Monday 26 January 2015

Waterloo Project: More KGL Infantry - this time redcoats

Sorry, 4 blogs in 4 days is a precedent very unlikely to be repeated but I hope you are enjoying them as much as I am!

Kevin has just sent me a batch of dramatic close up photos of his latest creations - Perry Miniatures British painted as his first two companies of the 5th Regiment of Line, King's German Legion. Our spreadsheet shows that when combined with ones Paul already has we will have the complete battalion as 165 figures to mount guard near the crossroads on Mont St Jean on the day.

Here are the first 48 from Kevin, no write up this time, just enjoy the paintwork - every face an individual!

Waterloo Project: Record keeping and Status bases

I've written my own rules for our representation of the La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont fighting at 1:3 scale, which I'm calling "With MacDonnell and Baring 1815" (WMaB15). Some of the other members of our little syndicate have helped me with initial play tests and we have two bigger ones lined up over the next couple of months.  When the rules were in first draft I saw articles on the, then new, Wargamer Aide de Camp, plastic trays and tiles for keeping track of unit statistics and status information on the tabletop. It looked like just what we needed so I bought a batch and set them up for our test games.

For those not yet familiar with this project here's a link to the Cavalry test game -second-test-game
You can get an idea from that of the overall effect of units accompanied by Wadc trays and here are some close up photos.
A French Horse Artillery battery
This large French infantry battalion has one tray for the main body of Fusiliers
and separate ones for the Voltigeur and Grenadier companies so they can operate
independently if desired

The KGL 2nd Light Battlion here coming up to the front line being used in two wings,
each has a status tray, although the one for the Left Wing is not visible in this photo

Trying to keep things organised! An old ice cube maker tray takes the Wadc plastic
tiles nicely when awaiting use. They supply stickers up to 30% losses but I've made
diminishing numbers up to 90% to allow for some "die hard" units at our Waterloo.
You can also see Morale status markers such as "Shaken" and "Disordered".

French battalion attacking in company column, (and beyond in column of attack)
with losses now showing on the tray. The smart numerical unit markers can
of course be used separately from the trays, such as for the mounted officer
 so he is easily identifiable on the Order of Battle sheet

Guard Lancer unit with losses indicated.
The MDF casualty bases I featured many months ago from Warbases can also be
used in combination with this system if you have many figures to a movement base.

A more general view - the Line Lancers are falling back in "Disorder" with a 30% loss marker .
In the distance you can see the Wadc tray also comes in handy to house
a die if you need some other numerical status method. 
I hope you can tell from the photos how versatile this system is. They come in sets of different coloured headers and status markers with the very professional looking green plastic trays and tiles (which reminded me of the letter tiles from my old Travel Scrabble set!) - I ordered the basic packs with Red and Blue unit markers for obvious reasons, and a good range of status markers come in neutral green. You can get as downloads different files as either PDF or Word documents, mine were from the "Horse and Musket" range but they do Ancients too, and you can customise them yourself . Full details on the website wargamer-aide-de-camp. which has very useful links to photos of the Products and a much more full explanation than I can give here. There is also an interesting page of videos of wargames using the system. 

In summary I really like this system and if you use one of the commercial rule sets they are designed to fit then you are all ready to go. In addition you can modify the Word files to suit other sets of rules, or your own design, as in my case. That's quite hard work but should only need to be done once and printed out onto special paper you can buy for adhesive labels. If you like the look of it then that is worth the effort. I know many people don't like battlefield "clutter" on the tabletop and neither do I, but if it's for a practical purpose like this you have to weigh that up against the aesthetic appeal and they could be made much more professional looking than mine, or, if the green is not for you then you could paint the plastic trays to match your battleground. If you have small units or small figures they might look a bit overpowering, but considering many of our basic tactical units in 28mm for WMaB15 are around 50 cavalry or over 100 infantry they feel "just right"  to me.

Look forward to any comments

Martin Lampon of Tiger Media Ltd. which owns Wargamer Aide De Camp has kindly offered a "2 for 1" special deal for any readers of my blog. Have a look at the website (linked above) then email your requirements to Martin at using the code "notjustoldschool" and you pay only for half for any Wargamer Aide de Camp product!

Sunday 25 January 2015

Waterloo Project: Some more (but beautiful) Life Guards

Kevin East just gets better and better. It's with great delight and privilege that I can present to you his latest contribution to our 1:3 scale Waterloo (La Haye Sainte) wargame. Please take a look at the photos; this man is so talented he has painted in the teeth of the open-mouthed charging troopers and they don't look out of scale. You'd never believe these are "just" for wargaming.  We will need about 80 figures for our scenario to make the 2nd Life Guards; we have about 34 so far so I will be making up the shortfall when James Fergusson has supplied me with the raw material for my conversions.
Meanwhile, feast on Kevin's batch and enjoy his account of their production:

"Here’s a small addition to the Life Guards that Chris has already produced for the 1:3 Waterloo games.
 The website we use for authentic renditions of Waterloo uniforms casts a different shadow on the look of the Life Guards. It appears to be that they use ( according to the guide –centjours.mont-saint-jean Life Guards ) a sheepskin on the horse saddle.

Now Perry do a nice range of Life Guards but fail to have this element of the horse furniture or indeed plumes for the troopers.  Whether they had them or not I decided it would be fun to add both elements to the Perry figures I had already acquired. 
 Therefore some accommodating plastic French Hussar heads lost their plumes in favour of the British troopers and much ‘green stuff’ later a sheepskin was added to all 15 horses.

A bit fiddly I know but I enjoyed the process as it was my first real use of the fine variety of green stuff. You can see the method in the photos of the 3 identical horses. First it was necessary to grind off the metal canteen on the portmanteau, then apply a flat precut piece of green stuff , put in the cloth edge to the sheepskin and then apply the texture using two sculpting tools available from Games Workshop ( as indeed was the fine quality green stuff ).

Much painting later of the troopers and latterly the horses in oil paints, they came together in the photos that you see here. As I say only a small gathering as they represent my 1:20 scale purposes I have intended for other potential games at a later date.
Hope you like them.

Friday 23 January 2015

Waterloo Project: King's German Legion Hussars

In common with many wargamers I have a "thing" about Hussars.
In the cavalry test game for our 1:3 scale Waterloo rules you might have seen some of Kevin's Perry Miniatures British Hussars in the background, painted as KGL, and I thought they looked pretty cool.
here is a photo of some.
A bit of research suggested to me that Lt Col Meyer's 3rd Hussars KGL were active in the Allied centre at Waterloo, helping to see off the French cavalry attacks. I should incorporate them into my La Haye Sainte weekend, and they are worthy of pretty full representation. At 1:3 scale that means over 100 figures. Kevin's would make one squadron, but then I realised he had painted the 2nd Hussars and what made them look so good was the brown fur colbacks/busbies.  Troopers of the 3rd wore shakos. :-(

So, now for one of those pragmatic decisions that all but the most fanatical of us have to make from time to time - aesthetics versus historical accuracy. I'm afraid the artist in me generally wins that battle and thus it was I happened on several batches of  "British Hussars" on Ebay last Autumn. I managed to win them all and ended up with a mixture of well over 50 metal and plastic, mostly Perry, hussars all in colbacks. Quite a lot were in the tall early version, but I didn't let that worry me as you can't really tell at "wargames distance".

I don't like boring readers with a lengthy "work in progress" blog so I'm delighted to say I finished the batch of 35 metal ones in about a month of spare time. To give you a flavour of progress here is view of them on my painting table

I had painted all the horses first without riders, then sprayed the riders with grey undercoat before sticking them on the horses. Now the riders are being painted, fairly spread out, which is not my normal method as I usually paint figures already on their final bases. This shot below does show the finished figures mounted on the final bases.

I cut them out from transparent plastic "jewel cases" from old CDs and computer discs; why pay for commercial MDF or plastic ones? After that I mixed an earth coloured gloop of acrylic structure gel and acrylic paint and spread it all over the bases. While wet I dipped them all in a box of natural sawdust. Apart from then adding grass scatter when the sawdust is dry that's my basing done, very simple but quite effective enough for gaming, in my opinion.

Here are photos of them "on parade".
Above and below: classic two-rank formation with squadron officers and trumpeter leading from the front

Above and below: Charging by troop or company,  front and rear view

 Finally, a view in column of march

You may have noticed two extra officers out front in the top parade photo. Here is a better look at them
Both were bought on Ebay as the Earl of Uxbridge, commander of the Allied cavalry at Waterloo. I painted the one on the right (below) as a KGL Hussar Colonel, so the final three squadrons will have a leader. The one on the left is painted as Uxbridge. As usual multiple reference sources gave plenty of choices of uniform but I opted for this smart red dolman and breeches with blue pelisse and yellow boots so that he would stand out from all the blue Allied Hussars and Light Dragoons in our games.

Now I'm getting on with squadron two which is composed of 40 Perry plastic hussars all with the correct KGL peaked colback. However, I have two large rules test games to stage in the next 5 weeks and can't guarantee I'll get them finished by then, but all three squadrons in the main game in July should be a fine sight.