Saturday, November 4, 2017

Amazons Vs Picts

Yes, I know I haven't written up the 100 Years War battle yet - that's still something to look forward to in the future.

This weekend, my Amazon women find their kingdom invaded by a bunch of marauding Picts. (Amazons deployed on the right in the above photo).

Though their homeland is hilly and pretty much covered in forest, the Amazon Queen (pictured above with her warband bodyguard) has decided to do battle in an open clearing, challenging the Picts to face them in open battle.

Currently, the Picts remain sheltered in the woods, with just the first few warriors emerging.

The Amazons, meanwhile, have deployed their full army and are waiting for the chance to fight. They have deployed their heavy cavalry on the right flank, and appear set to launch their main attack here, while using lighter troops to fend off any assault on their left.

We'll see how this turns out!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Battle Time!

I've had this table set up for a couple of months now intending to get a battle going on it, but so far no luck.

Hopefully, this week, that will change, as my 100 Years' War armies approach the village (English from the top left - the north-west - and the French from the bottom right - the south-east).

In pressing his claims for the French throne, the English king has landed in Normandy and now approaches Paris.

The French have hastily gathered an army to bring a stop to their progress, and plan to intercept the invaders before they reach the featured village (just above the bridge in the battlefield picture above), denying them access to vital supplies and shelter from the elements.

I'm expecting the main battle to be contested somewhere between the village and the far river, which the English must yet cross. With the two armies entering at opposite ends of the 12'x4' table, it's going to take a while for them to come to grips. Hopefully that will mean plenty of interesting maneuvering for position before the fighting begins in earnest.

My plan is to fight a few rounds each evening after work this week, and finish it off over the weekend (and hopefully find time to paint the last of my Huns too!) so I can have lots of lovely pics and a nice story for next Monday.

Have a nice week!

Ottoman Turk Light Cavalry

Not quite such a productive weekend painting this time around due to having to work Saturday, but I did manage to get most of the light cavalry for my Late Period Ottoman Empire painted up. Just a few more figures to buy and paint - hopefully should be finished within the next month.

For an earlier period army, I can borrow the horse archers I use for most of my Asian armies, from Achaemenid Persian through to Mongol Conquest, as they all pretty much look the same.

I'm looking forward to giving these guys a run real soon though.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Another Good Painting Weekend

Two weekends in a row......what I can achieve when I don't have to work Saturday overtime!

First up, my Ottoman Empire heavy cavalry is "finished".

Yes, I still have some unpainted figures left over that I might do later anyway, just to get them done. But I have what I need for an Ottoman army. (Light cavalry scheduled for attention next weekend!)

Lots of color, and it should look especially good when these guys go up against the Winged Hussars of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They also have historical enemies in the form of Germans, Muscovites (Early Russians) and Swedes waiting to test them out too. And I'm sure that by selecting figures from my Mongol and Indian armies, I might even be able to put together an historical Eastern Asian enemy for them to fight. So lots of options available.

And from the same period, but a different part of the world, more samurai artillery from the Sengoku Jidai (Japanese Civil War) period - this time for my "Blue Faction" army.

Whereas my Red Faction guns are simply barrels of guns mounted on boxes and bags, the Blue Faction has made their gun mobile by putting it on a wheeled carriage in a similar style to the European guns we are more used to. The barrels tended to be provided by the Western nations trying to get a foothold in Japan at the time, and supplying the various Japanese warlords with guns from their ships. The wheeled carriage was apparently more popular in the later years of the period - given that my Blue Faction is probably the most "westernized" of my six factions, I figured it was most appropriate for them to adapt the European style of mounting the gun.

My reading suggests that the samurai armies tended to use their artillery against fortifications rather than against enemy troops, but the guns provided seem a little small to make much of a dent in the walls of a well-built Japanese castle.

Oh well, we'll see how it all works out once the fighting begins!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ottomans Turks Now Have Artillery

Also completed this weekend - the first four (of eight planned) guns for my Ottoman Turkish army.

These are the four lighter guns, more suitable for field operations. The remaining four are bigger, heavier pieces, more common in sieges, which don't feature much on the wargames table, but might provide an interesting "objective" for an enemy army trying to prevent the Turks bringing their big guns up for a siege.

