Monday, 13 June 2022

Next unit up, 23rd Light Dragoons.

The next unit I am working on is the British 23rd Light Dragoons for the Peninsular War. This is the last British/KGL cavalry unit needed to complete the for our Talavera games. The figures are once again from the excellent Perry plastic box set.

Talavera was to be the 23rd's only action in the Peninsular after it suffered heavy casualties when it charged the french but failed to see a steep ditch, into which many horses and men plunged. It shortly thereafter returned to England and didn't see action again until Waterloo. The KGL hussars brigaded with them were a little more cautious or lucky and avoided the worst of it.

So if I want to be accurate I will only be able to use this unit for one Battle, as the Tarleton helmeted uniform of Talavera could not be used for Waterloo. But no they will still be used as needed for pickup games etc.

Uniform of 23rd Light Dragoons.
From British Napoleonic Uniforms by C.E.Franklin
(I will be using the centre version)

One thing I have started to make more use of now is the airbrush and spray booth I purchased just before lock down in 2020. In the past I have used it for some black priming but have now found how much better Vallejo grey primer covers when airbrushed on rather than just brushed. A vast improvement. I also decided to apply the base coat for the horses with the airbrush and found that the Foundry horse tone colours covered much better using this method, especially the lighter tones.

Recently I purchased some crocodile clip grippers on sticks after seeing them used on YouTube and they make holding models when airbrushing much easier.

Spray booth set up with new crocodile clip gripper rack

Closer view.

In progress work on the troopers.

I found having the figures on the clips made them easier to manipulate when painting.

Painting finished and fixed to horses.

Next up varnishing and basing.

With the painting finished, with the exception of the horses eyes which I paint in with gloss after applying the matt varnish, it's now time for varnishing then basing.

Varnished, on bases ready for texture.

Oh course I got carried away and stuck them down on their bases before painting the horses' eyes!

Having painted in the eyes it was then on with a layer of sand, paint over with a paint/pva mix to seal, two different dry brush layers then on with flock and done.

And finished. well base edges still need tiding up.

So that's another unit finished and with my friend's KGL Hussars the full complement of British cavalry for Talavera.

For paint colours I use see "My British Light Dragoon paint recipe" in the My Resources / Downloads sidebar.

Now what's next?


Tuesday, 31 May 2022

New Toy

 So over the last six months or so my wife and I have become involved in a local D&D group that started up post the COVID lock downs. For my wife this was a return to gaming she had done a lot of in the past. For me, although I had dabbled some 40 years ago, it would be my first time really RPGing.

How does this relate to war gaming? well miniatures. The rise of 3D printing has led to a multitude of figure designers producing miniature designs for 3D printing. Some offer a printing service too, as well as customisation. Now if you intend to get a lot of these printed this can soon get expensive, plus there is the delay in getting your figures.

So with the prices of printers now becoming accessible and my wife's sudden interest in miniatures this seemed a way to go. Of course I haven't looked into any of the more war gaming related 3D printable terrain or figures out not at all :)

Now the fun starts

Elegoo Mars 3 plus wash and cure stations.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Leipzig 1813, the battle for Probstheida, Game at NBHW

The 22nd and 23rd of April saw another weekend game at New Buckenham and a return to Leipzig 1813 for another scenario based on this famous battle. This time it was to be the Allies advance on the village of Probstheida featuring Prussians, Russians and Austrians on the allied side with the French and Saxons now being led in person by Napoleon and including units of the Imperial guard. Once again the rule set used was Shako II with some house modifications and a few scenario specials, such as only the Austrians, as recent arrivals to the battle, would need to make the 1/3 casualty moral check. The game was started on the Friday night and completed on the Saturday. 
Apologies there will be a lack of pictures from me for the Friday as I forgot my camera and phone :( 
I did manage to snag a copy of a photo of the table as it stood at the start of play.
Probstheida left of centre, French at bottom, Allies at top.

I had command of the Prussian contingent in the centre which comprised of four large infantry brigades, divisions for Shako control purposes, a cavalry division and artillery reserve. To my left were the Austrians, facing off against the Young Guard, to my right Russians and to my rear elite Russian combined grenadiers and guard battalions in reserve.

My task was to capture Probstheida, held by veteran French troops with Napoleon and his Imperial Guard to their rear as a reserve. The Austrians were to pin the Young Guard in place while the Russians on my right were to try and roll up the French left flank, comprised of newly raised units, and prevent them re-enforcing the village. The Russian guard were to exploit any inroads made or capture Probstheida if my Prussians failed.

