Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Saturday, December 31, 2016

"Reload the Cannon!"

     Well, that was certainly a wild ride! 2016 is almost gone – imagine that. I have to admit, I certainly had some amazing battles, painted up some glorious miniatures, and read through quite a few rulebooks. Remember all those?!
One of many Blucher games I played.

     Some 2016 highlights:

·         painted aprox. one thousand 10mm Napoleonic figures;

·         researched many different uniforms, flags, and organization for French and Russian armies;

·         learned all about the 1812 French invasion of Russia;

·         and reviewed and played some fantastic Napoleonic’s rules:

o   General de Brigade;

o   Blucher;

o   March Attack;

o   Black Powder;

o   Drums & Shakos: Large Battles;

o   Sharp Practice II.

     Wow! That was quite a journey. I have to say, it was a wonderful ride. All those BatReps I had fun playing and making in to videos. Also had some of the best LIVE Plays I have ever had over on the Tabletop Commanders community – that last one was amazing fun.
Some GdB action.

     I have to wonder though, is that it? Wargaming is what it is… a hobby. Am I done with this little journey of mine? No way!!!

     So what is next in 2017?

·         Expand my collection of models – 10mm, of course – to account for the 1813-14 campaigns,

·         expand my French army to include more allies – Saxon grenadiers and cavalry, Poles, and Swiss,

·         try out some new rules sets, such as ESR,

·         explore collecting for navel battles of the era – 1:1200 scale,

·         get a start on collecting 28mm scale troops for smaller, skirmish-level, games.

     Not bad, eh? You didn’t think I would say, “Oh… that was fun. Now I will set it all aside for something else new and shiny!” Not a chance!
Test-trays for use with future Blucher games I am currently working on.

     To be quite frank with you, I have truly fell in love with this era. The thoughts of researching the era, collecting Napoleonic miniatures, and recreating the great battles of the black powder era just draw me like no other era has. I am not just looking forward to 2017, but the many, many years ahead in my hobby-life. Of course, plans can quite certainly alter over the course of 2017. As always, time will remain an issue for me. Embarking on a writing career early in 2017 will demand much of my free time. However, this hobby - Napoleonic miniature wargaming - will always remain an important part of my life. We shall see how well it all blends together in the coming months and years. Onwards, as I like to say.
Saxons and French assault! A wonderful game using the March Attack rules I tested earlier in 2016.

     There you go. My reflections, and my plans, have been revealed. I hope you have some fun plans brewing in your head too. Hopefully, this infrequent blog will continue to both provide some inspiration for you – the reader, and log my own progress as I travel down this long and fascinating “Napoleonic” path – some would call this a never-ending pit!

     Till next year…


Friday, July 22, 2016

The Saxons on Parade!

Finally finished off my first regiment of Saxon infantry on a 1:5-8 figure to men scale. Quite big units I must say. Like the Russians, the infantry companies are mounted on the bigger 4cm frontage bases; four companies to the battalion. Keep in mind I have not included a fifth grenadier company for either battalion in the regiment - at least not at the moment. This is mainly due to the fact I just don't have any proper figure to represent them. Unfortunately, the Old Glory "Allied" elite infantry pack does not include the shako with tall plume! Of course, the grenadiers have such a tall plume. So, it looks like I have to buy another pack of elites, this time with a proper shako.

The Saxons so far. Note the battery of Saxon med. field guns deployed to flank.

I also painted up some third-rank skirmishers for the regiment as well - only two stands, which is equal to a single platoon in General de Brigade rules. So, I still need to paint up some more of these. Note that these men are basically "line" troops pulled from the battalion - not proper light troops like the French voltigeurs.

A platoon of third-rankers deployed as skirmishers.

I have been asked how I am representing my units in General de Brigade, in terms of figure scale and mounting. Basically, I use the 15mm scale basing system described in the GdB rules (p. 9). However, since I am using 10mm scale figures I am actually able to get more models on a base. In my case, I am fitting two to three times the normal amount of models on a base, including adding a third rank! This equates to about a figure to man scale of 1:5-8. This look awesome, not to mention realistic. Such is the benefit of using 10mm scale miniatures. Of course, when I am actually playing a battle with GdB, I still count each base as holding the proper number of 15mm scale miniatures - I ignore the fact I have all those extra models on the base. So, in the case of my Saxons, each base counts as eight models in two ranks during play.

The 1st and 2nd battalions of the Prinz Anton regiment.

In other news, I still have my 10mm scale trees and some Blucher trays awaiting completion. I plan on getting an order out to LITKO soon for some more properly sized wooden bases so I can continue the project. For the moment, I have these still to be finished. This of course means I will be holding off my next battle using my beloved Blucher rules. Not to worry, I have some games of Black Powder planned for the next few weeks. :)

Some Black Powder scenario action on the way! :)

Speaking of Black Powder, I am currently working up some army lists for the 1812-1815 campaigns for these rules. This is the kind of stuff I love doing, as it involves a bit of research and referencing. I may post these up to the blog when I am done with a preliminary listing. I plan on maintaining this list as I expand it over the years. Will be fun. Interested in seeing such a list?

