Sunday, 28 April 2013

The 1745 House and The Isle of Karrera

Recently returned from a weekend trip up the west coast of Scotland round Oban way and one of the sights seen was the '1745 House'. This is the Clan MacDougall museum and cultural centre just north of Oban and adjacent to Dunollie Castle (the family's ancestral home).

With almost nothing to do with the '45 Jacobite Rebellion, as the then MacDougall Chief didn't come out 'fur Chairlie' but stayed at home, and had his home occupied for the duration for his trouble, the museum is instead a Clan centre and a house for the various family collections.

Just opened last year, the museum is still getting it's act together but looks to be shaping up nicely.

One exhibit taking up a first floor room is a display commemorating Vice Admiral Sir John MacDougall (1790-1865).

The man's Sword and Hat
(with a portrait of the man himself in the background)

Wikipedia describes his career thus;

MACDOUGALLSir JOHN (1790-1865), vice-admiral, born in 1790, was the second son of Patrick MacDougall of Dunolly Castle, Argyllshire, lineal representative of the MacDougalls of Lome, by his wife Louisa, youngest daughter of John Campbell of Achallader in Argyllshire. His elder brother, Alexander, captain in the 5th regiment of foot, was killed in 1812, at the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo. John MacDougall entered the navy in December 1802, on board the Cruiser sloop, actively employed on the north coast of France through 1803. In he was in the Doris frigate with his cousin, Patrick Campbell [q. v.]; see also Campbell, Sir Colin, 1776-1847]. When the Doris was burnt, January 1805, he was appointed to the Hero, in which he was present in the action off Cape Finisterre, 22 July 1805. He was afterwards again with Patrick Campbell in the Chiffonne, and in the Unité from June 1806 to November 1809, during which time he was repeatedly engaged in boat actions in the Adriatic. On 25 Nov. 1809 he was promoted by Lord Collingwood to be lieutenant of the Ville de Paris, a promotion confirmed by the admiralty on 3 Jan. 1810. Li May 1811 he was again appointed to the Unit6, which under the command of Captain Chamberlayne still formed part of the squadron in the Adriatic. The service was very severe, and MacDougall was, as before, frequently engaged in boat actions. In November 1811 he was in command of a prize to take her to Malta, when he fell in with three French sums of war. 'With a judgment and zeal which did him infinite credit' he returned to communicate his intelligence to the senior officer, Captain Murray Maxwell [q. v.], with the result that two of the French ships were captured. Towards the end of 1812 he was invalided from the Unit6; in 1814 he was in the Leander on the coast of North America; and in 1816 was a lieutenant of the Superb with Captain Ekins, at the bombardment of Algiers, 27 Aug. In 1819 he was flag-lieutenant to Rear-admiral Donald Campbell in the West Indies, and was officially thanked by the king of Denmark, through the lords of the admiralty, for his conduct in saving the crew of a Danish ship wrecked in a hurricane at St. Thomas. He was promoted to be commander on 9 Feb. 1820.
From 1833 to 1835 he commanded the Nimrod on the coast of Portugal, and was promoted to be captain 16 Aug. 1836. In February 1845 he commissioned the Vulture, paddle-wheel frigate, for the East India station, and in April 1847, being then senior officer at Hongkong, escorted the governor, Sir John Davis, with a strong body of troops up the river to Canton, capturing the Bogue forts on the way, spiking upwards of five hundred guns and destroying the ammunition (Bulletins of State Intelligence, 1847, p. 262). It would appear that the Chinese were taken unawares, and that the forts were not garrisoned to their proper strength. He returned to England in 1848. He had no farther service, but was promoted to be rear-admiral on 12 May 1857 ; was nominated a K.C.B. 10 Nov. 1862 ; attained the rank of vice-admiral 3 Nov. 1863 ; and died at Dunolly on 12 April 1865. He married in 1826 Elizabeth Sophia, only daughter of Commander Charles Sheldon Timins of the royal navy, and had issue, among others, Colonel Charles Allan, the present laird of Dunolly, Patrick Charles Campbell, who died a commander in the navy in 1861, and Somerled, now a captain on the retired list.

He certainly had an evenful career and there's plenty there to make a scenario or two out of if your into 'Master and Commander' or 'Hornblower' or any of that ilk.

