Thursday, 31 January 2008

Wednesday night is game night

Another playtest of the polemos/grande-armee hybrid last night.

The small French corps from last week was reinforced by Deroi's Bavarians, but the imperial guard stayed in camp. The french had to attack a smaller Austrian korps supported by the grenadier division of II Reserve Korps.

Although the sides were close to parity on numbers, the french had an edge in unit quality and in command & control. This made things hard for the austrians, and although they had some local successes, theur right wing eventually collapsed as one of the two line divisions took heavy casualties and withdrew. At this point (5 turns) Archduke Louis decided to preserve his remaining forces and pulled-back.

Thanks to Martin for commanding the French.

After some of the very poor luck experienced by the austrians I am coming round to the idea of using average dice for the combat phase rather than d6s. This will boost the role of tactical factors such as supports, using the initiative to attack etc and generally reward good generalship slightly more and blind luck slightly less, but still leave room for the unexpected and the dice will still determine the margin of any defeat/victory.

Corps v Korps + divisional supprt, fought to conclusion in around an hour of real time and 5 game turns = not bad.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Thanks to Timecast

Order finalised Monday Lunchtime, buildings on my doorstep when I got home on Tuesday night.

Can't do better than that!


Saturday, 26 January 2008


Surprisingly I managed to finish enough figures for an entire base of Austrian infantry today. These will be of the Infantry Regt #4 (Deutschmeister), the regiment owned by the leader of the teutonic order. I have given these chaps a mounted officer and a few skirmisher figures to mark them as being a bit special among the rest of the Austrian infantry.

The bonus in finishing a unit in a day is that I can better estimate the time it takes to finish a base from scratch. These figures had previouslt been sprayed black, quickly drybrushed with dove grey, then blackwashed. Ignoring drying time this was the work of no more than 10 minutes. Adding this to today's painting time and the 10 mons or so left to finish the base drybrushing tomorrow the total will be around 3 hours for around 60 figures, or about 3 monutes per figure. This is really useful as it means that by painting an hour each night, for 6 nights of the week, which on average should be possible - with some catch up time on the occasional weekend - I can turn out 2 bases a week. This compares well to my 25/28mm painting which is around an hour per figure, making a large napoleonic battle a little impractical :-)

6mm Cavalry will take more like 5 mins per figure, but as I only put about 24 figures on a base, I can still turn out a base in 2-3 hours. Cavalry take a little longer because of the horses and the painting of the cast-on flags.

After painting the Bavarians this week I have also decided to only prime enough figures for 1 or 2 bases at a time as it is quite offputting having too much undercoated stuff hanging around on lolly sticks. This also lets me switch between different nationalities when I start to get bored..

Tomorrow I hope to base up some older figures that are currently stuck to the "wrong" bases. I should have enough for a base of Austrian infantry and a base of Austrian advance guard (regualr infantry + Grenzers + skirmishers). It is a good way to use up some stuff in the "bits box". I have also got some infantry ready to prime for the next "new" base of Austrian infantry.


Friday, 25 January 2008

Bavarian Division Deroi

I'm stuck at home today with the lurgy so have managed to get on with finishing the first division of bavarians in between coughing fits.

The division consists of two infantry brigades each of 2 regiments of line infantry and 1 battalion of light infantry:

They have a brigade of light cavalry in support (1 unit of dragoons in white coats and a unit of chevauxleger in green). Back and front shots are shown:

and a unit of artillery round out the troops:

Finally there is a commander to take control of the division if acting independently, or to act as corps commander when the rest of the Bavarians make it to the battlefield.

As well as troops, I have made a start on some buildings. First up is a small farm (model from Timecast: on a 60mm square base. I'm normally rubbish at buildings, but this came out nicely and I put the photo through photoshop to produce a "painting" version too:

All in all, not a bad output. Next on the schedule are some more Austrian infantry.


Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Rules test

I managed to get the troops on the table at the club tonight to try out the hybrid napoleonic rules.

The Austrians were in a defensive position on a low ridge. Theyconsisted of three forces: Force 1 had three bases of infantry, a reserve battery of artillery, a base of Uhlans and a base of Hussars. Force 2 had three bases of grenadiers, an advance guard base, a base of artillery and a base of hussars. Force 3 contained two regiments of cuirassiers and a base of cavalry artillery

The French, on the offensive had a larger army, again divided into three forces. Force A was a small corps containing a division of 4 infantry bases, a division of 5 infantry bases, an artillery battery and two bases of light cavalry (chasseurs and hussars). Force 2 was a division of heavy cavalry; two bases of cuirassiers and one of carabiniers. Force three was a bit special, a base of old guard infantry, a base of guard light cavalry and a base of guard heavy cavalry.

Not entirely representative forces, but good to test out the mechanisms of the rules and ensure that everything held together - even if it didn't look too competetive.

The game went well and was fast-paced enough to keep the interest alive, while still presenting the problems of manoevering troops that characterise the napoleonic period. The french CinC lost control of his corps commander on the second turn and this caused the reckless subordinate to launch an impetuous attack before his infantry had shaken out into a fighting formation. The columns ploughed into the Austrians causing the rout of both legere regiments (bases). Chastened, the french pulled it together on turn 3 and the two infantry divisions refomed ready to launch an attack. During this time, the french light cavalry on the right had defeated their austrian opposite numbers and the guard had seen off the austrian advance guard and hussars on the left. Falling between a pincer movement, with the french infatry grinding closer, the Austrian CinC opted to vacate the battlefield and live to fight another day.

I was pleased with the rules and they kept things simple but seemed to work nicely.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Rules, rules, rules

With about a corps a side painted for the Napoleonics and the first division of Bavarians on the painting desk and well advanced, I have been thinking about rules. A couple of goes with Polemos Marechal de Empire have been OK and I like aspects of the rules, but other parts seem a bit clunky and lack the elegance of a really well tought out mechanism. I also like Grande Armee, but it is a bit complex for a club-night game, even in its streamlined fast play version available from Sam Mustafa'a website. It still relies on rosters and unit strength points, something that Polemos manages to avoid.

I have decided to go with a hybrid. From Polemos I am lifting the Tempo system and the movemment, terrain, combat + morale mechanics while from Fast-Play Grande Armee I will lift the bulk of the command and control. Having drafted out a playsheet this all seesm to hang together well. I have removed the skirmisher influence from the Polemos combat mechanic and instead used this for a skirmisher phase for the tempo player (like in FPGA). I have also merged the bombardment rules for both sets to get a mixed version. Obviously, as both rules are copyrighted I won't be publishing any detailed information about them, but if anyone wants to get hold of Polemos and download FPGA then you'll be able to follow most of what I've done.

I think the distances in the rules may then need a bit of a tweak as Polemos seemed to crawl along at times - perhaps more accurate, but as a game it felt a bit unfulfilling. Hopefully this can all get a run-out next week at the club.

...and then I can re-write it all again!


Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Painting 6mm naps (3)

Third and final instalment!

Here are a front and top view of the base with the chinchilla sand glued down. The sand I use is branded as "Charlie Chinchilla Bathing Sand" and marketed by Supreme Petfoods. I bought a 2 litre container for £2.75 ages ago and have used less than half a litre so far.

The dry sand is then painted with slightly watered-down GW brown ink. Capilliary pressure pulls the ink through the sand.
When dry, I then drybrushed the base with AA Earth Brown and then GW snakebite leather:

followed by AA coffee
and then AA sand:

Finally I glued on some static grass. This variety is made by Javis and I think is the "Summer Meadow" pack, or something like that. It is a mix of static grass and fine flock. It seems about right for April-June 1809. As I mentioned before, with 6mm you need to use quite bright colours and this goes for you foliage too!

Here is a front shot of the finished base:

The grass matting, as I'm sure you have noticed also got drybrushed along with the base to blend it in.
A couple of point I may have forgotten to mention:
1. The flags are from Pete at Baccus (like the figures) and come in sheets of 24.
2. The rank and file musket barrels are painted in AA dove grey. I have come to prefer this matt effect to that of metallics at this scale for gunmetal.
I hope that this guide has been of some interest or help, please leave comments, they really are very welcome.
on to the next unit then...any preference?

Monday, 7 January 2008

Painting 6mm naps (2)

...and on with part 2

Picking up from where I finished yesterday the next photo shows the addition of a base coat to the yellow areas - drum rims, shako pom poms and officers' sashes. For this I used GW snakebite leather. Some AA dove grey was used to basecoat the flagpole and start highlighting the general's coat.
The yellow areas were then highlighted with GW bad moon yellow. On the drum rims this was dotted on to give the impression of the yellow & black stripes that Austrian drums actually had. The green areas on the facings an cuffs were highlighted using VMC USA Uniform. It pays to have a variety of greens (and browns) available. For 6mm figures it is best to use fairly bright colours if you want them to show up. The general's plume was also highlighted

The pom-poms then each got a small dot of black paint to finish them off. This is fiddly, but worth doing to get the right end result. AA White was then used to paint in the crossbelts, uniforms and flagpoles. At this stage it is important not to get to concerned about getting paint everywhere. I start on the front of the figure with the front leg, the arms and the cross belts. I then dot in bits of white over the remaining grey to give the impression of the uniform. Austrian flag poles were actual painted in spirals of white, yellow, red and black - but life really is too short to do this in 6mm!

...the same goes for the back

For the final bits of finishing off, the flesh was highlighted with AA dusty peach, and the flag finials and officers shako band got a coat of AA bronze

The figures were then popped off the lolly stick to let me glue the flags on

and the two units were assembled on a pre-painted 60mm square of MDF. The glue is PVA (white glue). At the same time, patches of grass matting from the Gaugemaster range (made by Noch) were glued on, along with some small bits of gravel

While the glue is still wet, the whole base is then sprinkled with chinchilla sand from the petshop and set aside to dry before final painting time, finishing the base

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Painting 6mm naps

OK, here is the first part of a step-by-step guide to painting 6mm napoleonic figures

The examples here are a command strip of Austrian infantry in shakos and a mounted officer (actually a French marshal figure, but we'll paint him in Austrian colours for variety). Figures are by Baccus
For this guide, AA refers to Anita's Acrylics paint, GW to Games Workshop and VMC to Vallejo Model Color.

The first photo shows the figures glued to a lolly stick, undercoated black, the bases have been painted with AA burnt umber and the bulk of the uniform painted with AA dove grey. Finally the figures were given a thin blackwash once all of the paint was thoroughly dry

In photo two, the flesh areas have been picked out with GW tanned flesh

The facings are then painted in a base colour, in this case GW dark angels green. For the Austrians I just paint the cuffs and the bottom of the tunic, I don't bother with the collars in most cases

The brass is then picked out on the shako fronts and used as a border to the shabraque on the officer's horse and the edging on his hat using AA Bronze. The drums are also painted in this colour. The red basecoat on the shabraque is AA wine.

Wooden/leather areas are then picked out in AA coffee. The following two photos show back and front views. For these figures the bulk of this painting in actually on the muskets, canteens and backpacks of the rank & file infantry

The general's horse is then highlighted in the same colour, and the shabraque highlighted with GW blood red. The reins are highlighted with AA charcoal as are the shako tops, backs and peaks, and the general's hat and boots (see next 2 photos). The white areas on the horse are given a base coat of AA sand

Lastly for today, a brown ink wash is applied to the wood and leather areas, the general's horse and brass bodies of the drums. At some point the general's plume has been painted with a base coat of GW dark angels green.

..more soon

More napoleonics

The latest bits and bobs are largely re-basing of some existing stuff, with a bit of tarting up here and there. First is Boney himself, completed with ADCs

Then some Austrian infantry. The left and centre bases are infantry regiments with some jager support, allowing a level of skirmishing ability. On the right is a mixed regular/grenz brigade with a good level of skirmishing (rare for the Austrians)

The next bases are newly painted figures, Austrian grenadiers

...and finally, someone to command the above, an army commander on a 40mm square base and a corps commander on a 30mm square

Coming soon, a "step-by-step" guide to painting and basing an Austrian infantry regiment.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

40K finished

Finally got these finished, now to turn back to those 6mm napoleonic austrians!