Friday, December 21, 2012

Bloody Barons Review

I've been so busy with 'Real Life' recently - Christmas preparation, work crisis to fend off, etc.  As such it's been a while since I got any hobby-ish activities done.  Still, that's me off now for 2 weeks over Christmas and the New Year, so hopefully I'll make up some lost time.

To make a start, in any case, I thought I'd post some info on the recently-used 'Wars of the Roses' rules set 'Bloody Barons' by Peter Pig.

This was one that had largely skipped by me, in my occasional hunt for alternate rules-sets.  I got alerted to it by a couple of references from people posting on TMP.  I had a look at the Peter Pig website, and then eventually splashed out on a copy.  

To take it from basics then, the game is for units typically sized at about eight bases each.  The rules typically take each base as a stand of 3-odd figures in 15mm, although I have been using units of ten bases with one 28mm figure per base with no ill effects.  Units are mixed, normally half billmen and half longbowmen, and all units are led by a single Captain base.  As such, the units typically look good to the eye, with an armour-clad noble front-and-centre and a surrounding mix of troops with both bows and bills.  These units are the typical backbone of the armies you'll field, so variety is added by grading them by quality.  Household units are the picked elite for a nobleman's personal force; Retinue units are dependable veterans; and Levy are the untrained and unreliable second-rate masses.  The rules also cater for other unit types such as cavalry, pike, handgunners, cannon, etc.

Generally, control is similar in style to the current trend (Warmaster Ancients, Hail Caesar, etc.) for commanders to roll for each order issued, and continuing to issue more orders until they fail a roll.  This system will probably be familiar to many, and of course it works in terms of making you weigh up the urgency of various orders.  One additional tweak is that an activated unit then rolls a d6 to decide how many action points it gets that turn - so even if a general activates only one unit, a good action-point roll can mean they do more than an opponent who activates many units and rolls poorly.

Combat is a simple and intuitive process - the attacker rolls a fistful of 'to hit' dice, then the defender rolls a clutch of 'saves' for each hit landed.  There are a few extra rolls here and there for things like casualty application etc. but the general notion can be easily grasped and understood.  Large hands of dice are common so you'll do a lot of rolling, and a simple set of modifiers plus a morale system complete the 'mechanics' of the game - which fits neatly onto a single side of A4.  The game plays for a random number of turns, before 'night falls' and a winner is determined by a score of victory points.  

One of the notable features in it is the method for generating scenarios.  Each player gets a pool of dice, which they can then assign to categories like 'Treachery', 'Espionage', 'Supplies' and so on.  Each player rolls for each category to try to build up a score, and the larger the discrepancy in scores, the more dramatic the effect on the game.  This puts in a nice randomness to the setup, dependent on both out-guessing your opponents' allocations and on lucky rolls.  It means games vary a lot, which prevents the 'line them up and crash the two lines headlong into each other' syndrome which can often plague WotR games.

By and large, as you can probably tell by the number of references to dice rolls above, the game is generally dominated by likelihoods - Levy are not likely to stop Household, but they technically can if they have a lucky set of rolls just as their opponent puts in a bland one - all you can do is try and contrive situations where you are likely to triumph, and take your chances.  It's much more authentic than a more rigid x-always-beats-y system which many rules favour, but I know it's definitely not to the taste of some wargamers out there.  

The rulebook also has the usual features such as an army-building points system, historical scenarios, painting tips, etc.  In summary, it's an excellent set for swift-playing WotR battles, with lots of innovative features to keep things fresh, and has clearly been written by people who love wargaming and have designed the rules to provide an eventful game which can be concluded in an evening, and keep all parties involved throughout.  I'd give it a strong 8/10 score, possibly even a 9.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Battle of Holmewood, 1460

Following a speedy approach march, both sides found themselves slowed by an autumn downpour.  Much of the Lancastrian strength was off the field at first, and many commanders remote from their units - hurried orders to concentrate were sent out as soon as the approaching Yorkist army was detected.  Similarly on the other side, the muddy roads forced the attackers to press on and attack piecemeal.  They had an initial advantage in that they were seeking the battle and therefore were well provisioned with arrows, but each side would need to heavily reinforce the initial clash in order to win.

The initial armies - Lancastrians on the lower-left, outnumbered two-to-one by the oncoming Yorkists!

