Wednesday, February 22, 2017

5 mm Minifigs Blocks

In my last posting, I featured Irregular Miniatures 2mm blocks. In the comments section Jon Meech mentioned that he played games with Minifigs 5mm Block units. I have tried to find out more about them in the past; Jon kindly sent me some photos and some information about them. Below is a tease of the photos he sent. He has mentioned that he will try to send more shortly. Hopefully I will have some more info and pictures to post soon.  I want to thank Jon for forwarding the pictures to me. I am sure there are other people interested in seeing these forgotten troops.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Square Board Wargames

    While looking through the book "Austerlitz: The Empire at its Zenith" by F.G. Hourtoulle, I came across a panorama of the battle by Lejeune (I'm assuming Napoleonic General Lejeune, who was also a gifted painter). Looking at the panorama,  it looked like a war-game table with Irregular Miniatures 2mm armies fighting across it. The Irregular 2mm armies can look quite impressive when set up on the table.

   While talking of 2mm armies, I have been thinking of ordering more Irregulars; this time I'm leaning towards 2 ACW armies. While making my plans, I came across a set of rules "See the Elephant" on The Stronghold Rebuilt blog . It is a set of rules for the American Civil War, to be used on an 8X8 board, such as a chessboard.   As my wife went to Maryland to visit family for a few days, it gave me time to try out these rules.
I made two even armies mirroring their deployments.

The Red army pushes forward

The red army wins the day.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Ideas for Casting

    I had no intention of posting this week. It's not that I haven't done anything with the hobby, it's just I have no ambition. I did receive this week, several lots of 1st generation Napoleonic Minifigs, with several strips that are new to me. Besides painting some figures and having a couple of wargames to try out some ideas, there is little I had to report on.

    A couple of posting ago, I used some home cast Peter Laing goose-stepping Germans in a game. I forgot how much I liked these figures.On a whim I decided to try to cast some today. Usually I have had little success casting in the cold basement in winter, and expected little luck today.  Today, however, was a very productive session. In an hours' time, out of 28 casting, I had 24 usable figures.  But best of all, I found a more productive way of casting. Now I am sure more experienced casters already do this. If you do your own casting, you know that you have to wait for the metal to solidify, usually about a minute. Before I would stand around waiting. This time, after cutting off the pouring spout off the figure, I  found that the figure was cool enough for me to handle without gloves. I got a file and filed the base while I waited for the metal to cool in the mold. I came up with a new system of casing. It involves 1: Pour the metal into the mold. 2: As the metal solidifies, cut the pouring spout off the cast figures and return the spout to the pot. 3: File the base of the newly cast figures. 4: Once the figure bases are done, open the mold and remove the casting; inspecting the figures as you remove them. If the casting is poor, put it aside for now. 5: Put the mold back together and pour a new casting. 6: Remove the pouring spout, and put the spout and any defective casting back into the pot. 6: Repeat. By doing it this way, I was busy the entire time I was casting. I also managed to clean the figures up and base them on plastic that night, so the figures are ready for priming tomorrow.

Some of the newly cast figures.

Some figures waiting to have their bases filed.

A check list I wrote up so I would remember next time.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Heroscape Town Terrain

  One problem with using Heroscape is the size of the hexes. Of course, the game was designed to be used with uses single figures on the hexes. To use units complicates the matter. I now mainly use Command & Colors style units; 4 bases to an infantry unit, 3 bases to a cavalry unit, and 2 bases to an artillery unit. These units, which are 15mm, fit on the Heroscape hexes. However, if you want to add feature such as builds and woods, it becomes crowded on the board. I Have found some smaller trees that work well representing woods. Adding building to represent built up areas is more of a problem. The building used don't give much room for the figures.

    With my recent work of using Heroscape hexes with Command & Colors rules,  I had some issues with Heroscape. To put a board together using these hexes can be a challenge. To put a river the way the set is designed really complicates it. However, using the C&C idea of placing tiles on top of the board solved that problem. The river hexes are very thin, and by just placing them on top of the board, I believe, doesn't distract from the game too much.

