Saturday, October 25, 2014

Waterloo Dutch Belgian 4th Light Dragoons

Two boxes of HAT 8032 provided the 12 figures I needed for this unit.  That number does nicely for Napoleon's Battles (12DBLC) and Shako.

I originally thought of doing the figures as hussars but when I saw how accurate a depiction of the 4th Light Dragoons they were it would have been sacrilege to to do anything other than that unit.  The 4th (Dutch) Light Dragoons were over 600 sabres at Waterloo and were heavily engaged against the French cavalry in the afternoon suffering all most 50% losses (courtesy of Mark Adkin's great book, The Waterloo Companion).

I agonised over getting the right shade of blue.  I seem to use VJ Prussian Blue for all my blues and it was getting a bit repetitive, never mind inaccurate.  So far with the Dutch Belgians I've had some success with highlights to the blue, but for the Light Dragoons I wanted something darker.  After testing half a dozens blues I settled on VJ Dark Prussian Blue (kind of obvious in retrospect) with a Prussian Blue highlight.  I was so happy with this I even painted the paints blue only to later check my sources and see that they should be grey.  All this excitement, as well of lack of suitable figures, meant I painted everyone as a trooper.

These first set of photos are before the application of varnish.  I was very happy how they were looking, horses and all, so I decided not to use the paint on matt varnish that was turning gloss That I had been using.  This time I would try a different varnish.

Possibly the head is a fraction too small, but the expression is suitably stern

And now for the varnish

Picture Varnish Matt from Westart which I got for under $10 at Jackson's Drawing Supplies

I even re-varnished one of the previously glossy casualty markers and was happy with the result.

It is not a flat matt, but it is definitely not glossy and certainly the look I wanted.

It doesn't really bother me, but this figure, as noted in the Plastic Soldier Review, does have a very long sword.  When I come to do the other Light Dragoon regiment I might have a go at trimming their swords to a less exaggerated length, but these guys can stay as they are. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My First Game of Impetus

Thanks to Carlo for organising this game and for letting us all use his excellent miniatures.

Impetus had been on my to do list for some time (although given the age of some of the items on that list, I should really say that it has only recently been added).  If I recall correctly I first became aware of the rules when I saw a post featuring some Romans beautifully presented on a big base (I went looking for the post but it is sadly lost in the world of blogs).

Carlo, with a few games under his belt, umpired.  He was also assisted by James of the ANF who, I think, was specially brought in for his expertise and to lead the Romans along with Stephen B who was, I am pretty sure, having his first game with these rules.  For the Persians there was Steve and myself - our first games as well.

I had read the basic rules and this helped me a bit.

Being new to the rules, and also asking tricky questions, slowed the game down and gave me concerns over picking up the complexities of new rules.  We also called on the help of some other experienced players in the club to resolve questions and also uncovered some clarifications and alternative variations - things that make for true Ancient wargaming rules!

Rolling sixes seems to be important and Steve and I managed this a few times, only to see our attacks fail when our opponent rolled a one (repeatedly) on their cohesion tests.  This still meant they were being attrited to death.

The look of the game was good and the feel okay, given it was first time and all.  I am very fond of Field of Glory and so will have to play a bit more to see if I would want to swap over to them.

We played in 28mm and my preferred scale is 15mm.  Also we had, like with the previous week's game of Fire and Fury, a minor calculation to do to adapt the rules to 28mm and that taxed the grey matter at times.

Here are a few photos and there are more on the NWS blog.

My command, attached to a unit of Pushtigban (whatever, they have a VBU of 7).

I was on the right.  The inability of my archers to score hits was matched by the inability of the Romans to chuck javelins with any accuracy.

One of my units of heavy cavalry charged, even though I didn't get the Impetus bonus, I did throw three sixes and the Romans fell back.  I followed up. threw just one six this time, but the Romans also got a hit in, I survived and pushed them back again, but then they got lucky and threw more sixes than me and the attack stalled.  The Romans had been eaten away however and were one loss away from disintegrating. 

My militia got the drop on some Roman cavalry.  It started well, but went down hill when they were unable to follow up their initial die rolling success.

My immediate reaction on the night was that the mechanics rewarded lucky generals, but now having had time to reflect, they produce a plausible narrative.  Sometimes nothing happened, sometimes units broke on first contact, and sometimes melees went on and on and on.

The ultimate question for me comes down to just how many rules/periods I can manage.  I suppose that ultimately depends on availability of opponents and convenience of setting up games.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Waterloo Dutch Belgian Horse Artillery

This is my second attempt to paint up two batteries of Dutch Belgian Horse Artillery for (one of) my Waterloo projects.  My first attempt can be seen here:

I took four Waterloo 1815 figures and removed their backpacks and replaced them with pouches. They have painted up okay, but as I am finding with this project, the varnish is turning them glossy.  I still haven't decided if that is how I will leave them, but it is good enough for now.

