Saturday, April 30, 2011

Second Summer Project

Sash and Saber Yanks (in the background Old Glory yanks and rebs...and the flags are still unfinished)
The second project in the works here at the Lead Gardens is a bit of a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. This summer's Historicon is taking on the ACW as it's theme, and since I've been sitting on a large pile of older Old Glory castings I got off ebay 8 (?!) years ago, plus a batch of new Sash and Saber 25mm to round it out, I thought it was a good time to get this collection started.

The goal is to have about a brigade on each side with supporting guns and cav painted up in a month or so.
Old Glory Rebs
I already have a start and last week I was able to complete the first unit of Sash and Saber (which match Old Glory very well both in sculpting style and height). This weekend I'm hoping to finish another unit of S&S Rebs.
Sash and Saber Rebs underway
I'm basing them in units of 20 figures so I can use them with a number of rules (primarily Fire and Fury, with the option of going 'Classic" with Featherstone Horse and Musket or some such.) I'm basing them with 4 figures in two ranks on 40mm square bases, 5 bases to a regiment. The fifth base will be further broken down into a base of 2 (40x20) and 2 singles (20x20) so I can do both stand removal as in F&F or go old school with individual casualty removal if necessary. Thus the standard 5 base regiment will count as 10 stands in F&F, or 20 figures in "classic" mode.

I watched the Ken Burns film Gettysburg, (the whole three some odd hours!) just to get into the mood...despite the film's legendary "exceptionally well-fed Reb reenactors", and martin Sheen's odd rendition of a southern accent, the film's depiction of the fight on Little Round Top and Pickett's charge is stunning and accurate. ...and who can forget Buford (played by Sam Eliot) growling to his cavalry commanders at the beginning of the battle, "Keep a clear eye!"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Battle of Weissenberg-a Video

Something a little different today. I set up an 18th century battle based on the 1870 Franco Prussian War Battle of Weissenberg and have posted here a video of the initial set up. Just a little experiment for the sport of it...

...and yes, that strangely disembodied narrator you hear, (yours truly) manages to mispronounce the name of the actual historical battle (borg, instead of berg) so now it goes down in my ImagiNations history as the fictitious "Battle of Wiesenborg".

I halved the historic Order of Battle to get a scaled down force tailored to my 18th century stuff. The only other adjustments were to change a French mitrailleuse to a Bleiherzen howitzer and to change the historic rail station which was a Prussian objective on the field in 1870 to a walled chateau. I also changed the railway embankment to a wall and the castle of Schloss Geisberg which featured as a strongpoint defended by the French in the original battle became simply a windmill. The absence of this castle will affect the dynamics of the battle but it seemed like it would make a better tabletop scenario to omit it...though I might change my mind before fighting it out.

The OB:

4 battalions of infantry (36 figs each)
2 battalions of light infantry (12 figs each)
1 battalion of converged grenadiers (24 figures)
4 field guns, 1 howitzer
2 squadrons of cavalry (24 figures)

3 battalions of infantry (36 figures each)
1 1/2 battalion of grenadiers (12 figures)
1 battalion of jagers (12 figures)
2 field guns, 1 howitzer
...and on turn 5 a squadron of hussars

 This is a first time posting a video on the blog so let me know if it works or not.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Some in progress pics of a unit of Waziri Pathans. I just did a white spray undercoat and a simple wash of Citadel "Delvan Mud" to tone down the white..followed by dark red and blue turbans and dark red and pink sashes. I used the Pathan color guide found on the Yahoo Colonial Wars group. I'm going with consistent sashes to distinguish 20 man units but turbans and trousers will vary as well as shields and such. These are Jacklex 20mm with a 25mm Ral Partha Dervish standard bearer mixed in. Again I'm really happy with the Jacklex figures in that they are quick to paint, but I'm looking forward to some units of Ral Parthas as well. In all, some real Colonial excitement to kick off the summer...and then there is the second Lead Gardens summer project on the way as well...hmmmm...what could it be...stay tuned my friends!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jacklex vs Ral Partha Comparisons

