Thursday 28 February 2019

Charging into the past - the battle of Sittingbad

Last week while visiting Bertrand, we seized the opportunity to clear the floor and get some toys out.  We opted for an 18th Century engagement based on the Battle of Sittingbad - which you may recognise as the second scenario in the classic wargames book 'Charge!  Or how to play wargames'.
The peaceful town of Sittingbad.  Behind the town a bridge crosses a river.  You'll have to imagine that.
Imperial forces gather to defend the crossing from the Elector and his band of heretics.  Assembled from various bits of old Elastolin castles, the town included the remains of the medieval walls.

I provided the Imperial troops - Bertrand the enemy.  Here my heavy cavalry deploy forward while the CO watches from a tall tower.  The cavalry are mostly Armies in Plastic while the general is a metal casting found at a show by John A.
An overview (photo by Bertrand)
My chaps garrison a reboubt while cavalry and light infantry form a skirmishing screen.
Most of these chaps are from the collection I bought from Portland Little Wars.  The infantry are mostly BMC figures.
The Elector's chaplain.  It is revealing of his deviant practices that he is ignoring the comely milkmaid while casting amorous glances at the dog.... (photo by Bertrand)
For maximum efficiency I set up my artillery battery in the local graveyard.  Not so far to carry the casualties that way...
The enemy gathers!
The Electoral army arrived in overwhelming numbers - typically unsporting behaviour!  My heavy cavalry (top right) charged an enemy battery but the appearance of loads of infantry saw them off.  But all good wargames should include a futile charge.
While all this excitement was underway, my engineers were carrying several barrels of gunpowder to the bridge...
I put the walls to good use - which at least gave this battalion a good view of...
...the brigade level assault on my redoubt.

My light troops skulked in a marsh to harass the enemy flank.

The assault was very messy.  It carried the redoubt but all of the Elector's battalions had suffered. (photo by Bertrand)

Flag waving from atop a mound of plastic corpses. (photo by Bertrand)
The Elector watches the carnage from a typically safe distance. (photo by Bertrand)

We played for about two and a half hours, after which we agreed that by the time the Elector invested the town the garrison would have been largely evacuated and the bridge blown. 

Monday 25 February 2019

Spanish Civil War - Nationalist Infantry

Having dealt with the Republicans we now progress to the forces of law and order.  Luckily for me, among the many styles of helmet in Spain, the Spanish Army had adopted a helmet which looked not unlike the German M1916 but with a more domed top.  So a natural starting point was the Armies in Plastic 1916 Germans.
Two of these chaps are straight from the AIP set.  The officer is actually from the AIP French infantry set with a German head.
Some figures from cheap and moderately nasty Chinese origin WW2 sets picked up in a Belgian supermarket a few years ago.  The central pair are US, the others German.  Supposedly.  I trimmed off some of the more obviously WW2 bits of kit - such as the German gas mark tins.  The rest of the conversion was achieved by the magic of dodgy paintwork.

The German officer from the above sets.  The multi-tasking bugler/standard bearer is an ACW figure of unknown provenance.

The whole ensemble plotting the downfall of the republic.

Thursday 7 February 2019

1/32 Spanish Civil War Republicans

Preparing for last year's Ebro game (see this earlier post here), created some interesting challenges when it came to producing the figures.  The trick I find with converting (yes OK then, bodging) 54mm figures is to apply a fair bit of imagination to what figures could potentially be.  The comrades in the photo above are mostly CTS (ex-Marx) WW2 Japanese gently cut about and with some floppy Basque-type berets added from Milliput.  The officer is an Engineer Basevich WW2 Russian, while the bloke in the bottom right of the photo is an ACW figure who has been subject to some knife work.
I find the old Airfix WW2 Japs endlessly useful for bodges.  This lot have had their caps trimmed to a rounder profile and much of the webbing carved off.
This group contains ACW figures from at least two makers, converted WW2 US from dodgy Chinese made sets found in a Belgian supermarket, Weston Mexicans and a metal Britains recast stationmaster!
 The Red Menace contained in their box.  In our game a company is 6-8 figures so there are a couple of battalions in here.
Please let me know if you'd like to see more detail of any of these figures.

Friday 1 February 2019

A stroll in the forest

A write-up on a forum led to me blowing a whole $6 on the pdf of Fistful Of Lead - Horse & Musket.  This is a rather jolly skirmish game and while I generally don't care for skirmish actions, this looked to have the right level of complexity (none) and frivolity (quite a bit).  The real draw, so to speak, is that it is card driven.  The book helpfully contains a few scenarios so on Wednesday we tried out an small action set in the North American colonies.  Us plucky Brits (John and I) had to escort a wagon of essential supplies along a road which crossed the 5-foot long table.  Simple, eh?  We had two groups each of 5 men and of course the wagon.  The latter was about £3.95 a couple of years ago.  John's command (far side of wagon) are mostly ACTA AWI British Light Infantry, painted by me.  My chaps were BMC AWI figures - a small part of a collection I bought a while back from the man behind the splendid Portland Little Wars blog.
 At first all seemed quiet.  After all, what sort of villain would disturb the King's peace?  At the other side of the table, Martin and Jerry were looking a bit shifty...
 But then shots rang out and one of John's chaps fell dead.
The woods on both sides of the road were teeming with wicked rebels (Accurate Continental Militia painted by me)

Despite skulking in woods, one of the ruffians was soon wounded (red marker - the yellow means he is also shaken.  Black means reloading).  Our man leading the horse can be seen trying to sidle off.
 Though we were laying down a withering hail of disciplined musketry, it soon became apparent that standing around in the open had it's drawbacks.
 Much of my fire was targeted against the officer with the pistol.  Note the chap waving his hat from behind a tree.
 We moved forward again to try to see off a naughty colonial intent on stealing the wagon.
 This plucky redcoat shot him from point blank range...and of course missed!
Toys often acquire identities in our games.   Having dispatched the officer I had inflicted 'shaken' markers on 'hat man' behind the tree and 'Ben Franklin'.  In the other wood and off camera was a rifle-toting chap known inevitably as 'Davy Crockett', one American in a fur hat looking much like any other to us Brits.
 By now the enemy had the wagon and had led it off the road.  Where it promptly became stuck.
 Another ruffian ran from the woods to take charge of the wagon....

 ...but was soon under fire....
 ...and lay wounded.
At this point - and after only abut 90 minutes of play - John and I decided to march off in a dignified manner/desert/flee to Canada, leaving the rebellious ruffians in possession of the (stuck fast) wagon.  One can only imagine their faces later when they open the big crate of 'essential supplies' to find only wig powder and portraits of the King.