Saturday 25 April 2020

Prepping the Poles and Cossacks for the Deluge

I thought I might share some of my thought process for the Poles and Cossacks along with some the actual process I am going through with these guys.  You have seen the purchases seperately this is what the majority look like together after building work is largely complete.

The Wagons are easy to assmble and look very solid once complete although I did have some fun with the axles and wheels. If these come out well I may get a Tabor of 6 or 8 wagons.
For the horse I paint using Oils, I have described the process before so wont go into too much detail but essentially I prime white and glue to a card or similar base for ease of handling.
I put a light base coat onto this, usually putting a mix of different coloured horses into a  unit for some nice variety.
The second hand Foundry Winged Hussar horses are going  to get this treatment but to be honest the base colour is already too dark so they may end up just being black horses.

This then gets a coat of darker oils which gets slapped on and wiped off usually with t shirt material (actual T shirts or old underwear, cleaned  first of course!) leaving the darker colours in the various creases and crevices to give us some muscle defination.

Its a fairly messy process but it requires no skill at all other than getting the colour mix right for the best final outcome.

The figures below show what this looks like afterwards.

I am happy with the results on the other other horses but less so with the wnged hussars as expected.

It takes a couple of days to dry then we can paint the horse furniture and add the rider. In this case, main, tail and hocks are painted black then dry brushed dark grey. Base colour on the saddle cloth then its detail and shading.
Here is the finished article ready for riders to be painted and added. I added soem really simply designs on two of them to add soem detail.

The finished article with Rider, in this case a Pacerni Offcier with his hand drilled out to accomodate a flag.

Talking of riders, the Pancerni were the most numerous of the Polish horse. As a size comparison we have from left to right Redoubt, Essex, Redoubt, Foundry. All lovely sculpts but very different sizes, I do think I can get away with this as long as I dont put the smaller Foundry and Essex onto their original smaller horses, giving them the bigger horses will disguise their size difference to some extent.
I have added to the Cossacks with some Perry retreat from Moscow Peasants. These first two have had minor amends, the left hand figure a hole drilled in his left hand to take a banner, the one on the right had a club removed and a hole drilled through both hands for the same purpose, I think these will look great and I am choosing not to let the fact they have mittens on bother me.
The next three peasants had farming implements which I have cut away and drilled out their hands to take pikes. Cossack foot were a mixture of Pike and shot with the Pikes I believe being half pikes hence these being slightly short. Again I think these fit really well, especially as during the Cossack uprisings many Russian peasants flocked to the Cossack banner to escape serfdom.
I have dropped two of those pike into the below shot with other makes, from left to right Old Glory (bucket and spade replaced by pike) The Assault Group, Essex with Perry retreat from Moscow head swap, Redoubt Zaporozian and then the Perry Peasants. I think they mix quite well.
So once I have finished with the cleaning up, head swaps, drilling, pinning, glueing etc I prime black using a Halfords spray Matt Black which gives a great finish and is much cheaper than many hobby sprays. Like the horse I then glue to a temporary card or similar stand for handling during painting.
Once I have touched up the primer my frst job will always be to dry brush grey anything that needs to remain as black, in this case just his fur hat, I then block paint my base colours, for these two guys that means mainly brown with a bit of Green as thats my theme for this unit, they wont be uniformed but will have a limited colour pallette to join them together.
A bit more green in this one, this is one of the Old Glory figures with a rather odd head, lets see how it comes out as we go along.

After base coats I paint the basic colour I want to come through, in this case on the cloak its a grey green colour, 
I have used the same colour for this guys tunic and also dry bushed the fur hat. Both of these greens will need a furthe highlight I think.
This cloak has had the lighter main colour added and then some much paler highlights too, it looks quite scruffy which works for me in this case.
Next in the process for me is flesh. I use the Foundry paint system for this which I find works really well for my style of painting. My old mentor Ken  chueckles at me, he taught me to use a two layer system with Inks, which I have to say is also very good. Anyway this is how I approach it, the Dark flesh first. I always think you can get away with a bit more on uniforms but the face is what captures the character of a figure so I try to spend a bit more time on them.
These two identical heads are a bit weird and positioned oddly on the figure but you cant deny they have character. I am disliking this figure a little less now I have started the face. But only a little.
Next I will add the basic flesh colour leaving a little of the darker flesh in the creases around the nose etc and a bottom lip.
Lastly I use the light flesh highlight to define the nose, cheekbones, chin and ears. I generally find that works for me. I have added a little bit of white where these guys teeth seem to be showing.
A bit more highlight on the green brings this out more.
Fiaally its the detail on the sash, again two layers of colour and the musket and metal work to finish things off.

