Monday, March 31, 2014

From Dreamboat to Shipwreck

The paper boat I was making from War Artisan was coming along a treat.  I had just finished the sails and was taking it for its first official photograph when it sailed off and landed on the concrete floor in my studio, shattering the bow spirit and main mast.

What PVA glue giveth...

Comparison of Sails of Glory 74 gun ship with the paper 64 gun ship.

The paper ship on the Sails of Glory plinth.

The Sails of Glory ship without its plinth, but still with its peg (and therefore supported on two nuts).

Too glum to say any more. 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fourth Sail - Game Played at the NWS Wednesday night

And aptly for the fourth sail this game featured four ships and four players.  We used the advanced rules and it was a tribute to all that it played out well given for two of the players it was their first game and only the second game for the third and I am still learning.

The HMS Defence (lower right hand corner) got in a devastating bow rake against the French 74 gun Aquilon from which it never recovered.  It was on fire and had sprung a leak and went down a short time later.

The new ship Le Success also got in a first strike bow rake against the (equally new) British frigate HMS Unite.  It started taking on water but its intrepid crew did their best to repair the damage.  It was last seen limping away.

That left HMS Defence facing Le Success, not an even fight fight and the French were wise to retire.

For the record I was captain of the HMS Defence and Stephen, now in command of his own ship for his second voyage, was in Le Success.  Simon was in his ship, HMS Unite, on his maiden voyage and Mark (yet another one) was undertaking his maiden voyage in the unfortunate Aquilon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

French Napoleonic Cuirassiers

Perhaps my favourite of Napoleonic cavalry units, I was over joyed to find a unit of French cuirassiers in my earlier Christmas present.  My existing 15mm French army has some cuirassiers, but the figures and painting are rather indifferent, but this unit of ABs painted by Dragon Painting Services and touched up by me (rebased, new flag, straitened swords, and a few paint chips repaired) I think do the French heavy cavalry proud.

Only one wonky sword (second from the left, next to the trumpter).  That one was tending to break rather than straiten so I did the best I dared and gave it a good coat of PVA glue which I hope will get it through all future battles.

My passion, as well as my pronunciation challenge, for cuirassiers goes back to the Waterloo movie and the Airfix set.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Third Sail

Last night was the big outing for Sails of Glory as I took it to the Napoleonic Wargaming Society here in Perth.  It went over well bringing in a few more players for some games next week.

Stephen and I played two games using the standard rules.  He was the British frigate and I was the French frigate.

The HMS Terpsichore putting in the death blow to the poor Courageuse with a bow rake.

Second game saw the Courageous get revenge with a final long range shot forcing the HMS Terpischore to surrender.  Apologies for the blurred photo, but it was taken after the last of the grog ration had been consumed.

Next week will hopefully see more ships at sea and the use of the advanced rules.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Second Sail

Today Richard and I got through three games of Sails of Glory using just a frigate each.  It was very much a learning exercise.

In our first game we were challenged by the "taken aback" process, but by the second game we had mastered that to a satisfactory degree.  Then I discovered I had the planning sequence wrong and upon subsequent checking find I was also doing it wrong with WW2 Wings of Glory.  I think this occurred as I transitioned from Basic to Standard rules.

The third game was a good slog.  Subsequently Richard emailed me and it is fitting to quote him:

"Thanks for the game today. It was very enjoyable, just like Wings of Glory. These games are great when pressed for time or perhaps if you don't have the energy to spend hours researching and setting up a game. The ability to play straight out of the box is also a big tick as is the relatively small number of models needed for the game. Looking forward to playing with the advanced rules next time and maybe get both ships into action."

Prior to playing I was concerned about the size of the bases and had been dreaming up all-sorts of alternative basing options, but while playing we found the base sizes weren't noticeable and actually helped moving the models.

Another concern had been the intrusion of the lines on the playing mat.  Again, this also was not noticeable in the heat of battle.

Both this issues look prominent in the photo above, but when playing they disappear.  It is possible the camera actually highlights them due to the use of the flash.

The big test will be taking the game to the club tomorrow night.

Reinforcements - French Line

Work has been continuing on what was my early Christmas present.  Rather than post up a unit at a time I thought I would go for a "levee en masse", so here we have all eight units (that's eight brigades for my Napoleon's Battles army, a good sized corps).  That is almost two hundred figures (8x24FrLN).  The paint job is by Dragon Painting Services and I have only rebased them to my style of flock, re flagged them using a print-out from Warflag, repaired a flagpole and a bayonet, and added a bit of detail to some of the officers.

