Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Continentals for Saratoga (1)

To partner my British army for the Saratoga campaign, I am also painting suitable Continental regiments. It seems that few of any uniforms or hunting shirts were issued to northern regiments until late in 1777, so men would probably have worn civilian clothes or whatever had survived from the previous year. I have therefore painted units to reflect this. 

The first unit was the 2nd New Hampshire. This was a bit of a recycling job as I first painted this unit, fully uniformed, back in 2001/2002. I kept a few of the figures, freshening up their paintwork, and supplemented them with figures in hunting shirts and more in civilian clothes in roughly equal proportions. The flag was a survivor from the original wargames unit and was freehand painted, so I was glad to keep it. The uniform is well documented and seems contemporary, although was probably only worn by a couple of companies in the regiment in mid-1777. The commander’s coat of green-faced-black is documented in contemporary accounts and I based my interpretation on a Don Troiani painting. This is a mix of Foundry and Perry figures. 

Next is Warner’s extra Continental Regiment, the successor to the “Green Mountain Boys”:

These are mostly Perry plastic Continental figures with a few Foundry metal figures from the recycling pile. Most are painted in the fairly well-documented uniform, but some are in civilian clothes - either Foundry minutemen or the uniformed plastics painted in plain colours. The flag in another freehand job. 

Last for now is a Massachusetts Regiment using mostly plastic Continental figures and no hunting shirts, to give a subtly different look:

There are a couple of Foundry metal figures among the mix. Most figures are in civilian clothes, again a “paintbrush conversion” of uniformed plastic figures. Those in uniform feature a mix of 1776 Massachusetts uniforms. 

The flag is hand painted and is my first attempt at painting texture onto the flag rather than simply highlighting after folding. Here it is before cutting out:

Not the easiest design for a first go, but once I worked out the technique it wasn’t too painful despite the stripes. I’ll probably do this for more Continental flags. It always feels like cheating when I buy the (excellent) ones from GMB. 

That’s it for now. I’m currently finishing my British grenadiers and then the next unit will probably be some New York Continentals using figures from the recycling pile, again in a mix of uniforms and civilian clothes. For those on Facebook you can keep up to date on my paintingshed page there. 

The aim now is to get everything ready to refight Freeman’s Farm at the Partizan show in Newark in May 2020. For this I’ll need more NY, NH and Massachusetts continentals. Warner’s won’t feature there but will be useful for Hubbardton and Bennington when I do those battles. 

British for Saratoga (1)

As the year draws to its end I thought I would round up the painting completed since my last entry. This has all been focused on building forces in 28mm for the AWI Saratoga campaign of 1777. This requires British forces in their specific Saratoga uniforms and Continental regiments with a high proportion of civilian clothes. The former aren’t much use for anything else, but the latter will fit in to other theatres of the war. This post looks at the British and a second will look at the revolutionaries. 

Unless otherwise stated, figures are Perry Miniatures. 

First we have the 9th Foot, who joined Hamilton’s brigade prior to the battle of Freeman’s Farm. While it is generally thought that standards were not carried by British regiments in the Saratoga campaign, the 9th flew one of theirs from the captured Fort Ann, so I have permitted them to have a base of standard bearers. Elsewhere I have modified standard bearer figures to be resting with muskets. 

The 20th Foot were soon to join the 9th, giving me two regiments in similar yellow facings. This is not the easiest of colours but I just about managed to make one yellow a little lighter than the other. 

I was then able to move away from yellow, to the blue facings of the 21st Fusiliers:

And to round off Hamilton’s brigade the buff-faced 62nd:

There were a few figures left over that nicely formed the skirmishers of the brigade, who took on Morgan’s riflemen in the opening stages of Freeman’s Farm:

What I haven’t pictured are the Royal Artillery crews supporting the brigade. Painted but not photographed!

I then made a start on Frazers’s brigade that formed the British right flank at Freeman’s Farm, beginning with the grenadier battalion. I divided the work in two as this was a large unit. Here is the first half-battalion, which also fought at Hubbardton:

More yellow and buff!

In the last week I have started the other half battalion, who are still work in progress:

That’s it so far for the forces of the Crown. Still to add are light infantry and loyalists. In the next post I’ll look at the recently painted Continentals. I post more timely progress pictures on my Facebook paintingshed page. 

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Building a battlefield

Following my Chatterton’s Hill game at Partizan I’ve been asked to show how I build the rolling terrain of the AWI under my terrain cloths. Here is a step-by-step of a table I have just put together in my garage. 

Here is my bare table. 8x4 feet composed of three IKEA tables bought many years ago. 

 Here is the scenario map for Spencer’ Ordinary from British Grenadier scenario book #2. 

To make the “lumps and bumps” I use pieces of wood and coir doormats (whole mats and chopped-up pieces). Try to build up several layers for each hill. 

These are then covered with hanging-basket liner bought online from gardening suppliers. 

I then place a few commercial wargame hills to round off some of the crests. These could go under the liner, it makes little difference but the hills pick up less fluff this way. 

The whole thing is then covered with a couple of cloths. These are felt, but use any sort of blanket. Heavier tends to be better. 

The final cloth layer is my sprayed fleece fabric. Spend a bit of time pushing the cloth layers down between the hills rather than being pulled taught between them. 

Another angle:

Next I add roads, streams, fields and buildings. Then comes fences. I’m only approximating the map here. To be closer would need me to extend the table to 8x6. I use duct tape to join the road sections together. 

Now I add trees, patches of long grass and rocks to break up the plain areas. Here are a few shots of the completed battlefield. I’ll now leave this overnight for the cloth to settle down. The photos still don’t fully show the effect of the hills but you should get an idea. 

Monday, 19 August 2019

Bloodybacks rules (version 7) on this blog's "pages" section

Anyone interested in my current "Bloodybacks" AWI rules can find a copy on the blog if you take a look at the "pages" section.

They still have gaps around terrain effects, but are relatively complete and I'm sure most readers can add in any detail that they want.

I've no plans to publish these in the short-term, as I don't have the time it would take to get them to the the necessary standards and support them. Publication might happen in the future, but for now enjoy them in their current state (and order yourself some d12s!)

Chatterton’s Hill at The Other Partizan 2019

Yesterday I staged a refight of Chatterton’s Hill (Oct 1776) at The Other Partizan show in Newark (UK).

There is a scenario for this battle in scenario book #1 for British Grenadier and I wrote one for the Rebellion supplement for Black Powder. Both are aimed at  a 6x4 table. For yesterday’s game I did some extra reading and tried to scale the scenery more towards the actual terrain as I understood it. 

The table I set up was 10’ long and between 5’ and 4’6” wide. I used terrain cloths over lots of boxes, bits of wood and coir doormats to create the steep sides of Wolf Pit Hill and Chatterton’s Hill, with the Bronx River running through the valley between them. The top of Chatterton’s Hill was left fairly flat to accommodate fields, walls and fences as per the limited contemporary accounts. 

Ground scale is around 1”=10 yards (horizontal and vertical)

Here are views from the North and South edges:

The farm was added for interest rather than accuracy and played no part in the action. 

The game played well using the current version of my Bloodybacks rules with an addition to limit artillery ammunition and prevent the guns dominating proceedings in an unhistorical way. 

The British artillery bombardment did have an attritional effect on the defenders and played its part but despite there being two whole batteries (6 model guns) it was still necessary for the infantry to assault the Hill and take significant casualties to a number of redcoat and hessian battalions.

The game followed history fairly closely, with the militia and continentals putting up a stiff resistance and the Crown eventually taking the ground. 

Some photos below:

Sunday, 19 May 2019

A couple of Partizan games

Just a few photos of games that caught my eye at the show. There were many games of really high quality, so this really is a very thin slice of what was on offer. 

Battle of Brooklyn:

Siege of Oosterbeck:

There were lots of people taking pictures so I expect the internet will soon be awash with Partizan goodness. 

Bloody Squad Leaders (2) at Partizan

We gave my rules a good try out at Partizan and they producede a fast and plausible game that we both enjoyed. We came up with ideas for a few minor tweaks to improve things and I’ll also add some more defined processes for off board mortars and light artillery. 

Here are some pictures of the game: