Sunday, 21 June 2020

Tabletop Workshop's Barn and Stable

My order from Warlord Games finally made it and I was able to get the stable done. The barn I actually painted and finished about 3 years ago.

The barn has a relatively new roof- the thatch is still a nice fresh yellow.

The single storey kits all use the same roof pieces, short walls and floor - it's the long walls that make each kit different. One thing I regret is not filling in the tabs in the end walls with putty; they really stand out in the close up photos- not so noticeable on the table though.

With the stable I tried to replicate the daub colouring of the Perry's cottage (I should have wrote it down...); I think I got pretty close. A fancy stable like this probably belonged to the land owner in the nice house in the distance- too fancy for some tenant farmer.

The roof came out a little too light grey for my liking- I think I will give it a glaze with a dark brown just to warm it up a bit.

As Murdock and I have a game (the battle of Stoke Lane) planned for mid July I have a few things to tidy up for it including some more fencing and a small contingent of Old Glory dismounted cavalry we may need.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Ramshackle Barn With Thatch Roof

I am still waiting for my order from Warlord Games (usually very prompt) so I was working through my collection of kits and re-discovered a Renedra Ramshackle Barn. I had done one up for my urban Pulp Alley table (here for those that are interested) but decided to send this one back in time to the 17th century by exchanging it's shingle (or possibly tile roof) for a thatch one.
Although tile would have been acceptable for the period, the other rural buildings all have thatch roofs so I thought I would try my hand using the war gamer standard, fake fur.
I am not 100% happy with the result; I was hoping I could manipulate it so that it resembled the thatch roof of the Perry cottage.
However, given the barn is "ramshackle" I figured the rough look of the thatch represents the ill maintenance the building has suffered which the greenery in the thatch also shows.
Speaking of the Perry Miniatures cottage, I decide to use the wattle fence that came with it to make a pinfold.
The idea was shamelessly stolen from Silent Invader's thread here (pinfold on pg. 13) on the Lead Adventure Forum.
For those wondering what a "pinfold" was it is the same as a "pound" where stray animals were kept until their owners could afford to pay for the damages the stray/s had done or it/they were sold to cover such costs.
 Now back to postal box watching....

Monday, 4 May 2020

More Tabletop Workshop Buildings

I finished two more buildings in the Tabletop Workshop catalogue: the Town House and the Merchant's House.
Presumably a building named "Town House" would be found in an urban setting with little greenery and (possibly) cobble stone streets, but I based this structure so it fit in with my cottages.
Although the Merchant's House came with a thatch roof and the Town House a tile or slate roof, as both buildings have the same foot print you could swap them around as you please.
I am still not 100% happy with my daub colouring, although the Perry's cottage in my previous blog post is my favourite I can't remember how I painted it.
One of the nice features of the TW buildings is they have some interior detail if you want to use them for skirmish or RPG's.
I took these shots during WIP to show the interiors. The second floor also lifts out to gain access to the ground floor.
The musketeer shows that the windows are a little low for 28mm, and possibly also 25mm, but perfect for use with 1/72 figures.
For the sake of completing the set as it were, I have ordered two more buildings from Warlord Games. Given that I am still waiting on orders placed in February to arrive from the UK I don't anticipate seeing them too soon...

Sunday, 5 April 2020

A Couple of Plastic Cottages

A while ago I bought several plastic building kits online,  the order consisted of 4 Tabletop Workshop buildings and a Perry's Miniatures medieval cottage. I cleaned them, primed them, and then they sat in that state for about two years. I have managed to get 2 of that order done in the last week or so.
 The tabletop top kits have great texture, the wood grain is nice and pronounced and the daub is well rendered. The kits are robust with roofs that are mean't to come off.  The doors, hinges, windows and shutters are clean and crisp; the interior walls are also nicely detailed.
The downside of the kit are the tabs that connect the walls to each other, similar to MDF kits, and the coarse thatching of the roof.
The Perry's cottage is not as robust, is more in line with traditional model kits, made out of thinner styrene and I would consider it more delicate. Although I have left then roof removable, the interior has no details like the Tabletop Workshop kits. 
The thatch is perfectly sculpted, as is the daub. The detailing of the wood features is quite faint. Although more realistic in scale, dry brush and wash won't give as satisfying result as it does on the TW products.
My next post in a couple weeks time will be of  Tabletop Workshop's Town House and Merchant's House.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Command Stands and The Battle of Glastonbury

This past weekend Murdock and I got together for our second game in our campaign, the Battle of Glastonbury, from Partizan Press' English Civil War Campaign Scenarios Vol. 1.  In preparation of this game I put together some command stands to represent specific commanders. For the duration of the campaign these stands will represent these commanders. As new commanders or generals are introduced they will get a specific stand- no more generic stands!

At Glastonbury the Royalist Infantry was led by Col. John Trevanion, taking direct charge of the right division.  Serving as an MP before the civil war, Trevanion would not see the end of it, dieing at the siege of Bristol just 6 weeks later.

The left division fell to the command of Col.William Godolphin. Before the civil war he was also an MP but unlike Trevanion he would survive the war and live on to see the restoration of Charles II.

