Monday, 29 November 2010

Somewhere in Tonkin...

2 companies of French Colonial Infantry cross a dusty field, supported by some medium machine guns and a mortar, somewhere in Tonkin (French Indochina), c. 1953.

These are my recently reconditioned 20mm Platoon20 French Indo-China War infantry.  The paint jobs are a bit basic but they look good from about 30cm away, so who cares!  They are organised in 2 companies of 2 platoons each (apparently the French adopted this organisation because of a lack of men and junior officers).
I've gone with a representative scale of 1:4. 

Next I need to paint a second company of Viet Minh so that they have someone to fight, and a hex-based rule system.  I am hoping that I'll be able to get a relatively simple system working; somehting more complex than Memoir '44, but simpler than Tide of Iron, and with local flavour.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

French Indo China WIP

These are the first of my French forces for Indo China; not quite finished, yet.  They represent around half of an understrength battalion; 2 companies each with 2 4-squad platoons, and some heavy weapons.  I'll take a proper photo when they are finished, later this week.

They are more survivors of the miniatures I dropped from a great height around 20 years ago.  By the time they are finished they'll have been larely repainted and rebased; they should look a lot better than they did originally!  Most of the miniatures are Platoon 20, and the armoured car is a 1/76 Matchbox Humber which will be proxying as a Coventry armoured car (as used in Indo China).

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Somewhere near Utica...

Yesterday Simon MacDowall very kindly showed my friend Ian and I his Civitates Bellatorum rules. We used them to play a game using most of my Republican Romans and Numidian Allies.

Above is a long shot of the battlefield. We diced for command of the armies, and I got the scruffier but rather more numerous superior Pompeian/Numidian forces, on the left.  The better drilled, armoured and more enthusiastic Caesarian forces are drawn up on the right, with their German cavalry on the wings.

The game started with a bang as (above) I threw my right wing cavalry forward in an attempt to win the battle on the wings before the superior Caesarian legionaries won it in the centre.  Not completely grasping the rules, I went a bit too far forward!

Caesar's well motivated German mercenaries promptly charged, chasing my bridle-less Numidians away, and smashing straight into Juba's Spanish bodyguard, who had become slightly fatigued by their aapid  advance.  They first routed the elite guards, and, to add insult to injury, caught them in the pursuit and annihilated them!  By the end of the first turn most of my right wing cavalry were dead or on the way back to Numidia.

I quickly created a Plan B; win in the centre before I lose on the flanks!  Above, the elephants are cranked into action.

Above, the Germans prepare to rally back as the elephants hit the Caesarian's skirmish screen.  Juba (left foreground) prepares to dash to the relative safety of his surviving infantry.  At this juncture we retired to the "Maid of Muswell" for a stirrup cup!

Upon my return form the "Maid", well fortified, I launched a general attack (with out, however, any great conviction as to it's ultimate success).  On the left, my Numidians rode forward and showered their opponents with javelins.  On the right my surviving elephant broke through the skirmish screen and began a long duel with the left-most of the three Caesarian legions.

Above are shown the centres, just before the moment of impact.  You can see that my legions were drawn up in 3 lines, with the opponents (with as much frontage to cover but fewer troops) are only formed up two deep.

Nellie (above in background) remained locked in combat with the enemy legion for 3 or 4 turns, forcing it to do a line exchange and buying me valuable time by delaying its advance!

 Nellie was posthumously awarded the Dicken medal!

Combat becomes general along the line...  in the foreground a unit of Germans become a Numidian sandwich.

Above, Pompeian reserves press forward into the fray (a lovely photo form Simon MacDowall).   The superior depth of the Pompeian formations largely negated the superior quality and training of the Caesarians.

And finally we ran out of time (above).  All the reserves had been committed, and most of the troops were on the verge of becoming shaken.  The general consensus was the at the Pompeians had the advantage because their surviving cavalry had the advantage on the wings, and because they were about to break the right-hand Caesarian legion, but there really wasn't very much in it.

We all agreed that the rules gave an exciting and realistic-feeling game; I'm definitely up for playing it again!  I definitely recommend trying the rules which are available as a free download from Simon's site.

Friday, 19 November 2010

And now, both together; a 1:1 Quingenary Cohort

Long ago it occurred to me that 2 x 240 man 1:20 "legions", added together, would give me the same number of figures (480) as in a maximum strength quingenary Roman cohort.

I don't think we know, for sure, how many ranks this would have formed up in; presumably 4, 6 or 8.  These are draw up 8 deep.  The photo does give some impression as to how much space a cohort must have taken up on the battlefield, and how imposing it must have looked to a tribesman from the backwoods!

Now if I just had another 4,320 miniatures...  oddly, I could just about fit an entire 1:1 legion on my table, as the legion would be around 4 metres wide (assuming that there were decent intervals between the cohorts).  There's a thought... 

Thursday, 18 November 2010

My other legion is pro-painted

This is my original, First legion. 

Unlike the first legion, I had nothing at all to do with painting these.  It was painted for me by a chap called Phil Hart, and have seen a good deal of action over the past few years! 

On Saturday, I'll be using all my Caesarians, and Nick Speller's too, in a game with Simon MacDowell of Legio fame.  Should be fun...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Second Legion Completed!

For some time I've been in the process of raising my Second, or levy legion, and I'm delighted to say that it is finally ready for action!  

My concept is that the legion has been raised in haste during an emergency, and equipped with a mixture of shields and equipment recently drawn from civic armouries.  Around half of the figures are unarmoured.  They are in looser order than my other legion, and I think of them as being less well drilled.  The picture is clickable.

The legion includes 243 figures; mostly Foundry (or Companion) Caesarians with a few nice Aventines and a couple of Crusaders.  The majority of the figures were painted by my friend Nick Speller (thanks Nick!), and the remainder are from various eBay purchases, or painted by me.  I varnished and based everything (and I can tell you that there's a lot of Silfor on those bases!).

Above is the legion from the front.  I went with a mixture of red and off-white colours to bind everything together.  A few of the shields have slogans painted on them; I intend to paint some more on later.

Above is a picture of the First Cohort.  Most of the figures in this unit came from a single eBay purchase, and I decided to retain the pretty shield designs.

I'm really pleased with these, and look forward to gaming with them on Saturday.   I'll have some more interesting posts over the the next few days... 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Unvarnished Troops

This time next week these troops will need to be "on the table", but they were delayed when I unexpectedly ran out of Dullcote.  Happily Antenociti came up with the goods, very quickly indeed; they provide a great service.  I plan to have them all on their bases with the grout in place by the end of today.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Varnishing Miniatures at Night in Winter

This is not exactly varnishing "Best Practice", but when I have a tight deadline to meet I find I can usually get away with gloss varnishing even at night. NEVER try this with a matt varnish!  

They are the last 32 minis for my recruit legion, fresh from the brush of Nick Speller, and I need them finished and based by the 20th for a game...

Monday, 8 November 2010

First Viet Minh

These (clickable) minis are the first pic of the old 20mm Platoon 20 Viet Minh figures from a previous post that I've been reconditioning.  See if you can spot some of the ones that broke off at the ankles.  They represent, roughly, a company of Viet Minh regulars at  roughly1:4 scale.   I will need at least a couple more companies, and hopefully, eventually, a second battalion.  Hell, probably a whole regiment.  ;-)

Above is a closeup of a couple of very heavy machine guns, DSHKs I believe, and a 60mm mortar.

Above, Comrade Battalion Commander.  A crude but serviceable paint job.  I can't decide whether to give each company a red flag of its own, or not; I shall probably err on the side of generosity.

French Indo China War Storage

This is the storage system I've designed for my planned Indo China war infantry.  They are mounted, in 2's and 3's on 1.5mm thick 40mm diameter plywood disks, with magnetic sheet added.  In the Really Useful Box I've put a double-decker layer of 99p metal baking trays (separated by wooden spacers).  These should take up to 240 figures, with pace for dice or vehicles in the plastic drawers.

So far I've only finished one company of Viet Minh, but I should be able to base up a company or two of French, soon (figures mustering in the foreground). 

Sunday, 7 November 2010

'Arfur Legion III

Here's the (slowish) progress on my second legion; 5 cohorts fully based, 2.5 partially based and the remaining minis awaiting reinforcements from Nick.  I'm planning to use them all in a game in less than 2 weeks, so I shall need to get my skates on!  When all 10 cohorts are finished I shall take a proper pic.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Missed the bus

I missed this from yesterday's post; in days of yore I painted this bus up as an informal troop-transport.  It may see duty evacuating planters and French-sympathisers from under the nose of the advancing Viet Minh menace.

And below, the destination!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Looks like we got us a convoy...

I've excavated my 1980's collection of French Indochina stuff, and here are around half of the vehicles, displayed as a supply convoy.  They aren't too bad...  not brilliant, like Troop of Shrew's, but playable until I get better stuff.  

Above, an M8 armoured car patrols cautiously ahead of the convoy.  It is in the wrong shade of green (not olive drab), but with broadly correct markings. 

Above is the front section of the convoy.  The tanks are a slightly unfortunate hybrid of M3 and M5 (I converted from the former to the latter; perhaps it was hard to find M5's in the '80s).  But they are nicely weathered, and the Airfix M3 half track has the correct tent-like canopy.

Above is the body of the convoy; a US tanker and GMC trucks, and a rather lost-looking Matador that I bought around 1975, presumablly left behind by the Brits in WW2.  A third "M5" is in overwatch.

And to conclude (above) a closeup of one of the M5s.

I have around another half-a-dozen vehicles that need painting.  My plan is to supplement these with some of the new 1/72 Italeri and Pegasus fast-assembly kits, especially their GMC trucks, M3 half tracks and jeeps, and make up a GM100-like mobile column.