Monday, 22 December 2014

Battle of Mollwitz


I have had a couple of requests to show one of our games - so here goes - we played this yesterday..............

The game was fought using the Maurice rules; I took the Austrians and one of my regular opponents, Quinton Dalton, the Prussians.


The Map




I chose Mollwitz as it is a very simple battle, so I could set it up with minimal effort.



This is an extract from 'The Army of Frederick The Great' by Christopher Duffy.
(It is upside down to tie in with the photos below - honest!)

I decided that we should start with the two armies in their historical layouts.






The Forces


I organised this game in a rush, so just did a very quick conversion of the figures in Duffy's books, and scaled it to give an infantry line  which covered the right amount of the map/table. This ended up with  simple one unit for each 1000 men.

Prussians

16,800 infantry - 16 units (I was generous with the hussars), two being elite grenadiers
4,000 cavalry - 4 units
500 hussars - 1 unit
50 guns - 5 unit

Austrians

10,000 infantry - 10 units, one of grenadiers
8,000 cavalry - 8 units
1,000 hussars - 1 unit
10 guns - 1 unit

Troop types


I classed almost everything as 'trained' (I was in a rush), with just two exceptions:

  • The grenadiers were made 'elite'
  • The hussars were classed as 'conscript' fighting in the battle line.

The next time I play this I will put a bit more thought into it.

I did make an effort to reflect the characteristics of the two forces using the following 'National Advantages':
  • To reflect their better cavalry, the  Austrians were given the 'Cavaliers' card, which allows them to re-roll poor combat dice when they are charging
  • The Prussian infantry had much better fire discipline, so were given the 'Lethal Volleys' card which allows re rolls of missed shooting dice.

The armies were set up in near historical positions, with a unit of grenadiers interleaved with the right wing cavalry, which historically caused problems. 


















The Figures


The Prussian infantry were mostly Prussian figures, with six units from the new range and the rest Karoliners. There are also six new units of Austrians, with the rest Karoliner French.

All of the cavalry are old HE, Karoliner or Rossbach figures, many of them French.

The Cavalry Battle


The battle started with Austrian cavalry making an attack down their left flank. I loaded the game in this area by giving the force a couple of notables to allow them to move and charge easier.


The Austrian cavalry charged into the fray, and with with a a useful hand of cards (two 'stirrups in' cards, which give advantage to charging cavalry), and the 'Cavaliers' advantage (plus some luck dice) soon add the upper hand.



The Prussian cavalry were totally destroyed, however the Austrian cavalry were shot. The dice behind the units are casualties, five hits kills the unit, so you can see they are in no position to exploit their success. 
The Prussian right wing cavalry had gained time for their right wing infantry to redeploy and link up with the isolated grenadier unit. In Maurice cavalry is only effective against infantry when the cavalry is fresh, and the infantry carrying some hits - so time to beat a hasty retreat.

Unfortunately they then became victim of the table edge syndrome, the Prussian infantry could pin them against the edge, so only option was to head back to their own lines. Rather than move away from the infantry - or better still go around the back!


The Infantry Battle


Prussian infantry then filled the full width of the table and attacked the Austrian centre. The attack came on in two divisions, this made it far less effective. The split was due to two reasons, the cavalry attack had made the infantry drift to the right, and to avoid masking the artillery battery in the centre. 
Eventually the Austrian infantry were able to hold off the Prussians, and caused enough casualties on the attacking Prussians to win the battle.

Afterthoughts


A thoroughly enjoyable game.

The Maurice card system was very effective at breaking the battle down into a series of actions, first the Austrian cavalry attack on the flank, and then the advance of the Prussian infantry once the cavalry had been neutralised. This is a far more realistic sequence than the usual everyone attack at once - or having to write special rules to prevent everyone jumping off at the same time.

We intend to play this again, and I will put a bit more thought into the armies to better differentiate the troop types - perhaps make the cuirassiers elite?

Also, I think I will refight it with less units, and leave the Prussian right a little more open.

As always, comments welcome.

And everyone have a good Christmas.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Using 40mm semi flats for wargaming


Which rules do we use?

'Old school' wargaming.


