Saturday 30 March 2019

The Battle of Nantwich. Winning isn't Everything.

I thought it was time to use my part completed ECW project and so delved into my old wargames magazine collection to find a suitable small battle to fight. Using the tenuous link of having a few Stuart Asquith figures I thought it would be nice to use his wargames article as the basis of the game.

Nantwich isnt a big battle and appears a bit one sided, especially if you are the poor royalist foot commander whose cavalry are struggling to find a way to link up with you. I thought it best if I was the Royalist and John took on the role of General Fairfax. We were concerned that if we had used the Pike and Shotte rules that the game would be over in a couple of hours so John tipped up with the Baroque rulebook. It was a very wise choice.

We haven't used the Baroque rules for at least two years and we were a little rusty initially but apart from a couple of mistakes they allowed us to fight a very very enjoyable game. I must admit I always liked the rules but we simply stopped using them, heaven knows why. They are perfect for the period.

In order to make things a little more interesting I gave the Royalists an extra infantry regiment that was meant to protect the artillery. [ That didn't work out too well for me] I also allowed the Parliamentarians a light gun which was ineffectual but looked nice trailing around the board after the cavalry.

The set up was very similar to Asquith's article although because I didnt have a suitable church I replaced that with a large country house.I also added a small beck to slow the rebel advance down. It proved very ineffective.
To represent the garrison at Nantwich sallying out, John was expected to throw a D6 after move six to see if they came. If he threw a six on that move, followed by a five or six on the next etc, they would arrive at the rear of the Royalist infantry. Of course John threw a five which applied the coup de grace to my defeat. I also thought there should be a very slight chance of Byron and the Royalist cavalry turning up, so if I threw a double six they would appear. Of course that never happened.
To start with things seemed to be going well for the Royalists as  I advanced to the edge of the country house intending to pour musket power into the advancing rebels. The royalists were pretty effective to start with and for three moves it looked like I would be able to stop the advance of the Parliamentarians.
          The issue was always going to be the Parliamentarian cavalry. Yes they were trotters but they could still be very effective when not facing Royalist cavalry.
Initially I managed to disorder the left wing cavalry as they advanced, but by the judicious flanking by the rebel dragoons followed by a charge into my leading Royalist infantry regiment I knew I was in trouble.

I fully expected to stop the cavalry as they charged but Id forgotten about the Baroque rules which allow the opposing player to interrupt the move of their opponent which is exactly what John did. Not only was he able to charge but also managed to disorder my infantry as he fired off his pistols.

Once disordered my infantry were in big trouble although it took three moves to drive them from the field. Of course they weren't intended to take the rear regiment with them which is exactly what happened.

On the other flank John charged into the flank of my artillery which although disordering for him it was very ruinous for me as he systematically rode along my flank before fighting my whitecoated infantry.

It didnt end well for my infantry as they were also disordered prior to taking on the Parliamentarian cavalry.
                  With the loss of two regiments, the greencoats were left very very exposed.
                               Of course the Nantwich garrison HAD to appear right on cue.
So it was a very decisive victory for Fairfax and seemed to reflect history fairly accurately. Yes the Royalist infantry were up against it but as a spectacle it was good and certainly has encouraged me to keep going with the project. We will definitely be using the Baroque rules again now that we have rediscovered the fun of them and how well they work.  

      So all in all a great way to spend a day although I didn't win, but winning isn't everything.
                                              I think I'll make that my new motto..

Tuesday 26 March 2019

What exactly is Old School? Discuss.

 Well I've finally based the last two Stuart Asquith regiments. I've called them that although I have added a few figures to each regiment and also repainted his figures to a certain extent, but technically they were still Stuart's troops. These are painted and flagged as a couple of the Earl of Newcastle's regiments.
  I have a particular interest in this army simply because the Earl recruited heavily in the counties of Northumberland and Durham.I would like to think they made up for a lack of equipment with true Northern grit.Sadly most of his soldiers were killed in the Marston Moor campaign and the Earl sailed for Holland as he had had enough.
 To be honest who could blame him. He had expended a lot of his personal fortune and lost a lot of tenants that he would have known in his fight for the King. I don't think he felt he was appreciated enough by Charles and his advisers who were safely ensconced in Oxford. Anyway they are completed and I am now starting on my lead mountain of ECW figures gathered from various sources both old and new.

