Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nice addition to the Hanoverians

When I decided to work at creating a table top version of the battle of Quatre Bras, I knew that some of the units were under represented as figures.  Having been around as long as I have, I am always reaady to do a 'paint only' conversion to have a stand in casting for a unit.

Such was the case with the Kielmansegge Jager Corps of Hanover.  It is present in the brigade of Hanoverian line troops, commanded by LTG Kielmansegge.   It was only two companies strong, and was in service only since 1813.   I did not expect to do more than decide between some Prussian or Hanoverian foot figures, and paint appropriately.  I had the uniform information, a short but useful article in an old issue of the "Courier" by NEWA.   As such, I decided they would be one of the last units completed for the Hanoverian force.

To the rescue, a few months ago, came the great folk over at Westfalia Miniatures, who announced the unit available from their recent foray into Napoleonic figures.The thumbnails below are links from the Westfalia website, I hope they don't mind sharing.

I ordered the figures the fifth or sixth of December, they shipped on December twelfth and arrived safe and sound December 24th!  Yes, gentle readers, I scored new figures two Christmases in a row, although this year it was a purchase and not a gift.  Using a first coat of a light green (Ceramcoat Medium Foliage  Green), here are some of the figures in close up.  Obviously, I  need to update on the progress as it occurs.

As you can see, the figures are a treat, eight different pose!  I'll probably mount them four on a couple of 2" by 2" stands as that would fit in with my unit size.  Or I might do tow stands of three and a third stand of only 2 castings, the Officer and Hornist. Decisions, decisions.

The folk at Westfalia were very good at processing the order and mentioned that someday they might produce a set for the 3 pounders that were part of the Jager Corps.  That would be a real treat, but first I must paint these fellows.  Hmmmm, where is that bottle of dark green?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

The pies and cookies are baked.  The food for tomorrow's family dinner has been delivered except for the roast and vegetables we're to bring.   The packages are all wrapped, we've even deliverd a few around to relatives we'll not see tomorrow.  Midnight Mass is in a couple of hours.  I even remembered fill the tank in the car in case we do get the run of poor weather days the man on TV is so excited about.

Merry Christmas to you all, I hope the holidays are a pleasant diversion from the ordinary routine.  I hope the New Year brings more happiness to all of you. 

I may even get to a blog entry on gaming this week!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Finishing what I started: Map on garden cloth.

I did not make it to Ellis Con this year, real life got in the way.   Things have straightened themselves out somewhat, so I went down into the cellar and completed the game cloth for the  Snappy Nappy scenario map.  I am pleased with the final result.  Here is the photo, complete as it would have made its appearance.

A little shot of the 'farther end' of the table.  The road net and rivers 'drop off' where the map ended. The mat was to represent map 'C" in the campaign.  You can see all the maps on Gonsalvo's blog if you were to go here
  and scroll down until you find map 'C.'

Some of you might observe the GeoHex  being used as hills and also the stack to the right rear of the photo.  Why do the mat if I already have the GeoHex?  Well, the mat will roll up and later roll out flat. The mat takes up so little room, only the 4 foot length is something you have to consider when storing for later use or transit.  The GeoHex is wonderful stuff, but like any foam based product, is bulky.  Since I have switched over to a smaller car, room for transport will be at a premium.

Also, at a convention or even at an away game at the local hobby store, the set up time for traditional hill and road/river gear is measured by thirty minute increments.  GeoHex increases the time by at least 30 minutes.  The mat rolls out in under one minute.  Now the hills, trees, man made structures and shrubbery are all that remain to be placed....and the mat can be marked for those items.  I left 'voids' or unpainted surfaces to place the buildings on this mat.

When I do the next one...and I must say, these mats will improve the set up time immensely, I will use some sort of cheap white paint as a primer.  The black plastic acted practically as a sponge on the craft paints, the interior house paint and the gesso!  The gesso did leave behind a nice 'texture' for the road, so that will also be included next time.

The final nice part about this "map" is that I can flip it over and start a different map on the 'B" side. Did I mention it's cheap?

