Thursday, January 13, 2022

15mm Napoleonics at Robert's

Last week a bunch of us played an excellent game of 15mm Napoleonics using my friend Robert's rules which he's been working on for the past couple of years. The games are coming along more frequently as the rules approach a state of completion. 

This was a large, 7-player game. There were four French players and four alliance players. The alliance army features Austrian, Prussian and Russian forces. Robert's collection is quite complete!

The French got the first march and we set off to capture the center of the battlefield including the central town and windmill hill. I was tasked with holding the left flank against the Allied reserve of heavy cavalry and converged grenadiers commanded by my carpool partner, Byron. I also had the left section of the battle line opposite Mike. 

Here the rules author Robert, new friend Kurt in the middle, and CinC Charlie on the right. Kurt pushed the right flank quite successfully as Charlie pushed the right center. My task was to hold my own on the left and eventually deny the flank.

Here the French get stuck in.

The aftermath of Byron and Mike's attacks (two photos). Mike destroyed nearly the entire right-half of my command in a Pyrrhic effort. Byron, with the elite reserve corps, fared much better eliminating a majority of my left wing with acceptable casualties to his infantry and his heavy cavalry untouched. 

In the end, I bought enough time for Kurt and Charlie to edge out a minor French Victory, their efforts being more effective than mine. 

Left, the result of Mike's efforts for the battle. Remaining of my command, a small battery and a single stand of infantry. Certainly not enough to hold off Byron's command on the flank.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Northern Conspiracy Game Night - January 2022

Last Friday we had the first Northern Conspiracy game night of 2022. With Omicron looming large here in New Hampshire the club members opted to return to masking up for the event. We also had a winter storm that made travel difficult so we had a smaller than usual turnout - 11 members. We ended up running two of the three scheduled games. 

To the left, a photo of Michael's Crusades 'Saga Big Battles' game with his beautifully painted 28mm figures. 

I was engrossed in the game I was playing, so I was remiss in my duties as photographer and only got this one additional photograph of Michael's game, part way through the setup.

By the time my game finished, Michael and his players were also picking up his game, so I assume it went well and played to conclusion.


I played in John's Blitzkrieg Commander 4 game which was a historical WWII Eastern Front scenario in 15mm. Charlie and I were the Russians, with Ross and John as the Germans. The scenario is to capture the village in the center of the table. 



Charlie had T-34/66 tanks and infantry riding on them and some unarmored trucks with a mortar team. Opposite him John had Panzer IVs and some Panzergrenadiers in halftracks. 

I had three KV-1 heavy tanks and three T-70 light tanks - all with infantry riding on them. 

Opposite me Ross had three Panzer III tanks and Panzergrenadiers in halftracks. He also had a tripod-mounted MG-42 MMG team which was quite effective.

On the Russian right flank, Charlie races to the ravine and the cover it offers. He ended up dueling with John's Panzer IVs. The German tanks earned a Pyrrhic victory in that duel. Charlie's infantry later diverted to take the German side of the town as I was occupying our side and contesting the central building. 

My assault's initial stages. I opted to press forward with my KV-1 tanks. In hindsight they would have been better off in the rear on a hill overlooking the town. This would have taken advantage of their longer range and heavier armor. My T-70s scored an early destruction of one of Ross's halftracks, then they got systematically destroyed one at a time by Ross's Panzer IIIs. Ross' HMG and remaining halftrack MGs out-ranged my infantry and eventually all but wiped them out. My SMG tank riders from the KV-1s were all I had left after I assaulted Ross' Panzer-IIIs with infantry and took one out in a mutually destructive duel with one of my KV-1 tanks. 

In the end, the Russians held the majority of the town's building and had all but eliminated the German Infantry. We had two KV-1 tanks at the crossroads and only one Panzer III and one (or two?) battered Panzer IVs opposing us. General consensus from John was a minor Russian victory. 

In typical Russian style, my command suffered over 60% casualties in the 'victory'. I think Charlie fared better staying under 50%. No matter the costs, it was a VERY fun game. Thanks to John for running it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

28mm French Napoleonic Infantry From Ebay

This is a collection of three separate units of 28mm French Napoleonic infantry that I purchased from three separate Ebay auctions. This post could also be titled, "the good, the bad and the ugly", or "caveat emptor". More about that below.

