Monday 30 April 2007

1815 French Command (2)

The second vignette is designed as a generic corps or division staff set. The 4 ADCs are in a variety of uniforms; from left to right are an officer of the 5th Hussars, a Voltigeur of the Imperial Guard, and ADC in regulation(ish) ADC uniform and lastly a figure in a modified light cavalry ADC uniform which is based on a painting of Captain de Dreux-Nancre, the ADC to General de Division Gudin (from Osprey's "Napoleon's Commanders 2" again). Seated at the table are two Adjutant-Commandants. The figures are all from the Perry "Support Staff" pack, save for the walking adjutant who is the 6th figure from the "Staff and Generals Dismounted" set. The base size is again 100mm x 100mm.

Painted February-March 2007.

1815 French command (1)

These are photos of the first of the smaller command vignettes I prepared for Salute. The original idea was to have this stand and its twin sitting behind the Napoleon diorama, but there was no space. This stand was detached to command the Grand Battery of artillery that sat opposite La Haye Sainte. The figures are all by Perry, from the packs "Hangers-on" and "Staff and General Dismounted"; all save one figure from each pack are here. This vignette is designed to be the Imperial Guard command base. There are a General de Division and two Generals de Brigade in the front and a couple more individuals of General de Brigade rank amongst the hangers-on in the rear. Those are largely drawn from Guard regiments - the Dutch lancers, Empress Dragoons and the Tirailleurs of the Guard; the chap walking is an Old Guard Grenadiers senior officer in an undress coat. The gesticulating Carabinier officer seems to be modelled on a character pirctured in Osprey's "Napoleon's Commanders 2", General Louis Chouard (1771-1845). Chouard was promoted general in 1811 and led the 2nd Carabinier Brigade at Borodino. His uniform here is that of a general de brigade cut to resemble that of a senior officer of the Carabiniers. In 1815 he was not at Waterloo but rather in command of a cavalry brigade in the Army of the Moselle. The base is 100mm x 100mm, which is what I use for Corps-level command stands.

10 figures. Painted January-April 2007.

Wednesday 25 April 2007


It's taken me a couple of days to upload all the photos I have taken of the Napoleon diorama, but here they are. Above are two general shots of the whole stand and various close-ups are below. The base size is 250mm x 200mm (made to order by East Riding Miniatures - thanks Tony!). Originally I was going to have a series of smaller stands but decided to consolidate all the figures that were specifically attached to Napoleon into one vignette - the logic was that I'm never going to have the Imperial Household and Chasseur escort on the table without Napoleon (and vice versa), so it made sense to have them all in one place. It also made it easier to build some symmetry into the layout. The aides, staff and general officers I did put on two smaller stands and I will put photos of those up shortly.

The "story" behind the way I position the figures is that things are not going according to plan; Napoleon is having a go at Soult, Ney is watching Soult to see his reaction, Drouot is trying to keep out of trouble and Valet Marchand is bringing them all a tot of gin to calm their nerves (dispensed by Mameluke Ali from his flask). Napoleon's aide-de-camp, General Gourgaud, is receiving a report from a divisional ADC. Napoleon and his "core team" are encased within the Guard Chasseur escort, the commander of which is hovering close to his emperor (apparently only the army chief-of-staff was ever allowed between Napoleon and his escort commander). At the back of the stand are members of the Imperial Household - a piqueur holding Napoleon's horse "Marengo", another valet, a page with Napoleon's telescope case and another Chasseur holding Napoleon's map case.

I think this turned out ok in the end, although it is a large set and I imagine won't see the tabletop all that often, which will be a shame because a lot of work went into it. That said, it was great fun to work on and for an AWI gamer it's something different to have in one's collection! The figures are of course all from the Perry 1815 French range.

17 figures, 1 horse and a table.  Painted February and April 2007.

