Friday, February 11, 2011

Brunswick Ulhans

As part of the Black Duke's Black Band (say that fast!), he had a squadron of Uhlans or Lancers. While only numbering 240 in size they were attached to the larger Hussars and fought at Quatre Bras and Waterloo as well as in the Peninsular.

For my 1:20 units I needed only 12. Unfortunately no one makes them as such, which isn't really a problem with 10mm. I did find a packet of 30 Old Glory French Guard Lancers. There were 30 in the pack with two sets of command figures. A quick snip to remove the plume and a black and blue paint job. Done.
Now I just need to wait for Bend Sinister's Brunswick Hussars, the all the Brunswick Cavalry is complete.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fastest unit to paint?

Aside from an invisible ninja army, it has to be Brunswick Horse Artillery. Black uniforms with black braid, black cartridge pouch and belts, black hat, and black plume! Officers have a gold sash and silver waist belt.

So after a black spray undercoat (obvious I know) a good dry brush all over with dark grey, then I picked out the face and hands. A wash with some brown ink to pick up the facial features. Then paint the equipment - silver scabbard, brown shafts on the artillery bits, some silver highlights on different parts and that is about it.

This were my first GHQ miniatures, quite different to the Redline ones. Very clear detail, but quite stiff and formal poses. Maybe they are doing drill. The swords and flagpoles are ridiculously thin, I know they are supposed to be true to scale but they are very, very thin. The guns have a fantastic level of detail in them,  almost too much for the 10mm scale. There was a wide variety of poses in the 13 figures per box, and a different combination in each box. I only need three crew per gun so I have a bunch left over for maybe some small vignettes with leaders or in the "artillery park".

All up it took 2 hours to clean up, undercoat, paint, detail, glue to the base and sand 26 men and 4 guns. Twenty more minutes to drybrush the base and flock and they are done. I'm sure I can improve this speed with practice.

It's a pity there was only ever 8 Horse Artillery guns total in the Bruswick army. I use a 1:2 scale so I have painted the whole battery. I'll have to find someone who make a foot artillery line so I can improve my black speed painting.

I have ordered all the infantry of the Brunswick army (1 Leib, 3 Line, 3 Light, and 1 Jaegers/Avantegarde) from Bend Sinister so I can have them painted up in quick time. Si at Bend Sinister is currently working on making Brunswick Hussars available shortly. Then I just need to convert some mounted officers for the Black Duke himself and his small staff. I've ordered some Old Glory Prussian Officers to see if I can make something.

Shame the troops were so raw in battle, brave and feisty, but raw.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I like well vegetated battlefields. Having realistic looking trees and forests really enhances the visual appeal of the game. As a kid, I made trees by scrunching found lichen into balls and sticking them on some melted bits of sprue. The worked, but looked rough.

Now I have access to a wide range of flocks and bits and a bit more time to make things look good.

First is a forest, from the Architecture of War tutorial about making small forests. Nails were stuck onto a 3mm MDF base board then the ground textured, painted and flocked. A removable canopy was made by hot glueing chopped up clump foliage to another bit of 3mm MDF.

A couple of locating holes were made to fit two taller nails on the base. Now troops can be placed inside the forest.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Progress so far

3 weeks painting
Well my first order from Bend Sinister arrived about 3 weeks ago, up until they turned up I had spent the Christmas holidays making terrain. I go lots of trees made, some hills, and a few small buildings. I've made a small version of La Haye Saint, and have begun a version of Hougumont (this may take a little longer)

Now that the figures have arrived, I have focussed on getting at least a division up for each side so I can start to play with them. Reinforcements will be coming later as I paint them.
So far I have painted and based

  • 6 Supply wagons
  • 24 French Line Lancers
  • 12 Brunswick Ulhans
  • 60 French Ligne
  • 60 British Highlanders
  • 15 French Skirmishers
  • 4 RHA batteries with crew
I'm halfway through painting 6 RHA limbers and some French Generals. Next will be 60 British line to finish Pack's brigade and 60+ Legere and some French guns to finish off  Jamin's Brigade. Work will get busy for the rest of the month, so I may slow down my productivity here.

