Thursday, 31 December 2015

My "Flintloque" Napoleonic skirmish collection

With this last unit, my 40mm-ish Napoleonic skirmish collection is finished....probably.....

A recent game I hosted went well I thought as the very simple home-brew rules survived intact from the constant wining and complaints from the boys of the "Francis' Regulars".  The only legitimate complaint - the '"I can't win!" types don't count - was the varying unit sizes as the larger contingents did have a certain advantage in that all other modifiers were to be equal.  So I decided to rearrange some of the units to have all equal at 10 figures each. Somewhat difficult as each of the Alternative Armies contingents have no consistency of scale and I have a bit of CDO  {just like OCD but the letters are in the correct order!}

My goal for the year - and the next - is to complete some of the collections I already have and to have rules and organization ready prepared for future games.  This 'Spanish line' unit is the last of the painting for these.

The "uniform" and colours are somewhat stylized as these are fantasy types and so the sculptor has made some interesting choices in equipment and clothing cut; but in general, the effect is Napoleonic in nature.  My collection is solely focused upon the Spanish campaign and so if the elves are not French they form the Spanish contingent.

Having a new light for the table I simply took a photo before they go, if I am honest, into a box to languish for a long time before I put on another game......sigh..... least for a year anyway... (a rather lame New Years Eve joke)

Friday, 18 December 2015

Never enough shrubbery (on my Kentucky Volunteers of the War of 1812)

While perhaps doing basing of your miniatures might only have the simple representation of grass or going very basic 'old-school' and just painting the base green and be done with; often its behooves the modeler to put a bit of work into the basing to enhance the look.  A wargaming buddy provided pictures of his new units with the commentary that he added rocks and downed tree trunks in an effort to "Doug them" up a bit.  ( Grin. )

Here are a few pictures of my 're-organized' American Militiamen of War of 1812 I did quite some time ago.
I separated the 'marching' pose from those of a more 'skirmishing' nature.  (I did not like the mix together) separating the two types and then adding the Kuckleduster command figures. 

I "Doug-ed" up base with real twigs.  I didn't go overboard with the lichen posing as shrubbery and such, as these boys might be doing some fighting in the fields.
Kuckleduster 'Frontier Militia' with command.  Some of the poses seem like their knees are ready to buckle or one leg is shorter than the other! Characterful as they say.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The wide bridge

One of disadvantages of large bases is the difficulties imposed upon the terrain.  This is especially true of bridges (and villages among other features) It looks rather peculiar to have a large element suspended over a narrow causeway and should combat occur, disputes can erupt over positioning.
With this in mind I created an 'expanded bridge' over my existing waterway for the large napoleonic bases we use.

The bridge is a solid piece of hardboard with short pieces of resin stone walls set slightly inside the ends so I could paint in the continuation of the latex waterway so it looks like the stream continues 'under' the walls.  Effective enough from a distance.
The rivers are from Wizard Kraft link 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

"Flintloque" type-ish Napoleonic skirmish game

A long time ago a local distributor brought in Alternative Armies 'Flintloque' fantasy Napoleonic-based figures which are very loosely scaled at about 35mm or so.
They are full of outrageous character and so I took the less fantasy (no Toads or Dogs for me) and trimmed the orc tusks and elf ears so they are now roughly human in design and organized them into recognizable historical unit - or as close as possible.
British Light Infantry 

Neapolitan 8th Line Regiment.  The standard finial is a 6mm horse!  The huge out of scale proportions are part of the charm of these big boys.....  The mules are from another undetermined source.  I considered them too large for 28mm but appropriately sized for this.  I added a plastic barrel to one and a lot of 'green stuff' to the other using soft wire to bind the bags in a very haphazard way.  

They have been stored away for some time (read: years!) but a couple of months ago I brought out the remaining few units and completed the collections, now numbering 200 or so.  Yesterday was the test of the new and very simple rules developed over some time (read: minutes!) I used as much random selection of table position, unit selection, scenario task and to keep it as even as possible because the usual Monday Night guys like to whine about everything!
Spanish infantry in late war dress being moved.

