Wednesday, April 23, 2014

La Haye Sainte Review: Tiger Terrain


While browsing eBay, I came across some beautiful and yet unique, resin buildings themed around the 1815 campaign. There were several of these buildings and I had not previously encountered. They were selling quite high likely because since even the owner appeared to be forgetful of what manufacturer created them, people probably assumed it was no longer available. I also made that assumption as I had never seen them before.


The Miniatures Page folks had some difficulty in figuring it out when I made a post that asking for help finding the manufacturer. It turns out to be from the Opus Miniatures line, now under control of Tiger Terrain. The company does not have a web site at the moment, but Stephan was kind enough to send me his catalogs and explain how he had taken over the line and was retooling the molds. The PDF catalog has great images of various buildings, bridges and other terrain that really is high class. In the past, I had purchased the La Haye Sainte kit from JR Miniatures. Although cheaper and crude, it doesn't hold a light to this kit. A plaster kit, as what Jr Miniatures offers, is not a great method of modeling detail. Until recently, I assumed La Haye Sainte was stuccoed.


This kit is resin and no molding lines were present anywhere, nor any flash or releasing agents. It was so clean I almost assumed he cleaned it up for me knowing I was doing a review, but he assured me he does not use releasing agents and the molds are new. Perhaps not evident from the pictures is the individual bricks can be seen and are all clean and precise. I wasn't able to find any blurring of details or sagging pieces. Everything slides together like a tight fitting puzzle.

One thing that attracted me to the model and sealed the deal is that it is suited for the larger 15mm or rather, 18mm ranges. Most manufacturers still insist on the older scales and haven't caught up. The foot print of this kit is indeed a little bit smaller than it ought to be if one were concerned with scale, however many of us do not want urban sprawl on our gaming table. For some reason the picture of the AB French officer on foot didn't come out right on the camera or else it would have been here for a good frame of reference on size.

The model arrived from England quickly and was packaged well. Being a quality resin, all the bubble wrap was unnecessary, but I appreciated the time took to wrap each building and wall section individually.

If you are interested in this kit or browsing their growing range of great buildings and accessories, feel free to contact Stephan at Tiger Terrain via email for your catalog: TigerTerrain@gmail.com


After some careful thought of considering the best way to approach painting this kit, I decided a professional touch might be in order. 32 pounds is nothing to brush off lightly and given the high quality of the buildings I already own (as seen in earlier reviews on my blog), I wanted it top notch. As it may be remembered I had used Sabol Studios for the previous work and it all turned out beautiful. While browsing their work online for other 15mm work they had done, I wasn't able to come across anything new in that scale they did. One thing that did catch my eye was http://www.masterclassterrain.com/ As can be seen from the home page, some of my buildings were present. As they site explains, one of the artists split off. Turns out she (yes, a great female painter! Like a four leaf clover, you hear of them but seldom find one) was the artist who did my other buildings in the past.

I tend to stick with what works and so after some emails back and forth, Denise agreed to take on the commission. This image is only a preview of a review I will do within the next week or so. It is a work in progress and should be done soon but it is already stunning. As can be seen, it is looking quite wonderful with the weathering effects. Her skill is evident and best of all, consistent. She was able to paint Spanish to Belgian and not miss a beat. La Haye Sainte close ups will be given when she's finished and I have in my possession.

Denise is quite the modeler it would seem as viewing her portfolio: http://www.masterclassterrain.com/portfolio-2 She is also working with the renowned Miniature Building Authority in painting their products. Take a look at her work and see if she can't paint some terrain up for you.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Twistercon 2014 Lasalle Scenario: Castrejon

I realize I've been very distant from this blog for quite a while but I've been spending much of my time preparing for the convention this past weekend. One of the primary projects during 2013 was painting new AB French to replace my Old Glory units and go with a complete AB French army. All the months were spent on completing several new battalions as well as some cavalry and artillery.


So here are some images of the game I ran with my figures for the Anglo-Portuguese and the French forces.


Castrejon was a skirmish fought between the 4th and Light Divisions who were left more or less as a rearguard by Wellington during the 1812 campaign just right before Salamanca. Finding specifics on French units engaged has eluded me so I had to fill in units present with the Army of Portugal (and a couple of other units I simply liked the uniforms of). I suspect the French did not have many units up and in line, so this scenario was played as if the divergent column was part of the battle.


The battle was fairly slow to get started as the allies decided to slowly push their way forward.


A few turns in, the British artillery tried in vain to cut a path through the French units but failed to do much of anything. The British cavalry and their Portuguese allies were more aggressive and would suffer the brunt of the casualties despite facing almost equal numbers.


The French decided largely to leave the town to the Light Division that came up to occupy it. Multiple attempts would be made by the French 36th Ligne and 2nd Leger without any luck. The French hoped to lure the Light Division into the town and then use the weight of numbers to overwhelm the defenders.


The 3rd Btn of the 36th Ligne and the Cameron Highlanders engaged in a several turn struggle for securing the eastern edge of the town. The Highlanders were unable to recover from the multiple disruptions and were eventually swept away.


As the Anglo-Portuguese force reached its breaking point, much of the Light Division was weakened by failed attacks and two battalions occupying both sectors of the town. By the end of the final turn, the British cavalry was mutilated and the Light Division was facing some surely fatal flank attacks. Allied casualties were double that of the French and beyond the 33% army break point. Wellington will surely be upset at this loss!

May not be shown at the bottom of the pictures, but there were a few units present on both sides. I believe I counted 1450 figures. A nice game of Lasalle that out-shined all the other Napoleonic games going on at the convention.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Flintloque Catalucian Guerilla Cavalry


One of my final units for this force was a guerrilla cavalry unit. One of the nice features in Flintloque is the ability of the Catalucian Guerrillas to alter some of their stats by subtracting from one category and adding to another. The cavalry is a bit limited in this sense in that they have no shooting stats to deduct some points to add to the melee factor. This might seem a bit disadvantageous, but their stats are quite good considering what they're representing.

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In my first battle with them, they were the big show stopper. I kept them in reserve for a grand opportunity to pounce on an enemy when they weren't expecting it. Some Ferach line infantry turned a flank to these guerrillas thinking the forest would prevent a charge. Forming into column and then using a melee card for the charge bonus in distance and +3 to the melee factor, the Ferach troops were smacked around thoroughly and tossed back. The Ferach dragoon unit that came up suffered similar results with a minor melee card they were routed and then practically finished off by some artillery as they ran. The guerrilla cavalry's stats are quite similar to the enemies they would commonly encounter. No need to adjust their stats, they're quite good as is.

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I decided on a basic brown uniform and catching the eye with a nice yellow that is repeated on the hat, cuffs and trouser stripes along the outer seam. The unicorn was the portion I simply had to reject on the Alternative Armies website. White? Elves on unicorns is hard enough to swallow, but at least dark elves riding dark unicorns isn't so silly. I did them with pure black and heavy highlighting of grey to give it more depth. Considering the alternative, I believe it came out nicely.

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Perhaps in spring I'll work on a final line unit and use up some of the spare figures I have on hand. With my son being born a couple of months ago, painting and free time ain't what it used to be. In the next post I'll show off some 15mm AB French I've been painting to replace the Old Glory infantry units.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Flintloque Catalucians Finished



So after a few months of work, I've gotten through these units and finished up the basing. Seen here are a heavy and medium gun along with limbers. Limbers in this game are not necessary and due to their scale, only have two horses rather than the larger teams that would exist in real life. In any event, such details add to the game.



The line unit, pictured again with the general, but with finished bases. I may raise a second line battalion, however their tactical worth is of little value even if they are cheap point wise.



The first guerrilla unit seen here. In this game, the guerrillas are better than the line units and you can adjust certain stats by taking away from some categories and adding to others. Perhaps a scenario might make you desire to have better shooters than melee troops, then these stats can be adjusted to a degree. Seeing how they are skirmishers, enhancing their shooting abilities would be a wise idea in most cases.



The final unit that will be added in the near future will be a guerrilla cavalry unit when I get around to ordering a couple of more blisters to fill out the unit. Considering how small our games are, I won't need anything more than that to field a complete force for our 1,000-1,500pt games.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Napoleonic Fantasy: Flintloque


[My daughter reluctantly holds a stand of some guerrillas who she thinks are mad at her because of their mean faces]

For those who may not have known, some wiley Scots with a very unusual sense of humor created a fantasy line centered around the Napoleonic Wars. Their real introduction came around the skirmish version known as Flintloque and then expanded into larger battles called Slaughterloo. The Elves are French and Dark Elves are Spanish, otters are the Ottomans, dogs are the Austrians, ogres are Confederation of the Rhine, undead are Russians, English and Irish are Orcs (most fitting of all), Portuguese as goblins, the Scots are rats and Italians are toads. Leave anyone out?

So many, many years ago as a child, I played a demo game set up at a game shop. Richard Sharpe was there as Richard Sharke and the game was fun, if somewhat hard to take in visually. It doesn't play like fantasy, so other than some odd looking creatures wearing coats with turnbacks and shakos, it plays like a Napoleonic game. I had purchased the Ferach and Toadini (French and Italians in our thinking) and ended up painting them and trading them off several years later.

That friend I traded them to, had added to his collection troops for every one of the nations now. His only hole in his collection was the Catalucian Dark Elves. Having painted many Spanish in 15mm, painting some 28mm ones wasn't much of a stretch. Since they were free to me if I painted them, I've been working on filling out this force and painting it all up.



I went ahead and decided to paint the line troops according to the army book's depiction rather in the later British supplied blue of the 1812 uniforms. The guerrillas didn't have any real uniform but I used a lot of blue as many of the militias were fond of it. Alternative Armies only made one general figure for this line named Don Juan.

I bought a couple of packs to bulk up the guerrilla units as they are better than the line units. The artillerymen, guns & limbers are still on the painting table. Cavalry will be last. I will wait to do all the grass on the stands when everything is painted up. The line units are a maximum of 20 figures, light/guerrilla infantry are 12 figures and the cavalry as 10 figures. The goal is 2 line, two guerrilla units, 2 guns & limbers and 1 guerrilla cavalry unit. I'm about half way there now. I may even be able to get them on the table for a game by spring.

http://www.alternative-armies.com/


So late last year in an earlier post back in December, I purchased a couple of pontoon wagons and a pontoon bridge. I decided to post the follow up showing full completion of both.





The pontoon bridge will likely be used least of all, but might be interesting for an 1809 Rhine campaign someday. The pontoon wagons could work for the same theater or of the second invasion of Portugal when a group of pontoon wagons were taken with the army for a possible river crossing. In any event, they are novelty items and something really only a collector would seriously entertain painting.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Suggestions?


Recently I won an eBay auction for 57 AB French dragoons. Seeing how I've already constructed the units I need for the games I play, there wasn't a lot of purpose in me even considering this auction. I made a solid bid for about 2/3rds of the full price and managed to get it for even less. A real bargain if not a firm need for it.


Although no fan of "Digby Smith" or his biased writing style, his book focusing on cavalry engagements of the Napoleonic wars is an interesting read. I had an idea of doing a diorama scene perhaps against some enemy infantry forming up in a square. Since these dragoons are waving their swords as if charging, it seemed appropriate enough.

So I'm interested if anyone has any thoughts on what to exactly do with them? There are quite a few guidons to get rid of, but a firm 50 or so would be impressive in some sort of scene. Most of what I find (historically) isn't dragoons but of cuirassier or lancers doing some menacing of infantry. Perhaps against Spanish in a broken mob of a square? Open to any and all suggestions.