Wednesday, 26 June 2013

My Upper Canadian Militia - War of 1812

The Upper Canadian militia volunteers while present in many of the battles fought during the war, played a supporting role to the British regulars.  Perhaps they were more aware of their limitations than the masses of Americans volunteers who formed a considerable portion of their fighting forces.

While their uniforms changed through the various stages of the conflict, I chose the mid-war green tunic and blue trousers as it contrasts nicely with the regulars redcoat and gray pants.  The cut of the uniform and equipment worn was identical so one can merely paint a British regular to become a militiamen albeit with a stovepipe shako only.
 These are the Old Glory version.  The flag is conjectural and was kindly designed by Mark, over which I could paint as all my British War of 1812 flags are hand-painted. ( not the American, however, except for the originals )

Norfolk is a county of which is now in Ontario, Canada formerly "Upper Canada"
It is highly unlikely any flags were actually created , let alone carried.  The strengths of most of these militia "regiments" were numbered in the tens not hundreds and battalion sized units were called brigades consisting of many different county formations. In reality 'uniformity' would be hard to achieve but I like uniformity and so I have this unit in red facings and the other in the collection all in yellow facings.

One last photo shows how I covered up a fault I committed while too vigorously bending an officers sword arm to a different position -- I snapped it off!  So rather than glue the rather mangled metal limb, or throw the miniature away, I got out the 'green stuff' and created a sling for what would appear to be a broken arm? The stump I left on the figure certainly helped in the rendering.
You can see him on the right.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

French of the 100 Days done.

Well versed, at least in my hobby, with the expression "never say never", I nevertheless will declare that I have finished my French forces enough for the 100 Days campaign.  For the final elements of line infantry and dragoons, I finally finished the terrain work.

The total number of figures is only 460  --- using BIG ratios you see --  and many of the elements are not exactly correct as many of the units painted are for the 1814 campaign but enough 'correct' types to put on the historical scenario of Waterloo.
Perry plastics all in the 'Bardin' uniform
The mounted officer is actually a dragoon officer with a hussar head added
The more astute 'button-counters' will note the King's livery of the drummer.  Either he could not have a Napoleonic livery jacket made in time, or hedging his bet, thinking Napoleon's comeback might well be a short one!  [ easier to paint actually! ]
French Dragoons. I made the attempt at a muddy look ground

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Satan's Stones (fictional battle) part 3


Based on the fight around Devil's Den and Little Round Top during the famous Battle of Gettysburg of the American Civil War, I again, as with most of my scenarios, use the original idea and modify and create depending upon my creativity at the time and the units which I want to use from my 'go to' collection of the War of 1812.  Both the Civil War and the earlier Napoleonic era fighting in North America involved mostly infantry in line formations with only supporting skirmishing and artillery, with very little cavalry present on most battlefields.  I have enough cavalry to cover those engagements with more substantial horse formations active should I require.

Now if I wanted to do the whole battle of Gettysburg I do have enough forces in 15mm to do so!  Yeah, well I been in this hobby for quite some time, so I have a lot painted !

Coming from the hard fight among the boulders, a British officer wipes the sweat from his brow in the nearby stream (Old Glory 28mm) Very interesting pose which I quite like.

Satan's Stones (fictional battle) part 2

The British attack consisted (from left to right) the Independent Company of Foreigners (ICF) historically a pack of bad boys (see details) , a company of the 95th, the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles; the 104th and 8th Regiments of Foot in one brigade and the 89th and 41st Regiments of Foot in the other together with the Canadian Militia.
The 104th Foot --yellow colours (flag)-- with the 8th Foot in support crossing the stream to assault the US 1st Infantry Regiment among the boulders called Satan's Stones

The US 1st is notable in having few shako ornaments for many of its companies having not been issued them before their involvement in the 1814 Niagara campaign.

True to form, the ICF rolled double 1's and were uselessly disordered. They were subsequently routed by a unit of Kentucky militia.

But then the 41st Foot's drill must have been lacking as it was soon befuddled in the woods in front of 'Little Round Top' hill. Impatient, the 89th marched through them to take the lead.  While angered at this impertinence, the 41st's colonel, seeing the brigadier observe the shift and well knew he must stop to realign before reaching combat in any event.
The British 89th Foot leads the attack of the hill defended by the Colored Regiment.
Yet the British veteran regiments were heavily disordered by the rough ground near the stream and the woods so took much time to move forward. The Canadian militia protecting their right flank was reluctant to move often but as militia perhaps not much should have been expected of them.
The Canadian Militia regiment
 This should have been the advice given the deployment of the Kentucky and New York militia guarding the far side of the stream. With the exception of one unit of Kentuckians, the militia did not engage in combat and eventually routed back across the stream only to hinder the progress of the artillery limber moving in support of reserves of a uniformed NY state regiment and the US 17th moving up in column.
The American artillery hindered by their routing militia

While no significant combat was conducted on this flank, the Glengarries formed up to assault the New York militia only to have it melt away with the effects of this unit's very accurate fire (4 hits from 7 dice!) While it's officer somewhat hesitated for the attack (dice rolls...) it succeeded in capturing the artillery battery stationed on the hill as that crew became aware it had no support , the British in force and it's limber on the wrong side of the rough ground of the stream. They simply surrendered to the attacking green clad Canadians.
The American artillery deployed on the hill soon to be abandoned by the accompanying militiamen and captured!

