Saturday, April 1, 2023

British 2nd Dragoons - Royal Scots Greys


I have a bit more spare time on my hands at the moment, so there's no excuse not to dig into the lead pile and add some more units to my British Napoleonic army. First up is the Scots Greys.

I've settled on 8-figure cavalry units these days, but may extend these out to 12 figures to match units that I painted earlier in the project. 12 figures (6 bases) do look great on the table, but 8 figures are fine and work well for games like Shadow of the Eagles and Neil Thomas' Napoleonic Wargaming.

These were good fun to paint - a solid couple of days' work, but worth the time put in. I didn't go for much variation on the horses, and held back from adding certain uniform details, but all in all I'm happy enough with how they turned out. The grey horses will certainly stand out nicely on the table.

A unit of light dragoons is next in the painting queue, and I'll see where my fancy takes me after that.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Prussian limbers

Too long since the last post (again...) but here's something I realised I hadn't yet posted any photos of - the first of some limbers for the 20mm Naps collection, in this case for the Prussians.

The set from Newline Designs actually comes with 6 horses and 3 riders, but in order to keep the footprint of the base down I decided to just use 2 riders.

Limbers never felt like a priority when I was building up the armies, but I've definitely got enough of a core collection now to afford the time to spend on the 'nice to haves' like limbers. I'll eventually add 2 or 3 limbers each for the French and Prussians. A fairly simple paint job, but definitely looks a lot better on the tabletop than using guns turned the wrong way round.

I decided against adding any traces etc to the model. What the eye doesn't see the imagination makes up for!

Friday, January 20, 2023

British 79th regiment of foot - Cameron Highlanders


At long last I got round to painting the first of what will probably be 3 units of Scottish Highlanders for my Napoleonic British collection - figures as usual by Newline Designs. I decided to paint the first lot as the 79th Cameron Highlanders, if for no other reason than because I like their green cuffs and facings.

My only previous attempt at painting tartan was on 10mm minis, so I wasn't sure how this would go, but I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Doing some practice attempts first and following advice from other painters online certainly helped.

The flags from Tiny Tin Troops really help to finish the unit off nicely.

The other two planned Highlander units are the Gordon Highlanders and the Black Watch. I'll look forward to adding those at some point, but will more than likely divert to other things first - namely, some cavalry and artillery. 3 units of British done in total now. Another 5 and I can have a game using the Neil Thomas rules.

Napoleonic battle using Neil Thomas' rules

(Edit: I'm not sure what on earth happened to this post, but it looks like I drafted it and forgot to hit the publish button back at the beginning of January. Only just noticed today when I started drafting another post. Oh well...that'll make it two posts in one day - most unlike me.)

This isn't a detailed battle report as such, but hopefully gives you an idea of the kind of games I've been playing recently using the rules from 'Napoleonic Wargaming' by Neil Thomas. I found them to be easy to learn (and remember!), fast-playing and good fun.

I use a 4 x 4' table and the prescribed 8 units per side, so it doesn't take long to set up a game, which in itself is a big plus and no doubt has led to me being able to get more games in.

I pretty much use the rules as is, but they are a very easy set of rules to modify if there's something you don't like.

For this game, the Prussians are taking on the French using the 1815 army lists. I randomly generated the terrain and the forces, and rolled dice to determine which side set up first and where. The French deployed first and were on the north side of the board. The Prussians deployed next, and I then allowed both sides a chance to make some limited redeployments. The French redeployed 3 units, but the Prussians failed to redeploy any. (In the book, Neil Thomas offers some ideas on how to deploy forces when playing solo, but I decided to use my own system for this game.)

French army:

2 x light infantry
3 x line infantry
1 x conscript line infantry
1 x field artillery
1 x cuirassiers

Prussian army:

4 x line infantry
2 x landwehr infantry
1 x jagers
1 x uhlans

The finished set-up looked like this:

The French are deployed on the north edge of the board with a hill in their centre, a town on their left flank and a wooded area on their right. With such a strong defensive position, they would be letting the Prussians do the attacking. The plan was for the two light infantry units to hold the flanks while the line infantry and artillery defended in the centre. The cuirassiers were originally held back in reserve, but I redeployed them to the right flank (just beyond the trees in the above photo) in order to counter the Prussian uhlans on that side.

The Prussian plan was to send the jagers and a unit of landwehr to capture the town, whilst the majority of the line units attacked the centre. On the left, the uhlans were hoping to outflank the French by skirting the woods whilst one of the line infantry battalions pushed through the woods to then fall on the French right. However, when the cuirassiers managed to redeploy opposite the uhlans, I knew there was very little chance the Prussian cavalry would be able to do much except try and keep the cuirassiers busy and away from the Prussian infantry for as long as possible.

In the early part of the game the Prussian infantry moved forward in attack columns and the uhlans fell back to try and avoid the cuirassiers. I use coloured tiddlywinks to keep track of casualties rather than remove bases. On the Prussian side, a green tiddlywink equals 1 hit; a yellow tiddlywink equals 1 base lost (on the French side I use blue and red tiddlywinks respectively). In the rules, units lose a base after taking 4 hits, and are destroyed after losing 4 bases. Additional bases can also be lost due to failed morale tests as a result of fire or close combat.

You can see that the Prussian army is already taking damage from French musketry and artillery. The French light infantry fire, which hits on a 5+, proved to be especially effective in this game.

After a few more turns a couple of the Prussians infantry units have deployed into line and started returning fire. The landwehr unit nearest in the above photo tried to storm the town but was repulsed by French light infantry. Out of shot, the uhlans are engaged by the French cuirassiers. They would eventually be caught and destroyed.

By about turn 6 or 7, things were already falling apart for the Prussians. One line infantry unit in the centre had been destroyed by French musket fire, and most of their units had lost at least one or two bases. The two line battalions on the left flank (including the one pushing through the woods) were down to 1 base each. The French light infantry in the woods had been falling back in front of the advancing Prussians but causing real damage each time they fired and then retreated. To make matters worse, the French cuirassiers had returned from chasing off the uhlans and were about to crash into the Prussian rear.

I decided to call an end to proceedings after turn 8. The above photo was the final position of the troops. The Prussian left flank and centre had collapsed, and their right flank was severely weakened. The French light infantry in the town had finally been forced out, but it was too little too late.

Of all the games I've played with these rules so far, this was by far the most one-sided, and the quickest. Most of the previous games lasted between 12 and 15 turns.

To be fair, the Prussians did have atrocious dice rolling, but I think their battle plan could have been better. I wasted a line unit in an ineffectual push through the woods, and on the right flank the fight for the town drew in both landwehr units and the jagers in the end. A better idea would have been to send the jagers into the woods, concentrate the line infantry in the centre, and then use the landwehr either to attack the town or ignore it altogether and reinforce the centre.

The uhlans were always going to lose against the cuirassiers. The combat matrix in the rules gives lancers 1 dice per base against heavy cavalry, but heavy cavalry receive 2 dice per base. If I were picking from the army list rather than randomly selecting the forces, I'd always consider a unit of dragoons for the Prussians for 1815 battles against the French.

The French battle plan was simple but sound. The artillery on the hill managed to wear down a couple of the Prussian units, but it might have been better employed in a more forward position in the main battle line. Both French light infantry units gave a sterling peformance, rolling an incredible number of fives and sixes on the dice for shooting. Likewise the line infantry units were very effective in their volleys, and the line never looked in danger of breaking.

I hope you found this short report interesting. If you're looking for a Napoleonic game that's easy to learn, quick to set up, and doesn't require a lot of space, then the Neil Thomas rules are a worthy choice. I've found a 4 x 4' table gives enough frontage for my 20mm figures, and more than enough depth. I could even increase the 8 units to 10 or 12 by deploying some units in reserve or keep them off table initially.

For future games I think I'll have a go at combining these rules with some of the scenarios from Neil Thomas' other book - One Hour Wargames.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

British line infantry - The Royal Scots


A very quiet year on this blog but I will at least close out 2022 with one more post to show the latest unit to leave the paint desk - the 3rd battalion of the British 1st Regiment of Foot, The Royal Scots. Along with the 44th East Essex, I now have two units of British Napoleonics painted with a third (79th Cameron Highlanders) in progress.

The flags are by Tiny Tin Troops, which I'm going to use as much as possible from now on. I like the strong colours of the printing, so they stand out well on the tabletop.

I also got round to rebasing the 44th East Essex, which were still on the smaller 25x25mm bases (4 figs per base). The flags were replaced with ones from Tiny Tin Troops.

I can't remember why I never painted any flank company figures for the 44th. I must have been saving them for some other use, but I think I'll go back and add them at a later date.

Although I haven't posted or painted much lately, I have been enjoying quite a few games with my 20mm collection. Shadow of the Eagles has had a few enjoyable outings, but in particular I've been playing quite a lot of Neil Thomas' 'Napoleonic Wargaming'. The rules are very simple, and use only 8 units per side. There's no reason why you couldn't scale up to use 12 or 16 units per side, but so far I've stuck with 8 units, which fit well onto a smaller table - in my case 4' x 4'. I'll talk more about the rules and my games with them in the future.

2023 should see me posting more often here. I'll continue painting more British troops but also plan to add in some Prussian allies in the form of some Austrian and Russian troops. I'd like to add some Bavarians and Swiss troops for the French, too.

Hope you enjoy the photos. More to follow.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Polish napoleonic line infantry - 13th and 4th regiments


It's been another a dry spell lately as far as painting goes, but for the past few weeks I've been working away on some Polish line infantry figures, which are now finally done. These are painted as the 13th and 4th regiments, the former of which had white jackets as opposed to the normal blue. Finding good reference materials for the uniforms wasn't easy, so there are no doubt a few errors in the details.

Newline Designs only have a small selection of Polish troops in their Napoleonic range, but enough to allow me to add some variety to my French army. I have two more units to paint, which I'll get round to at some point.

The flags used are made by Tiny Tin Troops, and are from their 22mm range. It's the first time I've used TTT flags, and I'm very pleased with the quality. They're perhaps slightly larger than what I'd normally use, but not enough to matter. I'm planning to use TTT flags from now on, and may go back and replace some of my older flags with TTT ones on certain units.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A spot of painting


A pretty quiet first few months of the year for me hobby-wise, so haven't had much to post about really. I did paint up these additional command figures for my Prussian and French armies, plus a few Portuguese cacadores just for the fun of it.

The French generals are Jerome (left) and Marcognet – part of the pack of French Waterloo generals that Newline Designs sells. I have a few others still to paint. The Prussian figures include a landwehr colonel, two generals and an ADC. At least, I think that's right (I'm never quite sure if the figure with the bicorne is an ADC or not!)

The cacadores were nice and quick to paint. I particularly like the kneeling figure, but they're all great sculpts.

I'm hoping to get another game to the table soon. It's been too long since my last one. Currently looking at some scenario ideas for Shadow of the Eagles, so I'll hopefully have something to share again soon.