Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Making a Mat Part 2

So today I knocked the flock off the mat.  I decided I should really spray down the mat with Dollar store Extra Hold hair spray.  It's a fairly common cheap way of keeping the grass on a large scenic base or, in this case, mat.  The down side is that 2 hours after spraying the entire thing down, my basement still smells of hairspray...

Anyway, so here are the picks taken after I banged off the flock and sprayed it down with cheap hairspray.

Close up of a denser area of Grass

Close up of a Sparser area of Grass

 Then I set up a bit of a table for Napoleonics, to see how it looks. I think it turned out pretty well. here are some pics.

I'm satisfied with out it turned out.

 Someone on commenting yesterday's post mentioned ironing the cloth before hand. I wish I had thought of that before  beginning, as either are 1 or 2 places where the sheet was folded  that are visible.

In the future if I make another one, I think I'll stay away from the drop cloths. they have thick seams tunning down the middle where they joined 2 pieces.  these were a bit hard to hide.  I figure that if I time it right I can get a piece of 5 foot wide canvas (or similar material) that has no seams and requires no ironing for maybe $10-ish  more.

so that is one more project out of the way. I look forward to getting a few guys over for a game!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Making a Terrain Mat

Since I moved to Edmonton last fall, I haven't done much Historical gaming.  Part of this is the group that is here, but part of it was also a combination of my looking to do something different.  However, my favourite period is Napoleonics, and I like big games.  I had the table space but  I did not have a larege enough game mat to  play a big Napoleonic game.

I set out to make myself a 12x5' game mat to host big napoleonics on.  my biggest hurdle was getting the scenic grass i wanted.  I Picked up a shaker of Scenic Express EX881 Summer Grass blend  "flock and Turf"  last spring while i was at Cold Wars .  the stuff is a mixture of coarseness's   of flock and turf  but the green is a nice bright green like the original GW Static grass.   it's really nice looking. 

the problem with scenic Express Products is they are not distributed in Canada, nor does scenic express apparently ship here either.  while searching the internet i found a website called Model Train Stuff  which sells scenic express Products.   I ordered 4 "Eco"bags of 48oz grass.  their estimated shipping time was 2+ weeks, but it arrived in less then 10 days!  The service was good, they let me know when it shipped and provided a tracking number.  I'll definitely consider buying stuff from them again.

anyway, I also bought myself a new Phone, which i used to take the pics of the mat making process. but before I began I wanted to test it's usefulness at taking pictures of miniatures, so i stepped over to my display case and took a single shot of my small ECW collection, and this was the result (of one try only). I was quite satisfied.

The earl of Essex and company. all Warlord Games figures.

anyway, on to hte mat making.  I decided to go with a process i have raed about of several blogs and post on The Miniatures Page.  you take a peice of cloth (in this case a Canvas Dropcloth form home Depot) and coat it with a combination of Acrylic Caulk with latex, Latex paint, and some sand.  then before it dries you cover it in teh flock/grass and pat it down.

Here is a lsit of everything i used:

4x48 oz  Scenic Express "Flock and Turf" Summer Grass Blend (plus shaker I had around, $60)
12x 300ml DAP Alex caulk( a contractor pack, $25)
1x 1 gallon of CIL flat brown paint( $30)
1x Everbilt 12x9' canvas Dropcloth($36)
1x 5 gallon orange Home Depot Bucket.($4)
4x handfuls of concrete sand
1x random piece of plastic from  window blinds i found in the back room(to stir, Free)

Total cost in Materials was $155 CDN.

I did not include the sand because i didn't use much (4 handfuls?)  and it's from a 10KG bag of concrete sand i bought like 8 years ago for another project.  but a bag of the sand will run you about 10-15 bucks.

I doubt you could by a 12x5 mat for that price.


first i laid out the dropcloth on my table, and cut it down to a little over 5 feet wide.  the Cloth is actually  about 3 inches short of 12 feet.

Cloth laid out and cut to size

Next I grabbed my caulking Gun and squeezed all 12 caulking tubes into the bucket.
Empty caulking tubes(right) and their former contents(left)

I then added a little less tehn half a gallon of the Brown paint and started Mixing.  I added 4 hand fulls of sand, one at a time, after teh caulking and paint ad been thoroughly mixed.

Mixed caulking, paint and sand.

Using a pair of Latex Gloves, i  spread the mixture over the dropcloth by hand. if you put it on too thin you see the texture of the canvas.  but it doesn't need to be really thick either. the dropcloth had some seams in it is i made it thicker around those to help hid them.

Mat partially grassed.

I then began sprinkling the grass on the mat by hand.  I didn't want full coverage, but at the same time i don't want a lot of the caulk and sand to show through, since it won't be dry brushed or have any depth. but you still want some showing through.

the Mat fully grassed

the total time from laying out the cloth to finishing the grassing was about 2.5 hours.

I'm pretty pleased with the results so-far.  The mat is still drying as i write this, so I'll post again when the mat is dry and i can get some closeups of the final result.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Prussian Conundrum.

lately I've not been painting much, but what i have been painting has been mostly sci fi. But last night's Lasalle game( battle report is in the works), got my Napoleonic juices flowing again.

I was hit by another bout of insomnia last night, so i decided to pull out some Perry Prussians to paint.  I completed half a battalion(including the command) and realized I had no flags to use for them. so I set about looking for suitable bits to make my flags.

the research is a little sketchy. i was mostly relying on pictures on warflag with a few places cross referenced.
1st east Prussian infantry, 2nd battalion?

The first 2 flags I've done are teh 2nd battalion of the 1st  and 2nd East Prussian Regiments( 1st and 3rd infantry regiments, respectively), i think. The 1st battalion flags(Avancier fahne?) seem to be essentially inverted colours. so the 1st east Prussian 1st battalion flag would be white field instead of black,  teh eagle would be gold, with the white around it black.

2nd East Prussian Regiment, 2nd battalion?
the order of battle I'm using for the force i chose is the from the Battle of Leipzig.  Army of Silesia, Prussian I corps, 2nd Brigade. under the command of General-Major Prinz Karl Von Mechlembourg-Strelitz.  depending on the source there are 2 or 3 battalions each of the 1st and 2nd East Prussian regiments.  but in my research on flags I've only seen mention of the 1st and 2nd battalion. so which flags would the 3rd battalion use?

Unfortunately I'm currently unemployed so my sources are a little lacking at the moment. any help anyone can give would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Settled in Edmonton and New Room Set Up.

I've been in edmonton for 2 months now.  Things are starting to settle down a bit.  I've managed to get most of my gaming stuff unpacked.  and i've picked up some display cases and shelves to equip my " computer cave".

the 4 utility shelves arranged along the 12 foot wall. 
my  computer desk is in the opposite wall at the end.

The week after we moved into the new house,  Home Depot was having a sale on black plastic utility shelving.  $27 per unit.  I grabbed 4. they are 18" deep and 36"(3') long. they fit perfectly on one wall, as the wall is 12' long.  nearly all my miniatures, terrain, and supplies fit on them. On the opposite wall there is an alcove that is 6' wide, and 32" deep.

The Alcove, After furnishing

I picked up 2 Detolf display cabinets a few weeks ago form Ikea.  I was back down in that area last week, so I picked up a pair of Dioder lighting kits.  This past weekend I was in Canadian Tire and they had a bookshelf on sale that perfectly fit the space I had left over.  My books finally have a home!

so with that my little room is complete.  I bought 4 folding 6' x 2.5' tables, which i can set up in the main basement area(rec room) for games.  My only problem at the moment is that i don't have a gaming mat big enough to cover all the tables.  So now i have to come up with a plane for a 5'x12' gaming mat!  Always a major project in the works!

I have done some painting in the last month.  I painted up a unit of 8  foundry continental Infantry for the forthcoming  AWI project, using Muskets and Tomahawks.

first unit of the 2nd Pennsylvania regiment
 I've found after several playtests that using the "varied" unit sizes in the main book doesn't work well.  Because of the way the rules represent firing,  a max sized unit of 12 line will crush an 8 man  of rangers, or any other irregular force(other the light infantry).  sure, irregulars have better firing, but if the line unit has 50% more fire, the better to-hit is irrelevant.  now this is more pronounced in the more irregular forces (rangers, Couriers de bois, various riflemen, militias etc)which are limited to max units of 8, or sometimes 6.  i know many of these units are supposed to be weaker then line units, but in many cases they were not, specifically in the north American theater, where la petite Guerre was so common.  but the morale system, coupled with the high casualties rate from fire, cripples units of 6-8 in often a single volley.   my simple solution is just to keep everything in units no larger then 8(few units can be smaller then 8 anyway). this levels the playing field, and lets the point system balance all other differences, in my opinion.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

More Napoleonic Game pics

I mentioned tehre would be more napeolonic game pics, so here tehy are.

These are from 2 games in November/December in which I introduced 28mm Napoleonic wargaming to a couple of Gamers from the local game store.

The first game was played in my basement with Fred, a local proponent of Historical Gaming at Black Knight Games

The game was a bit smaller then normal due to the limited size of my basement table, 4"x8"

the game was a close fight. but the Russians eventually won.  I unfortunately don't remember a great deal more. most of the pics are of the setup, as after that i was caught up in the game. as per usual a forgot to take pics after that.

Initial Deployment

Russian Line

Russian High Command

French Line

French High Command

French Cavalry Brigade

Russian Cavalry Brigade

 the second game was roughly a month later.  We played up at Black Knight Games. there were 6 players once everyone showed up.  By that time Fred had finished a brigade(!!!) of highlanders from Victrix, so I replaced a Russian brigade with them so he could use his new shiny figures.

We used terrain boards from Black Knight and I bought along all the other stuff.  Black Knight has an Excellent selection for a store, but it's  predominantly focused on Sci-fi and fantasy terrain because that is their bread and butter.

 I'm a perfectionist regarding terrain so I just can't have Warhammer Fantasy-style buildings for my napoleonic games. It would seriously drive me nuts.  I don't judge other people based on their on their choice or quality of  miniatures or terrain, , but if I run a game, I want it too look good(to me).  That's just part of MY miniature hobby.

