Thursday, 13 September 2018

28mm Borgia Gendarme

The long hard slog that was the first batch of Heavy Cavalry for the Italian Wars Project is over, the second mini batch of 6 Gendarme are done (at the front) to join the other 6 which I finished a month or so ago.

Each figure having a different look, colours, horse furniture etc really slows down my decade perfected method of batch painting but now they are done I am quite pleased with the results.

The figures are from the plastic Perry Mounted Men at Arms set, as discussed in my previous post they are designed for the mid 1400s to the beginning of the Italian Wars so some will say the armour to early etc but they work for me.

The banners are from Pete's Flags (find them on eBay) and are representative of the Borgia family, famous or possibly infamous in the early part of this period. I have based a lot of the colour choices on the figures around the flags and included some Papal references on the figures along with the red bull of the family.

Base 1, the command base includes the commander with his horse decked in the family coat of arms of the Borgias and a musician wearing a smock based on the green / yellow of the central part of the flag and the bull motif.

Base 2 has a red background flag two Gendarme with Lance and some basic horse furniture.

The final base is probably my favourite of the three, this one has a yellow background flag, one figure has red horse furniture with the Papal keys painted on, whilst the other figure has plain steel but a green / yellow spiral lance.

Next up are some lighter Cavalry before I start work on my second pike block and accompanying Shotte unit which should give me enough for a few practice games.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Troops on Parade - Alexanders Macedonians

This week I'm back with the second part of the new Troops on Parade feature. A review of some of my figure collections, last time it was my 28mm British WW2 Desert boys, this week it's my 15mm Macedonian figures.

Big Man himself
Started around 12 years ago as a bit of an arms race project with a fellow gamer who was going for a Greek Army, it hasn't really seen that much time on the table and over the years it turned into one of the armies I added to every now and again but rarely gamed with.

Companion Cavalry
I have never found a set of Ancient Rules I liked. Most sets are designed for competitions and points based games, which coincidentally are the two things that, for me, send rule books arcing towards the waste paper bin. Those rule systems tend to break once they go outside their designed parameters, I want to recreate the sweeping majesty of Alexanders giant Phalanx (Ohhh......Matron) and the wedge tactics of the Companions. You can't do that with a 12 base DBA army !

That lack of rule set means my 28mm Punic Armies (no doubt a future feature on Troops on Parade) sit in a box unused. I thought Hail Caesar might have been the answer but sadly not, didn't work for me.

Thessalion Cavalry
The figures themselves are from Xyston, I bought them when they first came out. I was on holiday in Scotland near Edinburgh where they were made at the time. I rang the maker up at the time to try and locate a local supplier and he invited me down to the company warehouse (which was pretty big) and I had a great couple of hours looking round and chewing the fat. Walked away with a rather large box of miniatures, the results of which are before you.

The company also made a Sci Fi game called Void, the name escapes me.

Greek Cavalry
As a young lad I was fascinated by the story of Alexander the Great, conquering the known world at such a young age, his ability to hold together a large Empire and integrate into different cultures. If you haven't seen it the TV series Michael Wood, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great will provide all the inspiration you need.

Red Phalanx

Bronze Phalanx
Blue Phalanx
I was quite surprised when I put this stuff out exactly how much there was, neck end of 700 figures, I still have another 64 figure Phalanx and 24 more Companions in the "to do box" so when I do find "that set of rules" there will be something else to paint.

Greek Mercenary Hoplites
I noticed whilst photographing the figures that quite a few of them had hand painted shield designs whilst the remainder had decals. This must have been a cross over army between the two. I will certainly buy the guy who invented shield transfers a pint if I ever see them, what a cracking idea.

Tharacian Mob
And finally some Thracian allies, I remember my Punic Romans being chewed up by these boys years ago so a unit of two handed weapons was a must.

Hope you have enjoyed this trip through one of my lesser used collections of figures, more from Troops on Parade soon.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Op Compass - Game 4, Last Stand

Our trip through the actions at the beginning of WW2 in the Western Desert continue this week with our 4th adventure in the sands of North Africa.

If you want more information on the Campaign I have set up a separate page which is updated regularly with updates on rules along with links to all the previous games,

The games are based on an excellent book by Robert Avery which is available from The Toofatlardies, there is a direct link to purchase the book on the Resource Page.

We use 28mm figures with this scenario taking place on an 8 x 6 table using a home brew set of rules, based on Iron Ivans Disposable Hero's.

Matildas lead the charge (ok walk) into the Fort

Historical Background

It's the 9th of December 1940, the Italian advance into Egypt has stopped, the forces of Mussolini happy with the ground taken have started to consolidate and form a series of forts across the area.

The British Commander General Wavell decided that the next move of the war would be a British counter attack. Part of the plan involved the 4th Indian Division (consisting of British and Indian Infantry) supported by the heavy Matildas of 7RTR passing through a gap in the Italian lines and then turning North towards the sea attacking and neutralising forts along the way.

Our game represents the final stand of a group of Italian Troops in the Fort of Nibeiwa.

Table Set Up and Terrain

The above photo shows the table before any troops have been added, I have just used 8 x 6 of our table. As described in the briefings below this represents one corner of the Fort. There are three trenches and a series of low buildings to represent huts and buildings. In addition to that there is a large open walled area along with some tents to the bottom of that.

The roads and tracks give no bonus to movement, they are just well trodden paths within the Fort area. There are no special rules in force.

Turn 2 and Mole breaks down, it didn't move again until the last turn of the game
British Briefing and OOB

As British Commander you have the simple job of cleaning up the last defenders of Nibeiwa, the majority of the Fort has been subdued however the last pockets of resistance are holding out in one corner of the base.

Minimise your casualties as there is plenty more work to be done today, your forces for the attack are listed below,

Italian Defenders under artillery fire.
Force Commander - 1 Officer, 1 Sgt and 1 Radioman in Truck
Artillery Observer in Daimler Dingo
7th RTR Troop - 3 x Matilda 2 tanks
1 x 25pdr (Off table)

Bren Gun Carrier team with 1 vehicle carrying 1 x Vickers HMG and crew, other two with standard 1 x Bren or 1 x Boyes AT.

Bren Gun Section (HQ is force commander)
1 x Support Section with 1 x 2" Mortar and 1 x Boyes AT Rifle
3 x Infantry Sections with 1 x Sgt with SMG, 2 man Bren Team and 7 Rifles

Truck Borne Section (as Brens) but 1 truck with HQ and Supports with 3 further trucks each with an Infantry Sections.

Morale, Basic 5, Corporal 7, Sgt 9, Officer 11

British Forces arrive at the top of the table (defined by the set up photo) the Matildas move on in move 1, the British may bring 2 sections or supports per turn. Artillery is available when the Artillery Observer is on table.

Reinforcements may be available on request.

British HMG lays down support fire from a rooftop
Italian Briefing and OOB

Things are not going well, the British attacked Nibeiwa early this morning and so far they have captured most of the Fort, you are our last, best hope. Protect the radio room at all costs and hope that they can raise the required reinforcements before you get over run.

Your forces are as follows,

Force Command  - 1 x Officer and 1 x Radio Operator with 1 additional Radio Operator.

1 x L3 Tankette
2 x 75mm Field Gun and crew 
1 x HMG and crew
1 x 81mm Mortar 
1 x 47mm ATG

4 x Italian Squads each with 1 x Sgt with SMG, 1 x Corporal with Rifle,  1 x 2 man LMG team and 6 Rifles.

Italian Artillery in action
Morale Basic 4, Corp 6, Sgt 7, Artillery 8, Officer 9

All Italian Units are hidden and only placed on table if they are spotted or fire. The Italians secretly chose one of their buildings as their Radio Room and place their additional Radio Operator in that structure.

Umpire Notes 

Other than the hidden Italian deployment this is a fairly straightforward scenario, the British are expected to over run the Fort and for me unless they loose next to nothing a winning draw should be the best result they could expect. The Italians earn a draw if they cause a reasonable number of British casualties, a winning draw if they cause enough damage for the British to call for reinforcements (there aren't any !) and a win if they can hold the British off.

The game should last one full gaming day, call the result at the end of your gaming day.

Bren Carriers to the front.
How did we get on.

