Monday, 18 October 2021

Russian Napoleonic 20mm - Musketeers, Grenadiers and Dragoons


Finally got my latest batch of Newline 20mm Napoleonic Russians finish.

First up the Tauride Grenadier Regiment (Livonia Inspection) of the 3rd Grenadier Brigade, 1st Grenadier Division.

Then the Perm Musketeers of the Smolensk Inspection. 2nd Brigade, 5th Division.

Finally the Mog(h)ilev Musketeer Regiment from Lithuania. 2nd Brigade, 5th Division.

Those finish the 5th Division. Hope to have the 6th Division done next year, which with the other troops will give me the whole of 1st Corps.

On the cavalry front I've just done the Kazan Dragoons (with Raspberry facings)...

And the Siberian Dragoons (with suitably snowy white facings).

The next batch I hope to start before Christmas with 2nd Grenadier Bde (completing 1st Grenadier Div) and two Cuirassier Regiments.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Return to Pebble Park

Last year I played "Raid on Pebble Park" as part of the ACP164 Jika campaign being run by Mike Wilson. I'd hoped to revisit it having bought and painted some ILR Assault Troops to act as the QRF but scheduling meant it got played whilst the figures still sat in their bubble wrap :-(


6' x 4' table with a 1" hex cloth. The LARC/Dropship model is a card one from Ebbles Miniatures.

The ILR were the defenders again, with two 2-critter patrols out (random start positions), another 4 guards asleep in one of the buildings, and a 6-critter QRF all tooled up snoozing on their bunks. The EDF also had 14 critters, all with good natural night vision, formed into 3 teams: a five critter assault team, with 2 demolition experts, a four critter security team to stop anyone getting in their way, and the OC (Lt Joulet) with an LMG team and a PML (think Carl Gustav) team.

Whilst I liked the idea of the patrol/noise rules in Black Ops that I used last time it struck me they were all a bit complex and gave some odd results, so this time I cut my own simpler set to control guard movement and alerting. Once the alarm is raised the QRF reacts the next turn, and the rest of the guards the turn after that.

How It Played

Everything went well in the first turn as the EDF edges towards the boundary road. Unfortunately one of the ILR patrols was headed their way. The PML team drew incredibly high for their move across the road to the building on the far side so I decided they must have charged across, smashed down the door and run up the stairs. That was a lot of noise points, and certainly enough to draw the ILR patrol on.

They run like hell in the direction of the noise, rounding the corner and get caught in a less than withering hail of fire from the support team (the OC’s gun jamming). One ILR takes a light wound. The ILR need an activation to raise the alarm, but the EDF gun group swing round and fires a burst of LMG at short range – and misses! The team i/c swings into action, rushes past the gunner and rugby tackles the second rabbit. The rabbit takes damage and pulls away – struggling to find the radio on her like hell in the direction of the noise, rounding the corner and get caught in a less than withering hail of fire from the support team (the OC’s gun jamming). One ILR takes a light wound. The ILR need an activation to raise the alarm, but the EDF gun group swing round and fires a burst of LMG at short range – and misses! The team i/c swings into action, rushes past the gunner and rugby tackles the second rabbit. The rabbit takes damage and pulls away – struggling to find the radio on her chest.

The ILR patrol gets the very first activation – can they call for help? – but  they need to make the morale test first and fails! The rabbits are spooked and run off the board before calling in support. The other ILR team activates though and with a melee and shooting there’s a lot of noise around so they make the alarm threshold easily. They call for help and then get a second activation which puts them just round the corner and just in sight of the EDF LMG team, and its not the LMG or the PML shots that take them out, but good old rifle fire from the security team. 

Some good cards meant that the assault team moved rapidly to the gap in the wire fence. The QRF was waiting for cards. The EDF made it over the fence and looked to be making a home run when the QRF got 3 activations on the trot (normal - elite card - normal) which got them into the Park and ready for a shoot-out with the EDF.

Joulet sent the LMG team off to follow the assault team, but as they dropped to the ground over the fence the bullets started flying, the LMG gunner was an early casualty and her oppo thought better of it and jumped back over the fence! 

One rabbit swings wide to get a view down the far side of the pad, whilst another takes cover by the ramp. The EDF try and react but miss. The rabbit fires, wounds the assault team OC. The assault team get a go, but draw badly for morale, the tail-end Charlie deciding to leg it back over the wall. Seeing things going badly one of the demolition guys decides to rush the rabbit. The rabbit’s buddy misses his reaction shot and the stoat piles into the rabbit, inflicting a wound and pushing him back. A second activation and the stoat empties his 1-56 into the bunny at point-blank. That fights over but the stoat with the vital satchel is now in the open in full view of two rabbits. End of turn!

The QRF activates, but in morale the rabbit with the best shot decides to run back to cover! The QRF OC and his oppo both go to fire, clean shots… but guns jam! The 4th QRF critter moves up to better cover the fence and get a bead on the bleeding LMG critter. The rest of the guard finally turn out – but into a hail of fire. On their first activation the EDF security team shoots the first rabbit out the door, and on their second activation the first rabbit out the far door. 

The assault team activate first, and both demo critters leg it for the ramp. The QRF then activates (same number) but guns jam! The 3rd rabbit (who’d run back) runs forward and stuns the demo guy at the bottom of the ramp. The 4th QRF critter has a lucky escape as the assault rear-guard’s gun also jams. On her turn the rabbit  puts two wounds into the EDF. The remaining guard activates but is pinned, so more or less out of it. The security team charges down the street. Its 2’s again, the EDF has to take a big morale test, loses cohesion and the two wounded critters charge forward in desperation but the two demo guys are stunned. Then it’s the security team again who burst through the park gate and 3 of them let loose at the back of the 3 rabbits in front of them, but in the hasty shooting only get one wound due to the heavy body armour. End of turn.

QRF activates first on Turn 9 – all over for the EDF? No, morale check, the QRF becomes stunned as they realise they’re being shot at from their rear! Almost everyone in the park is now stunned! The ILR Guard miraculously activates on a black 6! The two rabbits charge out, straight into an OOA EDF, melee and the EDF's dead! The QRF activates but can only clear its stuns, same for the assault team.  Then the assault team gets to sprint up the ramp, the o/c giving covering fire which wings one QRF, but the o/c QRF wings the second demo critter, but the first has made it to the top! The Guard fails to hit the back of the security team, but the EDF PML is nicely lined up to take the rabbits out – but draws OOA on its first shot – out of action! The security team, unbothered by the rabbits behind them, empties another volley into the backs of the QRF, one goes down, both the others are wounded and stunned. It looks like the demo critter at the Dropship might be able to set the charges!

Turn 10. The guards in the alley wound EDF security team’s tail-end-charlie who runs to cover, and their team mates, sat at the gate with bullets flying everywhere are pinned! Lt Joulet and her oppo are still firing from behind the ILR inflict wounds but not enough to stop them. The lone EDF LMG loader makes it over the fence and opens fire on the rabbit to his front, but then gets killed when the rabbit returns fire. The rest of the QRF recovers from stun, but before they can bring down effective fire the wounded EDF manages to take one of their number out. This gives the demo expert the chance to set the charge, choosing a timer of 3 turns, and then slowly starts to run down the ramp with covering fire from their oppos. The other EDF critter at the fence scores some hits on the lone QRF rabbit, but the greaves save them. Almost everyone in the park but those two are now wounded, and there’s two turns til things go boom! It might all come down to the morale draws.

Turn 11. Lt Joulet and her buddy take another guard out. The QRF boss goes into a fanatical charge, killing the assault team Cpl in a single blow. The 2nd demo critter misses, then their gun jams but the rest of the security team, although pinned brings down enough fire to take the rabbit leader out. Just one rabbit left in the park, and one outside. Looks like the EDF might make it. The demo critter and the wounded EDF round the back start heading for the fence. Just one turn left!

Turn 12. Lt Joulet takes the last of the Guard force out. The security squad gets an activation and legs it across the street to safety. Four dud activation cards, then Boom! Well not quite, the satchel slips at the last moment, the bang is enough to still destroy the ship but the blast radius is reduced. The last rabbit standing is easily saved by her armour, the bomber escapes unscathed and their oppo is just stunned. The EDF got off lightly. A morale card is drawn for the last rabbit and she decides enough is enough and legs it. The field belongs to the EDF and the Dropship is gone.

The Reckoning

In terms of victory points:

ILR – all lost bar one rabbit (13/14)

EDF – 4 killed, 2 with 2 wounds, 1 with 1

EDF Points = 10+13-20-4 = -1

ILR Points = -10+8-15-16 = -33

EDF victory, but given their losses reduced to a Marginal Victory.


ACP164 played really well as always and gave a great narrative feel to the game. Out-of-ammo cards still a bit frequent for my liking, and a lot of point-blank shots missed. Might introduce a few house rules next time to fix those. My new guard and noise rules worked fine, but I'll do a few standalone tests of those to make sure. All-in-all a good game. Makes it one-all between EDF and ILR for this scenario.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

La Haie Sainte


For Waterloo60 we used 15mm buildings (despite the 20mm figures) as we find they give a better footprint, and for that game we even reduced the building footprints even further so they occupied more or less the right table space - so even Adrian's 15mm La Haie Sainte didn't get deployed in its entirety.

Whilst sorting my buildings for the game I decided that since my good old 20mm Airfix La Haie Sainte wasn't being used I might show it some love after the game and get it properly based up so as to minimise the chance of future damage and also make it more get-out-and-play, and look better once actually on the table. Here's the result.

The paint job is about 10-20 years old I think (I don't think this is the model I had as a kid, that one I'm sure is now separate buildings due to breakages) and I only touched it up where it was flaking off. The MDF baseboard is 40cm x 30 cm. Aquatic gravel was used for the courtyard, the hedges are my standard flocked coir welcome mat, and the "vegetables" are from the foilage that had fallen from various "bottle-brush" style trees. The base has warped a bit but overall I'm very happy with the result.

Just need to play a 20mm Napoleonic skirmish game to give it a proper outing!

Figures for Five Parsecs from Home


Really impressed by what I've read so far of the Five Parsecs from Home rulebook. I've decided to use my 28mm Albedo figures for the crew (led by Erma and Toki of course). I rolled up the characters and then the first engagement. That ended up needing three War Bots and a Hakshan Investigator - whatever that is!

Initially I'd thought about using some Star Wars Clone Wars troopers but a hunt around the Net found these superb figures from Forlorn Hope Games. They've got a really nice Cylon vibe going, and the guy with the Rotary Cannon is just right for the Shell Gun.

As to the "Hakshan Investigator" that's described as an "odd, suited alien". Again Forlorn Hope Games had a suitable looking figure - signs of webbed feet and hands and a vaguely fish shaped head, all in a spacesuit and with a suitably alien looking gun - guess that will count as odd and suited.

Now I just need to finish off the ACP164 game on the table and set up the Five Parsecs scenario.

Friday, 3 September 2021

Sealed Knot Muster


Heading up to the Peak District for the Bank Holiday weekend we suddenly found ourselves driving through a huge ECW encampment. Apparently the Sealed Knot was having their largest muster for 18 months. Luckily the friends we were staying with were up for it, so the next day we returned at 2pm to see the battle.

I'm guessing there were around 2000 re-enactors involved, it certainly had scale. The commentary was really good and the battle well choreographed for the crowds. The commentator had to keep apologising for the fact that the soldiers were grinning not grimacing - it was their first time on the battlefield for ages!

I got lots of nice photos, of which a selection are below. Really want I wanted to do those was speak to the reenactors about how real ECW battles went down at the individual man level.

We know that real push-of-pike was nothing like this (but still quite impressive when one side topples over!), so its was great to chat to 4 or 5 of the reenactors to get their views. The main points were:

  • Units closed to 20-50m to fire their shot
  • If it was just pike vs pike they'd probably just stand and look at each other, neither wanting to go in 
  • Shot running out of ammo may have been the trigger for the melee
  • Once the advance to contact starts then just as I have in SLS/WDBTT it was often decided by resolve not fisticuffs, one side deciding it didn't want to stay to fight
  • When it came to push-of-pike it probably only lasted 30-60 seconds. Shot might have been firing or might just be careering into the melee. If push-of-pike is only brief makes no difference to the rules.
  • Once in melee pike probably drew their (useless?) swords. Using a 16' pike in a close-up melee is never going to work. They may have held their pike upright and then used their free hand for the sword - but that means their stuck to the spot and at risk of overbalancing. More like (my interpretation) they dropped their pike once the melee started and relied on the sword.
  • When the loser was obvious the loser would be most unlikely to take their pikes with them - which makes sense if they've dropped them for the melee. Most casualties in the battle came from the pursuit, and you can't run fast with a 16' pike!

So all that probably confirms my thoughts and I'll tweak WDBTT (We Die By These Things) accordingly.

Now for the photos..

The guy in the grey coat seemed to be one of the main choreographers

Even with this few people on a windy moorside smoke soon obscured views

Cavalry menaces pike

Each side had 3 or 4 guns

Flourishing the ensigns to taunt the enemy

The Kings Guard - an elite Sealed Knot unit

Nice muzzle flashes

A flash in the pan?

At least I know have a good set of images for any future ECW rules/scenario publication.