Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye 2010

This will probably be my last post for the year, so Happy New Year to all my readers!

It's been a year that started pretty badly, continuing on from a shitty end to 2009, but got exponentially better as the year went on, with milestones a-plenty: My eldest daughter finished primary school and has the world of high school and adolescence to take us through; my wife started a new career after being a full-time mother for 12 years; and my youngest daughter continues to explore the world with her never ending thirst for knowledge (ie. asking 'why', or 'how come' questions at every opportunity.) If you care to check my profile details, you'll find a blog she's started, piggy backed on my google account, on her favourite subject: cats! She'd be very pleased if her visitor stats went up and got some comments ;-)

Below are my latest creations; British casualty figures and extra command figures including a Spanish general. I plan to play a Black Powder game over the holiday period, after the upcoming Aspern-Essling bash, and need more command figures for my brigades. I finally got around to painting a British divisional commander (the two figure base) as well as the Highland general and the Spanish general. Strictly speacking the Spanish brigade commander figure should be only one figure for the Cold Steel club rules, but I couldn't resist adding the armed monk figure from HaT's guerilla set! The general is a conversioin from a French officer from the Waterloo 1815 set of Napoleonic command figures (as is the highland general) with the head from an Italeri French general staff figure. I added a sash and cockade fashioned from milliput. I've allowed a few inconsistancies in the uniform to pass ie. the epaulets and gorget shouldn't strictly speaking be on a Spanish general officer's uniform, but that was a conversion too far to contemplate, so pedants take note; I am aware that it's not accurate!

Since posting these pictures, I've cleaned up the bases and added some more foliage so that they're not quite so barren.

Morale/casualty markers look like a massacre!
General Sir Thomas Atkins takes the salute!
Kennington command figure with grenadier from HaT Peninsula British infantry set. 
The dashing Spanish General Don Maunuel de Barcelona and his horse 'Basil'.
 The general receives the blessings of the furious fighting Franciscan, Father Fernando the Ferocius.
Scotland forever!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holy Toledo, Batman!

No, they're not Buddy Franklin's private army*; they're the Regimiento Toledo in their interim uniform. I think they turned out quite well, even though I think I need some more practice re. the standard bearer's straps. The Army Painter is getting quite thick as it's beginning to dry up in it's can, so the varnishing looks quite dark, but I like the grubby campaign look it gives.

The bottom few pictures shows the extra highlander figures I painted for the 92nd Gordons, and, especially for you, Tim, the change from black shakos to blue bonnets I gave the 71st Glasgow HLI. The last picture shows my complete British and allied collection (minus the Irregular 25mm light and heavy dragoons, which live in a seperate box to be exchanged for the Italeri plastic cav. when the need arises) in their carry case. In the top drawer are the cavalry, artillery, command and flag bearer figures. On the second shelf, from left to right, are the rifles and light infantry, the British line and highlanders, the Portuguese in the top centre, and the Spanish on the right. At this stage I'm using the other drawers to hold flat terrain like my roads and rivers, but I might have to add another sheet of tin to the third drawer as I have plans for Spanish artillery and the Regimiento Voluntarios de la Patria from HaT French figures. I'm still not sure if I'm going to do the last as the figures I have look very French in their accouterments, ie. sabres on the cross belts and epaulets, which I've shaved off. I'll paint a few and see how they look.

*Poor Australian Rules Football joke: Buddy Franklin is the full forward for Hawthorn whose colours are brown and yellow.

Merry Christmas, Frohes Weinachten, Joyeux Noel and Feliz Navidad to all who've visited my little blog this year.
Thanks for your support

Monday, December 20, 2010

Buenas dias,, ah...Top o' the mornin' to ye, Mick!

Here's the latest completed unit; the Regimiento Irlanda, another of the line units at Albuera.

By the early 19th century, the Irish regiments would have most likely contained very few real Irishmen and only a minority of descendants of the Wild Geese, hence the title of this post. Any foreigners in the ranks most likely would have been German or Italian. However, there were quite a few descendants of the Jacobite immigrants in the higher levels of the army, viz. General Blake and the O'Donnell brothers, Enrique and Jose. One of the heroes of Chilean independence goes by the name of Bernardo O'Higgins!

 The line

 Right flank including granadiero

 Left flank and command figures.

 Left flank again.

 Detail of command figures.

 Line centre.

 Regimiento Toledo WIP

Standard bearer painted up quite well!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Does my bum look big in this?

Two views of the milliput conversion I've done to turn the march attack figure into a standard bearer. The front on views weren't in focus so I haven't posted them. I'll try to take a few more and post later. 

Here I've added coat tails and epaulets, and weren't they a bugger to make?! Without proper sculpting tools, I was reduced to using a paddle-pop stick, a knife, and my sausage fingers to create these. The putty was more adhesive to my skin than the metal, so I had many frustrating moments where I'd sculpted the perfect coat tail or epaulet and the damned things came away on my fingers. GRRRR!

The front view hasn't worked quite as well, as I didn't get rid of the cross belt before adding the flag belt. He looks like he's being strangled in belts! I'll have to do a bit more tinkering with milliput to disguise the surplus belt, I think. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spanish WIP #5

These are the first attempts at converting the Kennington Spanish line figures into the Toledo regiment's interim uniform of bell topped shako and brown uniform. I've chopped off the original bicorne heads and replaced them with heads from left over odds and sods and the reloading figures that I don't like from HaT's 8095 French line infantry set. Using a pin-vice, I drilled holes into the neck and underside of the head and glued them together using a small length of thick wire to secure them. I'll clean up the join with a bit of green-stuff if required. I've posed them with their original, painted versions for comparison.

The last figure is a converted march-attack figure that I've converted into a flag-bearer officer. I'll try my hand at sculpting to add epaulets and the flag-strap (not sure of the technical military term; I'm sure there is one!). If I'm feeling adventurous enough, I might try giving him longer coat tails and disguising his gaiters as cavalry boots.

 Profile view of conversion. Front-on looks a bit narrow.

 Front on view of the head from HaT's reloading figure. A lot more anatomically correct!

Flag bearer conversion with HaT head and sword and scabbard from the old Italeri French infantry that are good only for body parts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Spanish WIP #4

I didn't manage to get to the club for the last meeting this weekend, although I had planned to; family matters got in the way. Sorry chaps!

It was shaping up to be another Franco-Austrian ding-dong in preparation for the January game. My last chance to get some Austrian practice under my belt, gone!

Anyway, my time away from the tables hasn't been wasted. Here's my latest offerings; The completed Walloon Guards and the Regimiento Irlandais in progress. The Walloons got a battle in last week, although I hadn't shaded or varnished them or completed their bases. These pictures show them finally finished properly. Apologies for the poor lighting; still haven't got the hang of taking indoor pictures on the camera. The top 2 pictures show the 'Irish' regiment Irlandais painted, but awaiting the Army Painter treatment and basing.

I'll try some head conversions next, to create the Toledo regiment in bell-top shakos.

 Regimiento Irlandais.


 Walloon Drummer and private

 Walloon command figures

 March attack and advancing privates.

 Full command set.

 Close up of the line.

 More command detail.

The line.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hold that village! Oooowww!!!

"Oowww, aaaaahhh! Confounded tooth! Smithers, where's the blasted sawbones? Laudanum, for Christ's sake! Smithers, a burrah peg to chase it down. No, no, damn yer eyes; 3 fingers of Scotch. Aah, that's better!

Now where are those damned Frenchies? Gadzooks! they've all sprouted tails! Have they taken to recruiting Barbary apes? Why, they're all marching 6 feet above the ground, damn 'em all!

Surgeon, how much opium did you mix in the laudanum, damn you for a quack?!

Well , whether or not we're to fight flying monkeys, we have to hold the village on the Duke's orders!"

