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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

If you go down to the woods.

                  Having now been well and truly bitten by the imagineering bug I delved through the bits box to see what remained to paint. Answer "Not a lot".. I did however find a bag of pendraken 10mm "Rogers Rangers" from the FIW range. Mighty nice they were too. Now I have always been fascinated by the unit I think as a result of films and books read as a child. So a quick google of pictures and flags produced these images


   The figure was very cool and the Pendraken miniatures very close to this image. Now I wouldn't be me if I just went straight for these so I grabbed some figures from other FIW packs, added a few 7Ywar figs and did some head swapping. I liked the results.  I also Loved the standard . Really colourful with strong images that matched the figure range but it wasn't really "Biehlbergian" and  would need modifying  to suit my needs. First the green proved to dark when my printer downsized it and the British motifs had to go. I was also going to need a back story for the unit to justify their existence so it was back to the drawing board with my imaginations hat on (not literally of course)         

                             In the early part of the century the duchy was desperately in need of solid funding . Meanwhile the king of the Albion was busy developing settlements in the "Neue-Welt" and facing stiff opposition from the other major powers.  The word was out he needed mercenaries. The then herzog  Erich von Biehlberg commissioned Karl von Roetger (a bit of an adventurer and dubious character by all accounts) to raise a batallion of jaegers to serve in foreign lands at great economic advantage to the duchy. Against all expectations the unit proved to be redoubtable and well respected by the Albion forces. The unit came in time to be known by the Albioneses as "Roetger's Rangers"
(see what I did there?) A name they were allowed to keep on their return to Biehlberg.  

                           Having sorted a backstory I now needed a unit standard and the troops themselves. The initial design was the flag itself. First I lost the union flags and the crown. As stated previously the green printed way too dark and I had to lighten it. I decided to replace the central motif with the image of Herzogin Bertha and child (the great grandmother of the current herzog)used on all Biehlberg flags and the Biehlberg eagle substituted for the crown. Finally to finish it off the obverse was a green background with the eagle outlined in the yellow used on the shield. The final result looked like this.

I liked it!

                                   The majority of the figures were straight from the packet but I did use drummers and officers from other sets with the ranger heads on and indeed replaced some of the ranger heads with tricornes which produced a good range of  miniatures with a nice irregular air about them. Here is the end result.


 In mounting the bases I placed some elements in 3-2-3 formation and others in 2-3-2 so that when in line they kept a reasonable semblance of open order.

The trial piece didn't look quite right so I added the red headband as an afterthought which I felt really accentuated the bonnet.(the current herzogin likes red anyway)

Each base became almost a mini diorama greatly helped by the variety of figures I used. Finally I love the standard. It really looks the part. This unit is in danger of becoming my favourite.


                       I really enjoyed putting these and the marines together and had lots of fun with colours and standards so I have decided to put together some of the minor states around the two duchies . Just a couple of units per state will do . To that end I placed a small order with Pendraken last night for infantry and cavalry.  COME ON POSTIE!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Time for a change.

                   I began the Napoleonic project back in November 2014 with the aim of doing as much as I could in the 6 months it normally took for me to tire of a period or scale. It's now December 2016 and I have worked continuously to build a Napoleonic set up that I am extremely proud of but it's time to call a halt. I was hoping that Walt would have his ACW troops ready by now but I haven't gotten my hands on them yet so I returned to the bits box. As I posted previously, my choice was 10mm imaginations again and the marine tester my first result. After some feverish work, I finalised the standards, cleaned and converted a few bases more and the Biehlberg marine battalion was born.

                  The marines were born in the time during which Biehlbergs growing fleet of small ships took first to the "Zondersee", moved out into the ocean and later took part in the race to colonise the "Neue-Welt". Begun as a defensive force for the then Duchess's navy they  later grew into a combined battalion in the modern Biehlberg land forces. When they were absorbed into the army they retained their status and their slightly archaic uniforms and the right to hold the right of the line.

               In figure terms I used 10mm figures from the Pendraken league of Augsberg range mainly the flintlock infantry. I am heartily pleased with them and as I write this the term "colonise the Neue-Welt" has given me an idea for an irregular infantry battalion. Now where the hell did I leave that pack of "Rogers Rangers".

         They are distinguished by the fact that they are currently one of the only battalions with unit markings and battle honours on the National Standard. They are led by the somewhat elusive figure of  Gerhardt Von Bloch but that's another story for the future.

                   So here they are the marines in all their glory. Seebataillon Von Kohnfeldt

 I have to admit that my eyes have been a real problem painting these but I am also really happy with the result. I have a unit that is a bit different, that stands out from the rest of the army and I just can't wait to game with.

