Wednesday, October 12, 2016

SYW Hessian Artillery

Another set of AWI Hessians, this time a Perry set of metals featuring 4 artillery men and a "Swedish" four pounder.  As with my other troops from Hesse-Kassel (grenadiers and jaegers to date), these are perfectly suitable for SYW as the Hessians adopted Prussian style uniforms for both conflicts.  These were lovely figures and a joy to paint.

Side view of the piece.  Poor photo but the carriage is a very dark blue.
The Perry box comes with a "Swedish" 4 pounder.  These were captured from the French during the SYW and were apparently very nice pieces.  Captured pieces served with the Hanoverian and allied German states during the SYW.  I have painted the carriage a dark blue which was typical during the AWI and later.  Krosnokraf gives sources for a white/light grey scheme with red trim,  but I went with the most utilitarian and less flashy blue.

In action shot.  As always the Perry crews look like they are actually working the piece.
I will of course use these for SP2 actions, which give a standard artillery unit with one piece and five crew.  It also helps a lot if you field a leader for the artillery.  This means that I'll need to add two figures.  Right now the plan is to use a Warlord plastic  infantryfigure to represent hired help to drag the gun around.  For the leader I may use a plastic Warlord officer figure on foot or a Perry mounted figure.

Ground level shot from behind.  Note the drag ropes for prolonging the piece once unlimbered.

Lovely crisp details on the belts and packs

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hessian Grenadiers

These are a set of 9 Hessian Grenadiers painted for my SYW Sharp Practice project.  They are 28mm hard plastic figures from the Warlord AWI Hessian Infantry boxed set.  They have been some time coming as it took a long while to get them together and then painted and then photographed and blogged.  Basically problem children, with many of the problems lying somewhere between the chair seat and the tip of the paintbrush.

These were my first experience with Warlord figures and they were a learning experience!  Ok lets start with the plus side.  
  • The box includes enough figures to do a reasonable sized unit and options for  a Prussian/Hessian Fusilier (the early pickelhaube helmet), Musketeer (Prussian style tricorn) and Grenadiers (classic mitre) plus command stand and a handful of Jaegers.
  • The figures are well moulded and have a good set of accurate kit for the AWI.  I am fudging the trousers a bit going back to SYW but otherwise they fit the earlier period well.
  • There's a good variety of poses, and some of these (firing, loading and priming) are very good.
  • The box comes with a good full colour insert with instructions on putting them together and painting, plus flags.
  • I managed to put together a usable group for SP2, so they are mostly idiot proof!

 OK now for the not so good.

  • They are fussy to put together, way more so then the Perry boxes (the gold standard IMHO).
  • As always some of the figures are not so great.  The figure at the trail (the NCO and one ranker in my unit) go into this category.
  • Most of the torsos have exactly one set of arms that work with them.  This limits the variety of poses greatly.  I far prefer the Perry approach and love mixing and matching bits from different figures and boxes.
  • The heads are two-three piece constructions!  The musketeer hats have to be glued onto the heads and then the pigtails come separate (really?!?).  I went with Grenadiers in part because  their hats come cast on the heads reducing the number of steps/chances for error.  And let's just say that frustration is maximized trying to glue a pigtail on a 28mm figure, or trying to find a grey pigtail on the floor.  Several grenadiers have gone with a more cropped hair style as a result.
  • Down at the feet we have more issues, namely the figures have separate bases and the feet end at the bottom of their feet.  This gave me more conniptions trying to figure how to get these painted.  Eventually I went with the Warlord individual square bases.  They'll work well for skirmish games but be a pain in kiester in a larger game.  They are also fall over easily and I had to apply a quick fix in the form of ballast in the base.
  • You'll note that I managed to get the facing of the figures off in some cases so some grenadiers are firing at a 45 degree angle to strait ahead and will be hearing from their Sergeant shortly.
  • The seemed to take a while to paint, this may be me or it may be the figures.  But I painted a set of Perry metal AWI figures shortly after wards (post to come) and they took the paint very well with far less do overs and fixes required.

Herrs Schultz and Muller need to adjust their aim.  Eyes front soldiers!