I am reasonably happy with the end result but these Old Glory chaps are likely to be mixed in with nicer sculpts, particularly in the back row of the units.

Once painting is complete I put a thin layer of gloss varnish as it stops them getting chipped too much, then matt that down with a couple of thin layers of matt spray. They then get stored until I have enough for a full unit and usually sent off to the basing department (My daughter) for basing although I do sometimes still do my own, in the current situation it seems likely I will be doing the basing myself for a bit.
We again see here with these painted figures the diversity of the Old Glory figures, some of which are really nice and others not as much so, I personally really like the first figure from the left with the sabre at a rakish angle over his shoulder. The figures second from right and left on the front row are both Foundry.
Well hope that rambling fills a small gap in your Lockdown itinery, more to follow so see you soon.

Thursday 23 April 2020

Another Sepoy battalion 68th Bengal Native Infantry

The Sikh Wars project progresses nicely and this unit of Sepoys will be just what the British army needs to flesh out the infantry.

Many units were still wearing the peakless shako in the Indian army so I intend to add a couple or more with this headgear. At least one batallion, possibly two, will hopefully be the Studio miniatures figures with a covered Shako.
These are mainly Wargames Foundry figures with a Carlist War british officer from Perry and 1 Iron Duke standard bearer with the Foundry one to finish the unit off.
Light infantry companies during this period were starting to be dressed in green and the shako had all the metal work blackened, much simpler to paint than the rest of the unit.
I particularly like the standard bearer aggressively thrusting the Colonels colour in the air.
I cant find a mention of them in the early battles of the first Sikh War so I assume they were part of the reinforcement that reached the army before Sobroan as they formed part of Brigadier Taylors 3rd Brigade in this engagement, along with the 29th Foot and the 41st BNI so this completes that particular brigade for Sobroan at any event. Either way Sepoys are what I am currently short of so a welcome addition
I havent decided yet what the final number of these needs to be, it could be I will need as many as 12 batallions, certainly at least 8 though I think so keep an eye out for the next lot.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Sikh Wars Black Powder Battle Report AAR

OK so I saved a couple of battle reports from just before the lockdown to share with you, here is the first.

Having finished a fair few units for the Sikh Wars project I wanted to keep my enthusiasm by getting them on table. Steve agreed to put on a game, initially billed to be Field of Battle but changed last minute to Black Powder as we realised we didnt know the rules well enough.

Four of us playing each with 2 or more Brigades. All the troops available were used with the exception of a couple of the guns.
The Sikhs were holding a small village with an earthwork to one side and the Bitish needed to turf them out.

The Sikh Forces were led by Mark and Steve:

1st Brigade 3 x Regular Sikh Foot and 1 x Field Gun
2nd Brigade 3 x irregular Sikh Foot and 1 x Field Gun
3rd Brigade 3 x irregular foot, one sword and spear armed only
4th Brigade 2 x Regular Sikh Cavalry (one small) and 1 x horse gun
5th Brigade 1 x armoured irregular cavalry and 2 x unarmoured
6th Brigade 2 x armoured and 2 x unarmoured cavalry

9 Foot
9 Horse
3 Guns

Chris and I commanded the British and Indian Troops:

1st Brigade 2 x British Cavalry (one lance armed) and 1 x horse gun
2nd Brigade 3 x Native Cavalry and 1 x horse gun
3rd Brigade 2 x British Foot 1 x Native Foot and 1 x foot gun
4th Brigade 1 x British foot and 2 x Native Foot

5 Horse
6 Foot
3 Guns
The British were attacking and significantly outnumbered (nothing unusual there) but the Queens regiments (European British troops) were much better than the Sikhs as their historical counterparts performed so well, in turn the Sikh regulars were better than the Sepoys and the Native horse better than the Sikh irregular horse.

Steve used special rules such as ferocious charge and steady for the British plus better morale saves and firing abilities, the Sikh regluars again were given more fighting dice than the Sepoys and the matchlock armed irregulars only 2 firing dice. This helped balance the difference in numbers to some extent.
The Sikhs deployed on table with the regulars holding the villages and earthwork, a brigade of irregular foot either side and the cavalry massed in the open ground to the Sikh left.

The British would deploy on over seperate turns with the Cavalry arriving move one.
It was a nice chance to get my little unit of Gurkha skirmishers on table too.
Move one the Queens British European horse marched on and press towards the Sikh cavalry, I rolled for the Native horse and got double six, a blunder, just as well they were off table. I would roll double six a disproportionate number of times in this game alternately saving me or kicking me.
The Sikh Cavalry also began to press forward keen to take advantage of their superior numbers.
Move 2 and the 16th Lancers are out of the blocks and charging the Sikh irregulars, the Sikh are quickly sent packing but the British have taken casualties too and there are a lot more of the Sikhs.
Move 3 the First British infantry get on and get going as do the Native cavalry at last, the second British foot brigade get on but dont go very far.

More Sikh Cavalry advance to join the fray. The Bengal Native horse charge but are hit by traversing fire as they cross the front of the irregular foot.

The cavalry scrum expands as both sides throw more troops in, the Sikhs are having the worst of it to start with but with 9 to 5 odds we need them to.
The British first brigade get almost within range of the enemy and then roll another blunder, good grief, the result is a move to the left so no big shakes but is slowing us down.
I love these giant Sikh irregular guns, unfortunately we only had 2 thirds of the artillery on table tonight so they never made it on, the Sikhs were doing well enough without them anyway.
I finally get into musketry range of the vllage only to be disordered by the Sikh musketry, the concenrtrated fire of 4 battalions and 2 guns is hard to push through.
My return fire is negligable, in black powder houses and earthworks give a +2 to saves meaning you save on anything but a 1. the best I can do is concentrate my fire on the one unit in the open.

To the right the numbers of irregular Sikh cavalry are starting to tell, the Lancers have smashed a number of units with the first one broken, but most having reached their stamina are withdrawn to rally with Mark throwing some great break test dice, the Govorner Generals Bodyguard have also been forced back with casualties.

A large force of badly mauled Sikh cavalry are now mooching behind the lines of untouched horse.
My left hand brigade is finally moving but a hit form the Sikh artillery dis-orders the front unit slowing them back down again.

The one sided firefight in the centre continues and all three British and Indian battalions are now disordered, concentrating our fire on the only unit in the open is helping but I cant see that we can break through here and my hopes now switch to the left flank where our second brigade of foot will be taking on an irregular brigade in the open, if we can take them out perhaps the brigade can hook around the Sikh lines whilst the rest of the Sikhs are busy.  
We finally reach the Sikh left and a quick firefight is followed by a charge from the leading Sepoys, the first round is a draw but the subsequent fight sees the Matchlock troops retire disordered. However having advanced with the Sepoys to the front and in column of battalions I now struggle to pass the good troops through to the front and replace the badly damaged Sepoys, I also have another matchlock unit firing into my flank with only skirmishers to keep them busy.

In the centre I charge the Sikhs in the open and despite a tough fight finally win and break the unit, at last we are making a little progress.
However my attempt at the village is far less sucessful and the 1st Brigade are taking terrible casualties. Paddy Gough would be proud of our "Tipperary tactics" but its certainly not scientific, or even working terribly well.
To our right the Light Dragons have now taken over the front from the lancers and manage to break another unit of Sikhs, this time my newly painted armoured Gorchurra. Again however they take too many casualties in return and Mark can see the light at the end of the tunnel and starts to push his regular cavalry forward.

The lancers now step forward to replace the exhausted light dragoons and are charged by the Sikh regular cavalry, finally the British lancers are beaten and break, fleeing the table. unluckily on their left the Bengal irregular horse are also charged and broken and the cavalry fight has decidedly swung towards to the Sikhs.
Steve pulls one unit of Sikh regulars back in the centre and turns his gun to fire straight down the legnth of my Sepoys with double dice. Mirraculousley he misses! However a single hit by the foot forces a test and the Sepoys break.

On the left I order my British battalion to pass through the Sepoys and charge the irregulars but yet again they blunder and march off table to their left. Given enough time I could re-organise this flank and perhaps push the Sikhs back but the game is being decided elsewhere.

In the cnetre my gun manages to destroy one of the Sikh guns but my remaining British foot are in a bad way so I pull them back to start reforming.
Two of our 5 Horse are broken and the other three are in a really bad way. The game it seems has been comprehensively lost. In some ways it did feel like elements of Ferozeshah with the British taking terrible casualties and struggling to break into the fortified area, pulling back, reforming and trying again.
Chris did manage a consolotion prize charging the Govorner Generals Bodyguard into a unit of irregulars that had caused him all sorts of pain all night and finally breaking them.
Black Powder handled the Sikh Wars really well and allowed us to differentiate between the many different troops types and qualities on table. Having used them for a number of periods they do perhaps feel a little vanilla so we will have to consider how to add period flavour but the outcome felt right.
The Sikh wars does feel like a much more itneresting period than some other Colonial conflicts with the Sikh regulars really giving the British player a tough opponent and both sides feelind they have a reasonable chance of victory.

Thanks Steve for organising the game and well done to the Sikh players for a hard fought battle. We will be seeing more of this collection soon I feel.

(I wrote that last bit before the virus, soon is probably no longer the correct word)

Hoe you enjoyed it.