Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Unit Completed

Regiment Bourbonnois has been completed.

That takes me up to four French infantry regiments.

I'm also grinding slowly away at the Gardes Francaises a couple of figures at a go. For fun I'm going to paint up one of their drummers in the Grand Livery lace. I've also done a minor conversion on the French "NCO" with his hat off available from RSM to turn him into the obligatory "bowing officer of the Gardes Francaises inviting the British to fire first" pose...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Slackness admitted!

I have been slack. It's been ages since I've posted. Mea culpa.

It's Christmas. Real life has been inserting it's boring self and getting in the way of my proper business!

I have finally just finished of Regiment Bourbonnois, and really feel that I have a decent-sized force at last. It's gotten me ready to do Cavalry Reg't Wurttembourg.

My last report has convinced me to go with larger cavalry regiments, so I will be building to 16-18 figure regiments of horse from now on - as well as going back over those I have and beefing them up. Following Wurttembourg, I think I will be adding another Squadron to my Turpin Hussars. This will give me a respectable three regiments of Horse to go with my four of Foot.

I think then it will be time for me to paint some gunners.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Second Battle of Alzheim

The Fight at the Mill

General-Oberst Schlitz von Apfel-Strudel was a satisfied man. He rode his beautiful gelding, Gerald at the head of the finest Regiment in the Anhalt-Bootcamp service. Behind them marched a disconsolate battalion of impressed wretches from Saxony while, marauding all around, were the mischievous lads of the von Kleist Freikorps. How Major v. Kleist had managed to persuade the pestiferous pandours to turn their coats once again was beyond him. Ha! Bah! It mattered only that they again supported the cause of his dear Anhalt-Bootcamp.

And there went the dragoons, a fine and manly sight to stir the heart of any warrior with their brave pink facings. Heroes all!

He halted this bold force to let the officers have the men take a bite to eat, settle the men down and dress the ranks.

Then a harassed dragoon rode back to him. "Herr General! The Soubre-Whelmers have been re-enforced! It looks to us like they have skirmishers on the hill and a regiment each in the village and then one joining it to the hill."

"Have they Cavalry?"

"Sir, a large body forms beyond the town as we speak"

"Right then boy. Tell your Colonel to take his dragoons against their cavalry. These Saxon lads can go against the village or I'll have their guts for garters! Von Kleist? Where are you?"

With shifty side-glances von Kleist appears, stuffing something into his coat pocket. "Sir?"

"Get your men onto that hill. I want them popping away at the flank of THAT regiment THERE. My Lads, the Donner and Blitzen boys will go straight down the middle and send those Soubre-Whelmers running home to their mummies."

Report of Brigadier Creosote Force-Majeur
Your Majesty, it is my honour to report the course of the engagement between your forces and those of Anhalt-Bootcamp.

As your Majesty was gracious enough to favour me with re-enforcements I made the following dispositions:
Your cavalry regiment "La Reine" I enjoined to take a position outside of the town or Merlot. I emplaced your Majesties' Regiment Bearn within the town itself while your Majesties' other Regiment Royal Lorraine I used to maintain communications between the rear boundary of the town and the eminence of Mont Haut. I took the very great liberty of detaching the grenadier company of Regiment Bearn and begging that they go to the height and so inconvenience any light forces the enemy may have hoped to have mount up and perform mischiefs upon our own troops.

The enemy was bold in his onset. He advanced his entire force in out direction. I contented myself with advancing your majesties Regiment of cavalry toward the Anhalt-Bootcamp dragoons and reinforcing the Grenadiers on Mont Haut with the Grenadier Company of Royal Lorraine as a result of espying the very great number of green-coats the enemy was sending in their direction. Your Majesties' cannon emplaced in the village of Merlot caused the Saxons advancing thereupon a small amount of disruption.

The enemy continued his advance. The weight of skirmishing fir from our men did little damage to the enemy, while they took some damage themselves. Again your guns discommoded the Saxons while regiment Royal Lorraine was itself slightly discomfited by enemy cannon fire at long range. Your Cavalry charged the enemy cavalry who declined to counter-charge. Could it be they had not the mettle for the fight? Sadly, no. They stood their ground, but the issue was inconclusive with both bodies of horse falling back to recover their order.

All the while the Green-coated devils had continued to work their way closer to your Majesties' skirmishers, their steady fire not seeming to discomfit the enemy at all, while equally sadly, they were becoming visibly less ordered.

