Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Healthy Competition

Hello again.

This was going to be a post about my receipt of something I have been looking forward to for a while, but then sort of mutated in my head into a quandary I have yet to resolve.

Being a fan f the SAGA series of games and supplements, I was keen to get my hands on the proposed Arthurian version when it finally arrived. Well, now it is indeed here.

The new SAGA rulebook, with the Romans/ British dice set.

In all its hardbacked glory, it arrived here Chez G on Monday morning. It looks gorgeous, is full of eye candy and will get plenty of outings, I suspect. I had already checked out a couple of reviews (Type SAGA Aetius Arthur into your search engine and you will find many, but I would recommend the run through Wargames Illustrated gives it). The main criticism seems to be that there are numerous references to other titles in the SAGA series, which is problematic if you do not own them. I do own them, having bought into the series in a big way, but I can fully understand that a reference to the effect that "see page x in supplement y" is less than helpful to those who do not have that access. However, what you get is not only good to look at and will probably play well, but is also another six forces to use as well as notes for using other, previously detailed forces too. Of special note to me is the ability to use my Irish as Scotti, which means I only need to paint up one other force to start some games, unless I use the "counts as" line of thought and backdate my Vikings as Saxons or whatever. I would recommend this book heartily, warts and all.


Other, more big battle orientated sets I also like the look of.


I had in mind some other sets for the period and that is where the quandary arose from.

SAGA is a game for singly-based figures, unlike the two below (though you can do so with Age of Arthur if you want to spend all day setting up and moving).
I have based all my SAGA forces on 25mm round bases (50x25mm for cavalry).
I have a horde of figures for the period, and want to use them all where possible, so mixed basing styles possibly would not suit.
I can use sabot bases, but don't tend to like the look of them and in a WAB game, anything that has a wider frontage per figure tends to lose out.
Dux Bellorum uses whole unit bases, so sabots may work here as with WAB, but there is still the aesthetics to overcome.

I will of course sort these little issues out one way or other.

The main thing is that I now have even more reason to paint all the Saxons and Arthurians I have stashed away. And I even have a box of Huns stowed away somewhere for something slightly different! I may even buy myself a box of Gripping Beasts Late Roman plastics, though, if I stay with SAGA for this period and indeed forego other sets, I no doubt have enough to do a large Late Roman and a British force already.

In the current absence of any defined project for 2018 for a show game or whatever, I hope to get started on this very soon, once reinforcements for my FIW forces have been completed.

Now, how exactly does a wargames magpie solve such conundrums as which project to do next and how to stop buying more stuff???


Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Leinster Light Horse

Hello again.

Rather a grandiose and potentially misleading title for this post perhaps, but "Dark Age Irish Cavalry" is a bit dull...

When the "Wyrley Retinue" were preparing this year's show game, "Storri's Trek 2: The Rath of Cahan", I decided we needed loads more figures than our SAGA collections would provide.

Sundry cries of "Megalomaniac!" later, not to mention claims that I did not understand what a "small game" was, and I had enough Vikings and Irish to field several SAGA forces. In my defence, I was not just thinking about SAGA, but had the WAB "Shieldwall" and "Age of Arthur" supplements in mind too and now, and soon to be winging its way onto G's doorstep, the SAGA "Aetius Arthur" edition of the game. I might finally get my British and Early Saxons done!!! And, in my defence, units under the "Lion Rampant" rules we are using for the show game are larger than their SAGA counterparts.

Anyway, I wanted some Irish cavalry, so looked around for a few suitable figures. I found a few bits at Colonel Bill's (though the horses were massive), and I could have thrown in a few Picts or similar, but felt they were too early in style for the 10th Century, or thereabouts. So I settled on some Crusader Miniatures and Gripping Beast figures, with a hint of mail armour and a spangenhelm or two for some melee-orientated types, as depicted here, together with a leader figure, whose provenance I am unsure of (as a figure anyway. I am sure his provenance as a leader is first class!)

I have just finished painting a more skirmish-orientated unit of cavalry too, who will make their debut at WMMS in March (12th to be precise, at the Aldersley Leisure Centre near Wolverhampton in the UK), together with some more Vikings, some more Norse-Gael and perhaps a few other bits and bobs - we do like to slightly alter our games between outings so you see something just a little different each time. However, I will post pictures of those later on.

So, for now, here is the Leinster Light Horse in all its finery.


Fergus mac Cormac, in all his finery, ready to take the fight to the Norsemen. He will certainly be taking the fight to the Norsemen if Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev gets to command his unit again. I think my dear brother believes all cavalry are British Heavies from Napoleonic times and uses them accordingly...I think I will try him out with something like Huns in future to test the notion further.

Fergus is clearly a Christian and likes blue.

And the view my Vikings prefer of him.

Fergus' hearthguard or comitatus or whatever. Fianna, that's it.