    My next problem was towns. Heroscape has hexes that look like cobblestone; they came with a set to build walls. I always thought they would  look good for town hexes. After seeing the river on top of the board, if only the cobblestone hexes were thin like that, it would be great. I took one, and after much work (and a painful blister) I cut one down.  After some filing and sanding, I tried it on the board. It locked down nice and tight on the board. I cut down four more ( I also found a system that it only took a few minutes and no more blisters).

   I still wanted houses on the hexes though. My original thought was to make building outlines with balsa wood. While thinking of how to go about it, I was looking at one of the little wooden houses used in my game. I then thought, what if I cut one of these houses in half? Cutting one in half, repainting it and adding a matchstick chimney, it was a nice looking little building. What's more, It gave me more room for my figures to stand. I proceeded to cut several more down. One I added a tower to represent a church.  I am happy with the result.

   Now I am thinking of how to use built up areas. I am thinking for farms, a building would be
on a regular green hex. A village would be one or two cobblestone hexes; a town three hexes; and a city four or more hexes. Maybe such areas would only count as one hex, and only allow one unit to occupy it. It could be fun to have a large city, where each hex could be occupied, and each hex would have to be fought for, such as a WW2 game.  I will have to give much thought to the problem.

One of the houses before I cut it in half.

The town, with a river running next to it.

A unit of infantry moves in to defend the town. I fought a game to try my new town hexes out. I also wanted a smaller battlefield, so I decided to divide the board using the river; the river was impassable. 

The end of the game. The Shiak army has defeated the Brookshire army. The Shiak troops move through the town to give chase to the fleeing Brookshire army.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Three Wargames

      I got up with my wife today with the goal of getting all my work done early so I could get some gaming in. By 2:00 all the work was done and the dog had an hour and a half of playtime outside, so I still had a couple of hours for wargaming. My main goal was to get a trial ancients game in using the armies in Neil Thomas' Ancient and Medieval Wargaming book. I started basing some Peter Laing Carthaginians to use with these armies. I got in two games, one ancients and one Napoleonic. After these two games I still had time and decided to squeeze in one more game. For this game I diced for where terrain would be located. I also was trying to decide what figures to use. I chose my home cast Victorian Parade goose-stepping Prussians, which I use for my Shiak-Brookshire imagination games.

    Out of the three games, the third was the most enjoyable.  These figures need to be used more.

The Carthaginians are on the left, the Romans on the right. 

The Carthaginian elephants crash into the Roman line.

The Shiak army (in blue) on the left, the Brookshire army (in grey) on the right.

The Brookshire army approaches cautiously, fearing the Shiak artillery. The Shiak army advances in line.

The Brookshire sends two units to try to circle around the Shiak left.

The Shiak artillery fire drives back one Brookshire unit.

The Brookshire counterattack and kills one artillerymen. Barnaby's Rifles join the attack.

The Shiak troops close on the hill...

..but are driven back. The other Shiak artilleryman is killed by Barnaby's  Rifles  and the battery overrun.

Shiak infantry capture the hill, only to be driven off.

The Brookshire infantry turns the Shiak left flank.

The Brookshire cavalry  defeats the Shiak cavalry.

The Shiak army beats a hasty retreat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A new Way of Setting Up Chessboard Battlefields

       As mentioned in my last post, at the end of the Napoleonic wargame I had played,  the end result of having a Napoleonic battle field having with a bunch of single figures scattered across it just didn't catch the feeling of the period. It left me thinking of my single based Minifigs and their future in my newest plans.  The next day was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, perfect for taking the dog for a long walk. These long walks are prefect to think out problems, and this walk had me thinking of my single based figures. I had already decided to consign them to fighting small battles on my chessboard using Chris Salanders' Horse &Musket 2.0. I was pondering if there was a way to transfer Command & Colors scenarios to a chessboard. I then thought of something I had seen in  " The Complete Brigadier" ruleset.   In it the author suggests making a small frame template that you can use to put over a map. By using this you can select a small part of the field for your game.
     When I got home I made a template that is equal to 8X9 Command & Colors Napoleonics hexes. By putting it over the map I picked a section of the battlefield to transfer to my chessboard.  For hills I used some cork for hills. I was happy with the result; this system could be used with Bob Corderys' Portable Wargames and other square based wargames. I am thinking of making a smaller template that will be measured off to make locating the terrain features easier to place on the board.
The template

The chosen scenario; The River Coa

The template placed on the chosen part of the map.

