Friday, 25 September 2015

Playtesting The Pikeman's Lament, Osprey Games

As I'm sure many readers will be aware, Osprey Publishing are releasing more and more board games and wargame rules. The company have recently announced another half a dozen titles to be released over the coming months, details of which can be found in the following link: 

However one that isn't listed is 'The Pikeman's Lament'. This is the forthcoming 17th century pike & shot rule set, due for release in early 2017, co-written by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck. This will be the third variant of the successful and popular core Lion Rampant (LR) rule system. You can follow both authors progress on their blogs here [Mersey Books] and here [Dalauppror]. 

For obvious reasons I won't go into too much detail about the rules. I will say however that although the core mechanics are the same as LR there is enough difference in the new version to justify another rule book. In particular Dan & Michael have developed a simple and intuitive method of creating a campaign which revolves around your commanding officer. The chance of that character being killed off completely by a lucky strike is still present but new system allows the possibility that your officer may escape to fight again. The rules are still being modified and added to as playtesting irons out any issues, this is another reason why I won't be detailing many of the mechanics or principles of the rules as they may not even appear in the final book. 

Although the rules as designed for skirmish games I was curious if they could be scaled up for larger battles using my entire collection. A normal game would consist of around 40-60 models using 24 points per side. This setup consisted in total of around one hundred and fifty infantry, thirty six cavalry and two artillery units (working out at about forty points per side). 

With this larger scale of game to lose your activation in the first turn could be potentially disastrous (admittedly very funny to witness but very frustrating if it happens to you). Therefore a house rule we came up with was to divide each army into different infantry or cavalry companies/regiments made up various units. If you lose activation for one unit within a particular company/regiment you can then move on to the next company rather than passing control over to your opponent. This is similar to how you could play the game if multiple players are taking part. It is, of course, still possible to fail the first activation for every company (especially if you have the same kind of 'lucky' dice as me) but at least using this method you may get a better chance to move or fight with some of your figures per turn.

The photos in this post don't depict an actual game. This was just an initial setup to see if a large scale game was viable on our small table.

I'm currently working on a group of dragoons for my army so hopefully I shall be able to post more images soon. I'm on the look out for civilian and casualty marker figures for the period which I'm hoping to purchase at the forthcoming Derby/Donnington show.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

This Day in History 23rd September

Just to reassure loyal readers that I'm still alive, here are a few images of sites of battles that occurred on this day in history, the Battle of Blore Heath (1459) and the Battle of Powick Bridge (1642). Both battlefields are relatively unchanged (especially Blore Heath). Hopefully I will be able to post more pictures and go into more detail about the areas when I get the opportunity. There are embedded links, the text bits in brackets i.e. [link], if you want more information.

The [Battle of Blore Heath] was the first major engagement between proper armies during the Wars of the Roses which saw an outnumbered Yorkist force defeat a substantial Lancastrian army led during the latter stages of the battle by Lord Dudley [Lord Dudley's banner]. More details can be found on the official site [Bloreheath]. It was also the scene where I very nearly got trampled flat by cattle (probably turncoat Lancastrians as they were on that side of the stream and they may recognised our Dudley accents, which curiously reflected what happened during the real battle). 
Blore Heath
The Battle of Powick Bridge is probably not as well known as the later Battle of Worcester but it could be argued that Powick was the place that saw the start and end of the English Civil Wars.

Powick Bridge
Powick Church
Fans of the ECW period should keep an eye out on this blog as I have a number of future posts dealing with that particular era.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Long Lost Friends, Warlord Games

In the (electronic) post today I received the latest newsletter from Warlord Games (click [here] for the link) and noticed a few figures that looked familiar.

One of the articles advertises Pike & Shotte Star Fort [here] which shows a bunch of brave/daft Scots Covenanters attacking the fortification. I recognised them because I happened to paint them for Warlord a few years ago. It feels like bumping into long lost chums that you haven't seen in ages.
It's nice to see they are still getting a run out. They must be popular because they also popped up on the back of the plastic ruined hamlet box a while ago which can be seen [here]. The yellow saker cannon which can be glimpsed in one of the photos was also one of mine which you can see/buy [here].

If you want to see vastly inferior quality images some can be found [here] and [here] from my blog.

If you want to see images of a real sconce click [here]. The Queen's Scone in Newark is probably the best preserved Civil War fortification to be seen in the UK.

