Sunday, August 28, 2016

Austrian Line IR#31/Grn BN

With this, the fourth or grenadier battalion of Austrian Infantry Regiment #31 is complete.  As the third battalion completed a few days prior, these figures are from Lancashire Games' 15mm range of figures.  This battalion contains the same mix of poses as the 3rd battalion; all great figures.  
Units for the 1859 project continue to see steady treatment at the painting station.  Two French cavalry regiments are presently getting some attention with the brush.

Below are a couple of group shots of the recently mustered third and fourth battalions of IR#31.

With the 1859 project seeing frequent activity at the painting desk thus far in 2016, when will a game using this collection hit the gaming table?  Good question!  My plan is to offer a game up in late fall once summer activities wind down and schedules return to a more routine nature.

Until that time, work continues at the painting desk.

Friday, August 26, 2016

More French Artillery for 1859 Project

Having been pulled out of town for the work week, I return to the painting desk to pick up from where I left.  Finished before I left for the week, mustering off the painting desk is a second quartet of French guns and crew for the 1859 project.  Figures are Old Glory from 19th Century Miniatures
With these four guns, the French artillery contingent has caught up with the Sardinian and Austrian artillery parks.  Now, a few limbers need to work their way into the painting queue.  When?  Probably not anytime soon!  Even though limbers are not in the painting queue, more units for the 1859 are in work.  Expect to see a few more units make it across the painting desk soon.

Regimental Fire and Fury game is scheduled for Saturday for an anniversary refight of the action at Brawner's Farm.  It has been a long time since we gathered for a FtF game and I look forward to facing off against the guys on the field of battle. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Close Combat Results - Forced Movement

After a long gaming hiatus and an ACW game looming on the horizon for the weekend, thoughts turn toward wargame mechanisms to pass the time while away from the paints.  Today's conundrum?  Forced Movement as a result of Close Combat and how to treat it in wargame design.

Force Movement is a term I use for mandatory (as opposed to voluntary) movement for either the attacker or defender as a result of Close Combat.  Close Combat I consider primarily as short range firefights with the possibility of sharp, yet quick crossing of bayonets while one side attempts to encourage the opponent to give up his position.  For this exercise consider the following:

The Red Force has one BMU (Basic Maneuver Unit) in primary contact with Blue Force's Primary  BMU.  Each Primary BMU has one Adjacent BMU and one Tandem BMU in supporting positions.  Both supports can participate in the Close Combat in a secondary role.  Diagram A illustrates the initial situation with Red Primary attacking Blue Primary.  Let's make this a horse and musket era game with each BMU representing a battalion.

Say Red wins the Close Combat.  Red Primary advances while Blue Primary falls back as shown in Diagram B.  What actions should the Adjacent and Tandem BMUs of each force be mandated?  Two options are considered.

One option is to regulate that only the Primary and Tandem BMUs conduct forced movement as shown in Diagram C.  Red Tandem could remain in place but a tandem, rear supporting BMU advancing to accompany the Primary seems reasonable.  In this situation, Adjacent support does not advance.  Similarly, Blue Tandem could be passed through by Blue Primary on its fallback to the rear but pushing Blue Tandem back as Blue Primary withdraws seems reasonable.  Blue Adjacent, while not falling back with the Primary, wheels to avoid exposing a flank.

The second option considered is Forced Movement having each Primary BMU and both Tandem and Adjacent supports conducting mandatory movements following the conclusion of Close Combat.  Diagram D illustrates the result of all of Red's BMUs advancing while all of Blue's BMUs fall back following a successful attack by Red upon Blue.

Of the two options presented, only the reaction of Adjacent BMUs differs.  Should a differentiation exist between how Tandem and Adjacent supporting BMUs are treated?  Should Adjacent supports actively engage in Forced Movement at the conclusion of Close Combat or should Adjacent supports remain passive?  Should Red Tandem remain passive as well and not tag along with Red Primary?  Should Blue Tandem be passed through by Blue Primary suffering perhaps disorder, morale check, or something else?  Should Forced Movement depend upon whether the BMU is in an Attacker or Defender role?

I have my own notions but would enjoy reader input and feedback.  My two options could be dismissed altogether and a third option (or more) might surface.       

