Medieval Metropolis

Open Day update from Stephen:

For my Open Day game I am going to need a lot of buildings because the game is set in a medieval town. Fortunately, I already have plenty, but a few more wouldn’t do any harm because I want it to be crammed to give the idea of an enclosed town with narrow streets..

So this post is about how I go about making buildings.

To be honest, I don’t start with a clear plan and impression of what it’s going to look like. I know how big I will want it and I know what size footprint it must have (after all, I’ve got to store it) but I don’t start the building process with some end image in mind. I think that’s how it should be for a medieval building – make it up as you go. That way you stand more chance of recreating that higgledy-piggledy medieval look.

For this building I did know I wanted it to be made of stone with a tile roof. So I got some Wills Scenic embossed styrene sheets and made some boxes. I decided I wanted some different elevations as well. So one tall box and one not so tall box.

The windows were previous castings I had made. I had enough spare so I didn’t have to cast any more. You can check a previous article about how I make windows for buildings.

You will notice I decided to have a second floor doorway. This means I can add a wooden stairway and platform so there will be a different surface and texture which also adds to the medieval look. Likewise I decided to include a wattle and daub lean to – again, this will provide another texture. The wooden beams on the roof ends and lean to are simply card strips. Then the area in between the beams is given a coating of PVA glue and sand is sprinkled on.

At this point it gets left over night for everything to dry. Where the styrene cladding meets on the corners there are often gaps. This is remedied with a bead of milliput. Since that could obscure some of the stone pattern I then go back with a cocktail stick to scribe it back in and take it to the edges to make the stone work look continuous. Now to tile the roof – I make tiles from heavy paper/card. The stuff used by water-colourists is good because it is textured. I cut strips of card then snip it almost to the edge to make the tiles rather than cut individual tiles. You then stick the tiles on in strips, starting at the bottom, and making sure they overlap. You can cut out the odd individual tile and stick it on a bit wonky to make it look like a slipped tile. When the glue has dried you just trim the edges.

Once construction is complete I give the model a spray of a single flat colour. This helps tie it all together and you can see if anything is needed. What I forgot to do on this model is add a chimney! I usually add the chimney before the tiles but on this occasion I had to add the chimney afterwards. The pot is made from the end of an old felt tip pen.

Whilst that was all drying I made the stairs. Nothing special about this, just out with the balsa. Originally I was going to keep the area under the stairs open and put a barrel or log pile under it. But it didn’t look right and so I decided to enclose the stairs in the final model. Again, I think this suits this particular building better.

With construction complete it’s time to slap some paint on it. I’m not a fan of stark black/grey for stone. It just looks wrong. Very few stones are actually grey. Limestone was a popular building material in the middle ages and limestone is not grey. I kept the grey undercoat and then added a dark brown wash (I actually used GW Agrax Earthshade). When that had dried I gave it a heavy dry brush with khaki. I then gave it three of four lighter dry brushes using a mix of khaki, light grey, and finally a barely off white. The tiles were done using a terracotta/rust colour. The wooden stairs and gantry were given a basic coat of khaki and then washed with the Agrax Earthshade. It is then dry brushed with khaki and succeeding dry brushed coats have a bit of grey (but not as much as the stone work) added.

Weathering is done using a dark green (I used Tamiya XF5). Pay attention to the base, where it could be mold and damp rising, and to areas that could be sheltered and stay wet (under the eaves, in crevices, etc). I then also gave it some more weathering and shading using the Agrax Earthshade just to reinforce corners. And that’s about it, really, apart from basing using a mix of various model railway ballasts and a bit of static grass.

Open Day 2018

The club is holding its annual Open Day on Saturday June 23rd (11am to 4pm). This when we put on many games and open our doors for all to come and visit and get a much wider idea of what we do and the games we play. We try to put on a good variety of games across all the popular periods and scales, all of which are open to visitors to join in. We offer a special discounted membership rate for anyone who joins the club on the day. There’s also a prize draw sponsored by local manufacturer Brigade Models for all visitors.

This year there are seven games, including one put on by Milton Hundred Wargames Club, our nearby friends and neighbours. The six club games are as follows:

The Fall of the Ramas Echor – a 28mm Lord of the Rings game set just before the Battle of Pelennor Fields, TA3019.

The Second Battle Of Sluys AD1370 – 28mm Medieval action using Lion Rampant rules.

Fields of Glory – a 15mm ancients game using the FoG ruleset.

Sharp Practice – 28mm Napoleonic skirmish action in the Spanish Peninsula.

WW2 Naval – early war action between the French and Italian navies in the Mediterranean.

Gaslands – post-apocalyptic car racing.

Directions to the club’s venue in Linton, near Maidstone, can be found on our website.

Open Day Update

From Stephen:

My Open Day game will be a game of Lion Rampant set during the Hundred Years War, with the English raiding a French (or it might Dutch) coastal town.

The table will be a medieval port, with a harbour at one end and at the other will be the keep.
The keep was scratch built using a variety of bits and pieces.

Nabobs Wanted

From Seán:

India 1756-63

The sturdy British & their noble Indian allies contend with the wily French and their perfidious Indians in the Seven Years War (the First world war) for the prize of a sub-continent. We could do with 6-8 Nabobs on a roughly 9ft x 5ft table. I will umpire this 15mm game to keep it flowing. It will be my third colonial Principles of War battle after the Mahdists and the Zulus. The Moghuls are splendid troops and the favourite of all my armies. They offer you elephants, camel rocket batteries, massive ox-driven mobile artillery platforms, camel artillery magnificent hordes of colourful noble cavalry, flighty horse archers, loads of unwieldy guns, Afghan fanatics with sniping jezails and legions of cowardly matchlock men, archers and spearmen all looking to overwhelm one or other of the pushy imperial rivals – the British East India Company or the French Compagnie des Indes Orientales. An empire is at stake! Release your inner Eyre Coote!

Let me know if you would like a command : British or French, the British Indian allied commander Mir Jafir or the French Suraj ud Dauhla (of The Black Hole of Calcutta infamy) or one of their allied native rulers. They all have big forces but very unwieldy and varied in ability. Interestingly tricky commands.

Club Game Updates

Time to share a random selection of pictures from the last couple of club meetings – April 28th by Andy King, May 12th by Tony Francis and Stephen Tucker. Highlights include Pete’s ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ Vietnam game, two naval games (Napoleonic and 50’s modern), Celtos Fantasy and a Star Wars fleet battle.

April 28th

May 12th

The Cannons of Crecy

Another Open Day update from Stephen Tucker:

In 1346, at Crecy, historians have suggested that cannons were first used on a battlefield. Gunpowder had long since existed, and man-portable ‘guns’ had been in use since the 13th century, but Crecy marked the first use of field artillery pieces in a battle. Maybe (there are other nominees).

Since my game at this year’s Open Day will be set during the early part of the Hundred Years War I thought I would make a model of an early cannon.

These early cannon were little more than metal pots. What they actually fired is unclear. Some illustrations have them firing arrows, but whether they did fire actual arrows or that was just artistic convention is also unclear. Examination of surviving examples show heavy scoring to the inside of the barrel, suggesting they fired what we might consider grapeshot. Of course, they may have fired any combination of these.

My example was scratchbuilt from a variety of materials. The actual pot barrel was made from milliput. The carriage was made from balsa, and then plasticard fixings and fittings were added.
Now all I need to add is a crew to fire it.

If you want to have a go at manning the cannon and see how effective it is then, join us on June 23 for the club Open Day.

Pax Romana

At the last meeting we had a game of Sword & Spear – Romans against Sarmatians.

We decided to do one of the scenario games listed in the rules: Attack A Prepared Position.

The Romans (Andy King and Dave Sime) were defending which meant the Sarmatians (Tony Gibbs and Stephen Tucker) had to break them or they lose by default. After the sixth turn a dice is rolled each turn and depending on the roll that could be the end of the game.

So there was no time to lose.

The battle field was set up with a hill and wood on one flank, and on the other was another hill, an area of rocky ground, and a villa/farm. The Romans also had a fortified camp which they put in the middle of their table edge.

Since the Romans were defending they had to deploy first. They used their legionaries to form a strong line linking the farm and camp. They kept their cavalry in the rear as a mobile reserve, and put their auxiliaries in the farm with the wall to protect them. Their skirmishers – some light cavalry, slingers, and a few archers – they had out front in the open.

The Sarmatians deployed with their cavalry in the middle. On their left they put the light cavalry archers, and on the right they had a few skirmishers with bows and some Gepid mercenaries.

The game started with the Romans remaining stationary. There was no need for them to advance after all.

Tony’s Sarmatians on the left made good speed, advancing to threaten the Roman skirmishers and light cavalry. The right flank was somewhat tardy in its advance – the rocky ground and poor activation dice making progress difficult.

First blood went to the Sarmatians, who made short work of the Roman skirmishers. It was never looking good for them out there in the open against all that cavalry. There was a desultory exchange of bowfire between the Roman auxiliaries in the farm and the advancing Sarmatian skirmishers.

With the Roman light troops routed the Sarmatian left flank advanced on the Roman line. The Romans feared a mighty cavalry charge and moved their own cavalry into position where they might plug any gap should the inevitable happen. The Roman legionaries around the villa wobbled back and forth, unsure whether to make a charge or to hold their line (they chose to hold the line) and the Gepids finally managed to move up.

The turns ticked by. The Sarmatians were ahead on points but this game wasn’t about who killed most – the Sarmatians were against the clock and if they didn’t break the Roman line quickly that would be it. So in went the Gepids and in went the Sarmatian cavalry!

The Gepids delivered a whallop, but the Romans paid that back with interest. The cavalry charge wasn’t all it could have been and the Roman line held and pushed them back.

It hadn’t been enough.

Dusk fell, and time was up. Game end!

The Sarmatians had destroyed more Roman units but had failed to break them before the last turn.

Though bloodied, the Romans held the field and were declared victors.

From the Archive

Member Phil Richards recently unearthed a load of very old photos relating to show games in the 85-88 period. You’ll find them linked below (be prepared to be amazed at what some of us used to look like when we had hair…):

Unnamed 15mm Ancients Game – Tunbridge Wells ’85

The Vire Incident (WW2 54mm game) – SELWG ’86 and Tunbridge Wells ’87

Berlin or Bust (20mm WW2 Participation game) – Salute ’88 and SELWG ’88

Britain Will Not Last The Month

Obenstleutnant Heinze Siebenundfunfzig, Staffels 5.KG76 and 7.JG51

Aircraft: 9 JU88-1 and 8 ME109-3

Six ME109s stayed closely to the bombers for support while two fighters were allowed to roam. Three JU88s were assigned rail-yards as a target while six were assigned a group of oil storage tanks. The bombers and escorting fighters were to stay in a tight group until near their respective targets. Ten minutes before target we were met by a large number of Hurricanes who bore straight in on the bombers. Our fighters shot down one Hurricane in a head-on attack as they passed over the bombers. The British pilots bravely concentrated most of their effort on the bombers giving our fighters an advantage. The 20mm canons were especially effective since our pilots were shooting accurately. The bombers rear gunners were making steady hits with their 30 calibres, managing to down at least one British fighter. The bombers took numerous 30 calibre hits and all but one managed to return; three had serious damage and all had been hit at least several times. The fighter pilots claimed 18 kills.

A navigational problem caused the bombers to continue past their targets before turning for home. This error was caused by my failure to submit sufficiently detailed orders. Fortunately, it had little effect on the mission or the casualties. This will not happen again (if I still have a command). Heil Hitler!

Nine bombers completed their run on their targets; two failed to release because they were not aligned. The results from above looked promising, especially on the oil tanks.

With more raids like this one Britain will not last out the month.

A Very Bad Day

Squadron Leader Duncan MacDonald, CO 213 Sqn, Tangmere

Scrambled by sector in response to a German raid, the Hurricanes of 213 Sqn climbed to maximum altitude and spotted a formation of Ju88s escorted by Me109s below them, heading North. A similar formation of German Do17s and escorts to the East was engaged by 602 Sqn. In accordance with doctrine 213 Sqn pressed home the attack against the bombers, diving to engage the Ju88s head on; passing behind them and then turning to pursue them.

While our aircraft attacked the bombers they were in turn attacked by the Me109s; the German cannon reaping havoc among the Hurricanes, with many of the squadron’s aircraft being shot down.
The Ju88s pressed on towards their targets, a railway marshalling yard and a fuel tank farm, with the remaining Hurricanes in pursuit. One Ju88 was brought down, but most of the rest unleashed their bombs on target.

As the Ju88s turned towards RAF Linton the last of the Hurricanes was brought down.
A very bad day for the squadron.