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Sunday, August 26, 2012

French Peninsular Army Update

Another momentus day as Honorable Son #2 proposed to the love of his life recently.  She said yes of course!  Another victory for guys who play with toy soldiers.

Okay . . . on to the update.  I am slowly but surely making progress on my Peninsular War project using the rule set Volley and Bayonet.   Figures are Wargames Foundry and Perry Miniatures. Here is what I have so far for the French:  

2 Army Commanders

1 Corps Commander

6 Division Commanders

10 Infantry Brigades

4 Cavalry Brigades

4 Artillery Stands

4 Skirmisher Stands

When I'm finished this is what I should have: 

2 Army Commanders

2 Corps Commanders

10 Division Commanders

22 Infantry Brigades

9 Cavalry Brigades

4 Artillery Stands

9 Skirmisher Stands

A stand of Dutch Chasseurs.  Infantry Skirmish stands in Volley and Bayonet represent a battalion, usually light troops that are detached for holding ground or to provide the "skirmish" screen.


Ney will be one of the Corps Commanders for the army.  I'm planning on having 2 Infantry Corps; I haven't decided who the other Corps Commander will be.

Anahlt and Berg units from the Confederation of the Rhine for General Leval's German Division.

One of the great things about a French Peninsular army, it gives you an excuse to paint many of France's allies to add a little color to all that French blue.

Marshal Soult, one of my Army Commanders.

Hessian troops in the foreground with French infantry on the other side of the 8 lbr.  I'm currently only going to do 4 Artillery stands for Volley and Bayonet as the Infantry Brigades can have battalion guns as part of the Infantry stand.  Saves money.  Might get some more later.

4th Swiss Line.  Did I mentioned I wanted some other colors with my French Blue?

Labels on the back of the stands make it easy to keep track of which unit is which.

12th Light Regiment with skirmish stand of Carabiniers (the grenadiers of the light regiments).

Horse artillery, 7th Chasseurs and the Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard.  I plan on painting 2 more stands of Chasseurs. 

2nd Hussars.  I'll be painting one or two more stands of Hussars.

General Denouttes is one of my Division cavalry commanders.

Of course, this is the other Army commander I will be using.  The Old Guard in the background will usually represent converged grenadiers in the Peninsular or the Spanish Royal Guard.

General Fournier in front of the 25th Dragoons.  Three more Dragoon stands to go.

The might of the Empire.

Legion de Midi will be a skirmish stand with the German Division.  For the German Division I have painted troops from Berg, Hesse and Anhalt.  I plan on also adding the 4th Polish.

And the last look as they march off . . . 

You may have noticed the variation of the bases.  When I started the project, I was using sand to finish the base.  That got old real quick as I tried to paint the sand on bases that are 3" x 3".  I switch to just using mixed green and brown flocking and adding some static grass, small rocks and lichen.  Some of the bases are complete and some aren't.  As I finish the project, the older bases that only have flocking will get the additions of static grass, etc.

I almost forgot to mention, all the flags are from the great Warflag site.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sometimes it's Just Fun to Paint

Sometimes it is just satisfying to grab a figure and paint it just for fun.  No pressure to get it done for the project you are working or for an upcoming game - just for fun.

I was an enthusiastic supporter when Games Workshop started releasing miniatures in hard plastic.  They started with figures that were basically the same; e.g. Elvish spearmen with the same armor and pose.  Then they moved on to what became essentially 28mm figure modeling kits suitable for wargaming!  Even though it took time to put the figures together, they were a joy to paint.

By ignoring or hiding some of the fantasy elements of their Empire and Bretonnia ranges, the figures could be used for historical gaming.  A good example is the Bretonnian archers which can easily stand in for English longbows.  "Sigh", I thought, "If only someone would do historical figures in hard plastic."

 Bretonnian Plastic Archers

Well, did that wish come true!  In just the last five years, the availability of historical hard plastic miniatures have grown exponentially.  But I digress.

One of the things I like about the Games Workshop hard plastic miniatures is how fun they are to paint.  The details are crisp and figures can have individual character.  On the wargames dining table we use to have Warhammer armies representing the Empire, Bretonia, Dwarves, Elves and everyone's favorite:  Orcs and Goblins.  I also like the Warhammer rulebook.  Though geared toward tournament play with point systems, I really enjoyed the "fun" of the fantasy rules.  In fact, I still use Warhammer Ancients as my preferred set of ancient and medieval rules.  Unfortunately, though still a good set a rules, it seemed to me that the Science Fiction/Fantasy Warhammer 40k Gothic influence started to infiltrate the fantasy world of Warhammer.  Too much goth, heavy metal and weirdness starting creeping in - and some influences that I did not particularly think were healthy.  In 2005 our Warhammer armies (except for some exceptional characters we kept) went the way of eBay to finance our new interest in World War II with Flames of War.

The Box

Anyway . . . that doesn't mean I don't like painting the figures!  One of my favorite Empire units were the Pistoliers.  Based on German Reiter cavalry of the 15th and 16th century, they just look cool in their demi-armor armed with pistols.  When GW came out with a plastic box set of Pistoliers, cavalry became affordable.  We had a box left over from the Warhammer days, so I pulled it out and starting putting together a leader figure . . . taking my time and having fun.  There are three sets of sprues that allow you to build 5 pistoliers or 5 mounted outrider bearded engineers with large shotgun blunderbuss things.  I'll stick to the pistoliers.

Above is one of the sprues.  I have always read and heard that you should wash the plastic in a mild, detergent soap to get any oils off, etc.  I have never done that.  Of course, I don't make my living painting figures but for me I don't have the patience to wash them first.  Prime them of course, but not wash them.  I primed the plastic with Krylon Flat Black from Wal-Mart.

Here is the intrepid commander with most of the base color painted with some shading and highlights. All of the paints are from GW.  For the face I use a base of Dark Flesh, then Dwarf flesh and highlights with Elven Flesh.

That is one cool sword he is carrying.  It's a combination broadsword with a built in pistol.  Fortunately he pumps iron and works out so he can wield this might weapon.  Armor is a base coat of Boltgun metal highlighted with Mithril Silver.  Gold trim is just Shiny Gold.

I'm not very good at painting horses mainly because I am lazy.  But this one is turning out okay.  The base color for the horse is Adeptus Battlegrey and then I went over it with Codex Grey.  The hair is a base of Bestial Brown and then Bleached Bone over it.  I haven't finished the livery and straps; currently they are a base color of Scorched Brown. Still have some areas to clean up around the straps. 

I'm not sure what color the saddle blanket is going to be.  For some reason (I really can't remember) I painted the blanket base color Bestial Brown.

The feather was painted with a base of Bestial Brown (one of the greatest, most versatile colors in GW's inventory), then Bleached Bone and highlighted with Skull White.  His left arm sleeve will eventually be red, currently it has a heavy wash using Scab Red.  Yes, I do love the names GW gives its colors (sigh).

The rider is not glued to the horse yet.  This angle gives an idea of the great job GW has done in sculpting and animating both rider and horse.  For some reason there is an hour glass hanging on the front of the horse.  I forgot to clip that off before I started painting.  I may have to leave it on. For the base, I use pumice which is easy to apply and dries very quickly.  It is easily available from The War Store which has very fast shipping and excellent customer service.

I love this overcoat.  Base color of Scorched Brown, followed by Bestial Brown.  The highlights will be Snakebite Leather.  For the fur trim I used the same painting technique that I used for the feather. The left sleeve will be white.  And I just realized, as I type this, that like Honorable Son #2, this guy is either left handed or ambidextrous.

Arrghhh!  My teeth were painted with Bubonic Brown then highlighted with Bleached Bone.  Plus I have a big, cool pistol that is about .69 caliber.

To the Skys of Yesteryear: More Wings of War

I love this game!  Wings of War from Fantasy Flights Games is a fast, simple to learn but hard to master game of aerial combat during World War I.  For movement, each plane selects three movement cards per turn to use in order; one of the best mechanisms I have seen for simultaneous movement.  The cards are selected from a movement deck and each plane uses a different deck depending on its capabilities.

Line up the arrow with the line on the card and move.

 Recently I was challenged by Honorable Son #5 over the skies of World War I Europe.  He was going to try out his new UFAG C.1, a two-seater reconnaissance plane escorted by an Albatross D.V. 

 The UFAG C.1 and the colorfully painted Albatross D.V.

The allies, played by yours truely, would have a Sopwith Camel and a Spad XIII.

The Sopwith is on the left and the Spad on the right

The Hansa-Brandenburg C.I, also known as UFAG C.1 , was a 2-seater armed single-engine reconnaissance biplane designed by Ernst Heinkel.   The C.I had similarities with the earlier B. 1(Type FD, also designed by Heinkel), including inward-sloping interplane bracing struts. Like other early-war Austro-Hungarian reconnaissance aircraft, such as C-types of Lloyd or Lohner, the Type LDD had a communal cockpit for its crew.

The UFAG C.1

The C.I served in the Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops in visual- and photographic reconnaissance, artillery observation and light bombing duties from early spring 1916 to the end of World War I. The aircraft had good handling characteristics, and steady introduction of more powerful engines in successive production batches (see below) enabled the improvement of performance and thus the continuing front-line service.

Armament of the type consisted of a free-firing 8 mm (.315 in) Schwarzlose machine gun at the rear for the observer, and at least in some aircraft for the pilot there was also a similar fixed, non-synchronised forward-firing gun in a pod above the top wing. This latter weapon was replaced in later production examples by a synchronised 8 mm (.315 in) Schwarzlose gun on the port side of the fuselage. The normal bomb load for the C.I was 60 kg (130 lb), but some aircraft could carry one 80 kg (180 lb) and two 10 kg (20 lb) bombs.

 Albatross D.V.

 Since it had been a while since we had played, our flying (especially mine) was less than spectacular as we started the game.  The Sopwoth Camel and Spad XIII had several near collisions while the Albatros had difficulty staying near the action.

Another near miss!

  The UFAG C.1 performed admirably, it's rear machine gun reminding the allied planes that it would be difficult to tail unless they got into the rear blindspot caused by the tail.  The allies were being hammered as smoke and rudder malfunctions took a toll on their aircraft.  Unfortunately for Honorable Son #5, a few stray bullets ignited a fire on the Albatros which resulted in a spectacular explosion.  It was then only a matter of time as the two allied aircraft ganged up on the remain two-seater and the pilot of the Spad got his second kill of the day.

Yes, the Allies have another near collision!