Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Russian Dragoons for Pikeman's Lament

Here are 18 Russian dragoons ready to use for Pikeman's Lament.  Figures are by Ebor.  If I can convince my opponent, I'll use the WSS/GNW dragoon profile from my last post.

The dragoons will be in units of 6.  I can mix and match of course, but I have the idea that one unit will be fully mounted, one dismounted (except for the horse holder) and one mixed mounted and foot.  Alternatively, I could field the foot unit as 'Commanded Shot', depending on how the PL company comes together.

Mixed mounted and foot:

Foot plus horse holder:

All mounted:

These are the two horse holders that I completed.  

Mixed foot and mounted stands

These figures were a bit less fun than usual, for a combination of reasons.  The figures are nice enough, sculpting is ok, but there is only one pose for the mounted trooper.  As a result, the troops look a bit unnatural when you see that each is holding his musket on his right thigh exactly the same way.  Another problem is that the metal is a bit brittle:  three of the troopers' muskets snapped off at the hand, so are waiting in my lead pile to be converted (I'll see if I can clip off what's left of the muskets and give them swords instead).  Yet another problem came from when I primed them. Something went wrong with the primer, and several of the figures ended up covered in a bumpy, textured surface, as if they were layered in coarse sand.  I tried to soak off the primer using Simply Green, but the primer wasn't going anywhere.  I painted over the mess as best I could, but they aren't the prettiest.

I have enough bits in the pile for another six dragoons (five mounted, one foot), which I will eventually get done.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Thoughts on cavalry for Pikeman's Lament

My current painting project is Russian dragoons for Peter the Great's army, for which I plan to use Pikeman's Lament (aka TPL).  I've been reviewing the rules and while overall they seem great (as with the related titles in the Lion Rampant family of games), I'm concerned about the profiles for the cavalry units, especially dragoons.

Dragoons in the 17th Century (e.g., English Civil War) are generally described as being pretty much like mounted infantry:  they would ride on ahead to where they expected to fight, then dismounted and fought like musket-armed infantry.  From the descriptions I've found, ECW dragoons were not as good horsemen as proper 'horse' (cavalry), and seldom fought mounted, but were good for tasks such moving ahead and securing a key terrain feature and holding it until the main body of the army could arrive.

By the early 18th Century, including conflicts like the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia, dragoons seem to have taken on more of a battle cavalry role, although they were still not as potent as 'proper' cavalry, so dragoons would be expected to fare poorly if they ran up against actual horse.

The profile given for dragoons in TPL, however, seems to miss my understanding of dragoons for either period.  They move at 12", which makes them better horsemen than any other cavalry on the battlefield, but they also have quite poor ratings for attack and defence.  Combined with the 'evade' and 'skirmish' rules, I think this profile would be great for irregular light cavalry such as Cossacks.  I would change the range of the missile weapons to 6" to reflect the pistols and other light firearms used from the saddle (as for the Trotters).  This would match Lion Rampant Mounted Yeomen with Javelins, so to match they should have -1 points cost, and there are your skirmish cavalry!  

The profile is wrong for dragoons, though.  

For mid-17th Century dragoons (i.e., ECW), I'd use similar rules as found in The Men Who Would be Kings for Mounted Infantry.  Use the profile for Shot, but movement 8", cannot form close order, and range 12".  Almost like Commanded Shot, I suppose!  As I'm not gaming this time period, I'm not giving it any further comment.

For early 18th Century (GNW and WSS), dragoons should be able to fight like battle cavalry, but not as well as Gallopers.  TPL Gallopers are a lot like LR Mounted Sergeants (if they are aggressive, they're a bit more like Men at Arms!), so perhaps rate the dragoons similarly to crossbow armed Sergeants.  Let them move 10", take away counter charge, reduce Attack Value to 5+, add Shoot 7+/shoot value 5+/range 12".  And leave all that skirmishing and evading to the Cossacks.  The profile would be:

Early 18th Century Dragoon Points 4
Attack 5+      Attack Value 5+
Move  5+      Defence Value 5+
Shoot 7+      Shoot Value 5+/12"
Morale 4+     Maximum Movement 10"
Stamina 3     Special Rules:  First Salvo
Models per unit: 6

Upgrades (or downgrades!):
Raw @ -1 point per unit.  Stamina becomes 2
Veteran @ 2 points.  Shoot value 4+.

Cossacks (and other skirmish or irregular cavalry) generally don't want to get into melee unless they have a clear advantage (such as when their opponent is wavering).  For them, the TPL Dragoon profile is mostly good, but modify it slightly to show their preference for using pistols and similar short range weapons from the saddle:

Irregular (skirmish) cavalry (Cossacks)  Points 3
Attack 7+    Attack value 5+
Move 5+     Defence value 6
Shoot 6+    Shoot value 5+/6"
Morale 5+   Maximum movement 12"
Stamina 3   Special Rules:  Skirmish, Evade
Models per unit: 6

Veteran @ 2 points/unit.  Skirmish at 6+ and no penalty for shooting.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Russian Infantry for Peter the Great's Army

This post follows on my previous two posts on Warlord Games' WSS Plastic Infantry here and here.  

This shot shows all 24 figures formed up.  I've not decided on the flag yet:  I had hoped that I could use the tri-colour white-blue-red national flag, but unfortunately my research (with an assist from my beautiful wife) showed that the three-colour flag was only used for merchant ships in this era.  So now I get to choose a regimental colour for these chaps.  Ellis was able to find a much better selection of images for the regimental flags than I'd found on my own, so I'll be working on getting that flag done sometime soon.

I have organised these troops for playing with Pikeman's Lament.  They will be classified as 'shot', which means units of 12.  Here are a couple of shots showing them as two units.  They are equipped with bayonets which allows them to benefit from the 'close order' rule.

Pikeman's Lament has casualty removal, so I've put them on a combination of single bases and group bases.  Command figures (four of them) are individually based, so that the officer, ensign or whoever, can be either kept in the game (last man standing) or taken out early if their opponent get a lucky shot.

The figure with the spontoon is supposed to be a sergeant.  He should have a halberd, but I didn't have one.  

The troops are in a combination of one base of 4, two bases of 2 and two single-based troops, plus the 2 command.  Hopefully this will give me the flexibility to take of single or multiple casualties but have fewer bases to make it easier to move them around the table.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Warlord Games WSS Plastic Infantry Review Part II

As promised, here is part two of my review of Warlord Games re-release of the Wargames Factory plastic War of the Spanish Succession Infantry.  First, a few shots of the assembled models.  20 marching musketeers and 4 command figures.

Command figures provide a few choices in how they can be assembled. For this one, my idea is a sergeant with a spontoon and a pistol.  He should really have a halberd, but the spontoon will do for now.

The officer, waiving his sword.  He should probably have a gorget; perhaps later I'll add one from greenstuff.  Or not...

Ensign.  You can see the bow for the officer sash clearly from this shot; the officer has one as well.

A couple of views of the drummer.  When I was clipping the plastic bits off the frame, two of the sword hangers flew off somewhere into the kitchen and have disappeared forever.  As a result, neither the officer nor the drummer have the appropriate hanger.

And finally, a few images of the rank and file.  These were dead simple:  add a head and a hanger.  I chose to have everyone in tricorne as I am a bit biased against have a small number of specials or elites - if I could do an entire unit in mitres, I'd consider that I don't want just a couple of grenadiers.

Redcoats on the march!

A few years ago, I swapped a few figures with an Ontario gamer.  Since then, these figures have been on and off my painting table, waiting to become important enough for me to finish them off. These are all Perry Miniatures, from the Sudan line.  The exception is the officer who stepped in from the Perry plastic box set.  Likely they should be in khaki or grey, but I was bored of painting dull colours and wanted to get some proper colonial redcoats into my painting mix!   

In column of march:

Advance in review order!

Officer listening to another of the colour sergeant's "no shit, there we were..." stories:

If'n we bang dese drums lowd enow, we won't 'ear Sarnt blethering on...

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Warlord Games WSS Infantry Review

I just received a box of Warlord Games' Infantry of the Sun King.  My intention is to use them as infantry for Peter the Great's Russian Army.  I haven't been able to find any reviews of these online since Warlord Games acquired the Wargames Factory WSS product, so I'm going to give this a try.

The figures come in a standard Warlord Games box, with suitable cover art.  I chose to get the 'Infantry of the Sun King' box, rather than the 'Infantry of the Grand Alliance' box for no other reason than, hey, Louis XIV is cool.  I'll be painting them for the GNW anyway, so that hardly matters.  My understanding is that the only difference between the boxes is the flag sheet, so maybe WG can rebox them again with a Russian flag sheet!

The box contains two sprues of figures plus the aforementioned flag sheet and painting guide.  There is also a sprue of 24 bases, each 20 mm by 20 mm, stamped with the 'Warlord Games' logo on the bottom, lightly textured on top. The info sheet contains a selection of flags, two different flags (regiment and colonel's) for each of five different regiments (Regiment Picardie, Regiment La Reine, Regiment de Tattenbach (Bavarian, I think), Irish Regiment de Clare and French Guards).  The reverse of the flag sheet has a brief index of the parts, which is a nice feature when choosing which part to go where, especially for the command figures and the grenadier mitres!

The two sprues are identical and each contains 10 infantry and two command figures, enough for a total of 24 figures.  Command figures can be assembled as officer, ensign or drummer.  All figures have separate heads and sword hangers.  Assembly is thus quite simple.  There are enough heads to give each figure a tricorn, with a couple of optional heads for officers.  There are also a few mitre heads - three different styles of mitre but only two of each per sprue, so you can't have more than 4 grenadiers (unless you like a sort of mix and match approach!).   

My initial thoughts:  
- The choice of 20mm bases was a curious one for this set.  40mm bases would make more sense for playing games like Black Powder with large armies.  I'm always happy to get more bases, but I won't be using these bases with these figures (they won't be wasted, though!).
- Figures are clean, no flash, look easy to assemble. I don't know enough about the period to comment on details of the uniforms but for my purposes they will come together easily.
- I have not seen the original Wargames Factory WSS product, so I don't know how this offering has changed from the that (other than the price increase!).
- If the only difference is the flag sheet, why offer two boxes?  Why not just stick an extra flag sheet in the box and let the purchaser figure out which they need?  Seems like unnecessary extra marketing.

Once I assemble a few figures I'll put up another brief post with the results.