Dragon’s Rampant in 6mm – Part 1: Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

I have been working away on a few fantasy forces in the background of doing my Joy of Six preparations. This week I mainly did trees and some other terrain preparations and did not really take any pictures – next week more on Lesnaya (the mat I did last week is working really well).  I also got drawn into the Glastonbury catch-up on BBC iplayer and some wonderful performances by Foo Fighters and Jamie Cullum – great stuff!

Back to the fantasy.  I plan to do the following forces (this is certainly a Joy of Six as I have found what I wanted from various 6mm producers):

  • Goblins based on miniatures from Baccus (see here) and Microworld Miniatures (see here). I have completed the initial miniatures for this warband (they are presented below), but plan to add some Trolls from Perfect Six as well.
  • Knigthly Order – I have done some knights using the Order of the Dragon miniatures from Perfect Six.  These are heavily armoured knights and give a “space marine feeling” with the nice and bulky armour and the inclusion of pistoliers and crossbow men is really nice. Mine have shining armour with some red detailing. Check out the growing fantasy range (and other useful stuff) at Perfect Six here.  I have completed enough to field a small but very strong warband of these (see below) – the idea being that the are all elite units so only a few would be needed to match a the Goblins above.

Future Warbands

  • Scorpion Men – I have ordered some of these from Rapier Miniatures, see here , they are part of their new Glorantha range – the fantasy world created by Greg Stafford (see here) and made famous by the fantasy roleplaying game Runequest.  As an old Runequester I could not resist.  I know Rapier are working away on a new 6mm Mongol range but later in the year we may see Bison riders and Broos (those are a given for me, so perhaps some more factions).  They do some great ancient ranges too.
  • Elves and Centaurs – I already have some Elves from Microworld Games (see above) and the Centaurs are on their way from Rapier Miniatures (see here) from their Greek Myth Range.  I plan to get some elven archers from Baccus.
  • Adventurers and Hirelings – Remember the hirelings from Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) that could be hired by the adventuring group with a few hit points each? This homage to D&D warband will be using the adventurers from Perfect six supported with warriors, pack mules, horses (for strength marking purposes). Each adventurer will be a unit with an adventurer supported by hirelings, pack mules and other items used as strength markers, as the unit takes damage the hirelings are removed until only the adventurer remains.  The look of a real power gaming set-up!

I want to use the Dragon Rampant rules (same family of rules as Pikeman’s Lament and The Men Who Would be Kings that I have tried out successfully in the past, see here or here for some examples of these games being played) as this have  the right level of complexity and playability for the Little One and I.

The format of the warbands and the 1-2-3 basing works really well and it only takes a few evenings to prepare, paint and base each faction.

Progress so far

Goblins

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Baccus Goblin Chariot and Microworld Wolfriders (15mm, 20mm and 25mm bases)

 

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Baccus Wolfriders

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As above, from a different view

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Baccus Goblins with a Microworld Orc in lead (12mm, 15mm and 20mm bases)

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As above form different angle

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Smaller Goblins from Microworld (These are tiny!, so these are 1/2 strength point per miniature!, 12mm, 15mm and 20mm bases)

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As above

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Microworld Wolfriders

Knightly Order – all from Perfect Six

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/ Hope that was of some interest, more on the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) – Part 7: The Lesnaya 1708 Field of Battle – Father’s Day and doing the basic Mat

I had a fantastic day on Saturday as the better Ones arranged an early Father’s Day present with a day out that I could not have designed any better myself. I got to see two of the gun forts (Deal and Walmer Castle) that were established following Henry VIII’s break with the Roman Catholic Church and the associated fear of an European invasion. On top of this we went to the old Roman Richborough fort.  All of these sites are very close to Dover castle (that is a fantastic place but we did not go there this time) and doing all three sites made an eventful and varied day.  All of them are being run by English Heritage (here are links to them should you be interested, Walmer, Deal and Richborough Fort).

We found a few bottles of fine Kent produce as well.

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…and we also got to see a pair of Wellington’s own boots. These can be seen at Walmer Castle, where you can also see his field bed that he slept in during this campaigns.  This  is also the place where the great solider died. Incidentally today is also the anniversary of his most famous battle – Waterloo.

