Friday, 24 July 2015

Heavy Metal

Artillery did not play a major role in most battles of this period. Both technically and numerically, it did not have the effect that it would a hundred years later during the Napoleonic wars for example.  Nor were guns organised into formal batteries, rather they were parcelled out as required on the day. Large groupings of guns were also fairly rare and so I have simply organised them as single models, each representing perhaps 4-6 actual pieces.

So far I have painted 3 English, 1 Dutch and 3 French guns and crew; probably a little light, but enough to be going on with.

                                                         The English

                                                         The Dutch

                                                           The French

The effects of artillery in the rules is fairly modest, more of an irritant that a battle winner. Having said that, they can be quite nasty at close range and troops under fire for long periods can be significantly weakened before the main attack goes in. Eventually, I will probably look to have a gun for every 5 or 6 units of infantry/cavalry in the army.

Next up will be some command bases, which do play an important role in the rules.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Dutch Horse Guards

The Dutch Horse Guards (Gardes te Paard) were, like their infantry counterparts,  an elite unit that fought with distinction in the War of the Grand Alliance and the War of Spanish Succession. The figures were a special cast by Barry Hilton of Warfare Miniatures and feature the drop sleeve coats peculiar to the Dutch Guards. In fact, every figure is a trumpeter from 6 different pack codes in the Warfare Miniatures range, with different sword arms, rather than the usual trumpet - a very unusual unit. My own regiment, with an earlier basing method, illustrates the unit on Barry's web site.

Initially, all my cavalry regiments were going to be a standard 12 figures in 4 bases of 3. I had intended using the Piquet Field of Battle rules, as I do for Napoleonic, but decided that, much as I like the rules, I didn't want all my games to be played using the same set. Variety is the spice of life and all that! I decided to revert to a set that I first came across at Sheffield Triples, 3 or 4 years back, as used by the Grimsby lads in their superb Marlburian demo game. Unlike Field of Battle, these rules are decidedly "Old School", with individual figure casualties, rather than the more abstract unit strength points. I felt that 12 figure units would be a bit flimsy and so decided to undertake the considerable task of upgrading them all to better suit the rules.

Rather than 4 bases of 3 figures each, regiments would consist of (usually) 2 squadrons, each of 8 men, based in pairs, for a total of 16 figures. Some regiments with 3 squadrons would be doubled in size to 24s. This obviously involves a fair bit of extra painting, but the visual results should make it worthwhile. Because the Dutch Guard mounted arm was fairly small, I decided to leave this regiment as a small 12 man unit. This was, I must admit, partly because the figures are only available in a 12 man regimental pack and I couldn't countenance the wastage! I did however re-base them in pairs to match everything else. The other variation is in the French Maison du Roi and the Gensdarmerie. The squadrons in these units tended to be larger at around 200 men and they will be represented by 10 man squadrons, probably in pairs, for units of 20 figures.

This upgrade with be a fairly protracted job I think, although for most units it only involves painting an extra 4 troopers. With around 16 regiments to do, it will still take a while I think. As the units are done, I will post them on the blog. Hopefully it will be worth the effort!!

Friday, 17 July 2015

New Recruits

Am nearly there with the new terrain boards and really looking forward to getting some of these toys on the table before Christmas!! I have managed to get another couple of battalions done in the meantime, one for each side.

For the French the regiment Lyonnais, the usual mix of Warfare Miniatures, Dixons and GMB flags. This brings my French army up to 15 battalions in total, plenty for a good sized game.

For the allies, the regiment Brandenburg-Preussen - a Prussian unit in Dutch service. The flag is actually from the GMB 7 Years War Prussian range - a very close match. This is my 13th allied infantry battalion, with the figures undercoated for a couple more, when time allows.

The next post will show some new cavalry, with notes on organisation for the rules I will be using.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Grand Alliance Parade Part 4 (English and Dutch Infantry)

The bulk of my allied infantry is made up of English (4) and Dutch (6) battalions, each of 30 figures. I do have a couple of Prussian battalions block painted, but they have fallen down the pecking order on my painting table at the moment. Despite the lack of posts I have been pretty busy, particularly on the terrain front, but until I can get my terrain boards sorted (a big and messy job), I can't display the figures as well as I would like. Here are the last remaining infantry units in the collection as it currently stands.


                                                             1st Guards

                                                        North and Grey's






                                               Gard te Voet


The English battalions are a mixture of Dixon's and Warfare Miniatures. The first 4 Dutch battalions are Dixons, the Guards and Scots are from the Foundry range.