Initial Deployment

Fred's British Highlanders

Highlanders engaging the french left flank

On the right, Russian infantry attempted to outmaneuver the Baden Brigade
the fight in the middle
Initial cavalry engagement on the right flank

Baden Hussars engage remaining Russian Cavalry, Lithuanian Uhlans

The pivotal areas of combat were the middle and left flank. on hte left,  Fred launched his highlanders in wave after wave of attacks at Dan's  French line.  unfortunately the french weathered the attacks and eventually broke most of teh highland brigade.

In the centre  Jon's french line and Legere loosed several devastating close range volleys upon Matt's assaulting Russians. the combat sea-sawed back and forth  but the french managed to get the smallest of advantages.  on the right flank, the Russians were outmaneuvering the Baden infantry. immediately to the right of them the french/allied cavalry looked to have the advantage over Russian cavalry, but eventually the heroic Lithuanian Uhlans won the day.

 It was a good close game and everyone seemed to enjoy it.   The rules (based on field of Battle) are a little unorthodox for  new historical gamers, but  they are relatively easy to learn and flow nicely.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

April Napoleonic Game: Better Late then Never!

The last year has been a very busy time for me.

Starting in November busy meant starting renovations.  We are selling our house and moving out west.  I've done msot of teh major renovations my self.  I refinished 2 bathrooms,  refinished the 3 season portch, put a new backs plash and counter top in the kitchen,  and sanded/filled several of the old plaster walls that were not well finished.  we also repainted every room in the house.  I also did a bunch of electrical work.

since last may I've not played many games.   between may and november there were almost none,  and between November and March there might have been 6 games.

anyway, while I was going through my camera SD card, i noticed about 3 or 4 sets of pictures. Over the next few days I'll be sorting tehm and posting pics.  There probably won't be much AAR as i don't have much memory of a few of these games. 

These pics were taken by Fellow gamer Mike at the end of April at a napoleonic game i put at at Martin's house.  the game was conspicuous because the allies(Austria and Russia) almost didn't get out of their deployment zone before the french made it to them.  but in the end, the allies almost came back to win. Almost.  Their army Morale didn't quite hold, and when it look liked the french army would shatter and run, the allies did instead.  it was a hell of a close and bloody battle though.

and now, the pics

this battle also featured some stellar closing fire by the Austrain and Russian lagers.  in no less tehn 2 cases, a unit was broken by their fire.  in one, a French heavy cavalry charge was leveled by a close range Austrian Jager rifle volley.  the Austrian jagers were definitely teh msot devastating unit in this game, the broke or routed 3 units with fire.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Muskets and Tomahawks: First Impressions

last Friday I was invited to Muskets and Tomahawks at a friends house.  So I packed up my Indians and rules and headed out.
initial setup of the board

We arrived just ahead of the crowd(there ended up being 8 of us), and Craig (the host) had set up a wonderful looking table.  He included a log cabin settlement at one end of the table, and a  Indian village(which you may recognize) at the other end.  Taking both the settlement and the Indian village were the french Main objectives.  the British had to keep them.

British regulars and grenadiers defending the settlement

No one had played the game yet, but several of us had the rules handy.  Dan and I had read them thoroughly. Fortunately the mechanics are fairly simple.

Jordan's Regulars and grenadiers stare down 2 units of
my Indians

Before we deployed our troops, we all rolled a side plot in secret. by pure coincidence, 2 of the french chose Dan's provincials as the target/source of their side plot.  then Dan deployed right in the middle of the table. as a result the game sort of revolved around Dan's provincials.

Mike's Regulars and My Indians Take potshots Dan's Provincials
 I had gleaned early on that my Indians had no chance crossing open ground against Jordan's grenadiers to get to my objective beyond, so I helped kill Dan faster so I could then get Mike's line units to help me. 
Dan's Provincial Line watches as him provincial lights get
wiped out by Canadian Militia.
However in a rather ironic turn of events, my Indians Charged and killed Dan's officer(Colonel Washington figure), not knowing that  doing so kept the other 2 players from completing their side plots.  which is fine because by the time we finished going after the provincials, neither of the remaining regular french infantry at hand  had enough strength left to oppose the British regulars in town.  so i didn't get my objective either.

My Indians Prepare to charge Dan's Provincials
 In the end 2 French players were wiped out along with 2 British players.  the remaining french converged on the Indian village and took it after some fierce fighting by the defenders. we called it a tie since both sides occupied one objective.

Overall the system was fun.  I did find that musket fire is ridiculously deadly. Especially when coming from a firing line. Two suggestions made were to drop the lethality of muskets, carbines and pistols to 4+ instead of 3+. Not a huge change, but potentially enough.  It would also have the side effect of making artillery slightly more potent. which might not be a bad thing because the general consensus from the net is that artillery looks pretty but is kind of useless most of the time.  We were also thinking, that for our games, we might remove the rolling for additional casualties on a recoil. For irregulars and Indians this would keep them from evaporating after a single volley most of the time.

Dan and I are going to try this set of rules out with our imaginations. So we'll see how that goes.