Friday, February 20, 2015

San Cristobel 1809

Bonjour de Nouveau Caledonie,

My final night in New Caledonia, the French holiday hotspot in the middle of the pacific. After several days of subjecting the locals to my not so fluent french I finally caught up on reading blogs.

I would also kill for a cup of tea. Milk is hard to come by here and I have had only one brew in 4 days. NZ tomorrow and a good few pots of darjeeling are needed I think.

Now allow me to direct you to a report of my Spanish armies latest outing - a stunning victory at San Cristobel.

Paul, Duke de San Cristobel and myself conducted a fighting retreat with the utmost precision against French forces trying to cut off our line of retreat. The Spanish army moved in unison, fought in unison and bloodied the french with every step. An absolute miracle !

(You know things are going well when half way through the game you have only taken a single hit and the enemy has lost regiment after regiment.)

The little village at Ventosa was a salient in our line but I thought it would fall quickly. The french scoffed at the troops there so I made a simple statement.......""Look at them they have bearskins on".

And thus started the legend of an Epic Spanish Victory

Luck was on the spanish side this day. When a devastating volley was needed it came, when our position became difficult the french stumbled and we made our escape. When the French finally managed to clear their traffic jam and spread across the field I thought "oh dear this is about to turn ugly". Infantry upon infantry across the line, cavalry looking at my donkey cavalry. And at that moment they became distracted by Ventosa and it brought us precious time indeed.

A thoroughly enjoyable game all around. To make things better we just wholloped england in 12 overs. I must have been the only person in Noumea watching it, drinking bad french beer and yelling at the tv.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

54mm and 1/72 fun and games


I joined the 54mm painting team for the Museum display and got myself all ready to paint my 40 figures. So here are the 5 figures I received two weeks ago which I was given which I must say left me a little downhearted. Don't get me wrong the logistics issues are very understandable (Canterbury  charged into it with heaps of us getting stuck in) , it was mainly my enthusiasm and impatience that got the better me as I was all set to charge into it due to my preference of doingf far too much all at once. Seeing other painters in the north island painting 10's at a time does not help - such is my eagerness to paint more of them.

I have done the initial base - coat so all that is left to do on these is the wash and highlights. I'll leave these till I get some more as I prefer to do these things in bulk. The figures are all mostly the same uniform but I did the 5th one differently to see how the change would look for future figures.

The arms on these lads were an absolute bastard to glue on but once done and filled it wasn't too bad.

I am painting up some small 1/72 forces for some Solo skirmish gaming. some Strelets Romans, more like 25mm than 1/72 but they look quite fine fellows. They will be my human forces for my Fantasy land.
Dark Alliance orcs
 Light Alliance Dwarves
Dark Alliance Half Orcs or alternatively(well I call them this) called "Lord of the Rings uruks" considering they are sculpts from the movie scenes. They even have the white hand on the shields.
 And a 15mm British RHA gunner I'm painting for Colin. Over the last few years I have seen these chaps sitting in Colin's garage and as thanks for his hosting of games I said I'd paint them for him.

Very soon I will post an incredible bias account of my Spanish Army giving the french a damn good hammering.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


In my new role I have been extremely busy with some long days recently, hopefully in the next week or two things will settle down. I have not done any painting at all apart from put some 54mm figures together and fill the seams.

I did take some pictures of my painted Hinchiffe Saxon's. They are yet to have their bases completed as I simply don't have the time. I've tried black lining for a change to see how they look - not bad I think given the state of the figures when I picked them up 2nd hand.

A Minifig unit !
And some hotspur figures.

Friday, January 30, 2015


My camera issue could be about to be solved as a result of a  positive turn of events personally,  as I am now General Manager at work.. This position will take a lot more hours and responsibility and painting time will suffer so I need to PAINT PAINT PAINT like crazy until it really kicks in.  As I now also get a state of the art mobile phone :) I'm going to ensure it has a state of the art camera and viola ! all my problems are solved.
On the 15th of January I said I would paint the following figures and aim to have it completed in 2-3 weeks. Rather ambitious as I had several nights off but I have made stead progress over the last 11 or so days.

  • 96 Hinchcliffe Saxons(Reg du Roi, Reg Von Low, Reg Prince Max, Reg Prince Auguste)
    • 14 Perry French Hussars (10th Hussars)
    • 24 Minifig French Legere (8th Legere Regiment)
    • 24 Hotspur French Line. (84th Line Regiment)
    • 24 1/72 Confederate Cavalry
    • 15 or so 28mm casualties.
 The results:

  1. 72 Hinchcliffe figures are re-painted\touched up  (24 yet to be based as I ran out of bases and replacements are due) and only have to have the standards attached. One lot of 24 figures left to do.
  2. 24 Minifig French Legere (8th Legere Regiment) and 24 Hotspur French Line. (84th Line Regiment) have undergone their base coats and tonight will hopefully see them almost completed.
  3. I have painted the horses of the 12 1/72 confederate cavalry for some variety to painting and I hope to have these done in time.
  4. Some 15mm British Foot artillery have snuck into the list too and are half done.
And some tinkering with my 1/72 Confederates which will most likely be my next project (after the project in between of course) or I'll give my 1/72 SYW figures a finish. After toiling with 25/28mm figures I like to get stuck onto 1/72 as they are so easy to paint (being so small).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Solo campaign map styles


I have been pondering a bit on solo campaigns I plan to run. I have done a few so far but the are mostly very simple. Simple is good but I want to try something a little more complex

The period isn't set as I am just conducting a paper exercise on what map and type of map movement is needed.

