Friday, 21 August 2015

A New Project

I have long been interested in this particular period and have tried to game it several times, without success. Trying to find a set of rules that give a realistic "feel" of the American War of Independence has been a frustrating search. A while back, I bought a set of the excellent Two Fat Lardies large scale skirmish rules: Sharpe Practice. Like all Lardy rules, they are ingenious, well thought out and fun to play. Many AWI battles were little more than very large skirmishes, with less than 1,000 men per side and I wondered if it might be possible to amend Sharpe Practice to larger games than they were designed for. Although still very much a work in progress, I felt confident enough to buy enough figures to get the ball rolling and worry about the rules later.

For those not familiar with the rules, units in Sharpe Practice send to be small (6 - 12 figures), but can be combined together to form larger ones, which share any casualties and disorder amongst the constituent parts, making them better able to absorb the effects of battle. I thought that by having a standard 12 figure "company" at a 1:5 scale, heavy units, as opposed to skirmisher types, could be represented by 2-6 companies (24-72 figures). This would make up battalions of 120 - 360 men. Companies could still be detached if desired to face a flank or do something different, thus providing a great deal of flexibility and the feel of a large scale skirmish. Leadership and troop quality are also, of course, very important. The amended rules are still very much at the embryonic stage, but as I am pretty busy with other things and only have a few figures actually painted at the moment, I can view this as, what politicians are apt to call a long range aspiration.

So far I have completed four companies of American Militia - a small beginning but you have to start somewhere. The first two pictures shows both "battalions" each of 24 figures (120 men). The figures are mainly Perry Miniatures with the added luxury of hand made Mark Allen flags.

This picture shows a battalions of 3 companies (36 figures or 180 men), deployed in line.

Here is a battalion of 2 companies deployed independently. This way they can operate separately, performing different tasks. They can always re-combine later on if desired.

Although my Grand Alliance and WWII collections are getting the lion's share of my painting time at the moment, along with terrain boards and drop on pieces, I hope to be able to make some progress with this period as and when time permits.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

High Command

I have also managed to get a few command bases done recently. Should need about one base per 2-3 cavalry or 3-5 infantry units. They are pretty interchangeable on the whole, although a few do have specific flags attached. Brigade bases are usually a couple of mounted figures, or perhaps a single mounted figure and one or more foot figures. Doesn't really matter as long as it looks nice. This one will serve as a CinC base as it is somewhat larger. The chap in white is actually a cavalry standard bearer with an added map, rather than his flag. The rest are brigadiers.


Apart from the Dixon's engineer officer skulking behind the gabion, all the figures are from the excellent Warfare Miniatures range.

Monday, 3 August 2015

First French cavalry brigade

When considering where to start with the "Great Cavalry Upgrade", I realised that a number of the French regiments were dressed exactly the same. This has meant that the first brigade is a bit of a freebie, as I have simply amalgamated and re-based existing regiments. The Royal Cravattes, a 3 squadron regiment, has simply absorbed the Royal Etranger; all I had to do was discard the extra standard bearer and replace him with a casualty figure to make a 24 figure unit.

I also had no less than 4 regiments (48 figures) of French horse with the same facings and saddle cloths. Allowing for the discarding of superfluous standard bearers and trumpeters, this has allowed me to create 2 regiments of 16 and a third regiment which needs an extra couple of troopers to finish it off.

So, for not too much effort, here is the first French cavalry brigade in the new format. In the first line are the regiments Rohan (left) and Boufflers (right), with the Royal Cravattes in the second line.

The hard work starts now though, as most other units will have to be upgraded by adding extra figures. I have bought another 18 troopers, which are under paint at the moment. These will upgrade the third French regiment with the two necessary troopers, whilst the remaining 16 figures will finish off my 4 Dutch line regiments. After that, there are still more units to do, so a big job. Hopefully, it will be worth it!

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!