Thursday, February 27, 2020

Neuchatel Battalion - Spain 1811


On review I find I haven't done very much for the 28mm Napolenics for a while, and really I like to get a couple of units added each year to steadily build the game options.  The main detractor from such output is the obvious size of any such task, infantry units of 24 or cavalry units of 12, in this scale do not pop on and off the painting table in a week, especially with my more constrained output these days.

Still I wanted to get something done, and so just after Xmas I began a new unit, to bolster the somewhat lacking ranks of French infantry.  6 weeks later they were finally finished.

The Neuchatel Battalion came from the French speaking Canton, which had been allied to Prussia until it was ceded to the French in 1806, after that date and until 1814 it supplied a battalion of infantry to the French.  The Canaries as they were known wore a yellow uniform faced in red; though there are many descriptions of the uniform that make the precise colouration open to debate.  Some suggest bright yellow, others more of a buff colour, others at all points in-between.

A classic illustration of the unit 
The above is one of the browner renditions.  I decided to go for  more of a chamois-yellow colour in my version, my personal bet would be that the non-chemical dyes for the uniforms faded over time from a bold yellow to a more subdued brown, and so all authors could be right.  The fact that prior to the second half of the 19th century there was no such thing as permanent dyes is something that escapes many 'button-counters', and allows wriggle-room in uniform colours!

Using Perry 1812 Infantry means that the battalion has more of a campaign appearance.  The new French from the Perries were a long way off yet when I assembled this unit, some two years ago.  That's how far I work ahead/procrastinate!

The Battalion in column 
The flag is a placeholder too, I've yet to find any indication what the standard of the battalion - assuming it marched under one - looked like, so the safest bet for now is that one was bestowed on the unit by France.  In the images you can just make out a company Guidon, which is completely hypothetical but based again on French archetypes.

Close up on the front, Command and Voltigeurs 
I decided to go with white Pompoms for all the fusilier company's, including the command, which is again based on the illustrations, but could be very wrong.  The cut-off plumes for the Voltigeurs and Grenadiers may not sit with purists, but it seems plausible for campaign once again.

Some speculative details to the rear
The unit went on to serve in Austria Spain and Russia, fighting the British in Spain at Aldea de la Ponte, and in other actions against Spanish Geurillas.  After Napoleons' doomed Russia campaign only 8 men survived, and though reconstituted in 1813, a year later the force had ceased to exist.

They'll provide some great colour to my Napoleonic forces, and help even up the French deficit in numbers, they now have 12 regular formations of formed infantry, as compared to the Allies 14.

Still, could do with some more, hopefully not in another 18 months though.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Flight of Captain Ustaskyivye

For three months' he had languished in prison, his status as minor nobility sparing him either the noose or the salt mines his few remaining crew who had not been willing to shift martial allegiance had been bestowed.  His damp roomings permitted him views only of hilly country outside the small castle serving as his brig, and the conditions of ransom negotiation had meant he had exchanged but three letters with the outside world, to confirm his status and to hear news of home.

And thanks to the devious codes of Gebrovian espionage, to inform him of the plan to release him.

The captain of the Aleste Doi Cheznavoy received word that on the eve of the winter festival bribed guards would bring him a new uniform, and he would slip out of the castle as part of the relieved shift.  Thence he was to make to the west, under his own initiative to a point on the border where he could be escorted to safety.

Tensions and attention eased by the celebrations, it proved easy for a military man to slip away as part of a military procedure, and once outside of the fortress that had served as his temporary lodgings, Captain Ustaskyivye discarded his disguise, revealing his own clothes beneath, and made good for the border.

Alarm raised, the chastened prison guards were soon out in force searching for their former ward, but in the next few days nothing was heard, despite offers of reward.  It would later transpire that the daring Captain spent many of the following nights charming his way to full stomachs, and other sated appetites at the welcome of the deserted farmers wives of the region; their husbands away in the army, militia or otherwise engaged in the hue and cry for the reward on the naval heroes head.  So it was that the Captain lounged at the bosom of hospitality on a small farm near the border, awaiting rescue more than seeking it actively.

Plutendorf Farm and environs 
Word had come to the Gebrovians, and a small force of Mercenaries, and elite Jaegers was sent to retrieve the Captain and escort him to safety.  They closed in on the farm as darkness fell.

Laird Conniert leads a small band 
But the region was not without Clementine patrols, and that evening horse and foot were in the same area with orders to check the farm.

 Clementinian Hussars and their own Jaegers 
Unaware of his own forces close at hand, when Ustaskyivye spotted horsemen closing on the farm he swiftly fled, taking shelter nearby.  Suddenly it seemed for a moment he was surrounded. 

The Clementine Hussars skirted the farm initially, scouting out its' meadows and orchards.

Meanwhile, Gebrovian Jaegers scaled a wooded hill overlooking the farm and set up a firing position.

