Tuesday, August 23, 2016

28mm Dismounted Napoleonic French Dragoons and Mediterranean Cottage

I needed to take a bit of a break from the undisciplined (if entertaining) cacophony of Renaissance fashion to work instead on something a little more staid, a little more 'uniform' in order to kick back and unwind.

Here are a half-dozen dismounted Napoleonic French dragoons, accompanied by their trumpeter and officer. 

Napoleon posted several regiments of dragoons to Spain during the Peninsular War and one could say that the French dragoons were the earliest anti-guerilla units in history. (Being that the Spanish word 'guerilla' was popularly coined during the Napoleonic period, being the diminutive of 'war' or alternately 'little war'). For both sides the guerilla war in Spain was a very brutal affair, with no quarter asked or given.

These figures are from a couple of manufacturers - two are multi-part plastics from Perry Miniatures, while the rest are from Brigade Games, sculpted by Paul Hicks.

I think the two sculpting styles work quite well together. That being said, I have to admit I'm a bit of a traditionalist and prefer the longer coattails of the earlier dragoon uniform a bit better. Hey, it's all about cutting a dash while sweating to death under the blazing Iberian sun!

The rustic cottage is from Grandmanner's 'Spanish Napoleonic' range. I managed to pick up a few in this series before they were discontinued earlier this summer (thanks for the help on this Sidney!). This is my first stab at painting one of these models and I found it a blast to work on.

After cleaning, I first sprayed the building's parts with Krylon Camo Brown and then over-sprayed with Krylon Camo Khaki to provide the base. I then used 'Americana' craft paints to block in the colours, Army Painter 'Strong Tone' as a wash and then liberally drybrushed using increasingly lighter tones.

While these buildings were specifically designed to reflect 19th century Spanish architecture, I think that, with a bit of squinting, they will work fine in any Mediterranean setting, and I imagine they'll see good service in our upcoming Italian Wars games. I'll post pics of the other buildings as I work through them.

Thanks for stopping by folks - have a great week!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

28mm Landsknecht Command

Just a short post today. This time out we have a Landsknecht command stand to add to my slooowly growing Italian Wars collection.

The mounted Oberste is from Wargames Foundry. He's casually draping an Imperial banner over his shoulder while haranguing one of his doppelsöldners ('double-pay' men) who, in turn, is traipsing alongside him with an imposing Zweihänder sword. The swordsman is from Warlord, previously of Pro Gloria Miniatures.

Banner is from Pete' Flags. 

This last shot is of the Landsknecht commander following behind some Swiss Reisläufer from Bern with their evidently peckish 'mascot'. 

Thanks for dropping by folks. Have a great week!

Monday, July 25, 2016

28mm Landsknecht Arquebusiers

Finally. Another Italian Wars unit done - Hooray! I can't tell you how delighted I am to get these guys off my desk and into the cabinet.

The majority of these figures are from the venerable but excellent Wargames Foundy range, with the casualty figure sourced from Artizan Designs. A few slight mods but nothing too fancy. The banner is from Pete's Flags.

Like the other units in my Italian Wars collection, I've done the groundwork in an autumnal theme (dunno why, I guess I just liked the colours when I started). The whole group is mounted on a single irregular-edged base, one of several that I had the good folks over at Warbases do up for me. It's roughly 180mm x 60mm.

I have to say I find these guys to be a complete and utter slog to paint. What with their puff-and-slash sleeves, striped trousers, wacky feathered headgear, oh yeah, and lets not forget their exuberant and rather, ahem, 'optimistic' codpieces. I think the reason they got such a reputation as hard-asses is that everyone picked on them for dressing like complete gits.  

Oh well, they're finally done and now I can finally move on... 

...to more Landsknechts!! 


Monday, July 11, 2016

Sharp Practice 2 Game - 'Fondler's Rifles', Winter in Spain, 1809

The hardened core of 'The Friday Night Raconteurs' (meaning me and two others who evidently had nothing better to do on a Friday night) managed to get in a game of Sharp Practice 2. Feeling typically lazy, I took a scenario from 'The Complete Fondler' which depicts our hero Richard Fondler, armed with his trusty Baker Rifle and never-mashed-by-a-shako 90's mullet, bravely attempting to save his fellow Riflemen from a horde of French dragoons, who are hell-bent on converting Spain to Napoelon's version of the EU.
Jeremy and Peter looking far too happy. Hmm, what do they know that I don't?

As Jeremy had not yet played the rules, we decided to partner him with Peter who is a seasoned vet. Twirling my moustache and taking a swig of my (cheap) Bordeaux, I took on the role of the dastardly French commander. 

As the scenario is set in the aftermath of a British battalion being run down by French cavalry, I ruled that the Riflemen would come onto the table in sporadic groups, with Lieutenant Fondler having to regroup them in time for a defense against the oncoming dragoons. In turn, I had the French cavalry enter the same way, reasoning that they would be dispersed, having been busy sabering fleeing Redcoats. I also had their mounts move at a penalty to reflect their being blown from the previous charge and the subsequent pursuit.

The game went off rather well with the British getting very lucky on the early activations. This enabled them to concentrate most of their numbers on a rocky hilltop, forming a small ragged square to help fend off the cavalry. 

