Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Friday, 30 March 2012

She's a Star

Just have to blog this as I'm very proud. Alice my daughter has achieved a end of term Merit Badge, mainly for her written work, especially imaginative stories. Alice is 7 so still early in the school process. Last year she was getting lots of recognition just as her younger brother has done this year. But for Alice this year had not seen the usual slew of awards, simply because this age group they don't hand them out like candy. Seeing her brother get various awards has really miffed her as she loves recognition and the attention that comes with it. Not only that but we always reward them with treats and such as well. Alice has continued to work hard and continued to achieve levels well above the average. Cath has a lot to do with this as she spends so much time with both Alice and Joseph each evening with reading and spelling etc.
So Alice was rewarded with a Merit Badge, a Zoobal a cuddly donkey and a choice for a special tea. I',m glad she choose the meatballs yum yum.
Oh Joseph got a couple of Playmobil skateboard dudes as we always treat both if one does well. I am now trying to not think about how much lead I could have bought.

Sent To Coventry

OK here is a little help for anyone not from the UK who probably do not know what the title means. Being 'Sent to Coventry' means to have people not talking to you. For years I assumed that just meant the people of fair Coventry were just ignorant gits. If your hoping the picture above is a clue then no it's nothing to do with the Blitz, that's just the nicest image I could find of Coventry and as far as I know it's totally unfounded that the Mayor of Coventry did not send a thank you note to Goering during the war. I can tell you though that during the recent riots that £500,000 worth of improvements was done by the mob. But Sent To Coventry predates all of these events, and by a fair margin and yes of course it's yet another ECW tit bit.
Coventry was a smallish cloth making town that had a strong Puritan community. Not only this but it was in the heart of a Parliamentary stronghold. Being a cloth making town it was to supply Parliament with uniforms for it's armies and at all times was 100% behind Parliament as a town. In fact such was it's support of Parliament that Royalist Officer and Gentlemen prisoners were sent to Coventry under licence. Such was the ardour of the townsfolk that these Royalist prisoners found that hardly a person would ever talk to them, hence if you are to be ignored or given the silent treatment you are sent to Coventry.

WIP Post Challange

As I have mentioned a few times, despite throwing a lot of effort at the challenge in the final stages I still have the urge to paint. Unlike the Machine that goes by the name of Ray I had cleared the table of all ongoing figures just in time for the end of the contest. No 500+ points sitting waiting a last lick of paint and basing no Sir! Instead I cleared the table of all bits and bobs, gave it a good clean and just left it clear for a couple of days.
Last night saw me finish the basic work on four American riflemen, these now need decals fitting, varnishing and basing on the casualty markers. This was a bit of a rush as a friend wanted one set figure so on Monday I went out and bought the pack it was in. Top right is the first 4 regiments of 6mm French Napoleonic, still plenty of work on these guys. Facings, cords, shako plates and pom poms for the main part then it's base them up time.
All cleaned up and ready to go is a few Australian test figures surrounded by about 12 Japanese which are the next figures to get done. The big question though is what am I going to do whilst I am at these? I think I will paint up a ECW regiment I have lying around before Triples in May but before doing that I am fairly sure I will do more of the Ancients, only which one? I also want to start the 20mm project but need to commit to a set army, I think I have decided as it will allow me to use the Roman Auxillia I have already painted. Again it's a case of when. I need to sit down, work out what I need, look at the other projects and see what I need for these and then prioritise.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Coldstream Guards and The ECW

The Coldstream Guards is the second oldest Regiment of the British Army and was founded in February 1645 and is well known for it's ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace. This is rather ironic given it's beginnings.
The clue was in the date the regiment was formed, February 1645 was the formation of the New Model Army and the beginning of the Redcoats. Originally this was just one of the twelve foote regiments of the NMA and fought at Naseby which lead to the Kings surrender and eventual execution. From here the Regiment served in the subjection of Ireland and then in 1650 George Monck was given command and was used in the campaign against Scotland. Monck was soon to become known for his ruthless methods, both in keeping the Scotts under the cosh but also within his own Regiment. By 1660 Cromwell was dead and Richard his son (Tumbledown Dick) had failed to maintain order and Charles Fleetwood had reinstated Parliament. Monck and many others felt that the only way to bring lasting order to England was the reinstatement of the Monarchy, which Monck entered into secret negotiations with Charles. Monck had been sent back to Scotland to block Charles Stuart King of Scotland (Later King Charles II) from progressing into England by the Lord Protector. Monck choose a spot with a large stream running in front of his positions, the stream was known as Coldstream.
Monck had no intention of stopping Charles progress as he had gained assurances for the Country and himself. Charles knew he needed support within the Protectorate to gain the Thrown and Country so Monck went from enemy to Master of the Kings Horse and raised to a Duke. The Regiment was originally called The Coldstreamers but when they were raised to Guard status they changed their name again. Monck died in 1670 after serving the new King faithfully for 10 years which is the year the Coldstreamers became the Coldstream Guard.
An artists impression of the Coldstreamers laying down it's arms in 1661 and swearing allegiance to the new King of England. This image post dates the period probably by 100 - 150 years based on the dress of the musket. In reality the trousers would have been more baggy. Also note the pike have different coloured trousers on, this was not the norm, but possibly correct if dressed for the occasion though I suspect not. I also question the colours as I do not know of a green background with red cross but do not know if the original colours were replaced with the Protective.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Painting Contest, the final entry

