Category: Skirmish

Avanti Savoia or whatever

The local crowd, or some of them, at least, have become enamored of the Chain of Command rules from Two Fat Lardies. I will refrain from any comment about out physiognomy matching that of the rules authors (mostly because I am a major offender myself) and say that I do enjoy the rules, with some reservations about the amount of luck that can occur in one game. Having said that, I must admit that all the games I have participated in, or even watched, have been a bunch of fun.
So coming late to the game (ha, beware weak pun) and lagging much behind such skilled painters as this guy (I do love his stuff, no idea how he turns out so much in such a high quality) I decided to paint some Italians, on the grounds that no-one had any, and I could avoid invidious comparisons.
And the PDF with the army list was free online……

The first squad. Endless chaps with rifles, and 2 LMGs

The first squad. Endless chaps with rifles, and 2 LMGs

So, off I went, trying to build up a reasonable force, without the traditional wargamer “overbuy”, of which I am usually terribly culpable.
So I got 2 full squads, at squad having a rifle team and 2 LMG teams,

The other squad. Notice that the Italians have carefully applied bullseyes to their hats

The other squad. Notice that the Italians have carefully applied bullseyes to their hats

a scout squad of 12 guys and an NCO, 47mm and 20mm Antitank guns, a 65mm I dunno what sort of gun, it looks like it should have been on the Northwest Frontier or whatever the Italian equivalent is, an mug and 2 small mortars.
Yeah, I didn’t overbuy….  at least did not have many figures left over.

The support. Scouts squad, some mortars, MMG, and light ATG.

The support. Scouts squad, some mortars, MMG, and light ATG.

The figures are a core of the Perry ones, with some Artizan ones mixed in. The mortars and the 20mm atg came from Warlord games (to be honest, my least favorite figures of the bunch). The 47mm is a Perry piece but some of the gun crew are Battle Honors and some Askari Miniatures, who supplied all the Libyan type chaps in skullcaps, used for artillery fill ins and the scout squad. The 65mm gun took some getting, finally turning up as a Battle Honors model, which came also with the guys in helmets, which I ended up rather liking.

The artillery, such as it is.

The artillery, such as it is.

One of the advantages of sourcing figures from all over the place was that it gave the bunch a kind of “assorted” look. anything I read on the Italian army in North Africa indicated that the equipment was very mixed; people standing around in pictures with different type of webbing equipment, with different rifles, with grey-green stuff mixed in with the desert yellow. I tried to make them look like the photos, a bit. Added to this was the idea that the officers wandered around in paler coats, bleached by the sun, making them that much easier to distinguish from the regular troopers. I cannot think that this was a good idea, but what do I know…..

Some tanks were purchased also, being the subject of a later (much later, knowing me) post.

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In the service of the Tsar

Horunzhy Nemiroff leads the Half-Sonia through the village. Outpost guys in front, old Glorys behind

Horunzhy Nemiroff leads the Half-Sonia through the village. Outpost guys in front, old Glorys behind

I probably have more than enough Russians to fight the colonial battles I have started documenting here. However, prolonged exposure to wargamers has shown me that “more than enough” is not a concept most of them are entirely comfortable with; so much so that it might be more accurate to say that is a concept that most of them are not aware of. In any case, because I am a wargamer for more years than I really care to think about, I decided my Russians needed more Russians.
Though that is probably some sort of terrible faux-pas or misnomer, because what they got was Cossacks, and I’m not sure if they get upset by being called Russians any more. One would probably have to consult some modern geopolitical chap, of which I am definitely not one.
In any case, I needed some Cossacks. Originally I though the traditional Nelson Eddy ones, with the fur hat and the long cloaks, you know, the bad guys in Dr. Zhivago.
Then I found that I had some Old Glory Russian cavalry in forage hat, and found that The Orenburg Cossacks looked something similar. I also came across the wonderful Outpost Wargaming Services, which had both mounted and dismounted guys. As the uniform for the Orenburgs pleased me greatly (dark green and sky blue, whats not to like?).

Parading through the village, the natives all discreetly absent

Parading through the village, the natives all discreetly absent

The result is these lads; seen on the left parading through the recently liberated/conquered/colonised (delete as appropriate) village. The offices and Bugler are Outpost, the bulk of the troopers old Glory, from their Boxer Revolt range.
This being for Sword and the Flame, they needed to get off their horsies. Outpost provided the foot figures, and I am very pleased with them, they have truly impressive beards. The standing dismount horses are Old Glory from their ACW range, where they have a bag of standing horses with some horse holders. well worth it if you are interested in the look of the thing.

