Tuesday, 31 July 2012

1,000 painted figures - a landmark.

Battle report. 
An exciting and decisive moment came when the 2 battalions of Foot Guards were ordered to fire under a 'Fire and Hold' card. The French had advanced to within musket range and the card allowed 4 British units to be ordered, any firing with an additional dice. Both British Guard battalions had entered the battle at a full strength 5 blocks, although one had lost a block to artillery fire. The first battalion delivered it's volley, the 5 blocks throwing 6 dice (GG) pus one additional dice for the card a total of 7 dice. As expected this smashed the French column, already reduced by casualties and routed (removed) it. The second battalion also fired a shattering volley of 6 dice (1 block down) and sent another French column to the rear. This unit had the general commanding the French centre attached and as the unit had been removed from play the leader casualty throw was just a single dice requiring a 'sabres' throw to knock him down, and indeed it was. These two volleys earned 3 more VB's, and two more British battalions also opened fire, one causing further loss upon a French foot battery. This turn gave the British the required total for Victory of 7 VB's. The French centre was shattered (although the second line remained in reasonably good shape), and the overall loss of 4 infantry bases, 2 cavalry bases and a leader base seemed reasonably heavy enough to require the French to retreat and to end the game. The British losses were 2 cavalry bases, although a number of infantry bases were marked with losses.

New ECW blog.
I have started my 'sister' English Civil War blog today, please see link at right. I will keep this blog purely Napoleonic and continue to update with new units and battle reports.

I passed the 1,000 painted figure mark with the completion of another British line battalion - seemed pointless posting a pic as it looks like all the rest! This was the first battalion in the 'Belgic' shako I have painted. It's only taken about 4 months or so I think to achieve this and I'm very happy with the results. From the beginning this was intended as a therapy project to help me to relax and cope with my depressive illness. 9 months ago I was at rock bottom, unable to lift a paint brush, just totally blocked, and dangerously close to the edge, with constant suicidal thoughts. My Life seemed in tatters. I have been lucky enough (after a hard fight) to get the help I needed, many others do not, and things seem much brighter and more positive now. I still have a way to go yet, but when I look back to before I started this blog I do feel lucky to still be alive and to able to enjoy the normal, everyday things in life. Chronic depression can be devastating, but at least we can recover from it if help is given at the appropriate time.

Enough of that! A big thanks to the 52 followers of the blog and to all those others who take time to read it.


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Future plans and more action.

The latest game is progressing well with the French beginning to suffer heavy casualties as they advance on the British position. At one point the French who are attacking had a very poor hand of command cards offering only probing actions rather than a coordinated line of advance, while the British had a strong attacking hand they could not use to full advantage. This slowed the game up a bit so I decided to allow the British lines to advance, which quickly livened up proceedings. Many command cards on both sides were played to advantage, and at one point the French played the 'bombard' card which caused 2 battalions to retreat, including the Portuguese Cacadores who fell back from the village they were occupying under heavy artillery fire. As the 'bombard' card (see below) was returned to the pack the 'first strike' card was picked up. As mentioned in my previous post, I have decided to use this card as a sort of 'extra go' card in solo play, thus the French played a card ordering the artillery to again open fire, which caused additional casualties along the British line. I think that worked quite well, and had a genuine 'bonus effect'. The British hit back and advanced several battalions, while Heavy Cavalry charged the leading column of French infantry forcing them into square. I got to use the 'cavalry retire and reform' rule following an attack by a French battalion in support of the square. 'Combined arms combat' was also useful, at one point a total of 6 dice were thrown by a combined British line battalion fire supported by a horse artillery battery which devastated a French Battalion at 2 hex range and routed (removed) them. The British currently have 4 Victory banners to the French 2, but several British units are marked with losses. Next few turns should prove decisive. Some pics below of the latest action.

Future Plans.
It's finally decided! I'm going to begin doing the English Civil War in 6mm, played to 'Foy's' excellent looking CCN/ECW adapted rules, still under development. I love this rule system and I think it will work well. As for the figures, they will be Baccus, based on the same 60x60mm bases, probably 12pike/16muskets plus maybe 4 officers/sbearers/drummers etc out in front per base.I think the look of different coloured units based to match my Napoleonics could potentially look pretty good. I may start a 'sister' blog to keep both periods separate.

French Dragoons underway. I will of course continue to add further Napoleonic units alongside the ECW's.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bridges, square trackers for C&CN & more action!

