Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Going Ballistic...

The last time I ran my Ancient armies on a gridded board with the Charlie Sweet Ancients Rules back circa 2013, it called to my attention the need for a few more War engine units to allow me to field as many of my ancient Ancient armies simultaneously as I might want. Around that time, Mega miniatures was having a going out of business sale. Along with a supply of new "chickens" of  many kinds, I also bought 4 of their  28mm Ballistas for only about $1.50 each. Such a deal!



They sat on the lead pile until this month when I needed them for my Ellis Con Ancient games with Legio Quaternarius. 


While more of a giant crossbow than an Ancient Ballista, they still serve the purpose.


I don't think I'd want a line of these things pointed in my direction!


I added the "bowstrings" with the same spool of black thread I've used for ships rigging, bows etc for at least 30 years. Anyone know where I can find some suitable crew figures?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Without a Trace?

As part of the refurbishment of my ancient Indian army, I wanted to add some traces to the chariots. I had done this for my Assyrians decades ago using some paper tape. That came supplied with a bag of Historex 54mm plastic French Imperial Guard Grenadier Bandsmen figures (to make cross belts). I had previously used the figures to scratch build a model of my freind and fellow college bandsmen Tom, with his trombone (and beer) close at hand. However, decades later, there was no ready source of this material available.



Two Minifiigs 25mm Indian Four Horse Chariots - after the addition of Traces.


It seemed to me that tape like Dental Floss might work - so a trip to the pharmacy was made to acquire a sample for experimentation.  If it works, 100 yards should make all the traces I could ever want!


Nice minty fragrance... not sure if the waxing of the tape will cause issues, though.  Oh well, good for dental hygiene at least if it proves to be a bust!


To make it easier to color, I tied one end of the dental tape to a cotton tipped applicator (plenty of these on hand in my office!).  I used a big brush to liberally "paint" the tape with acrylic craft paint in a suitable color. Some skip areas due to the tape twisting, but not bad!


Happy with the dark green, I did some dark red, blue , and yellow tapes also.  I then cut the tapes to the approximate lengths needed - that's 8 traces per chariot for these Heavy units, almost an entire length of tape as shown in the above picture! I found the best way to cut the tape was with a sharp Xacto knife cutting down onto the tape on a hard surface (wood). Avoid excessive sawing motions which can make it fray


I then glued the ends of all 8 traces to the appropriate locations on the horses, using Duco cement (chiefly Nitrocellulose in Acetone), which dries and sets very quickly. Once that had hardened, I glued  the driver's ends of the tapes t his hands, one at a time using the same glue. A little touch up of remaining white areas was needed, end results as seen above. Now, about those 15 recently painted New Kingdom Egyptian chariots I have...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Die Fighting, 2nd Edition by Bob Jones - Pre-publication Discount

    Die Fighting II is the latest set of innovative wargames rules to be released under the author ship of Bob Jones. In a way, my association with Bob goes back over 40 years, when he first started writing articles in the old NEWA Courier. Three of those articles stand out off the top of my head:
1) "Deci, rather than Sexy", about the use of dodecahedral (20 sided) dice to generate random number, % style. IIRC, at that time, a set of 3 cost about $5 from a specialty firm - equivalent to over $25 now.  This was before Dungeons and Dragons made polyhedral dice familiar to us all!
2) "Delaying Terrain Effects: The Forgotten Variable", in which Mr. Jones argued that the conventional practice of fixed terrain effects was greatly at odds with real life.  Difficult terrain might take far more or even far less time to traverse than anticipated, due to troop, weather, map and reconnaissance variables, and indeed this unpredictability increased the friction factor imposed by terrain upon nthe plans of military leaders.
3) "Gad Robineau, what where you thinking?" about the impact that good (and poor) leaders had upon the execution of military operations. This was very much an argument against the all powerful, all seeing "100 foot tall general" of conventional miniatures rules, this time focusing on the human factors as they effect leadership at all levels of command, and, of course, how to model them in our games.