The Saxons had come close enough to complicate matters for our gunners who switched to cannister, caused them substantial casualties and forced them to rout! This happy event prompted your Majesties Cavalry to spring against at their foes. To their credit they were not unwilling to join the fight. The whole of the battle hung on this moment, but your Majesties forces prevailed and the enemy's forces routed. While the Saxons rallied some distance to the rear, the Dragoons kept on and on. Their standards will decorate your Cathedral on the morrow.

The battle now was all but won. While the von Kleist men did drive our skirmishers in, this was of no consequence. They had shot their bolt.

The last force open to the enemy advanced past the outskirts of Merlot towards the Royal Lorrainers whereupon they took two galling volleys - one from the Regiment Bearn in the village and one from Royal Lorraine - and then a charge from the Lorrainers which tumbled them all into ruinous flight. The day was finished by the Artillery who again broke the Saxons at long range, causing them to precipitately flee the field.

The von Kleist Croats were last seen covering the enemy's retreat.

Your Majesty, my cup runs over! Victory is yours!

Y'r Servant

Brigadier in His Majesties Service

The forces that met that misty morning were these:

C.O. General-Oberst Schlitz von Apfel-Strudel (Already thinking of writing a monograph on "War like the Lightning")
Infantry Regiment 13 "Itzenplitz" (30 Figs and also known as the Donner und Blitzen Boys)
Saxon Regiment (24 saddened infantry)
Von Kleist Croats (24 Figs) - Major von Kleist
Dragoon Regiment 3 (18 Figs)
Nr 1 Section, "A" Battery the Princely Artillery. (1 Gun)

High Grand Supreme Duchy of Soubre-Whelm
C.O. Brigadier Creosote Force-Majeur (Given another go at the behest of one of the Dukes' mistresses - "Lavailable")
Infantry Regiment "Languedoc" (30 Figs)
Infantry Regiment "Royal Lorraine" (30 Figs)
Cavalry Regiment "La Reine" (18 Figs and beautifully mounted, too)
1er Section, "A" Batterie, His Lordship (bless him) the Dukes' Own Artillery. (1 Gun)

Mont Haut counts as difficult terrain for the purpose of this battle with a 50% penalty on formed troops. Open order troops may move as normal. It is impassable to cavalry and artillery. The mill will hold one company of six figures. The town will hold six figures in each of its four buildings and an additional one in the town square.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Order of Battle

Yesterday's piece got me thinking... this Lace Wars project of mine has been going on in one form or another for the best part of 15 years, I would suppose. It has really only started to yield fruit in a substantial way these past 18 months since I became involved with the OSW Yahoo Group - check out the link on this blog.

From just the odd scrap here and there with a vague French and Indian War feeling my armies have grown to encompass the following:


  • Regiment Royal Lorraine
  • Regiment Bearn
  • Regiment Languedoc


  • Regiment La Reine
  • Turpin Hussards (1 Sqn only...)



  • Infantry Regiment 13
  • von Kleist Infantry


  • Dragoon Regiment 3
  • von Kleist Dragoons (1 Sqn only...)


  • von Kleist Artillery (1 Battery only..!)

That's about 200 figures in round numbers and does not count any of the samples I've painted up (like those Highlanders or the Gardes Suisses) or units I've begun and have to get on with (Gardes Francaises, Regiment Bourbonnois, Cavalry Regiment Wurttemburg) or have set aside temporarily (Saxon Leibgrenadier Garde, Kurprinzessin Regiment and von Bruhl's Regiment, as well as the men of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine) or even those I have bought figures for but not even started to think about painting - like my two batteries of French artillery or those two regiments of Austrians who are pegged as Bavarians for some time next year!

I suppose the upshot of all this is a vote of theanks to the guys over at the OSW group without whom I'd never have had the impetus to "think big". Cheers, chaps.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What's on the Boil

Working at something like half steam on a couple of regiments - Bourbonnois and the Gardes Francaises. I'm into the second companies of both and will let myself do some musicians and officers to relax afterwards.

At the same time I'm plugging away at the HMS Catamite, Royal Navy Brig just for something a little different. This is an old (1967?) Pyro kit of an "American Brig of War" that I put up on eBay recently but got no interest in. So, with a shrug of my shoulders I thought I'd waterline it, stick it to a card base and then use it as some back-ground eye-candy scenery. Looking at her guns, I'd say she scales out at about 1:120 or thereabouts - totally wrong for my 28mm RSMs, but I'm not too bothered. Slight problem though - Now the hull is assembled and painted, I can't bear to waterline the kit! In the interests of concious artificiality, she may have to sail the seas on her stand.

