Monday, May 30, 2011

A Tiny Renaissance

Inspired by the Bert Fegg guys' American Civil War display game at Triples, I decided to have a go at a diorama-style 6mm scale unit. The result was this French crossbow unit of the late 15th - early 16th century period. They are based on a 60mm x 30mm base which seems a good compromise style for Renaissance POW or perhaps Impetus.

I've added Irregular Miniatures pavises to the front edge and then between the strips of figures (also Irregular) I've added one of my home-sculpted-and-cast casualty bases and a partly shattered pavise made from thin plastic card.

At the same time I decided to base up some figures I got from Alan Slater. Alan's fantasy pikemen have become Swiss by the simple expedient of repainting the flags. Alongside the national banner this lot carry the white over blue colours of Lucerne.

Finally, I knocked up a command element from some spare figures (again Irregular). I'd originally planned to use 30mm squares for commanders but I've switched to 40mm as it leaves more room to fit in extras like, in this case, a tent.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back to the Royal

Saturday 25th June sees the return of the Hordes of the Things Royal Tournament to our local pub, the Royal Hotel in Dungworth. 10 am start, we should be finished by 5pm.

This is a friendly little tournament (though I say it myself) and well suited to people who want to try their hands at HOTT for the first time. Rob Connolly, for example, played his first ever games of HOTT at the last event (and didn’t come last!)

The tournament is organised on the Swiss chess system pitting those at the top of the table of wins against each other while the less successful players meet each other. This way everyone gets enjoyable, challenging games and no-one plays the same opponent twice.

We’ll be playing four, one-hour games of HOTT with a break for Dave’s excellent pies at lunchtime. Oh, and you should know that the Royal is CAMRA listed so the beer’s good too!

Let me know if you’re interested. We can provide loaner armies for anyone who wants to give HOTT a try.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Every Man a Valuev

Among the stuff I bought at Triples was a couple of strips of Soviet artillery crew to go with the 180mm gun I need for a forthcoming game. I generally like Scotia's micro models and I'm sad to have to criticise them for a dodgy job but I feel obliged to warn you off these models.

The picture shows the Scotia figures (left) against part of a strip of Heroics and Ros WW2 German infantry (right).

As you can see, these guys are tall; about 7.5mm tall. This makes them 2.25m (or about 7'4") tall in real life. That's a little bit bigger than the bizarre-looking and famously hulking heavyweight boxer Nikolai Valuev.

To be honest, the sculpting isn't that great either - some of the proportions are just plain wrong. The figure holding binoculars is 6mm elbow to elbow but slightly less than 4mm tall at the waist.

Sorry, Scotia, these guys aren't going to find their way into my Soviet army. They may get painted up as some kind of sci fi troops for Future War Commander.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Triples Today

I always try to get along to Sheffield Wargames Society's big convention and managed one day this year (I was watching my daughter handbell ringing in North Yorkshire on Saturday).

It takes me ages to get round the Triples venue these days - so many people to meet and chat with but it's always a pleasure to do so. I particularly enjoyed a chat with the Mosborough Old Boys over their very attractive 15mm ECW set-up.

I spent quite some time admiring Phil Gray and friends' rather impressive 6mm scale American Civil War game. This was a feast for the eyes:

I'm particularly inspired to pinch some of their ideas for presenting unit bases as mini dioramas.

I always make a point of playing the latest game by the Wargames Developments Northern Display Team of John Armatys, Tim Gow, Nick Mitchell and Jerry Elsworth. This year it was "Better Red Than Dead" in which the hapless players tried to survive from the Russian Revolution to Operation Barbarossa as (initially at least) junior officers in the Red Army. I think I managed to die twice but at least I avoided the Gulag! My final character got captured by the Germans in 1941 and, as a Party member, was shot out of hand.