    I think I own a copy of virtually all of the wargames rules that Bob has written over the years - Le Jeu de la Guerre (Napoleonic), Rebel Yell (ACW), Piquet and most of its period supplements, Zouave, and most recently, "Die Fighting". Each of these designs is innovative, and each shows the influence of the issues Bob was grappling with in his articles of 40 years ago. Each design explores new and different ways to adequately model effects of chance, each places significant constraints upon the commander's ability to direct the action of his troops with certainty, and each design highlights the key role that leadership plays in warfare. Bob has also been an innovator in tools to be used with his rules, including the use of chits and a logarithmic, circular slide rule melee calculator in Le Jeu, Card decks and the infamous Combat Caliper in Piquet, and the Rondel in Zouave 2. In Die Fighting, Bob returned to the the time honored tool of our hobby, six sided die. But of course, being a Bob Jones design, this was no tired, uninspired,Warhammer style "Buckets of Dice" D6 game!  It was six sided dice on steroids!!!  The key concept in the original Die Fighting was that the army had a certain amount of "energy" that it could expend in the course of combat, and that once that energy was expended, the army's ability to carry on was so compromised that withdrawal was the only feasible option. Unlike Piquet, where this energy was to some degree represented by Morale Chips, it was represented by actual dice! Each army started with a set number of (red) resource dice. Every time a unit was to move, shoot, or fight, it would involve throwing one or two of these Red Dice per unit. The twist was that once the dice were thrown, they were discarded and lost for the rest of the game!  Red dice were also lost when your units suffered adverse effects from combat; the worse the result, the more Red dice you had to discard! Command Group leaders contributed their own stock of Officer Dice (Yellow) each turn, which could be added to the Red dice of units under their command, provided they were sufficiently close to the Leader who was passing the dice. Finally, "Free Dice" (Green) were used for tactical advantages in combat where other sets might have used die roll modifiers, such as the effects of heavy cavalry charging. The "Rule of Six" was applied in many situations where a certain score was needed, as was re rolling of certain numbers or multiples based upon the quality of the particular unit. I did a detailed review and walk through of the original Die Fighting here on the blog (use the Die Fighting label). Bob had plans to add a really fascinating campaign concept to all of this, a set of rules tentatively titled "Die Marching"!




    In the process of developing the initial concepts for Die Marching, which Bob regaled Tim Couper and I with over breakfast at Historicon 2011, Bob gradually concluded that the base rules themselves needed further refinement and evolution before he could proceed much further with a campaign set. Much of that evolution in chronicled on the "Repique Blog" on his Repique Rules website; recommended reading if you want to know more about what DF2 is about! While I am eagerly awaiting my own copy of Die Fighting II, I can tell you that one of the key changes is that the starting allotment of Resource Dice is much lower, is command specific (with some  modification by the C-in-C), and rather than being generated by a process based upon the number and quality of units in the command, it is now driven primarily by the quality of the group's commander. The Red Dice are (usually) replenished to a degree each turn, the amount being most heavily influenced again by the commander's ability. Bob has also experimented further with a very short (6-8 cards) sequence deck used in Die Fighting, used to randomize and limit the actions of each side independently. This means that there is no guarantee that this replenishment will in fact take place on a given turn, or when, though!

    The Leadership (Yellow) Dice and Free (Green) Dice are handled similarly to the original, although doubtless there will be some tweaks and refinements. The other key new element is the Black Dice!  Black dice SUBTRACT their pips from a unit's score (rather than add to them like all the other types). Black dice are given to units that were very poor historically (or in previous games), thus acting as a drag to their movement, fire, melee and morale! Black Dice may also be "awarded" to a unit as a penalty after a particularly bad combat result. Bob also has expanded upon his ideas about Leader quality and quirks, and includes new ways of generating and assigning generals to their commands... just hope you don't draw a Robineau for *your* leader!

    Perhaps the biggest innovation in Die Fighting, however, II is it's format - there are NO printed rules in the ordinary sense!  The rules are presented on a CD, playable in any computer or video disc player. In just under an hour of running time, the video walks you through the entire rules set, step by step, and illustrates the execution of the each of the rules. The presentation is indexed, to allow you to access the segment that you need, should you have questions. There is also a video slideshow summary presentation of the rules. Period Specific printed/pdf "Free Dice Tables" (essentially, a type of QRS) are the only semi conventional aspect of the rules, and are expected to be all that most players will need to refer to after a game or two. Mr. Jones was a Television producer for many years, and the video is professionally done and edited. Piquet (circa 1977) had an embryonic version of this concept in the form of an optional short, inexpensive video cassette demonstration of a few new, key concepts, but never even approached trying to present the entire rules in video format.

   Die Fighting II is available directly from Repique Rules for $26 plus postage (which is expected to be low, as it is much less bulky than a printed book, especially for overseas customers). Until Friday, November 21st, there is a $4 pre-publication discount. My copy is already on order, and I can't wait to watch my first set of wargames rules on video!  Needless to say, a further review here will be forthcoming before too long.
     

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ellis Con 2014

    The 26th running of Ellis Con took lace at the Ellis Technical School in Danielson, CT. yesterday. I had to miss it last year, and 2 years ago the old Aircraft Hangar where it had been held for 24 years was being refurbished into a brand new gymnasium, the convention taking place in the old Gym on it's last day of existence before it too was slated for re-purposing. However, the new gym was off limits to us - unconfirmed rumor has it the the powers in charge have declared that the Gym is only to be used for league sanctioned athletic events. In any event, much of the rest of the school has also undergone major revisions, doubtless at the costs of many millions of dollars. the end result is certainly very nice, especially compared to the mid 1960's style previously evident. Ellis Con is and has always been a multi genre convention - miniatures, board and card games, including Historical, Science Fiction, and Fantasy genres. Computer games were also included this year. As a result of the gym being off limits, the Miniature games,some board games, and dealers were in the very modern, airy and well lit cafeteria, some other games were in the ? media center, and others in the atrium. For the most part this worked OK, with a few growing pains as are to be expected from any change in a venue. Still, I must admit the Gym thing was an unpleasant reminder of one of the least attractive aspects of High School - the exaggerated status given to athletics and athletes. Fortunately, on average we geek types win out in later life (most doctors are on the geeky side to some degree - and thank goodness!). That introduction aside, as they say - on with the show!

    I left my home shortly after 8 AM, and arrived at the school shortly after 10 AM. it is a solid 2 hour drive from my home on the far Western side of the state to Danielson (in the Town of Killingly), on the far North Eastern side (nearly in Rhode Island). Thus it is closer to much of Massachusetts and RI than Western Connecticut. As a result, I decided to start my game at 1PM instead of 10AM. It was actually a bit confusing finding the  Convention entrance, which had changed notably from past years, but a brief search was all it took to determine it was now the front door!.


 The time cushion arrival gave m,e a chance to check out some of the other games. The next few shots are from a great looking game set in "Darkest Africa" Zululand type enthronement, run by good friends and fellow HAHGS members Greg Hanson and Joe Fish. 


They created a fantastic looking game on a roughly 5 foot square table, including some Step Pyramids, Elephant grass, rivers and streams..


 native villages, boats, wild animals...


Zulus and even a kraal. The rules used were "In Her Majesty's Name", which I have a copy of. I'd have liked to have gotten in on this one!


Vic Gregiore of Battle Group Boston used his impressive damaged city terrain for a game titled "Rumors of Cat and Mouse". 


Jim Smith ran this nice looking 15mm ACW tutorial game. 


It also happened to be on the table labeled as the table I was to use for my 1PM game. It was obvious that they would be lucky to be done by 1 PM, to make no mention of taking their game down, and then setting mine up. There were no other open tables visible, so a mild sense of panic began to set in. Fortunately, I spotted another table nearby of the right size piled with coats and surplus gaming supplies, and unlabeled as to any game to be run thereupon. I therefore decided to Carpe Mensam and commenced to clear of one end of the table like I was in charge. I set up one of the two match ups, and by the time I was done with that, the nearby gamers had taken the hint and vacated the other half as well. Once the tables were set up, I headed to the food line for the traditional Ellis Con lunch of a large hot meatball grinder; once again thjis year they were both excellent and a superb value.

    Ellis Con doesn't do event registration, so it is a walk up system. This has advantages and disadvantages. In my case this year, shortly after 1 PM,. I wound up corralling one interested onlooker, a fellow HAHGS member that I don't recall meeting previously, and we started to play Legio Quarternarius. This was in part my fault - I had planned to self promote a bit on the Ellis Con FB page, but professional and personal challenges the past 3 months have been darn near overwhelming, so that just didn't happen. 


We chose to play the Macedonian/Indian match up. He chose the Macedonians. Based upon past experience, I had given the Indians , who have excellent missile power but only fair melee troops, and advantage by placing a stream across the center of the table and towards their deployment side. While this mimicked the historical encounter between Porus and Alexander, it was probably a bit too much of an edge!  Seen here are the Indian positions at the end of Turn 1. The poor morale of their infantry is already evident, 2 MI Archer units having already failed morale!


The Macedonian left flank and center - note the 5 units of HI pikemen in the center, which are incredibly powerful in Melee - as long as they are not outflanked!


