Spent most of the week going to a wedding and exploring the Bordeaux countryside – had a fantastic time! The only thing remotely associated to the hobby was a visit to one of the many fortifications Vauban constructed – Fort Médoc. The fort was built in the 17th century to secure the defense of Bordeaux from an attack through the river Gironde, it formed part of a number of fortifications on the river.
Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban is one of the most important military engineers of the latter 17th century and was an expert on fortifications. I suggest you have a read here if you have never heard about him. His fortifications typically have a star shape of different layers and angles that allows the defence of them to be more efficient.
This was a nice weekend indeed, Saturday was spent driving around the Kentish/Sussex countryside and we went to Chartwell House (Churchill’s family home) and Penhurst Place (The Sidney’s family home for more than 460 years) – both well worth a visit. On the way home we ended up in the Blacksmith Arms (in Cudham) where the comedian Harry Relph was born (1887 to 1928). He performed under the stage name “Little Tich” and was (amongst other things) famous for his routine with very long shoes (see a video here). They had his famous shoes on display in the pub – equally impressive with the Wellington boots we reported on some time ago (see here). I knew immediately who he was as I had ended up listening to his 1910 recording “What a Risky thing to do” (see here) looking for some background music for a Call of Cthulhu campaign many moons ago. A great, although not very tall, Briton (a Wikipedia write-up here). I had a pint in his honour before we embarked on the short journey home. I suppose you can do your own research on that other great Briton Churchill, if he is not familiar to you ;).
On the Sunday I went to the Skirmish Wargames show in Sidcup run by Redcoat Models(see here) – a small wargames show that occurs twice a year. I did not count the number of traders but call it 15 with about the same amount of wargames tables. The theme was Napoleonics and probably 1 in 4 of the tables were Napoleonic offerings. I did not take many pictures but here is what drew my interest. I had a good time.
I played a game with John, who was running a fictional Battle in India with a Sikh uprising supported by French advisors (and some troops) against the British, using the Fire and Fury rules. John had not laid on a table for 15 years but it did look good when it was all set up. We used activation for getting reinforcements on the table but we both failed miserably but when we were successful John seemed to be able to get more out of each reinforcement wave – typically the French (yours truly) “spawned” one or two units whilst the British managed to get 6 to 10 units on the table. It was fun and I managed to get a cavalry unit into the British outpost and steal a cannon. However, the luck was only short-lived as they ran into a strong group of light infantry (Riflemen). One of those games that gets that narrative kick that makes all the difference in my view. Many thanks John!, I think the game was yours 😉 .. Great fun.
Finally I had a nice chat with Glen Hardy of Art of War Shirts. Glen has recently launched his business selling a nice selection of t-shirts that I think some of you may find nice – what I like is that they are nice designs and less in your face than some other offerings. Do check out his webpage and get a few and/or let your better half and your mates know what you would like for Christmas (you know that any hard ones will be in the wrong scale or period anyway!). Here is a link to his page.
As for any progress this week I am slowly doing some DreadBall miniatures (yes I did get a few more teams). Doing Forge fathers and some MVPs this week but no progress on Rommel stuff. The Better One said to me the other day “I did not know you were into this game now!”, “Been working on it for years!”, I answered back having just ordered a few more teams on eBay.
I based the Forge Father colour scheme of my favourite Swedish Coffee Brand Löfbergs Lila. Purple with some green detailing for strikers, yellow for jacks, red for guards and blue for the Keeper. Can you smell the nice aroma?
Talking about Great Britons, I could not avoid to reflect on the likeness with one of the MVPs and a very famous TV personality that recently passed away. Anyway I let you reflect on your own.
/ “Nice to see you, to see you nice!”, until next week!
Still on holiday in Rhodes and the Better One had arranged a little bit of a birthday party here on the island and, to my happy surprise, some friends from Sweden and France came along as well. Great times! Thanks to all involved.
I learned about the legend about Anastasia of Rhodes that I found interesting, she was a heroine and died during the Siege in 1522. She had taken her dead husband’s armour and sword, killed her children to prevent them from being taken by the Ottoman invaders, and fought like a lion until she was cut down.
However, I did bring some toys, so when my friend from Normandy showed up I took the opportunity to do a little French Indian War (FIW) action using the Pikeman’s Lament Rules. You may recall the picture from last time? (here).
In this little set-up I had some Punic War cards for Battleground – I have been using these in the past to learn some ancient rules – this time Sword and Spear and Basic Impetus 2 (but more about that some other time).
The main ingredient for any FIW game is a forest!, so luckily I brought some trees and some miniatures too.
The only thing I did not think through properly was my ground cover as all I had that was even remotely passable as ground cover was some kind of camouflage net thing – but it had to do.
I included a file with the forces, note that for the British we did not use the militia and only 3 of the native Indians for the French (file can be found here FIW PL).
Here is a short summary on what happened – well the key moments from my perspective. Basically I wanted to draw my French opponents two Indians out of the forest and then withdraw with my Rangers and use their ability to attack Ferociously (and overall superiority in terms of attack and stamina) in the rough terrain and then hopefully have enough punch left to at least do some damage to the Canadian militia unit.
Well after a lot of “not-so-successful-rolling” it did not really work out that well for the Rangers in the end and the unit was decimated and on the picture below a very short-lived last man standing moment! – perhaps last man wobbling would be more like it?
