Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Seven Carabiniers

I've completed the first seven out 28 plastic Perry Carabiniers.  Well "completed" is a relative term, as I still need to dip the models and base them, but their status is close enough to show a picture of.  I really like these models and found the painting to be easier than I expected.  I'll be painting them to be part of the 1st Carabinier regiment and have been trying to following the enclosed painting card as best I can.  It took me about 5 hours to complete this batch of seven so I'm confident I can get the rest done in the next few weeks.

I have discovered that I have more fun and do a better job painting figures in small batches of 5 - 7 figures rather than as either a single fig or a whole unit.  I recently tried to paint a 42 figure grenadier unit like a color based assembly line - lets paint flesh on 42 figs, then white etc.  It took a lot of the fun out of painting and the quality of the middle figures was pretty poor.

On other wargaming fronts, I have been reading the new Black Powder ruleset and have found it to be both a good read and a very interesting ruleset.  I'm thinking of giving it a go with my 6mm American Civil War (ACW) armies.  I'll need to adjust the movement and shooting distances down a bit but it looks like it might be a fun endeavor. I saw that yesterday over in the UK there was an official Black Powder event that sounded like a lot of fun.  Perhaps Mr Stallard and crew will elect to host something over hear in the colonies some time in the future?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Sharpe Skirmish Scenario

Last night I got together with my gaming club for a skirmish game based on the "Sharpe's Rifles" characters.  As you can see from the pictures, both the figures and terrain are top-notch.  Of course, none of them are mine but they are a real pleasure to play with.  My only claim to fame is that one of my photo's of the same gaming room is featured in the recently published "Black Powder" ruleset (page 4).  Who knew an I-Phone could take pictures worth publishing?

This was my first "skirmish" type game and it was a lot of fun.  I got to play Sharpe and his Rifle company, which you can see leading the British column in the first picture above.  Our mission was to deliver a load of rifles and gold to some Spanish Guerillas who were holding the town we were marching to.  Unfortunately, there was a large French column heading in the same direction so the race to the town was on.

The first day's march was a comedy of errors as each column had to roll for various special events and the french were further delayed by some time lost dealing with broken wagon wheels and issues with the camp followers (yes there were even figures for them also).  The end result was that a french dragoon unit made it to the town first but got caught in between the spanish guerillas in the town and my intrepid lads:

After breaking the French Dragoons, the British were declared to have seized the town and both sides were able to redeploy our forces.  The French prepared to assault the town while the British and Spanish were defending.  The river was declared fordable and the we (the brits) were further hampered that the regulars were all new recruits who had a unfortunate tendency to bolt at the mere sight of the French - thank goodness for Mr Sharpe and his hero stats being able to rally on a roll of 11 or less.  I was having so much fun I didn't take a lot of pictures except towards the end of the evening - the next one shows a counterattack on a unit of French Grenadiers who had successfully taken the bridge.

Oh yes, there was a certain Sgt Hakeswell within the ranks of the British regulars who seemed to cause no end of troubles - taking pot shots at our hero, Sharpe, and then actually trying to steal both the gold and the game from us - you can see Sharpe and the dastardly Hakeswell in a melee as Sharpe was trying to prevent the loss of the gold.

In the end, the game followed the script and Sharpe won the day (but just barely).  All-in-all it was a grand game that was beautifully staged and well deserving of the bottles of spanish red I brought to celebrate the evening.

Our next game will be in January and will be a more normal Napoleonics battle but on a 20-24' table.  I'm tasked with completing 6-10 french units, of which 5 are done - it should be a great game!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Perry French Heavy Cavalry

Just a short post as an update on my progress with the 2 boxes of the new Perry French Heavy Cavalry that recently arrived to bolster my meager forces.  Overall, I am very impressed with the quality of the product.  Each box has fourteen figures that can be modeled as 11 troopers, 1 bugler, a standard bearer and officer or as up to 14 troopers.  You're also given 2 head options to model the figures as either Cuirassiers or Carabiners.  I chose to model this batch as carabiners for the sole reason that they looked more interesting to paint - I know the historical fanatics cringe when that type of logic is used.

The assembly process was very quick and there was almost no flash on the sprues.  It took me about 3 hours to assemble, clean-up and prime the 28 horsemen.  I found this to be a much faster rate than it takes me to clean-up and prime metal cavalry figures (Perry French Light Cavalry).  I modeled the riders separate from their horses to facilitate painting and will attach them once the details are complete.

