Sunday, July 29, 2007

Attack on the Shevardio Redoubt - 1812

Russian forces stand firm in the defence of Shevardino village.

This small battle was fought two days before the great battle of Borodino. The battle took place between the French forces of Davouts 1st Corps, plus supports elements of two cavalry corps and that of the Russian forces under Prince Gorchakov. The Shevardino redoubt lay forward of the main Russian lines at Borodino and needed to be cleared before Napoleon could deploy his forces.

The Shevardino Redoubt (scratch built by me the day before).

The scenario was that used from Book One of the 'Napoleonic Scenarios for General de Brigade'. However we used Shako Advanced rules and also increased the size of our units to that of six bases (24 fig infantry units and 12 fig cavalry units). The reason behind this was to remove bases from play once the units received casualties, instead of having dice behind the units.The two opposing sides were John Maguire and his friend Jeff on the Russian side and the Leroy Simpson, Peter Hall team on the French side.

Elite Miniatures French (from the 1800-1805 range) painted by Leroy.

The French mission was to capture the Shevardio Redoubt by the end of the game and hold it. Russian mission was to hold the redoubt and the small village of Shevardio. However by the end of the game the French after taking a massive pounding from the Russian forces was forced to give up the field. Which was not quite the result in the actual battle.

Elite Miniatures artillery (from the same range above) also painted by Leroy.

All figures used in the game came from John's fantastic collection. They all have been professionally painted by numerous painters, including our own Leroy Simpson. Some of terrain also came from his collection and the rest from Leroy's collection. Anyway I hope you like the photos.

Russian Line Infantry defend the woods, to the west of Shevardino Village.

French troops surge towards the Russian lines.

A Russian battalion prepares to defend Shevardino Village (Wargames Foundry Figures).

The French manage to push them out of one town section, however in the next turn they were to lose it again.

A new French Line regiment moves forward (all Front Rank Miniatures).

Russian Cuirassiers try to break a French infantry square.

The next French wave moves to charge the Russian infantry in the woods.

Another French attack charges a Russian gun battery and wins.

Only to be hit in the flank and destroyed by a counter attacking Russian battalion.

After numerous defeats in other parts of the battlefield the French put one last desperate attack on the redoubt.

The result was predictable. This was the last straw for our French Commanders and they withdrew from the field.

Leroy's Scratch Built Daimyo's Castle

The two main influences for this construction were the articles produced by Adolfo Ramos, contained in the excellent Wargames Soldiers and Strategy publication and my visit to Japan in 2005. One of the many castles I was fortunate enough to visit was the amazing Matsuyama Castle (Iyo) in Ehime prefecture. Matsuyama Castle was one of the most recently built with construction being completed in 1627. It was part of the Hirayama Castle Coalition and is one of the best preserved original castles still within Japan. It was this castle that I based the colours and the style of wood work for my own.

As you can imagine a respectable Daimyo's Castle could cover a massive area and as much as I wanted to take over another room in my house, size and storage constraints meant I was to plagiarise much of Adolfo's design which, once built, is still an impressive focal point on any table.

Due to the size and the weight of this construction I used several wooden boxes purchased from the DIY section of my local hardware shop. These were originally intended for making a serving tray and a jewellery box, but I think my idea was much better. The stone work is individually cut cardboard. I used this "interesting" method as my original idea of DAS clay was a spectacular failure with the clay not setting correctly and the large amount of water required for shaping causing concern with the MDF wood used. Another trick used is No More Gaps which thinly spread over the walls provides both protection and texture. I have found that this avoids chipping which occurs when using Spaka Filla.

The upper stories of the building uses heavy cardboard from storage boxes covered with a combination of wood types. Wherever possible I tried to avoid balsa wood as it may be easier to work with and readily available but not very sturdy. In addition to its lack of strength, dry brushing balsa tends to have a less pleasing effect.

The Shachi or castle icons were "salvaged" from a piece of cheap jewellery. This building was something I would work on in between other painting projects and as a result took around five months to complete.

Looking at it I feel it still requires some little additions and maybe a little more weathering but overall I am exceptionally happy with the finished item . Now I just have to pull my finger out and finish my Samurai Armies, village, Korean hill fort etc etc etc

All the best
Leroy Simpson

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Battle of Asculum - 279BC

One of my elephants caught on the Roman Caltrops

In 279 BC Pyrrhus (The Eagle King) fought his second battle, against the Republic of Rome, near the town of Asculum. The battle was fought over a two day period. The first day was indecisive but on the second day Pyrrhus finally got the upper hand with his Elephants and defeated the Roman Army. However it had been a close run fight, with high casualties on both sides.

Navigator light cavalry on 1st Corps horses

Today we played the first day of battle, which was fought in area of small hills and forest. In the actual battle the hilly terrain and forest had made it hard for the Greek phalanx and cavalry to deploy fully and effectively. This to was to prove the same for me (I was playing Pyrrhus).

1st Corps Republicans advance

Before the game I had declared that all wooded areas, if moved though, would negate the -1 to hit the front of a phalanx. Therefore making it a little harder for my troops and more in line with history. This decision worked in favour for the Romans in our first contact, which was fought in a small wooded area and I thus lost one of my Epirote phalanx's. I also decided to let the Romans have anti elephant devices. In the actual battle the Romans had built wagons or carts with spikes, in order to use against the elephants. I did not have any wagons so I used the caltrops Leroy Simpson had made for my Ptolemaic Army and used them as described in Jeff Jonas's Successor rules (soon to be published I hope).

1st Corps Republican Cavalry (painted by Leroy Simpson)

Anyway the game played very much in line with history. Both myself and John Williams found ourselves beaten on opposite flanks. However with my superior cavalry and his greater numbers in troops and neither willing to risk further causalities, we finally called it a day after four hours of fighting.

A&A Miniatures and 1st Corps Romans fight for battlefield supremacy.

Italiote Hoplites vs Italian Extraordinarius

My Veteran Phalanx awaits the expected charge from the Italian Spearmen

Monday, July 9, 2007

Tin Soldier's Scythians

Over the past two years I have been slowly buying more and more Scythians, from the Tin Soldier range, which have been supplied to me from Ray at Essex Miniatures Australia. I find these figures as some of the best Scythians on the market and they are one of the best ranges that Tin Soldier produces. The range has nine codes for the noble and light warriors, plus some codes have as many as three different head variants - great for making up some nice looking units. The figures are very well sculptured, the detail is great and they have little too no flash.

The figures shown are the first of my collection which I have commissioned Leroy Simpson to paint, because like most wargamers I have more unpainted then I could possibly paint and also Leroy does a great job - a lot better then me.

As Leroy finishes more figures I will endeavour to place his fine work up on this blog.

A Battle near Salamanca

I have just loaded some great photos from the campaign game, being played by Andrew Parr and Adam Burke. Their campaign, so I have been told has been progressing very well and so has Adams terrain, which looks fantastic. I believe most of the figures are from Andrew's collection and the remainder are those of Adams.

French figures are a mix of Elite Miniatures, Old Glory and Connoisseur. British mix is much the same, however with a few Foundry Miniatures mixed in.

I'm also sorry that I have not put on to many more pictures in the last few weeks. I have been quite busy with work. However we have organised a number of games for the next three weeks and thus I hope to have a few more photos for you.

The Great Andrew Parr