Monday, January 11, 2021

Test of Battle of Thannuris (528 AD) Scenario

Last Thursday, our "Old Guys" group gathered to play our first game using my Command & Colors - Medieval game.  But instead of the tan and purple blocks and the laboriously applied labels, we used my 15mm figures, some of which I described in previous posts.

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures until about the 6th turn.  Please click on the images for a large picture.  The pictures were taken with my Motorola phone camera.

Overview with the Byzantine right/Sassanid left in the foreground.  The Byzantine left wing commander stares in dismay at the losses he's taken.

The Byzantines slowly moved forward on their right until they got within bow range and started a desultory ranged fire on the Sassanids.  They moved their medium bow-armed cavalry unit onto the hill and, with the two bow-armed light infantry units, returned the fire.  Casualties were minor here.

Another view of the action along the hill line taken from the rear of the Byzantine force.

But the main action was on the Byzantine left/Sassanid right.  Here the Sassanid right wing commander ponders his attack options.  As you can tell, he's dealt quite a bit of destruction to the Byzantine left wing cavalry.

The Sassanid super heavy cataphracts launch an attack against the remnants of two units of Byzantine cavalry, destroying both of them

Then wheeling around behind the hills on the next turn, the cataphracts position themselves for the coup de grace.  But it was the Sassanid medium cavalry attacking from the front that garnered the honors.  Rolling only three dice (two for attacking a hill and one for an Inspired 'battle bonus' Action, they got the one blue triangle they needed to destroy the last stand of Byzantine cavalry on the hill.  And then they rolled a single die to see if the Byzantine leader was killed -- and lo, he was with a roll of a helmet, garnering the last two victory banners needed to win the game.

The Sassanids won decisively 6 banners to 2 for the Byzantines.

My 15mm figures are a mix of various manufacturers, primarily vintage Miniature Figurines and Table Tops Games figures.  The hills were hand cut from 1/2" extruded insulation foam upon which I glued  an enlarged image of one of the C&C-M hills.  The mat is from Cigar Box.

This coming Thursday we'll fight the next scenario, the follow-up battle of Melebasa (528 AD).

Monday, December 28, 2020

15mm Medieval Painting - Phase 1b

I've added two more cavalry units to the expanded rebasing of my 15mm Medieval figures.  These two will give me enough units to fight the first Byzantive vs Sassanid scenario of "Commands and Colors - Medieval" -- Thannuris, 528 AD.

The first unit is Hun light bow cavalry (to give it the C&C-M designation) for the Byzantines.  The figures are vintage Miniature Figurines.  Two of the mounted archers were previously painted while the other three mounted archers and the three with light spears are newly painted.

The second unit is 'Sassanid' light cavalry.  The figures are Essex Arab Conquest light cavalry.  They are a little 'out of time' as the Arab Conquest didn't begin until about 100 years after the battle at Thannuris.  But they are what I had and the dress of  'desert' light cavalry probably didn't change very much.

I've got two more cavalry units in the pipeline, another unit of Hun light bow cavalry for the Byzantines that will complete the second scenario's order of battle (Melebasa, 528 AD) and a unit of LBC for the Byzantines to get a start on completing the third scenario's OB (Dara, 530 AD).  I will definitely get the Huns painted before the end of the year!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas to All

Hoping everyone is having a merry Christmas and will have a blessed new year!

Our Christmas tree, lovingly adorned by Mrs. Col Campbell

After this year of trials and tribulations, next year just has to be better!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

15mm Medieval Painting - Phase 1a

Over the past several weeks I've painted some more 15mm Medieval troops to be used when our gaming group starts using the new (to us) "Commands and Colors - Medieval" gaming system with miniatures instead of the blocks.  In my last post on this subject, I described how I was rebasing already painted figures.  This post shows the first batch of newly painted figures.

Please click on each image for a larger picture.

First is a newly painted stand of four Essex Byzantine cataphracts.  They'll join ...

this composite unit of super heavy cavalry composed of a stand of vintage MiniFigs cataphracts (left front), the newly painted Essex cataphracts (right front), a stand of vintage Table Top Games Games Byzantine heavy cavalry (right rear), and a stand of heavy cavalry that I bought already painted (left rear).  Eventually additional cataphracts will replace the two stands in the rear.

A stand of "Eastern" heavy infantry which will join ...

a  unit of "Eastern" heavy infantry composed of three stands of already painted heavy infantry and the newly painted stand.

Two vintage Table Top Games Asiatic horse archers were painted to join ...

three 2-figure stands that I had painted some years ago.

I had bought a batch of vintage Table Top Games Byzantine trapezitos (light cavalry) figures some time ago but never had enough to make two complete units.  So I paired an Essex trapezitos with one of the TTG ones to complete one unit ...

of eight Byzantine light cavalry.  The Essex figure portrays the command element of this unit.

The rest of the TTG trapezitos were also joined by an Essex figure to make a second Byzantine light cavalry unit.  This unit has different colored uniforms and shields than the older one.

And that's the first part of the painting to have figures ready for the Battle of Thannuris (528 AD) scenario.  I still have a unit of Byzantine Hun light bow cavalry (using MiniFig Huns) and a unit of Sassanid light cavalry (using Essex Arab Conquest light cavalry).  I'll be starting them today.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

More Flying in the Friendly French Skies

For our 'Old Guys" Thursday get together last week, I brought over my Wings of War/Wings of Glory WW1 biplanes for some fun dogfighting.  We divided into Allied and Central Powers sides and each of the four players chose two planes, without any consideration of whether they would actually have been in the air at the same time.  I acted as umpire until one of the Central Powers players had to leave to attend to a business conference on Zoom (bah!!!).

Allied Powers:  Russ chose a pair of Nieuport 28s while Steve chose a pair of Sopwith Camels.

Central Powers:  Jay chose a Fokker Dr-1 and a D-VII while Ed chose a Fokker Dr-1 and an Albatros D-III.

We used my new Cigar Box aerial battle mat which, to my eye, looked really good.

After a couple of turns maneuvering for advantage, the action began:

In the distance, Russ and Jay go at each other while close-up Steve and Ed start to get tangled up.

Russ' pair of Nieuport's try to get on the tail of Kempt's Dr-1.

The Red Baron and a Camel (Snoopy maybe) go head to head while the Albatros wanders around.  It was about this time that Steve lost his first Camel, shot down by the Albatros.

Sometime later, Russ lost his first Nieuport to Ed's Dr-1 (Red Baron) and gets Kempf's Dr-1 on the tail of his remaining Nieuport with the Fokker D-VII right ahead.  Steve's remaining Camel is on fire and trying to stay clear.

From a different angle, Ed's Albatros and Dr-1 are looking for targets.  About this time Ed had to leave so I took over his planes.

My Albatros and Steve's burning Camel go head-to-head while Jay's D-VII and Dr-1 also fire at the Camel.  Both the Albatros and the Camel are blown out of the sky.  Russ' remaining Nieuport is keeping his distance.

Another angle of the above action.  Russ tries to figure out what he will do next.
After this, Jay's D-VII, which was badly damaged fled the scene of the action with Russ' Nieuport in pursuit, followed by both of the Dr-1s.  But none of the planes could close into firing range so we ended the game.


Russ lost one Nieuport 28 and didn't manage to shoot down any German plane.

Steve lost both of his Camels but did manage to shoot down the Albatros.

Ed's Dr-1 shot down a Camel as did his Albatros (under my command) but the Albatros was lost.

Jay, while not shooting down anyone, also didn't have either of his planes shot down.

But the main thing was that we all had a blast!!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Pulpy Rugged Adventure Figures

While I was working on my 15mm Medieval rebasing project (see previous post), I was also painting a batch  of Bob Murch's "Pulp Figures" sculpts.  I anticipate using them next year in some pulp games, probably using the "Rugged Adventure" rules.  Please click on the image for a larger picture.

The first batch were five figures from pack PHP-10, Stalwart Companions:

From left -- Loyal Ghurkha Billy-Fish; Lal-Singh; F.B. McGinty (but in a Campbell tartan so he'll be named F.B. Campbell); Young "Shorty" Smith; and stiff upper-lipped Reggie York.

Next were four of the five figures from pack PHP-18, Rugged Sons of the Empire:

From left:  Bluey Jones; Carnahan; Col. Sir John Ripperton; and Blinky Alsop.  The final figure, 'Mack' MacCurdy was painted some time ago (also in a Campbell tartan.).

Then three of the ladies from pack PHP-19, Dangerous Dames 2:

From left: Cassandra Van Pelt (ace pilot); Meg Masters; and Oberleutnant Heidi Reitsch.  The last two, Bernadette of the Resistance and Calamity Jean, were painted earlier.

And finally, some assorted figures:

From left: Leon Trotsky (Giants in Miniature); Airborne general with cuppa tea (a special figure from Nick at North Star); British colonial officer with cuppa tea (also one of Nick's "specialty" figures); and another British colonial officer holding binoculars.

Hopefully you'll be seeing them and others in various adventures next year after our gaming group can really get back together.

Y'all stay safe!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Rebasing My 15mm Medieval Troops

Many years ago, I rebased my 15mm Medieval troops from their old DBA-style basing to the basing used by the "Vis Bellica" rules since I was starting to use that set.  That basing called for all units to be on 80mm x 40mm bases (for 15mm figures).  We used the rules for a year or so, but the mathematical calculations necessary to compute combat (both ranged and close) taxed our wee minds too much.

My Norman commanders and cavalry using the "Vis Bellica" basing.

I've used this basing standard with the "To the Strongest!" rules with good success.  Then our group started playing games using Ricard Borg's "Commands and Colors" mechanisms.  We quickly transitioned from the board game with the blocks to a larger hex gridded battle mat using our metal figures.  We've played ancients in 15mm, Napoleonic in 25mm, and Samurai in 28mm.  Although the card driven mechanism can result in some very unrealistic (in my mind) situations, the games were enjoyable.

Now Borg has released "Commands and Colors - Medieval" which I will be getting for Christmas.  The box has already been received and is sitting in the closet with other presents awaiting the big day.  Now I could have kept this basing standard and just used strength markers but that seemed a little awkward to me.  So I began what I had though about doing for years --  the major project of rebasing my Medievals back to the DBA standard of 40mm wide bases.  Each unit will be of 4 stands so losses can be shown.  So far I've rebased about 50% of my forces - the Byzantines and almost all of the Moslems.  Then I ran out of bases, but new ones are on the way.  Here's what they look like now:

Byzantine commanders and infantry

Byzantine cavalry

Moslem commanders and infantry (the three archer bases at the bottom are awaiting new bases)

Moslem commanders and cavalry

I have a large number of figures to paint still in order to have enough for the various scenarios in the "Command and Colors" rule set.  My challenge of course has been that "C&C-M" is set in the very early Medieval period with scenarios dating from the 500s and 600s and pitting the late Romans and early Byzantines against such enemies as the Huns, Sassanid Persians, and Ostro- & Visigoths.  Many of my figures are from the 900-1100 timeframe but will work.  I'm hoping that, as with the ancient sets, Borg expands to cover other Medieval periods.  Then I can use my Normans and other western European troops.

I also obtained two Cigar Box battle mats with 4" hexes to use for my gaming.

Here's part of one of them with two 4-stand units of Byzantine heavy cavalry with bows and a commander.

But part of the project also involves what to do with the old 80mm x 40mm bases that I no longer need.

Old 80mm x 40mm bases
After some consideration, I decided to scrape as much of the adhesive off the bases and use them as infantry unit movement stands.

"New" movement base with a magnetic piece stuck to it

Four stands of auxilia infantry

Same unit showing the loss of one stand

But the old bases would not hold the 30mm deep cavalry stands so I had to come up with something else.  Luckily I had some old skirmish movement bases made from matt board and magnetic sheeting.  I just cut them down and, voila, cavalry movement bases!
4-stand unit of generic bow-armed medium cavalry

Same unit showing a loss of 1 stand

Now it is on to paint more figures and make more cavalry movement bases!  More later as the project progresses.