Monday, 30 January 2017

More East African Construction

As a part of the WWI in East Africa project I need to make a number of buildings. The first of these, the railway station is complete, but there are eleven more to go. In progress is the hotel and general store that will go with the railway station, and a wireless station.

The idea for the hotel came after watching the film "A United Kingdom". It is a fairly straightforward structure, which will have a corrugated iron roof and a verandah across the front. Here is the basic form. 

The next phase is to put the windows in place before the  verandah can be put into position.

The second structure on the working table is the wireless station, which consists of a simple square building and the wireless tower. I chose this image of 1914 wireless station (not necessarily in Africa) as the model for construction.

I chose to construct the tower entirely from plasticard, using 2.5 mm angled pieces for the outer beams and the horizontal bracing. The cross bracing uses 1.5 mm angled pieces.

First thing to do was to sketch out a template on a piece of cardboard. I wanted it to stand 150mm tall with a base of 45mm and a top of 12mm. But when I sketched it out the base was too wide so I reduced it to 30mm.

The next step was to build the basic frame for two sides. For this I cut four pieces of 2.5mm angled plasticard to 150mm. With a small spot of PVA glue at the ends of these pieces I attached the strips to the cardboard template. When the glue was set I cut and fixed the 2.5mm horizontal braces between the two uprights. 

When the glue on the horizontal bracing was well and truly set I cut and glued the 1.5mm cross braces in place and let the glue set. The finished side was then removed from the template and the second side constructed in the same way.

Next the two sides had to be fastened together. Again I used the template to get the angles correct.

The basic assembly completed I started on the fiddly bit - fitting the horizontal and cross bracing. That task took longer than the construction of the two sides.

The final painted item is below. 

The final task was to build the wireless station building. This was a pretty basic whitewashed stone structure with a corrugated iron roof.

And the completed pairing.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

A Return to Napoleonic Russia

Regular readers of this blog may recall that last February I commenced work on a Napoleonic Russian force consisting of an infantry division of twelve battalions and two batteries, supported by a couple of brigades of cavalry and some cossacks. I powered into this and by April last year I had five battalions and the command sets for another three, plus three units of cossacks - a total of 212 infantry figures, three mounted officers and eighteen cossacks - completed.

At that point I needed to concentrate on the Crimean War project and the Napoleonics went into a hiatus.  Now that the Crimean and Carlist projects are complete I have brought the Napoleonics back into focus.

The purchase earlier this month of four boxes of plastic infantry, 160 figures, is enough to complete all the infantry. The first phase was to complete the musketeer battalions of which there were these three units.

This completes all eight musketeer battalions. Still to be completed are the four battalions of jägers (one of which is three-quarters finished), two batteries of artillery, two regiments of dragoons, two of cuirassiers, two foot batteries and six mounted commanders. The three already completed regiments of cossacks have a dual purpose in that they are available for use in both the Crimean and Napoleonic wars.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

First Game of the Year - First Carlist War

After dreadful night of wind and rain we met up for our first game for the year, the first outing for the Carlist War armies. We had a full turn out of eight players.

Taking the basis of the game from the Battle of Arquiljas (and a very loose basis I might add), the Carlists were defending a river only able to be crossed by three bridges, two of which carried roads to Bilboa, passing through two villages on the Carlist side. 

The objective of the Carlists is to keep the Isabelino troops north of the river, while the Isabelinos need to gain control of the villages, an ultimately the roads to Bilboa, south of the river.

