Monday, April 29, 2013

28mm Austrian Napoleonic Officers

This is another purchase from eBay for my 28mm Napoleonic Austrian force for my friend Charlie's new homebrew rules. These were purchased from a vendor that is new to me,  26wargamelady2011. The figures are very well painted and the packaging was good as well. You need to be careful when paying for figures from this vendor that multiple figure orders combine shipping properly. Mine did not but when contacted, the vendor was very responsive. I asked for extra figures instead of a refund and got what I asked for. Hard to complain with that type of service.

These are the figures that I used for my basing tutorial post last week in case anyone wants to see the final product from that post.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Battle of Gloucester Point, October 17th, 1781

Friday we got together in my basement to play test a scenario I'm working on that I plan to host at our club's May game night. Several of my friends and a few new players volunteered to help me play test it.

During the siege of Yorktown, across the narrows of the Chasapeake bay, a small force lead by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton was penned in by a larger force comprised of Americans and French including the Lauzun's Legion Hussars commanded by Brigadier Marquis de Choisy. During this short time one of the few cavalry on cavalry conflicts of the war occurred when over 300 French Hussars of Lauzun's Legion clashed with a similar number of horsement from the Light Dragoons of Tarleton's legion. This action resulted in the unhorsing and wounding of Tarleton but only a few other casualties. Beyond this cavalry action the British were kept mostly in check behind their own defenses until the surrender of Yorktown. The day before the surrender, on the evening of October 16th, Cornwallis attempted an evacuation of Yorktown to Gloucester point by small boats. This evacuation ended up in failure when the boats were scattered during an overnight storm after only shuttling a few British soldiers across from the Light and Grenadier brigades.

This scenario assumes that the British were able to cross enough troops before the storm to amass a force large enough to attempt a breakout. A successful defeat of the encircling Franco-American force will allow Cornwallis to complete the evacuation of Yorktown and extend the war in America. An American victory confirms history and marks the end of major battles of the Revolutionary War.

On the left American commanders George (Danby's Legion) and Mike (Virginia Militia). On the right French commanders Mark (Lauzun's cavalry and marines) and Charlie (Lauzun's Infantry).

Here is the British contingent left to right Ed (Light Brigade), Byron (Hessian Brigade), Ralph (coaching new players), new Player Owen (grenadiers) and Rob (militia and loyalist forlorn hope).

The scenario requires that the British, with their superior quality and numbers, eliminate the blocking American force. The British plan was solid, advance with their Loyalists and Queens rangers command to screen their grenadiers from the French battery and American muskets. Once in range the Grenadiers would go in for the kill. Germans in the center would follow up the Grenadiers and the Lights and Tarleton's cavalry would occupy the French keeping them out of the fight. In the end the Grenadier charge went particularly well and the lights were able to skirmish with the French effectively enough to neutralize them before the slower marching Germans made it into action.

I have a few tweaks to make to the scenario to make the Franco-American forces a bit more durable and threatening. I don't want to change too much too quickly though because the Grenadier attack and British plan was well executed, so I don't want to make it a lot tougher to succeed in case an average plan or execution happens at game night. In that case I want the game to be an even affair.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Figure Basing Method

On a recent post one of my readers asked me to do a step-by-step tutorial of my basing method. While I don't think my bases are as nice as some of the best seen on wargaming blogs, they're passable and my technique is super easy and super fast. I know a lot of wargamers dread basing, but with my method I find it quite easy and enjoyable. By request here is my method.

Step 1 - Prepare the base and Figure

I prefer 1/4" thick bases for my 28mm figures. The thicker bases give the player something other than my figures to grab onto. On my AWI armies I paint the whole base black with spray paint then hand paint the top Russian Green using cheap craft paints. For Napoleonics and Ancients I smartened up and paint the top and edges of the base with green spray paint from a can. I buy the cheap stuff at the department store for this use. The slots in the back of my bases are for labels and/or roster tags.

When I'm painting my figures I make sure the base of each figure is neatly painted with Russian green paint. An exact match to the bases isn't required, but the closer the better. Dry-brush the base if you like.

