Saturday, August 30, 2014

French and Indian War/Pontiac's Rebellion: Virginia Rangers Completed

Completed Rangers after some modifications.
     I purchased a set of Roger's Rangers from Conquest along with the Sauk y Fox and they have finally made their way off the painting table.  I chose to paint them as Virginia Rangers, which in the FIW/Pontiac's Rebellion started off as troops in Washington's First Virginia regiment.  Hence the cut down blue faced red Virginia Regimentals.  Washington employed the battalion as detachments of companies throughout Western Virginia from Cumberland Maryland through the Blue Ridge.  As such the companies (Stephen's, Hogge's and Waggoner's are the three I find the most information about) also defaulted to "indian walking dress" (i.e. breechclouts, leggings, moccassins, and matchcoats)

Washington's men often defaulted to indian dress,
wearing matchcoats (cut down blanket shrouds) as seen here.
       I added the matchcoat (Milliput) on the left as the figure was only sculpted wearing a body-shirt.  The one on the right is sculpted to represent a Conococheague Ranger (actually in Pennsylvania).  ITs not a far stretch since Virginia and Pennsylvania Rangers served together in most of the campaigns in the mid-Atlantic, from Braddock's Defeat to Bouquet's Expedition.

The matchcoats were painted to represent
cut-down British Army issue blankets.

These Rangers were the cut-down Virginia Regimentals
 and the green stroud leggings that were issued at Washington's request.

Note the blankets carried by the tumpline indian-fashion.  Having carried my
own bedroll in the fashion, I find it far superior to the knapsack...
so did American Rangers.
 One of the other changes I made to these troops was to cut off the Scot's Bonnets that came sculpted on the "Roger's Rangers" figures and replace them with round hats sculpted from Milliput.  From what I can find the bonnets were only worn by Roger's men, not by Southern Rangers.  Even then, it seems Roger's men still wore jockey caps and round hats more often than not.

Most Rangers adopted the flopped hat or a cap. 
This one in the style of a jockey's cap, very popular at the time.

The good thing about these figures is that I can use them in frontier engagements from 1756 on up to 1763/4.  South Carolina and North Carolina Provincial troops also wore blue faced I might need to add some Cherokees to the lead mountain as well.

Now I'm working on some winter trees for terrain to stage to skirmishes in the Alleghenies and Blue Ridge Mountains...  More repurposed junk:  Tin cans, twigs, glue and sand=Bargain Basement trees.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Texas Mounted Rifles: Texian Revolutionary Rangers/Cavalry

We're on a roll, cleaning off the painting table.  These fellows, Texian Mounted Rifles are finally complete.  They were War of 1812 mounted rifles I picked up in the bargain basement at Historicon a few years back.  I plan on using them to raid a Centralista supply column as soon as it get painted
I cut the hats and heads off several and replaced with M1828 forage caps modelled from Milliput.  The M1828 was replaced by the all-leather "Hogkiller" in the U.S. Army and it is speculated that purchasers in New Orleans would have procured surplus for use by the nascent Revolutionary Army.  I just think they look interesting to have a few mixed in with the black beaver hats, although that's what Henry Dodge and Rip Ford were depicted in from the period.

I'm thinking of building a new head for the Ranger Captain, making it more like
the fictitious Captain Scull of Larry McMurtry's novel Comanche Moon. "Bible and Sword!"

I was pleased with the way the '28 Forage Caps came out, although I think they
may look a little large for 28mm minis.




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Finally Complete: Sauk y Fox War Party

Sauk, Sac, y Fox or SacFox, by any name,
they play into American history in the 18th and 19th c.
 I purchased these figures from Conquest Miniatures FIW woodland Indians line and the sculpting is incredible.  These have been on the bench for a while, but were finally finished after some internet research and finding some free time.

