Sunday, 29 December 2013

Make ready!...Merry Christmas...Fire!

 A little known episode in the permanent struggle between Napoleon and Wellington of which His Grace the Duke said "The internet has captured the essence of the struggle betwixt I and the upstart Bonaparte". Napoleon himself, when ask about this epic side-show with the Duke said "Who?".
Now for the detail. The action in this continuing saga of the 'Campaign of Pointless Emergency of 18 umpteen' takes place in the Eastern European state of Plasticova. Sandwiched as it is between Brazil and the Arctic Circle and at the heart of the vital cheese artery direct to France, control will determine the outcome of the baget industry.
'Listen mush. Put it up or put it away, but stop waving it about or you'll have someone's eye out'
Those well know Australian warriors, Wellington, Uxbridge, Picton and Gordon gallop up to greet the troops filing through the town of Mincerville towards Chewemup Valley. The state was founded by 7ft Neanderthal pygmy's in the 4th C. These fine figures of men on horses are from 'Jacksarge' (see blog on my blogroll - mention my name to get free raspberry and a choice of two fingernails - excellent, quick job, very reasonable prices, also available in pink)
'Onwards you thieves, you blackguards...'

'Take that man's name sgt major. No one calls me that except my mum.'

 The forces shake out across the valley from each other.
 The French defend Itsmy Hill and the bridge crossing the Dunkemin River the direction from which their reinforcements will be expected to come.
 Three French divisions of infantry and one of cavalry oppose three Anglo-German infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions. If the Allies stop the river traffic no cheese will get down into the Beer Straight to Port Bladder. No Beer Straight to Bladder will mean hard cheese for the French.
 Napoleon (the short fat one on a horse) survey's the field and then shouts across to his subordinates...
'Ang on mes amis! Je thought today was le car boot sale? I'll never flog these canon spares today!
 It will be hard going for the defending French.
 Two up and a Nassau Division in reserve
 Plenty guns.
 Eagerly, the 8th Foot and Mouth Rangers march into the valley. Clearly they misheard something about beer.
 The Prussian contingent under Herr Dye the dashing cavalry General take the Allied left flank.
 Skirmishers deploy a la Shako 2. Allies advance.
 Voltigeurs prepare to do battle for no man's land.
 French deployment on Itsmy Hill.
 On the other end of the table the potential French reinforcements are arrayed.
 Allied third division takes up position.
 ...And we're off...First casualty, a chicken falls dead on the general's hat.
 Cuirassiers versus Hussars gets the expected result.
 The Allied cavalry expects a high loss rate against such a heavy division but it must press on to try and push around the enemy position.
 Cuirassiers down but not out. Three hits (one large dead horse marker) and blown (small standing horse marker) but still deadly.
 A clash of arms at 2:1 in the Allies favour but quality will out.
 The proximity of the cavalry showdown forces the French to square.
 Nassau Division swings in to support the right flank which is under direct infantry attack.
 Mini grand battery makes its presence felt....
 Working like stink to buckle the Allied centre.
 British skirmishers harass the French squares. They've brought a small pear tree and (seeing as it's Christmas) keep asking for the loan of a partridge.
 The guns are forced to use grape to try and keep the skirmishers at bay.
 Up come the Allied foot artillery.
 Once more unto the breach, or fill it with our German dead.
 Col. Julian Marjoribanks-Winthrop-Smythe leads his reserve division onward (actually, he would like them to stop going forward but can't make himself understood. He keeps coughing politely to get attention but just keeps accumulating cough sweets from thoughtful subordinates)
 Swapping canon balls as the infantry closes.
 Push comes to shove...
 Front battalion's take a beating...
 ...in with the next...and again a repulse.
 So, in go the elite 1st Bn. the Cross Dressing Regt. (in tartan as the QM has run out of pink gingham) a catchy jazz number on the pipes despite smudging their mascara)
 The depleted French left is battered mercilessly as the reserve is elsewhere. RHA waltz up and pummel the stuffing out of the centre squares.
 On the right the Foot guns make an impact.
 ...and finally the Allies are on the hill...
 British heavy cavalry charge two into one line...but are beaten back!
 However, the road around the French left flank is open and the cavalry get between them and the bridge.
 As in the Great War the victory conditions are heavily dependant on the railway timetables (the French keep looking at their watches). Pressure is still pinning the French right and their left is hanging in the wind...
 ...but they are still a fighting force at the end of the battle, still in control of the hill (well partly)
 ...and the end of the battle is when one of the Billy's says "Well we'd better go for our train then..."
 So, the Emperor can breathe again...having found a buyer for his canon spares.
 Are these Allies I see before me? On the hill once belonging to the French? Still, a victory condition is a victory condition and if Adolf had got peace in 1940 it would have been a one all draw for the first half of the century sweepstake.
 Well done to the French ...he said through gritted teeth...
Look at that. KGL cavalry in their rear. Oh, for a later train.

French reinforcement had two routes open to them out of six. It needed only to roll a 2 or a 3. I rolled a 1, 4 and two 5's...That's wargaming for you. Still, the battle saw Beer Straight to Bladder and the French still eat cheese.

My thanks to the usual Billy's and Colin (on a bicycle) who braved the Scottish weather, disrupted rail services high winds and flooding to play with toy soldiers. Madness, sheer madness.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Let's make Belgians! Ho ho ho! Off with their heads...Very basic conversions

 French Infantry figure by Airfix. Ever wondered what to do with all those spare ones? Well, in the spirit of Blue Peter (foreigners please google) here's one I did earlier...
 Hat, the new kids on the block as all you hip cats down at the discoteque call them, thoughtfully provide extra's in their figure sets. The British Peninsular set provides these Belgic shako heads.
 This is a pin vice. One of the most useful modelling tools you will ever own....what do you mean? "I don't have one". Buy one. Buy one now. Stop looking at the screen and buy one NOW.
 Put in a drill bit slightly larger than the peg of the neck. Cut the head off (exciting bit) the figure as flat a cut as you can manage. The angle doesn't matter only that the cut is flat. Drill in the middle of the cut deeper into the body than the peg, double depth if you can manage without giving the figure an exit wound.
 Super glue the head on...d'uh. If you try to use a mini electric modelling drill mistakes are very easily made and the spin speed tends to melt the hole into awkward shapes.
 Prime the figure, then paint in the usual way....
Swaps can be made, obviously, without the custom Hat heads with the pegs. Just take any head you want to swap. Cut flat at the neck. Get a paper clip and cut off a length twice as long as the peg in this picture. Gently grip the head in a pair of pliers, padded with masking tape, and drill into the head. Glue in the paper clip rod and carry out the same procedure as above.

Belgic shakos on French bodies make good Belgians and passable Portuguese. Once you are happy with the practice of head swapping the world is your lobster.

So long as you pin as well as glue you can swap torsos, arm and legs. It's also a good way of putting unwilling riders onto their mounts.

Coming up....

-The Christmas game
-My acquisitions from Jacksarge...
-The Christmas haul
- The French foot limber adjustment (back and to the left...back and to the left)