Wednesday, January 30, 2008

15mm Napoleonic Austrian Light Cavalry

I'm building an Austrian army to fight the 1809 campaigns in Age of Eagles. I figured I would start with the Wagram OOB and adapt it to other battles. For Wagram, I need three brigades (5, 4, and 6 stands) of chevauxleger and one brigade (7 stands) of dragoons.

My buddy Austin (hello, Austin!) sold me some AB chevauxleger/dragoon figures he had, and I rounded them out with a few more figures from Eureka USA. These 44 figures took me over a week to paint, but I think they were worth the effort.

All four brigades from the front

All four brigades from the side

Closeup of chevauxleger in green and white coats

Closeup of dragoons in the back row

I usually use Old Glory or Battle Honors figures, just because they're so cheap here in the US. I often pick up Minifigs when I can find a deal on eBay. I like the Minifigs' uniformity. These AB figures were pricey. It cost me $63 for the bare lead for these four units. With Minifigs, it would have cost $51. With Battle Honors or Old Glory, it would have cost $27 (I'm part of their special buyers club).

The figure painter in me enjoyed these figures, but the frugal Scotsman in me will probably buy Old Glory next time.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Piquet 28mm Napoleonics

I painted these two armies in just under four months. On the table are 240 Austrian infantry, 24 Austrian cavalry, 10 Austrian guns, 30 Austrian gunners, 6 Austrian generals, 180 French infantry, 24 French cavalry, 8 French guns, 24 French gunners, and 6 French generals. That's a total of 474 foot figures, 60 mounted figures, and 18 guns.

Almost all the figures are Old Glory. There are a handful of Sash and Saber Austrian artillerymen. All the guns are Sash and Saber except for the Austrian horse artillery, which are Front Rank.

It was a fun project, and it won the "Best Diorama" award at the local IPMS show last October.

Piquet is a great system for solo gaming, and I've enjoyed pushing these figures around the table.

French legere regiment with the army commander observing

Austrian horse artillery

Austrian 58th line infantry regiment

The whole table

Long view of the Austrian line

Another view of the whole table

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Battle of Foy

On Saturday, January 19th, my gaming group played a World War II scenario using the Battlefront rules.

A battalion of 101st Airborne Paratroopers, worn down by the siege of Bastogne, attempted to take the German-held villiage of Foy, Belgium. The Germans had a severely reduced company defending the town, but it was a strong defensive position.

In real life, the airborne pushed the Germans out of the town, but they had to commit a second battalion to do so. The 506th PIR suffered heavy casualties.

In our game, the airborne pushed the Germans out of the town, but they had to have help from a company of Stuarts. E and H companies were almost totally destroyed, and I company was torn up pretty badly. It was a very close game.

Figures are a mixture of Battlefront (Flames of War), Command Decision, Peter Pig, and Quality Castings. Buildings are all from JR Miniatures.

You can see more pictures of our battle at

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Legionnaire Poses

The Old Glory pack comes with four different advancing poses. All are serviceable, although the two waving their pila up in the air are a little silly. The first pose gets the 360 treatment so you can see what the sculpts look like. The shield really cuts down on the scurrying effect.

Old Glory Marian Romans

My next ancients project is to build an army for the Roman civil wars of 49-30BC. I ordered up some Old Glory legionnaires, and I was pretty disappointed when I opened the pack and looked at the figures. I'm an Old Glory fan, but even I have to admit that their figures frequently do not march, but scurry around the battlefield. These Romans seemed to have a bad case of the scurries. When my buddy got his Gripping Beast Marian Romans, I was pretty tempted to chuck the Old Glory figures on the lead pile and start over with Gripping Beast.

I'm glad I didn't. I have to remember to say to myself, "figures always look better with paint on them." And then repeat it three times. And then just paint the darned things. Because once I put paint to metal, these figures started to look really good.

The command figures are almost identical to the Punic Wars Roman command pack. Only the centurion with the vitis and the signifer with scale armor are unique to this pack. They're both nice figures, but I don't like the inclusion of a Corinthian helmet on the centurion. Surely he would have the same Montefortino helmet as the men

Saturday, January 5, 2008

1809 Austrians

I have large 15mm Napoleonic armies based for Age of Eagles, and I have mountains of unpainted 15mm figures mocking me from their boxes. What to do . . .

