Sunday, 15 January 2017

2nd Brigade, 9th Div, II Corps, L'Armée du Nord

Here it is, finally, the last French infantry brigade for II Corps of my Waterloo project, completed over Christmas (and used in battle last week!). It's the 2nd Brigade, 9th Division, commanded by Général de Brigade Baron Jean-Baptiste Jamin with the 100th Regiment of Line and the 4th Light Regiment.

Along with its sister formation, the 1st Brigade of 9th Div, the unit was involved with the attacks on Hougoumont farm during the battle of Waterloo.

This is another standard French infantry unit, with 6 Elan and skirmishers.

So, with the infantry finished, I had just one cavalry unit left to complete the Corps. Christmas was good in allowing me plenty of time to pick away at this big unit.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Mont-St-Who? A Blücher AAR

What with finishing off II Corps of the French army for the Waterloo campaign over Christmas (I'll be posting pictures of the last handful of brigades in the next few posts), I wanted to try them out in battle. So, I invited Dean over last Saturday for a game of Blücher, which also utilised my new gaming table! I quickly set up some scenery, for a board that has a look of Waterloo about it, with two farmhouses dominating the centre of a long valley.

The French had two full corps (about 230 points), against Britain's I Corps and a contingent of Brunswickers (about 160 points). I took the latter and positioned them on a ridge overlooking the farm houses. The French were positioned on the other side of the valley, threateningly. The two farms were objectives, as was one of the hills on the British held ridge. To win the game one of us had to hold at least two of these objectives after thirty turns.

This would be a race to the farms and the French began by plunging II Corps forwards, as steady as a steam roller. Meanwhile, I despatched the two Guards brigades (my best units) to each farm, hoping to get into position as soon as possible against the advancing troops.

The farm on my right was occupied with no problems and the soldiers began making defences in the building.

Just in the nick of time my soldiers were able to get into the left farm, just before elements of French II Corps captured it. Meanwhile on my extreme left flank I unveiled the Brunswickers, just in case the French got too close.

Despite having my best soldiers in the farm and my artillery peppering the French infantry as they advanced, they attacked in a mass against the defended position.

The results were catastrophic for me! His attack inflicted seven hits which broke the Guards instantly. French infantry rushed in to the position to claim an objective!

This immediately made my left flank look quite shaky, so I started to draw in Dutch troops to defend the ridge. Hunkering down they awaited the French onslaught.

With the farm secured, the French infantry began fanning out to launch their attack on my positions.

However, not everything was going his way, a French brigade crashed into my Brunswickers, who stood their ground and sent the Frenchmen flying back.


Musket fire was exchanged at the front of the ridge, to no one's particular advantage. I was waiting to unleash my cavalry and hoping that I could reduce his Elan enough to try and pick off a few brigades. My artillery had retired from the field after blasting through its ammunition, so there was also a hole in my defences.

The time was right for a cavalry charge, or so I thought. I threw the Brunswick horse at an exposed flank of one of his brigades. However, the French were still strong enough to send my cavalry back whence they came!

With things turning into a desultory shooting match in front of the ridge, the French I Corps sprang into life and began the long march across the fields.

The Dutch and German troops on my left were holding their own despite taking a hammering. A cavalry charge from the Dutch and, again, the Brunswicks, soon sent Frenchmen scattering!

All the while I Corps were getting nearer with their fresh troops. A French cavalry division attacked my Dutch cavalry and sent them routing off the field, in turn trapping themselves behind the British line.

Taking care to avoid the occupied farmhouse on the right, I Corps advanced slowly and menaced the gap on the ridge where the KGL and more Dutch troops stood.

His intention was clear, to use the force of the Corps to smash their way onto the hill! I was sure things were not going to go my way. At this stage I had barely an untouched unit, all were suffering from some form of damage and fatigue. The KGL had taken such a battering that they were forced to begin to withdraw.

It was time to start using the few fresh units that I had left, so I began gathering them on the ridge with the objective marker, to try to make some last stand.

My Cavalry attacks proved fruitless and they ended up back on their start lines, more fatigues than before! I was running out of options and there were still French cavalry threatening my rear lines.

However, things took a bit of a bright turn after an Allied unit was pushed off the ridge by a French infantry attack and found themselves directly facing the lurking French cavalry.

The French cavalry were quickly dispatched with musket fire and his assaults seemed to be faltering as we entered the last turn of the game. With the British and Allied soldiers still holding on to the ridge and a farm, I was declared the winner!

The hammer blow from I Corps had failed, largely because he didn't begin advancing them in time. Had they started their attack maybe two turns earlier, they may have had a massive influence on the outcome. As it was, they were held back just a smidgen too long, which gave me breathing space.

Blücher rewards boldness and the nerve to advance under fire, it is also attritional, so that you have to wear down your opposition and strike the killer blow at precisely the right time. The French Corps on the right wore down their opponents and looked at times at though they would achieve a massive blow on my defences, but the support came too slow and too late. The Thin Red Line held for long enough to see the day through. Another great game of Blücher!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Chairman of the Board

Over the Christmas holiday, I was able to start work on a new gaming table. Initially I wanted to make a Square Bashing specific board and realised that the two MDF boards I use to put my polystyrene boards on top of were the perfect size, being 4ft x 3ft each. 

Being MDF the first thing to do was the prime the board. I actually painted both sides of the board to sop them warping but in the event I didn't need to do this, the 12mm thick board was strong enough not to shrink! I used some cheap primer spray from Wilco's that cost me about four quid a can. It took two cans to do both sides of the board.

The next stage was easy enough, paint the entire thing in Burnt Umber to give a base colour for the flock later. I was going to use a spray for this, but the ones I bought from EBay were a bit rubbish, so I used some acrylic and a brush.

Then the final stage was to flock the entire table. This was easily done with a load of PVA and some flock that I bought off EBay. I hand painted the PVA and scattered the flock over it. Next up, I tipped the board over some paper on the floor to catch the flock and banged the back of the board to get rid of the loose flock. The final stage was to paint watered down PVA over the bits I'd missed or had a thin amount of flock on. I then sprayed a fixer over the entire board to hold the flock.

You'll see the flock is not a perfect cover, but I like that, as real grass isn't perfect. My original plan was to then draw a 6" square grid over the entire board for Square Bashing, but I decided not to in the end and do the other board the same to make a nice big 6"x4" board.

I did the second bard exactly as I had with the first. So, now I will have to rethink my idea for a Square Bashing board. I may use the old polystyrene boards I have, then they won't be wasted.

Whilst I was busy with flock, I also made a few ploughed fields with some left over MDF boards I had. These were very simply done by pasting ridged wallpaper to the boards. This was then painted with Burnt Umber and heavily drybrushed with Khaki. Finally, the edges were flocked and hey presto: some fields!

In other news, Dean and I played Star Wars: Rebellion over the holidays, I was the Imperials, he the Rebels. We played for nearly four hours and only got onto the sixth move. But it was our first game ever, so we had to do everything step-by-step in the first couple of turns. Once we got used to it, thing sped up and it flowed pretty well.

My crowning achievement was moving the Death Star into orbit around Kashyyyk and blowing it away.

A big and expensive game (£70!), but well worth it for Star Wars nerds as it comes packed with masses of figures, spaceships, ground vehicles, counters and cards. I can't wait to play another game of it!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

1st Brigade, 9th Div, II Corps, L'Armée du Nord

The penultimate infantry brigade for II Corps is the 1st Brigade, 9th Div. This brigade was commanded initially by Baron Gauthier (who's name is on the base label), and consisted of the 92nd and 93rd Line Regiments. 

The 9th Divison fought at Quatre-Bras on the 16th of June where it was fully committed and lost about 800 men, including Gauthier. He was later replaced by Colonel Tissot. As these units are for the campaign, Gauthier is named as commander on the label.

The 93rd Ligne had fought as Marines at Trafalgar, so the Brigade had history! At Waterloo the 9th was deployed against Hougoumont and later supported the Imperial Guard's final assault.

I have one more brigade of infantry to paint for II Corps, then the cavalry to finish off the full Corps.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Dwarves and Giants

The brigades keep coming at the moment, I am trying my best to get II Corps finished off as quickly as humanely possible. With the Christmas break coming up, I should have the full Corps finished just after New Year. At least, that is the timescale I am currently working towards. 

This next brigade is the 2nd Brigade of 7th Division, commanded by Général de Brigade Baron Piat and consisted of the 12e Régiment de Légère and 4e Régiment de Ligne.

Along with the 1st Brigade of 7th Div, these were not present at Waterloo but made a good show of themselves at Ligny on the 16th of June.

These are a very typical French brigade, with an Elan of 6 and skirmishers, pretty standard.

I only have two more infantry brigades to finish off for II Corps now, so we're nearly there!

As a bonus, I also finished Judge Giant for the Judge Dredd project, so from 6mm dwarves to 28mm Giants, don't ever say I don't spoil you...

This figure is an old Foundry figure that I bought back at Derby World Wargames, from their bitty 2000AD range. That said, it's a very nice sculpt with a lot of detail and character.

With Christmas just around the corner I doubt I'll get a chance to post much, but I'll resume the blog in the New Year. Until then have a good Xmas and a happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

1st Brigade, 7th Division, II Corps, Armée du Nord in 6mm

In a fit of trying to get II Corps of the Armée du Nord finished off, I completed the next brigade, the 1st Brigade of 7th Div. This Division was commanded by Général de Division Baron Jean Baptiste Girard and the 1st Brigade was in turn commanded by Général de Brigade Vicomte Louis de Villiers. The Brigade was formed of the 11e and 82e Régiment de Légère.

This unit took no part at Waterloo, but were fighting at Ligny (16th June) on the French left flank.

This is a standard French Brigade with a slightly higher than normal Elan of 7. The 7th Division (along with the 8th Div) led the attack on St Amand at Ligny and were in the thick of the fighting all afternoon.

Another complete brigade means I have one less to do! The end of II Corps is in sight and it's all downhill from here...

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

We Three King Tigers of Orient Are

I recently ordered some newish 1/100 Zvezda King Tigers from EBay, they came as a set and only cost me about £10. Three quid each for a Königstiger? Bargain!

Compared to other Zvezda kits these are slightly more complicated with nearly thirty parts. However, they are big kits with lots of detail (not so much on the tracks though).

The turrets are the Henschel turrets and there is no Zimmerit on the tanks, which firmly dates them to late 1944 production models.

With this in mind, I painted them with the late 1944 ambush camouflage scheme, which consists of the typical three tone with dots to break up the large areas of paint. I sourced this scheme from the classic book Panzer Colours.

As a final touch, I added a bunch of stowage (from various manufacturers) to make them look more 'lived in'.

With the large number of parts each tank took about forty minutes to make and some of the very small parts may not be for the faint-hearted model maker. That said, they are the only plastic King Tigers on the market at the moment and it means I don't pay a fortune for my heavies!

Thanks for reading!
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