Wednesday 28 February 2018

French Artillery

Work on the French 1812 collection continues with the first of the artillery. For this I decided to continue with the plastic theme and chose to use the Victrix figures.

The set comes with three guns, that can be made as either 8-pound or 12-pound models, and fifteen
gunners, with a range of headgear and arm options to make first or second grade gunners.

I chose to make up one each of the two gun types, using four crew per gun. The remaining seven crew will be used to crew the light 4-pound guns that are attached to the infantry brigades. The third gun from the set will be assembled in transit mode and used with one of the French in Egypt limbers.

First is the 8-pound set, if firing poses. The wide variety of poses allows for a great deal of variety.

Second is the 12-poound gun being loaded.

A second box of these will complete the artillery for the infantry.

Sunday 25 February 2018

First Carlist War Game

Today’s regular Sunday game was a Carlist War game. Unlike a number we have had of late which were just straight fight’s I built a bit of a story behind this one. I decided that all the figures I have in the collection would be on the table, but some would only be available if certain triggers were tripped.


General Background

The village of Nalgas, some 50 miles northwest of Zaragosa, is a known hotbed for Carlist activity. Madrid ordered two battalions of Zaragosa National Militia to occupy the place and to arrest or disperse any subversive elements.


When the militia arrived at Nalgas they found the locals hostile and they were ambushed in the streets by men and women of all ages hurling rocks and wood from the windows and roofs at them. They fired a few ineffective shots before the timid militia commander decided that sticks and stones did break bones and was unwilling to press the issue. He marched his men out of the village and took refuge in the nearby monastery of Saint Emmanuelle the Less than Innocent, barricaded the doors and sent for help.

General map of the area

Isabellino Briefing

On the afternoon of 24 May, the militia commander heard rumours of a significant Carlist force approaching from the south. At almost the same time of a messenger slipped past the villagers and announced that a force of regulars was marching from the west and would finish the job that the militia had been sent to do.


That night campfires were seen along the banks of the El Tintineo River, North of the monastery and less than a mile distant. This caused concern among the militia but when dawn broke a Union Jack could be seen floating above one of the tents indicating that friends, in the form of the British Auxiliary Legion, were close at hand.


There were also rumours that the French Foreign Legion is hot on the heels of the Carlists.

When our game begins a column of Carlist troops is spotted approaching from the south while a cloud of dust to the southwest indicated that the promised reinforcements were nearby.

The Forces

British Auxiliary Legion

  • 2 infantry- Raw
  • 1 marines - Trained
  • 1 cavalry - Raw
  • 1 gun - Raw
  • 1 rocket set Raw

Deployment limitations: In camp at far end of table. Under the control of the umpire and will not move until the enemy is sighted.

French Foreign Legion

  • 4 infantry - Trained
  • 1 cavalry - Trained
  • 1 mountain gun

Deployment limitations: Two turns after the last unit of Carlist 2nd Brigade arrives, roll 1 x D6

  • 6 = Cavalry arrives behind the Carlists, if fail;
  • Next turn,  5 or 6 cavalry arrives behind the Carlists, if fail;
  • Next turn cavalry arrives behind the Carlists
  • Infantry and artillery arrives the turn after the cavalry

1st Spanish Regular Brigade

  • 2 Guard infantry -Trained
  • 4 Line infantry - Raw
  • 1 light cavalry - Trained
  • 1 field gun -Trained

Deployment limitations:Arrive on die roll:

  • Turn 1, roll 1xD6 - 5 or 6 arrive at point 1, if fail;
  • Turn 2, roll 1xD6 - 4,5 or 6 arrive at point 1, if fail;
  • Turn 3, roll 1xD6 - 2,3,4,5 or 6 arrive at point 1, if fail;
  • Turn 4 Automatic arrival at point1

2nd Spanish Regular Brigade

  • 2 Guard  infantry - Trained
  • 3 line infantry - Raw
  • 1 light infantry - Trained
  • 2 line cavalry - Trained
  • 1 horse gun - Trained

Deployment limitations: Arrive turn after 1st Regular Brigade 


  • 2 National militia - Raw
  • 1 mountain gun - Raw

Deployment limitations: Begin the game in the monastery atop the big hill. Will not get involved unless they see an Isabellino unit win a combat. Will defend if attacked


Carlists Briefing


Father Joachim, brother to the friend of a cousin of the bearer of the chamber pot in Don Carlos’ household is incensed at the occupation of his monastery by the militia (more so the fact that all of his speciality – the famous “Emmauellino” liqueur – has been consumed by the militiamen) and has called for the militia be evicted. Don Carlos, anxious not to upset the clergy, and especially clergy with an association with his household, has gathered a force to not only evict the militia, but also to develop a stronghold there that can be used as a base of operations.