Ionians began searching amongst some rocky outcroppings near the farm, but at this moment they spotted the Clementine horse, and exchanged perhaps unwise fire at a distance.

As it happened, it was the very hiding place of the captain they fired from.  Unfamiliar with Ionians however, Ustaskyivye had initially remained hidden, until the gruff northerners had fired upon his real enemy.  Seeing this as a sign of kinship he revealed himself in the hope of rescue.

Discovered, by the right side. 
Spurred on by the appearance of hostiles, the Clementine Hussars charged.  The local chieftain urged the Captain to flee back towards the troops on the hill, whilst he and his men would try to hold the horsemen at bay.

Captain Ustaskyivye, fled as implored, and just in time, for the cavalry patrol soon descended upon its' quarry, expecting swift victory.
Have at them 
But if a Gebrovian fights like a lion, then and Ionian fights like a bear, and their resistance was dogged and brave, skillfully making good use of the terrain to hamper the horsemen.  Although one of them would fall, the Clementines paid a heavy price for but modest success, and were sorely delayed.

Still one of the horsemen circled around this fight, spotting the fugitive in the gloom.  He galloped down upon him, sensing an opportunity to cut down a defenceless villain.  Fortunately for the captain, the entire affair was watched from above by the Jaegers and Laird Conniert; who spurred his horse to a gallop to intercept, and make a fair fight of it.

Conniert was a swordsman of great reknown, but no bloomered elite.  He was raised in the dour and brutal Northern states, and learnt his fighting skills in the savage clan wars of his nations borderlands.  His heavy sword was no fencing rapier, and far outclassed even a cavalry sabre, as did the man wielding it.  

The naval captain watched with a mix of horror and relief as the Hussar looming over him slumped in the saddle, his head tumbling to the Captains feet, as the Ionians' horse barreled past, a glint of moonlight catching his bloodstained blade as he passed.

By now, Clementine Jaegers were attempting to encircle from the North, and investing the farmlands, but steady and accurate fire from the other contingent of Ionians, and from the Gebrovians on the hill would drive most of them off.

 Rather the Clementines consolidated at the farm, observing the retreat of the Naval brigand and his allies, and the final skirmishes of their cavalry.  Realising the Captain was about to escape, they hurried to make one final attempt to steal their prize back, and a combined attack by perhaps half each of the Clementine horse and foot went in under withering fire.

Another Hussar attempted to raise Sword on Ustaskyivye, and another head fell, as Conniert defended his with deadly efficiency.  The Clementine Jaegers fought bravely, and pressed their foe atop the hill.

But it was soon apparent the situation was lost, the Captain had slipped away with an escort, and they were in danger of being more heavily outnumbered.  The Jaegers retired from the hill, and both sides respectfully disengaged.

Numbers may have been small in the skirmish, but the losses were galling for Clementia, several soldiers dead, several others badly wounded, and the prisoner escaped to freedom.  The bodies of two Ionians were small compensation, and even these were not left behind by their comrades and so gave no trophy.

The naval Captain returned a hero, in so far as one could after recent defeat at sea.  His sensational escape, and the limited intelligence he returned with would stand him in good stead however.  Clementia was embarrassed, Gebrovia triumphant.

And Gebrovia would soon plan new raids on the Clementines, to make them pay for the perceived slights served upon it.


This was another game in mine and James' Imaginations Campaign, this time being a Skirmish devised by James - having won the initiative in the last game with his victory - using the En Garde rules from Osprey miniatures


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Grand Manner Spanish House


As far as I can understand, Grand Manner normally only sell their models painted, But James S scored a couple of their models a little over a year ago in a sale, at a fair price.  Fairer still he passed them on to me, on the condition that I paint and use them in any future games we manage. 

Those may yet be some way off, but at least I have finally had time to put brushes to one of the models:

Front - Stan for scale
 This is a heck of a chunk of Resin, weighing in at 1.4 kilo's!  As you can see from Stan, the 28mm man, it has a significant footprint too.  Given GM only appear to sell these painted, it puts their £174 asking price into perspective.  I feel very lucky now to get this, even conditionally, free.

The painting here was simple, After a black undercoat I base-coated the whole model in a light pinkish-tan (flesh-tone really).  After that the stucco was dry-brushed sloppily up to white in about four graduated layers, which also covered every other detail except the roofs.  Then glazes of colour were applied to the exposed stone and wood work, dealing with most of the rest of the work.  The roof and ground were both simple dry-brush jobs, in my usual fashion.  Mostly craft paints were used.

Despite the cheap materials and quick work, I'm pleased with the results.  There is one careless error, but I didn't spot it until half way through the painting process, and as I'd assembled the model with epoxy there was little hope of reversing it.  See if you can spot it!

I hope I can get it in a game soon, though it will tower over my other Spanish buildings.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Peace 'n' Quiet

Prolonged radio silence was due to a two-week trip round Costa Rica, one for which there is no military content:
Rather it was a trip for natural wonders.

Back to normal content in the next day or two!