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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

God's chosen city... Schonewald-Lubliche

         The die was cast. Schonewald was now a firmly founded state in the Klagenfurt Valley. Over the centuries the archbishops (backed by many religious relics including the famed pickled foreskin of Walther the misguided)   claimed the cathedral built in Lubliche made it the chosen city of god. This was in fact one of the prime reasons for the religious wars spreading to the old principality. As an aside Walther was given his name after converting to Judaism and after a visitation from god reconverting to the Christian faith. He was said to carry the relic with him everywhere as a reminder of his deviation from the true church and after his death and sainthood it was said to have miraculous powers.   

        Returning to the states military forces, Lubliche was the largest contributor as a result of both it's importance and financial status. It's contribution consisted of
1 x general of cavalry
2 x Guard inf companies
1 x Fuss grenadier companies
3 x centre companies
1 x Guard Cuirassiers squadrons
2 x squadrons of horse
1 x grenadier a cheval squadron
1 x honourable artillery company

           I am immensely satisfied that i have managed despite a summer of biblical or more precisely hellish temperatures managed to collect, convert and paint the Lubliche contingent of the archbishoprics army. What follows is a pictorial review . Hope you enjoy them as much as I have during their preparation.

         The post of archbishop is owned by hereditary right by the family von Hertz who for centuries had been a driving force in the valley. A family of prolific breeders, the role of archbishop is held by the eldest son while the second son is the head of the armed forces. Unfortunately the current archbishop Magnus sees himself more in the role of Julius Caeser rather than John the baptist and as such always commands the army in the field.  The facing colours are the same for all the towns troops irrespective of role. The Lubliche colour being purple

A suitable archbishop figure proved elusive as I didn't want a figure in full regalia. I chose a semi clerical garb with a large round hat which was obtained by the use of green stuff and a slither of paper. He is kind of grand in his purple greatcoat and red hat isn't he?

The single figure is the personality Johann Kepperwitze  a renowned leader of cavalry who served in many of the armies of the great powers and earned a reputation if not of strategic genius then a man of  uncontrolled valour. 


The lubliche guard grenadiers part of the first battalion of infantry which carry the standard of Klienstadt. Initial organisation called for the lublichers to carry the state flag but as a result of an administrative error they were allocated the Klienstadt flag while the klienstadt companies carry the state flag (ie I stuck the flags on the wrong companies ). These are figures from old glory.


The second battalion Schonewald infantry manned entirely by units from Lubliche. These are mainly Pendraken with some old glory conversions. These carry the Lubliche standard and a state flag.






The guard cuirassiers. A somewhat outdated look belies the elite nature of this squadron.

Pendraken Austrian malburians here.




Horse grenadier squadron.










two squadrons of horse these along with the two previous units form the first Schonewald horse rgt.






The second Schonewald Foot rgt. these are manned entirely from Lubliche troops and consists of the grenadier company and remaining 3 centre companies.




The honorable Lubliche company of artillery.








Finally I took a shot of the collected force from Lubliche



                  I have already started on the other three contingents and hopefully I will in a short while post the force in it's entirety. I can't stress enough how satisfying imagin-eering is proving to be and is inspiring me to return to writing hobby based short stories once again to support my gaming.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

For god and Schonewald

              It seems the Bishopric of Schonewald is taking me more time to put together than I expected. At face value it should be simple but I want the states to have a raison d'etre. Even imagination must be built on some sort of "reality".

              I think I have the economy and standing of the bishopric sorted in my head now so I needed a few things on paper to get started. The state is wealthy and would have an armed force consisting of an amalgam of each towns contribution. They would have a combined guard and grenadier battalion, three line battalions , two horse regiments and two artillery companies. Each towns contribution would be as follows.

Lubliche:-    2x guard companies, 1x grenadier company, 3x centre companies, 1x horse grenadier squadron, 1x cuirassier squadron 2x horse squadrons and 1x artillery company.

Klienstadt:- 1x grenadier company, 2x centre companies, 1x horse squadron.

