Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Early Spring Cycling in Seattle


I-90 Bridge across Lake Washington with Bellevue in background
The painting desk lies fallow this week as I am away for work.  With a forecast of sun and expected afternoon temperatures in the low 60's F, I packed up the cycling gear and headed off for a week in Seattle.  On a sunny day, there are few places as beautiful as Seattle.  I snapped a couple of photos to dissuade those that believe Seattle is constantly inundated by rain.

Post-work afternoons spent cycling around Lake Washington is a perfect way to wind down from the daily stresses of the workplace.  Cycling is also an excellent medium for reflection and a clearing of the head.
View of Lake Washington with Mt Rainer in far right background
Tuesday and Wednesday's routes traced a clockwise loop along the banks of Lake Washington with a crossing of lake Washington via the I-90 before heading back to the hotel in Renton.  As ridden, mileage was at 27 miles.  With dedicated bike paths and bike friendly scenic roads with low motor speeds, traffic was generally light with few points of contention with autos. 
Cycling route
Before leaving for the week, I cleared the gaming table in anticipation of a possible game on Saturday.  Without regular "home" games, the gaming table quickly becomes a staging area for painting, figures, books, rules, and all types of hobby clutter.  A number of books and rules have entered the household since Christmas and organization takes effort and space.  A few duplicates were discovered too.  I tucked away a few rulebooks into the pack for inspiration and a refresher.  One of the rules brought along is the recently received Impetvs Baroque to give it a read through.

Looks like a game will come together on Saturday.  Tentatively scheduled is an ECW battle using Impetvs Baroque.  What battle shall be refought?  No decision yet.  The Battle of Southam was a fun little engagement and might make a worthwhile candidate for two players.  Southam was gamed earlier using three different rules. One Hour Wargames, Basic Impetvs Baroque, and Ironsides all were given a trial with this battle.  Would one more game with yet another set of rules be overdoing the battle?  A QRS for Baroque needs to be drafted to organize the charts and help me become familiar with the rules.  Perfect activity for evenings confined to a hotel.

Monday, March 28, 2016

French Artillery and Limbers for 1859

The French forces continue a slow but steady build for the 1859 project.  Fresh off from the painting desk and reporting for duty are two French artillery pieces and their accompanying limbers.  Each gun is crewed by four artillerymen and each limber is drawn by a six horse team.
These guns and limbers are all Freikorps 15s.  Very good models although the horses are smaller than the other manufacturers used in this project.  Six horse limber teams may seem like overkill and luxury but the Austrian and Sardinian limbers come with six horses each.  Waste not, want not, right?  Naturally, the French limbers are delivered with four horses so extra sets are needed to bring each limber up to the full strength of their Austrian and Sardinian brethren.  QRF/TSS is very good about filling custom orders.  When I place an order, I often request  extra horses for the limber train.  The extra train has always been provided.  Why is the French train not sold with a six horse train?  That is a good question!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rematch! Battle of Pharsalus 48BCE

In quite an unusual circumstance, I managed to get a second FtF gaming session in during the month of March.  Perhaps my version of March Madness?

On the table for this evenings activities was the same battle Kevin and I fought earlier in the month (see Battle of Pharsalus) using Command & Colors and 6mm armies.  Since Caesar took honors in both of the earlier battles, I wanted to give Pharsalus another go to see if Pompey could manage a victory.  Caesar seemed unbeatable in our first meeting.  On the Commands & Colors: Ancients website, recorded games show Caesar winning the battle about 75% of the time.  Could the battle's conclusion be that predestined?
CCA Battle Layout
With SoA's Battle Day fast approaching on 02APR2016, replaying the battle in anticipation of reading great BatReps from that event seemed motivation enough.  When Kevin arrived loaded with pizzas, we set to work on both the food and game.    
Battle deployments:
Pompey (top) vs Caesar (bottom)
To recap the game situation, Caesar is outnumbered by Pompey's forces but the Great Man holds the advantage in punch.  Add in Caesar's personal attributes and the Caesarian army is a tough nut to crack.  In game terms, all medium and heavy infantry operate under the Julian Legion rules.  That is, MI and HI can throw pila at a two hex range while either stationary or moving one hex.  These same units may move two hexes without battling.  This expansion provides MI and HI much more flexibility on the battlefield and allows the big boys to get into action much more quickly.  In earlier Punic Wars battles, we found getting the HI who often were deployed deep in the third line difficult to get into action.  Not the case under the Julian rules!
The plan for the evening was to fight the battle twice with each of us taking the command of Pompey to see if we could construct a victory.  In Game 1, I took command of the Pompeian Army and while the outcome was close, Pompey lost to Caesar 7 banners to 5.  My downfall seemed to hinge on the strong Pompeian medium cavalry wing's failure to break the Caesarian right.  Caesar's archers and cavalry on his right wing were overcome with some units being pushed from the battlefield.  Caesar, himself, was threatened but a vicious counterattack halted any Pompeian aspirations for success on that flank.  In the final stages of the battle, Caesar's heavy infantry marched up the center and laid waste to Pompey's lighter forces.  Game 1 goes to Caesar.
Death of Caesar
In Game 2, Kevin commanded Pompey while I took on the role of Caesar.  Starting with a Line Command, Caesar advanced his entire battle line towards Pompey's awaiting troops.  With success on both wings, Caesar looked ready to repeat his success in Game 1.  Rather than launching the Pompeian cavalry wing into the Caesarians to begin the battle, Pompey reserved his cavalry arm.  When Caesar made a deep penetration into the Pompeian line, Pompey launched a savage counterattack including the playing of a First Strike card.  The Gods were in Pompey's favor this day.  With fantastic dice rolls, first Sulla and his HI were destroyed in hand-to-hand combat and Caesar and his heavy infantry were weakened.  Reinforcing these successes, Pompey struck with all four of his medium cavalry.  In repeated cavalry charges, Caesar's heavy infantry were destroyed and Caesar was left unprotected.  Caesar was unable to escape and was cut down by Pompey's horse.  With banners 6:5 in favor of Pompey, Pompey managed to pick off one bowmen to seal the victory.  Pompey wins and gets to keep his head!

Congratulations to Kevin for besting me in both games (and thanks for the pizza!). 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Baroque Arrives

As mentioned in an earlier post (see Impetvs Baroque), I set myself up for a pre-order of Impetvs Baroque.  Given the informal nature of the pre-ordering process, I was uncertain whether the process would work.  Well, the process worked!  After receiving a PayPal invoice from Dadi & Piombo, the package containing the rules was deposited in my post box following a two weeks' journey from Italy.  
The booklet is wire bound and comes in at 53 pages.  Baroque is presented in a full color, glossy format with numerous figure photos scattered throughout.  Having played the Basic version several months ago in a replay of the ECW Battle of Southam (see Southam - Impetvs), I am looking forward to digesting the differences between the Basic and Full version.

A pleasant surprise in Baroque is the inclusion of a photo of a 28mm Warlord Games' regiment of foote painted by faithful follower,Christopher (aka axebreaker).  Congratulations Christopher!
A high quality product requiring a closer inspection.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Afghan Tribal Cavalry in 25mm

To complement the small core of native infantry for the Great Game project, off the painting desk are twelve tribal horsemen.  These horsemen will be useful for quickly moving over the vast expanses of the NWF and harassing whomever they oppose.
Figures are from Wargames Foundry's Indian Mutiny range and will see service in many armies and in a number of theatres of conflict.
Included in the order for these fine horsemen were figures for a second dozen native horsemen and a few native guns and crew.  Before any of those undergo the paint brush, work returns to more 15mm figures for the 1859 project.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Piedmontese Infantry - 1799

Staying with the 1799 focus, two battalions of Piedmontese infantry depart the painting desk.  During the 1799 campaign, two regiments or demi-brigades of Piedmontese saw service with the French.  The two battalions fielded in this tranche of figures are from the 1st Piedmontese.
Like the French 11th Hussars fielded immediately prior to these Piedmontese, these figures are Eureka Miniatures' 18mm 1806 Saxons pressed into service as Piedmontese for the 1799 campaign.  Fine looking sculpts, no?
Under the House of Savoy, the Piedmontese fought unsuccessfully against the French for four years (1792-1796).  Finally capitulating, the Piedmontese entered into a confederation with the French and fought alongside them in 1799.  The Piedmontese army was either parceled among the various French divisions for active operations or relegated to garrison duties.  When present, orders of battle typically show no more than one battalion of Piedmontese per French division.
Having produced several units for the 1799 project, the workbench will see something new in the painting blocks.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Eureka 11th Hussars in 1799

Progress continues on the 1799 project with the release of the French 11th Hussar Regiment for duty.  The cavalry arm of the project has been, until recently, sorely lacking with only a couple of Russian Cossack squadrons being fielded.  The addition of these French hussars and the recently mobilized Austrian dragoons begins to correct this imbalance.  Still, much to correct but a shift is in progress.  More horsemen are needed to reach the painting queue.
The French hussars in mirliton are from Eureka Miniatures.  Neither AB nor Eureka produce early French hussars in mirliton but Eureka does produce a range of 1806 Saxons in 18mm.  The sculpting of the figures is excellent and these are some of the finest horses I have seen in 18mm.  In fact, I think these are my favorite horses of all.
Like cavalry in Eureka's SYW range, these Saxon beasts are HUGE compared to Old Glory and AB.  The difference is not that apparent on the gaming table but a side-by-side comparison will prove this observation out.  Nevertheless, wonderful figures and I intend to add more of the Saxon horse as both early French hussars and heavy cavalry.  Not only am I digging into the Eureka Saxon line for early French cavalry but I have fielded the artillery as early Russian in bicorne and I plan to use the Saxon infantry as Piedmont or Savoy infantry for this project.  Some of the Saxons as Piedmont are on the paint desk now.  A very diverse range of figures with many possibilities. 
To illustrate size differences within manufacturers, perhaps a side-by-side comparison of a few of the cavalry would provide a useful exercise?  Size differences even within the same manufacturer exist.  A look at Old Glory, Mirliton, LancashireFreikorps, Eureka, and AB (covering the SYW, 1799, 1859 projects) would give an informative mix.

Friday, March 11, 2016

AB Austrian Dragoons for 1799

Work continues on the 1799 project.  This time a regiment of Austrian dragoons from AB Miniatures mobilizes from the painting desk.  These dozen troopers are finely cast with excellent detailing.  Marvelous figures!
For the 1799 project I am quite torn between fielding the Austrian dragoons in bicorne or helmet.  As the first regiment of Austrian dragoons to muster for the project, I opted to play it more conservative.  That is, these lads are fielded as the 14th Dragoons in their green jackets and bicornes which they were allowed to retain beyond the regulation change in 1798.  Of course, my theory is that regulation dates were just that; dates.  Many regiments would likely continue wearing existing uniforms until either worn out or supplies caught up with the troops on campaign. 
In 1799 and 1800, would Austrian dragoons likely be wearing bicornes, helmets or a mix of both?  The other controversy not discussed is the switch from green to white or white to green uniforms for the dragoons/chevau-leger.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

French Chasseurs d'Afrique - 1859

After the 28mm diversion to pluck off a unit if crossbowmen for the Reconquista and two stands of Stradiots for the Great Italian Wars, work returns to focus on 15mm projects.
Picking up on the 1859 Risorgimento project, four squadrons of a French Chasseurs d'Afrique regiment are mobilized from the painting desk.
Figures are Old Glory 15s and while the sculpting is generally quite good.  Troopers carry a variety of weapons including swords, pistols, and carbines.  As for the swords, they are very weak and insubstantially molded.  I have seen this problem repeatedly from this 19th Century European Wars range of figures from Old Glory/19th Century Miniatures.
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The French during the 1859 campaign fields three regiments of the Chasseurs d'Afrique.  Enough figures lurk in The Lead Pile to field all three, I imagine.  Perhaps, Lancaster Games' Chasseurs ought to be placed into the painting queue to offer a comparison?

Two more 15/18mm cavalry units are in work.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Battle of Pharsalus 48 BCE

Got my first FtF game of the year in on Sunday.  Kevin stopped by to refight the Battle of Pharsalus using Commands & Colors: Ancients (CC:A) and my 6mm armies.

The Society of Ancients' 2016 Battle Day tackles Caesar vs Pompey at Pharsalus 48 BCE.  By providing excellent historical and gaming materials for prospective participants, the SoA gave me the motivation to give this battle a try.

Under the CC:A scenario, all medium and heavy infantry can throw pila as well as increase movement allowance from one to two hexes.  Moving two hexes negates both their ability to fire missiles and close combat.

Caesar is outnumbered but holds advantages over Pompey in both troop quality and leadership.  Caesar's force is dominated by heavy infantry but suffers from few cavalry.  Pompey fields a strong cavalry wing on the left with a mix of auxilia, medium, and heavy infantry.  Caesar holds an added advantage by adding one extra die to close combat and allowing a unit to which he is attached to move two hexes and still battle in close combat.  That is a powerful advantage.
Pharsalus was fought twice with the victory going to Caesar in both games.  Kevin commanded Pompey in Game One while I commanded Pompey in Game Two.  In Game Two with Kevin commanding Caesar, Pompey's medium cavalry wing quickly overwhelmed Caesar's cavalry on the right wing and then attacked Caesar, himself.  Caesar nearly fell in battle after his attached infantry was destroyed and the great man was attacked alone.  He managed to survive to triumph in a very close 7-6 victory. 

