Thursday, January 6, 2022

Last horse elements of Khazar/Pecheneg added

I'd had Dark Alliance Steppe Warriors ready to go for quite some time but found myself stepped-out after working on the Khazar/Pecheneg army last year. So how could I make this as easy on myself as possible, while still bringing them up to a look that would fit into my (also lazily) painted existing elements?

By dry brushing all metals, that's how!


Mini review: these steppe warriors are a fantastic buy, as the various figures can be judiciously mixed into most if not all eastern European mounted sets, including Germanic and Scand/Rus-origin. They have very little flash/mold marks, and the plastic is easy to clean off with a sharp knife blade. Sculpts are excellent. There are no 'weird' or super-unlikely weapons such as elaborate flails with long chains, which are a bother with several 'historical' sets. There are even extra weapons and scabbarded bows to hang on mounts! The only minor negative is that the set of 12 is really two sets of six, meaning that (as a standalone set and not intermingled) it's hard to make them look individual enough.

Assembled, the set makes four 'heavy charging' four 'medium melee' and four 'distance' poses/fitouts, and mounts match these in terms of armor and saddle-hung weapons. I configure the two sets of six into three LH of 2 pieces each, and two Cv/Kn of 3 pieces each.

With a basecoat of solid burnt sienna building up color on mounts and riders is easy. The big decision I make is to skimp on detail for metal, because if I color them in too specific a way they won't go with Huns or Germanics or Slavs if I do want to use them there. So the end result doesn't quite match the previous Khazar/Pechenegs. That is a very minor point next to the bases - I ended up pouring far too much flock down compared to the lightly-flocked originals. Good enough for now!


Pecheneg war wagons at last!

 After a full year of being in denial I finally admitted that the war wagons I had as WIP were not good enough, tore them down, and recreated them. 

This conversion uses

- a one-inch cardboard tube for the canopy;

- polythene foam for the body;

- Napoleonic gun carriages for the undercarriage and wheels;

- card for the armored driver box and rear;

- and masking tape for the sidewall texture.

Glues are hot glue to hold the undercarriage together and PVA for most other joins.

The horses are Airfix Napoleonic RHA, and as they are larger than the original pairs I found (and the right scale for other elements in the army) they only just squeeze in on the 'long' DBA base. They are joined to the body by Airfix French Napoleonic Artillery (there's a blast from the past!) limbers. 

Painting the latex grouting that I routinely use for basing over the wheels and hooves more or less secures the pieces to the bases. I don't think they will survive being dropped though, which is one of the benefits of using 1:72 plastic, normally. 

The bases were already discolored by the abortive first effort so look darker than they ought, but overall, not bad. They look menacing and I look forward to using them for Pechenegs!



Wednesday, January 5, 2022

It's my castle II!

 Medieval Irish IV/58 v Feudal English IV/23

This is a return match, featuring the same basic coastal table as last game. It features the following changes:

1. The castle becomes a square Normal keep. This is for aesthetic purposes only. 

2. An additional stretch of woodland occupies the high ground near the shore, and plough is laid out slightly differently. Woodland must be fully occupied to claim the point, eg one side occupying one stretch will deny the point to the other side.

3. The 2d6 random table is dropped. 


Army composition

No changes are made to either side, since those are sound armies either way.

Deployment

The Irish are the aggressors. English do not have the dismounted knights option to defend, so I place feudal levy (Hd) in the keep. They have a good basic +3 against foot and are hard to dislodge. The English left is a column of hobilars (Cv) and 2 x 3Bw. With enough PIPs they can dominate the height, just as the Irish did. 

The center is held by the other levy (Hd) with all the remaining army grouped with it.


Over on the English right, a lead Ps ought to have been a trailing Ps as events showed. Poor planning on my part.

The Irish have landed (again I have not bothered laying down a fort) and have two Ps on their left, which will seek a path up to the ancient earthwork objective and possibly beyond.



The Irish center contains all the LH and a support Ps forlorn hope. The Irish right is heavy foot and support Ps, hoping to find a path up.

After Action Report

The English begin with 2 PIPs, detaching the Ps to go light the beacon, and sending their left column toward the cliffs. As the first PIP is not a one, plow is simply normal going.
In response, the Irish fail to find a path up on the left, but do find one on their right (English left) with an advance Ps heading for the woods.

Irish momentum builds quickly, the English starved of PIPs and the Irish gaining the heights with both center and right columns. They even have enough PIPs to bring the left flank back as a reserve!

The English attempt to counter this terrible state of affairs by bringing their Cv back and using the left flank Lb as is. The latter claim the nearest Irish Ps in a 6:1. 

Unfortunately this is about as far as the English luck stretches. Irish Bd spread out against the keep, and before the English can spread their line of Kn out, the LH ZOC the lead Kn. Wheeling forward is often a mistake and the Irish plan to make the English pay for their boldness!

And they do! The keep falls and the English Kn is dispatched as well. Game over. 


Notes

Most of the game was played in a power outage, the photos show how good modern smartphone cameras are, no flash, just residual light. Owing to lack of time and the power outage, I did not use any random table. 

Saturday, January 1, 2022

It's my castle because my troops are in it! IV/23 Feudal English v IV/58 Medieval Irish

 This is a DBA3.0 battle with the following solo gaming changes

1. I laid out the board first for aesthetics, with the theme of "a defensible shore."

3. The board includes some objectives.

3. I utilized a 2d6 solo chance table (appended).

4. The riverine paltry/difficult going rules are applied to the heights above the beach.

The board is a polythene mat (the cheap kind) pinned onto a 3D understructure built from hard foam and card for the most part. On top of the mat I pin the medieval castle, woods, scrub, a path from beach to castle muster field, an ancient earthwork, and two croplands.




