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Monday 31 October 2022

Akhalis, Kala-Paga, and a thin red line.

 In between writing and selling soldiers I am actually getting a little painting done. Never as much as I'd like but then you never do really.  The fruits of the last couple of weeks appear in the pictures. 

 The Kala-Paga are the elite Maratha cavalry - several steps up from the Pindaris and suchlike that the bulk of their cavalry often consisted of and that the British were so disparaging about. No, these chaps  were the paid(in theory) more or less 'regular' cavalry of Maratha armies. Much better armed and equipped than most and able to fight as 'battle' cavalry as well as raid in the 'gaminia Kava' style of normal Maratha warfare. There were never that many of them and ten percent of Maratha cavalry is possibly a bit generous. I've given this first bunch the 'national flag' of the Marathas the saffron yellow carried from the time of Sivaji the Great if not earlier.

Maratha National flag. Models are mostly Redoubt but the standard bearer is an Old Glory Turkish Spahi on a Stadden 30mm horse.

Sikh Akhalis, warriors for their faith. These chaps fought Mughals, Marathas and indeed anyone else including the British. The British first encountering them in a skirmish in 1809. 

Sikh Akhalis. All Old Glory 28mm from the same pack, though there are more head variants than shown here. More to paint. 

British Infantry of the Sikh Wars period. These are the 31st Foot. Command and Flank companies still to finish. But we are getting there. 

Old Glory 28mm British Infantry from the Sikh Wars range. These from the centre company in shell jacket pack. 

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Wargaming De Boigne's Campaigns Part 2 Some thoughts on rules.

 Some years ago when I made a previous attempt at gaming De Boigne's campaign I knew a hell of a lot less about them than I do now. Back then we used a somewhat amended version of Warfare in the Age of Reason for the games using those armies. As I start the period up again  I began by thinking 'Black Powder'  or 'General De Brigade'  but I'm not sure either will quite work. Many of the BP mechanisms I find just a bit faffy. Now part of that is simply because it is such a pain to find stuff in the books but part of it is also that I hate pinning my colours to one ship - or in this case one rule set. Now this is not to say that BP does not have its points, it has some nice touches but wading through a 200 page book to find them and then to have to write 'em all down is frankly a pain when you only play a dozen times a year at most.

New group of Mughal cavalry - late 18th century. Deliberately a bit generic rather than specific on a 'Ghol' base.

 On the whole I prefer the simpler and more open ended mechanisms of Warfare in the Age of Reason but at least part of that is because I have played them a lot more than Black Powder. I may alter my opinion once I have played more Black Powder - and once I can find stuff in the over wordy  and eye-candy heavy book. Age of Reason is actually easy to navigate though the actual book is not as robust- that goes for all of my very well used copies though I don't yet have a copy of the 3rd Edition.

Old Glory 28mm Pathans. For De Boignes campaigns these will be Rohilla mercenaries
 and can fight either with or against him.

The unit sizes and command level for both sets are similar and can be made identical with almost no effort. My Seven Years War collection which was built around AOR uses battalions of 24 ,28 ,32 and even 48 . But of course I can use other sets if I choose- which is really the point as I am not and never will be a one set fanboy. And yes I know  the basic version of AOR uses 12 fig battalions but frankly they are simply too piddly  for my taste  so I have always used the  larger battalion variant with some local amendment to suit sub-periods and specific tactical doctrine.

Another view of the cavalry Ghol - this time on their single bases.

 Indeed my original Wellington in India collection used AOR  with a number of  India specific mods. As far as I can recall these included making most Indian irregular units  morale level 1 or even 0 for the worst troops BUT adding extra commanders who could only affect the morale of their contingent. This tended to mean that large mobs of rubbish stood at the back waiting for something to happen and then ran away when it did. I even recall doing some 'mob stands' - all representing the space of 10 or possibly even 20 models- can't recall which- but having varying numbers actually on the  base  with bits of terrain to make 'em look more.  Chris Sinclair bought the  Mughal collection in the late 90s . I stupidly sold the Wellington in India collection to Ian Hinds a few years later- always regretted that. 

A mob of irregulars.

  Other rules mods included. Making the old fashioned traditional style Indian guns immobile and only allowing them to fire directly ahead. Can't recall if I gave Indian firearm cavalry a skirmish option but I should have done.

The only De Boigne battalion so far completed. Still a long way to go. 

So despite being up to my armpits in the Anglo- Sikh Wars at the moment and painting of anything going glacially slowly due to other commitments I have by no means forgotten De Boigne and his fascinating wars I just don't have enogh toys to get him on the table yet. 

Monday 3 October 2022

Catching Up On My Reading 14

 These days I don't see many wargames magazines. I advertise in MW but no longer get a voucher copy merely a link to pocketmags which is a right faff and I can't be bothered. WI -I have not seen a copy of since before the pandemic but visiting the site deluges you with so much shazam - kapow  again I can't be bothered to faff about when I have books to write and soldiers to paint - as well as a business to run.. So the only mag I now see with any regularity is Wargames Soldiers and Strategy- for my money probably the best of the current crop.

Now to be clear magazine no longer occupy the place they once did. I have binned many of my old mags only keeping those that contained useful articles- which tends to mean magazines of some age. Much of the stuff I recently sent to the recycling was post millennium, usually because I find so much of that stuff intellectually bereft.

