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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The battle of Cazabellissima

                      I thought I would post the pictures from our previous battle as mentioned. in my previous post. Unfortunately the text is in Spanish but I'll try to help where possible. The game  certainly highlights the finer points of the combined rule set that we use and the logic of the "Altar of Freedom" control system. The battlefield was a scale 7kms x 5kms

                                            The scenario was in Northern Italy after the news of the events of Eckmuhl and Ratisbon and Duke Charles retreat on Vienna had reached John. As a result he decided to withdraw to the east and hope for an eventual combination with the army of Germany. The River at Cazabellisima was a real east-west artery and the high command worried that if Eugene were to capture the town he would quickly bring up his reinforcements by river. Orders were given to delay this and John decided to hold the town for another 24 hours giving his baggage, heavy artillery and bridging trains time to retire further east.  As such he decided on a forward defence. Eugene's intelligence was woefully innefficient and he believed that the Austrians werte running before him and that he outnumbered them by a large margin. He therefore planned on a hammer blow to eliminate their rearguard.
                                              In game terms Eugene despite the fact his divisions had 1 or 2 integral command points each,  decided to abandon control of the clock to the Austrians and ensure the movement of at least one or two large divisions each hour. He felt the risk of the bulk of his troops failing to activate could be lived with.  The Austrians decided the reverse. They would spend their command points on controlling the clock which turned out to be a winning strategy. Eugene's slow painful steam-roller took shape but he failed to watch the clock . The Austrians had a great deal of luck and via a six each impulse the clock moved on 30 minutes each impulse. Their luck held in the ensuing hours and before the French realised it the sun was on high and it was 12 am. Their line still was not formed. When Eugene realised his mistake, panic set in and he began to throw his divisions forward in a piecemeal fashion and without further manoeuvre. For the corps italien this proved a disaster they funnelled into a cauldron of fire and suffered very badly. Eugene was forced to reinforce failure and a further corps entered the same area. The remaining French corps slowly began to force the centre and left flank but it was now 2pm.  The photos end here because the furious and fast nature of the combat that ensued made the game too exciting to record heheheh. The end was inevitable The French did not reach the river before night fall both sides took losses and the Austrians began to retire and head East at first light.

                                           All involved agreed that the game had been fast and furious, had a real Napoleonic feel to it and truly captured the feel of fighting with armies rather than divisions and brigades. The command decisions were subtle and challenging and one and all had a great time including myself as umpire. The rules could take some small tweaks but in general we were nearly where we wanted to be.  As we packed away the game which took just over 5 hours from start to finish whispers were heard of building forces for the 1814 campaigns in France.. Who knows?

                                                       8:00 am                    

Apart from his decision to abandon initiative and the clock Eugene whose view of the battlefield was obscured by the intervening ridges failed to advance his light cavalry to scout out the enemy and advanced the whole Italian corps down his right flank. Had he done so he might have discovered the Austrians were waiting for him in powerful defensive positions.

                                                                          9:00 am                            

 The Austrians were in a strong position among the wheat fields west of Cazabellisima .  To the right of the division lay a grand battery of 36 guns of 6lb positional guns and  3lb guns. It was into this killing ground that Eugene would funnel the Italians.

                                                         9:30 am

                                               As the cavalry division screening the Italians crested the ridge west of the river they discovered the Austrian VIII corps infantry waiting among the corn fields. 


the French continued their  build up blissfully unaware of the rapid passage of time. 

                                                 12:00 am

                          As the sun rose towards it's mid-day position the French commander began to see the light and in a small panic he threw the Italians forward and brought up divisions from the other corps into the centre. However the clock remained firmly in Austrian hands.


                                                        1:00 pm

                                                           The penny dropped however and Eugene ordered several divisions to advance. He still however had reserves waiting to his rear and his failure to control the clock meant they struggled to activate. The piecemeal nature of the attack however warned of blood on the grass and it wasn't wrong.


              What followed was a bloodbath with casualties on both sides. but the positions changed little by last light at 6 pm and the Austrians had won. The truth is that unless Eugene took control of the clock at first light and destroyed VIII corps before IX corps could deploy he had little chance of victory! I didn't of course tell him that till after the game.. heheheh Incidentally the Spanish text was written by the French commander and I had to smile as he slowly saw his error and admitted the reason for his loss. Reading the text was almost as much fun as umpiring the game .