Next I'll do some more Highlanders and then the bold cavalry regiment Wurttembourg in their bearskins from some minis I bought a little while back from BP. Lovely stuff, and I'm sure they'll look nice next to their comrades in Regiment La Reine. Maybe some artillery next.

This weekend I'll be playtesting some rulesets written by the chaps at the OSW Yahoo Group, so expect some more chapters in the travails of the Duchy of Alzheim.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Wee Highland Laddies Part 2

You ought to be able to click on this image to get a larger version...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Wee Highland Laddies

In the past couple of weeks I have taken delivery of a second-hand, ex-library copy of Charles Grants "The Battle of Fontenoy". Thank-you Bookfinder.com.

I also have to admit to a slow and growing bias toward structuring my Armies after those that fought this battle.

These factors, along with my own long-standing interest in the French and Indian War has led me to believe that a unit or two of Highlanders are absolutely indispensible to my collection.

I have plucked up the courage to start painting some Highlanders.

Courage? I hear you ask. Why yes, I reply. Highlanders are famously intimidating for more than just their reckless charges with the Claymore.

It's the tartan.

How do you paint it? It's so complicated! I know, I've tried.

My first experiment was with the Royal Stuart Sett (this is a technical term that means "pattern" as far as I am concerned) that looked like someone had been ill on a pizza. Yuk.

My references have pointed me at two regiments for the periods/theatres I'm interested in. My Blanford "Uniforms of the Seven Years War" has men of the 42nd and 78th regiments, both in a dark green tartan with black or very dark green overstriping. Figure 133 is a grenadier in a fur cap that would have not been out of place in the AWI. His sett has a red "overstripe" (ie, a thin, sparse, red stripe over the larger pattern of the sett) in addition to the basic "Government" tartan. Apparrently this was an additional mark of his status as a grenadier. Alan Saphersons' "A Basic Guide to Armies and Uniforms of the Seven Years War" is in complete agreement. My Osprey MAA-285 "King George's Army 1740-93: (1) Infantry" offers on plate A3 an alternative in the form of the short-lived 64th Highlanders who should have had the same sett as the 78th or 42nd, but may also have had a red tartan of the kind you might see on a tin of short-bread. Maa 48, "Wolfe's Army" likewise ascribes the red sett to the 78th, but this is conjectural according to the notes on the plate.

Based on all this I am most definitely doing the 42nd Regiment in their green sett and buff facings. I am also thinking very hard about doing the 78th who could double up as the 64th at Culloden - both seem to have had white facings. Whether I do them in the green or red sett is another thing. I like the red sett as a point of difference from most other Highland units, but feel that the darker tartan stands ou better against the red doublets.

So, on to painting the Tartan.

I prime my figures white and then paint all the flesh areas in their base colour and follow that with a thin was of sepia ink. This includes the knobbly knees.

I give the kilt and plaid a thinnish coating of a nice mid-green. In my case this is Vallejo "Goblin Green". Because it is slightly thinned down, it shades and highlights itself enough without being heavy handed. I then over-paint a grid of dark stripes with a mix of 50:50 black and green with no more than three horizontal stripes and a vertical every 2-3mm.

When dry I mix up a lightish blue (whatever looks good to you) and paint a little square wherever the dark lines intersect on a flat or raised part of the kilt or plaid. Likewise, I mix a 50:50 white and green and apply it to the raised or flat parts of the kilt/plaid - this is also a good opportunity to do a little cutting in on the grid lines - these are never steady or even and can always do with some tidying up.

The hose are very simple. Starting with the white undercoat, paint 4-5 clockwise spirals down the leg, eack reaching abour half the circumference of the limb. Do this first clockwise then anti-clockwise. Paint a circle of red around the top of the hose, a black shoe at the bottom, then cut in with white where coffee has caused your brush to err!

I'll post a pic in a day or so to demonstrate all this palaver.

As for the red sett, give me time to nut it out. I suppse the key here is to give the impression of Tartan while not driving oneself insane.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What I did on my Holiday...

I have been on leave from work this week. My reason for this was to get my back yard finished off.

I also managed to get some painting in. Cavalry Regiment "La Reine" now graces my table, much to my delight. My French army is starting to get a bit decent - three regiments of infantry, a regiment of cavalry and a battery of Artillery (not counting the squadron of Turpin Hussars and a half-regiment of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine...).

I also painted up a company of French infantry as a test for doing the all-white Bourbonnois regiment. I think they look pretty nice, so on I go.

