Friday, 29 February 2008

Next week's plan

With only 48 hungarian infantry left to paint from the current batch, which I'll finish tonight, I can think about what to get prepped this weekend ready for next week.

The plan is still to do the Young Guard infantry next. I have based the Old guard on a single 60mm square and although I could possibly justify them being split onto two I like the limitation this puts on them. If I'm to do the same with the YG then they will need 2 bases. This could be stretched to 4, but again I like to keep the guard of 1809 as a precious and limited resource - and it means less painting.

This means that I'll have time next week to paint figures for one more base. I've done some digging and I think a mixed base of french legere and the Tirailleurs du Corses would look a bit different. In 1809 it seems most likely that the TdC were in a brown french-style uniform with green facings and a black french shako, so I can use french figures with a different paintjob. If I do things this way then I can always use the same base to represent the TdC and the Tirailleurs du Po when they fought combined at the TdP probably wore a legere-style uniform at this time.

That's the plan for now, after that I think I need to get some regular french ligne units painted. looking at the "box of stuff" I have quite a few french infantry left and easily enough Bavarians for another division. There are also plenty of French and Austrian Cuirassiers, so I can keep busy for a few weeks yet. Looking at the loose figures lurking at the bottom of the box I can also do another base of Austrian Uhlans. I mustn't forget to get some more French artillery done soon too.


Next on the purchase list will probably be (but not all at once):

Austrian infantry booster pack
French infantry booster pack - perhaps in bicornes for some variation
Wurttemburgers when they are released (soon I believe)




The wurttemburgers will only need 4 bases of infantry, 1 or 2 of artillery and 2 of cavalry I think, so thay can be a nice distraction when I get them.
Hopefully I'll have photos of the Austrian army so far to put in the blog next week.
cheers



Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Thoughts on rules, rosters and units

Hi all

excuse the follwing ramble...

Now the mechanics of the napoleonic rules seem to be ticking along nicely I have been wondering about how generic to make units and how much to individualise them.

I am currently in the "generic camp" so that all Austrian Line infantry bases are Trained quality, can take 2 shaken results before breaking and have SK1 skirmish ability. French ligne are similar but have SK2 and legere are like ligne but veteran.

This works well. I can tell the difference between ligne and legere by looking at the bases, as legere have an all-blue uniform and 8 skirmisher figures compared to the 4-6 of the ligne. Other units can be distinguished fairly easily too, the only tricky ones being some of the cavalry such as Austrian Dragoons looking very much like Austrian Chevauxlegers in white uniforms. These distinctions can be sorted out by how the figures are arranged on the base though. I'll probably arrange the dragoons in 3 lines of 6 and the chevauxlegers in 2 lines of 9, or something similar.

It is possible to mark the bases in some way however to allow more individualised bases, so that french ligne may be trained or veteran or even elite (hello 57th) and the SK ability of the Austrians could be varied. This does however mean that the bases need to be marked and there is a bit more thinking involved and I'm not sure that I want to to worry about things this much. I have a feeling that the overall nature of the game would not change significantly.

Like wise for unit size. In both the French and Austrian armies the strength of regiments is very variable. On closer study however, most regiments will fall between 1800 and 2400 men. Some will be bigger and some smaller but is it relly worth the hassle of knowing the fine detail? Again, I'm thinking not. Two small regiments could be combined into one base and if a division contained a number of large regiments then I could always add an extra base to compensate.

How about skirmishing? I have an issue with disallowing any 1809 infantry from skirmishing as I think all units could do this, but to different levels of competence. I'm happy to say that numpty infantry can skirmish at level 1 whereas more competent stuff can skirmish at level 2. I suppose I could allow jagers/grenzers ets skirmish at level 3 but this is probably unecessary as skirmishing isn't particularly dominant anyway, so SK1 or SK2 it is.

Follwoing all this through, you'll see that I'm keeping a farily generic approach to unit statistics. This does not mean that I won't identify particularly "good" units, mark them in some small way (mounted officer on infantry base etc) as being of a higher standard than the rest (hello again 57th ligne, and maybe IR#4) but I'd want to keep these to a minimum. I did work out a more detailed OOB for Aspern-Essling last night, but "regular" infantry was ranging from Trained to Elite and SK0 to SK2 and it all looked a bit uneccessarily involved. As a napoleonic CinC surely you work out who the specific good units are AFTER the battle, not before, but you have a sneaking suspicion that the grenadiers and guard will do a little better than the rest.

