Monday, February 29, 2016

The Braes of Killiepans or Prestoncrankie 2016

Bracing February weather at Prestonpans!
A surprisingly rewarding and pleasant experience awaited DOB, Gerry and myself at The Goth, Prestonpans on Saturday 20th February 2016. The event, organized by the Scottish Battlefields Trust was bijou but proved very enjoyable.

Gerry Bailey sizes up the Braes of Killiecrankie

Another angle (looking south west)

The pub has some political history which escaped me but being less than a mile from the Prestonpans battlefield and possessing a wonderful aspect onto the Firth of Forth, it offered a quirky and appealing location for a show which commenced at the very gentlemanly hour of 1100.

Behind the Williamite line

Johnny Cope would have approved of this start time I have no doubt!

The Camerons are stopped before hitting Leven's Regiment

The theme was thoroughbred - Scots military history and nowt else! We chose that iconic Highland victory Killiecrankie 1689 which satisfied the Scots theme and my desire to put on something directly related to our pet period.

second run - Ramsay's have wheeled in to flank the Jacobites

I confess to pulling this game together mostly from existing items in my collection. The only really new items apart from the addition of various unit flags was to finish two clan units with Warfare Miniatures new Highlanders. I very much enjoyed painting these sculpts.

view looking south east and behind the Williamite left wing

We used this opportunity to further playtest the 'rules with no name' which are my new set aimed at smaller battles with variable sized units between 60 and 60 models. You can see from the game that unit sizes were pretty conventional (mostly BLB sized). We used roster sheets so some units actually had strengths less thank the number of figures and some more.

some of the very attractive new Warfare Highlanders

We ran the game twice and it has to be said the Jacobites had a really hard time. In the first game despite several charges to contact the Williamite line held firm and the Jacobite attack fizzled out.

Dundee's ride! Kenmure's are about to collapse!

In the second game the Jacobites experienced a more severe version of the first game with every single unit routing with the exception of Dundee's Lifeguard. With the great man attached they managed to initiate a derring do charge which swept away General Mackay who had attached himself to Lord Kenmure's Regiment. This break was infectious and took with it Leven's and Ramsay's regiments too.

The Williamite centre swept away but only the Jacobite Horse are around!

Was it a victory - pyrrhic I would say! DOB salvaged some wounded pride and Gerry chuckled a lot!

Mackay about to die at Soldier's Leap!

It was great to see many of the gang at the event and the Stovies were absolutely fantastic!! Stovies are peasant food from Scotland - high calorific value, stodge factor - intense, probably too much salt and processed meat but oh, what a taste.

one of the many paintings of Prestonpans in The Goth

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Deutschland bound! - LoA hit the Tactica trail 2016

Uppland Femanning battalion making their debut at TACTICA
I was delighted to receive an invite to Tactica from Frank Bauer at the Antwerp show last Novemeber. Now the League of Augsburg Circus is about to hit the road with Gunter travelling from the Imperial capital of Vienna, Toggy flying from Scotland to Hamburg and myself and Mrs H driving to Newcastle, overnighting to Hook of Holland and driving on to Hamburg!

The Russian position at Fraustadt which the Swedes will assault

A lot of effort but I am assured that the show is well worth it. What are we doing? Well, a Great Northern War game based on the Swedish attack against the Russian Corps positions at Fraustadt in 1706.

I will be using a bit more snow on the day!

We are using the as yet unpublished rules for smaller actions with variable sized units which I have been working on and play testing for some months now.

Some of the unit cards for the game

The card driven game is full of period feel and personalities and fuses key mechanisms from Donnybrook and Victory without Quarter with ideas from BLB and several new innovations.

A contract painter ran up this fine unit for us!
We hope that many people will come and join us during the two days of the show.

This Command vignette is a present for a friend of mine

Of course, Warfare Miniatures will be trading and I am carrying a wide selection of the range and all of the GNW models currently available.

Swedes in trenches - they will appear!

