WIP – 3 Projects Running – Naturally

Like all good wargamers I am quickly and easily distracted by new, bright shiny objects. As a result, I have three projects on the go at the moment.

Only three projects
Only three projects

Firstly are the 20mm World War 2 figures being painted up for Anthony. Today was spent wrestling with the Platoon 20 6-pdr anti-tank gun. Working out the way it all goes together with no reference works was a wee challenge. I spend some time with Mr Google looking for pictures of completed guns in particular to work out how the shields go on the front and how the trails attach to the rear. Currently the first wheel has been attached.

Then there are the 3mm Napoleonics. An infantry brigade and a cavalry regiment ready for sand and then painting.

Lastly I started with Coastal Forces, commencing with S-26, S-27, S-28 and S-29, German Schnellboot. The boats where cleaned up, machine guns attached to the rear and then added to bases. Bases have had some sea effects added using Woodland Scenics Flex Paste. Painting these will be covered in a later post.

Yep. Back into the groove – too many projects, not enough time (and damn, I super glued my fingers so have no fingerprints. It will be challenging using the bio-metric door locks at the office tomorrow!)

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La Haye Sainte – 3D Printable Terrain for Waterloo – Kickstarter

Friend Anthony from Singapore has been experimenting with 3D printing. After a couple of false starts he has learned the ILAR* principle. ILAR was necessary because 15mm, 6mm and 28mm are sizes, not scales. Buildings need scales.

Anthony has it right now and has released the 3D printing plans for La Haye Sainte via a Kickstarter. He notes that:

La Haye Sainte is a complete set of 3D printable .STL files that will allow you to print and assemble a model of the farm at the centre of battlefield at Waterloo.

Using contemporary sketches, watercolours and accounts as the basis, (rather than the current state of the farm), the files will include everything you need to print the complete farm buildings, as they were on Sunday 18th July, 1815, and simulate the fire damage to barn that occurred throughout the battle. Where conjecture and/or doubt remains the files will come in several configurations to allow a variety of solutions, and for each wargamer to decide how they want the farm represented.

The basic farm will look like this:

The plan of La Haye Sainte
The plan of La Haye Sainte

Each of the larger farm buildings (Barn, Stables and Main House) will be made with removable roof sections. Since 3D models are scalable, you can print the model to the limits of your printer, though the files will be delivered optimised for 15mm as shown below. Anthony is a wargamer and has worked hard to make the models both accurate and usable, so the final farm will be table and figure friendly, which means no broken bayonets if you put models “inside” the buildings. All pledge backers will receive a link to his research and the conclusions he made from that research when he created the 3D Models, icluding compromises he had to make to ensure the models remained usable and, perhaps more importantly, printable.

15mm Figures stand ready by the gate
15mm Figures stand ready by the gate

I have seen the model and it is indeed a fine piece that will look the business on the tabletop when printed and painted.

Head on over to Kickstarter – la Haye Sainte 3D Printable Terrain for Waterloo. I can thoroughly recommend this.


* ILAR – It Looks About Right – a naval principle from the 20th century.

Napoleonic — Battle Five at the Gun Bar — Another Last for a While!

I noted back on 30 June 2014 that I was having the last battle at the Gun Bar for a while as I was taking up a new job and moving from Singapore. Well, as is the way of things in IT and Banking, that move was delayed a week, then another week, then another week and we are still sitting here.

So, it was off to the Gun Bar again, this time with plastic soldiers painted ready for Anthony to base (see previous posts here). To make the trek worthwhile, another Napoleonic game was organised with Général de Corps Anthony facing off against Major General Thomo the Lost again. This was also a special battle as again it was likely to be the last time I was going to be in the position to battle with Anthony, face to face, beer to beer, for some time to come as I up sticks and hopefully high-tail it out of Singapore.

The battlefield was laid out as I arrived, with the battle being taken from Stuart Asquith’s Programmed Wargame Scenarios. The scenario was the British were withdrawing in the Peninsula to the defence lines at Torres Vedras and a rearguard had been left to delay the French by holding a village and a bridge. Again, for depth, it was decided to play along the battlefield rather than across it.

Now, I have mentioned the dice feng shui before so this time I suggested I take the poorly rolling blue dice and Anthony used the high rolling red ones. We again diced to see who would be French and who would be British. Again, I ended up as the British commander.

The British had two battalions of green Portuguese Line and a Battalion of veteran Caçadores. Accompanying the Portuguese were two battalions of British line troops (one understrength) and a battalion of Highlanders (who also were veteran).  There was the 5th battalion of the 60th foot, armed with rifles and already having taken casualties earlier in the retreat. In support was a regiment of Light Cavalry, a foot battery of artillery and a horse battery.