One thing I am toying with is the idea of infantry 1/2 bases (60mm wide by 30mm deep) for small but significant infantry units. These would absorb less damage than standard 60mm squares and would be very rare, but it could be a way to represent smaller Jager units for the Austrians, some of the allied light infantry in the French army, or the 95th rifles for the British without having to fudge them into a brigade base. The British penninsular army is a long way off, but this may be a way to represent the light Division - 4x half bases that could fight combined into 60mm squares depending on the commander's decision. The other idea that I have had regarding the british is to permenanty base their brigades on 60mm x 40mm bases and let them only take 1 shaken result before breaking on the second. These bases would represent 1200-1800 men. A British army could therefore maintain a similar frontage to a French one of around 33-50% more men, but would be a little more brittle. An infantry base with a depth of 40 or 45mm would still allow for plenty of "diorama" modelling, something that is harder on a 30mm deep base.

More thought needed and I need to finish the 1809 stuff first, so I'd better not get ahead of myself!

Any comments?

Monday, 25 February 2008

Painting, painting, painting

Well actually, not so much this weekend. It was my youngest's 4th birthday so the time sort of got diverted.

I did manage to get the figures for the next 3 hungarian infantry bases primed and grey base-coated, painted the musket stocks and backpacks and blackwashed the whole caboodle (144 figures). I think tonight I'll try to get all of the blue trousers painted (basecoat and highlight) and maybe the blanket rolls and shako details. After that I'll split them back into the three batches (1 per base) for finishing off. This should fill up the rest of the week.

Next after that will be two more bases of hungarians and maybe some extra austrian dragoons or cuirassiers.

I think then I'll try to get some French done.

I've looked at the OOB for Aspern-Essling and it presnets no scares time-wise even if I include Davout's corps as a "what if". Wagram still looks fine for troops but I think the terrain board needed would be too large to be practical - still got my thinking cap on though!

cheers

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Sacile (sort of)

Hi all

First, in answer to a comment I have received and following on from a conversation at the club, it takes me 2-3 hours to paint the figures for ONE base. I paint from 1hr to 1hr30 each night so I can usually complete 3 bases in a week, 6 days of painting and 1 day of basing and prepping the next batch of figures.

On to last night's game...

The scenario was loosely based on Sacile (April 1809). The battlefield consisted of a 6 x 4 table with 5 villages (4"x4" bases) arranged in a crescent with the "points" facing the French table edge (one of the 6' edges). The Austrians were allowed to deploy behind an imaginary line cutting the table diagonally - meaning that 3 of the villages started in their deployment area.

Forces were based on those at Sacile, but each side had a small reserve formation of heavy cavalry added

The Austrians had 3 formations:
1. 3 line infantry bases, 2 granzer bases, 1 hussar base, 1 chevauleger base, 1 cavalry artillery, 1 foot artillery
2. 2 line infantry bases, 1 jager base, 1 grenadier base, 1 cavalry artillery, 1 foot artillery
3. 2 cuirassier bases

The French also had 3 formations:
1. 4 infantry bases (1 veteran), 1 light cavalry base, 1 foot artillery
2. 4 infantry bases (2 veteran), 2 bavarian infantry bases, 1 bavarian light cavalry base
3. 1 carabinier base, 2 cuirassier bases

The French were attacking but lacked a numerical advantage and were light on artillery. In reality Sacile proved a stretch too far for the French and the game went much the same way as I failed to mass enough force to take individual villages, wasting time attacking several with small forces and being repeatedly repulsed.

The Austrian flank did eventually crack but not until around 7.30pm (game time) and with nighfall occurring at 9pm this did not leave enough time to deliver the coup de grace, so a tactical victory to the Austrians, ably commanded by Lau, who did well to contend with the awful subordinate commnders he had on the table.

Overall the rules worked well. It is VERY difficult to push units out of built-up-areas, but this is probably quite accurate so any tweaking will be minor.

