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.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Coehorns for the '45

Probably the most referenced artillery piece in the '45 campaign is the Coehorn Mortar. As far as I can see no one makes a 20mm soft plastic one, so I was going to have to scratch build.

Rod, who is the Bible for this sort of thing, drilled out some railway luggage trunks from an OO/HO accessories set. I don't have any of those.

Having routed through my bits and pieces boxes and stuff just lying around on and in my desk and on my storage shelves I found nothing suitable. In the end I decided to resort to Miliput.

I wasn't too bad at making oblong blocks, but whenever I tried to put the barrels in (cut down from the IMEX AWI small howitzer) they went out of shape, and I couldn't get them back square. Very annoying. So I made up some open topped boxes from thin card (all those business cards I had left over when I lost my job still have a use) and crammed them full of Miliput, then stuck the barrels in. I was then able to level off the putty and make some lines like they're made from wooden boards. It wasn't until after they'd set that I realised I'd put one barrel in upside down. They look a bit scruffy, but I reckoned they'd paint up okay.

Here's the painted version, mounted on their bases. I added some painted detail on the sides and they look okay. A bit too deep, but that was the practicalities of what I could fold and glue with the cardboard and my none too nimble fingers.

I've painted up two crew per mortar so far. I may need to re-think this as the rules have something in them about rolling the same number of dice as crew. The figures are IMEX again, but I think now I have got the Zvezda figures from yesterday I'll switch to them in future.

I relented on not using the figures with ramrods. We'll just see how they work out. If it snaps off, then so be it, and I'll just have to paint up a replacement figure, or maybe drill out the hand and replace it with a modified pin.

Here they are as a battery. I think they'll do, so I can knock up another pair now. And looking at the barrels I could probably improvise some of those from sprue off cuts.

Yes. Very pleased with that.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Would you Adam and Believe It?*

I was remarking yesterday how I wished I'd gone for the Great Northern War artillery sets from Zvezda, instead of the American Revolution chaps from IMEX, and what should I find in my local model shop?

I only went in for some paint, (and I only went out for that as I had to pick up some Edgcote Conference leaflets from the conference venue as well, which is just up the road). I'll swear they didn't have them last time I went in, and the figures aren't exactly recently released. And they work out cheaper than ordering from Hannants once you include postage. And I'm supporting my local model shop too. So, good for the high street too.

I umm'd and ah'd for must have been nearly 15 seconds before buying them. After all I don't really need them.

And then I looked at the back and thought that I could use the ammunition wagon for transporting my Coehorn mortars when they are finished. And British uniforms for artillery changed from red to blue between the WSS and the '45, so I need extra crew so I can duplicate them to be appropriate.

Well, that's what I told myself anyway.

And if you were to think that the detail on the IMEX figures was good, the Zvezda chaps are in a class of their own.

Plus 5 guns, 1 limber, 1 wagon, loads of crew and a few barrels, all for £11.99.

What's not to like?

* I had a colleague once who wasn't very good at the Cockney Rhyming slang thing. This was one of his better attempts.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Jacobite Artillery

We seems to know even less about Jacobite Artillery than we do the cavalry. We know most of it was nicked from the British after Prestonpans and not a lot else, except they did drag it around with them. Later on they got some French guns that were bigger and suitable for siege work.

From the books I have we certainly don't know what the crews looked like. Anyway, undaunted I decided to rely entirely on an on-line resource called Rod's Wargaming, which I've mentioned before and is awesome. He's been building the '45 units properly rather than just paint figures generically and call them things like the McFlurry's. He has a page on artillery that seems to cover most of what I needed, and even recommended some figures to convert, these being the IMEX American Revolution range. On reflection I should probably have hunted round for the Zvezda Russian & Swedish Great Northern War boxes as you get an extra gun and three limbers for £1 more and a bit more variety in terms of pieces (oh what the h*ll, - if I see some at a show I'll buy them anyway). On the other hand the reason Rod chose the IMEX guns, I think, is that they're generally quite small, being about 3 pounders in the American box, and what looks like a Coehorn mortar barrel in the British box, which fits the guns that were used.

So, Rod reckons the gunners just wear berets and are in trews with short jackets and a bit of plaid. I sort of went with that, but converted a couple of figures in turn back coats to simple long coats.

The IMEX figures have very fine detail compared with everything else I'm using, and are a bit taller too. The gun is also a finely detailed model next to my old Airfix kit. Oh well.

The guns come with 6 gunners a piece, including some multi-part chaps with ram rods. I only need four per gun with the rules system as written, so I'm over supplied. I've left out the rammer figures as they look a bit fragile and the plastic is quite stiff, so prone to breaking, I reckon.

Rod modified his figures with his soldering iron and a head swap or two. I just went for a knife to carve off the detail and some Miliput to add the berets and plaids. As you can see they are a bit skinny.

Here's a close up of the gun and its crew. Looks okay, I reckon.

Right, need to get on with the others and work out how to make bases for the Coehorns.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Greeks & Persians Return

I thought it was a while since we'd run out my Greeks and Persians, so for a follow up Armati game after last week I thought it would be good to get them out. There's also a few freshly painted hoplite units that need to get on to the table. And when I checked it had been nearly 5 years since the last game of this type, so certainly about time to have another go.

We had a good turn out. Tim & Dave took the Greeks, assisted by Will, making a welcome appearance after recent bouts of ill health.

The Persians were run by Steve & Richard, aided by Phil. As you can see I erected a curtain to enable swift deployment without messing about with maps. Both the armies were quite large - 100 points in Armati terms, which is as big as you should really go on a standard sized table.

Under Phil's advice the Persians weighted their left wing heavily. They deployed their hoplite units in depth to add a bit of punch to the centre of their infantry line. The Greeks tried to cover their entire frontage to stop their flanks being turned.

Surprisingly the Greeks won the initiative roll and went first, but only by making a slight wheel of their infantry line. I felt this was a missed opportunity. I think the Greeks have to get on with it as their flanks are vulnerable due to the Persian preponderance in cavalry. You know you are probably going to lose the flanks, but you could win the game in the centre if you can get fighting there as soon as possible whilst delaying out wide.

Rather than anchor their flank on the steep hill on their left they decided to hold back on their right and trust Tim with taking the battle forwards on the left.

The Persians reacted by swinging their cavalry reserve out to cover the move.

Having prevaricated in turn one the Greeks decided they needed to get stuck in. The Persian archers had already started to inflict hits out on the flank guards, and the Greeks couldn't afford to give any advantage away on either end. Dave resorted to using a straight edge to move his phalanx. Richard is checking how much wriggle room he has got to get past the end of the hoplites.

The massed Persian cavalry swing past the Greek infantry, setting themselves up to deal with the Greek flank guard cavalry. Tim has pushed his light horse off to the left, so Richard has diverted some skirmishers to keep them occupied.

On the right the Greeks have held back their peltast light infantry (they had two units) but this has lead to one of them being killed by missiles. This might be a serious error, as dual light infantry units are a classic way of dealing with cavalry.

Dave continues to slide forwards. Tim is trying to work out how he can stay in range with his archers and not get run down by the cavalry.

On the right the peltasts get stuck in. They need some luck.

Over on the Greek right the Sparabara finally succeed in feathering the hoplites facing them.

The Greek advance ends up with them falling about an inch short of the Persians. The dilly-dallying in turn one has caused this to happen. They should be stuck in and inflicting casualties by now. This will cost them.

The cavalry on the Greek left finally engage. Tim managed to rally off his BP. Richard chose to split the Division and run down the archers.

In the distance the peltasts inflicted a hit, but taking on two cavalry units was too much for them and they are removed.

The speed of this collapse on the flanks and the delay in getting into contact means the Persians can do an emergency turn with a cavalry unit and hit the phalanx in the rear. This is not good for the Greeks.

So the first round of infantry combat, instead of being the good news for the Greeks which it should have been, results in a victory for the Persians. Luckily (??) the unit that breaks them is not on the flank so there's no routed in to test to take.

The Greek general gets stuck in, and critically allows his unit to inflict a hit. In the background you can see the Persian general sheltering behind his hoplites in deep formation.

Things aren't going well for Tim in the cavalry melee on the left. It's a 50:50 roll, and he's lost two in a row.

Dave about faces the end of his phalanx in preparation for losing the flank cavalry melees.

Next turn and the Greeks win the initiative, for all the good it does them. Well, it does mean they choose melee direction, so they avoid another routed in to test, but still lose another hoplite unit.

Dave starts to close down the space available to the Persian cavalry on the flank.

But those Persian cavalry in the centre just keep rolling on, and more hoplites break.

And whilst Tim does inflict a hit, he still loses his cavalry. The Greek army is well and truly broken.

An overwhelming victory for the Persians, despite not doing too much damage with their archery. However a couple of early errors made by the Greeks really played into the Persian hands, and it became difficult to see where they were going to get a win from.

Might need to try this again.