Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The last command

No, not the movie of the same title, but the last "command" that will make up the big battle Austrians. This will be the sixth Medieval German army and hereafter will follow a series of non-German collections.

I decided for two elements of pike and one crossbow to have black as a theme colour. A medieval version of the Black Legion or Black Band of a later period. Black is a difficult colour to work with and I have had more success mixing brown, flesh or mid-grey for painting horses or clothing. Only the helmets and leather coverings offer some contrast.

The Coustilliers (middle plinth) are complete as are the pike. Eight crossbow need breeches and tunics painted. These will have yellow and green combinations.

The knights in the background lack detailing and horse armour. I do plan to paint the horse armour with some multi-colour designs, however, the fluted armour is very difficult to work with. When all the above are painted, I will have only the general to do.

These will certainly be completed by the weekend.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Austrians - ready to varnish

I just took a number of photos of the knights before varnishing. In the foreground you can see a simple chart I used to paint the decorative lances. The same colour combination I used to paint leather parts, such as saddles, scabbards, and harnesses. The chart served as a guide line as some did not look well with certain horse colours.

This command served well to test out some theories with regard to painting plate armour. The last command will certainly profit from all this experience and will take less time to paint.

After the Austrians, I have Hungarians and Wallachians to paint, these too are from Legio Heroica.



Friday, 27 July 2012

Medieval Austrians nearly done

These past four days we have experienced some opressive heat, by Dutch standards, so painting the medieval Austrians has proved sporadic. My production style has been reduced to working on one plinth of figures a day. Still, the results are an accumulation of many tiny steps.

All the foot figures are complete and are the six Coustilliers. This totals, 2 x 3Cv, 1 x Art., 2 x Ps, 2 x 4Pk, 1 x 4Cb and General with staff.

I chose yellow as a theme colour. This is less appearent as darker secondary colours can still dominate the figure. I chose reds and green for this. Some helmets are also painted which will help unify this command.

All that remain to paint are 12 knights, have of which ride armoured horse. These six will have decorative lances, no spirals but strips. It is still too hot.

Actually the heat has proved a blessing. Working with smaller number of figures during a session has promted me to look for a way to mix and/or thin colours quickly without it drying prematurely. A plastic lid served doubled a pallet. I cannot believe all these 50 plus years I have done without one.


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Battlefield three - Carnuntum scenario.

Battlefield three.
Battlefield three is near the city walls of Carnuntum. Offering the Roman player a similar defensive position as option 2, there is in addition the Gladiator school offers (fort) located table centre. Further to the Roman left are fields and farms and to the east and off table are the suburbs of Carnuntum. Those citizens living outside the walls of Carnuntum are now in full flight for their lives and heading east to seek shelter in the mountains beyond.
Here you will make your last stand for the honour of Rome and the XIV Gemina.  

Test game three.
Rome deployed in two nearly equal sized commands; the right wing under the command of the Governor had half the legion positioned behind the tributary while the left wing formed the remaining half of the legion in support of its auxilia. The legate had one unit of LH in addition to his bodyguard as a cavalry reserve for the left, while the bulk of the mounted units were now positioned on the Roman Road behind the right wing.  

The Marcomanni leader decided to forego any flank manoeuvre and concentrated all three commands between the Gladiator School and the Danube to crush the main command with sheer numbers.

The Roman right wing did not venture further than the tributary leaving the Marcomanni the initiative to reach the opposite bank unmolested. Needing three turns to do so, the legion with auxilia interspersed remained inert behind the river bank, but did shift half the cavalry reserve to form up near the bridge as the Marcomanni were intent on crossing as quickly as possible with their cavalry. The Marcomanni cavalry ceased their initial plan when Roman cavalry were seen deploying at the bridge. The hesitation of the part of the Marcomanni cavalry forced the Quadi on the extreme left in a bottleneck between them and the Danube River.

From the outset, the Roman left wing command facing no opposition took the initiative and moved the auxilia and light troops across the river. Four elements abreast, the auxilia gave an impression of a holiday stroll as they slowly wheeled across the battlefield. Supporting this manoeuvre was the light horse. The remainder of the command moved to support the right wing.

“Not a good day to be called Herman.”
The next two turns (four bounds) the crossing turned to a grueling shoving match as Rome succeeded in forcing back five of the six columns with the lucky one finding itself now isolated across the stream. Fortuna favoured neither side as both barbarian and Roman were matching die casts. Out frustration, the Marcomanni cavalry launched their attack across the bridge incurring their first loss.

In succeeding bounds the Marcomanni lost cohesion as warband columns forced auxilia back but found their flank supports pushed back by the legionnaires. The Marcomanni body count was now accumulating.
The auxilia and LH could not have timed their attack any better. The LH caught Balomar in the rear and forced him to recoil. An attempt to break out of an encirclement resulted in a second recoil. The auxilia sealed Balomar’s fate with the LH ensuring no escape.

