More MDF – Dark Seas Ship

I bought this kit at last year’s Derby show, having been impressed by pics I’d seen of the model (and the price – ¬£15). It’s the smallest of their age of sail ships, and I intend to use it with my 17th century skirmish games, mostly as a piece of scenery but potentially for boarding, raiding and cutting-out actions too.

It was quick to assemble (once I’d looked at a pic online and understood how the mast/yard connection went together anyway). The detailing is very good, especially the decks, which I decided not to bother painting, and the intricate stern decoration.

 

I did make a couple of modifications though. I added a removable bowsprit and some supporting pieces for it, as I felt the model was lacking in this regard. I also added some height to the whole model, with a piece of 10mm styrofoam cut to fit underneath. I think together these changes enhance the model and give me something closer to what I’m after.

 

I will probably pick up a few guns, which will look good on deck, and may even get fired in the odd game ūüôā

Now, back to the wood glue for more MDF delights…

New Boats from Partizan

In the limited browsing/shopping time I had at Partizan I did manage to pick up a few bits and pieces, including some ready-based S&A hedges and treasure chests from Fenris.

I also added to my growing collection of 28mm boats, with a couple from Empress Miniatures and one from Coritani. Both types are excellent – a bit bigger than the ones I’ve got, and good value too (Empress ¬£10 and Coritani ¬£8). Everything is resin except for the Coritani mast, which is wooden.

I’ve now got them painted up, which was a simple job and done to match my other related stuff. The two from Empress are very suitable as ship’s boats or launches, and the Coritani one comes with a mast and some stowage.

The seats come out of the bigger boats, to allow more figures/cargo, etc, to fit in. Very handy. I’ve also left the mast and stowage loose for the other boat so that I can use them in different ways.

 

I’m very happy with them, they’re handy additions for river and coast-based skirmishes, and suitable for a wide spread of periods.

The Raid on St Evian – The Action

On came the raiding force, by boat from the south west and with wagons from the east. The militia sentry at the bridge stumbled sleepily from his guard hut, gave a cry of alarm and was promptly cut down as the Medetians raced over the bridge.

The landing by boat to the west of the town went reasonably smoothly, with only a couple of landlubbers falling into the water. From there, the Medetians went to work raiding the town for liquid loot and dealing decisively with the piecemeal town defences.

There was some tough fighting in places, especially once the Fleurian garrison officers got embroiled, but Captain Corleone’s men were generally able to retain the initiative. Simon kept his eye on the victory conditions and made sure he always held some men out of the fighting to secure the barrels of Marc as they were discovered, and load them on the wagons (and eventually the boats too).

Some of the main highlights, events and fun bits:

  • The look on Simon’s face when the previously unseen militia cannon muzzle rumbled up over the fort’s parapet to aim at his wagon train on the bridge (one Ox and one unfortunate soldier were all it hit during the game but the morale effect was far greater!).
  • The early morning huntsman who happened to be in the woods when the Medetians came ashore, and who promptly shot one of them dead before leading the others a merry dance through the woods.
  • The fort garrison’s ‘Keystone Cops’ impression as they attempted to embark in their boat and row swiftly to the town to aid in its defence. Officers fell in the water at both the start and end points of the journey which took about 6 turns in all (repeated movement rolls of 1″ made it the slowest crossing in the recorded history of St Evian).

 

  • Determined (but generally ineffective) defenders behind almost every door in town, seeking to protect their own share of the collectively produced booze.
  • The hapless Medetian soldier who kicked in the church doors only to take a musket ball to the chest as the enraged monks put up a spirited defence. Unfortunately for them the next man through the door was Lieutenant Zanetti who carved his way through them, and the priest, in just 2 turns of expert swordsmanship.
  • The Medetian company marksman who single-handedly held off a late garrison sortie which threatened to cut the road and re-capture the wagons. In a game where shooting isn’t usually all that effective he managed to kill 3 enemies with 3 shots and survive a round of combat with a superior opponent. Both of us were pleased to see him make a heroic exit with the last wagon, to be able to return to fight another day.
  • The final desperate melee involving key leaders from both sides, as Captain Corleone led a rear-guard action back down the main street towards the boats. The presence of the Medetian standard bearer probably saved the day when he granted a single die re-roll to the Captain. It came up a 6 and allowed him to win a fight that had looked likely to spell his doom.

