Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Building the Lark, a 15mm Brig of War

The 16 gun Brig Sloop Lark foundered off the Dominican coast in 1809.  She was a Comorant class vessel and had been launched in 1794.  Her first commander was Commander Josias Rowley, but the vessel had a distinguished history, not least under the command of future Frigate Captain John Loring.  His exploits seem to have resemble that of a real life Hornblower.  

My own favourite moment of Lark in this period is the capture of the American Slaver Sally, and rescue of 23 Slaves from the furious Americans.  When Lark capsized in the middle of a Caribbean hurricane Loring managed to right her, and jury rig a sail that brought her into Dominica.  He was so efficient and swift to repair the wrecked Brig that the station Admiral promoted him to Captain a mutinous frigate.

Lark is a name that had been used before for such smaller class ships, and would be honourably used again.  It has a certain ring to it.  Since I'm building my Lark for an earlier period than the Napoleonic I'm only going with 6 guns (it's a wargaming model so less is more) but I will keep the raised poop instead of a single deck.

The Commander will of course be that salty sea dog Josias Farthingdale RN.  

For Blood and Plunder I wanted to give my crew two distinct areas to fight in.  I was quite pleased with the result once I assembled it.

I started with my printed plan, altered for this particular model with doors under the aft deck.  My feeling is that 15mm is about as large as I can go with this type of model, so once again this ship is a little experimental.

Lark will be 18 cm or just about 7+ inches in length, and 6.5 cm or two and a half inches in the beam.  At the scale for conversion I use she would be 75ft gun deck length by 26ft. beam.  That makes her smaller than a Cormorant class brig, but perfectly useable as an earlier version.

With 15mm Minifigs RN Crew.

A Peter Pig light ships cannon.

The stern has not yet been added here and I clipped the bows whilst the glue dries.  Also a really effective way to hold the model whilst I work on it.

The sides are double thickness and come out at a hefty 4mm thick.  That means I need to cap the rail, just for neatness.   This is a sturdy model!

Bearing in mind the height difference between the two decks I also need ladders and a rail across the poop, with swivel guns mounted on the posts at either side. 

My boat building alter ego, Tobias Farthingdale has distinct ideas about how ships should look, and that stern needs more decoration and gold paint. 

To neaten those thick sides I capped them with thin card.  This will be painted black- brown to blend in.  The rail has also been added here. Lark has some weight about her already.

Next I wanted to detail the ladders, basically balsa scraps here.  This is all for the look but clearly needs to be painted, as does the lower part of the hull.

The ships wheel as a particularly fiddly bit.

The two masts, bowsprit and spars were next.  I use a variety of tricks to enable these to dismantle for storage.  Loops and thread to thicken the masts at the holding point, wooden traps to hold the spars in place.  The masts here were all bamboo skewers.  Eventually I will use milliput to create some sails furled around the spars.

I will have to get the sail set sorted out, but prior to that there is one last job, getting the armament aboard.

These are Peter Pig light guns.  Lark carries six, but has two more ports below the poop, making five guns on each side..  In action the Captains cabin becomes just another part of the gun deck.  The Brig also has swivel guns mounted above the waist, to fire down into boarders or a mutinous crew!  The HM Brig of War Lark is a tough proposition for the Pirates she will be hunting.

The finished Lark

Ten gunports

The bow and waist

And the albatross eye view.
And now I can start painting the crew!

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Sid at the Benidorm Plaza

King Alonso the Twisted of Aragon has granted the title Count of Benidorm to one of his old mates, Sid, marrying him off to the Dowager Aunt Joan.  

With less than a dozen men the Sid must conquer the Benidorm resort before his wedding, one bar at a time. 

Having fought and defeated the Moors twice Sid is ready for his final challenge... The Plaza...

The Benidorm Plaza is one of the finest venues in Benidorm.  Emir Alanus Rickmanus has defended it solidly with the best men he has remaining.   He intends to let the Spaniards focus on the building, whist he turns up later with his horsemen.  It is the final battle for Benidorm.

I used Outremer Faith and Blood for these rules.  They employ a series of different dice from d4 up to d20.  The better your chances the larger dice you throw.  It's an interesting idea,  but nothing Gary Gygax didn't use in the seventies.  To be honest I'm not sure it works as I would want,  but I've done some fun games with this.

The Plaza, 1080 AD. 

The Spaniards attack goes in.

Sid's men are keen to get to the Plaza Rooftop Terrace Bar...

Big Bernardo, best man, smashes his way through the Moorish Foot.

And on the roof the Spaniards cut down the archers, but not without casualties.

And Bernardo bursts through, defeating the last of the Moors.  The Sid's horse seems to be being lead forward behind.  No word from the great man?

And it's victory to the Sid, as Big Bernardo leads the victory cheers.
A great and famous victory for the Spaniards.  Soon after these events however the rumours started.  Was the Sid really in the grips of a huge hangover?  Did Bernardo have our hero tied unconcious in place on his horse and lead about by a foot soldier?

And what of Bernardo himself?  Had he been imbibing the local firewater so much that his extraordinary strength and valour was merely the result of a pub crawl around Benidorm?

