Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Perry's attack!

Think of it as the elevator music of wargaming - a selection of shots of all the Perry's I've finished thus far while I extractus digitus and try and get my Victrix Italian brigade finished (looking an increasingly dodgy prospect with uni work looming). 

This lot represents two boxes of French infantry, leavened with one casualty set (x 6 metal figures) and one regiment command (greatcoats) set plus a mounted general from that three-figure set and a box of French Heavies - 96 foot and 17 mounted figures in total.  The plan was to have dedicated skirmish stands - enough to represent at least a full battalion in skirmish order - to go with the seven battalions in column or line in three separate regiments.  And a sprinkling of casualty markers.  I've noticed with the Black Powder rules you need quite a few of these!

   Massed attack columns with skirmishers deployed in front to cover

Note the command stand in the skirmish screen.  This is to act as the support from the skirmisher 'cloud' as well as local command; if threatened by another larger formation or cavalry, the skirmishers are able to evade and rally to their support, forming column or line and thus avoid being ridden down etc, (at least that's how it should work!)
Skirmishers screening the attack columns
The casualty markers - if one unit had this many in Black Powder it would be in some serious trouble!

 Note also that all the unit formations save the skirmishers and casualty markers are on magnetic movement trays.  They seem to work well - all passing the 'upside-down' test (without shaking!!) - even the metal figure command stands adhere well.
The 55th in column - marching to support the brigade's attack or about to make a foraging detour to the orchard?
 French brigade in column of attack
 With the General d'Brigade urging the lads forward!
 Under fire!

Well, that's the Perry's thus far - still to do my Carabinier heavies and awaiting my Dragoons.  I'll look forward to testing out Black Powder on the Napoleonic period - if and when I can organise it, I'll post a battle report.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Instant wargaming table

A bit of a diversion from the usual but I thought I'd share what I've been up to lately.  Basically we are forming a new gaming group around the Black Powder rules and we needed some new tables.  As it happens I had several old doors left over from a home renovation I had done years ago and thought to put them to good use.  It was either that or they would finally end up being thrown in the skip!  Hey - my  greenie credentials are OK - doing my bit for the environment with a bit of recycling!

I started out with three (note the sizes also in feet & inches for the metrically challenged!): one 2035 x 700mm  (6' 8" x 2' 4") and two 820mm (2' 8") wide.  I cut the smaller one down to fit across the end of the other two laid flat, making it 1640mm (5' 5") wide.  Joined together you end up with a table area of 2760mm (9' & 1/2") long by 1640mm (5' 5") wide.

I apologise for the crappy photography!

In order to stop them sliding around I put some latches on the edges at the joints which are held in place by simply dropping a broad-head nail through!  Cheap as chips but effective.

 Note that when I cut off the bottom part of the door I left enough for a piece of framing timber to be cut and screwed into place to finish the leading edge.  A bit of masking tape covered the join.  

All that was left after than was a couple of coats of Dulux acrylic - in a nice dark olive green - a viola! one instant wargaming table that fits nicely over the top of the table-tennis table!  The beauty of it is that it can be easily taken apart and stacked somewhere out of the way - especially if somebody wants to play table-tennis rather than wargame.  Crazy talk I know, I mean... who would eh?

Now if I can just get the rest of the crap out of the garage I "ll be able to put on that wargame...


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Victrix Italians - the skirmishers!

After completing the Grenadier Command I decided to finish the skirmishers for my Italian Brigade.  The idea is that I can have a converged battalion of grenadiers and/or voltigeurs using command stands for each and the respective companies from each battalion.  In fact, by juggling the figures provided by the Victrix box, I can get three battalions of line and one each of elites if I choose, or four line and one elite.  This is made possible by using the kneeling figures in pairs as skirmish stands.  As before, I tried to do small vignettes with each pair using bits and pieces from the spare bits box and a nice piece of scenery I came across - remains of a bit of ruined wall.  I've put two light company skirmishers behind it, one of them waving his shako in the air to see if it attracts some attention while his partner loads up to shoot any bugger that tries to put a hole in his mates hat!

The idea is to have enough for an entire battalion deployed in skirmish order, with command element behind.  There are also two standing companies (one per stand) in line that would stand either with or about a hundred paces in front of the command element and feed into the skirmish line for a battalion size deployment.
They can also be the cloud of skirmishers that proceed the attack column formed by the rest of the brigade.
I used not to be a fan of these types of poses but with the skirmish stands they really come into their own and certainly from an aesthetic point of view, are a nice way to represent skirmishers on the tabletop.
The Army Painter Strong tone also finished them off nicely with that grungy campaign look - it also gives the plastics a nice hard protective coating. All that's left to paint now are two battalions of the 2nd Italian Regimente, (which will have red facings) and that's my Italian Brigade fini! 

Might be a while though as I have commission work - some ACW Unionists - and my uni begins in earnest at the end of the month.  And of course I'm waiting with eager anticipation for my Perry's dragoons!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Italian Grenadier Command

 These were the 'extra' figures out of the box of Victrix, which together with the kneeling figures I'm making into separate stands. Those kneeling are made into skirmishers - no surprises there - but the other were additional (or rather superfluous) command figures.  With the plethora of bits that come in the box, I was able to turn them into a command stand.  If I add the eight other grenadiers from the four battalions I have I get an extra Grenadier Battalion.  The eight skirmishers make up the deficit if I choose - so either way I get five battalions out of one box!  That's better than a brigade - best value on the market in my opinion.

After I finished the painting I decided to apply the Army Painter tone.  Apart from the flesh and a general weak black wash - which was then highlighted in the base colour - I did not do the usual layers of washes to build up the tone.  So the first shot is the figures painted but 'in the raw' as it were, before basing and flags to finish.  I was particularly interested to see how the white uniforms would turn out as I had abandoned my earlier method with these figures.

The next is of the finished figures, with the toner and after a matt varnish has been applied.  The variation on the white uniforms is almost entirely the addition of the Painter tone.  Looks OK to me and saves time - I'll be using this method again for the remaining two battalions of Italians.
All told it took about an hour and a half per figure to paint - about average for normal figures but about half an hour less for command ones, which I usually lavish more time and detail on.  It took about an hour to do the flag and Eagle Guard's pennant then another hour and a bit to trim down the plastic stands on the figures then base and flock and final varnish. I reckon the Army Painter probably saved me at least an hour - the only drawback being you have to leave it overnight (minimum of 12 hours) to dry and set before you varnish.

I must admit to enjoying doing small dioramas like these, far more enjoyable than painting figures en masse - which is what I now must away to do to get a regiment of Union Perry figures painted and based for a Black Powder game tomorrow evening. 

I tell you - the work never stops!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

French Cuirassiers redux

In 1812 the 5th Cuirassiers were Beaumont's Brigade, part of Montbrun's 2nd Cavalry Corps.  Led by Caulaincourt, they were credited as being the head of column and thus the first to break into the Great Redoubt at Borodino.

The regiment posted returns for 52 officers as of 1st Nov 1812 (according to documents in the Vincennes Archive quoted by Hourtoulle of Histoire et Collections) 45 of which went to Russia.  There was a fifth squadron which remained in depot in France.  Interestingly, 33% of the regiment in Russia were not Frenchmen but mainly Italians (73 were said to be from Marengo!) Germans and Belgians.
The regiment that crossed the Nieman into Russia had 683 officers and men in four squadrons, with 103 left behind in Poland in depot or hospital.  At Borodino the regiment mounted 566 officers and men - remarkable unit strength given the cavalry overall may have been reduced by as much as 30% with many at half strength by the huge losses in horses.   Three weeks after the battle they presented at Moscow 434 officers and men but only 286 horses.  They were reinforced in Moscow by another 110 officers and men (all mounted) - just in time for the retreat!
 The regiment, like the rest of the French cavalry was destroyed in Russia but remarkably rebuilt around its depot squadron and various drafts of reinforcements that luckily didn't get to Russia so that by 1813 they were roughly at half strength with available horses.

One of the more remarkable stories was that of Marechal des Logis Chef Mouffet, wounded several times 'by bayonet and sabre' at the Great Redoubt.  Decorated by Napoleon in Moscow with the Legion d'Honour Mouffet was captured at some stage during the retreat.  He survived his captivity, but after being released by the Russians only returning to France by January 1815.  He joined up again for the Hundred Days, was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and present at Quatre Bras and Waterloo.  Tough guy!  He managed to survive this but like most officers, was dismissed from service with the Restoration.  He petitioned and had his LH restored to him (on a half pay pension) in 1830. Salute MdL Chef Mouffet!
Vive l'Empreur!

Given the historical numbers quoted above, at a ratio of 50:1 about 12 figures represents a full regiment and an understrength one of about 8-9 figures. 