Similar to the brigade to their right, the center regiments swapped positions but both were very disordered by the stream.  However the veteran 8th Foot and 104th Foot clambered on the large rocks and faced the US 1st.  The fight was vicious with 4 of 23 stands eliminated.

The Colored regiment witnessed the fight among the rocks and with the following rout of the overwhelmed US 1st, but only were slightly shaken by this and did not falter (I rolled a 6!)

Having bested the defenders, the colonels of the 8th and 104th were in a quandary.  They needed to reform their units but this was impossible among the rocks yet retreat was unthinkable and in any event dangerous as was advancing into range of the fast moving American reserve of the NY Regiment and the US 17th. Meanwhile the sergeants did their best.

On the hill nearby, the courageous Colored unit could not match the close volleys of the British veterans and were force to retire with over 30% casualties. So Little Round Top was secured by the British while the final drama was played out below among the boulders.

The 17th with support of the NY Regiment formed up and assaulted the disordered British deployed among the rocks. The British could not hold the charge and withdrew back across the stream with heavy casualties.
The US 17th Regiment still in their early war linen fatigue dress (which was worn by this unit in the historical Battle of Frenchtown in early 1813 and so which I have represented)

While still congratulating his officers, the commander of the 17th received word of the order to withdraw.  The collapse of the militia and the obviously still strong veteran British regiments convinced the American general to quit the field of battle before more severe casualties resulted.

As the New York Herald newspaper so brazenly declared the next day "the battle for Satan's Stones was a 'hell' of a fight!"

Satan's Stones (fictional battle) Part 1

"They seem have no earthly reason to be in a field of Northern New York", comments the colonel of the US 1st Infantry Regiment to his fellow officer as they stare at the strange rock formation before them.
"As do we, it appears", retorts his officer barely holding in the indignity of the regiment being relegated to the far left flank of the army, far away from the approach of the British.
"Well, we are not the left flank", observes the colonel with a wave of his hand to his left noting the Black unit on the hill.
"Noted, sir", responds the officer, "But I have no idea what we have done wrong.  But something, no doubt, as we have been placed among these rocks with an untested, but no doubt willing group of Coloreds to one flank and across the stream a bunch of militia men guarding the other.  Satan's Stones are what they are called I am told, which seems very appropriate; as why the hell are we here?!  Why always us? We are a good fighting unit are we not? But headquarters seems to give us no credit and much unwarranted blame.  I am much perturbed by this and it really ires the men, I might add!"

The colonel gave no response. His attention was upon the large mass of red-coated soldiers marching right toward him.  "Now is the time to be irksome", the colonel quietly says, "Now is the time".
Some of the mass of redcoats in the assault THE left flank
more pictures of the original set up at: previous post

(the officer's rant mimics my feelings these days about my work environment....)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Waterloo Plus198

Well, I can't let June 18th go by without SOME comment!  Yes, the date of the Battle of Waterloo which I am striving to game.  Or, failing that goal, at least part of the famous campaign.

I am so close to completing the French army of the campaign.  Painting is done but the basing is yet to be finished. Soon.

It was my intent to show off the French in their battle formation for Waterloo but on my table is still the initial set-up for my re-creation of the Devil's Den fight during the Battle of Gettysburg using my War of 1812 collection.  In my version of "SATAN'S STONES"  -- clever, eh? --  The British are attacking the Americans.

The Confederates British are sweeping around the Union American left flank and towards Satan's Stones held by the aggressive US 1st Regiment
The American regiments holding the hill position
The "Free Men of Color" Regiment standing in as the famous Maine Regiment on "Little Round Top" (this will be the unit's first battle!)
Satan's Stones aka Devil's Den 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Inspiration from art

Of course, art is in the eye of the beholder.
To me, "modern art" is crap. Heck, the famous Picasso drew faces, to my thinking, as a demented four year old. I can draw a couple of straight lines and put a small round circle in one corner.  Will I become famous too?

However I give you, in my opinion, true beautiful art as found on the net and I use as inspiration and motivation.

Finally is one by Ludwig Elsholtz of the struggle for the village of Plancenoit during the Battle of Waterloo

Saturday, 8 June 2013

After 13 months

Staring at my Napoleonic collection thus far, it has been 12 and one-half months since I started on painting the French.  I am pleased that by the end of this month (June 2013) I will have completed enough of them for the Waterloo campaign ratios, finishing the artillery and the remainder of the infantry (both approx. 50% complete) waiting on the painting table.

