Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Napoleonic bring and play - Some impressions of an epic gaming day

On Saturday some chaps and me met for a spontaneous and uncomplicated Napoleonic Black Powder game. Boiled down to the essence we simly agreed to bring the troops we wanted to play and constructed two equal armies. One of course the French forces with some allies like Saxon and Westphalian troops and on the other side British and Prussian forces. So we started at nine in the morning and arranged an enormous table with a couple of tables and a ping-pong table. We played until evening and the game didn't find a clear winner unfortunately. But nevertheless we had a great time and actually that was all this day was about.

Although a complete AAR is rather difficult I want to share some impressions of the game with you:
Marshall Davout gathers his division.
Simultaneously the Light Cavalry of the Guard arrives out of nowhere.
To balance the forces slightly we used the point system from "Albion Triumphant - Vol. II". Each of the armies had about 2,100 points.
The French forces marching on...

... and their allied counterparts.

I commanded some British and Hanoverian forces most of with advanced on and along the road.
To have enough room to manoeuvre all the troops we needed a large table. But on the other hand we had to be able to reach into the middle of the table. So we arranged them as a cross of tables. There the French got the first turn and unfolded very well. The lucky frogs past all their command rolls during this phase of the game...
The French dashing into the centre of the table.
They seem to be fear not being prepared to cross rivers since their experience in Russia...

But nevertheless they rely on their line infantry.

The Polish brigade marches steadily.
On the other side of the table we allies were slower unfortunately. Especially my Prussian allies failed several command rolls and slowed us down.
Blücher and his troops get mixed up.

The French light cavalry of the guard pushed forward into the center of the field.
Meanwhile the first Prussians make up some ground.
A French general lost touch to his cuirassiers that got scattered by Prussian musket volleys.
The allies still trying to enter the center part of the table to unfold.
But only single Prussian units are successful and threatened by French cavalry at once.
The Prussian right wing and center blocked by a defiant cavalry brigade as well as a disobedient infantry brigade.
The French tropps - Westphalians here - try to tie up their opponents.
But finally British cavalry reaches the field of glory - Now Scots Greys !
And at least some movement in the center of the allies.
Unfortunately we didn't reach a decision until the end of the day. Although the French had an excellent position in the middle of the battlefield there were several scenes which were dominated by the allies. Some Prussian units proved tougher than expected and Prussian and British heavy cavalry descended upon the French simultaneously hitting their horse artillery and light cavalry heavily.
The battlefield during the end of the game.
Anyway at the end of the day we all had a good time and we all had successful as well as disappointing moments. An excellent day with the chaps and nobody missed those detailed scenarios and well prepared games we used to play most of the time. Just plain and simple fun this time.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Preparing for a gaming weekend... With hot Toddy and a new pillow...

For the last week I've done everything to resist the flu which caught my kin one by one. First was our older daughter who brought the plague from the kindergarten I presume. Then my dear wife fell ill an finally even baby Anna had a running nose. Finally two days ago it got me. All the sinuses as well as my internal ears seem to have filled with mucus and I'm coughing without cease.

Really I don't want two whine but for next saturday we planned some kind of unique Napoleonic game. After some throwbacks with schedules this year a few guys from our gaming club agreed to meet in a boyscout hall next weekend, bring all the Napoleonic stuff they want to field and have a simply game. Pure fun without special rules, tricky scenarios and all that tricky stuff. So how to get fit within two days?

With a pillow and a hot Toddy or two:
The pillow is a present of matchless Mrs Monty. Actually she started the embroidery two years ago as the motiv implies. Although she finished it during the year after it took some time to sew the pillowcase around it. Anyway now it's finished and I can't thank my wife enough for the time she put into this present!
Besides that a traditional medicine shall help me to restore health. Most of you will probably know hot Toddy. A drink consisting of hot water, lemon juice, either sugar and honey as well as a good slug of whisky. By coincidence I found a recipe with tea instead of water and had a nice's Twining Earl Grey transformed into hot Toddy.
Excellent brew and I feel better and better sip by sip!

