Thursday, 12 March 2020

Blücher at Hammerhead

This Saturday I'll be running two Blücher participation games at Hammerhead.

There'll be the Vyazma 1812 game I've run at other shows and you are welcome to drop in and try your hand at that. But it's a complex game and will take all day to play!

If you fancy something more manageable I'll be running a short training game. This will take about 45 minutes to play and will introduce the game to new players. The scenario is based on the Battle of Arroyo Molinos on 28th October 1811 and features General Hill's combined force of British, Portuguese and Spanish versus a small French force under General Girard.

So if you would be interested in finding out about Blücher in 6mm come and say hello!

General Girard's forces rest at Arroyo Molinos...

... General Hill's troops have sneaked up during the night!

The Battle of Vyazma is progressing (at WMMS last weekend)

Friday, 21 February 2020

A Random Update

Busy, busy, busy....

There's been loads going on this February, but nothing especially new or finished enough to deserve a blog post all of its own. So here's a quick mixed bag post.

There were a few games of Blücher with my new Prussians...

I have nearly the full first two corps for the 1813 campaign done. The third corps will need another order from Heroics and Ros, but I put that in by email last week.

In that order I also looked at my next 6mm project, English Civil War and managed to get a large lot of unpainted H&R ECW minis on eBay. I've been planning how to base these and I think I will be using 30mm square bases, three to make a regiment, with command markers on 20mm squares meaning that the troops can count for either side as needed. I trialled this layout last night. I have a lot to do before I get round to these!

Here's what I have in progress on the workbench. Note that I still use glue and filler rather than acrylic sealant for the bases of the artillery. You can also see the Slaanesh Hellship I need to get painted for the Man O'War tournament I'm going to in a few weeks.

The large hill/mountain is well underway for Arroyo Molinos at Hammerhead. I just need to add some additional details. I got a couple of games in with it as well.

I did think I might get chance to do the 1/1200 Spanish Napoleonic ships I've had for a couple of years, this after a couple of very enjoyable Fighting Sail games. But no, other things have jumped in again. I "need" to get some 6mm Marie Louises painted for the French 1813 army!

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Arroyo Molinos - A Blücher Participation Game

We'll be putting on a couple of Blücher participation games at the Hammerhead Wargames Show. One will be the Vyazma game that we'll be playing all day, people can join in if they want. The second will be a boot-camp style game.

I've been looking around to see if there's a real battle that could be played in about an hour with small forces without too much complexity. I wanted it to be in the Peninsular as that then fits with what units I have available after contributing to the Vyazma battle.

The battle I've decided to go for is Arroyo Molinos. On 28th October 1811, General Hill assaulted General Girard's forces in a surprise attack. It's a really small battle but has quite a good story behind it and manoeuvre over relatively open ground by both infantry and cavalry on both sides. Something Blücher is good at simulating. Of course it's a foregone conclusion as the French are heavily outnumbered and will always lose, but this scenario is all about how long they can last!

I just finished the first trial game with my son and it took the 1 hour needed to play it through. It also was a lot of fun. We managed to get about 17 turns in! I think if he'd used his cavalry a bit earlier he'd have reached victory a lot quicker!

Above, the French defensive line. The hills behind are the impassible Sierra de Montanchez. I will make a specific model of those ready for the show.

The French forces are scattered at the end of the battle, but in this game the British didn't fair that well either!

So, please do come and say hello to us at Hammerhead and get a game in!

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Prussians - Yorck's Corps

The first of my Prussian Corps for Spring 1813 is complete. It's actually the 2nd Corps under Yorck.

There are two brigades of regular infantry with attached hussars. There's a single base of dragoons, one of horse artillery and one of foot artillery

I'm already hard at work on the next Corps, Blücher's 1st Corps.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Kings of War 3rd Edition - The Wiltfather

I've decided I will play a bit more Kings of War this year. Last year I decided to wait until 3rd edition came out and so had loads of time for Blücher. Now 3rd edition Kings of War is out I want to get back into that.

There are lots of new units to choose from in the new books. It really is like being a kid in a sweet shop. You want to have a bit of everything. But for once I'm going to concentrate my efforts on just one army and not even a new one for me really.

