Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A Visit to Azincourt

Last weekend I had the great pleasure to take my father (another history nut, and painter but NOT wargamer) to visit the battlefields of Waterloo and Agincourt. We had planned to visit them last year but unfortunately work and domestic commitments prevented that from happening.

This was a trip I was really looking forward to and our plans were set in motion earlier this year. We booked the Eurotunnel and found a fabulous little hotel on the Waterloo battlefield to stay in for two nights. Our journey started Friday morning with a 90 mile drive down to Folkestone and following a hearty breakfast at the rail terminal we boarded the shuttle with no issues.

Forty minutes later we were in France and heading off into the Pas de Calais on the wrong side of the road. (as every Englishman knows the left hand side of the road is the right side of the road)

Thank god for Satellite Navigation ! Because an hour later we found ourselves in the small village of Azincourt and outside the battlefield museum.

You'll note from the picture below the building has curved supports resembling giant longbows.

Its a great little museum dedicated to the 1415 battle. Albeit slightly biased to the French perspective in as much as they claimed the forces were much more equal than we were lead to believe and that it was a lucky English win !

The Museum contained a number of interesting exhibits (armour, weapons etc), a walkthrough story telling of events using mannequins and a large diorama. I could not place the figures but they looked like 15mm old lead style.

Following the museum visit we drove round the village a saw where the battle supposedly took place (no photos) - it really was just an empty field.

With Azincourt done we headed off to Waterloo (a journey of about 120 miles) north into Belgium.

Stop Press:

By chance I decided to fill my car with diesel in the UK - little did we know that France was gripped by an industrial strike and fuel was virtually non existent in the region. This also probably explained why the roads were so empty If you are driving to France in the coming days check fuel availability !.

Lots more to say in the next post

Friday, 13 May 2016

ECW - The Inaugural battle

I was very excited to welcome the boys over to the Shed on Monday night. This was the grand opening battle of our English Civil War set of games.

As I am sure you are well aware by now Mark & I have been prepping our Royalist and Parliamentarian Armies over the the last few months and tonight was the night we were going to play with them !

The following pictures are in no particular order (I was having too much fun to chronicle the battle) and too be frank it wasn't until two thirds through the evening I became aware what was happening on the other flank.

Our armies filled the 16ft table with ease - if anything it was cramped.

The forces were very similar with some subtle differences in the number of guns and cavalry units.

Each army had three commanders (players) and each player typically had some infantry, guns and cavalry under his command.

Mark lead his Royalist forces from the centre (as King Charles) supported on the flanks by Charlie (Rupert) and Legatus. Whilst the Rebels were commanded by Lord Essex (John) supported by myself and Alastair.

Each side typically fielded seven foot regiments (1 pike block & two wings of shot), six regiments of cavalry, two units of dragoons and a couple of commanded shotte. Some guns were thrown in for good measure.

There were effectively eight commands on each side so once one side lost four the game was over.

The game played out very well, it was fast furious and very visual. With so few units to command each player was involved very quickly and the distances between armies effectively meant the show kicked off from turn one.

Whilst battling away with Legatus on the left flank (my Ironsides effectively knocked out his cavalry in t2 - but thanks to crap prders never ever made it back into the battle) - I learned that Charlie (Prince Rupert) had decimated our rebel right wing. Furthermore the Kings own troops had forced the centre in a rather brutal assault. This turnred out to be a rather convincing win for the Royalists.

Our first outing taught us a great deal about playing Pike & Shotte with 28mm big units,

 - it was fun and quick but we are going to need more space if we want big sweeping battles

Good thing I am extending the Shed !!

Enjoy the photos....

Thanks for looking...

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

ECW - Unit Cards

Whilst putting together our ECW forces Mark and I agreed that it would be useful to create some cards denoting the statistics of each unit on the table.

In time we'll create specific regiment cards for all the units but to begin with these would represent the standard units listed in the Pike & Shotte rulebook.

These were dead easy to create using powerpoint. The images are all from the Warlord Games boxes, cut and pasted on to the cards. Each card has all the stats you need.

This includes the weapon (and ranges), the units movement and all the other key stats. The number in the oval at the bottom is the points value.

Finally if the unit has any special abilities these are posted on the bottom of the card in bold.

I quickly realised that there were many units specific to the Royalist or Parliamentarian Cause so to differentiate these I added blue (Royalist) or orange in the side panel. If it was a generic unit (eg Pikemen) the panel was left white)

As you can see from the two pictures below they are both Cavalry cards but because the units have different abilities (respective of their faction) they have a different side bar colour.

With the various unit cards produced I turned my attention to the commanders...

We have a standard card for both Infantry and Cavalry Commanders. In this case they are Parliamentarians. well as personality cards (these photos were just lifted from the internet

Once I had checked all the details were correct these were printed and laminated.

So each player will now have a deck of cards denoting his forces which can ether be kept in hand or placed under the units as a point of reference.

Job done....

Monday, 9 May 2016

ECW - Gun Emplacements

Hi Folks

Its been the best part of 5 months since I last built any terrain in the Shed and if you have been following this blog for sometime you will know that it is this aspect of the hobby I enjoy most. However a combination of real life, the small number of ECW figures to paint and a complete lachk of storage space in the shed has meant any terrain projects have been put on hold.

However this hiatus has allowed me to think about what I want to do once the extension is built. But I don't want to wait for another couple of months and lets face it once the shed is built I'll then be erecting shelves, building the new games table etc. So I had an itch I wanted to scratch and settled on building two gun emplacements for my ECW artillery.

OK here goes the build in pictures.
Cut out the mdf base. I used 9mm MDF with the jigsaw angled to give the sloping edge. Once sanded smooth (rem,ember face mask when working with mdf) I sealed both bases in pva.

With the PVA dry I broke off some loose cheapo polystyrene into pieces that were a little smaller than the bases. These were then fixed to the Mdf using interior grip adhesive. Allowed to dry overnight.

Using ready made filler I built up the banks of the emplacements - ie between the polystyrene and edges of the mdf. Allowed to dry overnight.

No comes the fun part. Using a combination of bbq skewers and coffee stirrers I built up the wooden planking of the emplacements. This was just a case of pushing in skewers into the polystyrene top and fixing with pva

 I quickly realised that the Renedra gabions I bought from salute were too wide for the top of the firing positions so I had to create a secondary terrace on which they could sit. Again this was built up using the bits described above and in much the same way we poured concrete top make the shed base I poured watered down filler into this terrace.

Before I placed the gabions I painted them black and the outside of the planking walls. This ensured those hard to reach painted areas started off life as black and not white !

The gabions were then fixed using a combo of filler, pva and adhesive. This was all left to dry overnight.

Next up involved covering all the ground area with sand and ballast. The gabions themselves were topped off with a coarser ballast. With this dry The whole structure was painted black acrylic. This seals in the whole model and provides a base for the drybrushing.

Once this was done it was a quick simple job of drybrushing on the base and walls followed by some static grass.

This whole project cost less than £12 (of which £8 went on the Gabions) and took about 4 hours over 5 days.

Come back soon because tonight we are playing with the 28mm ECW Forces for the first time...

Monday, 2 May 2016

Shed Extension part2

Just a short post this morning and reporting that on Friday afternoon the concrete got poured to build the base.

A very big thank you to both Rolf and John for coming round and helping everything to go so smoothly.

This base is going to take a couple of weeks to cure so in the meantime I'll be ordering some timber and finalising the plans.

Until next time