Rutland, commanding the Yorkist Main

Rutland's Ward was largely retinue - the levies being left behind on the approach-march

Salisbury in the Vaward - his ward is small from previous losses, but he's a hardy commander

The battle develops - Norfolk proves sluggish at bringing up the Yorkist Rear through the woods  in the foreground,  but Somerset - the Lancastrian Mainward - boldly strikes forward in the centre and begins showering the Yorkists with arrows.  In the Lancastrian rear, many more units swiftly begin to arrive.

Somerset's Retinue troops prove dangerous, showering the oncoming Yorkists with flights of arrows.  Rutland soon finds himself struggling as losses mount.

Somerset clearly feels on top form today!  Charging boldly at the stalled Rutland, he swiftly overthrows part of their line and sends it fleeing!

The situation develops - Lancastrians (left) continue to get reinforcements arriving - most particularly the Newcastle levies who come up through the village on the left of their line.  On the Yorkist side, Rutland sags before the onslaught, leaving Salisbury on his right exposed in a salient, while Norfolk on the left appears unable to even locate the battle, much less join it!

The wings both finally engage - Norfolk belatedly makes it into battle against the Scots mercenaries,  while Salisbury takes the risky move of attacking the Newcastle levies before they can clear the bottleneck of the village.  In the centre, Rutland has now been halted and is fighting a holding-action!

The battle in the centre, seen from the Lancastrian side.  Neither Salisbury or Norfolk can bring their force to fully bear on the flank, leaving poor Rutland to feel the full weight of Somerset's continuing pressure.

Finally, the battle in the village ends - Salisbury's desperate bid to hold off the whole Lancastrian Rearward with a part of his own command fails, as his captain is killed and the men rout!  Now he's got the Yorkist flank in the air, with thousands of Lancastrian troops bearing down on it.

Salisbury - if not pondering retreat, at least making sure a horse is close at hand!

Somerset's troops continue to batter Rutland's troops, now mowing down the late-arriving levies with longbow fire.

The large contingent of Scots, plus some surviving Percy troops, fight against Norfolk's men and press them hard.

A notable casualty!  As the Yorkists collapse, the Scottish commander - Earl Douglas - is cut down in the melee while Norfolk's men fall back.

Somerset victorious!  As morale collapses on the Yorkist side they take to their heels, leaving the Lancastrian army commander to bask in the glow of triumph!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wars of The Roses - Edward's Dilemma

It's been quite a while since I posted any update on my long-running re-fight of the Wars of the Roses, so here's the latest installment.

The campaign is still running strategically on Columbia Games' excellent 'Richard III' board-game.  The map is actually shown above, marked-up to show how things currently stand. 

The situation above is a little recap of the last place we left it.  In the last in-campaign battle we played, Warwick was holding both London and King Henry VI.  One catastrophic defeat later, and Warwick held neither - to say nothing of having to flee into exile with only a tiny band of followers.  His spectacular defeat puts the invading Lancastrian faction back into power in the capital and at court, which means if Edward of York has any hope of enforcing his claim to the throne, fast action is called for.  

The map above shows the situation clearly, as the Yorkists are fast becoming the filling in a Lancaster-sandwich.  Edward has the largest Yorkist army which he raised in Wales and has brought it back into England around Gloucester, but he's too far from either Lancastrian army to engage quite yet.  The second Yorkist army, under the earls of Rutland and Salisbury, will be crushed if it remains standing-still by both the Lancastrians combined.  As such, the course open to them is clear - they will need to move themselves against the smaller northern Lancastrian army, positioned around Derby.  

This is a risky move as crossing the line of the river Trent forces them to discard their own levies to move fast, meeting on little better than even terms.  However, leaving the pro-Lancastrian north in enemy hands means that delay will merely strengthen the red-rose faction and weaken their own chances.  Time to re-fight the army they beat once before at Thoroton, and make it fatal this time!

I'll shortly be posting the battle photos and report, which shall be the first full game I've tried using the 'Peter Pig' rules "Bloody Barons."  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Painting My Way To 1815

The Anglo-Allied infantry, in full, sitting in its storage box.  The only way to paint  20-odd brigades in one go!

The deliveries for the French 1815 army are complete, so it seems only sensible to turn attention back to the progress to date on the initial force: the Anglo-Allied army!  Last time it was shown, I had just gone through all the infantry and painted all the coats the correct colour.  Since then, I have done the trousers.  (Bizarre fact: virtually all of the units have grey trousers, which was something I hadn't picked up on before.  Well, I certainly have noticed it now!)  

