Monday, May 29, 2017

Trent Miniatures - Haitian Revolting Slaves

The first figures are off the production line Trent Miniatures a mixture of Revolting Slaves and Maroons.

Lacking the kit of your regular napoleonic soldier these were pretty quick to turn around in many cases armed only with musket or blade. There ar some really nice touches including some of the figures with scars on their backs. 

The blister packs contain a random selection of castings with various head swaps which is perfect for the rag tag feel, I am not to sure how many unique bodies are in the range, I am certainly missing two shown on the "web" - An excuse to buy more or flick through the packs at the next show.

I splashed out on Foundry's "African Flesh"  Palettes to give me some extra depth and tone.
I may over time make some figures with both a darker and lighter skin tone but for the first unit these look pretty good to me.

Right back to the brushes.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Haitian Revolution 1791-1804

After a period of distraction I seemed to have found my mojo again.... hurray.... in recent months things have been a little quiet but a trip to Partizan has light the fires and a new project is up and runing....
I fancied changing conflicts but still utilising much of the terrain I already have, in true form nothing to ordinary so why not the Haitian Revolution!

I have had my eye on this for quite a while after playing in Nick's Skinners excellent Sharp Practice in last years Lardy Day coupled with a recent visit to the Liverpool Slavery Museum.

The period offers so much for the Sharp Practice gamer, the forces are small in comparison to most Napoleonic encounters and the opportunity for various scenario's what with the constantly changing alliances.

Considering the popularity of Napoleonics, the ranges are some what limited so to is any illistrated history and with a number of the club owning British and French, I figured I would start with the Haitian Revolutionaries - Brilliant even less information available.... Hhhmm.

Osprey's Napoleon’s Overseas Army was a useful guide and with Trent Miniatures and the odd pirate figure from foundry thrown in I would have enough options to pull together a couple of bands of
former slaves for starters.

For those of you who are not familar with the conflict Haiti or Saint Domingue as it was called by the French was a valuable French Colony exporting sugar to Western Europe controlled largely by French plantation owners as the French Revolution broke out in mainland France so to the spirit of revolution spread to Haiti.

The conflict itself can be spread over several phases.
It was the French Revolution which lead to the rise of the Haitian independence movement starting out with a rebellion of slaves, which eventually mobilized all levels of society in Haiti including free men of colour (mulattos), a number of which were Plantation owners in their own right many others outlaw slaves living in the mountains known as maroons. These two groups played a major part in the early rebellions of 1790-1792, leading up to a 1792 decree which made free men of colour legal citizens.


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What really appeals is that many of the encounters of the Haitian Revolution was fought sporadically often in isolated conflicts.  There was significant infighting especially between the predominantly slave and former slave militias, and the private armies & regiments' of the mulatto generals, most notably André Rigaud. 

Rigaud was a well known noble, a veteran of the French mission to America during the American Revolution he controlled close to 7,000 soldiers in south of Haiti before emancipation as a dictator-general his personal rivalry with General Toussaint Louverture led Haiti into the first rebellion - The War of Knives (1799-1800)

Haiti as first a semi-independent became important in the now global conflict between Britain and France in the Napoleonic Wars 
It's Leader Toussaint Louverture courted trade and diplomatic treaties with the US and Britain yet remained outwardly loyal to France. Pushing matters to far he triggered a change in policy in France and Napoleon who ordered an invasion force led by Victor-Emmanuel Leclerc to invade Haiti and take back control the island from the upstart rebels.

Arriving in the port of Cap-Français (Cap-Haïtien) the capital of Saint Domingue at the time. Haitian patriot and future president & King Henri Christophe burned the city rather than let the French take it by arms before siding with the French.

The Haitians retreated with both Toussaint and Christophe surrendering to General Leclerc’s forces, with eventually Christophe and Jean-Jacques Dessalines working with the French as officers in their army. 
The Island and climate was the greatest threat the to invading French and Leclerc and many of forces died of fever. Sensing a French weakness many of the Haitian generals including Christophe changed sides yet again.

Eventually the Haitians secured victory over Napoleon & General Rochambeau, winning independence in 1804 through the decisive Battle of Vertieres which lead to French withdraw under pressure in Europe.

Many of the units and combatants can be used for various sides in the conflict and with the option to include French, British and Spanish units which will make for some great scenario's in multi-player battles. Much of my jungle terrain can be pressed into service which leaves me to concentrate on the figures.
Plenty to get my teeth into in the coming weeks lets see what progress can be made this bank holiday weekend.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Back from Partizan....

Having missed many of the early 2017 show circuit, Partizan was the first real all day outing of the year.

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The Newark showground is fast becoming the regular home of gaming. The Partizan guys did a great job even organising a Hurricane fly past.... :-)
The new venue had plenty of room and great lighting which made for a great days gaming the show seemed really busy with plenty of old faces to catch up with, once again we manned the Kallistra Table (Thanks Paul.) seeking to improve on the British assault at Cambrai.

A tough affair with two lines of trenches to break through all before the close of the day, the Germans cannot really win this scenario, but the Brits can certainly lose it. They out number the Germans by 4:1 in Infantry and have 48 Tanks to the Germans 16 Field guns.

We made great head way in the morning breaching the lightly defended first line but my luck started to run out on the right flank with tank after tank falling foul of Artillery and Grenades coupled with my inability to roll lower than a 5 or a 6 which resulted in half my armour support bogging down and the crew bailing.

Meanwhile my co-commander Dave was having a far better time of it on the left, he only lost one tank to Artillery fire and almost all of his armour crossed the trenches unhindered. By lunch time he was well into the second line whilst I was left to push Infantry across rough ground..... 

All part of the plan... #HammerandAnvil....
A great days gaming and nice to play on such a large table in a great venue with some fine commanders on both sides.

The show seemed really busy with many of the traders 2-3 deep at times.
I stocked up the leadpile for the coming months - Thank goodness Reading is a number of months away..

Now the customary photo's of today's haul.
  • Copplestone's Amazon Indian's
    • Arquebus and War Club - A small project using my Spanish in South America.
  • Arab Workers
    • A useful sapper addition for the Egypt Project.
  • RJW Dismounted Cavalry.
    • A top up for the next all dayer in june.
  • Trent Miniatures and Wargames Foundry.
    • The next major project - Haiti - Napoleonic's Caribbean style. 
  • Paints
    • Because you can never have enough flesh tones.

Finally some eye candy from the Perry's fantastic Alexandria game - I will have to go some to increase my output to this scale. A wonderful looking game and plenty of inspiration for future units in Egypt....


Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Coptic Legion, Egypt 1798-1801

Finally a fresh unit, recent weeks seems to have been filled with the occasional hour here and there and the odd table filler such as bystanders and shock markers, but a free day today and a fresh detachment arrives on the table top.

I had some spare Perry's French which were in need of clearing from the paint table. Re-reading Charles Grants - Napoleon's Campaigns in Egypt he references a unit of Christian Coptics that were recruited by the French. The legion numbered no more than 850 men so the perfect type of unit for Sharp Practice, they would add a little flavour to the table top and make for some interesting scenario's.

The Coptic Legions uniform appears to be very similar in design to that of the regular French line units. The Trousers were of unbleached linen and a Dartmouth Green Coat. I was a little unsure at first as it felt very strange painting French Infantry Green, but I am happy with the results.

Partizan tomorrow and the creative juices are following for a couple of extra projects and top ups to existing campaigns. The Perry's are putting on the Egypt master piece which puts my efforts to shame.... I am sure the visual impact will drive a few extra purchases.
Image result for coptic legion 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

French Casualties - Shock Markers

I picked these up from Perry Miniatures back in March and finally grabbed some time to get them painted up after the last outing I have a feeling they will be needed.

To keep the number of markers on the table down I have added two dice holders to these bases.

Only a slightly different note I have picked up a couple of extra cloths whilst out and about this week these are a shade yellower and give me enough coverage for 12' by 8'. A proper desert. It does not really show in the photo's but should blend better with the bases for the troops I guess the wider game shots will show the table in a better light.

Next up French reinforcements and a trip to Partizan where I can feel a new project coming on.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Beyond the Gates of Antares

Club night and an opportunity to play something a little different, Dane offered to umpire a Beyond the Gates of Antares encounter I had read plenty about it but never seen it in action and was keen to roll some dice.... I know nothing about the various forces involved but the test of any rule set has to be the ability to pick the rules up easily and win a scenario if you if you can throw enough fire power at your opponent and they are damned unlucky.

 A face off between Red and Blue Factions.

I massed my forces on the far right including a hover tank with a drone who produced a nifty force field which could shield some of my units.

My opponent had opted for some shiny hover bikes but a lucky shot in the first round saw them fail their morale and go to ground, they were unable to pass their morale for a number of rounds which hindered the red forces flanking force. - Shooting ranges are really long compared to most table top games Infantry weapons being able to hit targets at 50 inches ouch...

As the Red Tank entered the centre of the table I threw everything but the kitchen sink at it, I scored very little damage but I was able to pin it on several occasions which forced it from the table.
If you are in the open you really are in for a nasty time.

Sitting on the high ground with support drones and some heavy fire power it was all over everytime a Red unit raised it's head it would receive 4x the return fire coupled with the force field it was all over.
If the hover bikes had not been stopped in the first turn it could have been a very different affair but the luck of the dice were definately with me.

The dice activation and order mechanics gave you a couple of tactical headaches when you watched dice after dice pop out of the bag for your opponent, but you had the satisfaction of knowing you would be next. You really need plenty of cover on the table if you are to survive more than a couple of rounds.

I can't see me purchasing any troops for Antares but it did make for a nice evenings game.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Goat Stew... A French in Egypt encounter.

As a warm up to the Dawn and Departure Campaign whilst I get a few troops painted up.
I wanted to see how the points would balance up using Sharp Practce 2 and what troops combination would work best to blunt the French advance.

We rolled randomly for the terrain which yielded a couple of walled fields and an olive grove.
Not much to fight over when you have picked largely native troops and the French picked a shiny new cannon.

The Ottoman's deployed early and rushed forwards to secure the mud walls hoping to take advantage of the cover and their long range rifles, French skirmishers rushed to oppose them.
Battle was joined over the scattered crops as the goats darted here and there.

The French frustrated by the skirmishers rolled out into line and presented their arms. This could be painful but before they could unleash their volley the Tiffin token appeared and the Arab Riflemen drew first and were off, running out of arc of the advancing French Infantry. 

Time and luck was running out for the skirmish troops having avoided the Line Infantry they were caught in the open by there earlier opponents who inflicted enough shock to force them backwards.  Where were the rest of the Ottoman forces? 
The French march on....

With the clock ticking down finally the Ottoman's reveal themselves. Just in front of their deloyment point a unit of militia open fire on the advancing French line who had now crossed the walled goat field and were advancing on the objective. The Ottoman volley failed to have the desired impact and the counter fire from the French saw the Ottomans lose several of their number thanks to the first volley bonus - All kills and no shock......

But all was not lost the Ottomans had one more hand to play, two units of militia infantry ambushed the now unloaded French popping up from behind the dry stone wall.

The French held firm, the wall that had slowed there advance now kept the Arab Big Choppers at bay and sent them running from the field. The musket armed militia in a last desperate attempt to stem the French advance rushed towards the walled compound only to be beaten back.

The French had held on but at quite a cost. The lack of scouts had drawn them into a hand to hand fight they had not wanted, they would have to be more careful in future encounters or reinforcements would soon run dry.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Paint Table Sunday.

I have done very little painting over recent months everytime I see light at the end of tunnel it always seems to be somebody witn at torch bringing more stuff to do, work, training - essay writing (its been 25 years since I last had to do this....), household tasks, but finally it feels like all these matters are under control and the paint table can come out from under the mountain of non-hobby tasks.

I thought I would ease myself back in with a couple of odds and end from the to do list for Sharp Practice. I do like a nice scenario and Sharp Practice is best played with a little more texture to its games rather than simply dropping figures on the table. So what better than a couple of Front Rank  "ladies" in need of rescue. Not your high class offering here but more camp followers - But my Ottomans care little as long as they are European....

The Ammunition cart is also from Front Rank, I considered adding a draft animal but figured it would get more use as a static piece.
The shock markers were from the odds and ends box, I have added two dice frames to keep the number of markers on the table low.

Meanwhile the French get some reinforcements for the stalled Dawn and Departures Campaign in the form of a light artillery piece and crew - Another great set of castings from Brigade Games.

Dressed in the Kleber uniform of the day they should give the French a little more of a punch and keep the Ottoman Cavalry at bay.

Artillery worker
French Artillery
Right back to the brushes before I get dragged off on some other non-hobby task.