The French started the battle with two regiments of light cavalry already in the table with the rest of the French force arriving one unit at a time, one bound at a time.

I based my tactics around holding the village on the British right with the poor quality Portuguese. Meanwhile the British would hold the more open ground as well as defend the bridge. The Horse battery was deployed forward with the 5/60th to slow the French advance a little and the foot battery was deployed on the hill to the rear. The Caçadores were forward on the British right flank.

The Highlanders were held as a reserve in the centre of the line, able to turn either way as the situation required.

The French advanced and the British fired. The blue dice were indeed rolling low, at one stage I rolled 9 dice and scored nothing higher than a three. However the British tactics were sound and the French élan was such that they came forward rather piecemeal.

The Caçadores went into square on the right, holding up and preventing the French cavalry from attacking the British right. In the meantime the horse battery and the 5/60th fell backwards firing all the while. After 10 bounds, with the scenario due to end, the British still held both the village and the bridge. Victory in yet another of my last games at the Gun Bar. To be fair, 10 bounds was not really enough time for the French and I suggested for the depth of table we were using that a variable finish between 12 and 16 bounds would be more interesting and give the French a better chance.

The photos below are from Anthony’s phone as for some reason as yet unknown, my phone was talking really odd photos and they were not at all clear,

Interestingly, throughout the entire game I won the initiative roll only once, Anthony won that nine times. I inevitably rolled down, he rolled up. I think there is definitely dice feng shui here and the next time we play, the blue dice will be reserved for marker duty, replaced by the green set perhaps.

Dice feng shui exists – at least with those blue dice! After the game finished, I rolled the nine dice again and had seven numbers four or greater! Go figure. The only dice that rolled well was the 8-sided dice being used for morale checks. I should also note that Anthony’s rolls were generally positive – split about 50:50 around 1,2,3 and 4,5,6 on using the red dice so, dice feng shiui exists!

Napoleonic — Battle Four at the Gun Bar — Last for a While

The last time Général de Corps Anthony faced Major General Thomo the Lost was the 5th of May.  Nearly eight weeks later we faced each other across the field of battle one more time. This was a special battle as it was the last time I was going to be in the position to battle with Anthony, face to face, beer to beer, for some time to come as I up sticks and high-tail it out of Dodge … er … sorry … Singapore.

The battlefield was laid out as I arrived and it was decided to play along the battlefield rather than across it. Because of the wicked dice feng shui plaguing Anthony in the past, we decided to dice to see who took the French, with the winner to take them. Once again, I ended up as the British commander.

Forces were equal so we set about deploying. At about this moment, a very nice beer was offered by the commander of the French so toasts were drunk and we retired to the balcony for the Singapore version of a sausage sizzle and that marvel of Australian gastronomic delight – the sausage sanger! The sangers were despatched, as was the beer, so we returned to the table.

I had based my tactics around holding the village in the centre of the table with my forces able to run back into the forest should the going get a little tough. My artillery was massed on my left. The rifles were in the best position to take the town and they were ably supported by the Portuguese.

My right flank was protected by three battalions of English and Highland troops. Battle commenced, dice were rolled, the French were rolled, au revoir, c’est tout ce qu’elle a écrit.

Whilst I lost a light cavalry regiment carelessly, and a few troops from other battalions, the French lost heavily. Again, the dice smiled upon me and laughed at Anthony. I must remember to take my pilgrimage to the shrine of St Magnus (the patron saint of dice rollers – read the Orkneyinga Saga for verification)!

In any case, thanks Anthony for the hospitality, beer, sausages, the games and most importantly, for being a mate!

And then, what better way to complete the battle than …

Bang on!
Bang on!

Bang On!

Napoleonic — Battle Three at the Gun Bar

Back in December 2013 we fought Napoleonic — Battle Two at the Gun Bar. About six weeks ago we started Battle Three. However, a period of high stress as well as hunting for a new job meant that whilst we started Battle Three, I had not had a chance to return to the Gun Bar to finish off the French.

Today I returned to the Gun Bar and finished off the French!

The British cavalry “got tore in” to the French horse and guns on the right, quite effectively, destroying the gun and forcing a retreat from the French. Further time was spent as the British and the French rested their horses before engaging further.

Meanwhile, in the centre, the French columns came forward. They managed to survive a light cavalry charge on them, pretty much destroying the light cavalry but then for some reason the French advance slowed and this allowed the British lines to engage in what they do best, shooting!

“Make Ready! Present! Fire!”

They shot! Devastating volleys delivered on the hapless French.

Game Three at the Gun Bar was over, the gallant French again victims of outrageous fortune (a number of dice rolls came up 1 at the time the French needed 4+).

Adieu!

And thanks Anthony for the brunch. Lovely!

Napoleonic — Battle Two at the Gun Bar

It was a dark and stormy night … well OK, it was dark, all nights are generally dark in this neck of the woods, and it was raining, some of the time. Well, raining really for just the most inconvenient time.

I finished a late afternoon coffee meeting down-town then jumped into a number 700 bus (I almost missed the bus as I was sitting in the bus-stop reading Jack Campbell’s The Lost Stars – Perilous Shield, on  my phone. The driver nicely waited for me making the last minute dash for the bus door with a smile on his face. I boarded and settled in to the one hour bus trip.

The view out the window obstructed by condensation, so it wasn’t raining. It started raining. I checked, it wasn’t raining at the Diary Farm so no problem (I did not have an umbrella with me). As we approached the bus-stop before Diary Farm Road the rain started again. I alighted and waited in the bus shelter the required 20 minutes for the rain shower to pass. It passed. I started walking. At exactly the half way point between the bus shelter and Anthony’s place, the rain started again. I got soaked. The start of this battle report then was written by the shirtless British commander in the wet trousers 1!

It was time again. The last game we had was back on 5 November 2013. My back hack from Dr Bloodaxe 2 as well as a business trip and some other family issues had conspired to keep the protagonists apart until last night. The British had been reinforced since the last battle with another battalion of Highlanders. The British were also handicapped with a wet general. We started.

As the British commander and having less cavalry than the French, I was out-scouted and deployed first. I had a plan. Anchor flanks on the river and the farm and let the French wash over me, destroying them as they came. To that end I deployed the Light Division around the river to keep the French honest there, the Portuguese Division on the Left where they could anchor on the farm, the British and Highland Divisions were in the centre with the Light and Heavy Cavalry Brigades held in reserve. Two British batteries were also deployed in the line.

There were a lot of French. They were in front of the British.

As with the last battle, the British plan was to let the French run onto the British bayonets and then riposte! I did not expect the French to also run onto the batteries but had hoped that the positioning of the two batteries would cause the French to funnel their attack through the centre where a wood would nicely break their formations up.

The French ran into one of the batteries! It was not pretty.

On the British right, the commander of the Light Division seems to have been out on the town with the lads the night before and deployed them where their only option of evading way from the French who got to close was to swim away. This was countered however by the rashness of the French Light Cavalry commander sending his forces into a Balaclava like charge at some British guns, supported by Portuguese battalions.

In the centre, the Old Guard advanced against some stiff volleys from the British Line, eventually closing with the line and forcing them back. The Highlanders were handled roughly by the French Grand(ish)  Battery however managed to weather than storm and were ready to commence the push onto the left flank of the French centre, the Portuguese being ready to do the same on the French right.

The French commander, seeing that his infantry had somehow managed to get themselves caught en masse in the centre decided at this point to commence withdrawing his forces from their current positions whilst he still had an advantage over the British right and whilst the Portuguese had a long march to close with the French right.

This game was also played under the Rank and File rules. As with the last, there were a number of odd things that turned up that I will really get around to discussing in a separate post but overall, a quick game. I think we are thinking of trying FoG Napoleonics next in our question for a set of Wargame Rules that does, as Anthony described it, have “war” and “game” in the same font size or a font size that has “war” a lilttle larger than “game”. Rank and File seems to put the emphasis on the “game” part of “wargame”. Pizza, Beer, and a Wargame – could there be a better way to spend a rainy Thursday evening?


Footnotes

1. Perhaps the most interesting comments were when I sent a selfie to the lady ‘erself at the start of the game after she asked if I had got to the game OK and was I having fun? The selfie was all I replied with and her immediate reply to that was “Where r u?” 🙂

Then there was Anthony taking photographs and saying “I need to be careful not to get a topless Thomo in shot”. My comment back was “don’t worry about that, if anyone asks, just tell them we were playing strip wargames!”

2. “The back hack from doctor Bloodaxe” has a degree of assonance that I did not notice when I first wrote it however it has a definite musical quality to it … unlike Dr Bloodaxe’s skills with a sharp object and my back!

Napoleonic — Battle One at the Gun Bar

It was time – we’d had a couple of games of French-Indian Wars and a couple of games of Rapid Fire, now it was time to turn to something new. We decided to play with Anthony’s new Napoleonic French and his old but still being based British. We’d decided to do a mid-week as my weekends are a bit full just at the moment. Last night I trekked up to Anthony’s Gun Bar at The Dairy Farm. I felt a bit like the postman as I did, trekking bravely and gamely through rain and hail and sleet and snow to get to the game 1.

