Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A&A Numidian Light Horse

After a return to painting a few Punic Wars figures in 6mm, the 28mm Punic Wars project received a little attention.  While the 6mm project was light on light infantry, the 28mm project is light on light cavalry!  To take a step in resolving this imbalance, two Impetvs light cavalry stands muster from the painting desk. 
Recently, I placed my first order with Armorum & Aquila Miniatures (A&A) for a couple dozen cavalry.  Included with the Numidians, shown in this post, were Spanish and Gallic cavalry.  With Renegade Miniatures out on hiatus (I do hope they return), I needed to source compatible cavalry.  Since most of my cavalry are Renegade, I really was hoping to find figures that would not look too out of place alongside the behemoth Renegade cavalry.

While the A&A cavalry are marketed as 28mm, they look quite diminutive next to the Renegade horse.  Perhaps, that is no problem since I imagine the Numidian light cavalry would be small and fast.  The A&A are a very good match to the 1st Corps Germans and Gallic cavalry I have.  They also compare favorably to the Aventine mounted officers in the collection.  The figures are really well sculpted and are a welcome addition to the project.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

6mm Light Infantry for Punic Wars

The last time I had the 6mm ancients out for a game of Commands & Colors, I thought that the collection was a little "light" on light infantry.  Perhaps this discovery was made during a recent Pass In Review?  No matter the source of my revelation, motivation struck to field more light infantry.  That is exactly what I have to share this time.

It has been almost a year to the day since I last had 6mm figures on the painting desk.  I forgot how quickly the little guys can be fitted-out for duty.  Off the painting desk are 48 Baccus 6mm figures arrayed on six stands of eight.  The figures look to be Spanish and can readily fit into either alliance.    

There are more Baccus figures in The Lead Pile but not many.  I will have to dig through and see what remains.  I recall seeing more light infantry along with Roman and Carthaginian heavy infantry.  Adding more stands to the project pulls me in the direction of getting in a few more games of Commands & Colors soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Planning the Battle of Brandywine - Chadd's Ford

Work has begun on setting up a scenario for giving both Land of the Free and Fields of Honor a trial with 15mm AWI.  In the first game of Land of the Free, the British won a hard fought battle of Bunker Hill in 28mm.  For the 15mm game trials, the follow-up battle chosen is the Battle of Brandywine.  Why Brandywine?  Well, OB showed a variety of troop types and battalion sizes coupled with the opportunity to accommodate more than one scenario.  Terrain and situation is interesting as well.
Brinton's Ford and Brandywine Creek from the NE
To gain background on the battle and sort out the participants and troop dispositions, I have been reading McGuire's Volume I of the Philadelphia Campaign.  Prior to reading McGuire and having only a general idea of the battle flow, my initial plan was to restage Knyphausen's approach from Kennett Square to Chadd's Ford.  In this section of the battlefield, the Brandywine can only be crossed at the two fords: Chadd's or Brinton's.
Brandywine Creek looking north
Historically, Knyphausen's approach to Brandywine Creek from Kennett Square was only a feint.  Once along the banks of the Brandywine, Kynphausen waited for Howe's flanking attack to develop before launching his attacks across the fords.  As Washington drew off Sullivan and Greene from the fords to address the British flanking maneuver, Wayne was left to defend these crossings.  As Kynphausen saw Sullivan and Greene redeploying to the north to counter Howe, Knyphausen struck.

This exercise will explore the results of Knyphasuen attacking rebel positions on the east bank of the Brandywine straight away.  The scenario begins with the initial skirmishes between Maxwell and Knyphausen on the British approach to Chadd's Ford.  Departing from history, Knyphausen, instead of taking up positions on the west bank of the Brandywine and awaiting Howe's flank attack, will press on across the creek and escalate the probe into a multi-brigade engagement.  Maxwell's light infantry will deploy on the west bank of the Brandywine with Greene and Sullivan's divisions drawn up on the east bank in favorable ground.  Maxwell will act as a speed bump to Knyphausen's juggernaut.  Greene deploys covering Chadd's Ford while Sullivan defends Brinton's Ford to the north. 

As Maxwell is pushed back to the creek, Knyphausen presses on to engage the defenders lining the creek rather than awaiting Howe's flanking maneuver to strike home.  By having Knyphausen attack early, the British have a chance to catch the Americans in a pincer while Knyphausen drives on the colonials' line of communications.  As Howe advances from the north, the Americans may be trapped if Knyphausen can cut their retreat. 

Terrain for the battle only uses 6 feet by 6 feet of the game table.  Brandywine Creek runs generally in a north/south direction with Washington's colonials on the east bank and Knyphausen on the west bank of the creek.  Sullivan defends Brinton's Ford while Greene defends Chadd's Ford.
The Battle for Chadd's Ford
Orders of Battle for combatants are drawn from Greg Novak's fine work, The American War of Independence - A Guide to the Armies of the AWI.  With the size differentiation in Land of the Free and the large dispersion of units' manpower, some of the small units will be consolidated into larger units.  Another factor to consider is that LotF prescribes four levels of unit sizes of Tiny, Small, Medium, and Large.  Since most of the battalions (regiments) present on the OB are in the neighborhood of 300 men and the Basic Maneuver Unit (BMU) or LotF Element is the battalion for Brandywine, Brandywine will be fought at the battalion level.  LotF lists battalion level headcounts spanning from 300 men up to 1,000 men.  To me, that represents too much variation to fit into one size category.  With aggregating the very small units into larger units and the German regiments fielding units in excess of 500 men, my initial thought is to categorize BMU size as:
  • Small - Under 150
  • Medium - 150 - 350
  • Large - 350+
This aggregation and categorization also provides the benefit of reducing the number of Elements fielded slightly.  Unit reduction will be especially appreciated during solo play.  Still, a lot of elements for solo play but manageable, I think.  Who knows?  Maybe I will get some assistance?
These details provide both a starting place for scenario development and a useful exercise to occupy my mind while confined to a hotel this week.  Of course, the above is all preliminary and may change before troops are actually set out on the tabletop.

With Kevin cancelling the scheduled colonial game on the 22nd, perhaps, my AWI troops can see action this weekend?  If not this weekend then certainly time should be available over the long Thanksgiving holiday.

The stage is set.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

15mm Risorgimento: Austrian I.R. 27/4

Following on the footsteps of the Risorgimento figure comparison featuring the newly acquired Lancashire figures, an 18 figure Austrian battalion marches off from the painting desk.  This battalion represents one of the 4th battalions detached from the 6th Austrian Corps to Benedek's 8th Corps at San Martino.  

Since I am away from my resources and working from memory, the presence of these 4th battalions puzzles me.  In the field, an Austrian infantry regiment contained three line battalions and one grenadier battalion.  The fourth battalion acted as a depot and typically was not present on the battlefield.  If that was the case, were these few 4th battalions mustered up for the campaign?  If not, what were these 4th battalions?  Perhaps, I can investigate once I return to my library.

Figures are Freikorps 15s.   

While the Freikorps figures looked small in comparison to the other manufacturers, on the gaming table, these size differences are not noticeable.  Next time I get the collection into battle, I must make a point of capturing game shots with all manufacturers in the same battle scene.

With the arrival of the Lancashire figures, I am anxious to get the figures into the painting queue and onto the painting desk.  The arrival of new figures always motivates me to get a few under the brush quickly.  Does the arrival of new figures have the same effect on others?  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lancashire Games Miniatures

My eye has been on Lancashire Games since they produce a range of figures for the mid-19th Century European wars.  From the website photos of the miniatures, it is difficult to get a good grasp of the quality of the sculpts.  What better way to find out for myself than by placing a small, dip-your-toe-into-the-water test order?  Well, that is exactly what I did.

Concentrating on my 1859 project, I ordered enough figures to build two battalions each of Sardinians and Austrians.  The figures were ordered from the UK on 01NOV2014 and the order arrived on the left coast of the USA on 10NOV2014.  Fast!  Communication was good too.