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Confusion to the French

On 14/12 we played yet another game in Northern Italy. The Austrians had decided to hold on a larger river line and Eugene had decided to throw himself at the hugely outnumbered Austrian Force. Now there were two problems with this.:-

1/ The Austrians had roughly the same force levels as the French. They had concealed this as a result of their large superiority in light and medium cavalry.

2/ The Austrian force had been informed by their high command that in their opinion the French were attempting to force the river line before dark and use the river as a supply route.

       Thus the French believing they were going to destroy the weaker Austrian force slowly built their hammer attack  while the Austrians occupied advanced positions  in order to slow the French down and in fact stuck their heads out in order to be chopped off. So to those in the know if the French had simply grasped the initiative they may have eliminated the Austrian advance guard and had a slight chance of winning, while the Austrians could have set up on the river and won the game by default. Reality was very different to those who weren't in the know  heheheh.

       The French commander decided to take his time and prepare a blow that would slaughter the Austrian force. He declined to spend command points on control of the clock, spending his big points to ensure his large divisions moved in the first bids available rather than controlling the clock and hoping the divisions would move by right of integral initiative points.. The Austrians however surrendered movement for control of the time. As a result time flew by. The French moved only a small part of their force , the clock running out before they could move all their troops. The battle had started at 8am and by the time the French commander realised what he had done it was 2pm. He had a battle line but only 4 hours to deliver his attack. In the words of the emperor. " I can recapture terrain but time is lost to me forever!" Once the fighting started it was a vicious and bloody affair but the Austrians had reinforced their positions and the French had no chance of victory. A wonderful battle and a good time was had by all (even the French commander enjoyed himself while trying to make excuses for his actions heheh)

       The game was played using 6mm brigade stands. The rules were a combination of command and control from "altar of freedom" and combat and morale using "snappy nappy" The game was played out in just over 4 hours. Not too shabby when you consider there were 3 French corps and 2 Austrian corps. I have to say that AoF is probably the best attempt at producing variable length turns I have ever seen.  I had managed to paint almost  enough MDF figures to provide the bulk of the French and italians while the Austrians were mainly Adler. Again no one noticed the difference. Unfortunately i only managed one picture and my fellow gamers haven't yet sent me the photos but here for your enjoyment is the one I have, taken at 2 pm just before the French line advanced to combat. 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Curlerman's bunker

                    Little of import to write about at the moment as I am extremely busy on the 6mm project. Our plan to create the two armies of the Austrian campaign is coming along nicely. Apart from that I have been floating around the forums I frequent under the nom de guerre of "curlerman". ( don't ask)
Several have discussed and posted photos of their wargames rooms. Several have rooms bigger then my house and many have tables bigger than my room but I'm still extremely proud of mine, so I thought I would give you an insight!.

                   When we bought our house we bought it knowing that we were basically lazy, preferred to spend our cash on leisure rather than bricks and mortar and hated gardening. So we bought a small house in a great location that would be minimalistic in maintenance terms. The downside was there would be no gigantic wargames room but I can live with that. When my wife decided that we would extend the house slightly to enlarge our living room and bedroom I agreed on condition that I could build a space big enough to have at least token gaming in, even if small. She agreed and "Bob's Bunker" became a reality!

                  The space available was 2 metres 40 x 1 mtre 40. yes that is the size of an average wargames table.  With that in mind I set out to design a space that would have 2 computers, my figure cabinets , a paint space and a wargames table. If "Ikea" can fit a student flat in a 10 x 6, then hell would freeze over before I admitted defeat. So I resigned myself to gaming with 6mm or 10mm figures only (I like those scales anyway) and the fact my gaming table would also be my painting table.  Building it and the furniture was a challenge but I can do that! heheheh.

Here's the end result

   Let me say I am incredibly proud of the bunker. It does exactly what I wanted to do and provides me with a space that is mine. The table at the end of the room is 1.20 m x 0.90 m and provides more than enough space for a single corps snappy nappy game in 6mm. All my scenic tiles are stored under the table on 2 small trolleys and all my precious figures (and curlers) fill every available square inch of the walls. So there it is my idea of heaven.

                I have just rebuilt the garage and that will provide a warm dry space for a larger table but nothing can compare to my bunker. heheheh

Monday, 24 November 2014

And now for something completely different

         I'm afraid I have neglected my blog recently. Mainly because I have been so absorbed in a new project. A while back while surfing my way through forums, blogs and discussion groups etc. I spotted a game being played using what could only be 6mm MDF figures. Now I have been looking for a replacement source for my hair curlers with a view to playing corps level Napoleonics.

