Monday, 8 October 2018

ACW Table: The Battle of Gaines' Mill

As variety is the spice of life, I am mixing it up a bit and going back to a project I started in August: making hills for a ACW re-fight of The Battle of Gaines' Mill. This post shows my texturing process for the hills. Here are the hill components in carved foam laid out on a GW grass mat:
With these hills I decided to smooth out the cut marks from the hobby knife and hot foam cutter. The pictures show before...
...and after:
At this point it gets a bit messy.  A LAF member mentioned using tile/floor adhesive for texturing buildings; as I do quite a bit of DIY stuff around here I had 2 buckets of the stuff. When I built my Pulp Alley Airstrip table I experimented with it and was very happy with the results. I combined coloured sanded grout with the tile adhesive to darken it and add some (very) fine grit to the texture. For these hills I mixed Tobacco Brown sanded grout with the adhesive:
After mixing, the goop was smeared at intervals with a putty knife:
... and rolled this out with a medium pile roller followed by a foam roller:
As the adhesive takes 24 hours to set you can add lots to the hill: rocks and small bushes will easily adhere and you will have an hour or 2 before the adhesive starts to skin.

At this point I got a little off track. My intention was to have sporadic patches of fine sand here and there, with most of the hills heavily flocked. However, I forgot to strain my sand and then started throwing it around rather generously:
Too much rock for hills that are supposed to be grassy, especially for 15mm figures. I may have to knock some of the bigger aggregate off. A good flocking will hide quite a bit of the rest.

The hills as they currently stand:
Still missing are two smaller hills, including the one which sits adjacent to Gaines' Mill in the upper right hand corner of the photo above. Next weekend, after large amounts of 2mm grass and some shrubbery, and these hills will be done. As quite a bit of the gully is forested,  a collection of trees will have to be mustered.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Another New Project: A New Table For Trumpeter's Salute 2019

My partner in crimes against the hobby is Murdock of Murdock's Marauders. He came up with a plan for a scenario for Trumpeter's Salute 2019: a game based on the siege in the historical drama By The Sword Divided. 

In the series the Lacey's ancestral castle, Arnescote Castle is besieged by Parliamentarian forces; Arnescote castle is, in fact, Rockingham Castle:
This won't be a straightforward table with a castle at one end though. Murdock's plan is to have siege options for the attacker: scale the walls; build saps and trenches; and/or attempt a breach. The trick with this table is modelling the saps, trenches and any breaches. We wanted the attacker to be able to place trenches and saps where he wished and to target specific sections of the wall for making a breach. The means flexibility in terrain. 

We decided that the centre of the table would consist of removable 8 inch squares, thus allowing the attacker to remove a plain square and replace it with a square consisting of a trench or sap section. The wall of Arnescote Castle would also be in 8 inch sections, so that any breached sections could be removed and replaced with rubble. Here is a drawing to give you an idea of what we are looking for:
The wall of Arnescote castle is on the left, the attackers first parallel on the right. The besieged wall is (we believe) the wall on the right in the photo of Rockingham, partially obscured by the tree in the lower right-hand corner. The edges of the table will be solid; the dotted in lines give you an idea of the sections that could be pulled out and replaced with trenches or saps as shown. The defenders will also have the option to build trenches or counter saps; I am not sure how often this was actually done during the ECW (I did read of one siege in which the defenders counter-mined to prevent the blowing of a gate) but in the TV series the Lacey's are shown digging a trench outside the wall in anticipation of the Parliamentarians attack.

The table is 4x6 and started out like this:
The centre was removed:
Then I started the time consuming process of making 8 inch squares. I made a little jig to help with keeping the edges a even as possible:

The progress so far:

Remember, I have to make nearly twice as many squares so there are lots of options for the attacker. There will be 28 plain grass squares and about another 20 squares that will be either trenches or saps. You can see why I am starting this now even though Trumpter's Salute isn't until March...

I  mocked up a trench section on a foam off-cut to get an idea of what it might look like:

The trench may have to be a bit wider and smaller wood for the shooting step. Perhaps more rocks and gravel scattered around as well.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Warlord Games ECW Dragoons

I have finally finished off the ECW dragoons that Jeff left me. He had assembled them, primed them black and "wet brushed" them white. He managed to get a few coats painted and a base coat on some of the horses too:

Here they are now in their re-furbished glory (I still have to locate proper guidon for them) :

 The Warlord boxed set comes with a dismounted version for each rider:
The boxed set comes with 12 of each but one has been misplaced so what I have here is a regiment of 11. Oddly enough the other set Jeff left me also has only 11 in it ...

