Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Painting Progress

I've recently finished some long-overdue painting on two regiments of Luftberg infantry. One is a Hungarian outfit, which I was doing in the dry-brushing style before the xmas present 'dip' method. Once I had this, I wanted a little mini-experiment to compare the two methods, so I needed a second regiment done as basic colourscheme & then both 'dipped'. My aim was to compare the results, and look at how 'dipping' my existing models might turn out.

Thanks to the freezing loft, I've not got some photos quite yet, but the results are pretty good. Both methods look pretty comparable, but I don't think I'll have to re-'dip' the old painted figures as you can't tell the methods apart at a glance, plus some of the dark areas can, once dipped, look a little bit too extensive.

Next up is to finally break with my old DBA-style basing system, and tear off my existing figures for re-mounting on the new MFD bases. The armies'll be unable to meet on the tabletop for a fair while, but it's got to happen at some stage.

So - steady & worthy progress, but nothing too showy. I hope everybody else is keeping occupied productively through dark january!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Appeal for advice!

I've recently been mooching about in these post-credit crunch days etc etc, thinking about how to get some money for figures plus free up some space amongst the debris of many years' wargaming. So, eventually I hit on the right idea - sell the old unused stuff, then use the money to fund the current projects! Only problem, I've not really done any buying or selling second-hand painted figures. I know eBay will do it, but is there any other way to sell large batches of figures out there I don't know about?

If anyone out there in internet-land can offer some advice, it'd be much appreciated!

Friday, January 16, 2009


After new year, everything seems to have slowed down slightly. Posts are coming less regularly across a couple of sites, including this one, in the wind-down after the holidays. Only natural I suppose, but I'm going to try and make myself post a bit more. I've been staying active, but mostly it's by tinkering around with painting stacks of more infantrymen, as my army overhaul requires. No posts, but it's at least activity!

Games are also a bit less likely at the moment. Usually I use the big loft, but thanks to the cold weather it's a bit of a no-go area at present. I wandered up to look for a rule-book the other day and nearly froze to death. Only by rapidly building a fire and launching emergency flares down the hatch did I manage to get rescued (that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean!)

For painting project news - two regiments have been completed and two more, one of them a jaunty Hungarian unit, are almost completed on the painting desk. Sooner or later I'm going to have to de-base my old figures and remount them into new formations, which will halt full-scale gaming for a while. I'm a bit torn about if I should do it now or delay it a bit longer.

There's an excuse to helt games at present, or at least scale them down a fair bit, following Luftberg's defeat at the battle of Passditz - and what a fight it was! Aschenbach rolled a six for their river-crossing scheme, then another six for their execution of it, which means they acted with textbook effectiveness - such luck! Once it came to the field though, even though Luftberg lost, General Von Hentsch can point proudly to his handling of the army. He got to some good defensive terrain, held it at the end of the battle, brought up his reserves to counter the Aschenbach attack and very nearly turned the tables to sieze a victory. The whole thing probably slipped away over just a few dice rolls.

Which brings me to my thoughts on the rules. The 'Horse, Foot & Guns' rules (HFG) are effectively DBA in a new period, so the scale has dropped away compared to Might & Reason (M&R). No more dwindling strength points as regiments trade blows, no commander actions, no charges and counter-charges. All the action is handled in a broad-brush manner, where a single dice-roll could turn a breakthrough into a rout. I don't know if it's as good for a small, personalised army in a small campaign, because you can aford detail then. If you fancy a quick knockabout battle, or are running a large-scale campaign, I think the rules are excellent. Personally however, I think I'll be returning in future to M&R.

So, what next? I'll have to return to the campaign map to decide the results of the battle, so that'll be a future post. Aside from the narrative, I'll also throw in an update on my miniature rebasing & painting project as I progress. Roll on the warmer weather!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Battle of Passditz

Ah, at long last the hills, towns and woods of the previously paper-only surroundings of Spitzburg; now finally made 3-D on a tabletop as the armies draw together...

