Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Napoleonic Reading

On a tip from a Rex Blackwell of Rex Painting Service I picked up some books that have turned out to be fantastic to read...

I am about half way through the last of a trio of Novels set during the Napoleonic Wars. The books are called The Battle (Austria 1809), The Retreat (Russia 1812), and Napoleon's Exile/The Exile (Elba 1814). The author of these books is Patrick Rambaud. I have read them out of historical order but it does not matter as each book is self contained. Rambaud interweaves historical characters with a few fictional characters in order to give us a first hand account of what life was like for Napoleon and his staff. I have enjoyed the portrayal of Napoleon and the other "Titans" of the Grande Armee as real men with common/petty worries.

If you are looking for a novel that is fun, quick to read, and gives insight into historical events any one of these books is for you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

WW1 Figure Comparison

Remember when I mentioned a picture showing a comparison of each manufacturer's figures for WW1? Six months later... ta da! Here are two shots of a lineup I did that featured samples from each manufacturer that I own. I know there are other manufacturers but I don't own them ... yet.

L to R

Renegade French Officer, Renegade French Soldier, Great War French Officer in Adrian Helmet, Brigade Games French NCO, Scarab Miniatures Austrian Officer, and Foundry French Soldier in Late War kit.

I like almost all of the figures and would happily mix all but the Scarab and Foundry figures with any of the others. It looks like my very small pile of Foundry chaps will soon be moving to a new home via eBay while I will need to get some more of those Scarab Austrians so the few I already have don't feel left out.

Summer Time and the Gaming is Easy...

Well, I've been painting. Unfortunately, it isn't anything as exotic as a new 28mm Chasseur Regiment or some 15mm Pirates - instead it is the nursery for our little girl. She is due in August and we have been working to get ready for her arrival. This hasn't left much time for painting figures but I have managed to play a few games at the local club.

Our most recent battle was a Colonial Africa affair that pitted the British against a vaguely Mahdist force who were allied with a suspicious German force. The battle was the usual chaos of an 8 player game that featured a combined total of nearly 1000 figures. After 5 or 6 hours of gaming, joking, and swapping tales of other wargames we arrived at the climatic moment in the battle...

My Ansars had penetrated into the center of the city via some undefended alleyways. My troops burst into the open area in front of British headquarters only to find themselves in the midst of wagon loads of explosives and ammunition that was being moved from warehouses to waiting boats. Predictably, at least in a wargame, the British began to blaze away at my soldiers as we put the few wagon drivers in the area to the sword. Unfortunately for my Ansars (and an assortment of other nearby Imperial troops)one of the British shots triggered a series of explosions that left the central section of the town a collection of blackened craters strewn with charred bodies. Ugh...

This picture shows the British Army HQ at the top with the ammo wagons hidden behind the buildings in the center of the picture.

All in all, we had a great time and got to drag out lots of our figures for a game. Our next tilt will see us return to Napoleon's 1814 Campaign in France.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I've Gone Missing

There is a reason for my recent silence. Your humble correspondant was captured in a trench raid in late March and has only just escaped. In a daring escape organized by Lt. J.Thompson we recently escaped back to our own lines... Hurrah! Our return to our lines will allow me to resume my reporting on my gaming projects.

That sounds much better than admitting that I have been very busy lately with all the usual obligations - work, family, and so on. I have been organizing a "pile" of 25mm First Crusades Saracens to send away to a painting service. I was inspired to finally get these guys "done up" after picking up the Fields of Glory rules which had a nice guide to organizing a Saracen army. So after sitting in my closet since 1998, it looks like Saladin may finally take the field soon.

I am STILL painting my 1914 Germans. The first batch is very close to being finished. After that it will be a few machine gun teams and command types to round out my Bosche line unit. I have some Jagers (jaegers?) to do after that. I have been using this fantastic site Tom Weiss as painting inspiration. I hope my figures turn out half as well!!

Scott Pasha has loaned me Patrols in the Sudan to review. In addition, I have been reviewing Habitants and Highlanders for our upcoming French and Indian game.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

News from the Front

Its been a while so I thought I would post some kind of update just to let everyone know that I am still knocking about...

Things have been hectic lately (who can't use that excuse?) so I have not made the kind of progress that I would like on my wargaming projects. I have over 50 1914/1915 German infantrymen scattered across my painting table. They are a mix of Renegade and Brigade Games figures. I am not very happy with the uniform color (an early version of Feldgrau) that I have tried to replicate in miniature with little success. Each picture that I look at has a different shade/tone/hue so I finally came to the stunning realization that anything close to my target color is likely to be correct. As a Napoleonic painter this is a bit of a difficult concept for me but I am learning to cope with it! Most importantly, I remembered that none of gaming club members fought in the Great War so they won't know if I am wrong...!

During this large push to get my Bosche painted I am also mounting/remounting my 25mm American Civil War figures to play Guns at Gettysburg. This rules set will transform our games from playing skirmish actions to fighting battles with a division of troops per side. I am very excited about this project and look forward to fighting a battle before the end of March with GaG.

In addition, I have uncovered some information relating to the design of the flags needed for my 25mm Napoleonic French troops for the Campaigns in Egypt and the Holy Lands. A fellow wargamer has shared with me an old article that describes the flags very nicely and confirms (and corrects!) my dicey translations from a french language book on flags of the Revolution and Empire.

OK, so I am still wargaming and painting... I hope to have some pictures soon so I can prove some of these outlandish claims! Back to painting...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Breaking silence

Things here at the old wargaming blog have been rather silent lately. I've been very busy with other "real life" issues to get much done in wargaming that was worth any note. As the weather was reasonably warm today I was able to spray some sealer onto a dozen Old West gunfighters so that I would have something to show for my efforts during January. I tried taking some photos of them but it was not bright enough, or I did not have the camera settings correct, so there was no evidence to present...

We tested the "skeleton" for a set of gunfighting rules yesterday and, as usual, my ideas during development didn't play out at all as I had anticipated. What I envisioned was close range pistol dueling with figures dropping left and right. What I got was a protracted affair where nobody got put out of the game for about the first 45 minutes or so! I plan on tweaking things to make it more bloody (I was concerned that players would get knocked out too fast and be left with nothing to do before the first game!) with a view towards each player now controlling 3, 4, 5, or even 6 figures in any given game. This should lessen the sting of gunfighters getting killed if you have another figure to fight on with.

That pretty much tidies up January 2009 - with little to report.

February 2009 should see me return to my Great War project of 1914 French Infantry, some 1914 Germans in Picklehaubs(!), and some 1918 Germans. Still aiming for an early April game with these guys!!??!!

And yes, I know I promised a comparative pic of my various WW1 figures from differing manufacturers. Maybe later this week...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

Well the old calendar has flipped over to begin a new year. This is the time when we make all sorts of resolutions about how we are going to be more organized, more productive, and to become a better person ... blah, blah, blah... who am I kidding? I am disorganized and thus unproductive. As for being a better person - c'mon!

As for wargaming - now thats another story! I've got big plans. I am working hard (as much as one can work hard sitting at a painting table) on finishing enough Old West gunfighters to try out the new rules I have been working on. I think I am close to having enough figures done to run a game for 8 or 10 players.

As soon as I finish this newest batch of cowboys its back to working on my WW1 collection. I have a slew of 1914 French troops to paint up (20th century Napoleonics!) and some Germans to get ready too. After I paint all 120 - 150 figures (by April 1st no less!) I will likely look to buy a few specialty pieces to flesh out these forces - things like artillery pieces and maybe an armored car, or two.

I have been trying to photograph a line-up of Renegade, Great War, Brigade Games, Foundry, Old Glory, and Scarab WW1 figures for comparison. So far my photographic efforts have been terrible. Looks like I am going to have to dig up my manual for the camera so I can take a useful photo.

OK, now you know what I'm doing so its back to painting!