Keeping watch towards the disputed border, the Jagers of this watchtower scan the forest edges. These are the Jagers or border patrol for the Duchy of Reissenshein, that Forgotten Minor State of forest and mountains.
Lockdown Sort Out: One of the long surviving and bashed buildings I have is a resin farmhouse from the 15mm of range in the 1980s by Gallia.
This is not as you can tell the original chimney. This was lost sometime in storage over the years. However I found a suitable replacement chimney in a job lot bag which kind of fits, badly, in a characterful way.
If it got anymore wonky, Trumpton Fire Brigade would have to be called to fix it.
This Farmhouse was the only resin building that I bought then as I relied like everyone else on old bashed Airfix railway buildings, Airfix Forts, surviving parts of the Waterloo Farmhouse and homemade cardboard ones. Surprisingly large numbers of my games were fought then around strategic targets such as railway stations!
Gallia resin buildings were expensive enough c.1982/83 to have been chosen as a present. When it arrived, the resin still had a strong chemical smell which has thankfully faded over the years. I never tried their figure ranges.
One downside I found with this resin building is the fixed roof, so that you cannot place figures inside.
Back in 2017 on one of my “recconaissance flights over the digital front lines” or whatever it was Henry Hyde used to call his web, blog and podcast reviews in Miniature Wargames with Battle Games, I spotted this 1.3 kilos of 15mm lead scrap. In this fuzzy eBay picture I spotted some Peter Laing figures – his horses are very distinctive – and “took a punt” on buying for about a tenner with postage.
Now the Laing figure moulds are vanished and probably no more. From time to time I and others of the plucky and ever vigilant members of the Peter Laing Collectors Circle suit up, put on the flying goggles, get the engines running and chocks away, fly high and keep a watching brief on the Web and EBay to see what Laing figures come up for sale, glimpsed amongst the mass of figures far below online.
On returning from our Digital Dawn Patrol, “we few, we plucky few” then pass the word round on the Peter Laing MeWe web community pages set up by Ian Dury. https://mewe.com/join/peterlaingfigures
Although “time spent in Reconnaissance is seldom wasted” (family WW2 saying but who first said that?), this haul was a bit of a Peter Laing dud. Not much a ‘show’! Here is the debrief and the photographic reconnaissance:
The remaining 1.3 kilos of of white metal and lead scrap was 99% 15mm, mostly painted and unbroken, although minus the usual musket ends, bayonets and flags. Mixed manufacturers but 90% Napoleonic, no guns, few cavalry. A few stray Ancients and some ACW figures who might become guerrilla forces.
I don’t now know the origin of the various figures but it seemed a bit of crime to melt them down for homecasting. Some gamers somewhere had spent a lot of time painting these figures. It was not their tiny fault they had become detached from their units and so ended up unwanted as odds and ends with no RLS martial pride
Some figures as you can see in the original lead kilo photograph were on unit stands, most needed rebasing and flocking. This would add some unity to the varying heights, build, paintwork and stances of this mixed group.
Dividing the groups up was done mostly by uniform colour and style of head gear. This makes it easy to incorporate further random job lot figures in future.
Before repainting or re-uniforming, I photographed one or two features such as flags
I have temporarily misplaced most of the battered broken and unbased cavalry – no matter.
ImagiNations Inspiration for the Forgotten Minor States
For what follows, if you are outraged in a realist historical button counting way by the misidentification and mishmash of Napoleonic units, I will blame the following:
B) Antony Hope for writing the Prisoner of Zenda, here ably illustrated by Charles Dana Gibson in 1898
C) everyone else’s fictional ImagiNations, maps and campaigns at the moment from the Brontes through Hyboria onwards to Tradgardland and Ascaria.
D) the Brontes
E) Gilbert and Sullivan – not only their many Ruritanian states but also because it was the first time I got wear a “redcoat” (albeit from a theatrical costumiers).
The Forgotten Minor States and Principalitiesof MittelMittel Europe.
