I have done my first proper effort on the 2019 Joy of Six project – the Battle of Poltava 1709. As I have stated before it will be a full blown table showing not just the main battle, but also the besieged Poltava, the Monastery and of course the redoubts (more background at the end of a previous blog here).
I did a inventory of the Swedish miniatures needed and found (not to a great surprise to be honest) that I have everything I need apart from some Cossacks and the models required for the Poltava Siege works (I want to make the siege lines, siege guns and sappers, etc), as for the forces on the table, all I need is (excluding artillery and command bases):
41 cavalry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
18 infantry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
24 Vallack and Cossack bases (large light horse bases 60 by 60mm)
That is 83 No. of bases (and detailed below) in total compared to 100 No. of bases for the Horka battle.
I will do the same review for the Russians, but I already know that there will be substantially more work as the number of bases for Horka was 155 No. but I will need a total of 259 No. for Poltava.
140 cavalry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
89 infantry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
30 Cossack and Kalmyk bases (large light horse bases)
Now all these did not fight in the main battle, but it allows a little bit of a reflection as to the relative strength of the Russians vs the Swedes in terms of available resources in the area. It will be a busy table, considering that it is about 40% more models (however they will be somewhat differently spread).
In the interim I do know that I have no Russian Horse Grenadiers and I need 3 No. regiments of 4 bases worth of models, so I have been painting some of these.
In 1708, Peter the Great, formed some Horse Grenadiers regiments, taken from the Grenadier company of existing Dragoon regiments. It is a little bit confusing and unclear how these units were uniformed at the Poltava battle and how many were present, so what follows are an interpretation. In game terms we will treat these as a better quality dragoon units and I have modelled these on a basis of 4 bases per regiment. Note that these are from Baccus Seven Years War range (and not from the WSS or GNW range) – they are wonderful little models and you can find them here.
A. Kropotov’s Horse Grenadiers
I painted these in the most common uniform combination of the Russian Army at the time with Green jacket with red facings, this is a speculative uniform combination. The flag is green and I am thinking of making some transfers to add some detail to them (I bought some printable transfer paper).
G. Kropotov’s Horse Grenadiers
Again speculative uniform – I made them as above but with blue instead of Green, apart from the flag.
von der Roop’s Horse Grenadiers
Yet again speculative uniform – I made them blue coats with red facings and a blue and red Mitre.
I have given them an ink wash (nut brown of course, see below) and will base them up shortly.
/ Hope that was of some interest
List of the Swedish units required for Poltava 1709 based on a rough guide of one base of 9 models of riders per 200 to 300 cavalry (about 2 squadrons) and the same for base of 24 models of infantry per 400 to 600 infantry (a battalion).
I recommend that you read the first part from last week (link here, that contains a little bit of an intro) as this is a rather short update if you have not already and if you are interested in the context of this.
I learned this week that Major General Earle who died at the Battle in 1885 is standing outside George’s Hall in Liverpool (where he was born in 1833). A very elegant statue that was unveiled in 1887 by Lord Wolsey, the Commander of the British Forces in Egypt.
Earle had started his career fighting in the Crimean War and fought gallantry at Alma and Sevastopol rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He later served in Gibraltar, Canada and India. In 1880 he was granted his Major Generalship and was sent to Egypt in 1882. Here he was the commander of the garrison at Alexandria. In 1884 he was in command of a campaign (the British Nile Column) to support General Gordon in Khartoum (Sudan). The city was under siege by Mahdist. Earle and his soldiers did not arrive in time and Khartoum fell in the beginning of 1885.
On the 10th February 1885, Major Earle, and part of the British Nile Column stormed the hills at Kirbekan and routed Mahdist force. Unfortunately Earle, as stated above, was killed in the battle together with about 60 British soldiers, including Lieutenant Colonel Philip Eyre of the First South Staffordshire Regiment.
So, to hang on to Lt Col Phillip Eyre for a moment, this week I did the second large British unit at the Kirbekan Battle 1885.
The South Staffordshire Regiment
The regiment was sent to Egypt in 1882 as part of the invasion and in 1885 it travelled as part of the unsuccessful column to lift the Siege of Khartoum, but came to play an important part in the battle at Kirbekan. Following Garrison duties it was later sent to fight in the Boer War. I let you read more about the regiment and its further adventures during the Great War and World War 2 on Wikipedia (link here).
As I did last time I used the excellent Perry Painting Guide from their webpage (link here). I made six bases (40 by 20 mm) with firing poses and six bases with Marching poses – as the British did a lot of marching and I fancy a long column of soldiers in the end. Of course when I checked this out I realised that the South Staff Regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red at the Kirbekan Battle – I painted mine with the grey/blue uniform last week – Oh well perhaps the Scots did not listen to the English commander, or I have to do another set of them in red!
14. South Staffordshire Regiment This regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red to storm the ridge at the battle of Kirbekan, 10th February 1885
From the Perry Painting Guide
Anyway, here is how the South Staffordshire gentlemen turned out (they are 6mm Baccus from the their colonial range, link here).
/ Hope that was of some interest, next time I will do some Mahdists I think.
My friend Peter Riley who has written a number of Wargames rules, including the Polemos American Civil War (ACW) and the Franco-Prussian War (FPW), sent me a copy of his unpublished colonial rules “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” a long time ago to try out and give him some feedback. Doing something and giving them a try is long overdue.
By the way Peter is one half of the Wargamer Collection Calculator Crew that I have talked about before on this page, check them out here.
In addition they are doing a Little Big Horn Project in 6mm that I have been following with some interest (here is a good starting point).
I did acquired a large amount of 6mm Baccus Colonial miniatures in a “bring and buy” sale many years ago and have wanted to find some inspiration to do something with them. I did some colonial stuff using the Men Who Would be King rules for 6mm Skirmish (link here, here and here). That was really fun and The Little One and I have had fair amount of fun table time with those.
However, I wanted something for bigger battles – and skimming through the rules Peter had sent me last week I found the Kirbekan Battle in 1885 (link here) that would require about 30 bases to play on a 6 by 4 table using 60mm frontage, and with 40mm bases it could be played on a normal kitchen table, on a 4’6″ by 3″ table.
The rules are extensive and although I have not yet understood them I have decided, as a little side project, to do the two sides of the battle and use it as a vehicle to learn the rules. In future posting I will write more details about the actual Battle and these rules.
With regards to basing (from the rules):
a base of Infantry represents an Infantry Company, about 65 to 180 men.
A base of Cavalry represents a Cavalry unit of about 65 to 130 men and horses.
Support Weapon bases represent and group of 1 to 3 guns.
According to Donald Featherstone’s excellent Khartoum book (published by Osprey) The British General Earle had the following force available at the battle (the book also contain the typical Osprey 3D map of the Kirbekan battle):
The Black Watch – 437 men.
South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men.
A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men.
A half company of Egyptian camel company – 47 men.
Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men.
This translates to the following set-up in the rules:
The Black Watch – 437 men – 6 units (bases)
South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men – 6 units (bases)
A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men – 1 unit (bases)
A half company of Egyptian camel company (Camel Corps) – 47 men – 1 unit (bases)
Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men – 1 unit (bases)
I thought I start with the British Side and from the top..
The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
The regiment was created in 1881 in an amalgation of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot and the 73rd (Pertshire) Regiment of Foot (more here and here).
The regiment fought extensively in the Anglo-Eqyptian and Mahdist wars at the Battle of Tel el-Kebor 1882, Battles of El Teb 1884 and the Battle of Kirbekan 1885. The regiment also fought in the Second Boer War.
As for painting them I consulted the very good resource on Perry Minatures webpage written by Michael Perry about the Sudan 1883-85 (link here). It has a uniform guide that includes the Black Watch (the grey I have used is perhaps too blue, because I used blue).
Each base represent a company of men, I made them in Marching and Firing poses on 40 by 20mm bases.
Next up the South Staffordshire Regiment, at some point in the future.
Soviet Platoon/Company for Chain of Command (Finnish Continuation War)
Bersaglieri Platoon for Chain of Command (Greek 1940-41)
My lighting solution(s) for my travel rig
Soviet Platoon for Chain of Command (Finnish Continuation War) with Support
Had some marathon sessions last week to paint up a company box of plastic Russians/Soviets from Battlefront (Product code SBX33 Strelkovy Company in Plastic, at £28, but I got mine cheaper on ebay), with some additional miniatures from Skytrex (LMG second men, AT Rifles), Mortars from Peter Pig and further SMG men from Battlefront. I did the photos after having based them so there is still some static grass on the figures in some places – sorry!
These guys will fight the Finnish Platoon I made earlier (link here).
Using the list from the Chain of Command book we find the following information for a Russian Rifle Platoon.