So I'm rather optimistic for the weekend and will let you know how our gaming saturday went. Cheers!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Command base finished: Sir Denis Pack and ADC

Finally it's done!
Yesterday evening I finished the command stand for my future 9th Brigade for Waterloo:

It represents Major-General Sir Denis Pack (later KCB) and his ADC  Major Edmund L'Estrange:
MAJOR-GENERAL Sir Denis Pack, K.C.B., wounded at Waterloo

Only son of the Very Rev. Thos. Pack, Dean of Ossory, by Catherine dau. and heiress of Denis Sullivan, of Berehaven, co. Cork. Five times received the thanks of Parliament for his military services. Was one of the moat dashing leaders of a brigade in the Par. War. " He was scarred with wounds and covered with glory." Commanded the 71st Regt. at Buenos Ayres when that city was retaken by the Spaniards, and was sev. wounded. and taken prisoner. When he escaped from prison, Pack was appointed to the command of a provisional battalion stationed at Colonia. His fidgety and irascible temper somewhat tried those who had to serve under him. One morning there appeared written in chalk on the door of a barn the following distich :

"The devil break the gaoler's back, that let thee loose, sweet Denis Pack."

For his services at Waterloo he was made Col.-in-Chf. of the York Chasseurs. M. 10th July, 1816, Lady Eliz. Beresford, youngest dau. of George, 1st Marquis of Waterford, and had issue. His 2nd son was Lord Beresford's heir, and assumed the surname of Beresford. Sir Denis died 24th July, 1823.
(from: "The Waterloo roll call" by Charles Dalton, Link to the original text)

Firstly I decided to represent Pack's brigade because I liked the mixture of different Scottish units. But meanwhile I got fascinated by the character of this gifted commander. If anyone knows a good biography about him I'd be happy for any hint.
Pack's staff officers were rather unlucky during the campaign. His General of Brigade Brevet-Major Smyth was mortally wounded at Quatre Bras and his other ADC Major Edmund L'Estrange was mortally wounded at Waterloo. Anyway I decided to represent the latter:

MAJOR E. L'Estrange, 71st Foot, K.

Edmund L'Estrange was a hero in every sense of the word. He waseldest son of Capt. Anthony L'Estrange of the 88th Regt. one of the Irish representatives of the ancient family of Le Strange, of Hunstanton, co. Norfolk. Was A.D.C. to Sir Denis Pack in the Par. War, and hisespecial gallantry, on several occasions, attracted the notice of Wellington. Made a brevet maj. at the early age of 26. His right leg was shattered by a round shot at Waterloo, and he died soon after suffering amputation. Had he lived, a great future was in store for him. A pension was granted to his mother whom he had supported.
(from: "The Waterloo roll call" by Charles Dalton, Link to the original text)

Although an officer of the 71st Regiment of Foot would have worn another dress I decided to show Major L'Estrange in the usual staff officers' uniform. In 1815 he had been Pack's ADC for several years so I thought it might be plausible that he adopted the appropriate uniform until then.
The figures are both by Perry Miniatures. While the Pack miniature is really meant to be the Major-General I had to improvise with the ADC because unfortunately there are no British staff officers by the twins yet. A pity!
Anyway luckily I got the inspiration of "Guns of April" who did some similar conversion a few years ago for a Peninsular War project they had. Although those chaps did a great job I wanted to be as precise as possible within the boundaries of my limited sculpting skills. So I took an ADC from the Perrys' Nassau command pack and started grinding and milling and removed everything that didn't look British. Afterwards I took some greenstuff to perform damage control and wel... reached the result you see now.
An excellent source for the work was Osprey's "Wellington's Generals" from their Men at Arms series. On one of the colour plates there's an ADC pictured and described. Anyway the experts amongst you will probably spot the small mistakes on the uniform and especially the horse furniture but I think they are venial.

If you're interested in it I'll post some WIP pictures of L'Estrange later this week.

As usual I painted the figures with Vallejo Model Colors. The base is a 60mm circular steel base from Precision Wargames Supplies. Perfect in shape, extremely thin and magnetic which makes transport of such vignettes much easier. In addition to my usual mixtures of static grass, flowers and flock I added a piece of Warbases' rather new animals range:
Meanwhile Diane and Martin are producing a wide range of domestic and wild animals and I can highly recommend them. They are all very well sculpted and the larger animals are perfect to add some life to farms or villages. And the smaller ones like those rabbits are to my mind a nice addition to larger vignettes.