Along the Alpen fringes of MittelMittelEurope in the late 18th and 19th century were plenty of now Forgotten Minor States, now subsumed by unification, inattention, cartographical errors, inbreeding, insurrection, migration, invasion or royal marriage into other larger countries.
Few today now remember the triumphs and traditions, victories and defeats, failed colonies, romances and intrigues, scandals and petty squabbles of their plentiful heirs and claimants, Dukes and Duchesses, Princes and Princesses, Emperors and Electors, Statesmen and Generals, Chancellors and Presidents, Rebels, Republicans and Exiles.
Here are some of the fine forces of the FMS – Forgotten Minor States.
Guns for the artillery figures came as game pieces from the Napoleonic version of the Risk boardgame.
Light Artillery of the Verdigris Volunteer Militia – a suitably grey misty day for their grey green uniforms.
In this game world, these early to mid Nineteenth century troops have very light artillery pieces which can be horse drawn or dragged and manhandled on the battlefield by ropes by their four men crews and the rest of the “fire lock” or “fyreloque” company of troops. In mountainous regions the guns are disassembled and carried by Man or Mule.
Some spare Peter Laing horses and holders, artillery and baggage train will have to step in for future games.
The misty mountain regions of Verdigris is allied with Upper or Higher Plumea (see below). Its principal industry is copper mining, copper working for a range of industrial and artistic craft purposes, allied to the use of green pigment by artists. This has slowly declined since more stable green pigments were discovered and became available. As in Bleudelys, its pigment rival, the women of Verdigris play an important role in the processing of the pigment.
The flag reflects the mountain grey mist and the copper green of the Verdigris pigment industry.
Here we see a fine contingent and drums of the Pompomeranian Grenadiers on field exercises, tramping through a field for exercise, as ever poorly commanded by their General Abysmal Notuptodemark. On this occasion he is not with them, being back at his headquarters, having a major fashion crisis trying to decide what to wear.
* Not to confused with the region of Pomerania mentioned by Prussian Otto von Bismarck who expressed a view that involvement in the turbulent Balkan wars was “not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier”.
Pompomerania as a minor state or region has two main industries – goat and sheep herding and turning the wool into the exotic dyed pom-poms supplied to the many military uniforms of many countries worldwide. Dyes are sourced through many local wildflowers and plants in the well grazed mountain meadows of Upper Pompomerania, along with a trading approach to purchase such dye stuffs from many sources worldwide.
The excessively large white PomPoms on their shakos both signify the importance of sheep and goat wool to the national culture and economy, as well as advertising the national wares at any military event and occasion at home and abroad from wars to military tattoos, coronations and state funerals. Approaches and requests can be made through the Pompomeranian Embassy and Trade Delegation in your country.
As result of its military exports, it aims to achieve armed neutrality in most conflicts, except where its trading sources are threatened. When nations are at war, demands for adornments to military headgear increase including for splendid volunteer and yeomanry uniforms. During the occasional “Long Peace”, uniforms become even more impractical and flamboyant. A rare “win win” situation in peace and war.
Additional Note: The small quick firing cannon used in many countries is based on the Pompomeranian quick firing light artillery whose rapid fire sound “pom-pom-pom-pom” is due both to excellently choreographed artillery units (drill days Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays) and to the similarity to the rhythmic sound of some of the wool processing machinery powered by water mills in this mountainous and snowmelt terrain of Upper Pompomerania. This rhythm is also reflected in the drums and military bands of Pompomerania and the tuneless near wordless “Pom Pom Pom”ing Chorus Section of the national anthem.
An information request to the Pompomeranian embassy can confirm that the breed of local mountain dogs used to carry the sledge or dog cart artillery is indeed the tough and very fluffy White Pompomeranian breed. These also make excellent sheep herding dogs.
The Duchy of Hesseansachs
An advanced unit of Hesseansachs Grenadiers and military cadets.
This minor region and Duchy of Hesseansachs thrives on the supplies of the jute trade, rivalled only by Dundee and the curiously revolving town of Glasgae in Hibernia.
Like the Pompomeranian economy, Hesseansachs thrives in times of war and peace. In wartime it is busy supplying jute sandbags for fortifications or Hessean Sacks as they are known. In times of peace it supplies shopping bags and in case of heavy rainfall both in peace and war, hessean sacks are supplied as sandbags for flood prevention. The military personnel are trained to assist in these times of deluge. War, peace, disaster or shopping, the Jute mills of Hesseansachs are busy by day and sometimes by night. The national motto roughly translates as “Your disaster is our national income”.
A small Hesseansachs Navy and Marines force exists to protect the shipping and supply lines to the sources of jute such as India and Southeast Asia.
(Above) The “greenery yellary Grosvenor Gallery” uniforms of Gelbania depict the verdant greenery and sunshine of this mountainous state, whose inhabitants frequently indulge in arias and light operettas. They are noted for their harmonic marching songs as they trek up and down the mountain passes. On Sundays, small military bands play a selection of light airs at bandstands in each of the few towns. Here in this small platoon are some cadets and members of the Light Operetta Company of Gelbanian Volunteer Militia – Chorus Section.
Upper or Higher Plumea
Thissmall selection of troops from Upper Plumea shows in its uniform the alliance by Royal marriages of the Duchess Maria of the flaming red hair to the reigning family of the small state of Verdigris.
You can clearly see the similarity to the dark green uniforms of the Verdigris Volunteer Militia, the main difference being the copper buttons and band instruments of the Verdigris troops. The two regions share misty and humid microclimates unusual in the Alpen regions. Verdigris is supported by its copper mining and copper working industry.
Upper or Higher Plumea’s mountainous valley economy is mostly based on breeding birds for their feather plumes to supply the military and civilian millinery industry, much like Pompomerania.
The Upper Plumean troops have a tall plume with red upper part and the lower green section reflecting the alliance with the Verdigris.
No one now remembers whathappened to Lower or Middle Plumea, whose troops must have had more restrained and unimpressive hats.
Another mountainous minor state, its troops wear white uniforms and its few Marines of its tiny lake and river navy have attractive top hats.
We are awaiting uniform information on this calisthenic nation of early risers.
The proudest part of the Thyer Brigadian uniforms is the brass cavalry style plumed dragoon helmets which are often copiedby Fire Brigades worldwide. Interestingly these Volunteer Militia troops are also the Volunteer Fire Brigade in their various towns and villages (hence the variations in uniforms), making sure that their native Alpine wooden houses and mountain forests do not catch fire. A fireman’s axe is carried on fire duty and state occasions. The woodenfire towers are also part of Militia watch posts in each valley.
Theseexcellent Rifleman are from the western edges of Southern Europe. Their brown uniforms provide good cover and camouflage.
Bleudelys Republican forces (below) wear light blue plumes on their darker blue uniforms. These are a selection of the Bleudelys Grenadiers (the ‘Grognards’) or the Old Guard. The uniform is based on that of the Royal Guard of the former Royaume de Bleudelys.
Bleudelys forces include the Blue plumed Line Infantry, Artillery and Bicorne clad Marines.
This Bleudelys Republic is currently run by one Revolutionary turned Emperor, the short and far from boney and skeletal Mediterranean-born former artillery officer Napoli de Leon (Napoli the Lion).
And finally the Marine Corps and boatmen with their distinctive bicorne hats
Great Butlinnia and Hibernia
The redcoats of Great Butlinnia, a large island off the coast of MittelMittelEurope with its cheery Redcoat Army, its Navy, Marine, are allied with its North, the kilted Celtic redcoated troops of Hibernia.
Ruled by King William or ‘King Billy’, Great Butlinnia does not maintain a large standing Army except for the oppression of democracy and reform. In times of peace its Redcoats double up as family entertainers and variety artistes, its wartime barracks serving also as holiday camps for its many citizens and tourists.