WSS is not like that at all. It  mostly treats you like an adult. The current issue is no different and follows its usual pattern with a decent selection of reviews and a good selection or articles presented in the usual eye-candy heavy manner. All in '28mm'  and all in the 'received style' that the punters seem to expect.

The Specialist subject this issue is the 'Wars of King Arthur'- the possibly historical one rather than the certainly mythical version-and the articles give a decent nod to the relevant sources before getting on with laying out the scenarios. Though the subject is not all that common the format for the articles follows the usual path and while being ostensibly not aimed at any specific rule set gives hearty nudges to the supposedly more popular sets.

There is a fine article on 'realism' by Alex Webster  which will repay careful reading - despite its slight slant towards WW2- and the rather odd choice of Napoleonic eye candy- this piece contains useful stuff. However I did think as I read the piece that most of the problems the author lays out , all of which are perfectly  to the point, could be solved by the use of an Umpire. I have never quite understood the  antipathy that many gamers seem to have towards umpires and games masters in the historical arena, nor the seeming dominance that is placed on two- player games. After all a decent knowledgeable Umpire will not only make the game run more smoothly but, if he knows his work, he can get the most fun (assuming his players are adults of course).

Jeff Jonas' piece on the wars of the Successors - though not my thing is also a well done piece and worth a read. Nice pics of Elephants though my own hathi  are  either mounts for the rajas or there to pull the heavy guns- but not until I  finish painting them.

One of my Elephants doing his duty. 

The Irregular column caught my eye as it highlighted wargaming in youth work and despite an occasionally patronising tone  accidental I assume, still had some interesting  things to say about 'teaching games' and how to do it - some of which I already use when Umpiring and some of which I had not thought of  but will use as occasion serves.

I can do Heraldry- even though it might drive me blind- this on a 30mm flat.

As for other stuff  the How to on  painting medieval troops might be useful if you know nothing but to be honest articles such as these rarely hold my attention  despite the quality of the painting. I can do Heraldry though I accept that some chaps find it difficult. Much the same goes for the modelling Bocage piece I have a tables worth if I need it though again the writer knew what he was about.

I must admit though that I'm not keen on the 'primacy' of 'games mechanisms' in today's hobby as exemplified the the 'Let's Play piece- they chose Lion Rampant 2 and lauded it almost to the skies - now since I thought LR1 was mostly lightweight cobblers largely because it slaved everything to a silly points system and therefore forced non historical organisations upon you then this was not going to impress - it didn't.

Despite the above all in all a pretty decent mag that gives even a 'veteran'  wargamer like me something to read. Can't be a bad thing. Recommended.

Saturday 1 October 2022

Tactically sound - but cubically challenged.

 Last weekend three T.W.A.T.S.  gathered in our new venue for a game. My turn in the chair but I was just a tad rushed due to pressure of work (I have a book that is nearing deadline and had back orders to ship out) nevertheless I did fancy a bash with my 40mm Wars of the Roses - so that is what we did.

 Mechanical Shaun took the Lancastrians and Andrew the Tekkie the Yorkists and the game would be played to Tony Clipsom's rather nice 'Large Skirmish' set ' Foray' - albeit with some few amendments to include gun powder.

We have used these more than once in the past and found them easy to deal with yet with a decent amount of that elusive 'period feel'  that we find so important.

 The forces were quite small with around 80 or so models per side. The Yorkist having more men at arms and the Lancastrians more archers. The Yorkists had the only cavalry unit.. The Lancastrians had the advantage of ground with a hedgeline to defend.

General view of the field-  Lancastrians behind the hedge. 

Quite quickly the Yorkists decided to out flank the Lancastrians by moving their left around the Lancastrian right though the going was a bit slow simply because the Yorkists were manly slow moving men at arms . They also came under fire from the Lancastrian 'comedy bombard' which in previous games has reliably exploded at an inopportune well as archers ensconced behind the hedge.

 On the Yorkist right - things did not go well.  Andrew's own  artillery  misfired and exploded on the first shot. The exchange of arrows  was also in the Lancastrians favour though the Yorkists weathered the storm and began to advance- causing casualties on the Lancastrians with their own bowshot.

 The question was simple - could Shaun hold the line or would the Yorkist flank attack  destroy his right?.

The Lancastrians huddle behind their hedge. 

In the end some truly astonishing Lancastrian bowshot decided the issue (how many 6s do you need? ) First  halting the Yorkist right  then routing one retinue and forcing another back in disorder.

At this point with his artillery gone and a third of his army in disarray Edward of York decided enough was enough and left the field to take a fast ship to Burgundy muttering darkly about ' those odious cubes' and how he would get it right next time with some better guns ... Ah well so he might we shall have to see.

Lancastrian shooting. 

As it happened I got so tied up in the game as Umpire I forgot to take picture of the later stages so these are all it did. The game was suitabley light hearted but with enough interest  for those of us with a more historical bent. I slowly continue to add to this collection - though it is on the back burner currently  and Sikh Wars are very much taking precendence. However we will be back in the 15th century at some future date. 


Lord Clifford  backs up his longbow men - but he is not needed.