Friday, 12 May 2017

Legionary plans and a bit of painting

Tomorrow is Exeter's premier(only) wargames show, Legionary. I am ineptly assissting Nathan with a 28mm ACW game using the Pickett's Charge rules I reviewed recently. The scenario is based loosely on Blochers Knoll during the Battle of Gettysburg.  Hopefully it will work well, hopefully.......

As it clashes with the monthly Devon Wargames meet this year, Jon "JJ" Jones is also putting on a game, using his exquisite 15mm Napoleonic forces. So a decent showing from the club, hopefully enough to drag along some new members.

I have done a bit more painting, although not that much. 
First up is the Renedra/Perry Miniatures ACW house. This came in the Battle in a Box set I bought and I finally decided to get it painted. It goes together easily enough and can be modelled with doors that open, with a bit of care when gluing it anyway. I went for a generic white(ish) structure with grey roofing. Looks ok to my eyes, but I do wear glasses!

 Then I broke away from 28mm for a change. I bought the Landmark building set way back in the distant mists of time, when Battlehonours UK released them. Since then I have gradually based up some of them and decided I needed a church for my expanding 15mm town.

I repainted the church as it was originally a bit too green, so it is now a nice shade of grey, well several shades actually. It was then based on a bit of hardboard and walls were added, also from the Landmark set. A couple of trees were made and stuck onto the base and gravestones were purchased from several places and put onto Flames of War bases so then can be removed if needed. Finally it was all flocked, grassed and tarted up.
 Hopefully it looks ok, it took a bit longer than I expected, primarily because I kept getting distracted, but it should look good on the table.
 At Crusade way back in January I bought a couple of 15mm barns from Original Laser Designs. Quite simple to look at, they went together very easily and painted up quite nicely as well.  At some point they will be based up to add to the town.
 Finally I painted some more ACW. Yes, I know I said I had finished. Yes, I know I have no willpower, but the guns were sat there all forlorn and unpainted. So I painted them.  Two each for the Confederates and Union, each with four crew. So that really is it, until I buy some more tomorrow!
It could be worse, I could have a load of figures to paint still..........


Adios for now and if you are in Exeter tomorrow say hi, I'm the ugly fat bloke helping on the 28nn ACW table. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

I wish I was in the land of cotton.............

Well, not really but it seemed like a good title for this post.  I have finally finished* the Confederate force to face Union troops for Sharp Practice.  The force is identical in composition to the Union force, with six units of 8 infantry, two units of 6 skirmishers, one unit of 8 mounted or 6 dismounted cavalry and assorted leaders etc.  All told it is 77 foot and 11 mounted figures.
 Photo one is 24 infantry with right shoulder arms, along with a skirmisher screen of 6 men.  The infantry are all Perry Miniatures plastics while the skirmishers are a mix of plastics and a few metal Wargames Foundry to mix them up a bit.

Photo two is another 24 infantry charging/advancing, again with 6 skirmishers.  Same composition as above.
 The mounted cavalry are also Perry plastics, with a few conversions to try and match the foot figures.  The foot figures have assorted weapons, 2 each of shotgun, carbine and rifle, so I have tried to replicate that with the mounted figures.  Some cutting and chopping, several moments of gluing my fingers to bits of metal and/or plastic and a few choice words later and the end result is mediocre to say the least.  They will do though.
Finally we have the commanders and "extras".  There are three mounted officers, one based with a standard bearer to make him more commanding.  The state flag of Texas flag has been used to mark the senior officer.  Six foot officers make up the rest of the commanders, supported by a drummer, two standard bearers and a physic/surgeon.  The standards are those of Hamptons Legion as they spent some time in Hood's Texas Brigade and I like the flags.  There is also a sneaky Union type in this picture, I knocked together a surgeon for the Union force from a left over plastic figure.  You can tell they are medical types by their green sashes, the Confederate one even has a cigar of "good southern tobacco".