I've plumped for Sylvan Kin. It provides a theme I really like for my existing Elf army. This army is already well rounded and so I won't be looking to add much to it. I want to make use of what I already have in new ways. I don't really need new Kings of War models as I do have a heck of a lot stuff already!

So, I took Sylvan Kin to the Wild Charge tournament last weekend. In the games I didn't do that great, 2 losses and 2 wins. But I did get Judge's Choice for Best Painted. Which is great!

Discussing with other players the special Treeherder upgrade, "The Wiltfather" kept on coming up as a recommendation. This is a particularly sad/angry Treeherder who brings death to those that deserve it. Also in the rules it gives the Elite rule to all friendly Verdant units within 6", which sounds well worth it! I'll try it out for the first time on Monday night.

So I've spent a little bit of time modifying one of my existing Treeherder models to fit. The new paint-job is inspired by the Weirwood trees from Game of Thrones. It was suggested to me to add skulls to the branches, but instead I've gone with a Warlord Games Skeleton that the Wiltfather is looking sadly at. Has he just killed it? Why is it black? Has he burned it? Was it undead or alive before he got it? There's a story there...

I also added a few more old GW Dryads to my unit of Hunters of the Wild to make them up to a regiment.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Basing the Prussians

Now on to the final stage. The basing of the minis.

I first stripped off the minis from one of the sets of 3 temporary bases and remove the double-sided tape from those. That can be thrown away as it's useless now.

I used to go through a rather laborious process of gluing the minis to the bases with Aleene's Tacky glue and then carefully putting pre-mixed filler all over the base, waiting to dry and painting with the Burnt Umber Crafter's Acrylic, but I've found a much quicker and actually much cheaper way.

I use Brown Acrylic Frame Sealant from Screwfix. If you go down this route make sure you don't get Silicone as that won't take paint! I slavered a thin layer of this onto the base and it acts as all three of the stages above, glue, filler and paint! You do get a bit of shrinkage as it dries, but not enough to cause a problem.

So first into the brown goo was the rear rank, mounted officer and drummer. You'll notice I've had to move the officer from his planned central position to the edge because he just would not fit in the middle.

Anyway, after pushing the models in with my sculpting tool I reversed the tool and pushed the goo around to merge in with the bases. Goo is the correct term with this stuff, it's sticky, soft and, if you're not careful, can get everywhere. It sticks to fingers and tools. Luckily it also is relatively easy to wipe off and is water-based. Still you don't want to get it on the models if you can help it hence using one end of the tool for pushing the models around and the other for the goo itself, trying to keep the former end as clean as possible.

After getting those in the right place I applied the front rank and standard bearer and then after more adjustment the skirmishers.

Then a small rectangle was scraped off one of the rear corners. That will be where I put the unit identifying marks. 

You will also notice the bit I have hanging off the front. The base is quite messy whilst this is wet and that can be cut off a lot more easily when it's dried.

So I did this with all three bases and then left them overnight to dry.

Tonight I finished them off. First I tidied up the edges with a sharp knife.

Then a heavy dry brush with Beasty Brown and also painting the edge and the unit marking area with the same.

Then a lighter dry brush with Pale Sand mixed 50/50 with the Beasty Brown.

The last dry brush is just Pale Sand on it's own.

The dry brushing will mess up the edges and unit marking area, so that needs tidying back up with Beasty Brown. This also is a second coat which is often needed around the edges anyway.

The various markings are then added. I outlined them with black, which is the colour I have chosen to help distinguish the nation of this army. French I did with blue, British with red and Russian with green.

The markings themselves are II for the Corps number and the small 1 next to it is to signify the 1st Brigade of that in case I need that detail. The 6 is the Elan of the unit and a small S for the Skirmish Trait. I have various letter codes for the different traits. Most are just the obvious initials. All except Shock and Steady, which become A (for attack) and D (for defence) as otherwise there are too many S's.

There is also a white mark on the front middle. I don't bother with arc markings on the base as I use an arc of fire template for that.

After this the static grass is applied. These are home-made self adhesive tufts of 2mm spring meadow static grass. I use something like this to make those in bulk from time-to-time. They are just pulled off the backing paper with tweezers and put where needed. They can even be moved if I'm not happy with them. Even months after being stuck in place.

