Monday, 26 November 2012

Napoleonics: Cavalry, cavalry everywhere

I've been slogging away at the rest of the Household Cavalry Life Guards I posted the other week. And a slog it became, but I'm out the other side - the other five are now finished.

And with the originals, to make a more substantial unit. Why nine? Well I need eight per unit, but Perry come in packs of three so I just painted the lot. 

I'm particularly pleased with the horses, they came out well. I was a little more adventurous with the markings, though kept the coat colours very dark brown or black so they are more. Inform than my other cavalry units. I also changed the yellow cord for the trumpeter, plain it was quite jarring so I broke it up with red stripes. 

Samulus came over for a game of Sharpe Practice the other night, so while I had the table an terrain out I snapped both my units of cavalry together. The Life guards weren't quite finished at this point. I didn't take any photos of the game, so no AAR for you. 

And my next madcap scheme? More cavalry!

Photo sourced here:

Yup, I fancied adding a few Spanish cavalry to my fledgling force. The offerings are pretty dreadful, though Captain have recently released some Cazadores a Caballo, they are quite pricey. Front Rank have some but they are chunky, static and only have a couple of sculpts. Other than that, I struggled to find anything to buy so the challenge is on to convert my own. 

I mentioned the Maria Luisa Hussars before, they would be easy. But a bit more Internet research I decided those snazzy yellow Dragoon Uniforms would be nicely different to anything else. And happily, Perry French Dragoons are a pretty close fit. 

Perry French Dragoon body, head from a Victrix early French infantry (I got a single sprue from eBay). A plume from the bits box and bit of green stuff to make the bicorne a bit more prominent and voila! Pretty close I think, the main differences being the crossbelt goes the opposite way (though having just one is a start!) and the sheepskin on the horse furniture, though I removed the jagged edge of that to make it less distinctive. 

I think ill paint them as the 'Regimiento de dragones de Lusitania'. What do you think? Does anyone have a good method for yellow - I don't!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Sudan 1883, Scenario 1: Stop, Thief!

With the secret project revealed, I can do AARs for the first two games Gharak and I got through in August. This is the intro to the campaign and take place at the start of the war, though the events and places are of my own devising. 

Egypt: Spring 1883. Egyptian-held Sudan is in turmoil. El Mahdi has emerged and gathered his 'Ansar' around him: the tribes Korfodan, Beja and Nile Arabs. Yet Egypt maintains garrisons across the Sudan. The Egyptians attempt to extract these garrisons and mobilise its field armies to crush the uprising. They are aided by Britain, which provides military expertise, training and equipment to the Egyptian forces.  

Lieutenant Pilkington-Smythe is assigned to the Staff of Colonel William Hicks, chief advisor to the Egyptians.  The (fictional) garrison at Drongheda is uncomfortably close to the rebel stronghold in Kordofan. A stronghold and town on the Nile, it was chosen in as a trial location for to deliver British training in the Sudan. Training from the British army's finest: the King's Royal Rifle Corps, its small contingent led by a certain Sir Henry Huffington.  Huffington ensured he was given the assignment as he is partial to a little hunting and not so partial to soldiering, so prefers to avoid his seniors' watchful eyes. Worse, Huffington despises Hicks so much not even Cairo could hold the both of them. 

Hicks moves to extract British nationals across Egypt and the Sudan. To lose Huffington and his British trainers to the uprising would be embarrassing. But practically, Nile steamers cannot be risked in a rescue down the Nile. Instead, Lieutenant Pilkington-Smythe is dispatched with a small force to move swiftly over the friendly territory and command Huffington to return to Cairo. 

This first scenario was a little intro to ease us into the Brink of Battle rules.

Stop, Thief!

Day three of the march, with good progress made, all is quiet and our rescue party pitches for the night. 
Dawn comes, but something isn't right. Pilkington-Smythe stumbles from his tent. Where are the pack. Animals? They were right there...

The starting positions. Two Egyptian infantrymen and Pilkington-Smythe start awake, the others will rise as the racket starts (on a 5+ on turn 2, 4+ on turn 3 etc). Local tribesmen are paired, moving away with the baggage on mules and camels. Note the worst sentry in history snoozing on the hill!

Turn 2 orders phase. The rules were Brink of Battle, the 'any era' historical skirmish rules. I wrote quick rules for moving the baggage - mules were 4" or 8", camels D6" with +2 if there was an extra tribesman 'helping' them along. I bent the rules to allow group activations. The red gems denote troops who will activate in the coming turn. I wrote loose behaviour rules for the tribesman - they would both flee until threatened (i.e shot at), at which point one would turn to fight with the other making off with the loot! 

Pilkington-Smythe leads his men out to retrieve their essential supplies

I grabbed the 2012 National Geographic calendar from the wall as a rudimentary backdrop (leafing back to find a suitable one!), an idea I pilfered from someone's blog (I'll credit when I remember who!). I would like to sort a more permanent solution. 

With the commotion, the unfortunate sentry rises just in time to confront an angry tribesman...

The scenario played out over a few more turns, with the tribesmen being whittled down or abandoning their loot to flee. One nearly (oh, so nearly!) made it off. I think I made the scenario a tad too easy, while the stats for the Egyptian infantry were a bit pants, so werethe tribesmen, added to the fact they spent most of their time dragging animals rather than fighting. 

If I ran this one again, I'd stagger the pack animals, with some a longer distance from the camp, giving the tribal player the choice to play it safe and escape with a couple, or the whole lot if feeling bold! 

Our rescue party return with their baggage, having suffered just one casualty. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sudan: Mahdist reinforcements

My last post showed the British and Egyptian forces so far. While I already had a number of Ansar finished during Curt's painting challenge, I did add a few to supplement those. First up, I made up some more of the Perry plastics, this time as Beja tribesmen or 'fuzzy-wuzzies' (the nickname derived from the quite excellent hair they sport...). These will tend to be represent more elite warriors in game. These were painted in the same way as before, which is really quick to do and effective to get very dark African skin tones. 

I couldn't resist these camel-riders either. Great miniatures, they will be mobile and pack quite a punch. The above are loosely painted as dismounted versions of each. Perry Miniatures once more. 

A few of you commented you were looking forward to the project developing. Well, that's it so far, this was a little skirmish side-project and was never meant to take over. I'm quite pleased I painted everything to be honest!  I have some terrain I may do more work on and write up and AARs to post. But this is the most of it for now!

 Though, as I am a bit 'ooh, shiney', I would quite like a few more packs, which I may pick up here and there...

Monday, 5 November 2012

Dear Santa...

Ian over at The Blog With No Name is kindly running a gamer blog 'Secret Santa' for Christmas this year. Which is a smashing idea - who doesn't like presents, particularly gaming-related ones that our loved ones won't buy us! Assuming Royal Mail get the parcels to everyone, of course!

I'm aware that I have somewhat electic tastes and flit around projects a lot and  in'real life'  I'm  accused of being difficult to buy for (not true!). So thought I'd give my Santa some ideas by way of things I've recently had my eye on. 

First up, some reinforcements for my Napoleonic Spanish. To be a standalone force, they could do with some cavalry. I reckon the Perry French hussars would be perfectly serviceable as 'Maria Luisa Hussars', though a whole box is a squeeze out of budget. 

Don't they look dapper?

Another option would be to start another unit of infantry. I've been very tempted by the new Offensive Miniatures line as they seem very well matched to Perry, unlike Capitan who are a bit scrawny. I do like the bearskins on those Grenadiers, though the Line are the classic Spanish look.

The recently revealed Secret Project would also benefit from a couple of packs. Ive been using the Perry Miniatures Sudan range, many lovely models there, but I particularly fancy these packs:

British infantry firing line
10th Hussars swords drawn
Bashi Bazouks on foot skirmishing (above, nice to get some colour on the battlefield)
Sudanese Baggara Horse with spears

Another thought, my Saga Viking force could do with another unit of Bondi to round it out. Gripping Beast do a perfectly sized pack, and are nice minis to boot! 

I hope that's useful, Santa, unless you've got some ideas already...

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Secret Project: Revealed!

I've not been doing that much hobby stuff recently, mostly as my hobby time has been eaten into by some quality time with the PS3 (mostly the excellent and damnably addictive Batman: Arkham City) But, to keep the post rate up, I thought I'd do a series of posts to this summer's Secret Project

You may recall there were a few clues:
-small scale narrative campaign using Brink of Battle
-miniatures by a preferred manufacturer
-I already had one force painted (well, most of it) 
-some of the minis would find a dual use in Pulp scenarios. 

So, imagine yourself in Egypt, 1883. Egyptian-held Sudan is in turmoil. El Mahdi has emerged and gathered his 'Ansar' around him: the tribes Korfodan, Beja and Nile Arabs. Yup, is time to dabble in Colonials! Much inspired by forums as wells as blogs such as 'Maiwand Day' and 'Horse and Musket',  it was a small-scale and entertaining painting distraction. 

First up, some Egyptian Infantry (Perry Miniatures):

I tried a new flesh tone on these and think it came out quite well. I reckoned they will be serviceable as North/African or Turkish military/paramilitary types for 1930s Pulp. 

Next, pith helmets galore, it's the stalwart British infantry (Perry miniatures)

Painted as King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) from the incredibly useful Perry miniatures painting guide here

Another mini from the pack above, painted in a khaki uniform, he serves as character for the campaign (more on that later) this would be Sir Henry Huffington (he is actually a stand-in for Huffington, as there is more suitable figure I've got my eye on...). I put him on a beveled base as he also join my 28mm Pulp characters on some adventures, as a further well-traveled friend of the Professor. 

And finally, some members of the Naval Brigade running at trail (guess what...Perry Miniatures!)