This post shares a few preparatory shots of the bits and pieces on show at the weekend in Hamburg including some newly painted models from both myself and a contract painter we have used to swell the Russian ranks.

My Swedish Commander will appear too!

More reports from Hamburg!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Battle of Penny Burn Mill, Part Seven

Clarence Harrison - Just a quick post to show off the water...

I used Woodland Scenics Realistic Water for the effect rather than the Envirotex I normally use. The main reason is that the Woodland Scenics product remains flexible when it dries. The Envirotex dries hard as stone. Again, without the wooden base, I was worried about the foam warping a bit and separating from the resin. As an added bonus, the Woodland Scenics product also ends up lighter. It took three whole bottles for both boards!

To create dams for the edges, I placed a thick bead of hot glue near the top edge of the water sections and stuck down a triple thick layer of tinfoil. I folded the excess under the board and sealed all of the edges with painters' tape. I smeared the inside edge with vaseline in an attempt to keep the resin from sticking to the tin foil and it worked fairly well, but I still needed to use my knife to clean up some of the edges when I removed the dam.

Now it's time to start adding the next layer of grass effects and make the bogs look a little more wild. I am very happy with how this has turned out so far. More soon...

Friday, February 19, 2016

Whiskey in the Jar-oh! Part 3

Limerick - Jacobite stronghold in 1690 and goal of the Williamites
The ‘Lizzy’ connection

Readers of a certain age will not have failed to notice that language of the era has appeared in the music of modern Irish legends Thin Lizzy. Although not to my knowledge (as a fan since aged 13) is Hogan mentioned directly in their music, they did record ‘Wild One’ which is dedicated to the Wild Geese, Soldier of Fortune, Emerald, Warrior, Black Rose and of course Whiskey in the Jar which are all about the Irish fighting tradition with the last song, an adaptation of a traditional ballad about a Rapparee. What further justification does one need to pursue an interest in the Rapparees when they are endorsed by the finest twin lead guitar band ever to rock the face of the planet? Lizzy to my twisted brain also in some way embrace the mixed political and international kaleidoscope of the 1690s by having in their line up over the years; Irish Protestants and Catholics, Scots, English and Americans!

A cottage near Ballyneety on the road to Limerick

Ballyneety August 11th 1690: A story about Pat & Mike: The ride of General Patrick Sarsfield and Michael ‘Galloping’ Hogan.

The history & legend bit

Having been provided with information from a deserter that the siege of Limerick would not be prosecuted until the arrival of a large artillery train from the east, Patrick Sarsfield decided to embark on a daring search and destroy mission. Under cover of evening darkness he rode out on August 10th 1690. He led between 500-600 Horse, the equivalent of two regiments. Apparently with hooves muffled, the column rode through County Clare crossing the Shannon at Killaloe.
Ballyneety looking toward the Slieve Mountains

They moved through the Silvermines Mountains and by dawn were near Keeper Hill. A local man called Michael Hogan was Sarsfield’s guide. They found the train was guarded by around 100 men, the equivalent of perhaps two companies. With scant heed to vigilance, the convoy stopped at Ballyneety on the night of August 11th barely 10 miles from the Williamite siege lines around Limerick. The spot was near a ruined castle.

News of Sarsfield’s secret sally had reached the Williamite camp and a detachment of Horse was ordered to leave at 9pm on the 11th to pick up the convoy and escort it in. For some reason it did not leave until after midnight. Meanwhile back near Ballyneety, the story goes that a Jacobite trooper was inadvertently gifted the password to cross the convoy’s picket line by a  Williamite soldier’s wife on her way to join her husband with the train.

Remains of the walls of Limerick

The password was ‘Sarsfield’! Fanciful legend has it that Sarsfield himself was the second man to try and cross the line using the password with the catchy ‘Sarsfield’s the word and Sarsfield’s the man!’ Much as I would like to believe this part of the story it does have a touch of blarney about it! It appears that by stealth or subterfuge the Jacobites were able to penetrate the camp with little loss to themselves, killing about half of the escort in the process. They captured 500 horses, 155 wagons of stores and ammunition, 6 twenty-four pounder cannon, 2 eighteen pounders, 5 mortars, 18 pontoons, and 12 wagons of provisions.

A victim of Sarsfield's raid

All were brought together and the entire train blown up with powder from the wagons. The guns were loaded, rammed into the earth and fired thus destroying them also. As the Jacobites rode off into the night the escort column was less than 1 mile from Ballyneety and the carnage. As one Irish source put it ‘they arrived in time to be too late!’ Pursuing for a short time they gave up and in true Cowboy and Indian fashion tried to head Sarsfield off before he re-crossed the Shannon. Enter ‘Galloping’ Hogan for the second time! The loyal Jacobite and trusty scout steered his comrades to safety with a crossing at Portumna on the 14th. The cowboys made it back to the ranch in time for curry and Guinness! Call it the luck of the Irish!
No mean feat. Sarsfield forded the Shannon here at Portumna
The fertile imagination of wargamers at large will immediately see numerous scenario possibilities here; A pursuit of Williamite wagon train in a sort of pre-Ballyneety scenario with the objective of hunting down and destroying individual components or the attack on the camp with a stealthy dismounted Jacobite force trying to fool the dozy sentinels or a plunder mission to destroy as many pieces of ordnance and supplies before the ‘cavalry’ arrive. What I have chosen however is the aftermath; the escape ride to the Shannon.



Monday, February 15, 2016

The Battle of Penny Burn Mill, Part Six

Clarence Harrison - Now we are getting somewhere!

Most of the painting is finished. The deep water at the rear of the photo above has been blended from black to a deep blue to a muddy brown. The streams and pools in the marsh are mostly brown with some blue and black blended into the widest parts to simulate deeper water. It will be time to make all this water shiny, but first I wanted to add a little more detail to the banks...

Nothing helps define a marsh like reeds and lucky for us these are ridiculously simple to model. Pretty much you just need an old wisk broom (with real bristles, not synthetic), a pair of scissors, and a hot glue gun. You can see a full tutorial at the Quindia Studios blog (and see another way to paint your river).

You just need to channel your inner Bob Ross (look it up on You Tube young folks) and place happy little reed clusters where you think they should live. I concentrated at spots where the water meets the shore, but you can easily choke the stream full of reeds. These are a bit tall, but I'm going to trim them back a bit with scissors after I've given everything a good chance to dry. Also remember we want to be able to move models around this so save some space for them. You can go back with a wash and make these any color you like - I may leave them natural, but I'll see after I add some more texture.

Yes, there is more texture coming! I have a variety of ground cover to add. I want to make the marsh look different from the rest of the board and I have a lighter static grass to add in places, particularly on top of the hill to make it look like it's catching more of the summer sunshine.

The bridge is a model from Tabletop World and I have several more buildings to add to the layout, including an amazing windmill kit (on the painting table - pics soon).

Friday, February 12, 2016

A peek behind the curtain... Donnybrook Dundalk Camp scenario 1689

The 4 x 4 table for the game

I have realised as we play test the scenarios from the new book that they hit two buttons which would be important to me (and I hope other enthusiasts)  if I was buying a book on a period in which I had an interest.

One of the Guard patrols make a circuit of the camp

The first is to shine a light and a different perspective into the conflict and highlight some aspects which may not have been emphasised too much in the past or in other source material. The second, perhaps even more importantly, is having fun.

First home run - Captain DuPlessis dashes for freedom

Gerry, Bob and I had not gamed together since the early autumn. This game was long overdue as we've all been working hard and dealing with our own little bundles of challenges.

A group of escapees break from tent 1
...and are ruthlessly shot down for their efforts by the Guards

We could have played a big game but in the end, two smallish but challenging scenarios were the focus of the day.
A break from tent 9 gets stuck in the bog and shot to pieces

In this first peek behind the curtain a scenario which has the official title 'The Great Escape' was retitled in a Tarantino parody ' Kill Beale' (Kill Bill??). The eponymous hero/villain of the piece was the Captain of the Guard at Dundalk camp named for an equally risible UK TV Soap character!

