Tuesday, 13 October 2020

The Seelow Heights: A Progress Report.

Proof reading is continuing. This is perhaps the hardest bit as after a while you start to see what you expect to see, rather than what is there. Hopefully nothing of importance will slip through. About two-thirds of the photos are done and I must admit, I am pretty pleased with them. Old wargaming friend John Smith, of Leeds Wargames Club (of FIASCO fame) has done a lovely job and his professional advice has been invaluable. Here is another of his efforts which will probably not make the final book, at least not in this form.

I am pretty pleased with the scenarios too. I think they should provide interesting and playable games, giving the Germans a realistic chance. One of the main premises is that whilst the Germans are clearly going to lose the war, the urgency for the Soviets comes not from the final result, but whether they can win quickly; Marshal Zhukov was terrified that his old rival, Marshal Koniev, would beat him to Berlin. As a result he imposed a punishing and highly optimistic timetable on his troops and subordinate commanders, leading to some serious reverses and horrific casualties. This, as much as the German opposition and awkward terrain give the Soviet players plenty to think about.

Still looking good for a November release so fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

The Seelow Heights 16-19 April 1945. A Wargamer's Guide

This is the first post for an exciting project that I have been working at on and off for the last 3 years or so. As readers of this blog may remember, I did a demo game on this subject at Partizan some while back (see under labels) and have retained a real interest in this final Soviet offensive on the Eastern Front. As I read more about it, I started to think that it would make a really interesting wargaming guide, in the style of the popular and lovely campaign books produced by Colin and Richard of Rapid Fire fame. Over the last few months I have started to push the project along and it is now within sight of the finishing post.

So what will it be like. Well I have enlisted the help of technical people who know what they are doing to help with the layout and photography - from the early drafts that I have, it should look lovely. It will be a glossy A4 production with fully illustrated front and rear covers (inside and out) and 56 internal pages. There are 12 scenarios, between 3 and 6 pages each, plus plenty of hopefully interesting background information. Each scenario will be supported by specially commissioned maps and full colour photos. There are also lots of additional rules and amendments to the basic Rapid Fire set, which hopefully capture some of the characteristics of the operation.

Although the orders of battle are expressed in Rapid Fire terms (we have used these rules ever since they first came out), they can easily be amended for other rule sets. A couple of the games are quite large and would suit a day long club game, the majority though are suitable for a typical 3-4 hour evening bash.

Here are three of the photos that didn't make the team (at least in this form).

Well I think that is about it for now. As the project nears completion (I am hoping to publish in November), I will put more information on the blog. Keep popping back to check or "Follow" the blog if you aren't doing so already. Hopefully you will find it of interest. If you have any questions, you can contact me at steveshann@blueyonder.co.uk

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Napoleonic Russian Cavalry

A little short of Russian cavalry at the moment; only have a single "standard" dragoon regiment, with another under paint and a brigade of Mark Allen mercenaries in the form of 2 regiments of Kurassiers. Again these came in 16s so had to stretch them a bit to fill the six bases. Lovely and chunky old Foundry figures with Mark's hand painted flags.

Did these dragoons some time ago and only had 17 figures on hand. Cheated a bit with one of the bases (see the last photo). Quite like adding a bit of extra detail to the bases occasionally - a bit of fencing or some standing water.

Perry figures with GMB flag. Should have the 2nd regiment done soon and also have a 24 man (large) hussar unit about half done. Will probably add a second in time, along with a lancer and a couple of small Cossack regiments.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Napoleonic Russian Infantry

Again these units have been upgraded from 24s to 32s for use with General d'Armee. However with these 32 man battalions I have used 3 bases of 8 and 2 bases of 4 so that I can represent 24 figure "small" battalions as well as 32 figure "standard" battalions using an even number of bases (4) so I can form neater looking attack columns. I think the chunkier looking 32 figure battalions do look nicer, although having to paint those extra figures is a bit of a chore. Still, once it is done, it is done and the result, for me, is worth it. Only have a couple of jaeger battalions at the moment - am looking to increase that to 6 eventually. All figures are Foundry and the flags GMB.

Next up are 3 battalions of grenadiers, each 32 strong (made up from 4 earlier 24 man units). Again they are based in 8s and 4s. I also have a couple of battalions of Mark Allen Pavlovs to varnish and re-base when I can get round to it. they will also double as Guards from 1813.

Below are 16 bases of skirmishers. In General d'Armee, the Russians usually get a lower allocation of these, so this will probably be all that I will need. They are based in threes as per the rules, so that on the third casualty a base can be removed from the table - this is the only figure removal in the game. These are all Perry Miniatures.

Lastly the bulk of the infantry - 9 musketeer battalions, all 32 figures strong. Would like to add another 3 in due course. Foundry figures with GMB flags.

I have a couple of batteries of artillery and command bases to finish off. That done, I should have enough to play a reasonable sized game. After all this time, it will be great to get them on the table.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Napoleonic French Command

I almost always paint my own figures, but as I also do this for a living, I don't often make the progress I would like on my own stuff (no, really?). I therefore dip into the transfer market from time to time, if I can find something that moves my collections on a little. Such was the case with these little beauties. All they needed was a little TLC, varnishing and re-basing. Result: one less job for me to do.

All by the talented Mark Allen. Next up probably Russians, although a few French reinforcements are also on the way.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Napoleonic French Infantry

I am a fair bit further back with my infantry arm, only 3 standard (36 figure) light infantry battalions and 3 small (24 figure) line battalions. The lights first featured on this blog almost 10 years ago (!!) in their first iteration as 24 man units. All I have managed to do is bring them up to strength. Not great progress in a decade. Ah well. Better late than never.

The 3 line battalions I decided to leave as 24s in order to get some units on the table - with my rate of progress, probably a good idea. I do at least have another couple of battalions of 36 painted, awaiting basing. Just about enough for a game. Figures are mainly Perry metal, with a few plastics thrown in.

At the moment I have no artillery or skirmishers done, so that is the next priority. I do however have some very nice Mark Allen command bases, which will feature in the next post.