In any event the Sid must now return for his wedding to the Countess Joan, a daunting prospect.  He must also face Bernardo's Best Man's Speech, perhaps even more daunting.  After all, what happens in Benidorm should stay... in Benidorm.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Sid and the Benidorm Pelicanos Lounge

King Alonso the Twisted of Aragon has granted the title Count of Benidorm to one of his old mates, Sid, marrying him off to the Dowager Aunt Joan.  Before his wedding Sid and his mates have gone off to conquer the resort.

With less than a dozen men the Sid has already beaten the bar at the Palm Beach.  The Umayyad Prince has fled back to the House of the Pelicans.  His men have fortified the building there and Sid must work hard to conquer this part of the Benidorm resort on his Outremer Faith and Blood stag do.  

Scenario Two
Sol Pelicanos 

The figures, Mounted
Sid Count of Benidorm
Big Bernardo his Squire and Best man
Jim of Dale, Soldier

The Peasants Foot
Hawtrey, Williams, Howerd, Cribbins, Pertwee, 
Butterworth, Monkhouse, Clary, Old Hartnell

The Moors  Mounted

Al Alanus Rickmanus Emir of Benidorm
Kenni, The Khasi of the Solana.
Yousef Ben Lom
Salman Rushed-it
Ali the extra guy

The Moorish Foot, 

Gimp the archer, Atiq the arrow, Ali short bow, Hamid the spear, Shiraj the scimitar, Jabir the jabber.

The Pelicanos,  reasonable rates and all inclusive! 

The Sid sends in his foot, with a ladder, and screens the bows from the Moorish horsemen

The Spaniards assault the building, but the defence is tough.
Yet the Emir is in effective against those javelin men.
Big Bernardo has a moment of madness.  Charging his horse up the steps.  I give him a load of negative modifiers for this, he should be rolling D10!   Still the madman kills his opponent, and leaps from his horse onto the roof. 

The example inspires the Christians who renew the attack and clear the roof. 

The Emir flees as the Sid's banner flies over the Pelicanos Lounge Bar, the second of his stag weekend's conquests.

Friday, 16 August 2019

The Sid at the Palm Beach Bar

The Chronicle of The Sid, Count of Benidorm...

The Prologue
Spain... one thousand and eighty years
after the coming of Christ.
It is a war-torn, unhappy land...
half Christian, half Moor.
This is the time, and the story
of the Sid of Benidorm

Hollywood script intro over, let's get on with Outremer Faith and Blood.

King Alonso the Twisted of Aragon has granted the title Count of Benidorm to one of his old mates, Sid, marrying him off to the Dowager Aunt Joan.  Alonso doesn't own these lands, the Umayyads do.  Worse, the actual Cid, Charlton of Heston, now holds Valencia as it's Prince, and is technically our Sid's boss.

With less than a dozen men the Sid must conquer the Benidorm resort before his wedding, one bar at a time.

Scenario One
The Palm Beach

Scenario Two

Sol Pelicanos Oca

Scenario Three

The Benidorm Plaza.

The Christians 

Sid Count of Benidorm
Big Bernardo his Squire and Best man
Jim of Dale, Soldier

The Peasants

Hawtrey, Williams, Howerd, Cribbins, Pertwee, 
Butterworth, Monkhouse, Clary, Old Hartnell

The Moors

Al Alanus Rickmans Emir of Benidorm
Kenni, The Khasi of the Solana.
Yousef Ben Lom

Gimp the archer, Atiq the arrow, Hamid the spear, Shiraj the scimitar, Jabir the jabber.

The Moors deploy, but only fate knows where the Christians will appear from.

Point 3 as it turns out.  Lots of angry mounted Spaniards. 

The Sid and his mates.

The Emir comes forward to fight.

And Gimp the archer draws a bead on the Spaniards below.

A Hollywood melee as they mix it up.

The Spanish divide and circle the building. 

The melee goes against the Moors

Even after Shiraj the Scimitar goes in on foot, it's all a losing cause.

As Yusuf Ben Lom fights a rearguard the Emir flees.

Gimp and his boys fail morale and give it up.

But the Emir will live to fight again. 

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Victor Valiant, Beaufighter Ace

A long term ambition for my Desert Air Force was to field a Bristol Beaufighter squadron.  However, even in 1:300, I'm not one to collect planes in Squadron numbers.  The very maximum number of Beaufighters I would be able to manage on table in one of my solo games would be four.  So that's what I went with, four models, that will represent Squadron Leader Victor Valiant's boys on table

If more than that number is needed in a campaign game the Squadron will come on in waves.  It's pragmatic and it's how I built up my whole WW2 Air collection.

Scotia- Grendel 1:300
Seventeen Beaufighter squadrons had served in the Mediterranean theatre by the end of the war.  Victor and his crews loosely represent the attachment from 252 Squadron that went to Gibraltar and then Malta and Cairo in 1941.  My Desert Air Force Campaign is currently buzzing around the German siege of Tobruk in early 1941 so it sort of maybe fits...