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Austrian Line IR31/3 for 1859

The third battalion of Austrian Infantry Regiment #31 moves off from the painting desk.  These eighteen figures are from Lancashire Games and are a mix of the advancing and skirmishing poses.  With 50:1 man to figure ratio, this battalion represents about 900 combatants on the gaming table.  
Of the three, non-command poses in this battalion, I am especially fond of the advancing and firing pose.  Sculpting is excellent in both of these figures and the poses are very natural.  Excellent stuff!
More 1859 work is on the way as focus continues on fielding a few more units.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Knightly Warrior - Based!

Given my earlier lamentation on the lack of a proper base for a recent two-figure command stand for the Reconquista project, the order from Litko arrived.  With The Wood Pile replenished, life is good again!  After I submitted this most recent order to Litko, an idea sprung up in which another order is required.  Next time!
Before the arrival of the box of bases, the plan had been to present a small parade of the latest works on the 1859 project.  For now, I interject this two-figure command stand comprised of BTD figures.  Work will return to these scheduled activities momentarily. 
Sometimes, plans are useless but planning is indispensable.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

French Artillery for 1859 Project

After a spate of 28mm works crossing the painting desk, focus returns to 15mm in general and the 1859 project in particular.

Beginning the calling up of new recruits for the project, are four French guns and crew seen  above (and below).  The guns and crew are from 19th Century Miniatures' old, Old Glory 15mm FPW/FAW range.  This group of four all have the same gun tube.  From photos, my guess is the tubes could be the French 4 lb rifle.  They could also be the 12 lb smoothbore but that determination cannot be made by me.  The next group off the painting desk will show four guns of this latter classification.  With a longer gun tube than these, you can make the call when those pieces are presented for review. 
Naturally, with guns popping off the painting desk, thoughts turn towards fielding limbers and teams.  With eight French guns hitting the OB soon, I am not too anxious to field eight accompanying limbers.  Perhaps, a French limber or two will be added gradually.  That, of course, requires an order from Freikorps 15s

As noted, four more French guns are working their way through the painting queue.  After those, two battalions of Austrian infantry, four squadrons of French Chasseurs a Cheval, and a regiment of French line infantry will find space at the workbench.  These should keep the brushes active and firmly stuck in the 1859 project.  Oh, a few 28mm odds and ends are on the painting desk too!

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Base! A Base! My Kingdom For a Base!

My Kingdom for a base!
Ok, perhaps a bad paraphrasing of a famous line in Shakespeare, but both my supply chain and inventory management system have failed me.  "Failed" is too strong a sentiment since both of these lapses are of my own undoing.  With recent fielding of several, unplanned command bases on 60mm rounds, I did not notice the wood pile nearing depletion of 60mm rounds until these two lads were ready for a base and time was too late.  When I rummaged through the wood pile, no 60mm round bases surfaced.

Without proper stock on hand, an order to Litko Aero was placed.  Unfortunately, Litko manufactures most bases to order and the lead time can, at times, seem insufferable.  Having placed an order on July 30th, email notification arrived this morning stating that the order was ready to ship.  With US Priority Mail, the Litko order should be in hand in a few days.  After arrival, basing of this, two-figure command stand will take little time.  Figures are BTD for the Reconquista project.    
State of the Wood Pile
While the wood pile above may look fully stocked, I took advantage of the 60mm round shortfall to restock a few other items as well.  Refinements are needed in my inventory management process to mitigate this type of delay in the future.  I am sure others experience this work stoppage too.  Oh, and don't get me started on the cost Litko charges for shipping!

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Pair of Russian Limbers

Let me begin by stating that I have a long love/hate relationship with painting artillery limbers and teams.  That philosophy has not changed. Painting limbers and teams is just not enjoyable when "true" combatants are waiting in the painting queue.  Still, many projects seem incomplete without a few limber teams to haul around the guns. 
For me, I guess they represent an evil necessity.  Since only a few Russian guns are envisioned for the Great Game project and most scenarios will likely field only a few guns at any one time, these two pieces are well worth the effort.  For Painting Points, I credit myself with 40 points for each stand.
The limbers and teams are from Wargames Foundry's 25mm Crimean War range and are wonderful sculpts.  After all of these years, this range stands up well to the test of time.  Newer Crimean War ranges have surfaced but Foundry's offerings still look brilliant to me.  Mark, over at "1866 and all that," has been churning through large quantities of Great War Miniatures' Russians from their Crimean War line.  Mark produces great results and I am curious how the infantry would match up.  I ought to give this range a sampling while the exchange rate is favorable.  In fact, why not place a small order now?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Peruvian Highlands - Cusco June 2015

Plaza de Armas
Having returned from Peru more than one year ago, I decided a recap of the Cusco visit was long overdue.  Thus, another installment of the Peruvian Adventure before I strike out on an upcoming fall adventure.

Cusco was the last stop in our two-week vacation to the Peruvian Highlands in June 2015.  The last three days of the trip would be spent milling about this ancient city.  While many use Cusco as an entry point to the Incan Sacred Valley and linger for a day or two before heading out into the Valley, we opted to take the road less traveled and headed straight from the airport down to Pisac in an attempt to reduce the risk of altitude sickness.

At 11,200 feet, Cusco would be the highest elevation during our two weeks.  A seemingly reasonable position would be that we could acclimatize to the altitude as we made our way down the Sacred Valley.  That plan worked well until we returned to Cusco at the end of the trip.  Of the three of us, only my wife, Nancy, succumbed to altitude sickness and that not until the second day in Cusco.  When it came on, it was sudden and vicious.  Luckily, we had medication and the hotel was nearby.  After a restful evening, Nancy returned as a happy traveler but I am getting ahead of the story.  
Nancy on break at fountain
We arrived in Cusco late afternoon following a speedy, one-and-a-half hour taxi ride from Agua Calientes.  Not quite as white knuckled as the ride down the canyon from Cusco to Pisac on our first day but still, it had its moments.  Even before the taxi trip, setting price for the cab trip to Cusco was an experience, in itself.  The cluster of drivers having no English capability and us with very rudimentary language skills, the negotiation process began.

The cluster of cabbies started high, we began low.  After a few minutes of scribbling numbers on upturned palms, we reached agreement on price for three passengers with luggage for the one-way trip to Cusco. We would have paid more and our driver (afterward having discovering that he wanted to return to Cusco before nightfall) likely would have taken less.  On balance, both parties were satisfied with the arrangement.  
Plaza de Armas - La Catedral
Plaza de Armas - Iglesia de la Compania
Although the driver said he could deposit us at our hotel, that was not to be.  We visited Peru during their religious festival of Corpus Christi.  While we saw many of the activities in Ollantaytambo earlier in the trip, we were not expecting it to linger still in Cusco.  When we arrived into the center of the city, our driver motioned that the Plaza de Armas was as far as he could proceed.  All streets around the plaza were barricaded.  The streets and especially the Plaza were filled with people and parades.
Pachacuti in Plaza de Armas
Having paid the driver, he disappeared leaving us among the throngs.  With streets choked with people and only a rudimentary map in hand, making our way to the boutique hotel in the San Blas district, fully laden, would be a challenge.  Knowing that the small hotel would be difficult to find under normal conditions, I positioned Nancy and my sister with our luggage at the corner of the Plaza de Armas and struck out on a reconnaissance mission.

Knowing the general direction, I made my way around the plaza and plunged into the backstreets of Cusco.  After about ten minutes of winding through narrow streets and back alleys, I found the boutique hotel part way up the hill and in a narrow footpath behind the Iglesia de San Blas.  Getting my bearings, I headed back for the girls.
Plaza de Armas from above Cusco
The festivities continued as I squeezed through the crowds making my way back to the Plaza.  Finding my companions, I assured them that I found the hotel and that the walk was neither too difficult nor too far.  After ten or fifteen minutes we reached the hotel.  From the outside, the place did not look like much but when the door opened we were greeted by a welcoming hostess and a peaceful atmosphere.  We checked in and made our way to our rooms.  Heather's accommodations were two floors down from reception while our room was one floor down.  Our room consisted of a sitting room on the first level with a bedroom in a loft.  Both rooms looked out over the hotel's inner courtyard.  Excellent accommodation!
Breakfast at the hotel
View of Cusco from breakfast room
Weary from nearly two weeks in the Sacred Valley, Cusco was meant as a relaxing stop on our trip before returning home.  We planned to wander around the historical center and visit the mercado and other shopping venues.  A list of museums and sights to see were in hand and we set off.
Church of Santo Domingo on top of Koricancha
One stop near the historic center was the Koricancha and Santo Domingo Church and Convent.  The Koricancha was built to honor the Sun God with gold plated walls with precious stones embedded within.  At time of contact, the garden below the temple contained an array of golden and silver statues of life size proportions.  Also present were mummified bodies of Incan nobility.  Of course, upon Spanish arrival, all of the artifacts were stripped from the temple.  On top of the temple  the Santo Domingo Church and Convent were constructed. 
Convent of Santo Domingo
Although a bit of a walk, the Mercado Centrale is a place not to be missed.  The central market in Cusco in the San Pedro distict is mammouth.  With a cavernous food court and dozens of vendors, it is easy to lose ones' way among the crowds and labyrinth of shops and stalls.  Our small group did get separated in this facility on more than one occasion!  
San Pedro Mercado Centrale
Food stalls inside the Market
We arrived at the Mercado as it neared closing time so we only spent about 40 minutes wandering throughout the place,  As it closed, we headed back towards Plaza de Armas to return to our hotel for a rest before dinner.
Walking towards Plaza de Armas from Mercado
After dinner, we were serenaded by a band performing on the San Blas Plaza only a few steps from our hotel.  While quite a party atmosphere, fortunately (for us), the music stopped about 11pm.  
While the girls planned to shop for Peruvian textiles on the morrow, my plan was to hike up to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cusco.  With a strenuous hike up to 12,200 feet, Nancy opted for a more leisurely activity of shopping with my sister.  The massive ruins at Sacsayhuaman warrant a separate tour.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sikh Irregular Artillery for The Great Game

Continuing with a slow build-up of British adversaries in the Great Game project, off the painting desk is one gun with a Sikh crew of irregulars.  Figures are from Wargames Foundry's Sikh Wars range.
The plan for my portion of the project is to field a Russian Expeditionary Force supplemented by native contingents.  These natives will be a mix of Indians and Afghans many of which can fight for either their Russian or British handlers. 
Two more native guns are in the painting queue with two Russian limber teams currently on the painting desk.  Rumors flow that the British are anxious for a fight.  Confidence is high that the Russians can take to the field with prospects of success.  Still, calling up more Russian regulars might be a prudent stance.  Yet to be recruited, outfitted, and mustered into service are one battalion of Russian infantry and a couple of pulks of Cossacks.  These recruits are a long way down in the painting queue, for now.  After the Russian limbers are completed, back to the 1859 project for a bit.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Pulp Figures - Rocket Corps in 28mm

For something really different from the typical parade of historical figures trooping across my painting desk, off the table today is a quintet of U.S. Rocketmen.  Yep.  Completely off the wall, this batch.  Figures are from the creative hand of Bob Murch.   
This pack of Rocketmen has lingered in The Lead Pile for a couple of years after getting the itch to see a few of Murch's figures in hand.  Having ordered a half dozen packs and scrutinizing them closely, I was even more impressed with the quality of craftmanship.  Excellent figures, each full of character.  Being particularly fond of the U.S infantry uniform of the Spanish American War, I opted to put these flying freedom fighters in the uniform from this period.  Perhaps a bit anachronistic but I like the color combination.     
While there is no plan to build an immense project of pulp figures, some of the other packs may see activity on the painting desk. What to do with these Rocket Corps figures?  Well, included in that initial order were a couple of packs of German Zeppelin crew and other baddies.  I could envision a small, pulp fiction clash in which these U.S. Rocketmen face off against their German adversaries.  Plenty to ponder.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Great Italian Wars Command

Another pair of Landsknecht officers moves into the Completed column of the painting ledger.  As the commanders before it, this stand is comprised of Wargames Foundry figures from the Renaissance range.  With the addition of this command, the project now musters three such two-figure command stands.  Sufficient for my gaming needs at present. 
Being out of town for the second weekend running, painting has slowed to a dribble but time for a few painting sessions should pop up during the first two weeks of August.  Painting queue is full with planned items awaiting the production line to pick up the pace once again.
On the subject of getting hobby activities moving again, gaming has been very hard to grab this year.  Despite a three game April, the summer has seen no FtF gaming.  With a little luck, perhaps August will see an improvement?  In the meantime, Brawner's Farm remains on the game table and I look forward to setting aside time to begin that refight.

Regarding my recent WIN10 upgrade, the machine is still running under the new OS (hooray!) and a reinstallation of MS Access has resurrected the Painting Log from "file not found" errors.  Still, I ought to make an effort to convert from MS Access to Libre Offices' Base before my old version of Access gives up the ghost.