This army really still needs more cavalry (and possibly infantry). I have enough to represent the Early Ottoman forces, (by borrowing horse archers from my other "Asian" armies - Mongols, Huns, maybe even Skythians) when they were initially building their empire, but not so much for the later years. Hopefully I can get the cavalry finished over the next week or two.

I've started using small "cotton balls" that I found in the crafts department at Walmart to indicate a gun has fired (this game turn) - representing the smoke from the blast. Hopefully that will save me trying to remember which guns are firing this turn and which aren't.

I'll probably also use them to mark the targets of the shot (the smoke from the explosion when the cannonball landed).

Maybe this will put more "action" into the photos I take of the battles?

Oh, and just a reminder of how colorful Ottoman cavalry is, take a look at these guys.....

I think I'll be able to get some pretty nice looking photos with them racing across the battlefield.

Grand Duchy of Brunswick Now Has Supporting Artillery

(Note: This army is from the latter portion of the Napoleonic Wars - c1810-1815, when the Duke of Brunswick was in exile in Britain and rebuilding his forces, which fought alongside the British in Portugal and Spain, and then in the Waterloo campaign of 1815).

I've previously posted pics of their infantry and cavalry, but up until this weekend they have been lacking an artillery arm. Four guns is probably more than will ever be used at one time with this mini-army, but "what-the-heck!"

With no actual "Brunswick Artillery" figures currently on the market, I used the Dutch-Belgian Artillery 1815 set made by Waterloo (the company, not the campaign/battle) and just painted them as Brunswickers. I figure that given that the British were arming and supplying both the Brunswickers and the Belgio-Dutch, they would have been pretty much the same.

(I like the way the light blue facings stand out against the otherwise all black uniforms of these guys. They actually look a lot more attractive than I expected an army clad predominantly in black to be).

Evil thought: I might just match up my Brunswickers against Belgio-Dutch to see which set of artillery performs better.

Amazons - army complete (finally)

They started off as just a fun "extended warband" (with some supporting light troops) intended to be used alongside my Hittites (as Anatolian allies) or other armies as appropriate.

But I kind of got carried away and turned them into a full army.

Up until now, they've been a little too lightweight to do much damage, and with their archer units (so far) under-performing on a regular basis, they've never been able to keep enemy units from closing in and overpowering them.

I'm planning several battles for them over the winter months. I guess we'll find out whether all that newly-added cavalry can make these ladies a bit more dangerous on the battlefield.

Historical footnote:

At the time the Amazons supposedly existed as a nation, horses were generally too small to be used as individual mounts, and were instead employed in most armies to pull chariots. However, there are three points to note:

1: Greek legends relating to the Amazons appear to reference women riding horses rather than women driving chariots

2: at about this time, the New Kingdom Egyptians were starting to use individually mounted horsemen in a light cavalry role

3: women generally weigh less than men, so presumably would have been less of a burden for horses to carry.

Accordingly, it seems highly possible that the Amazons (if they did exist) were among the first to actually use "horse cavalry" as opposed to chariots.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Projects update

It's been a while since I posted but I have been busy. For now, some of the painting projects I have been working on.....

Firstly, I've started a Medieval Irish army. This one is going to be a little bit personal for me, as in trying to trace my family tree I discovered that my family "started" in Ireland back around the mid-1200s, with a guy who for some reason broke away from the MacRagnall clan (modern day Reynolds family). This army is from right around that time, and so will represent my family's fighting forces when it is finished.

So far I've only got the light infantry (archers and javelin-armed skirmishers done - about 20 of each, although the two photos only show a few). I'll put them all on show when I've finished the full army.

Secondly, I've got a bit carried away with my Amazons, and now instead of just a small fighting force designed to "help out" my Hittites and other suitable armies, I've been building up the mounted wing of the force so they can be a stand-alone army in their own right. I've still got a handful of spots to fill - mainly officers - but they look quite a bit stronger now.

Thirdly, I'm working on building up an area of "Gothic ruins". So far, most of the ruins are Games Workshop fantasy buildings, but I have my eye on some Pegasus buildings which hopefully I will be able to get (and assemble) before the end of the year for inclusion in some Dark Ages and Medieval period battles.

The little guy climbing the steps to investigate the ruins (and the smoke coming out from above the dragon statues) is from Cesar's "Adventurers" set.

