Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

ACW Reinforcements



Checking the blog it was November 2013 when I last painted any figures for the 6mm ACW collection, but enthused by last weeks game I went to the bottom of the lead mountain and pulled out a great big bag of American Civil War figures from Adler Miniatures.

Fortunately, there was quite a bit already cleaned up and as an extra bonus 24 cavalry and 17 dismounted cavalry were already covered in primer so I set to to these first.

The first batch I painted was five bases of dismounted Confederate cavalry, we had been a little short of these in the last game. I'd forgotten how easy these chaps are to paint, I just block in the colours and give them a wash with Windsor and Newton Peat Brown ink then they are ready for basing.





Into the swing of things another dozen Confederate cavalry were soon completed.




Then a dozen Union cavalry. This lot did have a standard bearer, but the metal that Adler uses is quite soft and most of the time bends and can be straightened up, this one was bent beyond repair though, likely due to my poor packing before the transatlantic crossing we made in April.




Talking of the flags, the standards are from Warflags scaled down to size and attached with PVA glue.

Finally I'd noted that I seem to have a lot of Confederate command stands but could have done with more infantry figures so another 48 were quickly added.




I've been cleaning up some more figures rescued from the bag and you should see more infantry regiments added this week. I also purchased a second deck of Longstreet cards from Drivethru that arrived yesterday.

More American Civil War goodness is in the pipeline!





Tribal Skirmishers


Slow progress on the El Cid painting front this week as I have pretty much run out of figures. A trawl of the bits box did reveal six tribal skirmishers. I am pretty sure that these are Gripping Beast figures but I cannot find them on their web site.


I've done them in muted tones to represent their lower status in the Almoravid hierarchy.


Fortunately, a new order arrived from Gripping Beast this week.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Battle of Sauk Meadows


I had my first game of 2017 at the weekend, Drew came around after the Packers-Falcons game and we played some Black Powder ACW.

I had picked two roughly equally sized forces, the Union had 15 units of foot and two of horse while the Confederates had 13 units of foot and three of horse. Both sides had two batteries of artillery but the Union were fielded as large batteries (we give +1 casualty and +1 canister). Both sides were made up of two Divisions each of one Brigade.

You can download the full orders of battle we used from here.


All the figures and terrain are from my collection, Adler Miniatures painted by me, the buildings are from Total Battle Miniatures.

A few other rules were in place too - I'm not particularly fond of some Black Powder mechanisms so we also played:
  • A six to hit from shooting only disorders if the save is failed.
  • Units shot or in melee to the flank or rear suffer -1 to Moral Saves and -1 to Break Tests.
  • Brigades are broken when more than half of all their units are lost.
  • If you move more than once you cannot shoot.
I had sorted out the forces and set up the table as shown, although the hills don't 'pop' too much in this photo.


Drew could not find his rule book and I had left mine in the UK so we did wing it a bit with just the play-sheet but I think the only bit where we needed a rule book was in the event of a risk to generals.

Settling down with a gin and tonic each I let Drew pick which side he wanted to be and he selected the Union so got to wear the kepi. We both started by advancing one Division on to the table, the second division would be available in the third turn and could take command penalties to execute a flank march.

Drew took the first turn and soon was advancing his forces onto the table.




I also deployed one Brigade opposite the advancing Union troops, Drew would have a 2:1 advantage here but I had a cunning plan. my second brigade would sweep in a right hook, around a farmstead and fall on the left flank of the Union troops.

We boldly advanced towards each other in the centre, but after an initial burst of activity from my right hook it decided to spend two turns fannying around, questioning orders and generally doing bugger all.


As the two lines closed in the centre the Confederates were gaining the upper hand in the musketry duel and had just deployed their battery of 12lb Napoleons to rake the Union lines, maybe that 2:1 advantage Drew had could be negated by some good shooting while the lollygaggers on the flank got their arses into gear.

It was not to be, on the third Union turn they had a stunning set of order dice come off. Their reserve division elected for a shallow flank march, not only did they pass their -2 command roll but passed it by so much that the troops were able to make a triple move onto the table. Meanwhile, in the centre a Union Battalion on the left of their line charged over a fence and straight into the recently unlimbered Napoleons, the closing fire was pitiful and the Union troops were soon spiking the guns and looting the caissons.


 Rather shocked by this turn of events I committed my second Division to reinforce my centre, unfortunately even on straight command rolls nothing arrived, and to add insult to injury the fellows comprising my right hook held a town hall meeting and again elected to have a barn dance rather than obey any orders.

With just one brigade on the table actually obeying any orders I ordered them to fix bayonets and push onto the enemy lines before they were overwhelmed, well true to form for this turn the dice were against me, closing fire saw two of the battalions shaken and after the loss of the artillery this Brigade was shattered and heading to the rear.


Another turn saw the Union troops redress their line in the centre, well there was nothing facing them and one of the brigades on the flank pushed on towards the expected entry point of the tardy Confederate reserves. It was now time for dinner so Drew and I joined the ladies for a rather tasty cassoulet and another G&T.

