Saturday 29 October 2016

Sharp Practice Carlist War AAR

Back in May I was lucky enough to play in  a participation game with Dave Imrie and chum Jack at the Partizan Wargames show. I did enjoy it but as usual when playing rules for the first time wasn't entirely sure about. Since then we have talked about using the rules for a variety of periods, mainly on the basis that it would be a much smaller outlay in terms of number of troops for a Sharp Practice force.

I picked up a set of the rules and tried to read them through. Now this is something I am particularly bad at, I just struggle to read anything that isn't fun so after limited success I decided we had better try a game and see if we could learn that way instead.

In the end I found I had two games on consecutive nights. However as I forgot my camera both times I only have shots from the second game at the East Leeds Wargames Club in Garforth.

For both games we used my Carlist War collection. These are the only figures where the basing allows us to use them for Sharp Practice. It did mean that my Carlist Generals were demoted to Junior officers and NCO's but at least gave us something to start with.

For the first game we set up a six by six area at Wargaming Chum Daves house with Dave and Howard taking opposing sides and me getting a small command but trying to help the other two with the rules.

The Liberal forces had 3 platoons of French Foreign Legion, an FFL skirmish unit, a troop of Guard Cavalry 2 platoons of Cazadores and a further 2 skirmish units.

Facing them were 2 lots of 2 platoons of Carlists with 5 skirmish units. 

It took us quite some time to get going, the movement and firing sequences were simple enough, however we did find that with only 2 actions other than with the skirmishers everyone was pretty reluctant to advance as this would mean loosing the ability to fire that go so the game desolved into a firefight with the Liberal Cazadores coming off worst.

It wasn't quite the dynamic game we had hoped but played OK. One of the key issues had been keeping a track of which units had gone and which had not.

On night two at East Leeds I had the advantage that I had played the night before and two of the other players and read the rules thoroughly. Chris Flowers and I took the Liberals (I again had the Cazadores) whilst Chris Charlton and Steve Shann had the Carlists.

I had reduced the number of Liberals slightly but removed 2 skirmish units from the Carlists and replaced with a gun.  Most of the Carlists had cover an the table was slightly smaller at 6 x 4 feet.

 The game progressed much quicker and both sides began to take fire from their enemy pretty quickly.There were a number of sublteties we had missed the night before which did enhance the game. However again we sa that only the skirmish screens really attempted to close as everyone else spent their time firing and re-loading. 

 The Liberal Cavalry made a gallant charge on a Carlist skirmish screen, however by the time it got there it had lost 4 troopers. The ensuing melee despite hitting foot from behind with Cavalry did not go well. The Foots three dice left one shock and 2 kills whilst the Cavalry's ten dice only killed one skirmisher. The Cavlry promptly fled.

 By the time it reach the table edge there were three riders remaining with 12 shock points.

Mean while the firefight in the centre took its toll on the Carlist position and all three units were in trouble. However the Cazadore skirmish screen was in even more trouble and the FFL skirmish screen was destroyed entirely. At this point the gun was brought back under control and began to do damage to the FFL three platoons.

Suddenly it was 10pm and I had to pick the wife up from Leeds after a night out. The Liberals were in trouble and we agreed it was a narrow win for the Carlists. A better game but we do need another couple before I am likely to invest in any figures. That said I have plans for a Napoleon in Egypt force and possibly a retreat from Moscow force so fingers crossed.

Sunday 23 October 2016

Bemis Heights AWI AAR

We had a game at Chris Flowers Barn today on his 14 x 6 table and had decided to do an American War of Independence game with Black Powder. Dave provided the majority of the figures and fancied something from the Saratoga campaign. We trawled the Black Powder Revolution supplement and Bemis Heights looked like a game we could adapt for a number of players.

Initial order of Battle has 7 Crown battalions against 13 American Regiments. As we initially thought 6-7 players were coming we could add a small number of troops to some of the Brigades and each player would then have a brigade to play with. At the last minute we found out there were actually 10 players so had to add some units to create enough commands.

