Saturday, December 26, 2015

Austrian Grenadiers Arrive

Some of these models had a sneak preview at the recent Elchingen game, but I was already looking to finish a few more to build up a Grenadier Brigade, and I also found the time for more command and some artillery limbers.

Another commander 

Portner Grenadiers; front...
...and rear
The Hungarian Kirchenbetter battalion
 Of note here, I found I was one drummer light on requirements (one too many standard bearers) so I had to improvise.  Having some spare mounted models I did a head swap to create a plausible mounted Grenadier Officer, who taking up two spaces on the base reduced the need for drummers.  Overall it looks pretty nice and I may well do this again for another unit.

Once again from the rear
 A requirement of the Age of Eagles rules, and a useful addition for many others, are artillery limbers.  I managed to get hold of some fairly generic Hinchcliffe Models for cheap and painted them up in a suitable fashion:

All angles covered
They're possibly a bit inaccurate for Austria, but they'll do the job.

All told this means that for the end of the year my Austrian Army has gone from a standing start to 192 infantry, 32 cavalry, 4 guns with 12 gunners and 3 limbers and 4 generals with accompanying adjutants.  Just shy of 250 models.

Not bad going.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Some Viking Bondsmen

In between various other projects, I've dug in to the box of bits and turned out a unit of Viking infantry for Saga:

Not much else to add really, these were a nice aside to the white of the Austrians and to tanks and cars of late.  There's still another unit or two to do of these, to allow me to upgrade my old, tired Vikings to a shiny new formation of mostly plastics.

Something to do over the holidays maybe...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Girls Und Panzer in 15mm

I have  working prototype of my Girls Und Panzer game, but for play it certainly needs some play pieces, and as a previous post about my purchases of Zvezda and PSC tanks showed, I wanted them to be top notch.  Well I've been working on them and can reveal some progress.

First of all let us look at the antagonists, Pravda:
Pravda Girls School...
Pravda field a variety of Soviet armour, and with certain concessions to game balance I prepared three tanks for them:

A T34, KV2 and T26, replete with school insignia.  The paint work for these and the models that follow is essentially simple; base coat slightly below the final colour, which is highlighted up to.  Tracks are in my favoured rusty finish (more accurate for the WWII vintage vehicles).  The whole is given a final varnish wash (65% matt varnish, 33% glaze, 2% or so matt black).

No we can come to the fun stuff; our heroes!  Ooarai Girls School and it's mixed ranks of tanks.  I couldn't resist going for the early version paint schemes, for sheer novelty value.  Starting with the Gold Panzer 38t:

Team Turtle
Which ended up like this:
A nice shine, though mine is perhaps a little brassy (ooh-errr!).

Next the fanciest tank in the original line up:

Team Hippo
Remember this is barely more then an inch and a half long:

The banners are fine brass rod and painted paper, drilled and glued in to place.  Quite some colour going on here.

So finally we have to have Miho Nishizumi's team and their Panzer IV D:

Team Anglerfish
Not the most complex or visually dynamic of the models, but still a pleasing finish.
So that's the first batch of models ready.  More work needs to be done with game of course.  And even if it never works as intended, I'm sure I can find some way to utilise these little gems...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More Dungeon Dwellers

It's easy to grab a handful of models from my stack of Reaper Bones and have a bit of a play.

First off let's start small, with some Orcs:

Three figures who'll nicely accompany my Orc warlord. Next up a little piece of scenery:

 Time to scale up then.  There's a number of larger models in the Kickstarter box awaiting attention, beginning with this Beholder:

 Now painting the inside of the mouth was a challenge, but I think I managed OK.  Pleased with the eyes however.  All 20 plus of them...

 Part of the package was also a number of transparent models to represent elementals, spirits and the like.  I can't say I'd ever tackled anything like this before and I wanted to enhance the effect rather than leave it untouched or completely mask it with paint.  I decided to try using a glaze for the main translucent surfaces.
 A bit of GW green ink mixed with Vallejo glaze.  On this Spirit form I then highlighted the skeletons up in the spookiest pale greens I could.

 Similarly the fire elemental.  Although the accepted standard is to paint the core bright and the extremis darker, I couldn't see this working on a transparent model.  So I just went with bright highlights.
 I think it looks fine.

 The base was only painted on the underside and seems to have the effect of making it appear as a burning pool of oil in the pictures.

Lastly for this batch, one of the largest models in the basic set; a Griffin:

I suspect I should have done some work around the wing roots and overall this was done fairly quickly and almost exclusively with drybrushing work.  But again it looks fine for my needs.

Which I should probably get around to organising some time...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Battle of Elchingen - 14 October 1805

Yes, a little later than hoped, but not because I'd taken too long to be prepared, after a few weeks waiting in the stalls my Austrians got their first run out a few days ago; and in a historical refight to boot.

Having agreed a game with Trevor and Andy at the club, we deferred to Trevor's preferred set of rules - Age of Eagles.  I've no particular disagreement with the rules, I'll say in advance, but two issues arose during our game.  Firstly like many American rule sets, they are dismal to look at and terribly laid out, would it have killed to include an index?  And secondly, whilst I like to play a relaxed approach to wargames rules, gleefully skipping parts I don't like or interpreting vague bits on the fly, Trevor is one for going by the book; and this sure slows things down.

Anyway, so far as preparation for our game I had a lot on and so could devote no time to organisation, but I did chance upon a scenario months back on the Age of Eagles website that looked to fit the bill so I sent it on to Trev to consider.  Lo' we ended up playing it.

To summarise the situation; Ney was ordered by Napoleon to seize the crossing of the Danube at Elchingen in the Face of Riecsh's Division.  Initially with significantly greater forces than Riesch, Ney found the defense anchored on a Convent, that effectively acted as a fortress.  Riesch was also able to call upon a second division of Von Lauden's men.  In the end the French prevailed, but the engagement took all day and cost them a thousand casualties, the Austrians five thousand; mostly prisoners.

Trevor, being in the luxury of retirement, had more time than I to prepare for the game.  He spent some time painting a terrain cloth specifically for the scenario, a nice touch.  We finished the layout from a mixture of Trevor's own terrain and the various 15mm club buildings (all made by my own fair hands).  I deployed Riesch's division, trying to offer a broad defence.

Elchingen to the centre of the frame, the Danube to the right
The French would begin by crossing the river, but it seemed from the scenario likely that a flank attack would also develop, so I looked to keep my options open.

A sneak preview of a new Grenadiers unit there... 
I also had the benefit of a subordinate commander, James T would assist by taking command of Von Lauden's division.  Our opponents would be Andy and a chap fairly new to figure games, but willing to play along, Joseph, as Loison and Mahler respectively.

Battle opened amidst much confusion - mostly from the rules - eventually Loison's infantry and artillery advanced across the river and started to move on the village.  I had place only my weakest regiment in the village as a forlorn hope, so they looked nervously on the enemy.  But we placed our hope in the cavalry, nominally under the command of Von Lauden on or right flank to keep them in check.

The Cavalry advance
 Meanwhile my line infantry stood watch from the convent.  Their time would come.

 More French streamed over the river, whilst the first French regiment went into the village.

The Grenadiers turn to the threat
 Sadly the Austrians in the village were badly mauled, and broke, allowing the French entry to Elchingen.  Around the same time, Von Lauden's Infantry began to appear, fortunately arriving behind their screen of cavalry, but unfortunately not moving very quickly.

This could give the impression we can turn the French flank...
 The French under Loison managed to bring their own cavalry to the fore, and a series of clashes between Austrian Cuirassiers and French Dragoons began.  Initially despite being disordered by French artillery the Austrians got the better of the engagements.

French reverse
 But about this time Mahler arrived, with a mass of infantry.  With Elchingen occupied and Our left in danger the Austrians retired to the safety of the convent.  Our long range artillery continued to fire on the village hoping to disorder the troops therein, allowing an attack by the Grenadiers, this was never to come to pass.

Here they come...
 Mahler closed with two large regimental lines and some artillery.  As this wasn't enough there was always the risk of Loisin's men sallying forth from Elchingen itself.

worrying times
 Despite this Trevor assured me and James that we were still winning, as the French were nowhere near their victory conditions.  It didn't feel that way.

Over with James, Von Lauden's cavalry continued to parry Loisin's cavalry, whilst Von Lauden's infantry were unlucky in an attack on a French square.

Disorder everywhere
 But then the inevitable finally happened.  Mahler's Division coordinated a massed assault on the convent.

This isn't going to end well
Despite fierce resistance, my line troops weren't able to hold the convent in the face of three times their number of elite French infantry.  The Austrians retired in disorder, but with some semblance of unity still.

Time was against us, and we had to call the game.  The French may not have won by the terms laid down in the scenario, and the Austrians were far from destroyed as a fighting force, but it was hard not to call the result anything other than a French victory.

A good game in the end, despite mine and James' dice rolling being the very worst imaginable; I think we averaged rolls of '3' - Age of Eagles is a D10 based system.  Conversely our opponents seemed to have the 'One Ring to Rule Them All' of D10's which rolled a ten about one in every three throws and averaged about an 8.  By the end of the game both sides used the same dice just to give an impression of fairness.  Somehow we were still able to slow the French down despite being incapable of making any counter-attack stick.

Given the entire Austrian army was carrying the additional jinx of 'New Unit Syndrome' this wasn't too bad a performance.

Hopefully things will go better next time...

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Stuff Pretence, Just Play Games - Recon 2015

Pudsey Recon has come and gone, being very much my local show I do try and get there whenever I can.  It's fair to say though that it looked quiet compared to previous years, with the timing of the show always risking weather effects and probably too close to Xmas for many this is never a surprise.

Yet somehow it hangs on in there, and glad of this I am too, as it is a show really for the everyday gamer.  Not the display showoffs here with games that cost thousands of pounds, take hundreds of hours to prepare and never appear in day to day play.  Just the opposite really, everyday models on everyday layouts in all manner of scale and media.

The Four Musketeers: 10mm Franco-Prussian War

Neat models on a simple felt table

Kirklees Crusaders: ECW. True 25mm models

The Lance & Longbow Society: The Battle of Liverpool 1425

History Alive: Airfix Napoleonics

Sure their tired looking but are your regiments 72 figures strong?

These seem to have snuck out when I wasn't looking

Westwind's War & Empire game and fabulous 15mm miniatures

Harrogate Club: Ardennes 1944 in 20mm

Headingley Games Club representing for board gaming

Leeds Night Owls: Bolt Action Burma 

28mm of course

Baccus 6mm: 1914
In terms of game of the day, it's a hard call, for sheer scale Harrogate wins it, but in terms of individual charm I'm torn between the Airfix Napoleonics and the English Civil War game, the unifying feature certainly being nostalgia.

But as I say, the games at the show are accessible ones, the sort of thing you could set up on a normal evening at a club to play with friends.  Beautiful?  Not in general, and blessed are those of us who have the models to play games with greater visual appeal; but this is not to diminish the aspect of the hobby Recon really represents, gameplay.

Virtually all the games were playable demos, and the next generation of gamers were being introduced to gaming at pretty much every table; you can't ask more of a gaming show than that really.

Other than the usual opportunity for some retail therapy I guess.  Personally one element of this frustrated me, I don't expect a lot of big retailers at a show like this, but I at least figured there'd be a few ranges of paints around - including my favoured Vallejo.  Not so.  I only saw two ranges of paints on sale, and 9 out of 10 sellers had only Army Painter.  Ho hum.  In the end I came out with about £30 of stuff, including some half price Victrix Carthaginian light troops, some generic 15mm Napoleonic Limbers and some Reaper Bones releases.

All in all it's a great little show, but I do fear for its future, it is a very homespun event and feels like it is getting more and more provincial every year, can it really sustain itself?  It was notable that the advertising of the event was staggeringly low key and seemingly still pre-internet for the most part; and this may explain why neither of the advertised competitions appeared to run.  The Bring and Buy was still a feature however, and still showed some tempting pieces.

I hope the show can survive, but to do so maybe it needs to consider its position in the calendar and its marketing.

Still all being well I'll return next year.