Friday, April 19, 2013

More figures painted and a Napoleonic Black Powder bash down t'club!

Been hellishly busy on domestic chores (i.e. trying to get as many done as possible) before I return to work (part-time) at the end of the month, all of which means I am very late in posting anything on the blog which has had to take a back seat to all other activities.  Nonetheless I have managed to get in some good wargaming (should always time for that I reckon!) with a Bolt Action game set in Crete (Op MERCURE) which saw my Fallschirmjaeger take the vital Tavronitis iron bridge south of Maleme airfield from the tough Kiwis, RAF-types and their Cretan allies. Actually the poor old Cretan guerrillas didn't get involved as they rolled to come on, failed their morale and promptly ran off again.  The RAF ground crew actually performed heroically, doing a bayonet charge on my HMG and taking it out. But in the end the allies were virtually wiped out, helped also by two very successful airstrikes from my supporting JU87 Stuka.  Unfortunately I didn't get photos of the game which is a pity as Andrew had put together a very impressive iron bridge for us to fight over!
My Flamenwerfer crew again wreaked havoc
The other game played was a Black Powder Napoleonic one at our Lanyon club for our monthly get-together. This was a simple encounter game between three brigades of infantry, two of cavalry and three artillery batteries per side. I know in BP one artillery piece equals a battery but we think that looks pretty naff so we make up small batteries of up to three guns apiece - much more aesthetically pleasing on the tabletop!

The old Foundry figures I picked up at a bring&buy form the voltigeur company for my Legere battalion.  
I provided the figures and on the Austro-Russian side were six battalions (@ 32-36 figures each) in two brigades of Austrians including Jaeger, Grenzer and Grenadiers as well as Line - but no Landwehr as I couldn't get them all painted in time. Each had a battery of guns and the Grenz had battalion pop-guns.  They were accompanied by six battalions (@ 24 figures each) of Russians in one brigade - four line, one jaeger and one grenadier.  There was one Austrian (Chevau-Leger & Kuirassier) and one Russian (Uhlans & Cossacks) cavalry brigades.  The Russians were accompanied by a horse artillery battery.  On the French & Allied side were one French infantry brigade of four battalions (three Line, one Legere) with a 12 pdr battery, one Guard brigade of two battalions of Poles and three of Chasseurs d'Eble ('orrible Corsicans!) and one of two battalions of Italians (one of them cacciatores - light infantry) and three of Bavarians.  Both these brigades contained one small battalion each of sharpshooters - one of the Bavarians were rifle-armed jaeger.  The cavalry were four regiments divided into two brigades - Chasseurs, Dragoons and Horse Artillery in one and Bavarian Chev-Leger, Polish lancers in the other.  Perfect size for a quick game.

Making an appearance for the first time were my recently completed Legere battalion.

The first Austrian brigade deploys with Grenzer skirmishers to the front.
It was our first use of the BP rules for some time and after we sorted out a few things - mostly about applying national characteristics to our troops and what advantage/disadvantage that provided during gameplay - we got stuck in, and the game flowed quite smoothly.  

First blood - quite a bit of it actually - went to Doug's Austrians who managed to destroy my 1st cavalry brigade.  The Austrian Chevau-Leger took out their perfectly matched counterparts the Line Chasseurs (with my newly painted command and elite squadrons!) in a short and sharp hand-to-hand. Cut 'em down to a man (and horse)! It was a reminder of just how bloody and final the BP rules can be.  I managed to get some shooting hits on his Kuirassier with my horse artillery which stopped them in their tracks but when I tried to charge my Dragoons at his Grenzers in skirmish, they came up short and ended up stranded in front of the Austrian line. Massed musketry and artillery fire destroyed the entire regiment of my beautiful dragoons in their first action!  [sob]
My pretty French Chasseurs about to taste some Austrian cold steel!
I advanced my first infantry brigade up the middle to tempt the Austrians out of the village, to save me having to assault them in hard cover.  The Austrians weren't falling for my bait - well, not straight away - and gave me several nasty blasts of long range fire.  I'm glad I was trying it with my (valiant) Poles and my elite Guard Chasseurs (also known as 'the Cousins' for obvious reasons) as I could absorb the hits and my brave Poles and the Corsican mafia took the punishment and got nice and close before returning fire!
The Poles with Corsican skirmishers (Chasseurs d'Elbe) in front advance on the Austrian centre
The Austrians in the village I was attempting to tempt out into the open!
The Austrians and Russians opposite were having none of it and Mark's Russian infantry and cavalry came on and immediately charged into my second cavalry brigade to the right of the Poles.  The Russian Lithuanian Uhlans destroyed my elite Bavarian Cheval-Legers in two rounds of combat but my Polish lancers fared better against Mark's cossack filth (as they bloody well should!) after we had worked out just how they could charge formed regular cavalry from the front, normally a very un-cossacky thing to do.  BTW - it can be done with successful brigade orders if they are not rated as militia cav and they are brigaded with regular cavalry.  Not that it did them any good in the end.  After a fierce struggle the Poles forced them back then used a continuing charge (victorious cavalry) to engage them a second time and destroy them.

The Russian cav attempt to destroy the remaining Allied cavalry (apologies for the crappy photo - I shan't be relying on my phone camera again!)
While all this was going on Mark's victorious Uhlans did a right turn and tried to hit my advancing Poles in the flank.  Had they succeeded (just one more pip on Mark's command dice!) it would have been a massacre as my Poles were advancing in line.  In the nick of time my Italians came on to support the Pole's attack and quickly refused the flank, boxing in the Uhlans.  The massed fire of my Italians at close range put an end to the last of the Russian cavalry.  

The cavalry fight in full swing, the centre engaged, my second brigade (French) comes on to the left of centre between my foot and horse artillery.
The French line brigade led by my Legere battalion come on with a 12pdr battery. Sorry, another crappy phone camera shot!
But it wasn't just the cav I had to contend with but two battalions of Russian infantry who had thrown themselves at the Poles.

The Russian infantry brigade advance to take on the Poles
The infantry fight in the centre went on for three Turns without one side or the other forcing the other back. The Austrians in the village finally jumped the wall to add their support to the Russians, getting in some close order musketry to boot but the redoubtable Corsicans absorbed the casualties and fought on.

Before the final brigade (Italian/Bavarian) came on, the fight in the middle was pretty even.  For the Russians, had the two infantry battalions supported their comrades engaged with the Poles, it might have been a different story.
The fight on the right nears its end - something's gotta give!  The  Italian light infantry in front of  the Russian Uhlans look very vulnerable but it is the Russians who are about to die.
The final part of the game came with my forces on the left finally having some success with my horse artillery getting enough hits to force the Kuirassier off the field then the Legere brigade charging across the field to hit the Austrians opposite.  It was a similar move to that which saw the destruction of my Dragoons but fortunately my guest commander (Vern?) rolled his command well and got three moves to get them right into the Austrians lines and assault the Austrians who were still in field column!  Musketry and hand-to-hand saw the Grenzer and another Austrian battalion off the table which, together with the Russian battalions beaten (for the first time!) in combat and forced back, ended the game in favour of the French. Six turns (could have easily been eight if we hadn't spent some much time discussing rules etc, and setting up) - so perfect for a demo at the next con (Wintercon) in Canberra in a few months time.

Thanks to Doug and Mark for the game and Greg, Leigh and Mike (Satrap Miniatures ) for the photos of our game - all the decent ones I've posted are theirs as my new-fangled phone camera failed completely to do the job!  Mike's blog also has some great shots of the ripping Hail Caesar 28mm game they had at the meeting too.

Looking forward to more gaming goodness - including use of a JU52 transport I'm painting up for my German paras in the next Crete game.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Milestone passed and (some) figures painted!

It just slipped by without me noticing - 100,000 visitors to my little blog!

Yippee! Who'd-a-thought it eh?

I have to confess that I have been somewhat distracted with little chance to blog as the program of works for my recent retirement reaches fever pitch.  For example: just finished putting in 35 meters of Colorbond fence - or rather remove the old one (and attached greenery) so the contractor can put the new one in.  Crikey - I underestimated the job - it filled a 4 meter skip with enough rubbish left over for another.  Damn job nearly killed me (old age is a bugger!) - luckily my boys were here to lend a hand at the last moment (and get to play with the chainsaw as a reward!) and we got the job done.  Well, just about - my lumberjack ambitions are still to be realised with two more trees to fell.  But ah got mah boys and mah trusty Stihl - them thar trees will be match-wood in no time!  (ok, ok - no more lumberjack talk!)

Long and short of it is all my painting projects have had to be put on hold - just for the moment.

