Thursday, 31 March 2016

Russian Napoleonic Opolchenie

The Battle of Borodino is one of the rare engagements which it is noted that the Russian Militia was armed and formed into combat units.   Around 15,000 were at the battle but most were employed in engineering tasks or in transportation duties.  Some were said to be added to the thinned ranks of the regulars, however, some 7,000 were stated to be formed in the left rear of the Russian position.  Probably militarily useless but....

Some while ago I traded some miscellaneous stuff for different miscellaneous stuff.  In this case for an extra box of Warlord Prussian Landwehr.  Having completed my collection of Prussians for the Waterloo Campaign I did not need anymore but could they work for the Opolchenie?
I am dubious about their combat role but willing to give the Russians at least two of the militia elements. It will take some carving....and modelling...but yeah, if one is not too picky about the details.

With reference guides only offering a vague idea, I had a concept of baggy pants and big beards. The following photos show the vicious scrape marks and filings employed to remove any offending "Prussian" bits.  However I did leave the maltese cross on the caps of course (which was copied by the Prussian Landwehr)

 I had fun using some 'brown stuff' to make the beards - absolutely required to make the boys into the Russian Militia! Can't do much about the Warlord oversized hands however.....

and the final painted version

my Opolchenie in formation.  I speed paint for most of my collections these days and so try to get over four done an hour. I don't do much touch up so please excuse the lack of finish. The "two feet away" rule, you understand.
Backing the Russian regulars and, well, showing their backs.  The fur packs were scraped smooth to give them Russian leather backpacks together with added extra sacks and such to hide the sameness of the only three poses provided by Warlord Miniatures plastics.   Hopefully those readers having those in their collections will not have recognized them!
Close up of their determination to defend the Motherland for the upcoming Battle of Borodino battle.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

The "village of Semenovskeya" (Battle of Borodino, 1812)

In preparation for the upcoming battle of Borodino game,  I created the "village of Semenovkaya" which was dismantled and burned to provide an clean field of fire so that "only a few walls were left standing".

With this in mind and the playability of large blocks of figures to move over it (as it has no defensive factor) I only made one half wall and left the outline as burnt out rubble.  In this way, the base can be turned to allow the blocks to be positioned unhindered.

Indeed it is more space filler than model piece but will be handy as a reference point for players over the table.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Napoleonic French camp scene

Perry Miniatures has a pack called "Hired Help" which are French infantry used to help the artillery move the guns around.  These are shown at rest after their exertions.

 I added the two of them holding implements to an artillery stand with two spare artillerymen to give me an additional element.
 This left one holding a cord of rope (good for a wagon vignette) and three in rest poses.
Together with these miniatures, the Perry box pack has pile of backpacks and the addition of two half-stands of muskets to which I added a piece of wire across the two and glued a bit of jewelry chain and an extra old bucket. A few pebbles and bits of blackened balsa as a camp fire finishes the vignette.

 I thus imagined a small camp scene with a member of the Guard Train stoking a fire with two weary soldiers in conversation.

An aesthetic bit just to sit in the corner to fill some table space ....  time, as a wargamer way, well wasted.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

"North is that way!!"

With no unfairness to Litko and similar companies offering bright plastic wargame markers, together with employment of other brightly coloured beads and such which in my opinion many wargamers unfortunately use I feel there is no need for such indicators to be such an eyesore.

Why not use a casualty figure as a 'hit' marker?  Or extra pieces of equipment as a 'shaken' indicator rather than a red bead?  Looks better on the table does it not?

Rant over......

I hosted a game awhile back for which I took elaborate effort to write out the scenario for each player to read.  It indicated the direction of each planned attack.  One player could not remember which direction on the table was 'North' and asked the question many times!  Frustrated, I scribbled a large arrow on a white piece of paper.  And yes, this glaring white piece of paper had to be left for the duration of the game.  Sigh.

I mentally examined the problem of how to mark direction upon the table ( i.e. "Which way is North?") and leave it for the duration the game, be applicable for all eras, and without it being too obtrusive.

one possible solution:
and, yes, all my battles occur upon golf greens...... ;)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Russian church, painted

Guilt hit me like a fist as I took a step back from the architectural nightmare I just painted.  All wrong. In my defence, it did not spend much detailed effort on the affair, knowing it ain't going to be true in any event. Serves me right starting by using a toilet roll tube as a support, eh?  However I guess I have seen worse on the tabletop without much discourse.   However, for me the "good scale" of it to the miniatures is actually a bit large for the ground scale.  If I have time I might do the actual Borodino Church.
my newly painted Russian Life Guard Jagers march past

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

WW1 air game...shot down again...

I like airgames but my piloting skill, frankly, is poor.   My luck also is in short supply.

Case in point.  I am flying around in my new SPAD which I bought.  There were two of us Frenchies vs three Boche.  Should be enough, oui?  No one was getting much success and most of the game was just flying around.  Yeah OK I did get early hits putting "DaveCoke"'s plane on fire - but he put it out.  Everyone was still in the fight. But later, DaveMc, my wing man, decided his damage was too much and scarpered.  The very next turn I ended up in the sights of ALL three German planes!

I was shot down.
Like always.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Not quite the Borodino Church...

Along with all the painting, I decided on making models of the villages in the battlefield of Borodino ( Bo-rrrrod-knee-o) rather than again constructing paper models. Almost as light, and I could not find any paper buildings I really liked and.... I had this dome...

Let me explain.  About 30 years ago, the vodka maker Smirnoff added for promotion a large plastic Christmas ornament to the top of their bottles in a shape of a onion shaped Orthodox church roof top.  Very cool.  I have kept the thing throughout all my moves, knowing one day I would make a church for it.  Romantic, no?  ( hey, who ever said "wargamer crazy" please refrain from further comments please!)

 I am so far enjoying the building.  My wife says, "Why not a real fence, then if you like building out of wood so much? ".   But she obviously does not know how I go about making these models.  No plans or even thought to it.  Just a few pictures for inspiration and a whole lot of improvisation along the way.  I use many thoughts like: "hmm, if I just fit in another half piece" or "Oops, I guess I'll need to cover that gap by gluing in a extra length" using whatever pieces and foam core sheets and bits I have.

a picture of the early work:
Obviously no architectural engineers were employed. With foam core walls, tongue depressor roof, and an empty toilet paper roll holding up the dome you understand why......

The famous church at Borodino is a fine example of Russian Orthodox Church architecture.  But this ain't it.... but I plan to use it to represent the village of Borodino in our upcoming game when though it is vastly oversized for the battlefield/gametable scale.

Again I must insist that all architects, structural engineers, construction contractors, historical designers and all real builders among you, do not comment or even breath heavily through your nose about the rather dubious style of the model please.  ( that includes you in the back row looking mournfully at the blueprints )

stage two of construction:
Overhang roof and some siding still to be added. 

stage three of the construction:
These few railing columns I have had for over thirty years!   I just knew I would have the perfect use for them someday.....

final primer before painting: