Pass in Review!

I have been working on the figures in the new Yule faction for Wars of Ozz.  My goal was to have everything painted in time for Historicon, but I think I will be two elf regiments short.

Today I completed a unit of Teddy Bear infantry.

Note that the Teddy Bears have blue neckerchiefs and trim on their hats.
Note the flag designs. This is the third regiment in the Yule army, so their flag has three Christmas ornaments.
The Teddy Bear regiment ready for action.

I have previously posted here and on Facebook the other regiments as I completed them.  There are enough different units in the Yule faction for probably two or three players to have 25-point brigades.

Teddy bear regiment
First regiment. This is the first regiment, the toy soldier cadets, painted to resemble West Point cadets.
The second regiment of Yule
First Grenadier regiment.
Toy soldier cavalry
Babo Natale and La Bifania.
The artillery

I have created a Reaction Test chart, army list, and sheet of flags for this faction that will be available along with the figures.

Český Krumlov

The next day was in Linz.  We elected to take the excursion to Český Krumlov, a quaint mediaeval village back in the Czech Republic.  This town was largely untouched by WWII, so the castle and town are like they have been for hundreds of years.  After a walking tour of the town and castle grounds, we all sat down for a traditional Czech meal and then had some free time to spend money on stuff we didn’t need.  We also climbed the tower of the castle and looked at the museum inside the castle tower during our free time.  Despite the hour and fifteen minute drive in each direction, we arrived back in Linz in time to walk around the town a bit and get some Linzer tortes.

Our first glimpse at a portion of the castle.
Our guide, Stephan, did a great job showing us around the town.
Two movie stars we met during the tour. Viking provides a “Vox” device with an ear piece. This allows the guide to narrate the tour without yelling or bothering others not on the tour.
Another view of the town.
School is ending soon in the Czech Republic. There were many school groups in town. Here you can see one school group rafting down the river.
The castle walls. Here you can see how different sections of the castle were built in different decades with different styles.
The town was hosting a group of high wire enthusiasts. In many of these pictures you can see the lines high over the river or town.
Approaching the castle.
The castle was built over many decades. The castle, consisted of five courtyards, each built in a slightly different style. Many of the walls had frescos on them. This is the archway leading from the castle to the town.
The town from the castle walls.
The government is in the process of adding a military museum to the castle. Here are a couple of cannons on display.
They claim that this is one of the first two breach-loading cannons ever built, but the guide was a little hazy on the specifics other than that it was produced by Krupp.
Another of the courtyards. We later climbed to the top of that tower.
Another courtyard picture.
Many of the walls were painted to look like large bricks, but the walls were actually just flat plaster.
Another view of the faux brickwork painted on the walls.
Karen and JJ
A gingerbread shop in town. Cookies and booze seem like an unusual taste combination.
We had a traditional Czech meal in several courses in a restaurant, called the Water Mill.
The meal consisted of a very tasty soup. Then a tray of meats, including duck, chicken, beef, and pork, was brought out family style. This included red cabbage. Like most means over the past two weeks, vegetables other than cabbage were in short supply.
Many of the buildings in town were decorated with these detailed frescoes.
Another view of part of the town. The buildings were painted in a number of pastel colors.
Český Krumlov
After lunch we were released for some free time. We chose to climb to the tap of the castle tower.
The tower from below.
Candy in the tower with the town in the background.
A view of the town from atop the tower. You can see some of the high-wire lines in this photo.

After a little shopping we boarded the bus and headed back to Linz.  I don’t fee like we missed anything in Linz by spending the day in Český Krumlov.  It is a largish German city with a handful of churches to see.  We had a couple of hours to walk downtown and shop for Linzer tortes to bring home.  The shopping area in Linz was just a city street and was not really unique or quaint.

Passau and Beyond

After our time in Prague, we boarded a bus for along ride to Passau, Germany, where we boarded out boat.  Arriving a little before dinner, we received out orientation and unpacked in our rooms.  We stayed in Passau at the dock the first night.  The next morning, Duncan, Dave, and I took the “Hiking the Hills of Passau” walking tour, while everyone else took the normal walking tour of town. Our tour covered the same downtown (Old Town) area of Passau, but we also saw a monastery / church overlooking Passau from one side of town and the castle on the other side of the river.  The tour was billed as “strenuous,” but it really wasn’t too bad except for the climb up the hill to the castle.

