Thursday, August 29, 2013

English Civil War: Parliamentarian Artillery

    We're now at the last installment of my English Civil War Parliamentary troops - the artillery. It seems to m,e that the artillery played a much greater role in sieges in the ECW than in the field, especially when compared to the Thirty Years War on the continent. Be that as it may, here are the Guns of Parliament...

A heavy gun, served by five crew figures. Nice variety of poses in these old "new" 25mm Minifigs from the 1970's, I think.

Another view of the heavy gun, which might be referred to as a Culverin.

"You're gonna pay if you try to cross THIS bridge!

Here's a very light gun, with a carriage designed to be drawn by a single horse.

Hmm, forgot to paint the mouth of this Falconet black, didn't I?

A pair of Medium guns supporting the Parliamentarian cause.

There was no set color for the gun carriages, with unpainted, grey, and dark red all being fairly commonly used on both sides.

The crew of these Sakers are probably dressed both more uniformly and lavishly than would likely have been the case in reality. Still, I like my toys to put on a good show!

    Well, it certainly has been an eclectic month here along the metaphorical Danube - Ancient Egyptians, Great Italian Wars, Pyrates, ECW, Napoleonics and Starships - pretty much covers from early recorded history and  into the future! Was someone rambling about focusing their collection more sharply?  Not here, it would appear, LOL! Perhaps next month I'll cover some materials related to our Napoleonic "Imaginations" campaign, where the forces of Czar Barry's nation have been wreaking havoc upon my once fair countryside.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Kingdom Egypt: Medium Infantry

    These are some of the figures I painted up quite rapidly on short notice in February and March of this year for a game at Battle Group Boston's HAVOC convention. I had had the figures for 4-5 years and had started painting them, and them we started on our 1809 project, then the Borodino 1812 project, then Dresden 1813 project so they went on the back burner. From past experience at this event, I wanted a game that would set up and play quickly, so I decided to run a battle using Charlie Sweet's Ancient rules (report is here). The Egyptians would fit in perfectly with that scenario, and they're fairly easy to paint, especially having ahead start on them. So, I painted the whole army in about 6 weeks. Of course, the varnish was still drying on the figures as I loaded them into the car for the game... as usual!

    Anyway, I didn't have enough time to do any work on the bases if I was to have them ready on time for the convention, which was fine for an "old school" type game on a gridded board. After the convention, I bought some materials to do the basing the way I wanted, but the priority shifted back to planning and painting for my Historicon games, so the Egyptians once again were consigned to the back burner. I finally had time to complete their basing this weekend... and did so. This post will cover the "Medium" infantry of the army (spearmen and 2 handed mace/axe men. All the figures are Old Glory, with a few odds and ends of old Garrison figures sprinkled in here and there. I will eventually add a few more chariots and archers to the army, plus some mercenaries and Nubians. Any suggestions as to other 25/28mm manufactures of NKE figures to go with these are welcome!

Here's a unit of Egyptian "melee" troops  wielding bronze 2 handed mace/axes. Very little armor is worn, and they have their shields slung across their backs.

Another view. These particular Old Glory packs come with a somewhat too high proportion of "command" figures, IMHO - 8 out of 30. I had to struggle a bit to work them all into the various units. Still, it is nice to have *some* hornists and drummers in among the mix!

The distinctive Egyptian head dress was the only thing at all challenging to portray, but I think they came out OK. 

Next up is a unit of Egyptian Spearmen; these guys are using their large shields, and wear crocodile armor doe some additional protection,

The two command figures in this unit are old Garrison figures. 

 I have been fascinated with Ancient Egypt since reading a book written for teens on the subject back when I was about 11. The stories about Cheops and the building of  the Great pyramid, the Egyptian priests and deities, and the Pharaohs - the great victories of Thutmose III, and the mysteries around his aunt (and Pharaoh)  Hatchepsut and the pink sphinxes at her mortuary palace at Deir-el-Bahari , Ankehaton and Nefertiti and their experiment with monotheism, the puppet boy-king Tutankhamen who succeeded him (and left such a rich archaeological heritage), and Ramses and the battle of Kadesh were utterly fascinating!

We know from the accounts of Kadesh, that at least by the time of Ramses II, the Egyptian Army was divided into "Divisions" each named after a primary Egyptian god (Amun, Re, Seth and Ptah), which contained both chariots and infantry.

Thus, inspired I have painted each of my units with a "Divisional" color - Red for Amun, Yellow for Re, Blue for Seth and Green for Ptah. These then would be Medium Infantry mace/axe men of Division Ptah. The use of these weapons 2 handed is, I suspect somewhat speculative and driven somewhat by the advantages of same in the original WRG rules. 

Still, if they were in fact wielded with both hands, I would think they would be capable of fearsome damage!

The presence of the large shields suggest they were used one handed a good portion of the time, I would think. 

Spearmen of my Division Amun.

The beige towels I used to take these pictures upon (outdoors in diffused light) do a nice job of suggesting sand dunes, I think!

Crocodile armor is worn once again by these better protected troops. 

Finally, another unit of 2-handed mace/ax men. The blue color marks them as Division Seth, at least in my scheme!

The lone Spearmen in the ranks is another old Garrison figure.

Now would be a good time to cue the triumphal march from Giuseppe Verdi's, Aida, I think!

worth another version - one of the grandest scenes in all of Opera!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Prussian Reserve Infantry 1813, Part 3

    The last of my Prussian Reserve regiments are these two units, made up from the 30 figures in the Old Glory set PXI-07, "Prussian Militia Men with Command". These figures wear the Prussian "covered shako" and wear the Litewka, a long smock like coat without tails, said to be of Polish origin. As discussed previously, the Reserve Regiments wore a bewildering variety of uniforms, varying widely down to the battalion level, and evolving over time towards the same uniform of their Regular Stammregiment (parent unit). I have taken  more liberty than usual with these two units, so purists beware!

This is my version of the Drittes Reserve Infanterie-Regiment (3rd Reserve Regiment). By July 1813, three of the battalions had adopted the uniform of the 2nd East Prussian (Line) Regiment, its Stammregiment.  That regiment had Brick Red (dull orange) collars and cuffs, and scarlet red shoulder straps; by May 1815 the entire regiment was noted to have Yellow shoulder straps. As these troops will likely see action in the 1815 battles, I chose this later, more interesting variant. 

This shot shows the loosely cut dark (Prussian) blue Litewka coat. This was widely used by Landwehr infantry and  line and Landwehr cavalry, being much m,ore comfortable than the tailed tunic of the Line infantry. I couldn't find any documentation that any of the reserve regiments wore the Litewka... but these two units of mine do!

These figures are wearing clogs instead of boot or shoes with gaiters, a commonly seen variant due to the great shortage of clothing of all kinds resulting from the rapid expansion of the Prussian Army in 1813. 

In March 1815, this unit became IR #15, "Zweites Westfalsches", and thus should have adopted the new rose pink facing color assigned to that province. I may perhaps be forgiven my severe skepticism that any aside from perhaps a few officers had made the switch by the time of the 1815 "Hundred Days" campaign.

I've given the unit a typical 1813 Prussian militia flag, even though these units were not supposed to carry flags at all per the regulations. This may be the 3rd battalion (of four) of the Regiment, as it was noted to have black crossbelts, the 1st and 2nd battalions having white ones instead. 

A final, top down shot of the unit discloses the hornist figure in the front rank, 2nd from the top. The only uniform distinction for them (and drummers) is the shoulder wings in the facing color, piped in white. Still, the inclusion of this figure in the pack is nice touch by Old Glory!

The other unit from this set is the Funftes Reserve Infanterie-Regiment (5th Reserve Regiment). Following the Armistice in 1813, this regiment gave up its original issue grey uniforms for new ones that varied by the battalion. The first battalion adopted the uniform of its Stammregiemnt, the 4th East Prussian Regiment: Brick Red (dull orange) collars and cuffs with light blue shoulder straps.

The crossbelts of the 1st battalion were white, as seen here. 

Note the wearing of clogs once again, and a better view of  a Hornist figure.

Another "unauthorized" flag, the cross this time being white on black (the reverse of that carried by the prior unit). Flag downloaded and printed from the Napflags site. 

This regiment became IR #17 in 1815, the Fiertes Westfalsches (4th Westphalian). I have suggested a more pinkish hue for their facings, as were to be adopted as of the new regulations of March, 1815. There is a charming (but evidently untrue) tale that one of these units marched so hard to get to Belgium for the 1815 campaign that they tore off their neck stocks to avoid overheating on the march. They arrived in time to fight, and thus were granted the distinction of pink collars in commemoration of their herculean effort. 

Some additional references about the complicated evolution of the Reserve Regiments and their uniforms on the Napoleon series (Dr Summerfield states that the information therein may contain considerable inaccuracies, although it is generally similar to that in the Almark puiblication by David Nash cited in one of my earlier "Reserve" posts).

Dr Stephen Summerfield's book (Partizan Press) is available from Caliver Books in the UK. I just wish the price were a lot lower. I understand that these are highly specialized works requiring in depth research for this degree of detail, as well as many line drawings, and targeted at a very limited market, and that even at these prices the books are more a labor of love than a significant source of income; still a bit too steep for my budget!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Napoleon and the Campaign of 1814: Book Review

I picked up the paper back edition of this book by French Historian Henry Houssaye quite inexpensively on Amazon. With the anniversaries of the 1814 battles upcoming, I figure that I should do at least one of them. This is a part of the Napoleonic Wars that I have not gamed thus far, and I was looking for source material and inspiration. Subtitled "The Classic History of the End of the Napoleonic Epoch", the date of publication is not given, but the translation was done in 1914 - one hundred years ago! I found the book to be a reasonable read. It certainly covers the Military aspects, but really goes into comparatively little detail. There are basic orders of battle provided for several stages of the campaign, but the most detailed they ever get is strengths at the Brigade level, and mostly at the Divisional level or higher. The big thing the book is missing, though, is... maps. Not only is there not a single map of any of the battles discussed, far worse, there is not even a basic map of the theater of war! There is nothing more frustrating than trying to appreciate the strategic moves of the multiple armies and corps without a single map! Granted, I could hunt up a map of France to use with the book, but what excuse is there for publishing a book and translation that is already in the public domain without at least an operational map? The book does a much better job of covering the very complex politics and intrigues between the various Allied powers, Fouche, Talleyrand, the Royalists, etc., as well as the various peace negotiations, which neither side really ever took seriously until Napoleon's abdication ended the conflict.

   Overall, I don't regret buying or reading the account, but I will need to look elsewhere for information usable to recreate any of the actions of the 1814 campaign. The 1814 chapters of  Chandler's The Campaigns of Napoleon are far more useful for our purposes... and they do come with maps!

ADD August 20, 2013:  see the comment by James about versions of this book with the maps, including free pdf's. Avoid this publisher's version (if you want maps)!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Entomalian Fleet - Part 2

    With the Historicon rush over, and the blog posts completed, I can actually paint whatever I feel like for a while before starting to firm up my plans for next year! I have actually gotten everything packed away from Historicon already - a record for me! So... I painted a batch of Entomalian starships for Galactic Knights to go with the group I did last summer. I'd like to try some more GK, as well as Star Navy 5150, both of which I have. I am particularly interested in seeing how easy or difficult it would to be to use the scenario and campaign generation system in 5150 for Galactic Knights....

Anyway, here are some pictures of the new ships, with their stats from the original Starfleet Wars rules, set on my new 4 x 6 foot GK 2" starfield hex mat:

First up is this pair of Entomalian Galactic Transports (GTP).

If you think these models bear a certain resemblance to a well known smuggling freighter from a Galaxy long, long ago and far, far away.... you might just be right!

Transports are limited to a maximum speed of "4", unlike military ships which have a top speed of "5".

Here are the stats for the Entomalian Locust class GTP:
Power    Max Beam    Max Shield   CIDS Factor    Attack Craft    PW Factor  PW reloads
   20                    1                    1                10%                  0                     0                   0              

Somewhat blurry view of the underside of the Locust GTP's.

Next up is a trio of Entomalian Star Armored Pursuit Ships (SAPS)

SAPS are usually used as "Flak ships", protecting their own fighters and adding close in support against enemy fighters. They are quite fragile, however.

Any of these Star Armored Pursuit Ship is destroyed by a single hit by an offensive beam factor or particle weapon, or 4 hits by light lasers and/or CIDS factors. 

Here are the stats for the Entomalian Louse class SAPS:
Power           Light Laser Factors                    Particle Weapon  Factor           PW reloads
  N/A                                 10                                                      0                                   0                   

Like fighters, SAPS have superior speed and mobility to partially offset their vulnerability.

Last is this squadron of Entomalian Starbombers, coming soon to a Quadrant near you!

Starbombers are hit and destroyed in the same fashion as SAPS, so they too are rather fragile.

These SB's pose a major threat to larger ships, unlike the SAPS, because they carry a heavy load of Particle weapons - close range weapons that pack a punch and ignore enemy shields.

This threat generally tends to make them high priority targets!

Here are the stats for the Entomalian String class Starbombers:
Power           Light Laser Factors                    Particle Weapon  Factor           PW reloads
  N/A                           4                                                      4                                          10                   

View of the detailed undersides of the SB's - typical for the Superior Starfleet Wars/Galactic Knights ships.

More for my own reference than anything, here are the colors I used for painting these models:

Base Hull color - Delta Ceramcoat (CC) Brown Velvet

Superstructure:  CC Light Chocolate

Mandibles - Valejo Copper

Larger/Rounded gun turrets - Valejo Brass with silver barrels/highlights

CIDS turrets (small)Valejo Silver

Engines - Valejo Bronze with CC Bright red


CC Seminole Green

CC Straw Paille Yellow

CC Pumpkin Orange

Finally a few pictures form last weekends wedding:

Leaving dinner after the rehearsal on Friday evening - it poured rain much of the day - except it stopped whenever we were outside, including the rehearsal itself!

The Emperor and the (now ex-) Princess Imperial...

with her Prince!

Now THAT'S what I call "eye candy"!    :-)