Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Return to the Fields of Mars - After far too long lounging at the peace negotiations (a pathetic excuse for french-speaking nobility to partake of Germanic delicacies), war has broken out yet again between the peace-loving and civilized folk of St. Maurice and the heavy handed and nasty thugs that pass themselves off as the ruling class of Ardoberg-Holstein.  Below are pictures of a most recent engagement, the Battle of Hiltonia,   
 Here we see the forces of the Grand Duck (sic) arrayed, with the ubiquitous English and Hanoverian contingent marshaling to engage most of the center and all of the Duckal left flank.
A close-up of the right flank, with all of the A-H cavalry massed to force the St. Maurician left.  We also observe the vainglorious Grand Duck (sic) confounded yet again by new fangled technology.
 Finally, the good guys.  The flower of St. Maurice, with the heavy cavalry anchoring the right flank and a mixed cavalry brigade opposing on the left.  Venerable infantry names such as St. Germain and Clare massed on the center and right bear witness to the old St. Maurician adage "Use the foreigners first."
 Here the Moliere Dragoons and Royal Musketeers advance to confront (and get mauled by) the English foot.
 ...and the English prepare to meet them.  All of the Ardoberg-Holstein brigades are seen here, advancing in great style, with their guards battalions in the fore.
 His Majesty's forces on the left were presented with a perilous situation.  One heavy cavalry regiment, the regiment Rohan-Soubisse, supported by the light cavalry Loncheney Hussars, to hold off two heavy brigades of the Grand Duck's (sic) horse. 
 "Into the valley of death rode .................."  And just as mister Kipling's poem would chronicle no one would ride out of this one either.
 Here we see the Irish regiment Clare anchored on the battalion's guns, with the regiments La Marne and Dauphin arrayed to their left.
 Last of the photos as Rohan-Soubissse confronts the first of no less than three A-H regiments, and would be victorious over each in turn.  How uncharacteristic of  St. Maurician horse!
   When the smoke cleared, St. Maurice stood victorious on the field, but as they say in the old Charles Grant and Peter Young books, it was a close run thing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

From Out of the Cold - Hi guys. Sorry it's been so long. My father passed away back around Thanksgiving, and I haven't had much of an inclination to get back on here and post since that time. That said, I'm back for now and wanted to show off another addition to St. Maurician urban development.

This little home is called "Fixer-Upper," and is a project I've wanted to work on for some time. It deviates from most of my builds in that it has a roof with a much steeper pitch than the others, and is generally more stylized. I thought it would look good in some of our 18th century horror games, and generally anywhere a dilapidated house would be in order. There are things on here I wouldn't do again, but overall I kind of like the look. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rabble In Arms - Like many i have succumb to the temptation to purchase a couple of boxes of the new Wargames factory War of Spanish Succession infantry. If you'd like I'll try to explain the reasoning, but the truth is I simply couldn't help myself.
That said, I needed to rationslise a unit in my Seven Years War era ImagiNation Dressed as the army would have looked 50 years earlier. After a moment or two however, voila the St. Maurice North Eastern Militia. The need for militia being a foregone conclusion in St. Maurice, His Majesty was perfectly content to allow them to cavort in combat in their quaint civilian garb. The problem arose when it was brought to his attention that none of his general staff would be seen on the field of battle with "peasants and goose herders" per Marshal Neigh. If that be the case, then there was nothing left but to procure the appropriate panopoly, and the Loncheney Hussars were immediately sent off to steal them from the Spanish (who weren't using them anyway).

Organization is much the same as the line regiments except that the militia will fight and shoot at a minus on the die roll.
If you haven't had the opportunity to work with these lovely little figures, please make it a priority at some point to do so. I'm sure that if I weren't so firmly into Stadden and Surens, I'd be incluned to build my entire army around them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Urban Renewal - I took a little hiatus from painting figures to add another dwelling to the collection we currently have in Gary's basement. This is The Three Chimneys (or Les Trois Cheminee as they say in St. Maurice). It measures 12" long by 8" wide by 9" high and was made using those wonderful Hirst Arts block molds as well as card stock, foamcore, balsawood, and artboard for the base. All of the vegetation is Woodland Scenics products as well as yarn to represent the actual vines...

