Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kokoda - the non-action at Fela?

Unfortunately I couldn't make the game last weekend due to unforeseen (by me it seems) family commitments.  The scenario had a small PIB unit virtually surrounded by Japs coming from possibly three directions and cutting us off from our base in Isurava with other Allied forces led by Doug and Ian coming to the rescue US cavalry-style.  I'm reliably informed it didn't quite go that way.

I dunno how it went other than the Japs got what they were after (whatever that was) and withdrew.  I think we may have lost a section but otherwise were able to withdraw back to Isurava.  Not a lot of action it seems.

Nonetheless my wargaming pal and redoubtable Jap commander Greg sent some of his beautifully Photoshopped pictures of what action there was - from a Japanese perspective of course.  One shot appears to be of Andrew's Aircobra - implying we (the Allies) may have had some air cover?  Wonders never cease as 'Dugout Doug' MacArthur had only recently withdrawn all combat aircraft to the Australian mainland - just in time for us to make the forlorn assault to retake Kokoda (yeh, right!)

The table set-up with Allied commanders deep in conference with game umpire Andrew - where are those bloody Japs?
[Note all photos in this post are by Greg Blake]

Oh, there they are!

And there...

And finally, there!  That's a lot of bleedin' Japs Sir! Er, Sir?...

(Jap commander) Big George picks his nose... er, sorry contemplates his patch of jungle and realises just how bloody annoying those (Jap) starshells can be!

A much-vaunted Aircobra makes a tree-top run - hope he plastered some of those Japs with cannon-fire or dropped his bloody great 500 pounder bomb right on top of 'em! (although fat chance of that unless Ian was flying it!)

The next game promises to be more of a real battle as it'll be the campaign-turning battles at either Isurava or Milne Bay - the latter of course being the first serious Japanese defeat of WWII.  As it was achieved by the Australians and as his Marines were in pretty dire straights in Guadalcanal at the time, MacArthur ensured that we got none of the publicity and little of the kudos such a victory would have otherwise received (had it been by the Americans).  It remained that way for 50 years as few war histories - and virtually no American histories of the war in the Pacific and even of the Papuan campaign mentioned it or accorded it any significance.  But of course with our wargaming, if the Allies loose either battle it could be the end of the campaign - so big stakes at play for us!

The following is totally unrelated to the above but is a link to the Angry Lurker's blog, which has recently achieved some dizzying heights in blogdom with now over 800 followers.  As Mr Lurker is also a fine deranged wargaming enthusiast like the rest of us, I thought I'd make a link to his site and give it a plug.  He's a zombie movie affectionado too, which further commends him to us!

The Angry Lurker: 800 Followers and the One.

Definitely a quality blog.  Mr Lurker produces great wargaming figures, movie reviews and as a bonus, the most tasteful shots of a pneumatically-endowed lady or two.


So be a lurker at Angry's blog - you won't regret it!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

FPW Prussian Army

After over two years of collecting and painting, and painting... and MORE painting! ...I finally finished my Franco-Prussian Wars (FPW) Prussian army.

Doc's Prussian horde - Vorwarts meine Kinder, der Franzosiche ist Kaput!

Its the approximate size representing a Prussian division and I've set it up as three infantry brigades of two regiments (each of two battalions of 24 figures) plus a small jaeger battalion of 12 figures.  Only the Guard Bde is a bit short with three battalions plus jaeger.  Added to that I've created two artillery batteries of the famous Krupps breech-loaders and a cavalry brigade of three 10-figure regiments.  There's a command for each brigade and a separate divisional command - all of which have been covered in previous posts.  The figures are on 60x30mm bases @ three figs each for Black Powder rules (although they are also suitable for other rules too).  I made the bases a bit deeper as they accommodated the figures better and look better on the table en masse.

Prussian army made for Black Powder rules

The last unit I had to do was a Prussian allied Hesse Darmstadt regiment.  Other than the Bavarian, Saxon and Wurttemburg contingents, many of these allied regiments were almost indistinguishable from the Prussians as they used virtually the same uniforms and equipment.  Which was fortunate as I have only Foundry Prussian figures available at the moment!  

Hesse Darmstadt Infantry Bde mit Jaeger!

The Foundry FPW range is one of my favourites and one of the better ones of their older figure lines in my opinion.  There is also a reasonable amount of poses and figure/uniform types to give it some real variation - often conspicuously lacking in ranges first made over a decade ago.

Hesse Darmstadt  Regt, jaeger & line commands

I should also give Ian Croxall's 'Warflag' site a plug too as he provided the most of the Prussian and the Hesse flag.  Warflag has wargaming flags for a large range of era's including one of the few decent collections on the net of those for 19th C conflicts.  The range obviously includes Prussians and some of their allies but that for the French 2nd Empire is also excellent and comprehensive too - including command pennants. 

Its probably a little over-sized and I nearly mucked it up with the glue 
but a bit of paint and the Hesse flag came up a treat!

One of the challenges presented with the Hesse contingent was representing a light infantry battalion.  I have seen old pictures of Rhineland contingent light infantry wearing the standard Prussian feldmutze flat cloth cap instead of the classic jaegerhut  and as I only had enough figures in the latter for two small battalions, I took some artistic licence and made the Hesse boys up from Prussian cloth cap figures. I converted one of the marching figures to a jaeger bugler with the addition of a plastic arm with bugle and a 'swallows nest' shoulder tab for musicians.  The plastic spare bits box is the wargamer's friend - worth its weight in gold!

