Saturday, December 31, 2016

Inquisitor's Retinue (Part I) - 2nd Submission to AHPC VII

Hello All and Happy New Year!!

We've had a huge meal and have just returned from taking the dogs out for a big romp in the snow. 

Felix burning some energy.
Oscar burning energy? Not so much.
Now with a bit of quiet time I can sneak away to post up my second entry, closing the gap in my sci-fi paint-duel with Juan.

I'm a big fan of Dan Abnett's writing, especially his 'Inquisitor' series of books. This past autumn I ran a 'Dark Heresy' RPG campaign for a few friends. In my 'world', the player characters begin as new recruits for an Inquisitor they have never met. Her name is Esme Rochel-Perez. The players were facilitated through her large retinue of arcane and dangerous specialists, who briefed them on the task at hand and provided them with a modicum of support (but not so much to make them feel at ease).

Here are two members of Esme's retinue, Second Interrogator Roland Velasquez and Arch Adherer Barthalamaus Pinder.

These are both older 28mm Games Workshop figures. I understand that the fellow with the hat is a bit rare - I picked him up at a Games Day in Toronto over 10 years ago. Anyway, they are beautiful castings with loads of character and wonderful details to tease out with a brush. 

Arch Adherer Barthalamaus Pinder

Not much to say here. I've used fairly subdued colours for these two, with lots of browns, blacks and dark greens. The brazier's coals and Pinder's banner were fun to work on as was Velasquez's bionic arm and plasma pistol. 

Second Inquisitor Roland Velasquez

Over the next few months I will be introducing some other members of Inquisitor Rochel-Prez's retinue, all the while (hopefully) keeping Juan on his toes with his own 'Rogue Stars' efforts.

Wish me luck!

Next Up: The 'Alt-right' from the Spanish Civil War.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

AHPC Entry 1: Fred, An Enlightened Despot, and His Dogs

Every year, I make sure I start the Painting Challenge with the first entry. 

This year the overarching theme is on compansionship so this is a little roundabout entry exploring that idea.

Frederiche der Grosse. Der Alte Fritz. Frederick the Great. This same man who won the Seven Years War, unified Prussia, rubbed shoulders with Voltaire and introduced potatoes to Germany was also a great lover of dogs - in particular his Italian Greyhounds. The Prussian King and his dogs were inseparable, with at least one being recorded as accompanying him on campaign (Biche, who was with him during the War of the Austrian Succession). Frederick owned many dogs during his lifetime, most of these roamed free in his palace of Sanssouci, always at his feet, always indulged.

Frederick's wish upon his death was to be buried alongside his dogs at Sanssouci, but thinking this beneath the dignity of the old warrior, his nephew and successor, Frederick Wilhelm II, had him buried with his father (whom, ironically, Frederick the Great detested) in the Garrison Church in Potsdam

Nonetheless, 205 years later, after Germany was once again re-united, Frederick the Great was finally buried according to his wishes, next to his beloved greyhounds at Sanssouci in a small ceremony after nightfall.

Frederick the Great's grave (with the traditional potato offerings) next to his hounds.
Okay, on to the figures. Here we see Frederick the Great playing a minuet on his flute with his faithful Italian Greyhounds at his feet.  

This is a nice 28mm vignette offered by Eureka Miniatures which I think is based on the painting by Adolf von Menzel. 

Next Up: Some members of a Inquisitorial retinue.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Hogwarts in 1/4800(ish) scale

I got a new 3D printer a few weeks ago. This one is a SLA/DLP model, meaning it uses a stereolithographic projector to create three dimensional forms, layer by layer, from a vat of photo-sensitive resin. Each layer is around 20-50 microns thin so the detail and resolution is quite impressive. I know, it ranks fairly high on the geek-o-meter, but the short form of all this dorkiness is that it allows me to create and print out cool stuff at home.

As Christmas was approaching I decided to use the printer to create some bespoke gifts for friends. One of these gifts was a 3D model of Hogwarts that I got from the talented Ben L. over at Thingiverse and modified for my use. 

Here are a couple images of the two parts of my 1/4800 scale Hogwarts right after printing. You can see the build supports along their bases and, well, they're SUPER ORANGE.

Hogwarts Part II with Rebel Shield Generator (don't ask...)
After I cleaned them up and removed the supports, I primed and painted them using some images I found of the original Hogwarts movie model. 

I then based the two models together on the lid of a sweets jar, added some texture gel and finally set in some foam terrain for an autumnal feel. 

There, you go, Hogwarts in all its splendor replicated in 1:4800 scale by a complete Muggle (though I hope I'd be a Ravenclaw if I attended).  :)

Now I need to come up with a wee Hungarian Horntale to fly over it...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Italian Wars Spanish Jinete Light Cavalry

Here is a unit of Spanish Jinete (aka 'ginete' or 'genitour') light cavalry. These lads will serve that much needed reconnaissance/skirmish role in my Italian Wars collection.