En-route to Nalgas Carlos met a large body of fresh recruits on their way to Nalgas where weapons are said to await them. Organising them into companies Carlos found enough men to build four battalions and he incorporated these un-uniformed and unarmed troops into his command.


As he approaches the village Carlos has heard that the Isabellino troops are converging on the place. The British Auxiliary Legion are encamped north of the monastery, but seem to be in no hurry to push beyond their camp. Two brigades of regulars are said to be approaching from the west and the French Foreign Legion are said to be coming from the south, behind him.


Clearly the first priority is to arm the new recruits and then the monastery must be retaken and defended.

The Forces



  • Ontorio Hussars – Trained, but count as higher grade in any close combat
  • 3 squadrons of lancers - Trained

Deployment: On the table at the start of the game – each unit rolls 1 x D6, score x 300 = distance in mm down the road from the Carlist Start Point.

1st Brigade

  • 3 Line infantry - Trained
  • 2 un-uniformed line infantry - Raw
  •  Navarese Guides - Trained, but count as higher grade in any close combat
  • 1 field gun - Trained

Deployment: Marches on the table on turn 1, up to two battalions side by side on the road


2nd Brigade

  • 3 Line infantry - Trained
  • 2 un-uniformed line infantry - Raw
  • 2 Valencian volunteers - Trained
  • 1 mountain gun - Trained

Deployment: Follows 1st Brigade onto the table


Note: None of the un-uniformed units have weapons and cannot be armed until they enter the main square of the village. It takes one full turn to arm them. If attacked will count as shaken in combat and cannot shoot.

How the Game Ran

The militia holed up in the monastery

In line with the deployment rules the Carlist cavalry were scattered up the road. One squadron was 1800mm up the road, another one was 900mm and the other two were. The first task of the cavalry was to consolidate and so they did while the main Carlist force marched behind them. The Isabelino forces failed to arrive on the first turn, so the Carlist cavalry rode on to occupy Nalgas.

On turn two the Isabellino troops again failed to turn up and the French Foreign Legion also failed to show. The Carlist continued to move on Nalgas. But next turn the Isabellino troops arrived.

The Carlist cavalry faced off against the Isabellino line cavalry.


But the Carlist cavalry were sighted by the BAL who formed up and crossed the river. The Carlist cavalry backed away from the Isabellino cavalry and headed to face the BAL.

Meanwhile the Carlist occupied Nalgas, secured the arms, allowing the new recruits to be armed, while the main Isabelino force advanced on the village.

As the BAL began to form, the Carlist cavalry charged, but the BAL infantry formed squares and repulsed the attack.

But the Carlist cavalry were persistent and came back again. 

Surprisingly a raw BAL square broke. Then the Marines broke and the Carlist cavalry smashed into a battery and the BAL lancers, driving them off too.

Meanwhile the Monastery fell to a Carlist attack. The Carlists were then able to turn thier attention to the growing threat from the Isabellino infantry, supported by the French Foreign Legion.

The Isabellino line cavalry tried to form, but came under fire and were driven off.

Finally the Isabellino forces managed to form up and attacked. The end seemed nigh for the Carlists.

But the Carlists were not done yet. The Foreign Legion were cut to pieces by musktery and the Isabellino centre was driven back.

Elsewhere the Isabelino line held and the Carlist force began to fail. Finally the Isabellino troops got the upper hand and the Carlists gave way.

It was a close fought game that built in intensity, keeping all five of us engrossed all day.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Egyptian Village Part 2 and a Project Plan Review

Now that the lead/plastic pile has been flattened I have returned to the Egyptian village to keep me busy in the evenings. There are no progress images here simply because I have worked on these a little at a time for the past two weeks and simply haven’t taken any images as I went.


These two are remarkably simple single storey structures compared to the previous one. If I had followed the descriptions of the day they should by rights be lower. Most of the buildings of the time seem to have had their floor level below ground (presumably for cooling), so that you stepped down into the building. Door heights as a result should be the equivalent of four feet and the height of the building above ground probably did not exceed six to eight feet. But as a model this would have looked comical so I stuck with a more conventional style. 


The original plan was to have the awnings fixed to the building, but I changed my mind on this and made one as a separate piece, so that it can be positioned differently around the buildings.

So the first building is just a simple single room structure, but by placing the awning in different positions, it looks more interesting.

The second structure is a two room building, still simple but with a few more angles.

And the completed village.

So that is the village project completed. So far I have resisted the temptation to make a mosque with a minaret, but who knows...


For now this village is firmly in the control of the French. All I need now is for the British to arrive to try and take it from them. The first order for British is placed and it won’t be too long before the first units begin to arrive at the uniform store.


Since the village buildings close out the items included on the project plan publish in September, it seems fitting to review the plan:

The results:

  • Prussian Napoloenic Cavalry – completed on time with only minimal scope creep (one horse artillery set added)
  • War of 1812 – completed on time with no scope creep
  • Heavy Brigade – commencement delayed and complete due to circumstances beyond my control
  • French in Egypt – completed ahead of time with considerable scope creep (three infantry, one cacalry and one artillery units added)
  • Napoleonic French 1812-1813 – phase 1 completed on time
  • Various terrain items – completed on time.
  • One item was re-scoped: the Ottoman Army was replaced by the British in Egypt. This task will commence in early March.

Hmmm, sounds a but like a performance review doesn't it?…fitting really since I have just finished a bunch of those.

Sunday 18 February 2018

A Bit of Variety

have painted a lot of Napoleonic figures lately what with the Prussian cavalry in October, the War of 1812 (which I guess is vaguely Napoleonic), the French in Egypt and the 1812 French. So to break the Napoleonic monotony I have decided to revisit the Crimean War British army and add the Heavy Brigade.

Now I am not good at going back to older projects - the aforementioned Prussian cavalry being a case in point…there was a gap of nearly ten years between when I "finished" that army then went back to complete the cavalry arm – but these Crimean cavalry are a bit of an exception. First of all it has only been a couple of years since I finished the Crimean armies and second the Great War Miniatures Heavy Brigade figures were not released at the time I was collecting the armies. Now I could have bought the Foundry Heavy Brigade figures and finished the army back then, but 85% of the army is Great War and I wanted to maintain consistency.


The Heavy Brigade figures were released either late 2016 or early 2017, but the need to finish off other projects meant that they were pushed back in the schedule until last November. Then the French in Egypt came along and they were displaced until late December, then there was not until 6 January did I place the order.


Never let it be said that I don’t learn from the past. The Great War figures are supplied by Northstar and I have had bad experiences with Northstar – they take the money up front, then take excessivly long times to ship orders, don't communicate about delays, have no published volume discount offers, don't offer free shipping at a certain level, and they don't remove the VAT – so, as I did with much of the main Crimean War orders, I placed this order through a third party who only charges me when the goods are shipped and doesn’t charge shipping. That said, my lesson here has been that whenever purchasing Northstar products, even through third parties, is to factor the delay into my schedule - when I ordered my Crimean armies a couple of years ago I gave the supplier a firm order six weeks so that some sort if schedule could be managed. As anticipated the goods have taken a month to be supplied to the third party and then only half the order was supplied with the balance on back order (and I am not talking about a big order, just 30 mounted figures).

Then last Saturday, before the first part of the order had arrived, I get an email from the third party supplier telling me that Northstar has advised that they had "lost the mould" for the missing items and that they won't be available for some time! What a disappointment after having delayed the project for so long.


Last Tuesday the figures arrived.  The first unit I worked on is the Scots Greys. It is a small unit, just six figures, because all the British cavalry units in the Crimea were small. Only two squadrons of each regiment were sent to the Crimea and both men and horses suffered dreadfully in the campaign. By Balaclava in October 1854 the brigade, all ten squadrons, numbered less than 900. In the winter that followed nearly all the horses of the cavalry division perished and the regiments served dismounted


The second unit is the 6th Dragoons (Inniskillings) - the only other one I can complete with what has been supplied (there is a single pack of the Dragoon Guards troopers, without any command). 

I am not sure at this point where the project will go from here. At first I was not certain if I would even bother with the rest of the heavies, but I have enjoyed these two units. I might wait for a month or two and see if the figures get re-moulded, or I may try a different manufacturer.

The experience has also caused me to abandon a long considered Danish Army of 1864 - the last army of the German Wars of Unification outside my collection - for which Northstar are the sole manufacturer of figures.

I am, however, very excited to see that the Perrys have now released the first batch of Napoleonic Swedes, but I must not deviate from the plan.

Saturday 17 February 2018

23e Régiment de Dragons

This week's unit for the 1812 French is the second dragoon regiment of the 6th Heavy Cavalry Division, the 23e Régiment de Dragons.

Sunday 11 February 2018

The 1/15e Regiment Legere and 2e Regiment de Carabiniers

Two more French 1812 units have rolled off the production line this week.


First is the 1/15e Regiment Legere. These have actually been finished for the better part of a week, but the bases have only just been completed.


Second is the 2e Carabiners. The differences between this and its sister regiment are so small that I decided to differentiate them by having 1re Regiment with their sabres forward and 2e Regiment with sabres shouldered.


The plastic pile is close to being flattened now, with only a regiment of dragoons and about three-quarters of a legere battalion left. I may need a top up of plastic items to see me through until the first British in Egypt order arrives in early March.