Wednesday, January 27, 2016

December 2015/January 2016 Work

With January about over, here's what I've been dabbling with over the past two months or more.

First, I finally completed a 28mm supply wagon using a 4Ground wagon kit, a Foundry driver, and a Fife and Drum draft horse.  It only took me 2+ years to complete the wagon!

This will provide supplies to my 28mm Imagi-nation SYW era forces.  I have another wagon kit to put together as well as finish the draft horse and rider.  Hopefully it won't be another 2 years to get that one done.

Although not painted recently, I've been examining my 15mm medieval armies (based on ca 1100 in southern Italy) to use with BigRedBat's "To the Strongest" rules (see previous post).  Here are a mounted command group and two Norman mounted milites units:

The mounted command group and the unit on the right are OOP Table Top Games (TTG) figures.  The unit on the left are vintage Miniature Figurines Norman knights.
And finally, I am making a foray into the American Civil War, using MiniFigs 15s and "On to Richmond" rules.  OTR using brigades as the basic maneuver unit with each composed of three to ten stands.  Each stand represents about 300 men.  My Marine comrade Larry Reeves gave me an extra group of painted Union infantry to which I've added a mounted officer and based on 2" x 1" Litko bases.  They will be called "Reeves' Independent Infantry Brigade" and will form a reinforcement to the XIV Army Corps (commanded by General George Thomas) of the Army of the Cumberland, ca. 1863.  I'm currently painting my first brigade of their Confederate opponents from Hardee's Corps of the Army of Tennessee.  We'll see how quickly I can get units painted so my battles won't be too far away.

Each 2" x 1" base has 8 figures except for the "command base" which has 1 mounted officer (the brigadier) and 6 infantry figures.

Here the "command base" is reversed so the unit label is visible.
That's all for right now.

It Is Good to Be Back

After an almost three month absence, I'm finally back to make a few posts.  Things around Col Campbell's Barracks have been at a low wintery slump since preparations were completed for my participation in the Colonial Barracks convention back in early November.  Since then I haven't done much in the way of hobby activities.  But here's where I'm headed.

To the Strongest

 My wargaming buddy, Lord Sterling, ordered this set of rules from BigRedBat.  Back in December we played several games using this interesting set of ancient/medieval rules.  All of the activation, weapons fire, and combat is controlled by playing cards drawn from a shuffled deck.  The card driven activation mechanism sure makes you think about what you want to accomplish and how to sequence events to make that happen.  Here are some pictures at various times in the game between two fairly well balanced Roman/Greek/Gallic forces - basically a "civil war" scenario of Romans with Greek and Gallic allies on both sides.

Two Roman units occupying one of the "terrain" squares during the game.
The game uses squares to control movement, weapons ranges, and combat during the game.  Most infantry can move one or two squares straight forward or diagonally.

Here's a bigger look at part of the Roman line of battle.  We used Lord Sterling's vintage 15mm Roman/Greek/Gallic armies.  All of the units were grouped onto movement sabots.

Gallic chariots attack some slingers and light archers, doing quick work of them, if I remember correctly.  The numbered squares denote the combat strength of each unit.

Fight over a farmstead between the defending light archers and an attacking Gallic warband.

One flank of the opposing armies, with Gallic warbands mixing it up with Roman troops.
After the games were over, I was sure that I had found a way to use my ca 1100 AD 15mm medieval figures that I had remounted from DBx standards to Vis Belllica standards - 80mm x 40mm bases with varying numbers of figures on each base.  Since they were mounted on Litko bases, I didn't want to go through the machinations of unbasing them to go back to DBx standards.

So now to figure out which size squares to use.  The rules suggest using a size that can accommodate two regular size uits per square with room left for a mounted commander.  Since I have 80mm x 40mm bases that meant the smallest square size would be 4" x 4" (ca 100mm square).  So I drew out two squares and tested some bases on them:

Each 4" square (red outline) holds two regular units, here two cavalry on left versus two infantry on right.

With the mounted commanders thrown in, things get kind of tight.
I really didn't like the tightness of the 4" squares, especially when it makes it difficult to fit mounted commanders into the squares without them partially sitting on top of the unit bases.

OK, let's use 5" squares:

With the 5" squares (black outline), the units don't look so crowded.
And the 5" squares even give more room for the mounted commanders.
So it looks like I'll be using 5" squares.  And when I want to use my ca 1200-1300 25mm medieval figures, 5" squares will just about work for them:

Two 25mm cavalry units on the left face off against two 25mm infantry units on right.  All figures are individually based and then mounted on magnetic movement stands with either 3 cavalry or 6 infantry figures per stand.
I've also read that Simon of Big Red Bat is contemplating expanding the rules into the Renaissance, Thirty Years War, and English Civil War periods.  Using 5" squares will also accommodate my vintage MiniFig 15mm ECW armies:

On left are two different size cavalry units, with a mounted commander, facing off against one large infantry unit, with a mounted commander.

Here the two cavalry units have been equalized (5 stands each) and are opposing the same infantry unit in a different formation plus a galloper gun and a mounted commander.

Reducing the cavalry units to four stands each really doesn't change the geometry much.
Now all I have to do is mark up some old battlefield cloths to distinguish the corners of the 5" squares and my 15mm Normanno-Italian, Papal Italian, and Byzantine armies can contest once again for southern Italy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Taps for Sergeant Larry Brom, USMC

We have just learned that my friend and comrade-in-arms Larry Brom, Sergeant, USMC, has died of a heart attack after a long illness.  Larry is the author of The Sword and the Flame colonial rules and many other rules that have provided many, many fun games for all of us over the years.  He is survived by two daughters, Lori and Christy.

I first met Larry when he was living here in Jackson in the 1970s and developing his TSATF rules.  I enjoyed a couple of games at his house while I was home on leave from the Army.  Larry and I always joked about the merits of our respective services and I had the utmost respect for his service with the Marines in the Korean War where he was awarded a Purple Heart.

Larry wrote that his father took him to see the premier showing of "Gunga Din" in Chicago in 1939 and he became enthralled with it.  It influenced the development of his wargaming rules.  So this is for you, Larry:

’E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.   
’E put me safe inside,
An’ just before ’e died,
'I ’ope you liked your drink,’ sez Gunga Din.   
So I’ll meet ’im later on
At the place where ’e is gone—
Where it’s always double drill and no canteen.   
’E’ll be squattin’ on the coals
Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!   
      Yes, Din! Din! Din!
   You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!   
   Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,   
      By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
   You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

(from Rudyard Kipling's poem "Gunga Din")

Good job, bugler!  We will miss you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Terrain Pieces by Russ

One of my wargaming buddies, Russ S., is an artist and art teacher (now retired) and does great work on both figures and terrain pieces.  At a game we had this past Saturday, he brought some new science fiction-style terrain pieces to help with the table scape for our final test of Jay's "Frogs in Space" variant of the venerable The Sword and the Flame rules.

So without further ado, I present Russ' terrain pieces.

They are constructed from gum balls (link) from the American sweetgum trees which are common in the southern US.  Russ cut them into various size pieces and glued them to a hardboard base with appropriate ground cover.  The paint job really glows and ensures one knows that these are some sort of alien growth.  The two 28mm space marine figures give a sense of the size of the gum balls.

Hope you enjoy the results.

Monday, September 14, 2015

August Painting - Highlanders and Prussians

August was a particularly busy month for wargaming as I spent most of it getting forces organized for our monster Franco-Prussian War game on Labor Day.  We had to meld the troops of four different gamers (one of whom is deceased) into coherent organizations and plan the terrain for three separate battlefields.  But everything came out mostly OK in the end as 10 players enjoyed themselves (I hope) pushing "little lead soldiers" around.  You can see pictures of the game at our club's blog - Jackson Gamers.

Please click on the photographs for a larger image.

In partial preparation for that game I completed three different Prussian units.  The first was an almost complete repaint of a battalion of 24 old Frontier Prussian infantry.  These became the 1st Battalion of the Schleswig Infantry Regiment, nr. 84, of the 18th Division, IX Corps.  The other two battalions are in the painting queue now to complete before we do this game again at the Colonial Barracks convention in November.

