Thursday, 12 January 2017

AWI: The 3rd New York and Sherburne's Additional Regiment

Gaming Black Powder at 1/72 scale, when buying plastics at least, means often compromising when it comes to the number of figure poses available in a set. You either get too few or - like me - buy as many boxes as you need to produce regular BP units. But then you're left with figures left over of the poses you like and the poses no wargamer should ever be seen fielding.

So the first answer to the question 'what do you do with all the spare figures that aren't terrible poses' is simple; reserves.

First up a small New York regiment from Revell's Seven Year's War set 02572 Prussian Infantry. Grey coats with green facings and cuffs indicates the 3rd New York from 1775-1776.

I bought three boxes of this set and produced the Hessian Brigade posted previously. The left overs include five of the marching pose and three sets plus a spare NCO, provides the perfect number for a small BP battalion.

The paint job is by Fernando Enterprises from years ago - facings touched up with a brighter green - and again was excellent value for the money. The likely role for this small unit is as a cheap(er) support element for a brigade. Despite its size and poorer fighting stats, it'll be as good as any standard sized unit in the support role.

Next up Sherburne's Additional Regiment from Revell's Seven Year's War set 02574 Austrian Infantry, in 1779 uniform - brown coats faced yellow, laced hats, with green trousers and waistcoats.

I think I bought two of these boxes to create the Jagers for the Hessian Brigade. Hmmm, you get eight poses receiving horse, unlikely in the AWI, so these guys are 'going low' to avoid bouncing cannon balls while the left over firing poses do their thing.

Again the paint job is by Fernando and is OK - because I provided vague instructions; the cross straps, facings and turnbacks aren't right and the shading needed some touching up but - meh - this regiment can take its place at the back somewhere also in support. The common 'Don't Tread on Me' flag is off the internet, using MS Word to produce a 'double sided' flag and converting the moulded flag on the standard bearer.

Having botched together smaller or less than regular units, the other answer to the question above is simple, swap or give away spare decent poses to mates and for the crap poses, pilfer the guns and hats for conversions or dump the figures in the recycling. Its only cheap plastic after all.

Next up on the painting table is this 1/1 scale cat, nearly finished and which - even if I say so myself - looks incredibly realistic. It'll take its place along the other reserve units for BP AWI.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

AWI: Lee's Legion Infantry

Something a bit different and more obscure. Had this unit coming on in the background and finished it in a sprint of impatience. I like the idea of the legions of this era so just couldn't resist including the other principal organisational unit of the period - typically made up of horse and foot.

The trick was finding the right clothing and helmet for these guys as they adopted the 'Tarleton' helmet, as many other 'light' units did as the war progressed. But this is where Plastic Soldier Review really excels with its period based listing of 1/72 plastics. A quick look at the French Revolution and Revolutionary Wars section provided both foot and horse for the AWI.

So the Strelets Set M071 British Light Infantry in Egypt has been used for these guys and will be used for: 16th British Dragoons, Lee's legion dragoons, British legion, Continental light infantry, and other American dragoons. Only minor 'adjustments' to the uniform for the cavalry figures in the form of shaving off some buttons and shaving off the shoulder 'wings' for the foot during prep is necessary at this scale to produce fairly accurate uniforms.

Fortunately the sculpts are good in this set, as Stretlets sets have varying quality in this area generally. The moulding however produced a lot of flash, some 5mm high, and I'm not sure I got all of it when prepping these figures. Apart from that these guys have come out OK, if a little darker than I expected and their purple/lavender uniform is set to provide another wash of colour on the table.

The colour scheme is taken from various pictures of the Legion's infantry on the net, apparently based on a painting mentioned here on the Tarleton's Quarters blog - the rest of the legion was issued green and buff cloth.

Although notable for being light troops, I have based them as a line regiment for BP as Lee's legion troops are intended as line fill and mounted/skirmish elements for a Continental brigade.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

AWI: Virginia State Infantry/New Jersey Regiment

Finished the next American Continental regiment for Black Powder using 6060 Italeri American Infantry set.

This time the regiment was chosen for its bright colours and checking the BP: Rebellion! supplement again, indicates that this unit can be used as Virginia State Infantry or possibly one of the New Jersey regiments - post 1777.

In the previous Rhode Island State Infantry post I covered the many issues with the Italeri set, but again these figures have painted up really well and have superb detailing which made painting them a breeze. Although some of the detailing on the muskets had to be painted on because of the position of the weapon in the mould.

Again the flag is from and I have taken the liberty... :)... of using one of the speculative flags, mainly because of its colour. So not historical at all.

This is another decent unit and looks great beside the Rhode Island unit finished previously - two down, seven to go.

Why Sci Fi Rulesets Make Me Grumpy

Space Demons - 'not aliens' from Khurasan Miniatures

Apart from a few Epic EA games my Sci Fi figures have been sitting in boxes for years, I haven't even bothered finishing most of my armies.

I've spent mountains of dosh on 6mm, 15mm, and even retro 25mm science fiction figures and vehicles, but to my mind no one has come up with a genuinely good, independent and comprehensive Sci Fi rule set.

More space demons, swarming out of a processing plant because someone said 'lame' and they thought they said 'game'. 

There's always something, always, which does my head in: basing the rules on modern warfare - or even previous periods, using fistfuls of different types of dice or needing 'special' dice, having general phases, wiring up army lists so tight even the most casual brush causes the entire system to implode, over-engineering the rules so that muchkins turn it into Chess and meta-game the experience, or just making things so unfeasibly unrealistic that its just nonsense.

Just stop it all of you!

"We're in the pipe, five-by-five..." - Retro Denizen 25mm Miniatures

Not only that but a recent stint in defense has now completely ruined the current Sci Fi rule sets, mainly because warfare today has already conceptually outpaced the majority of rule sets on the market.

