sabato 21 aprile 2018

Salute 2018

This year I went to Salute for the first time in my life, totally worth it!

I regret only the luggage limit, which prevented me from spending even more money in lead, resin and mdf purchasing!

I mainly bought more figures by Gringo40s for my Italian Risorgimento project, mainly Naepolitan artillery and Nino Bixio, eventually! Gerard, the owner, released at Salute a new range of Piedmontese infantry for Italian Wars of Indipendence, you can see them here
Then I decided with my travel mates to dive into the street of Rome, purchasing the Blood of the Aventine Gangs of Rome starter set, great value for the money, and a really interesting setting.
To conclude...a certain blue box appeared, the TARDIS, from Warlord "Into the time vortex" range, inspired to the British TV show Doctor Who. Likely to be spotted on every table of every period. After all, it's a time machine!

Now time for some pictures of the tables we admired at Salute 2018!

The druid

Feudal Japanese action!

One of my favourite: Garibaldi in Siciliy with Sharp Practice 2

1918-2018 the theme was Great War

Blood red skies involving aircraft carrier, amazing!

Crusades with Sword and spears
Pirate boarding!
ACW action with Black Powder, the fort is impressive!

Cool use of leds and mirrors

To conclude a couple of pictures of Battle of Stäket, by Dalauppror, using Pikeman's Lament to recreate Russian invasion of Sweden in 1719, one of the nicest tables and one of the few I followed some actions.

domenica 1 aprile 2018

New project: Rebels and Patriots

Recently Dalauppror announced a new ruleset from Osprey Wargames based on the same mechanics of Lion Rampant, by Dan Mersey: "Rebels and Patriots", going to be released early 2019. The rules will adress the wars in North America from about American War of Indipendence to American Civil War at a large skirmish level, as Lion Rampant, Pikeman's Lament or TMWWBK. The temporal span covered by Rebels and Patriots is about 110 years. During this period some major changes in both technology and tactics occurred, but I believe Dan and Michel will be able to abstract a good Horse and Musket ruleset.

I'm not particularly keen on American Warfare, but considering the level of abraction of these rules, I'll definitively give them a try for Italian Wars of Indipendence (Risorgimento), since there was plenty of small clashes and few big battles.

I recently started collecting figures for that period, specifically Garibaldi's campaign of 1860 in Sicily, so expect more updates on this project in the next months! For the first time in my short wargamer's career, I aim to be able to play with a new ruleset at release day one!

giovedì 29 marzo 2018

Mounted longbowmen in Lion Rampant

Recently a friend of mine asked some rules for dismounting troops in Lion Rampant, since in the original rules this option was not included, I wrote some.

The Grand Chevauchee, by Peter Dannis

I'm thinking mainly about HYW mounted longbowmen. Probably they represented the wealthier fraction of commoners (yeomen) hired for campaigns in France during the HYW. They could afford better equipment (bucklers, falchions and some armours) and even an horse. Usually only nobilty and their retinue could afford war horses, so those used by mounted longbowmen would be more probably second class horses. There are no records of any mounted combat, nor mounted shooting. even considering medieval chroniclers uninterested in tactical minutiae, it seems just weird, since no tradition of mounted archery was recorded in England in that period among that social class.  
A plausible role for mounted longbowmen is to act as a mobile reserve and allowing quick deployment during a battle or during a campaign, reaching a strong position in which they dug in to fight on foot.

Back to Lion Rampant now! The following upgrade can be purchased by archers and crossbowmen. Replace some or all the figures with mounted models or mounts and horse keepers.

I found this picture surfing the net, judging from the layout should come from some Osprey book

New upgrade: additional mounts @1 point
Purchase additional mounts, gaining some extra movement capabilities. 
On a move order (5+) a mounted unit can move up to 10".
On a dismount order (6+) the models are replaced by the same number of appropriate figures on foot.
Mounted unit cannot charge nor shoot. If contacted by an enemy unit, the models are immediately dismounted. Unit can never remount.

Miniatures suggested
1st Corps produces nice mounted longbowmen for HYW, Casting room and Perry Miniatures for later periods (WotR and early Renaissance).

domenica 18 marzo 2018

Venetian sortie with Lion Rampant

At Model Expo Italy, a convention held annually in Verona, Luca and I had a demonstrative game of Lion Rampant.

Northern Italy, 15th century. 

A Venetian castle is about to be encircled by a Milanese force. The stronghold commander decide to lead a sortie to prevent Visconti's army to mount a proper siege.

Thus said, it's a classical Bloodbath scenario from Lion Rampant rulebook, with an asymmetrical deployment (Venetian retinue must first exit through the main castle door). 
Walls do no provide any help, since all the garrison is rushed against the enemy.

The crowd gathers to cheer its heroes

Some food is also provided to the Men at Arms

Forward! Stradiotti led the sortie!

Milanese forces approaching the castle

Stradiotti are quickly routed by a terrible crossbows shooting, leaving the Venetian force without light cavalry. Luckily enough, Venetian archers soon do the same to Milanese mounted crossbowmen.