The Macedonian player prepares to shoot one of his Catapults (onangers) at the start of urn 3. 

I thin this may have been one of the shots where he hit his own troops. He actually did quite well using the somewhat finicky contraptions for the first time!


At the start of Turn 3, the Macedonians launched their attack - seen here, the Companions attempt to whup up on some archers - although they have 2 handed swords, so they aren't quite as wimpy as they look, The Indian chariot will support them as well. the result was a destroyed archer unit, but also loss of the Companions.  On my 3rd turn I adjusted my positions but mostly stayed out of melee, hoping to use more of my bow fire and catapult shots to whittle down his powerful Melee troops. I was fairly successful in that. 


On the Macedonian 4th move, he attacked all out, as well he needed to - here Thracian Peltasts, Hypaspists, and some more Heavy cavalry can be seen entering melees. 


In the center, the Macedonians manage to get 4 of their 5 heavy pikes into action. My Indian Infantry have already taken considerable losses (MI archers make great targets!). This is gonna hurt!


And indeed it did; I managed to eliminate the Thracian Peltasts, but aside from that he won all but one of the remaining melees, and that one  left my MI javelin unit with but one more hit before it too was eliminated.   Center... what center?!


I forgot to take more pictures, but on my part of the 4th turn, I did my best shooting of the day with my catapults and missile troops, and then was able to take advantage of the vulnerable flanks of the Pikemen, as well as getting my extra powerful Pachyderms into the fray. That evened things out quite a bit, and then I was lucky to win the choice of Move for the next turn, and took the First move - that pretty much eliminated the rest of his heavy troops, and on his part of the Turn he wisely called it a day. We wrote and played Legio Quaternarius well before DBA came out; I think a modified pip system (or alternating movement by Commands (Right Flank, Left Flank, and Center) might take away the tremendous sting of the Double Move, especially when it happens at the critical moment. Something to think about!  In any event we both had fun playing the game, which is what matters most!


Not content to run just one great game, Greg put on a second one at 1:30 PM on the same smallish  table, this time "Red Beach One", the US Marine assault on Tarawa, using Bolt Action rules. The Japanese defensive positions are seen here. 


The US Marines launch a costly assault!


Japanese are well entrenched!


Marines in the surf, both living and dead.


    My game finished on time, about 4:30 and I started packing it up, and hauling it all out to the car. The annual auction and door prize give away was commencing as I was clearing my game away. I had it all packed up by about 5:30, and made the long drive home, arriving about 7:30 PM. Having been up late the night before packing the car, I was pretty bushed when I got home, and went to bed by 10PM - extraordinarily early for me!

  My opponent for the game, whose name has sadly slipped my aging mind, was interested in playing some Close Action, an Age of Sail game based upon "Wooden Ships, Iron Men", and it's associated Miniature set, Ship of the Line, which I am familiar with (I own a copy of SoL). I have about 30 1:1200 Napoleonic Sailing ships, so perhaps another time, my friend, with "real" ships!

    In the process of setting up my game, Steve, who is the owner of the excellent Time Machine hobby store in Manchester, CT, and the associated and totally awesome, huge gaming space across the street, The Portal. introduced himself to me. We had a nice conversation about the hobby, the TM, how to make The Portal at least self supporting financially, and other topics. He is planning on having the first Portal Con there this January 17th (Saturday) and 18th (Sunday). Unfortunately, this isn't a great weekend for me, as my wife's Birthday is the 19th, but we'll see if it might be possible to run a morning game there one day or another. 

    Perhaps due to the new set up and dispersed nature of the convention, one thing I missed from past conventions was the extreme helpfulness of the Simulations Club members. The new Miniatures location in the cafeteria has 2 sets of doors to the outside, but they were both locked. It was much shorter to enter the cafeteria area directly from the outside, and it was a COLD day for November, but... these doors were, once again, *locked*. Despite the excellent visibility to the outside through the glass front of the cafeteria, only Carl noticed my plight and assisted me with the door; thereafter, I carried everything else up to the Cafeteria doors, left it all outside, and then went around the long way through the front doors, and then brought it in all inside in trips, with some fancy foot work to keep the Cafeteria door open sufficiently long to make it inside with another load before it closed again.  I could have asked for help of course, but I'm a pretty self reliant fellow!  

