[The Little One has written the blog today… I will write a little bit more next week from my perspective, but enough of me…]
I asked my Papa (that is what I call my Dad) if I could write the blog post today as we both went to the Show. I played two games at Salute. I could have played more but some were demonstration games whilst other were crowded when we went there and Papa tended to stop and talk to all kind of people that he knows. We did not maximise the playing time very well – but we both did have a good time and I know he likes to talk. I wanted to play the Omaha Beach game but it was full every time we went there – it looked really good [ed: this was the Omaha Beach game put on by Peterborough Wargames Club]. I will write about the two games I did play in more detail below, but first a few general things.
I did like
I really enjoyed the show, there is a lot to do and buy;
I got myself 3 Tiger tanks in 15mm from Peter Pig and they gave me a bonus miniature (thanks!) and I also got the Osprey Book about the Tiger I. We also bought a target lock laser line each – this will help us when we determine whether something is in an arc of fire or not. It avoids arguments, I tend to be more rules strict than my opposition (like Papa). I always see Peter Pig at shows and Papa has a lot of their WW2 stuff – I think he has the world record. I also got some dice, but they were not very exciting.
Everyone was friendly to me and answered all my questions really well;
There is a lot of different games at this show, I really like historical games but you could also play fantasy and science fiction (I was looking for someone playing Star Wars Legion but I could not find any, we play it at home so I was not too sad about it). Some games are more like street fights but there are a lot of very big battles as well;
We went to the venue using the Cable Car – it is very exciting, and
They always have some cool people with costumes at the show, like Star Wars and 40k. This year they had a Spartan from the HALO universe too.
I did not like
I was looking for some of the latest Star Wars Legion releases but the traders were only selling older stuff from the range – things I already have.
I am not used to walking around that much and should have taken better shoes.
The Battle of The Little Big Horn 1876 – The Wargamer Collection Calculator
The first game I played was the Battle of Little Big Horn, it was fought in 1876. It was a battle between 650 soldiers of the US 7th Cavalry regiment under the command of Lt Colonel Custer against Allied Native American tribes led by Sitting Bull. It was fought over land that had been given to the Native Americans but the Government wanted to take it back because they found gold in the region.
The game was cleverly designed and was played on four different boards, each linking to the other boards and events were interconnected. First I played as the Indians but later I took the role of Custer himself, and my strategy was to get into the Indian village and take the women, elders and children hostage. However I found this challenging, first I attacked when I thought the Warriors had gone off hunting but they were still around, second I had left my Gatling guns behind. During the game, I found myself facing three different enemy leaders (one being commanded by my Dad) but managed to fight bravely and get into the actual village, but unfortunately I had lost my bonus (as my leader – Custer had taken injuries) and had nothing to counter the Native Americans – ensuring my defeat. I did put up a brave fight and when I talked to Peter who was one of the organisers at the end he said that I was the closest to Victory on that day. I do not like losing and felt annoyed at first, but I realised that as a consequence the children and the women would be safe – so that is a good thing.
It was a really good game, and I really recommend it if you see it on another show. It is being run by the Wargamer Collection Calculator – you can find a link to them here. I heard that they won best Participation Game on the day – I think they deserved it. I hope I can play it again at Joy of Six in July as I will be going there this year [ed: as if you had any choice mate!]. I am getting the book about the Battle by Philbrick.
Space Vixens from Mars – “Meine Ehre heiβt Treue”, The Road to Castle Itter May 1945
The second game was interesting too and was about a situation at the end of WW2 where a German Army Major and an American Lieutenant joined forces to save French prisoners in the Austrian Alps. These prisoners were being guarded by loyal SS Soldiers at Castle Itter, determined to ensure that the prisoners are terminated.
In the game I played the German major and his two squads of the finest German Army Soldiers. We had to convince the SS checkpoints at two stages to successfully enable us to get behind the PAK 40 AT Gun and the Tiger Tank the SS soldiers were equipped with. This would allow me to conduct a surprise attack whilst the American approached the SS position with his Sherman tanks. Once the Shermans were spotted, they concentrated their fire on the Tiger and managed to disable it. I overwhelmed the gun crew and put some of my men to operate it and managed to use it to destroy some enemy positions. The American commander did his job well and finished off the remaining opposition. As a results we managed to free the prisoners. All-in-all another great game indeed. They were using the SFD rules. Really nice people (Phil, Gary and Steve) and they have a webpage too (link here) [Ed: and thanks to Josh Shuck who played the American Commander].
/ Hope that was of some interest, Great Show and Great day. Thanks to the organisers and all the people who put on nice games and shared the hobby with me!
For this years Joy of Six project, you may be aware, I needed to represent the Town of Poltava, in searching for some maps from the era I came across this beautiful map from the period showing the Battle of Poltava 1709, it was made by Anna van Westerstee Beeck. She produced a lot of maps showing battles of the period for the Great Northern War and the War of the Spanish Succession (more here and here).
Anyway the focus today is Poltava itself (see below). we can see the Swedish Siege lines on the left. I wanted to capture the general feel of the town – wooden walls and the wall in the middle.
I set out some ideas on a 6mm mdf board.
I then built up a some walls with 6mm underfloor heating polystyrene and tooth picks.
The wooden towers required some thought and was made using pieces of lego cladded with tooth picks and I then made one roof and made a mould from putty silicon and produced enough for all the towers.
Anyway, here it is, buildings from Total Battle and Timecast.
The last blog post was 28 days ago, that is the longest gap I have had since I started this blog in 2016 – my objective was to do a blog post every week or so. I am slowly working away on a few hobby things but work and some personal issues has lead to some difficulties to find some time to write stuff down – I still do some Twitter binges as I find it a fantastic forum for miniatures and wargaming – it is friendly and inspirational.
However here is a condensed catch-up blog of what hobby related activities I undertook during February 2019 – I hope it will suffice!
Roll a One blog 10th February – Star Wars Legion, first two Games
We Spent this week preparing and playing Star Wars what a Legion it was fantastic fun. We had a go at the learning scenario and then we did a more involved scenario with some objective in a little desert village. I lost both of the battles… here are some pictures.
The Little One gave me a new nick name – Roll a Blank! However overall we had a blast and have played a few more time since. Fun game and thumbs up from the Little One.
Roll a One blog 17th February – Some more Legion Building
A relatively calm week, we got a MDF piece for the Legion Desert terrain. Following some preparation we think it blends in nicely with the other terrain although it is made from MDF.
Good value at about a tenner, and gives some options for fighting on the roof.
Roll a One blog 25th February – Mapping it all Up, Bad Elephant Joke, Painting the Monastery/Cloister
I pulled the famous finger out of that infamous place and have now started with this years Joy of Six project for real – Poltava 1709. The Battlefield will be 16 by 5 feet and I did a rough map on how it will look in the end and have started planning the various key terrain elements (All miniature 6mm Baccus).
Some of the key features on the left hand side are seen below, the Swedish Camp, Poltava with Siege lines, although I think they actually were on the left of Poltava in this picture. We can also see the Monastery, the Swedish Camp and some of the Russian Redoubts.
Here is the Monastery made from models from Total Battle Miniatures. I think it will do the trick it will be place on a hill with trees.
I have also got myself a whole camping worth of tents to do the Swedish Camp with a design based on how a battalion camped during the era (with the latrines to the left).
I even found a guy in the Baccus camp pack who looked just perfect to convert to a man having a dump in the latrine area – he looks very peaceful and reflective, perhaps he was unwell on the day and could not be with the army (lucky guy!).
Roll a One blog 3rd March – Russian Redoubts
The Russian redoubts are another of the key components of the Poltava Battlefield, here are my take on them (note due to ground scale vs figure scale these had to be relatively small). I have just got the miniatures so only did a few for test purposes.
I first made some using clay but whilst in a Wickes (UK DIY shop) on another mission I noticed that the were selling Pine Glass Bead Moulding (basically strips of wood) that had a very interesting profile (see below, they are product code 121231 at Wickes and comes in lengths of 2.4 meters – plenty for my current needs).
That was all, I think I am all up to date now, until next roll Ones!
This, as indicated by the Part 2, is a follow-up of the posting last week where I discussed some painting approaches we have taken to quickly complete the necessary painting of the 2 No. Star Wars Legion Base Sets the Little One got for Christmas, so we could get it on a table and play it. It is worth checking out that blog post here.
Today we will cover:
Some Tatooine like buildings we got through Ebay
Approach to basing and terrain mats
Storing the stuff in the Base Box
Last time I showed some Tatooine style of buildings we ordered from e-bay, they arrived last week and looked great. Being 3D printed they had some layers visible, but not too much to upset us.
We added some Vallejo mud paste on the models here and there to add some further interest. It was then primed with black gesso.
Then from left to right, heavy drybrush with the buffy colour (let dry), then a wash with sepia ink (diluted with water say 1/2 ink/water), then drybrush with the lighter colour.
We then detailed some part with a drybrush of saddle brown followed by a leather red (Vallejo), whilst other parts in metallic bronze. I then washed these details with a rust wash. The moisture collectors were painted like the barricades below. We think it is good enough for the table.
I have bought another two buildings from the same seller at eBay (3dwgprinted), and will paint them in the same style once they arrive (this should give us a good start with some terrain).
Some thoughts on Terrain for Star Wars Legion
One of the cool things with Star Wars are the different environments where the action could take place. It could be a fight on Tatooine in a desert environment, in a forest like Endor, snow like Hoth, or in space ship (like the opening scene from a New Hope) or a base. This, to us, is one of the many fascinating aspects of a sci-fi fantasy world. The bases the game comes with are dark grey for the Imperials and Burgundy red for the Rebels, they are 3mm thick (see picture below).
Incidentally they do some other cool stuff, worth checking out (these are in 28mm scale).
Sorry, back to the bases.
This is how the bases turned out and how they look on a gaming surface (based on a sneaky little skirmish we had over the weekend using the Little Ones “Alcoholic-Free Beers and Pretzel Rules”). I think the bases works well.
We have ordered a 6 by 3 desert mat after shopping around a little bit – it looks like this.
It looks good and will also be useful for some of my Mahdist war stuff I was working on last year as well. However the piece of fabric we used to take the pictures above I have to admit looks smashing too.
This was a piece of fabric bought from ebay. It sells in 1/2 meter lengths and is about 1 metre wide, so you would need to buy 2 No. for a 3 by 3 mat (total cost of £13) and 4 No. for a 6 by 3 mat (total cost of £26). It is shown in the screen shot below.
The things is that there are many different colour schemes of this pattern/style which would give you the ability to get a few different options for the look of your table.
I have only bought the one shown in the pictures above (so not sure how the other patterns would look on the table). Also remember that these are pieces of fabric, not comparable with the quality of the wargames mats in cloth or other materials you can buy commercially, they also come in a 1 metre width (that is 3 ¼ feet so will not do your normal 4 feet width) – but perhaps worth considering to give some variety. It is hard to beat £13 for a 3 by 3 mat. I might have ordered one or two more varieties and will report back once they arrive.
There are some barricades that comes with the game – we are yet to figure out how these would work in practice! I suppose they are included as a substitute for other terrain, but I always find them funny especially if both sides are using them. It is a little bit like some kind of paintball range where the opponents meet up instead of a more believable skirmish in a more improvised location, or where only one side has set up defences. However perhaps I am overthinking this.
We base coated these with black gesso and then dry brushed them with a medium grey followed by a very light grey. We then used a pale grey wash over them (we used the Vallejo Pale Grey Wash).
Storage in the Base Box
We cut a few pieces of 3mm foamboard we had lying around to allow us more efficiently utilise one of the Legion Boxes for storing the miniatures (all the other stuff fits in one of the two boxes). This is how they were cut (all the same length as one side of the box). Making sure the walker would fit as shown.
Then inserted in the box.
We then cut another piece on top to be able to store more soldiers, and added a handle to be able to lift it up easily – we used an old little toy model cat.
Perfect (not for travelling around with, but enough for us to gently put back into storage).
Plenty of space to fit those speeder bikes when done, and further expansions.
But that cat does look scared, with all those rebels around! / Hope that was of some interest!
The Little One got two base sets and a few extra things for Star Wars Legion this Christmas – a great idea on the surface but it leads to a lot of miniatures needing to get painted. Friends of this blog knows me foremost as a 6mm army painter doing some ventures into 15mm with some WW2 stuff. The only thing I do in 28mm is my Mutant 1984 project. I have neither the patience nor (perhaps more importantly) the skill, to paint 28mm miniatures at any bigger scale. I suppose it has to do with being restless and untalented or something like that.
I also wanted the Little One to be involved and to feel ownership of the project – Star Wars Legion is his game, it is his miniatures, but I am happy to help him as much at it takes. We went to a few gaming shops before Christmas and he really wanted Star Wars Legion and for us to paint the miniatures and make some terrain together. I figured I had to find a quick and easy way to paint these miniatures – so I could get back to my historical stuff but also so we could get this to the table as soon as possible.
The things we need to paint are:
Rebel Soldiers – a total of 4 squads (28 foot soldiers) and 2 AT-RT operators.
Storm Troopers (28 No.), Snow Troopers (7 No.) and Scout Speeder Bike Riders (4 No.)
Vehicles – AT-RTs (2 No.) and Speeder Bikes (4 No.)
Commanders/Special Operatives – Dart Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Boba Fett and the General.
We will discuss 1 and 2 in this post and then in a later 3 and 4 when they are done.
In searching for a method/style to do the Rebels I stumble upon this YouTube video by Mini Junkie. Very quickly I realised this is what we needed and the approach we take is not identical but very much influenced by this excellent video.
It uses mainly inks to achieve a nice result, we used a desert yellow as a base for our models, then added the inks and some washes (in line with the ones stated in the video, as we did not have all of the exact matches – the inks are the most important bit). Then we dry-brushed the weapons with gun metal, the trousers with some brown and then added just a little bit of highlighting on the shirt and the faces – all stages easily done by the Little One. We did it in a assembly line fashion, colour by colour – I may have been quicker but we both did the work.
Here is the result – good enough for the table (on temporary bases, we will base all of them on transparent acrylic bases at the end of this project).
…and the two riders (vehicles still in progress)
Storm Troopers et al
The other big part is the Storm Troopers (and the Scouts and Snow Troopers) and the Mini Junkie offers another speed paint video on Storm Troopers (there is a part 2 to watch as well).
This is basically a spray white, ink black details, gloss varnish, apply wash and go. We have started getting through them but they are not yet completed, need to gloss them and then wash them in the next step.
We have both enjoyed this so far and I am actually getting excited about playing a few games, we have started to look at some tutorials on YouTube on how to play the game, and it has attracted some unexpected interest.
The important thing to remember with children is the attention span for things like painting – take it slow and do not do too long sessions. I can sit for hours splashing paint whilst listening to a Podcast with no problem, but the Little One finds this boring. I have set up the project so he gets an idea how to do each step and feels part of the final product.
I really enjoy doing this project with the Little One and his enthusiasm for the process is growing as he realised that most things can be broken down to simple steps, to produce adequate results without too much effort and difficulty. My job is not done here but at least I can walk away from this shift with a smile on my face.
Both videos above offer some simple approaches to get tabletop standard results, I told the Little One it is like a colouring picture, just keep within the “lines”. Apply ink on the trousers, then the shirt, then the vest, etc. Any mistakes just add a little bit of the base colour again and ink over. Do not stress – tabletop standard, his miniatures, if he likes them then they are good enough.
Next we will be doing some Vehicles and start on the terrain stuff we ordered from eBay.
/ Hope that was of some interest and thanks to the Mini Junkie for the excellent stuff he is doing with his Videos.
I have finally finished my France 1940 15mm Platoons I have been working on. I intend to use these with the excellent Too Fat Lardies France 1940 supplement I bought some time ago (link here). I have talked about the book before and it is a fantastic resource for any Platoon based WW2 Gaming. Here they are, I used Skytrex (link here) and Peter Pig (link here) miniatures.
I bought the Little One a copy of the Airfix Battle game for us to try out over Christmas and we took it with us to the holidays in Sweden. He rather likes it and I thought why not ask him to write a short review/reflection of the game I have added it at the end of this blog post.
British 1940 Regulation Platoon (Skytrex and Peter Pig)
German First Wave Platoon (Peter Pig)
Airfix Battles – A review by the Little One
I find Airfix Battles a good game because everything you need sits in a small box – flat miniature soldiers, tanks and guns. The rules are simple to understand for a 10-year old wargamer. However I have played a lot of games before so maybe they are a little bit more difficult for you. There a paper sheets that are used to play on and some terrain features you place on the mat. These are ruins, hedges and difficult ground. It takes on some things that I like with WW2, such as Tigers, Bazookas and Pak-40 guns. However, it is a little bit unrealistic as you can shoot in a curved trajectory (kind of) and mortars and artillery do not seem very powerful – I read in a book that artillery was the biggest cause of death in WW2. Also the ranges are a little bit strange, the MG-34, Browning and Sniper Rifle has the same range. My Papa, that is what I call my dad, tells me there should be figures with the game, but we have plenty at home and the flats works well for travel. It also shows how dangerous war is – so you have to manage your units carefully and protect your commanders as they are important to allow you do things like getting cards and playing orders. You can also use the set to play other games on while you travel, we played What a Tanker using the Panzers vs the Shermans – that was fun!
The other day we used miniatures to play the game, it made my Papa a little bit happier and we had a very good time. He does not like this game as much as I do. I really like it. There is also a way you can play against yourself in Solo mode – I like it and it is harder than playing against Papa because I roll very well for both sides.
I really like games and I think I have learned a few things from this one that I will try to use in my own rule set I have been working on.
As Papa would have said, I hope that was of some interest.
– The Little One (you can read more about the game here)
Below are some more of the pictures we have taken of our games.
In summary, not done too much in the last three weeks, some “diversionary-but-I-hope-of-some-interest-blur” to fill out the blog and then some pictures of new stuff at the end.
This is my 8th consecutive year of putting on a table at Joy of Six. With the exception of 2016 when Neil Shuck and I ran Saga in 6mm, Nick Dorrell and I have staged a range of Battles from the Great Northern War (GNW), including Fraustadt 1706, Klissow 1702, Kalisz 1706, Gadebusch 1712, Lesnaya 1708 and Horka 1708. I think it has been an fair run and I am currently debating with myself whether the table this year, Poltava 1709, will be the last GNW table I do. I feel like it has been a good run and looking at all these tables in the pictures below I enjoyed all the effort I put in and when we presented them, I have been told, others enjoyed them too.
There are a few more battles of the war that I think would be interesting to put on the table, including:
Narva 1700. Swedish attack on fortified Russians with a snow blizzard during the battle. A few Swedes against many, many Russians.
The Duna Crossing 1701. Swedish river assault supported by floating Gun Platforms, etc. Against the Saxons.
Battle of Helsingborg 1710. Fighting on Swedish soil with the Danes last attempt at getting the Scanian lands.
Actually there are many more and if you go to the eminent webpage Tacitus.nu there is a nice table showing all the bigger engagements of the War, when they occurred, who the Swedes fought and who was the main Swedish Commander (link here, and while you are there you will find detailed uniform information for some of the largest battles, based on some of the best resources available).
It is strange, having read so many GNW books and painted so many 6mm miniatures from the Baccus GNW range, that I still have this fascination for the period. I still remember my Father’s retelling of the bravery of the soldiers in the Dal Regiment, when its Battalions breached the defences at the Battle of Narva in 1700 under the leadership of Magnus Stenbock, then a Colonel, who later (I suppose subject to some argument) became one of the Greatest Generals of the era. Another story was the one about the Duna crossing and I remember I closed my eyes and felt the splashes of water from the cannon balls landing next to the rowing boats as the Swedish advance force pressed on toward the river bank on the other side. There is no historical era that is even close with regards to the level of satisfaction and sense of adventure in my opinion – but then I am unashamedly biased. All the other stuff I do are also very interesting but are truly just diversions, I suppose the Great Northern War is what they call “a first love”.
I seem to have convinced myself to keep on going but we will see how this year goes. There is a small benefit in that apart from making the mat/terrain there is limited work in setting up most of the tables after I have finished the Poltava Battle this year, as any painting required will be limited (I have extensive Saxon, Swedish, Russian and Danish armies, so I am reasonably well covered. Some of them I have based for Summer and Winter).
So.., how is Poltava going?
In an earlier posting about a year ago, I was stressing about Poltava (that Posting was actually reasonably interesting, with a link here). I want “my” Poltava to tell the story about the battle not just as a line of Soldiers facing each other at the final attack of the decimated Swedish force against the overwhelming Russian packed lines.
Given this, the following needs to be done (with level of completeness given as a percentage, where 0% means done shit all and 100% all done and dusted):
Finish all the Swedish and Russian miniatures (for the main action, but also for detachment around the battlefield) – 95%
Swedish Camp – 50% (have a lot of Swedish supply wagons, just need to do some camp bases)
Swedish Siege Lines around Poltava – 0%
The Poltava Fortress and Town – 25% (have some houses I can reuse, but will need to do the wooden walls and towers)
Russian Redoubts – 0%
Cossacks / Kalmyck irregular cavalry – 100%
Monastery on the Hill – 0% (but have bought the models)
Surrounding Villages – 50% (I will use some existing ones but need to buy some more)
Russian Camp – 0%
The Battle Mat – 0% (I think a 12 by 4 sheet will do).
The fact that almost all the miniatures are painted is a very good place to be, but I learned not to underestimate the time it will take to do the other stuff – especially the battle mat. The above is the tracker I am using for the Project.
Just before Christmas I did some bases of town folks I will use as Poltava Militia – now do they really look like we would imagine a militia unit of the region? Maybe not but I felt that the Streltzy code would make them look too uniformed, too organised – so I did them like this. The idea was that each miniatures was painted differently, I think I achieved the look I wanted. Note that I have not yet based them as I want to do this when I know how I make the Poltava town/fortress section of the battlefield – so the bases can blend in nicely.
This week I also did some more Dragoons, it seems like there is always more Russian Dragoons to be made – I think that may be it for this time. However, I will do another review just to make sure. I have run out 60 by 30mm bases at this time, so I will have to base them later.
/ Hope that was of some interest, all the best to you.
I had a lot of fun with the hobby in 2018 and this is my year end account of a lot of the things that has been and some things to come. I really hope that your 2019 will be great and I am really grateful for all of you who visit this blog on a regular or occasional basis. One of the best things, this year, is that the Little One is getting more interested and involved in the hobby – thanks Mate!
