After years of slagging off 28mm WWII figures a combination of circumstances have led me to dip my toe in the water. To put it simply, I was pleasantly surprised, a lot of the figures I'd seen have been the late war, overly "heroic" (read: Fugly) style, which remain pretty horrible. Then I discovered these early war Warlord plastics, much different, presumably a different designer, nicely proportioned, and as with so many plastics these days, really cleverly designed in terms of pose compatibility within the sprues. I enjoyed putting together the plastics, took me back to the old Airfix multi-pose kits (remember them?) they fit together well, and have some cracking pose combinations.
Then the painting, great fun...a lot more to work with obviously than 20mm, and the overall design lends it to gaining a decent result with only moderate skill with modern paints and techniques.
These I did with Vallejo block painting, then slopping GW Nuln oil all over, then a 2 layer highlight, before doing the flesh last (Vallejo sunny skin with a Lavado skin wash), my usual old lazy basing of PVA and sand +Army Painter Autumn tufts.
I'll talk about the Stugs a bit later.
All this is for Chain of Command, I've found a group in London who play these terrific rules, so this lot will get their first outing next week. However, I have far grander plans for this lot in the future.
Blimey, been a long time since I looked at this, lots has happened, both in life and in wargaming.
Anyway, I will be re-visiting this blog. Maybe not as much as I did seven (7!!) years ago, but I feel now it would be fun to do a bit from time to time.
The main reason for not keeping this blog up was that I'd pretty much run out of puff, so, hopefully now I should be able to capitalise on having had a long break to come up with a few things that some folk might be interested in.
At the beginning of the month I made the trip up to the WHC for Gerry's birthday game, as I said before, a bit sad, as everything is going to close there and move to Basingstoke for next year. The event itself was however as much fun as it always is, thanks to all the players and of course Gerry for putting it on and Anne for putting up with 10 hungry gamers all week.
We played 3 games, an Eylau scenario which saw me playing Davout with a flank attack being faced off by Gerry who led me a merry dance fending off my infantry with repeated cavalry charges and lots of his pesky light infantry units ....I wasn't a huge fan of his new light infantry rules before and I'm less of one now!...to be honest, I don't mind the rules themselves but its the quantity of the units he is employing that I feel is colouring the game. The odd btn here and there would be fine, but with some formations having 3 or 4 of these each they can dominate. I don't think the staggered bases add much to the visuals either.
That said, we had a great time, so who cares?
Game 2, Friedland, saw me battering away at Herbert, quite a relaxed game. He wasn't coming forwards into my massed Russian gunline and I wasn't going to far forwards into the minefield defence he'd set up around a village. He had to wait until my flank was threatened and the position unhinged by (wait for it) copius quantities of Light btns romping through a wood on my right. Then I had to fall back slowly but he didn't have the strength to press his attack. The French weight was elsewhere on the other side of the river.
The final game was an 1813 "what if" - Spremberg, a normal game without the light btn rules etc, to be honest I enjoyed this the most despite the fact that we cocked up our deployment and had too much cavalry in the wrong place (in front of a redoubt, - although we didn't know it was there). Nonetheless we had a fine game.
A biggish project prior to Christmas was going down to the new WHC at Basingstoke to see Mark Freeth's new set-up..well, at the moment its a big, airy, empty unit! Not strictly true after me visit as I dropped of a very full van load of timber in order to help mark build the all important tables. I've volunteered my rudimentary carpentry skills to help him and we are going to start building in the new year. Should be pretty straightforwards but blimey, do you need a lot of wood!
He finally has his website up and running so I said I'd pass it on here to any of you avid readers who hadn't seen it
All sorts of stuff in there, lots of pics (some taken by me!) and info on the fairly packed programme he has prepared for 2011.
So, if any of you fancy a big game weekend he deserves your support, I shall certainly be able to get over there more often in future. I timed the drive, door to door is less than an hour from West London! Big difference to the five hours each way to Scarborough.
Last, but not least a quick word about the photos, I realised I have no pics of Napoleon on this site....Now I thought that was a bit remiss considering the majority of stuff here is "Napoleonic". So a pic of him and his staff and naturally the accompanying regt of Chassuers to go with him. Mostly Connoissuer figures with a few Surens I think- all painted by Doug Mason and now all about to move from Yorkshire down South.
I can't help but notice its been 7 weeks since I last posted here, I wish I could say that a lots happened wargames-wise in that time, but I'm afraid thats not the case. I've had little time for games or painting. My output has been insignificant; I've STILL got 4 lancers to finish for that regt, although all the horses are done and the rest are based and finished. On a positive note I am coming up to my annual quiet period in terms of work which is normally a productive painting period, so lets hope so.
One thing I did manage was to get Mike Ingham to part with these dragoon figures painted by Doug Mason. I did nothing to them other than touch up the bases, they are the Elite figures. This gives me 2 regts of Dragoons now, plus the 2 hussar regts, and 1 lancer. I have one regt of 36 Chevaux legere (why give Austrian cavalry a French name?) still to paint- this will give 6 regts and a total of 240 cavalry.
There are stiil the Cuiraissiers to consider,but they can wait.
In 2 weeks time I will be heading up to Scarborough for Gerry's birthday bash which he has kindly invited me to. While I'm obviously looking forwards to this, it's also a bit sad as it will be the last time I will get to play 25mm napoleonics up there. Its not been any great secret that ill-health is forcing Mike to shut down the holdiday centre. Gerry is now well underway embarking on his own enormous - and I mean enormous!-10mm project (He already has erected a brand new, purpose-built "bunker" with about the same amount of table space as the current centre!). He is looking to replicate what they had in 25mm in 10mm in a couple of years- should be fascinating, and is going to be upping the figure scale so what was a 36 man btn now has a mental 108 figures. The man is nuts.
Although some figures have been sold, the rest of the collection (which is still massive), including all the buildings and terrain is moving down to the Basingstoke area under the stewardship of Mark Freeth. I spoke to him this morning and he has new premises sorted, and is hoping to put his first game on in February! He said he should have a website up next week. He is going to be doing Napoleonics, plus ACW and Malburian, and has already rebased all the WWII stuff (!) for Flames of War. He has some new ideas and will hopefully breathe a bit of new life into the WHC. I wish him all the best, and am looking forwards to playing there (and its only an hour up the road!).
September has been a fairly hopeless month in terms of gaming, painting, and blogging I'm afraid. So, just in case you thought I'd jacked it all in I'll put up some pics of the Austrian lancers I don't seem to be able to finish.
Elite figures and horses with a few mounts from elsewhere (Connoisseur, Alban, Firing Line).
Bases obviously not done yet, still awaiting painting, brushing and grass bits. So far I've just done 32 out of what will be a massive 48 man regt - 8 squadrons of 6 figures. I picked the the third regt as I liked the red Czapka, plus the trumpeters apparently wore white ( though I've had trouble confirming this). Plenty of conversions and head twists, plus a few replacement heads from Firing Line. Lance pennons by GMB. There will be a standard bearer, although I'm not sure if Austrian light cavalry actually carried them in action. All the lances were soldered, and the officers sabres replaced. I also played about with some of the horses, teasing out manes and tails with the soldering iron to give them more movement. In the end, however, I decided life was too short. I might do this again for officers and the odd special, but otherwise.No.
I hope to get these finished this week, I guess I've had a bit of mid-project blues with the old Austrians. It will pass.
I have also decided to give these chaps their own staff officer - seeing as they are such a big unit. I found a lovely Bicorne Uhlan officer, and I've tweaked him a bit- changed his sword arm, added a steel sabre and soldered a "flying" scabard onto him, again to impart a little movement. I'll post him when he is done.
Things start to go wrong on the Austrian right- the line is in the process of being shot to bits
I slipped up to Cambridge to John's shed for the day in order to get the Austrians actually on a table for the first time. There wasn't a massive amount of thought put into the game, it was just a bit of an excuse for a duff-up. John is easing his way back into Napoleonics after a lengthy lay-off so we wanted just a quick, low intensity game that wasn't going to tax the brain an awful lot.
Close up of the attack columns on the left. Everything fine at present (sausage roll in support)
It was a pretty straightforwards set-up, a village complex on the (Austrian) right, some skirmish buildings and walls on the left, a few woods in the centre. No big artillery platforms anywhere, French defending. We didn't have a huge amount of time so the French deployed quite far forwards,which didn't help the Austrian cause much. In retrospect we probably could have been a bit cleverer with the terrain,
Panorama of the early stages
The only decent area for cavalry was in the centre which unbalanced things somewhat. I concentrated the Austrian's new shiny hussar brigade there and the French had a regt each of Chassuers, dragoons and cuirraisier plus a horse btty. Each flank had an infantry division to take the respective village areas. The one on the right had a dragoon regt attached.
