Friday, 11 August 2017

Casualty Markers

I intend that each of my Napoleonic units will have it's own casualty marker.
So far every one of my British infantry battalions has it's own bespoke casualty marker on a dial base from Warbases. I have also produced one for my artillery bases, may need to do more.

Example of infantry casualty marker

Artillery casualty marker

I then came to my cavalry units of which I currently have three, only two painted so far, and how I would do them. The easiest way was to buy dead horse miniatures and these I got from Front Rank, however these would not fit well on the Warbases bases. Fortunately I found that Charlie Foxtrot Models do similar dial bases in an elongated pill shape which are a perfect fit.

14th & 16th Light Dragoons and 4th Dragoon casualties.

These bases come unassembled and some care needs to be taken to ensure the parts line up and the dial is still free to rotate after assembly. All in all thought perfect for the job.

Completed and partially assembled base.

Now I just need to find casualty figures for my Portuguese line and cacadores or it's out with the cutters, glue and pins.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Minden 1759. Game at NBHW.

On Saturday 29th myself and seventeen others attended the New Buckenham Historical Wargamers to refight the Seven Years' War Battle of Minden, 1759. The game had been set up the previous evening and featured over two thousand 28mm figures. The rules used were Honuors of War by Osprey. A few pictures of the set up follow, with an AAR after.

von-Sporken's battalions view the massed French cavalry.

The massed French cavalry view the "chétif" red coated battalions.

The massed battalions of the French left wing.

von-Sporken's British and Hanoverian battalions.

Fight for Malbergen.

Unhistorically, Sackville takes to the field.

Imhoff's German troops, Hessians and some Brunswickers, advanced on Malbergen, took one half of the village as the French took the other and were then fearfully cut up as the French beat back a rash Hessian advance. The supporting German cavalry of Holstein-Gottorf could do little to help against the French massed ranks and musketry.

The British and Hanoverians of von-Sporcken's famous battalions went straight forward, leaving the first line of French cavalry, little option but to charge. This charge and the subsequent one from the second line were firmly met, held and smashed by Sporcken's heroic lads. It seemed at this point that history might be repeated.

However the Saxon contingent now arrived, after losing the 23rd foot and seeing his two flanking units retire, the 12th foot and Hanoverian Guard Battalion, von-Sporcken decided to pull back on Kingsley's Brigade and refresh the line. This was achieved, a '6' would have seen the 37th and remaining 'Fuss Garde' advance alone !, but this allowed the Saxons to clear the third line of French horse and form up, along with the French Battalions beside Hahlen.

As von-Sporcken realigned and awaited the support of Scheele's column, two rolls of '1' had kept him frustratingly idle, Prince Ferdinand - ever calm & cool in command, brought up the Hessians and Hanoverians of Wutginau's Brigade. This fine looking body of men now made fine looking bodies of the remaining French cavalry that again attempted, and failed, to check this advance.

To the surprise of all, Sackville led on his two brigades of cavalry, the latter ably led by the Marquis of Granby. These began to take fire from the formed French infantry, and at the same time the allies decided to attack the French battalions holding the other end of Hahlen.

Sadly these last events unfolded as time called a halt. The umpire, noting the losses to Ferdinand's army around Malbergen, called it as a narrow win for the French army of Contandes.

Quite simply a brilliant day of historical wargaming.

For a lot more photographs see the club's Facebook Album


Antietam 1862, The Cornfield. Game at NBHW.

Friday night at NBHW saw six of us sit down for a game of Fire & Fury in 15mm based of the Battle of Antietam in 1862, specifically the fight for the cornfield near the Dunker church. This was one of a series of warm up games before a planned refight of the whole battle latter this year. Once again Richard provided a great game with lots of historical commentary thrown in. A few photos follow with his AAR write up following.

The starting overview from the Union side.
The starting overview from the Confederate side.
The Union advance, the Iron Brigade reach the cornfield.
The Union feed in more troops, artillery back re supplying.

This was a full throated battle from the outset with the famed Iron Brigade surging through the cornfield into the waiting guns of the confederate defensive line. By the time the planned supporting attacks by Federal brigades on either flank got into position the boys from Wisconsin had been destroyed by a massive Reb counter-attack which broke through and engaged a new Union brigade in East Woods. The first wave of Blue were decisively thrown back but fresh federal troops managed to rout 2 Reb brigades and retake the cornfield.
Millers farm was garrisoned by the 1st US Sharpshooters and saw fierce exchanges of musketry all along the Hagerstown Turnpike. Long range artillery fire disrupted both sides batteries and were frequently out of action due to damage or low ammunition.
By the end of the scenario, Federal 1st Corps had reached its Morale Level and would have struggled to continue the attack - which is what happened on the day. Jacksons troops still had plenty of reserves but now faced a fresh wave of troops from XII Corps which had just started their attack. The whole engagement was well handled by the commanders on both sides and felt very historical.

