Thursday, June 22, 2017

Napoleonic Buildings - Plancenoit

Ken and I have been floating the idea of doing the Prussian attack at Waterloo in 28mm. This got me thinking on what terrain we would need. The village of Plancenoit should be the main focus of the game so started thinking about how to represent it on the gaming table. My initial thinking is that we'll need about ten 9"x9" BUA's, or about five feet of village.

I am pretty sure I will be using "tall" 20mm bldgs, as I think we need lots of buildings to get the "village look" but still have space to put bases in each sector. I already have a couple of 20mm resin buildings and plan on using them as templates to create up about 15-20 buildings.

I created up a test building, and while it took a little longer to make than I thought, I think it turned out pretty good, or at least good enough when put next to 15 other buildings, walls and trees.

The Original
I'll most likely need to do something different for the roofs ... too costly for essentially "throw away" buildings. I am leaning towards just drawing them in, though might cut strips and stack them up for the roof tiles.
The Front
Using the grid paper really made making the windows and doors easy ...
The Back
I added some coffee sticks and brick to the sides, then applied spackle. I'll thin out the spackle even more on the next batch of buildings. I might add more features on a few select buildings but am thinking I'll build most of them like this. Sanded down the spackle, and primed the building.

Once the primer was dry, I rough out the colors for the roof, building sides and brick work.

Then brightened up the colors with heavy dry brush.

 Painted in few details, such as the windows and different colored bricks.

Walla! One down fourteen more to go :)

Most of them won't be this big, I'll do about eight single level buildings and half a dozen smaller two story buildings.

Edit: Looking at the map and deployments of the French and Prussians I may rotate the village and just have the top half or two thirds of it on the table. This would cut down on the number of buildings needed

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Festeplatz - KGCII

Ken has been working on a lot of WWII Russians the last couple of months and was keen on running an Eastern Front scenario. So he came up with a scenario that had a reinforced Russian Mechanized Corps sets its sights on a German "Festeplatz" held by a battered infantry division.  Their only hope is to hold on long enough for the 3rd SS Panzer Division to arrive and restore the front line.

As is the norm on these big games, I was not able to participate that much! Though I was able to get some pictures of the game from Mark and had a brief understanding of how the game played out.

The Russians advanced upon the 1st line of fortifications held by infantry with a few AT guns ... the preliminary bombardment was fairly effective and pinned most of the line. The Germans eventually fell back or retreated as several battalions of Russian tanks arrived, in particular the battalion of ISU-122 really threatened to open up the German center.

A German PaK front was established on the right flank made up of a whole lot of PaK 43's! Though they took heavy return fire, the batteries smashed the ISU-122 battalion and halted an advance column of T-34's. Now most of the Russian armor skirted wide of the PaK front over to the German left flank.

So when the Recon bn from the 3rd SS arrived it drove down to the left flank to counter the massing Russian armor and troops. 

Both sides advanced into and around a wooded area that some German grenadiers decided was a good place for a final stand. The Soviets made a big push into the woods but could not dislodge the grenadiers or SS troops, so fell back to recover.

While the russian attack smashed the front line troops, it was not able to make headway into the village as more German reinforcements arrived. And when the flanking mechanized corps arrived the Germans had stabilized both flanks ensuring that the road was clear. It was at this point the soviet attack was called off (aka we ran out of time!)

We called it a German victory even though the Grenadiers took a pounding, but that was expected as they bore the full brunt of the soviet attack and were able to maintain complete control over the village.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

General d'Armee

We had a quick change of plans for our game last Saturday. I had planned on running a Black Powder Napoleonic game based off the Battle of Barrosa in 1811. But one of our gamers received a pdf version of Dave Browns new General d'Armee rules, so we decided to give them a try instead.

French to the left, British to the right with the Barrosa Tower off in the distance.

I have very high hopes for this ruleset; while I do have fun playing Black Powder, the games are lacking in period flavour. Our BP games just end up being fun games with miniatures instead of a fun Napoleonic game.

There was going to be four of us playing, so I divided the forces into five brigades for the French and four brigades for the British. This as it turns out is what a single person per side could easily run. I also believe this is going to be the main "negative" feature for me of the rule set, more on that later though.

BG Dilkes Guard brigade advances up the Barrosa heights to engage Ruffin's infantry division.
As this was a first play through of the rules, and a hasty one at that, we made numerous errors. Most were "fixed" in game, though I did find several other mistakes made after I re-read the rules the next day. Not an issue for me as I never get upset about mistakes in any game, especially one in which we are learning the rules.

