Saturday, October 31, 2009

October Painting Totals

28mm AWI Americans, 74 foot, 4 mounted, 1 gun
28mm ACW Confederates, 60 foot, 1 gun

Despite the time lost to a modeling show and a gaming convention, I kept up a pretty good pace in October. I painted 134 foot, 4 horse, and 2 guns, for 578 SPPs this month and 4176 for the year.

I've painted the following figures so far this year:
28mm Foot: 588
28mm Mounted: 72
28mm Guns, 2
15mm Foot: 564
15mm Mounted: 105
15mm Elephants: 6
15mm Guns: 2

More Sash and Saber Rebs

I'm still waiting to prep my Perrys, and so I'm still painting ACW figures. Here are the next lot of Confederates, again painted in just two days. I'll have 160 men in the ranks to go with the 40 men on command stands. Because I'm painting so many, I can afford to actually make uniform color choices with small groups like this.

These guys all got brown hair, a brown hat, brown haversacks, khaki canteen covers, grey jackets, grey pants, and grey blankets. Those three greys are all slightly different.

So I now have 100 rankers to go with the 40 command figures and 40 skirmishers. Here are all the rankers.

Looking at all 100 together, I think they look awfully grey. My last 60 figures should have a lot more butternut.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Group Project: Jon Is Done

Jon had the Brunswickers in our three man Saratoga group project. You can see his completed figures on his website.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quick ACW Break

I'm painting some pantry cabinets in my garage, so I can't use the garage to prime the rest of my Perry AWI figures yet. While I wait for the cabinets' paint to dry, I worked on some Confederate infantry that I primed about a year ago. I put the base colors on these guys on Tuesday, then did all the highlighting yesterday.

I now have 80 rebel infantry painted. I have another 80 to go before I can start basing all the men. Then my command stands won't look so lonely on the table.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Poor's Brigade

And here it is, the result of two weeks' painting. There are 72 foot figures, one mounted figure, and one gun in this brigade.

Strategic Problems 2009

Last year the fellows and I attended Tactical Solutions, our local gaming convention. We had some issues with the convention pricing, the games schedule, and some of the people involved.

Long Rant Follows (you can skip it by scrolling straight to the pictures)

The convention had five gaming times: Friday 1800-2200, Saturday 0800-1200, 1300-1700, 1800-2200, and Sunday 0800-1200. But they ended up not having any games on Sunday morning. I put on two games on Saturday (one in the morning and one in the evening), and so I was moving figures and missed out on taking part in the remaining session.

Last year I was running a gaming club at a local school with about a dozen hard-core members. These kids ranged in age from 13-17. Most of them wanted to attend the convention, but the convention organizers insisted on parental supervision the whole time. The organizers eventually bent on that, allowing the kids to attend if each had his own adult supervisor, but by that time all but three kids had decided not to go. The convention organizers wanted to limit the kids to participation in a Warhammer 40K tournament, in which none of my students, historical gamers all, were even remotely interested. The organizers decided in the end that the students could play in the historical games that I ran, which meant that they could really only play in the morning game.

I was pretty turned off by the way the Tactical Solutions leadership handled the whole issue of my students attending. These are very mature kids, no sort of problem, and they got treated like second class citizens. They were effectively limited to one four hour gaming session using my figures and run by me. For those four hours of gaming, each of the three kids paid $20 for a day pass, the full adult price.

All told, our four man group and two of my students collectively paid $180 for a day and a half of gaming. My buddies and I played in a fun colonial game Friday night. Saturday morning I put on an Age of Eagles game that went pretty well. Saturday afternoon we all went home and prepared for the evening game. Saturday evening I put on a Field of Glory tutorial game that was a disaster.

The idea of the FoG game was to learn the rules, which had just released. My buddies, and a couple of other local gamers (Terry and Chuck), got into the easy-going spirit of the thing. Three other players, all of them organizers of the tournament, absolutely ruined the game. They were off having their own conversations while I explained the rules. They argued about what should have been allowed. They got super competitive. One of them repeatedly broke my figures. These guys, the face of Tactical Solutions, were complete asses during the game.

On Sunday, my buddies and I talked it all over. We had played three games. One (the colonial game) was moderately fun. One (the Age of Eagles game) was a great game that we all really enjoyed. One (FoG) was made miserable by the convention organizers. Since I put on the Age of Eagles game with my own figures and terrain, and since our gaming group comprised almost all of the players, why on earth had we paid so much money to play? We could have stayed home for the weekend, hosted our own games with guys we knew we liked to play with, and had a much better time. And all without dropping a couple hundred dollars.

Thus Strategic Problems was born. We decided to play three games over two days. We were hoping to do it at the same time the Tactical Solutions convention was going on, but scheduling conflicts made it necessary to wait an addition week.