I was going to do each item as a single post but time will not allow me to do this, so here is the lot in one go. I must say I was really happy to get all the figures I hoped to paint done. I painted more in the duration of the challenge than I have done at any other three month period. Even better, I still have the painting bug. I had a couple of days off and have jumped back into it with 108 6mm Napoleonic French Infantry and 4 28MM WWII Yanks all 2/3rd the way through and a bunch of Japanese 28's all cleaned and primed. More on these later as it's an interesting challenge all to itself.
16 British riflemen, all on the Warbase casualty counter bases. These are great value and whilst based they are not 100% finished as I need to add the Tufts that I was waiting for. I think these really finish off the models. I will do this when I have finished off the Yanks, so a few days to go.
I was not really enjoying painting these as I was not happy with the colour the battledress was coming out. Well I went over it with the colour watered down with a touch of white in it and it came out much better. The ink wash really then took it to how I wanted it to look. Now I really like them.
Next up was a unit of Cataphracts, I thought these would be a quick run over but in the end they took longer than I expected. I used 5 different metallic paints over the whole unit. Also for some reason I had a couple of lesser armoured riders, but I figure it adds to the look of the unit. Two different posed horses, just glad neither were charging. These are Essex so not my favorite but they do look fairly good and this time sat on their horses better.
The Command is for the Seleucid army . OK I know I have three bases that were with the army but I liked the idea of a command stand in heavier armour. These are Magister so don't fully sit with the Essex but they will be fine.
Given that I spent several days thinking that prepping these figures was a mistake as no way would I get round to painting them, then suddenly they are painted and I have a day to spare! Well they were easy and fast to paint but I also really enjoyed painting them (more Magister). When I saw the figures I immediately wanted to get them. The look of the figure is just excellent and I could not have picked a better unit to finish off the Challenge as I left the whole event with a positive painting buzz. This is really important, yes I was dog tired having really pushed to get as much done as possible but at the same time I was also looking forward to more painting.
I'm not really sad that the Challenge has finished, I think for me it was just the right length. However I have spent nearly as much time at the table in the last 4 days as I did the final 4 of the challenge, pleasure both times held me there but this time without a deadline hanging over my head. Very happy memories of the Challenge and happy to go at it again next year, but what Will it be on the table? Who knows for I don't.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The New Model Army and The First Redcoats.

The New Model Army was formed in February 1645 and for the most part troops and officers came from the various armies within Parliaments forces. Whilst press gangs were not used in the first place when a shortage of troops willing to fight in a National Army (rather than an association based on an area) impressment was introduced. The idea of a National Army was to achieve two aims, to allow it to take the fight to Royalist forces where ever they were gathered rather than only fight within a set area and usually for a set period but also to make it a professional army. For the first and only time until modern day, ability came before rank in commanding within the army. For this to work the Self Denying Ordinance was brought in, this disallowed Members of Parliament command within the Army. This was to remove high ranking and incompetent Gentry from positions that otherwise they would retain and thus continue the cycle of failed campaigns and missed opportunities. Cromwell was famously allowed to take a position within the army and became Commander of the Horse. Ireton his Son in Law also was allowed to serve despite being a Member of the Commons (two other Members of Parliament were also allowed to serve as local commanders on rolling three month commissions). Whilst Parliament found it fairly easy to form the basis of the army, paying and clothing it was another matter indeed. Parliament was skint, having to pay for the Scottish Army was draining the coffers and equipping a new army was causing a great deal of difficulty. Just then a great storm forced a Vatican ship into a Parliament controlled harbour. It's cargo included enough Red Cloth to clothe the whole army which Parliament seized along with the ship. The colour was obviously red and for a time was called Venetian Red (though it is doubtful it is the same colour as today's Venetian Red).
Whilst the New Model Army was disbanded after the restoration in 1660 the tradition of the Infantry wearing Red was kept. So the Iconic Redcoats of Waterloo have more than a passing nod at the Army that was key to the overthrow of the Monarchy.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Catching up on the Painted Stuff!

Paint or Blog!, not quite March or Die but close enough. These pics have found their way to Curt's blog for the Challenge but not here, so here goes.
First up are the two Napoleonic wagons I had bought off E-Bay in about November. They sat on my painting desk ready to go (arrived primed) ever since. A great thing about the Challenge was that it got many of us to work on projects we had allowed to go stale or just plain forgotten. These two really took little time once they were started. They are H&R 6mm and whilst the rules take no account of them I just wanted to do them anyway. Overall I am quite pleased with them and I am sure the odd photo will feature them in the future. At the moment we have no Nap games planned but I am working on a rules set that may give more feel of the period than we are getting from Polemos. Not that we would not use them but we want more than they offer to be honest.
Maybe at the back of my mind I had already decided to get the FoG Renascence rules, either way I used this as my entry for Female Fatal, after all more good men have been lost to women than war! The poor bugger linked to this lass has been lost to both! I had started painting this figure about 20 years ago and stopped part way through, unhappy with the colours. Well I was happy to strip it back and start again. I did it from start to finish at the end of a sitting. The flash has bleached the paint a little but the colours are much better and more historical. This base will ultimately end up as part of my ECW camp which I already have enough figures to be able to make a good mix.
Figures are FriKorps who were years ahead of everyone one else in this respect. I plan to re-look at my ECW armies, after all these were the first ones I painted and some will be touched up but others may end up being sold on. I have lots of the old Essex Dwarfs and unless I see something even better would like to go fully over to Matchlock, though this may have to be at conventions as their on-line catalogue lacks pictures.
I need to take new pics of my Ancients camp as I was not happy with the originals, so that one maybe next time.