French infantry from Leval's division advances upon the British lines.
In the opening moves of the battle the French occupied Barrosa Hill with most of Ruffin's division, while Leval's division cautiously advanced on the British "grand" battery. Just so, as Wheatley's skirmish line broke from the woods and started firing on the flank of the French columns. This forced several of the battalions to turn and face the skirmishers, though the bulk of the division advanced upon the rest of the Wheatley's infantry as it deployed from the woods ... supposedly under the cover of Major Duncans artillery guns. That was the plan, its just that Duncan's artillery brigade was consistently hesitant and provided no support!

This allowed the 1/54th Ligne in column to rapidly charge Colonel Barnard’s flank battalion, overwhelming and routing them. They fled back to behind several companies of the Coldstream Guard that just exited the woods. With poor command rolls on both sides, the rest of the battle for these troops became stymied and mostly limited to sporadic musketry.

The French battalions from Ruffin's division moved down the hill at the small guard battalions moving up the hill. They met in the middle and proceeded to volley and charge back and forth with neither side gaining an advantage.

While this was taking place French Dragoons had swept around Barrosa Hill and were looking to the turn the British flank, just as Colonel Whittingham cavalry and spanish infantry finally showed up along the coast road. The British Hussars fared well and drove back the dragoons, though the spanish cavalry not so much.

Both sides were starting to have more and more brigades falter, so we called it a day ... after five hours of gaming! Ok at least half that time was spent looking up rules or waiting on customers :) Overall it seemed that we all had a good time and are already looking at running another game.

So what did I think of the rules? Did it meet my expectations?

I did like the rules, and for the most part they met my expectations for a Napoleonic rule set. Even after just one playthrough I am feeling like they will replace BP as our go to rule set for Napoleonics.

They are fiddly, which I like, but suspect many people won't like them because of the tables/charts or the all the little variations on outcomes.

My main problem with the rules and ironically one of the interesting features of it, is the ADC command system. It is fun rolling for availability and tasking out the ADC's, I think most people will want to participate in it and as we get more familiar with the rules and stages of games, we will get more nuanced with when and what Tasking's we use.

But we play with 28mm figures where each player generally only has a couple of brigades ... thats two ADC's, so just one or two per turn. I suspect that having four or five brigades for each person will give enough ADC's to fully utilize the system. We'll see how it goes as we play more games, perhaps will just have one person per side roll ADC's and them hand them out.

The only other part of the rules that annoyed me was the obvious British bias in the rules, those however are very easy to take out. As an example, the mains rules state "Counter-charges by Infantry are not permitted. Exception: if defending British Infantry...". I don't mind the rule it self, but that it seems that only British infantry figured out how to counter charge :) I will just change it to read Veteran and Elite infantry instead of British. And of course there is a 60th/95th special rule ... which I will change to elite light companies and so on ...

I really liked the charging/melee sequence, though it does take some getting used to and you will need to use the charts most of the time ... which I do believe many people will not like. But I missed the rolling to charge/stand sequence that BP does not have and suspect charging will be used less than in BP.

We of course will have to play more games to confirm, but it seems that volley fire is much more effective than charging to disperse enemy units. Unlike BP, where you almost always charge right away, in GdA I get the feeling it is best to move up and engage in several turns of volley fire before charging.

Overall I am quite pleased with the rules and am already figuring out how to track hits, ADC's and other markers for the game.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Unfinished Terrain (part 2)

I finished the two remaining terrain pieces today ... well I still have to decide if i should put more flock on the raised road, and then spray on a protective layer.

First up was the raised road, which was pretty easy, and mostly entailed a lot of dry brushing! This is what it looked like last week:

I then proceeded to put a colored layered of Mod Podge on it, that had some sand thrown in it for my base layer. Upon this layer I added more small rocks and dirt. I then used a darker brown to overpaint the road lines, followed by a heavy drybrush of a sand color over the two sections.

Once that dried, I started flocking both sections with my usual green mix, along with some clump foliage. This turned out to be too green, so used the same sandy color to drybrush over sections of the grass to lighten them up.

28mm M3 Halftrack that I use for my Russian forces.

The 28mm Tiger I barely fits on top of the road.

The Pz VI as it climbs over the elevated road section.
On one of the sections I added a culvert. I used some spare side walk pieces for the culvert and painted in some water.  I still need to give it a "wet" look and cover most of it up with foliage to call it done though. While the road sections could be used for 28mm miniatures, I think it is much better scaled for 15mm figures.
A couple of Hell Cat's overwatching both sides of the road.

The culvert is a little to blue right now, but once it is "wet" I'll add more foliage to it.

The last piece I had was the peasant building. I really did not do to much to it, just added some spackling to the walls, painted the inside and outside of the structure. Then I textured and flocked the base. The roof really needs to be redone and I should add windows and a door to it, but doubt I'll ever do that as is it is playable as is.

As you can see the roof does not fit.

My Saxon warrior leaving empty handed from the peasant hovel.

"Lets go ... not even worth burning down!"

That's all the unfinished terrain in the shop ... were going to be starting up a Frostgrave campaign at the store in a few weeks and perhaps I'll motivate myself to create up some new stone works for the campaign.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Unfinished Terrain

So I have been in a major painting slump for a couple of months now ... a lot of it has to do with the issue that I don't really have any interesting painting projects on the table. But there is also the issue of lighting in that after I moved my painting table the lighting is not very good anymore.

To help get out of the slump I thought I go about finishing off a several terrain pieces that a customer had left behind after he moved out of the state. Of the four pieces, I have already finished two last week and think I'll get the other two done this week.

First up was a Cave Entrance / Rock Formation. It was made up from a bunch of scrap material and I think he intended it to be used in Frostgrave games. What you don't see is what I spent the most time working on, which was cutting and tearing the straight flat sections and trying to eliminate the seam lines between the five layers of foam. It also help that I did not fully protect the piece, so when I spray primed it, the chemicals ate away at the foam giving it a very irregular look.

I did not like how the stone path turned out, I almost tore them off ... still thinking about it :)

What went on in this inner cave?
I tore out most of the top and expanded the left "inner cave" so as to better fit a figure. Basically the same with the center alcove. On the back of the 'cave' where the tunnel came out, I cut the grade down as much as I could, so that miniatures can be placed on the slope without tumbling down. I also kept several flat ledges so that a player may put a miniature or two on them.
Our hero has a height advantage against any foes attacking him.

The intrepid Hero passes through the very, very short dark tunnel :)

Half way point as he climbs to the top of the rock formation.

Next up was a piece for I believe SAGA. At first I think it was just going to be large flat stone piece, but then changed to an old "natural" house. I again did not fully protect the foam and got this very irregular stone work. I have just added some putty and stones to the top and base.
Must be winter all the grass is dead...

Hope the roof doesn't collapse.

I painted the door and added flocking to it. Used a basic green, but then though it was a to uniformed "cut", so added a blend of larger pieces of flock to all surface areas ... this made it a little too green, so then watered down some glue and went over it again with some dried static grass. The mess came out pretty good.

"None Shall Enter!!!"

So that leaves the Raised Road and Peasant House to do this week. The raised road (I think it was going to be a raised railway section at one point) is in 2 two feet sections, so just fits across one of our 4' x 6' tables. I am going to test out using Modge Podge to seal the terrain, I'll add black paint to it so won't need to spray primer it either.

This peasant house was done very quickly and needs more work on it than I really want to put into it. I will most likely just spackle the outside walls and ground; then a quick paint job on it. For the roof I'll glue it down better but not sure I can "fix" it to look like layers of straw at this point.

I'll post an update on both of the above pieces next week (part two).

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

28mm Fencing

As part of the MAW2 project I was keen on doing up some new terrain to use. The group has plenty of buildings, so I was going to focus on fences and Southeast Texas trees ... though admit don't know how those look different than the trees we already have at the store :)

First though I would work on the fences, and as I wanted to do lots of them, I was going to do them "cookie cutter" style. I purchased some bamboo skewers, got the tacky glue, clippers and a miniature to use as a guide and went to work on a prototype. I rough cut out a template (might do up another one to make it a little "cleaner"), then lots of short supports and long beams for my first batch.

I settled on a 11" long, three section fence for the bulk of my fencing (I'll do a few two section ones so as to be able to vary the fenced off sections). I wanted the fence to be high so brought the top up to a figure's shoulders.

With the prototype done, I cranked out six more sections, with one of being a gate. Though before doing anymore I decided to base and paint them up in case I needed to make any more changes.

For the basing, I wanted to have a small footprint, so instead of a section of cardstock, I went with a couple of washers in the middle and a blob of hot glue for the outer posts.

It work out well, except I inadvertently weakened the gate section and had to glob a lot of glue on to give it some strength. The downside to the washers is that I think the fences are "game weak" and won't stand up to much of your typically wargamer handling ... but the are easily fixable so onto the paint!

I primed the fences and then using some some cheap acrylic paint, got to painting them. I chose Territorial Beige for the base color and then did a wet blend with Trail Tan.  I actually let most of the paint dry so it was more of a "dry" wet blend :), then flocked the bases and called them good.

Overall they came pretty good and won't be changing the process much, if at all. The painting of the fences turned out to be the longest part of the build! This first batch was a little over five feet of fencing and I want to at least double that. With perhaps a couple of special sections, like a broken fence, or a fence line tied into a dirt mound or rock etc... any Southeast Texas terrain ideas are welcomed!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Battle of Halle 1815

Over the weekend our group fought out a what if scenario I had designed to use Ken's extensive collection of Waterloo troops. We used the Black Powder rules by Warlord Games as it was the easiest set of rules to get back into gaming Napoleonic's. Attending the game was Mike (Dutch), Myself (British) and Ken (Hanoverian) on the Allied side, while Chris (14th Division) and Mark (12th Division & Cavalry) commanded the French.

The basic premise of the scenario is that Hill's II corps situated around the Belgian city of Halle had been ordered to march to and join Wellington with the main army. Hill had been covering the Allied lines of communications in case Napoleon tried to send troops to severe that link, and in this case he did just that. Napoleon has sent Marshall Gérards VI corps to cut off and turn the allied flank. Both corps had some difficulty traveling along the country roads and bumped into each other around the small hamlet of De Boukendael.

General Hills allied force comprised of Lyon's 6th Hanoverian Brigade, Johnstone's 6th British Brigade, d'Hauw 1st Netherlands Brigade and two Hussars regiments from the Hanoverian Cavalry Brigade.
British Infantry near the hamlet, Hanoverians off in the distance holding the right.
VI corps fielded both brigades of Bourmont 14th Division and one brigade from Pécheux 12th Division.  Berruyer 2nd cavalry Brigade from 7th Cavalry Division also supported the attack on the right flank.
GdB Toussaint 2nd Brigade, one battalion not seen as it is moving through the woods.
The French were attacking and started off with a general advance. Only one brigade was late off the start line, but they too were soon moving towards the Dutch (we had no blunders during the game, a first I believe!). From left to right, columns of French infantry advanced with skirmishers out front trying to disrupt the allied battle line.
The six battalions of the 30th and 96th Ligne regiments from GdB Rome's brigade.
They attacked on the French right. 
On the Allied right, the Hanoverian Brigade bore the brunt of the initial attacks but held fast against the onslaught of French Battalions. Remarkable even the landwehr battalions did not break from the initial stress of the French attacks.
The guns of the Hanoverian battery were not able to engage the fast approaching French columns with much effect. 

The French battalions of GdB Mazarny 1st Brigade attacking.

Two field battalions from Major-General Lyons 6th Hanoverian Brigade.

The French attack against the Dutch battalions holding the shallow ridge slowed once they reached the top and discovered several more infantry battalions, as well as cavalry and artillery supporting the forward infantry battalions.

A charge by Verden's Hanoverian hussars was thrown back by counter charging French Hussars, who carried on into the Dutch militia battalions. Fortunately they formed a disordered square and the hussars retired to their own lines after inflicting numerous casualties on the square, though unable to break it. 
British 9lbs fire on the French infantry lining a small woods.
The British in the center had been relatively idle initially just exchanging artillery fire with a French battalion formed upon the edge of a small woods. So to relieve the pressure on the Dutch, two battalions of British infantry (one the 91st Highlanders) moved to support the Dutch by advancing on the French columns. They then spent the rest of the battle exchanging close range musketry with french skirmishers.

The battalion supporting the 91st late in the battle reformed to face to its right and engaged the French battalion which had been poorly engaged by British 9lbs. However this extra weight of fire soon drove the frenchmen out of the woods.
91st Highlanders face off against French skirmishers from a battalion of the 30th Ligne
By now the battle on the French left versus the Hanoverians was coming to a head. The lead battalion of the 9th Legere broke and then the rest of Mazarny brigade began to retire from the field. Though Mazarny was able to send forward his last fresh battalion to cover the retreat ... this of course broke the hanoverians!

1st battalion / 44th Ligne - The Rock of De Boukendail 
A battalion from Toussaint 2nd Brigade had pushed ahead of the rest of the brigade. They charged the Hanoverian battery and routed the gunners, then were counter charged by a german field battalion but held and then broke the germans. Before they could reorganize they were charged by a British Battalion (2/54th) but even though the British surge into them several times, they held on before forcing the 54th to retire! They only quite the field after the rest of the brigade was broken.

This brought an end to the battle in an Allied victory, though just. The Dutch were only holding on by miraculous efforts of its junior officers (ie Mike kept rolling 6's for his morale saves!). Though as noted above the unit of the game has to go to chris French battalion, it passed seven breaks test, most them at -2 or more during the game!

While not my best scenario, it is was pretty good and balanced overall; I believe everyone had a really good time and that is the main point of these games. Not sure when we'll next do a game, but think it will be in the 1813 Leipzig area with Prussians, Russians and French.