Sunday, September 19, 2021

Lightning Strikes - Roman Carroballista

Christmas 2000, Joseph my good friend and gaming buddy, and I met for our annual Roman Civil War. We were playing WRG 7th edition rules. Suddenly I found myself on the receiving end of massed fire of a unit of carroballista. Joseph and his wife, had spent the evening before my arrival, converting some Airfix Ancient Britain chariots, mated with Airfix Roman scorpio bolt throwers. It was a nasty surprise and the speed of the unit on the battlefield was inspiring.  

Three of Joseph's carroballista run circles around his Legion

Warlord Games used to offer a scorpion mounted on a mule cart. From the time I first saw the image until recently it was always out of stock. This afternoon I couldn't even find it listed on their site. Meanwhile I squandered my hard earned sestertius on other frivolous figures and projects. 

While combing my mountain of lead, I uncovered some ancient (30+ year old) Ral Parta/RAFM scorpions. The Early Imperial Roman Cart is nearly always available  for purchase. So I ordered three. This project has been sitting on my painting table for the last 6 months and I finally found time to complete it,

Image of a carroballista on Trajan's Column

I am now seeking some 25mm artillery crewmen. I have some Foundry figures, but the 28mm heroic scale of the crewmen seem rather out of scale to the bolt throwers themselves. However when compared to the carvings on Trajan's Column, maybe I shouldn't worry. If I am unable to find what I am searching for, I will paint the figures up.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A Merry Christmas - Better late then never

 I purchased the Alternative Armies HOTT Xmas Army with the intention of painting it as part of the 2019-2020 Analogue Hobby Painting Challenge. Last year I was terribly ill with the flu (???) for almost seven weeks starting the week before Christmas. Needless to say, not a lot got done, and then tax season arrived.

HOTT1023 Xmas Army

Fast forward to this year. I got the army out and started work the week before the big event. (Christmas not the Analogue Hobby Painting Challenge). This year I choose to stand down.

Then on Christmas Day, I received the perfect gift. A set of painting brushes.

Suddenly inspired, by new brushes, new glasses and a sunny day, The army was completed.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

28mm TRAJANIC Roman Army - Part 2

 As promised yesterday, the rest of my EIR Tragic Roman Army. These photos are of my siege equipment and Generals with their Cavalry Bodyguards.


1) Roman Bolt Throwers (Scorpio/Scorpions) behind some field fortifications - Figures are by Wargame Foundry Miniatures. I believe the fencing is by Old Glory Miniatures.

2) A Roman Onager by Black Tree Design in the background with a Foundry Scorpio. Not the best of photos. 

3) The next two images feature a Warlord Games  Early Imperial Roman Ballista, along with another Foundry Scorpio,

4) Finally we have a Legionnaire working party. These are 25mm Figures picked up in the mists of time from either RAFM or Ral Partha. I was unable to find an online reference for these figures. The wall is from some model kit.

ROMAN GENERALS with Body Guards

The command figures were packages I believe that were purchased Wargame Foundry. Each is a unit of a General Element (WRG reference) and another three elements of Heavy Cavalry. So I have three separate units each of 12 mounted figures. Note- The Green unit is missing a Command Stand that I need to locate. The Blue Shield Unit are figures by Ral Partha. The other BG Cavalry, I believe are  Warlord Games' sculpts. 

 An Oddity. - The Following unit has been part of my Roman army for over 40 years. They were picked up at the local gaming shop in Halifax (which is no longer in existence). The figures were labelled as Roman/Greek Companion Cavalry. At the time I did not know better and parted with my hard earned cash. I would imagine these figures sold for the princely sum of $3.95 a pack. I purchased three packs then and latter acquired a fourth.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

28mm TRAJANIC Roman Army - Part I

This is the third Roman Army I painted since I discovered the WRG Ancient Rules in the mid to late 1970s. The first was an Airfix Roman army. The 2nd was a 25mm metal army I purchased and fought with from the early 1980s until I moved to Montreal. By the years 2000 to 2010 my 2nd Roman army were entitled to retire after 25 years of honourable service.  The figures that were now available looked fantastic when compared to the primitive sculpts from the 1970s and early 1980s, which comprised my Legion. Most were painted and entered service before I started my blog. They were never done justice. Most of the new Legion were recruited from the Warlord Games, Wargames Foundry Miniatures and Black Tree Design areas of the Empire. 

1) The Legionnaires, the first wave of units - 4 Cohorts each of 24 Figures

2) The 2nd wave of Legionnaires - Three cohorts, each of 24 figures.

3) The AUXILLIA - 5 Units of Auxiliary Javelin/Spearmen - each of 16 Figures.

4) Auxiliary Archers - 3 Units - 2 Eastern Empire - 1 Western Empire -Total 56 Figures

5) PSILOI Units - 12 x Balearic Slingers and 12 x Light Archers. These are 25mm Ral Partha and RAFM Figures I obtained after I started rearming my Legion.


That is enough for today. Part two will be siege equipment and Cavalry.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Captain's Retreat - A Gentleman's War

Once again I benefit from having access to the ocean side cottage courtesy of a generous friend, and was in position to host some long time gaming buddies to a two day "retreat". As usual Ross Mac (Battle Game of the Month) stepped up to the plate and offered to run a game. He decided to introduce us to Howard Whitehouse's ruleset, "A Gentleman's War".

Ross Mac and Les Howie
The scenario that Ross had in mind, was based upon the Battle of Ridgeway, June 1866. Troops were all 54mm figures from his collection.

