Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Bases for the BEF

As I mentioned in the last post, I wanted to do something slightly different for the bases of my latest batch of BEF. For bases I usually do something like PVA glue, some coarse sand/grit, followed by ordinary beach sand. Then it's base-coated a muddy brown and highlighted with 2 - 3 lighter brown or cream colours. To finish, add a garnish of static grass!

So I decided to try doing a little pile of rubble. I also thought about adding some corrugated iron and possibly some barbed wire, but I did not want the bases looking too 'busy'. Here's my first efforts.

I think that the addition of some iron and wire would have been Ok. I may do this for my Germans or any further British. Also, the rubble is a little too 'new'. But I'm still quite pleased with the results. Anyway, hope you like them.

In answer to Sidney's question ... The two-figure bases are going to form the core of each of my Company Command groups. I've done them like this so as to make it easy to spot the command group when playing 'The Great War'.

And finally ...

I couldn't resist adding a picture of the (Scarab Miniatures) "Ernest carrying wounded comrade" figure now that they're based ;o)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

More BEF

Here's another 14 BEF, including 2 command stands for my Company Command groups and 2 Highlanders.

If my calculations are correct this should mean that I now have enough models painted for a 1,000pt battalion. (But I need to check this before popping the champagne!). They're not based yet as (a) I only finished painting them about 15 minutes ago and (b) after seeing the splendid and very inspirational work on blogs such as Sidney's "Roundwood's World" and Keith's "Aircav Saga" I intend to do something a little different for the bases of these fellows.

Anyway, here they are - apologies for the less than brilliant photos, I was in a bit of a rush, they look better in real life, honest!

All Great War Minatures, apart from one figure.

Here's the Highlanders, that gives me a platoon of 12 figures including a Lewis gun.

These will form the basis for my Company Command groups.

Here's the chap carrying a wounded comrade. This is a Scarab Miniatures figure and was a joy to paint. I think it's probably my favourite figure.

When all the basing is done I'll post a few army pics with some terrain, etc ... and proper lighting!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Three Games, Two Days, One Ruleset

With a couple of days off at half term some games of War & Conquest seemed to be in order. On Wednesday I spent the day as a guest at Scarab Towers, kindly hosted by Rob, along with Scarab chum and all round painting machine, Mr Phil Turner.

I must begin by pointing out that Scarab Towers is undergoing a certain amount of renovation so we were limited to the use of the North Wing only. This imposed some restrictions on lighting which will go some way to explaining why my pictures aren't too good - and nothing to do with my ineptitude! ;o)

I'm not going to give a turn by turn account of each of the games, (Rob is hopefully writing up the notes he took), but will instead give a few highlights of the action.

Game One
First up was a classic game of Early Imperial Romans vs British Celts, continuing our theme of the conquest of the west country in the middle of the first century by the Legio II Augusta.

We used the 'Autumn' deployment method, with the Celts having the objective of capturing and holding one of the crossing points, whilst the Roman objective was to crush the continued rebellion by destroying 75% of the Celt army.

The Celts won the strategic advantage in the early part of the game and raced for the ford and the bridge. After a short pause at the river bank (where it became clear that the Romans were not going to get their feet wet) they crossed to engage the enemy.

On the flanks the Auxilia did sterling work holding up the chariots whilst the legions and warbands fought a series of combats. In the end the training and discipline of the legions prevailed, but only just. The battle was a draw as neither side completed their objectives, but the Romans had the upper hand.

Game Two
For this game we skipped back a few hundred years to the days of the Peloponnesian War. Phil has a splendid collection of Spartans and Greek City States, added to which were Rob's marvellous Hoplites. This added up to a lot of toy soldiers. Phil took command of the army of Sparta, whilst Rob and I teamed up to lead the Greeks.

I had command of 4 phalanxes of Greek Citizen Hoplites plus some Thracians, whilst Rob lead the other flank which included "proper" Hoplites, skirmishers and cavalry. (Please excuse me here; my knowledge of this era is rather sketchy at best!)

For the first few turns the armies marched towards each other. In W&C, like many other rulesets, phalanxes are fine moving forwards but any sort of manouevre slows them considerably. This gave me time to take some pics of Phil's lovely models.

Foundry Greek citizen hoplites.

Scarab Spartan hoplites (my personal favourite!)

A view along the Spartan lines.

The armies edge closer as each side plucks up the courage to thunder in to close combat.

The Spartans proved to be an extremely tough prospect for the Greeks. Both sides fought tenaciously with the lines holding for several turns. First the Greek left (my flank) crumbled then routed. Then the Greek centre began to give way. Sensing victory the Spartans surged forward but at least some of the Greek army held their nerve and held the Spartans. But after 9 turns it was clear that Sparta had had the best of the battle - but again it was a close game.

Foundry Spartans clash with Scarab Greek Hoplites.

Another exciting game that I found particularly enjoyable and inspiring. Both Phil and Rob are very enthusiastic about ancient Greek warfare. If I didn't already have a mountain of figures to paint then I'd definitely be ordering a bunch of Scarab Spartans! May be later in the year perhaps?

With that it was time to pack up and leave, especially as it was past 11pm! As I left I heard Phil ask Rob if he fancied an all night chariot wars game!

Game Three
As some of you may know, my lovely wife has an interest in toy soldiers and asked me if I could run a smallish game so that she could try out the new rules. As you might expect I was delighted by the request!

So out came the Legions and Celts for another battle. Both armies are around 1,600pts. Here's the scene after the Celts have had their first turn.

The Celt's objective was to raid the Roman baggage (I really need to make some proper Roman baggage - it would be very useful in W&C) whilst I, leading the Romans, had to take and hold the centre point of the battlefield. We marked this with a small tree. (Hmm... some objective markers would be good too!). Here's a pic of the cavalry and chariots.

I didn't take any more photos as I was busy running the game and explaining the rules. However, key moments included the chariots getting on to the flank of the Roman line and causing havoc. The legions held off the warbands but the Celt Warlord and his retinue of nobles fell on the newly recruited Roman legionaries and tore them to shreds. The small Roman force was completely outmanouevred and outflanked (Note to self: I really need some cavalry and more skirmishers). The Celt cavalry plundered the baggage with ease whilst the warriors mopped up the last of the Romans.

Even though it was a hefty defeat for the Romans it was still a very amusing and enjoyable game. Also, I was pleased that in the course of one small-ish game I was able to cover most of the key rules with only a few references to the rule book and my wife seemed to pick up the mechanics of the game fairly easily. She's certainly keen to have another game soon.

So there you have it, three games in two days with one ruleset.

Friday, 10 February 2012

War & Conquest Disordered Markers

In War & Conquest formed up units can become disordered; perhaps as a result of being charged in the flank and failing a command test, or crossing difficult terrain for example. You could make a note on your roster or put a piece of paper next to the unit but I prefer to have themed markers for this sort of thing.

So here are a couple of pics of my disordered markers for my Romans. Made from leftover bits from the Warlord Early Imperial Roman sprues.

and (without flash)

They'll also be handy for shaken markers if I ever get around to playing HC. I'll be making some more for the Auxillia, plus a few for my Celts.

Friday, 3 February 2012

More War & Conquest

After spotting a comment on the Scarab forum about a game of War & Conquest, I realised that the location was near to where I live. After contacting the poster I found that it was going to be played at the gaming club just down road!

Chris and Ben are members of the Mid-Somerset Wargamers club and they were kind enough to invite me along. So yesterday evening I braved the cold (-4oC) and headed for the club.

It was to be their first game of W&C though they've played lots of other stuff. They even offered to let me command one of the armies but as I had recently played I offered to help Ben run the game using my vast knowledge (stop laughing, especially you Mr Broom!) of the rules!!! Both the armies were painted by Ben and they do look rather splendid, especially his Romans!

The game was set during the initial stages of the Claudian invasion with the Romans attempting to cross a tributary of the mighty Medway, brush aside a small force of local Celts and march on towards their villages where they would explain the benefits* of submitting to Roman rule. (*The foremost of which is not being chopped to pieces by lots of unsympathetic, well-armed professional soldiers)

The table featured a river running down the entire length, dividing the table roughly in half. The armies deployed either side and battle began. The Romans, led by Chris, won the initial strategic advantage and wasted no time in advancing towards the Celtic horde, led by Graham. Here they are.

They repeated this tactic in the second turn where they again won strategic advantage. However, their advance meant that all three cohorts of legionaries were still crossing the river. Turn three saw the strategic advantage rules really come in to play. In turn two, Graham had moved second and brought his warbands close to the Romans. He won the strategy roll at the end of turn two and elected to go first in turn three, effectively giving him two consecutive turns! Both flank units of legionaries were charged by Celt warbands, lost their combats, but held their ground - with the careful use of valuable strategy points. Alas, Chris' dice rolling was less than stellar. Although I should point out that formed units in difficult terrain become 'disordered' which reduces their combat effectiveness considerably. Here's the Roman centre and left flank.

In the Roman round of play the centre cohort rolled very low for moving through difficult terrain and remained partially in the river. The Celts again won both combats on the flanks but the Romans tenaciously held their ground and fought on.

Next turn the Celts again won the initiative and Warlord's retinue ploughed in to the veterans. Here's the action. (The scatter dice were impromptu push and shove markers)

Amazingly, Chris' Veterans were beaten and (even more astonishingly) routed from the crazed warband. The Roman's heavy equipment clearly slowed them and they were slaughtered amidst the shallows of the river. Despite seeing the destruction of their armies finest troops, the other cohorts gritted their teeth and held steady. But by this time the Celtic light cavalry had flanked the legionaries and rode in to support the warbands.

The Roman cohorts continued to fight bravely; stubbornly refusing to give ground, but with their numbers dwindling the battle could only have one result. So it was that as night fell across the field the triumphant shouts of the Celts mingled with the notes of a great bronze carnyx, whilst a few terrified Roman survivors fled, no doubt keen to avoid a gruesome death at the hands of the Druids.

An enjoyable battle to watch and help out with, plus a jolly nice bunch of chaps. I hope this will inspire more games of W&C at the club.

Oh, and I now have 100 followers! Hooray! Thank you to you all :o)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Figure Review - 1st Corps

After the recent game of W&C I decided I really needed a proper Commander or General vignette. They had to be mounted as it significantly improves their mobility. So after checking several different companies I settled on 1st Corps as they had a pack with both the General and accompanying standard mounted. Here they are.

It's the LRR05 'Julius Caesar' pack but with the great man swapped for 'Pompey' from LRR06. Cost was £8 for the pack, plus £2 for P&P. When I contacted 1st Corps about the possibility of swapping the figures I received a prompt and helpful reply from Simon Curtis. I placed the order on Sunday and got the figures on Wednesday! They were well packaged too.

The figures themselves are detailed and well cast. There are very few mould lines, though the horses do have a little bit of flash. In terms of size and style they are very compatible with Warlord Games, Gripping Beast and Foundry. This does mean I'll have to be a little creative with basing if I decide to use the officer with the Attic style helmet alongside my slightly larger Black Tree legionaries. But the mounted figures will have their own scenic base so the size difference is largely irrelevant.

I'll certainly be looking at 1st Corps again when it comes to expanding my Celt army and replacing some of the more awkwardly posed Warlord Games plastic figures. Anyway, hope you found this mini-review helpful.