Niehrfeld:- 2x centre companies, 1x grenadier company, 1x horse squadron

Schlemenfurt:- 1x grenadier company, 3x centre companies, 2x horse squadrons, 1x artillery company.

            Having got all that straight in my head I realised I hadn't fixed on perhaps the most important factor of all. Yes the flags. I played around for hours and decided on a state flag to be carried by each battalion or horse regiment plus a city or town standard to be carried by one of the battalions.  The national flag would be the bishops personal standard. I wanted big and gaudy but without religious symbols. I got gaudy but did build stars into  the design.

The state flag. I really like the colours and the star would be a constant image on the individual flags 

The first battalion would carry the colours of the smallest of the four towns, Klienstadt. The original plan was for the klienstadt grenadiers to carry the town flag while the state flag would be allocated to the Niehrfeld grenadiers . Unfortunately the QMG who was also the brother in law of the commander of the Lubliche guard infantry allocated the town flag to the guards leaving the Klienstadt grenadiers with no standard at all . This "error" has been a source of much bad feeling within the battalion and the inns and taverns of the town often ring with the clash of bayonets.









The second battalion consists of the Lubliche grenadier company and the three centre companies. They of course carry the city standard and a state flag.

 
 The third from Schlemenfurt  consists of the towns grenadier and centre companies. Their standard is the rearing dragon  of Schlemenfurt.

 

The final battalion formed from the  two Klienstadt centre companies combined with those of Niehrfeld. Since the Klienstadt colours were carried by the first battalion . the fourth battalion was allocated the prancing horse of Niehrfeld. 

               So the infantry are be-flagged and organised and it is time to start painting. The first battalion is complete and the second battalion undergoing basing so hopefully my next post will contain pictures at last.




Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The return.... kicking and screaming...

                I see it has been a good while since my last post and the reason is because I hit a "stale" patch. The Napoleonic project outgrew it's original aims, the imaginations lacked a real direction and raison d'etre and finally I was very low as a result of my inability to see well to paint (probably the biggest reason).

                In recent weeks I have had time to think about my imaginary states, to draw a clear map in my head of the geography and  finally to examine the politics of the states.  First I made a major directional change in the location of my miniworld. Formerly I envisioned the duchies as somewhere in Europe interacting with the major european nations in some way. It didn't really work for me. i wanted to mix land battles, naval battles and some colonial sidelines and in the setting I had begun with , it wasn't really practical. So the decision was made I would use a framework similar to European history and some major nations in a fictitious continent but still recognisable in many ways . Hence the existence in the larger world of Albion, Deutcher, Frankamund and Osterlandt. They wouldn't interfere directly in the my imaginary valley but would subject it to pressures it couldn't ignore.

             Having built an outline for the gameworld it needed some fleshing out. this is where I currently am.

THE FORMER PRINCIPALITY OF KLAGENFURT

Klagenfurt is a large glacial valley centred on the Zondersee with access via the Zoinder river in the east to the sea. It is bordered by  mountains to the west, forested uplands to the north and the Grosserwald forests to the south. The Zondersee is the largest inland expanse of water on the continent and an important trade highway, while the Zoinder river is capable of taking very large vessels including small warships. .
           The region was once a powerful principality but the religious wars of the 1630’a tore it apart and it now consists of a number of medium size duchies, archbishoprics and city states. The animosity of the wars is still palpable and warfare breaks out frequently particularly between the Duchy of Biehlberg and the Duchy of Gromberg.    
 

Biehlberg (protestant duchy)

                       The Duchy was carved out during the wars by Bertha the duchess of Biehlberg despite her somewhat ineffectual husband.. Flags carry the image of her and her son. It has a growing army and a strong, small but growing freshwater navy and controls the outlet to the Zoinder river and the eventual outlet to the sea
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Gromberg (catholic duchy)

A financially rich highland duchy. The duke managed to hold it together during the wars of religion in which they lost some lands to the new duchy of Biehlberg disputes about which have kept the two duchies in conflict for the last hundred years. It contains an abundance of fine timber producing forests and mineral rich highlands. Roughly equal in size militarily to Biehlberg  with a large merchant navy dealing in metal and timber.
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Schonewald (bishopric)

A small collection of towns seperated into 4 territories within the boundaries of the larger Duchies. Nominally ruled by the archbishop of Schonewald-Lubliche the state is basically secular with strong liberal views.  The 4 territories controlled are Schonewald-Lubliche, Schonewald-Klienstadt,Schonewald-Niehrfeld and Schonewald-Schlemenfurt. Although separated by other states the four towns have hung onto their independence and own fairly wealthy chunks of rich forests and prime agricultural land while the four major towns are investing in heavier industry. The sate has a small army of 4 battalions of infantry and 2 of cavalry with a small artillery contingent. With each area contributing to the force. (gives me a reason for mixing colours and troop types within units)

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          That is about where I have reached so far in firm plans and indeed I already have some of the Schonewald forces on the paint table now but more of this later. Safe to say I am back, healthy and reasonably enthusiastic..

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

If you go down to the woods.

                  Having now been well and truly bitten by the imagineering bug I delved through the bits box to see what remained to paint. Answer "Not a lot".. I did however find a bag of pendraken 10mm "Rogers Rangers" from the FIW range. Mighty nice they were too. Now I have always been fascinated by the unit I think as a result of films and books read as a child. So a quick google of pictures and flags produced these images

             


   The figure was very cool and the Pendraken miniatures very close to this image. Now I wouldn't be me if I just went straight for these so I grabbed some figures from other FIW packs, added a few 7Ywar figs and did some head swapping. I liked the results.  I also Loved the standard . Really colourful with strong images that matched the figure range but it wasn't really "Biehlbergian" and  would need modifying  to suit my needs. First the green proved to dark when my printer downsized it and the British motifs had to go. I was also going to need a back story for the unit to justify their existence so it was back to the drawing board with my imaginations hat on (not literally of course)         


                             In the early part of the century the duchy was desperately in need of solid funding . Meanwhile the king of the Albion was busy developing settlements in the "Neue-Welt" and facing stiff opposition from the other major powers.  The word was out he needed mercenaries. The then herzog  Erich von Biehlberg commissioned Karl von Roetger (a bit of an adventurer and dubious character by all accounts) to raise a batallion of jaegers to serve in foreign lands at great economic advantage to the duchy. Against all expectations the unit proved to be redoubtable and well respected by the Albion forces. The unit came in time to be known by the Albioneses as "Roetger's Rangers"
(see what I did there?) A name they were allowed to keep on their return to Biehlberg.  

                           Having sorted a backstory I now needed a unit standard and the troops themselves. The initial design was the flag itself. First I lost the union flags and the crown. As stated previously the green printed way too dark and I had to lighten it. I decided to replace the central motif with the image of Herzogin Bertha and child (the great grandmother of the current herzog)used on all Biehlberg flags and the Biehlberg eagle substituted for the crown. Finally to finish it off the obverse was a green background with the eagle outlined in the yellow used on the shield. The final result looked like this.

I liked it!

                                   The majority of the figures were straight from the packet but I did use drummers and officers from other sets with the ranger heads on and indeed replaced some of the ranger heads with tricornes which produced a good range of  miniatures with a nice irregular air about them. Here is the end result.

 

 In mounting the bases I placed some elements in 3-2-3 formation and others in 2-3-2 so that when in line they kept a reasonable semblance of open order.


 
The trial piece didn't look quite right so I added the red headband as an afterthought which I felt really accentuated the bonnet.(the current herzogin likes red anyway)

Each base became almost a mini diorama greatly helped by the variety of figures I used. Finally I love the standard. It really looks the part. This unit is in danger of becoming my favourite.

 

                  
                       I really enjoyed putting these and the marines together and had lots of fun with colours and standards so I have decided to put together some of the minor states around the two duchies . Just a couple of units per state will do . To that end I placed a small order with Pendraken last night for infantry and cavalry.  COME ON POSTIE!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Time for a change.