Last but not least a close-up shot from Denis Pack's face. When you compare it to a historcial picture you see how close Alan and Michael came with there sculpt. Excellent work and great fun to paint. Unfortunately I'm still looking for a feeling for the contours of faces...
In any that makes me keen on painting more command bases. So probably I'll tackle a light cavalry commander rather soon for my 6th Cavalry Brigade... or Picton the old rogue... or the Iron Duke... A lot of possibilities...   ;-)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Painting Table Weekend - Major General Sir Denis Pack

This weekend I kept working on some Napoleonics. On the one hand the basing of my Royal Scots and on the other hand my brigade command base:

Major General Sir Denis Pack
Pack himself is the excellent miniture by the Perry twins. Although the lighting of the picture is rather poor you might recognise the excellent job, Alan or Michael did with the facial expression of Sir Denis.

In the background you see Pack's ADC Sir Edmund L'Estrange. He's a conversion from another Perry staff officer and I decided to illustrate him in the usual British staff uniform. Actually he was from a light infantry regiment but he had been Pack's ADC for such a long time that I found it plausible that he adopted the staff uniform sooner or later. However more on that when I finished the two.

Additionally there'll be some tiny additions to the command base. The eagle-eyed of you might spot them right behind the honourable general...

Have a good start into the new week !

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Santa's little helpers...

During the last weeks Ian and Chris took enrolments for the annual Christmas campaigns "Santa" and "Secret Santa". During the last years Ian and his wife managed both of them but because of the growing number of participants and to avoid confusion Ian gave the Santa Clause campaign into Chris's trustworthy hands.
Anyway I nearly missed their roll calls but luckily got tickets for both campaigns at the last minute. And here's what it's all about (for the few who don't know...):

"Santa Clause"
Rule number 1:
To enter you need to either have a blog or be a regular follower of this blog (or Ian's) already. This is to give confidence to all involved that everyone will follow through to the end. If you have a blog and don't follow this one it's OK to join in.

Rule number 2:
The idea is that each person involved buys a figure or figures to the value of less than £5 and paints them up to fit in with what the target blogger wargames or collects. Best would be some kind of command for the bigger scales but maybe a unit or two of such as 6mm or a building or... you get the idea.

Rule number 3:
Please try to send out your items so that they will arrive by December 20th in plenty of time for the big day. I will send out who you have on September 16th.

Rule number 4:
Please post on your blog about your participation. The more we can get on board, the more fun for all of us.

Rule number 5:
This is not intended to be a cheap alternative to Ian's Secret SantaTM. Instead it is a great opportunity to send and receive something that will be special BECAUSE it's a one off from a fellow blogger. Not that you have to limit yourself to something useful, feel free to paint up something that will just sit aside the painting desk or study etc and just give pleasure. 

So after all I got my target a few days ago and it's locked. The person I have the pleasure to paint some figures for is a fellow wargamer who is following my blog for some time as I do with his blogs. Actually I would love to give more hints about this noble fellow but I should keep my mouth shut to avoid ruining the surprise. Anyway the parcel will have to take a long journey so no time to waste !

"Secret Santa"
Actually the same rules apply as above but this campaign is not about a painted miniature of any kind but of a present (of course hobby related...) for about £15. Each participant will send one as well as receive another.

Ian is still taking contenders for this project. So if you want to join the bunch then hurry up and sign in!

However I'm really excited of being a part of both prjects. I love the idea of digging into one's hobby and find an item he hopefully is in need of. And as for "Santa Clause" I like the idea to give someone time, effort and hopefully pleasure as a present much more than the little amount of necessary money...

Many, many thanks to Chris and Ian for running those ventures. And to all participants, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do !

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Painting Table Weekend - Basing redcoats

This week I started to prepare some things for a Napoleonic game we'll have in a fortnight. On the one hand I prepared some figures for a command base representing Major-General Denis Pack and one of his ADCs.
On the other hand I started the basing of a unit of British Redcoats which shall respresent the Royal Scots at Waterloo.
The figures are from Victrix plastic range and I built them last year. This time I didn't paint them myself but sent them together witch a lot of a friend of mine who had them painted by a professional painting service in overseas. Firstly I wasn't satisfied at all but after I started basing them it seems that I might come to peace with them at last. Nevertheless there are several things that flaws that spoil me this painting service but I'll write more on that later when I present the completed unit.
But at least I presume it'll be a proper unit for the wargaming table. No great piece of art but as powerful as any other redcoats I presume. And thirt-party painted figures save me time for more interesting project like command bases, artillery limbers and the like.