Horunzhy Nemiroff and his lads prepare to hold an inclosure. I think the dismounts look well

Horunzhy Nemiroff and his lads prepare to hold an enclosure. I think the dismounts look well

I am not going to go book on the Cossack uniform; the only images I could find were somewhat incomplete. but I figure it is close enough, and will certainly do for me.

The rest of the locals

Well, as can be seen here, we have altogether too many forces of colonial aggression for the locals to handle. Therefore we made more locals, of course.

The second war band.I had not noticed the roadwork needed on the top right

The second war band. I had not noticed the roadwork needed on the top right

Dipping deep into the lead mountain (I wonder does every wargamer have a lead mountain?) I found a selection of basically “chaps in turbans” to use as a second Sword and the Flame tribe.

One of the 3 war bands; a total of 60 locals.

One of the 3 war bands; a total of 60 locals.

While some are the same Old Glory Northwest frontier guys, I am fairly sure there are some Wargames Foundry Sikh Wars and Indian Mutiny blokes too. No idea where they came from, honestly. There seems to be rather more lads with swords than firearms than I had in the first tribe; I wonder is this lot going to fare worse. In fact there are two under dressed blokes with swords visible in the background of the photo of the tribal leader below; I wonder where on earth they came from. At the very least, they are going to be cold.

Once more, painted in acrylics with a wash followed by a highlight. Not, perhaps, the most wonderful quality paintjob, but definitely serviceable. I resisted the temptation to use what one might call “historical” or

The tribal commander. I wonder what we shall call this fellow. For that matter, I wonder what I called the last fellow....

The tribal commander. I wonder what we shall call this fellow. For that matter, I wonder what I called the last fellow….

“accurate” colors, because, honestly, they would be unsupportably drab if decked out in browns and greys, and the fun of this game is playing with the pretty toys. Once more, the tribal command stand has a banner from Little Big Man Studios.

Besides that, given the nature of colonial gaming, being brightly colored will not be any disadvantage at all; so they may as well look stylish.

One of the questions I have is, what with 2 tribal leaders does one go off and make a superior leader in The Sword and the Flame, or is the local leadership left as some sort of committee?

In any case, this should be enough for the local forces; One small addition to the Colonial aggressors and we should be able to continue this.

Allies from the Desert

Allies from the desert

Allies from the desert

It has been a terrifically long time since I have updated this; I wish I could say that was because I was involved in critically important work which overtook my gaming.

This is, completely untrue. I have been buried in the minutiae of life, and any periodically have managed to pop my head above the drifts of trivia to have any fun.

But a few things have got painted, and I should pop up some posts of them, I think.

Here they are, on their horsies. I know the clothes are too bright, but I was feeling cheerful that day.

There also has been a lack of focus on my part recently, so the most progress has been on the Sword and the Flame project that I started to document here. Other little things have got done also; and I shall show a couple of the least embarrassing ones.

And where we have some of them off their horses. Hard work walking in that desert

And where we have some of them off their horses. Hard work walking in that desert

In any case, if my progeny are are going to continue to crush the restless natives/ inflict the horrors of colonialism on harmless indigenous peoples (delete as to your taste, I’m not bothered) it was clear that the forces of anti colonialism needs some more guys, ‘cos we have way too many Russians.

With that in mind, I poked around in the lead pile, and came up with this lot. And yes, I realize that the other bunches are more or less South Central Asian, and this bunch would be a lot happier in the neighborhood of Fort Zinderneuf, but that is how the desert dunes roll. And the locals will accept help from wherever it comes to fight the Russian oppressors.

In any case, they are all from the Old Glory Sons of the desert range, which I owned for much longer than I care to remember. So much so, that I cannot remember when or why I bought them, but never mind.

I painted enough for a standard Sword and the Flame Native cavalry band, and nine chaps as dismounts. I don’t ever recall using cavalry with this ruleset, so we shall see how it works.

The forces of oppression

52one

The Glorious 54th Siberian Rifles on exercise, 3rd and 4th platoons in support, 2nd platoon in a firing line, and 1st platoon skirmishing in front. No-one is entirely sure what the mongols are doing on the hill, or whose side they are on (probably including the mongols)

Well, here we had one side of the forthcoming colonial hi-jinks, so I need to present the other one. Honestly, there is no excuse save the business of life for this taking so long, because most of the imperial forces have been painted for years, but never mind.

3rd and 4th platoon on their long and dusty march.

3rd and 4th platoon on their long and dusty march.

These are almost all Old Glory 25mm Boxer rebellion Russian infantry. I have had them painted for at least 10 years; they really have not been used much in that time.

1st and 2nd platoon looking aggressive

1st and 2nd platoon looking aggressive

When I decided to do some colonials, though, it was clear that this was the shortest route to an Imperial force. All I had to do was divide them into 4 platoons, and provide a command group, giving them a Sword and the Flame organisation for an Imperial infantry battalion, which I am without compunction going to use for a Russian Battalion.

So there you go, 1st Battalion, 54th Siberian rifles. I do not recall what motivated me to paint these lad’s shoulder boards yellow, but I just kept at it when I did some casualties (for wounded men) and the command group.

The command group watching the activities below dubiously.  Col. Stolichnaya, Cpts. Absolut and Smirnoff

The command group watching the activities below dubiously. Col. Stolichnaya, Cpts. Absolut and Smirnoff

The command group itself started out to be a mix of Copplestone Castings for the 2 company commanders and Battle Honors for the mounted Colonel (probably should only be a Major if it is a battalion in the Tsarist army, but it is essential to have some form of Colonel, preferably with a mustache or whiskers, in a colonial game, so a he gets a promotion. I’m sure his family will be pleased.) However, though the Copplestone figures (very nice ones from the Russian Civil War Range) turned out to be much to big to match the Old Glory ones, which are closer to “true” 25s so I grabbed 2 foot officers out of the Battle honors WWI Russian command bag I am got the Mounted officer from and used them instead. They fit in very well size wise. The flag comes for Redoubt Enterprises Russo-Japanese war range, and will serve them just fine.

The assembled mongols look on with interest. Or distain. Pick one. More Old glory 25mm from the Boxer range.

The assembled mongols look on with interest. Or distain. Pick one. More Old glory 25mm from the Boxer range.

I am going to set off a sub-blog (and if that is not a thing, it is now) to cover the colonial activities. it can be found here.

Mr. Kipling makes….

Not that Mr. Kipling, the Kim one

The whole shooting match, ready to defeat the imperialist invader.

The whole shooting match, ready to defeat the imperialist invader.

A long time ago (both in internet terms, which is measured in months, and in real terms, which is measured in years) there was a very good Colonial wargaming website called Major-General Reddering or some such (after a brief search I found this image of it, it is well worth the perusal). This place was, frankly, just a bunch of fun, and I always thought that at some stage I would pursue some colonial stuff. Now my sons are old enough to be badgered into it, it would seem to be be time to go forward with the project.

A close up of the leader of a band. I must admit I had not realized he had such splendid whiskers.

A close up of the leader of a band. I must admit I had not realized he had such splendid whiskers.

Also of note on the site was a general statement, and I am paraphrasing here, that this was just a group of people having a little bit of goofy fun with toy soldiers, and no endorsement of colonisation, politics, or any form of racism was intended, or indeed, present.

Colonial wargaming, with it’s echoes of Kipling and 1930s Hollywood movies, warrants this warning more than most periods of gaming, I think, but it might behoove all us internet wargaming types to pop up similar warnings every so often, if only to protect the innocent outsiders who might stumble across our sites, lest they take up an unintended message from our rather strange hobby. So consider yourselves warned, innocent outsiders.

I decided to use The Sword and the Flame, one because it is a fairly general set, and I am familiar with it, and have enjoyed playing it. It also has a nice simple “Old Schooly” feeling to it with individually based figures and so forth which I am finding myself more interested in recently.

My intent is to act as an Umpire/Game Master running whatever form the local opposition to colonialism takes, and my sons will run the imperialist running dogs (I am gettin’ into the spirit here..). This is partially to ensure domestic harmony (they will actually have to co-operate to win) and partially because the non-imperialist player in these games tends to spend a lot of time dying, even when they are successful, and I think it better for me to take that role. If either of them suddenly profess an interest to run a hill tribe or whatever, I am sure we can work it out.

So, in order to put on a game I have been doing some painting. I am fairly sure what form the scenario will take, but I need to do some organistion of existing resources before I can get where I want to be.

Another one of the "Fearless Leader". Maybe that is the best title. Taken with a different camera for comparison purposes. The fancy flag is a transfer from Little Big Man

Another one of the “Fearless Leader”. Maybe that is the best title. Taken with a different camera for comparison purposes. The fancy flag is a transfer from Little Big Man

However, I did dig out some embarrassingly old Old Glory 25mm Pathans and paint them up in the standard TSatF organisation of 3 groups of 20 chaps, with a tribal chief.

Here we have the tribal chief, complete with fancy flag and immediate followers. What shall we call him? The Mendicant Mullah? I always had a fondness for "The Akund of Swat" but that one is taken. Leave suggestions in the comments.

Here we have the tribal chief, complete with fancy flag and immediate followers. What shall we call him? The Mendicant Mullah? I always had a fondness for “The Akund of Swat” but that one is taken. Leave suggestions in the comments.

In my ignorance of what I needed, about 1/3 of them have “modern” rifles, 1/3 flintlock or jezzails or whatever, and 1/3 some form of pointy object. I am sure this is going to leave them very underarmed as opposed to their opposition, but but I fear the first outing for these lads is going to be of the nature of a guy with a red shirt in the original Star Trek, or an Orc in most modern fantasy books; they are going to perish swiftly to show the players how the game works. If the players are interested in more, we can organise the resistance to be tougher in subsequent scenarios.

An overview of one of the sub tribes. A shield transfer can be seen on the chap in the middle

An overview of one of the sub tribes. A shield transfer can be seen on the chap in the middle

I found the figures quite a lot of fun to paint; they were done with the customary (for me) acrylic with wash and highlight. A good variety of poses, especially as they seem to have varied the heads as well.

I based them with model railroad ballast and bunches of silfor flowers and grass tufts on top; as it was necessary to designate the leader for each band, I put him on a round stand. The colours of the tribesmen are probably a bit bright for “realism” but I was not all that bothered about realism for this project, as it would be fairly grim if realistic, so this particular bunch of native patriots are wandering around in particularly bright clothes.

The Tribal chief (the mullah of wherever, I suppose) I decided to put on a larger round base with a standard bearer, completely for decoration. The Flag (and a number of the shields) were Little Big man Transfers for Perry brothers Islamics. Yep, I know the writing is completely inappropriate for wherever these lads come from (have not figured that out yet) but once more it looks good, and I am not that bothered.

Showing the markings on the "back" (a little bit of a movable feast, there) of the bases showing which of the 3 sub tribal groups the chaps are in.

Showing the markings on the “back” (a little bit of a movable feast, there) of the bases showing which of the 3 sub tribal groups the chaps are in.

As you can see in one of the photos, I marked the (rather arbitrary) back of the bases with a marking showing what group the tribesman is in.

The Irish SAGA continues

Lest it be thought that I do not actually PLAY any games, I thought I should include something of a battle report. Not a terribly good one, I will add, but something to prove I do actually play a game every so often. Apologies for the quality of the photos, apparently focusing was hard that night.

We previously saw my SAGA Irish army (albeit a completely not dark ages one). In the interest of reminding ourselves how to play the game, I trotted it over to a friends house to have a game or two.

Irish hearth guard sneak around a wood

Irish hearth guard sneak around a wood

He came up with a Saxon horde; 3 or 4 units with 12 guys in them, a seeming sea of bad guys. I  looked at this with some trepidation; I could not see how to defeat them. All the interesting terrain (a wood and some rocky ground) fell in the middle of the board, and only a gentle hill on my left.

Oh gosh, we're stuffed, they are gonna slaughter us

Oh gosh, we’re stuffed, they are gonna slaughter us

I concentrated the fire of my guys on his unit behind the woods, even loosening the dogs on him (much too early in the game, they got clobbered) and working my hearth guard and the mounted Curaidh around the right side of the woods. Two other units made an attept to slow the sea of saxons coming over the gentle hill on my left. In this, they failed dismally, and it looked like they would have the floor wiped with them before my erosion of the right flank would show any profit.

Due to spectacularly bad die rolling on my opponents part, though, his attack did not come off, and the fall of the numer of units he had with more than 10 guys in them to a  small number stymied his activities on his battle

How the heck that happen, we won

How the heck that happen, we won

board.

My lot made it around the right hand side, polishing off his leftmost unit and starting to lean in lean in on his others. It came to an Irish win on points.

We had a quick go at another game, ( I wanted to try out the welsh) but rapidly found that they require terrain that does not grant cover to be effective at all, and we had left the woods and rocky ground down, so they were helpless against my opponents scots.

Only thoughts :- I have not played that many SAGA games, but it does seem to me that most of the armies I have played against specialize in producing single  attacks with large numbers of dice. The Irish do not. They nibble away at their opposition, and there is a large group of activations on their battle board that lower their opponents dice, rather than raising their own capabilities. This means they shoot away at their opponents with javelins (a real problem for the Saxons, as they want units of over 10 guys, and the small incremental losses will mess them up) and that they are frustrating to fight as when you put together a “big attack” with your hearthgurd, you suddenly find that you do not have any dice. Also the single hearth guard figures that are self activating seem to cause irritation to ones opponents out of proportion to their usefulness. Not sure my reputation can withstand playing an army where the object is to annoy the other player… oh wait…..