Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A little something arrived this morning....

Hi everyone I just received a very nice package this morning.... If I can get out of decorating for five minutes I'll have a read!!! :)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro Order of Battle

Hi everyone :) I've been researching penninsular war battles in an effort to direct my collecting and painting efforts.

I decided the battle of  Fuentes de Oñoro would make a nice first engagement for me even if it is a big first project! The idea is that it will give me two core armies for penninsular gaming and will be transferable to other theatres of war with the french force so they can fight against the Austrians, Russians and Prussians in the future.

To that end I've been researching the  Fuentes de Oñoro OOB'S (Order of Battle) as its an interesting and evenly matched battle with lots of interesting units to help me choose which real units my battalions will represent (hence all the Highlanders!?)

So I now have a long list of French and British regiments at the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro but I need some advice on which ones to pick!? Should I try and represent entire actual divisions/brigades? Or should I just pick whichever I like the thought of? Unforrunately I'm not sure what scale I'm going to represent the battle with - the infantry figure scale is roughly 1:25 do I translate that to battalions aswell? I'd prefer to refight the battle as a whole rather than just part of it and I'd like to represent the different types of units involved but at a scale I can handle?
All advice very much welcome!

As an aside I've just invested in the General de Brigade deluxe edition rules so I'm looking forward to having a read when it arrives in the post - a backup in case my own rules fall short! :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Progress Report and Victrix Highlander review

Hi everyone :) Ok, so the whole trying to publish a post once a week thing hasn't worked out so well its been another month!? Unfortunately life and especially work are getting in the way let alone problems with internet connections!

However, I've been busy nonetheless making alot of progress! :)

So first up I finished basing my first napoleonic french infantry battalion.

I'm very pleased with how they've turned out as a first attempt I just need to source a flag manufacturer and decide which battalion they are! If anyone has any advice on what flags to get it would be appreciated, I've done a bit of research and various outfits such as the flag dude are recommended but some suggestions would be very helpful!

Then, due to my massive purchase of victrix models I jumped into building my 5 boxes of victrix napoleonic british highland infantry! Now before I continue I have to say this was a pretty mammoth task! lol So far I've managed to build 6 full battalions of 40 models!!!???? and I've still got one more battalion to assemble on my table!

I really like the victrix napoleonic british highlander models they're very well sculpted and I would highly recommend them. They take a lot longer to build than perry miniatures due to the variety of poses you can concoct as the models allow for different arms, heads and backpacks to be used as well as a number of different torsos including kneeling models.

I do have a few gripes though.... Firstly there is quite a bit of flash and mould lines on some of the parts especially on the torsos. The fragility of some of the parts is a bit of a problem. Now, having read other reviews I personally haven't had any problems with bayonets falling off but the most fragile part of a model I have ever come across on any model ever is a particular tassle on the bagpipes!? It's a good job there's so many of them because even though I'm a very experienced model maker I broke loads of them just trying to get them off the sprues let alone when trying to glue them and I'm pretty sure a few broke as I breathed on them!? lol

The other particularly fragile part are some of the musket straps which break with monotonous regularity. Although I like the look of the victrix models alot there are some parts that I wasn't keen on - some of the heads were very offputting as some of the faces look like they belong to old age pensioners (no offence but they shouldn't be on the battlefield lol) or some of them look like John Bull - a little bit rotund of face shall we say and therefore a little too comic looking! I want stern scottish diehards!

Having said that though, the models look great and victrix offer the best value for money out there(especially with their deals) and the quality of the models are first rate - other manufacturers whom offer inexpensive models often lack quality - that isn't the case with victrix they are as good as perry if not a bit better!

My last gripe, and its the biggest one(!?) is the number of command models provided in the boxes - there's just too many of them! I currently have 13 officers and 6 standard bearers I have no current use for.... although they may come in handy for brigade commanders and the like.