This first unit in greatcoats I purchased about 15 months ago just as I was moving into my new home. They are the 'good' part of the story. They were based individually for Sharpe's Practice or some similar skirmish rule set. The figures are mostly plastic figures and were well painted and arrived well packaged and in good shape. All I had to do was re-base for my preferred basing, and do some minor touch-ups and a little bit of washing to give the great coats better shading. A nice unit for a good value.

These two units were purchased from the same seller on Ebay. While I usually consider myself a savvy Ebay purchaser, I definitely did not review the photos of these figures carefully enough. They were only partially painted. Many of the details on the rear of the figures were still in white primer: cartridge boxes, bayonet scabbards, canteens, powder flasks, packs, etc. Also most of the minor straps and pack straps were unpainted. The backs of the figures were in short - an incomplete mess. This is the bad.

The figures were plastic, and packaged four to a small bubble-wrapped pouch. These pouches for 48 figures were over-stuffed into a USPS Priority Mail small flat-rate box. While I cannot prove they were damaged when stuffed in, by the time I received them the figures were destroyed. To the left, a typical selection of four figures from a pouch. Every musket is broken, some in up to three places. Heads decapitated, ankles broken, pom-poms ripped off. Three of the 48 figures were a complete write-off. Many more ended up not having bayonets after repairing them. Of the 48 figures, only 13 had no major damage, of these 4 were lead figures that required some re-bending to straighten them out.

One I had completed the figure repairs using plastic cement, the re-painting, or in many cases the initial painting of everything began. I put another nine or ten hours into touch-ups, re-paints, painting details and finally putting some heavy washes on the figures to hide the myriad of sins. 

In the end, I have a couple of 'OK' units for my collection, not the 'very good' ones I had thought I had purchased. In contrast to the great coat unit above these were far inferior in all ways: more expensive, damaged, un-paited and even after re-working them they're much less eye-catching on the tabletop. Still, they're now done and will see at least a few battles on the tabletop before I consider replacing them. I want to get my time investment back before I consider trying to recoup a portion of my monetary losses. 

Here's a small gallery below of the completed units based up. I'm counting this entire project as 32 stands re-based and 12 figures 'painted' based on the approximate amount of work re-painting.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Blitzkrieg Commander - American Figures - Ebay Purchases and Re-basing

With my previous post showing the new German infantry in my collection, here are some Americans I also recently purchased from Ebay. This group required re-basing and also in some cases repair and re-painting.  Included are two 105mm artillery guns, two .50 cal heavy machine guns, a platoon of infantry with a commander and a command jeep. 

The /50 cal machine guns were based in the same brown gravel as some of the Germans from the previous post. The 'bushes' were just clumps of railroad ballast glued into strange clumps, painted black and dry brushed white. I GUESS they were supposed to be rock walls? I painted them dark green, then flocked them with blended turf. Now they look like proper foliage. The bases re-turfed with static grass.  After all this work I ended up having too many .50 cal guns so these were gifted to my friend Phil.

The 105mm artillery guns are both broken off the stands and the infantry was poorly painted. The guns were painted in a single color. I gave them a black wash and some highlighting. I gave the crews some touch ups, re-terrained the bases with static grass, tufts and foliage clumps and permanently attached the guns. I'm not sure that I 'needed' these, but the came with the rest of the figures, so I am happy to have them. 

The infantry and Jeep just needed to have their basses grassed and tufts added. The uniforms are a bit too vivid, but that's not something I'm willing to address. They're perfectly fine for my table!

These infantry I purchased in a separate lot and they're good to go out of the box. Included are infantry, command stands, bazooka stands and four .50 cal machine guns. The latter are why I gave the other two .50 cal MGs to my friend Phil.  This group contains a single 57mm anti-tank gun. I'd like to get another one or two to round out the force.

I'm also short on infantry compared to my Germans. I'll be keeping my eye out for a couple more platoons of GIs, or maybe even some airborne.

Also purchased with this group, four .30-cal machine gun teams, another command stand and another bazooka team.

Finally vehicles included with these 'lots' and one group of tank-destroyers purchased separately. I haven't touched these yet. They need some minor repairs and weathering, but are pretty close to tabletop ready. They include plenty of half tracks to mount up the infantry as armored infantry. That might also explain the copious amount of .50 caliber MGs. 

About the only thing that's missing here would be some sort of half-track anti-aircraft vehicle.