Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ichi-no-Tani - Gempei Rampant - Lion Rampant for Early Samurai Warfare

Here are some pre-game teaser shots of a scenario based upon the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani, where the Taira forces were holed up in their seaside fortress with sheer cliffs directly behind them. Minamoto cavalry led by Minamoto Yoshitsune surprised the Taira by descending the cliffs which was believed to be an impossibility. Minamoto foot at the same time approached the Taira by land. I've played this scenario several times in the past using a modified version of WAB with good results. The Victory Condition for the Minamoto is to destroy at least 50% of the Taira; the Taira achieve victory if at least 50% of their forces can get off table via the sea utilizing the watercraft available.
View of the Taira fortress at Ichi-no-Tani from the sea. Note the larger command vessel offshore with smaller craft beached along the the shoreline.
Mounted and Foot Serjeant's stats are used for the Samurai, with the addition of arming them with bows. The foot Samurai are also upgraded to Expert for an Attack Value of 4+. There are a couple of Warrior Monk (Sohei) units also classed as Foot Serjeants and given the Fleet Footed special rule. Incidentally, both Foot Samurai and Sohei units are 6-figures instead of the usual 12. Finally, the Chugen (an early form of Ashigaru) are ranked as Bidowers. Only one of the Chugen (Bidower) units is armed with bows and they are on the walls of the Taira fortress. A modification to the unit cohesion rule for this unit requires them to either remain at their respective posts on the walls, or if not to attempt to form up as normal if they chose to leave the walls. Their firing dice is halved on either side of the entrance gate.
View from the right Taira watchtower - Warrior Monks and Minamoto Samurai advancing along the shores.
The left of the Taira fortress walls with Minamoto Samurai and Chugen approaching - note the Minamoto standard bearing the gentiana clan mon.
Two units of mounted Minamoto Samurai led by Minamoto Yoshitsune surprise the Taira from the rear of their cliff side fortress.
Taira forces on foot attempt to respond to Minamoto inside of their camp. The red Taira banner bears the clan mon of a butterfly.
All the figures were painted a few years ago, and are mostly The Assault Group with some 1st Corps, Curteys and West Wind. The fence was also built a while back as the small watercraft. The hootches were picked up a local discount store, which sadly no longer carries them. Hope to have an actual battle report posted in the not too distant future, but I have a few projects needing my attention first - none of which are hobby related :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I'm Henery the Sixth, I am

Here are Henry VI, Queen Margaret and the Duke of Buckingham - a Perry War of the Roses set picked up via a gift certificate awarded from Anne O'Leary's contest back in June. Thank you very much, Anne!
These figures were just the ticket to pick up a brush after a long period of painting inactivity. As the gift certificate was from the WarStore (my choice in the contest), I long perused their online catalog. After a few weeks, I finally decided on this Perry set as the figures are mainly in civilian attire. I was kind of burnt out with the usual military look, i.e. armor or uniforms.
To be honest, I took a bit longer than normal to start as I had trouble deciding on colors of their clothing since there really was no right or wrong colors - as long as they looked regal enough.
Anyway, I'm happy to finally post a completed painting project after so long. The figures will be useful in future games - particularly the Henry VI figure, which can be used as a character to be captured for Victory Points. Thanks again, Anne!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham - Another Perry Miniature

Here is the Duke of Buckingham figure from the three figure Perry set. Sir Humphrey was a close supporter of Henry VI, yet tried to keep the peace between the king and the Duke of York. He was wounded at the First Battle of St Albans.

The figure is in full plate armor of the period with a civilian coat over it. He is also wearing a fashionable headdress - or possibly drying his hair with a towel.

The duke was present at the relatively bloodless Battle of Ludlow Bridge which had Yorkists leaders escape before overwhelming Lancastrian forces.
Sir Humphrey was killed at the Battle of Northampton in 1460, and buried at Grey Friars.