To keep myself engaged in a dull moment, I even worked it all out for the number of trousers needed - 300 pairs!  Six-bloody-hundred-legs!  Of that, 200 are now done - all the infantry, leaving only  cavalry and gun crews.  

Next, I have gone onto black paint - which is actually an annoying one.  Coats can be knocked in easily (effectively a base-coat, as you don't need to stay outside straps & cross-belts, as these are best painted over the coat later.)  Trousers, similarly, aren't too bad as long as you don't get a figure with an awkward stance, because they are all one area on the figure - one brush will do for all!  Black is more awkward, mainly because it is for different areas.  Specifically, shoes; packs; cartridge-boxes; bayonets; heads & shakos.  

Instead of doing each set of figures through all these steps to completion in one go (which proved to be very fiddly and slow-moving, thus discouraging) I decided to do all of the various bits one by one.  So, I did all the heads, then all the feet, then all the cartridge-boxes etc.  This might sound like a pretty minor distinction, but I've actually found it very helpful.  I seem to do better at painting when it's just mindless, repetitive stuff you can 'switch off' while you're doing it, or let your thoughts wander to other things.  Having to check over strips of figures to make sure you've not missed a bit, like the end of a cartridge-box visible only from the side, is a bit too demanding of attention. The detailing to pick this up can be done at the very end, when the figures are 'reviewed' just prior to varnishing.

As such I've repeatedly gone through the infantry stack but without it really feeling like a drag.  This is a curious quirk, and also probably explains a lot of why I always struggle most with non-uniform painting jobs where that repetitive style doesn't really fit (this from a man with Confederate infantry and Medieval troops among his collection...)  

After this 'black' process is done, I've moved on through the flesh-coloured paint to do the faces and hands of them all.  At present I'm roughly halfway through painting all the muskets brown.  This actually takes me most of the way through the painting process, as the remaining steps are generally less elaborate and more about local areas - the figures have definitely made their big graduation from 'undercoated figures with a few patches of colour' through to 'painted figures that merely lack a few bits of detailing.'

And for the future, this is the current state of the French army - Still on its sprues, heaped up  on the sink following a dip in some soapy water, to remove any releasing oil from the casting-moulds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Miniature Review

After a week of rather prompt deliveries from across the UK, the various Amazon/eBay shops have come good.  The full bunch of boxes are here, so I thought that I'd give an example shot of each.

Below is the French Infantry by Italeri (Box 6066.) Italeri actually do two diverging types - the other is 6002 - for French Infantry.  This set is a kind of very realistic 'campaign dress' which is actually at odds with their own box-front artwork.  All the figures, for example, wear trousers as opposed to the gaiters available on the other 6002 set, and thus have less of a 'picturebook' quality to them in exchange for greater realism.

This one is from the Italeri 6016 Imperial General Staff box - I actually got this as a whim, but I'm glad I did.  Featuring Napoleon himself (in Imperial finery, but before he started piling on the pounds in the later years) and an appropriately massive gaggle of hangers-on.  The total is 13 mounted figures and 7 foot generals, so this could furnish you with all the command figures for your own army.

Another Italeri set here, for the cavalry - Dragoons set 6015.  Nicely detailed, and also very dynamic for these troops - the horsetails on the Grecian helmets are all swishing around, about as much as the sword-arms.

Next are the Italeri 6039 set - Polish Lancers: Noooo!!!  I remember these from my childhood when Esci did them.  Seriously, these couldn't have done with an update?  Fair enough if you can't cast the lances on and need them separate, but we could've at least put the bases on the horses, no?  This one promises to be extremely fiddly.

The Zvezda ones are very nice and 'tactile' feeling - by which I mean that there is lots of detail on them, and it's expressed by quite good differentiation over the surface - lots of raised and lowered areas which promise that these should be good ones to paint, especially if you favour inks and washes.  Here is a bit of box 8028, the French Artillery set.  Each box gives three guns, and a very large quantity of limbering teams.  A nice change from the usual, which is to give only guns and crew.

