Sunday, May 31, 2009

May Painting Totals

I picked up the pace a bit in May, painting just over 100 figures.

28mm Napoleonic French, 44 infantry
28mm Napoleonic Austrians, 11 infantry
28mm Marian Romans, 8 infantry
28mm Macedonians, 10 infantry
15mm Macedonians, 16 infantry, 10 cavalry, 2 artillery

That makes 311 SPPs worth of painting for the month and 1645 for the year.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Second Edition Old Glory Napoleonic Austrian Infantry

Last July Old Glory Miniatures announced their new "second edition" figures.  They planned to rework some of their older ranges to appeal more to modern tastes.  That meant (presumably) more natural anatomy, more subdued poses, and better casting.

I've always enjoyed the original Old Glory sculpts, appreciating the character the sculptor put into the faces and poses.  I also find that the exaggerated detail suits my painting style.  So while I was interested in the second edition figures, I wasn't as excited as some.

The new packs come in Foundry style blisters, with eight infantry or 8-10 command per blister.  An eight figure pack runs $12, or $7.20 with an Old Glory Army card, so the cost to me (an army member) is $.90 a foot figure.  You can get the price down to $.60 a figure by buying boxed sets of 38 figures for $22.80.

I bought a pack of second edition ACW infantry when the range first launched, but I never got around to painting them.  With my last order I snuck in a single pack of Austrians in helemts to see how I like the new Napoleonics.  With some free time last night, I sat down and painted the eight figures.

In bare metal, I had thought the infantry's legs looked too long, but once painted the proportions look fine to me.  The figures are reminiscent of Sash and Saber's Napoleonics line, and rumor is that Chris Hughes of S&S sculpted the new Old Glory lines.  I'm not too sure about that; the faces are completely dissimilar, and Chris already has a substantial Napoleonics catalog of his own.

The casting was superb, with very little cleanup required.  The figures are slimmer than their older brothers and move more naturally.  With their subdued poses, the figures look very nice when ranked together on a base.  I would say Old Glory has met all of their objectives with this set.

I already have a pretty large (240 infantrymen) Napoleonic Austrian army, so I was interested to see how the second edition figures looked next to the original sculpts.  I took some comparison shots.

Although the men themselves are the almost same height, the exaggerated helmet crest on the older figure makes him look much taller.  The different size of helmets and muskets will keep me from mixing these figures in the same units, but they're close enough that I'll have no problem fielding them on the same table.

All in all, then, I'm pleased with the second edition figures.  They're some of the best Napoleonics I've seen, and they're certainly worth the cost, even at $.90 a figure (and even at $1.50 for non-Old Glory Army members).  I'll probably be buying more Autrians, especially once Old Glory releases their box set of grenadiers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Front Rank 28mm German Grenadiers

This is a test stand I painted, trying out new figures to see how they would mix with my Old Glory figures.  The grenadiers are from IR 43.

The Front Rank figures are definitely beefier than every other brand I've painted.  Still, they have a charm all their own, and they were a breeze to paint.

28mm Thessalian Cavalry

These figures have been on the back burner for a while as I finished some commissions.  My Macedonian army will have two heavy cavalry units, one of companions and these Thessalians.

I'm going to paint my companions' cloaks purple and yellow, and I wanted to do something different for my Thessalians.  The blue and gold combo turned out pretty well.

The figures are all Foundry, a mix of their Thessalians and companions.  I got the figures off eBay for a pretty good price, about $3.50 each.  It's nice to find good buys, but it keeps me from being too choosy about poses.  I just can't justify paying $8 apiece for cavalry.  I wish Foundry had a more reasonable pricing scheme!

WAB actually depicts the Macedonian cavalry wedge as a distinct formation.  All my figures are on Litko wood bases, but I glue a Wargames Accessories metal sheet to the bottom of each Litko base.  I then cut myself a suitable movement tray out of basswood and affix some of Wargames Accessories' sticky back magnetic sheeting to the top.  The end product is sturdy enough for the wargames table, but it still looks sharp.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1809 Game

Jon and Austin came over to my place on Saturday for a Napoleonics game using my 25mm figures.  We played a hypothetical 1809 scenario with a large Austrian division (Nordmann's vangaurd) attempting to force a river crossing.

The game was really intended as an intro to the Piquet: Field of Battle rules.  I've played the rules often by myself and found that they work very well for solo gaming.  I hoped that Jon and Austin would enjoy them well enough that we could work some Piquet games into the regular schedule.

Initial Setup

Jon commanded the Austrians, who had a significant numerical advantage over the French.  But of course, French leaders were rated much higher than the Austrians.  The French had three brigades of infantry, each guarding a bridge, with a brigade of light cavalry in reserve.

The Austrians had four brigades of infantry.  Infantry could cross the river anywhere except the stand of aspens (indicating marshy ground), but cavalry and guns could only cross at the bridges.  The Austrians were to sieze the road intersection in the French rear.  The French were to defend the river line.

