Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Casualty Markers and Wash Tests


While waiting for my 1/300th North Africa divisions to arrive I thought I'd paint up some casualty markers using old Airfix figures (you know, those ones that came in every box and were next to no use!) With our SLS rules 9and others)  we mark damage with smoke puffs, which also gives a good sense of where the battle is happening, but once a unit has only 1 damage left it is "spent" and retreats and can't advance until rallied - so you a) have units out of the action surrounded by smoke-puffs and b) have lots of smoke puffs tied up doing nothing really! So in 6mm I have casualty markers that equate to "spent" for units and I thought it would be useful to do the same in 20mm, esp with the Waterloo 60 planning (that's going to need a lot of smoke puffs!)



I'd also promised myself some time at the start of the year to review my painting style. I still don't think I'm up to doing 3-shade approaches. I might try the off highlight, but its the use of better washes where my biggest and quickest improvements can probably be made. I used to use Nuln Oil ink diluted, but GW now sells it as a wash, which I don't think I'd noticed so was still diluting it! On 6mm it still looked OK, but in 20mm it was giving too much of a dullness to everything and not filling cracks. So I decided with these casualties to finish in 4 different ways:

  • No wash at all, just to show the impact that the washes do have
  • My existing 50:50 Nuln Oil wash
  • Neat Nuln Oil wash
  • Army Painter Strong Quickshade applied by brush ( OK I know that Alan and my brother both mix their own from furnisher polish but I haven't the time/confidence in consistency!)
All had a Vallejo Matt varnish, brush applied (after several disasters with spray).

Here are some of the results - I think I have the captions right!

50:50 Nuln Oil Wash and Water

Neat Nuln Oil Wash

Quickshade




Unwashed

50:50 Nuln Oil Wash

Quickshade



So actually neat Nuln Oil and Quick Shade both giver pretty good results, and Nuln Oil dries  a lot faster, doesn't smell, and Quickshade still needs the matt varnish.

So I think my plan is (since I have a £20 tin of Quickshade!):

  • Use QS on the WW2 1/300th armour and figures I'm about to do as it will look good as dirt as well as shading
  • Since my next "batch" is 20mm ECW or WOTR so more forgiving than Napoleonics do a unit in each of neat Nuln Oil Wash and QS and compare the results.
Then I can take stock and make a final decision. Whilst that QS tin looks expensive will be interesting to see how fast I get through neat Nuln Oil at GW prices!

Still won't ever win any painting competitions though!









Monday, 19 February 2018

Winter 20mm French Painting


December and January were dedicated to doing nine French Napoleonic units as part of my commitment to the Waterloo @ 60 plan - I get to do all the French. All Newline figures. Strikes me the quality of design is a bit variables - the standing Cuirassiers are beautiful, but the Guard HA appear to have Guard FA coat-tails, and the centre companies of the Light Infantry don't have swords. I'm also not loving the mix of poses in the unit packs - one of the reasons for going to metal was to get away from the random collection of poses in plastics. I think I might in future buy the figures in pose packs so that I get exactly what I want.

Here are the units.

Cuirassiers


First time I've done a trumpeter in Imperial Livery - like it more than I thought I'd do.





Guard Horse Artillery

A rather dark shot, but coat tails clearly visible. Officer was converted from a Hussar Elite Company (I put a mounted figure on all my HA bases so you can see which they are)



Light Infantry


I did two of the 4 battalions as the 14e Legere as at one time they had coloured cloth (light blue for centre companies, red for carabiners, yellow for voltigeurs) wrapped around their shakos. In fact this might only have been when they had white "Imperial" uniforms but I thought it would be fun to do anyway! The other two battalions are standard light infantry. Of course realised afterwards that most regiments had 3 battalions fielded at Waterloo, so will need to start painting in 3s not 2s!












And a final shot of the whole group.