There are at least a dozen more units to go and if I'm lucky I will have them finished before next Christmas.

Also showcasing in these pictures is my new backdrop (I was getting tired of having to take high angle shots in order to avoid background clutter - very primitive, but it's a start).

Sunday, March 16, 2014

First Sail

Thanks to Milsims (and Australia Post) my starter set of Sails of Glory arrived on Friday and yesterday I had my first go at a solo encounter between two frigates last night.

The level of excitement had waned somewhat from when I first ordered the set, but when it arrived i was very happy with what I'd got.  I'd been prepared for ships that were something like out of a Kinder surprise, but the miniatures are fine to use as they are.  They also offer plenty of opportunity for enhancement or detailing.  It wouldn't be too hard to use other models either is my guess.

I pitted the Courageuse against the HMS Terpsichore just using the basic rules.  I liked how the movement worked, particularly beating, reaching, running and taken aback.  Combat worked well, and I can see a business opportunity in providing suitable monogrammed bags to hold the damage chits.

The HMS Terpsichore makes a run for it after Courageuse got the upper hand in combat.  I believe discretion is the better part of valour although I am sure the Captain of the HMS Terpsichore would have been court-martialed for fleeing the scene of battle.

I don't yet have the Sails of Glory playing mat and was using my yoga mat as a substitute.

The only thing I didn't care for is the little tea trays that the ships float around on.  I think it would be easy to come up with a replacement method of basing the models and providing flexibility for them to represent different ships.

If you like the Wings of War game system and have an interest in Napoleonic naval than I would recommend this game from Ares.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Napoleon's Battles Miniature Wargame Review - You Tube

I was looking around for an introduction to Napoleon's Battles that might assist other gamers to pick up the rules and came across this:

At around the nine minute mark I thought I saw something familiar and then a few minutes later I was surprised, but pleasantly so, to see some of my pictures feature in Darick's video.

So this post is to shamelessly plug his video and get my 15 minutes of fame.

Set Design

It's not often that I can combine my hobby with helping my daughter with her school work.  For history she is currently studying America between the wars, so I miss out there.  However for drama she is doing set design and she was able to raid my collection of flock, sand, felt, glue and paints to add to her project.  All her own work and it made me very happy to be working on my current major wargaming project (rebasing eight brigades of French infantry) at the same time as she was doing her project, not to mention being very proud of her results.  Now, if only I can turn it into some kind of camp for DBA or something.

Time for DBA

Following the Wings of Glory games Mark and I still had time to fit in three DBA games.

First up my Alexandrian Imperial (II/15) army took on Mark's Ghurid (IV/8).  Not an historical match but not that dissimilar and at least as I understand it the Ghurids are in a part of the globe that Alexander visited.  It was a quick game when our generals matched up and I threw a six to Mark's two.  Being a Alexander being a knight meant the score was doubled...

Next Mark took Dynastic Kurds (III/60) and I borrowed some of his figures and ran Baghdad III/57(a).  Armies I am not at all familiar with, but Auxilia backed by Psiloi proved a winning combination against big fat warbands and cavalry.  It was a fairly linear engagement with all the action happening on the wings.  It looks like the Kurdish light horse frightened off the Baghdad camp followers, but the game was all over before they actually got to the camp.

For the third game we both ran Khurasanian (III/43).  Mark was the Samanids and I was the Saffarids, again using his figures.  No quick outcome here, we fought and fought and fought.  In the end I was two down and Mark was three down.  He was making progress against my general, while I had numerous chances for catching what was proving to be an elusive fourth kill, but was stymied for lack of PIPs.  Then we had a six to one roll in a combat of my overlapped warband against his overlapped spear.  Victory to the Saffarids!

I realized I was always taking aerial shots which do not do justice to Mark's superbly painted figures, so in this photo we see the Saffarid general being menaced by elephants.  Having two model elephants on the one base is very intimidating.  The 3Wb on the left of the picture was the winning element, by the way.

After the Wings of Glory games getting in three DBA games in less than four hours with different armies each time is an excellent outcome for a mid week knock up gaming session. 

