Hinterland Female Hussars

Hussar standard bearer
Hussar standard bearer (with a Saxon flag from warflag.com)

Hinterland Miniatures makes a line of interesting female Hussars.  I like the fact that they are obviously female without being R rated.  I like the hair in a bun like in the original GASLIGHT Girl figure.  The sculpting and casting are both very clean.  The figures painted easily.  There is a lot of detail, more than my skills do justice.  The poses are good.  Except for the “army builder” pack, all the poses are different.  I like the officer figures quite a bit.

Female firing line
A firing line of female hussars from Hinterland Miniatures

My painting and these photos don’t really do justice to these really nice figures.

Closeup of some of the figures
This is a closeup of some of the figures

This unit is fictional.  I was therefore free to paint them any colors I wanted.  I got inspiration from the Hinterland Web page as well as an Osprey book on Napoleonic cavalry.  If you go to Hinterland’s Web page, my favorite painting scheme was olive and khaki.  I used this blue scheme, because my 40mm Not Quite Seven Years War Burgdorfreuthenheim infantry uses khaki and olive, and I didn’t want to seem unimaginative.

Maxim crew
Maxim crew

The Maxim crew is quite nice.  I really had trouble getting a good closeup of these figures.  I took a dozen shots, and only one didn’t come out blurry.  I think I would have had better luck outside or in a better lit room.  The Maxim crew is a new set.  I found them by accident when I went to their page to look for some painting ideas.

By the way, the service from Hinterland is excellent!

Northwest Frontier by GASLIGHT

Russian Vehicle
Russian Vehicle

Last Friday during the HAWKs gaming night, I put on a Northwest Frontier by GASLIGHT game.  This was a play test of a scenario to include in the upcoming GASLIGHT Compendium. The scenario, like many of my GASLIGHT scenarios, is set in the Northwest Frontier.  As part of “The Great Game” between Russia and Britain, the Russians have provide technology and troops to assist the various chieftains in their fights against the British.

In this scenario, a Kahn has revolted against the British.  Typically, the British cobble together a punitive expedition and set forth to punish the Kahn.  Prior to the start of the scenario the Kahn has been defeated and is now in retreat.  The Pathan force in this scenario must hold open the escape route (road) long enough for the main body to escape, which for this scenario is ten turns.  The Pathan force contained some Russian infantry as well as several Russian vehicles.  The British force is composed of British, Highland, and Indian infantry with supporting vehicles.  In addition a “flying column” of bicycle lancers, Indian cavalry, and heavy support tricycles attempts to cut the road.  The scenario requires both sides to move.  Unlike a typical pursuit scenario, the Pathans cannot merely try to outrun the pursuit, since they have to keep the road open for ten turns.

Indian Cavalry in melee with Pathans
Indian Cavalry in melee with Pathans

The Russian helicopter was knocked out of the sky early in the game by a Gattling gun.  An exciting moment came when Indian cavalry charged over a hill and caught some Pathans by surprise.  In a desperate melee, the Indians defeated the Pathan unit, but at heavy cost.

Wide View of the Battle
Wide View of the Battle

In this view you can see the Indian cavalry about to break through the first line of Pathans and charge into the second line to cut the road.  Note the Russian infantry.  There are two units.  In this test, one unit was wiped out, but this one saw little action.  Also note the ball-shaped tank.  Controlled by HAWK Geoff Graff, this tank fired several times at a British light tank, but only scored one hit all game.  Also note on the right of the picture the Pathan unit dressed in white with most of the figures dead.  These casualties were largely the result of a few well-placed rockets from Don Hogge’s rocket support tricycle.

Sam Moving her Tank Forward
Sam Moving her Tank Forward

My so enjoys the gaming when I bring him to conventions, but my daughter really seems to have taken to it.  She really focuses on the objective and manages to keep entertained through the slow points.  She’s pretty short, so we often find her climbing across the table to reach her troops.

The scenario went well.  I’ll run it a couple more times before going “final” for The GASLIGHT Compendium, but I’m pretty happy with how it went.  Once the book is published, I’ll post all the data cards on the Yahoo Group so people can download them and use them to run the game themselves.

(Photos of Northwest Frontier by GASLIGHT were taken by Chris Palmer.)

Finished 10mm Polish Forces

Yesterday morning I woke early and finished the last bits of my Polish force for the Cold Wars LSNC-aganza.  I had ordered some Pithead C2P artillery tractors.  I also needed to paint and mount Ursus trucks.

C2P Polish Artillery Tractors
C2P Polish Artillery Tractors

Pithead doesn’t make the horse-drawn machine gun wagons, but I wanted them for my cavalry units.  I found Russian ones from Pendraken at The War Store.  Though the machine guns are wrong, in 10mm they are close enough.  At this scale, any uniform differences are completely indiscernible.  I don’t believe the Polish had machine guns with wheels on them as shown on these wagons, but again, they are close enough.

The "business end" of the machine guns.
The "business end" of the machine guns.

Mounting the wagons onto bases presented a bit of a challenge.  With the horses, the wagons were too long for the standard 1.5″ deep LSNC bases.  I’ve had this trouble with larger German tanks as well.  I mounted the wagons on 2″ deep bases.  Also, there was the question of what is the “front.”  I decided that when the the muzzles represented the “front” of the unit.  This means that when moving, it will look like the wagons are backing around the battlefield, but they’ll look correct when they are firing at the Germans.

Note that the axles were not quite long enough on many of the wagons, which is why they look a little “bowlegged” in these pictures.  Again at 10mm they are okay.

To finish off the bases, I like to add some tiny gravel and also the “tufts.”  These come in sheets of static grass glued in clumps to waxed paper.  I get them from International Models (www.internationalmodels.net).  Though they are in England, they arrive about a week after I order them.  You pick the tuft off the waxed paper with tweezers.  Then I use a dab of white glue and stick them down to the flocked base.  After I spray dull cote over the entire base, they stick well.  I think I may have lost one in the past three years.

Side view of machine gun wagons
Side view of machine gun wagons

The Poles are now fully equipped and ready for action!

My 25-Year Class Reunion at West Point

Some of the Hogs assembled after the review and class picture
Some of the Hogs assembled after the review and class picture

Last weekend, I attended my 25-year class reunion from West Point.  It was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, enjoy fall in the Hudson Highlands, renew relationships, and beat VMI soundly in football.  My company, the H-4 Hogs, tends to have high participation at these events, and this year was no different.  My guess is that we had the highest percentage participation of any company in my class.  In the above picture are some of the folks from my company:  (bottom row) Bob Welch, Scott MacPherson, Vinny O’Neil (celebrated author of mystery books), me, John Todd (middle row) Terrence Peterson, Jeff Girard, Virginia (Condit) Todd, (top row) Bob Brouwer, Mike McGurk, Dave Stader, and Noel (Finch) Guarino.

Cadets marching past "old grads" of Class of 1985
Cadets marching past “old grads” of Class of 1985

It is traditional at these alumni events for the “old grads” to be on the Plain as part of the reviewing party.  At every previous reunion that I attended, the alumni review was rained out.  I’ve marched in many of these parades at West Point, and execpt for my graduation parade, this is the only one I didn’t want to be cancelled!  Anyway, this year, the weather was beautiful, and we were able to view the pass in review from the Plain.

View of West Point in the Fall
View of West Point in the Fall

You can’t beat the Hudson Highlands in the Fall.  Look at this picture!  The temperture was cool, but not cold.

 
When were Plebes, VMI spanked us in football.  I was one of the guards designated to keep people off the field after the game and became embroiled in the brawl preciptated by the VMI “rats” celebrating their victory.  This year we hammered them 29-7.  I typically only watch one football game a year:  Army Navy.  It’s been a disappointing decade.  It was fun to watch Army play good ball, like when we were Firsties (seniors).  It was even better to get revenge on our Plebe-year humiliation. 
Hogs assembled at Foley Athletic Center
Hogs assembled at Foley Athletic Center

Our post game tailgate was in the new Foley athletic center.  Because there are folks in this picture who were not in the previous one, I’ll name them:  (front row) Mike McGurk in his festooned cadet bath robe, Jeff Girard, Bob Brouwer, Dave Stader, (middle row) Willie Campos, Terrence Peterson, Bob Welch, me, VA Todd, John Todd, (back row) Randy Lane, Pete Edmonds, Tony Emmi, and Calvin Johnson.

 
My only complaint with these reunions is the frentic pace.  After I meet some friends from other companies and regiments and from classes we had together, I really want time to hang out with the Hogs.  In fact at the tailgate, most of us gravitated to a large table to bore our spouses with tales of the old days.  I am going to propose to the Hogs than in a year or two we all go on a cruise together.  While I have been avoiding a cruise, I think that is the ideal venue.  We could all meet in the evenings for dinner,  but engage in day-time and off-shore activities in smaller groups or on our own. 
 
In any event, I’m glad we went to the reuion.  I had a really good time, and I look forward to the next one.
 

JJ Con 2010

For several years, my friend JJ Dziadziola has hosted a gaming weekend at his house in North Carolina.  This even was originally designed to get our old high school gaming buddies together, but it has grown to include several other folks, including Dave Wood, whom I met at West Point, and the Schlegel brothers of the HAWKs.  This year, the gaming began Friday morning with an ironclads game, using Beer and Pretzels Ironclads.

David (Ook) Dziadziola, Nick Cirocco, and JJ harassing each other about the Beer and Pretzels Ironclads game

JJ, the GM for this game, pulled a fast one on us.  I was part of the Union force that was sent to rescue a fellow Union ironclad stuck on a sandbar within range of shore batteries.  As our boats got close enough to haul the boat off the sand bar, we discovered that it had been boarded the night before.  We discovered this when it began firing at us.  Big surprise!  It really spiced up the game.

Our next game of the weekend was Poland 1939, using Look, Sarge, No Charts: World War II.  This was a play test of a portion of the Lvov extravaganza described in a previous post.  In this game, Ook ran the Polish cavalry, trying to slow the German armor and infantry.  Nick commanded the Polish armor which conducted a spoiling attack around the German right.

Mark (second from right) pushes his tanks around the Polish cavalry toward the town of Zboiska

Ook’s cavalry screen managed to strip off the German infantry, leaving Mark with just armor to assault the town.  As that is a very difficult prospect in LSNC, we called the game a Polish victory at that point.

German infantry and armor push through the Polish cavalry screen
German infantry and armor push through the Polish cavalry screen

The third game of the night was a Blood and Swash cowboy game.  Eric used the factions and victory conditions from an Italian card game, Bang.  I was the marshall, and I didn’t manage to survive the fight.

Eric's cowboy Blood and Swash game
Eric's cowboy Blood and Swash game

Saturday morning we played Wellington Rules.  The scenario was based on the action around Laon in 1814.  We were part of the French rear guard retreating through a defile.  The Prussians were trying to stop us and block the road to prevent the French main body from escaping.  Everyone seemed to enjoy this game, because both sides needed to maneuver, rather than one side being on the defensive.

Prussians (Mark and Kurt) prepare the attack my retreating French
Prussians (Mark and Kurt) prepare the attack my retreating French

I was the rear guard of the rear guard.  My division was tasked to hold the end of the road closest to the enemy.  As the enemy neared, I turned to face them.  Mark and Nick hit my two battalions in line with six battalions in column.  One of my battalions evaporated.  Fortunately, I had a third battalion ready to plug the gap.  By the end of the game, my division had been completely destroyed and my guns overrun and captured.  It was a lot of fun, but the end was ugly.  

The French rear guard prepares for the Prussian onslaught
The French rear guard prepares for the Prussian onslaught

The final game on Saturday was another play test of Kurt’s Stones River LSNC extravaganza.  We had planned for this game to only last four hours.  We started at about 1300.  At 2100 I realized that we hadn’t stopped for dinner.  It was gratifying to note that all the players were busy and engaged in the game until the end.  We rarely play any games, let alone LSNC, for that many hours.  In fact, I can’t remember when I played the same game so long in many, many years.

Several echelons of Yanks at Stones River
Several echelons of Yanks at Stones River

JJ Con was the weekend before Halloween.  JJ’s wife, who puts up with the annual gamer invasion of her house, went to a Halloween party, dressed as a pirate, to escape the madness in JJ’s gaming room.

JJ and his lovely (pirate) bride, Karen, who graciously puts up with a house full of gamers every year
JJ and his lovely (pirate) bride, Karen, who graciously puts up with a house full of gamers every year

In addition to the miniatures games, we also played a few games of a card game, called Mag Blast.  These are short, light games that we could play at the end of a hard day of gaming to unwind.  If you haven’t played Mag Blast, you are missing a fun game.  One of the gimmicks is that when you play an attack on an enemy ship, you have to make sound effects or the shot is a miss.  Nick never seemed to quite get the hang of the sound effects, even with Dave whispering in his ear.

I think a good time was had by all, and I am looking forward to JJ Con 2011.

Polish Cavalry

Top-down view of a Polish cavalry troop
Top-down view of a Polish cavalry troop

Last night I completed a regiment (three battalions) of 10mm Polish cavalry for the 1939 campaign.  The figures are manufactured by Pithead.  To my knowledge Pithead is the only company that makes Poles in 10mm.  Most of my figures for Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII are Minifigs, but they do not make Poles.

Closeup of Polish Cavalry
Closeup of Pithead 10mm Polish Cavalry

10mm Wold War II figures paint very quickly.  It’s mostly a matter of dry brushing.  I base spray the figures black and then dry brush the horses and uniforms.  I paint the hair and rifles and then add the flesh for the face and hands and the helmets.