Here's the back

Here's the kitchen side

Here's the front

The purist will note no signage. I'm of the experience that, while attractive, those little signs are the first thing to break off, and given that the "little" house is heavy enough, a sign would just compromise movement of the place. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just What Does a Bear Do in the Woods? His lordship Sir Marlin Perkins, Esq. has been put right off his morning tea and scones by a virtual parade of complaining peasants. Seems there is a bear living in the woods on the north-eastern edge of the estate, and he is making a royal nuisance of himself. The lordly head aches with the litany of complaints ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Charges of destroyed crops and livestock were to be expected, but these peasants could get a little carried away. Claims of blood on the moon, strange Ardobergers wandering aimlessly in the woods and the unexpected pregnancy of the beekeeper's wife (unexpected only to him) were enough to keep him on weak tea and dry toast for a month.

"Drat," remarks his lordship, "looks as if I'll have to see to this miserable critter myself." And with that he sets off with his faithful gun-bearer Lacky and his intrepid guide Geraldo for a couple of days in the woods. "We will do manly things," he told his wife. "We will smoke and drink and slaughter brainless woodland creatures without mercy." Ah, it's good to be lord of the manor.

Here we see sir Marlin, flanked to the left by his gun-bearer Lacky

and to the left by the daring adventurer Geraldo.

On their first day, the band of intrepid adventurers sauntered into the woods and spent the greater portion of the day observing the local flora and fauna. "Lovely," commented his lordship. "I should make time to peruse the estate like this more often. It is, after all, what manly men do."

Here we see the bear currently doing whatever it is bears do in the woods, and oblivious to our little band.

Suddenly, the peace and tranquility was shattered by an ear-splitting roar. Our heroes spun to their left and were immediately confronted by the giant carnivore bearing (sorry for the pun but that's what he was doin'.) on them. Nonplussed, sir Marlin called," Lacky; my firearm if you please." The terrified servant immediately cocked the musket and handed it to his master, who promptly missed.

His lordship and friends communing with nature.

In true comic relief fashion Lacky turned and high-tailed it for home, shouting something about his feet not failing him now. The bear blew past lord Perkins close enough to dust his waistcoat, and made a beeline for the rapidly retreating servant. "Lacky, return here this instant!" His lordship was furious as he realised that Lacky still carried the only loaded firearm.

The otherwise faithful attendant never had a chance.

A further description of what the bear did to poor Lacky will be avoided here to spare the weak-livered in the audience. Suffice it to say that, his appetite for the lower classes now slaked, our ursine combatant turns his attention toward his lordship and the intrepid Geraldo. The guide, armed with a stout boar spear, advanced toward the critter in a valiant attempt to protect his employer (and his purse). The bear charges the be-moustached adventurer, who plants his spear and prepares for the worst.

Here we see Lord Marlin, Geraldo and his newly acquired rug.

When the dust had settled enough for his lordship to see again, he observed Geraldo standing with one foot on the bear's head and striking a heroic pose with what was left of his boar spear. "Geraldo, you've save me man," declared the grateful elite. "For that I owe you more than I can ever repay. Feel free to go through Lacky's things for any valuables and stray cash and sell this miserable critter's pelt. I will require only a third of all of it to help me defray the cost of cleaning the smell out of my lovely new hunting coat.

Gary and I played this little scenario last Saturday using Mammalian Mayhem rules. They were a rousing good time, and come highly recommended for little one off hunting games like this one.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And Finally... - When I first developed the concept of the army of St. Maurice, there of course was a need to make a determination regarding the balance of forces. I had remembered reading somewhere that the Grants, in the establishment of their WARGAME, created a pair of antagonists numbering some 1000 infantry, 250 cavalry and 10 or 12 artillery pieces with support troops as necessary. I set out to create my army using roughly the same percentages.

