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The Painting Pedestal: Irregular’s Garibaldini’s in 20mm or maybe 1/72?

These figures by Irregular I chose as I like their slender style and they do have some stoic determination about them.

I opted for two units one in blue reflecting the fact that although Garibaldini fought in red shirts while in South America, they had to use blue shirts initally when defending Rome in 1848.

The second unit is a “red shirts” unit although I think uniforms were probably very un-uniform during the hiatus of declaring the Roman Republic. So they have some mixed shirt colours too.

I mounted the figures on washers to match them better with other 1/72 and 25mm figures, sort of 20-25mm ish.

They are based for Piquet units of 4 x 40mm square bases using the Peter Pig 3 up style which Piquet also seems to favour. I used my wars of Italian unification base style – 3 colours and some grass: I have written about this in previous posts.

Irregular supplied me with these 24 figures including the bugler and flag captain as a pack. The Kepis are reckoned to be 1859 plus era so technically these chaps are not right for 1848. A major problem is many illustrations for 1848 show the Kepi probably because by the time of publication it was a common sight.

That’s it for now folks.

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The Painting Table Returns

They are back after a very long holiday!

I wonder what will be up next on the Painting Pedestal?

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1970’s and all that

Grognardia has been running a series of posts on 1970’s roleplaying which have prompted my memories of encountering D&D.

His post showing the No7 edition of white dwarf took me back 5 decades to that moment when D&D took off – well arrived in my backyard.

It has meant I have dug out some pictures of my historical figures of that time.

1970’s Ral Partha Knight – my 12th century army that never happened

I play fantasy historical anyway – this theme has a long history and I could say my introduction was Charge or How to Play Wargames where the “tailpiece” exhorts all gamers to abandon thoughts of modelling real units. In fact there is an allusion to Charlotte Bronte and her brother and their fantasy stories.

In fact I think my influences were in the 1960’s – airfix soldiers, my mates playing with the US union troops against the British 8th army! well thats all we had! Then I had a magazine called Ranger (later Look & Learn) which typically in those days offered children a whole range of articles although mainly science and history as I recall. Nestled in there was a cartoon strip in colour called tales of the Trigan Empire. Pseudo Roman soldiers armed with ray guns and swords complete with monsters and a little magic meant I had no compunction about twisting history when it came to gaming with model soldiers.

1970’s 5th Edition WRG with 80mm x 60mm large bases decades before IMPETUS!!!!! element basing with no figure removal was happening even then……..
1970’s Regal Hinchliffe 25mm Persians to be admired mainly because minifigs were cheaper
1970’s 25mm Garrison Vikings – came in at almost small 28mm causing grief in the 20-25mm world and having no match with the other garrison ranges either!
1970’s more unfinished hinchliffe as in 40 plus years in undercoat…………..
1970’s billy no mates – a complete george gush rules minifig ECW unit – their brethren lie unpainted in store to this day
1970’s minifigs hussars, lancers and cuirassiers napoleonic cavalry
Fantasy Zvezda 1/72 Great Northern Wars rub shoulders with Minifig 25mm 7YW Austrian Grenadiers and Musketeers plus some Warrior 25mm French Napoleonic Grenadiers

Finally 25mm Minifigs 7YW Austrian Free Corps rub shoulders with Warrior 25mm Napoleonic French, Tradition 25mm Russian Guards, Hinchliffe 25mm Bavarians, Minifigs 25mm 7YW Grenzer, 1/72 Hat Napoleonic Austrian Grenzer and finally some early Minifig french napoleonic infantry of the very slim variety.

Mythical Worlds wargaming

Grognardia: Dungeons and Dragons reflections

Grognardia has been running a series of posts on 1970’s roleplaying which have prompted my memories of encountering D&D.

His post showing the No7 edition of white dwarf took me back 5 decades to that moment when D&D took off – well arrived in my backyard.

Here are some figures I have never been able to part with – perhaps it is just the memories of fun attached to them? Well except for one…..

1970’s Minifigs Orc Captain – this guy was slim by minifig standards
1970’s Ral Partha Knight
1970’s Ral Partha Thief complete with chips and memories of so many pockets filched and locks picked in a mythical world far far away……..
The one who never played – this elf warrior was painted and then put his feet up for 40 odd years – he is still at it!

Grognardia reflects on various aspects of D&D and notably the split between historical gamers and fantasy gamers. I was lucky – I started historical and never lost my interest and I also enjoyed those first few years of D&D. And we gamers played anything fantasy/historical no one cared as I recall.

