SYW in 6mm – Project Update

I thought I’d post a general round-up of progress with this project.

I’m still working on these armies, but have made it to the point where I can play modest-sized games, which was always the first objective. I’m coming up to the half-way point with both the Prussians and the Austrians, and intend to keep chipping away at the remaining units.

So far I have completed 20 Austrian battalions and 12 cavalry units, plus some batteries and Grenzers. The Prussians are a little behind these numbers, but I will switch back to them soon to get them caught up. The flags keep slowing me down so I’m going to reward myself by doing more Grenadiers next, who of course generally don’t have them 🙂

A few pics of a recent tabletop outing, using the new under-scale buildings from Supreme Littleness:

 

 

 

 

 

More Supreme Littleness Buildings

I’ve finished off the rest of the buildings I ordered in December. This means I’ve now got 7 bases done, including a church and manor house/schloss. I think I’ll order more soon so that I can place 2-3 villages on the table. I may add a taller spire to the next church, and possibly a bigger surrounding wall, as per Leuthen.

Since painting the farm I’ve speeded the process up a bit by cutting out most of the half-timbering, which isn’t a very Silesian look anyway. I’ve basically just used a couple of dry-brushed colours, some washes for the windows, plus sand on the bases.

With some trees interspersed and some other bits and pieces, I think they’ll look the part.

They may even get used in a game this weekend!

 

Testing Downsized Buildings from Supreme Littleness Designs

Despite my intentions to make all the rustic buildings I need for my 6mm SYW setting, I have recently been tempted to drop down a scale for them. I think there’s a sliding scale for the aesthetics of matching buildings to figure size – and it relates to the size of the conflict being represented.

For skirmish games you need a good match, as the individual figures will generally interact closely with the buildings, sometimes even being placed inside them. For a big battle, the main problem with matching scale buildings is the footprint. You end up saying ‘this cottage represents the whole village’, etc, which is fine, but coupled with the towering height of the building over the supposedly substantial troop formations, this can jar a bit.

Others have taken the approach of going to the next ‘wargaming scale’ down for their buildings, and I’ve always been interested in this approach. Goat Major is putting 1/300 buildings with his 10mm DBN Napoleonics, and I’ve liked what the Baccus guys have done in the past with their miniature big battle show games, using 2mm buildings.

So, when I saw an advert for the new 3mm MDF buildings from Supreme Littleness Designs I decided they might just work with my Heroics & Ros armies, as these figures are a bit smaller than the more modern approach to ‘6mm’. I ordered a few packs from their central Europe range and they arrived very quickly via their friendly and efficient service.

I put the first one together, a partially walled farm on a 40x40mm base. Everything popped out of the pre-cut MDF sprue very easily and then I set-to with the glue. What I hadn’t realised was that the buildings come not as ‘boxes’ to be assembled, but rather as a sort of swiss roll that needs to be built up layer by (vertical) layer. This was a bit tricky, but I was probably just being inept. Adding the long side fascias helped align them better, but I didn’t manage to get them 100% right. Still, rural buildings don’t always adhere to straight lines do they?

First one assembled:

With a battalion of Prussians:

Painted (I added some timbers with the brush), with a bit of texture on the base:

 

I have more village and farm buildings to do, plus a church and a manor house. Most are about £2, which is very good value.

All in all I really like these models. They’re fun to put together and very easy to paint. Some climbers on walls, the odd tree drilled into the base, and some tactical dry-brushing, and they fit in well with my terrain and other scenery. In terms of size, I don’t think they look too small compared to the figures, although I won’t be sure until I’ve done enough to create a settlement from several bases. I also like the 40x40mm basing approach, which makes them modular and easy to place, and move when more space in a game grid square is required.

I’ll aim to get more done over the Christmas period and post again when I finish them.

Merry Christmas to everyone who’s visited this blog in 2016, your interest and encouraging comments are much appreciated. Have a good one.

One Hour Wargames – SYW

The blog’s been a bit quiet lately, but I do have some updates on recent games and painting efforts.

Since my previous posts in October about trying the rules and scenarios in Neil Thomas’ ‘One Hour Wargames’, there have been some further games and even a mini-campaign.

I wanted to play a series of linked games so wrote some simple campaign rules to govern the movement of various forces on a map and deal with the outcomes of battles, etc. I decided to go with a trusty square grid map, partly for convenience when it came to movement and terrain effects, and partly so I could use MS Excel to create it and avoid having to fall back on non-existent artistic skills.

I set the campaign in Silesia in about 1757, but created the specific local area to suit what I wanted. The outline was for the Austrians to invade Prussian-held territory and recapture the key town of Werthenstahl. Each side had 2-3 forces initially, with the potential for more to arrive later on.

The campaign starting positions – the Austrians are about to cross the river, for which they’ll need to lay a pontoon bridge in the north if they want to capture Felshelm early on.

The pontoon is successfully laid with a decent dice roll and this will now release the Prussians to move. Their main priority will be to get Force A underway to support the observation forces before they’re overwhelmed.

Last pic – the action has been going on for several turns and there have been 8 battles so far, using a variety of scenarios from the book. The latest encounter has seen Austrian Force C beaten and forced to retire. This will generate some relief for the Prussians who have been on the receiving end of a few defeats of their own.

The Force Strength tracker in the bottom right corner shows the relative size of each force on the map. Where they are the same, I play a 6 vs 6 unit scenario, where there is a difference of 1 strength I play a 6 vs 4 unit scenario, and where there’s a difference of 2 strength, the weaker force must withdraw or, if trapped, face scenario 30 Last Stand! I try to match the scenario and terrain to the general situation on the map, in terms of who’s attacking/defending, whether there’s a river involved, etc.

The campaign has been fun and has encouraged me to try similar things, with very simple campaign rules, in the future.





Recent Games

Last weekend my mate Jase and I played 3 stand-alone games, resulting in one marginal win and two draws, illustrating how well-balanced the scenarios are (or how mutually crap we both are at winning).

We re-visited Scenario 4 – Take the High Ground a couple of times, and then had a go at one with unbalanced forces; Scenario 20 – Fighting Retreat. Both scenarios are well designed and provide for interesting games.

Mid-game in Take the High Ground:

The Austrians decide to run for it in turn 1 of Fighting Retreat:

These games were very enjoyable and hit the spot in terms of providing some quick, challenging entertainment while drinking quite a lot of beer. 🙂

One Hour Wargames – Some Solo Games

I picked up a copy of Neil Thomas’ book a little while ago and the scenarios in particular looked interesting and worth a try. We used one in the recent first game of Sharp Practice 2, which worked well, and I fancied trying a few more. The rules included in the book are, obviously, designed to give simple games in under an hour. However, the design principles make a lot of sense and there are some clever touches. I thought I’d give them a go at the weekend, so dusted off some terrain boards and picked a few of my freshly painted SYW 6mm figures to give them their first outing.

I basically played these solo games ‘straight’, making the decisions for each side in turn, as I thought best at the time. The mechanisms are easy to learn and remember after the first couple of turns, and the tactical challenges made even small, simple games like these a lot of fun.

Games 1 & 2 (scenario 4 – Take the High Ground) Prussians vs Austrians on a 2’x2′ board

In the first game the Austrians pushed the Prussians off the hill and consolidated a decent line that was able to deal with the counter-attack. The cavalry pretty much took each other out along the road, and the Austrians secured a solid victory.

 

 

 

In the re-match the outcome was much the same although the Prussians put up a stiffer fight, only to be cleared off the hill again!

 

Games 3 & 4 (scenario 5, Bridgehead) Prussians vs Austrians again.

A more interesting scenario this one. Both sides receive reinforcements in the early turns – the Prussians (top) were coming on randomly from 3 potential arrival points while the Austrians were having to cross at the bridge to join the action and hold the crossing. Both sides need to clear the enemy from the north bank of the river.

I decided to make the board look a little less plain, with some additional terrain features that were just for show and could be moved a little if they got in the way.

The Austrians put up a good fight but the Prussians, coming from both directions, kept them penned in near the bridge. Prussian artillery fire and cavalry charges caused some damage and the Austrian Grenzers couldn’t make sufficient use of the wood to disrupt the Prussians. In the end it was a victory to the Prussians as they closed the vice and cleared the Austrians from the north bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game 4 also saw a Prussian victory, despite the sides being swapped round. The Austrian arrival point rolls (4 units coming on from the west behind the wood) allowed the Prussians to spread out to the east and gain room to operate. They managed to drive north and destroy the Austrians piecemeal. Again the Austrians had suffered from a bit of a traffic jam, and this prevented them from forming a more coherent line to maximise their firepower.

 

 

 

 

The green numbered markers next to units denote hits suffered (collect 15 and you’re dead). The one on the yellow background is my turn counter.

Even with just 6 units a side (some scenarios give one side fewer units than this) these scenarios still deliver a challenge and no two games are the same. I was keen to try out some of the other periods for which rules are provided, so in the next post there will some pics of a couple of further One Hour games, this time set in the era of Pike and Shot.

Some Progress on the 6mm SYW Armies

I’ve been carrying on with painting the Prussians and Austrians for this project, and the forces are growing slowly but steadily.

I’m aiming to develop the armies in reasonable proportions so I can get some use out of them as they expand – in other words I’m not painting all the cavalry first, for example. The Austrians have received the most attention so far, partly because they were starting from scratch, and partly because a fair number of the Prussians need re-basing which isn’t a lot of fun!

For the Austrians I’m painting in batches comprising 5 infantry, 4 cavalry, 1 artillery battery and 1 Grenzer unit, plus commanders. I have about 7 or 8 of these batches to do to end up with the overall army I’m after. I’m currently painting the infantry that will complete batch 3.

Austrians so far:

 

 

For the Prussians the batches are a little smaller, due to the make-up of the army. They’re running a batch behind the Austrians – although there’ll be some quicker catching up once I’ve done a bunch of re-basing.

The Prussians so far:

 

 

 

I’ve found myself putting a bit more effort into the flags than I thought I would, no bad thing I guess. They’ll certainly do for me. I wasn’t going to do anything more for cavalry standards than just paint the base colour but I’ve done a bit more for the first Prussians and may now have to go back to do something on the Austrian ones too.

Lots more to do, but I’ll get there eventually!

SYW Progress

Recently I’ve been doing some prep on the next batches for my 6mm SYW project. I was spurred on to base up some more units when I realised I had nothing actually ready to paint!

So, the next batch consists of 5 more Austrian musketeer battalions, 2 dragoon units, a Grenzer unit and a couple of generals.

 

When I finish this lot I’ll have just over 30 Austrian units done, and will then focus on the Prussians until they’ve caught up. Fortunately, a fair few of the Prussians are already painted and just need re-basing, some touching up, and new flags.

While getting these prepared, I’ve also made a start on my central European buildings, which will be used for the villages of Saxony, Bohemia and Silesia in the SYW, and for other 6mm projects where I need some scenery like this. The bulk of the buildings will be generic single storey thatched houses with some timbering. I’m not going to overdo the timbering for the same reason I’m steering clear of tiled roofs – I can’t be bothered with all the extra work!

Here’s my first attempt. 30x20x20mm, made from card with a plaster/filler thatch. I know most thatched roofs are

Painted in fairly muted tones:

 

And here’s the rest in pre-fab kit form:

Yes, I appreciate that this pile will take a bit of assembling!

I’ll also be adding a few different structures, including some larger barns, and a couple of churches etc. There will also be paddock fences to flesh out the settlements a little. I want to be able to place several villages on the table when required, to reflect the types of battlefields that were fought over.

Hopefully working on these buildings will offer a nice break from painting the figures themselves, and I can progress with both aspects of the project in parallel.

I’m aiming for a game or two with this collection by the end of the ‘summer’. We’ll see…

A Small Big Bridge

Although I made my riverbank terrain sections some time ago, and have bridges for 15mm and 28mmm, I have only just gotten around to making a bridge to get across it for 6mm games. I do have a couple of pontoon bridges, but nothing fixed and proper, as many a good scenario demands.

So, yesterday I did a quick bit of measuring and quickly started marking out and cutting some card. I was after a useful generic stone bridge that would serve for all my 6mm gaming from the mid-17th century up to the present day (should I ever dabble again with Moderns, or even WW2). I would normally have gone for something a bit narrower, but my recent SYW efforts in this scale have generated figure bases 24mm wide, so I decided the new bridge would have to be wide enough for these.

With about 90-100mm of river to span, I decided on a flat roadbed rather than anything fancy, largely due to my modelling limitations. A few arches would add some visual appeal and, although curves are never easy with a knife and card, it went OK. I could also mask the dodgy cutting with some arch stones made from thick paper.

I made the structure first and then added the road layer (a thin piece of card) after.

 

Everything was black undercoated first and the stone got a couple of shades of grey, plus some light weathering with a pale buff shade. I textured the road with sand and painted it to match my terrain.

The finished bridge:

I may return to this model later to add a removable customs house/arch at one end, which I think would be a nice touch.

Here it is being made use of, by Austria’s finest (not my usual river board but it’ll serve):

 

Now, back to those Heroics & Ros!

6mm Camps and Buildings

A tabletop battlefield can sometimes look better with a bit of relevant clutter on it (especially if kept conveniently out of the way of the action). To that end I’ve been working on some 6mm camp bases that I can use in a number of periods, from Renaissance to the 19th century.

I’m mixing some Baccus metal tents, including their nice command tents, with some simple scratchbuilt ones I made a while ago but am just in the process of re-painting.

Here’s the first batch, Baccus in the background, my own in front. Mine are a bit bigger, but I think they look OK together on the table. They’re just intended to give a sense of the big army camps anyway. To be honest, I think a Baccus miniature would have to remove his over-sized headgear, and possibly even his head, to actually fit inside the smaller tents! 😉

 

And here’s everything finished:

 

I have some ideas for how these camps may play a part in certain types of scenario. I’m thinking of things like the night (or even the morning) before some battles in history, like Blenheim for example, where the scouting out of the enemy’s camp formed part of the attacking general’s battle plan.

There may be some scope to have a the defending player set out his camp as a pre-game indication of his army’s dispositions, from which he will have to deploy on the day of battle. Having 2 styles of tent rows, in addition to the command tent bases, will allow for distinction between infantry and cavalry formations. One to try out sometime, perhaps with the SYW project when it hits the table.

I’ve also managed to paint (well, dry-brush really) a couple of Timecast buildings. Here are a rustic railway station and a generic wooden barn (I think it’s from their WW2 Russian range so I tried to cover the drain pipes with foliage to make it less period-specific!)

White Christmas

I’m not the only blogger to use this title this December – great minds think alike Phil O. 🙂

Naturally this isn’t a festive reference (as I haven’t finished work yet and am therefore not fully in the spirit), it’s about the next batch of SYW Austrians I’ve completed.

These are the first brigade of infantry, which includes a couple of battalions of grenadiers and 3 of musketeers. I do need to paint a brigadier, who’ll be along shortly.

 

I’m building the armies in brigade-sized batches, so that they grow in logical proportions and so that I can keep my interest up by switching between infantry and cavalry, Prussian and Austrian, and add the relevant commanders at the same time.

Next, though, will be some Austrian artillery and elite horse grenadiers for variety.