The horses are modeled in half sections and there can be some minor gaps that occur (usually around the breast of the horse) that will require some minor filling with green stuff.  There's a very good article in Battlegames magazine, issue 18, on assembling Perry plastic ACW cavalry which I found helpful for these guys.

While a small detail, this version of boxed plastics comes with a very useful card for painting and unit identities, etc. which I found very useful.  Overall I would highly recommend these figures for all Napoleonic gamers.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming Hussars from Perry!

Even though they are just primed in white, 28 French cavalry massed together makes a very impressive sight - now I've got to finish them to get them on the table.  I think it will take me three weeks to get them done, assuming I take advantage of the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays here in the US.

My gaming group is planning a massive Napoleonics battle in the first week of January and I'm committed to bring 8 units (5 infantry, 1 cavalry and 2 artillery) of which only 5 are complete!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Very Busy Week

This week was a very busy one both work and wargaming wise.  The heck with the work stuff, here's the wargaming stuff.  I managed to finish my Uncharted Seas Orc and Dwarf fleets as you can see in the picture to the left.  Uncharted Seas is a simple fantasy naval game which I like playing as a diversion from 28mm  Napoleonics.  It's also a relatively inexpensive game to get into as you can get the rules and 2 starter fleets for under $100.  The game plays quick and is a lot of fun.   I'll post some more pictures of the "fleets" at the end of this post.

The war game table looks a bit cluttered as it's currently being used by my son's robotics team to build their robot for the FTC competition this year.  I'm coaching them and its a lot of fun, but we loose the ability to play war games for 3-4 months each year while robot engineering is underway.  Oh well, it's educational!

In addition to finishing up the fleets, my local wargaming club got together for a game with a Star Wars ground-attack theme.  Kind of silly but at least there were no Ewoks!  It was a set of house rules which played very nicely - think WWII in a galaxy far, far away.  I played on the rebel side and was able to steal the imperial shuttle and win the game.  I will say the scenery was top notch (sorry no pics) and it even featured a working mono-rail (complete with a Disney-tour sound track if you pushed a button on the top). The mono-rail brought in Darth Vader and some imperial reinforcements.  It was a different, but a very fun game.  I also learned that there is an inverse correlation between beer consumption (bass) and the humor of "may the force be with..." quips.  Who knew?

On Saturday morning, I drove up to Gettysburg to attend the Fall-In show with a friend.  We wandered around the show for a bit and bought a few things - I mostly got scenery pieces for 15mm WWII.  The crowd was very light and the mood a bit subdued so it wasn't the best show.

Here are some more photos of the Uncharted Seas Fleets:

Lastly, I just received a couple of boxes of these guys - can't wait to get started!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Grenadiers Completed!

I finally finished off my battalion of Grenadiers, with the exception of a few mustaches I need to go back and finish.  As a relative newcomer to 28mm Napoleonics, this was my first "all-metal" unit.  At the risk of sounding heretical, I think I like painting plastic figures over the metal ones.  I find I can see the details better in the plastics than I can the metal and the overall painting experience is more enjoyable.  I do like the "weight" of the metal figs when pushing them about the battlefield but I', happy to give that up for the better painting experience.  I'm sure my past experiences with the GW 28mm 40K fig's has influenced my opinion.  Next up on the painting list is finishing 2 more battalions of Perry plastics (you can see one of them behind the Grenadiers above) and then (hopefully) I'll have received the 2 boxes of Cuirassiers (the new plastic ones from Perry).

There was yet another mis-step on the Nappy front.  I had ordered some Old Glory limbers in an effort to save a few bucks, but like their artillery figures, the scale is a bit small and the quality really poor (look at me becoming a miniatures snob!).  The limber models were really not usable so yet another effort to save money via lower quality ends up a failure.

As for other modeling, I completed 2 basic starter fleets for "Uncharted Seas"- Dwarf and Orc.  I found the models a lot of fun to paint.  I tried to do some free-hand skulls for the Orc sails but was disappointed with the results so I'm looking to find some details.  The game is a simplistic naval game and it's both quick and fun.

Lastly, I have a confession to make.  As I've reflected on my glacial painting pace with 28mm Nappy's (3 units in roughly 3 months) I've realized that it will take close to a year to get a nice sized force in place.  Being somewhat impatient, I've decided to hire a painter in the UK who was brought to my attention by some acquaintances over there who are in the war game industry.  My initial commission is for 2 infantry battalions.  His quality is outstanding (you'll definitely notice the difference from my efforts).  It's a bit pricey, but as I've learned one usually gets what one pays for (see the Old Glory reference above).  If the quality is a good as I've seen, I'll recommend the painter in a future post.