Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trip to Vapnartak

With Jamie being in York and with Vapnartak falling so close to my birthday, we usually meet up there so I can buy myself some pressies.  However, this weekend was the only one when Jamie could get himself combat-certified with his new re-enactment group - The Vikings - before the upcoming Jorvik Viking Festival. This meant that I had a somewhat speedy afternoon whizz round the event before meeting Jamie for tea.

Vapnartak was therefore mainly a shopping trip and very much focussed on my current obsession with Lion Rampant.

Star purchases for me were these painted, if rather battered, Dark Ages types.

There are about thirty figures and I reckon they'll do nicely as sub-Roman types...

...two units of foot and one of horse...

I also had chat with Annie the Dice Bag Lady as I purchased a pack of shield maidens from her.  It turns out we share the same birthday.  The four shield maidens I bought are dark ages in style and I plan to incorporate them into a mixed unit of town-dwellers and armed slaves (probably serfs in Lion Rampant terms).  They are currently on the workbench being glued together and undercoated.  Photos when they're in a fit state to be seen.

A useful source for the Sub-Roman Gaul project is Tim Newark's The Barbarians. This has some very nice colour plates (pictures in its sister volume Medieval Warlords inspired the project in the first place).   I managed to pick up a second hand copy for a fiver.

Finally in the way of purchases, and also now on the workbench, I bought a blister pack of six Italian Mercenary Crossbowmen from the Perry Miniatures stand.  These will go straight into my Burgundian retinue when painted.  I did consider painting them as ordonnance soldiers but several features of their dress are distinctively Italian and I figure as mercenaries they'll be more flexible.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Fleet in Being

Before I report on Sunday's trip to Vapnartak in York I should update you on the status of the ships Jamie bought me at last year's Vapnartak.

This is the collection of British ships I need to cover the two 1914 actions at Coronel and the Falkland Islands.  I also have the German flotilla but they still need a little work.

The models are in 1/3000th scale from Navwar and MY.  They are based for Perfidious Albion.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Washed Viking

The block painted Viking...

 ... has now been given a good coat of the Vallejo Sepia wash.  This is what we get:

It's far from being a miniature masterpiece but I think he'd look OK as part of a Saga Warband or a Lion Rampant retinue.  He may well serve as an Armorican Bacaudus when I get to that stage.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

On the Workbench: a sort of Viking

Having recently invested in a bottle of Vallejo Game Colour sepia wash I'm looking into the possibilities of block painting figures with a somewhat brighter palate than I'd use for pre-modern figures.  This Prince August barbarian is one such.

More to come when I've had a go with the wash.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lion Rampant Game 1 - The Messenger

With my beloved out doing the Government's bidding on some covert mission (no, really!) and with our daughter watching a film in the living room, I had on Saturday evening a first chance to get the newly recruited Lion Rampant forces onto the table for a solo run-through of the rules.

The forces were my Swiss:

  • Two units of Pike (Expert Foot Serjeants)
  • One of halberds (Fierce Foot)
  • One of skirmishers (Bidowers)

... and some cobbled together Burgundians backed by Irish mercenaries:

  • One unit of mounted men at arms (what it says on the tin)
  • One unit of ordonnance archers (Expert Archers)
  • One unit of Burgundian hand gunners (Bidowers)
  • Two units of Irish kern (both Bidowers).

Both retinues total 18 points (a little smaller than the standard recommended for the game).

I randomly allocated personalities to the leaders.  The Swiss leader was sly - he could refuse a challenge from his opposite number without the risk of Courage tests by his retinue.  This seemed appropriate for the Swiss who tended to led by somewhat bourgeois committees rather than by nobles with an upbringing soaked in tales of chivalry.

The Burgundian leader was strong and should have been able to reroll one missed to hit roll each time his unit attacked.  I say "should have" because I forgot to do this on at least one occasion (not that it made much difference to the result as it turned out).

I also randomly rolled up the scenario after I'd set up the terrain:

The scenario was "The Messenger" - the Swiss, randomly chosen as attackers, had to get a messenger figure from bottom right to top left corner of the table as pictured above.  The Burgundians could enter a maximum of 6 points of units bottom left with the remainder coming on top right.

