Wednesday, 21 June 2017

20mm Jacklex Americans and Mexicans

Been away for a few days so a bit behind with my blog pots.

Jack, Bob and I met for a long awaited game using Jack's 20mm Americans and Mexicans.  Jack couldn't quite remember where all the figures were and even afer a bit of searching we still couldn't locate all the Americans but decided that we would supplement their numbers with some Mexican allies.

Bob laid the table out at his place and I picked up Jack from the local tube station.

We used the basic Black Powder rules.  No actual battle, just a game.  The scenario basically was an assault by the combined Mexican and American forces on a village with the object of capturing the rebel Mexicans 'Grande Fromage' (Big Cheese) or leader if you prefer.  Bob very kindly pointed him out.

Jack commanded the Mexican allied foot and horse whilst I took on control of the American Forces.

 Jack's Mexican force

US troops

The objective - the Rebel Village

Jack and I took the initiative.  Jack's cavalry immediately set off at a pace crossing the river.  His infantry were far more reluctant and didn't move - probably too hot, a bit like in London at the moment!

Most of the my American troops were eager to get to grips with the rebels and moved forward.

I brought forward my guns to deploy by the river.

At the end of the move my infantry scored a notable success opening fire on one of Bob's machine guns and taking out the crew.

Bob struck back with his other machine gun and some devastating rifle fire from the roof tops to cut through the first of Jack's cavalry units causing a break test which it then failed and fled the field.

Bob's artillery was less effective failing to register any hits on my advancing troops.

In an attack reminiscent of the 1959 Gary Cooper film 'They Came to Cordura' 
my cavalry charged forwards firing on the Mexicans holding the roof tops in the centre of the village.

My guns meanwhile opened fire in support of my cavalry disordering Bob's troops and reducing their effectiveness.

It was hot and I was sent for refreshments....

My infantry continued their advance towards the right hand side of the village.  In a bit to stop them, Bob charged forward with a unit of cavalry.  Hits from the infantry and also with a machine gun they managed to deploy not only stopped the charge but sent it reeling back.

The deployed machine gun represented a 'prickly problem' for the Mexicans

But it wasn't all going our way.  Bob's artillery finally started to find their targets and one American unit broke and fled.

On the other wing Jack's Mexican infantry finally moved across the river.  The American guns switched their targets to infantry on the roof tops in the centre of the village who had been firing on Jack's cavalry.  Two well aimed shots saw them take a Break Test and fall back.

Bob moved forward a hidden cavalry unit to try to take Jack in the flank, or at least divert him from the objective.  Jack them got a command roll of 3 moves and his cavalry charged forward .....

Passing fire from the rebels on the rooftops on the left couldn't stop them

One unit surged forward surrounding the Rebel General.

whilst the other prevented a rescue attempt.

It was a fun game as always. Jack looks pleased with the result whilst the rebel general (Bob) looks thoughtful!

It was good fun and lasted a couple of hours.  The Black Powder rules worked fairly well.  Both sides had machine guns which kept jamming after small successes. 

Jack made and painted all the figures on the table in his late 70's.  He is 88 in August so we can excuse the fact that he couldn't remember where the Americans 1916 Harley Davidson motorcycles and riders were. 5 of them charging around  the table would have been fun to see.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Moscow Regiment - S range Conversion

I couldn't help but notice that most of the conversions that I have done have been to the benefit of my allied forces, British, Turks and Sardinians.  I have had a go at a Russian cavalryman with a lance, but that's about it.  When it comes to artillery, there are Line and Guard figures which cover most needs, perhaps a set of gunners in fur caps might be useful but that's about all.  The infantry likewise have Guard, Caucasian and Line figures which again accounts for most needs.

However, I have always been intrigued by the pictures of the Moscow Regiment in the Osprey book and on the Foundry webpage.  They are something different in their red shakos.

Bob is setting up a Mexican/American game using Jack's 20mm figures so we have been back and forth picking up Jack's figures so we haven't managed to have a game, so I have had a little time on my hands and have been tinkering with some conversions and in particular trying to get the basics for my Moscow Regiment.

The obvious first stage is to use the bodies of the existing Crimean War Russian infantry figures.  I chose the Guard figure as I thought I could reduce the size of the helmet to make it into a shako.

I wasn't happy to with the out come - more Fez than shako.  I then tried reshaping the British Albert shako, making the the back 'flap' into hair.  Again, I wasn't too keen on the outcome.  After a lot of looking, I finally settled on the French Zouave Officer shako as looking the best in itself and on the figure. So it was the usual head swap, remove the plume and a quick tidy up with 'wet and dry' sandpaper to clean the edges and remove the top band on the shako.

L-R Russian Guard and British drummers reworked shakos, French Zouave Officer shako on Russian Guard drummer
I used the same head on the Infantryman, Officer and Standard bearer and I think it works out not too badly giving a reasonable impression of the Moscow Regiment and enabling me to add a splash of colour to my Russian army.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

S range Conversions - British Crimean War Artillery in Forage caps

The mood took me and I did these simple little conversions involving head swaps.  British Infantryman in Pork pie cap heads  (forage cap) on the bodies of Horse Artillery and Foot Artillery  gunners.  

John Cunningham always sends me back any masters of figures I have made for him so I took the forage caps for the HA figures off of other conversions.  The ultimate in recycling?

Horse Artillery Gunners - probably didn't wear forage caps on active duty?  

Royal Artillery Gunners - I have read by the end of the Crimean War most sported forage caps instead of shakos.

For the Royal Artillery set I needed more heads and since I was taking the heads mainly off of the British Officer in Duffle Coat I thought I would put a peak cap on one of the body to reuse it as an officer.  In Timothy j Reese's Uniforms of the British Army of the Crimean War he illustrates a RA Officer in a peaked cap (although not a Duffle coat).

The head twist method does mean that you get to save heads and bodies for later conversions and I try not to waste either.  

Saturday, 20 May 2017

S range Franco Prussian BP game

Jack had said that the Franco Prussian War was one of his favourite periods, so I suggested we have a game with my S range Franco Prussian figures.

As with our last colonial period game I set the table out to play 'long ways' to allow for movement and ranges.  Looking back I actually had too much terrain to allow for the ranges to have effect.

Jack and Bob commanded the French and I managed the Prussians and allies.  There are a lot of pictures in this report sorry, I couldn't resist trying to show the figures!

I set it up with a unit of French Chassuers (skirmishers) one side of a fordable stream behind hedges to slow the Prussian advance.  They also has the help of a couple of cavalrymen they picked up on the way. Along the stream itself was a brigade made up of 2 newly raised regiments of French Infantry in their Crimean War uniform and a regiment of zouaves.  At the back edge of the table was the main French army and their artillery.

The French positions

The Prussians had a regiment of Silesian rifles out front skirmishing, with Prussian infantry in the centre left and on the left flank.  The Wurtemberg infantry made up the centre right with the Bavarians on the right flank.  The extreme right was covered by a light cavalry brigade of Prussian Hussars.

The Prussians took the initiative and I moved forward my skirmishers who were soon engaged in an exchange with their French opposite numbers. 

The Prussian infantry and the allies only managed to edge forward.  Their advance being slowed by the various hedges and fields

I had in mind when I set the table up that the French front line would hold and wait for the main force to join them.  Jack on the other hand, ordered Bob to withdraw from the river and join up with the advancing main body.

Not all the main body of the French army got the order to advance! Indeed a number of units and officers seemed to be more interested in the young ladies who had come along!

Some French units did manage to advance 

The rifles moved forwards on the French Skirmishers.  At this point Bob asked Jack what he was going to do about the Chasseurs? To which Jack replied "are they ours?".  The decision was made that it was a bit late and they would just stay where they were!

The French forces were now beginning to link up.

With the French guns joining in the advance towards some high ground to give them a clear field of fire.

The Prussian allies meanwhile were flanking the Chasseurs supported by the cavalry brigade and in the centre the Prussian brigade was starting to make some progress..

Jack likes his cavalry and brought forward the Chasseurs d'Afrique.

I charged forward with my light cavalry.  The ensuing melee ended in a draw, thanks to Bob and Jack having more supports and both side withdrew.

I brought forward my guns, 

The French advance quickens and their Marines find water and feel at home!

the French guns are ready to deploy.

Bob points out the new French lines to Jack which are not much different to where they were at the start of the game, despite all the manoeuvring.

My advance didn't seem to be going too well.

but my guns were now on the high ground!

Jack's newly raised troops suffered numerous hits and failed a Break Test, fleeing from the line.

Having driven back the Chasseurs and for reasons I can't fathom, I advanced my first Prussian Regiment into the open instead of staying behind the hedge/wall line and taking advantage of the cover.

they took hits from the French Marines, a newly raised unit and Jack's artillery and mitrailleuse.

driving them from the field.

However, my guns were finally in action and the French Line was their oyster - except they didn't seem entirely aware of it, with only one battery doing any damage.  Their target the French Guard who also suffered fire from the Bavarians and the Wurtembergers in a concerted attempt to force them back.

It worked, with the Guard breaking.

The Prussian allies on the right flank pushed forward to the stream. 

The French mitrailleuse jammed, but Jack managed to get it going next turn causing serious damage 4 casualties and no saves. It then jammed again the following turn thank goodness. The damage was done,  combined with concentrated rifle fire the Bavarian and Wurtembergers suffered and were forced to flee. 

My Prussians were in a bit of a state.  The right flank had collapsed and the central Prussian regiments were being flung back by overwhelming rifle fire. I decided to organise an orderly retreat, only to roll a double 6, get a Blunder test and advance the entire brigade.

It was a mess!

The guns and cavalry covered my retreat, leaving the French in command of the table.

Jack looking pleased at the outcome!

With hindsight I think we both could have left our artillery where it was and fired over our advancing troops, but you get a bit blinkered into line of sight firing hence we both set off for the high ground!

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed French and Prussian limber teams.  The horses are S range as are the riders which are conversions. Head swaps in the case of the French or simple paint jobs in the case of the Prussians.  The Prussians have borrowed the British limber for the game (they now have their own nice blue one!). These are very simple conversions and I will have a separate item on how I made them.

This was the first time I have had my Franco Prussian forces on the table and I used some French units from my Crimean War Army without realising the imbalance of the forces. The French had a large numerical superiority over the Prussians and their allies, even allowing for the French Crimean infantry being classed as 'newly raised' to down grade them a bit and make the French army more fragile (didn't work!)  I have some Bavarians on the work bench which will go a little way to balancing things up.

It was a good game and the rules despite what everyone says worked well enough to give us an enjoyable game that moved along at a pace.