Does anyone know whether the Bourbonnois Regiment's Grenadiers wore bearskins by the later part of the Seven Years' War?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Some thoughts on Cavalry in Melees

These are a first draft on how I think Cavalry melees might run and were prompted by a discussion running on the OSW Yahoo Group:

Against Cavalry:
* Side 'A' - Declares Charge
* Side 'B' - Tests morale to see if they will either flee (1,2 on a d6?), standto receive the charge (3, 4, 5 on a d6) or counter-charge (6 on a d6).
* Side 'A' - Charges home then both sides melee.

The melee itself is difficult.

Should Side 'B' be fleeing, I think Side 'A' should be allowed to overrun into them on the same move and then melee at a very great advantage.

Should Side 'B' stand to receive the charge, I think they should perhaps melee on even terms just because I can't imagine Side 'A' smashing headlong into them and I do feel they would come to a halt in the face of this steely resolve.

In the case of Sides 'A' and 'B' both charging hell-for-leather at each other,I'd throw a d6 for each figure, perhaps removing a casualty on a '6' to represent collisions. I'd also have them "pass through" each other to the maximum extent of their charge moves. As the figures interpenetrate, I'd like to come up with a means of representing them taking a wild cut at each other.Wounds might result, but 'kills' would be rare.

I'd want to make this last case (hell-for leather mutual charging) the least likely outcome, with perhaps the second case being the most likely, followed bythe first in order of probability.

Against Infantry:
* Side 'A' - Declares Charge
* Side 'B' - Tests morale to see if they will either flee (1 on a d6?), stand toreceive the charge (2, 3, 4, 5 on a d6) or counter-charge (6 on a d6).
* Side 'A' - Charges home

In the case of the Infantry standing to receive the charge, I think there will be no melee, just a bunch of cavalry standing in front of the Infantry engaging in a musketry duel, at terrible disadvantage. If the Infantry run away, or aredisordered or are skirmishers in open order, the cavalry should be allowed tocontact them where they will melee against them at very great advantage.

I think the Infantry should be allowed a volley as the cavalry close, however.This however makes me wonder if the Cavalry might not have to test morale to close to hand-to-hand combat.

In the case of the infantry choosing to counter charge, well, my mind boggles abit here because I can't recall any historical examples, so I'm tempted to discount the option altogether. I'd be tempted to fold that possibility in withstanding to receive the charge.

The trick with all this is to see how it might fit into a "Move, Fire, Melee,Morale" turn framework, of course. It's at times like this I start thumbing through my copy of the Sword and the Flame for ideas to emulate!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Painting Horses

I painted 17 horses over the weekend. Here's how:
  1. Clean up the castings
  2. Prime white. Cheap spray-paint works for me. It MUST be matt to give your nice paints something to grab onto. Nothing is worse than watching your paint "bead" on a surface you are trying to cover.
  3. Basecoat the horse. A nice warm brown. Don't apply the colour too thickly. It looks best with the undercoat "lighting" the colour from beneath.
  4. Apply a thinned wash of sepia ink to the whole miniature.
  5. Allow it to dry for at least a couple of hours.
  6. Mix up some orange with your base-coat colour. Go for a 2:1 ratio - in the oranges' favour. Wet-brush it all over the model working from top to bottom. As with the uniforms, the idea is to make it look as though the figure is being lit from above.
  7. After that's dried, give the whole model a "damp-brush" of almost pure orange. Don't be afraid to leave patches of pure colour.
  8. Apply a second wash of thinned ink. This will pull back your worst excesses with the orange paint.
  9. Allow it to dry for at least a couple of hours. Mow the lawn. Watch some telly. Read the newspaper.
  10. Get out your black and paint the eyes, manes, tails, hooves and any part of the leg you want to do with white "stockings", as well as any area on the horses' forehead that needs a "blaze". Similarly, every time the brush is running a little dry, dip it in your pot of water and paint fine lines wherever you want to define the edges of harness, muscles &c.
  11. Get out your white paint. Paint the "stockings" and "blazes". When your hands are really steady, put a miniscule point of white in each corner of the eyes, leaving most of the area in the original black.

One additional point is that slightly thinned paint that flows evenly is preferable than thickish paint that covers well. I would much rather give an area an extra coat than have my paint blob or cover a detail I was trying to paint. Make your paint about the consistency of milk and you can't go too far wrong.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Grenadiers - Gardes Suisses and Francaises.

Another couple of samples.

Regiment Guyenne

This is a taste of what my newly-finished regiment looks like.

Turpin Hussars

Nothing new here - just a better picture to atone for my lousy digital photograpy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Today should see me just about finishing off a new unit, the regiment Guyenne.

This morning I put the finishing touches on the second last tranche of figures, and I intend to do the last lot tonight.

Flags are by Warflag, correctly-sized, freshly-printed and ready to be mounted on their brass wire flag staffs.

I'm in the golden glow stage at the moment and am really looking forward to just lining them up on my painting-table at home and seeing how they look with their comrades all in formation with them!

For a change of pace, I am going to do a regiment of cavalry. I paint horses fairly quickly, so the work should progress quite well.

Friday, September 16, 2005


With my French I paint pretty simply.

I take the largest single area of colour (WHITE!) and do the whole figure over in a slightly darker version of it. This involves adding about 5% of a pale brown to my white and just making sure the whole figure is thoroughly covered.

Once dry, I lightly load a brush with pure white and brush roughly down the whole length of the figure working from top to bottom. This has the effect of putting the lightest "colour" on top of the figure while leaving the recessed areas darker.

Now I do all the other bits of colour - facings, flesh, hats, hair, belts, boots, buckles and braces.

Flesh areas get a thin wash of brown ink followed by a highlighting of a paler shade of flesh.

Hair, which has been painted over in black gets touched in with white to represent powdered locks. The lower lip might get a tiny dash of red ink. The occasional moustache might get a couple of dashes of white over the black base to denote a veteran.

All other colours are left unhighlighted.

Lastly, I slightly thin some white to a milky consistency and use it to paint areas like the tops of shoulders to finish the highlighting. This is also a good opportunity to cover up the inevitable mistakes I make when applying all the other colours.

For a figure with a different main colour (say the Gardes Suisses with their red coats), I do a base coat in the main colour, wash that over with my sepia brown ink. Wait for a few hours while that dries and then heavily "wet'brush" it with the main colour again to restore the brightness.

This is how the Gardes Suisses test figures further down this page were painted.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What's on the Workbench 2

I should also mention, that after the recent acquisition of a couple of bags of cavalry, that one thing I am going doing is getting cracking on the Gendarmerie de France.

My other bag will become either the Wurtemburg or Nassau-Saarbruck regiment.

At some stage in the (near) future, I would like to do the Conde regiment.

What's on the Workbench?

To ask the question is to provide the answer - quite a bit!

Work goes well on Regiment Bearn - it ought to be finished by this time next week. I'll follow up with a post on how I have been painting my French regiments.

As you all could see from earlier posts, I have finished off the first squadron of the Turpin Hussar Regiment. I had originally thought that I might do the Royal Nassau Regiment, but it turned out I had better sources for Turpins'.

I have figures on order to make a second squadron. By the time this regiment has been pieced together, it will have been done with 10 Prussian Hussars in Mirliton (the troopers), one French Trumpeter and an Austrian Hussar in Busby (representing the CO). It's a pity the trooper figures aren't a little more animated, but there you go!

I reward myself when I am painting a big batch of figures by letting myself paint a handful of more colourful or just "different" troops. For being good and painting up Regiment Bearn, I am letting myself repaint two RSM marching Lorraine Grenadiers (almost the first figures I ever seriously "tried" to paint) as being from the Gardes Suisses and Gardes Francaises. I will post some images when they are done. I hope that they don't raise the bar too high for the rest of their units. Those test figures always seem to get that little bit of extra-loving-care.

My Saxons are still plodding along - two or three figures at a time. I must extract my finger and make a concerted effort on one of the Regiments. I've discovered that the RSM Austrian Freikorps Lacy figure would make a pretty passable von Rochow Fusilier, so there's another project for my Saxon Army - especially considering that there is a Prussian Infantry Officer without lapels who could lead them.

Beyond this, I am expecting a pretty substantial re-inforcement in the form of more RSMs I was fortunate to acquire in a trade. They'll let me add another two or three French regiments and put me in a position to start thinking about which Bavarian and which Hungarian Regiments I might like to go to work on. I like the idea of allying the Bavarians up with the french, it's like the War of the Spanish Succession all over again. It might be fun to put on a scenario with them recreating the storming of the Schellenburg!

I think that'll keep me until Chrismas. 2006.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Turpin Hussars

I've just finished painting these Hussars from the Turpin Regiment. Figures are RSM. I'll need to buy the Austrian Hussar in the fur Busby to represent an Officer.

