As stated last time I am bulk finishing stuff for Horka so not much to show with regards to progress overall. I realised I am approaching the 100th blog posting and I thought I would make a little bit of a special going back to Saga and do something with regards to the new rules.
This is the plan, for the next 4 postings.
Blogpost 98, w.c 02-Apr-18.Some completed stuff for Horka 1708, this will be pictures of the completed Russian Infantry – the 64 bases required. I just need to complete the basing and add flags to the final ones in the next few days.
Blogpost 99, w.c. 09-Apr-18. – Gaslands in Microscale/6mm, this will have some shots from some games we have played and my impression of doing it with 50% measures.
Blogpost 100, w.c. 16-Apr-18. – Special about Saga 2 in 6mm, this will be some reflections, changes to rules and pictures from Gameplay with the new rules over the Easter Period.
Blogpost 101, w.c. 23-Apr-18. – My take on Salute on the 14th. Looking forward to see Michael Leck’s Stäket 1719 and Too Fat Lardies Demo game of What a Tanker!, to mention a few things. I also have a few things to pick up (some more Mutant 1984 stuff).
A little bit of progress on the Mutant 1984 stuff
I did put some paint on the Cabin I built and added some snow, I still have to do the doors and windows and a final fix of the snow cover but I think this will give an idea on how it will look in the end. There is a note on how I built the cabin from the Blog post two weeks ago (link here). (More on this overall project here)
I also finished some Snowmobiles I will use for the Mutant 1984 project for a little scenario involving a motorised chase scene. These were bases on some matchbox models I found whilst looking for some stuff for Gaslands – they are a different scale than the normal Matchbox stuff and work reasonably well with 28mm. I used some Warlord Plastic Americans that I cut up a little bit (e.g. legs and hands) that allowed me to create something resembling drivers for these cool vehicles.
I am currently spending a lot of hobby time finalising bases for the Horka 1708 project that will be presented at the 6mm show Joy of Six in July this year (a link to the webpage here). This will be my 6th year of putting a game on (2012 GNW Fraustadt 1706, 2013 GNW Klissow 1702, 2014 GNW Kalisz 1706, 2015 GNW Gadebusch 1712, 2016 Saga in 6mm, 2017 GNW Lesnaya 1708 and Dragon Rampant in 6mm). It is my favourite show of the year because it showcases what can be done in this scale and what is available as a lot of the 6mm miniature and terrain/building traders are in attendance. I suggest you check it out and get yourself to Sheffield this Summer (15th July).
I tend to move big chunks of works forward at the same time rather than completing say 4 bases and moving on to the next 4 set of bases. I used to do it in incremental steps, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to complete a big project/campaign by winning small victories on the way. I still get a kick of a completed base and how that seemingly randomless drybrushing on top of the brown base, in combination with the static grass creates that little illusion that puts the models in some kind of bigger context!
However, my current small victories are all the other diversions (Gaslands, Winter War, Mutant 1984, etc.) whilst I slog away with the big one. At times these diversions takes me away from the main mission for weeks. But I have to admit that it does not take much to get me back to the Great Northern war period. This final futile grasp of Sweden as a Great Power and the great battles, tragedies and personalities it contains. I know how it all ends, but it still blows me away and there is so much more to find out.
On that note (and I have mentioned a few before) check out Helion Company’s Century of the Soldier series that have a lot of upcoming books for the Great Northern War in particular but so much more. Link to Helion here. Give them a visit and get yourself some cool books. I am really pleased to see Great Northern war books in English and anyone who is doing them will certainly sell me a copy – but also gets a shout out.
Here are a few of the titles I am looking forward to (various release dates):
I am currently (re-)reading another one from the Century of the Soldier series about the Pruth campaign that was released a at the end of January this year (incidentally, as Nick wrote it I had read the initial draft, but had not seen the bespoke drawings of troop types of the two sides and re-enactment pictures of Russian soldiers – and I really enjoyed it). I discussed this book here that formed the basis for a little skirmish side project using Pikeman’s Lament (see more here, here and here). However this campaign lends itself to bigger battles. Think about the mixture of differing troop types with the colourful Ottoman army of the period on one side againt the more westernized Russian army with Kalmucks, Tartars and Cossack support on the other – what a spectacle. [editor notes: At this note he drifts away into that la la land again, planning battles and setting up painting progress spreadsheets again].