But I haven't exactly neglected my hobby either.  I've been trying to organise my Napoleonic figures into suitable forces for the next Black Powder game scheduled at the club next weekend.  Its been a bit tricky to say the least balancing home and hobby lately.  Nonetheless SOME progress has been made since my French Chasseurs were finished. I've decided to get stuck into the avalanche of Perrys' that have arrived as well as finishing off others that have been on the back-burner such as my Victrix Austrian Landwehr.  I'm halfway through my Perry Hungarian Grenadier battalion but more than that with the Victrix with one group of 16 finished and two more at least half done.

The finished Victrix Landwehr - with very en-vogue wintery dark grey clobber with red highlights!
Very nice lads.  Wait a sec - Oi! Number two - where's your bleedin' 'at then?
I must say that the Victrix turned out better than I thought they would.  I've always though them a bit too cartoonish and large but although on the big side for 28mm figures, they still fit my 'orrible old WRG sized bases (four figures to a 60mm x 20mm) - just!  And the flags supplied in the box literature are very good quality. Plenty of other figures painted or in the process of being painted, some of which have been seen in previous posts (like the Fallschirmjaeger), my Polish command stand and others which haven't made the blog like my ACW figures - an extra VMI gun (made from a Perry's Union Napoleon and crew) and two Sash and Sabre artillery limbers or even some of my TYW figures - more Poles from the Polish Commonwealth army of the early-mid 1600s (command stand).  Which reminds me - I've got to put together and paint a regiment of TYW dragoons!

Polish shotte command - mixture of figures including old Foundry, Redoubt and God-knows-what!
But the interesting thing was in addition to exploring my photography (i.e. of the none wargaming variety!) I also I picked up the pencils and tried a bit of drawing again.  Its been quite a while and my skills were very rusty. I think I may have over-worked it but not entirely un-happy with the way it turned out. Don't like the straps on the pack but... In fact I may ink this one in and do some more - when I get the time!

Polish infantryman in campaign dress 4th Regt Vistula Legion.
We do love the Poles and my 1st Regt Vistula Legion are looking likely to see action next weekend if all goes well. Still got two more battalions and an artillery battery to do as well but I had no idea when I'll be able to get to them!

My Polish pretty boys will hopefully get blooded in next week's BP game.
Well, that just about does it for this brief post - beats my usual marathon AAR's!  Game-wise we have a Crete campaign (Op MERCURY) one planned - but not sure when exactly - and I have my German Gebirgsjaeger  to put together as well.  But the big one will be the Napoleonic game next week which will feature most of my collection.  We are also contemplating a Carlist Wars game using Doug's collection of Perrys and if we can organise it, another TYW game with my Poles.

It would be very remiss of me if I did not thank all of you - now a massive 148 followers!!! ;-) who have taken the time to visit my humble blog and particularly those who take the time to comment and with whom I have intermittent correspondence over the blogosphere. I cannot tell you all just how therapeutic and fulfilling it is as well as being an outlet for my somewhat eclectic wargaming tastes!

A very big Thank You to one and all.


PS:  I usually don't edit my posts that long after posting them but this time I had to as I completely forgot something that I was very excited to find in the first place. You see I have found the original painting by Edouard Detaille of the charge of the 4th Hussars at Friedland.

What's so great about that you may ask? Well, although the image of the artwork has been captured in print and replicated many times, particularly on the Web, the original painting was 'lost' for over 50 years.  It was bought by the NSW State Gallery just after the turn of the last century (so early 1900s) from its exhibition in the French Academy. After hanging in the Gallery for over thirty years it was considered old hat and consigned to the basement where it languished for decades. It was rediscovered about 7 or 8 years ago but in a very poor state, badly damaged by damp. A publicly funded subscription saw it restored - that alone took nearly five years. It then went to the High Court building in Canberra (or so I was informed) but my inquiries suggested it may not have been there.  So I'm heading to the Archibald Portrait Prize exhibition at the State, I walk through one of the main halls and viola - there it is!

It is one of if not the largest painting in the collection at some 30 ft long and twenty high - the main figure of the mounted officer is at least life size.  Its stunning to stand in front and look at.  It is a truly amazing painting and even more amazing, the painting so admired by Napoleonic affectionados and wargamers the world over actually resides here in Australia. Not only that, Lady Butler's(?) 'Rorkes Drift' - another famous battle painting - hangs just down the hall from it.  Apparently it was purchased by the NSW Academy around the same time as Detaille's Hussars.

Detaille detail - the trumpeter behind the officer - he's about 1 & 1/2 meters high and he's in the background!
It is a huuuuge painting!

If you are ever in Sydney, its well worth the visit to the NSW State Gallery to see them.  Anyway, just thought I'd share this with my blog followers as I'm sure some of you appreciate this great art as much as I do.