Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Waterloo Cartoon

One of our gaming group forwarded the link below, which I thought I would share.  As well as providing first class photos, Sean is a local artist who has done very well for himself with exhibits and sales at the national and international level.  Hence the link to the Royal Academy.

The Waterloo Cartoon

Monday, April 20, 2015

100 Days Campaign Action at Placenoit

Here's few pictures from our game on April 17th.  This is the Blucher system with each card (3*1.5") representing a brigade.  A British reinforced division was based in Placenoit with Prussian corps to their left and right, and a French force entering from the south at Genappe.  I am assuming most readers have access to a Waterloo map and some knowledge of the terrain, but Mt St Jean is to the North behind the British position.

The action takes place late in the day on June 16th, 1815.  In history, June 16th saw Ney attack Wellington at Quatre Bras (off table to the south) and Napoleon beat Blucher at Ligney (well to the south east).

Initial Deployment from the French (south) side.  Back of cards show facing and nationality, faces show unit and attributes.

Here we see French forces advancing.  Units are revealed when they move, fire, suffer from fire or get close enough the enemies.  
The Martian tripod lander is Curt's iPhone allowing Napoleon (based 600km east in Winterpeg) to view the action.  This is approaching the limit on maximum geekiness!

Here we see another Prussian Corp advancing on table.  Gamers (l to r), Dan, Curt, Sylvain, fat dude who needs to bike more.
Action towards the end of the day.  French attack on our left has petered out, although it never really took off.  British hold the centre, while Prussians decide to launch a counter attack on the right.
I came back from a bathroom break to find that my Prussian allies and decided that "Let's hold this position and stall for time" meant "Let's launch a counteract and leave our self open to getting swept off table".  The sight prompted the classic British question to continental allies "What the hell do you think you're doing?".

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blucher 100 Days Campaign

Curt has been running the Waterloo campaign pack using Sam Mustafa's Blucher rules and it's a lot of fun.

First real contact was a big battle last night, which started late in the campaign day so ended without a result.  Looks like we pick it up in a week or too for the finale.  I've been given the Anglo-Allied armies, a polyglot collection if there ever was one, ably assisted by Sean.  Jeremy and Sylvain are acting as Blucher and co, while across the table we have Greg phoning in from Winterpeg as Napoleon with Stacey and Dan on site as Corps commanders.

As I see it, the Brits have a three fold problem.

  1. Husband our meagre resources until our various stragglers arrive.
  2. Figure out what the French are doing.
  3. Figure out what the #%¥£€#% Prussians think they are doing.
It's been fascinating to watch the various personalities interplay, and the Blucher system works really well.  If I am building an army I prefer lower level units, battalions for Nappys eg., as I like to have a sense of the unit personalities.  However, the macro level view from Blucher is fascinating.  Curt has been using the unit cards, but I can the appeal of brigade bases using 6mm figures.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

AHPCV 28mm Perry Figures and Inspiration from Michael York

Yes there is a unit of figures influenced by Michael York, and no it features neither Zeppelins nor Musketeers!

So the end of winter is upon us, and even the frozen Canadian prairies are feeling spring like.  Here’s my last entry to the Challenge Version 5, 12 Italian wars foot in 28mm based on the Perry’s plastics and metals.  There are 4 Genoese Crossbowmen to complete the unit to its full 12-man strength plus 8 Italian swordsmen representing the start of a new unit, to be finished after the Challenge is over.

The 4 crossbowmen are pretty much straight out of the Plastic boxes. They appear along with the swordsmen above, and with the rest of the unit below. 

 I believe that there is one foot knight holding a standard and the rest are mercenaries.  The heads all come from one of the two boxes but damn it if I can remember which head comes from which box.  The flag is paper, printed from a file found on the Web and represents a flag flown by French Genoese allies at Marignano in 1515.   I had planned to use another fabric flag like my recent entries, but I put my sheets of flags in that dreaded location “somewhere safe where it won’t get damaged or lost”.   Well I think we know what happened there….

Capuleti’s Swordsmen are a combination of full figures and bits and pieces from the body part farm.   Various component parts are as follows:
  •       Two metal figures straight from the Perry Italian command box (the officer and drummer)
  •        10 plastic Torsos from the Mercenary and Foot Knight boxes
  •        Heads from the plastics boxes plus metal Italian heads.
  •         Plastic arms with swords (and matching left arms) from the Mercenary’s command stand and the foot knights boxed sets
  •         Plastic sword arms (and matching left arms) from GW Empire state troops box set.  They match up pretty well once you trim down the GW meat cleaver swords.  The GW torsos are too beefy to mix and match with Perry’s but the arms work fine especially as puffy and slashed sleeves hide a multitude of sins (I picked this tip up vis the Lead Adventure Forum and other bloggers).

On the whole I am quite pleased with the unit.  I started out wanting swordsmen using Perry Oval shields but along the way the oval shields morphed into bucklers and the broadswords became two handers and Main Gauche in a few cases.   For the next swordsmen unit (the Montechhi), I’ll go with the lighter armoured figures as they have a better look to my eyes.

While these were in process, my wife commented that the Yellow and Scarlet themed livery was bright, but she acknowledged that they were bright historically.  I used a raw umber wash to dull things down a bit and add shading, but I do have a historical precedent to the unit.  The Capuleti and Montecchi families were based in Verona and involved in blood feuds until certain members were exiled when the fighting got too bloody. I have speculated on an exiled Capuleti founding a condottieri company and passing this on to his decedents.

Sound familiar…well you may recall some of this from your high school English class.   The Bard changed the names and I toyed with the outcome a bit but there you go.  And that gives us the Michael York link, via the Zefferelli Romeo and Juliet (IMHO it kicks the tights clad butts of all other R&Js).  It’s long clip but it’s a great fight scene and easily the second best part of the movie. And yes the Capulet livery was the influence, Montecchi's swordsmen will be in various shades of blue.

Friday, April 3, 2015

AHPCV Italian Wars Genoese Crossbowmen

I am continuing the catch-up on posts to the Painting Challenge.  Here is a set of 8 28mm Crossbowmen for my Italian Wars project using Perry plastics (the European Mercenaries plus maybe other bits via the Foot knights).  I have given them a Green theme and will be fielding them as French, or possibly Genoese.

Once again I love the poses and the variable combinations of torsos, head and arms that cane be formed.  It is nice to have the shot figures in a variety of loading and shooting poses.

Also I've included a shot to supplement my earlier post today as It think it has a better view of the flags.  The orange banner came out especially well IMHO.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

AHPCV 28mm Italian Wars Pike and Shot

I posted these a while back on the Challenge, but they never made it over on the Admiral's blog.  Anyway, I have 12 28mm pike and shot figures for my Italian Wars project.  These are 12 pikemen to complete my unit of French pike and 4 Italian arquebusiers to finish a unit of Italian shot.  They are again Perry plastics using (mostly) the European Mercenaries set, but with the odd body parts from the plastic Foot Knight set.

Here are the 12 new figures on their ownsome.  This project is still a learning experience for me as I experiment with mixing and matching body parts, with the period and weaponry and with painting for the period.  While I still have things to learn, I am happy with the results.

Here is the finished unit of 12 Italian Arquebusiers, 8 of which have been posted before and the 4 new ones.

And here is the finished unit of 16 French pikes, 8 old, 8 new, nothing borrowed but all in blue.  The foot Knights provided front rankers on one of the new stands.  I tried to get a halberd for one but it turned out the arms I chose needed the Lucerne hammer instead (or the Bec du Corbin if you are a 1970s Tunnels and Trolls veteran like myself).  Regardless it’s still a long stick with nasty sharp bits on the end!  I do wish the thing was less fiddly as I noted the business end needs regluing already.

And all with the experimentation theme, this brings me to the flags.  There are the “pay some else” flagmen and DIY flagmen, and I definitely fall into the latter category – being too cheap and too impatient to order off for stuff that I figure I can knock up at home.  These flags are fabric and their creation involved the input of my better half, who is a quilter and sewer and far more fabric savvy than I.   I also had to borrow her quilting tools, albeit under supervision to make sure I didn't muck anything up.  Plus she was intrigued by the Challenge and wanted to see how to make a go of it.  In the end we're pretty happy with the results. The basic sequence was as follows.
  1. Get PDFs of the flags you want in the correct scale.  The two French flags are from the Perry plastic kit inserts and thus already scaled, so I scanned the sheet into a PDF.  The Italian flag I found on the web and resized based on eyeball judgement as to what looked right.  Of course you need to make sure that you have both the obverse and reverse sides with a common fold line where the flagpole goes.
  2.     I set up two letter-sized sheets of flags and then printed them on an Avery printable fabric product that says it could be used iron on transfers or as appliqued.
  3.     My first attempt was ironing the flags onto plain white cloth, linen in my case based on what scraps I was able to beg from the quilt stash.  This worked great but gave a thick and rigid flag that couldn’t be shaped into anything other than a flat board shape.  I gained a new respect for the qualities of the Greek linthothorax!
  4.      Second attempt was trying to iron the transfers to them selves, folding at the fold line and going at it with the iron.  This was an epic fail!  Fail number one was that the damn thing wouldn’t glue to itself.  Fail two was that we could not think of a way of putting a metal or plastic pole in place without potentially ruining my wife’s good iron.  Even I am smart enough not to try and bodge it through.
  5.  So third try saw me take the printed fabric flag, fold it over a pole and glue if down with craft glue.   The approach needs further fiddling but I like the results as it gives flags with a fabric feel that can be moulded and shaped realistically.  I do need to go back and fix the joins, especially on the blue Fleur de Lys flag for the pikes. 
 I am not sure the photos do the flags justice so will try and get better pics on my own blog in good time.  The end flags have good colours, don't have the glossy sheen of the Perry inserts and can be folded and curled.  Best of all up close they are a real fabric grain and weave - my wife was really impressed with that.  Also they feel like cloth!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

28mm Italian Wars Foot

I have a set of twelve 28mm infantry from the Italian Wars period.  These are made up of figures from the Perry brothers’ Plastic boxed set of European Mercenaries 1450-1500 with additional metal heads from the Italian and Tudor head sets.

I did up test sets of 2 half sized units so that I could get comfortable with the parts and making up the figures, and let’s face it limit the damage of the inevitable F*ck ups.  There are another 8 pike men to be primed, so it will be a unit of 16.  There will be 12 arquebusiers, and I have 2 more completed and 6 about ½ way done.  There is a standard bearer in the pike block, but his flag will wait until the unit is done.

These were very nice figures to put together, with tons of options available.  So far the only mess up on my part was putting the drummers arms on one of the torsos from the command stand.  I realized too late that this was the standard bearer’s torso so I now have a very well armoured drummer!   Obviously his mother loved him and made sure that he would be well looked after.

The arquebusiers have been painted up as Italians using 2 plastic heads, 2 metal Italian heads (the barbutas with cheek plates and the roll of fabric) and two Tudor heads (in soft caps).  I really like the “shot” arms, as there’s a nice mix of firing, prepping and loading poses. They will likely end up as Venetians, as Venice was involved in the thick of things all through Wars.   Also they were the only Italian State left independent when the Wars wound up.

The pikes are painted as generic Europeans, but I’ll likely field these as French.  All of the bits come from the Mercenaries box except for the metal Tudor cap on the well-protected drummer. The pike arms all come in marching position, which is a mixed blessing as some lowered pikes would be nice.  However, there are quite a variety of poses and arm choices and the overall effect is of a unit marching together but not quite in step.  Painting these up I could detect some real personalities – the chap in the quilted jacket and kettle hat looks grimly determined and one of the back rankers has a distinct hangdog slouch.  Meanwhile the chap in front of the sad sack looks way too happy and I picture him singing about the 98,000thbottle of beer on the wall (this may partly explain the looks of his erst while comrades).
I left a blank space in my flocking at the back, where I will add unit labels to each base.
I’ve kept with the theme colours idea, using scarlet as the theme for the shot and blue for the pike.  While there weren’t uniforms as such, liveried units weren’t unknown and Michael Mallet’s book on the Condoterri states that mercenary unit were often paid in part with bolts of fabric.  That gives me enough license for the unit colours as I picture the cloth bolts being farmed out between various seamstresses and camp followers to create a variety of tops in a common colour.

I had a lot of fun researching and painting these figures.  There’s a lot of  resource material available either on line or in your local public library.  Just get images related to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Renaissance Italian artists.  The colours in the art of the period really pop and I want to get the same effect on table.  The Perry figures are a little early that the classic Italian Wars period so don’t have the full blown over the top Landsknecht slashing and Plunderhosen.  But I tried to mimic some slashing effects in paint – some of the quilted arms can be painted up as slashed sleeves in particular.
The arquebuisers better get their shot off and then scamper back to Venice!

Curt and I have been bashing about what to do with the Italian Wars and I’ve been hemming and hawing between “Pike and Shotte” and “Lion Rampant”.  In the end I decided to base them for P&S in blocks of four since I expect to have enough figures to do larger battles than LR can handle.  AARs in the blogosphere also indicate that LR works fine with multi-unit bases.  P&S uses 4 foot on a 40mm square base, and I’ve used the 45 by 40mm bases by Renedra that the Perry’s supply, but turned them 90 degrees so they have a 40mm frontage.