Saturday, October 17, 2015

New CoC Campaign - Operation Martlet

Hi All,

Just a quick update this time. Rich has been madly researching away and has released the latest in his series of ridiculously low-priced 'Pint Sized' campaigns for Chain of Command. This one is based around the battles for Rauray in Normandy which saw the British 49th (West Riding) Division face off the fanatical remnants of the 12th SS Panzer Division 'Hitlerjugend'. During these battles the 49th were given the nickname 'Polar Bear Butchers' by their SS enemy for the  ferocity of their attacks.

The battles for Rauray, along with the subsequent Operation Epsom and Hill 112 battles, hold a particular interest for me. When I first visited Normandy I spent some time walking these battlefields, staying at the nearby Chateau de Martragny. My British troops are painted up as the 6th King's Own Scottish Borderers, part of the 15th (Scottish) Division which was engaged in Epsom.

The pdf is GBP3.60, which works out at around 8 Australian pesos with the current abysmal exchange rate. As it's pretty easy to pay $13 for a schooner of beer in the Sydney CBD, this translates as a very good 'schooner sized' deal as well. :) The full colour PDF includes an historical background, force breakdowns and support lists for both sized, along with the six scenarios and campaign structure. This is an excellent product, and if you're so inclined the result which you get from playing this campaign can be used to influence the Operation Epsom campaign which is currently in development - just as in the real battle the British failure to take Rauray meant that the western flank of the Epsom assault was open to German counterattacks and fire from the Rauray spur.
So if you're at all interested in a fun, hassle free campaign based on meticulous research, head over to the Toofatlardies site and pick it up.

Operation Martlet - Chain of Command Pint Sized Campaign

 On another note, with my French Napoleonic product complete, i've been working furiously away painting up some 20mm Australian Defence Force diggers for Afghanistan, in preparation for the upcoming Fighting Season rules, which are a modern set for asymmetrical warfare based on Chain of Command. Here's a preview of what i've been working on, some of the fantastic Elhiem figures.
MUCH more to come!
L to R: SASR Operator, Radio Op, and ADF Platoon Commander

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

French Light Cavalry Brigade

En avant mes braves!
Welcome back for another irregular blog update. They do seem to have been getting rather irregular of late, I can't believe it's been three months since my last post. Full time teaching commitments have meant that i've had to be quite strict with my hobby time. While i've not had much time for browsing and blogging, I have managed to fit in quite a bit of painting time. Painting is my wind down time, where I can put on some music, a podcast, or a good audiobook, and let the worries of the day evaporate. I guess it's similar to meditation, and I find that a half hour at the painting desk can restore a bit of balance after a busy and stressful day.

Consequently, i've not only managed top work my way through the entire series of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe audiobooks (thanks audible!), but have been smashing through painting and now have a very sizeable Napoleonic French army. I'll be posting photos of these over the next weeks.

Having completed the Frenchies, i'm now working on another project, 20mm ultra moderns based around Afghanistan for the soon-to-be-released Fighting Season ruleset by Leigh Neville and Rich Clarke. I've got ADF (naturally), Brits, US Marines, and Taliban on the go, along with a bunch of terrain suitable for games in Urzugan or Helmand provinces. So
expect some musings on this as i proceed. Multicam in 20mm anyone?

I've also managed to get in a few play test games of the up coming Lardies Napoleonic divisional level rules, along with a game or two of Chain of Command.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the beau sabreur arm of my French army, the light cavalry brigade.

Division Command - General Saint-Hilaire 

First off, the divisional command stand representing the exceptionally skilled but ill-fated General Louis-Vincent-Joseph Le Blonde de Saint-Hilaire. Saint-Hilaire commanded his powerful division of Davout's corps during 1809 with expert skill. His performance at the Battle of Eckmuhl was such that Napoleon said to him 'Well, you have certainly earned your marshal's baton today, and you shall have it.'

Unfortunately for Saint-Hilaire, fate was shortly to intervene in the shape of an Austrian cannon ball which took off his leg during the battle of Aspern-Essling. The unfortunate General passed away fifteen days later. Together with the deaths of Marechal Jean Lannes and General d'Espagne, Saint-Hilaire's skill and ability could never be replaced. Saint-Hilaire is flanked by a senior officer of the 11e Chasseurs and a divisional aide de camp.  All 18mm AB figures.
General Saint-Hilaire flanked by an officer of the 11e Chassuers

... and a divisional ADC

Brigade Command - General Lasalle

Next, the cavalry brigade command. This is the superb General Lasalle figure from AB. I really love the flamboyant Hussar general, his pipe held aloft. It just exudes the devil may care attitude of this famous beau sabreur. Now as much as possible I try to avoid biographical overviews in this blog, but as Lasalle was the archetypical light cavalryman, I can't resist.

Antoine-Charles Louis de Lasalle lived his life on and off the battlefield with reckless abandon. This attitude was shown again and again, such as in Salamanca in 1800 when he took a fancy to General Victor's mistress and paraded outside her apartment with the regimental band of the 10e Hussards. When the General and lady emerged, the General applauded, thinking this impromptu concert was in his honour. Lasalle bowed his horses head, and proudly stated 'it is not for you, Sir, but for the fair lady".

Among his many other exploits was the crashing of a grand ball held by the Prefet of Argen. Lasalle had been intentionally left off the guest list, so he arrived with his regiments officers, bursting through the doors and causing much chaos, even throwing food out the windows. Napoleon's reply to the Prefet's complaint was that 'It takes just a signature to make a Prefet; it takes 20 years to make a Lasalle.' Lasalle was also a fashion trend setter, and the large red trousers he fancied became a craze for young cavalrymen trying to emulate the General. Marbot includes an amusing story where one young Lasalle wannabe has his horse shot from under him, and then keeps falling over being tripped by his ridiculously oversized 'Lasalle' pants.
Lasalle famously said Tout hussard qui nest pas mort a 30 ans est un jean-foutre! (Any hussar who lives to be thirty is a jackass!). While he was 33 at the opening of the 1809 campaign, it was to be his last. The night before Wagram he had a presentiment, stating to an aide that 'This battle will be my last.' He was to be proven correct, and in the closing stages of the great battle he was shot by an Austrian Grenadier. Lasalle's last note to his wife, penned the night before the battle, seem a fitting epitaph for such a man. 'Mon cour a toi, mon sang a l'Empreur, ma vie a l'honneur.' (my heart is yours, my blood the emperors, my life for honour. )

I've chosen to depict Lasalle in command of the 'Brigade Infernale', the 7e and 5e Hussards. He is dressed as a colonel of the 7e and is accompanied by a senior officer of the 5e. Both are 18mm AB figures.

5e Regiment de Hussards

Next, the 5e Regiment de Hussards. I've got a long history of trying to paint up this regiment, and the first 28mm figure which I ever painted was one of the Perry sculpted Foundry hussars. A mere decade and a half later i've finally gotten around to painting them, admittedly in a smaller scale. The former Hussards de Lauzun of AWI fame, the 5e was involved in every major campaign of the Napoleonic wars, but as for the rest of my army these guys are painted in their 1809 era uniforms. So here they are, led by their illustrious Colonel Pierre Cesar Dery. These are 18mm AB figures.
Colonel Dery's command stand
The Compagnie d'Elite

11e Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval

Next up are the 11e Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval, formed from the pre-revolutionary Chasseurs de Normandie. Again, i've a bit of history with these, as I have their compagnie d'elite painted up in 28mm for Sharp Practice.  As with the 5e Hussards, the 11e Chasseurs were engaged in each major campaign of the Napoleonic era, usually tied to Marechal Davout's 3e Corps. In 1809, the regiment was commanded by Colonel Desirad, who had only just taken over command when hostilities opened against the Habsburgs. Again, these are 18mm AB figures.
Colonel Desirad's command stand
The compagnie d'elite

Casualty base

Finally, a shot of the brigade in full. I dare say i'll eventually add another regiment, probably the 7e Hussards, but at the moment this is more than i'll need for my gaming purposes.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

57e Regiment de Ligne

Another quick update this time. I've finally finished painting up and basing my French divisional sized force which i'm using for Napoleon at War and play testing the up-and-coming Napoleonic ruleset from Toofatlardies. Watch this space for some after action reports.

I've designed my French force around the 1809 campaign. It's division on General de Division Saint-Hilaire's division, which fought under Marechal Davout's III Corps and later under Marechal Lannes' II Corps at Essling, where both Saint-Hilaire and Lannes were killed.

I'm still working on a divisional command stand for the brave and talented Louis-Vincent-Joseph Le Blond de Saint-Hilaire, but in the meantime i've painted up some higher ranking commanders. All of the figures i've used so far are from the excellent AB figures, excepting the Marechal Joachim Murat figure from the very talented Boki.

Here is first of the Corps command bases, depicting Napoleon's skilled cavalry commander, the exceptionally flamboyant Marechal Joachim Murat. Although Murat did not play a part in the 1809 campaign, I really could not resist painting up this command base. Murat is painted up for the 1807 campaign and he is dressed as the Grand Duke of Berg. His aides-de-camp are uniformed in the opulent magenta and buff uniforms designed by Murat himself.
Murat, Grand Duke of Berg and Commander of the Cavalry Reserve

From the flamboyant to the workmanlike, this is the first battalion of the 57th Regiment of the Line, which gained the cognomen 'Le Terrible.'

Formed from the pre revolutionary Regiment Limousin, the 57e Ligne was one of the most renowned line regiments in the Napoleonic army. The Regiment was commanded in 1809 by Colonel Jean-Louis Charrière. Charrière was wounded several times at Essling, where his uniform was left in tatters due to the musket ball strikes. At Wagram, his horse was shot out from under him and he was carried from the field. He was made Commander of the Legion d'Honneur following this, and in 1812 he was promoted to General de Brigade.
First Battalion

First Battalion in line behind its skirmish screen of voltigeurs
First battalion in attack column
Chef de Battalion Gleise commanded the second battalion during the 1809 campaign, and he was wounded at Essling.

Second Battalion with voltigeurs deployed

Second battalion in attack column

For each regiment, I have based the first battalions with a mounted officer and eagle, so they stand out. Subsequent battalions have officers on foot. At the moment I have each regiment with two battalions, but will be adding a third to some of the units, including the 57e.

I've also included skirmish bases for each battalion, as per the Napoleon at War basing but also used in the Lardies Napoleonic set.

That's it for now. Next i'll be posting some images of the next battalion and the Brigade command stand.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gunner's Painting Service

A lead mountain heaving with incomplete and half finished projects is an affliction suffered by many of us gamers. Personally, I find the process of painting a very enjoyable one, and it's a great way of winding down after work.
However, for all the enjoyment factor, my painting speed could best be described as glacial. This means that sometimes to get a force ready for a game can take months, even years. What to do?

Enter fellow Antipodean Dan, of Gunner's Blog. Dan has recently begun taking painting commissions. If you've checked out his blog, you'll see the very high quality of the work he produces. His 15mm Napoleonic
Gunner Dan's Bavarian Guard conversions. Brilliant!
Bavarian and Wurttemberg conversions are little works of art.

I've recently sent over my Chain of Command 1940 Germans to be given the Gunner treatment. Dan's prices are very reasonable, especially considering the excellent quality:

Dan's also running a competition to celebrate the launch of his painting service. If you're interested, you can check that out here

So head over, check out his blog, and if you too are suffering from an excess of unpainted lead, look no further for your painting commission needs.

Expect a blog update in the next week, as i've recently finished basing a bunch of 15mm Napoleonic French which i'll be using for Napoleon at War and play testing the up-and-coming Napoleonic Divisional rules in development by Toofatlardies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Men of the North

Wow, it's been a REALLY long time since i've posted anything on the blog. A lot has happened since the last post back in October. Besides the usual festivities associated with Christmas and the silly season, I spent six weeks visiting Vienna, Prague, and travelling around Turkey.
Much more on that in future posts, suffice it to say that as someone with an interest in history, particularly Habsburg Austria and the Byzantine Empire, it was a pretty amazing experience. For now, i've included a picture of sunset over Istanbul and one of yours truly in front of the 14th century Byzantine fortress above the town of Andalou Kavagi. Armed with some excellent first hand research on Byzantine military costume and equipment from the cave churches of Cappadocia, I'm really keen to get my Byzantines finished. At the moment, i'v got a unit of six Gripping Beast and Crusader cavalry nearing completion. My Byzantines are going to be for Terror Mundi, the upcoming Dux Britanniarum supplement i've been working on set in 11th century Italy and Sicily. I'll keep everyone posted as this progresses, some AARs will be on the way soon.
Sunset across the Golden Horn to old Istanbul 
Me in front of Yoros Castle on the Bosphorus

I also *may* have rather impulsively invested in 15mm Austrian and French armies for the 1859 Second Italian War of Unification. Ahem... Well, they're currently first in line to be de-flashed and undercoated, so we'll see where that project goes. I've no idea what i'll do with them yet, but I've always found the war fascinating. Perhaps by the time i've completed both forces, the TooFatLardies Napoleonic rules will be out and ready for some tweaking.

Speaking of the Lardies, Rich has release the latest of his Pint Sized campaigns, Kampfgruppe von Luck. This is based around the defence of le bas de Ranville on D-Day +1. As the 6th Airborne Division and the 21st Panzer division are the forces which my Chain of Command forces are based upon, i'm very keen to have a crack at this campaign down at the club. As with the 29th Division pint sized campaign, this is useable with Battlegroup, Bolt Action or your WWII ruleset of choice, and as before the research and presentation is exceptional. At the price of a pint, (actually cheaper than a pint down under!), you simply cannot go wrong. Expect to see some AARs of the campaign coming up in the next few months.

Anyway, enough blathering for now. One of my goals for this year is to increase the frequency of updates on the blog. I've completed loads of stuff over the last few months, it's just a matter of photographing it and posting it up.

For today, here are some additions for my Dux Britanniarum Romano-British. I had rebased some Late Roman figures to use as commanders, however they felt a little too Roman for a campaign set in the Kingdom of the North. Not that anyone really needs an excuse to paint up the gorgeously sculpted Musketeer Miniatures figures. Incidentally, these are now available from Footsore Miniatures, following Bill Thornhill's move the the states.

Defenders of the Old North
The Gwyr y Gogledd forces muster

I've used the Dux Brit rules to role up names and some background information for these guys. A campaign based around the Kingdom of the North (using the Gwyr y Gogledd adaptions from Dux Brit: The Raiders) is on the cards for later in the year.

First up is Gwerthefyr the Able, the commander of my Gwyr y Gogledd - that's Men of the North for those of you not fluent in old British. The 29 year old Gwerthefyr is a fine warrior, despite his diminutive size. The son of a Decurion who served on the wall before the eagles left britain, Gwerthefyr is an entirely honourable commander. In campaign terms, this means he can never commit regicide and seize the kingship.
Gwerthefyr the Able
Pedrog is the champion of the Romano-British force. 26 years old and of average build, Cerdic is a dutiful follower and a skilled warrior. The superbly grisly Pedrog and Gwerthefyr figures are some of my favourite sculpts.

Pedrog, the British champion

Next up is one of the nobles, Conan, tall and strong with the constitution of an ox. Son of a British warlord formerly allied with Rome, the 28 year old Conan is a formidable warrior.
Conan, son of a warlord. LMBS shield transfer

The 30 year old Vortiporius the Ambitious is an expert horseman. It is rumoured that royal blood flows in his veins, and that his birth was the result of a drunken encounter between King Iddon and the daughter of a stable hand. While there is an uncanny resemblance between Vortiporius and the old King has led to the sobriquet 'the Ambitious,' it would be a brave man who would question the honour of this fearsome warrior.

Vortiporius the Ambitious. LBMS shield transfer.
The Gwyr y Gogledd rules allow the Romano-Brits to field units of their warriors of hearth guard as mounted troops. I painted up some of these excellent Gripping Beast late Romans as mounted warriors along with a mounted version of Vortiporious. The figures came with the old style GB horses, so I remounted them onto some Aventine nags. The shield patterns are from Little Big Men Studios.
Vortiporius the Ambitious a cheval. 
Gwyr y Gogledd horsemen

I also finished a unit of Gwyr y Gogledd Comanipulares, heavily armed hearthguard. Again, these are the exceptional Musketeer/Footsore figures. Alongside the figures, i've finished off a couple of fenland / marsh terrain pieces. Here is one along with my Romano-British watchtower. This was scratch built along with some other dark ages buildings. The design was taken from Mitch's blog.
Thats it for now, i'll be back soon with more updates. Thanks for reading!
Guarding against the Saxon menace
Fen / Marsh terrain

Comanipulares and nobles

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Medieval Musings and some Jerry reinforcements for CoC

Well, after a lovely break enjoying lovely weather and a trip or two to the beach, i'm back at work. We're now into term 4, and the final reporting period is upon me, so this update will be a short one.

I've managed to get a bit of gaming in down at the club and at MOAB, the annual show held in south Sydney. Down at the club, I managed to get in a game of the much lauded Sword and Spear ancients/medievals rules by Mark Lewis. Sutto and I took the Achaemenid Persians and, despite a few hairy moments, walloped the Greek City State force commanded very ably by Thomas. I have to say that the game really does live up to the hype. Some intuitive mechanics, particularly regarding activation and friction, give a realistic and fun game where your focus is on the tactical decisions, not on charts, tables or percentages. It actually had a very Lardesque feel to it, and regular readers of this blog will know that that very much ticks all the boxes for me. Now i'm looking at building up an early Hungarian force for the rules. A tad obscure I know, but we're looking at the period of the early crusades, and the chaps down at the club are putting together Crusader, Ayyubid, Fatimid, and Byzantine forces. I was quite taken with the Magyar people and history during my time in Budapest in 2012, and figure that the Hungarians fought Crusaders and Byzantines at various times. Also, they can stand in for other central and eastern european armies at a pinch.
Sword and Spear - Achaemenid Persians attack the Greeks
Spartans and Greek hoplites 
Massed Persian cavalry advance
Spartan hoplites and Persian sparabara clash 
Persian immortals and sparabara dominate the high ground
If you have the slightest interest in Ancient to Medieval gaming, head over to Mark's website and grab yourself a pdf copy. Seriously, for £6, it's hard to go wrong!

Last weekend I headed down to MOAB, located about in Sylvania Heights, just south of Sydney and about an hour and a half south of home. I checked out a few games, including a very good looking Napoleon at War game, where Sutto's British were valiantly holding off two forces of dastardly Frenchies. That said, i've got a dastardly French force for this great little ruleset being painted up now. I had a game of Napoleon at War down at the club last month, and despite my skepticism, it was great fun and played with the 'feel' of Napoleonic combat. The prospect of painting up six 24 man battalions of 15mm figures has led me to my first painting commission. Of course, the glitter of Napoleonics has been impossible for me to resist, and I've got a few command bases on the painting dest at the moment, and plan to paint the cavalry and artillery myself. Stay tuned for some lovely AB Napoleonic goodness in the not too distant future.

Napoleon at War at MOAB - French assault the British thin red line.
Meanwhile, last month at the club... French Cuirassiers clash with British Hussars
French Leger hold against British light infantry bobs.
As well as the Napoleon at War game, I got a chance to meet up with some lovely chaps flying the Lard flag. Resplendent in their Lard ambassador shirts, they were hosting a great little Chain of Command participation game pitting a platoon of Australians against Japanese 'somewhere in the Pacific' in 1944. After picking up some bits and pieces, including some of the new X-Wing ships, I sat down and took command of the Aussies. I was very surprised to find that my opponent was Chris, who had played one of the Chain of Command games I had hosted at MOAB the year before, and who is a regular poster here. Hi Chris! Small world. Anyway, It was interesting to see how the Australian's and Japanese played, and the Aussies were just beginning to break through when we both realised we had to go. That night was the Rugby League grand final, and my route home took me past the front of the stadium. Last year I left late, and found myself stuck in traffic for well over an hour. MOAB is a great show, and it was fantastic to see so many good looking games on display. I also noted how many young people were present. I've read a lot about wargaming being a 'greying hobby', but I saw little evidence of that at the show. Seeing a load of young people getting into games has encouraged me to start planning some type of wargaming club at school, which I hope to get up and running next year.
MOAB Chain of Command - Aussies assault the Japanese
The Australian war-games show calendar is rather sparse, and the next big show is Cancon in January. Since i'll be trekking through Anatolia in Turkey at that time, MOAB is probably the one big show for me this year. Still, I've been getting a load of gaming in at the local club, which is great.

Well, what was planned as a short update has, as usual, grown into a monster. So, i'll finish off with a bunch of German support options which i've completed for Chain of Command. My German force is based around the 21st Panzer Division which fought in Normandy against the British. I love the clunky looking conversions developed by Colonel Becker to fill out the divisions strength, and really enjoyed putting these together and painting them up.

First off, here are some recce halftracks, SdKfz 250/1s and a 250/9. All are from Shaun at SandS miniatures, and are the (neu) models, with the simplified, more angular design used from 1943 onwards. The crew, a mix of AB and Britannia, are based on sabot bases made from thin plasticard, to enable me to show them crewed up or empty.

Next up is an SdKfz 234/1 armoured car, also from the recce battalion of the 21st Panzer Divison. One of the great things about Chain of Command is that vehicles like this, which are usually just cannon fodder, can actually perform a valuable function.

Below is the delightfully awkward and catchily named 7.5cm PaK 40 auf Somua S307. Doesn't quite had the ring of Tiger or Panther. This dangerously top-heavy looking model is from Raventhorpe, and the AB crew are again based on a sabot. The camp pattern was me messing about with my new airbrush, and was inspired by a similar paint job I saw over on the guild forum.

Challenging the S307 in both ungainliness and awkwardness of name, below are a brace of 7.5cm (Sf) 39Hs. These are from Britannia, crew is AB and again, they are based on sabots. It was a bit of trouble basing them this way, but I really wanted crew on these, and don't like the look of a 'brewed up' tank with a crew casually sitting there amidst, or rather beneath, the flames. Just doesn't look right to my eye.
Next up, a Marder I. This is the type of vehicle used but the 716th Infantry Division during their attack against the 7th Paras and Ox and Bucks at Benouville during the early hours of D-Day. The vehicle is from Early War Miniatures, and mighty nice it is. Crew is AB on a sabot. For some reason, the pigments on the tracks look particularly red. I was going to re take these pictures using my new Canon G16, but never got around to it. 

Below, a brace of Tiger ausf Is. I know, I know, when am I going to need TWO of them in a Chain of Command game. Both are prepaints repainted, the zimmerit one is from Dragon the other is Altaya. 

To finish off the armour, I painted up a second Panzer IV ausf H, this one sans skirts. This is from the Plastic Soldier Company.

Crewed weapons in Chain of Command usually have a five man crew. While this is historically more accurate, almost every crew pack of figures i've seen comes with only three figures. I painted up five figures using a Battlefield and Britannia figures. These guys serve as crew for the Battlefield 7.5cm PaK 40 anti tank gun, and for the Britannia 7.5m leIG 18 infantry gun. They also fill out my sustained fire mount MG42 crew to the full five figures.

Finally, a couple of support choices from Britannia. These are a two man forward observer crew, to rain down fire upon the Tomis and Amis, and a scharfschutze, or sniper. I really do like the poses of the Britannia figures.

That's it for me for now. I've recently finished some more Dux Britanniarum Saxons and Romano Brits, along with some Norman Knights for the Dux Brit 11th Century supplement, Terror Mundi, and a load of 20mm 1940 Frenchies for Chain of Command. I expect to post some updates of these soon, along with an AAR or two.