perjantai 27. marraskuuta 2015

9th (Swiss) Division in Russia

M3 Lee's got sidelined a bit for a few days as I decided to empty my paint desk of half finished projects. One of them were the command bases for my Swiss and Croat forces for our Russia 1812 campaign. I didn't quite finish them for the last game where they were needed in May and as they weren't needed for a long while I more or less forgot about them. Well last week I finally got around to painting their horses and basing them. One more project finished and away from the desk.

When I got them finished I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of the force, so with the last minis finished from the project it was high time to take them out of the cabinet and take some pictures. So behold the 9th (Swiss) Division of the II Corps of the Grande Armee. I ended up painting only the foreign units of the division so it's missing four French battalions, but as there are plenty finished by other clubmates it wasn't really an issue. Technically the uniforms are actually wrong as the Swiss didn't use Bardin in Russia, but my manufacturer of choice Campaign Game Miniatures didn't have any suitable ones available I decided that the differences were minor enough not to bother with buying something else.

The 9th Division and Swiss troops in general were a nice subject that was quite close to me as even being a Finn I lived quite a few years in Switzerland as a youth due to my father's work. Being a history buff and interested in the Napoleonic period already back then I naturally stumbled upon the exploits of the Swiss troops. The Russian campaign does hold quite an important place in Swiss history symbolizing quite the sacrifices that Swiss mercenaries have made throughout history. A song based on a 1790s poem 'Die Nachtreise' is also popularized as a song called Beresinalied after the Battle of Berezina where the remnants of the Swiss troops held the Russians allowing thousands to escape over the river. Of the completely foreign rearguard force less than 300 survived the battle and only around 210 would be around when the regiments reassembled after the campaign.

First up the command stands representing Generals Amey, Condras and Coustard and a lone ADC. The ADC was painted up as halfway through painting the command stands I realized I'd accidentally taken an ADC model for a General and had to start one more mini. He'll serve as a disorder marker alongside wounded and dead soldiers. A rushing ADC should prove to be a good way to show a unit getting their orders mixed up. Most miniatures from AB as I find their command minis are better and far more varied than CGM. I haven't painted up the overall Divisional Commander Pierre Hugues Victoire Merle as we only use brigade commanders in our games. I still might add him later just to have him on the table for show if I need a quick appetizer project as I already have the miniatures ready.

Then the artillery park with 2 batteries of 6 pounders and 1 battery of 12 pounders. As far as I know the Swiss didn't have much integral artillery and their own artillery units were mostly stationed as garrison troops in Europe. Instead they had French artillery attached to them. All painted in the regular French artillery uniform.

The 3rd Provisional Croatian Regiment was raised in 1812 from the Croatian land ceded by Austria in the peace of 1809. Known as excellent skirmishers they were employed in that role in the French army as well and having a the same cut of uniform as French Light Infantry. Even though the Croats were not very enthusiastic about serving Napoleon two regiments still fought with distinction on the Russian campaign. Out of roughly 2000 soldiers of the 3rd Provisional Regiment only around 150 returned from Russia having fought in Polotsk and Berezina as well as multiple smaller skirmishes.

1st Swiss Regiment was the first regiment raised in 1805 according to the 1803 military convention between Switzerland and French requiring the Swiss to provide 4 regiments of all together 16,000 men for French service. The 1st Regiment would provide two battalions to the Russian campaign. The Swiss regiments saw heavy fighting in both battles of Polotsk against Wittgenstein's Russians before joining the rest of Grande Armee on the retreat where they would perform a vital rear guard action at Berezina.

2nd Swiss Regiment was raised in 1806, but only reaching operational strength around 1808. It participated in the Russian campaign with 3 battalions.

3rd Swiss Regiment was raised in 1806 as well, but as with the 2nd Regiment it would take until 1808 to reach close to it's official strength. Their strength in Russia was 3 battalions.

The final 4th Regiment started forming in 1807 initially with large amounts of Prussian prisoners of war. However when Napoleon discovered this an inspection of all Swiss Regiments was ordered in order to remove any Prussian soldiers from their strength. However by 1808 they had reached a strength of roughly 4000 men. As with the second and third regiments three battalions of the 4th Regiment served in Russia.

