Thursday, 22 December 2016

Another Napoleonic ambulance

Following a rather fun production of a Russian Field Station (link), I sought to do a "the after-effects of combat"  for each of my Napoleonic armies.  What this says about my phycology vis-a-vis playing war but having enjoyment with toy soldiers is something I do not want to contemplate - mainly as it takes away from the fun! But it is something interesting to look at and eye-candy to place within the blank spaces on the tabletop.

This Belgian ambulance started as the Perry ACW version ( link )  I coveted and which I saw the possibility to convert.  Surprisingly little was needed.  Of course the heads needed to be replaced as to provide the appropriate headgear.  I added tails and turnbacks to the tunics along with epaulettes and cuff-flaps. The Belgians often tucked their trousers into the half gaiters so the pants, together with  the era's mens fashion having them wear loose under shirt and suspenders, has the original ACW fellow standing at the back of the wagon not out of place and thus without need of change.

The wagon, perhaps confiscated from a hapless Brussels civilian, surrounded by the Perry casualty pack, sets the scene of the clean up of the carnage of Waterloo.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Napoleonic skirmish (Flintloque-ish)

Hosted a “Napoleonic Skirmish” game using my old collection of 40mm-ish Flintloque figures; fantasy figures of the Napoleonic era and loosely based upon -originally- the ‘Sharpe’ series of historical fiction novels by Bernard Cornwell.  But now it has expanded to included toads, dogs, undead and other such creatures.
Years ago a local fellow was a major distributor who wanted some painted which I did in exchange for some of the figures.  I went about divesting the Orcs (their British types) of the tusks, the Elves (their French “Franche”) of pointy ears, and gathered together different historical units of Bog Orcs (their Irish) for a collection geared for the Peninsular War in Spain.
I tried to keep it roughly historical; the uniforms are as close as the sculpting allows.

Units are all the same size, no national characteristics, all fight the same.  And no 'morale'; all continue to move along happily until 'dead'.  Simplicity reduces the necessity of the number of rules to remember quite a bit I found.  Thus rules are homemade and simple…real simple…for a convention setting you understand.
The kinda rules that have 6’s and 1’s hit regardless.  Why the “and 1s” you ask?  I seem only to roll 1’s and I want to have hits too!  Actions by the highest card played by each of the players.  Combat conducted with the highest dice rolled.  That sort of rules in play.  A five year old should certainly understand it, so it hopefully should work well enough at the local wargames club for a pick-up game……
the version of "Sweet William" and the 60th
the French Grenadiers
The French howitzer.   A 40mm Perry gun; which gives you some perspective on the scale of the figures.
My whole collection, with each unit of 10 figures. British and Allies to the left, French and Allies in the middle, and Spanish to the right.  
photos from the game:
the version of the French Imperial Guard Fusiliers-Chasseurs (front) and Fusiliers-Grenadiers (rear)
Were these in Spain?  Don't know or care, but the uniforms matched the figures!
Spanish Walloon Regiment (the uniforms seem near enough)
British Light Infantry.  Sculpts with short legs, big hands, big heads!  Lots of character nonetheless....

The game itself?  Well ....I was massacred. Enough said.  :)

Friday, 18 November 2016

the 100Days Campaign Part 1

I volunteered to use my collection to occasionally fight out the miniatures battles of a campaign organized by David (see:link) Not knowing of the players or their intentions, it is very interesting getting "marching orders" without knowing the larger picture.  Just as a soldier in like real life!

Part 1 of this campaign (for me) was the playing out of the maneuvers of the players for the Battle of Thuin.

Battle of Thuin…the morning.

It was a wonderful asset to have a portion of the reserve to reinforce his contingent Steinmetz mused. But for it to be of full use, it must be deployed, along with his own artillery, in the open plain in front of the town.  To protect the guns, he was forced to deploy before the town and not in the better defensive position within, and thus, in the open.  He hoped the guns might reduce the French attack but it would depend upon the numbers the French would place against him.  He certainly wondered why he was so isolated.

Steinmetz deployed his meager units in a line south of the town, with the jagers in the woods in a position to offer a threat to the French left as they advanced from the south.  The various limbers, wagons and caissons of the artillery were arrayed in an area to the north-west of the town along the road network.