These two troops are from Cromwell's regiment.They were originally from the box of figures I obtained at York which I have had to repaint and generally doctor. Gilder only sculpted a small range of figures so I have attempted to keep the back and breastplated cavalry for the roundheads and the more jaunty hatted chaps for the Royalists. I did say I was going Old School with these armies and one cant beat a bit of stereotyping to reinforce the point.Naturally most of the Parliamentarian horse will be classed as 'trotters' and cannot counter charge. Only Cromwell's command will be able to act more aggressively. As for Royalists well they will be classed as 'dashing' but naturally will be difficult to control once they are off their leash.Yes I know its not really that historical but my game, my rules.Anyway who can resist an uncontrollable cavalry charge.

 At the present time I am trawling through my collection of Battle magazines in order to find a decent scenario to use for my inaugural ECW game. In 1978! Stuart Asquith wrote a great series of scenarios based on actions from the civil war and I am hoping to find one that will be interesting enough to fight this week.
Im going to ramble now, so I will apologise before I start.....But it concerned my viewpoint regarding the return to what is Old School and no doubt a large dollop of nostalgia.

Anyway the series got me comparing the Battle magazine against the modern day magazines and how things have changed or progressed, dependent on one's viewpoint.I totally 'get' that the 1960's and 1970's were not a good time for wargamers. The manufacturers were few and the ranges were in the main pretty small and of poor quality.The few modelling shops where one could actually look at and buy wargames figures were very rare and invariably didnt contain what you were looking for.....
              'We dont have the French Voltigeurs but these British chaps look very similar?'
 But it was a time of growth in the hobby. New ideas were being tried, a lot of research was being done. Letters were being written thirsting for military knowledge. My library [remember them] was tested each week as I tipped up with my latest request for some old and obscure book. It was all very exciting. Well it was for me......... And now?

  Well if one has enough cash you can have everything that you desire and more and yet like so much of modern life it just seems a bit too easy and attainable and somehow very very empty. Its difficult to quantify but for me unless one has struggled to achieve something don't you appreciate it less?
  So you can now buy an off the shelf set of rules and invariably you will have to buy the necessary range of figures that are described in the said book. But dont worry it will only be about 50 figures a side and therefore it wont cost that much. [Well okay it will be expensive, BUT you will need them]

  Of course there will be add ons and then suddenly after about six months the 'NEW' improved set of rules etc will be on the horizon, and off you go again. 
I think Osprey are up to 25+ releases. [Now before anyone says anything I've nothing against Osprey], but that's just one company and each day I see another company touting for trade and contributions to release another set plus figure range.
 I always think of Supermarkets. [ I'm showing my age here] Basically I like apples. In supermarkets they appear perfect. Bright red, very large and very shiny and yet they taste of absolutely nothing, tasteless but perfect to look at.....A bit like the hobby nowadays.
 All fur coats and no knickers.
 [ Luckily Morrison's have introduced?? wonky vegetables and fruit. Things that aren't perfect but taste like they're supposed to. A sort of Old School outlook for food. ]

I think basically what I am saying in a very poor fashion is that for me Old School is an appreciation of neglected figure ranges, with wonky legs and dubious uniforms that encapsulate what the hobby was and is for me. Research, reading, painting and playing with toy soldiers whilst having a laugh at the ridiculousness of overgrown children agonising over some poor dice throw. So expect a further pile of dodgy lead over the coming weeks as I edge towards my goal of two Old School English Civil War armies led by a definitely old school pedant.

Thursday 21 March 2019

Some more Warrior ECW goodies.

 Well I'm starting to make inroads into my ECW backlog and have managed to base up some more of my units. I also was able to finish my two Warrior personalities. King Charles and his nemesis Olive Cromwell. Both figures are very characterful [is there such a word?]

 Naturally Cromwell needed some divine inspiration, this time a very old Warrior figure given to me by John Reidy who has kept this chap since the 1980's. Its a shame Warrior no longer produce him.

 I also put together a royalist foot regiment using part painted figures from my York purchases and unpainted new casts.Its came out very nicely if a bit bright. Between the gloss varnish and my highlighting all the uniforms they do stand out somewhat. To be honest it is what I intended,.I thought it captured the 1980's very nicely. Bugger reality and instead lets have some brightness on the table.

 This time a part painted royalist horse regiment, repainted in the main, again in bright colours to catch ones eye.Gilder knew how to capture the 'dash' of the Royalists, a lovely old figure. Well for me it is. So my ECW old school armies are starting to progress nicely and I hope to use what is painted very soon, no doubt like all newly painted units they will leg it.

