Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Blue and The Grey (and The Portable Wargame)

A long, long time ago, when I was in a far distant country (Scotland) I acquired a large collection of Revell American Civil War (ACW) figures [Union and Confederate Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery] with the intention of using them for Stars and Bars Rule Set. I then discovered Fire and Fury Brigade level ACW (15mm) and my interest waned. The hassle of re-basing for F&F and being "the wrong scale" to what other people gamed in, put me off. So they lingered unloved in many boxes in the attic. However twenty four years later "there time has come" as Bob Cordery's Napoleonic (extended to ACW, which is a hop skip and a jump away) is the key to the door. I have started base painting teh first Confederate units (see below):   

I can see these formations fitting nicely into hex grids - be it Portable Wargames or "bringing to life" old Strategy and Tactics or Avalon Hill games. All that is required is a little TLC (see below, the Confederate Grey line):

The colour palette seems pretty basic so a factory production system should be able to be set in motion (see below): 

The Vallejo Game Colour paints seem more than adequate!

Monday, 21 January 2019

(Big Game) Ramillies "Opening Rounds" [Game 1] Post #3

My focus was what was immediately in front on me, but I am sure "other things of great import " were happening elsewhere! Our one unit of fine Dutch foot supported by two units of dismounted Dutch Dragoons assaulted the buildings to our far left. The assault was successful and the town taken, much to the curses of the mounted French Dragoons who were racing to reinforce their comrades. Now with our flank secure we could turn our attention to four legs instead of two legs (see below - assaulted on two sides the French Dragoons fought to the death):

Meanwhile the "elite" of the French Guard Cavalry charged in massed column against the Dutch Guard Cavalry, who responded in turn with a massed column of attack (see below, a fearful sight and commitment of elite troops on both sides on "turn 1"):

To my relief the French were worsted and lost the melee (see below, devastating 2:1 losses gave teh French Guard Cavalry an embarrassing morale roll of the dice):

They failed and departed the field. The Dutch Guard meanwhile were left "blown" and disorganised; vulnerable to a French follow on charge - which seemed inevitable (see below):

In support of this action to my left I sent in two 'normal' Dutch formations of ordinary sabre wielding cavalry against "upper class" opponents (was there no end to this French Guard Cavalry formation?). The depth of both sides meant that there would be wave after wave of charge and counter charge (see below - my troopers are fighting to the far left, middle):

A close up of the first action. With factors heavily in their favour the French Guard were victorious, yet I saved the remnants of my formation (a stand - only 50% casualties!) to "pull back" [well done lads] and inflicted sufficient casualties back to leave the French Guard 'blown'and looking very vulnerable to a further counter attack [very well done my lads]. Could I be so lucky in the next? (see below, the "Fancy French Reds" meet my "Dull Danish Greys"):

Despite the chiding of the last unit of French Guard Cavalry I stared down his counter-charge (he slowed to the trot as he could see I was not game to fight on his terms) as it was initiated too far away (there were slight gasps of incredulity from my fellow team mates but I was proved right in the end - said with nervous relief). These boys would "come to terms with each other" next go (see below, off camera to the right the French artillery had been ineffectually firing their precious cannon ball ammunition at extreme range to the concern of the French C-in-C):

Again another French Guard Cavalry unit attacks in expecting easy pickings. My ordinary Dutch cavalry had moved inside minimum charge range so rather than a full bloodied affair everybody's chances to hit were 'reduced'. The odds were on the French I only hoped to be able to recover 'some of my boys', however despite receiving two hits they outperformed all my expectations and delivered four hits and won the melee. It continued and the French Guards died to a man. An unusual but welcome state of affairs (see below):

The initial exchanges had gone very well for the Allies, but there was much more hard fighting yet to be done. In the distance I could see Ramillies partly in ruins, more French and Allied (mainly British) cavalry were being sent to the cavalry arena. This is going to be a long drawn out bloody affair.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

(Big Game) Ramillies: The Final "Set-Up" Photographs [Pre-Game 2] Post #2

My infantry boys, finally based, make it to the table-top - the 'L' shaped block of 24 infantry figures (see below, please note the six spare figures from my Warlord Games Infantry of the Sun King became turned into Grenadiers figures [there were plenty of spare heads - thank you Warlord] that represented a "Combined Grenadier" unit for the French Army - a bit of formation colour):

My first unit of (French) horse were reunited with their riders (see below: literally glued into their saddles on the day of the battle, varnish only just dried and cured - this unit has a 'Yellow' bugler ) :

My last unit contribution was another (French) cavalry unit (see below: as per the previous unit the riders being finally finished in the early hours of the morn of the battle, they have a Red bugler - somewhere else was a General figure but I forgot to take a keepsake photograph of that one):

At this point I found out that I had furnished troops for the enemy as I was moved over to the British side. Interesting as my perspective in battle did a 180 degree turn about. In my heart (and backed up by a cool logical mind) I knew they (the French) had to attack and press home an initial slim advantage on the Cavalry part of the battlefield [the French right wing and visa versa the British left wing]. The British Generals all agreed and we expected a furious and bloody cavalry battle that would be "fed into" (see below - part of the fearsome French right wing cavalry):

The French cavalry looked "wall-to-wall" comprising the finest French Guard Regiments. The only comforting though was that we (the British) had more cut-and-thrust blade cavalry than the French. The French persisted in the antiquated pistol tactic of circling round firing their firearm just outside of effective range. Most of the British on the other hand preferred to get "stuck in" with a cold steel charge (see below):

An early British objective would be the extreme hamlet (fortified village) garrisoned by French Dragoons. An Allied foot regiment had been brought up for a "quick assault" in a 'beggar me or bust' first turn attack, before the French had time to reinforce it (see below):

Ramillies itself was heavily defended (see below, we knew we would have to take it to win the battle):

Against Ramillies a fearsome weight of English and Dutch cannon were laid (see below, it was also decided before the game to relocate another four guns to this sector, particularly as we were playing restricted ammunition [randomly rolled] house rule):

A final shot of the table before the first shot was fired (see below, note that there are many more generals than before lurking off table this time - nine all told with a couple of visitors who popped in to "just see it"):

Prepare yourself for a Malburian feast!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

(Big Game) Ramillies the Set-Up [Pre-Game 1] Post #1

Fourteen foot of 28mm Malburian fun! (see below, French to the left and British/Dutch to the right):

To the top of the previous picture the armies face each other across tricky terrain (see below, a fordable but disrupting river viewed from the French bank):

The stern Malburian British Infantry (see below, these are facing toward the fortified town of Ramillies):

Ramillies itself was a scenic work of art (see below, scratch built terrain by the French C-in-C - who being retired has plenty of time on his hands):

More beautiful scratch built scenery (see below: again fortified and in French hands):

The impressive wing of French Cavalry, a very potent force of arms (see below: so impressive in 28mm):

after the Set-Up comes the battle's opening moves! Despite me painting troops for the French I end up playing a British Cavalry commander.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Note to self: WWII "Fleet Tender" or rather when a ship is not really "that ship after all"

Well I never ...

Interesting Wikipedia Article on RN "Fleet Tenders" which in fact were three dummy battleships (HMS Resolution, HMS Revenge and HMS Anson) and an aircraft carriers (HMS Hermes):


I had heard about HMS Centurion pretending to be HMS Anson in the Mediterranean however teh others I knew nothing about! The only other "dummy" battleship was the WWI fake HMS Audacious which was faked after the real battleship foundered on a mine in the early days of the war.

I followed this thought up to the following link (apparently there were 14 mock WWI RN Battleships:

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Painting 28mm (French Army) Malburians for Ramillies

The painting of my meager contribution to Ramillies over Christmas is coming to a conclusion. It has been an intense plunge into the fiery cold waters of 28mm Malburians where you can literally see the whites of their eyes. There were "horses" (see below, still in a WIP stage)

Almost finished (see below, at the pre-varnish [matte] stage):

The horses riders were a parallel production stream (see below, both still WIP):

Meanwhile the infantry [one infantry regiment and a combined Grenadier stand] are by comparison standing almost complete. At the last moment I decided I would paint the drummer in a different base colour as was the fashion in those days (see below, I need to remove the square bases to that they can receive their "rule defined" proper bases):

The varnish stage produced a hiccup as despite "shaken and then thoroughly stirred" the 'matte' varnish dried more to a 'satin' finish. No time redo them as they were about to be passed on to "the baser". I hope they are not too 'unfashionably shiny' on the table top (see below, the riders are still WIP so they will be added to the horses on "battle day"):

I received complements all round, even from the wife, who liked the chocolate soldiers look and feel to them (see below):

Rotated for a better view (see below, the top left six figures represent the Combined Grenadiers, the flag bearers two of the normal infantry regiment are missing):

Next stop Ramillies ;)