Friday, July 12, 2019

The Empress' Dragoons - done!

It took me a few days longer than expected to get this lot finished, but my goodness what a joy it is to see them all finished and based.

These are the Dragoons of the Imperial Guard - or Dragons de la Garde Impériale, to give them their proper (and very splendid) French name. Also known as the Empress' Dragoons, which is much less of a mouthful for us wargamers.

These were hugely enjoyable to paint. Figures are once again by Newline Designs. Lovely uniforms and they will look great on the tabletop I think. I'm really pleased to get this first unit of Imperial Guard cavalry added to my French army, and already looking forward to adding more Guard units, including infantry.

I'm going to focus on a bit of terrain building first, though, so I might not have any more painting additions for another couple of weeks. Still hoping to do a battle report of some sort (French vs Prussians, of course), but I'm still undecided about whether to do this on my hex terrain using Commands & Colors, or on my modular terrain tiles using another set of rules.

Either way, I'll hopefully have some more pics etc soon. :-)

Friday, July 5, 2019

French foot artillery

Bit if a gap since my last post, but not because I've been idle. Having undercoated the latest batch of minis for the 20mm Naps project, I suddenly felt the urge to take a break and ended up spending a few weeks on a couple of other projects.

Suitably refreshed, I'm now back on the 20mm wagon once again. I decided, first off, to get the French foot artillery finished. I had previously painted all four cannons but only half the crew, and the figures were individually based. I decided I wanted to keep the basing consistent with my Prussians, and this week I finally got round to painting the remaining 10 crew and getting everything rebased.

That done, I turned my attention back to the undercoated dragoons I mentioned in my last post...

...only to discover that they weren't just your average dragoons!

They were, in fact, the Empress' Dragoons! No wonder I thought they looked a bit more ostentatious than expected when I started putting the paint on. So, it seems I had picked the wrong bag out the lead pile back in May. Plainly, I wasn't wearing my glasses at the time, but I'm quite pleased in a way, because I was planning to get started on the guard element of my French army sometime soon anyway.

These are not just dragoons...these are the Empress' Dragoons

With a bit of luck, I'll get this group of 12 finished this weekend, but it depends on how much I get distracted by what dropped through the post earlier today (more on that in a moment). Also, there is the small(er) matter of some 10mm guys to get painted, as you might be able to see in the background there.

Although I haven't posted much besides my 20mm Napoleonics, I do, like most wargamers, have more than one project on the go. One of those projects is 10mm Napoleonics (as if I didn't have enough to paint already). It's a bit of a slow-burner - a collection that gets added to on impulse every now and then - but it's steadily getting bigger and gathering pace, so I'll start posting some pics of this project in due course.

Staying with Napoleonics, you probably know by now that I'm a fan of the Commands & Colors system by Richard Borg, and was rather pleased to hear recently that another expansion is planned for the Napoleonic series. The new expansion will be number 7, and will feature a number of La Grande and Epic scenarios, along with some new rules and units. Certainly something to look forward to if, like, me you enjoy this particular series of games.

Here's the link to GMT web page if you want to know more. Hopefully it won't be too long before it reaches print.

GMT C&C Napoleonics expansion 7

Which bring me back to today's earlier postal delivery...

It's been far too long since I got a game in of something, so this weekend I may well take a break from the paint desk and have a go at the new Medieval expansion for C&C. Should be fun! Tonight's entertainment will involve knocking back several hundred cups of tea whilst fixing a few stickers to blocks (I mean the other way round, of course), but that's ok - I am one of those oddballs who enjoys that sort of task.

The Spanish expansion for C&C means I now have the full set of Napoleonic expansions, although I have to admit I haven't had a chance to play through them all yet. My goal to replay all of these expansions using miniatures would probably take me several lifetimes, but it's nice to dream and plan nonetheless.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A few more additions...

As mentioned in the previous post, I've been bulking out a few of the units for the Prussians and (to a lesser extent) the French. Nothing entirely new, but it's good to have the units a bit bigger than they were. Here's just a few of them...

Most of these will possibly be added to in the future - particularly the hussars - but for now I'm considering them as done. I still need to add a flag to those hussars though!

Horse artillery - now two bases strong
Aside from adding to the terrain collection, I'll be focusing a bit more on the French for the next little while. They don't have any heavy cavalry yet (apart from some cuirassiers), so I have some dragoons undercoated and ready to do next.

Hussars - 12 figures on 6 bases
All of a sudden it feels like I'm not far off getting both the French and Prussian armies to a point where I can call them finished. Besides the heavy cavalry, I'd like to add some young guard and old guard for the French, a couple of bases of horse artillery, some more light infantry and a few more bases of light cavalry. Both armies could also use one or two more command bases.

Dragoons - 12 figures, but still to be rebased in twos
I'm in no rush to add all of these. I'm enjoying being at the point now where I can paint up units at a more leisurely pace whilst concentrating on building up my terrain and playing a few games games here and there. My mind is always thinking about the next project, of course, but I'm keeping my options open. As far as the 20mm Napoleonics collection goes, besides painting extra French and Prussian units, I can start adding troops from other nations too, but still make use of them on the tabletop as allied contingents. I already have some British and Hanoverians in the lead pile, so I may decide to do those first, but then again I'm also very tempted to paint up some Russians (or maybe Austrians...). Who knows!?

Wargaming is a bit like being at a huge buffet, but it's easy to bit off more than one can chew. I shall endeavour to remain focused, and will undoubtedly fail completely, but still having great fun all the same.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Prussian landwehr (militia) cavalry - finished!

Although I haven't posted a huge amount of painting updates in the past few months, I am still chipping away at the lead pile, adding extra bases to existing units and generally rounding out certain parts of the Prussian and French armies (mostly Prussian though).

The most recent addition was another 6 figures to the Prussian landwehr cavalry, which takes the total to 18 figures and should be enough for most games/scenarios. I also decided to revert back to using two-figure bases (30x30mm) to give more flexibility. Rebasing wasn't as much of a chore as I'd feared. Soaking the MDF for about 24 hours softens it up nicely, and I only had a couple of minor repairs to do in the course of it.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I really do like the figure of the landwehr colonel (picture in the front rank next to the bugler). All in all, very nice minis once again from Newline Designs, with just the right amount of detail for my tastes.

Seeing as the camera is set up today, I'll take some more photos of the other units I've been working on, and upload these soon.

Next up will be to get started on those excellent buildings from Total Battle Miniatures you see in the background. They should look even better once they're painted up.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Commands & Colors using Hexon - at last, some focus!

Some enjoyable time was spent this weekend putting down a few random pieces of Hexon terrain and looking again at the best way of making them work with my 20mm Napoleonics. Having abandoned the idea of my 6-inch hexes and chipboard table, I needed to come up with something that would be smaller and more convenient to set up and use.

I like Hexon. It's a great product, and although the hex sizes are probably best suited to 6 to 15mm figures, I think I can just about get away with squeezing my 20mm minis on them. The size of the units might not be as grand as what I had originally intended, but they still look fairly decent.

Figure-wise, I can fit four bases of infantry and four bases of cavalry on a hex quite comfortably. It's a bit more of a squeeze for hexes with buildings or trees, but still possible. The hills work well too. The slopes are high enough to give some reasonable elevation, but are also gentle enough for my bases not to fall off.

I have enough Hexon already for a standard C&C board, along with plenty of hills, but I need to add some river sections and get them finished up, as well as paint the buildings I bought from Total Battle Miniatures. Other features like bridges, redoubts, lakes etc, will also need to be considered.

Rather than using casualty markers, I can also use bases to represent blocks on a like-for-like basis, so I'll remove bases as they're lost throughout the game. Some players don't like figure removal in games, but it's always been my preferred way of playing. I like the table to be free of tokens or markers as much as possible. The only exception will be artillery, which I'll represent with a single base and use some sort of markers.

So, I'm happy that I've finally settled on a way forward for this project. I'll be back to more regular posts from now on, so I'll share more on this project soon.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Having a rethink...

The finished board - big, but a bother to move about
The past month or so has been pretty much a write-off in terms of available hobby time. As normally happens when work and other things take over, I tend to lose my momentum a little bit with projects, so when time does become available I've run out of steam somewhat.

Enough of the complaining though. Life is returning to normal once more, so I'm slowly climbing back on the baggage train.

As you can see in the photo, I did at least mange to finish making my Commands & Colors board. All six chipboard sections are done - all hexed up and flocked. I should be pleased, but...

A bird's-eye view of the board with seating space for an impossibly slim opponent
But, I'm having second thoughts. In the process of laying out the boards for the first time, I realised just how much space the whole thing takes up. Silly, really, since I had calculated all this beforehand, so it should have been no surprise. And it's not just the space requirement - it's that the boards are quite heavy and cumbersome to move, with the added hazard of getting a splinter or two. All in all, the effort was enough to be annoying.

Some 10mm buildings from Total Battle Miniatures - still to be painted
On the up side, the boards do look ok. I'm happy with the flocked surface and the level of visibility of the hex lines. Each section lines up well, even if the chipboard is a bit roughly along some edges. As far as the hex sizes go, 150cm is a good size for the number of bases I had decided to use to represent the units.

The number of troops needed, however, is another reason for me having second thoughts. Despite having painted a fairly large amount of Prussians and French, I'm still not even half way to being done, which is a tad daunting.

So, I'm having a rethink.

I think using this size of board might be a bit too ambitious and impractical. I need to consider something smaller that also uses fewer troops. What I really want to do is actually feel like I'm nearly finished with the Prussians and French, so that I can move on to other painting projects.

At the moment, I'm looking afresh at my collection of Hexon terrain. I had dismissed these 4-inch hexes as being too small for my 20mm Napoleonics, but they do have a lot to recommend them. It means I'd have to use a much smaller footprint for each unit, but then that's what I want anyway. They will be much easier to set up and clear away, and my dining table can comfortably accommodate a standard 13 x 9 hex C&C layout.

I'll post more on this next time. I have pretty much all the hexon I need, except for some more river sections and a bridge or two.

The flocked chipboards will probably be relegated to the garage in the meantime, perhaps to return one day in the future when I have a bigger collection of painted minis.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Command and Colors board - getting there...

Having painted in the hex lines using white paint, the next step was to go over them using a dark green. So far, I've done this for four of the six required boards. You can see three pictured here, slotted together.

Once this was done, it was time to add the flock. I'm using Noch flock, which is the same stuff I use on the bases of my figures. I used a slightly watered down PVA as the glue, and then used a sieve to apply the flock, which helped to ensure the application was even. I don't want the finished surface to be too uneven, since there will be MDF terrain hexes sitting on top.

And here's a shot of the first finished board. It's ok, but I've learned a few things about how I'd do it differently next time. My biggest mistake was using a fine pen to mark out the lines needed to plot the hexes. I had assumed these wouldn't be visible underneath the flock, but I was wrong! I'll make sure I use a pencil next time.

I think a bit of colour variation would improve the look, so if I do this C&C board again, I'll paint a thin coat of browns and green over the hexes before applying the flock. This will also help to mute the hex lines a bit.

This weekend I'm hoping to get most of the other 5 boards finished. After that, I'll be thinking about putting together the terrain hexes for hills and rivers etc. For buildings, I've ordered a 10mm scale black powder set from Total Battle Miniatures, so I'm looking forward to those arriving and getting them painted up.

Meanwhile, figure painting progresses steadily. I added more bases to the Prussian infantry this week, and have another base of horse artillery currently on the paint bench. More photo updates soon!