Saturday, December 31, 2016

Final Fantasy Post for 2016 - Rat Folk

I'm finishing 2016 with one final fantasy project - Rat Folk (pictured above sneaking through the back streets of a town late at night).

Originally members of the Draconic Races (like the Lizard Folk pictured below), they became the primary food source for other Draconic races when times got tough. Not surprisingly, the Rat Folk soon got sick of this and moved to new lodgings, on the edges of human communities and in their cities and towns, scavenging and surviving as best they could.

As such, I figure I can use them either in a Draconic army, or perhaps as some kind of "neutrals" or even mercenaries, possibly even fighting against their Draconic cousins.

Pictured above, Rat Folk Archers cover the advancing horde.

Pictured above, a Rat Folk Warband prepares to fight.

Back to historical figures, and some battles, in the New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Frost Giant Army On The Move

My Frost Giant and his War Troll thugs have joined up with my Orcs, on their way to the lands of the humans to deal their own brand of chaos and destruction.

The Trolls look especially scary next to the (human-sized) Orcs. The Orcs (and humans) barely come up to waist-height against the Trolls, who my rules will be treating pretty much the same as War Elephants. (The Trolls are less likely to panic than the elephants, which should make them very difficult to stop).

Up close with one of the "big nasties". Remembering that you are the same size as the guys standing behind him, would you really want to go one-on-one against this guy?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Things Looking a Little Bit Nastier in the Northern Provinces......

......following the sighting of a Frost Giant (center) and some War Trolls. Presumably my orcs and goblins aren't too far behind them.

Will my Vikings and Rus be able to fight them off?

I'm still working on the War Trolls (eight in all) so I won't post close-ups yet. But this (above) is my Frost Giant. I'm seriously thinking about doing a series of battles from Norse mythology with these guys - Odin and his (Viking) followers etc fighting off the giants (and their minions).

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lizard-folk Ready For Action

I'm not sure if I'm happier that the figures are ready or that the terrain pieces look really great for a "jungle-type" background. Anyway.....

In the fantasy genre, Lizard-folk are commonly regarded as one of the draconic races, of which the mighty dragons themselves are the most prominent. So these folk will be part of a larger "Draconic Races" army for larger battles, although they might also feature independently in smaller actions. They tend to stick to small raids on human communities (in search of food) before disappearing again into their watery or jungle hideouts, so they would mainly be useful for ambush or hit-and-run style battle scenarios.

(Above) My Lizard-folk chieftain and his bodyguard emerge from the jungle to survey the troops. Yes, that's a friendly crocodile watching proceedings in anticipation of lunch being served just as soon as the fighting starts!

(Above) The tribes Archers emerge from the jungle scouting ahead of the main force; again those hungry crocodiles are lurking about.

(Above) The tribe's main warband is ready for action.

(Above) The tribe's young "whelps", armed with blow darts, help with scouting duties until they are old enough to join the main warband.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Unexpected addition......

Three of my Amazons got a bit of a surprise while they were walking through the woods this afternoon - attacked by a group of Lizard Men!

I hadn't planned to build an army of those, but when they appeared, I figured "why not?"

The "forest vegetation" is actually bits and pieces from the aquarium section at Walmart. Mixed in with my trees and river sections, I think I can get some nice woodland/jungle shots now.

Maybe a larger battle between the two groups to follow......

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dwarf Warband (Non-historical)

Given that I now have goblin and orc forces, I thought it might be appropriate to gather the old (metal) Dwarf figures I used to use for Dungeons and Dragons and see what sort of a force I could make from them.

Not enough for a stand-alone army, but a useful little band of allies for any human force looking to take on the "nasties".

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Orcs (from fantasy literature - not historical figures)

Intended for Halloween as part of an army of "nasties", but they may get a run before then.

Pictured above, Orc Chieftain/king and bodyguard mounted on wargs (more vicious than normal wolves) and an Orc warband on foot. Not a lot of special troops in this lot - They were kind of the "mass heavy foot" mercenaries, while goblins and smaller creatures handled the light infantry chores and hill giants and trolls provided the extra "shock" troops in fantasy "giant race" armies.

Or they could join an army of barbarian humans, I guess, with my various Celtic and Germanic tribes providing human fighters.