Brass Candle Holder
with Galley of Lorn
Another piece that caught my eye was this candle holder in the scullery/kitchen which is enscribed with the Galley of Lorn and what looks to be a dragons head. The history of the piece is unknown but the Galley of Lorn was the symbol of the MacDougalls (descended from Somerlad Lord of the Isles) then it would appear to be connected to the family and is of an obvious age. The Galley of Lorn is of interest to myself as it forms part of my own coat of arms with the family having taken over the Lordship of Lorn from the MacDougalls in the 15th Century anf hence took on the Galley of Lorn as a heraldic device.

A nice piece and looks to have been made and enscribed locally, possibly by a local smith or estate worker.

Chiefs Broadsword & Targe
along with the old Castle Key and Lock

The rest of the museum is taken up with family memoribilia and very interesting it is too with an insight into family life in the Highlands around the turn of the century and early 20th century. The house actually had lino fitted in 1938, a luxury item at the time!
Dunollie Castle from the West

The museum and castle are certainly worth a visit if your in the area.

Also near Oban is the Isle of Karrera, which sits in front of the port town and makes the area such a safe harbour.

The isle has an interesting history and is certainly a picturesque location and is still largely owned by the MacDougalls.

This is where King Alexander II died while mustering a fleet to retake the Hebrides from the Norwegians in 1249 at Dail Righ (The Kings Field), and a few years later in 1263 a fleet of 120 longships under King Hakkon I sailed from here to their defeat at the Battle of Largs and then the survivors returned here to muster before sailing north.

The island includes an Iron Age hillfort, several rural ruins, Neolithic Cairn and cists and the ruins of the 16th Century Gylen Castle.

Gylen Castle was completed in 1582 and was also known as Duncan's Fort, built in the Scots Baronial style complete with an Oriel window (which is the only one of it's type to survive intact) along with many pistol and gun loops and had a removanle floor where missiles and things could be dropped on attackers.

Gylen Castle - suitably moody location
One of the most famous episodes of the castle's short but troubled history is when in 1647 a Royalist garrison living in the castle came under attack from General Leslie's Covenanters troops who laid siege to the fort. The siege continued for an unknown period but due to lack of water(even though the castle has a natural spring) the garrison were forced to quit. The Covenanters threatening the garrison with hanging if they didn't surrender, they finally surrendered and the castle was set ablaze and the garrison massacred anyway, although it is said that the 19th Chief, John MacDougall was spared. The castle remained abondoned since that date.

The castle has now been restored and made safe for visits and a large amount of archeological investigation has been done on the site and the remains of all sorts have been recovered including foodstuffs and gaming dice!

The island is easily reachable by a short ferry trip from the purpose made jetty just soutrh of Oban and is of a size that can be explored fairly readily in a day with some good walking and very photogenic scenery.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Dawn Raid - Empire vs Chaos

Another title for this post might be 'Almost but not quite' or even 'If only I'd thought about it first'.

Another game of WHFB with Ian fielding his Chaos army for the first time, and myself a very slightly altered Sigmarite Empire army in a 2000pt battle.

We decided on a random scenario thrown for just before the game and it can up Dawn Raid which I of course threw high for to see who set up first and therefore the defender and the army which had a random generated deployment. (By the end of the game I had come to the conclusion that I should deploy my army this way every time).

One turn in and the forces converge
We got the armies on the table on a simple layout and Ian threw higher so had the initiative and went first.

In brief the forces converged, the Empire Pistoliers pretty much saw off the Chaos Light Cavalry destroying one unit and all but destroying the other (bar one figure which refused to die and caused all sorts of annoyance). My wizard did OK up to round 2 where he got off his devastating spell but miscast in the process and forgot all his spells and became a not very good swordsman. Ians Chaos Warriors throwing lots of 5's and 6's saving from instant death (which I've just realised actually meant they all died bar two who saved, not the other way round. Hey-ho).

The Halberdiers manfully stood up to a whole unit of Chaos Trolls plus 'Grog' and took out one of their number but were destroyed in the process (along with the now useless Wizard). The Trolls then didn't take any further part in the game mainly due to failing stupidity.

Turn 3 and the Empires
still hanging in
In the centre Ian did a load of damage, mainly to himself by miscasting in three turns in a row with successively worse results and taking out a good part of his Chaos Warriors and then his large Marauder unit along with finally his general and wizard. A good cannon shot took out one Chaos Chariot, and some grape shot did some damage to one of Ians cavalry units.

The Flaggellants for probably the first game ever reached the enemy line intact and destroyed his Chaos Warriors in the centre and then the other Chaos Chariot and went on to have a bash at the Chaos knights and managed to take one out before killing themselves.