Other than a couple of minor changes, the rules I made up which are all of 2 pages long (!) were generally accepted and thought to do the trick for a fun convention game.
Later in the game, the Spanish are running...OK, then,....advancing, to gain their side of the table to complete their scenario task.
The miscellaneous figures I collected have become the guerrillas, enemy to French and British alike!

As an example of the play, playing cards selected poker style by each player dictates who has first action during a phase.  Doug's Handy Card System has the player select one of the cards dealt to him with Diamonds bettering Hearts bettering Clubs bettering Spades with ace high.  With the better card each player in turn can perform an action - shoot, reload, move etc.  The shooting is a hit with a good die and flip a card.  Face card = killed.  No wounds. Hand to hand combat is similar.  Points are given for the random scenario objective a player was given and for any kills he achieved.  That's about it actually.
The Chasseurs-Tirailleurs of the Young Guard continue to dig in the graveyard for the gold....

I am hoping for more players next time which should make the action even more wooly.....

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Battle of Ligny play

The Battle of Ligny was a major battle of the 100 Days/Waterloo Campaign of 1815 between Napoleon's Armee d'Nord and Blucher's Prussians.  Fought at the same time as the better known Battle of Quatre Bras (trans: "four-arms" or crossroad) no doubt due to the British participation.

Having played the game five or six times now, these photos I found were archived from much earlier in the year.  I don't remember if they were 'published' yet, but I find the battle is fascinating and learned much from the re-creation on the tabletop.
The battle looking from the northwest.  The villages form the Prussian defensive line. Pirch's Prussian corps is on the left moving through the line of trees.  In the background, Milhaud's French cuirassiers are being moved up

Blucher needed to hold the left flank of the British-Allied army and understood, well, perhaps his Chief-of Staff understood.... that the crossroads would be a key to the French advance as so needed to hold at Ligny.  His dispositions reflected the defensive stance as the small but marshy Ligny stream afforded a nice line.  But that line was also convex and thus would allow the French artillery to converge fire upon the Prussian reserves.  In our games, much of the Prussian losses came from this fire.
Ziethen's Prussian Corps in the 'cauldron' formed by the Ligny stream and the line of Belgium hamlets along its length.

However the French still needed to take the towns along the stream as these afforded the only passage across.  The village of Ligny was the largest of these hamlets.
Gerard's French Corps ready to assault the village of Ligny

The eastern half of the battle, historically, had little fighting.  It became obvious during the previous playtests, that the 'Grouchy' player, commanding the French forces of mostly cavalry could not assault the eastern most villages and the Prussian player was not willing to abandon his nice defensive positions to move out to the open ground to be attacked by the French horse.  Stalemate.  In this game, I did not portray this side of the battle as it is but boring for those commanders.
Vandamme's French forces line up in support again the hamlet of S. Armand la Haye.  The artillery in our rules can fire through friendly troops.  The multiple batteries the model represents are to be considered spread among the individual units which the bases represent.  The wheel marker has it moving during this turn and so firing is compromised.  Not all the batteries are in position yet, it is assumed.

To be honest I can not remember which side won the game, but it is hard slog for both sides and, as in history, affairs can be influenced by the smallest of events. A few more good dice than the other side and enemy units collapse and victory achieved.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Pig Sty

Without much time to do these things at home, but time to "expend" while waiting for charter trip returns, what can a hard-core wargamer to do but use the time for those fun scratch-build projects.  In this case I had some model 28mm scale swine to keep penned.  For skirmish games, the pigs could be the objective prize.  Or for the larger games, some eye-candy in the corner of the table.

I started with a scrap piece of hardboard and very haphazardly roughly cut wood stir sticks and balsa pieces not caring a bit about lengths or neatness.  A very, poor peasantry, thing.  The ramshackle  construction was certainly helped by the cramped conditions in which I worked while sitting within the school bus.  My hand would inevitably knock over the part of the fence already done and damage that part while then dislodging the newer part.  Argh.  But all part of "the look"..... if that look is to be shoddy, of course.

The shingles are individual pieces of cereal box card and roughly ordered on the roof, but the one which was very misaligned was left as is.  Again, the old and worn effect in play.

