Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Vice's of My Father.

Well for the time being at any rate just the one vice. My Dad was simply fantastic with his hands, he made all sorts from either wood or metal. If it was for someone else it would always be made with great care and extra time was put in to make it look really nice beyond what it would need. However if it was for his own use, especially if it was a tool, function and nothing else was considered.
Now I have wanted to get my hands on my Dad's old miniature vice for a few years, originally for a stunt at a games convention, but more recently for something like the purpose it was made for!
Good old vice.
My Dad cast the body out of aluminium, even making the moulds himself. The jaws are steel plates screwed into the body. The only parts that he bought are the nuts and bolts holding the body to the wooden base, the nut you can see and the screw that closes the jaws. It's been lost amongst a load of scrap for the past seven years since Dad got ill. Even so the action is incredibley smooth and precise. I can see lots of uses for this old girl and I will think of my Dad when ever I use her. The only surprise I think is the lack of a name plate on the bugger. I must post something on the beam engine he also built from scratch.
15mm figure for scale.
I added a shot with a 15mm test figure for scale, as you can see it's not dinky. It also ways enough to keep most projects in place, the idea was the larger projects he would go out to the shed er workshop, sorry Dad just could not resist one last poke ;-) Here he had a large vice built into the bench. That's still there so if I was insane enough to need it I could go over and use that on.

Convincing other dice it's time to roll what I WANT!
I was going to charge a few quid to crush players naughty dice with the money going to charity but at the time we could not find it and assumed it had gone with the rest of his tools after he had died. Ever since when I thought about it I was a little sad, but obviously we have a happy ending.

So if you have a problem with bad dice in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call?


Thursday, 29 November 2012

16 Regiments of Those Boys In Blue

Before posting out the eight regiments I sold on -bay I was able to finish up the other eight for a group shot. I think the second lot in fact are better that the first lot and my confidence with the flags has grown to a point I was really comfortable and dare I say it enjoyed the process.

That's 384 figures painted in two long painting sessions plus basing time that is done over a couple of days. All in all a rather fast output. Napoleonic's take a fair bit longer as they are more involved put then again I like the result more so it's worth the extra time. At least now I know I could paint up a ACW force if required to do so.

Well that's the lot till next year. The proceeds from the two e-bay sales are being put to the kids Christmas presents so I got a bit extra buzz from painting them up. The last two brigades are on e-bay as I type and I expect them to go again as both have a fair few watchers.
Here is the third group of four units again showing the front and back of the uniforms. These are easy to do as I only had the one strap to paint and that was the water canteen.
Number four all with colours flying. I hope these get some play from who ever buys them, I wonder if they will keep them bases as I have done them or change to their own style?
Here is a close up of one of the fourth divisions units. Shame the sun bleaches the figures a bit but you get the idea. Again this is the system that Dr Mike uses with more detail added which adds more time to the whole process but is well worth it in my mind.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

And Now Something A Little Bit Bigger

Ok, OK, I know I have been blathering about 6mm rather a lot recently and have promised something a tad larger. Well for the long suffering amongst you here is a taster post. I have had various bits and bobs for this project for some time but was lacking the figures and the guts till now. This is the first two of the Deluxe Sniper Reminders that will have a lot more detail on them. My task was to reproduce the Journal Eight cover, see image below. First up the nearest figure I could find was not carrying a carbine, instead he has a BAR, not much difference thee then!
I am only putting the one figure on the base as it would start to look crowded, beside I don't think anyone does a figure to match the image and that would be important. So as to give a full 3D effect I want to do the corner of the building with the actual figure towards the edge of the base. This means  will also be including some interior work as well. This is going to be a bit of a large job really but a fun challenge.

The picture above is the majority of the bits for the project. I have the American for the cover, the German for a second base, Linka Moulds that will make up the pavement and even though the scale is wrong it will also be used for the chipped walls. Windows from Warbases. I have a thin sheet of balsa for the floorboards and other structures. Chippings for the road and other effects. The barbed wire is more for another project so unlikely to be used.  I am really looking forward to this and will work on the base before the figure. Though the figure needs removing from his base and pinning ready to be stuck to the base. I will drill the holes but not pin till after finishing painting the figures up.
The German base I hope will be far more adventurous, I know what I want to do but not sure I have the skill to do it and do it well enough to get over to America as it's for a mate Stateside.
I will post work in progress shots so you can see how it is coming along real time. Expect lots of swearing and a little bit of humour, hoping for the other way round but I'm realistic.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

French Horse Artillery 6mm Baccus

I started painting these up at the same time as the last batch of Neapolitan Infantry. I in fact had started to convert some to foot artillery by removing two horses from the front but on reflection I really have no real need for foot artillery limbers under my rules as they move at the same speed as the infantry with or without limbers. The idea is that they do limber up but can unlimber and still maintain position with the infantry. Given they can't fire if they move a need for limbers is less apparent and tend to get in the way. Horse Artillery are different as they can move further and have more space to deploy and have limited more and fire possibilities.

I got the guns and limbers painted up quite quickly. The horses were done with the lancers recently shown, just the harness and crews needed painting. This is how they sat for a few weeks as I was busy painting away at all the other bits and bobs. Finally towards the end of last week I picked them up and finished them is a session. Nothing really was in the way of painting them other than just getting around to it. I always seemed to want to finish something else or needed to get another done start to finish. That's dangerous as they can find their way to the back of the line and never getting done. Not this time and I enjoyed doing it, good job as I have to do plenty more before the army is finished. Excluding guns it's about £1 a base for limbers. Not really much but for some reason these seem to get left out. Look at the army packs you buy, no limbers just the four guns.
I still have a pile of 6mm to paint but it paints up rather fast so results are quick, something that helps the figure painter no end. Another set of figures that landed on the desk but have taken an age to get on with is the fourth pike block. These fellows have taken 4 sessions to paint the flesh of and no good reason other than I tended to drift off to another project. Finally I am happy to say that I am making good progress and expect high speed results, well up to the painting of the shields then it will slow down as I recon that stage alone is two to three long sessions to get done. Still four blocks with the Macedonian star looking right back at you should look great. Especially as two of the blocks re the large 48 figure type. All four blocks are Magister Militum with two blocks also having Essex command figures. Quite a few of the Magister had their pikes broken off (Martin's figures) so I have drilled out ready for new pikes being added. My next big job after that is cleaning up figures ready for the next big push.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Purple Heart Draw Campaign Continued.

Well I kept up the pressure in the west whilst in the east I quickly took control of the whole village and the bocage almost all the way to the draw itself. Problem was that once I got to the draw I had nowhere else to get. This is the problem with attacking the draw itself it is hard to get beyond and easy for the Germans to control. This is the main reason I went for broke against the eight hex wide passage round the draw.
This area was the only part of the map north of the draw the German's contested. A HMG on the opposite hill in a stone house was causing me plenty of problems and a 75L ATG took out a Sherman (M4) and the German mortar OBA was causing units to break  near the draw. I brought in my own mortar based OBA which at least made the German HMG go downstairs for the extra cover on another level above their heads which removed the threat of the HMG.
I took the opportunity to assault the last house on the contested hill were I broke the defenders but they escaped off the hill. I followed and managed to get troops into the woods next to the draw. This was further forward than I had hoped to get and we still had plenty of time left in the campaign date to grab more. The only fly in the ointment was the lack of German dead.
In the last two turns things really heated up as I finally ran into a minefield getting a half squad broken. I tried to make right the lack of German casualties by a strong attack on a German stone building in the centre of the German defence. This was at the same time as a berserk squad charged the Germans in the woods holding the right hand side of the exit from the draw.
Both these attacks failed, one costing a couple of units broken but alive and the berserk squad killed in close combat. Worse still my hold on the woods was lost and with it a chance to turn the defence. This could have far reaching results if I fail to retake this area early in the next stage of the campaign.
At this point a die was thrown for ending the scenario a one needed to end. I rolled higher so had the option to continue or offer to end the game. Martin had already said he would be happy to end early and normally I would have wanted to keep going but it was obvious I had ran out of steam and could lose more troops and ground if we continued. Martin surprised me by not wanting to go on and I think it was an error of his not to try and take more land back.  Next date will see a lot more close fighting and his HMG and ATG will have a far smaller contribution in the upcoming date than this date. This will put me in a far better position and as the Germans have got to defend the area we are drawn up in it should see plenty of Germans being killed something Martin can not afford to allow but at the same time I have captured so much ground than he has to defend the ground now contested.
 The area of the counter attack. The white outline of a tank is the wrecked M4. The grey square above the blue ? counter is the stone building I tried to take. Martin withdrew the troops at the start of the refit phase and it looks like he is giving it up. He could though have placed mines in the hex as a little surprise. Fortunately I can search for them if I wish. This area is so tight to move it's the perfect place to mix in mines, bunkers, trenches and MG nests. I have the troops and weapons to deal with such tactics but it would not change the slow progress such moves will make. However such defences only really work if you have men covering it and that's just what I am hoping for.
The whole area of action. I have cleared the village to the rear. Martin did the right thing by not defending it. Doing so would have cost him all te troops he had placed there and these are expensive to replace. So far all I have come against are the besht elements of the 5th Regiment, Fallshirmjager, it's possible I could face their 2nd line elements but so far it's been the cream of the crop. I think the mid morning turn (next) could be crucial to how the campaign plays out. I have a few tricks in mind and Martin is no slouch. Plenty more play in this campaign.
Her we have the full map, I need to control the rear most paved road (grey) running in the diagonal slash. Four more dates to achieve this which is still a very long way. I need to break the defence line and then get units into the slightly darker brown area (height levels are higher the darker the brown). A good day will see me as far forward as the dark green lines two to three hexes back in this area. This threatens the flank and rear of any troops holding the forward positions and also forces the German to hold a long line which they don't have te troops to hold and could force them to waste purchase points on an attack to try and get to go first. A bad day and I will be fighting against a second line of defenders just three or four hexes forward which is very possible. I also have the option to attack on the right through the draw. I doubt Martin has reinforced the fortifications as I expect him to throw all he has in that respect against the eight hex front. In fact I would love him to reinforce the draw at the cost of the point of contact.

A Question Of Scale

OK you by some figures from X supplier to fit in your army. The main reason for doing this often is that you have a lot of that troop type and want variety of pose. You paint them up, base as always in your trusted method  and only on incorporating them in your other units do you notice the new guys are dwarfs or giants. Often it is only a mm or two but it's noticeable and that tends to be a problem. Why given the fact that we as people are of different heights but I too feel they do not look right. Scale creep has also had a major effect. Look at the old 25mm which is now 28mm and in so many cases that is tongue in cheek given they are even taller! Old armies have problems with now having the choice of old castings or limited suppliers, after all for 28mm we are talking over 10% size increase!
That's as maybe but the worst culprit is in my mind the laughable 6mm scale. In the good bad old days we had three choices. Irregular, Heroics and Ross and Adler. Two factors at the time swayed my choice at the time of building my Prussian Naps army, price and availability. At the time the Irregular casts were quite crisp as the moulds were new. Heroics did not factor at the time for some reason and Adler was the Rolls Royce of them all. Two problems with Adler was their size, no way were they 6mm and as such seemed wrong but the deciding factor was just how much they cost above Irregular.
Availability went further than just the figures, I at the time had no inclination to paint such a small scale and besides I wanted my army now (well in six weeks). I could get a whole corp painted by Red Triangle Painting Service for the same price of the same number of Adler figure unpainted. Any extra regiments I would paint up copying the bought figures (well that was the plan). Fast forward about 5-10 years and I have bought some Heroics and Ross Prussians but not any castings and our French player has moved away, far away. So I buy a French army from Irregular, the castings are not bad but they are not good either. I paint up about 10 regiments of infantry and start the cavalry and some guns, crews and limbers. First up I paint in my style as I just can't come to grips with the other style. Secondly the infantry was fun, the horse was a pain in the butt and I stalled. Prussians V Russians was the only dish on the menu and then I went into hibernation.
Fast forward about 20 years and it's all changed. Irregular are still the cheapest in town but boy are they ugly and for two reasons. The moulds are old and worn but most of all things have moved on. Baccus have arrived and have almost flash free castings and Adler pricing is close to that of Baccus. Irregular are still the cheapest on the block but they are not an option. After working through most of the Irregular even the cavalry I went on to Baccus and they have been the constant since then. However at Donnington I picked up my first Adler (sorry Matt you was right all those years ago but I was not ready then). But here is the perfect example of three different companies doing the same thing, differently. I believe Baccus purposely went between the two competitors to have the chance of picking up sales from both companies customers.
Adler, Baccus and Irregular.
I should have included a Prussian Ulan regiment for the full comparison but never thought to, which kind of sums up H&R for me. This is strange as I actually like the figures, I just don't think about them.
It would be fair to say that you could be forgiven in thinking the figures come from different scales but no all three without a sign of shame call their figures 6mm. Detail increases with an increase in the size of the figure and bear in mind that for the most part so as the standard of sculpting so it's a bit unfair to compare quality of figure across all three.
One clear fact is that I can not, long term keep my Irregular figures now that I have started to add the Adler castings to my army. Even the Baccus cavalry will long term probably be moved on as the Adler dwarf them and I am afraid to say look so much nicer. I will though wait for the new Baccus French for a final word. It's not that the Baccus are bad, far from it. The worst thing is that Baccus ride ponies and Adler have horses. I was not 100% happy with Baccus nags anyway, Adler give me the choice I was needing.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Neapolitan Infantry All Finished.

I painted up the last three Regiments at the same time which obviously speeds up the process. I am really happy with the end result as all three look great together. Whilst the Neapolitan army had more than the five regiments I show here I am not painting up the whole army, just enough for the number that served in the Iberia. However I have yet to check if any served in Russia (I don't think they did) and if so I could end up painting up some more. I still have to paint up a cavalry regiment or two at some point.
Here we have Line Infantry Regiment Principe Real or the 3rd Line Regiment. Not the best of pictures now I have uploaded it but pressing on....
 Line Infantry Regiment Real Sannita or the 4th Line Regiment. Whilst the yellow of the 3rd does not stand out so well the orange of the 4th makes itself known.
Finally Line Regiment Real Calabria or obviously 4th Line Regiment. I have taken a bit of a liberty here in making the blue lighter than in actual life as I thought it would look a bit better. I hope I don't go to painters hell for that!
The Neapolitans had a total of twelve line regiments, four light regiments and eight regiments of cavalry, though these did not all exist at the same time as one only lasted a year whilst one was formed post the majority being disbanded. They also had foot and horse artillery as well as coastal artillery and sappers but I at the moment have no details of these.
All three regiments side by side. I did enjoy painting these up and look forward to them being fielded with the French for a nice mix of colours. Of course once they get into a game I will soon see them suffer if I try going nose to nose with either the British or Portuguese. Best I can hope for is picking a fight with some Spanish or using them as a reserve to be brought into action against already weakened allied troops.
Here we go all five regiments showing off a nice mix of colours. I have the OOB of the French army in 1808 for Spain and it lists just the three regiments so some will see even more limited action, not that I expect to use them a great deal. The army list was a real eye opener as I have only a proportion of the regiments that are listed. I spent an afternoon last week writing regiments details to the bottom of the bases and writing up a spread sheet of regiments that I still need to paint up. I have two complete corp of required troops painted and a fair amount of the line infantry and cavalry for some of the other corps but as much of the infantry are Irregular I intend to sell these on and replace with a mix of the new Baccus French infantry (when released) and Adler so I can have a mixed look about them. As for the cavalry I will be buying just Adler from this point on unless the Bacus mounts are changed (see a following post on this in the next day or three).
I certainly have a much bigger project than I originally saw. This is not an issue as I was planning on expanding for the Russian campaign, using what I could for both projects as a line regiment is  line regiment for the most case. The cavalry are a slightly different matter as the uniform colours can name a good number of regiments so in his case I will ed up creating all needed. It's not a problem as I will continue to add to the collection as time goes buy. I still intend to also start the Austrian army at some point next year.
As for other allied contingents I have most of the foreign elements covered as they tended to wear French style uniforms and I still have I think 17 regiments of foot of the current style Baccus (as shown above). This and the cavalry I already own I hope to get painted up over the next tree months along with a lot of the 15mm ancients I have in my to do box as well as get the Numidian army finished. With all that in place I hope to get started on the Romans by March so I can go to Triples with the intent of expanding the army with the cash from my birthday. The Persian, Macedonian and Seleucid armies are so close to being countered as finished regarding buying troops I can hope to concentrate on the Romans. I really must do a post on the lead mountain at some point, if only to get fixed in my mind what I have yet to do.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

6mm Baccus ACW and on E-Bay too.

I painted up eight bases of Baccus Union infantry with the aim of putting them on e-bay. I am not a fan of ACW but really liked the way I was taught to paint them back at the Baccus games day. I have added a few stages into the process to make them a better finished model and though it adds to the painting time is well worth the extra effort.

I never had any intention of holding onto them and put them on E-bay last Friday but fumbled the location and instead of putting under table Top I placed them in Toy Soldiers so have edited the listing. I am selling them as 4 base's of 24 so have two auctions on the go. The link to one of them is here.
This is the first brigade, I had fun working on the flags to give the look of wind blowing them and each stand has a different look to make it more pleasant on the eye.
Both brigades are basically the same but with a little bit of mixing the colours of the felt hats you do get slight differences not that I think you notice unless pointed out.

I used Baccus flags as I usually do and sorting out 16 flags all at the same time improved my skill in this which should be noticeable in the next lot I will be flagging tomorrow. That's right I have painted up another 8 units so just a shade under 400 figures for a period I do not tend to play. It was fun to do though. I really like the nut brown ink method of washing the figures as a final pre basing stage.
I know I said I would have something other than 6mm to show but I am afraid the next couple of posts will still be 6mm but I am working on THAT pike block which I hope to get finished before the end of next week.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Well That Was Wierd

OK yesterday I was notified that some unusual activity was happening on my blog, I just assumed someone was actually reading it! I then was required to send a phone number for Google to contact me to resolve. The idea being I am given a code to enter and all would be well. Code arrived by text and I entered the number (twice in fact) and all was well with the world for a couple of hours. Then puff and both blogs were gone.
I sent a query to Blogger but by then it was late and until just now I have been off line so anyone trying to get on the blog have received a notice stating my blog has been removed. Glad to say it's all sorted and I have to admit I was starting to have a bit of a worry the longer it went on. On the positive side I have got loads of painting done today whilst waiting for this to sort out. Maybe a follow on post later today. But maybe I will just catch up on the blogs I have really missed.
Thanks to all those who contacted me to let me know about this and sorry to all those who now have to live with the fact I am still out there LOL.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

What do you know I get an Award.

This award is flying around the hobby at the moment and I would be lyiing if I said I was not rather pleased to be giving it. Not so much the award itself but the recognition from those that gave it as I hold them and their blogs in high esteem. So many thanks to The Painting Diary, Fog's Soldiers, and Painting Diary and if anyone else has nominated me but I have not spotted you sorry and please let me know.
Now I will follow the spirit of the award by giving the award to five of my favourite blogs. I am though ignoring some of the rules by ignoring the follower count. I could have picked twenty or more as we have such a great bunch to choose from. I am also ignoring the fact that one or more have already received the award from others. So in no particular order we have
Another Diversion, not the most updated of blogs recently as Andy has a lot of real life to deal with at the moment but his was the first one I thought of when I needed to come up with a list. I got the idea of wargaming neautral from his site and I have to chuckle at his constant going off on another project tangent.
Yockbo's Boardgame Blog, again this is more of a fringe blog compared to a lot of the ones I follow and does not update at he fast pace some of us do but everything he writes is of interest for me. I started following for his ASL posts but now follow for all the other games, he really plays a wide cross section of strategy games.
Sgt. Steiners, is a great blog, mostly boardgames again but also figures. Another of those that I try and read every time he posts.
Anne's Attic,  Anne started painting recently and shows such talent it's hard not to Cheer her on, or be a little envious of her leaping up the skill table. Originally her blog was nothing to do with this hobby of ours but it has corrupted it to a great extent. Anne is a natural artiest as shown by her skills with lens, drums and attitude. Plus I had to give Anne the award as I am a little bit scarred of her.
Paul's Bods, Paul paints a great deal across so many different periods and subjects. He can scratch build the most interesting of items and even lets you in on the secrets of how he did it. This blog has so much to offer and keep you interested. What makes all this so much more interesting is that he does all this work in 20mm and every time I paint a 20mm fig I know I am very much in his shadow.