* When I say finished, that's an obvious wargamers lie.  I still have the artillery to do, then there are the other bits I could add later like snipers, more cavalry etc.  It never ends, despite what I say to my wife.
So that's it again, two posts in two days should be enough for anyone.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Post Op and Pickett's Charge

Well the op is done and I am now free of the tube stuck down my nose.  Instead it comes out of my stomach, so same problems but a lot less obvious.  The op went well and I got an early release the next day for good behaviour.  I think it was good anyway.The bad news is my stomach now has a new hole in it and 3 stiched up holes that are itching like an itchy thing.  Happy days though.

To speed up my recovery Nathan came around last Sunday and we tried out Pickett's Charge, the new American Civil War ruleset from Too Fat Lardies/Reisswitz Press.  Following a bit of a mixup with a review in WSS that was really badly written, we decided to give it a go.  Nathan had played it at the last meeting of the Devon Wargames Group, but I only watched a couple of turns before leaving.  We set up the McPherson's Ridge scenario out of the Summer Storm Gettysburg book and had at it. The scenario had two Confederate Brigades from Heth's Division attacking two Union Brigades from Reynolds 1st Corps.  The Rebs also had a massed battery of 20 guns deploying in support off-table, which would turn out to give the Union troops a fair old slap.  Nathan took the dastardly seccesionist rebel typs and I took the valiant defenders of the Union.

The Union force consisted of the cream of the Army of the Potomac, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 1st COrps, aka The Iron Brigade.  In total there were 45 infantry stands and a 3 gun battery.
1st Division

1st Brigade
BG Meredith
19th Indiana
4 Elite R
24th Michigan
6 Grn R
2nd Wisconsin
4 Elite R
6th Wisconsin
6 Elite R
7th Wisconsin
5 Elite R

2nd Brigade
BG Cutler
76th New York
5 Reg R
84th New York
4 Vet R
95th New York
3 Vet R
147th New York
5 Grn R
56th Pennsylvania
3 Reg R


Battery B, 2nd Maine
3 Grn Rifles

The Confederates only had 37 stands of infantry, but did have support from 5 batteries of guns off table.
Heth's Division

Archers Brigade
BG Archer
13th Alabama
4 Reg R
5th Alabama Bttn
6 Vet R
1st Tennessee
4 Vet R
7th Tennessee
6 Reg R
14th Tennessee
5 Vet R

Davis' Brigade
BG Davis
2nd Mississippi
5 Reg R
42nd Mississippi
4 Grn R
55th North Carolina
3 Grn R

Peagram's Artillery (off table)

Crenshaw's Battery
2 Reg Nap
Fredericksburg Battery
2 Reg Mixed
Letcher Battery
2 Reg Mixed
Pee Dee Battery
2 Reg Rifles
Purcell Battery
2 Reg Nap

 The initial deployment had Davis' Brigade facing off against the 2nd Union Brigade while Archer was massed behind a small wood facing the Iron Brigade. 

First turn saw the Iron Brigade double-quick forward as the Rebs hesitated behind the wood..  Johnny Reb and Billy Yank exchanged fire along the ridge and the Reb massed guns fired counter-battery and hammered the sole Union battery.  Nathan's ability to roll a 4+ on casualty dice was working at 80%, 'cos he's a git.

 The second turn was noticeable for the complete lack of Union ADCs.  Three D6 rolled needing 3+ for an ADC to be available.  Yeah, right.
 By the end of the second turn things had gone a bit awry for the boys in blue.  The Iron Brigade "hesitated", unnerved by the scarey woods apparently.  The Union battery fell back as it was getting pounded, replaced in the line by the green troops of the 147th New York infantry.  Things went from bad to worse at the end of the line however.  Nathan managed an 11 on his artillery fire, causing the 76th New York to take a "See the Elephant" test.  I promptly rolled 3 on 2D6 and they fell back 30cm in a "whipped" state. 
 Not good, not good at all.  I was struggling by this point so we called it a day there and put it on hold until Monday, luckily it was a bank holiday so Nathan was free to come over again.
Day 2, turn three and the Iron Brigade pushed into the woods.  On the ridge the Rebs were now organised and there concentrated fire was causing a few casualties. The Union 2nd Brigade was taking a heavy battering all along the line, although they were hitting back reasonably.

