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.