Monday, August 31, 2020

Fur trials and failures

 Last year I was exploring the potential for using fur throws as tabletop covering and new base stand covers.

I had come across a number of light green and various shades of brown furry throws at the local dollar store and thought I might be able to dye them a different shade for use as the new table-top covering.

It looked to be a bargain method since the throws were $3 each and the dyes were $8 each.

the light green

a collection of throws

Off to the washing machine went the lot.

wet from washing, now ready for dying

olive green dye

needed salt to activate in the hot water

All went into the bathtub.

many rounds of agitation

things did look a bit darker green ...

Then all went into the washing machine again after being 'wrung out' to a damp condition.

Result from the washer ... fail, no detectable color change.

Not to worry, I had an alternative that was supposed to be able to deal with synthetic fibers.

more cost (though still less than a blanket I could not find in the right color) was
going into the project now

Again, another trip through the tub and agitation, then into the washing machine.

FAIL #2.

Indeed no change in color could be found anywhere, except the tag.

only the washing tags were colored

The bulk of the throws were then gifted to the boys as warm little presents, my slightly green one and one decent brown one I kept.

They were then converted into the grass fur under the ECW minis which have seen action on the tabletop this year.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Rainy day game

 My son and a group of his fellow 40K players came over today and had an outdoor distanced game of 40K today.

The rain did not stop them from having a good days game.

My son's fully painted big models are starting to put on a good show

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bussaco Battle in support of HMGS cyber-convention

 At the end of July there was a virtual event held for the HMGS.  It included speakers and tabletop games and virtual only games (like cyber RPGs).  In support of this games event I offered to run a table top game of SHAKO II.

I ran a game of Bussaco on the 25th of July, live players on Teams with a broadcast on Twitch.

In order to run the game I decided to set up new tags for the units and to have flags for the Portuguese units, which were going to be re-flagged Dutch and Swedish units that I already have.  (maybe its time to do up some 'brown' Portuguese?)



  I then spent some time examining the maps, certainly the attack by Reynier was the critical one.

This brought about a design for the tabletop and I laid it out on my 4'x6' inverted chalk-board table.

the river on the south-east side (top left in the image) was missed until just before game-time

The pebbles were again used to mark hill elevations, this time dark grey ones were used for the very steep hill.

Players were then assembled, the broadcast on Twitch started and battle begun!

Overview of table - the 'arrow' on the bottom center of the image shows "North" as the table edge nearest the camera here
There were two cameras with different overview of the table and a 'flying camera' that came in for close up details

The Portuguese were historically placed, all others were as the players directed

British battalion on the heights to the north

Portuguese and British down from the summit on the east side of the southern hill, they would be vulnerable to early French artillery barrages ...

The French went with all infantry in front and an exploitative horse brigade in reserve.  It was to be a full court press from the start.

The early artillery barrage went all French, with the Portuguese guns missing all of their first shots.

the hills and streams made forward movement difficult for the French, yet move they did

skirmish forces clashed early and often this battle

after taking many casualties the Portuguese guns finally started to find their range and some 'bounce-through' casualties resulted!

French foot now half-way across the valley floor and the lines of attack clearly seen

resolute British lines stood ready, as they watched their Portuguese ally take further pounding from French artillery in the south

Old Nosey (out of focus on the right) watching to the north of the field and wondering what Ney will get up to if this attack cannot be stopped ...

I used Polish and Italians and a Wild Geese (Irish in French service) as my French forces as nearly every line foot troop I have for the French was on the table today

the Portuguese, seen in the distance here, were to hold this line for the first two hours of battle, though not giving out as much as they took unfortunately for the allies

French Dragoons await an opening to exploit

Initially the French north wing was not expecting to engage, now that there were targets an opportunity to attack was mounted

the lines now fully engaged, with French cavalry champing ready to spring into action

some French were still in cannon range of the Portuguese gunners, many were now on the hill advancing on the gunners "in the shadow" of the artillery and now engaging in musketry exchanges

in the north an opportunity to overload the center and break the British line was spotted

... while in the south the grim march up the slope was begun.

snapshot of the field as the full line was engaged, from the south a column of Portuguese militia had arrived with the promise of more Anglo-Portuguese troops to come

north wing of the center was now under enveloping fire

the south hill had cracked open, and Portuguese battalion had been eliminated

French forces in the south, only a skirmish company, had gone over the top of the hill

The entire field was now engaged as the contest was still open as to who would crack first, new British units had arrived in the south

View from the north hill

View from the center

there were no Anglo-Portuguese units left before these French forces on the south hill

in the far south a line of Portuguese had now deployed to the left flank of the French and a bitter struggle for the summit was developing

Crescendo! The Portuguese and British forces each suffered horrible casualties, barely holding morale as they are constantly looking over their shoulders for who was coming to save them

General Reynier and staff were quite pleased with the battle progress

the south hill summit was held and more Portuguese militia were eliminated

the voltiguers were driven back many times, yet they still managed to disrupt enough of the forming Anglo-Dutch units to keep them from being in 'good order' as they attempted to push the French (seen here as Italians) off the summit of the south hill

the French left turned to face the Portuguese threat to the south and held its ground against 3:2 odds

Portuguese skirmishers (seen out of focus in the foreground) attempted to disrupt the French lines - to no avail

Portuguese militia did manage to push onto the summit for a short time, before being blasted from two sides and being eliminated

morale collapses were now in progress across the entire Anglo-Portuguese line

now with another battle brewing in the north, Old Nosey would retire in some confusion from this battlefield, as the French would have an entire cavalry brigade on his communication road!

Neither Picton, nor his 'ragged staff' could do any more to recover the situation, they needed to get the artillery clear and hold open the communications road enough to escape

Royal artillery did do some damage, but with the lines collapsing now were ordered to withdraw

French forces press up the south hill

view of the north end of the field from behind the French line

center of the field

center - looking directly along the road

south end of field

horse riding over the 'fallen' French troops

south hill just as the Portuguese militia are blasted off the top

south hill overview as battle ends - the Anglo-Portuguese had lost too many battalions to continue the fight

there had been no room to deploy these final two Portuguese battalions, if there were room then the battle might have lasted another turn or two

History was reversed!

Wellsley would have to retreat in a hurry from this battle, though not likely any major change in the strategic situation for the lines of Torres Vedras would still be manned and Massena would still end up retreating from those positions in 1811.