Battered mounted crossbowmen on the right

Mounted Men at Arms clashes but the Venetian leader is forced to retreat 

The Venetian leader demonstrates that courage isn't enough. "Maybe a sortie wasn't a good idea", he thought, while his unit is decimated.

Visconti are now charging against Venice infantry, which resists

Ineffective, the most I can say of these arquebusier (bidowers)

Some modern firearms aren't enough to stop foot knight advance and the poor skirmishers are forced to make way.

Venetian Fanti da Mar tries to arrest Milanese foot knight

Fanti da Mar (Marine Infantry), were a Venetian troop usually embarked on the galleys of Serenissima. They often were dismounted in raids or used (in the Colonies) as garrison troops. Usually they were partly armoured and armed with a warhammer of other short weapons (better suited to naval combat). In this game, I tried to represent them as Foot Men at arms, but I feel that Foot Sergeants with switched values of attack and defense (as suggested here), could be a better representation, after all.

The survivors take shelter behind the castle walls.

Doors are closed and Venetian now prepare for a siege.

domenica 4 marzo 2018

Shakò64 Borbonic Hunters (2) - Painting guide

Cacciatori and Carabinieri esteri (1859-1860)

Documentation about uniforms in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies army during its last period is fragmentary, and few dedicated volumes exist, for this reason I decided to write this guide to help new wargamers getting started in this fascinating period. Few depictions of this army arrived to us, and I chose to follow the Vinkhujzen collection watercolors, which follows the description of the 1859 regulations.

Carabinieri esteri and cacciatori napoletani (hunters or chasseurs) were  light infantry corps trained in open order fighting and broken terrain operations. I remember most of the Sicilian and Calabrian internal areas are mountainous and impervious. They fought valiantly (even when - often where led by less than competent leaders) during all Garibaldi's campaing of 1860 and 1861 from Calatafimi to Volturno.

In 1859 cacciatori napoletani and carabinieri esteri were reorganized and were issued new regulations about uniforms. They received a tunic grigio ferro (dark grey) or light blue and trousers in dark grey, light blue or white, all with a green line. The third carabinieri esteri regiment was going to wear green tunics with red trousers, but probably they never received the new uniforms.

The everyday uniform or labour uniforms, often wear during campaings was the biggia (lit. grey), actually a light blue grey, obtained intertwining grey and blue wires. 

3rd rgt carabinieri esteri, note the grigio ferro uniform


I used the recently released figures from a newly established Italian company, "Shakò64".
The figures are coded as: Comando cacciatori in tunica (grigio ferro) e shakò (covertato e scovertato) and Cacciatore in tunica e shakò (covertato e scovertato). They are suitable to represent both Cacciatori napoletani and Carabinieri esteri. The figures portray troops during campaign, in tunic and carrying all the necessary equipment as haversacks and water bottles. Epaulettes are not shown, probably they've been removed to be preserved from the injury of bad weather. They were kept clean to be used for high uniform or garrison duties. The troopers are armed with 32" rifled carbines and "yatagan" model bayonet.

Bavarian Carabinieri Esteri Battalion, in biggia (blue grey)

Painting guide

I chose to paint the tunic in my own version of grigio ferro, so dark grey with a strong blue component, and biggia trousers. Most of the colours are Vallejo model colours. I applied a white primer.

For grigio ferro tunic I used as base color Vallejo Dark Bluegrey 70.867, then I lightened it with Vallejo French Mirage blue 70.900 and then again with a mixture of French Mirage blue and Vallejo Dark Blue Pale 70.904 in a 1:1 ratio. 

For  the biggio coloured trousers I used a 1:1 mixture of Dark Blue Pale and French Mirage blue 1:1 and then I lightened it with pure Dark Blue Pale.

I suggest also experimenting using different washes. If you're using them, I suggest using as base color for tunic a mixture 1:1 French Mirage Blue and Vallejo Dark Bluegrey, and for the trousers Dark Blue Pale only, since I expect the washes to darken the base colour shadowing the model. Then you can lighten it as I suggested before. In the last passage I often add a small quantity of pure white in the mixture with a dry brush, to exaggerate contrast.

For those desiring experimenting with blue-grey tunic I noticed after I painted these models that a good starting point could be  Vallejo Luftwaffe uniform WWII 70.816, let me know if you try it!

Summary table

Base Colours
Tunic and trousers grigio ferro*
Vallejo Dark Bluegrey 70.867+French Mirage Blue 70.900
Trousers biggi*
Vallejo Dark blue pale 70.904+French Mirage Blue 70.900
Shakò, belts in black leather
Vallejo German grey 70.995
Belts in white leather
Italeri Flat Sand
Backpack, waterbottle, carbine wood
Games Workshop Gorthor Brown
Bags, cartridges in leather
Vallejo German grey 70.995, Italeri Flat leather, Italeri Flat Sand
Cuffs, Shakò pompon
Vallejo Deep green 70.970
Steel and Brass
Vallejo Natural steel 70.864 + Italeri Gloss Brass


I just noticed on Shakò64 a fantastic uniform guide for Naepolitan Cacciatori, by Cosimo Auricchio, check it here.