Turn 4 and the fire from the rebs was enough to drive back the 84th New York with yet another "whipped" result, leaving the 220 men of the 95th New York standing alone against over 700 advancing Rebs.  Things were looking grim on the right........
On the left however it was a different story.  The Iron Brigade was advancing and there fire drove back the 1st Tennessee regiment, splitting the Reb line.  The quality of the Iron Brigade was beginning to tell.

I forgot to take any further pictures, but the Iron Brigade swept through the woods like a tsunami, driving all before them and opening the flank of the Reb line up.  The 2nd Brigade managed to Rally, regaining some points it had lost and things were looking grim for the South.  Turn 5 saw both sides roll and get all theiir normal ADC's, plus an extra one each as both rolled two 6's.  It takes three ADC's to rally a Brigade and it can only be done once per game on each Brigade, so it is a rarity.

Pickett's Charge is a good set of rules.  The system is straightforward and doesn't take long to get sorted in your head.  Each turn you, as a divisional commander, get some ADC's to "assist" in commanding your brigades.  They allow re-rolls or special orders to be used.  Each Brigade rolls for command, if it fails it cannot advance but can still fire etc.  If it passes it does whatever you ordered.  Turns are igoUgo, but with a twist.  Each turn there is an initiative roll and the winner decides who goes first.  If you go first the other side can react to your moves, but you get to charge, move and fire first and can inflict casualties before they fire back at you.  It is a simple system but has enough nuances to make it a good system.  Troop quality goes green, regular, veteran, old lag and elite.  Old Lags are good troops who are battle-weary.  Good in their own way but difficult to get to attack. 

All in all I would highly recommend Pickett's Charge to anybody looking for a set of Regimental level rules for American Civil War games.  I ordered them myself after playing, so it has cost me money already.

That's it for today, I am off now to base up some Rebs for Sharp Practice, then it's back to the hospital tomorrow to check my tube.  Keep rolling those dice folks.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Operation pending and yet more ACW

I am off to hospital tomorrow for the long awaited operation.  It's not the op I hoped for but at least I won't have this damn tube stuck down my nose anymore, so happy days.  Now onto the serious stuff.......

I have finally been motivated enough to get some paint onto lead and plastic.  A while ago I bought the ACW army box that the Perrys sell and it is mostly good.  Some cracking figures, some nice scenery and a couple of mounted officers only available in the box.  Sadly a chunk of the figures are the original ACW figures and not the newer, more dynamic, poses but they will do for a while.  So I have cracked on and now have a near finished Union force for Sharp Practice.  I added to the box contents with a pack of commanders and dismounted cavalry for both sides, plus a sprue of Zouaves, one of cavalry and 2 of union skirmishers from ebay.

140th NY Zouaves
I have nearly finished the Union force now, just the artillery to do at some point but they are a rarely seen support option in the games we have played so far. My planned force is six units of 8 infantry, 2 units of 6 skirmishers and one unit of 8 cavalry with 6 dismounted figures.  Along with that I have 2 standard bearers, a drummer, a physic and 9 leaders, 6 foot and 3 mounted.

Officer types
Cavalry and Skirmishers
I already had some of the older figures painted up, so they make up half of the infantry units with 3 groups of 8 men and a unit of skirmishers.  Newly painted are 24 Zouaves, 2 Zouave leaders, 3 mounted officers, 1 foot officer, 8 mounted cavalry, 6 dismounted cavalry and 6 skirmishers.  I shall replace the older figures with a box of the new Union Infantry from Perry Miniatures soon......maybe.

The zouaves are painted up as the 140th New York Volunteer Infantry, who started out as a regular uniformed unit but were changed to zouaves in the winter of 1863-64 as a reward for their seamless record. 