At this time the right wing was busy cleaning up any barbarian presence on the east bank. Roman cavalry took care of a second bridge crossing and killed the last Marcomanni general.
Two commands now demoralized, the was game over and Carnuntum saved.


We spent a good amount of time afterwards assessing the three battles.

Battle one fought six miles from Carnuntum held a high risk factor for the Romans, but if won would garner the highest level of victory.

Battle two, located three miles from Carnuntum offered the Germans an easy victory. Behind the river line, the Romans felt secure, but an open flank would prove difficult to deal with. With greater numbers better deployed, the Marcomanni could hold the stronger Roman right wing while rolling up the weaker and exposed left wing.

Battle three was fought outside the walls of Carnuntum and unlike the Battle of Dara (530 AD) offered the Roman player better defensive positions. A losing Roman player would still have the walls of the legionary camp and Civilis to fall back.

Next step
Revise the draft scenario and draw maps for all three battles. Set victory conditions for both sides and establish the consequences of a victory or defeat at each battlefield. There should be an incentive for the Roman player to select battlefield one with its high risk aspect. 

For the Glory of Rome. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Late Swiss ready to varnish

The finishing touches to the Late Swiss are done, highlighting and white crosses, so now the figures are ready for varnishing. The crosses, which are not easily seen in the photo are positioned on an upper leg, shoulder or on the back of the figure. In some cases I painted a slightly larger cross with dark grey which gave the white cross better definition. Double work, but the effect is improved greatly.

Flags should be easy to paint, a black bull on yellow background for Uri and a small white cross on a red field for Schwyz. I am currently drawing the flags for the Bavarians and Austrians so I will add the Swiss flags to the sheet already started. I will add small pennons for some halberd and the artillery element as well.

Later this  week, I will clean and undercoat the remaining two commands of Austrians; 40 cavalry and the remaining pike, crossbow, Handgunners and artillery.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Late Swiss (modified following DBM ­­­­­­­­­­­­­options)

This list differs from the DBA 2.2 version, in that it lacks knights and more pike.  Reading the DBM footnotes, the halberdiers were still used in significant numbers through the early 15th century. At Arbedo, they outnumbered the pike. This list is what I would envision a corps of Swiss mercenaries employed as “allies” to an Imperial Austrian force at the opening of my campaign.

IV/79 Late Swiss 1400 – 1522 AD:

1 x General (Bd)
3 x Halberdiers Bd)
6 x Pikemen (Pk)
1 x Handgunners (Ps) or crossbow (LH)
1 x Handgunners (Ps) or artillery

Searching through TMP Medieval threads, there has been a wealth of links and photos covering the Swiss. From a client, I have also received further information for flags and coat of arms for the various cantons. In short, I could say I have too much information, so where does one begin.  

I would certainly divide the command into three groups and model each group after a particular canton. However, as these “hirelings” would be far from home, I would have half the number of figures in cantonal colour and the remainder in earth tones of brown, green and grey. The white cross would certainly be displayed on their clothing

Strange enough, I had not planned to paint Swiss, but originally wanted the pike and blade figures to represent militia from the cities and noble household guard. The more information I collected for this period a story line developed which have numbers of allies available to the major participants of my story.

The Duchy of Bavaria is now a union of four regions; Landshut, Ingolstadt, Straubing and Munich. Austria is supported by Steiremark, K√§rnten, and Tirol. Bordering the Austrian lands to the east is the Kingdom of Hungary and in the south I may add a Communal Italian state. The Bishopric of Trento appeals to me as little is known, which invites the creative mind to speculate.  

Next step is to add clothing colour.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Camp pieces and farm animals.

After painting a number of Late Medieval German armies I added a peasant force, 12 elements strong with an idea to have sufficient material for a rebellion. At the time I had not constructed any camps so made the two projects as one.

With 12 Late Medieval armies representing the various duchies in Bavaria and Austria I did not imagine there would be a need for 12 different camps. Neither did I want two camps serving multi-functional duty.

In the photo series, you will note six different forms which serve as a camp area. I have assembled a wide variety of camp followers, animals and vignettes to offer opposing sides some colourful options. All the “loose” items are placed on circular Litko bases and covered. 

The next step is to add flags, shields and stacked weapons based in the same fashion. 

Photo 1, is a group photo of the six forms with camp followers. 

Photo 2, is a Donnington cooking set.

Photo 3, are Museum baggage and camp followers serving as drovers. The mules are from Minifigs. 

Photo 4, are women and children from Minifigs, some of which carry wood.

Photo 5, are Museum sheep.

Photo 6, Museum farmers and Nuns.

Photo 7, are from Donnington. The seated civilians come with one log which I cut in two pieces. Extra Donnington civilians are added to fill the base. The roasting pig is also a Donnington piece.

Photo 8, cattle and geese are Museum, goats are Minifigs and herder with pigs are Donnington.