The new PA range are a development of original HE semi-flats, which were the work of Holger Eriksson, who also sculpted the Spencer Smith range of figure. These figures feature prominently in classic wargames books such as ‘The War Game’ by Charles Grant, or ‘Charge’ by Brig. P Young & Lt. Col J.P Lawford. Both of these books are still available in paperback reprint - but if you can afford it treat yourself to a second hand hardbacks - they look so much better on the bookshelf!

Both of these use large units, which certainly look very impressive, however they are a lot of work - and you will need a big table!

A display game using large units of 40mm ‘Karoliner’ (mostly) figures.

We dallied with 'old school' rules for a couple of years, but found them 'hard work', needing a lot of time, and we rarely finished a game - so we don't use them much now. The thing is though that I really do want them to work - perhaps I just need opponents with lots of time on their hands?

More recent rules-sets

Having given the 'old school' a fighting chance we decided to go for more recent rule sets.

Field of Battle


Initially we used  ‘Field of Battle’ (FoB) by Brent Oman; we already used them (along with 'Shako') for 15mm Napoleonics, and they work fine with the semi flats. These are an interesting set of rules based on the Piquet rules system and use a variable move sequence which is card driven.

Maurice


More recently we have been using  'Maurice’ by Sam Mustafa; these are a fun set, and again the action is card driven. They also contain a simple campaign system. A ‘lite’ version of Maurice is available for free download from:
  http://www.sammustafa.com/honour/downloads/

Both sets have their places, Maurice is best for just two players, whereas FoB can be used with multiple players on each side.



Both of these rule-sets work well with small units of 16 infantry and 8 cavalry, and can still look very impressive. This could be either Maurice or FoB - the troop scale and basing is the same.




There are many other sets available - we have settled on these two.........for now.

Basing and organising figures into units


You might think that 40mm figures need a big table to play on, but that isn't really the case. As the figures are semi-flats,  the width is no more than full-round 28mm figures, so a 20mm  wide base works well for both infantry and cavalry. The bases do need to be a bit deeper than for 28mm, and we have found 30mm for infantry and 60mm for the cavalry to be about right. This is a period of linear warfare with relatively shallow battle lines, so the deeper bases aren't really a problem. The figures have been designed to fit neatly into units on these base sizes.

After a lot of heart searching, I decided to base up the figures so that they could be used either as a single 32 man unit......


.... or two 16 man units, which is all they have been used as so far.



I must do a battle report.................

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Russian Infantry Update

Progress and Plans


Sorry the blog has been quiet for a while, a combination of a busy time at work, a quiet spell on figure production..........and us having a new puppy!

I had a long chat with Chris Tubb (the sculptor) a few days ago to discuss the plans for the Russians, and also the range as a whole. He confirmed that Prince August are committed to the range, however production of new moulds will probably continue to be relatively slow, as this is just one of many projects he is working on. The intention is to get the Prussians, Austrians and Russians finished (infantry, cavalry, lights and  artillery), and then move on to the British and French, provided the demand is still there.


Russian Infantry


Next up will be the Russian infantry, these were discussed back in April (no point rushing - these are 'Old School' after all), and the proposed four moulds below hopefully cover many of the things we discussed back then. 

The plan is for all of the bodies to be musketeers (the grenadiers should have a belt pouch, however this is barely visible on the figures so not worth additional moulds - it can be stuck on or painted if necessary). Similarly it is not currently planned to produce any Observation Corps figures, By concentrating on the musketeers we can provide bodies for advancing and march attack in both summer and winter/parade uniforms. There will also be some new command figures in poses similar to those in the Hungarians, these can (with a bit of work) be used to add variety in the Prussians and Austrians.The provisional listing (it depends what will fit in the moulds) is:

3109 – Russian  officers in winter/parade uniform

  • Officer in winter uniform, pose similar to Hungarian NCO
  • Standard bearer in winter uniform, as an officer similar to Hungarian (as with the Hungarian, standards were probably carried by an NCO, but the officer is added for variety - the Prussian can be used if an NCO is wanted)
  • Officer’s head - tricorn, curls, clean shaven.
  • Guards’ grenadier/leib company head - grenadier with feathers
  • Musket for officer
  • Sword for officer (if space) 

3110 – Russian drummer and NCO

  • Drummer in summer uniform (can use Prussian for winter)
  • NCO, pose similar to Hungarian to carry a pole arm or musket
  •  Musketeer’s head - tricorn with bow , straight hair,  clean shaven
  •  Grenadier’s head – helmet, straight hair & moustache
  •  Partisan for NCO (I know they generally carried muskets, but it seems a waste to add another musket, as there is already one with the officer, so use this for parade/guards).        

3111 – Russian  musketeers/grenadiers in summer uniform
  • Rank & file body (summer uniform) - advancing
  • Rank & file body (summer uniform ) – marching
  • Arm for march attack with and musket
  • 2 x Musketeer’s head - tricorn with bow , straight hair (campaign),  clean shaven
  • Grenadier’s head – helmet, straight hair & moustache 


3112 – Russian  musketeers/grenadiers in winter/parade uniform

  • Rank & file body in winter uniform advancing
  • Rank & file body in winter uniform marching, this could be in a more upright 'parade' pose..... but will it look OK with the more active command?)
  • Arm for march attack with and musket
  • 2x Musketeer’s head - tricorn with bow , curls,  clean shaven
  • Grenadier’s head – helmet, curls & moustache


Progress so far


Below are the greens for the first 3 figures. The officer looks fine, but the waistcoat on the drummer and infantryman is a bit too long, so will be shortened.







Once the Russians infantry are done - Austrian cuirassiers!

As always comments welcome.

One point I really would like feedback on is the plan to have the march attack figure in winter uniform in a more upright pose - would it look OK with the more active command figures?

Friday, 14 November 2014

Hungarians Released

For any of you who are not on the PA mailing list I thought I would let you know that the three Hungarian molds are now available - so something for your Christmas list?

http://shop.princeaugust.ie/

Below are some photos of Richard Hattersley's figures which he has done for the packaging - he could have gone for a brighter blue!




Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Prussian Garrison Infantry

I must confess that I don't like painting Prussians, there is something about painting Red and Dark Prussian Blue that I really can't get on with. The way I see it is that painting Prussians is one of those tasks that you have to do to be a SYW gamer.

So with some resignation, after having had fun painting the colourful and elite Saxon Leibgrenadier battalion, I decided to paint a battalion of Prussian garrison troops,









I decided to pick one of the units which saw some active service, so went for the XI regiment which was at Gross-Jagersdorf.

And also had pink cuffs to add a little colour.










Garrison troops were dressed similar to the musketeers, but probably did not carry a sword, and were generally not as well equiped as the line troops. I contemplated using the Austrian bodies which did not carry a sword, and only had one bag; however in the end I played safe and used the Prussian marching figure. I did cut/file off the sword, which wasn't too difficult, but I suspect if I had just painted the scabbard black it would not have been noticed

Below are some photos of the finished unit - unfortunately my gaming table is full of junk from decorating the kitchen, so no green table or houses - just my desk and a book cover.





Progress Update


The Hungarian infantry the way and should be out very soon, I think they are just finishing the packaging.

The Russian sculpting is also underway, I have seen some of the part finished greens, the first troops are infantry in summer dress - just in waistcoats. There is also an officer in a new pose with a separate musket - not quite finished but looks very nice. (With a change of head and a little work I think he would make a nice Austrian grenadier officer?)



As always comments welcome.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Hungarians are coming


The Hungarians are sculpted and the moulds ready, release is delayed for a few weeks waiting for the packaging to be finalised - but they are close.

Below are the mould diagrams so you can see how they are laid out.

Mould 3106 - Hungarian Officer and Standard Bearer






1. Officer's body

2. Officer's sword

3. Standard bearer's  body

4. Officer's head in tricorn with moustache (x2)


Mould 3107 - Hungarian NCO and Drummer




1. NCO's body.

2. NCO's pole arm (halberd)*

3. Drummer's body.

4. Fusilier's head in tricorn with pompom, hair in plaits and mustache (x2).

5. Grenadier's head in bearskin with cap plate.



* The halberd can be filed down to make a quite reasonable partizan for the officer (see
post 10 September).


Mould 3108 - Infantry Advancing and March Attack

  

1. Infantry march attack body.

2. Arm and musket for march attack.

3. Grenadier bearskin  plain/grenade

4. Infantry advancing body

5. Grenadier head, with cap plate.

6. Fusilier's head in tricorn


(It might have been better with two tricorns in 3108 and the two grenadiers in 3107, however there are plenty of tricorns spread about so this should not be a problem).

As always feedback welcome.



Thursday, 18 September 2014

Light Infantry (2) - Grenz & Pandours

Last updated 19/09/14.........

Following on from discussions about Frei Corps and Jager, some thoughts about the Grenz and Pandour. A hole in the PA range which needs filling.

Pandour Uniforms

Austrian Grenz


There was quite a lot of variation in the uniform worn by the Austrian Grenz regiments, so one of the troop types needs to be chosen. The Pengel & Hurt book on Austrian infantry contains a lot of useful information, including the illustrations and table below.



The table is useful, as at a  glance it can be seen that the ones with coat type 'F2' are marginally more common, so it makes sense to produce a figure which represents 60-63 & 69. Below is an illustration from an Osprey book, type 'F2' is on the left and type 'E' one on the right. Of course a good representation of any of them can be done with a bit of work and a paint job. 

  3 - Gz IR 60 Carlstadt Liccaner  (F2)       2 -Gz IR 64 Waradin Creutzer  (E) 



Russian Pandours









There is another reason for choosing the 'F2' type - it is also the one which is most similar to the Russian pandour regiments.

There are minor differences, but the Austrian figure is pretty close. 

This is a grenadier, others would be similar but with no plate on the hat.


















Head Types

This really depends how many moulds are made, as depending on what else goes in beween two and four heads will fit.

Going back to the P&H illustrations and table it can be seen that  head types  'A' and 'D' are most common. These are very similar so just the type A would be enough, so a couple of these in each mould.

The Russian hat tapered slightly towards the top, so at least one of these.


The Cloak?

Austrian Grenz were famous for their red cloaks, which were generally rolled up over the haversack, but as far as I am aware there are no illustrations showing the Russian Pandour with them (if anyone has some let me know), so there are really three options:

  • Give all the figures a cloak, and accept the Russians will be wrong
  • Give none of them a cloak
  • Cast the cloak a stick on - not sure how easy this is for multiple poses.

What does everyone think?


Officers

Grenz officers were very similar to  those in the Hungarians, so I would suggest  there is no need for additional figures.


Poses

As there is no need for officer figures, and following on from earlier discussions on poses I would be temped to have two moulds, so four figures, and I would go for:

1. Infantry standing firing
2. Infantry kneeling firing
3. Infantry advancing
4. Not sure, options (in current order of preference):
      a. Infantry loading
      b. Infantry/NCO at trail, pointing
      c. Musician

As usual comments welcome.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Light Infantry (1) - Frei Corps & Jager

Last updated 20/09/14

What should the range cover?


Some initial thoughts on light infantry. These moulds are still a long way off;  but it is worth thinking about what is wanted before sculpting begins.

There was a lot of minor variation in the dress of the light troops during the Seven Years War; in a conventional cast range this could warrant many different figures. However it is not practical to cover all these minor variations in this range, so the aim is therefore to produce the minimum number of moulds which will give a reasonable coverage of 'light' infantry, my current thinking is tending towards four sets, only the first three of which will be covered in the Prussians, Austrian and Russian releases:

  • Frei corps (2 moulds) in western style uniforms and armed with musket/bayonet (discussed below)
  • Jager (one mould) in western style uniforms armed with rifle (discussed below)
  • Croats and pandour (2 moulds) in their distinctive more eastern dress (a later post)
  • In the western theatre there are also the Scottish regiments in the British army (but they are a very long way off). 
This first post, which is intended to decide on the best poses for the range will only discuss the Frei Corps types. However a the Croats are not available in any form either in this range or previous ranges it might be worth putting those into production first.


Frei Corps


The frei corps are best covered with a set of bodies which are representative of all nations. These cannot be correct for all of them, so just reasonably close. - possibly similar to the Prussian line infantry, perhaps without the bread bag?

Most such troops would wear the tricorn, but there were exceptions such as the chap on the right with a casket (and in the French army the mirliton).

The figures can then also usefully be used to form the close order firing line for anyone who wants to do so.


Jager


The jagers carried a rifle which was shorter than a musket, and often wore boots rather than gaiters.

They are also often shown with lighter equipment than the frei corps and line, so perhaps dispense with both the haversack and bread bag.

