Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Base coating done.

104 Russian Cavalrymen and their mounts are now 'base coated'.

I use floquil as it gives an excellent coverage in one coat and, so far, has not chipped or cracked on any of the minis I have used it on.

I ask you to note the 'card' stands that I put the riders on, as I paint horse and rider separately.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


In a little Halloween celebration I hosted a number of fantasy wargame fans in a 25mm staging of a Hordes of the Things game.

I borrowed a few undead figures from a friend so that there were plenty of skeletons on hand to fill out three full field armies on the DEAD side.

The LIFE side had plenty of extra options also, with one force having 6 hordes stands filled with lizard skinks, backed up with Lizard Men blades and a Behemoth General (a model of Samwise Gamgee was used for the part!).

The three forces lined up and came to blows quickly in the center, with the skinks sent off slithering away...

An early magic attempt was met with the sorceress becoming a toad!

On the other flank three behemoths entered a shoving match. It was broken by the Hero general coming over to 'even' the odds. At one critical moment the behemoths had turned the corner and the general was in danger of being crushed, but his own behemoth held his ground. Only to later fail to hang on and get shoved into the backs of elven archers and a Wizard, crushing all of them flat.

The skeletal rhino almost won the entire battle, when the airboat cruised over and tipped the scales against them.

Meanwhile in the center the skeletal forces of Lord Soth were denuded by the Gamgee behemoth.

Over on the other flank a series of cavalry charges were pushed back by magical means and a stalemate hung over the battlefield.

In the center the sorceress returned from the frog pond and trapped the witch King of Angmar in a some sort of magic bottle.

This set free some of the Lizard men to push away Lord Soth and his chargers.

On the flanks, first the behemoths seemed to have the upper hand, then their general chose to attack, only to find himself surrounded and slaughtered, the remaining elven spears and totally exhausted giants fled the field. Only a moment later that same victorious undead commander watched as his own command fled from the field as he had lost more than 50% of his command to disruption from the Lizard men and airboat assaults.

In the center a desperate change of strategy saw the flying undead Lich-Lord switch from a frontal attack on the Gamgee behemoth to cutting up the human archers supporting his flanks. More lizard skinks were flooded onto the field to keep the command army of Gamgee from fleeing...

Again a stalemate hovered over the four remaining armies (from the six that had started).

Finally the cavalry charges broke thru and the Gamgee behemoth managed to trap and kill (with the help of allied archers) Lord Soth!

Victory for the forces of life on this day, though many did not march away from the field of battle...


A new young player, Sam, has joined in with our little band and my son also got to play a part all day.


whew! what a week of flashing cleaning!

102 Russian cavalrymen. Including Cossacks, Dragoons and Uhulans.

They all should be on fender washers by tomorrow morning, then base coated by tomorrow night.

The EYLAU forces are ON THEIR WAY.

edited on 30 October: There are your pics Jeff!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Summary from 20th October Meeting Engagement.

I did a SHAKO Demo game, meeting engagement at the Campbell River Sportsplex for the recent 'boys only' Pro-D Day.

I ended up with 8-12 different boys running thru the commands, slow at first but, as usual, once the terrain and troops were on the table the interest heated-up fast. With about 20 'spectators' watching for the final result!

Another aspect of where the organizers have placed me (again) was near the catering room, so that when snack break came all the boys at the event had a chance to see the battle (at the turn 3 point) where there were loads of smoke markers, dead units and the score was France 1 : Prussia 0.

The result came after a series of failed charges by the French Dragoons against the Prussian Right Wing, all in squares, standing their ground. The Dragoons just ran out of horsemen.

once they were churned into hamburger, the Prussian Cavalry Brigade and the French Chasseurs came to clash. For the first time ever the French Chasseur Brigade was bested in combat! The first formation simply retired from immediate combat, the second was dashed to pieces by the pursuit charge. This caused a failure of the entire brigade's morale and left the Prussians the winners of the day with the final score at the end of turn 5 = Prussia 5 : France 1.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

AUERSTÄDT, A look back #2:

Now having looked at the pictures (nearly 100 of them) and notes from the game, I still have not re-sorted all the troops as we were pressed for time to wrap-up the game and so everyone had to just get into a drawer and be carried out higgledy piggledy; I have a few more pics to share and some more satisfaction to draw from the event.

First off, I would like to thank Jeff for his support in the building stages, and having done the one playtest (#2) he was keen enough to play as Davout a second time, with different results - much closer to the historical ones!

Secondly the other players / generals were very patient with the two or three rulings I had to make when a situation arose regarding 'off-table' arrivals. Only a short discussion was made, with no real interruption in the play - I truly appreciate that great 'sportsmanship' when it comes to such large games.

Now a bit about these selected images:

The first is another 'overview' of the table with the actual tabletop shown in relation to the sky-cloth (which I am really pleased with) and one of the 'players' whom can be seen holding my old 'night cloth' which we used to use to cut out background...

Next a close-up of some of the action in the Prussian Center, as the Duke of Brunswick rides out to adjust command orders to an arriving Division of troops. I like this shot as it shows off the minis, the sky cloth and my cobbled together autumn/winter 'trees' quite nicely.

Then a chaos shot, the battlefield at the 'tipping point' as the Prussian center Division has failed its morale and begun to retreat. (warning this is a LARGE PICTURE it may take a moment to download if you clik it) Clearly seen here are the 'fender washers' on the bottom of some of the dead troops (whom are tipped over to lie on the table where they 'die' throughout the battle) and by looking closely at the base-stands you can see the neodymium magnets which hold the men in place when they are 'alive'. Also can be seen in the foreground on the right is an 'orders' folder under a Division Commander (indicating that he has 'recieved' the new orders). On the foreground left is an artillery battery, with smoke indicating that it has been firing for at least 3 turns (and now suffers a -1 penalty due to the extreme visibility restrictions -> but a 6 is still a 6!). In the extreme bottom left of the image is the Corps Command of Marshal Davout.

Finally the image I used to 'represent' Marshal Davout in the command summary pages and pictures.

See the full game details and more pictures at MurdockS MarauderS of the Arcadian Guild.

All in all a great game and I look forward to using the troops from this game again.

Next on the short range is a demo game at a local rec center, then a staging of a fantasy game in my own game room (recently re-modeled - ok sorted around the bits).

Long range is a continuation of the Napoleonic bi-centennials with a re-fight of EYLAU, a winter war battle at nearly 1-1 odds with what are expected to be a bloody report.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

AUERSTÄDT, a second look, #1:

Part of staging the 200th anniversary tabletop re-enactment of the Battle of AUERSTÄDT involved prepping the 25mm miniatures, the 'paperwork' I've mentioned earlier.

Then came the setting up of the tables filled with troops.

I had laid them all out one time before, but always only one army at a time and never with the new Divisional summaries pages...the effect was, stimulating, to say the least.

Remember that you can clik on an image to blow it up to a larger size.

During play these summary pages made tracking losses easier and, for at least one newer player, he was able to keep track of and deploy his troops (from the storage bins) without assistace!

Some other materials I have made, for use in many SHAKO games to date, are the artillery 'sticks' - they can be seen lying across the tables (two long larger wooden dowels) marked at correct distances for cannister, ball medium and long ranges. Also movement and 'division command range'(DC) markers (also made of wooden dowelling now with 1" markings on them in 6" and 9" lengths), the red plastic left-overs from GW games are exactly 18" which made them ideal for the DC range markers.

More about the battle to come, must away to pick up #2 son.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

AUERSTÄDT! First Rush!

Really tired, as I started 16 hours ago loading all into the vehicle to take to Halbe Hall, many notes and loads of pictures were taken.

In the final result, the Prussians were forced to start an orderly retreat at 11h00; almost exactly the same time as the historical account states, only this time the order of the troops and positioning of both sides was somewhat differently tasked from the historical.

I shall relate the whole story on the Arcadian Guild site:

For now some shots of the tabletop and the action.

Overall I was pleased with the tabletop appearance, though I missed 'placing' the curve of the River Saale until later in the game, no major effect as neither side paid much attention of the south wing of the battlefield...

My 'Divisional Summaries' were invaluable since they allowed even new people to sort out their commands quickly and were useful later in determining how many formation(s) had been lost and to which command they belonged.

The "random" cards had a profound effect on the 'flow' and support of the game, giving re-rolls as just the right time, Rally situations came about barely within the needed moments and then, for the Prussians, ran out at just the wrong time...as they did not have any more left to push out and 'hold' the line any longer.

The combination of the SkyCloth and some new 'autumn' trees that I threw together on Friday night really put some great final visual touches to the game!

More in the back-and-forth about this game in the coming week(s) I am sure.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Paperwork Done!

The "Order of Battle" images book is now done for Auerstädt!

The bonus of this is twofold:
1) now all new players will have some 'imagery' to help them come to grips with the troops under their command.
2) I have designed it as flexible as possible, so that I can use the same pictures in the future to help 'organize' future games, from simple meeting engagements to the full-on major battle re-enactments!

Three images this time:

First of the III Corps 'command'

Second of The Prince of Orange (later King Fredrick Willem I of the Netherlands - nicknamed the 'old frog' by the Brits in Flanders) and his command at Auerstadt.

Finally, I came across a number of interesting illustrations that appear to have been done by a French Woman during the 1792-1835 period. She was able to get audiences with some of the notables of the Napoleonic period. One was with Queen Louisa of Prussia, once dubbed 'The only real man in europe' by Napoleon Bonaparte! She led the Prussian noble court hawks in the 'war party' into the 1806 conflagration with France...she did not live to see its end.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Paperwork, paperwork...

So not a lot done today, though the maps have been printed and laminated.

I also took all the pictures for the 'divisional albums' that I hope to have done in time for the Auerstadt game.

The plan is to use photos of the troops, printed at the same size as collector cards, then inserted into collector pages. Each photo is to be of one 'unit', then the page or two will be of the 'division' - ideally under one player(s) command. The reasoning for this project is to assist the neophyte, whom has never played a large tabletop miniatures game with over 200 figs in it, in identifying the troops under their command. This is a particular problem once the forces become 'intermingled' in combat and exacerbated in the current game with Prussian and French forces wearing 'blue' uniforms.

Ultimately new players cannot distinguish the uniform styles and will resort to colours, this will make the game a chaos without some visual aids.

Anyway a sample of the Young Guard Chasseurs, I know that they were not at Auerstadt, but then I wanted to have distinctly different uniform patterns and styles, and for Chasseurs you cannot get more distinct than the Young Guard. The castings are my own using Prince August moulds.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Workbench Notes:

As I posted yesterday, but was too tired to do the full details, now I shall update my readers about the 'magnetic' basing system I am currently using:

I had a number of draught horse teams and other troops to base and flock.

I am doing the detail images from the draught teams, as they were the only ones I had to do the magnets for.

In the first image I am showing the wooden base platform, with a single neodymium magnet having been glued on with cyanoacrilate (CA+) medium gap filling formula. Since this is a horse team, the horses are also glued to the base. For other troops and commands my normal method is to glue on the magnets in either a 4 (square) pattern for Infantry or Cavalry (on the correct sized bases) or 7 magnets for a Command // Artillery base, as seen in the image. This image has been 'brightened' so that the tiny magnets can be seen in relief on the surface of the wooden base that has been flocked.

Once the draught teams are attached, I then flock over the entire base stand.

This leaves the magnet 'camouflaged' under a layer of flocking.

All of my troops have 'fender washers' CA+ glued to their white metal bottoms. This gives a ferro-magnetic surface to connect or 'stick' to the magnets. These can be seen under the command stand (the large fender washer) or under the running grenadier (small one). For cavalry I put two small ones at each end of the white metal base or one large washer for a division commander or ADC figure. Either way there is enough strength on the 6mm magnets to hold a single 25-28 mm figure, but not with the smaller (seen inset next to a metric ruler) 3mm magnet.

This was my error, in getting the smaller magnets. One I shall not repeat with the next version of my magnetic basing system.

As can be seen with the draught team final image, it is virtually impossible to see the tiny magnet (indeed most players are unaware of it being there as a place to put one of the gun team to show that the artillery is 'limbered').

Overall the effect on the tabletop is great, whenever a man is 'killed' I just gently tip him over on his side and leave him there, on the battlefield. Casualties are very, very simple to keep track of this way. So far only 2 bayonettes (out of hundreds of troops) have every been broken by this action and no cavalry have suffered (though I am always watchful of the 'active' hussar models I have where the horse is on only 1 hoof!).

Yes the 'horse team' shown in these images is one of the ones done using Bluebear Jeff's 'fast horse' method, with a few additions of my own...

Holy Flocking Batman!

Did all the flocking for the Horse Guns, Gunners, Limber Horses, and the ENTIRE Division from last week today.

I shall have some pics about it all later, perhaps tomorrow as Jeff has requested I show some detailing about my magnetic system of basing troops.

Had another visitor over today and we have discussed the creation of his 18th C Swedish 'fictional' forces. We were pouring over some of the tricorne minis I have and deciding which to pursue as his Swedes, I noted that there are also some good 'militia' candidates from the mess of tricorne minis I have already.

The Dutchy of Mieczyslaw is starting to take more potential form in connection with Bluebear's Tricorne Wars game and campaign plan and I will likely put in some efforts along those lines in the coming weeks.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Still Blazing Brushes!

So the 9 Horse Gunners are done, gloss coated about 5 hours ago and I have been working on paper details missing for the Auerstadt Game.

The final effect of Bluebear Jeff's method of 'fast horses' was great, combined with a bit of extra brushwork in getting the harness, manes and tails also painted in black along with some 'stockings'. Combined with the gloss coating of minwax (pecan finish) they are looking shiny!

I even managed to finish off the two French Horse Guns and gloss varnished then as well.

So tomorrow morning the flocking of everybody, from the old division (see September 2006 postings) to the current 9 horsegunners, 14 draught horses, 2 galloper guns and a Horse Arty officer will get their grass flocking in the morning.

A final set of cards, these are to be used in conjunction with a set of 'envelopes' which hold the details of special random events that can effect the outcome of the battle and give the correct 'feel' to the 'fog of war' (or better yet hydra-headed command structure that the Prussians in 1806 had going).


Friday, October 06, 2006

Blazing brushes!

Busy brushwork tonight, as I have finished the limber horses (14 of them!) using the technique described by Jeff bluebear, thanx Jeff!

I have also put the main block colors and inked the 9 gunners and Horse Artillery officer.

Too tired now to go on painting, but tomorrow am I will be finishing the detail colors, lace (eek 10 horse artillerymen in red//yellow//white lacings!) and drybrush their busbys.

By tomorrow night the gloss coatings shall go on with flocking to be done sunday.

I finish with another pair of cards for the coming game.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Testing ... testing

I'm trying out Jeff's (Bluebear) suggested method of painting horses for the Draught horses that I just assembled, since he says it can be done so fast and I have little time to waste in detailing them.

The 9 Horsegunners and Horse Artillery officer have been first color layered, all will not be let dry overnight.

I noted over on Grimsby's blog a book (it had Napoleonic soldiers on the cover) that drew my attention. Then in checking it out I noted a new DVD in a similar vein.

Much to my surprise I discovered a new SHARPE movie has been made, released in September 2006. Sean Bean out there as Sharpe, yet again. This time back in India. The reviews were thin (only a dozen or so) but they made plain that this movie, titled Sharpe's Challenge combined three of the Cornwell books, at least as well as some of the other TV movies did.

Check out the IMDB listing here:

Sharpe's Challenge

It may get put on my xmas list...

More likely though is much-anticipated, by me anyway, the release of the Austerlitz Live (2005) DVD from Czech Television.

Austerlitz Live

oh yes, and a couple more cards, just for the curious...and cuz I like the look of images in the blog.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Only base coating.

Just some simple flash cleaning and base coating of 9 Horse Gunners, one Horse Artillery officer and a few draught horses (needed to pull all the guns onto the field for the Prussians).

Very busy night for family actions and too tired to say / do more now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not much new done on the Auerstadt game.

Too much else with the family to do.

I did get the miners and sappers that I won in an eBay auction. Long out of production and something I will be needing for my siegecraft plans...

So I shall add in another couple of the 'cards' that I plan to use in the Auerstadt game.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Creation of Cards for Auerstadt done.

In keeping with my desire to have some fog of war, but to not burden the game mechanics too much (as I like the simplicity of SHAKO), I have hit upon the use of 'cards' drawn to modify situations.

Mainly the cards allow players to re-roll so that a bad situation might be recovered...or not.

I like to have nice to look at items as well, rather than just simple text on a card.

So here are a couple of the 'global re-roll' cards, one for each side.


Jeff was over on the weekend and we are still sorting out some thoughts for 'improvements' that might make Auerstadt go more smoothly...

Check out the pics from the game at his BLOG.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Playtest #2 Done!

Wow! What a game day!

I love it when a plan comes together!

Jeff and I hashed out some details and pushed lead for 6 hours today and my notes are still not caught up on the materials needed to finish in time for the full game!

I have need to paint at least 9 gunners (and I will also paint the artillery officer with them now).

Along with those needs are the game mod cards (done with graphics - I just did 'quickie' hand written ones for the game today), a set of more useable battlefield maps (so that players can get into action fast).

I have to print out a larger version of the turn order (so that a myopic troll can see it from across the room) not a dig at you Jeff! I want this so that a large turn 'check' sheet can be posted next to it and we can use that to 'track' the current turn situation and not miss things like the new card draw and expanded orders on the turns that need it.

Jeff also suggested some more measuring dowelling, I may or may not invest in it as more $$$ going into the games right now might make family upset, to say the least.

More to do, but I thought a a few pics from the game might be of interest also.

Be warned, some of the pics are rather large this time.