Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fifth Century Gaul Here I Come!

Since I got my copy of Lion Rampant at Christmas last year I've been in an unprecedentedly productive period as far as 28mm figures are concerned.  As well as having produced two completed forces for the fifteenth century Burgundian-Swiss Wars, I've now completed 20 points aside for my Bacaudae project.

As I've said before, I plan to run a Lion Rampant Campaign set in fifth century Armorica (western Gaul; modern Brittany).  First up are the Bacaudae themselves; rebels, revolutionaries, reactionaries against Germanic settlement?  Who knows?

The main body of the force currently consists of two units of Bacaudae foot troops.  They are  mixture of models; mostly Foundry but at least one Gripping Beast and several Bad Squiddo shield maidens. 

There's also a unit of skirmishers, one of whom has one of the early cross-bows in use in the Late Roman period. 

In a change of plan from my original force design, the Bacaudae are now to be reinforced by some Sarmatian allies; these six Warlord Games cataphracts.

Finally, these mounted bacaudae are stiffened by a couple more Sarmatians.

Their opponents are the forces of law and order in western Gaul, the local military representatives of the crumbling Roman Empire.

Made up mostly of the contents of a box of Gripping Beast plastic Late romans, the force has a legionary unit, two units of Auxilia (one with spears and the other archers) and a small unit of skirmishers.  They are backed up by a mounted group of Alans.  These last are probably in the process of being settled in the area in exchange for future military service.

On both the legionaries (above) and the auxilia palatina (below) I've replaced the over-thick cast-on plastic spears with wickedly sharp steel wire ones.

The skirmishers bear, period-appropriate I believe, appliqué designs on their uniforms.

The Alans have appeared before, though at the time I may have planned for them to be Huns.  Here they are again for completeness.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

On the Workbench

Nothing much has been finished recently but there's plenty nearing completion as I draw to the end of creating forces to play Lion Rampant set in fifth century sub-Roman Gaul (the Bacaudae project).

These two Sarmatian cataphracts are the last two of eight from the Warlord Games boxed-set.

Lion Rampant uses six-strong units for cavalry so these guys are spare.  I plan to use them as Sarmatians stiffening an otherwise poorly trained and ill-equipped mounted unit of Bacaudae rebels.

The other horsemen are being constructed using spare horses I've had for decades and parts of Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors.

This first guy uses a Gripping Beast upper body and sword arm and a GB Late Roman helmeted head.  The lower torso and legs and the Roman-style saddle horns are sculpted from Green Stuff.  Oh and there's a sword scabbard from one of the Perry medieval sets.

The next guy sits on an already-Roman horse (an old Lamming casting I believe).  Again, upper body, shield, arm and head from Gripping Beast, home-sculpted abdomen and legs.

Further to the Bacaudae project, and actually finished, are these skirmishers.

They are mostly Foundry with one of Annie Norman's shield maidens and a crossbowman of unknown heritage.

Finally, we have these Numidians.  I have twelve of these old-school figures to resurrect. They'll eventually give my four units for To The Strongest or Basic Impetus.

Monday, November 21, 2016

More Speedy Andreivians

Further additions to the speed painted Andreivian infantry are these chaps. An NCO, two privates and a mounted officer.

The mounted officer is from the Airfix Foreign Legion box.  He rides a horse that came, I think, from the same manufacturer's French Cuirassiers.  All I've done is removed the neck curtain from his kepi.

The remaining figures are simply more repaints.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Down Among the Fishes

The latest addition to the models for next years Crisis Point is this mini-sub.

It's made from the upper hull of the cheap plastic toy canoe seen in a previous post.

The conning tower was built up out of heavy grade paper over sandwiched layers of foamcore.

The periscope is cocktail stick on a glass bead.  The schnorkel is a length of plastic rod.  Various bits of plastic provide detail inside the conning tower.

The crew are from Revell.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Andreivian Artillery

The latest addition to my 1918 Andreivia forces is some artillery and its accompanying supply wagon.

The supply wagon is a Lledo milk-float with an added tissue paper canvas cover.  The driver is from a pack of figures I got from the bring and buy at an old SOTCW event many years ago.  I think they might be Crimean War era British.

The gun is a French 75mm Mle1897 by Raventhorpe.  Up to now it's been serving I'm my 1940 French army but I have some unbuilt pneumatic-tyres 75s so the French will get those instead.  Again, the unidentified gunner figures.  They were painted in the same colour as the infantry (khaki with a sepia wash) but with chocolate brown busbies with cobalt blue bags.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Messing about with boats

As I continue working towards an early twentieth century Andreivia collection I've finished off an Arab dhow that's been half-done for many years.

Very much a representative war games toy rather than a detailed scale model, it's built using a template from Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial Wargames Site.  The materials were thin card from the back of an A4 pad, corrugated cardboard, scraps of balsa wood, a piece of dowel, a barbecue skewer, some tissue and some fine thread.  Oh and a piece of brass wire for the tiller.

This boat will provide transport for a band of Arab smugglers who may well show up in post-WW1 Andreivia.

Also on the workbench is this:

It's a canoe that I bought from Poundland with a large scale toy commando figure.  I originally bought it for the lower hull, which I thought would convert into a 20mm scale boat but I'm now having thoughts about the upper hull too.  More later on this.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

More X-Wing

Andy came over on Monday evening and we had a game of X-Wing.  This was Andy's first game and my first non-solo game using the full rules.

We played with the models continued in the basic set; two TIE fighters and an X-Wing.  As per the rulebook these were piloted by "Obsidian Squadron Pilot", "Night Beast", and Luke Skywalker respectively.  It occurred to me after I'd changed over the card inserts on the bases that swapping between Obsidian Squadron Pilot and the even lower-skilled guy I'd been set up for previously was pointless as the only difference was between two pilot skills that meant either pilot would have moved first and fired last in this game.

We played across the kitchen table on the suitably coloured back-side of a Games Workshop battlemat.  Andy took the Imperials and rapidly learned the value of a well-timed Koiogan turn (an Immelman or split-S for those of you who remember SPI's Air War).  In the pic below he's acquired a stress token as a result of pulling one to give him a shot at Luke.

Combat was a hell of a lot easier for me as I had two targets and hence twice the chance of finding one of them in my firing arc when the combat phase came around.  In the pic below I could shoot at either as ships don't block line of sight.  I chose to shoot at the nearer TIE fighter though I had a target lock-on to the other.  Unlike TIE fighters, X-Wings have the ability to lock-on and you can retain the lock-on whilst engaging another ship so I saved it for a later shot.

In the course of several such passes I took a couple of hits which caused my shields to go down (another bonus for the X-Wing user; TIE fighters are faster and more manoeuvrable but lack shields) whilst scoring hits on both of Andy's ships.  One of the hits was a critical, in this case Blinded Pilot meaning Andy had to shoot at me once without causing any effect before he could recover his vision.

In the end I think it was Luke's superior skill (rather than mine) that won out.  Although moving last isn't much of an advantage (you lock your move in before you know what the enemy is going to do) the ability to barrel roll after moving can be useful.  On one occasion I was able to roll such that Andy's TIE Fighter remained in my arc of fire but I just slipped out of his.  This and the ability to choose whether to Focus or Lock-on after seeing where the enemy ends up was very powerful in this set-up.

All-in-all I like this game.  It's got to be taken on it's own terms; as a simulation of the movies, not a simulation of "real" space combat. But on that basis it's a good short game for a relaxed evening with friends or family.  I think a multi-player melee (what Neil McDougall would call a "grand rammy") is called for.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Speed Painted Andreivians

These early 20th century Andreivian soldiers began Monday evening as Airfix French Foreign Legionaires who had been badly daubed with gloss paint by a previous owner.  They ended Wednesday evening as you see them.

I stuck the figures to pennies (2p coins for the officers) first and glooped the bases with coloured tile grout.  When the grout was half dry I gave each figure an undercoat-cum-basecoat with Vallejo Khaki.  The skin is Humbrol Acrylics Matt Flesh, the puttees and the blankets around the backpacks were painted with Vallejo Medium Sea Grey.  Boots and belts are black, wood Flat Brown, metalwork silver and black in various mixes (all Vallejo).  Finally, the figures got a generous wash with slightly watered-down Vallejo Sepia Wash.

The bases got my usual mix of browns dry brushed with Iraqi Sand before the application of static grass and flock.

Actually, I'm wrong, one of them clearly wasn't French but came instead from the Airfix WW1 Germans set.  A khaki uniform and blue and yellow colour flashes help integrate him with the rest of the platoon.

These guys will see action at Crisis Point 2017, which takes place over the weekend of 8th, 9th April at Dungworth Green Hall, near Sheffield.  There's plenty of room for more players.  Don't worry if 20mm isn't your thing.  You don't need to bring toys; just come and play.

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Galaxy Far Far Away

My colleague Geoff Taylor has very kindly lent me his Star Wars X-Wing collection to supplement my recently purchased starter pack.  I've been trying out the rules solo.  I have found them good.

Good, that is, as  representation of spaceship combat as depicted in the Star Wars films.  You need a very healthy dose of suspension of disbelief to counteract the fact that the physics of the Star Wars universe is complete bollocks.

This, for example is the large Lambda Class shuttle, a nice model with foldy-up wings.  It's a bit slow and unmanoeuvrable, presumably because of the drag of the big wings against the ether, but it's also the only ship that can stop dead in space.  This, for some reason, is a stressful manoeuvre so it can't do it for more than one turn at a time!    

Still, it's fun though I make an inept Luke Skywalker; in my try-out he was consistently out-fought by his wing-man Biggs Darklighter.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

M4A4 for a Fiver

The Monday flea-market in Sheffield continues to be worth a look.  This week I picked up this Dragon ready-made M4A4 Sherman for just £5.

As you can see, it's in Free French colours.  It's a really nice paint-job so I may leave it untampered-with.

This is the third M4A4 (Sherman V) in my collection.  It scales nicely with my Firefly (the Matchbox kit with the track-guards removed) and my 75mm gun version (a conversion of the Matchbox kit).