Monday, 9 October 2017

28mm Crusades Project - Knights of St Lazarus

There has been a bit of a minor surge on the old Crusades Project of late and today I finished off these, my second unit of Knights, representing the St Lazarus Order.

The figures themselves are 28mm from Fireforge Games, the same as my recent Hospitaller Knights however these are built from the Templar Knights box set. The two sets are similar but the Templar set contains 6 horses without caparisons and a selection of earlier period crash hats.

So with the Teutonic Knights set I was avoiding winged helms and the like but with this set it felt a lot closer to my chosen time frame of the third Crusade. I really like these figures and have given me a good cost effective way of getting the figures to get into a period I have been interested in for years.

The figures have been painted in my usual style, with the horses painted first using the oil paint / wipe method, followed by the riders and horse caparisons etc with Acrylics, based on mdf which is then textured and painted. I have cheated slightly and used the Battleflag decals for the crosses.

The boys of St Lazarus are something a little different from the norm in a Crusader Army. The Order was formed around 1200 and its primary focus was on the care of sufferers of Leprosy. The Order did however provide relatively small numbers of men for Military Service, the exact date of the first instance of this is unknown but it is highly likely that the Order was represented at the Battle of Hattin in 1187 and then later in the mid 13th Century at Gaza, Ramla and Acre.

They were however a very small Military Order for example they only mustered 25 Knights for Acre. Many of the serving Knights (also known as the "Living Dead") were sufferes of Leprosy, whilst they were in the early stages of the disease they were still able to fight and also care for those more affected by Leprosy, after all with the shortage of manpower in the region, every trained man who could fight did.

There is a decent book covering the history of the Order (see below) that I can recommend, in fact I read it a number of years ago before starting out on gaming the Crusades so the book was no doubt a inspiration for the unit.

So I now have two units of Crusader Cavalry and two of Saladins lads painted, next up for the Crusades will be some more Muslim Cavalry as the horses are done on them. I picked up a couple of boxes of the Mounted Sgt figures from Fireforge at Derby along with the Gripping Beast Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon set to add to the pile, eventually I will do some foot sloggers, but I just love Knights !

Next up on the paint table are 15mm SYW Hanoverian Artillery whilst on the gaming table we are halfway through the ACW Battle of Champion Hill.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

A Spot of Early WW2 Desert Action

An A10 Cruiser Tank takes up position
A couple of years back I ran an Op Brevity game here at Castle R using our ever expanding pre 1942 desert collection of 28mm Figures. My goal in most of my scenario designs is to add a good dose of uncertainty and confusion so that the game could be played over and over again and never be exactly the same.

The last time we tried the game it was a great success with a close run finish, the British (with some South African help) won the day.

The basic scenario is a small Italian Force holding a defensive position being attacked by a larger British and Empire Force with a German Force racing to the rescue of their Italian Allies.

British Air Power swoops in rather low
The link below will take you to the original post

We had some slight variations in orbats, the Italians started with two AB41 armoured cars rather than one and an AS43. The British had three players again each with a Company of Infantry (33 figs) a Sqn of tanks (3 Models) and two recce vehicles.

That flank looks secure
Also our reinforcement represented our current collections. The 3 British players started the game with either Valentines, A13s or a mixed Sqn of 2 Matildas and a Honey.

A13 with South African Infantry support
We played the game over a couple of day sessions with a cheeky evening game thrown in. Slow moving for some, but as I have said many times, we don't game quick because we don't have too, the table stays set up, the same players come back.

I can smell burning, did you leave the cooker on ?
For the first day we were joined by our old friend Roger who had his first visit to the home of YG in a long time. For those of you who don't know Roger he has an excellent collection of figures, I may have given him a painting tip or two in the past which of course helped ;-)

You can catch his stuff on his blog GA - PA, here

On the second day one of Andys friends from that London joined us for some Yarkshire Hospitality, how cosmopolitan are we ! Still not drinking coffee though, "tha's in't Yarkshire, tha bloody well sups tea, reet"

Italian Forces await the onslaught
The game developed as it did last time into three almost separate fights.