Piquet - Theatre of War style.

Each grid is an area of terrain that effects the table top battle (rolled randomly). The type of square indicates the number of impetus needed to enter it (impetus is rolled for randomly) and the ability to move is determined by cards (eg: to move into brown you need to draw a card Move in rough terrain AND also have the 6 impetus needed to go into it).

The random nature of the above map is the direction I am leaning for. The card and impetus make solo gaming quite appealing as it increases the fog of war and inability to move the forces wherever they want . Its very bland and cold and gives no detail as to the local area - I might adjust this grid and simply overlay it over an existing map so at least the square movement can work but I get to see the local area and lament over certain places (Like a mid 1990's Wargame campaign town of Craonne where the 33rd Foot lost its dignity).

More detailed maps

 These give more flavour, but increase the complexity of moving and fog of war. The above give a lot more detail to the area you are in so you can get more of a feel for the local area, I guess getting more involved in the story\background. However force movement becomes incredibly complex. You either have to detail several sets of orders for a non player forces and randomly assign on (reviewing every X days) or have the non player faction not as detailed - ie: simply blips that can  be something or might be simply rumour or shadows.

 a) Point to Point
 A map with point to point movement.(We used this type in the late Barry Taylor's Spanish and German campaigns) where a forces can move a number of point to point road segments.

 A hex based map  eg: Infantry move 3 squares on road, 2 in rough terrain etc etc (The Tony bath style)

c) The fantastic battle-finder system (
A load of tables all joined together - a lot of the leg work is done ! They supply several games all with maps that could be useful.

If anything battlefinder will be a start as they are so versatile and all that is needed is the in between table movements.

Something for me to mull over anyway and play around with. I've already created several maps for campaigns of various genres so the creativity is there, just the forces, armies and time aren't. I'm yet to decide on how orders would work but I'm leaning towards a random dice roll of three to six  sets of orders, I guess the key will be making sure there is are always multiple objective available for the non player side.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ACW Basing options

Wow 21st of Jan and I have made 6 post already - I'm really enjoying this burst of enthusiasm and activity. I'm deep into another Saxon unit and will have that finished tonight - I usually paint  50 figures in anyone go but I cut that back to 24 for this last two Saxons as I have other things to do. Once these two are complete I have two French Regiments to do which will take my grand total of French Infantry to 3 units (out of 25). Then its the French cavalry's turn to be re-based (and horses painted properly).

A brief interlude into ACW.

I have been looking at Regimental Fire and Fury recently and then at my current figures. Those that survived my original ACW armies were based matching Archduke Piccolos rule-set (Blue and Gray I think) on 35mm x 15m bases. Since most of the forces destruction I have purchased new figures but I have noticed that fitting the older style base is an issue. Airfix and Esci figures fit fine as they have smaller bases but other brands and the poses suit those bases. Some Italeri, Revell and IMEX however have larger bases or the poses often seem to be facing forward so the base is width wise instead of the old classic height wise (Firing figures like the red shirt rebel on the right hand base)). This results in only certain figures fitting together well on a base.

So a new plan is needed I think as I'm not happy with the way the bases work on the new figures.

The following picture is of 3 different basing option (using some unpainted figures).

Right is the original 35mmx15mm, middle is 35mmx30mm and left is the F&F 20mm recommended size 1 1/4 " x 1".

The newer options really only have 2 figures frontage that I think works well space size, but it simply blows away my current units. My units are all individual Regiments from the War (eg: 10th Alabama) so moving to a F&F basis of stands will take away that individual basis and also wreck havoc with my current organisation. I could aim for a default F&F unit size of say 6 or 10 stands but this then causes issues.

eg:  10th Alabama is 24 figures (8 ranks of 3) currently

Options - 

  • Do nothing and just trip the figure bases to fit (For F&F two older bases can combine into 1 FF base.
  • If I re-based for Fire and Fury - I could go for an average size of 6 stands (24 figures) to keep the individual feel and then have a load of generic stands to plug the gaps if larger units are needed or simply go for units of 10 and adjust\remove per ruleset used.
  • Bases ESCI\Italeri on the old bases (making figure combos fit) and then use the IMEX\Revell figures for FF bases for a small force.
It is something I shall have to ponder over as it seems like a lot of effort.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Almost completed 2 Hinchcliffe units "renewal"

I have finished re-painting two of my Saxon Regiments that are very old hinchcliffe figures.

These figures are over 40 years old at least, they were coated in large globs of varnish and have some "lead rot". I had to be fairly gentle with them when I discovered how brittle they are as legs were snapping off with too much pressure. I do the standards and basing all in one go for multiple units so when I complete the other few units I'll add them in. They will fit in well with my multi-manufacturer forces.

The Front unit is Regt. Prince Antoine (Blue facings) and the second is Regt. Prince Clement (Green facings).

A bright close up.

The above took 3 days from start to finish for a total of 9 hours painting (+/- a few other figures from other genres).