I add a beacon (a simple 25mm base, with a red pin by it) and make up some variant rules about scaling the beach cliff. These don't apply to the known track, which is passable in column.

I set three objectives that, for the aggressor, count the same as taking elements. 

1. Take the castle: counts as game over.

2. Seize the ancient hill fort: counts as one. The theory is that locals have run to shelter in it, and they become potential hostages or slaves.

3. Capture the beacon before it can be lit: counts as one.

Army choice

Mainly because of the castle, I decided to field sides from period IV and if possible, something Normal related. That means Feudal English, IV/23. Looking at my very few choices of regular opposition to them (French are very much a WIP, I have some levy and crossbows so far, that could be annexed to some Crusader elements to make an unconvincing army,) I am left with Medieval Irish, IV/58.



Both armies have quite a range of options.

The sides I've chosen:

English: KnGen, 3xKn, 1xCv, 4xBw, 2xHd, 1xPs

Irish: LHGen, 2xLH, 3xBd, 6xPs

Defenders:

The concept is that the Irish have seized an English castle and the English want it back! The Irish have the Castle as their base, and I decide there is no need to show the barge-camp on the beach, for the English.

Deployment:



Note that I have placed a Bd to defend the castle - no need to make storming it easy!

After Action Report:


In the early bounds a 6PIP beginning gets the Irish into great position! The English are sluggish, and even get hit with a Confusion on three elements! It's only fair that the same thing happens to the Irish...

And the advance (isolated owing the Confusion) longbows rush and take the earthworks. If the Cv had been behind them, the battle may have had a very different result!

The English have further success on their right. They roll a "paltry" result meaning that they have found a path. The Ps push up, but by that time the Irish Ps are in reverse chevron ready to receive them.

As bounds go by the English eventually roll high enough PIPs to get their feudal levy up. The Irish general moves to mid-forward, to keep command & control.

The English longbow left have secured the first objective! English 1, Irish 0.

There's no point waiting around for the Lb to score high on archery, so the Ps and LHGen close on the Lb line as it expands, while the Ps engage the levy at the path. It's all excellent results for the Irish who not only take a Lb element but manage to double the levy! The English knights are still stuck exiting the beach and the KnGen and two more Kn are still back on the beach! English 1, Irish 2. The Irish still have spare PIPs and race a LH over to the beacon, and deny the English that objective.

As is often the case, a single Ps (English right) gives a good account of itself...

Meanwhile the English Kn stuck behind the levy start to panic and swing out to take out the Irish Ps ganging up on the levy. The English take their first element. English 2, Irish 2. 
But sadly for the English that's their apogee: the LHGen zips across to engage the Kn and destroys it. Then the LHGen signals his left and the Ps on the clifftop sandwich the English Ps and KO it. 




A coupe of extra photos of the end of battle. Irish IV/58 beat English IV/23, 4-2.

Friday, March 12, 2021

The strange pull of Book III's steppe armies

 I have finally completed what threatens to be an ever-growing morph.

The aggregated force:


This aggregate army gives me either:

III/1 Slav: Definitely III1c Southern Slav, and options to combine Vikings or Carolingian period German Knights to cover III/1a. The 1b army Western Slavs are spear-heavy, so probably not those.

III/16 Khazar: Pending the completion of a bolt-thrower and a wagon, only the more mobile options.

I have put together two war-wagons, but I'm not quite happy with them yet. Once I am, the army will also suit III/47 Pecheneg very well.


Monday, June 3, 2019

Awa' wi' ye! - II/60 Caledonians vs II/49 Marian Romans

What if Julius Caesar had tacked a different course with the Belgii, and the legions of Caesar's time had invaded the lands of the Caledones?

I laid out an imposing high-ground-heavy board, though the surface is a little too slick for convenient use:




The main rule changes from DBA3.0:

  1. Caledonians automatically defend the high ground end
  2. Steep going is not "bad" going, it is "rough" so just limits movement (this prevents Bd and Cv from being useless)
  3. Solo rules are simply to close as swiftly as possible with due allowance for bad-going-friendly types like Ax, Ps and Wb seeking such going.
Here's an overhead shot of the deployed sides to make it clearer. LCh span the glen, Wb supported by the lone Ps are divided on the high ground. For the Roman part a Bd element is left back at the fortified camp, because fast foot and LCh can easily zoom around a wing; and each wing forms into column so as to be able to advance past the bad going spots that could form a trap otherwise.

I felt at the time I was not being 100% fair to my Mary Roms - their default is plenty of Bd and they could have scraped up many more Ax, but didn't. Even Arty would have been pretty handy.

An account of the battle:

In terms of the race for bad going, the Cals roll too low to spring their Ps ahead but not too far ahead. They watch as the MarRom Ax breaks off (bottom picture). The MarRoms form a defensive line right, advancing their left.

With a decent roll the Cals (who stay in good command distance) challenge the MarRom left, and a fight for the scrub ground develops. Not wanting the Cals center to isolate their left the MarRom centre spreads out and advances.

The Spanish Ax proves a tough foe! First blood to the MarRoms with a 5:1.

Buoyed by this the MarRoms continue to push forward. But command distance is beginning to become an issue. In response the Cal left "marks" the Ps, forcing an unpleasant number of choices, all of which can be easily resolved by always rolling high PIPs... which ain't gonna happen.
One PIP has to be spent getting closer to the left flank, but the MarRom center has little to fear from LCh so pushes forward. 
Oh woops, fast Wb are suddenly in the MarRom faces! And although you can't see it from the overhead shot, those Bd are caught downslope. 
The loss of the Ps was expected, but losing a Bd really hurt. From here it's desperation for the MarRoms.
The MarRom line fragments as the last Bd element on their right crumbles. Time to flee and write a convincing report!