Monday, December 27, 2010

ECW Initiative Cards

I have just finished a generic initiative card deck for English Civil War games. The cards were made using Sprigge's famous drawing of the battle of Naseby for the card images. There is a pdf. of 4 pages of cards that include Horse, Foot, Guns, Command and Dragoons as well as a cool "Time Passes" and "Event" cards and even a "Baggage Trayne" move card for those special baggage raiding scenarios. I was able to glean images from the original drawing by careful screen captures and it gives a pretty good period feel to the cards. The cards are purposely generic so that you can use them in a number of ways depending on the rules you are using. They are designed to work with Clarence Henderson's Victory Without Quarter rules (available from him at his "Quindia" website). Note that the cards are made using an AVERY 5371 perforated business card template so it should make the cards easier to produce.

Find the cards for FREE download here: link and just navigate to the Lead Gardens folder and inside the pdf. file is titled "Littlejohns ECW Cards".... Enjoy! and please let me know of any ideas for additions to the set.

This set will be followed by another set that's tailored to my figure collection with images of the actual units and period images of the various commanders.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gerard's Regiment of Foote Ready For Battle!

With the exception of a few final touches (eyes, and some final highlighting) these Cavaliers are ready to face off against those rebellious Parliamentarians! Every time I finish a new unit of these big fellows (40mm) I get excited about playing again....and despite the expense of the figures a few go a long way in making the units seem large.

I also followed Phil Olley's great method for painting real cloth flags and it works really well but takes just a bit of patience and practice to make it look good. I topped the pole off with a finial casting from Front Rank> I think one of the most fun aspects of ECW/30YW gaming are the colorful standards.

Also during this holiday, I'm currently redoing all my ECW turn initiative cards that I use with my preferred rules (Victory Without Quarter) and hopefully soon will post a link to the pdf file of the cards for my readers to download.

A fine Yuletide to all of you out I'm ready for a pint!...Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Combat of St. Ulrich 1755

In the earliest days of planning my 18th century ImagiNations, I had imagined two tiny warring countries named Schwartzburg and Christenheim and I worked up a small scenario using the few  units I had on painted at the time. After the battle I decided break out my pen and inks to draw up a map of the action in the manner of the old period maps I was enjoying at the time. My two countries went on to become the much larger and more bellicose Grand Duchy of Grolstein and the Konigsreich der Bleiherzen

To make a long story short, yesterday I dug out that old first map and set up a re-fight of that same early battle and spent a pleasant few hours fighting it out with my now veteran soldiers.

So here is that very first battle re-fought!

The opposing forces were:

The Grolstein Brigade:
IR 3 The Grand Duchess' Liebguarde (30 figures)
IR 1 Col. Jaehde's regiment (30 figures)
The Red Grenadiers (12 figures)
the Yellow Battery of the Grolstein artillery (2 guns)
1st Squadron Drossen Dragoons (12 figures)

The Bleiherzen Brigade
Erbprinz Fuzilier Regiment von Kluge (30 figures)
Musketeer Regiment von Pfuhlstein (30 figures)
1st Squadron Col. Graf and the Konigswald Dragoons (12 figures)
2 gun battery (1 howitzer, 1 field piece) Royal Konigsreich Artillery

A Bleiherzen brigade is surprised by the advance guard of a slightly larger Grolstein force, and rather than withdrawing promptly across the river bridge at St. Ulrich, the Bleiherzen commander recklessly decides to give the Grolsteiners a bloody nose before retreating across the river to safety.

An overview of the battlefield, looking over the Grolstein positions anchored on the village of the distance a critical bridge and the town of St. Ulrich.

The Grolstein brigade advances to deploy.

The Yellow battery goes into action.

Squadron of the Drossen Dragoons

Colonel Graf's Dragoons anchor the right flank of the Bleiherzen line.

 The Grolsteiners advanced quickly from the heights around Mulheim and began to form line as the defendeing artillery on the Zeitberg began to fire at long and generally ineffective range.

A birds eye view of the Bleiherzen battery on the Zeitberg and the bridge at St. Ulrich

The Regiment von Pfuhlstein

The Yellow battery begins bombarding the defenders.

