Monday, 15 January 2018

Palm Sunday

OK it is still eleven weeks to Palm Sunday, but I finished basing all my palm trees on Sunday so the title was irresistible. Here is the last batch of 18 trees in six groups. 

I am really surprised how the simple task of putting these on a textured base makes such a simple yet effective model.

My apologies to you Lawrence H if this post brings on another bout of the mental distress palm trees have caused in your life.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

French in Egypt Project Complete....Well Maybe...

This post celebrates the flattening of the lead pile that was the French in Egypt project.
These are the last two battalions.

First is the 2e battalion, 22e Demi-Brigade Legére.

Second is the 1re battalion, 4e Demi-Brigade Legére. There is a lot of conflicting information about the uniform for this unit. One source says the had crimson facings, another brown and a third puce. After much thought, and a couple of tests, I chose to go with brown.


And both battalions...

So what is the state of the French in Egypt project?
The original target was:
  6 Generals
  9 infantry battalions (6 line, 3 light)
  1 regiment of Hussars
  1 regiment of Dragoons
  1 regiment of Dromedary troops (mounted and dismounted versions with camel holders)
  2 field guns (with limbers)
  1 horse gun (with limber)
This has been completed.

There was a bit of scope creep. I added:
  1 field gun (with limber)
  3 line battalions
  1 regiment of Chasseurs á Cheval 
  3 line colonels.
This too has been completed.

How does the overall project plan look now? Well not too bad. The Prussian Napoleonics expansion, the War of 1812 and the French in Egypt are complete (the latter two weeks ahead of schedule). The Crimean War Heavy Brigade is delayed, but the figures are on order. The Non-Specific Plastic figure project has morphed into a  French Napoleonic army for 1812-13 and my the month’s end will have another two units added. The Egyptian ruins are done, as are the palm groves. The Egyptian buildings are started, but will be a bit of a background project, filling in between painting projects. The first order for British in Egypt will be placed sometime after the 25th of January – when the credit card rolls into the next accounting period and I don’t have to pay for them until March. I am still thinking about the Great Northern War.
How does that stack up against the original plan set down in August last year? Here is the plan as it stands.

Well the significant change is the addition of the British in Egypt. This is for three reasons; first, because I realised that the Ottoman Turks were not going to be adequate opposition for the French; second, because of cost – Brigade Games would be the manufacturer of choice for the Ottomans, but they are significantly dearer than other manufacturers (more than double the cost in some cases); third, Brigade Games service of late has been terrible – a month or more to ship orders. I will do some Ottomans, but as a reduced force to support the British, rather than a significant force supported by a small British force.
There is going to be a French in Egypt expansion project (the unkind would call it yet more scope creep). This will entail:
 3 generals
 3 colonels
 1 regiment of dragoons
 3 battalions of line infantry
 3 battalions of light infantry
 4 4lb battalions guns
But this expansion project will not be undertaken probably until March or April, after the British have been started.

In the meantime I will begin the assault on the plastic pile that is the French Napoleonics for 1812-13.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Admitting to an Addiction

My name is Mark and I am a hussar-aholic. It has been three days since I painted my last hussar.

You see I have this thing about hussars. Whenever I see a regiment of them in the order of battle for an army I am building I have to have them. But when I start painting them I nearly always ask myself "WHY DID YOU DO THIS?" All that lace and fiddly stuff to paint and I am not good at that sort of stuff…a painter’s remorse you might say.

For me hussars are the epitome of European light cavalry from the Seven Years War through to the Great War. The very word echoes flamboyance. They are the good time boys of the cavalry.
I have hussars for the Russian and Prussian Napoleonic armies, the Carlist armies, the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian armies and the WWI Germans. So it should come as no surprise that when I saw the 7th Hussars for the French in Egypt army on the Perry’s website my fingers were drawn inexorably to the  “add to cart” button. When I got the figures they were wonderful castings, especially the one piece casting of the officer, but that remorse came over me almost at once – will I be able to do justice to them? I put them back in the painting queue until almost the end of the project.
Last Sunday was the day scheduled for the hussars to make their appearance on the painting desk. I started with the command stand with the usual dread. To my surprise they came up beautifully and easily, as did the remainder of the regiment.
So here they are the 7e Régiment de Hussars (bis). The regiment has “bis” added to the title to differentiate it from the other 7e Régiment de Hussars -  in the chaos of revolutionary France a bureaucratic blunder saw two regiments raised under the same number.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The 75e Demi-Brigade de Bataille

Last week's work was these three battalions of the 75e Demi-Brigade de Bataille, the last line unit of the French in Egypt project. 

In their scarlet coats with sky blue facings they are a pretty dapper looking bunch, I think.

Only three units left in the French in Egypt project...well maybe only three...

Monday, 8 January 2018

First Game for the Year

Yesterday we played the first game for the year. The era chosen was the Russo-Japanese War, an era we had not played for well over a year. We only had three players rather than our usual six. I took the Russians and the other two players the Japanese.


The scenario was a simple one based loosely around the Battle of 174 Meter Hill in the early stages of the siege of Port Arthur. The Japanese were charged with carrying the hill as quickly as possible. If they could take it they would gain access to the Wantai Ravine that led directly into Port Arthur and potentially avoid a lengthy siege.


The terrain was pretty much barren. The 175 Meter Hill stood in the centre of the table on which the Russian has two lines of trenches. Two further trench lines ran back from the hill on each flank. Two or three small wood lots broke up the blandness of the table.


