Saturday, February 28, 2009

Coach and Four

the entire contents of the box from Blue Moon Manufacturing...

coach assembled

coach assembled except for the coach lights...roof is removable for the passengers

As promised here are a few pics of the 28mm Coach and Four by Blue Moon. I got the coach "moving with seated passengers", but there is also a version with standing horses and dismounted passengers. I'm still assembling so the coach lanterns are not yet installed. I think this will be a really great model when it's all done and will give the Grand Duchess of Grolstein a nice ride to tour the outer defenses in.

In case you are thinking of getting this model. It measures 7- 1/2" inches long and about an 1- 1/2" across the axles. It includes four seated passengers and a driver...available from Blue Moon Manufacturing. ($40.00 USD.)...a bit pricey, but the Duchess needs to get around somehow...and with all the raiding going on recently, it's rumored that she has retained a specially trained unit of Pandours to escort this coach.

"Hey, You Knew It Going In..."

You hear that phrase said about marriage sometimes but I think I've heard it more often about collecting Napoleonics. This new project with Victrix is giving me a few flashbacks (some good some bad) of my past forays into Naps—(15mm...sold, 20mm...sold, 6mm...still have, and now 28mm).

To reduce some of the formidable painting challenge (as well as a more fiddly prep required for the plastic multi part figures) I'm proceeding a bit differently than my normal painting process.

First after getting 48 figures partly assembled, I decided to do 2 smaller units of 24 with the option of using them as a bigger battalion by adding some command figures. Second I think the light plastic figures will not like being tacked to my usual painting sticks (tongue depressors) and then removed for basing without risk of breakage so today I experimented with basing up 4 unpainted castings and painting them in situ just to see if it would be possible to reach in with the brush to get all the figures painted on the base.

The pic shows the result of a basic paint job of one base. The 4 figures took me 2 hours to paint and for me did not pose too much of a problem being on the bases. The base offered a good handle for painting and having them based up helps with the "inspiration" to finish the whole unit.

This particular madness will no doubt be a long term project as I am already itching to get back to my 18th century stuff...especially a wonderful Coach and Four for the Duchess (Blue Moon Castings) still sitting in its box.

(BTW, I'm using a 4 figures to a 40x40mm (5/6 bases to a battalion) basing scheme. this seems to work with a wide range of rules...and this works for the rules in the Victrix box... that look pretty good...a nice balance between "old school" and more contemporary rules like "Shako")

The Prince Gets his Nose Bloodied

After a hard cavalry fight and defeating Sir Horatio Cary's Royalist horse, Essex leads his horse around the Cavalier left flank.

The infantry battle in the hedges grows hot...

each side brings up more foot...the Roundhead gun posted in the redoubt fires with little effect on the foot advancing under the cover of the enclosures...

The musketry is fierce...

...but in the end, Parliament's foot holds firm and the Royalist line crumbles...Okey's Dragoons cross the hedge giving a last volley at the fleeing Cavaliers...

in the final minutes of the fight, Essex leads his cavalry to ravage the Royalist baggage...and recaptures some of his recently lost powder barrels... the surviving Royalist foot are forced to swim the stream and many are lost in its swift waters. The Prince escapes with a loyal body of horse and a few remaining infantry to regroup and fight another day.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Among the Hedgerows

Royalist infantry move up along a lane...

...and across the enclosed fields...

In the fields beyond, Ruperts cavalry tries conclusions with Roundhead horse...the cavalry battle is inconclusive...

The Redoubt

After a dramatic stroke that resulted in the capture of a section of Parliamentary supply train, Prince Rupert presses on up the road towards the village of Downton. Just outside of the village on an open expanse of high ground Essex has drawn up the remainder of his army. Overnight the Roundheads erect a hasty redoubt and post their remaining gun.

Essex posts his remaining Foot in an area of enclosures along the road down which Rupert is advancing...and presently a small party of Dragoons comes galloping along the main road shouting...the cur Rupert is upon us!

Royalist foot move up through the enclosures on the outskirts of Downton

Parliamentary Foot form up along the hedges...

The battle begins in earnest with an exchange of long range musketry... be continued

Thursday, February 26, 2009

First Impressions: VICTRIX 28mm Plastic Brit Naps

If these new Victrix plastic figures come out well I may have to rename this blog. I had a few hours clear today to work on a new project that I've been wanting to start for a while. I purchased 2 boxes of French Perry plastics and 2 of the new Victrix British Peninsular War Napoleonics and today have dived in with the first unit of Brits.

Here are my first impressions of the plastics:

1. They are beautifully sculpted.

2. The poses are very versatile and there are enough figures to do lots of different types of basing schemes/unit sizes.

3. They are economical for building the core units of a Nap army.

4. Nice extras included with both the Perry and the Victrix boxes--with Perry French you get a set of plastic bases, and some painting info, with the Victrix you get a nice set of Napoleonic rules (written by Barry Hinton of "Beneath the Lily Banners" fame) that will get you started as well as painting info and game markers on the inside box flap.

5. The figures are hard plastic and will take and hold paint.

6. They are readily convertable to get a really unique look or pose with a little modeling work.

8. No nasty toxic metal around to harm the little ones.


1. They have to be assembled--(no real problem for most of us but if you are all thumbs it might be a bit of a hassle to assemble the figures)--assembly is slightly more fiddly than building a GW plastic figure since the figure and parts are 28mm (a separate arm casting is pretty small)--

2. They don't have the "heft" of metal...but that could be a positive if you do a lot of transporting of armies.


All in all I think a great buy...and I'll keep posting as the unit progresses. The first unit is going to be a British line battalion of 40 rankers and 7 other figures. I'll be mounting them 4 to a 40x40mm base to make a company and 10 companies to make a big battalion (that can of course be broken down for several different rule sets). I'll also mount the flank companies as 2 or 4 singles.

The little rule set included looks like fun and will inspire me to get a few units done post haste to give them a go. BTW they are called "The March of Eagles" and are available free online HERE

Monday, February 23, 2009

The "Supply Column" Battle Part 2

Prince Rupert's Royalists win the day! In the final turns of the battle, while Royalist foot blast away at the Tower Hamlets regiment, the Prince leads the rallied Royalist horse around the now open flank (after the last of the Parliamentary horse are routed) of the rearguard. Seen here passing out of the frame in the pic below...

And in the final moment the Prince's Cavaliers make contact with the valuable baggage thus securing a major and in this game, a "sudden death" victory over Essex's Parliamentary force.

loot for the King!...

Once again a really fun excursion into the 17th century via Clarence's great rules...and since there's not need to stop the fun, I set up a follow up encounter assuming the Royalists eventually reach the Parliamentary main body who will have had time to construct a hasty redoubt and a gain a few reinforcements....more on this in the next post!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Back to "The Troubles"- ECW 1643

Royalist horse close on the tail of an important supply column.

My "green mile" got turned into ye olde England today for an ECW battle to get me back into the mood to paint my 40mm stuff. I laid out a scenario wherein a Parliamentarian column is surprised in the early morning by a Royalist force intent on capturing what is rumored to be a train of powder and ball destined for the Earl of Essex a few miles distant. The action begins when a body of Royalist horse spot a straggling section of the column consisting of a small train of wagons defended by a squadron of horse, a regiment of foot, and a squadron of dragoons...

The Parliamentarians realizing that rear of the column has become separated in the night march, double back to arrive at about the same time the straggling section of the column is spotted by the Royalists.

the escorting horse and foot deploy to defend the baggage.

after scattering the dragoons defending the bridge, the Royalists pursue in a disordered state but are faced with the defending horse..the battle erupts in a wild cavalry melee...

meanwhile Royalist foot after crossing a ford off table occupy a farm on high ground to delay the Roundhead brigade hurrying to the sound of musketry...

The Parliamentary foot get embroiled at the farmhouse but can't break in and instead must settle for a musketry duel...

meanwhile the battle at the bridge with the wayward column heats up as both sides shake into a rough battle line and begin to exchange musketry fire...

Roundhead horse takes a severe volley and are scattered...

the Royalists seem to have an endless supply of units to throw across the the distance the struggle at the farm continues...and Parliament brings on a lone field gun...unfortunately for the Roundheads a stray spark from a gunners linstock ingnited a powder barrel and destroyed the second arriving gun and many of the crew, putting it out of action.

Royalist horse pursue Parliamentary horse...but are disordered and are forced to rally back at the bridge with other regrouping squadrons...

a local Royalist garrison regiment arrives to lend weight to the Royalist push towards the supply wagons... be continued...

This battle is being fought using Clarence Henderson's excellent "Victory Without Quarter" ECW rules (available for free on his website). These rules are great for solo play and this time I used some of the optional rules for "Maddening Subordinates" and "Random Events" and the game has been really a blast! I was also loosely inspired by the raid scenario in C.S. Grant's "Tabletop Teasers"(Battlegames Special Edition). I thought a non set-piece encounter battle would be a good way to further test the "Victory Without Quarter" rules and so far they have performed fantastically well!

Friday, February 13, 2009

In the Works

Here are my current painting projects gathered for review:

-up front is the first Grolstein Musketeer Regiment (yet to be named, but the Duchess has approved the uniform.) (RSMs)

-to their left is another command group for Grolstein (RSMs)

-unpainted behind them are the remaining Blue Moon civilians waiting for their character assignments...I'm going to find period images to try to breathe a little life into them before deciding how to paint them. (there's also a lone RSM dragoon firing that I'm using to scale a BIG Vauban fort section that I building be posted soon)

-and finally the big 40mm ECW cav from Sash and Saber about halfway be completed when the mood is right!

-and not shown:
I had this idea to do two small ACW brigades for a little collection (since I already have a bunch of older style unpainted Old Glory figures that I got on ebay a long while ago.) for some small ACW battles...I was thinking a good start would be the forces in Don Featherstones classic "Battles With Model Soldiers" that he used to demonstrate his rules: 2-20 man regiments and one 12 man cav and one gun per side. A little cav heavy for the period but classic stuff and I am the proud owner of a 1974 vintage hardbound copy!

...and finally I have two boxes of Perry 28mm plastic French just waiting to have it out someday with the new Victrix Pennensular Brit plastics (yet to be aquired...) so the Naps are a LONG term project that are waiting for perhaps the new rules from the "League of Augsburg" guys when they come out. Naps rules are a perpetual headache but the scenarios in the new Tabletop Teasers have got me wanting to do a bit of it. (Anybody in the market for two small armies of unpainted AB French and Brit Naps let me know...I think I've painted my last 15s since my eyes are just not there any more.)

All's Well and Smooth Again!

Bit the bullet today and bought a new computer since my tech guy pronounced my laptop DOA. It hut the wallet but as Jeff predicted, the new machine is bigger, better, and faster and even my wife (who is herself a devoted blogger) said to me this evening, "wow I'm really glad you wrecked our old machine!..." I really love that girl!

Fortunately the old hard drive was salvaged with all my files saved (particularly my maps and flag designs.... and my scraped shins are mere flesh-wounds! we are back to it!

And I have to say all of your blogs out there are REALLY spectacular to see on a new 24" flat screen monitor!

The only down side is I had to promise my better half to lay off ordering new figures for a few months so we can catch up...but my metal backlog is so deep that it is probably a good thing to catch up for a while.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Today I have to report a bit of computer difficulty that may slow my posts here on Lead Gardens. I happened to fall today while carrying my laptop over to our printer. Unfortunately I fell hard and killed my Mac bigtime... :(. And sustained some minor injuries that hopefully will not keep me from getting back on the regimental duty roster asap.

I think my computer is terminal and I will have to buy a new machine in the next couple of days so please stay tuned until I can get back up to speed. Until then I'm posting via my Iphone so at least I can keep everyone posted.

....the wonders and headaches of technology....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Short Game and Another Critical Foot

I played out the "Threat to the Flank" Scenario (p. 4 CS Grant "Scenarios For All Ages") over the past weekend and I took overhead pics each turn just to see how it would look. Also at turn 4, I got a crazy idea that since I had lots of green paint left from my table project, that I could add a foot to my table without much trouble and just a little bit of expense. So I "called" the game at turn 4 a guarded victory for Grolstein since they did get across the river and were poised to make their flank attack...picked the game up...and I then made my way to the local hardware supply store and bought 4, 2x5 foot sections of hardboard to expand my table to an 8'x5'.

I have found (as C. Grant mentions in "The Wargame" that a thinner table tends to make the games somewhat stereotyped and the forces lack room to maneuver with large battalions, so I think the extra foot will be a big, where did I put that paint roller...

Here are the game pics in sequence:

Turn 1
Both sides race for the bridge (bottom,...the upper half of the river is fordable) The Grolstein Cuirassier Regiment is ordered to ford the river and attack the Bleiherzen center.

Turn 2
Grolstein Infantry makes for river under heavy fire (top) and the Hussars and Dragoons clatter across the bridge with the Grenz firing across the river in support.

Turn 3
Infantry trade volleys at the top and cavalry melee at the bottom...light infantry engaged all along the river...

Turn 4
Austrian Dragoons in Grolstein service follow on across the lower bridge hitting the Bleiherzen Dragoons in the flank and sending them off in the top, the Hungarian Musketeer Regiment Esterhazy, despite heavy casualties and the loss of the Brigade commander still manage to get a foothold across the stream.

Heavy cavalry battle in the center... though one squadron of Grolstein Cuirassiers manage to capture a gun, their commander falls... and the other squadron is driven back across the river by a bold charge downhill of Blieherzen horse

the final push by Grolstein's infantry across the this point the battle was called in favor of Grolstein, though the Bleiherzen Army manged to withdraw in good order.

In this game I used "The Wargame" rules as printed so I was using a I go-You go turn sequence...there was not much difference from my card driven approach (outlined in an earlier post)...the rules are a blast either way!

...hopefully next time the two armies will meet on a larger field!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Birds Eye View

I got a nice postal surprise yesterday in the form of 2 books I ordered from On Military Matters. I'm now the happy owner of Stuart Asquith's book on "Solo Wargaming" and C.S. Grant's "Scenarios Through the Ages". So after a late night in bed pouring over these two gems, I went over to my gaming space this afternoon after classes and laid out a new scenario to play. My last battle pics involved my entire 18th c collection but to really have a good game its generally better on my table to put fewer units out to give more space for maneuver. So today I set up a flank attack scenario from the Grant book.

According to his book, it's based on the tactical situation of the "Battle of the Boyne" fought in 1690. I found the situation pretty interesting with a sweeping flank attack and the importance of a bridge (a terrain piece a few of which I just finished). I just had to half the number of units to have a better fit for my 4x8 table. The resulting initial set up looks really promising and I'm going to play it out over the next couple of days.

Here are a few pictures taken today after the forces were all laid out. There is a portable set of metal steps in the storage room where my game space is located and I pushed it over to get some top-down pics of the table...somewhat unusual, and more like an aerial shot.