Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

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Sunday 28 January 2018

American Civil War: Confederates (8)

More progress on the growing forces for our Sharp Practice games. This week another group of eight Confederate cavalry join the ranks. All are made from Perry Miniatures components, mainly the Plastic American Civil War Cavalry set. I did add some headgear from the infantry set and a couple of right arms from the artillery set.

For the last lot of Confederate horse I did not do any with swords so they are rather over represented in this batch.

I also added a corporal to the ranks. The greys are a mix of Vallejo Luftwaffe Uniform, Basalt Grey and Neutral Grey to give a variety of shades.

The difference between the Luftwaffe Uniform and the Neutral Grey show quite nicely on this one.

The final chap has a Neutral Grey kepi and a Basalt Grey shell jacket, the rolled greatcoat is Luftwaffe Uniform, showing the three different shades.

To finish off this weeks update I added a load of a pay chest and a base to the hand cart that I painted last month.

A right carry-on up the Khyber

Saturday saw an early rise and a trip down the I-90 to Palatine, IL. to join the chaps for another game of Sharp Practice. I arrived with Phil at about 1100 and we made our way over to Games Plus. It was my first trip to this store and it's well worth a visit, a huge stock of figures, games and accessories.

Mindful of my burgeoning lead mountain I picked up some Vallejo paints, Army Painter tufts and a set of Chessex dice in grey to go with the recently painted Confederates.

Grabbing a sandwich for lunch we headed back to Phils in time to meet Liam and Chris, then help Ed set up the table. Over the next half hour we were joined by Myles, Dan, Mark and Joe. The Imperial forces and about a half of the Pathans were Joe's and the remainder of the Pathans from Myles's collection. The houses are Ed's and Myles and the rest of us chipped in with terrain.

We were playing a rescue scenario, two British officers had escaped their Pathan captors and were hiding in two random houses, the Imperial forces had to sweep the table, searching the houses while the Pathans would make life difficult for them.

 Mark, Joe, Dan and Chris would play the British and Sikhs while Ed, Phil, Liam and myself controlled the Pathans. My forces were a couple of units of Ghazis and eventually some supporting horse when they deigned to arrive.

As with most big games it's difficult to keep track of everything so I'll just caption the photos and provide commentary where I can.

British infantry and lights advance towards the village.

Ghazis rush towards their foe - I'd used four command chits to do this, but, rolled low for both moves.

Highland infantry push towards the nearest building, no prisoner was found in this one.

Light infantry advance towards the village but accurate jezzail fire accounts for a half of their number and they scramble back for cover and to await support.

Three units of jezzailis occupy the town and pour deadly, accurate fire into the advancing British.

The Highland infantry push up the left hand flank in column, soon their deadly fire shall fall upon the Afghans. 

Under the watchful eye of Colonel Jenkins, Midshipman Ellis directs the fire of the Gatling gun. Until it suffered an ammunition problem this accounted for a lot of destruction amongst the Pathans 

The engagement continues, one prisoner has already been located by the Pathans and dispatched back to captivity, the last one is in the, as yet un-searched, building at the bottom left.

A section each of light infantry and Sikhs pour fire from the gully while another prepares to search a likely looking hovel.

Driven back by fire a group of Ghazis take cover while their leader exhorts them to rejoin the fray.

Ghazis and Highlanders clash in an alley-way, the Scotsmen are driven back in disarray.

From a position of safety Ayub Khan directs the Pathans.

Sihks and Light Infantry keep up a rapid fire.
In the end the Pathans retrieved one of the prisoners and the British grabbed the other but were unable to escort him safely from the battlefield and he was eventually recaptured.

Both sides finished on a Force Morale of 4 but as the Pathans had recaptured their prisoners the game was likely with them.

The breech-loading rifles supported by the Gatling gun were deadly, but plenty of cover meant that the Pathans were able to retreat to shelter and rally off shock and eventually overwhelm their foe-men

Sunday 21 January 2018

American Civil War: Confederates (7)

Another batch of Confederate foot also got finished off this week, some of them have been done nearly two weeks but just needed the bases finishing off, while others are more recent additions.

I've added another ten Confederate infantrymen, these are all from the plastics set. They are mounted on a Warbases sabot although I buggered this up a little. I had been putting 'flex-o-metal' in the holes to hold the figures, but decided to try fender washers this time. they are a bit too thick and the figures more stand on the base rather than sit in it. I shall eventually get them replaced and revert to the previous method.

Some readers have asked for the colours I've been using for the Confederates jackets, so here are some ideas for you, all from the Vallejo Model Colour range:

  • Greys
    • Luftwaffe Uniform
    • Basalt Grey
    • Neutral Grey
    • Dark Blue-grey

All are done with a base-coat and wash then the base-coat re-applied and a couple of successive highlights adding Light Grey to the mix.

  • Butternut
    • A 50:50 mix of Flat Earth and German Camo Beige

Again base-coat and wash, re-apply base-coat and then add lighter colours for a couple more highlights, I used dark Sand, Pale Sand and Iraqi Sand for these to give a mix of shades.
For the trousers I either use one of the above or something from the many shades of brown I have in my collection.

