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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Kardstadt am Eder

Followers of this blog might note that when it comes to obtaining wargaming toys and accessories, my attitude can be best described as cheap and impatient.   Having looked over my terrain and buildings,  I decided that I needed buildings that would be appropriate for my SYW Kleine Kreig project.  A quick flip through tourism guides and photos on the web showed me that the period architecture of Western Germany looked a lot like those beautiful model railway buildings sold by Faller et al.  However a mass mail order of plastic kits wasn't going to meet my budget or attention span.

A better option would be home scratch builds.  I consider myself reasonably proficient with foam core, artist board and scrap cardboard and feel that I can turn out a workman-like final product.  Unlike some members of the fraternity I quite enjoy this type of modelling project.  I will likely turn to this option down the road.  I find that January and February are good times for building construction - a good project when the budget is tight, the nights are freezing and Christmas packaging is a ready source of materials. 

But in the interim cheap and fast gave me a clarion call in the form of emails from Wargames Vault about free samples of Dave Graffam card model kits and deep discounts on Graffam kits.  So off I went.

A completed model of the freebie hovel in the foreground and a work in progress Carriage house in the background.
What you get  are a set of PDF files that you can print out and assemble as buidlings.   The hovel and carriage house above were two of the freebis.  FOr the hovel I rpinted the templates on regular paper and glued them to a cut up cereal box (Gluten Free Chocolate Chex)  with the spray adhesive visible in the background.   I believe that the section of the Leader Post that I used has an article on Canadian Literary icon Margaret Attwood, who is a second or similar cousin on my mother's side.  My maternal grandmother had a regular correspondence with "Peggy" right up to her death at 99 and received signed copies of all of Atwood's works.

Same buildings, different angle.  Note the flaps on the carriage house to attach the roofs.
Given the small size of the model and the stiffness of the cereal box, the hovel is quite sturdy and set to be used on table.  I glued the carriage house onto light card stock, which is less rigid.  Combined with the bigger size, this one will need more support.  I figure on using foam core inside the walls to give it some bulk.  We have a good supply of slightly used foam core thanks to my wife's time as a Brownie and Guide leader.

From another angle.
The carriage house comes with two roof pieces and an optional dormer winder which I will mount in the white rectangle visible above.  This kit is a marvel of options.  It is a layered PDF file that let's you pick wall types (brick, stone or wood), roof options, window and door positions, weathering (see the cracks in the shot above) etc.  You can reuse the same kit many times and get different results on each one. 
A different arrangement of walls, windows and doors on the carriage house

So far I am having fun and am pleased on the results.  More posts to follow.

The finished hovel looks suitable to house Hansel and Gretel.

Close up of the Carriage House.  You can see the need for internal support.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fischer's Chasseurs

Another iconic unit from the Kleine Krieg, this time for the French Army.  Fischer's Chasseurs were formed for the War of Austrian Succession by Johann Fischer, a German officer who distinguished himself at the Siege of Prague.  By the Seven Years War it included mounted and dismounted chasseurs.  They were one of the best light units in the SYW and served in an awful lot of Kleine Krieg actions.  Late in the SYW , the unit was given to the Duke of Conflates with Fischer continuing as second in command until his death in 1762.

This unit represents 6 dismounted chasers plus an officer.  There were supposed to be 2 groups of 6 plus officers, but it turns out that I can't add.  I ended up with 2 officers and 6 other ranks instead of 12.  Oh well, that will be rectified eventually.   To avoid postal gouging I ordered these to be delivered to my dad when I was visiting the Uk in May.  They were painted up on my return in June and took part in our first SP2 action (albeit with plain bases).  Since then I have added texture and fluff to the bases.

The figures are from From Rank, and these are the first Front Rankers that I've painted.  I have to say that I was impressed with the figures and I will likely get more.  I expect to remain a mainly Perry man for a variety of reasons, but it's nice to have a variety.  In this case I went with Front Rank as there aren't many options for a light infantry figure in a mirliton.