Monday, July 25, 2016

28mm Landsknecht Arquebusiers

Finally. Another Italian Wars unit done - Hooray! I can't tell you how delighted I am to get these guys off my desk and into the cabinet.

The majority of these figures are from the venerable but excellent Wargames Foundy range, with the casualty figure sourced from Artizan Designs. A few slight mods but nothing too fancy. The banner is from Pete's Flags.

Like the other units in my Italian Wars collection, I've done the groundwork in an autumnal theme (dunno why, I guess I just liked the colours when I started). The whole group is mounted on a single irregular-edged base, one of several that I had the good folks over at Warbases do up for me. It's roughly 180mm x 60mm.

Cripes, do I ever find these guys to be a complete and utter slog to paint. What with their puff-and-slash sleeves, striped trousers, wacky feathered headgear, oh yeah, and lets not forget their exuberant and rather, ahem, 'optimistic' codpieces. I think the reason they got such a reputation as hard-asses is that everyone picked on them for dressing like complete gits.  

Oh well, they're finally done and now I can finally move on... more Landsknechts!! 


Monday, July 11, 2016

Sharp Practice 2 Game - 'Fondler's Rifles', Winter in Spain, 1809

The hardened core of 'The Friday Night Raconteurs' (meaning me and two others who evidently had nothing better to do on a Friday night) managed to get in a game of Sharp Practice 2. Feeling typically lazy, I took a scenario from 'The Complete Fondler' which depicts our hero Richard Fondler, armed with his trusty Baker Rifle and never-mashed-by-a-shako 90's mullet, bravely attempting to save his fellow Riflemen from a horde of French dragoons, who are hell-bent on converting Spain to Napoelon's version of the EU.
Jeremy and Peter looking far too happy. Hmm, what do they know that I don't?

As Jeremy had not yet played the rules, we decided to partner him with Peter who is a seasoned vet. Twirling my moustache and taking a swig of my (cheap) Bordeaux, I took on the role of the dastardly French commander. 

As the scenario is set in the aftermath of a British battalion being run down by French cavalry, I ruled that the Riflemen would come onto the table in sporadic groups, with Lieutenant Fondler having to regroup them in time for a defense against the oncoming dragoons. In turn, I had the French cavalry enter the same way, reasoning that they would be dispersed, having been busy sabering fleeing Redcoats. I also had their mounts move at a penalty to reflect their being blown from the previous charge and the subsequent pursuit.

The game went off rather well with the British getting very lucky on the early activations. This enabled them to concentrate most of their numbers on a rocky hilltop, forming a small ragged square to help fend off the cavalry. 

The Rifles legging it to a rocky outcrop.
The French commander, emboldened by his regiments success offboard, tried to charge the Riflemen as they dashed to the hill, but the dragoons' poor winded mounts were not up to the task and could not carry them to the enemy in time. The French, in turn, were seen off by accurate rifle fire from both the square and the Riflemen skirmishing on the rocky outcrop.

The Dragoons run out of gas in the face of the Rifles...
 Rebuffed, the French then tried to keep the Rifles in square by threatening them with a portion of their cavalry while the remainder dismounted to start peppering them with carbine fire. All the while more French reinforcements arrived...

The French crash out volleys at the Rifles on the hill. Note: My horse-holder Lothario finally gets some time on the table.
 Musketfire was fiercely exchanged and while the British took a good lashing they dished out worse than they received. The French began to waver and so the Dragoon commander, seeing disorder in the English ranks, decided to force the issue with a charge.  It was all for naught as the British held firm and decimated the French assault, wounding their brave (but foolhardy) commander.

Richard Fondler barking commands to his Riflemen.
This pretty much broke the French, who only managed a few more turns of firing before calling it a day to lick their wounds. 

Voila, c'est tout! It was a great little scrap with both sides experiencing highs and lows. Though the French seemed a little hapless from the start I thought this played to the spirit of the scenario, where the French force, emboldened from their recent victory, would recklessly attack in piecemeal - subsequently getting its nose bloodied by elite troops in a superior position.

Oh, and before I forget, here is my homemade version of the game's activation counters. I made these chits from 25mm bases / 3mm thick. I sanded the corners round, primed them white, painted them in bright red and blue, highlighted the edges, pasted on graphics I made on my Mac and then varnished them. For some reason my lizard brain enjoys the chunky, 'clicky' feel of the chits over the usual cards - go figure.

Richard Fondler will return.  Next chapter will see him and his Riflemen assisting some English engineers blow up a bridge over the Tagus. BUT, of course, the crafty French commander has his own plan up his chevroned sleeve...

Next up: Landsknecht Arquebusiers!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Close of Our European Tour

Well, we're finally back. It's been almost six weeks since we started our vacation. It was a fabulous trip, visiting beautiful locations in the UK, France and Spain while spending time with many wonderful folk along the way. While it was a terrific spring break, I must say we're happy to be back and settling into our regular routine - and for me to getting reacquainted my hobby desk. 

It would be churlish of me not to share a few photos of our adventures so here are some selected snaps of our time abroad.

First up is our stay in the UK, enjoying the generous hospitality of Sidney Roundwood and venturing to Newark to see the National Civil War Centre and taking in the Partizan wargames show. 