    They could use a few more tables (see above), but the available space will only fit so much. Some additional chairs in the gaming area would definitely have been useful as well - I didn't get one until about 2:30 PM! The convention was certainly fun and a success overall, though, and hopefully they broke their old attendance record. It is the main fundraiser for the Simulations Club, and helps defray the cost of their annual trip to Point Con, held at the US Military Academy in West Point, NY.  Maybe some year I'll make that one, too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

British 71st Regiment- Highland Light Infantry

The history of the 71st regiment of Foot, as is often the case for British units, is somewhat convoluted.  The first unit to carry that number was formed in 1758, and participated in coastal raids on Cherbourg and Belleisle during the Seven Years War. At the conclusion of the war in 1863, it was converted into an invalid regiment before being disbanded in 1768.

The 71st (Highland) regiment of Foot was raised once again in 1775, with the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Mustered in Inverness and Stirling, it was unofficially known as "Fraser's Highlanders". The regiment arrived in New York in 1776, and fought in many battles, including Brooklyn (1776), Brandywine (177), Savannah (1778),  Camden (1780), Cowpens (1781, where much of the regiment was captured), Guilford Courthouse (1781), and Yorktown (1781). The two battalions of the regiment were disbanded in 1783 and 1786. At that point, the 78th Foot regiment, MacLeod's Highlanders, which had been serving in the East Indies, was renumbered as the 71st Foot, and renamed the 71st (Highland) Regiment.

The new 71st Regiment remained in India at first, seeing action at Pondicherry (1793) and later Ceylon (1795). It returned to Scotland in 1802, and underwent a number of name changes. It was sent to the Cape of Good Hope in 1806 and saw minor action there. Later in 1806 it was part of the expedition to Buenos Aires. Although the city was captured, the inhabitants later rose up against the occupying force, and the 71st was among several units taken prisoner. With Napoleon's invasion of Spain in 1808, the prisoners were released and returned to Great Britain.  After reorganization, the 71st formed part of the expeditionary force sent to Portugal later that year, where it fought at Rolica and Vimiero. The 71st was part of Sir John Moore's troops involved in the campaign in Spain, and the subsequent retreat and embarkation at Corunna. The regiment was then reorganized and retrained as a Light Infantry regiment, becoming the 71st (Glasgow Highland Light Infantry) in  March 1809, later (1811) changed to just "Highland Light Infantry". It formed part of the Walcheren expedition later in 1809. The 71st returned to the Peninsula in 1810, fighting at Fuentes de Onoro (1810), Almaraz (1812), Vittoria (1813, where it suffered very heavy losses), The Pyrenees (1813). The 71st fought again at Waterloo (1815), where it suffered heavy losses. It fought in the Crimean War before being amalgamated with the 74th Regiment in 1881.



The 71st Foot - Highland Light Infantry.As a unit with buff facings, its belts and pants should also be buff, as seen here. The unit way have worn trews (tartan pants) at the Cape of Good Hope in 1806, but it doesn't appear they wore them for the rest of the Napoleonic wars (but did once again starting circa 1846, the change approved by none other than the Duke of Wellington)).The unit was allowed pipers in full highland dress, however. (GMB flag, again the purloined King's Color of a different regiment).


As a Light Infantry regiment, all the men had shoulder wings, short green plumes on their shakos, and white metal "hunting horn" badges.ADD 11/16/14: As was pointed out to me,  the officer should wear his (crimson) sash diagonally over his shoulder, Highland style. 


The blue color of the shakos shown here is supposedly the highland bonnet (with its diced border) pulled over the shako (or some other internal blocking/support - sources vary); the green plume should perhaps then instead be a green pom pom in the top center of the shako, but we'll have to make due with them as depicted here. 


An illustrious and uniquely uniformed unit. As usual, these are Old Glory 28mm figures. I an quite pleased with how these came out!


The wearing of trews (tartan trousers), eventually using the MacKenzie pattern, was eventually restored to the regiment after our era. It is seen here at the time of  its amalgamation with the 74th Regiment in 1881. It continued to wear them through World War 1 and beyond. The kilt was later restored when it was involved in yet another amalgamation in 1959 when it became part of the new Royal Highland Fusiliers.  


Now for a bit of Connecticut Lowlands!(Berkshire hills). Less than a mile from my home is this hilltop farm, with views towards our neighboring town to the East, Roxbury, CT. 


\
Town Line Farm Road, between Bridgewater and Roxbury. There are still a few working dairy farms in the area; 50 years ago there were dozens of them (and the cows outnumbered the people). Many of the farmers of that generation have been my patients. Farming is dangerous work!


Looking back towards Bridgewater at some more farmland (cornfield to the left).


A converted farm house on Town Line Farm Road; this one hosts an annual Halloween weekend Pumpkin Catapult contest, which is quite fun to watch. 


Some modern day re-enactors wearing the uniform of the 71st HLI. Plenty of  possible choices for pants for this unit  - buff, grey, white, or trews!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Saxon Napoleonic Light Infantry

The Saxon army was very late in incorporating light infantry into its forces. Starting in 1793, each line infantry company designated 1 corporal and 9 privates as regimental Sharfschützen, to which were added 2 officers and 3 drummers. Their only uniform distinction was a 12" tall green plume on their Bicorn. In 1802, the Schützen were pulled from the line regiments and organized into 2 battalions; the drummers were replaced with buglers. However, they did not fight organized in this manner in 1806-1807. In May 1808, a more permanent organization was finally established for the two Schützen battalions, each having 4 companies, each with 174 men and officers. They still wore their white regimental uniforms, with the bicorn and green plumes. The 1809 campaign was fought with these 2 Light Infantry battalions, von Metzch and von Egidy. In late 1809, a company of Jäger was added, which were equipped with their own rifles. 

In the reorganization of the Saxon army that took place in 1810, the Light Infantry were expanded into two Light Infantry regiments, the 1 st regiment being known as Light Infantry Regiment Le Coq (commandedb by Oberstleutnat von Egidy), and the second as Von Sahr (commanded by Oberst von Tettenborn). Each Light Regiment had a book strength of 1,653 men.

The Light Infantry finally got a modern uniform in 1810, being of the same overall pattern as the new Line Infantry uniforms. It included a black shako with a brass plaque on the front, brass chinscales, a dark green plume, cords ,and flounders, and a white national cockade at the front. NCO's had a brass band around the top of their shakos. Officers had gilt fittings on their shako, gold lace, silver cords and flounders, and a gold edge to the polished black leather visor. The officer's shako had a top band in gold in a "clover leaf" pattern. Considering the arms of Saxony, and the period illustrations, I suspect this was more in the same pattern as the "Bend of Common Rue" as seen on the Saxon arms. The same pattern was seen on the shakos of Line infantry officers.

The new jackets were dark green with black rounded cuffs, collar, and lapels. These were all piped in scarlet, as were the dark green shoulder straps and turnbacks. Buttons were brass, belts were black. Pants were dark grey with a scarlet stripe decorating the outside seam, and scarlet "points" decorating the fronts. Packs were dark brown calves's skin with black straps, black slings on the muskets.

Officers jackets were double breasted with long tails, and gold piping. Pants for Officers were dark green with gold piping and Hungarian knots for full dress; on campaign either dark green with a black stripe, or dark grey with a scarlet stripe down the outer seams. Musicians had brass horns and green epaulets piped red (probably more like shoulder wings in the German style, I suspect). Drums were green with black leather fittings, and green/white diagonal striped rims. Horns had dark green cords as decoration. 

The single company of Saxon Jäger had a similar uniform, with the collar being dark green with a black collar patch, piped in scarlet, and the turnbacks being light green, piped in scarlet. Their shako had a brass hunting horn instead of the Royal Cipher plate used by the Light Infantry. 


Saxon Light Infantry (Leichte Infanterie, still sometimes referred to as Schützen, to be as confusing as possible!) 1810 - 1813. Vintage Minifigs once again, painted about 25 years ago. 


The ugly silver thing is my attempt to use epoxy putty to convert a Standard bearer into a Pioneer with axe. The Perry Brothers clearly have nothing to fear from me, LOL!  Despite the label, this is actually the Von Egidy (or LeCoq) Light Infantry; the Jäger were but a single company as discussed above


This shots shows the black facings trimmed with scarlet the best. The drum was painted according to the information I had available at the time; see the text for correct details!


The sapper figure has the brass band on his shako indicative of an NCO. The red cords on the drummer's shako would be correct for a Line unit, but not for this Light regiment; I should change that (easy to do), as well as painting the base edges! 


Personal Note:  I was especially pleased to discover the existence of the Von Egidy Light Infantry unit in the Saxon Army. When I started my practice 30 years ago, one of my earliest patients had that rather unusual last name. He was well into his 80's at the time and not in terribly good health, My wife (a Physical Therapist, like the late Donald Featherstone) also treated him, and we wound up become friends outside of the professional relationship. It turned out that Mr. Von Egidy was born in Desden, and collected Zinnfiguren in a limited way (at least compared to my collection of "military miniatures"). When we bought our house, he and his wife were frequent visitors. He ultimately wound up deciding to have a hip replacement due to severe pain, which I opposed due to his high potential operative risk, but OK'd when it was clear how miserable he was from it, and after he and his family made it clear that they accepted and understood the risks involved. The last time that he was over to our home before his surgery, he insisted on going down the cellar stairs to see my collection, despite how difficult it was for him to do so. Having been advised of his intent in advance, I had set up my table with a grand representation of the Battle of Dresden in his honor. He was thrilled with the spectacle, and easily picked out the Altstadt, Neustadat, the river Weisseritz etc from his childhood memories of the city. Sadly, my reservations proved all too appropriate, and he never got out of the hospital after his surgery (at a much larger institution). My wife and I missed him terribly, although we remain friends with his widow 25 years later, herself now in her 90's. I had started my Saxon Army after making Mr. Von Egidy's friendship, and the Von Egidy "Jagers" were on the table for his inspection at his visit. He was insure if his family was related to the Saxon officer who headed the unit, bit it is hard to imagine that he wasn't! Anyway, I never fail to bring him to mind whenever these fellows grace the tabletop!  Möge Gott Sie nah an seinem Herzen immer  halten, Herr von Egidy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Some talk of Alexander...

My Macedonian army is designed to allow it to represent any of the three main Successor armies - Antigonid (Macedonian), Seleucid (Persian), or Ptolemiac (Egyptian)... more or less, some with an extra unit or two from another of my Ancient armies. As My Indian Army set up last month revealed a need for some additional "elbow room", I added another row of squares to all for sides, making the grid now 16 square wide and long. I also finished up some hills designed top fit the grid. These had been carved from pink Insulation foam several years ago, and then painted with a really sickly looking lime powder green acrylic base coat (leftover wall paint).  Some spays of Dark green, yellow green, and red-brown paint later, and they look much better! I may dry brush the edges of the hills in a light brown color to bring them out a bit. Here's the Army list for Legio Quaternarius:


#5  Macedonian Successor States  (300 - 100 BC)

Core Units - common to all Succesor Armies

QTY
Unit Description
Unit Type
Cost
Subtotal
5
Phalanx
HI*PK,Sh
15
75
2
Hypaspists
LHI*LS,Sh*Elite
14
28
2
Successor Hvy Cav
HC*SS,Sh
15
30
2
Succesor Light Cav
LC*J,Sh
9
18
1
African Elephant
EL*J
16
16
2
Light Bolt Throwers
ENG
12.5
25
1
General
General
25
25
15
TOTALS
217


Antigonid (Macedonian)

1
Thracian Peltasts
LMI*2H,J,Sh
8.5
17
2
Thracian Archers
LI*B
2.5
5
1
Thracian Lances
LI*LS,No Sh
8
8
2
Javelinmen
LI*J,Sh
4
8
2
Slingers
LI*Sl,Sh
2.5
5
1
Staff Slingers
LI*Staff Sling, no Sh
2.5
2.5
1
Scythians
LC*B
7
7
25
TOTALS
277


Ptolemaic (Egyptian)

QTY
Unit Description
Unit Type
Cost
Subtotal
1
Camel Archers
LCam*B
8
8
1
Chariots
LCh*B
12
12
1
add. Successor HC
HC*SS,Sh
15
15
2
Peltasts
LMI*LS,J,Sh
8
16
4
Egyptian Archers
LI*B
2.5
10
24
TOTALS
278



Seleucid (Persian)

QTY
Unit Description
Unit Type
Cost
Subtotal
1
Cataphracts
EHC*LS, no Sh
16
16
1
Camel Archers
LCam*B
8
8
5
Selucid Archers
LI*B
2.5
12.5
3
Peltasts
LMI*LS*J,Sh
8
24
25
TOTALS
277.5





Here is the Antigonid version of the Successor army (minus an Elephant unit to be borrowed from my Carthaginians laid out on the grid for Legio Quaternarius. Deployment will be limited to 3 squares onto the table, with no units starting in the two rows to either flank. The two contraptions to the rear are my scratch built shooting catapults, described previously here


Antigonid Left Flank; we'll be covering each of the unit types in more depth later.