Hoffman at least has his eyes on the prize and is aiming dead ahead.  I am not a huge fan on the head down at the trail figure that doubles as an NCO with a swap of a partizan carrying set of arms.

The other problem with the bases, being hollow they don't have much ballast and the figures topple over easily.  I compensated by supergluing a small washer into the hollow space.

Rear view showing the kit and the problematic pigtails (or lack there of).

Again from the rear and above.  Much of the slowness in painting came from the cross belts (and lapels on the front of the figures).   The detail wasn't crisp enough to get it right first time out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Civilians for the Kleine Krieg

I had these figures painted up weeks so (they featured in my last SP game) figured they better make it on the blog while I remembered them!  This is a set of 8 civilian types to act as encounters, tasks or scenic items as required in my SYW skirmish games using Sharp Practice.

We have four members of the noble or wealthy middle class, one gent a younger lady, an older lady and a young lad playing soldier with a toy musket.  There are also four members of the working classes, a fairly well dressed fellow with a barrel, a labourer with a sack of grain, a female servant with a platter of food and a young lad who is scampering like he's just played ring and run!

All but one of these figures comes from the Perrys AWI range (have I mentioned how much I love these figures recently).  The style of dress maybe 20 years late for the SYW, but my research on Pinterest show that there was enough overlap that they work as well for c1760 as they do for c1780.  The V&A is a wonderful source of info on civilian dress in historical times FYI.  Having just checked my own link I've noticed I am missing a female servant with a broom who is painted but escaped my attention this morning.  I'll check with Fischer's Chasseurs as being likely culprits.

Here's the adult well to dos.  The odd figure who is not from the Perrys is the older lady in red, who participants in Curt's Painting Challenge may recognize.  She is a specialty figure of Maria Theresa from Westfalia miniatures and Kawe produced her as a limit run give away or the participants in one of the most recent challenges.   I carved away the orb and sceptre that the figure carries and I figure that she works exceeding well as a strong willed noble women of a certain age (think Bertie Wooster's aunts).  She is by the way a lovely figure and I wish Westfalia did more mid-18thC types.

V&A pictures show that many fine clothes of the age would be cut from pattern cloths (typical florals) but I opted for solids as I didn't want the fuss of getting the impression of a floral print right.  The colour that I use are based on real life clothes from the mid 18th century and the prints used were often subtle enough that they blend into solids from a reasonable distance.

Here are the lower social orders plus the young noble lad with his musket.  Not the best photo  am afraid but so be it.  The two figures on the right are sculpted as African Americans to represent slaves in the Southern AWI campaigns but I painted them as Caucasians to suit my theatre of war.  I quite like the fellow with the barrel who might easily be a brewer, publican or wine merchant.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sharp Practice AAR

The past Friday I put on a SP2 scenario set in the SYW Kleine Krieg.  I had the players draw. For sides and we had Curt and Stacey taking the French and Sylvain the Anglo-Allies.  No pictures I'm afraid.

I ran the Dominant Hill scenario from CS Grant's first book of scenarios.  Basically equal sized forces enter from opposite sides of the table with a large ridge as the objective for both sides.  SP2 gave a good game, with tense moments around the random order of units moving.

We used the Lardies poker chips which I had painted, but not very well.  Basically there is one chip per leader (both blue and red) with 4 command chips fir each side a plus a green tiffin card.  When a leader's chill us drawn he can direct units to move/fire rally them etc.  Come and chips can be used to perform special actions, give a leader more juice or saved til the turn end.  The turn ends when the tiffin chip is drawn, usually before some units get to act.  Unused command chips can activated u it's who haven't yet acted when the tiffin chip comes up.  Then all the chips get chucked back in the cup and we do another turn.

The way the chips fell in seemed like Sylvain got more units moving early in the game and the French getting the edge later on.  Both sides Hussars got shot about by the opposing artillery early on.    However Curt was able to move the Berchenys off to a flank where they were shielded by a wood.  Sylvain's hussars didn't have the same luck and hot pounded for several turns.  Artillery is very powerful in SP2 and we will limit the number of pieces and maybe downgrade their firepower a bit.