The Friday night game was an Age of Eagles scenario set in 1813. Napoleon has maneuvered his army between two larger allied forces and hopes to defeat them in detail before they can combine.

Scott R. commanded the Russians. Don would throw the bulk of the French army against this line.

Austin commanded the Austrians. He remained stationary on this ridge for most of the game. The French army consisted of four corps. I commanded this one corps on the French left, tasked with throwing the Austrian advanced guard across the river. I made my assault and was blown to pieces.

Austin counterattacked, destroying the entire French corps and clearing the way into the French rear.

Don threw the other three French corps against the Russians. Hard fighting ensued, as the lines surged back and forth.

Eventually, Don was able to seize the bridge and keep more Russians from coming on the board. But the Austrians moving on the town in his rear surely indicated at least a tactical victory for the allies. This was a very fun game, as any Age of Eagles game almost invariably is.

Our second game was a WAB fight, pitting Matt's Greeks against my newly painted Macedonians. Once again, the Macedonian forces proved invincible. If anyone has any tips for how Greeks can counter those cavalry wedges, we would be glad to hear them.

All of our players were present for this game: Austin, Jon and me, my local gaming group; Don and Scott R, our sometime group members who have to make a four hour drive to attend; and Matt, my student from the now defunct gaming club.

Saturday night we played a WWII game at Jon's house. Sadly, we don't have any pictures of the table from that game. The figures were all 15mm Command Decision, and Jon did an excellent job painting them. He really stepped it up on those figures. The game was set in 1940 Norway, which meant a lot of pine trees and snow.

We used War Times Journal's 1943 rules instead of our usual Battlefront WWII. We were mostly underwhelmed with the rules, but good company always makes gaming fun.

I think Strategic Problems 2009 was a great success, and I'm sure we'll begin planning soon for Strategic Problems 2010.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Continental Army Generals

For the Freeman's Farm scenario, I need three brigade commanders and an army command stand. Last week I painted all but one brigade commander.

This is Brigadier General Enoch Poor. He wears a blue coat with buff facings and the violet/pink sash of a general officer.

This is Colonel Daniel Morgan, who leads the smallest brigade in my army. Trumbull's famous painting shows Morgan in a white hunting shirt, but I went a few shades darker.

This is my army command stand, with General Benedict Arnold gesturing with his sword, an aide (in the uniform of the Massachusetts regiments) about to gallop off with orders, and officers from the 1st New Hampshire and Dearborn's Light Infantry briefing Arnold on the situation to the front. Arnold's uniform is based on Mollo's plate of the general. The mounted figures are actually from Perry Miniatures' British officers pack, but they painted up well as Arnold and his aide.

Here's more detail of the two American infantry officers. These are both from pack AW-100 "British officers interrogating a captured Continental officer," which I gather from Tarleton's Quarter contains some interesting personality figures. The man gesturing with his hands bears the likeness of Alan Perry himself, while the officer leaning on a walking stick (which is meant to be a British officer) is Dave Brown, author of General de Brigade.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Continental Light Artillery

Poor's brigade had a section of grasshopper guns at Saratoga. I'll be using this butterfly gun instead.

I painted the gunners in matching uniforms for two reasons. First, since all the combatants' artillery uniforms were so similar, a uniformed crew can be used as British or Hessian gunners if a scenario requires. Second, I was just sick of painting an ill-uniformed rabble. It takes a lot of time to make a unit look sloppy, but it's easy as pie to make a unit look uniform.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Connecticut Militia

My GMB flags arrived last week, and I was able to finish Poor's brigade. I'll be putting the finished units on the blog over the next week.

Here's the Connecticut militia, 18 figures strong. My painting notes say:

'Probably mostly in hunting frocks, with quite a few men in red faced brown coats capture from the British brig "Thomas." No standard uniforms were settled on until 1886!'

I elected to stick with various shades of brown for this unit. There's actually a lot of variety in color, but by keeping it all within the brown part of the spectrum, I'm able to get the suggestion of uniformity without actually making the figures uniform. The one figure who really stands out is in the maroon hunting frock.

Monday, October 12, 2009

AWI Progress

Just over one week into painting my Continentals, I've finished most of Poor's brigade. I painted 48 figures this week, almost completing three regiments.

The Perry figures were easy to paint, although I did notice some discrepancies in sculpting style between the earlier figures and those released later. The later figures appear a little chunkier, and don't have quite as nice faces. Still, Perry figures have enough variety of uniform types to allow me to field a very motley looking collection of soldiers.

1st New Hampshire

Here are my painting notes for this unit:

'Clothed from capture of British brig "Nancy." Coats were brown with white lining and red facings. January 1777 Congress ordered all units to be clothed in hunting shirts if coats are not available. A deserter in May 1777 is described wearing "brown clothes." In July two deserters are described wearing "a suit of white clothing" and "a sailor's jacket and long trousers." Another deserter is described as wearing "a blanket coat and blanket overalls."

Lots of online images show the 1st NH in hunter green jackets with red facings, red/pink waistcoat, and green breeches. This seems a pretty unlikely uniform for the entire regiment to wear.

The 1st NH began the war in civilian clothing, being composed of minute and militia companies responding to the "Lexington Alarm." As the war progressed, the unit was issued several different uniforms, including two different sets of brown coats with red facings, brown coats with white facings and green coats with maroon facings (probably where the reenactors get the funky coats from).'

I elected to make this a pretty rag-tag unit. Half the figures are in the brown coats with red facings and white lining captured from the Nancy. The other half are in a collection of hunting shirts and civilian clothes.

2nd New Hampshire

From my notes:

'Sky blue coats faced with red and lined with white. Their waistcoats and breeches were of buckskin, and their stockings of white or gray wool and crossbelts of buff leather. The buttons were of pewter stamped.'

I chose to make this my most uniformly clothed unit. 14 of the 16 figures are in the coats described, with the remaining two in civilian shirts. I used some figures in overalls to break the monotony of buckskin breeches and grey stockings.

2nd New York

I miscounted my figures before priming and ended up two short for this unit. The remaining two soldiers will come with the next batch, and they'll be wearing hunting shirts.

My notes again:

'Raised from the 4th NY regiment of 1775, which had dark brown colored coats faced scarlet. They were completely clothed in uniforms in 1775, but many casualties of the Canadian expeditions would have been replaced by men lacking uniforms.

In addition, they wore white linen cravats or stocks, waistcoats and breeches of Russia drilling, woolen home-knit stockings, low shoes, a felt hat with low crown and wide brim cocked up, knapsacks and haversacks of painted canvas, and wooden canteens.

Later these New York troops were provided with buckskin waistcoats and breeches, or overalls of wool, and woolen mittens and caps. Many also wore the rifle frock for service.'

This is the most ill-clothed of my units, befitting the regiment's hard service in Arnold's Quebec campaign the preceding year. Only four men are in regulation dress. Nine are in hunting shirts, and the two I'll be adding will raise that total to ten.

Poor had a regiment of Connecticut militia and a section of artillery attached to his continentals. I'll be priming the gun and crew, along with the infantry and Poor himself, tomorrow.

I'm still waiting on my GMB order. Once I finish the remaining units, and once the flags get here, I'll get the bases flocked and take some shots of the entire finished brigade.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

First Perry AWI

I'm working my way through a brigade of Continentals, but I took time out to paint one figure to completion.

This is a private from the 2nd New Hampshire. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. The face is my biggest sticking point. My old flesh techniques may not do these figures justice.

WAB Greeks v. Macedonians

Yesterday Matt came over for a WAB game pitting his Greek army against my newly completed Macedonians. To help the Greeks counter the Macedonians' greater tactical flexibility, I placed several terrain obstacles around the table to restrict the Macedonian maneuver options. As things turned out, the battle separated into three distinct sectors.

On the Macedonian left, Greek hoplites and light cavalry screened the Macedonian heavy horse. Matt had a unit of light horse and a hoplite phalanx to counter the horse.

In the center, the Macedonian pike block would square off against the main Greek hoplite line.

On the right, my largest pike block and the hypaspists would face a Greek hoplite phalanx and the unit of Spartans Matt just finished painting.

Matt moved his phalanxes into the open ground between the terrain pieces. This way he could present a long line and keep me from hitting his flanks.

I moved a unit of skirmishers into the undefended woods. It took a long time to get them through the difficult terrain.

The two lines squared off in the center and on my left. Matt was using the terrain skillfully.

Then, unexpectedly, Matt attacked! The hoplite phalanxes crashed into my pikemen. By moving off the hill, Matt opened his flank to my companion cavalry.

At the same time, Matt's left advanced to meet my right in the bottleneck created by the edge of the forest and the edge of the table.

My skirmishers emerged from the woods to engage Matt's phalanx on its flank.

The initial round of fighting went very well for me. The companion cavalry destroyed one phalanx, and my pikes held.

Things went less well on my right. After the initial round of combat, both of my close order units fled, leaving my archers to bear the brunt of Matt's attack.

The second round of combat in the center was a disaster for me! All three of my pike blocks fled from the Greek phalanx. Fortunately the next turn Alexander was able to destroy the remaining Greek hoplites in the center.

On my left, the Thessalians and mercenary Greeks were able to first pin and then destroy another Greek phalanx.

With little Greek resistance left on my left and center, I was able to send the rallied pikemen and Alexander against the victorious Greeks on my right.

The battle ended with the Macedonian army pushing the Greeks off the table. It was an Macedonian victory, but the Greeks had their moments of success as well.