Thursday, March 21, 2013

Foray into Cowboys & More CSIR

The TooFatLardies have started a "Lard Approved" initiative to promote new rules writers and give them a chance to publish their rules. One of these is a set of Western Rules that I have signed on to playtest. I have several packs of Peter Pig "Hey, You in the Jail" packs of minis. Not knowing how to paint them, I asked for some advice on the Lead Adventure forum and got some advice and gave it a shot.

Well, my results were mixed. I used the Windsor & Newton inks as recommended by Ray. With that done, I left the to dry last night. I woke early enough that I decided to go ahead and varnish. Well, I forgot the instructions he game me to brush on some varnish first. I went straight to the can of spray matte varnish. The figures came out darker than I hoped they would.

The cowboys are actually the "Bad Bob" figure (figure 19). It comes with a dead, foot and mounted version. I tried to give him a gray suit with a leather vest and white shirt.

The other 2 packs that I have are the "Gunmen with Pistols" (figure 2) and "Posse with Pistols" (figure 5). These are nice minis with 3 variations per pack. I have placed one of each variant on a painting stick. I was going to see how Bad Bob came out first before trying these.

Also I tried to finish out some painted CSIR figures. Again, I used the Windsor & Newton ink and forgot the brush on varnish. They came out darker than intended.

I also had some CV33 tankettes laying around. These came out shiny even after the matt varnish.

I am not sure if I will leave these as is or try to redo them. I paint so slow, I am loathe to redo them. Any suggestions out there to save them?

Friday, March 15, 2013

More Dux Dead

I received my first casualty figures today from Sergeant Major Miniatures. These are nice figures and as I mentioned earlier, this is useful for the Saxons. Not so much for the Romano-British.

These are straight from the bag they came in. Five are in chainmail and three without armor. This should cover a couple of warriors and elites. I want to get some of the Pict casualties next. They could work for skirmishers on both sides and for Romano-British levy (possibly). After that, the Peter Pig Minis are next.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

CSIR Scenario Pack - Progress at last

I had hit a wall with this. I looked for any excuse to work on something else. Anything. But finally I am in a mindset to resume work. Reading through what I had written about the Stalino Campaign of October 1941, I realized that I had skimmed over too much.

Most of the work today has been translating elements of e operazioni delle unita italiane al fronte russo (1941 - 1943) (3rd Edition - 2000). It is a great general reference for the actions of the CSIR. Tomorrow, I hope to go back through my notes from the regimental history of the 80th Roma Regiment. If things go well, I should have the text finished in another week. More importantly, I will have nothing left to work on but the scenarios.

I need to work on a couple of good maps for each of the sections showing the distances that the troops covered largely on foot as they advanced across the Ukraine.

Anyway, it feels good to make progress on a project that has been in progress for 5 years now.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bring out your dead!

In thinking about skirmish level games, one thing that, to me, makes the table look interesting is casualty figures. I have been waiting to get the funds together to buy some. The game last week had Mark bring some of his casualty figures for our Dux Britannarium game. They really added to the look.

Here we have the first casualty of the game, a Saxon skirmisher. I really like the look as at the end of your game you have a visual of where the course of the battle took place. But not everyone has casualty figures. I decided to post on who does that are suitable for Dux Britannarium.

Sergeant Major Miniatures

In their 15mm lines they have several useful figures.
1) Bloody Day Vikings: Part Number VI7 These have some useful figures with round shields and helmets. Four of the 8 in this pack have chain shirts. These would work for a Viking or an Early Saxon force.

2) Bloody Day Picts:Part Number PI09 These are figures would work well for Briton Levy and of course Picts. No visible shields. Three have a helmet and one of those has some chainmail over the neck.

3) Bloody Day Islemen:Part Number IG04 These seem less useful to me for the base Dux Britannarium game. They would probably work for Vikings.

For some reason, the rest of their ranges do not have casualty figures. I have purchased some of the Viking casualty figures. In the picture above is one of the Pict casualties that Mark painted up.

