August 16, 2020

Danish Grenadier Corps, 1710

It's been a while since I've painted any Warfare Miniatures. I've been wanting to wander into the tricorn era of the period for some time, but there's always been 'just one more' project in the queue. Well, I finally decided to make a start of it!

While the Russians or Swedes are the obvious choice, the Danish army has always been a favorite of mine. My usual process when starting a new project is to pick a specific battle and then choose a brigade on which to focus my collection. Units beyond the core brigade will be chosen from those that fought nearby. While I usually have no plans to recreate a specific battle on the table top, this method allows me to point to an historical precedence for my little army.

Elements of the Danish army fought all over Europe, so I was spoiled for choices. In the end I picked the Battle of Helsingborg. Against the backdrop of the Great Northern War, King Frederick declared war on Sweden and launched an invasion to retake their lost province of Scania (in Swedish hands since 1658). The Danes raised an invasion force of 15,000 infantry supported by 4,000 cavalrymen and 30 cannon. In early November 1709, they landed in the province (southern Sweden) and were initially met with little resistance. The Swedes were hastily raising an army to replace their devastating losses at the Battle of Poltava the year before and it took three months for them to assemble a force capable of confronting the invaders. There is an extensive series of articles on the Battle of Helsingborg at the League of Augsburg blog, so I won't rehash that here beyond mentioning that is was a loss for my chosen faction.

The armies of both sides are well documented at Tacitus.nu and I supplemented this with more detailed information on the Danes from an article by Torstein Snorranson (translated by Dan Schorr), Danish Uniforms 1699-1712. The Danish army underwent a lot of changes, even in this short span of time. As usual with this period, sources sometimes offer conflicting information. Any mistakes in the historical accuracy of my wee soldiers is purely mine.

My initial goal is for a small army - four or five battalions of Foot, an equal number of Horse and dragoons, and a couple of guns. For my model force, I've chosen units from General Major Sichstedt’s Brigade, the central anchor of the first Danish line:

Livgarden til Fods
Dronningen's
Fynske
Jyske
Grenadier Corps

The megalomaniac in me really wants to do these units in the 'Grand Manner' - 40 figures each - but in the interest of actually getting a force on the table, I'll stick to the conventions of Beneath the Lily Banners for now and plan on units of 18 figures based on three stands. These are much more practical for my usual 4x6' game table anyway, but I'm making careful notes on the paints used so I may one day revisit this fantasy.

It's ironic that my first foray into the tricorn period was a unit... err... not wearing tricorns. The Grenadier Corps was formed in 1701, drawn from the grenadier companies of the established Danish regiments.


Of course, these are 28mm Warfare Miniatures (two packs of DN02, one DN03, and the mounted officer is from WLOA54a) and the flags are my own (also available from Warfare Miniatures). I've always liked the look of having a mounted officer in the center of the unit and decided to go this route with all of my Danish battalions.


This battalion depicts the unit as it may have looked in 1710 on the foggy coast of Sweden. Some sources list these lads as having silver (white) trim on their cuffs and crossbelt, but I've chosen to leave this detail off (I've also seen the crossbelt in buff, white, and yellow). I think freehanding the F4 monogram on all of their caps was enough frippery for one unit.

Right! So that's a start. I think Dronningen's is up next. I may consider fielding the Garden til Fods in their floppy hats and simply swap out the flags on my existing unit for this project (it is a myth that all units suddenly had tricorns after 1699, but I'll explore that more in another post if I decide to go that route).

July 17, 2020

Captain Rippington and the Canyon of Doom - Part Two

This took a little longer than I planned. I had some publishing duties on top of my normal day job, but here's the exciting conclusion to my game of The Sword and the Flame!






Whew! The game really came down to the last turn. I'll have one final post on this game with some thoughts on TSATF.

July 4, 2020

Captain Rippington and the Canyon of Doom, Part One

I finally had the chance to throw a few dice for my project with The Sword and the Flame!






These comic book style battle reports take quite a long time to make, but I'll have part two later this week!

June 14, 2020

Camels and a Horsie!

It's a great feeling to meet a hobby goal. This unit and the edition of a mounted Emir, completes my initial target to face off against my Highlanders.


Not a great photo, but I'll set up some proper shots on terrain when I get in my first game.

So for a quick recap, this gives me four units of Beja foot (two with spears, one with swords, and one with rifles), the camels, and a mounted Emir - 89 models in a relatively short period of time. Going forward I intend to add two units of Nile Arabs and a unit of Baggara cavalry. Beyond that? Well, we'll see. I may incorporate ahistorical things like Zanzibar slavers (I don't think they ranged up the Nile to Egypt), nefarious Belgian mercenaries (not really appropriate as allies of the Mahdi), or Central African style brigands (Rugga Rugga). I already have a large collection of these from the Wargames Foundry Darkest Africa range that will fit right in with a little rebasing. Of course, I can always add more Beja foot!

Up next - reinforcements for the Brits - a platoon of the IX Sudanese!

May 30, 2020

76 Models in Two Weeks!

That's it! Four units of Beja infantry (two with spears, one with swords, and one with rifles) for my Mahdist army!


And a few trees (I'm up to around a dozen - I've been fitting these into spare moments between units). Just twelve camel riders and a mounted Emir (got a head start on these today, though sadly I don't think I'll have much time tomorrow to make further progress over the weekend) and I'll be ready to march on the infidels!


I'm working on a small, straight forward scenario now, a reconnaissance in force by a British company to investigate reports of massing enemy troops in a nameless village east of Ginnis that could threaten the southern rail line. It will (hopefully) be the first shots in a mini-campaign!

May 25, 2020

Wounded Cameron Highlanders

I wandered off into rules in the last post, specifically about the casualty mechanics in The Sword and the Flame. Hits can kill figures outright or simply wound. A wounded figure cannot move on their own and must be carried by a comrade. The British suffer some pretty hefty morale penalties if they leave their wounded behind. The default mechanic in TSATF is tip lay the model on it's side to indicated the wounded. I'm not a fan of this as I think the bases sticking up in the air really detracts from the appearance of game.


The obvious solution was casualty markers. I'll remove wounded figures in the same manner as the killed, but use the marker to track the difference. Since I also didn't want to paint dozens of deaders, I decided to paint one for each unit and use a small d6 to track the number of wounded. In the event a unit is ever dragging around more than 6 wounded, I'm guessing they will probably be full on retreat. If not, I'll just drop another d6 next to the marker.

Simple, right?

Well, it would have been had I not decided to collect the Devils in Skirts. Perry miniatures doesn't make any wounded Highlanders for the Sudan. Neither does any one else I could find. That meant I would have to make them myself.

Using the Perry wounded in sensible trousers to do the heavy lifting, I set to with saw, file, and green stuff...



The model at the top has lower legs from a plastic Victrix Napoleonic Highlander and I sculpted the upper legs to give me a base for the kilt to drape over. For the one on the bottom, I filed the legs to remove the folds in the trousers and add the top of the stockings with putty. The kilts and sporran were added last. I lack the skill to mimic the tight folds of the rear of the kilt, but I'm happy with the end results.


Ok, back to the Beja!

May 23, 2020

A Tiny Horde

The first two units of Beja are finished for my Mahdist army!


I'm a little disappointed that I only finished two, but it took me a few evenings to build the others (another unit of spears, a unit of rifles, and camels) and I found I was out of Wraithbone primer. Being the apocalypse and all, my FLGS didn't have any so I was forced to turn to Amazon and lost out on two or three days of painting. Happily, the cans arrived this morning and I should have two more units by next weekend.


These really need some decoration on their robes scattered through at least some of the models, but I'll continue to press on for now. They still look pretty cool in a mob!

I still have enough plastic (beyond the units listed above) to build two more units of spearmen and I think I'm going to build them as Kordofani (Nile Arab) warriors, so they'll have little hats and turbans as opposed to the magnificent afros of the Beja and a different skin tone (on which I am still undecided). I'm going to mix in a few more robe colors on those as well to break up the wave of white and cream. I've seen paintings with brown, grey, and even pale blue.

Since I haven't been able to paint as much this week, I've been musing over rules. The project has been designed for The Sword and the Flame, but there are a few things I'm not overly keen on.

The first of these is the close combat system. It seems clunky and the opinion is shared by many around the web (and there are many fans of TSATF that thinks it works just fine). I'm going to withhold judgement on this until I actually get in a few games, but I would prefer to see mechanics that more closely resemble shooting. It's probably an easy fix if I decide to fiddle with it, but the game has stood the test of time so I'll try it as written to begin with.

The second thing that bugs me a little are tracking the wounded. The British need to carry theirs with them when they move and the natives become something akin to landmines in that they can attack an enemy who wanders too close. Again, this feature has opinions split. I LIKE the idea and the character this brings to the battlefield, but I'm not a fan of tipping my models over on their sides and leaving them littering the battlefield.

My initial plan is to make a casualty marker for each British unit - a wounded model with space to set a d6 to track the number of wounded. I think if the number ever goes over 6 wounded (killed models are removed and wounded may be killed as well) the unit is probably in dire trouble and in retreat. The first damn impediment to this plan is that the Perry's didn't make an Highlander casualties meaning I will have to convert them (grumble, grumble). We'll see how my sculpting skills are coming. There are no wounded Egyptians or Sudanese either, but I can probably carve up a command model to make one.

For the natives, I'll make casualty markers as well, but they will only drop half or a third as many (I'll work this out when I get to play some games) landmines as the standard rules. I may just do away with wounded natives all together.

There are tons of rule sets available for the period and I have many of them - Black Powder, The Men Who Would Be King, A Good Dusting, Up the Nile, Donnybrook... all have points to recommend and all are lacking something I want when I read through them. One of the great things of having chosen TSATF to model my armies is that ALL of these sets are playable, more or less, with the collection I'm amassing.

Ah, well - first world problems... More Mahdists soon!

May 18, 2020

From Now On, ALL of My Armies Will Contain Mahdists

Wow! It literally only took three hours to paint twenty-two models. I honestly think it took longer to build these (plastic Perry Miniatures) than it did to paint them!


Now, these guys could have more detail, such as decorative trim on the robes and I'll get around to adding the colored patches to some of the jibba, but I'm happy with how these look for now. I may add shields to some of the models later, but I've read that they didn't often carry them into battle and it was less thing to paint.

All of the paints are Games Workshop. Steps listed below as 'Contrast' are a single coat of GW Contrast paint. If you've not tried it, the paint is like a base coat and shade in one step. It takes a little experimentation to get the technique down to apply as you can end up with 'patchy' results if you're not careful. The important bit is the order you do these in. Robes, then skin (Rhinox Hide), then hair. Each layer covers the last so you can quickly burn through these.

Primer
Wraithbone

Robes
Contrast: Skeleton Horde* OR Apothecary White*

Skin
Base Coat: Rhinox Hide
Highlight: Doombull Brown

Hair
Contrast: Black Templar*

Turban, Scabbards, and Arm Bands
Base Coat: Khorne Red
Shade: Agrax Earthshade
Layer: Wazdakka Red
Highlight: Wild Rider Red (Turban only)

Spearshafts and Rifle Stocks
Base Coat: Gorthor Brown
Shade: Agrax Earthshade
Highlight: Baneblade Brown

Steel
Base Coat: Iron Warriors
Shade: Agrax Earthshade

Gold
Base Coat: Liberator Gold
Shade: Reikland Fleshade

*GW Contrast paint

If you follow this method, here are a couple of things to note:

1. The robes will seem way too dark when you start out, but after applying the paint to the skin and hair, will brighten right up. I may add a few edge highlights in the future, but I did on my test model and the results weren't really worth the effort.

2. Doombull Brown looks very red when you first apply it, but darkens as it dries and makes a nice highlight.

3. The Baneblade Brown highlight on the spear shaft is a simple stripe down the upper edge. Don't faff about trying to paint the wood grain.

4. The necklaces, arm bands, and other equipment were given a coat of Black Templar when I painted the hair. When these were later picked in out in other colors, they give the 'black lining' effect I use on many of my models.

Whew!

For me 20+ models at a time is too many. Going forward, I'll work in batches of twelve. I'm using the 1, 2, 3 basing method I stole from Dalauppror to give myself the flexibility to remove single casualties, but cut down on having to move hordes of models individually. These look fantastic in the 'Mass Formation' from TSATF. I actually based them on their multiple stands before painting and it was easier to reach everything than I thought it might be. All of my Mahdists with rifles will end up on single bases so I can deploy them in 'Open Order Formation'.

It will take me a few days to put some more models together, but hopefully I can double the number of models above (and finish the bases) by the weekend!

More soon...