Another fun game, initially the Italian players, their morale dented by the last games drubbing, were quite resigned to being quickly over run but soon realised that the game was going to be a much closer affair, they chose quite a deep defence, leaving the buildings at the top of the table, instead choosing to defend the walled area and the trenches, the latter having the best fields of fire.

Looking cool, but still broken down.
The first significant action took place fairly quickly, a Vehicle Breakdown card was drawn as an event and the last vehicle to move was the Matilda called "Toad", dice rolled, a serious engine problem, cue much frustration as it took the whole game to fix !

Hide and Seek
Taken out by a Bren, embarrassing !
The "tank" battle was quite amusing, the faster but frankly useless (vs another tank) L3 Tankette, spent most of the game using it's greater speed to hide from the two remaining Matildas, hiding behind building after building with the British Infantry Tank plodding behind, this worked fine until it got bogged down in sand and shot up from the rear, quite embarrassingly by a Bren Gun.

Bren Attack !

Dismount and Charge

Run Away !
The Infantry fighting in the buildings and around the walled area was fierce, close range firefights and hand to hand combat was the order of the day. The British Infantry slowly capturing a building at a time with the Italian Infantry giving a fine account of themselves.

One Italian Artillery unit in trouble

2nd one in more trouble.
The Italian Commander had set up their two Artillery units fairly far forward in the shadow of the walled area and in the early part of the game they gave some excellent support to the front line, however both were to fall. The first Gun lost a figure to a stray round but was finished off from the machine gun on a Matilda.
The second gun was caught by a section of British Infantry, they had just cleared the walled area and ended up streaming out of the gated entrance into the Italian Artillery men, they put up a fight but there was only going to be one winner.

"I keep hitting it Sarge, it ain't doing no good"

"Ratty" proving invincible again
The Italian player fired AT after AT round into the remaining 2 Matildas but to no avail, there is a slim chance of causing some track damage with a 47mm against these beasts but rounds just kept hitting and bouncing off the hull, turret and mantle.

The last stand
The final group of Italian Infantry held out for a couple of turns in the last trench, supported by a Mortar and a HMG, but the British had ended all Italian resistance bar a AT gun and the HMG and more importantly the Radio Operator who was still busy calling for reinforcements oblivious of the carnage going on around him.

Final losses where as follows,

British - 16 Infantry and 1 Bren Carrier
Italian - 32 Infantry, 8 Artillery crew, two guns and one Tankette.

Italian Commander minding his own business when a 25pdr lands next to him.
A tough one to call, result wise and I did give a winning draw to the British on the day however on revision I think the Italians did much better than they did historically and caused a decent number of casualties, plus they put up a damn fine fight, so I have revised the result to a draw.

The draw gives 2 points each giving us a running total, after 4 games as British 11 points and 5 points to the Italians.

Game 5 coming up soon when the British will be trying to push deeper into the Italian Forts.

Friday, 17 August 2018

28mm Renaissance Gendarme

The latest addition to my fledgling Italian Wars Project is this small unit of Gendarme for my Italian Wars project.

The figures are from the Perrys Miniatures plastic box set, Mounted Men at Arms set which is dated up to the end of 1500 or right at the start of the Italian Wars. I have tried to fit them together using the most appropriate parts for the period and theatre, but I am no expert, so they are done to look right for me, I am sure someone will tell me otherwise on a forum somewhere.

They are based on a 50mm x 60mm base (I like a bit of extra depth to protect the model) for my as yet undecided rule set. I am having a bit of gander at Furisio but a Gush update is still favourite. My limited reading on the period suggests that the Gendarme operated in small squadron sized units so I have gone for a 6 Figure set up.

In addition to the regular parts in the box set I have added a couple of plumes to helmets / horses which have simply been cut off unused parts in the box. The musicians arm and horn come from the Gripping Beast Arab Infantry plastic box set and the flags come from Pete's Flags (eBay).

I can't say I enjoyed painting these, being used to more uniformed troops I found the individual armour colours and designs a bit of a pain to be honest but I think once I have a big chunk of these together I will grow to love them.

I will probably do some mounted Crossbow for the Army next so watch out for those.