Tuesday 31 July 2012

Ivor the Engine?

 The Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company Limited  has been rather preoccupied of late. Strange sounds have emanated from the engine shed day and night.There have been odd comings and goings .Now finally all is revealed.With rumbling and clanking, accompanied by a rather plaintive steam whistle, the brand new secret weapon of the Nationalst cause makes its way out of the shed into the daylight.It is met by the sound of a choir singing.Jones the steam is very happy and can't wait to give those Liverpool Lefties a surprise...
Finally got round to painting this Scheltrum miniatures vehicle I have had lying around for ages!

Saturday 28 July 2012

The game itself

Well we did manage a game last night.Here area few photos of it.
The  Llangubbin fast cycles are about to engage in a firefight with members of the people's assault column. The plucky cyclists put up a show but ended the game numbers greatly reduced and having cycled off the table in retreat.
The fully set up dining room table .The Liverpool Free State forces are on the right in this picture,no pun intended. Note excellent scenery my regular opponent has bought which serves well for a number of different periods.
 Finally a picture of the Welsh Nationalist battalion commander and his standard bearer.He is a French army officer (wearing his full dress uniform and carrying his cavalry sabre) and Welsh speaker ( French father and Welsh mother) who has come to offer his military expertise and throw in his lot with the fortunes of a Free Wales.

P.S I am a tad tired this morning as I stayed up to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony on television with my family.It was quite amazing and a fitting start to the proceedings.A loud hurrah for all concerned with it I say!

Friday 27 July 2012

Llangubbin Fast Cycles

Afternoon chaps! Painting up some troops for my Welsh Nationalist flying column for a 1938 Very British Civil War game tonight.Here are some splendid fellows- The Llangubbib Fast Cycles:
They are the "eyes and ears" of their brigade and are commanded by R.S Thomas the youngish curate fresh from his previous appointment at Chirk. All men are keen amateur cyclists and members of the Llangubbin and District cycle club. I am sure they will be plucky opponents for the Liverpool Free State this evening...

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Summer in a day?

I am reminded of the Simple Minds  track "Life in a Day" for I fear Saturday was our summer a day.For the second week running we went to gardens opened by The Scottish Open Gardens Scheme. They organise for people's gardens to be opened to the public and the proceeds are given to charity Two weeks ago we went to see the gardens open in a village called Strathmiglo.They were varied in nature but all superb in their own way. This weekend we went to the Fife coastal village of Crail.
This was the first garden we saw built upon a long strip of land rising from the sea.We had to climb up through luscious vegetation and discreet areas until we reached the terrace with pond ,rill and glorious views.
Many had superb views like this one while others were enclosed within high stone walls.It is a joy to see round  other's work to talk with them and gain inspiration for one's own garden. We had a superb day and the weather was super too.Since then ( and before) the rain and wind continues unabated...
On the hobby front I am just completing around 40 or so Welsh Nationalists of 1938 for a forthcoming VBCW game. I am at the stage of adding flags, painting armbands and basing them.I hope to post pictures here very soon...

Thursday 19 July 2012

The hills are alive- part two

The assault is underway.Leading from the front is Duke Ferdinand himself.The duke is a keen swordsman of some skill and repute who specializes in the fencing taught by Italian and Tradgarlandian masters. Having lost an eye in military adventuring abroad the duke is already a favourite with the soldiers of the Ducal army.He wears a coat of the Ducal colours and sports an eye patch.
The advancing soldiers come nearer and nearer to the hills.A withering fire begins yet the Duke urges his men onwards...
Some croats charge from behind cover in a last ditch attempt to drive the Tradgardlanders off the field of battle.
Hand to hand fighting ensues and the Duke is in the thick of things .The battle swings back and forth but eventually the croats are pursued off the field.

An enjoyable little action to fight and I am pleased with the look of the hills. I am considering how to depict wooded hills and hope to try some experiments with paper/card 2d ones as well as tree models.On the agenda too is a folly watch tower which will fit into the hilly ladscape...
Yesterday (Wednesday) saw torrential rain all day here in the Duchy and a train was affected by a landslip just a mile or so down the road. Water poured forth from a crack in the neighbour's  garage and bailing had to be done in the corner we were working on. Thankfully at time of writing ( Thursday 7.30 a.m ) the sun is shining and not before time.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

The hills are alive with the sound of .... croats!

