Sunday 30 September 2018

Second Unit Swedish Livguard Til Hast

This is the Second unit of Lifeguard back from the basing department.

As with the last these are Warfare miniatures and a mix of old and new sculpts utilising the old style horses. Whilst the old style figures are very nice, the new ones are a bit special, very nice indeed, dynamic and characterful.

The Lifeguard of Horse, or Livgard Til Hast, were a guard unit that saw a lot of action just like the foot guards. They were also a very large unit with 10 squadrons fighting at Kliszow so I have done two units of these. As they split the regiment into two and deployed them on opposite wings having two of these seems right. The light blue uniform also is a contrast to the dark blue and grey of the rest of the Cavalry.

Viewed from above you can see I have based these in the usual wedge formation of the Swedes. The trooper on the extreme right has got a bit carried away and is slightly out of formation "Back in line damn your eyes!" OK so I couldnt fit him on comfortably in the usual way so had to put him slightly forward. Never mind.
Four of these figures are from Warfares earlier ranges, on the left hand base we can see the first and third figures from earlier ranges. The first figure is a generic 17th century cavalryman with no hat, the third from the left is the old test figure for the Swedish cavalry. The on in the middle is one of the dynamic new Swedes.
The command base is all new figures, I love the officer in particular waving his men on. The right hand base again has two of the older Swedish test figure with one of the new charging figures in the middle. They mix quite nicely I feel. As mentioned in other posts and also by Barry on his League of Augsburg blog the new and old figures are not exact fits if you mix the horses, but they can be made to fit if you are careful.
This last shot of the rear is quite nice and again shows off the formation, the extreme right figure has a blanket roll where the others do not but again I dont think it detracts from the look of the unit.
I have two more units of Cavalry after these are done, one of Dragoons and one of Horse, not finalised which units they will be yet. I may go for Sodra Skanska as they also had pale blue but with white hat lace so a slight contrast with a nice flag. Lest see.

Anyway thanks for reading and I will see you again soon.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Sassanids and Romans

First day back from the Baltic and straight into a game. This was a historical action laid on for us by Chris Flowers although he couldn't remember the name of the battle in the end "some foreign sounding place" I think he was heard to mumble in response to the question.

In short though, the Sassanid Persians have cut off a Roman forward Garrison and have troops in the vicinity awaiting the arrival of the great king and his siege train.

The Romans don't like this idea very much so have sent a relieving force to help out said outpost. A river, impassable to all but light cavalry, splits the table with the only bridge passing through the fort.

As the Great King enters the table at one end and the Roman relief force at the other the scene is set for essentially a battle split into two distinct and very different conflicts on either side of the river.

I was to be the Great King and given command of the Persians, a duty which Chris bestows upon me from time to time usually with the added comments "As you have a sense of humour!" I was ably assisted by Dave, Jerry and Simon.

The Romans were commanded by Chris Charlton and he was supported by Richard, Andy and Ken.

As the briefing progressed it became obvious why I needed a sense of humour. Whilst the Persians our side of the river had a lot of quality cataphract cavalry supported by hordes of nomad horse archers, our Elephants, far from the battle winning steam rollers we had imagined were something of an embarrassment. Rather than blundering on a double 6 as normal units and then throwing against a table to see what happens, the elephants would blunder on any double. Unlike other units, if a mob of elephants "moves left" in error and you happen to be in the way there is likely to be a large mess. Clearly I would need to give my own troops a fairly wide berth.
The Romans deployed their cavalry divisions on Jerry and my side of the River to slow down the siege train whilst holding all of their infantry with a very small amount of Cataphract horse on the further bank to destroy the besieging force under Simon and Dave.
In terms of the balance of force the Romans have the quality in terms of infantry with their Elite Legionaries whilst the Persians strength is their Elite Cataphracts supported by hordes of horse archers. This meant that the best troops of both sides would not actually face each other.
This was a big game with the two sides of the table and both ends packed with troops, unfortunately I neglected to pick up the army lists to share with you, suffice to say though there were hordes of figures.
The fort itself whilst small had a number of artillery pieces and could only really be approached along one short side facing the Persians so was unlikely to over run any time in a one day game.
Dave and Si were clearly enjoying the spectacle of the Persian army, until the Romans infantry turned up on their flank that is!

With a lot of heavy fighting down my end I was only able to nip up the other end to snap a few pictures every hour or so and could only keep loosely up with play.

Above are the reinforcements commanded by Chris Charlton moving onto the flank of the Persians, whilst they were not able to destroy many of Dave's troops they did succeed in boxing him in and nullifying the manoeuvrability of his horse.

Below then gives you an idea of the Roman horse divisions ranged against Jerry and I. At first glance they look formidable but their medium horse were no match for our cataphracts and their small numbers of light Javelin armed cavalry unable to compete with our swarms or nomad horse archers.

