Wednesday 4 May 2016

Morris dancers

Yes some more VBCW figures. Next post something different I promise! Again these are all painted for my good friend Matt at the wargames club. And again they are all 28mm and VBCW figures. The sculpts are (I am told) by Woodbine design and several have been converted with weapons added to give them a more military feel. Some came with weapons as well but Matt has added more guns.

The first 2 pics are them all together and then some in more detail. If you are not English you may be forgiven for not knowing what Morris Dancing is. so here is a link to the Wiki and if you are English you probably think it is a sad waste of time and even try to quote others disparaging remarks about it. But I will have none of that on my blog.

There are in fact several different forms of Morris dancing and they all stem from Pagan routes and are mostly to do with celebrating erhm... fertility... yes, yes Fertility that is the right word! And each of these forms is geographically based but sometimes with linked themes and traditions.

Along with the dancing there is usually plentiful amounts of beer and cider consumed and now adays the Morris Dancing mostly takes place in country pubs. And there is little wrong with that. But Morris dancing is not for everyone and and an be seen as a joke by those city folks who do not understand the feeling of nature and traditions. Each to their own.

These have been painted to represent a generic Morris Dancing Troop and not a specific group as colours and clothing does vary greatly in both eras and locations. So realistically any colours could be taken and still look authentic. But that said I did settle on Dark blue and cream as the feature colours. I also regulated the colours of the flowers in the hats although they could be any colour that would grow in the gardens and fields of England.

The flag is by Solway ( painted by Pete Barfield) and is of Rochester, the Cathedral town in Kent (It did used to be a cathedral city BUT the local council did not fill in the right and proper paperwork so the government has demoted the City to now a town.... Local government, I say no more!)

The flag also has the Kent emblem of the white horse which neatly brings me on to "Oodening!" I do not expect anyone to know that word as it is sometimes spelt "Hodening" but with a deep Kent accent it is actually OOdening as the H gets dropped and the O vowel sound does get lengthened!

Anyway it dates back to 12th century English possibly coming from the Norse god Odin who had a 6 legged horse if I remember correctly. Anyway in Kent Morris dancing also had a pretend Hobby horse which was usually draped in sackcloth as shown in the early black and white picture circa 1905.  While the use of a hobby horse (Now used as children's toys) was "Exported" to other areas of England it was started in Kent where we set our VBCW. And as the symbol of Kent is a white horse I was of course obliged to paint the horse as a grey! (Yes a white one).

While the man/rider is dressed in greens and a few browns as the colours of the forest as he represents the Green man from English pagan folklore. I do realise that most of you will have gotten bored by now and stopped reading so thank you if you are still here. The Green man usually makes his appearance (traditionally) on the 1st of May bringing in the growing season.

Anyway that should explain the colours used and the reason behind their use. I know there has been a bit of reading today sorry about that.

Right at the very end I have put a Youtube video about Morris dancing. But kindly remember while the music and dances my be traditional the clothing is not in most of the dancing troops. Just in case you have never encountered it before and want to know more.

I apologise to anyone if I have any facts wrong as this is just how I see it and not based on participation, just observation.

Thanks for looking today and more in a couple of days, when I get some more painting done!

Cheers Clint

Monday 2 May 2016


Yesterday at the club we played a Very British Civil War game using the "Went the day well" rules.

The Batteries in my camera gave up before I could finish the game but here is what happened.
My first units arrive, an armoured truck containing my Command Element and a Boys Anti-tank rifle.

A general shot of the table from my seat.

The BUF start to arrive (Boo Hiss!) Also known as Tim and Dick

Peter arrives with a squad and a machine gun in the second truck and I get another spuad and a mortar in the 3rd truck

The Fasists start to arrive in force, 3 trucks of troops and some troops walking along the road.

being card activated my command struck speeds of down the road but the other two trucks fail to activate.

Clearly the BUF now are up to 5 vehicles including a tankette!

Pete takes his socialists into the side road and de busses.
The post box we find out at the very end is the Fascists objective!

Petes Miners having de-bussed take the field and cross to the far side.

Fascist Veteran Infantry arrive behind the tavern

Fascist flying column take the hedge row in front of the tavern

My socialists probably in a committee meeting remain stationary and fail to activate.

View from the fascist table edge., They have a lot of stuff on the board now.

The socialists (Pete and myself) do manage to get a few extra units on the table including and anti-tank gun.
The bad news is that the antitank crew are inebriated and fail to move from this position for the rest of the game and are not even able to set the gun up,
My troops in the lorry behind are stuck behind them in a traffic jam so I get the guys out and set about walking to the front. 

The Fascist get tank support on the table, Along with their veteran troops.
Nothing we can do the boys antitank rifle is out of position and although does manage to fire 3 time in the game it hits nothing at all with any shot the entire game.

Still stuck behind the anti tank gun the remaining troops trudge forward to a position on my right wing.
We do get 2 tanks on the table at this stage, one is armed with a heavy MG and thanks to Pete goes on to do quite well. The one controlled by me only manages to activate twice more in the entire game.

Fog comes down for 2 turns and several units scamper to better positions.
Well if not better closer to the Fascists.
My unit in the field hardly activate for the rest of the game and just become bullet magnets for all the fascists.
Petes Miners do activate a lot  manage to get into the middle of the field  (in the open) and they have to face of against a tankette while they carry no anti tank capability!

This was the last picture before the batteries in the camera died.
At this stage we could still win couldn't we.
Well actually NO. The game when it ended was 8 Victory points to the Fascist and ZERO victory points to the socialists. The Fascist did try to coddle me by claiming that we did score 2 victory points for knocking a MG out on an armoured truck. But as the VP table said we had to knock the veihicle out OR destroy it If is was a towed gun that kind of argument makes no sense to me.
So what went wrong? Honestly it was a combination of not knowing the rules which lead to some less than idea troop placement. (But that was the same for the Fascists as well). The fact that we could not activate anything that could knock out a fascist tank. And they just rolled over us.
Yes I did have a boys anti tank gun. In the game it fired a total of 3 times due to not getting activated, the first shot fired at a truck (No other targets) and missed, the second time did fire at a Fascist tank and Miss, The third time with no vehicle targets it fired at a Fascist machine gun and yep you guessed it.
I did have a tank with a cannon that could penetrate a Fascist tank. It activated twice in the entire game having come on late and spent those activations moving towards the front. The fascist tank it was facing activated MOST (but not all Turns) and was able to fire 3 times at my tank without me being able to fire back.
Overall I think I just have to say the cards were against us and while we could activate in the first 2 turns after that (and we played about 10 turns) me and Peter weer just sitting ducks and could not even shoot back. All in all very frustrating.
I am sure the fascists will point out that they had a unit that only activated twice (actually 3 turn as it did activate in the final turn) and you cannot blame them for our VERY bad luck.
Following te game there are several things I would change in the rules, Morale for a start units tend to get wiped out rather than retreat. The way units are activated. It could have been more balanced and the Fascists dd point out that before they hade anything on the table we did manage to get some units on and moving. And that is true, but in later turns we could do nothing to counter act the Fascist. We had no effective antitank at one stage they drove within 2 " of the Boys as they knew it would not activate and if it did the chance to hit was so small as to be worth the risk. Our anti tank gun was out of the game from the start and the only tank  with a gun and not an MG was destroyed because it could not activate in the 3 turns that it was being shot at.
Still them's the breaks!