Last, the Zvezda Cuirassiers (box 8037.)  These are given the dramatic 'charging hard at everything' look which most players will want for these elite troops.  One extra observation about Zvezda plastics - they seem to use a more 'rigid' material which feels stronger and more brittle than the plastic usually selected by the likes of Italeri, Revell, Airfix, etc.  I suppose this will be far better for holding paintwork and resisting the odd bump, but with correspondingly higher chances for the odd outstretched arm getting snapped off, should you accidentally catch it on something.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

French Army 1815

T'was back in the ancient mists of time (well, July 2011) when I bought the Airfix Waterloo boxed set, and expanded my rediscovery of 1/72 plastics into a brand-new monster-sized project to recreate the campaign of 1815.  Since then I have managed to achieve a fair amount of progress over the last year and a bit.

I have managed to collect all the figures necessary to put and entire Anglo-Allied army on the field, and also a fair proportion of the Prussian army.  I have also managed to launch painting of the entire Anglo-Allied force, with about a dozen bases already completed in prototype form.  
With this progressing so nicely, and the bi-centennial on the way, it's high time to get the opponents sorted out!  

Well, after much planning and searching I've done it.  Napoleon might've needed to escape from Elba, stage a one-man coup to take over France, then run an Imperial bureaucracy to pull together an army for his ambitions, but I find that raising the plastic equivalent requires a far more agreeable afternoon surfing EBay and Amazon for much the same result.  If only he'd known!   

So, to the haul:  my "recruiting efforts" have focused on my favoured Italeri figures, plus some of the excellent-looking sets from Zvezda, which also seem to get high praise online.  The end result, from various sources:

6 boxes of Italeri French Line Infantry
4 boxes of Zvezda French Line Artillery
2 boxes of Italeri French Dragoons
2 boxes of Zvezda French Cuirassiers
1 box of Italeri French Lancers
1 box of Italeri Napoleon's General Staff

This isn't the final, definitive purchase - corps commander miniatures are still needed, plus a few odds and ends of 'specialist' troops of note such as the Imperial Guard, some voltigeur light infantry, and so on.  Nonetheless, the list above breaks the back of the French army collection.  It provides me with a mass of line infantry, plus a weighty spearhead of heavy Cavalry, and also a powerful artillery park which should certainly make Old Boney a ferocious prospect on the tabletop.  

With painting efforts continuing on the Anglo-Allied force, and shortly to commence on the French arrivals, I should be able to start putting on a few small-scale Napoleonic games before very long - before building towards the ultimate objectives of re-enacting the Waterloo campaign as a whole, and also the classic historical battle itself.  

En Avant!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Perry Plastic Knights

Just a quick photo update of the figures I bought at Claymore 2012 - or some of them, at any rate.  These are the two boxes of Perry Plastic 'Mounted Men at Arms' - and very fine they look too!  I've gone for about two-thirds with lances (although there are enough parts for you to do them all that way, if you choose) and a third with hand-weapons like swords, axes, hammers, etc.  That's Twenty-four figures in total, which is enough for anything from about 6 bases in something like Impetus or two units in Hail Caesar or the like, without it looking at all unrealistic.  
I've decided I'm going to spray the horses down with a brown aerosol (the riders aren't yet glued on) and the knights can then get painted/sprayed metal along with a few bits of barding (horse-armour, basically) and glued into place before the final touching-up.  I'm making an effort to adopt more of an 'army-painter' method throughout, as I always tell myself I'll just do it by hand and then come to regret it halfway through!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Buying Boxed Sets

I was recently consumed with  angst about the state of my painting kit, and was pondering buying a big set - 'Bluebear Jeff' and 'Ubique Matt' were kind enough to give some thoughts (thanks guys!) and as they rather confirmed some things I'd thought myself, I've restricted action to a rather more restrained purchase of some individual paints and a couple of good brushes.

On the subject of big 'boxed sets' however, I have also found myself pondering my next gaming move now that things are finally settling down.  Current ones are easy, as the outstanding purchases are the 1/72 boxes necessary for the 1815 French army at Waterloo, and finally to complete the Prussian one further down the line.  I've been progressing the painting on the Anglo-Allied army, and as finished units begin to appear it makes sense to run their enemies in tandem, so at least a few little scraps can be played.

Besides that, the other obvious one is the 1/72 Union Army of the Potomac, which will be needed to go on the table against the (nearly completed!) Confederate force.  After that however, what next?  I change my mind on future projects roughly every week, but you've got to start somewhere and see if the same idea keeps bobbing up in your mind over the weeks and months.

One future project I want to do is more WW2 stuff.  I've also been torn over time between doing high-level strategic stuff in Pendraken 10mm, or doing 28mm tactical games.  Things have been complicated recently by Warlord Games releasing the 'Bolt Action' tactical-level rules, in the same style as Black Powder & Hail Caesar, to compliment lines of figures they do.  Also, it's part-written by Rick Priestley, who was the games guru that created most of the Games Workshop things that first introduced me to wargaming.  From reading reviews of the mechanics online it also appears to be a kind of descendant from the old WH40k Epic games, which I absolutely loved back in the early 1990s.  So, there's that to ponder.

Bolt Action has also got Warlord offering big 'army deals' for the armies as starter sets, which is pretty tempting.  But, in a strange twist of fate, this has also happened elsewhere.  Perry miniatures are now doing their Wars of the Roses figures in 'army deals' which they used to only do for ACW and Napoleonic ranges (or maybe they've been doing it for ages - I only noticed it had been added recently.)  I know that more WOTR figures might possibly be completely mad, given how many I already have done and painted.  Then again, the 'Bloody Barons' rules have proved to be a lot of fun on a few try-outs, and let's be honest: how many wargamers have you ever heard complain that their armies are too big?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Anyone got some advice about paints?

A little request for help from other wargamers out there: can anybody recommend a good range of paints for modelling miniatures, and specifically a good starter set?  

This has come about from me trying to get back into a regular painting habit after months of house-moving upsetting the system, but now I've made a terrible discovery - most of my paints have settled and separated, or are nearly depleted!  Obviously after the months away I've come back with a fresh pair of eyes, and can see that the paint collection I've used before now (mostly Games Workshop paints, simply because a nearby Hobbycraft stocked them and I could get them easily) is actually greatly diminished, being very old and run-down.  In short, barring a few odd paints here and there as 'refugees' I need to buy myself a starter kit to get up and running.  

Also, sad to report that my brushes are in dire nick - I'll need to get a new range of good modelling brushes at the same time, making the overhaul complete!  So, what do other people out there use?  Is there something you'd recommend, or a 'starter' set you know of that's available somewhere?  Any and all suggestions are most welcome!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Desert War Pictures

It has now been about a month since moving house and I posted a back-to-normal message, which turned out to be massively over-optimistic!  In the last four weeks, getting the house up and running has proved to be quite a big task, and playing a game has proved to be quite beyond me.  I have managed to set up about three or four games but not played anything more than a few turns before having to pack up again because it was taking up time and space which is currently needed elsewhere.  

Still, things shall improve with time, non doubt.  For the benefit of posting anything other than this brief message, I've dug out some pictures of an old WW2 Western Desert game I played ages ago and never got round to posting - a bit of easy eye-candy, and hopefully a sign that I can get the big campaign going again before long.  

Dug-in Brits

An Italian division in prepared positions

British and Italian Armour clash in the open

Close-range tank battles

A German Panzer Division

Brit infantry attack out of their fortified lines, as Italian tanks attempt to flank them

German and British mobile forces play hide-and-seek through the rocky outcroppings

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Claymore 2012

After many weeks away, I've returned!  The long enforced pause from moving house is over, and once more I can get gaming, painting and blogging.  

The new house is still a mess of boxes, and most of my miniatures are packed away in storage for the time being, but they'll soon be back in action.  I decided yesterday to celebrate a week of tough work by treating myself to something I rarely get the chance to do: attend a wargames show!  This year I went to Claymore 2012 in Edinburgh, hosted by the South East Scotland Wargames Club (SESWC.)  I had last been about a decade ago, and never managed since - but this time I even managed to cajole/persuade/prod a gaming buddy to go along with me.

The two of us had a great time, although I suspect more me than him (he's more into board games, and the emphasis was very much more on miniatures gaming than I remembered from the past) but the main thing I noticed was the size of it all - the whole thing took up two large halls and also a third bring-and-buy room, which would suggest to my (admittedly naive) eyes that the hobby is in good health north of the border.

So, I treated myself to a few things.  Here's the haul!  

The main thing I got was a pair of Perry Miniatures' hard-plastic Mounted Men at Arms.  This is not really required for WOTR games, as mounted troops make somewhat infrequent appearances and are effectively a novelty on the battlefield.  However, I intend to increase the scope of the collection to be a more generic 'Late Medieval' collection, allowing things like Burgundian, Swiss, French & Italian armies to be created - probably as part of my fictional campaign-world.

