Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Summer Intermission

Its the height of summer, a hot time, a family time, and not much hobby stuff going on to feed the blog but there are nearly 2,000 posts published over the last 10 years  so time to bring a few back for a look.

I'll start with the Raid on St. Michel from 2010 when the blog was new. Rob and I had decided that for the HAWKS room at Cold Wars 2010, we would play through the scenarios from Charles Grant's recently released "Raid on St. Michel" using the HAWKS' collection of homecast 18thC troops, set during the Not Quite The Seven Years War (NQSYW). Rob and I acted as Impartial (or balanced bias) game masters with convention gamers signing up to play the battles helped out by some of the HAWKS where there was space.
The posts can be pulled up by clicking on the Raid on St. Michel label but they come up starting with the end so here are separate links in the proper order.

Not Quite The Raid on St. Michel
(Link to Preparation)

CW2010 1st Battle of St Stephen
( Link to Game 1 The Raid on St Michel)

CW 2010. Battle of Walmar River Pass
Game 2 The Raid on St Michel

CW2010 The Defence of St. Michel
Link to Game 3 The Raid on St Michel

CW2010: Counterattack!
Link to Game 4 The Raid on St Michel

CW2010: Retreat from Rosmark.
Link to Game 5 The Raid on St Michel

CW2010: The Raid on St. Michel Summary

(I won't reproduce my captured enemy flags and canon here, you'll have to follow the link.)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Storming the Rocky Heights

Somewhere in the Origawn Territory in Southern Atlantica, the Rebels have seized a commanding hill overlooking a vital railroad, and installed a battery of two guns supported by three companies of infantry.

Brigadier Ross was dispatched with a troop of the Director General's Horse Guards, four companies of infantry, two field guns and an Engineer Officer with a platoon of pioneers. His orders were to silence the guns, drive the enemy off the heights, and clear the tracks before a vital trainload of supplies arrived. (15 turns.)

The Dominion forces deployed and pressed forward to engage the Rebel infantry while the train chugged cautiously forward under a heavy fire. The Sappers had barely dismounted when a direct hit by a  Rebel shell blew the engine off the track.

The Redcoats advanced under a heavy fire and charged with cold steel, throwing the rebels back. Less than half managed to retreat up to the plateau.  The Dominion artillery  managed to dig in their gun trails to get maximum elevation and began to throw shells up onto the hilltop.  

The Fusiliers followed fugitives  into a cave and along subterranean tunnels until they emerged on ledge. From there they advanced up a steep path under a heavy fire from Rebel infantry on top. On the far side of the  hill, the  Rifles and Ft Henry garrison  advanced up the main road. A fierce firefight broke out around the edge of the Plateau. 
Casualties were heavy on both sides and the sappers had finally cleared all the wreckage but the sun was sinking and time was running out. The vital train was approaching. It was time for cold steel again. 

So, the vital supplies were going to get through but it had been a close run thing.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Train Busting

Thursday night I watched a 1951 Civil War drama called "Drums in the Deep South". Typical stuff, best friends from West Point now on opposite sides, girl in the middle. However,  one aspect of the movie caught my imagination. The Reb officer has dragged a battery up onto a vertical sided, rocky, hill overlooking a train track feeding Sherman's army, his old Yankee friend of course, is the one given the task of claring him out.

Well, since I now have just such a rocky outcrop, a train, and some toy soldiers.....

Still working out the final details of my scenario. It won't have much in common with the movie beyond the battery on the rocky outcrop and a train, but should be fun or at least a change from my usual scenarios. 

Ready to Ride

Had a hard time trying to figure out how to paint this motley crew but this'll do for my tabletop.

Before they get bloodied though, or get to roll some dice anyway, I have a few more stands I want to add, but not right now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Problem With Summer

Not only are there too many outside chores to be done while such things are possible, but my room gets like an oven by early afternoon!
But progress is being made! 

Luckily, these are being done in an 'enhanced Toy Soldier' rather than a 'Model Figurine' style. Not much left to do then. A few belts, horse harness, tails etc., some slashes and trim, polish up the metal bits (blackened armour is frowned upon on my shelves!), bit of basic shading, pretty up the bases etc etc .... OK OK, so about 1/2 done. Another day or two should do it.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Forming the Light Cavalry

While going through my supply of Elastolin bits, mumbling to myself about wishing I could figure out how to make at least one stand of mounted arquebusiers for the French, I came across a couple of Merten mounted Landsknechts that I had put aside until I could figure out what to use them for. 

So, two headswaps, two scrounged arquebuses , three Merten horses, one Meisterzinn limber horse, a little work, and I have my French light cavalry. One stand of lancers and one of argoulets.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Growing Reinforcements

About a dozen years ago I bought a few of the Perry 40mm Border Reivers. Nice sculpts but not the best match for Meisterzinn homecast.

Hobbit cavalry?

The little ponies don't help but I have enough Border Lances for my purposes anyway.

That's better
I think I'll remount them and mix them in with some converted Elastolins as mercenary  light horse for my French army, perhaps converted to mounted arquebusiers which is what they need most. Time to look in the spares box again.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

En fin!

At last, the second Elastolin gendarme has been painted.

The base will need a bit of mottling at some point.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

We Now Return You

Right, that's taken care of.
Let battle resume.
Fighting rages midgame.

A small version of Hook's Farm.

Until, at last, Blue's morale cracks. 

And now, back to the painting desk I think.

Monday, July 13, 2020

S--- Happens

Literally! Drew a system failure event card today and had to put my plumber hat on for the afternoon.

Once done for the day, I did reset and play a turn or two but who knows when I'll finish?

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Seeking Refuge

It poured last  night then turned hot and humid outside. Luckily, the temperature inside is just fine. 

Hmm, something about this looks familiar.

The  Morschauser-like, "each stand is a unit", approach has many attractions and strong points for me and works great for my 16thC armies but at the end of the day, the trials have convinced me that, for my Toy Soldier armies, I am happiest with slightly larger, named, distinctive, units that can show formations and attrition and develop a history and traditions. (OK its actually me that does that part but its easier when units are fewer and distinctive.) It also gives me the option of using A Gentleman's Wargame.

So, the rules and basing have regressed and the armies are again ready for the test of battle.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Assault on Nor'East Ridge: The Wargame

I hadn't planned to play a game on Saturday but as we had a late outdoor lunch on a cool, overcast, day, a day with no shadows, conditions seemed just right. Anyway I needed another game to confirm the rules revision sparked by the last outside game. (The 5th impromptu test game in 4 days, I love retirement!)
Here they come! 
Naturally, by the time lunch was cleared away and the troops deployed, the skies had also cleared, a burning hot sun was shining from behind the redcoat defence line and I was starting to sizzle in turn. Still, duty called!

Dominion (Red) forces: General + 1 Brigadier with 4 companies of infantry manning rifle pits along the crest with 1 company in reserve, a Naval Gatling dug in on the extreme left of the line, a field gun and a hospital.

Rebel (Blue) forces: General + 3 Brigadiers with 12 companies of infantry and 2 field guns.
Balloon's Eye view of the Rebel lines as the gunners judge the range before firing the first shot.
Oddly, while I had envisaged sweeping outdoor games, played over large areas with every man I could muster, that hasn't happened. What I've chosen each time has ended up as my usual sort of game that could as easily have been played on my table, if I had a terrain setup that allowed long, irregular slopes with hollows, swells, gullies and so on.  Another item for the "toodoo list" then.

The Dominion gun returns fire while the infantry hunkers down and waits for the enemy to emerge from previously unnoticed deadground mid-slope.
Might have been some side effect of being the 4th of July but the cards for Turn Initiative, and the dice, favoured the rebels rather markedly. None the less, there just may be grounds to criticize the Red General for not noticing two weaknesses in his position. 

The first is that the slope wasn't as even as it looked at first glance so that twice, parts of the attacking infantry dropped out of sight for  a turn due to dips and swells in the slope.

The second was that there was a sunken road within close rifle range from the riflemen and the Gatling gun on Dominion's left. To make things worse, the rebels only had to endure one round of fire in the open as they dashed from the crest of one of those dead zones, into the cover of the sunken road. Once there, a hot, close range, firefight erupted with Rebel numbers slowly gaining an edge.

The attack on the Rebel left stalled in a close range firefight with the attacking Rebels having more men but the Dominion troops having cover. As casualties mounted, General Lanigan knew he was going to have to risk all to win.
Still, despite all that has been said, the Rebels were losing men faster than the Dominion. The deadly accuracy of long range Rebel counterbattery fire helped as did the willingness of Rebel soldiers to rally to their commander's call, all helped, but the ridge couldn't be captured from dead ground.

It was time to go over the top.
On the Rebel right, their infantry has come under heavy fire from the Naval Gatling gun and a company of riflemen but has dashed from the crest down into a sunken road which will provide cover for a close range firefight.
Three months of good campaign weather ahead you say? Let's not waste it say I.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

An XI (Year 11)

Happy July 5! Its been 10 years and a day since my heart attack and so far, so good!

At last, some proper Revolutionary troops to defend the new way of counting years.

The body is a bit rusty in places and the engine's running OK as long as I don't ask too much, but the control panel is getting a bit wonky at times and I could use having the headlights replaced. Still, it should be good for another decade or two.

However, 3 weeks and a day from the big Six-Five, I still feel that I need to focus on getting the most out of the next decade and that means tightening discipline and doing more with less. If it turns out to be two or even more decades of active gaming ahead, well, nothing lost by focusing, decluttering a bit more  and getting the most out of the next ten years.

But first, there's a battle report to write up.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Assault on Nor'East Hill

A belated Happy Independence Day to my readers in the USA.
The weather was too good to not stage another outdoor game. Blueclad Rebels vs the Redcoats of the Dominion.

Red vs Blue seemed appropriate for the day. More to come.

Fort Ross? What?? How'd I miss this?

I was looking at developments in Rusland over on the Tradgardland blog and reading comments when I came across one from the ever helpful Man of Tin about the Russian built Fort Ross in California! 

 ( "HELLO!!" "Fort Ross?? Really?"......... "Well, we'll have to have one of those won't we?")

Probably just as well I didn't come across this 12 years ago when I was considering a "54-40" or fight, 40mm, 1840's British+Spanish vs US+Russian's pseudo-historical what if campaign. (The origin of Atlantica as we know it). I might have missed a lot of enjoyable explorations of metaphorical dead end streets. 
Re-creation of an actual historical Fort Ross in California.
By © Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Ah well. Probably for the best those 40's are too cute and practical for their own good and breed like rabbits.

I've already been thinking about resurrecting the originally planned but not followed up on, 'Russian' Colony in Atlantica, but in 54mm. After all, I should have at least one unit from my first original sculpt mould, aka  "Ivan".  I think I have enough lancer bits in the spares box to add a stand of Cossacks as well. Always wanted some in a larger size.  

Ivan and his brothers will, of course, join with the "Rebel" forces.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Please Hold

Your blog post will be available shortly.

(Ha! Heard that before.)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

OK Boys, Holiday's Over!

Go get'em!