Raging Ruaridh likes one to one.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Colleagues of Mr Rogers

Hello again.

Here are the last few photos of my FIW collection to date, built initially with "Muskets & Tomahawks" in mind but latterly with a view to sampling "Sharp Practice 2" as well.

These are Rangers, the "British" equivalent to the various French irregulars found in North America in the mid-18th Century.

The figures were bought from Ainsty Castings in a blister pack from their "Reinforcements" options for M&T and are marketed by North Star in the UK, I believe. You can also get a boxed starter set of rangers, along with British regulars, French regulars, French and British irregulars, Indians and, no doubt, a few other bits and bobs.

I have mixed and matched uniforms with non-uniforms to try and get that irregular feel to them, not just fresh out of barracks. And I know the green is too bright, but that is intentional. The "correct" dark green (whatever "correct" is for uniforms dyed before modern times and subjected to the vagaries of use and weather) is very dark and looks almost black at normal viewing ranges. That might make them suitably camouflaged in the forests of North America, but it also makes them disappear as 28mm figures on the average tabletop. I simply wanted to be able to SEE them as the visual aspects of a game some of the most important for my gaming pleasure.

Next up, but some way off, are more Indians, some Highlanders and some Compagnies Franches de la Marine, as well as various officers, but whatever order they appear in and when is entirely unclear!


A paltry six figures, but they fight like tigers, so very much quality over quantity.

Perhaps the "classic" image of Ranger uniform, but only one of many found in books or on the web.

And classic Ranger headgear vs Tam o'shanter.

Together with no uniform at all in some cases.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

His Majesty's 44th Regiment of Foot

Hello again.

Hot on the heels of their regular opposition (see the "Volontaires Etrangers" post) come His Majesty's 44th Regiment of Foot.

Fresh from a narrow defeat at the hands of the "French", these fellows can hold their heads high as, despite heavy casualties, they took on superior numbers and held on long enough to allow the civilians they had been sent to meet and escort to safety to do just that. The fact that one company fell to a man to some savage natives and the remnants of the other eventually legged it is neither here nor there...

Of especial note is that they bested their French adversaries, routed a unit of Canadian Militia (i.e. Milice Canadien) in short order, held off other units of militia, Indians and regulars and achieved their primary objective.

But they still died almost to a man...

Once again, these are AW Miniatures, bought at the Derby Show a couple of years back and soon to be joined by some more officers, some highlanders, more Indians and no doubt some militia or other less martial types in due course.


His Majesty's 44th Regiment of Foot

The right flank

Left flank

"Sir". He at least survived the encounter in our first FIW outing a couple of weekends ago, escaping into the forest after the last of his gallant forces had bravely laid down their lives, with the exception of one other very lucky soul. I smell a revenge scenario...

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Volontaires Etrangers

Hello again.

I actually managed to get a game of something back on Sunday, 29th January! Having pushed through a heavy workload, life's general detritus and working Nights (which limited even what poor quality light we have had in Central England recently to just minutes a day for the most part, because I was sleeping for the rest!!!), I actually managed to finish off my first batch of French & Indian Wars figures to enable me to run a 400pt game of "Muskets & Tomahawks".

This was our first outing with these rules, which I must have purchased three or four years ago. I bought the figures a while back too - at least two years ago as I did not go to the Derby Show last year but got my French and British troops from there, courtesy of AW Miniatures.

Just to complicate things further, I wrote the scenario and special rules myself rather than use something from the book and, with Nephew Nick and Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev as guinea pigs, a jolly good time was had, if I say so myself.

The French won narrowly.

I forgot the camera AGAIN, so that is all you get!!!

However, I have included some photos of the "French" regulars in this post. The word "French" is in inverted commas because the unit is actually not French at all but mostly German, being as it is the Volontaires Etrangers.

Now, you may ask, why choose those? Well, I had meant to do an actual French unit and had already bought the figures. Doing a bit of background reading, my sources stated that the native French units in America during the FIW were supplied by the navy so had coats without collars. My figures had collared coats and, being a bit anal about such stuff, I had to find a unit that wore them. Cue the picture in the relevant Osprey on Louis XV's foreign troops and, centre stage, is a figure from the Volontaires Etrangers wearing, yes, a collared coat.

I knew they had been in North America because a former work colleague and friend of mine was a re-enactor for this unit and imparted various bits of knowledge about them many years ago, some of which must have stuck in Brain of G.

So, two 8-figure units of Volontaires Etrangers, plus an officer. form the current regular section of my fledgling French forces.

More pics to follow soon. And I may even get more painted soon enough, as I have loads more Indians, some Highlanders, some Compagnies Franches de la Marine, more Coureurs de Bois, etc in the "box".


Two companies of eight figures, AW Miniatures as stated in the text

Sergeant and Fusiliers

And the other flank