Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pike & Shotte Campaign Battle - The Bridge

Even though I told the guys I wasn't going to blog about yesterday's game, I do have a few pics of the game, and thought it would be easy to do a quick post.

Mike had arrange for another round of the P&S campaign they've been running (even convinced me to roll up a mercenary command!). Mike and Troy supplied all the figures and set up the table for the The Bridge scenario out of the mini campaign in The Devils Playground book. Brett was also able to make it, so it turned into a two vs two game.

Troy and I set up on the left of the river, while Mike and Brett set up on the right. They won the initiative which allowed Mike to throw forward a pike block onto the bridge. Brett, Troy and I basically sat around for the next couple of turns (Brett and I searching for a ford in the river).

The Bridge
 The victory condition for the scenario is to control the bridge for three consecutive turns ... of course Troy and I spent the next two turns dawdling around our baseline! So before we lost, I had my commander take charge of a group of rabble and charge the bridge (passed a Follow Me order).

My lone unit of militia was all that stood between victory and defeat ... as it turned out only a few more turns before defeat took hold of our armies :) but we did manage to do a little damage to some shotte units.

Deciding enough was enough, Mike ordered his pike block to changed into column and charged across the bridge into my militia. Surprisingly it took a couple of turns (and misinterpreted rule) before the pikemen gained the advantage and drove off my militia. 

By now the bulk of Mike's and Brett's foot units were supporting the unit on the bridge and to top it off, Brett's cavalry finally found the ford and started crossing the river.

After being driven back from my now shaken militia broke my command. This was because earlier in the game, some musketry had drove off my other Militia unit (they actually ran away when I tried to rally them!) My unit of Cuirassier never were able to join the fray.

We called the game and rolled for experience and extra units as per the rules. It seems that my Cuirassiers were issued lances and learned how to use them (Lancer ability and +1 H-to-H), while a unit of militia pick up a few muskets (+1 shooting) and finally, the crew of the medium guns was issued some swords (+1 H-to-H). So after the game this is what my Mercenary Company looked liked (no extra units):

Captain Bruenig (Reliable, SR=7)

Unit Type Weapon H-to-H Shooting Morale Stamina Special
Cuirassier Heavy Horse Lance, Sword & Pistol 7 - 4+ 2 Mercenary, Caracole,
Hvy Cav +1, Lancer
Militia Foot Warband Mixed Melee & Ranged 1 1 6 2 Mercenary, Militia, Rabble
Militia Foot Warband Mixed Melee 1 - 6 2 Mercenary, Militia, Rabble
Artillery Ordnance Light Gun (24") 1 3-2-1 6 1 Mercenary
Artillery Ordnance  Medium Gun (36") 2 3-2-1 6 1 Mercenary

There is also talk about a reset and fiddling around with the campaign rules (Troy's leader now commands 13 units!).

Tirailleurs Algeriens in Mexico

As some of you may know, I was not very keen on the size of the Gringo40 28mm figures, and made plans to paint up some Perry figures as back up. Due to a generous donation from Doc, I was able to get a few Perry plastic zouaves from him to use as Tirailleurs.

Even though I will mostly use them as a skirmish unit of six figures, I opted once again to paint up eight figures in case I later decide to use them as a line unit.

Close up on a single figure. The blue is actually a lighter shade than what the picture shows. Though I could not force myself to do them in a pure sky blue color :)

I may see if i can get an officer figure and paint him up in the color scheme as well, but I already have enough leaders for any game, so not on the painting table at this point.

I also painted up a pack of perry ACW figures to flush out the Former Republican line units. Both units now have eight figures and one of them can be a ten figure militia unit if needed.
It had been a couple of months since I had painted up the Republican figures, but I think they came out well enough that most of you won't be able to tell them apart.
One on left recently finished, while the one on the right was done a couple of months ago.

And finally I finished a secondary deployment point for my command. It can also pass as a movable deployment point if needed but I do have an alternate idea for painting up one of those.

I think I'll take a break on painting figures for the MAW2 project and focus in on the scenarios and army lists for the campaign. That said I do have a pack of figures on hand that I am going to paint up as armed civilians ... at a later time.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

French Army in MAW2

I recently received the French Legionnaire and Mexican Cavalry figures from Gringo40s. As I had finished everything else I quickly primed and painted the legionnaire figures. They came out fairly well and the detail on each figure was really good.

Though I was not keen on having to glue several of the weapons to  some of the figures and suspect they will "break" during gameplay. I probably should have pinned them but am to impatient for that! I painted up eight soldiers and a leader, so that I can use them as a skirmish unit (6 figures) or a line unit (8 figures) plus leader to command them.
While I had plans to paint them as a French Foreign Legion detachment left behind, I ended up painting them as French Line instead. Mostly because the FFL had white pants and I already had enough white in the army. The French line units had red pants and wanted them to stand out from the rest of the Mexican army. I based them the same as my previous figures (see Basing Figures in MAW)

Lt. Labossiere and his detachment from the 51st Line
However, I not sure I am even going to use them! They are simple too big (the cavalry are even more monstrous!) and think the size difference with the Perry figures may be to great for my tastes. I'll give them a go, but it is possible I'll be selling these figures off pretty soon.

Red line is eye level, even if the Perry figure was a little more "upright" the sheer bulk of the Gringo40 figure dwarfs him.
If I do ditch them, my new plan is to get some ACW zouaves (Perry perhaps) and paint them up as legionaries, maybe Algeria raised FFL units with the turbans.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Basing Figures - Mexican American War II

Normally I either base a unit as it is done, or base the whole project in one go. However I have finished painting what I have on hand and decided to base it up even though I will be painting more figures for the Mexican American War II project.

Phase 1 - Rocks

All figures have been glued to the tan primed 25mm bases (1.5mm thick).

So out came my three containers of rock, glue brush, water, Elmers glue and I then set down to "rock" 50 figures.
My impromptu work station.
I had cut out a "special" base for the artillery piece. At first I was going to leave the cannon un-based, but decided to raise it to the same level as the crew. Initially it was just going to be on a 60mm round base but thought it might look a little better if I notched out a few spaces for the crew to tighten up on the gun.
A little careful exacto work, sanding and walla! 
In all it took around an hour of to get all figures rocked, not too bad considering a few phone calls interrupted my "zone". It is actually get pretty boring work; dip brush into glue, spread all over base, sprinkle a couple of "large" rocks on it, cover 80% of the base with the "thick" rocks, then dip the whole base into the "dirt" to cover everything else and finally blow off excess dust, and repeat.
Dirt and rocks for all!

This is going to be my main Deployment point ... I'll print up an Imperial Mexican flag next. I also have a couple of ideas for additional deployment points (secondary and movable), but wanted to have this one done right away.

There still is some work that needs to be done on my unit of skirmishers. I am going to add tufts to the kepi and paint them green. As most of the army is an ad hoc 'what if' 1864 force, I am taking a few liberties with the uniforms, so pom poms for the Cazadores it is!
The pants are much lighter in person!
Phase 2 - Grass

Next up, desert grass that will work on green table cloth! I wanted to avoid the "green" look I normally go for as these figures are supposed to be running around Southwest america. But as the vast majority of games are going to be played on the green cloth they needed to blend in with the cloth as well. So I mixed a special blend of burnt grass and earth flocking, with a touch of green in it.
Materials I used to blend a "desert" grass
Typically I cover three quarters of the base with glue and dip the base into a green flock mix. This time I wanted a more "spotty" look, so I just dabbed the glue on around the base before dipping it into the flock. Some bases had more, some had less grass.

The Deployment Point, sans a flag
As it is just two steps to apply the grass mixtures, this step went a lot faster, around 20 minutes to do the whole lot of the bases. I then let glue dry a little longer before I add some tufts to few bases. I usually don't do too many on rank and file bases though.
The Corporal is on a 30mm base, so gets a tuft!

After the glue has dried completely, I spray all the figures with flat varnish. Not only does this protect the paint job, it also dulls the dip gloss and helps glue down the flocking.
Same figure as seen above in the Rocks section.

The artillery base turned out pretty good ... fortunately I only had to do one of them :)
Top down view of the completed gun section.

The bulk of my basic force is now done, though it is missing the French Foreign Legion section. I'll also paint up some extra groups and a cavalry group to use as supplemental units for different scenarios.
Former Republican troops (left) and Imperial Army (right)

I'll order up the Legion and Cavalry figures later this week from Gringo 40s.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mexican American War II

I am sure you'll all be surprised but a small group of us have started up a new project. And as I am want to do, I got them doing something different than 'normal' gaming project :)

I recently read the Sharps Practice 2 rules and thought it seemed like a fun rule set to play. And the figure count is relatively low, so would make for a neat mini project (of course it has grown slightly than I originally anticipated!). I knew I did not want to do any Napoleonic figures (have plenty of opportunities to paint up troops for Black Powder), and was thinking that as I have never done an AWI project, SP2 supports AWI, plenty of figures to choose from, that it would be a perfect period for the project... But when I broached the idea to several other participants, I found a lack of interest in it, in fact they thought an ACW project would be better.

I have plenty of 15mm ACW and so was not super keen on the idea. I threw out the idea of doing something different, a quasi-historical period … how about the 2nd American Mexican set during the during the American Civil War! We could have Confederates, Union, Mexican, French, Austrian, Belgian and even British troops … they were sold on the idea. So I read up on what was happening during that time frame and got to work on writing up some background material.
 My basic premise is that to unify the country after the French leave Mexico (mostly), Maximilian promises to restore Texas to the Mexican Empire! So in 1864 Mexico invades Texas, along with British support (intent of taking over the Rio Grande Cotton Trade route). Only the French Foreign Legion remained behind to help the Mexican side, while Union troops have been reluctantly accepted by Texas to help stem the invasion.

There will be four main forces to choose from, Texas Home Guard, who distrust the union to much to operate with them, though have irregular units such as Texas Rangers. And Confederate Veterans, who are reluctantly willingly to work with Union troops on the American side.

Maximilian forces are an Mexican Imperial Army, made up of both former republican and imperial forces, with a few Legionnaire units. Or a British Intervention Force supported by some Mexican irregular forces (mostly cavalry).

Each player is going to paint up a core force which we will track through the campaign, and units can gain and lose experience, special abilities as the campaign progresses. Each player will also need to paint up several support units that can be used from game to game but won’t be tracked. Typically this will be artillery, cavalry and limited special units (such as Sharpshooters).

Here is my initial rough draft of the rules, compiled from several sources and will most definitely change. Mexican American War II - Rough Draft

Captain Delgado's Company, 8th Battalion
I have chosen (well a process of elimination :) to paint up a Mexican Army. While both Gringo 40 and Foundry do figures for the Maximilian Adventure, I decided to mostly use Perry's ACW figures for the infantry. I’ll get some Gringo40's cavalry and legionnaires to finish off the core units. I might also get some Foundry figures to use as leaders, support units, as well as for making a few Deployment points.

1st Platoon
Waiting on basing and a couple of touch ups, but my first formation is mostly done (two 8 figure groups and a leader).
The flesh looks "whiter" in this pic, but do need to darken it on later figures.

2nd Platoon
My second formation is blocked out, dip and touch ups left to do (again 2 groups and a leader).

I was going to paint them up in the late Imperial Uniform (red shirt, green pants) but one was not keen on the color combo and two, the figures turned out not to be a close a fit as I thought. So they are using mostly uniforms received from the Union before their treachery!

Supporting Units
Next up is a artillery piece (leaning towards painting them up in a white uniform) and a 6 figure skirmish group (which I am leaning towards a variant of the Cazadore uniform (Blue/Grey with green piping).

Going to have to add one more figure as artillery unit has 5 men to it. My initial thought is to use an extra standard bearer from the "white uniform" unit above and craft a cleaning rod for him.

I am thinking about adding a pompom to the top of the kepi, and if i am really feeling crafty, I will bulk up the kepi first to look like a shako!

This should (along with the cav and french) get me close to my starting force, plus a support unit. Though I might need to get some more "regular" infantry to add to my basic force.

Already have some ideas for deployment points. The main deployment point will be on a 60mm round base with one (or two) flag bearers and a table with an officer. A secondary point, might be some crates with an NCO. For a movable deployment points I am leaning towards just a 40mm round base with a single "sneaky" skirmisher figure advancing.

Will have more to come and will post some pics of the other chaps armies as they get units done.

Monday, June 20, 2016

6mm Micro Armor Trees

As I have been in a painting slump these last couple of months, I decided i'd finish up a few small projects. I was able to touch up some figures for my Frostgrave warband, rebase of all my Napoleonic sailing ships to use with Fighting Sail from Osprey and work on some trees from GHQ for my modern micro armor.

I have had two packs of GHQ tree kits for several years, but never got around to making them. However, we have been gaming some modern micro armor lately, and this motivated my to figure how to build them before our next game. So after reading the instructions and watching a copy of the 1980's terrain maker video on YouTube, I gathered up everything and made a few test trees. Satisfied with the results I cut out enough for 30 deciduous trees (a bunch of pine tree will be later). Note: I may go back and for future trees, use a putty/paint solution on the tree trunks.

The tools used plus a paint brush for the tree trunks. As you'll see later,
 the pink foam was used to hold the trees until I hot blued them to pennies.

This is what comes out of the bag.

Using snips to cut up the "tree".

I then bent the piece at a 90 degree. Placed one side on a
 paint brush and wrap the other half around the brush

Once you slide out the brush it looks like this.

Now for the trunk ... a candle came in handy for this step.

Did not set one of them on fire!

Stuck them into the foam, then painted the trunks.

Not shown, but I covered the tree in glue and dip it into my bin of flocking.

I bent the truck twice at 90 degrees to give it "base" then hot glued them to pennies.

I did up a few as "Cyprus" tree
BMP company on overwatch at the edge of a woodline

T-72 moving down a grass road

Next up is a batch of pine trees, though once done I will just update this post with a few pics. I am saving a few trees to put on building sectors. Think I am going to try and build my own buildings as I want them a little smaller than the vehicles so as to have more on a town block.

I have also ordered a unit of Russian Infantry in greatcoats ... I believe they should be easy to paint up and might get me back into painting and gaming with my Napoleonic figures again!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Boromite Force - Beyond the Gates of Antares

I had play tested the BGoA rules and since its release have had several more games, all those games have seen proxy figures used for the BGoA factions. As I do really like the rules (highly recommend them), I thought it best to paint up a store army. Based on the lack of interest and low sales of the figures, it seemed apparent that I should either paint up a Boromite or Freeborn force. Though as I already had two Boromite units done (from the playtest days), it was easy for me to choose the Boromite faction as the store army.

To the already painted units, I added another four to bring the force up to around 600pts. I was going to do a matriarch as well, but it is essentially another command squad though weak on firepower so skipped it (though see below for major gripe with Warlord games and BGoA).

I ended up with:
1x Overseer Command Squad with extra troops and plasma grenades
2x Gang Fighter Squad with plasma grenades
1x Work Gang with Mass Compactors and Implosion Grenades
1x Support Team with X-Launcher
1x Lava Mite Brood
Boromite Combat Force
For the command squad I purchased a couple of extra troops to bump the squad to five figures. I wanted the leader to stand out from the rest of the troopers and succeeded (to much in retrospect). I should have used his paint scheme on the lava might handler and just gone with a lighter green (yellowish) "skin" for the overall leader. Someone also pointed out that I have the superhero The Thing leading the Boromites :)
Reinforced Overseer Squad

The core of the army is a couple of units of Gang Fighters. It is hard to see in these photos but the exposed "skin" is less "green" than the green "rocky" skin. I used Necrotic Flesh spray from The Army Painter then "painted" the stone skin with Vallejo air color Green Zinc.
#1 Gang Fighter Squad

#2 Gang Fighter Squad

Nothing beats the close range fire like the Mass Compactors and so added one unit with them. For the "tech" bitz on the models, I went with metallic silver for most weapons and gold/brass for the trim and non-weapon bits. Hard to see but the Reflex Armor nodules are gold metallic.
Work Gang w/ Mass Compactors

You can just see a little bit of it on the X-Launcher support team figures, but to add "color" to the figures I went with a red accent. Any clothes were painted red and most of the pouches were painted in a red leather tone. I am contemplating painting the few "mortar" rounds/globes in a highly contrasting color, such as bright yellow.
X-Launcher Support Team

For my close combat "specialist" unit, I of course went with the Lavamites. Their three attacks at -2 to saves per model is going to be brutal when they close with he enemy. To go with their namesake, I pretty much painted them as lava! The handler was painted in my basic Boromite scheme, though as noted above I would redo him in the oranges red scheme to reflect how much time he spends around the mites.
Small Lavamite Brood 

Of course all models were completely dipped to darken up and "black line" the figures. I will most likely include one or two support units with Mag Light Support weapons (aka Machineguns) but will see what other release they do for the Boromites.

BGoA Gripe
Besides the price gouging of the Beyond the Gates of Antares figures, the most frustrating issue I have (as well as customers demonstrated by lost sales) with the BGoA miniature line, is the incomplete units included in a blister or box. The ignorance on what should come in a blister or boxed set is kind of staggering, in that it applies to almost every single blister or  boxed set they have produced so far.

Basically they never give you enough figures, weapons or drones to field a full unit. As an example, the new $32.00 Boromite Matriarch boxed set comes with the Matriarch, one guildless and two gun drones (about twice the size of the Spotter drone shown above). The unit could be upgraded with a spotter drone, two shield drones and two extra gun drones, but alas they don't includes those. I have had a customer put back the boxed set from the counter when he realized you only got two gun drones.

I could list the problems with each blister or boxed set, but alas it applies to at least 90% of their range. What Warlord Games seems to not understand, unlike say a company which does 15mm WW2, is that the majority of gamers want to buy the whole unit outright. The gamer will decide for each game whether to field the unit at reduced or full strength or somewhere in between, but at least he has the option if he was able to purchase the whole unit. It also doesn’t help when say they release the Concord Drop Squads but no Command Drop Squad that you must field in order to include Drop Squads in the army!

The larger impact of this practice is that the whole game of BGoA has the feeling of being incomplete, disorganized and poorly thought out. From a commercial stand point it is making it very difficult to sell the game and figures (as well as the prices) at the store, even though the rules are excellent.