Monday, 21 March 2011

Plastic Fury!

And the march of the plastic Tercio er marches on. After a couple of gluing sessions the armies now stand at (in Spanish/Very Civile Action terms):

Troop = 3 figures

The Spanish
2 Troops of pike
2 troops of shot
2 horsemen
A Captain on foot

The Imperialists
1 troop each of pike & shot with a Captain

The French
2 troops of pike
2 troops of shot
2 horsemen
2 Captains

2 troops of shot, 3 if I slot in a drummer
1 troop of pike

Taggart's Mercenary Company
1 Captain Taggart
1 troop pike
2 troops shot

Kleist's Mercenaries
1 Kleist
1 troop shot

I am now using the dreaded "pike at charge" arms - lets face it, they are going to be a complete sod to use given the pikes extend about 3" to the front. I am also running low on the plastic pikes (the metal ones are really nice but our cat once charged a brick of 28mm SAS figures, so pointy headed - frankly REAL 28mm pikes, fail on H&S grounds. As I have three whole boxes (Imperial, Swede and firelock), I have torsos to spare, its bases (I am using the small individual bases) and pikes I running low on.

Once Kleist has a troop of pike, its ho for the horse. 3 or 2 figs per troop? Either way, with 2 cav boxes to play with, most will have a cornet - so the horse will look nice.

Then, its over to rules. TPCs Spanish Actions/VCA looks like the favourite; I just need to cross reference ECW units to TYW/Mantuan War types. And of course, give it that "Flashing Blade" feel as well. In that context, the Swedes are chrome but once you are onto the Spanish Road, well it's hard to get off. On to Casale!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Men In Tights

I was too young to understand the naughtiness of The Borgias when it first appeared on British TV back in the seventies. But something left a lasting impression and Renaissance Italy has always been an interest. Unfortunately the accepted picture of warfare in Renaissance Italy have been skewed by fatuous Edwardian translations of Machiavelli being repeated verbatim reinforced by post world war prejudice of Italian martial prowess.

Until now, there's only been make-do's for the Italians and the 'Medici Ascendency' in 28mm. Those figures that did exist were often tied up in packs with other figures, making it uneconomic. many years ago (Gauntlet era)  I ordered 28mm Mirliton samples direct from Italy - but the figs just let me down. Too Hinchliffe.

Now, with the Perrys and Assault Group combined I have the oppotunity to create something that's 80-90% there. I have quite a few Foundry (ex Citadel) heroic 25mm and the Perry European heads or armoured heads from the Mercenaries plastics pack would be ideal for creating the 'right' look for the figures I have.

I have just over £6 credit with Maelstrom which means I can get the Mercs pack for a £10. If I also buy one pack of European heads from Perrys and plan out any further purchases in stages over next three months I should have two skirmish forces by end of April and two small but complete Condottieri/Early Renaissance 'switch' armies by end of June/beginning of July.

I think the Assault Group Italian Arquebusiers are a must. I'll also get some of their Neopolitan Spanish as makeweights for one side and give it a Spanish flavour as and when required. Same too with Scots/ Early Tudor English.

Rules - agree, something fun - contingent based and use Song of Blades and Heroes for skirmish.


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A Very American Civil War Sussed.

My alternative timeline America:

1) 20mm

2) No set background. The conflict occurs sometime between 1935 and 1941. I need no rationale other than it happened.

3) Not to worry about factions, their alliegences or rationale. Concentrate on wargame forces.

4) Mix and match forces as required by each game. America is large and diverse enough so different things could have happen in different states/seaboards.

5) Not to sweat the detail. The overall look is more important!

6) Of course there are interventionist advisors and military missions from other countries!


Monday, 14 March 2011

Plastics lead the way

So, I have been pottering with my TYW Warlord plastics - but first some more history.