The French advance in strength. Note the Saxon brigade to the rear.

The might of imperial Russa advances on the French.

The Prinz Anton regiment parades past the great Napoleon I.
After a long day of parade! :()

Until next time,


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Blucher Movement Trays

As I mentioned in my previous post I was considering making some movement trays specifically for the Blucher rules. So taken was I to the use of the cards during play, I thought trays were an excellent idea. Thus, here I am making a little prototype tray.

The prototype I am working with is made from some old bases I got for the Impetvs rules years ago. The tray measurers 8cm wide by 6cm deep - a little smaller than the standard Blucher cards. I also set a smaller 8cm x 2cm base on top of the rear of the base to help line up the troops and provide a place to set dice pods and an information strip.

I decided that I wanted the trays to fit TWO stands of my troops - all my troops are based for the General de Brigade rules, which will set in the center of the tray. I used spackle, or joint compound/filler, to sculpt the actual outside edges of the tray to allow me to add flock later. The stands of troops would fit perfect on the tray. Lastly, I sculpted a couple pods for two dice. These will come in handy for keeping track of current elan, as well as artillery dice representing number of shots left and number of dice to roll.

The trays are designed to look good while standing out on the tabletop. They will make moving about the individual stands much easier. In addition, all the most important information for a unit will be right there before me - something that I was really impressed with in my last game using those cards. Of course this one is just a prototype. I am planning to alter it by making the strip containing the information a little longer. Note that this strip is actually cut from a card protector sleeve so I can actually place a piece of paper in it just as if it was a little playing card. This will keep the information in place, allow me to fill out any information I deem important, and can be swapped out as needed. The most important information here will be the corps designation, unit type - grenadiers/elites, line, heavy guns, etc. I could even add a little icon to make note of any attached guns to an infantry unit.

The size of the trays. I got these from LITKO.

I sculpted the borders with spackle - with some brown paint and white glue added to the mix. This makes the spackle like concrete when dry.

I can fit two - three of my GdB bases side by side within the tray - a 6cm x 3cm area. Perfect for all of my bases.

Little dice pods are added. Nice touch I think :)

All textured and flocked up. Note the little sleeve to hold a small paper note.

A couple of my separate dice pods I use with various games. These are made from 2cm square bases.

A look at how I lined up the troops to fit perfectly on the tray.

Works perfect for all my troops, including this massed battery of cannon. Two micro dice are used to represent current shots available, as well as the dice to roll when shooting - the red die

Looks pretty good all flocked up. I would like a little more color. I have been thinking of adding a national flag or something to the paper slip that will help.

The notes of paper can be anything - hand-written, or printed out. Also, the plastic sleeve protector allows me to actually use dry erase pens on these  if I so choose.

So there you go folks. I hope this little article will inspire you to make your own little trays. Of course such is not needed to play, but having all that information to hand is definitely a plus. Oh, and I think they look great and are quite fitting for the Blucher rules :)

Till next time, take care.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Blucher Action and Some Terrain

After a little diversion in to WW II last week, I opted for a game of Blucher to finish off my weekend. What a great battle it was too. I wont say who won or go in to too much detail regarding the fight, suffice to say I changed it up a little and had a blast.

This weeks battle was a blast. Frst time I actually used the cards with my miniatures. I liked it a lot

I have always preferred playing out scenarios as opposed to a set-piece battle using army lists and a points system. Don't get me wrong, I do actually love points systems and all. However, the challenge of coming up with something a tad bit more interesting, filled with backstory, is what really keeps the game aspect of the hobby alive for me. So, with this game I chose to play a slightly modified version of scenario 10 from the classic Charles Grant book, Scenarios for All Ages. There really wasn't much to modify however, outside of some adjustments for the Blucher rules and the Nashville Battle Mat by Cigar Box. A small affair of only 10 non-artillery units per side, it played very well. I will however, save the rest of the tale for the BatRep posted later this week on my YouTube channel, A Dash of Elan. Be sure to check it out :)

The Russians advance to deploy in front of the French guns.

Another things I did different in this battle was making use of the Blucher army cards. Now that was different I must say. To be honest, I really liked it too. In fact, I am contemplating making large movement trays specifically for use with the rules. I have always considered this option and I think I am now at the point to doing it. Of course these will be trays, so my existing models will all fit on them in all sorts of configurations. I have some ideas and will keep you all informed as to what I come up with.

The French cannon open up! Note the use of the Blucher cards.

Some small 10mm scale trees on the agenda this week.

In other news, I started working on some 10mm scale trees. My current collection is all scaled to 15mm and look rather big all around. Some smaller trees will be a nice add and fill in my forests more appropriately.

With my Blucher BatRep all wrapped up for the week, I am now looking for my next little project. Not sure what game is next, Perhaps some ancients? We shall see. I really am trying to keep the gaming going and adding more BatReps to my channel. So we shall see what I come up with before the end of the week nears. A few things are on my mind.

Ok folks, I will talk to you all again soon.

Until next time,


Friday, June 3, 2016

Some Blucher Action, and Napoleon Arrives!

Had my first game of Blucher after a long while. This game however was played out on Google+ Hangouts - basically Skype, except made public. I did not actually "play" in the battle - I was the host. Five friends made up the opposing commanders for the French and the Russians. Was a blast as well as a good experience in multi-player gaming using the Blucher rules. Needless to say, I will be looking more in depth at using these rules in multi-player games online. A three part video of the battle, check out part one at the bottom of this post. Note we made use of the Scharnhorst campaign rules to set-up the fight. If you like, check out the rest of the battle on A Dash of Élan YouTube channel.

I have done a large number of these Live Plays on Hangouts already. In fact, I love it so much I will be upgrading my webcam shortly in order to improve video quality. Stay tuned for that if you enjoy these videos.

In other news I have just completed the command stands for Napoleon and Kutuzov! I must say, I am quite pleased with how they came out. I even added a figure for Napoleon's Mameluke body guard, Roustam Raza.

Napoleon's command base.

Roustam Raza

Kutuzov's command base.
Next up on the painting desk I have another battalion of Russian musketeers to get done. One good thing is I already have the command models already painted up - product of my re-basing a few weeks back. In addition, I also just put out an order for Pavlov grenadiers which will soon be making themselves known. In addition, some much needed French infantry and horse artillery units - for both sides in this case, are also on the way. Ahhh... the fun of collecting new models :)

As for gaming, I am actually looking forward to having a go with another round of Black Powder. Yes, I do so love GdB, but it will definitely be a while before my collection has some more variety and size before I can put on some bigger battles. Same could be true of BP, but I do get an extra unit or two on the table with these rules. BP is a fun quick game. We shall see.

Anyway, that's about it for this update. Not much really. School is keeping me occupied to be sure, save for the odd game session here and there. So enjoy the video and please leave comments. Until next time my friends...


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Some Changes and Pics :)

Been very busy with school as of late. I did manage to get some things done including getting a start of my Kutuzov command base :) I'll share pics of him when I get it done by the next post.

Been messing around with the background colors as well to the blog. I figured a little color change was in order.

Ayway, henre are some pics of my latest efforts so far on painting and re-basing the boys. Enjoy :)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Re-basing Project: BIG Units! :()

After playing some really awesome battles with General de Brigade - GdB, I have really taken a strong liking to these rules. I am not sure if it is the scale of play - tactical/divisional, or just the flavor is has for the Napoleonic wars. All I know is it really is both entertaining and educational! When I say "educational" I should probably say that it is more of a boon to the learning experience rather than something that "educates", although it does do that for me in many respects. This is a huge plus for me as I love to learn about the period. It has inspired me to want to learn more about this fascinating period of military history. But anyway, before I bore you about my passion for these rules, I should move on to something else.

The French brigade advances!

Yes, you heard me. I have recently begun re-basing my infantry! Oh the dread! Ahhh... it's not too bad actually. All I am really doing is adding a third rank to my infantry bases to allow a more realistic and eye-catching look to them. This has always been something of a bugger with me: not representing all the ranks in our little battalions. Two is fine really, but still! So, here I am, re-basing my troops. Frontages remain the same, although since I am such a great fan of the GdB system, I am putting my Russian infantry on slightly wider bases - 40mm wide as opposed to the 30mm wide for all my other troops. Russian companies were a bit larger than the French, so wider frontage it is. I like the look too! I will say however, with all this re-basing, my number of units has decreased big time! Before I could field a battalion with about 45-60 10mm figures. With the new basing, I am representing these same units with 85 - 90! Wow! However, have a look at some of the pictures. Just amazing if you ask me. What do you think? Is it worth the effort?

A French brigade deployed. The three battalions are at a 1:5-8 model to man ratio, in three rank companies.

The battalion on the far left in column has all six companies present. The other two have both detached their
light companies; one also has no grenadier company.

Two battalions of the St. Petersburg regiment. I still have to re-paint some of the pom-poms to the appropriate
company colors. These are company sized bases. Note that the Grenadier base is actually only a platoon
in strength. The lights are also not present yet - which are also only a platoon in strength.

Another look at the Russians.

All my other troops - artillery and cavalry have no need of re-basing. So they will remain as they are for the time being.

A French battery of 8lb guns - no howitzer section. A full unit as I will use them in GdB.

Another look at the battery deployed.

As for being able to use these newly based troops with other rules, I can say that it is no big deal. In fact, with other tactical games such as Black Powder, it has no effect at all really. Rules such as Blucher, Lasalle, etc., that call for a universal base size are really no issue either. In fact, I think the bases width differences between the Russian and French infantry only adds to the realism, in my opinion. I am sure some may disagree. No matter. I could always use trays if need be.

Anyway, that is my post for the week. Till next time...