Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

No Secret Santa This Year

It is with some regret that I announce we will not be doing Secret Santa this year. In the last few months I have struggled to get more than a few posts together and before I knew it we are in September. Given that it's been a month since I blogged anything on this blog I really have to face facts that it would not be a positive experience if I was to try and run Secret Santa this year.

As for the blog I really have struggled since March to keep any kind of regular posting schedule. First I was not really feeling the painting so I was reduced in what to post but since then I have actually been turning out some reasonable rate of painting and played a few games but being out of the habit of posting I have failed to blog the results.

I have made real efforts with my ASL blog and have at least got a few posts out from that after that had really nose dived so I am hoping to get back to this blog sometime but I feel if I push it now I will simply get frustrated and then annoyed then gone. Hopefully a break is what I need. I will probably find my feet again when the painting challenge starts but I don't think I will take part this year as I really felt the burn last year and with me then going to a ASL show I was ill for over a month after through getting over tired, though that was more the ASL con than the Painting Challenge I still felt the strain.

Again sorry for SS and the poor showing here over this year, hope to get going again once over the hill.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Command and Colours Napoleonic Battle of Pultusk AAR

I have actually played a few various games of late most of which I have as yet failed to write up but may get around to them. This ones a bit special as I played it against my son The Boy. Habit is a terrible or good thing depending on the habit.

Me and The Boy have got out of habit playing C&C:N but as I had taken the week off work last week it gave us a great opportunity to have another go. As always I gave him the pick of module to play and sides once a scenario has been picked out. I own all the nationality sets (five) but have yet to buy the more recent additions. Unfortunately beyond the base set we have not had a great deal of play so it was good to get the Russians out.

I got the Russians and we played the battle of Pultusk fought on boxing day 1806, Marshal Bennigsen ignored orders halted his retreat and gave battle. This is quite a big game with the board crammed with units. In the actual battle the French won a narrow victory on the day but both sides suffered heavy casualties and the Russians withdrew during the night.

Battle from my perspective, looks like the Russians have the numbers! In infantry it's almost equal, I have 14 the French one less, I also have an advantage of one more cavalry with four cavalry but also have three Cossack cavalry but these are only two strength so are not expected to have a major impact. My biggest advantage though was artillery, I had five units to my sons three which historically was a big advantage as it forced the French infantry to surrender their gains when bombarded.

Each C&C:N nationality have traits that add flavour to the game, this is really well done and of all the Command and Colour series I think this one carries through the best. My Russians tend to get a Mother Russia roll that adds troops to their forces. The thought behind this is the fact that many units enter battle reduced in strength as are not fully mobilised, as such many infantry units start under strength (just three blocks opposed to the usual four). You roll dice equivalent to the number of command cards and these give you troops or emplacements when in effect. I failed to gain any infantry but managed to add two Cossack units, strengthened two artillery units and added a field works to a hill where I had one of my gun units.

C&C is a card driven system and if you use try to plan ahead you can really increase your chances of winning. The Boy has always shown the ability to plan and generally does well when we play. This scenario needed the winner to gain ten victory banners including some location ones that tend to channel the fight to key terrain. When playing The Boy I always have to gain one more than required as a form of balance. It's not unusual for The Boy to win with me still needing to get the normal required banners but it's nice when I get the normal number and he gets there before I can get that extra one.

In this game I did get a good run of the cards early. I lost all the Cossacks before the end of the game but they did more damage than expected. Their loss is not an issue as they do not count for banner gain so they are disposable.

The Boy stuck to the original script by forcing me off the first line of hills and then In turn was forced by my artillery to abandon them. However he never really got going on my left flank and as such never really threatened the woods that he really needed to gain much needed banners. I had sent extra troops into that area and both of us suffered heavy casualties but when the dust settled he had just the one infantry unit able to threaten the woods.

My left flank had also seen plenty of action but again no real threat was able to get past my first line of defence. Whilst many of my infantry units were reduced to single blocks my artillery were there to punish any units that tried to get through on that flank.

In the centre I still had a lot of strength that I could have called on if required. The Boy had lost most of his guns to cavalry attacks and his cavalry had been almost totally destroyed through follow on attacks from my cavalry when he brought these against my cavalry. Indeed he suffered many a bad roll in attack which set the tone in the centre. The fact that I still had all four artillery units on board to his one really made this so difficult for him.

In the end he just did not have the strength to push through or the opportunity to replace worn units in the front line with fresh units as I seemed able to pull the required cards whilst his units got stuck in the open close to my troops.

