Monday, 30 January 2023

A battlefield, a battle, a bus and more ………

In fact a mixed bag of stuff hobby related πŸ˜€ . So at the back end of last week I was up in Edinburgh visiting my Dad and took the opportunity to head across to the Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre. I had been to the battlefield a long time ago but don’t ever remember going round the visitor centre.

Is was a suitably cold and cloudy day
From the high ground around the main battlefield monument you get good views and there are several displays boards etc…
Robert the Bruce monument meant to mark the site of the Scottish camp 
The visitor centre has a pretty informative and enjoyable organised ‘tour’ and it gave an excellent overview of the battle
It includes a few modern computer generated displays including this one which attempts to put you into the heart of the battle ?
There is a nice wall display of what the chaos of battle probably did look like before the British broke and fled back across the Bannock Burn.

This weekend we had our first remote Hex based game of the year. Another trip to the Reconquista, deviate quite a bit of hunting on the internet it is remarkable how little is known about most of these battles. That of course is helpful in some ways giving me freedom to balance the forces. Here we have the Battle of Consuegra in Toledo. The Almoravids had been besieging the town itself when AlfonsoVI arrived to break the siege. The battle which took place outside the town is perhaps most notable as El Cid had not been able to come in support of Alfonso, instead he sent some of his best knights under the leadership of his son Diego Rodriguez who managed to get himself killed in the battle. Historically the Christians outnumbered the Almoravids but managed to over stretch themselves losing the battle, although Alfonso got away with his life ! With only limited historical details the setup is one with some balance, the Christian’s have slightly more troops but a generally weaker.
The Almoravids initially advance on their left.
But Diego counter charges and gets the better of the encounter.
In the centre the two infantry lines draw closer together neither quite ready to charge in where they may lose the advantage
With the Christian cavalry pushing through on the right the Arabs advance on the opposite wing
Here the better Arab infantry led by their commander Muhammad ibn Al-Hajj are close to breaking the Christian left flank.
Suddenly the battle started to become very closely contested and winning initiative became critical. 
Both sides have their break point/morale slowly broken and having trailed behind for most of the battle the Almoravids claw things back to level
Both armies are now shattered and badly mauled, the Christian’s have broken through on their right the Almoravids on the other flank, and both are close to capturing the enemy camp which will cause the win.
Some of the Christian right finds itself with little to do but watch !
In the end having started at 22 & 21 break points each we ended up at 2 & 1 left each, so literally the next combat would decide the battle. The Almoravid cavalry did have a slightly dodgy way into the Christian camp to claim victory but this felt slightly underhand after such a close battle so they chose to charge the peasant folk guarding the camp who somehow managed to save the day for Alfonso
As the very next activation was for Diego and his knights to capture the Almoravid camp. Technically then a Christian win but really a draw with both armies exhausted. A splendid battle which once again went right down to the wire both sides looking to capture that last final point for victory πŸ‘

Next up the Bus , picked up for a charity shop in town a nice little model and pretty much 1/56 scale it has a slightly more worn appearance and I see this as some terrain for up and coming Mediterranean WW2 battles ? It probably needs a coat of paint but I will leave it for now.
Next up in discussions last weekend over the possible use of the M3 spare parts it came to life that the British often cut the top of these when damaged and used the chassis as tracked command or transport vehicles. A quick search on the internet and I found these two pictures to support the idea. Above a command vehicle 
Here used as transport
So with a lot of fiddling as you don’t get all the bits in the kit to make these from the leftovers I made this command vehicle
And three transports….I had some spare stowage so put as much of this on as possible, don’t look closely as there are some key bits of the tanks actually missing, but at 15mm they will do. The 0.50 cal machine guns were spare from the Sherman’s in the Tobruk starter set.

Sorry it has been a bit of a ramble but thanks for checking in

Matt ‘KBO’ πŸ‘

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Battle for Middle Earth

For a change we got my Lord of the Rings collection out last Saturday for a battle. What is nice is each time I get it out I find a few more figures and get them painted up as seen in my last post. I do have a few more figures floating around ….the danger of course is the urge to pick up just a few more and I really don’t need any.

Our battle is not based on anything ‘specific’ in the literature although having seen a few eleven armies and conversions recently that would be a nice idea I’m hoping this urge will pass !

The forces of Good Rohan and Gondor take on the combined might of the Witch King and Saruman. Given the nature of the battle and the irregular forces I haven’t done a blow by blow account of the battle. We used Kings of War with some modified statistics, we didn’t get all these quite right as the trolls proved to be a bit too resilient and the Good Hero’s not tough enough ! I also have a slight imbalance with too many forces of evil. Despite all this the game provide a very enjoyable days gaming.
The initial set up roughly 8 x 5 somewhere in Middle Earth
The stoutly armoured men of Gondor 
Mordor has unleashed a mix of Wargs, Orcs and huge armoured trolls !
He doesn’t play often if ever so the evil force is led by the Witch-King himself , we gave him some special rules (which was a mistake !)
The clatter of hooves as the Riders of Rohan arrive
Soooooo many Urk hai coming out of the woods
Too many ! 
Tactics what tactics the evil doers are simple here to kill or enslave men and bring the whole of Middle Earth under darkness ! They rush across the field
Some early success sees the Gondorian Knights push back and eventually get the better of the Wargs
Gondorian Rangers are holding the small hill and successfully hold back the onslaught at least for a while.
More Knights push across the stream
At the small temple a fierce hand to hand fight, how long can the men survive?
A wave of death charges across the stream and the men of Gondor brace themselves
The witch king swoops in
You shall not pass, unfortunately Gandalf is not quite as tough as I had hoped he wounds the troll but isn’t quite able to kill it 
The first wave has been held back but then another troll charges the bridge !
Faramir takes on the Black knight one to one but he falls, perhaps only wounded ?
Sarumans Uruk Hai are now swarming around the temple hill
Eomer charges into the berserkers to stem the tide and another Hero falls 😒
The Rohirrim cavalry are using their bows to avoid hand to hand combat
Some fantastic saves by the Rangers who roll two consecutive double ones to stay in the fight
Fighting all along the battlefront πŸ‘
The witch-king is still causing trouble
Boromir smashed into by a huge armoured troll, now in the films he would easily win ?
On the right the good guys are just holding
But just as the Gondorian cavalry threaten a breakthrough the witch king circle around to catch them in the rear 😠
By this stage after several hours (literally) the forces of good are being thinned down, and they don’t have an answer to the trolls
But they are still holding the stream
Did I mention the eagle which ? Seems ok at killing Orcs but couldn’t tackle the trolls
At this point keen for not all the hero’s to die , Boromir and Gandalf at this stage are both fighting separate trolls we call it a day and the good guys flee back to Minis Tirith and Helms Deep respectively. The orcs are too busy feeding on ‘man-flesh’ to chase them down.

Jolly fun game, I need to upgrade the hero’s and downgrade the trolls slightly otherwise the armies are quite well balanced. Who knows we might get these out again sometime soon as I have some other stuff which has virtually never been on the table.

On a different note I ordered up some anti tank guns at Christmas, unfortunately when I opened them the tracks of the carriers are all miss cast. I contacted PSC and they have been very good about some new  ones are on the way.

As always thanks for checking in …..Matt

Update the replacement carriers and guns have arrived in 2 days so excellent service we’ll done Plastic Soldier Company πŸ‘