Monday, 26 May 2008

World War One

Now look what Warhammer Historical have produced!

The Great War
(click on the image for more information)

For suitable models have a look at the new venture from GW-ers, Aly Morrison and Dave Andrews, Great War Miniatures. This site is worth a look just for the amazing scenery and gallery!

Nice models can also be sourced from Renegade Miniatures.

I've been interested in World War One since the mid 90's but had never given much thought to gaming it. Initially this was because we mostly played WFB, but in more recent (and more historically aligned) years I've been busy with other things. This new book from Warhammer Historical has really inspired me to collect some figures and may be play the occasional game. This will of course be allied with a whole lot more research in to the events of 1914-1918.

I have ordered the book (post free) from Wargames Foundry, along with some more of their excellent paints that will allow me to paint up some British and Germans. Haven't ordered any figures yet though. This is because I haven't quite decided whether to play 'early war' i.e. the so called war of movement in August and September 1914, principally the battles of Mons and the Marne; or to go for 'late war' and play some of the more dynamic breakthroughs of 1917-18.

Does this mean that my Roman and Celt aspirations have been shelved? No not at all. I intend to work on both. The Great War can be played with as few as 20 or so figures per side, so I do not need to paint many to get playing. Then I'll add models just for the enjoyment of painting something other than ancients.

More 1/72nd Plastic Napoleonics

I'm pleased to say that Rich and James have been jolly busy with their new hobby.

Here's the army so far.
More plastic Napoleonics
(click for larger image)

Coming along really well aren't they!? Just need a few British and they'll be able to play their first skirmish.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Teaching friends to paint Napoleonic plastics

My good friend Rich and his son James were interested in learning to paint toy soldiers and I was only only too happy to help out. James got a box of Italieri 1/72nd scale French Napoleonic Infantry for his birthday. These soft plastic figures are surprisingly detailed and generally very well moulded. Only a small amount of flash had to be removed before they were washed in warm soapy water, thoroughly dried and then undercoated using GW white spray.

Now, bear in mind that neither Rich nor James have ever painted model soldiers before, so I think you'll be very impressed with their efforts, I certainly am!

I decided that painting an example figure for them would be good way to start, rather than trying to describe "this bit is blue" and "that bit is red", etc. For the example I kept the scheme simple and neat, using only base colours. At 1/72nd scale this would look fine. All paints were GW as these are readily available here in NZ. It took me about 30 mins to paint the first figure and I must say that it was quite enjoyable. These figures paint up well and en-masse would look ace.

Anyway, enough waffle... Here's Rich's model. First ever painted model. Told you you'd be impressed.

Rich's Figure

Here's James' first model. Good or what! Especially when you consider that he's only 9.

James' Figure

They both took great care with their painting; their faces were a picture too, both pulling the same expression ... no doubting they are father and son. Brilliant.

Here's the group, with my example in the centre.

All three figures

They both really enjoyed the painting so I've given them a bunch of paints, brushes, etc so as to get them off to a flyer. I certainly enjoyed passing on a few of my painting tips. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of their efforts.

Welcome to the absolutely brilliant world of model soldiers!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

New EIR range from North Star

Have a look at these.

Imago Militis EIR
(picture from the North Star website - no infringement of copyright intended)

More at

Looks promising eh!? All this fuss about Warlord and WGF plastics, but I can't help but like metal dollies. Plus, having looked at the pics posted on the WAB forum comparing Warlord with Foundry and GB, the Warlord EIR will be too small to stand alongside my BTD figures. Hopefully these fellows will be 28mm foot to eye.

Why would I not buy more BTD Legion ... ? Well, the BTD Aux figures are great with crisp detail and good pose, etc. But the Legion are just not quite as good. Maybe the moulds need updating but the detail is not as ... detailed! On the table they'll look ok but up close (i.e. when painting) it's noticeable.

Anyway, take a look at North Star's range and see what you think. They also go very nicely with the excellent LBM transfers. I'll be (politely) asking for a sample once I'm back in the UK.

Strength & Honour.

Monday, 5 May 2008

WAB - EIR vs AoA Romano-British

My last game of toy soldiers at the Christchurch Wargaming Club was to be a game of WAB, pitting my Early Imperial Romans against Dave's Age of Arthur Romano-British, organised and GM-ed by Darren.

