Monday, 28 January 2019

Bad Squiddo specials - Lucrezia Borgia and Caterina Sforza

I bought two blister packs from Annie when I visited the Bad Squiddo stand at Warfare at the end of last year.

One represented Caterina Sforza in two separate poses, one in armour and one without. The other featured two different poses for Lucrezia Borgia.

They have been sitting waiting for me to paint them which I have now done.

First, here is Lucrezia dressed as an assassin with two blades. I think she will work well in all kinds of games.

I think that of the four figures, she is my favourite, but they are all nice miniatures.

Now, here is Lucrezia in more conventional dress, in green, together with both versions of Caterina.

I wanted to stick to a simple colour palette and I liked the idea of Caterina in blue. When I painted her armour, I used silver with some blue gunmetal mixed in, because I wanted her armour to look like an expensive custom-made suit. You occasionally see blue tinged armour, so it seemed like a good idea to keep the blue theme consistent.

These were fun to paint, lovely clean castings with no flash. I think that they have a future in fantasy games, as well as in a more historical setting.

I don't think that these are available from the Bad Squiddo website, so I am glad that I got them when I could.

A Most Despicable Place - Sharp Practice in the North American colonies

Over the weekend, I took part in a massive series of linked games of Sharp Practice set in the French and Indian Wars (part of the Seven Years' War), fought out between the French and their Huron allies and the British on the border between the French possessions and those of the British.

The basic premise was that the British had been repelled in an attack of Fort Frontenac and were seeking to find ways of striking back against the French. One story thread involved British forces trying to make their way back to safety following their failure in front of Fort Frontenac. Another was all about British forces trying to land troops from boats after crossing a lake and advance through French territory to carry out reprisal raids. The other main story line was all about French raiding forces trying to push out British settlers and destroy their farms and villages.

The weekend was played out at Bristol Independent Gaming and the whole jamboree was orchestrated by David Hunter, whose efforts have to be applauded, not only for the huge amount of work he put into the event, but also for his energy and good humour deployed in keeping the whole event moving along as a plausible narrative. 

Although the whole thing went down to the wire, the small advantage gained by the French on the first day was maintained until the end, in part by the victories gained by the Huron forces, which denied the British victories even though these wins didn't count towards the French tally.

On the British side, we saw a lot of line troops, including Grenadiers, supported by a few units of Light Bobs and colonial Rangers, while the French fielded a lot of Compagnies Franches de la Marine Light Infantry, Milice canadienne, some Huron allies and regular French line Fusiliers and a few Grenadiers. The French also had the use of a light cannon.

All the tables, which covered a wide range of terrain, looked absolutely fantastic and gave everyone a lot of challenges in how to best deploy and control their troops. I think that the most difficult table for the British was the beach landing one, which led to them struggling to get moving, which they eventually achieved after the third game of the four sessions played over the two days. The best thing about that particular scenario was that it allows both sides to actually fight an 18th century linear battle, although even here the skirmishers and light infantry had a big role to play.

It was good to catch up with some old faces and new ones too, especially those I knew from the Sharp Practice Facebook page, as well as Rickard Clarke and Nick Skinner (the actual TooFatLardies) who dropped in on Sunday morning on their way home from Crusade in Penarth on Saturday. I will surely treasure the photo of Sidney Roundwood that Rich gave me before he left.

Anyway, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Friday, 18 January 2019

My army for this year's Hordes Of The Things tournament

I've had these painted up for a while, but didn't feel like posting them until the tournament was almost upon us (it is this coming Sunday).

I didn't want to field either of my existing HoTT armies (Warhammer Empire Averland and Hyborian Barbarians, the latter now repurposed for Sword and Spear Fantasy) so I spent some time looking for alternatives. I did thing about an Undead theme for a while, also Orcs and Goblins, but nothing grabbed me. In the end I decided to do something that might be difficult to play against, i.e. an all-Aerial army. It was only later that I realised that it would also be difficult to play with as well.

Anyway, I had a few things lying around, and a quick small purchase filled the thing out, so here it is;

It is a fleet of space ships (actually six of them are really Kra'vak drones) from Ground Zero Games, with a small asteroid as the Stronghold. The asteroid is made from a polystyrene ball covered in Basetex textured paint.

The army consists of

1 x Aerial Hero General (with the red flashes on the base and the weapons pods)
1 x Aerial Hero
6 x Flyers

I am pretty happy with how they have turned out. I know that they will be tough to get moving, because in HoTT, aerial units require two PIPs to activate, but it will be interesting to see how they fare.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The final items for my FIW French

Here are the final pieces in my French and Indian War jigsaw puzzle. The wagon has been sitting around, half-finished for ages, mainly because I hadn't got round to undercoating the horses.

The wagon and horses are from Warbases, and the wagon is really a Gribeauval wagon limber, at least, that is what it said on the MDF sheet. However, I think it will be fine as a support option in lots of different guises, because I am not going to get all nitpicky about whether it is the right sort of wagon or not. Life is too short ..............

The figure with the barrel is a from a pack of Perry AWI metal civilians, so he fits in pretty well. I've painted him so that he looks like he might be a member of the French infantry without his uniform coat. The wagon and horses are from Warbases, who have some rather nice carts specifically for Sharp Practice that I will probably buy at some point. I've got another one of these wagons still not made up. I will probably modify it in some way and not use the cover.

Finally, here is the last part of my Régiment de Guyenne, a Colour Party. These are from the Warlord box set, including the flags, which are on the leaflet in the box. I've got a few figures left over, so I'll hang on to them in case I suddenly have a need for some more 18th century French characters.

So, I am now all ready for the monumental clash of French and British in the great North American wilderness at the end of january. 

Now, on to my next project, which I shall get started on next week, probably.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

My Nine Years' War Sharp Practice mods get a further revision

It's been a while since I've had a chance to use my nice Lurkio late-17th century French and Anglo-Dutch armies, which were the inspiration for my Sharp Practice mods, which were published in the TooFatLardies 2017 Summer Special.

Since first seeing these mods in print, they have undergone a revision and some resulting changes. This was a chance to playtest those revisions again and see how things could be tightened up and clarified.

I must say, in passing that I am really pleased to see that Lurkio is continuing to operate under the aegis of Simon Hall's The Wargames Zone. It did look at one point like the company would cease to exist, but happily these terrific 15mm figures are still going to be produced.

In this game at the club last Sunday, I took command of the Anglo-Dutch army while Brian commanded the French.

The battle was an encounter between the two armies on the outskirts of the (fictional) Dutch town of Grolschbeek. The Anglo-Dutch were first on the field, with a cavalry brigade moving sharlpy towards the Grolschbeek junction. The aim was to secure the right flank before the French could deploy.

Elsewhere, a regiment of Dragoons took up a position in the gardens of a manor house on the Anglo-Dutch left flank. The !st Regiment of Foot (the Royal Scots) advanced, flanked by two Danish regiments of Foot. The Nassau Horse protected their right flank as they formed a defensive line.

The French began to advance across the main road into Grolschbeek, with the Rohan and Villeroy Horse supporting the Languedoc and Champagne regiments of Foot.

The Dragoons waited, relatively secure behind some hedges with a cornfield forming something of an obstacle to the French.

The English Horse began to deploy on the outskirts of Grolschbeek, behind the advance of the Nassau Horse.

Things began to get crowded as regiments in column and the artillery began to emerge from the Anglo-Dutch camp. The Anglo-Dutch Captain General Lord Lymeswold was finding it hard to get his Elite troops into position before the French advanced.

And here come the legions of Le Roi Soleil, under the command of Maréchal de France, le Duc de Cabecou.

The Dragoons began to fire on the advancing Régiment de Languedoc, supported by the Danish Fynske regiment. Lacking pikes, I hoped that these troops would be able to keep the French at arms length and avoid any Fisticuffs.

The Nassau Horse, perhaps being uncharacteristically impetuous charged into the Régiment du Lyonnais, sustaining casualties and shock.

They were repulsed with losses after a couple of rounds of combat. Elsewhere, the Danes were firing on the French Foot, with the Royal Scots waiting until they had an opponent within close range.

The Régiment de Languedoc took a lot of fire, suffering mounting shock and losses, compelling them to retire due to excess shock. Realising that they couldn't outflank the manor house, the French Horse moved to advance across the Anglo-Dutch left.

Having seen the Nassau Horse fail, both Woods' and Lumley's Horse moved to within charge distance of the French Horse. Woods' regiment came under musket fire, picking up Shock.

The Royal Scots poured musketry into the French Régiment de Champagne.

Finally, the English Foot Guards and Artillery move up towards the fighting. Lord Lymeswold directing the advance.

From the French side, the Anglo-Dutch centre begins to look menacing.

Maréchal de Cabecou sent the Régiment de Fimarcon Dragoons towards the French right, as the Gardes Françaises marched in line to fill a gap in the French line caused by the forced withdrawal of the Lyonnais Foot.

On the French left, the formidable Horse awaited the English charge. On the left of this brigade was the elite Régiment du Roi, in blue uniforms.

The two combats were bloody, with both English regiments coming off worse. Lumley's Horse suffered 50% losses and were compelled to retire back to the edge of Grolschbeek and were soon joined by Woods' Horse. However, they still protected the town, together with the remnants of the Nassau Horse.

The Anglo-Dutch centre was looking strong, with the French unable to make any headway against the effective musketry of the Danes and Scots.

At this point we decided to call a halt, because we were out of time.

What had I learnt from this game? 

Well, firstly the rule mods definitely do work for these large-scale encounters, especially with the amendments made since I first wrote and tested them. Secondly, the game does seem to give a reasonable brigade level simulation as opposed to the standard SP skirmish games. One might say that it is "Sharp Practice, Jim, but not as we know it".

I am a huge fan of Sharp Practice and the Shooting and Combat mechanisms are simple and effective and do translate well to use with larger units.

One thing that I think needs to happen is giving each brigade its own Deployment Point rather than having a single one for the entire army, because that leads to massive bottlenecks early on which prevent troops from deploying. The Dutch Garde Te Voet never really got anywhere near the battle.

I have rewritten my rule modifications, adding some clarifications, so I hope very soon to play through them again.