With Summer finally arriving it's been nice to be able to get out in the garden for a good tidy up. But I'm still plodding away on my Napoleonics and I have added a couple of bits for the game and a couple of nice little bridges.

I wanted a couple of bridges for my stream/river sections. It can seem a bit odd at first when you set up for Commands & Colors that the game does not feature any roads at all, but after playing for a while you tend to forget about such things and just assume roads are there but not modelled on the terrain. C&C still gives the odd bonus movement if you get the right command cards. Anyway, this left the dilemma of how to model the bridges which do not connect to a road system. I decided to extend the Baccus bridges so that they would span my stream sections and added card to both ends which I then landscaped. I'm quite pleased with them on the table and they will be useful for future C&C scenarios.

'Square trackers'
C&CN has what I consider to be a very good system for replicating infantry forming square in response to cavalry charge threat. I have to say that Polemos also handles this rather well. In a C&C game the attacking cavalry player asks his opponent if he will form square, and if so the unit is marked in square and the attacker then selects one command card at random from the opponents hand which is then placed face down on the square tracker. Obviously, the more you can pin opponents infantry into square the more it limits his command options, which has quite a realistic feel to it in play. Infantry in square always get to battle first, but with just a single dice. If they get a 'bounce back' result the attacking cavalry are unable to attack the square that move. Even when cavalry do get to melee it is very difficult to break a square of steady infantry, as it should be. The supplied markers and tracker are nice but quite large for 6mm scale so I reduced them to a more appropriate scale as you can see. I glued the markers onto small 'junior scrabble' pieces so that they are easier to pick up that thin card. I should add here that I was considering producing units in square, but a test proved that figures in marching/advancing pose don't quite look right in square! Firing line would be different, but for now I will have to stick with the markers, which do seem to have a sort of charm of their own.

'First Strike' card.
This card has irritated me in solo games! I either forget it's available to use or else it simply seems odd playing the card against myself! My solution is this:  when a command card is played and returned to the pack after each move, if the First Strike card is picked up as the replacement that commander gets effectively another go. Return the card, choose another from the top of the pack and then make the extra move from available command cards. Seems to work for me.

Just finishing off another British line battalion, first one in the latter Belgic shako, which is well modelled on the little Baccus castings. Pics will follow in due course. I need to add more Portuguese infantry too. I'm going to give myself a big treat and paint the Dutch lancers of the Guard in those fine red uniforms. Of course they can't figure in any of my planned Peninsular scenarios but I'm sure I will be able slip them in somewhere :-) I'm going to see just how good I make these look, and really give them some extra attention to detail.

The game.
I wont bother writing up these game moves, but a few more pics shows the general situation as the French columns begin to advance, through the woods in the centre and towards the British lines. They have already earned 2 Victory Banners thanks to cavalry action on the flank, where 2 lancer units have routed 2 light dragoon units. I'm finding I can play pretty well just of the reference Cards now, consulting the rule book on more complex issues such as combined arms combats and the square sequence, but I'm getting there.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Life Guards.

One of the very first units of model soldiers I ever saw was a conversion of Airfix Cuirassiers to British Life Guards, that was at school, probably around 1973 -ish! The red tunics and tall crests (made from coated plasticine), caught my eye back then. So of course I had to have them in my new 6mm collection. They wear the post 1812 uniform as I like those helmets. I have decided now to expand beyond the Peninsular towards the 100 days campaign as part of my long term plan to re fight Waterloo in the future.

I am also about to fight another C&CN battle, this time a straightforward attack/defence situation, with the French as attackers having a clear objective.... to cross the stream and break the British line. Victory Banners will be added for capturing each of two small villages and the main hill in front of the British line. I have put everything on the table, a total of 40 battalions/regiments/batteries. Handling 40+ units in a solo C&C game is made easy by the 'tick -tock' (to quote 'Foy') manner in which moves a re played. I have removed the 'Short Supply' cards (see below) for this game as also suggested by Foy following my recent comments on the use of that card in a solo game. I hope to play the game over the weekend. I upped the command card hands to 6, to see if this allows a little more flexibility, especially once a couple of battalions have formed square, when command cards can be a bit limited, realistic but frustrating.

I took some low level shots for a change. I have to say that the board is starting to look quite crowded now. I am still trying to make up my mind what period to do as a second project, to run alongside my Napoleonics. I considered ACW, but to be honest I have done that period to Death in the past, and find reading Stryker's excellent 'Brother against Brother' blog gives me the ACW fix I sometimes need! 'Foy' has been sharing some interesting ideas on wargaming the English Civil War, another period I am very interested in, and the Baccus range look tempting. I might order some to paint a couple of test bases!

