Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thoroton Aftermath

Before hastening south to continue the 'Wars of the Roses' clash of arms, it's worth having a quick review of the results in the last scrap at Thoroton. I've mentioned before about my great advocacy of using a board game for campaigns then resolving battles as tabletop games, so here's a little example of how I handle converting from one to the other.

Both sides went into Thoroton with a strength of 13cv's (where cv in the 'Richard III' game stands for 'combat value') which I happen to broadly take as about a thousand men each. On the tabletop, I placed out about 82 or 84 figures per side with my rather arbitrary efforts to field an 'A Coat of Steel' scenario, or almost exactly equal strength (each model being about 80-ish men.)
The outcome of the battle and ensuing rout was the loss of 12 out of 84 for the Yorkists and 34 out of 82 for the Lancastrians - put another way, a loss rate of 15% and 40% respectively.

Going by the percentages, the 13cv of the Yorkist army should be reduced to 11cv, with losses falling primarily among the Norwich Levies and Norfolk's personal retinue. These were both the largest counters/blocks in the game, so that seems entirely right.

The Lancastrian losses are a bit more awkward to assess, not least because Northumberland's command was wrecked and the man himself killed, but also Somerset completely missed the fighting - thus giving them 100% and 0% losses respectively.

Going by the global loss of 40% however, we can see the need to remove 5cv in total, leaving a remainder of 8cv (ouch!) With Northumberland's 4cv block removed, that just leaves 1cv more to come off, and we can apply that to the Newcastle Levies to reflect their shambolic and half-hearted efforts on the day.

The end results for casualties then are 4000 dead on the field itself (1000 Yorkists, 3000 Lancastrian) plus a further 3000 lost in the rout and pursuit (1000 Yorkist, 2000 Lancastrian.) This seems about right, proportionally.
It's up to personal opinion whether Somerset was lucky/unlucky to avoid getting swallowed up in this disaster, largely depending on whether you feel his presence would've changed the outcome, or if he simply would've swelled the casualty lists. As it is however, the fact he survived unscathed means the Northern rebellion is still a going concern for the Yorkist regime with 8000 men in the field and the potential for many more reinforcements to come, against
11000 Yorkists who are already urgently needed elsewhere.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Anglo-Allied Army

Good news! The Anglo-Allied Army is indeed adequately represented! Here is another photo, identical to the one above, showing the figures dealt out to each base.

After lots of snipping figures off sprues, I now have enough for each base. Looking at them all in one go, some things stand out. Specifically, the variation in Quality! Revell are good but a touch thin and elongated; Airfix are strangely mis-shapen; Mars appear to not use plastic at all, but rather some strange substance closer to old chewing-gum than anything else; HaT are good and generally more 'uniform' in pose than anything else. The two stand-out facts are a) Italeri are easily the best quality, and b) there really is no excuse these days to not mould a horse and its base as a single unit (you hear that Airfix, Mars and Esci? We all hate trying to fix some horse's leg into a tiny slot!)

Next up, the job of slowly glueing each set of figures to a strip of cardboard!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Anglo-Allied Stock-taking

I thought I'd just write this up as I go, as I'll probably not get round to it at a later date. Here is, with photos, my attempt to sort out the entire Anglo-Allied Waterloo Campaign army with my plastic purchases!
The 'plastic mountain' in it's full horror/glory. The Anglo-Allied army, because of the variety of unit types it seems to have contained, required the most box-buying of plastics. Now I should be in a good situation to completely, or very nearly, model the whole thing!

Manufacturers are a mad combination of whatever I was able to get my hands on. As a rough rule of thumb, the ones for Italieri & Revell seem to be generally best quality, while Airfix are the most variable. Luck of the draw, really! However, there are sites available which you really can't do without.

On a similar note, what do they all look like? Well, there's another site which I have turned to and it has supplied me with ludicrous levels of information. Generally, for each base/brigade, I have looked up the largest or most notable unit contained within it, and used its uniform as representative. Now, to the plan:

These square bits of card are the 6cm x 6cm bases I intend to use. The four broad columns are, left to right, Orange's I Corps, then Hill's II Corps, Uxbridge's Cavalry Corps and Wellington's Reserve Corps. Roughly each base is a brigade, and it's broadly as per the Horse Foot & Guns army-list, but I have tinkered slightly based on reading through my book 'The Waterloo Companion'. You'll see that some bases have had some figures placed on them - these are the ones which I have taken off their sprues, & base-coat sprayed with plastikote as a test-attempt. Now I'm ready to go Industrial-Scale, and do as many of the rest as I can!

One point of interest, however, on plastic figures: I usually mount figures onto wooden ice-lolly sticks, but the smooth base of the plastics is not as rough as lead-cast figures' bases usually are. Figures I tried here to glue to wooden sticks simply snapped off with barely a touch, but strips of cardboard (from a cut-up cereal box) seem to be much more effective! Plus, you can be much more liberal with the glue - if you're fighting to get them off later, card can be cut away simply enough while a little wooden stick would probably be more resistant than your soft-plastic figures were!

More updates as I progress...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Update on Things

It's been a few days since I last posted, so I wanted to at least put up a little post to cover where my attention has been - outside of the real world, at any rate! Over the last little while, I have:

  • Been fooling around with WW2 games
I was at first pondering about a big WW2 Mediterranean game, mainly because although I like my WW2 Desert games, I have no way of linking them together beyond the basic campaign system that the 'KISS Rommel' rules suggested. With that system, I am now on my third game with no change in the campaign-level situation: hardly an exciting model of what was historically a highly mobile & dynamic campaign! I looked at making up my own and fooled about with some maps, then dug out the old board game 'Third Reich' from the loft and looked at using it - only to remember exactly why it was in the loft! (For the uninitiated, it's notorious for being extremely over-detailed and over-complicated.) The search goes on, however!
  • Planning a try at 2mm ACW with Black Powder
Nothing too dramatic, but I had a sudden urge to try an army-level game to the Black Powder rules. It dawned on me that at brigade-level things would be too finicky, but then I had the notion of making divisions into the basic units, and just varying them by size based on the number of brigades they possessed - simple and easy! BP has rules for differently-sized units, so it should (theoretically) work fine.
  • Bought 'Tremble Ye Tyrants'
I liked the rules produced by Chris Peers in the past, such as the ones for WW1 (Contemptible Little Armies) and also various things he did in magazines like Wargames Illustrated, many moons ago. When I heard that he was putting out a set of fast-play Napoleonic rules, I decided it was worth a try. It's triggered something of a basing crisis in my plans, but I think I'll stick with my original intention. Speaking of which:
  • Nearly finished assembling Wellington's Army in 1/72 Plastic
Yes, another binge on EBay and - surprisingly - Amazon saw me bag quite a few of the outstanding boxes of plastic figures for the Anglo-Allied Army (the most awkward, through the variety of troops, I believe.) I am planning to have a big sit-down organising session this weekend, largely because my wife's off out for the day and I can make a vast mess while I organise, without annoying her! :-)