I used a pin to apply paint to simulate quill and shell work on shotbags.
The great thing about these figures is that they can be used for FIW, AWR, and the 19th c Blackhawk Wars (currently most of my American figs are from the 1830's:  Texian Revolution).  I have a few FIW American Rangers on the painting table and figure I can use my Texian Militia to wargame the campaigns of the Blackhawk Wars.
18th and 19th century depictions of Sac/Fox
I based the figs on laser cut hardboard and pasted magnets to the bottom, similar to my Texians/Mexicans.  The bases are a bit high to my liking, but its what I had on hand.  I'm transitioning to 3/4 in washers...since they're already magnetic, have a lower profile, and are significantly less expensive than all of the base options I've seen on the market.

The detail on the Conquest minis is phenomenal, down to claw necklaces
and braided garters for their mitasses.

The bases are topped off with sand, painted and flocked.  On to my rangers, so I can stage a small unit action.
...even cones and deer hair (center blue shot bag).
          I will definitely be purchasing more from Conquest and as I said, have some FIW rangers currently on the painting table (top, primed).
          I'm working on Mexican Cazadores, Command, and artillery.  Also on the table are tavern servants, Franciscan friars, and mounted Texian Rangers (not to forget the FIW rangers).  These have involved a lot of reposing, new arms, and work with putty to make bi-corns, M1928 forage caps, sashes, blanket rolls, etc.  I'm hoping that they turn out well.  Many of these are poses that I never had any intention of using...but with some putty, styrene and the occasional oath...they should make it into a future campaign.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fog of War at 15th c Calais: A 28mm Battle Report

French soldiers attempt to repel a Burgundian landing on the Flemish coast.
Would you believe that the one thing my son wanted to do today was play out a wargame scenario?  The angels of odd shaped dice are singing.

Flemish and English mercenaries in the service of the Duke of Burgundy sail
towards Calais.
 The scenario was a Burgundian landing at a farm near Calais.  For the terrain, I had my new French Farmhouse, some fields and cut out felt to have four separate waterways.  Victory for the Flemings and English called for holding on to the farmhouse for ten turns, until additional troops can land to bring Calais under the influence of the duchy of Charles the Bold.  For the French, they must hold the farm for five turns until reinforcements arrive by sea.  A roll on a d8 would determine from where in the estuary the French cog would sail.  Then the French would have to capture the Burgundian caravel for victory. 

Flemish gunners wade onto the beach.
      The caravel pulled in sail as the fog on the coast of Calais parted to reveal a beach and a French farm.  Visibility war poor only a ten or twenty yards at most.  As my Flemings landed, they took their first shots at French malice advancing through the fields.  Sadly I rolled poor troop quality.  True to form, my son's rolls determined that his French were battle-hardened veterans.

French malice rush to occupy the farm house and barn.
       The heavy infantry moved quickly, supported by a few archers.  As I had to climb a hill, they were able to seize the houses first.

Unfortunately, the trees mask the French from the English bowmen.
 My English archers and Burgundian infantry remained aboard in support.  The trees masked the fire of the archers, however, and I would be forced to send reenforcements to my beleaguered gunners.  Rule #1:  Never send light infantry against heavy infantry.

Flemish gunners take the high ground...
My gunners did manage to take high ground that allowed them to support what would become and abortive attack on the barn.  They were assaulted by heavy infantry and archers.  Since I had a low troop quality roll (Green troops) there was no chance they could hold the hill against veteran heavy infantry.

The Flemings are charged before they can reload...

While my Flemings managed to drop a few men-at-arms, their guns do take time to reload...and that's why I should have disembarked pikemen and halberdiers.

...and the hill is carried by the heavier French infantry.
Things were not going well on the other side of the barn either.  The French had decent armor and were able to push through the Flemish fire.  A lucky French arrow felled my musician and captain, causing the gunners to fail a morale role and fall back to the caravel.  I disembarked part of my Burgundian halberdiers under a Sergeant.  Rule #2:  Never reinforce failure.

The lightly armed Flemish gunners cannot stand against the French
Heavy Infantry.
 The French infantry cheer madly, but not because the gunners are falling back to the protection of halberds.  The fog has parted and it is turn 5. Which means...

The Fog parts to reveal a French Cog on the caravel's port bow.
To late to make sail, the English must repel boarders.
A French cog is visible through the mist.  Of course my son rolled a 6 on d8.  That was the closest channel from which to sail towards my caravel!  Why wouldn't he roll that?  My English sailors won't even have time to sets the sails, let alone cut the anchor cable.