The Rifles legging it to a rocky outcrop.
The French commander, emboldened by his regiments success offboard, tried to charge the Riflemen as they dashed to the hill, but the dragoons' poor winded mounts were not up to the task and could not carry them to the enemy in time. The French, in turn, were seen off by accurate rifle fire from both the square and the Riflemen skirmishing on the rocky outcrop.

The Dragoons run out of gas in the face of the Rifles...
 Rebuffed, the French then tried to keep the Rifles in square by threatening them with a portion of their cavalry while the remainder dismounted to start peppering them with carbine fire. All the while more French reinforcements arrived...

The French crash out volleys at the Rifles on the hill. Note: My horse-holder Lothario finally gets some time on the table.
 Musketfire was fiercely exchanged and while the British took a good lashing they dished out worse than they received. The French began to waver and so the Dragoon commander, seeing disorder in the English ranks, decided to force the issue with a charge.  It was all for naught as the British held firm and decimated the French assault, wounding their brave (but foolhardy) commander.

Richard Fondler barking commands to his Riflemen.
This pretty much broke the French, who only managed a few more turns of firing before calling it a day to lick their wounds. 

Voila, c'est tout! It was a great little scrap with both sides experiencing highs and lows. Though the French seemed a little hapless from the start I thought this played to the spirit of the scenario, where the French force, emboldened from their recent victory, would recklessly attack in piecemeal - subsequently getting its nose bloodied by elite troops in a superior position.

Oh, and before I forget, here is my homemade version of the game's activation counters. I made these chits from 25mm bases / 3mm thick. I sanded the corners round, primed them white, painted them in bright red and blue, highlighted the edges, pasted on graphics I made on my Mac and then varnished them. For some reason my lizard brain enjoys the chunky, 'clicky' feel of the chits over the usual cards - go figure.

Richard Fondler will return.  Next chapter will see him and his Riflemen assisting some English engineers blow up a bridge over the Tagus. BUT, of course, the crafty French commander has his own plan up his chevroned sleeve...

Next up: Landsknecht Arquebusiers!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Close of Our European Tour

Well, we're finally back. It's been almost six weeks since we started our vacation. It was a fabulous trip, visiting beautiful locations in the UK, France and Spain while spending time with many wonderful folk along the way. While it was a terrific spring break, I must say we're happy to be back and settling into our regular routine - and for me to getting reacquainted my hobby desk. 

It would be churlish of me not to share a few photos of our adventures so here are some selected snaps of our time abroad.

First up is our stay in the UK, enjoying the generous hospitality of Sidney Roundwood and venturing to Newark to see the National Civil War Centre and taking in the Partizan wargames show. 

Sidney Roundwood (of the famed 'Roundwood's World') as a Roundhead at the National Civil War Centre, Newark
Perry twins and Alessio Cavatore playing Bolt Action at Partizan

The curtain wall of Herford Castle - Elizabeth I stayed at the castle during her youth.

Next was a few days in Paris to catch up with friends and take in a few exhibitions.

1936 Popular Front photographic exhibit at the Hotel de Ville, Paris
Rene Magritte's interpretation of Napoleon's death mask, at Les Invalides, Paris.
Memorial to Marshal Ney near to where he was executed at the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris.

Then we set up camp near Avignon in the south of France for a few weeks, enjoying the weather, the food, drink and beautiful attractions of the region.

Entrance to the Papal Palace at Avignon, France.
Roman triumphal arch at Orange, France.

Roman gladatorial arena at Nimes, France. Amazing.
Me with original examples of 16th C 'handbuchse' siege muskets at the Musee de L'Emperi, Salon de Provence.
Captured Austrian colours at Musee de L'Emperi, Salone de Provence
Marshal Davout's dress uniform, bicorne and baton at the Musee de L'Emperi. (Yeah, whoa... I think I may have pee'd a little when I saw this.)
Jaimie, Sarah, Alice, Phil (aka 'Phillion' of 'Diary of a Gaming Magpie) and myself enjoying lunch in Villeneuve-les-Avignon

After Avignon we headed off to Malaga for a week to bask in the Andalusian sun and see the sights.

Alcazaba, the 11th century Moorish citadel in Malaga, Spain
'Paseo de Canadienses' honouring the humanitarian efforts of Dr. Norman Bethune who aided the civilians of Malaga during their horrific pursuit from the city, February 1937.

Our final week was spent in Madrid. Here we enjoyed the local tapas, churros con chocolate and cerveza.  I also met up with Benito (Anibal Invicus) and Alf (Barrage Miniatures) who were fabulous hosts. I even managed to take in a game with the guys at Club Dragon which was very impressive.

Alberto, Julio, Juanjo and Benito playing 'Sharp Practice' at Club Dragon, Madrid.

The above photos only scratch the surface of the mischief we got into, but it gives you a hint of the fun we had. Tomorrow I'll be back to work, well-rested and ready for a another stretch in the trenches, which I guess is what vacations are all about. It also means that I'll be getting back to my hobby desk, so I hope to be able to mark some progress on my various projects in the coming weeks. See you soon!