We used a variable morale system for the infantry, all btns were treated as 1st class line until they took their first morale test,where-upon they rolled to discover their true class: Austrians: 1 to 3- 2nd class line. 4 to 10 1st class line.
French: 1 to 4 -2nd class line 5 to 7 1st class line, 8 to 10, veteran.
French young guard: 1 to 5, veteran. 6 to 10 Elite.
All cavalry was line and all artillery was 1st class.
The Austrians fielded 1 infantry division of 2 Grenzer, 5 line btns with a 6lb btty and 18 skirmishers, these took the left flank. In the centre was a hussar brigade with 14 squadrons of hussars each of 6 figures.
On the right was an infantry division of 6 line btns with a dragroon rgt of 6 x 6 man squadrons plus a 6lb btty and 12 skirmishers. All btns were 48 man strong.
5 battalions: should be enough to take a village, surely?
Connoissuer French attempt to outflank the Austrian left
The French had a 2 infantry divisions each of 6 x 36 supported by a 6lb btty, 24 chassuers and 18 skirmishers. One of each occupied each flank.
In addition they had a young guard division of 4 x32's plus a heavy cavalry outfit with 1 x 32 of dragoons and 32 cuirraisier with a 3 gun horse btty.
All in all, I think the French were too tough for the poor old milkshakes.
The Austrian right develops
The Austrians trundled forwards, because of the speed of our set-up it meant the Austrians couldn't really get any artillery preparation, however they manfully pitched into the attack against each village. They actually did ok, they got forwards,got the guns into position and started to work towards their objectives.
In the centre the massed hussars nullified the french cavalry, a typical ding-dong Grand Manner cavalry scrap continued through the whole game. A lot of folk can't cope with the cavalry system in ITGM but the more I read of historical accounts the more they turn out like ITGM battles. Units go forwards, battle it out, retire, new ones go in, the original ones rally, go back. Its all about having local reserves. Both sides (typicaly) won the combats they should have lost, and lost the ones they "were certain" to win. The rest of the cavalry was squeezed on the extreme Austrian right, and this went a bit more to the script, with the Austrian dragoons making short work of a chassuer regt, which forced a couple of French btns into square and took them out of the fight for the village.
A recent new acquisition: Classic Connoissuer infantry painted by Doug Mason, skulking in square.
On the left a grenzer btn waddled in line through a wood on the the extreme flank, it never got anywhere for the whole game but it did tie down 2 French btns (a bit) so it wasn't a total waste of time.
Meanwhile the asault against the skirmisher buildings and the walled compound went in. John concentrated a lot of fire on one unit (always a mistake in my book) but the size of the Austrian units allowed it to be shrugged off. I had some success at first and things were looking rosy.
6lb battery supporting the Austrian right
The French artillery btty retreated when charged and the lead 2 Austrian units crunched into a lone French btn manning the wall. In fact I had a bit too much success. The French btn routed after the first round of combat, with relatively light casualties. I would have much preferred for it to have stuck around for at least a second round of combat as I had 2 more btns to re-inforce with and the French had one. This would have allowed me to ruin 2 French units, as it was it meant the French just pulled back a bit, I couldn't exploit, and the 2 units I had in the front line were badly shot up. They took more and more fire from the flanks and that was about it for my attack on the left village.
Hussars and Grenzer demonstrate in the centre
The right hand flank told a similar story, despite the dragoon's success I couldn't get sufficient force to bear on the village, I was reasonably successful at clearing the walls but couldn't find room to deploy those big Austrian firing lines. When I finally did, it being Austrian, it took so long to deploy that it was shot down before it could do much damage. Again, the Austrians after initial successes just couldn't finish off those Frenchies.
High point for the left. The Austrians couldn't get over that wall.
Things were coming to close, dinnertime was approaching, and the Austrians had run out of steam. We called it a day.
So in the end it was a suitably inauspicious start for the Austrian army, but then, as we all know, all troops get beat the first time out!
(Good Lord!! I've just noticed...60,000 hits!!- does that mean I can have drink?)
Wargamer, going to spend time here looking at games, mainly 25mm Napoleonic, and 20mm and 28mm WWII, and maybe a few thoughts on games in general. It ain't going to be PC, and if you don't like it....don't look!