Thursday, 27 June 2019

Culloding along nicely

With less than two weeks to go I really needed to get my act together for my COW game. I've been considering doing a fictional scenario for the "Va t'en Ecosse" rules, but I wondered if I could get close enough to Culloden to put that on instead (I thought about Sherrifmuir in the '15, but that's a really big battle and way more confusing).

Well, I don't have enough regiments, but I can get near, so that was this week's game sorted out.

British Army to the right, Jacobites to the left.

Here's a shot of a British regiment with its new Union flag. These can be swapped out for St George's Crosses, should the need arise.

The Highlanders massed on the other side of the table. Their right is deployed in columns of attack. Phil played the Jacobites, and Richard got the British.

Phil started with a round of firing with his artillery that got a hit with every gun, pretty much. He then launched his attack.

Richard chose not to break through the through the enclosure wall, as his predecessor did, but hold his cavalry back. The layout as I'd got it done did not incentivise historical movement in this respect. I need to widen the playing area, and push the cavalry and their supporting infantry further out left.

Richard's artillery find the range of the on-rushing Highlanders, and cause some disorder.

I missed a picture or two here. Phil's left hand columns smash into the red-coated front line, and inflict a massive 11 hits (that's every dice he rolled was a hit), sweeping away their opponents in a terrifying wave of kilted screaming men.

The right hand columns are slightly less successful, as they have to face a hail of grape shot (new artillery rules in place for this game), but they still drive in the facing infantry and overrun the gunners.

The left hand Highlanders' success becomes their undoing, as the second line of infantry open up at close range and perform massive execution on them.

The Highlanders on the right continue to drive back the infantry, and break them. Richard by this time has abandoned any thought of flanking manoeuvres with his cavalry, and started to turn round and form up to deal with the threat posed. It's all kicking off in the centre too, as the clans close in.

Phil is able to rally one of his right flank clan columns back into the enclosure to provide some protection from the British Dragoons.

It's all hotting up on the centre right of the British line, as the clans charge home. In the distance two clan regiments are working their way slowly through the wooded ridge. You know, the woods that weren't in the photo at the top of the blog.

The British line has been rocked back, but is stabilising.

The clan on the far right is forced back by sustained musketry. Elsewhere the fighting is close matched.

The Dragoons move warily up the hillside to confront the recuperating Highlanders.

By now much of the Highland clans are a spent force, so Phil brings up his Lowland regiments, and deploys them into line. The Royal Ecossois can be seen in the centre in their blue coats and white breeches.

Baghot's Hussars try to establish dominance on the Jacobite left by charging the end of the infantry line. They are driven back. They were deployed there to pursue any infantry broken by the initial charge.

Again some missing pictures. The Highlanders in the enclosure were chased off by the Dragoons, and both are now off the field. The Prince has brought forwards his Lifeguard to try an exploit what advantage he has on his right.

The more regular foot on both sides exchange volleys. In the distance the flanking Highlanders emerge from the woods.

The Lifeguards and the Dragoons charge into each other. A possibly pivotal moment?

The Prince's men are driven backwards. Could it be curtains for the Young Stuart?

On the right wing, the Highlanders make ready for their charge out of the woods. I seem to have no pictures of the outcome. The leading regiment receives a damaging volley and are broken, the following up unit fails to break through.

The Prince's Lifeguard succeed in holding on, and Charlie kills the opposing brigadier in single combat. At least that's what he is claiming.

At this point it was getting close to midnight so we ended the game. The Jacobites weren't beaten but it was hard to see how they would get a win. All the Highland units were blown, and they were left with the Lowland reserve line to save the day.

I got quite a bit out of the game. I need to widen the board a bit, and look at the Jacobite left flank terrain. Most of the rule changes worked well, so I need to type them up and tweak a few bits, but otherwise done. In the actual battle the Jacobite left was boggy and really mucked up their attack. I've smoothed that out for them to give them some more of a chance. Looking at this re-fight if you play the scenario straight as it was it is hard to see where they get a win from. As in the real battle, - better in fact - the Jacobite right wing wins initially, but it ends up in a pocket and gets beaten back. If the British stay steady then the second and third line will win it for them as their superior musketry takes its toll.

Yes, a good test for the rules, I think.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Zvezda Artillery Limbers

As requested, here's the limber & ammunition wagon assembled. They were a pretty good fit, although my slightly less than nimble fingers did make heavy weather of bits of them.

There are some slight oddities in the set. Because of the distribution of parts across the 4 sprues (of which 3 are identical), you get some spare bits, - three wheels,a spare rider and an armless man. Wonder how they got to that as a design decision.