Lots of possibilities, and I'm sure they will find themselves in all sorts of scenarios.

Early Rus

My Early Rus army is now ready for action. Most of the figures are by Zvezda, although there are a few others thrown in.

The Rus Prince and his bodyguard ride into battle. Traditionally, they deployed at the rear during the early stages of the battle, only joining the fray for the decisive charge to put the enemy to flight (and hog the glory!). These are actually from the Italeri set of Rus.

Archers (with composite bow) deployed here in front of the main position, screening the main force and shooting at the enemy as it advances to weaken it before the close-up action begins.

Crossbowmen deployed in a similar fashion. The leader (slightly taller and in a different pose, is actually a lead figure I had lying around doing nothing from my old Dungeons and Dragons role-playing days. (Manufacturer unknown). Trying to find him a new "cause" to fight for.

Men with slingshots, again deployed as a screening force. Not sure if the picture angle shows the slingshots very well.

The main infantry contingent with spearmen in the front rank and assorted weapons behind. The commander (next to the flag, leaning on his two-handed sword in a thoughtful pose) is actually another metal figure from the world of D&D - again, manufacturer unknown.

I'm planning to give them their first run this coming weekend in my "Battle of Hastings 950th Anniversary" battle, although not as Rus. They dressed pretty much the same as the Saxons and Normans of the era(Saxon King Harold's sister or daughter was married to a Rus prince at the time of Hastings, so what the heck!), so they will kind of fit in.

I haven't decided which side they will be on, but will probably be one of the mercenary units on the Norman side as that army appears to be a bit short of troops at the moment.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

(Japanese) nobushi Archers

I painted these guys a little earlier in the year but have only now got around to photographing them.

nobushi atrchers fought in the various armies that contested the Sengoku Jidai period civil wars in Japan, between 1467-1650. They came from all social backgrounds, but were grouped into units based on skill alone - social class was not a factor.

The vegetation in the background is actually scenery I picked up in the aquarium department at Walmart. I figured it might fit with the trees etc I currently have to help make a nice forest or jungle display. I'm looking forward to actually setting up a battlefield to see if this works as well as I think it might.

Hopefully they will get their first tryout in either November or December. I still have a few more of these guys to do (for a different faction), and a bunch of ashigaru (peasant class soldiers) and hopefully my Japanese collection will be complete.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

French Vs Russians

The first semi-final of my "Horse and Musket" era Tournament pitted my Revolutionary French against my Napoleonic Wars Russians, battling for possession of a small village surrounding a strategically important crossroads.

Despite both armies fielding quite sizeable forces, this amounted to little more than a skirmish with almost no casualties.

Speed of deployment proved to be decisive, as the French arrived first and were able to establish a strong defensive position north of the river, forcing the Russians to approach from the south, with the bridge then acting as a choke point.

While the dragoons leading the Russian column did make it across the bridge, they immediately found their path blocked by a rapidly increasing number of French forces. They succeeded in destroying a squadron of French scouts that was sent forward in an effort to persuade them to turn back, and inflicted some casualties on the supporting French infantry that was following up.

But with overwhelming numbers of French now pouring through the village from the north, east and west, the Russian commander decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and withdrew across the river, determined to find another point of attack.

The French now meet the winner of the clash between my Seven Years War Prussians and my Napoleonic Wars British in the tournament final.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Austrians Vs British

Bit of a fizzer this one!

When I first made the tournament draw up I was excited by this clash, as the different colored uniforms of the two armies would have made for some neat pics. But neither army was very enthusiastic about getting involved, and it ended up as nothing more than a brief skirmish between a small portion of each army's cavalry......

On a morning where heavy fog kept visibility to a minimum, the advance guards of the Austrian and British armies (mostly cavalry - the British had a gun but it didn't see any action) clashed over a bridge in a skirmish that was over almost as soon as it started.

The Austrians won the right to choose which side of the river they entered from and took the side with the village, hoping to establish it as a supply depot. (Austrians in white, British in red).

The Austrian Dragoons reached the bridge first, but as they crossed it, the (British) Scots Greys came within sight. The Scots Greys immediately charged the Austrians, inflicting heavy casualties (including the Austrian general) on the leading squadron, before pushing on into the second squadron.

Thrown onto the back foot, the Austrians were badly shaken, and as their morale collapsed, the Scots Greys continued their work until the enemy was in full flight.

