Sunday, March 26, 2017

Rules and Basing for Renaissance Project

So now that I had some figures, I had to decide on rules and basing. I read up on several sets – Basic Impetus 2, Pike & Shotte, The Pikeman's Lament, and Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End. All of the rules have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I think all could give an enjoyable game.

My original intent was to wargame the Italian Wars. But after reading Irregular Wars I fell down a rabbit hole and came across the 1529 Siege of Vienna with Landsknechts facing off against Suleiman the Magnificent's Ottomans.

Irregular Wars seems to fit what I'm looking for – mid-sized battles played with a modest number figures on a small table. But in case I wanted to use another set of rules in the future, I decide on a flexible set of basing – stands 50mm by 25mm. I'd use four of these stands for a Pikeman's Lament unit.

 Four stands together on a movement try will give me a unit for Pike & Shotte or Basic Impetus 2.

And two stands on a tray will form a unit for Irregular Wars.

One final picture of the compulsory units for an Imperialist force for Irregular Wars – two units of mercenary pike and two units of mercenary shot.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


I've been waiting for years for this battle to get the Osprey Campaign treatment. This battle, and the role of the Wild Geese in it, are really what cemented my interest in the horse and musket period. Can't wait!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Armets and Arquebuses Project

I got these two books awhile back, and I finally got around to reading them. And I'm afraid I've succumbed to yet another historical period. The 16th-Century Italian Wars sucked me in with its plumed French Gendarmes, blocks of Swiss Pikes, and colorfully-clad Landsknechts. It's that weird place in time that is both medieval and modern. A place were knight in full plate armor existed along side black powder firearms.

So, of course, I did what any gamer would do. I went out and purchased a bunch of new figures. I went with Red Box 1/72 as they have an incredibly wide selection of 16th-Century troops, and, as with all plastic 1/72 figures, they are reasonable priced (so I can justify to myself starting a completely new historical period). Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Miniatures ~ French Napoleonics

Some more Napoleonics. This time late French from Perry Miniatures.

I painted some without greatcoats...

And some with greatcoats...

Overall I'm pretty happy with how these turned out. I need to add some static grass to the bases, but otherwise I feel they're complete. One thing I might repaint are the grey greatcoats. They aren't quite as flat looking in person, but I think they need some shading. I don't want to make them too dark so I think I'll paint the coats white and then put a black wash over top. That's how I painted the blanket/coat rolls on top six, and it provided a good shading and a good grey.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Miniatures ~ Russian Napoleonics

I got some very nice Russian Napoleonics for Christmas. They're 28mm from Warlord Games...

They painted up pretty easily, and I'm happy with the results – I just need to add some static grass to the base. I got these to provide an opponent (in plastic) for my Victrix French 1804-07 infantry. Now, I know these Russians are from the Line Infantry (1809-1815) set, but they'll do in a pinch.

Although I'd love to play a huge battle with these guys, given my ridiculously slow rate of painting, I'll have to stick with Song of Drums & Shakos for the near future which is a very fine and fun game – it's just not Austerlitz :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pontiac's War ~ Fort Michilimackinac June 2, 1763

Perhaps it was learning about this event in grade school during Michigan History Week. Perhaps it was visiting the reconstructed fort when I was young. Regardless of the reason, the story of the fall of Fort Michilimackinac during Pontiac’s War has stayed with me.

252 Years ago members of the Ojibwe tribe captured Fort Michilimackinac
using a coup de main unlike any other I know of.

On June 2, 1763, outside the gates of Fort Michilimackinac, the Ojibwe organized a game of baaga`adowe with the visiting Sauk tribe. During the game, one of the players hit the ball through the fort’s open gates. The players rushed after the ball as if still playing the game. However, they were not. Using weapons that had been hidden among the spectators, the players became warriors and attacked the British garrison, killing most of the fort’s inhabitants.

The Ojibwe held the fort for a year after which they returned it to the British in a negotiated settlement. A few years later, the British built a new fort atop a bluff on Mackinaw Island. They were not going lose the fort again. Although they did — to the Americans, about 15 years after it was completed.

Fort Michilimackinac, 1766, by Lt. Perkins Magra.
The Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Revisiting this story as an adult and reading about it in the context of Pontiac’s War, I am struck most by the change in tactics. Four other British fort had been captured by Natives requesting a council with the British in order to gain entry into the fort, and then once inside (or once the British were outside the fort’s walls) they launched their attack.

Why change the successful formula? Perhaps, the Ojibwe had heard about Pontiac’s failed coup de main at Detroit. Detroit was closer to Michilimackinac than the forts that had been captured using this tactic, and the failed surprise attack had occurred almost a month before the Ojibwe launched their attack. Given how slowly news traveled, the Ojibwe most likely only knew that the tactic of asking for a council had not worked and were unaware of its successful use. But this is speculation.
What we do know is that the Ojibwe would often play baaga`adowe outside Michilimackinac and that the British soldiers would often watch the game. Therefore the game was a logical choice given local circumstances. It provided a legitimate reason for a large number of warriors to gather under the walls of the fort and it also provided an excellent way to distract the British garrison.
What is also important to note is that the British were not on alert – the gates of the fort were open. This is not surprising as the Ottawa tribal members who lived in the area did not participate in the attack even though Pontiac – the leader of the "conspiracy" – was a chief of the Ottawa. This further shows the complexity of the politics of this conflict. Not all Native American tribes participated in the conflict, or participated to the same degree. And not even all members of the same tribe participated.  It was definitely not a simple "British vs. Native" affair.

The Straits of Mackinaw are one of the most most beautiful parts of Michigan. If you ever happen to visit the Great Lakes, I’d highly recommend that you make a stop there as part of your trip.

For a very detailed study of Fort Michilimackinac during Pontiac's War see Beyond Pontiac's Shadow by Keith R. Widder.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pontiac's War ~ Fort Ouiatenon June 1, 1763

Two hundred fifty-two years ago a confederation of Native tribes was at war with the British empire, and by early June various tribes had successfully captured several British forts in the Great Lakes region. On June 1, 1763, members of the Wea, Kickapoo and Mascouten tribes captured Fort Ouiatenon without bloodshed. The tribes had good relations with the British garrison and told the British that they had felt obliged to act due to pressure from other tribes. This reveals a diversity of positions among the native tribes and shows the picture of a single, massive native "conspiracy" against the British is too simple – the reality was much more complex.
The fort was located approximately three miles south-west of present day West Layfayette, Indiana. Today, an historic park is located near the original site and includes a replica of the original fort.

Your can learn more about the site here. Every year the park holds the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon. The event “is a re-creation of the annual fall gathering of the French and Native Americans which took place Fort Ouiatenon, a fur-trading outpost in the mid - 1700s. It is held annually in early autumn on the banks of the Wabash River.” For fans of the 1700s and reenactments, this looks like a fun event.