Wednesday, 30 May 2012

New French Cavalry General

With the convention glow still alight and thinking of the games planned for next year, I worked on some of the Perry plastics whose introduction actually started this Napoleonics project. 

While the units will be small and so I don't need all the figures in the French Heavy Cavalry box, so I decided to convert the beautiful officer into a General.  I took a spare bicorne from the infantry and simply glued it onto the torso (that is one of the really good points of plastics - easy converstions!)

Taking a bit of green stuff, I modeled the fancy hat plumage.  The right hand of the figure was designed to take the sword with the hand within to be glued on.  In lieu of, I had the arm come up along the side of the horses neck and made a GS hand.

   The escort is a cuirassier with shouldered sword.  Both have very nicely sculpted horses (as far as I am aware--- I have been around but one horse in my life!) but look the part.  Some of the metal beasts of other manufacturers are very bad examples indeed.

Post Script: the camera certainly has a trick of picking out mold lines which normally go unnoticed!  I will need to touch up on those...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

a battle against the Chickasaw

My good friend Kevin Smyth (see his blog at : blog link) put on not one but two games of a fictional engagement on the Mississippi River between the Americans and Chickasaw Indians with the first having their Spanish allies fighting with them.  Tabletop forces not usually seen these.

I played in the scenario in which the Americans task was the take the Chickasaw village and burn the corn. 

 After the obligatory wargame "you take the right, you the left and I guess I get the center" command allocation, we planned the usual wargame tactics; march straight up and see what happens.
The American advance and the accursed dice

 The victory conditions were points given to take the stockade, destroy the houses and burn the corn. [ Each square of corn had a small point value ]  It would appear to win, we needed to do all three but they seemed very far away and we still had a creek to cross.
two of the American objectives: the corn field and stockade

 We were about to just that when the 'injuns' came to a rush...with hatchets in hand!  The Brother vs Brother rules Kevin uses are very simple and very 'deadly' and many miniatures were soon removed. 
Ah Jeb, ain't we supposta' be attacking dem?
The poor militia on the right were massacred and the Regulars were hammered.  While the cannon were temporarily taken by the natives, the Regulars managed to continue the advance with the few left.
Thankfully the Chickasaw could not spike the guns and the Americans eventually recaptured them only to give them up again with the defeat it could be assumed, as the civilian drivers had long since ran their limber horses from the fighting.

 We tried to claim at least partial victory with some of the Regulars inside the stockade, however they were outnumbered by the defenders and while we were inside the nicely modelled cornfield, we had yet to start to burn it as we were too busy fighting off the native warbands.
the American Regulars struggle to get through the cornfield with another Chickasaw attack possible. 

 Thus the action ended with no victory points at all.  Apparently this was a much different result than the previous playtest! 

the militia of Kevin's collection. Perry's if not mistaken.  Nice, effective, painting style.  All the figures and terrain in the photos were done by Kevin.

my DBAing at Enfilade

It is only at the Enfilade convention that I game DBA. I have quite a few armies based for these rules and so I bring some down for the 3 hour drive down the freeway. Yes Europe, we need to drive some 300 km or so to get our gaming in!

If I have wondered around the convention looking at games and chatting with once a year gaming friends, I sometimes get 'hit on the head' and get volunteered to play in the DBA Open tourney.  They were again one short and needed another to have an even number. Oh what the heck.

Of course, in a "Open" tourney players bring what ever armies please them.  Some bring an army they have not yet played, others a 'kick butt' version.  I had played my Spartans earlier so continued with them.  Only playing once a year does not help in remembering match-ups so I like the 'mono' type armies. While my first game was against Samurai which I managed to win, unfortunately, many of the players this year used medieval armies full of knights.  My spears do not match up well with knights.  I faced these in the next two rounds losing both and dropping out of contention.  As I said to myself, "Boy, don't bring a spear to a knight fight!"

my Spartans in the usual situation for my troops - bad!

the two figure Psiloi stand in the rear of the hoplite line helps....a little... against knights. 

This shot shows the end of my game against the Teutonics. While the formation is the best I could do against knights the dice again destroy any hope of victory.