The figures are pendraken and if Leon reads this an absolute joy to paint.  Nicely animated and so full of character.

                                 Now for those damn jaegers. 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Testing, testing

                 Fired up by my last post I found and cleaned up and where necessary, converted some Pendraken LoA Flintlock men to act as a marine battalion. I really wasn't sure if they were what I wanted so for the first time I decided to paint just one element to "feel the water"!

                 I completed it this morning and I have to say they are EXACTLY what I was after. I am really pleased with them and the rest of the battalion are on the cleaning bench right now.   Can't wait to get the Biehlberg marines on the table..

My eyes are certainly not what they were but even so at 10mm they don't look too bad.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

"Imagineering" a new impetus

          I have played a few games of "Maurice " lately using my two imaginary duchies of Biehlberg and Gromstadt. Now I enjoyed those games very much but even more I was attracted to the idea of the two duchies once more. When I first visualised them they were situated "somewhere" in Europe which would allow the appearance of forces from the major powers etc.  As time went on it became apparent they didn't need that kind of prop and if I moved completely into the realms of Imagination I could provide variety and supplement the forces with troops from various city states and bishoprics around the main antagonists. Somewhere I have a map of the duchies showing them to border a large inland lake/sea the "Zondersee" this had an outlet to the sea allowing foreign trade and "New worlds". That's about how far I had planned when I was bitten by the 6mm Napoleonic bug.

               During our last game my opponent mentioned we might need some more infantry units. That got me thinking about the Duchies again and I vaguely remembered buying some LoA troops I had planned to use as marines. For the first time in a while my interest was REALLY fired up. I dug out my bits box of 10mm troops and found the bags of tiny lead soldiers I wanted. A bit of base planning some cleaning and a little conversion and The "first seebataillon" was called to the colours.
The first problem I discovered is that my eyesight is deteriorating badly and I was having trouble seeing the details and undercuts. A trip to the opticians was planned but meanwhile and way more importantly they would need a pair of flags.. After a little web surfing and work in paint I came up with these two which fitted nicely with the normal Biehlberg standards.

               So! That's the hard bit done all that remains is to paint them. Further thoughts lead me onto the Zondersee itself and wondering what rules to use with my fleet of small cardboard ships.

               Although made of card, these are quite pretty and I wasn't sure what kind of rules I wanted. On the basis of my enjoyment of a fun set like "Maurice" I really want a set to match them. My current thoughts are to adapt the "Too Fat Lardies" ruleset . I seem to remember them focussing on fun rather than mathematics.  Guess it's time to find what the heck I did with them..  

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A Disaster in The Duchy

               Although my activities in the two imaginary duchies of Gromstadt and Biehlberg  have been somewhat limited recently, I still continue the narrative and planning in my head. The two warring families continue to build their forces and the lakeside shipyards are full of small craft under construction as the fresh water arms race continues.
                For some time now, Gromstadt had cast covetous eyes on the impoverished market town of Pfennigless that dominates the gap in the westernmost ridge line and is held under a tenuous family claim by the current Duke of Biehlberg. Tiring of the fruitless negotiations between the two duchies Gustav of Gromstadt gathered a strong force and flung it (somewhat sedately ) at the unsuspecting township.  Unfortunately the force took so long in mobilising and sauntering it's way towards the town that Albrecht of Biehlberg managed to raise a small body from the guard to reinforce the hapless conscripts garrisoning the area.

           The battle was fought on a cold dry day in November on and around the rolling hills surrounding Pfennigless under the rules of war of "Maurice" (by Sam Mustafa).  Gromstadt had brought a strong force of  2 x elite guard cavalry, 1x trained cavalry, 2x elite infantry, 2 x trained infantry 2x conscript infantry, 1 irregular dragoon rgt (dismountable) and 2 batteries of guns.  Ranged against them Biehlberg could muster 2x elite cavalry, 1x hussars(irregular), 2x elite infantry, 1x trained mercenaries (Irish), 3x conscript infantry and 2x batteries of guns. Notable for their effectivity were the Gromstadt elite guard cavalry who almost single handed rolled up the left flank of the Biehlberg force and aided the infantry in their cataclysmic destruction of the conscript force on the Biehlberg right flank. It was also notable for the fact that I as the sedentary Duke Gustav managed to beat Erik who chose to take the role of Duke Albrecht .

         As stated the battle was fought using "Maurice" and my imaginations 10mm forces from various suppliers. I did manage to take a lot of photos and in chronological order. So folks I present the battle of Pfennigless  In which the most protestant state of Biehlberg was hammered by the holy Roman catholic duchy of Grohmstadt and in which of course both had god on their side.. heheheh.