JJ, Karen, Betty, Candy, Greg, and Nicole get ready for their walking tour of Old Town Passau.
A picture of Passau. We started the “hiking the hills” tour pretty early.
The altar in the church / abbey / monastery overlooking Passau that was the starting point of our our.
The group preparing to hike the hills. Viking combined us with a group from another Viking ship traveling the opposite direction along the Danube.
The church that was our first stop.
The cemetery for many of the priests and monks who had lived at the abbey.
A view of Passau from the abbey.
We’re walking, we’re walking…
Oh, how artistic…
A fountain in the middle of Passau.
This is my kind of garden. This is what I call the “riot of color” look.
Walking along the Danube toward the bridge to the castle.
A good view along the wall of the castle. You can see how the styles changed over the hundreds of years of construction.
Another portion of the castle.
Passau from the castle. You can barely see our boat behind the vegetation.
A building along our hiking route.

A portion of the castle.
Dave, me, Duncan at an overlook on the hill we walked up to get to the castle.
A view of Passau from the castle. In the distance, on the hill, you can see the abbey where we started our perigrination. The white line coming down from it and then turning to the left of the picture is the covered pilgrim’s way with 300+ steps.
A partial view of the interior of the castle.
Sitting on the sun deck as we departed from Passau: Duncan, Betty, Karen.
In the afternoon, there was a demonstration in the lounge of how to make strudel.

Overnight we docked in Linz for our tours the next day.

 

Danube Cruise, the Adventure Begins in Prague

Well, it finally happened.  After our Viking river cruise of the Rhine in 2019, we scheduled a cruise along the Danube in 2020, which was postponed to 2021, and then 2022.  Along the way, we encouraged several other couples to participate: Greg and Nicole with whom we took the Rhine cruise, Duncan and Betty, Dave and Brenda, Eric and Vickey, and JJ and Karen.  Our journeys began seven days ago with our flights into Prague for the “pre show,” three days in Prague.

Our first night in Prague Greg had identified a pretty neat restaurant called “the skewer.”  All of the food had a skewer stuck in it.  Some had two skewers.  The food was self-serve, and at the end you paid for the number of skewers you had eaten.

JJ, Karen, Candy, Greg, and Nicole.
Eric, Vickie, Brenda, Dave, Betty, and Duncan

After a stroll around downtown Prague (Praha), we all returned to the hotel to try to get some sleep despite the jet lag.

The next morning, we all took the included “Panoramic Prague” walking tour through the city.  The guide, Radick, did a nice job of showing us the highlights of downtown Prague, despite some heavy rain.

The astronomical clock in the Old Town Square that chimes every hour. The 12 apostles process past the blue windows. The skeleton rings a bell to summon people, but the other statues shake their heads to stay on earth at least another hour.
A street in Prague
A view of Prague, including the castle on the hill.
A building in the town square. Many of the buildings had these nice frescoes on them.
Another building in the Old Town Square.
Taking cover from the rain.
This is a church in the Old Town Square. Note the mutliple spires. This seemed to be common among many of the churches in Prague. Also note the connector from the main spire to the corner spires. This too seemed to be common in Prague. I am not sure if this is decorative or structural or merely provides a covered walkway to the corner spires.
By the time we reached the Charles bridge on our tour, the rain and clouds were fading.
Crossing the bridge.
A canal near the Charles Bridge.
A paddle boat made to look like an old car on the river near the Charles Bridge.
A long shot of the bridge.
Another canal near the Charles bridge looking in the opposite direction toward an old water wheel.

The tour continued by taking us up to the castles, which includes a church and the President’s offices.

One of the many stained glass windows in the church within the Prague castle.
Our guide provides information about the church.
Looking down the long axis of the church toward the altar.
Because the castle hold’s the president’s offices, there were both ceremonial and real guards on duty.
Candy and me in front of the church within the Prague castle.
The inner courtyard of our hotel looking down toward where we had an included breakfast each morning.

That night Duncan, Betty, Dave, Brenda, Candy, and I attended a traditional folk dinner in a rural area outside of Prague.   This included dancers performing traditional folk dances and a three-piece band playing traditional music.  The food included some kind of cheese spread on bread, soup, meat, cabbage, and potatoes.  It was a fun evening.

The band playing at the Folk Dinner.
Our servers.
The entertainment.
Dave and Brenda
Betty, Duncan, some movie star, and Candy.

The next morning, on our own, we went to find the History of Communism.  I don’t know how anyone can support Communism, Marxism, and Socialism after visiting this museum.  The Czechs know first hand the evils of these philosophies, and they are not afraid to oppose them.

Some of the displays at the Museum of Communism.
One of the boards next to some of the displays.
I love this quote. Centralized, government control has never and will never work. The museum provided a number of examples of how a powerful and controlling central government created hardships and shortages for the people.
Reassembling after the museum tour. Duncan, Betty, Brenda, Dave, and Candy.

We walked around the Old Town Square in much better weather than the previous morning.
I saw this winged moose on a building in Prague and thought is was interesting. I need to add one of these to one of my games.
Several of us took the optional Operation Anthropoid tour. Anthropoid was an OSS operation in WWII to assassinate Heydrich Reinhardt, the “Butcher of Prague,” who also designed the “final solution” resulting in the creation of the concentration and death camps throughout Europe. While the operation was a success, in that they killed Reinhardt, all of the Czech parachutists involved were killed.
We took an evening tour of Prague. One of the stops was a monastery on one of the hills near the castle for a beer and a scenic overlook.
Some of the gang waiting for their beers: Dave, Brenda, JJ, Karen, Candy, and Eric.
The monastery
Karen and Candy with evening Prague behind them.

Our last morning we had to drop off our bags by 1000, but the bus wasn’t scheduled to depart of Passau until 1300.  So, Karen, Candy, JJ, and I walked across the river and along it to the Charles Bridge.  We stopped at a couple of shops to look at stuff we didn’t need, then we crossed the bridge and made one last trek through Old Town Square back to our hotel.

A local group performing on the Charles Bridge.
Assembling for the trip to Passau: JJ, Betty, Duncan, Candy, Eric, Vickey, Dave, Brenda, and Karen. Where is Buck?
The bus ride from Prague to Passau. Like any good paratrooper, Dave was asleep before the bus door closed.

We arrived at the boat in time to unpack our rooms and have dinner.

Eric, Vickey, JJ, Karen, Betty, and Duncan

 

Napoleonic French

I recently completed these three battalions of French Napoleonic infantry and mounted them for the under-development Wars of Eagles and Empires.  Eagles and Empires is an adaptation of Wars of Ozz for purely historical games.  The initial version will be Napoleonic, but there will be supplements for other historical periods, such as the American War of Independence (AWI), Jacobite Rebellion, Crimea, and others.

Early Old Glory French Napoleonic infantry.

These figures are very early Old Glory figures.  These were sold with separate heads, and you could get them with bicorns or shakos.  At the time, I was building Davout’s III Corps for 1805-1807.  Almost half of his regiments were still furnished Royal white uniforms instead of Napoleonic blue uniforms.

I don’t know if these were Old Glory’s first 25/28mm figures, but they were very early ones.  I think I purchased these at Old Glory’s first Historicon.

Another view of Old Glory French Napoleonic infantry.

I have recently be remounting all of my Napoleonic infantry for Wars of Eagles and Empires from Empire.  I had painted three battalions of these figures.  In Empire a battalion of French was typically twelve figures.  In Wars of Eagles and Empires, French regiments are generally six bases; although, there is no prescribed number of figures per base.  The figures from Nick Cirocco that I converted from Column, Line, and Square were mounted six figures to a base, because that’s how Minifigs Napoleonics were packaged.

During my rebasing, I found a bunch more of these figures that I had filed and primed.  There were enough figures, when combined with the 36 I had already painted, to make three full battalions of them for Wars of Eagles and Empires.

I block painted the new figures to match closely the ones I had painted 35 years ago.  The result is passable.  I just love the look of big battalions!  May that is because of my dad’s collection of 54mm Britains that surrounded me as a kid.

I will be holding another Napoleonic play test this week, and these figures will be on the table.  “Buck’s Law” states that the first time you put new figures on the table, they usually get spanked.  We’ll see what happens…

Old School Goblins for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves

I have been working on armies for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves.  I have hobbits, orcs, some humans, and goblins.  My goblin forces are primarily made of Ral Partha Legacy old school goblins like the ones I had in high school.  I have chosen to paint them in AD&D yellow instead of GW green.  I wouldn’t have tried that without Iyanden Yellow Contrast paint.

Ral Partha Legacy old school goblin imps with hand weapons.
Another view
Ral Partha goblins with swords. Note the red shield decorations.
A side view.
The rear view showing the red capes to match the red shield decorations.

I finished these figures last weekend, but I just got around to flocking them last night.

While I was painting the two units of goblins over the weekend, I finally finished this unit of ducks I had been working on for weeks.

A unit of duck militia with mixed weapons.
I think I will allow two bases to shoot, since here are some bows and spears mixed in the group.

Artillery for my Orcs

When I started working on Wars of Orcs and Dwarves (WOOD), I found that I had very few fantasy figures, as I prefer historical games in general.  So, I started on my journey to create several “brigades” of hobbits, orcs, and goblins for WOOD. I completed the hobbit army some months ago.  To complete the orc army, I needed some artillery.  After posting to The Wargames Website, which is a wonderful alternative to the troll-infested Miniatures Page, I received some good suggestions.

This weekend I completed two “artillery pieces” for the orcs.

A war engine from manufacturer unknown. Note that my orcs and goblins are painted in AD&D yellow instead of GW green.
This engine was a gift from my buddy, Dave Wood. It was partially painted, but I reprised it and started over.

This piece will be mounted on a 4″x4″ base like large creatures.  It will melee like a large creature in WOOD, but it will fire like a catapult.

When I saw this figure, it just cracked me up. The cyclops giant troll think has a catapult on his back and appears to be launching orcs or goblins at the enemy.
I like the guy on top getting ready to be launched.
My wife liked all the arrows stuck in the catapult.
I think this would get your attention.

Dave will be using my figures to run a WOOD game at the Recon convention in April in the Free State of Florida.  I can’t wait to see these guys on the table.

Philippines 1942 for Recon

American infantry destroy a Japanese tank by close assault.

In preparation for Recon 2022 in Orlando, FL, in April, I have been play testing a scenario set in the Philippines prior to the surrender.  I have tweaked the scenario after each instance, and I think it will make a good fight at the convention.

I have been interested in this period for a while.  Pulp Figures makes between-the-wars Americans, and Brigade Games makes Philippine scouts.  I (and a couple of others) commissioned several different poses from Steve Barber Miniatures.  Together, these give me all the figures I need to game this period.

The scenario involves an American infantry platoon defending a bridge across a stream.  The Japanese are advancing.  The Americans initially have three under-strength squads, an anti-tank gun, two .30 cal. water-cooled machine-guns, and a command element.  A fourth squad and an M3 Stuart arrive as reinforcements.  The Japanese have four full-strength squads, two Type 95 Ha-Go tanks, and a command element.

The American side of the table.
The Japanese side of the table. The Japanese forces start 18″ from the rear edge of the table.

The Japanese start 18″ from their table edge.  For every 18″ that they advance across the table, the Japanese receive five victory points.  The tanks do not accrue these points, only the infantry.  It is only necessary for one infantryman to advance 18″ to get the five victory points, but this is measured at the end of the game.  They cannot dash forward, get points, and then get killed.  They have to be alive at the end of the game.  The Americans receive five points for knocking out a tank.  Both sides receive one victory point for each enemy soldier who is incapacitated.  The thought is that giving the Japanese points for ground will encourage them to advance.  The game ends after three hours of play, which can be a variable number of turns.

The first time I ran the scenario it was a blowout for the Japanese.  I thought that was because I didn’t leave enough fields of fire for the Americans.  In the second running, I added a couple more hills to enable the Americans to fire over the foliage at the stream.  I also broke up the foliage on the American right to give them fields of fire.  The second instance was closer, but still a decisive American victory.  I want it to be more of a nail biter.  For Recon, I will add a fourth American squad that enters the table and let the Stuart enter earlier.

When the Americans lose five figures, the fourth squad enters from their rear table edge.  This should enforce some level of defense in depth.  When ten figures are killed, the Stuart enters the table.  In both instances of the scenario the Americans defended far forward and had no reserve, so it felt very much like a hard crust and a soft interior.  I had envisioned the Americans firing from advanced positions to disrupt the Japanese and then withdrawing to a second line of defense.  Retrograde operations are difficult to conduct in real life and also hard on the tabletop.

Below are some pictures from the play tests.

American infantry close assaults and knocks out a Japanese tank. In the first instance of the scenario, the American anti-tank gun missed three times, so it came down to the infantry to knock out the tanks with grenades.
The handsome and debonaire game master.
Early in the scenario.
Japanese initial dispositions.
Early in the game. You can see a portion of the American deployment.
The Japanese are starting to take casualties.
You can see a satisfying amount of death and mayhem as the Japanese push across the stream.

I am pretty happy with the look of the table.  The roads are from Battlefield Terrain Concepts (BTC).  The stream is from Deep Cut Studios and is made of mouse mat material.  The bridge is an old Hovels model, I think.  The trees are a mix of BTC, flea market finds, cake decorating trees, and bamboo from Amazon.   The cloth is a fleece blanket I had printed with a high-resolution image I purchased on DriveThru.

The stream is fordable as rough terrain.  You can’t really tell in these pictures, but there are a lot of hills under the fleece.

If you live near Florida, come to Recon and give this scenario a try.

Reading Up on the Philippines

I am interested in the Philippines in the early part of WWII.  I commissioned Steve Barber to sculpt some figures for the period to supplement the between-the-wars figures from Pulp Figures.  I have also recently ordered the Philippine scouts from Brigade Games.  Now I am in search of historical rather than “typical” scenarios.  To that end, I found a bunch of good books that have arrived.  Like when I became interested in the Mexican-American War, I will binge read bout this period.  I hope to find enough scenarios to make a good scenario supplement for Combat Patrol(R).  I am sure there are more, but here are the ones in my reading queue.  I am hoping they provide a source of scenarios for Bataan before the surrender as well as the guerrilla war.  I didn’t realize there were so many guerrilla commanders in the Philippines or how many of them went on to be founding member of US Army Special Forces.

Foldable Terrain

I found foldable terrain pictured recently on The Wargames Website that are available from Badger Games LLC in the US.  I have not been a fan of 4Ground in the past, because I don’t like the exposed tabs, and they don’t seem to sell touch-up paint to cover the tabs in matching colors.  The concept of foldable terrain intrigued me.  Badger has a subset of the building kits.  The full listing can be found here.

I purchased one of the brig buildings just to see how easy they were to assemble and how they looked.  In general, I am very pleased the the results; although, there was definitely a learning process for the first floor I assembled.  There are no tutorial videos that I could find, so it was a bit of trial and error.  Hint:  you never put any glue on any white paint in these repainted buildings.

Here is a picture of the final Americana shop with the optional third floor.

Note the typical exposed tabs of 4Ground buildings. I will try to match the gray and cover the tabs and also paint the concrete sections between the stories to make them gray instead of laser-cut MDF brown.
The floors come apart and have their own floors.
To fold a floor, you start by lifting the floor sections, which are hinged.
Then the walls fold together on hinges.

I am very interested in the mediaeval ones.  I have reached out to see if I can order them from Badger or if I need to order them from England.

Does anyone know how to find paint that matches the 4Ground colors?