Sooooooooooooooo. after asking a few questions I found my way to an extremely helpful chap who is busily driving ahead with his business "commision figurines" who produces MDF buildings, tokens, markers and accessories. It seemed he had produced some mdf figures to supplement more expensive metal figures for large games. Using my most fawning approach I managed to get him to supply me with a largish amount of the figures he had produced so far. They are just great. They are laser cut semi-flats and at the time he was making only infantry and artillery but experimenting with other stuff too.  Here's a picture of a French division I painted up. Considering these are semi flat low detail figures , they are very nice when you apply the arms length rule. ie if you can't see it at arms length , why do you need it? I say they have low detail but they do have much more than I initially expected.

                      Since receiving these figs I have had further deliveries of differing troop types all relevant to my 1809 project. I recently had delivered the first of his cavalry of which I had a low expectation.. How wrong could I be? When painted I was simply blown away.

 Because of their semi flat nature , it's easy to paint on detail you think necessary, helped of course by the suppliers engraved detail applied to the flat surface. Anatomically the horses are remarkable.

                     As I understand it the supplier is working hard to build up supplies before fully commercialising the range but had figures for display at "DERBY" and for sales at "WARFARE" where he had a good reaction. The figures have been given a mention in this months MW. I have to declare no personal involvement in the company but do think that such innovative products should be supported by the hobby.

 Yesterday I laid on an action in Northern italy in 1809 between several Austrians and Franco/Italian army corps for a couple of my gaming friends here in Spain.. It was a blast we used the MDF figures I had painted ie most of the french and allies versus Adler Metals. The two products fitted together seamlessly and it was hard to say where the wood stopped and the metal started. My gaming partners were very impressed. Here's some photos of the action.

                               To sum up I think the figures are just great , have a truly economical price and will certainly continue to use them. In fact I will be following his new releases with some excitement.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Small and beautiful

As I mentioned previously I am toying with a project involving 6mm MDF figures and it's coming along quite well.  As part of that project I obtained some 6mm Adler Napoleonic French personality and general figures to make command bases. I have to say that at first glance I was impressed. After slapping some paint on one of them I am totally blown away by the quality of these figures. I have seen 15mm figures with less detail and character than these beauties. What do you think?


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Chasing the butterfly

                  I have been a bit quiet on the blog front of late mainly because my Pendraken order is still en route and that dreadful butterfly struck again. Some of you may know I have long wargamed horse and musket wargames with haircurler and match stick armies.

However the haircurler our mothers and wives so loved are now technologically obsolete and my large bag of curlers is rapidly declining. I dallied with 3mm figures but they were simply too detailed for my tastes (I kid you not. The 3mm figures from Oddzmial Osmy are jaw-droppingly amazing).
 Recently I spotted some MDF 6mm figures on a forum I frequent and obtained a lot of them from the manufacturer who has asked me not to post details as he is still working on commercialising them. They are the perfect replacement for curlers. As a result I have started work on figures for a corps level Napoleonic based on an amalgam of "snappy nappy" and "altar of freedom" both of which I consider to be extremely innovative rulesets.

                       I further managed to get railroaded into painting some WSS Catalan figures from Eureka miniatures for a friend, to be used at a convention to be held here soon in Cataluña. Very pretty 15mm figures but way too big for me to enjoy painting these days. Anyway, pictures of all this in due course.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

off to war

      I have recently discovered a couple of thouroughly nice guys who wargame close to where I live in Catalonia. A minor miracle I might add. After 30 years of solo play I finally found opponents.  hallelujah!!!!!

     On Saturday they dragged me off to a 15mm Napoleonic tournament using the locally popular rules "Napoleon at War". Now there are a couple of minor snags to this arrangement

1/ I NEVER play divisional level napoleonics, only corps level.
2/ In preperation I had played two games using the rules and had barely reached novice status.
3/ perhaps the most damning , I didn't actually have any 15mm Napoleonics.

    The guys rapidly discounted all that crap, provided me with a 15mm army and bundled me into a car to go to Montmelo (the town not the race track). I had an excellent days wargaming in great company. Played 3 games of NaW more than doubling my experience and somehow (not quite figured out why yet) walked away with a copy of the rules as a prize. Most satisfactory. Now to introduce them to corps level wargaming and maybe even computer controlled table top games.

Monday, 1 September 2014

An overview to date

                          I guess this is a good time to record the forcres of both the duchies to the current time


 The army consists of 3 line battalions, one grenadier batt, one Irish batt, 1 guard cav, 1 line cav, one hussar rgt and 2 gun batteries.


The infantry are "old glory" and the cavalry from pendraken.


