donderdag 23 maart 2017

Restoring a French Napoleonic Collection – last batch.

It has been a pleasure to see the transformation of the French from an old style to new. The figures have a robust appearance, clothing colour is darker which offers a greater contrast with belts and those figures in campaign kit have that ‘rough and ready’ look; shako covers and trousers are no longer pristine white and packs, bags and overcoats have a greater variety of colour.

Reviewing the order of battle for the second and third invasion of Portugal, I have more than enough infantry and guns for the planned engagements, but cavalry posed another problem. I have plenty of Chasseurs and Cuirassiers for which the latter saw no service in Portugal and the light cavalry seem to be evenly divided between Chasseurs and Hussars.

I did not plan to purchase more French as a budget was set for the British, Portuguese and insurgents; yet the Hussars and Dragoons (12 regiments represented) were lacking in the collection. A closer inspection of the figures and comparing online resources I decided to ‘promote’ half the Chasseurs (all in campaign kit) to Hussars and so prepared me for an hour’s exercise with Milliput making a dozen pelisse.

While painting a number of command stands I noticed one hussar actually ‘wearing’ his pelisse which is clearly seen from the fur around the cuffs, waist and neck. Brilliant. This one example offered a better solution than having a pelisse draped over the shoulder and so proceeded to paint my hussars and finish the troopers with a touch of fur (it’s a nippy spring morning).

The photo shows this batch in their 'before' state and hopefully by this weekend I can place photos of the completed project.   

zondag 19 maart 2017

Restoring a French Napoleonic collection.

I have planned to continue experimenting with the campaign rule set and use the three invasions of Portugal as a backdrop. The next step was to place an order for British and Portuguese as I have a large French collection. However, after reviewing the French I was amazed how much my style of painting has changed.

I believe the French were painted nearly twenty years ago when I used ‘pastel’ colour, so blue coats were nearly a Bavarian blue and the overall effect was quite bleached and depressing.

The thought had crossed my mind to sell the lot as is, abandon the Napoleonic period and move the campaign tests to another era. To keep or sell was the question. In either case an inventory was needed after which produced a final total of 140 elements of infantry, artillery, cavalry and general officers.

I decided to test the amount of time needed to ‘refurbish’ the collection and divided the lot in seven batches; line and light infantry with artillery for the first five batches and cavalry and some line infantry for the last two.

Basically, the coats became darker, all Mithril Silver bayonets and barrels were now Kohl Black and later dry brushed, backpacks now have three shades of brown as do the rolled up coats, shako covers were painted darker to bring a better contrast when highlighting. The end result did bring them up to a current standard and took maybe five or six hours spread over two days for the first test batch.

At the time of writing I am finishing up batch number five and will start probably Monday on the last two. These contain all the mounted units.

Reviewing the invasion forces for Portugal I will need Dragoons and combined elite companies which formed the grenadier battalions at Bussaco.

I should have new photos at the end of the week. 

zondag 5 februari 2017

The Campaign rules - an interim evaluation.

Campaign rules – gunpowder era
Turenne’s campaign of 1674 was remarkable for two reasons, the numerical superiority of the allied forces and the season in which the third operation was executed, the winter. Despite the success at Sinsheim, General Bournonville did meet Generals Lorraine and Caprara approximately three months later bringing their combined strength in excess of 40,000 men. To meet this, Turenne was able to gather 16,000 for the subsequent action. Using the basic 12 element a side game you don’t quite reach a sense of urgency than say having 40 elements facing 16.

To bring the disparity between armies to a manageable level there are two features in the rules that will be of help. The first item, the quality of command, is an option currently found in the DBA-HX3 rules section titled generals. Cautious generals are likely to signal retreat earlier than their stout hearted brethren, for them we reduce the number required to reach demoralisation by one. This works rather well to balance a game using uneven sides.

The second item can be found in the basic rule set under allied contingents. Such elements comprising an allied contingent may not move as a group with elements of the host army. This works well for our campaign as the Imperial army consisted of troops from six different regions and would be further complicated by the arrival of Prince Ferdinand of Brandenburg.

Reviewing the Imperial forces as three commands, each hosting an allied contingent, the disparity of numbers looks more palpable for an energetic French player.

Further, the number of stratagems has been increased. As their number grows, each of the general types will have a selection at their command bold generals having a greater repertoire of options to use.

Illustration, the Battle of Sinsheim (Wiki, public domain)..