Saturday, 14 September 2013

WSS Danish - Regiment Prince George

I'm not the fastest (or most accurate) painter in the world but here is my first War of the Spanish Succession period Danish regiment, Prince George, which took me about two weeks to do.  These 15mm fgures are from Blue Moon (click to enlarge the pictures) and my aim is initially to recreate the two Danish brigades that were at Blenheim under Scholten.
WSS Danish - Prince George
I've put them on 30x30mm bases (from Warbases) and each regiment comprises a combination of the following packs:15 MBN 101 - Infantry Command;15 MBN 102 - Infantry Tricorn; 15 MBN 104 - Grenadiers Mitre. I liked the idea of having a couple of grenadiers on the right flank for each regiment.
WSS Danish - Prince George
Authorities differ on the shade of light grey the Danish coats should be but I thought that darker rather than lighter would be more appropriate, particularly as I wanted to make sure that they could be clearly differentiated from any French that happened to be on the table.  Purists will note that they are not wearing double breasted coats as they should be, but that option wasn't available from Blue Moon.

The Prince Geroge regiment has rather striking orange facings which colour I arrived at by mixing some artist's acrylic Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow in equal amounts (painted over a red 'shade' layer).  Uniform details came initially from Charles S Grant's books (in this case Vol 1) as well as the recently received booklet The Danish Army 1699-1715 by CA Sapherson (from Caliver books), as well as some other on-line sources.
Orange is not the only fruit (nor, for that matter, the only facing colour used by the Danes)
As you can possibly see I tried, for the first time in 15mm, to achieve some sort of shading techniques, which can be a bit tricky on these small figures.  Basing was a variation on my usual method which involved using rough shelly East Lothian sand, painted earth brown this time and dry brushed, followed by adding some static grass.  Note that I've also not got around to putting the flags on yet.  Ray Rousell from the famous Don't Throw a One blog very kindly sent me some flags, and once I get around to printing these out and fitting them I will have finally finshed my first Danish regiment (though the next one is already started!).

Monday, 2 September 2013

WSS Blue Moon 15mm Grenadiers

Albeit slowly, my War of the Spanish Succession project is progressing, with the first infantry regiment in the process of being painted (the Danish regiment Prince George) and the next one waiting in the wings (painting table) with a nice overing of black undercoat.  However, as with any project there is immediately the issue of basing, rules and basically how many figures one needs to buy in order to get a presentable army on the move.
Blue Moon WSS 15mm Grenadier
Clearly there are various rule sets to be considered and basing needs to be flexible to accommodate any changes.  I have a soft spot for the classic WRG 1685-1845 rules and Black Powder is also a popular contender; however, after visiting Claymore in Edinburgh last month we decided that Piquet Field of Battle (2nd edition) would be worth a try for this period.  These rules suggest four bases per unit and after a bit of thought it was decided that 16 infantry figures (or 8 cavalry) on a 12cm frontage (on four 30x30mm bases) was what we'd aim for.

Being interested in the Danish troops in the WSS, the Battle of Ramillies blog has turned out to be a very useful place, particularly in terms of how the regiments could be represented.  What I liked is that the regiments include a couple of grenadiers and I thought I could do that as well.  So, based on the figures I have (or will have), what I'm planning is shown below:
Obviously Blue Moon do grenadiers and so some arrived in the post this week.  There will be two of these for each regiment and like the line infantry they are very nice sculpts.
Blue Moon WSS 15mm Grenadier - Reverse
There seem to be two pose variants for the grenadiers and I think that once I get some troops finished these guys are going to look quite fine in the place of honour on the right of the regiment.

Friday, 23 August 2013

WSS Blue Moon 15mm Infantry

There are various options for War of the Spanish Succession (WSS) period figures in 15mm (or Marlburian period, if you want to be all anglocentric) including Essex, Dixons, Minifigs, Irregular, Roundway, Lancashire Games, Black Hat and Freikorps to name but a few.  Actually that's quite a lot of choice if you think about it!
Infantry Officer
However, for my WSS project I decided to go for the Blue Moon (Old Glory) figures which are 15mm from the sole of the foot to the eye so, are actually probably more like 18mm figures.
Infantry Officer - Reverse
These troops don't have that stocky look that some figures have (so are similar to Minifigs in that regard) and are very nicely detailed I think, with only slighty visible mould lines and with flash usually only in the awkward gap between the sword scabbard and the leg.
Infantry NCO
Infantry command packs contain 10 figures and comprise two different officer poses, two different NCOs (when I compared two separate command packs there are at least three NCO variants), two drummers, and four ensigns.
Tricorn Infantry
Standard infantry packs contain 30 figures and there are slight pose and head variations in each pack.  I favour the march attack stance over the Minifig style of lunging forward precariously, or other odd postions that some manufacturers come up with, so the marching pose plus the variations available made these the obvious choice for me. 
Tricorn Infantry - Reverse
These are the basic Tricorn Infantry Marching (15MBN102) but there other types of infantry available including French with fuller coats and front-mounted cartridge box (could be used as Spanish), various types of grenadiers and "Infantry with Tricorn in Open Coats" (for summer campaigns presumably, or possibly for use as Prussians).

Nice figures I think and certainly more detailed than some of the competition.  If only my painting skills were up to it....

Friday, 16 August 2013

The WSS Project

Remarkably there has actually been activity on the War of the Spanish Succession front this summer.  The main achievements have been that a) some "15mm figures" from Blue Moon arrived (actually Old Glory Minatures UK Ltd) and b) I've decided what I am going to paint them as (well, the infantry at least).
Blue Moon 15mm Marlburians
When considering the WSS project my first thoughts turned to British and Dutch forces but Geoff has already got some Dutch regiments up and running (in addition to his French and Bavarian) so my attention turned to the Allies.  Although Marlborough led the Allies' campaigns there were troops from quite a number of other nations, which in fact often outnumbered the British contingent.

Looking through the OOB for the Battle of Blenheim, for example, it occured to me that the Danish brigades might be an interesting force to start with.  So my plan initially is to recreate Bielke's Brigade and Rebsdorff's Brigade under Lieutenant General Scholten, that formed part of the Allies' Austian right wing commanded by Eugène himself.  Note that I'm not aiming to copy the OOB for a particular battle, it's just that I like a bit of structure to what I'm planning.

Bielke's Regiments were:
  • Regiment of Foot Prince George (light grey coats, orange breeches, facings, etc.) (there were two battalions at the battle, but I'll just have one)
  • Regiment Dansk Den Kongelige Livgarde til fods (straw yellow coats, carmine red breeches, facings, etc.)
  • Regiment of Foot Prince Carl (light grey coats, grey breeches, yellow facings, etc.)
Rebsdorff's Regiments were:
  • Fynske Regiment of Foot (dark grey coats, green breeches, facings, etc.)
  • Sjaellandske Regiment of Foot (light grey coats, dark blue breeches, facings, etc.)
  • Regiment of Foot Christian Ulrich (light grey coats, grey breeches, crimson facings, etc.)
Uniform details are from CS Grant's excellent  The Armies and Uniforms of Marlborough's Wars Vol 1 (Partizan Press).  I also have ideas for some additonal regiments - probably British, as well as what Danish cavalry regiments to do.  I want to prepare a few Bourbon regiments as well, to supplement Geoff's French and Bavarians.  More of that, as well as the proposed rule set and basing, later.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Claymore 2013

Well, I managed to achieve something since I last posted and that was to get to Claymore 2013 in Edinburgh.  It's been somewhat of a tradition since our school days and Geoff and I must have been going to it since at least 1980 when it was held at Adam House in Chambers Street, through the Meadowbank years (I had a tenement flat right across the road at the time) and now at its current home, the Edinburgh College campus in Granton (on the old gasworks site).

Anyway, some interesting games were on (with fewer Very British Civil War offerings than previously).  A bit too many odd space battles in evidence though (surely that is what computers are for?): I'm afraid I take the historical wargamer bit seriously.  Anyway, here are some highlights.  First are some pictures from the 15mm SYW Zorndorf refight put on by the Gourock Wargames Association (GWA).
Prussian cavalry cross the Langer-Grund on their right.
Cavalry action in the woods.
View from behind Russian centre.
View of Prussian centre.
View of Russian centre.
Cossacks in the woods.
Overview from the Russian's right flank (the Zabern-Grund in the foreground).
Prussian artillery and infantry.
Figures were a mixture of Old Glory (mainly Prussians) and Essex (mainly Russians).  The GWA was using the Piquet ruleset and it seemed inspiring enough for me to go off and buy a copy afterwards (added to the pile, but more of that later no doubt).

The next game that caught my eye was the Glasgow and District Wargaming Society's 28mm WW2 scenario Raid on Tito, depicting the botched attempt by the Germans to mount a combined airborne and ground attack on Tito's headquarters near Drvar in what is now Bosnia.  Rules were Bolt Action and this game was particularly interesting to me as I have recently been reading Fitzroy MacLean's Eastern Approaches (amongst other things).
Tito's forces threaten to over-run the German LZ and glider.
Tito's headquarters.
Panzerschrek in the marsh.
Germans infiltrate the woods.
Partizans defend Drvar.
Overview of Drvar
Another interesting game was the Charge of the Light Brigade public participation event put on by Kirriemuir Wargames Club.  Rules were apparently based on the Tennyson poem of the same name (sub-titled Anyone for Tennyson?).  The aim, as you might expect, was to get (the remains of) your squadron to the 'safety' of the Russian guns at the far end of the Valley of Death.
What's that you say, Nolan?  Those guns over there?  Righto!
It'll all end in tears.
"Very interesting, but stupid."
Hurry up lads.  If we don't get there in time the pubs will be all shut.
Other games included some sort of barbarian attack on a Roman fort put on by Claymore Castings (excellent figures):
Oi, leave that testudo alone.
The Tyneside Wargames Club with a massive Great Captain rules demonstration:
And RAF Leuchars' participation game Banzai!  Looked like fun - although I thought the guy in the foreground moving the aerial sea urchins on sticks around had escaped from the kitchens at Pizza Express.
Met office forecast - Divine Wind, gale force 10, backing easterly.
The traders were out in full force and apart from impulse buying a copy of Piquet Field of Battle 2nd edition to try out (1700-1900), I added to my collection of unpainted Blue Moon 15mm Marlburians and got a copy of the Osprey book on Peleliu 1944, just for interest.  Anyway, overall not too bad and thanks again to the SESWC for keeping this show on and growing all these years.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Tank Furniture: Hawsers

Well, it's been a hell of a long time since I posted on this blog - athough not for want of thinking about it.  I've been pretty busy at work since before Easter, what with two major projects in Turkey at or close to finale stage requiring frequent trips to Istanbul.  However, considering the recent trouble in Gezi Park and Taksim Square, I've not been over there for the past few weeks (I'm missing my Thursday night tango club at the Taksim Point Hotel, I can tell you).  But I digress.

So, to get back into the swing of things here is something of what I've been working on intermittantly over the past few months, related to those Armourfast tanks that are lying mainly unpainted in a box (they were getting dusty on the workbench they'd been sitting there that long).  The thing is, the Armourfast kits, being simple models, need a bit of kitting out with clutter, so I've been working on that and thought that one of the things you see on real tanks are hawsers.  So here are some I made earlier from string and wire.
The string is actually the decoration from a wedding order of service (not mine) and the loop (at either end) is made from some twisted fuse wire.  After cutting into lengths of 7cm or 8cm, I stiffened the string by giving it a coating of wood glue (PVA) rubbed in with my fingers.  Then I superglued the fusewire loops onto either end of the string.  The join was disguised with a 0.5cm strip of masking tape wound around it a few times.

Once all the glues had dried I undercoated it in black, gave it a heavy dry brush of gun metal and then a thin wash of rust colour.  When I get around to it I will post a picture of them in situ on the tanks themselves, along with some of the other items I've been making.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Private McBain's Bairn

Scotland's regiments have a long and proud history, although actually I should say 'regiment', as we've only got one now, formed from the merger of Scotland's previously remaining six regular and two territorial regiments in 2006 (see footnote).
Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket on a braw day. I can see my house from up there you know.
Anyway, one of the many great things about living in Edinburgh (apart from it also being in Scotland) is that there is a lot of military (and other) history to experience, particularly if you make a visit to Edinburgh Castle, which is easy to do on a regular basis if you are member of Historic Scotland (£5 a month for family membership - go to Edinburgh Castle twice in a year and it pays for itself).  
Edinburgh Castle on another braw day.  My house obscured by extinct volcano and castle.
However, the point of all this tourist board stuff is that Edinburgh Castle has some fine regimental museums that are well worth a visit including one for the Royal Scots.  There is a walk-through exhibition there and, currently reading about the War of the Spanish Succession, the following caught my eye (click to enlarge).
Mind you, saves on day-care costs. 
This is a depiction of a private soldier of the Royal Scots, being Orkney's Regiment, standing over a fallen frenchman at the battle of Malpaquet in 1709, all of which you get to see from quite close up.  The quality and arrangement of the uniform and equipment are fascinating (if a bit dusty) and of course I was interested in the uniform details because (should the figures I ordered ever turn up) I will be painting up a couple of regiments of redcoats to start with.  The point being that according to Charles S Grant's book The Armies and Uniforms of Marlborough's Wars (Vol 1) facings for this regiment were originally white but changed to blue at some point, evidently before Malpaquet, as shown here.

