Thursday, December 31, 2015

French Legere Skirmishers in 28mm

As noted in an earlier post recounting the completion of Battalion 2, 4th Legere Regiment (see 4th Legere Regiment), the first battalion did not carry its complement of two skirmish markers.  That oversight has now been corrected with two more figures for the 28mm Peninsular War project crossing over to the painted pile.  These two, Front Rank skirmishers will be fielded with the French 4th Legere Regiment, Battalion 1.
Also noted in the earlier post referenced above, I exceeded the 2015 goal of painting 200 28mm Napoleonics.  With more 28s in The Lead Pile and a few more handfuls in transit, 2016 will likely see more work on this project but not with the focus of 2015.  Of course, plans for 2016 are yet to be solidified. 

In addition to these skirmishers, three more units make it under the 2015 wire before the calendar turns over to 2016.  Presenting that trio of newly painted units must wait until 2016.  What made it just under the wire?  The last of the Class of 2015 includes 45 x 10mm ACW dismounted cavalry, 24 x 25mm Sikh infantry, and two 25mm SAW Gatling guns and crew.   

Although the clock has not struck midnight on the US West Coast, Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 28, 2015

10mm ACW Project on Review

With no activity seen coming from the 10mm ACW project in 2015, time to pull the figures from the boxes and assess the project's current status.  By no activity, I mean neither a game nor any newly painted and fielded units.  About 50 dismounted cavalry are presently on the painting desk but doubtful they can make it off the desk before year-end.  

Pulling the figures from boxes and arranging them as if on the parade ground, the photo below provides a high-level overview of the project.
The two armies appear to be in roughly equal proportion.  Checking the database shows counts as,
  • Federal Infantry                                  = 1,060
  • Confederate Infantry                           = 1,080
  • Federal Cavalry (w/mtd officers)         = 28
  • Confederate Cavalry (w/mtd officers)  = 33 
  • Federal Artillery                                  = 15 guns, 12 limbers/teams
  • Confederate Artillery                           = 15 guns, 12 limbers/teams

Yep, the sides are about equal.  Looking at the overview photo, three limbers and teams each need to be fielded to provide mobility for the guns without limbers.
When the collection was first fielded, each infantry brigade was based on one base holding 20 figures to fight larger "full battle" actions under Republic.  Later when Regimental Fire and Fury captured my attention, all figures were rebased to allow play under both rules' systems.  The rebasing essentially broke each 20 figure stand into two 10 figure stands.  In Republic, two infantry stands represent about 1,000 men in one Maneuver Unit.  In RFF, each infantry stand represents about 80 men with multiple stands comprising one Maneuver Unit.  Best of both worlds in that large and small scale battles can be refought using the same figures.
When wishing to fight large ACW battles, 10mm makes a great deal of sense.  Of course, the figure detailing is not as fine in the 10s as in the 25s but a lot of figures can be deployed onto the battlefield.
For this project, Old Glory began as the source for all of the figures and I have attempted to keep it solely an Old Glory force.  The 10mm Old Glory infantry come in blocks of five men each rather than individual figures.  Blocks of figures vs individual figures is a choice to consider when considering 10mm.  I have seen comments touting the pros and cons of both.  I like the way in which Old Glory presents infantry in blocks of five.  Of course, YMMV.
Once the dismounted cavalry are completed, these two forces will be ready for more table top action.  More mounted cavalry could be pressed into service but, perhaps, not many more.  Perhaps adding in a few more guns too?  Thoughts of an ACW campaign have been mulling over in my head.  Whatever the decision, I should make an effort to get these fine troops back into battle in 2016.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

State of the Painting Desk

Four different projects are currently seeing progress on the painting desk as 2015 winds down.  Those four projects witnessing action are:
  • 28mm Peninsula War - two French legere skirmishers left out of the earlier deployment of the 4th Legere Regiment
  • 25mm Great Game Project - 24 Sikh infantry
  • 25mm Spanish American War project - two Gatling guns and crew
  • 28mm Reconquista project - four camel troopers. 
Quite a variety but all common to the 25/28mm size.  Will these muster off the painting desk before 2015 takes its last breath?  I think so.