After reading the SoA's materials, I dug a little deeper and read a few good papers and accounts of the battle. Now having fought the battle twice with CC:A, I am motivated to dig a little more deeply. 

With CC:A, history repeated itself, twice!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lancers of the Vistula

Of all of the units fighting in the Iberian Peninsula, few hold the reputation of the Lancers of the Vistula.  What a few squadrons of Polish lancers accomplished during the Battle of Albuera is the stuff of legend.
In their famous charge. the "Devil's Poles" erupted out of a sudden rain squall and broke into the British line.  Colborne's infantry brigade routed and Cleve's KGL battery lost five guns.  Five colors were taken and scores of prisoners captured.  Quite impressive for a few minutes work!

Eight of these lancers make their way off the painting desk and report for duty.  I hope mine are as successful as their historical counterpart on the field of battle.  Of course, that wish only pertains to when I am commanding the French!

Figures are Front Rank.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

State of the Painting Desk

While the gaming table remains cluttered and inactive, the painting desk remains active.  Well, the painting desk is cluttered too bad that is SOP!

With Front Rank Vistula lancers waiting for a photo op., on the painting desk are 36 cavalry.  Quite unusual for me to tackle 36 horsemen at one time but with room on the painting block, I put them all into the production line at on time.
The 15/18mm cavalry are nearing completion and consist of a dozen French hussars for 1799 project (foreground), a dozen French Chasseurs d'Afrique for the 1859 project (middle ground), and a dozen Austrian dragoons for the 1799 project (background).  All three groups are from a different manufacturer with French hussars from Eureka, Chasseurs d'Afrique from Old Glory, and the dragoons from AB.  The early French hussars in mirliton are actually Eureka Saxon cavalry.  When finished, each will get its parade review.  For now, I will add that the Eureka hussars are exquisite!

After a long gaming hiatus, looks like a game is on the docket for this weekend.  My plan is to get in a couple games of Commands & Colors: Ancients.  No need to clear the gaming table for this event.  The kitchen table is perfect for laying out the hex mat and deploying the 6mm miniatures out for battle.  Battle under consideration is Pharsalus.  The Society of Ancients' Battle Day features Pharsalus this year, so I figured I ought to give it a run-out as well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Impetvs Baroque

From the Impetvs News website (see Impetvs News), the English edition of Impetvs Baroque is off to the printers.  Pre-orders are announced as shipping on 14MAR2016.  Not too much longer to wait.
If interested in seeing the mechanisms of the free Basic Impetvs Baroque, my game of the ECW Battle of Southam is found here: (See Battle of Southam - Impetvs

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Portland Book Sale

One of my pleasures is attending Portland's semi-annual Friends of Multinomah County Book Sale.  Having a sister working in Portland's library system allows me to never miss notification of an upcoming sale date.  The sale also gives us an excuse to make the six hour drive to Portland for the weekend.  A weekend of good company, good food, and good book browsing; time well spent!  Of course, no trip to Portland is complete without stops at the two Powell's Bookstores.  A visit to Powell's is an unforgettable stop for the book lover.  

The fall book sale was held in October but only now am I getting around to looking through the stack of books and cataloging my finds.  The Portland book sale is quite an experience.  Rumor has it that it is the largest book sale in the State of Oregon.  Vast tables of books take over a huge room and long lines of book lovers stand in queue for the doors finally open to the public.

When the doors open, I head immediately to the military history and history sections.  Above is the stack of loot pillaged from from the sale.  A number of interesting finds, for sure.  A few Ospreys were snatched up as seen from the top of the pile.  Included are several titles to fuel my burgeoning interest in Ancient Egypt.

Anything in the pile look particularly interesting?

Oh, that copy of Goldsworthy's, The Punic Wars is a duplicate.  Drop me a note if anyone is interested in it.

Crossbowmen for the Reconquista

With an extra day in February  2016, time for one more post.  While the finishing touches are being carried out on two squadrons of Vistula Legion Lancers, these eight crossbowmen were slipped into the production line.
Having a predominately brown motif, these skirmishers popped off the painting desk in no time at all.  Figures are BTD 28mm crossbowmen mounted as two Impetvs-sized stands of skirmishers.  These lads can be fielded as Spanish or as mercenaries for the Moors.  

Next up will likely be the lancers mentioned earlier.  Eight of the big Front Rank brutes are nearly finished.  Following the lancers, 36 15/18mm cavalry are in work.  Two cavalry regiments are destined for the 1799 project (one Austrian, one French) while the remaining regiment is destined for the 1859 project.
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