Monday, April 28, 2008

My Jacobite Army

Front Rank Jacobites painted by Der Alte Fritz

Well, I've been painting Front Rank Jacobites for the past couple of weeks now and I finally have a reputable number of figures painted and based for show and tell. The picture above depicts 60 figures divided into two clans. The Appin Stewarts with the blue flag and gold saltire are on the right. The Camerons, with the red flag, are on the left.

Stewart of Appin clan regiment

As you might imagine, painting Jacobites is a challenge and is not the easiest subject for one to paint. For starters, there are no uniform tartans worn within each clan regiment, so each figure has to be painted as an individual. This translates into very slow painting. After completing the first dozen or so figures, I hit on a formula that sort of speeds up the process. I would select a group of five or six different poses, but paint them in the same combination of colors. For example, they might all have red kilts and plaids, and white shirts, but since there were multiple poses, they would all look like individuals once painted.

I also settled upon a couple of color schemes that I liked or were easy to paint. Red was a common color for the plaid. So most of the reds are painted with black boxes and then I mix up the color where ever the window panes cross. One might have a dot of blue at the intersection of the panes, others grey, or green, etc. I also have a standard green plaid that I like: green undercoat, medium green window panes, and light green dots where the panes intersect. It looks a bit like the modern Gordon plaid.

The clan standards are reviewed by Prince Charles. All figures are from the Front Rank range.

So far, I have been hand painting my own flags. I have a couple Signifer brand 25mm flags, but they look rather sterile in comparison to hand painted jobs. The commercial grade flags are better, but my crude, rough hand painted jobs somehow look better to me. Unfortunately, GMB Designs does not make flags for the Forty Five, otherwise I would use those. I still have to investigate flags from The Flag Dude. These are printed on cloth and look very nice.

Lord George Murray (left) & Prince Charles (right)

I used a "lowland cavalry officer" for my version of Lord George Murray, the commander of the Jacobite army. Front Rank makes a nice Prince Charles, seen above, but all of the other Jacobite personalities are on foot. That simply won't do. So the lowland cavalry officer looked like it would make for a nice stand-in. I may use some French mounted officers and do a head swap, putting them in bonnets. More on that idea later.

We play our first game of the campaign next Saturday, May 3rd. I think that I've done a pretty good job getting the first 60 figures done on time. Imagine how grand another 60 figures will look!

Jacobite artillery & crew supervised by Prince Charles. Gun model is the Elite Miniatures Swedish 4 pounder. Everything else is from Front Rank.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Stewarts & Camerons Have Arrived!

Some re-enactors at Prestonpans in 2007.

My computer has been down for the last four days, so I have not been able to keep everyone up to date on events in the Jacobite Rebellion project. First of all, I have to say that I have been surprised by the amount of comments and traffic that this subject has generated. The posting of April 15th has generated more comments than any other topic so far. Please feel free to click on the comments link at the bottom of each article and let me know what you are thinking. It is much appreciated and I enjoy reading everyone's comments.

I am making good progress on my Jacobite army. As of today, I have the first 30 Front Rank figures painted and another dozen in various stages of painting or preparation. I do not have them based yet, so I posted the picture that you see above for some visuals. So the Appin Stewart regiment is completed and I am now working on the Camerons.

One problem that I noticed was that in the bags of figures that I purchased, there were too many Highlanders carrying broadswords and lochabar axes, and not enough fire arms. It is fairly well established (from first hand accounts and battlefield archeology) that the Jacobite forces were sufficiently armed with muskets. So I will probably need to purchase more figures with muskets. In the meantime, I will have to make do with what I have and just pretend that they have muskets when it comes time to fire at the Government troops.

I will promise to post some pictures of the figures that I painted later in the week, after I have had a chance to terrain the bases and paint a flag or two. I found some old paper Jacobite flags that I bought from a company, years ago, called Signifer - located in the US. I may use these flags in my army, especially for the more complicated patterns. It does not look like GMB Designs makes flags for the Forty Five, much to my regret. Another option is to hand paint the flags on paper or linen. I have a feeling that I will be making some temporary flags and then coming back later to make nicer flags. I really want this army to look nice, because it is a project that I have wanted to paint for a long time (some 15 plus years, I would imagine).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Standard Has Been Raised

Have you ever embarked on a wargaming project and later wondered "what was I thinking?".

