A Few More Colonials

I wanted to finish off the rest of the figures I’d prepared before and since Ayton, and here they are. These will be seeing some action (hopefully soon) in my 1830s Medetian colonial setting, using the Sharp Practice rules.

First, some RSMs kindly donated from Andy’s cavernous spares box. Two will naturally be Big Men (ie. leaders) for Sharp Practice.

 

The last of the Gripping Beast Arabs:

Artillery crew converted from Gripping Beast Arabs:

 

Finally, an officer for my Fleurian artillery (Victrix plastic):

 

Junk!

Granted, not an original post name.

At the AMG weekend a few people brought along things to sell/dispose of and I picked this up from Paul for a few quid. It’ll fit in nicely with my non-specific colonial setting, either as an operational vessel for the locals or just as a nice piece of scenery. I gave it a dust, added the masts, and repainted the black bits. And that’s it, ready to go. 🙂

 

More Colonial Irregulars

I’m planning to get as much use as I can out of the Gripping Beast plastic Arabs I painted for Ayton, which means using them for colonial games too. Yes, there are a few too many bows in evidence, but I’m not really bothered. That said, I’m adding some musket-armed figures to bring them a bit more up to date!

These are from First Corps’ SYW in India range. They’re a bit shiny despite 2 coasts of varnish but hey. I’ve used the same colour scheme as the medieval types and they should fit together OK.
I’ve painted, but yet to base, a further 6 plastic guys with spears, which takes me to 44 figures. I think I need another half pack from First Corps to get me to 48 (and increase the musket count), which will make a healthy total of 4 Sharp Practice groups of Wallahs.
Additionally there are 4 plastic figures I’ve done as artillery crew, which I just need to base too.
When done, I’ll get the whole lot together, with the leaders and cavalry, for a photo shoot. Then I just need to finish some scenery and we’re off to the conquer some jungle-clad islands in the name of Medetia!  🙂

The Dreaded Re-basing

We all hate it, but most of us have to (well, choose to!) do it from time to time. This one was worth the effort as I wanted my irregular sepoys to be on single rather than multi- bases so that they work better for Sharp Practice. They can still go onto sabots for games where they need to form up in a battalion.

They’re RSM figures, a mix of their Ottoman figures with some minor conversions in the form of weapons added to hands. They’ve seen service in several games, as a battalion made up of 6 bases of 5. With a couple of spares kindly donated by Count Belisarius I will be able to make 4 groups of 8 or 3 of 10 (militia) for Sharp Practice.

Then: the ‘soak the mdf base in water’ method:

Now: on 20mm washers:

Much happier!

Some Arab Artillery Crew

With the Gripping Beast Arab infantry painted for the Ayton weekend I decided to use a few of the remaining figures for something else.

Plastic figures are fairly easy to convert (the drilling is easier for a start!) so I have produced 4 artillery crew for my planned foray into 19th century imagi-nations colonial gaming. I’ve equipped them with items from Minden/Crann Tara artillery packs, plus a powder keg and some cannon balls.

They’ll be painted to match the rest, nice and simple in black with white turbans.

The final 6 figures have been assembled as more bow/spear guys, which I’ll paint at the same time.

Sharp Practice 2 – The Raid – Part 2

In December my friend and I played the first of a 2-part scenario – see the write-up here

A week or so ago we played the remaining part, which saw the Medetian rearguard holding the bridge that the village raiding force would need to use in order to return to the ship. The bridge defence force had been determined by Jase at the start of the first game and contained a bit of a mix of army and naval types.

Jase deployed with a perimeter of 2 groups of line infantry on one side of the river, and a group of Bersaglieri plus the gun (in a central position, on a rise giving a good view in most directions) on the other. He kept a reserve of 2 groups of sailors – at the pub, naturally. He had supporting assets in the form of a Holy Man and a handy additional Level 1 leader.

As dawn broke my Fleurian patrols converged on the bridge. I would be rolling for their arrival points, and had decided to split my force into a cavalry command (2 groups) and an infantry one (1 group of Grenadiers, 2 of Line infantry and 1 of skirmishers). As it happened these 2 commands came on from opposite sides of the table, but due to some freakish card drawing (early Tiffin cards after 3 re-shuffles) no-one actually appeared until the 4th turn. I should have ruled that the sailors would by now be too pissed to fight, but it didn’t occur to me at the time!

My cavalry came on at a canter and presented the defenders with quite a shock. I should probably have held back and kept the horsemen as a threat but, being a typical wargamer, I decided to seize the moment and move to charge the infantry guarding the bridge. Unfortunately one group was seen off completely by a volley from their intended target, aided by accurate rifle fire from the Bersaglieri hidden in the trees on the other side of the river. Scratch one flank then (although I did get the other group to charge late in the game, to their doom!)

On the other side of the table, my pretty 2-group formation was hammered on its approach by canister from the gun, despite my other groups trying to pin down the artillerymen with musketry. By the time I got the line close enough to do some damage it was being hit from all angles, as the nearest sailors joined in the fun from the pub garden. I did see off the gun crew in the end, but losses and shock meant the game was up for the Fleurians and they skulked away, leaving the Medetian raiders free to return via the bridge and make a successful withdrawal back to their ship – and home for tea and medals. Well done Jase, 2 out of 2!

 

 

This was another good fun game of Sharp Practice, and we are becoming more confident we’re playing the rules properly (at least most of the time). Hopefully we’ll return to the fray in a few weeks.

Warbases MDF Gun

Since painting the Warbases engineer cart I thought I’d move on to the the artillery piece kit next. The carriage is all MDF and the gun is metal. It represents a French piece of the Gribeauval system. I’m not expert on artillery models, but it does the job just fine for me. I’ve already painted the limber that comes with this kit, and overall I think it’s excellent value for an outlay of a few quid (£4.50).

I’ll use it as a generic piece for either side in my imagi-nations games, most likely in a colonial setting. If I need any more, I’ll be back to Warbases for sure.

 

More Sharp Practice 2 – A Raid Scenario

Varesi, the Medetian Lieutenant of Engineers, never had liked the bad-tempered nag that pulled his equipment cart. It was ironic then, when it fell on him and the two of them died together on the outskirts of Auterlin. Such are the fickle outcomes that games of Sharp Practice can produce, and a good laugh they provide too.

Last weekend Jase and I returned to the post-Napoleonic conflict between Medetia and Fleurie and played a game of Sharp Practice 2. I devised the plot for a 2-part scenario, and we played through the first game. The second will hopefully take place early in the new year.

The Medetians have landed an assault party on the Fleurian coast with orders to march inland, cross (and hold) a bridge – which will be the scene of game 2 – and destroy part of the enemy’s siege train which is temporarily holed up at the village of Auterlin.

Selecting 5 groups of infantry (a mix of grenadiers, line and bersaglieri) and an engineer team from his overall force, Jase took command of the Medetians and set off on his mission. As the Fleurian commander I had 4 infantry groups and a light gun with which to defend the important heavy guns, ammunition and powder.

The scene of the impending action, as dawn approaches:

The siege guns outside the church, which was being used to store the powder and shot:

 

On the first 2 turns the Tiffin card came up before any significant forces had deployed onto the table. I managed to get the Fleurian light gun crew woken up and assembled in the village square, which was to be very helpful in the early stages of the game.

Before long, though, the Medetians had arrived, formed up in a couple of formations, with skirmishers moving among the trees and Lieutenant Varesi bringing up the rear with his engineers and cart (and its horse).

A bonus move (4 command flag cards being played at once) allowed the commander, Major Corvina, to get everyone dashing towards the village at the double. Goaded into action, the horse shouldered Varesi out of the way and left the Lieutenant sprawled face down in the dirt and being left behind…

With few Fleurians as yet on the table and the Medetians coming on fast, the light gun opened up with canister and did some damage to the lead formation. This slowed things down and gave the rest of the Fleurian force time to make an appearance.

Fortunately for me, my main force then arrived and took up positions to prevent the enemy from reaching the church. The first Medetian controlled volley, however, hammered the Grenadiers and sent them reeling back from the lane, to try to rally behind the cottage.

The shooting seemed more deadly than in previous games we’ve played, with lots of 6s coming up and plenty of casualty removal. This was pretty evenly divided between both sides, so things remained in the balance for some time as various groups took up positions and continued to fire away at each other.

A Fleurian patrol came on from the table edge and started to make its presence felt, distracting the enemy’s Bersaglieri for a few turns.

Things got more interesting when a group of armed locals, led by a monk, decided to intervene when the Medetians finally entered the village. Their timing was good, as they plugged a gap left by a shot-up and routing group of infantry.

Varesi’s big (and last) moment came when the engineers responded to an order to advance and dashed forward at an unexpected pace, leaving them squarely in the sights of both Fleurian infantry and a fully loaded gun! Engineers went down like nine-pins and the Lieutenant was wounded. Almost inevitably the next card out of the re-shuffled pack led to another volley. The horse took the brunt, falling dead and crushing the hapless officer. Thus, their uneasy relationship was brought to a grim end.

As time wore on and Force Morale levels started to drop, the Medetians moved in to decide the issue at close quarters.

With bayonets fixed, Major Corvina bravely follows his men in a charge intended to put the villagers firmly back in their place..

 

Heroically they slaughtered the lot with no loss to themselves. Interestingly, the Fleurian Voltigeurs (top right of the picture below) subsequently charged the Medetians, and not one of the figures in this picture survived the game, including the Major who was killed with the rest of his men. Fisticuffs sounds a bit like ‘handbags’ but it’s VERY bloody in SP2!

Below – pretty much the end of the game, with the last Fleurians about to relinquish the village and the siege train to the victorious attackers. Both sides’ Force Morale took a tumble with the losses from fisticuffs, but the Fleurians hit zero first and that was that. We agreed that it was probably a good thing that the remaining engineers didn’t have to actually attempt to blow the church in-game, as with the way their luck/competence had been so far, it would have inevitably ended in catastrophe!

So, a posthumously successful mission for the Major, and now they’d have to get back to their ship via the bridge that their colleagues were hopefully still holding. This will be the focus of game 2, when Fleurian patrols try to cut off the invaders from the coast.

The game was great fun, played in the best of company.

Warbases Engineers’ Wagon

Another nice model kit from Warbases, this wagon was quick to put together (once I’d worked out the assembly order). Everything fitted neatly and the engineers’ equipment load can remain loose for removal when not required.

Great value and perfect for Sharp Practice, either as a general wagon, engineer option, or just as a piece of scenery.

 

Sharp Practice 2 – Game 2: Spy Hunt

So, on to the second game of the weekend. We did some mild shuffling of the terrain and scenery and came up with a simple plot for the game.

Word has reached the respective HQs of both armies that a brave/notorious (depending on your point of view) female spy has been exposed (ooh-er) nearby, and both sides have dispatched a small force to bring her in before the enemy can get to her. Despite their recent exertions, the two forces from the first game are the closest troops to hand, and they are duly ordered into action once more.

On the run, the spy has gone into hiding in one of the cottages (placed in secret by a neutral assistant we drafted in for the purpose) in the small border hamlet of Frinchy. We’d have to enter and search (defined in the rules as a Task) these buildings in order to discover her, and naturally there’d be some violent competition to get there first.

The table for ‘Spy Hunt’, with initial troop positions after their turn 1 arrival via their deployment points:

Jase’s Fleurian skirmishers and line infantry move rapidly towards Frinchy.

My Medetians were busy doing likewise at the other end of the table. Somewhat freakishly, both players managed to collect 4 command cards before the end of the first turn and both used them to activate their force commander a second time, granting them useful extra movement for their troops.

A unit of Fleurian Voltigeurs made quick progress to the nearest cottage and looked poised to enter and start searching. However, they hadn’t counted on Brevet-Lieutenant Lambrusco leading his Bersaglieri rifles at speed to cross a fence and deliver a crushing volley which downed several men including Ensign Jacquere (who only came-to at the end of the battle to find that while he’d been out of action, his small group had been reduced to a single man!)

In the following turns Lambrusco left his men to cover the door while he dashed inside to check the premises for the elusive spy. Despite a quick, thorough search, he came up empty-handed.

Meanwhile, in the middle of the village things were hotting up. The Fleurians managed to take up some useful positions, hurting the Medetians with effective fire and knocking out their force commander, Captain Gattinara.

 

This left the Medetians with a command and control problem at a crucial time and they continued to come off worse in the on-going exchange of volleys. The leading column was halted, with casualties and shock building up. Another group under veteran Sergeant Fiorentina did manage to enter one of the other cottages to search it, but were badly shot up as they made their way inside.

Again they found nothing (albeit this was unknown to the Fleurian player) and clearly this meant that the spy was in the building that was currently surrounded by Fleurians. Damn!

By this time the Fleurian leader, Captain Corbieres, had established a strong central position and used a couple more flurries of command cards to very good effect. He was able to detach a group under Sergeant Luberon (whose derriere seemed to have recovered since the last game), who redeemed himself by duly locating the spy and escorting her at great speed through the trees and away from the fighting.

The Medetians tried to press forward to harry the enemy’s withdrawal but struggled to make headway. Captain Gattinara rose groggily back to his feet but could do little to get a pursuit underway quickly enough. The Fleurians had won the race to find the spy and the firing petered out as they fell back the way they’d come.

Post-Action Round-up

After the game we drew a card to see which side the lady in question had been spying for, to ascertain her likely fate now she had been discovered. As (her) luck would have it, she turned out to be working for the Fleurians and therefore the outcome was a successful rescue of their own heroine! The men on the ground wouldn’t have been privy to this information when they received their orders, they just had to carry out their mission as best they could.

So, glory for Corbieres and little for the Medetians this time, but there’d be another chance to win some honour soon enough. I’m keeping a bit of a tally on the leaders (Big Men) that are involved in my Sharp Practice games. There are chances to win promotion or receive awards for valour, and one or two are getting close to qualifying. Whether they can do so before making the ultimate sacrifice remains to be seen!

Similarly, the ‘Black Widow’, as I’ve decided to (code)name our spy, might return to be the subject of a future game…

One post-game note: neither my musician nor Jase’s Holy Man had any impact in either game, circumstances just didn’t give us a chance to call on their potentially beneficial effects. Next time perhaps!