Army and Waterloo French Cavalry with hat swaps.

What this means is that mostly my "British Infantry in Attack" aren't painted as British. I've got 8 battalions out of them so far (I may paint up an ersatz grenadier battalion), with one Dutch, four French, two Scots and one English. The Scots are the fusilier battalions.

Here we have them facing off across a stream, offset by some of my repainted Christmas decorations.

These are the Frenchies, the regiments of Champagne, Navarre, Alsace and Saxe. The regimental colours are scanned from the Funcken books, where I also got the uniform colours. I had to use the flag bearers in the boxes to make up the numbers, so they appear to have three flags rather than my normal two.

Close up of the Alsatians, who were lucky enough to get a convincing firing line.

The Regiment de Saxe is a mix of attacking poses, which look great on their own, but less good in a line.

The British/Dutch are a mix of poses. The fusilier battalions I've written about before: link , when I noted - back in June - that it might take me a while to get round to the tricorn chaps. I was right about that.

The English regiment is Lucas' with details taken from the Osprey. The Dutch are the Losecaast regiment, taken from the Pike and Shot Society's amazing book on WSS Dutch regiments (I don't have a copy - I sneaked a look at a friend's).

So, not completely accurate in terms of uniforms, with some odd poses hiding in their ranks, but they look okay on the table top, and they mix well with the Airfix figures.. I have some cavalry to do still (Airfix conversions), and a load of artillery I probably don't need as well, but might paint anyway. I then need to think about what I want to do with this army. It probably needs increasing by about 50%, and I see Strelets have some keen looking British Heavy Cavalry coming. 

My conundrum is that I have mostly British regiments, which I increased so I could do the Jacobite risings. For continental warfare I need to balance them with more Dutch, and should consider Eugene's Austrians. If I bring them up to a good number, I'll need to add French to balance them out.

Still, that's a problem for another day. Next up are some Scythians, followed by some hoplites, I think.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Trebian's Home Rule Book Sales


Wargaming for Grown-Ups Publications has a stock of rules for direct sale. Prices are:

To Ur is Human                 £5.00
It's Getting a Bit Chile     £14.99
Dicing with Death             £8.99
Taiping Era                      £14.99
Indian Mutine-era             £5.00

Full set: £45.

Sales within the UK are postage free, subject to a minimum order of £10.  Postage will be 2nd class standard. If you want your order to be signed for at your end there'll be a £2 surcharge.

Overseas sales are subject to a minimum £5 p&p charge, subject to location, but contact me for an exact quote.

Payment will be by my "PayPal.Me" link, in £ Sterling (GBP) or by bank transfer. Email me at wgfgup(at) if you are interested. 

Orders will be sent out next working day at the latest, assuming the rules are in stock, or a couple of weeks if I have to order some in. I can autograph copies if that's the sort of thing you like.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

A Second Camera game at St Albans

 Inspired by the success of Mortimer's Cross, Monday Night Richard revised his rules a bit, and then set up another Skype game for us. This time he went for part of the 2nd battle of St Albans, the bit where the Lancastrians walk round the back of Warwick's elaborate defences.

I played the Lancastrians, and Steve got half of the Yorkists. The other half was supposed to be commanded by Tim when he logged on (he never did. Got trapped in Basildon, so Richard ran them).

You can just see one of my battles edging onto the table on the left. In the top left Warwick's men are lining a ditch. Steve's first act was to send a messenger to call for reinforcements.

I advanced on to the top of the hill. There's quite a slope away to the left, it's not just the camera angle. I was shooting as I went, but came under artillery fire. There's a cannon just near the red mark in the hedge line on the left. I stopped a move or two after this, and lined my fellows up for some sustained archery into the Yorkists.

I've now got into contact at the far end of the table. The headless Richard has moved me into contact, with Clifford on the left fighting John Neville, and Somerset on the right, fighting Warwick.

One of the things you have to do with Richard's rules is decide when to swap over your ranks, as battles start with archers to the fore, and you don't want to end up with them doing your hard melee fighting. I'd done that a move or so before I made contact, relying on superior armour quality to keep me in decent enough condition for the fight. I'd done more damage to John Neville on my left, so I was hoping to break him first, whilst holding Warwick in place. I'd taken slightly more damage on Somerset than I'd inflicted on Warwick, and the two battles were well matched.

On the way into contact we passed Henry VI and his guards under that tree in the middle.

It was a hard slog, as you might expect. I finally pushed John Neville back down the hill and broke him, but Somerset took some heavy damage. However, I'd just about won on the left in time for Clifford to be able to tip the balance.

Richard admitted that he might not have got the scenario completely right. That's a hard thing to do on a first play through anyway, so no shame in that. He's tightened up the rules in a number of places, and they work quite well. My only concern is that the melees do take a long time to resolve, and the number of things a commander can do are limited as well. It might be that once we get more involved in the game the decision making on passage of lines and so on will become more obvious to us as players, as will the other decisions you have to make in a turn. 

Good to be having a game, even if it was by proxy.