Back to the action, finally the troops on the right decided to get moving again and advanced up to the farmstead that they should have been using as a staging post hours ago, likewise one of the reserve brigades arrived on table and started a slow advance towards the Union troops in the centre, they did not want to go too quickly as the Union now had a 3:1 advantage in the centre. The second Brigade supposed to cover the left flank refused to join the fray and only a light screen of cavalry vedettes covered the entire frontage on that flank.


Fortunately the Union troops now suffered their own setbacks when it came to understanding their orders, the guns in the centre, given orders to limber up and re-position instead chose to limber up and skedaddle from the field, fortunately a runner was swiftly dispatched and they were soon heading towards their intended position.

Shockingly, the Confederate cavalry screen in the woods was giving as good as it got, if not better against the Union line that advanced upon it. It's a damned good job that some of my troops performed as the rest were dismal, the second Brigade of the second Division still marched around in circles trying to locate the battlefield and confusion in the centre meant that that Brigade withdrew from the table. Finally the right hook instead of advancing on to the enemy lines decided instead to look the farmstead. Things were not going well for the Confederate general staff today.


The Union now had a solid reinforced line of troops covering the front of the woods on mt left and then doglegging back to face off against my tactically inept flank attack on my right, the Confederates were very thin on the ground and apart from the cavalry doing a sterling job on my left were either in the wrong place or doing bugger all.

Finally though it came together, the second division arrived en masse and the cavalry vedettes were soon replaced by solid firing lines that started to shred the Union troops from the cover of the wood edge, in the centre the Union troops took such an hammering they broke and ran.


Closing off the game the Union had managed to turn the glorious events of the first two thirds of the game into an bloody stalemate by the end of the day.

Enthused by all this I've started painting a few more troops to add to the collection so they should be in the next blog update. I've also ordered a second card deck for Longstreet so we can give that a go too. James and I had some good games of Longstreet before I left for the US.



Here are more images from the game, apologies for the light quality my gaming room can be a bit dismal.





Sunday, 22 January 2017

Andalusian foot and mounted


This week sees a bit more output than last week. Some of the figures were already painted and just awaiting basing or mounts though.

Again all the models are from Gripping Beast, mainly the range of Moors, but I do mix in some of their Arabs too.

Another eight spearmen join the unit that I started last week, bringing them up to 19 figures so far, the aim is to make 28 in four ranks of seven. I have another order in with Gripping Beast to complete the unit.




I'm really not that happy with the new blue that I used on some of these, it does not take a highlight well and is a bit intense for my liking, I'll retire it from the palette now these are done.

Four more Andalusian Jinetes join the force including a mounted drummer. I now have eight done and another ten on their way from Gripping Beast, this shall allow me to field two nine-man units for Warhammer Ancients and four or five units for Hail Caesar or To the Strongest!



Two more archers done to add to the two from last week, again, another eight on order with Gripping Beast to complete the unit.



Finally the start of a commander base for Hail Caesar or To the Strongest! just a couple of figures done at the moment, but I've left a little space for adding a couple more foot or a single mounted figure.



Apologies for the image quality, I was setting up a game for this afternoon and just took the pictures on there using only the light from the window rather than setting up the usual photographic area with daylight bulbs and suchlike.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Andalusian Foot(1)


Well, my first post of 2017 is not a bumper update but I've managed to get a few figures completed and based to kick off the year. What with having a few days in California and having house guests (my lovely daughter) over the past fortnight I've not had a lot of time for painting.


But, thirteen Andalusian foot did get completed and based - some of these were painted last year and were only awaiting basing. I've also got a few more painted awaiting basing, but I'm painting the figures in small batches for me - about four figures a time - and am slightly changing the palette with each batch so I don't want all the figures on a base to have the same palette so am mixing them up as I base them.


All the figures are from Gripping Beast and I have mixed up both Andalusian and Arab castings into the units to give a little variety. Like the cavalry I painted a couple of weeks ago, I want them to have a very non-uniform look to represent the citizenry called out to defend their cities. I've tried to add quite a bit of fine-work on the clothing and shields to give the impression of wealth.

Here are a few close-ups, first the command stand with an officer, drummer,  a couple of standard bearers and spearmen.



Secondly an element of four spearmen.



Finally a couple of archers and a single figure spearmen.



There are probably only a dozen or so figures left to paint so, I've placed another order on Gripping Beast to keep adding to this force, it hopefully shall see action soon as an allied contingent with either the Christian Spanish or Almoravid factions I have already painted.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

The Challenge 2016 - The ongoing war against the lead mountain

Well it's time for a recap in the war against the Lead Mountain.

2016 was a pretty good year for getting stuff done for myself and checking the list I painted 303 foot, 35 mounted, three Mechs and two guns.

  • 44 Perry Miniatures First Crusade (as Spanish).
  • 26 Perry Miniatures Mounted First Crusade (as Spanish).
  • 58 Gripping Beast Berbers.
  • 4 Gripping Beast Andalusian Cavalry
  • 17 Miniature Design Studio Berbers.
  • 20 North Star International Brigade. 
  • 2 North Star Anarchists.
  • 1 Artizan Eric Blair.
  • 1 Artizan Ernest Hemmingway.
  • 1 Painting War Republican pilot.
  • 33 Empress Spanish Foreign Legion.
  • 1 Partizan George Stephenson
  • 73 Crusader Miniatures WWII Germans
  • 55 Assault Group Soviets
  • 13 Crusader Miniatures Soviets
  • 4 Warlord Games Soviets
  • Battletech Dragon-II
  • Battletech Arbalest
  • Battletech Raptor-II
  • 5 Black Tree Camelry

Not as many as last years total but given two months of low and no activity while we packed everything up and moved to the US I'm not too worried.

I've been pretty good at staying on plan and adding troops to existing projects with the Spanish Civil and El Cid collections receiving a significant boost in 2016. I was also good at not starting too many new things, just a trio of Mechs for Battletech and small collection of WWII Soviets and Germans so I can play some Chain of Command games.

I also made three building for the Eastern Front project.

I did a small amount of painting for others adding 56 more painted foot to the total.

  • 38 Great War Miniatures WWI Germans for James M.
  • 6 Artizan Partizans for Tony S.
  • 12 Vikings for Tony S.

Now on to the other side of the balance sheet, in 2016 I purchased quite a bit more new stuff than I though - this is why it is a good idea to keep a tally...

  • 24 Empress Miniatures Militants.
  • 4 Empress Modern British
  • 20 Northstar International Brigade.
  • 1 Artizan Ernest Hemmingway
  • 2 Artizan Anarchists
  • 16 Empress Spanish Foreign Legion
  • 4 Bolt Action WWII Soviets
  • 13 Crusader Miniatures WWII Soviets
  • 77 Crusader Miniatures WWII Germans
  • 45 Assault Group Soviets
  • Northstar 45mm Obr 1942
  • Northstar PaK36
  • Battletech Dragon-II
  • Battletech Raptor-II
  • Battletech Arbalest
  • 4 Gripping Beast Moors
  • 8 Gripping Beast Arabs (to use as Andalusians)

That's, a total of 220 foot, two guns and three Mechs. The good news being that apart from 8 of the Gripping Beast Arabs (which are painted but not based) every single figure I purchased new in 2016 is painted and based and ready to play.

However, also on the negative side of the balance sheet I was gifted quite a bit of stuff and acquired quite a bit more in LAF trades.

  • 24 Perry Miniatures First Crusade (birthday present from Marie).
  • 6 Perry Miniatures First Crusade (LAF trade with Alex).
  • 15 Perry Miniatures First Crusade cavalry (LAF trade with Alex).
  • 12 Perry Miniatures First Crusade (LAF trade with Pedro).
  • 15 Perry Miniatures First Crusade cavalry (LAF trade with Pedro).
  • 32 Gripping Beast Moors (LAF trade with Ross).
  • 14 Gripping Beast Moor Cavalry (LAF trade with Ross).
  • 5 Black Tree Moor Camelry (LAF trade with Ross).
  • 8 Gripping Beast Berbers (Christmas Presents from Mum & Dad).
  • Pegasus T-34 (Christmas Present from Mum & Dad).
  • 8 Gripping Beast Berbers (Christmas Presents from Victoria).
  • 40 Bolt Action Soviets (Tony S).
  • T-34 (Tony S).
  • Pz-II (Tony S).
  • SdKfz-231 (Tony S).

So, 130 infantry, 44 cavalry and four vehicles, this does take me rather into the red on the balance sheet for 2016, but 56 of those infantry and the four vehicles only turned up in the last seven days.

More Berbers and some Andalusians



No update last week as it was Christmas but I have been getting on with some painting since the previous post, trying to get a few figures wrapped up to add to the 2016 tally. This week more Berbers join the Almoravids and I made a start on the new Andalusian faction for our El Cid games.

The first few figures are five Arab Camelry from Black Tree Designs. I'm pleasantly surprised by these having had some real spuds from Black Tree in the past. I picked these up in a LAF trade so the shields are not all original, there's at least one Saxon Buckler and a Viking Shield in the mix.

They make an interesting unit to add to the collection.



At only 21 figures my Black Guard unit was looking a bit under strength, so during a recent trip to Noble Knight Games I picked up another pack to bring them up to a better strength, I'll likely add another pack at some time in the near future.



In the bits box were a couple more Berbers, so these were painted up and can be added to a unit. As I add more figures like this it shall not be long until I've made another 28-man unit from oddments like this.



Finally, the start of a new contingent of Andalusians. Again these are all Gripping Beast figures. I wanted these to be less uniform than the Spanish or Berbers so am painting them with a much wider palette and adding as much fine detail to the clothing and shields.



Only four horsemen completed so far but there are more horsemen and cavalry that have been painted but are waiting for basing. I'm hanging off basing the spearmen until the entire unit is finished so that I can make the unit look as irregular as possible.


Happy New Year to all my readers, hope 2017 brings you good fortune.