Monday, May 30, 2016

Italian Pike Block -GIW

Anticipating an upcoming opportunity to get the Great Italian Wars project onto the gaming table this summer, stepping off the painting desk is a block of Italian pike.
On three stands, these 39 figures represent an Italian pike block in Impetvs.  Large and unwieldy with 37 chances of literally getting "stuck in."  With a footprint of 120mm x 180mm, the block has trouble squeezing into the photo booth.
Figures are all from The Assault Group (TAG) and are nicely detailed with little flash.  TAG offers figures in a variety of poses with varying armor and clothing presentations.  Having not seen may TAG figures, my impression based on this limited sample is that TAG are more svelte than either Old Glory or Wargames Foundry.  Without question, the figures will look compatible on the battlefield with these other manufacturers' figures in nearby formations.  Truly excellent sculpting!
To support this fine block of pikemen, on the painting desk are two stands of TAG arquebusiers.  The handgunners will be presented as skirmishers to lend firepower to the pike.  Also in the The Lead Pile can be found a few Italian archers and crossbowmen.  These will make it into the painting queue over time.  With luck, the collection will see action in June.  If not June then summer for sure.  Well, that is my hope...    

Friday, May 27, 2016

Austrian 8th Hussar Regiment

From one of AB Miniatures more recent releases comes the Austrian 8th Hussar Regiment for the 1799 project.
These twelve hussars muster out as four squadrons of the 8th Hussar Regiment.  Figures are from AB's growing 18mm Austrian Revolutionary War range.  Outstanding sculpts with great flow of motion in the charging pose.
The project could use a few more hussar regiments like these.  Fielding more hussars will require a resupply from Eureka.  No worries. My Eureka shopping list is growing quickly as I paint my way through the inventory.  For now, a second regiment of Austrian dragoons/chevauleger in bicorne is awaiting their turn at the brush.  There may be enough figures in The Lead Pile to field two more bicorne wearing dragoons.   
Cavalry in bicorne seemed to phase out after 1798 so chevauleger and dragoons will likely be recruited from the post-1798 cavalry donning the classical helmet.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

State of the Painting Desk

On the painting desk this evening, I near completion of a large tranche (for me, anyway) of figures for the Great Italian Wars project.  The 28mm figures are from The Assault Group's (TAG) Renaissance range.  Outstanding sculpting with a more slender build than either Old Glory or Foundry.  These figures will look fine on the gaming table along with the other manufacturers' works.
Coming in at 39 figures, these Italian pikemen will form 3 x 13 figure, Impetvs-sized stands to form one pike block.  This is a lot of figures to contend with on the painting desk especially considering the unwieldiness of the pikes.  I look forward arraying these lads onto their bases and lining them up into one block.  First a Minwax treatment is due for these guys.  

At some point, complementing this pike block will be a couple of 'S' class stands of arquebus and crossbowmen.  These forthcoming missile troops will also be supplied by TAG.

Before work on the pike block finishes up, a twelve figure regiment of Austrian hussars for the 1799 project will see the inside of the photo booth.  

NB: Phil suggested the pikemen should be wearing gloves to protect hands from the pike.  I agree but saw no gloves modeled on the figures.  I considered repainting as suggested but remembered my painting inspiration for these TAG figures.  That inspiration was Funcken's cover of The Age of Chivalry Part II seen below.  Note the fellows are all barehanded.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

French Heavy Cavalry for 1799 Project

After a succession of four 28mm units for Napoleonics and Great Italian Wars project, back to 18mm projects for now. 
This dozen horsemen are Saxons from Eureka Miniatures' 1806 Saxon range pressed into service as early French heavy cavalry.  The sculpting is first rate and the facial detailing is especially pleasing.  As always with Eureka Miniatures, the horses are little gems.  Bigger than most but top notch modeling.  Eureka definitely make my favorite horses. 
These four squadrons muster out as the 2nd Cavalry.  Enough figures remain in The Lead Pile to field another such four-squadron regiment.

Fielding a 1799 game was a goal for 2016 and that objective is growing near.  The cavalry arm in the project is seeing good progress in 2016.  Getting close to picking a battle to refight and put the finishing touches on an OB and painting schedule.

Next up will be an Austrian regiment of hussars for the project. Any guess as to which hussar regiment goes under the brush first?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Podcast Spotlight - Carlin's Hardcore History

Often my commute from Spokane to Seattle and evenings in the hotel are spent listening to the Teaching Company's Great Courses.  The lectures are an excellent means of making  the 300 mile one-way drive pass much more quickly.  This week's journey heard Machiavelli In Context in the CD player.  This is perhaps the second or third time through this series for me.  Still fascinating with each listening.  With each playing, I become more tempted to pick up a copy of Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy.

After a number of recommendations from friends,  I finally took a listen to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History (see: Hardcore History).  Both Scott and Jake have recommended Carlin's series more than once.  What finally pushed me to giving it a listen was a recent two part series on the Achaemenid Persian rulers.