Photo 9, are two sets; a field blacksmith and horse being shod

All my Late Medieval collection are from Legio Heroica which are well sculpted and detailed figures, but stand taller than the majority of manufacturers. Civilians based in this manner do not need to conform to Heroica standards, so more can be added as I find them.


Sunday, 8 July 2012

DBA 3.0 test - Swiss and Austrians

1400 AD, Canton Schwyz

It was not until early June that the Hapsburg forces were able to cross the Alps and move on the rebellious farmers of canton Schwyz. Outside the hamlet of Meindorf, the Austrians assembled in a formation of two lines, but due to the constricting nature of the valley, the knights would give the honour of first clash to their foot troops.

 The Swiss in response to the Austrian invasion could only secure the representation of cantons Uri and Schwyz with nearly equal number of halberd and pikes. The small unit of mounted crossbow were no match for the Austrian knights, but dutifully positioned themselves to the right of the battle line.

Good fortune had brought the Swiss to a valley floor offering a clear field 400 – 500 paces wide. The general consensus was to move the pike blocks supported by halberd as quickly as possible forward, while the artillery and light horse were held back. Skirmishers would secure the steep slopes to the left to protect the pike blocks.

Following the general plan, the entire Swiss line moved forward. The Austrians in return move 100 paces forward to open fire with crossbows. This proved to be ineffectual, however, the artillery, blessed by St. Barbara obliterated the Swiss cannon. 

Artillery leaders, Gustav and Helmut can be seen congratulating themselves on a job well done.

Un-phased by the early loss, the Swiss move as a wall forward. Skirmishers on both sides were now active along the slopes. The Austrians feeling emboldened by their early success moved their knights to attack the weakened right flank of the Swiss, while the main battle line fired their crossbows one last time. To their chagrin, missile fire proved wanting. The knights, with their blood up, charged and died a glorious death. 

Score even 1 – 1.

With a cry of “Sempach forever”, the pike pushed forward. Schwyz were matched against the only pike column in the Austrian battle line, while Uri confidently moved on the evil crossbows. Each Swiss attack pushed their opponents back while Swiss blade in support on the far left, were flexing their muscle as they were matched against Austrian knights. Lo and behold an even score. 

The Swiss skirmishers besting their opposition brought the tally up  to 3 – 1.

Fortuna dealt the Austrians a low pip score which left them scrambling to hold the tide at bay. The Swiss smelling victory close at hand, moved both flanks into battle. From the left flank, the Swiss were pushing the Austrians back on their camp. The final blow came when the artillery fell to the combined onslaught of blade and light horse; 4 – 1 and game.

Some observations.
The Swiss are no push over. Blade and pike will pursue recoiling enemy foot, so this army is nearly auto-pilot against most opponents of this period.

Blade, if their flanks are secure, should not fear knights even if classed as “fast”.

If the game were played with three commands per side, I am not so sure the result would have been the same. The extra space would offer maneuver capabilities for the knights. 

Certainly something to think about.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

DBA Arable terrain features - new style

I have completed more than enough Arable terrain features for three or four standard DBA game boards. We do play the big battle option, which is played on a double sized game board as this gives us more maneuver room. A further option, that we have not tried yet in DBA Giant which we would use a 1.20 x 1.80 m surface.

The fields are still drying, but tomorrow I shall add a thin wash of pale green to depict other grain sort. This will give the fields a mottled effect.

In the series photos you also see a number of civilians and livestock based on circular stands. These serve as camp followers, but for our scenarios they add an extra ambiance to the game.

There is still a lot that is not shown; hills, woods, rivers and roads. That will come with a later photo session.

Enjoy the pics!

Photo 1. Supplies being loaded onto pack mules. Figures are a mix of Museum and Minifigs.

Photo 2. An aerial view of a Hamlet. The system is modular so the area covered can be varied. 

Photo 3. Three Plough (fields) with interconnecting tracks. This was done solely as a visual break from the rows of planting. Figures are Minifigs.

Photo 4. Enclosures surrounded by hedges (also modular). I need to add gates (another project). Sheep and cattle are Museum.

Photo 5. A second hamlet with orchard. 

Photo 6. A wide view of fields, enclosures and two hamlets. Again, not pictured are hills, woods, rivers and roads.

Next terrain project will deal with items unique to Frisia. Causeways or dikes, veen or boggy ground, a fishing village, windmill, possible a church build on a terp (high ground) and a canal. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Saxons - nearing the final stage

All that I lack are the shield patterns and the Saxons will be ready for varnishing. Sketches for the shields were already done, so there will be no extra time needed. By tomorrow evening these should be completed and then will come the Danes.

My only experience with Metal Magic figures were Lithuanian cavalry. These were quite animated which left plenty of room for detail. The foot figures with cloak gave very little spacing between arm, shield and weapon. In contrast, the Alain Toulier figures had expressive poses which produced ample area to paint. Both sets of figures are true 15’s.   

When these two commission projects are done, then I will return to the late medieval period and paint the opponents for my Bavarians, the Imperial Austrians.