 The army has 2 guard batts, 4 line batts, 1 dragoon rgt (mounted and dismounted), 1 cuirassier rgt, 1 line rgt and 2 gun batts.

The figures are all from Pendraken.

      So now for part 2!

With growing excitement.

        Having no more figures available for painting on the imagi-neering front I sat in my bunker and thought long and hard on the ideas I had spawned in the last few days. If my duchies were to have navies, they must have marine battalions. The wooded hills and leafy valleys on the east bank of the lake might be covered by a hotchpotch of  small independant states. There was bound to be one with cossacks and expert hunters formed into irregular units. Trading nations need docks and trade centres to ply their trade, The growing colonies would require regular light troops who would also be needed in battles against those brutal eastern tribesmen. With each idea and fresh thought that tumbled onto the paper my excitement grew. Now this is what the hobby is about for me!

      While all this butterfly thinking went on I filled the time working on another city block in 6mm buildings. I put it together with items from my steadily declining stock of TBM painted buildings and a bit of scratch building.

 This sector is one of trade and warehousing and it's assembly contributed in part to the direction in which my thoughts were directed.

This sector is crying out for a new terrain board with a lakeside wharf and jetties. Should be interesting as I haven't worked on terrain tiles for a while.

At the end of all this rumination with a page full of ideas to keep me going , my resistance broke and I went to the pendraken web site and ordered another heap of figures. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Avast there ye lubbers!

                                No it's not pirate week, it's me looking at the future of my two imagi-nations. The original plan was to set the duchies as vaguely Central European surrounded by real countries and forces but within those confines I can't really justify any further expansion.The current plan involves a large inland sea on the lines of an American great lake connected to the sea by a busy waterway. One of the duchies would have control of the waterway and hence the trade routes while the other would be rich in resources but having to pay exorbitant costs to move it's goods. The sea access would also open up the possibility of overseas trade and more importantly colonisation. That has given me more than enough food for thought for now. 

                              One of the other advantages of the great lake would be to allow me use of some rather nice 1/300 ship models I made from card ships sold by war artisans workshop

I like the idea of small merchant vessels plying their trade across the lake and off to the sea with escorts and warships from gunboats to very small frigates.

                I have a number of small merchants like the cutter and lugger shown in the picture above. I think most European rigs are covered both fore and aft and square rigged. For what are basically card models these really are quite nice.

                  The warships range from the sloops shown in both photos plus numerous gunboats and a few bigger ships like the brig shown in the second photo. I also have a 28 gun frigate planned. However all of this is in the "nebulous" stage of planning. Who knows what form it will finally take?

It's not over till the fat lady sings.!

       Well I have completed the forces I planned originally for Biehlberg and Gromstdt.:-

Biehlberg Dragoons mounted.I used the Pendraken French 7 years war version wearing a cap as per the LOA range. All I  had to do was carve off the turnbacks!

 Gromstadt Hussars. Again I used the Pendraken French Hussars but carved away the turn-backs and add the ribbon to the troopers helmets!

                     In theory this completes the project but I have enjoyed it so much that further change is necassary. I will introduce some smaller states and bishoprics with a few units each to act as neutrals and allies. It's also time to start mapping the duchies.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

oh dear almost finished!

I have a rgt of mounted dragoons based ready for "grassing up" and a rgt of hussars near to finished. It has just hit me that I have all but completed my original plans for the armies of the two duchies. Now I have to say that's a bit of a shame because I've had a lot of fun in designing flags and imagining the characters that populate them. I really can't justify bigger forces for the duchies as I imagined them and pondered a while on a solution. Then it occurred to me that I could introduce a few small counties and bishoprics each with 1 upto maybe three units to act as allies or neutrals. Now there's a thought!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

A few units more.

              Despite my wife being in hospital for a few days, I have managed to maintain my momentum regards painting. Both units are from the forces of Gromstadt. The first is the second guard battalion the leibgarde and the other the dismounted version of the Gromstadt dragoons. I find the more imagi-nation units I prepare and paint , the more fun I seem to have doing it.

These are half of the guard regiment, the difference between the two battalions being the colour of the breeches.

I used the Pendraken bonneted dragoons from the LoA range because they matched the french dragoons from the thirty years war range. These are some of the best 10mm figures I have seen. Incredible detail.

