Monday, 30 September 2013

Russian Napoleonic artillery

My Russian artillery is painted and all 'done up'.

The long story (for the shortened version see below):

In the continuing Napoleonic project, Seth and I had hosted the historical Battle of LaRothiere (1814) [for this game see:[link].  While the real battle had Russians participating, we substituted more of Seth's Austrians in lieu of these green clad boys.  However Rod, one of the participants in "DougFest" this summer [link] , has started painting Russians and with my purchasing of the Perry box for the Prussian 30th and 31st Regiments and a further couple of boxes of Warlord Russians, I felt like we could now get in the real troops into our next play of this battle for the coming Enfilade.

All I only need is the artillery,... and the cavalry, ...and the command.... (sigh)

However I do have some very nice guns but no crew to go with them.  I made the call out to my wargaming friends for any spares.  Rick graciously offered a bag of them for free. Thanks Rick!!  Apparently, if I remember the story correctly, Rick said they were at Mark's for Thomas to pick up. Mark suggests they were left in Gary's car. With some confusion in over lapping emails with the two Thomas's, Mr. Moore finally tracked them down and gave them to Francis.  Who, finally, said I could get them at his place if I bring some of the stuff I had for him.  Basically they were held for ransom! <grin>

The short story:
I asked the boys if they had any Russian artymen to spare. Rick graciously offered a "bag" of them.  They turned out to be a good mix of Old Glory, both horse and foot, and Foundry foot.  There were 27 of which I turned 20 into five batteries with one as line horse.  Excellent. While I only had four gun models, I left one gun unglued in order to place either with a foot or horse crew as needed. Good that.

The two reasons I wanted only crew was the beautiful gun models I had. They are big and nicely rendered. I don't know the manufacturer. I think old Connoisseur (??) but much better than the rather undersized Foundry version
Foundry minis and artillery.  Very nice painting by But the guns...uggh!

I guess I could have got Perry lead but being a cheap ol' wargamer...well... <grin>

Only slight glitch was the difference in the shako size. Again, like the Perry vs Warlord thing [my post on this difference see: link], the shako circumference especially as viewed from above (the usual wargamer view) is significant :
Foundry crew on the left.  Old Glory on the right. 
Close up showing the Foundry kiwer (Russian shako) size on the left and the Old Glory on the right.  

A close up of a Foundry pose working with an Old Glory crew. With the differences in the shako, I changed his head for a plastic Warlord one which are a very close match to the OG sizing.
 I spent some time working out the crew deployment with an eye to their activities and poses.  Not all the poses were in the bag of course and beggers cannot be choosers; but there were enough to make it work.  The Old Glory sculpts are bad - in a good way in this respect - that with a little twisting they can become anything!
Old Glory Russian artillery in action.   The cartridge holder started as a rammer but I removed that tool and bent his arm so as to be holding a powder bag (this the sponge part of his old rammer!)  And the typical Old Glory pose : the rammer leaning over (!) But perhaps the camera angle as he is not THAT leaning.

And like I said, sometimes the crazy OG poses help if you have several of the same as they can be manipulated into different positions/activity.  The horse artillery proves this as I have the boys moving the gun back into position.
The open handed poses gave me the inspiration to have the crew moving up the gun.  The ammo box indicates to the players it is a horse gun as not all players may know the uniform differences. The small square frame is for the small dice we use to indicate combat effectiveness. The large bare batch is to leave a spot to temporarily attach various commander names according to a scenario order of battle.  The label sticks better than onto the flocking!

Thanks again to Rick, Thomas M., and all you guys that helped me in this.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Of packs and men

The bits which make the Napoleonic uniform interesting and fun to research are also the parts which makes the painting un-fun. Or at minimum, not quick.  But finally got three more elements of the Perry 'Berdin' uniformed boys based up. The different uniformed drummers with all that lace, the drum and the cords, the officers, the piping, and the need to add the flag and all which that entails, made these slower to get done. With the Perry box not containing any 'command' without dress uniform to compliment, the overcoat lads to be done will be quicker!

Remnants from all my conversion work, I had a number of British backpacks which had the attached canteen and cartridge box removed leaving only the pack and roll.  I decided to glue them onto spare bases which had previously had skirmishing figures but these were 'decommissioned' with changes made to the rules.  The spots where the figures were placed had been filled in and the bases were thus blank.  With only thought to fill the blanks with something visual and with no other need for the packs, they were placed as if a unit had removed them to proceed into battle. You can see these in the first photo.

It might be noted that the Perrys had made some British grounded packs, complete with loose straps, on their French Dragoon box sprues from which I took inspiration (those have been used as other markers).