Once all dry, the next day, an hour or so of painting (lots of surface area which takes more time than one would think) with a worn-look dry brush of "old wood" and a quick stain wash to tone down the 'dusty' dry brush.   The putty muddy earth and a bit of wood shavings in the shed, finished the model. the saying goes:  'time well wasted'

Monday, 2 November 2015

my Monitor

Another of my forays into the bottom-most boxes revealed my good 'ol Monitor model of the famous ACW ironclad.  The model is some 10" long made very simply from foam core and a plastic lid for the turret; a straw for the funnel and painted black and crudely drawn iron plates using a pencil.

The intent was to make several of these size of ships for games but so far have failed to do so. While I like the naval aspect,  I really never seem to play it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Medieval Irish for DBA

My new part-time job as a charter bus driver is quite the time-eater with lots of time away from the house and more importantly the painting table!
Having downtime between delivery and pickup during the day, sometimes I can get a bit of basic painting in while sitting in the cramped seats of the bus.  With only poor natural lighting and poor positioning hunched over as I am, no great detail can be done as you can imagine;  and for my version of the Irish with their rather plain dress and, well knowing that many poor brush strokes can be covered up by a heavy wash of paint, I set about doing this army of 15mm for my DBA collection.
lots of painting gaffs but really I couldn't see a lot of the details sitting on a bus.  Even with my reading glasses on.  Sigh.
These are converted Corvus Belli Numidians - which were needed for the bare Irish legs - on which I added "green stuff" cloaks
Corvus Belli Irish Kerns from their old HYW range. The first strip has been given a wash stain already.
The completed army. Yeah, well it's DBA ain't it!
Close up of the spearmen
Close up of the General as a light horse element

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Murat during the Battle of Heilsberg, 1807

A famous incident during the Polish campaign of 1807 was the inspiration to create my own Murat figure.
Aubier of the 20th Chasseurs a Cheval relates how Murat had his horse killed by a cannonball and gave him his, with the Marechal leaving one of his red morocco boots still in the stirrup.  With this and the beautiful paintings within the Hourtoulle book "From Eylau to Friedland" I set to creating from leftover plastic bits.
I referenced this painting for my Murat who, while hatless in the event captured by the painting below , without feathers and plumage is quite unthinkable.

A great image of Murat riding off on the trooper's horse. And I just happen to have only one horse left to use! Perfect!

Like Hollywood, I combined the two paintings for a "based on the true history" along with the two beautiful paintings.  The following photos show my efforts to create the famous napoleonic cavalry leader.
note the bootless socked left foot. The other side still has the original boot of the hussar officer's leg. The details are from the first painting with the addition of his hat.
With the view as per the second painting but with the troopers horse - his now killed - he is armed with a switch rather than a sword as he is in the Girbal painting
The horse is a Perry troopers, the legs that of an officer, the torso of a trumpeter with the lace and details removed and the arms of a heavy dragoon with the sword removed. The switch will be one of those thin plastic ties used to attach price tags on clothing and glued onto the gloved hand
The front sashes and medallions still need to be added. The initial plumage to the infantry bicorne will be accentuated with more feathers later. The left leg has it's boot scraped off.  
The final version
The final version.  Murat with his flowing locks of hair.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Gettysburg Gate

my scratch built "Gettysburg Gate" a representation of the famous cemetery gatehouse of the American Civil War battle.  General George Pickett of the CSA is shown here looking back at his destroyed division, one could assume.  (28mm Old Glory figure). 
Made of foam core and card with an old wood Monopoly playing piece as the top decoration!

Of course,  the really funny thing about all this, is that I have very few painted 28mm collection is now only 15mm.   The gate was built for a re-creation of the historical battle with a gaming group that I no longer attend. (  I guess I should sell it )

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sheep herding

For good or bad, I have been culling my old wargame magazine collection.  While I had indexed all the articles - yeah, yeah, anal ain't it? - I thought much of the paper/contents and thus storage space is of adverts for companies and products long since gone or articles I have no interest in (few as those may be) I had magazines subscriptions that are some 40 years old!

