Thursday, October 29, 2015

114th Pennsylvania (Collis' Zouave) Regiment

As noted in the most recent State of the Painting Desk post, on the painting desk was the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment or Collis' Zouaves.  These 24 Sash & Saber figures mark my entry into 28mm ACW.
The 114th Penn. saw action at Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Petersburg.  What a battle history!
What color! 

If more Zouave regiments saw action in the ACW perhaps, I would consider ACW projects in more than one scale?  Nah, 10mm ACW is enough (for now).
Many more Sash & Saber figures remain in The Lead Pile.  I ought to consider pulling a Federal regiment outfitted in the Regular Army uniform to see how quickly they paint.

Monday, October 26, 2015

State of the Painting Desk

I have been traveling for a week.  To help remind me of what is currently in work on the painting desk, I snapped this WiP photo before my departure.

On the painting desk awaiting my return are two works in progress.  The first WiP on the left are the horses for four Russian hussars for the The Great Game project.  These four hussars will be recruited to bring one of the hussar regiments up to a full complement of twelve troopers.

The second WiP is a regiment of 24 ACW Zouaves to be fielded as the 114th PA.  While I currently have no plans of adding a 28mm ACW project to the Project Ledger, I picked up several handfuls of the Sash & Saber figures a few years ago.  Remember when Sash & Saber had a huge 50% sale?  That seems like a very long time past.  Not being able to pass up a bargain, I added to the Lead Pile a couple hundred of these figures.  With these figures, I plan too muster at least four or five regiments of Federals.  Hopefully, Scott will let me slip these into his next ACW game? 

Something to look forward to when I return to the painting desk.

Friday, October 23, 2015

BTD Celtic Charioteers

Besides a few units of Libyan javelinmen, the 28mm Punic Wars project has not seen much activity at the painting desk in 2015 and even less activity at the gaming table.  To help ease the pain of that neglect, off the painting desk are two Black Tree Design Celtic heavy chariots. 
Although based individually, together the two chariots will form one Impetvs sized base of 120mm x 80mm.  That is the same footprint as a cavalry base.

It will be interesting to see how chariots affect the ancient battlefield under Impetvs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Peruvian Highlands - Aguas Calientes

Back to the travelogue of my Peruvian adventures.

Having spent two nights in Ollantaytambo (see Ollantaytambo), it was time to embark on the next leg of the journey.  That next leg of the journey would be traveled by train since the journey to Aguas Calientes and the citadel of Machu Picchu is accessible by rail only.  Boarding the train, we set off down the gorge for the 90 minute journey to Aguas Calientes.  
Peru Rail
After viewing miles of beautiful scenery as the train descended the gorge and a light lunch, we arrived at the train station and disembarked.  Our innkeeper had arranged to meet us as we disembarked and he was there waiting when the train rolled in.  Perfect!  

Aguas Calientes lies at the base of the mountains and provides an ideal base camp for Machu Picchu and the terminus of the Inca Trail.  Currently, Aguas Calientes is having somewhat of an identity crisis as it is actively transforming itself to be known as Machu Picchu Pueblo.  I suppose the name "Aguas Calientes" is confusing for many tourists wanting to go to Machu Picchu and there is more than one town named Aguas Calientes in Peru.

Aguas Calientes is essentially a tourist town with tourism seemingly the only means of industry.  The town lies in a deep gorge at the base of high mountains, one of which holds the citadel of Machu Picchu high above the town.
View of river from our B&B 
Aguas Calientes is bifurcated by the railroad
Railroad splits Aguas Calientes east to west
and a river.
River splits Aguas Calientes north to south
The railway through town is lined with restaurants waiting for passersby.  Restaurateurs are aggressive towards tourists and employ a variety of tactics to vie for the tourist peso.  Often, a waiter's wage is based solely upon the ability to slip in a Servicio Locale onto the bill.  Fortunately for us, we were warned by our innkeeper of the pitfalls and trickery of Aguas Caliente and did not succumb to many of these practices. 
At least two monuments to the great Incan leader, Pachacutec are scattered in the tourist areas of the small town.  One monument is near the Machu Picchu bus terminal while the other is farther in town among the narrow streets at one of the plazas.

Church and plaza
Pachacutec in plaza
After dinner, my wife and sister headed off for shopping at the large Mercado.  Not interested in shopping, I ventured off to explore the more "local" areas of the small town that our innkeeper had warned us about visiting with caution.

As I wandered the back streets, I heard music and set off to find the source.  What I stumbled upon was a soccer field jammed with processionals, dancers, and spectators.  Spectators crowded onto the pitch as well as roosting on the hillside surrounding two sides of the field.
As we found at Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes was celebrating a holiday and several groups performed for the onlookers and local dignitaries.  Great fun for me to watch the cultural event and no one seemed to mind the gringo on the soccer pitch. 

Tired after a long day's journey, I went in search of my wife and sister.  Finding them still in the Mercado, we headed back to the B&B to prepare for our early morning assault on Machu Picchu.

Aguas Calientes, ("hot water"; there is a hot spring on the outskirts of town that is popular with the backpacking crowd), would be our home base for the next three nights as we made two ascents up to Machu Picchu.  Two full days at the famous citadel!  That will be an adventure, for sure.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Austrian Hussar Regiment #11 - 1859

Year-to-Date, the 1859 Italian War of Independence project has seen more figures cross the painting desk than any other.  That continues today with the mustering out of four squadrons of the 11th Austrian Hussar Regiment.

Figures are from Lancashire Games and as with other cavalry from Lancashire, these hussars contain no command.  Excellent sculpting with virtually no flash although slightly smaller than Mirliton.

I ought to get this collection back onto the gaming table.  If not for a game, at least a photo log of the growth in the project over the last two years.

Many figures for this project saw a coat of primer this weekend as the weather turned cooler and more humid and thoughts turned towards winter.  With fall soon to turn to winter, time to lay in the supply of primed figures to hold my painting production through the long winter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ECW Battle of Southam - Ironsides

The final ruleset of the trilogy under scrutiny using the Battle of Southam as the baseline is Howard Whitehouse's Ironsides.  Actually, Whitehouse's Ironsides forms the foundation for my interpretation and amendments to his rules.  Earlier trials tested One-Hour Wargames (see Southam BatRep using OHW) and Basic Baroque Impetvs (see Southam BatRep using Impetvs).

As a reminder the battle began with the deployments illustrated in the photo below.
Initial deployment 
Parliamentarian Army under Lord Brooke leads off the battle by advancing his line from the heights.  Brooke's guns open up against Northampton's gun deployed near the river.  In a spot of excellent shooting or good luck, the Royalist gun is hit and retreats back across the river searching for safety among the buildings of town.  The Royalist gun was not to take any meaningful part in the remainder of the battle.
Royalist gun retreats to safety
Middleton's horse on the Royalist right charges towards Brooke's Left Wing horse under Fiennes.  Passing its Response Test, Fiennes' trotters counter charge as horse crash together.  Both horse regiments take casualties in an even fight.  With neither gaining an upper hand, both recall.
Middleton charges on the right
while Carnarvon charges on the left
Middleton v Fiennes
Keeping pressure on the Parly's left wing, Northampton's horse moves through Middleton and then launches a charge towards Fiennes.  Disordered from the clash with Middleton, Fiennes calls for his troopers to retreat from the hard-charging cavaliers.  Fiennes' troops just manage to stay out of reach of the Royalist horse as Northampton becomes disordered from the charge. 
Northampton Horse pass through Middleton
and targets Fiennes
but Fiennes avoids contact for now.
On the Royalist left wing, Carnarvon charges towards Goodwin's Horse opposite him.  Goodwin counter charges.  In the clash, both regiments suffer heavy casualties but Carnarvon suffers more and falls back in disorder.  Brooke's Right Wing horse under Goodwin pursues, catching Carnarvon in retreat.  Caught while falling back in disorder, Carnarvon's command scatters.
Carnarvon charges and Goodwin counters
Carnarvon caught in pursuit and destroyed
Seeing the destruction of Carnarvon, Clark leads his regiment of horse towards the now nearly exhausted horse of Goodwin.  Unable to respond, Goodwin's Horse is caught blown and cut down where they stand.   
Clark's Horse charges the blown horse of Goodwin
Caught blown, Goodwin is destroyed
Witnessing the destruction of Goodwin's Horse and with Clark bearing down on the nearest Roundhead Regiment of Foot, Brooke intervenes to stiff his regiment's resolve.  Brooke's Foot is able to form a hedgehog before Clark's Horse smashes into it.  Seeing the foot form hedgehog, Clark attempts to rein in his pursuit but hits Brooke's Foot, nonetheless.  Each combatant takes some casualties and Clark recalls away from the hedgehog.
Flush with victory, Clark targets Brooke's Foot
Luckily, Brooke is ready to repel the attacking horse
Horse v. a row of pikes
After light casualties, Clark recalls
Northampton takes initiative away from the Roundheads and presses on in the center with his foot while Clark withdraws out of musket range.  Not far enough from Fiennes' Horse to get up a full head of steam on the Royalist right, Northampton's Horse pursues the Roundhead horse who fails to stand in the face of the threat and retires.  Unfortunately, Fiennes is not able to fall back far enough and is caught by the pursuing Northampton.  Fiennes takes heavy casualties and flees the scene with the Cavaliers in hot pursuit.
Royalists advance in the center
while Northanpton attacks on the right
and scatters Fiennes' Horse
Having lost both cavalry wings, Brooke presses his foot forward in an attempt to defeat the Royalist center before Cavalier horse can return to the fight.  Lord Brooke joins his own regiment to rally them while Holles' Foot advances along the road to cover Brooke.  Hampden's Foot charges the dismounted dragoons near the main road.  The dragoons discharge their weapons to no effect before falling back in front of the Parly foot.
Parly foot advance in the center
Maintaining initiative Clark advances back into action on the Royalist left to threaten Brooke's Foot in hedgehog while Northampton's Foot charges the bristling hog.  To protect his comrades from a one-two punch from the Royalist horse and foot, Holles leads his regiment in a supporting charge.  Holles catches Northampton before he can contact Brooke.  With Northampton, himself, leading the charge, Holles' Foot is destroyed.  On the right center, the dragoons pour an effective volley into Hampden's advancing foot and the casualties suffered force Hampden to recoil.
Foot charge and counter charge
Holles intercepts Northampton
Seeing the destruction of Holles, both Brooke and Hampden disengage with Brooke making it back up onto the heights.  With Royalist horse in his rear and two horse, one dragoon, and one foot regiment to his fore, Brooke quits the field.
Roundhead foot retire
while Royalist forces press on.
A Royalist victory in an exciting and tactically interesting fight.  This game was decided in less than three full turns and played as quickly as any of the other two.  I would classify all three as fast play and all three produced entertaining contests.

Now that the soldiers have returned to their storage boxes, remaining to complete is a recap and summary of how these three sets of rules modeled the ECW battlefield.  What did I like and dislike about each?  What were their strengths and weaknesses?  After having played the same battle with three sets of rules, which set do I prefer?

From the BatReps from each of the three battles, which contest did the reader prefer and why?