Friday, 21 July 2017


This is the last day of the school holidays and I am gutted to say that I am still getting over a flu that started on the first day! At least now I am only hacking my lungs out, not like the first week where I couldn't get off the couch. Needless to say, all of my holiday hobby plans went right out the window. No games and a very limited amount of painting. But today was Mike's birthday, so I set up a Seven Years War game so he could come around and play. Then it turned out that he had a client who could only make it today, and so had to be at work. The fates hate me. Luckily, John finished work early and this afternoon we got five turns of the game played.

Kolin has been fought out by Jonathan Freitag several times, and can be found on his blog here. I used the exact same set up that he did, in an effort to see whether the Prussians had any chance at all. My plan was to fulfill Frederick's original intention of an oblique attack to the best of my ability - attack on the left and take Krezcor town and hill. From there, hopefully I could move onto the defensive and ride out the arrival of the Austrian reserves. Good plan, eh? Well, not so much...

The view from Frederick's position

The initial deployment. The Austrian reserves will come on from the top right of the picture. What you see is what you get for the Prussians.

The Prussians initially gain the upper hand on their left.
The lines close up.

In the end the Prussians decide to launch their right hand cavalry into the fray as well, hoping to win a knock-out blow before the Austrian reserves arrive.

The Prussians struggle to make any progress in the face of the Austrian artillery

The situation at the end of the game. The Prussian cavalry on the right have forced the Austrians into an awkward defensive position. In the centre Bevern is frustrated by the Austrian artillery battery.
On the Prussian left a space has been cleared for the Prussian Cuirassiers directly under Frederick, but the Austrians are rallying and are unlikely to be an easy nut to crack.

So, although we could have played on, it was unlikely that the Prussians were going to change history.
Honours of War are a very good ruleset, but it has been a while since I last played them. There is also quite a difference between playing solo where you can make mistakes and playing an opponent who wants everything to be how the rules say. Considering John had never played them before, he adapted very quickly, but two of us playing such a big battle with the rules the second time out was probably a  bit ambitious. I'm going to play a few smaller solo scenarios and make sure that I have the rules down-pat for the next time I play an opponent.
In terms of the Kolin scenario, I think the design has too much artillery. I've seen it mentioned before that artillery is powerful in these rules, and batteries even more so. The Austrians effectively held the centre with their two gun battery as the supporting infantry fell back around them. Charging artillery frontally can be suicidal, but is doable, but not when two guns are firing together. The same for the poor Grenz defending the foremost village. They were kicked out in the first turn by the Prussian battery. I wouldn't mind trying the scenario again with less artillery.


Friday, 30 June 2017

Who do you think...

... you are kidding Mr Hitler?
Yep, the Dad's Army figures are finished and I thought I should post them because they are some of the finest sculpts I have ever put a brush to. I often say that there are figures that just poaint themselves - once you get started everything just falls into place without difficulty. That is what happened wit hthese figures, which capture the likenesses of the cast so perfectly. Just to clarify, these are the Wargames Foundry figures as opposed to the more recent Warlord Games offerings.
Anyway, onot the figures:
'Don't Panic! Stupid Boy! They don't like it up 'em! (if you don'tunderstand this caption then you are missing out on one of the greatest TV sitcoms ever written!)

Godfrey, Walker and Fraser with some extras.

The Verger, the Vicar and the Warden.
These will be on their way to Geoff tomorrow, and for me it is onto some English Civil War figures for a bit.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Mid Year Musings

As June careens to an end, it is once more a good time for a wargames butterfly to take stock, review what has been and announce plans that have very little chance of being fulfilled and every chance of being abandoned by this time next year.

First of all, the projects line-up. In no particular order I have:
15mm Seven Years War - Austrian, Prussian and Russian.
15mm World War I (1914) - German, French, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and British
15mm World War III (Team Yankee) - Soviets and West Germans
28mm Gallic Wars - Romans and Gauls
28mm English Civil War - Royalists and Parliamentarians
28mm French and Indian Wars - British and French
28mm Star Wars - Clone Wars and Rebellion periods
28mm Marlburian - Allies and Bourbons.
28mm Peninsular War - French and British
28mm Dark Ages - Anglo-Saxons and Vikings

Alongside these are the Superheroes and the 'Song of Broken Legions' figures, plus a few DBA armies, all of which I am not really counting as major projects. In each case painting a force will take 1-2 weeks. Of the above list, the Marlburian Pikeman's Lament project is close to complete and the Star Wars collection only needs some decent rules. I'm about halfway towards completing the painting on basic 24 point forces for Gallic Wars Lion Rampant. The Seven Years War Austrians and Prussians are finished (although I'm looking at adding to the Prussians), and most of the Russians have been bought and are awaiting my birthday to be opened. Everything else is in various states of unfinished/barely begun.

The English Civil War in particular is turning into something of an obsession. The plan is to wargame this in the Grand Manner, with forty strong infantry regiments and plenty of squadrons of cavalry. The project itself is designed to have an 'old school' feel, and although I'm using Warlord Games' range of plastics, they are being coated in gloss varnish and the horses are being painted with the oil wipe technique. I have also experimented with the old school basing of using a sand-glue mixture for texture, painting them green and then drybrushing with yellow paint. But I can't make it look good, so I have reverted to using static grass and tufts. Nevertheless, it is succeeding in fulfilling its premise of being 'an army given to me by an elderly uncle whose painting techniques have not moved on from the 1970s'. That is the aesthetic that I am looking for.

Cornet and companions. The banner is completely fictitious. The two forces are destined for an imagi-nations style campaign in a fictional English county.
And from the other side it really shows off the oil wipe technique on the horses. These test figures were put together by John a while back and he forgot to put the pistol holsters on them. I'll fix that at some point.

As to rules, I considered getting the George Gush Renaissance rules, but with my penchant for keeping it simple, I am going back to Warhammer English Civil War. Figure removal, an easy system to use and plenty of dice throwing (that might not be necessary if the rules were streamlined, but doesn't actually bother me at all) as well as being familiar are all positives for me.

I've been picking up a few books to add to my collection on the ECW, and I'm developing quite a library. I've also been reading Michael Arnold's 'Stryker' series of novels for a bit of inspiration.
ECW collection so far. Any must-haves that I'm missing?
So my current priorities are going to be completing the Marlburians, the Gallic Wars, the Seven Years War and the English Civil War. Let's see if I can stick to that list.

Secondly, I started the year in a great burst of wargaming activity, spurred on by the 6 x 6 challenge. I then managed to maintain some momentum, playing out some DBA and Seven years War games, but June has seen no further progress. I did play a game, but it wasn't on my list of six games to play. Hopefully the holidays coming up will see things pick up in July.

Third - painting for others. I've finished Craig's painting and have moved on to Geoff's which is just about all done. I still need to paint some Napoleonics for John, Samurai for Dan and German grenadiers for Craig in the second half of the year, so I'll be working through these as well as my own collections.
Sitting on my painting table right now, these are the last dozen figures for Geoff, nearing completion
It will be interesting to revisit this post in December and see what has changed.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Once upon a time in Spain

I haven't managed to paint all of the figures for this yet, but I thought I'd do a little set up to see how the Marlburians in Spain would perform. This scenario sees the Allies vigorously pursuing some Bourbon troops of the Toledo Regiment, and a few of the latter, under the able leadership of the grenadier officer Luis Alejandro de Jamon-Empanada, have garrisoned a farmhouse, hoping to hold out.

The Allied commander, cavalry officer Charles Utterlea-Barking, is determined to flush them out with his polyglot force of Dutch, British and Miquelets.

Utterlea-Barking leads forward his cavalry troop, as the British Grenadiers deploy in the background.
Bird's-eye view of the layout. Toledo regiment in the buildings, most of the allies advancing along the road, Miquelets preparing to enter the orchard on the left.
Jamon-Empanada's garrison uses the walls to boost morale.
The Allied column.
The Miquelets
Close up of the defenders.
And so to the game, my first of Pikeman's Lament, and I was interested to see how it would play, having been a  fan of Lion Rampant.
The British grenadiers advanced towards the farm, only to be hit with the first salvo at short range from the Toledo regiment.

The Miquelets advance through the orchard to strike at the flank.

The initial plan was for the cavalry to circle around behind the buildings, jump the wall and attack from the rear, but it took some casualties and I also found it crippling to have my commanding officer too far away from the rest of the troops de to the +1 he affords their activation when within 12".

The grenadiers were hit with a hail of lead and failed their morale roll - admittedly they did roll a 3 on 2d6. The English line infantry moved up in their place.

Between the crossfire generated by the miquelets and the English line, the Toledo regiment began to falter.

And was forced back, wavering. The next unit moved sideways to take its place in the frontline. The Toledo grenadiers also move into position.

Activating on a double 6 the Toledo troops unleash a new 'first salvo'. This is enough to cause the English infantry to rout. Now the Dutch come forward.

They too are forced back by the Bourbon fire.

But they manage to rally and get off a volley. The British horse now stake everything on a death or glory charge into the grenadiers, who have seen off the Miquelets in the orchard.

The grenadiers survive, but only just. Meanwhile the rest of the line infantry are falling back, unable to rally.

Reduced to just himself and a number of broken troops, Jamon-Empanada surrenders. But the Allies don't look like they are in the best shape either!
So an Allied victory, but a close game. In terms of points, the Allies had 24 points to the 14 of the Bourbons, but the activation system meant that the Allied attacks went in piecemeal. The walls gave the Bourbon troops a lot of advantage - especially the Grenadiers who needed to suffer 4 hits at once in order to lose a single figure compared to the Allies in the open only needing to take 2 hits.
I refrained from charging the walls with the cavalry until the Bourbon troops were weakened, but that move still failed. In total, I think the system works well for the period, and I certainly had an enjoyable game, but the unequal points for this scenario are a must.

It will be interesting to see how the rules work for the English Civil War. Those armies won't be ready until next year, so I won't get to find out for a while, but I've been thinking about how to turn them into a large battle ruleset by grouping 2 shot and a pike unit into a regiment that activates on a single roll. Plenty of time to think about it, but it appeals to me as I've yet to find any English Civil War rules that I'm actually happy with.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Paintbrushes have been busy

The last couple of weeks have been a bit quiet on the gaming front, but I've been beavering away, painting for other people. Here are the results:
A dozen cavalry for Geoff - these are the Schomberg regiment
And another view with more of the figures in shot.
Some figures for zombie games
Foundry Swashbucklers for use in Border Reiver games
This last one is for me - the Tobolskiy Dragoons. These guys are actually made from some spare Austrian dragoons, but they are the only Dragoon regiment in my forthcoming 15mm Russian SYW army. More on that later.
 Still a dozen figures left to paint for Geoff, which I'll hopefully get finished very soon, and then a week of marking and writing reports before I go near the paints again.


Monday, 5 June 2017

More shiny experimentation

Relatively happy with my test figures for the French and Indian Wars I decided to see how some of the other units would look. This included a French soldier from the Guyenne regiment, a Black Watch Highlander and a Coureur de Bois.
 I've now decided to paint in the eyes. It livens up the faces quite considerably.
 The Coureur got a little bit of drybrushing for his hat and a wash with army painter strong tone ink (as opposed to the dip). The green on the black watch tartan is quite bright but I wanted a strong contrast with the blue.
 And another shot of the updated 43rd Regiment figures with the undergrowth on their bases and eyes.
 And just in case you thought that I had forsaken my black undercoat and traded in my 3 layer technique, here are the latest figures that I've painted for Geoff, some Mutton Chop British infantry from the opening of the Great War.
The shiny toy soldiers are only going to be for the French and Indian War and the English Civil War projects. I haven't retired the matt varnish permanently.

Currently I'm still painting for Geoff, and for my own collection I will leave the experiment until later and return to completing the 28mm Marlburian project.


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Taking a shine to my painting.

I love the Old School look of shiny toy soldiers finished in glossy varnish. Something about them reminds me that playing toy soldiers can be fun, not just an endless pursuit in painting like a full-time professional. But I haven't painted any glossy toys since I was a teenager and Humbrol French blue only came in gloss to coat my plastic Esci and Airfix models with.
It also doesn't help that modern figures have so much detail I almost feel compelled to paint with at least 3 layers of colour. And I also don't have a lot of experience painting in this style. Can I make it work?
It was with some trepidation then, that I took a break from painting Geoff's latest batch of figures and made the decision to go 'old school' on one of my projects. The chosen victims were the French and Indian Wars figures. Nice bright reds, whites, blues and greens to sit in a single block coat beneath their shiny exterior. The results are as follows:

'I say old chap, I can't see anything.'  'That's because no-one painted your eyes old man.'  
And from the back
The 43rd Regiment are my chosen British infantry unit for the French and Indian War, and here they are with all of their lace intact on their uniform. They started with a white undercoat - not a technique I have ever used very much at all. I considered googly eyes, but decided against it, in favour of giving the flesh areas a wash, and a highlight on cheeks and nose. The only other places that got more than a single layer were the hat with some German Grey, and the haversack with a beige brown drybrush. The red was given an army painter red ink wash.

These figures were relatively quick to paint, and I'm happy with the final result. My biggest concern was that I would feel somehow unfulfilled by not doing multiple layers of shading and a matt finish - almost like I was wasting the figures' potential, but now that they are done, I'm rather pleased. I'm also thinking that my 28mm English Civil War project might be done in the same way.

The only thing that I'm not 100 percent sure about is the bases. Should I have done these  just plain green? The problem is that I've already prepped the bases for the whole French and Indian Wars project, so it would require an awful amount of rebasing. I've noticed that Stuart Asquith has used realistic basing on his American War of Independence figures and they work well. Maybe I need to glue on a few more stones? What do you think gentle reader?


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Inderstadt - the battle (a long post)

'My dearest Wilhelmine
Forgive this rushed note, it is coming from you from my camp bed. We have won a great victory at Inderstadt. Marschall von Schilcher is my prisoner and many colours and guns have been taken. I received a wound and am in some pain, although the surgeon assures me that I shall make a full recovery. I have not the energy to write more now, but shall inform you of more soon.

Somehow I found the time this Sunday to play out the whole game, and what a stoush it was. The battle began in a morning fog. Let's get straight into the action...
In the early morning mist the Prussians advanced. Visibility was reduced to medium (12cm), so this movement could not be responded to by the Austrians. It also meant that the Prussian guns could not fire in support.

On the plain the Cuirassier Brigade moved forward... be discovered by the enemy Cuirassiers. (the dice on the hill is the fog turn counter - it will last for three turns)

The Infantry column slowly snakes down from the Katzen heights. The Austrian Dragoon brigade on this side is not allowed to move until the stream has been cleared.

Cavalry battle in the mist! The Cuirassiers clash.

The Prussian centre moves up to the Austrians - 'wait until you see the whites of their eyes!' The grenadiers move up on the left.

The results of the cavalry melee - Prussians successful on either flank, Austrians in the centre.

The Prussian line erupts with close range musketry. The Hungarian brigade recoils.

The Prussians press their attack against the Austrian Cuirassiers.

The sun bursts through from behind the Prussians. On the right the Austrian artillery pushes the Rohr fusiliers back.

The Prussian reserve Brigade comes on.

On the Prussian right the Austrians are making hard work of clearing the stream.

The Cuirassiers on both sides are just about spent forces.

