Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Card from Sharpsburg

I received an electronic Christmas card from Joanne and Paul who are the proprietors of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn in Sharpsburg. Paul and I stayed two nights at their establishment during our ACW eastern battlefield tour last spring. Their hospitality was friendly and the breakfast was delightful. The Rohrbach Inn is shown in the photo below. The Inn was used as a hospital during and after the battle. My hunch is that most of the houses in Sharpsburg were utilized as hospitals.

The arrival of the card reminded me what a wonderful trip we had exploring the battlefields. Antietam was quiet and the weather was terrific. Below is a photo of the Bloody Lane looking towards the Observation Tower.

Scott, Austin, and I were joined by Kevin for a General de Brigade game at Scott's. The battle was Maida lifted from the Gd'B scenario book. Kevin and I commanded the French while Austin took command of the British. The French direct assaults against the British lines were mostly handled mostly with ease with the except for one singular moment. Kevin attacked one British line battalion with one regiment of hussars flanked by two French infantry columns. The Brits remained in line and won the melee. Reynier's one chance for glory melted away as his infantry streamed to the rear.

As for the scenario, itself, there is much to question about the attached OB. The Poles were under Peyri’s command and the 1st Legere was really a good unit. Circumstance during the battle was the cause of their sudden break. Also, the 2/78th had only 650 present and 600 of those were under-age (green and inexperienced) boys. The GdB scenario has them mustered as elites with 44 figured! The largest and one of the best units on the board. Although the 78th fought well, I think it more of a chance event than the resolve of the unit. The 81st and 58th weren't much better.

These ratings offer a chance to reflect on rating units for a given scenario. Do you rate them as they performed during the battle (i.e. Maida performance was a fluke) or do you rate them as they performed on balance knowing that to perform as heroically as at Maida would require a ‘chance’ event?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Battle Report Second Manassas

After a long hiatus, Paul and I returned to the Second Battle of Manassas game. We had left the battle at the Union 09:30 turn with Heinzelmann's Corps reaching the battlefield. Jackson's wing is still holding with continuing attacks from Sigel and McDowell. Reynolds and his division have been rendered hors d'combat both from vicious fighting on the Union left and in Federal attacks against Jackson near the Groveton Woods. Federals breached the Confederate defensive line along the unfinished railroad but without support, counterattacks from Starke and A.P. Hill recaptured the cut with heavy losses to the Federals.

Kearney reached the battlefield and swung along Bull Run onto Jackson's left near Sudley Church. In heavy fighting on this front, both A.P. Hill and Kearney panicked bringing the assault to a temporary halt. Porter arrives along the Manassas Gap Road and elements of Longstreet begin arriving along the Warrenton Pike.

By 12:30, Longstreet was approaching Lewis Lane and Porter began long-range artillery fire onto Longstreet's lead elements. Hooker's division has come up in a blocking position astride the Warrenton Pike/Lewis Lane intersection. With Longstreet securing Jackson's right flank, Early and Hays redeploy from the Warrenton Pike to north of Groveton.

Casualties to this point are roughly, Union 11,000; Confederate 7,500. It is very interesting to see historical mistakes repeated in the game. For example, Jackson's right attacks out of the entrenchments to meet the advancing Federals; Sigel throws his Corps into frontal assaults upon entrenched positions with little coordination or support; Union attacks are piecemeal and unsupported; Union attacks breach the unfinished railroad cut and without close support are isolated and counterattacked; Heintzelmann splits Kearney off to the right flank while the remainder of the Corps advances down the Warrenton Pike.

Perhaps hindsight is not 20/20.

Scope Creep And The Rule of Twelve.
How do you determine when a project is complete? I constantly wrestle with this dilemma. Over the years, I've found that combatants having roughly twelve foot units and proportional elements of horse and gun produce more enjoyable games. In a game with fewer units, a chance unit loss can have catastrophic consequences. In games with more units, the units in play are tended with less care.

Under the notion that more is better, my tendency is to continue building forces beyond this optimal project size. If about twelve units per combatant constitutes a "complete" project, which projects could I deem complete? Consider a few of my 28mm projects.  For the ECW, a quick count shows 11 foot, 9 horse, and 2 guns per side. I call that project complete although I do have a few more foot units left in inventory to paint. For FIW, I count 20 British foot, 16 French foot, 7 native foot, no horse, and only a couple of guns. This project, too, can be considered completed and fits closely to the Rule of Twelve with the excess foot units replacing the horse elements.  For Napoleonics, I have 8 foot, 2 horse, 4 guns (British) and 7 foot, 2 horse, and 4 guns (French). While this is approaching the Rule of Twelve, clearly I have room for expansion.

A recent Litko order arrived in near record time for Litko. In the past, orders have taken four to six weeks to receive. This order arrived within two weeks. Perhaps Litko is working out the logistics of order placement and fulfillment. With these new bases, I was able to complete the rebasing of the Russian cavalry. Only the Prussian cavalry contingents remain to be rebased.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Projects Update

15mm Second War of Italian Independence Project:
On the painting table are two battalions of Austrian line infantry. Each battalion is 18 figures strong. These two battalions will join the already fielded grenadier battalion of the IR #7. When these are finished, I will have exhausted my inventory of Austrian line. For now, I'm holding my order in anticipation of Scott's forthcoming 19th Century Battle Honors ACW order. If we order together, we can likely get 40% discount and free shipping. Next on the painting table will be the 1st Kaiser Hussar Regiment and will represent my first horse unit for this project.

lthough I've painted a couple of battalions of Bersaglieri using Piedmontese line, I'm still searching for proper figures. Both Freikorps and Mirliton produce the figures in 15mm with Freikorps being true 15mm. The figures from Mirliton look nice but shipping from Italy is quite expensive. That is, 24 Euros of figs cost 12 Euros to ship. Mirliton produces personalities from the war that would be very useful. I may still place a very small order to sample the figures.

Below is a portion of a painting from the Risorgimento Museo in Milan taken in 2009 showing a Piedmontese gun, crew and assorted horse. Note that the downed Austrian horseman's white, dress gloves must have been stored inside the his shako.

A second photo from the museum renders the Battle of Arcola in miniature. The diorama depicts the point in the battle where the French storm the Arcola bridge defended by lines of Austrians.

18mm 1799 Italian Project:
Two battalions of Austrian IR Preiss are complete and awaiting flocking.

18mm SYW Project:
The first squadron (six figures) of Prussian Hussar Regiment #2 is finished.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Battle Report Little Round Top

Gamed at Terry's on the 13th replaying the Little Round Top scenario from RFF. We used Terry's old N-gauge Scruby based three figures per stand. Terry's basing actually suits RFF better than it does for BOFF. The problem with the shallow bases reared its head again. Figures tend to topple over when based on shallow bases with figures only one rank deep. The laws of physics continue to hold.

For the game, Terry commanded the Federals and I commanded the Confederates. The Confederates had no on-board artillery so would have to attack without close artillery support. Splitting the Confederate line were Berdan's Sharpshooters embedded within Devil's Den. Robertson's brigade was also split by Devil's Den and 4TX and 5TX were out of his command. My plan was to demonstrate with Law and attack with Robertson and Benning. The attack was slow in developing but Benning eventually destroyed Smith's guns and held the southern end of Houck's Ridge. 4TX and 5TX and Law's Brigade was torn to pieces as it crossed into the rough ground along Plum Run. Hazlett's guns pounded the Rebs continuously. The 15AL and 47AL made one assault against the Union breastworks on LRT and were narrowly repulsed. Robertson and Law's commands became worn with light casualties and any hope of pressing the attack vanished. The Federals declared victory as the remaining Rebs slipped back into the woods.

18mm 1799 Italian Project:
Two battalions of Austrians are on the painting table after recently finishing two battalions of French line. A recent resupply from Eureka included early Russians as well. Two Russian grenadier battalions have been primed and are awaiting in the queue. The six grenadiers from these two battalions will join the half completed combined grenadier battalion. All figures are AB.

15mm Napoleonic Project:
Cavalry rebasing project is on hold until I receive a resupply from Scale Creep and Litko. As I mentioned earlier, the Russians were next in queue. The Russian heavy cavalry and hussars have been rebased with the cossacks undergoing the process once more bases arrive.

Sold! Even though the Vietnam collection saw action on the tabletop in 2010, I decided to liquidate the collection. Hopefully, they found a good home where they will see more action than I was able to provide. I have a few more orphan projects that are under consideration for culling: 15mm medievals and 28mm SpAm War Spanish come to mind. The Spanish haven't seen action on the table in about ten years.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Incoming! Books

A number of wargaming related books have arrived in-house over the last several weeks.

Rulebooks include:
  • Weigle's 1866 and 1870
  • Gray's Age of Eagles and Age of Honor. Somehow, I managed to pick up two copies of AoE
  • Penn's Napoleonic Principles of War
  • Mustafa's Grande Armee
  • Hasenauer's Regimental Fire and Fury
  • Featherstone's Wargaming Pike and Shot
  • Zannoni's L'Esercito Austriaco nel 1859
  • Young's The Wargame
  • Lynn's The French Wars 1667-1714
  • Burne's Battlefields of England
  • Gates' The Spanish Ulcer
  • Haythornthwaite's The Peninsula War
  • Gill's 1809 Thunder on the Danube Vol III
I recently went on a search for replacement paint brushes. After several recommendations on TMP, I placed an order for a couple of Winsor & Newton brushes from Dick Blick. The brushes arrived in well-packaged and in excellent condition. The brushes were at a hefty discount too. Then one afternoon on a White Elephant run for Dullcote, I stopped at Spokane Art Supply and looked around. Many of their brushes were extremely inexpensive and I picked up a Jack Richeson Sable #3 for about $3. I've been using this brush for slapping paint on bases and this brush is simply awesome. Nice round with heavy brush for loading lots of paint and the point remains intact after multiple uses. I must go back for more.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Skirmisher Attributes in Republique+

After modifying movement to account for skirmish capable units, I've been wondering if units with higher skirmish ratings ought to also slow movement for opposing forces that move through the skirmishers' ZOC. This notion requires much thought. One other activity this month is the complete rebasing of the Napoleonic horse. Yeah, I know that I've gone through one iteration of this activity once before. This time, each cavalry base with contain four horsemen on a 1.5 inch square, four abreast. Before the figures were based two by two on a 1.5 x 2.5 base. One benefit is that the cavalry footprint takes up much less space in the storage boxes! All French/French Allies, Austrian, British, Spanish horse have been rebased and the Russians are next.

Rather than order Litko bases directly from Litko (and contend with exorbitant shipping charges), I saw that Scale Creep had a few packages of the required bases in stock so I placed an order. The order arrived quickly but one of the bags was opened and contained only 75 rather than 100 bases. A quick email to Mark at Scale Creep and he agreed to send the missing bases. Shipping was $6 for two large packs of bases. Scale Creep will be the first stop for Litko bases.

18mm SYW Project:
I have been successfully restocked from Eureka and have piles of cavalry and a few foot and artillery to paint. In October, one Prussian cuirassier regiment and two allied foot battalions joined the muster table. To me, these Eureka figures are really relaxing to paint. The recently completed second battalion of Bavarian Leib Garde regiment will show up in November's painting tally.

Painting Totals for October.
October was a very productive painting month despite being out of town for the last week of October and ongoing work and classes. The Eureka SYW project captured the bulk of the painting attention with a mix of other periods added for variety. In a weak effort to keep the AWI and ECW projects from flipping over to a Project Complete status, I added one unit of each. In November, I will have the 62nd British foot following closely on the heels of the 47th. On the painting table now are two battalions of French infantry for the 1799 project.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Projects Update

Well, it has been over one month since my last update. On the gaming front, Don and Scott R came up for a small RFnF test. Very enjoyable game in which I drove Don back from his defenses and turned the flank. Excellent! RFnF while having most of the same mechanisms as FnF, presents a different scale and scope to the game. Tactics are much more pronounced in this version as it should be in a game at the regimental level. With narrow base-width, troops had a difficult time standing on anything but flat terrain. We'll have to see how this evolves but I'd suggest a bit deeper base.

I spent some time reflecting on my incarnation of Republique and have been playtesting a few changes. First, I collapsed the Assault Results table into fewer results. Results are more streamlined with less variable outcomes. Devastating results from the extremes of the D10 opposed role should be diminished. Second, I'm factoring skirmish ratings into movement via the Terrain Effects Table. Formations with higher skirmish capability will suffer less due to rough terrain. Skirmish-poor infantry will find rough terrain much more difficult to traverse. I've gamed this a few times and really like the distinction that the rule provides.  

28mm Napoleonics:
After completing the battalion of Elite's French Line, I'm coming around to the notion that Moresby's figures are even too large for Front Rank. Too bad, since I really enjoy the character in these figures but they positively dwarf the Sash & Saber figures.

18mm SYW Project:
September and October have seen a regimental increases in the SYW project. Four squadrons of both O'Donnell Cuirassiers and Kalkreuth Cuirassiers have been completed as well as the musketeers and grenadiers for the Lieb Garde Bavarian foot. On the painting table are 23 Eureka Prussian foot to muster as the second battalion of von Roeder IR of Wurttembergers.  An inventory miscalculation requires the grenadiers to be fielded later. 

For October, four squadrons of a Prussian cuirassier regiment have been completed. A large order came in from Eureka last week but I noticed a few discrepancies in the order so I must place a follow-up order soon. These mistakes allow me to add in some additional foot and horse as I see Rob has been replenished as well.

I've have always fielded the cavalry in four squadron regiments. Looking at the OB for Leuthen, the Austrians fielded horse in six-squadron strength and the Prussians fielded in five-squadron strength. Perhaps, I'll begin bringing my horse regiments up to full battle strength by adding either two squadrons (Prussians) or three squadrons (Austrians).

The Prussian musketeer foot are beginning to show signs of mold wear. Even though flash is still minimal, the raised detail is beginning to diminish. Now, the diminished detail could be caused by figures rubbing against each other in transit but I've noticed this as time has passed. Still, I really enjoy painting the Eureka SYW range.

Painting Totals for September.:
September nearly was an all-cavalry painting month. The only exception were 72 6mm Baccus Libyan heavy infantry. Eight 28mm French dragoons and 48 SYW cavalry passed across the painting table in September. Thus far in October, 24 Prussian Cuirassiers, 9 ECW Cuirassiers, 31 SYW Bavarian infantry, and 46 10mm ACW Rebs have been completed. On the table now are 23 SYW Wurttemburg infantry.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Projects Update

28mm Napoleonics:
After completing the battalion of Elite's French Line, I'm coming around to the notion that Moresby's figures are even too large for Front Rank. Too bad, since I really enjoy the character in these figures but they positively dwarf the Sash and Saber French. I still plan to place a smaller order with Elite to complete two more battalions to join with the test battalion of the 36th.

The Second Manassas game continues to languish on the game table. After a good start in July, Paul and I haven't been able to coordinate our schedules to press on with the scenario. With Paul's busy fall travel schedule, our completion of the game is unlikely. Rather than pack up the game, I'll continue play solitaire as my time permits. From my notes, it looks like the game is currently at the Federal 0930 turn.

Scott and I met at Austin's Sunday afternoon for a game of C&CA. Scott chose the Trasimene scenario and Austin took Carthage leaving me with the Romans. With their backs against the lake and reduced activations, the Romans would find this one quite difficult. However, a few, early coordinated attacks by the Roman light foot took out a couple of Carthaginian formations on the Roman left and Austin's morale dropped with the loss of these troops. Ranged weapon fire continued peppering the Carthaginians and a third unit was lost. Austin counterattacked the Roman left with horse and destroyed two weakened Roman light foot but his attack in the center was repulsed with great loss. On the Roman right, light foot caused heavy casualties, forcing two foot units to retreat. At the conclusion of the game, the Romans held the field 6:3.

Painting Totals for August.
August turned out to be a productive month with an emphasis on 28mm Napoleonics. Also slipped in were 18mm Napoleonics, 18mm SYW, and 15mm SIWI. Just checking my painting log, AUG contained my highest output for 2010. With a SEP vacation and fall classes commencing, SEP production will drop. On the painting table are 24 SYW Austrian Cuirassiers and eight 28mm French Dragoons on the priming table. The Austrian horse are painting up quickly and I began to consider pulling a second 24 figure unit of Austrians from the inventory pile. Pulling the last Austrian horse regiment from inventory left only one 24 figure regiment of Prussian heavies to paint. Perhaps, a shortened September could be an 'all-cavalry' painting month?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Projects Update

28mm Napoleonics:
All of the Napoleonics listed in the 04AUG post are finished. That includes three French guns and crew, two French limbers and teams, and eight French hussars. Additionally, the four British guns have been rebased onto 60mm squares. I placed another order to Front Rank for three French artillerymen to crew my last Sash & Saber gun, eight French Dragoons, and two British limbers and teams.

My 'test' battalion of French Line arrived from Elite Miniatures with the post on Saturday and hit the priming table. The figures are gorgeous and will fit in nicely with Front Rank. Front Rank figures are a little more hefty than the Elite figures but the sizes match up favorably. The Elite French are really works of art with great character. Peter Morseby has a summer sale through August which allows 48 packs for the price of 40. I'll be ordering more to increase the size of my Peninsula Project. Project planning is one of the many joys in this hobby. After receiving the Elite figures, I set to work planning an order to take advantage of the summer sale. What began as a small, shared project with a friend several years ago (I was only supplying the British contingent for small-scale actions) has blossomed into a self-contained Peninsula project with continued development on the horizon. Currently, I have enough figure to field brigade-level engagements. One question always in mind is, "when is a project finished?" I really have no definitive answer since project "scope creep" is prevalent in almost all of my projects.

Colors and Command: Ancients Game.
Scott and I met at Austin's Saturday afternoon for an afternoon/evening of kibitzing, dinner, and a couple games of C&CA. I watched the first game by looking over Austin's shoulder as Austin faced off against Scott. Scott took game 1 and then the game was reset and I took Austin's place in a rematch. Game 2 ended in the same result but it was a near-run affair as Scott took the game 5-4. I enjoyed the game and this was a nice departure from our more intense wargames. On initial playing, C&CA represents a good Beer and Pretzels candidate for an evening's activity. I don't see why you couldn't play on the existing mapboard with the miniatures. I read that these 6's are on 20mm squares and would provide a purpose to my Carthaginians. An enjoyable game that might benefit from a possible flank/rear attack modifier. Perhaps, add 1 die if in a flanking position? With my aging eyes, I had great difficulty reading the info on the blocks. Translating the game to miniatures would enhance my experience. It's tough getting old. I look forward to another game.

15mm Second War of Italian Independence Project:
Sixteen Austrian Jagers have been added to the 1859 project. The figures are Freikorps and the jagers fit in nicely alongside the Old Glory figures. Some of the Freikops figures are smaller than Old Glory so it is refreshing when the figures are compatible. I decided to field the jager battalion in two, half-battalion stands. I'll do the same for the French chasseurs and Sardinian Bersagliari. Still debating how to field the Austrian Grenz battalions. Although the OBs show them deployed in single battalion formations as light infantry, Grenz doctrine was not much different from the line. In 1860, this distinction was entirely lost and Grenz battalions were fielded in regimental strength. To provide a light infantry component to each Austrian division, I'll likely field the Grenz in half-battalion strength to allow greater flexibility. There, I was easily convinced.

18mm 1799 Italian Project:
Added two battalions of French legere (13 figures each) to the project. The legere most likely wore bicorn in 1799 but I purchased AB early legere in shako with side plume for this project. Once my research pointed to bicorn for the lights, I ordered additional AB's in bicorn for subsequent, early legere. I may continue to use these for the 1799 project or send them into the later imperial period collection.

18mm SYW Project:
On the painting table are 23 Eureka Prussian foot to be painted as one battalion of Wurttembergers. This will be my first allied foot to join the Austrians and they will be fielded as the von Roeder IR with its rose-colored facings.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Projects Update

28mm American War of Independence Project:
The Perry British regiment is finished and will be fielded as the 10th Regiment of Foot. A picture of the 10th Foot is posted under the Saratoga Projects folder.

28mm Napoleonics:
I added four Austrian figures to an existing Old Glory line battalion to bring IR#22's strength up to 20. I had these extra four figures laying around and decided to paint them to reduce a few figures from my odds and ends pile. Also completed is a French Legere battalion of 20 figures. The Front Rank figures are large, very nicely detailed, and a pleasure to paint. Staying on the 28mm Napoleonics front, three Sash and Saber guns, ten artillery crew and two Sash and Saber French limbers and teams are on the painting table for August. In an attempt to get this project in a state to game a small scenario without sending a call for Scott's figures, I have two Front Rank voltigeur skirmishes on the painting table. These skirmishers will join their parent 70th Line, battalion 1. To add cavalry to the French contingent, I plan to paint eight beautiful Front Rank hussars. These hussars will be mustered as the 2nd Hussars.

All skirmish markers are being rebased from 1.5" squares to 40mm rounds. Currently, I have 30 single figure skirmishers to rebase. Staying on the rebasing theme, all guns are being remounted from anemic 1.5"x3" bases to 60mm squares. I never cared much for the GdB artillery basing and am much happier with the larger bases. The limbers and four horse teams are mounted on 60mm x 120mm bases. Hopefully, Front

Rank limbers and teams will fit within this same footprint.

Finally, I placed a sample order for a battalion of French line from Elite Miniatures. The figures haven't arrived and I'm anxiously awaiting the package from the U.K.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Second Manassas Scenario Thoughts

Battle of Second Manassas Scenario.
Twelve Federal cavalry are finished and once flocked, will be ready for the tabletop. In 10mm, a simple paint job makes quick work of two units of cavalry. With the completion of the Union cavalry, I know have the 10mm ACW collection complete. That is, I can field all arms for both combatants for most medium to large-sized battles.

One aspect of the game that frequently troubles me is how to display unit information for each stand. The options I've considered are:
  1. Unit Statistics label on a small but separate base.
  2. Unit Statistics label on figure base bottom.
  3. Unit Statistics on a roster with unit identification on base edge.
  4. Unit Statistics label affixed to figure base bottom with Unit Statistics shown vertically on figure base trailing edge.
When playing solitaire, I prefer having the unit information affixed to a separate 1.5"x0.5" base. This informational base then remains with the figure stand and unit's data are easily accessible at a glance and in photos. The latter is especially useful when drafting AARs from a set of game photos and speeds up note-taking during the game. The downsides to this approach are that the info base must maintain contact with the parent unit and two bases must be moved for each active figure base. In densely populated areas of the battlefield, info bases can become quite jumbled and detract from the look of the game.

A second alternative is to affix the unit's information data onto the bottom of the figure stand. While this resolves the visual clutter disadvantage of the separate info base, this method requires each base to be picked up and examined for every assault, rally, and panic resolution.

A third option is to transcribe all unit data onto a roster that is then referenced during the game. To make a roster most efficient, the figure bases should be identified in some fashion on the trailing edge of the base. Notation on the trailing edge would allow the base to be cross-referenced to the roster without having to pick up the base. The roster method eliminates the disadvantages of the clutter (option 1) and picking up the base (option 2) but does tend to slow play while the eyes are frequently shifting from the table top to the roster and back. Some players do not enjoy using a roster system but casualties and morale states could still be tracked on the game table.

A fourth option involves making a label that is affixed to the bottom of the figure stand but is large enough to wrap around the trailing edge with a bend 90 degrees from the table. All unit information is transcribed onto the upward portion of the label. This method reduces tabletop clutter but with 10mm figures, the visible portion of the label can extend to nearly the height of the figures. Currently for Option (1), I use Avery 1.5"x0.5" self-adhesives labels. I'll have to either find a suitable equivalent or simply print the labels on paper and cut and affix each label onto it's base.

28mm American War of Independence Project:
In honor of Independence Day, seventeen British line infantry are on the painting table. The figures are Perry's in slouch hat for a yet to be determined regiment. Since Austin was planning to field the British contingents at Saratoga, these fine chaps will likely become a regiment not present at Saratoga.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

YTD Painting Totals

Priming. With the announcement from Sash & Saber of a limited 40% discount offer, I pulled two French guns and crews, and two limbers with teams from the inventory pile for priming. My goal is to paint these to see how they look painted before ordering another set of limbers and artillery crew. The foot figures paint up quite nicely but are a little smaller than the First Corps figures that I have for the British and French (skirmishers and Legere). On the tabletop, the difference to my eyes is not too great and on sale, the S&S figures are about half the cost of the FR. Too bad S&S doesn't expand this range.

Also hitting the priming table were:
  • 24 15mm Eureka SYW Austrians cuirassierss
  • 20 28mm Front Rank French Leger
  • 27 30mm Renegade ECW foot
  • 16 28mm Perry AWI British

18mm SYW Project:

IR#45, Heinrich Daun, is complete.

Battle of Second Manassas Scenario.
Minor adjustments to the OB are occurring as I re-read sections of Henessey's book. Jackson is getting a downgrade to a '2' and King is being downgraded to a '0'. On the painting table are 12 Federal cavalry that will represent Buford and Bayard. Hopefully, these two units will be completed this weekend and I'll be ready to begin 2BR. The tentative plan is to meet on 10 JUL to begin the battle.
Painting for June was again a bit on the light side but a glance at the half-yearly totals show that I'm ahead of my 2010 goal of 900 figures.

Annual Painting Tally for 2010 through June


Era Scale Type Figures

American Civil War 10mm Artillery 48 6

American Civil War 10mm Cavalry 18

American Civil War 15mm Infantry 28

American War of Independence 15mm Artillery 12 6

American War of Independence 15mm Infantry 15

American War of Independence 28mm Infantry 8

English Civil War 30mm Infantry 27

French & Indian War 25mm Infantry 49

Italian War of Independence 15mm Infantry 204

Napoleonic Wars 15mm Infantry 72

Napoleonic Wars 18mm Infantry 91

Napoleonic Wars 28mm Command 3

Seven Years War 18mm Cavalry 24

Seven Years War 18mm Command 16

Yearly Total:                                                                                                                          615                         12

Friday, June 25, 2010

Battle of Second Manassas Scenario Progress

Battle of Second Manassas Scenario. 
The OBs are tentatively set using a variety of sources. The major source of OB info comes from which contains a number of regimental OBs for a number of ACW battles. All listings are in Excel and easily converted for use with multiple rulesets. A few handy battlefield maps can be found at: The OB for my game is posted under the Second Manassas scenario.

In preparation for the battle, 18 Confederate cavalry have been completed. This should be enough to field Stuart's cavalry arm.

18mm SYW Project:
The Prussian Red Hussars are finished and two battalions of Austrian infantry are on the painting table. The two battalions will be fielded as IR#45 Heinrich Daun. I've already completed the eight grenadiers for this regiment so my painting tasks will be slightly diminished. Tonight I spent two, uninterrupted hours toiling on these Austrians. It has been several weeks since I've experienced a two or three hour block of time devoted to painting. I managed to get the faces, coat, and breeches completed on these 46 figures (22 foot; 2 mounted officers). While slapping on the white, I decided to add four Old Glory 25mm Napoleonics Austrians to the production line. These Napoleonic Austrians were already primed leftovers from a test battalion of 16 figures.

In the mail this week were Ned Zuparko's Vive L'Emperor rules, Peter Young's The Wargame, and copeis of GWD/GRD's Europa duo of Narvik and Balkan Front.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Battle of Second Manassas Scenario Progress

Battle of Second Manassas Scenario. 
I laid out a battlefield prototype on the game table on Sunday. The major, historical battlefield activities will be fought out on an area roughly six feet by six feet (roughly five miles square). The entire 12x6 table will be utilized but I anticipate two feet at each table end will see little action unless either,
  1. Lee is able to push the Federals across Bull Run
  2. Pope is able to strike towards the Northwest and intercept Longstreet earlier than happened historically.
For the scenario map, I'm giving MappingBoard a try. The results of my MappingBoard attempt are in the Scenario -> Second Manassas page. The map is not finalized but provides a good, preliminary scope of the battlefield. MappingBoard is easy to use having a very gentle learning curve. The interface is very intuitive and maps can be generated quickly. A tabletop battlefield layout is provided for comparison. OB work begins. Immediately, I see I'll need a few sizable cavalry forces; none of which I have painted. Another decision to make is basing for the cavalry. The infantry are mounted upon 1.5 x 2.5 inch bases and represent about 1,000 effectives. The cavalry forces present at Second Manassas also muster at least 1,000 troopers each. Should the horse be based on similarly sized bases or should I consider half-sized bases?

18mm SYW Project:
8th (Red) Hussars: Not much progress on the Prussian hussars this week. Horses are finished with the troopers next. A Eureka order was placed today to replenish my SYW inventory. Three heavy horse regiments and four foot battalions will be added as will a couple of stands of wing command. I think I'm seeing a correlation between busy work-weeks and placing miniatures' orders. That is, busy week with little time to paint prompts me to spend time planning and purchasing. Also included in the order are enough AB figures for four battalions of early French.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Projects Update

Friday evening passed with a bite to eat and a painting session with the guys. For my part, I brought along 8 Perry German Jaegers that, once completed, I'll field as Hesse-Kassel Jaeger Corps. Austin worked on some very nice-looking AB Russian horse including the striking Soum Hussars while Scott diverted his painting focus from his large commission to a unit of Carthaginian cavalry.

Work begins on the Second Manassas scenario which I hope to have ready for play later in June or July. My recent trip to the battlefield has given me a better feel for the terrain and the problems that it poses for both combatants. I have a variety of battlefield maps and will be using Hennessey's RtBR for much of the scenario ideas. I envision a number of smaller scenarios along with a full battle scenario. Preliminary measurements suggest that the tabletop battlefield will represent an area of about 4 miles by 6 miles .

30mm English Civil War Project:On the painting table are 27 Renegade ECW foot soon to be fielded as Skippon's regiment. Well, much to my disappointment, I discovered (while basing) that I painted only 26 figures for Skippon's regiment! Ah, I need to be more careful when counting out figures. This isn't the first time I've mis-counted only to discover my error during the basing process. The missing musketeer was quickly primed and painted.

Skippon's regiment was quite enjoyable to paint so on deck for priming is another unit of 27 foot. Will it be mustered as a Royalist or Parliament regiment?

28mm American War of Independence Project:
The eight HK jaegers that I began Friday night during our painting session were completed Saturday afternoon. Although these were not needed for the Saratoga OB, I thought these would make a useful, yet small addition to the project. Eight figures turned out to fit nicely into our two-hour painting session. That exhausts all of the original Perry's I purchased in September 2009. With the British mustering slowly, I placed a small order for British foot to help accelerate the mobilization for Saratoga.

18mm SYW Project:Next up on the painting table are twelve Prussian hussars in mirliton. These twelve will be fielded as 8th (Red) Hussars under Seylitz and will represent two squadrons.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Grant's Tomb

Returned from a trip to New York City to attend Daniel's graduation. While there, one stop was a visit to Grant's Tomb. In honor of Memorial Day, below is a photo of Grant's Tomb taken on 30MAY2010 bedecked with U.S. flags and bunting.

One of the displays inside the tomb focused on a uniform and accoutrements. The kersey trousers were a little more blue than the picture shows although the blueish-grey depicted in the photo is an acceptable. shade. Perhaps, Ceramcoat's Blue Jay would be a close match although I often use Ceramcoat's Ocean Reef Blue and Blue Heaven for the kersey trousers.

As with most of my plane travels, cross-country travel provides an opportunity to catch up on reading without the normal distractions. On the May trip to NYC, Sutherland's Fredericksburg & Chancellorsville, The Dare Mark Campaign was the subject of my attention in addition to a few magazines. Sutherland's book,

covers the activities of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville from the operational and political slant. Battlefield minutia is kept to a minimum with emphasis on the decision-making processes and the interaction between the field generals and the heads of state. Sutherland paints the Rebel army as a well-oiled machine under lee's leadership while the Federals are broad-brushed as a bumbling organism led by a disfunctional command system. Another recent acquisition taken along for review was Waxtel and Burke's, They Died for Glory.

Painting tally for May was a little understrength but not bad production considering my May painting funk.

30mm English Civil War Project:On the painting table are 27 Renegade ECW foot (hopefully) soon to be fielded as Skippon's regiment. Below is a photo of a painting found in NYC's MOMA. Note, in this painting, that the sleeveless buffcoat is the same shade of leather as the knee boots. Ceramcoat's Golden Brown is a close match.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Projects Update

15mm American War of Independence Project:
As I dug around the trays to pull cavalry for rebasing, I found several stands of 'orphan' figures. That is, surplus, painted stands that were no longer needed after the infanty rebasing activity. I have one remnant stand containing five colonial militiamen. To field this as a full unit requires fifteen figures. I pulled ten militia from my inventory and will paint these to add to the five-figure cadre.

The markers are complete for tracking CE for the game. I used Litko 30mm hexagons for the CE marker, each side having two sets of three faces. Side One is marked with "1-2-3" and "2-3-4" with Side Two marked with "3-4-5" and "4-5-6". Now, we'll be able to easily track when a unit has fallen more than two CE levels from current. In the rules, a unit may only recover up to two levels above its lowest point in the game. So, if a unit begins the game as a "5" and loses 3 CE (becoming a "3"), it may only recover up to a CE level of "4". These markers will be utilized in my ECW, FIW, and AWI Ironsides-derivative rules.

All of the cavalry have been rebased but the bases are unpainted and unflocked. I'm awaiting my flocking activity near month-end to finish these off.

15mm Second War of Italian Independence Project:
Up next on the painting table are 18 Austrian infantry that I'll be fielding as a grenadier battalion. The figures are Freikorps and look quite nice. I'll be interested to see how this painted battalion of Freikorps look alongside the painted battalions of Old Glory.

30mm English Civil War Project:
Although I considered following the 1859 Austrians with a unit of SYW Austrians to complete a trifecta of Austrian production, a regiment of ECW Parliament foote will cross the painting table next. The regiment is yet to be decided after I check my flag inventory but the 27 figures will be Renegade.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mapping Software

Although I've been using Campaign Cartographer infrequently for several years, I never have quite gotten the hang of the software. Long lapses between mapping sessions makes the learning curve a hurdle to overcome with each mapping project. I do like the results and some have generated some excellent results. For instance see, Malcolm's excellent campaign maps ( I recently found this mapping software ( and it is very easy to use and nice looking maps can be generated quickly without much fiddling.

To commemorate Cinco de Mayo, I pulled my French Intervention in Mexico collection down from the shelf and deployed both combatants on the gaming table for a brief review. These troops haven't been on the table in years (like the Vietnam collection mentioned in the 01MAY2010 post) and it is appearant that I still have a bit of work to complete with this project. First, all of the guns and crews need rebasing since the guns are currently based separately and the crews are singly based. Second, I'm sorely missing cavalry for all participants. The collection is a hodge-podge of several manufacturers with the dominant percentage made-up of Frontier 'true' 25's. I'll work on finishing the artillery and perhaps prepare for a small game. For rules, I 've used Fields of Honor and an Old Trousers variant.

The painting mojo still hasn't returned but I hope to restart the production flowing again soon beginning with 12 Austrian SYW hussars. Sometimes when painting becomes a chore, I place an order in an attempt to reinvigorate my painting. I recently succumbed to this temptation by placing a small order with SHQ for four Huey crews (motivated by the recent Where's Charlie? game) and Front Rank for two battalions of French Legere and one battalion of Portuguese line. With the BP once again under USD1.50, now seemed a good time to take advantage of the more favorable exchange rate.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Where's Charlie AAR?

Friday evening we met for dinner and then adjourned for a short game at Austin's. I suggested that we give my 20mm Vietnam collection a trip onto the table top and Scott and Austin agreed. I haven't gamed with this collection for many years and I've been contemplating selling it off. Scott and Austin would handle the American squads while I moderated and guided the VC forces. The rules used were Where's Charlie? and allows for either solo or GM-moderated control of the VC. Friday night's scenario would see two U.S. Army squads patrolling in an area of reported VC activity. Austin and Scott were instructed to patrol the length of the jungle-laden table with three pre-designated LZs scattered across the table.

Austin was first to make contact with the VC with VC fire pinning members of his command. In the firefight, Austin managed to pin the majority of the opposing VC and then closed to hand-to-hand combat. In melee, Austin dominated the VC and eliminated the threat. After the combat, Austin's squad discovered a weapons cache. On the other trail, Scott made quick progress, advancing with no opposition. As Scott's squad neared a stream, his squad began taking fire from a sniper. The sniper managed to pin one squad member and then out of the brush fire erupted from a VC force of five. In a heated firefight, one US grunt went down with wounds and another became pinned. As the M60 gunner kept up a steady fire, two soldiers grabbed their wounded comrade and began hauling him back to the LZ. With three grunts out of action, VC firepower began to take its toll. The Sgt was hit, dying from his wounds shortly, thereafter. The situation was looking bleak for Scott's squad when the HQ element and Austin converged upon the VC that were threatening Scott. As the VC attacked Scott across the stream, both Austin's squad and HQ took the VC in flank. The second VC squad was eliminated. As the chopper arrived at the LZ to dust off the casualties, the chopper took weak RPG fire. Under RPG and sniper fire, the US successfully extracted both squads. body count was 10 VC dead with two US KIAs and one wounded. Two weapons caches were discovered and all US troops returned to base (two in body bags).

As noted, I hadn't deployed these figures in a long time and hadn't run through a Where's Charlie? scenario in just as long. The game mechanics are straightforward but a small introductory scenario was needed to re-acquaint myself to the rules. During the game I noticed that my QRS didn't have all of the needed information at hand so I'll modify the QRS to include a few missing components. Next game should progress a little more smoothly.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cedar Mountain - Union Victory!

The Cedar Mountain game on Sunday resulted in a (surprising to me, at least) Union victory. Although Scott, as Banks, lost half of Crawford's brigade to Confederate artillery on the approach to the Wheatfield, the remainder of Williams' division pushed Winder back from the Wheatfield with Ronald and Garnett retiring nearly one mile to the west. In the center, Banks' batteries dealt death onto Early and Taliaferro. Even in the south, the Federal battery hugging Hudson House inflicted huge casualties upon Ewell before being overrun. A.P. Hill arrived along the Culpeper Road and pushed his brigades into the fight in a piecemal fashion in an attempt to stabilize the situation. At one point, three Confederate divisions had panicked. With the arrival of darkness came Ricketts, and the game was halted with a Federal tactical victory.

Well done, Scott!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cedar Mountain Scenario Preparation

April is shaping up to be a dreadful painting month. The painting mojo has vanished and painting limbers and teams does not spark much inspiration. The good news is that my OR class ended this week and I have no travel planned until the end of May. With six ACW limbers/teams complete, work begins on four battalions of 15mm Piedmontese.

Work continues on the Cedar Mountain scenario before Sunday's game with Scott. Scott expressed interest in commanding the 'good guys' so I guess he'll be taking on the role of Gen. Banks. The victory points are set in such a way as to prod the Federals into duplicating their historically aggressive opening moves. If Winder's division can be neutralized before Hill's reinforcements begin trickling onto the battlefield, Banks will be off to a reasonable start.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Projects Update

With travel, work, and class, March (and much of April) passed quickly without an update. Travel included a week-long, ACW battlefield tour whose original intended goal was to duplicate the 1862 Antietam campaign. As in combat, no plan survives contact with reality and Paul and I took diversions to the Wilderness-Spotsylvania-Chancellorsville battlefields on the eastern approaches to the 1862 campaign corridor. We also expanded our tour to the west to include battlefield stops at Port Republic, New Market, Cedar Creek. Battlefield stops on our original 1862 itinerary included: Cedar Mountain, Brandy Station, Thoroughfare Gap, 2nd Manassas (and 1st Manassas), Harper's Ferry, and Antietam. I took many photos, some of which will be posted once I organize them.

Following the trip and reading Krick's Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain, my plan is to refight Cedar Mountain after revising the OB from my earlier scenario. Below is a shot of the initial dispositions looking west with Cedar Mountain in the lower-left.

18mm 1799 Italian Project:
Attention returned to the early Napoleonic campaign and five French battalions crossed the painting table.

15mm Second War of Italian Independence Project:
Work on the 1859 project included the completion of the first Austrian regiment by adding the grenadier battalion for IR#11. Also making it off the painting table was Battalion 2 of the 4th Grenz Regiment.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Projects Update

28mm FIW Project:
Both companies of the 47th Regiment of foot and the Voluntaire Estrangers are finished. My inventory of company sized FIW figures is now exhausted.

15mm AWI Project:
I've had a small pile of ammo wagons lingering in the primed box for a very long time. In preparation for my recent painting night with Austin, I chose to pick these six ammo wagons with teams. These six wagons and teams are from the old and now defunct Frontier line. As I've mentioned before, Frontier's AWI line was really an outstanding line and the detail was ahead of its time. In fact many of the figures compare favorably with today's 15mm AWI lines. While I don't have any plans for the wagon train in any upcoming game, it is a relief to have these finally finished.

15mm Napoleonic Project:
The 2x 12 figure Russian grenadier units, the 2x 12 British line regiments, and the 2x12 Austrian units are complete although I finished the Austrians too late to make into the JAN painting totals.

January production was good and ahead of my annual goal. As an added bonus, I added three companies to the FIW project and mounted command to the SYW project. Outputs to both collections bring my figure inventory virtually down to zero.

On the painting table now are 48 Piedmontese for my 1859 project.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WWII Scenario - Drive on Bjerkvik

28mm FIW Project:
In what was to become the second company of 15th Regiment of foot, a bit of memory lapse resulted in white facings on the sixteen 1st Corps British figures. By the time I discovered my mistake, the figures already had white facings. Not wanting to rework the facing colors, I maintained the white facing and christened this unit as fourth company of the 47th Regiment of Foot.

The second company of the French regiment, Voluntaire Etrangers, is nearing completion. Painting is complete and I'm awaiting the dullcote to dry before basing.
With the completion of these two companies, my inventory (notwithstanding a collection of miscellaneous command) of FIW figures is exhausted.

28mm Napoleonic Peninsula Project:
Three mounted French officers are complete and awaiting basing. The Front Rank officers are really excellent sculpts and will look great on the table. These figures will be mounted individually on 50mm round bases. This change of mounting officers on round rather than rectangular bases will prompt me to rebase the few British officers I have.

15mm Napoleonic Project:Austrian flag sheets have been created and I'm preparing to reflag all of the Austrians in my collection.

On the painting table are 24 Russian grenadiers that will be forming two combined grenadier brigades. In addition to the grenadiers, I pulled 24 Austrians in shako and 20 British line from the bin and primed them. These 24 Austrian figures represent the last of the Germans in shako. The British line will form the core of 2x12 British regiments and allow me to utilize four British rifles that I've already painted.

Drive on Bjerkvik:The guys gathered on Saturday afternoon to refight the Norway 1940 scenario, Drive on Bjerkvik. Instead of using 1943, Battlefront would be the rule set in play. The game began similarly to the 1943 replay but quickly turned into a blood bath for the allies. Taking severe casualties on their advance along the coast road from the FJ heavy weapons, Austin called off the attack before the Poles could engage. In the northern end of the valley, Don's Norwegians, likewise, took heavy casualties as he tried to outflank the Germans holding the woods. The game ended in a complete disaster for the Allies.

I reset the scenario and replayed using 1943. As in the other game, the Irish advance along the coast road quickly bogged down with 1st coy losing 1/3 of its strength and becoming pinned. The Norwegians experienced better success and chose to use one coy as a diversion to attempt to slow the German advance south while using the 2nd coy as a spearhead towards the coast road. With the Irish advance stalled and the Brits continuing to take heavy casualties, I stopped the game.

In both games, cross country movement in the snow is so difficult that an advance along the coast road quickly outstrips any chance of support from follow-on companies. Perhaps, a more rational approach for the Allies is to attack out of the woods and across the valley rather than attacking along the coast road? Combined with the quick dash by the Norwegians down the valley on skis, this might be the solution for which I've been searching.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Projects Update and Reducing Lead Pile

18mm SYW Project:
Painting on sixteen Eureka Prussian and Austrian mounted officers/staff are complete and awaiting basing. When these are finished, it will be time for a game!

This week's SYW focus has been on flagging all of the 32 foot battalions. I had earlier flagged a few of the Austrian battalions and a few of the Prussian foot battalions using flags downloaded from These flags had adequate clarity and detail but scaling down to 15mm muddied the detail somewhat. The excellent website,, has images of flags so I gave these a try. After a bit of manipulation (copy, paste, flip, re-scaling, etc.), my resulting flags were very nice. They may not have the richness of GMB but they certainly are better than most of the Old Glory/Signifer flags I have laying around. I may go through a similar exercise and reflag my 15mm Napoleonics. Now, that would be a big task.

28mm Napoleonic Peninsula Project:
Work begins on retrofitting six Front Rank finials with tassels atop six British standards. Currently, these six battalions each have a GMB flag with a bare wire top. Two battalions already have Front Rank finials in place and these six will bring Allied battalions up to regulations.

Three mounted French officers are primed and ready to feed into the production line. These three figures will likely be tackled once I churn through the FIW figures on the painting table

28mm French & Indian War:As noted in an earlier post, 16 Crusader British infantry were recently completed and rekindled the mojo for FIW. The last of my 1st Corps figures are primed and ready for painting (1 x 16 figure British company and 1 x 16 figure French company). Austin and Scott are rumbling about embarking on a SYW project. If so, I may consider re basing this collection so that it could serve duty on two fronts. We'll see...

Jettisoning Figures:
With the start of 2010, I evaluated my lead pile and am actively making an effort to reduce this pile of lead. To begin, I'm dumping a few colonial figures (SAW, NW) then I'm tackling the Napoleonics' surplus. Having already painted over 5,500 Napoleonic figures, there are few battles for which I cannot field most of the contingents. First on the chopping block are five bags of Saxons. I once had envisioned painting and fielding these for the 1809 campaign but off they go to eBay. Bye bye, Saxons.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Vimeiro AAR

28mm French and Indian War Project:
After having purchased three test bags of Crusader Miniatures' SYW Rank and File British quite some time ago, I pulled 16 figures from the primed box and tackled the unit this weekend. These figures will become the first company of the 17th Regiment of foot. The figures are noticeably smaller than the 1st Corps figures yet a bit larger than the Old Glory FIW figures. The Crusader figures are nicely detailed and paint up quite quickly. If I need reinforcements, these will certainly be at the top of my list.

Painting these British figures reinvigorated me to clean-out some of my remaining inventory from the FIW collection. I have two more companies of 1st Corps infantry remaining in inventory (one French; one British) and I grabbed the 16 British figures to prime.

Vimeiro 2009 AAR
With ex-Delaborde unable to launch attacks against Vimeiro, the responsibility for cracking the Vimeiro defenses fell to Margaron. Repeated attacks by the French cavalry failed to break the British morale and the final charge of the day saw the dragoons breaking off their attack against Vimeiro. On the Toledo front, three attacks went in against the defenders and two were repulsed with heavy casualties. Even though Loison did not panic as a result of failed attacks, sustained casualties will pre-empt future attacks.

Junot calls it a day and retires from the battlefield giving Wellesley a tactical victory.