A poor attempt an arty shot using an uncharacteristically cloudy sky for Perth.

An unintentional "wet look" to the ground.

It's a bit more noticeable in this photo and the following ones, but I did a bad job on the gun elevation, made worse by the scenic effect on the basing as the wheels are indented, but the trail slightly elevated by the plaster I used to build up the base.

I like the pose of the guy looking hopefully out into the distance while the ball is more likely to bury itself six feet under just a few yards in front of him. 

The guns are detachable.  A style which produces a few loose cannon.

This last photo was taken using a flash, the rest are all natural light.

While I am still thinking up the best way to show unit status etc, it never hurts to have a few casualty markers and so, using the trusty Airfix set, I painted up these three.  The fallen jager is the companion headswap to the officer I did for the Belgian infantry. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The African Campaign

Today Richard and I played Jedko Games' African Campaign.  Despite being a boardgamer back in the 1970s I had never played this game (SPI seemed the dominant/available provider of games, except for Avalon Hill).  It played well after all these years, a true classic.

By April 1942 the Axis were in a difficult position which was only getting worse.

The 8th Army held a line south from Sidi Barrani for a good while towards the end of 1941, until the Axis finally broke through.

This was the final position and proved too much for the Axis who are about to start retreating having placed minefields, but not enough strength to hold the position.

An elegant and simple system that worked well portraying the cut and thrust of the campaign.

Regimental Fire and Fury in 28mm

A double first for me - first game of Regimental Fire and Fury and first game using 28mm figures.  I had bought the rules back in January this year at Cancon from Dean of Olympian Games.  Having the rules for only ten months before actually using them is also a bit of a first (although I'm getting better).

There were six of using trying out the rules and each had a brigade.  Phil C who supplied the figures umpired.

I kept on getting confused with Fire and Fury, but this had started to dissipate as the game went only, unfortunately so did my troops.

More photos and commentary can be found here:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Flaming Fokkers

Last night we played an ambush scenario of Wings of Glory with three Fokkers surprising an Allied bomber escorted by two Sopwith Camels.  We were using altitude but it doesn't show in the pictures.  Basically the Camels were above and the bomber below the Fokkers for most of the game.

The game got off to an immediate start as the Fokkers (I was in command of the red one and the zebra, Simon had the yellow one) swooped on the bomber (Stephen N who also had one of the Camels under his command, with Stephen B taking the other Camel - all the models and accessories are Stephen N's).

Bomber set on fire, but oh dear, the three Fokkers collided!  

The yellow Fokker caught fire and then exploded while the zebra Fokker trailed smoke as it headed for home.

The red Fokker which was suffering engine failure pursued the bomber a bit before it too decided to head for home (both of my Fokkers had taken a lot of damage in the collision).

In heading for home it got a long distance shot in on one of the Camels that promptly blew up!

It made for a very quick game.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stalingrad Crossfire Scenario

Last night at the club I umpired the Stalingrad Crossfire Scenario.  It is the one that comes with the rules.  An abstract and some play aids can be found here:

Mark B arrived first so he got to be the Germans.  Stephen took the Russians.  It was their first time with the rules.  They had received the abstract prior to the game and I only provided minimal explanation as to the rule mechanics, concentrating more on the scenario.  They seemed to pick it up easy enough, although the hidden deployment did cause a bit of problem and based on feedback I have developed an additional player aid by way of a map that can be used to write the location of a the units, rather than recording the location on the OoB list.

The playing area.  
It is amazing what you can do with cardboard, kitty litter, PVA glue and some paint.

Just in case anyone was in doubt of the scenario/period.

Using Recon by Fire, the Soviets successfully reveal some of the Nazis.  Recon by Fire is a thankless task as you need to throw a six.  Seems Stephen has the skills.

It was the Soviet's lucky day as in the factory, not only did they again successfully conduct Recon by Fire they went on to close assault the Nazis and capture their first building segment.  The Soviet's had mastered the art of throwing a six on a single dice.

The third platoon of the first company pour fire into a Soviet held segment of the factory, but without the Soviet's ability to throw sixes they have a tough time getting a result.

Despite Mark B bringing out a special set of green dice, the Soviets continued to display superior die rolling and were able to capture all the buildings in the factory complex.

Great game, even if just to see the look of disbelief on Mark B's face as Stephen threw yet another six.

I suppose I should clarify that Stephen was using my dice.  Apart from the green dice I provided everything, including the eclectic mix of 1/72nd scale figures (mainly plastic, but with a few metal dudes as well).