Archive for the 'miniature-wargames' Category

1813 Project Order of Battle

Having committed to the new 1813 project described by Immer Vorwarts, I started looking at an order of battle to model.  Jason & Eric are focusing on units that fought at Mockern in the fall of 1813 as part of the Battle of Nations (Leipzig).  Since I’m building Russians that means units from Blucher’s Army of Silesia.

I’ve chosen to build units from Langeron’s “Corps Group.”  These are units that are remnants from the army that fought at Borodino the previous year and have followed the French all the way back into Germany.  My starting force will be St. Priests’ VIII Corps.  The entire Corps had around 8,000 infantrymen at Mockern, so this will be manageable organization to start building.

A quick aside about unit strengths:  Regardless of what a full ‘paper strength’ battalion may have looked like to Napoleonic era war planners, after a few months in the field, an average infantry battalion would likely be around 500 men.   In the period we are modeling (the latter half of the 1813 campaign), the field armies were even further under-strength from a year of more or less constant campaigning, casualties, sickness, desertion, etc.

So, I’m looking at St. Priest’s Corps.  One thing I love about the Russian army is that the commanders are a hodge-podge of Russians, Germans, and other Europeans.  In this case, both Comte Langeron and Comte St. Priest were French emigres, former Bourbon loyalists whose families fled France during the revolution.  So we have French generals fighting against French generals.  How perfectly Napoleonic, eh?

There are a number of different places to find orders of battle on the internet.  My favorite is the Nafziger collection, which was donated to the US Army War College a few years back.  George Nafziger did a tremendous job collecting orders of battle, and included individual unit strengths where he could.  This is a boon to the historical wargamers.

Here’s St. Priest’s VIII Corps organization from the Allied Order of Battle at Leipzig:

8th Corps: Generallieutenant Count St.-Priest

11th Division: Generalmajor Prince Gourialov
Brigade: Colonel Turgenev

  • Ekaterinburg Infantry Regiment (2)(936)
  • Rilsk Infantry Regiment (1)(564)

Brigade: Generalmajor Karpenko

  • Jeletz Infantry Regiment (1)(526)
  • Polotsk Infantry Regiment (1)(571)

Brigade: Generalmajor Bistrom II

  • 1st Jager Regiment (1)(478)
  • 33rd Jager Regiment (2)(527)

17th Division: Generalmajor Pillar
Brigade: Colonel Kern

  • Riazan Infantry Regiment (2)(670)
  • Bieloserk Infantry Regiment (2)(705)

Brigade: Colonel Tscherioff I

  • Wilmanstrand Infantry Regiment (2)(566)
  • Brest Infantry Regiment (2)(746)

Brigade: Major Charitanov

  • 30th Jager Regiment (2)(472)
  • 48th Jager Regiment (2)(913)

Corps Artillery:

  • Position Battery #32 (12 guns)(270)
  • Light Battery #32 (12 guns)(176)
  • Light Battery #33 (12 guns)(155)

Corps Cavalry:
Brigade: Generalmajor Borozdin II

  • Mitau Dragoon Regiment (4)(458)
  • New Russia Dragoon Regiment (4)(377)

Brigade: Generalmajor Emanuel

  • Kharkov Dragoon Regiment (4)(484)
  • Moscow Dragoon Regiment (2)(250)

Cossacks: Generalmajor Kaisarov

  • Gzov #2 Cossack Regiment (194)
  • Stavrapol Kalmuck Regiment (298)
  • Grekov #21 Cossack Regiment (317)

A few notes:

  • The 11th division is the remnants of Docturov’s VI Corps from the Battle of Borodino.  One nice thing about the Russian army is that it was consistent with its numbering.  Divisional organizations were fairly permanent even if the divisions themselves shifted between corps over time.  Check the OB for Borodino and compare divisional numbers.
  • Likewise, the 17th division was in Baggovout’s II Corps at Borodino.  The organization hasn’t changed much, other than that the units are much smaller.
  • Much like the French, Russian light infantry units (Jagers) could operate either as formed infantry or skirmishers.  Russian light infantry gets a bad rap from some Napoleonic rules writers.  While not as skilled as the best French or British units, the low-numbered Jager regiments had been in existence for some time and spent a lot of time fighting the Turks, so they were experienced in skirmish operations.  The 1st Jager regiment was considered one of the finest in the Russian army at the time.
  • Looking at the unit strengths, there are numerous cases of regiments having two battalions but only having around 400-500 men total or both units.  Odds are good on the battlefield that the unit would operate as a single combat unit, as a 200-man battalion has little staying power.