Also a big thank you to Nick Dorrell, who I did the Horka Battle with at Joy of Six in the Summer, also all the Twitter people (it is a very nice place to be, I call myself Per at Roll a One there), and all the fantastic hobby related podcasts I listen to in between the audible books whilst I try to put paint in the right places. These include, the Too Fat Lardies Oddcast, the Veteran Wargames, the Grognard’s Files, the WSS Podcast, Henry Hyde’s Battlegames (not strictly a podcast but he has done a lot of great ones this year), Wargames Recon, and Trouble at T’Mill.
I also regularly listen to the Meeples and Miniatures podcast and inspired by them the Little One and I thought we would do our own top 5 games we played this year, in no particular order.
What a Tanker – this is so much fun and it inspired me to do a lot of Russian and Finnish tanks during the Sovietic Summer Offensive 1944. I also did a List for the Finnish Tanker (see more below). A brilliantly simple, but not simplistic game, that I really recommend anyone to try (link to the rules here).
Bag the Hun – Provoked by some of the Twitter chums, you know who you are, but again got me a reason to explore some of the Finnish connection. The Finns basically flew the shit of the machines they had and painting those tumbling dice plane has been great fun (see more below). We only did a few games to learn the rules – we will definitely fly more next year (link to the rules here).
Maurice – we just pulled this out for our Christmas game but ended up playing another two games in the last few days. I had forgotten how good of a game this is, it really gives a very nice feeling of the larger battle with the cards adding that narrative feel and grand excitement to the outcome of the battle. I wrote about this battle in the last blog post (see here) and a link to the rules here.
Saga – we have had fun this year using the Second edition of the rules (see more below) and we recently got the book of battles that is a fantastic product – that could be used for other games than Saga (link to the rules here).
Mutants and Death Ray Guns – In the quest for rule sets for my Mutant 1984 project (see more below) we have had some fun games using these rules. Perfect for smallish skirmish (link to the rules here).
Next year we are looking forward to playing all of the above, but also a few other games:
Star Wars Legion – the Little One got a fair amount for this game over Christmas. Looking forward to see if the force is with us or not. I am not a great fan in doing 28mm painting because it takes too long and I am crap at it – so I think we have more than our hand full with this project.
Chain of Command – I want to finish the Swedish platoon write-up and do a few Scenarios based on the 1943 Swedish invasion plan made by Adolf Schell. Part of this plan had some of the lines of advance going through Dalarna (the county where I was born) in Sweden and it would be interesting to place some of the action here. I also would like to do some scenarios based on some of the fighting in the ‘Unknown Soldier’ book/movie during the Finnish Continuation war (I made some assault boats I really would like to put in a scenario). I also need to finish the Germans for the 29th Lets Go Pint sized campaign.
Other stuff – I am excited about the Rebels and Patriot Rules, as we have enjoyed playing Pikeman’s Lament and the Rampant rules. I also think the Little One is getting ready for a few more involved rulesets, like Twilight of the Sun King and some higher level WW2 rules. In addition I will do the final battle of the Towards Moscow Trilogy, Poltava 1709, at Joy of Six, but plenty more of that next year.
Here are a summary of the projects I have been working on this year….
Kirbekan 1885 – 6mm Sudan/Egypt Colonial Project
This project was started this year to try out Peter Rileys draft “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” rules. It has been fun to paint the Baccus colonial range. I will need to get some terrain together so I can have a go with the rules next year. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.
Rapier Miniatures are doing some fantastic Glorantha stuff in 6mm and 28mm, I could not resist to get a few of their Bison riders. They painted up really well. Here are few pictures and a link to the relevant blog posting below.
WW2 Platoons, 15mm for Chain of Command (or any other platoon based game)
I painted a fair few Platoons with supports this year, including a Swedish what-if platoon (with some initial notes on the composition to do a list for Chain of Command). Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.
I also did a full set of markers etc, to use for winter war gaming of Chain of Command. I especially enjoyed doing the patrol markers and the tall pine trees. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.
Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below. We have played a lot of games with these rules and made a list for the Finnish Tanker so we could play Continuation War scenarios. Here are few pictures and links to relevant blog postings below.
To Katie, Henry, Mike and Neil (I will explain later),
I have a twitter account Per at RollaOne (@roll_a_one) were I ran a vote on whether to do a Christmas game with Swedes fighting Danes or Saxons. Here are the results. Being Swedish I did not want to us to do a game without the Swedes on the table. It would have been a strange Great Northern War battle without them anyway.
So here a presentation of the forces and a short AAR with some picture of the Battle…
The Rules, Opposing Commanders and their Forces
We decided to use the Maurice Rules for the game and made two 100-pointish armies each. 1 unit is represented by 2 No. 60 by 30mm bases (a battery by 1 No. smaller base) – normally you use 4 square bases for a unit – this is 2 bases – the only issue is that the column formation looks funny – I can live with that.
Maurice is an excellent game by Sam Mustafa and you can download some information on his webpage, including a lite version that you can play with (link here). The rules works well for us and suits the way we play.
We have not done a what-if, instead it is a just a battalion level clash with familiar names of regiments for both sides, but with two totally fictitious Generals (quickly sketched up by yours truly).
I am using Maurice because I would like to do a little campaign, at some point, of the Swedish lacklustre efforts against the Prussians during the Seven Years War. This is a chance to dust off these rules that I think gives a fun flair and works for the Period. It is a card driven system, cards are used for activation and in additon can give bonus to firing (called Volley in the game), actions (charge, march, bombard, rally) or events can be played. You can also buy national advantages that gives your army bonuses. There is also a good campaign system, heroes (notables that work as supporting Commanders) and other stuff not covered here.
I made some notes on Maurice earlier with regards to the Great Northern War era (link to that blog post here). In addition we are using the special rules for stationary artillery and pikes (for the Swedes).
This is not a review of the rules and I will just discuss the set-up and the result of the Battle briefly, there are a lot of reviews and playthroughs on the net, as the game has been around for some time, that you may want to check out. I really like the concept and the card system. As you will see in the actual game we played it creates a narrative.
The Danish Side
The Danish Major General Schmeicel is a tired and laconic individual, but can cause some occasional spark on the battlefield. He is mainly an infantry specialist and have fought many campaigns in central Europe and his men are well drilled in firing – in accordance with the Dutch School. This places less emphasis on the bayonet and is highly dependent on platoon firing with a rippling of fire down the whole length of the battalion. His strength lies in a prolonged firefight again the inferior firing Swedish units but will find it difficult once caught in the melee. The conscript horse units are represented by Dragoons.
For the Danish side we went for the following:
National Advantage: Lethal Volleys – 12 AP (this to represent better fire drill than the charge oriented Swedes)
8 No. Regular Infantry (Trained) Units – 48 AP
2 No. Regular Cavalry (Trained) – 12 AP
3 No. Regular Cavalry (Conscript) – 12 AP
4 No. Artillery units – 10 AP
Improve two units to Elite – 5 AP (1 No. Cavalry and 1 No. Infantry)
A total of 99 AP, 16 infantry bases, 10 cavalry bases and 4 Artillery bases.
We are also assuming Stationary batteries for the Artillery (See Chapter 10 – advanced rules). In this era
Resulting in the following force:
Foot Guard/Queens Req, Regular Infantry, Elite
Grenadiers, Regular Infantry, Trained
Marine Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
Frijs Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
Arnoldts, Regular Infantry, Trained
Zepelin Regiment, Regular Infantry, Trained
Staffels/Kragh, Regular Infantry, Trained
Viborg/Aarhus National, Regular Infantry, Trained
Horse Guard, Regular Cavalry, Elite
2nd Fynske, Regular Cavalry, Trained
Life Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Conscript
Bulow Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Conscript
Jyske Land Dragoon, Regular Cavalray, Conscript
1 to 4 Artillery Units
The Swedish Side
The Swedish Major General Stryptagh has risen quickly through the ranks and is one of the Kings youngest Generals. Keen to impress, he is rash and a fully aligned with the Swedish offensive tactical doctrine (Gå-På). He needs to get into contact as quickly as possible to win the day with superior shock cavalry as well as pike armed infantry units, hitting hard. The religious doctrine is represented in the use of clerics which is more to give an edge than clerics running around throwing incence. The cleric will be marked using individually bases figures. There is no difference between Cavalry and Dragoons in the Swedish army in this game, or in reality, the are all count as galloping shock attacking cavalry.