When the dust and smoke had cleared, the Medetians had managed to make off with 28 points worth of the Marc de St Evian. With 25 points required for a win, Simon had succeed in his mission – and still had half his men left. A good result! It had been close though, one smashed wagon wheel would have been enough, but the dozy militia gunners missed too many shots at the departing wagons to stop one of them.

 

The game was a lot of fun, and as before the rules (GW’s Legends of the High Seas/Lord of the Rings) provided lots of cinematic moments and enough flavour to enjoy this swashbuckling period. Thanks go to Simon for his excellent company and the positive spirit with which he threw himself into the game.

The Raid on St Evian – Derring Do in the era of the Three Musketeers

Simon came over for a game this weekend, and we decided to return to the 17th century skirmish setting we first played about a year ago (the picture above on the blog banner is from that game). Once again the Medetians and the Fleurians went at it hammer and tongs in a very entertaining and eventful clash that saw Simon successfully complete his mission, although it was a close run thing at the end.

Rather than a blow by blow account, I just intend to draw together some pictures and a description of some of the highlights, but I will first set the scene on what the game was about..

From the Medetian player briefing that Simon received:

The Setting
While the
main war is being waged to the south, you, Captain Corleone of the Medetian
army, have been sent north with your company to cause havoc on the Fleurian
side of the border. One of your agents (spies) has reported that the town of St
Evian, known for its delicious and expensive brandy (Marc de St Evian), is
readying a valuable shipment for sending south to the capital. Capturing this
lucrative export commodity before the Royal flotilla arrives to collect it is
just the sort of thing you were sent to do, considering the loss of revenue and
prestige it will inflict on King Francis. You might even make a bit of profit
on the side yourself..
St Evian lies
to the north west of your present camp and you are advised that the small fishing
village of Bardot, two miles upstream to the south, has boats that can be
appropriated for your mission (to add surprise and to aid your withdrawal if
necessary). Also, ensuring that you have eyes on the river and cannot therefore
be surprised from upstream is crucial. St Evian itself is relatively remote and
served by a single road. The lightly wooded Petit Dern allows for a stealthy
approach away from the road and is open enough for your wagons to pass through.
 
Area Map

 

Objective

 

Capture at
least 25 barrels worth of Marc de St Evian, by having them in your control or
carried off the table at the end of the game. Large casks count as 4 barrels
worth, medium as 2 and small as 1.

Simon selected his force for the mission, comprising a decent total of 32 figures, and received some sketchy reconnaissance information about the geography of St Evian and the make-up of its defences. He divided his men between the road and river approaches and was then introduced to the table (which was, as always, a pleasant, tranquil scene before the carnage started):

 

As you can see, it was an opportunity to use the water base boards, river banks and jetties, etc. The table size was 6’x4′. I’d prepared a scattered and disparate Fleurian defence, made up of a small garrison of regulars in the fort, a militia company that had to assemble on the alarm being raised, various locals and travelling gentlemen who were determined to see off the vile invader (and defend their valuable booze), and lastly some clergy with a zero tolerance approach to people trying to nick their share of the liquor. I ran things as a ‘game master’ to provide Simon with a few surprises and to continue the narrative from the briefing.

All the action in the next post..

Don’t Mess with the Clergy

Following on from the Warlord Games armed priest I painted a while back, I needed to provide him with some additional muscle for a particular game scenario (which I’ll post about next).

This led me to the Perry’s pack of armed monks and priests from their Carlist War range. They’re all really good figures, and I decided to paint up the 3 monks who’re armed with a variety of black powder weapons. These will happily do me for 17th to 19th century games and provide a bit of fun whenever there’s a church to defend or, possibly one day, some zombies to vanquish!

Messing about on the water

Seeing as my order to Ainsty Castings finally arrived last week, I decided to get stuck in and paint everything rather than have it sit around for a few weeks before being filed away under the heading ‘stuff I bought but now I’m not sure why’.

So, 2 boats from Games of War (as posted about previously) were now joined by a rowing boat and jetty set from Ainsty. The latter are traditional resin, nice and heavy and with lots of good wood grain effect. They took a black undercoat very easily and I was good to go. The same can’t be said for the more plastic-based Games of War boats which, although very nice models, utterly rejected any water-based paint despite me giving them a wash beforehand. After my third effort with a different paint I was tempted to look over my shoulder to see if there was a Candid Camera crew filming me. In the end I resorted to a solid blast with some matt black spray paint, and all was well.