Mandatory preliminary bombardments as doctrine - no, not since the fifties. Phasing at army level (move, shoot, combat) - no, not since WWI. Having to stop to shoot from a stabilised weapon platform- what? Come on! Having units take individual actions - yes, but having a rigid initiative and 'victory condition' tournament system with fixed objectives - yawn.


"Me and my squad of ultimate badasses will protect you! Check it out. We got tactical smart missiles, phase plasma pulse rifles, RPGs. We got sonic, electronic ball-breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks..."

And to add to this we've had two heartbreaking teases with Gates of Antare from Warlord and Warpath from Mantic recently, but which turned out were just similar things to stuff already on the market, done slightly differently.

Hudson: Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man? Vasquez: No. Have you? 

Alls I want, alls I want, right, is to turn up with whatever scale and world takes our fancy, with miniatures from whatever miniatures producer captured my attention that month, sit down with a mate and enjoy a game with a richness of feel and simple mechanisms that don't take a lot of brainpower. My job is unfeasibly complex, it requires a lot of brainpower and in a Sci Fi game I just want to eat chips and drink Coke or beer, talk bollocks and have a laugh with mates, and forget about thinking too hard.

It's simple, I want a Sci Fi movie on a tabletop.

A veritable legion of 6mm EA Terminators - currently on gardening leave. 

It's not hard either. Even in today's military, we have capabilities, nodal forces connected by networks, and stuff that goes bang from miles away. There is nothing else. No heavy doctrine, no 'WWII' limits. Just the ability to deploy specific and tailored capabilities into specific theaters, to achieve specific objectives.

6mm EA Space Marine Tactical Platoon -  permanently on stand-by.

Once in-theater it comes down to command, toughness, training, and - of course - blind luck; no matter how bad-arse your technology. Where initiative changes sides during a battle due to environmental influences, micro-victories and cock-ups; not because it's the other player's turn.

EA 6mm Thunderhawk squadron - at present re-tasked to undertake sight-seeing trips for tourists. 

To support this this particular moan, I have played: Warhammer 40K, Epic 40K, Epic Armageddon, Future War Commander, Stargrunt II, X-Wing, Star Wars RPG, Battlefleet Gothic, Inquisitor and read Gates of Antare, Warpath Firefight, and Warpath, but was so disappointed with the basic mechanics and mini-bias that I'm not going to game them.

And just to be fair I have really enjoyed myself at points during the games I've played. But because my opponent and I were having a laugh, or randomly made an experience that was like a movie, and I have even spent a decent amount of time writing up a set of rules with a mate - so close, whatever happened to that? (Oh that's right, we got 90% of the way there and then had a fundamental difference of opinion of what we wanted from a Sci Fi game 😏😝)

Khurasan 15mm Space Demon king and retinue - never seen a game, some say they are waiting on a planet near you! 

Please, someone write a set of rules that's fun, easy, and one day can do army level and the next support a semi-RPG firefight.

Where on Tuesday night we reproduced the awesome sequence from Riddick where the Mercenaries planetfall down to the abandoned way station using 15mm and on Saturday we went nuts and got all our 6mm out to battle for a space port.

Where the balance of the armies was based on capabilities not fluff or the fact that the rule set is a thoroughbred, so highly strung that a small change upsets the munchkins. How hard can it be?

Beautiful 6mm Warhound Titans from GW - last seen chasing Squat trains to pass the time - here boy!

If I sound bitter its because in 2003 Games Workshop released Epic Armageddon which had everything you could feasibly want to make your miniatures behave. It had: a unit action sequence with decent actions, rules for aircraft, spacecraft, things that hovered, things that fired indirectly, things with tracks, wheels, and grav-shoes, and things that crawled, slithered or ambled, a blistering and simple combat system, suppression and attrition, and awesome minis.

I was even involved with the development and play-test communities - those were heady days - I like to think I had a hand in the Sniper special ability... mainly because I don't get out much.

But in the almost fifteen years since its release: it was abandoned by GW, had its minis go OOP, and never reached the heights of its potential - for scenario based wargaming. Although its supported by a band of ardent fans and hard-out supporters at Net Epic Armageddon, the tournament rules however, make it much akin to chess - achieving standardised objectives within a strict turn sequence. I want to say it sucks but it doesn't, it's still an excellent set of rules but the tournament set up is not what I want to be doing of a weekend - whether I'm playing a difficult army or not.

AT Razorbacks - 6mm EA IFVs presently moth-balled... I didn't even know moths had balls!

EA is simply not a narrative based wargame and playing a tournament game means rigidly sticking to a fixed game sequence time after time, after time - which is fine if you're OCD, lack imagination, or a munchkin; and you won't find rules for your 15mm stuff in EA, or non-GW 25-28mm stuff either.

A small portion of my EA Space Marine army.

And I guess that's the last point of my rant, companies producing Sci Fi games are hampered by the fact that they are also pushing a line of figures to go with their rules. So their rules are always biased towards a certain universe, set of army character doctrines, and ultimately miniature sales. I don't mind this, companies need to make profits, and I didn't mind it for EA and Epic 40K (which kicked it all off for me) but once is enough - actually three times is enough, I bought Space Marines, Orks, and Imperials...

In short I have an awesome 15mm mechanised hover company from Ground Zero Games but it won't see the light of day, let alone get painted, until there's some actual rules to game with.

But that's my whine over - I hope you enjoyed the pictures 😀

18/01/2018 PS: have subsequently put my money where my mouth is and produced a full set of independent Sci-fi wargames... 07/06/23 they're done but what do I do with them next....