After months of doing absolutely zilch on the gaming front I saw the year out in some style, at least, with a whole bunch of English Civil War 28mm figures pushed through from “almost done” to actually finished in my time off between Christmas and New Years.
This means that all of the regular soldier figures seen on the workbench back in June are now finished and ready to game with, just the four officer/character figures seen there still to finish off.
The cavalry on the table now include five figures that I “finished” for the Lead Painter’s League way, way back in early 2011 (!) that have sat around ever since. I had thought these ECW figures had sat around for four or five years, but apparently it’s been more like seven. Yikes. “Finished” is in scare quotes in here because I was never happy with some of the details and finish on the riders, having put most of the effort in the horses. They’re back on the painting table for touchups, as are the other seven cavalry figures from that box of 12, and the first six heavy Cuirassiers for extra cavalry punch.
Finally, I pulled out a bunch of farm animals from my Warbases order of early 2017 and cleaned up and based six sheep, two cart horses, and a flock of geese, just for fun and extra flavour in games. They can act as loot markers in Pikeman’s Lament, just as scenery, or (especially the geese, geese are evil!) as unique hazards in Pulp Alley games!
Looking forward to a bit more gaming in 2018 than 2017 had to offer, including more Infinity and some games at Trumpeter Salute 2018 in a few months!
The Assault Group (TAG) has a huge range of Thirty Year’s War/English Civil War/general Renaissance figures that I’d heard good things about, including that they were fairly compatible in size and style to the Warlord figures that make up the entirety of my TYW/ECW collection so far.
The only major piece missing from my 17th C forces so far are guns, so I ordered TAG’s English Battery Builder pack which has a culverin, eight crew, and accessories. To give me some game options I also picked up a falconette light gun on it’s own. That gives me a light gun, a heavier field gun, enough crew to do a full six man gun crew per the Pikeman’s Lament rules for either of them, and some nice extra bits for base decoration – gunpowder barrels, piles of shot, that sort of thing.
Then I waited.
And waited some more.
Then I got an email apologizing for the wait.
This wasn’t a surprise by this point, because a significant number of posts on the TAG blog are, in fact, posts explaining how backlogged their orders are.
Then I waited a while longer.
My initial order was made on June 22nd. The “we’re backed up” email came through on August 4th. My order was apparently “completed” on August 11th. It showed up in Canada on September 11th.
That’s… goddamn glacial. In nearly two decades of ordering stuff from overseas for wargaming I don’t think I’ve ever had an order take so long from initial order to the toys actually showing up, even back in the late 1990s when I was just starting out and an order to the UK or the States meant snail mail, paper order forms filled out by hand, and an International Money Order.
So, don’t order from TAG if you’re in any sort of hurry for your toys. I have a generous backlog of painting and loads of scenery projects to distract me, thankfully.
Now that they’re finally here, what about the figures themselves? I quite like them, the casts are very clean, the sculpting is well proportioned and nicely detailed, and while they’re mostly a little bit smaller than the Warlord figures they’ll look fine in adjacent units on the table!
Warlord’s plastic figures are actually slightly bigger than most of their metal figures; their metal ones are a pretty close match for TAG’s while Warlord plastics are bigger. Odd that Warlord has that difference between the two materials they produce figures in…
The two guns are four parts, two wheels, the stock (carriage?), and the barrel, and fit together easily. Mold lines and flash are minimal, just a few minutes cleanup for the whole lot.
The two crew packs are available separately as English Artillery crew loading and English Artillery crew sighting, each consisting of an officer/sergeant figure and three crew. The loaders have a powder scoop, rammer, and swab; the sighting crew have two with large timber levers to adjust the gun’s wheels and a gunner doing the actual sighting.
The culverin is also available separately; it comes with the gun, a powder barrel, a water bucket, and a small pile of cannon balls. The falconette has the gun, a wedge, water bucket, and a bucket of small shot.
I still haven’t quite settled on how I’m going to base the guns and their crew, but I’m looking forward to assembling and painting them up; the whole unit should be pretty quick to paint up, and while I usually base figures before painting them, I might well tack these guys down to craft sticks to get them painted before I make any basing decisions. Basing might involve a custom movement tray of some sort ordered from Warbases that can fit six crew on 25mm bases and the unbased gun, to match the 2mm MDF movement trays I’ve already got.
