Monday, June 30, 2014

Northamptonshire, June/July

Northampton 1460 Project update

On 5th July I will be demonstrating the battle using a wargame model at the Battlefield Open Day at Delapre.

This week's work will be on the custom battlefield.  

The project will recycle quite a number of 15th Century figures I already have but feature a new set of command bases and personality vignettes ...

Here is a test shot of the general layout ...

The wattle fencing will be incorporated into the earthworks protecting the Lancastrian position.   And yes, there were a few silver men around when I tried out the basic arrangement.

I have tried to capture some of the character of Northampton's open fields in July in this Impetus Style group of Yorkist prickers ...

(Yorkist cavalry at Northampton: figures from Mirliton's Burgundian range)

The insets show the preliminary groundwork in process ...

There are six of these command bases to complete ...

(William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, commanding the Yorkist left: Donnington, Mirliton and Irregular figures, banner and standard by Fluttering Flags)

... and vignettes for the King, Queen Margaret and the observing group of Archbishop Bourchier and Francesco Coppini ...

(Henry VI at Northampton: more Mirliton with Fluttering Flags, kneeling figures by Essex and Corvus Belli)

... base texturing still to do ...

So apologies for light blogging of late - it's flat out to get this lot completed (then, I hope, we can enjoy some special features on the finished projects) ...

In addition to the Open Day this weekend, Northampton 1460 will go to CoW the week after, History Live! at Kelmarsh Hall (with the Battlefields Trust) and the Derby show in October 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

14th June, St Helens

Phalanx 2014 ...

(young enthusiasts cluster around the Society of Ancients stand)

Phalanx seemed very busy this year and had its usual successful mix of things to do, things to buy and things to look at.  

(DBA challenge, bombers, WWI, Society stands ... and shopping too ...) 

The Bring & Buy continues to offer traditional bargains and to be well supported (maybe that helps ... in a late run, even I found a couple of book bargains) ...

(the Phalanx Bring & Buy tables - quiet enough for me to get near but still heaving)

But my first break was not until after lunch, such were the number of people to talk to on the Society stand and Martin's popular DBA game.

The Society of Ancients followed the now time honoured formula of me and Chris up with the stand and Slingshots supporting a quick and dirty (armies provided) DBA participation game (can you beat the Society team - and it was close!) ...

(Martin in DBA action with a keen audience)

(DBA challenge ... 'tatty' Romans about to go in ... )

(DBA challenge ... decisions! decisions! ... )

(DBA challenge ... Persians vs Greeks)

This is a simple formula but continues to attract players for a dozen or so games ... easily over half the games involved teenagers or younger which may be of interest to the habitual hand wringers (historical games always go down well with youngsters*)

There were plenty of historical games to enjoy, many of them in our periods - though in keeping with the 2014 trend, much more Medieval than ancient (our DBA games were the main ancient offering)

Wyrley Retinue had their beautiful Scottish Wars battle ... always one to photograph

(worth clicking the image to enjoy a bigger picture)

And this year, the Liverpool club chose a medieval Impetus game from the Barons War and loaded the table with figures ...

(Extra Impetus Barons War open battle)

Just to keep the variety coming, the Lance & Longbow Society were putting Poleaxed through its paces in a version of the small Wars of the Roses battle at Hedgeley Moor (1464).

(Lance & Longbow Society/Poleaxed II ... Hedgeley Moor)

Wow!  What a great selection of games.

And of course, that was just the ancient and medieval fare ... 

I didn't really get too much time for the rest of it but here's a superficial summary ...

I have to include this Pacific Island hop ...

Because it included some big photogenic ships (1/72 planes, you know ...)

(click the picture for the full image)

Gary brought along a little tabletop teaser for the Pike & Shot Society

But it wasn't the biggest ECW game on show

(massive Pike and Shotte Marston Moor game)

('Where Eagles Dare' sequel participation game ... not so icy as the original ;) )

So a great show and a great day out for the many enthusiasts that turned out.

Plenty of youngsters of course, but nice to meet Society veterans Taylor, Tofalos, Webster and Hughes (and former President Phil Halewood, of course) amongst many welcome visitors.

