Sunday, 28 August 2022

Epic beginnings

The Prussians showed up on Tuesday, and after a couple of evenings of snipping sprues I have them all based up. A few of the strips were wobbly in their bases, and a couple were completely loose, so I've dabbed those with a tiny bit of superglue to keep them in place.

Last night I decided to paint a trial unit, and was pretty happy with how they turned out.

In column
In line
These guys are the first battalion of the 18th Line that fought at Plancenoit. Sometimes they are depicted with pink facings and this would fit with the old pre-1807 18th line, but this battalion was drawn from a reserve East Prussian unit, and the likelihood is that they would have had red facings. The legend is that they threw away their stocks while marching towards Ligny which is why they were given pink collars afterwards, and this would seem to indicate that they weren't pink at the time. The regiment has no known flag that I could find, so I used the flag of the 8th, as it is black and white and stereotypically Prussian.

What I love about the Epic range is that this is a unit of eighty figures! They feel and look more like a battlaion than 16 men on four bases. And they were still able to be completed in one evenings' worth of panting. 

Pendraken 10mm, Warlord Epic Battles, Venexia 15mm

When it comes to the size of the figures, they are much closer to 15mm than 10mm, as you can see from the comparison above. In fact, some of the 15mm figures produced in the 70s and 80s would probably be about the same size as the Epic figures.

The French and British are on their way, it takes around 3 weeks for stuff to arrive from the UK at the moment. I am still unsure as to what rules to use. I've used Black Powder before, most recently with the American Civil War, but I remain unconvinced for Napoleonics. The representation of skirmishers is always the biggest issue I have with Napoleonic rules, and Black Powder is no exception to this. Alternative options are Lasalle, Bataille Empire, Shadows of the Eagle and Drums and Shakos Large Battles, but I don't know if any of them are going to suit me better than Black Powder - especially when I plan to play a lot of solo games.

Earlier in the week I also painted another 3 figures for Marvel Crisis Protocol:


She Hulk


A few powerhouses in there. Also, today I saw the first full shots of the upcoming Sentinels for MCP. They will definitely be my next purchase for the game!

Next week I hope to have another Epic unit completed, and I also have Rogue, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver on the painting tray.


Sunday, 21 August 2022

A bit of painting and the Epic saga

 This week I had some Star Wars legion figures to finish for Craig, but I did manage to get some test figures painted for the English Civil War project.

As voted for by you, the readers, they are painted in a three tone shaded style. The pikes are not the plastic ones that the figures cam with, but wire spears from North Star. A bit short, but much more robust.

At the same time I thought I'd do a test paint on my 1914/15 German and Russian WWI figures. This is an expansion of my initial Trench Hammer armies so that I could have some cavalry take part in the battles. Like the other WWI, these are in a glossy, traditional toy soldier style.

And I painted the Hulk for Marvel Crisis Protocol. 

After my last post about the Napoleonic Epics plan, I have had a week of difficulty actually ordering them. The French are unavailable in NZ and shipping from the UK proved prohibitive. Even with the cheaper shelf price, 80-90 pounds for shipping was getting ridiculous. Eventually Dave from Caliver Books came to the rescue, and so I have the French and British starter sets on their way from the UK, minus the buildings, the boxes and a rulebook, to reduce weight and allow them to be sent Royal Mail. Thanks Dave.

The Prussians, which were not going to be part of the initial plan were available from Game Centre in Hamilton for $165 NZD. I couldn't resist, and now the Prussians are also on their way.

With the core sets now purchased, I'm thinking about my strategy when they arrive. At first I thought I might keep them on the sprue for undercoating and painting, but then there would be no playing with them for a few years! So my new plan is to assemble them and play games with them in their original blue, red and black states, painting up a unit at a time. It might seem more like board gaming for a while, but so be it.


Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Napoleonics - a love letter

I've been thinking a lot lately about the wargames that I have most enjoyed in my 35 odd years of 'proper' wargaming (using rules and dice and stuff). And the ones that constantly pop up in a cloud of nostalgia are those with small figures in set formations. My solo Crimean game fighting over the Ford on the Bugaroff  and the ACW Chickatachee campaign are two of those from recent years. Going back a little ways we had the Frankenberg campaigns. And there was also a series of French Revolution solo games that I can't seem to find anywhere. And then there are the Napoleonic games, going all the way back to pushing around Airfix and Esci figures on green cardboard bases as a 12 year old. One battle I always remember is using a British brigade to hold off a French Division during a campaign set in New Zealand. It was fought at (tabletop) Karapiro and was an epic defence that I remember every time I drive past that area.

I may have started off with WWII toy soldiers, and used them as WWI toy soldiers, but discovering Napoleonics was the big wargaming moment for me - the point of no return where playing with little men was going to be my hobby for life. At the same time as starting gaming with them I delved into the world of Napoleonic history, devouring everything within reach. Napoleon became an object of fascination for me. I kept a history of his life beside my bed, alongside Charles Grant's Napoleonic Wargaming (both of which I picked up in a second hand book store) and delved into them frequently. I wrote and rewrote rules for me and my friends to play, and I was ALWAYS the French. The childhood admiration for Boney would fade somewhat, but certainly not my love of the period. When I went to Europe for the first time, Waterloo was a non-negotiable battlefield tour, much to my wife's discomfort - it was December and it was windy. But I stayed up that Lion mound for a long time, imagining the fields filled with men, horses and smoke.

I have tried multiple times to build Napoleonic armies in 15mm, 28mm and 6mm, and they have all failed. I just couldn't work out exactly what I wanted to do. What rules to use? Big battle or divisional or skirmish level? Early wars or later wars? Peninsular or Europe? The choices discombobulated me every time. Which is why the release of the Black Powder Epic Battles has nagged at me. Divisional level, linear battalion, small scale British, French and Prussian armies. It should be a no-brainer. But I have failed to build these armies so many times as my attention wanders, or I get sick of painting the British (the lace on their coats does my head in). Yet, my 12 year old self wants to do this. It is screaming at me that this is what I have always wanted.

The French Army - I can do this!

So on Napoleon's birthday (well for a couple more hours - we are a day ahead on this side of the world), I have come to the conclusion that the time has come to take the plunge and buy the British and French starter sets.  I will chart my painting progress here. Wish me luck. Help keep me on track. Give me encouragement. Let's see if I can finally do this.