"All resources will be used to make the army ready for war." - Napoleon, 1813

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prussian Fusiliers - WIP +1

Just a quick down and dirty WIP post.  Eric and I have been discussing our basing color scheme etc. this week.  Although the entire battalion isn't finished yet, I decided to try things out tonight between loads of laundry.  Unfortunately against my better judgement I also decided to spray the stand with Dullcote and it came out shiny.  Eric will get more into basing stuff and things in the near future, but this at least gives us all a bit of a sneak peek at how things will look.  :o)


Monday, January 28, 2013

Prussian Fusiliers - WIP

Digital pictures...  Friend or Foe?  :-/

Well, I figured it was about time to give this blog a little eye candy.  :o)  These are my very first ever painted 28mm Napoleonics.  Their names are Fritz, Jurgen, Karl, and... Just kidding (about the names anyway)  ;-)

These guys are basically my first stand of figs completed for the Fusilier Battalion of my Prussian Leib Infantry Regiment including a NCO.  The models are from Perry Miniatures which I will be using to fill out the bulk of my Prussian army.  As these were my "prototype" models as well as my introduction to "real scale" 28mm miniatures, there was a bit of tweaking and tinkering that hopefully is out of the way so that the painting process picks up the pace a bit.  Painting all the gear is what really took the longest, plus the fact that 99% of the reference pics out there only show the front didn't help either.

I always prime in black regardless, and I usually paint using a hybrid black lining technique as I like my minis clean and well defined.  The black primer certainly helps with this, and I always find a number of white specks peeking out when I prime with white which makes it much more troublesome for me anyway.  Coverage usually isn't a problem, but I do have the old GW Foundation Paints sitting around to mix in with a red, yellow, or white base coat if needed.

I'm trying to force myself to become more dependent on using the Army Painter washes to speed things up and then come back and hit the highlights.  Highlights are a little trickier than the "Heroic" scale minis that I've painted in the past.  You want to give the figs a little "pop" so they don't look flat on the table top, but there's not a lot of room for layers on these minis, and then there are all those other "battalions" of figs staring at you from the workbench waiting to be done.  Regardless, I need to remind myself that the visual effect of the unit as a whole is paramount, not necessarily the individual minis.

These figs haven't been Dullcoted yet either, so I need to see how badly that makes my highlights/shading disappear.  I'm used to coming back and touching up metals, but maybe the final highlight layer or two might have to wait until after the spray.

The main paints I used are pictured above.  Many of the others are old out of production GW paints that I still have around.  No reason to move on until they're used up I guess.  If you have any questions on the paints I used feel free to ask in the comments below.  Although I'm sure I will continue to tweak things as I go along.

The next step is to hammer out the basing colors (and static grass mix) for the project.  These will be the same that we will use for building our terrain boards.  Look for that post in the near future as well as one explaining our planned Order of Battle(s) that we will be using to base each of our forces on.  Although still "under construction," you can get a sneak peek of our OOBs by checking out the page tabs just under the blog title.

Anyway, let me know what you think of this first batch.  :-)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Setting down the Basics

Our current forces in all their glory!  ;-)

Although the Internet, plastic boxed sets loaded with instructions, and an increased number of high production quality and well thought out all-in-one type rulebooks have lowered the barriers of entry into Napoleonics considerably, there is still a lot to figure out before the first miniature order is placed.  I'm not even talking about researching uniform details, figuring out the appropriate figures, or even choosing an order of battle or generic national template to base your force on.

Most rules sets are pretty flexible when it comes to basing and units sizes and figure counts.  They may have a preferred scheme that they suggest, but players personal tastes as well as  resources of time and money can usually be accommodated in most cases.  I've mainly looked at General de Brigade, Lasalle, Black Powder, and Waterloo  We've decided to go with Black Powder of many reasons, but certainly its flexibility is a big plus.  With no official structures dictated to us like some game systems, I spent a good amount of time over the last couple of years seeing what others had done across the blogosphere taking into account visuals, playability, and attainable painting goals.

Line Infantry Battalion in line formation and attack column with skirmish screen.

Although I'll deal more directly with the Order of Battles we're basing our forces on in a later post, I did want to mention a few things before going any further.  First off, unless Eric and I are invited to bring our toys to join in some big battle in the big city reenacting the Big Battle of Suchandsuch, we're never going aspire to reenact a historical battle.  Although some game scenarios we play might be inspired by some actual occurrence, they still are going to be purely products of our imagination greatly assisted by resources like Charles S. Grant's Scenarios for Wargames.  Ultimately history will be our guide, not our master.  Striking a balance between historical accuracy and flavor and more generic flexible organization and playability.

When trying to figure out our basing scheme and miniature count, I knew we wanted our units to look and feel like proper battalions, etc., but not be so large that we would struggle to complete a single brigade.  Also factored in was room for formations and maneuvering on the table top.  For our generic line infantry battalions I settled on 24 figures on 4 bases for our standard size with 6 figures on each base.  Again, I thought 6 figures instead of 4 gave the unit a fuller wider feel, and 4 bases being less unwieldy than 6.

Prussian Fusilier Battalion in line formation and in skirmish.