Lion Rampant has a strict 3" between units rule and this meant that the deployment zones were too small to fit the whole Swiss retinue.  One of the Pike units would have to dice to come on later.

The Burgundian main deployment area (there was just a single unit of men at arms in the other) was similarly cramped with the added inconvenience of a cabbage field (bad going) encroaching into it.

The first game turn passed in about twenty seconds as both sides failed their first activation of the turn (play passes to the opposing player in most cases where a unit fails to activate).  Eventually, though, the Swiss managed to get moving. Foreground below, in the green coat, is the messenger escorted by the Swiss halberdiers.

The Swiss even managed to bring on their fourth unit, with the retinue leader among them!

Within a  few turns the halberdiers (and the messenger) had reached the crossroad at the middle of the table.  The Burgundian commander had pushed forward his bidowers  to occupy areas of cover but his longbowmen were still slogging through the cabbage field while the men at ames hadn't moved at all despite several calls to do so!  Men at arms in Lion Rampant are reluctant to go swanning around the battlefield getting their armour dirty but put an opponent in front of them and then you'll see them motor!

Unfortunately for the Swiss, this was the moment at which the Burgundian leader seemed to wake up.  At last the men at arms began to trundle forward with the halberdiers in their sights.

The men at arms were represented by an Impetus element from my Wars of the Roses collection:

There was no cover available to help the halberdiers, just a lone tree at the crossroads.

The Swiss commander tried to interpose his lead pike unit between the knights and the halberdiers...

... but every time he tried to move them God decreed that the dice rolls were insufficient.  God's like that: He hates the Swiss.

Very shortly later the Burgundian knights slammed into the halberdiers immediately killing three of them for no loss and driving them back to cower around the crossroads tree.

At this point the folly of placing the messenger in the hands of the halberdiers became somewhat apparent.  Yes, they're fast and powerful in combat but they're also bat-shit crazy!  Faced by a unit of armoured and mounted knights preparing to return to the fray, the halberdiers hoisted their weapons, let out a mighty battle-cry and charged! The Burgundians were apparently surprised as they failed to counter-charge.

This time the factors were far more favourable to the Swiss and in the end both sides took one casualty.  Ooh, and with the Burgundian leader among the knights and the messenger in with the halberdiers we must roll for lucky blows. On snake eyes the character in question would be lost.

And look what the Burgundians rolled:

Game Over! Five points of Glory to the Burgundians!

Total casualties for the Swiss were three hand-gunners taken out by Irish javelins from behind a hedge, three halberdiers killed in the initial cavalry charge, and the unfortunate messenger.  The Burgundians lost a single, unnamed man at arms.

I very much enjoyed the game.  It looked fine, moved along at a good pace, and certainly encourages me to keep up the efforts to get to 24 point retinues for both sides. 

More Flea Market Finds

The flea market near my office continues to throw up interesting finds.  My latest purchase was these two Thomas the Tank Engine pieces for the very acceptable sum of one pound! The Andreivian Armenian T-55 is for scale purposes only.

The helicopter landing pad is too small for its advertised purpose in 20mm scale but it may find a use in some future sci-fi or pulp complex.

The hangar has a nice corrugated roof and would be fine as a modern farm building.  I'll need to weather it and change the name above the door, perhaps to that of some Andreivian agri-business?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Irish Kern

The latest unit to be dragged from the obscurity of unused storage is this clump of Irish kern.

I bought them some years ago.  Can't remember which manufacturer they are by.  They've done good service as Sartarites in games of Gloranthan Hordes of the Things and Basic Impetus Fantasy but now they will return to their historical identity as a unit of Lion Rampant Fierce Foot (or perhaps two units of Bidowers).

These guys match pretty well the sources I've seen for sixteenth century Irish troops.  I'd like to use them as Irish mercenaries in fifteenth century Europe to bulk up my Swiss and forthcoming Burgundians but I've not come across any evidence to justify this yet.  More research needed.