Saturday, 29 October 2016

Breed's Hill (2)


After a few days away I was able to make some early morning progress on the hill. I have used Das air drying clay to strengthen the lower slopes and to fill in the trenches. You can't see much because the clay is white:


I then cut a piece of hardboard to the shape of the fortification; using newspaper to make the initial template:


...and have begun to build up the earth walks using more clay. This was a rapidly constructed fortification rather than one with lots of reinforcing timber so it will look a little "rough & ready".


I hope to build up the walls further tomorrow. These will eventually be covered with sand to add texture before painting.

The fortification is removable allowing me to use it elsewhere , to use alternative fortification on the hill or to cover the trenches with pieces of grass matting to use the hill in an unfortified state.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Breed's Hill (1)

Today the glue had dried on my first step towards a model of Breed's Hill.

I had glued an old 2'x2' terrain tile and two 1' square tiles to a piece of 3'x2' hardboard roughly trimmed into a rounded shape:

 Using an old bread knife I then cut the polystyrene to match th shape of the hardboard:


Then I marked out where the fortification would be (blue) and the ditch (purple):


Then more work with the bread knife to shape the contours of the hill. I used a box cutter and a screwdriver to carve out the ditches in front of the fortifications:


I think that is enough for today!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

My Wargaming Week, 22nd October 2016

Hi all. Painting continues on the British army for Bunker Hill. The 300 men of the 63rd have now been joined by the 38th and 43rd, each around 200 men strong.

These units also consist of spruced-up figures from my collection to which I have added a few freshly painted castings.




These old Perry sculpted Foundry figures are still great to paint.

Next up are the two Marine battalions and these will be followed by additions to my grenadiers and light infantry. The lead pile should have enough figures to fill out these units. I am beginning with the 1st Marines; 20 figures to repaint and 12 to start from scratch. 

Christmas will bring the figures for the 5th, 52nd and 47th Foot. The latter has white facings and silver metal so can combine with the 43rd if I need a larger white-faced unit.

I have also begun construction of a model Breed's Hill. Given the winter weather this is likely to be slow progress but I would hope all of this work will come together in time for Partizan in May 2017.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Rules, basing and unit density

Jasper asked if I was reverting back to 6-figures per base for my 1775 British and I thought a quick post about my rules and basing scheme would be in order.

Unit density plays a role in my rules.
Most formed infantry are based as 6 figures on a 60mm wide base and I class this as density "6". Other densities are therefore the number of figures per 60mm of frontage. 

Close order infantry are also based 6 figures per base but in this case the bases are 50mm wide and the density counts as "7".

I apply the same "+1 density for 50mm bases" to other units. Thus getting the following examples:

Density 7= 6 figs on 50mm frontage
Density 6= 4 figs/40mm or figs/50mm or 6 figs/60mm frontage
Density 5= 5 figs/60mm or 4 figs/50mm
Density 4= 4 figs/60mm
Density 3= 3 figs/60mm

The mix of fontages is mostly to help base units to look attractive, with officers etc in the middle and usually an odd number of bases.

Which density I choose is dependent on my opinions but Hessians tend to be 7, loyalists and continental regiments 6, post 1776 British 5, "pure" skirmishers such as jagers 3. Density 4 is for less disciplined skirmishers, or just when it looks better (most riflemen I base this way). It's best not to get too hung up on these things. Spacing the bases apart by a cm or so drops density by one level, so other views can be accommodated.

Unit size still depends on number of figures: tiny (6), small (12), average (e.g 15, 16, 18 or 20) etc; rounding off as appropriate. This is similar to Black Powder.

When shooting a unit is hit on die rolls less or equal to its density, so skirmishers are hit on rolls of 1-3, close order infantry on 1-7. Rolls might use d8, d10 or d12 depending on cover etc.

In melee a unit must make rolls equal to or less than its own density, so now close order infantry hit on 1-7 but the skirmishers only hit on 1-3. 

Density also affects movement. Infantry move 12"-density. Skirmishers therefore move 9", close order infantry just 5".

This visual approach makes games flow quickly. They might not be for everyone but they work for me and the units look "right" without the need to spread bases  out very often.

