Saturday 27 April 2019

Another Deep Freeze Sharp Practice

A small game tonight with just Steve and I. We are still missing a few bits I am sure like points for the armies and entry points etc but getting there with the basics. I do have to admit I forgot my lists for the retreat from Moscow so we used the basic lists from the rule book for French and used Portuguese for the Russians. I dont think they were too far out, its all about learnign the rules anyway.
The basic premise for the game was that Ney commanding the rearguard had found himself left behind with a gun that had no limber and horses and a small group of skirmishers. The French have sent back 5 groups of foot to rescue the Marshall.

Meanwhile the Russians close in with 6 groups of foot and a group of Cossacks.
The figures are a bit of a mix. The Russian foot are all from Wargames Foundry, the French Gun is Black Hussar, the Polish foot are from Murowski, the Russian cossacks are Perry and the French are a mix of Warlord and Victrix plastics with Perry and Foundry metals all mixed together, probably about half Perry's and half the rest mixed together.

Initially the game starts with each side trying to out march the other and close in on Ney and his little command, the only firing is from the artillery as the Russians come into range but initially this is a complete flop for me.

The Cossacks do not have a commander so for them its either activate by the extra cards of by the Commander of the force if he can get close enough to them. As the first two cards come out before the commanders the Cossacks belt off around the French flank and further away form the Russian Commander.

The Skirmish screen also advance a little, this will be a bit of a sacrificial lamb, hoping to make some of the Russians expend their actions on firing and loading rather than advancing.
Which you would have to say works as the first Russian volley inflicts a casualty and a shock marker, the return fire is useless and leave my skirmishers unloaded.
Another move and the two sides close but the Skirmishers now have 4 casualties and 3 shock markers forcing them to break and retreat, so much for my plan.
It was just enough however to get my infantry to Ney and meanwhile my gun has managed to inflict a couple of casualties on the Russians who are able to spread it across their 3 group formation of grenadiers.
The Jaegers press forward as the Grenadiers trade volleys with the French gun, casualties begin to mount but they are also hitting the gun crew.
In the distance you can see the Cossacks are now level with the French flank and ready to cut in behind them and block their retreat.

Three casualties and 2 shock markers on the Grenadiers but that's only one of each on each unit showing why they are better off in larger formations that can spread the effect of fire.
The gun crew however now have 2 shock and 2 casualties and we are discussing how many crew it takes to load and fire a gun.
The French and Poles are now trading volleys and Ney is safely behind the lines of is own troops.

The volleys are at reasonably long range as closing means missing an action to re-load at this stage which neither side fancies.
Before we can figure out how many men you need to fire and load the gun another volley take a further casualty and a further shock meaning their are more than double the shock to remaining crew and the last crewman break and legs it leaving the gun. Oddly enough this now also frees me up to begin to pull back and get Ney to safety.
Each formation fires a last volley and steps back, the Poles have taken a small amount of damage, the French masked by the gun have taken non at all.
My skirmishers have pulled back and had a shock removed by Ney meaning they are kind of under control but with the cossacks now around my flank they are looking rather doomed.
Steve's last volley drops some more shock onto the Poles and the first casualties on the French but his infantry is unlikely to stop me pulling off table pretty much intact. The Russians whilst damaged are also in pretty good shape.  The only question is whether the cossacks could do enough in my rear to stop me escaping.

We have however run out of time and call it a day at this point, another good outing for Sharp Practice, still some rules to try out and very little fisticuffs for us to get our heads around the mechanisms but we continue to enjoy the games and the way they play so these are looking a firm favourite at the moment.

Next time Russian Civil War for a change.

Sikh Wars Workbench

With my view still on this project I have been able to turn out quite a few figures. I am feding the buterfly to some extent by flicking from unit to colourful unit but then focusing on anythign that starts to look vaguely finished.

Two more Bengal lights cavalry these are the fantastic Iron Duke Miniatyres, added to the 4 already complete this first unit of 10 is well on track.

Two more Sikh regulars, very early stages for these two battalions. Bizarely the Old Glory figure here looks nicer than the Studio miniatures one. This will be a regiment of two battalions in the same gear, one of Studio figures and one of Old Glory figures. Flickng through the lead pile I already have enough for 6 more battalions of Sikh regulars.
4 More Bengal Sepoys, the standard bearers are Iron Duke and again really lovely. The casalty is actually a Perrys plastic peninsular Brit.
More on these guys in another post really, the bareheaded chap is for the light companu in my Bengal Sepoy battalion, the other chap is a tes figure for the Gurkha battalion I want to do, taking a bengal sepoy and adding a peak to the shako and a Kukri on his hip. Undecided with this one, I also want to consider a covered shako to ad some contrast.
A third Sikh Horse artillery crew and their first gun. The other two are over in York with the basing department so once they all come back thats a three gun battery. To represent the Sikh superiority in artillery I will make soem of the Sikh batteries three gun whilst all the British ones will be  two gun. I ahve had to use the same figures a lot with these but I think they will look OK.
This massive gun is the last of three so another 3 gun battery, these two guys are the first of the 12 crew figures I will need. Three of these will look pretty impressive I think.
Here they are together, I will now have a few days to catch my breath beofre doing a few more.
Adding the Sepoys to those already painted, I now need just 2 more light company sepoys and have a second finished battalion. these guys are winging their way to the basing department whilst I focus on a couple more figures to finish them off.
Currently reading the Second Angol-Sikh War by Amarpal Singh, being written from a non-British perspective this give some intersting information I wasnt really aware of. The first few skirmishes and battles of the war did not involve any British or East India Company regular Sepoys at all. Two battles before the seige of Multan pitting Sikh regulars but mainly irregulars against Muslim and Hindu irregulars and troops of the Nawab of Bhawilpore. These battles involving over 20,000 men in each case and having just 2 European officers present are quite interesting. Skirmishes in the North were also Sikh regulars against Muslim tribesmen with a British political officer leading them.

