Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spanish Church - Part One

OK, able to make some real progress on the Spanish Church today - I have been pretty busy at work the past few weeks and have only worked on the terrain piece on and off as a result. Today however, was a good day to get the last pieces finished on the ground level and get some texture and a base coat of paint.

What is this you ask? Well, a loooooong time ago, a friend of mine asked me to build him a Spanish Church for Napoleonic skirmish games. I said sure, in fact it was a trade a really awesome book on the the Napoleonic War in Spain and a bunch of materials in exchange for my labor. Well, it never happened, too many projects for both of us, timing being poor - and, frankly, my motivation for a large scale project like this was in and out. I even had a couple of "false starts" on the project.

Well. Now the project is off and running. I guess my extra motivation came in two forms: (1) at the swap meet, I horse traded for some miniatures in this period and (2) the rules Songs of Drums and Shakos looks awesome. So, away we go...

Here are some images of the base-painted ground level. We'll start with the overhead view. The second photo has some descriptions of the plan. The piece is 24 inches X 24 inches. Yes, the mystery hand is the wife playing solitaire on her iPad2.

Now, here are just some images with a few of my miniatures just to show some areas of detail and scale. Right now doors are plain, but they won't be when done. Lots of other detailing to do too. Next step is to paint this level. Then I will build the next level up.

This will be good for Pirates, too.

Attention! An officer approaches!

Guarding the side entrance to the church.

These posts may stop a bullet!

Galloping thru the compound!

A dragoon investigates the out-building.

The tiles offer an officer a little shade.

The back courtyard and some fusiliers.

Main entrance to the church.

English in the main gates.

The stairs up and a cross in the compound.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Schizo Painting

I was able to do some painting over the weekend...but it was mixed between 28MM Nappy's and 28MM is the evidence of my schizophrenia...

The first image is of Perry plastic hussars. I must say that they are awesome miniatures. I also must say that I hate the color scheme I chose here - it looked better on the nice painting guide that came in the box. It is the 9th Hussars who had several companies in Spain.

Next up are the Perry plastic dragoons. Once again, awesome miniatures. What I love about the dragoons is that you get 8 dismounted dragoons too.

The thing about the plastics is that they are a pain to assemble - for me, I have to be in the mood. But you do get a lot of flexibility in the poses. They paint up well too, although these guys are getting the basic paint job - so, I guess what I mean is that after a little primer, they take paint very, very well.

Here are some American "leaders" I recently acquired (at the club swap meet). I wanted the miniature on the walkie-talkie but the package came with the other models in it too.

What I have been working on in most of my current spare time is a Spanish church complex for Napoleonic skirmish gaming. The bottom level is 95% completed - I have to texture the ground. Then I can build the next level and paint it all up. I am building it for a friend who supplied most of the materials - sadly, he supplied them loooooooong ago and this project just kept getting shoved into the rear-view mirror.

Pics of that to come as we get closer...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Family Photo

Sorry, no wargame post here - posting a family photo (and forwarding a link to my family). The photo is military in nature however.

When my grandmother passed away about 5 years ago, I came into possession of the below photo of Company G of the 347th Infantry taken during World War One. The photo is, obviously, quite old and quite long, about 44" long. It had been rolled up for almost a century and was quite brittle.

Recently, while at a craft store (getting paper roses for the vegetable garden) we saw a sale on framing. So, we had this image framed (click for a larger view). It now hangs in my home office above my desk - in easy view.

347th Infantry Company G
The image is taken in front of a barrack building, presumably in the United States before transport to France.  My great-grandfather, Octave Boudreaux, is the rightmost cook in the center of the picture. Here is a close-up snap of man (click for a larger view).

Cajun Cookin' for the Troops
The image is stained from decades of people touching the image with their fingers to point him out. Another reason to have finally gotten the image framed.

I have his helmet, and another wartime portrait of him hanging in my home office. My grandmother and mother always said he turned his bayonet into sort of a butcher knife when he got home. Cajuns are resourceful!

That's all for now, more later...I painted a couple of French Hussars and Dragoons for The Spanish Ulcer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My First Hail Caesar! Game

Visitors to this blog know that I am a fan of the Black Powder rules. I love the command-and-control system as it is simple, elegant and fun. Besides that the overall game system, simply, works.