Saturday, 20 January 2018

The "last" 6mm - ECW Painted Up


Been a bit quiet here due to domestic challenges (including Deborah breaking a leg) and a book that won't write itself, but getting back on an even keel, and behind the scenes painting has continued a-pace. The ECW 6mm figures I painted at the end of last year have finally had their bases done. Five regiments of NMA, one of Lord Brooke's (bought purple specially), two of Scots, a regiment each of ECW and Scots horse, and an extra regiment of foot and horse made up of all the leftovers from earlier paintings!

Here's some pics.








As mentioned in the last post this is my last large 6mm, batch as I'm now happy that I have "complete" forces for:

  • Ancients: Greek and Persian
  • Medieval: 100YW (covering British and French) and WOTR (covering Yorkist and Lancastrian)
  • ECW: Royalist, Parliamentarian and Scots
  • Napoleonic: French (~2 Corps), Almost Corps sized for British, Spanish, Prussian, Russian, Austrian, British Allies

I'll assign 1 month a year to paint up 6mm to fill gaps or just do some "fun" units within these periods. They'll be played with heavily, but the painting focus is switching to 20mm (and maybe.....)


Thursday, 21 December 2017

The "last" 6mm


Not properly based yet but these are the last of my 5-7 yrs worth of 6mm painting so I though they deserved their moment in the sun - six understrength troops of ECW horse, including some Scots.


I did a very rough count and I think I've painted about 10,000 individual soldiers, mostly Napoleonic, but a good number of ECW, some Medieval and a few Ancients.

I won't be leaving Peter at Baccus totally devoid of revenue since I'll do one batch (~ 1 month, ~ 4-5 bags) a year to fill in gaps or just do some fun figures - like the Spanish with their long bearskin banners!

I'll post up a photo of the latest ECW batch (9 Inf, 6 Scots, 3 horse) as soon as they are based up.


Otherwise it's on (back) to 20mm!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

2017 - Year in Review



Don't think I've blogged a formal year in review before, but here goes.

First the summary:

Jan: 🎨20mmNap(2)*, 🔪ECW*
Feb: 🎲ww3*
Mar: 💤
Apr: 💤
May: 🎨100YW*, 🔪Auerstedt*
Jun: 🎨20mmNap(2)*,🔪Agincourt *
Jul: 🎨RusNap*, 2mmNap*
Aug: 🐝
Sep: 🎨20mmNap(2)*
Oct: 🎨ECW1!, 🔪JenaBde*
Nov: 🎨ECW2!, 🔪Eylau/2mm/Div*
Dec: 🎨20mmNap(3)@, 🎲ECWcmp

No idea what happened in Mar and Apr, lots of real work I think, but hardly did anything, which resulted in a bit of scaling back from the original plan (one battle slipped to 2018, 2 ECW batches became 1.5, but not too many other major casualties!

Now thematically:

PAINTING






The big aim of the year was to "finish" my 6mm and I did that, with batches of Medieval, ECW (2.5) and Napoleonic Russians. I'll post more on the outcome and forward plan for this in probably the next blog post.

I'll just about hit my target of nine 20mm French Napoleonic, the minimum I need to do to fulfil my part  of the Waterloo refight planned (Nicks doing about the same number and Adrian 3-4 times that!). This years troops included Middle Guard, more Cuirassiers, Guard Lancers and I'm just doing some Light.

NAMED BATTLES





With the Medievals done I did Agincourt using Hordes & Heroes. For ECW I did 1642 so Edgehill was the big one, but didn't get the time to do any others (3 more planned, a major Mar/Apr casualty). For Napoleonic I did the left overs from 1806/2016 (Auerstedt, Jena) and Eylau from 1807/2017, with Friedland slipping into 2018 (and Rivoli abandoned). I find doing these games, even solo, a great way for focus reading (and book buying) around specific battles, and then use the medium of the game to understand the terrain, issues and tactics better.