The Swordsman unit with Warrior priest fared mediocrely against the Marauders but held their ground OK but after the explosion of magic taking out half their number (along with the enemy) this melee turned into a stalemate for the rest of the game where neither side managed to kill each other for three turns worth of combats (annoying on my part as there were only three of the buggers left).

The Militia out on the right flank took on the Chaos spawn and destroyed it with out loss (and indeed lasted to the end of the game completely intact).

With it all going actually quite well, and Ian thinking of throwing in the towel. the Empire launched it's killing blow, with the Greatswords and the Arch Lector charging the small unit of Chaos Warriors (with To Hit and To Wound Re-rolls). Surely it doesn't get much better.

Beginning Turn 4 and the Empires actually winning!

Of course it all went suddenly wrong and the Arch Lector and the Greatswords only managing to kill 3 of the nine enemy, but they managed to kill 7 of the Greatswords. And of course I failed the panic test and of course they didn't run far and were caught and destroyed. Dang!

The game went the full 6 rounds and at the end Ian managed a minor victory on points (900 to 700). A game full of surprises and probably the first game ever that's gone the full distance.

In hind sight I should have not bothered charging at the end and done something else and I even thought that at the time but the way I played the game probably made it more memorable than if I had done the 'right thing' and actually won (though that would have been nice too).

Anyway, another game to remember and one of several firsts for WHFB's and that certainly can't be bad.

Next game of WHFB will be against Andy's Dwarves and that will be a first too.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Future Wars Update 004 - 'The Enemy'

Just finished off the first squad of the 'opposition' for my Future Wars project.

The First Interdiction Squad, Taranthra Assault Pattern, Kra'uul Earth Invasion Force. 2065AD

Obviously I'm using Tau for the 'Enemy' just because they fit the bill and they're figures I've already got.

Putting the Battleforce box set I treated myself to a couple of years ago to a good use, since it had been languishing in the cupboard since. I had bought it just because I'd wanted some of the Tau since they were first released but not got around to do anything with them.

My Future Wars project had been growing arms and tenticles and I had decided that I wanted to get some opposition for my humans, who would be suitably higher tech than the Human defenders but I wanted something I liked. It was a no brainer to use my Tau in the Cupboard.

The whole box set minus the tank is a suitably sized force to take on my Mechanized Infantry Assault Platoon (with Maneuver Support) and will supply three squads like the one here plus a command squad, an infiltration squad and a bit of heavy support in the way of the battlesuit. I may splash out and pick up a couple of the forge world Pathfinder Tetra's and Pirhana TX42's as I've got a couple of ideas for arial assault rules, but that's a bit of a way off.

Painting them up, I decided to go for a colour scheme, Manga-esque in theme, that was pretty much the opposite of the Humans, so a white and red scheme with a couple of bits of gold spot colour was what I went for.

I also had an experiment while painting them up by using the Army Painter paints entirely, to see how they faired. All in all the colours had good coverage, colour and could be mixed pretty well. I did note that the white was very transluscent however and took several coats to cover even a fairly thin wash of grey successfully. The Army Painter spray white undercoat was also a wee bit of a let down where the colour and coverage was good but came out pretty thickly even with a cautious spray and obliterated some of the detail on the figures (though admittedly it was a bit cold when I was using it).

The rest of the colours were generally pretty good though they all tended to either very thick consistancy (needing thinned before use) or pretty thin consistancy (and needing a couple of coats to get an even coverage). The small bottles of the various 'tones' I found quite useful thinned to make washes.

Probably due to the fact I was using paints I hadn't really used before, the Squad took a lot longer to paint than I had anticipated a 'mainly white' set of figures to paint. However, I've picked up some pointers and the others should be significantly quicker.

I've also gained a profound respect for the other painters out there who produce immaculate and incredibly sharply done Tau armies for 40K. 'Respect' to them big style, cause I know I spent ages going over and over trying to get the lines straight on the weapons etc that I thought I was going snow blind.

Next up on the Future Wars Project, more squads for the Humans.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Mordheim 'Season 2' - The Magnusdorf Shuffle

The second game of the new Mordheim season and the growing number of warbands found themselves on the next step of their hunt for the 'Great Treasure' which took them to the Village of Magnusdorf lying within the boughs of the Drakwald Forest.

The Beastmen advance into a shower of Kislevite
 bullets and arrows
Following the last mission, the bands discovered the whereabouts of a Necromancer who had taken over the isolated village of Magnusdorf, killing or scaring off the inhabitants and holing up in the tower.

The focus of the bands attention is the spell book which the Necromancer possesses which holds secrets that the bands believe will aid their hunt. Noting that the Necromancer is away on his various nefarious scheme's, the bands have decided to try and take the book while the getting is good, so the race is on to try and grab the book before any of the others get there first.

Unfortunately, the Necromancer has not left his 'hole in the wall' undefended, with magical wards and the animated remains of the villagers who failed to escape his take-over.

The Reiklander's find a good spot for a bit of longbow
The warband's venturing into the village this time were; Kev's Beastmen, Ian's Reiklanders, Dave and his Kislevite's, Andy and his Sister's, Pete joined us for the evening and took up the challenge with Skaven band and I completed the half dozen contestants with the second Kislevite warband.

The first move was a quietly rushed affair with everyone moving quickly into the ruined village and going for ripe spots to defend or attack from.

The Sisters quickly find a redoubt to defend against
 all comers
The Sister's moved into an almost completely ruined building immediately and defended this strong point for the rest of the match. The two Kislevite bands at opposite ends of the table headed for cover and a lucky early longshot from a Cossack took out a Beastman doggy at the southern end of the village, as the Beastmen trying to use cover advanced quickly towards them.

The Skaven skulked through some buildings from the north east and started to skirmish withe Sisters both behind cover to little initial effect. The Reiklanders being a bit out on their own took up good look out positions while advancing in cover towards the northern Kislevite band.

The Village of Magnusdorf -
or what's left of it as the warbands advance into the fray
The Beastmen lost another dog to the same Cossack sharp shooter, and decided to rush the Kislevites in the south and with the Centaur failing it's stupidity test but getting frenzy it flew forwards into what should have been easy meat Kev managed to roll three rubbish dice and completely missed to sitting Kislevite Warrior who promptly responded with a critical and took out the beast, much to Kev's chagrin.

The Reiklanders skirmished with the northern Kislevite's and started to gain an advantage with the Kislevites being outnumbered and in a awkward position and who had received the only  magical strike to strike home from the Necromancers tower too, started to get pushed back.

The Sisters distracted by Kislevites have Skaven creeping
up on them from the other side
The Skaven quickly launched an assault on the Sisters stronghold, who were slightly distracted to their rear with a bit of a clash with the Kislevite's to the rear. With two or three of the stronger Nuns off dealing with the Kislevite's the battle in the ruin was vicious and bloody and the Skaven, although loosing a couple of their number in the process, put a half the Sisters on the ground.

The Sister Superior and a couple of her entourage tussled with half the Kislevite's and a short exchange of blows put two of the Kislevite's out of action but also lost the Sister superior and a second in command to the band-Rus with another on the deck.

Before the oncoming horde of beasts could react (my turn first) and run or rush, the Kislevite Captain shot the Beastman Shaman and the Beastly types failed their break test and were off. (Kev being understandably un-chuffed with only having thrown three dice all game and hadn't struck a blow).

The uneven contest between the Reiklanders and the northern Kislevite's drew to a close with the Kislevites failing their break test soon after the Beastmen (Dave wisely was going for a volutary one any way to cut his losses) and although the Skaven had practically demolished the Sisters they too broke on their break test. Andy decided, following a really bad round with half his band out of action and most of the other half lying down to leg-it.

This left my Kislevite's (with two down) to face Ian's full strength Reiklanders ensconced in their bunker which I didn't think I was likely to win so did the un-honourable thing and decided to keep my losses to a minimum and legged it too, leaving Ian to face a couple of zombie's which had decided to appear near the end of the struggle. These Ian quickly dispatched with out much ado and claimed the Necromancers Spell book as the prize, and a well deserved win.

The Necromancer's wards and zombies didn't play much part in the game disappointingly, with the throws for zombies and random magical bolt strikes from the tower being fairly few and when they happened, inaccurate, but it all added to the fun. (and dice rolling).

Next up in the saga, another jaunt into the countryside in search of the great treasure where the search moves into the Reiks Marches.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Claymore Castings - Islesmen/Gallowglass

Once again Claymore Castings improve their range with the next coming release of Islesmen/Gallowglass.

A very useful release for a warrior type that has been very poorly supported to date, so a very welcome addition to the range and can be used for a pretty wide time period (roughly 2 centuries) for the West Coast types.

Next up apparently are Highland bowmen.

Check out David's blog, Saxon Dog for some more piccies of these
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