Well, that's about it for the French Cuirassiers.  I'm doing a grenadier command for my Victrix Italians before I decide on the next project and will post the results in due course - uni and work permitting.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

5th Cuirassiers

The 5th Regt of Cuirassiers est fini!  They can be fielded as 16 figures in two understrength units or as one 12 figure full strength regiment (representing 600 cavalry @ 50 men per figure).  As 4-500 strength regiments were common, there are enough to do two such regiments. 
To go with them I've made magnet adhesive movement trays for 12 figure regiments and slightly smaller ones for 8 or 9 figure units - the plastic figures stick well to the trays.  The command for the second unit is the trumpeter with the regimental senior NCO, a Marechal De Logis, denoted with the command stripes on the sleaves.
I know I'd need at least two more figures to make two 9 figure units but I'll have to see if I've enough Carabinier to do so - as I want to field a historically accurate 5-600 man regiment of them (the next project after the 2nd regiment of Victrix Italians) from the second box of French cav.
 This is all in anticipation of the two boxes of Perry's Dragoons I have on order too.  They look like such nice and varied figures I might just drop everything to do a regiment of them when they arrive!  Alan Perry has advised me the Hussars are scheduled for release in April too.  I'll barely have time to do the dragoons before I order the hussars!  Oh well, that kind of pleasure - being spoiled for choice - is one I'll look forward to!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Movement tray interlude

After seeing John's efforts and the discussion on other posts about basing using the Litko magnetic basing I decided I would have a go at it myself.  A mate of mine had a number of these metallic based trays which the magnetic strip on the bottom of many commercial basing used on figures will adhere to.

They were suitable for a 60 x 60mm base which is the size of the bases for a 12 figure battalion of 25mm figures - usually a 60 x 20 base for the command of 4 figures and combination's making up the rest.  The bases are expensive  (given the number you may need), only came in that configuration and were hard to get here. 

After I got a kids magnet set  I stripped the metal sheet out of it and cut it to size on my trusty benchtop bandsaw.  The idea was to make enough to field a 4-5,000 point army or maybe even two.  I reckon I needed 40 of the battalion sized bases - enough for 480 figures - that should cover it!
I cut the metallic sheet to 60 x 60 and the thin card base to 70 x 70 and glued match or balsa sticks to form a lip to the base.  I then gave it a decent coat of olive drab for a uniform finish.  The matchstick edges of some older ones I made out of balsa were flocked in a fine railroad modeller's ballast - which you could do for these but I couldn't be bothered with so many to make.  As you can see in the above photo, a battalion size unit of 12 fits snugly on the base (Russian Jaeger - Front Rank 28mm figs).  I was so pleased with the results, I decided to make a few more up - this time for a cavalry regiment.

I also realised that larger units such as Austrians or Russian Guard would require larger bases so I also made a few to accommodate 16 figure battalions.  I made some up and tried the Pavlovs (again Front Rank) for size.  The next size up was the half regiment size for cavalry.  The biggest cav base is 60 x 40 which takes three horses abreast and are usually the command stand and thus head of a column formation.

A cav regt in column is thus 160mm x 60mm - add another 10mm for the card.  The half regt ones I made are 120mm long and can accommodate up to 9 mounted figures

Also of interest is the paint - I got a quarter litre (250ml) sample pot made up of Dulux acrylic for about $5.  Given you will pay close to that for a 30ml pot of paint I thought it a bargain - and you can get every colur under the sun made to measure with the mixing system.  Hmmm - it appears to be pretty opaque and nice smooth consistency - I wonder if it would make decent figure paint?  Anyone out in blogland tried it?  Maybe a solution for some of your more frequently used colours?
Inspired by other postings and comments on other blogs I embarked on something a bit more ambitious than first envisaged but another days work and I'll have enough bases for 40 infantry battalions and 10 cav regiments as well as a dozen or so for larger sized infantry formations/half cav regiments.  Nearly all my French and Allied and most of my Russians are now catered for but then I checked the basing on all my Austrians.  Most of that army, being the first I collected, are not based with magnetic bases.  Oh boy, a BIG re-basing job or at least maggy strip job is needed.  I tried the magnetic tape solution but metal figures are too heavy and it doesn't have the adhesion that matches the adhesive backed sheets of the stuff.  Ggrrrr - more bleedin' fiddling about required!

Still the French cav look nice and at home on their movement tray base, so after that brief but franticly productive interlude, back to finishing the cuirassiers!