Essentially the Orders of Battle were as follows

General Grant, 1 British line battalion, 2 British Light battalions 1 unit of Scouts
General Reidesal, 3 Hessian battalions, 1 Hessian Grenadiers in Redoubt, 1 small unit Jaeger, 2 guns
General Phillips, 2 Grenadier battalions and 1 light gun
General Haw Haw 3 British Line battalions and 1 unit Jaegers
1 British Battalion and 2 Guns

General Morgan 2 Rifle units, 1 Light Infantry and 1 Militia
General Poor 3 Continental Regiments and a gun
General Learned 4 Continental Regiments and a gun
General Rich 2 Continental and 2 Militia Regiments and a gun
General  Ten-Broek 4 Militia Regiments

Generals Haw Haw and Rich were made up Generals and Brigades many of the rest were beefed up to give players a game. So the British had an extra 6 Battalions and the Americans an extra 3.

Haw Haw and Ten-Broek were both off table and would arrive on move 3. We were playing Black Powder with amendments making units fire before moving rather than the other way around. This proved to work very well indeed. All forces were set up in initial deployment areas to speed up the game.

The above map from the Revolution supplement gives you a rough idea of initial set up, our table was a fair bit longer, you can see the initial layout above too from the American deployment area.

Above is the view from the Rebel extreme left where Morgans brigade marches on pictured below.

The American left advanced quickly with no initial resistance, the right though struggle to get going giving the British Grenadiers time to deploy on their flank in the woods.
Howard seemed happy with his command of Hessians and no wonder the redoubt was a formidable obstacle.

The troops elsewhere were fairly evenly matched but Mark had Grants three battalions against 6 Rebel units plus Morgan's riflemen and a gun. He probably had the toughest fight of the game.

Above the British Grenadiers enter the woods to flank the Rebels on the right of their line.

Meanwhile Richard had appropriately gained Rich's command and was attempting to steam roller through the middle left.

The pressure eventually told on the British Right, Mark commanding Grants Brigade was forced back and his units destroyed one by one until his last unit was finally overwhelmed after a valiant but one sided fight. We had opted for Brigade morale rules rather than Brigades automatically breaking after 50%. As each player only had one Brigade this meant everyone got a game, we also felt this worked really well, although you might not use this for a 2 hour club might game.

But as Grant breaks, Steve with Haw-Haws Brigade marches out of the woods and into the fray.

In the centre Chris Flowers broke the first Hessian battalion and two guns and was then able to mass three units against the remaining Hessian unit facing him and see that off too.

Howard might have been smiling slightly less with the loss of his Germans but the Crown forces now had a new line of fresh troops stretching from one redoubt to the other, so things were far from over.

Meanwhile on the right of the American line the Grenadiers had broken the first 2 units of continentals an then engaged the Militia reinforcements in a  bitter fire fight for three moves. With their amazing morale saves (anything but a one and a re-roll) three volleys only managed to see one casualty on each of the battalions, eventually they managed to see of the American Brigade which was completely destroyed.

By this time we had been playing for about 5 hours, each side had lost a full brigade and a couple of the other brigades were looking shakey, both sides however had plenty of intact troops left and all to play for. Another hour or two might have seen a final conclusion but at this point we all decided that Sunday dinner was beckoning and it was time to finish.

The Americans had achieved none of their objectives and I have my doubts if they could have taken both redoubts, so a British victory I feel.

The rule amendments worked really well and I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed their game. Some fantastic figures from Dave's collection and great terrain (and lunch) provided by Chris Flowers.

Thanks to all the team for a very enjoyable day.

Friday 21 October 2016

GNW Polish Light Cavalry

Hi, the last unit of Polish Cavalry from the basing department for a while. These are Polish Light Cavalry whether you prefer to call them Polish Cossacks, Kossaks, Lithuanian Tatars, Vlachs or whatever your preference.

These are all TAG miniatures, they are lovely to paint but I do like my cavalry charging forward at their enemy and the horses, whilst nice, are not that dynamic for the most part. Still I am happy with how they turned out.

The Poles are particularly useful, I may have mentioned before that they fought alongside Saxon, Russian d and Swedish armies as well as engaging in their own Civil War with thousands of Cavalry at some battles (though very rarely any infantry) There will be another Brigade of these at some point probably with a unit of Dragoons mixed in.

 I also took the opportunity to snap the whole Brigade together. Not a million miles away from a game now, possibly before the end of November if the basing department can keep up. So expect to see these guys used in anger for the first time quite soon.