Approaching up to the east of the Rotebauern (rendered here in a home-made card cut-out), the Aschenbach line progressed neatly and as per the plan - damn their machine-like efficiency! Anyway, Von Hentsch was kept well aware of developments by his Hussars reporting on their approach from the nearby windmill, so he quickly realised his left flank was in line for attack, even as it was anchored on the small marsh area next to his hill. Strong as the position was however, he moved his reserve regiments of IR1 (Pilsen's Grenadiers) and IR7 (Von Stiegl) to the threatened sector.
Von Krumper struck fast, rushing his columns of march ahead even as Von Kleintrink deployed to drive off his opposite number - General Kohl on his small hillock.

Von Hentsch watched as the blue line approached at a steeper and steeper angle, nearly pulling perpendicular with his own, until the marsh stopped them and compelled a redeployment. It came fast enough, as the Bluecoats wheeled left out of column and into line, unfolding smoothly into a classic oblique order attack - Even in far-off Prussia, surely Frederick II himself would have been proud!

Cannons boomed and thumped, as regiments closed on each other. To the east, the sound of hoofbeats and yelling foretold that Von Kleintrink had yet again performed a feat of arms. The Cuirassiers and dragoons of General Kohl's wing were sent crashing back into headlong flight by the indomitable Aschenbach cavalry, but thankfully the situation stabilised as the horsemen - which included the crack troopers of KR2 (Schrodinger's Cuirassiers) - rallied to their officers and reformed around the Ost Bauernhof.
On the main line at the Grosser Hugel, the oblique line came on with the Hirschburger Grenadiers and the IR1 Fuss-Garde leading the way - the elite troops of the Aschenbach force. A battery of Luftberg artillery was caught in the flank and the crews fled in chaos, shortly before the main line was reached. IR8 (Schrammel) was the flank regiment, and it gave the Fuss-Garde a decent run of things - first holding them off with musketry, but then the bluecoats closed to short-range and smashed the regiment apart. The grenadiers pressed on through the wreckage to crest the hill, but then the reserves Von Hentsch had rushed up fell on the breakthrough. While the next regiment in line, IR2 (Doppler), fought the Fuss-garde head to head, the reserve IR7 (Von Stiegl) hit them in the flank and enfiladed their line. When the Fuss-Garde's support regiment of IR2 (Von Klink) tried to rush up and aid them, the dreaded whitecoat grenadiers von Pilsen came out of the smoke and fell on them. The Garde and von Klink's men took to their heels - the flanking attack had been outflanked in turn!

Shaken by the failure of the army's crack troops, the whole contest hung in the balance. Galloping up and down the wavering lines, Von Krumper steadied the men and ordered the Hirschburgers and regiment IR4 (v. Hoffmann) to turn and face the unexpected counterattack.

Seeing the climax approach, ever-dependable Von Kleintrink launched his tired troopers on at the reforming enemy horse by the Ost Bauernhof, smashing the recovering line's flank and forcing the isolated Schrodinger's regiment to hold out alone.

Each army was now within one base-loss of it's breaking point, which made the infantry clash critical. Seeing he was outnumbered and at risk of being overlapped if the Luftberg lines could form in greater length, Von Krumper ordered the regiments of Hirschburgers and IR4 to attack at once, taking on IR7 and the Pilsen grenadiers respectively. Grenadier fought line infantry and line infantry fought grenadier, as the last desperate throw of the dice played out!
The seizure of the initiative turned out to have been critical - by storming on, the Aschenbach grenadiers smashed IR7 Von Stiegl's exhausted men with the sudden advance, which left the Pilsen grenadiers outflanked and isolated by the marsh. Seeing the Grenadiers on their flank as they fought against von Hoffmann's men, they routed to safety.
With that, it was over. The Luftberg army had lost half it's artillery, a third of it's cavalry, and now a third of it's infantry was broken up and useless. Von Hentsch knew it was a lost cause, and began to disengage. Realising the battle was over in an Aschenbach victory, Von Krumper prudently allowed his chivalrous opponent to withdraw.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Army Painting

Until I can get a chance to put miniatures on a tabletop and play out the looming battle, I’ve got a little personal discovery from Christmas time I wanted to share with everyone. Maybe this is all old news, but to me personally it’s come as something of a new discovery. What with all the talk doing the rounds over various blogs, I felt it would just be plain nasty of me to not point this out to people facing a mountain of painting.