Maybe I'll play a solo game on the mat this week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Merlen's Lt Cav Brigade and Dutch Belgian Limber teams

The last of the Dutch Belgian units at Quatre Bras on my list were the light cavalry commanded by General Merlen. 

There was very little cavalry for the allies at Quatre Bras, but the timing of the first cavalry units' arrival was fortunate for the hard pressed Dutch Belgian foot units.  Merlen's brigade of light cavalry came just before Pack's infantry division, and Merlen was instructed to take off the pressure on the infantry.  Pack's brigade needed time to deploy its brigades. and a series of charges made by the light dragoons and hussars of Merlen's brigade bought that time, although at a high cost.

We start with the Light Dragoon unit, the 5th (Belgian) Light Dragoons.  The uniform was patterned heavily on the French Chassuer a Cheveau, so much so that the unit became a victim of 'friendly fire' during the battle.  Lots of green and yellow, the trumpeter in reverse colors 'pops' the command stand.

Next up the 6th Hussars, whose charge into Pire's cavalry was done without deploying into battle formation.  The charge did not succeed, and the unit suffered heavy losses.  Still, the uniform is nice!  Always fun to paint Hussars. Except for the braid, I never seem to get it correct.  The officers' shakos were red, as were the trumpeters' shakos per the Osprey title on the Dutch Belgian army.

We also can view some limber teams that have been patiently waiting for over a year to be finished.  They've ( the castings, that is) waited as Highlander and Rifle and line troops were added to the British, as Cossacks and Dragoons were added to the Russians.  They even got their hopes up, only to be dashed as a Russian limber was completed (although in honesty that limber team had waited a dozen or more years to be painted.)  Still, they will add some color as they trundle across the table in our games.

The uniforms were evidently the same for all the train, at least the Osprey on the Dutch Belgians lists on this uniform.  The grey shows off the red and black trim nicely. 

So, one for the foot battery and one for the Horse battery at Quatre Bras. Here they are in all their glory!  A little static grass and they'll be finished.  Note only four horses to the team, an indication that teams varied from country to country.  Brunswick's teams boasted six horses in the traces.

I know I should do a limber for the half battery that came with the light cavalry in Merlen's Brigade.  Maybe in the future.  For the next few months, some Hanoverian and British troops need their units done first!

The Dutch Belgians are not completely out of my queue, however.  I decided to take some of the 'extra' figures and produce at least one brigade in Chasse's division. So there are two Dutch Line and two Dutch militia battalions to join another Belgian line battalion and a Jager battalion that are already painted.  When they are completed, you'll see them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poles vs Swedes, the October 2012 game

Well, once everything was set up, I got the first few move cards to cooperate (I pulled come cavalry in the open moves) and the Cossacks that started on my left moved forward, hoping to draw out the Swedish horse.

 So here it is, the opening gambit of the Cossacks.  Left alone, they would flank the Swedes two lines, overrun the artillery, rummage the baggage wagons, ensconce with the more nubile camp followers...well, you get the idea.

Well, Thomas, upright world citizen that he is, would have none of that! He launched a unit of blonde sword and pistol armed cavaliers (oops, too far east for that nonsense) against the unwashed vodka drinkers.
Upstanding Swedes versus vicious Cossack raiders.

In the photos, the Cossacks are skirmish order, giving them a benefit in movement, but lowering their ability to melee.  As it turned out, they were caught by the Swedes and defeated in melee. Then the Swedish cavalry checked and failed to rally from pursuit.  In fact the Swedish cavalry chased the defeated Cossacks off  the table.  Tactically, the Cossacks had done their job; the Swedes had one 'real cavalry' unit and a unit of dragoons left to face the Polish mounted troops. All five of them; and the Polish dragoons, too. 

 The remaining Swedish horse was following in support of its successful leading unit when a unit of pancerni, a type of Polish mail clad cavalry armed with bows, lances, swords and or pistols, caught the Swedes in the flank.  The Polish army deck included an extra 'cavalry move in the open' card.  The extra move can be a double edged sword, but did help in this case to gain the Swedish flank.   The defeat of the Swedes also caused the Poles to pursue, but the Swedish right flank was now stripped of cavalry....with the Swedish guns devoid of foot or mounted support.