The caravel is forced up onto the beach.
 The cog runs right alongside the caravel, ramming and pushing it up on the beach.  There will be no escape unless the English and Burgundians can take the French cog...but no, my son has the high roll for initiative and boards me rather than being boarded himself.

Pinned by the French cog, the English archers must fight to the seaward.
 The archers turn to focus on the cog, at least the militia are far enough away that it will take two tuns for them to get to the beached caravel.  With some lucky rolls, my archers downed several crossbowmen on the fo'csle, but none of the French knights.

French knights and sergeants take the forepeak of the caravel
 and work back along the waist.
 Nevertheless the French Knights grapple and successfully board.  They make quick work of the lightly armed archers and wade into to the halberdiers over decks awash with blood.

The advance across the caravel's deck is supported by Italian crossbowmen
and French archers.

 My remaining halberdiers and gunners scramble up the chains and onto the caravel's decks, but they are no match for the French knights.  My remaining Burgundian knight is overwhelmed and hacked to pieces at the ladder to the poop deck.  With no leadership or promise of pay, the remaining English and Flemish mercenaries beg for mercy from the French knights.  As they are not nobles and won't command a hefty ransom, so they are not likely to receive it (mercy, that is).

The English and Flemings beg for mercy.
 Calais, though surrounded by Burgundian lands, remains in the hands of the Valois-through some mighty lucky dice rolls-I might add. Charles the Bold has learned that you can't take Calais on the cheap and demonstrates to his son some time-proven maxims.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Come and Take It: The Battle of Gonzales 28mm Battle Report

Fording the river in force.
 After completing some new buildings and hills, I left the town of 1835 Gonzales set up on the dining room table before going to work.  My wife was disgusted, but the boys were excited to play the next morning.

Approaching the Guadaloupe.
 The original battle took place on 2 October, 1835.  It was a confused affair where Mexican Centralista forces and Texian Rebel Militia bumbled into each other, fording and re-fording the swollen Guadaloupe River.  At stake, an 18th c Spanish six pounder cannon (and the liberal Mexican Constitution of 1824), which for posterity would fire the opening salvos of the Texian Revolution (the cannon, that is.  Funny how these things start with the government disarming the populace).  From the advance, things did not bode well (at least in the 2014, 28mm version of this battle).  My troops came out as green on my roll for both infantry and cavalry.  This would mean a -1 on a few critical rolls and a moral modifier of +1 (the higher the MM, the greater likelihood of troops retreating or failing to respond to commands).  Too many late nights at Senora Portillo's Taqueria, quipped my son.  He rolled veteran troops for his artillery crew and riflemen...1812/Cherokee veterans under Jackson, I suppose.  He would get a +1 on many actions and a -1 MM, a greater likelihood that his troops will respond to commands (can move farther away from command/musician/flag bases) and are more likely to charge if ordered.

A shell-burst in the cottonwoods along the river.
 My cavalry took fire as the infantry moved to the ford, but were shielded by the trees.  Lt Castaneda's coat was torn by iron scrap...the first of three near misses on a wound effect roll.

Fusileros emerge from the cottonwoods to ford the Guadeloupe.
 As my troops emerged from the trees along the ford, they came under rifle fire from Texian militia led by newly-elected Colonel John Henry Moore.    Thankfully, the six pounder, commanded by war of 1812 veteran James Neill, took a turn to reload.

The old Spanish six pounder crewed by Captain James Neill and Texian militia.
 Since the cannon can only fire every other turn, the Texians were limited to directing rifle fire at the advancing fusileros. 

The fusileros draw first blood, but not before a trooper and cornet are checked
by Texian shrapnel.
 Until the next turn, when a shell burst tears a trooper from his horse midstream and wounds the cornet.  You will note the yellow wound counters.  Red wound counters signify a fatal wound, and allow play to continue, until casualties are removed at the end of the turn.

The fusileros advance, firing as Lt Castaneda leads his lancers around the right.

The infantry across, they form a firing line and cover the movement of the cavalry, who pass behind them. The hill and building now mask the fire of the Texian cannon, which begins to withdraw the central plaza of the town.

