Ruins, Generously Donated

The very kind Count Belisarius sent me these plastic ruins that were surplus to requirements. They’re going to fit in very well with my 15mm Frostgrave setting.

They arrived as assembled kits, in shiny black plastic. I based them on cork tile and added some rubble and patches of plaster to blend them in with my existing scenery. I also covered over a couple of electrical cables, presumably they’re originally designed for W40K or similar.

They then received a matt black undercoat, followed by dark grey, light grey and white dry-brushes. This was very quick to do, so they’re all finished within 48 hours of arriving.

Thanks Andy! 🙂

Sarissa Outpost

This is a nice cheap kit from Sarissa Precision that a lot of people seem to have picked up. It can fit into a variety of settings and periods, and basically just looks good on the table.

Mine has been painted with my usual colour pallet, with sand added to the base to blend into my terrain boards. I did add some roughly-cut card strips to the roof to rough it up a bit, as the standard look was a bit too neat!

Quick to assemble, quick to paint. What’s not to like?

 

Sharp Practice Game – Destination Bakhala

This weekend 4 fellow-members of the LAW forum came for a big game of Sharp Practice, set within my early 19th century fictitious colonial background.

The plot was that a sepoy mutiny, aided by the notorious corsair El Kebab, had occurred at the Fleurian trading colony at Bakhala. Naturally the Fleurians wanted it back, and roped in their French allies to help. The Medetians turned up too, wanting to deal with El Kebab. Finally, the newly self-proclaimed Maharaja just wanted to see off all-comers and keep hold of his new domain.

LT’s very generous offer of some amazing Indian mutiny buildings provided the inspiration for the table set-up, which saw 3 arrival points for the European forces, and 2 major buildings to be held by the Maharaja and Corsair leader respectively. Naturally there were some slightly conflicting objectives for the players, and some side missions to attempt too – such as finding loot and releasing prisoners. El Kebab needed to escape on his ship, taking whatever ill-gotten gains he could with him.

The forces were:

  • The Maharaja and his mutinous sepoys – played in Hollywood bad guy style by Goat Major

  • The Fleurian expedition under Major Villard, played with impeccable tactical finesse by Jamanicus

  • The French colonial troops under the ultra reactionary Major Chevauchee (accompanied by his mobile guillotine), played by the young Napoleon,  Jeremy

  • The Medetian naval detachment under Commander Nero, played by old sea dog Levied Troop

  • The despicable El Kebab, terror of the high seas, with his vicious crew, played in a scurvy cove style by me

The general scene, as shown in the player’s briefings, was:

Here’s Bakhala itself, with the government building and Governor’s mansion, before all hell broke loose:

As well as the buildings, LT brought some additional jungle bases which fitted in well, and GM’s Frost/Sandgrave ruins and other features really added flavour to the setting. The table was 9 x 4.5 feet, the biggest I’ve ever set up and about the maximum possible for the space available. I managed to finish my jungle bases, as well as some additionally needed terrain boards, just in time. They were long overdue and it’s great to get them done. I also assembled and painted 2 bridges and 3 sampans for the game.

There were a total of about 350 figures in use, although taking early casualties and late arrivals into account, not all were on the table at the same time!

On arrival, the attackers were handed their orders which told them which of the 4 approach routes they’d be taking. The Medetians came by boat via the swamp, the Fleurians came through the hills and the French through the jungle. The Maharaja and El Kebab deployed a third of their forces on watch, and each placed 2 (apparently myopic) sentries further out to give early warning of any approaching enemies.

Everyone gathered their forces, selected some support options, and placed their deployment points. Then the first activation chip was drawn and we were off, with all the usual excitement and consternation of random arrivals and unpredictable events. Nevertheless, everyone formulated a plan and did their best to stick to it, trying to use their command options to the best advantage. The rules always give an excellent game and we used a few house rules to handle the multi-player apect.

The fortunes of the various leaders and their forces went something like this:

The French battled their way forward from the jungle, confronted by increasing numbers of corsairs. The guillotine rumbled into view, causing fear and shock (1 point per group) to all enemies who saw it. Major Chevauchee led from the front, directing his men to crush all opposition and personally fighting in several bloody melees.

His men liberated loot from the Governor’s house (though sensibly refrained from heading upstairs when they spotted the glint of many scimitars – El Kebab’s dreaded Red Blades were lurking in ambush), and then pushed on to be on the verge of crossing the river and cutting the corsair leader off from his ship.

Their actions at Bakhala certainly added lustre to the reputation of the French army.

The Fleurians came from the hills in fine style, Major Villard commanding contingents of line troops, grenadiers, voltigeurs and artillery. Then they bumped into El Kebab’s defences, in particular an ancient artillery piece that did considerable execution.