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Father’s Day in all glory but the Wargames Show must go on, so on Sunday morning I set out to do the next step of the Lesnaya battlefield – the base mat.

I used the following in doing the mat (base idea from previous posting here, read the external stuff as well as these contains a lot of useful hints and different approach, I am doing the base brown mat first not all of it in one go – for example):

Drop Cloth / Dust Sheet – bought mine from ebay £10.54, it was 12′ by 8′ (I need 4′ by 8′ for my mat, but will do it a little bit wider) – this should be enough to do another larger mat as well.  I use the variety that has a weave side and a laminated waterproof side.

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  • Acrylic Sealant / Decorators Caulk (Note: make sure it is acrylic/paintable not silicone that does not take paint very well) – costs from £1 and upwards – I got a good deal on some brown variety (helps out as I want the base colour of the mat to be brownish) for a little bit more.  But white should work, you just need enough paint.  I used a total of 10 No. 310ml tubes (for use with applicator gun!).
  • Birdcage Sand – this is fine sand with some crushed Oyster shells that helps the cage birds in their digestion and is a source of calcium. For us the crushed shells helps to create additional structure on the surface of the mat that will look good once dry brushed.  I got myself a large bag of sand for a fiver (£5) from the Pet Shop.
  • Paint – I bought some chocolate brown emulsion paint from a pound shop that I mixed into the overall mix (I used two small pots), this made the Colour less sharp (the basic brown acrylic is not that nice and looks more like something else than a basic ground colour).

Mix it all up and spread it out – let it dry.  Not very impressive so far but I now have a 8′ by 4′ structured surface that I can start tailor making for the Lesnaya battle (as presented in the last blog!, see here), with drybrushing, flock and static grasses.  I will leave it to dry for the day and then cut it out and roll it up.

But that is for another day, now I am going to go and fully enjoy Father’s Day!

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/Take care

Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) – Part 6: The Lesnaya 1708 Field of Battle – Planning and Setting out!

After having banged the 6mm skirmish drum for a while I have no choice but to get on with the big battle of the Year as Joy of Six is getting closer.

In creating a battle board for gaming a known battle there are a number of steps I take to allow me to create a reasonable area that creates the right balance between four elements – historical accuracy, playability, available space and overall visual impact.  Remembering important issues such as the difference between the ground scale and the figure scale for large scale battles (and building scale) – this is why you see towns represented by just a few buildings next to rivers that looks like the models could just jump over.

The Lesnaya Battle was not a straightforward “line-them-up-and-attack” battle but happened in stages where the Russians first attacked the Swedish rearguard that was reinforced in stages but the front line of battle constantly moved back towards Lesnaya – it quickly became clear that the battle would be best played length wise on the table.

I have used the map below as basis for the battle board and it was produced by Örjan Martinson on his absolutely brilliant Tacitus Webpage that contain a lot of useful information about the Lesnaya as well as other battles of the Great Northern War (link here http://www.tacitus.nu/gnw/battles/Lesnaya/ ). The map show the position of the opposing sides at the start if the battle (Note the name of Lesnaya in the traditional Swedish spelling – Ljesna).

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Map from the Tacitus Webpage at the Start of the Battle

 

The first thing I wanted to do was to overlay my conceptual 4 by 8 feet (120cm by 240cm) battle board space over the map and see what area this would cover – would it be enough to play the battle on?  In this case I simply use the Freijbourg Rearguard as the basis for my battle board (marked in the red circle) for my calculations. The Rearguard consisted of 2 No.  battalions of De la Gardie’s Regiment and 1 No. battalion of the Närke-Värmland 3-männing Regiment.  In the Polemos Rules each battalion is represented by a 60mm frontage base and in the Twilight of the Sun King rules this is (at battalion level) represented by a normal unit (2 No. 60mm frontage bases) and a small unit (1 No. 60mm frontage base). Giving some space between the battalion I used a length of 20cm for the 3 bases.

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The Rearguard Battalions

 

In the PowerPoint files I used to do the exercise the length of the Rearguard Box (in the picture) was 1.4cm and I multiplied this with 6 to get the equivalent of 120cm (or 4 feet) length, this is 8.4cm and I created two squares (with 8.4cm sides) and overlay these on the map to represent the area the board would cover. To my (happy!) surprise the area covered (as shown in the picture below) was spot on for where the fighting actually occurred.  Sometimes it does not work and you may not have enough space – you could easily cut this board down to a 6 by 4 table by taking away 2 feet of on the left hand side. The first notable encounter between the opposing armies was at the location of the rearguard. In addition it could be possible to reduce the depth as well but we did not have those problems on this occasion. All the Russian forces will not start on the board!

Following a deeper review of the overall battle from the start to finish with regards to the known locations of fighting, the area covered is sufficient to represent the fighting on the day.

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The area captured!

But wait!, you may say… In the In the Twilight of the King Rules a base width (60mm, or 6cm, in our case) is about 150 meters, meaning that the frontage for our 3 bases (18cm) is about 450 meters.  As we measured 20cm this equates to about 500 meters width for the set of three bases with some space in-between.  We can clearly see that the width of the rectangle is far less than the 0.5km length based on the ruler in the to left corner.  So in terms of adherence to real scale it does not work but in terms of ground scale and playability it does – I think that makes sense?

Case Study: Fraustadt 1706

Another example is when I did the wintery Fraustadt 1706 Battle a few years ago where the main feature was the line of Saxons and Russians between the two Villages (Rörsdorf and Geyersdorf). The key design feature of that battle board was to be able to fit all the based miniatures for this line the space available. I physically put all the bases on the table and used this to draw the features on the board, this gave me the “correct” measurements to play the game efficiently.   I recall that I took some liberties on the Saxon/ Russian left flank to make the it work, but overall the battle board reflected the terrain features of the battle.

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Working on the Fraustadt Board in 2012

 

 

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Joy of Six 2012 – Battle of Fraustadt 1706. The Saxon-Russian line was not straight as it did not fit the available space.  You can find the Ordre de Batallie (OdB) here.  It is a map from the excellent book (Fraustadt 1706 – Ett fält färgat rött) on the battle by Oskar Sjöström (only available in Swedish).  I used this OdB and the map as a basis for doing the terrain boards.  The only change I did was to make move Rörsdorf  to make the overall line slightly straighter.  All in all the table showed a (1) historically feasible set-up with the key terrain feature present, rivers, roads, pond villages, etc (2) it was playable and the table was based on the frontages used for the battle, (3) it fitted on the table allocated and (4) I think that although the table perhaps leaves you cold (with the pun intended) it is spectacular enough!

 

Back to the Lesnaya table and the next step which is to highlight the key features of the battlefield that are needed on the final battle board. The board will contain a lot of forested areas (!), roads (important as they cut through the forests), rivers and bridges and the elevation around Lesnaya and the river.

 

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Key Features

 

After this I mark out the features (I did not include the bridges or Lesnaya itself at this stage) and we are ready for the tools and the materials.

 

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Sketch for further works

 

I have previously made the Great Northern War tables as 8 No. 2 by 2 feet boards but decided to do a mat this time in the same way as the Saga mats last year (See link here https://rollaone.com/2016/06/19/saga-in-6mm-part-7/ ).

The mat will incorporate the forest areas and make these darker than the general white areas (these will incorporate a few fields) the marshland will be a in yet a different colour and I will create separate river tiles to put on top of the mats (with bridges), including the elevations around Lesnaya.

I have not yet started the mat, instead focused the weekend on basing some trees – I will need a fair few.

Hope to show some mat progress soon.

I am working on some 6mm fantasy stuff in the background, here are a few pictures of work in progress (I will do a write-up later).

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Goblins from Microworld Games

 

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Knights from Perfect Six Miniatures

 

/Have a good week

 

 

 

 

 

Gliding into WW2 – Some initial thoughts on IABSM in 6mm  

I was going to progress on the main project this Sunday doing some bespoke terrain mats for Lesnaya (well at least starting them), but felt a little bit tired after spending the evening watching the news about yet another horrendous terror attack this time in London. I work a stone throw from London Bridge and have spent a fair few evenings in Borough Market.  I decided to listen to the latest (two!!) Meeples and Miniatures podcasts (link here and here) and to do some gardening to clear my mind as I did not find myself even close to a creative mood.  My thoughts are with those affected directly and indirectly in the recent terror attacks in Manchester, Kabul and London.   Mats will have to be done later.