Next post is likely to be an after action report of our AWI game this coming Sunday. A slightly beefed up version of Bemis Heights (beefed up because two extra players are last minute additions so we needed to give them a brigade each) promises to be an interesting game and something a bit different to Great Northern War for you the reader. Until then, take it easy and keep your powder dry.

Friday 14 October 2016

Painting Great Northern War Saxons

OK so as threatened this is a post talking you through my process for painting. I wont call it a tutorial, that suggests I know more than someone else, this is just my approach and I hope one or two people can pick something from it.

For this exercise I have followed the painting of a small number of Saxons, casualties, Standard bearers and my new heavy cavalry, this will allow me to share how I do both figures and horses.

These particular figures are mostly Warfare with a couple of Ebor standard bearers.
 For the figures I always prime in black and I use a tin of Halfords Matt Black car spray which gives a nice finish to paint onto.
 The horses are primed white as this suits my purposes with the horse much better, again its Halfordsthis time white primer.

Back to the figures and the first job I always do is anything that needs to be black, this is an advantage of priming in black, a quick dry brush of dark grey and your black boots and hat are complete. Particularly handy when painting the Black Guard for El Cid!
 Next I am adding base colour coats or block painting as others call it. The Saxons are in red so a nice dark base coat, the cavalry need a dark buff for their waistcoat trousers and bets, the foot need a pale grey for their cuffs and breeches which will be white later on.
 I personally like to use colour party paints (though not exclusively), they have a good range with decent coverage and best of all are only three miles from my house.
Colours used here are MA22 ECW Buff, MA40 Crimson, MA5 Panzer Grey, MA20 mid grey , MA10 Negro Brown.
 Whilst that is drying I have then started to base coat the horses. I have painted an acrylic base coat on the horses. I am painting a bas coat at least 2 shades lighter than the colour I want to achieve, we will add a much darker oil to this later then wipe it off.
 With base coats on its time to start the face. The European flesh is the only Foundry paint I use and I have the three shade set and use all three. I try to keep a narrow dark outline around the eyes, nose and mouth as the two below.

 I am then going to add the mid flesh shade, attempting to leave another narrow line of the darker flesh and also leave the bottom lip dark flesh.
 Finally adding the light flesh highlight only to end of nose, cheekbones and chin point.

I have then added a lighter buff to the ECW Buff and lightened the Scarlet to add a shade to the coats. The foot troops have had white added to cuffs breeches and stockings, leaving decent gaps so that the mid grey folds give a contrast.
 Whilst that si drying into the Kitchen to get the oils out. I always start with the greys and get darker, I tend to mix the colours any old how and throw colours in until I am happy, above a simple grey two shades darker than the white base coat.

 Slap the colour on fairly liberally, its going to be wiped off in about 5 minutes.
 Then taking a rag, I prefer T shirt type material (currently using old underpants no jokes please, I have washed them) gently wipe the material over the model using a clean piece of cloth this will wipe off the majority of the paint, staining lightly the exposed, raised parts and leaving a darker area in the crevices.
 Your going to need to leave them for a couple of days to fdry now, I place mine on the window sill near the radiator to speed the dryng process up.

 So back to the figures, I have now added a third layer of ivory to the belts but only on the raised points across shoulder etc, I have painted the musket and pistols a chestnut brown and added the metal work and hat lace, the figures are finished.

With the horses dry I am now painting the saddlery and the mains and tails black. along with the saddle cloth

I have added a pale grey border and also used the pale grey on some of the horses hocks and foreheads. Not 100% what this units saddlecloths should be but as Beausts have black facings and the only other Cavalry with black facings (Golts dragoons) had black piped white saddle cloths its a decent bet.
Finally I add white to the piping and hocks/foreheads and adark grey shading to the saddle cloth. Chestnut to the wood of the pistols, bronze pistol buts and steel bits to the reins and the horses are complete.
 I Areldite the riders to the horses and we are ready for Varnish.
Firstly a layer of Gloss, this adds toughness and protects them from wargamers fat fingers.
 Then a good layer of matt. I really like this figures in comfort quick dry matt, I don't like flat matts but satin is too shiny, this gives a slightly egg shell tint to the matt and I like that a lot.

An then we are done. Finished figures are here.

So there we are, hopefully that's enough detail without being too detailed and sending you all to sleep. I will do a follow up post on the basing (I may even base some myself rather than sending to the basing department) and I still have those Polish Cossacks to share with you.

Thanks for reading.