Thursday, November 22, 2007

Carnage Convention '07

Here are photos of my Freeman's Farm game as I hosted it at the Carnage '07 Convention as part or the Northern Conspiracy's participation in the Centuries of Conflict, 18th century theme games. I didn't win any prized for beauty, as my convention games are built for portability and gaming enjoyment, but everyone had a great time.

This was a re-play of the test game I hosted last month at our club's game night. The game night game saw the British thoroughly demolishing the Americans in good order well before the German right flank even reached the table. In this re-fight, the Americans drew first blood and kept the pressure on the 'Thin Red Line' throughout the game returning the earlier damage in spades. This go-around was a complete American victory. I'll put this scenario down as 'wargame balanced'. Another one I can pull out knowing I've got the forces balanced just about right. One of the great things about Volley&Bayonet is that you can fight a battle of this size, with gamers new to the rules, in under 3 hours. We played this scenario to completion, at Carnage, with 3 people who hadn't ever played V&B before and finished the game in three hours. About an hour into the game everyone was running their own tables and playing the game pretty much un-assisted by the GM.

Congratulations and thanks are due to everyone who participated in the Centuries of Conflict, supporting this great continuation of our old Tricon Convention. Next year's theme will be 19th Century: Napoleonics, American Civil War and the like. For many more beautiful photos of the wargames from Carnage, please see the Northern Conspiracy events page for the convention.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Freeman's Farm Game

Here are some photos of a Volley & Bayonet game I hosted at the Northern Conspiracy this past month. The scenario was Freeman's Farm (First Saratoga) with a slight historical variation. Historically the General Gates committed precious few troops to the Freeman's farm battle to the dismay of Benedict Arnold. Of course we all know what happened later in October when the full American force was applied. This scenario features an order of battle that has Arnold getting his way, convincing Gates to commit a larger portion of the forces from Bemis Heights. The end result is a much more evenly matched wargame.

This refight saw the Americans have early success both in withstanding the initial British charges as well as giving the Brits plenty of trouble from musketry with the Americans even knocking the British grenadiers out of commision early in the fight. These early successes were not long lived as eventually the American's luck turned and the British had their way with the Americans in the center of the line.

American reinforcements late in the battle were too little, too late and couldn't turn the tide before the Brunswick reinforcements decended on the American right flank. All in all it was a well fought battle by the players on both sides and a fun game to host! This game was a play test of the same game which I will be hosting next month at Carnage 10. More photos of this and other games that were hosted at the game day can be found on the Northern Conspiracy web page gallery for the October game day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

American 'Minuteman' Militia

With the summer winding down, wargaming season is just starting to get into full gear. Although my wargaming club games all year long, with my other hobby being flying R/C airplanes, my primary season for painting figures and gaming is fall-spring. Coming up over the next six weeks I'm going to be hosting a Monmouth Courthouse game at our club game day in October and the battle of Freeman's Farm at Carnage 10 in November. With both of those games to motivate me, who knows? I might actually get the unit of British line I have on my painting table finished up and posted here instead of posting more of my previously-completed units!

These stands are a couple of my American militia 'minutemen'. Living only an hour from the Concord and Lexington battlefield (Battle Road National Park) painting American militia is somewhat of a religion. These stands have that 'just run out of the house with what you had on' look to them. A small note about my face painting technique. In the close-up photos it looks quite overdone, almost cartoon-like, but on the tabletop the exagerated colorings really bring out the facial detail when the figured are viewed at arm's length. I have between 15 and 20 of stands such as these who pose as any or all American militia as needed. I will probably only post a few of them as they mostly have a similar style to them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tooting My Own Horn

I'm going to toot my own horn a bit. I'm pretty excited about this and have to share. Look for a mention of my Spandau and Lewis gun kits in the September issue of Flying Scale Models magazine. Peter Rake's WWI modeling article specifically mentions my Spandau and Lewis gun kits. This is quite a thrill for me, being a very small business and getting this kind of press. Peter's always been the premiere authority on electric-powered scale WWI models and it's a thrill to have caught his ear.

