Thursday 30 August 2012

The Postman cometh.....

and he brings parcels from the US! a number of goodies arrived at my doorstep this morning, without further ado, here are some pictures!

In the box, note that Gungans only come eight in a box, as opposed to the nine  figures in the  sets from the original trilogy.

The Phantom Menace vehicle sets  don't come with stands, unlike the previous sets.  This is a little annoying.

Lindberg 1/72 Phantom - note the low price on the sticker!

A very nice book, with plenty of detail on YT-1300 variants.

I suspect the damage on the packaging was the reason I got this set so cheap! Normally they go for around the US$50 mark, I picked these up on Amazon for around US$15.

Now I just have to hunt down some Scout Troopers! (and a set of Naboo Security)

Endor Strike Team

Endor Strike team. The rebel commandos are quite nice figures.

Another Trade Federation AAT, bring the total up to two.

A speeder from Naboo, and Anakin's pod racer.

Sio Bibble and Anakin Skywalker.

Mo' Gungans!

More recruits for the Grand Army. 

Size comparison photo.
Right, now back to V&B, and Harad stuff...

Friday 24 August 2012

Molly Pitcher WIP

Since I am converting some figures for use as artillery crew for AWI V&B, I thought that I could make a conversion to represent Molly Pitcher. I sorted through my figure collection for a suitable base figure, when I remembered that the Airfix Wagon Train set had a suitable figure. (PSR link here).  Since the figures I was converting were also Airfix figures (The Airfix Waterloo French Artillery set - PSR link here), I hoped that the mix would work well.

AWI gun crew WIP.
The conversion of the French artillerymen was a simple head swap, using a metal pin and superglue. The real work on making the conversion work will be the paint job. So far I have enough crew, including Molly, to make two artillery stands, one of which will be French. Should the conversion go well, I may make more.

A closer shot of Molly and her friends.
Converting Molly involved a little more work. One hand was replaced with that of a French artilleryman holding a bucket, and a sponge made out of plastic rod and metal wire, and then positioned near the other. I quite like the idea of having a Molly on my artillery stands as it is something different to the norm, and adds character to my AWI forces.

More artillery crew to be deshakoed.
I am quite enjoying making up these AWI forces, and think I may have to use them in a game soon.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Airfix AWI Americans

I have just finished touching up and basing the last of the painted AWI Airfix. Again, these figures were originally painted by the same unknown painter who had painted the rest of the AWI figures I have recently posted.

Airfix George Washington's Army set based up for V&B.

I have tried to position the crawling figure in a manner to suggest that he is wounded.

More Continentals.
  Yet again the original painter did a very nice job, although the drummer should be in reverse colours. Still, given the logistics issues of all sides during the war this is not a major issue. I also based up a lone crawling figure. I am tempted to do more and use them as casualty markers.

Washington, but still not on the correct horse. This is the officer's horse from the  Airfix Waterloo French Infantry set.

I was also able to make an additional British stand by using the second mounted officer from the British Grenadiers set combined with the advancing figures. This means I now have three French stands, three US stands, and Four British stands. I clearly need to paint up more troops!

Another British stand. The officer should probably be dismounted, but keepimg him mounted is more in keeping with the ethos of the project.
In the course of refurbishing these figures, I discovered that the Airfix AWI sets are again out of production. This makes me glad I grabbed two sets when they last came out in the mid 1990s.

It's stockpiling, not hording. 
However, since they are currently out of production, I am very cautious about using them as a source of tricorns for conversions. On the plus side, two sets while give me plenty of figures in the firing and loading poses.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Lucky Products AWI British

Three years ago I purchased a box of second hand plastic figures from a second hand store in Lower Hutt.   Contained within the box was the two following figures.

Two red figures. Only 202 more to obtain.
After much discussion with several friends, and some trawling through the internet, I discovered that these were figures from the Revolutionary War set produced by Helen of Toy (or a similar company such as Lucky products) and advertised in American comics when I was growing up.

This ad always got my attention.
Of course,as a kid, I had assumed that living in New Zealand meant that I wasn't able to send away and take advantage of this offer, although I did discover that Glenn had, and that he wasn't alone in doing so - as my purchase in  Lower Hutt gives evidence to. Of course, I might have ended up with the flats, rather than a set of fully round figures. Quite a detailed explanation of the full set can be found here.

Size comparison with Airfix Continental and Imex American Militiaman.

Size comparison with Italeri AWI  French mounted officer. Black horse is by Eagle Games. 
So it seems that the foot figure is around 20mm, while the mounted figure is closer to 25mm. I am planning on painting them both up for use with my AWI British as something different, and as a nod to the comic book ads that first got me interested in AWI.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

AWI Airfix Grenadiers

Here are a few more refurbished Airfix figures, these were painted by the same person who painted up the previously posted AWI French, and the much earlier posted Airfix Marines. The set featured in this posting is the rather unfortunate Airfix British Grenadiers, reviewed by PSR here. Needless to say, it is not a glowing review. Once painted, the figures do at least look better.