A little bit of effort this week

I have wanted to try out the IABSM (I ain’t been Shot Mum) rules for some time and decided (a few weeks ago) to make two forces to try these rules out – some British Paratroopers and some German Grenadiers.  I have seen some nice games in the past using 6mm miniatures (that is more or less the ground scale of the rules) – So I got myself a fair few packs of Brits and Germans from Baccus (here is a link to their WW2 section).

I was initially considering doing some Winter War themed 6mm stuff but had a change of mind as I already have a lot of Winter War stuff in 15mm (see more here showing the nice winter war stuff from Herois and Ros in 6mm) – but perhaps in the future. Heroics have a nice range of Winter geared soldiers and since the Germans and the Finns had the same type of helmet it is easy to make a Finnish force.

Having been encouraged by the recent 6mm skirmish stuff (see more in the individual links: (i) Sharp Practice, (ii) Men who Would be Kings, and the recent (iii) Pikeman’s Lament) I thought I would do the companies for each force in a way that I could play Chain of Command as well using one of the platoons.   I have platoons for the Winter War in 15mm and Germans and British for 1940 Europe,  but not for Normandy.  One of my very good friends live in Normandy and it would make it easy to take the stuff with me on my next trip.

Incidentally, there is a scenario in one of the Lardies Special about the fighting around the Pegasus bridge (it is the Summer Special 2006 – What’s for Afters?, link here).  I also have a 6mm Pegasus bridge that I spent far too much monies on, so I better get some use out of it.  The Paratrooper company could be scaled down to represent a glider company.

Testing with the 8th Army

I quickly painted a platoon of early war 8th Army guys this week (they are 6mm Adler figures that I bought some years back, here is a link to the range) as I found them on the lead mountain.  I based them so I could use them in a chain of command scenario and also to get a feel on how it looked. I have to admit that I am really please with the results and I really like the way the basing turned out.

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The bases are 12mm to 20mm washers (see here for how I tend to get them). There is a Lieutenant (Pistol, 15mm), Platoon Sergeant (SMG, 15mm), 2″ mortar team (20mm), Boyes AT rifle team (20mm), 3 Junior Leaders (SMG, 15mm) for each section and 3 sections of two teams; Bren team (3 miniatures, two on a 20mm base and one on 12mm base) and rifle team (6 miniatures, 3 on a 20mm base, 2 on a 15mm base and one on a 12mm base). Note that I have stopped using the 9mm base – as I feel it is too small.

In summary, three sections like this (from left to right), Junior Leader with SMG (one tuft to indicate his leadership ability), 3 man Bren team and 6 man rifle team.

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Senior Commander (Platoon Sgt with SMG), Senior Commander (Lt with Pistol) – both with two tufts to indicate their status. In addition a Boyes team and a 2 inch mortar team.

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Supports – 2 man sniper team, Medical orderly, 3 man engineering team and 5 man (forgot one in the picture) HMG team.

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I think I need to get some Afrikakorps as well, this test got a little bit too inspirational.  I have heard that the GHQ vehicles works very well with Adler.

Anyway I have spray-painted the necessary stuff for the Normandy Stuff and will complete them at some point this Summer.

Dragon’s Rampant in 6mm

I also dug up some 6mm fantasy stuff I have (some bought recently and some a little bit older) as I ordered a copy of Dragon’s Rampant last week – it is the same “engine” as Pikeman’s Lament and the Men who would be Kings.  The Little One has enjoyed these games and asked me for some fantasy – so why not. I am planning on doing Goblins (with miniatures from Baccus, link here, and Microworld Games, link here) and some high powered knights (based on the Dragon order from Perfect six, see link here).

Here are a few picture of the basecoated (grey basecoat with black ink) stuff.

/ That is all for this week, take care of yourself.