In 1711 Peter the Great, the Tsar of Russia, led a large army of veterans from Poltava and his other Great Northern War victories into the Balkans. He aimed to humble the Ottomans in the same way he had the Swedes a few years before. Victory would secure useful allies in the Balkans, cement Russia’s ‘Great Power’ status and offer Peter the opportunity to finally gain control over the Swedish king, Charles XII, thus completing his victory over Sweden. Yet within a few months, the ‘backward’ Ottomans had forced the Tsar and his Tsarina and their army of veterans into a humbling surrender near the Pruth River. The war was the first time that Russia was strong enough to confront the Ottomans independently rather than as a member of an alliance. It marked an important stage in Russia’s development. However, it also showed the significant military strength of the Ottoman Empire and the limitations of Peter the Great’s achievements. The war was of significance to the allies of both the Russians and the Ottomans. It was of course of an even greater importance to all those directly affected by the war such as the Swedish, the Polish, and the Cossacks, who had taken refuge from the reverses of the Great Northern War in the Ottoman territory. It would also bring about the defeat of the Moldavian and Walachian ambitions to shake off the Ottoman overlordship, elevating Dimitrie Cantemir into the position of a national hero celebrated to this day by the people of Romania. The book looks at the causes of this little known war and its course. Using contemporary and modern sources it examines in detail the forces involved in the conflict, seeking to determine their size, actual composition, and tactics, offering the first realistic determination on the subject in English.
So how am I getting on with the Horka project, then?. I actually did not know until recently as my notes were a little bit here, there and everywhere. So I opened up a spreadsheet and did an inventory and counted the models I had to date. Here is a summary of where the painting is at expressed as percentage complete (then there is basing etc, but since that is relatively quick I am only interested at this stage on whether I have enough painted lead or not!):
Swedish Infantry (672 foot) – 57% (16 of 28 bases done)
Swedish Cavalry (648 riders) – 96% (69 of 72 bases done)
Overall – 90% complete (230 bases of 255 are now in painted condition) – over 3,500 miniature . When I counted it all up I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that I had so little left to do. It is the largest amount of bases I have ever put on a table to date. The picture below show the two armies spread on a 12 foot (3.6m) table (the middle white and blue ruler shows 1 feet increments). Both have a 8 foot frontage (2.4m) and the Russian one is mostly 4 bases deep. I think it will be worth the Joy of Six ticket just to see that – but then I am somewhat biased with regards to tricorne hats (and Karpuses).
Then there is artillery and leaders but I have not yet checked whether I need to do any more than what I already have available from previous projects. I am going to have a little chat with Nick Dorrell on the likely composition of the artillery at this stage of the campaign – I will have a view and he will correct it.
Here is a photo of the work in progress – or work in a mess more like it!
I would like to do a shout out for Tiny Tin Troops that amongst many things do flags (web page here) – I found their Russian GNW flags especially useful for my project. With so much infantry a lot of flags are required and although you could do them yourself it can be time consuming of to recolour images, etc.
They compliment the Baccus sheets I have used up nicely (link here) – order the 8mm version (this is not the scale but the height of the flag) – link here. Nice and pleasant to deal with.
Their range of flags covers Crusades, Flodden, ECW, Ireland 1690, GNW, WSS, 7YW, Napoleonic, Armada Naval and they also have some WW2 Posters (for 6-28mm figs).
There is a painting gallery there that you may find fascinating if you are into the period, especially these. This is from the time TTT had a painting service – inspiration stuff!
As for the Terrain I will not start the terrain mat (5 by 12 feet) until the weather gets more stable as I ideally need a good few sunny days – lacking in space and inspiration to do it on a gloomy day. This is normally the last thing I do anyway so I do not expect this to be done until end of May or June.
I will need to start worrying about the real estate that I will need for Horka itself and the Villages around it. The Better one got me a nice bunch of Eastern European buildings (mostly churches) following my thoughts on the Monastery at Poltava (more here) that I need to paint up as well. I have some buildings already so I do not see this as a major effort.
Overall it is all in hand.
I also got the latest Saga Rules and the Viking supplement and they are nice products indeed. I am coming up towards the 100th blogpost (having done an average of 1 post a week since I started) and I would like that particular one to be about Saga v2 in 6mm as a homage to the very first blog post Saga in 6mm (link here). Planning to run a few games with the models I already have (I made 12 starter factions so I do not think I need to paint any more at the moment).
Some of the changes I noted so far are:
Warlords have changed significantly with regards to the special abilities.
Levy units generate Saga dice (if they are 6 or more models on the table).
Warrior units reduced to less than 4 models do not give you Saga dice. This avoids the potential of a 1 man warrior unit being held back to spawn saga dice.