Enjoy the remaining sunday and have a good start into the new week !

Monday, 8 September 2014

The hurly-burly's done...

Luckily the weather forecast kept its promise and the weekend was pleasant. So I was able to hold two long airbrushing sessions.

The first one on friday with a lot of stuff to prime. After about one and a half hours of constant spraying 43 horses, six riders and 33 foot soldiers had a nice even coat of black primer. As usual I used my favourit: Vallejo Surface Primer Black. It works perfectly with my 0.5mm nozzle and there's no need to thin it down. On the other hand the nozzle is large enough to prime the models without wasting too much paint.
At least if you already have some airbrush equipment I think priming this way is even the cheapest way to get the models prepared. For all the stuff above I needed about 30ml of paint. Applied with a brush I would have used much more (thicker layers of paint...) and with spray cans? I'm not sure but at least half a can if not more.

Since the friendly weather continued on sunday I arranged the equipment for another session then.This time most of the stuff I primed two days earlier had to get some coulour. On that account I thinned down some Vallejo Model Colors which is always a bit tricky. Based on earlier experience between 2:1 and 1:1 (colour : thinner) works best depending on the colour and of course the nozzle of the airbrush gun. As usual I achieved rather different results but altogether I'm rather satisfied:
For the horses on the right which belong to a Saga warband of steppe warriors I chose different shades of brown to have a mixed and disordered look for the wilde horde. And by the way they'll work as guinea pigs for some new colour ideas I had...

For the lancers' / hussars' horses in the middle I chose a much more average coluor. Flat Brown for all of them. Although I thought of dappling some other shades of brown into the formation I didn't dare to disturb the disciplined look of British cavalry. By the way trumpeters in the 1880s didn't still use greys, did they?

The Normans / Crusaders and their horses were an easy choice as well. Different brown horses and a coat of dark metal on the chainmail of the knights.

For the infantry I used Khaki Grey which shall serve as base colour for the British Sudan / NWF uniforms for the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War. On the picture they look slightly more greenish than personally.

Last but not least two terrain pieces or at least some parts of them. In the foreground a part of the roof of another Dark Ages building by Stronghold, namely the Pit House I've been working on for some weeks. In the background the major part of Sarissa's awesome Pegasus Bridge. I'm not sure when I'll have that finished finally. I took several months until now and it'll take several more months. Above all I have no idea how to store or showcase the finished piece but I think it was too much work to store it disassembled in a box somewhere...

Friday, 5 September 2014

The stage is set

Yesterday evening I spent two hours with glueing figures onto bases. Actually preparations for my aribrushing plans for this weekend.

Here are all the results together:

In total these are 43 horses, six riders and 35 foot soldiers which I want to prime this afternoon. I have no idea how long this will take or whether I have enough primer left but anyway I'll give it a try.

Second step will be the base colours:
- different shades of brown and grey for the horses
- metal for the knights
- brownish for the British

If I don't manage to finish that today then maybe I'll get another time slot on sunday when Mrs Monty and the girls are out for a children's birthday party...

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Heavy-duty miniature cleaning - Brutal final for (maybe) the last arbrushing session...

For the remainder of the week we have a really good weater forecast and so I hope to have the chance to hold another airbrushing session on the balcony. Maybe the last one before autumn which means maybe the last one this year.
Therefore I spent part of the weekend as well as the last evenings with deflashing and cleaning miniatures. The result is a bowl with about 50 horses and more than 30 foot soldiers. The plan is to prime them on Saturday and hopefully apply the base colour as well.

Additionally I prepared a miniature for a conversion. More precisely a staff officer from Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar's staff shall become Major Edmund L'Estrange who was Sir Dennis Pack's ADC during the battle of Waterloo. He and the general himself will represent the command of my incarnation of the British 9th brigade of the prementioned battle. 
Anyway preparation in this case means a lot of milling. As soon as I added some green stuff I'll present my humble work.