The figure shown is an Austrian in a casket, a Prussian would be similar but wearing a tricorn.










Heads


The frei corps units generally wore the tricorn type of their line troops, but there were exceptions. Prussian Jager wore a tricorn similar to their musketeers, but the Austrians a distinctive casket. As far as I can see this is what needs covering:

Frei corps
 - Prussian tricorn
 - Austrian tricorn
 - Casket
 - Mirliton


Jager
 - Prussian tricorn
-  Casket


Poses

The poses need to be suitable for spreading out in a skirmish line. Also I would like to try and retain some of the the character of the old Holger Eriksson (HE) range.

There is no need for advancing figures as these are fully covered in the close order troops.

Initially I thought that three moulds, and six figures would be needed, but current feedback suggests that this could possibly done with just four figures, but not rule out doing six. My ideas are listed below.


Rank & File Firing


Holger Eriksson - PA23



Firstly I think the two classic firing poses similar to the HE originals. (there are similar figures in the Karoliners).


These two figures will also work well for anyone wanting to produce units of line infantry firing.




Holger Eriksson - PA24













Officer


Holger Eriksson - PA25



I have always liked the pose of the old HE standing figure (but the actual castings are not particularly good.). An updated figure similar to this, with the uniform  of a Prussian officer would be a valuable addition to the range and would also fit well in artillery and command groups.












Great Northern Wars - PADK101


Alternatively,  if  something a bit more dynamic is needed, raise the left arm similar to the Great Northern Wars figure,  and make the right hand able to carry sword, pole arm or musket?

However currently all 'votes' seem to be for the old HE figure.











Other options?


A standing musician, not sure if a drummer, trumpeter, fifer or hornist is most appropriate?

















For the light troops it is worth adding a loading pose to add some variety into the skirmish line. PA already produce loading figures in their Rossbach and Karoliner ranges,It is probably more likely the the first figure with the ram rod in the right hand is more correct, but possibly with the musket angled forward?



Karoliner - PAS914
Rossbach -  PA51












Holger Eriksson - PA25
NCO/Standard Bearer.It might be worth making a standing NCO figure 'dual purpose' carrying either a standard or a pole arm. 

The figure pose could be similar to the HE standing musketeer, but with the right hand a bit higher to hold a flag or pole arm. Uniformed as the Prussian NCO

The figure could also be given a sponge or ram rod to find his way into a gun crew.










An infantryman priming his pan?


What to Make?


There have been some useful suggestions from Rahway and Ross; and I am wondering about only two moulds for the Frei Corps types, and then a mould for the Jagers, say:

    1.  Frei corps standing firing
    2.  Frei corps kneeling
    3.  Frei corps officer standing
    4.  Frei corps standing, one of:
             a.  NCO/Standard bearer standing
             b.  Loading
             c.  Priming pan
             d. Musician

    5. Jager kneeling firing
    6. Jager, one of
             a. Advancing
             b. Advancing at trail
             c. Loading
             d. Priming pan

These figures are still a long way off; however thoughts comments and ideas are welcome and I will update the page at intervals as any comments or ideas  come in.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Hungarians - after the red the BLUE

Hungarian Infantry


IR32 Forgach


These are cast from the test moulds. There are a few mistakes on the castings which have been corrected for the production moulds. The most obvious one being that the tricorns should have a pom-pom (so this is IR 32 which probably did not have one).

I think it's fair to say I went a bit overboard on the BLUE, but they are done now so I will have to live with them!









The Poses


The poses for the drummer and rank and file are the same as in the Prussians and Austrians, however there are new poses for three of the figures.







The new NCO with a halberd, but this is a separate weapon so can carry a sword or musket.

I think this is a very nice pose.














Similarly a new officer pose can carry an assortment of weapons.

(For the Russians we are considering a pose something like this, but with the left arm pointing, He could then be used to in the Prussians and Austrians for variety)







And finally the new standard bearer, we stayed with the same pose but made him an officer.

The flag is from Maverick models and is an early 'Hungarian' version with the Madonna on both sides.

(Again we are thinking of an officer with standard in the Russians so he can be used for variety in the other armies).



Mould Listing and Release Date


 I'm not sure of the mould listing or release date - I will let you know when I have more details.