So what about the fighting in front of the farm? Well I had two units of veteran shot with their first Salvo ready to fire at the French as they breached the forest. However on activating the first unit to shoot I rolled, not just a, one but two. This leads to a random event and a further roll showed this to be attack, so the redcoats jumped the fence and charged forward straight into range and the waiting French firing line. The Rangers had done some fighting with the Indians but with their evade and skirmish abilities they can be very annoying, especially in the forest.
This was then followed by the other regular unit being attacked on the other flank and the rest is history.
I enjoyed the game and the fighting in rough ground (forest and hill) made it interesting and it felt ok, although this is not strictly the pike and shot period.
I take my tricorne hat off for Sous-Lieutnant Dupont who yet again outfoxed me on the Battle Field. He gave it a thumbs up! The rules are easy to pick up and they gave the right feeling to the little skirmish.
A little delayed update this time, but for the right kind of reason. Occasionally we get an opportunity to get away from it all and this time we headed to Rhodes. A familiar place I have visited a fair few times and I love the Old Town of Rhodes and the history of the hospitaliers – who ruled this Island during the 13th and 14th century and caused the Ottoman Turks all kind of trouble before they were kicked out (Siege of Rhodes 1522) and set up shop on Malta and continued causing trouble. It is too hot to write any essay but if you are interested there is a good summary about them here.
I have a little potential idea of doing a project about the Siege in Rhodes 1522 or the more epic one in Malta 1565. The book – the Great Siege Malta 1565 by Ernle Bradford is one of my all-time favourite history books and I really recommend giving it a go.
When in Rhodes go and see the Grand Masters Palace and walk the old Moat. Very nice and whilst at it you may go for a swim as well, there are a few beaches here and there. The museum of archaeology, the Butterfly Valley, Lindos with the wonderful Akropolis are also places not to miss.
I always get reminded on how rare square shaped fields are when flying.
Another idea I have had brewing in my head for some time, using Baccus and Rapier miniatures, is to the do the Battle of Kadesh (see here). Browsing around on Netflix I found a documentary that I really enjoyed watching whilst flying, about the Egyptian chariot. The programme follows a team who recreates a (well actually two) chariot and tries it out (you can also find it on YouTube if you search for Building Pharaoh’s Chariot). Mike Loades, who was part of the recent time commander series, is giving the chariot some trial runs to better understand how they may have been used on the battlefield. I find this kind of experimental archaeology/history very interesting and I really wish more similar programmes were available. Let me know if you know any good ones.
Before setting out I did progress on a few fronts with my Sci-fi models from Brigade Games (I have done two more orders since Joy of Six!) and I also did some of Baccus late 19th Century Bavarians. Great little models overall and a Joy to paint!
We did not leave home empty handed and I hope to have an AAR available at some point after this weekend, describing some French Indian War skirmish action. We brought a little bit of stuff allowing us to roll some dice and move figures around – but more of that next time if we have had time to have a game.
We had a very nice weekend up in Sheffield with the Better One and the Little Ones going to the Joy of Six show – now back to work and a hectic week ahead. Will write about any potential thoughts in due course, over the weekend. In summary we had a great time and even had time to sneak into Conisbrough Castle just outside Doncaster. I had wanted to go there for some time as it is the setting for the classical novel Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott.
Ivanhoe has a special place in modern Swedish tradition as the 1982 movie (with Anthony Andrews, Olivia Hussey, Lysette Anthony and Sam Neill) has been shown every New Years day since 1988.
We did set up the tables and had a fantastic time – the mats worked well!
/ A proper reflection this weekend, all the very best
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.
…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.
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.
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!
Long weekend of Rugby with the annual ‘long distance’ tournament with the Little Ones – this year held in Bournemouth. The Little One had a blast and made us proud as always. A weekend in Dorset is never wrong and we had to sneak into the Tank Museum in Bovington for a quick look. We did not do much hobby related this week, so in no particular order a few shots of the (a) Kalisz Battle boards for Salute and some Swedes, (b) some pictures from the Tank Museum and (c) some progress on the Mutant 1984 project.
Kalisz Battle boards and Swedes
I got the 2″ by 2″ boards out this weekend. They have been in the attic since the table was laid out at Joy of Six in 2014 – some warping evident and a damaged bridge but not beyond unacceptable and the bridge can be fixed. Now I have to find the buildings for the two villages and Kalisz itself – I wonder where they are?
I also got the Swedish (few) elements out and realized that I need to do some flags for the infantry – it seems like we ran the game last time without infantry standards (Perhaps that was the reason the Swedes lost?).
Bovington Tank Museum
We went to the Tank Museum in Saumur last year and loved it (see blog entry here), the one in Bovington is equally impressive if not better. From the perspective of telling history and putting the tank into a perspective the Bovington experience is brilliant. Here are a few pictures of what we found particularly interesting. Go there if you can (link here). T(h)ank you Bovington – we had a great day!
Mutant 1984 – Ulvriket Patrol – Work in Progress
Work in progress on the next unit for this little diversion. This is the Ulvriket Patrol with some further detailing and basing remaining but a small step forward. As discussed in the previous blog entry (see here) basically WW2 Americans in Greatcoat and a WW2 German Officer. I used a Russian WW2 Vehicle Green for the Coats and Khaki for details and helmets. Looks familiar but odd.
Then the mutated element with conversions (I will give further details for what I used in the blog update for these when they are finalized).