A number of these battalions featured in this blog some years ago in their Lily Banners' format - 18 figures on 3 bases. Since then, I have "gone large" and added a base to each flank to make them 30 strong. Although a considerable increase in cost and painting time, the results have been well worthwhile and the units look very impressive when deployed.

A couple of years ago, I posted pics of my (then) completed cavalry for this collection; 6 French and 2 English regiments, all from the superb Warfare Miniatures stable. Since then the mounted arm for both sides has grown considerably and these will feature in my next post. Until then, happy wargaming!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Grand Alliance Parade Part 3 (Danish Infantry)

This is the smallest contingent in my Grand Alliance Army with only 2 battalions completed at the moment. The Danes had a solid reputation for providing good quality mercenary troops. They were financed by either the English or Dutch governments and usually performed well.


                                                      Prinds Georg

Both units are a mixture of Dixons and Warfare Miniatures. The flags are also by Warfare.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Grand Alliance Parade Part 2 (French Infantry continued)

Before moving on to the Allied infantry, I thought I would post the three latest battalions that have recently joined the ranks of the French army. These are the Regiment de Navarre - one of the oldest regiments in the French army - and two battalions of the equally prestigious Gardes Francaises.


I was a bit concerned that this unit might look a little bland, as there is no distinctive facing colour to brighten up the basic uniform. I do like the flags though! The figures are, as usual a mixture of Dixons and Warfare Miniatures. The flags are from GMB.

                                            Gardes Francaises

I was particularly pleased with the way these two units turned out. I used the standard Dixon infantryman, without the Warfare Miniatures firing line figures to give a uniform advancing/at the ready feel to the units. Officers, standard bearers, drummers and pikemen are from Warfare.

This brings the total up to 14 French battalions - enough for a decent size game. Next up will be their Grand Alliance opposite numbers: the Danes, Dutch and English.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Grand Alliance Parade Part 1 (French Infantry)

Over the last year or so, I have managed to make a good deal of progress with this particular collection. Having started out using Beneath the Lily Banners by Barry Hilton of League of Augsburg fame, I have moved over to Piquet Field of Battle for much of my horse and musket gaming. I hope to do a more in-depth review of these rules in a future post, but suffice it to say that having tried FOB, I am completely hooked. The rules themselves are pitched at the period 1700-1900, but can easily accommodate the Grand Alliance period, with the addition of a couple of additions to cover the use of pikes. The unit sizes tend to be fairly generic and so players can, within reason, suit themselves. Having grown up with Peter Gilder's In the Grand Manner Napoleonic rules, I have always liked fairly chunky units and so decided to increase the basic infantry unit from 18 figures to 30. Whilst you can obviously get fewer units on the table, the visual effect of the larger battalions is fantastic. Based in 5 lots of 6, the command stand, each with 2 flags, is front and centre - where it should be and the units look both impressive and balanced. Each battalion has a 3 figure half-stand of pikemen. These are used to show that the unit is pike equipped. In the 1690s most were, but by the time of the War of Spanish Succession only a few year later, these had largely disappeared. By omitting the pike stand, the unit can then be used for the Marlburian period - only the informal tricorne, rather than the more formal version differentiating the two periods. From what I have read, this is, in any case over-stated as the Marlburian version would soon "wilt" in campaign conditions!

Cavalry units are 12 figures strong, with 4 bases of 3. This was chosen because it both looks good and fits, more or less with the frontage of an infantry battalion; the number of figures in a FOB unit is largely irrelevant as long as unit frontages are broadly similar. Artillery are deployed as single gun "sections", rather than the normal 2 gun battery. This reflects the way that artillery was used in smaller groupings, rather than the more formally organised batteries of later wars.

In this post, I will just show the French infantry units that are completed. Future posts will cover the cavalry and the various allied contingents of the Grand Alliance.

                                                           Royal Italien

                                                              Le Roi




                                                              Royal Vaisseaux





                                                                    La Marck

Most of the battalions use the old but still very nice Dixon infantryman, with head variants as the stock figure. Most battalions also include a number of the delightful Warfare Miniatures figures(another venture by the multi-talented Mr Hilton), particularly loading and firing figures, command and pike. The two ranges are an excellent match. Four of the older battalions are made up of old but equally serviceable Foundry figures.

There are 3 more battalions in the final stages of completion - one line and two of the famous Gardes Francaises. These will make an appearance in a future post.

So, there we are. I hope that I can keep to my intention of posting more regularly and that you will like what you see.