All figures by Baccus, painted by myself.

Friday, 13 July 2012

15e Ligne & table progress.

As mentioned previously Knotel states the the 15th wore their old white uniforms into Spain in 1808 and continued wearing them for several years afterwards. The plate also shows plain brown woollen trousers and indeed Spanish espadrilles as footwear! I knocked off a quick battalion base and will add further battalions once I know how many the regiment consisted of. I may have taken a couple of liberties with the officer, (he does look a little grand in his gold edged bicorne), but overall I think it's a very pleasing looking battalion.

I have now edged my table which I think I think not only improves the overall appearance but also means all of the creases have been pulled out. I think it gives it a real 'gaming table' look. The room still needs a new carpet (we have a local shop which sells cheap room sized remnants so I have my eye on the stock), and curtains and a bit of general tidying up. I'm on the look out too for old picture frames to use for my prints to decorate the walls. I shortly plan to play the first of the C&C Peninsular scenarios, soon as my second Citadel Battlemat arrives and I can make up more hill hexes.  I also have an old shelf unit in the room now rescued from the garage where my growing 6mm collection now sits. I am only about 2 bases away from passing the 1,000 painted figure mark.

Next units will be a base of British Household cavalry (Life Guards) followed by a base of French Dragoons. Limbers & teams for all of the artillery are also high on the priority list then I might try a couple of bases representing British battalions in square.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The French attack develops.

I have been doing a bit of painting for the last couple of days, some 20mm Spanish artillery as a 'thank you' for assistance given to me in getting to grips with C&CN, and some very useful research materials.  It's been nice to paint a few larger scale figures, but I must admit I get a lot of satisfaction from each and every 6mm base that I paint, so I could not see myself getting drawn back into the larger scales again. More Baccus goodies arrived yesterday, and I'm itching to paint every one of them!

Interestingly  Knotel shows a member of the French 15th Line Infantry Regiment wearing the earlier white uniform, and states that they wore that uniform into Spain in 1808 "and for several years thereafter". That's good enough for me! Next French battalions painted will represent the 15th in white uniforms. Should present a nice contrast with all of the blue.

The game.
Played a few more moves of the game, with the French now taking form control and attacking in force in the centre, across the stream. Two British battalions have routed, both as a result of heavy fire and a determined advance under 'La Grande Manoeuvre' card, which allows a huge 4 hex move (but no combat that move), an excellent card for getting to close quarters fast. On the British right the positioning  of 2 French batteries on the hill has hampered attempts to take the high ground, and slow progress has been made. The British did get to play the rather odd 'short supply' card which allowed them to send a unit of French cavalry back to the baseline! This in turn allowed a battalion to come out of square which freed up another command card. A read through the rules seems to confirm this as a legit use of the card, but I stand to be corrected!

Once the game is over I'll clear the table ready to be framed up with pine edging which should give it a neat finish. The cloth will be pinned down nice and flat too. The Mrs is off to Ikea tomorrow so I have asked her to look out for a lamp and a couple of shades, and to look at A4 size picture frames - the bare walls are driving me mad, but it's slowly coming together. I'm also keeping an eye on the Hospice Shop for a couple of suitable wooden chairs.

Few more pics from the game. 2 VB's to the French so far.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

More 'Commands & Colours' action.

As it's Saturday morning and the family are either at work or playing Badminton I have taken the opportunity to play a few more moves of my somewhat less strenuous hobby of playing wargames.  I'm very pleased with how well the random deployment has worked for solo play. I'm playing 5 commands cards per side with the cards laid face up on the table, just choosing the best card as I control each sides turn. Turns are very rapid, literally a few minutes each in early stages so the board is changing quickly as attacks develop. Light cavalry charges can seem to appear out of nowhere, with a real element of surprise. The British now have two battalions pinned in square by French light cavalry, as the French try to bring up artillery and infantry support against a pretty poor hand of command cards. The effect of this on the British has been to reduce it's card hand by 2 cards, severely limiting its ability to issue orders where most needed. (C&C note: when a unit elects to form square in response to an attack the attacker selects a random command card from the controlling player and places it face down on the square tracker where it remains until the unit comes out of square, this places tactical restraints on the general). There have been exchanges of musketry and one British battalion have fallen back with losses, luckily its attached commander watched a ball fly just above his head but he was unharmed. (Attached leaders must test to see if they are hit when a unit they are with takes casualties, requiring 2 'sabres' on 2 dice). So far neither side has been able to use its artillery to any effect, the random deployment left them behind the infantry lines, but  they are now being brought forward where command cards allow. Still all to play for.