So here's the roll-call:


I'm particularly fond of the unit with the kneeling front line and the standing second firing line :) Although it only occured to me afterwards that forming those guys up into a marching column might not look so good!
So thats taken me an entire month to do! In addition I may have made contact with a chap whom could take some of the load off of me on the painting front for a reasonable fee and to a good standard although I'll still be doing the vast majority of it! I also bought another 800 renedra bases as I was starting to run out! 
So as soon as I get this last Highland battalion built I'm going to start concentrating on building some more french units so I can get a game going soon! :)  As I've got the next week off from work I'm planning on getting alot done and lets hope I can keep posting on the blog a bit more regularly!
Lastly, I'm going to be heading up to salute in April to hopefully source some additional reinforcements, flags and some terrain - in particular some buildings for my wargames table :)
As always all comments and advice welcome
Rob :) 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Long overdue update!

Hi everyone ;) so its been a whole month since I was able to update the blog for which I'm sorry! If I manage to get my act together I'll attempt to post once a week at least!

Since the last update I managed to undercoat all the models I previously built with either white or black spray depending on the colour scheme.

I have also picked up a few bargains on ebay: namely a box of victrix British napoleonic artillery, 2 boxes of French napoleonic infantry and 1 box of Old guard grenadiers (yes I know they did'nt get to fight alot but they're pretty!)

I then saw on the victrix homepage they were having a 30% off deal so I went a little crazy and bought 4 boxes of penninsular british infantry and 1 box of flank companies, the same again for british highlanders, 2 more boxes of british artillery, a box of old guard chasseurs, a box of middle guard and another box of french napoleonic infantry!? So thats the mext 6 months of hobby budget spent!? lol

It would be silly not to take advantage of such a deal as I saved alot of money and the plan is to sell some of my Games Workshop collection to make up the outlay so I can keep collecting Napoleonics regularly! However as you can imagine I have plenty to be getting on with!

Other than buying lots of new toys I've also been working hard trying to finish painting my first French Napoleonic infantry battalion and yesterday I finally finished them! :) I'm very pleased with how they've turned out as a first attempt the only drawback being how long they took to finish but I'm hoping not only am I getting better at painting but I've also figured out how to paint them a bit quicker!

So last night I managed to base the models with sand and the plan is to paint and flock the bases tonight and give the whole lot a varnish tomorrow.

The next stage of the master plan is to build and base all the models I've just purchased, which will take quite a bit of time and then get busy with more painting! If I can get the models built I can get them on the games table quicker!

For the future I've got a good infantry core for both armies now, I'd like to get some more cavalry for the British which, due to the lack of plastic box sets will mainly be perry, and then the French are in desperate need of some cannon! Hopefully Victrix will come through with some 28mm plastics otherwise it will be some more perry metals!

Other than painting and building models I've got my gaming table to work on so more updates soon as often as I can :)

As always all comments, suggestions and criticisms welcome! A special thanks to JJ for all his advice! :)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Weekend update!

Hi everyone :)

Well the goal for my weekend off this weekend was to finish building my British Napoleonic Hussars and second infantry battalion! Now I have my camera working properly I can post some pictures of where I'm up to!

So this is my workstation where all the magic happens!

This is what I've been working on this weekend: British hussars above, a french infantry battalion in the background and two British infantry battalions in the foreground the foremost still in the process of being built.

These are the French Dragoons I built over Christmas.
 French Curaissers and my first French infantry battalion undercoated and part painted.
 A close up of one of my first painted French line infantry
 And the rear view yes I tried painting the little N with a crown above it!?
 British hussars.
 French Dragoons again the dismounted models are to the right.
 French Hussars.
 British hussars on display.

 The second British infantry battalion built.
 And a little close up.
 And the other end of the line.
 Here's all my French in one shot.
 Close up of French Hussars.
 And Curaissers.
 Second Infantry Battalion.
 And my first French Infantry Battalion in various stages of undercoated, part painted and finidhed except basing.

So that's where I'm up to!

So the next stage of my plan having built all the models I've collected is to get back to some serious painting! I'd really like to give myself a deadline to work to in order to speed things up but as its taken a long time just to get where I'm at with the first French infantry Battalion I have no idea what would be reasonable!?

As I still have £20 left over from January to add to my £50 budget for February, I have £70 to spend next month. I'm thinking about trying out some Victrix plastic box sets - I really want to get some artillery and the Victirx British artillery boxed set contains 3 guns and limbers for £20 odd pounds. Unfortunately they don't do a similiar boxed set for the French so I was thinking of getting a British Penninsular Infantry centre companies boxed set and a French Infantry 1807-1812 to make up roughly my budget's worth. It will be interesting to compare the Perry plastics to the Victrix. It states on the Victirx website that the artillery boxed set comes with a selection of cannon barrels does anyone know if its three barrels of each option or one of each option?

In the longer term I have quite a bit of work to do on my games board and terrain in preparation for what I really want to do which is get some models on the table and have a game with them! Additionally, I need to keep on working on my wargame rules - I have a workable playtest set so far but there's still a lot to add and a lot to tweak! And finally I need to keep working on my mates to try and get them interested in a bit of Napoleonic wargaming hopefully now I've got some pretty pictures up this blog will help in that mission!

Next up will be a report on my painting progress as soon as I get it done in and around work, chores and keeping the girlfriend happy!

Cheers Rob :)

Friday, 10 January 2014

Hi my name is Rob I live near Southampton, Hampshire in the UK and I've been wargaming for longer than I can remember! I started off with Rogue Trader and various other editions of Warhammer 40k even running my own X Legion WH40K tournaments up until last year when I became disenchanted with 40k. I've always enjoyed military history and studied strategic studies at university and I have created a number of wargames and roleplaying rules for myself and my friends.
I've always wanted to get into historical wargaming but 40k and other wargames got in the way! Now I've slipped the shackles I've decided to take the plunge and get into Napoleonic wargaming, which is one of the main periods I've always been particularly interested in!
The purpose of this blog is for me to have an outlet where I can share tales of my collecting, building and painting Napoleonic models, making a gaming board and terrain, trying out different rule sets and maybe designing some rules of my own. Hopefully I'll get some advice from the community along the way!
I've read a lot of blogs that have inspired me, I've looked at huge Napoleonic wargames and thought that's what I want to do! Hopefully this will help fellow wargamers interested in getting into Napoleonics and amuse those whom have already made the journey or are embarked upon it. So welcome to my journey sorry for the longwinded introduction and lets get on with the action!