As a result of its dual Redcoat nature, each regiment and branch of the armed forces is in great rivalry with its ornate uniforms, showy parade movements, music and marches on state occasions.
The Republic of the Uwessae
Uwessae, the phonetically spelt former colony of Great Butlinnia in the Neu Welt or New World of Northern Generica has kept the military shako of its former masters but changed its coat colours throughout revolution and independence to a Republican inspired Bleudelys dark blue to avoid confusion with the Redcoats.
A troubled border exists to the north of the Uwessae where a mountainous forested country was once occupied by Bleudelys as a trading colony, alliances with warring tribes of the native Generican inhabitants and simmering friction with the existing dominant power of Great Butlinnia – the colony of Butlinnian North Generic or BNG.
For much of the rest of the early 19th Century world in this Napoli-de-Leonic Era of world war and Minor States, look no further than the Bronte ImagiNations of Gondal, Glasstown and Angria.
If you missed any parts, here are links to all three posts about my Unboxing my Blue Box of drawers, my ‘bits and bobs’ box of 1980s figures that I unpacked, explored and sometimes finished off this week.
What lead mountains, unfinished projects, forgotten boxes or stockpiles of your own figures have you raided over these Lockdown weeks?
Part 1 – 1/300, hair-rollers and other scales and the background to these posts:
I was already buying from Peter by then so it was interesting to see the man behind the figures.
What were your favourite parts, figures or drawers in the Blue Box?
Already the White Company pikes are in place, a new unit finally finished after 35 years patient waiting for basing and arming. These will eventually join my other Laing ECW regiments in Really Useful Boxes. They are no longer ‘odds and ends’.
What next for the Blue Box figures?
The box’s contents should give me some dedicated “Blue Box days” painting or gaming with the limited resources that I have in the Box.
Some of the random solo figures may be “returned to unit” if more exist elsewhere, packed away in my collections.
With unlimited figures available online now, it is quite restrictively creative in a ‘Desert Island Discs’ scenario that this Blue Box is all that you have …
This used to be the same going on holiday as a child (and still today) where you can only take a really limited box of figures, so you had to choose very carefully!
What If this was my Desert Island Discs box, my ‘fire box’, if this Blue Box from my 1980s gaming were all that survived, I think there is enough interesting variety to scratch together some skirmish games.
If these were the only figures you had in the world, what fantastical ImagiNations games these would be.
There would be enough for some Ancients and WW2 1/300 games, some 15mm ECW and Marlburian era games and OO/HO or 1/72 Plastic and metal figure games from various manufacturers and several 19th and 20th Century periods.
In an era of too much choice, I sometimes do this Time Machine thing with vintage Airfix games restricting the figures selection to those boxes available from 1959 to 1969.
What have I learned from several days rummaging through the Blue Box?
I have enjoyed sorting through the mixed figures, sample figures, lost figures, revisiting past projects begun and unfinished, sample figures. Some may have been long forgotten swaps. Sometimes I have no idea or memory why these painted figures were left unbased and unused.
It tells me I am still the easily distracted “Wargames Butterfly” that I was as a childhood or teenage gamer, who just likes collecting toy soldiers. Nothing much has changed.
Some of the junk bits and bobs have quite strong memories attached, from Owzthat dice to parts of long vanished 70s games or bits of houses like the old lead wiring cover strips from my childhood home that I planned to include in castings for my Dad.
I still like, collect and use the Peter Laing 15mm figures that I eventually focussed on, choosing these above the odd 15mm Mike’s Model samples and for some reason (money?) never went with the 15mm or 25mm Minifigs.
The metal figures were part of the ‘eye candy’ temptation of what I was seeing in the wargames and modelling magazines. Outside of Featherstone books, ‘grown up gamers’ in magazines didn’t seem to use plastic figures. Plastic figures were for kids.
The Platoon 20 metal 20mm “Moderns” samples were good but expensive compared to similar Airfix, Matchbox, Atlantic or Esci plastic figure. That us, if you could find them in stock at the time. I still like and still use these plastic figures.
