Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dragoons Rico, Hundreds of Them!

French 20th Dragoons (Elite Miniatures) painted by Der Alte Fritz

Dragoons are a wonderfully handy thing to have on Napoleonic battlefield. They are heavy cavalry capable of driving away the light cavalry and skirmish screens of your enemy, yet they move a little bit faster than Les Gros Freres, the iron monsters of the heavy cuirassiers. There is even something about the sound of the word that I like. Dragoons; there, I said it.

A couple of weekends ago, we were playing the massive In The Grand Manner cavalry game and I was wishing that I had more dragoons and cuirassiers to use in the game. Our host, Keith Leidy, indicated that his inventory of French medium and heavy cavalry was a figures shy of a hoard, so putting two and two together, I decided that it was time to paint some French dragoons for my 1806 Project. As a bonus, I get to use them in the ITGM games by simply changing the bases and the movement trays.


As you might recall, I now base everything on single metal stands, and then place the metal stands on magnetic movement trays. In this way, I can deploy my dragoons and other cavalry figures into 8 to 10 figure squadrons for ITGM, or line them up in three ranks of four figures for the 1806 variant of our SYW BAR rules.


Oh, did I mention that the French dragoons also have an elite company of troopers in bearskins? And cool looking green uniforms with Roman style cavalry helmets?


I have finished the first 8 figures suitable for an ITGM ("In The Grand Manner" rules) squadron, as you can see in the picture above and below. I have another 8 on the painting table and a third squadron of 8 figures that need to be primed. The fourth squadron is currently winging its way over from Elite Miniatures in the UK. So I will use 4 x 8 or 32 figures for our ITGM games, but when we start the BAR Napoleonics later this year, I will have three or four squadrons of 12 figures each, or 36 to 48 figures.

Another view of the same dragoons, this time in a single rank for ITGM, representing one of four squadrons in the regiment.

Cuirassiers. The only thing that better than dragoons.

First Cuirassier Regiment -- 36 figures deployed in BAR styled three ranks. This is a hint of things to come.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

In The Grand Manner Napoleonics Game

Marshal Lannes' V Corps arrives on the table in road column, on the French right flank.

Note: click the pix to enlarge the view.

And now for something completely different: Napoleonics, played with In The Grand Manner rules by Peter Gilder. Keith Leidy played host today to another one of his super-sized 28mm Napoleonic games, played on his vast table space of three 6ft by 24ft tables. There were eight players, with Randy F., Bill P. and moi commanding the French army against an Allied contingent of Russians, Austrians and British, commanded by five players, including the well-known Uncle Duke Seifried.

The scenario was interesting in that the game began with nothing but cavalry forces entering the table from a variety of directions, all determined by dice roll. I rather enjoyed playing a game with nothing but cavalry and horse artillery and it is a concept that I would like to try with my Seven Years War armies one day.

We played 15 game turns with the infantry starting to appear on the table around Turn 11 or 12, as I recall. As commander of the French army (Monsieur Bonaparte), I was given the task of rolling the dice to see where our initial 3 or 4 cavalry corps would arrive.

Two of our initial three French cavalry divisions arrived on the same road over on the far right flank. I let Randy keep to the road and benefit from the 30" tactical move allowed to units moving along the roads, while I headed off to the left, off-road, to provide more maneuvering space and to clear the log jam of troops arriving on the same road. Sadly, I rolled for Bill's cavalry to enter from the center of the table, but they would not arrive until the second turn.

The French were pretty well bottled up on the right hand side of the table, so once Randy had control of the right flank, and Bill seemed to be doing well in the center, I sent most of my cavalry, except for a regiment of Carabiniers, off to the left flank, where I eventually ran into a lot of Russian cavalry.

Around Turn 10, our infantry began to arrive: one corps on the crowded right hand road, and the other, better placed, in the center. Eventually, Davout's large corps arrived on the French left, where it was sorely needed. I leave you with a few of the pictures that I took during the game, captioned with a description of the action. We will reconvene at Keith's house on May 30th to continue the game.

Randy (center) leads the French cuirassier brigade onto the center table and successfully drove off the British Household Cavalry early in the game. Mike (foreground) and Derek (far right) provide the opposition to the French.

Uncle Duke (beyond the metal pole) and Bill (Monsieur Protz) went head to head for control of the key town in the center of the middle table. The cardboard boxes that you see everywhere are for rolling dice. In cavalry melees, you throw a D6 for each figure and score a "hit" on a natural "6". I cannot roll roll a "6" on a D6 to save my life, which is why I prefer to command infantry in these rules.

From left to right: Uncle Duke, our game host Keith Leidy, Stan and Curt watch the progress of the Allies as they try to fend off the French heavy cavalry in the center.

A view of the French left flank. Napoleon has sent a division of dragoons and a regiment of chasseurs to protect the vital road, possession of which allowed Davout's III Corps to arrive. You can see the forward elements of Davout's corps arriving on the right hand side of the picture, about to cross the bridge. Russian cavalry (left) moves up to contest the road and bridge.

Another view of the furious fighting for the central town. Austrian horse artillery was the target of numerous French cavalry charges. Monsieur Protz was able to maintain a stubborn toehold on the center table, as he awaited the arrival of the infantry.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jacobite Rebellion Update

Front Rank Jacobites painted by Der Alte Fritz, about a year ago.

Last evening I completed another 30-figure clan regiment of Highlanders to use in our upcoming game on May 9, 2009. They will probably become either the MacDonnell or McDonald regiment, depending on which flag I choose to paint. The Highlanders did not wear any distinct "clan plaid" in the 18th Century, so the figures can represent any clan that I desire to rise for the King Across the Water.

I haven't painted Highlanders in quite awhile (the colonials don't really count since they all wear the same uniform), so it took me a little bit to get back up to speed with my bottles of plaid paint. What, you mean you don't own any plaid paint? A week ago friday, I pitched into the first 20 Front Rank figures, put a few bagpipe CDs on the player for inspiration, and started slopping on the paint. By Saturday afternoon, it was apparent that I would have this batch done by the end of the weekend on Sunday night. That left 10 more figures to bring the regiment up to full strength, and two more painting sessions proved to be enough to complete the job.

Now I have a Lowland regiment on the painting table ready to paint. I figured that I have a decent chance of painting three 30 figure regiments this month, so I cleaned another Highlander regiment and mounted them on their metal bases. Tomorrow night I will spray them with black primer. They will become either the Keppoch regiment or the Ogilvys. That would bring the Rebellion up to 6 regiments plus the Black Watch standing in for Clan Cameron, temporarily. Eventually, I want to have 10 or 12 regiments plus the Irish Piquets in my Jacobite Army completed in time for next year's SYW Association convention in March 2009.