Saturday, 30 May 2020

S&A Scenics a review.

Today I received my river sections and woods templates together with more trees from Simon at S&A Scenics. I must say that I am, (as usual), delighted with the products supplied by this long established company. I have been a customer for several years and having decided to purchase a terrain set specifically for use with DBN I once again turned to S&A. So far I have the following:

Grass green mat 6 x 4.
Numerous different shaped and sized hills.
Road sections in 1" width and 2" width.
Woods terrain templates.
Hedge sections.
30 x 2" trees - these are the 'more realistic' versions on plastic armatures.
2" (standard width) river sections.

I really like that the colour of the hills matches that of the mat very well, something that would otherwise bother me! The road sections packs are excellent value for money as you get an assortment of long and short straights, curves, junctions, crossroads etc and as they are felt backed they remain in position on the mat once you lay them down. I'm finding the 1" roads are better for DBN and fit nicely with my two model bridges which are by Battlescale (as are the 10mm scale buildings you see). I particularly like the new style trees as they do look a bit more realistic. The river sections (again great value for money) are very well made and I like the varnished finish and two tone water effect. Everything is toned together with the brown/flocked colour scheme, again something I really like.

All of the above are available in various scales from the S&A webstore and Simon makes everything to order in about a week or so. Packaging is good and uses lots of  newspaper padding along with some bubble wrap which means it can be recycled.

If you are looking for terrain which offers consistent quality across the range of products and good  I would recommend taking a look at S&A.

Edit: I note that Simon has ceased production for a week due to a fractured foot, hope you are soon back in the workshop again.

Some of the photos are a bit light,you can see the true colour in the top picture. Note that I am now starting to use some of the AB's in the units, French infantry unit features three AB's in the front rank, a very good match for Blue Moon 18's. I  do plan to make two edged boards as soon as I can source the wood from B&Q, one 2' x 2' and the other 3' x 4' which will take care of the creases you see in the photos!

Saturday, 23 May 2020

DBN test game - some thoughts.

 I found myself with time on Saturday morning to play through 8 full turns of DBN. This was my first time playing the rules so I took things slowly to try not to miss anything. rather than do a full in depth write up I want to record some of my initial impressions on how the game plays.

Overall I found the game to be slightly slow to develop, the French rolled to attack but consistent low rolls for Command Action Points meant the British were able to get into a better position and took the fight to the enemy.  Movement rates are modest, 200 paces for infantry in good going, but it's possible to use additional CAP's to double up the pace and on roads the 200 paces is also doubled, useful for moving up columns fast. Attackers get an additional 2 CAP's on the first turn, but with the French rolling a 2 it did not help much especially as the British rolled a 6 in the same turn. On the whole though I liked the movement and activation system

It took a few turns to get anything within shooting range, ranges are short, (200 paces for muskets which equates to 3" on my measuring stick), and it took time to get artillery into a firing position and within range. I found artillery fire to be fairly ineffectual against infantry which was frustrating. When it came to infantry exchanging volleys I found the shooting process to be straightforward, establishing the basic factor and then adding or subtracting tactical factors to give a score that was then added to by a dice roll. The results can be a hit, two hits are shaken and 3 hits destroyed. A unit can be destroyed if you double your opponents score, only a single dice per side is used throughout this game. Shaken units require an additional CAP's to activate and get a minus 1 when firing or in hand combat which works well.

Close combat is resolved in much the same way but with the ability to force a losing unit to recoil  a base depth. I found the process a bit 'fiddly' fighting individual unit to unit combats, counting support from units to either side in base to base contact and it seemed to take time to resolve. I was unsure if a unit that has lent it's support to a friendly unit in combat can then fight it's own combat in a situation for example where you have two formations of say 4 units each in line and facing off together. I decided against this but may have got this wrong. What I could not find was any mention of infantry forming square when threatened by cavalry, it's possible I missed this somewhere. Edit: 11.14 Infantry v cavalry optional Response Test rule.

I overloaded the table (3x3') with terrain features which meant that it was difficult to get the British into any sort of defensive firing line with artillery support, this is something I must reconsider next time. I managed to deploy the 60th Rifles in a village, but not a single Frenchman came within their 400 paces range! I think the very short firing ranges are one thing that really bothered me, I would be very tempted to increase basic musketry range to 300 paces, and all other ranges accordingly. I think this would really open up the game and allow artillery a chance of becoming more effective, I will experiment with this in my next run through.

I will definitely persevere with DBN. There are a couple of tweaks that I will make next game:

1. I'm going to increase the ground scale so that 2" represents 100 paces. This just means making a new measuring stick but easy enough to do. In essence the standard 200 paces move of infantry in good going will be 4" and on roads 8". As I'm using a bigger board anyway everything remains in proportion.

2.  I'm going to increase musketry range to 300 paces (6"). So the range of line infantry muskets becomes the same as the lights, same weapon after all. 'Jagers' (British Riflemen) have a range of 400 paces in the rules, so 8".

3. Reduce the amount of terrain items to open up the battlefield slightly and allow more room for formations to deploy. For example in the battle the fields were more of a hindrance than anything else, I could not get the light infantry and rifles to deploy in there as I wanted to. Removal of those fields alone would have improved the deployment of the British, much as I like them as features they are impractical in a game of DBN.

I think that the  increased movement and firing range will open up the action slightly and make things a little less 'fiddly', and by simplifying the terrain layout a more open battle can be fought.

