Assembly of planes

The lead pile

This weekend I had planned another attack on the lead pile. Glue-ing the magnets under the planes. There is still a long way to go (probably around 150 planes to go)

But the different air forces are slowly growing. The picture of the ww2 era planes did not turn out to be clear, so there is another can full of planes. I hope to do still some more planes, and then to prime all the planes, so I have something to paint for the coming months.

For glueing of the magnets I have used the following magnets. I prepared a lot of square magnets, with the smaller magnets put on it in the correct orrientation. (I checked the orientation against the bases) Than file or scrape a flat area under the belly of the plane. Put a dot of CA glue on it, let it dry for half a minute, and put them together holding them for another half a minute. Then I would let them cure for 5 minutes. Before removing the rest of the stack and the cube.

Previous weekend, I also started to make some targets to attack. A bridge, fuel storage, an a piece of dike. Hope to put a convoy or some troops on it.

I hope to proceed with the magnetizing the coming weeks. And by the end of January priming them and preparing for painting. Probably not all planes will be based by then, but enough to sustain painting for a couple of months.

The Battle of Scherpenzeel

Last year I have done a lot of reading and searching on the battle of Scherpenzeel and the days leading to this battle. For this moment, I will skip the political landscape, and focus on the scenario I think is most plausible at the moment.

The battle of Scherpenzeel was part of the Sticht (Utrecht) Civil war in 1481-1483. It took place in the beginning of this period. It started with a conflict between cities and the Bischop, which was the ruler of the province.

Around September an army contingent from Holland visited Wijk bij Duurstede, the city where the Bishop, David van Burgundy, housed. After some festivities there were plans made to pillage the country around Amersfoort, which was one of the revolting cities.

The route to the Battle of Scherpenzeel. In blue the 4 days of march, with the distances in km. Also some nearby castles which were present around those days.

One of the sources speak about a 4-day trip. They started at Wijk bij Duurstede, and went north over the road in direction of Amersfoort. The army was build up:

  • Jean van Salazar (Biscay noble, leading the army)
  • 34 Biscay crossbowmen (Well trained, as the number is very specific, a force to be reckoned with)
  • Around 50 man on horse back (Unclear if the bowman are included)
  • 300 other armed man under Jean van Salazar
  • 300 knights from the army of David of Burgundy
  • 300 men at arms from the army of David of Burgundy

The total army was around 1000 man. It is unclear if the Bishop himself joined the raid, or had his troops lend to Jean.

I expect that they went to “Huis ter Eem” a small castle, defending the river Eem. It is located close to Amersfoort. The house was besieged around September 1481, and destroyed by a canon. It is unclear if this was done before or after the raid around Amersfoort. The raid was either a counter action, or the reason why the house got besieged, as it might have happened after the raid.

But as you can see from the map, the distance from Wijk bij Duurstede to Amersfoort is around 37 km. Which is a long day of marching, but I think is feasible. The distance back and forth is certainly to long, to do in a single day, making the 4 day raid plausible. The army had to stay somewhere during the knight, and the castle was owned by the Bishop.

The raiding happened to the north of Amersfoort, in the direction of Hoevelaken.

The modern day map of the same area as shown above. The villages and cities have grown a lot.

Raiding and burning houses will take some time, therefore I expect that they had to move to a next castle. I am not certain which castle this would have been, but there are multiple castles located just to the east of Amersfoort.

The next day I expect that they are planning to return to Wijk bij Duurstede. Multiple sources are stating that they pillaged up to 1500 animals, cows, sheeps and pigs. This is a very large number, and would not move quickly. Also costing a lot of manpower to guide. Therefore the people of Amersfoort, gathered in an army, hoping to pay back for raiding the countryside. The mayor of the city gathered around 400 man at arms. Unclear what experience they would have, but probably consisted out of some knights and the city militia.

Near Scherpenzeel both forces met. Numerical the two forces differ a lot, 400 man for the Amersfoorters and 1000 man for the Bishops army. But because of the booty, the forces which are capable to fight, will probably more in the range of 400 against 600.

Still the battle was lost by the Amersfoorters. Somewhere between 100 and 200 people got killed, and another 100-200 were taken hostage. This had a large impact on the city defense of Amersfoort, and they called Utrecht to send some troops, as almost all men had died or where in hostage.

The location of the battle was near the village of Scherpenzeel. Hence the name of the battle. The village was located next to the road to Wijk bij Duurstede. I expect that the battle took place here, because there is a river running close by, and the road was going through a fordable place. This would make some kind of bottle neck, slowing the forces down. Resulting in the Amerfoorters catching up with the Bishops forces.

A battle will take some time, and expect that the Bishop forces would have taken some rest. Scherpenzeel does have a small castle, but it is unclear on which side this was, and a lot of damage was done to the village. As the taxes was allowed to be not paid for the next three year, due to the damage.

Geography of the battlefield

In the map included I have used the same geographical historical background, only projecting some extra information on top. The reason to use this, is to make an assumption how the route of travel would have been. Peat areas would have been swampy and diffcult to travel, especially with 1000 man and 1500 animals. Also river crossings will steer in a certain direction. That is the reason how I ended up in the current route as drawn.

In the future I hope to look more detailed into this, to investigate were the battle around Scherpenzeel took place. In the village itself, or close to the ford, or maybe somewhere to the north of Scherpenzeel, as that is the most dry area. There is only one mention of terrain data on the battlefield mentioned in the sources I have read. That is of a large hedge, either used to cover one flank or the rear of the Amersfoorters.

Wargaming

Next I hope to create some wargaming scenario using the above story. This so I can play it, parallel to the further research on the historical accounts, as I now mostly have used second hand sources.

I hope to play the scenario using the Sword&Spear rules, and 2mm figures. So I have to create some army lists, and starting conditions. Probably I will create multiple scenarios, to check if the troop strengths can be made more competitive if needed.

To be continued

Geography of a Battlefield – “The origin of the Dutch landscape”

The origin of the Dutch landscape

In this post I hope to provide a quick overview of the history of the Dutch landscape.

Dutch Landscape ~1500BC

The Netherlands before the Roman occupation was partly sand and partly a marchy, swampy peat landscape. The southeastern parts (in light yellow and ochre) is higher and mostly consist of sands. The west and north is mostly covered in peat (reddish brown) with some swampy areas and streams (light blue and light green). Historical there is not much known on this area. There are some hunter gatherer communities, as found from archeological digs. But there is not much recorded on what actually happened.

Dutch Landscape ~100AD

During the roman occupation, or annexation, the cultivation of the land was started. They dried out the peat areas, to create farmland and to obtain fuel. this started around the bigger streams and rivers. As these were used as way of transport. And where the ancients highways. Most roman forts are found next to the rivers. The drying can be seen in the peat areas which are getting smaller.

Dutch Landscape ~800AD

Up until the medieval times, the cultivation continued and the large peat areas were getting smaller. The additional effect was, that the land was getting lower. When peat dries, it will shrink. Also it will start to rot, reducing the height level of the land. This is important in the next few ages, as it will increase the risk when a flood happens.

Dutch Landscape ~1500AD

After multiple floods (between 1000-1200 AD) the sea has reclaimed some lands. The zuiderzee (southern sea, nowadays mostly called Ijselmeer) has increased in size, and the northwestern part of the Netherlands is a lot smaller. To reclaim the land of the sea multiple projects are started to make polders. This will continue the next centuries, with hightpoint around the 17th century. But also the modern day Flevoland has been reclaimed from the Ijsselmeer, as shown in the above map, with the projected contours.

The next step will be to focus on the Gelderse vallei again. Located in the middle, just below the Ijselmeer. Some large peat areas are still present, providing some economical interest.

Podcast

Quite recently I have been listening some podcast about the Dutch history. This quite interesting with a lot of information, and gives a quick overview of how the swamp land had grown into the Netherlands.

See their website or check on spotify

Sources:

Vos, P. & S. de Vries 2013: 2e generatie palaeogeografische kaarten van Nederland (versie 2.0). Deltares, Utrecht. Op 07-11-2019 gedownload van www.archeologieinnederland.nl

https://www.republicofamsterdamradio.com/historyofthenetherlands

A new year

The new year is already a week old. My start was a little different than planned, and just started with some fiver. But all is running normally again.

Last year I started this blog, to motivate myself to continue working on the different projects. I managed only 32 post. I had hoped to post a little more regularly, around 1 every week. But the whole of December I skipped. For the new year I won’t make a new year resolution to do it every week. I expect some changes in personal life, so probably not spending a lot of time on hobby stuff, especially around April.

But overall I do have some plans, on what I hope to achieve this year. Last year I have build a new desk to work on. The next step would to find a suitable storage solution for all the different projects. To store the miniatures, terrain and all other odd bits, during assembly, painting and in storage between games. Preferably transportable to make sure I can bring the miniatures to games in the same box as where they are stored.

The second aim, is to start and create a wargame scenario for the Battle of Scherpenzeel. The whole research will take probably be longer, but I hope to create some simple scenarios, of what the battle of Scherpenzeel would have looked liked. Parallel to this I hope to do a more in dept research on this battle, and try to recreate what actually happened. But this will be a multiple year plan, so I don’t expect any outcome for this year on that.

The third is linked to the second goal. Create an army for the battle of Scherpenzeel. Probably in 2mm scale, either Irregular miniatures or Forward March Studio combined with some own creations. If working in 2mm I will probably also include some odd roman or ancient forces, to play with the same rule set Sword & Spear. I hope to at least play one game of Sword & Spear this year.

The last goal is to paint and base a part of all the different air forces i acquired last year. i Have already started on this last weekend, and glued some magnets to aircraft. Hopefully i can continue this the coming weeks, so they can get primed, ready for painting.

This was the first post of this year, and hope that this will be a good start. Probably there will be more post without a lot of picture, and more logging my thoughts, to keep motivation and hope it is to interest for others.

To Infinity and beyond

On Crisis 2019 I obtained a box of Corvus Belli Infinity Operation Icestorm. Or actually half the box, the Pan Oceania is missing, but the terrain is still in. (It was second hand, so price was also appropriate.) Also included was a starter set for Infinity Nomads, totaling in 13 Nomad miniatures.

I probably will end up to paint the starter set in blue, to proxy as Pan Oceania, to do some playing in the end. The Operation Icestorm ones, hope to finish in the Nomad red scheme, as on the box.

After assembly I have started with a black undercoat. Yesterday evening I tried some airbrushing, but it did clog up. So couldn’t get any progress. I hope to continue in the weekend. Hopefully some progress to show next week.

Civilians in wargames

First to start with a disclaimer. I am quite new to wargaming, and have not played a lot of games. So probably I will overlook a lot of rules and concepts. But I will try to write some summary I could find right now.

Girl herding geese, Slag om Grolle 2012

In general wargames don’t bother to much with civilians. I have read a couple of recent wargames battle reports and most did not feature any civilians. When they do participate I could identify a couple of reasons:

Objective

Think about farmers defending their crops against raiding and stealing cattle. Most of the time not part of any team, but acting like some kind of military units with low capabilities. The actual live and living of these civilians is most of the time not considerd, and wont have impact on the story or campaign. This is mostly used in medieval or more ancient battles and sometimes in fantasy or sci-fi adventures.

Civilians with tools(or weapons) Pendraken 10mm

( Negative or Positive) modifier

It is not good to have civilian casualties, but they are only some negative modifier to the end score. Often seen in ww2 air war games, were you try to recreate bombing of a city, were missed bombs (which have civilian causalities) generate negative points. But is might also be used in modern urban warfare. But it might also be used impacting morale, as the civilians are liking your side more or less.

(Moving) Obstacle

Those refugee streams can clog up roads, or make moving around more difficult. It just act the same way as terrain feature, impacting your military forces. They might be moving around as a walking forest is which you only see in fantasy setting, so refugees make up a more believable story, in historical setting.

Unexpected military unit

This is mostly used in modern irregular wars, were mobs of civilians are either blocking your road, or suddenly turning back on you and showing itself as military unit.

Conclusion

Starting the research I had expected that there would be not much ways to involve civilians in wargames, but multiple different ways have been discovered. The only one missing, which would make sense from human rights perspective, is a direct head on head wargame, civilians against a militairy power, where the civilians do not use weapons, but score by avoiding casualties. I haven’t found a system what uses these kind of mechanics yet. Maybe I have to create my own.

Now looking back at the original question:

Can wargame rules include human rights violations, and still teach us a lesson, while telling the (his)story?

I don’t think the mechanisms above tells something about human rights violations. They do take civilians in account, and can create good (his)stories. But don’t teach us about human rights violations.

For this I have to search futher or create my own. From computer games I want to highlight two examples, which takes some civilian live into account. The first is “This war of mine”, which is a game where you play as civilian in a warzone, and try to survive in your house. You are searching for supplies and encounter thereby other people, were you can steal their supplies or fight them. The emotional aspect has some place here, as it feels not good to steal from an elderly couple. But if you don’t get the supply, one of your characters die. The second game is “Conflict Zone” were two parties battle, but the resources are civilians. For the “good” side, you try to save as many refugees as possible, for the “bad” side, you don’t care, but need to indoctrinate as many civilians as possible.

Maybe these games can be a good inspiration for finding a solution. Hope to expand this research in the future.

Crisis 2019 Antwerp

Last Saturday together with my father we went to Antwerp, attending Crisis 2019. This event is organized by The Tin Soldiers of Antwerp.

For me it was the first wargame show ever attended. And it was a nice experience. We did arrive early, with quite a lot of people already in the queue at 9:30u, even though it did not open before 10 o’clock.

After entering, it was busy, but not overly crowded. After a quick go around to check what there was to see, we ventured past all the different vendors, tables and stands, and accumulating “buit”

“buit”

There were four things on my list to hunt for. The first was a pre-order at Magistar Militum, for some 3mm O8 miniatures, extending some missing planes (like the f-84f Thunderstreak and Allouette III) and adding some ground forces as targets and SAM (Sa-2). The next thing on the list was some Baccus 6mm figures. Unfortunately Baccus could not participate in the show, but luckicly for me I found some second hand figures (romans and axe warriors). I wanted to see these figures to compare this scale to the other scales, and have some better understanding for possibilities for future armies.

The next victim was are the Sword and Spear rules published by Great Escape Games. I had done some research on possible rulesets for Medieval wargames, using larger scales, and not using grid maps (sorry DBA and To the strongest!) Which might not be to complicated, and can be used for scale 2mm, 3mm or 6mm. I think this ruleset will work out. Now to find a army for this.

The last item, was just a encounter at the second hand market place. I have been looking before to some 28mm sci-fi gaming, and passing both Warhammer 40k and Infinity, I didn’t want to jump into it jet. But at one of the tables, there was a nice starting box, for a good price. Including a second starter pack. I hope to paint these, and try some try out games.

Conclusion

Being the first wargame show, it was nice to see. I had hoped to have more possibilities to interact with some tables/participate with some of the games played. But for some reason this did not work out. Maybe spend some more time on the tables next time.

Om of the biggest drawbacks I saw, was that English located companies are quite expensive. Paying in Euros most of the companies would round the payments in their favor. With the general exchange rate of around ~1.16 euro to pound, most companies used 1.20 euro to the pound as exchange rate, sometimes rounding even more in favor of their own pockets. There was only one vendor which did have a very nice solution in this case. Just saying that labeled price was in euro, so giving an discount of a little over 10%. Hope next time some more companies will be a little more creative in handling those exchange rates. If Brexit wouldn’t change to much in participation rates..

Looking back overall, there is a change that I will visit again next year, but I don’t thing it will be a yearly go to show, but probably one in the two or three years. If you have never been there, and living reasonable close, go visit it, to check out yourself.

Geography of a battlefield – “Modern day Gelderse Vallei”

In my research on the Battle of Scherpenzeel and the Stichtse oorlog from 1481, I have recently digged into the topic of geography. If you want to wargame this war, you need terrain, and it would be nice to know how it would have looked. Because this already quite long ago more than 500 years, it is quite complex and difficult to determine. Therefore some basic research is needed, and probably some estimated guesses.

I have not written before on the battle of Scherpenzeel, but I hope this post (and the following with similar topic) will give a good bit of background information, to place the different events and actions on the map. My primary research will focus on the Battle of Scherpenzeel. Later on I will also dig into other area’s, but that will require new research.

Gelderse Vallei

Scherpenzeel is one of the villages in the Gelderse Vallei. Translated the valley of Gelre. Gelre the is the province or region. To start off, the modern day map of Scherpenzeel and surroundings. Also showing some other important places from this battle.

Modern day map of the Gelderse Vallei and surroundings. In the Southern part is the Rhine visible, with on the left Wijk bij Duurstede. The Red line is the current day province border between Gelderland and Utrecht. The position of Scherpenzeel is quite easy to spot, as it surrounded on three sides by the Utrecht province.

When looking to this map, and thinking of the Battle of Scherpenzeel, there are a couple of places which will become important for this battle

  • Wijk bij Duurstede, the place were the Burgundian troops departed
  • Area between Bunschoten and Hoevelaken, the place where they started raiding.
  • Amersfoort, the origin of the Amersfoort Army
  • Scherpenzeel, the place which did give the name to the battle.

Don’t forget that the Army did march between those points, so the routes become important to.

The next map will show why this area is called the Gelderse Vallei. This is the modern day height map of the area. In green the heigh, the darker the color the higher the area is. The red line is still showing the province border, and Scherpenzeel is laying in the middle. To the left you see the dark area which is called the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (Utrecht Hill ridge) On the right side the large higher plains are the Veluwe area.

In the northern end of the map you can see two different colors. The reddish color, which is Flecoland. This is reclaimed land, and is below sea level. This did not exist before the 1950’s. The pink areas are polders, next to the river Eem. These areas where the place which were raided before the battle of Scherpenzeel. Part of the research will be, when these polders were actually dried up, and what the impact was on the landscape.

In the next post on geography I hope to focus more on the history of the Dutch landscape in general, and the influence of humans on this. After that I will focus on what the landscape of the Gelderse Vallei consisted off. Laying the bases to make an estimated guess on the map of those days.

Sources:

Data used is been made available by PDOK, an open dataset of the Dutch goverment. (https://www.pdok.nl/) The map has been created with QGIs. (https://qgis.org/en/site/)

New flight stands

For aerial wargaming I have been using 1/600 scale models. For putting them on the table, I had used some homemade stands. Consisting of a hexagon shape base plate, with small vertical rod. On top of the rod was a colored bead, with a magnet glued on. On the base was a rectangle for a 7mm D6 dice. (see image below) I have used these for several games, and they work fine. But have the downside, that everything needed to be noted with dice. The speed, height and often an ID marker, to check which unit it was. (with flights of multiple identical planes). So a better way to do this had to be found.

The old stand on the right and middle, the new stand on the left

After ordering the new planes, it was time to order some new magnets to base the planes. When looking on the magnet seller site, I noted some long thin magnets. And a new idea sprang into my head. I have seen people using Lego bricks to denote the different height levels. But it might be also possible to do this with magnets. And you can see the results below.

The bare bases, 25mm hexagon (I think from pendraken/minibits)
I spray painted them in three different colors, from a rattle can. Blue, Red and grey. Two opposing side, and a neutral color for civilian or ordnance etc. Or when needed extension on one of the two sides. I have 10 of each, so 30 in total.
Because the color bases would be much to visible, I opted to use some aerial photography to cover the face. In google earth I searched from some nice pieces of lands. Most have been of dutch Landscapes. Some fields, polders, coast line, city and rivers. All the bases were glued to the back.
After drying the bases were carefully cut out.
All 30 bases cut out, with one blank on on top.
Then it was time to add a small magnet to the middle. This could have also been a small metal bead or ring. And I am thinking to do drill next time a hole, and glue it in the MDF. Then covering it with the printed textures, so they are not visible anymore.
The Fokker G-1s show the concept and the final product. Height can now be noted with the amount of cubes. So you can directly see which plane is higher. Also you can see some different textures.

I am very happy with how the finished result looks like. I am still thinking to add a dice frame, for the speed. But will probably play a game first. I hope this helps others too. Now I can proceed on basing the planes, and painting more.

Air raids coming in

A couple of weeks ago my father and I placed a substantial order at TumblingDice. Within less than a week, the package was send and delivered. A was astonished by how quickly this went. This was a very good service. He even included a sample of some 16th century ships, as we are curious how these are, for Anglo-Dutch wars.

A large pile of bags, with lead. All planes nicely packed separately.

Directly after arrival I checked al my planes, and now have over 200 planes to clean and paint. Which I already have started. I think I have not even halfway. But the results are looking interestingly.

All cleaned up planes on row.
The German airforce for the Dutch ww2 and Spanish Civil war projects. The JU 52 and float planes are not yet shown, as these consist of multiple parts. The painted examples were already in my possession from a earlier order.
The Dutch ww2 airforce. The rear two planes are 2 Vicker wellingtons. I will try to convert these to Fokker T.V bomber planes. By changing the tail.
The planes for the 32 TFS stationed at Soesterberg AB in the Netherlands. This was an American Fighter Squadron under Dutch command during the Cold War era. It shows the complete period, from f86f to the f15
The Dutch Airforce during Cold War. From the Gloster meteor to the F16.
On top the opposition, the Soviet planes. Including some bomber planes. There are still a couple of others.

These are only the planes I have cleaned up. And I think it is only around half of the pile. As I have still the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somalian planes. Plus all the Spanish Civil war bi-planes and some additional soviet planes.

I have already ordered some new magnets, so I can base all the planes. Hope these will be delivered this week. Hope to have more detailed pictures when I start painting the different air forces. I have already started searching for color schemes. I have not decided yet on which air force to start. Maybe the Dutch or American Cold war forces, as I know best the colors for these, or maybe the ww2 forces. Up to the next update.