Thomas looked somewhat worried, whilst his center, full of untouched infantry, stood ready to advance. I suggested to him the real strength of his army needed to move forward and engage...I'd hardly be able to stop it with my foot units.  The Swedish foot potentially fires better and more often than the Polish foot.  There were also nine Swedish units to four Polish units.  Such is the difference in the emphasis on the arms in the two different forces. 

The Swedish foot units, lead by the elite units crashed into my line which ineffectually shot at them as they came into range.  Hmmf, that's what I get for giving good advice...and rolling lousy on the dice!

 While Thomas' right was gone, my center would soon melt away.  In Anchor of Faith shooting causes stands to first be 'discomfited' with a threshold to passed in these before the unit is considered to have stands lost. They do however lose morale when hit by shooting.  I was bleeding morale chips from losses faster than I inflicted at this point.

I wasn't too worried, the evening's clock was on my side. Also, for my pride, I had five untouched units of cavalry at eleven pm.  And that includes the two units of Winged Hussars.  Eleven pm came and I and the Poles went. 

So we both had a good time, Thomas got  a chance at Anchor of Faith and I got in a nice long evening game while getting to look at some of his wonderfully well done troops. The Swede's foot are tough to face for the Poles, but then the Swedes need to be very careful of the Polish Horse.

Thomas mentioned he'd like to see the Ottomans in action. Hmm, 'mebbe' he will.  No doubt he'll see the Poles again as well.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A little game using Swedes and Poles, the Set up

I made my way over to my friend Thomas' house for a pike and shot era game two Fridays back.  We decided to go for an action just prior to the 30 Years War, when Poland and Sweden had a series of campaigns ending in the 1620's. 

We used the Piquet games variant "Anchor of Faith" which I enjoy and Thomas was willing to try, even though he's a bit more familiar with the Black Powder series games.  Thomas was happy to try a fraction of his TYW figures out, and facing the Poles was a novelty, since the organization and system of fighting was different.

We went for a smaller sized game, under twenty units on a side, including three sections of artillery each.  Thomas' force included nine infantry units, and three (or was it four?) cavalry units. The infantry were his strength, not only in numbers but in quality, the nine units being equally divided into a good quality militia, regulars and elite regiments. His cavalry were regular, two units armed with sword and pistol, one of arquebusiers, a type of skirmishing fire arm equipped cavalry. Come to think of it, there were only three cavalry units on his side of the table.

Thomas set up with his infantry in the center in two lines with his elites in the front; his cavalry was on one wing with the two pistol and sword units, the other flank had the Arquebuiers; his artillery had all three sections on his rightflank, suported by the two units of horse.   We did not use the Swedish Brigade as the action is set before the Swedes adopted.

Swedish right center

Swedish center infantry

Swedish command

Swedish left flank

Swedish cavalry and artillery on right flank

It's probably good to go over the way Anchor of Faith handles pike and shot units.  The units are categorized as a ratio of shot to pike, ie, 1 to 1, 2 to 1, 3 to 1.  You don't actually have to model the mix by having the figures as such, I usually just show two stands each of pike and shot and keep track by roster.  Even having a low ratio of pikes lets you watch the opponent's non pike infantry deduct die type in melee with pike units, and cavalry suffer a 'down two die types' penalty.  Swedish Brigades and Imperial Tercios for the TYW are basically just bigger units of the same types. The troop quality, militia, regular or elite, also play a factor in how well a unit will be rated to fight.

The Poles looked completely different.  The artillery was the same amount but suffered one section as militia, the infantry could boast only four units, only two of which were regular, the others militia. In fact, one unit had no pike at all!  The artillery were spread across the center, the infantry formed two lines with cavalry flanking both sides.  A third line held the reserves.
 The Poles set up in three lines. Cavalry, infantry and artillery.
 The left flank cavalry, the Rajtar and Pancerni support the Cossacks.
 A look down the Polish front.
 The Cossacks in skirmish ride forward.
 Another look down the Polish line, this time from the right.
 Dragoons anchor the Polish right flank.