I’ll probably order from TAG again; they have some different figures that Warlord don’t offer, I like their sculpting style, and variety is always useful, but the insanely long order times are offputting.
As I mentioned in my last post about the things I brought home from Trumpeter Salute, one of them was a copy of Issue #87 of Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy, their ECW special. One of the articles in there was by Tony Harwood, also known as Dampfpanzerwagon around the internet, including on the Lead Adventure Forum.
Wanting more buildings suitable for an English Civil War game (and possibly for early 20th C pulp games set in the English countryside!) I decided to build my own version of Tony’s dovecote. It’s a great building for wargaming, having a minimal footprint but nice presence because of it’s height.
My version of Tony’s dovecote has walls 60mm wide and a total footprint, including minimal base, of about 65mm by 65mm. It’s 120mm (12cm) to the tops of the walls. I haven’t actually measured to the top of the roof, but it’s somewhere around 20cm or so total height.
The walls and base are 1/16th” matt board (picture framing card). The stone foundation is thin (about 1/8th” or so) styrofoam insulation, carved with an Xacto blade and pencil. The half-timbering is all wooden coffee stir sticks, most of them split lengthwise to make narrower beams.
The half-timbering took a couple of hours all told, done in bits and pieces in between household chores on a Saturday. Do the big vertical corner beams first, then the horizontals, then the infill verticals or diagonals. The pattern of the half timbering is slightly different on all four walls, which seems pretty typical of this sort of Medieval/Renaissance building!
The central “tower” on the roof is more 1/16th matt board, 20mm a side. The sloping pieces of the main roof are lighter card, cut to fit by trial and error. The tower roof is a scrap of styrofoam insulation, cut with a fresh Xacto blade into a four-side pyramid. All eight roof surfaces will get “slate” tiles from medium weight card, and the top of the tower will get some basic detailing from card as well.
For texture in the panels between the timbers, Tony uses air drying clay in his original dovecote. Lacking air drying clay, I’m trying out stippling a fairly heavy coat of white glue over the card. I’ll slap some paint over it soon and see how it looks; the white glue I’m using currently dries very glossy which makes it hard to see how much texture I’m actually getting.
Picked up a cheap towel to use as thatching. Here it is in a quickie late-night photograph, glue still wet on the roof of the half-timber barn.
The roof has a base of sheet styrene. I used white glue to stick the towel strips down, then more thinned white glue to soak the towel, which (when it eventually dries!) should solidify it nicely.
The barn has also been given a base of mattboard and mostly primed. My usual scenery primer is a 1:1 mix of white glue and black paint, mixed right on the model. It seals and protects the scenery surface nicely, even fairly fragile stuff like styrofoam toughens up a bit!
The main arched doors are also in progress, but I forgot to get a photo of them.
Still to-do for the roof, trim the edges and glue them under the eves for a more finished look, then paint and more paint. I also need to do basswood rafters under the roof, both for looks and for actual structural support, as the roof will still be removable when this building is finished.
The roof still looks a bit too towel-like right now, hopefully finishing the edges and painting will sort that!
Something for the English Civil War/Thirty Years War table, as well as for pulp games set in the quainter parts of the UK or Europe! All those crops gathered from my fields have to be stored somewhere, after all.
The whole thing is highly inspired by Warlord Game’s rather nice 16th Century Barn. Actually, scrub “highly inspired”, I’m outright copying the building, as a learning piece! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isn’t it?
The basic structure is foamcore. The stonework is soft foam salvaged from a takeout food container; I’m going to have to swing by our local (awesome) plastic supplier to see if they have something similar in sheets, as one takeout container at a time is a rather slow way to accumulate building materials! I scribed/carved the stones with a sharp pencil, and quite like how they’ve turned out.
The timbering is 1/8th x 1/16th inch balsa strip from the Stockpile’o’Doom. I have about six lengths of it, and it is entirely possible it’s leftovers from our family model railroading setup in the early/mid-1990s when I was in junior high. I think I’ve carried that balsa around long enough — time to put it to use, right?
Doors, additional timbering at the corners of the building, and a base are still to do. The inside will get a bit of plastering just for texture, and probably a lot of straw strewn around and such — details to add interest without getting much in the way, ideally.
The roof will be towel thatching over a styrene base.
I’ve heard the suggestion that you try one new-to-you technique per project; I’m afraid this simple-looking building breaks that “rule” good and proper! Foam stonework is new to me; likewise half-timbered building construction, and I’ve never actually used the towel-as-thatch technique before either! Wish me luck!
Sunday the 29th of May we got together to do a four-player 1,000pt Field of Glory: Renaissance battle; this was bigger than had previously been attempted and was my first actual game in this period.
I badly bent a rule I’ve held to for more than a decade, and fielded unfinished figures (a lot of them, in fact!) to get a force on the table. I had an allied German army of two units of standard pike-and-shot foot, a field commander, and an oversized technically-illegal unit of really good-quality horse (six bases instead of the usual four, all Superior Determined Horse, for the other FoG:R players out there), the rest of our side (centre and other wing) was all German Catholic. Opposing us was a French force, with one wing of allied English New Model Army. An a-historical mashup, to be sure, but a good game. The two allied wings wound up facing each other, my German Prods vs the New Model Army, while the two larger armies fought the other wing and the centre.
An entire week since my last substantial post! The horror, how will our dedicated readership cope?
I’ve been painting up an English Civil War/Thirty Years War storm this week, filling that inevitable post-Lead Painters League void with 40-odd plastic pike-and-shotte foot and a dozen horse. You all saw 5 of the horse in one of my LPL entries, of course, the rest are taking shape nicely and all of the foot now have most of their basic paint on them. Sunday the 29th we’re running a 1000pt Field of Glory: Renaissance big battle, and I’m breaking one of my long-standing rules by fielding figures that aren’t even anywhere near finished just to get something on the table. At least they’re not straight-up Primered Legions — there are depths to which I will not stoop.
No pictures of my WiP paintjobs, but I’ll take the camera to tomorrow’s big game and try to get some reasonable shots to share here.
The Lead Adventure Forum is, of course, one of the greatest collections of creative wargaming minds I’m aware of. A random sampling of current coolness there that should be more widely known: Chicken Race on the Arumbaya, in which the estimable Hammers plans a pulpish steamboat race with a South American feel and some great-looking boats. Also, Boggler’s converted Improvised Back-of-Beyond Armoured Truck, very nice conversions of diecast toy trucks.
Elsewhere on the web (elseweb?) An Evil Giraffe has done his own versions of my riverbank pieces, and very nice they are too. He used broken cork sheet for his banks, so it has more texture (but also more height) than mine.
Finally, also via LAF but worthy of being mentioned on it’s own, Sarissa Precision have started selling a very, very nice looking line of 28mm laser-cut and -etched urban buildings that are perfect for pulp! Information here on the Sarissa site, and on sale here in their online store. I can’t wait to have some spare money to throw Sarissa’s way, the buildings are a good size (6″x4″ or 8″x6″ footprints and stackable for extra floors) and a fair price with enough detail to be interesting but not too fussy that they’re impractical. Hopefully at some point they offer their windows, doors and other details seperately, or even just the building fronts for those of us comfortable cutting our own side and rear walls.
Photos tomorrow or Monday of the ECW/TYW big-game madness, I promise!
Week 9? There was no Week 9. Well, OK, there was, but it involved me running my ECW Parliamentarian Horse again, and them getting beaten. Again.
However, I still like the models and the paintjob I managed on them, so here they are again for everyone to admire:
In better news, LPL5’s final, ultimate round, Round 10, with the bonus theme of “A Scene from the Movies” is running right now. All sorts of great stuff, including a bonus-worthy set of miniatures from me that I really like, and that other people do too, judging by the voting!
For the 5th Lead Painters League’s 8th Round, something entirely new from me: 28mm English Civil War/Thirty Years War cavalry!
These are Warlord plastic horse, nominally ECW Parliamentarian horse but really destined for our gaming group’s quasi-historical nominally-Thirty Years War games. They’re also the first 28mm cavalry I’ve ever done, the first plastic wargaming figures I’ve ever done, and the first non-20th C historicals I’ve ever done. All at once!
Unfortunately they got beaten soundly by a nicely presented and very characterful set of 28mm Middle Eastern figures.
Still, I’m pleased with how the paintjobs turned out. I’d be remiss if I didn’t credit this Games Workshop article on painting horses with making the horse painting and the resulting horses both more interesting! (I’ve just said something nice about GW, in public… this might just be a sign of the End Times…)
(I also just noticed that this is post number 100 on The Warbard! Now, that includes a lot of old website material brought over as posts, but it’s still been a busy 4-and-a-bit months here! Many more to come! — Brian)