Sunday, April 10, 2016

Camel Corp commission

Recently completed a commission for a mate (ok, ok - it was for my lead pimp Doug - I'm now his official painting bitch alright?!!!) consisting of a horde of proto-Napoleonics. The figures are from my favourite period - Napoleon's campaign in Egypt - and my favourite unit his Camel Corps (des Dromadaires?) The figures are mostly Brigade and look like (as in probably are) Paul Hicks sculpts.  Beautiful figures, I am envious of Doug's collection of French from this most underdone of pre-Napoleonic eras.

Unfortunately the camels suffer from the spindly leg syndrome as bad as the Brigade Mameluke figures I painted last year. If you use the hot glue gun to put 'em on paint sticks remember to use a hairdryer to heat and melt the glue a bit when getting them off or you'll be in for busted fetlocks (if fetlocks is wot camels 'as orright?!) The very long muskets, all with pointy bayonets is the other vulnerable bit to look out for. I must have repaired at least half a dozen of the bl*%dy things!

They have the most colourful of uniforms, of which there were several varieties during their short-lived time in Egypt. They were formed from dismounted hussars (French originally had a shortage of suitable horses after they landed) and various odds and sods from the infantry, operating as a mounted or mobile infantry unit. They quickly changed from the tight-fitting hussar style uniform to a more Oriental one with baggy red high waisted pants and even the cocked hats for various types of turban. Clothing shortages meant nothing was implemented uniformly as it were and there was a wide variety - withe the black fur-trimmed long bright red overcoat for the officers being just one of the bizarre variations.  Sky-blue and bright red seem to have been the most consistent colours. Never more than about 4 squadrons of 2-300 mounted with another 80-100 each on foot (or in carriage!) they were nonetheless quite effective scouts, operating as a mounted infantry.

The other figures I painted up was an early horse artillery gun and crew. The figures look like Eureka and are quite nice in a chunky way.  The horse artillery of the period was really just a more mobile version of the foot artillery, most of the crew riding athwart a sausage wagon a la Austrien style. The chafing they must have suffered rattling across the rocky desert in the Middle East doesn't bear thinking about! Very rough on the old Jatz crackers eh wot? Mercifully didn't have to do another one of those sausage wagons and riders for Doug. Nicely animated figures, they fit in well with the Brigade Cameleers.

In addition to the camel patrol - some of the Brigade Mamelukes come charging in!

I also re-based one of those I'd done previously and added a third figure and camel. Improvised to have him dismounted and holding the camel. The ridiculous WRG basing insists on three of these mounted figures to a 60 x 40 base. This used to work well with 25mm but the scale creep in the last 20 years means 28-30mm figures are now the norm, and this size base gets mighty crowded. Its cheating a bit - but there are three figures to a base!

Where I had to use a bit of invention was in the standard used. As they were a mounted infantry I opted for an infantry style flag.  There is some conjecture about what they actually carried so a large Revolutionary style flag seems appropriate.  I did two of the same for the mounted and dismounted Camel Corps unit. There was a Revolutionary Commissar - type figure that could easily be a young Bonaparte which I quite liked and have added into the command group, this time on top of one of the flat roofed mud houses.

Last but not least, the mounted version.

Still have my own Ottoman Turks to finish but these and others should give Doug and I enough to stage a Napoleon-in-Egypt game later this year.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lions Rampant at Lanyon

I confess I hadn't been down to the Lanyon club for ages.  The illogical situation saw me drive miles across town to have games at Jolt but not 10 minutes down the road...   Well that all changed last Wednesday night when the 'Hammer of the Scots' campaign game we were due to have at Jolt was cancelled so Doug challenged me to a practice match of Lion Rampant down at Lanyon which is far more convenient for both of us. Besides which, Lanyon Vikings is a very pleasant club and serves a mean burger (pulled pork nomnomnomnom)!

Scots Foot Knights - loyal liege men to John Balliol?
The game was a simple enough affair to get some LR experience in before the campaign proper. Doug of course being the notorious exterminator of all things Scots, English King Edward 'Longshanks' gainfully assisted by some of the finest dice rolling seen lately by his son Jack. 'Tinny' would not even begin to describe it.  You want plenty of 5s and 6s - Jack's yer man. And naturally the English had archers. Lots and lots of archers. And Mounted Knights (the Longshanks crew) and rounded off by heavily armoured Foot Sergeants - quite a formidable lineup.

The Longshanks lineup - quite a horde
Facing this lot were myself (a Bruce of some sort?) and Doug's brother Owen as co-commander. At our disposal were a unit of Foot Knights (tough but sans horses so no 'wild charge' dammit) and three units of Foot Sergeants (the long pointy pike wielding variety made to draw the blood of the unwary gamer - ouch!), another mob called 'Fierce Foot' which are lightly armoured sword wielding maniacs (our 'wild charge' boys) and Bidowers. Ah yes, the Bidowers. The only archers the Scots possessed and only a half unit of 'em! Did I mention they could only shoot 12" to the British archers 18"? No yew trees in Scotland it seems.

The Bidowers - bravely try to whittle down some of their English counterparts
Young Jack's superb dice rolling saw the English advance across the field while us reluctant Scots failed again and again. With the exception of the Bidowers. They at least finally advanced within range and actually killed a longbowman or two before being turned into human pin-cushions themselves. First unit down. Next up were the English Foot Knights. These toughnuts advanced within range of the Scots Fierce Foot who, being fierce and thus quite unhinged as well as unarmoured, charged into the nearest unit, the English knights.

Doug's Foot Knights come into range (downwind) of the Fierce Foot and appear to be confused by the appalling stench of the unwashed Scotsmen coming their way! 
A great donnybrook develops on the English left: a horde of smelly Scotsmen smash into the English armoured gentry, preventing them getting their perfumed hankies out in time and making them quite irate.
While the Fierce Foot and Knights duke it out in front, the English archers rain arrows down on the Sergeants opposite.
After the remaining Fierce Foot fled the field, the next Scots unit to suffer were the Sergeants who after a similar stoush with the armoured English archers, were battered and had to retreat making them once more pin-cushion targets for the archers.  

The Knights and Fierce Foot take a well earned breather in the background with the Scots actually killing more Knights but unable to get the morale test score they needed so getting ready for Round 2.
The English Foot Knights prevail but their archers are put under pressure by the Scots Sergeants.
After loosing three units to one on the other flank the Scots Foot Knights finally, after the 3rd or 4th try, advanced into range of the English Mounted Knights. In our first stroke of luck the English Knights failed to get their charge off and the Scots were able to catch them at the halt in a counter charge.
Scots Fierce Foot and Bidowers gone, its not looking good for the remaining Scots Foot Sergeants 
The knights, mounted and on foot and their respective commanders battle it out in the decisive encounter of the game while behind them the archers steadily reduce the Scots Foot Sergeants. 
Against the run of the game the Scots Foot Knights actually beat the English Knights and kill Longshanks!  
Progress on the Scots right: the English Knights minus Longshanks retreat (but don't break) while the Scots Sergeants push back the English Sergeants.
The last English knight about to run away while the English archers take care of the rest of the Scots Sergeants with yet more arrow showers.
Situation at the end of the game: the English Sergeants  battered and retreating, the archers drive off the other Scots Sergeants (I think) but the Scots Foot Knights are victorious.
Great game - only went the Scots way at the last moment.  Those Mounted Knights are very tough buggers to kill and would not break two round after Longshanks got the chop! Seemed like a lot more Scots died (again) - been a bit of a theme in the campaign thus far - although this one was just a practice (unfortunately) as I reckon after Wallace's early demise, doing Longshanks would even things up a bit!  But Doug takes great delight in chopping up Scotsmen and getting Scotsmen to chop up Scotsmen, so I'm sure he'll be back with a vengence in the next phase of our campaign.

Lion Rampant is a relatively simple and medi-evilly bloodthirsty system that's great fun to play and thanks to Doug, Owen and young Jack for a beaut evenings wargaming. Club's a great venue and it was good to see Ian and Greg again - and look forward to contributing to the next 'Little Wars' con later this year!