The Russians defended the position with a single division of 16 battalions, supported by ten batteries and six machine guns. Each of the trench positions were held by two battalions forward in the trench and two battalions in support to the rear. Two MGs were placed in the forward trench and two in the trench on the left, while the remaining two MGs were placed behind the second trench line. The gun batteries were to the rear, out of sight of the Japanese.  A brigade of Russian reinforcements might arrive from turn three onwards.


The Initial Deployments 

The Japanese attacked with a force of three divisions. On their extreme left was a single brigade of six battalions, supported by four batteries and two MGs intended to flank drive off the Russian batteries opposite and flank the main position. To their right was the Guards Division of twelve battalions, two batteries and six MGs. Next in line was a brigade of six batteries then a reinforced line division, with three infantry brigades – a total of 18 battalions - and six MGs. A further six Japanese batteries were supporting from off table.


The Russian Position

This was pretty much a straight assault and the Guards got into the spirit of it from the word go. 

One regiment was pretty badly cut up by artillery and MG fire and was driven back, but a second regiment stormed to the front line of trenches and drove one Russian regiment out.

But they struggled to drive of the MGs.  A Russian counter attack retook the trench, but the Japanese came back and retook it.

When one of the line battalions to the right of the Guards took the opposite end of the trench the Russian MGs also fell and the whole trench was in Japanese hands…but not for long another Russian counter attack took it back. But again the Japanese came back and drove them out, capturing the front line trench for good.

On the Russian right flank the second brigade of the Guards attacked with vigour. Here the two Russian reserve MGs had been deployed in support of the infantry. Two Japanese battalions were badly knocked around in the advance, but a determined rush by another two saw then capture one end of the trench. An intense tussle then developed to drive off the MGs. Eventually they cleared the Russians from the trench, but the guards were pretty much a spent force.

On the Russian left the Japanese, slowed down by the Russian artillery and MG fire, advanced cautiously. Here the Japanese assisted with the capture of the front trenches as described above and attempted to drive the Russians from the side trench with artillery fire. But the Russians held on desperately (assisted by my phenomenally good saving throws) and not until the very end of the game did the troops this trench give way.

On the Japanese extreme left the flanking force made slow progress, harassed by Russian gunfire all the way, but with nothing too seriously to oppose them the Japanese overran the exposed Russian gun position and forced the retirement of two more batteries. This left the Japanese infantry of the flanking force free to move against the main hill, providing support for the damaged Guards.

On the main hill the Russian second line was untouched and held its ground. One Russian battalion, in a desperate last effort charged down the hill at a shaken Guards battalion. The Guards broke and the Russians broke through onto a second Guards battalion, breaking that too. But the Russians now found themselves well ahead of any support, with three MGs to their flank and two battalions to their front. The Russian pulled back.

Having cleared out two Guards battalions, the Russians find themselves isolated.

Here we ended the game. It was a costly Japanese victory. 

The Russian reinforcements had failed to arrive. Their arrival would not have prevented the fall of the front line, but undoubtedly would prevented the fall of the flanking entrenchments.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

On This Day Five Years Ago...

Five years ago today I started this blog. The purpose was to document my hobby. I wanted to discuss my projects and pass on a few ideas as I went. It has been fun.

When I look back over that time, there have been quite a number of projects. 

On the armies front I started or completed (in no particular order):

Russo-Japanese War
  • Russian
  • Japanese
Crimean War
  • British
  • French
  • Russian
  • Sardinian 
War of Spanish Succession Bavarians
Dark Ages
  • Viking
  • Saxon
  • 1812 Russians
  • 1812 French
  • 1813 Prussians expansion
  • Retreat from Moscow French
  • Retreat from Moscow Russian 
  • French in Egypt - French
WWI 1914
  • German
  • French
  • Belgian
  • British
  • Indian
First Carlist War
  • Carlists
  • Christinos
  • British Auxiliary Legion
  • French Foreign Legion
Wars of the Roses
  • forces for both factions, plus mercenaries
War of 1812 Americans
1866 Ironclads  
  • Austrian
  • Italian

These projects have provided a net gain to the collection of 4,778 foot figures, 632 mounted figures, 81 guns, 57 pieces of equipment and 29 ships

Then there were the terrain projects, which are too extensive to list completely, but they include:
  • the Roman Villa
  • the set used for the Crimean War game
  • the WWI town (intact and in ruins)
  •  the winter village
  • the Dark Ages buildings
  • The East Africa set
  • The Chinese set (for the Russo-Japanese War)

It had been my intention to celebrate the event with a giveaway, but I have been too busy to organise it. Maybe I will hold that for another milestone. 

Instead I have taken a leaf out of Aly Morrison's book and posted a few photos of some pre-blog games.

2005 the Battle of Pea Ridge (or Elkhorn Tavern). This was a game set in winter and will be remembered by many of the players by the number of times they were  stabbed by the hundreds of home made winter trees that I made  using twisted wire.

2008 - The Austro-Prussian War in Italy. I was particularly pleased with this game because every figure and building was sculpted and painted by me.

2010 - Franco-Prussian War, with that dreaded balloon

2010 - WWI in Palestine. None of the work was mine, but it was such a fun game.

2012 - Austro-Prussian War.

2012 - WWII in North Africa in 15mm

Aly Morrison's