 I did a little bit of modelling on the cavalry, changing the arms and chopping bits about to give them carbines instead of sabers and pistols. 

I am partway through the Confederate forces as well, but none are based yet.  So there it is.  I had hoped to get the rebs done too but time and other things got in the way.

One of the other things was fixing a computer for a customer.  It was "making some funny noises and not working properly" was the clear and concise information I got.  After a few questions it became clear that this PC was a few years old (Windows Vista!) and had never, ever been cleaned.  So I opened it up and, after removing the dust that was inside the case I started cleaning the fans.  The main fan vents at the back were completely blocked and the fan was so jammed up with crap it had burnt out the motor so I had to replace it.  The cpu fan was also full of crap, so I removed it and found a load more crap.  That's the picture below, after I have removed the cpu fan to clean it. 
I'm actually quite surprised it worked at all, given that the fans were clogged up so badly.  The graphics card fan was also blocked, so it all got a damn good clean out and was soon looking almost as good as new.  A new fan, a good clean and it's all quiet again now.  A quick check of the systems and I find 2 copies of Vista, 3 different users, all with the same name and lots of multiple copies of various programs.  It's all done and gone back now and he is happy as Larry, but it took a bit longer than planned so my painting is now behind schedule.  Ah well, life goes on.

Good luck with whatever gaming you do, I shall return after the hospital release me.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

ACW Sharp Practice Campaign part 2

When we left it the Confederates had gained control of Sequatchie and pushed the Union forces back out of the town.
For a couple of turns both sides gathered themselves, the Union marched to area 10 then marched back again in dense fog while the Confederates recalled their cavalry from scouting to form up for battle.  While it didn't slow down the troops movement it did manage to throw off all the explorer and scout rolls, meaning the Confederates lost sight of the Union force.

A sudden realisation of the proximity of the main Confederate force led to Major Trump attempting a ruse de guerre.  He managed to gather enough grey uniforms to outfit 2 units which he despatched under Captain Lambert to attempt a flanking attack by pretending to be the lead elements of the Confederate main force.  Meanwhile the rest of his force, under his leadership, would attack and draw off the defending troops.  That was the plan anyway.

The main force was delayed due to the severe movement penalty caused by an orchard (-1 pip per dice is bad if you keep rolling 1's and 2's).  It took them 3 turns to get through, resulting in dawn arriving before they could get out of the trees.

Sequatchie was under curfew as the Confederates consolidated their hold.  Faint noises were heard by the pickets, but no alarm was raised.  The early dawn light changed that though as the guards saw blue uniforms in the orchard.
 Major Trump heroically led his men from the rear, appearing out of the orchard and realising they had been spotted.  How did he know you may ask?
 Because the Confederates were firing at him, that's how.  The fire was largely ineffective, but it did drop the odd man here and there as well as starting the slow accumulation of shock.
 More Confederate infantry appeared, supported by the single unit of cavalry.  Could the Reb cavaliers make a difference on the day?  Who knows, well I do but I'm not telling.
 More Union troops struggled through the closely packed widely spaced orchard.  It's amazing how many 1's Colin can roll for movement.  In the meantime the front troops opened up with an uncontrollable volley on the Confederates.  Their rifles soon gained the upper hand against the muskets of their opponents, but the exhileration of seeing the enemy falter was too much as they ignored their officers cries and kept firing straight ahead.
 This gave the dreaded grey-clad horsemen the chance they needed and in the galloped.  Sam Colts equalizers blazed away and many blue shirted infantry fell.  As the smoke cleared the result was plain to see.  Several horses and riders were down, but the Union line was smashed asunder.
 The cavalry were driven off, but at what cost?  The Union formation was broken, with two groups routing back in disorder.  The resulting force morale rolls resulted in the Union command falling below a viable point and Major Trump was last seen heading off for a round of golf.
As it all fell apart on the left, the flanking force finally arrived.  "Too late" was the cry as Trump galloped away, muttering about fake news and alternative facts again.

The Union plan was scuppered by three things.  First up was the inability of the troops to move through the orchard.  They came on slower than a slow thing.  Then, once the flanking force was available, it's command counter only came out once in several turns.  Flank attacks don't work if they don't actually get around the flank.  Finally it was the uncontrolled volleys that spelt doom for the Union.  Being unable to react to the appearance of the Confederate cavalry cost Colin with two rolls for groups breaking and one for a formation breaking costing him 5 force morale points.

The final score for the campaign was Major Major went from being an "Upstanding" officer to being a "Plucky" fellow and gained influence with his Corps commander.  Major Trump started as "Outstanding" but is now seen as a "Likely" candidate, although with reduced influence at HQ. The Confederates ended up with 3 dead and 10 wounded out of 54 men, Union had 8 dead and 7 wounded out of 66 men, including the two Sequatchie militia units.

So there it is, a quick campaign resolved in 2 battles which made it simple for me.  Maybe next time I'll get to play one.

Later folks, maybe with a picture or two of things I have painted.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

ACW Sharp Practice Campaign

Sorry for the extended absence, I have been struggling with a few things and it has kinda knbocked me for the last few months.  However, yet again morale has been improved by regular beatings from my boss, ahem, I mean wife.  So I have done very little painting or gaming, although I have managed a few boardgames here and there.  I will do another post (hopefully tomorrow) with some pictures of the few bits I have done up.  Good news is that I have finally got a date for the operation to put the tube in my stomach.  April 21st is op day, so I probably won't be celebrating Her Majesties 91st birthday.

One thing I did manage was to run an ACW campaign for Sharp Practice using the Dawns and Departures supplement, which I can highly recommend. 

The scene was set when I found a pair of willing victims"volunteers" in Panjo and Colin.  Panjo is an out and out rebel at heart while Colin is happy so long as he gets to use his figures.  Below is the map used for the campaign, there is also a road running from area 2 to area 23 down the centre squares.

Panjo had the mission of securing the town of Sequatchie to facilitate the advance of the Confederate main force.  He started in area 23 on turn 1.  His force consisted of the following units and resources
  1. Major John Major, a handsome, strapping fellow from a military family stricken by hard times
  2. Captain Jefferey Thomas, an average sort from a well-to-do military family
  3. Lieutenant Ray Mawbry, ugly as sin but loaded with cash from Daddy's cotton fields
These fine fellows commanded five units of 8 infantry supported by a single unit of skirmishers.  Panjo spent his 24 support points on an exploring officer, a physic, a musician, a mule train, spirits and tinder, a unit of 8 cavalry and a status 1 leader for them(Lieutenant Oliver Coleville).

Colin had the ambiguous mission of "stopping the rebs", without knowing what they intended.  He started in area 2 on turn 2.  To do this he had the following force
  1. Major Donald Trump, an average fellow flush with cash from the families factories
  2. Captain David Lambert, a large chap and former gentleman ranker
  3. Lieutenant Richard Hudson, thouroughly dislikeable and a downright cad
They commanded a force of five units of 8 infantry supported by a single unit of skirmishers. Colin had 26 points to spend and bought an exploring officer, signal stations, a physic, a transport cart, an additional status 2 leader(Lieutenant John Ford) and upgarades for his original 3 leaders.

The map below shows the map moves for turns 1 to 7, with Panjo neatly sidestepping Colin and attacking the Sequatchie militia in turn 7.  The use of the Confederate cavalry as scouts gave a decided advantage to Panjo as he had a clearer view of what was going on.  A random event in turn 7 allowed a double move, so Colin was just able to get to the town before the end of the day, but a determined Confederate attack forced the Union forces back in disarray.  Colin lost his transport wagon and 5 wounded men to the victorious Rebs.  Can the Rebs hold long enough to win though?

I will finish off the report tomorrow, this is long enough for one post.  Sadly there are no pictures of the Battle of Sequatchie, which resulted in Major Trump referring to the result as "not real news" as he had some "alternative facts" about the battle...........