Thursday, May 30, 2013

28mm Ancients Project - Oscans

Off the painting table this week are 24 BTD Oscans.  Make that 23 BTD Oscans and one Aventine officer.  These figures are based on standard 60mm x 30mm stands with three figures per stand and can form two Impetus units or one or two FoG allied Italian units.  Now, I have three such infantry units in the project.   

Although Impetus is drawing me towards it like a siren, I maintained restraint and based them (for now) in the old way.  If based in the Impetus "big-block" way,  one of the allures of Impetus is apparent. With 60mm base depths, javelin protrusions from the two ranks no longer prevent two bases from forming up front-to-back.  Until I wrestled with the front to back javelin alignment problem, my Impetus plan was to use 120mm x 60mm sabots on which to temporarily mount these stands.  This spear jostling  pushes me even more strongly into thoughts of rebasing. 

Field of Glory was a system that members of the group highly anticipated before its release.  FoG is still played regularly by some in Spokane although I haven't sampled the new, v2.0 rules.  While the production values are high and I enjoy re-reading the books, the game itself never produced much inspiration.  The books, themselves, are useful simply for the army lists and purchases can be justified for those lists alone.  Add in the hardbound and full color and the books are a nice addition to a gamer's library.  I found the game to be tedious and much more work than I was willing to suffer.  Mechanisms seemed too cumbersome and I left many a game feeling battered by both opponent and text.  I should note that I occasionally still get in a game of FoG but most of my ancients gaming has been spent with Commands and Colors.   

Monday, May 27, 2013

15mm Samurai Battles Project and Miscellany

With two weeks away from home in May (one week in San Francisco and one week in Seattle), not much has been accomplished on the painting front.  I did get a chance to get together with Scott and Kevin on the 19th for a Sunday morning of Command and Colors Ancients (boardgame edition) before my latest trip to Seattle.  If my memory is correct, we completed seven games in about four hours.  Great fun to brush up on CCA tactics with a couple of good friends.

I did manage to to push out four command stands for Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles this weekend.  These figures are the last of my Peter Pig inventory.  I need to make another order to field more Ashigaru spear.  Hopefully, Brookhurst Hobbies will offer a sale soon.  I  waited in anticipation of a Memorial sale but no such luck.

Also on the Samurai Battles front is an acquisition of appropriate Honor and Fortune tokens for the game.  My wife was recently in Japan and I requested a couple hundred one yen coins to use as tokens.  She returned with the coins and now I am set for gaming.  Jake, there are enough for you too!  

Memorial Day weekend finds the regional miniature gaming convention, Enfilade!, in Olympia, WA.  I know Kevin, Dylan, and Terry made the trek over to the west side of the state.  Hopefully, they'll return having had an enjoyable weekend of gaming.  Since I spent last week in Seattle for work, I opted to stay at home on this holiday weekend.  Besides, daughter #1 delivered grandchild #2 this past week!

A few items have arrived in the post recently.  First to arrive was a package from 19th Century Miniatures containing a resupply of 15mm figures for the Risorgimento project.  Included in the box were nine bags of figures containing Austrian, Sardinian, and French foot.  With enough painted figures to field the proper forces for the main battle of San Martino, I may turn my attention towards some of the French for Magenta or Solferino.

Next to arrive was a box from Renegade Miniatures.  Taking advantage of Renegade's recent 5-4-4 offer, I picked up five regiments of Carthaginians: four regiments of foot and one of horse.  After paying for shipping from the UK, the 5-4-4 offer ended up equating to free shipping plus BP5 discount.  Not bad for some great miniatures and I just slid in under their recent price hike. 

On the painting table today are enough BTD Oscans to field 2x12 units of medium infantry.  While still enjoying painting 28mm ancients, I have a 16 figure unit of Aventine Triarii that I may slip in after the Oscans muster off the painting table.  In transit, is an order from LBMS for shield transfers for these Aventines and the Renegades shown above.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Battle of San Martino 1859 BatRep 1100 - 1200

The replay continues at 1100 with the Austrians holding the heights and the Sardinians clinging to Contracania.  The Austrian jaegers have a foothold in San Martino and control the Ortaglia farm.  

1100 The 5th Sardinian Division under Cucchiari activates.  The Casale brigade led by 11th IR advances on IR17 near the northern boundary to the vineyard west of San Martino.  Cucchiari oversees the preparatory artillery bombardment before 11th closes.  Targeted by the artillery, IR17/1 takes heavy casualties and falls back through the vineyard.  Disrupted from being ousted from San Martino, the 8th Bers falls back behind the safety of the guns to rally.  The 12th IR advances on San Martino with thoughts of pushing the Austrian jaegers out of the village. 
Situation at 1100
Berger's division activates and Waverliet remains on the ridge on the Austrian right while Kuhn continues approach to the battlefield.  Kuhn's brigade reaches Ponticello.
Kuhn reaches Ponticello
Mollard activates with still no sign of Pinerolo.  Below Contracania, the 8th IR is sent in to drive back the jaegers.  Taking fire from 10/1 Bers and 8/1 IR, the 9/1 Jaegers take casualties but absorb the fire.  As two battalions of the 8th IR close on the jaegers, casualties and the prospect of an assault by formed troops disrupts the light infantry and they evade.
Action at Contracania
On the heights, Cuneo artillery fires into Lippert's guns causing casualties and disrupting the battery.  With Lippert's battery disrupted, two battalions of the 7th IR attack.  7/4 closes up to the treeline near Ortaglia farm to protect the left as the assault goes in against the guns.  Lippert's guns stand firm and fire into the approaching Sardinians.  The guns, having been disrupted by the preparatory counter battery fire, are unable to stop the advance.  As the Sardinians continue closing, the guns limber and fall back about 800 yards.
7th attacks the guns
In Lang's division, Phillipovic joins IR17/1 to help rally it while Lang orders a counterattack against the now over-extended 7th IR near Ortaglia.  Lippert, leading 59/2 and 59/3 into battle, strikes 7/2 and 7/3 while Lang joins 59/Gren and 59/3 to attack 7/4 along the treeline.

IR59/2 takes casualties from fire as it closes.  In the close combat, both combatants suffer losses but the Austrians break off the assault and retire about 800 yards.  In the assault against 7/4, 59/Gren and 59/1 take casualties while 7/4 suffers heavy losses and routs.  Routing back down the hill disrupts both 7/1 and Cuneo 8lb battery while carrying away 12/3 in its flight.  
Austrians counterattack
In the clash, Lang's horse goes down but the commander calmly extricates himself from his horse and continues.  The grenadiers cheer their hardy leader. 
Lang leads from the front
On the Austrian left, Reichlin's IR19/4 with IR27/4 in support presses down the hill to attack 8/2 and 8/3.  In the clash, all four participating battalions suffer losses but the Sardinians yield first, retiring 800 yards.
Reichlin pressures Sardinian right
9/4 IR advances to cover Contracania while 18/4 IR attempts to rally with Benedek's encouragement.

1130 Mollard, still keeping an eye towards Rivoltella, awaits the arrival of Pinerolo.  With much of Mollard's command either disrupted or over-extended (or both), Mollard decides now is the time to rally his division and establish a new line.  To accomplish that task, 10/1 Bers swaps places with 8/4 IR in Contracania so that 8/4 can support 8/1.  Cuneo battery recovers from disruption as do 8/2, 8/1 and 7/1.  Over-extended after driving off of the guns, 7/2 and 7/3 retrograde back to support the Sardinian guns south of Roccolo farm.  Mollard joins 7/4 in an attempt to halt the rout.  With his leadership, battalion 7/4 rallies. The Cuneo 8 lb battery fires into IR59/3 causing casualties and disrupting the battalion.
Mollard reforms line
Reichlin sends the jaegers back against Contracania while his 4th battalions continue pressuring the Italian right flank.  IR19/4 and IR27/4 advance on 8/4 and 8/1.  With no effective fire from the defenders on the approach, the Austrians charge into close range.
Reichlin envelops Contracania
In the close combat, both Austrian battalions take losses while Sardinian losses are light.  Becoming fatigued from their prior clash with elements of the 8th IR and seeing the Sardinians stand their ground, first IR19/4 breaks and routs about a mile to the rear while IR27/4 falls back nearly one half a mile to cover the rout.  All surrounding Austrian fail to panic at the sight of the repulsed assault.   
Reichlin's attack repulsed
Reichlin's guns fire into Contracania inflicting casualties and disrupting 10/1 Bers. Lippert joins IR59/3 to rally it while IR59/2 advances to cover the right flank of IR59/3.  Lippert's horse artillery moves back into a defensive line to the left of IR59/Gren in the treeline.  North of Ortaglia, IR59/3 recovers from disruption but fails to rally.
Lippert rallies his brigade
Having had IR17/1 fall back disrupted through its ranks, Philipovic's IR17/gren fall back into the cover of the vineyard out of sight of the Sardinian guns. 
IR17/1 seeking cover in the vineyard
The battle continues to heat up around San Martino as KJ, embedded in the village, inflicts casualties on and disrupts 12/2 IR.  11/2 IR suffers losses from short range fire from IR17/2.
Having witnessed Reichlin's setback on the left and Contracania remaining as a tough Sardinian salient, Benedek considers redeploying Phillipovic from the right to the center.  This plan would require Berger's division to take up the right while protecting the Austrian LOC.  Under contact with the enemy, disengagement of Phillipovic and replacing with Waverliet would represent a risky undertaking.  Berger's second brigade (Kuhn) would soon be in place to support Phillipovic.