And here they are all done. Just a quick spray with matt varnish and they're ready for battle.


In the comments I was asked what sculpting tool I used. It's actually a wax carving tool that I obtained years ago.  I found them still available on ebay. Anyway here's a photo along with some more casualty markers that I am making right now using much the same techniques as above.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Painting Prussians!

Having prepared the 6mm Heroics and Ros Prussians it's time to start painting.

In the following I'm just going to show a single temporary base from the nine I will actually be painting. These, as I mentioned, will become three regiment bases on 60mm x 30mm MDF bases. Each representing a Combined Infantry Regiment from Hunnerbein's brigade in Yorck's Corps.

Each of those Combined Infantry Regiments is actually composed of a mixture of battalions from different Line Regiments in the Prussian army. In the case of the one I'll show in the photos it'll be the 2nd Combined Infantry Regiment which contains the 1st Battalion of the 3rd East Prussian Infantry Regiment and the 1st and Fusilier Battalions of the 4th East Prussian Regiment. I'm going to choose just one of those battalions to represent whole Combined Infantry Regiment. In this case it will be the 1st Battalion of the 4th East Prussian Regiment.

When painting these I used a 000 Windsor and Newton Series 7 brush and a head magnifier over my reading glasses. My eyes really are not that great and magnification is key. There's also a very bright LED lamp set to as close to sunlight colour as possible and a home-made wet-palette. Many of the paints used have been chosen because they are just ones I have to hand.

To start with I have applied the coat colour as a base. I've used Vallejo Prussian Blue. Some might say this is too bright for the dark Prussian coats, but with 6mm I've found it pays to paint with bright colours and anyway if you look around in various sources you will find a large range of shades represented. It seemed right to use a colour named after the nation I'm painting an army for.

Next I painted the trousers Light Grey. This seems to be the right colour for 1813 from what I can tell. It did occur whilst painting this that it is so close to the primer colour that if I'd taken more care with the Prussian Blue then I'd not have to do this stage. Maybe I'll try that next time!

Next is all the Black bits. Shako, which I will be leaving plain black to represent the commonly seen oil-skin cover, boots, bayonet and sword sheath, and ammo pouch.

Next will be the cross straps in Off-White. Though actually it's just cross strap, singular as the greatcoat strap covers the other one. I also start the first of several coats of Off-White on the flag since I need a white background for my transparent home-made transfers.

Now the backpack in Cavalry Brown. Just a bit peaks out of the top above the greatcoat roll on the back.

And then the greatcoat roll itself in London Grey.

Now it's on to brighter colours. The turnbacks will be red or Vermillion, the 4th East Prussian had light blue shoulder straps and brick-red or dull orange collars and cuffs. I've used Deep Sky Blue and Clear Orange for these.

You'll note I've painted little markings in those colours and marked the base with the infantry regiment number. This helps keep track of it whilst painting all the different units.

Now the muskets and bayonets. Musket stocks first in Beige Brown, the colour I pretty much always use for wood. Bayonets and Swords in Oily Steel, which is my go-to steel colour. You'll note I actually painted the standard staff white at this point after an extra bit of research.

I always used to paint the faces first on 28mm minis, but on 6mm they're right near the end. Hands and faces in Dwarf Flesh as I always feel it looks nicer than the paler alternatives often proposed and various details in Old Gold, finial on the standard, sword hilts, sheath chapes.

Now its on to fine and miscellaneous details: the horse, drum and anything else I might have missed.

Of note here is the horse blanket for the officer. According to a source I found all Prussian officer's horse blankets were made from black bear skins.

Next the standard transfer is added. This I've made myself with my inkjet printer and the images from The transfer is coated with Vallejo Matt Varnish and the edges of the image tidied up with appropriate coloured paint.

Here's a photo of my complete transfer sheet. I've learned from experience to have plenty of spares, though I didn't need any for this work!

The last thing needed is to paint the bases. This is a colour I use a lot on my terrain. Burnt Umber from Crafter's Choice. It's available from The Works as well as, I assume, other places.

And the whole lot ready for basing, which will be the next blog post.