Friday 29 March 2019

On the Workbench: More 6mm Medieval Buildings + Battle of Front Royal Preview

Tomorrow I shall be heading off on holiday for 8 days and today saw my final wargaming input before the break. 3 more buildings completed for ECW and WOTR:

They are, left to right - Market Cross, Large Warehouse and Timber Building. Yet more from the Total Battle Miniatures walled town set.

The table for the next ACW battle, Front Royal has been set. I ran out of time to play the game or place figures so will cover the battle in detail on my return. This is though the first outing of my 'upgraded' rivers, new run run offs/small streams, and new railway track. Examples of these have been on my 'On the Workbench' postings. So for my final blog posting for over a week I thought I would provide a preview of the battle, or more accurately, a view of the battlefield containing these new features.

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Tuesday 26 March 2019

On the Workbench: 6mm Citadel and Church

A couple more buildings have been completed for the 6mm ECW, WOTR and Napoleonic campaign projects. These are again from Total Battle Miniatures "Walled Town Set".

These are the citadel and church. 

I have begun laying out the table for my next ACW battle, 'Front Royal'. This will be the first outing for my refurbished rivers, new streams and rail tracks. I had been hoping to play this battle out before I go away on holiday next weekend but it does not look like I will get the scenery finished in time. I do hope though to get the board set up for a preview before I abandon my wargames room for a few days.

Thursday 21 March 2019

On the Workbench: More 2mm, Medieval buildings and new streams.

More 2mm bases have been completed this week. This time it is Austrians:

These are the first Austrian bases. As you can see I have been experimenting with formations and base groupings. Rather than have generic standard bases I am aiming to very roughly represent the varying sizes of different brigades. This will be based on a 1:20 figure ratio. In the examples above, the massed columns on the left represent 3,500 men, as does the centre base. The base on the right is 3,000. 

In this scale the challenge is making each figure stand out. For the French I painted a blob of grey on the tops of their shakos. For the Austrians I have added a dash of gold/brass representing the front of their helmets or can be shako badges. 

Also for 2mm, I have completed my first buildings. These are from Irregular Miniatures and consist of a small village on the left and a farm.

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Wednesday 13 March 2019

On the Workbench: The First 2mm Napoleonics

My first test bases of 2mm Napoleonics have been completed:

The large round base on the left is a Corps Commander with the smaller round base being Divisional. The Brigade command is amongst his troops on the Brigade base. 

I agonised over the appropriate basing method including what colour to paint the base edge. Given the small scale I was conscious that it would be all too easy to overwhelm the figures whereas they needed to 'pop'. I have ordered a lighter shade of Woodland Scenics fine turf green to blend in more with the textured part and to further enhance the figures. Or at least that is what I hope it will do!

I also plan to vary the number and size of units on a brigade base to represent the various numerical strengths. The 10 skirmishers on this base represent SK2 value in Grande Armee and future bases will have 5 representing SK1 and obviously none for SK0. I settled on a 50mm x 30mm base (2/3 of a standard Grande Armee base) with artillery being based on 25mm x 25mm. The bases are 2mm thick mdf from Warbases.

So the verdict of 2mm! It certainly requires a rethink on painting styles, even from 6mm. I initially painted these what I thought was a light shade of blue only to discover that they looked  dark from any distance! A 2nd coat with a touch of white added to the blue made a big difference. While for me it will never replace 6mm, as a means of creating large armies cheaply and quickly, they do the job for me.

To see the true potential of 2mm I invite you to take a look at the 'Roundwood's World' blog (a link is on my blog list). His ECW siege of Portsmouth game is a work of art and beyond my capabilities!

Tuesday 12 March 2019

On the Workbench: Industrial Buildings and New Projects

Several buildings have been finished for the Napoleonic campaign battle of Grissburg:

Together with another building I completed earlier, this should be enough for the industrial suburbs plus one or two for the town itself. I will need to complete scenic bases for them in due course. These buildings are all from Leven Miniatures. 

With my 15mm sale progressing I have begun to plan for their replacements in 6mm. This will create two new projects, the ECW and Zulu Wars. Orders have been sent to Baccus for the figures so now a little more about these projects:

When casting around for suitable rules for the ECW a few years ago I found these, coincidentally by one Pete Berry of Baccus. I have yet to play them but at first glance they appear to suit my wargaming style. I particularly like the way in which pikemen and musketeers in the same regiment are treated as a single unit. The higher the ratio of muskets to pikes increases their firepower and more effective in melee if the opposite is the case. So often they are treated separately in rules resulting in muskets acting independently of pikes in the same unit. 

Eventually it is my plan to start a campaign for the ECW as in all the periods I play. Initially however, I will play some historical scenarios to get the ball rolling. 

This particular book, while for any game system, was primarily written for Forlorn Hope. A couple of factors attracted me to it - it has a campaign element - and the location for many of these battles are not far from where I live. In fact the first two linked battles: Glastonbury and Chewton Mendip, are only 20 or so miles away.

Those two battles will be the start of the project and the appropriate figures have been ordered.  

For Colonial I have opted for the Zulu War of 1879 and Chelmsford's campaign. Again, I intend to fight this as a campaign in time but to start with I will refight Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift.

And finally, an update on my 2mm Napoleonics. I should have my first test bases up on the blog tomorrow evening and I am impressed! It is a surprising challenge painting such small figures in a way to make them look attractive on the tabletop. I agonised over the bases trying to strike the right balance to make the blocks of figures stand out rather than detract from them. I will cover this in more detail tomorrow.

For the first battle I have chosen a fictional scenario designed for Grande Armee as a test battle called 'Austria 1809', set around the time of Aspern-Essling. I have re-read parts of the Blucher rules and I believe I can get around the command and control solo problem without too much difficulty. When the time comes I may well test them out versus Grande Armee. 

The 'Collections and Projects' page has been updated with the latest developments. 

Saturday 9 March 2019

On the Workbench: More 6mm Spanish units and 2mm arrives!

More Spanish units completed this week:

The Cadiz Line (left) and Aragon Light infantry. These are British supplied uniforms for later in the war so not suitable for Talavera. However, I will play fast and loose with a few units as I do not relish painting new Spanish armies as I progress through the Peninsular War.

The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Cazadores de Antequera. Only one battalion was present at Talavera but being a large unit I will combine these two for the game. Also completed a battery of 6pdr Spanish artillery. 

More river sections completed including a couple of sections with trees attached. The 6mm figures gives some idea of scaling. 

The first pine trees supplied from China completed. I removed the plastic bases which made the trunk too large. They are not quite as dark as they appear in the photo and for the money they do a reasonable job. 

The first 2mm figures have arrived from Irregular Miniatures. And 6mm has been described as 'micro' scale! The 6mm Spanish base would beg to differ. I have ordered samples from across most of their range to establish what I felt would be most suitable. Next task is to paint a few up and see how they look.

I have had a look through the 'Blucher' rules and first impression is that I will probably stick with the earlier Grande Armee. The command and control system is not solo player friendly and it would need a good reworking to make it so. I can see how it would be fun to play during a 2 or 3 hour club night game but just a little too basic for me.  

Monday 4 March 2019

On the Workbench: A touch of Chaos!

Do you ever get that feeling you are losing control of your projects? In my dash to get stuff prepared and figures painted my painting desk is starting to look a little chaotic:

A tour of the desk starting bottom left and working clockwise: 2 Spanish battalions part painted; 2 Spanish battalions painted and now being based; a Spanish artillery battery primed and ready for painting; several industrial type buildings prepped for painting destined for the battle of Grissburg; several pine trees being based; and two river sections covered in foliage.

The pine trees are from a large batch delivered from China. They are ok and hopefully will look effective on the tabletop. I removed the plastic bases which encased the trunk. Several needed a little paint to their branches but on the whole fairly quick to prepare and base. 

A note about the buildings. I prime mine white and then give them a black enamel wash. It has the dual purpose of highlighting detail and providing shade when I apply several coats of drybrushing.  

The rivers will not look like this when finished. Most of that foliage will be brushed off when the glue is dry. Finishing touches will then be applied.

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