Friday 29 January 2021

Late Roman Cataphracts


These boys were finished last night. Gripping Beast plastics and they’re great. Easy to put together and simple to paint, which is good as I only started them on Monday. I think they look pretty good.

As I’m planning on doing two Late Roman armies to fight in a civil war I’ve got quite a few units left to do, and of course they’ll all be able to fight in either army. I’ve got some Goths as well who initially can be an allied contingent for one side, but when I have enough they can fight alone.

Still juggling a few odd War of 1812 add ins, not critical to the collection but they’re units I’d  like to have. I’ve even got a few Italian Wars oddments on the painting desk as well as 1/72 WSS. Variety is the spice of life and mixing it up does help crack on through quite a few units.

Thursday 28 January 2021

First of the new 2021 project finished - Late Romans


It’s over 30 years since I owned an Ancient army. There was a time when that was all I had, be they Carthaginians, Byzantines or Crusaders.  I’ve played a few Ancients games over the past couple of years, mostly remotely thanks to the lockdown and quite enjoyed them. I have a penchant for Late Romans, so when I saw Gripping Beast’s Christmas multiple box offer I went for it. I plan to do enough Roman units for a good-sized civil war type game, plus some Goths.

I actually didn’t mind having to stick the figures together, and even though it was reminiscent of when I was in my Warhammer Fantasy phase, I have yet to loose either any fingers or the will to live. 

Anyway here they are. I’ve put them on a single base for effect rather than for any specific rules requirements ,as it looks good and is easier to move around the table and store. I’ve left the archers separate so they can operate separately if indeed that’s what they did.  

I’m well though a unit of cataphracts and another of light cavalry, and expect to get them finished by the end of the weekend. 

No games for me this week or on Saturday for various reasons but I am hoping to put something on during next week sometime.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

War of 1812 oddments

A few more figures made it off the painting desk this week. First of all there were three limbers and teams for the British 1812 army. Years ago Warlord had a ‘reinforcements’ sale so I bought several six-horse limber teams. Six horses is too many in my view (from a practical game perspective it’s a very big footprint on the table) so I used the six pairs of horses in two boxes to make up three four-horse teams. I had a spare British limber to complete the last team and just need to sort a couple of limber riders. The Royal Corps of Drivers, and indeed the Canadian Corps of Drivers, wore plain uniforms with a tarleton helmet and look very striking. 

A while ago, after thinking what I could do with several spare Perry plastic Hussars and Light Dragoons I determined to knock up a few extra ‘units’ of cavalry for the War of 1812 (the first, the Baltimore Hussars and the 7th New York cavalry can be seen in an earlier post). By ‘units’ of course I apply this very loosely and largely mean the numerous volunteer and militia very small cavalry troops in the American army, and also the tiny Canadian Provincial light dragoon units. Two figures for each would suffice, so here are this week’s offerings.

These two are of the Baltimore Hussars. One is a trumpeter hence the reversed coat (and trumpet). I believe they saw action during the Chesapeake Campaign. 
Canadian Provincial Dragoons. They saw action at Lundy’s Lane.
These brave looking fellows are the 8th New York Light Dragoons. 

In a game they’re all pretty but pretty useless. Depending on the rules they could perhaps qualify as giving support, maybe? Even at a 1:20 or 1:15 figure ratio they don’t get more than two figures each, give or take.

A couple more US Militia cavalry troops still to finish. A welcome diversion at the moment. I should be able to post the completed articles by the end of the week, by which time I shall have sorted out my lighting.

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Kentucky Mounted Rifles (dismounted), War of 1812


These chaps struggled off the painting station last night. Old Glory Kentucky Mounted Riflemen skirmishing. Can’t put my finger on it but I didn’t enjoy painting these so they took over a week from start to finish.  I shall field them as two units. This regiment made a mounted charge against elements of HM 41st Foot at the Battle of The Thames (or Moraviantown) in 1812. The British were overwhelmed. I’m sure the outcome would be very difficult to repeat on the tabletop.

I have a bag of mounted Kentuckians in the pipeline so with the addition of a couple of spares will be able to put together two units of six figures. I’ve also got two units of Militia in hunting shirts. One will be normal Kentucky militia, the other I think will be Maryland or Virginia (whoever fought in the Chesapeake campaign but need to check which, not that there’s any significant difference in what they’re wearing).

I took part in Skype game this afternoon run by Conrad. US-Mexican War 1846-48 in 15mm. I sold the troops to Conrad 31 (or more) years ago in order to fund a new washing machine, and it was the first time I’ve seen them since that fateful day.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

The Armies of Sir Ralph Hopton, 1642-46, from Helion and Co.

Another gem from prolific author Laurence Spring, courtesy of Helion and Co. arrived last week, number 62 in their extensive Century of the Soldier series. Hopton is a well known personality for enthusiast of the British Civil Wars, throughout which he was an active supporter of the King. The book doesn’t just focus on the man, and his life, service and death, but also looks in detail at all aspects of a soldier’s life from, for example, recruitment, clothing, training, arms and equipment. In doing so, the book follows the well tried structure of other Helion publications. Contemporary sources have been used extensively, and these are noted in the bibliography. 

The accounts of Hopton’s campaigns, of the three Royalist armies he commanded during the war, are well written and like the rest of the book include excerpts from contemporary correspondence which in my opinion at least always adds to an understanding of the human side of war. The maps accompanying these chapters, outlining the campaigns as well as several maps of key battles, are clearly drawn and helpful, especially when used in conjunction with the narrative.

No Helion book of this genre would be worthy without the usual central spread of glorious colour illustrations showing the dress of soldiers and detail of the colours carried by the regiments. A nit picker or button counter could say that a soldier in Hopton’s army would look just the same as one, say, in the Kings Oxford army, but I don’t hold that viewpoint. These illustrations relate to this book, which is reason enough to include them.

The several appendices cover various aspects of Hopton’s forces, such as lists of regiments and officers in the Cornish Army in 1643, rates of pay and another extensive list of regiments that served with Hopton throughout the wars, including the fates of their commanding officers. One feature I particularly like is the chapter covering “what happened next” to the participants in the campaigns, senior officers and common soldiers alike. 

Overall then, this is another marvellous escape into the subject. I actually like the trend of publishing very focussed studies of the various and varied aspects of the Civil Wars, and in my opinion it works well as we, the reader, gain the benefits of the author’s very deep digging when researching their book. It could easily fail and end up as a rather dull thing, but Laurence’s growing series of books are excellent and for any serious student of the era this publication is a very welcome addition . I’m STILL  not going to start another collection of ECW figures this year!  

Sunday 17 January 2021

The Battle of Lake Misnomer and the Milling Tavern, War of 1812 fictional scenario.

1st Nation scouts observe the US army
as it converges on  Milling Tavern.

Hosted /facilitated a great game today. No technical issues, no errant microphones, less dragging of bodies around out of camera shot (that’s what is sounds like) and an enthusiastic group of players, (and my back held out until just after lunch) all contributed to five hours of fun. What can be seen on the table is pretty much all my War of 1812 collection. Three or is it four more battalions, a unit of Kentucky mounted riflemen and some 20 or so odds and ends and it’ll be done. How often have I said that?

Anyway....It was to be a simple encounter battle with the objective of each side denying the other the ground around the shore of Lake Misnomer and Milling Tavern where several key strategic roads, tracks and rivers met. Neil (CinC), Paul and Conrad played the British and Canadian forces entering from the left,  while John (CinC), Richard and Mark were Mr Maddison’s boys, arriving from the right. As usual we used Black Powder II with our normal house rules. 

The American plan was for Mark with Scott's brigade at Point A to advance quickly towards the tavern, supported by another brigade of regulars under John entering at Point B. Richard commanded brigades (one each of regulars and militia) tasked with pinning the British flank and taking the farmstead. The British plan, I think, was to try and contain the American forces advancing on the farmstead with their 'Light' brigade entering at Point 4. Meanwhile Paul and Neil's forces, entering at Points 1, 2 and 3 would concentrate to destroy the Americans on the Northern side of the river.

What is that in the tree line? Have the Americans noticed ?

1st Nations in British pay.

In the centre the British column at Point 3 under Paul rapidly advanced to cross the bridge. The British plan was to hold on their left while directing three brigades to overwhelm the Americans on the Northern half of the table. This was reliant on Paul being able to get his brigades in a position to support each other while Neil hit the American flank from Point 1.

One column of British (Neil's) marching through the woods, seen in the top left of the map. 

In the American centre a brigade of regulars from Point B under John shakes out into line before advancing on the tavern. This advance was to be hampered by some amazingly accurate rockets, courtesy of the Royal Marines.

Deploying rapidly from Point 4, Canadian Voltigeurs and the Glengarry Light Infantry, with combined militia flank companies and 1st Nations warriors in support prepare to assault the farm.

Richard was in command of the American left.  Then militia brigade advanced  and quickly took control of the farmstead, occupying it with a battalion of Kentucky militia.

Fighting around the farm.

The Americans from Point C were advancing on the farmstead in strength, with the reserve units (US Rifles, some dragoons and an 18pdr) under the CinC joining the battle. A single battalion of British stood in their way.

Conrad had ordered the Glengarry Light Infantry to assault the farm.  After a brisk melee they  were surprisingly beaten off by the militia and fled from the table thanks to an unlucky break test.