I was browsing around when I came across a copy of Wargames Illustrated magazine, which I hadn’t seen for years. It contained an advert for a bunch called Warlord Games ( who were selling a product they called ‘Army Painter’ which made the eye-catching claim that it was ideal for people who wanted to paint large numbers of figures to a good standard, quickly.

Normally I undercoat my figures black, then dry-brush on the colours so the little nooks and crannies get a black line left to add some definition. It works, but takes time. The Army painter idea is to do the opposite. You paint the whole figure in flat, blocks of colour over each appropriate area – no detailing, no nothing, just a straight paint-by-numbers ‘fill in the areas’ paint job. Once complete, you get the tin of (my present at xmas) quick-dip, which is a kind of murky substance not too unlike a kind of runny syrup. The figure then gets dunked in the tin (or liberally brushed over, if your nerves can’t take it) which dries overnight.

The result: the dip settles in all the lines and crevices of the model surface, instantly picking out all the detail – sometimes in surprisingly fine lines. Plus, that’s the model protectively varnished. All that remains is to give the model a quick spray-down with a finisher to take away the glossy finish, and there you go! I’ve had an experimental run myself, so if the results look promising for you then have a look at the company’s pretty good website. One lesson though – if you brush the quick dip on, the small-print instruction that you need cleaner fluid is not joking with you!

The flat, unaltered painting base-coat.

One quick dip later, the figures just starting to dry.

Pretty much indistinguishable from the results I used to get!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year Begins

Happy New Year to all! I'm having a quiet day today, recovering from all the pre-new year chocolate and now all the post-new year drinking. Things aren't exactly healthy here, and the queasy hangover isn't helping. Still, last night was a lot of fun! :-) Also, the holidays saw some presents for miniatures and painting, so I'll do an update on that too, before long.

For now though - time to pick up the reins on the story, as it's been neglected for the holidays. Aschenbach's army is over the river now, heading into the Luftberg army's rear. The Graf von Hentsch is now belatedly aware of the movement, and the two armies have to close the range.

Here's a map of the outcomes, which I rolled dice for and measured out on my scaled map. Luftberg headed south to the central and obvious feature of the terrain, the Grosser Hugel heights. Aschenbach managed to make good rime over the open plains and farmland between the crossing and the hills, so the Windmuhle Hugel was reached before Luftberg could make it there. As the bluecoats flanked the windmill as planned, the situation was as shown below:

Hm. Aschenbach, advancing for battle, is in a single compact force for striking. Luftberg however is a bit more disjointed. In four separate groups, each has headed for the best terrain nearby and wound up rather over-extended. Aschenbach's pre-battle plan by Von Krumper anticipated the whole enemy force to be on the Grosser Hugel, but the cavalry wing is actually separate on a small hillock near the Ost-Bauernhof. The hillock has woods to it's south, so a full outflanking would require yet more marching round the east. After a brief council-of-war, Von Krumper decided to use von Kleintrink's cavalry to screen the enemy horse and protect his rear, while his infantry fell as planned on the enemy flank to roll up their line.

So, the scene is set. The forces are arrayed for the tabletop, the plans are laid, and the battle may bring the campaign to a sudden conclusion. If Aschenbach win, Von Hentsch will be isolated and with his lines of supply cut; if Luftberg win, Von Krumper needs to retreat back over the river while pursued by the enemy. High stakes indeed, so let's have a fortifying pinch of snuff before crying "Marsch!"