Monday, 25 May 2015

Waterloo Project: More on the test game, Part Two

To follow up waterloo-project-more-on-test-game.

Here is the view of those French line lancers as seen from the Luneburg battalion
Not surprisingly, Luneburg formed a square while they still had time
At which the Lancers moved to phase two of the plan and manoeuvred to their
right to support the Cuirassiers......
.....which unmasked the Horse Artillery battery who opened fire.
This photo shows the round shot method with first graze and bounce through
templates hitting the front face and colour party.
The status marker already shows "shaken" from previous losses
1st squadron 4th Cuirassier regiment has now concentrated on the next square of
KGL riflemen while 2nd Squadron takes the heat off provided by the oncoming
KGL Hussars.
Two squadrons of Dragoons are backing up the Cuirassiers
And here is a wider view of the French attack
But more KGL Hussars join the fray...... close-up; and I suspect those Lancers think they have spotted an opening
However it's likely to be filled by 3rd Squadron KGL Hussars, and a squadron
of Royal Scots Greys has just made an appearance behind them
Allied left flank: View from 5th Regiment KGL Line Infantry down into the valley
....where the French are making progress towards the stream
Back at the main gates of the farm the French have penetrated on both sides but
men of the 95th struggle to keep the gates closed
French Voltigeurs are also seeking to stretch the defenders at the side and find
a way over the unguarded wall.....
........which about 6 of them did but were confronted by a platoon of Luneburg Riflemen
 and were annihilated, causing the remainder of the company to break
The engineers break through!  But who is that trying to stop them? It's that ghastly
figure of Sharpe with the big cavalry sword!
By the next photo he and his mates had been swept aside and the French
onslaught continued...coming in from the left flank too.
.....where more of the 95th had a rough firing line based on wagons and farm impedimenta
Above and below: Two more views showing the apparently unstoppable
 French infantry.  But help is at hand......that's the Grenadier  Company of British
27th Foot in the courtyard

Didn't want to interrupt the narrative with this but have to show you, slightly earlier,
James Fergusson's superb battalion of the 27th  Foot approaching the rear gate of the farm
I'll finish off this set with a rather nice shot of Paul and Kevin, French commanders, sharing out their initiative tokens. Richard watches with his usual sang-froid

More tomorrow, family permitting.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Waterloo Project: More on the Test Game

I'm long overdue in posting photos on the second day of our Third-rules-test-game, but have a look at the link if you want a reminder of where we got to in February. The second day of that test game was on 1st March and since the week following that game it's been non-stop for me working on various aspects of the four Waterloo weekends we have to look forward to here in The Cotswolds. More on that in later posts, but for now, a daunting task.
The main reason for the delay in blogging this was just the sheer quantity of nice photos, both mine and Kevin's, so I'll have to break them up into manageable chunks and let the captions be brief. I'll assume you've read the earlier posts and just a  reminder of key points for new comers:
- We are refighting segments of the Waterloo battlefield at La Haye Sainte in July and Hougoumont in September.
- Both are at 1:3 scale on the ground and in figure:man ratio.
- We are testing special rules written for those days called "With MacDonnell and Baring 1815"
- The terrains will be built specially; this test is just "generic" with a rough and ready terrain cloth over wood, cardboard and paper.
- 28mm figures from various collections, mostly compatible!

Here we go
Allied commanders James and Richard share out the initiative chits
French Commander Kevin seems happy with his renewed attacking deployment
The French Cuirassiers in the front line had been reinforced by two
squadrons of Dragoons

Kevin has brought forward his horse artillery battery from their rear position "on the shelf"
with the intention of playing close range fire on any Allies that refuse to give way to his cavalry
Here they are deploying; limbers and teams still in the act of getting clear
Please note Kevin's beautiful vignettes of Horse Artillery horse holders.
In front of the artillery French skirmishers and Lancers are threatening the
Luneburg battalion. Cuirassiers are advancing up the ridge on the right of the photo
In the distance the farm is on fire and under close attack by infantry
A close up of those French Lancers
On the right the small KGL Light square struggles against Cuirassiers while Allied
cavalry come up in support
The single company of 2nd Bn KGL Light Infantry had collapsed under pressure from the Cuirassiers
but took their leave quickly under cover of 2nd Squadron KGL Hussars coming to the rescue .
The two company square of the same battalion is holding its own on the ridge
That KGL rifle company can be seen rallying in the shelter of the ridge
while 3rd squadron KGL Hussars gets ready to advance
On the French right flank, changes from the earlier part of the game.
The French light battalion left the field to be replaced by another one and also a line battalion.
Skirmishers from both are pressing the KGL Light Battalion skirmishers.
On the ridge an RHA Rocket section has deployed and the 5th Line Battalion KGL
is beginning to arrive in company column  
Two views of the 5th KGL Line Battalion.
Apart from the Rocket there is also a Howitzer section left from the
 RHA Battery that featured in the first day's test
A better look at the newly arrived French Light battalion
That's all I have time for at the moment, so I'll get it published rather than delay and make too long a post. Hopefully more tomorrow.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Waterloo project: Squadron of French 2nd Dragoon regiment at 1:3

Just following up fairly quickly on my previous post Leading the herd to bring you the completed squadron of Perry Plastic French Dragoons as about a quarter of the full regiment we will field in our 1:3 scale refight around La Haye Sainte.

16 of them are painted as Elite Company soldiers but they will be supplemented by more red plumed Dragoons from other  players' collections and it might amount to an Elite Squadron on the day!
 As I've said before in the context of a 180 figure infantry battalion I think the secret of finishing these large units is to keep your resolve. Always complete every stage for the whole lot before starting the next colour. Don't give in to that urge "I'll just see what these half dozen look like completed", because you will find it very difficult to keep up the momentum.
 With large numbers it's worth the effort to get your "logistics" right when assembling or painting. Have everything in near reach and use the same sized brush throughout the stage for the whole lot - say a wider one for the white gauntlets, and leave the smaller brush for the white portmanteau straps aside until you are ready to do them all.  Also an adage among oil painters who want to maintain a more fluid style in say landscape painting is to use the widest brush you can get away with. That works with this mass production figure painting as you are less likely to distract yourself from the bigger areas with the temptation to try that same colour elsewhere.
 Photographing the test games showed that, with large units, in the time elapsed in even one move you could end up with considerable bare open space on the table if a unit broke. We will need to leave some debris to show the scene of action. So I've converted quite a few men and horses as battlefield casualties, and I've asked my collaborators to try to find time to do the same for some of the troops types they are providing. I anticipate burning the midnight oil in July on casualty figures in the run up to our weekend!
Finally a couple of atmospheric, low level digitally enhanced photos. I really love doing these, I hope you like them too.

And now, I'm heavily into assembling the next batch of cavalry - a squadron of British Life Guards using Perry plastic British Hussar bodies and legs with French Carabinier helmets. They are shaping up nicely.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Waterloo Project: Leading the herd?

Apologies for the lack of blogging. I'm facing the wargamer-blogger's dilemma: do I spend time on blogging or painting figures? With the Waterloo game deadlines looming I have been very busy with the latter, and I still owe the world posts on the last Waterloo 1:3 rules test game and lots on my creation of the terrain for our 1:100 Waterloo games scheduled for two weekends in June which has taken me most of March and April.

But for now, the humorous nature of this mass production figure painting at 1:3 scale struck me as worthy of some fun photos.
A squadron the French 2nd regiment of Dragoons I'm currently working on in readiness for a saunter up Mont Saint Jean. These are four boxes of Perry plastic cavalry stuck together en masse. However, for some reason, I think because the horses and saddlecloths are different to the troopers', I stuck the officers to the horses but left all the rank and file nags without riders for undercoating.  To make them easier to handle I stuck all the horses to the final bases before painting.

I used a couple of different colour spray paints to do the undercoat and then, no fancy oils but a variety of Citadel washes and thinned paints at random. Then similar treatment with a variety of colours for drybrushing. The aim being to produce a look of natural randomness within the chestnut/bay range for the whole lot.. Finally white blazes, stockings, etc, and hooves where necessary. I keep Henry Hyde's wonderfully succinct guide to horse painting next to my desk (see page 245 of  "The Wargaming Compendium") as it is an extremely useful reference. One officer and two trumpeters horses are greys.
I've done a number of spare horses and rides as casualties.

It wasn't till I'd finished them (excepting the Army Painter Quickshade when the whole figure is together ) that I realised I had produced an effect unknown to me in 40 plus years of figure painting - that the officers look as if they are leading a herd of riderless horses.  It's 52 horse figures and I'd never painted so many in one batch before.  The riders are well on the way to completion now so another squadron will soon take its place on the shelf.

And I never followed up my post on KGL Hussars with photos of my second squadron.  So here are two shots from our test game in March. In all we will have three squadrons like this on the day.
These are also Perry plastic made from several boxes kindly discounted to the project by James Fergusson
napoleonicwargamesblog  and painted by me. Status markers by  wargamer-aide-de-camp

And now to encourage me to finish them here's a view of a companion squadron of  Dragoons following up the Cuirassiers in our March test game.  With promised collaboration from other members of our Waterloo project syndicate I'm expecting to field about 160 Dragoons for our La Haye Sainte endeavour.

Now the expert is still frantically at work, coincidentally on a similar task. Kevin East has just sent me two photos of his latest work in progress.  48 Perry metal French Cuirassiers for a squadron of the 1st Regiment.

As for me, back to the brushes.....