The Grolstein brigade forms into line...some confusion of orders causes an overlap of regiments that has to be sorted out by the blows and curses of the NCOs!
Coming into range of the howitzer on the Zeitberg gives the Liebguard's Col. some tense moments! (yes...that's a Grant shell template...accept no substitutes!)
The Grolstein line closes the range.
The Bleiherzen brigadier orders his line forward and delivers the first volley...the most damage falls on the Duchess' Liebguard and the Colonel of that regiment narrowly misses being hit!
The business end of the Bleiherzen volley...

Both sides begin to trade volleys at close range....

The Grolsteiners begin to the Red Grenadiers swing in on the exposed left flank of the Bleiherzen line.

The Red Grenadiers move on the flank.

The Grolstein Dragoons can no longer stand still under the enemy's shelling and their commander orders an advance...but are eventually thrown back by a counter charge of the Bleiherzener dragoons

Pressure on the Bleiherzeners increases but their steady musketry eventually forces the Duchess' Liebguard to retire with most of their officers down including their Colonel.

The flanking move by the grenadiers finally collapses the defenders left and regiment Pfhulstein streams towards the safety of the bridge...the Bleiherzener brigadier wisely orders his other regiment to fall back and with two of their four units shattered the Grolsteiners have no stomach for a pursuit and the battle ends with neither side gaining much except a stirring story to tell to their grandchildren

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gerard's Regiment Part 2

Sunday brought good progress on the regiment with the base colors going on quickly and the flesh given a wash of Citadel "Flesh Wash." I also did a bit of further research on Gerard's and found the reenactment of the regiment in the Sealed Knot Society. Their blue coats are quite a dark navy shade and the unit wears yellow stockings. I'm not sure if they found the stocking color in a period reference or if is a modern choice, but it looks good so I'm going with it to give the unit an additional splash of color. Also, I'm going with a slightly brighter blue overall than a dark navy colorbecause I have always found dark blue a challenge to get right at the scale of a typical gaming figure.

these guys are about halfway to completion
Next comes highlighting and detailing and finally the flag....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gerard's Regiment of Foote 1642

Got a new regiment of 40mm ECW (Sash and Saber) underway today. This unit will represent Colonel Charles Gerard's Royalist Regiment of Foot. This was a bluecoated regiment present at Edgehill and had some very colorful blue and yellow flags so I'm planning on putting in a lot of effort to make this unit look good including a hand-painted cloth flag.

These were figures I had on hand and I was lacking an ensign so I broke out the "green stuff"  and "promoted" one of the pikemen to represent an ensign by adding a sash and a crest on the helmet (to look like the ensign in Haythornewaite's excellent book on the English Civil War (p. 75)

40mm is a great scale for modifying and conversions...(check out my Scots cavalry in an earlier post here and here)
You don't have to be a genius at sculpting at this scale and the large scale rewards the eye! Just started priming the figures and the painting begins tomorrow!

I've also got an order in to Sash and Saber for a batch of Horse to make the holiday painting that much better.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Though my gaming has been severely limited these past months, there are still nice glimmers of hope on the horizon...starting with my little guy's first plastic model finished today...a Revell 1/100 Thunderbirds F4 Phantom (snap together)...a classic!  To my faithful readers...there is good gaming to be had here at the Lead Gardens on the winter horizon! Santa must have something in the works!...and there are battles to be fought and figures to be painted!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

HG Wells and a Precursor to Little Wars

I have been reading some of H.G. Wells of late and came upon this interesting passage in a fictionalized "intellectual autobiography" of a character named Richard Remington entitled, "The New Machiavelli" written in 1911 which is an account that seems loosely based on his own experience in political life. In it there is a fascinating section describing his boyhood (16 year olds) friendship with a person named Britten and he describes in the following section a very interesting take on imaginary battles that would come to fruition in the "Little Wars" written in 1913 that we all know and enjoy:

