Tuesday, 30 September 2014

the widest of bridges

The very wide bases we use for the Napoleonics do not allow for formation changes - nor do we want them to have that capability for that matter.  That would suggest a tactical capability which the rules do not nor want to have.  But this does restrict us to some degree for terrain purposes.  One of which is narrow crossings, such as between woodlands and especially river crossings: bridges and the like.

You can see in the accompanying photos of our wide stands on the normal model bridge does not look that convincing. It also could cause problems in combat adjustments; where exactly is the corner of the stand, etc.   I thought to solve these two problems by making crossings large enough to accommodate the large stands and have a defined 'end' point of the crossing.

While in hindsight I could have just made it to cross my existing rivers, I wanted to create a pontoon bridge and one small pontoon with very little river would look silly.  So I cut out some hardboard in a shape to bulge out the river and so make the pontoons look like being in the middle of a large river.

The way I construct is to have a plan drawn out in my head only to change it immediately upon looking at the materials at hand and then totally improvise!     My Virgo vs Libra conflict.  I am right on the cusp and show characteristics of both signs; often together......  So naturally you notice the lack of pontoons as well.  The bridge is fine for what it is for now.  Probably added together I would be surprised by the time it took to create, but with only a few minutes to do one part then let sit to dry for a few days only to go back and paint another part to match the existing river sections and so another small part, feels like very little effort went into it.  Perhaps it shows too!

Anyway here is the completed version of the recently constructed (raw lumber) crossing. The planks are removable.  I may build a stone version, or do as I originally should have, and simply build a model to span the river sections!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

French Napoleonic Genie

Inspired by Westphalia Miniatures production of the French Genie wagon and members, I quickly painted up four of the six available poses (the other two await to work with the Perry pontooniers?)

uniform note: I have repainted the facings in black with red piping and have added white cuirass belts.

It is mounted on my regular sized stand and so could be used as an combat element. For a contested river crossings perhaps?

Here is the link to their website: Westphalia Miniatures

and the posing inspiration from the picture in their gallery:gallery photo

Sunday, 7 September 2014

a Napoleonic board game

David B. came over with his elderly board game Napoleon for a play,  a block style game by Avalon Hill from 1977!  
The rules are fairly simple, a good thing not bad, which often serves to give a better game as one can concentrate on strategy than on looking through the rules each turn.

Based on the 100 Days/Waterloo campaign, the idea is to eliminate over half the respective armies blocks (these based roughly on a half corps each or so with artillery and cavalry elements)

Movement is a simple point to point move with some restriction in the number of block which can be moved all at once. Simple but effective.

As it turns out, the campaign played in about two hours or so, had some exciting moments as both our dice rolling was quite poor and sixes hard to come by.  I hate when sixes are required as inevitably I roll ones.  Perhaps I need more wrist action to get them to turn over?

A neat little campaign idea is to have the Allies lose a whole unit should Ghent fall (one from the Allies), Liege (from the Prussians) or Brussels (one from each!).  This simple mechanic, has the Allies looking to protect these three cities and the French to take them, all the while knowing that the destruction of armies is still the main task.
I have been looking for a simple map system and campaign focus for my miniatures collection as I want to run a campaign to generate tabletop battles and for player focus on the larger campaigning purpose.  How many tabletop battles have you been in, in which the player unknowingly has found himself outnumbered 3 to 1 and under a flank attack?  And he cannot complain as, well, he put himself there!  Good stuff indeed!
Allies (British, Hanoverians, Nassau and Dutch-Belgians - did I miss anyone?) in red, Prussians in green, French in blue.
For the game, I as Napoleon, made my main thrust against Ghent.  After one of the 'opening battles' had some of my French 'retreat' into that unoccupied city.    These initial battles had us practice the 'battle section' of the rules which handle all the engagements under a wholly different dicing system with the player moving around elements from one of three zones, right and left flanks and center and needing basically 6's to hit - sometimes 5 and 6's - but quite the dice game which I have noted we both sucked at.  Averages be damned.  Once a flank is eliminated your army is "in rout" and further hit upon.  Strength, as in most warfare, is the key and in what turn about to the ultimate battle I came close, initially outnumbering the Allies but David had a large Prussian force nearby to keep feeding in reserves.  Sound familiar?  I had a strong artillery contingent so I sat back a continued to bombard to only some effect finally throwing in a very strong element ( the Imperial Guard ? ) in a bid to overwhelm his centre before he took out my flank.  Again sounds like Waterloo?  I had no reserves to put into the fray. "Where are those men!!" However after some exceptionally large amount of 1s, David finally blew away my flank to have my army go into rout.
The "battle board"  This is one of the 'opening' battles which are small and over quickly.  Personally I still like the pomp and colour and eye-candy of the tabletop action!
Yes, that battle went badly but the campaign was not quite over as I still held Ghent.  This meant that David was forced to remove an Allied block which immediately put that army over 50% losses.  Wellington was forced to leave the campaign for home.  No train station named for his great victory I guess.  However, just as Napoleon was writing a victory speech for the people of Paris, the remaining Prussians, themselves close to defeat, followed up on the French remnants of the great battle of Sottegen to finally gain ultimate victory.  Napoleon was overheard as he rushed back to Paris, "It was a near run thing"

Thanks for Dave in coming over, and leaving this game with me to study as use as my guide with my 100 Days Campaign collection in the near future.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Napoleonic Italians

OK, I admit I might have a bit of a problem with priorities...
While I manage to pick up my socks off the floor and remember to take out the garbage, I quite often in my wargaming,  get diverted from what I need to paint to paint what I think would be fun to do.  While I should be doing other more important things, my new Italians were staring at me.  What is a guy to do?
The Italians 

There is a certain appeal to the wash technique to painting which I have selectively been employing. The Spartacus army  from a few years ago [ post link  ]  and currently with faces and some large portions of figure , so with the vast areas of white for the Italian infantry, and as I hate painting white,  I thought to give the style another go.
The Italian line infantry wore white open lapel tunics - they never went to the closed lapel 'Bardin' style - and with combinations of 'national colours' of green, white and red for the facings of each regiment.  There is still some confusion about which regiment wore which combination.  You will see examples of each variations in different reference books and websites.  
The figures have been gained in trades and are mostly Warlord early French with a few Victrix types, along with Perry packs in many instances, and various different heads.

I painted the gaiters, packs and shakos the usual method of heavy highlighting but the tunic, pants and caps were left in primer white and then given a wash.  I do not do the technique often enough to understand how much is too much as it dries darker than the application would suggest, so some areas are coated a bit heavily trying as I was hoping to bring out the details a bit more.  However, perhaps after a month or two of campaigning, white uniforms, not really pearly white to begin with, would be less than tabletop bright!

The units must still await flags but with the exception of the Velite Guards which did not carry any [see here for their construction link] .
Italian Royal Guard Velites