Monday, March 24, 2014

March-April Part I

Bonjour mais amis! 

Not much gaming or painting in March due to  a lot of work. I got some war-gaming in playing 

so First World War

and Strike of the Eagle 

at Galactic Comics and Games 

and I finished painting my first battalion of 1813 Napoleonic French! Three more infantry battalions, some artillery and some hussars and this project will be done as my goal is to play brigade level games. 

I decided to go with 4 figures per company, with 6 companies total for the Battlions. This is the first battalion so it gets the Eagle. Figures are Perry Metals and Plastics. The flag is hand painted.

Pardon the quality of the pictures as they are from my new smartphone, and I have yet to master it. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

January-February Update!

Good Day friends
Here is the usual bi-weekly update on my gaming activities. This time I got stuff on:
Kiss me Hardy
28MM Napoleonics

I only gamed once in these previous two weeks due to research related work I needed to catch up on. I went over to Galactic Comics and Games in Statesboro, GA for a game of Saga with Keith's Irish and a game of demonstration game for Kiss me Hardy.I was pumped up with energy but the game day did not open up.

We set our forces up for SAGA playing Sacred Ground (4 points each). I build a smaller warband of 12 Hearthguards and 12 Levy, while Keith used his usual Irish build of 1 unit of 6 Hearthguards, 1 of Warriors (or hounds), 1 of Levy with slings and the two bodygaurds.

We started in two shield walls and moved forward towards the hills. Then to my HORROR I noticed that my Hearthguard was within S distance of the only copes of woods! I had thought I was safe....I was wrong.

Of course Keith rolled good SAGA dice and that miserable rabble of urchins and old men started pelting my Hearthguard with rocks and arrows. Killing 5 of them!!!!! It only got worse after that, as the slingers decimated my Levy and a suicide charge by my remaining Hearthguard was butchered. We called the game at the start of turn three.

You can see more pictures at the Galactic Comics and Games Facebook page.

After that Keith and Adam (another Saga player) decided to sit down and play Kiss me Hard. The scenario was a fictional Mediterranean battle in which 3 French Ships of the line were running a Russo-British blockade of 2 Ships of SOL a piece. Keith played the British while Adam chose the Russians.

The opposing forces were

Buccentaure (Flagship 80 guns-Average Crew)
Algeciras (74 Guns-Average Crew)
Redoutable (Captain Lucas-74 guns-Elite Crew)

Svitaoi Pavel (Flagship 98 guns -Average Crew)
Anapa (74 Guns - Average Crew)

Tonnant (Flagship-80 Guns-Elite Crew)
Mars (74 Gun - Elite Crew)

The goal of the French was to escape with at least two ships. The goal of the allies was to stop at least two ships from escaping.

You can see that the initial disposition of the terrain determined the French strategy which was to charge the Russian squadron and escape through it to freedom, before the British arrived.

The Wind initially heavily favored the French. The Pavel, Tonnant and Anapa all lost their fore-masts at some point due to being in the Dead Zone, and the Pavel and Anapa suffered damage for being "taken aback" by the wind multiple times. This also meant that for the first 4 turns the British ships made very little ground.

That said the Pavel was able to show its broadsides to the French ships and blasted a rake the Algeciras causing considerable damage. The Redoutable in turn raked the Pavel. Indeed in the melee between the Russians and French multiple ships suffered multiple rakes. However the crews of both fleets, fortified I am sure by cognac and vodka refused to surrender.

The decisive point came when the French admiral, fearful that the Anapa and Tonnant would be able to catch up on the Algeciras that had received steering damage, ordered the fiesty Captain Lucas to take the Redoutable and slow the allied pursuit.

The Redoutable lived up to its real namesake, raking the Anapa, blasting the Pavel and the Tonnant and running around the three ships. However it also suffered considerable damage. A change in the wind favored the allies and gunfire from the Pavel and Tonnant mercilessly smashed on the Buccentaure. The French admiral and sailors refused to strike, and a devastating point blank range broadside by the Tonnant sent the Buccentarure to the bottom of the sea just as the Algeciras reached the safety of the open sea.

