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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Green Regiment of the London Trained Bands complete

In the absence of a regular army, the Trained Bands were the only permanent military units in England when the Bishops' Wars broke out in 1639-40 and the First Civil War followed in 1642. The popular view was that the Trained Bands were inefficient, poorly equipped and badly disciplined.

The London Trained Bands were of better quality thanks to enthusiastic societies of citizens who met regularly during the 1630s to practice their drill, hiring expert soldiers to instruct them. In 1642, the Common Council increased the four regiments of the London Bands into 40 companies of 200 men each, organized into six regiments and distinguished by their flags: Red, White, Yellow, Green, Blue and Orange.

I have chosen to depict the Green Regiment - primarily because I painted the flag carried by the ensign green earlier this year! (Pike and Shotte Command Complete).  I like it when a unit conveys a story.  In this case, the flag is the Major's color and I envisioned the major, a veteran of the wars on the continent, sternly contemplating his command.

All of the figures are by Warlord Games.  The "major" and the ensign are from one of their metal command packs and the rest of the figures are from their hard plastic box of infantry. I have gone with the generally accepted and recorded uniform of red coats for the London Trained Band and painted each soldier with the ubiquitous buff coat.  The unit is based for my favorite set of ECW rules Victory Without Quarter.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pike Block Green Regiment of the London Trained Bands

Just a quick look at the pike block for the Green Regiment of the London Trained Bands. The musketeers are almost finished! All figures are from Warlord Games.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Adventure of the Jewel of Chance

We have had some dramatic entrances and exits upon our small stage at Baker Street, but I cannot recollect anything more sudden and startling than the first appearance of Viscount Greystroke in the summer of 1895. Only now, at the end of nearly ten years, am I allowed to supply those missing links which make up the whole of that remarkable adventure that took myself and Mr. Sherlock Holmes to an unexplored region of Africa . . . from "The Adventure of the Jewel of Chance" by John. H. Watson, M.D. 

"Lord Greystoke I presume?"

Honorable Son #5 is a fan of skirmish gaming and I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes, the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs and other fantastic tales of the late 19th Century.  Since he is such a great son, I am putting together a special scenario for him using the rules In Her Majesty's Name.  Below are a few of the shots as I worked out the play balance and I hope to have a complete "dispatch" of the adventure penned by Dr. Holmes later this summer.  The scenario will involve Lord Greystoke and Sherlock Holmes attempting to stop a villainous gang hired by Dr. Moriarty to steal the legendary "Jewel of Chance."

The mysterious American adventurer known as "TR" is backed up by ex-legionnaire officer Pierre Jean Alban as they cautiously advance behind Lord Greystoke.

 Dr. Watson, Lady Gwenda Hughes and Boer hunter Hans Rynsburger following Holmes' lead as the come across the temple plaza in the lost city of Opar.

Professor Arthur Nightingale leads an ill advised and impromptu "Huzzah" upon finding the legendary Jewel of Chance.

Great Scott Holmes - what's that sound!

The fearless Lord of the Jungle advances while his companions take up positions trying to get in a shot.
 The creature is faster than at first thought and knocks a tree down injury Professor Nightingale!  And what is that new sound coming from behind the obelisk . . . 

As can be see from the photos, we are using odds and ends of what we have at the house: Wargames Foundry Figures, a Mordor troll from Games Workshop, Playmobil scenary, plastic trees from toy animal toy bags, etc., with some more surprises to come!  I believe that it will be an entirely entertaining, legendary adventure that Dr. Watson will pen and share with us.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hail Bretonnia!

"Hi. My name is Neil and I play Warhammer."

"Hi Neil."

In celebration of admitting my love for the game in front of grown-ups, here is my Bretonnian Army.  The army was put together when the official army list still had foot knights; since I don't play tournaments we just add what we want!  I have no idea what addition of the rules are the current rules, but it is a fun game to play.  My Bretonnian army consists of brave heroes and stalwart commoners defending the realm against the forces of evil.

 The army commander with battleaxe next to one of his loyal lieutenants.  One of my favorite characters is Jules the Jester.

 One of the brave ladies of Bretonnia who add some magic to the force.  She is also a constant reminder of why the boys are fighting!  Dismounted knights are from Wargames Foundry courtesy of eBay.
 What would be a Bretonnian army without mounted knights of the realm?  Plastic set from Games Workshop.

 A mounted Lady of Bretonnia with the army's banner behind her.  Figures from Games Workshop.

  Men-at-arms charging into the fray.  Figures from Wargames Foundry.

 More men-at-arms with a trebuchet in the background.

 One of my all time favorite units is this mounted unit of light cavalry.  They've also been known to raid France during the 100 Years War.  Figures are Games Workshop.

 Crossbows from Wargames Foundry.

 One of my archer units. I have 2 units of 12 archers each.  When both units fire at the same target that's 24 potential hits coming your way.  Figures from Games Workshop.

 Dismounted knights from Wargames Foundry.

 More dismounted knights from Wargames Foundry.

 Plastic archers from Gamesworkshop.

The trebuchet suffered from shiny new model syndrome in it's first battle; 3 misfires until it finally landed a rock on some Orks.

 I really like the crew figures working on making more ammunition.

 Another angle of the knights from the plastic box set.

 The eyes and ears of the army prepare to head out.

 Steady lads.

 The Grail Banner of Bretonnia.

The master does not look pleased!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sir John Gell's Regiment of Foot

With the outbreak of active hostilities in this "Warre without an Enemy" another regiment for Parliament is raised.  With their gray jackets, this gave me an opportunity to experiment with color using GW's Flesh Wash over Dawnstone Gray. I really like the results of the jackets which give them a darker "campaign" look.

All figures from Warlord Games.

From the BCW Project: British Civil Wars Project:

Though created a baronet in Janurary 1642, Sir John Gell supported Parliament on the outbreak of the English Civil War eight months later. He was commissioned by the Earl of Essex to secure Derbyshire for Parliament and made his base at Derby, where he raised infantry and cavalry regiments and a small train of artillery. As Derby had no castle or walls, Gell ordered the construction of extensive earthworks around the town.

 Sir John Gell

Gell's enemy Lord Chesterfield seized early in 1643 and Gell joined Lord Brooke at the siege of Lichfield in March, taking over command of the Parliamentarian forces after Brooke was killed. When Lord Chesterfield surrendered Lichfield two days after Brooke's death, Gell sent him to London in chains.

 Gell then joined forces with the Cheshire commander Sir William Brerteton  with the intention of marching against Stafford. They clashed with the Midlands Royalists at the battle of Hopton Heath where the Earl of Northampton was killed. When the Earl's son refused to return the artillery captured at Hopton Heath or the money Gell had paid to embalm the body, the corpse was paraded through the streets of Derby before its burial at All Hallows Church.

 In 1643, Gell was appointed commander of Parliament's forces in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. Gell's troops became notorious for plundering and he used his dominance of the Derbyshire county committee to secure important appointments for his friends and relatives which led his opponents to complain to Parliament. Gell's loyalty came under suspicion when he failed to obey an order to bring his troops from the Midlands to join Fairfax on the Naseby campaign in 1645. At the siege of Tutbury Castle in 1646, he offered the Royalist defenders his own favorable terms for surrender in opposition to those offered by his fellow commander Brereton.

In 1648, Gell attempted to secure a pardon from Charles I during his imprisonment at Carisbrooke Castle by offering to lend him £900 in gold. In 1650, he was found guilty of plotting against the Commonwealth and imprisoned in the Tower of London until 1652, after which he lived quietly in London. At the Restoration, Charles II pardoned him for his role in the civil war and granted him a position at court, where he remained until his death in October 1671.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Preview: An Amazing Adventure

Soon to come: An adventure with Lord Greystoke, the mysterious American known only as "T. R." and the world's most famous consulting detective.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Bullying about Toy Soldiers?

I discovered The Miniatures Page  (TMP) in 2002 and have found it a useful and amazing source for hobby news.  Bill Armintrout does a great job with his site and I salute him for it. Through TMP I have come into contact with many others who enjoy this great hobby.  On the other hand, with the exception of message boards that have a narrow focus, I have become more and more disenchanted with the general tone, disparaging remarks and personal attacks on the general message boards. I would like to assume that I am immune to cyber-bullying and I have not personally experienced the phenomenon. I have dealt with bullies in real life and have learned how to deal with them. 

 Representatives of the evil, capitalistic gaming business empire?

But what's up with the bullying on TMP?  When you think of it, no matter how passionate we are about our hobby, at the end of the day we are playing with toy soldiers!

The electronic world and the internet has brought us the ability to exchange ideas and share information about our great hobby.  I love the internet and the resources it provides. Healthy, lively and respectful debate is good.  When I taught Military History, I used to tell my students if you bring in 20 historians into my room you will get 20 different answers as to who was the better general, Grant or Lee.

Unfortunately, over the years, I have noticed an increasing trend in the wargaming community with constant complaints about successful business models in the hobby; primarily Games Workshop (GW) and Battlefront. If you don't like them, don't buy their stuff!  GW and Battlefront have probably done more to introduce people to miniature wargaming than all of the other companies combined.
GW produces the Warhammer series of rules which have in the past been adapted for Ancients, ECW, WW I, etc. GW also publishes the excellent Warmaster set of rules and was responsible for Warmaster Ancients. And if you haven't noticed, Black Powder and Hail Caesar are the direct descendents of Warmaster. They have been innovative with multi-part hard plastic figures which historical miniature lines are now benefiting from the ground work they laid.
 I will personally help Battlefront destroy World War II!  What?  It's only a game. You mean New Zealand is not trying to take over the world?  And why do the hobbits live there now?

Flames of War?  It's a game. What, you say tanks don't line up and fire at the enemy?  Dang.  Thought I saw that in the desert and in a few other urban environments.  Do we use terrain in rule life. Yep.  Do we sometimes line up in real life. Yep.  Oh well . . . I'll stop. This might start a new thread on TMP.
It's elementary my dear Watson.  Wargames Foundry is trying to make a profit.
And yes, Wargames Foundry figures are expensive. There are cheaper alternatives.  I love Wargames Foundry figures; I look for them on eBay.  For awhile, every time Wargames Foundry raised their prices, you would think it was a personal sign from the antichrist if you followed the message threads on TMP. Wait a minute, they are toy soldiers right?  And the purpose of Wargames Foundry (I'm making a bold assumption) is to make a profit, or a least not a loss?  Let the market decide.
Anyway, I like Warhammer and used to play it a lot; it's the rule set I used for ancients for over 15 years. My fantasy gaming is basically Warmaster and Lord of the Rings these day, but we used to have quite a bit of Warhammer Fantasy in the house. My favorite army, because I could use it for historical play, is the Kingdom of Bretonnia. Heck, I like flags and heraldry!

 Historical or Fantasy?  Maybe both?

So here's to you Games Workshop, Battlefront, Warlord Games, Wargames Foundry, Perry Miniatures and others!  Thanks for investing your time, money and effort to provide me with a pleasant hobby. After all, for many of you it is your livelihood and puts the food on the table.

And yes to the message boards on TMP: They are toy soldiers. I have seen real war and this isn't it.  It's a fun hobby and let's keep it that way.

Regular 6 out.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wargames Foundry Knights

I was organizing my files on an external drive and ran across an old picture of Wargames Foundry knights I had painted around 2000.  I believe the flags are from Warflag.  With the revised interest in the 100 Years War, Lion Rampant, and the War of the Roses maybe it's time to do some Medieval gaming again . . .