Tuesday 23 August 2022

Lion Rampant? Who me???

We are all getting older. Its inevitable and wargamers are no different even though we grasp our youth whenever we are enjoying our hobby. Its an escape from reality and frankly has kept me relatively well balanced through all sorts of life stuff. One thing that does happen as wargamers get more mature is do we start a new project and if so how large a subject is the project.
A case in point is my main interest the Napoleonic Wars. I have finally bitten the bullet and sold my entire Napoleonic collection of 6mm figures. The scaled armies of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, the Confederation of the Rhine, France and all their allies. The whole kit and kabudalle.
It was like losing a close friend but one that I hadnt seen for several years. So the question was what do I do next? If I started collecting Napoleonics again it would be in 28mm and frankly in order to replace what I once owned would take several years, probably more. It would also have taken my savings which I am holding on to to pay my heating and electricity bills. 
I once owned a beautiful Games Workshop, Brettonian army. An army of knights, foot sergeants, archers and the like with a sprinkling of fabulous Pegasus warriors and other fantasy units. I really enjoyed painting the models. Sadly I only used it once and never ever used it again. Inevitably I sold it for a fair price decades ago. The same figures are now very rare and one would have to pay a fortune to own the army I collected. Now that would have paid for my heating bills.
So realising I dont have enough time to re build a large Napoleonic army I bit the bullet and bought the new Lion Rampant rule book by Dan Mersey after very strong recommendations from John. The forces arent very large but one could opt to collect and paint knights and their followers.I will admit Im a bit wary of skirmish battles and only dived into Never Mind the Billhooks because one can stage large battles using the rules.
Lion Rampant is definitely more a large skirmish game but the idea of painting knights was just too tempting, hence the images one sees now. These are my first units. The heraldry is post Brettonnian/ Hollywood, although I have opted for GMB 100 Years War French standards. I do like my flags. 

My command figure, with very large attack dog courtesy of Steve Wood.The figure I think I got from WI but I could be wrong.Anyway he's ready to lead.

The project isnt a big one although I have already bought too many figures. They will be a combination of Fireforge, Foundry [yes David] and some Antediluvian light troops. 
I have always looked back, its not good sometimes, but in wargaming Ive always enjoyed the nostalgia vibe. I bought some badly painted Egyptians spearmen advertised as Lamming figures. I knew they werent but wanted them anyway. Anyway Ive finally repainted and based them up. They will be drafted into my ever growing Achaemenid Persian horde. The figures are Garrison with added helmets created by the original owner. Crude, but I like them.

These, are Vendel Sparabara with Victrix archers to fill out their ranks.I have two more units to complete. Vendel were a great range, albeit big figures.


Thursday 4 August 2022



Well I finally completed some half painted ancient units that had been stood around for quite a while and they're a real eclectic mix of troop types and figure manufacturers..
I bought a few Foundry Cesarean Romans to pad out my small Roman army.They were a pleasure to paint although I now refuse to pay full price for them, these were courtesy of E Bay. I know they are a tad bright, but I must admit I do like the look of them. 

I have had these two resin elephants stood unloved for many months and finally decided to paint them.I only need to paint the rest of the Successor army now. Again they were a pleasure to paint. First Corps I think.

I had mentioned Lamming Miniatures a few weeks ago and was complaining about the scarcity of the range on E Bay. I then discovered the ranges are now available again but only better. The ranges have been redone and are for sale under the Lamming banner from a very enterprising gent called Martin Cameron who is steadily working his way through the ranges bringing them back to life. Recommended.
I picked up some badly painted Garrison Egyptians and have finally renovated them. They're not brilliant but are acceptable and were one of the very first figures I bought, many years ago.

I know they look their age, but I wanted some Egyptian melee troops to add to my Persian army. Not too historical, but look the part.

My 'new' Lamming Egyptian infantry, beautiful sculpts and very clean Great to paint by the way.

                      Finally a new Roman general to add to my many Roman generals. I think he was a freebie.

The Battle of Marathon 490 BC. using Sword and Spear

 Charles Grant Snr. has always been my inspiration regarding wargaming. My well thumbed copy of the magnificent The Wargame is still my go to book whenever I need a wargaming pick me up. However a few years ago I came across a book Grant had written that I hadnt read or owned. Ancient Battles for Wargamers was a great discovery and I still cant understand how I missed it the first time around.

The book contains various ancient battles described and then fought by Charles Grant in his wonderful style, factual, informative and readily usable, something sadly missing from the many so called articles in the wargaming press. Anyway I have never fought the famous Battle of Marathon and thought it would be a great game to fight using the Sword and Spear rules.