While too early for me to plan and then commit towards plans for 2016 painting goals, my year-end thoughts have been drawn to a notion of attempting to focus painting output on 15/18mm projects.  High on that Wish List sits the 1799 and 1859 projects.  Add in the SYW and Samurai Battles projects and 2016 could be wholly consumed by 15/18mm grist for the painting mill.  Without the 2015 analytics to back up my hypothesis, seems much of 2015 output concentrated on 25/28mm figures.  Was that the situation?  I will confirm in a week or two when the annual painting totals are tallied.

Over the last several weeks, a number of wargaming items have plopped into my mailbox.  Books, games, rules, figures, and supplies are a few of the categories having been deposited.  Likely, at least a few of these will be recounted in coming posts.

Finally, holiday social activities continue tonight with card games (no wargaming fare, though) with friends and family followed by a wargaming session on Sunday.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

With the tree standing guard in the library and stockings hanging heavily by the fireplace, I await the activities of the day.  For my wife and I, Christmas Day consists of two assaults.  The first assault comes ashore at 0900 as children, spouses, and grand kids arrive for a morning of exchanging gifts and Christmas breakfast.  For breakfast, I am on duty as short-order cook as I prepare made-to-order omelettes for the breakfast bar.  After Wave One activities subside, we clear the decks to prepare for Wave Two.  The second assault commences Christmas evening with our traditional Christmas dinner when family and friends reconvene.

Today will be a busy day filled with festivities and preparation.  For now, however, a few hours of solitude remain before the house awakens.  Just enough time for an enjoyable and quiet session at the painting desk.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ikko Ikki in 15mm

As alluded to in the prior post, brushwork continues on the 15mm Samurai Battles project.  The second, Japanese unit off the painting desk this week, is a 19 figure stand of Ikko Ikki from Peter Pig.  This unit is made up of a mix of peasant farmers of both armored and unarmored varieties.
Rather than using Dullcote as typical, I have been giving each finished unit in the Samurai Battles project a clear, top coat of satin finish.  To me, the satin finish enhances the look of the lacquered armor.  In the case of the bareheaded Ikko Ikki, it makes their heads shine too!
This is a fun project and good to see action at the painting desk.  Many more bags of Japanese remain to hit the painting table.  Completing these two units motivates me to get this collection out onto the gaming table again.  With the next game employ these forces using Samurai Battles or Impetvs?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Japanese Bowmen in 15mm

Having spent most of the last two months generating a steady stream of 28mm figures from the painting desk, time to give the smaller size figures a turn at the brush.  Inspired by Christopher's recent Ashigaru warriors (see Bunker Hill: Ashigaru), a handful of Peter Pig Ashigaru bowmen were prepped for the painting desk.
When I first saw Christopher's fine work, I was immediately struck by the effect of the russet lacquered armor and brownish theme.  I loved it!  Since my Samurai project fields Ashigaru foot stands in a brigade consisting of one Teppo, one bow, and two spear, a brigade in russet lacquer would make a handsome addition.
With the first unit in the Russet Brigade mustered out, I stick to the Samurai project but switch from painting another of the Russet Brigade to a unit of Ikko Ikki.  Those peasant farmers should be ready before Christmas arrives.

Christopher, thank you for your inspiring brushwork and eye for color!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Russian Commanders for the Great Game

With regulars, Cossacks, and natives to lead into battle, the fledgling Russian Great Game force requires some leadership.  Having the potential for a NWF game during the Christmas holiday, Russian commanders were lacking and a few good men needed to be pressed into service soon.  To that end, two command stands muster from the painting desk.  Figures are from Wargames Foundry's Crimean War range.