The Canadians

The Fenian Brotherhood
Les and I represented the Fenian Brotherhood. Our force consisted of a unit of French-Irish Canadians, some recent Irish immigrates to the United States, but the majority of our troops were Irish veterans of the US Civil War.  Between us we had 6 units of Infantry (8 figures each) and one unit of Cavalry (4 figures) and one Artillery piece with crew. Our plan was to deny the right flank. Les would anchor our defenses upon a hill with our artillery and a unit of infantry on either flank.

I would assault the village on the left with the remaining infantry units. I also took the cavalry in order to flank the town. I choose to keep one Infantry unit off board as a reserve. We had to inform the ref where it would enter, and to our surprise it kept the Canadian Militia units troops on our right flank holding their position in case it came storming out of the woods on the right edge of the table.

The Canadian militia commanded by Paul Smith and Stephen St-John  were two near equal forces from the colonies, formerly known as Upper and Lower Canada. Since Confederation these are now the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Both of the Canadian commanders had 3 companies of Infantry (8 figures each). The Lower Canada units were all from Montreal and included a unit of artillery and deployed on our right. The Upper Canadians provided the Cavalry (4 figures) and faced me. The Canadians deployed on their entire length of the table.

Clash of Cavalry
The cavalry of both sides quickly closed. There was an option to dismount, but neither Stephen nor I choose it. In our 2nd clash I came out the worst and had to flee my movement distance (5D6, my roll was 29 or 29 inches). I was off the table and out of the fight. Other than that misadventure my battle plan developed as I had hoped.

Sound the Advance
I advanced my infantry in line, three units abreast towards the town. Stephen rushed forward two units in column in order to seize the structures. I felt I would lose a race for the town, as it was closer to the Canadian side of the table. Thus I advanced in battle formation. I held the 4th infantry off board until needed. When it was, I rolled 3 ones, and it entered in column onto the table 3 inches

My Cavalry Prepare to Flee - But I am ready to contest the town
It was my first time playing this game and decided I would close assault the structure on the left, and engage the other with two of my infantry units. I lost the close assault and had to retreat 2D6 (7 inches) just outside close range. Here I stood and repulsed the follow-up moves by the enemy cavalry. 

The Battle develops and the fighting becomes hot and heavy. The camera is put aside.  The Lower Canadians hold onto their hilltop, waiting to engage any Fenians who force march out of the woods. They have been kept out of the battle and when they begin to advance. It has come too late.

Montreal Militia on the Advance - Too Late
The struggle for the town has been decided. The  Upper Canadians try to help their besieged brethren, but to no avail. The three Upper Canadian units of foot have ceased to be effective.

Fix Bayonets - The Final Assault is Going to Go In

Our Flank is Secure - The Town has Fallen
The game ends. Paul has left in order to prepare his fabulous ribs. We had a late start due to the replacement of a fireplace stove, and after dinner the evening drifted into conversation and drinks. We would have to wait until tomorrow for another clash of figures.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Cangames 2019 Sunday May 19th - Western Up Front

This is the 2nd game run by David Redpath during the Cangames weekend. The 2nd Battalion of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade attack the outskirts of Fresnoy En Gohelle on the 3rd of May 1917.

Mike Haynes passing by and taking a look at the table.
The rules are based upon the classic Up-Front Game by Avalon Hill. It is my final action of the weekend. The Canadians are played by 4 players each with 5 cards in their hand. Cards allow movement, fire, rally etc. The Germans are played by Stephen St-John and myself. We each have a hand of 4 cards.  The hand size is reduced by one with every unit lost. The odds at the start are 20 cards to eight. Going to be an interesting day.

Canadian Troops Going Over The Top.  Programmed Fire shown on the Wire to cut it.
Canadians will not know how effective it is until the wire is reached.
Photo by David Redpath

Three of the Canadian Commanders.
Programmed fire on the wire with Canadians in forward positions.
Photo from David Redpath

The 4th Canadian Commander. First German
line taking fire on a discovered dug-out and
revealed LMG group

Canadian pre-programmed fire landing on the 3rd line of defense.

Canadian Troops reaching the wire but taking fire from medium mortars.

Canadian troops breaking through the wire on the right flank.

Left flank of the Canadians taking casualties. Right Flank advancing.
Revealed German troops shown in trenches.
Programmed allied fire on 2nd line of defense. German pillbox receiving special treatment.

 As the Germans we rolled and received 4 dugouts. All our troop locations were plotted on a map. As the programmed heavy fire rolled over us we rolled for damage. On the whole we were quite lucky with our rolls. Two of our dugouts were located by the Canadians at the start of the battle. One located in the middle of the front line, the 2nd near the middle of the third. Locations marked by green wooden blocks.

The Canadians pre-plotted their heavy barrage and their orders at the start of the game. Both sides had 20 mins to come up with their battle plans. The game flowed very quickly. Units are pinned if hit and cannot do anything unless they are rallied. Two pins and a unit is removed.

Terrain was made from camping/mattress foam. Trenches are cut in and shell holes created. Spray paints used to colour the terrain. An extremely effective method of creating the battlefield that is easily rolled up.

The Canadians end the game in the German forward trenches. Both Stephen and I are deduced to one card each. I was responsible for our right flank and had reduced one Canadian player (sorry Stan) to zero cards and the 2nd facing me had two cards remaining.   Things were not going as well on the left flank. These results somewhat mimic the historical results. One of the Canadian flanks became bogged down, while the other went on to reach their objectives.

The German Command. Photo by Doug Blair
The Germans were declared winners, based upon casualties inflected and objectives denied the Canadians. I had a good time this year in Ottawa, having been on the winning team in each game I played. The dice were good to me. It was a far cry from last year.