The Redoutable also made its dash for freedom. It almost escaped. Only 4 cms from the table edge, and on fire it EXPLODED into thousands of pieces after a rake by the Mars.

Thus the Allies won a tense and bloody game. Ships received multiple rakes, lost masts, suffered High Officer Casualties, and were multiple times on fire, but the crews refused to strike. As such this fight ended up being very deadly with one French ship sunk, and one exploded.

The final butcher’s bill

Buccentarure (Sunk 100% damage, on Fire at least once)
Algeciras (37% damage points lost-steering damage- raked at least once)
Redoutable (Exploded at 25% damage, after Fire)

Anapa (9% damage, foremast destroyed, suffered steering damage)
Pavel (58% damage, foremast destroyed, fire at least once, raked at least once)

Mars (14% damage, steering damage)
Tonnant (0.5% damage)

Beyond the gaming I got some painting done. I received, promptly I must say, my order of pre-Dreadnoughts from Wart Times Journal and it was great.

I ordered the Mikasa and Asahi from the Japanese fleet of the Russo-Japanese War. Both are nice sculpts.

I also ordered the two new Brandenburgs for my Balkan War fleets.

Finally the guys at WTJ were nice enough to make the only available in 1/2400 Hydra Class ships (a unique class of three ironclads built in France for the Greek Navy in the 1890s, which served in the Balkan Wars). These were nice sculpts.

The only ships left for representing the major surface actions of the Balkan wars are the Ottoman reconstructed ironclads and the Averoff (which exists in 1/2400 by Panzershiffe but which I would prefer by War Times Journal).

I also painted the GHQ HMS Colossus, bought over the Winter Break at Athens Miniatures in Athens Greece (Ippokratous) which I will use as a stnad in for the never completed Greek Dreadnought Salamis 

Finally, and following my thoughts in my previous post, I decided to enter 28mm Napoleonic Wargaming, since Keith has a bunch of Perry British and thus I got someone to play with. I started with 9 French Voltiguers and 9 Grenadiers for Line infantry from the Perrys. We will begin playing skirmish games using Song of Drums and Shakos, Smooth and Rifled, or the Skirmish Rules from Paddy Griffiths superb "Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun". As we built up forces we may give a try to the Brigade and Divisional game in those Rules.

I painted my miniatures in a general color scheme, without a goal of representing specific units or battles. My goal is more about having fun, and somewhat representing the vista of colors of a Napoleonic battle, rather than simulation. So any mistakes (And there are some) are my own.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Some retrospection and taking of accounts

Each year I take a retrospect on my gaming activities. Once more I can say I am thankful because they are good. I have a nice collection, and got a chance to play at least once a week in the last six months.

That said this year made me understand two important things about myself and my hobby.

 1) The most important element for enjoying miniatures war-games for me is the group. Looking back on these last 12 years of miniatures war-gaming I can say that my most enjoy-full gaming period was when me and my 6 childhood friends collected and played Warhammer 40k. We all started together and egged each other on. While 40k is not the best game out there (though it is a good game), and while I was always trying other stuff (DBA), I did not care because here were 7 people who were working on the same project and playing. 

The good old days. My old gaming group. Most of us started Warhammer 40k together. I played something                           like 75 games against these guys and only won 1 game and 1 draw.

Now I have had fun in other places as well (the Dragon’s Table gaming group at Champaing-Urbana, and the guys at Galactic Comics and Games in Statesboro), it has not alas met the level of fun I had back then (SAGA at Galactic Comics is close to it).

While this lack of gamers working on the same project as me has not hampered collection projects that are not so time-consuming or requiring large amounts of miniatures ( DBA to a point, my Naval and Sci-Fi starship war-games, and SAGA) they have halted me from working on some long-cherised but large scale and time consuming projects (Napoleonics and 18th Century Gaming, especially any 28mm stuff beyond the skirmish level). I am thus very hesitant in making the time and money sacrifice for  such projects, however cherished they are, if I am not sure I have people who would like to start in the same time.

2) Over the last two years I also entered the world of board-wargames. And I must confess it has been a hoot! These wargames provided me with the enjoyment of elements of military gaming that miniatures war-games simply could not (Absent a large investment in money and time). The Operational and Strategic level, the role of terrain, of politics, and concepts like reserves, scouting and fog of war, were all elements that board-wargames do a superior job in portraying then most miniatures wargames. Especially for a fraction of the cost.

Trying to capture this in 3d? 

Which got me thinking? Why do I play miniature-wargames? The simple reason is that it is miniature war-games that capture the pageantry of war. I liked miniature wargames for the same reason why I like war-films and military themed painting. The beautiful uniforms and flags, the masses of troops with sparkling bayonets, and the machines of war from mighty sailing ships, to tanks (all of which admittedly give us an incomplete picture of warfare, one that leaves out the broken bodies and broken souls. Which if fine. War-gaming is a game, not a simulation IMHO). Even the most beautiful board-wargame (and there are some that are exquisite) cannot meet the pageantry provided by miniatures. And at the lower tactical and skirmish level of combat, miniature gaming shines. 

Can this be captured in 3d? 

Which has led to a slow bifurcation of my gaming interests. I am more and more focusing on miniature gaming at the skirmish and lower tactical level, while my larger tactical, operational, and strategic gaming is becoming almost exclusively board-game. Exceptions exist. DBA is a large tactical game, but with a small footprint (both price wise, time wise and space wise). Naval miniature and board-wargames are interchangeable to a point.  But I have not found the courage to begin painting my poor War of Austrian Succession Austrians due to lack of others engaged in the same project and being dispirited from the size of the armies required for the larger tactical level.

I cannot say were this will lead me, but I am consciously avoiding entering any miniature game for which a) I do not have any fellow player b) I could not quickly and cheaply built multiple forces on my own (again the increase in naval gaming is due to that).

Collection and Project  wise the situation is as is

Napoleonic Naval 1/2000 (Fully painted/ Completed)

I have twelve ships which I can use for many nations. I have a ruleset I am happy with (Kiss me Hardy) and do not feel the need to expand the navies. One of the best investments in money and time I did hobby wise.

Napoleonic Naval 1/1200 (Fully painted/ Completed)

I have two of the excellent Langton frigates (a British one and a French one). While initially my goal was to build two small navies, the procurement of the 1/2000 line has satisfied that interest. These are more collection pieces nowdays, rather than gaming pieces.

Star Trek Sci-Fi (Fully painted/ Completed)

I have 4 Federation, 4 Klingon, and 4 Kzinti ships (I use Legend of Galactic Heroes miniatures for them). I have a rule-set I wish to try but have not played yet (Klingon Armada). I feel no need to expand this game.

Star Trek Attack Wing (Fully Painted/ Incomplete)

I nabbed a starter set of Attack Wing, and two extra ships (one Romulan, one Klingon). I repainted the miniatures, and intend to buy an extra federation ship. I have played it a bit, but I am not sure I will keep it. This may go on sale to raise funds for my future gaming.

Firestorm Armada (Fully Painted/ Complete)
I have a Dindrezi starter fleet. I played this a couple of times at Champaign-Urbana but have not had the chance to play it at Stateboro. The game is not really something that excites me. I may sell it to raise funds. On the other hand I was hitting my head on the wall when I sold my old Warhammer High Elves when I decided to get into Warhammer. We will see. It depends where I am going to end up in this crappy academic job market.  But I do not feel any need to expand it.

Hand-made Pre-dreadnoughts (Fully painted/Completed)

Initially made for Dystopian Wars, I created my own fast play rules for these. These are not collection items, rather than gaming pieces. I did start a steam-punk aircraft carrier, but I am not sure I will complete it.

DBA (Fully Painted/ Not completed/ Stalled)

My longest running project. I have 5 fully painted armies, and 1 more that needs painting. My initial goal was to build 8 armies. However, I had no DBA gaming in two years. The rules still inspire me, and DBA has the best mix of pageantry and tactical gaming for the best price and time commitment I know of.  But I have had no chance to play. Consequently, I think I will stop at 6 armies. The armies are all matched giving me three pairs of historical opponents. This is one collection I will never sale (barring an extreme need for funds). And if I find a group that is heavily into DBA, I will definitely grow it to the 8.

HOTT (Fully painted/ Completed)

I bought an painted one HOTT army. I have played HOTT once and enjoyed it. I keep the army for gaming with the DBA armies. But may decide to part with it. I have no need to expand it.