Monday 23 April 2007

Salute 2007

Attached are some photos of the Waterloo game. It did look pretty good and I'm pleased to say the game won the award for "most impressive troops" (Loughton Strike Force won the same prize last year, again for a Waterloo game but in 15mm). All of the figures had been painted to a high standard, as you can see from the photos. I think the work of about half a dozen different brushmen was on display. The terrain was handcrafted by Doug Bernie and was amazing - it really did convey a sense of the undulating terrain that the French cavalry charged over (apparently Doug had recently gone over to the battlefield specifically in order to check a few points of detail). There wasn't room in the end for my Napoleon and staff sets to remain together, so the two smaller ones were detached to command the French Grand Battery. The main Napoleon stand can be seen in some of the wider shots at the upper right edge of the table. My Dutch-Belgian light cavalry brigade did finally make contact with some cuirassiers, after sitting on the edge of the table for most of the day. In one of the close-up pictures below you can see the Dutch-Belgian heavy brigade, very nicely painted by Richard Jackson. The other figures in the photos were largely painted by Doug and Andy Thomlinson. There was a good mix of figures by Foundry, Perry, Elite, Bicorne and Front Rank, and I was surprised at how well they all gelled together on the tabletop.

My thoughts on the show generally? I thought there were more display games with the "wow" factor than last year; the way the show had been arranged was a great improvement, with much easier access and the traders had made better use of the vertical space with banners and taller signs; there seemed to be more families, children and women, which was very encouraging; and the traders all seemed to be doing very well. I succumbed to far more products than I had intended to buy. I picked up 4 packs of the new 18th century civilians from Foundry (despite my vow never to buy from Foundry again in response to their high charges); a rather nice "duellists" vignette is already on the painting table. I also bought some F&IW civilians and rangers from Conquest, was inspired by Touching History's Sudan game to buy a couple of packs of Perry mahdists and finally realised a long-standing wish to pick up some Bicorne Miniatures ECW packs so I can finish off Newcastle's Whitecoats, a regiment that I have been working at on and off for a year or so (the ECW is a period high on my "to do" list). Throwing in some magazine back issues, a load of Perry AWI stuff from Dave Thomas, an orchard and other trees from Realistic Modelling, Dave Brown's new ACW rules "Guns at Gettysburg" and a renewal of my Wargames Illustrated sub, I did pretty well. I also rather cheekily entered the painting competition (for the first time), but the less said about that the better......I still don't know who won Category 1, "25mm to 40mm wargames unit", but I'd be surprised if it wasn't David Imrie with his jaw-dropping Polish winged hussars. It was also very good to put some faces to names, not least fellow 18th century blogger Martin Kelly and Peter Fitzgerald.

I have already added my thoughts on the Waffen-SS re-enactors on other fora and so won't do so at length again here. Suffice to say I think there is a difference between wargaming/ modelling WW2 and dressing up as Nazis. That's not an attack on the re-enactors themselves, as what people find interesting and get up to in their spare time is their own business. It's simply a view that there is no place for such activity at a wargames convention held in a very busy and public conference centre. For me, the inclusion of children dressed as the Hitler Youth and the selling of Hitler mugs and other "souvenirs" took the display beyond mere "re-enactment" and far closer to "glorification"; and that's my issue with it.

Thursday 19 April 2007

Almost there.....

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. Virtually every waking moment I have not spent at work has been taken up with finishing the Napoleonics for Salute, so my usual weekend photo sessions did not result in as many pics as usual. Here as a taster is a shot of my 42nd Foot, a monster 36-figure regiment that I will take more photos of at the weekend for posting early next week. The past couple of weeks have actually been a bit of a slog, as I've been getting up at 6am to fit in more painting and basing before going to work.

All the painting for Salute is now finished, and the basing is almost complete. The main Napoleon stand is not quite what I had originally intended - lack of time (and, let's be honest, modelling skill) meant that my idea of having Napoleon and Soult surveying the battlefield on the crest of a small escarpment didn't make it into the final layout. Instead, everyone is on the same ground level, which means that the Guard Chasseur escort looks a bit in the way. I'm also concerned that the vignette is a bit too "busy" (i.e. messy), but readers can opine when I get photos up at the weekend (or tell me in person at Salute!). Perhaps it will look better once all the grass and foliage are added. The two smaller stands of officers and staff look better I think. More of a worry is whether the table will actually be able to accommodate all three stands - the total area required is 250mm x 300mm. The order of battle tells me that there are 650 cavalry alone on the table, never mind all the infantry and guns, so space is going to be at a premium.....But in any event the game is bound to be pretty spectacular.

