Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanks!

Nov. 2012 the 2nd busiest month in the life of this blog!
(Not quite sure what happend in July 2010, though)

November has resulted in the 2nd highest number of visitors to this blog since I started (and I didn't have to resort to gimmickery, like including BOOBS! in the post title, like some...).

I just thought it was time to thank all my followers and visitors for the increasingly healthy stats. I try to document my painting output and battles fought along with the odd thing or 2 that I find interesting or humourous, so it's not like I'm really writing this for anyone but myself.

The bonus is that you all seem to enjoy it, as well! It really does make it all worth while to have the feedback and watch the visitor stats grow, and to get multiple nominations for the blogger 'awards' is gratifying, too.

So another big "Thank You" to all of you who continue to visit and comment. It really does make it all worthwhile!

Cheers!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Covered Shako Conversion Update

Here he is. I think he turned out quite well!

As I'll need to churn out several more battalions of French infantry for the Borodino project, I think I'll be using this technique to add a little variation to the same old figures.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another Yabbie Award Nomination!


Liebster...Lobster...Yabbie...geddit? Oh, just google it, willya?
It's an antipodean thing!
Thanks go to Conrad Kinch over at Joy and Forgetfulness for a 2nd Liebster Blog Award nomination! As he has so kindly taken the time to spruik my blog during his nomination post, the least I can do is to return the compliment.

Kinch writes one of the most consistently entertaining blogs on wargaming you could find. His gently tongue-in-cheek humour is a delight to read and some of the captions to the accompanying pictures make me laugh out loud. Mainly a 1/72nd collector and gamer, Kinch has a wealth of Napoleonic figures and battle reports in his wonderful blog, but I note with mixed feelings that he's begun to dabble in a little bit of modern gaming including WWII and '70s counter-factual-pulp-style scenarios. While I enjoy his writing on any subject, I especially enjoy his Napoleonic ramblings.

His entry on my blog nomination reads, and I quote: My " ...ancestors were transported to the Antipodes for stealing a pig and yet, despite dodging venomous beasts and the daily trips to something known as "The Thunderdome" (which I believe is a chain of local supermarkets) he manages to write a wonderful blog devoted to Napoleonic wargaming and painting. One wonders where he finds the time. "


  • Actually, my ancestors got upgraded to the orlop deck on their trip over because it turned out they stole a pig AND a loaf of bread. 
  • The trip to work isn't worth the ticket price unless your tram is attacked by homicidal mobs of kangaroos or the need to check under the seats for tiger snakes ("Snakes on a Tram", now there's an idea for a movie!), while doing laps at the swimming pool is facilitated by the sharks and crocodiles following in your wake. 
  • "The Thunderdome" has a day where 2 lucky shoppers are allowed to scour the shelves for discount bargains, but as the promotional catchphrase says "2 men enter; one man leaves!" I have personally participated in 3 of these events, each time leaving the store with a trolley full of bargains and my competitor's scalp, removed by a saw-toothed hunting knife.
  • To fill in the time when I'm not wrestling wombats or dodging dingoes, I like to paint little plastic men and play with them on a tabletop with other like-minded blokes. If you think that sounds funny, let me warn you the last person who laughed at my hobby ended up with a paintbrush sticking out of his eye. We shook hands, though, and drank a beer later. He's one of my best mates. The eye-patch suits him.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

University Archive Gems



Here's a link to a blog created by students studying French Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. The students have used items in the university archives, many of which belonged to students or staff, to showcase the the experiences of Australian soldiers in WW1.

Included in the archives is the published experiences of Oliver Holmes Woodward, which were used as source material for the Australian movie 'Beneath Hill 60'.

Being a blog written by students of French Cultural Studies, most of it is written in French, but with the wonders of Google Translate, non-Francophones can get the gist of it easily.

Adventures with Milliput #2

I've tried another conversion trick with the useful HaT 8095 set, this time with Milliput.