Great show, Spartans Club ... thanks for hosting us.

Speaking of veterans, the Gentlemen Pensioners (veteran Societies show teamers all) stayed up for Sunday (see the Sudan game)

But I think ancient and Medieval enthusiasts will see me next demonstrating the Battle of Northampton at the open day on July 5th.

*  and even better with their parents who clearly see the value of finding out about the Greeks and Romans ..

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

1st June, Kelham Hall, Newark

PARTIZAN 2014 (in the Park)

Shifted from the main house to three connected marquees, Partizan last weekend felt more like an EH event than a wargames event.

Well done all concerned ... this was much better than a cancellation, and thankfully the rain held off, so it worked.   

The pros ... much better lighting than inside the Hall - and, I gather, a nice barbecue setting for lunch by the Cricket pavillion.  The cons ... it got a bit warm and humid at times, and there was a disastrous shortage of chairs (which is a serious matter for an ageing and infirm team like SoA).

So my thanks to the team for putting in a good shift ... 

(Society stalwart Graham H snapped selling a copy of the latest issue of Slingshot)

In addition to the Society stand, we were giving another run out to the Basic Impetus Montaperti game which I had prepared for 2014 BattleDay ... (now, of course, drawing your attention to next year's battle: the Hydaspes).

The main ancient and medieval games were Simon M's huge Bloody Cremona, our own Montaperti and Lincoln's medieval Big Battle DBA.

(Roman pontoon bridge ... the latest addition to the spectacular Cremona game)

Simon has a host more pictures on his Big Red Bat Cave  blog.

(Big Battle in progress - Reconquista DBA from the Lincoln Miniature Warfare Society)

It was good to see the Wings of War game keeping a good and boisterous crowd entertained ...

That's what caught my eye on a relatively short break, shopping and looking for new things between two full games of Montaperti ... games which again demonstrated how variable the scenario can be …

(for a full look at the rest of the display games, I recommend Grigork's blog from which I have used a couple of images with permission)

Montaperti, Tuscany, 1260

(initial success for the Sienese as Florentine spearmen are driven out of the line)

The first game had a strong home team involvement, engaging members of the SoA team as well as friends who were visiting the show.   We demonstrated the full effects of fortune in battle (the dice outcomes being all over the place) and, despite a plucky opening, the battle tipped further and further against the Sienese.  

(Siena's Imperial cavalry contingent drives the Florentines back on their Carroccio)

The Ghibelline sympathisers in the enemy reserve did not defect and threw themselves into the defence of the Carroccio, the count of Arras’s flank force did not arrive during the decisive phase of the engagement, and the infantry assault on the immobile wall of Florentines failed. 

(the Florentine Carroccio barely hanging on as the Sienese attack stalls)

When the Sienese army reached its breaking point, we accepted that the Florentines had prevailed.

In the second game the count of Arras's flank march turned up mid game and was able to exploit an already collapsing flank.   

(Montaperti: an Italian medieval panorama)

The German knights charged home decisively, driving the Florentines back onto and through the Carroccio.  Consequently the Florentine commander felt compelled to mobilise the Ghibelline sympathisers who immediately defected and charged into the Carroccio melee.

The Carroccio held out for several rounds of combat, and a series of reverses along the infantry battleline actually meant the Sienese hit their demoralisation threshold first.   

(Francesco Troghisio* urges the Sienese centre forward: my thanks to Grigork for permission to use this picture)

In this closer game, we played the variable game end and, with an easy pass achieved, played another turn.
In the following turn, another Sienese unit broke, as did the remaining Florentine knights and the Carroccio, making both armies test.   

This was the first time the Carroccio has fallen.

Both armies failed, but the Florentines failed by more and had had their Carroccio taken, bell flag and regalia, arguably giving the day to Siena (certainly the Communal bragging rights). 


*or it might, of course, be one of his Sicilian lieutenants (the heraldry is inconclusive ....

Next outing will be Phalanx in a fortnight (supporting Martin C's annual Dirty DBA participation game) ... See the Spartans on Facebook too