The King Henry VI figure is next.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England - a Perry Miniature

Finished the Margaret of Anjou figure. The wife of Edward VI, she played a significant role in the War of the Roses, not the least of which her strong opposition to the House of York.
As mentioned earlier, the model is a single cast figure, with both rider and mount as one-piece. For some reason (probably to ease casting), Perry does this with some of their models. Their Choson Korean cavalry are this way too. You can't really tell by the online catalog images, and they aren't described as such. Anyway, there wasn't any problems painting this one. Especially as I only used a few colors for the queen's attire.
She appears to be wearing a fur lined gown. The garment itself has a lot of folds and creases so I opted to just give it a solid color - choosing not to give it any embroidery work as it would be too busy looking.
The headdress seems to be plain without any indication of precious stones or pearls to it, as portrayed in some paintings.
Anyway, I'm happy to be able to post images of this project - the first painted figure from me in a long time. Hope it meets your approval.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Painting Distractions - Continued

Well, ebay did it again, another purchase arrived today - keeping me from picking up a paint brush yet again. This time a 1:43rd scale diecast car made and delivered from China. Couldn't pass up the price ($8USD including shipping), and the shipping was surprisingly fast - within 2 weeks. Here is a favorite car of mine - a Porsche 550 Spyder; similar to the one James Dean met his fate in. I may someday use it in something Tamsin has been recently doing.
It's a really well-detailed model with proper 5 lug rims and cut out engine vents. Here it is below with a 28mm (larger side) Victory Force figure for scale comparison - looks about right.
I may have to use a spare driver figure to place inside the car.
Here's the Rebel Without a Cause and his 550 ("Little Bastard"); he had just traded in in his Super Speedster for the Spyder about a week or so before the fatal crash.
My first two cars were Karmann Ghias - the so-called "Poor Man's Porsche." The first a '64 in Hawaii which had a rebuilt 1855cc with dual 44 Webers, and then a '61 when I was stationed at Fort Ord, California in the early '80's. I used to drive around the back roads near Laguna Seca. The first one was totally wrecked by a woman driving a Corvette who ran into my car as I was at a stop light; I think the she was drunk - from the police report as she fled the scene. I joined the Army not long afterwards, and found the '61 with a "For Sale" sign parked at the Monterey Marina - it was owned by a little old lady - really. This one I drove into wooden fence at a hairpin turn I didn't see on a moonless night (no street lights) near Salinas, California. I walked away from both fine, but the cars didn't. God was looking out for me both times, and continues to. Apologies for the ramblings.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Painting Haitus - Houndskull'n

Well no sooner had I picked up a brush in quite some time, and an ebay arrival has distracted me from further work on the Perry WotR figures. Couldn't pass up the price with free shipping; and I always wanted one of these helmets. It's pretty high quality with removable visor and an adjustable leather liner inside.
The leather bindings inside are adjustable with a nice strap. Brass vervelles ring the base of the helmet for attaching an aventail.
Even with the breather holes, it gets hot inside when the visor is down.
Suppose there is a bit of a resemblance.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Took Up A New Hobby - Painting Miniatures

This may come as a shock to some, but I picked up a brush today. Thanks to Anne O'Leary's blog contest back in June, I ordered a pack of Perry War of the Roses personalities from the WarStore. The figures are Margret of Anjou, Henry VI and the Duke of Buckingham. They could be useful as victory points in future games.
The Margret figure is one of those that is cast as one piece atop the horse. I prefer riders and mounts separate to facilitate painting, but it is a fine sculpt nevertheless. Here are images of Henry and Margret for reference.
Anyway, we'll see how long it takes me to paint these up.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Norman Defeat at Mal Fosse (Evil Ditch) - A Lion Rampant AAR