For a lot more pictures see the Club's Facebook Album


Monday, 31 July 2017

Battle of Valmaseda 1808. Game at NBHW.

Friday night (21st) at NBHW saw the club's ever growing number of Spanish Napoleonic figures take to the field with a game based on the Battle of Valmaseda in 1808. Black Powder was the ruleset used and I will be uploading the army list to my scenerio section soon. The AAR follows with some historical notes after.

Valmaseda 1808 AAR

A notable Spanish victory in 1808 and despite a much more forceful French advance on this occasion the Spanish army of Blake did well enough to garner some credit from this re fight.

Spanish rear guard await their fate / spring trap

The Spanish rear guard, the Asturian Division of General Acevedo, which had got separated from Blake’s army, was attempting to hold off General Villatte’s 3rd Division of Marshal Victor's Corps as Blake rushed forward to effect a relief and attempt to turn the tables on the isolated French division.

Blake's divisions advance to close the trap

The Spanish commanders all led their divisions forward with great purpose, despite often moving tardily due to the fiendish Black Powder commander SR rules. Meanwhile General Acevedo did a great job falling back on these supports despite losing two or three battalions in the face of great odds. One of the lost Spanish Battalions fighting to the last on the left wing in order to buy time for the rest of Acevedo 's command.

The Spanish advance (just pretend some aren't Dutch/ Belgians)

¡Señor, aquellos que parecen ser cañones franceses por delante!

General Martinengo’s cavalry, the Reina Dragoons of the 2nd Division, only rolled enough to deploy smartly before the French artillery on their flank, General Ruffin’s late arriving 1st Division, before the latter then predictably unlimbered and destroyed the brightly attired Spanish horse. Nearby Spanish infantry was driven in by the French 96th Line Regiment of General Barrois’ brigade. However General Carbajal then threw in the combined grenadiers of his 4th Division at the flank of this French column and checked its advance.

Ruffin arrives

As Victor's troops came forward the Spanish line took shape and General Figueroa’s 1st Division who had found moving forward difficult, to say the least, finally let fly with their cannon; to no effect!

The Spanish consolidate their lines

At this stage, sadly time had beaten us and the umpire called the game as a success for the Spanish but at greater cost than in the historical action. Thanks to the umpire and all those who contributed the troops. It was splendid indeed to see some 23 battalions of Spanish infantry in a game, just a few flags now needed.

Victory Conditions:

  • The French commanders had been tasked with breaking the Asturian Division for a minor victory and any second Spanish division for a major victory.
  • The Spanish had to rescue the majority of the Asturian Division or drive the French from the field for a major victory.

Historical Note:

  • The Battle of Valmaseda took place on 5 November 1808, during Lieutenant-General Blake's retreat from superior French armies in Cantabria. Reinforced by veteran regular infantry from General La Romana's Division of the North, Blake suddenly turned on his pursuers to rescue a trapped detachment and defeated a division of General Victor's army at Valmaseda.
  • Ruffin’s division took no part in the actual battle as they failed to march to the sound of the guns and remained to the south.
  • Once the French realised they had stumbled into a trap they formed square and fought their way back out of the encirclement
  • The French lost 300 men dead or wounded plus another 300 captured along with the divisional baggage.
  • The Spanish lost 50 dead or wounded.

More details at:

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

British Cavalry Brigade commander.

So I am near to completing my second division, Campbell's 4th,  for the British at Talavera and found myself needing a few brigade commander figures for this as well as my brigade of light dragoons and forthcoming half  brigade of heavy dragoons.  The next problem was the uniform.

During the early years of the Peninsular War brigades were often commanded by colonels and they would have worn their regimental uniforms, easy. Then we come to the generals, Brigadier and Major varieties. Now some generals did their own thing, Picton of course and most images and figures of Cotton and other cavalry generals for Waterloo show them in serious "bling" for want of a better word, but what uniforms did the cavalry brigade commanders wear earlier in the war?

After some research I discovered that generals swapped between infantry and cavalry commands quite often early in the war, one year commanding an infantry brigade and the next one of cavalry, so this lead me to believe that cavalry generals would be in the same uniforms as infantry ones. A few questions on some forums gave answers that seemed to agree. No reference books I have showed anything specifically for cavalry generals until the 1815 grandiose affairs.

With this in mind I set off again looking for a mounted British officer in a suitably cavalry like pose, i.e. sword waving.
I have previously used Warlord's mounted British colonels (not correctly uniformed as colonels), Front Rank and Elite figures so was looking for something different. Remembering that Perry had started expanding their range into the earlier periods of the war I went there and found these.

BH 106 Colonels in bicornes ( Worldwide 1808-13)

The chap in the centre looked exactly like what I was looking for to command my light dragoons (actually to represent Cotton in his pre Hussar styled uniforms). The figure on the left will do for the heavies and the right hand one for the last infantry brigade commander I need.

To make them into general uniforms some minor work would be needed. The button and lace on the cuffs would need to filed off as generals uniforms didn't have these but instead had varying numbers of gold lace chevrons on the lower sleeve and coat tails. The epaulettes were fine as the right shoulder aiguillette illustrated below wasn't introduced until the 1812 changes.

Rank distinctions.
Book containing previous picture.

So after a bit of work I finally have my version of General Stapleton Cotton, brigade commander of the 14th and 16th Light Dragoons at Talavera 1809.

General Stapleton Cotton 1809 or is it?


Typically after feedback, I now find the very image I needed when I started this search and it shows Cotton in a Hussar style uniform in the Peninsular, another image of General Stewart, Adjutant General to Wellesley, of the same period seems to confirm the style of light cavalry Generals uniform, so back to the drawing board it is then. The first attempt may become the Heavy Brigade general.

Another bit of online shopping, Front Rank this time and.....

So try again, General Stapleton Cotton.

Leading his brigade of the 14th and 16th Light Dragoons.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Battle of Kalisz 1813. Game at NBHW.

Last Saturday, 3rd June, saw me at NBHW for a game of Shako II in 28mm. The game was to be a scenario based on the Battle of Kalisz 1813. This battle was fought at the tail end of the retreat from Moscow between VII Saxon Corps led by General Reynier and the pursuing Russian advance guard corps under General von Wintingerode.
VII corps were trying to get their forces back over the Prosna river via the bridges in Kalisz while the Russians realising the importance of these bridges were aiming to capture the town.

Map from

How the above map translated to our table

View from Kalisz of the retiring VII Corps and advancing Russians.

General Gablentz's column trying to reach
Kalisz before being cut off.

Trubetzki's Cavalry tasked with cutting off Gablentz's column.

Steindel's Brigade on the Saxon left flank.
(My adversary for the day)

Russian II Infantry Corps of Prinz Eugen looking towards the suburb of
Tyniec and Kalisz beyond.

I was given command of the Russian right flank, specifically the Combined Cavalry Division of General-Lieutenant Lanskoi. My task was to prevent the Saxons of Steindel's Brigade from reaching Kalisz, destroying them if the opportunity arose, as well as trying to delay Devaux's Brigade, on the other side of the river, from re-enforcing Kalisz too soon.

Delaying action commences, "Charge!"

My plan was to charge the three Saxon battalions in range with my regular cavalry and attempt to feint away from any that managed to form square. My cossacks would loiter on the wings to take advantage of any openings. As can be seen above this sort of worked. My Horse Jagers caught the left battalion in line, my centre Hussar regiment forced their target into square and withdrew safely but my right hand Hussar regiment failed to obey the withdraw order after forcing their target into square and charged home.
The result of this was, left battalion destroyed! "Hussar!" and breakthrough advance into the flank of the artillery battery. Right battalion, Saxon grenadiers, not so good. Hussars take several casualties and retreat but don't break and are rallied. Unfortunately the forward unit of cossacks on the right got into cannister range of the pesky French battery across the river and were eventually routed.

Horse Jagers overrun the artillery battery and pause to reform. Cossacks start to
take artillery fire from across the river.

After a pause to reform the Horse Jagers charged and destroyed the Saxon square to their front

Third victory to the Horse Jagers.

My other, independent, Cossack brigade I now moved around the village to deal with the Saxon skirmisher unit taking pot shots at the artillery. These were soon taken care of but at the cost of half the brigade, lost to supporting artillery fire from across the river.
With the remaining two battalions safety in square and the French re-enforcements concentrating on me rather than moving on Kalisz, I withdrew my forces out of cannister and musket range and waited for artillery support to arrive. This it duly did but not before a lucky long range ball shot finally persuaded my weakened Hussar unit to withdraw from the battle.
The Russian battery that moved to support me soon saw off the last of the Saxons and with the French across the river now moving to support their centre my battle was effectively over.
The remains of the independent Cossack brigade were repositioned behind the village to guard the right flank and I started to move the rest of my command behind our centre to support the under pressure left flank and centre.
It was roughly at this point the game was called for the day.