WARGAMING


I did get my 1984/Cold War vehicles and troops rebased on to 4cm hexes for use on Hexon and played out a couple of games, one a trial to learn CWC and then the Mohner Gap game.  So that moved forward nicely and will continue in 12018 hopefully with a campaign, but still after the ultimate set of rules.

I did also manage to revisit and rebase my 2mm Napoleonics, with a D6 BOD based set of rules inspired by my experiences with Blucher and H&H. Definitely to be continued.

I didn't manage to get the ECW Campaign underway, but that is tops for 2018.

I did manage the start a 100 Days Blucher campaign with Nick and Alan, 1 battle down, 1 or 2 more to go I expect.

A number of other games with Nick and Alan including a Blucher test game, a Blucher Scharnhorst generated game, a small war in Africa skirmish game, and even some D&D!.


BATTLEFIELD WALKS




Nick and Alan and I got to stay at Hougoumont and re-explore Waterloo (without the re-enactors). We even played a Hougoumont SPI type game in Hougoumont!

The new dog is likely to encourage more walks, and we managed to do both Towton and "new" Bosworth.

I managed to combine a conference trip with a visit to Busaco - and a stay at the Busaco Palace Hotel!


BOARDGAMES




I bought Kingmaker and had a great game of it with Jo and Tom on a long weekend in Barmouth. Played a few other games that Jo bought. And Hougoumont in Hougoumont as mentioned!


CLUBS and SHOWS



My attendance at Dragoon's Den faded away after things became busy after my father-in-law died, and the dog arrived. Will try and restart next year. Still no time to visit a weekend club. Good weekend of Borodino at Liphook. Only made it to Salute show-wise.


SOFTWARE




No progress on the Campaign or tactical versions of Combat60, or on the Virtual Osprey idea. However I did make a nice prototype for a BattlefieldAR app which I'll try and progress next year.

ODDS and SODS



These were the other things on my to-do list:

ECW Campaign Start - failed
Next Nick Campaign - yes, in the guise of the Blucher 100 Days one, but not a "big" one
Cloth - Green - failed to buy a cloth!
Try Cold War Commander - done! Then a new edition came out! 
Base 6mm Modern Warpac & NATO  - done!
Brigade sabots - done! (for 6mm, to turn 2 x Bn into 1 x Bde)
20mm Sabots - started, ready for Waterloo60. Just about go the size right.
Rebase 6mm Nap @ - ongoing, lots are based on 20mm plastic card and warped badly
More 6/15/20mm Rivers - failed
More 6/15/20mm Hedges - failed
2mm nap again? - done! Lovely blend of wargame and boardgame
Articles (0/3) - failed. ECW Campaign one in hand though for early 2018.
Medieval/ECW/Modern/WW2Des 6mm bldgs. - bought a few medieval, less at Salute than I'd hoped
CWO Bde?? - no, CWC*

And I added to that starting writing BOD versions of Medieval, ECW and Napoleonic rules.


OVERALL

Not a bad year given what else was going on. And a good outlook for 2018 particularly since the move from 6mm to 20mm should ease the painting load a bit!






Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Battle of Eylau - ENDEX

The Russians retreat past Anklappen
Well the refight of Eylau came to an end on Turn 10/1700. I'd thought it was going to be all over at Turn 7 as Davout was on the the table (if taking a beating), Lestocq was yet to show up, the Russians were pushing in the French left, and fighting was going on all around the front of Eylau. I did a quick check of Army/Corps morale at that point and found that both Davout and Soult needed to withdraw (>1/2 units lost or spent), as did Osten-Sacken, and Tuchkov (Russain right, but small) was already gone. Both only had 5 formations, so one more loss and the army would have to withdraw.

Russians trying to turn the French left flank


Turn 7 saw Murat's cavalry fall on Osterman-Tolstoy division, but it held firm against two successive Cavalry Divisions. Milhaud went against it in Turn 8 and still it hung on. The Guard made a demonstration against the Russian right and stopped them from hooking round behind Eylau. The fighting continued in front of Eylau, but no-one lost a unit!

