Friday, November 8, 2019

28mm Crusader Warlord, Heavy Cavalry and Bannerman

These are ten of Old Glory's DA-12 Norman Heavy Knights. I've painted them up to represent Baltic and Levantine Crusaders. The only difference is I used some Crusades LBMS Studios shield transfers mixed in with some Norman ones. In all honesty I could probably also use my entire Crusader army as Normans without anyone really taking offense at it. My friend Mike has invited me to play in some Levantine crusades games and my Eastern Princes army isn't appropriate for that theater of war, so I'm pouring on the gas to finish up my Crusader army. With these figures I can field a six-point Saga force. I can't field what I feel is an optimal unit composition, but I'm legal.

Old Glory sells these in a pack of ten figures and horses, so I've painted them up for Saga as two four-man hearthguard units, a Warlord and a banner carrier. I still have to research and make a banner for the banner carrier.

For the painting of these I used my normal techniques for the riders, with a black prime, dry brush of the chain mail and then block painting of the rest. For the horses I experimented with a zenithil prime and some layered ink washes in various color mixes. The horses came out good enough considering the ink wash technique cut the painting time for them by probably 25%.

I'm counting this as 20 figures for my annual figure painting totals.

Next up on the painting table are eight more hearthguard comprised of Gripping Beast figures.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Shameless Ebay Plug

Just a quick, shameless plug that I've listed some 28mm western figures on Ebay. I saw some other listings for similar figures and it reminded me I had these that I painted for a single club game, but don't really have any future plans to use. Thought clearing out the space in my figure storage for some more of my painted Saga lead would make sense.

Auctions can be viewed here:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

3-D Model of French 8lb Gribauval Cannon for 3-D Printing

I'm working up the courage to invest in a resin-based SLA 3-D printer. I thought it would be an excellent tool to augment my laser and significantly increase my making capabilities for wargaming terrain, vehicles and maybe eventually figures. Before I'm willing to pull the trigger, I need to make sure my 2-D CAD skills can translate well to 3-D modeling. This project is a learning exercise in using the free 3-D modeling program Blender.

The model is of a French 8 lb. Gribauval Cannon. This was chosen because there are some decent plan and elevation drawings available, and it's a common cannon made at several weights. It was used both in the Napoleonic wars and in the USA during the war of 1812. I figured making something 'real' instead of the same tutorial objects would help me learn rather than just repeat what tutorials are doing.

There's a lot more work to do before this would make a decent 28mm figure, but the bones of the structure are there. So far I've invested about 40 hours learning the software and making the model. A skilled Blender modeler probably could have done this in an hour. I have a lot to learn, but this exercise is encouraging that I may eventually develop the skills to properly utilize a 3-D printer of my own and make my own models, not just print pre-made models from the Internet.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Battle of the Bloggers

This past Saturday three of the club's four bloggers got together. Mark D. of Mark D's Gaming Site and I visited Ed of Ed M's Wargaming Meanderings Blog to play a game of Ed's heavily modified V&B for wing scale 19th century games. Ed's system features two-stand infantry and cavalry units as battalions and squadrons and single stand units as half-battalions/squadrons. There are many other changes, which make for a very different game albeit with familiar core mechanics. I expect at some point three different posts about this game. I'll cross link here when Ed and Mark's posts go up.

Mark had played the scenario once before as the Honved so he chose the Austrians and I commanded the Honved. Both armies featured many of Ed's wonderful figure conversions and excellent painting shown previously on his blog. Here are a couple of close-up photos of my units that started on the table.

The scenario was a meeting engagement with some villages on my right flank (Mark's left) and some hills in the center. With only one command of advance guard available to start for each side I wanted to get my half-battalion of Jagers into the town, or if possible, into the woods past the town. Mark saw the same opportunity, and moving first got to the woods so I settled for the village. My cavalry protected my infantry columns flank and Mark charged with his uhlans but my hussars held sending his lancers back with half their strength lost.

From here Mark and I brought up our armies from off table and got them on-line. On my right flank my Jagers forced Mark's Grenzers back in the woods out of range. On my left I pressed with a single squadron of Hussars looking for an opening on Mark's flank or to force his heavy cavalry command to that flank, away from my vulnerable half battalions which I massed on the right flank under the command of my CinC.

On the left flank Mark did counter with his cavalry brigade forcing me to withdraw my single squadron and match him with my lighter cavalry. I tried to bring up my horse gun, but didn't really do so very effectively and his was shooting at my cavalry while Mine wasn't returning fire. In the center we were at a standoff, with the exception of his artillery which was on-line although at long range I was weathering the fire well enough for it not to be pressing the issue...yet.

My final regiment with my one high-morale infantry unit, the 'red hats', advanced to press the right flank where I had amassed my half battalions and jagers to finally press the issue in the woods.

If Volley & Bayonet has one flaw, it's that it's a game of counter punching. The attacker is always at a huge disadvantage. With the scenario a balanced meeting engagement, and both Mark and I being seasoned V&B players, neither of us wanted to attack. It was a game losing move. Still, a play test needs combat, so I made a go of it and went in with the whole lot on the right. This went fairly well as I had my full battalion of elites on Mark's half battalion. I was able to press the flank on the right and following up it looked decently promising.

On the left I went 'over the top' on the hill with my horse gun and an infantry battalion and prolonged my field guns to support the push against the single unit Mark had on the hill. Three on one - it seemed like a fine plan. Then Mark reminded me why you don't attack in V&B by eliminating all of my artillery in a single turn with two shots by his stationary defending units. That attack not only stopped, I was now pretty much pant-less on my left-center.
I did a classic 'last turn' move by charging all of my cavalry into Mark's cavalry, mostly 'for science'. This resulted in Mark's heavies nearly eliminating my hussars, and me also losing against his battery and his Uhlans. If there were another turn all of my cavalry would have been eliminated by Mark's counter-charges and horse gun opening up my line of supply for raiding by Mark's cavalry. Another case of he to acts last, laughs best in V&B.

All in all a great day of gaming. Ed's changes to V&B seem to be flowing in the right direction. My complaints about V&B are more about the core system and not Ed's modifications. I had some suggestions to Ed on things that might be done to ease the V&B counter-punching issue a bit. Also this is a separate,  unrelated rule system to his upcoming 'Chocolate Box Wars' project... so that V&B nit I'm picking might not even be part of his new system.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Big Austrian Re-Basing Project

After my recent Napoleonic play test of Electronic Brigadier with Ed, I decided I should get off my duff and finally get to re-basing all of the Austrian Napoleonic figures I've purchased from Ebay over the past three years. While I was at it I tossed in a couple French dragoon officers Ed sold me and a German WWII 88mm AA gun. To the left is the group shot of the total project. This is a total of 36 stands re-based.

First up the two Perry plastic Dragoon officers Ed sold me. These are beautifully painted and were based when I got them. Unfortunately Ed's lovely oval officer bases don't match my slotted system which makes re-labeling for Electronic Brigadier much easier so I re-based these to match my other officers. The trooper combat stands I left on Ed's original bases as they're easier to adopt to my labeling system.

Next up a nicely airbrushed 88 factory fresh from Collector's Battlefield. These pre-painted figures came out about a decade ago? I'm not sure the company is still in business. Google searches didn't net me any good links to them any more. Still this was a STEAL on Ebay. It came un-assembled, and it was a touch tricky to get the gun shield onto the model in a way that made me feel comfortable. The irregularly shaped base that came with it was OK but the gun carriage hung off it. I ditched it for a square 3mm plywood base.

The cream of the crop for the Austrian figures are the two of the officers on the right. These were originally on a two-figure stand, but like Ed's not compatible with my labeling system. Since I have enough two-figure command stands I split these two up. the third figure came with the bulk of the infantry and is normal tabletop quality. He'll do fine for larger games.

Eight stands of Hussars I bought in a separate auction. Lead figures of unknown manufacturer. Tabletop quality. This brings my Hussars to twelve bases (squadrons in Electronic Brigadier). More than enough for even large games.

Infantry regiment number one. This one is lead figures of an older vintage. The castings are soft, and the original painter made up for this with some effort with shading and painting. When freshly painted I bet these were quite nice for the time. Now they're a bit worn. I did some touch-ups where the paint was chipped off and based this in three battalions of four stands each and a three-stand battalion of grenadiers.

The last unit was the worst to deal with. These are more modern plastic figures, painted to an OK tabletop standard. The big issue was they were mounted on MDF bases glued down with superglue. This was a NIGHTMARE to un-do. I had to soak the MDF for 3 days and eventually peel it apart layer by layer to get it thin enough to finally carve off the figures. After that I had to re-paint all the bases of the figures before re-basing. Even then the final two battalions aren't all that great. These will eventually be replaced by something a bit nicer to match the rest of my collection. Still for now, serviceable tabletop troops to bulk out larger games.

Finally some group photos and a short video of my complete Austrian collection so far. This is more for me to refer to in the future than for any other reason. Still satisfying seeing a full shelf. On the long-term to-do list is to have my French collection match the Austrians in size.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Electronic Brigadier Napoleonic Playtesting Begins

With the American War of Independence working to my satisfaction in Electronic Brigadier, it's time to jump up to the 800 pound gorilla in the room - the Napoleonic period. I was strategic in picking the AWI for the first period for Electronic Brigadier as it's mostly an infantry on infantry affair with that infantry primarily fighting in lines. In terms of complexity, on a scale of 1-10 if AWI is a 2, Napoleonics is a 10. With Attack Columns, Battalion Mass, Lines, Squares, Heavy Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Irregular Cavalry and a much more diverse spread of unit types and nationalities, the Napoleonic period provides me with a lot of balance tuning to get things working.

I invited my friend Ed of Ed M's Wargame Meanderings Blog over for the first rough play test. I knew there would be some significant issues, so a one-on-one seemed best. I expected some of the testing would be intentionally doing things that might not be the best tactical decisions for the sake of testing.

Ed and I played a small skirmish with Elements of Davout's corps from Austerlitz matching up against a portion of an Austrian advanced corps from the same battle. The scenario was simple, secure the walled farmhouse to insure clear access to the road. The Austrians had larger battalions so more men in total. The Austrians had a section of two four pounder battalion guns with each infantry regiment, and six squadrons of Hussars. The French had better morale for their line infantry and four eight-pounder guns in two sections. The French also brought Dragoons which were sure to out match the Austrian Hussars.

Ed's French moved first and dashed towards the Farm while keeping their lines in good order to each side.  I charged Ed's Dragoons initially on my right flank with my Hussars, eager to see if I could get lucky.....I couldn't. Ed's Dragoons caused 97 casualties on my Hussars while suffering only 37 in return. Possibly there will be some adjustment in the calculations involving cavalry of different weights. The disparity was a bit high for my liking. Lucky that's why we're trying this to dial things in. My cavalry would recall, then retreat, then finally rout off the table over the subsequent turns.

Ed's right regiment deployed with an open-order skirmish line forward of two attack columns. The skirmish like pressured my battalion guns eventually driving the gunners from their pieces. Ed used his eight-pounder artillery well here softening up my middle regiment that was preparing to assault the town. Ed's right flank Dragoons flexed their weight and my other Hussars, knowing what was in store for them, gave ground while my Grenzers squared up hoping to secure the flank from the marauding dragoons. Ed's attack columns closed on my battered middle Grenzer unit, but one of his columns failed to close and I won the melee, then fell back shaken due to the cumulative damage on the unit. My left flank was in trouble, Dragoons in the rear, infantry to the front and my infantry squared up or in disorder. Combined arms used by Ed masterfully.

Later on my assaults on the town ended up in my troops pulling up into firefights. The same occurred when I charged Ed's attack columns. Possibly bad 'dice' rolls in the computer, possibly something to consider. Likewise Ed's charges on my infantry lines ended up with his cavalry refusing to close due to musket fire, which was fine, but my infantry's willingness to stand roll had numbers that were too confident for the tactical situation, so also needs some adjustment.

At this point time was running late and Ed granted me the favor of a last test of charging his dragoons into my grenzer square. This also ended up on the 'to adjust' list because Ed's cavalry was very willing to charge, and the 'to succeed' chance to close was off the charts. Once he did contact the square it was obliterated. It's ok for Cavalry to break squares, but in this case it wasn't ever in question, so that needs adjusting.

All in all this was a very productive evening of testing. Once I make the necessary corrections I think I'll need one more one-on-one test then I'll be ready to start doing real games with more people. Thanks to Ed for the help testing, constructive criticism, and excellent game play. Ed treated the test like a real game and gave me good 'data' in the computer to use for future self testing.

Also I got my work-in-progress windmill on the table for the first time. I still need to do a lot more painting on it, but this will motivate me to do so.