Thursday, 15 January 2015

No longer a wargamer!

I have decided to call it a day as a miniatures wargamer. Clearly I have been heading this way for some time, as project after project has failed to bring me any kind of pleasure from actually playing with it! The AWI in 6mm was a last fling I think ( I have over the years done AWI in all scales, starting with 28mm Redoubt figures many years ago). It struck me recently that I have lost that ability to get myself into that mindset where I'm down on the table with the figures, commanding them in battle, something is simply not working any longer for me.

Oddly enough I continue to enjoy playing Commands & Colors Napoleonics, I find the wooden blocks very appealing to game with. I only recently finished stickering my Austrian expansion and have played the first scenario - Wertingen - which I found a well balanced game, the Austrians actually winning 5 to 4 victory banners. Lack of French centre cards really hampered the development of the attack, and this may well have handed the Austrians victory. The 'Battalion Mass' rule works well for the Austrian line infantry, as it gives them the protection of a square against cavalry without costing a random card from the hand. The 5 block Austrian line units are quite formidable in a fight

Scenario from c&
I have now got all of my C&CN blocks sorted into plastic business card boxes for a much faster set up. I'm expecting the Prussian expansion any day now so that will keep me busy stickering again.

Clearly I can't just stop painting soldiers though, having been at it for about 40 years it's ingrained into me and I still get a buzz from completing a well painted unit. I'm still working on 20mm Napoleonic units from before Christmas and I will continue to feature pictures of such units here. I have cleared the decks and will not be buying any further figures for myself. This actually feels quite liberating and positive.

Home life continues to be busy and as Winter rattles by I'm looking forward to being able to get out in the garden again. Meantime the pets keep me on my toes, here's Gibby staking his claim to the ironing board while Poppy pretends not to look at him.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

6mm AWI test game #1.

This morning I put everything so far on the table for a test battle. The base boards are not yet fully textured and I'm still planning hills and woods but once set up the overall look is pretty close to what I had envisaged. One joy of 6mm gaming is that you can fight a reasonable size game on a 3' x 4' table, with depth for supports/reserves etc. An additional 2' centre section can allow for more flanking action if required. Currently there are a total of 23 infantry units, (of which 17 are 44 figure line battalions, the remainder being 24 figure light or rifle units), 8 guns and crews (I'm using 2 per 'battery'), the lone 17th Light Dragoons, (more cavalry in the pipeline for both sides) and 6 command bases.

This fight was loosely based upon the C&C 'Brandywine' scenario in that the British/Hessian force is attempting to drive in the American right flank whilst a second attack goes in directly across the river (halts movement that turn but fordable). I used the C&C 'AWI varient' rules replacing hexes with a standard distance unit (a measuring stick marked off in 70mm sections). The game flowed along just fine with no real problems and above all was great fun. Battalions advanced and fell back under fire, the Hessian Grenadiers leading the attack across the river were shot to pieces by Continental line infantry supported by artillery and were the first to rout! The British took heavy losses to volley fire all along the front (stationary fire and little cover on the open field). The American riflemen on the left made thier 3 DU range count, picking off Guardsmen and light infantry who fell back out of rifle range to await support. A charge by the 17th light dragoons upon a continental battalion was resloved by simply allowing normal combat procedure (ie no forming square). The battalion took casualties but rolled back the dragoons which seemed about right to me. Retreats were tricky, especially when blocked but I stuck to the rules as far as possible so that when - for example - a continental battalion had to fall back 2 DU's on a 'flag roll' and could only retreat 1.5 DU's I marked another block lost. Leaders are probably the most tricky part of a non grid game but I found no real issues. Command radius was 1DU to count support unless attached, command bases can only assist designated units in combat when attached, and normal leader casualty throws are made for block loss or unit routing with attached leader. A lot of fun as I said, and a 5 to 3 win for General Washington, thanks mainly to the advantage of stationary volley fire and artillery support.

I'll write further about the rules and how they handled this scenario once I have taken time to think things through, but for now some pictures of the fight at various stages.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

That guilty look!

I found one of my best and most reliable paintbrushes under the table chewed up this morning, had been using it almost daily for two years plus. Did not take long to uncover the guilty party, a quick identity parade of the dogs established Poppy as the chewer, she denied it of course, but her expression had "guilty" written all over it when confronted with the evidence.

It's nothing to do with me!
Added more AWI figures, a Hessian and Continental command base to make up three per side, more hunting shirt figures and completed the full Highland battalion.

Tonight I'm getting ready to texture the non grid side of my baseboards, it's will be a chore but once it's done it's done and I can play some wargames. Must say the very recent re appearence of those old 'Battleground' episodes has really given me a boost, almost like rediscovering the spirit of wargaming again, wonderful stuff.

A very happy and peaceful New Year to all.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

AWI's ready for battle!

It's been an incredibly busy week here with lots of family down to stay, enjoying meals and drinks together. Had twelve of us in the house for two nights, with all of the sorting of bedding, cooking and tidying that goes with it! I found it somewhat chaotic at times and not easy to deal with but as usual my wife just took it all in her stride, glass of wine in hand, cooking endless excellent meals, keeping everybody happy and organised. I must admit I'm enjoying the return to calm again this morning.

I  did manage to take some pictures of the 6mm AWI figures as they currently stand. I have had a week away from painting and so have spent some time reading through and thinking about rules. I must admit its hard to get hex grids out of my mind after so long using them, and with a dozen or so ready made scenarios for the AWI in the Commands & Colours (Napoleonics) website I'm itching to play some of them now. So initially I have decided to mark up one side of the boards in 70mm hexes and to use the 'half battalion' bases of 60mm x 30mm for these games. I have had this in mind from the start in order to make the units as flexible as possible, that is I can use them for C&C hex games OR more conventional style rules.

Brandywine will be the first scenario up once the boards are done, hopefully this week. Lots of troops required that I can now cover (for example 12 battalions of Continental line plus militia and light infantry on the American side). These  scenarios use standard c&cN rules, with the continental forces using mostly factors from the Spanish army expansion play sheet. I believe some of the AWI scenarios featured in a Vassal competition on c& recently so results would have been posted. I include a couple of my own tweaks, being relevant to commanders and militia of which more in due course.

So the plan for the blog in the New Year is to present each of the AWI scenarios as a battle report with pics. We do know that Richard Borg is already playtesting the 'Tricorn' version of Commands & Colors, so down the line that will open up more possibilities.

The pictures below show the Continental Army deployed as 60mm x 30mm units for C&C games. Something like 16 battalions of line ( including two not shown here), 4 of rifles and 2 of light infantry plus 4 guns and crews.

Zulu's may well be my follow up project, although it only offers the 2 C&C based scenarios I think the painting will be great fun and very fast. For inspiration as to what can be achieved in 6mm scale with British & Zulus take a look at these amazing shots of figures painted by Kev Rouse.

Finally I'd like to wish everbody a happy festive season and a peaceful New Year.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

More 6mm AWI progress.

My last planned blog post of 2014 will feature all of my AWI armies painted so far set out on the table, but for the time being here are a few shots of some of the most recent stuff.

I completed a second battalion of militia - again I decided to leave the bayonets on rather than risk spoiling the castings. The white markings on the bases represent 'militia'.

I rebased the command figures on larger (40mm circular bases) and added some infantry figures behind them for impact.

I have been working on terrain items too, as you can see modular pieces that can go together in various ways to create small village/town bases. Designed to take a full unit (120mm wide) and to clearly indicate when a BUA is occupied. I have also made more tree bases and started river sections.

Latest unit on the painting table is a unit of Hessian Grenadiers (Von Rall), which will be 44 figures strong once completed.

Back soon with the final Christmas post featuring a grand parade of all the AWI units painted to date.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Foot Guards & militia pics.

Here are the now completed Foot Guards- consisting of men drawn from all of the Guards companies- and brigaded together as an elite fighting unit. Represented by 64 figures including the mounted officer on rearing horse! Lace removed from uniforms as correct and hats 'cut round' as ordered.

Also the first unit of militia completed. I'm going to stop for a while now and test out some rules, but I may have to invest in Black Powder as I keep reading good things about them.

I'll continue to add to the AWI's at my leisure now as I have enough to play with, but I have already decided on the next project ....... Zulus! Well I should say 'Colonial' but I'll start with Zulus and British infantry to oppose them. I'm thinking that 500 odd 6mm Zulus could look quite spectacular?


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

First 6mm Hessians and looking ahead.

I guess I should begin this post by announcing the end of my 'War Artist' painting service. After over two years of mostly enjoyable painting for my very supportive friends I feel it's time to call it a day in order to focus on a couple of projects for myself. I must take this opportunity to say 'thank you' and we part on good terms. I have a couple of bits to finish off this side of Christmas hopefully. Things have slowed down gradually over the past few months and I'm now kept pretty busy at home and on non wargame related things.

The 6mm AWI armies continue to grow, now almost at 800 painted figures. Here you see the most recent units, Hessian Jagers and musketeers and the completed 'Green Mountain Boy's' riflemen. I have some hessian Grenadiers up shortly (oh those lovely metal fronted grenadier caps!), but first I must complete two planned battalions of militia. It's been a blast painting these figures I have to say.

I have also been slowly putting together a few terrain pieces using the ERM templates as bases and I'm really pleased how they are turning out. More to do, especially tree bases, in due course. All buildings are by Timecast, as are those wonderful trees.

Whatever I do now will be in 6mm scale again.

Thaks to all those who continue to follow my blog, which has taken some odd twists and turns along the journey!

6mm AWI figures by Baccus.

Hessians - jagers and Von Donop Musketeers.

Ethan Allen's 'Green Mountain Boy's'.

Terrain bases - a village/town base, heavy woods and farmsteads so far.

And a sneak preview - militia underway. I was going to trim off those bayonets but decided against it as I did not want to ruin the castings!

Finally, to get you in the spirit of the American Revolution, 'The Ballad of The Green Mountain Boy's'.