Monday, May 31, 2010

RSM : Spencer Smith Comparison

In the last post Capt. Bill kindly asked about the comparison between Spencer Smith figures and RSMs a question that was on my mind when I ordered the SS figures. I had seen some comparisons out there on the net but thought a close set of comparison pics was in order. So here they are:

RSM on the left, Spencer Smith on the right.
(...the grid in the background is a 1/2 inch grid)

The difference between the two castings is most apparent in the front and rear views, since the SS figures are more semi-round

note also that these pics are really "extreme" close-ups and show both my weaknesses as a painter and the level of detail of these older style castings...but at "table range" and en masse, I think they are great, classic figures!

Here, a bit farther off...(a close "table range")

Spencer Sniths in full glory!

and RSMs rousing the locals with a marching song in the early morning!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Calling Up the Reserves!

King Wilhelm has called all able bodied men to the defense of the fatherland! Today the Herrsoldaten (gentleman pensioners) Regiment of the Konigreich der Bleiherzen marched off the the border to meet the rest of the Armee, encamped there. These old fellows are not as flashy as the younger regiments but are dependable and as long as the beer ration wagons are keeping up, are hard fighters as well!

This unit is my first unit of Spencer Smiths and I'm pretty happy with the result. These guys were done with a layered block painting approach that seems to suit these older castings.

I'm beginning to think there's nothing a .02 Micron pen, steady hand, and reasonably good eyes can accomplish with a bit of patience detail-wise, I even went so far as to add gaiter buttons on these, (not something I normally bother with because you really can't see them at "gaming distance") but for this unit, I thought it deserved a bit of extra effort.

I enjoyed painting the colonel and with some layering of colors on the horse, even the simple casting takes on a good bit of depth.

You can see also in these pics that I'm still to put buttons on the ensigns, some shading on the flags and such things, but I wanted to get the unit into reasonable trim to fight in the next battle this weekend so I'll save those details for later.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Guards Assault!

This evening saw a floor battle pitting a unit of the "Clothespin Guards" in an assault on a town complete with dragon's lair, several 90mm knights and a pair of huge "Transformers" locked in a battle royal with my son who defended a fort armed only with a "Nerf" gun. Despite three charges in assault column, the Guards took heavy casualties (and the dragon didn't fare so well either....). But given the heavy fire of my opponent, and the fact that the Transformers seemed to remain neutral, the outcome was never in doubt!

The "Nerf" gun worked well as a substitute for the more traditional 4.7 inch Naval Gun of "Little Wars" fame, though it's "laser" aiming device I think made the game a bit lopsided! The wooden clothespin soldiers did ok under fire only loosing a few rifles to Nerf hits...

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Note of Thanks

I was thinking today about how much all of you guys out there have really improved and enhanced my experience of wargaming, and this evening I'd like to send out a word of Thanks to everyone whose blogs I follow (I think now around a hundred! ...?) It is truly a renaissance here at the Lead Gardens and I'm looking forward to a great summer of gaming, painting and general good stuff from all..this is, I think, is one of the world's Great and Noble hobbies...truly a sport of... (if not kings), ...then at least gentlemen!! I raise my Martini high!...HUZZA!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gentlemen Pensioners of the Konigreich

Spent an enjoyable afternoon painting up my first Spencer Smith in the uniform of the Gentleman Pensioners (Herrsoldaten) Regiment of the Konigreich der Bleiherzen! For this unit I'm going with a slightly "greyed" tone of mid blue with deep red facings for this unit of veterans...nothing too flashy just "classic" ;)...

The Spencer Smiths paint up really fast but it does take a bit of knowledge of 18th century uniforms to get the details painted in because they are only suggested on the castings. These pics of the first test figure are still in a matte finish, the final step will be to give them a nice "bullet proof" coat of "Krylon Triple Thick Gloss" to finish them off in good style. I'm using the great (and well known) set of pics and instructions found on the Spencer Smith site of Henry Heyde's painting of his classic Regiment Regiment von Eintopf as a guide to getting these guys done in classic style...and I'm already looking covetously at the beautiful Holgar Erikkson cavalry for another unit of Bleiherzen veterans....(the CinC LeadGardens is going to kill me!! ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Project in Horizon Bleu!


"Bluebear" kindly asked in the last post what those Old Glory figures mentioned were so I thought I'd devote a post to the "reveal". They are the first wave of a new pair of imaginary Interwar era armies. This first will be loosely based on WWI French equipment and their opponents will be some amalgam of Austrian and or Italian mountain types (haven't decided that completely...because I'm also entertaining a British intervention as well...all I'm sure about is a fictitious conflict in the Piedmont/Alps/Appenines region of Europe and despite the warring countries grand claims to nationalist fervor...we really know that it's all about the wine!...maybe I'll call it "The Cork Wars" ;)

Old Glory 25/28mm WWI French Advancing (basic 8 figure company)

As I mentioned last, I went with Old Glory figures for the core of the armies with Battle Honors and Askari to fill out the more exotic types. The figures are all around 26-28mm or so and comparable in heft so it should work out fine. The Old Glory WWI figures are some of their best stuff sculpting-wise and between OG and Battle Honors, there are some "rear area" figures like signalmen and medics/nurses to make for interesting additions to the games. And with my discount card at OG, I'm able to afford the armies! Of course this will also involve a few of those creaky early tanks and armored cars and such. And finally, painting figures for this era is fast!...I was able to do this first 8 man company in just a few hours.

Hotchkiss HMG (I'll be fielding 1 per 4 infantry companies)

Basic organization for the "French" equipped side will be (4), 8 figure companies to a battalion plus an HMG stand and a Battalion HQ with a couple of stands. To this core battalion will come guns, tanks, cav, and such. Armies of this era were transitioning from 4 company battalions to 3 so it will give a bit of flexibility in each army to field different sorts of forces...and since this will be fictitious, I might mix it up some. I'm going to keep the uniforms historical so I keep the option of selling the stuff if my interest wanes. (The bases are 40mm squares except for the Alpin because I changed my basing idea right after the glue had dried on I have to decide how to get them off those washers?!)

Askari 28mm Chassuers Alpin (here only partially completed)

Rules will be varied, and I'm trying to make this collection play with several rule sets... as well as a set I wrote for the Spanish Civil War about 10 years ago. Maybe I can get them up to speed and offer them here for free.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Love When That Happens!

Today's mailbox found both a box from Old Glory and a package from Spencer Smith Miniatures...metal in the mailbox is always a good thing! addition to getting my summer Interwar project off to a good start, I'm also am able to indulge my classic wargaming proclivities with my first ever unit of 30mm Spencer Smiths!

It was a great moment today here at the Lead Gardens, ...I, having never laid eyes on a Spencer Smith figure except in pictures for the past 35 years, and what with all that those images of massed 30mm goodness has done for wargaming in general,.... I, littlejohn, finally own a unit of them!!

It was a really interesting feeling opening up the package (arriving in really short time...thanks Peter!) ... and getting to see them for the first time...they were what I had imagined and more...beautiful proportions, "detailess" castings, and more slender and less flash than I had envisioned. So this evening I've thrown myself into cleaning them up (surprisingly less of that than I had imagined...) and tomorrow will be a fun day of painting for sure!

I'm thinking these guys will be painted up as the Gentleman Pensioners (Herrsoldaten) Regiment of the Konigreich der Bleiherzen....sort of an Old Guard, brave, seasoned, but much less inclined to come to blows, preferring instead to settle things with accurate volleys of musketry. We will see how the Grand Duchess deals with these grumbling old fellows in an upcoming battle! Huzza!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Close Combat at Five Yards...on Skis!?

As I was pitching in to a new summer project, (a "slightly"-Imaginary 20thc Interwar era collection in 28 mm inspired by the Interbellum blog) I found myself hunting around for some painting inspiration and found this interesting —but to my mind, crazy/fanciful— image of a charge on skis?!. It would be interesting to know if this image was inspired by some real event...and what would have happened in the picture 30 seconds later! The webpage it was found on seemed to be an "orphan" with no functioning links in or out of the page.

I started small with a unit of 8, 28mm French Chasseurs Alpin that just arrived from Askari Miniatures (nice figures and will post pics soon!). Though I had wanted to do a toy soldier style collection inspired by the Funny Little Wars Rules, the cost and exchange rate precluded doing anything in 40mm and the conversion of 54mm plastics seemed a bit more than I could handle in these days of limited time and energy. So I'm going with a more "turn key" approach with 25/28mm primarily using Battle Honors and Old Glory with Askari to fill in some of the exotic types that might make an appearance. I'm still in the planning stages on what armies and equipment (except I'm sure one of them will be using French equipment...because I dig those tiny FT17 tanks and horizon blue uniforms!)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Hate When That Happens!

OK, so it's a beautiful spring day here in southwest Virginia, and I've got some time so I head out to the backyard to put a few coats of "Green Mile Green" on my hills and finish some other terrain stuff that's been waiting for just such a day...but typically in my haste I forgot to change into a "painting" shirt...and well guess what...I managed to "ruin" a brand new expensive shirt that the "CinC Lead Gardens" bought for me just last week! Doh...! ...Well, I think a "don't ask don't tell" policy is not going to fly with the CinC so I may have to by a bottle of wine for her this evening to accompany my daily situation report!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Raid on a Supply Depot II

As the second half of the battle unfolds, the Bleiherzen infantry assault has pressed the Grolsteiners back but had yet to break their lines.