We can always take bases away to represent a smaller unit, and always add more stands later for large battalions.  Perhaps for militia/conscript units like Prussian Landwehr or French Provisional battalions, I might try going with 5 figures a stand to give these units a slightly understrength and also less ranked up/orderly appearance.  For some light battalions like Prussian Fusiliers, I decided to go with 4 figures per stand to give the unit a looser appearance and to give a bit more room for the skirmishing and firing poses.

For cavalry we're going two per base with 12 models in the standard unit.  To me this represents about 2-3 squadrons, and 16 models about 4. Although I have to do some more research on how artillery works in Black Powder, I'm initially collecting 3 guns and 1 howitzer to form a battery for my Prussians.  Perhaps 2 guns for horse artillery.  Then there's the appropriate battlefield footprint to consider especially behind the guns.  Also, we'll figure out limbers, ammunition caissons, supply wagons, ambulances, etc. etc. as we go, but try to keep all the bases 50mm wide if possible.

 Jager Battalion/Detachment and Cavalry Regiment

Our basic base size is 50mm X 50mm for infantry and cavalry, and 50mm X 100mm for artillery.  As suggested in Black Powder this conveniently makes our frontages universal.  This took the longest to finally determine as we wanted a close order appreance but also a little room to show off the rank and file miniatures.  50mm strikes a nice balance between the cramped look of a 15mm frontage per figure and the little too open 20mm.  Having the base 50mm deep helps accommodate firing lines and other poses.

Other odds and ends such as skirmish line voltigeurs or volunteer jagers will be based in pairs (which is how they operated) on a 50mm X 25mm base with 2 bases (and 4 figures) per battalion.  To help distinguish the more ultra light units such as a Prussian Jager battalion, I will increase the base size to 50mm X 50mm, keeping only 2 figures a base on 4 bases.  If nothing else this will allow me to craft more scenic bases as I'm doing with my Prussian fusiliers (4 figures to a base).  Still, it also helps accommodate the various running, loading, and firing poses, and again help differentiate them from my musketeers on the table top by giving them a looser more open order appearance.

 Brigade and Division command stands.

For command models and such we're keeping to circles and ovals.  Individual mounted messenger type models such as adjutants/Feldjagers/ADCs will be on a 40mm base.  Brigade commands will be 2-3 (mounted and/or foot) figures on a 75mm base with higher commands based on a 120mm x 90mm oval.  Division commands will have 4 while Corps and Army stands will have 5+ as needed.  I think keeping with a simple circles and squares basing scheme really helps with the army visuals as well.  If for nothing else, it doesn't have any odd or non organic shapes that might distract the eye when viewing the table top.

As you can probably tell from the pictures, we're mostly using Litko bases for our project.  They have a nice medium thickness (ours are 3mm).  Not too chunky, but thick enough to help with movement and  protect your minis from handling.  Also, they are quite easy to magnetize which we'll cover later.  The only drawback is that it takes FOREVER for them to arrive when you place an order.  Even going through the local game shop as they have the same headache with Litko.  We ordered 300 but got 200.  Still we should be good for awhile. :-)

Up next (but not nessarily in this order) will be blurbs about magnetizing our bases and army transport, planned army organization and Order of Battles, more about our basing scheme (the painting, ballast, and flock part), and some actual WIP/painted minis. :-)

Immer Vorwärts!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Soldiers & New Paints

"No short jokes..."

I'm pretty excited about starting a new army myself. 2013 will be a year of new paint colours as well as figuring out new techniques in army painting to help get these guys out on the table.  After seeing the gorgeous game put on by The Guns of April at Adepticon I have no doubt this is going to be fun. 

I'm also really looking forward to using Black Powder. It's been a while since I tried out a new rule system and after watching The Guns of April playing their game I know this is probably the best system for me as they were laughing and having a good time rather than worrying about the best tactic.

and so...    À la guerre!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1813 - A Joint Napoleonic Project

Still angry after all these years, Blücher sends a staffer to pose with Boney.

From the beginning I've always dreamed of collecting and gaming with beautiful miniature Napoleonic armies.  My first attempt was with 1/72 plastics in the '80s which fell far short of my visions of grandeur.  In the '90s I was certain 15mm figs were the way to go to capture the true epicness that is Napoleonic warfare.  Although my French and Prussians marched in large and enjoyable battles on the table top, there was still something missing from my vision quest.

What makes Napoleonics the "Beautiful Game" to me is the soldiers themselves and their wonderful uniforms and banners.  With larger scales being a bit impractical, it was not until recently that 25-28mm miniatures (both metal and plastic) reached a production quality worthy of the period.  Along with a number of enjoyable and high quality rules sets that have become available in the last few years, and the advances in almost every aspect of the hobby from paints, basing materials, and terrain building techniques, we maybe in the midst of another "Golden Age" of historical miniatures wargaming.

"Really Eric, we BOTH can have hussars!"

With the 200th anniversary of the 1813 Campaign in Germany upon us, what time could be better to launch our foray into world of 28mm Napoleonics.  My talented friend Eric Hagen and his French have joined me and my Prussians as we start work on both of our initial armies.  Although we have been busy planning and tinkering since August, the painting has just begun, and the time to launch our joint blog:  Immer Vorwärts! is finally here.

I hope you enjoy our blog as much as we hope to enjoy sharing our hobby thoughts, creations, and experiences with you!

Immer Vorwärts!
Jason Meyers