The Prus... sorry Russian reserve assault
the very stubborn Poles whilst the fight
for Tyniec rages.

The reserve rebuffed, Tyniec lost and my
Cavalry moving to cover the retreat.
Game over.

All in all a very enjoyable days wargaming with much laughter, not all forced, and a result that was fairly accurate to the historical outcome.
As can been seen I have concentrated mainly on my command area in this write up, for lots more pictures and the full AAR see the club Facebook page Kalisz 1813


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Basing My Napoleonic Figures, Addendum.

After my previous post on basing my Napoleonic figures I was asked on a couple of wargaming groups/forums how I base my French. After pointing out that "I don't do French" I started wondering how I would. After looking at some of our group's photographs of Napoleonic games and how they base their French, taking into account the requirement for them to be used for both Shako II and Black Powder rules, I came up with the following guide which I hope may be useful to those that choose to play the French.

The mounted officer in the first battalion is optional and appears to be a way that club members identify the lead battalion of a regiment.
Artillery, Cavalry and Command would be based the same as in the British post with the exception that one cavalry base may feature one or two "elite" company troopers.


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Painting a 28mm British Napoleonic Battalion.

So once again another forum comment results in another blog entry. This one was, to paraphrase, "would be interested to see how you do your figures" so here's a very rough guide.

A quick comment on how I paint my figures. I block paint colours and then apply a wash. I may, very rarely, highlight some areas after the wash. I don't use wet blending or three colour shading etc, I think the finished figures look fine for wargaming, which is what they are for after all.

With that said here is how I do paint them.

The next unit up in the painting queue wasn't a usual one, it being the Second Battalion of Detachments which was part of Kemmis' Brigade of Campbell's 4th Division at Talavera.
This unit was made up from those troops left behind in Portugal, for various reasons, following the evacuation of Moore's British army from Corunna in January 1809.
For more information on theses units see The British Battalions of Detachment in 1809 by Robert Burnham.
So this unit would have various facing colours, carry no colours and probably have an even more unkempt appearance than the rest of the army.

Main paint colours used not including Facing colours.

Primer, Varnish, and Washes used.

To get a more varied look to this unit I mixed manufacturers and assembled more with bare heads than I would normally. Rear rank are Warlord, front rank Victrix including one of their resin officers, skirmishers Victrix and Perry and a Warlord metal casualty figure.

Assembled and placed on final bases to check fit

The figures were then attached to bottle tops with UHU glue and brush primed using black Vallejo surface primer.

Attached to painting stands and primed.

Then it was time to decide which figures would represent which parent battalions and thus the facing colours and other identifying features required. Having downloaded the tables giving the breakdown of the 2nd Battalion of Detachments I added facing colours to aid with this decision.
Having done this I chose how many figures to do in each facing colour to try and give an overall representation of the historical make up.
This led to the realisation that if I was going to do any figures from the 71st Highlanders I would need some head swaps. Because although, at this time, the parent battalion was back in England and would soon be converted to a Light Infantry unit, those left behind in the Peninsula would still have been in their highland style uniforms. For the 71st this was highland bonnet and tartan trews!
All this resulted in a help call to fellow club members for highlander heads, soon sourced, as well as the following choices for facing colours.

  • Blue: Prussian Blue (965)
  • White: Ivory (918)
  • Yellow: Deep Yellow (915)
  • Black: Black Grey (862)
  • Buff: (976)
  • Gosling Green: A mix I forgot to record but a yellow green.

I paint the knapsacks and attached equipment separately and attach to the figure near the end. I find this gives me better access to heads and more importantly collars when painting.
  • Knapsack: Black (950)
  • Canteen: Pastel Blue (901)
  • Canteen Strap: Leather Brown (871)
  • Blanket: Light (990) or Neutral (992) Grey normally, sometimes with some brown mixed in.
  • Pots, Pans etc: Gunmetal Grey (863) or various browns if covered.
  • Straps: Either Off White (820) or Buff (976) depending on final figure.

Knapsacks in progress.

Onto the figures, I decided to start with the tartan trews having never tried this before. A quick internet search lead to the tartan pattern to be attempted, MacLeod. Quite happy with the results and the decision to only do three.

First attempt at Tartan trews.

My next stage is to paint the large areas so jackets and turnbacks, trousers, headgear, boots and flesh. Note the reversed colours on the drummer and facing colour panels on the drum. As this is a battalion of detachments I have included more figure in locally produced brown trousers than I would for a standard line battalion.