OK that's the five and as I said up post I could have picked so many more. Blogging has become such a important part of my life now that I can't see it changing, so to all those mentioned and those that are not I salute you and thank you.

Monday, 19 November 2012

And Wayland Games Respond

Given that Maelstrom Games have publicly blamed Wayland Games for their troubles it is no surprise that Wayland have responded. It seems that Wayland have offered to buy Maelstrom Games twice this year in their words to protect us the customers and the supply chain. Go HERE to read the response.
Reading between the lines Wayland wanted to expand by getting Maelstroms customers and was prepared to buy them and take on their debts. This would have been a great acquisition for them and I assume they did their home work and it would be worth their while. However Maelstrom ignored both e-mails (why e-mail and not phone calls????) so in a bid to force the owners hand they bought the debt and then called in the total debt which Wayland knew they could not honour. This is fairly normal practise in business when you have a competitor in trouble. It is not Wayland doing everyone a favour as they try to make out in their version of events. Not that I am blaming Wayland or hold their actions against them but the idea that somehow they are a knight on a white steed makes me want to puke and laugh in turns.
Maelstrom though are not playing ball, rather than sell up to Wayland obviously they have taken the route of accepting the closure of their business but it seems to me that they still intend to trade by reinventing them selves as Eye of the Storm. I can't see Wayland pumping in so much money (I am assuming they bought the £99,700 odd debt for far less, if not then they are mugs). Expect a few months of interesting events, the only question is will it continue to be rather open or more restrained?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

AAR Battle of Bussaco II at the Wargames Holiday Centre

We swapped side and went at it again. I requested the smaller of the three French Corps due to feeling rather drawn with Ken getting the VI Corp under Marshal Ney. The plan was to batter the British in the centre with an all out attack. On our left Mike had a fairly large force that was intended to force a passage through the area I had defended the game before. My job was to tie down the British facing me and stop them reinforcing the centre. But how did it go?
Column Attack against the British
Just like the first game my attention was most placed on my forces and I paid only a small amount of attention on the rest of the battle. We managed to keep the mist for a lot longer than in the first game which aided me with the dummies as I held them in reserve as a possible cavalry screen that kept Ralph from pressing too hard on my extreme right flank with his Dragoons.
The First four turns were played out on the Saturday evening. I had missed a possible opening on set up where I could have driven at the weakest part of the line leaving much of the British with nothing facing them. They would be able to reposition but before they could get the  troops into place they would have been forced to commit their reserve to the battle against m. This would have been very bad news for my Corp being only 10 infantry brigades but would have reduced the force facing Ken by enough to make the central defence too weak which in turn could have forced Lee to send some of his troops to help Adi in the centre. As it was I was driving my whole force into the teeth of a much stronger force that had all the advantages of defending.
The Allied strategy was to hold this flank with a strong force of two Corp's of 12 infantry battalions but many of these are the feared light regiments including the rifles. I was matched for artillery units though Ralph only had three guns in each compared with my 4. 36 Skirmishers faced my 24 and he also had the Dragoons on hand to fight against my light cavalry which I had already had two units forced to turn and flee after a mauling.
Light Cavalry face off British Dragoons.
I was taking heavy casualties on the leading Column marching up the road from very accurate artillery fire but it was on my right flank the first major clash was to happen. I still had 6 squadrons of lights to face the four of British Dragoons. I had brigaded two squadrons together in two positions to give me the upper hand in the melee whilst positioning the other two squadrons behind the others so I would be able to support the melee in coming melee rounds. The first clash was actually going my way after round one but Ralph through two more squadrons into the melee. The end result after some fairly poor rolling by both of us was that the British were forced to flee whilst I was forced to return to own lines. This left just one British Dragoon squadron facing the two attached squadrons with a third ready to join the melee. I was licking my lips with anticipation and knowing it was almost impossible for me to fail I rolled the dice.
Throw anything but three to charge home.
So yes I stood to face the charge and was rewarded with an automatic casualty and was to fight the melee rounds at a major disadvantage.
Dice Gods have a great sense of humour.
I then rolled well whilst Ralph had another bout of low rolls (he only had these with his cavalry by the way). Still he only lost the one figure so he was lucky in that respect. I believe this was the first action of the Sunday. Saturday finished fairly late (later than normal from what Lee was saying) and I was quite dizzy and feeling ready to barf up. As such I stayed at the hotel whilst Lee and Adi hit the town. Well a Pizza joint, followed by a chicken place as they messed up Adi's order. I was still feeling shite when Lee got back and was worried I would not be able to play on the Sunday. Totally unlike me  could not face food till breakfast the following morning by which time I was recovered and ready for the day.
I was suffering such great casualties moving up the hill that I stopped the attack on he hill and started to reposition units so that I could attack the left flank. The biggest issue I had was it I seemed to be in canister range all game which was taking a huge toll of my units. Ralph decided to come down the hill to take on the holding force and take pressure off his flank.
Defending the village
Finally I have the advantages. Here came the British I would have first volley from my vets, rested muskets and in a village with only open order counting in the Brits favour. The Brits also would have first volley but having moved would loose that advantage and suffer a massive minus mod for my hard cover. The dice were cast and I gave him a real thumping, my arty also coming on strong. Ralph returned fire AFTER taking the damage as he was advancing so was short by 5 or 6 figures but did a whopping 5 casualties and I think an officer in return as he rolled boxcars! However he was soon retreating the unit as he just could not afford to keep in place whilst my arty was able to join in the fun.
The repositioning continues.
Being the eleventh of November we paused for the two minutes silence which was even more poignaint with us standing over our toy soldiers especially as one of our group is an ex marine. I can not speak for the others but it was a strange sensation to turn back to the figures about five minutes later and pick up the game again.
The other light regiment and the rifles though were coming down the hill unhindered and I was still all over the place. At this point I did have a look see how things were going elsewhere. Our centre ws fighting on the table edge as most of Adi's troops had withdrawn to the next table drawing Ken on. It was looking like we were doing well but the vast majority of Ken's troops were not involved in the fight. Our biggest asset had been turned into a traffic jam! Worse still was our cavalry advantage was right at the back and guaranteed never to get involved but was not released to help either flank. Over night it looked like Mark would punch through Lee with some ease but a mixture of lack of experience or rule knowledge and some edge of the seat play by Lee was starting to turn the battle in his favour. The French troops were starting to fail morale tests causing problems for the following troops.
Ooops French troops flee from the guns.
Not that I did not have problems of my own, the column that had taken a pounding was under orders to come back down the hill but after a poor morale roll decided to flee and pinned the unit behind it. I was able to recover it but due to it's losses it was never going to be sent back into the front line again.
One last mad dash.

Knowing that at best I was facing a stalemate and at worst being pushed off the field I prepared to attack all along the line to the left of the village. To make this possible I would need to pin the units and to do this I was sneaking a spent cavalry unit into position to charge. Unfortunately Ralph saw him peaking out and shot at him rather than the infantry and caused enough casualties that they were done for the day. This made the whole prospect of a mass charge unappealing and I set myself up for keeping up a delaying action as casualties would continue to mount.
Meanwhile Lee was sitting on a comfortable sofa reading one of the many great books for such an occasion. Lee it seemed had turned a odd routing French column into a mob of broken men. Only two of Mark's troops were not routing and they were under retreat orders so would have routed the following turn.
Infantry routing from the British.
I was still overall in fair condition but I had a unit routing in my centre again pinning another unit. My troops were so shot up that they could not stand against Ralph's still fairly intact units. Our centre was not managing to break Adi or when they did Adi managed to break a battalion of Ken's so it was looking a stalemate in the centre.
I believe I could have kept Ralph busy enough that he could not help out the centre as I had a couple of fairly fresh battalions on my left flank that could have again attempted to attack the hill forcing a reaction whist Ken had the troops that could move uncontested to a point that would halt the Allied advance and indeed he should have done this earlier as he would then force Adi to defend. The problem though was Lee. He now had the troops and the position to attack Ken's flank which would have halted any momentum Ken had gained and either force him to try and break off and retreat or risk a very dangerous battle were breaking units would cause major problems and any collapse would loose the whole Corp and as such the army.
Again another defeat for our team but it was fun getting there. Ralph was great fun to play against and we just had such a great time. We talked about our own personal objectives in the game finding out that both of us had managed what we set out to do. Better knowledge of the rules would have changed a few of the things I did and better dice would have helped too. In the first game poor dice seemed to get under my skin a little but I was rolling worse in the second game but I must have been more accepting of fate, who knows. Both games were fun and the experience was great. It has not however made me want to start collecting 28mm Naps or a deep desire to paint them just for fun, though I do have two Battalions of French 25mm that I need to paint up at some point, but that's another story. Would I like to go to the WHC again? Yes definitely and whilst they do have 20mm WWII and 15mm WWII (using FoW with a few changes to allow for big battles) I would still prefer to go back and try those Naps again, next time though with more usable cavalry.
Mark has a light handed approach to running the games, whilst at the same time seeming to be there at your shoulder if you need advice or are unsure. He obviously has a vast knowledge of the rules, period and scenario chosen. He inspired confidence in the scenario being played and his light banter matched the atmosphere that prevailed over the games. If any of the three posts have wet your appetite then get in touch, please mention you read the AAR's here so Mark gets an idea how blogs can promote his business.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Lucky Me Look What Arrived Today

I recently won a blog giveaway on Fog's Soldiers blog for a very cool Necromancer. Well it arrived around lunchtime today and I must say I am really pleased with him. I can't wait to get some form of roleplaying in again so I can use him.

