Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gifts from abroad

There was a lovely surprise that came with the postman today - a package from Mr. Hunt, all round good guy and blogger of Dulce et Decorum renown.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned here that an army I'd thought was finished was probably going to need a few extra reinforcements. Mr. Hunt very kindly got in touch, asked for my address, and has now sent me some 15mm Saxons to make up the numbers.

They are just the ticket: a nice variety of animated poses, and they will work very well as hero figures for my Saxon and Viking armies for Simon Miller's To the Strongest rules.

It was a very nice gesture, and I have a feeling that these are going to get a lot of table time.

Thank you Mr. Hunt!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thapsus playtest

I've been putting together an article and orders of battle for a Thapsus (46BC) scenario recently. Since it's only a playtest I'm using very condensed depth so that I can fit the zones (yes, zones: it's for Lost Battles, of course...) on my little table.

In this one Caesar won the battle but lost the game due to the fact that his old nemesis, Titus Labienus, got around one flank and managed to do just enough damage to put the victory points in the Pompeians' favour, 100 points to 91.

The Pompeians held out until the very last turn, too: even after a flank has been turned, the camp has been lost and the commander in chief has run away, legions are tough.

As a little aside, you'd think that Roman Civil War battles would be dead boring given that they almost always feature the same troop types, that Caesar always has the advantage with his genius for command and his veteran troops, and that everyone knows the battles, etc., but in Lost Battles they are not boring at all. One of the key reasons is that Phil Sabin has a lovely little rule (at first you think it's just an annoying mathematical anomaly) regarding legionary victory points that makes average legionary vs veteran legionary match-ups very tense in big-picture terms.

If you read Caesar you see how careful he is with his men. He doesn't want to lose them, put them in situations which might affect their confidence, or fight if their morale is suspect. He wants everything in his favour (how he goes about ensuring that things are in his favour is of course one of the joys of reading Caesar!), and that little rule in Lost Battles gets the Caesarian player feeling much the same way.

Anyway here are a couple of snaps. This one shows the situation after turn two. I've drawn in the zone lines using MS Paint so that it's easier to see who and what is where.

In the historical battle Caesar's men rushed Scipio's left flank, panicked the elephants and the Numidian cavalry, and then rolled up the Pompeian line. As you can see in this photo, the attack on the left flank is the main focus at this stage of the battle.

This next shot shows the battle at just before the halfway stage. The Pompeian left is still resisting, but the camp is under attack and is about to fall. Labienus is putting genuine pressure on the Caesarian left, and has shattered one of the veteran cavalry units. This success was telling in game terms.

In this last picture we see the later stages of the battle. The Caesarians have broken Scipio's left, taken the camp, and forced Scipio himself to flee the field. The Pompeian legions are holding, and with Labienus now attacking the Caesarian flank they are doing some damage. But the Caesarians have superior quality and position and, as they did historically, they will go on to roll up the flank and win the day.

So there we go. A successful test and an entertaining battle to engage with. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Vendors and Manufacturers

Today I saw a thread on The Wargames Website asking how many manufacturers people had bought from and thought that making a list of my own here would be a good post to follow my last. Unlike the TWW thread, I'm including vendors used as well.

Here we go then:

Magister Militum (Chariot 15mm figures)
Old Glory 15s, Last Square (Old Glory 15mm figures)
EM4 (Corvus Belli figures)
Essex (Essex 15mm figures)
Quick Reaction Force (Friekorps 15mm figurs)
Tin Soldier (Tin Soldier 15mm figures)
Black Hat Miniatures (Black Hat 15mm figures)
Xyston, Brookhurst Hobbies, North Star (Xyston 15mm figures)
Strategia e Tattica, Strategia Nova, North Star Miniatures (Miniature Wars 15mm figures)
Donnington Miniatures (Donnington 15mm figures)

Navwar (1:3000 naval models)
Heroics and Ros (6mm figures and models)

Dayton Painting Consortium (RSM 95 20mm figures)

So that's 13 figure lines brought through 18 vendors. At least two of the vendors have since gone under, but the others are still going strong so far as I know.

I do have figures other manufacturers' figures in my collection as well of course, but theysewere picked up in private deals or from B&M shops.

I would wager that I use fewer manufacturers than most other wargamers, but the ones I do use I tend to go back to for more!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Great service from North Star

The other week someone on the Society of Ancients forum posted that there was a half price sale on Xyston figures about to start at North Star Miniatures in the UK. I can always find a use for a few extra packs of Xyston, so I thought I'd look and see what they had in stock. They did in fact have some things that would come in useful and I put in a small order for seven packs.

About thirty minutes later an email arrived for me from the owner, Nick, apologizing and saying that three or four of the packs I'd wanted had sold out, and asking whether I would like a refund or to pick some replacement packs to throw in.

I replied saying that I was sorry to have caused such a lot of hassle on such a small order and for him to just make up the numbers with any Macedonians, Persians or Gauls he still had in stock. He said it was no trouble at all and that he'd do so. Next day there was message saying that the package had been dispatched.

The box arrived today, and I've found that not only did Nick seem to have known my mind better than I did myself regarding which make-up packs to choose, but he'd also thrown in a bonus pack of figures for good measure.

It was a great interaction all round, from the email pleasantries through to the fast service, the discounted VAT, the very reasonable shipping cost and his throwing in the extra pack (which went above and beyond the call of duty). It was very much appreciated, and I'd certainly recommend Nick at North Star both for his excellent service and also for being one of the many nice people we are lucky enough to have in this hobby.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Carriers and other bits and pieces.

A few more ships to add to the 1/3000 collection. Akagi, Kaga and Shokaku are the main attractions, but with USS Houston, HMAS Canberra, Suffolk, Java and Admiral de Ruyter and a few support vessels in there as well.

I reckon those decals for the Japanese carriers are just the ticket, even if I did fail to apply them quite as beautifully as they deserved.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

1/3000 naval progress

I've been making a bit of progress with my 1/3000 naval project over the last week or so.

The British.

 Bismarck and Prinz Eugen.

The IJN.

Still a few more to do, but we're starting to get somewhere.

As a small observation, this project has really brought home to me how just useful the internet is. I don't know how many books you'd have had to have bought to get the info for each ship / ship class that one google search will bring you. This project would still be a mere pipe dream without the 'net.

Monday, October 23, 2017

WIP: Ships and terrain

The weekend has seen a couple of terrain items finished, some new 1/3000 ship packs bought, and a few Navwar models varnished.

The new camps, enclosures and pond should do the trick, I hope.

I'd been meaning to pick up the last three Fujimi 1/3000 model expansion kits and finally did so. Unfortunately, most of the shops double up with those in the packs I already have, so that's a slight disappointment.

It's my own fault: I suspected this already, but rather than fiddle about trying to read the kanji in the shop, I just bought them anyway.

I can use the destroyers of course, but there are only so many Yamatos, Musashis, Akagis, Kagas and Nagatos a man needs. The good thing is that I can use the extras to experiment with painting. I find plastic models harder to paint than metal ones, so I might well end up being grateful for getting a second go!

Hopefully there will be a few more finished 1/3000 models to game with in the near future.

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