So let us start with that Leytenant
Add two more squads and we have our Rifle Platoon (I did 4 or these Platoons)
Some of the support options I made this week (in addition I have plenty of tanks from my What a Tanker stuff I made earlier this year, just need to add some Infantry Gun and Anti-tank Guns:
Having placed all that on the table I still had this left.
So there is enough for more Platoons for a large game of Chain of Command, or even a IABSG.
Bersaglieri Platoon for Greece 1940-41 with some Supports
Whilst I was on holiday in Rhodes, Greece, I painted a Greek Platoon that I had lying around on the lead mountain (here is a link to that one). Below some picture of this platoon.
I got really inspired and decided to paint up a platoon of Italian Bersaglieri – Italian light elite infantry with those cool black feathers (actually capercaille feathers). To fight these brave Greeks. By the way Bersaglieri means marksman.
I love the intensity in this video showing them in action in the beginning – it is a propaganda video and I have no idea what they are saying and I especially like the part where they are pulling the AT Gun up the slope about 30 seconds in – quality.
I have seen these previously on the wargames table in the North African Theatre with the tropical helmets and light coloured uniforms and later in the war during the Italian campaign with a light khaki top and brown trousers. However for the Greek campaign the sources I found suggest a much darker uniform at this point and I have gone for this in doing these. I guess this uniform would work for the attack of Southern France in 1940 as well as for Barbarossa.
I got the models from Battlefront and I used the following packs (unless stated otherwise stated in the text) to make the platoon and the supports (prices in british pounds from Battlefronts webpage, I got mine about 10% cheaper from ebay). I really like the models but there is some flash especially on the two firing rifle poses and some of the rifles are a little bit weak so be careful.
I need to get some more infantry Guns and perhaps a small tank, anyway this is the platoon and the support option at this point in time.
As a basis for the platoon I used the list from the Too Fat Lardies webpage (link here), however this is a list for a Fucilieri platoon in Africa so may not be correct (if yoy know it is not and are reading this could you please let me know through the contact or comment on this blog). Anyway it is an assumption for now.
By the way Too Fat Lardies are soon to issue a new supplement for Chain of Command that maybe will contain further information on the Bersaglieri at this point in time. I am very excited about this as I have painted platoons for Germans, French and BEF (and a few on the lead mountain). In addition they will include rules that will be useful for my Continuation War scenarios as there will be rules for bikes (remember Lt. Eero Perkolas platoon in the movie Ambush [ Rukajärven tie] ) and boat assaults (see this link, if you do not understand why I am excited about this).
So really looking forward to this one, for many reasons.
…back to the Italians.
Let there be light!
Earlier (link here) I wrote about my current work situation requiring me to stay away form home in hotels a few evenings every week and about taking back the hobby time in bringing a “painting and basing rig” with me.
However there was an issue and I made a promise.
Light is a problem in hotel rooms and I have invested in a travel led lamp that will be a very welcome addition to the “rig!” but it is waiting for me in the house at the moment. I will get back to you with my verdict.
I find it difficult to focus if I paint in a poor light environment and I quickly get tired – affecting both quality (can’t see properly) and output (can’t do it for long). So something needed to be done.
I actually “splashed” out and bought two slightly different lamps and what follow is a little bit of a discussion or a review if you wish. I did not do any research prior to buying these so there may be better and more cost effective ones – this is just my view on the two I did buy. I have no technical knowledge of light and it is just based on my opinion and what seems to work for me – have I caveated myself sufficiently?
First out is Ideaworks super bright portable LED lamp, I call this one Gimli.
Gimli – £9.27 from Amazon UK
This one folds into a little compact box (13 X 7 X 4.5cm) and is powered by 4 No. AA batteries or by USB cable. I have only used this one using the USB cable so I do not know how long the batteries will lasts. There are also three levels of light that can be used 30%, 50% and 100%.
Second is the taller but with more sleek design, MoKo Portable LED Desk Lamp, I call this one Galadriel.
Galadriel – £22.99 from Amazon UK
This taller but slimmer lamp (23 x 5 x 2.5cm)has an internal rechargeable battery and can also be powered via USB cable. The battery can also be used as charger for your other gadgets (2800 mAh, this in theory is more than sufficient to charge an iPhone from 0 to 100% once) – so a handy additional feature. Further the battery lasts for about 7-8 hours according to the product blur (but there is a deterioration of strength during use).