You get one limber and an ammunition wagon. Each pair of horses has a rider (I didn't realise at the time you got a spare, or I'd have had them all with tricorns).

The lead pair of horses on the wagon is detachable, and can be added to the limber for the heavier gun. I'm trying to work out how to add wheels to it so I can have another limber.

I found another gunner pose, too. There's only one of the chap pointing in the box.

The wagon has an articulated front axle, for going round corners. That'll be glued in place when I paint it.

The top is removable, and there's a separate inlay for the cannon ball holder.

And as I said, the front pair of horses are detachable, so here's the wagon being pulled by just a pair.

These are really nice models, and the locator pins mostly fit in okay. I widened a few with a thin point and fixed with superglue because I'm so ham-fisted, but a competent modeller wouldn't need too. The wheels fit so snuggly that they rotate without coming off or needing a fixing device on the end. I've glued them solid, of course.

My only issue is how to paint them as my normal glue-to-a-stick technique won't really work with them. I may have to base up first.

Anyway, thoroughly recommended.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Zvezda Gun and Crew

Here's a few pictures of Zvezda Swedish Great Northern War Artillery piece with some crew painted up as WSS English gunners.

The figures are just colour block painted then varnished.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Zvezda Gunpowder era Artillery

I hope these pictures do these models justice. They are truly wonderful pieces of sculpting, and bear comparison with anything you can get from any other manufacturer in 15mm - 28mm scales. Don't forget these are softish plastic injection mould models too.

There's 3 pounder and 8 pounder field guns and a 16 pounder howitzer. Each model consists of 10 pieces, that fir together perfectly and really don't need glue or filing down.

The barrels are all two pieces, being a barrel and a muzzle. The carriages consist of two sides, an axle, two cross trees and one elevation wedge and two wheels. No flash and the detail is immaculate.

The models went together really well even for my fat fingers.

8 pounder.

3 pounder


Guns in review. Budge barrel in background

Another review shot, including trunion caisson.
Very nice models. Who wouldn't want to own them?

Taiping Trials and Tribulations

Some of the Monday Night Group have never played any of my Taiping Era games, so it seemed about time to give it a go. I set up a Taiping attack on a town and their idolatrous temple buildings. These were being defended by Manchu forces under regular Imperial commanders.

I had a couple of players, - Richard took the Taipings and Steve got the Imps. I decided to experiment again with only using my camera phone, so I apologise in advance for the quality of the pictures.

Here's the centre of the Imp defences. Guns backed by some infantry, flanked by the walled Pagoda complexes.

The Taipings advanced boldly.

The Imps responded by sending forwards their Tiger Men to scare the horses.

This didn't work out to well, and they were forced to retire.

Over on the other flank the Taiping cavalry charged the Manchu horse, although one of the Taiping units refused to move, having failed to pass its Moral Vigour test.

The Tiger Men are driven back onto their infantry supports

Steve started to develop his right wing by pushing his cavalry forwards.

On the Imp left the Longhairs start to prevail, and their second cavalry unit decide to join in.

As the Taiping centre press forwards the defending Imps open fire with everything they've got and inflict some damage. The Taiping cavalry that charged the infantry have been driven back a square, but the Imp cavalry on the left of the picture have been badly shaken by Taiping musketry.

Up by the road the Taipings mass infantry for an assault on the large compound.

The Taipings continue to prevail in the cavalry fight over on their right.

The Manchu cavalry launches itself at some Taiping infantry.

The Taiping cavalry in the centre charge again, and drive the infantry back. In the background the infantry assault the Pagoda compound.

The Imps are ejected from the compound, and are pursued by one of the attacking units. The other starts to loot and desecrate the temple.

The Taiping cavalry have punched a hole on the flank near the camera, but elsewhere devastating fire from the Imp artillery has caused some Taiping infantry units to flee. Behind the building in the distance the Imp cavalry has been driven off, and the Taiping horse as returned to trouble the Imp rear.

As the Pagoda starts to blaze, the Imp infantry wheels round to capture it back.

More Taiping infantry start to retire, but the cavalry has driven the Imp foot out of their position.

Next turn the cavalry break those infantry, but too late.

Most of the Taiping forces are now in retreat, so the Imps claim a victory.

Both of the players took to the game quite well, despite the rather odd way it works, and had a good time. Richard was very good natured over his defeat after I did stack the scenario against him. The Imps are weaker, but I over compensated for this by giving them more troops and putting them behind walls mostly.

The surprise was how well the cavalry performed on both sides, which is unusual for this system.

Next week, more Jacobite.