I will take photos of Salute and post those too. In the meantime, many thanks for the emails and comments people have sent in response to the blog. The blog is good fun to do, so I hope it's being of some use. As a couple of people know, I've deliberately not posted any "how I paint" articles because everyone uses different paints and techniques and other wargamers certainly don't need me telling them how to suck eggs. Also, blogging (and the links people have sent me) has introduced me to many other blogs and websites which confirm the view I have from visiting shows that the standard of painting in the hobby is very high. But if there is anything you'd particularly like to see then let me know.

Tuesday 17 April 2007

Queen's Rangers (1)

The Queen's Rangers were one of the most famous loyalist units of the AWI. It was placed on the American establishment in 1779 as the 1st American Regiment. The regiment was raised in New York in 1776 by Colonel Robert Rogers, the famous ranger from the French & Indian War. Rogers quickly handed over command to a British officer, Colonel French, and eventually the regiment came under the command of Major John Simcoe. Simcoe wrote a journal that provides important information on how the regiment was used and the development of its tactics. As with British line regiment, the Rangers initially had 10 companies, including grenadier and light companies. A highland company was added in 1777 as an 11th company. The light company was apparently ordered to unload their weapons in action and rely on the bayonet.

The regiment fought in the pitched battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth and continued to be engaged in patrols, smirmishes and raids up to the surrender of the majority of the regiment at Yorktown in 1781. There are two very useful websites which can help gamers building up the Rangers, which I have added to the Links section. Those are a re-enactors' site which provides numerous photos and uniform references and the Loyalist Institute's website which contains many contemporary documents on the regiment (and other loyalist units) and is a mine of information and scenario ideas.

These are all Perry figures. At some stage I intend to re-base my Queen's Rangers figures. I have the regiment in duplicate, with 20 figures based in close order (as shown in this post) and 21 based in threes in skirmish order. The grenadier, light and highland companies are on the skirmish order bases, together with the Perry pack of skirmishing riflemen. These figures in close order are taken from the "riflemen (centre companies) advancing" pack, together with the command pack. What I should have done was to split the grenadier and light companies up into one close order base and one skirmish base each (instead of having each company on two skirmishes bases) to liven the close order unit up a bit. That said, these companies and the highland company seem to have been used largely as skirmishers on the flanks, so perhaps it doesn't really matter. I also understand that the centre company rangers were armed with muskets and not rifles (apart from men who were selected to form a rifle company) , but the Perry "centre" company figures are all rifle-armed; this close-order formation should be largely equipped with muskets. I kept a couple of spare "centre" company figures on individual bases to assist with casualty removal and for skirmish purposes.

The Queen's Rangers was the first AWI regiment I ever completed. I added a few more and re-did some of the basing for the Brandywine re-fight of November 2005. The green coats were painted using the Foundry "Forest Green" palette. 20 figures. Painted May 2003 and September 2005. Flags by GMB.

Friday 13 April 2007

Salute countdown....

It's about a week to go until Salute 2007 and the figures still have a little way to go. Over Easter I polished off Napoleon's Chasseur escort (below left) and some more "hangers-on" (left), alongside continual work on the Dutch 6th Hussars (below right). Whilst researching the uniforms for the hangers-on I realised that they are all Guard officers, so these figures, together with the other generals etc I have painted, can double up as a Guard command group. Left to do for the hussars are 3 horses and 6 riders, which I should be able to complete in good time. Also on the workbench are a couple of mounted Imperial Orderlies which I hope to have floating around the table, if I manage to finish them in time. The key stuff has to be fully varnished and based by next Thursday, when Loughton Strike Force are having a dress-rehearsal. The Dutch hussars are in various stages of basing and include 6 volunteer light dragoons in the rear rank.

Napoleon and his chums are still not based but I think I have finally decided on how to base them. There will be a large 200mm x 250mm base with Napoleon, his escort, his personal household and Ney, Drouot etc. Behind that will be two 100mm x 100mm bases containing the aides, adjoints and hangers-on. If there is not enough room on the table those smaller bases can be dispensed with, although when I set all the figures up the other day it looked impressive and seemed a decent representation of a busy army headquarters. I suspect I may have to take a day off work next week to do the basing!