So there you have it, my little Napoleonic project from last spring and early summer. 13 battalions, 6 guns and some command figures all painted between March and May. It was really nice to build up a complete unit in a rather fast pace, but it did leave me quite uninterested in painting anything for a few months after that. Next time with the Saxons I'll leave more variety in between by painting other projects as well.

tiistai 17. marraskuuta 2015

Saxon paint test

To get some more variety between painting up all the olive drab I decided to quickly test how to paint white 15mm's for an upcoming 1813 Saxon army project. I have a grandiose plan of painting up the entire VII Corps of Reynier consisting of two Saxon divisions and one French division. There's still plenty of time to go as we still have a few games left in the Russian campaign, but it doesn't hurt to start early as there is roughly 30 infantry battalions, multiple artillery pieces and a few cavalry regiments to paint up. Though I might cut down the scope by skipping the French as there are more than enough for most games when you combine the collections of various club members.

I want to keep the paintjob quick and simple to make painting the roughly 700 models a bit less tedious. Considering that I'm not too fond of painting 15mm I sure seem to be doing these a bit too much nowadays :) I guess that's what you get for 15mm being the de facto standard in my two favorite periods at my club.

These Saxons were quite a breeze to paint with only 10 shades and a wash used and the main colour white being painted with my airbrush. About an hour of work including all the drying times was all that was needed and I'm pretty confident that I can push out a battalion in a night or two when I can actually work in more of an assembly line fashion.

The main point of this quick exercise was just to test out which wash shade would be the best suited for a white uniform. The left one has Army Painter Strong Tone ink while the rightmost one is painted using their Dark Tone ink. As I don't really want to start blacklining all the white uniforms I think I'll stick with the black one as it gives a clearer definition to all the straps that can further be enhanced by a highlight layer. Looks quite nice with only a single wash and highlight on top of the basecoat.

Now I'll just have to wait for some command teams that were missing from my order for the first brigade and then I can start cranking these out as small interludes between other projects. I'm aiming to have the Saxons done sometime next autumn so I only really need to crank out a battalion ever second week on average. Not too bad hopefully and should allow me to actually paint up other things in the meantime as well :)

Next up some more American armor. I've got 5 M3 Lee's and 2 M3A1 scout cars with their basic colours painted up. I should get the details done in the next few days and hopefully have them weathered and finished by friday when I'll leave for another hunting trip again.

perjantai 13. marraskuuta 2015

Dear Santa

It's that time of the year with Christmas closing in fast. And like before Ian from The Blog With No Name and his wife Catherine are organizing a Secret Santa ring for wargamers. Thanks to both of them to organizing this event once again! Really gives you some extra fun to wait for during Christmas. I'm taking part again and lately I've been busy planning what to get for my intended victim.

As requested and to make life easier for my mysterious benefactor I've compiled a few tips from projects on the desk or in near future.

15mm AB late Napoleonic Saxons
We're starting an 1813-14 campaign at my club and I've promised to build up the Saxons. I'm using AB Saxons for the job. I've only really just started so pretty much anything goes. The only ones I don't really need anymore are Zastrow Cuirassiers as I already have all that was active during the campaign. I'm basing them 18 infantry (including 3 command) to a battalion and 8 cavalry per regiment.

28mm WW2 German vehicles
My 28mm late war Germans can always benefit from more vehicles to add to their forces. Nothing beats more Panzers in your collection. I've already got quite a few Panzer IV's and 251's, but pretty much everything goes :)

28mm Dark Age civilians, animals and buildings
Civilians, animals and buildings for the dark ages are always needed as extras on the battlefield to fight over when the Saxons face raiding Vikings. We have a club Saga campaign coming up in December and lasting well into next year so there's always room for some helpless victims. I've already got all the Saxon/Medieval 4Ground buildings, but I can always find use for more Danish buildings to build larger villages.

