Sunday, January 31, 2010

Perry French Infantry WIP

Just a WIP update on the Perry French Infantry currently being worked on. These will be Light Infantry with predominately dark blue uniforms. Although they're in the post-1812 Bardin regulation jackets, I have no problem using them in slightly earlier scenarios. The Carabiniers and Chasseurs will be in on 40mmX40mm magnetic trays in groups of four. These guys will have the same characteristics as the Line Infantry Grenadiers and Fusiliers. The Voltigeurs of the Line and Light Infantry will also be on movement trays, but they will be allowed to break into skirmish if needed.

Their blue uniform was painted using a basecoat of two craft paint blues mixed with black - Americana True Blue, Ceramcoat Opaque Blue and Black. This is the blue combination used for all of the Napoleonics I've recently painted - mainly because that's the paint I have on hand. There really isn't an exact formula, and I just mix them until it looks right - but it's about a 45-45-10  ratio of the two blues and black. After the base coat was dry, I highlighted using the same (approximate) blue combination with increasing amounts of white added. This is similar to the so-called Foundry method - which I don't really use, but understand it is the use of two or more similar colors of varying degrees to create the highlights. I normally paint the basic color and then give it a wash of slightly darker basic color, and then highlight. I didn't intentionally plan to use this method, but as the base coat was really dark - it was painted on a black undercoat - I figured it would be best to lighten the basecoat in layers.
Anyway, I kind of jumped around painting these guys, I know the norm is painting from the inside out - starting with the flesh. However, I wanted to knock out certain things first, like the epaulettes of the elites and the shako plates, elite V's and chinscales of the uncovered shakos.

The majority are painted with blue trousers and the rest will have either white, gray or khaki trousers. This should give them an overall "bluer" appearance than their Line Infantry brethren.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Victrix Portugeuse Cacadores

Victrix has just released three sets of Portugeuse light infantry. They're listed as Cacadores, but the guys with rifles are normally called Atiradores (Riflemen). As soon as I saw the announcement I asked Chris Ewick if he could get them; as he has a Victrix supplier. He said he's put the order in and I have asked for a box each of these. These guys are in metal, so perfect for moving around the table as singles:
There are two of each pose in a set for a total of eight figures per set. I know you can't please everyone, but I would've been happy with two officers in the command set, but it actually comes with four - well, I'll have spare Big Men for Sharp Practice.

They should look really nice in their brown uniforms and contrasting facings. I read somewhere that the Portuguese made up about a third of the British forces in the Peninsula.
I also ordered some Perry British Rifles. For Sharp Practice, Rifles are never in formations, but operate in groups, this should allow players more units to control and move about. I plan to paint up one group as the 95th and another as the 60th. The 60th having blue trousers and red facings should make the British a very colorful army.
While I'm awaiting the arrival of these British troops, I'm working on a set of Perry French Infantry. I'm painting them up as Light Infantry. I understand that French Line and Light Infantry operated pretty much the same. However, the Light regiments may have been employed more often in their traditional roles by commanders.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Perry French Infantry

Well, I've signed up to host a Sharp Practice game for Enfilade in May, so I figured I needed more troops. Just opened the box of Perry plastic French Infantry I picked up earlier this month. These are simpler than the Victrix sets. Most are in marching poses with just the backpack needing to be added. Only the skirmish poses and one other marching pose needs a little work. The two skirmisher poses have separate arm choices, which is good for variety. The one marching pose needs to be glued to a base (besides the backpack) - probably because of where he is on the sprue - next to the skirmish poses. All the heads are in shakos and one-piece with the body. You'll need to cut off the heads to swap them out with the optional ones.

There are three sprues - two of one type, and one which is basically the same, except it has the three command figures - the officer, standard bearer, and drummer. There are actually pieces for three drums, but only one drummer figure - again, probably due to the layout of the sprue. I have spare cornets from the Victrix set, but didn't use them. Also, there are a bunch of spare heads - mostly in pokalems - you know that French stocking cap. You'll note that the eagle standard is missing - I used it for the unit of mounted Carabiniers because it has the tasseled tri-color under the eagle like the Cuirassiers' standard. However, I have yet another spare eagle standard from the Victrix box.

Here are the two types of sprues - two of  type A (my term) and one of type B; the note at the bottom should actually say, "...packs with greatcoats rolled on top for figures 'not' wearing greatcoats" - that's what I get for deleting pictures before proof reading captions:
Detail of the figures from sprue tyupe A:
Detail of the figures from sprue type B:
Here are the skirmish poses. To add more variety I used some spare arms and a head from the Victrix set. The two makes match-up really well - even the muskets and backpacks are almost identical in size and shape.
The plastic is reminiscent of the old Airfix 54mm plastics, if I remember correctly. A bit pliable, but not so bad as to have paint flake off like their 1/72nd scale stuff. The plastic seems a bit sturdier than the type Victrix uses. In fact, I just found a broken off bayonet on one of the Victrix French. Not bad, considering I've played about 5 games with them and their British counterparts (over 100 figures). It's the only broken piece I've noticed - so far. That was the one thing I had concerns about when they were initially announced. I had posted a question on TMP about their bayonets being fragile or not. Well, I guess they are somewhat. I fixed it using a method I recently discovered on another blog. Basically to glue on the replacement piece - which I have a lot of from the spare/left-over parts - at a point where there is a joint. In this case the start of the bayonet where it slides onto the barrel.

Here's a photo that serves two purposes - 1) It shows the bayonet fix on the Victrix figure, and 2) A comparison shot of the Victrix and Perry - looks like a perfect match to me.
I plan to paint the Perry figures up as Light Infantry. This should make them easily identifiable as a different unit on the table. Because of the break of the Victrix bayonet, I'll hold off on getting their Highlanders right now. This is purely based on the type of plastic they're currently using, and has nothing to do about their poses, nor the gluing together of separate parts (which I don't find a problem like some do). I believe their sculpting is at least equal to the Perry's Napoleonics, and I also like the variety of poses. Maybe they can switch to the the same type of plastic the Perrys use - or something similar.

Addendum: I found another broken part - a pompom from a French Fusilier. I did an inspection of all the British and French Victrix figures and this was the only broken item I found - besides the broken bayonet found earlier. Hmmm, maybe the guys who play the French are more aggressive?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Perry Carabiniers Finished

Well I finally got enough motivation to finish the Perry Carabiniers. Along with the earlier Cuirassiers, the Heavy Cavalry box is completed. Perry is supposed to release their Dragoon set in March; followed sometime soon after with their Hussars. Here are some shots of the Carabiniers.
  Here are some "family" photos of the Cuirassiers and Carabiniers.
These Carabiniers are in the post-1810 uniform; after Napoleon decided to armor them like the Cuirassiers. He made this decision after they received heavy casualties from Austrian Uhlans armed with lances in 1809.
Pre-1810 Carabiniers:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sharp Practice at The Game Matrix - 1/18/2010

Hosted a last-minute Sharp Practice game today at The Game Matrix in Lakewood. Damond Crump had expressed interest in playing as he has the rules but no figures ready yet. Per an email from him yesterday, I met him and his buddy Bruce (not Bruce D. nor Bruce M. - wow, another one), as well as Owen at The Game Matrix at 11:30 this morning. Owen had posted something on TMP last night and I mentioned the game - the power of the internet; thank you Al Gore. Before I go onto the game, I want to mention a huge fire still going on next door to the store (it's now after 4:00pm). The first fire engines arrived as I was setting up the table - about 11:30ish. While we were playing our eyes were watering from the smoke coming into the store. Damond was having a little trouble breathing so we called it quits a little after 2pm. Kevin Smyth, Mark Waddington, Bruce M., and a bunch of others were still in the store heavy into a game. I mentioned to them on the way out that the road block may be in front of the store soon. My eyes are still burning and my car smells like smoke.
Picture of the fire when I left around 2pm. I mistakenly captioned it as a teriyaki place as that's what I thought some folks said was burning, but the news at 4 is now saying it was a tire store and the reason it won't go out is possibly because of tires stored in the back. The "...TRIX" on the sign in the left of the picture is "The GAME MATRIX" sign.