Colonel  Moore's Texians fall back to the cover of the town.
As the cannon withdraws, Moore's Texians fall back.  All except one fat rifleman were able to make the roll to successfully climb up the roof.

The fusileros charge, but are repulsed.
 Meanwhile on the left, the remainder of the fusileros charged some riflemen hiding in a thicket, but with their Sergeant already killed, they were repulsed. A few final well placed rifle shots would dwindle their numbers.  Loosing 50% and their leader, by the time they entered the town they were forced to retreat, inevitably failing their moral roll, allowing the Texian cannon to pivot to face the flanking lancers.

Texian riflemen finally pick off the Cornet and second trooper.
 On the right, the Mexican Lancers were following Lt. Castaneda in column, while taking flanking fired from the Texians, now on the roof (except the portly fellow who failed his climbing roll during the movement phase...again).  Another trooper and the wounded Cornet were killed-Castaneda suffered another grazing wound.  He wound not prove so lucky again.

The Mexican Lancers charge.
 Though green, the troopers follow Lt Castaneda, dangerously hemmed in by the narrow streets.  Charging in column against a loaded cannon does not normally work well.

...into the mouth of the cannon.
 Unfortunately for Lt Castaneda, the Texians had a higher initiative roll and were able to fire first...and the Lieutenant and three troopers were engulfed in flames and smoke from the cannon's mouth.

With their Lieutenant dead, the remaining troopers retreat across a nearby ford.
 Only three troopers made it across the ford.  Two would be picked off by rifle fire, leaving only one to tell the gruesome tale.  As my son explained, if you go to Senora Portillo's Taqueria on El Camino Real, south of Bexar, there is an old grey Mexican trooper, who will gladly tell the tale for a taquito or two.

The Texians...bloodied, but obnoxiously defiant.
A fun game, and unlike the actual battle (1 casualty) a bloodbath.  So much for history.

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Buildings from old scraps and unfinished projects...

French farmhouse and barn:  Rescued from an unfinished and languishing project.
A long hiatus:  Grad School semester over, move completed, and a new job-not much time for Liliputia.  I have had a huge structure on the table for about a year now.  It was supposed to be a Presidial barracks or cells for friars at Mission Concepcion for the Bexar Campaign.  The problem was, it was just too large.  With 28mm, I guess some things can't be to scale-they just don't fit on a dining room table.  So I proceeded to rip off the top story, balcony, colonnade, etc. and was left with the structure below.

The barracks sans balcony, colonnade and second floor.
 The structure was made of foamboard covered in sand, the columns from closed cell insulation foam.  The details around the door transoms and windows was some epoxy I had on m boat that was beginning to dry out-a lot harder to work than blue/yellow, but it did the trick.

Finished barracks and farm house (r). 

 The finished products, sanded, painted and weathered.  The one story house on the right is the old 2d floor of the barracks, now a Mexican farm house.  They were painted in leftover latex primer from our living room, and then coats of acrylic terra cotta, linen dry brush, and a brown wash.

French medieval barn on the stocks.
 I still had the balcony, colonnade and some additional scraps left over.  These became a barn and farm house.  I intend to use them on an island in our late-medieval Cog Wars campaigns, but they would be just as good for Lace Wars, Napoleonics, or even the Great War.  Again, the foam board walls on a foundation of closed cell foam insulation.

The foundations were the remains of the balcony and colonnade from the old
Presidial barracks project.
 Again, I used the last of the boat epoxy to craft the stone accents around the doors and windows.  The buildings were sanded from kids' sandbox in the back yard.  Painted with the old latex base and then a coat of linen with brown wash.  The roof shingles are card stock painted, drybrush, and stained with the brown wash.
Completed French farm, awaiting a well, fields, etc.
 The end product turned out to my liking...and to my daughter's liking as well.  She would like a set larger enough for her Disney Princess dolls.  (My sons rolls their eyes, because the odds are I will be doing that in the near future).
As always, the roofs are removable to allow the buildings o be occupied.
The barn has a hayloft...for an archer...or archer and wench.

With the structures completed, on to the Battle of Gonzales, 1835.