Monday, 21 March 2016

On This Day - Battle of Stow 21st March 1646

On this day in 1646 the Battle of Stow took place. This was the last major battle of the First Civil War.
Site of Battle of Stow
Battle of Stow Monument
Monument Detail
Details of the battle can be found here: 

Market Cross
After the Royalist were pushed back into the town and taking around two hundred casualties in the market square the Royalist commander Sir Jacob Astley sat down on the medieval cross and said, 

'Gentlemen, ye may now sit down and play, for you have done all your work, 
if you fall not out among yourselves!’ 

It was the same Astley that prayed before the Battle of Edgehill,

"O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me." 

quickly followed by the order,
"March on, boys!" 

St. Edward’s Church (which can be seen behind the cross in the above photo) where hundreds of Royalist prisoners were held after the battle, contains a very rare surviving grave of a Civil War causality, that of the royalist Captain Hastings Keyt.  
Grave of Hastings Keyt
Grave of Hastings Keyt
Grave detail of Hastings Keyt
More recently the back door of the church, bracketed by trees, are said to have inspired Tolkien's Gates of Moria, his sketches of which do look very similar. The church also held the funeral for John Entwistle, bass guitarist for the band The Who.
St. Edward’s Church, Stow
Back door of St. Edward’s Church, Tolkien inspiration?

Thursday, 17 March 2016

WMMS 2016

Last Sunday saw the annual West Midland Military Show, better known by its acronym WMMS, take place. I realise its a cliché but these annual shows really do seem to fly by with surprising speed as the years pass. As usual I'm probably the last person online to post images from the show. My brother took the photos which probably explains why they are generally in focus. It will also explain why I'm not able to identify the majority of the tables as he didn't take notes or photograph any of the info that normally identifies the stands.

The date of the show unfortunately fell a week before my monthly payday so I kept my purchases to an absolute minimum. I will however, over the next few weeks, be posting a few of the purchases that my brother picked up.
WWII Displays - J Vaughan

Mill detail - Shrewsbury
ECW Battle of Edgehill
ECW Battle of Edgehill
ECW Battle of Edgehill
Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
The standard of the games on display was very good. My brother and myself were admiring one (unattended) particular table (Photos below). I assumed was a display English Civil War game given the quality of the terrain and number of figures that populated the table. I do mean 'populated' because everywhere you looked there were small detailed vignettes, civilians going about their daily business and even animals in natural settings.

After a while two chaps walked across, apologised for making us wait (no apology needed as we thought it was a display game) and asking if we wanted to play a game.

The scenario was based on the true events involving the rescue of Charles I who was being escorted in a stagecoach to a manor house.

Ducking Stool detail 
Windmill detail
King Charles I's armed escort

Tavern scene
'My' guards beginning their rescue attempt
Stopping off for a swift half at the local tavern
My men getting distracted by the local attractions
The rules were a variation of the Steve Jackson Zombie dice game. Very simple to play and follow.

For better photos of the game take a look [here].

There were over a dozen more participation and demo games of which only a handful we managed to photograph.
WWI Bolt Action
WWI Bolt Action
Also at the show were a number of modelling groups.As usual the standard of display was very high.

Washington State Patrol Car - Pensnett
Mark V Tank - Wombourne
All-in-all the WMMS is a very enjoyable show with plenty of different displays and games to keep you interested. I'm already looking forward to next years show.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Hold On Tight, Lion Rampant

I'm finally managing to get somewhat organised, blog-wise. These are a few doctored images of a game played between gaming chums Derek, George and myself a few weeks ago. The game was based on Scenario E: Hold On Tight (I think). The object was to reach the bridge as quickly as possible and hold it against the enemy. In this particular game this involved Derek and myself taking on George.
You may notice it took an eternity to get my forces into the game with Derek pushing on and reaching, and holding, the bridge first. It didn't help that my deployment decision was terrible, plus I was using my notoriously unlucky dice. Well...any dice I use seem to be unlucky.  

Derek and myself managed to hold of George's forces and gain enough glory points to secure the win. I had to stop myself from celebrating with a small victory dance as winning games is a habit I somehow haven't managed to develop. There's few things more annoying than a bad winner. The game took place at [Asgard Games Uk] in sunny Walsall, West Midlands.

If you want to see far better photos please pop over to George's page [Hrothgars shed blog] and read the proper game review.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

C16th & C17th Army Covered Supply Cart and Horse, 4Ground & Colonel Bills

As the title indicates these are a combination of models bought from Wargamer show held in Halesowen back in December. The draught horse is from Colonel Bills. Their website can be seen [Colonel Bills]. The cart is from 4Ground (Code: 28-CAW-309). Their website can be seen [4ground carts].
The model cart doesn't come with any covering but I thought this looked a bit odd. I had considered using tissue paper or kitchen roll but quickly realised this was either too thin or patterned. 

The owner, Vince, of the local gaming store [AsgardGamesUk] suggested using a wet wipe after seeing it mentioned by Mel [TheTerrainTutor] on YouTube. This proved to be perfect. The material is not too thick and so look out of scale but is strong enough to hold its shape after being painted. He even provided me with one to try.

After letting it dry out I placed the wipe over the model and marked the basic pattern out, remembering to allow enough extra material to allow it the droop between the ribs. 
The (dry)wipe was then superglued into position and then 'painted' with watered down PVA glue. Once dry the wipe/covering was painted to represent dirty, weathered canvas. I sanded the two shafts to knock off the sharp edges.

Since these photos were taken I've painted black straps onto the shafts to indicate that they are attached to the harness rather than just appearing to float as seen here. 
I've deliberately left off any figures so that I can use the set for different periods. I tend to use this set with The Pikeman's Lament rules. Scenarios involving protecting or raiding supply wagons are generally quite fun, especially if you can set 'fire' to them. I may even use it in a sneaky fashion in future games. Even if they are not used in play they still improve the look of the tabletop.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

ECW Casualty Markers, The Pikeman's Lament

These markers are used to keep track of individual losses for multi-based figures. whilst playing the (as yet to be released) 17th century skirmish ruleset from Osprey, The Pikeman's Lament. The modified figures are taken from the Warlord Games 'Firelock Storming Party' box set.

As I don't particularly like to depict the face of death (I prefer to put the emphaise on gaming when wargaming) I covered the face of one of the plastic 'causalities'. As making these bases are quite time consuming and uses up relatively costly figures, for future markers I will probably just produce simpler bases with the detritus of the battlefield.

A YouTube video of how I made similar markers (for Bolt Action pin markers) can be found [here].
I had previously relied on having loose individual dice to mark casualties but when die are being scattered across the tabletop it is very easy for these to get lost amongst the chaos. Using markers like this also then at least you have a decent chance of being able to keep track of things.
The co-author of the new The Pikeman's Lament rules, Dalauppror, has come up with an unusual basing system which can be used with the rules. Keeping true to the spirit of the original rules (i.e. newcomer friendly and flexible), this basing method doesn't have to be strictly adhered to, it's just a recommendation to aid game play. Details of Michael's method can be found [here].

It isn't a basing method that I'm going to use simply because a lot of my figures are already based in groups of four. If you're going to be using the core mechanics of the Lion Rampant system then it may be worth considering, especially so as I believe that this group of rules will be considered future classics of their type.