When I returned to the hobby in the 1990’s I felt Fantasy had gone off in a different direction and created a completely new industry. Whereas I could still connect with Historical.

The fantasy world of Warhammer, Gameshop etc. is fantastic but just like sci fi, naval or air warfare it is just a theme. You pick your theme and play the games you like. For a more nuanced and dare I say it very intelligent analysis of fantasy gaming, Grognardia gives you detailed posts in spades.

adventurers Left to Right: overweight warrior I think was Asgard?, minifig elven guardsman, warrior monk again Asgard? then Ral Partha – my thief figure and next to him a desert warrior from Ral Partha who was another character I used.
male and female warriors were I think Asgard, the footpad was Ral Partha as was the elven warrior on the right
minifig skeletons
minifig forest orcs?

Finally – painted at the same time minifigs 25mm ECW figures – all podgy faced and extremely well fed to the point of being bloated. The ancestors of todays 28mm monsters?

life natural world

Intermission 21j

….to see the world in a grain of sand….

William Blake penned these immortal words and they neatly sum up this intermission. My summer has been without sight of a beach but I have dredged up some old photos.

A few years ago I started taking pictures of the beach sand, as the tide receded. Quite simply I find them therapeutic. The patterns made by the outflowing seawater are as fascinating as the grain colourations themselves. Needless to say I usually get shouted at for dawdling when walking the beach.

Alnmouth, Northumberland, UK
Wormcast Love near Chichester, Sussex, UK
Beach Question nearly marked, near Chichester, Sussex, UK
Beach Stone “Oh” near Chichester, Sussex, UK
Northumberland beach
Stone on a Northumberland beach
Coal on the Beach, East Coast England
Meteor Shower
A sea of tranquility?
Striations 1
Striations 2
Huntington State Beach, California, USA
The Silver Sea, Cornwall, UK

Find a beach and gaze at your feet…………

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2nd Battle of Tinckermann Bay

The Red Kingdom had suffered a crushing defeat losing 2 of its 4 ships at the 1st Battle of Tinckermann Bay.

The Blue Kingdom had pursued its plans for invading the Red Kingdom and so the Red Kingdom sent another Squadron of ships to defeat the Blue Navy.

The Red Squadron ships set sail…………

Willem Van Der Velde Rijksmuseum

Again the Blue Kingdom Navy had word of the Red Squadron and despatched the same successful squadron, now repaired, to intercept the Red Squadron. The Bellona was added to the squadron.

The two squadrons met again near Tinckermann Bay, scene of the recent Blue Navy victory.

The Red Squadron approach Tinckermann Bay with trepidation…………

This time it was the Blue Squadron who were in a full line and met the Red Squadron dispersed in three groups. The Blue Squadron attacked immediately led by Abellino and Lyra.

The Blue Squadron sail into action confident of victory

The ships present were

The Red Squadron

Centre line

  • Elven – a single decker 3 masted FAST frigate
  • Neptunus – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line

Right Line

  • The Meshuda – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line
  • The Triton – a single decker 3 masted FAST ship of the line
  • The Allart – a single decker brig with a Carronade

Left Line

  • The Zugarte – a 2 decker 3 masted FAST ship of the line
  • The Sarpen – a sloop of war

The Blue Squadron

  • The Chippewa – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line
  • The Allegheny – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line
  • The Abellino – a 2 decker 3 masted FAST ship of the line
  • The Firefly – 1 decker 3 masted FAST Frigate
  • The Lyra – a 1 decker 3 masted FAST Frigate
  • The Bellona – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line

The Red Squadron seemed too spread out to present a threat and as the Abellino bore onward the frigate Elven turned, fired a broadside and scuttled to join the Zugarte.

As it happened both outer lines of Red Squadron ships fired on the Blue Squadron line who returned fire with mixed results.

The Neptunus presented a broadside to the lead ship Abellino who returned the favour. Behind the Blue Squadron quickly broke its line pursuing the seemingly disordered Red Squadron.

The Blue Squadron break their line

In the process Abellino found itself isolated as did the Lyra. Again luck was against the Blue Squadron ships as the Lyra and then the Abellino had their masts shot away leaving them adrift yet still able to fire.

Elven, Neptunus and Sarpen had done the damage.

Further back down the line Firefly joined the action at the head of the line while Bellona and Allegheny became isolated in the rear. In the case of the Allegheny it appeared she would soon be defeated. Bellona destroyed the Allart’s sailing gear leaving her adrift.

The lines are broken into a series of small ship to ship actions
Now Bellona and Sarpen (top left) began their own singular battle while Meshuda and Triton closed in on Firefly, one of the few Blue Squadron ships still intact.