So, with these and a few other projects that I will be sharing shortly, I've got plenty on my plate.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Japanese mini-campaign kind of fizzed.......

Well, that idea didn't work out so well.

A combination of the Loyalist forces taking too log to arrive (enabling the rebels to "dig in" just a little too powerfully) and more overtime hours required at work than I bargained for saw the campaign/battle fizz out and die. On the plus side, I did finish painting SOME of the samurai artillery figures I have (Rebel Artillery pictured above) - they made it onto the field but didn't get to see any action.

Still persisting with the basic idea though. For June I'm trying a Horse and Musket period campaign battle, on a bigger table than usual.

That moment when your armies find a 6'x4' table isn't big enough for them, and you decided to try 12'x4'. (If I make it wider than 4', I have trouble reaching troops in the middle of it).

My Revolutionary French and Seven Years' War Prussians were my two most successful Horse and Musket era armies last year, so they will face off, with the others helping out as "allies" of the main protagonists. Who sides with who will be decided by dice throw, so historical alliances count for nothing, and we may very well see one-side with many more forces than the other.

With the field itself, I can actually see three possible separate "mini-battles" breaking out on this field. One in the area above the river at the top of the picture, one in the area below the town (in the bottom third of the table), and also in the open area in the middle. Who can win in each sector, and how quickly (allowing them to re-enforce their friends next door) should be key.

With the weekend of June 16-18 being the 201th anniversary of the Waterloo campaign, I'm planning to do a bunch of the fighting then. Just hoping work doesn't spoil that plan once again!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Samurai Civil War - May Project (Week 1)

I'm a little behind schedule already - I had planned to start this during "Golden Week" in Japan (last week) but have only now managed to get it started. It's designed as an "extended battle" (mini-campaign) that will run throughout May. I'll be doing a few moves each day, and hopefully a weekly update.

I'm basically experimenting with some ideas that will allow me to play through a small campaign, rather than just a lone battle. Selected to test the concept are my Japanese Civil War ("sengoku jidai" era) samurai.

The back story.......

Last year, the daimyo (warlord) for this particular region died and the Emperor appointed his son, Lord Nobouki, as his successor. The more conservative samurai in the area objected to this, and rallied behind their own leader, Lord Hideyoshi - initially as just an opposition faction, but still loyal to the Emperor.

Shortly after, Lord Hideyoshi became seriously ill. His family allege that Lord Nobouki's allies attempted an assassination. No proof has yet been produced, but tensions continued to grow over the winter months, with the rebels assembling their own army. Now, as the nation prepares to celebrate the annual setsubon Festival, the rebels have begun to gather in a village near the border of Lord Hideyoshi's territory, awaiting the arrival of allies before they embark on a full campaign.

The battlefield.....

The village can be seen at the bottom of the above picture - the southern part of the battlefield. It has strategic importance as it is near a river with two crossing points (bridges), and enemy (or allied) forces can approach across either. Typical of rural Japan, the countryside is littered with hills and forest, leaving little room for a full blown battle in the area. However, possibilities for smaller skirmishers that build to deciding the overall campaign exist.

The arrival point and timing of the various forces will largely be decided by dice (so that even I will be surprised). The Loyalist forces (led by my White Faction) will arrive from the north, on the opposite side of the river to the village. But undecided factions will enter from the various side roads.

Some surprises......

I have a group of "wandering peasants" trotting around the battlefield, with their movement controlled by dice throw, making them a totally random feature. Whether they help or hinder the various troop movements will remain to be seen.

The loyalty of my four other factions (Blue, Green, Teal and Yellow) is unknown and will not be determined until they arrive on the battlefield (if they do).

The Loyalist forces do not know that Lord Hideyoshi's youngest brother, Yoshiake, has attracted an allied force of some "beasties" (troops from my Giant Nations" army - orcs, goblins, trolls etc). Just to add a fantasy element to the mix. The rebels will also have some artillery arriving (as soon as I finish painting it) and perhaps so will the allies - again, depending on how my painting progresses.

The campaign so far....

Little has happened so far beyond the initial arrival of the peasants (north-west of the village and so far they seem intent on moving away from it, so appear more likely to come into contact with Loyalist forces than the rebels) and the initial deployment of the rebels.