If you want to see images of a tiny (miniature) sconce click [here] and [here].

I haven't painted any ECW figures for quite a few years now but this may have just tempted me to get a few more units back on the work bench and hence onto the tabletop.

I don't work for Warlord but if you don't blow your own trumpet then who will? ;)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Medieval Chapel, Tabletop Workshop

I received this model was a gift from a regular reader (cheers Derek) but as usual it has taken me quite a while to complete it.

This model depicts a small chapel which I feel is more appropriate to skirmish style games rather than a larger church model (said someone who made a castle great tower) and as such it will eventually form an essential focus for a scenario based on a real life event that took place in the 1432 and directly involved Lord Dudley and few of his retainers (or henchmen, it depends which side you were on).

The interior of medieval churches would often be a riot of colour as can be seen with a rebuilt medieval church such as an example at St Fagans Wales [here]. A smaller version can be found [here] but because I'm lazy I have left the interior plain.
Interior detail
Interior detail
Corner detail showing filled in location holes
Although the model is perfectly acceptable straight out of the box, regular readers probably won't be surprised that I couldn't resist altering it in some form (I was about to say 'improve' it but that's a matter of option) I wanted to give the impression that the church had been rendered and whitewashed. This is a feature rarely seen nowadays mainly because, ironically, the Victorians tended to remove it in an attempt to make the churches appear more medieval. To achieve this look I used Milliput to roughly fill in the gaps on the exterior walls but leaving just enough of the original surface detail to show though. I used Milliput rather than greenstuff because basically its the same stuff and a lot cheaper. Milliput is made from the same materials as greenstuff but has been mixed with chalk to bulk it out.

I made the model so that I could remove the roof and two walls. This was relatively easy. I initially glued two of the walls in place and then filled in the location holes that were visible from the outside. I didn't cut away any of the location pegs but I did covered the location walls on the over walls with thin pieces of greenstuff. 
Wargames Foundry Friar
shown for scale reference.
Unfortunately it appears that the manufacturer, Tabletop Workshop, no longer trades but it looks the model can still be bought online or possibly from old fashioned bricks and mortar stores if you're lucky.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Boris and Bobby, Perry Miniatures

Here finally side by side are the two similar figures mentioned previously. How I constructed the plastic figure is detailed in a previous post which can be seen [here].

One is a figure I made from plastic parts taken from various Perry boxsets and the other is a standard metal figure available from Perry Miniatures.
Front View
Rear View

All I can say is, if you're going to copy or steal an idea from someone than make sure it's from the best.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Street art, Heath Town, Wolverhampton

And now for something completely different...
I noticed this street art (graffiti doesn't really seem appropriate term for this) walking back from New Cross Hospital through Heath Town towards Wolverhampton. Anyone knows the area will already know that Heath Town doesn't enjoy the best reputations but this piece caught my eye, if only because it reminds me of someone I used to know.

A few more examples of the street art in the area can be found on this graffiti artist's site [here]. I don't think the same person created the image shown here as this appears to be a completely different style plus there's no identifying tag.

It caught my eye because the artist has managed to create a 'blended' effect using only spray cans which is a pretty impressive achievement. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Hunting Party, Perry Miniatures

This set of figures came about as a exercise as to how I could use a number of models given to me as a gift. Why I made a sabot base especially for these figures will be detailed later. 
The pointing left arm was originally taken from the original Perry's 'Wars of the Roses Infantry 1455 - 1487 boxset but this was for a man-at-arms so was covered with plate armour. This was cut away and then greenstuff was used to remodel the cloth.
The second mod was so subtle that I'd forgot I'd actually done it until I came to write up this post. The right arm holding the spear was taken from the Perry's 'War of the Roses Light Cavalry 1450-1500' but as the set represents weapons for horsemen the lance looked too long for this figure. In order to correct this I cut off the spear tip, removed around an inch of the plastic shaft and glued the tip back on.
After (paint)
Before (paint)
I've used a sabot base because there are a set of special house rules available on the Dux Rampant forum which means the dogs can be used as a unit when playing Lion Rampant, which can be found [here].

The dogs were made for Simon Chick (aka Painterman) who has an amazing collection of late medieval figures and is mentioned on the Perry's Light Cavalry boxset as the 'go-to' reference for Burgundians, his blog can be found [here].

I was given these particular models as a give from a friend I met via this blog (hello Derek!)