Friday, 16 January 2009

Field-works

I got the idea from a fellow blogger (http://steve-the-wargamer-awi.blogspot.com/). As I’ve made use of his idea - with some variations - I will here describe how I did my field-works.











First I made the bases from pieces of 3mm thin plywood that had once been parts of a crate for mandarin oranges. They were 7 cm wide, which set the measure for the length of the earthwork modules. I cut them into 5 cm broad stripes. The sloping edges I produced by tilting the table of my mechanical saw.

























Then I bought two ledges, one with rectangular cross-section (1 by 2 cm), and one with triangular cross-section (2 by 2 cm), and cut them into 7 cm long pieces. The rectangular bits were provided with slits with the help of a carving knife, to produce the effect of boards later. The triangular cross-section of the ledge on the “outer” side of my earthwork produced the basis for a rather natural looking slope (at least that’s what I think).

The pieces were glued to the bases as indicated in the sketch.












Then I smeared the outer side of my earthworks with my special filler which consists of proper filler enriched with white glue and a greenish brown Umbra hue. The parts of the base which were still raw wood, were then painted in the same greenish brown colour.











At the rear side, match sticks were then glued against the “boards” to provide the upright poles of the parapet. Finally the “woodwork” was washed with a light brown tone to create a more “used wood” impression.

When the thing was dry I put glue on the earth parts and spread sand on it (the same mixture of sand from a sandpit and gravel from a path, which I use for my bases). Finished! No more embellishments necessary.
























The “redoubts” were done similarly, but as bases I used styrene pieces that had been the base for pre-packed cut cheese (larger pieces of thin plywood would have been even better, I think). And on the outer edges I added some static grass.





Redoubt with added earthworks

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Wagon Train

I remembered that among my heaps of unpainted flats I had some nice models of vehicles I had intended to use one day. Now the day had come! I bought the necessary draft horses and drivers, experimented a bit with the traces, and finally scraped a slate mould to provide myself with this essential equipment.


Here is an example of my wagon train of altogether 15 different vehicles.








A French charette or équipage des vivres was not among my hidden treasures. So I had to settle down tinkering at one. Fortunately I found some wheels of about the right size in my spare part box. The rest was Japanese rice sticks, some wire, thin cord and a bit of an old shirt. This is the result The construction sceme I found at "Nec pluribus impar".



équipage des vivres

Ingénieurs

For my general staff I wanted some ingénieurs-géographes. I discovered three figures by Foundry (SYW) that suited my purpose. The general on horseback became a general, and the two figures on foot were painted as ingénieurs-géographes.

These soldiers played an important part in the Yorktown campaign, because they were able cartographers and provided the general staff with precise maps.




general and ingénieurs-géographes









For my field-defences I needed a member of the Corps Royal du Génie to supervise and command the building of defences. I took the AWI French senior officer by Front Rank, equipped him with a map, and converted an empty horse into his mare. La voilá!






member of the Corps Royal du Génie supervising field-works

Monday, 5 January 2009

Strengthening the artillery arm

In the beginning I had only a regimental 3pdr gun with 3 artillerymen by Front Rank. I added some tools, and was quite content.




























Now I have added a 24pdr to my arsenal, which you can here see positioned in one of my new earthe works. I is manned by three French SYW artillerymen by Foundry. The equipment to the right I made myself.











On the march these heavy pieces were transported in parts, carriage and barrel separately. In the picture you can see the piece being transported, with the artillerymen marching behind the carriage (originally they were Front Rank grenadiers with hats).

Lauzun's Legion infantry and artillery











I have meanwhile finished my infantry and artillery of the Volontaires Etrangers de Lauzun. I needed longer, as there were no figures available and more research necessary.

There is no report about the colours of the regiment. I painted them in the sky blue of the unit uniforms and put the arms of Lauzun in the centre.


The grenadiers had to be equipped with bearskin caps without plate (which was done with a bit of Milliput, not too difficult).






















And the chasseurs, who wore "modern" light infantry caps, had to be converted from SYW light French infantry with Schomberg helmets. The original helmets had to be transformed into a peaked horsetail helmet of the type worn by French light infantry after 1786.





I am not quite content with the result, especially as the cut of the uniform coat is too old-fashioned. But the figures must do for the moment. Perhaps one day I will model and cast new heads to be put on 1779 grenadier bodies.













With the artillery it was mainly a question of sources. Experts seem to disagree on every detail as there are no records. I finally decided that my cannoniers should wear normal French artillerists' uniform with yellow facings and grey turnbacks.

As figures I chose some Prussian SYW artillerymen. Anyhow: Most of Lauzun's men were German speaking mercenaries, and the command language in the Legion units was German!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Blueberry Farm

I have just finished my first buildings, a two-room log cabin farm house and well and a thatch-roofed barn.
The farm building I found quite interesting as it does not correspond with the stereotype idea of a log cabin. I found photos of this historic type of building on the internet, and knew I had to build it.
The ground structure is plywood, the "logs" are imitated with thin boards of balsa wood (which is easy cutting into shape with a sharp knife). The intervals are filled with filler.
The shingle roof is imitated by rows of thin cardboard, into which I cut slits, and the wood structure is produced with the help of glue stiffened paint and a coarse brush.
The door has got hinges and can be opened. And inside on the ground floor there is an open fireplace with a copper kettle. It doesn't make any sense in wargaming, but I enjoyed making it.





A look through the window at the fireplace.





With the barn walls and roof I experimented. The ground structure is again plywood. For the walls it was covered with filler, which was then modelled into boards, and with stripes of thin cardboard which were structured and painted as weather-beaten wood. Both methods I find practicable, the second one producing a less weather-beaten look.
The roof plates were covered with thin sheets of styrene which were then structured and painted in my well-tried method. The ridge was built up of thin cardboard with a layer of single sisal fibres glued on, kept in place by beams laid across. The colouring does the rest.
The gates are made from cheese-box wood, the hinges from sheet metal of an old cigarette box. (Never throw anything away, you might find it useful one day, as my grandfather said.)

Friday, 2 January 2009

The Battle of Hard Rain Creek

On October 11th 2008 the four of us had a test of our new version of rules. We had introduced the dicing out of the season and new “weather cards” telling what the weather was like for the next rounds.

The idea turned out to be practicable and had surprising results. The season was to be spring or summer (I don’t quite remember) and turned out to be as wet as last summer (I think it was on a Thursday) or even worse. After the first moves it started pouring, and continued to pour and to pour. The rule said that in case of heavy rain the gunpowder would get wet. So it turned out to be a “sabre and bayonet” affair.



The Comte de Brioche and staff officers








For the Allied Forces of Colonists and French it became a routing defeat. But not so much because of the weather but because of military blunders of the High Command. (Which sounds rather realistic, doesn’t it?) The fault must be searched with the French general, the Comte de Brioche. He gave the order for Lauzun’s cavalry to attack some light troops and Tarleton’s dragoons on the other bank of the river.

They got well over the old stone bridge, but got then under devastating flank fire of Hessians Jaegers on a hill to the left, without being able to attack them because of a steep cliff. They had to retreat under heavy losses. And then it started to rain. So the British were able to overrun the bridgehead on the right flank, because the artillery couldn’t fire a shot and the infantry forces were too weak, and consisted partly of militia who withdrew when the bayonet charge began.

We were very pleased with our new version of rules. So pleased we were that we forgot to take into account that the rules said that in case of such weather the river would swell and the two fords couldn’t be used. So the British might not have won after all.

By the way: We don’t fight against each other, but act as some kind of War Gods instead, deciding what a commander would have done in the given situation. But the weather god was in the cards!