Hesse Darmstadt Jaeger Command in feldmutze

Other figures that I did a little (or rather a lot!) of conversion work included the cavalry command (detailed in a previous post) and more recently, and infantry brigade command with one mounted officer (formerly an artillery outrider) and a standard bearer with a command pennant.  The mounted figure took quite a bit of shaping with the Dremel tool to make tight-fitting officer's jodhpurs and boots from baggy old outriders pants but Meine Herr is now a figure of sartorial splendour - even if the nag he's on is a bit over-loaded with campaign baggage (undt ver ist zat verdammten orderly!)

Line command - the artilleryman got a promotion 
- sharpened the point on his pickelhaube too!

The other part of the army I like is the Guard Bde consisting of six battalions of line & one of jaeger - four in greatcoat - which made them a bit easier to paint up.  It should be a minimum of eight battalions - nine with jaeger - but I ran out of figures and what the heck - it can be an under-strength brigade (after Gravolette or wherever it was they got flogged by French Chassepots!)

The Guard Brigade

The mounted Guard commander looked a bit lonely by himself and being probably an elder gent, slightly hard of hearing too so I gave him a staff officer who's shouting advice to him.

Eh, what's that young feller - speak up!

Last but not least are the awesome breech-loading Krupps artillery - almost a war-winner for the the Germans all by themselves as they literally blew away the competition!  These guns with their peculiar crew seats were actually quite hard to find - I had one but it took me over a year to finally find one that matched (thanks Doug!)  In Black Powder one model can represent a battery, so four guns is more than enough for a full division, although I plan to run them in matched pairs.  Again, Foundry at their best IMO.

And because I can't resist - more Prussian cavalry - Achtung! Der Kuirass kommt!  The command is the other conversion I talked about earlier - very simple, just a bit of Dremel tool action and a heated and shaped plastic cloak and viola! - you have the cav brigade commander!

 The Magdeburg regiment of heavies thunder forward on another Tottenritt at the French guns

Well, that's it for my Prussians.  Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures of them in action, as soon as I've finished painting up my FPW French - only about 8 or 9 battalions of infantry and two or three regiments of cav to go!  

Nah, just kiddin'!  My mate Doug's got the other half of the French good to go so although I do have plenty more to paint up, it should allow us to have a game or two in the not-to-distant future.

Prussian Line in battalion (of 24 figures each) in column with Jaeger skirmish-line

As always, click on the pics to enlarge and feel free to leave a comment - I mightn't post too regularly but I have been known to reply to comments!


Friday, September 2, 2011

Doc's Warhammer fantasy stuff

I was trying to finish off the Prussians - inching towards that goal incrementally - more by millimetres than inches!   But I recently discovered that I had in fact run out of space to store them.  The only solution (acceptable to the Minister of War & Finances, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed) was to get rid of a few figures.  They're all my 'children' - how can you get rid of one lot over another? Shouldn't all children be loved equally?

Some 'eavy Orcs!

The answer to this dilemma was the most obvious - those I haven't touched in years - should be the first to be considered.  I started with all the old Warhammer/fantasy armies I collected and painted up for my sons over the years.  Two of them - the Undead and the Orcs - I literally hadn't touched in nearly a decade!  But first I had to see what I had and fix up any bits that needed fixing.  I also had to ask the permission of the boys who I collected the armies for in the first place.  The owner of the Orcs was unfazed - he hadn't been interested in 10 years and wouldn't be again any time soon - more interested in any money I could get for them!

'ordes of Orcs!

The 'owner' of the Undead took a quite different view.  He chucked a wobbly over it.  No matter that I hadn't even gotten to the point of actually cataloguing what I had (and no, he wouldn't have a clue either - he also hadn't touched them in over ten years!)  The end of the tale was that after listing them all and fixing them up, back they went into the boxes to gather dust for another decade.  Ironically its touching that he actually appreciated what I did for him all those years ago, whereas the other two who didn't kick up a fuss, couldn't give a monkey's about the figures.  Funny old world innit?

Orc Shaman an' some Orc Arraboyz

Meanwhile, I've recorded what I've got - and mighty proud of the painting effort, given my relative lack of experience at the time.  So I thought I'd post the pics of them at least.  The Orcs will soon be going on Ebay (unless anyone viewing this blog wants to make a generous offer!) but the Undead will have to moulder in their undead-ness (in my garage) for another eon or two... [sigh]

Undead Necromancer & Armoured Skels

Some more Undead gruesomeness...

Vampire Lords & their batswarms - amongst the first figures I ever painted!

Nagash - the Undead Lord - unfortunately no longer part of the Undead 
- but a nice collector's item you'd think!

One of the figures I'm most proud of - a mounted Vampire Lord.
Took a bit of trial & error but I finally got the ghastly flesh-tone right!
One of GW's best figures IMO.

One of the first vignettes I ever attempted was that for the Orc general who I think went by the name of Morgrimm Necksnapper!  Went to town adding gruesome bits and pieces of slain opponents from a 'deboned' Brettonian Knight (well, the head and spine anyway!) and a cleaved dwarf with a splitting headache!  It'll be part of the Orc army that's for sale (if I can sell it that is!)

Amongst the other Orcs up for grabs will be the ghastly Nightgoblins.  I particularly like their shaman with his magic mushrooms and the hilarious goblin beserkers.  The latter operate kind of like whirling dervishes - with wrecking balls.  Once let loose their trajectory is determined by the dice and they literally blast through anything in their rather erratic path - friend or foe. 

Last but not least is one of the original Orc catapults - rocklobbas - just picked them up in bits and pieces at the trade stands at various cons and put them all together.  A rather special crew, one of whom is rather rude orc mooning his intended targets while his grinning companion looks on.  

There is a lot more but I think that's enough for me for the time being - gotta finish those damned Prussians!

If anyone is interested in an Orc army in all its gruesome green orkiness - leave a comment or send an email to: wonchangers@gmail.com