Lord Hopton's cavalry, divided into a left wing and a right wing,  was led by Robert Dormer, the Earl of Carnarvon. He entered the war with previous military experience, leading a cavalry regiment in the Bishop's Wars. One of his achievements was to secure the surrenders of important towns in Dorset after the fall of Bristol by offering generous terms, only to have it undone by undisciplined royalist troops plundering. In protest he gave up his position in the west to join the King's army. He died later that year at first Newbury.

Carnarvon's own brigade was commanded by Sir Humphrey Bennett of which little is know except that he survived the war and went on to serve as a Justice of the Peace after the restoration.
(as you can see I was in the position of having to double up on commander models).
Last but not least, the left wing fell to Prince Maurice, younger brother of the charismatic Prince Rupert. Maurice started his military career in the Dutch army under the Prince of Orange. At 20 he had moved on to serving in the Swedish army before joining his brother in England in 1642. He came to the civil war with a reputation for bravery however as a commander he did not encourage discipline in his men who brawled with the Cornish infantry and were know to plunder. After the defeat of the king he was banished from England; he served in the Prince of Orange's army before following a career as a privateer, ultimately going down with his ship in a storm in the West Indies.

With the command stands sorted, onto Glastonbury.

With securing Bristol as his main priority, Waller decided to send an army under Col. Alexander Popham to keep his old buddy, Hopton, occupied. Hopton, struggling to keep his Cornish foot focused, saw the approaching Parliamentarian force as just the opportunity he needed to do so. 

The two armies met each other just south of Glastonbury; Popham. however, found himself in the unfortunate position of having lost half his force to desertion due to an arrears of pay!  Choosing discretion over valour, Popham ordered the baggage and most of his foot back north leaving a rearguard to face the oncoming Royalists. 

Here the Royalist are deployed in all their glory, Prince Maurice' regiment of horse in the foreground and Col. Trevanion by his foot, all hemmed in by hedges and muddy fields:

Murdock lays out the sparse parliamentarian defenders:

After choosing to run pell mell up hill into musket fire at Stratton, I chose a more conservative approach at Glastonbury, hoping to send off the raw Parliamentarian troops with my superior foot through volleys of musket fire.
Murdock's foot return fire:
Just 3 raw regiments of enemy foot line the far hedge.  The stones represent the ditches that ran through the fields
In turns 4 through 7, in a spectacular display of dismal die rolling, the raw Parliamentarian foot evaporated. Leaving just a few regiments of horse and some dragoons.
 Here Murdock removes the last few stands...
The plan worked... almost. Yes, the enemy foot disappeared but the horse was rock solid. Their position form which they refused to budge kept me from being able to clear the last hedge with my foot, thereby allowing my horse a chance at achieving their goal of exiting the far table edge (I needed to get 3 units off the table by turn 15 to get a minor victory).  Unfortunately the picture below shows as close as I got. 
 With my foot plugging up the centre, it seemed like my only real option was to get my horse moving up the flanks. This plan was stymied by freshly plowed fields, hedges and ditches. To add insult, the prize horse of this Royalist force- Prince Maurice's Regiment of Horse and Lifeguard of horse- were chased from the field! Aside from those details the result of our game was the same as the historical outcome: the defenders were able delay the attackers long enough for their baggage to get a safe distance away.

The next installment of this campaign looks to be a few months in the future as Murdock is all tied up through the balance of February, March and early April.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Sir Hopton Command Stand

It looks like we will need quite a few different Command stands for our upcoming ECW games so I started by making a dedicated stand for Sir Ralph Hopton.
Made entirely of Warlord Games figures form their Pike and Shot Command Group 2, I utilised the officer to represent Hopton, dismounted from his horse, gesturing towards the enemy (probably should have painted the eyes...).
The ensign and the other officer (not shown) are really nice models; the faces are done better than the model I used for Hopton. The flag is also from Warlord Games.

The horse and horse holder are from Warlord's plastic kits. I have some nice standing horses coming from Avanpost but I couldn't wait. I will probably use them for King Charles' command stand when I get around to making it.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

The Battle of Stratton

Having a few days off between Christmas and New Years I made plans to get at least one game in.  Initially it was to be an  ECW game using Pike and Shotte and an ACW game using Fire and Fury. It looks like the ACW game has been postponed (I'm pretty sure I wouldn't make it anyway now) but Murdock and I got our ECW game in yesterday.
This game was the opening round of our campaign using the Partizan Press books as a guide. We chose the Battle Stratton as a natural starting point. For this game we needed a lot of hedges judging by the map in the PP book English Civil War Scenarios, Vol. 2.  I had large number of hedges that I had inherited from Jeff partially finished (see this entry), however they were tidy, more modern, than one would find in your typical 17th century landscape; so I made some irregular hedging using the same methods and materials as described in this post.

