Saturday, 17 February 2018

A Confederate Army for the War of the Spanish Succession 3

This time two Dutch battalions, one from Bruhese Regiment and one from Friesheim Regiment. Dutch regiments in Spain consisted of two battalions, but it would be a bit dull to field two identical units, so I've done one from each. No flags at the moment as I haven't been able to track them down yet. I may have to end up going for something a little more generic, but we shall see. A few of these are some secondhand figures I picked up and I painted the rest to try and fit in.

A closer shot with the Bruhese battalion in front.

And one with the Friesheim battalion to the front.

I'm currently basing some cavalry, so they will be up next.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A Confederate Army for the War of the Spanish Succession 2

Four more pro-Carolean Spanish infantry for my new army. These were painted for me by Will Denham.

Two Catalan infantry battalions. The front unit is a regular battalion, the rear battalion is the unit known as the "Esquadra Nova". In 1713 this formed the core of a new regiment of mountain fusiliers, the Regiment de Sant Ramon de Penyafort, and as I cannot find out what their uniform was in 1710, I have gone for the 1713 blue with yellow facings.

Two units of Catalan Miquelets. These were semi-irregular volunteers units, that were raised on an ad-hoc basis when required. They did not often take a place in the formal battle line, but were renowned for their skills in irregular mountain warfare, they often carried a sword and a pair of pistols for close-in work. Their main use was in sieges and protecting and/or raiding supply lines. In 1713 many Miquelets were adopted into the Catalan army on a more formal basis as mountain fusilier regiments. Again, not knowing what uniform they wore in 1710, if any of them even wore uniforms at all, I have gone for their 1713 appearance.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

A Confederate Army for the War of the Spanish Succession 1

In the latter part of 2017 I found myself in that common wargamer's situation, that of pondering what to do next. After all, I only had 3 major projects on the go and they were all nearing completion (or at least what would pass for completion until I saw something new and shiny for them). So I decided to construct an opponent for my War of the Spanish Succession French army. There was no desperate need for this, three guys at my local club have opposition armies, but, having been caught out in the past, I now make it my policy to have a usable force for both sides in any period/scale I collect. all three opponents were geared towards the Northern European theatres, being an Anglo-Dutch army, an all-British army and an Imperialist army. After staging a re-fight of the Battle of Almanza earlier in the year, I was rather taken with the somewhat neglected Spanish theatre for this war, so decided to base my new army there. The Confederate effectively had two field armies in the peninsular, one based in Portugal and one based in Catalonia. I decided to go for the army based in Catalonia, as I had already had 5 battalions of Catalan infantry.

Compared with Marlborough's army in Flanders, sources for the Spanish campaigns are scarce (at least in English) but I did find the excellent book by Nicholas Dorrell "Marlborough's Other Army, The British Army and the Campaigns of the First peninsular War, 1702-1712". Despite the title, this does not concentrate on the British forces in Spain, but covers all the Confederate units fighting there. It is almost an ideal wargamer's book, as it details the war year by year, with extensive orders of battle by regiment and battalion, maps of all the major engagements and organisational and uniform guides (where known) for each nationality involved. All that is missing is a few Osprey-style coloured plates for uniforms and flags. I also had already discovered the wargaming guide "Catalonia Stands Alone" by LluĂ­s Vilalta. This superb little pdf booklet really covers the period 1713-1714, but was still a very useful guide, plus it included a sheet of 10mm flags!

The Confederate forces in Catalonia consisted of a fascinating mixture of nationalities. At the start of 1710 the total forces comprised of 51 infantry battalions and 60 cavalry squadrons. Their break-down was  as follows:
Imperialist 14 battalions, 6 squadrons
Spanish (mainly Catalan and Aragonese) 15 battalions, 12 squadrons
British 13 battalions 10 squadrons
Dutch 2 battalions, 6 squadrons
Portuguese 2 battalions, 18 squadrons
Palatine* 5 battalions 8 squadrons
As the war progressed the Dutch became increasingly reluctant to commit troops to Spain, so hired units from the Electorate of the Palatine to fulfill their obligation to provide troops.

