Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Warlord Games WSS Plastic Infantry Review Part II

As promised, here is part two of my review of Warlord Games re-release of the Wargames Factory plastic War of the Spanish Succession Infantry.  First, a few shots of the assembled models.  20 marching musketeers and 4 command figures.

Command figures provide a few choices in how they can be assembled. For this one, my idea is a sergeant with a spontoon and a pistol.  He should really have a halberd, but the spontoon will do for now.

The officer, waiving his sword.  He should probably have a gorget; perhaps later I'll add one from greenstuff.  Or not...

Ensign.  You can see the bow for the officer sash clearly from this shot; the officer has one as well.

A couple of views of the drummer.  When I was clipping the plastic bits off the frame, two of the sword hangers flew off somewhere into the kitchen and have disappeared forever.  As a result, neither the officer nor the drummer have the appropriate hanger.

And finally, a few images of the rank and file.  These were dead simple:  add a head and a hanger.  I chose to have everyone in tricorne as I am a bit biased against have a small number of specials or elites - if I could do an entire unit in mitres, I'd consider that I don't want just a couple of grenadiers.

Redcoats on the march!

A few years ago, I swapped a few figures with an Ontario gamer.  Since then, these figures have been on and off my painting table, waiting to become important enough for me to finish them off. These are all Perry Miniatures, from the Sudan line.  The exception is the officer who stepped in from the Perry plastic box set.  Likely they should be in khaki or grey, but I was bored of painting dull colours and wanted to get some proper colonial redcoats into my painting mix!   

In column of march:

Advance in review order!

Officer listening to another of the colour sergeant's "no shit, there we were..." stories:

If'n we bang dese drums lowd enow, we won't 'ear Sarnt blethering on...

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Warlord Games WSS Infantry Review

I just received a box of Warlord Games' Infantry of the Sun King.  My intention is to use them as infantry for Peter the Great's Russian Army.  I haven't been able to find any reviews of these online since Warlord Games acquired the Wargames Factory WSS product, so I'm going to give this a try.

The figures come in a standard Warlord Games box, with suitable cover art.  I chose to get the 'Infantry of the Sun King' box, rather than the 'Infantry of the Grand Alliance' box for no other reason than, hey, Louis XIV is cool.  I'll be painting them for the GNW anyway, so that hardly matters.  My understanding is that the only difference between the boxes is the flag sheet, so maybe WG can rebox them again with a Russian flag sheet!

The box contains two sprues of figures plus the aforementioned flag sheet and painting guide.  There is also a sprue of 24 bases, each 20 mm by 20 mm, stamped with the 'Warlord Games' logo on the bottom, lightly textured on top. The info sheet contains a selection of flags, two different flags (regiment and colonel's) for each of five different regiments (Regiment Picardie, Regiment La Reine, Regiment de Tattenbach (Bavarian, I think), Irish Regiment de Clare and French Guards).  The reverse of the flag sheet has a brief index of the parts, which is a nice feature when choosing which part to go where, especially for the command figures and the grenadier mitres!

The two sprues are identical and each contains 10 infantry and two command figures, enough for a total of 24 figures.  Command figures can be assembled as officer, ensign or drummer.  All figures have separate heads and sword hangers.  Assembly is thus quite simple.  There are enough heads to give each figure a tricorn, with a couple of optional heads for officers.  There are also a few mitre heads - three different styles of mitre but only two of each per sprue, so you can't have more than 4 grenadiers (unless you like a sort of mix and match approach!).   

My initial thoughts:  
- The choice of 20mm bases was a curious one for this set.  40mm bases would make more sense for playing games like Black Powder with large armies.  I'm always happy to get more bases, but I won't be using these bases with these figures (they won't be wasted, though!).
- Figures are clean, no flash, look easy to assemble. I don't know enough about the period to comment on details of the uniforms but for my purposes they will come together easily.
- I have not seen the original Wargames Factory WSS product, so I don't know how this offering has changed from the that (other than the price increase!).
- If the only difference is the flag sheet, why offer two boxes?  Why not just stick an extra flag sheet in the box and let the purchaser figure out which they need?  Seems like unnecessary extra marketing.

Once I assemble a few figures I'll put up another brief post with the results.

Monday, 19 March 2018

TMWWBK at Trumpeter Salute

On March 17th, I hosted a game of 'The Men Who Would Be Kings' (TMWWBK) at the annual Trumpeter Salute convention.  Unfortunately, I managed to leave my camera at home so there will be no photos with this report.

The basic idea was to follow up on the last game I played with Doug, Peter and Jim.  I was ready for 4 players but only two signed up, so I left two of the field forces in the box and we played a much faster game with only one field force per side.  To be honest, and even though it pains my megalomaniacal mind to admit it, it was a much better game, much faster moving than those games with twice the numbers.  

My intention was that this game would be a sort of sequel to my last game (read all about it here).  In this game, the British have regrouped after being frustrated by the Pathan opposition to their scouting and have determined to push all armed enemies out of the village.  I had prepared two British/Indian field forces with a force of Afghan regulars and a group of Pathan tribesmen to oppose them.  With only two players, each selected a field force to take into action.  Jim picked a British Field Force consisting of the 92nd (Gordon Highlanders), Sikhs, Gurkhas and a force of Indian Lancers, and Tim picked a selection of Pathan tribesmen (three groups of shooters, two mobs of Ghazi fanatics and a mountain gun).  We played Scenario B from the TMWWBK rulebook, Seek and Destroy.