The central melee. Eylau just out of shot to the left.


On Turn 8 (1500)  Ney turned up - he must have given Lestocq the slip, and hurried to fall on the Russian left, but the hussars and Cossacks from Galitzen's Cavalry Corps frustrated a rapid advance, and on Turn 9 (1600) Lestocq finally turned up at Althof in Ney's rear - so giving him something else to worry about.

Russian right flank holding firm

Come turn 9 Bennigsen realised that it was all over and decided to see if he could break contact before having a formal defeat inflicted - excepting Lestocq he actually only had one combat capable division left. The break was quickly executed, with the shattered infantry units and surprisingly fresh gunner pulling back past Anklappen screened by Galitzen's cavalry and with Lestocq shadowing Ney's fresh troops on the flank. A hasty pursuit by Heudelet who had been in reserve for much of the battle caught Semov's Brigade as it pulled back on Turn 10 and delivered such an impressive set of volleys that Semov took enough damage to cause him to retreat and be spent, so triggering the withdrawal of Dokhtruu'v Corps - making it 3 Russian formations down - except that not Lestocq was on the table their trigger point was 4 formations!


The French keep the pressure on the Russian retreat

At that point I decided it was game over. The Russians were past Anklappen and their cavalry screen was strong. At 1700 in February in Poland it must be getting pretty dark, so I allowed Bennigsen to slip away under the cover of night, without the ignominy of a formal defeat.

Positions at nightfall - Anklappen in the upper centre

Overall I think that SLS-BOD played out very well, and the BOD mechanism and reduced DMs avoided almost all of the "have I counted that DM or not" element of basic SLS. There is some loss of granularity, but I think I can live with that. I'll next play Friedland with at Bde level with the rules more or less unchanged (but now 1D per 500 me/250 cav/5 guns, and 250m hexes), and then look at a Battalion level version - I can see that they may be what we use for Waterloo60.





Friday, 8 December 2017

Battle of Eylau - STARTEX


Eylau starting positions, Div sized units (apart from largest Russian units split into 2 Bdes). New SLS-BOD rules which effectively give units 1 dice/strength(health) point for each 1000 inf, 500 cav or 10 guns. 500m hexes, 1 hour game turns. French at left, Russians at right. Slight valley between the two with Eylau in the middle of it. No snow available!

View from French lines looking over Eylau to Russian lines beyond
The first two goes were the artillery dual. No crashing damage but two French divisions too disorder and fell back a kilometre to regroup (changing the fall back rule!).


On turn 3 the fight for Eylau started, with the French charging the Russian guns beyond the village, taking them, but then being forced back by a Russian counter-attack, which was then checked in turn by the French. Smoke markers show damage points (and sit on the hexes so you don't lose them!). The French also pushed forward on their right and the Russians pushed forward on the French left.

The Russians trying to take Eylau and St Hilaire goes in to stop them!
On Turn 4 it was time to unleash the cavalry to try and force the push on the French right flank - particularly as Davout had not yet appeared. Two of Murat's gallant divisions went changing in against a Russian Grand Battery, which they took, but then charged on to a Russian Grenadier Div which held firm, and the cavalry fled back to its own lines with very little glory, but also not too much damage.

The battle continues around Eylau - red markers show disorder

Turn 5 (midday) and Davout finally turns up. The Russians turn their cavalry to face him. Stalemate in the centre and left with he fight ongoing around Eylau but neither side committing towards Altdorf. No sign of Lescoq.

The left flank and windmill - French cavalry taking artillery damage
End of Turn 5- Davout arrives!

Overall all playing out pretty well. Still not as fast as I'd like, but that may be in part to the card-by-card activation which adds a certain base amount per unit anyway. May try some other methods out (although this is probably the best solo mode). The actual BOD mechanics are working out really well though.