A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 28 August 2017

Major Checkpoint

Time to have my yearly Sensible Look at what is on my list of projects - things that have been going on for a while, things which have crept in through a side entrance or otherwise jumped the queue (including Creeping Elegance items), and things that I want to start on, and which need a proper plan - or at least a better idea of what's involved.

A sanity check, in fact (or charity snack, as Cousin Dave would have put it) - always worthwhile, always throws up a few surprises and decision points, and sometimes gives an opportunity to start something fresh.

This morning's head-scratching produced the following:

Gaming (generally, like) -

Must make time to do some more ECW stuff, must set about organising another campaign (probably boardgame-based in the strategic department), and must do some more work on developing my in-house tweaked variants on C&CN, to allow for extreme ends of the action scale - i.e. smaller and larger than normal. For small actions, I'd like to develop my tactically-enhanced C&C package, in which units have a front and a formation, skirmishing appears in a more explicit form and there is even (perish the thought) a simple unit "quality" test to permit reactive changes of formation. For very large actions, I must have a proper look at C&CN Expansion #6, which deals with EPIC and similar multi-player games (all the more pressing because of the very welcome increase in the social side of my wargaming, in collaboration with Stryker and Goya); I must also do some more work on my Grand Tactical variant of C&CN, in which units are brigades, and weapon ranges and implied groundscale are halved (roughly).

One hefty byproduct of this is that I should also give serious thought to replacing my current battleboards with posh new ones in 18mm MDF - probably in a slightly larger size, and with the number of panels increased to allow games up to full EPIC or La Grande size C&CN. Daunting but probably worthwhile - however much work may have gone into repainting them, my present boards date back to 1972 or so, they are horrible (fragile) ½-inch chipboard, and life has not always been kind to them.

Organising and Painting Armies -

ECW - my armies are probably big enough, but because I bought in and retouched a load of pre-owned figures for Montrose's campaigns there is a proportion which is pretty scruffy - I mean scruffy enough for me to want to do something about it. This means getting in specific replacements for some dubious looking Scottish pikemen, and it probably means that I should get rid of a pile of spare lead which is not going to get painted. Hmmm. OK.

Peninsular War -

All Armies - I'd like to continue to progress my plan to change grouping and basing of generals and staff figures. Nice to do, but no rush.

French Army - I have enough figures for another Division for the Armée de Portugal - probably Bonet's - which will need to be painted and based. I'd like to get on with this, but it's not critical - nothing else depends on it. This is a conscious addition to the Grand Plan. There are some sappers and engineers to paint for siege activities.

This is the makings of the HLI - some fettling and puttying needed...
Anglo-Portuguese - I have the 71st Foot (HLI) on the bottletops to be painted. This may require me to add some more infantry units to make up a brigade to go with them. I'm thinking about this - I have stove-pipe figures which could become (for example) 50th Foot, and I'm sort of thinking about adding the 92nd Gordon Highlanders (don't have figures for these yet). I have a brigade of nice Portuguese infantry figures (4 line battalions and 1 of caçadores) from Hagen which need to be assembled (a bit) and painted, to fill a long overdue vacancy in the Seventh Divn. I also have some new Portuguese staff figures, which are interesting, and Hagen have also produced some splendid Portuguese cavalry - they haven't produced the command figures for these yet, but when they do I will be forced to replace my existing Portuguese cavalry (which are paint conversions based on Dutch-Belgian cuirassiers, as I recall).

1812 Spaniards - a couple more infantry battalions to paint up - nothing urgent.

1809 Spaniards - well now - I worked so hard to collect suitable castings that I now have far too many. This is tricky - it is very easy just to keep adding units to the OOB, but I need to stop this, and probably unload excess figures. I have two big Really Useful Boxes full of unpainted Spaniards, and they weigh a ton - probably a bit silly.

