Thursday, 12 April 2018

Workbench update Retreat From Moscow

So for the most part I have been working on the Retreat from Moscow, lots happening which is great as the painting has been on the back burner due to issues with my stomach. That said I have managed to get  a few bits completed.

Firstly a pair of Cossacks. I really like these winter Cossacks in their campaign gear, The guy with the lance came out well, second of each of these I have done but as I will have 4 units of 8 this will not be that noticable.

This Russian Grenadier officer is also really nice. A Foundry figure by Perry's, I have given him suitably aristocratic white gloves. I almost have enough for a company of Grenadiers for Sharp Practice now. Still some dilemmas on how I do the command base so I can use for both Sharp Practice and Black Powder. So for instance do I have 4 bases of 4 musketeers (two SP companies) and then add a command base to use with Black Powder? Undecided at present but will keep you updated.
These two Murowski Poles look suitably chilled and worn out. However they dont look as nice as the rest of the Murowski range, I am not convinced this particular pack was  a Paul Hicks one, what do you think? Nice but not as nice?
The gun crew from Black Hussar are just awesome, I really enjoyed painting these fellas and they were also pretty easy to paint. I have 3 sets of these now, I wonder if I should get some Perry Gunners in greatcoats to mix in and break the look up? 3 Guns seems more than enough given all the horses had started to die.
So thats it for painting, these will go in the box for basing along with a stack of other figures.

3 more Poles will give me my two units of 8 starting point. The Cosscks are already at the point of giving me two 8 figures units I am not far away from a (very) small game I think!

A few more Cossacks next, then some mounted officer?

Thanks for reading as usual.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

1812 Retreat Project Update

So with the last few bits of terrain arriving I decided on a quick photo shoot to share what it it looking like.

The hedges were a buy from ebay and really good value, they took a while as they are made to order I think, I will be adding some touches to them myself but not much. The mat looks crowded but dont forget we have two mats so probably wont be filling it this much in future.

The basing on some of the buildings is meant for summer so I will need to decide what I do about that, ideally I want to use them for both winter and summer so perhaps taking it back to plain dirt and dropping some white flock on for games might be best.
The buildings are a mix of manufacturers. Two hovels in grey, the church window frames look a bit odd in white so I might repaint them. The other two on the below are more European medieval but dont look to bad.

The two sled guns donated by Chris are already based, as I want flock on mine these will in effect become test figures and the basing department and I will have a look at these today.
The pack of cheap trees will need basing and a bit of paint on the plastic tree trunks but I think these will actually look really good. The deciduous trees below are a dilemma. They do look really nice but are exceptionally delicate, every time I use them bits fall off as you can see in the picture. I am tempted not to waste effort on basing something that will disintigrate which is a shame, they are nice.

In terms of the basing I have decided that horse will be on 50mm front by 80mm deep so I can make them look a bit more irregular if I want. Foot will be 50mm front and 60mm deep which just covers the bayonets and leaves some room for playing with the basing. I will probably do some skirmish bases and have 2 figures on a 50mm by either 25mm or 30mm depth.
Taken as a whole heres what it looks like.
So as I am back from a short break in Barcelona and the basing department is home for a day we have decided to spend an hour or two experimenting with basing. I know its an exciting life we lead!

Hope to have the results of this to you in the next few days.

I was also pointed int he direction of the following blog by a member on the TMP this is an unofficial campaign guide and army lists for Sharp Practice and the Retreat from Moscow. See what you think. I have downloaded them and when I get chance will have a good look through and share my thoughts.

Hope you found this interesting, look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Carlist Sharp Practice Play Test

We have toyed with Sharp Practice before and both Steve and I have thought about using it for different projects so we decided to have a small game at his place this evening, just the two of us. Steve is interested in using these for AWI and I like the idea of them for the Retreat from Moscow.

The units we put on I think turned it into a reasonably big game as it goes. Possibly slightly too big for a play test.

Essentially we had the French Foreign Legion vs a Carlist contingent. Nothing two clever just line them up and walk through the game mechanisms.