Here come the Scots!

Got the 42nd Black Watch and the 92nd Gordon painted and based over the weekend. Painting the tartans and socks made me glad I have a magnifying light. The glue is still drying on the flock, that is why the base has some white blobs on it. Will dry clear by the morning.

Nice figures again from Redline (Bend Sinister). I'll need to order another packet to make the 79th Cameron.
92nd Gordon Highlanders

42nd Black Watch

These will form part of the 9th Brigade under Major General Pack, part of Picton's Reserve. Coming soon will be the 1st Royal Scots and the 44th East Essex, and a few skirmishers. Maybe the Major General himself.

Both battalions, of 30 figures each

92nd Ligne

First French Infantry painted and based, the 92nd Linge from Tissot's Brigade at Waterloo. I am working at building up the Reille's II Corps which fought at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. I'm aiming to battle Quatre Bras by the end of the year, and maybe Waterloo sometime in the future.

Figures are Redline Miniatures from Bend Sinister. They are in greatcoats in a mix of colours. Just need to find a 2nd Battalion fanion. The Flag was from Nap flags on War Flags. They were printed out at 20%. Still need to paint the edges.

They were very easy to paint, and have good detail for something so small. I dipped them in wood stain for the shading. I'll probably matt varnish them at some stage.

Skirmishers are based 2 or 3 to a regular infantry sized base (25 x 15mm)
Skirmishers in front
1st and 2nd Battalions of the 92nd Ligne in greatcoats

Napoleon 101 Podcast

For the last month I have been working my way through all 57 episodes of the Napoleon Bonaparte podcast. Presented by David Markham and Cameron Reilly, each episode runs for over an hour of interesting conversation between the two as well as some special guests in later episodes.

David has written a number of interesting books about Napoleon including "Napoleon for Dummies", "The Road to St Helena", "Napoleon's Road to Glory", "Imperial Glory" and others. He is the President of the International Napoleonic Society and has organised a number of conferences.

Cameron has been interested in Napoleon for over 20 years and is the CEO of The Podcast Network which produces the show.

It is interesting and easy listenings as the two go through Napoleon's life episode by episode. While some events take multiple episodes, it doesn't drag along and contains lots of interesting stories, quotes and intepretations of the events that go on.

I found I learnt things each episode and the 50+ episodes seemed to fly past. They were great to listen to while painting to get inspired to finish the units.

I think the shows have stopped production, which is a shame.

Well worth a listen if you are interested in the topic.

The podcast can be found at

Friday, February 4, 2011

Basing for Republic to Empire

Republic to Empire is very flexible in its basing requirements, there is no "correct size or number of men needed on a base to be legal, as long as they are consistant.

I wanted some flexibility to have different unit formations represented on the table. Some rule sets have battallions based as one shape in the smaller scales, which I find a bit restrictive. But I also needed to consider not having them too small and fiddly on the table.

So I decided to investigate using magnetic bases for two reasons - one is they could be stuck to a thin piece of steel in the shape of the formation for ease of table movement, and two they would be less likely to move around when stored for transport. I plan to use some metal tool boxes to move them.

I sent off a custom order to Litko Game Accessories for some .8mm thick plywood bases with matching magnetic bases .5mm thick. Together they make a nice light base thay is not too thick for the figures.


I picked up these Old Glory French Supply wagons at Cancon a few weeks ago. Great value little pack with six supply wagons with four horses each and 2 riders for under $30. The riders are a bit on the small side, but I understand that this is the Old Glory style. Still passable for the "3 foot rule".

I painted them with a brown undercoat, blocked out the colours, then a dip, and drybrush. All done in an evening. Based the next night.

These will form part of the Artillery train that Republic to Empire has behind the batteries. I'm sure they will feature in a future scenario or two.

I have six limbers getting cleaned and primed. Just need to get the artillery done as well.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Republic to Empire

My first adventures in Napoleonic wargaming, some 30 years ago, were with the Empire III rule set. The games were long and complex and took a while for my casual opponents to get used to.

Returning back to the era, I wanted to find a new "modern" set of rules. There was a free set of rules "March of the Eagles" in the Victrix 28mm plastics box written by Barry Hilton. I liked the mechanics and flow of the game, but it only covered infantry actions. Apparently there was a "full version" around somewhere.

Looking around the net I found it "Republic to Empire"by Barry Hilton. I ordered it and had a go. After an initial steep learning curve I find them a very enjoyable, smooth set of rules to play with. I started playing in 28mm but found it translates well to the 10mm scale buy converting all the movement lengths from inches to cms.

  • good order system, allowing the use of exploitation moves that are real game changers
  • realistic treatment of artillery and the real estate it takes on the table
  • good morale system
  • fast play when you get used to the steps
  • 1:20 man scale allowing bigger looking units
  • inspiring pictures of miniatures though out the book
  • excellent demonstration walkthrough at the end of the book
Things not so good
  • not many diagrams of game mechanics
  • no index
  • no army lists (but accept the rationale about why not)
  • no scenarios with the rules (although this may change with a suppliment)
  • hard for solo play

Republic to Empire is available through the League of Augsburg site

First 10mm terrain

While waiting for my first figures to arrive,  made some initial terrain to get things going. I'm using a GW battlemat as an underlay (left over from my 28mm days) so needed some appropriate building to start things off.

Because I was using a 1:20 man scale, the buildings had to have a smaller foot print to keep realistic in size compared to the unit footprint. The ground scale is 1mm = 1 yard.

Using hard styrofoam, air drying clay and some balsa off cuts I roughly made some buildings. The church was embellished with a few Hirst Arts bricks made from dental plaster. I have a bunch of moulds I used for 28mm terrain, and a few of the detail moulds work well for 10mm.

My version of La Haye Saint

And La Belle Alliance

A church with bits of Hirst Arts Blocks

I based them on 3mm MDF and adding sand, flock and some home made trees, hedges from scourers and painted with some acrylic house paint samples.

They are a bit rough, but pass the 3ft rule quite well.

Why 10mm Napoleonics?

Three questions really. Why 10mm, why Napoleonics and why another blog? Some answers ...

Firstly, why Napoleonics? The spectacle, the uniforms, tactics and strategies, the personalities, the wide range of battlefields, endless "what if" scenarios and more. I started my fascination with the period as a kid with plastic Airfix figures, and whatever metals figures I could find. Home made terrain, endless battles with the neighbour hood kids, trying to make sense of the Empire III rules all make good memories.

After a 20 year break and I rediscovered the games through 28mm and the wonders of Perry and Victrix and hard, paintable plastic. After starting a collection I realised quickly space was going to limit my appetite for large scale battles, so I had to go smaller.

It brings me to second question, why 10mm? Well 6mm seemed too small to see on the table and 15mm didn't seem enough of a space saving shift from 28mm. 10mm seemed very cheap, a reasonable growing range, easy to store and transport but most of all fast to paint. I'm not a great painter, and slow. A battalion of 28mm would take me two weeks on spare time. At this rate I would need to wait years to get divisions sized games.  But I found with 10mm, I could get a battalion painted to a reasonable finish in an evening, and based in another. And they looked good in massed numbers.

Brunswick Ulhans 10mm and 28mm

Also a large game can happen on a 6 x 4 foot board. Waterloo (a dream one day) could fit on a 12 x 6 foot setup.

So I got my first order off to Si at Bend Sinister for a French and British battle pack and some extras and begun. While waiting for the order I started making terrain. I'm a big fan of a nice terrain board, maybe a reaction to the rough stuff I made as a kid.  And the journey has begun ...

French 6th Line Lancers

Lastly why a blog? Well I couldn't find many websites around (those I did found had some great stuff) about this and thought it would be good to share what I discover. Lets see how it goes.