                   I began the Napoleonic project back in November 2014 with the aim of doing as much as I could in the 6 months it normally took for me to tire of a period or scale. It's now December 2016 and I have worked continuously to build a Napoleonic set up that I am extremely proud of but it's time to call a halt. I was hoping that Walt would have his ACW troops ready by now but I haven't gotten my hands on them yet so I returned to the bits box. As I posted previously, my choice was 10mm imaginations again and the marine tester my first result. After some feverish work, I finalised the standards, cleaned and converted a few bases more and the Biehlberg marine battalion was born.

                  The marines were born in the time during which Biehlbergs growing fleet of small ships took first to the "Zondersee", moved out into the ocean and later took part in the race to colonise the "Neue-Welt". Begun as a defensive force for the then Duchess's navy they  later grew into a combined battalion in the modern Biehlberg land forces. When they were absorbed into the army they retained their status and their slightly archaic uniforms and the right to hold the right of the line.

               In figure terms I used 10mm figures from the Pendraken league of Augsberg range mainly the flintlock infantry. I am heartily pleased with them and as I write this the term "colonise the Neue-Welt" has given me an idea for an irregular infantry battalion. Now where the hell did I leave that pack of "Rogers Rangers".


         They are distinguished by the fact that they are currently one of the only battalions with unit markings and battle honours on the National Standard. They are led by the somewhat elusive figure of  Ernst Von Kohnfeldt but that's another story for the future.



                   So here they are the marines in all their glory. Seebataillon Von Kohnfeldt







 I have to admit that my eyes have been a real problem painting these but I am also really happy with the result. I have a unit that is a bit different, that stands out from the rest of the army and I just can't wait to game with.


The figures are pendraken and if Leon reads this an absolute joy to paint.  Nicely animated and so full of character.






                                 Now for those damn jaegers. 



Thursday, 8 December 2016

Testing, testing

                 Fired up by my last post I found and cleaned up and where necessary, converted some Pendraken LoA Flintlock men to act as a marine battalion. I really wasn't sure if they were what I wanted so for the first time I decided to paint just one element to "feel the water"!

                 I completed it this morning and I have to say they are EXACTLY what I was after. I am really pleased with them and the rest of the battalion are on the cleaning bench right now.   Can't wait to get the Biehlberg marines on the table..




My eyes are certainly not what they were but even so at 10mm they don't look too bad.


Sunday, 4 December 2016

"Imagineering" a new impetus

          I have played a few games of "Maurice " lately using my two imaginary duchies of Biehlberg and Gromstadt. Now I enjoyed those games very much but even more I was attracted to the idea of the two duchies once more. When I first visualised them they were situated "somewhere" in Europe which would allow the appearance of forces from the major powers etc.  As time went on it became apparent they didn't need that kind of prop and if I moved completely into the realms of Imagination I could provide variety and supplement the forces with troops from various city states and bishoprics around the main antagonists. Somewhere I have a map of the duchies showing them to border a large inland lake/sea the "Zondersee" this had an outlet to the sea allowing foreign trade and "New worlds". That's about how far I had planned when I was bitten by the 6mm Napoleonic bug.

               During our last game my opponent mentioned we might need some more infantry units. That got me thinking about the Duchies again and I vaguely remembered buying some LoA troops I had planned to use as marines. For the first time in a while my interest was REALLY fired up. I dug out my bits box of 10mm troops and found the bags of tiny lead soldiers I wanted. A bit of base planning some cleaning and a little conversion and The "first seebataillon" was called to the colours.
The first problem I discovered is that my eyesight is deteriorating badly and I was having trouble seeing the details and undercuts. A trip to the opticians was planned but meanwhile and way more importantly they would need a pair of flags.. After a little web surfing and work in paint I came up with these two which fitted nicely with the normal Biehlberg standards.







               So! That's the hard bit done all that remains is to paint them. Further thoughts lead me onto the Zondersee itself and wondering what rules to use with my fleet of small cardboard ships.




