Thursday, February 18, 2010

French Foreign Legion

I trekked to the grand burg of Cambridge last evening, enjoying the hospitality of Schloss Bairos. We broke out the Carlist wars collection again and breezed through an easy game of Sharp Practice. We're becoming more adept at these rules and they are giving increasingly enjoyable games. As with many a game, there is a new unit fielded and this time around it was the French Foreign Legion. This was a unit incorporated into the Isabellino forces, much like the British Auxiliary Legion (with whom I plan to field this unit...once the Brits are painted).

First Carlist War French Foreign Legion.
Figures by BlazeAway Miniatures of Australia.

The flag on this unit is, unfortunately, an educated guess. There is no definitive evidence of a flag for the FFL in this period (1830s) but the British and the national militia had a flag similar to one I've opted to use. For a better discussion of the FFL flag, look here. The BlazeAway FFL are nice figures but with, as Vidal described them, a "doughy" appearance. They are slightly pudgier than the Perry figures but in lieu of those prodigious brothers' pending FFL release, they will do rather well I think. Eventually, the foreign brigade will consist of two units of British Legion, one of FFL, one small unit of British lancers, and a few riflemen. And I may add some of the very cool Perry Royal Marines with rockets! Vidal and I are both awaiting HotLead in Stratford where we'll be picking up our latest Perry Carlist Wars order from Terry at North Bay Games & Hobbies. We'll both be adding to the Carlist ranks.

Included below are few more shots of last night's game. Please excuse the non-Spanish buildings. I have yet to finish up my collection of buildings but you can see them in their raw state here.

Carlist infantry awaiting the Cristino attack.

Cristino infantry and artillery preparing to attack.

Looking along the Cristino lines.

Some of Vidal's very nice new Carlist command figures with flags by Adolfo Ramos.

Friday, February 12, 2010

28mm Napoleonics and new project

It's been a while since my last post and I've been far from idle. Other than working on some French Foreign Legion for my Carlist Wars project, I've been able to finish up a few new units for my 28mm Napoleonic collection. First up are two long-awaited artillery batteries for my Wurttemberg brigade.

Wurttemberg infantry and artillery during a recent game.

These are Old Glory figures with the incomparable Sash & Saber 6lb guns. The Old Glory artillerists are definitely not the best sculpts in the Napoleonic range but they will serve well. The uniforms are also quite plain but they are a nice contrast to another newly-finished unit, also for the French army.

French horse artillery.

The sculpts on these Front Rank French horse artillerists are quite lovely and make painting so much easier with their raised detail and crisp casting. They will make a helpful addition to my French cavalry forces which have soldiered on for many a game without any mobile artillery support.

Other than painting, I've also delved into a new project: Seven Years War. I have for a number of years talked about doing this period again. I once had a size-able SYW collection in 15mm but I sold it quite a few years ago. My thought had been to start over in 28mm with some of the lovely figures available from Front Rank and Crusader and this remained a long-range goal until recently. Some folks at MIGS have begun playing SYW battles with Age of Reason rules using their new and growing 15mm collections. While I know I've espoused the "one true scale" of 28mm for many years now, I have fallen into the trap of 15mm again. I've ordered (and now received) some 15mm Old Glory French figures for some test painting and just this week, Vidal gave me a couple of hundred Prussian and Austrian Old Glory infantry figures as well. My initial plan is (was?) to field just a couple of brigades to contribute to the games at the club. I should know myself better by now and accept the fact that this will probably be another project with no end, much like my 28mm Napoleonics. But why 15mm? There are a few reasonable excuses: 1) it's the scale of choice for the guys at the club and if I did it in 28mm I may be on my own with collecting; 2) 15mm is definitely less expensive; 3) we can get so much more bang for the buck in terms of table space with 15s; 4) the 15mm figures from Old Glory, besides being quite inexpensive compared to 28s, are really very nice sculpts.

As I start this new project, I've broken down the process into recognizable steps:

1) Research: This includes looking at various manufacturers of figures. I've settled on Old Glory because of the price and the attractive sculpts (which, of course, is quite a subjective criterion). Research also includes uniforms, battles etc. I was surprised to discover that in my rather large library of military history books I had few SYW history or uniform references. So off to the interwebs and a testing of my google-fu. It's amazing what you can find in the ether and you should always believe everything you read on the interweb! The best reference I've found so far is this gem: click here. This site is a gold-mine for uniform, unit, commander, campaign and battle information like the images here.

2) Rules: The guys at the club have been using Age of Reason, an excellent set of rules. When I had my former 15mm SYW collection, I used AoR extensively but I had "played it to death." Over the course of a few years I estimate I played these rules at least 100 times. And this was almost always with the same opponent using the same armies. It isn't a knock on the rules to say that the games became too predictable and were really just an excuse to drink and smoke and talk wargaming. With new opponents and new armies, I'm sure this won't happen this time around. (I'll soon post some amendments that we used all those years ago)

3) Painting: I haven't started this yet but I'm contemplating a number of different strategies. First up is my normal black primer and dry-brushing up the almost completely white French uniforms with successive layers from grey to white. Another option is to prime the figures white, block in any other colours and use a wash such as Army Painter. This latter technique looks to hold some promise and I'm going to get my hands on some of this popular wash and try it out on some test figures.

4) Basing: I will probably go with Litko bases here. They carry most of the popular base sizes and even if I need something unusual, they can custom cut the bases for a small extra fee. I can also have magnet bases cut to fit as well. This has become a particular favourite option for me of late. For a small extra fee I can feel secure when transporting my collection. I only wish I had done this when I started my Napoleonic collection. I could of course retro-fit the entire collection if I won the lottery and had a basing slave to do it for me.

I'm off to re-discover the intricacies of painting 15mm figures...good thing I have my new prescription glasses!