Peter Pig

Peter Pig is one of my all time favorite manufacturers. I have their WWII, WWI, ACW and AWI figures. Now they have taken steps towards the Dark Ages. They launched Range 9 - Vikings of the ninth century- Longships "Wrath of the Vikings". I am sure they will shorten the name at some point but for the moment they have 3 packs of figures that are interesting.
1) 19. A bit dead - Disappointingly this pack has no pictures... yet. But I am a sucker for casualty figures and will pick up a pack.
2) 20.Really dead - Apparently, the range gets more grisly as it moves forward. The three pictured could work as Early Saxons. One has a broken round shield and a helmet. Another lays near his sword. The last is face down upon a small axe with his back cut open. They look pretty good and I will probably pick up a pack.
3) 21.Very very dead - Now this pack is much more grisly. This features severed limbs and I think one pictured features a visible spine and severed head. These feature no armor or weapons so they are probably looted bodies. I may pass on these.

Donnington Miniatures

As you can see thus far, it has been difficult to find suitable Romano-British dead.Up comes Donnington to the rescue. They have a nice selection of casualties. They have 42 separate casualty miniatures. Including "DD08 Late Roman Infantryman" and some dead horses (also dead elephants). DD28 Viking, DD11 Gothic Cavalryman and DD04 Barbarian all look useful as well. Apparently, there are no variations and just one type for each. Still, very useful.

QRF Miniatures

Our next contestant is QRF. At one point, I swore that there were Viking casualties. But I cannot find them. They do have Gaulish casualties. There are 8 figures to the pack. Again, another expansive set of ranges that only have a minority that have casualty figures. Still it is something.

These are the only ones that I know of. If anyone can point me in the direction of more, please let me know. Also I really want my favorite manufacturers to produce them. I e-mail Splintered Light repeatedly. I would love for Khurasan to make them as well for their Germans. Any help with market pressure would help.

Monday, March 11, 2013

April, 500 AD: Victory is Ours

The king read Lord Donyarth's letter for a second time. "My King, it is my good fortune to report that on this day we have smote the pagan invader from Habitancum's province. It was brought to my attention that a force of Saxons had landed on our shores. The small folk of the realm came to us as I was entertaining my cousin, Artbranan, from Pictland. He had with him a small force of men and he immediately agreed to join the in pursuit of the Saxon scoundrels."

The farm at the border.

"We could later learn that the Saxon invader was named Garmund who presumed to call himself 'the Bold'. His men had quite the head start in approaching the farmstead. He was far closer to the farm than we were. By the time we saw the invader, they had reached the farm."

The Saxon reaches the farm on

"Our forces quickly became one long slow line of men. Our archers led the way. I followed with my small group of Comanipulares. Next Artbranan's crossbowmen (4), his group of spearmen (8) and my cousin followed. Next, Senyllt and our two groups of Milites followed. Lastly was Gwalchafed and our three groups of Numeri."

"We approached the farm where we were told the invader was moving too from behind a large outcropping of rock. This narrowed number of men that could move through to the open fields near the farm. Indeed, this slowed our movements considerably so that we feared that we would not arrive in time. The Saxon had already gathered up the sheep and cows from the farm and had started to move them back to their ships.

Here you can see the entry point for the Romano-British. With such a narrow entry point, we did not thing we could reach the Saxons before they fled.

"The Saxons began to loot the houses of the farm. The first building was abandoned rapidly as was the third. The second seemed to entice them that something was there. Our canny peasants have so long hidden valuables from our own tax collectors that what chance did illiterate barbarians have?"

The houses to the right and left had 1's rolled for their loot test right off the bat. Nothing was ever found in the center hut even though it was searched almost every turn of the game. Right and center huts shown here.
"One of our archers tripped on his quiver and spilled his load of arrows across the ground. The others moved to assist him. This is the only possible explanation as to why they moved so slowly compared to my cousin's men. His crossbow men raced across the battlefield. They found the enemy skirmishers and fired into them as they attempted to run with the farm's cows. Here they drew first blood killing one of their skirmishers."

Mark's Pict crossbowmen. These are Sergeant Major Miniatures.

The Picts draw first blood. We used Mark's casualty figures from Sergeant Major Miniatures.