Wings of Glory - Yak Power

Clocked up three Wings of Glory games with Mark on Thursday.  The last two saw my RE 2000 Falco II up against his Yak 1.  Damn that plane has hitting power.  My Falco fled the airspace the first time one hit from destruction, but the second time round no such luck.  It went down screaming shortly after this picture was taken:

One thing that spoils that picture is the shadow is totally wrong.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Having a blast with my Albatross

Last night we tried out attacking trenches.  I was the defending scout in my Albatross.

The Archie from the trenches got the first camel smoking as I closed in for a kill on the second.

Using the cards to denote damage on trenches is rather ugly.

Nothing like well aimed fire to take out an opponent.  Just to cap it off the very next turn the trench on the far right got a critical hit on the remaining Camel and down it went.

Need to work on some better explosion/critical hit makers.

When we revisited to scenario we found we had placed the trenches a bit to thickly, but a quick game is a good game and it left time for a WW2 game of Wings of Glory and my Gladiator too down Stephen's Fiat.

Monday, March 10, 2014

La Rothiere Part 2

Last Saturday saw the completion of the Avon Napoleonic Fellowship's bicentennial game of La Rothiere.  Their post of Part 1 can be found here:

What follows is my biased, one-sided view of the game.

A lead battalion of the Ist Voltiguer Division marches (literally) through the village of Chaumesnil.

The 5th (or maybe the 6th) Heavy Cavalry Division power through the allied lines splitting their army in two.

A close up of some of my boys putting paid to an enemy battery.  Sadly they went on to ruin themselves on an enemy square (wouldn't have happened in Napoleon's Battles do I hear you say?).
The Young Guard advancing and about to stop the Allied army of Bohemia dead in its tracks.  Three and a bit units of my infantry figures in this picture (the basing style is the clue), although one of the units (just mounting the hill next to the cavalry was painted by young (at the time of painting) Brenton.  Come to think of it, my figures were painted by a much younger version of me.

Over three turns we had at least eight melees each turn.  It was very bloody with a good number of encounters seeing the opposing force eliminated (especially when things had thinned out and we could get our infantry and cavalry into combat together to combine arms).

The fighting continues with the Young Guard having punched a hole in the Bavarian lines (or it might have been between then and Wurtemberg's Corps.

Brenton's lads in fancy square claiming victory.

At this stage on this side of the battle both armies had run out of steam.  The French had a significant amount of cavalry that was still fresh (I had been more careful in this game and had learnt not to do break through moves unless really favourable and was content to keep pulling my cavalry back - no going uncontrolled like in Napoleon's Battles).  Only the Young Guard remained as a fighting force; the other two infantry divisions had suffered heavy losses.  The Allies still had a division of Bavarians in good shape on the table and one in reserve (off table).

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Napoleon's Battles chauvinist, so playing something other than these rules for a game this size produces a stream of comments from me like "That wouldn't happen in Napoleon's Battles".  I tried not to comment too much (self censorship) and was able to be positive on a few occasions by supporting the Shako rules when the use of Napoleon's Battles would have produced or allowed for similar results in situations that created debate amongst the ANF Shako aficionados.

Regardless of rules, games of this scale are massive undertakings both in collecting, researching and playing.

I am proud I was able to take part.

Well done lads of the ANF!

Friday, March 7, 2014

You can almost hear them

Two close-ups from Stephen's camera of our DBA game from last Wednesday.  You can almost hear them.

What are those two cavalrymen saying as they are coming down the road?

The Visigoth general perhaps passing comment on the wisdom of charging men armed with pointy sticks.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Prior to our Wings of Glory game last night I set up a DBA game with Stephen using my figures and terrain.  Stephen took command of Thessalains (II/5d Late Hoplite Greek) and I took the (Very) Later Visigoths (II/82b).  Not an historical match, but actually very similar armies (important as Stephen was a bit rusty on the rules and I didn't want to complicate things with too many troop types - as it was I learnt things).  Importantly, as I was using my figures, I wanted to field two armies that didn't look the same to avoid confusion.

I had failed to bring enough camp followers, or perhaps the donkey was enough.  Either way it was well defended from the invading Greeks.  It also generated interesting comments from passers-by.

The Greek general flees.  What more can I say, but "Nice move!"  Some good fighting (read die rolls) by the Visigoths broke the Greek line, which was just as well as their cavalry was working around the flank, although finding it hard going against the Visigoth bowmen.