As elegantly described in the book “Vägen till Poltava” (‘The Road to Poltava’, by Konovaltjuk and Lyth) the Swedish doctrine of marching slowly and steadily, towards the enemy in silence, then fire a Salvo at 70 steps and then at 30 steps from the enemy, with no reloading, before charging in, was based on simple mathematics.
Here is a rough translation of the relevant passage.
“The Swedish method of infantry attack was based on the limited accuracy (spread) of musket fire and the time to reload for a new salvo. The spread meant that units preferred to shoot at the same time with many weapons – salvo fire – and hoped this would create gaps in the human wall in front of them, even though many shots failed to ignite or missed their targets. A salvo had a limited impact on distances above 70 steps (50 meters) – except against cavalry that had a bigger target area and were the horses reaction was more important than the riders. In shooting repeated salvos, whether they were fired by rank, platoon or by all, you had to wait for all to reload. The time for unified reloading has been discussed a lot and sometimes assessed to be at least one minute and up to two minutes. In a minute the enemy had time to march one hundred steps (75-80 meters) and run 150 steps. If the effective range for a salvo was 70 steps the unit that opened fire at a longer distance became a defenceless target for the opponent that calmly and steadily advanced and fired its salvo at a shorter distance and therefore with a bigger impact. The Gå-På method was based on this simple calculation.”
In reality it seems that the first and second salvos were fired even closer as the war progressed. It was very effective and very often led to a routing enemy at or before contact with no protracted melee. The horse charged in with a wedge shaped formation as was equally offensive and did normally not fire any weapons at all.
For the Swedish side we went for the following:
Major General Stryptagh
National Advantage: Cavaliers – 9 AP (Shock Cavalry), Clerics – 9 AP (to illustrate Swedish Determination) and A la Baïonnette! – 9 AP (shock infantry)
5 No. Regular Cavalry (Trained) – 30 AP
5 No. Regular Infantry (Trained) Units – 30 AP
Improve four units to Elite – 14 AP (1 No. Cavalry and 3 No. Infantry)
Also Swedish infantry are armed with pike and we are using the advance rules for Pikes (See Chapter 10 – Advanced Rules). Typically a third of the Soldier had pikes in the early Stages of the War.
A total of 101 AP. 10 No. Cavalry Bases and 10 No. Infantry Bases.
Resulting in the following force:
Närke-Varmland, Regular Infantry, Elite
Västerbotten, Regular Infantry, Elite
Västermanland, Regular Infantry, Elite
Kronobergs, Regular Infantry, Trained
Södermanland, Regular Infantry, Trained
Queen Dowagers Horse, Regular Cavalry, Elite
Bremiska Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Trained
Bassewitz Dragoon, Regular Cavalry, Trained
Norra Skanska Cavalry, Regular Cavalry, Trained
Nylands Cavalry, Regular Cavalry, Trained
We then made our selection from the Winter based stuff, we used about 25% of it.
We fought the battle on the dining table, using a 3 by 4.5 feet snow mat I have had for some time. With the relative small forces at hand (and a base width at 30mm) this should work fine.
We drew the following battle field card.
Going through the motions of the card we find that we can place a maximum of 1 hill, 2 marshes, 1 rocky ground, 2 towns/village, and 6 wood terrain features (the red around marking around the forest number indicates that it is mandatory to choose some forest features (makes sense since the battles is in a woodland area).
Next was scouting and this is done by rolling a die each. The Little One rolled 6 and I rolled, yes you got it, One!. There are modifiers based on the number of units you have of the type on the card (regular cavalry and irregular infantry in this case) but there was no point checking this, the Little One won. He wanted to be the attacker! – it was what the Swedes did in this era.
We ended up choosing two town/village and a few forest terrain areas. The table was set up as follows.
In addition being the attacker the Little One was allowed an additional ‘mercenary’ units – we just added another Swedish infantry unit.
We then recorded our Army Morale values which were 17 for the Danes and 11 for the Swedes, this is based on number regular of units!
A little bit of shuffling and card allocation later we could start the Battle.
The Jingle Bells rang and we were ready to get going….
The Game got a thumbs up from the Little One. I have to agree, although the write-up perhaps gives the impression of Swedish onslaught it hang somewhat in the balance. The cards are interesting and the national characteristics gives the right Great Northern War feel we get from the traditional history books.
We had blast, but then we always do. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a really good Christmas if that is your thing, if not have a blast anyway. I will be back with some reflective stuff before the end of the year. That will be the normal review of the Year, from this/my blogs perspective (and there is a wide variety of stuff to cover), and some Crystal ball gazing for next year. Hope you will be back for that! The next big project is Poltava, with some 350 bases on the table (the battle we just presented above had 50 bases) at Joy of Six in July – it will be a spectacle. Here is a “nice” video about the battle from YouTube.
A sad but also, I hope, inspiring end to this post…
Being somewhat detached from worldly events at times, I totally missed that my favourite Danish Artist Kim Larsen died earlier this year, on the 30th September 2018. This was after a long battle with prostate cancer.
I remember many drunken occasions in my youth listening to his band Gasolin and have been listening to him since. I have included my favourite song below – “Det bedste til mig og mine venner” (“The best to me and my friends”).
This year I have also sadly been reminded of the issues of mental health within my family, friends and in the work place. I am happy that the awareness and understanding is increasing in our society but I think there is a lot more to do. In the wargaming community I especially applaud efforts from Katie Aidley, Henry Hyde and the Meeples and Miniatures crew (of course there are others too). They have all in their own way inspired me to reflect, consider and learn new things about these issues. This blog post is truly dedicated to them.
I let you explore the fantastic creative work of these fantastic people on your own, but here is a little bit of help for you to get started.
I had a Christmas Greeting from an ex-colleague who retired a few years ago, he said some nice things, and one part really made me happy “…working with you was a pleasure. And I noted you covered by back quite a lot”. He actually covered mine and many others backs all the time. It is what builds strong teams, friendships and people! Look out for each other!, … and yourself!.
If you have followed this blog you may know that Nick Dorrell, some other Chums, and I put on a game at Salute in 2017. It was the Kalisz Battle and it required a lot of Cossacks and Kalmucks, actually more than 30 No. (60 by 60mm bases, link here). In reviewing the needs for the Poltava Battle I realised that I had too few light cavalry bases as both sides had sizeable contingents (the Swedish side being supported by Mazepa’s Cossacks, and the Russian with its normal light cavalry contingent). I only put 7 miniatures on each base but realised I needed about 16 bases. I prepared the miniatures for painting but they have been sitting on the painting table for some time now – I was not feeling too excited about getting started.
Podcasts and a WW2 Diversion
This weekend offered almost uninterrupted rain, so I caught up on some Podcasts, including Henry Hyde’s patreon question time that was amazing (link to that project here), the Veteran Wargamer giving some advice (Jay with Friends) on WW2 movies to watch over the Christmas break (link to his excellent podcast here) and a festive Oddcast session from the Too Fat Lardies (listen to it here) that was fun, as always, to listen to. I felt sorry for Sidney Roundwoods Christmas presents – I hope he gets some better ones elsewhere ;).