Half the Pathans started off the board.  Tim deployed two groups of shooters along the walls at the end of the village and put the mountain gun on the roof of one of the village buildings. Jim had the first move, and advanced his infantry fearlessly to the edge of the fields east of the village.  The Gurkhas and the Gordons got into firefights with the Pathan shooters, while the Sikhs attempted a flanking move.

Unfortunately for Jim, the mountain gun was rather effective.  The gunners spotted the advancing Sikhs and laid down effective fire on them, causing one casualty.  The Sikhs were dismayed by the accuracy of the mountain gun, and paused in their advance (Jim failed the roll for pinning).  Even worse for Jim, when he tried to rally the Sikhs, he rolled snake eyes.  Whatever their officer said, it was the wrong thing and the Sikhs decided that it was time to go home.  The Sikh unit evaporated.

The rest of the game progressed less dramatically.  Tim brought on his reinforcements, with a mob of Ghazis proceeding down each flank, while the firefight continued between the Pathan shooters and the remaining Gurkhas and Gordons.  Jim's Lancers tried to cross the bridge into the village but were rather badly shot up, ultimately losing half their numbers to the mountain gun.  They still managed to maneuver up alongside the Gordons just as the Ghazis arrived on the flank. The firefight was a mixed event - the Gurkhas fared poorly, getting rather badly shot up by the Pathan shooters before the one group of Ghazis finished them off, while the Gordons did better, driving off the group of Pathans facing them.  In the end, however, the Pathans managed to hold on to their village, killing every Highlander, Sowar, Sepoy and Gurkha that faced them (with the sorry exception of the Sikhs who had decamped right at the start of the game).

Both players told me they enjoyed the game.  Jim was philosophical about his loss, noting that losing the Sikhs at the start tipped the balance against him, and realising that the Lancers were more glamorous but less effective than the field gun would have been.  (as it was, the Lancers were rather spectacular, wreaking havoc on the Ghazis before getting wiped out to a man...).

Thanks to Tim and Jim for an enjoyable game!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Russian Dragoons for GNW

Here is the start of my Russian Dragoons for the army of Peter the Great.  I have no particular plans for them as yet; just a vague idea that they could be used for Pikeman's Lament or similar skirmish level gaming.

I took advantage of a rare sunny winter morning to take a few shots with natural light.  I particularly like the horse holder - definitely adds some character to the dragoons to emphasise their ability to deploy mounted or on foot!

Action on the North West Frontier

On Saturday, we managed to get in a game of The Men Who Would Be Kings set in 1880-ish North West Frontier.  A small village near the border between Afghanistan and British India.  The British government in Peshawar heard reports that the Afghan government had occupied a village in territory claimed by Her Majesty, and sent out two small expeditionary forces to investigate.  Their orders were to inspect a number of map locations and report back with the strength of the Afghan presence.

The Afghan commander of course had moved his unit of the Afghan army into the small village that had been part of Afghanistan since time immemorial.  He had summoned the local chiefs to attend him in the village, and they were on their way when the British forces intruded onto the scene!

Jim and Doug each commanded a British brigade consisting of one unit of British regular infantry (66th Foot for Doug and Gordon Highlanders for Jim), plus two Indian army infantry units (Guides and Gurkhas for Doug and Sikhs and Guides for Jim).  Each British force also had a field gun - RA for Doug and an Indian mountain gun for Jim.  Peter took the Afghan Army detachment of two regular infantry, one militia infantry, one militia cavalry and one artillery piece.  I brought a collection of tribesmen including two units of Ghazis, three groups of tribesmen with firearms and a single mountain gun.

Here is a shot of the village, with the hinterland to the rear.  Doug's force is mustering in the foreground.  The row of low bush to the rear represents a shallow waterway.

The British forces were to inspect 6 different locations:
1.  Collection of fish and other foodstuffs inside the compound

2.  Herd of goats adjacent to the village

3.  Mule caravan on route to the village

4.  Herd of sheep in the hills outside the village
Not shown are 5.  the cart or 6. The Queen and the cotton bales.

Jim's field force - all Foundry figures

Doug's field force.  The casualty figures were used as pinned markers.

My Afghan tribesmen
Peter's Afghan Army
Initial deployment for the Afghan tribes.  Ghazis had hidden deployment.

My lovely Afghan mountain gun.  It won't feature again in this report - Jim's mountain gun blew it away in the first turn of the game!

Afghan regulars in the village.

If you look carefully you might see a couple of anachronistic AK-47s.  Didn't help their shooting, however!

Doug's field force deploys...

As does Jim's.
Forces advance to contact in the village.

Here's what's left of the Ghazis after they charged the Gordons.  It was a classic ambush followed by a fierce charge, but the Gordons were ferocious fighters and saw off the Ghazis in savage hand to hand combat!
More battling between tribesmen and Indian Army.
While Jim's forces were making steady progress against the tribesmen outside of town, the Afghan Army in the village were holding off Doug's force rather effectively.

Gurkhas failed to live up to their reputation...
But at least one objective was achieved!  Number 5, the cart.

Cannon's eye view of the action, shortly before the crew were all killed.

Afghan regulars occupy the market.
Guides pushed back from the market.
But things going better for the British outside of town where the tribesmen were steadily suppressed and pushed back.
Sikh firing line
Afghan militia cavalry in the orchard.

In the end we called it off.  Jim's force cleared away the tribesmen in the hills outside of town but Doug's force wasn't able to occupy the village.  Our plan is to revisit the action when we get another chance.  Jim will lead the attack on the village, hopefully with reinforcements.  Meanwhile Peter's Afghan commander will summon the clans to see off the invaders!