In Black Powder, you have four basic unit sizes:  tiny, small, average and large.  For our project, an ‘average’ battalion would be around 24 figures, and I’m equating ‘average’ size with a battalion somewhere in the 450-650 man range.  For units with around 300-400 men, the question becomes whether to field those units as ‘small’ units on their own or combine them to be one ‘average’ or possibly ‘large’ unit.  Each option has advantages and disadvantages.  I suspect I won’t know which one would be a better reflection of the units performances until I play a few games.  I’ll get some extra command stands so I can run with either option.

Here’s a helpful list of OB’s for Leipzig that you can find on the net:

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New Army Painter Inks

I managed to try out the new inks from The Army Painter this evening in between dealing with firefighting for work & feeding some starving children.  The figs are still drying but for now I am impressed.  We’ll see what they look like when fully dry but I can see myself going through large amounts of Soft Tone & Dark Tone ink for my figures.

In an attempt to speed up my painting I’ve been moving towards doing a more basic block painting combined with washes and selected highlights, and I think the new AP inks will fit into this scheme very well.  After getting the basic color blocked in I gave my figures a coat of Future to try and reduce the amount of ‘tooth’ in the paint.  After the Future finish dried I hit them with the AP inks and they seem to have flowed nicely into the cracks.

I did some experimenting with the tones and at this point here’s what I think:

  • Dark Tone will be my goto for silver metals, blues, greens, greys, among other dark-ish colors.  The black works well to shade a lot of colors without overpowering them.  I will also use them for white belts & straps to give it more of a pipe-clay look.
  • Strong Tone will be used for yellow metals and browns.
  • Light Tone will be used for flesh (Caucasian at least) along with off-white and other lighter brown-ish tones.

For my Russian Musketeers I worked on tonight, most got the Light Tone for their trousers & flesh and dark tone for everything else.

I’ll post a follow-up once things dry totally.  Thanks to Der Feldmarchall again for the tip.

Foundry Sees The Light

It’s the end of an era today, folks.

Wargames Foundry, one of the earliest drivers of ’28mm’ historical miniatures, sent me an email today:

Dear Sir/Madam,

While you may not have noticed yet, things are changing at Foundry and we are the middle of a process of restructuring and reorganisation. This will include bringing back some old ranges and reintrodcuing some old packs that were inexplicably removed from others. This will all take some time but we want to return to being the company we once were. As a symbol of this we have reintroduced the English Civil War and Thirty Years War ranges.

Although some of these things will take some time to put into place, one immediate change we have made is to make sure that those ordering from outside of the UK will pay the same price as everybody else. It was a particularly bad policy that we have rectified as of today, no matter where you live in the world you will not pay more than our domestic customers

Watch out for further changes in the future.

yours faithfully,

Neil Littlewood

 

There have been a number of things that historical miniatures gamers could whine about with regard to Foundry (dalliances with fantasy/SF ranges, declining quality of new ranges, the whole ‘our customers are collectors, not wargamers’ bit, etc.), but the main thing US customers would whine about was the fact that Foundry was purposefully screwing overseas customers through bloated local prices for their products.   This note from Mr. Littlewood indicates that this practice is coming to an end, which is good news indeed.

Foundry’s prices are still not cheap, and they still need to restock their stable of sculptors IMO, but at least everyone is getting treated the same now.  Well done.

Army Painter Inks

I stopped into one of the Twin Cities’ excellent game stores today while out on a hobby day with my son and picked up a few bottles of the new Army Painter “Warpaints” line.  Per a tip from Der Feldmarchall I picked up a bottle of AP’s inks that match their series of ‘Quickshade’ dips.  Since Games Workshop has seen fit to discontinue their old line of washes (including my much-beloved Devlan Mud) I’m keen to find a replacement and it sounds like these inks may just fit the bill.