The French General Vandamme certainly did not believe in subtlety and advanced on a broad front with his horse on the far right (east) to swing in behind Thuin to cut off any Prussian retreat.
He soon discovered the firepower of the extra guns used by the Prussians but continued to press the point. One of Lefol’s brigades recoiled out to the woods in a failed attempt to clear the Prussian jagers and Vandamme was forced to move his reserve of Girard’s small division to keep the jagers threat at bay.

The height of the French (top) attack on Steinmetz's Prussians (bottom) before the town of Thuin
With the massed Prussian guns slowly reducing his effectiveness, Vandamme had no choice but to move into the Prussian infantry defending the guns in a sweeping attack, even though at poor odds. From 10am to noon, there was attack and counter attack as the guns boomed.

Hearing the cannon fire, French Cavalry General Kellerman hastened his pace; but shortly, exhausted couriers gave him word of a Prussian cavalry force following him.  As he gave a questioning thought of how did the Germans get in behind him, he issued orders to about face and meet this new threat.  Those officers whose units were indeed among the Prussian wagons placed behind Thuin also gave pause to question why, in the moment of attack, they were ordered to about face and move away, but such is the maneuvers of war.
Kellerman's foremost units among the Prussian rear echelon before being ordered to about-face.

However, the effect of masses of French cavalry near the Prussian rear echelon and the subsequent panic by the wagoners strained the morale of the Prussian force which, for the moment held, as the 24th Regiment counterattacked to protect the guns and the 12th refused its left from being outflanked.

The indomitable red-coated Swiss of Habert’s Brigade broke the 24th exposing the whole Prussian centre. So by noon the Prussian line was essentially broken with their substantial artillery intact but near to be overrun with nowhere to retreat as the town would inhibit any rapid withdrawal.
The red tunics of the Swiss of Habert's Brigade in assault of the Prussian guns 

Battle of Thuin…. the afternoon

Around noon Vandamme needed to reorganize his infantry supports bringing fresh troops in his continuing head-on attacks on the massed Prussian guns.  While these attacks forced the Prussian guns to flee, the French suffered further casualties but nonetheless were in a position to take the village of Thuin by 2pm.

To the north of Thuin, Kellerman with his heavy cavalry now facing the new Prussian force from the north.  Leaving his small contingent of horse-artillery on the road he extended his troops to the right. The leading Prussian light horse fell back from the French advance exposing the columns of Ziethen's Prussian infantry in squares and the Prussian artillery which quickly eliminated the French cannon. Now faced with a large corps sized force ready to withstand any charge, with a good cavalry reserve and plenty of artillery, Kellerman was forced with the impossibility of attack due to the complete lack infantry support and, if remaining in position, only the slow destruction of his force by cannon fire. Rather than wait for the infantry of Vandamme to mop up the Prussian forces remaining around Thuin to eventually come to his ‘rescue’, Kellerman would again about-face his horsemen and cross the river to link up with Vandamme.

As Kellerman was facing his choices to the north, Surprisingly, the Prussian morale of Steinmetz’s command at Thuin was still holding (the required 6 was rolled!) allowing some of the remaining Prussian units to take a defensive position in the eastern section of the town.

In spite of Vandamme’s success, his was spent force by 2pm, and no more action would be taken.  He spent the rest of the day consolidating his force south of the town.
The Prussians of Pirch II in Ziethen's Corps included the 28th Regiment (ex-Berg) clothed in white tunics.  The cube on the base of the 6th Regiment (at the right) shows it to be in square to defend itself against Kellerman's heavy cavalry during this Battle of Thuin

 Kellerman retreated before Ziethen [ “My command then advanced in a different direction” he wrote in his report to Napoleon ] and fell into the fleeing Prussian limbers and caissons of the Prussian Reserve Artillery thus eliminating this force from the campaign. Late in the afternoon he would meet up with Vandamme south of Thuin.
The French Carabineers (in the distance, with Kellerman directing) continue to face Zeithen's Prussians while the rest of the cavalry corps retreat advance in a different direction led by the 11th Cuirassier Regiment (who were without cuirasses during the campaign)
The rather haphazard retreat of the Prussian artillery assets of Steinmetz's command (shown in a limbered state by the wheels on the bases).  The knapsack marker indicates they are also disordered by retreating from the French.  These would soon be destroyed by Kellerman's French cavalry.
Ziethen's Prussian Corps

Zeithen for his part, was confused about the French intentions and so halted his advance at the north side of the bridge.
Ziethen ponders the rather unsupported maneuvers by the French

Steinmetz remaining very weak brigade held half the town but any further French attacks would inevitably have it destroyed.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

"Shogun Era" Japanese Peasants

12 figures.... only 1 point... for my Lion Rampant Japanese Clan.
While I don't really know if doing these 12 figures is worth doing for only the 1 point value for my Lion Rampant games, it was interesting to do nonetheless.  I used one pack each of the Perry peasants advancing and Ikko Ikki (the poses with some armour) .

