Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Away Last Week

I was always conscious that time was going to be an issue for the Blenheim game, especially since I have a number of figures I want to paint before the big day to boost the number further.  One of the causes of that was the need for me to spend a large part of last week in France visiting a couple of food companies for some new projects we are advancing.
There are many issues with the French food industry but one of them I have encountered regularly is that I'm never sure if they are trying to make you look like an idiot or whether it is actually part of their routine procedure.  The photograph below is a case in point.

 
The gentleman in the centre is the owner.  Dressed in a standard three quarter length food coat as per the norm.  To either side are myself and my account manager dressed in the garb given to visitors.  Now you tell me that they aren't taking the piss.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Blenheim Progress

So with just over seven weeks to go things are looking good.

I have the completed orders of battle and there are eight commands although we can split a couple if more people turn up on the day.  So far I have five confirmed, one on the bench and two interested parties but more are still welcome.

Along with the orders of battle I have also completed the rules for the day, all those little additions for the scenario that impact on the core set we use.  Add to that the individual player briefings are finished as well.  People who have played in my games before know that, in addition to the objectives for each side, each of the players get three or four personal objectives so that we can have a winning team and an MVP.

My thanks to the support I have received from my fellow gamers at the Grimsby club so far. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blenheim Painting Progress

Painting for the Blenheim game certainly although the figures rightly belong to the order of battle for Ramillies.  But let's not confuse matters too much.
I've recently completed another squadron of Ebor Spanish figures along with a command stand and some re based Front Rank French horse.

 
 There have been a few issues with the Ebor figures, sorted now but not at the time of painting.  One of the horse poses was very brittle at the point where hoof met base.  So brittle in fact that several of the figures supplied could not be used.  Nick very graciously sent me replacements (and the pose has been remodelled with an improved joint).  However, in order to keep on pace for the game in august I had to substitute another horse into the mix.
Close up it stands out but it is not that noticeable en masse. 
 The photograph above shows the difference that ten years of painting makes.  On the left the new Spanish and on the right ten year old Front Rank French.  In the intervening time I seemed to have learned a lot about painting faces although my approach to shading coats doesn't appear to have changed much.
 The new command base is meant to represent a Spanish staff officer with aide.  Instead I plumped for a kettle drummer for a point of difference.  All my brigade staff will be two figures to a base. 
The Spanish staff wore a blue coat with red lining and cuffs all trimmed with gold - the more gold the higher up the nobility you were.
 Figures are from Eagle Miniatures and are okay in their own way.  The faces are less defined (the generals face is almost void of features) that Ebor and Front Rank.  The hands on the drummer mere blobs.  But they still have an appeal and I may well go back and improve their appearance when time permits.
The painting desk gives some idea on the scale of the needs for the August game.  In the left middle ground are six squadrons of French horse waiting for bases to be completed.  To their right are two squadron of Ebor Spanish undercoated and waiting for shading.  On the far right are two more squadrons of Spanish horse recently prepped and mounted ready for priming.

The only problem now is that I'm going to miss three weeks of painting due to travelling for work and a vacation.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Blenheim

This is more of an update than a post.

We are now a little over nine weeks away from the big game on Saturday 16th August.  The good news for those who are undecided is that there are still commands available - apparently some people want to go on holiday rather than play with toy soldiers!

If the thought of coming to Grimsby for a game is not sufficient cause in itself, then how about the fact that the Orders of Battle are nearly complete and, currently, offer nearly eighty 28mm battalions (big battalions of 30 figures plus as well) and a hundred squadrons of horse.  At the rate some of us are painting there will be more by the time of the big day.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Spanish Reinforcements

With just ten weeks remaining until we stage the Blenheim game real life is getting in the way.  I've been away for the most of the last two weeks, one with work and with work and family (and sometimes both which was interesting - "Darling how do you fancy a couple of days in Devon all expenses paid?  You do?  Great.  Oh, we're staying with the owner of a crab factory because I need to visit them whilst we're on holiday.")
 
Anyway, somehow I've managed to complete another two squadrons of Spanish horse in that time.  Again from Ebor and again I'm pleased with the end result and the overall appearance of these figures.

All the issues that I've talked about previously aside, these are becoming my favourite range for the period.
They may not have the bulk and sheer presence of Front Rank but they do have terrific faces and features.
 I've been following an interesting thread with some like minded individuals on a forum and the consensus there is that for a good looking unit you should concentrate on flags, faces and bases since these are the three things you're drawn to when first looking at a unit on the tabletop.  A good, well presented flag draws you to the unit (just like in real life?), once you get closer well painted faces hold you more than the shaded and micro detail of the model, finally a good base will show of an average figure better than a good figure on an average base.
Just need to find the flags now then assuming I've achieved the other two to satisfaction.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

More Horse Flesh

With Blenheim less than thirteen weeks away I'm painting horse as fast as I can to fill the shortfall in squadrons.  Another two leave the painting table this week.
Spanish horse again from Ebor.  As I've said before they are very nice figures and are quite easy to paint, even though I'm beginning to dislike painting white.

 The faces are expressive and lend themselves to a simple three layer process and yet have a very satisfying appearance once done.
 The officer in particular has an excellent face. 
So having completed two squadrons what's next?  Well more of the same of course.  Right now I'm about halfway through two further squadrons, along with having the next two squadrons mounts basecoated and shaded.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monday Night & Blood the New Recruits

All f my new troops - three Spanish infantry battalions, Regiment Alsace and the two squadrons of Spanish horse - were all put into the field last night for their first fight.  Some had been out previously but failed to reach the enemy and discharge their muskets.  Not this time.
 
Facing the rather nice Prussian troops raised by Chris I had twelve battalions and fourteen squadrons.  Chris had ten battalions and nine squadrons and four field pieces (which were a problem for me). 
 I decided that the field was not going to allow anything subtle and so all the horse were massed on the right and the main infantry attack to go in on the left using two large woods as flank protection.
I have to admit that the infantry in their three ranks and three lines does have excellent appeal.  Almost universally this style of formation has received good reviews but it is taking a while to learn to use. 
 The horse fought almost from the start and the superior numbers of French troops told in the end.  At the close of play the French held the right flank and were pinning down a significant number of Prussian battalions trying to prevent their flank from being rolled up.
It was a different story for the infantry.  The French first line, comprising of Spanish, French & Germans, found it difficult to get to grips with the Prussians.  The Prussian artillery were tearing holes in the lines and  by the time the French opened fire their numbers had been depleted sufficiently to deliver anything other than poor volleys. 

However, luck was on their side as the Prussian morale proved brittle and forced the enemy front line to fall back.  Pressing on the Spanish in particular put a great deal of pressure on the enemy sufficient to allow the French second and third lines to come into effect and eventually to rout the enemy on the left.
Prussian morale proved susceptible again as they looked around and decided that the field was lost and retired.

My thanks to Chris for providing an entertaining game that was in the balance until the very end.  I'm also grateful to Mark for handling the French horse with such aplomb.

As ever the rules used are the Grimsby house rules.