Friday, November 20, 2015

NROW Play Test #2 in Charlie's New Gaming Loft

This update is a bit overdue. I've been swamped preparing for the American Thanksgiving holiday. The weekend BEFORE last my friend Charlie invited a bunch of his friends, myself included, for another play test of his Napoleonic rules, Napoleon's Rules of War. Charlie's recent adjustments proved to be a good improvement of an already solid set of rules. Game play was faster and therefore we got through more turns and more closely approached a conclusion.  The scenario was a meeting engagement between French and a combined Anglo-Spanish force.  Both sides managed local numeric superiority, attacking in columns while defending in line elsewhere. On my flank I faced my uncle, each of us possessing only two of the three combined arms. On my side infantry and cavalry, on his infantry and artillery. 
My cavalry was able to provide Ralph with some concern on his flank, but his artillery I believe did one better, causing consistent casualties over time. This was a fun cat-and-mouse game for both of us, although only because we were on the end of the line. In the middle where all combined arms were available, local superiority of one asset also played a significant role. All in all a fun game. I look forward to the next one.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

28mm Bocage and Windmill W.I.P.

After showing my uncle my 28mm hedges made from industrial scouring pads, I mentioned that I was interested in modifying the technique to make some true bocage for gaming post D-day WWII scenarios. I wasn't sure what to use for the core hedge material until my uncle gave me a left over piece of furnace filter material he had purchased to make a filter for his air brush station. These four 6" sections of bocage are my proof of concept test pieces. I think they've come out nice enough that I will be doing a full-scale run.

The bases are 3mm arctic birch plywood. The rocks are coarse cork from bulletin board sections, glued down then chipped up using a fingernail. After they're chipped I glued the extra broken bits on top to keep them from looking too regular. Once the base and rock troughs are made the filter material is painted green, flocked and glued in. After the glue is dry sticks for trees are glued in along with foliage clusters, model railroad vines and the odd tuft of long grass. All of this final step is done in one go. These four sections took me two one-hour sessions and a two-hour session on three consecutive nights. They're labor intensive, but I really like the look, so I think they're worth the work. The only materials that cost all that much are the model railroad foliage clusters. For enough bocage to fill a table I'll probably go through 6-8 bags of clusters.

These are a couple work-in-progress shots of a 28mm windmill I've been working on for use on 7YW, Napoleonic and possibly even the odd WWII table. I still have a lot of painting and detail work to do, but the base framework is there. The main body is made from a hard plastic cup from the dollar store. The top section was originally turned on my wood lathe, then the face section was added and built-up using 1/64" thick model aircraft plywood. The shingles are card stock cut in strips on my laser engraver and glued down mostly by hand. For reference that is a 28mm French Napoleonic officer on a 4mm thick base. The windmill vane assembly is removable for storage and transportation. I've laser cut the grids on it, but I may replace it with something a bit more delicate, possibly some metal screening. After looking at the photos and comparing them to actual windmill photos, I also think I need to make the vanes larger in diameter.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

NROW in Charlie's New Gaming Loft

Last Friday my friend Charlie had a bunch of us over for a Napoleonic game in his newly renovated gaming loft. I have to say it's a very posh space and even includes it's own bathroom! Charlie set out a massive game using his rules, Napoleon's Rules of War.  The battle was an Austrian defense against a larger French force. The Austrians had interior lines and significant terrain.

Charlie was testing some recent changes he's made to the rules. The game was fun, although with so many figures we didn't finish the game. Consensus was slightly less terrain and smaller forces would have let us complete more turns. Still the game was a fun time and Charlie got some great feedback on the rules and scenario. These rules are a lot of fun, enough that I started my own 28mm Napoleonic figure collection primarily because of Charlie's rules.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Conquest of Italy Ancients Campaign Day - More!

Mike has posted a movie of his photos taken at last weekend's game day. I've included it below.

British Grenadiers for AWI

This is a second unit of British grenadiers for my AWI collection. When I used Volley & Bayonet for AWI, I only needed three bases of Grenadiers as each represented a unit. Now that I use two or three bases per unit I need more Grenadiers for several scenarios, including Monmouth Courthouse, which I'm working on currently.

My existing unit I painted way back in 2005 or so and although they've been shown in many game photographs, they were never featured on the blog specifically as a unit. These figures I purchased painted from Gajo Miniatures. I've been very happy in the past with their quality seven 15mm Napoleonic figures so I gave these a try. I think they're definitely worth the money and Chris at Gajo always provides very good customer service. I'm not positive, but the figures appear to be Old Glory or Foundry. They're very compatible with the figures I already have which is a mix of those two mostly.

The basing features some new grass tufts I'm trying out from Leadbear's Tufts. Although ordering these from overseas is more work, so far I'm very happy with his products and customer service. Also on the bases are some Woodland Scenics foliage clumps and some scratch-made rocks that I make using painted cork bits. The latter may eventually end up being a small how-to article here on the blog if there is interest.

This brings my total number of painted 28mm figures purchased this year to 179. That's three more than the 176 I've painted myself. It's my goal each year to paint at least as many figures as I buy painted. That means I have some catching up to do. Next up on the painting table, thirty Austrian Grenzers for the Napoleonic period which should do nicely to put me back into the black.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Conquest of Italy Ancients Campaign Day

This past Saturday my friend Mike hosted our club's game day. The event was 'Conquest of Italy' - a one day ancients campaign set in the period near the First Punic War prior to Rome's dominance on the Italian peninsula. This year we broke from tradition and replaced our normal 15mm armies with 28mm figures that several members have been painting and collecting for the club's home brew rules, Marathon to Marius. Members providing armies were Bob, Charlie, Phil, Mike, Ralph and myself. I brought three Carthaginian armies and one Roman army. Each player picked a region and an army to control. I chose Rome since I hadn't yet used my Roman figures in a game. Two other players chose to use my Carthaginian figures. I was quite happy to get to play one of my games against one of those players.

