Wednesday, August 31, 2005

RSM Figure Conversion
In an earlier post I mentioned converting some Prussian Grenadiers into standard bearers. This follows a tip-off from Alte Fritz on the Old School War Games Yahoo group. The image to the left tells the tale. The first on the left is an unmodified figure, the second has had his musket cut away and his foot cut from the base. The figure on the right has been bent into a more-or-less upright position, with both feet on the base. To me he looks like he is advancing with some caution! Remember always to pad the jaws of your needle-nosed pliers - they cut into the metal if you don't. I recommend masking tape.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Saxon Leibgrenadiergarde
New unit begun! The Saxon Leibgrenadiergarde, as usual of RSM figures and coming along nicely - fifteen of them done and with another couple of figures in the mail to convert into standard bearers. I'm quite pleased with how they are going and am taking it slowly - I'm only painting 3-4 figures at a time.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Arrivals

At the moment I'm awaiting the arrival of some more RSM miniatures. I'm expecting to take delivery of a couple of bags of French Cavalry, a bag of Prussian infantry and some odds and sods.

The French Cavalry will probably get painted as either something from the Maison du Roi or the Rohan cavalry Regiment for one bag, and one of the German regiments in French service - I am looking at the Nassau-Saarbruck and Wurrtembourg Regiments just now.

The Prussians will go towards the Saxon Graf von Bruhl Infantry regiment (an example of Prussians being impressed into the Saxon service!) and another Prussian Regiment - identity as yet undecided, but I am tending toward that which had it's grenadier battalion paired up with IR 13 'Itzenplitz'. Must read Duffy again.

Among the odds and sods will I hope be some marching Prussian Grenadiers. I was prompted to buy them by a post on the Old School argaming Yahoo Group discussing transforming this figure into a standard-bearer. I mean to give it a go and report back.

Cheers for now...!

One Last Pretty Picture

This is about at good as my painting style gets. It looks good (I think!) but as a style, it's not too sustainable for the hundreds of figures you need to do to create an army of the size demanded by the size of units i like to collect. This figure (a Suren British Grenadier) has been painted to epresent a Hanoverian Grenadier.

Flag in Action
In an earlier post, I put up an image of the colour of the Gardes Francaises. This picture shows what it looks like in "real life".

Slow News Day
Not too much to bang on about today, so I thought I'd show off some pretty pictures of some of the old Suren infantry I painted some time ago...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Howitzer Picture
This is a Prussian Howitzer I did about six months ago. The crew were originally meant to go with some guns that I accidentally managed to paint up with the wrong colour carriages. The Howitzer was bought as a long-delayed afterthought...

Gardes Lorraines
When ejected from Poland in 1735, Stanislas, now an ex-king became an exile in France. Being a dutiful son-in-law, Louis XV made him Duke of Lorraine. The unit you see here is one I have only just finished spray varnishing. The Duchy reverted to the Crown upon his death.
Rules Mechanisms 2 - Movement

One thing that always struck me as somewhat artificial in wargames rules was the way in which units would move. For turn after turn they would steadily plod along at an invariable 4" or 6", stopping occasionally to fir or melee.

The only variation on this theme that I'm familiar with in horse and Musket rules is that in Charles Grants' "The War Game". There a cavalry unit might stand fast or move for a number of moves to save up enough "oomph" to buy a charge move.

Then I was introduced via "The Sword and the Flame Rules" to the idea of variable moves whereby a unit would move by a number of dice. That is to say, that a unit of infantry in line might move 2 or 3d6 inches in it's movement phase. I thought this might make a neat device for adding a measure of uncertainty to the designs of the player who thinks his Cuirassiers will crash home at the end of Turn 3!

With this in mind, I doodled the following table:

  • Troops in Square - 1d6
  • Troops in Line - 2d6
  • Troops in Column - 3d6
  • Troops in Open Order - 4d6
  • Cavalry in Line - 2d8
  • Cavalry in Column - 4d6
  • Cavalry Charging - 4d8*
  • Manhandled Artillery - 1d6
  • Limbered Artillery - 2d6

*You could rule that cavalry has become disordered once it has charged and needs to spend one move at the halt befor it may charge again.

