Wednesday, October 26, 2011

28mm Aspern Church for Aspern-Essling

Yeah? Oh, so now you want me to create some freakin' battlefield in Austria for you...? WTF. You know man, I have needs too...

A while ago I mentioned to my friend Sylvain that I've always wanted to do a tactical Napoleonic scenario that focuses on the ferocious fighting for the village of Aspern at the Battle of Aspern-Essling (May 20-21 1809). 

Before we go any further you have to understand that Sylvain is completely mad. Bonkers. Nuts. Certifiable. Anyway, Sylvain likes to scratch-build buildings and since he's a bit 'touched' (and doesn't do anything in halves) he got it in his mind that he'd make me a 80% to scale representation in of the Aspern churchyard with all its buildings and grounds for my 28mm collection.

As you can see its pretty amazing.

With a 32 figure battalion as indication of scale.
Below you can see the roof has been removed so you can place figures in the upper galleries.

The roof can be removed to show battle damage and allow figures to be placed on the third level.
Another shot of the roof timbers and firing platforms.
The church tower can be removed as well in order to place figures.
Both the Church and the Rectory can be broken-down like a layer cake to allow each section to be defended separately.

The bottom layer of the Church with a nave and attic.
Her is the Rectory broken-down into its three component layers (minus roof).

Sylvain tells me he has another building (a mausoleum, I believe), the graveyard and the surrounding walls to add and then the project's done. Its going to dominate any table but if the action is purely focused on taking the church grounds then the scaling will work great. I'm thinking of using a beefed-up variant of Sharpe's Practice to do a monsterous tactical scenario based around the churchyard but first I need to paint and groundwork this stuff AND finish a raft-load of Austrians...

Bravo Sylvain! Awesome work!

16th Regiment of Line in 1806 Regulation White Uniform

The new lads from the 2nd battalion in all their off-white glory. A mounted officer behind the rear ranks is happily making the mens life a misery ...

For those who may have been following this blog last winter this unit has been languishing at the rear of my painting desk for several months now so I thought it high time to get it done and ready for action.

The 16th Regiment, deployed in line, ready for action.
These three units depict the 1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 16th Regiment of the Line. From 1806-1807, due to a lack of indigo dye, Napoleon issued a new uniform regulation that would see his line infantry begin a conversion from its standard blue uniforms to new ones in white. He initially chose 19 regiments in order to determine how they would hold-up in the field. It is not known exactly how many of these 19 regiments were actually issued the uniform but it is confirmed that there were at least eight regiments dressed in white by the end of 1806.

In 1806 the 16th was issued the white uniform with blue facings and turnbacks. John Elting mentions that this uniform was very sharp, being a hit in Paris, but (as could well be imagined) very difficult to keep clean in the field. I also chose the 16th as it saw heavy action in one of my favorite Napoleonic battles, Aspern-Essling. At that battle they were under the command of Molitor and were in desperate close-combat contesting the town of Aspern.

Napoleon ultimately changed his mind on the white uniforms. Some say it was because he was appalled at how the blood stood out on them after the battle of Eylau, but I think this is a little sensationalist as Bonaparte was a man not easily moved by the sight of carnage. I think it was merely due to the fact that French producers found a way to source blue dye to maintain the established uniform. Nonetheless the white uniform was popular amongst those regiments that received it and it was not until late 1809 that the last battalions were (begrudgingly) converted back to blue.

I decided to keep the third battalion in greatcoats to indicate their more conscripted status (something I will probably continue to do with all the higher numbered battalions in my regiments). A portion of the figures from these three units I bought in an Ebay auction. Nonetheless they were a little rough around the edges, in need of a bit of 'tweaking' and fleshing out to get ready for the table (shipment repairs, highlighting, washes, rebasing, drybrushing, etc). I also added new NCOs, colour party members and mounted commanders to all the battalions to tart them up a bit more. All of the flags, as usual, are from the indispensable Flag Dude.

28mm Napoleonic French Vivandiere and Orderlies

I've managed to finish another rear area stand to add a bit of colour to my Napoleonic French army. This one's a bit more whimsical, depicting a Vivandiere bringing a tumbler of wine and some bread to a gallant orderly and his companion (In my mind's eye I think she's a bit sweet on him). 

I've always really admired the sculpts and animation of each of these figures and so I've been saving them until I thought of a suitable composition. 

The French orderlies are from the Perry Waterloo range while the Vivandiere and her trusty donkey is from Warlord Games.

Like my other 'rear area' stands these will either tuck-in behind the artillery caissons to add a bit of depth to the formation, or be loitering in nearby villages.

28mm French Napoleonic Rear Area Flunkies

I've not been completely idle hobby-wise and have managed to finish this small vignette depicting a group of French infantry who are taking a break from assisting an artillery battery and chatting with a visiting orderly.

These are assorted Perry castings from their Waterloo range. This is the first time I've tried doing a leopard skin effect on a shabraque which was kinda fun. Ultimately my plan is to have one of these bases behind each of my gun models with ammunition caissons following on behind them. 

With a little luck I hope to have another one of these vignettes completed in the next week or so...

British Command Stands

Just a short post on a new British command stand I completed recently.

Figures are from the Perry range. In order to make the stand less Waterloo-specific, I cut away the 'Belgic' shako from the right figure and replaced it with a bicorne from a Victrix sprue. I still have some work to do on the white horse as I'm not too wild on its midtones. 

I'm working on a few Napoleonic vignettes right now so I should have something on them in a week or so.

Prototypes for Napoleonic Casualty Markers

Like a lot of gamers, I like to keep the tabletop as clean of dice, measuring tapes, rule sheets, pets, soft drinks, etc., but I know that concessions have to be made for marking unit status and displaying other game mechanics. Nonetheless, I really don't like casualty caps, especially anything plastic, as they seem to break the aesthetic of the painted miniatures and scenery. I've always liked the look of casualty figures, but in several rule sets a unit can take numerous 'hits' so it can seem that there is a cloud of casualties following along, and if they get too close to one another confusion can occur in determining to whose casualties belong to what unit.

So I'm playing around with how to compress as much unit information into as small a space as possible. Here are a few unit status markers that I've mocked up that combine a small vignette, a 'fin' for mounting a unit ID card, plus a few slots to fit small (7-8mm) six-sided dice to track hits. 

Here is a shot of the base showing the ID fin and the slots for the D6.
These were built on 50mm steel bases with bits of plasticard to build-up the slots and fins.

These two castings are from Offensive Miniatures. I quite like the wounded drummer boy.
The slots work reasonably well to keep the dice all in one spot and prevents accidental mix-ups when units are compressed together in a scrum. For a game such as 'Black Powder' the dice can be of different colours to track Disorders, 'standard' hits and Shaken status. We've also come up with a simple protocol to move the stand from the back of the unit to the front to keep track of which stuff has been activated - pretty straight forward stuff really.

Foundry Rifle officer with Perry plastic British casualty.
I've noticed that Litko has a new casualty base featured in Jim's Lab that has a numeric dial which looks quite promising. If I could get them to prototype one that incorporates a couple dials in it then it naturally would be able to track two different sets of information and I could get rid of the dice - something to ponder...

Victrix plastic British officer along with a Offensive Miniatures drummer casualty.
Victrix plastic French officer with a Perry infantry casualty.