Step 2 - Prepare Talus / Stones

The stones I use are Woodland Scenics 'Talus'. A bag lasts forever. As you can see below  the stuff comes in an un-natural ivory white color. I water down some stain and in a paper cup stain a bunch of this stuff to a more earthy color. It's ok for the stones to not be uniform in color. I stir them up a bit in the stain and dump them out on a paper towel and dry them off. It sounds like a lot of work but I do it about once a year or less. I make enough to fill a Gale Force 9 terrain container up. One container will last several armies worth of basing.

Step 3 - Apply White Glue, Figures and Talus

I use white PVA 'School' glue - Elmers brand here in the USA. I put on a bunch and spread it evenly with a pallet knife. I then put my figure(s) on the stand exactly how I want them. If I'm basing cavalry I may use a toothpick to push some glue up onto the base between the horse's feet. I use white glue because it's inexpensive and makes removing the figures later for re-basing easy with an overnight soak in tap water

While the glue is wet I grab a pinch of talus stones and scatter them semi-randomly. At this time sometimes I also add bits of sand or other non-grass ground clutter. Woodland Scenics ballast and Gale Force 9 ground scatter products are both items I use. Whatever you choose have enough to use some on all of your bases.

Step 4 - Apply Static Grass

There are many brands and blends of static grass. I've used many and almost as a rule I've found them to be too 'neon' green and too fake looking. Also a pure static grass product doesn't have any other items and looks too much like a putting green for my tastes. I prefer Scenic Express "Farm Pasture Blend" ground cover. It's about 75% static grass with the remainder consisting of small foam turf clumps and small woody stick-like bits. Just enough to make your bases look like a field and not a putting green. Invest the $10 on a static grass applicator. I prefer the plastic squeeze bottle type so I can squirt the grass in between figures as I desire. Puff the grass on from above and let dry overnight. I do this into an old shirt box. You will apply 10 times as much product at the base requires. The next day shake the stands off into the box and re-use everything that didn't stick to the base.

Step 5 - Apply 'Detritus' to the blank areas of the base

I like to fill the empty spaces on my stands with what my friend George calls 'detritus' - non-figure scenic bits. For the most part I use Silfor Buffalo Grass clumps, Woodland Scenics foliage clusters in two colors and rocks made from broken up pieces of coarse cork board painted black and dry brushed grey. The latter I prefer to real rocks. Real rocks look too fake believe it or not.

For special stands I've been known to add broken cart wheels, barrels, tomb stones, weapons and even dead horses. The more variety the better when it comes to detritus! 90% of the painted items that are not figures are wooden items such as barrels and cart wheels. You would be amazed at how many of these you can paint up in one session of dry brushing and save for later. I keep such items in a drawer in my organizer. Another good source is the flea market at a show or club swap meet. That old ACW cannon looks too shoddy to use, break off the wheels and barrel and you have 3 pieces of detritus already painted up!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

28mm 'German' Austrian Napoleonic Fusiliers

 Two units of Napoleonic German Austrian Fusiliers again purchased from ppsbay_com and re-based for Napoleon's Rules of War. Both of these came painted with the grey regimental facings, collars and cuffs shown on the right-hand unit. Fortunately for me the regimental color is also the color the painter uses for shading and lining making the task of changing the regimental color of the left-hand unit to green an easy task. I will most likely be doing this for other units in the future.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

28mm 'Hungarian' Austrian Napoleonic Fusiliers

The first of two (or more) Hungarian units for my Austrian army. Again these are figures purchased from ebay merchant ppsbay_com and re-based for Charlie's rules, Napoleon's Rules of War. I'm experimenting a bit with my basing for this rule set. There is a bit more open space on the stands than on my AWI figures so I've added more rocks, grass tufts and brush clumps to compensate. This particular stand I may have gone a bit overboard on the rocks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

28mm Austrian Napoleonic Grenadiers

This is a unit of 28mm Austrian grenadiers I purchased from one of my new favorite figure sellers on ebay, ppsbay_com.  Their figures are well painted, shaded and black-lined where appropriate and available for a fair price. Their shipping is reasonably quick and the figures are extremely well packaged. I'm probably going to augment this unit with a second one in the future to make up a full regiment. This will be another unit for my friend Charlie's homebrew rules, Napoleon's Rules of War.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hannibal at the Gates Play Test

Last night we got together to play test my uncle's new ancients rules, Hannibal at the Gates.  These are based on similar mechanics to his Renaissance period rules Nexus that the club enjoys greatly. This was also the unveiling of both a large Roman and large Carthaginian army that he's mostly painted in the past year - a herculean effort for sure. As you can see from the photos, the terrain and figures are both gorgeous.