There was obviously in the early to mid 1980s a lot of distracting new figures, scales and ranges around to explore and choose from, ranging from tiny 1/300 to 54mm figures. Nowadays there is even more distractions and choice …
1/300 offered such a lot of figures for such a little amount of money. Such a lot of little figures. 1/300 were maybe too tiny for the skirmish level small group or individual figure games that I enjoyed then and still do now. The simple Featherstone War Games 1962 rules and Close Wars appendix still does nicely for me!
What is missing in the Blue Box is much trace of 54mm figures and 54mm gaming. Thankfully a representative sample of some of these original heroic plastic figures from my childhood have survived, despite paring down and house moves, in a separate metal engineers suitcase. For obvious ‘safety’ reasons, Lead 54mm and home casts were just not around in the shops and toy boxes of my childhood, metal 54mm meant Britain’s Deetail with metal bases.
I spent a busy lockdown sunny day sorting through these final four drawers, finally basing Peter Laing and other 15mm figures that I painted mid 1980s and never got around to basing or using in games. Probably a shortage of plastic card pennies at the time.
These white coated musketeers and pikemen need their flag painted, pikes finally fixed and their officer finished. An ECW unit only thirty five years in the making.
There were several other units that I haven’t quite finished since starting them 35 odd years ago including these purple coated musketeers and pikemen. Well worth finishing off.
Fixing or refixing these Peter Laing supplied pin pikes will be a fiddly blast from the past.
A collection or muster of old Peter Laing pikes and useful pins.
Marlburian Peter Laing figures are even more slender and shorter than the later Peter Laing figures – they were Peter’s first figure range c. 1972 and probably the first 15mm figures designed in this new scale. The artillery and wagons are useful for several periods from English Civil War through to Napoleonic and 19th Century.
Marlburian artillery pieces
I featured some of my rebased Marlburians and ECW Peter Laing figures in 2016 here:
I chose Peter Laing figures because they offered me figures that Airfix didn’t do. That’s probably why I didn’t collect his Ancients, Napoleonics, 19th Century, ACW and WW1/WW2 as I already had small Airfix forces of these. Esci plastic Colonials and Zulus also appeared at this time.
I think it might have been the colourful uniforms and especially the ECW flags that won me over after years of plastic khaki grunge.
As well as Peter Laing’s ECW figures and a few Marlburians, I really liked the Scots ECW extension range to do the 1715 / 1745 period.
Amongst some unfinished lowlanders in trews, which I will finish in hunting Rifle Green for another project, I picked up a year or two ago this vibrantly prepainted colourful handful of Lowlanders and Scots, with bashed muskets.
These overlapping ranges – English Civil War with Scots that did for 1715/1745 if you added some Marlburian troops which could share the baggage train helped to double up on figures and save money and paint.
I wonder now why I never went the next step to do the Featherstone ‘Close Wars’ type of French Indian Wars forest skirmishes with my Marlburian tricorne figures and some Laing Indian figures. Probably because I had this covered by Airfix Indians and AWI Washington’s Army tricorne plastic OO/HO figures.
A few odd Peter Laing 15mm Ancients and Pikemen. I have no idea why they aren’t with the rest of their units in Really Useful Boxes. That is the nature of the Blue Box and its drawers, a sanctuary or safe place for odds and ends.
15mm ECW cavalry and personality figures – old Minifigs? – but too chunky and large to match my slender Peter Laing ECW figures. These lances will need repair. Maybe they can join some of my ImagiNations “Cordery’s composite cavalry” type forces.
There are a few odd 15mm figures that were probably “S.A.E for list and samples” including these D&D like dwarfish 15mm English Civil War figures from Mikes Models. Having seen these versus the 15mm Peter Laing English Civil Wars samples, I chose the more slender Laings. Each to his own.
Sorting through boxes on Lockdown Day #whateveritis, I came across this 1987 Military Modelling A5 supplement on wargaming written by the late and sadly missed Stuart Asquith.