It has been fun painting 25mm Napoleonics, although painting all the horses for the cavalry has at times seemed a bit of a chore (Richard Jackson has painted almost 100 cavalry for this game - I take my hat off to him!). Assuming everything gets finished, my final Napoleonic tally for the Salute game will be: 44 cavalry, 35 foot, 5 casualties, Napoleon's horse and 2 tables. Throwing in the various AWI bits I worked on in January (when I'd run out of Napoleonics and was awaiting the next order from the Perries), gives a total of 49 mounted and 54 foot painted since Christmas, which isn't too bad given that I lost 4 weeks whilst out in New Zealand.

Wednesday 11 April 2007

Webb's Additional Regiment

Colonel Samuel Webb's Additional Continental Regiment was raised in January 1777 and served as such until 1780 when it became the 9th Connecticut Regiment. It was subsequently merged with the 2nd Connecticut Regiment the following year. Sources suggest a uniform of red coats faced yellow. This is modelled as an early war, slightly ragged unit, consisting mainly of Foundry "uniformed militia" figures with a couple of minutemen in civvies. The pointing NCO wears the green epaulette of a corporal.

We know something about the flags that this unit is thought to have carried. There are references to two colours used by the regiment. The first, the "Grand subdivision" flag, is a yellow field with a green wreath and red ribbon attached to a silver sword, under which is a black Roman numeral "I". This flag may have been carried by the regiment's first company. The second, shown here, is a more elaborate affair. According to Richardson's "Standards and Colours of the American Revolution": "This elaborate flag depicts a brown-haired, white skinned Indian maiden, "America", robed in a light-red, classical style gown with a blue belt. In classic style, one breast is exposed. She wears gold bracelets and armlets and a headdress of upright red, green, white and blue feathers. One hand supports a spiral-wrapped pole which is topped with a black cavalier-style Liberty hat. From the pole streams a swallow-tailed pennant of seven red and six white stripes. In her other hand is a horizontally outstretched sword with a blue blade and gold hilt. A gold-studded, round shield is clasped to the arm which holds the flagpole. Standing below the sword, is an alert-looking brownish-tan lion with an upright swishing tail. Lying on the ground, in front of the lion, is the severed head of a bald-headed king pierced through the temple by an arrow. Green grass and plants lightly cover the ground, which is now a nondescript gray with a red undercoat. Europeans often depicted America in the figure of a woman dressed like an Indian. Here she displays the liberty cap, 'American flag,' and a sword used to decapitate an enemy." The motto, "in Meridiem Progred Etc" may mean "advance beyond high noon", a Cromwellian reference.

Painted February 2006. 16 figures. Flag by Flag Dude (from TM Terrain).

Tuesday 10 April 2007

Iroquois (2)

This is pack "AW 30" from the Perry range, the first Iroquois pack. They are lovely sculpts and very rewarding to paint. These were the first woodland indians I painted and caused a complete change in the way I paint flesh. I had previously used the Foundry 3-colour "Flesh" palette, with a chestnut wash. That was quick to use and worked ok, although if not handled correctly the wash could leave too dark a brown colour. I quickly realised that this method would not work on large areas of flesh and I began experimenting with other flesh tones as well as mixing the Foundry colours to give a more blended look. The result is that I now use a base of Games Workshop's "Tanned Flesh" over which a nut brown wash is added. Highlights are then provided by Coat D'Arms "Suntanned Flesh", then "Dwarf Flesh" and finally the Foundry B colour from their Flesh palette. The indians here used those colours together with some Foundry C mixed in as a further highlight. This combination of paints gives a far more natural look I think; the difference can be seen when comparing the faces of my older figures (such as the militia in the post below) to my newer ones.

As with the Conquest woodland indian figures, I looked at relevant Osprey books and Robert Griffing's painting to check on war-paint markings and embroidery for leggings and bags. I tried to provide the figures with a lot of decoration on their clothes and equipment, as that was how they looked. I have based them on 25mm x 25mm bases, the standard size for non-elite skirmishers in the "British Grenadier!" rules.

6 figures. Painted May 2006.