I also picked up a bottle of AP’s “Daemonic Yellow” since I can always use another yellow-ish tone that can cover in only 1 or 2 coats.

Progress continues slowly on my Russian Napoleonics.  Spending the better part of a month out of town for work didn’t help matters much, and with summer now upon us that brings a whole other range of possible distractions (mostly spending nights on the porch watching the sun go down with a gin & tonic).  Now that Perry Miniatures has released their plastic Russian line infantry I’ll be placing an order for some of those in the next month or so.   Hopefully someone follows up with plastic Russian artillery since I’ll be needing those in mass quantities.

 

Painting Update, or How I Learned to Live Without the Optivisor

After finally kicking myself in the butt I’ve started working in earnest on my 28mm Sash & Saber Russians again.  As I described in my last post I’m trying something new (and old) starting from a white undercoat and then blocking in the main colors with a bias toward the brighter end of the spectrum and then toning it down with washes.  Instead of using Minwax I’m using my current supply of Citadel washes instead.  Unlike previous go-rounds with the washes I’m not just slathering the entire figure in Devlan Mud this time.  The faces are being done with Ogryn flesh, the hair & linen pants in Devlan Mud, and the rest of the figure in Badab Black.

I like the effect a lot and think it looks good at tabletop distance.  I’m not trying to produce award-winning paintjobs with this technique; I just want to complete some units and play some games.  With a good basing job and some nice flags these figures will look good, and let’s face it, unless you’re a top-shelf painter displaying your figures with professional-quality photos, no one will look that closely at the rank & file figures anyway, especially when you need several hundred of them.  So why slow yourself down?  I also got rid of the optivisor for everything other that shako cords and straps which again saves time and removes the neurotic need to add one more highlight to that musket firing lock.

So, here are some WIP shots of my new figures.  I took them with my mobile phone so apologies for the meh photos.  The flash bleaches out the wash details a bit more than they should.

Sash & Saber Russians, White undercoat, basic block painting and citadel washes.

Compare that with one of my attempts to start from a black undercoat and do more of a Foundry/3-layer paint job:
28m Sash & Saber Russian Musketeer
More photos are available at my Photobucket page.

Enjoy!

FoW Painting

I picked up some 15mm Battlefront Panzergrenadiers about a year ago on Bartertown.  I got them cheap, cleaned them up, primed them white and then shelved them in favor of other things as I am wont to do sometimes.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of painting more frequently and I picked up a few sticks of these figures and starting playing around with them a few nights back, more as a break from turnbacks, collars and shako cords.  I’m painting the figures  in a mix of FeldGrau and the Heer splinter camo pattern.  A lot of the figures appear to be wearing helmet covers and/or camo smocks so for the most part they are getting feldgrau trousers and a mix of feldgrau and camo tops.  I’m throwing a few uncovered helmets in for variety.

The 15mm figures are small enough that I really need the optivisor to do a decent job with them.  I’m experimenting with both washing the figures before and after painting them.  For this batch I took some artist’s oil Burnt Umber and washed the basic white figures, let them dry for a few minutes and then wiped them down with an old T-shirt.  The net effect was a very heavy shading that made all of the nooks and crannies on the figure a very dark brown.  I then proceeded to block paint the main colors over that, leaving the recesses a dark brown.  Looks great with the beige/brown camo, not so great with the feldgrau.  As I said earlier this is an experiment so I’ll noodle around with these figures and see what gives me the most pleasing look.

I’ll post pics when I have something done.

An Update of Sorts

Life rolls on.  A recent job change has moved gaming down the priority chain a bit.  Now that things have settled down I’m starting to paint again.  I’m slowly working on Coppens’ Zouave battalion and am making decent progress.  After that unit gets finished I will probably be switching back to Napoleonics.   There are rumors of a large-ish Napoleonic scrum next summer and I would like to pump out some units for that, since Napoleonics is my favorite period in wargaming.   With Perry Miniatures and Warlord both releasing 28mm Russians (and Victrix to follow up eventually), there will be plenty of choices available.

I’ll post pictures of my zouaves as they get close to completion.  Assembling the plastic figures is a bit tedious, but I really enjoy the ability to customize the poses.  My zouaves all are charging with their rifles at various angles, presenting a bloodthirsty and fearsome image.


On the Painting Table

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