There are some pictures below. I was the British and decided to demonstrate with the light division in front of the rather extensive convent to the front of my right flank. My artillery was placed in two batteries on a hill where they could command the battlefield. For once the British had the advantage in cavalry and they provided my left flank – facing as they did the outnumbered French cavalry. My remaining divisions, one British and the other Portuguese held the centre. The plan was to let the French run  onto the bayonets of Allies. As a plan, it worked.

The only problem was that some of the bayonets were bent. The French Old Guard managed to slice through the Portuguese battalions facing them. The British Light Horse were severely handled by the French Dragoons although in a bright spot on the British left the Household Cavalry managed to catch a French Light Horse regiment and saw them from the field. Sunset was approaching and the French were taking casualties from the British muskets and although the French Guard was slicing its way through the British line there was a battalion of Highlanders who had managed to work their way around to the flank of the French battalions and were set to cause some strife. We agreed at this point that a draw seemed most seemly!

The game was played under the Rank and File rules. There were a number of odd things that turned up that I will discuss in a separate post but overall, a quick and satisfying game. Fish and Chips, Beer, and a Wargame – could there be a better way to spend a rainy Tuesday evening?


1. OK, so it is Singapore and we were missing the sleet and snow … and hail for that matter but it was raining and that made the traffic and the 300 metre walk at the end of the trip somewhat more challenging!

Triumph of Nations

9781849089289 I am falling for the quality of Field of Glory Napoleonic. Te rules seem OK, and I guess will give me as much pleasure as Shako does. With some clever basing I can use the figures for either game as well.

The other day, I was trawling through Amazon as I have a want to do from time to time and noticed that it was almost release date for Triumph of Nations so I ordered it. It appeared on my desk today.

I quite like this too – well presented lists covering the later period of the Napoleonic Wars, including some of the smaller nations.

Now all I need to do is to keep focussed on everything else and not start buying 15mm Napoleonic figures – no …. resist!!!!!

New Toys

Lots of them – bucket loads – well almost!

I got back to the office today after a business trip away for a week. My desk was covered in mail. Apart from the four work related letters (I’ll deal with them Wednesday) I had some parcels. I received:

  • 9 books from Osprey Publishing – how could I miss – it was their summer sale, 50% off over 100 of their titles and a flat charge of £5.00 only for postage regardless of how many books were ordered. With the Aussie dollar at stellar levels at the moment it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
  • 3 books from Book Depository in the UK. Again, these folks price in Aussie dollars for us here and include postage in the price of the book (its advertised as postage free but I suspect the postage cost is built into the business model somewhere). The books covered a couple of 19th century topics and Rome. I had received a fourth book before I went away (and which provided reading on the flights).
  • 3 DBA armies from Alain Touller Figurines of France in 15mm.
  • 6mm World War 2 figures from Adler Miniatures – these are the Russians and what was received should cover all my Russian infantry needs for the World War 2 project.

I will expand this in a later post with more details, pictures of the figures and so on. At the moment, however, I am in wargamer sensory overload – looking at them all and wondering which pile to play with first!

Painting and Wargaming Update

There has been a bit of a hiatus with this recently as the real world invaded and took up more time in the other world than I would have liked. As a result, I’ve really not managed any painting or gaming in the last couple of weeks. I have, however, managed to spend the odd minute planning and today (or rather yesterday by the time this posts), I did manage to work on John’s Austrian World War 1 fleet. They are almost complete now, just requiring labelling and varnishing. I’ll have those in the post to the US by the end of the week (and my PayPal account will feel a little happier).

With regards to my ancient purchases recently, today I started to paint a test Warmaster unit for the Parthians – undercoating a unit of archers.

I also managed to finish reading Simon Scarrow’s “The Gladiator”, the last published adventures of Macro and Cato. Of course, this then got me thinking about the Servile Wars and Slave Revolts so some time was spent today planning a Warmaster Ancients Army list for those wars. I will publish that list here when I finish it.

There are currently prepared and undercoated, a bazillion Prussians also requiring paint, as is the remaining World War 2 Italians. There are also two fleets of Aeronefs, three armies of Land Ironclads as well as a harbour full of 1/2400th ships to paint.

The good news, however, is that the paint was flowing today and will continue to flow this week. Finish the ships, finish four battalions of Prussian Landwehr, one unit of Parthian skirmishers and then finish the World War 2 Italians – well, that’s a plan!