A Polish cavalry company
A company / troop of Polish 10mm cavalry mounted for Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII

The figures are mounted for Look, Sarge, No Charts: WWII.  In LSNC all the information needed to play the game is placed on the label at the back of the base.  There are no chart cards.  Additional information is provided by a handful of special dice.  To help denote which bases (platoons and headquarters) belong to which units, I paint a small bar on the base in different colors for battalions and denote the company number with dots.  In the case of the picture above, this troop is from the “brown battalion” and is the “third company.”

I can’t wait to get these troops on the table.  Buck’s law says that the first time you use a newly painted unit in a game, they will get smucked.  I’m anxious to get that over with so we can start doing play tests for the Lvov LSNC extravaganza.

Battle of Lwów (1939)

As a Look, Sarge, No Charts: World War II extravaganza for Cold Wars 2011, Chris and I are working on a large battle based on the fighting around Lvov in 1939.  We’ll be taking a little license with the history.  The Germans attacked the city around the 12th of September.  Polish forces retook the city on the 13th with the help of the 10th Mechanized brigade, but the Germans maintained control of the high ground around the city.  They set up their artillery on the city and shelled the town.  The Russians arrived and completed the encirclement of the city on the 19th of September.

In our scenario, the Poles are in the town, but must attack to seize the high ground north of the city and destory the German artillery there.  The Russians are attacking from the East to enter the city.  The Germans are attacking from the West.  It will be a three sided scenario, because the Russians and Germans are attacking from opposite sides.  (In the real battle, there was no coordinated German-Russian attack.)  The Russians and Germans are, in fact, competing for the honor of capturing the city first. 

Polish Cavalry 1939
Polish Cavalry 1939

In preparation, I’ve been painting 10mm Poles like crazy.  I am just about done with more Polish armor and a regiment of cavalry.  I’ll post pictures of them soon.  When I finish another regiment of infantry, I’ll have enough (minus the trucks) for a mechanized brigade and an infantry brigade.  As the trucks are expensive, I think I’ll make my truck bases half sized and only mount a single truck.

I think we’ll have 8-10 players worth of Poles and another 10-12 player worth of Germans and Russians.  If you live in the Baltimore area, consider coming to Barrage in Janaury for the first major playtest of the scenario in preparation for Cold Wars.

Jurassic Reich

Before I came home from Iraq, I saw some information about these figures.  I put together an advanced order from Eureka, and Chris picked them up for me at Historicon.

Jurassic Reich Figures from Eureka Miniatures
Jurassic Reich Figures from Eureka Miniatures

Many years ago, when I was living in Georgia and a member of HMGS Mid-South, I needed to put together a game for a small regional convention.  I was just beginning to get interested in WWII skirmish gaming, and all I had painted were Germans.  I was trying to figure out what kind of game I could run with just Germans, when I saw a television documentary about dinosaurs, narrated by Walter Cronkite.  It occurred to me:  what would a panzerfaust do to a Tyrannosaurus?  Thus was born Deutschland and Dinosaurs, a real crowd pleaser, that I ran for several years.  Experiments on Penemunde go bad, and a rag-tag group of German soldiers have to defend the research facilities from rampaging dinosaurs.  It was always fun to see the dinosaurs pull the Germans out the top of the open-topped vehicles!

I use this pose as a "team leader" within the dinosaur cavalry unit.
I use this pose as a "team leader" within the dinosaur cavalry unit.

So… when Eureka announced these figures, I just HAD to have them!  This weekend was reasonably slow, so I had a chance to finish them up.  I actually started them last weekend, but I was gone on business all week.

I love this soldier with the vehicle-type MMG.
I love this soldier with the vehicle-type MMG.

I can’t wait to get these into a GASLIGHT game.

The officer.
The officer.

I’m not sure why the officers and NCOs are wearing masks, but that’s how they’re molded.  The other troopers with SMGs are wearing goggles, but not masks.  The sculpting on these figures is very clean, and assembly was easy.  It took three hands to get the figures to stand straight on the two, separate legs while the super glue dried.  Otherwise, assembly was very easy.

Knocked out another Litko Building

Sammy, my 11-year-old daughter and I finished another of the Litko laser-cut buildings today.  This one is the small garage.  On the pizzeria, Sam did the basic dry brushing, but I did the rest.  In this case, Sam also painted the random, different-colored bricks. 

Front of Litko Small Garage
Front of Litko Small Garage

I just found the vintage radiator repair graphic on the Web and resized it to fit on the door.  I haven’t decided what kind of sign to put above the door yet. 

Side of Litko Small Garage
Side of Litko Small Garage

This building is interesting because of the slit-type windows along the sides.  Good places to shoot those Tommy guns!