Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Advancing along "The Road To Leipzig" are MY newly finished Prussians

I am more proud of the fact that I actually managed to finish these fine Prussian fellows after about ten years WIP status, than the finished paint job. It is after all my first attempt, albeit a long awaited final product (see below):

Playing around with the camera settings as per the 1/72 Commando post (Note: I am a cautious child as after over a years ownership and I am only now starting to play and experiment) gave me the close up of the command stand (see below): 

Brave fellows to a man, especially since they are on "the road that leads to Leipzig"! I now have to work out if I move over into 'factory production mode'and simplify my painting technique for a faster turn around for my remaining 176 Prussian 15mm Old Glory troopers.

After the unit was finally completed I did get a sense of satisfaction that 'deep down' meant I wanted to do more ;) 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Road To Leipzig Is Blocked by the French

The French infantry managed to deploy and squared off against the Russian/Prussian vanguard. Both sides view an attack across a defended river line rather unwise. The Blucher decided to take up a strong defensive position and use their artillery to good effect until the bulk of the Allied infantry arrived (see below):

Meanwhile the Russian heavy artillery (see below, top left hand corner) showed its teeth to the body of French infantry posing such tempting targets across the river (see below, top right hand corner):  

The French seemed content to "sit it out under the guns" until their own reinforcements came on. These happen to be a certain "Guard Artillery" formation. Time will tell if Blucher will appreciated the weight of this 'incoming cannon' as much as he was enjoying the 'outgoing'. This strange mismatch of "good troops in all the wrong places" came about from this simple enough looking board game (see below):

Note: Main battle to the LHS of the map, mini battle to the RHS of the map. Napoleon's counter is yet to be awakened from his slumber.

Meanwhile I am trying to paint a few more Prussians to make a complete "Age of Eagles" battlefield formation. Currently I am more spectator of other general's formations! The thought of literally moving my own troops is enticing ;)

Friday, 19 June 2015

Leipzig Continued ... the Allies Gather

As the opening phase of the main battle field draws to a close another meeting engagement sparks into life on a smaller table. Two French cavalry divisions (see bottom of the photograph) supported by integral horse artillery face off the powerful Allied vanguard. The river is fordable but the French cavalry are intent on denying the Allied artillery use of the bridge. This is very much a French delaying action (see below):  

The French cavalry are soon to be joined by a mixed force French infantry, cavalry and artillery on a road leading off from the right hand side of the above photograph (see below):

Blucher is rumoured to be close to hand, but no sign of the inspirational German as of yet! Will the Allies have the bottle to force a crossing or will they stall deploying and waiting for sufficent reinforcements?

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Gems from the Attic ... "little beauts" ... 1/76 (or 1/72) Airfix Series 2 WW2 British Commandos (or should I say childhood survivors!)

Did I hear you say "Series 2"? (YES, see below):

I have seen the Internet pictures, so I know they did exist. I vaguely remembered them as a kid but later in life I wondered if they were in fact a false memory, implanted with wishful thinking. The big ones in 1/32 scale still exist (exact copies of what previously had been available in 1/76 or 1/72 scale) but sadly (as in tragically spelt with an "arghhh!") the small ones of Series 2 moulds were lost to us through misfortune or accident I believe.

Of course I am referring to the fabled Airfix HO/OO 1/76 scale Series 2 British World War II Commando Set. Other blogs have referred to them in hushed tones of reverence:


Imagine my surprise when my older brother called by with a sweetie jar crammed full of old toy soldiers and I poured out an assortment well travelled PBI. To find a small detachment of surviving British Commandos (see below, remember these are NOT 1/32 scale).

May I introduce my "survivors":

The radioman, remember this is 1/76 or 1/72 depending on your measuring ruler (see below):

Classic crawling commando, you know he mean business (see below):

My favourite pose, the grenade thrower (see below):

Even the guy throwing a rope is cool (see below):

The Bren gunner is another cool pose (see below):

The only dubious figure to my mind is the Bazooka man (surely we would have used a PIAT?) but heck he's still cool (see below):

Er, OK I don't think I can start planning the Cockleshell Heroes raid as I only have a partial canoe, but I guess you cannot have everything (see below):

Last, but not quite least, I think this guy was climbing up a ladder, but he could be hiding or a casualty (see below):

True, I am missing some of the classic figures: The officer with a Webley and Scott pistol, the cool standing Thompson "tommy gunner", the cool sauntering/walking commando, the runner with rifle and I am not a "full canoe", but I thought I would never even get my hands on the above! So I am a happy man ... full of childhood memories!


I am so excited I posted twice today!

"Two Hundred Years Ago" .. there was a little battle called Waterloo

So I decided to divert some of my wargaming time towards reading about it, albeit in the context of historical fiction (see below):

Four chapters in and it seems a good read :)

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Killing Rommel, a book by Steven Pressfield

Just finished reading this book, while it is fiction it held my attention (see below):

May well have to make and paint up my Revell (ex-Matchbox) 1/76 LRDG trucks, jeeps and Dixon Miniatures 20mm metal SAS figures.

Naturally the Airfix DAK character throwing a grenade (potato masher) will have to get a look in too


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Leipzig Battle

The battle is being fought over several weeks (with the table being left set in place). There is a simple board game (called Leipzig 20, I think) driving the arrival of forces to the tactical table top. Interestingly this could mean simultaneous battles taking place, a bit of a strain on poor old Boney as to were he commits his reserves. As a nominal player on the Allied side I can say "serves you right"! Anyway the first 'six turns of tabletop' are one map turn. Both armies are posturing for position, which makes a pleasant change from just a plain old headlong charge with everything you have got. A fair bit of thought has gone into this so I an interested to see how it pans out. The active Allied player being inferior in numbers (for the time being) opted to site himself in the villages giving him protective cover (see below, the central town):

The most significant (strategic) feature on the table is the left most town/village (as the Allies see it) guarding a vital river crossing point, with known "French" forces on the other side (but off-table). The town is duly heavily garrisoned (see below):

In addition between these two villages, but adjacent to the more important bride town, the Russian Artillery reserve is placed atop a low hill, and it even eventually "managed to deploy" before the French came near. One of the frustrating (but probably historically accurate) features of the rules is the tendency of formations to go "inactive" if outside of tactical (18 inches) of the enemy. Thus the mounting frustration of the Russian commander and his eventual relief when the artillery pieces were set (see below, the vast array of Russian heavy/medium [50:50 mix] artillery):  

The deployment show how thin the Allies are on the RHS of the picture. There is an awkward void between the two villages where a mixed formation of Austrian Jaeger and Cavalry are hastily (or not so hastily because of reserve formation movement as defined by distance from the enemy activation) heading to fill. Off in the far distance is a rag-tag formation of Prussian Landwehr and Cossacks literally bumbling about (see below):

The French commander (Murat) decided to concentrate his forces towards the more vital village and river sector, cunningly knowing there is a vast swath of good French cavalry about to appear and spoil the Cossacks day. Thus after the end of turn six a sole unit of French rearguard cavalry, with a ubiquitous annoying horse gun to hand is holding up the Allied "C Team" of Cossack and Landwehr. The game of manoeuvre seems to have 60:40 gone to the French, with Napoleon about to wake up and make his presence felt with his Command and Control factors (see below):

Interestingly it is now off to a simultaneous, but smaller Cavalry engagement, then to the map before we play the next six turns here.

To be continued ...

The Good, The Bad and The Napoleonic

Confession: I am a Wargaming butterfly. Flitter, flitter, flutter. Recently I have been looking at WWII and Ancients, now Napoleonics have caught my eye. Oh "look" there are some fancy Frenchmen in uniform approaching (see below, some 15mm Napoleonics started originally back in 2005 [I think]): 

As a wargamer I have found that I always come "back round" (eventually) to the "Hardcore" topics, be it Alexander, Ceasar, Napoleon or WW2 aka Hitler/Stalin/Churchhill. I could have easily added in ECW, ACW and the Renaissance too. I think this cyclic pattern keeps me same. The periods seem to draw you, tantalising fashion, with the figures, models, rules and books (usually lots and lots of books). Look some Frenchmen facing the other way (see below, I should have added some trim/hem to the bottom of their coats):

The hardest genre by far to me is Napoleonic. Look some 'unfinished' (the shame of it) Frenchmen, who look a little "posh" in comparison to the previous photographs (see below, note they are NOT Guard, regular LINE just me taking some time over them):

I am still wary of it (seemingly thousands of lead figures required, it will swallow me whole), but I am beguiled by it at the same time, tables full of figures look fantastic. Look those "posh" French,men are facing the other way now (see below, argh too much detail!):

There seems to be too many books, too many toys, too many rules and too many experts. You cannot simply collect one army, who would you fight? See here are some Prussians! (see below, albeit seemingly sliding off the edge of the world):

OK ,, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere (see below,the right way up):

What I need is a sensible small project to be involved in. Look these Prussians are now going the other way too! (see below, not sliding oof the edge of the world):

Something small? Waterloo, no it's being done better by others (although I do want to get some 15mm British to paint, eventually). Leipzig (the largest Napoleonic battle ever), er that seems small enough to contribute a stand or two (see below, Prussians being painted, officer types):

Typically I will probably need to track down the new providers of these old metals (15mm Old Glory) as the moulds have changed hands since I last bought them.

Note: I think it is (tbc): 

I still have plenty of unpainted lead
to get through before I have buy more (see below, though the French as yet don't have any officer types):

What course of madness have I started on? Naturally I have moved paint manufactures since I last painted these, so I am trying to get a best match with Vallejo Game Colour, wish me luck ;)

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Ancient Rule Sets

Well, what rules to use, what rules to avoid?

They range from something as simple as DBA (ten infamous pages of simple rules later clarified with a unofficial guide of only seventy four pages [yes that is sarcasm], or even BBDBA), then to as "mind boggling" a set of rules as DBM (for more, ahem, er competition orientated gamers), to what I consider as a cry for sanity and call for good gaming in DBMM (played in good spirit but still suffering from the rules lawyer issue, and its DBMM100, DBM200 variants - there is hope here) or to the still serious but strangely fun rules of Impetus to the novel simulation orientated rules of Strategos II (aka Lost Battles) and a few more in between (such as Armati) I could have mentioned.

I guess it all depends who is going to play them. For me my next task is to entertain an intelligent set of jovial beginners who want to play in a competitive but historically realistic fashion, win or lose. So ,,, Strategos II/Lost Battles gets the call (see below):

A grid based system that avoids most of the common or cunning wargaming wibbles. It is from the academic stable of Prof Phil Sabin from King's College and has playability and historical simulation at its core. Should be fun ;)

The battle I intend to play is The First Battle of Mantinea (418BC) in the Peloponnesian War.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A Dangerous Thing To Do: 15mm Napoleonic (1813 Leipzig)

I have been missing the gaming aspect of wargaming for the last few months (work/life balance thing), but I had a chance to pop into the local friendly wargame taverna and walked into the frenzied preparation for The Battle of Leipzig 1813 (see below, can you spot some harried looking Austrians, er or should that be Russians, looking for some decent hard cover):

It is a dangerous thing to pick up 15mm Napoleonics. They linger in your hand and start calling out to you "Where have you been?". I can hear my unpainted lead pining for me in the loft. We shall see what future posts will bring ;)

I have two  "ongoing" small Napoleonic painting projects (one French and one Prussian) started some ten years ago. All infantry, 15mm what was then Old Glory, but I think somebody else has picked them up now.

PS: The rule set is called Age of Eagles from the same people who brought F&F to ACW . If memory serves me correctly it plays well in "Big Games" although the artillery seemed too effective and deadly (more ACW than Napoleonic).