Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hamarolf "The Battler" and Nothhelm "The Old"

I've began painting my Early Saxon warband for Dux Britanniarum. I normally like to paint normal warriors/troops first to get my feet wet, but in this case I thought it best to start with the characters first and then their followers later.

The figures are Aella and Bannerman from Musketeer miniatures here which I have re-named for use in my warband. Not only are the sculpts superb, but Bill sculpts his figures with the painter in mind leaving access to detail not to arduous to reach which translates into an absolute pleasure to paint! I highly recommend the figures in all respects!! The shield decal and lovely banner are from LBM here. The dirty effect on the shield and rocks was MIG pigments here which I also highly recommend.

I decided to paint up my early Saxons in a more all around Germanic/Nordic looking force so I could use them as Goths, Saxons, Visigoths etc. and even fill the ranks of  my Viking army when needed as they do look similar so decided on larger shields to enable this to happen instead of the small distinctive buckler often associated with early Saxons.

First up is Hamarolf "The Battler" who is currently a cash strapped minor Saxon Lord from a small village in northern Germany and born the a son of a peasant and  the leader of my early Saxon warband. He is aged just 21 with a wife Ælfwynn and daughter Ælfflaed. A Master of Arms who has a talent with a blade rose from obscurity when as a young boy he took on 3 older boys who were mocking him after seeing him pretend to fight imaginary enemies. Enraged by the taunting Hamarolf charged and initially he got the better of them by surprising them with his speed of attack, but eventually their numbers and size began to tell and forced him on the defensive with his back to a tree. Before he was beaten senseless Nothhelm "The Old" stepped in and knocked a few heads together dispersing the fight. Impressed with Hamarolf's spirit Nothhelm took him under his wing and began to teach him how to fight both with his hands and weapons.

Hamarolf proved to be a very apt pupil indeed and within a few years exceeded his teacher in skill of arms. He soon began to build a reputation as a fierce and capable fighter sought after be many a raiding crew. When he was 19 he searched for the 3 boys who had mocked him as a young boy and beat each within a hair's breath of their lives as he had never forgotten the incident. For the next two years Hamarolf joined more raiding parties where he earned the respect of other warriors until many began to join whatever raid Hamarolf went on. Ironically this included the 3 boys now grown warriors who taunted him as a youth.

Saving all the coin he could Hamarolf had the shipwright's build him a few ships and gathered together all the warriors who decided to throw their lot in with him and set sail for the island across the channel to carve out a kingdom for himself.

The stage is set.
Hamarolf "The Battler"

Next is Nothhelm "The Old" mentor and now Bannerman to Hamarolf. Prematurely grey at 33 is what gave him his nickname, but he is anything but old as many an opponent have quickly learned to their regret. Another trait Nothhelm has is that he is also well known for being able to drink anyone under the table due to his iron liver.

Like Hamarolf he is the son of a peasant who has made a living by hiring out his sword to whatever raider crew needed one or lord looking for a strong arm. He has no family other then Hamarolf who he views almost like a son.

Nothhelm has no interest in leading a warband of his own as that might cut into his drinking time and other such activities, but has always searched for a leader that he could truly follow. After just a few short years of teaching Hamarolf the art of raiding and warfare he saw in this young warrior someone who just might fit the bill and since then has not only followed him, but carries his banner such is the respect he now has for Hamarolf.

Nothhelm "The Old"

The figures are mounted on 25mm metal washers which enables me to sabot them onto Big Man bases for Dux Britanniarum as seen above and on multiple bases for when joining group units and Impetus/Dux Bellorum basing as shown below. They will be magnetized onto magnetic sheets placed in the slots to keep them into place.

Thanks for viewing!:-)

Miniature Company-Musketeer Miniatures
Base trays-Warbasses

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dux Britanniarum

I played my first game of Dux Britanniarum from TooFatLardies on Saturday and I had a blast!! I thought the rules sounded good, but actually playing was even better then expected! I played the role of the Saxons using my Vikings in substitution until I can paint up some actual Saxons and my friend Nick from used his lovely Late Romans.

Sorry, no pics of figures as I was just play testing to see if the rules work for me before committing to anything. As it turns out they did indeed work very well for me so more posts on  Dux Britanniarum will be coming soon! For sure one of the best skirmish games I've played and easily right up their with Operation Squad in terms of innovation!

Just to give a real quick overview of what Dux Britanniarum is in that it's a game set in what we often call the Arthurian period which is to say the period just after after the Romans packed up shop and left England to it's own devices in 410 AD. It pits the Romano-British (Romanized Britons) holding on to their land vs the Saxons( Germanic tribes) raiders who are trying to carve out a kingdom for themselves at the expense of the British inhabitants. The game is campaign based where you take the role of either a Romano-British Tribune(Junior Officer) his subordinate officers, and his military contingent or a Saxon Lord, his Nobles and his Warband where you both try to take and hold land and rise in status to either a King or Dux Britanniarum and of course establish your own Kingdom in the process. Later Picts, Irish and Scotti, will be added to the mix to compete for their own piece of the turf vs I suppose against themselves and British and Saxons.

The system requires very little bookkeeping to run, but allows a player to add more complexity if he wishes to do so. Rules can be a little tricky to find in the book at times(probably my own ineptitude), but once found are very easy to understand and so don't require constant checking later.

We decided to set the scene in Southern England in the Kingdom of Rhegin which consists of 9 or 10 provinces with Noviomagus Regnorum, Anderitum, Magnus Portus being the most important. I'm attacking from northern Germany via the sea and need to establish myself at some point on the coast and then move inland. However, I first need to make a few raids to acquire enough wealth and  prestige to be declared a Warlord before I can take any land.

We played a scenario involving a raid on a small village church that worked out well for Hamarolf "The Battler" my Saxon Lord in netting him a small victory and some coin to enrich his coffers. I was luck to cause enough casualties over my own to Nick that I was able to field a fully recovered force a month earlier then he could. I promptly declared another raid the next month. Nick was faced with the situation of either fielding a reduced force which could go pretty bad for him if he lost and so I think he wisely choose to let me conduct an uncontested raid where I could only acquire a small amount. However, this still put me in striking distance of becoming a Warlord if my next raid is successful. As said earlier once I achieve Warlord status I can actually attempt to take provinces. I've already started painting my Saxon Warband and so will post my results along with updating the campaign as we go along.

Time to hone the axes and hit the sea as I smell loot in the air!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The 15th Alabama Regiment

Back to the American Civil War. This is my latest regiment and they are from Sash and Saber and the flag from the GMB Designs. Clean up can be a little tricky, but not too bad and some of the areas are hard to get to. That said the figures pack a lot of character that I really enjoy and so off set any negative.

The 15th Alabama was formed in May 1861 originally under the command of James Cantey, but later was taken over by the aggressive William C. Oates in 1863 until he himself was replaced by Alexander A. Lowther in 1864 through political manoeuvres. It comprised 10 companies to include Cantey's Rifles, Fort Browder Roughs, and Henry Pioneers to name a few. Ages ranged from 13 to 70 believe it or not! Although the vast majority were likely late teens and twenties one would have to suppose.

They fought in almost all the major engagements of the Army of Northern Virginia to include The Valley Campaign, First and second Manasas(Bull Run), Seven Pines, First Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Boonesboro, Sharpesburg(Antietam), Fredricksburg, Suffolk campaign, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Knoxville, Wilderness, Spottslyvania, Hanover Junction, 2nd Cold Harbor, Siege of Petersburg, plus many others. However, probably the most important was the great snowball fight on January 29, 1863 between several regiments of the ANV(around 9,000 participated!). That must have been a sight to see!

Out of 1958 men listed on the regimental rolls throughout the conflict, 261 are known to have fallen in battle, with sources listing an additional 416 deaths due to disease , 218 were captured (46 died), 66 deserted and 61 were transferred or discharged. By the end of the war, only 170 men remained in the regiment.

An interesting bit for you Gettysburg fans in that this is the confederate regiment that opposed the 20th Maine on Little Round Top on July 2nd 1863. All the praise and spotlight has gone to the 20th Maine for their heroic stand on Little Round Top led by an equally heroic Col. Chamberlain and rightly so as they did save the union army that day I believe, however in fairness the 15th Alabama should be admired for their efforts as well. Bear in mind by the time the 15th reached the Little Round Top they had marched 20 miles in searing July heat fighting some skirmishes and sniper fire with canteens empty by this time and quite exhausted. They were thrown into the assault without a pause to fill their empty canteens up a rocky hill versus a fresh enemy dug in at the crest. They attacked not once, but five gut wrenching times before Oates ordered a retreat seeing how his men were in no condition to conduct a sixth attack. Unfortunately for the 15th this was exactly at the same time Chamberlain ordered his famous counter attack when out of ammo and caused the 15th to break. I take nothing away from either regiment and believe both fought like old angry mules and should be applauded for their bravery and commitment.

Another interesting fact was that while Chamberlain and Oats(the 15th's commander at Gettysburg) were amiable to each other after the war as both respected the other, they did however exchange some heated letters years latter as to how far the 15th got up the hill. The 20th Maine has a monument on Little Round Top which they should and Oats wanted to place one for the 15th and Chamberlain didn't object as he was an honourable fellow. However, because they could not agree as to how far up the hill the 15th reached a monument was never placed for the them on the Little Round Top. The veterans of the 15th made their own stone pile monument on the top of the hill, but Chamberlain had it removed  finding it inappropriate to the memory of the men of the 20th Maine who died ensuring the summit was never taken. It just goes to show you the pride men felt on both sides about the deeds and sacrifices they went through.

Thanks for viewing!:-)
Miniature Company- Sash and Saber