Tuesday 23 January 2018

Quebec 1759, Plains of Abraham. Game at NBHW

Friday 19th January saw a Seven Years War (SYW) game played at the club. This was to be a re-fight of the battle on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec in 1759 when General Wolfe defeated the French under General Montcalm.

The rules chosen were Black Power with The Last Argument of Kings supplement providing period flavour.

For this encounter I ended up as General Wolfe with the job of defeating the French and capturing Quebec, starting the demise of French influence in Canada. Things didn't quite go as planned!

The French under Montcalm form up outside
the walls of Quebec.

The British reserves arrive up from the cliffs. The main force
is hidden from French view behind the Buttes à Neveu
high ground in the centre of the plains.

For a start the French governor of Quebec decided to release more forces to Montcalm than he did historically, then the British command rolls started taking a turn for the worse that would prevent the planned deployment of their troops from occurring in a timely manner.

British regulars and light troops
engage Canadian irregulars and
native allies on the left.

On the left flank British regulars occupied a small building complex to anchor that flank, while Roger's Rangers and other light troops advanced into the woods to engage Canadian irregulars and their native allies in a game long struggle that would ultimately see victory for the British but at a high cost to themselves.

In a change to history Bougainville
arrives with French reinforcements
in time to influence the battle.

At this point, in another change to history, Bougainville arrived to the rear of the British with his full force of French reinforcements. His dragoons immediately charged the British light troops engaged on the left flank, causing serious damage before being repulsed. His arrival meant changes to the British plan with the regular battalions of the reserve now about facing to provide a rearguard to the main force. Attempts to provide this rearguard with artillery support met with the usual command roll fails, a theme was emerging!
To be fair the French weren't immune to poor command dice either with their left flank brigade yo-yoing back and forth before finally catching up with the rest of their line by games end.

The main forces advance to contact
on the Buttes à Neveu

With the main forces engaged the British form a hasty rear
guard and attempt to hold off Bougainville's force.

With their rearguard coming under increased pressure, another British battalion was dispatched to assist whilst the main force advanced onto the Buttes à Neveu to meet the French advance head on, surely the British volley fire would see the French break and flee back to Quebec?
Unfortunately not, whilst the British fire dice were good, so were the French save dice and a musketry duel looked to be on the cards. At this point the 78th highlanders blundered and advanced straight through the firing line, blocking it's line of sight, and stopped right in front of the French artillery with the obvious result, they routed, the first British unit to do so.

A command blunder sees the 78th Highlanders charge through
the British line straight into the full force of the French line.

With both light units shaken, the valiant rearguard brigade breaking, despite destroying one French battalion with controlled volley fire, and units of the main force becoming shaken, Wolfe started looking at ways to extract his remaining force to fight another day.

Despite several French units also racking up the casualties, when the game was called at this point it was obviously a French victory and history was rewritten. Quebec would stay French, for now. Happily for both commanders another reversal of history saw them both survive the encounter.

A great game with poor command rolls on both sides, unfortunately those by the British proved more critical. The timing and size of the French reinforcement also caused serious problems for me as Wolfe. In hindsight a more aggressive advance against Montcalm's command may have produced a better result, assuming the command rolls would have let us.

This was the first time we have used Black Powder and The Last Argument of Kings supplement for a SYW game at the club and everyone involved seems to think it produced a fun evenings gaming with the correct historical feel. Well done to Gary for the scenario and umpiring.

For a lot more photos and a different AAR see the club's Facebook Album 


Thursday 11 January 2018

15/18mm American Civil War, starting a new period.

So a new period and new project, American Civil War in 15/18mm based to use with the Brigade Fire & Fury (F&F) ruleset. The initial concept was to provide a Union Corps to supplement the existing collections within the club, specifically V Corps of the Army of the Potomac as it was at Gettysburg.

The plan.

With this in mind and armed with a shopping list I acquired some Blue Moon figures from Old Glory UK at The Other Partizan show last autumn, to make a start.

Partizan purchases.

Not long after this another club member, whose union figures I had previously partially re-based for the Antietam game, mentioned he would be happy to sell them on, so I also purchased these. These figures required some re-basing to bring them into line with the rules we use.
A note here, we still use the original F&F base sizes despite the plan to convert to the updated Brigade F&F this year.
I then I received an email from a fellow wargamer in Portugal who I had purchased books and figures from in the past. He sent me a list of other figures he was going to put up for sale and asked if I was interested in any? Low and behold some 15/18mm ACW were on the list so for a very reasonable price these joined the lead pile, which now contained figures by Blue Moon, Old Glory 15s and AB.

The lead pile.

First on my list was completing the re-basing and minor touch ups on the figures I had bought from the other club member. Where needed these were removed from their bases and re-based in groups of four on 1" square bases. I decided to use plywood bases, as these are available thinner (1.5mm) than MDF and after adding the magnetic strip to the underside still don't produce an overly thick look which I dislike.
These and the ones that didn't require new bases then had a uniform re-flock applied and that was them almost done. When it came to flags I initially thought of GMB Designs who I use for my 28mm flags but then decided to try printing my own sourced from War Flag and other sites, and I think at this scale they look acceptable.

The re-based figures plus the first of mine from below.
Command stands still to do.

This left me with a good almost usable force. It needed a couple of more command bases and a supply wagon ideally, so these were first out of the lead pile, my first 15mm figures to be painted from scratch in over twenty years. It also meant I had to try and match the colours with the existing figures which I think I managed OK.

First 15mm figures painted in over twenty years.

With a ACW game planned in at the club just before Christmas and with the club ACW guru unable to attend a few quick pieces were needed for the game. These were some objective markers and after a chat with my Confederate counterpart a few Division commanders for the secessionists.
For the objective markers I started with 40mm round bases added a rough square of high density foam to the centre, covered this with decorating filler then painted them brown and added some small rocks and flock. Some aluminium tube with the end crimped and filed was used for the flag poles and the flags printed out from images sourced online. The poles were then pushed into the foam centre of the bases and there you have it. The poles remain removable to allow transport.

Objective markers, with removable flag poles.

I also repainted three of my "spare" mounted officers to act as enemy division commanders.


After this game it was back to the original plan. Next up the rest of the artillery and limbers, the AB mounted generals and the first of the infantry. The gun barrels are union 12 lb Napoleons with a flare at the barrel end, which the southern cannon didn't have. Two of these have had this flare removed and painted black will represent 3" ordnance rifled barrels.
Onto the men, given how many I am going to be painting I started to look for short-cuts. My first thought was to use a blue primer which hopefully would do for the jackets and fatigue caps leaving me just the trousers to then paint. I found that Vallejo do a blue surface primer (ultramarine) so tried this. Not a success, it didn't look right to me as a jacket colour. I tried a Nuln Oil wash but this still didn't look right. Next I tried a wash of Drakenhof Nightshade, also by Citadel, again to me this doesn't seem right. I think the shade of blue of the primer is just wrong. So it looks like I'm back to painting the jackets and trousers over a primer, whether this is the ultramarine or I revert to grey is yet to be seen.

The current work tray.

So that's pretty much where I'm currently at, best I crack on.


Tuesday 9 January 2018

New Project Musings

In the later half of  2017  I could see my Napoleonic British Peninsular War army nearing completion and started to wonder if I should dip into another period.

British Peninsular War force, just heavy dragoons to go.

My first thought was for a skirmish level project as I had picked up the Sharp Practice 2 rules the previous year. Whilst debating whether to go with French Indian War (FIW) or American War of Independence (AWI) for this, a contact in Portugal put some figures up for sale and these included enough AWI figures to make a good start on this project so AWI it was. A few single sprues of various plastic troops were then picked up during a Warlord sale and apart from applying a wash and re-basing some of the native indians acquired from Portugal that's as far as that project has got.

AWI to do pile

Natives received from Portugal with added wash
and new bases

During the late summer last year, at the club I attend, we played a series of linked games which re-fought the American Civil War (ACW) battle of Antietam or Sharpesburg, depending on which side you support. linklinklink.

Battle of Antietam/Sharpesburg

This was in 15mm using the Fire & Fury ruleset and prior to this I helped out re-basing a club member's union troops to be used for these games.
Having played the battle of Gettysburg and a few other games in this scale using these rules previously at the club, a long held interest in this period of history was rekindled. With another new club member and close-ish neighbour collecting Confederates and with another planned grand scale re-fight of Gettysburg on the cards I decided to venture into this period too.
A trip to The Other Partizan show saw me start purchasing Blue Moon figures to recreate the Union V Corps as it was for Gettysburg. Shortly after, the club member whose figures I had started to re-base expressed an interest in selling up, so I purchased these giving me a ready made starting point. My Portuguese friend then contacted me with more figures he was selling if I was interested and low and behold 15mm ACW were included and so more figures were soon winging their way across from Europe.
So now I have figures by Blue Moon, Old Glory 15s and AB in my collection and lots of blue to paint.
Roll on 2018.

Happy new gaming year all.