The 1st Battalion, Schleswig Infantry Regiment, nr. 84, led by the regimental commander

The second unit was part of my portion of an old 1" Scruby Franco-Prussian War collection that Lord Sterling, my gaming buddy, and I purchased.  These are real "old school" figures cast by one of the dean's of American wargaming back on the day.  Their sculpting is rather rudimentary by today's standard but once massed into a battalion, they hold their own.  I didn't do any repainting of these, just removed them from their old bases and glued them to Litko bases.  They are, right now, the 1st Battalion, 2nd Silesian Grenadier Regiment, nr. 11, of the 18th Division, IX Corps.  The flag is conjectural based on some internet research and the flag the Napoleonic Silesian regiments carried.  It may not be accurate but it is good enough for my purposes.

1st Battalion, 2nd Silesian Grenadier Regiment, nr. 11

The final Prussian unit is two of the three sections of a battery of Prussian heavy field artillery equipped with the 6-lb Krup breechloading, rifled cannon.  The gunners are old 1" Scruby figures.  But I have no idea who manufactured the guns.  They may not even be FPW era Krupps.  If anyone knows who manufactured these gun models, please leave a comment.  These were also part of my portion of the Scruby purchase.  I repainted the guns to give them more of an 1870s Prussian look.  We use Larry Brom's Chassepot and Needlegun rules for our FPW gaming.  In these rules a battery is presented by three gun models and six gunners portraying the six guns in the battery.

Two sections of a Prussian heavy artillery battery.

The final unit I prepared in August was a rescue from the "melting pot" bag maintained by Lord Sterling for one of our members who home casts 40mm Prince August SYW era figures.  We collect trimmings and old broken figures for him.  Lord Sterling had replaced one of his American Revolution Highland regiments with newer figures and had consigned the old, but still perfectly serviceable, figures to the "melting pot" bag.  I rescued them and combined them with a RalPartha FIW Highland officer and a MiniFig ECW bagpiper to make the 2nd Battalion, 71st Highland Regiment for my AMR forces.  They'll join the 1st Battalion, 84th Highlanders (Royal Highalnd Emigrants) in my British army.  Since Lord Sterling originally had them as the 42nd Black Watch, I had to repaint the lapels, collars, and cuffs from blue to white.  I also printed and mounted a "white-facings" regimental flag for them.  I think the figures are old Musket Miniatures, now no longer produced (only at present, I hope).

2nd Battalion, 71st Highland Regiment
Well, that's all for now.  I hope that you enjoyed looking at these recent additions to my toy soldier collection.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Napoleonic British 11th (Light) Dragoon Regiment

Last night I completed the second half of this regiment that I had started many years ago.  The first half was done back in the early Spring so I could use them in my Battle of Plancenoit convention game.

The 11th British (Light) Dragoon Regiment

These are very early Miniature Figurines (MiniFigs) with the saddle and horse blanket molded to the rider.  They'll join my small British expeditionary force for the 1813 Befreiungskrieg campaigning as part of the Armeeabteilung Walmoden in northern Germany but they may make it a little further south and find themselves ensnared in the actions of the Army of the North, especially with the Prussian III Korps.

Friday, July 24, 2015

French Heavy Artillery

My Napoleonic French army has added two new heavy (12-lbr) batteries to their artillery park.  These are 25mm Miniature Figurines (MiniFigs) guns and crews that I have acquired over the years and finally gotten painted and based.

In the rule set I use, The Sound of the Guns by Larry Brom, each battery is represented by a number of guns and two gunners per gun.  Each gunner represents two actual guns so a 6-gun battery would have three guns and six gunners.

Heavy Battery number one with four 12-lb guns and two howitzers

Heavy Battery number two with four 12-lb guns and two howitzers
My Napoleonic forces are developed around the 1813 Befreiungskrieg (War of Liberation) campaigns.  These French batteries are slightly under strength since so many guns were lost in Russia in 1812.