Jon Plans His Attack

Neither Jon nor Austin had played Field of Battle before, although Jon did have some experience playing classic Piquet.

Austrian Attack in the Center

Jon drew a move card and rolled well for his center brigade, allowing three movement actions.  He moved his infantry across the river and attacked Austin's center!  Austin's men opened fire, and smoke puffs began to dot his entire line.

Austrians Smash the Center

Between his fire and his melee, Jon destroyed one French battalion and one battery and sent another battalion scurrying to the rear.  Austin was able to move his cavalry brigade up and attempt to stabilize the line.

Austrians Attack the French Right

Jon attacked the Austrian right at the same time, using his elite Jäger to rout a French legere battalion.  When Jon attempted to cross his brigade over the river, however, Austin was able to push him back across with moderate losses.

All Quiet on the French Left

Jon rolled poorly for his rightmost brigade.  That brigade leader had a low leadership value and had trouble getting his raw battalions to advance.  Austin's infantry brigade watched them, but no fighting developed.

French Counterattack in the Center

Austin's infantry was able to drive off Jon's cavalry with musket fire, and Austin's horse closed on the Austrian infantry.  Jon's infantry was able to check the cavalry charge long enough to form square, and the center settled into apparent stalemate.

After the first turn was over (and I should explain that a turn lasts for the whole of a 26 card deck), Austin and Jon decided that Piquet was not for them, and we went for a bite of lunch.

Yesterday I played out the rest of the game solo, reaching a conclusion in two more turns.  I had the French left charge across the river and assault the motionless Austrian brigade, which was primarily made up of raw Grenzer.  The French destroyed that brigade almost without loss to themselves, then, flush with victory, moved against the open Austrian rear.

In the center, I moved the French horse artillery in position to hammer the Austrian infantry square, then moved the cavalry against the Austrian columns behind it.  The French cavalry, along with the lone infantry battalion left from the center brigade, was able to push the Austrians back across the river.

On the right, I had the French brigade stage a fighting withdrawl, gradually falling back to the road intersection.  The Austrians kept hitting the French, but could never quite deliver a decisive blow.

The game ended when the Austrians failed an army morale roll and quit the field.  Austrian casualties were very heavy, but they nearly succeeded in capturing the French road intersection.  The French held two of the three river crossings at the end of the game.  All in all, the battle ended as a minor French victory.

End of Fighting

Because of their higher quality leadership, the French were able to rally off casualties much more quickly than the Austrians, and their brigades were able to deliver some solid attacks.  I'll still keep playing Piquet solo, but the group continues our quest for a tactical Napoleonic game we all enjoy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

HäT Industries 28mm Napoleonic French Legere

HäT very kindly sent me two new sprues to review, hard plastic 28mm Napoleonic French light infantry.  Each sprue provides figures for one of the elite companies of French legere battalions.  Here I'm reviewing the voltiguers, but I do have the carabiniers nearing completion.

Contents of One Sprue

Each sprue includes one officer, two marching figures, two figures at attention, two figures at charge bayonet, two standing firing figures, one kneeling firing figure, and one loading figure.  Although the poses are identical to HäT's 1/72 set, the tooling is different.  You'll get four of these sprues in each box, so you can field bases of identical of similar poses easily enough.

HäT isn't the first to release 28mm hard plastic Napoleonics, but the sets from Victrix, with the vast assembly required, didn't really appeal to me.  These HäT figures are one piece castings with a seperate backpack/blanket roll piece.  Assembling these 12 figures took me less than a minute.

L-R AB 15mm, HäT 1/72, HäT 28mm, Crusader 28mm

So how do they compare with other figures?  I read one review on a message board that HäT's 28mm figures were no bigger than their 1/72 line.  Clearly that reviewer wasn't familiar with 1/72 figures.  The HäT 28mm figure is actually taller than the Crusader 28mm figure.

The real difference is in proportion.  I'm fond of the Crusader figure.  In fact, I've got a whole 36 man battalion of those figures ready to paint.  But the HäT figure gives a much better representation of the human form.  The only 28mm metal figures I've seen to touch the HäT for proportion are the TAG Austrians, but the TAG figures were so brittle that they broke during shipping.  The plastic figures are much heartier.

Skirmish Line

HäT is breaking new ground for them, producing figures primarily for wargames for the first time.  I know that many people game with 1/72 figures.  I'm one of them.  But HäT has continued the frustrating habit of earlier manufacturers of producing such a wide range of poses that convincing units are hard to build.  I like my horse and musket period units to rank up in lines of marching men, and I know I'm not alone.  To be sure, the 1/72 sets do contain marching men, but they're usually only a quarter of each box.  When I've asked HäT about this in the past, they've responded that most purchasers of their figures are either collectors or diorama builders, and those customers demand a wider range of poses.


The 28mm line is certainly marketed for wargamers, however, and HäT will have to adjust the figure poses to satisfy that market.  These voltiguers have a better mix of poses than most 1/72 sets, with 6 of the 12 figures suitable for a close order unit.  The remaining six are either skirmishing or defending.  I could have done without the defending poses, but the skirmishers will be useful, since this was the light company of the light battalions.

HäT writes that one box of the Bavarian line infantry they have in the works will consist entirely of marching poses.  That will be a big improvement on these figures.  Of course, it may be that I'm wrong, and that wargamers want a wide mix of figures for their legere battalions.

The HäT figures are very nice, but they don't have the deep relief that I expect from metal figures.  The good news is that they're working on it.  This sprue has gone through three variations since they started work on it, with a fourth production version under work at the moment.  I got version two, and HäT tells me that the third and fourth versions have deeper detail.  I found the detail on these figures pronounced enough to shade and highlight, but it was tough to pick out some of the detail.

So what's the final assessment?  These are beautiful figures.  The mix of poses is a little disappointing, but for the price (about $.50 apiece), you really can't go wrong in picking up a box and giving them a try.  I don't know if I'll ever be truly sold on plastics.  I enjoy the heft of metal figures, and I worry about the potential for plastic figures to break, especially when handled by my students.  But as plastic figures go, these are well worth a look.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

28mm Foundry Hoplites FS


I started my Greek army intending to use Foundry hoplites, but I liked the Crusader figures so well that I'm using them instead and offering these for sale.

These are a mix of Foundry packs. I've provided links to images of the figures.

28 armored hoplites attacking link
13 armored hoplites at the ready 
44 shields
16 armored hoplites attacking
I could not find these last on Foundry's site. They are a little smaller than the other 41 hoplites, and their shields are a little larger. I suspect that these are one of Foundry's earlier sculpts that they have since withdrawn.

I'll also throw in 16 Little Big Men shield transfers in eight different designs.

I'm asking $1 USD apiece for these figures plus $5 USD for Priority Mail shipping, so $62 USD for the lot of 57 figures. Leave your email address in the comments here, contact me through the email link, or email me directly at smacphee at verizon dot net.

28mm Old Glory Punic Wars Romans FS


These are the odds and ends remainders from my WAB army. All of the figures are bare metal. These are nice sculpts, but I have all the Romans I need for the moment.

PPR-1 Hastati link
24 figures and 26 shields.

PPR-2 Principes link
21 whole figures, 1 figure with broken plume, two figures with broken pila, and 26 shields. The figures could be fixed with a little drilling and some brass wire.

PPR-3 Triarii link
12 figures and 14 shields.

PPR-4 Foot Command link
6 leaders, 8 standard bearers with 9 standards, 8 cornicens, and 14 shields.

PPR-7 Italian Infantry link
15 figures and 13 shields (you could always use some of the spare scuta).

I'm asking half retail ($.50USD per figure) plus $5 USD for Priority Mail shipping, so $62 USD for the lot of 114 figures. Leave your email address in the comments here, contact me through the email link, or email me directly at smacphee at verizon dot net.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Crusader Greek Hoplites

Next off the painting bench is a unit I've been working on for about a month, sneaking in bits and pieces while waiting for commission work to dry.  These 28 figures are all from the Crusader Rank and File line.  The hoplites are RFA-021 "Greek Hoplites," and the musician and leader are from RFA-022 "Greek Hoplite Command."  The shield transfers are from Little Big Men Studios, with handpainted rims.  I used Litko bases with Wargames Accessories metal bases for the bottom, which lets me attach the whole unit to a magnetic movement stand.

WAB Hoplite Phalanx

I toyed with the idea of basing these figures for FoG, with four figures on a 60mm frontage.  I liked the way the hoplite shields overlapped on the base, but the FoG army list for classical Greeks just didn't thrill me.  I'm already painting a Macedonian army for WAB, and I'm planning on painting Persian opponents for the same system, so I decided to base these Greeks for WAB as well.


I knew I wanted a varied look for my hoplites.  The shield transfers were very important for this, and fortunately LBMS makes 48 distinct designs.  I used six different shades of linothorax armor and six different shades of tunic.


I painted a different design on each of the 27 sets of linothorax armor, using red, blue, black, and green to paint the designs.


I know that hoplite generals would have used a spear just like the rest of the men, but this figure armed with sword will help mark the leader figure for WAB.

Shield Detail

It took me as long to paint the shield rims as it would have taken me to paint simple shield designs.  I varied the colors and designs here as well.

I'm happy enough with the Crusader figures to build several more of these phalanxes.  I'll probably mix some unarmored figures in the rear ranks of any more units.

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Painting Totals

Here's what I got done in April.  Most of the figures were for one large commission.

15mm Carthaginians: 6 elephants with 18 crew, 12 infantry, 28 cavalry
15mm Romans: 88 infantry
28mm Greeks, 28 hoplites

That's a total of 405 SPPs for the month, the best month I've had in a while.