Against this randomness, one could argue also that the generals of the day expected infantry to march at a predictable 75 paces per minute (pedants please forgive me!) and why vary that? And I'll admit there is some substance to this, too. I'd argue though that a variable move incorporates some other eventualities - a lackadaisical sub-commander, an unexpected irregularity of terrain or even the un-looked to fatigue or even inspiration of the troops!

Short Battle Report - The First Battle of Alzheim
Prompted by the turning of their coats by the entire von KleistFreiKorps (now calling themselves the Palpable Pandours), PrinzFreidrich-August of Anhalt-Bootcamp declared war and vengeance on theHigh Grand Supreme Duchy of Soubre-Whelm.

Colonel Caper of thePalpable Pandours was hot-footing it for the border between the two mighty statelets. Hot on their heels rode the avant-garde of theAnhalt-Bootcamp Grand Army, lusting to chastise them severely fortheir lack of fidelity.The two sides met at the border-town of Alzheim for the first skirmish of what promised to be an interminable struggle fit for the employment of many generals for years to come.

The forces were:
C.O. General-Oberst Schlitz von Apfel-Strudel
Infantry Regiment 13 "Itzenplitz" (40 Figs)
Dragoon Regiment 5 (2 Sqns or 12 Figs)
Nr 1 Section, "A" Battery the Princely Artillery. (1Howitzer)

High Grand Supreme Duchy of Soubre-Whelm
C.O. Brigadier Creosote Force-Majeur
Infantry Regiment "Languedoc" (30 Figs)
Palpable Pandours Horse Grenadiers (1 Sqn or 6 Figs)
Palpable Pandours (12 Figs) - Col. Caper
1er Section, "A" Batterie, His Lordship (bless him) theDukes' Own Artillery. (1 Howitzer)

The opening moves of the battle saw both sides advancing toward eachother with the greatest elan. The troops of High Grand Supreme Duchyof Soubre-Whelm anchored their right flank on the town of Alzheim andtheir left (including the artillery on the woods. The rather relivedPandours rushed to line the woods and hopefully make any enemyattempt on the artillery an experience filled with discomfort!

In sublime ignorance of this fact (or goaded on by the noble cry oftheir Prince - "I paid for you buggers and I expect to see you do something!") Dragoon Regiment 5 charged the Soubre-Whelm gun. On their way in they collected two casualties from a popping fire from the Palpable Pandours and a great big blast of cannister from the gun that removed a further four men from their saddles!The inexplicable decision of the Horse Grenadiers not to counter-charge left Brigadier Creosote Force-Majeur livid, but resigned to firing off Regiment Languedoc at IR13. The latter replied with enthusiasm such that the weaker Languedoc was shattered and fell back. The weakened but still formidable IR13 held firm and looked likely to follow on the heels of the beaten-up Languedoc.

Those remnants of Dragoon Regiment 5 who'd reached the gun alive were hot for action and rapidly despatched three of it's gunners, with the fourth running for his life! At this point I decided the battle was pretty much over, withRegiment Languedoc in tatters and the remaining gunner of the Soubre-Whelm artillery taking to his heels. It thus fell to the Palpable Pandours light infantry and the Horse Grenadiers to cover the retirement. It looked however to von Apfel-Strudel that in view ofthe battering his own force had taken, it might be for the best if his forces were to partake of the delights of Alzheim - he himself knew of a very nice, snug little Inn.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More Test Figures
These are from the Saxon Army. The unit is that of the infamously corrupt and inefficient Saxon War minister, the Graf von Bruhl.

As with the Gardes Suisses they are RSM 95s, being in this case a Grenadier and a Musketeer from the Prussian range. Only a handful of Saxon regiments had uniforms with lapels on the coat as depicted here. Von Bruhls was one such.

Test Figures
In an earlier post I mentioned some test figures I'd been painting for the Gardes Suisses. The figures are RSM 95s, the paints are mostly Vallejo. Sorry about the quality; it's the best I could do with a flat-bed scanner. I love the officer figure, it's one of my all time favourite castings.

"Go on my brave lads, I'll do my best to follow on from the rear! Faster Miffy, faster! Oh blast this horse! Why won't it go any faster?"
Rules Mechanisms 1 - Firing

I love the rattle of dice in a cup. So to it seems did the early Masters of War Gaming. Six-sided dice abound. Let's take a look at the effect of firing our little toy soldier regiments at each others.