Form an orderly queue - Spanish grenadiers, and odd staff
I still have to finish off a battalion of grenadiers, and I'm also in conversation with Peter Bateman about replacing one of my hussar regts with a unit of converted Hinton-Hunts, which will be nearer the heart's desire.
Apart from that, from the existing lead heap, I have to paint up
- 1 further bn of converged grenadiers (Falcata)
- 2 bns of light infantry (mostly Falcata)
- 2 bns of Foot Guards (specially converted castings)
- 3 regts of Line Cavalry (Hagen)
- 1 regt of dragoons (Hagen)
- a group of infantry pioneers (Falcata)
- some more staff (NapoleoN, Falcata, home conversions)
- 1 more foot battery (mostly Hagen)
...and that's about it. Then I can get rid of the surplus figures, but this is going to hurt!

Something New - a Napoleonic Bavarian Army!

I've been looking at figure samples and swotting up on uniforms and OOBs. My intention is to aim at (as a first stage, anyway) a division of Lefebvre's VII Corps of 1809 - they can fight on the Danube and also against Andreas Hofer in the Tyrol (eventually, pending suitable figures - a campaign for which I have a strange fondness).

Thus my first effort will involve 8 line bns, 2 of jaegers, 2 or 3 regts of cavalry, 2 batteries and a few generals. I already have some figures - Ian very, very kindly sent me some surplus Hinton Hunts, with which I am delighted, and I'm working on building up a suitable stockpile. SHQ are suitable, there are some Hagen figures which look good (haven't got physical samples yet - as ever, size is everything). The Hintons are very nice - I like them - only slight problem with Hintons is that Uncle Marcus made all the Bavarian infantry with plumed helmets, which is only correct for grenadiers, so I would feel obliged to convert (and clone) deplumed fusiliers in goodish numbers. Art Miniaturen are a good source as well, but they are pricey and sometimes their figures are a little delicate for wargaming.

Anyway - early days, but I'm quite excited about this.

So much for sanity - have I decided what priority order these projects will jostle each other into? Well - nearly...

Better have a good rest, to gather my strength.


  1. Tony - that is a heck of a lot of stuff to do, makes my own list quite modest!

    1. Ah, but the stuff on your list gets painted to a far better standard than mine! I was trying to convince myself the list wasn't so bad - oh well...

  2. Many projects on your plate Tony. I find it a good exercise and therapeutic to take stock on occasion as long as this therapy does not lead one into convulsions!

    An ECW campaign game most interests me as does watching a Bavarian Corps mobilize.

    1. I just need to be calm and well organised, and look on the painting as an entertaining pastime rather than a chore. A very long life would be a help, too.

    2. I often joke with my wife that I need one lifetime to paint and one more lifetime to game.

    3. I'm not sure why, but this theme of running out of time reminds me of a friend of mine who used to drive his wife crazy by taking videos of everywhere he ever went, everything he did. This used to result in their going on holiday (and they used to do exotic stuff - for those days - like Vietnam and Cambodia) and his spending all the time filming. When he got home, he used to pay someone to edit his movies into something professional-looking, and then he didn't actually have time to get round to watching them. The standing joke was that he needed to employ someone else to watch them for him. His wife's version of this joke was that she needed to pay someone to go on holiday with her in his place, but that's another story. Anyway - eventually he has a big library of ageing VHS tapes which (presumably) showcase the life he might have had if he hadn't been busy recording it - the big laugh is that he hasn't got a VHS player at present. He has been intending to get his films transferred onto DVDs, but - you guessed - he never had time.

      Somehow, I think there's a lesson in there for all of us...

  3. Bavarians? Excellent, I used to get uneasy about how narrowly you were focused then you added the ECW and I could relax a bit and now...well, once you've added Bavarians you could later proceed to tackle Austrians or Russians or both, endless doors open.....even knowing you are contemplating it will help me sleep better :)

    1. Russians? Austrians? Just reading about the Russians would be a full time job for years.

      I am fascinated by the Tyrolean revolt of 1809, though the battlefield at Bergisel looks very like something out of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

  4. You're a wargamer! Where does Sanity fit in there? Looking forward to the Bavarians.

    1. Hi Ray - I'm hoping Bavarians will be less fiddly to paint than Spanish grenadiers - they do have remarkably whimsical hats though. If I do the Bavarians then obviously there will be something else that I do not do - I haven't identified it yet. That's not quite a plan yet, is it?

  5. For fighting the Tiroleans you also would need some Bavarian volunteer Jäger and a unit of "Bürgersoldaten". If you want I can send you the uniformplates:-)