The Allegheny could still make sail but was now disarmed, so she made much sail with Zugarte vainly pursuing her. Elsewhere the final reckoning was taking place.

Firefly managed to evade the Meshuda and Triton before being pursued by the Zugarte. The Allegheny had sailed away with Bellona close behind.

The Firefly fought a gallant final action against the Zugarte with the Triton now closing again (see bottom of picture).

Finally Firefly fled having lost all her guns.

The Red Squadron had defeated the Blue Squadron in the second battle of Tinckermann.

The Red Squadron had captured the Chippewa, Lyra and Abellino while the Sarpen and Allart had been demasted and had to be towed back to port.

The Red Squadron return to port with their prizes………

Willem Van Der Velde Rijksmuseum

The Rules

I had used the basic TTBnaval rules described in my previous posts including amendments in the Battle of Tinckermann post.

This time I introduced some variation on the ships themselves and added another weapon class – a carronade.

A carronade required the ship to be in contact with its target – point blank range and it throws on the broadside to hit column. The value though was always to be +1 on the respective broadside hit result. The carronade being just +1 on the to hit column meant throwing 12 +1 to get 13 and achieve the maximum 3 hits (2+1). Very damaging but not easily achieved. This combination of close range only + difficulty to hit, I think would prevent the carronade being too overly powerful.

In the event the Allart (a two masted Brig) had her masts destroyed before she could get into action and was left adrift with her shiney new carronade unused.

Another new ship for the Red Squadron was a “sloop of war” fast and well armed. The Sarpen did do some damage early on but was eventually brought to a standstill, her masts and sailing gear being destroyed.

Victory was secured in move 11 so again the game, with my changes, was contested between sides of differing numbers and capability. It could have gone the other way if the Blue squadron had not lost ship manoeuvreability early on.

Finally I have kept the “outcomes” unaltered because this is where the tempo of the game is achieved – brisk but not too brisk! And that is what makes TTBnaval fun to play.

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The Battle of Tinckermann

Table Top Battles – the Naval Rules, have been occupying my time recently. NavalTTB are a very simple set of rules using a grid based set up. They are part of a compendium of rules featuring fantasy, air, siege and land based warfare.

Having played the basic rules I could not help but tinker with them.

The Extras

First up, I used a 50mm grid and not a 100mm grid permitting greater granularity in manoeuvre.

a 50 mm grid gave each 100mm square a centreline to sail on. In turn all “lines” became sailable with some rules tinkering. The spaces cease to be occupied directly.

Second I took the single broadside characteristic value of 3 and changed this to three possible values – 3,2,1. I also allowed three steps in the degradation of a broadside after being hit. So a ship might start with a 3 then go down to 2 and finally 1. Note the numbers 1,2,3 are the actual values added to the die roll for a broadside scoring a hit.

The Blue Squadron’s ill fated Chippewa has lost all sail, while all its broadsides (3 per side) and its one of its close action firepower (2xCr=Crew) remain intact

I also permitted some ships to have say a 2 or 1 rating for their broadside from the start reflecting a weaker armanent. And then I still allowed those ships three hits absorption before that broadside would fall silent. So this might be 2,1,1 or 2,2,1 or even 1,1,1.

I left the score tables, crew attack and command values unaltered.

Finally I altered the sailing manoeuvre value. Essentially a hit on a sailing capability each time reduces the speed (movement per 100mm square) by 1. I applied some options, as in a large ship could have say a maximum of 2 while a small ship had a value of 4. In either case degradation of manoeuvre gave more granularity. So a faster ship might have “S” values of 4 then 3 then 2 and then nothing while a slower ship might have “S” values of 2,1,1, before being unable to move.

One final change I made was to sail ships on the “line” of the grid and not in the space. A ship turns on its centre and cannot overlap another ship when it does so. The standard rule of no ramming was retained.

This was a result of my using a 50mm grid.

The unintended outcome of this movement change was for ships to become stuck alongside each other. That felt ok though.

The Battle of Tinckermann – Fauxterre 1816

The Red Kingdom had found out that the Blue Kingdom was attacking some of its provinces and making an amphibious attack. The Red Kingdom dispatched a strong squadron of ships to disperse the enemy fleet.

The Blue Kingdom, well informed about the Red Kingdom actions sent a squadron to intercept the enemy squadron.