On the scale WWI gun front, I have just released yet another of my kits, the Central Powers Parabellum observer's gun. Hopefully this one will also interest Peter and Flying Scale Models magazine.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

American Rifles

These are my American Rifles. They've been painted genericaly to represent just about any American rifle unit, or unit in hunting shirts so that I can use them in many of my games. Mostly I use them to impersonate Morgan's Rifles and Dearborn's Rifles in games I put on featuring troops from the Saratoga campaign. They're the centerpiece units in my Freeman's Farm / First Saratoga game, each of the skirmish stands representing one of the above mentioned units. The formed stand in the back can be used to represent both units formed up, or to represent either of the smaller units at smaller figure scales.

I painted this unit over five years ago before I decided to varry my uniforms within units a bit more. I do have plans to paint a dedicated unit for Morgan's Rifles in the future with additional variations in coat and legging colors. These are Old Glory figures and the Flag for the unit is a commercial offering, but since half a decade has passed since I based the unit, the brand of the flag has since left my memory. The officer figure uses a hand-hammered and file-shaped brass wire in place of the lead sword for durability.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hosting a Blue Max game at the Northern Conspiracy

These are a few photos of the Blue Max game I hosted at my wargaming club, The Northern Conspiracy, last month. WWI Air Combat is one of the other periods, in addition to AWI, that I run games from fairly regularly. This was a fun game to run and I was happy to have a lot of players, many of who were experienced with the rules. This was a late-war 'furball'. Just good-old dogfighting fun. More photos of this and all of the games from last month's game night can be found in the July '07 gallery page on the club's website.

I'm sorry I didn't post any Historicon '07 photos. To get to Historicon from my home is about an eight-hour drive and five hours into the drive my wife and I realized that we each thought the OTHER person packed the camera. I'll try to make up for this error in judgment with some additional AWI figure photos from my collection soon.

P.S. For the curious that's me in the white shirt with the green collar.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Off to Historicon!

I'm heading off to Historicon tomorrow, and will be there for most of the upcoming weekend. I'l be bringing my digital camera to photograph any AWI stuff of note, which there usually is some. I'll post another update early next week when I return.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

4th Independent Maryland

The state of Maryland raised seven companies of 100 men. The 4th Independent Maryland company was uniformed by its captain in dyed Osnaberg linen with red collars and cuffs. This company was raised in January of 1776 and joined Washington in New York.

The flag is a hand-painted flag of Washington's command flag, which local experts here believe was in common use throughout the army. The officer's sword is hammer-flattened, file-shaped brass wire for durability. Although these stands normally represent a body of troops much larger than a company, as a wargamer I couldn't resist painting a full unit in this uniform as it is uniquely American Revolution and a real eye catcher on the tabletop. The formed stands can work independently or together as can the single skirmish stand.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Laser-Cut 1/12 Scale Lewis Gun Kit

In addition to my love for historical miniature wargaming, my other main hobby is radio controlled airplanes. Where the two hobbies meet is in the skies over europe, 1914-1918. I wargame the war in the air during WWI and I also like to fly scale WWI airplanes. Radio controlled flying is not only a hobby for me, it's also a business. I run a small internet-based business, Wright Brothers R/C which sells laser-cut aircraft kits that I design. Recently I've purchased my own laser engraver that can cut balsa, hardwood, cardstock and thin plywood in order to be able to design and cut more of my own models for sale.

One of my product lines is lightweight scale models of World War I machine guns for use on electrically-powered scale WWI R/C planes. This Lewis gun is the newest addition to that product line. While I don't want to bother readers of my wargaming blog with R/C stuff, I thought this might be of interest as it is a 'Military Model' and that's also what our wargaming figures are. It also explains the lack of figure posts here lately as I've been pretty busy learning how to use my new tool. I do expect to get a lot of wargaming use out of the laser: cutting bases, terrain pieces and specially-scaled rulers all come to mind. Hopefully future laser-related posts here will include wargaming items made with the laser.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hessian Converged Grenadiers

Here are two stands of Hessian converged grenadiers that I painted up about a year ago. Each stand is comprised of figures uniformed in two different facing colors, representing the mixed units that would comprise a battalion. I've kept these units fairly generic, hoping that they could serve as either Grenadier Battalion von Linsing, von Block/Lengerke, von Minnegerode or Koehler. Each stand has it's own officer so that each stand may be used independently at lower scales in V&B.