The armies deployed. For this game I used the One Hour Wargame army selection  charts. The rules used were Battle Cry. I was a good game which could have gone either way. I am thinking of trying a game using the forces shown on that part of the map, thereby removing having to pick and deploy the armies myself.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Two Experimental Wargames

       I managed to get two experimental wargames in this week. The first was a Napoleonic wargame, using a Command & Colors Napoleonic scenario (Salamanca) on a Heroscape board. For armies I used Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargame army selection of rolling for armies. As I was going to use 8 units to a side, I rolled two dice a side, and picked from the 4 unit army chart twice. The British had 4 infantry units, 2 skirmishers unit, one artillery and one cavalry units. The French had 6 infantry, one artillery and one cavalry units.  I used my single mounted 1st generation Minifigs. For rules I started out using a Battle Cry Napoleonic variant I had downloaded years ago. Half way through the game some rules weren't really cleared so I finished the game using Bob Cordery's Memoir of Battle. I looked at the C&CN scenario and tried to place the different units so that it somewhat resembled the scenario.  I rolled for intuitive at the start of the turn. After a confusing beginning with unclear rules, once I switched to MOB rules the game picked up and was and enjoyable game.  The British won (barely). I must admit ending a Napoleonic game with a few single figures scattered across the board doesn't really capture the splendor of the period.  If I continue to work on this project I think I will have to go with based units of multiple figures. I have been thinking of how to go forward with this idea and hopefully will do a posting on some ideas in the near future.

     The second game was an Ancients game.  I will admit this game was more to do with some ideas I wanted to try that would get me using Peter Laing figures that I haven't used. For the armies I planned to use the suggested armies in Neil Thomas' Ancient & Medieval Wargaming. If I use these armies with Command & Colors units, an army would consist of 32 figures, a number that would be rather easy to paint. For rules I used Battlelore rules that I changed slightly for my own use.  The opposing armies were a Midianite Arab Army made up of 4 camel units, 2 skirmisher units and two archer units (the book called for 2 slinger units, but I didn't have any slingers ready). This army let me use my rather large collection of Peter Laing camels. The other army was Early Achaemenid Persian Army, made up of 2 Persian cavalry, three Persia infantry, 1 Immortals unit, 1 levy infantry and 1 horse archers. In his book, Mr. Thomas has suggested deployment of the armies, which I used for the game.  For the battlefield, I just used the Salamanca field again. Before the game started I had to work out rules for horse and camel archers. I decided to use a range of 2, instead of the 3 used for archers in Battlelore. For camels in these rules I had them as medium cavalry. However, as the camels I was using were armed with archers, I gave them the range of two with bows, but if they closed into close combat, counted as medium cavalry. If I continue on this project, obviously I will have to work how the different units battle.  One good thing is the battle was close, where either side could have won.  As it was, the Persians managed to win.
The Battle of Salamanca. French in the foreground.

The French capture a ridge line.

The French cavalry drive off the British hussars.

The French cavalry continue to harass the hussars. 

It looks like the French are going to carry the field.

However, the British counterattack and between the artillery and musketry, drive off the French.

The Arab army drawn up for the second game.

The Arab army based on the suggested deployment in Ancient & Medieval Wargaming.

The Persian army.

Two Arab camel units try to outflank the Persian army.

The Arab camels engage the Persian cavalry on the Persian right.

The camels drive off the Persian horse archers.

The Persian infantry starts driving through the Arab center.

The camel units try to come to the aid of the infantry.

The camels cause havoc among the Persians, but eventually the Persians rout the Arab infantry and the camels start suffering too many losses. The Arabs withdraw.