A Productive January

It’s been a great painting month.  I spent lots of time focused on those Enfilade projects I’m working on.  I’m kind of a procrastinator about most things in my life, but not about getting convention games ready.  I’ll never forget watching some guys painting figures at their table for their weekend-long Battle of Gettysburg game.  That is not me.

I began the month working on figures for the Rebels and Patriots game David Sullivan and I are hosting.  It’s based kind of loosely on the retreat to North Carolina across the Dan River, leading to Guilford Courthouse.  Sort of like Weitzel’s Mill.

Two of the units I wanted to paint were light companies of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards that are part of the British pursuit. The figures for both units are Front Rank, from their Light Infantry in slouch hat group.  It’s a pretty thin batch of figures, so there’s not a big mix to choose from.  As I’ve stated before, these figures are very fun to paint, very easy to paint because they’re large and kind of blocky.  They remind me of working with a coloring book, because the lines are so clear. No facing colors or lace to speak of.  I did give the officers Scarlet coats instead of the Vallejo Flat Red, so they could be in regulation dress and be better targets for the American riflemen.

Front Rank Light Infantry in southern dress.  These are painted as the light company for the Coldstream Guards.  Their device is painted on many of the figures’ backpacks in the photo upper left.

Though there’s not a lot to dress them up, I decided to paint their backpacks with crests for each of the different regiments.  The Coldstream Guards were pretty straightforward.  The Grenadier Guards not so much.  Every guardsman was not a recipient, but the majority of figures have their respective crests.

Grenadier Guards light company.  Their devices were more of a challenge to paint and I skipped trying to paint the royal script inside the garter.

I also painted Kirkwood’s Delaware light infantry.  These are Front Rank figures in 1779 regulation dress.  Again, fun to paint.  I didn’t quite get the figure mix right.  Was hoping to add some figures in hunting shirts but didn’t order correctly.  My bad. The biggest distinction for Kirkwood’s troops is the yellow hat lace, so at least I could see them coming.  As their white overalls wore out they resorted to bed ticking for trousers.  I was hoping to have a few more examples of this and remembered what a terrible pain in the ass it was and called two examples good enough.

Robert Kirkwood’s Delaware Regiment was really part of the old Continental Line that served throughout the southern campaign.  It’s the closest Nathaniel Green had to an elite unit, but though it had only 80 or so men.  Kirkwood was a soldier’s soldier, serving through the Revolution, only to die on the Wabash battlefield in 1790.

Back in December I went to the Perry Miniatures site and put together an order for the remaining figures I need for this project–British Legion figures for the loyalist South Carolina Dragoons, Lee’s Legion dragoons, and a handful of riflemen.  Four weeks later, having not received them, I went back and looked at my order, only to discover it tidily sitting in the site’s shopping cart.  Sent in my order the next day, and shipped immediately from the Perry site.  Still waiting, but am watching the mail daily.

While waiting for the Perry’s to arrive I decided to switch gears and begin work on planes for Ploesti.  I don’t have a ton to do but they are big ol’ Scotia B-24D’s.  The models are nice but large, which always poses a bit of a challenge.  The planes often come with their uber-long wings pretzeled and their large stabilizers and double tails needing careful straightening.  I set into this task one evening, only to realize the B-24’s I ordered back in August weren’t the early D version of the bomber that set upon the Romanian oil fields at all, but the later B-24J with the power nose turret.  Still a nice model I can make use of, but it took another order to the UK to retrieve the situation, so I am still awaiting the whims of the Post Office.


This Scotia B-24D is one of ten I acquired from the late Phil Barsdley.  They are spectacular in every regard, including the guns Phil added.  The paint, including “Flying Eightball” emblem and nose art I’ll never be able to equal.


Scotia B-24J in all its raw metal glory.  Note the nose turret. They’ll paint well.

With the R and P figs and the required planes unavailable, I’ve been working on some figures for my Philippine scenario. Because there is a coastal element to the game, I gotta have marines and sailors.  I think I’ve already shared my U.S. Marines.  Like those figures the sailors are offerings from Old Glory.  Not a tough job–because they are in white uniforms with white sailor caps.  Managed to knock out both units this month.  As figures go, they are pretty simple and straight-forward.  they seem a bit small.

Sailors 1

Well, no they aren’t a lot to look at, but if you’re gonna be afloat you gotta have sailors.  Two units of Old Glory Sailors from their Spanish American War range.

They are a pretty simple paint job.  I used Vallejo Grey-White as an undercoat and then painted highlights in straight white.  That’s really all you gotta know.  Simple but reasonably effective.

About the time I thought I could start another unit I got a raging four-day case of the flu.  When I could bring myself to actually go back in my den, I decided to paint some of the heavy weapons I’ll need for the Philippine scenario.  There is a mountain howitzer and crew and a Colt machine gun in both the firing and moving position. I’m about 50% finished with those figures


This bunch is from Tiger Miniatures and include crews for Colt Machine guns as well as a breach loading mountain gun from their Spanish American War range. Under construction.  Hope to be done with the lot by February 2nd.

If I’m able to finish those figures by Friday, I’ll have done 72 figures in the month of January, all 28mm, which is a whole lot for me.  And honestly, it was truly enjoyable.  It’s nice to have about three hours a day to paint.  I can get a lot done.