The cavalry on the other hand was more copious and did intimidate Thomas at first.  I did nothing to relieve his anxiety, knowing the pike and shot units he had would be a nightmare for most of my units, mounted or not.   A unit each of Cossacks and Dragoons one to each flank started my deployment. Each flank also had one unit of Reiter style cavalry and one unit of pancerni (a type of cavalry with chain mail, sword, pistol, sometimes lance, a real mix of weaponry and a range of ability from militia to elite!) near the infantry units.

Finally, the rear rank of the Poles sported two units of the iconic winged hussars. these fellows have pretty much everything going for them that cavalry can...armament includes lance, pistols, other melee weapons, great skill training, usually a morale so high as to dominate their opponents.  They are so aggressive they are prone to uncontrolled charges.  Which aren't always a bad thing. They are that good.

So eight units of Polish cavalry and four of Polish infantry stood against nine Swedish foot regiments and three Swedish cavalry regiments. So the battle was at about the 8000 man level as we were playing the 'standard' game.

So the stage was set, and the game began.  More on that next time.

Dutch Belgians at Q-B pt 2 (1815 Nassau Brigade )

Well, this tops off the units in Perponcher's Dutch Belgian division at Quatre Bras.  Again, all the units are from the Perry bros. miniature line, this time look at the 1815 Nassau list.   The uniform information is primarily from the Osprey title on 'Wellington's Dutch Allies.'

To start with the Bernard of Saxe-Weimar's brigade's units,let's examine the 28th Orange Nassau  regiment, fielding two battalions.  The uniforms looked so closely to the French model that the Prussians coming on the field at Waterloo made an identification mistake (see Hofschrorer's Waterloo campaign).  The bell top shako shape and blue coats certainly could be mistaken at a distance!  The facings were red, the officers' sashes orange.  The unit was from one of the many small German principalities, under contract to the Netherlands' government.  Hence the name!

Also in the Brigade was the 2nd Nassau Ussingen Light Regiment, in 1815 a brand new formation of three battalions. This was one of my favorite units to paint, with the grenadiers in busbies and everyone in a buff colored  belt, the all green uniform is a nice contrast to the line and militia units in the division.  One of my friends, a very veteran wargamer reminded me that only a small fraction of the unit actually wore the fur hat...but that's okay...I made sure I could do at least six!  Good thing there were three battalions in the unit.

The command pack had a few figures more in the busby, so my total is nearer eight.

The center companies wore bell topped shako. Everyone got to wear the green coat.  Oh, yellow facings...almost forgot.

 There were two companies of volunteer Jager infantry, these troops rounded out the brigade.  One pack of the range supplied me with the two stands needed.  I have since remounted them, but this is a better photo of how they look.

Volunteer Jagers
Even though the Perry range has only the 1st, 2nd regiments and the Jager companies, there is a suitable casualty pack if you 'need' that sort of thing.  Of course, the real units were only as mentioned.

The brigade also contained a battery of artillery attached for the day at Quatre Bras.Dutch Belgian line artillery, armed with six pounders. Note the lack of  the shoulder wings the Horse Artillery sport.

 So there it is, a small but interesting contingent to add to the 1815 allies, one which fought both at Quatre Bras and Waterloo.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dutch Belgian Units at Qutre Bras Part 1

The first units to arrive at Quatre Bras were the Brigades from the 2nd Dutch Belgian Division, commanded by Baron Perponcher-Sedlnitsky.  The division consisted of two Brigades, the first commanded by Count Van Bylant, the second by the Prince of Saxe-Weimar.  The first brigade   consisted of a unit of Jagers, a unit of Belgian Line,  and three battalions of militia.  The second brigade consisted of the 2nd Nassua-Ussigen Light Regiment, the 28th Nassau Orange Regiment, and a company of Jager volunteers.  The division was supported by two batteries of artillery, one a field battery and the other a horse battery.