Battle of Crysler's Farm at Enfilade

Kevin, Mark and myself wanted a private game to get our heads around the Regimental Fire and Fury rules so we planned to get one in during the last game period of the convention. I knew I would be tired.  Two previous days of non-stop activity at the convention, only convention food, and drinking of scotch until 3am with Mr. Palmeroyq and lads certainly did not help! {note: the 'q' is not really a typo...but that is quite another story ....}

The three of us are very much into the War of 1812 and are fascinated by this small but historical important war for North America.  One of the battles was Crysler's Farm, so we were determined to make it a good re-creation.
Mark created the ravines and cut out a piece of cloth for the muddy field while I supplied most of the troops.

Joe joined us and we plowed through the rules having agreed to up all movement by 150% and ranges by 200%.  It seemed to work.  For the test of the rules we gave the Americans too much credit for the quality of the troops and the results of the actual battle which the British effectively dealt with the American numerical superiority was not evident in our tabletop affair as the Americans, while a little tardy at times, shot up and successfully charged the British units.
We ended the game as we were virtually the last ones left in the room at 6pm!

The confident British regiments have advanced but so too have the more numerous Americans

"Onward Boys!"  Later War of 1812 Americans by Old Glory with American General by Old Glory on a Front Rank horse.  These troops are substitutes from my 1814 Niagara collection (and thus why in gray) The Americans in this battle would have worn an early version of the "tombstone" shako probably with a larger front plate and a blue coatee perhaps with red facings.

These are my 49th Foot which wore their greatcoats during the battle.  I also gave a Victrix artillery crew overcoats (seen on the left) 

Barnes' command of veteran troops (Old Glory Napoleonics)

The Americans move up to one of the ravines which Mark did such a good job creating for the battle.  The now infamous disorder marker of the slain with the Stars and Stripes draped over as noted in previous posts is also shown.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

"Hanau" basing style prototype

A good wargaming buddy, Seth from Seattle, and I (and perhaps other crazies who want to get in the fun) are involved in a project to do the Napoleonic Battle of Hanau, late 1813 for its 200 anniversary.

This battle has Napoleon and his wrecked army retreating to France after the massive engagement of Leipzig and the Austro-Bavarians are attempting to stop and defeat him.

With the idea that all the new plastics being produced light in weight and thus the wargamer could put many on a single stand easily and combined with a simple set of rules based, at least on principle, upon DBA; we originally thought of huge stands and many figures.  But sobering (but literally and figuratively) to the fact that it would involve both massive out lay of money and painting, we cut back much to create 12cm wide bases of hardboard with approx 10-12 figures for ordered infantry, representing some 1,000 men.  Rules which employ a single base concept such as Impetus comes to mind as does La Grande Armee among others.

Here are the first of the bases I have quickly done up.  I hope I will like them as I have already purchased much of my French forces already!

We have debated whether to go white for the label area or a more muted color.  The white has the advantage as being white - easier for all to get the shade correct - and perhaps gives the impression of a boardgame chit which is essentially is.  The rules will certainly produce a very stylized tactical game but should be good for the convention setting.

The holes are for the 'recoil' marking for which gribbage pegs will be used.  Since these are Old Guard, I get to drill many holes; Seth's Austrians....not so many..... <grin>

The figures are 28mm Victrix plastic figures, with some conversion; mainly in making the cross belts as I did not put on the backpacks and adding a couple of Perry heads etc.   These are my old "Plauche's Battalion" ex of my War of 1812 collection.

While we have agreed on 12 on a base for formed infantry, I did not have enough and do not want to paint more for these units.  As all French units were extremely understrength during this battle, I feel I can get away with it!  While the formed "battalions" of my Old Guard will be at 12 strong, most other units will be only 10 strong as that seems to be a good number to take advantage of the way the plastics are packaged.  They should look very depleted verses the Allies full strength masses.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Siege of Fort Meigs - part 2

Upon landing on the far shore to advance upon the British batteries positioned across the river from the fort, the militia commander, tried to sort out the ill-disciplined short-term soldiers.   Eventually he had a line of troops move toward the batteries themselves while a large contingent moved in a mass toward a small group of Natives firing from the forest.   While the Native fire proved very effective (rolled a 9 for only a couple of stands firing but that was enough to create losses and disorder on the volunteers, them being 'raw' and all!).  The militia return fire and subsequent combat had the militia chasing the Natives deep into the woods. This would prove a big mistake as the Natives now came on with numbers and with the help of good dice rolls (I have certainly noticed I seem to have huge dice roll differences for combat or firing producing dramatic results in these solo games)
Of the some 800 which went into the woods only some 150 were to run back to their boats. [raw and worn troops facing Natives in woods, gave the warrior defenders an overall plus 30% advantage even without my favorable dice!]

