Saturday, 15 January 2022

Movement trays for paper soldiers

Most of my miniatures are based on 4x3 inch bases in groups of 9 to 12 figures all fixed to the base. This works fine for me as I don't really like moving around units with too many bases, especially individually based figures. The exceptions to this are my three paper soldier armies (1066 Norman/Saxon, Jacobite Revolution, and War of the Spanish Succession) where each unit is made up of 6 to 9 bases. The reason for this number of bases is so I can lay them down in their storage boxes when not in use. Some of the figures are just too tall for easy storage.

Saxon paper soldier units with 6 bases per unit

Up until now I have moved the multiple stand units while doing my best not to misjudge depth and catch some of the spears, causing them to get bent over. Anyway, this weekend I thought I would try and address the situation and make some movement trays using some MDF sheet.

About 20 movement trays were cut out sized 8x3 inches.

The trays were painted green, then once dry painted with PVA glue and the scatter/flock lightly sprinkled over. I was not going for a full coverage, just enough to help break up the painted flat green look.

A completed movement tray.

My test of an unpainted movement tray showed there was little movement of paper soldiers when lifting and moving them around the tabletop. This is due to their very light weight. Adding the scatter/flock adds some more friction to the tray's surface and the figures only start to shift about a bit if held at an angle of more than 30 degrees.

A 6 base Saxon Housecarl unit on a movement tray.

A 9 base WSS unit on a tray in line.

A 9 base WSS unit in column,

WSS artillery limbered.

WSS artillery unlimbered.

One advantage of the 6 base units is there is room on the movement tray for counters or dice to mark hits or other unit statuses. 

Unit with hit counter (2 hits taken so far)

Unit with dice as hit markers. Although the dice are more likely to slip off the tray than the figures.

All set up for a One Hour Wargames game using the movement trays. Hopefully with no more spears getting bent over.

Friday, 14 January 2022

A couple of secondhand books arrive in the post

A couple of secondhand book purchases arrived this past week in the post. The first was "Stuart Asquith and Terry Wise's Wargaming 17th Century Battles" edited by John Armatys and John Curry. This book covers some 20 battles of the period, mainly English Civil War and a couple of rule sets at the end. Each battle has a brief background and description of the battle, order of battle, maps and tips for wargaming the battle. It is not going to be one of those books I read from cover to cover, but rather I will pick up read about a battle and setup on the tabletop.

Wargaming 17th Century Battles

Wargaming 17th Century Battles - Contents

The second book "War-game Campaigns" by C.S. Grant I was lucky enough to pickup on eBay from an Australian supplier of secondhand books, which meant no eye-watering postage costs. It describes itself as a book that provides basic DIY (Do It Yourself) ideas and suggestions for using various campaign rules and playing mechanisms, which are covered in about 150 pages. This is one book I will probably read from cover to cover. As I do like running my own solo campaigns and enjoy the writing style of the author.

Wargame Campaign

War-game Campaigns - Contents

On the tabletop this week has been some 1066 Saxons and Norman games as I try out some rule modifications.

1066 Saxon vs Norman game about to start

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Remote wargaming the Second Battle of Azukizawa, 1548

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to enjoy a remote samurai period game with Jon of Palouse Wargaming Journal. Jon suggested a samurai game which was perfect for me as I am getting closer to finishing the painting of my Samurai armies and I am begin thinking about rules to use. This was my second remote game with Jon who has an excellent setup with cameras on each side of the table and a mobile camera for close ups of the action as required.

A close up view of Jon's armies in action. I believe they are 10mm figures and look splendid with all their bright colours and banners.

The game took a bit over 3 hours which seem to go by in no time what so ever. We used Basic Impetus rules with one of two adjustments by Jon which included an Army Breakpoint Clock. An army's clock was reduced with unit losses and also unit retreats. There was an option of sacrificing leaders as a means to offset a reduction in the clock.

I was playing the Oda army which has just realised it has been ambushed by the Imagawa army.

A full briefing pack was supplied by Jon and having chosen the Oda army I formulated a plan which was to push forward in the centre while try and break through on my left flank. The right flank was to give ground and hold off any attacks as long as possible

The plan - what could possibly go wrong?

What actually happened was my centre fought a good fight and was pretty well matched. My cavalry did well, breaking through and created a few problems for Jon. However, my flank attack stalled in the woods and could provide no assistance to my centre, so I was increasingly on the back foot. The right flank put up a brief and valiant defence but was eventually swept away.

The game was most enjoyable and appeared pretty close for quite awhile. I always thought I was in with a chance. This optimism did reduce a tad with the poor showing on my left flank and once Jon's left flank got rolling the game was up (as they say).

This was the first time I have played Basic Impetus and they seemed straightforward enough, so I purchased a PDF copy.
Purchased after the game.

Anyway, another game is being scheduled for later in January where we will swap sides and refight the Battle again. Congratulations and many thanks to Jon for hosting this game.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Ancient Campaign turn 4 game 2 - Battle of Caieta 221 BC

The game report has been waiting from before Christmas to be written up and covers the second game being fought out in turn 4 of the Ancients campaign. The battle of Caieta, 211 BC, takes place in Southern Italy and has a force lead by Hannibal trying to reverse the recent trend of Roman victories.

