Friday, 12 May 2017

Napoleonic skirmishers

Some do and some don't. The intrinsic problem with representing skirmishers on the table top is threefold: it clutters the table and can slow the game down to such an extent that turns begin to take too long, and can simply over complicate the game. A recent Peninsula game, re-fighting Vitoria 1813, saw Allied skirmishers sweeping all before them so a happy medium has to be made. Worth having them on the table? I think yes, but let's not get too pre-occupied with their role that we end up with a messy table and a slow and complicated game. My collection focuses on central Europe in 1812-15 so avoiding the complication of how to use skirmishers properly in the Peninsula campaign. In Spain it is more difficult and greater thought may be needed as to how to represent them effectively.

Back to central Europe….
For infantry I have adopted the 3 man independent skirmish base for each formed light infantry battalion, which must remain a certain distance from their parent unit. Using a D8, this stand will score a disorder on a throw of 7 or 8 against most targets within range and if the target is already disordered, a hit. They are removed on contact with cavalry and retire on contact with formed infantry. They do not melee with anyone. If the parent unit they belong to is removed, the skirmish stand is removed also. I fully appreciate that whole battalions and whole brigades might deploy into skirmish order but that would be missing the point. If we try to cater for every eventuality in creating a rule set, we end up with an unworkable collection of rules.(or a very messy table!)

Saxon skirmishers in the distance, taking a pop at some
 Prussian Cuirassiers. advancing across their front.
But what about cavalry skirmishers? Not sure if I have ever seen this represented on any table but if the campaign stage of a game is missing, it would be fun to have this element introduced. Again in a limited way. The role of the umpire might become necessary to make this work. For example, if there are hidden forces in a wood or behind a hill, you would not send a whole regiment of cavalry to recce the area, but perhaps just a token force. This could be represented by 2 figures on a base, who can move further than other cavalry units, but have no offensive role. Would retire on contact with any formed unit and would stand off against any enemy cavalry skirmish stand, so would be almost impossible to wipe out. I appreciate they had their carbine, but enabling this token force to score disorders or hits, would make them too important. Their role would be to scout areas of the battlefield for hidden enemy units only. Perhaps just 2 bases per side.

Art Miniaturen have introduced some excellent Prussian cavalry jagers and Hagen Miniatures some superb Bavarian cavalry skirmishers:

I think this could work so I will think about introducing this element to the game over the coming months. After all, no general knew what he was up against so having some "unknown" element to any game should always be included if at all possible. This addition will enable a general to sniff out those unknowns.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Napoleonic Bavarian artillery

Franznap has spotted a niche. By producing artillery riders with greatcoats/overcoats they have given war gamers the flexibility to produce some interesting conversions, even if the covered up uniform might be a bit dull. It also helps to alleviate the problem of getting these uniforms right…quite a bit of conflicting information.

The heads were from Bavarian infantry (SHQ) and not from Newline Designs as they would have been too small.  I was keen not to cut off the collar of the Franznap French artillery rider bodies. Look ok to me. The horses are from Art Miniaturen (static Prussian) and the French caisson from Franznap. Looks like I will need to order the Art Miniaturen Prussian caisson to accompany this Bavarian set. I may also have to trim down the boots as they probably ought to be wearing campaign trousers. (the boots are barely noticeable under the coat) I also had to trim off the bum roll from the horse or else the rider would not fit properly onto the horse.

I have no idea at this stage which limber to choose but reading various forums it would probably be either the Austrian or Prussian limber (probably the latter) Bearing in mind so much equipment was captured I think the colour of the limber and caisson is perhaps more important than the actual type.

The Prussian caissons are also nearly finished. Just need to do the traces and base them properly. One row of these horses have not yet been stuck down….or else I would have problems doing the inside track of the traces. Tedious job but needs must. I will add some hay to the rear of some of the caissons.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Hanau 1813 Battle map

Starting positions for both sides will roughly reflect the actual battle with a few modifications: The game will be fought out on a 17 foot x 9 foot table. The bottom table including Hanau can be detached from the remaining set up, to allow easy access.

French forces will be concentrated in the woods and will comprise two brigades of Old Guard infantry with plenty of Guard Chasseur skirmishers out front. One Young Guard brigade, one French line brigade and one French conscript brigade will push through the woods with some cavalry support on both flanks. The majority of French cavalry will appear later on the French right flank. This will include the Guard cavalry. The majority of the artillery will also be coming down the north/south track/road through the forest.

From a previous game. French cavalry advance. 
The Allies will have one Bavarian Division of two brigades on the left flank. Each brigade will have two jaeger battalions plus skirmishers so should be able to delay the French advance, once they realise what has hit them. One Austrian Division will be on the right flank but will not be permitted to move left across the Kinzig stream until either French infantry have appeared from the southern most part of the Lamboy wood or have received an ADC from Hanau (C-in-C) to do so.

In reserve the Austrians will have a further division comprising two brigades of infantry, together with two heavy cavalry brigades, both with horse artillery.

Foot artillery will be spaced evenly across the battlefield. The reserve division in Hanau will have two 12lbs heavy batteries complete with limbers and caissons.

Unknown to the French there will be a Cossack brigade of cavalry roaming around somewhere.

That's the idea….could easily change!

Hungarians and Austrians in a previous game.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Hanau 1813

Pleased to announce that the forth coming 20mm Napoleonic game to be held in the barn on June 4th  will be Hanau, fought in October 1813.

I'm a little unsure wether the actual town of Hanau will be present, but it is likely that buildings representing the outskirts, will be there. Will need plenty of trees for this game as it would be good to kick off the game with the clearing of the woods by the Old Guard skirmishers/chasseurs. May need to even up the odds in favour of the Allies slightly.

French forces will roughly resemble those at the battle and will include Old Guard, Young Guard, conscripts, light infantry, Old Guard cavalry plus foot and horse artillery. I just hope to have the caissons completed on time. French forces will number approx 1,700-1,800.

Allied forces will include Bavarian infantry (only 300) so will have to use more Austrians. I hope to finish the Hagen Bavarian cheveuxleger in time to go with the Bavarian lancers (converted plastic figures, but don't look out of place).

The Austrians will be the Art Miniaturen figures. (600) plus 200 Grenzer figures from an unknown manufacturer, where the poses are all the same. Austrian cavalry will feature Hussars and Uhlans (Franznap) as well as Cuirassiers, Dragoons, and Cheveuxleger all from Art Miniaturen. Austrian guns will be from Art M and will be complete with limbers and caissons.
A brigade of Cossacks (3 regts of 16 Art M figures in each regt) plus a horse battery will also feature. So the Allies will have approx 1,300-1,400

caissons still to come.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Basing 1/72 scale Napoleonics

The advantage of 24 man battalions is that by say 1813, most nations had below average sized battalions, except perhaps the Austrians. There seems to be huge debate as to what is historically right and what is wrong but what looks "good" often gets ignored.

Admittedly the 36 man French battalions do look great but those of us who have already committed to the 4 man base with a total of 24 figures should not worry.

Right or wrong the "effect" is what we are trying to create.
A game from 2106

Austrian Art miniaturen figures with 32 men battalions.

The Austrian and Hungarian Art Miniaturen infantry are based on laser cut mdf bases. 30mm x 30mm. The problem with many plastic figures is that the size of an individual base prevents squashing 4 men to a single base. 

French dragoons and Cuirassiers

The cavalry meanwhile are based in pairs and on 35mm x 40mm bases. 16 figures in a regiment.

Prussian horse artillery with two model guns

Prussian foot artillery with 3 model guns.

There seems to be a pre-occupation to have a designated number of guns represented by a specific number of models…i.e. a battery of 8 guns represented by 4 model guns. This seems to be an unnecessary detail. What is important is that the space occupied by a battery should be representative (especially the depth), and that is why introducing limbers (and caissons in some instances) is worthwhile. Also it helps the average war gamer distinguish between both horse and foot easily as well as certain calibres. Introducing caissons to represent 12lbs and Guard I think will be interesting.

Clearly there are other distinguishing marks for artillery. In this case, there are 4 figures for the horse battery and 5 for the foot while the bases are 40mm square for the horse and 50mm square for the foot.

15mm game in London on 12/13th March where we will be fighting Vitoria 1813 at Rob's place. Should be fun.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

20mm French line infantry and 20mm Bavarian Cheveuxleger

Asking a professional painter to paint 1,000 French line infantry was perhaps doomed to fail. The photo shows some of the better little chaps as opposed to some that were returned spray painted black and that was it. Needless to say I think the whole task was beyond him sadly so I have 1,000 French line infantry to work on and have been for the last 6 months…on and off. It is a tough task. These Art Miniaturen figures will look great at the end. Sending finished samples of what I hoped would be the finished product was still not sufficient. I knew trouble was brewing when he started chatting about the pom poms and basing and had only taken possession of the figures for a couple of weeks. Many figures, in greatcoats, were returned with collars and cuffs painted so some work had to be undone. Some professional painters will do a decent job and some will not. I think I was just unlucky. 

I think I should have been more specific…my fault entirely.
 Not many 20mm manufacturers do Bavarian light cavalry justice. Art Miniaturen do not do them. HaT's attempts are below standard. These chaps were sourced from a collective website in Germany…Hagen Miniatures. Great poses. Size very comparable to Art M but all had arms and scabbards that required gluing on which was a pain and time consuming. Again, these will look great once finished. (in green)
The Hagen Miniatures from Germany.
Bavarian 20mm cheveuxleger.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Top 10 Christmas wish list for Art Miniaturen to consider.

Art Miniaturen have a comprehensive range of Napoleonics and are constantly extending their products.

If there was a wish list for this Christmas, it would be this:

  1. French line mounted chasseurs. (static). This appears to be work in process. Bearing in mind this type of cavalry was (together with the dragoons) the most numerous, it is a surprise that so few manufacturers focus on it.
  2. French artillery limber riders. Art M have done them in the past but Franznap do them and now do riders in greatcoats which is a welcome addition. 
  3. Russian line infantry. (standing) 
  4. Bavarian mounted cheveuxleger. (static) Like their Austrian light cavalry recently produced these chaps could be painted in either white for the dragoons or green for the cheveuxleger.
  5. Austrian mounted hussars. (static) Franznap presently fill this gap.
  6. Austrian mounted uhlans. (static) Franznap presently fill this gap.
  7. Russian light infantry. (skirmishing)
  8. Russian Guard infantry. (static)
  9. Cossack artillery figures. (something different)
  10. Russian foot and horse artillery limber riders. (dragoon helmet for the horse)
Clearly the Prussian and Austrian ranges are the most complete, but Russian infantry would be really welcome. Especially as their range offers some excellent Russian cavalry and artillery.

Let's see what happens.