With this in mind I want to focus on getting some more irregulars painted in the immediate future. Looking at the first siege of Multan and the all the fighting around the outskirts there were tens of thousands of troops involved, initially Sikh regulars on both sides and well over half of both armies made up of irregulars, mainly muslim tribesmen fighting for pay and booty. This could generate some fairly interesting scenarios I feel.

Tuesday 23 April 2019


A few of the Irish back from the basing department and I have finished units hurrah!

These first four are left to right Perrys, a Westwind Dark Age scot , Essex ECW range and another Perry. This latest set mainly have slightly darker coloured tinics as I want a range of shades.

This now gives me 13 Shotte. Both Pikemans Lament and Sharp Practice use 6 figure units of skirmishers so two units completed. These are my two prefered sets of rules for Elizabethan Ireland, for Sharp Practice I have the Sharply Buffed variant, we will see which works best once they are ready. The irish shotte were very adept at skirmishing so along with the two 6 man units of bows these will be knawing away at the edges of the English force prior to a charge of armoured axe weilding Gallowglass.

The figures are half Perrys Irish from the Wars of the Roses range bolstered by conversions of other figures. Crusader, Westwind and Essex.
The leader figure in the centre will probably be the start of a third unit at some point. Really happy with how these units have turned out.
The second unit in isolation, again mainly Perrys, the helmeted figure to the left is a Perry figure with a head swap. I am really pleased with how the Elizabethans are looking, pretty much exactly as originally imagined.
I am now maybe only 20 figures away from enough to game so fingers crossed I can have them on table by the Autumn.

Thursday 18 April 2019

Snow Basing

With another retreat from Moscow game coming up I wanted to get some more figures finished and I thought it might be an opportunity to share my experience so far of snow basing.

The basing department has not been let loose on the finished article for snow bases as I am still learning myself, so for now she is painting the edges white and giving them a layer of pollyfilla so I can play around with them, If I don't do them straight away they do start to go a little bit yellow.

So here's everything I have to base so far, a number of trees that came loose which I have add to multi-bases, 2 and half units of French, a unit of Russians and few commanders.

First job to add a bit of depth I am using a watered down fog grey to splash onto any rough or stony areas. I then add the odd frozen or dried up bush or tuft of grass.
Then I slap on liberal amounts of PVA Glue and chuck a pile of 4 Ground snow basing material, I then press it down a bit to make sure it beds into the PVA.
These birch type trees are lovely but really delicate.One of these three snapped so I glued the broken bit to the base so it looks like a bush or a fallen tree.
You can see on these two bases how the 4 ground snow flock balls up and really does look like snow at this stage.
Next after leaving for a couple of hours to set properly I tap all the excess off and dust off the figures, inevitably there are some gaps now which you might be able to see on the below figures. This is the messy bit as I re-apply PVA but get it all mixed up with the flock already on, then slap more flock on and press it in. This second coat pretty much serves to fill the gaps.
Hey presto the bases are done. I don't mind them looking a bit rough, after all this is ground that has been marched over, I do need to add a lot more ramage and abandoned equipment though I think.

So here are the fur trees, nice models and very cheap plastic affairs though I don't think you can tell.

The birch trees, lovely and very evocative but also very delicate indeed.

A pair of Peasant skirmishers, I will have a unit of 6 skirmishers and a further group of 12 pitchfork armed peasants to harass the French.
The first group of Russian Line infantry, I hope to have at least 6 of these allowing me 3 battalions for Black Powder.
The first of the French includes a command base and a grenadier base and will be half of a Blackpowder battalion. I have 3 manufacturers mixed on each base. Warlord plastics, Foundry and Perry metals. I like the mix. The Officer may in fact be Victrix and again is a really good fit.
A second group with half of a third group, the washing out of the light makes this look misty and even more cold I think in this picture.
A bunch of commanders for the various units, again with the freezing fog creeping into the background.
A peasant commander, I really like this particular figure and he has painted up very well.
A foundry Russian Officer, not really one of my favourites but he has come out OK.
This French officer looks OK but again hasn't quite come out as nice as I thought he might. Ah well I have another to paint so perhaps the second one will be better.

A Volitgeur Seargant to lead a unit of skirmishers which I am currently working on. An old Foundry figure this is still very nice.
The first of the French cavalry a leader for the Chaseurs a cheval. A Perry figure which I am quite happy with.
And lastly a group shot to make me feel a bit better about my progress.
I hope to finish off the peasant skirmishers and a skirmish unit of French before a game at Steve's on Thursday, I also want to get some baggage wagons done to use as vistory points to fight over, these last are unlikely before the game. However I don't want rush so no promises.

Going forward I also think I need to start adding some abandoned equipment to the bases, I have added odd logs and bushes, packs, broken wheels and other gear I think would look good too.

So more snow to come (winter is coming afterall!) and a game report to follow too.