Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Great Siege of 1565

Over the past few months I have indulged myself to no small extent by buying old issues of Practical Wargamer.

No disrespect intended to any gentlemen publishing wargaming journals in these latter days, but I must nail my proverbials to the mast and declare this one of the finest wargaming publications ever.

There. I've said it. It's not without it's faults, but I think these are far and away outweighed by the general excellence of the content. Specifically, I am thinking of the regular columns and in particular that of John Treadaway's Fantasy Facts. Suffice to say, he was not one to hold back and call crap when he saw it. Count me a fan-boy.

Ian Weekly was a very regular contributor, mostly promoting his business which was fair enough, but every now and then he came up with an interesting article.

That could have been better expressed!

One that has really caught my eye was his account of the Siege of Malta in 1565 for which he built a model of Fort St Elmo, seemingly for his own pleasure. What I think I really liked about the project was his use of "Willie" figures from the Spanish Heritage (Conquistadores) range for the Knights of St John and various Islamic figures (to use a pretty broad description!) for the Turks along with some one-offs from John Ray which I think might have been the Turkish gun crews.

Now I don't know why, but this has really gotten the juices flowing for some reason. I mean, actual books have been purchased. Old magazines have been trawled for on eBay and bought. Money has been laid down with Spencer Smiths' for samples of Pizarros' men.

Now, I don't have the services of Mr Ray*, but I think that this might be a fun little side project. I don't recall if I've alluded much to my current situation, but I have really very little spare time these days with baby number two. Painting time is about 20-30 minutes a day as I get ready for work, and most of that is going into my Riders of Rohan**. Heaven knows, I'm abandoning precious sleep time to write this tonight.

The charm is there for me. Elizabethans versus Turks with fairly primitive artillery, early fortifications and a folorn hope. The thought of gaming or role-playing the corsair raids of the knights against Turkish shipping. Turkish raids on Christian towns for the purpose of slaving. There's a lot there for the wargamer. I'm excited at the possibilities of campaigning with the Knights of St John against the Turks, as well. The fighting could take me across the Med to North Africa, or across the Agean to Rhodes.

For figures, Eureka do useful ranges of Turk Corsairs as well as a nice mortar and Spanish and Portugese and Gendarmes who could easily stand in for any of the Christian players in the theatre. Just in case I go beyond a few "Willies"*** to whet my appetite. Navwar do Galleys and galleasses in 1:1200

Do I sound enthusiastic? I think I am. Now's a matter of honing down I think, and finding the central thread that I can follow through this period. Happy days.

*More's the pity!!!
**34 Cavalry painted or touched up from various eBay purchases. 20 infantry complete and another 28 on the stocks ready to begin...
***And of course, now I have a dremel tool, they will present no problems.