Friday, November 27, 2015

Landsknecht Artillery

Rolling off the painting desk is one Landsknecht gun and crew.  Such puffy costumes would certainly be a constant hazard during gun drill.
When I purchased Phil's Great Italian Wars collection in FEB 2015, a handful of artillery crew were painted but without accompanying guns.  By painting and fielding this gun, four of the unemployed artilleryman can be mustered out for the project.  The figures are Old Glory and well animated.
Unlike the two based guns and crew present in the collection at purchase, I gave this stand a treatment of Minwax.  I think the stain looks good on the figures and gun and provides a bit more depth even though Phil's excellent highlighting adds much depth already.
L-R: Minwax, No Minwax, No Minwax

Hopefully Phil will approve!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ufa Russian Cossacks

Work continues on fielding a gameable, opposition force in Kevin's Great Game project.  Following the Russian hussars seen earlier in the month, today a dozen Wargames Foundry Russian Cossacks depart the painting desk.

As all of the Foundry figures in the Crimean War range, these light cavalry are well formed.  The only issue I have with these sculpts is that the ponies' tails are very fragile.  I lost quite a few during shipping and then later during painting.  Hopefully, epoxy will keep most of the tails intact during the rigors of gaming.  If not, they might just be bobbed!  A second dozen of these fine chaps await in The Lead Pile to offer reinforcements when needed.

I will stick the this project for one more unit before moving on to something else.  On the workbench are two dozen Sikhs in their summer (dirty) whites.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

MMP's Black Friday Sale!

In what has become an annual tradition at Multi-Man Publishing (MMP), the annual Black Friday Sale has been announced (see MMP Announcement). 

For those who also enjoy wargames of the hex boardgame variety, MMP offers many interesting titles at deep discounts for Friday, November 27 only.  Even if you do not play hex wargames, many of the titles can be used as reference materials for tabletop miniatures gaming.  I see a few to add to my shopping cart on Black Friday.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another Project Awakens

One situation having the ability to bring a languishing project back to life is a game on the table.  That is exactly what transpired following the recent Chain of Command game. 

I have a small 28mm WWII force individually based for skirmish-level games but the guys I game with never really found a set of rules at the level we liked.  I think that changed with the introduction to CoC.  In the past we tried Nuts! and perhaps a few others but Nuts! was not to our collective liking. 
My existing WWII project consisted of about 50 figures equally split between Germans and British and begun at the time we were considering WWII small unit tactical games.  These fellows last saw the paint brush in 2012 and have never seen action in a game.  Given the OB of CoC, my existing troops were not sufficient to form two playable forces.  To remedy that deficiency and provide myself two forces for solo play, 18 figures hit the painting desk.  To bring each side up to three sections or squads, a dozen Brits and half-dozen Germans needed a coat of paint.  Figures are Black Tree Design.

Below is the photo of the two platoons arrayed for review.  The Germans could use a panzershreck team and it appears I fielded one surplus rifleman for each of the LMG teams.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Has This Happened to You?

I always keep one eye monitoring eBay for books and wargames of interest.  Often old games and books can be purchased at great bargains.  Other times, their collectibility drives the price up as bidding interest rises.  Some times bargains are bargains;  other times, not.

I recently held the winning bid for an old GDW Europa Marita Merkur game.  The contents were advertised as unpunched, unused with the game box listed in VG condition.  When the package arrived, this is what I pulled out of the packaging.

The game's contents were exactly as described.  That is, the counters were unpunched and the game was clearly unused with maps still crisply folded.

Of course, the seller stated the box was in VG condition when it left and I suppose I should give the benefit of the doubt.  But, the game was shipped in a padded envelope.  Who ships boxed wargames in a padded envelope?  Oh, shipping charge paid was 40% over actual shipping too.

I could file a claim and return the game but given the price paid I lean towards keeping the game as is.

How would the reader respond and what feedback would you leave for the seller?

