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...

...to 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.