In the end, an easy win for the British, who now face the Prussians in the tournament's semi-final round. My French and Russians square off in the other semi.

Still on the waiting list also is the "Barbarian World" Final between the Britons and Picts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bavarians Vs Prussians

I'm a little behind schedule with this update due to busy weekends the past couple of weeks. The battle did go ahead as scheduled, a little over two weeks ago. It's just taken me this long to get the photos etc sorted out.

The Bavarians (variously decked out in the light blue, green and white, and approaching from the left in the pics) failed to match the efforts of previous weeks' performances by my minor nations, and were pretty much steamrolled by my Prussians (in the dark blue, generally approaching from the right in these pics).

The terrain was pretty simplistic - a mostly flat farmland area with just the farmhouse, a few trees, and further north than where the action took place, a low hill. A road ran past the farmhouse, giving the two armies access to the area.

The Bavarians arrived first and attempted to set up a defensive position in and around the farmhouse.

Unfortunately, once the Prussians arrived on the scene, it soon became obvious that the Prussians had enough artillery to be able to sit back and pummel the Bavarians into oblivion. This forced the Bavarians out of their defensive position, but as an attacking force they lack the punch to break through the Prussians, and although they were able to inflict heavier casualties than the Prussians would have liked, were soon overwhelmed (see the pic at the top of the post).

Prussians advance to fight the winner of the Austrian Vs British encounter in the semi-final round. (Russians Vs French in the other semi). Hopefully Austria Vs Britain will take place over Easter weekend!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Brunswickers Vs French

This weekend it was the turn of my Brunswickers to make their battlefield debut, and to see if they could fare batter against a larger Revolutionary War French army than my Belgio-Dutch did against my Russians last week.

At the heart of the contest, was a small village (center picture), near a river (to its left) crossable only by a single bridge. The village sat upon a "T" intersection, with the roads meeting at this point providing entrance and exit points onto the battlefield. Some low hills and a small wood made up the remainder of the terrain, but played no significant part in the battle. The French won the right to select which side they defended, and chose to enter the battlefield from the west (the river side), with a secondary column coming on from the north later in the battle. The Brunswickers approached from the east.

The French started faster, and quickly moved their Guard Chasseur cavalry across the bridge and into the village, with infantry following and taking advantage of the open ground to the south of the village to deploy. In both places, the French found themselves confronted by Brunswick jager (elite riflemen - in gray in the above pics) and began taking early casualties. As more French troops made it across the bridge however, the French were able to begin pushing forward.

The jager were gradually forced back, pitting the French against the Brunswicker lieb infantry (in black).

Despite being heavily outnumbered, the two lieb battalions held on grimly, repulsing one assault before finally being overrun.

As with the Belgio-Dutch last week, the Brunswickers put up a real gritty fight, and should prove to be a very useful ally when they merge with other nations as part of a larger army. They just don't have the numbers to be able to handle anything more than a very small scale action on their own.

A decisive victory for the French, who will meet the Russians in the semi-final round of the tournament. Next week, my (Napoleonic Wars) Bavarians will see if they can win one for the minor nations when they come up against my Seven Years' War Prussians.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Belgio-Dutch Vs Russians

Jumping ahead a few centuries now, we find ourselves in the opening round of my "Horse and Musket Era" tournament, featuring my Lace Wars and Napoleonic armies. (No, you didn't miss the Grand Final of the "Barbarian World" Tournament - it was just too cold last weekend to do ANYthing, so that battle has been rescheduled for some time in the not-too-distant-future).

First up in my Horse and Musket Era tournament, were my (both Napoleonic armies) Belgio-Dutch and my Russians in a non-historical match-up. This was the first outing for my Belgio-Dutch, who are more of an add-on for my British army than their own army. But as I needed eight armies for the competition, they found themselves promoted for the purpose.

The two armies clashed over the crossing point of a river - a bridge, with a small village on the south side.

The Belgio-Dutch arrived first, and were able to get their light cavalry across the bridge just as the Russians began arriving. (Dutch Light Dragoons in front in the blue, with Belgians in green backing up).

Trying to buy time for their supporting artillery and infantry to reach the town, the Belgio-Dutch crossed the bridge and tangled with the advancing squadrons of Russian Dragoons. The Dutch squadron inflicted an early bloodied nose on the Russians, but greater numbers enabled the Russians to wear down the Belgio-Dutch forces and overrun them.

The skirmish lasted long enough however, for the Belgio-Dutch to get their infantry and supporting artillery up to the bridge and into a strong defensive position blocking the southern end of the bridge. A short artillery duel saw the Russians knock out the Dutch artillery battery, but taking the village still meant the Russian infantry regiment had to storm across the bridge under heavy musket fire from the defending infantry. They led the way with the grenadier battalion, which was just as well, as even these veterans were shaken by the heavy losses they took mounting the assault. The grenadiers were eventually overpowered by the Dutch, but not before their supporting musketeer battalions had been able to also get onto the bridge and press the assault.

Once again, numbers began to tell, and with the Belgian infantry battalion performing at a much lower level than their Dutch counterparts, the Russians were able to establish a foothold in the village. Despite sustaining heavy losses in the attack, the Russians were able to force the defenders out of the village, and off the field of battle.

A win is a win. It came at a heavier cost than the Russians would have liked, but they advance to the semi-finals, where they will meet either the Brunswickers or the French. All going to plan, that will be fought next weekend.

Remaining first round matchups in this tournament see my Napoleonic Bavarians tangle with my Seven Years' War Prussians, and my Napoleonic British square off against my Seven Years' War Austrians.

And, also in the future - Ancient Britons Vs Picts to decide my champion Barbarian army.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Britons Vs Picts (Tournament Semi-Final)

Lots of terrain looks great on the battlefield, and it can make for some great photos (if I don't get too engrossed in the action and forget to take them), but it sure makes moving the figures more difficult.

The Briton army of Queen Brietta and the Pict army of King Morial came to blows as both attempted to take control of the village in the center of the above picture. The Britons approached from the south-east (bottom right) and the Picts from the north-east (top right). The Britons arrived just before the Picts, and as early morning fog cleared away.

King Morial had been advised by his druids that the omens favored all out attack, and to that end he promptly dispatched his Light Horse - his fastest troops - to race ahead and seize the village while he brought up the rest of the army in support. Queen Brietta's druids had advised against an initial attack, and therefore she was taking things a little more quietly.

Due to their earlier arrival, the Briton Light Horse reached the village first, but were quickly driven off by their more numerous Pict counterparts. Seeing her horsemen fall back from the village, Queen Brietta immediately began establishing a defensive position around the bridge that she and her main column had just crossed, with the aim of trying to counter-punch a way through any enemy in the way.

Queen Brietta then pushed her Pict Crossbowmen (fighting against their countrymen - obviously from a different clan. See photo above) - through the woods in an attempt to secure the eastern approaches to the village, and pressed her own Briton archers into the village.

Seeing the approaching Britons the Pict horsemen in the village launched a swift counter-attack. The javelin-armed Whelps (pictured above) were forced to scamper out of the way to allow the archers a clear view, but the archers held their nerve and inflicted heavy casualties as the horsemen raced through their ranks. A supporting Briton warband then raced in to complete the destruction of the Pict horsemen.

Meanwhile, as they pressed through the woods, the Pict mercenary crossbowmen came under attack from King Morial's leading Warband. The crossbowmen fell back through the woods, inflicting casualties at a sufficiently steady rate that by the time the warband reached the far end of the woods, its numbers had been depleted to the point that it was ripe for counter-attack by the Briton warband waiting to greet them.

The initial Pict challenge fended off, (and the above photo taken from Queen Brietta's position on the field) Queen Brietta now began to push her forces into the village and through the wood. King Morial, realizing he was facing a much larger army than his own decided that discretion was the better form of valor, and withdrew, leaving the Britons in charge of the field.

Effectively, all the action had taken place in one small corner of the field, and only really involved a portion of each army. Nevertheless, sufficient losses had been inflicted on the Picts to leave no doubt that this was not going to be their day.

Queen Brietta now prepares for a (tournament Grand Final) showdown against the Pict army of King Cynon. And I face the prospect of not having enough Celtic figures to cover the two armies, even if I rope in my eastern Celts (Dacians and Thracians). Doh!

Hopefully one or both armies will dispatch an outflanking force that gets lost and never shows up!