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Cavalier!

I just Googled Cavalier image aiming for a pic of a dashing fellow to use in this post. Well I should not have been surprised that the first image I came across was not so easy to mistake for our Errol, but I was so smitten I have had to go with it. The word has over time been twisted from it's original meaning and become almost a compliment. In the post below I mention the use of the word as a troop type, well it started a long way away from that in it's first use.
The original word is a bastardisation of a Spanish word and meant a heavy drinking, womanising waste of space. This fit the image Parliament wanted the rest of England to believe the followers of Charles I King of England were. In short it was both propaganda and an insult. As mentioned yesterday, this was countered by Royalist circles introducing the term Roundhead when talking or writing about Parliaments leaders. Whilst Roundhead fell out of use soon after the Restoration the Court and hence the rest of Britain continued to use the term Cavalier as a badge of Honour. The breed of Dog favoured by the now dead King Charles I was named King Charles Cavalier Spaniel hence the cute pic. More recently a car (1970's) in the UK was rather aptly named the Cavalier (cornered like crap and in the rain well crapper) and was sporty and the desired car of every boy racer who could not afford a real car.
OK a bit of a reach for ECW related post but I am trying to pad out till the bomb shell post (and trying to link them all LOL).

Postie has been busy!

No not Ray and Fran's Postie, mine. Today I received Festung Budapest which is the final Christmas present from last year. It's been some time coming but that's OK, now though I want to have a play. But this is just the latest in a nice stream of items as most of my Birthday stash has arrived this way and as much of it was ordered by me post Birthday it's been fair game at the letterbox. here is a quick run down in the order of last past the post.
Far less of interest to most of the followers of this general wargames blog that probably the rest but certainly the most expensive. I paid £100 for this in the UK rather than pre-order it from MMP. The result was I got it exactly 7 days after a friend who ordered direct and for £20 less than if I had pre-ordered, such is the effect of cost of post to the UK and the extra levy for collecting the Tax. If Duncan had received this weeks ago then the extra £20 would seem worth the cost but in Duncan's case I can see him being a bit miffed. Well for the none ASL player, what you get is a typical book case sized box but just over 3" tall and fully packed with 'stuff'. You get 9 sheets of counters and whilst you need Beyond Valour and the Rule Book to play this, that is all you need. Most Historical Mods require counters from two or three core mods but MMP decided due to the difficulty of getting the Axis Minors that they would include all these in the box. Fantastic for the guy without the counters, for me the guy with everything not such a great deal but going through the countersheets only a couple will be left unpunched. 17 Scenarios and three campaign games means you get a lot of ASL for your money. MMP will also release yet more scenarios for the maps in the future so plenty to look forward to. I have yet to dive in fully but that is for tonight, Ian is a happy Carrot.
Two days before this dropped through the letterbox from Amazon. £16 if I remember right and new . Osprey are not the only supplier found to be selling their own product cheaper via a third party than by their own website. If they think this does not piss off other stockists then they are wrong. But from a customer point of view, great. I could have spent £3 less and got a second hand copy but hell live a little. I have yet to read all the way through but so far it's totally FoG core with added flavour. Even most of the tips (that I hate so much) are exactly the same ones from the original rule set. This has the great advantage of being able to jump from one to the other and as I like FoG I assume this will be a good thing. However the proof will be in the playing which will not be for a few weeks or more as I have to re-base the figures and have yet to decide if I will do a quickie or a proper job based on need to play. One thing is already clear the rules really have ECW as a base of period and the rest seems to be worked round it, again good for me. However in grates that one class of Troop is Cavalier, I wonder if the rule writers know this was a term of insult? I can see it now, I charge your CAVALIERS with my Fatherless Sons. Maybe it could start a trend?
Ordered at the same time but coming from the States is the supplement that also covers the ECW, this is second hand and a snip at just under £4 with less than £2 post!!! Again Amazon is my friend. Obviously this has yet to land but again no hurry, all is fair in Figures and War.
Next up is some tufts I ordered about a week before.These can be bought in the UK from where I nabbed the pictures from. I wanted to buy from these guys but they were out of stock so I went direct to the supplier in the end. Two days after ordering I got an e-mail from the UK supplier stating they would be back in stock in a few days. Oh well, but as it turned out ordering direct was slightly cheaper than buying from the UK (oh the Happy Whisk would be so proud of me). Anyways these arrived at the start of the week. I ordered the 6mm tufts for the 28 and 15mm figures whilst also getting a pack of 2mm for my 6mm and 15mm figures. I hope the mix will really work well. Rather than getting the small packs I went large. Antenocitis Workshop really bang on about certain OTHER suppliers getting the sheets, cutting them down and ramping up the price. I assume they mean The Army Painter who charge £4 for a little box. Well it is their small sheet I measured against the big sheet I ordered and I would have to buy 8 Army Painter packs for £32 opposed to the £12 from MiniNatur Direst or £13 odd from the UK (note the post to the UK from MiniNatur was lower than buying in the UK!!!) so quite a saving to be had. Even buying the small sheets works out far cheaper than going to The Army Painter.
Another selling point was the extra strong packaging supplied with the original opposed to the OTHER supplier. Well that I don't agree, bot my boxes were twisted and do not close well, what's more the delivery box was stout and undamaged so any damage was pre packing. The box itself is fairly low grad plastic packaging that is not meant to withstand heavy knocks whilst the Army Painter little box is far more durable. So if you want the best packaging pay near on 3 times the price? Ah maybe not then. Overall I am chuffed to bits with them and will soon put them to good use. Meanwhile I am cracking on with my 6mm French.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

