Friday, 15 February 2013

Now... completly different... something

A bit disjointed, I know. And I'm not having a seizure. I'm going to blog a real story later, but I've had something on my mind.

Well, two things actually.

What's not to love? An Argentine cavalry band helicon player
in a very Germanic tunic and a Swiss steel helmet.
 My mast head is a mounted bass horn player... and he's NOT playing a tuba. He is playing a bass brass insturment called a "helicon." These are rarely seen today. I played one - a 100-year old example - at a gig with a "hobo band" many years ago. (A "hobo band" is a Pennsylvania parade creature where all the players dress however they want - the more outlandish the better - and sometimes play marches "straight" and sometimes wacky. The Original Allentown Hobo Almost-Marching Band used to lie down in the street at intersections and play "In Heaven There Is No Beer" and then march on. The bass drummer stood on his head... while wearing a dress. I stood on the curb with the crowd and played the bass part.) Anyway... the helicon didn't play well.

Most United States marching units use the Sousaphone in their parade work. It's easy to carry and if it's made out of fibreglass, it's light. The tone is wretched, however.

A brass Sousaphone - straw boater optional
A tuba is a brass bass horn used in concert bands and orchestras. Tone is much better and the valves can be of the piston type (in Britian, Japan, and North America) or the rotary type (like a French Horn, usually found in European manufactured instruments.) It's still a bass insturment, but more refined than the Sousaphone. It's hard to carry and parade work usually involves a strap or harness. British military bands use a harness and a sort of apron which keeps (wait for it!) the insturment from scratching the buttons of the uniform coat! European military bands including the British (and Canadians, for that matter) use tubas on parade, the exception being the French military who are often photographed with Sousaphones.

See... I told you. A military band of the French Foreign Legion...

Your humble blogger and his old friend -
A Yamaha 4-valve 9/8 size upright tuba.
THAT was a nice horn. The case had wheels!
(Upright means the valves are vertical when the horn is played.)
Now I told you that story so I could tell you this one. (an old Bill Cosby line.) Years ago, I was on the old "Command Decision" message board and the question came up:

If you could see any figure or set of figures molded for table-top wargaming purposes,
what would it be?

The second question was like it:

In your opinion, what would be the most WORTHLESS wargaming figure or set of figures?

To answer the first one, things like WWII Algerian Goumier infantry (I see they're being made in 25mm), combat engineers, and even bands were included. Some correspondants poo-poo'd the band idea, but most folks liked the idear for "table clutter" and morale purposes. They would look absolutely too cool!

So here are the questions of the day:
If you could see any figure or set of figures molded for table-top wargaming purposes,
what would it be?
In your opinion, what would be the most WORTHLESS wargaming figure or set of figures?

No scale or period is out of bounds. You want Heinlein's Mobile Infantry in Marauder suits? Let me know. I have no power to make anything happen (as a married Lutheran pastor with children, I don't even know what  power is.) but this makes a good fantasy exercise.

I'll start.
     +  Bands in 15mm for Napoleonics or WWII (I have an ACW brass band, thanks to Peter Pig)
     +  15mm SYW Schaumburg Lippe Bückeburg Carabiniers (a beautifully weird outfit)
     +  15mm or 25mm US Infantry in tattered clothing for the War of 1812
     +  25mm Spanish Civil War Guardia Civil in that odd laquored tricorn
     +  15mm Combat Engineers for any nation
     +  25mm Gurhkas for the ETO (Kukri raid anyone?)
As to the worthless (These should NEVER be made):
     -  WWII US graves registration company
     -  Napoleonic Austrian Palace guard (with halbreds no less)
     -  Napoleonic French Customs Guards

That's enough. You're turn.

Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Carabiniers between 1753 and 1759. - Source: Richard Knötel Uniformkunde
Schaumburg Lippe Bückeburg Carabiniers
You know you want them!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Imigi-nations on the march!

I have not blogged in a while and I make no apologies. I've been quite busy with work (year-end reports and funerals) and my wife had major surgery. She's doing quite a lot better now, thank you, but it leaves me as the only licensed driver in the house. (My daughter has her "G-1", but she can't drive without a licensed driver in the front seat with her.) I've missed a few games and I will get to them. The game today, I have to tell you about.

     Andy, Martin, Kevin, Rob, and I put our new Imigi-nations figures on the board to try them out. We wanted to practise with the rules and clean off the "new unit" curse from all the figs. Since we're still learning the rules ("Warfare in the Age of Reason"), the game went slowly, but it was enjoyable which is the whole idea. Anyway, the legions of the Grand Electorate of Saxe-Fredonia with their allies from Gallifrey (Beth's Scots) and the Duchy of Worchestershiresauce (Rob's Anglo-American Indian army) met the troops of Frankenschwein on the field. We "set the table" according to the random map system laid out in the rules. (In my opinion, it is a wonderful way to randomise the field and well worth 'borrowing' for any game.) The Saxe-Fredonians outnumbered the Frankenschweinians (Frankenschweiners?? Yeah, that seems right.) but they had more cannon than we. We were pretty evenly matched. We had slightly more cavalry and 3 light infantry units to the Frankies one.

On the right, Rufus I with his aides meets the Frankenschweiner commander.
I didn't get his name.
The battle field looking west. Martin considers his options and Kevin looks over his as well.

the field looking west-southwest overlooking the Whine River.
Andy makes a point while  Rob, Kevin, and Martin look on.
The Frankenschweiner infantry advances with artillery support.
Frying Pan & Blanket artillery sets include a gun and a limber with horses.
They are little gems!

Kevin's brigades - The Fredonian Freikorps, the German Battalion, Pavkovic's Pandours,
both battalions of Regiment Stahl, a 12# battery and the Hesse-Burder Hussars.
General Heinzelmenchen is in command.

Rob's brigade including two large warbands - probably from the Heckowi and
Turtleburper tribes. (I'm making this up as I go along!) 
Frankenschweiner artillery in both 6# and 12# flavours. The dragoons are backing them.
The Frankenschweiner commander with an artillery battery
His Grace, Michael, archbishop of Fredonia ("Die verrückten Pastor") took the field with
his regiment who actually stood to the left out of this photo.
Both sides advanced and exchanged artillery fire which was more of an annoyance than anything else. Rob faced Martin's light infantry in the woods on the bank of the River Whine and had to retreat once formed troops came up. In the centre, my Fredonians faced nothing less than the Frankenschweiner Guard Grenadiers backed up by a battalion of line grenadiers. Regiment Luzerne lost it's 2nd battalion in hand to hand combat with the Guards when the battalion failed to counter-charge those Guards. The Guards were hurt but being larger-than-average and tougher-than-average, they carried the fight.

The Guards and grenadiers advance.
The Guards from another viewpoint. Their yellow uniforms are distinctive.

Regiment Luzerne takes a beating. Regiment Gibbs, to their left, suffered from artillery
bombardment. Behind them, 1/Regiment Nurn is in support.
On the left flank, Kevin manoeuvred his brigade and the Hussars to face off Andy's infantry and dragoons. At one point, his 12# battery bombed our a Frankenschweiner battery and chased it off! (a medal for those artillerists!) His brigade included the 1st & 2nd battalions, Regiment Stahl, The Freikorps (Thugs, muggers and thieves!), the German Battalion, the Irish Legion, the Archbishop's Own, and Pavkovic's Pandours.

Archbishop Michael and his one-battalion regiment
The Hesse-Bruder Hussars, the Irish Legion, and the Archbishop's Own.
The gigantic die kept track of the turns - we're on turn 5!

Andy's Frankenschweiner Dragoons.
He based his troops on FP&B's AWI German musketeers, grenadiers, dragoons, and gunners.

Another view of the Frankenschweiner Guards slapping Regiment Luzerne around.
The green bingo chip indicated a casualty. The white tile shows the original start
position of the charge in order to calculate possible breakthroughs.
Rob's cavalry - both 'regular' light cavalry and First Nations' horse - just before
their brave but ill-fated charge.
The Saxe-Bariton Shutzen watch in awe.. or something like it.
On the allied right, Rob's tribal warriors were not able to stand before formed troops and fell back through the woods. His cavalry, two half-sized units of light cavalry and Indian horsemen charged the Frankenschweiner line and were thrown back.

Curfew rang and we called it a day. The Fredonians and their allies lost a few more troops but there were more of us to start with. The affair was still undecided. Our centre was in trouble, but the flanks were strong. The Frankenschweiners had lost a gun and had committed their Guard and grenadiers from the first. Rufus' Electoral Foot Guard and Grenadier Battalion Stinner were still in reserve. Rob had not unlimbered his field piece when we called it a day.

  • Light infantry cannot stand before formed troops, so they should be kept to deny the enemy forests, rough ground, and built up areas. We all decided that only one light unit in each army could be rifle armed.
  • Deploy into line immediately. Changing formation takes valuable time and movement.
  • Keep your generals handy to put some backbone into wavering troops or assaults, but have plenty of generals since they can be killed doing their jobs.
Finally some more photos:

The Fredonian left flank under General Heinzelmenchen and the Archbishop face
the enemy advance over the rubber roads.
Martin's Wolfen light infantry battle the tribes in the forest.
The Elector and his supply train. I'm afraid to ask what's in it!
Fredonian Artillery
FP&B German gunners and French guns painted in Austrian colours.
I suppose I have a 'thing' for Austria.
The civilian 'contractors' hauling the gun haven't run away yet.
His Grace, the Grand Elector, Rufus I Glowurmchen.
At least he was still on the battlefield, making cracks and being cynical
... and hilarious!
Frying Pan & Blanket make their tribal warriors in 7 different poses. Add in the
dismounted horse warriors and you've got quite a variety.

Martin's brigade of Andy's army set to advance with the Wolfen Light Infantry in the lead.
Martin's troops - still in the painting and basing stage (he's a very busy man) will serve the
Serene People's Republic of Rationalia. All his units are named for philosophers.
 My regiments have funny names, I know. They're often named for places I've lived (Luzerne County), old friends (Stahl, Stinner, Pavkovic), or wierdness (Nurn or Hess Brothers, after the old department store). I've named generals for various things; "Lebo" for an old fiend, "Heinzelmenchen" are the German elves that make shoes for the old shoemaker, and Dresden -who is now seconded to Rob's army for Harry Dresden from the fantasy novels. There's even a "General de Sastre." (Sound it out.) It's all for fun anyway.

Hail, hail Fredonia! Land of the brave and free!