Steady volleys and steady leadership, despite Villard picking up a wound, finally saw off the enemy and only the arrival of darkness prevented a final assault on the key government building across the river. Fleurie would have to try again to recover it’s colony.

The Medetians – sailors, marines and army regulars under Commander Nero came by boat and were in the thick of it from the start. Erratic oarsmanship resulted in a piecemeal assault, and the mutineers’ cannon balls splashing down among (and sometimes into) the boats didn’t make things any easier.

Numerous landings took place, some only to be met with bayonets and scimitars and cut down or pushed back to the boats. Under a hail of sepoy fire it was to be a hard day for all of Medetia’s brave units.

Despite these challenges, and losses among their officers, they were still battling hard at the end, closing in by boat on El Kebab’s escape route. Most dramatically one group very sneakily managed to gain entrance to the rear of the government building and set it alight from within! Back home for tea and medals then, and to plan another hunt for the slippery corsairs.

The Maharaja, resplendent in his gilded armour and helmet, managed affairs from atop his new ‘palace’. His previous career as a lowly sepoy sergeant had taught him how to lead men, and his little army gave a bloody nose to any who dared challenge his rule.

He even launched a late cavalry charge at the French, which caused a lot of alarm, if not actual results. His prized elephant was kept in reserve as an escape vehicle, but wasn’t required!

Marvellous parade-ground marching by the Maharaja’s newly-loyal sepoys, lovely converted figures by GM:

That man knows how to defend a building!

At the end, he still held his palace, but there was the small matter of it being on fire and his victorious men were soon ordered to the river to get water!

El Kebab’s day had already involved putting out a fire – his mansion had attracted a burning cinder from the nearby fighting and required him to urgently order 2 units to form a bucket detail!

However, with the fire out, his problems were only just beginning. His forces, handy in a fight but no real match for trained regulars, were being hammered from all sides by the French and Fleurians. Despite a brave stand around the gun, and some frenzied charges into the French columns, things were crumbling and only his ferocious reputation kept his men’s morale from collapsing. The loss of several of his key henchmen also contributed to El Kebab’s misfortunes.

By the end, he was forced to charge out of the mansion at the head of his Red Blades to push back the French voltigeurs. Nearly killing Major Chevauchee in the melee, he then wheeled his men left and headed for the bridge and his ship. The night would be spent groping their way in the dark downriver to the sea. It was another close escape!

So, that was how ‘Destination Bakhala’ played out. Everyone got stuck in and saw plenty of action, and everything was done with an excellent spirit and a desire to make it an enjoyable day all-round. Well done guys, and you’re all cordially invited to come back for a follow-on game if you fancy it.

After all, there’s a lot of unfinished business in the jungle and on the high seas…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blotz Mausoleum

This is another simple kit, with some nice detail. It didn’t take any time to assemble, but undercoating it black did – due to all the nice detail!

I left the roof pieces loose as it has an internal tomb feature that’s worth being able to see.

Although designed as a 28mm piece I think it also works fine for 15mm, so into the Frostgrave and general fantasy scenery pile it goes 🙂

Those jungle bases definitely have to happen next…

Blotz Minaret

This is an MDF kit I picked up at Partizan, which I decided would fit well into my Frostgrave scenery collection. Blotz offer the same model in 15mm, 20mm and 28mm. I went for the 20mm one as I thought it would make a more impressive piece for 15mm.

It was relatively easy to assemble, and the online instructions gave a useful tip about putting some weight in the bottom section for ballast. I loaded it with 2p pieces. I may base the model at some point to give it some steps up to the door and a bit more stability.

Some of the upper section needed painting before final assembly, which I realised just in time. It’s the sort of thing I usually spot just after I’ve applied the glue!

A couple of Battle Valor 15mm figures give it a decent sense of scale.

 

 

 

 

 

A Couple of Temples

It’s been a bit slow on the figure painting and gaming fronts lately so I’ve tried to keep going with a few other bits and pieces.

I am working on some base boards, which need to be ready for a big Sharp Practice game at the end of July. They’re not exactly picturesque while being prep’d for painting, but I’l post pics when they’re done.

Meanwhile, I have managed to knock together a couple of pieces that will serve as monuments or temples for various settings. They’ll be nice and big for 15mm Frostgrave, and about right for hiding a few 28mm figures in a skirmish.

They’re made from wine corks, cork tile and styrofoam, like a lot of the other scenery I’ve made this year. The domes are the finials from a recently retired curtain rail. I had my wargamer’s eye on them as I took it down!

Before pic:

Now to finally finish off those jungle bases I’ve been putting off for so long!

A New Battalion for Savoy

This unit was finished off just in time for this year’s big 18th century gaming weekend at Ayton (which reminds me – I need to post my pics of this excellent event). It’s a converged Grenadier battalion made up of companies from the Savoy line battalions I have collected so far.

The figures are Crann Tara, and they were painted by the very talented Dave Jarvis. As my Grenadier battalions don’t carry flags I like to give them a bit of height on the centre stand, hence the mounted colonel.


Best of all, they didn’t embarrass themselves in their first outing. I didn’t actually end up commanding them, so that’s probably why!

I also managed to do a tiny amount of painting for Ayton myself – to the tune of 3 battalion guns. I had 3 bases of Savoy battalion gunners without the all-important cannon, so finally got caught up. These are Crann Tara/Minden Prussian 3 pounders, very nice pieces.

 

 

A Brilliant Weekend In Essex (yes, really)

I can’t believe it’s over 3 weeks ago already, and I’m only just posting now! LAW forum member Essex Boy finally had a few of us down for a first game in ‘The Shed’. This snazzy new venue has reached almost mythical status, due to the length of time it’s taken him to get it ready. But, it was most certainly worth the wait.

The Shed has very good lighting and heating, and a decent amount of space for 6 people to play a decent-sized game. Every wargamer’s deam 🙂

Essex flag bunting greeted us on our arrival! You can’t have everything I suppose.

Inside was an excellent custom-prepared battlefield, assembled that very morning (with the help of a just-woken Andy apparently!)

We were using Iain and Gary’s 20mm WSS armies, plus a brigade of Andy’s Savage Swans and Altfritzenbergers that he’d painted for the occasion. The troops all looked superb, and together with the terrain, presented a real spectacle and were a pleasure to play with.

Iain had devised a cunning scenario which called for both sides to fight for control of the numerous road junctions. Andy and I played as the defending Franco-Bavarian (and Alfritzenberg) commanders, with Gary, Tim and Simon controlling the allies. Iain ran the game, umpired and took control of the odd unit of locals who popped up to surprise the allied attackers.

The rules used were Rank & File and they gave a decent period feel, were easy to learn/remember, and allowed the game to move along at a good pace. There were close-fought actions all over the battlefield, with attritional losses building up steadily (and often worryingly) during the day. By the end Andy and I had just about held on, and controlled enough of the roads to be declared the victors. It was getting very close though!

Once the game had been wrapped up, we had a good evening filled with Mexican food and plenty of beer, and all promised to come again when The Shed doors are open again to the LAW mob.

Big thanks to Iain for all the effort he put in, and for the others for their contributions and great company. This type of weekend is always an excellent way to spend hobby and social time, and this was no exception.

More 15mm Frostgrave Scenery

I have finished off a few additional bits of scenery for my Frostgrave set-up. The main piece is a larger bridge, and there are some more rubble piles, columns and stone walkways/jetties too. I added a pit as well, as it’s one of the extra scenery pieces you can use with the Ulterior Motives cards.

The bridge was designed by my wife, who’s taken an interest in Frostgrave and played in the first game (2 crossbowmen on the roof, I ask you…!). I did the construction under close supervision, and added optional leg extensions to allow the bridge to also span taller gaps. It was mostly made from styrofoam, but has an arched cobbled roadway using a sheet of Slaters plasticard.

A couple of drinking fountains:

There are some more bits and pieces I want to do, and I’m still finding it fun so they should happen soon!

Lion Rampant in the Late Roman Era

Well it’s still cold and we’ve had more snow, so I thought some further gaming on the winter terrain was appropriate. I also recently re-read The Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem, so out came some Late Romans and their Goth enemies and over the weekend I played a few solo games using the excellent Lion Rampant rules.

I wanted to try some of the scenarios I hadn’t played before, so picked two 24 point forces and had a few goes of ‘Hammer and Anvil’, and one of ‘The Messenger’. Both require the forces to move a lot to achieve their objectives, which is always a challenge with the unpredictable activation rules in the Rampant series! My house rule is that all leaders have the Commanding trait to gain a re-roll on the first failed activation roll each turn (if the unit is within 12″). This suits me better, but a good plan can still be ruined when things don’t happen for you.

The figures are 15mm and I played at half-scale (ie. 2″ in the rules being 1″ on the table). It worked well on a 4’x3′.

The Hammer and Anvil games proved very tough to win for the side trying to exit the opposite table edge, but I did manage it once out of 3 attempts. I swapped the forces around to give each side a chance to attack and defend.

The Goths managed to get the Messenger through in the last game I played, having had a rough time of it initially.

All the games proved exciting, with some challenging decisions (even playing solo) and lots of incidents. I may just have to play a few more now!