The Bleherzen combined grenadier battalion advances to the charge.

The Colonel of the Grand Duchess's Liebguard encourages his boys to hold their ground by reminding them of their performance in the last battle...they have something to prove!

The Bleiherzen combined grenadiers charge the left of the Grolstein line and the Duchess's Liebguard deliver a stout volley in concert with the cannister fire of the "Red Battery" of the Grolstein artillery posted on the corners of the supply depot.

A tough fight but the grenadiers still win the melee and the Lieb Guard is forced to fall back loosing their Liebfahne in the fight.

Here a burly Bleiherzen NCO escorts the captured Grolsteiner ensign to the rear with the point of his spontoon for "encouragement".

Meanwhile on the left of the Bleherzen attack the cavalry is having a rough time of it...and are thrown back by the outnumbered but inspired Grolstein horse. It seems the Grolsteiners are intent on avenging their recent defeat at the Battle of Vier Arme

Even a full battalion of Bleiherzen infantry fails to break in to the monastery defended by a tenacious contingent of "White Croats".

Despite being pushed back twice by the advancing enemy, the Grand Duchess' Liebguard rallys and retuns to the fray delivering a volley that finally breaks the assault of the Bleiherzen grenadiers. In the distance Konrad Jahde's regiment of musketeers delivers a crushing volley.

In the closing moments of the battle the men of the Konigreich loose heart and are forced back, giving a win to the Grand Duchess! ...and as the sun set a party of the Duchess' Uhlanen come upon a young ensign carrying the white Liebfahne of the Duchess' Lifeguard who escaped in the confusion of the Bleiherzen retreat...a promotion is in store for that young lad!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Raid on a Supply Depot

Today I found a bit of time to set up a small 18th century action between my two ImagiNations after having been inspired by and having ordered my first unit from Spencer Smith Miniatures to add to my 18th century collection. I figured that every true "Old School" collection should have some Spencer Smiths included, and I was especially inspired by the pics over at Nyudrev Chronicles of some nice units of classic Spencer Smiths to get the ball rolling...

After having a few games with newer rules like Black Powder, I thought it would be fun to get back to basics with a game using "The Wargame". In addition, I ordered "Charge" from On Mililtary Matters and the rules came within 2 days! I'm primed for more development of my 18th century stuff!

The battle today was based on the historic engagement at Gostyn (1761) between a Prussian brigade and a Russian defense of a supply depot. I used the map from the indispensable "Project SYW" for the table set-up, and the scenario was recast as an attack by the Konigreich der Bleiherzen on a Grand Duchy of Grolstein supply depot. It followed that the Grolsteiners had retreated to regroup after their loss at the Battle of Vier Arme and the pursuing Bleiherzeners here threaten to capture a rear area depot.

The battle began with the Grolsteiners deploying as the Beliherzen forces arrive on the table. The historic battle saw a Russian (played here by Grolstein) brigade guarding a fortified supply depot situated next to a monastery outside the town of Gostyn. The main infantry force of Bleiherzeners arrives and deploys to the attack and 3 turns later their cavalry brigade arrives to flank the Grolstein infantry line.

Bleiherzen cavalry brigade

Grolstein cavalry deploys to counter...

the Grolstein supply depot, fortified with an infantry battalion and 2 guns

The main Grolstein infantry positions in front of the depot and the adjacent monastery held by a detachment of Croats.

The Bleiherzen attack begins with a blast of canister from advancing guns. (it's always fun to break out my homemade canister cone)

Grolstein Musketeer Regiment Jahde lets loose a volley at long range...dropping a few oncoming grenadiers

The Bleiherzen cavalry makes a flanking move

The Bleiherzen attack develops...

Colonel Gerlach's jagers assault the monastery...

The Grand Duchess' Liebguard fights to redeem their reputation after their poor performance in the last battle. ( beautiful new Minden minis finally give a good account of themselves!)

Melee in the monastery...and Colonel Gerlach is again wounded in the fight...he is seemingly made of cast iron...having been wounded in three of the last four battles...but always comes back to fight again!

A composite battalion of Bleiherzen grenadiers bears down on the Grolstein infantry line.

A large cavalry melee erupts as Grolstein dragoons and uhlanen resist the flanking attack of the Bleiherzeners

The Grand Duchess' Leibguard is severely tested by a strong flanking assault of grenadiers...

to be continued...