Antigonid Center - mostly units of extremely powerful; Phalangites!


Antogonid right flank.


Right Flank again

Center - replacing the ancient alloy pikes, many bent or broken,  with wire ones is the main work needed to get this army ready for Prime Time again. 


Left Center


Left Flank.


5 units of HI Pikemen with shields formed into one big block.  - the left hand one with the white "facing color" had it's pikes replaced with wire ones years ago - in addition to their fragility, the alloy pikes were too tall to fit my storage boxes properly as well! That means 31 pikes to replace (one figutre has the Standard and hence needs no work). 


The alloy pikes look a bit better from this vantage point!


2 units of LI Slingers.


I recall actually making the sling "bullets" out of epoxy putty. Lead was used by experienced slingers of the classical era, such as the Rhodians.


2 stands of Cretan archers.


They would benefit from some black lining if I have the time. 


2 units of Agrian Javelinmen.


From this angle, somehow these guys all remind me of Sarek, LOL!


Staff Slingers (borrowed from my Byzantine army).


Again, a bit of black lining might perk these otherwise rather dull paint jobs up somewhat!


Suiccessor Heavy cavalry - the mounted striking force of the Army!


I don't recall the manufacturer - ? Garrison or Ral Partha - definitely not Minifigs like the rest!


Dry Brushing the helmet crests with Hippo Gray would bring these stalwarts more to life as well!


Successor Light cavalry - Prodromoi.


Pretty much OK as they are - straightening the Javelins just invites breakage!


Thracian Lancers - armed with the 14 foot Xyston; probably about as awkward to handle in real life as it appears here!

While vulnerable due to their Light Cavalry status, their long lances make them the most dangerous Ancient LC in melee.  In Legio Quaternarius, you usually try to maneuver them into the flank of the enemy who is otherwise engaged to their front - and serve them en brochette!


These colorful chaps are Scythian LC Horse archers. 


While relatively weak on the battlefield, in their harassing role these troops could be a major pain in the rear on the march to armies not equipped to deal with them. 


Usually when you saw the rear of Scythians, it was a feigned retreat!


Greek Mercenary Hoplites - Thebans to the left, Athenians to the right.


Probably more colorful than real life, but what the heck? :-)


The leather pieces hanging down from the waist are protective pteruges.


Macedonian Hypaspists. These elite troops formed the junction between the vulnerable right (shieldless) flank of the Phalangites and the cavalry. I have given them white metal  shields, as some evidence suggests they may have been renamed to become the Agyraspides, or "Silver Shields"


Regardless, in keeping with their role, the Hypaspists had lighter armor, shorter spears, and larger shields than their Phalangite bretheren. 


Thracian Peltasts - armed with Javelins and adept at using broken ground to their advantage...


the vicious rhomphia, a sort of curved axe, made the Thracians dangerous in hand to hand fighting as well!


More standard Greek style Peltasts. 


Armed with Javelins, long spears, and shields but little or no body armor.


The Seleucid army had a small number of cavalry with metal armor on the front of the horse and most of the body of the rider. These Kataphractoi were inspired by their encounters with similarly equipped Parthian cavalry. 


These cataphracts were the beginning of the trend that would ultimately lead to cavalry supplanting infantry as the principal arm of most later Ancient armies. 


Arab Camel Archers; I do love camels!


I think most Wargamers love some Camelry too, both for their uniqueness and


the "dreaded smell factor", which is present in Legio Quaternarius, as well as most Anceint rules!


A Successor general and some war engines. 


"Alexander the Great appears to have been one of the first generals to employ artillery on the open field of battle, rather than in a siege. He used massed artillery to fire across a river at a Scythian army, causing it to vacate the opposite river bank, thus allowing the Macedonian troops to cross and form a bridgehead".  (Quote from Wikipedia)


"By Alexander’s time, torsion-powered artillery was in use. Torsion machines used skeins of sinew or hair rope, which were wound around a frame and twisted so as to power two bow arms; these could develop much greater force than earlier forms." (ditto)


    Of course, In Legio Quaternarius, the fire of these engines is represented by the player shooting with the actual model catapults seen at the beginning of the post. This army, along with my Mauryan Indians, Republican Romans, and Carthaginians will be on the table at Ellis Con, held Saturday November 15th, form 9AM - 9 M in Danielson, CT. If all goes well Barry and I will play a refresher game of these rules this weekend, perhaps using my Sassanid Persian and Byzantine armies.