               Although made of card, these are quite pretty and I wasn't sure what kind of rules I wanted. On the basis of my enjoyment of a fun set like "Maurice" I really want a set to match them. My current thoughts are to adapt the "Too Fat Lardies" ruleset . I seem to remember them focussing on fun rather than mathematics.  Guess it's time to find what the heck I did with them..  

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A Disaster in The Duchy

               Although my activities in the two imaginary duchies of Gromberg and Biehlberg  have been somewhat limited recently, I still continue the narrative and planning in my head. The two warring families continue to build their forces and the lakeside shipyards are full of small craft under construction as the fresh water arms race continues.
                For some time now, Gromberg had cast covetous eyes on the impoverished market town of Pfennigless that dominates the gap in the westernmost ridge line and is held under a tenuous family claim by the current Duke of Biehlberg. Tiring of the fruitless negotiations between the two duchies Gustav of Gromberg gathered a strong force and flung it (somewhat sedately ) at the unsuspecting township.  Unfortunately the force took so long in mobilising and sauntering it's way towards the town that Albrecht of Biehlberg managed to raise a small body from the guard to reinforce the hapless conscripts garrisoning the area.

           The battle was fought on a cold dry day in November on and around the rolling hills surrounding Pfennigless under the rules of war of "Maurice" (by Sam Mustafa).  Gromberg had brought a strong force of  2 x elite guard cavalry, 1x trained cavalry, 2x elite infantry, 2 x trained infantry 2x conscript infantry, 1 irregular dragoon rgt (dismountable) and 2 batteries of guns.  Ranged against them Biehlberg could muster 2x elite cavalry, 1x hussars(irregular), 2x elite infantry, 1x trained mercenaries (Irish), 3x conscript infantry and 2x batteries of guns. Notable for their effectivity were the Gromberg elite guard cavalry who almost single handed rolled up the left flank of the Biehlberg force and aided the infantry in their cataclysmic destruction of the conscript force on the Biehlberg right flank. It was also notable for the fact that I as the sedentary Duke Gustav managed to beat Erik who chose to take the role of Duke Albrecht .

         As stated the battle was fought using "Maurice" and my imaginations 10mm forces from various suppliers. I did manage to take a lot of photos and in chronological order. So folks I present the battle of Pfennigless  In which the most protestant state of Biehlberg was hammered by the holy Roman catholic duchy of Grohmstadt and in which of course both had god on their side.. heheheh.



Dawn found the rested force of Gromberg facing their enemy across the misty valley as the Biehlbergians deploy to defend the town. Their first error was to split the trained infantry to the north and south of Pfennigless.


To the left the advancing Biehlbergians . To the right the regimented lines of the Gromberg regulars.   







Opening the battle the invaders determinedly advance their whole infantry force across the valley. (thanks to careful measuring on setup and the availability of an event card that allowed me to move two forces at once.



In response the defenders swing across the west side of Pfennigless defending the town and seizing the crest-line.  The attacker threw caution to the wind and his national trait (giving a huge plus on guards units) and launched the guard cavalry at the enemy infantry above them


The elite infantry battalion facing this charge simply dissolved in the face of the wild charge (and some extreme dice rolls. ). In an attempt to dissuade further madness the Irish battalion deployed in front of the winter wheat. 

   
The next turns saw the guard cavalry successfully launch into the remaining elite infantry's flank and then to add insult to injury rally back to cover the Irish on the hill. The centre saw  an unordered advance by one of the Gromberg elite infantry which caused the Gromberg general to panic and launch all of his regulars against the centre in support . It payed off and the centre crumbled.


In the final act the guard cavalry supported by an elite infantry battalion attacked and destroyed the Irish mercenaries on the hill and it was all over but the shouting. 


In Eriks support he rolled some of the worst die rolls I have ever seen while mine were spectacular. Again the rule set proved to be a joy to play and the element of surprise through use of the action and event cards spectacularly funny. I will certainly continue with them. Those personality cards however have to go. They are so unsightly . I need to develop individual bases with just enough info as we did for Blucher. Great game , great fun and soon to be repeated.