The Red Squadron

  • The Fortuna – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line
  • The Estedio – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line
  • The Meshuda – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line
  • The Zugarte – a 2 decker 3 masted FAST ship of the line

The Blue Squadron

  • The Chippewa – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line
  • The Allegheny – a 3 decker 3 masted ship of the line
  • The Abellino – a 2 decker 3 masted FAST ship of the line
  • The Firefly – 1 decker 3 masted FAST Frigate
  • The Lyra – a 1 decker 3 masted FAST Frigate

The Blue Squadron attacked the Red Squadron in two lines while the Red Squadron attempted to keep a single line and sail between both enemy lines attacking them at the same time.

Early on the Chippewa lost all sail control and drifted out of the battle. This in theory evened up the battle between 4 ships on each side. Then the Fortuna became caught between the Allegheny and the Abellino.

The Allegheny and Fortuna are in the positions that framed the rest of the action while Chippewa in top right drifts out of the action. The blue/red dice indicate a ship has acted in the turn.

Then the Zugarte, Estedio and Meshuda isolated the Allegheny although the Firefly gave aid.

Firefly attempts to aid the Allegheny

At this point in the battle both the Allegheny and Fortuna were stopped and the other ships manoeuvred to support or exploit the situation.

The final action saw the Red Zugarte and Estedio take on the fast Blue Frigates Lyra and Abellino. Lyra and Estedio had their sail control destroyed.

Lyra (blue) and Estedio (red) are stopped with no sailing power left – they have orange dice on them

At this point the Red Squadron broke off the action and the Meshuda escorted the Zugarte (now with no armanent left) away.

Actually the 12th game move finished. The standard rules are a 12 move game.


At the conclusion of the action the Red Squadron was driven off having to abandon both Fortuna and Estedio – both ships suffering so much damage to their masts that they could no longer manoeuvre.

Firefly and Abellino make sure the Red Squadron make plenty of sail.

The Zugarte had lost all its broadside and crew fighting power. It could still make sail and was escorted away by the Meshuda, which still had both fire and manoeuvre capability remaining.

The Blue Squadron despite driving off the Red Squadron had suffered badly.

The Allegheny had lost all sailing ability although it still had some broadside capability. The Lyra likewise could defend itself but needed repairs before it could make sail again. Early in the action the Chippewa had suffered complete loss of its sailing ability and as the action moved away it sustained hardly any damage keeping all its broadsides intact.

The Firefly retained sailing and fighting ability as did the Abellino – these two vessels were to be seen driving off the Red Squadrons Meshuda and unarmed Zugarte.

And so ended the Battle of Tinckermann with the Blue Kingdom free to continue its land attack on the Red Kingdoms provinces.

A mark 1 ship card – to make them reuseable I inked them in.
A mark 2 ship card! – more improvements required methinks


The difference between a win and a possible draw occurred in the last move of the game between slightly unequal forces. I will test this a bit more. It does mean the game hangs in the balance. And for the soloist it is not easy to see who is winning where – always a bonus.

If I was inclined a permanent sea table along with 3D models would drastically improve the visual aspect of this game. Indeed I do have some models from wizkids 2005 pirate game. Somehow I preferred the 2D test set up.

So this has proven a surprising distraction from my land battles. I tend to use TTB for land battles when the action does not lend itself to using Neil Thomas One Hour Wargames or 19th Century European Warfare Rules.

I like to think if Neil Thomas wrote some naval rules then NavalTTB would not be far off the mark.

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Rule test: Trim those sails

Having had my naval warfare appetite wetted by a series of books ostensibly about land warfare, I now had to hand a simple ruleset for naval wars.

a 40 page compendium of rules oriented to grid gaming

Table Top Battles (TTB) is a compendium that include several rulesets, one of which is about naval warfare. The rules are clear – they are not an exercise in sailing simulation: I think they are a landlubbers abstraction. That does not sound complimentary. They are simple, quick, fun and to this landlubber just what I needed to play out some of the small actions I have been reading about.

The Blue squadron engage the Red squadron – the red squadron started the action one ship less with otherwise identical ships.
The rules reward broadsides although spectacular results can be had attacking the stern with a broadside
The Abellino has taken a hammering from the Red Squadron and limps away from the action with just one sail (= 1 move per turn down from 3) and its command intact in the stern
In a last exchange Zugarte of the Red Squadron finishes off the Blue Squadron Lyra but it is too little too late
Zugarte in turn is caught by Blue Squadron Allegheny and Firefly – no contest

I used the rules out of the book unaltered and found they were quick and easy to apply giving swift results. The original squadrons arriving in a line (two lines for the blue squadron) soon broke into small groups contesting their survival one to one and occasionally two to one. It felt right.