I debated whether to align the packs in straight lines to perhaps satisfy the sergeant-major or to have them in piles with the soldiers hope that they would not get plundered or destroyed.  I went with the hurriedly abandoned look. Grin.
The blank element still has the dice and labeling spots for game purposes

These blank [OK, formerly blank] bases can be used to keep second rank formations a mystery and they can be moved without disclosing the troop type it represents for 'fog of war'.
Hmm, the second rank element are ???

a quick photo of a French 'corps' with the new sized artillery elements in the formation.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Warlord/Perry Comparison Review - Russian Nap Plastic Infantry

September is the month which everyone asks "So, what did you do during the summer?"   Well, I worked on plastics.  Lots of plastics.

Among the masses plastics miniatures of French., Prussians, Belgians and Dutch (ex-British) were Russian Napoleonic Infantry.  Originally,  I bought a box of the Perrys so I could make the 30th and 31st Prussian Infantry Regiments (uniformed by the Russians).  During a local sale I could not resist getting two boxes of Warlord Russians as they were fairly inexpensive.

So I decided to get them all done up before the rainy season begins.  Having concluded to do the Perrys as two Russian Guard elements while the mass of Warlords will form the line elements.  I am fortunate to do so as they are not compatible. Repeat, not.

I will let the photos illustrate this but the usual table view from above make the large difference in the shako sizes obvious.

The Perry box has 6 different poses and leg positions but they can be mixed together without the weird straggling look
my 31st Prussian Regiment using Perry Russians and noting the not too straggle effect of the different poses

   The same cannot be said of the Warlord poses.  While only four poses, each is different enough that my version of the 'Russian machine' would not be met.  Here is a link to YouTube video of War and Peace which give a good example of the precision march we all identify as so very Russian [YouTube link]
Therefore I must combine both boxes giving me 3 elements (each of 10 figures) with the back rank a different stride of march than the front rank but this will look better than a gaggle.

The Warlord heads are attached to the collar and thus then to be glued to the torso while the Perry heads are to be glued within the torso's collar cavity.  No mixing or matching there.  Also the backpacks are of a vastly different size. (So which is correct??) as is the afore mentioned shakos (and heads and hands of course)  I find the Warlords much more 'cartoony' and oversized proportionally.
Warlord left, Perry right. Usual view from above.
Warlord left, Perry right.
Warlord left, Perry right.
Warlord left, Perry right.

While all the Perrys are plastics, Warlord adds 4 metal command - 2 standard bearers, a drummer and officer.  Perhaps I have now been spoiled by precise plastics, but the metals had harsh mold lines, need of much filing and addition of some gap filling for the glued on arms.  They fitted very poorly.  And the drummers arm was particularly poor and does not have any of the drummer lace as does the other arm!

When pricing note that the Perrys have 40 in the box, Warlord 32 (with the 4 metal command types)

Obviously not painted yet so I am hoping much of the difference are not so obvious once on the table. Hopefully

Friday, 6 September 2013

1814 - my version is mud

The 1814 campaign in France was fought in the early months of the year in winter and mud was a common thread. One of more famous Napoleonic paintings highlights these appalling conditions.


And thus, I am having this weird compulsion to cover all my models with liberal coatings of simulated mud. So here are a couple of examples of 1814 specific units which I have painted.  I probably could go really nuts with gloss to represent wet mud but have not got up the nerve to try it out.  While great looking on the individual stand, it might look odd on the table (??)
Young Guard artillery of 1814
A second element of Young Guard artillery
Young Guard infantry.

Start of the Prussian army

To follow up on a previous expression  "Eating my wargaming" post for my love of starting with the most unique units of an army; the ones which have the best "cool!" factor, here are a few examples so far:
The Prussian 28th Regiment composed of ex-Berg units, thus in white.
The Prussian 30th Regiment which previously formed the 'Russo-German Legion' thus the Russian uniforms but for the lack of shako decoration and the use of Prussian grey pantaloons and black belts.
The Prussian 31st Regiment which, like the 30th, had formed the 'Russo-German Legion' in the Russian army before being transferred into the Prussian army and so still wear Russian kit for the most part.  I used the Perry plastic Russians.

Happy to say I have over a quarter of the Prussian elements done already. And while I have done a few of the many Prussian infantry stands,  the heavy lifting painting is still to do.

Nap Artillery rebased

The little pleasures of life: a smile, a kiss, a little baby's laughter.
 And just having enough room in the storage box to get it all in....

If nothing else, the new, smaller, basing stands of the Napoleonic artillery allowed me to get all the artillery into only and completely into one box.  The anal-organized side of me takes much pleasure in this.

My artillery storage box. The open spaces are just enough to fit in the Allies artillery to be based in the future.  I created a second tier from foam-core so I can put another level of flag-less infantry elements on top.

From this you can infer that the rebasing of the artillery is now complete. Actually I only have 5 more of the Allies crews to complete all the artillery painting, having now done all their gun models.
Prussian Horse Artillery (2 elements)
The Perrys often create these beautiful crew vignettes. Prussian foot artillery crew moving the gun back into position.
here is the Brunswicker Horse artillery version.
French artillery.  Horse gun [left] with elevation adjustments being made; [right] the foot gun being swabbed out. 
French foot gun being fired as the crew turn away to minimize the noise.
Here is a 'table view' of the artillery in relation to the infantry and cavalry stand sizing. it will be doubtful that a massed battery such as this will be seen on the table but the individual elements of artillery as seen in the rear with the infantry are usually attached to each corps.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Artillery rebasing

One of the most dreaded words in wargaming: rebasing

A big foul up on my part had the wood cut by a friend into bases, cut into the wrong sizes.  I pulled out one of my SYW artillery bases to compare and placed it beside the existing Napoleonic infantry bases and, you know what, it looked good! More in 'scale' to what the infantry are and more 'proportional'.
No scientific rationalization or even mathematical calculations for any of this. Just looks good.

Been having trouble with our firing arcs for the rules and while these smaller sizes could help with that, the look had me immediately excited.
  I have felt this a few times in my long wargaming life and it has always turned out to be a good thing. With that feeling, I took some quick pictures and sent them to Seth for his thoughts and approval.  He said he liked it too. 

Upper Right: new and old sizes of artillery stands. Middle: Napoleonic infantry in between SYW artillery with the red-painted cannon on the same sized bases (all terrained to not jar the eye from the effect.)  Upper Left: Napoleonic infantry next to the newer based artillery on raw wood
While the smaller bases are better for storage/ transport [nine in an area which only four could fit previously]  any rebasing effort is a pain.  I took an afternoon in front of the television watching a baseball game to paint the bases edges, attach the painters tape for the space left for the labels, and glue on the dice frame, and finally, attached the newly removed miniatures of all my painted artillery so far (23 models and crews).  A little tight getting in the poses, labels and dice frame and still leaving room for markers but doable.
I still must terrain and flock.  Sigh.  But this was necessary -- in a wargamer sort of way ---  I truly hope.....

Scrape, scrape, scrape. Nothing you can glue to.

My poor friend Kevin is having a tough time with constructing his plastics and I read in some sympathy as I have been also madly working on putting together my plastic hordes this summer in order to have them all primed before the rains begin and the humidity makes this difficult.

(You can read his frustration in making Victrix British at: Link )

Luckily most of my plastics which I wanted have been either the Victrix French Guard types which, while tricky, were at least of mostly similar marching poses; or Perrys which are just a pack and head to glue.

However, as I am determined to make most of the armies from plastics if I can possibly do (regardless if they are available in metal),  this obviously means much scraping off of details, adding details or mix-and-match equipment and arms (both weapon AND the body part!)

One can see some of this, admittedly foolish effort, in the photos below. But as I only need nine or so of each type, it is not TOO bad.....

Dutch Infantry of 1815  front view
Dutch Infantry of 1815   rear view.  The minature is made by taking a Perry British body  and removing the crossbelt badge and all the lace,  adding an Austrian Shako head (having scraped off all the detail except for the top cockade and removing the oak leaves) and adding a plume removed from extra stovepipe British shako,  gluing on a French pack, attaching a British canteen and box, and using Victrix French arms (necessary for the cuff-flap)
Orange-Nassau Regiment of the Netherlands Army 1815 (front view)

Orange-Nassau Regiment of the Netherlands Army 1815 (rear view)   This miniature is also based on a Perry British body again with removing all the lace and crossbelt badge,  adding a Perry early Russian Shako head and adding a cut-down plume from a hussar, attaching a French pack, cutting off then reapplying the canteen and box for better placement and using French arms in order to have the French made musket.  This unit's uniform had simple cuffs so I could use some of the many Victrix arms I have but needed to scrape off their large epaulettes.

Well, seeing these photos close up one notices the faults. My reading glasses don't magnify as the camera lens does!  Luckily any malformations should be covered up by my very heavy paint style.  I hope!

* "Scrape, scrape, scrape. Nothing you can dance to."  This comment from a character in response to the beautiful violin playing in the movie Master and Commander which The Wife and I recently watched again. She likes it despite being a war movie. Must be Russell Crowe in the tight breeches, eh!