I decided I was not going to create an army for a specific battle, but a more general one to cover the campaigns of 1709 and 1710. The figures are going to be from Pendraken, mainly their Marlburian range, supplemented by figures from some other ranges, like the Great Northern War, Seven Years War and League of Augsburg. The latter range are absolutely gorgeous little models, probably some of the best Pendraken produce.

So on to the first units, these are Catalan infantry. Due to real-life pressures I have found a lack of painting time of late so I have had some of the figures painted for me. These five battalions were painted by Turbil Miniatures.

                                                              5 Infantry battalions

                                       The foremost battalion is from La Ciudad Regiment

           The battalion on the left is from the Reales Guardias Catalanas - The Catalonian Guards

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Wild West Terrain

On one of the wargames forums I was recently pointed to where I picked up some plasic succulent plants and was pleasantly surprised at the quality. I thought they might give me some interesting terrain for my Wild West games.

Two plants cost me about £4 including shipping.

Step 1. Unwind the stem and and separate the plant pieces, this gave me 8 pieces from one plant.

Step 2. Clip the pieces off of the wire stem, leaving a small length of wire on the end.

Step 3. Drill a hole in a mdf base and glue the plants to the base.

Step 4. Texture the base.

So from 1 plant I got 8 nice looking cacti, about 4.5" high, for my Western Gunfight games for about £2.50 in total.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 9 - Bootleggers!

It's been a while since I did anything with this project, so I thought it time to get the figures on the table again. It's a three-player scenario with American and Canadian patrols encountering each other whilst a gang of bootleggers try to get a lorry loaded with booze across the table. The rules are The Men Who Would Be Kings using the skirmish scale (half sized units).

I played this a couple of days ago with Jim and Martin, we played the scenario twice in an evening  and we had a hoot!

                                                              The table layout.
A road runs North to South, crossing a stream that marks the Canadian/US border. The bootleg convoy enters from the North and their objective is to get the lorry across the bridge. The Americans enter from the West and the Canadians from the East.

                                                           The Americans
                                                        View from the US side of the table
The US forces consist of a unit of regular army infantry and a BAR team, a unit of naval ratings and a unit of  volunteer militia (trappers and loggers).

                                                                  The Canadians
                                                    View from the Canadian side of the table.
On the Canadian side are two units of army infantry and a lewis gun team, backed up by a unit of Mounties.

                                                             The bootleg convoy

The bootleggers have 3 units of gangsters, one in each of the vehicles, plus a unit of corrupt cops who are meeting them on the bridge.
                                                                 Cops on the bridge
                                                       View from the bridge

Rules for the vehicles were simple.
If they were carrying a unit the vehicle was activated by the unit's leader, if empty the driver activated on a 7+. A unit used a move action to enter or leave a vehicle. Vehicles could only move along the road, but could be deliberately driven (or pushed) off the road. Once it had left the road it was bogged down in the snow and immobilised.
If fired at, units inside a vehicle were treated as being n cover. Any kills removed figures, but the pin test was taken by the vehicle (using the unit leaders Leadership or 7+ if empty). A fail pinned the vehicle (which would automatically rally in the next turn, but could not move), if the adjusted die roll was 2 or less the vehicle was permanently immobilised and blocked the road (but could be pushed off the road).

The first game was very much a two horse race. As the Bootleg player my dice rolling was awful! The booze lorry only moved twice in the entire game! The one car I did get moving was quickly immobilised, blocking the road. The police on the bridge were caught in a crossfire between a unit of US army and a unit of Canadians and quickly cut down. The gangsters managed to debus their vehicles but never got a chance to take cover and were wiped out when the Americans and Canadians both still had 3 units apiece left. It turned into a punch up over the booze, first a unit of Canadians seized the lorry, but they were charged by the American militia, who saw them off and managed to set fire to the lorry, destroying the contents. US victory!

The second game was very different, or at least my dice rolling was much better. I held the cops off table for 3 turns, which meant everyone was already engaged when they arrived and they never took the devastating fire they had suffered in the previous game. The vehicles moved quickly, I managed to get the two cars down the road and debus in a position to hold the road open for the booze wagon. My shooting was better and I decimated the Canadians and held back the Americans long enough to get the hooch on it's way.

                                                                Gangsters in position
                                                  The Mounties rush forward
                                        Gangsters in the trees cut down the Canadian soldiers
                                     Americans move forward under covering fire from the BAR
                                                The militia rush the booze wagon
                                      Canadians move out into the open (never a good idea!)
                                                             The Navy!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Four Player Frostgrave

I had some of the guys (Henry, Colin and Mark) around yesterday for a Frostgrave Day. We have played a few games but not really got a proper campaign underway, so this was the attempt to get one started. I don't think one can appreciate Frostgrave properly unless it's player as a campaign and I've wanted to get something going for a while now.

We just played a basic treasure hunt, everyone putting 3 treasures down (which made it crowded). I used a couple of tweaks, the warbands started at the table edge rather than 6" in (so they didn't bump into each other straight away) and a monster appeared very time someone picked up a treasure (Henry and I both have a box full of D&D monsters and we wanted to use them!). We also placed the monsters differently to the rules, we rolled a directional die and the monster appeared behind the first piece of cover in the indicated direction.

The Lost Ruins

                                                  It's narrow streets seem quiet.....

                                                .                     ...and empty

                                      At it's centre lies the ruinous base of an ancient tower.....

                                          ....said to be the scene of an epic wizard's battle.

                                                          But now all is quiet, too quiet!

Unfortunately, once we started playing we got to engrossed to remember to take photos until the action was all over! Here's a couple of pictures of my Necromancer and his orc warband at the start of the game.

We had great fun, with Bone Darts and Elemental Bolts being thrown around, loads of thugs skewered by arrows and lots on monsters. Colin was definitely unlucky when it came to the monsters, Mark got a couple of skeletons for his first treasure, I got an ice spider but Colin got a Giant Worm!

It was a bloody game for the spell-slingers. My apprentice died, as did Mark's, Colin's Wizard snuffed it and Henry lost both his wizard and apprentice! When it came to survival rolls, all the apprentices came back OK, but Henry's wizard had a permanent disability and Colin rolled 2 for his, Brown Bread!

My plan was to get two games in, but we were only half way through the first game by lunch time and in the end there wasn't enough time for the second game. We will have to think of some ways to speed up the game next time, if we can.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


I recently managed another game of  The Pikeman's Lament with Imperialists fighting Ottomans, somewhere in Eastern Europe. We played the Beating Up Quarters scenario with 36 point companies.

                                                                   The battlefield.

 A quiet, sleepy hamlet in the eastern part of the Empire.

 Women gossip as they go about their daily chores.

 The menfolk set off to work the fields.

 Or tend to their livestock.

 Their lives are made harder by having a company of soldiers billeted in their homes. But the garrison makes them feel safer...or are they?

 At sunrise the sentries cry out in alarm as shrieking Ottoman cavalry swoop in from all sides. As dozy soldiers struggle out of their quarters, volleys of shots cut them down. The red counter marks a unit of pike in disarray behind the house, fired upon by Ottoman infantry just out of the picture.

 A second unit of pikemen stumble out of the house the have been sleeping in, just moments before Ottoman sipahis set the roof alight.

 The Imperialist Captain realises that the Ottoman commander is isolated with his Janissary bodyguard, so leads a unit of musketeers forward to support the cavalry trying to ride the Turk down. The Janissaries fight like heroes, throwing back repeated cavalry charges with heavy losses, then cutting down the opposing musketeers with withering volley. The Imperialist captain stands, bareheaded, among his musketeers just seconds before a well aimed musket ball blew the top of his head off!

 The pikemen, now rallied, charge a unit of Turkish horse. Unfortunately they are not sipahis, as the pikemen thought, but Tartars (elite dragoons!) who deftly avoid the charge and cut them down with accurate bow shot. As casualties mount the pikemen's morale collapses and they flee in rout.

 The final moments of the game. On the right of the picture the last unit of pikemen have just fallen back in disarray after being shot up then charged by a unit of sipahis.  To the left the Janissaries still stand defiant against the Imperialist cavalry. At this point we called it a Ottoman win, the Imperialist only had 2 figures on the table that were not in disarray, whilst half the Ottoman company was still effective, including 2 units at full strength.

Another great game using these fun rules.