Warhammer1000 (Fully painted/ Not complete/ Stalled)

This is the largest program I started to date, collecting 1000 points of all Warhammer armies. I have painted 1000 points of Dwarves and Orcs and Goblins, and 500 of Empire, Beastmen and Brettonia. I have unpainted the rest of the empire and Brettonia, Skaven and High Elves. This is really a project about collection and gaming. While I have played Warhammer and enjoy it, I have had not had the chance to do so over the last year. This is primarily my fault as I have left my painted armies in Greece. But frankly I am not sure I care much about going for the all armies collection. My Beastmen have been going slowly, and SAGA simply is a preferable game. I do intend to finish the miniatures I have, and play games if I find a group that makes me want to play, but I am in a) no hurry to do so b) no interest in expanding.  

Warhammer 40k (fully painted/ Complete)

I have 1500 points of well painted Space Marines. My second wargames army. I have left them in Greece. I do not intend to sell this. If I bring it to where I play, I may get back into Warhammer 40k, even though I prefer smaller points games than most gamers do today. Part of me wants to build one more army for it, but I have resisted well.

Honor Verse Ships (Fully Painted/Complete)

I used several honoverse ships for my Battle Fleet gothic games. I am happy with the combination, even if I have not had the chance to pay it recently. I feel no need to expand it.

Pre-Dreadnoughts 1/2400 (Fully Painted/ Not Complete)

My intention is to build four fleets: The Russian and Japanese Fleets at the battle of Yellow Sea, and the Greek and Ottoman Balkan Wars/ Planed 1914 fleets. I have gotten all the battleships for the Russian fleet and slowly build up. My intention is to do all ships larger than a protected cruiser and use counters for destroyers and light cruisers. I am in trials for rules. This is a small relatively cheap project that excites me. But I do not feel the need to go beyond what I have planned.

Saga (Unpainted/ Not complete)

My current infatuation. I have enough miniatures for two 4 point war bands(with variations), and a large 8-12 points army for Anglo Saxons. I am slowly painting the 4 point warband. I would like to go for also a Viking warband, but this is going to take time and I may just stop at the Anglo-Saxons.

18th Century War of the Austrian Succession (Unpainted/ Not Completed/ Stalled)

I bought enough miniatures for one and half armies in Might and Reason during a period of infatuation with the 18th century.  This has gone nowhere. While I would love to work on it, I simply do not find the incentive to do so. I have no gamers interested in it, and simply cannot afford the cost and time that two opposing forces would demand at the grand tactical level. If I found a good rule-set for lower tactical I may get down to painting them.

Things I would love to do in the future but which require a gaming group(* indicate how much I want to do this):

Napoleonics 28mm (skirmish, lower tactical level) ***
WAS 15mm (lower tactical level) ***
War of the Roses 28mm (I have some miniatures painted, I have a set of rules that excite me (the Perfect captains Coat of Steel), but this would really need another player to build a force). ***
English Civil War/ Thirty Years War 28mm or 15mm (I have rules that excite me the Warhammer ECW rules, Victory without Quarter, the Perfect Captains rules, but non to play)**
28mm Ancient Greeks for Hoplomachia**

Rule sets I have that got some gaming over the last two years ( in order of frequency)

Saga (6 times)
Kiss me Hardy (3 times)
Warhammer Fantasy (6 times,3 solo)
My own Naval ruleset (3 times)
Star Trek Attack Wing (3 time, 1 solo)
DBA (2 times)
Various Naval Rulesets for rules tryouts (5,all solo)

Orphan Rules sets (that have not gotten any gaming at all) ( stars indicate how much I would love to play them)

Warhammer ECW (Tactical-17th century)***
Dystopian Wars (Tactical-Steampunk)*
Hoplomachia (Tactical Pre-Alexandrian Greek)***
Ironbow II (Tactical 12th-13th century)**
Rally Around the King (Tactical Fantasy-Ancient-Medieval)*
Gloire (Skirmish/ RPG elements 17th Century)***
Shako (Tactical. Grand Tactical Napoleonics)***
Smooth and Rifled  (Skirmish 17th to 19th century)***
To the Strongest (Tactical Ancients..i really need to check this out)**
Victory without Quarter (Lower tactical ECW)***
Beat to Quarters (Naval Napoleonic, more detailed than Kiss me Hardy)*
Age of Gunpowder (Fast play rules for 1500-1700)*
Might and Reason (Excellent 18th century rules) ***

The First Blog post for the new year

Good evening to all and welcome to Leadhead, PhD

In this blog post I will regale you with Dr. Leadhead's escapades over the academic winter break and during the first two weeks of the new academic semester.

Over the break I visited home. I did not get the chance to do any painting or miniatures gaming, but did get to play some of my board-wargames (Napoleon in Triumph, Great War at Sea: in the Mediterranean).

(what a beautiful game) 

Back in the states I visited Galactic Comics & Games at Statesboro for two gaming sessions. In the first one I once more got crushed by the Irish in Saga. The Scenario was Sacred Ground.

The initial setup. My goal was to horde the two hills. I took two units of warriors (10 each) one of levies. The Irish fielded 1 unit of sling levies (12), 1 unit of hearth-guard (6) , 1 unit of warriors, a two of their uber-bodyguards.

The battles for the hills were ferocious. Once more my Levy proved to be the most deadly unit in my army.

And once more the uber-bodyguards proved to be my bane.

In the end my warlord fought a desperate three way duel!

But alas he fell to the Irish warlord and the body-guard that looks like Bud-Spencer! Cursesssss! Next time!

In the second session I helped a new player learn Saga (in a game against said Irish). After that, me and the owner of the Irish (also co-owner of the store) played a nice game of Kiss Me Hardy. I played the french and had an Elite crewed 74 gun (Fougoueux), an average crewed 74 gun (Heros), and an elite crewed 80 gun (Bucentaure). He played the biritsh with two Elite crewed ships, the 98 gun Dreadnought and the 74 gun Spartiate.

In the battle that followed the French decision to concentrate fire on a specific ship, favorable winds, the loss of the Spartiates rudder, and the British decision to change targets gave the French a rare victory when the might Dreadnought striked the colors.

The French ships are in the south of the picture, The Bucentaure is in the left, the Heros in the middle, and the Fougeuex in the right. The British are led by the Spartiate.

After tacking the British ships close in on the two French 74s, while the Bucentaure stars circling the developing melee and blasting the English.

I do not expect Cpt. John Conn to be punished for his decision, since the ship had been turned into a wreck by then.

Final butchers tally

Gunnery Factors left : 3/9
Damage Points Lost 40%
Movement Lost: 2 boxes
High Officer Causalities

Gunnery Factors left : 4/9
Damage Points Lost 35%
Movement Lost: 3 boxes
Lost Foremast

Gunnery Factors left : 7/10
Damage Points Lost 19%
Movement Lost: 1 box

HMS Spartiate
Gunnery Factors left : 1/9
Damage Points Lost 58 %
Movement Lost: 3 boxes

HMS Dreadnought
Gunnery Factors left: 1/9
Damage Points Lost 54 %
Movement Lost: 6 boxes
Mainmast Destroyed 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Russian Battleships of the Battle of the Yellow Sea

Good Day Friends! 

As promised here are some pictures of the Russian Battleships that took part in the Battle of the Yellow Sea 1904 during the Russo-Japanese War.

I had posted pictures of the Tsesarevits (A GHQ model) and here I am posting the rest of the ships. These are all War Times Journal Rapid Prototype models. They are very nice models and easy to paint. No flash, not need to glue parts together. A joy to paint. The only thing I would caution people with is that these are fragile in the smaller things like cannon barrels or air circulation funnels. So definitely handle with care. That said that is a minor condition. I can happily recommend these to anyone interested in the pre-dreadnought era. 

All the ships together.

A view of the fleet with  a Peresvet class battleship in the foreground

The Pobeda and the  Peresvet. They truly look like castles of steel.

Business end of the Peresvert class. 

The Petropavlovsk calss battleships Sevastopol and Poltava 

Another view

The american-built one of kind battleship Retvizan, the Russian hero-ship of the Battle of the Yellow Sea

Another view!