Friday, 25 July 2014

The Glorious Cattle Raid, 723AD

We had a five player game of Victory With Honour on Wednesday, with two warbands' worth of models on either side. It should have been RPG night, but unexpected Real Life (TM) stopped me from putting together an adventure, so we wargamed instead.

The Vikings, having just destroyed a village, gained 6 Victory points for each cow they got off the board-edge closest to the sea. The Saxons got 3 for each Viking slain. And of course, there was the ever-important Glory to play for too!

EDIT 26th July: I am aware that Lindisfarne in 793AD is the first recorded turn-up of the Vikings. The game was just played on the 23rd of July (7/23 in American terms), and it seemed a nice way to pick the date.

22pts Chief with double-handed axe
15pts Champion: Holder of the Gate
50pts 10 Companions
30pts Chief with Follow Me
11pts Champion: javelin
50pts Companions

30pts Chief with Whirlwind of Steel
25pts Chief with Scathing Insults
72pts 6 Champions with double-handed axes/javelins
40pts 16 Companions
The Vikings pour out of the village.

A Saxon shieldwall forms.

The battle was a bloody one! Dozens died and we did not think it too many. Vikings filled the narrow house by the bridge, and the wounds they inflicted on the Saxon shieldwall did not whiten. Great was the slaughter as blood flowed like water, with honour we died said our maidens with pride. Many died to warriors of renown, thus gaining a place for their names in history. Those men too felt the cold kiss, but were felled by enemy hosts not skill at arms, and so their reputations remain untarnished.
Fulgrim the Whirlwind of Steel breaks the Saxon line.

Viking hirdmen herd the cows away (hee).

Black shields meet bright ones and blood stains the water.

The "cow convoy" approaches the bloody bridge.

Champion vs Champion, Chief vs Chief

The Saxon Chief directs the bridge's defence masterfully.

Saxon Companions scare away the Viking cattle.

Fulgrim distracts the Saxon chief to let the cows get away.

In the end, it all came down to the last turn. The Saxons had scattered some of the cattle, but the Vikings had got quite a few off already. The victory points were neck and neck. Would the chief die? Would the cattle get away? As the dice clattered to a halt, the Vikings had won by one cow.

And the glory? The glory points were 24-19 in the Vikings' favour. A glorious victory, and well deserved!

The game cracked along very well whenever we were playing it, though we digressed on occasion at great length. The best bit was seeing the roleplayers who started off disappointed at not being able to play the game they were expecting get really really into playing their Dark Age part in the battle. Everyone had fun, that's the main thing. A nice easy game like Victory With Honour is a nice palate cleanser occasionally, particularly with all the work I've been doing on bigger, badder wargames and RPGs recently. I'm sure we'll play again soon, although Of Gods & Mortals is picking up at the club in a big way at the moment, and I have foolishly been reading Slaine...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

New Pulp!

Having been inspired by the pulp issue of WI to write my own game, I made a few extra models to play with.

The first set are Les Gendarmes Coloniales, a group of North African police
mostly concerned with hunting criminals and skirmishing with tribesmen - not that adventurous foreigners should consider themselves safe! They are Wargames Factory Americans with Wargames Factory German caps for the sergeants and Perry Desert Rat shemaghs for the constables. They did not quite fit, but a little hacking and a little creative placement seems to have sorted things out.

The whole gang - Captain, Sergeants and Constables.
The chief. "Surrender or I pull the pin!"
A sergeant on patrol.
Another sergeant. "Surrender or I shoot him".
The drunk constable.
The overly serious constable.

A constable chasing his man - "stop him!"

A constable shooting a rooftop criminal.

An over-armed constable.

Sometimes scaring tribesmen requires a big gun.
The captain has a bare head, the sergeants wear caps and the constables have shemaghs - it makes it easier to pick them out during play. As career policemen,
Captain Castagne and the two individually pictured sergeants (I forgot to snap the sniper) both have the "Surrender!" power, allowing them to attempt to force their enemies to give up.

The next is a famous character from the Golden Age of comics and the silver screen as well. I won't name this Bolt Action conversion, largely because I'm sure his shield will do it for me.

The only non-Warlord piece on this plastic conversion is his shield, from an old Bretonnian model. The star comes from a Battlefront 15mm transfer set.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Some Corner of the Six Day War

I bought really quite a lot of sprues in Warlord's half price sale last year in a grandiose plan to add to my Chain of Command collection. That went nowhere. This year, having written Some Corner of a Foreign Field, I tried to think of ways to adapt those models to a post-war environment. Only having to paint up a squad instead of a platoon to get a game going is a great incentive to paint in my book. If you want a battle report, go here or here! 

Thanks to an accidental peruse of the WI issue going over Battlefront's Six Day War releases, I noticed that a lot of the kit used in that conflict was ex-WWII – crucially, surplus British and American equipment, which was exactly what I needed to use up. A little bit of digging around and some conversions later, I had three squads ready to go – Israeli leg infantry (a bit too dark), Israeli Paratroopers, and a squad of Jordanian leg infantry.  

That led me to investigate Suez too, and soon I will be morphing my Jordanians as Egyptians to fight against British, French and Israeli paratroopers of the time.

In all, I used Warlord Games' British and American bodies, heads & weapons, TAG FN FALs, Wargames Factory Uzis & WWII German arms/weapons (Israeli paratroopers had three Mauser 98ks per squad).

I'm actually very happy with how my lezard camouflage came out, especially since I rarely attempt such awkward uniforms. Luckily, French post-war camouflage tended almost exclusively toward horizontal stripes, so I didn't need to get clever with my brush strokes. I may go back over the models to highlight their skin at some point, but it seems that Middle Eastern flesh looks much better under a wash than European skin does.

The main mistake I made was not putting a bipod on those FALs chosen to be the heavy-barrelled version, but I noticed too late and I don't really mind. They are still easy to tell apart as they are the only kneeling models with that particular weapon. I also gave the Jordanians Lee-Enfields instead of M1 Garands because I was clipping sprues on autopilot – but really, that just makes it easier to morph them as Suez-era Egyptians.

I hope you enjoy these cheap examples of 28mm models for an under-covered conflict.

Jordanian Infantry Squad

Jordanian Infantry Squad

Israeli Paratroopers

Israeli Paratroopers in more natural light.

Israeli Infantry

Israeli Infantry "Samal"

Israeli Paratrooper "Samal"

Jordanian Infantry corporal

Painting Scheme
GW Khemri Brown – Israeli uniforms
Foundry 12C Drab – Jordanian uniforms
Vallejo Brown Olive – Jordanian & Israeli helmets, paratrooper fatigues, grenades
Foundry 46C Cadaverous Green – Paratrooper uniform base
Foundry 98B Denison Green – Paratrooper stripes
Foundry 126C African Flesh – Paratrooper stripes
Foundry 100C British Uniform – Skin
Foundry 9B Boneyard – Paratrooper helmets & boots, Israeli webbing
Foundry 121A Dark African Flesh – Boots & gunmetal, Israeli helmet straps, hair
Foundry 90C British Equipment Canvas – Jordanian webbing & gaiters
Foundry 45A Deep Brown Leather – woodwork, cigars