So overall I am most happy with Galadriel as the light is better, but in addition she takes less space (they both weight about the same, when Gimli has the 4 AA batteries added) and further she has the added feature as a back-up power bank. I recall one of my University Lecturers saying that price is an information carrier and in this instance it is correct. I used it whilst on holiday and I am more than happy with the product.
However, as I now have them both I think I will use them together as this gives the even a better light experience. They are my two Towers.
“Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-Dûm in Elder Days before the fall of the mighty kings beneath the stone. She looked upon Gimli, who sat glowering and sad, and she smiled. And the Dwarf, hearing the names given in his own ancient tongue, looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. Wonder came into his face, and then he smiled in answer.
He rose clumsily and bowed in dwarf-fashion, saying: „Yet more fair is the living land of Lórien, and the Lady Galadriel is above all the jewels that lie in the earth!
from the Two Towers by Tolkien
The point is whether you are painting at home or roaming the land, make sure that you have good light as it make the experience easier, more enjoyable and less tiring.
/ Hope that was of some interest, time to put on a few colours and then switch off the light. By the way here is a picture from the movie I referred to earlier Ambush/Rukajärven tie showing the Finnish soldiers with their bikes.
I often see posts like “What movies/books inspires you to Wargame” on forums and it is an interesting question and very often the answers leads me to find new and interesting potential projects. As I have mentioned on a number of occasions I went to the Cinema when I went “home” to Sweden over Christmas last year to see “Unknown Soldier” based on the book by Linna. It is one of the most famous Finnish books and is set during the Continuation war (you can read more about the book here) 1941 to 1944, between Finland and the Sovietic Union (or Russia if you prefer) – you can find out more about this war here.
One of the scenes in the Unknown Soldier movie shows a Finnish attack using assault boats – I really found this scene inspiring and have been thinking about doing a scenario starting with reinforced infantry platoon (with a half Machine Gun platoon) in six boats pushing forward after the Finnish Barrage on the opposing side (with unknown effect), with chances of the boats being hit by enemy fire, but also some possibility of doing the Russian side some further damage with the Machine Gun or perhaps even Rifle fire, getting off the boats and then play the scenario as a normal Chain of Command (or Bolt Action or whatever platoon based rule set you prefer) scenario with the possibility of having lost units on both side before the actual engagement.
Here is a screenshot of the scene from one of the movie trailers on the net.
I recently did a Finnish Rifle Platoon in 15mm (here is a blog write-up) and have got all the miniatures to do another one, however in doing this I ended up with a pile of Finnish Soldiers I did not need. I also had a few boats I had made for another project some time ago (do not ask, but it involved making molds and using clear resin). These boats are not based on the Assault Boat in the pictures and the men, as you will see, on then are more dynamic and all-over the place than would be the case in reality. but I felt inspired yesterday so they had to do – and what the lack in historical or procedural accuracy I think they make up in looking cool!
Here are a few pictures on how they ended up, for anyone interested there is a little discussion after on how they were made and the painting (more for me if I want to do more).
Here we go… (all miniatures by Battlefront, from their Finnish range, 15mm scale). I think they are good enough for a game.
Thanks for hanging on so far, now some notes on how their were made and some notes for me on the painting as I may do a few more at some point.
Assault Boat Notes
I had six boats I had made previously lying around and I still have the mold somewhere to do more if I need – I used a clear casting resin I had used for some water effects. I cut off the bases on the miniatures and bent some legs when required and tried to get a look of some action maybe just as the boat enters the “final destination” and the section are ready to jump off and attack.
I then glued each boat on a plastic base (I used two dvd covers) with the front end slightly elevated. I then added some filler around and tried to give it some irregular shape and waviness!.
Next priming black. let dry and get on with it.
/ that is all for this time, hope it was of some use.
Spending a few days in Greece, so I thought I would do a Greek Rifle Platoon based on some Burns 15mm miniatures from the lead mountain, I also had bought a pack of Flames of War Greeks in the past (there is a HQ pack or something). In trying to make what I had into a platoon with some supports, I bought some Italian LMGs (walking and lying down) and AT Rifles and an AT Gun from Peter Pig. Although not strictly the same type of uniforms it did not bother me so I lived with it. As for all these Platoons I am doing I have decided to get them done quickly and the painting is done in that fashion – 2 to 3 sessions per platoon and support – that is it.
I based my painting on some great re-enactor images I found on the net (link here). The uniform I painted was basically Vallejo US Olive drab highlighted with Brown Violet.