Now, onto the game. The same scenario Dan and I used at The Museum of Flight  game day was used. Basically, two French units in garrison and two British units coming on board on blinds - including dummy blinds.
Owen chose the French and Damond and Bruce played the British. Owen was very aggressive and moved his French out of the confines of their respective garrison cover. He then used his Big Men to spot blinds. Eventually, the British position was revealed to be concentrated on the French right.
Bruce was equally aggressive and moved his British into musket range. He was the first to get rounds off - and did fairly well. Owen came back just as good - in fact, as Bruce discovered later, too good. I had somehow left out his (Bruce's) Big Man 3 and 4 cards. Only when he asked why this would be was it discovered. I bet he's a good poker player too.

Owen later moved his French left up to the hill in front of him. However, before he could move them to the far edge of the hill to flank Bruce's unit, we were smoked out and had to leave.
Being only my fourth or fifth game, it was great to play it with new players who provided different views of the game mechanics. One thing we discovered, and agree upon, was that the "biggest" Big Men shouldn't always be attached to formations. We think having them in command radius is a more effective use for the "littler" Big Men in the formation. The best use of attached Big Men is to remove shock with their higher status levels. They're not really needed to get the unit activated for movement or firing - the "lesser" Big Men, especially with musicians, can get the unit to do these things. Anyway, I'm even more stoked to play these rules again. I'm actually motivated to paint up more figures - once I get the Perry heavy cavalry and infantry sets done, I'll have to pick up a box of Victrix Highlanders.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Perry Cuirassiers - Finished

Okay, only 7 of these guys, but 7 Carabiniers (from the same boxed set) will be added to them for a combined heavy unit.
The figures are very nicely sculpted - no surprise being Perrys of course. The flag (included in the box) has yet to be added. However, on campaign these were normally stored and only the eagle and staff were carried.
Photos are a bit dark, but hey, it's the best "sun" WA State will have for sometime.
Carabiniers next. Oh, and this unit is the first 2010 "completed" project.

Here is an interesting quote from the British officer who rashly chose to attack French cuirassiers at Waterloo with two regiments of lighter cavalry, "At this point I was pierced through the left side into the lung. Blood started coming out of my mouth, making it difficult for me to speak. I was forced to go to the rear, and I can say nothing more about the action." - Maj-Gen. Sir Dörnberg, commander of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Great War at Drumbeat 2010

Today's Drumbeat up in Seattle was a nice way to start the new year's gaming. This is an historical games event run by Dick Larsen. Kind of a one-man show. It really comes together on the day of; all the games were excellently hosted and looked great. Kevin Smyth put on a nice Hundred Years War siege game with cogs included. A LaSalle Napoleonics game was hosted by Mitch Berdinka in both the morning & afternoon sessions. I was lucky to get in on the afternoon game; commanding and losing a few regiments of British.  Bill Stewart hosted a very nice-looking ACW game using Black Powder rules. I failed to take pictures of all three of these, as well as some others. I have an excuse though; I was involved in my own Great War game with Bruce D. in the morning session.

