Sunday, July 28, 2019

Two French Regiments for WSS in 10mm

Off the painting desk today are two 10mm French regiments for the War of Spanish Succession.  These two stands finish off the four regiment, test order I made from Van Dyck Models back in September 2018.    
Regiment Agenois
Having completed four regiments of 21 figures each, what do I think of these figures?  Despite their tiny size, these 10mm figures are little works of art in sculpting.  The detailing on these figures is amazing.  When examined closely, it is astounding that these are mere 10mm figures and not 28mm in size.  Beautiful figures with details that defy belief.  Given the long coats worn during the WSS, the figures paint quickly too.  Well, painting the hat lace is a chore for bad eyes on these tiny models. 
Regiment Bourbonnais
The downside is that only two codes are currently available in the WSS range.  If Van Dyck Models plan to produce a viable WSS range, many more codes will need to be pushed into production.  Lovely figures but I will not be planning a project around them.  Will I add more?  The figures are so good, I may just for the pleasure of painting them.

Having held an interest in the WSS, I have oft been tempted to begin a WSS project.  Years ago, an order was placed to Front Rank to sample their wares.  Beautiful figures as expected but 28mm was not the scale for me for this period.  Baccus 6s were considered.  Old Glory 10s in strips were considered.  If I did undertake a WSS project, I think it would be 10s for me.  For now, no concrete plan to embark on such a project but if Van Dyck expands the range, I might be in trouble.

Below are two photos of the four regiments together.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

San Martino BatRep - Game 2

The San Martino battle in May resulted in an abrupt Austrian capitulation due in part to aggressive handling of the Sardinian grenadier division, timid Austrian play, and a few rules' oversights (See San Martino Game 1).  Wanting to give the scenario another workout under more representative conditions, the forces were reset and the battle reconvened.

In this replay, Jake took on the role of Benedek commanding the Austrians while I stepped in as King Vittorio Emanuele II of Sardinia.  Would we experience a replay of the first game, something similar, or something completely different?

Since I commanded the Sardinians in this replay, most photos will be taken from the Sardinian perspective, behind the Sardinian lines.  The Sardinians enter the table from the north.  Austrians attack from the south.  West is on the right and east is on the left in most photos.  On to the battle account. 

Earlier in the morning (0700), Sardinian General Mollard, in provisional command of a recon formation, pushes Austrians from the high ground around San Martino.  As the Austrians fall back from the heights, Sardinian Bersaglieri take up positions in both the village of San Martino and the fortified villa of Contracina.  The three battalions of 7th, 8th, and 11th Infantry Regiments prepare themselves for the Austrian counterattack they know will fall upon their exposed and isolated positions.
Sardinian lead elements control the San Martino heights.
Mollard's small force prepares a defense
Having seen the advance elements of his Austrian Corps thrown off the San Martino Heights, Benedek orders the Corps into action.  With Mollard isolated from the Sardinian Army with no support in sight, Benedek seizes the opportunity to retake the heights with limited risk.  Given the prospect of crushing an isolated foe, the Austrians advance upon San Martino without delay.  "Without delay" is exactly how Lang's Austrian Division responded.
Austrians prepare to assault the heights
Reichlin's Brigade advances upon San Martino Heights
While Reichlin's ad hoc, four battalion brigade (comprised of the 4th battalions from 9th, 18th,19th, and 27th Infantry Regiments) works around the southern approaches to the heights, Phillippovic and Lippert's brigades commence the task of reclaiming the heights in a head on assault.