Most of the spears and weapons supplied I wasn't thrilled about so I replaced some with a sturdy length of steel rod, angled the end to a point and painted as green bamboo. Yes, fresh bamboo would not be a good choice but I take it as an expediency for the poor people of the village and more interesting to paint than plain wood.

I used the smaller 1 and 2 figure basing for this unit feeling it will give a 'closer' feel of the unit portraying the fear which they might have, facing more trained troops --- and make casualty removal that much easier!
  The bases are, again, random shaped to prevent the 'ranked' deployment unlikely for these people.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Shogunate Japanese bulidings

It is one of those obvious but often overlooked things about a new collection/army/"project" that we miniatures wargamers must account for is the terrain and environment within our forces must 'fight'.  Foremost of these pieces are buildings, as they are the most obvious display of the era and conflict.  

Thus with my growing forces of samurai and ashigaru I had to add some buildings as this is my first excursion 'east'.   The local hobby store stocks 4Ground buildings.  These are "prefab" MDF thin wood constructs which can be glued together.  Other than a few oh-darn-I-put-that-piece-in-backwards!! moments, they went together well, with good precision. The pieces are laser cut and the lingering smell of burnt wood might last awhile.  I was showing my wife my efforts and after the obligatory "That's nice, dear", she questioned if the neighbours had their fireplace on.  Her good nose still noticed the smell even after days of the finished model sitting in the open.

As most of the model is "pre-painted" I did little painting other than the top of the roof design which I painted a similar color to that of the rest of the wood; and the overhang of the house which I felt a little too light a wood shade and gave it a heavy wash instead to maintain the dark planking marks.

The main alteration was with the 'thatch' roof which was supplied with the model and made from teddy-bear fur!  The Japanese roof design is slightly outward at the top but the supplied fur for both models was laying in the wrong direction!  However I pulled and stretched the fur backing.

Once glued firmly in place, and using painters tape to protect the roof ends of the model as I knew it would be messy work,  I brought out a very large stiff haired brush to mix and apply a heavy  combination of dark paint, white glue, and a bit of water, over the entire roof.  This pasted down the golden tinted 'hair' to make it slightly more "thatchy"  I hoped.  A comb was used to slightly uplift  horizontal lines to simulate the layers of thatch.  A light dry-brush of a dull grey tries to replicate the weathered effects of old materials.

As it was my very first attempt at teddybear fur, I was nervous about its effectiveness but I think it looks the part (having never seen the real thing, mind you!) and looks a bit better than the original manufacturers model I feel.  Nevertheless, now I have "context" for my samurai battles of the future.

Monday, 24 October 2016

War of 1812 set up

While it is everyday that I do something wargame-ish, I do such diverse activities with all my different "projects" whether I want to, or not, few things ever get done to record.  Thus nothing new to report. Sigh.
However to fill the large table, if only for the fun of viewing, I set up a scenario version of the Battle of Long Island of the AWI.  I may not get to it, but fun to view the large number of regiments I have done --- and still more to do!!

Inside the American fortifications
The British flanking move
The 49th Foot in greatcoats they wore during the Battle of Crysler's Field in 1813.  I gave the Old Glory British infantry a "coating" of green-stuff.
The War of 1812 offers fun variations on the usual British regiment such as the West India Regiments (left) and the Swiss "deWattville" (right)

.....and the 13th Foot in white shakos from their stint in the West Indies. Did not indeed wear them long in Canada but that small detail doesn't make the 'cool!' factor.  Sister unit, the 64th in garrison at Halifax, Nova Scotia, did however, but they did not engage in combat.
Plus I have collected lots of the 'usual' line troops.  Canadian militia in the rear reinforce the advance.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

new Ashigaru

I try, I do really try, but sometimes I can't stick to just one "project".  Everything wargaming and military history is interesting to me and thus just reading a new article, seeing an old collection or happening upon a group of miniatures will set me off on a new direction.
But I am trying to stick to this "Katana Rampant" theme.  Thusly the only thing I am painting
[ among all the other stuff :-) ] are the Kingsford Japanese of the 16th C..  I really like the sculpting so it is easy to continue to concentrate upon.

Just finished the second ashigaru unit which now gives my 'Takeda Katsuyori Clan" 18 points which, if anyone else wants a game, will give me enough for a small engagement.  Ultimately planning for 30 points for each of my two (eventual) clans.
Teppo. These arquebusiers form the Takeda Katsuyoui skirmish unit.  The archers behind are part of the new ashigaru mixed-weapon unit behind
The viewer may notice that I use various sizes and shapes of the bases within each unit.  This is to prevent any "rank upon rank" formations. Rampant rules are skirmish-y in nature and in the Kurosawa films formations are not rigid so this is the look I want.  Hard to make evenly ranked units with big circles, ovals and small rounds!
I have various multiple grouping and singles so any number of casualties can always be removed.

Purchased a 4Ground Japanese cottage MDF building and now half way to completing the structure.  Interesting to do the jigsaw puzzle (grin!). Nicely done however,  Being an old wargamer and remembering when such luxuries as such pre-cut, pre-painted buildings were not around, I still have the urge to make my own out of much cheaper materials. However does the cost outweigh the poorer quality self construction modelling and painting?  In this case I think I shall continue to purchase these building if only for consistency of form if nothing else.  (it's important to me)

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Perry loveliness

While watching one of those silly rom-coms, I asked my wife, "Do you believe in love at first sight?"
Not even taking her eyes off the screen, she replied: "Has the Perry's put out a new range?"

Well, since you did mention it.....

from the Perry new Cape Wars range

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Still got it

The annual date has arrived which leads me to the usual introspection.  Among the routines, I have a look at all my collections and see the years of painting.  The many, many hours of ....

Anyway, I used to paint eyes on certain figures whose sculpting is deserving of such detail.   These days, even with the very nice ones, washes or ignoring of such small items, is the normal with me.
However,  I rummaged into the boxes to look at my old French AWI collection of Front Rank miniatures and sought to give it a reorganization and complete it, having sat forlornly half-completed.  Most were painted many years ago and some only slightly more recently.  While close in style, I saw the difference and wanted some 'continuity' for this collection.  With this in mind, I needed to paint eyes once again to added to some of these units.

I must admit that I got the thrill of acknowledging that I have not quite lost the painting ability...and steady hand...needed.  Yeah, OK, not quite the standards of the best. Not even close.  But I am OK with the effort. Actually I am stoked that after a period of 23 years(!) I could still get that detail. A good birthday gift to myself.

The new ones are on the different bases (you can still see the white glue!).  I have yet to decide on a terrain scheme.  Probably the usual.....

French Martinique Colonial Regiment of c 1780
French 'Dillon' Regiment of the AWI period.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

"Katana Rampant"

Here I am starting yet another collection/project/army(ies).
In my defence,  I had this one purchased a long time ago.   But it was sadly left in dark boxes until, yet again, the rules "Lion Rampant" come to the rescue to save yet another of my collections from neglect.

Kingsford Miniatures is a local wargamer who produces a very nice range of 28mm Samurai of the popular 1550-1615 period.  I did not appreciate the nice sculpting and quality casting - lack of heavy mold lines or flash - until I started painting them..... I am trying to find my old form to give them credit.  Unfortunately I am up to 3.0 Readers now.

I guess my interest in the period is due to early watchings of 'Ran' and 'Shogun'.  Originally I thought to use DBA but no one around here games with these rules, so I bought enough for both sides.  At the time "Mr. Kingsford" had me paint up some cavalry so he could photo them for his website.  When returned they sat in the box and every few months I would think to do the rest of the army, but.....