It was a fun game, both of us had a great time though I suspect the scenario could be a bit pro Russian. It's scenario three from the module and as we tend to play from front to back shows how few games we have played from this set. I am sure though we will be playing yet more in the near future, just from which set?

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Joy of Six and Spends

Joy of Six has come and gone, I was really looking forward to this years as we were having a year off from putting on a display game. The only issue was getting to the event! Unknown to the organisers and most of Sheffield's population the vast majority of the roads around Hallam University was closed for a bike race. Sheffield Council have form for incompetence in organising events. Just the other year they had a marathon but failed to order water and only on the day realised cancelling the event!! Par for the course the people standing at the barriers did not know alternative routes nor it seemed did they care. Eventually we found the way in but I know more than one had to park miles away and walk in after trying and failing to find that one road out of many that got you in.

Regardless the attendance was good, not sure how it compared with last years but again space was all used up and plenty of games and traders were in attendance. The food remained good at prices that were reasonable, something that is getting rarer at shows making it the only show I don't take a packed lunch to.

I did not get any photo's of the show, just never got going with that sort of thing. Plenty of good looking games though, it was kind of weird seeing another Waterloo game in the same spot we had a couple of years ago and impressive it was too.

Most games were display but plenty of games were also participation. One such me and Lee played towards the end of the show which I was not really keen to play at the offset as by this point I was feeling rather tired. Turned out to be a great opportunity. The rules are based on Too The Strongest and is the ECW version that looks to be coming out in the future. I am a real fan of the ECW and so am a little difficult to please. I have to say that to this point no ECW rules have really grabbed me but these have a great feel and the mechanics whilst simple are very clever. Hopefully we will be getting our hands on playtest copies so we can try them out further. They are close to wrap up so I doubt we will have much influence on their development but I think these will be our go to rules for ECW.

They look to be able to play out medium sized games (15-20 units a side) in a short evening and should be able to handle very large games without to much trouble. We had around 15 units per side and the commands were all over the place to stimulate a confused command were neither side were ready for the battle and this came across well as you tried to make units work either together or separated by terrain or distance. We both got the gist of the rules relatively quickly and started to explore tactical options and how the game mechanics worked these moves out.

It's enough to say that when we turned up at the show we were selling our old Baccus casting s and getting new ones in the future. Now the plan is to keep the old, carry on painting them and get them on the table then get the new stuff and replace as we go. I am even thinking of trying out To The Strongest rules for our 6mm ancients because if they play as fast and have similar mechanics they could work well for next years game.

Of course a show is nothing without it's purchase. First stop was Leven Miniatures though it was mostly to drop off very late models but I did buy a few bits. Having painted no buildings for myself for well over a year I just did not want to increase the hoard too much, plus I actually don't know which buildings I need. I do know though that I will need to add to my ECW suitable buildings and the Medieval MED18 Large Manor & Stables will work. I also bought GEN18 Spanish Windmill, I really should have bought another one or two of these so will get more at a future show or post. Lastly a retired stone building that originally was in one of the American ranges but again I think I can use it elsewhere.

No one got rich off me with Baccus just getting a small order mostly because I forgot to sort out a list of what else I need for my Magnesia army. So two packs of elephants when I needed the, I bought two packs of Celts, naked fanatics and light cavalry. In both cases as the packs I wanted were sold out (buy early not late!). Again I needed more Celtic infantry than just one pack so need to add to these. The light cavalry will be OK though.

We returned home and everyone had a great time. Lee is buzzing over the ECW and picked up a raft of painted figures as well as about completing the lead required for next years display game. I have a few ECW cavalry regiments on my desk awaiting paint so it's got me revved up as well.

Talking of painting desk, two battalions of 15mm SYW Prussians are about to shuffle off whilst I have three British Dragoon regiments for The Boy's Peninsular army and another four phalanx blocks just marching on behind the cavalry. It's going to be very 6mm for a few weeks.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Baccus 6mm Cataphracts

With Joy of Six tomorrow I thought I had better show some recently purchased and painted 6mm figures. These are from Baccus and will be used in our display game next year. You see some nice symmetry goes into these posts LOL.

These were a quick paint as I am putting in less detail in the figures than I would do if they were my Napoleonic's as with these armies we are going for the mass effect rather than neat crossbelts etc.

Given this objective we need some splash of colour which is provided by the standards and cloaks. In the game I think I will be using five units so I actually have two more than I will need for that game but it's possible that we will do the game again at a later date but double up the units, a lot depends on other possible projects or if we need more for other games.