Here are some photos of games set up for the morning session. I apologize for not getting the rules or the game names for some of these. The one with the nice Vietnam jungle terrain was hosted by Damond Crump and Lawrence Bateman using Damond's Patrol rules.
The Great War scenario pitted three French infantry platoons against three German ones. The objective was to secure and hold the two ruined buildings. The French were allowed to have their one veteran platoon occupy one of the ruins. All three French platoons had two Chauchat LMG gunners each. Two French reserve platoons moved on from their side of the table after the Germans in turn 1. The Germans had two regular infantry platoons and one Stormtrooper platoon with Bergman SMGs and a flamethrower.
Above - German Stormtrooper platoon pinned after opting to go to ground while in cover after sustaining 5 wounds. The next photo shows German and French platoons each racing to reach the other ruined building first.
Above -Unpinned German Stromtroopers moving up to assault the French in cover using SMGs and flamethower. Although the Stromtroopers never were able to engage in close combat and took heavy casualties from small arms fire, they did take out a lot of the veteran French in good cover. I think they did very well considering the circumstances.

Above - The French and Germans in the other building ruins ended up in hand to hand combat for two turns with the Germans eventually being reduced to less than 5 and routed off the battlefield.
Above - Another French reserve platoon assaults Germans reduced by previous small arms fire. The result was similar to the one in the ruined building at the other end of the table. The French used grenades in their assault and the Germans failed their Pinning test, having their leadership reduced by being assaulted by the greater numbered French.
Above - At the end of turn 7, the French had accomplished their objective by occupying both ruined buildings. In the process destroying two German platoons in close combat, and  reducing the Stormtrooper platoon to to less than 5 figures from shooting, but still passing their Leadership test.

What I may do is get some troops with rifle grenades - or maybe sculpt them onto existing figures using Green Stuff. This may help soften up targets in cover prior to an assault.

As an aside, here's a photo comparing the Old Glory A7V tank next to a 1:50 scale Corgi Tiger I. An Old Glory WW1 German is in front of the Tiger, and a Victory Force Miniatures WW2 figure in front of the A7V.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Perry French Carabinier Horses Painted

Finished the carabinier horses, as well as the curaissier officer's horse. The carabinier officer's horse was converted from a regular trooper's horse with hobby knife and Green Stuff.
Except for the one actual officer's horse, all the horses come with the cartridge box molded onto the rear of the saddle.  I mistakenly cut off too many cartridge boxes - I thought the marechal-des-logis (senior NCO) carrying the standard didn't have one, but I believe he should. Only the musicians didn't have them. I ended up gluing the mistakenly lopped off ones onto the figures. I went over the black leather reins and horse straps with Americana Matte Varnish to have them show up better against the dark colored horses. Even though it's bottled as matte, it leaves a satin finish.

The bases will be flocked with my usual sand and static grass; not very stunning. I need to try adding more stuff like rocks, tall grass and debris - need to look up a basing tutorial.

Tomorrow, I'm out the door early to head up to Seattle for Drumbeat. Need to pack up my WWI stuff  tonight for a Warhammer Great War game I'll be hosting in the morning session. After it's over, I'll get working on the riders and hopefully have them done in the coming week.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Perry French Napoleonic Heavy Cav - Horses

Here is my first 2010 project - Perry French Heavy Cavalry. I started on the riders, but when I had left over paint for the rider's coats & facing I switched to the horses' saddlery (I hate wasting paint - even craft store stuff).