After the Brunswick infantry and artillery, these were next units I had actually painted for the Quatre Bras project.  The Perry Miniatures Nassau and Dutch Belgian ranges for 1815 have these units, plus others needed for Waterloo if you want to 'do the big one,' Waterloo.

So let's look at the first brigade, with the 7th Belgian line first.  The Belgian line units wore a dark blue coat with white facings and the Belgic 'false front' shako.  The 7th was stationed near and later in  the Bossu woods.

The next unit is the 27th Jager battalion, a Dutch unit. The jagers held a long part of the frontage early on in the battle, got caught in skirmish order by the French light cavalry and suffered heavy losses.  The uniform was a dark green coat with yellow facings and grey trousers.

 There were three militia battalions, the 5th, 7th and 8th.  They, like all militia units wore a dark blue coat with  orange facings, white trousers and a stovepipe shako. They performed well, holding off French attacks both in the filed and garrisoning several farmhouses on the battlefield.

The flags are from Warflags, the colors used on the figures are Ceramcoat black, Opaque Blue, Hippo Grey, a GW orange, a tube acrylic white, and Vallejo metallics.  The jagers were washed over with a hooker green ink covering a lighter green.

There are packs of officers and casualties as part of the range.  Above show the three colonels available and a portion of the casualty pack.  You may recognize one of the chaps from the blog's masthead.

The Horse Artillery battery supported the First Brigade near the Gemeincourt farm.The unit was armed with six pounders.

So that's all I have for now on the Dutch Belgian Brigade, except for General here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Another unit, West Riding Regiment

  Well, the second Victrix unit is finished, and today based. The West Riding Regiment.  The unit modeled, the 33rd Foot, was part of Halkett's Brigade in Alten's First Division.  That makes Halkett's brigade complete now.    The unit had red facings, the normal white lace.

The unit is done with some craft paints for the coat and pants colors, the white lace and metallic colors were tube artist acrylics.  I finishd the figures in a diluted (7 or 8 to 1) wash of burnt umber.  The flags are again from the Warflag site. Flocking is the static grass railroad modelers use, held with white glue.  I based it similarly to the other unit of Victrix foot, on 2" by 2" stands.

Pretty inexpensive unit, since the figures came in a trade.  This means there is one unit left in Picton's division, the  Gordons, the third unit of highland line to complete the three British Brigades at Quatre Bras.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A little matter of ownership

It was really awesome to see them, the Tharks, come in the compound.  Almost twice as tall as a human, wielding huge weapons, they almost seem from legend.

Lt.  Simpson, 3rd US Cavalry, was pleased to see one of the warriors was Tharkul, chief of the tribe that ranged over an area five hundred miles in all directions from the canal city he was stationed near.  What puzzled him were the pieces of metal hanging off their mounts.

The pieces were dull colored, irregularly shaped and obviously in some sort of damaged state. They were not the trade stuff the Tharks liked to bring into the markets, nor were they the new sheets of steel they purchased. 

It also struck the Lieutenant that Tharkul seemed in very good spirits.  All he said was that 'Thark rifles range farther than lightning from thimbles.'

 The Lt. mentioned in his report he was in receipt of what appeared to be paybooks, written in either Danish or Swedish and some personal effects of soldiers.  The Tharks said they are not sure they found all the remains, but buried over a dozen bodies damaged by the 'thimbles' electrical weapons.

For some background on the targets of the Tharks see Czar Barry's blog. It's actually the inspiration for this vignette.  It only took  year for me to paint the three grouped Tharks. Tharkul, being older and darker, was painted a couple of years ago.  Now, he has someone to hunt with him on the plains of Mars.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

1815 Brunswick contingent Cavalry

The final group of Brunswick troops to cover includes the two units of cavalry, a hussar regiment and a 'squadron' of uhlans.  The two units arrived at the field of Quatre Bras after the initial infantry group, but before the artillery and two light battalions which arrived at six pm.