  • Officer/Sgt Jacket: Scarlet (817)
  • Other Ranks Jacket: Dark Vermillion (947)
  • Jacket Turnbacks: Off White (820)
  • Trousers: Off White (820), Chocolate Brown (872), Beige Brown (875), Tartan :)
  • Headgear, Boots, Cartridge box, Scabbards: Black (950)
  • Flesh: Flat Flesh (955)
  • Drum Wood: Light Brown (929)

Jackets, trousers, flesh, black areas plus
backpack and canteen on one piece figure painted.

The two headless highlanders, awaiting bonneted heads.

Next up facing colours. For the collars and shoulder straps I first paint these completely in the edging lace colour, not required on officer figures, and then fill in the facing colour afterwards. This I have found much easier and neater than painting the facing colour first and then trying to paint a thin line around it after. The cuffs are easy, no edging lace except on the drummer. Remember the drummer will have red collar, cuffs and straps if in reversed colour jacket.
I then paint all the equipment straps, remembering to do these buff for buff faced battalions and leather brown for the canteen strap. The haversack and strap are done next then any sashes (facing colour stripe in Sgt's) , shoulder tufts and headgear plumes. Then it's time for hair, musket woodwork and boot gaiters. Last at this stage is the drum bands and cords.

  • Lace: White (951)
  • Equipment Straps: Off White (820) or Buff (976)
  • Canteen Strap: Leather Brown (871)
  • Haversack: Buff (976)
  • Officer/Sgt Sash: Red (926)
  • Shoulder Tufts: Off White (820)
  • Hair: Various colours
  • Musket wood: Flat Brown (984)
  • Gaiters: Basalt Grey (869)
  • Plumes: Off White (820), Off White (820)/Dark Vermillion (947), or Deep Green (970)
  • Drum Bands: Scarlet (817)
  • Drum Cords: Off White (820)

Equipment straps, haversack, facing colours, sashes, plumes,
gaiters, hair and musket woodwork done.
Also highlander heads added.

Next I paint the jacket and cuff, button hole lace as well as wing lace on the flank companies, remembering the officers will be either silver or gold depending on the regiment. Then all the other metallics get painted; musket metalwork and bayonets, swords, pikes, buttons, shako plates, chest strap plates, canteen stoppers, scabbard tips and any buckles.
I then attach the knapsacks and touch up any paint affected while doing this.

  • Lace:White (951)
  • Officers Lace / Metalwork / Buttons: Silver (997), Gold (996)
  • Shako / Chest Plates: Brass (801)
  • White Metal Buttons: Gunmetal Grey (863)
  • Barrels/Locks: Gunmetal Grey (863)
  • Musket Butt Plate / Trigger guard: Brass (801)
  • Bayonets, Swords, Pikes: Oily Steel (865)
  • Officer Sword Hilts: Gold (996)
  • Other Sword Hilts: Brass (801)
  • Scabbard Tips: Brass (801)
  • Misc Buckles: Brass (801)

Jacket lace and all metalwork painted, Knapsacks attached.

The drummer also has a sort of half apron leg protector, this I paint either Off White or Ivory, to give contrast, depending on trouser colour.

Close up of drummer, decided to try a unit
crest on the drum face.

The last stage before applying the washes is to paint the bases using a brown craft paint that I also prime my MDF bases with and then check each figure for any omissions, error or paint splashes.

Bases painted and final check for touch ups before washes.

The first wash is on the flesh areas using Agrax Earthshade from Games Workshop. I used to paint the eyes but don't any more unless they are really wide eyed. I then use the Vallejo Game Colour Wash Sepia Shade on the rest of the figure. This is a dip but I prefer the control of brushing it on. I use this colour rather than a more black based wash as I think it gives a more dusty looking effect, which suits the Peninsula environment they will be "fighting" in.

Washes finished awaiting varnishing.
Casualty attached to his final base and plastic shako added.

Washes finished awaiting varnishing.
Better view of the highlanders.

Next comes the varnishing which again I brush on. I use an Acrylic Polyurethane Matte Varnish 27.527 from Vallejo but this has now been superseded so I will have to try it's replacement when this tub runs out. After the varnish dries they are removed from the bottle tops and fixed to their permanent bases, figure bases trimmed as required. I use superglue for this, other people use various other glues. The casualty figure, as a single figure base has the basing done before a spray varnish is used to seal the whole thing.

All ready for the basing texture etc.

How I chose the base sizes and how I texture them I covered Here on a previous post.

I hope this proves of some use to people, if nothing else it should help me remember in the future.


Basing completed.