Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Swiss of the 100 Days Campaign

Here is my '2eme Regiment Etranger' of the Waterloo campaign.

Often mistakenly called the 2nd Swiss, thus creating confusion as its yellow facing colors do not match that of the Swiss regiment previously employed by Napoleon, the Second Foreign Regiment was one of eight foreign regiments proposed by Napoleon upon his return to power. This foreign regiment made up of volunteers from the existing Swiss regiments most of whom, keeping their contract with the King, returned to their homeland rather than serve Napoleon again.

The regiment of only one battalion was barely over 400 strong, thus constituting only some 8% of Habert's Division within Vandamme's Corps and so this unit only makes up a very small portion of the formation represented.  My apologies to the 34th, 88th, 22nd and 70th Line Regiments but the redcoats of the Swiss were impossible to resist!

I used a darker red than my usual to contrast with future British units.
Not totally convinced about the old 1804 flag being used,however several reference sources suggest it, so I put one on.  I might change it later after more investigation.  Does that put me in the button-counter crowd now??

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Enough with the greatcoats already!

The figure poses in the Perry plastic boxes are about half overcoated and half in Bardin uniform (albeit campaign dress-ish in nature).  I have painted all the overcoat poses I have and this is the start of the dresser versions.  Frankly the overcoats seem to me more practical, however, as a wargamer, the color is the thing for Napoleonics is it not? 

These figures were originally to be Imperial Guard Flanquer Regiments but my collection orientation and ratios have altered and so instead of green, they are wearing blue.

French Light Infantry Regiments (at left) bearing the 'Waterloo' issue flags. These were provided in the Perry plastics box set and were slightly larger, less 'decorated' and of paler colors than the 1812 issues. (yes I used the "Ligne" ones, but if one hides the lettering under a wind-flap fold.....)
The drummer is still in the Royal livery.  I guess he is none too convinced of Napoleon's ultimate reinstatement?

Monday, 22 April 2013

"The Big Battle" (La Rothiere game)

These are a few more photos of the game(s) of the Battle of LaRothiere which shows the 'look' of the game.  While we wanted to do the massive battles of the Napoleonic wars, we did not feel we wanted the requirements to go to a smaller scale nor have to paint the numbers which 15mm seem to demand. 28mm is sexier! Nor did we want to go to the 20 foot long table to encapsulate all the size and terrain elements.

  For the interest of the real Napoleonic nutters with their maps in front of them, the final photo shows the Austrian (read 'Russian') attack of General Sacken against LaRothiere (middle house).  Guilay's Austrians (and actually represented by Austrians!) are moving over the bridge against Dienville (upper left buildings) and the photo shows Petite Mesnil village as the yellow house (lower right)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Brunswick Hussars

Sometimes mistakes can be interesting.

It is my desire for my Napoleonic collection to be, as much as possible, in plastic; but sometimes this does mean a fair amount of effort.  Now this is a hobby so it is fun effort, but effort nonetheless.

With all the conversion I was doing to create French line lancers, CaC versions, etc. I was left with two officer horses with pointed saddle cloths - good for my Brunswick hussars! (well, OK not quite perfect for the button-counter, but OK for me) Just add a horse from the British hussar pack and we have the required three figures. But I could only create two of the horsehair shakos. Oh well, add a bandaged head then (no headdress you see!).

OK then-- glue, glue, glue

Only when painting do I notice I had attached the bandaged head on the torso with the upraised sword and on the charging horse; a most aggressive pose...and his horse with a British docked tail!

Well, that is messed up. But wait.  There is a story here.  The rider is obviously a headstrong type.  A real go-getter.  Wounded in the head and dismounted, he quickly reined in an abandoned British horse to continue the charge!  Heroic stuff that.
Showing the middle figure on a British horse, continuing the charge

Friday, 19 April 2013

Brunswickers of 1815

I have no idea why one of my favorite armies of the Napoleonic era is that of the Duchy of Brunswick.  Because the Duke with his absolute hatred of Napoleon who dies while in battle? The all black uniform in amongst the gaudy plumage? The complete mini-army of infantry-cavalry-artillery in perfect portions for the collector? Their death-head badge?  Because I primer in black and so really fast and easy to paint?  All these reasons perhaps.

Nevertheless, I have done the army several times (don't ask why they were sold each time....) and this time I used plastics.  But there are no plastic Brunswickers in 28mm you say?  Well, true, but if there is a will, there is a way.

My way was to use Perry British, shaving off the cuff lace and cross belt badge. I cut off the pack roll and replaced with the distinctive canteen made from cut sprue tabs! - These were part of trade which I obtained Victrix bicorne heads and the gentleman included the sprues to which they were attached and these proved to be of perfect length and diameter.  Never throw any plastic bits away!

The Perry Austrian officer headdress were the best part as the Brunswick Line infantry shako was not of French shape. Some sources suggest a kiwer concave design but likely more bell shaped. (thanks for those, Seth!)  The shako was formed by shaving off the cockade and raised rear flap, and scrunching up the oakleaf and pompom with pliers into a plume shape!

Brunswick Line Infantry on the tabletop

The Brunswick Advance Guard Lights were similar in working but with a modified Austrian corsehut headgear
Unfortunately with the formation scale I am using for the campaign I cannot represent all the regiments but the plastic hussars I have already modeled having used the horsehair from the portion cut off those dragoon helmets used in the creation of the French line lancers and glued onto the hussar's shako to create that distinctive look (soon to be painted)

Showing the canteen on the pack. This rear angle also shows the 7mm die in situ and the space left on the back of the base for the commanders label to be attached.

I must like the Brunswickers as they will be the first Allied contingents to be completed!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I think everyone has their least favorite month of the year.  Of course the reasons vary.  Perhaps your birthday is not for celebration any longer. Perhaps, because of the weather. Perhaps for the reason of work deadlines.
My month of dread is April. Not for the obvious reason of tax time, although it forms a great deal, but of the convergence of so many differing forces put upon ones time.  Spring is for house cleaning, garden preparations, work time is chaotic, the sun appears more often and yes, tax form filling outing (and the procrastination)....all this creates the lack of structure in the day and which affects my wargame painting schedule!

My favorite month? January.  In these northern climes, long hours of darkness, weather extremely miserable with no thoughts of going outside so no problem hunkering down for a long evening of painting or reading battle histories....yeah, OK, perhaps my life right now is a bit taken with my hobby, but the real world is highly overrated ....

Monday, 8 April 2013

my Blue Max stand

My first game of the convention was in the always presented Canvas Eagles air combat battles.  I play often (cough) and was given one of the stands previously by Dave McNeil.  It was plain wood. Can't have THAT can we? It is the same as unpainted figures on the table. Shame.  Yes I could have simply painted it plain green or such, putting an arrow on it to show the aircraft's direction of travel, and leave it at that. Boring!  So paint it blue and glue on some fluffy cotton balls as clouds? Interesting but.....What type of mat is being used for the games?  Green fields was the answer.  OK, I think I will model it with that in mind.
So I created:

While very 'decorated', the stand has the mandatory directional arrow (the light gray gravel field shaped in a triangle) and a large space in the rear for the altitude chits (wall lined flat field of flocking)

The thick lumber base, now painted green, has enough width and heft to allow for a car radio antenna to be used to mount the light weight plastic model plane.

Oh, my! A Sopwith Camel diving on my blue beauty.  To everyone's surprise including my own, I would eventually shoot it down for my first kill with this plane (I have flown it for years!)

"Well, it looks like move 69R3."  "So I fly backwards???" 
The above photos show the various designs of stands used (mine is in the rear). All three blue colored German planes pursuing the British bomber on its run over the airfield. It was shot down in next turn.  Thank goodness I had wounded the observer/bombardier previously as I needed to land on the same airfield immediately thereafter almost out of fuel!  (You must understand I never usually have to worry about fuel as I am normally shot down well before the fuel tank is dry)

Paper buildings

To get the terrain ready for the Napoleonic games I employed paper houses to represent the villages fought over.
see my previous entry: post
One of the major considerations was weight.  Paper, mounted on foamcore = very light indeed!

Elements of the Bavarian Napoleonic army

To have everything ready for our wargame of La Rothiere, I helped Seth with the painting of much his Bavarians; matching the style of the initial units he completed. These are all in the marching pose of the relatively new HaT 28mm hard plastic miniatures.  (for the Bavarian light troops he painted, he used the HaT 'skirmishing' poses.)
While we try to have as much as possible in plastic, some elements we are forced to use metals including these Chevau-Leger horse and the artillery but the infantry are all HaT 28mm.
The wagon wheel marker indicates the element is limbered and thus can move.  Foundry models.

Elements of Seth's Austrian Army

While we are together working toward a common battle(s), the next being Hanau, we each have plans to do our own thing, mine the 100 Days campaign (+) and his the 1809 northern theatre. Which makes sense with all the Austrians and Bavarians!
His Austrians miniatures are made by Victrix, Old Glory, Front Rank, Foundry and Perry.  They seem to play nice together on the tabletop.
a mix of manufactures are employed in this white mass

Old Glory Austrian artillery obviously deep in the 'mud'

Elements of my French Napoleonics (so far)

I don't know why, but the lighting at the community center in which the local convention, and indeed all the Trumpeter club meetings ( link ) are held, provides excellent lighting for camera work.  So I like taking my camera along to try (I am only a point-and-shoot operator) to get some in-focus shots.

Plastic Perry Cavalry. My line lancers conversions using their dragoon and hussar parts as detailed in previous posts.
Perry metal artillery.  Very little plastic artillery available and no French.
Perry line horse artillery.  Aiming the piece.
Perry French [6th] Hussars lovely in red.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Battle/game of LaRothiere

My friend Seth made the trek north over the border to our local convention with his Austrian and Bavarian hordes to give battle to me and my French; finally placing on the table much of the figures we have spent the last 5 months (and many in the last 6 weeks) to get ready for the convention game.  That while developing a completely new set of rules to have the type of game we want.

And to our surprise, it all worked! It was indeed 2 1/2 hours into the game before the first complaint about the rules was lodged!  Legitimately I must add, as Seth and I had kinda ignored the issue, not knowing how to deal with realism vs the game/rules on the table.  Won't bore you with the particulars however the rest when well and the players seemed OK with all and we were happy with the game.
The complete French army at LaRothiere. What, you can't see all 45.000 of them?  (we are dealing with large ratios here - more a 6mm game with 28mm miniatures)  Still a nice looking wargame if I may say.
The scale is such that elements combat upon contact. Only artillery conduct ranged fire and that up to a mere 16".   Kiss'em to kill'em.  

While we had the table for the two game sessions (9 hours), with a long dinner break, we actually had two complete games (or would have if Seth and I were not chatting, talking to others and bagged from the day)
The first had five players and was to a conclusion - the Allies depleted having banged themselves against the French elites, the second just Seth and myself working on the rules commanding up to 50+ elements but having the turns move at about 10 minutes a turn regardless.   Once we finalize the concepts, and all the players have a couple of turns to get the factors in their heads I believe it is possible that Borodino could be fought to a conclusion in 8 hours or less.  My French Imperial Guard upsets the numbers somewhat by staying around longer, be most elements have a "shelve life" of 4 turns or so.   The players ability to judge when to bring in the reserves is the real part of the game, the combat itself a simple process.  That is what 'scale of command' we wanted to achieve.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Marching to "battle" (going to the Con)

Well, the annual local convention is due to start tomorrow and I am taking a break from the preparations  -- heck I still have tomorrow morning to work on things, right?
And like true Generals we wargamers think logistics when getting ready for our tabletop battles -- did I remember everything? Dice, terrain...oh bugger forgot the trees... measuring sticks (now where did I put them?), the figures - where are the Light Horse??!  Well you get the picture.

Now to box up everything and transport across town.

One year I forgot to bring my rules [they were still sitting on the nightstand having a late review]  I wonder what I will forget this year?

 Yes, I DID make a list, but still......

My French masses march to defend La Rothiere

Monday, 1 April 2013

Wargamer Quote of the Week

Asked on TMP:

Which should come first after choosing a gaming period:
a. painting and basing figures?
b. choosing rules and appropriate accessories for them?
c. Acquiring / building the game table?
d. Getting terrain for the game table?
e. a beverage of your choosing?

response by fellow local wargamer in Seattle  Personal logo Mserafin
 "Definitely the beverage. Only alcohol fuzzes up reality enough for me to commit to yet another period."

good one Mark!  Happened to me.