The pic below shows Tim running the game - silly hats were obligatory. For those of you interested in such things that's Jerry in the background (blue shirt) and the modern, slimline Phil Gray in the distance (number 67).
Shopping-wise I was fairly restrained. I managed to pick up a copy of David Mondey's American Aircraft of World War II (thus completing my set). I bought some Valleo paints and some Scotia micro armour from the Baggage Train and found some very good value WW2 micro stuff on the bring and buy. For less than four quid I came away with six 6pdrs and enough loyd Carriers to tow them, seven Bren Carriers, and a company each (in Tac WW2 terms) of M4A4 Shermans, Comets, RAM Kangaroos, Priest Kangaroos, and Churchill AVREs.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Painting for Prophet

Today (May 20th) is Everyone Draw Mohammed Day - a day dedicated to the proposition that religious beliefs should not be allowed to over-rule freedom of speech. I could have drawn a stick-man prophet but I thought you'd rather see an attempt at a white metal leader of the forces of Islam.

So here he is - the leader of the Hejaz Arabs in the early 7th century.

Mohammed is the figure on the left on the white horse. The figures are by Irregular Miniatures and are in 1/300th scale so Mo and his horse stand about 1cm tall. When he's not busy laying down the law in seventh century Arabia, he'll serve as a general in my 18th century Ottoman Turkish army.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On the Workbench - Reivers

I've said before that I want to get my East Riding Miniatures 15mm Border Reivers finished before I go on holiday to Melrose in the summer. The problem is I can't sustain the enthusiasm. They just aren't very good figures.

I've had these minis half completed for some time now. How long? Well, a search on the archives of the HOTT Yahoogroup reveals that I had them part-painted in September 2003! As I recall even at that stage they'd been around for a while.

The problems with the figures include some rather muddy casting; in particular the separate arms on some of the mounted figures where hand and, rather blobby, lance blend into one another and where the arm and shoulder socket don't fit well. Also, some of the figures came with Essex Miniatures horses. These work very nicely and provide a variety of poses. The ERM horses, on the other hand have saddles with very high fronts and backs onto which the riders won't seat properly because of their cloaks. All of the painted figures in the picture above are on Essex horses.

Time, I guess, to read George MacDonald Fraser's The Steel Bonnets again in the hopes of firing what's left of my enthusiasm.

Some More Wolf Pirates

The Wolf Pirate project keeps chugging along slowly. I need twenty one figures for the whole army; three personalities - Harrek, Gunda and Argrath - and eighteen rank and file pirates.

Seven assorted pirates are now done. I'll base the whole army in one go when they're all finished.
Above - three Wolf Pirates of Heortling extraction.

Below - a more exotic selection: a Vormaini, a Sartarite Humakti, a Pamaltelan former gladiator, and a Fonritan archer.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bridge Demolition part 2

Game Turn 4 - Rob brings his infantry on down the north-western road. In the centre the Lorrainers await the onslaught. The square on the right of the picture is a "formed movement base" indicating the presence of as-yet-unidentified VFS troops. It will later turn out to be a dummy.

The Lorraine cavalry brigade crosses a hill on the right flank; Gendarmerie du Roi followed by Allemand Cavalry.

A turn (with only one initiative point rolled) later, the cavalry begin to turn towards the enemy.

Von Tarlenheim is clearly alarmed by this threat to his left flank.

The action on the VFS left flank develops. The Lorraine cavalry have deployed into loose order lines (I should probably have gone for close order) but unfortunately they have not managed to catch the VFS infantry before they too managed to deploy into line.

The Gendarmerie du Roi are shattered by the VFS infantry's fire. With Dreyse bullets flying around them the survivors break for the rear at top speed!
Meanwhile on the left, the Regiment Dillon retire shaken from VFS fire.

Their colleagues, however, have delayed the advance of the main VFS infantry force. By the end of game turn 8 (when time again beat us) it was clear that the Lorrainers would be in a position to blow the bridge before the VFS forces could take it. It would, however, be a damned close run thing disengaging and getting the rearguard back across the river!

Altogether, though, a very enjoyable game. I think we're getting the hang of POW.