My army was pretty much everything I had plus some barbarian cavalry and skirmishers using figures loaned from Darren's AoA Early Saxon army. Dave's army was huge and included several large units of skirmishers. I wasn't too bothered by the numbers since I assumed that with the exception of the Mounted Commanipulares, the rest would be mostly poor quality troops. Hmmmm?

Clinton supplied some of his excellent terrain so the table looked great. Dave's army was painted by a painting service, so it looked great too. My army is only half painted but the painted bits looked ace.

The bulk of my army was deployed towards my right flank, as was Dave's army. He made it very clear that only his horde of skirmishers would go anywhere near my heavy infantry so I began to advance, wheeling the line as I went. I planned to use a combination of terrain, skirmishers and cavalry to guard the end of the wheeling flank.

Dave manoeuvred his skirmishing light cav (mounted Milites I think?) just a little too close to my skirmishers so in charged my 2 units of warhounds. Alas, I managed to roll a cluster of 1's and 2's, in return the cavalry slaughtered the dogs and the remaining few fled. The Milites huge pursuit roll positioned them nicely behind the wheeling line of legionary units whereupon the Milites proceeded to hurl lots of sharp pointy sticks with surprising accuracy.

Dave's big cavalry unit declared an optimistic charge against my own Auxiliary cavalry. However, the distance was too far and the charge faltered. Now, I had planned to use my Aux to delay and restrict his cavalry's movement rather than confront them directly, but this was too good an opportunity to miss! So I duly charged in with the cavalry. Oh dear, yet another bunch of 1's and 2's. So Dave's Romano-Brit Knight Commander General bod and his mounted Commanipulares chums made very short work of the Auxiliary Cavalry. The remaining five fled only to rally and be charged again. This time the Commanipulares left no survivors, in fact they didn't even get a chance to fight.

The very numerous skirmishing Romano-Brits (70-80 in total) proved to be deadly accurate with their javelins and slings, exacting an extraordinary toll on my heavy infantry. My own small units of skirmishers were soon brushed aside by their enemy counterparts.

When my infantry finally got to grips with Dave's units of Milites I (not unreasonably) expected my brave Legionaries to slaughter them. But no ... I proved yet again that just when you think you can't roll any more 1's and 2's ... you can ... lots of them. For example ... 2 units of 18 legion faced 1 unit of 25 Milites with thrusting spears. The first round score was Legion 1, Milites 5. Luckily the Roman's stubborn-ness kept them in the fight. I kept thinking "next turn". But when the next turn came the story was much the same. One unit of Legion fled (and was subsequently chased down by other milites, no they didn't manage to rally) the other unit stayed for one more turn before it lost another round of combat, fled and was trampled by some very surprised Milites.

The two units of Legion Light infantry did no better. One being massacred by skirmishing cavalry. The other (badly mauled by javelins) was slaughtered by another unit of Milites. Both combats saw even more 1's and 2's from the Romans.

In summary, I'm not sure I won a single round of combat. The only significant casualties for the Romano-Brits were a large unit (32 figures) of skirmishers and a few other figures from the main infantry units. The result was off the VP scale really. A total massacre. There's really not much you can do if the dice persistently roll against you.

Looking back at the game my initial thought was that I hadn't done too much wrong, apart from wasting the cavalry units - one by foolishly charging the Commanipulares, the other, a unit of allied Barbarian cav, by having it march from one flank to the other, then back again. But thinking more I realise that marching to attack en-masse was foolish. I should have sent the cav along one flank to attack just a part of his line, or to clear away the skirmishers at least. Then I should have manoeuvred my heavy infantry to engage his infantry on favourable terms, defeating his more numerous force a bit at a time.

However, it was an entertaining game, played with a strong sense of gentlemanly sportsmanship on both sides. That's what counts. It certainly raised gales of laughter at several points!

Lessons learned
- Make sure you can win the "skirmisher war" otherwise even well armoured units will suffer if subjected to sustained javelin/sling attack.
- Try to have a back-up plan for vital combats, even the best infantry can falter against poorly trained troops.
- Don't hurry to engage the enemy, if they won't advance then manoeuvre your forces to attack only a part of the enemy force.
- Include some long range firepower to force an opponent to move, rather than wait for you. (My bolt shooters are not built so I did not include them.)
- Use cavalry effectively rather than wasting them in futile combats or by marching them back and forth.

Happy WAB-ing.