Sylvain opted to get his infantry deployed as a big formation and put his jaegers into the village.  On the other side, the French brought their infantry forward as they came on and set a unit of volunteer skirmishers out in front.  The volunteers eventually got shot apart by the thin red line, but held the hill until the line troops arrived.  Sylvain's line got hampered by his own hussars and shot at by line infantry and light troops.  Meanwhile Curt focused his gun on Luckners Hussars who were pushed back and then pushed off table.   Sylvain tried counter battery fire.  While it eventually worked it was a slow process and a poor substitute for the results Curt got in return.

Finally with a French line on the hill, Stacey and Curt used smart command chip play and lucky chip draws to get three shots on the British line before Sylvain could reply.  By this point the British force morale hit zero and they retreated leaving the French controlling the hill.

One nice feature of the rules is that kills are not common, but shock (morale) hits are key.  Get enough shock points on a unit and they'll be unlikely to do anything but run away.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Reading, Research and Blucher

This week I've been reading "The Road to Rivoli" by Martin Boycott-Brown.  The book is OOP but I got a copy last year via a bookseller dealing in ex library books.  It came at a good price and great condition, although my wife keeps wondering when I will return it to the library!

Last summer Curt ran a 100 Days Campaign using Blucher, which hot me thinking about creating a similar campaign based on the early Italian campaigns.  Of course that went no further than the "I wonder and Wikipedia" stage, and by the time this book arrived I was on to chains new squirrels.  This summer Curt is running a second Blucher campaign based on Austerlitz, with me playing the French.  This will be blogged about but I am holding my cards close to my chest.

But the new campaign got my thinking again, and that got me reading....stayed tuned but I be got far more progress this year.

Anyway I do recommend the book.  It is a bit of a slog at times, but a good read at others.  There us good background on Boney's early days with less hero worship than other sources.  There is also a ton of wargames potential here - river crossings, mountain actions, surprise attacks etc..  So far I've covered the campaigns in. Piedmont, the crossing of the Po, had grudge at Lodi, the crossing of the Mincio, setting up the Siege of Mantua and the battles of Castiliogne/Lonato.  The early campaign in the mountains is a big heavy but like the Army of Italy things really get going on the plains of Lomdardy!  Next up, the have chasing Wurmser from Bassano into Mantua and the the bridge of Arcola.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Big Lee's Epic Milestone

More shameless pimping here.  Big Lee has hit the magic 2,000,000 hit mark which is an epic achievement (or approximately 25 times the number of hit's that I have attained) .  I am not surprised because BLMA blog is a constant flow of game reports, modelling tips and great photos of real life AFVs etc.

Big Lee is having a prize draw to celebrate e the milestone.  Go check it out and throw your name in the hat, but are sure you stick around to presume what else is there.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Little Cold Wars

A belated shout out to Tim Gow over the publication of his Little Cold War rules (available as a real book or an ebook).  In keeping with my cheap and impatient nature I picked up the ethereal version on Amazon and give it a full recommendation.

The game simulates 1970s cold war actions using 54mmish toy soldiers and toy tanks.  It is played in an HG Wells manner, using match stick firing cannons and dart board anti tank fire!   It's goofy as all get out, a heck a lot of fun to play and gives a very good game. As afar as I could tell it also does a pretty reasonable job of simulating armour and infantry combat in a mid-to-late 20th century environment.  And there are good resources on unit organization, equipment and where to find the silly toys!

I play tested an early version of the game back in 2014 (see the AAR report) and am in fact the Canadian play tester referenced in the rules.  I could sorely be tempted to play this on my back lawn, if I can locate a good source of toys (lacking the car boot sales available to Mr Gow et al).  I fore see clashes in a post breakup Canada between the Cape Breton Liberation Army, Soviet Canuckistan and le Quebec Libre.  Please note that these were not invented by me but by a Nova Scotian comic, a right wing American wacko and a senile French generalissimo.

Later addition - ok I was waaay too flippant on Quebec Nationalism there, which has of course been a recurring theme in Canadian politics for 50 odd years.  I am however thinking of a French French supplied and influenced French Canadian force.  In my experience Quebecois view the idea of influence from Paris with about as much joy as they view influence from London, Ottawa or Washington.