Arriving at Ponticello, Kuhn deploys on the right of the Pozzolengo Road anticipating a passage of lines with Phillipovic.  Waverliet remains in place on the ridge until hearing word from Benedek.

For the Sardinians, Acqui brigade from Cucchiari's division finally arrives onto the battlefield from the north.  Cucchiari, himself, rides over to 12/2 IR to rally the battalion.  With the Austrian infantry falling back into the cover of the vineyard, both of Cucchiari's Sardinian batteries focus on San Martino.  The fire from both batteries convinces the 5/2 KJ to flee San Martino leaving many dead and wounded behind.
Cucchiari's guns drive Austrians from San Martino
In this hour, repeated Austrian attacks to outflank Contracania have left Reichlin's brigade in disarray.  Although holding onto the stronghold of Contracania, the Sardinian right has been weakened in the continuing clashes.  Mollard is still left wondering when his second brigade will appear on the battlefield.

Benedek, with two fresh Austrian brigades on the right, may consider a strong push against Cucchiari before reinforcements arrive.  Once committed though, it may be difficult to later defend the Austrian LOC if threatened. 

Cucchiari's two batteries astride the Pozzolengo Road are beginning to dominate San Martino and the vineyard.  Austrian advances along this avenue of approach likely will be met with fierce bombardments.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

15mm Risorgimento 1859 Project

Progress continues on the 1859 project.  First up, are two Sardinian infantry battalions from the 11th Line Regiment.  Figures are Old Glory.

Speaking of Old Glory, my latest order for Old Glory figures arrived from 19th Century Miniatures in record time.  Time from order placement to arrival was seven days.  Much better turn-around than I have experienced.

Next up is one Sardinian limber and team from Mirliton.  I ordered this as a sample and am happy with the quality of the model.

Finally leaving the painting table are Austrian command figures.  Once I began the San Martino replay, I quickly discovered that I lacked sufficient command for the Austrians.  With these reinforcements, I can field two division commanders of two figures each and four brigade commanders of a single figure.  That should do for now.

Monday, May 13, 2013

28mm Crusader Hoplites

The batch of Crusader hoplites shown in their primed state in my earlier primer/Dull Cote posting, marched off the painting table.  These hoplites are very well sculpted with great detail.  The Crusader figures fit nicely with the Renegade, Aventine, and BTD  figures currently fielded in the collection.  When I bought these figures, no solid plan for their use existed.  Having always been interested in painting Greek hoplites, it would have been nearly impossible to pass up an opportunity to grab several packs when they were on discount.  Clearly, I didn't resist the temptation. 

How will I use these figures?  My plan is to field these fine hoplites as mercenaries for the Punic Wars project.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Reliability of Primers and Dull Cote

Over the decades of figure painting, I have tried a number of spray products for the first and last steps in the painting process. At some point in time, the product is discontinued, formula is changed, or I am otherwise unhappy with the results. Sometimes this change is infrequent while at other times it seems like I'm bogged down into a cycle of product swaps and experimentation. I may be emerging from one of those annoying cycles now.
For the undercoat, I typically use a flat black primer (when I can find it) or flat black enamel.  Over the last two years, a number of spray enamels have been used.  The ones I recall are shown below.  

I have had problems with nozzles clogging with some brands, terrible smell with others, coarse spray with some, and a tendency to get cans that spray a gloss rather than flat black.  In particular, the Rustoleum Ultra cover 2x went on too thick and too glossy.  Sometimes, the product works for awhile and then I get a satin or gloss finish rather than flat.  I often rationalize the gloss coat as related to variations in either humidity or temperature.

During the winter, I typically spray in the garage and then bring the figures inside to dry in a well-ventilated storage room.  Often that works to cut down the gloss finish; other times not so much. 

On a trip to Home Depot this winter, I spotted the Quick Color brand.  It was only $0.97 a can vs $3.50 - $4.00 a can for the products above.  I brought it home and the result was a dead flat finish.  Cheap and effective.  Hope that result continues.  The Greek hoplites are sprayed with Quick Color and the result is a flat black finish.
For the final topcoat, I spray a flat, clear sealer.  I have tried Krylon products but have never had satisfactory results.  I know painters who are satisfied with Krylon but for me, it never produces a dead flat finish.  

The product most used is Dull cote whether it is from Testor's or Model Master.  At one time, I could only get the Testor's brand but now both are equally available.  Both products appear to be the same formulation.  Again, temperature and humidity seem to affect the results so a quick spray in the garage and then into the storage room reduces the tendency for glossy results.  

The problem with Testor's dull cote is the recent change to the can and formulation.  No longer can I find the black and yellow can.  The white and blue canned product still produces a flat finish but reliability issues have been frequent.  Reliability issues?  Yes.  Every third can seems to ooze the dull cote liquid from the base of the nozzle while spraying.  This liquid pools up in the lip and then liquid dull cote runs down the can and either onto the garage floor, my hand, or onto the painted figures.  The can still produces a spray but I usually put the can aside once it begins oozing from the base.

What are your favorite flat black and flat clear products that are readily available? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Battle of San Martino 1859 BatRep 1000 - 1100

When we last left our antagonists,the battle for the heights hung in the balance.  Lippert  (Austria) maintained a hold on the high ground above San Martino but just barely.  Sardinians were applying pressure against Lippert.  Whomever maintained initiative likely would have the upper hand.

To recap, the initial battle dispositions can be found here while the account of the 0800-1000 battle phase is found here.

1000 In an attempt to stop the panic from spreading throughout IR59, Benedek catches up to the routing IR59/1 as it flees back towards Pozzolengo.  Benedek's presence was all that was needed to halt and rally the battalion.

Lang's Austrian division is the next to activate.  Activating before Mollard  allows the Austrians to consolidate their gains on the heights before receiving Sardinian counterattacks.
Austrians consolidate gains
Suffering from casualties and weakened effectiveness, IR59/3 falls back through IR59/2 as Lippert rides over to rally the battalion.  With Lippert's encouragement, IR59/3 rallies.  Lippert's horse battery moves up to Ortaglia and unlimbers near the road between the Ortaglia farm and Contracania.   
Austrian guns deploy
On the Austrian left, Reichlin's horse artillery moves up to the heights overlooking Contracania and unlimbers. IR18/4 and IR19/4 fire into Contracania from medium rifled musket range causing some casualties to 10/1 Bers.  The 9th Jagers advance down from the slopes to outflank the Sardinians holed up in the Contracania farm complex.
Austrian guns deploy
On the Austrian right, Philipovic launches an attack along the Pozzolengo road east of San Martino.  Leading the attack are IR17/Grenadiers supported by IR17/1.  As the Austrians close, the target of the assault (11/1) breaks and routs scattering one half mile to the north.  
Attack out of the vineyard
The 5th KJ take up positions in the treeline north of Ortaglia as it probes to the north.
Jagers probe
With no sign of Mollard's second brigade (Pinerolo) and the quick stabilization of the Austrian positions on the heights above San Martino, the Cuneo brigade redeploys seeking a less aggressive posture.  The 8th IR takes up a position west of and parallel to the road opposite the Roccolo farm to counter the jagers outflanking of Contracania.  The 7th IR withdraws from its exposed position on the heights back down the slope to take positions between Roccolo farm and San Martino.  The 8 Bers continues to hold on amongst the buildings of San Martino.
Sardinians form a line
Cucchiari's brigade, Casale, arrives on the battlefield and advances down the road leading to Pozzolengo.  Cucchiari joins 11/1 to rally the broken battalion.
Casale arrives
Casale arrives - close up
Berger's second brigade (Kuhn) reaches Pozzolengo led by four squadrons of the 1st Hussar Regiment.
1st Hussar Regiment
Kuhn's brigade
1030 Reichlin's horse artillery fires into Contracania to soften the defenders prior to a direct assault.  Artillery fire is ineffective.  Reichlin personally leads the assault on the walled compound taking IR18/4 in the front line with IR27/4 in support.
Reichlin attacks
Being on the side of the farm in direct view of the oncoming Austrians, 10/1 Bers fails to stand and evades, disrupted, back down the slope.  Sensing the danger, 10/2 Bers redeploys to cover southeastern approaches and fires relentlessly into the approaching Austrians.  IR18/4 takes heavy casualties but the assault continues towards Contracania.  Casualties mount on both sides as the assault devolves into a close range firefight with neither foe yielding.
Firefight at Contracania
On the Austrian right, Philipovic's artillery, deployed on the road to Pozzolengo, fires into San Martino.  Taking casualties from the artillery bombardment, the 8/2 Bers abandons San Martino and falls back to the north.  With half of the San Martino defenders in retreat, the 5th KJ erupts from the cover of the treeline and attacks downhill.  
Kaiser's Jagers assault San Martino
Fire from 8/1 Bers in San Martino is ineffective in stopping the KJ.  In the following clash, 8/1 Bers is thrown out of the town and falls back, disrupted.  Victorious, the 5th KJ garrisons the collection of buildings.  IR17 forms up to the east of San Martino to support the 5th KJ while IR59/grenadiers advance into the treeline south of Ortaglia formerly occupied by the 5th KJ.
Kaiser's Jagers storm San Martino
Once near San Martino, Casale infantry regiments deploy astride the Pozzolengo Road with the 11th IR deploying on the west and 12th IR on the east.  The 12th forms up north of the vineyard and preparations are begun for an assault to retake San Martino.  Both batteries unlimber on the road and prepare for action.
Casale deploys
Mollard activates and remains vigilant to the arrival of Pinerolo's brigade.  Still no sign of the brigade.  With 10/1 Bers ejected from Contracania and 10/2 Bers desperately fighting off the Austrians on the southwestern corner of the complex, 8/4 IR slips into the walled farm in an attempt to keep this key objective in Sardinian hands.

In the continuing firefight, the additional firepower of 8/4 IR tips the balance towards the defenders.  Taking moderate casualties, the Austrians fall back about 300 yards.  Benedek sees the repulse and hurries over to 18/4 to aid in rallying the wavering unit.
Reichlin repulsed from Contracania
Kuhn's brigade continues its march towards Porticello.
Kuhn marches to San Martino
To relieve the growing pressure against Contracania, the remainder of 8th IR attacks the 9th Jagers to the northwest of the farm.  Not wishing to face formed infantry in the open, the 9th Jagers fall back disrupted.  The 7th IR advances cautiously up the lower slopes of the hill.
7th IR counterattacks Jagers
Postscript:  Thus far, the rules are holding up well to this exercise.  To me, the results being produced are reasonable and fit into my perceptions of the combat during this period.  A couple of minor modifications have been added and notes are being recorded to revisit later.

After the starch has been knocked out of a fresh unit, it never regains that level of effectiveness.  Given that, fresh troops and reserves become very important to keep a drive alive or to hold a key battlefield objective.  Good leadership is important to rally defeated units and step into the fray at the right moment to turn the tide.

Small, well-armed infantry can make a stand in built up areas and pushing them out of towns requires a combined arms approach.  Even then, the outcome is far from certain as we saw in the firefight at Contracania.  In the next hour, we get to see how artillery fares against an infantry assault. 

Cavalry has not been tested in the battle yet.  While both combatants have deployed their cavalry in opposition, neither is willing to launch the first thrust in fear of losing that threat.  We will have to wait and see who flinches first.