As you can see he is a evil bugger for sure. I don't care if I had the option to meet him down a bright alley the answers still no thanks!
But a big thank you to Marzio for organising the giveaway and an even bigger thanks goes to Luisa for painting the figure. I really like the blue and the shading which really sets off the unhealthy skin tone.
Just look at all those folds well defined by an expert brush. The staff looks even better in the flesh with the grain picked out. Now will he be a PC or an adversary? Well we all will have to wait and see.

Again many thanks and congrats to the other two winners from the three giveaways that was ran by Marzio.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Maelstrom Games Have Gone Bust But...........

Over at Maelstrom Games website finally we get the news that they have ceased trading and will go into Liquidation in the next few months. This they blame on Wayland Games who bought their debt recently. This debt was less than £300 under £100,000 and was being paid back at a rate of £500 per day via the company credit card!! (that would take about 2000 days to pay off assuming no interest is credited to the debt). I am not sure why they feel the need to share this information with us but there you go. I am sure that Maelstrom will also owe many other suppliers money which will not be paid either. As for customers, some will get their items whilst others will neither get items or refunds. So that's it I expect you to think, well not exactly no.
Today I popped into the store to check it out. They still have some stock and when asked about restocking the staff member stated that they expect to get stock in in the next couple of weeks but also added well that's what we have been told. Clearly not 100% sure after probably being given the run around this last few months. A few things I did notice though, first up the sign going into the car park had had the Maelstrom Games painted over but yet to have a new name added. Also the stock rooms now look fairly empty but by now they should. However some green routes were showing such as the new FoW objective markers that are produced under Templar's Forge with an advert in store for more to come.
Of course the website looking exactly like the Maelstrom site that indeed has the same stock and customer details called The Eye of the Storm. Well given it all revolves around the same game store in Mansfield it's fair to say Maelstrom is dead, long live the Eye!
As to will this be the case who really knows. The Eye of the Storm (rather ironic choice given the situation it's in now) could yet be pulled down with Maelstrom unless the owner had set them up in such a way that he could fold one and keep the rest. The other possibility is that they have credit washed so that they loose the debts and obligations but manage to buy all the stock and rights but at a fraction of what they owed. It's quite possible that they are trying to be clever but they throw the baby out with the water because customer confidence has gone out of the window and with it the sales.
So if your local pop round and buy over the counter (the last items I bought went through the till as jars of coffee so not sure what they are up to!!!) but on line, no thanks.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Battle of Bussaco AAR The Wargames Holiday Centre Style

First up sorry for the delay in getting this posted, whilst the weekend was fantastic it managed to knock me about a fair bit and I have been either to tired or in too much pain to get anything written about the games themselves. Now I will put that right with a battle report of the first game.
In total the Anglo-Allied have 6 divisions with 60 battalions of infantry, 6 9pdr foot batteries of three guns each and some Dragoons on a walk about with horse artillery attached. These did nothing all game so it's OK to forget about them now. You have? Good.
I now know facing us in three Corps were 51 battalions of foot, 5 8pdr foot batteries each of four guns, 6 regiments of light horse and 3 more of Dragoons, these with three 6pdr guns. Both sides had mixed quality of troops between Elite and 2nd Line. Also plenty of skirmish troops per side which are rather powerful in their own rights.
Originally we were to share these troops out between 8 players but with the two no shows we had to pick up the slack. I started with 3rd Division Picton, 4th Division Cole and 5th Division Leith for a total of 30 Battalions, yes half of the at start troops! I had been saying all throgh the planning that I should have less but it was only from turn two that the 3rd Division was taken off me and this was the smallest of the three! Well as I was to have part of the massive VI Corps and the much smaller II Corps thrown against me I was to be busy all game.
QRC's that are about 5 foot long!
As can be seen at the bottom of the picture we start with rectangular tiles that represent either dummy units or one to two real units. This adds a nice fog of war that through ASL I fully grasped. Seems the rest of my team did not as the  dummies were advanced right into site of the French and removed in just a few turns where I kept the dummies in the second game for as long as possible. Adding to the fog of war was a very real mist that covered the French advance but fortunately for us was lifted when a French player managed to roll a 6 at the end of the second turn and thus reveal a whole lot of French columns.
Red tiles behind cover awaiting the placement of the French tiles.
French Columns coming at my troops, these commanded by Adi
I used the river to secure my right flank and sent skirmish troops into the houses (these are too small for Battalions who can only enter towns). French light cavalry were the first troops I encountered and their job was to scout out my frontal defences but seeing the outlying buildings already getting garrisoned turned and went looking for trouble elsewhere.
French Cavalry try to gain information.
Due to my placement of the skirmishers I was soon rewarded with information on French numbers and direction of attack. A couple of French Light Cavalry cross the river at a ford in the hope of getting behind my flank.
French mass for first attack.
All my forward troops were British with the Portuguese providing support. The main reason being that at this point all my Portuguese were 2nd line troops and I hoped to win the day with steady fire from the good old Brown Bess.
British it steady lines supported by guns and Portuguese (red tiles).
Lee was approaching the hill which would be a tricky place to attack. As his columns marched up the hills they would become unformed and subject to constant fire as they slowly climbed upwards. Lee though had a plan, mean wile Adi was closing on the village and taking casualties from my skirmishers.
Portuguese fall into position behind the British  ready to lend a hand were needed.
Towards the centre of my position my artillery started to make it's prescience felt as it caused a couple of French units to loose troops and regular tests to keep moving forward. I was doing enough to slow down Lee in my area that my short owned 3rd Division under Ken's command started to go onto the attack.
The guns mark the boarder between my troops and Ken's.
Much talk was had regarding the possible weak point between our Divisions, I had to smile to myself as we had a special rule that allowed support between Divisions if Wellington was in the neighbourhood. I also have learnt you can learn a lot by looking at the battle from the enemies position so off I trotted to look at my positions from the other side and was struck by how formidable my position looked.
Standing in Adi's shoes. The white ring is a French trooper not going home.
One thing that struck me was that during the game I often had no idea how it was going for the other players involved in the battle. Just looking down the length of the table did not help as it was hard to tell who was moving forward and little evidence to the damage done. This was great in my mind as it really gave a great feel for the game. The whole experience of the weekend screamed NAPOLEONIC at you that went far further than just the model figures. I went looking a few times at the table but mostly I was so engrossed in the action in my part of the table I just did not think to go looking.
The opposite flank to me from the French side of the battle.
The view down the length of the table was a thing of beauty. Here was no straight line facing the hammer blow of the French column. No here we had islands of redcoats blasting gaps in French columns and for all the talk from Lee and Adi that if they were the French they would deliver a single punch all down the line, the blows were going in staggered as terrain slowed down some units whilst others moved as fast as possible to try and limit the time they had to face British musket.
The French attack breaks down to individual struggles.
In the centre Ken made a dash for a village beating out the French but being unable to support it straight away he lost the best part of the Battalion which was sent packing after a few turns of vicious fighting. It was Lee who gave Ken the punch on the nose and did so as he saw Ken's mistake as Ken was making it.
The Centre starts to warm up.
Adi in an attempt to take the pressure off the oncoming columns charged a squadron of light horse at a British double line. It was already down a single figure but lost another two from the volley and never made contact turning and fleeing back to their own lines. They did rally but for them the battle was over as they became a liability as other units morale started to become shakey.
Seeing off the French Cavalry.
The village was starting to look very tough to take. Adi used his artillery to kill the skirmishers holding the most forward of the houses but having no skirmishers in this area, (they were dying on the hill to my left) he could not take the building so I just stayed behind it ready to attack anyone moving round into view. I had interlocked units that could fire on the flank of any unit attacking another head on. The flanking cavalry thought better of it once I had a Portuguese regiment line the near bank. Due to impassable terrain they would have to spend two turns in effective range, chances are they would be forced to route before getting past my line.
However Lee was using the road to send attack columns against the hill. To his left he kept my infantry busy with a screen of skirmishers that are nasty!
Skirmishers refusing to play the game and die.
The French columns charge at two regiments that happen to have part of their bases on the road. This was a bit desperate as the French should be cut down by the British fire and if they did get in the shooting casualties would have made the melee tough for the survivors to win. The problem was that the fire was mostly at long range due to nervous tummies and the act of firing unformed both units. This lead to a chance for the French and they did so well that my troops fled after just one round of melee instead of the usual three. Both rallied at first asking but the damage was done. Lee still had fresh battalions behind this one.
Paper does not wrap stone on this occasion!
I managed to halt Adi as he tried to support in the middle but due to some poor shooting rolls and good morale rolls Adi saved two units that were fully expected to rout which if they had would have given me some spare units and made Adi's command very brittle. Give me a couple more turns and I think I would have got them running but by this point half of my artillery had fled the ridge and Lee was about to punch further through though I had the Portuguese in position to fight . Certainly I felt I was starting to loose control but Ken had by this point turned the French round and secured his part of the ridge and was in position to send troops into the flank of Lee's attack.
The Portuguese stand as the British rout past.
At this point we had to make a decision, stop here and start again and expect to get a second game played out through the rest of the Saturday and Sunday (it was mid afternoon) or carry on to a conclusion which would probably take us to Sunday Lunch. We choose to make a second game out of the weekend so Mark called it. French Victory, but close. Rather a shock, especially to the French who though we had won.
Actually all of us had as the game was great fun and whilst I would have loved to carry on to the end I understood that it would be a better call to go for two. So all the figures were put back on trays and we swapped sides. That though is another story and I will tell it in a few days.