Friday 29 April 2016

Field Trip Cancelled

The weather forecast was so bad I had to cancel my field trip and do admin instead. These are some of the expected images from the day

These are the actual pictures of the day

I wish.

Thursday 28 April 2016

It's going to be terrible

Off to the coast tomorrow to map the geology near Berwick. The forecast is so bad even the other lecturers have asked if we are still going. Of course we are going, this is what it looks like on a nice day.

In the mean time I've had some more figs.
First up some African slaves from Eureka, very nice

Next up I bought another lucky bag from Northstar (must stop this additiction). This was £17 for 5 mounted figures and 15 foot. Northstar got the order wrong and I got 10 mounted figures. I would let them know but they would only say keep them, so I will.

The horses

3 Greeks, 1 Boer and 6 Dark Age Brits

1 Boer, 2 Colonial Brits, 2 Greek archers, 2 desert types, 4 1864 Danes and 5 AWI Brits i think

The Danes are interesting as they are almost identical to ACW Union Troops and will fit nicely as I have some ACW artillery to make. Overall a bargain.
Finally a Pub, plan to play a VBCW game over the weekend.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

New Toys and Buildings

Still not in the mood for painting but I have been busy. I've started to rebuild the lead mountain and received this in the post today from Arcane Scenery,which is pretty impressive as I ordered it at 11.00pm on Sunday. They are an on line retailer with a nice selection

A 13lb WW1 field gun for VBCW, a couple of figures of Gonville Bromhead (fact and fiction) and a plantation owner and slaves. The Slave owner is being carried in a litter and I'm starting to amass a collection of nice individual figures and vignettes to practice my painting skills on instead of painting armies.
I've also been scratch building some buildings (terrible sentence) using doors and windows from Warbases.

My buildings tend to look rickety and as I struggle with crafting precision So I let it be my style. The brick sheets are free to download from Paperbrick.
I've also build some large African huts out of 3L Diet Coke bottles

cut the top off

Cover with Papier Mache and add a card cone top

Add entrance and thatch with sisal. Paint with tester pots. Nee a bit more work but these are very large. I've been banging on to the students about putting a scale marker on all your photographs. Obviously I forgot. Do as I say not as I do, but the doors are 30mm. A bit more work on these but pretty close
I ordered some Eureka Figs from fighting 15s with an 8-10 week lead time last week and they got dispatched today, which was nice. That's 3 parcels I have in the post. Think that should tide me over until Partizan on 22nd May.

Friday 22 April 2016

The Battle of Gnott's Landing - A IHMN big battle

After the earlier dry run I fought a large scale IHMN battle. The rules are exactly the same as IHMN with the following exceptions.

1. Characters can be attached to units and act as their leader
2. Each unit has Unit Pluck (UP) which which equals that of the commander. If the unit suffers casualties during the shooting or fighting phase then it tests against the UP

Turn sequence

1. Test UP for all routing and halted units. If passed then routing units halt and halted units resume as normal.
2. Movement. A unit that runs must maintain its current formation. If it walks then it may expand its frontage by 50%
3. Shooting Phase - each figure in a unit fires before turn passes next player.
4. If a unit receives any casualties during shooting phase then it must test against UP. If fails then routs a full run move. If equaled then unit halts. -1 per casualty received this turn to roll
5 In fighting phase characters fight first following the initiative rules. Then rank and file fight (whole unit), again using the initiative rules.
6 The side that receives the most casualties during fighting phase then it must test against UP. If fails then routs a full run move. If equaled then unit disengages 3". -1 per casualty received this turn to roll. If it passes then the opposing side fights.
7 Medics attached to a unit allow 1 pluck roll to be re-rolled immediately, once per turn.

Now the Battle of Gnott's Landing

Konigprincesse Cecile, famed for her Unearthly Beauty, is leading an expedition up the Crocodile River into Zululand to find a direct route to the German allied Boers of the Orange Free State. If they can conquer the Zulus they can effectively trap the British in South Africa.
After a week of travelling they are camped at Gnott's Landing when a huge Zulu army of more than 5 impis appears  (Zulus FV+1 Speed+1). Hastily taking position behind barricades the marines (bayonet drill, military rifle, FV+1, SV+1, padded coats), Askaris (military rifles) and a small field gun (explosive grenade launcher with range of 36") await the Zulus.



and again


The Zulus advance at the run and the field gun makes a direct hit on the UmKhuse killing 3 with another being hit by rifle fire. They fail their UP and rout

The Zulus continue their advance as the UnKhuse rally. Minor casualties to the Zulus but they press on

The Ukhandempemvo charge into section 1 of the Askari and kill 2 causing them to rout

Some terrible shooting from the Germans enables the uDuDuDu and IziNoyzi to charge the barricades. Cecile's pistol jams and is broken leaving her armed with a swagger stick and her piercing blue eyes. The uDuDudu Induna fights Cpt. Schmidt and knocks her down. One of the marines kills the Induna of the IziNoyzi and they rout.

The battle at the barricades continues but the artillery crew and section 2 of the Askari have routed.

The Zulus send in the 2nd wave

Good shooting and the death of another Induna at the hands of the recovered Schmidt causes 2 impis to rout but the battle at the barricade is not going well

The Marines disengage and start their retreat to the boat

The Zulus scent victory and the few remaining survivors make it back to the boat, a crushing defeat with the the death of Cpt. Schmidt. The Germans have has their nose bloodied and the Zulus are rampant.

This was great. Although the set up was the stereotypical colonial battle (the sort that gives colonial battles a bad name) it worked really well. It was a close run thing considering the Zulus outnumbered the Germans by 3 points to 1 and 5 to 1 in figures. 1 impi fewer and I think the Germans could have won. The Zulus lost 2 routed Impis off the table and 30 dead to 13 dead Germans. The Unit Pluck works really well, think swirling hordes advancing and retreating until they can get close enough to fight. The artillery is devastating when it hits. It gets a little complicated when you have multiple units fighting in melee, but don't all rules.
I will definitely be using IHMN with these rule tweaks for my large battles. Hope you enjoyed it, I did. Will keep you posted on further tweaks.

Thursday 21 April 2016

Big Battles using IHMN

So I've been thinking about fighting about big battles for the Africa campaign but I don't have a good set of rules I did the small skirmishes using IHMN and I like the rules and the whole feel of the battles
I thought I should try them out as rules for a major battle. If I treat the units as single figures with multiple wounds and multiple attacks and add the characters as officers then it was a bit like going from Dragon to Lion Rampant.
I made some basic tweaks to the rules

1. Units move as a single body
2. Characters shoot or fire first
3. Characters can not be fired at if attached to unit
4. Roll one D10 for each figure firing fighting
6. Knocked down results count as casualties
7. After the shooting phase or fighting phase if a side has received casualties then it makes a group pluck test against the leader's pluck with -1 per casualty received this turn. If failed then unit routs. If equals pluck then unit halts (or disengages 3" if fighting) Any unit then fails a group pluck test then at the start of the next turn. If passed then continues as normal, if failed then continue to rout or rout if halted.
8. The first phase of fighting is 1 to 1. If it continues to 2nd phase then sides can increase frontage by 50% If  continues further then smaller unit can start to lap around the edges of the smaller unit with the normal associated penalties.

Gave them a try out  with Brits vs Zulus. The Brits were bayonet drill trained and the Zulus were +1 speed. Brits were 19 points each plus 2 officers. Zulus were 10 points each, so basically outnumbered Brits 2:1. That didn't feel right so I doubled the number of Zulus

Zulus advance at run and start to take shooting casualties, but only a few

1st combat ends with closest fight ending with both sides fighting on Above the Zulus has disengaged

Nearest Brits are destroyed and officer legs it

Top battle has cost the Zulus 50% casualties but the other impi has lapped round and will finish the Brits off.

It sort of worked but the numbers don't feel right. Cover would help the natives and barricades would help the Brits.  More work to be done though. Suggestions welcome.
On a sadder note Prince died tonight. No song though - he didn't do streaming

Sunday 17 April 2016

Nesting Season

I've had a really lazy weekend, recovering from a major teaching week (teaching76 masters students  remediation of contaminated land all week).
Fought the 2nd Africa campaign battle (see yesterdays post), read a lot of stuff about Salute (lot of people) and built a machine gun nest for VBCW.
As part of my prize from the painting challenge Alf and Clara from Barrage miniatures sent me a couple free extras These were gun ports for concrete fortification. I turned the smaller one into a machine gun nest, the larger one will hold an AT gun once I've bought one.

Side walls made of balsa

"Buttered" with filler to hide the joins and wood

Painted concrete and washed with black ink. Added card roof and foliage, 

Top view (obviously), enough room for 4 extra figs

Front view

Generally a very pleasant weekend. Off to build some river sections now while waiting for Agents of Shield

Saturday 16 April 2016

Race for Africa Chapter 1

It is 1875 and the Powers are poised to conquer Africa. Driven by personal greed and ambition adventurers explore the darkest reaches of the darkest continent.
At home the civilian population is horrified by tales slavery, witchcraft and savagery, but fascinated by tales of adventure, heroism and the noble savage.

The British are expanding South from Egypt and North from South Africa. The French are aiming to control the gold and salt trade in the Sahara and the Ivory trade in West Africa. Meanwhile in SW Africa the fledgling German Nation is looking to gain a foothold.
Can the nations gamble on expanding their possessions whilst managing to hold onto what the have already won?
The British need better maps and send their master cartographer Capt Sidney Liddon RN down the Nile to scout out a planned invasion route of Sudan.
Whilst resting at the Qabir oasis they are cut off from the river by 2 groups of natives. They must get back to to the river and the safety of their boats. Defeat would embolden the local tribes and make invasion harder but their loss would force Britain's hand.

Opening Positions

Beja advancing down the valley from the Nile

Arabs armed with jezails  under their leader Hussain

Captain Liddon and the Naval section

All the forces advance into the wadis at the base of the valley

The Beja launch an attack before the British are ready as the Arabs fire and take down 2 Ratings

The first clash  leaves 4 dead Beja and 2 dead sailors

The the Navy slowly overpowers the Beja but the musket fire from the Arabs is taking it's toll

The next round of jezail fire will leave Liddon alone against 6 arabs. However all the Arabs have fired and whilst they are reloading Liddon steps up to the top of the wadi and points his sword at Hussain and challenges him to a duel.

Liddon wins the duel but bandages Hussain's wound. Hussain pledges his loyalty to Liddon, as do his men. Together they check the wounded and find 6 sailors with minor wounds, 2 severely wounded ones and 2 dead. The Arabs save 2 of their brothers but only 2 of the Beja have survived and return home.

Liddon returns to Cairo with Hussain and the Arabs in tow but he is greeted with suspicion by the Colonial Command who think he has gone native. The do not trust him with regular command but they know a good thing when they see it and give Liddon free reign to explore the region with his native scouts.
In London the newspapers are awash with news of the new Victorian hero - Sudanese Liddon.

The rules were IHMN, which I'm starting to like a lot. The duel was  3 rounds of combat using the normal combat rules with each unsaved hit counted a wound. Most wounds caused wins.