Saturday 7 April 2007

American militia (1)

I commented recently that if I was starting the period from scratch something I would do differently would be my first couple of militia units. These are a bit of a mess and not a huge amount of thought went in to them, partly because I was selling my flat at the time and I had to paint in quick 10 minutes snatches in between viewings! That said, I find it can be tricky to ensure that militia don't look a mess, because by definition they won't all be wearing the same uniform. This is the second I painted and uses a wide mix of figures. The figures are mainly in civilian clothes or hunting shirts and there are a couple in shortened uniform coats. One figure wears a red faced buff coat which I took from a picture of the Boston Independent Company of Cadets in 1772, in the second volume of Osprey's "Colonial American Troops (1610-1774)".

In addition to Foundry "minutemen", there are Perry Continentals in hunting shirts, Foundry "uniformed militia" and figures from West Wind's "Headless Horseman" range. As someone once pointed out, these West Wind figures are "more regency than revolutionary", with their long tail coats and rather strange cravats, but they are at least wearing civilians clothes and that's what matters. The standard bearer is a converted West Wind figure - he was carrying a flaming torch in his left hand, but I cut it off and fiddled around a bit to give him an open hand to which I could attach a standard; he looks as if he's about to run away. No one as yet seems to make militia "command" figures as such, so some improvisation is necessary, unless one just uses suitable figures in hunting shirts (which I think look fine).

Painted June 2004. 18 figures. Flag by GMB.

Tuesday 3 April 2007

British artillery (1)

One point of difference between the AWI and other 18th century wars is that the AWI was not a particulary artillery-heavy war. A gamer does not need to amass large numbers of guns and crews before he can refight historical engagements. Flicking through the "British Grenadier!" scenario book (published by Caliver), I note that the later southern campaigns require much less artillery than the larger northern battles of 1776-8. The Camden scenario, for example, requires 7 guns in total (at 1:10 scale), Cowpens requires just 1 gun for the British, Hobkirk's Hill 3 in total and Guilford Courthouse 2 for each side. So 6 or 7 guns and crews will be more than enough for most battles. The largest battles of course need a lot of cannon. The most guns a gamer would ever need (at 1:20 scale) would seem to be 26, if you wanted to game the whole of Brandywine yourself. The Monmouth scenario calls for 8 British guns and 9 American ones. I currently have 13 crews in my collection and will be restructuring and adding to these as I paint up the new Perry packs.

One complication is that there are various callibre of cannon. The scenarios variously call for 3-pounders, 6-pounders, 12-pounders and howitzers, so if you want to have exactly the right type of gun on the table you are going to need lots of spares (also, the woodwork on British guns was usually painted a blue-grey colour, whilst that on American guns were natural wood, apart from captured artillery). Luckily, Front Rank sell individual cannon in their 18th century equipment range, but beware: these guns are huge when compared to those from the Foundry and Perry ranges. As those latter ranges do not (as yet) have a 12-pounder, I bought the cannon in these photos from Front Rank. But these are their 6-pounder guns, not the 12-pounders, which are almost as large as the 24-pounder siege gun in the Foundry range! The 3-pounder is a tad larger than the Foundry/Perry 6-pounders.

Collecting artillery is helped by the fact that the uniforms of American and British artillerymen were very similar: dark blue coats faced red, with yellow facings. Given that the British often removed the lace from their uniforms and no doubt shifted into shirtsleeves and other campaign modifications, one can easily mix and match and use the same figures for either side. I have been doing exactly that with some of the Foundry packs, using the colour of the woodwork on the guns to differentiate the two sides. The new Perry packs, however, allow you to be far more specific, as they have produced different varieties of campaign dress for the British. More on those anon. In these photos, the yellow lace and tricorne-tape mark the troops out as the Royal Artillery in Royal Warrant service dress. The grey woodwork on the guns is further evidence of a British battery.

This battery was painted for the National Army Museum refight of Brandywine in November 2005. Their commanding officer, Brigadier Samuel Cleaveland, can be seen in the background in the first photo. The bronze metalwork was painted using the Foundry "Gold" and "Burning Gold" palettes with extensive washes of brown and chestnut ink and some GW Copper colours. The blue/grey woodwork was painted with a combination of GW greys and Foundry blues. Mounted on 60mm x 70mm bases. The crews are Foundry, guns Front Rank and Cleaveland and his aides are from the Old Glory "Dismounted General Staff" pack. Painted September 2005.