Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Crossing the Neman!

As I await the arrival of my first 'Russian' order from Baccus I have been refreshing my memory about the facts of the 1812 campaign which has greatly inspired and motivated me to get stuck into some more painting. I have also been reading a lot of online posts over on C&C Napoleonics regarding the new Russian expansion and the new scenarios. I'll probably focus initially on the line units, plus a couple of Grenadier units, interspersed with some artillery and command stands for contrast. After some thought I have decided to go with the pre 'Kiwer' codes first but will mix things up a little as I go. A few 'greatcoat' line units will speed up the early stages, although I will use a mix of codes from the range. Aim is once again to reproduce all of the 'blocks' contained in the expansion.

I have decided that the Russian infantry units will be based like my French troops, in a 3 deep column with mounted officer at one side, this probably being a more accurate way to represent them than in a more linear formation, like my British. I have great respect for those hoards of Russian conscripts who fought with such grit and determination, this probably comes from my long held interest in the Crimean War, where I recall British troops describing seeing the 'expressionless cold grey' faces advancing upon them, appearing determined and unstoppable.

As part of my 'prep' I have also been listening back through the 4 episodes of the 'Napoleonic Podcast' series relating to the campaign. While the 'Riley and Markham' combo is not to everyone's taste I know, I personally find J. David Markham to be fascinating guy to listen to on the subject and have really enjoyed listening to the 4 'Russian' episodes again as I paint. There's a lot of good information in there, and I think the 4 episodes must exceed 5 hours in total. I would recommend a listen if you are interested in Napoleonic history. Here's a link to the first of the Russian related episodes.

The Invasion of Russia - part 1.

Those square markers!
Well, I did indeed paint up the figures required for the experimental marker base, but subsequent fiddling around trying to achieve a convincing square formation on the base failed to work for me. It also became apparent that I would need to reproduce the different type of troops forming the squares, so for now that's on hold. Not wasted though as I added them as another conventional British line infantry base, as below.

The dreaded flu bug again.
For the second time this Winter I have been struck down by a virus, resulting in 3 days spent mostly sleeping, tucked up in bed when I would rather have been painting soldiers! It's unusual for me to even get it once over a Winter, let alone twice. I did manage to get my C&C blocks stickers finished though, a most irksome job, but well worth the effort even though I may not even use them!

I have not mentioned the 'kittens' as they were HERE for some time I see, but I think they deserve a quick mention in dispatches for their most astonishing loyalty towards me as I lay coughing and spluttering in bed. All three spent the best part of 3 days curled up on or around the bed. 'Gibbo' the male cat, who spends much of his time sitting up in my painting room (he has sort of appointed himself as my assistant I think, so we have a sort of family joke that he is in charge of the packing department), would not leave my feet for much of the time I was there - even going a full day without his food - and attempts to carry him downstairs to eat, or to put him in the garden for call of nature would only see him run straight back upstairs again as soon as he could! Now I'm back to normal and so is Gibbo, all quite odd and very touching. He's back at work now too, as you see in the picture below. He also continues to grow at a most alarming rate with a huge bushy tail that even any self respecting fox would be proud of!

Quite a long enough post for now I think, I'll just add the pictures, and include one of the latest units for the collection of 'Old John' that I am painting, some lovely Les Higgins 20mm castings, this one being the 2nd Jutland Regiment of the Danish army.

Edit: The prints stuck around my walls are for personal study use only, I prefer not to take expensive books into the painting room in case of accidental paint damage as I work.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A pleasant day.

It's been another really fine sunny day down here on the Kent coast, and I have been thinking about future plans for my project once again. It's clear to me now, that there is little point in simply adding more and more units to the French/British/Portuguese armies, as I have all I need for the scenarios now. The Russians are the main new project ( I now have 3 Cossack units painted), but I'll also be adding a few specific units such as the Scots Greys, British & French Allies etc towards the Waterloo scenario. I'd like to do something special with the Scots Greys, I'd like to really push the boundries of 6mm painting for this one special unit. I have no doubt that since painting the vast majority of the Napoleonic bases my skills have sharpened and my brush control is probably at it's best. I recall a 54mm artist back in the late Seventies name of Ceaser Milani or something like that, and he painted some beautiful Historex Scots Greys that I have never forgotten, he was the reason I took up painting figures.

Square markers.
This had been suggested to me recently and had been on my mind previously, I have decided to use up all of my leftover British and French infantry by making some C&C specific square markers, with officers, colours etc in the centre of a square of infantry. Pose is not perfect but then it's 6mm scale! I'll see what I can do with these chaps tomorrow.

I'm really getting the hang of this now, it works well. Until such time as I find a local opponent I plan to exploit Vassal and it's opportunities for online games. After a bit of practice it plays extremely smoothly and is visually very satisfying.

Photos again!
Having completed rebasing the entire 6mm Napoleonic collection I could not resist placing them all on the C&C board for a few shots! It's nice now to be able to select units for games.

And finally....
I have been asked to paint some H&R Austrians. It's been something like 16+ years I was working out since I last painted a H&R Napoleonic figure. I'm a committed Baccus fan now but must admit to being surprised at the detail on these tiny castings. They might be old, but they are still impressive. This is the first bag test paint.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

10th Cuirassiers.

I knocked these off in a couple of hours this morning, 10th regiment of Cuirassiers. Looking through my Baccus box I found I still have loads of figures to use up for additional bases. This is my second base of cuirassiers, although neither of my two regiments served in Spain! I think the yellow facings really lift this unit. I'm in a position now to be able to just paint the odd bases I want to, and the Scots Greys are certainly on the cards soon.

