Saturday, July 15, 2023

1069 Ambush

The Setting: Early Autumn, 1069. King William, The Conqueror, has been solidifying his rule by confiscating Anglo-Saxon lands and rewarding them to his loyal retainers. One such newly elevated Norman knight is Sir Coleman Louis, one of Bishop Odo's loyal retainers. He was gifted lands in the Downlands west of London along the Thames river. There, Sir Louis, built a fortified manor in the village of Eaton though it required knocking down and relocating nearly half the village homes to do so. This did not ingratiate Sir Louis to his new Anglo-Saxon subjects, who did not apricate being forced to relocate at their own expense building their master new home. Bishop Odo was a hard man and expected a lot from those he placed his trust in. As such, Sir Louis was away from his new home as often as he was there and expected the men he left behind to keep a short leash on the Anglo-Saxon rabble. It didn't take long for unrest to take hold amongst the locals, especially amongst those who had lost so much at the hands of their Norman overlords. Lead by the displaced Thegn, Edmund, a plot was hatched to ambush and murder Sir Louis. 

The Plan: Sir Louis is due to return today from another summons by Bishop Odo. He is expected to be accompanied by a handful of knights. The Manor garrison should be busy preparing for his arrival and inspection. During the night Thegn Edmund snuck his small force into the houses of Eaton planning to ambush and slay Sir Louis before the walls of his very own home. With luck they could storm the Manor when the garrison opened the gates to rescue their Lord.

So after finishing painting the Norman manor and walls I had to get it set up on the table. That's when Coleman, my youngest son age 5, asked if we could play a game. I was more then happy to oblige and so got out Ravenfeast which he has played before. So I set out two forces and let him pick which he wanted and he chose the Normans. We both had a good time and he was picking up the rules very quick.

The Forces: The Normans had a Lord, 4 Mounted Knights, 4 Archers, 4 Crossbowmen, and 4 Norman Infantry. The Anglo-Saxons had a Lord, 2 Hearthguard, 6 Veteran Fyrd, 7 Fyrd, and 6 Slingers (Bowman). Points wise these where equal forces. 

Objectives: These are simple. The Normans need to get Sir Louis into the Manor and keep the Anglo-Saxons out. The Saxons must kill Sir Louis and if able, take the Manor. 

Setup: Sir Louis and his Knights start at the entrance of the road on the far side of the river. The archers man the walls of the Manor while the rest of the Norman units are in the yard for inspection. Edmund and his 2 Hearthguard hide in the church. The 6 Veteran Fyrd hide in the yellow house nearest the river. The 7 Fyrd in the white house across from the Manor gates. The slingers are all in the red house. 

The Village of Eaton.

Home is in sight for Sir Louis.

The garrison is preparing for their Lords return.

Archers keep watch on the walls though suspect nothing is amiss on this cool Autumn morning.

Normans start the game with Sir Louis and his knights riding up onto the bridge. 

The Norman Infantry move to ready the Gates while the crossbowmen begin to move to their positions along the walls. Sir Louis must see that the Garrison is ready for anything.

Suddenly 3 armored warriors rush from the church. Edmund lets out an echoing war cry signaling the attack. To the Archers horror, men start pouring from the village houses, all armed to fight.

Sir Louis sees the the armed men filling the road ahead. He is sure they are here for him. He cant flee back to Bishop Odo as he cannot appear weak before his Lord. He knows he and his knights cant take on the host before him. His only salvation is to somehow get within the walls and organize a defense from there.

Interestingly he leads his men off the road, jumping a stone wall as they go.

Meanwhile the garrison is taking up positions to defend the walls.
The Veteran Fyrd form a shield wall in order to block Sir Louis approach down the road. The Fyrd also form a shield wall in order to withstand the bolts and arrows from the walls and in case the garrison should sally forth. The Slingers attempt to keep the heads down of the bowmen and crossbowmen on the walls.

Seeing the shield wall before him, Sir Louis continues to lead his men around the outside of the village and away from the Manor gates.

The Slingers fail to suppress the defenders on the walls and a Fyrd is killed by an arrow.

Perhaps feeling soupier in their abilities, the Norman Infantry open the gates and charge into the Fyrd shield wall. The Veteran Fyrd keep their eye on the prize, leavening the Fyrd to hold the garrison back, they try to close off Sir Louis's escape.

The slinger exchange fire with the bowmen and crossbowmen and managed to kill one of the bowmen, taking no casualties in the process.

Sir Louis has continued his course around the village and is now opposite the gate.

Edmund and his Hearthguard move to block Sir Louis's suspected route. Now they have nearly boxed him in.

The Fyrd shield wall is holding and they are able to kill two of the Norman Infantry. However the Norman's on the wall managed to kill 2 slingers and 1 Veteran Fyrd.

Just when Edmund thought they had Sir Louis trapped he makes his move for the gate. 2 of his Knights charge into the rear of the Fyrd shield wall while the other 2 chard the 2 Veteran Fyrd trying to cut off their path. Sir Louis makes for the open gate.

A fierce melee ensues. 2 Norman Knights are brought down as well as 1 of the 2 remaining Norman Infantry. However all but 1 of the Fyrd are killed and only 1 of the Veteran Fyrd remains.  

Just two brave Anglo-Saxon warriors continue to fight on as Sir Louis, 1 Knight, and 1 Infantrymen move into the Manor and seal the gates. Edmund and the rest of his surviving force flee to fight another day, chased off by Norman arrows and bolts.

The final 2 rebels are put down outside the gates and victory goes to the Normans, with only 5 dead to the Anglo-Saxon's 14.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Realistic 28mm Tree Tutorial.

 So one thing missing from most the terrain setups I do in 28mm have been nice trees. So I finally put in some real effort to make nice trees. Here is how I did it with some of the key components. 

First I gathered twigs from bushes around that looked like they had a nice shape. 

Second I baked them in the oven for an hour to kill off any pests and to dry out the twigs.

Third I trimmed them down to the right size and glued the trimmings back on for a more full look. and glued them to a big magnet on an MDF base. Magnets are off amazon and bases are from blotz.

Forth step was spreading mat Mod Podge over the entire twig surface to seal it and help strengthen them. and securing the base with milliput.
Fifth, after glue dries I applied my preferred terrain base texture and painted it.

Sixth step its to apply the coconut fiber (from amazon). This is tricky and messy. I started by applying mod podge the a section of limb then pulling a clump of fiber, shaping it, and half sticking half wrapping around the chosen spot. After I have applied it to all the spots I want foliage I let the glue dry and then trip down all the fibers sticking out wiled. 

Seventh step was to spray all the fiber with a brown spray paint. This makes it darker so bare spots wont be as visible and helps get it to stick together and to the twig better.

Step eight is applying clump foliage. For this I would spray the sides and top of one area with adhesive until its frosted (make sure to use one that dries clear). Then pull small bits of clump foliage and press it into the glue firmly (for good contact and to get the fibers to stick together). Do this on all sides and tops of the coco fiber. I used Woodland Scenics Bushes as they offer good texture and coverage. 

Ninth, I give it another dusting of spray glue and then sprinkle these scale leaves I found on amazon. I find they help gives the tree a good sense of scale and a familiar texture. I mix the 2 greens together and the red and yellow together. then took some from each to mix in the other. The predominantly green batch goes on the tree and the others go on the base. 

Finally I liberally spray watered down Mod Podge all over the canopy to help seal it all. Place it somewhere to dry with lots of space underneath as bits of foliage will drop over the next day. Save this and reapply with mod podge or super glue. For the base I use static grass and the dead leaves. For the grass I try and leave it bare on spots that would predominantly shadows. 

A wide base will help with stability and the powerful magnet can assist with transportation or in table stability.

I have only made 2 of these so far but I love how they look. Time will tell how well they hold up on the table and how playable they are.