Thursday, 29 August 2013

THS summer event: Our very own Penobscot Expedition - Part 2

On saturday morning we met at 09.30am and prepared the miniatures for battle, Kalle served us a glass of sparkling wine and Bernhard explained the scenario.
To begin with the Continetals gathered two brigades at the very left shore. Led by rebellious officers they moved directly to Fort George hoping that the French siege artillery on the hill would damage the walls enough to create some breaches.

And those allies did their very best. They fired cannon ball after cannon ball and aimed at the gate which was supposed to be the weakest part of the fortification.

The French running up a 24 pounder and setting the fuze on fire.

But at the opposite end of the table the British and Hessian relief forces rallied. We commanded six brigades in total and went after overcoming the Continental defensive positions as quickly as possible.


Whistling "British Grenadiers" I drove my men forward against the American palisades.

Meanwhile some Hessian Jägers with amusettes guarded my flank and fought back a unit of bloodthirsty indian which federalised with the Continental rebels.

But even those fearless redskins weren't able to prevent the biggest surprise of the game. In a daring venture Heinz sent his three cavalry units to our flank at full speed. Luckily he rolled three actions in two subsequent turns and lead his dragoons strait to the back of the American emplacement.

So we crushed the insurgents between our redcoated forces.

 But at Fort George things were changing for the worse. Although Klaus, our commander there, did his very best to fight back the attackers, Michael and Holger managed to advance closer and closer to the palisades of the fort.


But when the French finally destroyed the front gate of Fort George the end came near. Another group of savage indians rushed forwards and overpowered the overstrained redcoats., The fighting within the fort continued for some turns but finally the commander of Fort George conceded an honourable defeat.

Unfortunately Axel was a bit unlucky with moving his ships. the wind seemed to have waned this morning and both ships approached very slowly carrying another brigade which was strongly needed at the wavering fort. But by the way they destroyed the French brigade which was guarding the artillery position by shattering them with their naval guns. A little success at least.

Anyway... Although the Americans had reached a partly victory with taking the fort, we decided to play on. The Kalle's and my Hessian and British forces proceeded fearlessly to the second line of American defence.

The rebels gathered behind chevaux-de-frise but those wouldn't hinder us for long.

The British on the left flank.

And the Hessians on the right.

Although the Continentals fought as brave as possible and their commander Robert acted very cool-headedly, finally they had to give in and their belt of obstacles broke.

The last Americans on our side of the table gathered in Schmied's farm and discussed how to surrender in honour.

But it was too late for us to reach Fort George in time. So at last the French high command watched the striped and stared banner waving on top of the fort's walls. Didier their commander in chief rubbed his hands with glee knowing that he thwarted the British plans once more.

But probably this wasn't the last time those enemies met...

After ten exciting turns we agreed to finish the game. Under the rules of the scenario the Americans made a major victory for conquering the fort while the British and Hessians scored a minor victory for breaking the American defensive cordon. On the one hand it seemed likely that we might be able to reconquer the fort with our superiority of troops but on the other hand there was a barbecue wating!

So we all accepted this fair result after a funny and exciting game.

If you are interested in having a closer view on this table, then visit us at Crisis Antwerp this November. Currently we're planning to show the table and the scenario there with only a few alignments. Look at the homepage of the Tinsoldiers of Antwerp for more info: Here. If you'll make it there then drop me a line. I would be pleased to meet you personally.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

THS summer event: Our very own Penobscot Expedition - Part 1

Last weekend our annual summer special summer special took place. Thereby it's tradition to gather the whole THS-club and have a large game with all people which want to participate and with all miniatures they want to use. Edged with time to chat and the Saturday evening barbecue it promised to be a funny event. I had the pleasure to participate for the second time after our great Napoleonic Kolberg game of 2013.