The new Duke of Tradgardland is leading a detachment of the Ducal army into the hills between Tradgardland and the Umstrittental. For a number of days now news has filtered back of farms being raided and animals stolen.Farmers report that the croat troops of the Imperium are in the vicinity.Finally local scouts find the croats hiding in the hills and a Ducal howitzer is deployed-
After some time  and sweaty work under a midsommer sun the artillery crew have failed to flush out their quarry.Dejectedly they report back the Duke Ferdinand  who consults with his officers and advisers.After fierce deliberation over a seven course banquet it is decided to attack the hill position with infantry the next day.
The Ducal troops are up with the dawn and soon are mustering.Against the express wishes of his officers the Duke insisits on leading the troops forward himself...
With banners flying and drums beating the assualt is on.

The hills are alive- well getting there and a question of scale

After a very busy day in the garden on Monday ( sorting out the corner near the Shed/garden room/?) yesterday was a day doing things around the place.A little shopping uptown to get food and some p.v.a glue in the morning, a radio 4 play in the afternoon, culinary chores and some hobby activities in between.
Firstly a question.I was basing RAFM indians and put them beside my Front Rank and Foundry figures and the indians were dwarfed by them. I am quite happy using diverse figures on the tabletop in discrete units at the same time but can anyone think of another manufacturer of French Indian Wars figures compatible in size with RAFM?
And now for my other activity yesterday-hill building-
I got out wood offcuts,card and glue and enjoyed the messy process.The photo shows me wedging the hills with an old log and a courgette plant that will not grow in this cold summer. Later on an old crumpled paper bag was added for terraforming and paint added. Watch this space for the end result soon.

Monday 16 July 2012

Inspiration diverse

One really important aspect of being away on holiday is the inspiration one gets. For some years now we have been visiting Scampston Walled garden in Yorkshire near Malton. It is a beautiful place which has given us ideas and encouragement  to improve our own plot. It was designed by the Dutchman Piet Oudolf.
Although a wet day the gardens were magnificent as ever.
We always find new things and fresh ideas...
Holiday time too is a time to catch up on reading.Term time often leaves me too tired to read much.The novel depicted below ( I am about to finish) has given me much pleasure this holiday-
Good historical research combined with adventures and fasinating insights to the time make these novels well worth a read. Go on give them a go you won't regret it...
Finally a beer I discovered just prior to the hols.A unique taste with a hint of corriander- well worth trying on these summer evenings rain or shine!

Sunday 15 July 2012

It has been a while since..Born in the K.F.C

It has been a while since I purchased  a new set of rules.Sure I like to experiment with diverse rules sets and download many from the net.to try. but ,on the whole, I avoid buying the complicated,glossy and expensive. The hobby warchest is finite and there is no point buying eye candy which will remain on the shelf. I got rid of a load of rules some time back using the criteria of how long it was since I played them. In the cupboard I have kept some for sentimental reasons eg WRG 6th Ed and lists I played so much in my Uni days. Anyway on with the business of the day.Yesterday the postman arrived with the following in two parcels-
The book (which looks most interesting on first glance) came from America and the rules from Caliver- always excellent service and a delight to deal with. I had read much of Muskets &Tomahawks  and decided to take the plunge.I was not wrong to do so.They are well laid out, accessible to read and look fun. The idea is to use them in two ways-firstly to game the period solo and secondly to perhaps persuade my regular opponent to give them a whirl.
I love the 18th Century in North America having walked for years in my Minds Eye through endless forests and the walls of Louisberg to name but two main influences. A trip to the shed found my collection of RAFM syw figures ( neglected and paint chipped at the bottom of a box) needing some TLC. More positively  were the  Saratoga Campaign figures ready to roll. I will use these to learn the game system and work on some syw figures for Ny Tradgardland  over time.
So imagine the scene.The year is 1777,the Mohawk Valley.In a small corner of the Valley living beside their Palatine German neighbours are some families of Tradgardland descent.Their little corner of Arcadian bliss is called Karl Frederick County ( named after the beloved Duke of Tradgardland) or K.F.C for short.
A firm friend of the community Nicholas Herkimer arrives with serious news - the British are coming! The men of the K.F.C collect muskets,rifles and powder horns and muster forthwith.
Hopefully the next post will reveal the 200pt force they are gathering...

Friday 13 July 2012

Good to be back home...

