Thursday, October 12, 2017

American fleet

Iowa and Oregon

Olympia, Baltimore and Boston

Baltimore and Boston

USS Brooklyn

Olympia, Baltimore and Boston

  A nice collection of ships.  But not enough to recreate the historical battles.  This is not a problem as the battles were so one sided a more interesting table top action would be "what if" battles.

  Historical note;  I painted them in their peace time colors rather then the gray battle colors.  Not correct, but they look so much nicer this way.  I have the Gloucester done but not based for pictures.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Spanish fleet

  Poor Spain, so far from God and so close to the United States....

  The Spanish navy at the time of the Spanish American war was a mixture of the old and the new.  Masts and wooden walls mixed with modern guns and steam.  But maintenance was at a low point, and too many ships could not sail or had working guns.  A shame as they were beautiful.  when going into battle woodwork was not removed so splinters were a terrible problem.

  My Spanish ships are a mixture from both naval battles of the war; Saintiago and Manila bay.  Unfortunately I do not have all the ships to refight those battles, just most. But "what if" actions are more interesting food this period.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Only one tiny little ship....

The USS Maine

Sometimes we start projects because they are important to us.  But too often we start projects because ..... Here is a rediscovery of a project from right years ago.

This was one of my weaker moments.  As readers of this blog know I have a long held interest in the ill fated U.S.S. Maine.  So years ago when I found the 1:1000 scale models of the Spanish American war period ships by Richard Houston I was besides myself.  I just need one ship, that's all just one ship.  With similar words we start down the path of madness.....

 Well I went and ordered the Maine. It was a great model and fun to assemble and paint.  But it looked so alone all by itself. Then I found out Richard Houston had retired and was no longer selling the ships.

 So when I found on eBay someone who was selling a big bunch of them I jumped at the chance.  I spent like a drunken sailor and bought bunches of Spanish and American ships.  Soon I had painted fleets which to do battle with.  But then, I found out about naval rules.  Very complicated, lots of numbers and calculations. Many die rolls for each gun to see if you ranged in, hit the target and then if you caused any damage.  What was worse, the battles between my fleets were so lopsided.  The Spanish ships were, how should I say less then second class compared to the new state of the art American ships.  So off they went into a box to disappear for the next eight years.

Since that time I had forgotten about the ships.  Recently, in cleaning up I found them (along with a number of other forgotten projects).  They do look nice, and perhaps there is a simple fun set of rules out there.....

To be continued......

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Frying Pan and Blanket miniatures

 Here is a blast from my past.  I was a great fan of the 20mm figures from Frying Pan and Blanket Amalgamated.  These are a small scale miniature company which has great variety and were very inexpensive.  They have a outstanding line American Revolution miniatures as well as War of 1812, Wayne's Legion and evan a smallish Seven Years War.  I found these to be a great way to start your miniature collection.  Sad to say I lost my collection in the great house flood of 2004 (As I did most of my hobby items).

But I still have great memories of them.  If you are interested in buying any they are still avalible.  The owners do not have a website, and so all their sales through old fashion IS Mail.  They can be reached this this site:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Battle of Kowpenski 1854

Russians enter the table.  It's a very long way to The Allies lines!

 The Battle of Kowpenski was a recent table top wargame set in the Crimean war period 1854-55.  It saw a Russian attack on a Allied outpost which guarded the flank of the siege lines around Sebastopol.

 Defending on parallel ridges the battlefield is mostly open rolling terrain with woods protecting both flanks.  The Russian forces (Vladimirski infantry Regiment of 4 battalions, 16th  light artillery battery and the  Kievski and Ingermanlandski Hussar Regiments) enter the table.  The Allies are deployed in three lines.  A skirmish line of 1/1st Zouaves  face the Russians.  Behind them are a battalion of 7th Ligne French line infantry.   In the distance, hidden behind a ridge line are British 7th Royal Fusiliers and 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers.  The British Heavy cavalry brigades deployed in The woods.    The Russian forces must advance across the field quickly (limited number of moves) and capture the far ridge line while destroying the Allied force.  The Allies must stop the Russians.  Rules used are "Charge of the Light Brigade." All figures are 25mm.

   The game started with the Russian infantry and artillery advancing onto the table.  The cavalry hung back protecting the flanks as British cavalry were rumored to be in the area. The Russians used a command point each per battalion and artillery to try and contact the French, but bad die rolls left them short.  The pesky French pounded them with long range rifle fire while they fell back to join their brother battalion on the ridge.

Russians suffer casualties from the Zouaves skirmish fire.

  Although suffering long range casualties the Russian advance pushed the French back into the first ridge line.  Here their cavalry deployed into double lines to advance and take the French line in a double envelopment.

  But, out of the wood line where they were hidden came the British Heavy cavalry  brigade which crashed into the Russian cavalry.  Caught in flank the Russian cavalry not only lost the melee and retreated but their commander was killed!  (for every three 6's rolled you check for a leader being wounded or killed).

Heavy Brigade destroyed Russian Cavalry Regiment

    The Russians infantry  continued their advance but the right hand battalion formed line facing the British cavalry and their artillery deployed into firing line.  Their work done the French double moved back towards their British allies while the Heavy brigade covered their retreat.

    Having cleared the first ridge, the Russian commander sorted his line out and brought up his battery for the final push. But his left flank cavalry commander, seeing the retreating Zouaves in the open could not contain himself and charged headlong towards them.  This brought him into rifle range of not only the Zouaves, but the British on the hill.  The rifle fire decimated the cavalry, which lost over half its strength and retired.

Russian cavalry charging the French

Taking aim at all those horse!

Both sides reformed in their ridge lines.  Although the Russian commander finally unlimbered his battery he did not have the time to batter the Allies.  He knew could get one or two fires into them before he had to advance.  He managed to remove s stand of the Zouaves with his artillery fire.

Advancing across the open fields, the Russian columns were again brought under heavy rifle fire.  The reformed Russian cavalry advanced to support the infantry.

 But this time the allies had double the battalions they had earlier.  Each battalion picked out a advancing column.  Two of the Russian columns were shot up and had to retire.  At this point the Heavy brigade attacked and drove off the remaining Russian cavalry.

 The French charged off the ridge to attack the Russians while the British advanced against the remaining Russian battalion.

French chasing routing Russian line.

Fusiliers brigade move against a isolated Russian battalion.

At this point, with the Russians in disarray and routing the Allied commanders met to congratulate themselves in the victory.

Quite the Affair old boy!

   This was a small, but enjoyable game. It was great fun to get my Crimean collection out again, and great fun to play "Charge of the Light Brigade" rules again.

  For the sharp minded reader you will have noted this was actually a refight of the Rev War battle Cowpens!  One of my favorite battles of the Rev War I thought I would transport it into the future. A problem with re fighting any historical battle is you know what happened.  So here, the players thought they were fighting the battle of  Little Inkerman  (26 October 1854) but we're really fighting the Cowpens battle.   As a game it worked well and surprisingly mimicked the historical battle very well.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Wings of Freedom Tour at Worcester

  A very different day at work at the old Worcester Massachusetts airport. This weekend is the Wings of Freedom tour by the Collins foundation World War 2 aircraft.  While the show is on Saturday and Sunday, on Friday they fly in the aircraft that will be on display.  Because of the large collection they seldom have all their aircraft at any event. Today they flew in only those aircraft which you can actually fly in.  The B-17 is $450 per person good a 30 minute flight.

  So, while getting my job done (it was a work day after all) I got to watch many of the aircraft actually fly in and land at the airport.  It was quite exciting for me!  One of our flights was almost late due to the captain and first officer touring the B-17.

The aircraft that is at Worcester this
weekend are:

TP-51C Mustang

B-24J  Liberator

B-17 G Flying Fortress

The event is Saturday and Sunday September 22-23 from 10:00 to 5:00.  For more information please visit the Collins Foundation website

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

French Infantry marching onward

  Work has not been fun as of late due to the very bad weather.  Delays and temporary duty to hard hit stations to help out is the rule.  So to relax in my abbreviated free time I have been enjoying painting the new Cran Tara miniature French infantry.

  They paint up quickly and have a very pleasant old school feel to them.  I like them a lot and cannot wait for the flags I have ordered to finnish the regiments off.  And of course to get ready to add more to the collection.  I already have another order for more French infantry.  I hope to add artillery, cavalry and some command figures later on.  Then into the British!

Regiment Orleans is painted and based.  Like the red cuffs and vest and yellow hat trim against the white coats.

The Royal Ecosssais regiment has become one of my favorites.  A very special look to them unlike any other regiment.

  Started on my Irish brigade with the regiment Clare. Again I really like the pose of the figure.  Captures the spirit of the Irish soldiers.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Battle of the Pyramids

   My good friend George invited me up the other day for a game.  He had been cleaning out his shed and setting up his gaming area in it and wanted to break it in.  I had the day off so I joined George, Ralph, Earl and Mike .  This was great fun for me as I had not been able to game with them for too many years due to work and life.

   George had been working on his French Revolution 15mm army for some time.  He, like many in the club are great fans of the Volley and Bayonet rules set which he is running for this time period.  Mike brought his Turkish/Arab army which stood in for the Egyptian army. After painting and playing with 25mm figures it was an interesting experience playing with 15mm.

  For those not familiar with the rules these are big battle and big scale battle game.  A stand or base is a brigade.  Or in the French army case a demi brigade.  The rules have a lot of board game aspects to them and reward a good plan.

The game started with the French advancing into the table.  They had planned to camp in the oasis area.  Once they were set up the Egyptian army could set up.  While the French had a good mixed force of troops the Egyptian army was heavy on cavalry with very poor quality infantry and two gigantic cannon which once placed could not move.  Mike and I had the Egyptians, Ralph and earl the french.

  We set up our Egyptian force with all the cavalry in our right, artillery in the center and our infantry on the left.  We hoped to try and attack and roll up the French while our infantry kept them busy.

  Our cavalry attacked in two waves and did pretty well.  We forced back two demi brigades and pushed back his small cavalry force.  Earl quickly put the remaining French infantry together and went stationary.  This gave him extra dice to throw and made his infantry extra hard for the cavalry to fight.  Massed as they were with their artillery  there was very little chance of the cavalry breaking them.  This ended our attempt to roll them up.

On our left flank both infantry lines eyed each other cautiously but aside from some long range minister shooting little fighting broke out.  In the center the French managed to stay out of range of our artillery the entire game.  Clever fellows those French!  The highlight of the game was when Ralph threw double six's when rolling for musket fire.  A moment that will live in immortality in our club lore.  Ok, you had to be there.

  All in all a very colorful and enjoyable game.  These are not a time period i usually game nor are the rules my usually cup of tea.  But they moved along quickly, provided a fun game and a very enjoyable day.  Many thanks to all for a wonderful time.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

More Crann Tara French work in progress

Couple more "work in progress" pictures. i have taken a slight break from French white uniforms to paint more blue coats.  Here are the first of my Royal Ecossais regiment from Crann Tara miniatures.  I really like the figures. A neat looking regiment;  colorful and fun to paint.

Here is how I paint my figures.  I mount 8 figures on painting stick.  These are paint stirrers I get there from Home Depot.  They  used to be free but now they are charging for them so shame on them!

I prime my figures with  black with gesso;   then when dry I  dry brush the figure white.  This gives me darker colors in the folds  but lighter colors in the raised surface.

Examples of primed figures and painted figures.

More to come soon.  Have finaly gotten the knack of French white uniforms and will be finishing two battalions soon.  And a big shout out of thanks to Aly' s Toy Soldiers blog.  His examples of how to paint white is brilliant and works very well.