One of the kept articles was this rather humorous one of rules for sheep herding by Derek Henderson and Rob Le Vesconte.  Inspired by the rules - quite good and simple - I just had to, had to did I, to make the required pen, paint up the sheep and dog (with his previous location marker of a gloss brown lump on the ground) and the shepherd (an ECW artilleryman with added bend wire crook)

How can one not resist the lure as suggested in the introduction:
"If you find you are the wargamer given the flank to guard and no-one attacks there, or you simply find yourself up against an opponent who takes twice as long to move his troops as you do, then this game is for you.  Simply grab yourself a shepherd figure, a flock of sheep, fours fences to make a pen, and a dog and indulge in a little rural pursuit in some quiet corner of the table"

Note: I wish I had this set up during some of those extremely boring convention mega-games in which I suffered through in the past and now which I try to avoid!

my little rural pursuit newly made

Highlight of the rules are: "Sheep drift":  "If a sheep's move is halted by an immovable object (wall, house, French Grenadiers etc) then move....."

Unfortunately in my sometimes manic ripping up of the magazines and cutting of the UK A4 paper size to the North American sizing, I failed to keep in which issue I kept this article.......

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

"Improbable Invasion Halted" Lion Rampant game

Never heard of the  Chinese invasion of the Country Essex during the mid-14th Century and their defeat at the Battle of River Baldmore in 1348?  It was because of this victory of the English longbow that you have not!

Having three full but same liveried 24 point retinues(!) ...but no other medieval forces; and Andrew with no available forces himself, we shrugged off history and he brought his Chinese (refitted after an unfortunate box dropping incident) to have another go at the Lion Rampant rules.

Both of us having the rule book in hand, we helped each other through.  The rules are simple and effective and with good friends not worried about the "half inch extra", it makes for a fun game.  Had us both talking of making new retinues (armies).

His retinue in this battle had seven units including 2 bidowers (read: small unit of skirmishers) who actually did stellar work on my larger units of expert archers.  My good rolling of 'courage' saved me from losing them.

I used one of my retinues consisting of a dismounted MAA unit (tough lads these) a unit of foot sergeants, and two units of expert archers (these hit 17% better!)

The highlight of the battle - well for me at least - was the attack of my dismounted men-at-arms (and dutifully counter-attacked by his mounted boys) but with ALL my dice gaining hits and taking off 4 of his contingent including, with Andrews incredulous roll of double ones, his General! Unfortunately for the Chinese, their battle went downhill from then.

a few pictures of the action

The key clash of the battle.  
One of the Chinese bidower units coming out of the woods to take a good shot at my archers

part of Andrew's retinue
the battle mid-game
the archers a few casualites down 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Summertime Romans

I like the summer heat as we don't often get all that warm, with a few days exception, and certainly do not want to waste the opportunity to get outside while still doing some hobby stuff.  Usually that entails working on terrain items or prepping of the miniatures for the winter.  Think squirrel.
However, this year, once again the premier task was the dual Roman DBA armies. (see:previous post)

 With the outside in mind, I do not do my usual painting method but white primer and splash on the colours without too much concern with total neatness knowing the wash will (hopefully) cover any indiscretions.  Crouched over a folding table and chair, speed of application was the goal.  With the  time needed to complete their basing terrain included, it took me about 9 minutes per figure from "raw lead to ready-to-game"

The miniatures are mostly Old Glory Caesarian Romans with some other unknown types used for the auxiliary troops that were gained from trades.  The DBA rules armies are wonderfully small and so only a few Old Glory packs are needed -  these being found in the bargain bin at the local hobby store!

Roman Civil War!  I painted both armies at the same time.

The "General" stand for one of the armies

close up of the Old Glory models

All DBA armies consist of 12 elements. I varied the composition for these Roman armies by having one with its General mounted as cavalry. 
The one Roman army with the General as a cavalry element.  The bodies are of unknown origin with their Celtic heads chopped off to be replaced with OG Roman ones attached by 'green stuff' painted red to represent neckcloths.  I left the vexillum and indeed all the shields unmarked should some of the superb transfers available want to be employed

I say two armies and painted at the same time but how do I distinguish them?  From the photo, can you tell?
This picture shows a clearer contrast in the color of the edge of the bases.  One army in brown the other in black. Obvious if told and so useful in a head-to-head game but not so contrasting if wanting to double size the force. 

I have yet to game with this army nor indeed the previous "summertime armies" I have done.  Truth be told they may suffer the fate of several of my collections to be ever in a box -grin- 
For many fun in the sun is on a beach.  My version is painting armies and enjoying my hobby.