I got a request from Brigadier Dundas for a Jacklex/Ral Partha comparison so here are some pics and comment to that end:

OK so here is the basic comparison: Left to Right: Jacklex Pathan leader, Partha Pathan standard bearer, Jacklex Pathan rifleman, Partha Pathan bugler

Here are two Jacklex Highlanders next to a Ral Partha Pathan bugler and a Jacklex limber rider and horse. You can see here in the two Highlanders that the Jacklex line has a "large" and a "small" version of the figure line. I'm guessing that Peter over at Spencer Smith is having the line added to so the smaller figures are probably from the earlier castings. Pay attention to the basing when you compare these because I've tried to put all the figres at about the same level but there is some slight difference between my rectangular bases and the round metal fender washers.

To my eye both lines seem pretty compatible despite the scale difference. The main difference is the general "heft" of the Partha's...and most telling is the distinct differences in the horses as you can see in the pic below....

...but the riders are roughly the same in scale....

Here is a (L to R) Jacklex, Partha, Partha ...and on the far right a Jacklex RHA 9 pounder.

Here is the limber with an array of Jacklex and Parthas...the standard bearer, horse and rider andbugler are Parthas and the limber, Pathan rifleman and swordsman are Jacklex

Jacklex Highlander officer, Jacklex Highland NCO, Partha bugler, Jacklex Pathan leader...Partha horse and rider in the background as well as the Brit limber riders...

Hope this helps make the distinctions between the lines clearer. To my mind both lines will mix on the table perfectly well if you are not a stickler for the odd 1 or 2mms....and I am especially happy that I can use the great Jacklex colonial limbers and wagons (and that "Oh So Cool" 4.7" oxen drawn field gun!..) with Parthas so now,... horizons expand!

...and one additional pic showing a Partha Pathan leader on a Jacklex horse and the jacklex limber horse and rider on the right... seems workable to me...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mission Drift

Ok, so I was basing up some 20mm Jacklex Pathans and I remembered I had some classic Ral Partha "true 25s" in a box my "stuff" wife accuses me of being a "hoarder"...but nonetheless, I dug up some Ral Partha standard bearers and put them next to my new Jacklex Pathans, and lo and behold!...not much difference in scale (just as Jeff predicted in my last post...). So now I'm thinking..."I really used to enjoy Ral Partha colonials, and a quick check over at "Great Endeavors"
and I was swallowed up in new ideas about my colonial project...Oh! the humanity! My worst fears are confirmed...I really am now thinking Ral Parthas true 25s might be the "True Way" for colonials...

...and maybe, just maybe I can use these Jacklex as long as I don't get too scrupulous about scale. But after all, I have found that the Jacklex stuff varies greatly between 20mm and 24mm even within the line. But the classic Ral Parthas have really got me thinking...

Monday, April 18, 2011

20mm Colonials: The Gallant 92nd! Finished!

Finished a company of the 92nd today! My rules of choice for colonials are "The Sword and the Flame", so these first 20 will be one "platoon". TSATF is a really scalable ruleset so I'm going to  to treat these 20 figures as a company if need be, or, if necessary split them up into two 10 figure companies and the rules will still give good service (there is even the 8 figure unit "Fatoso Variant" which works great as well). I also completed the crew for the RHA battery....

These Jacklex castings paint up in a flash and give a nice vintage toy soldier look that I'm going for with this collection. The tartans on the Gordon's hopefully are (mostly) correct, but given the smaller 20mm scale, I'm at the limit of my patience and eyesight as to accuracy.

But these lads look like they are ready to storm the pass!

Next come the first tribe of Pathans (the dreaded Waziri's of the Khyber!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

20mm Colonials: The Gallant 92nd!

I had a bit of time this afternoon to base up and prime my first unit of British colonial infantry for "The 20mm Project". This first unit will be the 92nd Highland regiment. I'm thinking this colonial collection will be painted circa 1878-1888 with some loose interpretations of history in order to bring the Russians into conflict with England over mountainous border areas inhabited by wild hillmen who may turn coats at a moments notice....and more importantly allow me the liberty to paint a few units in scarlet, to give the whole collection a bit of character as well.

The Jacklex figures are really "charming" and look right for a semi-historical game. Here is the first test Highlander in scarlet: you can see, a very basic figure but nice animation...shown here before facial detail, buttons or gloss overcoat.
I have a feeling that these Jacklex will be great as the whole collection gets onto the table en masse. This stout fellow is mounted on a 5/8" diameter washer so I can mount units on sabot stands later if I want and it gives these smaller figures some heft. I wanted to have a few units in scarlet since the time period I've chosen spans the changeover from scarlet serge to khaki.

I'm now trying to figure out how to convert colonial Egyptians into Ghurkas...but the Jacklex Egyptians are cast with a "havelock" sunshield on the I'll have to "get my creative on!" but that's half the fun!

Monday, April 11, 2011

More Summer Project Images

 Now that I have resolved, ie. (paid for) more picture space.....The Jacklex RHA gun and limber laid out and ready for assembly

 I found my son's lego briks came in handy as jigs for gluing everything up...

 ...looking good...


I decided to go with a basic block painting approach over a black undercoat (appropriate for a vintage figure).

The first coats...

...and some images of the finished gun and limber...with that all important groovy shiny overcoat!

 The figures seated on the gun are removable so I can use the gun deployed for soon as I get the crew painted up!

I'll keep updating as the project progresses...I Love This Hobby!!!...Huzza!!!

Summer Project Begins: 20mm Colonials

For this upcoming summer I have a couple of projects planned and I decided, after a lot of thinking on the idea, of doing up some "vintage style" colonial forces in 20mm for the first project. What with seeing Spencer Smith Miniatures' various listings of 20mm figures of the Jacklex range and knowing there are vintage Scrubys out there as well as 1/72 plastics in a pinch, I thought it would make a fun and challenging project particularly because the older style of casting is softer on detail, painting friendly and lend themselves more readily to conversions, which is what I want for this project...lots of conversions and scratchbuilding to occupy my summer evenings.

The basic concept for the project is to do forces for four European powers, plus natives to populate various environs of an imaginary continent. That way my urge to do forces for the Northwest Frontier and Afghan wars circa 1879-80 can be coupled with an interest in other colonial conflicts (Sudan, North Africa, East Africa etc.) ...and at least under this more expansive and fictitious idea, I'll have some excuse to scratchbuild a few new gunboats.

Though the Spencer Smith website has good images of the raw Jacklex castings, I had a hard time finding images of the painted colonials except for their new Pancho Villa range. So for this project I'm hoping to post some of the "images I hoped to find" as I contemplated the project as well as some conversion and painting tips as the project progresses. The best part of using Jacklex as a base set of figure line for 20mm colonials is that the line has a really great offering of guns, limbers and wagons to augment the figure line. To me this was a real attraction as I can see assembling a nicely composed punitive column of Europeans with infantry, cavalry, guns and a burdensome train for the natives to attack!...juicy gaming possibilities there!

So my first package of figures arrived from Spencer Smith.... (BTW, Peter at Spencer Smith has GREAT customer service and FAST shipping),...   last Friday and I quickly cleaned up and assembled an RHA gun and limber to test out the initial ideas for the collection. The figures are really nice castings but as expected are less detailed than more contemporary stuff. They scale perfectly with 1/72 minis and are exactly 20mm from foot to top of head. So on first blush I'm thinking that I will be able to augment the forces with plastics as well as Scrubys.
...OUCH! ...JUST as I was trying to post more pics of my new minis, Google has informed me that I have to buy more picture more images in the next post....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Small is Better

Now I'm not sure a battle on a luxurious 8'x5' table counts as "small", but I'm finding more and more that I really enjoy setting up and fighting smaller scenarios with less units on the table and consequently more tactical choices to make. This latest battle here at the Lead Gardens is based pretty faithfully on one of C.S. Grants teasers from "Scenarios for All Ages" (and for the life of me I can't recall the name at the moment)...but it involves a dash to seize a small village by two forces that are small and differently configured. In this fight my Grolsteiners were the Lt. Cav/Lt infantry heavy force and entered from the far table edge to the village, and the men of the Konigreich were a small infantry heavy brigade that enters close to the center of the table with a shorter distance to make the village which is the winning objective for both sides.

The fun wrinkle in this scenario is a dense wood that covers the center of the battlefield and has branching narrow tracks that both only allow a 4 man frontage and at the main intersection units have to take a random roll to see if they take a wrong turn!

The Grolstein advance guard entering the table and splitting into two columns to dash for the objective. (again these pics are a bit fuzzy due to not using my usual camera).

Colonel Volger's Freikorps still smarting from the debacle of failing to capture the Grand Duchess' coach in the last encounter are ordered to head for the now sighted Grolstein column and delay their advance until their infantry can make for the village.

...while Volger's Jagers head up the track to a forbidding looking forest.

In the lower half of the picture we can see the musketeers of the Konigreich fully on table while Fuzilier Regiment von Kluge begins to thread it's way through a marshy area in column at half rate.

First encounter!...the jagers are surprised by a column of the Duchess' dreaded "Red Lancers" who have managed to take a wrong turn in the forest and run headlong into a volley of musketry...that fortunately for the lancers manages to cause little damage.

The ensuing melee sees the jagers get the worst of it and in the chaos of yet another wild Polish pursuit are forced to make a hasty retreat back down the forest track.

Meanwhile the Bleiherzen infantry columns still thread their way slowly through heavy terrain.

...and Col. Volger at the head of his dragoons makes a gallant charge on a regiment of Grolsteiners who have fallen behind their rapidly advancing cavalry and light infantry.

The deploying Grolsteiners are unable to get off an effective volley before the Dragoons are on them and they suffer heavy casualties in the melee and the pursuit effectively destroys Grolsteins infantry arm in short order.

The Polish commander recalls his orders and realizes that his squadron has taken a wrong turn...and he orders the pursuit of the jagers recalled and they succeed (a morale roll to halt the pursuit) in getting turned about and headed back down the forest track.

At the junction they take another wrong turn and head back in the direction they came...but it's a fortunate wrong turn as Volger's dragoons decide to head into the forest (lacking further orders, Volger takes a chance). Meanwhile Grolstein jagers, a half battery (1 gun) directed personally by the CinC, occupy a small farm on the outskirts of the objective and prepare to face the oncoming Bleiherzen infantry.

Another wild cavalry melee along the wooded track as the Poles charge the Freikorps Dragoons.

The battle begins to reach it's peak as the Bleiherzen infantry shakes itself into line and begins an assault to clear both side of the river. The second Grolstein squadron of cavalry (dragoons) makes the outskirts of the village but is shattered by a volley from the fuziliers and are forced to withdraw back across the river effectively handing the town over to their opponents.

The jagers posted in the farm duel with an advancing infantry regiment and with the support of the gun firing effective cannister managed to shatter their attackers.

But that does not stop the sheer weight of the Bleiherzen assault and they firmly capture the town and the win...

...and the Poles are left to their terrible pursuit...and a lucky young ADC (Manfred, King Wilhelm's the blue coat) is caught up in the retreat as he attempts to deliver the brigadiers order for the Freikorps Dragoons to march to the sound of the guns...he barely escapes with his skin, and a tall story to tell!

Though they were able to rout a Grolstein regiment, Volger is still unsatisfied with the overall performance of his men and no doubt will be issuing strict return to "counter-uhlanen drill" as soon as they can be regrouped on the 'morrow.