"Interestingly enough, one of their groups of warriors that was accompanied by an enormously hairy man, was herding sheep. We never caught up with this group. The farmer lost six sheep to these men. Two were carried by the hairy man, one under each arm. We later learned that this was Wulhere, the Saxon champion.

Senyllt and our Milites quickly formed a shieldwall and faced off against the closest Saxons. They moved into a line with two groups of their elite hearth guard facing the Milites and a group of warriors slinking behind a wall.

"To complicate matters, the Saxon presented cavalry on our flanks. Undoubtedly these were men who stole horses from some luckless Briton. These were no natural horsemen. They moved in lurching motions but still caused our men some concern."
These are a mix of Splintered Light and Outpost miniatures Saxon Cavalry. The standard bearer and spear wielding ones are from Outpost.

"The cavalry threatened and caused the Pict crossbowmen to flee to the safety of a nearby wood. My cousin moved his spearmen forward to challenge the cavalry and prevent them from attacking the rear of our infantry. This halted their advance. The crossbowmen moved to the edge of the wood and gave the cavalry a volley and ran them off."

"I must compliment the courage of my cousin at this point. His men charged the retreating cavalry. In a bounding rush they ran after the Saxons and chased them back to the farm."

"The Saxons began to fall back in order to consolidate their winnings thus far. They had taken another casualty from the Pict Crossbowmen at some point. They fell back to the well in the center of the farm. I saw an opportunity and charged my Comanipulares directly into the Saxon Hearth Guard. Our men slammed into the rough Saxon line and fought with great fury. We lost two men but threw the invader into great confusion. Many more Saxon lay dead at our feet but the charge and heavy fight left my men exhausted and unable to pursue. They withdrew to recover"

The British get very lucky and manage to beat a group of Saxon Elites but loose their amphora as well.

"Following our example, the Warriors quickly follow us into the faltering line of Saxons. Our Warriors further drove the Saxon back and shattered their line of battle.

The warriors proved even luckier and managed to beat another group of elites and did great damage to the supporting Saxon warriors. They would take 6 casualties in these sharp fights.

"The Saxon now only had a thought for escaping with their ill gotten gains. They began to fall back further and further. Our men had fought bravely and done very well. Gwalchafed and our three groups of Numeri finally had arrived. The levy proved decisive. As they were still fresh troops, they charged forward and drove off the remaining Saxon hearth guard. The remnants of their hearth guard fled from the field in terror of our martial excellence."

The levy had the worst movement rolls. On 3d6, I managed to roll a 3. In poor judgement, I attempted to wrap around the others by passing through a small field that further slowed them. Eventually, they got to where they needed to be.

The levy actually managed to cause some damage to the Saxon elites. The suffered 2 dead but inflicted more damage to the worn Saxons.

The uncultured Saxons must have been raised in a barn, as they ripped off the door to the hut rather than close it.

"Unexpectedly, the cavalry made another appearance within the farm. The Saxons threatened to charge our warriors that were regrouping after fighting off the infantry. I rushed to their side. Senyllt, Cadfan (my champion) and myself led our renewed warriors in a neck or nothing charge against the Saxon Cavalry and defeated them to a man."

Editor's note: The four cavalry were outmatched on the big men's dice alone in the fight. Only three cavalrymen were killed but we failed to check if it was horses or riders that died. Either way, the unit broke and ran causing the Saxon force morale to reach 0. This was enough to give the Briton's the game.

"The remaining Saxons fled the field. The two cows were recovered for the farmer. We looted the bodies of the dead. We won a great victory. We killed no less than 8 of the Saxon hearth guard. Another 7 of their warriors fell as well. We found three bodies of their cavalry and recovered several horses. Also we should not forget the first Saxon claimed by Pict Crossbows. Our losses were six of our warriors, two of my Comanipulares and another 2 of levy. I offer you this shirt of Saxon mail as evidence of our great victory."

"Your obedient servant,
Donyarth, Lord of Habitancum"

Editor's Note: The mail shirt offered was slashed open and nearly useless. The rest of the booty that was useful, he kept to himself and for his men.