The French had 2 six figures units of skirmishers each with a Sergeant and two Captains each leading 3 eight figure units of line foot. They had a light gun, a captain leading 2 eight figures units of horse and an overall Commander. 80 Figures plus commanders.

The Carlists had just one unit of eight horse but their gun was larger. 2 units of six skirmishers with Sergeants and 2 Captains, one with 3 units of eight the other with 4 units of 8. An overall commander completed the force which was also 80 figures.

Slightly gun and horse heavy for Carlist War really but we wanted to see what they could do.

My Carlist colection is based in fours for foot and pairs for horse and skirmish so lends itself to Sharp Practice quite well. Although my horse are in squadrons if 6 so we had to pinch a final base from other units and the lack of seperate sergeants left mounted officers commanding skirmish screens, but if you forgive these little things it doesnt look half bad.
First thing we found was that with so many units on table we had to find a way of remembering which was which, so we stuck numbers next to some of them. We took our time and went through every little thing with the rules rather than assuming we knew the answer (even though we often did) we made sure we double checked everything and most things worked really well. The cavalry proved the thorny bit but more of that later.


In the opening moves the Legion got itself forward with one company of 3 platoons taking a bit of fire and the other inflicting heavy losses on the Carlist skirmishers.  Having 24 firing dice plus another 2 for your commander and taking a plus one for aiming really made a difference.

Of course good dice helps too!
In return Steve wheeled his 4 platoon formation and now had 7 platoons a gun and his skirmishers lined up to punish the lead formation of 3 platoons of Legionaires. Oh dear. This unit very quickly started to mount both shock markers and casualties.
We decided there was no advantage in the cavalry being one troop behind the other and started manouvreing the rear one. This led to a bit of a loss of control and as it turned out was entirely wrong, the second troop could have supported and added dice to the melee that ensued when the lead unit of Legion Lancers charged the Carlists who were caught at the walk.
The melee went my way but left the commander stranded between 2 troops of horse.
Steves cards came out in quick succession and the casualties and shock ramped up very quickly. This formation being very shakey by the end of the second round of cards.
The remaining Carlist lancers charged the Legion and the ensueing second melee saw two rounds of fisticuffs and the Carlists almost wiped out. The Legion lancers were now on the flank of the Carlists but no where near their commander and with 3 casualties and some some shock markers.

By this time we had used up our available time. Steve's first skirmish screen was leaving the table and his lancers almost destroyed but the rest of his force was looking pretty healthy.

My first Legion formation was in a bad way and the Legion lancers were not too happy but again all the rest were ready to fight on. A long way to go but it was all about getting a hang of the mechanics and we managed that quite well.

Questions we had were mainly around the cavalry. If they start in the middle of the table does that mean they are stationary and can only move to a walk? When you beat cavalry and they withdraw do you follow up or stay where you are? If you stay where you are does that mean you are stationary and have to build your speed and momentum back up again?

Apart from that all else seemed to work quite well.
 As usual tea and biscuits were provided by Steve and Julie, great hosts as they are. This picture was the end of the night. We seem to have a lot of biscuits left, is it coincidence that Mark wasnt there?
Taken as a whole enjoyable rules, No surprise we play a lot of Lardies rules and usually get on with them. Just need to play a few more to see if they will work as we want, perhaps a little small for the level Steve wants for AWI, not sure you could do the whole of Cowpens for instance. However if I ma to use these for the smaller games in 1812 and Black Powder once I have more figures I think a good 2 - 3 player game is to be had.

A good nights game.

I am away for a week now with the finance department in Barcelona. I will see you all in a week or two.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Basing for 1812 Retreat from Moscow

Having decided to aim for both Sharp Practice and Black Powder I now need to find a basing convention to suit.
So first one is 50 x  50 mm width looks good for the Polish and for the Cavalry. Its does feel like the horse is not deep enough, not sure it is too wide for the ranks of marching Russians.

40 x 40 mm is a good fit for the marching Russians but far too shallow for the Poles with their muskets sticking out and certainly come no where near for the horse.

Deeper works for the foot at 40 mm wide and 50 mm deep. Its still not quite deep enough for the Polish muskets and bayonets. Too tight for the horse by far. That said it doesn't leave much room on the bases for the garbage etc of the retreat. I want to add broken wheels, drums and bodies etc.

I decided to try the basing I use for Great Northern Ear, 50 mm front by 80 mm deep. That actually looks great for the Cavalry but is too deep for the foot, especially those marching Russians.

Lastly is the one I am thinking we may go with. 50 mm frontage by 60 mm deep. As I had all the new Cossack's available I couldn't help getting them all in the shot.
Its wide enough and deep enough for the cavalry, a bit deeper might give them opportunity to look more irregular and add bits to the base. Food for thought as we can do the cavalry bases deeper as long as frontage is the same.

Its plenty big enough for the Russians and whilst they may end up in a slightly loose formation I still think they will look OK on here. I perhaps need more foot all together to finally decide for the Russians.
From the below you can see its a really good fit for the Poles and French. Room at the front for the bayonets to be inside the base and room to add all the discarded gear. Wide enough that they can be grouped together but left looking slightly ragged in terms of formation too.

In this last picture you get an idea why we need the depth, one of the bayonets still sticks out, I can push him back slightly and they will all be in but we do need this depth to protect the figures from wargamers "Fat Fingers".
So thats where we are at, 50 mm x 60 mm looks favourite and by happy coincidence is the same basing I use for Hail Caesar ( the other way around for them though) room on the bases for broken wheels and drums, cast off packs etc plus the odd log or bush peaking from under the snow.

It also allows me to do both Sharp Practice and Black Powder. To get the most out of the armies this is really useful. As things stand I don't need many more to have a really small Sharp Practice game but I am months away from Black Powder. I will need a casualty marker system for Sharp Practice but that should be easily solved.

Unless I have a brain storm and change my mind then I can actually start basing these almost straight away. I certainly have two 8 figure units of Cossacks we can start with.

So there you go. Lets see where that goes. Tomorrow night I have a Sharp Practice play test over at Steve's place. Using my Carlists as they are based in fours. I will do a quick write up to share how it goes.

See you soon.

Monday, 26 March 2018

More Cossacks for 1812

I have over the last week been able to work on some more of the  Pery Cossacks for the retreat from Moscow and finshed six off today. That gives me 16 finished which is two units for Sharp Practice.

My stomach issue has re-surfaced recently so I have been busy with anything to keep the project moving that doesn't involve painting until last week.

These particular figures were acquired from fellow wargamer Mike Holgate. Mike saw my add on the League of Augsburg forum and got in t ouch as he had a lot of Perry and Foundry figures suitable for the retreat he wanted to part company with. A fellow Yorkshireman also meant it was easy to trip over to his house and pick the figures up, whilst avoiding his decorators who had just painted all his woodwork.

He also had a wonderful collection of his own for the Retreat from Moscow all painted and based to a high standard. If I bought other peoples work I would have invested but as it is I satisfied myself with a shed load more of lead. Anyone interested in Mikes collection get in touch I will be happy to put you in touch.
The four brown horses in the centre were something of an experiment.. Usually I prime horses white, add a base colour in acrylic lighter than desired, paint an oil on slightly darker than required then wipe it off which gives a lovely effect.

I trialled warpainter spray primers in brown with great results (although the nozzle flooded and paint went everywhere for some reason) as I use Halfords as primers I was keen to see if any of their coloured sprays worked. I added a thin layer of white primer then a thin layer in this case of antelope beige. It frightened the pants off me to start off with as it was both thick and shiny. However the end result is actually very nice I feel.

I still haven't resolved my basing dilemma so after a quick photo shoot these chaps are straight into my painted figures box with their comrades. Once base size is resolved I need to decide on the look (snowy I suppose) then teach the basing department how I want them. Based units may be a couple of months off with that in mind.

That said with the figures acquired from Mike, plus ebay, Foundry direct and chum Jerry I have about 98% of everything I need. I just need to get them painted.

I hope you like these, I am enjoying painting the Cossacks in particular.

Next I want o do a post covering my thoughts on basing and then we have a Sharp Practice game to play at Steves place as I want to see if I like it for the retreat.

See you soon.