And the really good news–my Perry order arrived today.


My small, but anxiously awaited Perry order.



Dipping your toe in the Lion Rampant pond.

If you’re thinking about trying out these rules, whether you have stuff or not, I hope, with this post, to offer some guidance to you.

First, a bit about my decision to go with this game rather than another. I am the owner of some 500 singly mounted Hundred Years War figures.  I have more than a hundred painted longbowmen.  I have more than a hundred painted dismounted men-at-arms.  I can field seven units of foot sergeants and multiples of most other units from this conflict.  I am also a devoted student of the period.  My interest in these rules was only natural.  All I needed was to try them out to see if they met some simple requirements

  1. Were they easy to play?  Could I easily run them at a convention with folks who didn’t know them at all?  The answer was a simple yes. I’ve played with at least a dozen of my gaming friends. Of those only one has had a less than enthusiastic response.
  2. Were they suitable for making well thought out scenarios?  I didn’t want a game that was really designed for head to head games.  Again, I’ve tried several multi-player games and have reported on the Agen scenario.  I’ll likely run that one at Enfilade, together with a second scenario based on the 1340 raid on the Boulogne docks.

I find Lion Rampant to be a great set of rules.  Of course, I feel fully prepared to play them with figures, high interest and research material galore.  What if I wasn’t?  How could I get started?

First, some basic parameters.  If you’re interested in refighting Agincourt, or Bannockburn, or Mortgarten, these are not the rules you want.  These are small unit actions.  No archers behind stakes, no Flemings defending ditches, no massive schiltrons of Scots spearmen driving foolish English knights into swamps. Those troop types might be available to you, but they won’t quite function the way they would in large formations. I confess I haven’t quite found the right set of rules for fighting big battles in the late middle ages, but Lion Rampant won’t do the trick either.

I always worry about the cost of rules sets. Rules books that cost forty or fifty bucks really annoy me.  They better come with their own electronic service like Siri to answer my questions, a useful painting guide, complete army lists and an introduction by Anne Curry.    Worse than rule books that cost forty or fifty bucks are rule books that cost forty or fifty bucks and will require the forty or fifty dollar expansion or two.  I don’t care what the logic is, it’s ridiculous and inexcusable.

If you’re worried about the cost of Lion Rampant, you can buy it at your local game store for $17.95.  You can order it at Amazon for $13.62.  You can order it for your Kindle or Kindle ap for $10.49.  I bought two.

What do you get for your dough? A complete set of mechanically simple, grammatically clean set of rules. There are some quirks to the game, but nothing that is unreasonable or unfathomable.  There are a plethora of handy color plates and game photos.  There are eleven troop types and 40 sample retinues to muster them into. Finally there are twelve sample scenarios. That’s a lot for less than twenty bucks.

This is a highly adaptable rules set.  Though the sample retinues cover England all the way to Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Thomas Mallory Arthurian legend, there is definitely room for more.  I see these rules as something to experiment with, as many did with The Sword and the Flame. A friend has been playing Korea and Japan.  I plan to build something around the Spanish conquest of  Mexico.  It should work for any region up through the early gunpowder age. Not only that, but author Daniel Mersey is highly accessible, regularly answering questions on a Lion Rampant forum on BoardGameGeek.

So what is the cost to get in on Lion Rampant? Units are either six figures or twelve figures.  I’d suggest starting out with a retinue which is usually 4-6 units.  If your army is infantry-heavy, like the Swiss you’ll need more figures, say 60 figures.  If you have expensive troops, like the English you’d have fewer, say 42.  Armies with cavalry like the French Hundred Years War army, the Normans or the Ottoman Turks makes an army more costly in real dollars. Be sure what you buy fits in with your friends, and is an army you are really interested in.

There are lots of great figure manufacturers for the Hundred Years War.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Old Glory Miniatures–They have a huge range for this period.  They are relatively inexpensive per figure, especially if you are an Old Glory Army member. They are also quite nice and draw a distinction between the early period of this war (say until 1380) and later.  The drawback is that you have to buy the figures in pretty large quantities.

Front Rank Miniatures–A very nice range of miniatures for the Hundred Years WAr and the Wars of the Roses.  The range is older, so not tons of variety between figures of the same type, but a huge range of troop and armor types.  The mounted figures are really awesome.  They also have some great accessories and wagons. The downside is their size.  They are huge.  They don’t mix well with other manufacturers in the same unit.

Crusader Miniatures–Some great figures, but not tons of different troop types.  Sized well, all the major troop types are covered. Some very nice command figures too.

Perry Miniatures–The Agincourt to Orleans range is geared strictly for about 50 years of the conflict. Absolutely stunning miniatures, but a little spendy. The Perrys have a number of plastic boxed sets that are super reasonable covering the Wars of the Roses.  They plan to release an English boxed set for Agincourt to Orleans before Christmas (hark, I hear sleigh bells.)

Before I close, I’d simply add that no I am not an Osprey employee, nor do I hang out with Dan Mersey.  I do believe this is a great set of rules. Not perfect, and with limitations that are clearly stated.  If you believe you’d enjoy a skirmish set of rules for the late middle ages, these may work for you.  They definitely work for me and my interest in the Hundred Years War.