Saturday, August 31, 2013

What?! MORE French Infantry! Who'd Have Guessed?

 Yes, another battalion of French infantry! I'm down to my last regiment, so you'll being something else soon. I'll probably start my Bavarian cavalry next.

Again the basis of these troops are HaT set 8095, although there are some ring-ins again; the officer is from HaT set 8167, though his plume has been substantially pared back to resemble a pompon. The eagle bearer and NCO are from Italeri set 6092 with HaT heads. The Eagle bearer's is from HaT 8167 while the NCO's is from 8095. It's amazing how just having HaT heads makes the Italeri figures blend in!

Now for something different: A command figure for my Bavarian cavalry. As there are no commercially available Bavarian command figures, I thought I should have a go at creating my own. One of the remaining figures from the Waterloo 1815 Mounted Line officers set paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost his head to have it replaced by one from the Zvezda Napoleonic HQ Staff. As the join was not up to my usual standards, as well as the fact that I chopped away most of the original figure's collar, I made a new collar from Milliput (after about 4 attempts; bloody fiddly! Grrrrr!). He rides one of the magnificently animated horses from the Zvezda HQ set.

The figure below is my approximation of a General officer. The plastron resembles the plate below, but the figure has aiguillettes and a sash and the bicorne has a large plume, which would indicate a Staff officer. However, this is the closest I'll be able to come to making a figure remotely resembling the historical ideal, so again I'll be assuming this chap is more of a dandy who's outfitted himself in a way that tips the hat at protocol, but says a lot more about his own taste in military fashion!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tennyson got it right!

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them

Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

As dramatically illustrated in Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade, attacking an entrenched Russian battery is not a thing to be toyed with lightly!

As I am going to be commanding Eugene's IV Corps in our upcoming Borodino game, and it was IV Corps which was tasked with taking the Raevsky Redoubt before the Heavy Cavalry Reserve eventually secured it, Tim and I thought it might be high time for me to come to grips with the rule mechanics of attacking entrenched 12lb artillery, and then holding the position once taken!

We were originally just going to have a one-on-one game where we'd play out various scenarios, but were persuaded by Andrew S. to join in a big 3-a-side game to test his smoke rules after someone (who shall remain nameless!) asked how we were going to deal with the obscuring effect of gunsmoke which really played a big part in the actual battle. In the end, though, Andrew considered the rules too complicated and abandoned the test, allowing us to just in effect play 3 separate games on the one table, including our originally planned master-class.

1000 points of French: 4 infantry regiments (regular), 1 6lb foot battery and 1 regt. of chasseurs

The enemy! "There are your guns, sir!" 2 x 12lb batteries and 2 regts of infantry in the redoubt.

Tim also had infantry and cavalry backup...

...including 2 regts of pesky cossacks, one of which is shown here.

My front battalions advance in chequerboard formation

While the rear regiments advance parrallel

After my first move...

...and the Russians' first fire...

...I decided to try and screen my advance with skirmishers, but unsupported, they were easily dispatched by Tim's cossacks!

I realised I needed to protect the flanks form cavalry interference by advancing my furthest battalions out of the arc of fire to plug the gap

Meanwhile the infantry were beginning to suffer under the attention of the batteries

If you look carefully, you can see Tim trying to get his mug into shot in the background !

I then tried advancing the flanks under cover of 2 whole battalions in skirmish order attacking the batteries. That way the batteries must focus on the skirmishers, giving time for the columns to get into position. It's still pretty hard on the skirmishers though! Ah, well; omelettes and broken eggs!

The skirmishers do their thing, while the two wings form up.

Take that, Jean-Pierre!

The movement trays got their first outing and proved themselves a useful addition.

My cavalry tired themselves out in a series of inconclusive charges which, while they stopped Tim's advance, left them blown and disordered when the time came to support the charge on the redoubt

Nearly ready!

My blown cavalry on the flank.

Tim's cossacks lurked waiting for my charge. I didn't see them when I launched the original charge, so the cossacks successfully threw a spanner in the works. We rewound so that I could advance a closed column to block his cavalry.

My charge goes in! It was unsuccessful as I didn't have a wide enough frontage to absorb the losses from the artillery fire and Tim just happened to kill the general!

We rewound again and I tried it with 2 more battalions. Success!

I started to bring the reserves up to support the successful attack...

...but on the other side I forgot to block the cavalry again (I must do something about my cavalry blindness!). They charged my infantry support who were fixated on the Russian infantry. After the cavalry cleared theway, the Russian infantry then just charged down the line of my French, clearing out the redoubt!

Lots of French going back the way they came!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

...and Another One

Another French battalion using HaT 8095. This time the officer is from the Italeri 6092 set, with a head replacement from a HaT 8095 figure. The drummer is a metal SHQ/Kennigton figure. Besides the drummer, the firing figure and the rear row, right hand figure are the only ones without head replacements.

As the natural light has been rubbish of late and I don't have a proper set up for indoor photography, I used the flash with these figures. I'm not usually a fan of flash photography with figures, but against the black background I reckon these have come out quite well.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Basing Texture Revelation!

I started off trying to do this hobby on the cheap using household kitchen ingredients, like shredded coconut instead of flock, but soon realised that bought texture looks a whole lot better than home-made! 

I started by flocking the bare base which did little to disguise the 'step' where the figures' bases met the cardboard. By lucky chance I was in a craft shop with my girls when I discovered coarse artists' gel. It's been my chosen texture ever since. A while ago I was in an art shop looking for holiday projects with the girls when I spied some pumice mortar. As I was running low on the coarse gel and this art shop didn't seem to have a similar product, I bought a tub of this stuff to see how I'd go. At around A$15 I thought it wasn't too outrageous a cost if it doesn't work.

I recently ran out of my coarse gel and thought I'd give the pumice mortar a go, and I'm glad I did! It really is terrific stuff. It's an acrylic resin with tiny chunks of pumice in it so it literally sets as hard as stone. It's a bit hard to work with out of the tub, but after a little experimentation, I found it works best if diluted slightly, which makes it much easier to spread evenly.

I also experimented with colour as it makes earth tones too dark for my taste if applied straight on to the dried pumice. I can't remember which blog it was, but I recall someone using a pale flesh base undercoat for terrain, so on my latest battalion I tried that, then applied a wash of earth tones that sunk into the gaps, leaving the lighter tones exposed. I think it works quite well!

Does anyone else have any top basing tips?

The end result; not too shabby at all!

As recommended by Johnny Rosbif!

The raw stuff; not very attractive, but comes up well in the end!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Surprise!...More French Infantry!

Here's the latest 9-figure battalion using the HaT 8095 set as the basis of the Other Ranks. The elite figures come from HaT's expansion sets 8166 and 8167 and the officer is another SHQ officer of Chasseurs of the Guard who has had a head replacement using an officer's head from HaT set 8252. All the elites and the middle march-attack and right hand charging infantrymen have had head swaps, too.

Below is the 3 sided movement tray I showed in the previous post. The edges are made from polystyrene foam cut to size and glued to thick cardboard. Once the PVA glue dried, I roughly broke off the foam almost down to the level of the board to a height of a couple of millimetres. Then I painted the whole tray in the same brown shade I use on the figures' bases and flocked the foam once the paint was dry. The paint and the flock matches the figures so that they blend in seamlessly.

They will also be convenient for attaching the unit labels which Andrew S. has created for every unit on the French side in the upcoming Borodino game

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