ECW Riot, with a twist

Demonstrations were not at all uncommon in 17th Century England. In fact the term Roundhead was originally coined in response to Students and Apprentices who wore their heir cropped close to the head giving a far more rounded shape to the head in comparison to the norm that of wearing your hair long. The term was used by Royalists as an insult to supporters of Parliament.
Full blown riots were less the norm at the start of the ECW but as the war wore on more and more demonstrations started to turn ugly and Parliament had to struggle between quelling anti Parliament demonstrations and the fear of turning the City against them by not allowing the people to have their say. Lord Essex summed it up best when he famously stated (roughly) "If we beat the King a Dozen Times, He still be King, but he beat us but once and we will be hung as traitors" well words to that effect anyway.
So in an attempt to keep the ECW theme somewhat in the twilight zone I give you a double whammy. First of all the riot that happened on 8th August 1643 (14 days before the first anniversary of the start of the war) was by women. It seems girl power did not start with the Spice Girls! The demonstration was sparked by Parliaments rejection the day before of the latest Peace Proposals. Women with white ribbons in their hats blocked up the approaches to Parliament crying out for peace and down with Pym and Say. The following day they gathered at Palace Yard, but in even greater numbers and presented a petition for peace them banged on the door to Parliament demanding Pym, Say and other Roundheads to be handed over so they could be thrown in the Thames. After an hour the guards tried to clear a passage and when this failed they loaded their muskets with powder and wadding (no bullet) and fired as a warning. The women thinking the guards had no bullet to fire became bolder and violent, tearing up cobbles and other objects carrying them in their skirts and started to pelt the soldiers. After suffering this for some time these troops finally loaded with ball and fired into the crowd. They still seemed to have scruples as the only killed were two men, one of which was egging on the women. Rather than bring the women to submission it emboldened them and more missiles were thrown and chants of "That Dog Pym" were added to the threats and demands. A troop of Wallers Horse arrived but this just aggravated the women more. Shouts of Waller's Dogs were soon followed by the women attacking the troopers. At first these men flayed about them with the flat of their swords but with the women still attempting to drag them off their mounts they started to use the edge. Quickly women started to be injured, some through cuts whilst others by being ridden down. This was enough to start to disperse the crowd but unfortunately not before a women who was passing on an errand was shot and killed. At least one other women died from wounds. The innocent passer by was shot by one of the troopers who was later arrested and charged with murder. Whammy two. His successful defence against the charge of murder? At the range the shot was fired, if he had aimed at the women he would have missed so hitting her had to be an accident!

Painting Challenge The End?

First figures entered in the Challenge.
So the Painting Challenge came to an end on Tuesday. I was more than happy with my final score of 900 and 11th place out of 24, roughly the position throughout the whole Challenge give or take a few places. My utter respect to all those that finished above, especially the top 5 as these guys produced high standards and just dominating quantities. My thanks and respect also go to Curt for running the show, the amount of work he had to do must have been just crazy. Two things really stood out right from the off, the sheer good will and friendship displayed was heart warming. Such a competitive lot us wargamers are it was a credit to us all that we really were supportive and pleased for each other. Secondly, the standard of painting was overall rather good and in the odd case stunning. I certainly enjoyed showing off my painted figures whilst fully aware that I was certainly rubbing shoulders with my peers.
I must confess to have had mixed feelings about the end run, much like a really good read. I could not wait to reach the end whilst wanting it to go on forever. As I have mentioned a few times before, painting is one of the few things I can do that does not make me more ill, but the level of painting in the last 10 days of the contest was really stretching my ability to keep at it. I was conscious that I should not push more than a set amount but at the same time I wanted just one more unit, just one more. The last three units painted was expected to be a unit or two too many as time was close to the end but in the end I managed to get all three finished with the last touches done just after taking the kids to school. I finished with 19 hours to spare! To do this I had to stop doing almost everything else. Blogging came to an almost stop. My other blog Wall Advantage was not posted on for 6 days, a first in about two years. No ASL other than a weekend game for a few hours. Yes it was all hands to the pump.
Now I already planned to have a very small break when the deadline was reached. The plan being to catch up with the other interests I have. I also needed to thank Cath with a nice home cooked meal as she has been very understanding and has followed closely this last three months. In all honesty I was shattered, cooking a meal added to it, but after two whole days I now have the next lot of figures cleaned up and base coated, all 108 of them. I guess it's a good job they are 6mm. Shamefully I have held off them till post challenge as the work to points ratio was not good enough. But I have had them next to the PC waiting till this day and whilst I am dog tired I can say I am looking forward to painting them more than I would have guessed.
I will be blogging the final entries in the challenge over the next few days.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