I was so used to fighting knights I was surprised at the resilience of cavalry.  I also found out the road does give a movement advantage, not just a command one as I thought.

Simple rules maybe, but I do find they produce a challenging game that can be played in a hour without too much fuss.  Perfect for a weeknight at the club.


More of a training session last night, with Stephen showing off his loops, spins and dives.  My poor Albatross had trouble gaining altitude to catch him, but catch up we did and I left him smokin'.

Note the ball joint Stephen has used for his Camel.  It really adds to the visual appeal.

Even though not totally in focus I like this shot as the propellers look like they are spinning (to my eyes at any rate).  I just wish the smoke wasn't blending into the background so much :-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wings of Glory WW2 Style

I've never been a big fan of WW1, but Wings of Glory has changed that somewhat plus the upcoming centenary.  My maternal grandfather had been in the Lincolnshire territorials and rose to the rank of colour sergeant before leaving to go work in a munitions factory or something such which was a "reserved occupation".  That was just before the war broke out so he was a lucky fellow, unlike many of his brothers and brothers in law.

My paternal grandfather was in one of the Green Howards battalions which took part in the later landings at Gallipoli.  He ended up on the Italian front and survived all that only to die of pneumonia in the mid 1920s after fishing off Hartlepoole.  So it goes.

Anyway, a week or so back I had ordered the Wings of Glory WW2 rules and some planes from Milsims here in Australia.  They were due any day now.  I checked the PO Box first thing.  Nothing.  I saw they were still clearing the mail so I went back in a bit, but still nothing.  I went home and checked on the registered parcel delivery web service.  Australia Post said it was in Bassendean as of 5:15am this morning.  Promising.  So I went back.  Still nothing...

I went into the store and asked.  Yippee!  There it was.  I got it home just in time to get ready for Mark coming over for a game of planes.

First game, first shot, my plane blows up!

After that we had time for three more games, matching Gladiator against Fiat CR.42 Falco (wonderfully maneuverable planes, but slow) and a Yak 1 against a RE 2001 Falco II (fast and hard hitting).  Not sure if I have done justice to the Italian plane names.

WW2 WoG plays like WW1 WoG, but somewhat faster.  We only used the standard rules and just had stand up dog fights.

Lots of fun.

Here's a shot of one of my victories and showcasing the smoke marker:

The models seem finer than their larger WW1 counterparts.  It is going to be hard to resist getting more.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Down In Smoke

While still mulling over counters/labels for Napoleon's Battles and my recent aborted attempts to model explosions, I thought I would have a go at making some smoke markers for Wings of Glory.  This was before I read this post:

I cut up one of my aforementioned explosion attempts (teddy bear stuffing spray painted black) and wrapped it around a black twist tie that happened to be handy.  I secured it with thread and good dollop of PVA glue and hung it up to dry.  Afterwards I added some more black paint and voila!

A more traditional view:

Hopefully that's the only time I will see my beloved Albatross going down in smoke.

A close up of my new smoke markers:

Maybe I can turn my hand to fly fishing next...

The Hunters

Richard lent me this game to play: The Hunters.

I can't recall how the subject was raised, possibly mutual respect for the movie Das Boot.  I had always had an interest in U-Boat warfare and I remember being excited, but ultimately dissappointed over SPI's Up-Scope!

What a difference 35 years makes.  The Hunters was fun and uncomplicated and really told a story.

I started in a Type VIIA hunting in the British Isles in September 1939.  My first patrol was a success, but my second a dud and I was switched to laying mines for a living.  But I came good and was sent to the Atlantic in 1940.  After a mission to to land a spy in Britain I was promoted and assigned further patrols in the Atlantic.  My crew became veterans and in August 1941 we joined a wolf-pack.  After sinking a 12,000 ton freighter my sub was damaged by vengeful escorts.  After successfully eluding them we limped back home with engine damage. The going was slow and we were spotted by aircraft.  Our flak put up a good defense, but the attacks were relentless and we went to a watery grave.

In ten patrols we had sunk 15 ships totaling 94,000 tons.

The most interesting thing about this game is that it was designed for solitaire play.

It's tempting to dust off the old Visual Basic skills and computerize the game mechanics as it would play well as an app, just needing to add in some sound and visual affects.

The other interesting thing would be to use it's mechanics to structure Wings of Glory games.