The Prussians continue their relentless advance onto the Katzen heights.

And the light infantry battle rages on the right. Poor command rolls by the Austrian commander are the main reason for the slow progress.

The Austrians are forced back to the top of the Katzen as the Prussian Garde appears from the reserve 
The last unstaggered Austrians Cuirassiers are charged in the flank and sent reeling.

The Prussian lights are doing a sterling job. The same cannot be said for the Austrians, many of whom are still in march column wondering what the hold up is.

The reserve battalions deploy into the battle and send the grenzers packing.

The Austrian artillery continues to dominate the centre.

Slowly the Austrians begin to deploy into battle order. But right in front of the artillery?
Looking down the valley of the Silberbach in the middle of the battle.

The Prussian garde charges one of the Austrian guns in the flank, the other is taken out by a combination of artillery and infantry fire.

The Austrian column is thrown into chaos by the Prussian defence.

The struggle on the Katzen continues, the Prussians gaining the upper hand.
What happens when you put a regiment in front of guns and leave it there? The price of poor generalship!

Both sides are starting to look the worse for wear on the Katzen, but it seems that the Austrians have the worst of it.

Finally an Austrian unit crosses the Silberbach and drives the Freikorps from the woods on the extreme eastern flank.

And another Freikorps unit is driven from the vineyards.

General down! In the thick of battle von Pritzwalk is rallying his men, only to be hit by a stray musket ball. Can the Prussians win without their inspirational general?

The Austrian grenadiers refuse to die.

In thewest, largely forgotten about, the Hussars face off and the Austrians soon feel the tide turn against them.

Counterbattery fire destroys the Prussian artillery on the right flank - the Austrian dragoons begin to move.

Austrians finally destroy the Prussian right. The dragoons begin to cross the stream.

Only one Austrian grenadier unit remains on the Katzen heights.

The Prussian Hussars storm forward with the objective of turning east onto the heights.

A new Prussian line begins to form facing east, mostly composed of staggered units.

While the Austrians celebrate capturing the Chateau Inderstadt

Marscahll von Schilcher is surrounded, and hands over his sword.

Oh dear! He may be injured, but his subordinates have followed Pritzwalk's plan to the letter! The Prussian dragoons arrive from the east and immediately charge the Austrian units in the vicinity.

The results for the Austrians are catastrophic!

Meanwhile the Ausrian dragoon Brigade is trying to sweep around and capture the Burlan hill, where the Prussians have their main battery.

The Prussian Hussar general has to take control of the Prussian forces on the Katzen and begins to reorganise them to advance to the east.

The Austrian dragoons struggle to get within charge range of the Prussian guns.

The von Moltke regiment stands like a stonewall before the Prussian dragoons.

The Austrian death ride! Can they snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with one incredible moment of bravery?

With the dragoons a spent force and the Austrians now effectively surrounded, the white flags come out. A Prussian victory!
What an epic that was! Both sides suffered heavily, but the Austrian grenadiers were particularly fierce. The Freikorps deserve a special mention for their resolute defence of the right wing, while the Austrian general in charge of the infantry column should probably be cashiered.
The two sides were dead even numbers wise, with the Austrian lights being superior to their opposite numbers, but this was more than made up for by the +1 dice roll modifier Prussian musketeers and grenadiers get. The big bonus that the Prussians got was their number of above average generals who gave them the necessary impetus at just the right times, proving that the the command system does what I want it to do.
The rules do just what I want them to. No side is superhuman, games play quickly with realistic results, and I'm never left thinking 'that wouldn't have happened'. The morale works well, although I'm thinking that maybe staggered units should be able to combine with other staggered units to form ad hoc groups if they are under the direct control of a general in base to base contact. That would have allowed the Cuirassiers to last a bit longer and have a bit more influence, as well as seeing the grenadiers on the Katzen able to carry out some charges.

I still have one Seven Years War game left to play for the 6 x 6 challenge, but I might save it until later in the year I think.