In two, four hour episodes, Carlin weaves a very interesting and entertaining tale of the Persian empire.  Carlin is a fascinating storyteller and had me riveted to the podcasts throughout.  Putting ancient Persian dynastic history into a contemporary context makes the lessons learned relevant for today's modern listener.  Cyrus the Great as Henry Ford?  Yep, that analogy is included.  
Did I mention that Carlin's delivery and tale weaving was fascinating?  It is! His storytelling is every bit as well executed as many of the Great Courses offerings.
Great stuff and highly recommended.  Perfect accompaniment as background listening during painting sessions.  Almost certainly I am a late comer to this quality series but well worth the time invested.  Are there other historical podcasts that readers recommend?

No painting for me this week, however.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Foundry Handgunners for Great Italian Wars

The last of the three units in this group of Great Italian Wars work rolls off the painting desk.  This time, a second stand of arquebusiers of class 'T' missile troops for Impetvs.  Figures are Wargames Foundry.
Three stands have been added to the project in May and one more group is presently under work.  The group in work is a large one, though.  On deck are 39 TAG pikemen for a three stand Impetvs pike block.  The TAG figures are delightful to paint and I await seeing the finished product.  Thirty-nine is a big bite to chew so it may take a couple of weeks to get it off the painting desk.  In the meantime, smaller painting projects are in work.
  Until next time.

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Quintuplet of Gendarmes

As noted in the prior post, more Great Italian Wars figures are in the painting pipeline.  Off the painting desk today is a five figure stand of heavily armored Gendarmes.  Based for Impetvs, these lads will offer additional mounted might to the project.  Figures are Wargames Foundry.
In this latest painting theme on Italian Wars project, one more stand of handgunners awaits in the wings.  Enough Foundry Gendarmes remain in The Lead Pile to field one more such unit.  The painting queue also holds a 39 figure pike block of TAG Italians waiting their turn at the brush.  Forty figures is a big group to tackle at one go.  I may break this daunting effort down into 3 x 13 figure stands.  Before the pikemen are tackled, painting returns to the 1799 project to field two more cavalry regiments.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Arquebusiers for Great Italian Wars

While trying to maintain a focus on 15/18mm painting outputs, my painting activities keep being drawn back towards the completion of 28mm figures.  In particular, my recent attention has turned towards augmenting the Great Italian Wars project.
The first, in at least three Italian Wars units in the painting queue, is a nine figure stand of arquebusiers for use in Impetvs.  These nine will form a 'T' stand of missile troops of the closer order variety.  Currently, all arquesbusiers in the project are of the skirmisher variety.  It will be interesting to see the impact of close order handgunners on the Renaissance battlefield using Impetvs.
A second stand of arquebusier is under construction to be followed by a unit of mounted gendarmes.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Honours of War - First Impressions

Jake came over last Last Saturday to give Honours of War (HoW) by Keith Flint an initial spin on the gaming table.  The testing of a new set of rules offered an opportunity to get my little used  SYW collection back out onto the gaming table.  Last time the 18mm SYW collection saw light of the gaming table was two years ago when they were employed in giving Maurice a test run.
Since the Battle Kolin was used in the first test of Maurice and I could put the table together quickly, Kolin was chosen for the initial test of HoW.  With Freddy on the attack and outnumbered, perhaps Kolin is not the best scenario selection for testing a new set of rules but I pressed on anyway.

Using the OB from Maurice gives the following troop forces and their ratings:
2 x Grenz light infantry  - Standard
1 x Grenadier - Superior
8 x Musketeer - Standard
3 x Cuirassier - Superior
2 x Hussar - Inferior
2 x Dragoon - Standard
5 x Artillery - Superior

2 x Grenadier - Superior
5 x Musketeer - Standard
2 x Curiassier - Superior
2 x Hussar - Standard
1 x Dragoon - Standard
3 x Artillery - Standard
After making note of the specific National Characteristics for each combatant, we were ready to begin.  No rosters were needed to track characteristics or casualties.
Initial - Austrians on left, Prussians on right
The Austrians hold both the high ground and the numerical advantage.  The Prussians hold a slight quality advantage and a command advantage.  Based on the earlier, Maurice, replay of Kolin, Freddy has a tough row to hoe in this one.

HoW is played in a series of Igo-Ugo activations.  After determining who holds initiative for movement, each commander alternates between activating either one brigade or one independent unit.  Units moving suffer a firing penalty during the later Fire Phase.  Before each formation moves, it must check its Command Performance.  Unit performance is based on its commander's rating crossed referenced with a die roll.  Commanders may be classified as Dithering, Dependable, or Dashing.  A unit's move performance is then rated as one of Feeble, Poor, Steady, Admirable, or Inspiring.  A Feeble performance necessitates movement away from the enemy if half or more of a brigade has at least one hit.  At the upper end of the performance spectrum, an Inspiring result allows a brigade to make a double move.
Units may charge and counter charge.  Some counter charges are automatic and some require a successful die roll.  Targets of a charge may also attempt to change facing or formation.  Targets of a charge may fire at their attacker and other units may use "crossing-fire" during their opponent's movement.       
Once all move activations are completed, commanders roll to determine initiative for the Fire Phase.  Like movement, activations are by brigade and alternate with the other player.  Winner gets to activate and resolve fire with one brigade first.  Casualties are not simultaneous but if a target is forced to retreat, it holds its ground until it has the opportunity to return fire.
Infantry have two firing ranges of Short or Long while artillery have three ranges of Canister, Short, and Long.  Infantry battalions can either have battalion guns inherent in the battalion or not.  If battalion guns are present, long range is increased from 10cm out to 16cm.

Casualties are inflicted by cross-referencing the firing unit's Class (Superior, Standard, Inferior) with the result of one average die.  About two dozen modifiers may modify the average die.  When a unit suffers five casualties, it routs one move and then is lifted from the table during the Rally Phase.  There are no stand or casualty removals in this game.  The unit's footprint remains intact until eliminated.  Perfect setup for my single BMU SYW basing.
Target units react to fire dependent upon the number of casualties carried.  Two or fewer total casualties, the unit responds as normal.  Three hits and the unit suffers a -1 penalty in both fire and melee.  Four hits causes the target to retreat at least one move but not more than two moves.  Reformation is required before rejoining battle.  As noted earlier, a unit accumulating five hits is "Done For" and removed from play during Rally Phase after a rout move back.  

For units in contact, melee is resolved after the Fire Phase is finished.  A unit may only be attacked by one opposing unit per face (sector in HoW terms and refers to front, flank, rear).  Melee is resolved using the same table as Fire with a different set of modifiers.  Melee rounds continue until contact is broken.  Both units participating in melee may break contact in the same round resulting in both units scampering off.  Cavalry may pursue and cause great destruction to a retreating foe especially if the retreating unit passes through supports.
The final act of each turn is the Rally Phase.  In this, units may attempt to remove hits it has suffered.  Superior and Standard Class units may rally off one hit if distance from enemy is between 15cm and 30cm.  These units farther than 30cm from enemy rally off two hits.  Inferior Class units may only rally off one hit if distance to enemy is greater than 30cm.  Units may never rally off their initial hit.  A CiC may rally off one additional hit from one unit withing 3cm.  Dashing leaders may rally an additional two hits from one of its subordinate units.
So, how did HoW play out?  Given that this was our first trial with the rules, the game progressed smoothly with an occasional stop to pinpoint an answer to a question in the rules.  Most game mechanisms seemed straightforward and quickly learned.  Player interactions were frequent keeping both players engaged throughout the turn.  Game was enjoyable but the casualty rates were high.  When the game was called, both forces were on the brink of breaking.  Each side was only one unit away from reaching its Army Morale Breakpoint.  At that we declared a bloody draw.  Austrians' ended up losing eleven units to the Prussians' six.  Combat is not of the attritional variety.  Even with the ability to rally off hits, a unit with no casualties entering into the Fire Phase can quickly be severely damaged or eliminated with little effort.  Very bloody results.  Austrian artillery rated as Superior is LETHAL!  Many a Prussian fell to the iron balls of the gunners. 

At only 64 pages (38 pages of rules in a typical Osprey MAA sized booklet), the rules are well illustrated with useful diagrams.  Writing is clear and concise.  Some of James Roach's fine game photos grace the pages of HoW.  HoW is a good effort by Flint and Osprey to produce a low complexity set of rules.  A bargain at the USD$11 paid.  I look forward to trying them again soon.

Maybe next time, Freddy, will taste victory?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Murawski Baden Infantry 2/3rd

After no work on the 28mm Peninsular War project crossing my painting desk since the mustering of the Vistula Lancers (see Vistula Lancers) in February, off from the workbench today is a 17 figure battalion of Baden Line infantry.
These fine Murawski Miniatures decamp as the second battalion of the 3rd Baden Infantry Regiment.  Great figures with fine, detailed sculpting.  The sculpting is in the style of Minden, Fife & Drum, and Brigade Games.  That is, having a slender build with anatomically pleasing proportions.
The Peninsular War project gains another reinforcement for the French.  With so many varied and interesting French allies, it has been difficult to maintain parity with their opposition.  More work is needed to bring the British back into balance.
Baden sent the 4th Regiment of two battalions and one gun to the Peninsula.  Interestingly, the first battalion of the 4th and the second battalion of the 3rd were combined to form the 4th Infantry Regiment.  So in the Peninsular War, the 4th will field two battalions with different facings.

When will the 4th's sister battalion see action on the painting desk?  Well, that may be awhile.