The group: Three stands of infantry and a  mounted command stand.
 In refurbishing these figures I attempted to preserve the original painters paint job where possible, as I find it quite a pleasing one. The brown wash brings out a lot of the detail hidden by the enamel paint, and also helps obscure where the paint doesn't really match.
Another group picture. The poses in this set are well suited to making linear  musket formations.
 The drummer was painted red, so I kept the original colour scheme, although I strongly suspect that he should be in reverse colours to the rest of the troops. The Union Jack on the flag is not a bad attempt to deal with the problem of the weird flag shape on the figure. Again, I kept the original paint scheme for reasons of completeness, as well as aesthetics.

Unlike some manufacturers, Airfix drums are always big.
 The process of refurbishment was the usual one of retouching the paint jobs, basing the figures, giving them a brown wash, followed by flocking, and finally a coat of spray varnish.

A side view of one of the stands.
I still have quite a number of unpainted British Grenadiers that may be converted into line infantry, should I find an easy way of doing this en masse. Most likely, I will just paint up the Imex AWI figures I have as they are particularly nice figures that don't need converting before painting.

Next up in the refurbishment line up is Airfix AWI Americans - George Washington's Army painted up as George Washington's Army!

Saturday 11 August 2012

AWI Airfix French

AWI recycled French. A nice paint conversion by an unknown  painter.

Currently I am sorting through my wargaming collection with the twin aims of inventorying what I have, and also to store it more effectively than it is currently. Recently I rediscovered some Airfix figures that I had acquired as part of a bulk lot. They had been painted well, but unfortunately with enamels. The original paint job was quite good, but had suffered a bit with time, with quite a fair amount of flaking on most figures. I decided to touch up the paint jobs and base them up as linear infantry stands using V&B basing system - 3" frontage by 1.5" depth.

Amongst the figures were a set of Airfix Washington's Army painted up as a unit of French troops suitable for use as US allies in AWI games. Once I touched up the figures I gave the now standard GW wash, and then based, flocked, and varnished them up.

I went with a move golf course look this time...

I have always thought this set had a great deal of character.

Rear view of one of the stands. Two guys helping a wounded guy  results in a loss of three effectives...

One of the interesting things about this group of figures, is that the horse is not the original one supplied with this set - it is actually from the Airfix Cowboys set - and has replaced one of the better Airfix horses with one of the worse. This set is one of my favourite Airfix sets, and was one that I made sure I snapped up during the wave of Airfix re-releases in the early 1990s.

If not George Washington, then perhaps Rochambeau?
Currently on the workbench, from the same source, are Airfix Washington's Army - painted as Washington's Army, and some Airfix AWI British. I still have a few painted AWI Airfix French that I will be basing up too, once I sort out a few extra figures to use as gun crew.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Revisiting BPCS Pt. 2

The initial French deployment. 
The first turn started with an advance by the French and an Artillery duel between the French and Prussian grand batteries.  First blood was scored by the French artillery on the Prussian guns

French Artillery: Esci guns with Airfix crew.
The second turn saw the French continue their advance, coming into contact with the Prussian infantry.  A firefight developed between the two lines with the Prussian infantry  supported by their artillery which  shredded an unlucky  French infantry regiment. The French infantry managed to inflict a hit on the Prussian infantry during this firefight. The artillery duel between the French and Prussian guns continued, with the Prussians suffering another hit.
The French boldly advance.
Turn three saw the French advance their artillery on the left flank, and advance their heavy cavalry. The French 1st Division attempted to close assault the Prussian artillery and was shredded by canister, while the Prussian cavalry attempted to charge the French Polish lancers. The Prussian lancers suffered greatly from French musketry as they charged in, with one stand destroyed by infantry fire. The other stand managed to make contact with the Polish lancers, but suffered greatly during the melee, and was forced back. During the morale phase both the French and Prussian centers became pinned.

French infantry charge the guns. The result was somewhat predictable.
Of course, the Prussians had painful lessons to learn too...
The beginning of turn four had the surviving Prussian cavalry disengage over the river, while the French Corps commander, with an escort of heavy cavalry, moved across to the right flank. The French movement is halted by Prussian gunfire that eliminates both the command and the heavy cavalry. French counter battery fire eliminates a Prussian battery, while the French 2nd Division falls back.

The ill fated French movement..

The Prussians await the perfect moment for their return.

The next turn (turn 5) is marked by much dice rolling for both sides musketry and artillery. Neither sides fire has any effect on the other.

Turn six saw the destruction of of a French artillery battery by the Prussian guns, and the recrossing of the river by the Prussian cavalry. The Polish lancers move to support 2nd Division on the right flank, while the French Grand Battery falls back.

1st Division moving rearward in the background, while 2nd Division prepares to advance.

The lancers in support of the 2nd Division.

Turn seven saw the French left wing advance under ineffective fire from the Prussian guns.

The final turn of the game (Turn 8) resulted in the crushing of French hopes for victory. The French left and center advanced forwards once more, but this time the Prussians moved their infantry forward to meet them. The resulting clash cost the French most dearly, forcing them back. The Prussians, while somewhat bloodied, certainly had the best of the infantry battle - especially with their guns in support. Meanwhile, the Polish lancers charged the last of the Prussian cavalry and were destroyed in the resulting clash. At this point French courage faltered, and the remnants of the army sought only to retire from the field in good order. Steve and I did some back of the envelope calculations and worked out that his Prussians suffered around 6600 casualties (out of 15300 men), to my 13600 casualties (out of 19300 men). Clearly, my French took quite the drubbing.

Charging the guns - same result as last time.

Prussian infantry shoot it out with the French. I rolled some very poor dice here.
1st Division still moving rearward.

The army retreats.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable game - despite the loss! The orders system worked well, and while some aspects of the mechanics need tweaking, the game flowed well, produced a reasonable result, and enabled a battle to be fought to a conclusion within a few hours.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Revisiting GDW's "Black Powder, Cold Steel" Pt. 1

During the late 1990s, a few of the people I was playing CD with decided to have a crack at playing Napoleonics. HaT had started making its range of Napoleonic figures,  Airfix figures were available as both reissues from HaT and  Airfix, Revell sets were easily available, and Italeri were releasing figures that went well with the old Esci sets. It was a good time to start amassing 20mm plastic Napoleonic figures.

My French take the field once more.
However, we couldn't find asset of rules that we agreed on, or were easily available. Fortunately, we did have copies of the playtest version of 'Black Powder, Cold Steel' (BPCS), that was included in the boxed set of CD2. Since we all knew how to play CD, and this set of rules was merely adding a few tweaks to the basic game in order to handle gaming in pre 20th century conflicts, it was the one we ended up using.

Steve's Prussian menace to the French way of life.
The base gaming element in BPCS was the company stand, having four figures mounted on it in two ranks, and representing 50-200 men. This functioned in BPCS much in the same way as a platoon stand does in CD. The game itself played much like CD, with the major difficulty being that the scale of the forces used made it cumbersome to play larger battles, and the CD/BPCS ground scale made battalion squares too large, while the additions to the movement system made forming them extremely annoying.

My understanding is that BPCS was abandoned by GDW, with Mr Chadwick heading down the path that eventually created 'Volley and Bayonet'. The idea of using the CD rules engine as a universal wargames system has stuck with me, and recently I figured out a possible way of achieving this, whilst solving some my issues with V&B.

The solution was to use the basing system from V&B, its strength point system, and couple that to the mechanisms of BPCS.  All that remained was for this to be put to the test in a game. Steve was persuaded to take part, and proceeded to rebase his very nice Revel and HaT Prussians from BPCS to V&B. A big factor in him doing this, is the aesthetic appeal of the 3"x3" stands.

So a couple of weeks back, Steve and I had a crack at putting this into practice. Steve fielded a 1813/14 Prussian force, while I fielded a French force of a similar vintage. Each turn would represent an hour - the same time scale given in V&B, and the recommended time scale in CD for games involving primarily infantry forces.

The battlefield. Steve's terrain is generally from GW or is a Gale Force 9 product. All very nice stuff indeed.

Steve's forces were organised along the following lines:

The Prussians: Morale 10
Corps Headquarters w/
 1 Command Stand []
  1st Division w/
     Command Stand []
      Infantry Stand [][][][]
      Infantry Stand [][][]
      Infantry Stand [][][][]
  2nd Division w/
     Command Stand []
     Infantry Stand [][][][]
     Infantry Stand [][][][][]
     Infantry Stand [][][][]

  Cavalry Division w/
     Cavalry Stand [][][]
     Cavalry Stand [][][]

 Corps Artillery w/
     Artillery Stand [][][]
     Artillery Stand [][][]
     Artillery Stand [][][]
     Artillery Stand [][][]

Each [] is a strength point representing around 500 men. This breaks down horribly in the case of the command stands, but consider it a working cludge until a suitable rules melding/fudging happens. Post game we worked out that Steve was fielding around 15300 men.
Also note that I haven't factored troop quality into the equation yet, nor fully resolved the RoF problem from BPCS regards CD3, or V&B. More cludges are required, but the main point was to test how the command and control mechanisms that are the heart of CD could be used in playing a game of Napoleonics.

Prussian gun carriages are blue. Figures are HaT Prussian Artillery.
My force was organised along the following lines:

The French: Morale 9
Corps Headquarters w/
 1 Command Stand []
  1st Division w/
     Command Stand []
      Infantry Stand [][][]
      Infantry Stand [][][][]
      Heavy Cavalry Stand [][][]
  2nd Division w/
     Command Stand []
     Infantry Stand [][][][][]
     Infantry Stand [][][][]
     Infantry Stand [][][][]

 3rd Division w/
     Command Stand []
     Infantry Stand [][][][]
     Infantry Stand [][][][]
     Infantry Stand [][][][]
     Light Cavalry  [][][]

 Corps Artillery w/
     Artillery Stand [][][]
     Artillery Stand [][][]
     Artillery Stand [][][]
We fudged another number worked out later that my French Corps was around 19300 men strong.

Now all I had to do was deploy outside the woods, cross the  road, and drive Steve back across the river. 
As I had the larger force, I would be the attacker. This was going to be interesting....