Thursday, 20 October 2016

Of Guns and Generals

The expansion of the First Carlist War collection continues withe the completion of three more Isabelino sets.

First is a field artillery piece and crew.

Second is a horse artillery piece with its wonderfully annimated crew

Third is the Isabelino generals:




Three other units are awaiting some work on their bases to be completed on the weekend.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Carlist Army Complete

It has been a busy time on the painting table in the last couple of weeks.

I have completed the last four units of the Carlist army for the First Carlist War project.

First up is the second unit of Valencian infantry for the army.

Second is an Alava infantry battalion.

Third is a Guipúzcoa infantry battalion.

Fourth is the final cavalry squadron, from the Tortosa region.

With these complete I am moving on to the Isabelino forces, starting with the artillery. A gun and four horse artillery crew are on the painting table as this is being posted.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Road to Damascus

Today's game, my first in nearly two months, was WWI in the Middle East. The scenario had a British battalion, supported by an armoured car and several motor vehicles advancing on a Turkish outpost guarding an oasis just east of the rail line to Damascus. The British advance was preceded by a reconnaissance by two companies of New Zealand light horse, with a number of light machine guns in vehicles. German reinforcements were known to be moving to support the Turks. The capture of the outpost and the oasis is vital to the allied operation to take Damascus.

The outpost 

At the same time a mixed force under Lawrence were charged with destroying a culvert that carried the rail line to Damascus over a gully. That culvert was protected by a company of Turks and a machine gun team.

The Culvert

The game started with the New Zealanders advancing from the west. They soon located the Turks in the outpost beside the oasis and engaged them. About the same the British arrived also from the west.

The New Zealanders arrive

With thier vehicles

The British arrive

At the same time the Germans, supported by an artillery section, marched up from the south.

The New Zealanders quickly dismounted and engaged the Germans. Two German companies took up positions south of the outpost and dug in, while a third company moved to take post north of the place.

Meanwhile, Lawrence arrived and quickly located the Turks near the culvert. Dismounting he engaged the Turks frontally with one company, while the other swung around to flank them from the north. Lawrence's plan works a treat and after a brief skirmish the Turkish company was dispersed, although the machine gun team, in a railway carriage, was able to withdraw to the south. 

Lawrence arrives

And located the Turks

The New Zealanders and the British armoured car cut up one of the German companies badly and when the Kiwi's charged, the Germans quit the field. But the charge proved costly to the Kiwis and the German supports cut them to pieces. The Kiwis soon decided that they had had enough and quit the field. The British infantry pressed forward to fill the space.

The New Zealandes take the German defences

The British move up in support

The third German company was recalled from the ground north of the outpost to try to stabilise the line. But the second company of Kiwis mounted up and moved around the outpost, forcing the Germans to halt and turn back. The Germans opened fire with virtually no effect, but the New Zealanders did not made the same mistake and shot the Germans to pieces, driving them from the field.

Meanwhile by the railway culvert, one company of Lawrence's command was cut up badly by the Turkish machine gun, and eventually forced from the field. At the same time a train carrying another Turkish company arrived. Despite inflicting some heavy losses on the Turks, Lawrence's second unit was finally driven off.

To the west the British destroyed the last German company and then turned their attention to the Turks in the outpost. Sheer weight of numbers began to tell and when the New Zealanders charged the shaken Turks, they easily took the post.

The British MGs in action

The armoured car

The Kiwis storm the outpost

The Turks on the railway decided that their time was up and headed off to Damascus in their train.

The Kiwis and British troops rested and resupplied with water from the oasis. The success of the Damascus operation was assured.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Two More First Carlist War Units

Now that the Crimean War armies are finished – well at least until the Heavy Brigade are released – my focus is returning to two incomplete projects: the First Carlist War and the Russian Napoleonics.
Off the painting table this week are the last of four un-uniformed infantry battalions, a squadron of Navarrese lancers and the set of male civilians, all from the First Carlist War.  

The look of units on the table has been important to me and ever since the mid 1980’s the look has dominated the way I base figures. There has been some variation to the way I have organised and based units over that time, but when I started the  Wars of the Roses armies, I settled on an organisation that I have applied through the Crimean War and First Carlist War armies. I will probably apply this organisation to all armies going forward. This method uses three stands as the basic unit for infantry and cavalry units and one for two stands for artillery (this latter variant is to reflect that some armies – the Russians in particular – use large batteries). The choice of three stands for the infantry and cavalry means that when the units are formed in line, the command stand will stand in the centre flanked by line stands – and they look right.
The War of the Roses armies had a base measuring 60mm wide and 40mm deep and this suited the irregular nature of the WotR armies. For the Crimeans and the Carlists, however, the figures were just a little too spaced for my liking so the width was set at 50mm for all arms with a depth of 40mm for the infantry, 60mm for the cavalry and as required for the artillery. I did make an exception for the Russian Crimean War infantry, making their base 35mm wide by 50 deep. This was purely to allow the Russian infantry to form in a narrower but deeper column formation for which they were well known. 