The total figures painted will be around 360 which is not that many, really.  Of course along with those I did paint more, either for myself for the many other collections I have, or in trade for other wargamers during this time.  I made a count and these amounted to another 972.  So the grand total for the last 13 months is 1,332. I may have missed counting some Generals and stuff but the monthly average is around 102 figures. Sounds significant but counts only about 4 figures a day  --- quite snail-like when put in that way!  In my defense they all were 28mm - if that matters......

 The French are done (or near enough) and, then I say with a huge theatrical sigh,  now onto the 1815 Prussians..............

......and the War of 1812, and Seven Years War, and French and Indian wars, and ACW, and Zulu, and ..........

and a hobby is suppose to be relaxing??!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Naval Crew painted

Having first wanting for my War of 1812 'naval task force', then purchasing from Knuckleduster, then reviewing (see previous post), I thought I might as well get the crew painted.

I had a wonderful monster of gun on a naval carriage which I had dropped from my pirate collection and so gave the crew something big to manage!

As my War of 1812 collection is for land-based actions the naval carriage is a bit of an anomaly but I decided to place in on the usual sized stand and using wooden coffee stir sticks to create a platform but using a bit of "earth" on the edges to suggest either a temporary placement or in fortifications.  I cut some balsa to make support posts for the recoil rope. I did not get too, how shall we put it, not too technical with the physics however!  Nevertheless it gives the brief impression of a naval working gun.
The crew was distributed around the gun with the help of reader Rob (see the comment section of the linked post) so I could come up with a reasonable efficient looking crew manning the gun. 
And yes, I did cut the poor boys off their metal bases to glue them to the platform. I guess I will not play any casualties-are-removed games with this gun crew!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Knuckleduster gun crew reviewed

Recently I ordered the Knuckleduster "US Naval Battery Crewmen" and Kevin asked me for a quick review.

As you can see, hopefully despite the poor photos (!), the crew consists of we presume of Barney himself (representing the Naval/Marine officer whose rep was maintained despite the rather poor behavior of much of the American army at the Battle of Bladensburg in 1814),a vent blocker, the rammer, a trail spike holder, touch light holder, and, finally, the dude carrying a cannonball.

The main thing that strikes me is the lack of purpose in the combined poses.  The officer is pointing albeit in a rather lackluster way doing his job of directing the activity.  We have the rammer holding his tool upright, obviously waiting for the gun to be fired, for which we have in the torch guy -- I least I think so, as it looks more like a baton [??!] --- and we have the guy holding the ball.  OK.  But then we have the trailspike pose which seems to be in mid-effort to move the gun. While firing?? And we also have the vent stopper whose function is to prevent premature firing while loading/ramming of the charge.  But our rammer guy is just standing there. And you can't have the vent guy doing that while the torch guy is about to light it up.

Or long story short,  a very mixed up group and a crew doing mistimed tasks.

Compare that to a typical crew done by Perry Miniatures:

FN105 Foot Artillery of the Imperial Guard loading 12 pdr
note the pose with his back to us is holding the ball and about to load into the tube while the rammer awaits to immediately place the charge, the vent guy with his thumb over the hole and the trail spike guy in the rear resting until needed again.  Nice snapshot of a crew in action.

BH45 Royal Foot Artillery loading 9 pdr
again, a beautiful snapshot of a crew in action. (from the Perry website)
I will now present each pose in close up.  While I am a critical as the next guy about the sculpting, as I am about how others have painted their minis, I try not to make judgement as I am not a good sculptor and others can certainly paint better than I.  With that in mind, I leave it up to the viewer to make their own opinion. Do remember that the minis are only an inch in height and these photos are large!

The only thing I will comment upon with all sculpting is choice or design of the uniform as that is one thing that should be done correctly.  I must query the choice of a bonnet (seemingly very Scottish in nature with a pompom on top) worn by the ball holder.  On an American Marine/sailor??  Yes perhaps a deserter or such, but it does not seem very American (unless I am incorrect and it IS the official forage cap of the navy....).  I will not make comment about the rest of the naval uniforms as it not my specialty.  However, as I will be using the crew for British also, for me, it is a moot point.

New river terrain

It seems the first question asked of someone fresh from a convention is "What did you buy?"  
As I was committed not to pick up any more lead (well there could be exceptions of course!)  that embargo was not for terrain, of which I am somewhat lacking  as I was using strips of blue felt covered in the most part by lots of lichen.
  So I decided to finally pick up Wizardcraft river sections.  They are pre-painted and flocked in the same material as all my mats and so nicely blend in.  While initial I thought expensive, what I purchased is of adequate length for my table and is table ready and of good quality, so I am happy with it.  While the painting is of a fast flowing, babbling brook, I can live with that.

The photos show my set up for the War of 1812 "Battle of Satan's Stones" based on, you guessed it, the fighting around the Devil's Den area during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 of the American Civil War.