I think I was 11 when I bought my first Minifigs - 3 from the Mythical Earth range, from a stamp shop in Cowes, IoW. My mum sent for the catalogue shortly after; then in a Model Shop in what seemed to be a front room of a house in Pontypridd, I bought a couple of Landsknechts, TYW halberdiers and Roundead foot with swords. Then I found some Renaissance Spanish in a model shop in Torquay. I identified them from the catalogue and thats where it all went wrong, because I got confused over the Renaissance period; my only reference was that France & Spain were at war then and I got that, the Flashing Blade. So, the French wore floppy hats (yes, very English Civil War) and the Spanish wore Morions. Now, those Minifig Spanish - they wore Morions! So, although they were really C16th Spanish, I didnt know any better. I just presumed the Spanish wore padded hose and breastplate, that Landsknechts wore slashed multi coloured shirts and the Cavaliers, floppy hats and that this all happened more or less at the same time.....some 35 years on and that idea has had a massive hangover, every time I look at say 1620's Spanish, I expect them to look a bit more 1580's.

This means my default was to think "Renaissance" not "TYW" or "ECW" and to visualise Landsknechts bashing the heck out of say Royalists. I'm over that now but it means that for nostalgia purposes, my historical references are all over the place.

Now onto Warlord. All my WL plastics have been bought from Jet Models in Caerphilly - a small local shop and the kind of place that is a joy to find, not a big discounted player but a local guy selling models to wargamers, train modellers and Airfix fans who live around the area. Apart from single figures or heads I am ordering from WL through Jet. Why? Because we use or lose shops like this; WL get their price anyway, its a question of who gets the markup. The guy in Jet or a player who gets a cut of Malifaux, Warmachine, FOW etc etc?

A bit of a push has led to a big increase in my figs - about a dozen spanish and similar french. I now have figures who look like the spanish infantry in Flashing Blade - morions and advancing musket at hip. Take a marching musketeer from the main TYW/ECW sprue and add a musket arm piece from the FIRELOCK box, add morion and OLE! A Spanish musketeer! I didnt add a musket rest as no one in FB uses them - heck, no one even reloads, they just recock the musket!

As to numbers, I have not a clue how these will work out in the end - though I'm aiming for Spanish Actions by Perfect Captain, so big volumes are not needed. And so, On Tp Casale!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

A return to Casale and don't spare the horses!

Well, yes and here we go again. What progress have I made in the Return To Casale? One glued up figure......but he is in a classic pose - sword down to side and hand on hip, looking a bit narked.

I have however had an idea re the rules issue. I want to recapture the feel of my early collection of minifigs; my spaniards were 1 officer, a sword & bucklerman, 3 arquebuses (2 of which were probably french) and a pikeman (who was swiss) -they all had morions, so to my mind they were Spaniards!!

That makes 6 figures -which is the exact number you need for a company base in FILE LEADER; so, i make up figs in multiples of 6 and use FILE LEADER. Or do I? What about the rules from The Perfect Captain, SPANISH ACTIONS? Thats OK for an army of 20 figures......Thing is, FILE LEADER also has horse in troops of 3 figures.

Perhaps FILE LEADER chromed up with the cards from Spanish Actions?

Friday, 25 February 2011

Sci Fi rules

OK. There have been a few changes; my SF collection is now structured:

28mm - in the loft
20mm - based individually for Tomorrow War
15mm - based as squads for Alien Squad Leader
But there are also 15mm figures based individually....these are the problem. I dont want to duplicate TW in 15mm and I'm not sure I want go back to Laserburn, I am going to use MDRG from Ganesha Games but I want something else - very fast play "shoot em up" rules and much as I like USEME, it's the wound tracking that puts me off. I have some rough ideas - watch this space

Monday, 3 January 2011

The American Reich

I admit to watching the Godfather trilogy on TV over the last couple of nights. As I watched Godfather II it raised questions in my mind about fascism mongst Italian Americans around the time I'm contemplating playing on the tabletop. Not suprisingly I did a little digging and turned over a rich seam of potential! Not just amongst the Italian American communities but organised and bankrolled fascism across the breadth of American society.

And then of course there's a potential springboard for Irish fascist involvement with O'Duffy and his Blueshirts coming to the more furtile recruiting ground amongst Irish Americans rather than heading off to fight with his "Irish Brigade" in Spain.

And from there....well! The entire Spanish Civil War with it's struggle between the two greatest ideologies of the twentieth century transported lock, stock, and gun barrel to Kansas.....Philadelphia, Ohio, New Jersey.


Sunday, 2 January 2011

2011: The Landscape Ahead

I'm not making any concrete plans for gaming in the coming year, but I think it's worth saying that smallscale, often and fun will be the callsign of the day.

There are a few things rattling in the back of the old noodle that I'd like to do, that would fit with the modus operandi above.

