Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Dice Gods Smiled!

The gods took pity on me, for once.

I finally got a game in at the club last weekend and blooded the Neapolitan Chevau-Leger! They were mauled (mainly due to poor tactics) but weren't chased off the board, so I'll chalk that up as a win. More on that anon.

Unfortunately I left the SD card in the computer at home, so you're going to have to put up with some disjointed and distinctly wobbly pictures off my phone.

It was 3 vs. 2 game with Jim, Quinny and Vana taking the Austrian side and Paul and I taking the Franco-Allied side. My force was made up of French, Italian and Neapolitan troops with my best unit being the Neapolitan Velites, rated as Veteran, the rest being Regular, Conscript, or (in the case of the Neapolitan line troops) Landwehr. An ugly bunch if ever there was! In our rules troops rated Conscript and below need to spend two functions doing anything other than marching in a straight line, whereas troops rated Regular and above can maneuver at the price of the standard one function, so I had to keep that in mind and not try anything too fancy.

I faced Jim and Quinny, while Paul took on Vana and faced Quinny's 12lb artillery battery. Ouch! Glad it was him and not me as I had Jim's monster 12lb battery to deal with myself! The Austrians won the initiative dice roll so Jim immediately took the ridge and occupied the villages in between us, setting up his death-dealing 12lb battery on the ridge.

After that, it was a matter of trying to dislodge him without getting my left flank turned, and trying to get by Quinny's cavalry in the centre.

Quinny's hussars punish my chevau leger and hussars
The highlights of the game were:
  • Not once, but twice, rolling a 6 in melee while Quinny rolled rubbish in two separate cavalry clashes!
    My French lancers come off worst against Jim's hussars
  • Quinny capitalising on my Neapolitan Chevau-Leger advancing too close and taking the opportunity charge, which resulted in the Neapolitans retreating and the French Hussars breaking for the rear.
  • My infantry recovering the situation by attacking his cavalry's flank, then following up with a charge on his infantry, pushing them into the woods. This was the high water mark on that flank, though.
  • Jim's flanking attack with his cavalry which seemed to be going well, having the better of my French Lancers. When he followed up by charging my guns, I stood firm and fired on the charging hussars. With accurate supporting fire from the adjacent infantry column and the gunners having balls of brass I inflicted 20% casualties on their front line, and coupled with his abysmal die roll, queered his pitch resulting in his hussars retreating ignominiously to the rear. It was a risky move on my part, but I felt it was worth the risk and the dice gods agreed!
 The lancers head over the hedge.
The excitement was too much to keep the phone steady!
  • My lancers taking their own opportunity charge against Jim's Grenzers who tried to pull back from behind a hedge. I thought I'd blown the pre-melee check, but Garry (who was observing) calculated that I had actually indeed passed the pre-melee check allowing me to burst through the hedge and catch Jim on the hop, smashing into the centre of his line and spoiling his day!
  • My follow up with an infantry brigade crossing the hedge behind the cavalry. The brigade ended up in the crossfire between infantry in a building on one flank and the dreaded 12lb battery at very close range on the other. Needless to say, they didn't remain there long!
  • Jim's subsequent infantry advance exposed the flank of his long infantry to a flank attack. His line survived my initial flank fire, but in my next turn I ensured success by charging into his exposed flank.
    Jim's line with its open flank about to be exploited.
  • My Neapolitan infantry holding the centre and causing Jim a little anxiety as his 12lb artillery exposed its flank to deal with the French infantry advance. If they were better quality troops, the Neapolitans could have been right up the battery's jaxie. Because their quality was so poor it took them a whole turn just to turn and start plodding in the general direction.

In the end neither Paul or I could effect a knock-out blow. After my expensive advances, I wasn't in any position to be able to resist Jim once he recovered. Quinny had also set up an impregnable defensive line in the woods, bristling with artillery and infantry. The game was declared a draw, though with a definite bias in the Austrians' favour

Monday, April 11, 2016

1° Chevau Leger Lancier

Can this really be the first unit I have painted in 2016?! Unfortunately the answer is yes! Where has the time gone?

I signalled that these were going to be on the drawing board way back in January. 3 months later, here is the finished product: The Neapolitan 1st Chevau-Leger Lanciers, using the new Waterloo 1815 set of French lancers and providing new heads by a little judicious head swapping. All troopers have shakos while the officer gets a rather dandy busby.

I still haven't worked out a good place to set up a photo studio in the new house, so bear with my lighting fails.

The figures are very hard plastic, more akin to Zvezda than Italeri in consistency. The lances are very delicate and require extreme caution when cutting them off the sprue. I'm wondering how long they'll last on the actual figures The figures carrying their lances in an upright pose are particularly vulnerable; I've already clumsily knocked one and bent the lance at a precarious angle!

The sculpting is very delicate and in proportion with dynamic poses, but one gripe is the shabraques which have a curious 'tail' on both sides, reminiscent of a British light dragoons shabraque:

Exhibit A
Besides that minor gripe, they are very nice figures and will grace a tabletop in the not too distant future, I hope. They may well end up going the wrong way, but they will still be on the tabletop!

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