What you see here is the final cavalry regiment from the original mid-1970s plan. This is The Royal Musketeers (or The Princess Maria's Own Regiment of Horse). These are yet another amalgamation of manufacturers; the troopers being Front Rank miniatures while the horses remain the ubiquitous Stadden standing horse. I really love those big nags.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Battle at Coberg - To this point the hostilities existing between St. Maurice and Ardoberg-Holstein have been confined to the "western front," essentially between the villages of Auber and Latrine, and concentrated around the river crossing at Dettingen. Imagine the surprise then, when the Holsteiner garrison commander at Kurmanz donned his telescope just long enough to observe the advance of no less than 2 infantry regiments (4 line battalions) and 3 cavalry regiments advancing on his town from the bridge from Ravina.

The commander hastily beat a retreat (or as they say in Ardoberg-Holstein, a re-deployment)
back toward the village of Coberg, with the hope of drawing off the advancing francophones as well as to gain the assistance of reinforcements from further to the north. Alas, neither was to be as the St. Mauricians invested Kurmainz and, leaving behind 2nd St. Germain to garrison the town, rushed forward to assault the Grand Duck's (sic) forces.
Observing that a confrontation was not only inevitable but imminent, The Ardoberger commander, whose name has been lost in the interest of good taste, occupied the cluster of dwellings known as Grunt with the Isselbach and Zweibrucken regiments, and placed the regiment Kurmainz in line with flanks resting on the berg as well as a copse of trees.

For their part, the St. Maurician army under the command of colonel-general Bonnechance deploys directly from their route march with Bonnechance commanding the left wing and brigadier Baguette commanding the right.

Here we see the redeployment of the Ardoberger regiment Kurmainz , still in line, now faced to their left toward the trees. Isselbach has marched out of the village and formed line to fill in the gap between Kurmainz and the village. The St. Maurician cavalry regiment Rohan-Soubise and the Loncheney Hussars have moved well to the left of the A-H flank, forcing the re-deployment. In the mean time the St. Maurician battalions 1st. Clare and 1st St. Germain have been ordered to drive on the center. The Isembourg cavalry regiment (bottom left) remains well out of the action because...

...they maneuvered a little too close to the Zweibrucken regiment in the houses and suffered severely for it. They would take no more part in the action of the day.

Seeing the onslaught coming in front of them, the brave, if fool-hardy Isselbach colonel orders his men to fix bayonets and charge. Silly man. Bayonet is a French word; or in this case Irish as 1st Clare forcibly encouraged the novice Holsteiners from the field.

The Kurmainz regiment picks it's way through the trees and manages to drive off the St. Maurician cavalry under the very eyes of their commander. Brigadier Baguette and his staff have ensconced on the Blast-off bridge, seeing it as not only elevation to observe the troops but it's stonework should keep the self-important personage in one piece through the fighting. The 2nd Clare advances behind it's senior battalion to force the center.

It is clear here that the battle is ended as the Isembourg cavalry are beginning their valiant advance once again.

As the remainder of his hapless troops scrambles to escape, we see the A-H commander galloping from the field and signaling to his St. Maurician adversaries that age-old hand signal that "we're #1."

This game was a lot of fun (not the least of which because I won). It saw the evolution of a rule we had incorporated in the last battle whereby a commander wishing to withdraw from the field needed to wait at least 6 turns from the beginning of the game before declaring his intention to do so. Once declared, the retreating commander rolls a D-6 die with the results being the number of turns his opponent had left to do whatever damage could be done. The game would then go on normally until the D-6 number was reached, at which point the game ends. This rule was one of Gary's ideas and presents the kind of headaches a commander suffers in attempting to get as many of his troops out of contact and away alive as possible. And speaking of Gary...

... the smile is actually a wince...

...and a parting shot of the valiant Blast-off bridge defenders.