The platoon composition I found on this (link here) really good source that contains a lot of different platoons.
Here is the one for the Greek Platoon.
And here are the models I made…
The Platoon HQ – Lt. with a gun and I did a second in command as I did not read the list correctly (ignore him for now).
One of the three squads.
All of the squads
Lying down LMG teams
Some extra rifle-men
Anti-tank Rifle teams
Good enough for the table!
/ Hope that was of some interest, now I am doing s##t all for a while.
Next up some Russians to fight the Finns, then perhaps some Italian Bersaglieri to fight these Greeks.
This week, actually the last few days, I have been working on a 15mm Scout/Recon Platoon for Chain of Command to fight the Finnish platoon I did last week (see here). The organisation of the platoon is based on the list found in the Too Fat Lardies Christmas Special 2016 (link here). They are all from the Peter Pig (link here) range and are in 15mm scale. I really enjoyed painting them and I think they are really nice models. If you are not familiar with Peter Pig, go and have a look at what they do – they have a very comprehensive WW2 range and a lot of specials like different type of Uniforms, Sniper, engineers, etc.
In addition Peter Pig has a lot of ranges covering War of the Roses, Samurai, English Civil War, Pirates (and even small 1/450th pirate ships), American War of Independence, American Civil War (and again some naval ships in smaller scale), Vikings & foes, colonial, wild west, great war, Spanish civil war, Vietnam and Modern Africa. Further they sell Scenery and some fantastic rule sets (http://www.peterpig.co.uk/).
I could have painted the Scouts in a one colour uniform but were keen to have some kind of camouflage to make them look a little bit cooler. Artizan design have some very useful Painting Guides produced by Mick Farnworth on their webpage (link here), I found one showing Russian Leaf Patterns that I liked (link here) with only two nice contrasting colours. I then found two good colour matches (Vallejo 886 Green Grey and 887 Brown Violet – it may be called US Olive Drab nowadays).
Then I painted the Uniform in the 887 and made small random dots with 886 on top and I think it looks good from the distance they will be looked at.
Anyway, here are the completed miniatures.
Leytenant, Senior Leader, with Pistol
Serzhant, Junior Leader, with SMG
3 Squads each consisting of;
Serzhant, Junior Leader, with SMG
Light Machine Gun (LMG) with 2 crew
4 No. Submachine Gunners
4 No. Semi-Automatic Rifle Men (SVT40, not sure the models are, but hey!)
Anti-tank rifle teams
50mm Mortar teams
Generic Engineering team (more a marker)
Commissar, to give the troops a kick in the arse (sorry, I meant to increase their morale)
Mid-week Paining Solution – Getting my Hobby time back
Due to work I currently spend about 2 nights every week in hotels – it is a little bit of a change but I thought I make the best of it. I am already getting tired of hotel bars. I have decided to do some painting on these evenings, if I can, and have set up a little “paint-rig!”. Not very high tech and based on three old VHS boxes, and the system is modular as you can add more boxes ;).
Light is a problem in hotel rooms and I have invested in a travel led lamp that will be a very welcome addition to the “rig!” but it is waiting for me in the house at the moment. I will get back to you with my verdict.
With regards to Podcast there is a new one out from the Wargames Soldiers and Strategy team that I enjoyed whilst painting yesterday, it is about participation games (link here). I wrote a blog a few weeks back that relates to this about engagement at wargames shows (link here). Give it a go.
I also plan to do 4 No. platoons of normal Strelkovy/Russian Infantry and I won a new box of Battlefront plastic 15mm Russians for £18 including postage from Ebay (they retail at about £26). I checked them out and I like them and think they will paint up nicely. I also looked at Plastic Soldiers company pack but decided to start with the Battlefront ones – perhaps I get a PSC box in the future. Since then I found out that the Battlefront ones are bulkier than the PSC ones and may not work together that well (thanks Ignacy Kurowski).
To do 4 No. Platoons I will need:
4 No. Senior Leaders with Pistol (there are 6 No. in the pack)
12 No. Junior Leaders with SMG (there are 12 No. in the pack).
12. No. LMG with 2 crew (there are 12 LMG soldiers in the pack but I would need 12 more Russian riflemen. I have some lying around I think).
84 Riflemen (there are 84 No. in the pack)
In addition it comes with 6 No. MMG. These should keep me busy for a while!, but I will not start it until my Greeks are done (another story) and I have enjoyed a few weeks of leave.