The Orders of Battle
Carlist forces  
1st Brigade
   Naverre Guides (Elite/shock troops) 
   1st Battalion Valencian Volunteers (Raw) 
   2nd Battalion Valencian Volunteers (Raw) 
   1st Battalion Zarragosa Infantry (Trained) 
   1 Mountain gun (Trained) 
   1 squadron Cavalry (Trained) 
   1 squadron Ontorio Hussars (Trained)  
2nd Brigade 
   1st Battalion Girona Infantry (Trained) 
   2nd Battalion Guipúzcoa Infantry (Trained) 
   3rd Battalion Guipúzcoa Infantry Trained) 
   1st Battalion Álava Infantry (Raw) 
   2nd Battalion Álava Infantry (Raw) 
   1 squadron of cavalry (Raw)  
3rd Brigade 
   4th Battalion Guipúzcoa Infantry (Trained) 
   5th Battalion Guipúzcoa Infantry Trained) 
   3rd Battalion Álava Infantry (Raw) 
   4th Battalion Álava Infantry (Raw) 1 field Gun (Raw) 
   1 Squadron of cavalry (Raw) 

Isabelino Forces  
1st Division  
   1st Brigade 
     1st Guard Infantry Battalion (Trained) 
     1 Light Infantry Battalion (Trained) 
     1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment (Raw) 
     2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment (Raw) 
     Attached – Field Battery  
   2nd Brigade 
     1st National Militia Regiment (Raw) 
     2nd National Militia Regiment (Raw)  

2nd Division  
   1st Brigade 
     2nd Guard Infantry Battalion (Trained) 
     1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment (Trained) 
     1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment (Raw) 
     2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment (Raw) 
     Attached – Mountain Gun  
   2nd Brigade 
     3rd Guard Infantry Battalion (Trained) 
     4th Guard Infantry Battalion (Trained) ) 
     1st Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment (Raw) 
     2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment (Raw)  
Cavalry Brigade 
     1 squadron Line cavalry (Trained) 
     1 squadron Line cavalry (Raw) 
     1 squadron Line Cavalry (Raw) 
     Attached - Horse battery  

British Auxilary Legion  
   Chichester's Brigade 
     1st English Battalion (Raw) 
     4th Queen's Own Fusiliers (Raw) 
     8th Highlanders Battalion (Raw) 
     Marines (Trained) 
     Two Spanish Battalions (Raw) 
     Rocket Battery (Trained) 

The Carlists were able to deploy in front of the bridge on their right and as far as the first village, that stood about half way down the table. The Isabelinos could deploy as far as the second bridge. Neither  force could be near the third bridge, on the extreme left of the table. On the Carlist side, between the second and third bridge was a significant hill, topped by a wood, and behind it stood the second village. 

So the Carlist deployed the 1st Brigade on the left, ready to move further to the left, intending to occupy the left hand village and the hill. The 2nd Brigade was deployed in the other village, able to shift left or right as required. On the right was the 3rd Brigade covering the first bridge.

Above and below, the Carlist occupy the first village

The isabelinos deployed the British Auxilary Legion (BAL) opposite the first bridge. The 2nd Division was to cross the second, or middle bridge, while the cavalry and the 1st Division were to swing wide and flank the Carlists by way of the third bridge.

 The flanking column sets off, above, and then crosses the third bridge, below, while below again the 2nd Division crosses at the middle bridge.

While the 1st and 2nd Divisions moved into positions the BAL moved up to the first bridge. Then in a moment of rashness the BAL lancer squadron dashed across the bridge. They rode into a crossfire of canister from the mountain gun and musketry from a battalion of infantry and was stopped dead. The troopers attempted to retrace their steps but another burst of fire sent them scurrying from the field.

Meanwhile the Carlist 1st Brigade took posession of the second village, occupying it with a battalion of Valencian Volunteers supported by the Ontorio Hussars, while the field battery was posted on the crest if the hill, supported by the Navarre Guides and a line battalion. The second Valencian battalion occupied the woods. At the same time the Isabelino 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, formed line and prepared to take the crest.

On the hill the Isabelino troops struck first as the centre battalion, a raw unit,  attacked the Carlist battery. Despite taking a burst of canister in the face the battalion closed on the battery. But the gunners were not prepared to give up their position and fought off the enemy, driving them back down the slope. 

Before the Isabelino brigade had time to recover, Merino's lancers dashed over the hill and smashed into another of the raw battalions, routing them and then breaking through onto another battalion beside them. This battalion also routed and then the three broken battalions of 2nd Brigade, deciding that enough was enough, quit the field.

The Isabelino 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, quickly formed into a second line and faced up against the lancers. A solid volley of musketry drove the troopers off.

Meanwhile the Carlist 2nd Brigade were under no threat in the right hand village and marched to the aid of the 1st Brigade that was now threatened by the Isabelino 1st Division and cavalry brigade forming on their left.

The arrival of the Carlist 2nd Brigade allowed them to establish a solid line of defence across the hill. But when the battalions of the Carlist 2nd Brigade attempted to force the issue and charged forward, they failed to break the Isabelino battalion facing them and were eventually driven back.

To try to drive off the Isbelinos from the hill the Naverre Guides stormed forward. But they failed to break the two Isabelino guard units in front of them and a desperate melee ensued in which the guards eventually got the upper hand.

While all this was going on the flanking column was making good progress. The Isabelino cavalry swung around the village, while the squadron of Ontorio hussars formed in the streets to try and catch the enemy in the flank as they dashed past. But the hussars were caught in the rear by the Isabelino light cavalry and routed. The Isabelino line cavalry were now free to swarm through the village.

At the same time the Isabelino 1st Division formed for the attack. The first attempt of the brigade of National Militia to drive the Valencians from the village was unsuccessful, but eventually numbers took their toll and the Valencians made for the hills.

The division then moved past the village and fell on the flanks of the Carlists on the hill. Carlist resistance on the hill was failing. A charge by a unit of Carlist cavalry pushed back a squadron of Isabelino line cavalry, but it only gained a small amount of time and the Isabelino troops swarmed towards the second village.

With more than half of their army either destroyed or in retreat, the Carlists decided that the game was up. The 3rd Brigade, that had been holding the BAL off all day, began to withdraw. A Spanish battalion attached to the BAL now stormed across the bridge to push aside a single battalion rearguard, but was driven back.

The Carlists then abandoned the field and the game ended.

It was a fun game that kept eight of us busy for five or six hours on a blustery Auckland day. It was great to see the Carlist troops on the table.

A View of the Table at the End of the Game.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Russian Opolchenie Cavalry Unit

The latest unit off the painting table is this unit of Opolchenie, or militia, Cavalry from the Perrys. Yet again they have been done in a winter setting.

The command pack does not have a standard bearer so I created one, although I am not all all certain that they would have carried a standard. For the standard I used one captured off the Warlord Games chat site, which I edited in photoshop by adding a different icon image. Then the challenge came to make the standard "fly" with the rider on a cantering horse.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

More Retreat from Moscow Pieces

Painting on the Retreat from Moscow project has kicked off again for the year with the final pack in the French range. This is a group of mixed nationalities in skirmishing poses. 

Also completed this week and finished in a winter setting is the Russian Opolochenie 3pdr gun, crew and limber set.

On the painting table is a unit of Opolochenie cavalry that should be completed by the middle of the week. 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

East African Railway Station - Part 6

Looking at the railway station the day after I finished it, I decided that it was too neat and tidy. It needed some platform clutter. So I set out to build some. 

The clutter had to fulfil two goals. First to make the platform less pristine and second to provide items that could be used in a barricade. So the pieces had to be loose. I chose to make these in strips of 50mm and there would be stacks of passenger baggage, bales, sacks and crates, and then a mix of those. I also wanted to make some platform benches.

Using a piece of cardboard for a base, I use some foam core board as the former and applied green-stuff and other types of epoxy putty to create the outer surface of bales and crates. I made a separate stack of sacks and a stack of suitcases and travel trunks.

A stack of bales: Above the basic form with some Greenstuff applied; below the complete stack ready for painting; below that the painted item.

Above the basic shape for two crates either side of a stack of sacks. Below the finished item

A stack of sacks (above) and suitcases (below)

The benches are made from plasticard, with baggage beside and on them the made from Greenstuff.

When painted and placed around the platform it gave me the effect I was looking for.