ECW Musket Balls

Whilst in the Sealed Knot we put on a muster at Newbury and as we often did we found ourselves down at the pub. I got talking to one of the locals who was really interested in the Civil War but was obviously disappointed with the distinct lack of knowledge of the average Knotter. So he was rather happy that I not only knew something of the period but actively wanted to chat about it. By the end of the night not only were both of us as tight as a drum but he was my new best friend! He was more than just interested in the Civil War he was keenly interested in the two Battles of Newbury and had visited the battle sights a good number of times. Would I be interested in a tour of one of them before the battle the following morning? Yes but it would have to be early and I would have to bring my hangover with me.
So next day EARLY saw me and this guy (I have forgot his name) walking around part of the battlefield and after he has given me the this happened here and that there for some time a twinkle came in his eye and out of his backpack he pulled a short spade, handing it to me he instructed me to dig. The photo's are the musket balls I dug out of the bank. Seems their is hundreds of the things in that area, so much that they are no value to the local historians or museums as they have so many already. For me it made my year and these balls remain one of my most savoured treasures.
I have taken the above pic for scale, these are 15mm Magister figures. The balls are various sizes, note the damage to some of them? Possible corrosion or possibly hit something on their way to the bank. These balls all but certainly missed their mark given that they were in the bank in the first place. Just one is almost perfect with a clear mold line round it. Also some of the dents would probably been from being chewed to make a better fit, though in these cases it seems the smaller balls are most pitted.
You wanted your ball to be as close a fit as possible to the muskets barrel as possible. If it was much smaller it would rattle down the barrel and be far less accurate. Consider at Marsten Moor that many pikes had their heads shot off through the enemy firing too high. This of course was early in the conflict and it was possible that the men firing the muskets were far less intent on killing their fellow man. Only later did it become a truly uncivil war. Oh and yes it's a great hangover cure.

Full on Impetus AAR.

Rules are funny things, the first game of Basic Impetus I felt was good and a possible challenge to Field of Glory. The second playing left me with a feeling of being cheated. The rules did not stack up and for me to play a third time I felt they needed some major surgery. Barry on the other hand felt better about the rules than the first sitting and decided to buy the full rules after all. I welcomed this as they would obviously fill in a few holes at least. I just was not interested given the high cost compared to FoG and by that point was happy with these rules. Once Barry had the rules he was full of how they did indeed fill gaps in the basic rules and how they brought in elements that was not even hinted at in the basic free rules. So I was looking forward to having a go at the full version and mentally committed to building an army of my own at some point. So finally we both are able to get a game in and we started off with a 300 point army which seems to be about the same as a 600 + point FoG army. What follows is a potted version of events.
Both armies line up. The Dacian army on the right is commanded by Barry whilst I get the Romans again, which is fine by me.
My army spread across the table, I had a few units tucked up as reserves and doubled up both legions to make large units. All my cavalry were positioned on my left, yep two light and one medium, just wow. I was using my casualty markers to represent my DVP, this was one less thing to look up so worked well. Barry used the down loadable casualty markers.
Barry placed all his horse on his right, he was playing hardball with a bunch of cataphracts. I was scarred, I mean two light horse and one medium. Reminds me of a Beatles song! I think Barry has a sponsorship deal going on as he slyly gets the rules into shot.
The table was a little small for the number of units on it which did lead to some straight in combat but it helped to speed up the game. Any larger and it's over to Maelstrom to use one of their tables. I only supplied the cloth and hills as Barry had not only supplied the two armies but also the down loadable terrain. Here I am about to test the rules for the first time as I try to get ahead by charging the skirmish bow troops Barry was annoying me with. I needed to do a double move, one to get round the brush and then charge home. To do more than a single move you need to pass a command test. I failed the test, this did not stop me charging but did disorder me.
Which led me to be the first player to loose a unit. My light horse needed a bit better than average dice but threw really badly, Barry rolled boxcars on his two dice causing two casualties. Now a Doors song is playing in my mind. Whilst I did not mind losing the unit too much it was the rolls that made me a little on edge. Not the poor rolling as such, no it was that you have to roll low on 1D6. Say you have a strength of 4 and loose 2 casualties then you need to roll 1-2 on a D6 not to loose a casualty. a 3 will loose you a single loss whilst a 5 would loose you three (6 would be 4). A 1 will always be a pass a 6 a fail. Th problem in my mind was that this one die roll could have drastic effect and did so during the game on more than one occasion.
Having lost one unit destroyed I now was facing a Super Heavy Cavalry armed with Lance whilst sitting on little more than donkeys with not so pointy sticks. Clearly I had issues. At least I could retire and not have to die but this was rather leaving my Medium Cavalry out to dry. My left was looking worry some. The middle was much better as Barry had kept all his troops in the centre away from my troops as he has to react to being within charge reach.
I started to move forwards in the centre and all the way over to my right flank moving the supporting Auxillia out wide. I drew the falkesmen as they failed a stand test and these charged forward. Barry at this point really needed to give his army it's head but held the rest in position. This was to prove a big mistake as whilst the Falkesmen are really nasty in the charge 5 DVP 5 Impetus and 2 extra for supporting rank for 12 dice, once I survived the contact he lost 5 dice! however I managed to throw Pilum to start reducing his rear rank and then with strong support on each flank was able to start to grind him down.
Meanwhile on my left I had to face the charge of the cataphracts into my medium cavalry. These stood up to it better than expected. Sure they were pushed back, sure I lost casualties but they did not break and with flank support ready to help out things looked fairly good.
After chasing off the skirmish troops in the centre the Auxillia were to far forward and exposed. Barry seized the opportunity and went after them. But in a series of bizarre roles I was able to repel the first attack even though I lost the original combat the casualty rolls were opposites. Bad for Barry and good for me. I failed the rally roll but was still forward and standing. Meanwhile the Falkesmen were being steadily reduced in strength as their number of dice continued to drop.
On my left I charged the Cataphacts in the flank causing first disorder then a retreat after winning the melee. Not enough to rid myself of them but enough to stall the attack in this area. Barry had sent all his Cataphracts through the area atop the hill and at the time I felt he should send some wide. This turned out to be true as he just did not have the space to attack freely and this was very much to my favour.
Close up of the moment the Dacians realised that yes that Legion had something to say. The coin's designed to be terrain markers pulled double duty as I used them to mark disorder.
A fresh charge from Barry finally brought the end to my Mediums game but in doing so had driven the Cataphracts further down my line and into the waiting arms of my Axillia. These would charge into the flank of these tanks on the hoof, something they would not enjoy.
The double regiment were forced to charge my double Legion (both his cavalry formations were forced to charge). I did fairly poor (OK I did total crap) with the pillum but made up for it in the melee removing the rear rank and leaving his horse fairly shattered.
Back in the centre, I was slowly losing the battle with my one axillia directly to the centre but at quite a cost to the Dacian Infantry. Just to the right of this though I was a little more speedy with the dispatch of the Dacians facing my Legions. I had support but also the flanking Axillia was now in position to move down the line and drive into the flank of any troops emerging from the reduction of the other Auxillia unit.
The Dacian Gods require a blood sacrifice, I went for a quick fix of a goat myself, seems in a sick version of Paper Scissors, goat wins. Failed to get a close up of the goat boys.
What was to be the end game. Barry was breaking through the middle on a single unit frontage (but would have 3 units to exploit) whilst the mauling of his Cavalry would have left him with two very weak units best running from contact as they were in real danger of being destroyed. My half of the centre and right was all mine. These would swing to face the three units coming through the line.
I still had plenty of units at full strength for the final fight, Barry was close to destruction and as such would have been wise to try and get away at this point. What he could have pulled out was questionable. For sure it was looking bad at table height.
From our point of view it was a blast. I am sure we did plenty wrong that will be picked up next time but really I don't much care as the overall day was about getting a feel for the rules and fun. Both were achieved. I still think that dice roll is really powerful but I believe you have a fate roll yo can use a few times which we did not this time. I can live with it though. These rules are not FoG and I am happy they are not. FoG have removed the written record of 6th Edition WRG but retain so much of the flavour and a game will always have an element of study. Impetus to me is far closer to DBM. It's a mark of how far DBM went away from 6th that two sets of rules can come out and feel so very different in their approach and yet fit between the two predecessors. I really have no issues playing the two newer rule sets, I have found my ancients grey matter replacement of 6th Ed whilst Impetus has kept all the fun that DBM promised but wrapped it up in a set of rules that seem to feel the period better. Of course this is first playing bliss, lets hope once the honeymoon has ended were still going at it!!!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Now Whats The Connection?