The king shook his head. The arrogance of Donyarth worried him. Two attacks this month. Yes, both Aethelfrith and Donyarth had been successful. But this was only the beginning. His spies have told him that the numbers of Saxons hungry for plunder and land are limitless. Only time will tell if his kingdom will survive.


On Saturday March 9th, we had another game of Dux Britannarium. This was the Farm Raid scenario from the main rules. Doug had decided to go with a Saxon force and I tried my hands at some Britons.

Having extra players we added some additional forces to the base troops each command would have. Mark had painted up 8 Pict Spearmen and 4 crossbowmen. He commanded these and the Briton Warriors. I had based my Saxon Cavalry. So these were added to the Saxon forces. Doug and Steve shared the Saxon Command. We should have given additional skirmishers to the Saxons. The Saxons nearly had the game won before the British could reach the farm. Just bad luck kept this game from going their way. They were close to their friendly edge. They did make off with some of the sheep.

The results of the battle gave the Britons a Thief's Horde in plunder. In addition, we gained two additional warriors and are able to replenish our dead immediately. Doug's Saxons will replenish their troops in 2 months.

Thus far, the campaign is going well. We have only played out April of 500AD in two games. Thus far it is going well. Hopefully we can get Brian's troops on the table shortly to get him involved. It looks like we now have 5 solid players in the campaign. Stay tuned for the next installment.

Mark's pictures can be found here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Painting Updates

Well more progress was made and miniatures were based. I really need to learn how to photograph miniatures.

Saxons are up first. Lets start with some cavalry. I painted these a while back but I finally based them.

The first two are Splintered Light Miniatures. These come in packs of 6 but I just painted 2 so far.

The next ones were from the Outpost Miniatures Cavalry Command Pack.

Notice that these are really the same miniature just one has a spear and the other a standard. Not really happy with the standard. The spear is a little weak. I prefer the Splintered Light ones.

Next up are the Saxon infantry. These too are Splintered Light Minis.

Then we have the the British Levy.

These will finally finish out my Romano-British Army.

Lastly, we have the Picts.

These were fun to paint if not actually painted well. My attempt at plaid was almost a success.

Well that is it for this installment.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dux Britanarium & History

I have been following a historian's blog: Historian on the Edge. It is worth a read. Seems he has written a book about the period that Dux Britanarium is written for. He also had a list of 10 ways to rethink Arthur's Britain.

He provides some excellent food for thought about the period. While not romantic it definitely gives a feel for the dynamic environment that provides opportunities for the wargamer. The nice thing is, so little is known, that you can't be entirely wrong.

I am going to try to pick up his book at some point. It should be worth a read.

Painting in progress

Low and behold, I managed to wield a paintbrush last night. I have several items on my painting desk that were begging for attention. The east front items unfortunately had to wait. Dux Britanarium seemed to be drawing me. So paint I did. I could not stay focused enough to finish any one thing. Instead, I painted 2 Picts, 3 Britons (the last 3 levy that I needed so the peasant levy can take a rest finally) and 8 Saxon Foederati.

Based on a recommendation by Ray, I decided to use Windsor & Newton Peat Moss Ink in place of Army Painter or furniture polish. I still need to use a matte varnish on these figures but thus far it is promising.

First are the Britons.

The Britons are the two on the left. The one on the right is a Pict leader. These are all Splintered Light Miniatures. I like the Pict leader but I am not too wild about my attempt to paint a striped robe. I will touch up the shields before varnishing.

Next up is my Pict archer. The poor lad appears to be a bit cold.

I kind of like this figure in spite of my poor attempt at painting a plaid.

Lastly are my group of Saxons.

Again, I feel I need to touch up the shields some. I was lost as to what shield design to use for these troops. I wanted to give them more of a uniform appearance since they were to operate as Foederati troops manning the wall.

Anyway, it felt good to be productive. I just acquired some additional terrain pieces from eBay. I found someone selling plank fencing. I picked up 16 sections of plank fencing for under $10.00. I managed to get them washed last night but nothing more. Stay tuned as I will probably try to paint up a test section tonight.