The original figures come with uncovered shakos, but I'd got myself some command figures from SHQ/Kennington for variety, some of which came with their shakos in oilskin covers. I though it would look odd if only the officers and NCOs had their shakos covered, so I thought it time to try a little sculpting conversion experiment.

Very simply, I covered the original shako in a thin layer of putty. Thick enough to cover the original details but not too thick, otherwise it looks like he's wearing a busby! After I got the right look, I gently carved lines using my craft knife to indicate the folds in the cloth, using the metal figure as a template.

I reckon it worked out quite well, but we'll see after he's painted up!

SHQ/Kennington officer figure in covered shako

My version of a covered shako on a HaT figure

Monday, November 26, 2012

MORE Italian Conscripts of the Guard!

I've started work on the 2nd battalion of Conscripts of the Guard for my IV Corps Borodino project.

This time I have an officer on foot to lead the battalion. He's from the lovely HaT set 8252 French Chasseurs Command Set, with a slight modification to his sword. The only problem with this set is the officer's sword. The original looks like he's waving an infantryman's sabre-briquet which just looks wrong; it's tiny and looks as if it would inspire mirth rather than confidence from his men!

As the area is too fine to be able to pin the new sword blade, it's just secured using super glue. It may not last, but looks good in the meantime. Depending how fragile it is, I may l have to try something a little more drastic, like a full arm transplant, at some stage in the future, but at this stage it works.

It's only a couple of mm (as the actress said to the bishop!) but it makes all the difference IMHO

Anyway,  his scabbard is way too big for his original sword; this makes it look a little more realistic


Thursday, November 22, 2012

1. Privremeni Hrvatski Pukovnija

Here they are, finished!

I was originally going to make them a 12 figure battalion for weekend gaming, but decided to make them a weaker 9 figure battalion  to reflect their provisional nature. The battalion size will be even smaller for our Borodino game coming in at 2 battalions of 7 figures each.



Grenadier

Voltiguers


Command


NCO and fusiliers



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Better Living Through Chemistry!



Another NWA Napoleonic member, Tony (see Sheppavara post), has made a very useful Pinterest page of all the paints, washes and other solutions and work-arounds he uses for his figures and terrain projects.

I'm sure there will be international versions of the things we have here in Australia. The beauty of this little collection is that there are pictures! You can compare them to local versions I'm sure, or at least Google the generic terms for your local brand.

See more at My Chemical Romance

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Award Winning Blog!


After the virtual back-slapping of the Stylish Blogger Awards comes the Liebster Blog Award! I've been generously nominated by that all round decent chap and amazing illustrator of all things VBCW, Pete Barfield of PanzerKaput's Painted Review. He really brings the counter-factual world of the 1930's abdication crisis alive.  If you haven't already, do yourself a favour and visit his splendid blog.

Thanks PK; much appreciated!

Now to the rules of this blogger appreciation society chain letter:
  1. Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it to you.
  2. Pass the award to your top 5 favourite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.
  3. Sit back and bask in that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing that you have just made someone's day!
  4. There is no obligation to pass this on to anyone else but it is nice if you do.
1st point already done, so on to the next point; passing the award on to some of my favourite blogs. Again, like everyone else, it's a hard job narrowing it down to just 5 and leaves me feeling guilty that I can't nominate more! But rules are rules, so here goes...

In no particular order I pass the award to the following nominees:

  1. James Fisher at Avon Napoleonic Fellowship. He is a serious Napoleonic wargamer with a blog full of resources, reviews and battle reports of games using figures of my chosen scale, 1/72nd! What's not to like?!
  2. Sander at Modus Reg Magni Momenti. Another 1/72nd aficionado whose work I first saw on the HaT website and thought I'd love to be able to paint like him!
  3. Francesco of Franznap and Franznap Miniatures. He is currently sculpting figures in preparation for opening his online store. I can't wait! His Marechal Davout is simply exquisite. And his chosen scale is 1/72nd, too!
  4. Robert of "Serrez les Rangs!". He's been a bit busy with real life of late, but still managed to post a cracker of a batrep recently. His West Tokyo Wargamers club puts on a great show and his sterling efforts in organising painting comps at the La Bricole forum are greatly appreciated. Plus he's a dab hand with producing the eye-candy, too!
  5. And last but not least, another denizen of La Bricole,  Paul Alba of NAPOLEONICS IN MINIATURE. He has a brilliant way with 15mm AB figures. The way he paints them, you'd think they were 28mm figures!





Monday, November 19, 2012

1st Provisional Croatian Regt. - Command & Fusiliers

Here's the last few figures for the Croatians for the IV Corps Borodino project.

All the figures are HaT, except for the eagle bearer who is a metal Kennington/SHQ figure. The officer has had a head conversion, swapping a shako for the original bicorne.

Next up, basing and shading, then they'll be ready for the table-top.







I've also noticed that I've gained my 150th follower. Thanks Mick the Beachcomber, and welcome aboard!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sheppavara! - 2012

The weekend just past saw a large percentage of the NWA Napoleonics group trek up to sunny Northern Victoria to take part in what has been declared the 1st Annual Shepparton Event, or otherwise known as the NWA Napoleonic Lounge Lizards Shepparton Sojourn (thanks for that Quinny)!

I've tried something different this time; I've added a half dozen slideshows accompanied by some suitably stirring music to get you in the mood! As I took rather a lot of pictures and the resulting slideshow was to big to add, I've made a few smaller slideshows that are a bit less cumbersome.

Paul concocted a scenario loosely based on the Battle of Talavera with an OB that was balanced to make the sides more even than the historical battle, in numerical as well as qualitative terms. The table featured the terrain from the Tagus to the Cerro de Medellin  with the Portina bisecting the table lengthways. Of course, being Sheppavara, the Portina was renamed the Goulbina, and the Cerro de Medellin was renamed the SPC, or Slain Priest's Curse, some grisly reminder of the Moorish rule apparently (All hilariously funny jokes to those familiar with the geography of the Goulburn Valley, but meaningless to those of you who aren't!).

The Anglo-Spanish forces held the town and the ridge on one side of the stream as well as the walled fields on the other side. The French would have to either advance with an enemy force on their flank, or expend time and manpower on rooting out Pete's Spanish forces occupying the fields. Meanwhile, the Allies had fortified the ridge line with some low fortifications at the base of the ridge and a more substantial fortified line on the top, guarded by one of my Spanish divisions. My other Spanish division held the upper fortifications. The plan was that I would act as a speed bump for any French attack and that the British formed up behind the ridge would provide the counter attack once the disordered French had crested the ridge with its fortifications and squashed Spaniards.

video 

Things started out going to plan with the French concentrating their energy forcing Pete's Spaniards out of the  orchards and then attacking the walled fields closest to the French. Pete out up stout resistance against Jim's French, but weight of numbers and quality eventually told, eventually being forced out over the river, but he still hung on to the only building on the French side of the river.

video 

In the centre Paul and Tony advanced on the central ridge as their orders required, crossing the stream and advancing on my Spaniards. My left hand battalion suffered 30% casualties form accurate artillery fire and were forced to retreat behind the upper defences, but the rest held on quaking in their boots awaiting the onslaught. I received orders to pull back after first contact (gladly obeyed!), making room for the British Light Dragoons to come storming through the lanes provided in the fortifications. My Spaniards cheered them on as they drove into the tightly packed columns of the German Division, causing mayhem and confusion amongst Boney's cronies! I think at this stage Paul was beginning to regret hosting the event; it wasn't very charitable of Tim to completely dismember the host's command! Tony's advance stopped in its tracks as his flank was in peril after Paul's spot of bother, too. It was now up to the flanks to attack our positions.

video 

Robin's command on the northern flank pressed forward and claimed Tim's fortified gun battery, but was then counter-attacked by Tim's infantry and cavalry, while Quinny's infantry threatened his flank. Paul was unable to provide enough support to Robin's forward thrust as he had his hands full elsewhere.

video


Darren, as French C-in-C pushed his reserve division between Jim's command, holding down Pete's Spaniards, and Tony's suddenly reluctant division holding the line of the stream bed. Darren pushed into the gap between the town and the fortified ridgeline with a combined arms advance. It was met by the British Heavy Cavalry and also by John R.'s infantry, who had until now been concealed in the town. I had also maneuvered my second Spanish brigade to face this threat, with my original position on the ridgeline now occupied by Quinny's British infantry, including his Guard supermen. When the British heavy cavalry dealt with the nearest closed column of French legere infantry, that left Darren's second column vulnerable to a flank attack from my Spanish infantry. All I had to do was to maneuvre them around onto his flank and either pour in the fire or elect to charge. However, Spanish troops in our rules are usually rated Conscript or lower (mine were rated Landwehr and Militia!), and they require an extra function to do any sort of move that's not in a straight line. So I managed to painfully get myself in a position to be able to do some damage in the next turn. All that hard work was for nothing, however, as Darren issued a break-off order and the whole French force withdrew behind the stream again to start afresh. That is where the game ended for the night; a real lost-opportunity scenario for my Spaniards!

The French (boo, hiss!) Robin, Paul (our gracious host), Darren (C-in-C) and Tony. Jim missing form shot.

l-r; Paul, Darren, Tony, John R, Pete E, Quinny, Tim, Robin

video 

The next morning started on a high note for the Anglo-Iberians with Pete needing a 1,2 or 3 to rally his broken division which failed its divisional morale the previous night; he rolled a 1! The French started their assault in earnest. Robin marched in with a perfect combined arms assault that Tim could not hold back with his available troops. Quinny held the ridge and attempted to enfilade Robin's approaching force, while I attempted to maneuvre my lumbering Spaniards to protect his right flank. The French artillery played havoc with his infantry, forcing them behind the crest of the ridge, but his own artillery made the French pay as Tony's infantry crept forward. Darren's foray into the gap between the ridge and the town was well planned with a larger combined arms force pouring into the gap, not giving me any latitude to repeat the previous night's opportunity. In fact, my role as a speed hump was grimly realised when Darren charged in with his legere infantry, crushing or scattering my hapless Spaniards in the process! They did slow him down enough that they didn't reach the Guards who managed to turn to face the threat, but my days of offering a credible threat were over!

video 

John R.'s infantry tried to clear the way for the heavy cavalry to catch Darren's dragoons in the rear, but his dice didn't co-operate and while he managed to expel the closed column, the square remained to queer the cavalry's pitch.

By that stage both of our flanks had given way, and while we weren't running from the field and had the Guards, the KGL cavalry and infantry and the British heavy cavalry still in good order, the odds were not in our favour. If this was a campaign game, we would have had to break off and retreat to regroup for a later time.

"Hmmm, what happens if I move this?"

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we did making them! 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

1st Provisional Croatian Regiment WIP - Voltiguers

The next 2 elite figures from the current Croatian project; this time voltiguers.

No head conversions this time, just the straight figures form HaT's versatile, but chunky, French line infantry set 8095.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1st Provisional Croatian Regt WIP - Grenadiers

These two figures are the start of the special infantry units required for Borodino.

The first figure is a head conversion, the original figure sculpted with a bearskin. The second figure is from HaT's Middle Guard set, painted as a line grenadier.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Royal Navy Landing Scenario - Test Game (At Last!)

This game has been a long time coming, but I finally managed to run the scenario and test some of the special rules I'd devised. Tim and John W took on the attacking role with the Spanish and RN forces, while I took the defending French role of the fort and the relief force.

