Monday 23 April 2012

Eleven Almoravids

Eleven Gripping Beast Almoravids.
They still need a flag and the leader isn't finished yet. However this means I have almost painted all the Almoravids I own. So I'll be switching to Christians for the event later in the year.

Here's a few more pictures with added light (not sure if it really helps)

And a few singles:

Painted pretty much as per the El Cid book, white undercoat, pick out shields, skin boots and other leather work. Cover in Devlan Mud. Re-highlight. Base

Friday 20 April 2012

Egyptian Pyramid School Project

One of the advantages of being an unemployed workshy fop is that my kids get some quality Dad time to help with schoolwork.
Last term eldest boy did the Romans, and we made a villa.
This term it's Egyptians, so a pyramid was clearly in order.
I dug out the original (and best) Citadel Terrain book and we set to work.

And here's the results
First, Au Naturel:

Now with Flash

The Project Manger was very clear about wanting to be able to get at the tomb and have a Mummy inside it, so it all lifts off which leads to a rather pleasing "Russian Doll" effect.
I did some of the cutting and measuring, but most of the work was his.

The pyramid itself was made from four equilateral traingles of corrugated card, covered with paint mixed with PVA and filler.
The base is an MDF offcut covered with sand, cat litter and a few rocks.
The backdrop is eldest boy's own artwork.
Palm trees are twisted wire frame wrapped in PVA soaked bandages.
The tomb was made from foamcard, then covered with the same plaster, paint, PVA mix.
And the mummy is a shape made from tin foil covered in PVA soaked bandages.

All in all pretty pleased with the results.
If we don't get housepoints I shall want to know why!

Of course, while making it we had to watch this several times, for inspiration/giggles:

More toy soldier related posts coming soon, promise.

Thursday 19 April 2012

El Cid Event 14/10/12

I've created a new page to hold details of the El Cid event Scrivs and I are hosting at Maelstrom on October 14th.
There's a link at the top of this page, or you can click here

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

More SAGA (Normans v Anglo-Danes)

Mist hung heavy over the swirling waters of the River Wódnesniht. The stillness of the morning air was penetrated only by the faint chink of mail and the huffing of horses. Getwin Wefanson knew they were out there, the fop Charretier and his detested Norman invaders, coming once more to try to claim his lands. He glanced about him to where his heathguard and the local Fyrd stood ready. Hefting his axe he indicated the river bank "They set foot across there - they die!"

So, inspired by the games last week we got together for some more SAGA.
We were using 6 point forces and played the Battle at the Ford scenario.

My force was:
Getwin Wefanson – Anglo-Danish Warlord

2 Units of four Thegns
1 Unit of four Thegns with Dane Axes
3 units of 8 Ceorls

The knavish Normans were:
Jean Charretier – Mounted Norman Warlord
3 Units of Mounted Norman Knights
2 Units of 8 Serjeants
1 Unit of 8 Serjeants with crossbows

I apologise for the somewhat variable quality of the photographs. We began the game with daylight streaming through the windows, but finished beneath the dreaded "energy saving" bulbs and I'm not sure my aged camera is up to the job of dealing with such variations in light quality.

I lost the roll for set-up so the Normans deployed all their Serjeants, meaning my army had to all go down before the knights were deployed. To be honest I was more worried about the crossbowmen - rightly as it turned out.
I deployed with Ceorls screening the Dane Axe armed Huscarls opposite the bridge while Getwin, some Huscarls and a unit of Ceorls covered the ford. Concerned about mobile knights in back-field I held back a unit of Ceorls and one of Huscarls to respond to any threats.

I won the first turn and we were off:

 Proud Saxon yeomen

 Beastly Normans

 Getwin delivers a stirring speech

 The race for the bridge

 The ford sees something of a stand off

 Hmm, now where did those Huscarls go...

At this point, growing weary of the jostling position I launched my Dane Axe wielding huscarls at a nearby unit of Serjeants. They did well, killing five, but the Normans did better and wiped them out. Yikes

 Saxon soil is despoliled!

