Thursday, 16 February 2017

Warmaster Three-Way Battle

Some of you might know that over the last year, I've really got into Warmaster - GW's 10mm Fantasy Game from many years ago, for those who don't know.  It's a really nice game, very simple to learn and play, and the models are fantastic.  Its simple mechanics have influenced my own game design, persuading me to strip out complex shooting rules from Two Splendid Lines and replacing them with simple, single dice rolls.

When I get the chance, I pop round to my friend Mike's house, and we play a game in his newly-renovated attic (almost all my games photos from the last year were taken in here).  The ability to have a dedicated space for gaming and terrain has revolutionised the way we play.  Now we've got storage, all the odds and ends of terrain and armies is now stored in a single place.  By pooling our resources, we're fortunate enough to be able to create some stunning battlefields.

Our gaming group, which began as a group of friends who all went to the same school, is now spread over quite a bit of the country but concentrated in Newark.  Whenever I can (all to rarely) I drop in for a game.  Recently, it's all been Warmaster.  I play with a rare army of Dwarves, Mike has some fantastically-painted Bretonnians, and Dan is the valiant Empire.  Here are a few flavour pics from our most recent game, where Dan triumphed over us both in a climactic three-way battle.

(As an aside, this is the first time I've ever bought a painted army second hand.  Although I don't feel as attached to these chaps, it was refreshing to be ready to play games straight away without a month of building, painting and basing).


Monday, 30 January 2017

A Tale of Two Armies - Basing a 2mm Force

Today we continue the Tale of Two Armies - an in-depth look at collecting a 2mm army.  We covered organising, basing and painting small-scale armies - now it's time to look at basing them.

In 2mm, basing is keyA nice base always brings a model together, but at this scale, the base is pretty much all you'll see on the tabletop.  Painting is just about giving the impression of a block of troops, but the base is what most people will actually be looking at.

The key is not to go overboard - a tree at 2mm might be 5mm tall, say, but you're not going to put a tree on every base.  I go for a generic green flock, with a scattering of fine gravel and sand to break it up a bit, then some foliage for bushes and small trees.  Anything more than that starts to look a bit over the top.

The War Room is ready.  Models are set out ready for basing, I have an area for scattering flock, with PVA on standby.  I find an old knife, a sculpting tool and even a few matchsticks are invaluable for spreading out the PVA.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Diorama: The Death of Marshal Poulain

I've done a few small dioramas in my time, and recently I felt the need to paint some 28mm models again.  I'm taking a break from my 2mm posts to bring you this diorama which depicts the (fictional) death of Marshal Poulain at the Battle of Talavera.

Some of you might remember our recent Talavera game; it was an enormous undertaking, all done on 2mm scale.  I thought, however, I'd use my Christmas money to buy some lovely Perry Miniatures and recreate some crucial moments from the battle.  As with my previous dioramas, it's fairly small in scale, all mounted on a 120mm Secret Weapon Miniatures resin base.

The diorama shows the moment where Marshal Poulain, surrounded by Grenadiers of the 68th Ligne on one of the main crossroads in Talavera, is cut down when British Light Dragoons manage to flank the small force.  It was an absolute joy to spend lots of time on these - each model took about an hour to paint in total, spread over a day to allow for drying.  I know Perry Miniatures don't need me to plug them, but they are by far the finest 28mm miniatures out there.  Meticulously researched and stunningly sculpted, they made the whole painting process more enjoyable.

Next week we'll continue my posts on the 2mm Austrians with a basing tutorial, and you can look forward to a second Talavera diorama in the next month or so.


Thursday, 12 January 2017

A Tale of Two Armies - Painting a 2mm Force

We continue with a series of posts on wargaming in 2mm today, as I build and paint the Prussian and Austrian armies for a future Battle of Lobositz.  You can see the post on organising and building the armies here.

I'm including the painting in such detail, because that's one of the biggest misconceptions about 2mm gaming.  For those who've only ever gamed in 28mm or 20mm, the small blocks of lead can seem like counters.  Why not just play with tokens?  Hopefully this quick post will shed some light on why I love this scale so much.

The key to painting in any scale is to give an impression of reality.  If you look at even the most talented 28mm painters, their models would look terrifyingly unreal if they were scaled up to life size.  Their skill is making them look like they are life sized figures which have been scaled down.  The same is true for 2mm - give an overall impression, and we do that by combining main uniform colours with the occasional tiny detail.  On a 28mm model, that tiny detail might be a badge, the model's eyes, or a wooden stock.  On a 2mm model, it's the heads and the banners.

Often I try and photograph my 2mm models sympathetically, that is, from a distance so you can see how they look on the table.  However, these have been photographed ruthlessly close up, and I've even fiddled with the light levels to show you how much (or rather how little) detail you need on these tiny figures to give a great impression.  I think there's a natural reluctance to show 2mm models at this scale; we try to always give 'finished' impressions of our armies.  Hopefully this will lift the lid on just how small scale painting is done.


Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Tale of Two Armies - Building a 2mm Force

Our recent Talavera game was a huge success, but a correspondingly huge amount of work.  Our focus has been almost exclusively on gaming and rules-writing, so I thought I'd relax last night by building some 2mm Austrians from Irregular Miniatures, for a planed game of the Battle of Lobositz, 1756.

This is actually quite a complicated process.  To recreate accurately the ratios involved, I have calculated that:
  • 1 infantry base = 1 battalion = (about) 8 - 900 men
  • 1 cavalry base = 4-5 squadrons = 8 - 900 men
  • 1 artillery base = 15 - 20 guns
I then had to find an army list and translate them into numbers of figures.  This also involved approximating the many different types of unit into a couple of available figure types at 2mm.  For instance, grenadiers and line infantry can be easily represented by the same generic infantry block (with some judicious painting to set them apart), but different cavalry types have to be incorporated.  Almost no two cavalry units were the same, which was frustrating.

I notice that most of my posts are just nice shots of the finished miniatures.  I thought I'd show you round my War Room so you can see 'under the hood' as it were.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Battle of Talavera - Day Two

Today, we continue our large-scale Napoleonic battle report for the Battle of Talavera.  If you missed the first day, click here to read it.  We played this game in 2mm, using Irregular Miniatures and my own 2mm rules system.

So, let's remind ourselves how things stood at the end of the first day.  The British had taken a pounding, but their clever deployment along the line of the hills thwarted the French attempt to make a bold flanking manoeuvre.  The butcher's bill favoured the French, but they had been unable to make significant headway and had a touch prospect on the second day when they assaulted the town itself.

And so, let the battle resume...

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Battle of Talavera - Day One

A very special post today, as I bring you the results of the first day of the Battle of Talavera.  This is one of our Superbattles, played with realistic rules, fog-of-war, and in near real-time.  (Update - the second day is available here)
  •    French
    • Ed
    • Ollie
  • British
    • Dan
    • Mike
  • Umpire
    • Kieran
The battle was fought using our own 2mm rules, which focus on morale and cohesion over casualties.  The units are moved around on a secret map until they actually encounter one another, and are placed on the game board one by one.  In this way, the battle escalates into a full-scale engagement in a realistic way.  Mike painted all the Irregular Miniatures himself, to his usual very high standard.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Palladian Grav Troopers - Fallschirmjäger in 40K

As recently promised, here are some pictures on a project my brother and I have been working on recently.  The idea is a Fallschirmjäger-themed Imperial Guard force, focusing on ground combat as elite light infantry rather than the parachute element.  Full disclosure - this was mainly a vehicle to do something with the old Steel Legion models, which we both agreed were lovely.  The Steel Legion range includes some of my favourite models from the GW range - especial their heavy weapons.

Commanding officer, heavy weapons and a grav-trooper squad.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

British Civil Wars: 6mm Scots and New Model Army

I can share some photos of a rare phenomenon on Palladian Guard - a finished project!  I recently showed off a few shots of the 6mm New Model Army regiment, and mentioned that I'd ordered some Scots to oppose them from Baccus.  Well, I've finished the painting, and managed to get round to basing them, and they don't look half bad.  Like Two Splendid Lines, I've written a tactical-level game for the British Civil Wars to try and capture the mechanics of Pike and Shot era warfare.  More on that shortly.

Before we share the photos, a word on my progress.  I've recently developed a new technique which allows a quite staggering rate of painting.  I've shared some photos of my War Room, where there's a paint station, but I've started taking my models to work.  I'm in the Army, and in the week I live in a terrible condemned asbestos-filled block in Lincolnshire.  My 'room' is almost empty and I get very bored, so I've started taking bulk painting stuff like this back with me to paint at my desk.  This is what has allowed me to finish about 860 models in the space of a few weeks.

In fact, I've also had two sideline projects on the go, of which more later, but just to tease you - a Fallshirmjager-inspired 40K army, and some 10mm Saxons!  Anyway, back to BCW...

(I could get into a lot of trouble for putting models on the worktop, but I don't have a table up here to put them on)

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Battlefleet 1900 Cruiser Clash

I see almost a month has slipped by without a post, so I made an effort to get some photos from a game Mike and I had last night.  It was just a simple Battlefleet 1900 game - I've played it before, but not for a long while.  My interest in pre-Dreadnought naval warfare is strong as ever, and Mike hadn't played this ever, so I thought it'd be a good chance to have a try.

I played the Russians (as in our recent Russo Japanese War campaign), using the cruiser Pallada and destroyer Zorki.  Mike opposed me with the Chitose and the Sai Yen.  In this case, my ships were bigger, faster, with a large number of small calibre guns and very poor armour.  Mike's ships were smaller, slower, with a single huge gun and much better armour.  We both had roughly equal tonnages, so the game was evenly-matched.

(Note to sticklers out there - the Sai Yen and Zorki were stand ins, as I don't yet have the models!)

My Russian ships at the bottom.  I had one tiny ship, and one (relatively) large ship, facing off against two moderately-sized foes.  Their guns would have been big on battleships, let alone these cruisers, which were designed as simple gun platforms.