Thursday 26 April 2018

Abysinian Colonial Black Powder

After not playing with Chris Charlton over at the club for a while we decided a game was in order. Chris invited Mark and Chris Flowers over too. We decided to try Black Powder for his Italian's colonial army against the Abysinians.

This is a lovely and unusual collection which I painted for Chris some time ago. Many of the figures were commissioned by Chris specifically for the conflict.

The premise is that after the disaster at Adowa where the Italian army was destroyed by the Abysinians a scratch force is pulled together to try and capture the Holy City of Gondar. Before they can ford the river to advance they are caught in camp by a small Abysinian army.

I dont have the exact make up forces but it was roughly as follows with both sides having 4 brigades split evenly between 2 players per side.


First 2 Brigades led by Mark

Brigade 1
2 units of friendly  Irregular Foot
1 unit of friendly Irregular Horse

Brigade 2
2 units Italian foot
1 unit Native Foot
Battery 2 mountain guns

Next 2 Brigades led by Chris Flowers

Brigade 3

1 unit of Bersaglieri
1 unit native foot
battery of 2 machine guns

Brigade 4

3 units of native foot

The irregulars were very poor and the Italian foot were not great, the Bersaglieri were very good and the natives above average.

To face this modern force the Abysinian's also had two lots of two brigades.

My forces facing Mark were.

Brigade 1

3 x Native foot
1 x Native Horse

Brigade 2

3 x Native foot
1 x Native Horse

Chris Charlton had:

Brigade 3

3 x Native foot
1 x Native Horse

Brigade 4

3 x Native Foot
1 x Native Horse
 Battery of 2 Mountain Guns.

The Abysinisan troops all had large units so a plus one dice in combat and all had ferocious charge giving them re-rolls for melee where they charged into contact.

Very much firepower vs Ferocity. The Abysinians then had 12 units and the Italians the same. The quality of the Italians was not great but their firepower should make up for that.

The game started with the Italians trying to get forward to a position when they could use the mountain with the Church to protect their flank. Whilst the Abysinian Warbands threw themselves forward as quickly as possible hoping to find a weakness or gap to exploit before the Italians were fully in position. I was facing Mark who had the weaker two brigades and we hoped that Chris c could pin Chris F and his better troops and machine guns whilst I tried to knock Marks weaker troops out and exploit the gaps.

I pressed forward with the majority of my force, although some failed their orders to advance, we got to grips with Marks wavering irregulars and very quickly started to get the upper hand.
Things did not proceed quite so well on the other flank where the gap to advance was smaller and Chris F's native troops caused severe damage to Chris C's warbands.
On my flank I was able to destroy the first two units of irregulars and force the cavalry to retire, however as most of my front units were either disordered or shaken by the fighting I had to stop for some time to re-organise. This gave Mark some vital time to organise his Italian conscripts and guns whilst inflicting more casualties on my front units.
On the other side Chris F charged the Warbands to his front after hitting them with heavy fire. A risky tactic which paid off handsomely driving back Chris C's troops (those he didnt destroy in the process that is)

With one flank pretty much secure Chris F was able to filter troops over to support Marks flank. My now reformed troops charged the conscripts and guns and destroyed them, again though taking significant casualties in the process. Chris C had protected my flank from the fire of Mr Flowers troops during this action. At the end of this phase the few remaining battered troops of both Mark and Chris Charlton failed brigade Morale tests, leaving Chris F and I to finish the game.


My troops were now in position to storm the camp from the flank, however Chris's native troops poured a devastating fire into the charge. The machine guns in particular mowing my troops down. I was unable to make any traction into the camp and the rest of my forces were being badly mauled.
By the end of the final turn I had just one brigade of damaged tribesmen whilst Chris had both brigades and machine guns virtually intact. I was clearly not going to make any progress so conceded the game at this point and withdrew with my remaining troops.

This was a really fun and quite different game both in appearance and how it played to many colonial conflicts. Black Powder worked really well and in just over 2 hours we got a definitive result.

Thank you gentlemen for a very entertaining game. I look forward to our next one.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Plastic Perry WOTR Knights

Its not another project honest!

Well maybe kind of. I bought these ages ago and never got around to them. I picked up a sprue of each troop type from Perry plastic Wars of the Roses and European Mercenaries.

Reading the Tom Swan stories by Christian Cameron really got me interested in this period. Tom is an English page captured by the French at the very end of the 100 years war and saved by a Greek Cardinal and ending up travelling the world in numerous adventures. In the latest instalments he has led a Company of mercenaries including men at arms, English longbows, Greek Stradiots and a small group of Bohemian had gunners who acquire a falconet.  I had an idea about building a force based around this I could use in various scenarios. For anyone who has not found Tom Swan yet, I highly recommend the stories. Sold at £0.99 each on Kindle and about the length of 2 book chapters each.

I really enjoyed painting these, very simple being mainly metals but still a bit of work to give it some depth.

Not sure if I have enough definition on the red, I dont want to add another highlight and make it pink but may add an ink wash for some depth. I had an idea of tying the troops together with a red tunic for those who have one.
I used three layers on the metal work. A basic gun metal onto a black primer to start, A heavy dry brush with a brighter steel and then the Silver gel pen to highlight all the edges etc (Uniball Signo). I do like how this one in particular came out.

I have 4 mounted Knights to do next. Some of the guys I game with have suddenly dropped into Italian Wars around 1480-1500 so these are just in scope time wise. I have a worry they will be working towards 100 man pikeblocks or something equally mad, I intend to have less than 100 figures personally so it might not fit with their project. I am thinking along the lines of Lion Rampant rather than Pike and Shotte, for now I am happy just painting these lovely figures.
Just built the mounted Knights so may have an update on those in the coming weeks. Next up will either be a post on my progress with basing snow or the Black Powder Colonial game we just played.

Watch this space.

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!