If you are far away from an enemy you can move a unit for free as a first activation.
Some simplification of fatigue, combat and movement rules
I got the basic rule book for £8.50 (this contains the basic rules) and the Viking supplement (this has the Viking factions and the battleboards) for £25.50, which I believe is very competitive, from Dark Sphere (link here) with free postage.
I have all the old Saga books and I am aware this version will probably not blow me away in the same way as the first set, but it is on the basis of that very first set I bought the second edition. Saga is a fantastic game and I, and especially the Little One, want to be part of the ongoing process of making it even better.
So we are, for sure, dusting of the cobweb of the warbands (that was used for the Original Saga rules and have been stand in for some games of Too Fat Lardies Dux Britanniarum games). The Little One is smiling – the Big One too.
Here are a few shots of the Saga stuff (all based on 25mm square bases) as we felt obliged to stare at it for a few minutes.
Following on from previous discussions with regards to replaying some of the Scenarios for the Mutant roleplaying game I have been doing some further thinking and practical work. Link here for a better background (with more stuff here, here and here).
The Mutant game this relates to is the Swedish game from 1984. This is my stain and rustless first love and the game is the forefather of the current fantastic Mutant – Year One game, by Swedish company Free League published by the British company Modiphius, link here. [The Mutant 1984 version was set in year 108!] The team also publish the eminent Tales of the Loop – Roleplaying in the 1980s that never was that is one of the most beautifully looking gaming books I have ever seen. The artwork by Simon Stålenhag is amazing (if you do not know what I am talking about, check out his homepage here!). You should check out both these excellent games!
Tales of the loop – Roleplaying in the 1980s that never was
The landscape was full of machines and scrap metal connected to the facility in one way or another. Always present on the horizon were the colossal cooling towers, with their green obstruction lights. If you put your ear to the ground, you could hear the heartbeat of the Loop – the purring of the Gravitron, the central piece of engineering magic that was the focus of the Loop’s experiments. The facility was the largest of its kind in the world, and it was said that its forces could bend space-time itself.
Scifi artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts, have won global acclaim. Now, you can step into the amazing world of the Loop.
In this roleplaying game in the vein of E.T. and Stranger Things, you’ll play teenagers solving mysteries connected to the Loop. The game rules are based on Mutant: Year Zero, which was awarded with a Silver ENnie for Best Rules at Gencon 2015.
…goes back to the origins of the Mutant franchise: role-playing after the Apocalypse. In this game, you play as one of The People – heavily mutated humans living in The Ark, a small and isolated settlement in a sea of chaos. The outside world is unknown to you, and so is your origin.
Mutant: Year Zero has two major game environments, each with its own style of play:
The Ark, your home in the dawnworld. A nest of intrigue and Lord of the Flies-style power struggles, it’s far from a safe haven. But it’s the only home you know, and just maybe the cradle of a new civilization. The game rules let you improve and develop the Ark in the areas of Warfare, Food Supply, Technology, and Culture. It is up to you, the players, to decide which projects to embark on.
The Zone, wastelands outside the Ark. You will venture into the Zone in search of food, artifacts, other mutants, and knowledge – not least about The People’s own origin. The game includes two maps of example Zones; London and New York and a plethora of tables and other tools to let the GM populate its sectors with mutants, deadly monsters and bizarre phenomena.
Having debated on how I will play the scenarios, I have decided that I will use the Original 1984 rules with some inspiration from the Mutant 2 expansion (produced 1986) and also some inspiration from early Runequest as I really loved the grouping of skill categories and individual bonuses based on characteristics.
Mutant 2 had an interesting combat system with segments and a high dexterity character acted more often than a low dexterity character. This Mutant 1984 2.0 project wants to be a simple as possible and therefore fatties (like myself) can act as often as anyone else – however we may be less efficient when we do so.
I have devised a character sheet that should be not too unfamiliar for anyone who have played Runequest or Call of Cthulhu – the characteristics range in general between 3 and 18 and all skills are percentages. This is still work in progress and I will finalised these shortly (and the Mutant Logo is scanned from the original 1984 cover – I have not rights to this one whatsoever. However I hope this tongue-in-cheek project gets the right owners blessing as opposed to its cursing).
For the purpose of playing the set events more like “skirmish wargame scenarios” I will need to devise some simple rules – so far 7TV (from Crooked Dice, link here) looks promising and it also has a nice campaign feel for connected scenarios, or should that be shows.
Building the cabin – Part 1
From the earlier posting you may recall the cabin I need for one of the events in the first scenario (see here).
I suppose this would require the Cabin itself – and the set-up will be so that it allows action inside and outside.
Based on the floor plan I sketched the cabin on a piece of paper and used some figures to make sure the would work in the setting – no point spending time on a building that does not work for the purpose of playing in it.
I made some modifications to the layout and the final layout became a square cabin with two of the small rooms being combined to a large one and a new one created. I decided to build the cabin on a piece of Polystyrene (Blue Foam) I had laying around. This piece was a 20mm thick piece and I will utilise this for the detailing I will do later.
Next I drew the floorplan on top of the blue foam and used some balsa wood dowels (5mm diameter) and set out the shape in one direction (glued them down, make sure they overshoot with about 1 cm at this time) and then cladded each room (glued down) with some cut out pieces of coffee stirrers (you know the ones they have in coffee shops). I varied the direction of the planks for each room.
The idea is that we need to make cuts where the timbers crosses to allow the characteristic look of a log cabin. You need to make some cuts and then slightly file it down (I just used the rough part of the Exacto knife I have – as balsa wood is really soft).
Basically cut down a v shape and then rub the rough part until you have a round groove half the depth of the dowel diameter.
If you are using hard wood dowels you have my sympathies and this would take even longer than the pain I had in using the balsa wood.
Just continue doing a layer in each direction – cut, glue and then I used dressmakers here and there to make the construction sturdier. Be careful and go slow – balsa is a very soft material indeed. The models are Soldiers of the Pyri Commonwealth, any similarities to Napoleonic British Riflemen are just incidental.
and more layers… then cut out some windows (at this stage I have no idea how I will finish them).
Then after a few sessions
I cut out something resembling a fire place and made a roof from a 6mm thick piece of floor insulation board (polystyrene foam). I then made a roof from the same material and cladded the sides (the roof will be mainly full of snow so most of the insulation foam will be covered with this.
Then I added a porch on the front, some chimneys (6mm foam using a pen to make a stone build effect), a few planks to make the illusion that the whole roof is made of wood (i.e. where the snow will not go), did a first layer of builders caulk on the roof.
Very happy so far with the Cabin (working title “Overkill”) I will probably detail the surroundings and paint it before I:
Add some LEDs to create a flickering fire effect in the fireplace (like I did in a recent trial, shown here)
Do the windows and doors
Add some further detailing like furniture but without making it to busy.
Do flagpole with the flag of Ulvriket – a white wolfhead on a black background.
But that is next time,
/ Hope that was of some interest, if not I blame Dirk of the Grognard Files for ongoing, constant and brilliant inspiration on gaming in a 1980s that damn surely was! Check the Files out by clicking here and enjoy!
Some progress on the Towards Moscow Trilogy Project with some Swedish Horse done for Horka 1708 and some further progress on the Mutant 1984 project.
Swedish Horse for the Horka 1708 Battle
As I have promised myself I finally did another push on the Towards Moscow project and finalised another batch of Swedish cavalry (30 bases). More background on this project here. Most facts from the book “The Great Northern War 1700-1721 – Colours and Uniforms”, by Lars-Eric Höglund and Åke Sallnäs. That concludes the Swedish cavalry needed for the Project (a total of 66) – next I will “attack” the Swedish Infantry.
Upplands (Livregementet och Östgöta) Tremänningsregemente till Häst
Temporary cavalry regiment raised in 1700 from regions in central Sweden. Colonel at the time C.G.Kruse and 834 man strong. Captured at Poltava and reestablished in 1712.
Adelsfanan in Sweden and Finland
Nekropolis Bunker Guard Unit and Scientists
I also managed to get some time to do some of the miniatures I need for the Mutant 1984 project (see here). This time some soldiers for the bunker. Basic models are Warlord American Infantry Plastics (see here – although I got a very good deal from eBay). These models require some assembly that is great for this project as I wanted to do some headswaps and specials – I used Tamya Extra thin cement for this (apart from the metal bits with a glued with gel superglue) and it works very well (here is a review about it).
It also fills my bit box with some cool stuff that can be used for other things (bazookas, backpacks, smgs, pistols, rifles, etc).
The only direct description we have from the original scenario book are that the uniforms were green and the trousers have red stripes. Did these in a sitting – wargames standard I suppose and happy overall. I think I will make the Bunker floor grey concrete but not sure yet – so maybe I will change the base colour later. (Note to self: Uniform bronze green with german field grey).
I also painted the 4 scientists, these are from Crooked dice and are fantastic models.
I also update the write-up page (here) with this one as well for the soldiers in the border cabin (after snow basing them).