Despite the Kentucky militia being forced to withdraw, the Americans were facing the now British held farm area in great strength. They were unable to stop  two British infantry battalions from crossing the bridge in support of the troops holding Milling Tavern. The militia seemed unwilling to try and retake the farm.

Scott's brigade under Mark has almost reached Milling Tavern.

In the far distance Neil's brigade can be seen to the left of the tavern threatening Scott's right flank. The tavern is held by a battalion of Sedentary militia, supported by HM 41st and a battalion of Royal Marines and a rocket section. In the foreground are HM 100th Foot, while deploying across the bridge are HM 59th and 89th regiments.

HM 59th crossing the bridge under heavy fire.

The US 1st Infantry charged the British artillery and the 100th Foot.  They shrugged off canister from the cannon and overran it, causing the crew to flee. 

Meanwhile the fighting around the tavern was intense. While the US 9th Infantry stormed the tavern the rest of Scotts brigade faced off against HM 41st Foot. The latter charged but in a sharp and confusing melee (ie I can't remember) the British destroyed one American battalion before being forced to take to their heels.

The farm from the British perspective.

On the far left of the British line Neil had deployed his brigade and pushed on towards the American flank guard. HM 103rd Foot and the Canadian Fencible Regiment were pressing the Americans hard.

Meanwhile back at the tavern, the Royal Marines hit the attackers in the flank.

Unfortunately the militia defenders of the tavern fled as a second American regiment attacked the tavern from a different direction.

HM 100th Foot drove off one American regiment and held firm. in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.

Unfortunately in the tavern fight  HM 41st had taken heavy casualties and were forced to retreat broken.

US Riflemen exchanging shots with the British and 1st Nation defenders of the farm.

On the left, Neils 1st Nation warriors charged and overran the American cannon.  The lone American regiment (the 22nd Inf) was then charged by HM 103rd and another Canadian militia battalion. Amazingly the American held.

We called it a day then. Both of Paul's brigades in the centre were broken while those on the flanks under Conrad and Neil were relatively unscathed. The Americans had taken heavy casualties but across all four of their brigades so the effect was less critical. It was probably fair to assume that the British would withdraw while the Americans licked their wounds. 

It was a great game with a good result. The technology worked perfectly so everyone had access to the viewpoint of three different cameras that were live-streaming while we chatted and gave orders over Skype. There's a fair bit of technology involved in setting a game up like this, and it took a while for the glitches and mistakes to be overcome or worked round. I can't lay any claim to making that happen as its all down to my wife, from an idea from mate Steve in Newark. Black Powder work well for these 'distant wargaming' events as love them or hate them they are simple and as umpire and figure-mover they allow for a fast moving game without killing me off!

I'm going to finish off the last few units for this collection as quickly as I can as I want to get on with the Late Romans, but I shall be packing the troops away in the coming week ready for something different in a week or two. Not anything new but a change of period.

In Deo Veritas - Captain General Supplement for the Great Northern War and War of the Spanish Succession.


This is the first in a number of planned supplements for the ‘In Deo Veritas’ 17thC rules published by Helion last year. ‘Captain General’ covers the period covering the Great Northern War and the War of the Spanish Succession. You need a copy of the main rule book to get started. I’ve been fortunate enough to play a couple of games using In Deo Veritas last year using Skype with several of my gaming friends so am familiar with the rules themselves. ‘Captain General’ is a glossy well presented booklet, full of suitable eye candy. To be honest, much of  the book is taken up with four interesting scenarios of battles of the era, each with orders of battle, maps and so forth. What is good is that they are all of less well known, smaller battles that have been adapted to allow for a game that can be played in a ‘typical’ club evening (or could be were it not for the lockdown restrictions). The remainder of the book explains in step by step detail the period specific changes to the body of the original rules, which is very useful. To be honest there are no major amendments, so if you’ve used the main rules this supplement will hold no mysteries for you. Overall verdict is positive. It’s a nicely put together booklet, useful for its scenarios alone, although a couple more would have been even better.

Thursday 14 January 2021

The Last of the First Nation warband

These are the final figures for my War of 1812 First Nations war band. With one exception (a Trent figure) they are from North Star. Really easy and almost fun to paint.

Lastly, here are ALL (40 I think) the figures together. I just need to finish one or maybe two of uniformed British officers from the Indian Department and a half dozen Caldwell’s Rangers.

First Nations for War of 1812

 I completed these fearsome chaps this morning; First Nation/Native Americans for my War of 1812 project. The figures are Galloping Major. I have another dozen or so (of North Star figures) to finish, hopefully by tomorrow morning. 

I want to have enough of these to represent a fairly large warband (or two) at a 1:10 or 1:15 ratio.