The rules play well being based on a known-good system. We found a few minor tweaks that Ralph will be considering but for the most part a fun, fast-paced, and reasonably historical game. Good stuff!

Below are two YouTube videos of the tabletop. Sorry for the crummy video quality - my still camera has poor video capabilities.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

28mm Austrian Napoleonic Hussars

This a unit of Austrian Hussars I purchased off of Ebay from the very prolific Dragon Painting Service. I've purchased 15mm figures before from them and have always been happy with the quality of the figures and the price. Their 28mm offerings are of even higher quality, but come with a commensurately larger price. While I can afford to buy their 15mm figures in volume, 28mm figures from them will be only as a special occasion purchase. In this case I had some extra pin money from some consulting work I did using my laser engraver.

I've re-based these gorgeous figures for my friend Charlie's rules, Napoleon's Rules of War. They'll be one of the key units in the Austrian advanced corps I'm planning on building.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

25mm/28mm Carthaginian Bolt Shooters

This is a Field of Glory battle group of two Carthaginian bolt shooters and crew. I picked these up from Magister Militum mostly on a lark as a 'secret weapon' for our upcoming First Punic Wars campaign. In truth I don't expect to keep them much of a secret, and they're probably going to be of dubious military value. Still they'll add variety to the troops available, were a very affordable choice with such a low figure and base count and were quite quick to paint up. Plus who knows, they might be fun on the tabletop.

The Magister Militum figures are more on the 'True 25mm' side of the scale, but I hope since they're all in a single battle group they'll blend in well enough with the rest of my army which is primarily Old Glory figures which tend to be on the 28mm side of the range. The bolt shooter models themselves were a bit fiddly to assemble, and ended up a bit janky in alignment. Still I'd rather leave them on tilt than attempt to straighten them out and risk breaking the glue bonds on them.

Field of Glory basing, which follows WRG/DBA/DBM convention, calls for artillery to be on a 60mm wide by 80mm deep base. With only 2 figures and one model to fill that vast void I opted to toss everything including the kitchen sink at these as far as basing materials goes. I even have the chaps sitting among some spring could happen. Next up are some re-basing projects, and more Carthaginians.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 2013 Game Night

Last night our club got together for our monthly game night. I played in Ralph's Swashbuckler game that we play tested earlier in the week. With a full compliment of eight players the game was even more fun. At points players were standing among piles of thrown chairs, beaten repeatedly with thrown mugs and spatoons and we had a few good old fashioned run throughs with the sabre. We switched characters between games but d'Artagnan seemed to be in the middle of the trouble every game. One game he ran through one of the Cardinal's guards in one running lunge, another game he got that favor returned. In the final game he was among the fray in a hail storm of flying furniture and glassware.

Playing this game reminded me how much fun we had with the original board game back in the 80s. I'm excited about it enough I'm seriously considering doing something similar by adapting the rules for Samurai warfare. During playing of the game and the play test I thought I remembered someone from our club doing this back in the 80s but when I looked up the rules he used, Samurai Blades, it wasn't a Yaquinto game. I'll have to pick his brain about what he did next time I see him.

The other game last night was Phil's WWII Air Combat game using the new beautiful Axis & Allies Angels 20 pre-painted planes and rules. Phil's scenario was centered around the Cactus Air Force's missions from Henderson field and included scratch built islands and used Axis & Allies War at Sea ships. With the ships and islands at a smaller scale than the planes the game had a 'birds eye view' look that I think worked quite well. The Japanese were able to bomb Henderson field but the Americans insured that they didn't return their planes to the Emperor for re-use.