The movement is unlimited so ships can stop, go maximum or any distance in between if they have sufficient sail intact. Each ship had 3 sails = 3 spaces maximum movement. The ships could turn in a square with each 90 degree turn taken. This level of abstraction might feel like bumper cars. However the question is “is detailing carefully turning as a process – useful?” Whereas rules that focus on outcomes tend to the abstract.

Each ship is given armanent in the shape of a broadside on each side of the ship. The broadside can only fire at ninety degrees to the ships keel line. The crew represent other close action capability. This has limited range and impact yet 360 degrees of direction irrespective of which crew element is left in operation.

The final component is the command. This provides additional support to the combat elements of crew and broadside.

All 4 element types – sail/broadside/command and crew can be destroyed and that is the sole objective of the game. In this way you knock ships out of action.

The winning side is the one having the most ships with both some sail and broadside capability.

With 5 versus 4 ships, all identical, the advantage was signficiant and the result was all the smaller sides ships were defeated. You don’t get draws, I suspect, if fighting to the last ship. So any game should be time bound or have limited victory conditions.

As a basic quick maritime wargame it works. This landlubber is happy.

The rules are available online or in print here.

They retail at 14 GBP – remember though, you get multi era rules for land, sea, air, fantasy, sieges and campaigns. The naval ruleset also covers ship to shore battles which I have yet to look at.

weigh anchor and set sail……….

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landlubber sets sail

Having decided to try out Mike and Joyce Smith’s Table Top Battles (TTB) – the naval rules, I suppose the question might be why? why now?

The consequence of being taken in by post napoleonics and 19th Century Italian Wars has led me to 1848. In that year there were a series of revolutions across europe. Some, like the First War of Italian Unification involved such unlikely naval opponents as Piedmont and Austria in the Adriatic, while on the Baltic Denmark squared up to an aggressive German Confederacy.

Now I also stumbled across something else.

The Wars of Italian Unification are reckoned to have really got going after Napoleon first defeated Austria in the 1790’s fuelling the peninsula with raw ideas of revolution.

So reading about Napoleonic Italy led me to the US Navy in the mediterranean sea! This is something I have completely missed. Mind you the 1812 Anglo-American War has passed me by as well.

All these steps were made possible by reading books. I love book reading – yes I need access to online material but I love reading a “printed” page.

MacAulay’s Book 1 of his Garibaldi trilogy includes his hero’s failed attempt to join the besieged Venetians. Michael Embree’s Radetzky Marches covers the siege in more detail including some sea action.

The red book of McAulay written in the early 1900’s about his hero Garibaldi. I am sure Sharp Practice would work for Garibaldi at least in 1848 anyway!

General reading about the italian wars of the 19th century introduced the presence of the US fleet in the mediterranean.

this educational book is just right for quick reference – it gives excellent summaries

The First Schleswig Holstein War of 1848 includes some fascinating sea action – where the shore batteries won!

This is a fascinating war related to a famous question – the Schleswig Holstein question of course.

A book about Barbary pirates fighting the US Navy in the Mediterranean in the early 1800’s actually covers some of the effects of the Anglo-US war of 1812 and the whole issue of the lack of a US fleet that could even put to sea when blockaded in home ports by the dominant British Navy.

an interesting story about the USA squaring up to the Barbary states of North Africa who had got used to being bought off by the Europeans when it came to enslaving captured ship crews and passengers.

And that final book has led me back to the USA and some of its naval experiences during the Napoleonic era. That has somehow triggered in my head the need to test simple naval rules.

I am after small actions and a high level of abstraction.

a favorite abstraction icon from the Ferens Gallery Hull – East Coast Port by Paul Nash

While abstraction is an essential part of wargaming your mind of course fills in all the gaps to give something like this…………
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On the Grid but all at sea

Table Top Battles (TTB) by Mike and Joyce Smith are an excellent set of rules for my solo campaigning. The ruleset is actually a compendium of rules including air and fantasy not to mention siege warfare and, as you may have guessed, a set of naval rules.

My first edition Table Top Battles rules are unchanged in the second edition

All packed into 40 odd A4 pages the softback ruleset is short on images but strong on mechanisms that are simple, work together and can be adjusted or expanded.

So having flicked past the naval rules, on many occasion, I have finally succumbed. I dug out some thin card and scissors and pencil in hand in a thrice had two magnificant navies…………

The magnificent Blue Fleet “Abellino” armed with two broadsides plus two crew teams for close action. The Command in the stern adds bonus points when fighting while the three sails define the speed and manoeuvrability of the vessel