Dawn found the rested force of Gromstadt facing their enemy across the misty valley as the Biehlbergians deploy to defend the town. Their first error was to split the trained infantry to the north and south of Pfennigless.

To the left the advancing Biehlbergians . To the right the regimented lines of the Gromstadt regulars.   

Opening the battle the invaders determinedly advance their whole infantry force across the valley. (thanks to careful measuring on setup and the availability of an event card that allowed me to move two forces at once.

In response the defenders swing across the west side of Pfennigless defending the town and seizing the crest-line.  The attacker threw caution to the wind and his national trait (giving a huge plus on guards units) and launched the guard cavalry at the enemy infantry above them

The elite infantry battalion facing this charge simply dissolved in the face of the wild charge (and some extreme dice rolls. ). In an attempt to dissuade further madness the Irish battalion deployed in front of the winter wheat. 

The next turns saw the guard cavalry successfully launch into the remaining elite infantry's flank and then to add insult to injury rally back to cover the Irish on the hill. The centre saw  an unordered advance by one of the Gromstadt elite infantry which caused the Gromstadt general to panic and launch all of his regulars against the centre in support . It payed off and the centre crumbled.

In the final act the guard cavalry supported by an elite infantry battalion attacked and destroyed the Irish mercenaries on the hill and it was all over but the shouting. 

In Eriks support he rolled some of the worst die rolls I have ever seen while mine were spectacular. Again the rule set proved to be a joy to play and the element of surprise through use of the action and event cards spectacularly funny. I will certainly continue with them. Those personality cards however have to go. They are so unsightly . I need to develop individual bases with just enough info as we did for Blucher. Great game , great fun and soon to be repeated.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Between a rock and a hard place.....

Yesterday for the first time in a while, I managed to get together with two of my group for a game of Blucher using our 1809 troops.  It was a fictional meeting but represented the Austrians attempt to isolate Davout by coming between his third corps and the main body of the French army and reserves.

                     Some 55,000 Austrians descended on a the VIII corps (Wurtembergers) which was some 12,000 strong.The commander was aware that during the day the Bavarian VIIth corps 35,000 troops  would arrive little by little to reinforce his defense.  The Austrian IVth and Vth corps arrived from the South the Vth arriving a couple of hours after the IVth. The VIth corps arrived in the early afternoon. The following battle was extremely bloody with the "French" hanging on till darkness fell although both forces were close to breaking. The affair was fought by two very agressive generals and we completed the 30 turn day in just under 4 hours. A truly enjoyable contest.  There is no AAR as such but I hope the pictures convey the very Napoleonic feel of the contest and its size with only two players. .All of the troops are 6mm MDF from Commission figurines.

   The overall battlefield shown from the east is bordered by a river to the North and dominated by the heights to the north-east. The valley is spotted with woodlands and numerous small farms. The road to the river crossing is blocked by a small village forming a choke point between woodlands and growing crops. A fact the "french" commander would make good use of later.

On the eve of the battle the Wurtemburgers move out of the town and take position around the river crossing while sending troops forward to occupy the village.   The photo to the left is the view from the Austrian entry point. Top right is the view from the heights

To the left is the view from the north side of the river To the right is the view of the Wurtemburgers dispositions.

 A few shots taken during the battle. As you can see it became quite crowded towards the end of the day. 



Sunday, 6 November 2016

And it's back to the toys.....

              Yeap I finally got into gear with my woodpile and started painting 6mm figures again. I have been meaning for some time to paint up some of those often neglected units like landwehr but by brigade not by battalion. In order to avoid the boredom factor I did a bit of reading to find some variations within the brigades and fortunately Rawkins latest booklet The austrian army   provided just the info I needed. He explains how the in certain regiments the first battalion would be fully equipped while the second and third had steadily declining standards and that's what I decided to model. The figures are as always the 6mm MDF figures from commission figurines    

                   Here are the finished battalions and the full brigade. I really enjoyed preparing and painting these fellows.

   The first battalion in full uniform wearing the "normal" landwehr dress for 1809.


The second battalion wearing a military style topcoat cut a little loose to enabler it to be worn over civilian dress. I also carved off the backpacks and gave them haversacks more appropriate at this time to civilian dress.


Third battalion. These guys wear civilian clothing but with the collars and cuffs of their civilian style top coats dyed in the facing colour to give some semblance of military uniformity. Again I replaced the backpacks with haversacks.

 Finally the entire brigade assembled and based for Blucher. I only need three more of these for my requirements...  Must crack on.