Captain Beale wades in against a group of escapees

What started as a prison break turned into a slaughter of biblical proportions around the feet of Captain Beale (Gerry's Hero character) as escapees decided to attack Beale rather than make a break for it.

View of the action from just beyond Guard position 3

Bob's hero Captain Du Plessis appeared and actually escaped all on turn 1! He was the first character on the table and the first off it! Never mind, waiting around to lead his men, he was on his toes and away T1.

What a carve up.. Beale has finally fallen amidst a pile of other bodies

Bob's escapees neglected to pick up the various weapons lying around in the camp and choose to bolt for the bogs or fight their captors with bare hands. The result was 12 rounds of slaughter and me running out of casualty models - I had painted a huge wadge of those too!

Toggy appears happy for a man who was pipped on the last card of the last turn

In the end Bob missed his escapee home run target by 1. Throwing a 3 and not a 4 on his last escape attempt meant the three runners who would have got him to his target missed leaving the board by 12.5mm! So close yet so far...

All aboard... the next scenario...............

Oh, and Captain Beale finally fell in turn 11 amidst the heaps of his own men and the prisoners at his feet. Photographic evidence provided!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Battle of Pennyburn Mill, Part Five

Clarence Harrison - Right! Now I've added some details and the initial painting, on the land areas anyway, is finished.

There's a lot of work left to do, but it's all fun! I need to paint the streams and open expanse of river, which is probably up next, add additional details like marsh grass and other foliage, and finish of the water and bog areas with water effects. I have several buildings to paint, as well as a couple of camps, some fields, fences and hedges, base some scattered trees, and all those... oh, yeah... the last bits are a secret for now...

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Battle of Penny Burn Mill, Part Four

Clarence Harrison - We are now going to get into the fun part - painting!

Again, if you've just stumbled upon our site for the first time (welcome), this isn't really a tutorial. You can find a twelve-part series detailing my techniques to use on your terrain here. This series is mainly to record the progress on this project and point out a few details on this that may be different from what I've done in the past.

Well, first I need to make note of something I left out last time - adding extra texture. I use pine bark chips to simulate large rock formations and then add a bit of rough terrain using coffee grounds (non-instant... the instant kind will melt when they get wet and make a mess). I didn't add many boulders because part of the table is going to be a bog, but I wanted some around the stream for two reasons. First to add interest and another color to my landscape and second to blend in a bridge model that I will show off soon.

The paints I use are all games workshop tones, but I have quarts of flat interior house paint that I matched to these colors long ago. These quarts will last forever - the only one I've ever had to replace was the dark tone.

This texture is followed by the first layer of paint which I mix with sand to give us the basis for the remaining paint work. Note that I painted the water with the same color, but used pure paint for the large open expanse of water. Texture in the streams is fine, but I want the open section fairly smooth.

Some random work in progress shots. The first one is around mid way through while the last two are after all five tones. The is applied in a solid coat and the next two are overbrushed fairly heavily. The last two layers are drybrushed, with the fifth only applied at the very tops of the banks and the highest points of the roadway.

You can see the transition between earth and grass begins quite starkly, but each successive tone is brushed a little farther (and little lighter) and the blend becomes more more gradual. Color is applied randomly across the grass areas as well to break up the golf course green.

The dark spot in the lower right corner of the last pic is my shadow from the window. Something I tried to do which I haven't bothered with in the past is vary the earth tones across the board. For instance, the boggy area is going to be quite a bit darker than the road and coast line. Also all of the banks are darker toward the bottom to simulate wet earth. This basically accomplished by simply starting each highlight a bit farther up the bank.

If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them - just ask below. A little more painting next time, but this time we are going to paint in the rocks to add yet another level of color to the table.

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