Figures arrived in good shape with a few figures having bent bases; some almost doubled over onto the legs.  With such soft alloy, the bases were easily straightened without any breakage.  I like the soft alloy Lancashire uses and reminds of the good old days of malleable, lead figures.

Pulling a few figures out, I lined them up and made a quick comparison.  No Mirliton infantry remained unpainted for the comparison so a couple of artillerymen were substituted.  These Lancashire figures are on the chunky side of the spectrum especially with stockiness in the upper torso.  These rank and file lads have no neck!  With a slightly oversized head,  I guess neck compression is expected.  I would classify them as 17M on the Barrett Scale. Does anyone still use that metric?

Sculpting style on these figures is very similar to Mirliton infantry with the exception that Mirliton are slightly smaller.  Mirliton have no neck too.  Still, the Mirliton Austrian artilleryman fits in well with Lancashire.  As seen from the photo, size varies even within one manufacturer.  See the the two Mirliton artillerymen in the top row, for example.  The Old Glory figures fit in closely to Lancashire but a little smaller.  Perhaps,16M on Barrett.  Old Glory and Lancashire officers match very well together.  The Freikorps Austrian infantry is in a class by himself at a true 15mm in height.  On the gaming table the Barrett differences between Mirliton, Old Glory, and Freikorps disappear.  Almost certainly be the same when Lancashire battalions are added into the mix.   

First impressions are that I like what I see from Lancashire Games.  My only regrets are that I ordered Austrians wearing their greatcoat when I would have preferred kittel and I forgot to use my Society of Ancients' 10% member discount.  Next time!

Monday, November 17, 2014

SAW U.S. Dismounted Cavalry

Another batch of US troops for the SAW project muster out from the painting desk.  This release, 19 dismounted U.S. cavalry troopers hit the ground.  Fifteen of the figures will make up one unit while the four, singly based prone figures will be employed as prone markers.

At first, I was disappointed with four prone figures in the 30 figure pack.  None of the other American packs contained any prone figures.  After a few minutes of thought, the notion of using these as prone markers rather than figures integral to the formed unit surfaced. That solves the problem of how to employ these prone figures but creates another.  I will need prone figures for the other American units and the Spanish.  Lucky for me, the U.S. Infantry Skirmishing pack and both Spanish skirmishing packs contain prone figures.  I will need to send a special request for prone figures to Old Glory.  I he past Old Glory has been very good at accommodating special requests.  Once I ordered enough 10mm artillery limbers only to use up all of the surplus horse teams that are supplied in the limber packs.  

As with the other U.S. figures in Old Glory's Spanish-American War range, sculpting quality is excellent.  Only a few "Hey Steve" poses are present.  What an enjoyable period and range of figures to paint.  I really like how the Americans are turning out.




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kolinsky Sable Brush Relief

Brushes.  They are like old friends, are they not?
My companions
My favorite brushes are the Winsor & Newton Series 7 and Raphael Series 8404 Kolinsky sables.  My old friends in the photo have been in constant use for at least five years.  While the Raphael is beginning to lose its point and snap, the WN7 is still going strong and never fails to return to a fine point.

Those using Kolinsky sable brushes for painting probably have experienced frustration finding their favorite Kolinsky sable brushes over the last year or more.  I know I have.  Since last year, my favorite Kolinsky sable brushes, Winsor & Newton and Raphael, have been unavailable.  From my understanding of the situation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department was the culprit.  Kolinsky sable was placed on their "Do Not Import" list.
Fortunately, it looks like we have turned the corner on the whole affair.  A quick look through the latest Dick Blick flyer led to a browse on their website (Dick Blick Winsor & Newton).  Could it be?  The brushes are back in stock!
Even though I maintained a reserve of a couple of WN7 and Raphael8404 brushes, perhaps a small order is prudent just in case the Government changes its position?

Also included in the flyer were links (Brushes 101) to three pdfs containing a primer on brushes and brush selection.
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