The command base above is one of the most georgous bases I have ever seen, however it is so big that it does become a bit impractical, the Great King chose to rove the battlefield on his royal elephant instead.
Move one sees little movement from any of the players other than Jerry who sweeps forward with his horse archers. My Elephants immediately throw a double and their blunder sees them retreat one full move off table. Sigh! Its going to be one of those games.

I wont give you a blow by blow narrative but perhaps just a feel for how this game panned out.

Andy's Roman Cavalry fought gallantly charging again and again against the odds to try and stem the Sassanid advance, predictably this did little more than cause a speed bum to the heavily armoured cataphracts. The nomad horse archers were able to weaken the Romans before their charges and then further reduce badly mauled units retreating from combat. There was an inevitability about this side of the battle as the Persians ground steadily forward and the Roman cavalry was forced in ever reducing numbers into a corner of the river.

On the other side Dave was locking horns with Chris and Richard with his room to manoeuvre being steadily reduced and both sides taking steady casualties, whilst Si who amongst other things had a raft of levy infantry tried to make a dent in the defences of the fort with only limited success. Ken even had the cheek at one point to sally out of the fort and cut up a number of Persian archers.

After three blunders the Persian elephants did eventually manage to get into bow range and inflict a single casualty. Thanks Chris, yes my sense of humour is still intact!

With the clock running down there was still a lot left in the game on the far side of the river, Another whole day might have seen the battle fought to a result but with our teas in the oven back at home this was not to be.

The end result saw the Roman cavalry on our side of the river virtually annihilated with little if any loss to the Persians. The way now completely open for the siege train, however with only the light cavalry able to cross the river our best troops would now be unable to play any further part in the battle.

On the opposite side of the river the main force of the Romans and the Persian besieging forces are still coming to grips, the Romans are getting the better of the exchange but the Persians remain a very potent force and the lack of any Roman cavalry leaves no counter to the hordes of tribal horse archers who can now start to sweep around the flanks.

Really it was a two day game and givn the time it seems likely that the historical outcome would have prevailed. In the real engagement the Roman relief army eventually retreated unable to stop the Persians who took the fort, the Garrison being never heard from again.

A very colourful and interesting game, different deployment could see this scenario play out in all sorts of different ways. In the end both sides were left claiming victory.

I hope you enjoyed the short write up of this game. A couple more Units of Swedes still to share and another couple of ports on our wargamers cruise of the Baltic. Keep you posted!

Saturday 22 September 2018

An Irish Workbench

As a minor break from Great Northern War I decided to paint a few of my Elizabethans for Ireland. First though I painted a test figure for a 1690 potential project a couple of us are discussing. I know yet another project. However I hope to be able to makde a couple of units in redcoats I can use as either Jcobite/Williamite or Saxon for Great Northern War, and I dont want many.

So heres the test figure, a cavalry officer from Warfare painted as a Brigadier, with the exception of the red sash he could easily also be a Saxon brigadier. More notes on this potential project another time perhaps.

As I am painting Elizabethans I have taken the opportunity to finish off some figures I was painting for wargaming freind Andy. These are Graven Images border reivers which are also ideal for Ireland. The first lot are a batch of 6 casualties.
The Reivers themselves are a very characterful bunch and look the hard crew they are supposed to. The border horse fought in Ireland and Holland so are really useful.
Each figure has a dismounted version which I have matched up in terms of colour schemes, hope Andy likes them.
It made sense at the same time to crack on with a few of my own Elizabethans, they are takign shape now and I have a fair number, the Irish though are sadly lagging behind.
I do however have another 4 Irish to add to the mix, slowly but surely creeping towards enough to game with.

The basing department popped home this weekend so these have all now gone off to York toi be finished, hoefully give you a view of the finished article next week.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Von Schlippenbachs Dragoons

Whilst I was away the basing department was busy finishing my fourth unit of Warfare Swedish horse. These are Von Schlippenbachs Dragoon regiment, a Baltic unit from Livonia which as well as fighting the Russians in the Baltic also took part in the battle of Poltava before being re-raised to carry on the fight in the Baltic.
This is the same unit that I used to review the Warfare figures individually, it does look the part although I was begining to regret trying to sqeeze three horses per base on in this formation, its not as easy as it looks!
Being Dragoons they were not always given the pick of the horses so I have chosen to add a greater mix of paler horse flesh colours into this unit. It includes some particular favourites of mine, the charging drummer being a case in point.
The below shot shows the flying wedge formation and just how tightly packed on the bases they are. They only just went on I can tell you.

