Sunday, 23 December 2018

Feliz Navidad, Bonne Fiesta!

Wishing all fellow bloggers and followers a Merry Christmas. Our first Christmas in Spain has come round already and the sun continues to shine with temperatures pushing 20 degrees. There is little sign of the blatant commercialism of the UK High Streets, it's quite refreshing. Yesterday we drove down to Benissia near Calpe to visit the International Supermarket that stocks UK imported foods which it sells at very inflated prices. On our list were mince pies, a Christmas pudding, brandy butter and a joint of British beef, things we have not been able to find up in Gandia, and it was a real culture shock to walk in and find the place full of Brits! We became aware of just how 'Spanish' our diet has become as we now tend to eat what we find in the local Supermercado in Villalonga, fresh fish, meat fruit and vegetables, none of the processed food of UK supermarkets, no rows of crisps and snacks or sweets. We were actually pleased to get out of there and get back to Villalonga and our Spanish neighbours.

Well it is Christmas so got to have a few little extras!
We received a lovely big bag of freshly picked oranges from one of our neighbours as a seasonal gift, the economy of this area of Valencia is very much built upon oranges and the groves are still being intensively picked with seemingly no end to the crop, the factories are in full swing with lorry loads of the fruit being shipped out daily to all over Europe. Today Shaz is going to make some of her lemon cheesecakes as gifts, such is our new life in Spain.

Hobby plans for 2019.
I will continue to expand the figures per block C&C project, I'd like to do the Prussians next. I decided to remove the figures from the flocked bases, they just looked to messy to me and I wanted to return to the cleaner single bases with as much flock removed as I could and repainted. I like the individually based figures and the Blue Moons are robust enough - and heavily varnished - so that I can just scoop them up by the handful! I have now decided to keep all line infantry at 8 figures for more visual impact on the C&C board. This weeks output has been 8 British Grenadiers/Guards with a sergeant to mark them as elites, 4 French 4th Hussars and another 4 French voltiguers.

Job done I'd say! This is just what I envisaged when I started. Still plenty more figures to paint before I start on the Prussians.

The 8 figure infantry units give a better sense of mass.

French Dragoons on the left flank.

British Guards & RHA battery.

Highlanders with Light infantry to front interspersed with rifles. The British lights are powerful 5 block units and throw an additional dice when standing and firing. The rifles are 3 blocks and have increased mobility and range.

The French infantry with skirmish thrown out in front.
French light cavalry about to cross the stream, Hussars, Chasseurs & line lancers.
It's been a pleasure following all of your blogs this year and I look forward to reading more next year, it really is a great source of inspiration and helps keep me painting.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

A slight basing cock up, but recovered!

This week I decided to take the plunge and multi base my 15mm figures for use on the C&C board. having been unable to source magnetic sheet or tape here I went with simple card bases, all cut by hand to a standard 55mm x 40mm with a 10mm black strip painted at the rear to take a printed label. Once I had lightly tacked down 8 line infantry, 4 skirmish infantry and 4 cavalry per base I was quite pleased with things. I say lightly glued down because I might still at some future point go with the magnetic option so did not want anything too permanent before I tried it out in a game. The artillery was based on the narrow front edge with 3 crew standing behind the gun. So far so good.

It had taken a few hours work to get to this stage, I then decided to go one step further and apply flock with the intention of painting the entire base green once fully dry. However, after another couple of hours work doing this and having completed all the bases both French and British I realised that it was a mistake! The flock looked a mess and I knew I should have simply applied a thick coat of green paint, an attempt to paint the flock resulted in a disaster so I left everything to dry overnight and felt pretty disappointed with myself. Returning next day I could see only one way of rescuing things and so spent a couple more hours laboriously removing as much of the flock as I could with a stiff old brush, the intention being now to apply a thick coat of green paint to match the shade of the C&C board. The label at rear will have the base info at a glance, based on the C&C unit stats as shown below.

Back at recovery central I placed the French bases on the C&C board for a few shots to see how things looked. They are a tight fit but will do fine for games on the board and I still intend to make a bigger purpose built board for games that can feature conventional terrain items, to which end I have been painting more of the Battlescale 10mm buildings. I'm getting closer now to what I was looking for when I started this project, and remain inspired by those bloggers working with grids and smaller scale tables and especially by Norm and his fine 'Pinboard' table (link).

Tomorrow I'm off to Leroy Merlin to find a suitably coloured acrylic match pot for all the bases and a game will follow.

I reckon a 70mm hex grid will allow for use of model buildings etc and open up the distance slightly between bases.

Labels at rear will contain unit type, number of blocks represented etc.

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.