The initial Austrian assault against the Sardinian-held heights sees success from the outset.  Mollard's three, unsupported line battalions are pushed back from the crest with seemingly little effort.  The Bersaglieri barricaded in among the walls of Contracina put up a more determined defense.  Casualties are light among the attackers but the Sardinians, caught in a deadly crossfire suffer greatly.  Still, the Sardinians cling to Contracina and the northern slopes of the heights.
Mollard's troops pushed from the heights
Berger's Austrian Division moves from the hill overlooking Pozzolengo on a straight path to cut Mollard's line of retreat.  With only two squadrons of Sardinian light cavalry protecting this flank, envelopment of Mollard becomes a distinct possibility.  Mollard sends couriers back in search of reinforcements.  
San Martino position looks untenable for Mollard
By 0830, the first brigade capable of reinforcing Mollard reaches the embanked railway.  Assistance arrives in the form of the Cuneo Brigade under Arnaldi.  By this time, however, Mollard's detachment has been pushed off the heights with only one battalion of Bersaglieri still having a toehold in the village.  The Austrians succeed in pressuring the Sardinians from the east while maintaining heavy pressure in the center.  Arnaldi's brigade will be needed in an attempt to stabilize this quickly deteriorating situation.
Cuneo Brigade arrives
Austrians flank San Martino as Mollard falls back
To prevent the envelopment of the San Martino position and Mollard's command, Arnaldi quickly clears the tracks and deploys his brigade to counter the Austrian advances.  Sacrificing men for time to allow Mollard to escape the tightening noose, Arnaldi's brigade begins taking casualties as they advance under fire into close range.  Unfortunately for the Sardinians, the Austrians are armed with rifled muskets while they carry only smoothbore muskets.
Arnaldi's Sardinians step in to plug a gap
Arnaldi's timely intervention allows Mollard's battered formation a chance to regroup with its back against the railway embankment.  Given the size and determination of the Austrian Corps, more troops than Arnaldi can muster will be needed to stem the White Tide.
Mollard gets a brief reprieve
The Sardinian right has not been inactive during the early hours of battle.  Already on the march to contest the vital bridge when the Austrians attacked, Durando's Sardinian 1st Division presses on.  Durando marches to engage the enemy on the far western edges of the battlefield screened by the cover of a wooded hill.  He is tasked with turning the Austrian left flank and threatening the Austrian Line of Communication leading back to the main Austrian Army fighting hard at Solferino.  If the small village of Madonna del Scoperta can be taken, the tables will be turned and Benedek's command will be isolated.   
Sensing the danger, two brigades are detached from Austrian V Corps to the south and march on Madonna del Scoperta.  While the two brigades of Gaal and Koller arrive too late to prevent the western most bridge from falling into Sardinian hands, these two Austrian brigades rapidly deploy to contest Madonna del Scoperta.  Both brigades cross over to the north side of the river and take up defensive positions in the wooded hills to the west of San Martino.
Battle heats up on the Western Front 
(right side of table)
With a bridgehead over the river secure, the bulk of Durando's division turns east to attack Gaal and Koller.  Fighting is hard as Durando's grenadiers take heavy casualties closing with the Austrian positioned in the woods.  With lines of infantry taking shape along the wood line, Perrier's brigade (Durando) attempts to outflank the hill.  As the Sardinians work around the wooded hill, Benedek sends more troops to counter this threat.  Casualties are high as the Sardinians are driven back upon supports.  The Sardinians see first hand that the larger Austrian battalions provide formidable opposition.  
Elements of Durando's Div. attack out onto the plain
Hard pressed on the Sardinian left and center, relief for Mollard arrives at 1000 in the form of Mollard's Pinerolo Brigade under the leadership of Morozzo.  Lang's Austrian Division comes down from the heights and threatens both Mollard's battered forces in the center and Durando's Division on the Sardinian right.  Morozzo is yet to bring his brigade into combat.

At this point on the 1030 turn, play was halted to be continued on a later date.  When play resumes, where will Mollard direct Morozzo's fresh brigade?  Will Sardinian reinforcements arrive in time to counter Austrian early successes?     
Situation at 10:30
The Austrian attacks centered around San Martino have seen great progress, thus far in the battle.  Mollard's small recon formation, while fighting valiantly, was no match for the numbers the Austrians put into the field.  Benedek has controlled the tempo of the battle as his troops successfully pushed back all opposition.  The Sardinians, heavily outnumbered, have suffered much more than their adversary in the opening hours of battle.      
Austrians push on to the west
Austrian Reserve artillery moves up to the front
The Sardinians are not without hope, however.  Durando's Division took a vital bridge across the river and is seeing the fruits of its labors against the Austrian brigades of Gaal and Koller in the southwest.  While Gaal and Koller still have a strong hold on the objective of Madonna del Scoperta and defend in depth, the Austrians are beginning to show signs of wear as Durando's grenadiers repeatedly attack the Austrian positions all along the wooded hill.  
Durando's grenadiers engage Austrians from V Corps
While Benedek's Corps has taken and continues to hold all of the victory objectives, the Sardinians are hoping this situation will soon reverse.  In all of this carnage, only one half-battalion of Bersaglieri has been destroyed.  As in the historical battle, the Sardinian army arrives onto the battle intermittently.  The result of this uncoordinated arrival is that Sardinian attacks and defenses are forced into piecemeal responses.  Tough start for the Sardinians but Morozzo has arrived onto the battlefield at 1030 to lend support.  The Austrians have no uncommitted reserve remaining.  Two more Sardinian brigades march to the sound of guns.  Perhaps this will be a situation of losing a battle in the morning only to secure victory in the afternoon?