I have a lot of variety in the Swedish horse uniforms on purpose but it is nice to get a standard blue faced yellow unit completed. I have another Dragoon unit to do and I am tempted to do them the same. Although the next lot will have shouldered swords.

The rear shots also show off the unit formation and the drum strapped to the drummers back.
So thats Von Schlippenbachs, possibly get a game report for our later Roman and Sassanid game next, lets see.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday 15 September 2018


Tallinn was a real highlight for me. This was our third port of call and I was looking forward to it.The old walled Hanseatic City did not dissapoint. The architecture in the old town is amazing and the whole feel of the place is wonderful with cobbled streets and old gabled houses everywhere. It has seen a huge ammount of history being stuck between the Empire of Sweden, Russia and Germany it changed hands on several occasions, often more than twice in the same war.

The old medieval city has two parts, the old town inside its own city walls and the Toompea which is on a hill overlooking and connected to the city. Bizarrely the two were distinct with the old town being run by the Burghers and Guilds of the Hanseatic League and the Toompea housing the castle and govornment of Estoia but not having control over the old town. How this actually worked in practice is anyones guess.

This is one of the main gates into the old town protected by a large tower call Paks Margereeta, that translates apparantly as Fat Margaret!

 The market square below you might recognise from the the film Chitty Chitty bang bang. This where they filmed the children catcher scenes.
The first museum I came across was the Estonian museum in an old Burghers house just inside the main gates. It has a number of rooms dedicated to various stages of Estonian history. The armoury room was interesting. with cases of weapons across three walls and a small case of uniforms on the fourth.

Ths uniform case shows three different stages in the history of Estonia, the Swedish uniform was of course particularly interesting for me.

The Alexsander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral is relatively new, I was keen though to share some of the architecture for those who might plan to game around the Baltic and wanted insipration for building styles.
St Olafs Baptist Church is interesting and I would guess more typical of the Baltic than some of the other buuildings. I got three angles of this in case I wanted to use it as inspiration for a Baltic church in future.

I saw this shop and couldnt help getting a shot, although I restrained from spending lots of money on toys!
This is the view from one of the viewing points on the Toompea which is the hill at the top of Tallin with its seperate walls (and originally seperate govornment!)
This large culverin is a replica of the original which is held in Moscow after being captured by the Russians in the 1600's.
The Kiek in de Kok artillery tower and the walls attached to it form two museums which you can visit together. The walls section held a number of exhibits but not a huge ammount of interest to us, the tower however was a different story.
A nice set of Thirty Years war armour, its original but the sword is a replica and as you can see is sat in the middle of the cafe for some reason.
A walk along the walls gives some nice views and this part of the wall has been renovated fairly sympathetically despite the modern glass windows.
A view of Alexsander Nevsky orthodox cathedral from a arrow slit in the city walls.
Below is St Nichlas's church which is quite North German in design, hardly surprising given the majority of the old towns medieval population were German merchants.
Inside the tower we are confronted by this chap, a dark age Estonian who looks to be wearing his dads armour, it doesnt fit too well does it?
A model of the city shows the seperate elements of the old town and the Toompea hill quite clearly.
This wa sa little odd, a model of eachof the original towers in the town wall plonked ont he floor so you can see how they would have looked. Odd.
This big old gun had a rennaisance crew that looked distinctly Landschnekt.
 On the third floor of the tower is a massive perspex cube with exhibits inside it and integral stairs, its quite cool. The exhibits are quite eclectic, below was an interesting one as it shows the bow and arrow case used by Tarters.
This gun and gear has a dinstincly naval look to it, but then it is a port so thats OK.
These broad swords are a different era to the hunting cross bow and have a distinctly western look to my mind. One looks like a scottish broad sword.
As I mentioned it was eclectic, these eastern weapons include a Gurkha Kukri, I doubt ths was ever used in anger in Estonia but still they are very nice.
A Persian helmet and pistols in lovely condition. No idea why they ended up in Tallin but they are nice.
The more up to date weapons make a lot more sense in an historical context for Estonia with these 20th century bayonets sword and rifle.
A pair muskets left out for the punters to handle, One flintlock one matchlock which was slimmer than I imagined. A nice touch.

I found this interesting, a cossack sashka sword from World War 2 complete with attached bayonet. I never consider cossacks havign bayonets for their carbines but there you go.
And a few more world war two Russian weapons to remind us that the Baltic played a significant part in the fighting through the war.
Back to the walls I got a couple of nice shots.

I got this last shot of a lovely German style pub with all the staff in medieval get up and the Chruch of the Holy Spirit in the backgound.
So thats Tallinn, I loved this place, so beautiful, would love to go again for a weekend. I included the pictures of the architechture as I thought it might be useful for gamers looking for buildings to popuate a Baltic game table. If I have whetted your appetite then I highly recomend that you visit.