Monday, October 24, 2016

Heavy Horse for the Reconquista

In anticipation of a restocking of BTD cavalry for the Reconquista project, this fivesome of heavy cavalry canter out from the painting desk.  Being nondescript, I plan for these horsemen to see action on either side of the conflict.
One of the features I really enjoy of the BTD cavalry is the size of the mounts.  These are massive beasts!  Five of them make good progress towards filling the 120mm frontage of an Impetvs base.  Great figures and a real bargain when purchased during one of BTD's sales.  At sale prices, each horse and rider pair sums to less than $4.  Now, that is a bargain!
Having not had the project out on the table in a very long time, I have lost track of the exact the scope of the project.  The only visual clue I get is when I need to buy another storage box as the collection expands.  I ought to get the collection out on the table for a parade review.

Back to the most recent BTD sale.  After a lengthy wait, I received the first portion of the order this week after about a six week lag.  Being in no hurry, a six week lead time is no problem. Still, my order arrived with six heavy horses on back order.  Yikes!  Well, John, the proprietor, says the laggards will be showing up ASAP.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Russian Cossacks for Suvorov and the 1799 Project

Having been away for the work week, I return home to settle into the painting chair.  The portable painting kit did not accompany me this week since I had plenty to hold my attention in the evenings.  That, and I am awaiting a new portable painting light to arrive from USA-based Joann craft store.  The light I selected was on deep discount with a 20% discount coupon thrown in for good measure.  The light was practically free.  A review will follow once I receive the lamp.

After having made no progress on the 1799 project since midsummer, a small addition to the Russian contingent musters off the painting desk.  These six Russian Cossacks are from Eureka Miniatures' SYW range of figures.  Excellent figures that are well proportioned.  Eureka's Russian Cossacks and hussars are much better sculpted (in my opinion) than the other figures in the Russian range.  These six will join another matching half-dozen painted earlier to form a Cossack pulk of four squadrons.  
With one of my 2016 objectives to get the 1799 project onto the gaming table before year end, attention needs to be drawn back to that goal.  What is needed before I can get a game on the table?  From memory, more artillery for all combatants could be pressed into useful service.  For foot, enough are present for service in a small to moderately sized battle.  My small cavalry forces should, at present, be sufficient to field horse in the numbers needed for many of the battles in either Switzerland or Northern Italy.   
Looking through histories of the two campaigns, Montebello 1800 strikes me as a worthy candidate for the initial trial.  To sweeten the pot for Montebello, my thought is to set up the battlefield of Montebello once and to tackle the two battles in 1800 and 1859 over the same ground.  That way I get both the 1799 and 1859 projects onto the gaming table with reduced fuss. I suppose, economies of scale.  Stay tuned as I work through the details.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

L'Esercito Piemontese Cavalry 1849-1859

I recently picked up a copy of Melani and Riccardi's second volume of Sardinian uniforms from the Risorgimento 1849-1859 published by Soldiershop (see Soldiershop website).  While Volume 1 focused on the infantry, Volume 2 tackles Sardinian cavalry during the Italian Wars of Independence and the Crimean War.

The cavalry book is much thinner than its sister book on the infantry but still a useful addition to the library.  While the book is written in Italian, the dozen color plates have translations in the back of the book.  In addition, all of the black and white photos, illustrations, and line drawings have captions in both Italian and English.  The color plates are handsomely rendered.  Colors are vibrant and the plates are first rate.  Besides cavalry uniforms, color plates are also included illustrating the weaponry (firearms and sabers), webbing, and horse furniture of the Sardinian horsemen.  Very good to see detail of the saddlery and firearms utilized by the trooper.  Since the plates below are presented on the Soldiershop's website, I provide the samples below to illustrate the quality of the artworks:    

Melani and Ricciardi provide a listing of the cavalry regiments present for each of the campaigns in 1849, Crimean War, and 1859.  At 79 pages, it is slightly more lengthy than an Osprey MAA and the artwork is as good as artwork found in most MAA's booklets.  At Euro 16.00, it offers good value for a glimpse of Sardinian cavalry uniforms from the mid-19th Century. 

Another useful reference for Sardinian uniforms is Chris Flaherty's Ottoman Uniform website (see Ottoman Uniforms).  The relevant uniform plates Chris includes are Sardinian uniforms from the Crimean War.  As in the above, these plates are handsomely executed and a terrific resource for those wishing to field Sardinians for either the Crimea or Italy.  A sample of Chris' colorful plates is below:
Chris has created a tremendous reference for Ottoman uniforms and the reader is treated with a fine collection of Sardinian uniforms too.  The desire to paint and field Turks will be hard to repress after investigating Chris' website.  Give his site a browse.

Finally,  Osprey is getting in on the Italian Unification Wars with an upcoming MAA of Armies of the Italian Wars of Unification 1848-70 (1): Piedmont and the Two Sicilies.  This will be a two volume series.  The book is scheduled for a 2017 release and I have found two potential covers for the book.  I wonder which will see publication?

To end, two photos of Sardinian cavalry bronzes from the flag museum inside of the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Rome.  Of course, more such photos from my recent Italian visit will be appearing to break up the painting routine.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sikh Irregular Artillery

A second Sikh Irregular gun and crew muster off the painting desk.  Figures are Wargames Foundry figures from the Sikh Wars range.  Still excellent sculpting and molding even after all of these years.  Newer figure ranges have nothing over these old Foundry sculpts.
With the addition of this gun, the Natives can field 96 infantry, 24 cavalry, and three guns and crew.  Combined with the Russian Expeditionary Force, the British may have their hands full.
Rumblings are being heard from the frontier of increased tensions with small skirmishes breaking out in outposts up and down the frontera.  Will the British and Russians come to blows soon?  Will punitive expeditions be entertained to silence these increasing skirmishes?  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Great Italian Wars Command

Another pack included in my recent Casting Room Miniatures' order is this general and two attendants.  On Casting Room Miniatures' website, he is listed as Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola.  Francesco is from a period earlier than the Great Italian Wars that I am building but he should fit in well with the collection.  And, I could always use more command stands. 
Sculpting is of a rounded style that I mentioned in an earlier, Casting Room Miniatures' post (see: Mounted Arquebusiers).  Some bits of anatomy appear a little "off" to my eye especially with respect to arms but still, solid figures nonetheless.  The style reminds me of Bob Murch's Pulp Fiction sculpting style and I do enjoy those!    
A few more packs from Casting Room Miniatures' Renaissance range are in the painting queue with a trio of mounted crossbowmen to muster off the table soon.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jeff "Bluebear" Hudelson

As others have noted before me, I mourn the loss of Jeff "BlueBear" Hudelson having yielded in his long struggle against cancer.

We happened upon one another through our blogging efforts.  Jeff had a great interest in the English Civil War as do I.  With more projects than I can regularly get into the gaming rotation, Jeff frequently chided me into getting the collection out onto the gaming table with more frequency.  After several email exchanges discussing gaming and ECW rules, I took up this challenge and fielded my ECW figures on the battlefield for a series of games covering two battles and employing several rules.  His interest in the era motivated me to bring this project to the fore.

With Jeff's health becoming a challenge and treatments increasing, I would occasionally send a book to help pass the time while he either convalesced or took chemotherapy.  Often email discussions were kept short due to what Jeff classified as "Chemo-brain."

In late 2014, Jeff was particularly fatigued due to illness and treatments.  To help him pass the time, I sent along Hyde's Wargame Compendium.  Jeff was thrilled to receive the massive tome.  Later when Jeff read here that I had opened a Secret Santa gift prematurely,  Jeff sent along a copy of The Colonial Wars Sourcebook with the letter and handwritten note shown above. 

Jeff, your letter and note will remain in this text as a reminder of your kindness and friendship.  Every time I catch a glance of this book on the bookshelf or pull it down for a browse, these items will always remind me of your positive spirit, generosity and determination while enduring a very difficult struggle.

Rest in Peace, my friend.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Once More Unto the Breach, My Friends

Federal guns of 1 NH LT Battery survey the battlefield
Yes, once more into the breach with a second refight of the Action at Brawner's Farm.  The second trial of the scenario is set for a playthrough Friday evening in a version of Friday Night at the Fights. I remember following EEL's Friday Night at the Fights and the exploits of that gaming group from long ago.  What fun they had!
Battlefield showing initial dispositions
Following the outcome from the first game (see: Action at Brawner's Farm BatRep), I decided to make a few modifications to the scenario.  While the game resulted in an historical outcome, the dominance of Scott's forming of a Federal grand battery on the Federal left gave some concern.  To mitigate that response, the Federals have lost one battery and the 1 NH LT guns begin the game already deployed upon the high ground at Dogan's House.  Also very slight adjustments to Confederate arrival times have been considered.  The outcome may remain as before but an aggressive Jackson might be able to make a bit more progress.

Rules: Regimental Fire and Fury
Game area: 6' x' 6'
First Player: Confederate
Game Start: 5:15pm beginning with Confederate Turn
Game End:  8:30pm
Twilight at 7:45pm
Key Positions: Brawner's Farm (held by Confederates), Dogan's House (held by Federals)

Heavy Casualties: Federal = 34; Confederate = 47
Reinforcement Schedule:
At 5:15pm, only Baylor's brigade, Alleghany, Danville, and Staunton batteries are present on table for the Confederates.  Union troops in column along Warrenton Turnpike with Gibbon's brigade in the van and Doubleday following up about half mile behind.  4-US-B battery begins along Warrenton Turnpike near Dogan's house.  1 NH LT artillery deployed at Dogan's House. Other Federal guns dispersed throughout column.

Confederate Reinforcements:
6:00pm: Jackson, 26 GA, 60 GA
6:15pm: Maryland, Courtney batteries at railroad cut near Stony Ridge, Rockbridge battery at railroad cut northwest of Brawner Farm.
6:45pm: Ewell, Trimble with brigade at railroad cut near Stony Ridge; Lawton and brigade at railroad cut near copse of trees north of Brawner's Farm.
7:45pm: W.B Taliaferro, A.G. Taliaferro and brigade at woods northwest of Brawner's Farm.

Federal Reinforcements: None
Gibbon on the march
We will see what happens in Round 2 of Brawner's Farm.
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