In the Veteran wargames show I like the fact that Finnish War movies in general were mentioned, also the Norwegian Max Manus and the Danish 9th April (incidentally I think there will be an upcoming Chain of Command Pint Sized campaign covering this). Here are these and a few other Nordic WW2 movies, in no particular order I recommend them all (a mixture of trailers and clips).
…. and finally a movie about the aftermath of WW2 (an absolutely excellent movie).
As for my own favourite Nordic WW2 Movie I have to admit that I like the Cinemaphotography of the new Unknown Soldier (above) and would love to see it on the Silver Screen again – it made me make some assault boats (I have not yet used) some time ago (more here)
However the following movie makes the journey to Mount Doom seem like a walk in the park – so here is another non-English movie to check out.
However I really like Fury, Private Ryan and A Bridge to Far, as well….
Here is a movie I never heard about, I ordered it today (about the invasion of Norway).
Back to the Cossacks
I got on with the painting and the podcasts offered sufficient time to get these done (they are the Cossacks from Baccus 18th century range, GNR10 Cossacks link here), with a special mention to Henry with his three and a half hour session.
Quick job, then Windsor and Newton Nutbrown Inkwash, basing and good to go.
Now I need to park the Russian Dragoons on the painting table to brew for a while.
You may recall that when I started this little Kirbekan diversion I had as an objective to get enough bases to do the scenario as presented in Peter Riley’s draft colonial rules so I could lure him to demonstrate the rules for me – I think I am almost there with the miniatures. There is still some desert terrain and hills to be done before I can call this project done.
If you want to catch up on previous progress and some further background on this project have a look at some of the old blog entries:
In the last update I showed some nearly finished 19th Hussars, some British Leaders and some Mahdi Dervish Irregular Infantry. I based these and added flags as appropriate (All are from Baccusm 6mm colonial range, link here).
First out the 19th Hussars (more about them here).
…then the Leaders
And finally the completed British Contingent for Kirbekan:
(I also made all of them in marching column)
Here are the Dervish Infantry
And the more or less completed Mahdi Contingent for Kirbekan. Missing the leaders bases – Moussa Wad Abuhegel, Ali Wad Hussein and Hamisd Wad Lekalik.
Next step is to do some terrain, I intend to play this on a 4’6″ by 3′ mat that I will make using the good old acrylic mat trick and with some sand cladded styrofoam hills. The idea with this was to have small bases (40 by 20mm) and being able to play games on a normal kitchen table.
I stole this quote and the map from Peter’s Draft document.
“The terrain is very Hilly, with rolling hills that have flat and sandy bottoms between them. All of the hills have gentle slopes, even the two contoured ridges are gentle slopes up to the summits and ridges.”
From the unpublished “Polemos Colonial Wars – A Steady and Deliberate Fire”, by Peter Riley.
In other news, I and the Little One had a go at Sword and Spear and had a blast (more here). We did a simple “DBA sized” game. We will definitely do a few more and perhaps do an AAR when we know the rules a tad more! We used the 6mm Punic War forces.
I also started the first step of rebasing some Prussia SYW stuff I have as I have a little idea for a Maurice based campaign (the good, and not so old, honour Game by Sam Mustafa) on a ALT-history version of the Swedish campaign in Pomerania during the Seven Years war (Sweden vs Prussia). Another long term project, but it would be fun to develop some specific command cards, etc. Hellish work in rebasing! It will be a long process and parts of me has regretted it already!
I also need to get going with the Poltava Project as soon as possible, I have loads of Russians and Cossacks to paint and another bloody big battlemat to do.
His shoes are too big and his hat is too small, His trousers are tight and his coat is too long, But it does not matter, because he is my soldier, Somewhere in Sweden!
– Translated from the 1940 Swedish Song “Min Soldat” (My Soldier), performed by Ulla Billquist and written by Nils Perne.
A few weeks back I presented an initial stab at a Swedish Platoon Organisation for the WW2 era (here is a link to the earlier posting) for Chain of Command. Since then I have been working on some miniatures for the platoon and some of the support options – I will present the work to date in this blog update. I will leave out the work I have been doing on vehicles (armoured cars and tanks, I think that will be a good one on its own) as I have not yet finished the tank markings/decals – but I am working on it with some help from some friends.
I want to state how grateful I am to the community when doing something like this, the support from all kind of places with encouragement, the research and offers of help. I even got a fair few of 3D printed models for a Swedish Tank type sent to me by a friend on Twitter. Good stuff!
Later blog updates will also show/discuss jump-off markers and some terrain features to make the battle field having a touch of Scandinavia – making it look as Scandinavian as a wargames table with Snake rail fencing looks American!
I would like to do an what-if Scenario based on the operational plan developed by the commander of the 25th Panzer Division (link to Wikipedia here), Adolf von Schell, to attack Sweden with a handful of divisions from Norway. This is described at high level in the book “Andra Världskriget och Sverige (2002)” (that translates to: The Second World War and Sweden) by Jan Linder, and contains the following picture.
I have not been able to find any more information on this operation and if you are reading this and know more – please let me know. It would be fun to do a linked campaign of fighting in some of the areas I know very well from my childhood.
It is interesting to note that the 25th Division was issued with outdated French Tanks and according to the Wikipedia entry above the following was the combat strength in 1943:
..21,000 men and fielded 14 Panzer II tanks, 62 Panzer III, 26 Panzer IV, 40 Hotchkiss H39, 15 Somua S35, and 15 Self-propelled assault guns, such as the StuG III.
It would give a nice opportunity to get some French tanks and do them in German “livery”. However that is for the future and I have yet some research to do…
The Swedish Platoon Organisation and Models Used
In reading the old manuals there are a few changes required to the original list that are summarised below. I will update the Platoon document at a later date.
(i) Due to allocation of runners, I have reduced the number of Riflemen in each section with one. I need to verify this so I did 4 extra models just in case!
(ii) The first Section/Grupp had an SMG armed rifleman in the Rifle Team/Gomgången. However, due to shortages this was not always possible, especially early in the period.
(iii) The manuals indicate the presence of two Teams/Omggångar and that there are situations when they fight as two elements – one K (Kulspruta / Light Machine Gun) and one G (Gevär / Rifle). Therefore I have re-organised the Platoon organisation in the picture to reflect these changes.
This is still work in progress and may change as I read more stuff. For the 1943 to 1945 Platoon I have made the same changes to the organisation. Again, this is an aspirational platoon, and as you can see it offers a significant increase of fire Power with 2 SMGs per section and the M/42 Semi-Automatic Rifle, and in addition the Platoon 47mm mortar and the Anti-tank rifle.
I decided to make enough miniatures so that I could field a platoon at any stage of the WW2 period. Following some discussions on twitter and a few other similar projects the 15mm Italians from Flames of War seemed to be a good match for the m/39 uniform.
This assumes the M/37 helmet and the M/39 uniform, at the time the latest equipment available. Some units would be equipped older uniforms and helmets, like the earlier helmet M/26 and older uniforms.
If you are doing this project in 28mm you could use the fantastic Ådalen Range that depicts interwar Swedes, these are just troops that have not had new kit – the range covers all that you need for the early war (limited poses, and there are no SMGs and the Machine Gun is perhaps a bit dated, but I think it would work and if you even use some of the earlier uniforms in the mix you may get a motley crew of ill-prepared 1940 soldiers), more information here (I have not ordered any, but they do look good. I suggest you contact them first before you make your order – I always do).
Anyway back to my 15mm project.
I bought the following from Battlefront
1 pack of ISO101 Italian Artillery Group – gives you crew for your guns as well as some SMG armed gentlemen.