The colour front cover shows an enviable set up of a wargames room with shelves full of figures, a fine games table and some impressive pointing out of stuff by Stuart to the “younger generation”, youngsters who need such a free supplement explaining wargames. One day hopefully I will achieve this adult stage.
Being on furlough, I don’t have my usual office access to scanners so some rough photos will have to surfice for now.
One reason this booklet survived in my collection through my non-gaming busy years is the Peter Laing “Eye Candy” photographs.
These are presumably of Stuart’s collection of Laing, as it features the Boadicca figure that Peter made or converted especially for Stuart. This figure is mentioned in Stuart’s excellent Comfortable Wargaming article.
More Marlburians, the unusual period figures with which Peter Laing launched his 15mm range in the early 1970s.
Jacklex figures and gun conversions, including traction engine models and river launches built by Stuart Asquith.
Gramodels are still operating https://www.gramodels.co.uk. I wonder if these “Jacklex EFSI” vehicles will one day be available again or if they are conversions?
Finally, some of those range of scale pictures.
Part of my unpainted Peter Laing ECW / 1745 collection was preserved for decades of house moves by the sort of plastic box that I received as a present around this time – inspired no doubt by the photo in this supplement?
This box is still a time capsule or touchstone of my gaming activities c. 1986/7 with hair roller armies, Heroics and Ros / Skytrex 1:300, Platoon 20 and Peter Laing figures amongst the oddments. Worth an emptying out for a blog post one day as another fun “Unboxing” post?
Peter Laing 15mm collectors and fans can find those with similar interests on the MeWe Peter Laing site set up by Ian Dury when Google+ pages closed.
A happy discovery as I sorted and restowed boxes yesterday, I found I had an overlooked small unit of Peter Laing 15mm American Civil War Union infantry that I had bought online already painted and based in threes some years ago.
In their painting at least, these in Bob Cordery’s words are OBEs – Other Beggars’ Efforts.
I found tucked away in a small box 33 painted figures of ACW Infantry advancing with rifle (Kepi) F3009 of the small ACW range from the now discontinued ‘out of production’ Peter Laing 15mm range.
As they were when I found them, well based in threes, and painted in union blue, mostly with black kepis.
When I discovered them, they were based in threes, which is no use to me as I fight individual figure skirmish games. So the often tedious process of F and B (Flocking and Basing) or in this case, Rebasing and Flocking began yesterday.
Once split off their triple bases, I tried to keep as much of the original figure flocking as I could. Something of their OBE original basing would remain. I glued each figure to a 15mm by 15mm base of scrap mounting board, then used PVA glue and railway flock to cover the gaps.
Once the figures have their base gaps covered in PVA, they were gently plunged into the layers of mixed railway flock in the pink box and left for a while.
I was short of a unit officer, so a previous paint conversion of an A503 Gunner with handspike from the Peter Laing ECW range stepped in to lead them temporarily.
WordPress tell me that this is my 500th Blogpost on Man of TIN blog since it began in 2016. Thank you for reading!
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 5 April 2020
B.P.S. Blog Post Script
As this is a “hands-on, brain off” type of activity, which is calming enough in itself, I found some suitable period music free on a YouTube or Spotify playlist to listen to. Instrumental versions of Songs of the North by Craig Duncan (and its twin recording Songs of the South) kept me company.
I’m not sure what you might listen to whilst painting and basing, but I’m sure the tiny men appreciate it and it is somehow absorbed into their tiny tin DNA during the painting and basing, giving them entertainment and fighting spirit. Enjoy!
“Middle Eastern Swordsmen for Hire … will go anywhere … do anything … any period … please somebody buy us and paint us and base us.” I wonder if that’s what goes through the lead head thoughts of some of these unloved figures.
These Peter Laings have been sitting online on EBay for so long, that eventually I started to feel sorry for the tiny 15mm chaps.
Every time I went online to look for Peter Laing figures, these unloved and unwanted specimens would turn up.
Peter Laing Ancients seem on the whole less desirable than his later period figures ranges.