Using the Polemos combat system (more or less) but with average dice felt much better as the extreme results were reduced, so there was less point chancing your arm on speculative cavalry charges. I might revert to d6s for infantry attacking built-up areas though as this seems a less-predictable form of warfare. The one major change to Polemos combat I have made is to allow infantry to take 2 "steps" of shaken before breaking on a third. This makes them more resilient than cavalry and it feels better when you are playing.

The skirmish rules (lifted and adapted from Fast-Play GrandArmee (FPGA) also worked well. The initiative player can skirmish attack with eligible infantry up to 1 BW distance, but I have also allowed non-initiative infantry in built-up-areas to skirmish attack too (skirmishing represents not only the brigade's skirmishers going forward, but also the use of inherent artillery not separately represented on the table)

Adding-in the artillery evade rules based on GrandeArmee also worked well, although the guns still got overrun :-)

Lastly, I have added a "countdown clock" mechanism. An average dice is rolled at the end of each turn, representing the number of 15 minute periods that the turn took (ie 30 mins to 1hr15). Thanks to Lau rolling lots of 4s and 5s the time really slipped away from me and helped me to spur my plan into action - just a little too late!

We plan to fight the same scenario next week now we have a better feel for the rules and see if I can display some better generalship...

Cheers

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Half-term output


Just a quick shot of what I have got done in the last 10 days or so. I managed to get a total of 57 trees finished (including the 9 already based up that I posted last Tuesday). Finished figures are also shown. From L to R are Chevaulegers, Jagers, (back row) German, Hungarina and German infantry (front row) Korps commander, foot, cavalry and foot batteries.
I am in the process of priming more hungarian infantry to finish off my second full Austrian Korps.
cheers

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

trees

First few home made trees, using twisted florists' wire, lichen and clum foliage. These are on 60mm square bases, but I'm toying with a few ideas for more irregular shapes at the mo'

I think these look really good, and work out MUCH cheaper than pre-made trees. I just need to sort out a production line now!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Half-term holidays

Hi all

No pictures today, but I have been cracking on (honestly) with my next Austrian Korps. I have completed the following, bar the painting of the bases:
1 x Jagers
1 x Chevauxlegers
1 x Hungarian infantry
1 x German infantry
1 x General + ADCs

I have primed up another base of German infantry and three artillery batteries (2 x foot and 1 x cavalry). A reinforcement pack of infantry has also just arrived from Baccus (enough for 6 bases). All-in this will complete the Korps and I'll post pics when this is done. This should be manageable for the end of March, possibly sooner, but I do have an exam on March 11th so I'll need to fit in some revising too.

After that it will be back to the French or Bavarians, probably French as I haven't done any for a while. I have plenty of both hanging round the painting room. The pressure still feels "off" as the project doesn't have to come together until April '09, so it still seems a long way off. I'm still not sure of the exact scenarios I will aim for at each show (Salute and at least one Partizan, possibly both) but the timing would naturally suggest doing something in Bavaria for Salute (Abensberg, Eckmuhl etc), Aspern Essling in May at Partizan I and possibly Wagram at Partizan II. The difficulty is less likely to be the figures (although Wagram would be a push) but the size of the terrain. Eckmuhl and Aspern-Essling would actually be quite small, and possibly unimpressive for show demos, whereas Wagram is probably a bit too big, having a 12 mile frontage! Any ideas or comments are welcome and at least I have plenty of time to mull it over.

I'm also experimenting with florists' wire, lichen and clump foliage to see if I can produce some home-made tree bases. Proper trees, even in 1/300 scale are quite expensive at around 50p each. They are great to tart up building bases and to have here and there, but building forests verges on silly money if there is a reasonable alternative. The plan is to twist 3 starnds of wire together, cut to length and open up into a goblet shape. Then I'll fix in a clump of lichen with PVA glue, fix a few to a base, spray brown and texture the base and finally glue on clump foliage with more PVA. I'll try a few forst and see how it looks.

cheers!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

The Granary

This model is of the granary at Essling. This featured heavily in the Battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809. The model is by JR, courtesy of Magister Militum here in the UK. It claims to be a 1:285 model, and is relatively smaller than the "6mm" Timecast stuff , but as it is a model of such a large building this is perhaps for the best.