While two, 15mm units of 17th Century Japanese (one Ikko Ikki, one Ashigaru bowmen) are in work, one more unit for the Great Game project awaits in the wings.  Ready to jump onto the painting desk once the Japanese depart is 1 x 24 figure battalion of Sikhs.  Perhaps this native battalion can fall out for service before the game takes place? 

Motivated by my continued reading of Guelzo's, Gettysburg The Last Invasion, I am tackling one of the missing links in the 10mm ACW project.   That missing component is dismounted cavalry.  Fifty or so of these tiny troopers are getting the primer today.  With the inspiration generated by Guelzo and to take a break from the painting desk, thoughts of pulling the 10mm ACW project from storage boxes and arraying them for parade are being entertained.  By the way, thus far, Guelzo's account of the battle is a good one.

Friday, December 18, 2015

4th Legere Regiment

With 2015 winding down, I closed the lid and nailed the box shut on one of my 2015 goals.  That goal was to complete 200 28mm Napoleonics during the year.  I made it, but just.  Painting log shows 157 foot, 41 horse, 8 artillerymen, and 2 guns completed in 2015.  The project has now reached a count of slightly under 900 figures.  What began as a notion for a small side project has exploded into a full-fledged project.  How quietly the project has grown!
Rolling off the painting desk is the second battalion of the French 4th Legere Regiment.  These 18 figures (16 in close order and two as skirmishers) are Front Rank figures. 
As I pulled the 1st battalion from the storage box, I rummaged through all of the other boxes in search of the skirmishers for the first battalion.  None to be found.  Since each light battalion should carry a complement of two skirmishers, two more legere skirmishers need to go into the painting queue.  Those two AWOL skirmishers should muster out before year-end. 
Hopefully, 2016 will see this collection back in action on the Peninsula.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

An Early Christmas?

For the wargamer of the hex and counter variety, one holiday tradition to mark on the calendar is Multi-Man Publishing's annual Black Friday sale.  Each year a number of games are discounted, some having deep discounts from retail pricing.  The 2015 Black Friday sale was no exception.  An inventory SNAFU at MMP HQ caused one game to sell out almost immediately.  Unfortunately for me, that was one of the games on my list.  Despite the initial disappointment in the unavailability of one game, I made good use of the sale.  A handful of interesting games were added to the collection.  After a wait of about three weeks, the games arrived.

The sale offers an opportunity to try new titles in series I already enjoy or try a new game in an untried series.  This year, I picked up:

Marengo and Talavera in the Napoleonic Brigade Series.  I have tried Austerlitz and Marengo in this series but Marengo was sold years' ago.  Maybe this will rekindle an interest in this now, seemingly dead series?

South Mountain and A Fearful Slaughter from the Regimental Sub-Series.  I have not given this series a try but The Gamers' earlier Civil War Brigade Series is one of my all-time favorites.

Speaking of Civil War Brigade Series, Three Battles of Manassas was picked up.  While I have the much older Augury Fury covering the Second Battle of Manassas, this was a chance to get the updated components including the First Battle of Manassas and a hypothetical Third Battle of Manassas.
No Question of Surrender from the Grand Tactical Series is unknown to me.  Game scale is based on company level actions during WWII

Leros - from the Tactical Combat Series offers a look at WWII actions at the regimental level with a battle covering several historical days.  Leros is a game that I have had my eye on since its release in 1996.  Twenty years later, I finally made the move to give the series a try.  

Kingdom of Heaven is a card driven, point-to-point movement game of the Crusades 1097-1291.  While reviews rate this one very highly as game on its own, I have thoughts of using it as a campaign engine. 

Like Kingdom of Heaven, A Most Dangerous Time is an area movement game set during Feudal Japan, 1570-1584.  In this game, I definitely hope to find an interesting and challenging campaign engine from which to generate battles that can be transferred to the gaming table. 

The Tide at Sunrise is a game of the Russo-Japanese War using divisions and brigades as the maneuver land elements and individual, capital ships for the naval conflict.  Beautiful map and components on a period I know very little.  This looks to offer a good source for generating battles for the tabletop. 

