Monday, April 21, 2014

Workbench Update

Strange isn't it how we can go from wanting nothing to do with the painting table one week and, then not being able to stay away from it the next?
I've now finished all three of the Spanish battalions from Ebor and they will be making their debut tabletop appearance next week.
Right now I have more Ebor figures on the workbench.  This is the first twelve of one hundred and eight I have to make most of the Alsaace Regiment (three battalions of the four that were in the centre of the first line at Ramillies).  They were a lot easier to paint than the Spanish - white coats are a pain.

Paul Hicks must have used the same figure dolly for these, but somehow these are just a little crisper and cleaner.  The detail is clear and there is no wondering where the belts and straps are as there was on one or two of the Spanish.  The Grenadier figure is also better defined and you don't wonder whether it's a belt over his left shoulder or creases in the coat. 
The officer figure is quite lovely.  Just enough lace to stand out but not too much that he looks overpaid for his role. 
We've all spent a lot of time trying to work out what colour the French line wore.  I've also spent time trying different shades of blue for the German contingents too.  In the end I went with a dark blue, lighter than that I used for the Guardes Francais.  It's GW Regal Blue with some black added, all over a midnight blue basecoat  I also didn't bother with trying to highlight the blue because I found that on the test figures I did they ended up looking too bright (I read somewhere that you shouldn't highlight blue on a wargames figure because of that effect or am I just imagining that?).

I do have one concern over the figures.  Paul has sculpted a musket sling on them all.  I was under the impression that only grenadiers had slings for when they were throwing grenades.  The infantry had no such equipment.  Anyone able to confirm that?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Great Northern War

Just a heads up that more pictures of the collection so far are now available to view on the Grimsby Wargames Society website. 

Click the link below and then "Gallery of Battles we Game".

The pictures are better than previously seen.

Thanks Malcolm.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Great Northern War

There should be a fanfare here......
Last night, for the first time, all of my Great Northern War collection made it onto the table top.  Eight battalions and five squadrons of Russians defended two small redoubts against seven battalions and five squadrons of Swedes.  Both sides were supported by a couple of light guns each.

A view over the field.  Russians on the left.
 The redoubts were placed to protect a crossroads leading somewhere important and the Swedes were given the task of taking this allegedly vital position.
Swedish foot ready to go forwards.
The Swedish formation was simple.  They placed six of their battalions facing the redoubts.  One protected their right flank between two small woods.  All their horse was massed on the left

The Russian foot between the two redoubts
 The Russians placed two of their battalions in the redoubts.  The rest were to protect the centre of the position and the flanks.  Most of their horse faced the Swedish horse with a lone squadron on their left.  The Russian artillery were massed (can you mass two guns?) next to the left hand redoubt, whilst the Swedish artillery was split on both flanks.
"Massed" Russian artillery
 Inevitably the game plan was never going to be complex for the Swedes and they simply marched forward to take on the Russians.
Russians defending the right hand redoubt.
 The opening action saw the horse come to blows on the Swedish left.  No rules were tweaked for this and the melee was conducted in the same manner as our normal WSS games.  Unfortunately rules cannot legislate for the pips on the dice and the Swedes cut down a quarter of the Russians in a single round.  Failing the resulting morale test the Russians fled and that was the last we saw of the Russian horse for the evening. 
Clash of horse
 The action in the centre was much more of a contest. 
The Russians in the first redoubt withstood the initial charge from the Swedes although they failed to stop the charge.  A subsequent few rounds of melee saw them force the Swedish foot off and routed one of the battalions.
First wave of Swedes attacks the redoubt.
Swedish foot in rout in the centre.  The left hand battalion is about to charge that Russian formation in the upper left part of the scene.  To the right we can see the second wave of Swedes coming forward.
 The Russians placed between the redoubts didn't fare so well.  They lost the ensuing melee but managed to retain some discipline and caused the Swedes to retire and reform.  The second wave of attacks from the Swedes saw them burst through the centre and break the Russian formation into two.

Swedes about to break the Russian centre.
The game ended with the Russians still in the redoubts but with their left wing and centre cleared, whilst the massed Swedish horse threatened their right.  The Russian commander deemed it prudent to yield the crossroads to the very bloodied Swedes.

The core of the rules were unchanged.  Firing and fighting mechanics were as normal.  The only changes we made were to downgrade Russian foot if in the open and to upgrade the Swedes in their morale.  We also gave the Swedes a dice for every three pikes rather than per four as normal to reflect their more aggressive nature.  Swedish foot are also forced to move forward where possible against the enemy since they weren't known for being passive when facing Russians.

What did come out of the game was that Russians defending obstacles is a good thing.  Russians caught without such protection is a bad thing.  For me that seems to be a good reflection of the events at Narva & Poltava where Russians in fortifications could withstand the aggressive Swedes but out on the open field they were a poor second.

I think I may have to revisit a few things for the two sides and maybe create a new class of artillery for light guns because they appeared to be more effective than in our normal games.  Especially since there is a lot more Russian artillery to come. 

Overall though a very pleasing game played in a friendly fashion with no arguments about the new rules.  So very many thanks to Mark for making the inaugural Great Northern War game a good day.

Monday, March 24, 2014

On the Workbench

There has been a good amount of activity on the workbench over the last few weeks.  Both of my main projects have had new figures finished, although in neither case have they been completed into regiments.
There is now another stand of Spanish for the War of the Spanish Succession & Project Ramillies.  I've got as far as the first "wet" highlight on the ground work and will wait for the next two stands to be completed before finishing off with two more highlights and various flora.  Figures are again from Ebor and now I understand them I quite enjoy painting them.
White coats are painted using a light grey undercoat, Vallejo Off White washed with GW Devlan Mud and then highlighted with Vallejo Off White.  Officers receive a further highlight of GW Skull White.
Yellow facings etc. are from a craft paint caramel base, then Colour Party Mustard & finally Colour Party Canary Yellow.  Officers receive one more highlight of Canary Yellow with a small dab of white added.

The Great Northern War has also received new recruits.  This time in the shape of more horse for both sides.  I've only managed two thirds of the figures required for two complete squadrons and the remaining figures are in the next batch.  As ever they are all from Musketeer Miniatures. 
Swedish Dragoon above and Russian Dragoon below.  Both have been varnished using a new medium for me - Winsor & Newton Galleria Matt Acrylic Varnish.  I have to say that I am pleased with the outcome.

Matt varnish is one of the perennial issues that crop up on blogs and forums and invariably results in people finding one solution they like and sticking with it.  At the Grimsby club the consensus for matt varnish seems to be the use of Humbrol Matt varnish. 
However, I'm not in that group.  Until recently I used matt varnish designed for the DIY retailers.  The problems there were either that the solvent based material (which I try and avoid because of environmental concerns over solvents in the water supply) didn't dry matt, or that the water based solutions were too gloopy and looked poor.  Then I moved onto Humbrol Matt Cote (not the same as the Humbrol varnish that the others use in the little tins).  My issues here were all about consistency.  When it works it works really well, but like as not I had to redo the figure two or three times to get a true matt finish.  Then Dr Phil Hendry in a recent magazine suggested adding talc to the mix and this did work for me.
The Galleria varnish as a recommendation from a friend and first results are encouraging.  The figures do take longer to dry but otherwise I'm very pleased. 
 Lastly I've also decided that I have far too many figures in my collection and that space has to be reassigned.  As a consequence this year will see a number f smaller collections sold off.  One of them will be the "Ronin" figures and rules which were bought in a magpie moment (oohh shiny shiny!!) and then regretted.
However, to sell them I need to finish painting them and with only twenty figures left to paint this didn't seem too arduous.  The first seven have reached the robe painting stage already.  Figures a mix of North Star, Steel Fist, Crusader, Perry & Kingsford Miniatures.
Next  up will be twelve more Spanish, four GNW horse & seven samurai (no pun intended Mr Kurosawa).
And even better I'm also now in a position to get back to the gaming table!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Musketeer Miniatures

A new blog from Bill - the man behind Musketeer Miniatures - all bout his creation of armies for the Great Northern War.

Not only is he a talented sculptor he's bloody good with a paint brush too!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Honourable Mentions

Just a quick post to firstly thank both Miniature Wargames and WSS magazines for the mentions of the Grimsby Wargames Club in their recent issues.
Henry, Minature Wargames, thanks the club for the support we are offering to his Combat Stress Appeal through donations for downloading the flags on our site.
Paul Cubbin in his article on making flags in WSS makes reference to or site and the good work to be found there in flag downloads.

Of course none of the above would have been possible without some work from the club so thank you Malcolm & David for that.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hang Over Cure

So having a booked day off knowing that a headache was due after yesterday, I spent some time at the painting table.
An overview of where we are at.
Swedes with basing washed and first highlight.
A mix of GNW staff for both sides and the start of a third Spanish WSS battalion.
On the right of the table are the Russians waiting for rebasing and then we can get onto the table.