Thursday, 30 June 2016

So Much for a Quiet Year - Painting Totals Year-to-Date

 At the end of 2015, when I tallied up the painting and scratch building for that year, I predicted that 2016 would not be as productive as the one just passed. This was in part because 2015’s productivity included a significant amount of rework on figures, and in part because I had less projects planned.
Well guess what…I was wrong. Despite some supply problems I have powered through the Crimean armies, made considerable headway on the Napoleonic Russians, scratch built several significant scenic pieces and started a Carlist War project. The six month’s result is:
Crimean War Project
445 foot
61 mounted
14 guns
Franco-Prussian War
2 foot
7 mounted
Napoleonic Russian Project
132 foot
3 Mounted
Carlist War
40 foot figures
Scenic items
Russian Church and Base
Stone Bridge
Tudor style building
Thatched House
Water Trough
Accumulated totals and “painting points” totals are:
619 Foot Figures (3,095 points)
71 Mounted (710 points)
14 Guns (140 points)
6 Scenic items (1,360 points)
Total points 5,305
This compares to 5,843 points for the whole of 2015.

So what is in the plan for the next six months?
Well the Crimean War armies have to be finished by the end of October so this means:
346 foot figures
42 mounted figures
5 guns
Then there are the Napoleonic Russians. I would like to complete the infantry division and maybe a regiment of dragoons and a few more mounted officers. This would add:
160 foot figures 
27 mounted figures
I also want to add a few more Carlist War units so maybe:
86 foot figures
24 mounted figures
4 guns
Then there will be some building for the Carlist Wars…maybe another 1,000 points
If I achieve all of this it would add another 4980 points giving a total of 10,285 points for the year. Not bad for a quiet year…
Now about that extra storage…

Sunday, 26 June 2016

WWI Action, in 1914

Today's game was 1914 WWI. The scenario was relatively straightforward with three German infantry battalions, a company of jägers, a squadron of uhlans and two batteries defending against a counter-attacking Allied force of a battalion each of French, Belgian and British infantry, supported by three regiments  of cavalry, three batteries and one armoured car.

House rules were used as usual.

On the Allied side the British, with two batteries took the left, intending to sweep against the German right flank. The French took the centre, while the Belgians took the right. 

The French intended to strike an exposed German battalion in the centre, but things got of to a bad start when the two lead companies were cut to pieces by artillery and machine gun fire. The French infantry went to ground and awaited the British to get into position.

But the British advance was a long one and the Belgians, operating on the extreme right with a squadron of guides and an armoured car attempted to skirt around the German left. The guides were badly cut up and eventually driven from the field by the jägers and their attached machine. The armoured car remained on the flank for some time, ineffectually engaging the Germans. Eventually the car was shot up and destroyed.

With the Belgians on the back foot the German left began to push against them. One Belgian company was soon destroyed and their machine gun quickly followed suit. The three remaining Belgian companies fell back to the woods.

Meanwhile the British infantry and dismounted cavalry entered the fray, easily disposing of the German uhlans and pressing forward against the German centre. To add pressure on the Germans there the French infantry renewed their advance. With the enemy closing in and casualties mounting the Germans took advantage of a momentary pause to pull back in the centre and re-established a position in a wood.

The German artillery began to bite into the French infantry and the Germans drove hard against the Belgians. A sudden charge by a squadron of French dragoons drove back one German company, but failed to do enough damage to destroy the Germans. Nonetheless the German advance was momentarily delayed.

Finally the British artillery got into action and began to shell the Germans along the river, with mixed results. The British infantry, supported by the French machineguns, began to cut up the Germans in the wood, finally driving them out after a prolonged struggle. 

But the end was near. The French collapsed under intense German gun fire and the Belgians followed shortly afterwards. The game ended with the Germans in control of the river crossing, while only the British in any sort of condition to fight on.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Rifle Brigade Finished

With the arrival of a good sized parcel of Great War miniatures last week, I have been frantically working through the Crimean War figures this week.

While I have made quite good progress, with 36 Russians and 6 line infantry figures completed, only one unit has been completed and based up - a battalion of the Rifle Brigade.

And what a way to come home from work on my birthday to find a parcel of Perry Miniatures Carlist Wars figures on the doorstep! This parcel included enough to make two more infantry battalions and included a pack of priests and monks that will fill out the ranks of the Carlist units very nicely.

With another order for Russian infantry, cavalry and artillery placed - another 86 figures and two guns - the lead mountain is building again. The end of this month should see quite a few more units marching off the painting table.

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Lead Mountain Renewed

The week has been a productive one on the painting table.
First off the table is the Cossack artillery battery for the Crimean Project. I thought I had ordered these a month ago, but ordered the line crew in error, so this order corrects the error. These are Foundry models and give a nice variation to the Great War, even though the Foundry are a little smaller.


Second off the table are the first items of a new project. I have been drooling over the First Carlist War range from the Perrys for the better part of the year now. So a couple of weeks ago I ordered the Carlist War book from the Perrys and then on Monday last week I took the plunge and ordered two battalions. On Saturday, a mere five days after I place the order, they were delivered.
Oh these are nice little figures! Very nice. So nice in fact that they present a significant challenge to my limited painting skills. I chose to do both of these units as firing line units.
Here are the first batch off the table, unbased and lacking flags.

I am so keen on these little fellows that, since it is my birthday next week, I have placed another order. I can see this project expanding to a significant size – maybe 12 battalions, a few units of cavalry and say three guns a side – how many times in my life have I said “I will just do a small army”…well let me see there was the ACW, the Franco-Prussians, the Wars of the Roses, the Austro-Prussians the Russo-Japansese, War of Spanish Succession...
I also have an idea for a Carlist War campaign and have already designed the map and rules.
Then just last night I arrived home to find a box of Great War Crimean figures on the doorstep. This includes the last two battalions of British, one line infantry battalion, the rifles and four battalions of Russians (less one pack of six figures that I foolishly omitted from the order). The lead pile is renewed and I have already put the first colours on the rifles - not that there is much colour mind you!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

English Civil War Game

Today we played an English Civil War game. We had four players and an umpire. Each side had eight units of foot, five regiments of horse, plus a few dragoons and some guns.

The table at the start of the game, before the Parliamentarian deployment

Put simply we Parliamentarians deployed badly, and paid for it dearly. Our cavalry was roughly handled by the Royalist hosre on our extreme right with two regiments easily driven from the field. One remaining regiment played an uneasy game with the remaining Royalist cavalry driving of one of their regiments before being driven off themselves by Royalist guns. 

The initial Parliament deployment

Our infantry on the right had a hard fight with some Royalist cavalry, which caught two units in the rear, but we eventually managed to secure the village, that was one of our objectives.

Our infantry on the right, just before our cavalry collapsed and the Royalist cavalry attacked the two rearmost units.

The rest of the our infantry and two units of cavalry were on the left in an awkward position that meant they could not get enough units in the front line. A bold attack by the Royalist trapped and destroyed them. It wasn't a rapid collapse, and there was a fairly decent fight back from our troops, but the Royalist success here was inevitable. All but one of the four units of Parliamentary foot and one of the two regiments of horse were destroyed. 

Below, some of the units, both Royalist and Parliamentarian.

On our extreme left two regiments of dragoons played a cat and mouse game with two regiments of Royalist horse, keeping those Royalists out of the fight for the entire game.

The victorious Royalist carry the ridge in our left

It wasn't a good day for Oliver Cromwell, but it was a fun game that lasted about four and a half hours on a winter afternoon.

Monday, 6 June 2016

A Few More Crimean War French and British off the Painting Table

The holiday weekend has seen the competion of few Crimean War units - the second and third battalions of my first French Infantry regiment and two British guns, a 6-pounder and a 9-pounder. All figures are Great War MIniatures.

Above, all theee battions in column of battalions
In the image above, the 9-pounder is on the left, the 6-pounder on the right.
Above and below, the 9-pounder

The completion of these sees the lead pile levelled. There are are lots of things or order; three regiments of the Light Brigade, a battalion of British line infantry, a battalion of Rifles, four battalions ofRussian infantry, a battery of Cossack artillery and of figures for a new project that I shall describe at a later date, but annoyingly they are a long time arriving - one of the disadvantages of living 12,000 miles away from the supplier!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

A Photo Stage

Inspired by Phil Robinson’s article on his photo box (Link), I undertook to construct one myself. I used some foam board I had on hand. Since the board was already cut to a square of 400mm x 400mm I decided to work with that width but limit the depth to 200mm. This would give me an internal area, or stage floor, of 370mm x 185mm. The height was always going to be 150mm. So with a scalpel and a straight edge I started cutting and gluing. In a matter of minutes I had my basic box built.

Having built the basic “stage” I set about building some scenery for it. First and foremost was to create the ground cover. At first I thought of flocked texture, but then thought better if it. A flocked texture allows the figures to sit a bit too high, so I decided to go with a flat painted surface. Using a piece of foam board that was left over from the main stage and I cut it to just under the internal size of the stage floor. I then sprayed the whole surface a dark green. When that was dry I added some earth patches  using in Burnt Sienna that was tinted with yellow and white, dabbing it on with a piece of foamed rubber. Then I dabbed and various tones of green to create a grass effect. The result is not quite what I wanted and I may end up using a piece of felt.

I then created some backgrounds. I am no artist so for this I intended to use some colour laser prints. At first I looked through my own digital photo library, but couldn’t find enough suitable rural shots. Then I thought of Google Street View and began to run along a few roads in rural France (at Gravelotte and Froeschweiller specifically) and made a few screen captures. Then taking this into Photoshop, cropped them accordingly then printed them onto A3 paper and trimmed them to fit across the back of the stage. It doesn’t matter that some of these are a little pixelated, because they will generally be out of focus anyway. I made about five backgrounds so that I can have some variety.

Next I gathered made some foreground scenery, fixing them so some spare plastic bases that came from the Perry plastic Russians. These included some areas of stones, grass tufts, some wheat tufts, logs, hedges and a couple of trees. Like all good stage scenery, these pieces only had to look good from the front.
Here are the first results on the “Stage”