Friday, 31 August 2012

Battle of Detroit War of 1812 re-enactment, Cardiff Castle

A I mentioned in a previous post, on the previous bank holiday my brother and myself attended a re-enactment of the Battle of Detroit from the War of 1812 which was held at Cardiff Castle.  
A number of British re-enactors from the 28th (North Gloucestershire), 33rd (Duke of Wellington's) and the 41st (Welch) Regiments took part with a small group of them also representing US infantry. I have a lot more photos which are available following the link below.
Link to the main Photobucket photo album:
A special guest star was Major General Isaac Brock. The real chap was in fact a jolly nice, and very informative, Canadian re-enactor.
Link to Brock's Canadian regiment: 

I'll be adding to the descriptions, titles etc. as, and when, I get the opportunity but please feel free to add any relative information.

On a small side note, I can highly recommend a visit the Goat Major pub, very nice pints of Brains SA bitter, great pies, good value and very friendly staff. The pub is only yards away from the main entrance to the castle.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Demo wargame of Battle of Lundy's Lane, Cardiff Castle

Last weekend my brother and myself attended the 'The Fight for Canada 1812-1815. Bicentenary Re-Enactment' held at Cardiff Castle (I hope to post my other photographs from the day as soon as possible). Part of the show included a demo game of the Battle of Lundy's Lane (July 1814) using the British Grenadier rules by Eclaireur put on by the Penarth & District Wargames Society. They were a very friendly, informative bunch who didn't mind answering numerous inane questions from my brother and myself. The participants actually gave an interesting demo unlike, I've increasingly noticed, a number of so called demonstration games (the clues are in the words) which I've witnessed at shows where the public seem to be viewed as somewhat of an annoyance.

The figures on the table were made up from an equal mixture of Front Rank, Perry and Victrix 28mm Napoleonic miniatures. The American Colours (flags) are by Flags of War and the terrain pieces from several different manufacturers.
The main event at the castle was the re-enactment (using 1:1 scale figures) of the Battle of Detroit which was entirely appropriate as the original 4th American Regiment of Infantry, captured at the battle, was on display literally around the corner from the game. 

The lighting in the Firing Line museum was subdued for obvious reasons but it did mean that it wasn't very suitable for playing/showing off a demo game. I mention this only as a weak excuse for my awful photographs (I sometimes wonder why I bother as they really are getting worse).

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Trebuchet - Part 2 of 2

In this post I will concentrate on the base. I'll go into a bit more detail with this for reasons that will soon become obvious.

Normally I would simply fix the crew to the base as I have done with previous artillery pieces. However because of the Cry Havoc/Siege's unique causality recording system I thought it would be nice not to fix the crew but allow them to be interchanged to show them in at least two of the their states (healthy/wounded or stunned/dead).

Therefore as I was making the main base from cut-off pieces of 4mm MDF I needed to figure out a system that would let me change the figures around. 
After a great deal of pondering and false starts resulted in this cheap and cheerful alternative to buying a special slotted/sabot base for the artillery crew. Using the method described below will give the look a diorama style base but will also allow the practical removal of the figures as required with the Cry Havoc/Siege's rule system. A bonus is that the base will stay relatively thin. 

If you're going to have a go at this method of basing then I would strongly recommend allowing plenty of space to position your model AND figures when you're planning your layout and dimensions of the base, especially if you intend to sand down and/or bevel the edges. I made this fundamental error and had to start all over again after discovering that I couldn't even fit a single figure onto the base properly - d'oh!

I used a few lengths of plastic sprue, ideally the same thickness as the base used for the figures. This ensures that the base of the figure will sit flush with the raised surface of the main base. As plastic sprue is rarely square in section use a sharp blade or shade down one edge so that it forms a ninety degree to the large base. Then bevel the outside edge.

The beveled edge doesn’t have to precise as this will be covered in flock and grass but a shallow angle will help in creating a better final visual result. Remember that its real purpose is to ensure that the figure base blends in with the raised main base as closely as possible.

Try to use an original edge to form the inner side of the pit for the figure if possible, as this will be guaranteed straight and also will be visible when the figure is removed during play. 

Place these plastic strips around a base you tend to use for your figures. When you are happy with the length and position of the strips, drop a small amount of poly cement onto the joints. I wouldn’t recommend using superglue as there is a very strong possibility of sticking the entire assembly, together along with the figure base itself, to your work surface. Using a poly cement at least allows you a few minutes to safely remove the figure and reposition the strips if necessary. I am, naturally, speaking from experience.

When fully dry you can then remove the sharp corners and blend the edges together with sandpaper or a blade. This is now ready to be fixed to the main base. 