Sidney Roundwood (of the famed 'Roundwood's World') as a Roundhead at the National Civil War Centre, Newark
Perry twins and Alessio Cavatore playing Bolt Action at Partizan

The curtain wall of Herford Castle - Elizabeth I stayed at the castle during her youth.

Next was a few days in Paris to catch up with friends and take in a few exhibitions.

1936 Popular Front photographic exhibit at the Hotel de Ville, Paris
Rene Magritte's interpretation of Napoleon's death mask, at Les Invalides, Paris.
Memorial to Marshal Ney near to where he was executed at the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris.

Then we set up camp near Avignon in the south of France for a few weeks, enjoying the weather, the food, drink and beautiful attractions of the region.

Entrance to the Papal Palace at Avignon, France.
Roman triumphal arch at Orange, France.

Roman gladatorial arena at Nimes, France. Amazing.
Me with original examples of 16th C 'handbuchse' siege muskets at the Musee de L'Emperi, Salon de Provence.
Captured Austrian colours at Musee de L'Emperi, Salone de Provence
Marshal Davout's dress uniform, bicorne and baton at the Musee de L'Emperi. (Yeah, whoa... I think I may have pee'd a little when I saw this.)
Jaimie, Sarah, Alice, Phil (aka 'Phillion' of 'Diary of a Gaming Magpie) and myself enjoying lunch in Villeneuve-les-Avignon

After Avignon we headed off to Malaga for a week to bask in the Andalusian sun and see the sights.

Alcazaba, the 11th century Moorish citadel in Malaga, Spain
'Paseo de Canadienses' honouring the humanitarian efforts of Dr. Norman Bethune who aided the civilians of Malaga during their horrific pursuit from the city, February 1937.

Our final week was spent in Madrid. Here we enjoyed the local tapas, churros con chocolate and cerveza.  I also met up with Benito (Anibal Invicus) and Alf (Barrage Miniatures) who were fabulous hosts. I even managed to take in a game with the guys at Club Dragon which was very impressive.

Alberto, Julio, Juanjo and Benito playing 'Sharp Practice' at Club Dragon, Madrid.

The above photos only scratch the surface of the mischief we got into, but it gives you a hint of the fun we had. Tomorrow I'll be back to work, well-rested and ready for a another stretch in the trenches, which I guess is what vacations are all about. It also means that I'll be getting back to my hobby desk, so I hope to be able to mark some progress on my various projects in the coming weeks. See you soon!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Weekend Out to Partizan

Partizan Main Hall
This past weekend we had a wonderful time travelling up to Newark to see the sights and take in Partizan.

Sidney Roundwood acted as our chauffeur, whisking us from Roundwood Towers up to Newark - a drive in which I would have been highly stressed if I had to undertake myself, so thank you again Sidney for taking that on.

The British Civil Wars
We visited the newish National English Civil War museum located in the centre of Newark. I was initially struck by how relatively small it was, but this was aswaged by the quality of the exhibits. I particularly liked the special exhibit on 15/16th century medicine, especially the books and wheelchair of Sir Thomas Fairfax and the plague doctor's creepy regalia. 
Campaign Boots of Sir Thomas Fairfax
Sir Thomas' Wheelchair that he used later in life                
Curt the Plague Doctor
We stayed at a wonderful B&B called 'The Lions' and had excellent fair at both the 'Prince Rupert' pub and 'The Rushton'. All highly recommended.

On Sunday, after a leisurely English breakfast we meandered our way to the George Stephenson Hall which hosted the Partizan show. I really have nothing to compare it with but I thought it was a wonderful event - well attended, efficiently run and with many tempting things to see and buy.
The Bloggers' Meet-Up at Partizan
There was a bloggers meet-up in the early afternoon arranged by Pete (Panzer Kaput) - thanks Pete! I had the pleasure to meet up with a few old salts from the Painting Challenge and make some new acquaintances as well. I great occasion and a fine bunch of people.
Ian showing us his amazing 6mm Greeks

6mm Madness  
 After Partizan a few of us retired to 'The Prince Rupert' for a few drinks and excellent fair to match the company.
The Post-Partizan Pub Visit (Tamsin serving as Photographer)
Below is the results of my somewhat modest shopping from Partizan, including a few lovely pieces of 'Curtgeld'.
Some Partizan Loot to Ship Home  
Kara, Indy and 'The Obliterator'      
Lovely OtterHounds from Dave (which look very similar to our 'Oscar')
Great momentoes from a wonderful weekend in Newark!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The 2016 Invasion of Europe

We're just packing up the zeppelin for our spring vacation so things may be a little quiet at Analogue Hobbies for the next few weeks.

Calling the Hanks-Campbell party...
We will be staying at Roundwood Towers for our first few days in the UK. Sidney and I plan to be in Newark for Partizan this upcoming weekend, for which I'm very excited about. I understand there is a blogger's meetup scheduled for the afternoon. If any of you plan to be at the show please look for a tall fellow with close-cropped hair and a silly-yet-strangely-fetching van dyke beard.  That won't be me - I'll be the guy next to him...  ;}> 

After the UK we're off to take Paris and after that we'll be heading south for a couple of weeks making a nuisance of ourselves in Provence. Our final leg will see us enjoying the Malaga/Granada region before a final few days of carousing in Madrid. 

I may try to blog a bit on the hoof. That is if I can figure out how to do it on my iPad without completely snapping my crayons. Wish me luck!