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……
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,
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Not that Mr. Kipling, the Kim one
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After an incredibly long hiatus, caused completely by my own apathy (honestly I was rather unwell for a number of months, and it took some time to get restarted) I’ll post more bad pictures of stuff I’ve painted. Badly. Oh well, never mind. The painting and gaming proved a little easier to continue than the whole blogging and tiding up thing, so there is a backlog of stuff that got done.
Here we have more French troops for our (now somnolent) Maurice campaign. Some more exist on a previous post also. While Maurice ran well for a long while, the group felt that all the battles were “samey” and interest dropped off. Personally, I think its right that all Age of Reason battles be samey, and that some of the issues we had with the game were caused by scale/table size things. I never had the motivation to press especially hard, though.
I decided to paint some remaining French figures I had (all Front Rank) with water based oils again, more or less as experiments. I was not entirely pleased with the results I got; it is clear my technique needs work. They do look well enough though, for a gaming table.
The Grenadier de France were painted a fill in for an elite battalion in Maurice; which is a terrible stretch as they apparently were the Grenadier companies of Militia regiments from all over France. They look fairly pretty though, so I suppose we can accept them.
Behind them is a battalion of Champagne, which are older figures I rebased and supplied new flags for. Fairly certain I did not paint them, and once of the other locals did, but I fear I have no idea who.
I think Champagne are Old Glory, but again am not sure.
Then we have the goofy irregular chaps. Apparently the French Army in the middle of the 18th century was much beset by volunteer irregular regiments, which I am sure were a trail to the classically trained generals. As all such regiments throughout all times, they were uniformed in what their contemporaries could only describe as a bizarre manner.
So here we have the Volunteers Schomberg, wearing the Schomberg hat that would become more and more common in the French army as the century progressed. I must admit I feel constrained to ask “WHY” it became used more; while it may look interesting, it is clearly not as practical for some guy slogging along in the sleet as a hat with a nice wide brim. And it probably rusts.
Never mind, here they are. I am even more unhappy with this paint job than with the Grenadiers. It just does not have the shading I was look for, which is terribly unfortunate as that is why I was using these paints in the first place.
The Breton guys behind have an equally bizarre uniform, with the wrap around hat (mirlton) which was popular among hussars, and once more I only rebased them they were painted by someone else.
Finally we have the hussars. Probably the paint job I’m happiest with, but the bloke who was running the “French” army in the campaign wanted the Grey on Grey and Grey uniforms (Most unhussarlike) so they came out fairly bland. Hussars, in my opinion, should not be bland, they should look like the blokes most likely to start the evening with a lampshade on their heads, or to be in the front row at a rastafarian concert. Or whatever the 18th century equivalents where. They probably involve lots of “s” words like swilling, and swiving and supping….
Never mind, thats just me.
More stuff coming up shortly.
General der Cavalrie Ferencz looked glumly across the country at the village of Grosser Stuhlgang. It was teeming with Hanoverians, supported by cavalry and guns. The woods, orchards, plowed fields, and farm field walls near it just made it even more impractical to attack. Especially as while his cavalry arm was strong, his infantry was doubtful. Full of bohemians, he thought. There was no manner he could see to assault the place with cavalry, and he was instructed to take the place to secure the crossing over the Danube. The English had rested their right flank on the village. The plains contained the rest of the enemy; infantry with a smallish contingent of cavalry. He feared that the enemy infantry knew what it was about; it looked to be able to do things like march, and dress ranks. More than his crowd appeared to be capable of. Well then, it was to be won, it would have to be on his right. He would deploy his cavalry there, move forward, smash the enemy horse, and move on the flank of the infantry. His motley crew of foot would stay to the rear.
Ed and Mark had a game of Maurice last week; Ed ended up attacking with a cavalry force, using the “Maison De Roi” and “Great Captain” cards; Mark, with the English had the “Lethal Volleys” and “Steady Lads” cards. The English were deployed with one flank on a village and 3 cavalry minding the other side. The Austrians massed 5 units of cavalry and a hussar against the 3 English horse, and held their unimpressive infantry and guns in the middle.
The hussars leapt forward, crossing the field in best Hungarian fashion. In response to their appearance the English cavalry moved forward, prompting the Austrian regular cavalry to do the same.
Seeing his cavalry facing the horde of Austrian horse, Sir Bently ffolkes-Smith, the English commander, moved his infantry forward to engage the Austrian foot, and support his cavalry with the leftmost regiment (they were only Scots, it would not matter much if they were run over by the Austrian horse). Unfortunately the Hanoverian forces on his right did not get the memo about moving forward, so they stood and watched the others. ffolkes-Smith’s report on the action stated the message “went astray”. The memoirs of Graf Count von-und-zu Katzehaarekugel, however, state that the message was soaked into illegibility when the courier, Captain Rupert Fotheringay Upper-Class-Twit, on seeing some ducks in a farm pond in passing, promptly leaped from his horse and spent a quarter of an hour splashing around in the water, waving his elbows with his hands tucked in his armpits and saying “Quack, quack” at the top of voice. However it happened, the Hannoverians stayed put.
