Monday, 16 August 2010

1809 - Une affaire de postes

Last Saturday I was invited by Stephan  for an Old School game using a collection of 15mm Napoleonics in his safe keeping at his home. Stephen (really, with an "e" this time, just to confuse me) joined us later and Stephan moderated and umpired a scenario based on the Battlegames 20 table top teaser "An affair of outposts".

Stephan had cleverly adapted the scenario. We had to form three march columns each and with those troop dispositions we had to enter the "unknown" table/terrain and try and secure a line of outposts at the opposite table edge.
We each had four half battalions of infantry, two companies of light infantry and two squadrons of cavalry. I played Austrians and Stephen got the French. We used a slightly adapted version of Grants "The Wargame" rules. I took a couple of (mediocre quality) pictures of the game which I like to share with you.

On my flanking columns I put my light infantry and cavalry to secure my flanks, supported by a half battalion of infantry. These last were initially to reinforce the centre column of infantry.

-The right column encountered Stephens left flank comprising his two cavalry units. As intended my troops secured my right flank succesfully.-

Originally I wanted to push forward centrally to the opposite table edge with cavalry and light troops guarding the flanks, meanwhile trying to evade the enemy and not get pinned. Once on the opposite table edge I wanted to deploy/spread out left and right and establish a line of outposts. Stephen thwarted these plans by deploying his cavalry on his left and forming an attacking force of infantry on his right flank

-Stephen's columns speeding forward covered to the front by his light infantry.-

-In the foreground my flanking units doing their job. In the background you see (in white) my Austrians forming a firing line to receive the French infantry attack. I moved my left cavalry unit in reserve behind a hill as a support for my infantry.-

-My left flank, forming firing lines, cavalry in reserve,
as the French form attack columns and advance relentlesly.-

-Endgame: the French columns received an unhealthy dose of musketry and the Austrian cavalry charged over the hill in to the flanks of the attacking French seen here retreating.-

At this stage it seemed that what evolved in to a full fledged battle was over, leaving the way open for the Austrians. Having other commitments we stopped the game here, supposing an Austrian victory.

So went my first real "Old School" game with a real opponent. Probably the first game ever where I hadn't had the difficulty of second guessing myself (as Stephan aptly put it). I do thank Stephan and Stephen very much for their hospitality and for welcoming me open armed into their small wargaming fraternity.

All in all, a wonderful afternoon, which convinced me I was on the right track with my "Dietsche Unie" project. And I haven't even mentioned the fondling of each others miniatures, discussing rules and other gaming projects and so much more.

Happy gaming

Friday, 6 August 2010

Soldering on

No, that is not a typing error in the tittle. Let me explain...

As mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to convert some SSM minitures as NCO's. As two model  soldiers of the Grenadiers de France, the unit currently being reconditioned, had damaged muskets, I decided to remove these (ooooh) and replace them with scratch build espontoons (aaaah).

Now this would prove to be the tricky bit. Armed with some 1mm diameter wire, cut to length I set about carving some sort of espontoon "head" to put on the wire staff. Whilst I was busy, I also tried to sculpt a head for the staff of the unit's colours. I was quite proud of the result. But then I just had to compare with the Minden Miniatures "flagpole / espontoon" castings. I must admit that the roaring laughter from those -even though they should know better- looking over my shoulder didn't help...

But then I remembered something which would prove very important in this venture: I had a nephew. Actually,  I never forget that, he's after all the only family I have left. But the point is: he's a very accomplished military modeller, winning prizes in modelling competitions, writing articles for modelling magazines and all that sort of thing. And I've seen him do some eyebrow raising stuff with some brass wire and a soldering iron. So I phoned him explaining my problem. A date was set and he would teach me how to solder.

-Left my first attempt (steel wire and carved plastic sprue), 
in the middle the Minden cast and on the right the soldered espontoon. I was bit impatient taking this picture, 
but a bit more filing should make a perfect spontoon for my SSM's.-

Yesterday I found a store that had all I needed to start soldering myself. For about 15 Euros I had everything I needed. I think the picture speaks for itself, doesn't it. This also means I will be replacing the Minden staffs with brass wire, but keeping the cast heads. I guess you can also do swords and spears and lots of other weapons and implements for toy soldiers.

Maybe it would be a good idea, when I produce the next batch of "Kurzgewehre" to try my hand at a small tutorial, if there is any interest out there. Maybe I'm the last person on earth that didn't know how to solder?

Happy gaming