OK this image connects three things together rather well but what are they?

The thing is I am not sure it will help you if I tell you, but here goes. My Birthday, the Painting Challenge and repair of a tour bus.
OK I did warn you did I not? Want more help?
If you go to the painting challenge you will see my score. A whopping 666 points. I am so impressed I have even thought about not putting in my final entry for tomorrow, but then I thought the word final just sounds too risky so maybe I will after all. Next up my Birthday, what about it? Well it was yesterday, OK that may not help you, though on a follow on post I will let you into what I got wargames style. What I got that has nothing to do with painting was a couple of the more recent Maiden albums, Dance of Death and A Matter of Life and Death. Played both once today whilst er, painting, sound OK but yet to get into them. So the tour bus? Well legend has it when on tour the bus broke down and the repair bill was £666, they insisted on paying a different amount, though I don't know if it was more or less.
Once the challenge is over I have a great AAR to file of the first full Impetus game Barry and I have played. Enough now is to say it was a real fun game.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

OK I have decided to keep with the ECW theme a little and try to post some little bits that most won't know and I have a real shocker that was covered up for Religious harmony. To this day it has been covered up almost exclusively, but that as they say is for another day.
If you talk about rifled barrels you often think of Green Jacketed British Riflemen. If your of the fairer sex it may well be Shaun Bean in his tight britches. Whilst I am not claiming that my example is the first use nor is it likely to be the one most people (read many people) think of but I think it's the most interesting!!!
Prince Rupert received a brace of pistols and was showing them to his Uncle. Being a bit of a show off he took aim at the Metal Cockerel atop of Colchester Cathedral (I think I remember this right) and fired. The bullet hit his mark and his Uncle declared it the most lucky shot and wagered he could not do the same again. Rupert took up his second pistol and again hit his mark. The King was so impressed he not only paid the bet but bought a pair of pistols for himself.
These pistols had a screw on barrel that had to be taken off to load it. The bullet (a lead ball) was larger than the hole at the end of the barrel but at the other end it was wider. The barrel tapered down to the exit and also had groves cut into the barrel that spiralled around the inside of the barrel. The combination of the rifling and the reduced size of the barrel both span the ball and added to the exit speed. This combination meant that the ball would both travel further but also straighter. The draw backs were the cost of a set of these pistols and the time it would take to reload. These were more fashion items that weapons for the battlefield. Still it pre-dated the 37L ATG of the Germans which used exactly the same principle.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Sealed Knot, A Historical Mystery And A Need To Pee