With Lord Hideyoshi indisposed due to his illness, his middle brother, Masakage has taken command of the faction's army, and has set himself up in the village, surrounded by his personal guard of samurai. Yoshiake will arrive with the "beasties".

The initial rebel positions can be seen above, with foot soldiers on either side of the village and mounted samurai on the left flank, preparing to advance toward the western bridge and report on the situation there. The "messenger corps" of the Rebels are gathered in the center, sheltered in the confines of the village.

To come.....

Over the coming week, I expect the Loyalist forces and "beastie" allies of the rebels to arrive. Perhaps also some of the neutral faction troops.

Plus, the rebels will be deploying to secure their position.

More maneuvering than fighting, perhaps? At this stage anyway.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Brunswickers - better late than never!

This was supposed to be my project for January, but it went on a little longer than anticipated. Hopefully worth the wait - a full regiment of Duchy of Brunswick hussars from the latter period of the Napoleonic Wars.

After making peace with Austria and Prussia, prior to invading Russia, Napoleon consolidated many of the independent German states into the Confederation of the Rhine, with the Duchy of Brunswick losing its status altogether. The Duke led a group of his loyal followers on a march to the sea - north, to a British-controlled Hanoverian port, and fled to Britain. The army regrouped there, and fought as part of the British in the Iberian Peninsular, and then subsequently in the Waterloo campaign, with the Duke himself killed at Quatre Bras, in the lead up to the Battle of Waterloo.

A Brunswick hussar regiment comprised four squadrons, with one armed as uhlan (lancers). Each squadron had a paper strength of 120 men - six figures on a scale of one figure represents 20 men. Thus, we have.......

(Note that the squadron of uhlan would probably move to the front if a charge was going to be attempted. As light cavalry though, the regiment would more often be used for scouting and screening, so the uhlan can be kept safely at the back while the squadrons armed with carbines take the lead. All have swords as backup once the initial charge has been made and the fighting becomes up close and personal.)

When I first started painting Brunswickers (the infantry, a couple of years ago now) I thought the Black and grey coloring might be a bit boring to look at. But the light blue facings and trim really stand out and make them quite visually appealing on the battlefield.

All up, a nice little force. Too weak for offensive action (unless supported by allies) but more than useful as a garrison protecting a defensive position. If I can find an appropriate gun battery, the force will be complete.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Starting the New Year off right - Hittites Vs Indians

This is the third time I have attempted to match these two up against each other and the first time it has come off. Work, or something, has always seemed to interfered in the past and forced a cancellation.

The battle was contested on basically a flat plain, beside a river, with a small town on the opposite side of the river. Hittite forces were supported by Amazons (Anatolian "tribal" allies) and a squadron of Mitanni chariots.

Although they had planned to fight a defensive action, the Indians found themselves deployed and ready for battle first, and moved to secure access to the bridge that provided access across the river to the town. (Indians on the left in the picture above).

Although their advance began on the bridge side of the battlefield, the first conflict of the battle took place on the opposite flank, where Indian cavalry found themselves up against some of the Hittite chariots. A quick but bloody encounter followed, with both sides driven back.

Down the center, the advancing Indian elephants were causing problems, as the Hittites realized their chariot horses were not going to stand against the beats, and tried to get them out of the way. (See photo above). All but one chariot succeeded in evading the elephants - he put up a brave showing before going down, just as the Amazon allies of the Hittites arrived to try and save him.

Unfortunately for the Indians, while they were enjoying success in the center, their right flank was being destroyed by the light chariots of the Mitanni. (Photo above shows the scene from behind Hittite lines, with the Mitanni chariots in the top left of the picture).

The elephants then moved on, driving the Amazons before them (see photo above), and pursuing them off the field.

This left a bind for the Indians as their remaining forces - low grade infantry, now faced the full might of the Hittites main forces; chariots and well-drilled infantry. The Indian commander thought it was an opportune moment to call off hostilities, and pulled the remnants of his army from the field.

The Hittites finished the day in possession of the field, but it was a real Pyrrhic victory due to their heavy losses. Indeed, in totaling up Victory Points, it was found that a 10-10 draw had resulted.

The Hittites too face political problems as a result of the battle, with the Amazons upset that they were left to fight the elephants pretty much on their own. It appears unlikely that they will turn out to help the Hittites next time out, and in fact, may even turn against them!!!

Watch this space.....