The two units totaled over 800 riders, so in game terms I field two units.  The Uhlans were under 300 strong, so the first unit is all hussars and the second is three stands lancers and one of hussars.  It works in game terms, and I reconcile it also with the fifty or so 'Polizei Hussars' also with the command, evidently used as straggler roundup and camp security.

On to the photos!  The first is the  Hussar unit sporting the blue facings with an otherwise black uniform.  The unit performed well in the two battles in June 1815, helping to blunt the cavalry actions of the French at Quatre Bras and played a part, along with so many other allied light cavalry units, against the waves of the French heavy cavalry attacks in the afternoon at Waterloo.

There is a detail shot of the officer and bugler. With the 'swimming pool blue' river in the background.

Next up are the Uhlans, actaully the last unit painted in the army, only late last year. Probably the 'brightest' of all the uniforms in the Brunswick army, percentage of the uniform not being black or grey, that is!  The light blue lapels (plastrons?) on the coat and the yellow piping on the czapska and other parts of the uniform do 'pop' more against the black uniform than you might think.  Overall a good looking unit. Amazingly, the lance pennons do not contain black as a color, but are a light blue over yellow.

Well, this wraps up the Brunswick contingent, I need a few days, then I'll start on the Dutch Belgian units at Quatre Bras. I can safely promise more color to come!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Brunswick 1815 the Artilery and Officers

 The artillery portion of the Brunswick contingent in 1815 consisted of a battery of field artillery and a battery of horse artillery.  In the range for the Brunswickers, there was also a limber team for each type of battery.  That was just too good to pass up.

Both batteries used British pieces, I assume 6 pounders based on what I could glean from the readings.

The field battery  is shown here , I model artillery units in two gun model sections to a battery.  This works well in the Piquet rule sets I tend to play in, the Army level 'Field of Battle' and the more tactical 'Les Grognards.'  Once again, the penchant for black uniforms is shown in both units. 
The limber teams show a difference in that the field battery limber drivers actually had a brownish grey uniform, while the horse battery drivers continue to show the black uniform theme.  Most armies seem to have militarized the limber drivers last of all, and grey or brown uniforms are quite common. 

Hmmm, I think I better do something about the sides of these stands.  I used a 3/8's inch thick pine piece for strength, and forgot how thick that really is in a photo!  I do like the use of limbers in games, and when available, swap out the limbered gun for the deployed battery when the unit is moving.  "Ground scale wise," the real estate on table top needed for one limber model matches up pretty well with the actual length of a battery when the game's ground scale is roughly 1 inch to 25 yards/meters.  Keeps the artillery, at least when moving, at the proper distance and prevents the arm from becoming too powerful on the table due to deployment 'magic.'. I just replace the train with the deployed battery section as they deploy.
The horse limber riders also sport the falling plume as in the gunners' uniform.  Looking at this photo, I really must do something about  the foam streams I use. Honestly, they don't look as bad in real life.  Or maybe I am just used to them after all these years. Look rather like the color of a swimming pool as seen from the window seat of an air liner.  How's that for an anachronism?

Now for the casualty and officer figures. The Duke of Brunswick pack was a long time in coming.  Before the Perry's website had a shopping cart and the Warstore started carrying the line of figures, the US source for the figures was 'Age of Glory.'  The owner of the Age of Glory was  by agreement with the Perry's, only to sell at conventions, not mail order. So over three Historicons and a local convention here in CT I requested and found to be out of stock, this one pack.  When I did finally obtain the pack, the owner dryly said 'I don't think I can sell you this pack.'  He did, and so here they are.  By the way, he no longer carries the Perry line, but does carry the Empress Figures line now.  You may see some of the Spanish Civil War (1930's version) figures he carries from that manufacturer here in the future.

 The casualty pack is one of the many in the Perry Napoleonic lines.  We use them as morale markers in the games, hence the single basing. They could just as well be used in unit bases as some of our local gamers do, such as Czar Barry (see his blog via the links section.)

Coming up last but certainly not least, the cavalry units!