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Sunday, May 30, 2010

2 Infanterie de Legere


One of the great thing about being the Commander-in-Chief of my miniature forces, is that I get to choose the priority of mustering, supply and deployment (subject to the Minister of Finance, a.k.a. my lovely bride) of said forces. In other words, I usually paint what I want to paint. I usually have multiple projects and periods going on at once; it prevents me (or so I tell myself) from getting too bored with any one period.

I took some extra vacation time this last week in conjunction with Honorable Son #2's high school graduation and the Memorial Day weekend. Not only is the extra family time great, but I was able to get another unit raised for the Emperor Napoleon for service in Spain and Portugal. I'm slowly building up forces for both sides in the Peninsular War of the Napoleonic Era. As mentioned in previous blogs, I'm using the outstanding Volley and Bayonet rules which focus on "grand" tactical.

One of the things I like about Volley and Bayonet is that it works with any scale of figure. For the War of Spanish Succession, I use 15mm figures; for the Napoleonic Wars, 28mm is my preferred scale. The size of the figure does not matter, it's the size of the base. Bases can be made smaller and measurements adjusted if space is at a premium. For my Napoleonic forces, I'm using the recommended base sizes which is 3" x 3" for an Infantry Brigade. Though the Brigades represent multiple units, I model the stands as one unit. For standard infantry units, I usually model 8 figures per base. The figures for the 2nd Light Infantry Regiment are from Wargames Foundry.
The 2nd Light (2 Infanterie de Legere) participated in the following major battles/campaigns outside of Spain: Austerlitz, Friedland, France 1814 and the 100 days as part of II Corps, Armee du Nord. For the theater of operations I am interested in, the 2nd Light fought at Rolica, Vimiero, Corunna, Busaco, Sabugal, Fuentes de Onoro, Salamanca, Vittoria, Nivelle and Nive.


Memorial Day Civil War Re-enactment

So what does a military veteran do over the Memorial Day weekend? Attend a Civil War re-enactment of course! So Honorable Son #5 and myself packed up and took the 45 minute trip up the interstate to The Tannehill Ironworks State Park located near Birmingham, AL.

From the Alabama State Parks website at

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park has more than 1,500 acres in three counties set aside for hiking, camping and outdoor recreation. From spring through fall, the blacksmith, miller and craftsmen demonstrate their trades. Craft shops occupy restored pioneer cabins and artisans chat with visitors from their front porches. Steeped in history, Tannehill feels timeless. The cotton gin, pioneer farm and working gristmill preserve a long-gone way of life. Hiking trails retrace historic roadways. Artifacts of Alabama’s 19th century iron industry displayed in the Iron and Steel Museum put in perspective the massive stone furnaces, Tannehill’s awe-inspiring centerpiece.

Daniel Hillman, a Pennsylvania furnaceman, first built a bloomery forge on the banks of Roupes Creek in 1830, where he had found the richest deposits of brown ore in his experience. He wrote his son: "I believe, George, that my prospects for making a handsome property are better than they ever were..." Hillman died two years later, the family's fortune unmade. Ninian Tannehill later took up the forge as a sideline to his farming operation.

Between 1859 and 1863, slaves cut sandstone rocks, transported them by skids and stacked them to form three tall furnaces. Tannehill No. 1 was built by the noted Southern ironmaster Moses Stroup, who later built the Oxmoor Furnance, the first in Jefferson County. William L. Sanders purchased the operation in 1862 and set about expanding the ironworks.

Like the wheels and gears of a huge machine, the industrial center at Tannehill kept up a fierce momentum. Trees on the hillsides were felled to be made into charcoal that fed the huge blast furnaces. Roupes Creek and a mighty steam engine powered the blowing machines to heat the fires that melted ore to be formed into "pigs" of iron which, in turn, formed the tools of war for the Confederacy. At the height of production Tannehill could turn out 22 tons of iron a day. The iron was cast into ordnance, skillets, pots and ovens for the Southern army.

Although shots were fired during the actual federal cavalry raid on the Tannehill Ironworks in 1865, the battle re-enactment, sponsored by the Alabama State Artillery re-enactors, is largely ceremonial.Always held on Memorial Day weekend, the two-day event attracts 300 to 400 Federal and Confederate soldiers in full fighting attire of the day, cannons and horses and sometimes even battle music. Visitors may also walk through the military camps and and visit sutler stores.

On March 31, 1865, it ended in fire and destruction. Three companies of the Eighth Iowa Cavalry swept through the area as a part of Union General James H. Wilson's raid on Alabama war industry sites. Smoke rose from the charred remains of the ironworks and cabins that housed several workers. At day's end the furnaces were no longer operational, and the foundry, tannery, gristmill, and tax-in-kind warehouse were in ruins.

Honorable Son #5 took some great pictures of the event. Unfortunately, I forgot one of the important Laws of Wargaming, you play better with a hat! Next time, I'm going to purchase a Zouve kepi for a lieutenant colonel!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shoot out at Goldend Nugget

Time for some action in the town of Golden Nugget. As mentioned earlier, the game is going to be played with the free rules Blaze of Glory found on the Free Wargames Webpage: . I have found this site to be an invaluable source for rules, ideas and just fun. You can also go straight to the Blaze of Glory website here:

Here is a description of the game rules using some material from the site:

Unlike many wargames Blaze of Glory does not have a turn system, where players alternate. It has a random turn system based on a set of cards. Each figure is allocated a number of cards relative to its level:

Level 1 0r 2 = 2 cards
Level 3 = 3 cards

Level 4 = 4 cards
The more heroic a figure the more cards
(For our game we used regular playing cards, one color per team, with the name of the character on the cards)
The cards are shuffled and placed to one side. The top card is turned and the player controlling the figure indicated takes his turn. The figure indicated by the turned card is referred to as being Active. This has done away with a player being able to make calculations as to what might happen in a certain number of turns. It leads to a fluid, sometimes nail-biting game.
A turn consists of moving then carrying out an action like shooting, fisticuffs, standing up or seeking cover. All figures in our game were on foot and can move 4 inches. This is a normal move and will not normally affect any actions taken. A figure may move over obstacles up to 1 inch in height or width with no penalty. Obstacles over 1 inch high would require a climb test, see below. After a figure has been moved the player may decide if he wishes to attempt to move the figure further, by making a run roll. In most cases the player rolls a d6 and moves the figure the number of inches indicated by the roll. Note running can have an impact on other actions, e.g., you may shoot when running but accuracy is affected.
Characters were also allocated HERO points based on their level; this allows them to make a second run roll, avoid falling and making miraculous escapes!

Shooting is the most common way for a character to attack another in BLAZE OF GLORY. The shooting rules are intended to recreate the atmosphere of the movies and the reality of fairly inaccurate weapons being used in pressure situations, by, in many cases inexperienced individuals. Any figure within line of sight and the weapon’s range may be selected as a target. A player should, and will usually go for the closest enemy, but this is not always the case in the movies so it is not here either. Weapon ranges are revolver 12", Rifle 30", Bow 24", shotgun 8" and throwing something (the occasional bottle or knife) is 6".

To hit a target a player must make a successful SHOOT roll by rolling equal to or less than his Shooting value. For example, in our game, Sheriff Dillon had a shooting value of 6, which is really good. As with all tests the S value can be affected by various conditions so before making a roll the player must refer to the following modifiers and apply any/all relevant ones.
The other factors used are Fisticuffs (self-explanatory), Reflexes (comes in handy when diving through windows!) and Nerves (will he run or will he stay?). In addition there special skills which can give your character a unique flavor and advantages: sharpshooter, dodge and weave, and nerves of steel to name a few.
This was Sheriff Dillon's breakdown:
Reflexes:4 Nerves:4
Hero Points: 8
Special skills: Sharpshooter, True Grit and Pugilist (for details, see the rules at the link)

Honorable Son #5
Leading the forces of good (Honorable Son #5) is Sherrif Dillon accompanied by his posse.
I of course will lead El Dorado Jo's ruthless gang of bank robbing, horse thieving and Bible stealing desporados:
El Dorado's gang quickly steals several bags of gold from the McLaren mine.

From left to right: El Dorado Jo, Reb and Curly Joe

Sherrif Dillon and Deputy Bill just happen to be nearby and yell at the villains to stop.

Deputy Bill yells "Stop you villains!" Well . . . that didn't really happen. The ole deputy is a bit trigger happy and just started shooting.

The villains reply with gun fire and force the Sherrif and his loyal deputy to take cover. Meanwhile, from on top of the Sherrif's office, Mr. Davy and Mr. Dynamite, loyal employees of McLaren's mine, open fire on the villains forcing Curly Joe and Reb to take cover near the mine's entrance. El Dorado Jo and Joe Mudd move to better positions to cover Curly Joe and Reb. As Deputy Bill peers above a log, Jose Chavez, who had been hiding on the high ground beside the mine, aims his Winchester rifle and drops Deputy Bill in his tracks!

Jose Chavez: Loyal minion and right hand man of El Dorado Jo.

Score 1 for the Bad guys (BWA HAH HAH!).

Deputy Bill is on his back to show that he has been wounded.

Sherrif Dillon, dismayed at seeing his long time companion fall, raises his rifle and plugs El Dorado Jo! Not only did he hit him, he nailed him dead. Now . . . here's where some gaming came in. I knew my minions Curly Joe and Reb might run away if they saw there boss lying in the dirt with a bullet in him. So I used one of El Dorado's "hero points" to make a roll to avoid his untimely demise early in the game. The roll was successful and the bullet was deflected off of El Dorado's whiskey flask adding more to the legend and mystique of El Dorado Jo!

As the bad guys dash to the bridge over Snake Creek, the rest of Sherrif Dillon's posse springs into action. Both Ranger Joe (intrepid mountain man) and Deputy Soap are in the Golden Nugget Saloon. They both decide to climb a ladder to the top of the saloon to get a better shot at El Dorado Jo's gang. Unfortunately, it appears Deputy Soap might have been partaking too much in the saloon prior to the shoot-out and he stumbles and falls off the ladder. Deputy Soap will remain there for the rest of the game, much to the disgust of Honorable Son #5.


Meanwhile, Mr. Dynamite nails Reb and in the best tradition of Hollywood, falls into a wagon.


Reb will recover ("It was only a flesh wound!") as the lure of the gold keeps him going.

El Dorado Jo decides to make a dash for it and dodges and weaves as bullets pepper the dirt around him. At one time he pretends to be hit, only to jump up and shoot and wound Mr. Dynamite. Sherrif Dillon, pinned down by fire, continues to crawl to the left trying to get a drop on the villains. As the villains make it to the bridge, Ranger Joe starts to fire and hits and wounds Joe Mudd - putting him out of the game.

Jose Chavez continues to fire accurate long range fire, keeping the heads of the good guys down. He knows that the plan is not for him to go through town but to meet up with his boss later. As the bushwackers cross the bridge, the intrepid Deputy Bill, bandage and all, jumps up from his cover and with rifle a blazing, drops Reb in his tracks and makes Curly Joe dive for cover. El Dorado has made it in to town; seeing Mr. Davy exiting the Sherrifs office he fires a hail of bullets in his direction - appearing to kill the brave, but unfortunate young whipper snapper. El Dorado Jo smirks in triumph as he abandons his pawns and waves to Baron von Furstenberger.

As the game comes to a climax (you can almost hear the dramatic music in the background), Sheriff Dillon gets the drop on Jose Chavez and puts him out of action. Curly Bill attempts to end Deputy Bill's contribution once and for all - but is hammered across his skull by Deputy Bill's revolver (the only fisticuffs in the game!). And just when El Dorado Jo thinks he is safe with the gold, Mr. Davy (the bullet had hit his Bible) jumps out from cover, wounds El Dorado Jo and administers a citizen arrest.

Bang!!! Mr. Davey gets 'em.

You're under arrest, Pilgrim.

A good game? You bet! Fast and easy to play; but a rule set that I suspect will be hard to master. The randomness of the cards added an exciting element to the game - just like in real life; you don't wait for your opponent to make his move.

Unfortunately, I've noticed a pattern: I'm 0-3 lately. I've been teaching them too well . . .

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sneak Preview: The Wild, Wild West

Come back to the times of Yesteryear and journey back to the Town of Golden Nugget.

The town of Golden Nugget has grown up around the famous McLaren Goldmine. The fine citizens of the town live in harmony and the peace is enforced by Sheriff Dillon (also known as Honorable Son #5!).

Trouble is brewing on the horizon . . . the meanest, most ornery rattlesnake west of the Pecos has heard of the riches in the area. That's right, El Dorado and his gang are planning a brazen, daylight robbery of the gold from McLaren's mine.

The exciting shootout is going to be played with the free rules, Blaze of Glory, available from the great website Freewargamerules located at:

Blaze of Glory is a miniature based, Wild West Skirmish war game. It is intended to be a fast and enjoyable game, with quick learn rules, so that both experienced wargamers and novices may get to grips with it as soon as possible. It is a quasi-historical game, aiming to capture the atmosphere of the movies and popular imagery, rather than give an accurate simulation of Wild West life. There is something here for all gamers, so go on don your spurs, load your six shooter, give a rousing 'Yippee Ky-ay!' and give it a go.

Hey, this is a no parking zone!


Deputy Bill.

Stealing the gold!

Baron von Furstenberg observes the Wild West up close and personal!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Forgot to have the May Day Parade!

I forgot to have our May Day Parade! So here's to the losers of the Cold War!

Red Army VIP Section for the parade.

Red Square.

Okay, here's the real VIP Section with Putin.

Putin after the parade.

Russian Motorized Troops.

Russian Honor Band and Synchronized Soccer Team.

Russian Chariot Unit.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Soviet Naval Infantry - 79th Naval Infantry Brigade Rifle Companies

I'm starting to make progress on the Rifle Companies of the 1st Battalion, 79th Naval Infantry Brigade. The start of the 1st Company is coming along a little slowly, haven't painted a lot the last few weeks but I was able to finish the Company Headquarters and part of the Rifle/MG stands:

I've recently started to paint my WW II Flames of War miniatures on the actual stands. Before, I used to put the figures on craft sticks to give me enough space between figures for painting. I've gotten used to painting them on the stands and it actually saves me time with priming all of the figures and bases.
Before I start painting, I figure out which figures will go on which stand by unit. I like to position the figures for a unit at the same time to get the feel and look of the unit. Above are actually figures and stands for the Second Company. I have mixed and matched figures from the Naval infantry, Infantry in greatcoats and the Submachinegun packs.
Before I mount the figures, I scour the stands with a hobby knife which helps the glue and texture (pumice) adhere to the stands better. I use just regular ole' superglue to mount the figures.

I have found hobby pumice to use easier than hobby sand for the base texture; easier to apply and easier to paint. To see my standard "terrain" for bases see my post on January 2nd, 2010 "Let's Finish the Bases." After I applying the pumice (a resin - pumice mix that is easy to apply and paint) I let it dry overnight and then spray paint it with black primer. As I have mentioned on previous blogs, I don't by fancy primer from hobby manufacturers or stores, just good old Krylon flat black primer from Wal-Mart. Much cheaper and just as good.

Five more stands of Infantry will finish up the 1st Platoon of the 1st Company. Once done I'm going to finish up the other stands for the 1st and 2nd Company. Once done, I'm going to do 2 Heavy Machinegun platoons, one platoon for each company.