"We confessed shyly to one another a common secret vice, "Phantom warfare." When we walked alone, especially in the country, we had both developed the same practice of fighting an imaginary battle about us as we walked. As we went along we were generals, and our attacks pushed along on either side, crouching and gathering behind hedges, cresting ridges, occupying copses, rushing open spaces, fighting from house to house. The hillsides about Penge were honeycombed in my imagination with the pits and trenches I had created to check a victorious invader coming out of Surrey. For him West Kensington was chiefly important as the scene of a desperate and successful last stand of insurrectionary troops (who had seized the Navy, the Bank and other advantages) against a royalist army—reinforced by Germans—advancing for reasons best known to themselves by way of Harrow and Ealing. It is a secret and solitary game, as we found when we tried to play it together. We made a success of that only once. All the way down to Margate we schemed defences and assailed and fought them as we came back against the sunset. Afterwards we recapitulated all that conflict by means of a large scale map of the Thames and little paper ironclads in plan cut out of paper.
A subsequent revival of these imaginings was brought about by Britten’s luck in getting, through a friend of his father’s, admission for us both to the spectacle of volunteer officers fighting the war game in Caxton Hall. We developed a war game of our own at Britten’s home with nearly a couple of hundred lead soldiers, some excellent spring cannons that shot hard and true at six yards, hills of books and a constantly elaborated set of rules. For some months that occupied an immense proportion of our leisure. Some of our battles lasted several days. We kept the game a profound secret from the other fellows. They would not have understood."

If this bit of the Wells story is even partially true, it would seem that the idea of wargaming with toy soldiers had occured to him at least 20 years earlier than the writing of Little Wars. I was also taken by the idea of gaming while walking... it reminded me of the late Paddy Griffith's experimental wargames staged outdoors.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Three Matched 10mm Ancients Armies for Sale

Into another auction here at the Lead Gardens (my oldest daughter needs dental work...)  
So I have three 10mm Armies based for Warmaster up for sale on Ebay.
(here is the link to the motley but tough Carthaginians:  LINK )
(and the stolid street brawler Romans: LINK )
(and those crazy inventive Greeks from Syracuse!: LINK
These three armies would make a good set of Ancients to make a nice Punic Wars Campaign. Hate to see them go but my fatherly duties call...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Good Game for the Beginning Gamer

My 5 year old son and I have been collecting the new games from the LEGO company and playing them to see which ones are good...and we have come to the conclusion that the "Minotarus" game is the best of the lot...

The game is built around a very simple mechanic, but delivers some fairly complex tactical choices for each player. I have found it fun to play and it seems to offer each player tactical options with each die roll....great for developing the little guy's strategic mind....and not so boring that dad can't get in to it as well!

Basically each player has three warriors that they have to move through the labyrinth, avoiding the Big Black Minotaur and get all three of the warriors to the center of the board  before their opponent to win. The game is based on a D6 with 1-4 being moves and 5 being the option to move a blocking (grey) piece to thwart either the opponents warriors or the Minotaur. On a 6 the player can move the Minotaur 8 spaces. If the Minotaur contacts a players man, he has to return it to the home corner and start again...the first player to get three warriors to the center square wins the game.  Super clean and simple but with a degree of tactical possibilities make it a "real" game IHMO.


...and of course my son seems to get the best of me nearly every time...a true gamer in the making! We use the Minotaurus game as the break from TV cartoons and computer games which seem generally to have little tactical or strategic subtlety. ...(and lack of course the dimension of having actual figures to move!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Pics To Open the Ball

A few more pics before the first bass notes of cannon open the Ball...

The Grand Duchess' pride and joy...the "Red Battery" prepares to fire!

The Grolsteiner CinC and staff issue last minute orders behind a chateau.

The Grand Duchess sent a personal message to her Lieb Guard..."Kommen Hauptsiegreiches oder kommen nach Hause nicht an allen"...."Come home victorious or not at all"...Hard woman that Duchess!

Grolstein Dragoons!

The Grolstein "Yellow Battery" goes into action!
Men of the Konigreich!...Now is Your Time!...Colonel Jahde's Regiment of Musketeers

Grolsteiner Freikorps hold a village church and cemetery on the left flank

Grolstein "Red Grenadiers" hold the Chateau

Hopefully the "the Dogs of War" will be loosed in the next couple of days and a battle report will soon  follow. Thanks to everyone for tuning in!