Sunday, January 15, 2017

New WWII Skirmish Rules, 'Rattenkrieg!'

My good friend Alf over at Barrage Miniatures has recently released a new set of WWII skirmish rules titled, 'Rattenkrieg!'.  

Over the past few years Alf has shared with me several of his design concepts for these rules and I must say 'Rattenkrieg!' is  one of the most detailed and nuanced rulesets out in the market today. 

As a thumbnail description, I would say that 'Rattenkrieg!' is much like 'Advanced Squad Leader' for miniatures, but with even more tactical detail. Yes, these rules are for the dirt-under-your-fingernails grognards who don't mind going through a few charts and tables to get the results they desire. 

Alf has kindly allowed me to show a few pages from the beautifully designed rulebook. You will quickly see that these rules exhibit tremendous amount of research behind them and have been a labour of love.

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of tactical warfare, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of these rules. They are worth every shell casing.

'Rattenkrieg!' can be purchased in PDF form through the Barrage Miniatures website.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Francis I and Montmorency Surveying the Investment of Pavia, October 1524 - 4th Submission to AHPC VII

For our 'Armour' theme, I've returned to the Italian Wars with a vignette of Francis I of France overseeing the investment of Pavia, October 1524. 

Francis is seen here with his helmet under his arm, discussing the proposed dispositions of the French siege with one of his advisors, Montmorency, Marshal of France. The two men have recently arrived in front of the city and have placed a map of Pavia on a makeshift table made from a wagon wheel set on a tree stump. A pair of Francis' hunting dogs, Alaunts (a breed now sadly extinct), are at his side.  His banner-bearer, bored out of his mind, stands at the rear, holding the Royal Standard. Francis' attendants have brought out a stool with a refreshment of wine in pewter goblets.

Francis' figure is roughly based on an oil-on-wood painting from an unknown artist which was contemporary to the battle. In the painting he is depicted wearing gold armour with a red surcoat emblazoned with a large central cross. 

I kept the red surcoat, but instead painted him in his tournament armour, which in real life is  beautifully detailed with representations of fleur de lis on the knees, elbows and helmet (which, of course, nobody can see now due to the placement of the figures. Doh!). Francis' armour can be seen today at the musée de l’Armée, Les Invalides. 

The figures of Francis, Montmorency and his standard bearer are from the very talented Oliver James over at Steel Fist Miniatures.  These were part of a Kickstarter which I participated in a year or so ago and are now available on his website.

The two Alaunts were sculpted by Steve May as a private commission for Simon over at le Jay Emprins, who kindly provided me with a couple sets (Thanks Simon!).

Alaunts at the kill of a wild boar from The Grimami Breviary, 1490
The tree stump, wagon wheel, stool, wine bottle and goblets I printed off on my 3D printer (I LOVE that thing).

Francis' brave banner is from Pete's Flags.

As a historical postscript, the French siege of Pavia went on too long and a Imperialist relief force was dispatched to attempt to raise the siege. After a bold night march, the Spanish Imperial army smashed Francis' forces on 24th February, 1525. As the ultimate disgrace, Francis himself was captured and sent to Spain as a prisoner to negotiate his own release.


Next Up: I think something from Indochina is in order.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Spanish Civil War Falangist Infantry - 3rd Submission to AHPC VII

As a nod to the upcoming inauguration of the new POTUS and his Alt-right supporters here are ten fascists, er, Falangists from the Spanish Civil War, wearing their distinctive blue shirts, tasseled gorrillo side caps and khaki jodhpurs all fighting hard to 'Make Spain Great Again'. 

The Falange was a Spanish right-wing political movement that rose to prominence during the Spanish Civil War. They were fervent supporters of General Francisco Franco in his bid to wrest control of Spain from it's Republican government.

The Falange was an organization built around strict authoritarian ideals, believing the nation state should have close control over all aspects of Spanish society. They were patriarchal monarchists who were anti-communist, anti-liberal, anti-intellectual and ant-capitalist (though they smartened up with this last one, quickly seeing the reality of competing in a world market). Yeah, these guys were real forward thinkers, but hey, they had sharp uniforms and won the war, so they couldn't have been all that bad, right? Riiight.

After the Civil War the Falange became a significant political force during the 1940s, extending later into the postwar period. Nonetheless, they  began to steadily lose influence as Spain had to adapt in order to relate to a increasingly secular, technological world. Upon Franco's death in 1975, the Falange broke up into a number of splinter groups, politically negligible, each bickering with the others to (get this) claim the name of 'Falange'.  The descendants of these d-bags can sometimes be seen giving Nazi salutes at their pathetic rallies and generally being useless wastes of skin. But I digress.

These 28mm figures are from the comprehensive Empress Miniatures range. Wonderful sculpts from the very talented Paul Hicks. The flag is (I think) from Flags of War.

Next up: Back to the Renaissance with something French.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Inquisitor's Retinue (Part I) - 2nd Submission to AHPC VII

Hello All and Happy New Year!!

We've had a huge meal and have just returned from taking the dogs out for a big romp in the snow. 

Felix burning some energy.
Oscar burning energy? Not so much.
Now with a bit of quiet time I can sneak away to post up my second entry, closing the gap in my sci-fi paint-duel with Juan.

I'm a big fan of Dan Abnett's writing, especially his 'Inquisitor' series of books. This past autumn I ran a 'Dark Heresy' RPG campaign for a few friends. In my 'world', the player characters begin as new recruits for an Inquisitor they have never met. Her name is Esme Rochel-Perez. The players were facilitated through her large retinue of arcane and dangerous specialists, who briefed them on the task at hand and provided them with a modicum of support (but not so much to make them feel at ease).

Here are two members of Esme's retinue, Second Interrogator Roland Velasquez and Arch Adherer Barthalamaus Pinder.

These are both older 28mm Games Workshop figures. I understand that the fellow with the hat is a bit rare - I picked him up at a Games Day in Toronto over 10 years ago. Anyway, they are beautiful castings with loads of character and wonderful details to tease out with a brush. 

Arch Adherer Barthalamaus Pinder

Not much to say here. I've used fairly subdued colours for these two, with lots of browns, blacks and dark greens. The brazier's coals and Pinder's banner were fun to work on as was Velasquez's bionic arm and plasma pistol. 

Second Inquisitor Roland Velasquez

Over the next few months I will be introducing some other members of Inquisitor Rochel-Prez's retinue, all the while (hopefully) keeping Juan on his toes with his own 'Rogue Stars' efforts.

Wish me luck!

Next Up: The 'Alt-right' from the Spanish Civil War.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

AHPC Entry 1: Fred, An Enlightened Despot, and His Dogs

Every year, I make sure I start the Painting Challenge with the first entry. 

This year the overarching theme is on compansionship so this is a little roundabout entry exploring that idea.

Frederiche der Grosse. Der Alte Fritz. Frederick the Great. This same man who won the Seven Years War, unified Prussia, rubbed shoulders with Voltaire and introduced potatoes to Germany was also a great lover of dogs - in particular his Italian Greyhounds. The Prussian King and his dogs were inseparable, with at least one being recorded as accompanying him on campaign (Biche, who was with him during the War of the Austrian Succession). Frederick owned many dogs during his lifetime, most of these roamed free in his palace of Sanssouci, always at his feet, always indulged.

Frederick's wish upon his death was to be buried alongside his dogs at Sanssouci, but thinking this beneath the dignity of the old warrior, his nephew and successor, Frederick Wilhelm II, had him buried with his father (whom, ironically, Frederick the Great detested) in the Garrison Church in Potsdam

Nonetheless, 205 years later, after Germany was once again re-united, Frederick the Great was finally buried according to his wishes, next to his beloved greyhounds at Sanssouci in a small ceremony after nightfall.

Frederick the Great's grave (with the traditional potato offerings) next to his hounds.
Okay, on to the figures. Here we see Frederick the Great playing a minuet on his flute with his faithful Italian Greyhounds at his feet.  

This is a nice 28mm vignette offered by Eureka Miniatures which I think is based on the painting by Adolf von Menzel. 

Next Up: Some members of a Inquisitorial retinue.