Pictures below show  the 8 moves played in sequence. Frustratingly I don't seem to have taken photos of the final combat resolution! Both sides suffered losses and recoils, the British losing 1 unit and the French losing 2. At this point I had a few questions about the rules that I needed to read up on around close combat supports and order of resolving the combats where there is an extended line v line situation. Next run through I will do a French attack column v line and introduce some cavalry action, but it was an excellent and useful learning experience and introduction to the practical playing of DBN rules.

Deployment. The French infantry are in march columns and are the designated attackers.


Turn 2 (Below) Both armies advance. 

Turn 4. (Below) French & British infantry trade volleys.

End of Turn 5. (Below)

Turn 7 (Below) Melee ensues as the French attack.

Below: Enthusiastic Ney (AB) confers with a BM Marshall, a good match.  I do plan a couple of circular multi figure command bases.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

British on the march & AB first impressions.

It's been a funny old past few weeks, somewhat up and down for me, but with the easing of lockdown restrictions life is gradually beginning to feel slightly more normal again.

As usual I continue to paint model soldiers on a daily basis, although there has been a change of direction (once again). The more I painted 18mm Napoleonics, the less I felt I wanted to paint anything else! Something about these little ten figure infantry bases has really caught my imagination and the result are two armies for DBN that could also be used for portable or C&C type games.

The upshot of the above, coupled with the fact that I have been unable to stock up with Baccus figures is that the 6mm WSS stuff has now been sold to a new owner, it seemed pointless working in two scales to the same ends. The One Hour Wargame scenarios will now be played using DBN rules and 18mm figures.

My first order from Eureka UK came through in around 4 weeks and I have more in the queue. The AB figures are of course sublime, and I'm really pleased that that the infantry at least are a  very good fit beside my Blue Moon figures. I had ordered just 4 carabiniers as I had been told that the cavalry are not such a good match, being on the larger side. This is indeed the case, the AB heavy cavalry horses are huge so I'll continue to use BM for future cavalry. The AB guns are superior to the BM models in my opinion, certainly the wheels are much finer and the overall look is much less chunky so I'll be replacing the BM guns with AB's. On order I have Spanish line and militia, Portuguese Cacadores and Polish infantry plus a few more AB personalities. Below you see Marshal Ney, a fine model that I bought to see how the personalities would fit beside my BM chaps, no problem.

Simon at S&A scenics has been busy supplying me with more of his lovely terrain products, I really like the consistency of the items. So far I have roads in two widths, lots of hills, lots of the new 'more realistic' trees and the vineyard you see below. Simon is currently making matching river sections and some terrain templates for woods etc. The cloth was also supplied by Simon, I have a 4 x 3 piece waiting to be fixed down onto a sheet of ply which will then be edged with a wooden border. I'm really pleased with the overall look.

The houses you see are 10mm  scale by Battlescale painted a couple of years back and being used to represent DBN style BUA's for now. I spent quite a bit of time searching for 'small' 15mm scale Peninsular buildings before remembering good old Hovels resin models, I now have a fair number from the 'Spanish' range on order and these will replace the others to present a more Peninsular theme.

The 40mm's are staying here as display figures.

Lots of pictures as usual!

Both officers are AB figures all others are Blue Moon.

AB Ney.

Next up, more French with AB command figures.

AB guns waiting to be painted.

British army on the march.

Part of the Light Division for DBN. Cacadores on the way. 

Light Dragoons and Hussars.

The S&A Scenics vineyard.

S&A realistic trees.

Awaiting Peninsular buildings.


Forward to battle.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Horsing around!

This is a quick post on the subject of painting 18mm horses. I have been experimenting a bit recently with browns and chestnuts and think I have found a solution. Here is a base of 4 French Dragoons with the horses painted in just three basic shades, Flat Brown, Cavalry Brown and German Camouflage Orange - all Vallejo. Between the three of them I think they can produce some rather nice horse shades. The cavalry brown alone is just a bit too red for my liking, but knocked back with a bit of flat brown it makes a good base shade. Flat brown is a good basic horse shade and when mixed with the German orange provides good highlights. The muscle tone on the Blue Moon horses is pronounced enough to take the highlights.

For this project I decided to try to brighten things up a bit with stronger highlights and a heavy satin varnish. You can see how the varnish brings out the highlights.

Pre varnish, looking rather flat.
Satin varnish applied.
DBN base.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Lockdown blues and booze!

City of my birth and a long time favourite!
The last few days have seen a major dip in my mood as I struggle to cope with the extended lockdown. I'm reading very much the same thing around several of my fellow bloggers and given the crazy times we are living through it is not really surprising. Meantime I'm doing what I can to help the brewing industry through the crisis, I find it helps!

That said I'm still using painting soldiers as a therapy, which was my reason for starting this blog ten years ago. The fact that I can paint a base of DBN figures over the course of a day is still keeping me going and I'm actually surprised to find that since the last post here a week ago I have painted another 48 figures! They are a base of British Guards, a base of British Light infantry, a base of Italian infantry, a base of Legere and a base of Voltiguers (LI) and four more command figures. With a new ink cartridge delivered yesterday I plan to print and add some flags today. A couple of horse artillery guns (French & British) are undercoated on the painting desk.

18mm figures by Blue Moon, available in the Uk from Andy at Old Glory.

British Guards base and another light infantry base.

When you begin to deploy bases in formations DBN looks far more traditional.

Note the new painting lamp, £22.00 from Amazon, adjustable lighting levels and LED colour, perfect replacement.
Simply resized in Word from 40mm scale to 18mm scale.

Painting reference for my base of Legere.