Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 Final Score

I've just totted up my painting for the year and I seem to have churned out more than I'd have thought.

Putting aside a couple of 15mm WW2 vehicles most of the output has been 28mm AWI for which I painted or repainted 606 foot, 20 mounted figures, 7 guns and 2 limbers/horses. I also finished a model of the Chew House and have nearly completed Bunker Hill. This is despite a long summer break for holiday and new carpets being fitted. 

I also painted a Division of 6mm Napoleonic Bavarians.

Oh, and in August I got promoted at work.

The rest of 2016 has been a bit screwy for the world but the paintingshed output has been OK.

Best wishes for 2017!

Edit: I forgot that I also painted 24 British AWI artillery crew so the totals are 630 foot, 20 mounted (and one extra horse), 7 guns and 2 limbers with horses. I have just cleaned-up the first 20 figures for 2017...

Breed's Hill (7)

Slow progress, but it is all taking shape.


The breastwork has now received several coats of glue and sand. Once the latest has dried it can get a thick coat of the textured paint that I used on the rest of the hill and redoubt. 

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Breed's Hill (6)

A little more progress.

Green fence paint applied and the breastwork construction has commenced. Both this and the redoubt are removable which means I can use a piece of cloth, etc to turn this into a more mundane hill.

I'll leave this for a week now to dry/harden.


Breed's Hill (5)

Hi all

I made more progress on the hill today; dry brushing the whole thing. It is beginning to look more like a piece of terrain now. The next steps are to put down some cling film and begin to build the breastwork on das clay. Some of the brown areas will get a coat of thin, green fence paint in the same way as my terrain tiles.



 Lastly, the reason for no figures this week is writing a theme and 6 scenarios for an upcoming issue of Wargames Soldiers & Strategy. Here is one of my draft maps:


No vector graphics here, just pencils and a pen. Those nice chaos at WSS will then organise a proper artist to produce the finished maps for publication.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

My Wargaming Week, 4th December 2016

Not much to report this week. I've had a cold so have not done any work in the garage to move the hill along. This is not a problem as I don't need it finished until mid March at the earliest.

Painting has been slow but I have now finished all of the grenadiers I will need for Bunker Hill:

The converged grenadier battalion of 10 under strength companies

The grenadiers of the 63rd and the 2nd Marines to form part of Pigott's flank company battalion:

I have also made progress with the light companies:

Three more to go and the converged battalion will be complete:

The latest addition is a company of 1st Marines. I have simplified the cap badge on these and painted the chain helmets dark red with white "chains". It's all a bit speculative but they look the part.

I do also have 3x six-figure light companies to paint up for Pigott's battalion.

I'm having next week off painting duties however to get some writing done for a magazine article. Then it will be back to the light companies to make way for the three line battalions who will arrive on Christmas morning...

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Breed's Hill (4)

Slow progress while each stage dries, but here is the current progress. Grass matting has been glued in patches to the hill. The parts between have received a couple of coats of a mix of fence paint, polyfilla, PVA and sand. This has also been used to blend-in the grass may patches.

This view is from behind rebel lines:

And here we look up the hill along the line of where the bread twirl will go:

Saturday, 12 November 2016

My Wargaming Week, 12th November 2016

This week I have continued with British grenadiers. The grenadiers of the 5th foot can join the converged grenadier battalion once their basing is finished:



I had a few experiments to get an acceptable "gosling green" but I think this will do OK. This is a mix of Vallejo dark yellow, Army Painter greenskin and a touch of light brown.

Also painted, and on individual bases are the grenadiers of the 35th in orange facings:

These facings are Vallejo orange-brown, highlighted by adding a little yellow.

I'm on call this weekend so progress might slow as it distracts my mojo. I have made progress on Breed's Hill with some textured paint but will report on that next week once it is more photogenic than the current wet, brown mound!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Breed's Hill (3)

A little more progress on the hill this weekend. The structure has been covered in PVA and newspaper. I coloured the glue with some paint as this made it easier to see what I was doing. I've also put fine sand in the trenches for texture.

The redoubt is coming along. Basic structure was DAS clay which has now had a coating of chinchilla sand.

 And finally, the Crown forces for the battle so far. I'm currently working on more grenadiers and Christmas will bring figures for the remaining line infantry. I also need to refresh and expand the light infantry and artillery. I reckon I'm 50-60% of the way there. After that in 2017 will be more Minutemen as opposition and Indians for Lord Dunmore's War (1774).


My plan remains to expand my forces year by year between now and 2024 when I can then refight the whole AWI starting with its prelude at Point Pleasant (1774). By then the collection will be large!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

AWI British Marines

I have finished off my two battalions of marines for the OOB for Bunker Hill. These are Foundry figures with GMB flags. Marines didn't have buttonhole lace but as the facings are white anyway this doesn't show up too much on the finished figures. Flag finials and cords are from Front Rank.





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. 


Friday, 30 September 2016

Royal North Carolina Regiment finished

I have finished this unit:
Although I might need to tweak the buttons to be gold; on the officers at least. Not a huge job and I expect I'll be happier afterwards.

Close ups below:





I have also been doing some long term planning. Some distance around the corner is the 250th anniversary of the AWI. Assuming I begin with Point Pleasant (1774) this is 8 years away. Quite a long time but it makes sense to be organised. My idea is to fill in the gaps in my collection on a year by year basis in line with how I can then stage anniversary games from 2024 onwards. This means that for the rest of 2016 and 2017 the focus will be on painting more native warriors for Point Pleasant and British in warrant uniform for Boston 1775. The Warriors will also then come in useful later in the war. I already have some British suitable for Bunker Hill etc, however these will benefit probably from some re-basing and I'll need to add more battalions. I think I will need to add the 5th foot, two battalions of marines and two more white-faced battalions at least, possibly more if I want to do the relief force sent out in the aftermath of the Lexington/Concord debacle. This will give me a nice focus and an excuse to sort out the painted and unpainted minutemen figures I have lying around too. It also leaves lots of time for other projects. Then in 2018 I'll review what I have for New Yory 1776 and maybe sort myself out some hessian musketeers, Maryland regiment in hunting shirts, etc. No need to over-plan right now; I'll just concentrate on the early war stuff!

Alongside this I also wonder if it is worth slowly putting together a book that will be ready to publish in time for the bi-and a half-centennial in 2025? With that much time I could set up and photograph dioramas for all of the major battles in each year of the war without it being too intense a project so not likely to interfere with work and home life. I also expect that publishing in 8 years time will be even easier than it is now!

In between I'll carry on with my existing other periods and might even dip back into ACW with the new Perry plastic Union infantry box due out soon.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Royal North Carolina Regiment (2)

Painting mostly completed:


Now I need to wait for all of that glue to dry and I can start sorting out the bases.

The flags are GMB ones for the Queen's Rangers. I repainted the central shield on each and added in "NC" as the unit designation.


Next up is a loyalist militia command stand...

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Royal North Carolina Regiment (1)

This week I have been mostly working on this regiment as part of an overall plan to re present my old Camden demo game from 2002.

I originally painted these for Salute 2002 but the unit needs refreshing if it is to better fit with the current collection.

Below is an "original" figure:

Overall I have been brightening up the paint job and making more of the small clothes white to give a slightly more uniform effect.

The firing figures are about done:


And the bulk of the re-paints are not far behind:


This morning I have block-painted some extra figures who will then get a strong tone ink wash and be painted to match the rest as closely as possible:


Painting the faces to match the "old style" layered method will probably be the biggest challenge.

When finished this will be a 30 figure unit with a separate stand of 2 standard bearers. I'm doing most British and loyalist units with separate flags as they often may not have been carried and it makes it easier to use one unit as a proxy for a number of others. Thus the RNC will be useable as a number of blue-faced loyalist formations.