These 28mm Perry plastics were painted by my magnificently bearded antipodean pal 'Kiwi', who did an absolutely terrific job with these lads. Thanks mate!

I've embellished them with a few highlights and gave the unit a bunch of the distinctive Jinete heart-shaped shields (sourced from The Assault Group). I also mocked up a Spanish cavalry flag for them after I shamefully discovered I had nothing in my stocks. 

I've based them up similar to my other cavalry, on irregular shaped bases with autumnal groundwork so they look like part of the family. Here they are leading-in a unit of Papal (no, not Paypal) gendarmes (and their baying hunting hounds!).

Next Up: My first entry to the 7th Annual Painting Challenge!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Italian Wars Pike and Shotte from the Cantons of Lucerne and Zug

Here are a set of pike and shotte for my Italian Wars collection. They are flagged and togged out in the blue-and-white of Lucerne and Zug.

I've been wanting to expand my collection, but being a fairly slow painter I took a page from Simon Miller's (aka BigRedBat) playbook and commissioned some unbased figures to be painted. These Perry plastics are from my friend ChrisH. 

The pike shaking out into battle formation.
Chris did a great job on these figures. They have a rough and ready attitude about them while still proudly wearing their cantons' colours.

The shotte softening up the enemy.
As I suspected, once I added a little highlighting and based them to match my other figures, they blended in marvelously. Ready to be hired by the highest bidder.

The two units being harangued by their leader.

Next up: Some light cavalry for the Italian Wars.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Spanish Civil War - Madrid Militia, 1936

Here are a few Spanish Civil War figures I finished recently in observance of the Siege of Madrid, which occurred 80 years ago this past month.

By the end of October, 1936 Franco's Nationalists closed around Madrid and prepared to assault the Republican-held city.

While the Republicans were at the time recognized as the official government of Spain, their cause was hampered by the loss of the majority of the Spanish army, many of which had sided with Franco's rebels. As such they had to rely heavily on the active support of civilian militias, militarized worker's unions and foreign fighters. 

Early in November, the Nationalists began their assault on Madrid in earnest. They forced their way into the western part of the city, crossing the Rio Manzanares and advanced into the grounds of the city's University. Bitter combat raged amongst the college buildings and also north of the city, where the Nationalists attempted to cut-off both water and electricity to the city. By early December, with approximately 10,000 casualties suffered by both sides, Franco called off the assault with no real gains. 

Nonetheless, Madrid remained under siege until the end of the war, finally falling at the end of March 1939. Tens of thousands of the city's defenders were rounded up to either be executed or perishing in prison camps. 

These 28mm  figures are from the excellent Empress Miniatures range. 

Thanks for dropping in. Next up are some reinforcements for my Italian Wars collection.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Part III - Adeptus Mechanicus Project

Here are a few new additions to my Mechanicus force for Epic 30K. 

First up, a trio of Minotaur self propelled artillery pieces. We had a game using these models a few weeks ago and they did a great job in keeping the heads of the enemy infantry down.

I painted them in a ridiculous, over-the-top baroque paint scheme to match my other models in the force. Yes, the gold-plated cannons are perhaps a bit too much, but I think the Mechanicus Tech Priests would make every effort to elevate and please their Machine God by fully pimping-out their rides. Actually, I'm sure on this particular Forge World they've installed under-chasis lighting, race exhausts and bouncing suspension on pretty much anything that can move.

Also rolling out with this group is a detachment of Mechanicum Castellax Battle-Automata overseen by a trio of Tech Priests. In the 30K fluff, the Battle-Automata are not cyborgs, but rather robots that require the 'human' control of a Tech Priest (who, in turn, are about as human as heavily modded XBox). I've not had these fellas on the table yet so I'm curious to see how they do. Fun!

The force to-date.

Next up: A few Republican reinforcements for Madrid, 1936.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Worst Case Scenario #13 - The Assault on the Aspern Churchyard - May 21, 1809

For quite some time I've been wanting to put on a large Sharp Practice game, focusing on the struggle for the Aspern churchyard within the Battle of Aspern-Essling. 

The battle of Aspern-Essling is an engagement that I find both fascinating and exciting. It was epic (HUGE), very close run, and resulted in Napoleon's first significant humiliation on the battlefield. 

Other reasons I was particularly keen to put this on twas that it features Sylvain’s lovely hand-built terrain of the Church and Rectory of Aspern which he made for me several years ago, AND it is graced with many beautiful 28mm Austrian figures from Greg’s collection.

Scenario Background

On May 20th, 1809 French troops began crossing the Danube, just a few miles east of Vienna. They were pursuing the Austrian army, led by Archduke Charles, after a grueling, fast-paced campaign which had been initiated by the ill-stared Austrians.

The lead elements of the French force, under Massena and Lannes, quickly moved onto the Marchfeld plain, establishing themselves in two villages separated by about a mile of raised road. The villages were called Aspern and Essling. They positioned themselves, awaiting the rest of their comrades who were lined up for miles on the opposite side of the Danube, queuing to cross the bridges to the northern bank.

The river's current was fast and in full spring flood. In the midst of the French crossing on the 20th, their pontoon bridges were swept away by debris purposefully launched upriver by the Austrians. This situation created an emergency which left a significant portion of Napoleon's army separated and isolated in hostile territory. Undeterred, the French Emperor was confident that the Austrians were still in withdrawal, so he maintained his position, awaiting repairs to his bridges. 

But the Austrians were not withdrawing. Archduke Charles had massed his Hauptarmee in a broad crescent in the Marchfeld, just out of eyesight of the French. The next morning, the 21st of May, sensing a rare opportunity, the young Austrian aristocrat ordered his army to advance on the French positions around the villages. His columns would strike first at Aspern...

Maps by Jeff Berry @ Obscure Battles

This scenario depicts the assault of Hiller’s VI Corps on the 67th Ligne's positions in the Aspern churchyard (the leftmost extremity of Napoleon's tenuous position on the Marshfield). Both the Austrians and French knew that the churchyard was a key tactical feature of the battle and did their utmost to gain and maintain control of it. 

The basis of the scenario is derived from 'Fondler's Waterloo' in the Too Fat Lardies scenario book 'The Complete Fondler'.

Close up of the Churchyard and assaulting Austrians
The action takes place in the mid-afternoon on the 21st, after the French have ejected the Austrian screening force in Aspern. Marshal Massena has just seen Regiment No. 10 Anton Mittrowsky supported by Regiment Klebek approaching from the west and orders Molitor to defend the village to the final extremity.

The table will have the French in possession of the church, rectory and graveyard of Aspern, all ringed by a chest-high stone wall. They will have a defined force, members of the 67e Ligne, to hold the position. The Austrians will assault the position with four waves of infantry from Regiment No. 10 Anton Mittrowsky, supported by Regiment Klebek and heavy artillery support. They have been tasked to overwhelm the defenders and seize the churchyard.

French Force = 144 men TOTAL (18 Groups including Eagle guard) 
8 Command Cards
This force is divided into 3 separate commands, each with it’s own morale rating of 10. 

13 Officers / NCOs:
1 Status IV
3 Status III 
6 Status II 
3 Status I

Each French command is composed of:

1 Status III 

1 Status I 
2 Status II

Austrians Assault Force = 104 men for each of 4 waves (13 Groups including one command group) 
7 Command Cards

7 Officers / NCOs

1 Status IV
2 Status III
2 Status II 
2 Status I

The Austrian force (each wave) is composed of one single command, with it’s morale rating being 10

Special Scenario Rules  

- The Austrian guns are abstracted into three 'beaten zones', each with a 10 inch frontage. When fired upon they throw 24 attack dice.

- If the artillery targets a single section of wall it can be reduced by hits on 10 ‘misses’. (original misses are re-rolled and any hits are accrued)

- When the Austrian Artillery card is drawn, randomly determine which of the three batteries will fire.

- The Austrian artillery will be masked by any Austrian troops within 6” of the walls or 6” of the church.

- The Austrian first wave starts at the table edge (they can select any 3 sides to enter). 

- Austrians decide if they wish to withdraw a wave and commit a successive wave. This will involve leaving one group as a marker of the 'highwater' mark of the assault. 

- If a wave is broken it will give a -1 to the 'Army Morale' of succeeding waves. These minuses are cumulative.  

- Marshal Massena has set up his observation post in the graveyard. His presence can help the French troops ignore up to 20 points of Shock. Once the 20 points are 'absorbed' his aides convince him to pull back to a less exposed position. 

- Charles will give one assault wave a +(2D4) to its force morale and also the Aggressive bonus.

- When activated, junior officers/NCOs of both sides can 'nod' to their commanding officer. Four 'nods' will activate that commander. This is in addition to the normal card activation for the commanding officer.

Can the French hold the churchyard? Will the Austrians sweep the French defenders away and award their Archduke with a victory at Aspern?

Here are a few pictures of our run at the scenario.

It was a fun, hard-fought game, with the Austrians slowly wearing down the French over their four assaults. The third attack was accompanied by the Archduke himself and that battalion took the French defenders' eagle before withdrawing to allow the final assault to pass through. A real hammering for both sides but still resulting in a decisive victory for the Austrians.

It was great game with many of dramatic moments running through it. My thanks to all the guys who participated, especially Sylvain for his terrific buildings, and Greg, who brought out his beautiful Austrian figures and who took the majority of these pictures.