The detail on the model is not as crisp as the Timecast models either, but this is not to say it is bad. It is very similar in style to "hovels" models.

I managed to find colour pictures of the granary and the sundial on the end here:
http://www.gamersarchive.net/theGamers/archive/nbs/AspernTour/aspern_tour.htm
and here:
http://members.aon.at/sundials/bild18_e.htm

and I think I manages to match stuff up pretty well. The window frames need some tidying up and it will all need matt varnishing before final basing, but overall I think it will look good once incorporated onto a scenic base.

Model dimensions are 87mm long by 38mm wide (ignoring the little porch)
and 44mm high to the roof apex. Cost was £3.50 from
http://www.magistermilitum.com/product.asp?numRecordPosition=56&P_ID=5311&strPageHistory=cat&strKeywords=&SearchFor=&PT_ID=459

JR models also make a 15mm version also available from magister militum, so be careful if ordering!

That is about the last of the buildings for now, so it is back to the Austrian troops from tomorrow

cheers

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Plans for February

No plan survives contact with the enemy/wife/cat (delete as applicable) but it seems a good idea to have one. I think I'll be happy if I can finish a second Austrian corps by the end of the month. The buildings are more or less done and I won't base them until I'm more sure of how I want them to look and that I have enough. This can wait until the end of the year if necessary. I have one base-worth of infantry figures primed and undercoated and enough in the bits box and on order to be able to churn out 2 infantry divisions and some light cavalry. I might need some more figures for grenzers but I think I'll wait and see if the new Baccus British become available towards the end of the year. British in stovepipe shako are quite a close match in 6mm to austrian grenzers in peaked klobuks, but the current nap Brit range isn't brill and lacks really nice skirmishing figures. In the meantime I might turn out a base of Jagers to keep the light infantry coming.

Rough plans for the rest of the year?

Don't be silly, I'd never stick to it. The plan is to mix in painting the repetetive infantry stuff with more colourful light cavalry. As I am on a bit of a roll with Austrian white I'll stick with this as long as I can before moving back to the French. The Guard are crying out, however, for two bases of Young Guard to finish them off, so I may have to get the pot of blue out sooner than intended so I can finish off that particular formation.

The ideal minimum I'd like to aim for by the end of the summer is 2 french corps, 1 Bavarian corps, 2 Austrian corps, Austrian reserve corps and French Imperial guard and French cavalry reserve

If this goes to plan I can then add in Wurttembergers to the French and then just add corps to each army, concentrating on Austrians first in case Aspern-Essling is achievable (4-5 austrian corps). Wagram is still a possibility, if not for Salute, then for one of the Partizans, but the terrain would be big (and I'd need a LOT of troops) and I'd need to start planning for this in the summer as I did terrain building last winter for the BoB game and I don't want to freeze my bits off in the garage again!

This is a bit moot however, as Salute falls in April so it seems better to cover one of the April 1809 battles - Eckmuhl or Abensburg. These are a bit one-sided due to Napoleon's superior strategic ability, so a degree of "what iffing" will be needed. I suppose I could use a long table and fit both battles on, but that is probably a bit too ambitious. :-)

Any ideas for what you'd like to see in an 1809 demo game?

cheers

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Building site

As a break from troops I have been painting some buildings. They aren't quite finished yet, but I'm please with how they look so far. These first 4 are all from Timecast's 6mm Napoleonic range and are really good castings that were no trouble to paint up

In the second phot is a Timecast church and two of the "Les Baitements" (I think that is spelled about right) buildings that they carried until recently. The church is being remastered at the moment, which it probably needs as there are some mould lines on mine. It still painted up fine however and will look good once based. The other buildings are of a lower casting/moulding quality and I can see why they won't be carried by Timecast as they are simply not up to the standard of their own stuff. That said, they do provide some extra variety.
After these I have one more Les Baitements building to finish and I'm expecting a model of the granary at Essling to arrive soon. I have also ordered some civilian bits and bobs from Baccus, so hopefully I'll have a couple of little villages all based up in a few weeks.
Next troops: Austrians in helmets - enough for another base primed and ready to go.
cheers