Meanwhile, the other militia units had quickly overrun the British batteries but now faced companies of the British 41st Foot whose solid volleys broke the volunteers and had them follow their compatriots running for the boats. 
The broken ground of the batteries prevented a follow up of his success, so the British commander did not further the charge. 

Thus this tabletop action followed the course of the historical engagement exactly.

I have yet to game the small action which occurred on the fort side of the table.  I may game that another day but I now really must get back to the table and join Tecumseh to prevent the Old Glory warriors murdering their captured Knuckleduster frontier militiamen!

The mass of American militia moving out from the boats (figures are 'advancing Frontier Militia' by Knuckleduster, 28mm.  Bases are 40mm square.  Painting by me, in my "impressionist" style)
Drawn deep into the woods, the American volunteer militia face the bulk of the warriors
Some of the volunteers who have taken the British batteries
The British 41st Foot retaking the batteries.  (Old Glory Napoleonic 28mm)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tents - a quick note

Before I get back to the battle set up on my table, a quick note about tents and the small details which seem to make a difference.

As you will have noted in the photos from the previous post, I placed tents both within the American fort and at the British camp.  Not much of a camp without tents actually.  That is why I have made the effort to have many, both in 15mm and 28mm on hand to be used on the tabletop.  Adds much to the visual appeal I feel.  While there have been several companies which have produced them in resin and recently the Perrys/Renedra have produced a set in hard plastic, I have gone the wargamer cheap route and I have created a bunch in wood.  I have been fortunate to find triangular strips of the correct size from construction sites (always a good place to find wood for buildings and bases also).  I cut these to an appropriate size and ta da, tents. 

However, when I did the first ones, I did not sand the edges.  In the following photo you can see how this tent doesn't look quite right as the angles are all sharp and not rounded as if the tent canvas were stretched around a round tent pole.  A subtle change to be sure but if you compare to the following photo, you may notice the more realistic rounded edges. 

Of course, this is only possible if the tents are indeed wood (I add an additional photo of the underside to prove the fact!)  Of course, not many would stare, as I did, at them and at the close distance at which I took the photos but the additional work to sand the corners I feel do make a difference- the sacrifices I do for the hobby! :-)

I have a large number of 15mm tents which I took the time to hand sand the edges to get the good look.  They are now, that we are finally getting some good weather, primered and awaiting an off-white paint, the black area to give the effect of an opening of the canvas and 'stretch marks' which cap off the correct look of a good tent.....

an early version with 'sharp edges'

a later edition of my tents with the more realistic rounded edges to represent the canvas stretched over round tent poles.  The 'stretch marks' are just simple lines of paint.  I did not invest much on these as I found I probably should have done more sanding of the sides.  Their bumpy surface did not allow especially straight lines!
My tents made from solid pieces of wood.  The previous model is shown flipped over.
I highly encourage wargamers to invest in tents, either homemade or purchased, as all games can be enhanced by their presence on the tabletop.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Siege of Fort Meigs (War of 1812)

I won't bore you with the details of this actual War of 1812 affair (look it up on Wikipedia if you must...) but the British are besieging Fort Meigs on the Maumee River. 
The Indians under Tecumseh and the British under Procter are trying to take the large American fort. 
Here are the initial photos of the table set up.
Fort Meigs.  Note the transverses (seen here as gabions) to lessen the effect of the British cannon fire.
The American artillery battery within Fort Meigs.  The British batteries are seen across the Maumee River.
Unknown to the British, these are Kentucky Volunteers who have landed on the north side of the river with the intent to take the British batteries. (as a note: while most of my collection is Old Glory, these are Knuckleduster miniatures which I quite like)
Some of the thousand or so natives who are assisting the British invest the fort.
An overview of the initial deployments, this photo shows the fort (top), the Kentucky contingent (right) advancing against the British batteries (center), and the British forces which include the 41st Foot and militia are forming up at their camp (lower left).  The British battery on the south side of the river is also seen (upper left).  The natives in the woods are noted ( lower right.)