Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Waterloo 200th Anniversary

What better way to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the world's most famous battle than by re-creating it in miniature with a group of friends!

Steve and Simon have a huge collection of suitable figures, so along with a few others, we set about having a day of splendid fun. The rules in use were the (rather good) Blackpowder set from Warlord.

Here's a shot of most of the table... I simply cannot guess at how many figures there are. On the left in the foreground in the French 1st Corps, with the Allied ridge on the right.

To decide who was commanding each Corps, Steve and Simon had made suitable badges which we drew from a bag. My first go saw me pull out none other than the Emperor himself! However, as I knew I couldn't stay all day I returned the badge... Next draw... It was Wellington! A third draw and I got Reille, commanding second Corps and tasked with taking Hougomont! The main roles went to Steve (Wellington), Jez (Boney) and Simon (Blucher).

The Allied right flank, facing Hougomont (out of pic, to the right).

The battle would be decided by winning one or more key points on the battlefield. Hougomont was worth 2 VPs, La Hay Saint 1VP, the Allied ridge 1 VP and Plancenoit 1 VP. Whichever side had the most VPs at the end of the day would be the winner.

The French reserve - mainly the Guards. If you look closely you might just be able to make out the Emperor.

First Corps again.

Hougomont and it's brave defenders awaiting the French onslaught.

La Haye Saint and the sand-pit.

The centre of the Allied position - you should be able to see Wellington himself!

Here are 2nd Corps massed ready to tackle Hougomont, with the Guards in the centre/rear.

The advance begins as the drums hammer out the pas-de-charge!

So many lovely toys!

Carabiniers and Cuirassiers - big men on big horses! Although Rob's command rolls meant that they were slow to get going at the start of the battle.

Steve's 1stCorps begins to receive orders to advance.

Effective basing really brings out the best in figures.

The attack on Hougomont gets going in grand style with the French displaying some considerable vigour ... thanks to some rather good command rolls!

The first attack throws the defenders back in disarray but they hold the walls.

Steve "Bazinga" Wellington gives Simon "Blucher" a few words of tactical wisdom ;o)

Steve makes yet another cracking command roll to get 1st corps moving in parade ground order!

But ... a fortuitous blunder allows Steve to take the fight to the Allies in La Haye Saint.

The French (led by me, Dave d'Orange and Steve) swarm around La Haye Saint.

The British start to get their troops moving to help the defenders of Hougomont.

Ouch! The British cavalry attempt to disrupt the attack.

Plenty more troops to support the main attack.

Finally, Ney (Rob) gets his cavalry away from their lunch/wine/women and into the fray.

Simon (Blucher) and Mike (erm...?) are clearly worried by the stunning display of tactical skill from the French? Hmmm?

In the centre the Allies waste no time in bringing forward just about every cannon they can find.

What's this?! Some of 1st Corps have headed south to grab Plancenoit before Blucher's Prussians arrive.

Steve (Wellington), Dave and Ken (William of Orange) look thoughtful as the French attack gathers momentum.

A second attack is launched against the walls of the battered Chateau.

Ney (Rob) and the cavalry have yet another lunch!?

More lunch (very kindly provided by Steve and Simon Entertainments Inc.). Ney enjoys a third helping whilst Mike and Orange Dave look on.

The pressure mounts at La Haye Saint but both the farm and sand-pit remain in Allied hands.

Look out! Here come the cavalry! In true British cavalry style a brigade of Guards thunders down the Charleroi road to try to drive off the French.

Vive L'Emperor!! Hougomont is taken!

The British Guards have engaged the French outside the Chateau but Ney's cavalry have arrived.

Blucher's Prussians arrive! It's only mid-afternoon but a large number of Prussian troops make for the small French contingent holding Plancenoit.

La Haye Saint is taken! The French now have three of the objectives, worth a whopping 4 VPs.

At this point I had to leave the action. However, I can report that La Haye Saint continued to be the centre of a fierce struggle, as was Plancenoit. Hougomont was re-captured by the Allies before being captured again by the French in almost the last dice roll of the game!

So, it was a well deserved win for the Emperor this time. I must congratulate Steve and Simon (and others) for staging a magnificent re-fight of Waterloo. It was a real privilege to be able to take part. Superb fun with good humour and exemplary sportsmanship. An absolute pleasure!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Building Roads - A Quick Tutorial

Here's the latest addition to the scenery collection, approx 10 feet of 28mm scale country road.

Making this was really easy. Here's how. Purchase some cork tiles from your local DIY or hardware store. The tiles in the pack I bought were 30cm x 30xm and around 3mm thick.

Next, decide on how wide you want your road to be (mine is 9cm) and what shapes, i.e. bends, T-junctions, etc, you want. This is best done by sketching some diagrams or even cutting out some shapes and seeing how they fit together. Bear in mind your existing scenery collection too. Most of the road sections are 12 inches long, so my hedge/walls (at approx 6 inches) align nicely.

Then draw out the shapes you need on the tiles and cut with a very sharp modelling knife - cork tile can be quite resistant to cutting so take care. Try to avoid any shapes that are too 'geometric' or 'angular' - real roads (especially older country roads) tend to have more natural curves.

Trim the road-side edges of the road sections to help them blend in to the terrain. Mine were chamfered at about 45 degrees.

Give the sections a generous coat of rough masonry paint - this gives them a good texture for little effort. Then apply some glue and sprinkle on a little sand here and there along the edges and / or in the middle of the road.

Now they're ready for painting... I sprayed mine with AP Leather Brown, but any earthy brown colour will do. After that they were highlighted (basically dry-brushed) with three Vallejo colours Goldbrown, Tan Yellow and Dark Sand. Then garnish with various shades of flock.

Here are some smaller pieces for tighter curves or to help join up longer sections.

I've made a sort of farmyard 'square' plus a couple of longer 45 degree curves.

The really good thing about using cork tile is that it's flexible and any 'curling' due to paint, glue etc is offset by them laying flat under their own weight. Five tiles gave me 10 feet of road plus the farmyard.

Hope you found that useful.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Third British Section

More freshly painted chaps for my Chain of Command British platoon! Well, I say "Chain of Command" but I'd be happy to give Bolt Action a whirl too! :o)

The Rifle team.

Bren gun team.

Detail of the Bren Gun team base.

The corrugated iron is simply plastic-card painted in a very dark grey, then a couple of highlights of lighter greys (seems to give a better effect of galvanised metal than metallic paints) whilst the bricks are off-cuts of plastic strip (sprue will do). They were painted in GW Scorched Brown, followed by Foundry Conker Brown Shade/Mid and a final highlight of Foundry Brick Red shade

The Lieutenant, Platoon Sergeant, PIAT and 2" Mortar are almost done, plus a variety of supports are well underway.