The figure mix is Foundry and Front rank, with the rank-and-file being Front rank and the officers being Foundry. I'm particularly happy with the drummer figure which was a pleasure to paint with it's well-cast swallow's nests and sleve chevrons. In many of my units I'm guilty of being lazy and not taking the time to properly color my musicians, but with this figure's superb casting I took the extra time to do a nice job on this drummer. The flag for this unit is another of my home-made ink-jet printer flags. As you can see from the side-bar graphic to the right, this is one of my favorite units.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hesse-Cassel Musketeer Regiment v. Donop

Hesse-Cassel Musketeer Regiment v. Donop was raised in 1687. It fought at Brooklyn, White Plains, Fort Washington and during the Pennsylvania campaign of 1778-1780, after which it was stationed in New York. It was a member of Major-General v. Stirn's Brigade.

These are a mix of Foundry and Front Rank figures. I was unsure of the figure mix considering I painted them over 2 years ago, but Giles Allison from the Tarlton's Quarter AWI Blog helped me out with the identification (see the comments he posted below). Thanks Giles! The flag is another of my own creations done on my ink-jet printer. I've painted officers for each stand so that both stands can be used as different regiments/battalions in large-scale games while still being able to represent a two-stand unit in lower level games.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hesse-Cassel Fusilier Regiment Erbprinz

In order to give equal time to the forces of the crown, I thought I'd post some of my Hessian and other German troops as a compliment to the recently posted Poore's brigade American troops. This is the Hesse-Cassel fusilier regiment Erbprinz. The two stands represent the entire regiment in two different scales and are not meant to be used at the same time. The sparsely-figured stand is for higher-level games where the small regiment is represented by only a skirmish stand. The fully-populated stand is used on lower-level games where the regiment warrants a full formed infantry stand.

I've chosen to paint the unit in its pre-1780 uniform consisting of fusilier caps and rose facings as this is the uniform it fought the Brooklyn, White Plains and Fort Washington engagements in and used while stationed in New York from 1777-1780. In the southern campaign of 1781 the unit wore regular cocked hats and uniforms with crimson facings. The flag is one of my more recent efforts, using my ink-jet printer on photo quality paper, edged with gold paint and shows what can be done with a scanner, a modern printer, photoshop and a little bit of work.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

3rd New York Continental Regiment

This is the 3rd New York Continental regiment, another member of Enoch Poore's brigade. The 3rd New York, being raised at the same time as and mostly deployed with the 2nd New York has a similar history. The 3rd was commanded by Colonel James Clinton and is reported to have been uniformed in Grey coats faced with green.

This unit is comprised primarilly of Old Glory's 'Continentals Advancing' figures. The flag is another of the ones created by me using a now-antique wax-jet printer. At the time this $10,000 printer, which I accessed at work, was state of the art. Now a $99 printer from Wal-Mart runs circles around it. Still the flag remains. All of my Poore's brigade figures were painted before I started using Volley & Bayonet for AWI and therefore each unit's figures were painted without V&B basing in mind. For this unit I experimented with packing additional figures on the stands instead of making a skirmish stand with the extra figures. While it gives the unit a nice massed look, I've since decided I like fewer figures on the stands to give a more open-order look to the troops. It is nice having a couple heavily-populated stands to represent particularly large regiments, so this unit sees duty as units other than the 3rd New York from time to time. Such is the life of a wargaming unit.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

2nd New York Continental Regiment

The 2nd New York regiment, another of the members of Enoch Poore's brigade, was one of four Continental brigades raised by the State of New work in 1775. Their uniforms consisted of "brown coats, faced with blue". According to John Mollo's Uniforms of the American Revolution, by August 1775 witnesses report the unit having acquired "the air of regulars". I have retained the units appearance as freshly uniformed under the assumption that such a unit would maintain it's equipment while on campaign.

