Saturday, 15 December 2012

Back to Bannockburn-ish

I have painted a few sample knights for what I call my "1314" project (see previous pics, though I have more done now) and, still suitably enthused, bought some of the recently-released Foot Sergeants from Fireforge Games at the Wargamer show earlier this month to see what I could do with them.

Three days of frenzied cutting, carving, converting and gluing later, I have two "bands" on the go, one of crossbowmen (mercenaries from Gascony for the English) and one of Scots spearmen. I am about half way through painting the former already, so will post some pics when I get them done. A picture of the latter is included in the offerings below.

But firstly, what do I think of the sprues?
Good points:
  1. Lots of options.
  2. Even more options when you consider how many different figures can be made from eight separate bodies, ten separate heads, eight spear arms, six hand weapon I said (twice!!!), lots of options.
  3. Easy to cut from the sprues without damaging them.
  4. Easy to carve and convert, the latter being something I enjoy doing when in the mood.
  5. Good fitting parts.
  6. Minimal mould lines vs some other plastic kit figures.
  7. 48 in a box for about £25.
  8. Enough to make three standard units to "Hail Caesar" (if I use these rules....)
  9. Bases included.
  10. Nice overall sculpts.
  11. Enough detail to allow for washes and similar techniques to help bring the figures to life.
Bad points:
  1. Awkward so-and-so's like me who want Scots have to provide our own weapons and cut out hands to fit them. Those supplied are only about a scale 6 feet long.
  2. Some of the basic body poses are possibly unsuitable for all potential weapon options.
  3. I have to build the figures, which I cannot always be bothered doing.
  4. No definitive command options included.
Overall, the bad points are minor vs the good, so an 8.5 plus for the set as a whole. Very good IMO. And three days of modelling that was thoroughly enjoyable.

The basic sprue, with everything on one frame - another plus point!

Five of the ten head options

Weapon and shield options

The eight body options

Sample Scots spearman.

Closer view of the above figure, showing how much carving (and necessary repair work to finish) I had to do to insert a proper length spear

Another Scot, complete with free hair on camera lens.....

More hand carving and a buckler from the bits box, complete with arrow, went to create this back-ranker for my first schiltron.

Another back-ranker, a bigger arrow (flights to be fitted) and one of the shields supplied.

I have filled out the ranks of the first schiltron with some old figures I bought secondhand ages ago. I think they are Essex. The buckler is another from my spares box.

The complete 24 figure schiltron, complete with a couple of (Essex?) commanders and standard bearers who will get their flags when I have painted the basic figures.
I have so far used 28 of the 48 figures in the box. A unit of English infantry is next on the cards to use up at least 16 of the remaining 20 figures. After that, I will keep the few spare figures for vignettes and the like. Once they are done, that gives me around 4 completed units. If I want to do that desired Bannockburn-inspired game on the 2014 show "circuit", I had better get a move on!!! I had also better get the chequebook out............


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Wargamer 2012 - My Final Word

Birmingham, England.

The second biggest city in the UK.

A million and more souls with dodgy accents and too many football teams in the area for any of them to be any good........

So why only about a couple of hundred of them showed up last Sunday is a little perplexing. Just where do Brummies go for their wargames fun? Do Brummies even wargame?

Wargamer is only a small show, but the venue is easily accessible, clean, not double-booked (Phalanx, WMMMS, .....) and there is enough room to move, unlike some shows I am sure we have all been to. I can even ignore the horrid yellow lighting after an hour or two's exposure to it! Yet, it seems to suffer from that paradox of being too small to get a sizeable trade presence but needs a bigger trade presence to get Joe Public in in greater numbers.

Now, I like this show. Several games on show of various persuasions, from the enormous 28mm 1812 Russia game, through the beauty of Shrewsbury's offering (FIW? If they ever spoke to anyone, I would know the answer...), through our humble offering to more simple affairs. All the gamers seemed to have fun, but I am not sure that most traders did (although I reckon I probably covered Dave Ryan of Caliver Books' costs on my own). I did not get away from our table much, but I doubt some traders took much judging by how often they were shopper free when I did look up. All of this is a great shame. How will the show develop if it is not supported by either traders or public? Why do some of the traders who frequent WMMMS at Wolverhampton every March not come here, just 10 miles or so away? Yes, the Aldersley Leisure Centre is probably 50% larger, but Wargamer could grow too given the chance.