The number of infantry figures on a stand is six and this is for two reasons: first is that it looks right and second (and by no means a minor consideration) the Great War and Perry infantry are sold in packs of six, so that there are no odd left over figures when building units. The number of figures on cavalry bases does vary a bit and this was mainly a matter of economy. To save a bit of cash I only used two figure on a stand for the Crimean units, but left it at three for the Carlist (Foundry pack cost £12, Great War cost £10 for three figures whereas Perry’s cost £8.50). While I did save some £145 by taking this option with the Crimeans, I wish that I had though “to Hell with the cost” and left the Crimean units at three figures per stand, because with the two figures the units look a little light, while the Carlist units look solid and menacing.
I have to say that I have been mightily impressed with the service I have had from the Perrys with the Carlist War orders. Every order I have placed in the last few months has been processed and shipped within a day and the longest transit had been seven days – not bad when you consider that this parcel has to be collected from the posting point, sorted at a depot, transferred to an international mail sorting facility, pass through to one or more airline cargo handler, spend at least 30 hours on an aircraft (longer if it comes through the Asia) to cover the 13,000 km between the UK and here, be screened by customs, transfer to a central distribution centre, sent to a local distribution centre and finally delivered to my doorstep (taking into account that suburban mail deliveries in New Zealand are only every second day now).
Because I am so impressed with these Perry Miniatures figures, my plan is to create armies of both sides that make use of almost every figure in the range. The Armies will be significantly smaller than the Crimean armies. The planned forces (and progress so are) are:
6 battalions  of uniformed infantry – four completed, two on hand
4 battalions of un-Uniformed infantry – all completed
2 battalions of Valencian volunteer infantry – one completed, one on hand
1 battalion of Navarre Guides - completed
1 field gun - completed
1 mountain gun (packed and unpacked variants) - completed
4 squadrons of cavalry – three completed, one on hand
4 battalions of guard infantry – four completed, two on hand
8 battalions of line infantry – two completed, two on hand
2 battalions of militia infantry – completed
2 squadrons of Heavy Cavalry– on hand
1 squadron of Light Cavalry– on hand
1 field gun – on hand
1 horse gun – on hand
1 mountain gun (packed and unpacked variants) – on hand
4 battalions of French Foreign Legion– not yet ordered
1 squadron of French cavalry – not yet ordered
1  Foreign Legion mountain gun (packed and unpacked variants) – not yet ordered
2 battalions British Auxiliary Legion infantry – not yet ordered
1x British Marines Battalion – not yet ordered
1 British Auxiliary Legion gun – not yet ordered
1 British Auxiliary Legion rocket team – not yet ordered
1 x squadron British Auxiliary Legion cavalry – not yet ordered.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Great Crimean War Project Complete!

It is odd the way the mind plays tricks on you. Mine is telling me that the Crimean War project, that has been my main focus of late, was only begun late last year. But when look back through the posts of this blog, I realise that I completed the first unit way back in June 2014. It doesn’t seem that long ago.
This weekend I finished the last French Infantry regiment.

With the basing of this last unit the Crimean project has ended. So that is 27 months from start to finish (well finish is such a flexible term for me – I can see the “need” to get the Heavy Brigade when the Great War figures come out and some Turks if Foundry ever have another 25% off sale).
In some ways that is a long project for me (given that I have been known to churn out an army in three to four months), but then this is a big collection and my most expensive by a significant margin – the total cost amounted to just over £1900.00 (or around NZ$3870.00). It is worthwhile pointing out that I changed suppliers of the Great War Miniatures earlier this year to Caliver Books, who do not charge for postage on orders above £16.50 and this resulted in a saving of a surprising £338. I know this is a play-off against the VAT that can claimed back against exported goods, but it is a saving that is much appreciated.
The final tally is:

British Army
3 Guards Infantry Battalions
3 Highland Infantry Battalions
4 Line Infantry Battalions
1 Rifle Battalion
4 Line Artillery Batteries
1 Royal Horse Artillery Battery
5 Light Brigade Cavalry Regiments
9 Command Groups

French Army
1 Chasseur a Pied Battalion
9 line Infantry Battalions
3 Zouave Infantry Battalions
2 Line Artillery Batteries
1 Horse Artillery Battery
2 Chasseur d’Afrique Cavalry Regiments
4 Command Groups

Sardinian Army
2 Bersaglerie Battalions
4 Line Infantry Battalions
1 Line Artillery Battery
1 Command Group

Russian Army
28 Line Infantry Battalions
5 Line Artillery Batteries
2 Line Dragoon Regiments
2 Hussar Regiments
3 Cossack Regiments
1 Cossack Battery
13 Command Groups

In all that is 1,203 foot figures, 125 mounted figures and 21 guns.
Laid out on the table it represents a mighty array, but packed away in its plastic boxes in the garage it looks far less impressive.