  • Giancarlo Boeri, Piero Crociani, Massimo Fiorentino, "L'Esercito Borbonico dal 1830 al 1861" I° Tomo Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito Ufficio Storico.
  • Stefano Ales, “L'Esercito delle due Sicilie uniformi equipaggiamento armamento 1850-1860”
  • Gabriele Esposito, Giuseppe Rava, “Armies of the Italian Wars of Unification 1848-70 (1)”, Osprey Publishing
  • Illustraton from "Vinkhuijzen Collection"

domenica 31 dicembre 2017

2017 is over!

2017 is almost over, so a little summary of this year from my wargamer experience.

My priorities and wishes shuffle continuously, I try not to follow ant kind of self imposed obligation, just my inspiration. Otherwise wargaming would no longer be a hobby for me.

Good news from 2017: I've got two new armies almost ready (about 10-15 models each missing), which would enable me to play three new rulesets: British Commandos for Bolt Action (1000 points) and  17th century Ottoman Turks for Pikeman's Lament and Tercios.

This year  Lion Rampant took the lion's share of gaming (pun intended) I didn't reckon the games I had with it, but more than a dozen for sure, my trusty Venetian Condotta serving me (quite always) well, even in defeat. Ronin with 4-5 games can also be regarded as a good second place (thanks to my Sohei buntai), then Tercios and Bolt Action (both with borrowed figures).

last club game of the year: three Lion Rampant tables and one X-wing
In the last meeting at our club in Verona (Band of Butei) we managed to arrange three tables with Lion Rampant, despite two players were almost new to this ruleset (they both won, somehow). We had great fun and chatting time and this is a big confirmation of this rules' potentiality and suitability for convivial gaming (aka Beer and Pretzel game).

This year can also be aknowledge as the (definitive) transition from 15mm to 28mm as my favourite scale. I still own 15mm Late Romans and Barbarians, and some 15mm WW2 Germans, but they're not very played at my club (just one game in 2017). 28mm fits also better my painting style now.

Next year? It will depend on my lavorative life, since I'm starting a new job in January. Anyway, if I can manage to finish 17th century Ottoman Turks and British Commandos I could invest in more Risorgimento figures or keep pushing TYW period with a brand new army (German Protestant forces), the latter being strongly supported by my clubmates (and by my wallet, since I've about all the figures I need for this army - new on sprues of course).

About this blog I hope I'll be able to keep posting about twice a month! I'm full of ideas about collaborations, conventions and my wish list is costantly updated (I won't post it here, because could be quite long - and annoying - to read!)

I thank all my readers, and wish you a happy new year, full of joy and wargaming adventures!

sabato 11 novembre 2017

Neil Thomas' Wargaming the Nineteenth Century review

I was looking for a ruleset to use my new Risorgimento figures and my attention was caught by "Wargaming the Nineteenth Century in Europe 1815-1878" by Neil Thomas.

I already heard of him as author of One Hour Wargaming and other works concerning our hobby, but I never dealt with his works.

Since I couldn't find much about the set on the net, I decided to purchase the kindle edition straightly from the publisher (Pen&Sword) at 4.99£. Great value for the money, but...there are no pictures only drawn maps. I know that in the printed edition (19.99£+ shipping) there are several pictures of gaming tables. Anyways, nothing essential. (EDIT: I found the pictures, they are at the very end of the book and not inside it)

The book gives a good historical and military introduction of the warfare in the period and then speculates on the best way to model a wargame to represent it. The process really reminds me Sabin's Lost Battles

The rules per se are just 8 pages (in the printed copy) and are very old style in layout, but the approach is interesting: simpler is better, and so we get a distillation of 19th century warfare. Those looking for detailed rules will be disappointed, but I love easy (yet period-specific) games. The rules are aimed at small battles involving around a brigade per side. They are very simple and should play in about 2 hours, involving about 10-15 units per side. Command and control is included just as optional rule, since "a player is able to act foolishly without external rules"

The rules are completed by 15 army lists, 5 generic scenarios (one mini-game) and 10 historical scenarios covering the main conflicts in Europe from the Carlist War to Franco Prussian War. There is no point system, but an interesting army generator which with a couple of dice rolls generates a casual army.

For the Italian Risorgimento there is only one scenario included (Montebello 1859), but are provided lists for generic revolutionary and monarchic army (1848), French, Italian, Austrian (1859 and 1866), Garibaldini and Bourbonic (1860). There is an error in the rating of Bourboinc troops, in my modest opinion, the author was too influenced by some sources he used. Anyway, this can be solved with some work. With some work a Papal State army can also be produced, and additional historical scenarios, too.

In conclusion: it's not the scale of battles I'm interested in, since I'm going to play the period with 28mm figures and I aim to play a large skirmish kind of game, as Lion Rampant or Sharpe Practice, but I'd steal some idea (best form of adulation, isn't it?) if I ever had to write my own rules.