The Roman general's view.

Elephants prepare to advance.

Each side has 7 units which are randomly selected using dice from 6 options on a table. This time Carthage has some elephants which they have been missing in the last few games, and are always a joy to see as miniatures on the tabletop. 

Chance cards are being used through out the campaign and are adjusted when generals are present or there are additional forces in the region. In this case both armies gain a rally card (replacing a no effect card) for having a second army present in the Southern Italy region. While the Carthaginians will also benefit from an additional initiative chance card because of the presence of Hannibal.

The campaign map for game 2 in turn 4.

In the last few games Rome has been successful using the tactics of pushing forward their heavy infantry as quickly as possible and getting to grips with Carthaginian centre troops. In this game the Carthaginian elephants in the centre will frustrate the same tactics.

On to the game...

The battle opened with Carthage's pushing forward with their elephants and Gauls in the centre, and on their right flank cavalry moved forward.

In previous games the Romans had been particularly successful pushing forward with their heavy infantry in the centre, but with elephants heading their way they tried to shift the attack to the right while holding off the elephants.

The game at the mid-point with Roman heavy infantry moving forward to attack while holding off the elephants as Carthaginian cavalry close in on their flank.

The game is in the balance as the elephants are eliminated and the final line of Carthaginians engage the advancing Romans while flanking harass the Roman centre.

The Roman infantry rush forward hoping to break the Carthaginian centre.

Cartage's centre holds and with flank units closing in Rome is defeated.

The Carthaginians return to their winning ways under the command of Hannibal. The campaign will move into turn 5 and will see the arrival of Scipio the Younger.

The campaign position after the second game and Carthage's victory.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Japanese themed scenic backboard

Today I did not feel like playing a game and decided to create a Japanese themed backboard instead for a bit of fun and also to complete a family challenge. The challenge was to create something in January with the theme of falling water, which explains why the scenery has waterfalls. I have completed a backboard before for my WW2 Western Desert games using just water colours. This time I used artist pastels because of details like trees and waterfalls.

Japanese themed backboard with Samurai.

The whole thing took a lot less time than I expected and I was able to complete in half a day. I used a foam board and started off sketching out the landscape using water colours. Once all dry I then applied chalk based artist pastels. A coat of clear sealer was sprayed on at the end to hold the pastel in place so they don't smudge when used.

The sketch drawing using water colours.

The scenic backboard in place

A closer view

The drawing is pretty basic but suitable enough for wargaming purposes.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Samurai armies rebased and on parade

Over the New Year period I was able to rebase my Samurai armies. I am much happier with the basing results. The units look better and I have the flexibility to increase or decrease a unit's size. Presently both armies sit at about 140 miniatures each. Once I have completed the remaining miniatures I expect that to go up to about 170 per army. Not that they would all be on the tabletop at once. I would normally field about 8 units so not to over crowd my 6x4 foot table.

The red army set up with 4 bases per unit. 3 infantry per base or 2 cavalry.

A closer view from the side

Rather than go with individual figures for commanders, I am thinking about using the banners/flags to show which units have commanders attached.

A mounted samurai unit with retainers running behind.

The same mounted samurai unit with two banners showing a commander is attached.

I am as yet unsure about the rules I will use. There are presently three options I am plan to look at:

  • Pike and Shot Wargaming from the book "Wargaming and Introduction" by Neil Thomas.
  • Never Mind the Billhooks rules by Andy Callan and provided free with Wargames Illustrated last year. 
  • Pike and Shot rules from One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas.

The first two sets of rules allow for combined unit (pike-arquebus, pike-bow, pike-swords, etc) while One Hour Wargaming (OHW) is my normal starting point for rules. The activation system in Never Mind the Billhooks seems very appealing and the rules also allow for differently sized units. I have also found a few free Samurai specific rules which I need to read through, but most appear to be geared towards skirmish actions.

Both armies lined up.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Minifigs Samurai armies progress

I have returned to painting my mainly old Minifig Samurai miniatures with a few Dixon figures purchased many, many ears ago. Having done a couple of army parades as I progressed to keep myself motivated, there was one thing that bothered me, and that was the infantry basing which looked all a bit too regimented and close order. 

Since I started the project I have been doing more reading about the armies, their equipment, organisation, formations, etc. This along with some timely comments as I posted painting progress updates (thank you Rob) has convinced me for the need to rebase all the figures I have done. The rebasing aim will be to give the impression of more open formations which tended to be used. Additionally, I want the show the combined pike and arquebus/bow formations without one row of figures being stuck behind the other.

My previous style of basing is behind a rebased unit

The looser basing approach allows arquebus figures to placed between pikes rather than behind as with my previous basing approach,

Now is a good time to do the rebasing. I am on holiday and Melbourne temperatures for the next couple of days are expected to be in the high 30's Celsius (approximately 94 Fahrenheit or more). I can apply the paint, PVA glue and flock and wait no more than 15 minutes for the stuff to try when placed outside in the sun. This really speeds up the process. I aim to have all the rebasing completed over the next couple of days.

Preparation work has already begun. I use a chisel to remove the miniatures from the old bases, and for the most part they come away cleanly with just a little bit of tidying up to do.