So, although I possess no ancient armies whatsoever, I was very excited when my friend Dan (our current club president) offered me the opportunity to play Hail Caesar! Matt Vigil has simply loads of Romans and Gauls in 15mm and the two of them conspired to host a six-player Hail Caesar game at today's club meeting.

Dan (middle) before his game

The game did not disappoint. Dan and Matt acted as referees while I played the role of Roman commander-in-chief and Scott played the role of Gaul commander-in-chief.

Of the six-players, 4 were experienced Black Powder players and 2 were new the rule system. Dan and Matt had each played two games of Hail Caesar and numerous Black Powder games. Hail Caesar does have several important changes from Black Powder in order to better represent the type of combat that the game manages - but is essentially the same game at much of its core. So, I think that in general, the crowd was not a rookie crowd.

The Gallic Horde

The Roman Invaders
Now, here's the cool thing. We had 42 units on the table - chariots, heavy cavalry, light cavalry, warbands, skirmishers, legionnaires and triarii. The Gauls has 23 units and the Romans 19. We played the game to conclusion in 90 minutes! Amazingly fast. Now, the table was bare (there was no terrain placed in order to help the rookies assimilate the rules without too much fanciness) and that certainly sped contact between the two armies - so we got into battle fairly quickly.

Matt and his awesome Gauls


Dan offering aid to the Gauls

My fellow Roman conquerors
I think that the designers of the game have created a really fun close combat system with these rules. Some units - like a warband - get extra combat power on the initial turn of combat when they charge. So, units have two close combat ratings, one for the initial charge and one for subsequent rounds of a continuing melee. I expected to see melees that did not resolve in a single turn, and I did. They were fun, too, real nail biters and sometimes real meat-grinders. The system of when a combat ends is very well thought out.

Look, I really know nothing about the period - except that I think it is really cool - but the rules produced a situation that seemed right to my mind for this period. The Gauls came in, whirling themselves at the Roman lines hoping to do a good bit of damage in those initial rounds of combat. They know, of course, that if they don't crack some skulls in the early phases of a given close combat that the Roman stamina will usually win out.

We had several situations where more than one Gallic unit was able to apply its weight against a single Roman unit - and that is what it will take overall to break Roman lines. In the end of this fight, the Roman center held firm, destroying many Gallic units, and holding the day. On the flanks however, it seemed that the fighting was much more give-and-take. The Roman right flank was very compromised but so were the Gauls that were attacking them. The Roman left was weakened a little but held very firmly with tough fighting. In the end, the Romans were very happy to see the remaining Gauls leave the field.

Of the remaining 11 Gallic units, 4 were shaken and 2 were disordered and 4 were skirmishers (which would have been slaughtered if they had to fight). Truly, there was no more offensive capability in this army and offense is the lifeblood of the Gauls.

Of the 12 remaining Roman units, only two were shaken but they were the only two units holding down the right flank (and one was a skirmisher unit). Had the battle continued, the Gallic chariots may have shredded them. The Roman center held firm with the loss of only 2 skirmisher units (due to the unexpected speed of the Gauls!). None of the units were shaken, but several were getting close as the losses and exhaustion of the day took its toll. I think the Romans could have managed the offensive for another couple of turns, but that would have been their limit.

Indeed, it was a good afternoon to be a Roman soldier in the center sector of today's battle! Thanks for the great gaming today fellas!

I leave you with more pics...
The Gallic charge is uncoordinated, resulting in a Roman meat-grinder

The Roman cavalry on the left is slow to get to battle!

The Romans are grinding the Gauls in the center.

Also in the center, the Gauls are piling on! The Romans would hold.

Not just hold, but they would advance boldly! Chasing the fleeing Gauls.

Chariots versus Horse. The Gallic chariots would take this fight!

Positions at the end. A strong Roman center.

Frontal view of the Roman center

More Nappy Skirmish

Between out-of-town family being in and out of the house for the last couple of weeks and being sick, I really haven't done much of anything. But today is different - I am going to the club meeting to play in my first game of Hail Caesar! I'll bring the camera and make a report later...

Yesterday was an "illness recovery day" so no one came over and we didn't go anywhere. Besides cutting the grass, I painted a few figs and generally wasted away the day. I did manage to stage a few shots of some 25mm Victrix they are: