Monday, September 20, 2021

Ollie: Progress Report

Managed to do some assembly this morning and painting this afternoon.

Tomorrow I'll add the shields and cases of feathered javelins and 2 crew. 

Not bad so far I think and it distracted me from the pains in my knee and calf! 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Dealing With A White Elephant

 Its time has come!

Nearly 20 years ago, while looking for affordable Elastolin Landsknechts on ebay, I  came across this Germania resin kit of a Carthaginian war elephant.  Well,  I had no need of one but I mean it was a 40mm WAR ELEPHANT! and at a price I shouldn't but could afford. 

Since then it has snoozed in storage, occasionally coming out to look at me or hang out on a shelf while I tried to decide whether to send it to 19thC India or ..... hmm. Building 40mm ancient armies was a no go but enough Sassinids for a Roman/Prince Valiant style encounter soon became an option as that collection just kept adding to itself despite orders to the contrary. A raid of some sort? A shipwreck and rescue maybe?

I'm ready to resume painting  and all of my remaining collections are table ready for at least a small game so it seems like a good time to start doing some of the different and interesting, if only occasionally useful, bits that I've long wanted to do.

My handful of small slim Elastolin Turks look like bearded children next to my tall stockier French Rev troops so I've decided to use my homecast Turks for my Egyptian campaign. Given Foster's drawings of Easterners in the Prince Valiant strips, I think I can allow myself to use them to make some turbanned Persians along with a handful more armoured cavalry, some archers and some Hun mercenaries. 

The time has come for the White Elephant to come to life!

(Hmm I  wonder where I've tucked the little bag with tassels and mahout?)

Friday, September 17, 2021

Patience Is A Virtue

For a long list of boring reasons, this week I've not done any painting or playing or rules tinkering or....well OK I have rearranged my games room and replaced the crappy little painting desk I've been using  for an old kitchen table (my 1st piece of furniture from my first apartment back in '77 awwwww). Its not ideal but its higher so my back is not crouched over and its bigger and its in a spot with better light for my old eyes.....   but that's not the important thing for today. 

After disappearing off the international tracking system for a month, my Birthday present from Prince August (Is it still a present if you ordered and paid for it...) has finally reappeared on the screen and is in now finally in Canada! It is currently being paddled and portaged  across country and should be delivered next Wednesday. 

See that little spare head with the false front? It may not be perfect but does anyone think I won't get away with fudging it as a 1793 Austrian infantry cap? I'll need different bodies to easily fudge a closed coat without lapels but the firing pose with open lapelled coat will come in handy for some French, German and Emigre units with bicorne, roundhat, helmet or bearskin as appropriate. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Once More Unto the Bridge

Well, the terrain was all set up and the last game left me craving a battle with toy soldiers rather than fancy 3d counters, so I swapped out the buildings and bridge then summoned MacDuff and my French Revolution forces for a do over.

1795: Somewhere in Brittany

Teaser: Bitter street fighting as the French take the bridge and move into the town.

General de Brigade St. Michel had been ordered to be in Belmont by nightfall but as his column approached the bridge at Ste Croix, the village was full of Redcoats. A few inquiries led to him detaching a battalion of infantry and his squadron of Hussards de la Morte to outflank the enemy's position. That was going to take time so he decided to probe the enemy's defences to draw their attention. Suddenly the woods exploded in smoke and fire. Les Chouans had linked up with les m-----s Anglais!

It took time but eventually the cavalry was approaching the English flank, possibly a little rashly since they left their infantry escort far behind in their rush. Still, with a little luck they might catch the flank of the Scots.

Alas for the republicans, the Breton royalists moved fast and shot accurately. The Hussards quickly fell back and rallied. A few emigres were still holding on to one house in the village but the Highlanders, now alerted to the threat, retired a little and wheeled back to face both threats with the wood protecting their right.

The Hussars had rallied and chased the Chouans into the woods but couldn't follow and they couldn't face both ways, a scatter of deadly shots send them racing back to the ford. Meanwhile, the Veteran Whitecoats charged forward into the Highlanders only to be driven back when General Stewart threw himself into the fight, steadying his men.

Les Blancs were no children to be so easily scared though and a second charge saw General Stewart shot from the saddle and the highlanders wavered then fell back. The road was almost open!

The Highlanders were not children to be so easily scared either. With the Colours flying, the piper piping, and the gruff old sergeant pushing even some of the wounded back into line they prepared for a last stand. But the rest of the field had not been quiet, the 3rd battalion had finally caught up, only to be shattered by fire from the Royalist guerrillas in the wood.   St. Michel rushed to steady them but the Royalist bullets found him as well and the conscripts broke and ran. The affair was over as the sunset. 

At first I thought the French had no hope but by turn 10 of 15, I was beginning to doubt that they could be stopped. As it was the decision came late in turn 14 of 15 when it became clear that the French did not have the necessary 3 units capable of exiting the board before dark even if the English gave  up and retreated. 

A couple of hours well spent from set up to pack away, in fact, a great way to spend part of a convalescent day home alone. I'll leave the rest of my reflections for another day.

Friday, September 10, 2021

The War of 1812 in One Hour

 Well, OK, not the whole war, just One Hour Wargame Scenario #22 set up as a minor affair in the War of 1812. The scenario has  force defending a river line against a larger attacking force. His roll is to prevent the enemy from crossing the river and exiting the battlefield with at least 1/2 of his units. As usual, I doubled the number of small units on my larger table to keep the army footprint closer to the original. Apparently I also forgot to put the hill on the British right. Oh well. 

The British commander, under the mistaken impression that the Americans had to exit by the road, deployed all of his line infantry and artillery to defend the bridge. A unit each of Voltigeurs and Mohawks were sent across a hidden ford into some woods while some militia skirmishers, supported by a Squadron of Light Dragoons, held a ford on the far side of the woods.

The US player, deploying second, reread the scenario and seeing that he could exit from anywhere on the British table edge, split his force in half. 

The Americans began the ball by assaulting the bridge but the British fire was too hot and the attack was easily repulsed. 

The ford was taken as easily as the bridge had been held. A long delaying action followed while the skirmishers across the river, having mauled the US riflemen, were called back to help hold the line.

There were some worrisome moments for the British commander but the second, forlorn, assault on the bridge by tired units was easily repulsed. It was also late in the day, too late to send units from the bridge force around by the ford before dark. Reluctantly the US commander ordered his units to fall back to camp. There he cursed himself for not having held a reserve in the middle until he judged the difficulties of each crossing.    

As usual,  I revisited the rules before playing, taking advantage of some of my other recent games with variants of the rules, and streamlined some of the clunky rules. They are too simple to be comprehensive and accurate in detail, but the game flowed well and produced what felt like like a reasonable recreation of the war if not of the low level details. I may have to do another Chrysler Farm game again!  

** Update: While rereading the scenario, I realized that the victory conditions just specify that the attacker has to exit 1/2 his force. Its in the special rules section that says the attacker may only exit by road.... OK so solid win for the Brits then.