Well that's us back home after six days away staying at Fylingthorpe Yorkshire in a Georgian cottage.Weather pretty awful but a good time had by all...
First stop on the way down from Tradgardland was Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields.Note resplendent reconstructed gate.The local council have also funded reconstructions of a barracks block and commanding officer's suite of rooms. They featured  a mural (see below) whilst the barracks was rather less well appointed!
 Whist on holiday I read a excellent book on the everyday life of a Late Roman Legionary.great evocation of time & place written by a dedicated reenactor.Well worth a read!
I would be interested to know of a detailed book which tells a similar tale of an 18th century soldier's day to day life- can anyone suggest any?

Thursday 5 July 2012

the game part two

The attackers opened fire at the light infantry beside the bridge and the defenders replied with a volley from the infantry regiment,light infantry and the cannons.The attackers took casualties and the yellow coated Syldavians emerged from the wood.
The battle has reached a critical point with fire being exchanged across the river.The defender's shot with far less effect than the attackers . As casualties mounted the morale of many units wavered , officers tried to encourage their men and grim determination prevailed-but for how long...
The turning point arrived. Two of the attacking regiments retreat from the battlefield in good order but suffered significant losses.The Syldavians managed to stand but are wavering mightily whilst the defenders leave their defences in disarray having witnessed the shooting of an ensign  and saw their regimental Colour float away downstream...
The General cannot rally his troops they flee past him his words lost in the confusion for ever.One Colour is saved and carried to the safety of the surrounding woods.

A most enjoyable little affair. I am considering trying a series of linked battles  (all in different  areas this size) with some narrative and book keeping.Simple but fun .
For added tactical entertainment a few cavalry units would be handy.As all the infantry regiments are around 10-12 figures strong I am still considering what would be a good size for cavalry-any suggestions?
Rules,such as they are, stood up well and the most important thing was I had fun and got a game played.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

And so the game...part one

The engineers from the village are desperately trying to dismantle the temporary bridge under the watchful eye of their officer. A dice thrown by me ascertained that they would need three turns to do this in order to make the bridge unable to be crossed by the enemy.
Meanwhile the enemy have begun their attack.One regiment on the right advances up the road to take the bridge whilst two advance cautiously through the small woods on the left.The troops of Syldavian extraction are preceded by a few jaeger. A cannon near the town opens fire but to no avail.

The Defenders ,in the next turn,fire the cannon again with minimal effect and some of the light infantry have opened fire too.Meanwhile the attacking troops have proceeded well through the woods without too many twisted ankles and troops dropping out of line to forage etc.The attacking regiment advancing up the road opened fire at the engineers on the bridge and although they counted as in hard cover they took casualties.The dismantling having to cease as the wounded are cared for.
The battle report will continue in part two. I am considering adding some random factor for movement to add/subtract from the normal moves to add a little uncertainty to the proceedings in the future and some mechanism for troops moving in larger woods to allow them to get lost/exit the wood at the wrong point.I do not want to add much as I enjoy the simplicity of things  but these could be factored in easily with a dice throw to plus/minus normal moves and also a compass point dice to see in which direction they move...

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Village assualt

At the request of Bluebear Jeff and also because it is some weeks since my last game I set up a small 18th century scenario on the dining table.It concerns an assault upon a small village in the Disputed Valley.All my figures (with room for more) fit nicely into a box file and it is accessible to dig out with minimum fuss.The photo below shows the situation-
At the top of the photo (please click upon it to enlarge it) the village is defended by a regtiment of infantry who have built light defenses from rubble filled wine casks.They are supported by a smattering of light infantry and two cannon-one on a hill and the other sledge mounted one in the town itself.On the bridge engineers frantically attempt to dismantle the hastily built wooden replacement bridge over the one they blew up earlier as a measure to stop the enemy.A dice will randomly determine how long this will take.
At the bottom of the photograph the assaulting forces can be observed-3 infantry regiments and two small groups of jaeger- one just off screen at the bottom right hand corner.
The game is set up, the minimal rules carried in my head and I can't wait.Photos and battle report later...

Monday 2 July 2012


The second of July here in Tradgardland and raining heavily and steadily...
Thought we would get a skip to take the detritus lurking around the side of the shed.
The above photo shows the task half way through and the one below the finished skip ready for collection five hours after it arrived-
After all that effort I think I will reward myself with a solo game, perhaps 18th century or ancients using rules circa 1972, we shall see...