These amount to three cavalry boosters, or fifteen regiments of Napoleonic cavalry, yep that's a lot of horses. Other than some Gallic cavalry I think I have all the cavalry I need for the game, most of the rest of the painting will be another eight or nine pike phalanxes and a fair few peltast units.

Lee will also have Cataphract's in his army but not as many. I also have plenty of heavy cavalry as well so as you would expect the Romans will be making more use of their infantry. It should look rather OTT with massed pike, loads of bow and wings full of cavalry and yet more infantry whilst a force of about a third of mine faces off. Some special rules are already in progress for the game but we have yet to start playtesting so fingers crossed.

I had enough figures left over to make four command bases a couple of which will get used in the game but the others will hopefully get used in other games. At least now I have quite a few options for command.

As mentioned we have Joy of Six tomorrow and whilst I do not have a shopping list I have been looking on the Leven website and I have an eye for a few more buildings and yes I do plan to get going on painting some of the ones I already have stashed away. Indeed I am rather looking forward to getting on with it.

I may or may not buy more Baccus tomorrow. I should get the last of the pike but will probably swerve those and get the other packs I will need so possibly generate a big push to get everything finished before this year ends.

Mostly though I want to take the time to look at all the games and actually see Joy of Six at my leisure rather than the dash round I normally get when putting on a game. So if your there I look forward to bumping into you and just chillin'

Thursday, 6 July 2017

As Good As Done

Finished the Zombie bust I received last week. Really enjoyed working on it and made a nice change from the usual work I do. Not that it is 100% finished yet as I have to sort out a socket to base him on, also varnish the bust and a few finishing touches I will do once that is done.

It's hard to believe that Steve the sculptor has not been at this for that long as he really adds great detail that could easily be missed out when sculpting. Most of the painting has been layered with the red as a wash. It's actually skin tone but I got the effect I was after.

The shirt was a mix of layers and an early attempt at blending. Lots of layers and detail went into the shoulder socket and collar bone. So that's the first bust I have ever painted and I do believe I will be having a few more goes. Not that that's all I have been painting. I have a few 6mm cavalry units for our ancients game and have started a couple more battalions of 15mm Prussian SYW and The Boy has added three regiments of Light Dragoons for his 6mm British Peninsular army so I have a queue.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Zombee Bust

I stumbled on this Zombie bust just the other day on Facebook. These are produced by Steve an independent sculptor and Commission Painter. At the moment he just has a bust called The Beast Handler but he also does limited run busts like this Zombie. Originally limited to about 20 models he has reduced the run still further to 15 and just has a couple left.

The cost is £18 plus postage and represents excellent value and I thought well worth a punt. Steve has real fast turnaround and I received the figure today after supplying my address on Monday evening!!

The finish is white, but this image gives a better idea of the detail which is very clear. I have already started work on the sculpt and I have to say I am more impressed than I thought was possible. This is quite a diversion for me but one I am really enjoying. So thanks Steve, top marks so far.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

15mm Macedonian Phalanx or Two

These are the first figures finished post challenge that was not actually started during the challenge. I don't even know the supplier of the figures as these were given to me by a friend years and years ago now. I ended up just doing a very basic paint job on them but they look OK on the table.

All but sixteen of the figures needed the pikes adding which was OK as I have plenty of wire to snip and glue in place. These continue with the plan of putting all the figures on a single base for use with Hail Caesar which will make it far easier to move them around the table.

The shields have Little Big Man transfers on them costing £3.50 per sheet. I needed two sheets but that leaves me with enough spares to do a third unit which I will do at some point. Very fast service and low cost postage means I will be happy to use again.

The transfers went on with ease though I really need to improve on my placement as you can see from the photo's.

This unit has a mix of different helmets which with the varied positions of the pikes make them look a bit more interesting.

The second block has two different makes of figure and I have put the ones with cast pikes to the front as their shields are domed whilst the rear ranks have flat faced shields. The front rank could possibly be Essex but that is a guess.

With these two blocks I now have about three blocks more than I need. However as I have far more Persians than you would expect to see in a game it's possible for my extra blocks to be used in a monster game sometime. Of course I can always use more pike in a game and cut back on other troops.

With Joy of Six just around the corner I am starting to feel the need to make good progress on our display game for next year. As such I have the Cataphract's  on the painting table at the moment. I plan to get them done before the end of the month and either move onto some SYW or keep on  with the Ancients and get the five phalanx units I have in stock painted. I still need to buy more of these as well as plenty more figures before I have all the units required. With over 4600 unpainted figures in hand I am not exactly short of stock, just seems I have the wrong figures at the moment.