Ensuring that the eventual position of the figure won't interfere with the main model, fix the plastic locating square the main base. Try to ensure no glue spreads over into the ‘pit’ as this with be visible when complete.

When texturing the figure engineer's base I used larger stones and bushes to break up the straight lines of the base.

This technique now seems that obvious and simple I’d be surprised I haven't seen it before (actually I probably have and have just convinced myself that it's my idea). I was thinking about calling this method ‘Matt’s Patented Hollow Base Locating Technique’ - catchy title, I know.

The model was painted with a combination of Citadel and Vajello paints.

I've since added a few more tufts to try and break up the outline of the holes.

The 'stone' balls are made from a hard foam-like material, given to me by John from the Pensnett Model Makers Society, I whittled (you can't beat a good whittle) each of the balls into a crude circular shape and left them to look like rough hewn stone. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Trebuchet - Part 1 of 2

This small model trebuchet detailed in these two posts was made as a direct result of a very frustrating encounter with an awful 'Finecast' version from Games Workshop. I may give a blow by blow account in a future post if I can ever be bothered to finish it. The parts are currently lying in a pile, bent and broken, somewhere in a storage box.  I did nevertheless manage to divert a complete disaster by using the resin kit as a template to create the one detailed in this post and which will explain why it looks similar.

The base of the not exactly FineCast (?) GW version,
the less said about it, the better.
Anyway back to my version. This model has been made mainly from balsa, with hardwood round dowel, plastic sprue, copper wire, wooden coffee stirrers and model chain for the various detailing. 
All new and improved WIP hand-built balsa version,
note the original location of the winch. 
As I've just mentioned I used the original individual model parts from the GW model as a initial guide for the main framework. I used lapjoints wherever the beams crossed each other, which were easy to make with balsa. For the main throwing arm/beam I used a hardwood dowel as I thought balsa wouldn't have enough linear strength. I gradually dry-fitted the components piece by piece until I was assured that all the parts went together correctly before they were glued in place.
On my command, unleash the Werther's Originals .. sorry, I meant... 'Unleash Hell!'

As I wanted to add a slide for the stone balls, a feature seen in medieval illustrations of trebuchets, it gradually dawned on me that using the GW model as a guide wouldn't work. The stone and sling would fowl the spindle for the winch mechanism. With this in mind and recalling numerous artillery pieces from various re-enactment societies I moved the spindle and placed it at the very rear of the model.

The counter weight is made from the ubiquitous wooden coffee stirrers, the bolts were made by simply chopping off small sections of a cocktail stick. Once made, I filled the box with scrap pieces of foam and then topped it off with small pebbles to represent large boulders and then filled the gaps with sand all stuck in place with copious amounts of PVA wood glue.

The sling is made from the thin metal wrapper from a tube of tomato puree and all the rope/cables are made from copper wire stripped out from electrical cable. The slide itself is made from wooden coffee stirrers.

At this stage I was considering adding a ratchet mechanism using plastic card but I stopped, put my tools down and actually thought 'That's enough, it's only a gaming piece not a museum piece." 

The model does (or did before I glued everything into place) actually work in the sense that both the arm and counter balance can freely rotate and fully swing. However, I did made the counter balance too large and it hangs too low; in a full scale version it would mash into the framework and do more damage to the crew than any enemy castle.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Great Give-Away Competitions

There are some great free give-away competitions from two very generous bloggers running at the moment. Both must be slightly bonkers as the prizes are far too nice to simply give away, in my opinion. 

As I'm a big fan of getting free stuff I thought that I'd spread to love (and lower my own chances of winning) and let as many as my fellow bloggerites into the fun as possible.

No purchase necessary, simply 'Follow' the blog, leave a comment and then wait for the goodies to arrive (hopefully).

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Men-at-Arms (with shield), Crusader Miniatures

Just a quick update for my ongoing Cry Havoc project.
These are the completed billmen; eight are required in total for the combined Cry Havoc/Siege scenarios. I've trimmed off some of the spikes of the bills so they look less uniform.


These are all Men at Arms (MCF030) from Crusader Miniatures, now twenty four in total. Another eight are currently being painted, mainly as spearmen. I've already painted their shields using the rest of medieval Shaftesbury floor tiles as a painting guide.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Warcaster Kommander Sorscha, Warmachine (Privateer Press)

Another month, another project. Not really, only joking. This is just a quick post for my own reference really as it's another figure I painted for my mate Ade (WargamingForFun link).

For this figure I stuck to a rather subdued colour palette, using mainly my standard red and brown leather paints (although saying that I've just counted and realised that I actually used six 'base' colours, that's not including high/lowlights).

I'm getting more and more tempted by this range as the models are very easy to model and paint up. It is one of the few (modern) rule sets that I've been able the grasp the basics off from playing a couple of games. Must resist temptation!