Start a new scale, of course! I bought "Piquet: Field of Battle" with an idea to do some solo Napoleonic gaming. Paging through the rules inspired my project.

I would build armies for Napoleon's 1809 war against Austria. I'm an Old Glory Army member, so choosing a manufacturer was easy. I placed my first order in May and painted my first Austrian unit.

In 15mm, I'm a committed block painter. You know the drill: prime it black, hit the uniform with single colors, slap on some white belts, and you're almost there. I do two tones on the faces and hands. But for 28mm, especially for the white-uniformed Austrians, I could see that at least two tones would be needed.

I painted the uniforms with Delta Ceramcoat Mudstone and highlighted with white. I mixed my own flesh undercoat from Territorial Tan and Dark Brown, then highlighted with Medium Flesh. The backpacks got a base of Brown Iron Oxide and a drybrush of Autumn Brown. To really make the metals pop, I used Testors silver for the muskets and swords and Testors gold for the brass work.

Old Glory Carthaginian Elephant

This is Old Glory PPC-03 “War Elephants.” The elephant itself comes in many different pieces, including the two halves of the hollow body, the head, two tusks, and a trunk. The mahout’s legs are cast onto the body with his torso as a separate piece. The howdah is two pieces, and two spearmen fit inside. The elephant’s body doesn’t fit together well, and I used Woodland Scenics flex paste to patch up the join along the back. The spearmen have Old Glory long spears.

This model was a challenge to paint, but a series of drybrushes really bring out the folds in the elephants skin. The howdah may have been more brightly colored than this, but I wanted a more subdued look.

Old Glory Spanish Scutarii

This is Old Glory PPC-06 “Spanish Scutarii.” The pack includes only three spearmen poses, although two of them are excellent. The only figure I didn’t like has a cape and is holding his spear directly in front of his body, which makes him difficult to fit in the ranks. If you want officer, standard bearer, and musician for your unit, you’ll either have to convert these troops or use the Carthaginian figures from other packs. The scutum is a very nice piece, a little flatter than the Roman scutum. These figures have the Old Glory short spears.

I painted these scutarii in unbleached linen tunics, a little darker shade than the Carthaginians’ tunics. The Spanish troops would have had purple edging on their tunics, although there is some debate over just what shade this purple would have been, with some authors favoring a crimson instead of true purple. The shields are a joy to paint and look very sharp in their geometric designs. I used the Hannibal and the Punic Wars book for inspiration.

Old Glory Carthaginian Veteran Infantry

This is Old Glory PPC-05 “Libyan Heavy Infantry.” All the spearmen are equipped with Roman mail armor and Roman scutum. The spearmen come in three poses, none of which is especially inspired. One of the poses I really dislike, since the face is severely pinched. The same three command poses are present in this pack as well. The scutum shields are the exact same casting as those provided in Old Glory’s Roman infantry packs, which works well, since Carthaginian troops would have scavenged these from the battlefield. Once again, I used the Old Glory short spears.

These Carthaginians, too, got unbleached linen tunics, but my next unit will probably all wear red. I used three different colors of shields and decorated them with appropriate designs.

Old Glory Carthaginian Citizen Spearmen

This is Old Glory PPC-01 “Citizen Spearmen.“ Old Glory gives two types of troops in this pack: three poses of unarmored levy spearmen suitable for most Carthaginian citizens and three poses of sacred band spearmen in linothorax and bronze cuirass. The pack also includes standard bearer, officer, and musician. All the figures have a round hoplite-style shield with a dimple in the center. The figures are excellent, among the best Old Glory has ever done. The faces have real character, and the details on the figures are nicely defined. I used the Old Glory short spears for these troops.

I gave the figures a certain uniformity of dress, which I find helps them look more like an actual unit of troops. Since the Carthaginians were a Phonecian people, I gave them slight darker skin than my Romans, and I made their hair black. The shields all got individual paint jobs, with most of the designs inspired by the Little Big Men shield transfers (which you can see used to good effect in the Hannibal and the Punic Wars WAB supplement).