After this, I wanted to try a new (for me) technique to paint horses. I first dry-brushed light colors over the black base coat. The carabinier horses were given light gray and mudstone as they are blacks. The cuirassier horses were given a mixture of yellow, brown and sandstone - in varying degrees, as they will be reds and bays. The musicians' horses will be grays (the cuirassier one ended up being dappled - as was the carabinier officer's).
According to a horse painting guide in an old Historex catalog I've had for decades, the so-called "blacks" are actually dark brown bays. The guide recommends a mixture of dark ultramarine and carmine. I had to google both to be sure, although I thought it was dark blue and reddish brown anyway. The mixture was initially a bit too purple for my taste, so I added more black. The finish has since been improved with successive dry brushing of grays. More pictures to follow after I finish their saddles.
I decided to use Vallejo Inks, black and red brown instead of a paint wash for the reds & bays of the cuirasssiers. It came out pretty good. I didn't even dry brush over them later - which was my intent to use this "new" method anyway. Maybe I could've lightly rubbed some of the highlight when before it dried completely though. No biggie. Looks really good for the minimal effort. I will use this method for future horses colored red or bay. Oh, and it really helped that the Perry sculptures have nice definition.
Here are the cuirassier horses (less the officer's) completed. I chose the 4th Regiment as there were flags for this unit and the 10th - the 10th had yellow facings. I wanted the aurore (aka bright orange) facing of the 4th. Here's the kicker though. For whatever reason the Perrys didn't sculpt the grenade badges on the ends of the saddle-cloth. It's understandable why they wouldn't put numbers on the portemanteau. The grenades actually were easier to paint than the number 4 though. I know the carabiniers will be the 1st Regiment now! The sheepskin shabraque was given a dry brush of a mixture of white, yellow and sand - didn't want it to be too bright. Musician and officer sheepskins are black. The wolves-tooth edging of the shabraque is the regimental color of aurore, as is lining of the folded cape on top of the portemanteau.

I think the riders will be a little easier than the horses - at least they're smaller. Carabinier horses next, as well as the cuirassier officer's.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Projects

Hmmm, time to make some commitments for the New Year - which I wish the best to you all. Anyway, what did I do today - after having a superb buffet at the Emerald Queen Casino, I left the wife to play the machines & I headed off for The Game Matrix. I should add that I had Beef Wellington and Seafood Newburg for the first time. The prime rib was very good too, as well as the King and Dungenese Crab legs. BTW, Dungenese is tastier IMO.

Okay, back to my trip to The Game Matrix. I don't gamble and the smoke in the casino stuffs up my nose, so I drove the ten minutes from the casino to the store. I wanted to see if their Battle Honors WW1 stuff would match up with my OG figures. Nope, too big, but they'd be a perfect match for Great War Miniatures. Anyway, I ended up buying an Osprey book - German Army 1914-1918 and a box of Perry Napoleonic French Infantry. There was only one Perry box, but a lot of Victrix Highlanders. After opening a Victrix box and looking at all the parts on sprues, I decided against getting them. I might later on, but I need to finish up the box of Perry French Heavy Cavalry and now this box of French Infantry first. When I went back to pick up my wife, she had won enough money to cover not only the dinner, but also half of what I spent! Oh, and I would like to add that she only goes to the casino about once or twice a year, and only plays the penny machines. The last time she went to a casino was in July when my mom came for a visit. I felt I needed to add this as I don't condone gambling & in fact, my wife and I are very frugal - we have to be with my income ;).

So, as it stand my pending projects for 2010 (at least the stuff I have already requiring paint) are:

1 box of Perry French Napoleonic Infantry

1 box of Perry French Heavy Cavalry

30 Old Glory Japanese Infantry (for RJW)

10 Old Glory Japanese Cavalry (for RJW)

20 Old Glory Japanese Artillerymen (for RJW)

2 Old Glory cannon (for RJW)

10 Old Glory Turcopoles

12 Mounted German Feudal Knights (Old Glory & Battle Honors)

8 Crusader Late-Thracian Javelinmen

8 Crusader Gladiators

6 Old Glory mounted English personalities HYW Crecy/Poitiers;

Additionally, I have some Victory Force Minis Waffen SS with the faces (and eyes!) already painted, but still needing the rest painted; an Old Glory Viking ship with crew - I just wanted it before my OG Army membership ended last summer; some Redoubt Dendra-armored guys; and some Greek mythological figs. No pressing plans for these, so they're all on the back-burner.

The games I want to play this year, either for the first time or more often to get the rules down better are:

WAB - haven't played it since Enfilade

The Great War - plan to run a game at Drumbeat next Saturday

Roman Seas - have everything ready except deck troops, but I might use counters for the initial games.

Sharp Practice - actually want to finish up those Perry figures first.

That's enough on the plate, because I'm sure I'll be side-tracked as the year moves along.

Happy 2010 to all!