Friday, November 28, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Understanding Scale

One of the biggest issue for wargamers is grasping the idea of scale. Especially in any abstraction beyond the 1 to 1 of skirmish gaming, it is easy to forget that you miniatures represent a much bigger number of men. It is also easy to underestimate distance, but that is another issue (one easily curable when you go visit and try to walk the battle-lines in one of the big American Civil War national parks.)

Here I am going to talk a bit about figure scale. I.E how many real humans your figures represent.

Let us start with the real thing. Using my 10mm Russians here is what a closely packed company of 168 men would look like , and a battery of 6 guns (sorry for the bad photo)

Our real strength company of 10mm men is longer than 12 inches (30 cm) four deep. If it was one deep it would be longer than 72 inches (120 cm). If we say a full adult occupies 60cm (24 inches) of space that means 4 deep our company is 1800 cm long (18 meters). One deep it would be (72 meters)

Now usually a 19th century regiment would be made up of 3-6 battlios, each battalion of 4 to 10 companies.

As you can probably comprehend a 1 to 1 representation of a battalion, let alone regiment is beyond the financial and space capabilities of gamers.

Let me put it this way. Suppose you want to represent in 10mm at 1 to 1 ratio a full Russian regiment of 1877. You would need 5 companies per battalion, three battalions per company. That amounts to about 840 figurines per battalion, and 2520 per regiment.

Each battalion if we put companies in line, each company four deep would be 200cm or 2 meters. If we put all the battalions of the regiment side by side, it would be 6 meters long, only 60 cemter short of my height.

Not many have a room or place big enough to accomodate that many miniatures let alone play a game with them.

So we abstract. We scale up. Let us say we use a scale were 1 figure= 40 men, and 1 gun=6 guns.

Our company now looks like this, and our battery of 6 guns can be represented by one figure.

A Russian regiment of three battalions and a divisional artillery brigade looks like this then. Still substantial, but now manageable. But we can go up the scale more.

If we use Bruce Weigel's Grand Tactical Scale, two bases of infantry represent a battalion (1 to 100 scale), and one base or artillery now represents two batteries or 12 guns. Thus three double bases of infantry are a regiment, two regiments a brigade, two brigades a division.

This gives us 2 divisions and thus a corps, permitting us to play medium sized to big historical battles. 

Let us go up the grand tactical level. Let us say we want to play multi-corps battles. One in which we command an army. Using the Altar of Freedom basing convention, now each three bases of infantry represent a brigade of about 4000 to 6000 men (1 to 400 ratio).

This gives us 16 brigades. Each division has two brigades, thus we now have 8 divisions of infantry, and 1 of cavalry, or 4 corps. Historically this is substantial 19th century force, and in the case of some  states, their whole army. Obviously at this level you lose some of the benefits of using miniatures, but gain the ability to fight huge battles in a reasonable time frame for working adults.

Here is my army based for Neil Thomas 19th century rules. 12 units of infatnry, 3 of cavalry and 6 artillery.

Using scaling you can thus play multiple types of games, from small battalion actions to massive battles. But never forget that your little figures, actually represent tens, hundreds or even thousands of men. 

1877 Russians, and some other stuff

A good old update from me. Lots of stuff, starting with Kiis me Hardy and ending with Russians for 1877-8

The second revision of the 1877-8 Russo-Ottoman War army lists for Black Powder is stalled a bit due to research demands. The lists are done, and so is one of the scenarios, but I still need to write up the other four.

I got in a game of Kiss Me Hardy with Doruk at the Karagh Club in Istanbul. I ran a simple 2 vs 2 scenario. Two British 74 guns (1 elite, 1 average) vs. a French 80 gun and a French 74 gun (both average). The scenario was that the Brits were part of blockading squadron and that the French were trying to break it. The British would get 3 VP for each captured French, 1 VP for each sunk (the prize! the prize!). The French would get 3 for each ship that escaped, 1 for each british ship that has sunk or struck the colors. I played the French,

Initial set up. The French must escape from the corner in the back of the british.

The French give the British broadsides.

One of the French ships crosses the British T. Alas the dice were not in favor of the Republic

The French making a dash for it

One of the French ships is boarded by the British and taken. The other unwisely decides to stay around and fight rather than run (I rolled a dice).

We ended the game with one French ship taken, One British ship malued, the other British shape in bad shape, and the last Frenchmen ok. Since the two last ships found themselves with the wind straight ahead we called it a day. British Minor Victory.

End Situation

FRN Formidable: Taken, 38/80 hull points left 
FRN Heros: Foremast Destroyed, 56/74 Hull points left
HMS Minotaur : Officer Casualties, Foremast Destroyed, 20/74 Hull Points Left
HMS Defence: 53/74 Hull points left.

Beyond that I finished a test paint of 1/72 Union troops for the American Civil War. Onur gave me this miniatures. I will paint them and probably give them back, as they do not really catch my fancy.

The most important update is that I finished roughly 3/5th of my Russian Division for 1877/1878

I know have the full divisional allotment of artillery (6 batteries),

a Hussar regiment for support,

two full line regiments of three battalions each, which make up one of the two brigades of a Line Infantry Division,

a Elite Battalion (painted as Guards)

Which in Black Powder gives 7 Infantry Units, 6 artillery units, and 1 or 2 cavalry units. I am missing command stands, but that should be taken care of in the near future. My goal is to be done with it before 2015.

Here is the Brigade deployed for battle, trying to take a hill. One regiment is moving towards a set of fields in Attack columns for a flanking maneuver. The other one is going down the hill through the valley, and up the other one in mixed formations of attack columns and skirmishers. The Elite battalion is deployed in line and softening up the enemy. Half the artillery supports the flank maneuver of the first regiment, while the other half the frontal attack. The Hussars guard the artillery. 

The brigade leaves the safety of its hill.

One regiment works the flanks, while the other deploys forward under fire.

The Elite battalion leads, with its Berdan's doing good work in the fire-fight

An aerial view of the whole fromation

The first regiment in a supported line of attack columns (the command stands are for the eyes, as opposed to integral for the game)

Artillery in support.


The second regiment in mixed formations and proceeded by a battalion in line.

I cannot wait to use this guys in battle. The Pendraken miniatures are perfect, having a balance if detail to abstraction that I like. Some of the units could be used with command swaps for Latin American wars. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Some more pics of Pendraken Russians

The first regiment for my force done (three battalions, according to a article I read each battalion had a flag), plus one battery of field artillery in support. Only thing missing is a colonel figure. In Black Powder this represents a brigade. Edited to add more pictures

For flocking I decided to use fine grained kush-kush. I am not 100% happy with it, but after some work it is passable. But since I have found no dry sand around, this will do.

Here are pictures of the lone Hussar Regiment guarding two batteries deployed on a hill. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

PhD Leadhead Update

Hello to all! After a small vacation in Greece for the 28th of Octomber (Ochi Day in Greece) and Republic Day in Turkey, I came back sick. That meant to wargaming this week. So a good chance to paint stuff.

Together with Onur Buyuran of the Karargh Club, we decided to start a 10mm project of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Ergo the Black Powder Army lists.

My 10mm order from Pendraken has arrived and I am taking advantage of my sickness to paint some of it. So here is the first (inflocked for the time being) Russian unit, representing a Russian Regular Infantry Battalion.

I am also slowly getting through army number 5 for my Warhammer 1000 project. This is the empire using Perry Miniatures. I painted the first three in colors reminiscent of Mark Smylie's Daradjans from the comic Artesia (Artesia at Archaia Publishing)

So thats about all folks! Enjoy the weekend.