Friday, September 25, 2009

I turn 40 - and suffer defeat

The victors: Brad, Andrew and The Nameless One

I turned 40 this year, and have also just became the father of twins. Unsurprisingly, not much painting is getting done at the moment.

There is no better way to celebrate a birthday than with a massive wargame, so back on 9 August I got together with a group of friends to have a day of Napoleonic gaming while I still could before the arrival of the twins. I teamed up with Anthony, leading a Prussian/Wuertemberg/Saxon coalition (to disaster, as it turned out). Brad, Andrew and The Nameless One led a Franco-Bavarian force. All the figures were mine, apart from an Orc that Anthony insisted on bringing and deploying in a swamp. The rules were my own ‘Heads Up, By God’, that worked really well, especially given that a couple of the chaps were newcomers to miniatures gaming. The venue was an extraordinary warehouse belonging to a friend of Andrew’s (thanks!). The beer was Heineken, cheese was involved, and the soundtrack was Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Prussian troops try to force the bridge

Anthony and I deployed our troops with a defensive left flank and an overwhelming concentration of cavalry on the right. They were all there, from Saxon cuirassiers to Prussian Landwehr, and a stirring sight they made. Unfortunately, The Nameless One is too familiar with my unsophisticated tactics of concentrating force, and withdrew the Franco-Bavarian left back behind defensive terrain and pushed hard on the right.

The result – Anthony and my left held on heroically with rock-solid infantry squares thwarting waves of French Dragoons. The centre turned into a bloody tussle for a bridge, where the Franco-Bavarians gained the upper hand, despite the presence of the Orc in the swamp. The right was a disaster for us. What should have been a great sweeping cavalry envelopment was instead a complete waste of our cavalry, most of which never came into action.

Saxon line infantry pushing through a swamp unexpectedly run into an orc

I’m trying to come up with a revisionist spin, but the truth is that Anthony and I were trounced, thwarted, vanguished and conquered. Vae victis, but Prussia will rise again. I had a great day – thanks guys!

The vanquished

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Strelets Army of Alexander Nevsky

I'm becoming increasingly fond of some of the new Strelets releases. I don't like their 'chunky' style for Napoleonic figures, but the recent early medieval and some of the ancient sets are great for putting together cohesive-looking armies. In their early sets (eg the 'Vikings against Franks') they tried so hard to make each figure individual that they were full of unrealistic and exaggerated poses. The recent Normans, Roman auxiliaries etc still look like individuals, but individuals in a unit doing pretty much the same thing as each other.

I've recently painted up some of the figures from the 'Army of Alexander Nevsky' set to replace some inferior Zvezda infantry in an old DBA army, and they were a joy to paint. I particularly love the variety of armour styles and weapons.