These figures are Old Glory's 'Continental Firing Line' which I consider some of the better poses in their AWI figure range. The flag is a hand-painted flag of Washington's command flag. Local historians and wargaming friends who's oppinions I respect highly, have told me that this flag was used commonly in regiments, and not only with Washington's staff. It has the added benefit of being easily hand-painted. A regular practice of mine is to replace lead swords on officer figures with hammer-flattened and file-shaped brass or mild steel wire. This prevents them from being mishapen and broken during wargaming use. The officer's sword shown below uses this technique.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

2nd New Hampshire Continental Regiment

The 2nd New Hampshire regiment was formed in 1776 and served until all of the New Hampshire line regiments were reorganized in 1782. For a good part of its service this regiment fought as part of Enoch Poore's brigade along side the 1st New Hampshire and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd New York regiments. Various sources report the 2nd to be uniformed in light blue coats with red facings. Some sources report the regiment creating replacement breeches from bed ticking. Since I think this was likely scorned by those not requiring it, I've painted the unit only partially equipped in replacement pants, but I have additionally taken liberty to add a couple of figures in undress showing improvised equipment.
Being from New Hampshire myself, this was one of the very first AWI units I painted. The two formed stands can represent separate battalions of the 2nd NH at lower scales in V&B and can also represent the 1st and 2nd NH at higher scales. The detached skirmisher stand utilizes shooting figures and can be used as skirmishers or as a detachment to hold a viliage or other battlefield strongpoint. The flag is printed on paper by me, but since the unit is over 10 years old, the printer technology available at that time was a bit crude compared to today's printers. This remains one of my favorite and most-used units.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Big Napoleonic Campaign Game...Part 2

Here's an update on our big Napoleonic game. We've completed another session of gaming and are now 5 hours into the first day (game time) after two gaming sessions (real time). Usually our V&B games run quite quickly and we're able to complete a whole battle in around 3 hours with each player pushing between a division and a corps. This game is so large the scale is 1:2 the other way. Each turn, which represents a half hour of battlefield action, is taking about an hour. This is the price you pay when some of the players are responsible for over 75 stands of troops, one player commanding an entire army of several corps. Next session we hope to recruit an additional Aide-de-camp or two to speed things along.

This session saw the Austrians on their extreme left flank capture a critical town (one of the battlefield's two victory condition points) and press through it to create a solid bridgehead. The Austrian left-center is a more tenuous bridgehead at a less significant town. The Russian center saw re-deployment of the Ruso-Austrian grand battery, while the Russian right was a mixed affair with the Prussian grand battery taking its toll, but the Russian cavalry giving a little bit of the grand battery damage back in a slugfest with the Prussian flank infantry division. The Prussians were however, able to maintain a formed flank with only a few units falling back in rout, and have additional units coming to secure that flank including a fresh division of cavalry.

Sorry for the Ruso-centric battlefield commentary, but since I'm on that side it's the view of the battle that I get. There's still plenty of battle left to fight here. Hopefully one more session will bring us to a conclusion. There's a whole bunch more photos of this game in the Turn 7 Battle of East Germany Page on the Northern Conspiracy Website.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

British and Hessian Generals

These British commanders were painted at the same time as the Americans. Figures are also Old Glory with the exception of the Hessian general, who I believe is Front Rank from their Seven Years War line. Originally I was going to paint the figure on the right as a French officer, but then I thought he'd make a great 'Gentleman' Johhny Burgoyne. Now that he's painted up I think he looks the part.

These figures are mounted for Volley & Bayonet (V&B) as are all my AWI figures. Each stand has a slot in the back edge to hold a roster tag or name tag for the unit or officer. V&B uses a roster system, and our club prefers the small unit tags to separate paper rosters. With these figures done, next on the painting table is another unit of British line infantry, probably the 33rd foot.

American Generals

I needed to add some American and British commanders to my AWI collection. These are the Americans fresh off the painting table. The two-figure stand contains the obligitory George Washington figure with an ADC in Continental uniform. Center is Benedict Arnold and to the right is a generic brigadeer.

The George Washington and Benedict Arnold figures were free giveaways two years running at Historicon, but I'm assuming from the castings that they were made for HMGS by Old Glory. The other two figures are old glory. My technique is block painting with some highlights followed by a wash. The digital camera doesn't do the wash justice. For some reason the digital camera makes the wash look a lot darker then it actually is.