Update 22NOV2015:  After reviewing the photos of the damaged game, seller refunded 100% of shipping charge as compensation.  Seller responded quickly to resolve.  Seller will change packaging from envelope to box in future sales.   Although game box is in tatters, the components are still minty fresh and a good bargain.  I left positive feedback for seller.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

1859 Austrian IR#37

Having survived Tuesday's wicked windstorm (gusts topping 70mph!) with some damage to property, work returns briefly to the 1859 project as the grenadier battalion of IR#37 marches off from the painting desk.  These 18 figures complete the four battalions of IR#37.  Figures are Old Glory as are almost all of the Austrians for this project, thus far.  One or two battalions of Lancashire Games' Austrians have been fielded and a number of Lancashire Austrians remain to get their swipe of the paint brush. 
In the painting queue for the 1859 project are more Lancashire French infantry and Old Glory Turcos and Zouaves.  The Turcos and Zouaves will add some interesting color to the already quite colorful French army.  Unfortunately for the 1859 project, other projects are vying for attention too.  Next off the painting desk will be 28mm WWII Germans and British to round out one platoon of each for Chain of Command.  Those WWII figures will be closely followed off the painting desk by a dozen Foundry Cossacks for the Great Game.
Having nearly three years passed since the last Pass-in-Review of the 1859 project (see Pass-in-Review DEC 2012), it is time to hold another such event.  By my calculation, the project has nearly doubled in size in those three, intervening years with a steady stream of units making it across the painting desk.  This would be a good exercise to set aside for the long Thanksgiving weekend fast approaching.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Early French from CGM in 18mm

Although my 1799 project has seen limited progress in 2015 (yes, work on the 1799 project was one of my 2015 goals), Campaign Games Miniatures' (CGM) recent release of early French in bicorne prompted a quick order to investigate.

Having ordered and received figures from Dermot at CGM in Barcelona in the past, I knew both service and sculpts would be first rate.  In fact, Dermot went way above the call of duty in an attempt to connect me with an order while I was traveling in Spain in 2011.  That is another story!  

On the CGM website, photos of the unpainted lead are encouraging.  Two styles are offered in either a selection of march attack or advancing poses.  Multiple poses within each classification.
French advance
(CGM website)
French March attack
(CGM website)
Website photos encouraging?  The figures look brilliant to me.  Additionally, grenadiers have the choice of either wearing bicorne of bearskin.

Once the order from CGM arrived with a seven day delivery from Spain to Washington State, USA, I examined the figures.  Very nice!  Including shipping charge, cost per figure for a small order of 24 figures worked out to USD$0.61 each.  Very competitive!

Since my 1799 project is primarily composed of AB Miniatures with plans for adding Eureka's Napoleonic Saxons as Piedmontese (and perhaps as French too), I laid out these three manufacturers' Napoleonics for a quick Comparison.
As seen in the above photo, CGM figures match very well with AB and Eureka.  The Eureka Saxon fusilier looks smaller than either of the AB or CGM fusiliers but that is a bit misleading.  The Eureka grenadier (second from right) looks fine alongside the AB figure.  Other Eureka fusilier poses match much more closely.  CGM, having good sculpts at an economical cost, can expect more orders from the Western USA.

To see how these figures can be rendered in competent hands, see the photo below from CGM's website (

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Minden Prussians in 28mm

Remember the arrival of Fife & Drum Kickstarter from nearly two years ago (see Fife & Drum Kickstarter Delivers!)?  Well, a battalion of 32 (!) Prussian musketeers starting from this pile of lead finally made it into the painting queue,

and mustered out as this,

For me, a 32 figure battalion is much larger than I typically care to tackle in 28mm (actually 1/56th) but I was anxious to see how a large battalion might look on my table.  Good, I think!

With rose facings, this battalion takes the field as the 18th Musketeer Regiment, battalion #1.  As seen from the photo of raw lead, I still have work to do.  Enough figures remain to field the second Battalion of the 18th as well as a grenadier battalion.
The Minden's are very handsome figures with crisp detailing.  Ok, really the figures are brilliant!  The realistic proportions yielded more than a few broken bayonets on the slender muskets but acceptable losses.

What are my plans for these fine fellows?  Having a large SYW collection in 18mm already in work, producing enough figures for a SYW project in 28mm is unlikely.  Not impossible, but unlikely.  I am well aware of the twists, turns, and pitfalls leading down that path.

For now, this has been an interesting diversion and prompts me to put a few more of these "orphan" units into the painting queue.  Another possible inclusion into the painting queue is an "orphan" Eureka French Revolutionary War Austrian Fusilier battalion.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chain of Command - First Game

Having laid out the scenario on the game table beforehand, Scott arrived with rules, figures, and markers in hand and we could begin once Kevin arrived.  He arrived shortly thereafter with goodies to sustain us until lunch.

Since this was our first game of Chain of Command (CoC), Scott would adjudicate while Kevin and I took on the active player roles.  Kevin would command the U.S troops.  I would command the Germans.

During the Patrol Phase, the German commander aggressively lit out for the farm in an effort to channel and hinder the U.S. approach.  Without interference from the American commander, the German player established one Jump Off Point (JOP) at the house with the second JOP back at the start line in the orchard.  The American was content to deploy his JOPs astride the road near the board edge.
JOPs established
One German squad deployed in the house with the LMG behind the protection of the stone wall.  The other two German squads were deployed on either side of the road near the orchard.
One German squad in the house
Two German squads in the orchard
The Americans drew first action to open up the engagement and quickly ripped through both the LMG hunkered behind the wall and the squad deployed within the house.  The stone wall was no match for .30 cal bullets.  What withering fire!  Lucky bastard!  Within minutes the LMG was knocked out.  Only two of the original squad survived that first fusillade.  Ouch!

While the Junior Leader sought cover behind the house, the sole surviving squad member broke back towards the orchard.  While LMG teams covered the field, one German team crossed the hedge and advanced to reinforce the house.
German team moves to support broken squad
With the Germans at the house broken and running and the Americans seemingly content to remain behind their covering hedge, the German Platoon Leader ordered the house to be reoccupied.  The German JOP at the house is back under German control while the Platoon Leader leads the LMG team onto the tree-lined road and sets up.  Not a minute too soon!  Americans breach the hedgerow and begin to advance across the open. 
House secured
At this point in the firefight, the Germans pulled off three initiatives in a row.  That bit of good fortune allowed the Germans to bring the firepower of their LMG in the treeline and squad in the house onto the advancing Americans.  Caught under heavy fire in the open, the Americans took heavy casualties and broke in the center.  The American left was also driven back with light casualties but heavy shock.

Bringing the BAR on the American right back into play, the German LMG on the road was driven off while bullets riddled the walls of the house.  At this point, we called the game a tactical American victory.  Could the Germans have salvaged the situation, possibly, but it was time for lunch.    

What did I think of the first game?  Well, I thought it played brilliantly!  I could easily translate action on the table to the situation.  Tactics seemed to work and make sense.  This is the first WWII skirmish level game to which I can honestly make this claim.  Mechanisms are easy to pick up and quite intuitive.  Straightforward game play without a lot of clutter and overhead.  The Patrol Phase was an interesting twist and provided a game within a game.  Machine gun fire is brutal.  Soldiers were dropping on both sides by the handful.  To reduce the body count, we will have to employ less lethal tactics.  

With each combatant limited to a basic force of one infantry platoon, only about 30 figures per side are required.  Easy to accomplish.  My small force of singly mounted WWII figures is almost enough to field both sides for action now.  One more German LMG and a few British infantry are all that are needed to muster one platoon each.  You can bet I placed those few figures into the painting queue soon after the game.

I enjoyed this game immensely and look forward to more.  

Great fun!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Landsknecht in 54mm

In a departure from the usual painting activities, something new was tackled this week.  What was that?  A metal figure in 54mm crossed the painting desk.
On a whim, I purchased a couple of 54mm figures from eBay.  At first, I was unsure whether to leave the figure in its natural state of bare metal with a nice patina or paint the figure.  For the Landsknecht with halberd, I opted to give him a coat of paint.
First, the sculpting detail on the figure is remarkable.  Crisp lines with deep undercuts and no flash.  Nice!  The results turned out pleasing too.

What will I do with him now?  For now, he will adorn my desk.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Foundry Russian Hussars

Earlier painting efforts at fielding Russian squadrons of the 12th Dragoons mustered eight figures.  With instructions to field cavalry in twelve figure units, four more hussars were needed.
The last of October's painting work to pass off the desk were four more Russian hussars.  As the other eight before these, figures are Wargames Foundry.  Excellent sculpts and I am really enjoying painting the Russians from this line of figures.  Below is the regiment mustering out at full strength.

Next up for this project (but still farther down in the painting queue) will be a unit of twelve Russian Cossacks.  Sculpting on the Cossacks is equally nice but the tails on the Russian ponies have a annoying tendency to snap off at the rump.  We will see if they survive the rigors of gaming.   

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Chain of Command - First Trial

After seemingly years of talking about Chain of Command, we will finally be giving the rules a trial on NOV 7.  Scott is developing the scenario and leading the pack through the rules.  Since I will be hosting the game, Scott sent his scenario map from which to lay out the gaming table.
Scott's scenario map
Using a bit of artistic license to conform to the terrain available, Saturday's game will look like the photo below:
Pretty close but I see now that the orchard could be extended bit.

All we know of the scenario thus far, is,
The scenario will be an advance by an 29th Division infantry platoon against scattered German resistance.   
Looking forward to Saturday's game.