Rules of Engagement: Summer of '59
Figures: Freikorps 15s, Lancashire Games, Mirliton, Old Glory

Monday, July 22, 2019

Celts from Crusader

The steady stream of warbands emerging from the workbench continues.  This time, a surprise.  A dozen Celts scramble off the painting desk but no more BTD Celts.  Having exhausted the stockpile of BTD Celts, attention turns now to Crusader Miniatures figures. 
First, these Crusader figures are superbly sculpted.  Secondly, I ordered a medium-sized boxful of these figures from NorthStar Miniatures during a recent Bargain Sale.  Several of the Celtic collections were deeply discounted so perfect time to strike.  I filled my cart on this offer.  During the first six months of 2019, I managed to add one warband to the collection each month.  With a pile of Crusader lead in-house, perhaps that rate can be maintained until fall?

With Telamon as an immediate goal for all of the Celts, I need to soon stop and take an assessment on how this steady progress is driving toward this objective.  If the cavalry contest is excluded, there may be enough BMUs to produce at least a bathtubbed version of the battle soon.  I really should see where I stand with respect to progress made and effort remaining.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cycling the Palouse

Recent weather on the Palouse featured unseasonably cool and wet conditions.  For many weeks before, the Palouse experienced beautiful weather with temperatures touching into the mid-80s F.  Perfect conditions for cycling.
On one of those daily excursions last week, I chose a 25 mile out-and-back.  The journey would take me through some of the rolling farmland of the Palouse.  With the fields still green, this is a beautiful area over which to cycle.  The rolling terrain is suited to a rouleur style of cyclist.  For me, the constant up and down of the hills can be a leg breaker over sustained efforts.  I prefer a sharp climb to the never-ending undulating terrain.  On today's ride, I get my wish.  

Today's ride featured a passage through an area gutted by wildfire two years ago.  While some of the woods have been cleared of the burnt trees, most remain just as they stood.  Riding through the narrow canyon lined by burned woods on both sides provides an eerie feeling.  Will the burn ever be cleared and replanted?  I do not know.
Part of the enjoyment of this route is the switchback climb up from the valley floor to a cattle ranch near the summit.  Grades are typically about 8% for a little over a mile.  The terrain is rugged and dry.  On the descent, speeds can reach 40mph before hard braking before the hairpin turns.  Quite fun but filled with anxiety when the roads contain debris.  While the sensation of descending at 40mph cannot be translated through photos, please enjoy the photos from my part of the world.

Next up:  more painted figures.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

1859 Bersaglieri in 18mm

With San Martino on the table and expectations for a lengthy engagement, I found one additional battalion of Sardinian Bersaglieri could be pressed into service.  Rather than paint only one, twelve figure battalion, I opted to push two battalions into the painting queue.
The two Bersaglieri battalions off the painting desk today muster out as the 7th and 8th.  With their completion, the Bersgalieri components of the Sardinian OB for the 1859 campaign are finished. 
Figures are from Lancashire Games and seem to be a little larger than other figures in this range.  Sculpting style is slightly different too.  I wonder if the Bersaglieri have a different sculptor than some of the other figures in the 15mm 19th Century, European Wars' line?  For Bersaglieri, I much prefer the figures from Mirliton.  I have several battalions of those in my Sardinian Army and they are quite good.  No matter that the Lancashire are a bit larger.  Good figures that fill a niche in the Sardinian Order of Battle.

Next off the painting desk expect to see a return to Ancient Celts.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Sardinian 1st Grenadier Regiment