2 packs of IT702 Fucilieri Platoon – your bulk infantry
3 packs of ISO131 Italian Fucilieri (Late) – again gives some SMG armed soldiers and some more LMG (for simple conversion)
2 pack of GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer – for the infantry gun option (more below)
1 No. PL510 37mm wz.36 gun – this is the famous 37mm Bofors Anti-tank gun, used by the Poles, Finns and the Swedens (and others).
I also had some Polish Machine Guns from Batttlefront and bought the WW1 Austrian Machine Gun from Peter Pig.
I used the following paints for these:
Jacket and Trousers – Vallejo German Field Grey 70830
Helmet – Vallejo 70895 Gunship Green
Bread bag – Vallejo 70886 Green Grey
Leather / Belt – Vallejo 70875 Beige Brown
Water Bottle / Gaiters – Vallejo 70988 Khaki
I tend to use Field Drab, then Medium flesh tone for skin, saddle brown for the rifle buts.
I put a wash of army paint quick shade on top – soft tone.
The Swedish 1940 – 1943 Platoon
The Swedish 1943 to 1945 Platoon
This is the same models as above but with some swaps and the Mortar Section.
In addition there is an anti-tank Rifle for the Platoon, I made two of these conversions.
The are based on a kneeling rifleman and I did the simplified rifle from some plastic coated paper clips, it shows better in the picture below.
Some support options
The next one was a little bit trickier, but once I found a reasonable proxy the conversion was simple, using some very thin cocktail straws I bought may years ago. I wanted to mode the Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 Mountain Gun.
It looks like this,
Battlefront makes the GSO517 7.5cm GebK15 howitzer, it looks like this.
I hope this sequence is self explanatory
And finally some Machine Guns, one using an old Polish MMG set and the other head swapped Austrian WW1 MMGs from Peter Pig.
I am really enjoying this project, it is not a Labour of Love, just Love
The Iron Ring – Can Nordholmia be saved from doom?
Relaxation?, Comfort?, Breathtaking Nature? – Hotell Imperator
Nordholmia is in danger. The farmsteads of the city gets destroyed by an unknown powerful enemy and the mayor turns to the adventurers for help. During the adventure a big conspiracy is expose that could threaten the whole of the Pyri Commonwealth. The Player Characters are confronted with a investigative problem that leads to countless dangers, first in the city of Nordholmia and afterwards at the ancient hotel Imperator. Big skill is required by the players in addition they should have experienced player characters.
– Backblur from the 1985 scenario Järnringen (the Iron Ring) for the Swedish Roleplaying Game Mutant!
This was the first and perhaps the best of the adventures produced for the Swedish Mutant 1984 RPG (apart from the starter adventure in the box). The “Grey Death” adventures (I wrote about part 1 of those in here) were more epic but I think this is the one in the whole that captures what I feel was the essence – maybe because it came first? It was also funny that the scenario took place in the county in Sweden where I was born – Dalarna. I have written about this RPG in an earlier blog (link here). But in summary:
Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses. The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves. However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.
Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.
The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the 19th Century, give or take. There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc. Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.
The Prologue – The Postman dies once, but slowly…
Although the cover of the adventure is intriguing, not so much in what is happening on stage but more about what is going on in the crowd. But there is one picture that I think stands out in the scenario and it is the one that illustrates the opening scene.
The fog is dense around you. From a distance you can hear the howling from wild beasts prowling in the unknown. But it is not your main bother as you are fully occupied trying to figure out who really suggested that you would get out on the Moor. It has been raining all night and your are thoroughly wet and miserable. It is now the third day that you have been straying around the wilderness between Hardin and Torsvad. Comments like “Shortcut to Torsvad, my arse!”, “Are you happy now, when we have no food left!”, “I was against this from the start!”, “It was you that ….”, has been flying around during the last few days.
Suddenly you hear the sound of hooves approaching. A lonely rider seems to pass by at a distance in full gallop. The fog starts clearing and you can see the silhouette of some crags on the left. You realise that the rider must have passed behind them.
The silence is interrupted by a scream followed by two loud bangs of musket fire and another scream. From the crags a saddled horse without rider storms against you. When you carefully advance you hear voices and can soon see to whom they belong.
On the ground behind a large stone a man is lying down and desperately holds a shoulder bag against his chest. He holds his other hand against his bleeding shoulder and next to him lies a smoking pistol. Around him stands four creatures that all are directing their weapons against him. The leader seems to be a giant mutated moose and the other three are mutated lynx. The Moose grins against the man and asks him to hand over the bag. When the man refuses he aims his musket towards him to end his life.
Roughly translated from the Järnringen scenario book (page 3, this is from the introduction to the players). The picture is drawn by Peter Johnsson. I love this picture especially the “Bobby on the Beat” Hat! Proper “In Medias Res” – straight into action. It is how we liked to roll.
There is limited information in the scenario about these four creatures, apart from the information above and some mediocre game stats (they were not suppose to give our character any major problems), so in normal fashion I have fleshed out these characters a little bit in my take on them – given them some names (with my apologies to Alexander Dumas), sketched out a little bit of a background story and tried to find a suitable way of representing them on the table in miniature form.
As always these are not artistic master pieces, but I do hope a sufficient representation to give some kind of homage to an old Swedish rpg from the 1980s that I have so many fond memories of.
The Three Lynxeteers – Arameow, Purrtos and Arthiss
These henchmen (or should that be henchlynx) are brothers and were born in the outskirts of Hardin to a very large and poor family. From an early age they had to fend for themselves and became reasonably successful in picking pockets and locks, and other illegal means, to make ends meet.
On the day of the annual celebrations in Hardin commemorating the killing of the Hound of Tandalsåsen (Sorry Lovecraft!), the brothers decided to pay a visit to the Mayors house. As was custom the Mayor, Signe Frihamn, held a speech and attended the celebrations with her family – the house would be empty – they thought.
On the morning of the festivities Signe’s husband Johannes, the previous Police Chief of the county, had woken up with a very bad back pain and had decided to stay home. The Couple had given their servants the weekend off to go and visits some relatives in Hindenburg. When the trio entered the house Johannes heard them from upstairs and armed with a rifle he went to investigate. She startled Arameow and Purrtos as they were rummaging through his belongings and held them at gunpoint. Arthiss, being elsewhere in the house, sneaked up on him and drew his knife and stabbed him in the back. The trio quickly took what they could, including Johannes trademark black helmet, and fled the house.
When Signe returned Johannes was still barely alive, but in his dying breath identified his assailants. A manhunt ensued and the brothers took their refuge in the Moorlands outside Hardin. Here they met a mutated Moose (Dart an Älg, see below) who realised that the three brothers could be useful for his needs – although the brothers thinks he has joined their gang. They are now operating as highwaymen and hiding from the law.
They recently robbed a short noble man who had a travelling wardrobe with a large number of coats – seemed a shame not putting them to use (this is of course to justify the choice of models and their clothing below).
The helmet worn by the constables of the representatives of law and order in Pyrisamfundet is based on a so called Custodian Helmet used by the police force of the former countries of England and Wales. The design was based on the Prussian pickelhaube and was used by constables and sergeants.
Signe and Johannes Frihamn were seasoned adventurers and apart from being the slayers of the Hound of Tandalsåsen in 86 they had travelled wide and far. They had worked as troubleshooters and mercenaries for the King of the Scottish Badgers and travelled in other parts of the Islands known as Ängland (meadowland, due to the green and pleasantness of the flora and fauna). In the forbidden zone of Batteracid (in former London) he had found his trademark black helmet, that he had worn since then. When he later became responsible for law and order for Hardin he had some copies being made for his officers – the helmet was now standard all throughout Pyrisamfundet, and some versions has even been developed for civilian use.
[Yes, this allows me to use Victorian Bobbies to represent the law and order in my version of Pyrisamfundet]
Modelling the Brothers
I ordered a few cat people form Black Cat bases (link here), and did a few modifications, like adding a policemans hat (you can buy some heads with Police hats from Crooked Dice, here) and weapons (I got some flintloque pistols etc from Black Cat bases too, link here). The cat with the sabre got a police hat, the cat with the parasol got a musket and the cat with the tray got two pistols.
Overall I am happy with the look (they originally did not had a fancy clothes but I thought they would look ok in the attire they came in).
Dart an Älg (The Mooseketeer)
Dart originates from the forests around Nordholmia (where incidentally this adventure will progress to) and worked as a trapper during his youth selling furs to the Nordholmia traders and occasionally working as a scout for the Army or other daring folk who ventured in the area. He gained some reputation as a reliable man and his fur trading grew to a healthy business. However Swizzle, one of Pyrisamfundets biggest trading houses did not like the increased competition. Swizzle’s operations in Nordholmia were run by the founders grandson Vizel Swissle. Vizel instigated a campaign to damage Dart’s business, bribing officials, burning down storage facilities, threatening suppliers, etc. However, Dart was resilient and seemed to recover stronger from every set-back. Vizel had to escalate his efforts and framed Dart for the murder of a local school teacher by the name of Elvira Snyft.
Dart did not stand a chance against the resource of the Swissle House and ended up in a labour prison outside Hindenburg. Here he was , to put it in the words of the stern judge at the trial, “..to serve for his horrendous crimes until the day he died”. He felt betrayed by his town and his country, but most of all he had a raging anger towards the Swissle family as he was more than sure they were behind the plot. From the moment he put his foot in that god forsaken prison he tried to work out a plan to escape and seek revenge. As the years progressed he became more and more bitter. He made numerous attempts to escape but were caught and brought back and was punished severely with beatings and long times of isolation – somewhere along the way he went insane. One day when a group of prisoners were out working on a road repair job one of guards suffered from a heart attack. Dart told the second guard that he could save his colleague and lied that he had been a doctor as a civilian. The guard dropped his guard for a few moments whilst Dart pretended to help the his suffering comrade. The opportunity presented was quickly exploited by Dart who strangled one guard whilst watching the other man die. Needless to say he sought out Vizel and took out his revenge in the most brutal of ways. He was chased by the Nordholmia Sheriff and a Posse but managed to escape. Since then Dart has been an outlaw and have become a terror in the area around the Hardin Moors. One day he stumbled across on the three brothers who also were outlaws – a relationship was formed and the group operate as robbers and thieves in the area. They have successfully avoided capture as they are careful and knows the lay of the land very well.
I got myself a Garrison Caliverman from Perry Miniatures – it is part of their fantastic Border Reivers 40mm range (here is a link).
As you can see in the picture it comes with a number of heads – but none of them being a moose head. So I had to find it elsewhere. I got myself a Moose from Northstar (pulp miniature range, link here).
Some cutting later I had my Mooseketeer!
As for the dying Postrider, his name is Erjan, and I think he may be from a the body of a WW2 soldier I had in my bit box? I made the post bag from some putty (Somewhere along the way I forgot that he was bleeding from his shoulder and not his leg – my mistake).
Anyway here is the set-up, this should not have been a life changing encounter for the group but this is untampered nostalgia on overdrive – so why not! My 13-year old self would have been as happy as I am now!
So just do not stand there, get on with it…. what do you do?
Some other related stuff
I have painted a few models from the interloper miniatures range (link to their webpage), they are wonderful models. I hope you like them they form part of my overall Mutant 1984 “collection”.
/Hope that was some interest.
Currently I am working on another scene from the adventure – the Robot Attack in Nordholmia. But that is for some other time.
I went to the SELWG 2018 show this Sunday and in summary had a great time! I think it is a good show and has a good blend of traders, games and the bring-and-buy is always brilliant. This is not a full walkaround report, more my own absent-minded rambling around the show. There were things I did not take pictures of that I perhaps should have, like the neat little 7TV game or a few of the naval games that looked very nice.
On the 7TV subject a big shout out for their latest kick-starter if you are into Post-Apocalyptic stuff (link here). Some really interesting stuff and a nice nod in the direction of some of the different movies and tv-series from the past.
However this is what I did take pictures of at the show…
Tonbridge Wargames Club presented The Battle Segesvár 1849 (somewhere near Transylvania), this was part of the Hungarian revolution in 1848 to 1849 of which In knew nothing. The battle was fought between the Hungarian Revolutionary army (supported by Polish volunteers) and a Russian-Austrian army. The battle was fought using their own ‘War in the Age of Blood and Iron” using the “War in the Age of Empires” supplement. I think it was fought using Heroics and Ros 6mm miniatures. Here is the Wikipedia link to the battle. Very interesting times.
Simon Miller was fielding his very nice English Civil War 28mm miniature using his new For King and Parliament rules – it looked like great fun. The action was the Battle of Soggy Bottom 1643.
Gravesend Gamers Guild was also putting on English Civil War game but in a smaller scale in their Skirmish at Staplethorpe. Great little game, with 4 factions (royalist horse, parliamentarian horse, neutral local defenders and raiding deserters) with differing objectives. Fun idea using the good old Featherstone’s Skirmish rules.
Battle of Asculum from the Society of Ancients.
The Too Fat Lardies were busy all day doing a Barkmanns corner game with the participants, supported by Nick Skinner, trying to blow up Richard Clarke’s Tiger tank. Of course using their fun What a Tanker ruleset.
There were two other games using the Too Fat Lardies rules, first out the last outing of the beautiful “Alliés Peu Fiables” a Chain of Command game set during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940. The action takes place in the small Belgian town of Gehondeskirk..
Another Lardy one was a Sharp Practice game – the Biscotti War. I let you read the small print yourself – I have seen this one before and it is a nice game.
Battle of Mats, sorry I meant Battle of Matz was put on by Robert Dunlop. Another of his fantastic 6mm battles. Full of stuff going on.
This is the Beautiful Battle of Kawanakajima 1561 – a Sengoku era battle that looked really nice. I forgot to ask about any details at all – I got samurai struck!
There was also this fantastic Middle Earth battle presented by the Shepway Wargamers, it is a table fully loaded with different stuff and was one of those you needed to look at from different angles – a lot of things to see.
…and finally (almost) a participation game by Peter Pig with their new Western Rules. I also did most of my shopping from Peter Pig – 15mm WW2 stuff.
As for what to do with the warlord miniatures, after the show, I ordered some heads from Sally 4th that I thought could be used to make a nice set of characters for my Mutant 1984 project.
My favourite of the day was the absolutely beautiful game from Maidstone Wargames society that I was so happy to see again.
Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
On St George’s Day! 100 years ago the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The idea was to block the canal entrance by sinking obsolete ships – this to stop U-boats and light shipping from leaving port.
The game shows HMS Vindictive that carried a troop of royal marines that were to take out some German Gun positions. It is a fantastic looking game and the work that has gone into the terrain is phenomenal!
I also had a chat with a few of the traders, and a special shout out for the dynamic duo who can take care of not just your painting needs, but also make sure your dice are safe and sound and that you can change into something more leisurely than your combat fatigues and black t-shirt – it is of course Deborah and Matt of Glenbrook games and Saddle Goose Designs.
Busy times at the moment but I have made some progress on the Kirbekan 1885 project and this time mostly with regards to the Mahdists to fight the British. I have limited information on these forces in comparison of the detailed accounts of the heroics and sometimes not so heroic deeds of the British. I have mainly used the various Osprey titles for inspiration.