I didn’t have a “mounted Camel spearman”. Everybody needs at least one …
EBay retailer figures4sale listed the others as “M207 Turkish Horse Archer and M410 Hun cavalry” and the rather genetic “Middle eastern swordsmen x 5”. I have yet to check them in the catalogue. Maybe some of the MeWe Peter Laing community will beat me to it
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 25 January 2020
A Peter Laing pity party … tinier than the curious Puddles Pity Party at the Postmodern Jukebox HQ. Slowed down cabaret American punk – like an armoured camel, just what everyone secretly needs.
NGY 2020 Irresolution Five – Return to Planet Back Yarden
I seemed to spend all year on and off enjoyably preparing for a 42mm or 54mm garden skirmish game with plastics or old lead that never properly happened. Sci-Fi Space Wars, American Civil War, ImagiNations and colonial Little Wars or WW2 – who knows which period will make it into the flower bed battles? I foresee creaky knees and an aching back …
NGY 2020 Irresolution Six – Develop my Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop
‘Scouting’ happened along in April, when I picked up a copy of a vintage Wide Games book on a seaside holiday, which set me (and also Alan at the Duchy of Tradgardland) off on a new tangent.
In summer, the kind gift of a bag of old 1960s Airfix figures by Tony Adams at the Miniature Wood Screw Army led to some nice relaxed painting and rebasing of Airfix figures. This often feels quite relaxing to be like happy colouring in.
Who knows where my “gaming journey” will have taken me at the end of 2020 and by the end of the Twenty Twenties?
If it’s as fun as where it’s has taken me since 2010, I will be happy enough!
Here’s best wishes for the tabletop gaming year to come to all my blog readers, to all those whose blogs I enjoy reading and for all those online strangers that I have not met yet who stumble across my Man of TIN blog and my other blogs this year.
Happy New Year! Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 31 December 2019 / 1 January 2020.
Aerial view of the skirmish area set out as in the Solo Wargaming book. Turn 1
My tribute to Stuart, using some of his former 15mm Peter Laing troops, is a small Ancient skirmish.
It is based on the ‘Wheel Meet Again’ scenario in his Guide To Solo Wargaming. The rules are based on his simple rules in his Guide to Wargaming.
Scenario 8 – Wheel Meet Again
“A lightly guarded convoy of wagons has run into a spot of bother. One of the wagons has suffered a broken wheel and had to be left behind with a guard by the rest of the convoy. On reaching their destination the scouts pass on their news about the disabled wagon. At once a relief column is organised, complete with spare wheel to put the wagon back in service and sets off.
Meanwhile the enemy is also interested in the immobile wagon and its small escort and decide to investigate. The wagon guard, on the alert for just such an event, open fire on the inquisitive enemy, hoping that relief is at hand.
This scenario is fought in three stages. Firstly the wagon guards attempt to keep their attackers at bay. Next reinforcements arrive and deploy to allow the wagon to be repaired. Finally the wagon and its new escort have to gain the safety of the eastern edge of the table once more. A moderately complex, three-part engagement follows and offers numerous permutations for the solo player …”
Stuart Asquith, p.74 Solo Wargaming (1989)
I am not normally an Ancients player but having picked up several years ago a 15mm Pict / Celtic and Roman army from Stuart Asquith and also other figures from online sellers, I have enough scraps of Egyptians, Greeks, Assyrians etc to field several different national skirmish forces.
The setting: Roman Britain – the Pictish wilds
A Roman supply column has left behind a broken down wagon with a few escorts, promising to send a relief force.
A small shadowing hunting party of Pictish scouts lurk to the Northwest.
The broken wagon is a fire cart, a blacksmiths cart, belonging to the Roman Army.
Stuart recommends a small ‘Wagon Guard’ force for part one, such as 6 archers (or musketeers in later periods).
A d6 is thrown to find out when reinforcements on both sides will arrive. In this game they would appear on Turn 5, Romans to the East and Picts to the West.