With my enthusiasm for LR, I re-examined my collection, and discovered that I had enough to do two "retinues".  Excellent!!   Not only could I form two "armies" , but my original purchasing is pleasantly perfect for the LR organization.  For example,  I bought both the ashigaru 'at ease' and 'fighting, and some 'fighting' samurai.  I can throw in a couple of the extra samurai into the ashigaru unit to bulk up the numbers and to add yet more diversity and enough for one retinue. For the other, the 'at ease' boys were a bit static - not much wrong with that with such a position of course - but rather bland for a skirmishy game.  However, LR does have the "mixed-arm" classification which allows for both missile and combat types in the same unit, which allows me to add some archers to diversify the look to a large degree and, perhaps, is even better historically in terms of tactical deployment. Thus I have two rather different but even dispositions.   And just enough poses for all.  Very convenient.  Do you get as spiritual when things come together this well?

My clan/retinue so far.  I will probably switch to white sashimono (the small flags) for the other units.
The archers let loose while the spearmen wait.
The lone archer denotes the leader - should I need him - but also gives me the option of giving these mounted samurai bow fire should I want to.  

Sunday, 4 September 2016


Will Murat ride again?  One of my tabletop figures is modelled after the famous Napoleonic commander which I created out of miscellaneous plastics and green stuff and which I am fairly proud.  However, as my wife loves to point out, he stays in a box much of the time.
 Then why the effort?  Indeed.

 I have too many interests and too many to do and already have too many miniatures to play with.  So why more?

Well, just as I finish typing these musings, she comes to me with the story of finding an old cook book, a treasure she once desired, by collecting cereal box tops!  She sighs as she states that she has never used any of the recipes and hasn't looked at it for years. It is stored along with the many others, mostly unused.  Enlightenment?  Nah. Probably totally unrelated.

My Murat at the height of his game.

The Story of it's creation at:link

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Battle of Hanau edition two

Four years in.....

For our annual Summer game, Seth kindly brought his Austrians and Bavarians to have another go at the historical battle of Hanau of 1813 during the conclusion of Napoleon’s Autumn Campaign.

 We wanted to do this one again as it was an anniversary of a sort;  the first official crack at our rules was done on the 200th year of this battle. Now that we are happy with the rules, we were curious to see if the game would be different from the first going.

We are amazed that it has only been some four years from discussing about the original idea to now Organizing the boxes to find those units required for the game, I laid all I have out on the table. Almost 2200 figures…. eep. Along with Seth and all the others who have painted and based units for these rules, we have almost all the units required to do any of the big Napoleonic affairs!

The Hanau scenario is an interesting one.  You have the French army in retreat, disorganized, strangling home with only a few viable combat units; the Guard being the most potent.  Opposing them is a large but weak Bavarian force, very poorly deployed with supporting Austrians on the wrong side of a river.  Now to be honest, the extremely poor deployment was caused by uncertainty on which road Napoleon would travel but it certainly did not help the A-B effort.  But we like doing historical battles so it is up to the players to make things happen.  As it were, Seth and his Bavarians would almost do the impossible and stop the Guard! Almost.

The following are a few pictures of the game with any notes done in the captions.

The arial view of the battlefield with the French emerging from the forest (left) and the Bavarian infantry in two lines with the Austrians on the far bank of the river.  Seth's Hanau on the table edge (right) Photo by Seth.

The boys in cornflower blue
The French left of Sebastiani's and Hansouty's horse. I went with the historical deployment with both the line and Guard formations mixed up to a large degree rather than the simpler groupings. This, of course, had an adverse effect on command and movement and so took the French much longer to make their force made.
The French Imperial Guard Infantry and Artillery of the 'centre' 
The French left of "Macdonald's " (a combined formation of many smaller French commands. All were very small and, as an indication,  most battalions were well under 100 men in strength!)
The Allied army awaits Napoleon's onslaught.

Seth's Bavarian infantry are 28mm HaT figures.  A bit smaller than others, but look good altogether on the tabletop. You can sense Seth is determined to get a good effort out of them!
The horse about to clash.
The French Grenadiers-A-Cheval on their black horses about to ride down Austrian jaegers as the Austrian horse move to support.  Photo by Seth - as you can tell as it is from HIS side of the table......

The Guard was largely immobile in the early phases of this battle. The need for artillery fire and later poor command rolls. I am a bad General when it comes to dice rolls!
Seth did a good job whittling away at McDonald's French (top) who must maneuver slowly out of the woods
To represent the large line of stragglers and such which constituted much of the French army, we placed down some miscellaneous wagons which could be "captured' which would give the Allies some victory points and which the French needed to protect. As it were the French finally punched through and away to France but the Allies effort was better than the original battle.