Wednesday, 23 February 2022

An experimental 2mm session

  I managed to sit down for an hour or so this luncheon (choice of word Sprinks, choice of word) And paint the 2mm minis I based up in my last post. 

The start of the all new Royal Crivinshire army.

A couple of irregular foot regiments ( in the setting a collective of troops raised/press ganged into service by the same patron are called a regiment regardless of size)
.
A regiment of common horse.

And finally the collected power of the Crivinshire nobility (some of whom I definitely did not accidentally glue onto the base backwards).

  The bases are ment to be drab but look far more washed out in the pictures than they do in the flesh. I have tried to give the impression of the ground being churned up where the troops have marched ( or clippity-clopped) over it but I'm not sure how well this worked. 

  Right, now to order two armies worth of 2mm stuff!...


...'till next time...

Thursday, 17 February 2022

The cutting of the corners

   Hobby time has been rarer than purple hydra droppings of late, I have however managed to grab a quick half hour to conduct a little experiment.

 First I think a small sprinkle from the shower hose of context may be in order. As all three of my regular readers will know I do like to bodge together my own settings in which to game. One such setting that I keep returning to is that of Olde Albilande. Now I may not have been able to physically hobby lately but the tiny squishy pile of biological matter I call my brain has not been idle oh no, it's returned to this festering isle with some quaint remodeling and ideas for campaigns yet to be played. Now this is a good thing (to me at least) but would require a bucket load of painting to be done. The thing that has always hobbled my plans to make this kind of thing a reality is the volume of miniatures needed. In my normal choice of miniature scale that is...

  But there exists a scale where painting up an army or two in a matter of days is very achievable, a scale in which I have dipped enough toes to have a decent working knowledge of just how wet with possibilities it is. I speak of course of 2mm, where all men are modelled equally (tiny) and impressionism is everything!. My arrival at this decision went like this:

 Brain (B):dooldalbilande,dooldalbilande,dooldalbilande,dooldal...etc

Me: Eh, sorry I wasn't listening.

B: you never do, that's why your life is such an utter pile o...

Me: Shut up or I'll start drinking again, see how you do with even less cells.

B: Bloody charming!. That's why I never talk to you anymore.

Me: did you want something?.

B:Yeah actually, I was saying dooldalbilande,dooldalbilande,dooldalbilande,dooldal...

Me: This again?, Look I can't be bothered to paint 4 whole forces just to play a campaign.

B: 6 forces.

Me: what?

B: 6 forces, I made some changes.

Me: well definitely not then, think on you useless  squidgy tosser!.

B: You never do what I want.

Me: that's because all your ideas are mental, listen to me: I DO NOT WANT TO PAINT FIFTY BASQUILLION MINIS!.

B: You don't  have to I have a good idea.

Me: For once.

B: Piss off, no you can do each army in 1:1 scale in no time.

Me: Have you been drinking?.

B: No just listen for once. What about 2mm?. You can paint loads of them.

Me: You may have a point there... I'll alert the media.

B: oh do fuck off, it's a good idea though isn't it?.

Me: maybe...

And on it went. I did however have some reservations. I can do lots of pretty cheap forces in no time but if I'm doing this I'm doing it in 1:1 scale and I'm taking time to do it to the best of my abilities (which isn't saying much!). 

  I went looking for inspiration and stumbled upon this post on the rather good Roundwood's world about modeling and painting some thirty years war forces. Now this approach to creating bases in 2mm really caught my interest. So the above experiment happened:



Some bases in the Roundwood style. They are ment to be from Old Albilandes early pike and shot period (about 1570 in our time, sort of after the Italian wars but before the Thirty years war)



Two infantry units, a mix of pike and handguns. The first has pike blocks between ranks of shot with two small 'folorn hope' units out front (in Albilande these units are normally made up of the least popular handgunners). The second is more of a loose formation with shot out front and on the wings. 


A unit of 100 Knights (the nobles still insist on charging about on horseback like it's the thirteenth century or something)


  A unit of  reiters in three ranks ready to unload a barrel of caracole on someone.

 I snapped these while the glue was still wet but hope to get them painted up soon. I'm pretty happy with them so far, I think a table full of these could look rather great so long as I manage to paint them effectively. The idea is to do the required forces in this scale to game some big battles then maybe do smaller forces in 10mm (or maybe even 15mm) for in between battle skirmishers.  Well that's the plan anyway...


...'till next time...





Sunday, 23 January 2022

Ramble ahoy

   A bit like everyone in January I have been spending time polishing off leftovers. Not just the last few mince pies, chocs and cans of grown up fizzy stuff but also a project I started BLOODY MONTHS AGO!, namely these:


They are a block of 15mm pikemen from venexia intended to be used as test pieces for a possible Italian wars project. I have painted them as Papal troops and have used some of the excellent banners from petes flags

 The reasons I abandoned the project in the first place were many, mostly a mix of frustration with the sculpts (soft details and the fact it's a bugger to try to line up a pike in both hands at the same time), the number of miniatures required to make the unit (44,  but a pike block needs heft), my butterfly brain wanting to do several other bits. Now I've been thinking about this while finishing the unit off and I think I know what the root of these issues was. 


  I think it's my own perceived lack of skill when it comes to painting. When I look at the photos the models are perfectly serviceable as gaming pieces. They look fine. Not spectacular, not likely to turn any heads but I'm pleased enough with the finished result. They are, to coin a well worn phrase 'table top standard'. And you know what? I'm happy with that. I got annoyed enough to put the miniatures away half painted because I wanted to achieve a level of painting I can't realistically do especially when batch painting 40+ models. What I should do is stop expecting perfection and instead enjoy the painting process for what it is.


I also painted some Landsknecht shot.

  When you really dig into it there are two major points that back this up.

1) Most people's hobby time is taken up with painting if they want to play games with fully painted forces. This means (to me anyway) that it is important to appreciate and enjoy the act of pressure free painting as it will be taking up most of my relaxation time.

2) I reckon a high percentage of miniatures fielded on the tabletop across the world are what their owners would consider 'table top standard'. I think this is because people mostly have limited painting time, abilities that are always improving and the fact that unless you are playing games with a low model count you really don't have the chance to do your best work on every mini you take a brush to.

 So I think we should do more to take the pressure of ourselves and eachother when it comes to perceived standard of painting. The brilliantly painted models we see all over the web and in many miniature publications are used because they are really nice examples, often by pros, they are not even close to the average. It's great to have these to aspire to but we must keep in mind that we don't have to match them.


  What I think I'm driving at is that you can easily put yourself off of painting by putting too much pressure on yourself to achieve unrealistic standards. Painting is a skill that takes time to learn, you need to pat yourself on the back for each project finished not beat yourself up for mistakes you make. I'm going into 2022 with a no pressure approach to my hobbying and am determined to get better at enjoying every part of it.

Ramble over...


...'till next time...

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Grimdark potato men of the apocalypse

  My last post was in October. This will not do.


  I included the above as my hobby activity tailed off rather dramatically at the end of last year. The whole year, well specifically from may onwards was what can only really be described as shite, a bag of to be precise.


That's the one.

  It began with Sprinkling 2: son of Sprinks tourettes symptoms going utterly Tonto overnight, cue one manic phonecall from her indoors and a mad rush home to help and the tone for the rest of the year (and as it seems the foreseeable) was set. Dealing with the emotional fall out, the British medical system, the schooling system and working full time has rather taken a toll on the family that has made toy bothering rather less of a priority. However...

  It is also a very welcome distraction in all this and I haven't been totally away from the brushes. I have been daubing around the periphery of a 10mm ancient British force as well as trying to pluck up the motivation to start my 10mm halfling drug cartel for fantastic battles (it's a good idea, honest!). But recently my head has been very much turned in a more... vegetably direction:


 It's a game of Napoleonic post apocalyptic warfare on a proper grimdark setting...with vegetables. If that doesn't hook you nothing will!. You can download the rules for free here (Turnip28 rulebook). And I encourage you to do so. The game has a very small model count and troops are made by kitbashing any bits you fancy up to and including from the Napoleonic period. Crossed with veg. (Read the rules, it makes sense honest).

 I ordered a few sprues from the bay of E and set to knocking up a few bits and bobs:


 The first members of the 14th East Splaffington irregulars, aka the Spud-U-likes.

  I took my inspiration from the idea of seed potato roots sprouting from my troopers, hence the thick 'eyes' on them.


A unit of Brutes, big, dumb close combat thugs, as in the setting everything is run down and broken I decided they would fix melee weapons to old muskets with rope and roots, however being a bit slow they would just bung another layer on when things got loose hence the 'birds nest' type fixings.


  A force is led by a toff and his toadies, above are my toadies all riddled with roots and mucked up good.


I have gotten rather into this so have two more units ready for priming. More of these soon.

Anyway that's all there is to report for the moment, hopefully this year will see a bit more hobby activity but my breath is yet to be held!.


...'till next time...

Sunday, 24 October 2021

From the ground up

  My name is Sprinks and I have had a very stupid idea. If you are a regular reader of this den of douche you will be aware that my focus when it comes to gaming is a bit on the fantasy end of things. I have however lately become interested in more historically based gaming (not completely historical, I still like to make up silly stuff to bung in the gaps). Now the other day I was pondering how best to mesh the historical and the fantasy in a satisfying way, aside from calling it Fastorical or Histasy of course. Sort of a way to explore lots of periods of  military history without worrying about the stuff that seems to put me off, things like the minutiae of history (i like the wide view but am not at all bothered about button counting). So my stupid head came up with the idea to go back to the very start and work forward. How you probably didn't ask?. With a badly drawn map!:

 An as yet unnamed mass of land...drawn badly.

 Why a badly drawn map?, well...

 The idea I have come up with is to start with the above unnamed land masses. I can then use them as a canvas to work through the relevant historical gaming periods fleshing them out as I go, watching the land change and develop as kingdoms spring up, invasions happen, governments are overthrown and so on. So I can start by placing and campaigning with some ancient tribes, through dark age kingdoms into the middle ages and so on. In this way I can explore any period I wish in chronological order and track the actual effect battles have on the social conditions of the land in which they happen.Its fantasy gaming with a recognizable historical frame.  But how will I go about this from a mechanical standpoint?, well I plan to work as i normally do...very loosely!. I have created a few simple tools to help create narrative but they are really prompts to push this in certain directions and create a good amount of uncertainty. I will be needed to put flesh on the bones within the conditions determined by the following stuff:

First step within a new time period will be to roll 1D3+2 giving a number of campaigns to play through before that period will be deemed to be 'complete' as far as the lands history is conserned. I could always add more if needed (or I just fancy a few more). The results of the campaigns will become the history of the world itself.

For each campaign the following table will give a rough idea as to whats going to be happening:


 To help decide where things are happening or to just be able to randomize locatons if needed I have created a gridded version of the above map.


If I get sea I can always re-roll it!.

It also seemed appropriate to make the following to help determine the loose character of any notable leaders or personalities that may be involved to give a quick idea as to how they might react to any given situation:

 The above will be used by rolling 1d8 for each catagory to make a sort of character outline for the individual that will show how they may act under certain situations and pressures. It is ment to be pretty subjective, the idea being that the further towards middle the trait, the more average (or balanced) it is. For example an Influence score in the red may mean they are more likely to use fear and intimidation to garner respect where as if it was green they may be more likely to give people cocessions and grant demands to get their way. A person with red temperament will be quick to anger and  to use force where one in the green will be very laid back and prone to avoid conflict. 

 A campaign will be played using a number of linked games with whatever rules and scenarios i think will work best to create a narrative of the conflict being resolved, the results will be tracked on the map. Also I will use what I know so will lean towards British history to provide a framework to, well create a frame for all this.

  I will also need your help for quite alot of this stuff!. Any thoughts and suggestions in the comments could well be applied and I have the feeling I will be asking for help in determining the next step to take quite often!. In other words feel free to chuck in any ideas!. If you have not yet realized I am making all this up pretty much on the fly so lets build a world together!.

The nest steps are to roll up the number, size and starting locations of a few ancient tribes, Paint up a couple of armies worth of tribesmen and roll for the number of campaigns...

...'till next time...

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Command bases

  Having given Fantastic Battles a go and having come to the conclusion they are pretty darn good I decided to paint up some command bases for my multi-based forces that up until now had none. Commanders are really important in the game, the loss of them can pretty much doom your army to nuckleheaded movement and sad, sad (and kind of funny) defeat. I intend the commanders to be used for my 10mm fantasy forces.

 


First up are the commanders for the Iron Badgers mercenary company  

 
General Welchingtonne, leader and founder of the (in) famous Iron Badgers. The 3rd son of the Earl of Welchingtonne, he is a born soldier and leader with very little patience for anyone he considers below his station.


 Brother Glover, the company record keeper, padre and magic user. He never intended to join a military unit of any type, he just woke up one day in a tent belonging to the Iron Badgers after a legendary 5 week bender and has no idea how to get home. He's not even a priest, he was just wearing the cassock when he awoke. His real names Gavin...he thinks.


Captain Spalcher is the Generals right hand man and the company 'beating a man half to death for no particular reason' champion. By a country bloody mile. He is a naturally cold, hard man who has found his true vacation and plans to stick to it.

  Sargent Gifford Tappitsworth is best known for his calm, encouraging leadership style and easy manner on the battlefield. Often he can be heard geeing up the troops with phrases like 'oh come on lads, we're only outnumbered 6 to 1, we've had worse', or ' Don't just stand there, the gigantic and very angry fire breathing dragon won't kill itself, get stuck in!'. The rank and file think they like him...


  I also painted some commanders for the press ganged troops of the towns on the border of the wastes which have now been taken over by the Badgers.

Mayor Duckett, leader of the town of Wayward-Nowhere, the largest settlement bordering the wastes  He is a stickler for detail in all folk he deals with, even if he does often have half his breakfast down his breastplate.


Sargent Digby 'red fury' Dibbleswort, scourge of the wastes, or so he tells everyone. Basically he has a bit of a temper and thinks it's some kind of virtue.


  Corporal 'tally ho' Wilkinson, currently in command of the border town of Spillin-Over (population 76). Has a can do attitude and can't get on with those that don't. He tends to lead from the front, normally because most of the lads know they can push him out ahead to attract arrows.

  Sheriff 'Sparrow Hawk' Callhoon, Meanest lawman in the wastes. Known for being hard but fair. I.e. he always works hard to prove his targets guilt once he's decapitated them. In fact it was his creative police work that got him transferred to Wayward-Nowhere in the first place.


  I thought it would be an idea to do some for the Badgers current opposition and scourge of the wastes The Bastard Sons of the most black'ed Crow


  Ol' Papa Crow is the devious patriarch of the Crows, ruling over his extended brood with an iron fist.


 Big Bear Crow, current bearer of the Crows whistling totem known as the 'dinner bell'. He is the largest of the gang, it has been rumoured he ate a whole Ogre in one sitting , making him a legendary figure among his peers.


'Dirty' Ma Crow, witch of the wastes. Ma is not really a member of the Crows, although she is believed to be the mother of more than a few of them. She lives away from the Crows, traveling where ever her gut takes her to sell her various cure all's and potions to travellers and outlaws she encounters. She also serves as Papa Crows eyes and ears in the wastes,  settlers that get a visit from Ma can expect the Crows to not be far behind.


  The black Weasel, outlaw, outcast and all round git. the man known only as The Black Weasel has been exiled to the wastes for years. He was Chased to Wayward-Nowhere after he pushed his luck too far in proper society and was chased from there by Sheriff Callhoon shortly after. He was found half dead and definitely mad by the Crows and was spared the pot as he convinced Papa he has inside knowledge of the border towns that could prove useful... 


...'till next time...

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Rather fantastic battles

   I managed to get the opportunity this morning to test out Fantastic Battles by Nic Wright. 


They are currently available to buy Here.

The rules are designed to be scale and setting agnostic and use multi-based units with no casualty removal. Which sounds right up my street quite frankly. They include some sample army lists for fantasy and ancient forces but encourage you to come up with your own giving full rules for unit generation. 

The rules are really simple and clean mechanically with an easy to follow turn structure. It uses a base of troops as the basic unit that can be formed into groups if you wish. Command sections are separate and key to keeping your army in the fight but they can join units if desired.

 The rules work on a random activation basis with troops outside the influence of the forces commanders often doing exactly what you don't want them to!.

  There are also rules for random objectives, flank marches and pre battle misfortune that can befall your units (which I forgot to use this time like a massive tool).

First impressions are very positive, I might have to put together a few small forces to explore further. I used my 15mm dark age forces  for this game, 4foot troops/ 2 cavalry to a unit. 


 The battlefield ready for battle. Norman' attackers at the top of the picture, Saxons at the bottom.

 
The Norman's center made up of Norman infantry and their  Saxon subjects.


Archers protect their left flank.


  The other flank was held by the flower of the Norman nobility.

  
  For their part the Saxons deployed foresters and spearmen on their right.


  Their center was held by more spears and a unit of mercenary Viking axemen.


The hill on the left was guarded by the Saxon archers who intended to fill the opposing horse with arrows.


An archery duel broke out on the Norman left while the Saxon spears prepared to take the hill.




  The Norman center advances.


Likewise the cavalry who take exception to the rain of pointy sticks coming from the hill.


   Things begin to get bloody  as the Vikings slam into the Norman subjects.


  The Norman spears crest the hill.


   With their commanders out of range the archers take matters into their own hands and charge off the hill to attack the Norman horse!.


  On the central hill opposing shield walls face off.


   During which opposing champions prepare to have at it!.

   
    Which goes better for the Saxon half!.


  Over on the left the archers feel the sharp end of the Norman's swords as Saxon spearmen rush to reinforce them.


   And get there just in time to get charged themselves.


  During the fight the forces general s meet.


   While to hill in the centre turned into a massive scrum.


  The Norman leader is downed by his opposite number, ending the battle in the favour of the Saxon defenders.

  As I said, decent rules that I'm looking forward to using again. Definitely worth a look...

...'till next time...