 Sneaking round the back of their crossbowmen to the wide open bridge

 Suddenly the left flank is very vulnerable

 As more horse pour across

Desperate to pull something back as Normans piled up on my side of the water I launched Getwin and his huscarls across the river. Unfortunately, poor positioning meant they had to charge the Norman warlord, and Jean survived easily, pushing Getwin back. The norman knights followed up, killing most of the huscarls and leaving Getwin exposed

 Thrown back by the charging horse, the lone huscarl can only look on... the noble Saxon warlord is surrounded and cut down

 Invaders! Fousands of 'em

 The Ceorls attempt to reclaim some dignity

With inevitable tragic consequences

And with that the game was all but over. Jean and several of his men moved easily across the ford to join their fellows on the Saxon side. A seven nil drubbing, including a dead warlord.
In truth I played like a buffoon, throwing away my huscarls early without really thinking things through. I also allowed the crossbows to dominate my thinking and ended up reacting to the Normans instead of playing my own game.
Still, another great, exciting game of SAGA.

Jean Charretier smiled as he cleaned his blade on the blood caked smock of a recently deceased Saxon peasant. That had been almost too easy. He glanced over at the nearby settlement where his men were already busy collecting back rent and ensuring the financial system continued to work like a well oiled machine.
"At last this is beginning to feel like home" he mused to himself over the sound of wailing Saxon women and screaming children. "A man could grow to like it here"

Saturday 14 April 2012

A Couple of Games of SAGA

On Thursday I invited myself along to Maelstrom to "assist" Scrivs showing John how to play SAGA. Scrivs suggested I'd be able to teach them how to play, but I fear he rather overestimated my pedagogical qualities.
Anyway as I pointed out, I've played several games of Hail Caesar, Warhammer and WAB since I last rolled the SAGA dice and there's only room in my brain for about 1.5 sets of rules at any one time (and event then there's no guarantee that there's a complete set amongst that lot), so I'd forgotten anything I ever knew.

By the time I arrived Scrivs had got a lovely set up arranged on the table using his own scenery and he and John were about to start. I did offer some assistance to both of them, but actually SAGA is pretty easy to get the hang of, the real trick is in mastering the board, and as John was using Vikings and my main experience is with Anglo-Danes against Normans, I couldn't offer much insight. It was however quite an education watching Scrivs play. He used the fatigue far more tactically than I do (usually I just burn through it to make opponents easier to hit and myself harder) but watching Scrivs opened my eyes to a more skilful style of play.
Both games were four point games, with each warband having two warriors and two hearthguard units along with the warlord. This meant no levy and no shooting, which cut the learning curve a little. We also used the Clash of Warlords basic scenario, again to help with learning the rules.

Anyway, here are the pictures:

 Scrivs' Saxons advance on a broad front

 To where the Vikings await them

 After some jostling the lines come together on the outskirts of the village

 Fighting breaks out across the wattle and daub

 The shieldwalls continue to taunt one another

 A charge with hearthguard against warriors ends badly for the Northmen

 Though the warlord has more success on the flank

In the end Scrivs squeaked a narrow victory after the full six turns, but it was a close run thing and both warbands were well mauled
With that game out of the way there was still time for another. Although I had my toys with me, it made more sense just to use Scrivs models - although I had to promise not to throw them around like I did with his slingers.

 The Saxons push forward aggressively

 In the centre the battle lines draw together

 But over in the village the Vikings choose to withdraw

 The Saxon Lord finds himself isolated

 Saxon Warriors again prove their worth against Viking Hearthguard

 And the village will soon be pillaged

However the Anglo-Danish leader pays for his rashness and is surrounded and slain

True to form I played an altogether less tactical, and rather rash game. I saw a glimmer of a chance to catch the Viking warlord exposed, but hadn't really done the maths, with the result that I got my hearthguard killed and left my leader all on his lonesome. This was the point at which Scrivs chose to come back from observing the nearby Napoleonic game and lent his tactical advice to John with inevitable consequences. Though to be fair I'd so badly overplayed my hand John didn't need any help at all in killing him off to win the game.

Anyway, a good fun night of rolling dice and pushing soldiers. 
For an alternative take on how it went, check out Scrivs Blog

There's a club night at the White Hart in a few weeks where a bunch of us will be playing SAGA, so I'm going to try and paint a Viking warband for then and brush up my skills.

In other news my children returned safe and sound from France today so this weeks unprecedented burst of blogging activity will come to an abrupt end. Expect normal sporadic blog updating service to resume next week.