Well, I hate to say it, but this has happened to me. My bete noir is the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. I have always had a keen interest in the topic, as Scotland and its history are one of my favorites. It probably goes back to the days when my father used to read me stories from Sir Walter Scott's Tales of a Grandfather which is Scott's history of Scotland from the tenth century up through the Forty Five. I especially liked the chapters about the War of Independence in the 1300s with Robert the Bruce, William Wallace and James Douglas (the Black Douglas). But I digress, let's get back to 1745 and the Raising of the Stuart king's Standard.

OK, so I like everything about Scotland, from kilts and pipes to whiskey and salmon fishing. That is a given. Let me also say that I have no particular leanings to either the Jacobites or the Hanoverians. I like them both. I have the 42nd Black Watch Highlander regiment in nearly all of my horse and musket armies: Fontenoy, Minden, Brandywine and the Napoleonic Wars. So the prospect of painting a kilt or two doesn't deter me. But then again, we were only talking 30 or 40 of them, with regard to the Black Watch. With the Forty Five, I am looking at the prospect of painting 300 or more Highlanders with nearly all of them having unique paint jobs. It is one thing to assembly line 40 Black Watch figures off the painting table, and quite another to do 300 Jacobite clansmen for the Forty Five.

As I said earlier, "what the heck was I thinking?"

The most recent push into this madness was provided by the "Elector vs Empire" blog (see the link on the left hand side of this page). One of the running stories on EvE is that the Tradgardlanders (from some Baltic country that is similar to Norway) have invaded the Shetland Islands in the middle of the winter. Now as the prime minister of the fictional 18th Century nation of Britannia, my first inclination was to say, "let them have it - the elements will finish them off, if not the Royal Navy in the Springtime." Concurrenlty, the Tradgardlanders also arranged for the Duke of Albany, one Charles Edward Stuart, to land in Scotland with a small band of supporters. This is all done via free kriegspeiling.

However, those perfidious Gallians (French) decided to lend aid, comfort and troops to the Jacobite cause in order to create some distraction for the Britannian army currently holed up in Minden. Well, push came to shove, and after way too many Diet Lime Cokes, Bill Protz and I were ginning up a sort of informal Jacobite Rebellion campaign for us to play over the next couple of months.

The campaign is very simple. The Jacobites have landed in Scotland and they have to win three consecutive battles in order to effect a Stuart Restoration. Conveniently, there were three principal battles during the Forty Five: Prestonpans, Falkirk and Culloden. The Jacobites will start out with a small force of about 6 clans and a half regiment of French trained troops. If they win the first battle, then they get more clan and French reinforcements in the second game, and even more for a third game, should they win those. Any single loss of a battle means that the Rebellion has been put down.

The immediate problem at hand is that neither myself nor my regular wargaming Pards, Bill and Randy, have any Jacobites. What we do have though are a lot of 18th Century Black Watch Highlanders. Bill has 118, Randy has 72 and I have 50. They are all wearing kilts. Hmm, what would you do?

So we decided that we could fill out the Jacobite army using red-coated, kilt-wearing Highlanders with a small sprinkling of American Provincial blue coats as Lowland regiments. And the French Fitzjames Horse cavalry regiment could be recruited from Bill's SYW French army. Thus, assuming around 30 figures per clan regiment, we can generate 8 Jacobite clans from the 240 Black Watch figures, 1 regiment of Irish Piquets using French troops, and 2 Lowland regiments using the New Jersey Blues from America. There you have it, instant Jacobite army!

Only a madman would even think of adding more "genuine" Jacobite units, right? Oh no. Oh yes, Fritz got a bee under his bonnet to start painting Front Rank Jacobites for this campaign. The fact that he was able to buy some 300 figures at a nice discount only added fuel to the fire. So now I am busy at Ye Olde Painting Tableaux applying plaid paint to the first 20 Jacobites. I chose the Stewarts of Appin only because their flag is easy to paint free hand (a gold saltire on a blue background).

So I have committed myself to painting at least one clan for now, maybe two, before our first battle on May 3, 2008. I also have some figures to use for Prince Charles and Lord George Murray and some standard bearers to paint (this will be inserted into the various Black Watch ersatz Highlander regiments for our campaign). So I have my work cut out for me over the next three weeks.

As for the Hanoverian or government troops, we will use existing British regiments. We have 8 of these on hand, collectively, so nothing more is required to get the red coats up to snuff.

For rules, we intend to use, what else, Batailles de l'Ancien Regime ("BAR") with some minor modifications to give the Jacobites some hitting power in the melees. Jacobite units will be around 20 to 30 figures, while the British Government forces will be 40 to 45 figures. Same troops that we already have, it's just a matter of removing the unneeded figures from their movement trays. This is one of the advantages of the movement tray system of basing that we use in our BAR games. It is easy to resize the units to the desired strengths.

Well, wish me luck in my plaid paint party. In truth, I fear that it is a sinister Gallian plot devised by le Marquis de Silhouette to deter Der Alte Fritz from adding to his Prussian forces. We shall see.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Battle of Reichenberg - April 1757/2008

August Wilhelm von Braunschweig-Bevern, commander of the Prussian army at Reichenberg. Foundry figure mounted on a Stadden H2 horse. Painted by Der Alte Fritz.

The battle of Reichenberg (April 21, 1757) is an interesting little action that occurred during the opening days of Frederick the Great's invasion of Bohemia during the spring of 1757. It matched 22,000 Prussian troops under the command of the Duke of Bevern against a similarly sized Austrian corps of 20,000 men commanded by Graf Konigsegg. Bevern was able to turn the Austrians out of a very strong defensive position by successfully turning their left flank, which appeared to be anchored on a mountainside. This compromised the Austrian entrenchments in the center and their defense of the town of Reichenberg, on the Austrian right, and caused the withdrawal of Konigsegg's corps into Prague.

The battle receives little attention from SYW historians, who are more apt to focus on the big battle at Prague on May 6, 1757. It holds interest to me, as a wargamer, due to its relatively small size and the fact that the victory was achieved by someone other than Frederick or Prince Henry. The Prussian army consisted of 20 battalions, 25 squadrons and 12 field guns/32 regimental guns. The Austrian contingent included 24 battalions and 49 squadrons plus an undetermined number of artillery pieces.

Opening game setup with the Austrians on the left and the Prussians on the right. The town is located in the center and the wooded area in the far end of the table represented the mountainous area of the field. Great liberties were obviously taken with the terrain to boil it down to a playable table top game.

I hosted a stylized refight of Reichenberg at this year's Seven Years War Association Convention at the end of March 2008. The Prussians had 12 battalions and 12 squadrons of cavalry and an amount of artillery that I can not recall. (approximately 1 by 12 pdr per infantry brigade plus 2 regimental guns). The Austrians had only 9 battalions and 8 squadrons, but had the advantage of defensive ground. The Prussian players elected to ignore their right wing, demonstrating with their cavalry, while attacking the left flank in force.

Prussian attack on the Austrian camp on the Prussian left flank.

A converged group of Prussian pioneers assault the village with their zimmermen leading the way. The village was defended by a small contingent of Croats, who fought to the last man.

Substantially outnumbered, the Austrians were quickly evicted from the village by the Prussian attack. The Austrian brigade in the center is seen dispatching several grand divisions of infantry to shore up their right flank.

View of the Prussian attack in the center, from the Austrian perspective. Note that the Austrians are already sending reinforcements to their right to stop the Prussian attack on the flank. A battalion of grenadiers backs up the Austrian center and would hold the position for the entire game.

The Austrians have repulsed the Prussian advance in the center, but at great cost. Note the fragments of Austrian regiments holding the ridgeline. Bevern now throws in his reserve of IR24 Schwerin (foreground) while the Prussian left is now swinging around through the village to make the Austrian center untenable.