In the opening stages of a game of C&CN I find there is something of the feel of a chess game (I used to be an enthusiastic but poor club player many years ago). You have to think fast to develop your opening moves to your best advantage, and you remain very much aware of possible counter moves. I have never before played a set of wargame rules where you don't get to move all or at least a large part of your forces during a game turn. It's like playing chess against a clock where you move and hit the button and before you can sneeze its your move again! Maybe it's because I used to enjoy those kind of chess games that I enjoy the speed of C&CN moves.

From the British perspective I need to support those squares and get them back in line to free up my command options. Putting on my French Generals Bicorne I need to bring up the guns as quickly as possible to open fire on those squares and to add musketry from the infantry to the attack.

A few pictures from the game. You can see how much the game has developed in these few fast moves.

Friday, 6 July 2012

A quick update.

Having been a few days without a computer It's amazing how much you miss the internet! But I have managed to give my wargame room a couple of coats of paint and get a shelving unit in there. It's only a small room though at 9' x 7' what was the spare 4th bedroom come kids art room, and I probably could not get a table much larger than 6x4 in there, but I feel lucky to have it. I plan to fill the walls with military prints, but I've left them white to help with lighting for blog photography. I intend to fit a 'blue' CFL overhead and a softer warm white in a lamp to give a nicely balanced crisp light. A new carpet and curtains should make it a comfortable room. The standard CCN board (I use  100mm hexes) is 9 hexes wide by 13 hexes long, which gives me a small table of 3' wide by 5' long, including a little extra space all round for dice, cards, square trackers etc.... which is about perfect for the small room.

Yesterday I set up another small CCN game, 3 brigades of 3 battalions per side plus a small light cavalry briage of 2 units and 2 batteries per side. I decided to randomise the deployment by dicing for which section of the table (CCN divides the board into 3 sections) each brigade could be deployed. This worked well, with the French ending up with a cramped central deployment and no troops in the right flank sector, while both batteries were on the left flank. The British were more evenly deployed, but with a brigade of Portuguese troops somewhat cramped and unable to deploy in line. The stream is fordable for this game (I have some nice bridges on order from Baccus). I'm about six fast and furious moves into the game so far, 5command cards per side, and 5 VB's for win. Again this is a game to keep my CCN skills up to speed! I'm working now more on developing attacks and combined arms combats.

I have more Baccus figures on the way now, including British Hussars and Household cavalry, French Dragoons, British infantry in Belgic shako, more French infantry etc. I plan to begin painting some bases towards my long term Waterloo project now, rather than focusing strictly upon the Peninsular campaign, although I will continue to add more peninsular units too so that I can play through the CCN scenarios. I'm going to do a base of Imperial Guard Lancers shortly and I plan to set myself a small challenge to see just how high a painting standard I can achieve in this scale! Should be fun.

A couple of pics from the game so far. The kittens are growing fast and seem to have taken a fancy to my painting chair.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Those river sections again!

I finally managed to make some river sections that I'm happy with. Previous versions looked either too thick for 6mm or too wide! These are made from very thin flexible plastic sheet simply painted then a bead of thick PVA/Sealant (good stuff this) along the edges and covered in static grass to match my other scenics. I like the way it can snake across the board through the hexes.

What I'm basically trying to do now is to create all of the terrain items required to play all of the C&C scenarios as supplied in the boxed game. This means I need quite a few more hill and wood hex bases plus a few other bits and pieces. I still need 8 more hill sections but I'm not sure I have quite enough matting material left to cover them so I may need to go back to the drawing board with these and begin again from scratch, possibly using a softer hex material (these are cut from hard wood and not all of the hexes are accurate). I'll decide later about that.

The wargame room.
Overall I'm pleased with the look of my table. Next few days should see the room repainted and I have plans to get some nice military plates on the walls, improved lighting and storage for the figures/terrain. Should be a nice space to relax and wargame.

Thinking ahead slightly, I'd like to find a couple of gamers who might care to try some C&C Napoleonic games. Solo play is OK, and I'm not really a 'clubby' sort of person, but it would be good to play against a like minded opponent once I have got everything together. I'm on the Kent coast in Dymchurch, a popular holiday destination with plenty of comfortable B&B's and a lovely sandy beach just across the road!


Here's a few pics of the river sections on the table.