10e Regiment de Cuirassiers (1806 uniform).

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Rolica - French first position. C&C scenario.

Today I played my first game using my rebased and re organised Baccus 6mm figures on the Commands and Colors game board, the small Rolica first scenario. I am very pleased with the overall look and the set up speed. Although it's only a small game, the scenario does offer challenges for both sides and plays well solo I found. I decided to follow the actual battle by attacking both French flanks in an attempt to gain the two marked Victory Points on the French baseline.

The French flanks appear quite open to attack, being mainly defended by light cavalry, but it was much more difficult than I had thought to advance both the British infantry supported by a battery of horse artillery against the French right, and 3 units of Portuguese infantry supported by a base of light cavalry on the French left. The Portuguese took a bit of a hammering from French attacks and had to fall back, while on the right the British moved steadily along the banks of the fordable river until the French moved reinforcements from the centre across to bolster the defence. French light troops occupied the village hex and their peppering fire proved quite deadly once the British came within range. A charge by Chasseur a Cheval against the leading British base caused it to form square, but the fire from the square caused a 'bounce back' with just the single dice throw, meaning the Chasseurs fell back 1 hex and were unable to reply with their throw. Having a handy 'flank' card enabled the British base to immediately come out of square and fire upon the cavalry causing casualties and further retreat enabling the British line to again advance on the flank.

In the centre the French remained mostly pinned to the ridge, and the fire of the single battery of guns proved quite telling, forcing a British battery to limber up and retire with 1 block loss at 4 hex range. The Portuguese continued to take casualties, although a move and fire by their light infantry did cause loss to a French battalion and forced it to fall back to the rear of the ridge for shelter. I tried to engage the French line in fire combat from the British centre while I pushed the attacks on both flanks, but was forced to bring up some fresh units in support of the weakened Portuguese who fell back to form a line rather than risk giving away easy VP's to French musketry. Again a British square caused French light cavalry to 'bounce back' and again concentrated steady fire from British battalions tore into them, routing them. In fact the Chasseurs on both French flanks were eventually destroyed leaving the position vulnerable. The Portuguese cavalry unit was routed as it attempted to get into position for a charge, but with the Portuguese troops now shaken up and with serious block reduction the attack against the French left faltered.

The action on the French right was bloody and decisive, as British troops supported by fire from the advancing horse artillery battery crossed the river routing a French column and leaving the attached commander (who narrowly survived a casualty throw) no choice but to retire off the board. Next move, the final move, saw light infantry storm the hill that was a VP for the British and win the game  5 VP's to 3.

 A fun game that lasted probably an hour and a half playing both sides as evenly as I could, it featured plenty of realistic exchanges as both sides attempted to gain initiative. The collapse on the French Right lost them the game, although in the centre they inflicted steady casualties, with the French battery proving quite effective at fairly long range.

It had been a few weeks since I last played C&CN but I have the rules pretty well committed to memory now, only needing to check out certain key points - one was if it was permissible for British troops coming out of square to fire at full effect on the same order, which it is. I wonder how the game would have turned out had I been more aggressive in the French centre, but overall it was the correct result with the French being outflanked and forced to fall back to a new position.

I took plenty of pics of course, showing both the newly rebased troops and the overall flow of the game. On a practical note the figures worked well on the board, although the command bases are a bit too big to fit comfortably into a hex when attached to a unit, but they can just about do it and I like the look of the three figure command bases and don't want to change them! I used the old markers to mark block loss and they look just about right I think, no need to make them any smaller or they could prove a bit fiddly to pick up and place down.

I'll try a bigger scenario next game.

ROLIÇA (French First Position) - 17 August 1808

Historical Background
After landing unopposed at Mondego Bay, Sir Arthur Wellesley led a Portuguese/British army of some 15,000 men south towards Lisbon. Opposing him was General Henri Delaborde, with a force consisting only of some 5000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 5 field pieces. Delaborde resolved to fight a delaying action against Wellesley’s advance while awaiting reinforcements from Generals Junot and Loison.
Delaborde chose his first defensive position in the hills just northwest of the village of Rolica. Wellesley advanced in three columns against the French, ordering the Portuguese troops under Colonel Trant on the right and Fergusson’s column on the left to turn the enemy’s flanks, while the artillery and infantry in his center were to engage the enemy in the front and hold them in position.
The British attack was underway by seven o’clock in the morning on the 17th. Although the French were hotly engaged all morning, Delaborde’s outnumbered force still held onto the hill position. However, by early afternoon, the wary Delaborde could see that his position was being outflanked and quickly moved his forces back to a second defensive position to the south.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?

Set-Up Order


Battle Notes

British Army
• Commander: Wellesley
• 6 Command Cards
• Move First

Line InfantryLight InfantryHeavy CavalryFoot ArtilleryHorse ArtilleryLeaderLine InfantryLight InfantryLight CavalryLeader
French Army
• Commander: Delaborde
• 5 Command Cards

Line InfantryLight InfantryLight CavalryFoot ArtilleryLeader

5 Banners
Special Rules
The two hill hexes on the French baseline are Victory Banner objective hexes for the British player. If a British unit occupies an objective hex at the start of the British player’s turn, the British player gains a Victory Banner. As long as the unit remains on the objective hex it will count as a British Victory Banner (the French position has been outflanked). If it moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts.
• The entire river is fordable.

The new basing style for French infantry.

The opening position, see scenario map above.

British flank attacks begin.

British left flank.

Great dice throwing on an 'Elan' card.

Position at end of the game.