252 will be attached to fly missions across the area.  That will include bombing, fighter cover, anti shipping, anti submarine and special operations.   The end of the campaign will see Victor and the Beaufighters (great name for a band) raid the Italian Naval Harbour at Palermo in waves, seeking a battleship as their target.

Campaign cards

Dice markers
Ord & POL
Aircraft Available

In a campaign if this type I would usually name the pilots and list experience and skills.  This helps me focus my solo game.   For this a Squadron card will also be needed, something like the chalk board for operations in Dawn Patrol, with pilots names, kills, Status etc...This will be a slightly larger index card that will ride along the missions track to indicate the current position  it will also carry the status dice.

The mission track,  no Squadron status card as yet.  Seven aircraft available.  POL dice of 3 means enough for one transit and one mission.  Better get the supplies topped up!

An individual mission, but it will need a transit card to get there, facing flak or enemy aircraft on the way. 

Its still a work in progress...

Sqn Leader Victor Valiant, Beaufighter Ace
Flt Lt Cliff Robertson
F.O Mellion
F.O (AUS) Goodcliffe
B Flight
Flt (CAN) Lt Finch
F.O Church
F.O Archer
F.O (Nz) "Ned" Kelly
C Flight
Flt.Lt "Billy" Roach
P.O Young "Johnny" Briggs
P.O "Mike" Baldwin
P.O "Ken" Barlow

A Beaufighter in Desert Air Force Camo.   "V" for Valiant perhaps?


The Crippled Destroyer
Axis Convoy
The Benghazi POL dump
Over Tobruk
The Mas Boat pens
Lust, Sloth and Gluttony... Malta
Stukas on the coast
Valley in the Atlas
The Italian Raider
Battleship at Palermo

A Beaufighter of 252 Sqn being refuelled in the Western Desert. 

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Steel and Steed, the Lumley Castle Jousting Finals

The Earl has presided over the foot Combats with a certain tolerance.  It is after all the Joust that holds the most prestige.

Fans of the sport may care to peruse Uriah of Gelderland's Guide to Good Jousting, a page of our Steel and Steed blog.

In the foot Combats Sir Elliot the Bastard of Alnwick twice over pushed his opponent down, and proceeded to beat them severely.  Lord Farthingdale is still suffering a -1 Str as a result of his injuries.

Winning the Joust however is a matter of artistry and accuracy.  Sir Elliot may struggle here, not least against the Champion Sire du Quincy and the veteran Sir Micheal.  Even poor Farthingdale has proven himself to be focussed on his jousting.  This could go to any of them...

The Joust
Lord Farthingdale of Waldridge
The Sire de Quincy, Lord of the Grange Villas.

Sir Micheal of Shraner Castle
Elliot, the Bastard of Alnwick.

In the first round  of Jousting Sir Roger Quilp, Lord of Belmont was unhorsed and severely injured, earning Lord Farthingdale prestige from the crowd and the favour of Lady Brunhild, now wrapped around his great helm.

Sir James Coxpole had briefly attracted the Lady, breaking his Lance on The Sire du Quincy, but was unfortunately then beaten by Quincy in the remainder of the match, (Quincy being a Champion and far more  skilled opponent.)

The Heroes of the Joust line up before the Earl...

And it's the Bastard vs Sir Michael of Shraner Castle 

Sir Micheal breaks his lance on the Bastard.  2 points

The third pass, Sir Michael again breaks his lance.  The Bastard fails his Stability test and but Sir Micheal 's thrust technique is not strong enough to put him out.  Inevitably however the Veteran wins on points

Lord Farthingdale actually has a higher dice pool than Champion Quincy.  A clean pass, one point. 

Lord Farthingdale breaks his lance, two points.  He fails to unhorse the Champion.

The final pass, Lord Farthingdale gains another point.  Four points to three, Farthingdale wins the match.  Well played Sir! 

Lord Farthingdale, he of the unusual heraldic badge, faces the Knight Micheal of Shraner Castle in the final.

The first pass, Lord Micheal is past the midway point. He re rolls one JST dice and rolls a critical 10... He breaks his lance against Sir Hugh de Farthingdale,  who rolls a stability test of...2, and is thrown from his horse.

Worse, the Str test of 9 that the veteran produces injures Lord F.   A roll of 5 and the Knight of the Rampant Phallus is concussed.  Hello?  Hello?  Lady Brunhild will be disappointed.

Our Winner!  As Lord Farthingdale wonders what happened Sir Micheal gathers the fruits of VICTORY, and the favour of Lady Brunhild.

The Champion, Sir Micheal of Shraner Castle
1st Prize - 3 Bonus Experience Points, 10 Prestige Points, 20 Gold
and the favour of Lady Brunhild of Alnwick awards an additional 5 Prestige Points and a sore back.
Just where is Shraner Castle anyway?

Lord Farthingdale of Waldridge
2nd Prize - 2 Bonus Experience Points, 5 Prestige Points, 10 Gold  (injured 1 month out)

The Sire de Quincy, Lord of the Grange Villas.
3rd Prize - 1 Bonus Experience Point, 3 Prestige Points, 5 Gold