Eligibility to fire is determined by a number of factors such as line of sight and firing arc. As a sidebar, I strongly feel that the firing arc for the Infantry should be nothing more nor less than perpendicular to the firing line for the reason that was how they engaged historically.

Firing itself is managed via the firing group of six or more figures mediated through the mechanism of a single d6 throw. The result of this throw is modified by a range of factors - soft cover, hard cover and so on - and the result is equal to a number of "hits" that are randomised among the opposing firing group.

Different methods are on offer for randomising casualties. Basically they are there so that volley fire is not used to snipe at officer figures. In the example of the grant rules, each figure in a six-figure firing group is numbered one to six. Let's say that three of them become casualties. We throw three d6's to determine who gets hit. Let's say this results in a two, a three and another three. This means that figures two and three of our six figure group get hit. Poor figure three has been hit twice. Ouch.

This can result in some extraordinary destructive fire. If for example we were to carry the example above over an entire unit, the result would be the removal of a third of it's effectives and a morale check. A few luckier rolls of the dice would see the unit almost completely annihilated in one devastating blast!

I prefer to moderate this effect by increasing my firing groups to eight figures while retaining a d6 per group for the purpose of determining hits. I am toying with the idea of giving all infantry a d8 for first fire just so I can simulate feats like the devastation of the Gardes Francaises at Fontenoy or that volley at Quebec that lost New France for the French Crown.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Scary Painting
Here's a link to a new unit I decided I'd grit my teeth and go ahead and do. Once at the link below, go to France, then Hussards, then ROYAL NASSAU HUSSARDS 1758-1776.

Wish me luck painting the braid.
Yet More Flags
Crikey, it's a flag related day alright. Here's an Ordonnance colour for the Gardes Francaises.

Co-incidentally, I just finished painting up some test figures for the Gardes Suisses. Anyone know what their colours looked like?
More Flags
On the topic of Flags, here are another couple I did up some time ago to go with the Willie Arquebusiers de Grassins I bought a few years ago. It's a pity the moulds were so beaten around the figures were almost unusable. And at such expense. Eurgh.

Eureka Miniatures, where are you? I put in a 100 Club order months ago, got the pre-orders together only to see nothing happen from the Eureka end..!


Here's a nice little flag I did up for one of my regiments that is still under construction. The regiment - or should I say Unit - is Royal Lorraine. The source for the flag information was the Nec Pluribus Impar website.
Organising the Armies

Keeping with the theme of staying fairly simple, I have decided on a standard organisation for all of my units. Infantry units shall have four musketeer companies and one grenadier company. Currently I have gone with eight-figure companies which gives me an overall unit size of 43 figures once you count the "supernumerary" pair of ensigns and a mounted colonel who add nothing to the firepower of a unit, but are there effectively as morale markers.

Grenadier companies are detatchable to form combined grenadier battalions with those companies of other units.

Perhaps in the longer term when I have more units finished, I'll bring company sizes up to ten figures with more supernumary officers and NCOs making up a sketchy third rank for a unit, once again the'd be there for calculating morale - but that's another article.

You will notice, gentle reader, that I use the term "unit" rather than battalion or regiment. I do this because of a discrepancy between the British and Continental organisations whereby a British regiment generally was of one battalion whereas almost every other european army of the day had regiments composed of at least two and in some cases more battalions.

I suppose that for my purposes, British units will be taken as being twice as strong as they were in reality, but only half as numerous!

For semi historical battles in the New World, the problem disappears because all but one of the French units there during the French and Indian War were each of one battalion only.

This weeks prize (a nice pat on the back) goes to the reader who can tell me which French regiment took two battalions to North America in 1756?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Welcome to my Blog.

I'm here using this space to document my progress in putting together my own Seven Years' War armies and scenic materials.

I've long been attached to the Chrales Grant/Peter Young style of wargames rules and am evolving a set of my own based around what I see as their principles - simplicity and fun!

Currently I'm working on French, Prussian, Saxon, Bavarian and Anglo-Scots units. The castings are mostly RSM, with some Hinchcliffe to fill some of the gaps that exist in the RSM range.

As I go on over the coming months, I'll be putting up pictures and rule ideas as well as battle repprts and terrain-building ideas.

Let the blog begin!