I have the mounted dragoons ready for painting and am currently prepping a hussar rgt.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Gromstadt reinforcements

                  My painting mojo continues to surpass itself. the next batch of figures from pendraken should arrive in a day or two and tonight I finished the previous batch.  If i can keep this up I may reduce the lead mountain to a metal blob this winter . Heheheheh

               The latest batch of completed figures includes two battalions of Gromstadt infantry, a regiment of cuirassiers and a regiment of horse. I really like these Pendraken figures and in particular the cuirassiers. My only complaint is there is too much detail to paint. Much more than is necessary to satisfy my arms length criteria. (if you can't see it at arms length, it's probably not necessary). I think they have turned out quite well.

Cuirassiers Von Gosch. I used seven years war prussians here. I removed the turnbacks.

1st horse regiment. Pendraken seven years war French. again with turnbacks removed.

3rd and fourth foot regiments. I used the French 7 years war figures without turnbacks. Nice position on these troops . I mixed them with the miscelaneous standard bearers. Very smart looking units.

The next batch from Pendraken is mainly dragoons mounted and unmounted and some hussars. I'm looking forward to painting those.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

What a year it's been..

        This has been my first year of complete retirement. Being the first Summer I haven't been working  every day for 3 months we had the opportunity to join our old gang on their annual "wrinkly meet". From 1966 to 1972 we were inseperable,  some 40 plus lads and lasses who shared all life had to throw at them. They were very full years. After 1973 we all went our own ways in marriage, parenthood, career paths and in several cases other countries. The bonds however never broke and each year for the last 22 years they have met each August and revisited their friendship and the heady days we shared.For my wife and I it was the first reunion. It was wonderful. I hadn't seen some of them physically for over 40 years but it was less of a reunion than picking up the conversation where we left off .  Very uplifting!
       Looking at my old friends, it came home to me that we are all enjoying the evening of our lives and it started me thinking on my own retirement and how I am loving it. I have never been a prolific painter but this year has been a revelation to me. Since January in a state of total relaxation I have started and almost finished my life long dream of a dark age britain project which included paining some 1100 10mm figures. I followed this by starting my other great dream of a couple of imagi-nations. It's well on the way now with around 500 figures painted so far. I have added numerous scenic pieces to my collection and generally explored a million ideas I have long cherished.  In May I made contact with and met the guys of my old wargames group from the mid 70's called  "the elite wargamers".  (Modesty was not one of our strongpoints)
       Finally After 30 years of looking I accidentally met another wargamer in the area I live in and have played a couple of games with him and his regular opponent. As I said at the beginning "WHAT A YEAR IT'S BEEN!!"

Ah well back to work!

Friday, 8 August 2014

slow but sure

 Well my Pendraken figures finally arrived and despite a weeks holiday in the UK I now have 2 battalions of infantry and a regiment of cavalry ready for basing while busily painting a second cavalry unit before the next batch of figures arrive. Thank goodness I didn't buy the whole lot in one go. It would have seriously depressed me. heheh

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Major towns BUA's

                    The postman appears to have mislaid my latest batch of figures from pendraken.  A bit of a pain but it has allowed me to hunt around for more stuff to do. After a few filghts of fancy My mind settled on the subject of built up areas for my 18th century troops.
                  Now I have always avoided using major towns in games because of the unrealistic footprint of the BUA's As a result, all of mine represent villages of varying sizes. Now in recent games I have been using 6mm buildings with 10mm scale figures and 3mm buildings with 6mm or smaller figures. This works very well indeed. As such I returned to thoughts of townships using downscaling and small footprints. How can you play imagi-nations without towns as they are the centre pieces of the economies.
                 I decided to set myself some parameters to begin with. First the average size would be no smaller than 90mmx90mm and no bigger than 120mm square. I would try to use only Town style buildings and avoid small cottages etc. and because I had so many I would use only the 6mm scale painted buildings I bought from Total battle miniatures for my haircurler armies.
                I have managed to finish two so far. the first is a large medieval town on a 120 x 90 base and the other a well off area on a 90x90 base. Heres some pics for your inspection. I have included some troop stands in some of the shots to show the effect of the building downscale. In my opinion it works really well and goes toward solving the footprint problem of larger BUA's

 The first effort was this medieval town. Once a mighty fortress but stormed by Imperial troops during the 30 years war when it's walls were torn down.

 I really packed the buildings into this one and it does I think work quite well. A bit of a shame that my town painting techniques are rubbish and didn't manage to match my destroyed walls colours to the original buildings

This one is meant to depict a new and thriving merchant community. It's missing something at the moment and I think that a statue or even a small fountain in the centre would set it off nicely 

So there you have it 10mm figures with 6mm buildings. Works fine for me!