Tally Ho!

Friday 30 March 2018

How to make 28mm olive trees

This summer we're planning to stage a WWII campaign based on the German airborne invasion of Crete. A quick bit of research revealed that olive groves were a major terrain feature on Crete and so I began pondering how to recreate this. Buying 60+ olive trees would be costly so I set about making my own.

The starting point was some plastic tree armatures from Woodland Scenics, I went for two packs of 28 * 3" - 5". These are in two parts which you press together, no glue needed.  They are usually about £15 a pack including postage.

To create the distinctive trunk colours,  I went for some heavy dry-brushing in both light brown and then white to bring out the texture on the models. The armatures can then be twisted into various shapes and in this case that meant the swept-back look common in olive trees


For the foliage I have used some rubberised horse hair, spray pained with a Halfords ultra-matt light green and then dty-brushed in white. The effect I was after was the grey-green colour so prevalent in olive trees. I was lucky enough to inherit several large sheets of horsehair from someone's failed foray into furniture restoration and it certainly works well as foliage.

The branches have plenty of spikes on them so I have opted to simple push them into the rubberised and not glue them. As my wargames stuff rarely leaves the comfort of my room  I don't need to worry about then being transported. Finally I attached them to small bases to add some weight to the bottom

At just over 50p each I think they will do nicely for Crete and for our various ancients campaigns in the classical world.


Saturday 24 March 2018

Strike Fast ECW Campaign - Week 6

Having secured Edinburgh in the last battle, the English now set their sights on the Covenanter stronghold of Stirling. For this battle the Scots were allowed some fortifications and opted for a fortified manor house as the centrepiece of their defences.

Manor house
Some emergency surgery

The Scottish opted to base their defence on the fortified manor house, packing 6 regiments into the house and outbuildings. They massed their cavalry on the left with a small detachment on the right.
Scottish centre

Crowded conditions!

Scots left
The English adopted a similar plan, massing all their horse on the right for a large attack and placing some in the centre in the hopes of pinning the defenders in the hard cover. This though meant their left had no Horse to oppose the small Scottish force their.
English left

English centre

English horse in the centre

Massed attack on the English right
The game opened with the English right pressing ahead with its main assault on the enemy. Seeing themselves out numbered the Scottish Horse wheeled out of line and began to move behind the manor house, seeking to avoid being routed but leaving the infantry on that flank somewhat to their own devices. Thusly exposed they were forced into pike stand while the accompanying English foot advanced on their closely-packed formations.
English cavalry routs the Highlanders on the left

Scots put to flight

More centrally it was more tit-for-tat with the English Horse stationed their catching some Covenanters in line, but the Highlanders countering by beating-back English foot. The English foot on the far left found themselves pinned-down but the small Scottish cavalry forced their, preventing them from supporting the centre.

A classic dog-leg forms 

Highlanders push back the English foot

So it became a game of two sides. On their right the English swept the Scots away and began to threaten the flanks of the main line. On their right the Scots enjoyed similar success with the English pinned in pike stands and the Highlanders making good progress.

Scots flank is turned

English centre begins to crumble

With darkness falling it was clear that neither side would be able to force a victory and so a draw was declared, leaving the Scots in possession of Stirling. 

Doctor in the house

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Mark II Flying Carpets

I've been working on a  few painting projects recently and one of them is some additional flying carpets for my Kings of War Arabian army. As you can see the Mark II version features two crew members, one with a bow. The intent is something more akin to a classic chariot crew.

The basing allows me to use them either as additional flying units or to field them as a chariot horde.

Sunday 18 March 2018

Saga - first impressions

Image result for saga wargame rulesThis weekend found me in Fishponds again with a chance to try-out Gripping Beasts' Saga dark ages skirmish rules. I've seen them at lots of shows over the last few years but not got around to playing them for myself.

Image result for saga battle boardThe game uses small units of figures from 4 - 12 strong, with lower quality troops usually appearing in larger units than the more elite troops. The basic rules are a super-simple IGOUGO structure with very simple combat rules. At the heart of the though system is the use of "Saga Dice" and "Battle Boards". Players throw up to 6 Saga Dice a turn with each having 3 * uncommon symbols, 2 * common symbols, and 1 * rare symbol each. The dice are then positioned on the battle board before each move to allow you active troops, perform special abilities, or even interrupt the opponents turn.

Another interesting twist is that units accumulate Fatigue points as they fight or move rapidly, with up to 3 being stacked until you must rest. However the Fatigue can be spent by your opponent at any point to slow you down or maker you less effective in combat.  

I found myself using the Viking faction which has mostly attack oriented special abilities on its battle board, allowing me more chances to attack my opponent or to sacrifice troops to go into various berserk rages. I was faced with Saxons how have a very defensive board that allows them to save wounds more effectively or stack Fatigue on their opponents to slow them down.  

So to the game - a simple scenario in which we each had to kill the others Warlord. Sides were even with 1 * warlord, 1 * heardguard (4), 2 * warriors (6), and 1 * levies with misses (12) per side.

The Saxons form a strong looking line

My Vikings in a deep formation
I opened proceedings by attacking the Saxon archers with my levy javelin men. I beat them back but was then mauled by a unit of advancing Saxon warriors. I eventually succumbed to them but crucially did them enough damage that they in turn fell to my own warriors.    

My skirmishers advance

The field once my warriors had killed their opposite numbers 
At this point I was feeling fairly confident - I had 3 heavy units to my opponents 2, So I attacked with vigour, killed his hearthguard, and wounded his warlord. With time running-out I attacked his warlord with my own in single combat. The result was mutual annihilation and so a friendly draw.  

Viking hearthgurads 

It was an interesting first outing for Saga, and we certainly had an enjoyable game played over about 2.5 hours. The key to the game is using the battle board correctly and in some cases you need to be planning 2 moves ahead to get the best from your abilities or build powerful combinations.

It likely works best as a 1-1 game as the interactions between the opponents and your abilities are where the subtly come into the game. A nice feature is that you have abilities that occur in the opponent's turn and you can spend their Fatigue so you can nt just zone-out while they move.

One to try for a mini campaign and I think I can field an Irish force without much effort

Thursday 15 March 2018

Strike Fast ECW Campaign - week 5

In the last battle Cromwell was thwarted in his attempts to rout the Scottish army blocking his advance towards Edinburgh. So Cromwell sort to out manoeuvre them but found himself blocked again. So it was we undertook the second battle in the Lothian region.

The terrain for this battle was very open. The English had a few low hills within their deployment zone whilst the Scots position was anchored by two small farms. The Scots mingled their cavalry with infantry across the line whilst the English massed theirs on the left with support from the NMA foot. The plans were set with the Scots largely deployed for a defensive action with a few spoiling attacks. The English opted for a major push of their left and delaying action on the right.        
Field from the English left

Field from the English right

The main English attack

English right ready for a delaying action - its commander in relaxed mood
On the English right the Scots decided to launch an immediate attack seeing they out numbered their opponents. Their quick advance caught some English dragoons by surprise and quickly routed them.

English right under pressure
On their left the English launched an attack of their own which quickly drove the Scots cavalry and infantry guarding the flank from the field and opened the way for the NMA foot to advance towards the Highlanders forming the front rank.

Cromwell's horse push the enemy back

NMA foot press the advantage

NMA foot bearing down on their foes

In previous battles the Highlanders have proved deadly but a series of coordinated cavalry attacks and infantry volleys sent them reeling backwards from the advancing English foot. Meanwhile over on the right the outnumbered English proved more resilient than expected as they held-up the Scots attack.

Scots in trouble

English right holding on 

English right under much pressure but holding its own

In a couple of decisive turns the English of the left were able to put much of the Scots opposing them to flight and threaten the raw troops forming the second line.  

Highlanders put to flight

Scots main defensive position on their right falls

With the light beginning to fade the English were 11-3 ahead on routed units and so were able to claim the victory. The post game analysis was that is was actually rather closer than the 11-3 margin suggests but the English had been able to develop their attack much more rapidly that the Scots and so would reach the 13 routers required for outright victory before the Scots could get to 10.  

NMA advance from the Scots view point

The Scots attack 

Royalists last stand