This time we decided to play a partly fictional scenario which was inspired by the Penobscot expedition of 1779.
"Britain defending New Ireland" by Dominic Serres
Actually it was a rather small event. On 30th May 1779 a small force of about 700 British landed on the Majabigwaduce peninsular which lies in the bay where Penobscot river runs into the Atlantic ocean. Northwards from Boston does it belong to Maine nowadays although it was Massachesetts in 1779. However the British startet to build a fortification named Fort George to open a new theatre of war. Understandably the Continentals didn't want to accept this and sent an allotmant of navy, infantry and artillery to banish their foes. The campaign ended after some half-hearted attacks of Continental milita and marines when British vice-admiral Sir George Collier arrived with a British relief fleet on 13th August and smashed the American fleet.

Bernard Cromweel decribes these events very vividly in his novel "The Fort" (in German "Das Fort"). A very good read from this well-known author of historical novels. I can frankly recommend it to any reader who is interested in this period.

Anyway about 700 British and a bit more than 1.000 Continentals seemed not enough for this event. So one of our fellows expanded the scenario slightly to allow us to field all the units available for AWI in our club. About 40 units were to field the board and the following sketch of the terrain was presented by our gamemaster Bernhard:
Our very special Penobscot expedition
As you see it's rather complex game (each flag symbolises a brigade):
B1: Fort George guarded by its brave, British builders
B2 and B3: British and Hessian relief forces approaching by land.
B4: A part of Collier's fleet which is transporting a brigade of British marines

F: A French battery of 24pdr heavy siege artillery. Allied with the Continentals they try to shatter the fortifications of Fort George. It is guarded by a French brigade.
A1 and A2: American entrenchments to hold the British back

Additionally there are two American brigade which try to storm the pallisades of Fort George.

Since we wanted to play the whole saturday the board was to be prepared in advance. Hence we met on friday afternoon and evening to make everything ready:

After we arrived at the parish hall we chartered for our event, we unloaded the cars and set all available terrain pieces aside, pushed along some tables and started to puzzle everthing together.
Bernhard, Didier and Axel interpreting the sketch of the board.
After two hours of puzzling, trying and merging we had our gaming area ready. It had about 4,50 m (~14' 9") x 5,50 m (~ 18') with some insections to be able to reach into the middle of the table.
The gaming table prepared, but awaiting scenic details.
Afterwards we spread some terrain over the table. Centerpiece of it was a small settlement near the piers. A combination of bought and build buildings pallisades and trees:
A look onto the settlement which helt the hospital in Cornwell's book.
Absolutely eye catching was the farm which Micheal made of Renedra's farmhouse, a lot of scratchbuild stuff and some scenic additions. If you are interested in more details about this awesome masterpiece of craftsmanship then have a look at his threat in the Lead Adventure Forum (here):
Schmied's farm yet unoccupied.
So after about five hours the stage was set. The board prepared, the brigades sorted and the players in good mood. Strategically both sides were hopeless alike but playfully we all were looking forward to saturday morning...

As soon as I have my remaining pictures sorted, I'll present a kind of AAR. Until then here is a small foretast of the attacking Continental brigades:
Attacking Fort George...
Read more in Part 2 of the report: here

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Preparing the weekend - A war on three fronts...

Once per year our club organises a special coterie event. After we fought a fictional Napoleonic battle for the fortress of Kolberg (see the report here and here) we considered the American revolutionary war for this year. Although we have been preparing the event for months the last week turned rather busy for me. But there were some things I wanted to finish urgently. It turned out to be a war on three fronts...

1st front: British command base:
Possibly I'll lead two brigade on saturday. After having finished the grenadiers and the 74th highlanders it seemed in reach to field one brigade completely of my own miniatures for the first time. But not without an appropriate leader:
For England and King George !
For those three brave soldiers I used a 60mm circular steel base from Precision Wargames Supplies. I like the weight, the precision and the magnetic nature of the material. And in addition the bases are very precisely cut and sold by Ian, a nice and dilligent fellow. It has always been a pleasure to deal with him. Anyway I used some structur paint to cover the base and will paint it in matching brown tones this afternoon. Although I like this snowy look a lot...