I also managed to finish roughing out the hills for the Battle of Gaine's Mill game we will be playing in the undetermined future.

 The craft sticks mark deployments of the various brigades. I made a couple of mistakes (I was working from 2 different maps, one of which has more detail in it): the far hill in blue should be a little longer and curl around the end of the purple hill opposite of it.  Next up I will give it a hard sanding and coat it with a mix of coloured sanded grout and tile adhesive.

Monday, 6 August 2018

New Project; Gaine's Mill

A new terrain project underway. After the two games of Brigade Fire and Fury- days 1 and 2 of Gettysburgh- our industrious host has expressed an interest in putting on a Battle of Gaines Mill game. He said he needed a couple of large hills and I happily volunteered.

The key feature is a long hill that I have divided up into three large hills for ease of construction and transport. The hill is split by a gully that runs from south west, incorporating Boatswain's Swamp in a north-eastern direction towards old Cold Harbour as seen on this map:
The union defenders are dug in on the north-western flank of Turkey Hill; the Confederate attackers on the hill opposite, Boatswain's Swamp and an un-named creek between them.

After spending the am hacking away at styrofoam insulation I am at this stage:

These pictures show two of the main hills; pictures from the north-east, looking south-west. The purple blocks represent where buildings will go: Old Coal Harbor at the bottom, New Cold Harbor in the middle and Gaines' Mill in the upper right. The carving of the hill section at the bottom is largely done; the second part beyond new Cold Harbour is roughly cut out, as is the hill that Gaines Mill is on.

I have to get more foam before I tackle Turkey Hill.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

ACW-First Day of Gettysburgh

I played my first American Civil War wargame this Sunday. The day was organised by Nate and played in the same classroom that our Napoleon's Battles game was hosted in (see here if you missed it). The rules used were Brigade Fire and Fury, on a 5 by 5 table in 15mm

This initial photos show the advance element of both Armies in the south-west corner of the table; Confederates on the left, Unionists on the right:
In the opening moves, the Rebels force the Iron Brigade back- just behind the house in the lower left of the first picture where the viewer can't see them:
Rebels on the table edge advance aggressively and hit the union forces hard:

Union cavalry advance along behind the ridge, hoping to get into position before more rebel forces enter from the Northern edge:

At this point reserves from both sides starting pouring onto the table. Here Pender's brigade gets some good maneuvre rolls to lend support to Heth's brigade:

Further north along the ridge the rebels have pushed the first line of union forces off the flat and assault the ridge:
Sadly for the Confederates, their assault is repulsed and the Union brigades defensing the ridge chase them back down the hill:
Eventually, the Unionists are repelled and eventually unable to withstand a second assault;  Scales brigade gains the ridge as do brigades from Heth's division (the bottom of the picture above; just off to our right in the picture below):

With Confederate brigades in firm control of the north end of the ridge...
... we called it a game. You can see the ridge occupied by confederate soldiers (the view in the picture below from the northwest corner) with Union soldiers considering an attack. What you don't see is another Confederate division that has just arrived in the northeastern corner and starting to grind into the far flank of that line of blue coats in the upper left of the photo:

The consensus was that a Union attempt to retake the ridge would be too costly if successful and the most likely scenario would be the tattered remnants of  the Confederate army retaining it. 

As a newcomer to these rules I found them quite easy to pick up. With a few exceptions we were able to play on without the guidance of the host who (I believe) was the only person present who had experience with them. I look forward to the possibility of another game in August

Monday, 2 July 2018

Milestone reached: 2 Battalia Box Sets Painted

Finally, after starting this project 4 (5?) years ago I have finished painting 2 Warlord Games Battalia box sets. Were it not for several other projects that sidetracked me, this milestone probably could have been reached within a year of starting. However- as every wargamer knows- there is always a distraction.

The final unit that needed completion was a squadron of cavalry:
As this project originally centered around Prince Rupert's army quartered around Shrewsbury the unit was given a generic Royalist coronet from Flags of War.

With the completion of the last cavalry unit, I thought it was time get both battalia out on a table. The shot doesn't include anything I have painted that isn't part of the two box sets: the mule train or either command stand.

Next up, I continue on with re-painting Jeff's dragoons and I discovered I have a cannon primed and waiting.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Red Regiment Finished

The second sleeve of shot is now painted and based; with that done, the regiment is ready for the table.

Before Jeff died he gifted me his ECW Royalist Army. A few of the units were incomplete so I have taken on the job of getting them done. First up is box of Warlord Games Dragoons. Jeff had primed them black; given them a 'wet brush' of white and painted a few jackets.