The format was five rounds of DBA games with match-ups controlled by the campaign map. I ended up fighting my first game against Bob, who also was using a Roman army. Bob beat me soundly, 4-1. Because I was the aggressor, Bob retained his freedom, but I wasn't required to be his vassal due to him being the defender. Still not a very good start for me, squandering a campaign turn where I was lucky enough to be the aggressor. Also shown below is a photo of the other first round games.

Round two I faced Charlie and his Macedonian model army representing Phyrrus of Epirus. Thanks to Bob's generousity I was able to have an early enough campaign move to still be an aggressor in this turn. Charlie's pike put it to my Romans scoring an early kill on one of my legion stands. I followed this up by isolating one of his skirmish stands, and then getting a bit lucky when his advance took his general stand just a touch too close to some rough terrain. I was able to flank it with a velite stand, and due to the terrain factors I was able to kill his general securing the win. Charlie played well all day including this game. I got lucky that the terrain saved me as Charlie was out playing me up to that point. Since I was the attacker, Charlie was now my vassal, and his past and future successes, were also successes for me. Photos of other round two games are below.

Round three I faced Michael who was pushing one of my early Carthaginian armies. Michael is a very skilled DBA player. Michael used his post-deployment element switches well and positioned his warband Gauls right where they would cause me the most trouble. He played everything correctly and I just got very lucky on my combat rolls and won thanks to General Dice. Michael was now my vassal, and thanks to his previous and successive successes, I profited heavily in victory points from my fortunate dice rolls in this game. More round three photos below.

Round four I chose Earl as my opponent. I wasn't keen on attacking a fellow Roman, but Earl was the only potential opponent available to me that had vassals. Since consolidating the empire was the primary goal I attacked Earl. Roman vs. Roman battles in DBA often come down to whomever gets the first kill can then use that extra stand to flank the opponent's battle line. This is what happened in this game. I was able to score an early lucky kill on a stand and from there  I could whittle away at Earl's flank securing the win. At the end of the round I had firm command of all players as seen below. Unfortunately the very next campaign turn Charlie drew the rebellion chip and peeled off his portion of my empire as an independent state.

Round five I played new member prospect, Matt. Matt hadn't ever played DBA before. In keeping with what seems to be a club tradition, Matt kicked my ass in short order. We're not sure why, but new DBA players in our club always seem to do well.  The battle between Matt and I ended up coming down to single combat between his general and mine, both cavalry units, in the sand dunes. With so many negative factors this was a true Thunderdome moment. Two stands enter, one stand leaves. In this case it was Matt's general that was victorious. There are some more photos of other round five games below.

After the fifth and final round the national organization chart and scores are shown below. Thanks to a lot of luck on my part, and excellent play all day long by Charlie, Michael and Earl, my fourth turn win and score was able to carry me through round five for the win.

And here is a photograph of all of the participants taken by Mike. Not shown are Dick and Ralph who both had to leave early.

Friday, October 9, 2015

28mm Roman Cavalry

These are two units of Roman cavalry that I've painted up quickly for use in our club's game day next weekend. My friend Mike is running a one day campaign and I pledged bringing three Carthaginian and one Roman army. For my Roman army I needed to complete the cavalry for my two in-process legions, the red legion and the white legion. It should be obvious from the shields on these which legion each unit is for.

The figures are, as usual, from Old Glory. When you are a member of their club you get 40% off the price of the figures making them my go-to choice for anything they carry. Sure there are a few figure manufacturers that make slightly nicer figures, but with the discount considered those 'better' figures cost three to four times as much as these. That makes Old Glory the perennial champion in the 'bang for the buck' catagory. Plus I like the O.G. figures. They paint up well and the lines are extensive enough that I seldom want for anything. I also like that their packs always contain an assortment of poses.

Since they're mounted, I'm counting these six figures as twelve in my painting total count, mostly because I paint the horses separately then glue on the riders. Next up on the painting table, thirty Austrian Napoleonic grenzers, and a bunch of AWI re-basing. The latter may not make it to the blog.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Napoleonic Austrian Artillery

These are two sections of 6lb guns and a section of 12lb guns for my Austrian Napoleonic collection. The figures and the gun models are Old Glory figures. Considering the exposure of the faces the bicorne hats provide, I chose to go 'full monty' on the faces with eyebrows, whites and pupils as well as a two-tone layered skin tone and lips. After putting my usual wash on the figures a good portion of my hard work ended up obscured. Lesson learned. Either fully detail the faces OR wash them. Not both.

Still I'm very happy with the units and how they came out. I'm probably due for another set just like this only with 9lb and 12lb guns. That would give me a full battery of each.

Next up an emergency job - painting 6 Roman cavalry for club game day that's coming up in two weeks. Nothing like a deadline to motivate!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More Recent Ebay Purchases

I've been a bit behind in posting some recent Ebay acquisitions. This is a unit of Napoleonic French 4th Hussars that I purchased from Dragon Painting Service as a consolation to myself for breaking a tooth, which will require several long sessions in the Dentist chair to permanently. I bought these after the first visit then the Dentist gave me the bad news. Honestly, I'd rather not have the figures and have my original tooth. Getting old it what it is I guess....

This is a Warlord Games Tiger that came painted and weathered. The sale price on Ebay was less than the price of the unpainted model at the local store, even with shipping. Quite the bargain. I actually like that it's in earlier gray paint scheme. This will allow me to use it for mid-war and late war.

Next up, some figures I actually painted myself, Austrian Napoleonic artillery.