On the Italian right, Rob had decided not to occupy the hill on the edge of the table, in the last game this had left him a bit stretched and the British were able to break through a gap in the line and flank the fort. So this time he concentrated his units on the flank of the fort to face Roger and then Ian on the second day, who had the Matildas.

An Italian LMG Co takes cover behind a wall, it didn't work
South African Infantry advance
This flank saw by far the highest level of casualties, there were burning vehicles everywhere. The old recon adage of "drive down that road until you get blown up" came true more than once.

It wasn't long before Rogers 2 Marmon Herringtons were knocked out, but so to were the Italian AB41s, one rather embarrassingly to a light mortar round. But in their defence they had managed to rather fortunately take out the Honey, the Italians would take that as fair exchange.

Join the Recon, they said. Drive the fastest vehicles; they said

Even the German Recon units which arrived as reinforcements didn't last long. But it was the Matildas that caused the problem, Fat Badger and Tubby Toad creeped slowly forward, shells bouncing off that thick armour.

Badger and Toad
But even the mighty fall, a well aimed shot and some lucky dice ripped a track off Toad causing it to grind to a halt (Matildas are that slow it did take the crew 3 turns to realise that they weren't actually moving any more). The Infantry shot each other to pieces and the flank ended in stalemate.

I can see my house from here
The centre was the quietest of the three, initially run by Ian, the British started with two CS9 armoured cars and 3 A13 Tanks. In typical Ian fashion he drove the CS9 straight down the road in the open where every gun in the Axis could see it, oh and the Luftwaffe turned up that turn too.

"Drive down that road until you get blo......., hello are you there ?"
On the second day our southern guest took up the reigns and was a little bit more aggressive. One unit of South African Infantry excelled itself removing two companies of Italians from the table before it had to retire. But still there wasn't enough firepower to get into the fort, especially when a German Anti Tank gun added to it's fire power.

The table
The other flank developed into a stalemate fairly quickly, all the Axis Armour had gathered here and the Italian Tanks were struggling to hit never mind damage the British tanks in front of them. The British were also struggling to finish off the dug in M13/40 tanks.
"That way to the doughnuts"
 Things didn't help when armour reinforcements arrived for both sides on the same flank again cancelling each other out. A brave Company of British Infantry managed to sneak up on the tanks and attempt a number of close assaults but alas, for them they kept getting beaten back.

The Brits did manage to take out some Panzer Grenadiers as they entered the table but two rapid attacks by German Aircraft halted their advance and with it the last chance at breaking the stalemate on that flank.

So there we have it a bloody draw but another good enjoyable Desert game. The Germans are getting a rest for a while as I have some Op Compass games lined up, some fairly short, so I'm hoping to rattle through a couple of those before Xmas.

Next up is ACW and the Battle of Champion Hill.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

28mm Crusades Project - Kerr-nig-ettes in red.

The Crusades Project continues to move with all the speed of a stunned mollusc.

A couple of weeks holiday saw me finish off the horses which had been lying around with the horse flesh done in oils months ago. I think the thought of painting these is considerably more daunting than the actual task itself, once I get started it was easy, it was the getting started that was the problem !

The figures themselves are from Fireforge games and are the Teutonic Knights set, they were purchased by one of our regulars here at YG, Andy as an impulse prior to the real start (by start I mean stumble) of the Crusades Project and were kindly donated to the cause.

Our aim is 3rd Crusade, who can resist a bit of King Richard vs Saladin action, two of the greatest Generals of history squaring off against each other, what's not to like  !

Of course the 3rd Crusade occurred around 1190 whilst the Teutonic Knights, although formed on that date were much more active outside the Middle East in the 13th to 15th Century so the figures are a bit outside our stated timeframe.

However my adopted Yarkshire status has led me to be a bit of a "tight bugger" and "nowt goes t'waste tha knows" so I was not going to chuck out the figs rather I would mould them into a unit of sorts.

First thing was in the build, I ignored all the winged helms etc and tried to use those which would have been around if slightly "ultra modern" in the 1190s.

Next decision was which unit ? Again the decision was made for me. I ordered some fantastic Decals from Battle Flag for the units I was planning. However when they arrived I had been sent the wrong Hospitaller set, the later red set rather than 3rd Crusade black set. Adopting full on "waste nowt" mode I thought "I know where I can use those". Battle Flag did send me the correct ones btw.

So my later knights adopted the later (1259) Hospitaller red, a bit of a rogue unit but better that than not using the figures.

I have another unit of Knights on the go (St Lazarus) and two more units of Muslim Cavalry are going through horse painting process. A game before Christmas, yeah right !

Thursday, 17 August 2017

"Awesome" Early WW2 Desert Italian Armour

My last post covered my recent additions to my 28mm early war British Forces, also hiding in my Box of Earthly Delights were these little chaps for their opponents.

First up is this CV33 Lanciafiamme sold by Empress Miniatures, a really nicely detailed model made all in metal. I normally don't base my vehicles but couldn't see a way forward with this two part "tank" so I opted for the added strength of an mdf base to keep the tank and fuel trailer together.

How they got anyone to go in one of these I have no idea, not only are you in one of the worst tanks of WW2, just to add to the excitement there is 110 gallons of explosive juice a few feet behind you. Brave boys.

Next up is this M11/39 which I picked up from the Wargames Command Post eBay fire sale for near enough half price. A fairly poor tank even by Italian standards but compared to the CV33 and CV35 it was a big improvement.

The model itself is from Company B made from Resin with metal parts. The Commander is from the Perrys. The camo on the tank is a fairly bright green but all the references to the vehicle show it that way.

Fairly common in Op Compass they remained around in the Desert for a while as Command Tanks perfect for our Compass to Crusader time line.

And finally is this little Blitzkrieg Miniatures beauty, a Semovente 47/32 which was purchased by one of our group as a birthday present from the York show earlier this year. It kind of fits in our time period in that the first ones were built in 1941 however it doesn't look as if they arrived in North Africa until Feb 43 (therefore therefore outside our gaming time frame).

It would have been a reasonable vehicle in 41 but by 43 it would have struggled to be effective. I have added a couple of figs to the vehicle to bring it to life. So there we have the Italian reinforcements, I can hear the British quivering in fear already !

On the paint table at the moment are the last of my Hanoverian Cavalry for Minden who are being based and 2 units of Knights for the Crusades Project who have the horses being done.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

3 A10 Cruisers, 2 Caunter Monkeys and a nice little Perry's Portee

To the tune of 12 Days of Christmas  !

Prior to the start of our latest WW2 North Africa game I had a bit of a "mad minute" clearing out all of my unpainted 28mm Desert stuff in one go. The to do box remained empty right up to the point that Blitzkrieg Miniatures started their half price tanks on Monday offer (1 different per week). The box is now overflowing with 4 Matildas, 5 Honeys and 6 PzIII. I now spend each Monday praying that the offer that week is one I don't "need".

So the first three models off the production line are these 3 A10 Cruisers. The tanks themselves are from Warlord Games as is the Tank Commander on your right, the other is a Perry Figure. These have appeared on the blog before in their sand basecoat, it's taken a couple of years to get round to doing the Caunter and decals.

You can argue all day (you can, I'm happy with my choices) about the colours used for the scheme and people on the internet will. I know all about official colours, locally sourced colours, sun fade etc, etc. Having a family member (sadly no longer with us) who was an engineer in North Africa helped my choices.

Next up are the Monkeys (Marmon Herringtons), I have owned one of these since the start of the Desert Project, purchased from Wargames Command Post. The models are Company B and with the dollar pound exchange have become quite expensive so I haven't bothered adding to the collection.

It was therefore with great joy that I stumbled across a Company B fire sale on eBay and managed to pick the two new models shown. I have added two Perry's Commander figures, I particularly like the one leaning back firing his pistol which was a standing figure I cut in half.

Next up in the 12 days is the Perry Miniatures Portee, what a great model this is, when I first opened the box I thought "what the...." however it actually goes together really well, so long as you put the bits in, in the right order, that is.

Most of these are already in action in the current game, next post will cover some Italian reinforcements.