Still, a personal thanks from me to Caliver Books, Stafford Games, Ainsty, Lesley's Bits Box, Dave Lanchester, the SoA, Black Pyramid and those I have inadvertently missed off for making the effort.

All kudos and gratitude also to Paul Broadhurst (and his team, if he has one), for keeping the flame alight in the seemingly wargames-shy second city. I aim to be back next year at any rate.

So, what did I buy?

  1. Two boxes of Fireforge Games' Foot Sergeants.
  2. One box of Wargames Factory's WoSS Artillery - 2 guns (optional types), 8 crew and 2 mounted officers!
  3. Warlord Games' Earl of Essex (who will become Hans von Arnim or some other TYW character).
  4. Some Gallic Chieftains from the same source.
  5. TYW Infantry command, again Warlord.
  6. A copy of the Dux Bellorum rules.
  7. A copy of the A World Aflame (I think???) rules.
  8. The 2013 Wargamers' Annual.....
  9. ....and a copy of the latest Wargames Illustrated.
That should keep me happy for a while into the New Year.


Monday, 3 December 2012

Storming The River, 1632

A most enjoyable game was had by all at the Wargamer Show last Sunday, as the Wyrler Retinue demo'ed another Thirty Years' War bash, with the Swedes attempting to force a river crossing in the face of a growing Imperialist presence.

Both sides were hampered by poor command rolls, the Imperialists by some poor morale as time wore on, but the Swedish cavalry (eventually!!!) got across the river at the marsh and began rolling up the Catholic forces, helped in no small part by the infantry who had finally got across the ford.

Men of the Match??? A close run thing between the Swedish Yellow Regiment, who stormed the ford under heavy musket and artillery fire and destroyed the Munich-Ebersberg Regiment, and the Swedish Blue Regiment, who stormed the heavy artillery battery on the hill opposite the ford and then, though shaken by their casualties and totally unsupported, took on and beat Jung-Tilly.

The Swedish Blues take it, as they refused to break, but the Yellows finally suffered for their losses and broke.

A resounding Protestant victory.


The Swedish Brigade stacks up ready to storm the ford

The Foreign Brigade of Hepburn's and Schlammersdorf's Regiment ready to storm the plank bridge

One of the new cavalry regiments painted for this game, Schaffmann's Bohemian cavalry -  Warlord figures in the main, with a couple of Redoubt thrown in

The two contenders for men of the match

Hepburn's struggle across the plank bridge - those bad command rolls again!

Imperialist reinforcements arrive, but those command rolls are causing trouble again

The crucial fight that saw the shaken Blue beat the Jung-Tilly

Having finally ploughed through the marsh, the Upplands cavalry plough into the Imperialist commanded shot 

And the majority of the Swedish Brigade is now across the river, having held up the  cavalry for most of the morning!

Hepburn's was beaten on the bridge, but Schlammersdorf's took up the fray. A desperate Imperialist general kept throwing in his cavalry, with predictable results against pikes, even in march column.

The other new regiment for this game, which I shall call the Kaiser Arquebusiers. They are Warlord figures, the flag simply called "after de Waggky" on the leaflet in the box.

Schaffmann's again

Holtzmuller's dragoons storm through the Imperialist artillery camp on their right flank 

Wargamer Show - a few new bits

Hello all!

I am a little overdue posting the pics on this, but the Wargamer show is now gone and the Wyrley Retinue went on the road with the planned Thirty Years' War outing, "Storming the River, 1632".

Along with two new cavalry regiments, some commanded shot, some casualty pieces to represent shaken units (using the "Pike & Shotte" rules), some more terrain bits - fences and the like - I had to knock up a couple of quick terrain boards to enhance the river boards I already had.


The 2x2 board for the corner, with marshy crossing, taking shape.

The final layout, with the marsh board top left and the other new board centre right with the temporary bridge in situ.  

In place and dressed at Wargamer - with the awful yellow lighting.

And us......we believe in demo games being demo'ed, so at the very least we like to see some source material, a leaflet or two, etc to set the scene.