1) From the Halls of Montezuma.....
Otherwise known as "Down Mosquito Way".

WHAT: It's 1930ish and a revolution is underway in the Central Banana Republic of Costaguano. US Marines have been sent to secure the "liberty" of this strategic strip of land linking the Pacific and Gulf of Maracas.

WHY: Inpired by the US Marine Corps Small Wars Manual. Also an excuse to field 15mm Eureka 1941 US Marines in Tommy hats. These will also do double duty in  project No.2.

HOW: Platoon sized force of Eureka US Marines and a Navy landing party vs Eureka Filipinos and Khurasan's new Paraguayans - all in soft hats. May use Eureka WW1 Bulgarians as Costaguanan National Guard. Thinking of Sword & The Flame rules.

WHAT-IF: 20 or 28mm? No. The US figures above fall-out of the project below, so give twice the bang for the squids invested.

2) " Fear Itself"

"the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,"..... "I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis -- broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe." FDR

WHAT: Once again it's the 1930's and America is at war with itself in a twist on a VBCW.

WHY: Been interested in this scenario for some time. Influenced by Steinbeck, Hemingway, The Waltons (don't laugh),  and the memoirs of the Lincoln Brigaders in the Spanish Civil War. Am able to use a lot of disparate items I already own and an excuse to purchase a few other odd items without needing to buy and collect whole armies. Plenty of cut out and assemble American model railroad and ACW/Western period buildings on the market. So scenery not a problem. I'm also sure it will be fun as I can be a bit fast and loose with the historicity, protagonists etc.

HOW: 15mm. Rules will probably be a combination of Too Fat Lardies products to suit my needs. Figures to be Eureka's 1941 era US Marines, Cavalry and Navy, my Spanish Civil War figures, Minifigs WW1 Doughboys, some ACW Confederates, plus others. There will be early Stuarts/Vickers tanks masquerading as Combat Cars, plus FT17's, and other ex-WW1 and Interbellum meccano tanks/tankettes. Again, I have a good start in my current WW1, SCW and inter-war collection.

WHAT-IF:  20mm-28mm? No. Whilst I'd love to get some 28mm SCW figures it would mean starting collecting over again in a larger scale, which works against one of the reasons why I want to do this, which is to utilise figures, vehicles and accessories I already own.

3) Bay of Goats

WHAT: 1961 invasion of Costaguano by CIA backed exiles against a Popular Front government.

WHY: The shadowy world of the Bay of Pig is something that has always interested me. Costaguano provides an excellent setting to do this on a small scale. Have the Costaguano terrain and any number of WW2/Modern rules. All I need are the figures.

HOW: 20mm Elheim (Sgt Majors Figs; US 6th Marines) perfect for members of a faux Brigade 2506.

I'd actually use the same figures for both sides! US Marine Cammies for the Exiles and plain light olive for the Popular Front - maybe some Liberation Miniatures Cuban types thrown in.

WHAT-IF? 15mm? Could do, but I specifically like these miniatures and have 1/76th M24 Chaffees, T34-85s and a Stuart that would be useful without buying any new model tanks. other uses? There is also the possibility of using these miniatures in an early 1960's American VBCW or other CIA backed escapades from the 50's to early Vietnam (Go Tell the Spartans).

4) Operation Tropic Thunder

WHAT: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter meets Grenada/Panama in 20mm

WHY: Love GRAW and want to capture it on tabletop with some of the excellent 20mm figures on the market.

HOW: 20mm. Ambush Alley/Force on Force/Mercs - the Ghosts from Elheim and Liberation (snipers in ghillie suits), vs Caribbean/Cuban types from Elheim (Middle East regulars), Liberation and Combat Miniatures (Stonewall Figures).

WHAT-IF: 15mm? No Modern 15mm figures live up to the quality of sculpting and animation exhibited in 20mm.

 5) Beowulf

WHAT: Dark Age Norse/Anglo-Saxon fantasy historical

WHY: TBC (its too late to think being 4.30am)



Reviewing the above, I think that the Bay of Goats is the least likely to come off as it's out on a thin limb of interest. Although..... it does offer a 1960's Ghost Recon option. Operation Tropic Thunder is the easiest and cheapest to get under way, but "...Is Fear Itself" an American VBCW will be the most absorbing and fun.