The Italian States - 1740 to 1760

I've just joined MagWeb and was very interested to read a number of articles on the armies of the Eighteenth Century Italian States, in particular one on the Papal Army of about 1708/1709.

I posted a query on the various Yahoo Groups dealing with the Eighteenth Century that I'm a member of looking for information on the Papal Army of the 1740s and 1750s - this being more my period - and have had a number of replies, one from a gentleman offering to post me some of the materials he's gathered over the years.

I think doing a brigade from the Papal Army - and maybe one from Genoa or Sicily might make for an interesting diversion. Watch this space; with my correspondents' permission, I'll put some of his information up here.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

This Weeks Quiz Question!

Why was the battle at la Belle Famille fought on July 24, 1759?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

RSM Figure Conversion
In an earlier post I mentioned converting some Prussian Grenadiers into standard bearers. This follows a tip-off from Alte Fritz on the Old School War Games Yahoo group. The image to the left tells the tale. The first on the left is an unmodified figure, the second has had his musket cut away and his foot cut from the base. The figure on the right has been bent into a more-or-less upright position, with both feet on the base. To me he looks like he is advancing with some caution! Remember always to pad the jaws of your needle-nosed pliers - they cut into the metal if you don't. I recommend masking tape.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Saxon Leibgrenadiergarde
New unit begun! The Saxon Leibgrenadiergarde, as usual of RSM figures and coming along nicely - fifteen of them done and with another couple of figures in the mail to convert into standard bearers. I'm quite pleased with how they are going and am taking it slowly - I'm only painting 3-4 figures at a time.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Arrivals

At the moment I'm awaiting the arrival of some more RSM miniatures. I'm expecting to take delivery of a couple of bags of French Cavalry, a bag of Prussian infantry and some odds and sods.

The French Cavalry will probably get painted as either something from the Maison du Roi or the Rohan cavalry Regiment for one bag, and one of the German regiments in French service - I am looking at the Nassau-Saarbruck and Wurrtembourg Regiments just now.

The Prussians will go towards the Saxon Graf von Bruhl Infantry regiment (an example of Prussians being impressed into the Saxon service!) and another Prussian Regiment - identity as yet undecided, but I am tending toward that which had it's grenadier battalion paired up with IR 13 'Itzenplitz'. Must read Duffy again.

Among the odds and sods will I hope be some marching Prussian Grenadiers. I was prompted to buy them by a post on the Old School argaming Yahoo Group discussing transforming this figure into a standard-bearer. I mean to give it a go and report back.

Cheers for now...!

One Last Pretty Picture

This is about at good as my painting style gets. It looks good (I think!) but as a style, it's not too sustainable for the hundreds of figures you need to do to create an army of the size demanded by the size of units i like to collect. This figure (a Suren British Grenadier) has been painted to epresent a Hanoverian Grenadier.

Flag in Action
In an earlier post, I put up an image of the colour of the Gardes Francaises. This picture shows what it looks like in "real life".

Slow News Day
Not too much to bang on about today, so I thought I'd show off some pretty pictures of some of the old Suren infantry I painted some time ago...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Howitzer Picture
This is a Prussian Howitzer I did about six months ago. The crew were originally meant to go with some guns that I accidentally managed to paint up with the wrong colour carriages. The Howitzer was bought as a long-delayed afterthought...

Gardes Lorraines
When ejected from Poland in 1735, Stanislas, now an ex-king became an exile in France. Being a dutiful son-in-law, Louis XV made him Duke of Lorraine. The unit you see here is one I have only just finished spray varnishing. The Duchy reverted to the Crown upon his death.
Rules Mechanisms 2 - Movement

One thing that always struck me as somewhat artificial in wargames rules was the way in which units would move. For turn after turn they would steadily plod along at an invariable 4" or 6", stopping occasionally to fir or melee.

The only variation on this theme that I'm familiar with in horse and Musket rules is that in Charles Grants' "The War Game". There a cavalry unit might stand fast or move for a number of moves to save up enough "oomph" to buy a charge move.

Then I was introduced via "The Sword and the Flame Rules" to the idea of variable moves whereby a unit would move by a number of dice. That is to say, that a unit of infantry in line might move 2 or 3d6 inches in it's movement phase. I thought this might make a neat device for adding a measure of uncertainty to the designs of the player who thinks his Cuirassiers will crash home at the end of Turn 3!

With this in mind, I doodled the following table:

  • Troops in Square - 1d6
  • Troops in Line - 2d6
  • Troops in Column - 3d6
  • Troops in Open Order - 4d6
  • Cavalry in Line - 2d8
  • Cavalry in Column - 4d6
  • Cavalry Charging - 4d8*
  • Manhandled Artillery - 1d6
  • Limbered Artillery - 2d6

*You could rule that cavalry has become disordered once it has charged and needs to spend one move at the halt befor it may charge again.

Against this randomness, one could argue also that the generals of the day expected infantry to march at a predictable 75 paces per minute (pedants please forgive me!) and why vary that? And I'll admit there is some substance to this, too. I'd argue though that a variable move incorporates some other eventualities - a lackadaisical sub-commander, an unexpected irregularity of terrain or even the un-looked to fatigue or even inspiration of the troops!

Short Battle Report - The First Battle of Alzheim
Prompted by the turning of their coats by the entire von KleistFreiKorps (now calling themselves the Palpable Pandours), PrinzFreidrich-August of Anhalt-Bootcamp declared war and vengeance on theHigh Grand Supreme Duchy of Soubre-Whelm.

Colonel Caper of thePalpable Pandours was hot-footing it for the border between the two mighty statelets. Hot on their heels rode the avant-garde of theAnhalt-Bootcamp Grand Army, lusting to chastise them severely fortheir lack of fidelity.The two sides met at the border-town of Alzheim for the first skirmish of what promised to be an interminable struggle fit for the employment of many generals for years to come.

The forces were:
C.O. General-Oberst Schlitz von Apfel-Strudel
Infantry Regiment 13 "Itzenplitz" (40 Figs)
Dragoon Regiment 5 (2 Sqns or 12 Figs)
Nr 1 Section, "A" Battery the Princely Artillery. (1Howitzer)

High Grand Supreme Duchy of Soubre-Whelm
C.O. Brigadier Creosote Force-Majeur
Infantry Regiment "Languedoc" (30 Figs)
Palpable Pandours Horse Grenadiers (1 Sqn or 6 Figs)
Palpable Pandours (12 Figs) - Col. Caper
1er Section, "A" Batterie, His Lordship (bless him) theDukes' Own Artillery. (1 Howitzer)

The opening moves of the battle saw both sides advancing toward eachother with the greatest elan. The troops of High Grand Supreme Duchyof Soubre-Whelm anchored their right flank on the town of Alzheim andtheir left (including the artillery on the woods. The rather relivedPandours rushed to line the woods and hopefully make any enemyattempt on the artillery an experience filled with discomfort!

In sublime ignorance of this fact (or goaded on by the noble cry oftheir Prince - "I paid for you buggers and I expect to see you do something!") Dragoon Regiment 5 charged the Soubre-Whelm gun. On their way in they collected two casualties from a popping fire from the Palpable Pandours and a great big blast of cannister from the gun that removed a further four men from their saddles!The inexplicable decision of the Horse Grenadiers not to counter-charge left Brigadier Creosote Force-Majeur livid, but resigned to firing off Regiment Languedoc at IR13. The latter replied with enthusiasm such that the weaker Languedoc was shattered and fell back. The weakened but still formidable IR13 held firm and looked likely to follow on the heels of the beaten-up Languedoc.

Those remnants of Dragoon Regiment 5 who'd reached the gun alive were hot for action and rapidly despatched three of it's gunners, with the fourth running for his life! At this point I decided the battle was pretty much over, withRegiment Languedoc in tatters and the remaining gunner of the Soubre-Whelm artillery taking to his heels. It thus fell to the Palpable Pandours light infantry and the Horse Grenadiers to cover the retirement. It looked however to von Apfel-Strudel that in view ofthe battering his own force had taken, it might be for the best if his forces were to partake of the delights of Alzheim - he himself knew of a very nice, snug little Inn.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More Test Figures
These are from the Saxon Army. The unit is that of the infamously corrupt and inefficient Saxon War minister, the Graf von Bruhl.

As with the Gardes Suisses they are RSM 95s, being in this case a Grenadier and a Musketeer from the Prussian range. Only a handful of Saxon regiments had uniforms with lapels on the coat as depicted here. Von Bruhls was one such.

Test Figures
In an earlier post I mentioned some test figures I'd been painting for the Gardes Suisses. The figures are RSM 95s, the paints are mostly Vallejo. Sorry about the quality; it's the best I could do with a flat-bed scanner. I love the officer figure, it's one of my all time favourite castings.

"Go on my brave lads, I'll do my best to follow on from the rear! Faster Miffy, faster! Oh blast this horse! Why won't it go any faster?"
Rules Mechanisms 1 - Firing

I love the rattle of dice in a cup. So to it seems did the early Masters of War Gaming. Six-sided dice abound. Let's take a look at the effect of firing our little toy soldier regiments at each others.

Eligibility to fire is determined by a number of factors such as line of sight and firing arc. As a sidebar, I strongly feel that the firing arc for the Infantry should be nothing more nor less than perpendicular to the firing line for the reason that was how they engaged historically.

Firing itself is managed via the firing group of six or more figures mediated through the mechanism of a single d6 throw. The result of this throw is modified by a range of factors - soft cover, hard cover and so on - and the result is equal to a number of "hits" that are randomised among the opposing firing group.

Different methods are on offer for randomising casualties. Basically they are there so that volley fire is not used to snipe at officer figures. In the example of the grant rules, each figure in a six-figure firing group is numbered one to six. Let's say that three of them become casualties. We throw three d6's to determine who gets hit. Let's say this results in a two, a three and another three. This means that figures two and three of our six figure group get hit. Poor figure three has been hit twice. Ouch.

This can result in some extraordinary destructive fire. If for example we were to carry the example above over an entire unit, the result would be the removal of a third of it's effectives and a morale check. A few luckier rolls of the dice would see the unit almost completely annihilated in one devastating blast!

I prefer to moderate this effect by increasing my firing groups to eight figures while retaining a d6 per group for the purpose of determining hits. I am toying with the idea of giving all infantry a d8 for first fire just so I can simulate feats like the devastation of the Gardes Francaises at Fontenoy or that volley at Quebec that lost New France for the French Crown.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Scary Painting
Here's a link to a new unit I decided I'd grit my teeth and go ahead and do. Once at the link below, go to France, then Hussards, then ROYAL NASSAU HUSSARDS 1758-1776.


Wish me luck painting the braid.
Yet More Flags
Crikey, it's a flag related day alright. Here's an Ordonnance colour for the Gardes Francaises.

Co-incidentally, I just finished painting up some test figures for the Gardes Suisses. Anyone know what their colours looked like?
More Flags
On the topic of Flags, here are another couple I did up some time ago to go with the Willie Arquebusiers de Grassins I bought a few years ago. It's a pity the moulds were so beaten around the figures were almost unusable. And at such expense. Eurgh.

Eureka Miniatures, where are you? I put in a 100 Club order months ago, got the pre-orders together only to see nothing happen from the Eureka end..!


Here's a nice little flag I did up for one of my regiments that is still under construction. The regiment - or should I say Unit - is Royal Lorraine. The source for the flag information was the Nec Pluribus Impar website.
Organising the Armies

Keeping with the theme of staying fairly simple, I have decided on a standard organisation for all of my units. Infantry units shall have four musketeer companies and one grenadier company. Currently I have gone with eight-figure companies which gives me an overall unit size of 43 figures once you count the "supernumerary" pair of ensigns and a mounted colonel who add nothing to the firepower of a unit, but are there effectively as morale markers.

Grenadier companies are detatchable to form combined grenadier battalions with those companies of other units.

Perhaps in the longer term when I have more units finished, I'll bring company sizes up to ten figures with more supernumary officers and NCOs making up a sketchy third rank for a unit, once again the'd be there for calculating morale - but that's another article.

You will notice, gentle reader, that I use the term "unit" rather than battalion or regiment. I do this because of a discrepancy between the British and Continental organisations whereby a British regiment generally was of one battalion whereas almost every other european army of the day had regiments composed of at least two and in some cases more battalions.

I suppose that for my purposes, British units will be taken as being twice as strong as they were in reality, but only half as numerous!

For semi historical battles in the New World, the problem disappears because all but one of the French units there during the French and Indian War were each of one battalion only.

This weeks prize (a nice pat on the back) goes to the reader who can tell me which French regiment took two battalions to North America in 1756?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Welcome to my Blog.

I'm here using this space to document my progress in putting together my own Seven Years' War armies and scenic materials.

I've long been attached to the Chrales Grant/Peter Young style of wargames rules and am evolving a set of my own based around what I see as their principles - simplicity and fun!

Currently I'm working on French, Prussian, Saxon, Bavarian and Anglo-Scots units. The castings are mostly RSM, with some Hinchcliffe to fill some of the gaps that exist in the RSM range.

As I go on over the coming months, I'll be putting up pictures and rule ideas as well as battle repprts and terrain-building ideas.

Let the blog begin!