It now came down to seeing would the superior Austrian cavalry dispose of their opponents before the british infantry disposed of theirs. It certainly went the Austrian way. The English cavalry was swept away, even including an infantry regiment that had been sent in support. The only loss was the unfortunate cavalry regiment that found itself in front of the highlanders. On the flip side, the Austrian infantry, supported by their guns, proved surprisingly resilient, standing up under the lethal English volleys, and giving very much as good as they got. The Austrian horse rolled up the English flank, and their opponents went down to bitter defeat.
The 2 main comments to be made here, is that we are getting better at this game, and that a spread out defensive deployment is counterproductive if your enemy does not oblige you by attacking a difficult objective; you really lose the use of the units.
On a side note to ffolkes-Smith: attacking when your job is to defend may result in unpredictable results….
Some considerable time ago, one of the number of our local gamers (you know who you are, Mark) conceived of a sudden and obsessive desire to play gladiator games. You know, these guys :
We have not messed around with them yet; it took forever for me to get them painted and based, and even then I did not do that great a job. Added to that, most of our group got overtaken by other activities, family and work related. It seems to have settled down now, so I am hoping that we can get everyone together over the holidays sometime for blood and mayhem. I’m pretty sure our gladiator fan boy has some set of rules he wanted to use.
I am fairly certain that the figures are Wargames foundry, and they were the first things I painted after a long hiatus, so I really am not very pleased with them. Someone better could have done so much more, but I guess they will do to get chopped to ribbons with….
Well, I have been terribly lazy, and not posted pictures of these FoG-AM Chi’in I have been using. Just to prove I actually do paint things periodically, here are some bad photos of the army.
One thing to note is that it is actually quite a bit larger in castings than the “old” DBM standard. Just something to be aware of if you are considering starting one.
I’ve broken it into pictures of groups of chaps. All the figures are Curtey’s miniatures; they were painted badly by me with Windsor and Newton water based oils and Vallejo Acrylics. Basing is that fancy Silflor grass stuff.
First group is the mounted element. There are only 4 units, one of chariots, two light horse, and one cavalry.
I have struggled to use the heavy chariots well in FoG-AM. The base size, obligatory charging and lack of speed makes them difficult for me. In the last couple of games they have been successful though, so maybe I am getting the hang of it. Maybe. They are the only superior troops in the army.
I seem to have used the light horse and cavalry as my game winners in most of my outings. Which is fairly odd if you consider they are average troops with nothing much to recommend them. However they have consistently done well. I’m ascribing that to the fact I am playing in 28mm, and a lot of the armies are smaller than mine both in frontage and unit count. This seems to leave a “corner” for the mobile troops to work somewhere, usually. Note that the nomads have superior technology to those Chinese guys, because they have stirrups. They are not supposed to of course, but oh well….
Next group is the Generals, and the “other” infantry, with 2 groups of mixed medium foot. I have 4 generals; despite the instructions of the rules, I put them on round bases rather than normal ones, and I decided that the IC should have 2 guys on the base to avoid confusion, mine and others.
I painted the generals at the same time as another “unit” putting them more or less in the same colors. Mostly because I was out of clever ideas. The banners are all home-made, being painted on linen, with the names of chinese dishes gleaned from wikipedia on them. I would be worried about the accuracy of that that except that my writing of the chinese characters probably serves to make them completely illegible anyway.
These are the scary crossbow skirmishers. They really have very little to recommend them, save for soaking of shots from the enemy and forcing shock troops to charge. The lower hit rate against foot makes them pretty ineffectual (crossbow in FoG is good against armor, and cavalry, not so much against infantry) against other skirmishers.
This is the first 2 of 6 units of mixed medium foot, a unit type almost completely reviled in the FoG community. The front rank are impact foot and the rear rank crossbowmen. In games they are equipped with anti cavalry stakes also. I painted them in pairs, allowing me to us the option of units that were all heavy weapons, and all crossbow. They are the core of the army, and really have served me well despite everyone thinking they are rubbish.
Heres a very poor photo of the staff group; really their function, except for the Inspired commander is to run around and give combat pluses. The IC runs around and tries to make sure that the undrilled mixed units periodically do as they are told.
This is is the only 8 stand unit I have. Armored offensive spearmen. These guys are moderately tough; I tend to use them in conjunction with the heavy chariots as the center of my line holding open terrain, ad they can stand up to many opponents.
So There you go. Shame I had to mess up the nice figures by poor photography and worse painting, but there you are. Just as a note, I did replace all the staves on the supplied weapons withe brass wire, from which my fingers have not yet recovered. I do hate the spaghetti spear look, and it was worth it.
The figures themselves are very nice; the metal is pretty hard, they are more or less flash free, and come in an impressive range of packs and poses. I cannot recommend them strongly enough….