The cavalry battle on the Prussian right flank. The Austrian cavalry commander, though substantially outnumbered, did a splendid job of holding off the Prussian cavalry for most of the game.

Weight of numbers favored the Prussians as they finally drove off the Austrian cavalry by the end of the game. The Austrians now had both flanks collapsing and had to withdraw their army from the center.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Little Wars 2008 Convention Report

Colin Petri demonstrating the famous Prussian dice stacking maneuver during our Seven Years War BAR game at Little Wars.

HMGS Midwest held its annual Little Wars convention this weekend (April 4th through 6th, 2008) at the Marriot Lincolnshire resort, just north of Chicago. This year's convention theme was "Artillery - King of Battles". There were approximately 200 game events and 42 dealers attending the convention, so this gave me plenty of opportunity to watch some innovative participation games and to spend a lot of money in the dealer area.

Among my shopping "finds" were some Black Scorpion 32mm Pirates and Royal Marines that will eventually become a part of Milady de Winter's band of henchmen and cut throats in the mid 18th Century. I also purchased a fair number of George Nafziger's studies on Napoleonic warfare to use in my development of a Napoleonic version of Batailles de l'Ancien Regime ("BAR") rules. I also stocked up on weapons packs from RSM95 figures. RSM figures are THE figure range of choice for many of my Old School Wargaming compatriots.

RSM95 figures were sold at the Dayton Painting Consortium booth all day.

Sash & Sabre 40mm SYW Austrians were mighty tempting figures and reasonably priced by this particular dealer.

Portsmouth Miniatures was selling pre-painted Tall Ships suitable for 18th Century and Napoleonic naval warfare. This is a very attractive product, extremely durable and easy to assemble. I was tempted to purchase a fleet or two for out SYW campaign.

Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the games at Little Wars:

Greg Novak's Battle of New Orleans game showing the battlefield, and all of the morning fog, from the perspective of Andy Jackson's army.

Giant Zeppelin and other seacraft converge on the Antarctic in Mark Feldman and Mike Clarkons' game "Springtime in the Antarctic".

Who knew that there was a tropical jungle crawling with dinosaurs beyond the ice shelf of the Antarctic?

Pirate games were in abundance at Little Wars, arrgghh, matey. Who doesn't enjoy a little bit of buccaneering and treasure hunting?

The award for best use of artificial plastic plant scenery goes to the game shown above. The top picture shows a close up of one of the islands on the table.

This massive 25mm ship to ship Pirate game was run continuously throughout both days

The game judge looks the part with his sailor stripes.

World War II continues to be a popular theme at Little Wars and there were a number of nice looking games, including the Last Square's game (shown below) and a series of Flames of War games depicting scenarios from the Normandy campaign (Ste Mere Eglise, Pte du Hoc, Omaha Beach, Sword Beach, and Orne River Bridge).

The Last Square's WW2 game feature superb terrain and modeling, as shown in the two pictures above.

The team of Jeff Cohen, Mark Pawelski, John Reed, and Kevin Seward hosted 5 Normandy scenarios throughout Friday and Saturday. The group used Flames of War rules and each game featured excellent terrain that was a visual treat to behold. A couple of pictures are shown below:

Omaha Beach game using Flames of War rules. This was one of five scenarios hosted throughout both days.

Ste Mere Eglise, one of the Flames of War Normandy games in 15mm.

Aerodrome returns once again. In fact there were two different tables running the same system.

I have always thought that the WW1 dogfight game shown above is one of the more innovative games that I have ever scene. It has been a staple of Little Wars conventions. Each player has one plane and his own control panel. Little holes are drilled into the panel and you stick little ammo shells into the board to depict the amount of ammo that you have in your guns. The judges run this game numerous times throughout the day and it is popular with kids and adults alike.

Charge of the Light Brigade game hosted by Paul Petri and Brian Vizek. Bill Protz (center) leads the brigade into the Russian guns.

Paul Petri and Brian Vizek hosted an interesting scenario featuring the Hollywood version of the Charge of the Light Brigade. They even had Errol Flynn and Harry Flashman figures. The Russians received bonus points if they could pot old Errol or discombobulate old Flashy.

It just wouldn't be Little Wars without one of Uncle Duke's splendid games. This year he brought a medievil seige game and the usual assortment of lights, cameras and action.

Last Stand At Beaverton - alternative history game with US Marines defending Beaverton, Oregon from the invading Chinese army. Hmm, I hope that a few good men could turn the tide. Semper Fidelis. Nice looking terrain.

Bill Protz, Randy Frye and I hosted one of our big battalions SYW battles on Friday night. The game featured Bill's Batailles de l'Ancien Regime ("BAR") rules. I will provide an after action report of the game within a couple of days, but in the meantime, here is a little teaser to tide you over:

Initial deployment of the French (left) and Prussians (right).

More linear warfare in the BAR game as the Prussians advance in perfect order.

The armies converge in the center to capture the all important town.

Saxon Rutowski Cheveau-legers (left, in red) hew their way through some Prussian dragoons (right, in blue). After they were done with the dragoons, they doled out a few whacks on the Prussian Black Hussars and ran them off the table too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

March Painting Output

SYW Prussian Camp Scene: Duke of Bevern (mounted - foreground) awaits the orders of King Frederick II. Tents by HG Walls. Bevern (Foundry) and horse (Stadden) painted by Der Alte Fritz. Suren Frederick maps out the strategy at the table.

My painting production in March 2008 slowed down a little bit, as I only logged 54 Olley Painting Points during the month. An infantry figure is worth one Olley Painting Point and a cavalryman is worth two OPPs. I attribute the decrease from January and February to Spring Vacation and getting ready for two conventions on back to back weekends.

I finished a 12 man squadron of Austrian dragoons and a 12 man squadron of Austrian cuirassiers for a total of 48 OPPs. The rest of my production included three command figures for my Prussian army: The Duke of Bevern, Prinz Moritz of Anhalt Dessau, and Major General von Manteufel. The three mounted commanders added six more OPPs to get me to 54 points.

The Bevern figure is from the Foundry Prussian senior generals pack, which includes Frederick. I haven't been able to find a good picture of Bevern, but I imagine him to be slightly older and to be somewhat heavy set and jowly in appearance. Thus the Foundry figure was perfect. I didn't care for the Foundry horse though -- too small for the figure. So I borrowed a stallion from my stable of 30mm Stadden horses and placed Bevern on the horse. You can see the result in the picture below.

Prinz Moritz (left) and the Duke of Bevern (right). The strips of wood on the base will be where I glue the paper nameplate for the figure.

Prinz Moritz is the Elite Miniatures Prussian mounted officer on the rearing horse. He has a rather jaunty and haughty look to him that makes him suitable for a senior officer in my Prussian army. Since the Elite figure and horse were made to go together, I used the the Elite horse.

A note on the tent shown in the picture at the top of the page: this was painted and assembled by Herb Gundt, royal architect to Der Alte Fritz. I thought that his rendition of a Prussian commander's tent was outstanding. Herb always does a good job of creating a little vignette that enhances the overall appearance of the model. He also made four sections of enlisted men's tents that you can see in the background. These will appear in many of my games going foreward.

Next friday (April 4th) I have another wargame convention game at Little Wars, in Lincolnshire, Illinois, which is just north of Chicago. Bill Protz and I are putting on another French vs Prussian game using Bill's BAR rules. If you are in the area at 7pm on Friday, then drop by and join in on the fun.

The rest of April will be devoted to the continuing buildup of the Austrian cavalry. I currently have a dozen Crusader SYW Austrian horse grenadiers and also plan to add another squadron of dragoons and cuirassiers to my forces. That would be 36 cavalry figures, or 72 Olley Painting Points for the month. I try to target 60 to 70 points as the maximum amount in a month. I could paint more, but then life gets a bit out of balance if I do anymore painting than that. Balance is the key to a happy life and a happy wife.