So saying, General Rosbif began his heroic battle Friday last.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I had to make do with codeine and paracetamol to numb the pain of a cracked tooth that eventually became infected (next morning I had the damned thing extracted after another visit the the emergency room at the dental hospital, but that's another story!).

Tim, Geoff and I played a 3 hander with Tim and Geoff taking the French side between them, while I played the British. We settled on a scenario where the British had to defend a village at a road junction, while the French had to dislodge the British to win. Two thirds of my force occupied the village, while the rest were still approaching. The French were also yet to make an appearance on the board at the beginning, the order to be determined by rolling a 1 on a d10. Luckily, I managed to roll 1 first, so I got my cavalry and elites onto the board and into position by the time the French came on from the opposite corners of the table.

Having played Tim a lot previously, I knew that to stand on the defensive and wait for him was suicide. Suddenly he appears on your flank and starts rolling up your line before you realise what's happened, so I came out to meet him on that flank, with cavalry and skirmishers in the forefront. However, I telegraphed early on how I'd be playing, so while he turned to face my threat, he peeled off 4 battalions of infantry and a gun battery to approach the village from head on, where I only had Portuguese in the buildings and 1 lone British line battalion in reserve.

On the other flank, Geoff was spooked by the approaching cavalry, neither French brigade having cavalry, and his attack ground to a halt while he got into cavalry proof formations. My British line troops waited in line and column formations in front of the vineyard, with the ridge behind them.

I deployed my elites (92nd Highlanders and Walloon Guards) on the left flank, where I thought that they'd be needed most (facing Tim!), and spread one squadron each of cavalry to each wing and the horse guns to the right flank. I sent the cavalry forward and skirmished my light battalion in Tim's direction, while pushing the horse guns and other cavalry on the right. So far so good.

Tim aggressively took my cavalry on, putting the closest battalion in square, while the others advanced in closed column. These forces screened his other battalions heading towards the village. Once his intention was clear, I brought the Walloon Guards back to the village in a line stretching from the foot battery to the nearest built up area.

Now the fun began; Tim gradually forced his way forwards while my skirmishers didn't really do enough to slow him down. I had my cavalry too close to my infantry line in order to protect the open flank, but all that did was let his infantry get in on the cavalry's flank. I need to be aware of cavalry's threat potential, and not only use them as another, more mobile, infantry unit. Although he poured in a flank shot from his column, the cavalry merely retired a short distance and continued to threaten Tim's infantry.

By this time, his detached forces had come up to the village, and his guns had unlimbered and blasted the British column in the village at close range. They were going to be pummeled if I left them there! His accompanying infantry advanced closer to the village, with one battalion shaking out into line in front of my Spanish guard, who fired into them with effect as they did so.

On my next turn, I decided to eliminate the artillery threat to village by charging the British column at the French battery, but Tim had foreseen this possibility and counter-charged with a battalion he had positioned for just this eventuality. Unfortunately, we both bounced with losses, so the threat remained.

In moving the Walloon Guards to counter the French sweep to the front of the village, I had exposed the flank of my foot gun battery up on the hill, but as there was a walled enclosure between the guns and Tim's nearest units, I thought I was fairly safe. I concluded that his approach would involve too many negatives to be worthwhile, eg. flank fire from the Spanish and two sets of disorders form charging across walls. Robin was there for a chin-wag and to watch, and as a general rule, when he offers tactical advice one should Never Listen To Robin! He has the uncanny knack of giving advice that always turns out to be wrong. On this occasion, he advised me that my battery was safe, and, I must say, I'd come to that conclusion myself. However, hearing those words come from Robin's lips should have alerted me because you should Never Listen To Robin! Of course, that meant that Tim charged over the walls, copping the flank fire as he went and slammed into the flank of the battery. What Robin and I hadn't taken into account was the bonuses for charging the flank as well as unlimbered artillery eliminated the negatives for disorders and flank fire, and that the dice roll was enough to get him in! Bye-bye artillery battery!

The successful infantry battalion then careered out of control into the now exposed flank of the Gordon Highlanders who hardly budged, shook themselves off a bit and then made a mental note to give back that rudeness with interest. A big gap had now opened between the highlanders and the Spanish guard. Tim had succeeded in his charge, but not enough to crack me wide open, yet. Having said this, another of his columns followed up, got in the Walloon Guards flank and fired, but only managed to get them to change their facing after surviving the ensuing morale test. If they'd been anything other than elites I may have been in trouble!

Meanwhile, on the other flank, Geoff's advance had slowed to a snail's pace as my other cavalry squadron held up his infantry. He'd deployed one battalion in skirmish order, but kept them close for fear of what cavalry can do to unsupported skirmishers. I'd deployed my cavalry in column in order to take advantage of any chink in his armour. I'd toyed with a Balaclava style dash along the road, between the lines, to catch Tim's artillery battery, but concluded that the chances of success were slim, and that they were doing a stirling job in holding up Geoff's whole brigade. Still, that wasn't enough; Geoff had deployed one of his central battalions in line on the edge of the plateau, while his nearest unit was in closed column, slightly in advance of the line. I maneuvered the cavalry onto the ridge aiming at the flank of the line, behind the closed column. Twice I elected to opportunity charge the infantry in response to changes in formation and twice I failed. Due to lack of zeal the cavalry commander was cashiered and sent home after a court of inquiry was convened after the battle!

On the other flank I pushed the skirmishers further out to the left flank and then formed them in line on the flank of one of Tim's furthest battalions. He countered by moving another of his units onto the line's flank. In my next turn I destroyed the first battalion with flank fire, which promptly failed it's morale test and fled. I then suffered flank fire myself, but again shrugged it off. I tried to reinforce the line on the left with the reserve battalion but only added to failure by putting it on the open flank. It promptly got fired on in the flank, and, as it wasn't an elite and had already suffered casualties, broke and fled. Meanwhile, I'd got carried away and inserted my cavalry into the midst of the French infantry, hoping to run down a couple of battalions. All this did, of course, was to expose the cavalry's flank to Tim's infantry who'd formed line. Blam! and goodnight cavalry!

A similar thing occurred on the other flank, where I became too greedy again, and sought to maneuver my cavalry past Geoff's square to get at his line. I didn't keep far enough away and copped another flank shot, which after the damage from artillery, was enough to break them. This was what Geoff had been waiting for and the floodgates opened with a general advance for his brigade.

Tim tried one last throw of the dice and launched a charge with the remains of his 3 most complete battalions at the built up area closest to him, after dealing with the Spaniards, who failed their morale test after losing one too many figures. They retreated, though, rather than broke. So, Tim's charge went in, but greeted by a hail of gunfire from the Portuguese in the buildings, the attack failed.

On the other flank, Geoff pushed his skirmishers to harass my horse guns, which had been battered by counter-battery fire. His skirmishers managed to knock off another gun and disorder the battery, as well. They even managed to severely wound the general attached to the battery. His lines approached, but only two out of the 3 charged. After firing at them on their way in, the melee resulted in a draw, but after Geoff reformed his skirmishers into line on the flank of the horse gun battery, things started to look grim. He fired into the flank and destroyed the battery, so I had to hastily bend my line back to avoid being outflanked again.

I'd brought the Portuguese battalion out of the buildings on this side of the field, in the expectation that they'd be needed to shore up the line, but in hindsight, should have left them there, as the objective was to hold the village. As it was I got away with it as the night ended before the French could capitalise on their gains. Tim was all but a spent force (dangerous still, though!) but Geoff was on a roll. If there'd been an hour left, Geoff may well have been able to force me out, but as there wasn't, the night ended with the British and their allies still in possession of the town.

"Damme, we've managed to hold on!

Surgeon! Compliments to you, sir! Your concoction worked marvels! Next time we meet flying apes, sir, I hope you have some more of that potion on hand!

Ooow! Smithers, you blackguard! What have you done with the Scotch?!"

Initial British / Allied dispositions

Same from the right flank

Geoff's brigade waiting to enter

Tim's brigade

My reinforcements enter first!

Cavalry and horse guns enter on the right flank.

Elites fan out into line covered by cavalry.

Tim's brigade divides.

Geoff enters the board

Skirmishers covered by cavalry meet the French threat.

The forces in the village

Tim's detached force approaches the top of the village

Geoff approaches cautiously.

The guns and lines with the 2nd French column approaching their flank.

The cavalry trying to outflank Geoff's approaching French.

The Spaniards redploy to face the approaching threat while the guns fire over their heads.
Tim's covering force bullocks ahead to take on the cavalry.

The cavalry falls back in the face of the threat.

On the other flank the British await developments.

The cavalry falls back to form line with the infantry. In hindsight I should have fallen further back, rather than act like an infantry line.

The cavalry's open flank beckons.

The artillery advances with infantry cover.

Horse guns and cavalry on the right flank.

Geoff's square covered by skirmishing light infantry.

The British line looking towards the Portuguese in the village.

Walloon Guards form line from the other side of the village.

The French approach the village.

Tim's aggressive infantry get in the cavalry's flank.

Skirmishers withdraw to allow infantry and artillery to do their damage. Cavalry waiting their fate.

Artillery unlimber and give the British column a dose of 6lb medicine.

French form line to be met with Spanish fire.

British column charges the guns to be met by countercharging French infantry column.

Shrinking French line in front of Spanish guards, while 2 infantry batallions form up behind the wall.

Cavalry and highlanders fall back while light infantry harrass flank of French column.

The centre and left flank. Note the gap to the right of the guns. She'll be right! (Never Listen to Robin!)

My brief flirting with spectacular death or glory charge between the lines at Tim's guns.

The right flank. Guns unlimbered.

Geoff's view of my line.

My reserve column about to cop some more 6lb grief.


...and the result.

French crash into Highlanders. The difference in scale is obvious here.

Gordons and French bounce.

The highlanders reform, but the gap has been created.

The French form on the Spanish flank.

Meanwhile, Geoff stains his trousers when I appear on his flank!

Their moment of glory gone, when twice they refuse to take the opportunity to charge.

The British on the right flank facing Geoff's French.

The British reserve column leave the village and head to shore up the Spanish flank.

The Walloon Guards hold the line.

The Gordons' view of the approaching French.

Geoff's light infantry skirmish through the vineyard.

The Walloons fire on the French line again and knock one more figure.

The French line break and run.

The light bobs form up on the French flank and fire, sending them fleeing. Another column advances on their flank.

The lights awaiting their fate, while the cavalry goes in gung-ho!

The gap is closed.

Trying too hard to get around Geoff's command leads the cavalry too close to the French square.

Looking down the line from the French left.

On the left flank, the cavalry poised to crush the French line, but watch out for the closed column!

The weakened reserve move up on the highlanders' left flank.

The French fire on the line's flank, but too tough, they barely flinch!

The closed column shakes out into line and fires a devastating blast into the cavalry's flank.

Complete destruction of the cavalry.

The cavalry meets the same fate on the other flank, allowing a general advance of Geoff's brigade.

Skirmishers mob the guns.

The light infantry stranded between 2 fires meet their maker.

Geoff advances through the vineyard.

En avant!

Tim's brigade, a ghost of it's former self, facing my line.

Still with a sting in the tail, the French advance on the flank of the line where the weak line regiment is foolishly placed.

The Walloons retreat after suffering one casualty too many, breaking the line and exposing the village.
The signal for a 3 battalion charge on the village!

Supported by artillery fire the charge proceeds...but is repulsed.

Hemmed in by skirmishers, the guns have seen off one battalion in the background, but are attacked again.

Portuguese out of the village and formed up to try to get in the flank of the French.

Two French battalions charge the guns and line, with no result.

Skirmishers form up on the guns' flank.

Meanwhile, on the left flank, the highlanders cover the reforming Spanish.

The end sees the British line bending back with the beleaguered battery is about to be torn apart.
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