In the May replay of the Battle of San Martino (see Battle San Martino Game 1), the battle scenario was expanded to bring into play the action to the west of San Martino.  In the battle expansion, the Sardinians attempted to put pressure on Benedek's Austrian Corps with an outflanking maneuver.  This western flanking action included maneuver and attack by Durando's 1st Sardinian Division.  Durando's division contained three brigades including two, four-battalion regiments of grenadiers.  Not having the full complement of eight grenadier battalions, two battalions of Garabaldi's Redshirts were pressed into service.  With Game 2 of the San Martino battle, all eight battalions of grenadiers will be present under arms.
Just in time for a second replay, two grenadier battalions answer the call to arms.  These two battalions will relieve the two battalions of Redshirts.  Each grenadier battalion is a dozen figures in strength and produced by Lancashire Games.  One battalion is in advancing pose while the second is in a pose I would classify as "march attack." 
The 1859 project continues to see activity on the painting desk.  In work are three Sardinian guns and crew, two battalions of Bersaglieri, and six mounted officers.  While the Bersaglieri are ready for duty (but not yet photographed), they are not needed for this battle.  The other reinforcements will not make it to the table in time for an appearance in a planned Game 2 but will come to the colors soon.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Roman Heavy Infantry

Here is something not seen at the painting desk in ages, Romans!  Not just any Romans either.  This twelve-count of warriors is from the always handsome range of Aventine Miniatures' Romans.  These figures have been lingering in the lead stockpile for longer than I remember.  I could look it up to see exactly how long but won't to avoid potential embarrassment
With the surge of a half-dozen Celt and Gallic units mustering off the painting desk in 2019, it was time to add some opposition for the barbarians before force size swung completely out of balance.  Seeing the number of Celts still in the painting queue, it made good sense to throw a little opposition into the mix.
After the two Celtic units working their way through the painting queue are completed, it will be time to assess progress on the build-up for Telamon.  Celtic cavalry are still needed for the battle but perhaps excluding the cavalry action from the battle is possible?  More research needed.   

Sunday, July 7, 2019

More 1859 French On the Move

The flow of troops to the front continues with the sighting of a French line regiment on the march.  As has been the situation of late, this three battalion, 36-figure regiment is made up of Lancashire Games' figures.  I have yet to tire of painting these excellent figures.  Likely more to come.
While a large backlog of these Frenchmen remains in The Lead Pile, inventory stockpile numbers has been reduced by over 100 figures in 2019.  Still, some days it seems I barely make a dent in the unpainted mountain of lead.  The recent concentration on painting French, Austrians, and Sardinians is having a material effect in the storage bins as unpainted transforms to painted.
What is upcoming for the 1859 project?  More Sardinians are working their way through the painting queue including more grenadiers, Bersaglieri, artillery, and command.  With a long holiday weekend, perhaps time can be found to return to completing a few turns of the San Martino battle?

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Painting Analytics - First Half 2019

Figure 1
As alluded to in my previous post, I finished off the first half of 2019 with 619 figures painted and transferred over to the "Completed" side of the ledger.  Given that my 2019 painting plan targeted a completion of 900 figures for the year, I am well on my way to reaching that goal. 

Figure 1 illustrates the mix of periods tackled and shows that I am doing a satisfactory job of sticking to my forecasted project mix too.  The 15mm 1859 Franco-Austrian War and 1799 Suvorov projects account for nearly 60% of the output.  With attention trained on fielding Celts for a Telamon battle, 84 Celts were added during the first half of the year.  Still a lot more Celts in The Lead Pile to add during the second half of the year. 
Figure 2
Figure 2 demonstrates that my effort was focused on 15/18mm projects for much of the YTD.  Nearly 71% of total output was concentrated on this size.  For me, this is a respectable output and puts me on track to reach goals set in January.  I may consider revising my total production goals for the year, however.  Either that or leave the goal at 900 figures and switch to seeing more 28mm figures in the painting queue.  Still, seeing the heavily laden bins of 15mm figures being drawn down in The Lead Pile motivates me to continue hammering away at the smaller scale.
Figure 3
Figure 3 shows the monthly production by ERA on an unadjusted or actual figure count basis.  While the early months of 2019 saw below average production due primarily to travel for work and leisure, spring saw a "spring" in painting productivity.  Will that higher productivity survive the tests of summer?  Probably not since July and August are shaping up to be busy with family activities.  We will see what summer holds.  
Figure 4
While Figure 3 provides a raw count of the figure totals, Figure 4 takes those raw figure totals and adjusts them for scale.  The result is a monthly tally on an adjusted Painting Points basis.  Seen in this light, February and March totals look quite anemic in comparison to April and June.

In the first half of 2019, nearly 50 BMUs or units passed over the painting desk.  Of my favorites, I must count the French Ligne battalion of 20mm Les Higgins' figures painted for Tony at Prometheus in Aspic.  That was a fun exercise in applying paint to a figure not seen before.
Tony's Les Higgins' French