Marathon isnt a large battle and can be placed on a small wargames table easily.The important thing for me was to stage a battle that would be tense and not the walkover for the Greeks that is sometimes described in modern interpretations, especially the infamous 300 where they slaughter effeminate Persians in ridiculous outfits? One didnt rule a massive empire by possessing an army filled with effete soldiers.

In September 490 BC the Persians landed in mainland Greece at a suitable bay 25miles from Athens, their target for destruction. The Persians contained an Athenian exile called Hippias who was the leader of Athenian dissidents hidden inside Athens and ready to open the city gates for the Persians. The choice of landing was Hippias choice and allowed 600 Persian ships to land in the bay and allow the Persian army of 25,000 to encamp there.

 Marathon bay was perfect for the feared Persian cavalry with long stretches of flat land suitable for the cavalry. Determined to keep the invaders from the city Militades convinced the Athenians to march their entire army to face the Persians at Marathon. 

 The Athenian army encompassed the 10 tribes of citizen hoplites supported by their allies, the small city of Platea who also provided hoplites. Grant argued that this army would be supported by camp followers who could be utilised as light infantry, and who was I to argue with his ideas. He estimated the Athenian army at approximately 11,000 men. 

The Persians originally were estimated at 25,000 but on the day of the battle they were in the process of loading their army back onto the ships with the intention of leaving the Athenians stuck at Marathon whilst they sailed to Athens and victory.

 Realising that the Persians were in the process of leaving, the Athenians decided to attack in the hope of defeating them before they were able to sail to Athens.Grant estimated the strength of the Persian's at 15,000 infantry and allowed them a maximum of 1000 light horse who were in the process of riding back to the ships. The vast majority of the Persian infantry were bow armed soldiers famed for their skill with the bow but lightly armoured.

The Sword and Spear ancient rules are a well thought out set that certainly for me captures the feel of ancient warfare without the need for pages of weapon types and armour.

I opted for the following regarding the respective armies 13 bases of hoplites, to represent the 10 Athenian tribes and their allies. I also allowed them 2 bases of peltasts and the obligatory camp, which in the rules allows the player to provide units with multiple order dice which means they gain bonuses. Thus the Athenians had 16 command dice to place in the order bag.

The Persians were a more varied army and contained a mixture of 9 Sparabara units, that is bowmen with pavisse type protection, 4 allied foot with spear and shield, 4 light infantry bases, 3 Ionian hoplites who were given a poor command rating and 4 light cavalry which were off table to start with. Thus the Persians had 24 dice, but no camp which stopped the Persian player from placing more than one command dice with a unit. 

Both armies were given a command rating of 4, except for the Ionian hoplites who were given a 5 rating.The Athenians however were heavily armoured and able to form shield walls which makes them very effective in a melee.

In the actual battle the Athenians deployed in an unusual formation, thinning their centre whilst reinforcing their flanks but also stretching their line from the sea to difficult ground in an effort to stop any cavalry riding around their flanks. Militades gambled on the Persians placing their best troops in the centre of their line with their unenthusiastic allies on the flanks. He gambled correctly. 

John and I deployed as we wanted, but strangely ended up virtually deploying as in history. It was the most sensible deployment so why change it.
I had to roll for the light cavalry to determine when they would arrive, I managed to roll a four, which was pretty good for me, in reality it was to prove a little to late. In the first tentative moves John struggled to get his hoplites moving in concert, whilst I did manage to throw my lights to the flanks and begin to start peppering the Greeks with arrows and javelins, unfortunately the hoplites are very well protected.   

My luck didnt hold for long and the Greeks began to gather momentum and press towards my centre under a hail of arrows that did minimal damage. By move four my cavalry had appeared in dribs and drabs and I attempted to get around the Greeks right flank as quickly as possible.
By move six my sparabara were fighting for their lives. Unexpectedly I threw some decent melee dice that halted the Greek hoplites from piling through the centre. I also discovered that my medium infantry could do a decent job of halting the armoured clowns.
I knew it couldnt last and after eight moves the Persians began to disappear,like snow in Spring. 
On move ten the Persians had exceeded their demoralisation score and the line collapsed.An Athenian victory. I think John lost one base of hoplites due to a combination of cavalry charging their rear and medium infantry sacrificing themselves. All in all a devastating victory as per history, but I felt the Persians had acquitted themselves well and if I had been able to slow the Greek advance down my Sparabara would have claimed more hoplites. as it was they couldnt. But it was a very enjoyable game and the rules added to the enjoyment. 
                                   My Ionian allies? actually fought well before collapsing.


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