 Finally, a scraped together Union regiment. This time Sash and Sabre castings. They are very nice figures with a lot of action in them. I've cobbled together some more to paint as a Confederate unit but more of them anon. Once again wargaming habits reared their heads and I 'had?' to purchase a new regiment of Union figures from the new North Star releases. Now I know I dont need them and the chances of them being used frequently are pretty remote but they were such nice figures I had to possess another Irish Regiment, this time barefooted. Mind they were also on offer, so technically I was saving money. 
 As many other wargamers will have noticed as one gets more mature it seems pieces begin to fall off you with regularity. Never mind having  back jip I now have a grandchild's plague courtesy of my daughter's off spring. So between sitting on one cheek of my backside and shoving tissue up my constantly running nose I'm doing okay thanks very much. Still I've got my toys so one cant really grumble too much.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Old Warrior ECW.

 Where has the time gone to since my last post? It is one of the longest delays between posts ever and I'm not really certain why considering how many games John and I have played in that time.We have refought Edgehill twice and played a very large ACW scenario plus Ive been away for the last couple of weekends. Unfortunately I didnt attend Hammerhead due to it falling on my wife's birthday. I hardly think the journey could be justified somehow? Still it looked a good show albeit containing dozens of small bite sized games.
Sadly my win rate was dire with the battles we fought but all the games were brilliant and very tense affairs. I especially enjoyed using the Parliamentarians at Edgehill, it was a very bloody affair but for a change the cavalry gave a good account of themselves.
 I have been busy in several ways including progressing my ECW old school project. I was lucky enough to buy off E Bay three regiments of old Warrior foot owned by Stuart Asquith and I had to have them. I touched up the Warrior figures and then padded them out with the newer Warrior casts to make up my regiments. The grey coats regiment is the first one that is based. The other two are ready to base and will join the royalists.
Yes they are quite crude looking.
Yes they are small in comparison to Renegade, Front Rank etc but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I like them. I only wish I could have got more of them.
I really enjoyed the writings of Stuart Asquith especially his wonderful ECW scenarios and battles in the old Battle and Military Modelling.I also enjoyed his prickly observations in the Observation Post. If only things weren't so bland nowadays and a spade could be called a spade. 
I finally completed a Yellowcoat Regiment that has been sat waiting completion. These again are a combination of old painted figures and new castings. Yes they are bright, but I do like colour even though it isnt accurate for the period.These represent one of the London Trained bands.

I also completed my final artillery piece from the box of metal I purchased at York. Amongst the metal I found an old Minifig figure in the box and repainted him. He's the guy with the barrel and morion. Because of his diminutive size he is my powder monkey.                   


Next we have another ironside regiment using old figures from my York purchases, painted/re painted.The Hinchliffe figure is a lovely casting and for me looks the part.They are for Cromwell's brigade.

 Amongst my purchases on E Bay was a number of cuirassier officers by Hinchliffe. I have painted these up as the King's Gentlemen Pensioners and they will accompany my king on the battlefield.

 I also picked up some cheap ACW personalities several weeks ago and painted up Jackson for my armies. I do find switching subjects helps me keep interest.

 Finally Jason kindly sent me a couple of odd horses and a figure from his spares box of figures from the Old Wargames Holiday Centre collection.The gendarme in white is a beauty with a Lamming head and greenstuff plume. The other is one I put together using a Hinchliffe body, Perry plastic head and a Eureka French archer arm.The horse is a WHC from Jason with the beautiful wipe off oil technique on show.

 Again a painted WHC horse with Hinchliffe gendarme body, Perry head and Eureka arm. I know the head looks slightly out of scale, but he does fit in well with the unit.

One thing I've noticed these last couple of weeks is that I am struggling to paint more than an hour at a time nowadays due to back problems. After that I need to go and rest, walk or simply do something else.
 I am in constant awe of painters who can churn out large numbers of painted figures in a short period without suffering pain or discomfort and wonder what their secret is?
  Personally I attribute the back problem to the numerous road accidents I was involved in during my former life. People talk of nine lives but my tally of write offs and serious bumps was past that total and yet I was lucky enough to walk away from them all. I liken it to a footballer who ignores the knocks until he discovers it all catching up with him.
But basically all is well in my wargaming firmament and if anyone wants to offload some Stuart Asquith ECW figures, I'm your man.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating