Sunday, 9 December 2018

So many options, and so many pictures!

Right then, it's Sunday morning, another fine one in Spain, I have walked the dog and set up my Instagram account ready to follow Strykers Plancenoit battle due to begin around 11am or midday here. This is my first foray into such technology, I have to say there are some very fine images of the HH figures on the page, I like the idea a lot, good fun.

The 15mm's have been reorganised as shown below. Basically the foot units are all now 8 figures and all cavalry units 4 figures which just about fits the C&C hexes. They will sit on then sabot bases with a small label on the rear showing the basic 'block' strength and unit type. For example British line are 4 blocks, light infantry are 5 and rifles are 3 blocks. I know all these types instinctively now, and the number of dice each types throws in standing or moving fire combat and melee including additions and subtractions of combat dice, but a small label won't hurt as a visual reminder of type. The larger standardised unit sizes simply gives a cleaner look to my game and a little more visual appeal hopefully.

Having said the above the individual basing allows for several options, the first being games played on the C&C board as block per figure games, the second being games played on a larger grid using my tweaked rules and proper model scenery, while the third is to combine the smaller groups into fewer larger units of 16 to 20 figures including command figures for a conventional 'grid free' experience. I'm currently on the look out for some kind of magnetic basing medium that will allow me to switch between the options, I'm pleased how this has worked itself out, I still have a draw full of Blue Moon's to paint so this project has plenty of life in it yet. This week I will paint another 8 Highlanders plus 4 command figures before painting French command figures and then turn my attention to doubling up the French cavalry.

This also reduces the overall number of 'units' in the game, making solo play more manageable. I'll be keeping my activation draw/roll system but might trial using an average dice for the actual activation roll. Possibly also infantry should be able to use double activations to advance a bit faster.

British army.
4 units of line infantry
2 units of light infantry
1 unit of rifles.
2 units of heavy dragoons
2 units of light dragoons
2 foot guns
1 horse artillery gun
3 commanders.

French army.
5 units of line infantry.
1 unit of legere (light infantry)
1 unit of Voltiguers (light infantry)
1 unit of Grenadiers
2 units of Dragoons
1 unit of line lancers
1 unit of chasseurs
2 foot guns.
1 horse artillery gun.
3 commanders.

Loads of pictures!

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Churning out the 15mm Blue Moon figures.

I did manage to get through quite a few activation draws on the game from the previous post, the random draw worked well, the British dice came up first two draws so the light infantry and rifles managed to push on and occupy two thirds of the town before the French had a chance to react. This was followed by two French dice which allowed the French Grenadiers to occupy the other town hex, setting up a battle to take overall control. Cavalry were moved up in support as the bulk of the infantry plodded forward (this is one thing I need to address as they need to able to make some sort of quick march move to avoid getting left behind). Artillery opened fire on both sides and the British lights, with commander attached and rolling the additional dice, forced the French Grenadiers to retreat from the town hex giving the British complete control of the three hexes. But the French were now in a position to counterattack.

At this point there was a slight interruption to play. I was expecting my wife back home, I got a call to open the electronic gate and peered over the terrace, in came a 9 seater hire car and out jumped wife, two of our daughters and three Grandaughters...... "surprise Grandad". So lovely to see them all of course, but I had to rush inside and get the figures and game board out of the reach of the two little ones so quickly packed everything away. No problem though, that has given me the appetite to continue this project.

Taking a step back and looking at the pics below I know that I want to create a new custom made board for this game, based on a 3 x 4 lightweight framed board that can utilise some basic scenic items such as buildings, hills, roads and streams etc. The purpose of the new set up will be to enable me to play through the One Hour Wargame scenarios as said before.

So, with this in mind I have decided that for more visual impact I need larger units, I'll start by doubling everything up, so 8 figures for infantry etc. If you recall I said I wan't planning full size units, but as I did have command packs, and feeling in the mood to paint some Peninsular officers in those lovely bicornes I knocked up the eight figures you see below, and still feeling in the mood for something a bit colourful I followed up with eight Legere figures. I can really punch out these 15mm's now, that was 16 infantry in two days and I also managed to paint a couple of buildings, 3 more British Dragoons and another British commander over the next couple of days.  Sitting on washers awaiting painting are currently more Highlanders, more French Grenadiers and Legere.

Talk about going full circle! We shall see where this takes us, but at the moment I can't stop churning out 15mm figures.

Awake early this Sunday morning to listen to the Tyson Fury fight and to see the kids off to catch the flight home. Sunrise over Monte Corona from the bedroom window at 7am.

More lovely Blue Moons.

Bases need finishing off.

Did I say that I wasn't going to do full units!