28mm 100 Year War French
I'm going to run a 100YW demo game at a local convention next Summer featuring some sort of a skirmish between foraging English and French parties. I'm pretty well stocked with English from the Perry plastic boxes, but French troops are completely lacking at the moment. I'm aiming to base the game around the Siege of Harfleur just prior to Agincourt.

Star Wars X-Wing and Armada
I've been playing X-Wing quite a bit at home and just getting into Armada as well. Both Rebels and Imperials are always open to new recruits to help fight for the right cause.

Something wild
As this is mainly a painting and modelling hobby for me I'm always open for small projects that aren't necessarily needed in a game. For example I've occasionally been painting up some larger scale (54mm and up) Napoleonics just as display pieces in my cabinet.

Besides these feel free to come up with something else. Everything is appreciated and really add to the fun of christmas! Hopefully the list above will help, or inspires someone to come up with a cracking idea.

And as a last note I wish all the participants a wonderful Christmas filled with the joy of gaming and hopefully others will have as much fun finding a gift for their "victim" as I do!

maanantai 9. marraskuuta 2015

The Sons of Death

Time for quite a change from the stuff I've been painting lately with some Saga miniatures! I realized my last 28mm have been painted last March and since then I've only churned out 15mm Napoleonics and Flames of War miniatures. So a change in pace was definitely in order to neutralize the palate from all that small lead.

These guys are the Gall-Gaedhill or the Sons of Death, a band of Norse Gael mercenaries that can be taken as Swords for Hire in Saga. I'm mostly just going to use them as normal Hearthguard and Warriors instead of the special unit, but they were nice looking minis so they found a place in my growing warband.

I decided to stick with just a few different shades when painting them and left all decorations off from the capes to make it a nice fast side project between all the olive drab. Worked out quite nicely with the unit being mostly done in one session with only the basing left for later. I wanted to keep the chainmail more dull coloured, but might still have to go back and give it a light drybrush of a lighter tone. It looks a bit too monotone, especially on the photos. But for now I'm happy with the results and painting them really did miracles to my painting motivation. To finish them I used shield decals from War Flag as I have done in the past as well. Easy to apply and only minor touch ups were required to blend them in.

torstai 5. marraskuuta 2015

Flames of War projects rumble on

Yet more painted Flames of War stuff. These additions see the final miniatures I needed to field a full 1900 point Tank Destroyer company from Blood, Guts & Glory. So only the Mid War miniatures left! Though I'm starting to warm up to the idea of painting up some later Shermans as well to provide some heavier armour to support my Armored Rifles when I want to play them as a company.

First up a 3 gun Armored Field Artillery Battery. Straight from the boxed set without any additional stowage as the sculpts are already wonderfully detailed. Certainly some of the better resin offerings from Battlefront. I was planning to add maps to the staff teams table using some decals, but for some reason I cannot find the sheet anywhere at home. Still I already have more than enough staff teams finished with all the maps etc. so these won't really even be needed.

Then some cheesy Warrior teams. Patton is arguably one of the best Warrior teams in Flames of War. Granting Spearhead moves and practically making units Fearless is pretty powerful and well worth the 100 points. He's probably too cheesy to take to a friendly match ever, but I wanted to paint him up anyway if I ever end up taking the TD's to a tournament.

Harmon will be helping out in Mid War by granting vital re-rolls for the Armored Rifles as most US troops are Confident Trained in Mid War and re-rolls will really help in coping with those issues.

And finally some Beutepanzers. Two captured French Char B1's that have been converted by the dastardly boche into flame throwing Flammpanzers. I'd originally planned to include these in my ETC list, but in the end went for a much faster and mobile force. Ideal in an infantry support role with very heavy armor for Early War and the flame thrower being quite an effective deterrent against assaults. I'd painted them up to a stage where the only thing missing was decals and weathering, so when I did the same for the armored artillery I figured I should really get ahead with them as well. After all 4 decals, a wash and some mud really wasn't that much of an effort.

That's all for this time. Next up back to my favorite scale 28mm. To my dread I noticed that I haven't painted any 28mm since March and this had to be remedied with a quick mini project before I paint yet more Olive Drab.