As you'll be unsurprised to hear, the rules aren't quite that simple but hopefully this explains the basing you see on the blog photos.


Saturday, 15 October 2016

My Wargaming Week, 15th October 2016

The main thing finished this week has been the 63rd Foot, ready for Bunker Hill. This has involved rehighlighting figures from my old 55th foot, painting a few extra figures to match; then rebasing the finished figures. The unit has 32 figures including the standards which allows a 1:10 representation of the unit at the battle. The marine battalions will be of a similar size and the other regular regiments will be smaller as most probably fielded only around 200 men each in their centre companies. 


I have already made good progress on the 38th:


And have just begun work on the 43rd:


All of this still involves reworking existing figures but I'll soon be ready to order fresh lead to complete the army!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

My Wargaming Week, 9th October 2016

I finished off this loyalist militia unit this week. This rounds-off Rawdon's brigade at Camden and will also see service at smaller battles such as Hanging Rock.

Painting now turns towards my long term planning so will feature lots of 1775 British...


Sunday, 2 October 2016

My Wargaming Week, 2nd October 2016

Obviously some of this week was taken up with finishing the Royal North Carolina that I recently posted about. 

This weekend I made a start on a unit of loyalist militia to round off Rawdon's brigade for Camden:


Early days, but I'll tinker with these through the week and see how far I get. Then it will be over to the "grand plan" and I will get my 1775 British on the table for a combination of refreshing old painting, adding new figures and rebasing. I am giving myself a whole year to do these, rebase my Minutemen and expand my collection of native warriors. It should all be quite manageable.

I have also read through the latest AWI release by Osprey, covering the campaign and battle of Cowpens 1781.


I bought mine for my Kindle, so can't say too much about the colour pictures, but otherwise it is well illustrated and the maps seem clear and helpful.

The description of the battle itself also seems decent and is well fleshed out. This is much more useful to the wargamer than the fairly cursory battle description in the Camden volume. 

I do take issue though with much of the remaining text. It is very much like reading a book from 20 or more years ago. The portrayal of the commanders is stereotyped to the level of parody. Greene and Morgan are faultless heroes and military geniuses, Tarleton is a moustache-twirling neo nazi and Cornwallis something of a well-meaning fool. I really thought that AWI scholarship had moved beyond this...

The authors fail to identify or explore the very difficult relationship between Greene and the militia. Mention is made of the militia being compelled to give up their horses to create impromptu dragoon units but not the effect this had on militia attitudes. Only a few weeks later, following Weitzell's Mill, many militia turned their back on Greene and he had to rely on wholly different militias to fill out the ranks at Guilford Courthouse. Examples such as this give the whole book a partizan, lop-sided view of people and events and it is much the poorer for it.

There are further oddities and inaccuracies in the text, too numerous for me to list here in detail but an example is a caption for a picture of the 71st who are described as becoming good troops under Cornwallis' command such as at Brier Creek. However at BC the 71st weren't even under Cornwallis' as this campaign was commanded by Augustine Prevost. 

One theme picked up a few times is Tarleton's defeat at Blackstocks. It is great of the authors to identify this often overlooked action and it does show how Tarleton's impetuosity got him into trouble. The book however, reports the defeat as being somehow remarkable which I find difficult to understand. At Blackstocks Tarleton charged in despite being outnumbered against an enemy with its back to a river so unable to skedaddle. The outcome seem quite unsurprising and has a lot in common with Cowpens itself. 

Overall it feels as if the authors' research into the militia is top notch but the remaining research and writing is lazy and too reliant older secondary sources. 

I am intrigued by a comment that following the defeat at Cowpens the 71st no longer wore facing colours. I haven't heard that before; but really don't know how far I can trust the text.

The unit sizes in the OOB also feel a bit off at times, although the authors do note that this is a thorny issue. Being limited by the size of an Osprey book they are unable to expand and it would be unfair to criticise further.

So, in summary I recommend this for its description of the battle and for some good illustrations. I strongly recommend that readers look elsewhere for information about the events of the campaign and about the characters involved to gain a more rounded view of them and their actions.