Beyond that, the next big thing was me buying an entire Baccus army in 6mm.  I've looked at it online many a time, but not I own a Greek Hoplite army pack.  The single pack holds an amazingly impressive set of 528 infantry and 33 mounted.  The brilliant display-bases of 48 figures packed into a dense phalanx on top of a 6cm by 3cm base was the clincher.  I also got a pack of precut MDF bases, which actually have black edges (something I've not seen from Baccus before.)  

Other purchases were to bulk up my 'miscellaneous' collection of scenery.  I got a pack of eight trees from 'S & A Scenics' which will do for both 28mm WOTR games, as well as 1/72 plastic figures in my Waterloo & ACW collections.

Speaking of ACW, the last packs I got were from 'The Baggagetrain' and consisted of half a dozen resin breastworks - each about 6cm long and showing 2 or 3 logs interlocked in a zig-zag, with mounds of earth to the front.  For a developing ACW collection and ambitions to recreate the 1864 campaigns, field defences like this will be critical, and I'm glad I no longer have to make them!

Other honorable mentions:
Pendraken, for making the WW2 Eastern Front in 10mm look appealing
Warbases, for their superb bases with penny-sized indents (could the WOTR armies be about to get a new basing system?)
Kallistra, for giving me a chance to finally see their Hexon terrain boards and get what the fuss was about.
Plastic Solder Company, for producing the WW2 ranges that very nearly had me buying models for a company-sized force to do games of 'I Ain't Been Shot Mum' - thank god they'd sold out of the Panzer IV boxed-sets, and I could talk myself out of it!  

More blogging, of a more regular nature, will hopefully resume from now on - possibly even more, once I've worked out where to put my new 'Man-Cave!' 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Progress on the Workbench

The Entire Anglo-Allied Force

Waterloo progress of a rather 'dull' sort.  There are generally two ways I approach painting:  
One way is to paint up a unit and complete it, then start another, then another, until it is all finished.  The other way is to paint like a production line, doing the same thing on a whole pile of miniatures (all the coats, all the boots, etc) to bring the whole lot towards completion.

For a fair time, I used to try to always do one or another, and typically wound up feeling guilty when I found myself sacrificing one method for the other.  I have however recently been pondering things and am now much more forgiving of mixing these two methods up.  This is really down to me belatedly recognising that each one has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which vary whatever one is most suitable, depending on the state of the 

Option one is quite good for getting a sense of progress, and correspondingly gives a little boost of enthusiasm - very valuable in a big project, where it's easy to have the initial spark of inspiration begin to wane after a time.  However, seeing a unit through to completion over and over again can also kill off the 'big picture' of a project, and encourages a bit of tunnel vision to creep in.  Also, after seeing a fully-finished unit complete it can be a hard thing to go back to another group of undercoat-only models and start all over again.

Option two is unquestionably faster.  It moves large numbers of figures towards completion in 
a few bold moves, and keeps the whole force moving forward (i.e. cuts off the temptation to dump parts of the project and scale back.)  However, it's painfully thankless for long periods.  Who ever walked away from a painting table after 2-odd hours of work, with precisely no completed figures to show for it, and felt happy?  

Closer view - mainly Cavalry & Artillery

After a bit of pondering (this wasn't some high-minded intellectual musing, I should add - more 
like some daydreaming which went on a bit too long) I decided that the general rule should be the option 2 'production-line' method, but regularly broken up with bursts of 'through to completion' painting to keep enthusiasm high.  I've recently finished a burst of 'option 1' painting which has produced my first try-out bases for all arms of my Napoleonic Waterloo army, and even my first full division of infantry.  However the box of base-coated models on strips of card is alarmingly vast, so I think it's high time that I knuckled down for some 'production-line' painting to try and get all the models with at least the base-colour of their uniforms in place.  
The whole lot

The end result:  behold!  The entire Anglo-Allied army coat-coloured at last, and now only the painful process of doing all the black areas.  Covering heads & shakos, shoes, cartridge boxes, Brit backpacks, bayonet-sheaths & various other straps here and there, it's one of the most infuriating paint-colours to apply.  Still, once this is done it gets progressively easier, I'm happy to remind myself.  

20mm Generals!  Wellington, Orange, Hill & Uxbridge

The finished articles, including some artillery & cavalry I didn't get to photograph before!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rules I've Recently Bought

There's been a rules explosion (a "rulesplosion?") here, recently.  Cut off from tabletop gaming by the demands of packing up to move house, I've found myself roving the internet and finding all sorts of rulesets I'd otherwise not have found.  As a result, here's a little round-up of recent acquisitions for possible future projects.  Some are here already but some are still en-route through the post.  

