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The Armies of the Ottoman Empire 1645-1718

Posted by Adam on June 19, 2020 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

My copy of the The Armies of the Ottoman Empire 1645-1718 by Bruno Mugnai arrived today and on first look through it looks excellent!



It is a hefty 370  pages including the "standard" 16 colour plates (4 of standards) and well illutrated throughout with photgraphs, copies of period paintings and black and white line drawings. From what I have seen so far the contents strike a good balance between information about organisation, equipment, clothing and performance in the field; pretty much perfect from a wargamer's perspective!

I look forward to immersing myself in this book and I suspect it will become a fixture very close to my painting desk.

Bloody Xebecs!

Posted by Adam on May 23, 2020 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

It has been good to see people making the most of their extra hobby time caused by the Covid lockdown. Premier amongst those are the new series of 17th Century scenario "booklets" produced by Barry Hilton (Wordtwister Publishing.) Have a look at the webshop here:

https://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/shop/products-cat-35.html




Each of the packs contains a selection of vaguely lineked scenarios along with the background and uniform detail where appropriate. In Barry's own words,

 

"The 4 Play concept is designed to achieve multiple objectives for the wargamer First and foremost, it aims to be entertaining In a series of small, quick games, players can grab an hour and complete a single missionor, spend a session completing two or three making for an enjoyable afternoon or evening.)"




This sounded ideal to me, I already have a disparate bunch of 17th Century figures with odds and ends from the ECW, Three Musketeers and War of the Grand Alliance and it is nice to get even a small selectioon of them on a tabletop. After a good giggle about the name of the project (I'm still very unsure about the idea of paying for 4play...) I had a close look at the sample copy that I had been sent. Small tables and a not too many figures seem to tick all the boxes for quick fun games that can be done over Zoom or Jitsi whilst social distancing is still in place.


As my current detour from the project that is itself currently distracting me from my planned hobby painting, is 17th Century naval games, I flicked first to the naval scenario. A fight in the Gulf of Hormuz, ideal for the smaller vessels and limited numbers that suit my nascent fleets. But then, wait a minute, what the hell are those? Bloody Xebecs!



The Xebec was the descendant of the pirate galleys that plagued the Mediterranean Seas.  They were elegant and fast, lateen sailed ships with a decent broadside and the capacity for a large crew for boarding actions. An easy addition to fleets in dinky little 1/2400 models but not easy to find in 1/450 scale that I favour...




Aftyer some fruitless scrabbling around on the Interwebs, all I had discovered that might be suitable was the Pirateology models that must be made of solid gold to command the prices that they do, or print your own 3D models (I don't yet have a 3D printer...) I did  read througha lot of modelling articles in all sorts of materials and that did twig me to a posible donor model that might allow me to kitbash a couple for my own cheapskate requirements. I dug out the freebie Black Seas sloops that had been taped to the front of one of the Wargames magazines.


 

Quite a small tubby looking boat but suitably heavily armed and no shenanigans cutting it down to the waterline needed. The masts would be no good but are easily replaced. The trickier part would be adding the distinctive pointy prow and overhanging stern that give the type its distinctive looks. I liked the whole notion of pirates and Middle Eastern raiders anyway so I thought I'd give it a go. So far I have added some plasticard pieces to give me the overall outline. Next step will be building on that skeleton with a few bits of putty work to make it look like all one boat. Then new spars and sails. If the process is not too painful I may end up with a small flotilla of Xebecs.


(Of course if you have any sense just get the scenario packs and play them with whatever figures/models you have to hand...)



Ottoman Progress

Posted by Adam on May 6, 2019 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Whilst the T's are crossed and I's dotted on my upcoming house move I decided to get at least a few Ottoman infantry finished. The post Salute enthusiasm period would not be wasted before I have to pack way my painting desk. First up was the completed unit of 18th C. Janissaries converted from Perry Zouaves with my own sculpted and cast up arms included.




My first time moulded items have worked okay ("good enough for Government work" I think is the saying echoing round my head.) I enjoyed converting one of the Perry figures by adding a Mahdist drum to create a a musician for the unit. The Mahdist figure has bare arms so I added some loose unbuttoned sleeves to the figure. The aggressive look of the unit and slightly irregular feel was exactly what I was aiming for. They are slightly more varied than I was thinking; with not only yataghan swords but firing muskets, pistols and wielding musket butts.




The Bosniak / Albanian figures from Warfare Miniatures were also crying out to be painted. I wanted these to be a little less brightly coloured than the regular troops of the Ottoman force so I chose a limited pallet for these. Apart from equipment and occasional decoration I went with dark blue, black, brick red, cream and white. Taking a cue from Barry Hilton's technique for these figures I didn't worry about doing highlights after painting and shading. I think the detail is all there in the sculpts.



I am not sure yet if I will give them a command stand made up from the generic officers or I might convert some of the musketeers into an officer and standard bearer.



Casting Up Some Turks

Posted by Adam on October 30, 2018 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)

I have tinkered with home casting of lead* figures in the past mainly using Prince August moulds. Always imagined it would be very satisfying to field an army of miniatures tht were my own creations. The whole having to be able to sculpt the master that will be moulded hurdle kept this plan in check for many years but eventually the example of a number of blogs has pushed me to have a crack at it. It was inspiring to see a number of gamers just get on with it and not be too concerned with produing stunning works of art.  (*in fact some sort of white metal that is mostly tin I suspect.)



Prince August home casting kit.


My yen for an 18th Century Turkish army to take on my Austro-Hungarians, looked like a promising object for the plan. For the infantry I decided to use the Perry Miniatures  plastic ACW Zouaves modified to make them less regular and 19th Century looking. For the cavalry I would need an unarmoured rider who would serve as Timariot Sipahis and later mercenary / militia cavalry.  The cavalryman could have a separate head to allow for a bit of variation. Also a right arm weilding a scimitar, which could be swapped out for a lance of firearm for further  multiple use of the basic casting. The cavalry would be mounted on the nice plastic horses available from Perry Miniatures or Warlord Games.  I used a "dolly" from Ebob as the skeleton that I could pose and know was about the right proportions for a wargames figure.Epoxy putty was then added to give bulk to the body as well as clothes / other details.


The masters "ready" to go into a mould...


The infantry figure needed a new pair of arms. One weilding a wickedly sharp looking yataghan sword. The left arm carrying the musket. Again a form constructed of wire and plasticard was made for the putty to be added to. I started with grand plans for half a dozen interchangeable arms for the infantry and horseman but just the three minimum required took long enough to complete.I consoled myself with the fact that I could cut away sword blades to convert the right arms for other purposes (holding lances, flagpoles etc.)



The lego mould box to contain the liquid silicon rubber until it had hardened.


For my first ever silicon rubber mould I bought a tin of the correct grade of liquid rubber from Alec Tiranti in London. It comes with the catalyst that starts the reaction that turns the liquid rubber into the solid mould that can accept hot molten metal. I had read many articles over the years about home casting and got some good advice from current bloggers making their own moulds. I freely adopted the elements of others processes that looked like they would suit me and plunged in to see how it all worked.


Tools and containers required. The liquid silicon rubber stains everything it touches!


Some bits went well: lego for the mould box was very successful and versatile. I did get a bit too ambitious wit the number of components that I tried to stuff into one mould however (one body, three arms and two heads made the channels that the lead is supposed to travel through very constricted.) At the end of the process however I had a solid chunk of rubber with the clearly identifiable hollows where my sculted masters had been.


A completed mould!


My lack of experience iin laying out my mould became apparent when I poured hot metal into it for the first time. Less than half of the mould filled up correctly, it was a bit disheartening. I did remember that air getting trapped in the mould is a common problem and vents need to be cut to allow it to escape.  Some careful cutting with a sharp knife in the restricted space of the mould gave me the vents and some further surgery to improve the sprue to each component was carried out. Eventually I was getting the entire mould casting successfully on almost every pour!


The mould  with vents cut  and blackened by graphite powder which aids the flow of the molten metal.


Once I had enough bits to be able to contruct 8 cavalrymen and convert a bunch of infantry, I stopped the addictive process and went to work on the output. The drawback with my "clever" scheme with all the seperate arms now became apparent. Having to glue the bloody thing in place! Yes I do get instant variation in my Ottoman units but I pay for this with having to file every join flat to be superglued.I had probably over estiimated where my patience will run out with this. Instead of dozens of units I may not get beyond five or six.


Shiny new castings...


So far then not perfect but more of a success than I had expected. I will have learned from my mistakes for he next moulds. Yes there will be next moulds as the production of shiny new figures from a mould is quite addictive. My Turkish units from these initial castings will have their  shortcomings disguised in the ussual way; with nice looking bases and large pretty flags!


Lots of pieces packed in a mould. Too many it turned out.


Ottoman Foot

Posted by Adam on October 23, 2018 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

As well as casting up my own Ottoman 18th Century cavalry riders, I put into the same mould some pieces to help convert plastic infantry figures. The base figure is the Perry Miniatures ACW Zouave infantry. These are quite close to the look of many Ottoman infantry types (unsurprisingly when you think about it.)


I wanted a less regimented look to my Janissary / Sekban regiments than the poses out of the box. My idea was to have a right arm waving a scimitar or yataghan sword, which would give the right impression of ferocity. This would leave them needing to be holding their musket in the other hand (shoulder straps not seeming to be a thing in this period.) I will go into the sculpting and mould making in another post but I have ended up with a whole stack of the new sets of arms and of course the tedium of gluing the new combination of parts together.


As I am a new and untalented sculptor there is also a fair bit of work with greenstuff to get the new arms to fit and the results to look remotely human! To keep my interest levels up I decided to paint up the first stand's worth of figures (6 for Beneath the Lily Banners / Piquet). Here it is (the standard bearer is a Brigade Games Napoleonic Ottoman figure.)


(click on image for larger version)

This unit will be in fairly uniformI colours although the evidence is a bit lacking. Iam reasonably happy with the results but happier still that I now have the option of buying Warfare Miniatures take on figures for this period! I will certainly comp[lete the unit with the other two stands and then paint up a Warfare one so I can get a fair comparison.

My Own Ottomans

Posted by Adam on September 10, 2018 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

My first unit of Ottoman Sipahi cavalry with a quick paintjob to see how they turn out...




For my first ever sculpt (more or less) and first silicon rubber mould, I am reasonably happy with the results. (I'm not claiming the horses, which are Warlord ECW plastic miniatures - courtesy of their half price sprue sale.)  The acid test will come when they are sharing a table with professionally sculpted miniatures.


These chaps are intended to represent Timarli Sipahis for the first half of the 18th Century. Aftert this the Sipahis were pretty much extinct and I shall be calling these mercenary Levend cavalry.