We needed another terrain feature for this scenario and that was the remains of an iron age hill fort that the Parliamentarians were ensconced in. 
This piece falls into the "Close but Not Quite" category. As you can see with my 28mm figures, it is perfectly scaled 15mm...
 Although not much info is available about it (not even a Wikipedia page) I did find a little info and seems it was a small univallate hill fort with very little of it remaining today.
 The most prominent feature being a monument built in the early 18th century which I did not include for obvious reasons.

It turns out I needed another cannon as well, specifically a light gun. Although I didn't have a light cannon I did have the recently released galloper gun from Warlord Games; so I assembled it and painted up the crew to stand in for the light cannon.
I also took this opportunity to paint up some 1st. Corp artillery figures I had picked up for a spare cannon.
Really wonderful models. The face of the artillery officer is a highlight- sculpted to be painted.

So, on to the main event...

The Battle of Stratton (also known as The Battle of Stamford Hill) is early in the 2nd civil war, 16 May 1643. Having defeated Hopton earlier, the Earl of Stamford sent the majority of his cavalry away to occupy Bodmin. Despite outnumbering the Royalists, his forces were for the most part raw recruits and to mitigate the vulnerability of lacking sufficient cavalry, he took up a defensive position at the hill fort, and erected some hasty defences. 

Here the table is set up with the hill fort at top left as we look at the numerous hedges the Royalists regiments will have to cross. The brown strips are roads, of which their are two off camera to the right and one off camera to the left. All lead to the hill fort.
From the Royalist table edge with the enemy lining the hedges and behind defences in the distance:
Stamford's troops await the Royalist attackers:

As the Royalist commander I had the lesser forces, generally smaller regiments however nearly all my troops were veteran whereas two of the Parliamentarian battalias were composed entirely of Raw troops, although they did consist of larger regiments. Royalist foot troops were organised into 4 "divisions" each consisting of 2 small regiments and a gun. 

My initial plan was largely dictated by the terrain. I had three roads leading up the hill which I would have to make some use of. My plan was to advance one foot division up each road and move my cavalry up the road on my left, not out pacing the infantry.

Unfortunately I blew that plan up as soon as I started commanding regiments. To really make progress I had to clear the defenders in the fields on either side of the roads so I sent one regiment from each division to do that along with all of  Col. Godolphin's on my left. 

Hopton's men found it slow going; with the enemy to their front almost immediately and the hedges impeding  their movement. Here they are on turn 3 not much further along than in the picture above...
Sir Grenville's foot is caught in column on the road and charged by Merrick's pike. Bad news for the Royalists...
They gone...

After seeing off  Grenville's, Merrick's hops the hedge and successfully blocks the advance of Sir Berkely's :

In another display of plan deviation, the cavalry trot up the road in column only to get stuck in column; John Stowell's troop of horse get charged through a hedge by enemy pike men. They, somewhat unpredictably, loose the combat and flee from the field!

To add insult to injury, the same pike men win two more combats against Royalist horse, disordering them and forcing them to retire, completely neutering the Royalists' "advantage".
 In the photo below you can see the Parliamentarian pike men picnic-ing in amongst the Royalists Dragoons (on the right in red) and horse, whist Sir John Digby (foreground) looks on helplessly. 
 As the battle comes to a close, the majority of the Royalist foot have left, never getting more than about 18" from their table edge.

In summary, the general plan was OK but as the Royalist commander, my execution was very poor. In particular the issuing of orders. During the first 3 or 4 turns I forgot that units on roads and in column gained a +2 command value bonus. That was aggravated by the way I issued my orders as I consistently ordered my foot units to "advance to the hedge, cross hedge and form line".  What I should have ordered was "Advance to hedge, form line and cross hedge." That way, when I came up short on the command roll they would have been against the hedge in line instead of on the other side of the hedge in column (that's bad when in range of the enemy). In my haste to get up the hill I was tactically unsound. I did the same thing with my horse on my left flank. 

I also forgot lots of things rules-wise again; sometimes to my advantage, sometimes to my disadvantage (the Proximity rule went out the window, for example). Not sure if we missed something about horse and foot in melee, as the text of the rules suggests that foot in melee with horse was at a severe disadvantage but we couldn't find actual rules that supported the sentiment of the text and as a consequence the foot faired very well. 

We use a variation of the Movement rules crossing obstacles as found on the QRF at the back of the book. There are actually 3 different sets of rules: the rules under Obstacles on page 41; the Alternative rules listed on the same page;  the rules on the QRS which say it takes a whole turn(!) for a formed unit to cross an obstacle. We play it takes one whole move (ie  6" for foot) to cross an obstacle, as opposed to one whole turn. Although using them as printed in the text would certainly allow for more movement, we felt it costing a move was a good compromise.

Another issue is I still haven't quite nailed down is correlating the units sizes of P&S with the figure count in the Partizan books or how to best represent Raw and Veteran troops. Generally veteran troops we make Elite 4+. As disorder can really stall things, the Elite rule reduces regiments spending a lot of time standing around. Many of the units in the Partizan books are Small in P&S which makes them extremely vulnerable. If you have a whole battalia made up of Small units it can end up Broken pretty quick. Even if the units are all Veteran, the Elite rule isn't going to help with that. 

In summation...
...more work is needed!