2nd front: Black Watch:
My second task was to complete the third unit for my brigade. A standard sized unit of Black Watch highlanders was my choice:
Actually I used the same techniques and colours as for the Scotsmen and grenadiers before. Some parts - especially the skinny parts - darkened more than usual after I applied the Armypainter Quickshade. So they have a rather tanned complexion. A bit unusual for British...
Anyway for this unit I chose the scottish infantry in trousers from Perry miniatures. Although they are really excellent, there are some tiny details which are worked out better in Foundry's AWI range. E. g. the face and facing details are better to my mind.

3rd front: Table tiles:
The scenario will be based on the events of the Penobscott Expedition of 1779 and we'll need a large hill for the scenario which will represent Dyce's Head on Majabigwaduce peninsular. Four board tiles needed, two of them has a club fellow, two from me. One already finished, one to go. This was my level of awareness until last friday and it sounded fair for one week to finish one board tile.
But then during our last preperation meeting Bernhard said: "You know that one of my hill parts is 1m x 0.5m, don't you?" Actually I didn't or at least I didn't remember so I had to prepare 1,5m hill rather than 1m. Another piece to make...

Anyway during last weekend we turned our balcony into an terrain building center and Viktoria and me sawed, glued, sanded and plastered. Rather I worked and she played on the balcony but however Mrs Monty was lucky with her leisure time and I got some modelling work done.
Work in progress...
Well... After three days with less than six hours sleep I'm rather tired but nevertheless confident most of the stuff will be finished this evening. I'll not manage to get the flags done but who cares? I'll do this calmly next week.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

With a tow, row, row, row, row...

This morning I realized that my last posting was more than a week before. Actually that's too long but this week a very special unit attracted me and kept me at the workbench. You might want to use the Youtube-Link below before you scroll down. It's the sound that I've been whistling for the last days:
Without any doubt most of you know this tune very well: The unit I painted mainly over the last weeks is 16 men of British Grenadiers from the American war of independence:
With a tow, row, row, row, row to the British Grenadiers...
The miniatures are from the excellent range of Wargames Foundry and are beautifully detailed. Especially the faces and the eyes have so much expression that I tried to outline the details better than usual. Because they can rarely be spotted on the gaming table I refuse to paint them mostly. Anyway those brave grenadiers disabused me.
The commanding officer and two of his grenadiers.
But with the other things I stayed traditional. With only a few exceptions I used Vallejo Model Colours to paint the boys and afterwards I shaded them with Armypainter Quickshade (dark tone). As you have noticed probably I painted them with different facing colours because I imagined them as a combined battalion of the grenadier companies of different regiments.
The right flank.
Since the buff faced regiments used to wear buff waistcoats and trousers as well those soldiers stick out a bit. Actually I'm not too satisfied with the result of buff so I'm not sure whether I should paint buff faced regiments in the future.
The left flank.
On the other hand there are some green and royal blue faced regiments which I like much better. Even the black ones turned out rather well which I'll need as grenadiers from the 84th Regiment of Foot which fought during the Penobscot Expedition of 1779.

In a final step I'll have to finish the bases during the next days but the varnish has been a bit gluey still. But I couldn't wait to take the photos and write this post...

Apropos Penobscot Expedition:
The weekend after the next we'll have a very special club meeting. We'll hold the test match for our this year's Crisis presentation game which will losely cover the happenings of the Penobscot Expedition. Actually very losely since we'll be playing with much more troops and a rather freely refined progress of events. Anyway we'll have a really large battlefield and about thirty to fifty units which will be great fun I presume.
But on the other hand I'll have to finish some board tiles and maybe some more Scotsmen for the game so I'm not sure whether I'll be able to present you my efforts. But you'll see some pictures after the great game at the latest.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Field completed

Actually I finished the field last thursday but the weekend was too busy to get something posted. And to be honest I spent some hours with painting since it was a bit cooler than the weeks before. Maybe I'll be able to present the result (a unit of mixed British grenadiers for AWI) by the end of the week.

However here's the finished prototype field:
I'm really satisfied with this first try. Especially the track of the waggon turned out better than I thought with its puddles of glossy varnish.
Nevertheless my club fellows gave me some advice to improve the set-up. Especially the tiny stonewalls should be improved with the second edition. I'll try it with crumbled cork I presume...