Although I’d considered painting one of the boats in white to look a bit smarter, in the end everything, jetties included, got a 3 tone layered drybrush of Colour Party earth brown, Crown matchpot mid-grey and Vallejo Iraqi Sand. I like the weathered wood look this combo gives, and it’s incredibly quick – even to the point of no brush cleaning between shades and no real need to wait for anything to dry fully before going in with the next colour.

After about an hour or so’s painting I now have a few modest scenery pieces for messing about on the water in 28mm. They’ll serve for river and lake-side features and give me some transport for skirmish games. Who knows, I might even get something a little bigger to go with them, there are several nice schooners and cutters out there to choose from..

Ainsty boat on the left in the first pic, the other 2 are from Games of War:

 

 

 

Slow progress but a few recent additions

What with a busy social schedule and a general lack of effort, I’ve not achieved much in July. Not feeling particularly big project-motivated, I’ve dabbled with a few bits and pieces instead. I’ve prepared a few items of scenery and some random figures for painting at some point in the future, and tried to press on with finishing the GW Fortified Manor, which has presented a bit of a painting desk blockage while it remains part-done.

I have managed to complete a few small items though. One 6mm cavalry unit for my 17th century Fleurians (Heroics & Ros figures as always) and a couple of 28mm figures for the same period but in skirmish size. These are a replacement for the regularly-skewered Lieutenant St Denis, one Capitan Sancerre, a Redoubt figure brandishing a sword. I’ve also painted a Warlord Games armed priest which might be useful for general use across a number of periods.

Hopefully August will be more productive!

Pics:

 

 

 

 

 

A Raid Over the River Asta

I had an opportunity for a game yesterday, so while Brazil were struggling to overcome Chile I set up a small table in sight of the TV, opened a beer and played through a very enjoyable skirmish.

It was an excuse to use the new river sections and bridges for the first time, so I created a rustic setting with a winding river, crossed by no less than 3 bridges, leading to a small settlement based around an inn and a watermill. This would be a section of the border between Medetia and Fleurie, ripe for a raid by a Medetian force while it was only lightly garrisoned. Strengths were around 30 figures per side, although the Fleurians would start with their irregular allies (a dozen Cossacks) off table, with random arrival times and locations.

 

 

The garrison are alert, but don’t yet know where the attack will come from

A lone sentry on the main bridge.

He¬†didn’t need a roll to spot the main Medetian force¬†when it appeared moments later!

Meanwhile groups of musketmen were dashing forward on the left.

One at a time or all together! That’s one brave Fleurian. He was determined to get at least one¬†shot off (he missed) and didn’t last much longer, as might be expected.

 

Flanking support was coming into position as the main force stormed the bridge.

Although they’d been caught out by the speed of the enemy’s initial approach, the Fleurians had managed to re-order themselves enough to be able to contest the main bridge while bringing¬†musket fire to bear on the Medetian flanking groups. Both sides charged into the fray and it was a bloody affair on the bridge, with the Fleurians getting the better of the first clash. Lieutenant Valoran distinguished himself by killing no less than 3 enemy swordsmen in hand to hand fighting as well as a 4th by a superb pistol shot when an intrepid¬†Medetian tried to wade the river below the bridge.

While the main action on the main bridge was attracting most of the defenders’ attention, the Medetians were pushing round on both flanks too.

The fighting was getting fierce everywhere, and the Fleurians were driving forward on the bridge despite the odds against them. Medetian swordsmen were falling in droves under the flashing blades of the Fleurian officers.
Attempts to cross the wooden bridge near the mill were met with deadly force, and the Fleurian’s irregular allies were just about to arrive to shore up the right flank.

 

 

The Medetians hurried to send more men that way too, and the action was by now spread over much of the table as the Medetians closed in from 3 directions.

 

Things were coming to a head on the bridge though, and the two leaders finally met amidst the swirling melee.
After a couple of rounds Captain Corleone vanquished Lieutenant St Denis and the game was up for Fleurie.

 

After that there was still some tough fighting as the Cossacks entered the fray, but it was pretty much a mopping-up exercise for the Medetians. A few final pics:
v
Game over, with the Medetian flag planted in the middle of the settlement:

 

Lots of fun, and good to use the new terrain and scenery. I’d like to start developing a bit more of a storyline campaign with these games, possibly with some mild¬†‘character’ development, but I haven’t decided on anything yet. Stand-alone skirmishes are¬†good in the meantime, however, so no hurry.