OK I just know I have your interest now. But what has all these things got in common? Well for those who don't know, The Sealed Knot is one of two English Civil War reenactment societies based in the UK. They were formed by Brigadier Peter Young to promote one of his books (Edgehill I think) and from promotion work to charity work was a little bit of a long journey but lots of beer was spilt and blood drunk between. Er, or maybe the other way round! Anyways, the SK grew to become rather large and amongst it's membership was a number of part time historian's, you know the type, the ones the real historians loath with a vengeance (well some do for sure, paging Mr Newman). Well you won't have noticed but many sets of Back and Breast are missing a single Tasset (leg armour that hangs from the Brest plate as shown above). This means a lot of Back and Brests in Stately Homes tend to be missing Tassets. As many soldiers would discard their tassets as soon as they could on campaign this is no surprise. The issue is that it was almost always the right tasset that was missing and mostly from Garrisoned sets. The Professional Historians had yet to figure out why but it was at one of many musters that the mystery was solved. As SK members started to buy armour it became like mini arms race. My Regiment (The Kings Lifeguard) soon found that having the whole front rank in armour put the fear on anyone tasked with taking us on. We were the biggest Regiment in the Knot and were known at the time for being tough to fight. Anyway I digress, imagine the scene. It is Sunday morning, some of us will have made it to our tents sometime between midnight and dawn, some of us may well have had a drink or two. You tend to form up at least an hour before you march onto the battlefield and the public eye. So maybe just maybe you want a pee? So imagine the scene, 20-40 men in B&B with tassets on all pissing for all we were worth. Every one of us had lifted up our left tasset so that we could get to our friend and point him at, well bushes mostly! I always had a horrible image of dropping the tasset as they almost joined down the middle!!!!!! Anyway, why is this relevant? Even with a slight wind, that right tasset got somewhat splashed. Pee is corrosive you know and repeated leaks would have a steady effect. Why Garrison troops? These not only fail to discard their tassets (and are often forced to wear them, more so the less likely they were to be attacked) but these guys often stood round for hours and often relieved themselves at their posts.
As a quick note, my tassets shown above could also give rise to a second and possibly more correct reason for the ruin of a tasset. Mine was stored with the rusty one under the none rusty one, both in the same good condition. It is clear to see the result. I question this though as a greater mix of odd tassets would be rusted rather than almost always the right one.
At a later point I will do another post on my observations of wearing Armour.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I know why Camels Spit!!!

OK I am not looking at a gift horse in the mouth but I have been working through the figures that Martin gave me late last year. Lots of clean up work is needed to take them back to the start for the part painted stuff. No issues there but I do have a slight problem. I have 10 camels. The only reason this is an issue is that I need 12. So if anyone out there has a couple of 15mm camels they are willing to sell me I would be interested. Obviously I will buy a full pack of camels if none turn up, I mean the only other figures I have needed to buy so far has been one pack of command and I need some Gaul infantry (I think I have the Cav) but for less that £10 I will have almost a complete army so no grumbles at all.
This all comes about as I have started painting some of the figures that Martin supplied. I really want to get away from just 28mm and as I am working on 16 28mm Brit's I wanted some space. As I get more and more into FoG I want to expand what I have. I still need a few bits to finish off the Persian Army but it's very close. To complete I still need 14 more packs of Persian Cav, that's a fair amount given the amount I already have but you know I think I will do it.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Early Days (Oh What Fun We Had)

How about this for a blast from the past. My wife was looking through some old photo's yesterday and came across this gem from when I was about 16 years old. Taken at my parents house. In fact four of us are in the photo, three of us continue to this day with some form of gaming (could be all four of us but I lost contact with the guy leaning on the wall). My old N gauge train layout was often used for 1/72 scale battles. Books were used for hills, we used a very basic home grown rules for the most part. Line of Sight is being checked by me with a periscope my father had made (also great for getting you right into the action). The one thing it was above all else was a great deal of fun. If only we could still capture the raw enjoyment of those heady days.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

WIP well sort of.

I am in the final stages of three groups of figures all so very different. First up the 28mm Germans, these have just received a wash of GW Devlan Mud and just need a few touch ups then it's varnish time. Based but needing flock work is a couple of 6mm wagons I picked up on e-bay late last year and had been on the painting desk waiting. Last up is my camp for FoG, this now needs varnish and tufts to finish it off. So three projects close to the end.
Talking of close to the end the Painting Challenge ran by Curt at Analogue Hobbies will finish soon. Come 20th of March we have to have our last items in for scoring and that will be it for this year. Curt has done a great job with this, I am not sure he realised how much work it would be this time and I am sure it has increased my output which is one of the main aims of the challenge. I have to admit seeing the quantity and quality put out by fellow bloggers has been fantastic. I hope he runs it next year and would love to take part again. As I finish the three lots above I have to decide what to paint next. I need to do 12 British 28's to go with the Germans etc. but I also have several other units vying for attention. I really want to start on some of the figures Martin gave me last year, this in part because Lee having also gone down the Macedonian route means I don't have to hurry with the straight Macedonian army but as both armies share units it is not to difficult to change track some. I also bought figures not so long ago that demand attention, also 15mm Ancients. Last up I have all those 6mm French Infantry that demand my time. I am keeping an eye on the finish line of the contest and the need to crack on with the Sniper project so I think later will see me with a bunch of 28mm and 15mm on the prep table. Once these figures are done then I will treat myself to a few bases of 6mm.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Voices From Stalingrad Book Review

I am a big fan of Stalingrad as most WWII wargamers are. The shear scale of the butchery and tragic end for the German soldiers who were captured just has a great deal going for it. As such I have read a good many books on the subject from really good to rather pathetic. My expectations from Voices from Stalingrad was fairly low. I picked it up for a couple of pounds from a bargain bookshop for starters but also I am not the biggest fan of the history through others mouths kind of book. I like quotes and use of extracts but I just am not a fan of quotes making up the books substance. Jonathan Bastable though, manages to tread a line between over use of quotes whilst keeping the first person perspective strong. The book starts with the usual potted history of Hitlers move to the East and war up to the drive on Stalingrad and then through the encirclement through drive through the shattered city and then the counter attacks on the flanks and envelopment of the trapped German forces. Then on to the slow steady starvation of the German forces and eventual surrender and the effects on the city afterwards. in many ways it is a shame that he did not cover the German prisoners fate and the return of the few who made it back years later. A shame as Bastable captures the human element really well. he seems to have equal compassion for the Russian families bombed out of their houses, as for the trapped Germans in the freezing rubble as well as the Russian troops holding out in such places as the Grain Elevator or Pavlov's House.
This is the crux of the book and what it gives beyond the typical voices type of book. He connects you to the people who wrote the original lines and he seems to have been fairly choosy with what he included. It's not all rhetoric (though it has it's say as well) and whilst he removed the names of most of the German soldiers comments it was still poignant when you then read that the writer was killed and the letter had been taken from the body etc. What really makes this book work is what Bastable actually writes between the first hand accounts. His words hold the story in place and keeps the reader well informed of the bigger picture that influenced the writer at the time. Also you do not feel that he has a axe to grind, he comes across as neutral, some what at odds with to many who seem to have to play down the evil of one of the two regimes so that they can set the other up as the bad guy. Given the record of both sides in the war I would say it's best to keep away from such nonsense. It is good to see this being the case here.
Amazon have the book in the UK for £6.56 new and a cracking 88p second hand. Well worth a look at if WWII is your thing and if like me, the Russian Front remains your hot spot, then just get it, you will enjoy.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Two Months in.

Well the year continues to roll on. Seems a good point to access where I am at. I am not unhappy with my painting progress and the Painting Challenge has a little to do with this. More in fact in shaping what I have painted rather than the numbers of items done. Though it has increased my output, but less so than I expected. I already knew I was a fairly slow painter but I am middle of the pack but most of the guys in front are double and more then points in front of me and they are doing it with excellent painting, so it's a little humbling. No bad thing.
Figures bought.
Well I used the last of my Christmas money to buy some more Magister Militum 15mm, mostly for the Macedonian Army but also a few bits for the Persian. Vast majority of the money I have spent has been on the ASL sniper project, I would say £80-90 on figures and £25+ on paints. Now add the £40 on bases £8 on tufts and you get the picture. The plan has always been to sell these and get the money back, basically painting these up should allow my hobby to be cost free as I can't fund it beyond Birthday and Christmas money. Well the good news is I have plenty of interest and it looks that this will work out how I hoped it would. At present it takes up more painting time than I really want to commit to it but once I have the Japanese and Brits done to a point I will back off a little. Overall I have a lot more unpainted figures that I like (discounting the pile Martin gave me which scews the figure beyond reason).
Games Bought.
Bought A Euro with Christmas funds in Jan, still yet to play it, big black mark!!!
Also had bought for me WO 2012 Pack, three scenarios and a double board for ASL. This from another Martin, as each year three of us have taken it in turns to buy the packs and it was his turn. Already played one from it 2 days after it landed!!
Awaiting Festung Budapest, an historical Mod for ASL, with a major price tag of £100 but this was the majority of old ASL funds, and the biggest chunk of Christmas monies (yep no presents LOL).
Last up was Action Pack 8 for ASL paid for by the credit I had on my Visa Card from their points system. Just starting one of the scenarios from this.
Stuff Painted.
February is a short month so you can expect a drop off and sure enough I believe I have painted less but it's been just about all 28mm. The exception is the 6mm Nap wagons and the 15mm camp for FoG, both need basing and varnishing but I am reasonably pleased with my output considering I am far more tired at the moment that I was towards the end of Jan and start of Feb.
To say I have slowed down a little this month I was pleasantly surprised to see I have again had a higher number of page views this month than last. That's every month since the start. Disappointed I have not gained more followers but grateful for all those that have signed up. As with my other blog I get far more visits that the number of followers would sustain so plenty lurk which is fine.
Not as many as I would have liked. After a good start in Jan the ASL has tumbled down, as I expected before the year started I have failed to keep pace with last year despite having much more time, even close would be a surprise. I have had to cancel a number of games due to not being up to it, ASL though you sit down really makes you think and that grinds me down quickly.
Figures wise, not as many as hoped for. Lee is on target for where I thought we would be, but Barry and I have managed just one last month, though we hope to start March nice and early with Impetus.
Looking forward I have 18 more days of the Challenge so hope to go out with a charge of painting, I want to start the Seleucid army so may well dive into them as they piggy back the Macedonian Army anyway. Only thing I think that army needs that I don't already own is the Gauls, I may well pick them up come May.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

And The Winner Is.....................

Early in February I reviewed Crete by Antony Beevor and offered a second copy as a giveaway prize. With the help of Joseph my 5 year old we have picked the winner. Joseph rolled the dice in random selection and Lee Hadley (Big Lee) came out the winner. Lee if you could get in touch with me at ian_willey at hotmail dot com with your address I will get it in the post to you. Well done and I hope everyone else will not be too crushed by the experience of losing :-)