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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Decision Made: It's Time to Finish the Peninsular Figures

I've been drifting for the 2 years in my efforts to focus on my gaming projects. I have finally come to a momentous decision (drum roll if you please): I am going to finish building my basic armies for the Peninsular War during the Napoleonic period. I am going to finish one for France and her allies and one of Great Britain and her allies for the rule set Volley and Bayonet.

It was the plastic 20mm Airfix Napoleonic figures that first really got me interested in gaming and collecting soldiers as a kid.

Then I discovered Bruce Quarrie's Airfix gaming guide, that eventually became Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature that got be hooked on real wargaming with toy soldiers when I was a teenager.

In tribute to my first love of gaming, I have decided it's time to finish the figures I have and get those two armies on the tabletop. I was so inspired, I actually finished (!) a division commander for the British and started the next British "Brigade" stand which will be painted as the light (flank) companies of the line battalions of the King's German Legion.

The above figure is a mounted British Colonel from Front Rank miniatures. He'll make a good general figure as he will be wearing a plainer uniform on the battlefield

I put labels on the bases for easy identification

The figures that will be painted as a light company, King's German Legion are from Wargames Foundry

The officer and NCO will be at the height of military fashion as they have acquired the new "Belgic" shako while the rank and file still have the old shako

In order to finish the armies, I'm going to inventory what I have painted, see what I have and develop two army lists to guide my painting.

Dog Fight: Starship Edition Promo Video

Here is a nicely done Promo Video for a Starship game I really enjoy:

Dog Fight Starship Promo Video

A delightful game; easy to learn but hard to master! Here is the main link:

Dog Fight: Starship Edition Tactical Card Game

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Occupy the Gaming Industry!

I thought this was funny . . .

You can click on the picture for a larger image.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Some More Favorite Figures - High Elves

In preparing for a Horse and Musket game, I asked Honorable Son #5 to help me with the terrain set-up. On his errand to bring up some entrenchments from the "game" cabinet, he asked me about the Elves he discovered while looking for the pieces.

The Elf army is composed of figures from Games Workshops' Warhammer High Elf range and belongs to Honorable Son #2. The army got its start with the plastic High Elf spear men that came as part of the Warhammer Game in the early 1990's.

Nice figures that look imposing to an enemy line. I'm happy with the way Games Workshop has pushed the industry toward hard plastic miniatures - especially with historical figures! One minor complaint with the trend, is the tendency to have too much variety available when putting the figures together. I love the price and variety, but it takes me longer to put them together than to paint! Hats off to Perry Miniatures for having their rank and file boxes with less parts to put together - but still having options for different heads, etc., if you want that. Any way . . . I like that for these figures, all you have to do is glue them to the base, paint the figure, paint the shield and then glue the shield on. Quick and easy.

I painted the spear men years ago before Honorable Son #2 was old enough to game and paint. Originally I had painted all them in the basic GW "white" uniform pattern Elves. About 5 years ago, I repainted half of the spear men and Honorable Son #2 repainted half of the archers in a blue pattern to give variety and to make unit identification easier (No not that white uniformed unit, the other white uniformed unit!). I was very pleased with the results; easy to paint and they really stand out. The musician and banner bearer are from one of the command blisters and are metal.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Preview: Battle of Friedchikun

Just a quick preview of an upcoming battle during the War of Spanish Succession using the rules Volley and Bayonet. The Battle of Friedchikun will be based on the first major battle of the War of Spanish Succession, the Battle of Friedlingen fought between the French and the Imperial Forces.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Game is always a Good Excuse to Paint

I haven't painted in awhile. Nothing like a game you're going to host to get you motivated when you realize you need 2 units!

I think my largest collection of figures are for the War of Spanish Succession. Let's face it, it's when men where men, wore lace, high heels and pitted our Irish against their Irish. What's not to love? I used to have my figures mounted for the excellent set of rules, Warfare in the Age of Reason; but then I discovered the first edition of Volley and Bayonet and I knew my large battle, horse and musket period troubles were over. The newest edition, Volley and Bayonet: The Road to Glory, is an improvement on the original rules and adds to more period flavor for the Napoleonic period.

If you like games where you decide the tactical formations of units, Volley and Bayonet is not the game for you. The standard units represent multi-battalion regiments and brigades with all of the figures mounted on one movement stand.
The movement stands occupy the "tactical" space of the regiments and brigades. You, as the general, are concerned with the big picture: when to advance the right wing or throw in the reserves. The assumption is that the colonel and majors that command the battalions know what they are doing and will put their units in the right formation. You've got more important things to do, like command the army!

Anyway, my friend Michael Fox (creator of Dog Fight: Starship Edition) expressed an interest in gaming the period so I searched for a "small" battle to introduce the period to him. Honorable Son #4, another fan and undefeated general playing Volley and Bayonet, also wanted to play. I decided on one of the early battles of the War of Spanish Succession: The Battle of Friedlingen. The Battle of Friedlingen was fought on October 14, 1702 between the French commanded by Lieutenant General the Marquis de Villars and an Imperial army commanded by Markgraf Ludwig Wilhem von Baden-Baden. Say that 3 times real fast.

The scenario for the game is on The Volley and Bayonet Page under Historical Scenarios, 18th Century Battles. I'm going to modify the terrain based on the space I have available and I'm going to adjust the order of battle just a bit to play on a smaller table.

In reading the scenario, I noticed that both the French and Imperial forces will need 2 "skirmish" stands. In Volley and Bayonet, due to the scale, skirmish stands are not skirmishers with the exception of special rules for the Napoleonic period or later. The skirmish stands represent a detached battalion, usually for the purpose of holding key terrain. I already had two stands painted as dismounted dragoons in red jackets; they will work for the Imperials. In the actual battle, battalions of the French Infantry regiment La Marche occupy some earthworks known as the Schusterinsel. Since I haven't painted this unit, it presented a great excuse to paint.

Since I game the War of Spanish Succession in 15mm, for the "skirmish" stands I put 3 infantry or dismounted figures on each base. The beauty of Volley and Bayonet is that the amount of figures on the base does not matter; it's the size of the base that is used for play - making this game ideal for all sizes of figure scales. The overwhelming majority of figures in my collection are made by Dixon Miniatures. I had some extra dismounted dragoons, and for 15mm scale, they look close enough to infantry that I can get away with using them. Plus, they can be used as generic dismounted dragoons in a later game.

At this time the Regiment La Marche has white coats, red vests, red collars, yellow buttons and yellow trim on their tricorne hats. White can always be a challenge to get a look that gives depth without it the white looking too bright. Here is the technique I use if I'm not in a hurry.

Figures are spray painted black with Krylor's flat black (which is available at most hardware or retail stores in the USA). All other paints I used are from Game Workshop. The base color for the coat is Bestial Brown and the base for the skin is Dark Flesh.

Once dry, I went over the coat with Bone White, trying to leave the folds of the jackets the brown color.

To finish the face and hands, I used Dwarf flesh and then highlighted the high points with Elf Flesh.

I decided not to use a base color for the red. Instead I gave the red cuffs and vest 2 two coats of Blood Red.

The wood on the musket is painted Bestial Brown and the muzzle and firelock are Chainmail. The trigger housing is painted Shining Gold. Now I finish the jacket with Skull White on the high points leaving the edges Bone White. The scarf I just paint Skull White over the black to make it brighter than the jacket.

To finish up the straps, musket sling, belts and cartridge box are painted Bubonic Brown. The scabbard for the sword is Bestial brown and the sword's hilt is shining gold. Bayonet scabbard is black as are the boots while the buttons and hat lace is Sunburst Yellow.

I mount the figures on wood bases and attach the flocking with watered down white glue. Now the honor of France can be upheld holding on to those fortifications!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Favorite Figures - How 'bout some Napoleonics?

Here is one of my favorite command figures for the Napoleonic Wars: Jean-Baptiste Bessieres, Duc d' Istria and Marshal of France. The armies I am painting in the Napoleonic period are for the Peninsular War, and good ole Bessieres was there. This is Wargames Foundry's version of Bessieres and a very good version it is.

Bessieres also adds some color to the French army (who doesn't like bright green boots!). He is wearing the uniform of Colonel-General of the cavalry of the Imperial Guard and sash of a Marshal of France. Bessieres was a traditionalist and still powdered his hair. For Volley and Bayonet, I'll be using him as a division cavalry commander or as a division commander for the Imperial guard.

As a commander, especially of cavalry, Bessières left a reputation excelled by very few of Napoleon's marshals. His dauntless courage and cool judgment made him a safe leader in independent command. He was personally beloved to an extraordinary extent amongst his soldiers, and respected amongst his opponents.

Speaking of commanders, here is the "Bravest of the Brave", Marshal Michel Ney, 1st Duc d'Elchingen and Prince de la Moskowa. Also by Wargames Foundry, I like the aggressive look on Ney and the caped cloak that he is wearing.

I'll be using him as a corps commander in Volley and Bayonet so I have also mounted an aide-de-camp with him.