Saturday, February 24, 2018

Napoleon in Egypt

Ahhh, Napoleon in Egypt. It seems that this is a persistent butterfly for many war gamers, myself included.

At first glance it seems t have a lot to recommend it. A wide variety of actions, from the smoke-billowing squares of the battle of the Pyramids, to Desaix's colonial campaign against Murad Bey along the upper Nile, to Siege operations and open battles.

Mamluk, British and French forces all offer a variety of colour that is most attractive; the French seem particularly exotic with their various interim uniforms.

So I am taking the plunge myself. Willie French in bicornes versus various "Islamics" that I intend to pilfer from across the whole of the range.

I think that I shall be organising the french in Demi-Brigades of three 16 figure batallions, each with a few command figures. The Demi-Brigade will hold the colour and a mounted officr. This will offer me some scope for conversions to which I am looking forward.

What? That's the same as the "Charge!" organisation?

Well, I never...

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Wargaming the Franco-Prussian War

Last year I managed to acquire a small collection of Franco-Prussian War figures. They were 25mm Tradition (plus a few plastic Spencer Smith) figures originally from the collection of Stuart Asquith which he has shown considerable ingenuity in assembling from diverse sources.
Tradition Bavarians

I have been slowly adding to it myself along the same lines and I am at the point where it is time to start doing something with the collection. It's about eight units per side now of infantry at ten figures per unit. There are also two units of cavalry at eight figures per side as well. No guns yet, but that it a problem I am sure I can resolve.
Tradition Prussians

Now here's the thing. I am looking at this collection as a game in a box (or two) that I can pull out, have a game with in a couple of hours whilst hitting the beer and chatting amiably about toy soldiers and so on.
Old SAE Swedish Cavalry repainted as Prussian Dragoons

Can anyone in blog-land suggest a ruleset? or do I need to write my own?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

4th Quarter Painting

Nice to have a camera that sort of works again..!

First of all, some Soviets:
Pegasus Maxim Crew 
Pegasus Fast-Build T-26s
 Nice little kits these. Vastly superior to the Minairons offering.
Strelets Winter War Russians
They do what it says o the box, but no heavy weapons. I have painted a full battalion of these but have looked to Pegasus and Zvezda for specialists. Any more infantry I buy will be Pegasus, I think.

Next, a couple of guns for the Finns:
These are HaT Industrie hard plastic Putilov 76.2mm Field Guns
These guns were the mainstay of the Finnish field artillery during the Winter War. Obsolescent and short of ammunition, the Finnish gunners performed creditably with them.

Next up came some Prince August homecast additions for my son's little Saxon army:
Rump-a-tump-tump, rump-a-tump-tump
This is the narrow wheelbase version as I couldn't get the axles to cast properly! 
 And finally, the DAK came to town. Kits from PSC.
Early mark PzKw IIIs
Everyone's favorite eight-wheeled armored cars:
What's not to love?
There's other stuff - some PSC PAK38s, a Horch heavy car and a couple of SdKfz 251s. Bit of a slow burner though and I don't expect to have them in a war-gameable condition until the second half of the year.

Plans? Oh, the Finns need a few tweaks. I'd like to get a few ski-companies, a couple of Reindeer drawn sledges and I am still waiting on a brace of AT guns. Surprisingly thy already have air support in the shape of an old FROG Fokker and a Blenheim MK1. The Soviets will need to expand to at least regimental strength with an attached armored battalion and other supporting arms. They have some Polikarpov fighters, but i would like to track down a Tupolev SB-2 bomber to try supplu drops into their mottis.

I want to get into some winter terrain. I have some white 'chino' cotton for base cloths and some 'winter' pine trees, but need to put field fortifications and a couple of bunkers together.

Another company of PSC PZ IIIs would be welcome too!


The Winter War

I have started collecting figures for a 20mm Winter War project.

For the Finns, I'm using Eureka Miniatures excellent figures. Apart from gun crews and perhaps cavalry and vehicle crews, the range includes pretty well everything you could need to make up a Finnish army.

I have painted a battalion so far. Here are a couple of pictures to get a taste of how they are coming along.

MG and Crew
 Very happy how they are coming out.
Riflemen in the snow
I have started on the Soviets as well. I've painted a box of the Strelets Winter War  infantry, but  the limited options in the box mean that heavy weapons and command figures need to be sourced elsewhere. I bit the bullet and went to Pegasus who have lovely great coated Soviet troops with anti-tank rifles, Maxims and 81 and 120mm mortars. naturally these are meant for the Great Patriotic War period and there are anachronisms - like the ATRs, SMGs and the M1940 helmets, but my options are limited and what the heck, I do have the Rapid Fire! supplements for the eastern Front, so what the heck.

I will be using Zvezda Senior Officers, 76.2mm infantry guns 76.2mm and 122mm M30 artillery.
Zvezda Winter Command. Love the chap with the pipe and the Astrakhan hat.

Wish me luck and have a happy new year!

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Sawmill Village

Confederates deployed at 'Entry A'; the Union at Entry 'B'

The lads and i played through 'Sawmill Village" this Sunday. 

Starting at ten, we laid out the troops on the table I had prepped beforehand. I was using my Tradition 25s collection of ACW which are organised more or less on Featherstone's lines and so it seemed fair enough that we would use The Don's ACW rules.

Each run through took about 90 minutes from 10 AM on with a brief break for lunch halfway through the second game. We absolutely rattled through the moves. I am reasonably familiar with he rules and was able to keep things going along at a good clip.

The Rebels had the lesser force of a pair of guns and four units of infantry whilst the Union were about a move further away from the village in question had six units of infantry, one of cavalry and a pair of guns had further to march. The rebels were dogged with a tight space for their initial deployment, though blessed with a good, dominating place for their artillery. The Union made good use of their cavalry once they decided they made good, high speed infantry to get enough troops into the village to hold out until reinforcements arrived. They were never able to satisfactorily depoly their artillery due to the narrowness of their avenue of advance between the woods and the heights to their right.

Three cracking games that we will follow up with another to see what happened after the Rebels failed to take the town.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Agincourt?

Jean V, Sieur de Poix - killed at Agingourt
 I bought the Perry "French Infantry" box set from their "Agincourt to Orleans" range last week. What a magnificent collection of miniatures you can build from it. I have painted 14 men at arms and now have my eyes on some pavesiers and crossbowmen.
Unknown. I suspect he's one of the Miolans family. Their Savoyard castle still stands and was the one-time prison of the Marquis de Sade..!
Marvellous stuff. It's all just for fun at the moment, but could develop into something serious as I go on.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Rorke's Drift Terrain - The Calm Before the Storm

Our Rorke's Drift Terrain is almost complete. The main terrain element still missing is the stone wall that ought to be in the region of the tree with the orange foliage at the top right of the picture.

You may note that the biscuit box retrenchment wall is missing in these photos, as is the mealie redoubt. This is because these features were added during the action and so they will not be there at the start of the game.
 A Zulu's view of the station. The vantage point is the garden of the mission station. I have decided to represent it as an orchard as I have seen it described as both a garden and as an orchard. In game terms it means that any Zulu hiding there can only be hit on a 6!
The front of the hospital. The men at the barricade in front of the porch will form it's garrison.

This section of the barricade was not manned during the fight as it formed an exposed salient in the line. Rather, the men lined the 'dog-leg' barricade to take attackers in enfilade if they tried the porch. Note that any Zulus who make it onto the porch are pretty safe!
And finally we come to a view of the rear of the position seen from from the terraces rising up to the Oskarberg. Note how vulnerable the men at the far barricade are from the rear from any elevation. Note what an intimate space it is. It's a good thing the Zulus are poor shots.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rorke's Drift Terrain Test

I'm preparing to put on a Rorkes' Drift game for some of the lads in the next fortnight and have been putting some terrain together. This was originally meant to be a convention game for Little Wars Melbourne. Sadly, convention was cancelled, so I have decided to put it on as a somewhat lavish game here at home.
Some really excellent Ox Wagons by 4Ground painted by me to resemble Boer carts with green bodywork and  red wheels with the paints just washed on over the MDF which I feel gives a somewhat weathered effect for very little effort. Unlike the movie, the wagons at the station were not tipped over to form barricades. Rather, they were run together with sacks of mealies and biscuit boxes used to cover the gaps between the wheels.
 
The mealie bag walls are made from DAS air-drying clay. I rolled it out, flattened it and then marked in the divisions between the bags. Strips of them are piled up to make lengths of wall 10-15cms long.
On the south side of the station was a rock wall about 2 metres high. I can't think of too many games I have read about that have made much of the difficulty the Zulu's would have had assaulting this wall. I have chosen to give the British a bonus in hand-to-hand combat if they are defending from an elevated position to reflect their advantage.
 This is the so-called well-built kraal. I threw it down from Italeri stone walling. This is a very useful and flexible piece of terrain from this well-regarded manufacturer.
Shewing the basics of the building's I'm making up is the Storehouse. The black walls are 5mm foam-core with the paper soaked off one face and with detail etched in with a sculpting tool. The gable walls of the station were of stone, so I used the 10mm foam-core I had in store. It's chunky and takes etched stone detail really well. I used the same technique for texturing the surface. The base is 3mm MDF which I cut out with my jigsaw and sanded with a block.

More as we get closer to game day.