That is a handsome haul.  Now, which one will be tested first?  Many good  possibilities.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Pair of French HA Guns

Following the Vistula Legion off the painting desk are two French horse artillery guns.  The addition of these two models and crew will increase the mobility of the existing French artillery arm of the Peninsular War project.  Figures are by Front Rank.
On the painting desk is an 18 figure battalion of French legere.  When the legere are completed, the 2015 goal of 200 x 28mm Napoleonics with be achieved too.
After the legere move over to the painted side of the ledger, the 28mm project may get a hiatus while other projects get their turn with the brush.  Well, the project will likely see a brief return once a few handfuls of Murawski Badeners arrive. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Peruvian Highlands - Machu Picchu Day 1

A continuing saga of my June 2015 Peru Adventure:

Using Aguas Calentes (see Aguas Calientes) as a base camp for two days on the Machu Picchu mountain, we prepared for Day 1 at the Citadel.  Following is a brief pictorial of the highlights at the Citadel on our first day at the famous ruins.

After a good night's sleep and an enjoyable breakfast of eggs, meats, cheeses, and fruits, our trio collected our box lunches provided by the hotel and headed to the bus station.  Although we did not get on the earliest bus heading to the Machu Picchu citadel departing at 0530, we did catch the 0630 bus and arrived at the Visitor's Center by 0700.

Since we held tickets to climb Huayna Picchu at 10:00, three hours were left for ruins exploration before we needed to queue up near the Sacred Rock.

To orient the photos to the layout of the citadel, below is Moon's map of Machu Picchu.  On our exploration of the site, we used this map as guide to find our way around the ruins.
After passing through the turnstiles, a short walk led to the main Visitor's Entrance.  Rather than follow that path into the ruins, we made a hard left up the hill along a winding trail.  That trail led to the terraces overlooking the Caretaker's Hut.
First glimpse of ruins
Caretaker's Hut looking to Huayna Picchu

Caretaker's Hut from terrace below
First look at the Machu Picchu Citadel
before it is enveloped in sunshine
Machu Picchu Citadel
Citadel clinging to the saddle between two mountains
Main Gate entrance from Inca Trail
Descending down towards the Main Square
Sacred Square.  Notice two different styles of stone work.
Caretaker's Hut in background seen from Main Square
with quarry in foreground.

Intihuatana under ever vigilant watch.
First ever abstract art work?
Main Square with huts near Sacred Rock
 at base of Huayna Picchu
Sacred Rock
With 1000 approaching, it was time to make our way over to the Sacred Rock to queue up for the assault on Huayna Picchu.  Only 400 climbers per day are allowed to scale the mountain in 2 x 200 person groups.  After giving the climb a valiant effort, the combination of the altitude and steepness of the climb proved too much for my wife (Nancy).  Nancy turned back just before the steepest and most treacherous part of the ascent.  In addition to narrow, rocky pathways and steep pitches and traverses, the trail included scaling ladders and passing through a very tight tunnel.  To negotiate the tunnel, I had to take off my backpack and push it ahead of me.

Ascent begins
View of Machu Picchu from the ascent of Huayna Picchu
More climbing with Store House
 at top of photo
View of valley far below
View of Machu Picchu from above on Huayna Picchu

The tunnel looms ahead.
Photo Op of climbers emerging from tunnel
Still more climbing to do
Time for a breather from my perch
Placard just below the summit
View of the Store House from above
Descending is as challenging as the ascent.
Descending backwards on all fours!
Back at the Main Square
for a quick bite of lunch and a rest
Walking along foot path
with Temple of Sun (rounded building) in background.
Feeling a bit fatigued by mid-afternoon, we headed back to the Visitor's Center to catch the shuttle bus back down to Aguas Calientes.  The plan for the next day spent at the Citadel was a hike to Inti Punku (The Sun Gate), a hike to the Incan Drawbridge, and a final stroll around the citadel ruins.