Where I'm at: I started this project three months ago, the plan is to have a budget of fifty pounds a month to spend on whatever I need. I already knew I wanted to collect a French Napoleonic army as I like the history, uniforms and army organisation. There is of course, also the fascination with Napoleon! The next decision was what scale to go for? Ideally I'd like to play big battles but still keep detail in the models and after some research on the internet I was very tempted by 15mm scale - especially AB models as they look amazing but having seen massive 28mm (or 25mm) battles on blogs such as the 'Avon Napoleonic Fellowship' and 'Marauder Moments' I figured if they can do it so can I!? So I've plumped for 28mm scale. As my wargaming buddies are a little reluctant to invest the time and money in a new project I decided to collect another army for them to play with and for me to fight against in the hopes of getting my mates interested and they were keen on Napoleonic British.
So, with the scale and armies to be collected sorted I made my first purchase - a box of Perry French and British infantry from the Wargames Emporium. I definately recommend this online store prices are very cheap and delivery very fast. I'm familiar with the Perry's work from 40k and I wasn't disappointed with their Napoleonic miniatures! Originally my plan was to build and paint one unit at a time so I actually painted all the models before moving on to another one (yes like most I have a cupboard of unpainted models!!!!). Obviously I started with the French! The models are very easy to put together (much easier than 40k models) and they're very nice looking models.
So onto the first thorny issue - basing! It seems this is a big topic for historical wargaming as most rule sets seem to demand a different basing system! As I have no idea what ruleset I'll be using yet I had to make a decision and did so based on some research and basically what I thought looked good. In the end I decided on Renedra 20mm square bases and to base each model individually. I think the bases are just the right size for each model to be based separately whilst maintaining the close order drill look of Napoleonic formations.
This is where things start to get interesting and hopefully there's a bit of help here for 'noobs' like myself! So I had to answer the question for myself of what scale to play at - not model scale but battle scale? I want a game that represents Napoleonic warfare at a level where the different type of formation a unit is in matters, where individual soldiers matter but not a skirmish game - I definitely want big battles. It quickly became obvious that the battalion was the basic unit upon which formations were based and the equivalent is the cavalry squadron. So with a bit of research I discovered a French battalion was comprised of six companies - 4 line companies 1 voltigeur (skirmisher/light infantry) company and 1 grenadier company. Whilst many systems seem to use 24 or less models for a battalion 36 seemed to represent a battalion better especially when in line or column formation, therefore I decided a French infantry battalion would consist of 36 models in their 6 respective companies. I would later regret this decision somewhat when I came to attempt painting my first battalion due to the sheer amount of work! However, I'm glad I persevered as I think the big battalions look great.
In comparison, a British battalion consisted of 10 companies and were generally (on paper) stronger than a French battalion, therefore I decided to represent them with 10 companies of 4 models for 40 man strong units (the British generally had 8 line companies, 1 grenadier company and 1 light infantry company in their battalions). I was surprised to learn functionally there was very little difference between voltigeurs, grenadiers and line infantry in both French and British battalions (having been mislead by other wargames especially computer wargames!?) In fact it seems any French/British infantry battalion could skirmish and voltiguer/light infantry units were just as capable in a toe-to-toe fight as any other troop (stereotypes can be hard to shake so the research has been very informative). Using the same scale for cavalry squadrons a unit came in as a very convenient 12-18 models strong.
With the research I discovered a Napoleonic army organisation was roughly: several companies make a battalion, several battalions make a regiment, several regiments make a brigade, several brigades make a division, several divisions make a corps and several corps make an army. I'm still not sure what sort of level I'm aiming for but its largely irrelevant at the moment!
So according to my original plan I duly built and based my first Napoleonic infantry battalion and because of the amount of white on the uniforms I decided to undercoat the models in white spray undercoat (previous experience of painting white has been fraught with difficulty!) After 4 weeks of painting I still hadn't finished painting the battalion and that's when the regret on the size of the unit kicked in!
Now, I am primarily a gamer and I'm desperate to get my models on a board and start playing with them so with two weeks off from work over Christmas I decided the current rate of progress just wasn't fast enough! Luckily for my birthday and Christmas my parents gave me some money, which I duly invested in another box each of Perry French and British Napoleonic infantry, French curassiers, dragoons and French and British hussars! With my time off work over Christmas I decided to change the plan and build all the units I had so I could get them on the table asap! Christmas was productive and I only have the British hussars and one battalion of infantry left to construct as I type!
With regards a gaming table my second months money went towards a woodland scenics spring grass matt 8 foot by 4 foot wide, which I sourced online from a model railway shop for roughly thirty pounds. I already have MDF baseboards so I also invested in some Gaugemaster trees from my local hobby shop that set me back 17 pounds or so but there's a lot of trees in a bag and they're nice quality.
As well as building as many models as I could over Christmas, I also made a start on a rough copy of rules. I won't go into too much detail but I've based the rules on a D20 system that will hopefully address a lot of the faults or issues I've had with other rule sets such as I-go-you-go systems and the like.
With the money from January I bought 400 Renedra 20mm square bases! With the cavalry basing I simply used the individual bases that came with the Perry Napoleonic cavalry boxed sets as they're a perfect size and I now have plenty of them (they're the same size as many from the infantry boxed sets which I haven't used.) I still have 20 pounds left over and my plan for February is to spend 70 pounds on Victrix models - primarily more infantry battalions! It will be interesting to see how the Victrix models stack up in comparison to the Perry models. Hopefully it will give a nice bit of variation to the infantry battalions.
So that's where I'm up to at the moment. As soon as I get chance I'll post some pictures of what I've achieved so far. Once I've finished building all the models I have so far I'll get back to painting as having a nice gaming board and nicely painted armies is all part of the fun for me but I want to be playing as soon as possible whilst I achieve that goal. I need to expand the British force to keep up with my beloved French and high on the list of priorities are more cavalry support (which doesn't seem easy as I want to use plastic as much as possible but British plastic cavalry seems to be in short supply) as well as some artillery support for both armies - I'm already eyeing up the Victrix plastic British artillery!
I'm thinking about going to Salute on April the 12th 2014 to see what's happening in the historic wargaming community and I believe last time Victrix had a great deal on their ranges so I might start saving now if that's the case! I'll do my best to keep this blog updated and full of content and I'll share some more of the research sites and snippets I've picked up on my journey so far. All help, suggestions and comments more than welcome!

Rob :)