But if you look closely there is something else going on here, for this is the eponymous Pvt McBain and just before the battle, McBain's wife, who was with him on campaign, "handed over their three-week old baby son to him saying she would follow the Colours no more.  Having nowhere else to put him, McBain placed the baby in his knapsack where he remained, and survived throughout the battle."

Now that's what you call a braw bairn.

Battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland
1 SCOTS The Royal Scots Borderers (itself an amalgamation of the Royal Scots and Kings Own Scottish Borderers)
2 SCOTS The Royal Highland Fusileers
3 SCOTS The Black Watch
4 SCOTS The Highlanders (Seaforths, Gordons and Camerons)
5 SCOTS The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
6 SCOTS 52nd Lowland Regt (TA)
7 SCOTS 51st Highland Volunteers (TA)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

DBA Camp

Just a few shots of a camp I made originally for DBA 1.0, back in the day.  It's constructed of carved polystyrene on a cardboard base with sharpened matches placed around it as a palisade.
The figures inside are 15mm Chariot (now Magister Militum) figures and these ones are their hoplites (HOG002).
And here are some Phrygian auxilia cautiously peering over the palisade waiting for Thracians (or similiar) to attack.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Lydians vs Thracians - A Solo DBA Game

Here is a report of a solo DBA game I managed to fit in during the festive season.  The idea was to try to use the solo rules mechanisms (for DBA v2.2) from the Solo DBA Development Yahoo site (which apparently are a combination of the "Random Terrain Placement" mechanisms of John Meunier and  "De Bellis Solitarius" by Chad la Mons).

Note that as I'm waiting for DBA v3.0 to come out I am still using v2.0, although as it's only me it makes no odds (and I've still got my DBA v1.0 on the shelf, neatly covered in brown paper). Anyway, here we go.  Basically this was a face off between some Thracians (I/48) at the top of the board and Lydians (I/50) at the bottom.
The rules are divided into three main elements, comprising placement of terrain, initial deployment and then the 'tactical engine' covering the actual game play.  For the latter, die throws determine the range of tactical options that the non-player army can deploy in any particular move, modified by how the battle is going, losses, etc.
Intial deployment
Move 1
Move 2
Move 3
Move 4
As you can see, on the one hand there is the inexorable and disciplined advance of the Thracians, contrasting markedly with the ragged and chaotic attempts at redoployment by the Lydians, not assisted in the least by persistently low PIP scores.
Move 5
Move 6
An ominous development for the Lydians in Move 6.  The Thracian infantry (with their general in the centre) take up a defensive position on the (non-paltry) river bank as their light horse rush across the river (after throwing a 6 for a 'high aggression' stance) to attack the Lydian light horse and hoplites oposite them, before they have had a chance to form up properly. 
Move 7
Close up of light horse action on the right.
Move 8
Thracian aggression pays off and the Lydians lose one element of Paphlagonian light horse and have one element recoil.
Move 9
However, Thracian success is short-lived as the Lydian light horse moves back into the line and destroys the opposing light horse whilst the Lydian hoplites push back the Thracians to their front, who retreat back across the river.
Move 10
Move 10
The Lydians are annoyed now and, having formed up, storm en masse across the river to attack the waiting Thracians.  Not the best idea possible but at least a conclusion was quickly reached...
Move 11
Finally, the Lydian knights and hoplites make contact!  However, the Lydian general (me) should not have underestimated the difficulties of attacking a defended river bank.
Move 12
The attack across the river has mixed results, by which I mean does not go well for the Lydians.  On the right the Thracian light horse is forced to recoil and flee by the Lydian hoplites but in the centre there is disaster.  Due to appalling die throws (and tactical stupidity on my part) the Lydian knights in the centre are pushed back by the Thracian auxilia and in the very centre the Lydian general's element is destroyed.  Game over.
I'm sure there was General element in the middle there a moment ago.
Not a pretty sight.  However, at least it was a chance to get some armies out of the red tool box (all Chariot Figures, now marketed by Magister Militum) and to try out my recently painted DBA board and new river sections as well as the Solo DBA rules. Overall I think they worked well, although there is still an element of judgement in deciding what to do when presented with various tactical options.  Worth another bash though which I will report on in due course.
It'll all end in tears.