First couple of Battlefront houses painted. Not 'Spanish' but great anyway.

Can't stop churning them out!

Lovely little command figure.

Monday, 26 November 2018

15mm's on the C&C board.

Recently on the tabletop wargamers Facebook page the administrator posted a message basically saying that his page was for those who painted and wargamed with miniatures, not boardgames or paper soldiers! He got quite a backlash and quite a few members left the site. I took great pleasure in posting a couple of images of my 15mm figures on the Command & Colors board asking him where he thought I stood with that? He said it was definitely a wargame, as did several others, which was odd because I regard it as a boardgame played with shiny soldiers. Anyway, enough of that to do, it's time to play through the first test game on the C&C board.

I placed everything I have so far on the board, a random deployment on the first two rows of hexes, the terrain simply consisting of a large central town, (2 Victory medals per hex held), plus a few hills and woods. Standing back and looking at it felt extremely satisfying, having completed this stage in what seems like no time at all.

I'm going to play through this today using the rule tweaks described in the previous post. The coloured dice are in a plastic cup, I gave them a good shake and then blind drew the first dice for first activation, it was British and a roll of 2 gave me the minimum 2 activations. I advanced both the British light infantry units, one towards the town the other towards the woods. In C&C these are 5 block units as opposed to standard 4 block infantry units and can move 2 hexes and still battle. I then moved one of the generals to attach to the unit advancing on the town which will give a morale bonus should they be on the receiving end of a flag retreat roll. The dice is placed at the rear of the board and the next is ready to draw. I should add I used 9 dice per side and once all are pulled I will return them to the cup.

More to follow. I'm going to return to painting some 40mm's now (more Chasseurs) as this will give me my wargame fix as I do so, but I'll keep adding more 'blocks' here and there.

First 2 activations - Britsh light infantry advance.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

15mm Blue Moon review & Battlescale buildings.

I'm home alone again for a few days as Shaz is back in the Uk until Wednesday for our youngest Grandaughters 1st birthday. It's a nice sunny Sunday morning here in Spain, with predicted temps into the low 20's for today and the coming week after what has been a very wet couple of weeks.

I thought that a review of the 15mm Blue Moon Napoleonics might be in order as I have pretty much completed phase 1 in the C&C figure per block project. It's all gone to plan nicely, I'm happy with the paint job, the heavy satin varnish and the basing. I'm going to get them all on the board today to play through a game based on a scenario from One Hour Wargames. For this game I will be using standard C&C battle rules but will replace the cards with a simple dice activation system. This will negate the need for left/centre/right sectors and allow me to play a free movement game using the basic C&C rules. I'm also going to trial a blind draw activation system (Bolt Action style) rather than the usual 'I go, you go' game. Basically it's as follows:

Green (French) & Grey (British) dice go into a bag, one per unit. I'll change this to Red and Blue dice if this works out. Blind draw to see who activates.

Roll the dice, 1,2 = activate 2 units of choice, 3,4 = activate 3 units of choice, 5,6 = activate 4 units of choice ...... simple!

Leaders always activate themselves, and any elite unit (Guards etc) may also automatically activate,
activation may be from any sector, that is from across the board.

Infantry units may form square as usual, but those classed as 'militia'- meaning in this case lower quality troops- will make a dice roll to see if they fail to do so due to lack of training and drill. A roll of 4,5,6 required to do so.

So it is possible for a commander to get a run of activations when the dice are drawn from the bag, meaning the action can swing back and forth unpredictably when playing solo. With equal numbers of dice in the bag, things will even out during the course of a game.

That's about it for now as far as rules go, after that it's standard Commands & Colours movement, firing, melee and morale/retreat rules. I will write up this test game to see how things play out.

Beyond the above these is the potential to use Tony's 'Ramekin' ideas, which are more thought out than my own simple tweak and contains some excellent rules for control and command, but more on this in due course.

Getting back to the title of this blog post, here are some pictures of the 15mm's so far. As said previously I am absolutely loving painting these Blue Moons. I have no desire to expand them into larger units, but it has occurred to me that a custom made board with slightly larger hexes would allow me to use some nice terrain items rather than the printed card hexes that have an annoying habit of sliding about the board. I was thinking this over last week in Amsterdam, being away from the figures the concept of creating a stand alone board, neatly framed that sits comfortably on my dining table came to mind once again. The standard C&C hexes are 55mm, and I think a slight increase to 75mm would work for me. With this in mind I looked around for some buildings to represent BUA's and the Battlescale 10mm resin casts were perfect in size and scale when used with my 15mm figures. 

The Battlescale (click to visit) range is sculpted by Steve Clay whom I seem to have known for years now. He works in 6mm and 10mm scale currently but is slowly expanding into 20mm. The 10mm scale buildings are just large enough to work with 15mm figures, the sculpts are really crisp and clean with individual planking applied and each roof tile painstakingly applied as individual tiles! There was not a single air bubble to be found on my order and no chipped or broken pieces, every piece is a little work of art and a true labour of love. I hope to get mine painted over the next week or so and will feature them again once completed, but meantime I can highly recommend this range of buildings and accessories.

Time for some more Pictures, the Line Lancers were painted and finished in a day (yesterday) and this time I went for a slightly stronger highlight on the horses, I'm quite pleased with the result under the satin varnish.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Two weeks flown by!

It's been a pretty busy two weeks since my last post including 5 excellent days spent in Amsterdam. I was itching to pick up a paintbrush again when I arrived home, and first thing I did was to bash through these 6 British light dragoons. I had completed a few artillery pieces and crews before we left, but was not too happy with the small chunky wheels on the British guns so painted another 2 guns using spare French artillery wheels which look much better to my eye. I'm currently adding some French light cavalry (lancers and chasseurs) before playing my first test game on the board over the weekend where I hope to incorporate 'Foy's' ideas for a card free, dice activated twist, which negates the need for the left/centre/right sectors.' Ramekin' I think will prove just the thing for playing One Hour Wargame scenarios. More to follow.

6 'blocks' light cavalry.

Bases still wet, the washers are to allow for magnetisation.

The wheels for the British guns looked small and a bit chunky to me.

British guns with larger wheels before painting.

Friday, 9 November 2018

More 15mm Blue Moons.

I have to admit that I'm really enjoying painting these 15mm figures right now, I can't seem to stop! I think it's the fact that I can knock out 4 to 8 figures in a day, in a couple of sessions fitted around other stuff that needs to be done. Having completed the second 'unit' of French Dragoons - four blocks/figures - I decided to paint some command figures, 3 French and 2 Brits to begin with. There is something about painting 15mm horses that I enjoy, I find it much, much easier to paint convincing horseflesh in 15mm and of course it's very quick to do compared to the 40mm's. So a few close ups of stuff painted over the last few days are in order I think, and whilst intended as playing pieces (tokens?) for the C&C board, I wanted them to look kind of, well, nice. I'm considering a gloss finish for them and still thinking about the basing style, I'm now thinking that I like the plain green figure base/washer finish as opposed to the flocked style I experimented with at the start, I think it's more toy soldier like.

Artillery are now on the desk, 3 crew/blocks per gun, starting with a couple of Royal Artillery pieces. I'm very close now to trying out the first of the One Hour Wargame scenarios on the C&C board with tweaked rules, of which more anon. I hope to get the first game played and written up before we head off to Amsterdam on Wednesday for a few days to celebrate Shaz's birthday. I think I'm going to feel the cold there as used to the milder temperatures now, but very much looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

40mm Chasseur a Cheval.

These are the first four figures of what will eventually become a full sixteen figure regiment. As I only have five figures left here I will paint another four for an eight figure squadron for the time being. As these Sash & Sabre castings are imported from the United States by Andy at Old Glory UK, I need to plan well ahead with my orders. Due shortly I have more British Heavy Dragoons and some Cuirassiers with command pack. Once they arrive more Chasseurs will go on the next order, I'm guessing for delivery in the New Year now.

You see them mostly finished save for final detail check and the addition of the carbines that plug neatly into a little hole in the upper leg. No varnish as yet either. I'm pleased with the faces, not perfect but on the whole pleasing to me with the slightly blushed cheeks. They took a lot of painting in terms of time and trying to get the contrast between the uniform shade and highlight, at one point I became slightly frustrated and put them aside for a couple of days while I turned to doing some more 14mm's for the 'figure per block' C&C project. These are progressing well now as you can see. I'm enjoying being able to paint a few at a time of different types, just starting on some French cavalry now, Dragoons to begin with. Once I have knocked out a few more cavalry units I'll get started on the artillery. I have a couple of British generals on the desk at the moment plus a couple more British Light Infantry as these should be 5 blocks not 4 so just making up the numbers on these.

And now the 15mm Blue Moon Napoleonics  - simply intended as nice shiny replacement playing pieces for the Commands & Colors boardgame!

Finally for now, still no cask conditioned real ale to be found here on the Costa Blanca. I was hopeful of this place when told about it a few months ago, but alas no. I did enjoy a nice cold glass of Sidre Dulce sitting outside here in the sun today, but not exactly 'London Beer'. Ironically we had been looking at heaters as it's chilling down in the evenings now, but it was a pleasant 19 degrees late afternoon.