Just play tested another Lion Rampant game based upon the final actions at the Battle of Hastings. After the death of Harold and most of his army, a remnant force of Saxons held the high ground above Mal Fosse - or "Evil Ditch." The ditch was not apparent to the mounted Normans who charged headlong into the morass. In this scenario the ditch was deemed an obstacle which once reached could be moved out of in the next turn. However, while in the ditch it was considered rough terrain with attendant decreases in Attack value and Armour saves. The Norman force included four units of Mounted Serjeants and one unit of archers. The Saxons were four units of Foot MAA and two units of Bidowers with bows. The game was called after the Normans had lost over half of their forces - only one Mounted Serjeant unit and the Archer unit were left after turn 6. The Norman Archers never reached their missile range. The fighting was brutal in the ditch - mainly for the Normans due to their lowered Attack and Armor values, as well as the Saxon Huscarls' Ferocious rule.
Start of the battle - Saxon Huscarls spread out along the high ground above the ditch, with Bidower bowmen in the woods. Norman forces, mostly mounted charge into the fading sunlight with no knowledge of the dangerous terrain in front of them.
Center of the Saxon battle line with the draco standard still flying proudly. The ditch hidden below them.
Turn 1 has all Norman units successfully activating movement. They have little to fear as they believe this is just a mopping up operation as the main battle had already ended for the Saxons on Senlac Hill.
Turn 2 has all but one of the Norman units, the archers, achieving yet another successful full movement towards the enemy. The Saxons deferred any actions in their first turn. Now the Bidowers will unleash their short ranged arrows with some success.
Turn 3 has the Norman cavalry stuck in the ditch with Saxon Huscarls eagerly engaging them in combat whilst encumbered in the rough terrain.
A unit of Norman cavalry flees after failing their Courage test following taking casualties from Bidower bow fire.
On the Saxon left, Huscarls fail to reach the stranded Norman cavalry. The Norman cavalry roll successfully for a charge on the bidowers. The Bidowers themselves roll successfully for an Evade and perform a nice Skirmish action of firing and movement just out of charge range. The rough terrain no doubt helping them and hindering the Normans.
Bidowers out of charge range after taking out not a few Normans. The Normans subsequently failed their Courage test and fled off the field.
With three of four Norman cavalry wiped out or fled off the battlefield, the Saxons are victorious. No need to learn French!
If I had the appropriate figures, the Saxons would've been limited to only two units of Huscarls (Foot MAA), and several other units of Fyrd classed as either Foot Serjeants or Yeomen. I would have also given the Normans one unit of Foot MAA.  This may have balanced out the game play better. Either way, I really like these rules which not only are adaptable to a wide range of periods, but require only a modest amount of figures for interesting scenarios.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

First St Albans - Lion Rampant AAR

Just finished another enjoyable game - this time based on the First Battle of St Albans. My buddy ran the royalists inside of the town and I ran the rebels led by the Duke of York and Earl of Warwick. The King's forces had six units - one mounted serjeants, two foot MAA's, and three yeomen with mixed weapons (bows and spears). The Yorkists had nine units - two mounted serjeants, three foot MAA's and four yeomen with mixed weapons (bows and spears). The terrain which included plowed fields, woods, hedges ditches and stone walls was supposed to slow down the Yorkists' advance - which it did but the shorter 12" range of the bows in mixed units were not favorable for the King's troops. The Yorkists ended up getting inside the town over the field barricades at the entrances into the town at Sopwell and Shropshire Lanes. Once inside their superior numbers decided the battle. During the AAR it was recommended to have the bowmen inside the town as separate bow units - giving them the better 18" range. Otherwise we both agreed the rules worked very nicely for the scenario.
Initial deployment by Yorkists forces outside of St Albans along Sopwell and Shropshire Lanes, the River Ver on the southern flank.
The king's men manning the eastern perimeter of St Albans.
View looking south with Shropshire Lane in the foreground.
Yorkists forces moving towards St Albans on Sopwell Lane.
King Henry's forces manning the eastern walls of St Albans.
Sopwell Lane in the foreground with Yorkists forces making good headway towards the town.
Yorkists boldly advancing upon St Albans - still out of enemy bow range.
The Duke of York pressing the attack on Shropshire Lane. Foot MAA soon to climb over improvised barricades.
Yorkists attempt to dislodge the defenders at Sopwell Lane with arrow fire.
Foot MAA bravely defend the town at Sopwell Lane.
Yorkists Foot MAA having breached the walls and barricades at Shropshire Lane engage in close combat with Mounted Serjeants. The Foot MAA got the better of the mounted troops, who had to retreat.
The outnumbered forces of the king failing to keep out the Yorkists, are overwhelmed and defeated.
 Yay! Now we can move on to a lasting peace!

Addendum: One thing which was found to be a bit brutal, harsh as the author puts it, is the Courage test required by units taking casualties, particularly winners of combat. There was at least one occasion during the game where a clear winner of combat failed their Courage test and was routed off the table. We made an on-the-spot house rule (at least for this game), negating the need for a Courage test for units which won their round of combat. We'll see if we keep this mod in future games.