Monday, 5 October 2020

Fiddly Building Finished

So I think I have finished the assembly of the elephant team and limber. It's been an infuriating final run in to completion, with little bits of wire that need twisting after they're on the model, and ditto for small lengths of chain.

As I mentioned in the last post on these beasties, I intended to undercoat with auto primer. As discussed as well, I based all the bits on pieces of mdf or thick mounting board to make them easier to handle.

I set up my impromptu spraying booth in the garage and went to it. It is hard to spray under things with cans of spray.

Auto primer is a good base for metals of this size, however, even when working with acrylics. Nice bold colours for these, I think. I'm trying to replicate a painting style I had in the late 80s, so no magic dip varnish.

Once I'd blocked them in I found a piece of suitable mdf and cut it to shape for a base, and UHU'd the elephants to it, then finished off with some polyfilla. I'm now of the view that I got the heads on the wrong elephants, but there's nothing for it than to make it work. I'm not taking them apart now.

My bases for my IM figures are painted in what I fondly thought of as a sand colour from a Dulux matchpot, long since consigned to oblivion. Luckily I had a bit left from painting the crop patterns on my Edgcote 6mm board, so that did the job nicely.

Having got them firmly glued and dry, I next had to add the limber and chains.

This is how it ended up. The wire traces feed through a loop on the back of the saddle on the foremost elephant. They then have to be bent into loops at either end for the chain to hook on to. You have to do this afterwards, as they're too big to fit if you do both ends beforehand. Then you have to size the bits of chain and cut then, fitting them on the trace loops, and running round the support pins on the elephant harness. This has to be done front and back, then the rear one has to be attached by chain to the limber on both sides. Thank goodness for super glue I say again.

Hopefully you can make out the interconnected bits of chain on this elephant...

...and this one too.

Once they're dry and fixed I'll run some gun metal over the traces and chains, so they look a little less wire-y and  brass-y.

I had a bit of heart searching over the mahouts and crew on the limber. They're not Peter Gilders best ever work, and do look a little "wooden" if you can say that for metal figures.

The gun is currently off to one side, whilst I work out exactly what I'm going to do with it, but these fellows are pretty much ready to go.

So, coming soon to a wargames table near me....

Edit: Here is a photo of one of these things in actual use. The only difference is the positioning of the limber trails, which I've got slightly wrong (although I followed the instructions).

Dammit, even the elephant heads are the same

Saturday, 3 October 2020

More Non Fiddly Bits

I finished painting the cavalry blocks this morning. For their photoshoot I took them out to Shedquarters and tried them on the 6mm Edgcote board. These pictures are just done with the macro setting on the camera, not the extension rings.

The horses are all roan (easier that way) and I did the troopers all in buff coats. They've all got faces and swords. Those with the red ensigns have pot helms, the blue have slouch hats. Honest.

Here they are with the infantry. The white tabs with regiment names will be done a bit more professionally if I go down this route. The hedges look a bit tall, but are probably right for the famous Sulby Hedge at Naseby.

I don't think the coloured fields work for this scale, as they distract from the figures. I guess I'll stick with plain green.

I did a trial picture with them doubled up, but I think that's a bit much.

Probably what I need to do next is finalise how I want the terrain board to look and firm up the sizes. I've got Nick Liscombe's new ECW atlas from Osprey, which will be a help, but I need to decide whether I want to include Naseby village, and the location of the rear attack on the retreating Royalists and their artillery chain.

A project for the dark winter months, I think.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Fed Up with Fiddly

 So, fed up with fiddling with those bl**dy elephants (well, the undercoat is drying in the garage, to be honest) I thought I'd have a go at another mini-project.

This is a really mini project. It's 2mm ECW, using figure blocks from Ian Kay at Irregular.

Before everyone says "I can't paint anything that small" I'd point out that I get free eye tests and also have had neck and arm surgery that reduces my motor skills slightly. So, if I can do it....

So, what were the results? This first batch of pictures was taken with my SLR using a 7mm extension tube that requires manual focussing (remember that?)

These are Prince Rupert's Blue Coats. I think you can see the blue coats and breeches, plus the distinctive black and white standard. On some of them you can pick out the muskets and the faces and hands.

This is a New Model regiment, probably Skippon's as it has a green flag. They have red coats and grey breeches. Again, muskets and flesh just about visible.

Here they are side by side. Each of them has a 20mm frontage

After taking off the extension ring I had a go with just the macro setting on the camera, which meant I could use auto focus.

Here we are with Prince Rupert's to the fore. Not bad results. I do have a better camera than last time I tried this, so perhaps they've improved the macro functionality.

And again, side by side with the macro function. Although the flash fired for this shot, it was a bit dark, so I've used MS Photo to brighten them up.

So, what does the group think? They've come out okay to my mind, and they aren't hard to paint. I have some cavalry blocks to do next before I make up my mind completely, and I might take a photo or two of them on my 6mm Edgcote board to see what they look like on terrain before I finally commit to the project.

Just wondering if I should stick labels on the back of the bases, and if so, how.