A pair of new leaders also join the force, a grizzled sergeant and an officer in a 'fancy-dan' braided kepi.I used the Dark Blue-grey for the officers coat so that it appears a better quality than that of the men.

The final additions are a pair of figures from the casualties pack, a dead infantryman and another one bolting for it. These shall no doubt find some use in our games.

American Civil War: Union (9)

Chum James is a top bloke, on Wednesday a package arrived from the UK containing a birthday card, and a pack each of the Perry Miniatures mounted Union generals and mounted Confederate generals. I contacted James to thank him and let him know that they had arrived and he joked that he expected to see something on the blog by the weekend.

Not being one to shirk a challenge, that evening I cleaned up the pack of Union generals, mounted the generals on map pins and stuck the horses on 40mm Renedra round bases and textured these bases. Before work on Thursday I took them to the storage unit and primed them grey and during the club painting night on Thursday did the base-coat and wash, using the Army Painter Strong Tone as it dries quicker, so that I was also able to do the highlights on the horses that evening.

Friday before work I started the highlights on the generals and after work finished the bases on the horses and finished the generals sticking them on the horses. I was out all day Saturday but managed to give them a spray of Testors dull-coat before bed.

 Of the three this one is probably my least favourite, I think a very dark blue coat and trousers on an almost entirely black horse looks rather dull

When taking the above photo I also noticed that the brass scabbard needed a a couple more highlights, something I missed during the rush job, that though has since been rectified.

The final general is quite the senior looking chappie, again though while doing the photos noticed that I got a good blob of yellow on the blue of the saddle cloth and have touched that up.

Three new Leaders now join the Union ranks, I hope to get the Confederate ones done this week.

Saturday 13 January 2018

A brisk action at Hawkes Farm

Thursday saw another meeting of the Madison Tea and Crumpets Wargames Club for a bash at Sharp Practice American Civil War. With an ice storm coming in the event was in the balance, but in the end Drew and Bruce were able to make it to mine for the game. 

Besides getting the table set up with the weather making the game doubtful I'd not done much preparation so we settled on the 'An Encounter' battle, both sides would be about 110pts, this may seem a lot to Sharp Practice players used to earlier conflicts, but the basic 1863 Confederate force is 88 points!

Drew would play the Union, as is his way, while Bruce and I played the Confederates.

  • Leader, Status III
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 8 Cavalry with a variety of firearms and cutlery

  • Leader, Status III
    • Leader, Status I
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Two groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Two groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • Medium artillery piece with 5 crew.

I've cracked on with quite a bit of painting Confederates, so no longer have to use the dismounted cavalry as Skirmishers and can field more groups of infantry. For the first time we would be fielding an artillery piece on the Union side.

The Confederates had a starting Force Morale of 9 while the Union started at 11. The Union deployment point was central while the Confederate one was on their right flank.

In the initial phases both sides moved to shake out their lines, the Confederates anchored their right on a scrubby hill with a unit of skirmishers while the infantry shook out their lines and prepared to advance, the left flank was secured by another unit of skirmishers on another scrubby hill. The Confederate cavalry were pushed out to the left to hopefully gallop down the turnpike and get into the Union rear.

The Union pushed a unit of skirmishers through Hawkes farm and placed their main infantry block in the centre, one smaller block was making poor time through a wooded area that must have been much denser than the scouts suggested, on their left another formation of infantry supported by skirmishers would attempt to push the Confederate skirmishers from the hill.

First casualties of the day were inflicted by the Confederate skirmishers on the left, firstly knocking out a couple of the Union skirmishers sent against them then subsequently felling the lieutenant leading the infantry formation ranged against them who struggled back to his feet and bravely carrying on.

The first humorous random event of the game happened when the gunnery sergeant commanding the Napoleon stepped in a steaming pile of rancid coyote dung reducing him to Status 0, oh how us Confederates made mirth of this, however as the crew loaded the gun using command chits the next random event saw them getting a bonus firing action, not so may smiles as one Confederate group suffered 5 shock!

The Union certainly were getting the worst of the random events, after firing off a desultory volley at the Confederates facing them the main Union group was suffering from damp powder. 

On the Confederate left the cavalry shook out before the skirmishers in Hawkes farm, the Union skirmishers fired several times at them but the horsemen swept past and were soon galloping up the turnpike so the Union skirmishers turned their attention back to their front so that they could support the Union troops in the centre. The Union quartermaster would need some investigation today though as it was also found that these troops were also suffering from a supply of damp powder.

Things now started to move the Union way, unable to make headway in the dense woodland the Union troops had about faced and were now moving back across their rear to cover against the threat of the Confederate horse, one volley at effective range was enough to see off the rebel cavalry who skulked off to regroup. On their left some concentrated volley fire from the Union line and supporting skirmishers saw the Confederate skirmishers driven off, although with the wounded Federal lieutenant they we not able to easily capitalise and take that position. 

The Union centre was looking rather shaky though, with only the sporadic support of the Napoleon as the gunnery sergeant was distracted by the stench emanating from his boots and the damp powder the Union line was soon broken with panicked troops retreating before the advancing Confederates, however we'd run out of time and everybody wanted to get home before the foul weather hit so we call it a minor Union victory as they had a Force Morale of 7 to the 4 of the Confederates.

More images of the battle, many courtesy of Drew.