Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Napoleon: a Kickstarter

Found this on Kickstarter the other day. While not in the block buster league of some of the projects (Reaper Bones for example), it seems a good value for such a classic game. The extra sized map, better foils and additional pieces, look like making this edition a classic of the board game.

It would be great to take part in the higher pledge levels and attend the 2015 Waterloo Batte field tour. Maybe something to save for.

Anyway, I thought some of you good readers might be interested in getting your own copy to enjoy. Click on the graphic below for more details and to back the project.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Digging in

There are no sapper or miner figures available for the Allied forces. As far as I can tell the 1815 campaign employed civilians to conduct any entrenchment work on the Allied side,  not that much was done an any of the battles.

I found some suitable figures from the Pendraken range - some generic 19thC civilian working party FPX1. There are two sculpts in the 15 figure packet -  a pick axe and a shovel. The figures are working in plain clothes, not uniforms, making them suitable markers for any army.

I mounted them in threes on a standard infantry base, added some ballast and flock and a few bigger rocks. All done.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review of 4Ground's 15mm walls

Packet contents of the 15mm walls
I picked up a packet of 4Ground's 15mm walls at Cancon yesterday. I had been eying them off on their website, but waited to see them to check the sizing for 10mm, before buying a packet. The detail looked impressive on the packet, they use a laser to etch the MDF sheets.

In the packet there are three sheets - 2 wall sets, a base set and a clear set of photo instructions. The sheets are 2mm thick MDF. The walls are etched on one side with a rough stone pattern. Some of the walls have removable sections for a ruin or damaged effect. You glue two sections of walls back to back to make a 4mm thick section, the glue it onto the base.

The base has been burnt to a dark brown, looking like earth, removing the need to paint, although you can if you wish. The laser etching on the brick work leaves a dark brown mortar line. The bricks are a buff colour. I thought about painting the bricks, but liked the look as they were, so left them. You could seal them.
Scale of the pieces with some Redline figures in the background

The pieces popped easily out of the frame with only a small attachment point. I didn't trim them as they seemed not too noticeable. The laser seals the edge and makes it a nice dark brown, you don't need to paint this. All the pieces fitted together firmly.

They have a clever way of doing the bases which allows walls to be joined up without needing T pieces or corner sections.

After glueing the pieces together, I added my usual coloured ballast base mix and some flock. On some of them I put glue on the walls and used coloured flock to simulate bushes and vines growing over them. The whole process of assembly and flocking took about an hour.

In the box you get just over 1.5m of walls which is very good value. There are
More scale shots, Redline Jaegers and an Old Glory Office

  • 12 x 60mm wall sections
  • 4 x 60mm damaged wall sections
  • 2 x 60mm large gate sections
  • 2 x 60mm small gate sections
  • 8 x 30mm wall sections
  • 4 x 30mm damaged wall sections

One packet is certainly enough to dress up a battlefield, two if you have lots of built up areas. I would even consider getting some to cut up to add to building bases.

While walls are not too hard to scratch build, I was impressed at the speed it took to get a quality item onto the table. It would have taken me many more hours to achieve this.

The quality of the walls is excellent. 4Ground seem to be adding lots of new products all the time. They have some very nice pre-painted kits for 28mm and 15mm.

I have asked if they could start a 10mm line with some accessories (wheels, walls, carts), some European style buildings or kits to add to foam blocks (doors windows, roofs). They seem interested but need a number of requests to start something new. If you are interested in 10mm stuff and like the look of their products, please write to them and encourage them to do some good work. I can see some very nice flat packed village sets for Russia or Belgium or Spain, or some walled farm kits. They are cheap to post, easy to make and look great on the table.

For more information see their website at www.4ground.co.uk

Finished section
Glued together

Closeup of the double gate

Basing ballast added

Monday, January 7, 2013

Napoleon's Waterloo Campaign: An alternate history - Book Review

It has been a while since my last post, I got distracted with other things. I haven't done much painting or gaming, but I did read an extraordinary book - Steven Marthinsen's "Napoleon's Waterloo Campaign : an alternate history".

One of the frustrating bits of reading about the 1815 Campaign is the sheer number of mistakes and blunders made by the different sides. It is easy with an armchair General's view of the world (with the luxury of hindsight) to say "Oh I would have done something different".

Marthisen's work is a careful narrative spread over two volumes and 773 pages with the premis of what would have happened if just one thing changed - what if Marshal Grouchy had let General Gerard and his IV Corps march to the sound of the guns on the 18th?

He startes the book with the scene between Grouchy, Gerard and Vandamme arguing on what to do. Without resolving this he goes back to cover the events leading up to the 16th June 1815 from multiple perspectives. Written with a deep understanding not only of the vents, but how soldiers think and feel during some very trying times. His descriptions of the struggle to maintain morale and reform broken troops, gives a fresh insights on the challenges of leadership in the time.

As Marthinsen moves through the events up to the 18th, he carefully slips in Grouchy's decision and take the reader on a new journey of the subtle difference and ultimately huge effect, this decision made.

The first book ends with a different outcome of Waterloo (which is renames Mount St Jean), still very close up until the last moment. The second focuses on the Battle of Ohain on the 19th between the French and Prussian armies. I don't really want to give too much away for the enjoyment of the reader, but I found it engaging.

I particularly enjoyed the description of the Jacquinot's lancer regiments cat and mouse game with a battery from the Prussian IV Corps. The careful sense of timing and understanding of on battle tactics was illustrated beautifully. IT would be something hard to replicate on the gaming table.

Each chapter is started with an eyewitness' account of the event of the chapter. I am sure the beginning ones are based on true accounts, but the latter works of fiction have seamlessly blended in.

His descriptions of the thought processes of the leadership and they struggle with less than perfect battle field intelligence are well described.

Marthinsen knows his details, not only of the events, but captures the feel of that climactic week. At the end he offers an opening to what might have been post 1815. As a bonus he gives a good OOB with strengths of both the battles of Mont St Jean and Ohain.

I would highly recommend this read to anyone interested in the era or who would like to game some historical fiction. The battle of Ohain is definately on my bucket list.

The book comes from Amazon by clicking the link on the above thumbnail.