After playing the game I noticed that Stuart Asquith suggested that one d6 is thrown to work out which turn for the arrival of the enemy, two d6 for the arrival of the supply column.
There are several areas of uncrossable forest to the Southeast and Southwest and a passable rocky forest outcrop to the North East.
It takes two turns to fix the wagon once the Roman forces reach this waggon with the repair tools and a spare wheel. Repairs take the help of four men.
Phase 1 – Holding the Pictish Scouting Party at Bay
Turn 1 sees the Roman armoured archers spread out into a defensive circle, the Pictish scouting party spread out to the Northwest. The Roman archers land two successful hits at mid range and hit the two Pictish archers.
Without distance or range weapons, the Picts charge into melee – one Roman archer is killed and two more Pictish spearman.
In some melee situations, the +1 advantage of the armour of a Roman archers is cancelled out by being confronted by two Pictish spearmen +1.
Roman archers fought the melee with their swords, so are unable to fire this round.
With few Pict scouts left, we take a morale test to work out what the Picts will do. Roll d6 – 1,3, 5 continue for melee and 2,4,6 outnumbered, retreat. The Picts move into melee and being within firing range, the last Picts are quickly wiped out.
Turn 4 sees the Roman Archers regroup.
Phase 2 the Relief Column Arrives
The Pictish War Band and Roman relief column arrived on the scene at opposite ends. The Light Cavalry and Light Infantry head out ahead of the others. Roman archers take out a Pictish light cavalryman and archer. The Pictish archers miss their targets.
The Roman light infantry and cavalry ride up with the mounted office of the relief column to join the Roman archer Wagon Guards who fall back behind the wagon to join them.
In the ensuing movement / melee and fire turns, 2 more Pictish archers are successfully targeted by the Roman archers but the Roman mounted officer is killed by a Pictish archer.
Romans move first and the legionaries in the relief column reach the stranded waggon – the light infantry and cavalry on both sides clash in melee. Two Roman cavalry and two auxiliaries are quickly killed.
At this stage the Picts have a series of lucky dice throws, spelling disaster for the Romans. They slam into the Roman ranks, killing the last 4 Roman archers of the Wagon Guard.
The Romans are unable to fire their pilum short spears as their own men are out in front. Fortunately the Pictish archers are equally blockedfrom firing by the presence of their own men.
In the melee the Roman Eagle standard bearer and another infantry officer is killed. However the Eagle is quickly grabbed by another legionary.
As soon as the Romans can throw their pilums, six Pictish warriors are brought down.
Rule – only the first two rows can throw pilums.
In turn 8 the two front Roman ranks who have thrown pilums spread out to counter the Picts to their right. 6 more legionaries are lost in melee before the remaining pilums are thrown taking out three more Pictish archers and spearmen.
As the Picts move into further melee, 2 more legionaries fall – the Eagle is again grabbed to safety by the Roman officer – and 4 Picts are killed. Only one of the Pictish archers is left.
On the Pictish side, only one archer, a spearman and the mounted Pictish officer and one of foot remain.
On the Roman side, 4 legionaries, the trumpeter and officer with the Eagle remain.
The morale test – throw d6 1,3,5 to retire and 2,4,6 to fight on.
The Picts choose to retire, the Romans to fight on.
Phase 3 – The Wagon repairedand rescued
The Picts retreat and the Roman legionaries repair and recover the wagon, heading off to the East, wary of further Pictish attack.
A beer tribute to Stuart Asquith who watched over the whole proceedings.
Once the game was over, I raised a glass of WW1 anniversary beer to Stuart in thanks for all he had done for my hobby.
Sadly my last bottle of this 2014 WW1 anniversary Cornish vintage beer picked up on my travels hadn’t aged well in the bottle. I had picked up a couple of beer mats for figure basing from the pub after Sunday lunch after an earlier walk – appropriately drinking some Tribute beer.
Rest In Peace, Stuart Asquith – hope you enjoyed the game.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 17 / 18 November 2019.