In no particular order:

This one is one I've had my eye on for a while, due in no small part to the Geektactica blog showcasing it and making it look amazing.  Plus, I may even be able to tempt a friend into some occasional games, due to the 'skirmish' type of games needing only a very small outlay of figures.  
 This is quite similar to the above, but in a Retro Sci-Fi setting.  This is (from a first glance at the 'rapid launch' rules taster) similar to CinC but appears to have much more RPG-style characteristics.  Also, the range of miniatures out there for Retro Sci-Fi is surprisingly large and impressive!
Next up is 'Condottiere' by Foundry Miniatures.  This looks like a one-stop system for rules and campaigns, which has had interesting 'chatter' doing the rounds.  It should be an easy adaptation for my large stock of wars of the roses figures to branch out into generic 'Late Medieval' warfare.  Speaking of the Wars of the Roses...
 This is a set of rules by Peter Pig, and it turned up on various lists across The Miniatures Page forums as a strong recommendation for a WOTR rules set.  Trouble is, no amount of searching on the internet seemed to turn up a decent review or any large amount of info.  Eventually, I decided to buy it and give it an experimental whirl - it also apparently contains quite a bit of background info, scenarios, etc. so it's not a complete shot in the dark.  
 And now for something completely different!  I've often heard about how the game 'AK47 Republic' was very good, and as I was ordering Bloody Barons off Peter Pig, I decided to take a punt on this and sling it in the cart as well!  

I'll see about putting up a review of the rules once I get a chance for a proper look through them all!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alten's Division, Anglo-Allied Army, 1815

Painting news!  I have limited myself to only painting Waterloo figures, by the simple discipline of putting all my other figures into storage in a relatives' house pre-move.  Here's my first experimental batch for show.  

This group of 3 brigades is for Alten's division in Orange's 1st Corps.  It consists of Halkett's British infantry brigade, Ompteda's KGL brigade, and (in the green) Kielmansegge's Hanoverian brigade.  

I've never been one for basing with a lot of fuss, so I have settled for a simple green spray-painted MDF base with a coat of thin PVA, then flocked with GW grass sprinkled over the top.  It was tried out with the ACW Confederate bases recently, and I thought it looked pretty good.  Plus, these bases have more than 4 figures, so they look much better as they are naturally 'busier.'  (The close-up pic above was taken just after adding the grass, so the figures are still covered in bits and need a bit of a dust-down!)

I've labelled the bases with a written definition on a narrow strip along the back-edge, which turns out to be practical (I considered the underside but had visions of turning over all the bases in a bid to find one rogue unit - far too depressing) and also unobtrusive.  It's visible when you look for it, but if you stand back for the diorama effect, they're effectively invisible from a foot or two away.

I also have some others either done or imminently about to be done.  A Dutch inf unit has been based in a column formation and looks pretty good; an artillery battery has been completed; plus a tester cavalry base has been tried out and they all seem to have gone well.  Infantry are actually the most awkward, just from the number of figures involved.  With a bit more time, I can have a small mixed-arms force to take the field against a similar band, for a little fictitious try-out.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Initial Sci-Fi Force

I have made a bit of progress with my Sci-Fi force, and thought I'd show how it has taken form.  This has been progressing at a nice, leisurely pace of a base or two being cut out at a time (fills in an evening rather easily, and I did some the other night while Star Trek was on the telly, appropriately enough.)

This beast is a 'Heavy' Tank, with a turret-mounted cannon.  The assembly is a nice little 'double-box' affair where one slides within another, and actually makes the whole quite rigid.  Next to it is one of a few infantry bases I put together.  

Ah, now here's the fancy stuff!  Three Mechs!  As I'm starting out on what I hope will be a longer story narrative for the Sci-Fi world I'm making up as I go along, I have built three 'light' mechs for now - the tank is still definitely the biggest thing on the battlefield, and infantry the most numerous, mainly because I'm saving the introduction of larger & more numerous Mechs for later, as the technology develops & spreads.  As such, I've also equipped them all in a particularly uniform way, with a machine-gun and a laser each, to make them a standard 'Guardian' class mech.  

So here they all are: this force is the initial Federal (i.e. 'Earth-centric') authority that will run human space, and is responsible for fighting the rivals that shall soon follow: uppity planetary colonial types that want to break away from central control, and form their own interstellar empires.