Initial orders had my heavy cavalry division due to arrive on my right flank but observation of the French deployment spotted a large heavy cavalry contingent to their right centre, directly opposite the join between the Austrian and Prussian forces. As my infantry would be moving away from this area to march on Probstheida the order was given for the cavalry to swing left behind the cover of the small hill, were the Tsar was ensconced, and deploy behind and to the left of the reserve artillery arrayed along the forward edge of said hill.

The game kicked off at 1pm, game time (15min turns) and with no time for subtlety it was all columns advance on Probstheida as fast as possible with additional units marching close behind the leading units.

To my left the Austrians advanced into artillery range and then halted proceeding with an artillery contest with the young guard, which they had the better of. Apart from a few Grenzer skirmishers moving forward for a bit of musketry nothing much else happened on this flank all game. But it did pin the Young Guard as needed.

On the allied right the Russians with a large infantry and light cavalry force moved in on the French left wing, who at the same time were pulling back to consolidate their defences around Probstheida.

My lead battalions were soon involved in assaulting the French held village with pioneers hacking at the defences of the two accessible sectors. The French centre tried to counter by moving forward on the right of the village, from their view point, so I sent one of my brigades to counter this as well as concentrating my heavy artillery on them.

To my right the Russians were making steady progress pushing the French left wing back as well as preventing it from making a concerted effort to harass me in the centre.

By 1:45pm I managed to capture the rear left sector of the village but was being held out of the front right by determined French resistance. By now my battalions were either heavily engaged in fierce hand to hand combat around the village or waiting, under increasingly accurate french artillery fire, for their turn to enter into the fray.

Seeing this both Emperors stired themselves. The Tsar ordered the Russian elite to advance up and support the assault on Probstheida while Napoleon himself advanced his Guard infantry and heavy cavalry to counter the Prussian advance.  Just as the French heavies approached the line, opposite the Prussian artillery now devoid of supporting infantry, the Prussian heavy cavalry appeared over the hill and took up position opposite them, bridging the gap to the Austrians. This is where we finished on the Friday night.

Starting point on the Saturday morning.

Position in the centre from behind the allied lines.

My assault continues, supports taking artillery casualties.

With my assault on Probstheida mounting and with all four brigades involved I handed over command of the Prussian cavalry division to the Austrian player to deal with the French heavies. 

With two brigades physically assaulting or holding onto sectors of the village and with a third in support I sent my fourth brigade up the road to the west of the village to try and clear away the french supports and heavy artillery. At this point I finally captured the southern most sector. Two down one to go.

Two sectors captured.

French regain NW sector. French guns assaulted.

At 2:15pm the French regained the north west sector of the village but a determined counter attack by a battalion of landwehr soon had it back in my hands. 

Counter attack goes in.

To the west an artillery duel was slowly being won by the Prussians with french batteries disintegrating under accurate counter battery fire. This contest was occasionally halted by sorties of French and Saxon heavy and medium cavalry which was met by either canister fire or Prussian cuirassiers and ulans in swirling melees with little advantage to either side.

My advance along the western edge of the village now drew attention from the French centre who swung troops in my direction to attempt to halt my advance. The Russian grenadiers and guard were now close behind my brigades eager to get into action. The southern sector was retaken by the French after a fierce struggle so it was time to line up another assault.

French recapture the southern sector, Russian elites arrive.

Another Prussian assault goes in.

The French centre deploys to halt my advance along the western edge of Probstheida

To the east the other Russian force was now pushing the remains of the French left wing back onto the outskirts of Probstheida and their centre.

Russian advance to the east.

By 3pm, game time, Napoleon began to bring up his eight battalions of imperial guard to settle the fight for Probstheiba and stabilise his severely weakened line. In the mean time french line infantry kept up the pressure on the Prussian defenders.

French line up a counter attack, initiative dice optional :)

Landwehr stand firm

My counter assault on the southern sector was a success so the allies now held two thirds of Probstheiba with the day fast coming to an end. Now came the moment of truth, The allies plan was to pull the landwehr out of the north west sector and replace them with fresh Russian grenadiers before the French Imperial guard could start their assault and then try to capture the final sector. This would all come down to the initiative dice roll with the allies winning any ties as the attacking army.

Prussian brigade rolled a Six
Russian brigade rolled a Six
French Guard brigade rolled a Six!

Advantage to the allies! but no, Napoleon had added his plus one initiative bonus (scenario special rule) to this brigade this turn so the French were on a seven. Imperial guard assault went in first and threw the brave Prussian landwehr out of the village.

French Imperial Guard capture the NW sector.

Prussian assault on the NE sector

Frantic counter attacks were launched by Prussian and Russian battalions to try and oust the French defenders from the two northern sectors but to no avail. Stubborn French defence and the morale boosting effect of the Guard checked the fierce assaults. The advance along the western flank of the village had also been halted by the arrival of the Guard grenadiers

Final assaults go in to try and oust the French.

With game time now at 4pm and daylight rapidly fading our umpire called the game. With two sectors of Probstheida still in French hands the result was a tactical French victory. With a little more time to Russian forces may have swung the game but that's a what if for another day.

All in all another great two days of gaming.

More photos can as usual be found in the Club's Facebook albums for the game.


Monday, 4 April 2022

Additional artillery.

Later this year I will again be helping to stage the Battle of Talavera at my gaming club. This will be the third time we have played this battle and the first time using Shako II as the ruleset.

Having researched the battle quite a bit I have known for some time that the British Royal Artillery battery "Lawson's Company", deployed in the Pajar Redoubt, was equipped with 3lb cannon. Previously unaware of a producer of these in 28mm normal 6lb models have been used.

Earlier this year in a random conversation at the club I became aware that not only were 3lb cannon available in 28mm but that another member had a spare and would I like it?

The model was by Trent Miniatures available through Skytrex

So the obvious answer was yes and an order was placed with the reopened Front Rank for some crew.

While this particular cannon was not the exact same pattern of 3lb that was thought to have been used it was still a 3lb british cannon of the period. All I needed to do now was paint it up.

Time became available when a dose of Covid gave me ten days off work, fortunately being fully vaccinated it was only a mild case.

The cannon model was very nice, only things I did extra was drill out the barrel and add chains.

This time I haven't glued the cannon in place so I can swap in a heavier gun if required for other games.


Friday, 1 April 2022

Bredelar 1761, Seven Years War, Game at NBHW

On Friday 18th of March we got together for a Seven Years War action to try out using Shako II for this period. Shako had a SYW section and several suggested amendments for Shako II can be found online.

The "small" test game was based on two actions around the same time near Bredelar 5th Aug 1761, which our umpire had combined into one. The allied army of Hanover, Brunswick and Great Britain aim was to attack the French rearguard and capture river crossings they were attempting to retreat over cutting them off and forcing a surrender.

"Small" test game.

I had command of the allied right wing consisting of the British contingent under General Conway featuring eight battalions of foot and five regiments of cavalry. Ahead of me were French and German grenadiers of Voyer's division.

The right of my command.

My left including the cavalry.

 Across the whole allied line the order to advance was given. On the far left the Hanoverians of General Witginau moved steadily towards the retiring french infantry of Rochambeau. In the centre more Hanoverians and Brunswickers under General Wolff advanced on the French battalions of General Stainvilles, while I moved ahead to engage the grenadiers.

My infantry advance.


After initial success for the allies, especially on the left where allied cavalry suddenly appeared on the far side of the river, having crossed further up stream surprising the French flank, things started to go wrong. The French cavalry of Rochambeau were also on that side of the river and about faced and after several swirling cavalry melees saw off the allied cavalry. Meanwhile my advance had stalled after several musketry duels and my initial bayonet charge had been repulsed with the 20th foot routing.

My cavalry advance on my left as the Maison de Roi appear.

In the centre the British and Hanovarian cavalry massed for a charge on the french infantry of Stainvilles. Some accurate french artillery weakened these units on the way in, and after an initial success saw one french battalion destroyed, the rest stood their ground and fired point blank volleys sending the first ranks of horsemen back reeling. While the allied horsemen were reorganising themselves for a fresh assault the French horse of the elite Maison de Roi game up from a rear position and crashed into them sending the majority from the field in panic.

Allied cavalry charge.

With the allied advance stalling across the whole front the French were now able to commence their planned withdrawal unmolested.

Stalemate on the allied right.

A good evening for the French players who definitely had the dice gods on their side that night. As for the rules it appeared that Shako II with tweaks can indeed give a good game in this period.

As usual more photos in the club's Facebook album