For those of you who haven't been playing at home, here's the background; NWA, the club I belong to, has a theme month in September to celebrate 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day' (Sept 19). As part of 'Pirates in September' I had planned to run a naval landing scenario for our Napoleonic home-brew club rules, 'Cold Steel'. Last year I ran out of puff before September and put the project on the back-burner. This year I fully intended to be ready, entering the 'La Bricole Summer Painting Challenge' as an incentive to get the figures painted in time, but September was a crazy-busy month for me and I only managed one visit to the club ealry on in the month.

I had also planned to make some more scenery, like a beach for the landing and a ravelin to cover the entrance to the fortifications, but it didn't happen.

To the scenario itself; It was inspired by the successful raids by Sir Home Popham's fleet in the Bay of Biscay on the Basque coastline of northern Spain in 1812 which successfully tied down Caffarelli's Army of the North, preventing it from participating in the Salamanca campaign, by cooperating with the local Spanish forces raiding the length of the Biscay coastline.

My scenario's objective was for the Royal Navy to land a ship's 18lber (increased to 3 for playability) to reduce the fortifications and allow the Spanish to capture the fort. As the fort commands a river crossing on the main east-west road, the Spanish need to capture it to win the game. The French just need to prevent the fort from falling to win. Both sides have reinforcements on their way determined by rolling a 1 on d10.

My rules for determining the damage to the fortifications were muddled at best and weren't a great success, but Tim had a suggestion that probably will work better in a replay of the match. As I was playing as well as umpiring, I was a little distracted in enforcing my own rules, so again, they didn't work as well as I'd planned!

I won't give a detailed blow by blow account as I want this scenario to be run again and I don't want to give too many secrets away (loose lips sink ships, so to speak!), but it ended with an unsuccessful Spanish attack on the unbreached walls, and although the guns in the fort were all silenced and the reinforcements severely mauled by the Royal Marine battalion, the French remained in control of the fort at the end of the game.

Despite some muddling in the rules everyone agreed it was a successful scenario that would be fun to play again, and everyone involved enjoyed themselves. The small units raise the stakes because if one breaks, then you don't have much else up your sleeve to retrieve the situation! However, even though I seemed to have the largest butcher's bill, because I remained in control of the fort the French won the day!

The setup: RN landing party approaching in boat, French in fort besieged by Spanish across the river
The French fort. Figures outside are part of the garrison, but don't fit!
Spanish besiegers
RN landing party approach!
Spanish light troops skirmish towards fort
RN force disembarks
Skirmish action
Skirmishers clear abatis
Spanish battery suffers casualties!
French reinforcements arrive!
Naval gun battery sets up near town
Spanish guerrillas attempt to slow the reinforcements
Reinforcements head for ford below town. Should have kept them tightly bunched in hindsight, rather than sending out vanguard ahead of the rest
Charge by dragoons almost paid off. Needed infantry support to get rid of square.
Worst outcome for the charge: halt 2" from line with 2 extra disorders. The Spaniards failed to form square, too!
Too late, the dismounted dragoons come out in support.
Dragoons get whacked by flank fire and rout
A charge by a single battalion not a good idea against the fierce firepower of the Royal Marines!
Rout and runaway!
Another battalion runs away while the original retreating unit recovers and returns. What happens when you send them in piecemeal!
The other battalions engage, slowed down by skirmishers and sheep!
A game of flank and outflank ensues which the marines always seem to win!
Spanish advance on the fort after the majority of the guns are silenced.
Royal Marines fall back. Luckily I was persuaded not to charge, as all battalions were badly mauled and wouldn't have survived the pre-melee morale test.
Instead I occupied the BUA and sent the right hand battalion to the right, enveloping both flanks!
In a series of incredible rolls, John rolls a 1 to pass his morale test with flying colours when he should have been running for the hills! Also rolled 1's when he needed to when issuing skirmish fire from feeble guerilla skirmishers.
Spanish attack against unbreached wall fails!
 
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