Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019 – the Grand Finale of the Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT)

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This is a quick report back from Joy of Six focusing on the table Nick, Andrew, Neil (from the Wyre Foresters, thanks to all of you!) and I put up on the day. there are some additional reflections and pictures of the show overall that I will issue sometime this coming weekend. Thanks to everyone who came by we really enjoyed the feedback!

The Towards Moscow Trilogy

More than three years ago I decided to have a go at doing a few battles of the ill-fated Russian campaign (1707-1709) of the Great Northern War 1700-1721.  I set out the plan in a blog post (link here) and the three battles we would cover were:

Lesnaya 1708 – link to more pictures here in the blogpost from Joy of Six 2017:

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Battle of Lesnaya 1708 (8 foot table)

Horka 1708 (a what-if battle that would allow us to field a more balance army composition and linear battle that would be the case for the battles of the Campaign) – link to more pictures here in the blogpost from Joy of Six 2018:

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Battle of Horka 1708 (12 foot table)

This year it was a 16 foot table and the disastrous (from a Swedish perspective) Battle of Poltava. Here are a number of pictures from the day with the occasional comments and some link on how some elements of the tables was being made – we were far to busy talking to people to even have a go at actually trying to play it! I think the vision of a grand spectacle was achieved, hope you enjoy  (if you have any comments do get it touch through the blog and ask away):

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Initial disposition the Russian Infantry in the Camp on the left, the redoubts filled with Russian Infantry and the line of Dragoons behind the redoubts.
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Close up of the Redoubts, we can see the Swedes in the far right corner starting their march. More about the redoubts here and he colourful fields here.

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More detail of the Yakovetski forest, the Monastery, Poltava itself and the Swedish Camp.

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The Swedes quickly overrun the first redoubt and set about taking care of the other one.

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Poltava with the Siege Lines in the upper left corner. Buildings mainly from Total Battle miniatures with a Scratch built Fortress (walls and towers).  More on the Poltava here, the ruined villages here and the Siege Lines here.

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The Swedes are through
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Some battalions being lost in the forest

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The Swedes organising themselves for the main battle

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Some immense firing

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Swedish Artillery being left behind!

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Detail of the Swedish Camp, more about the camp here.

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Siege works

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/ Hope that was of some interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All revved up and ready to go to Joy of Six (2019)!

It is now a few days until Joy of Six 2019 and I am really looking forward to it.

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Our Little Poster with the famous artwork by Martens.

The 16 by 5 foot mat is done and will be decorated with all the key elements on the day (in addition there will be trees, villages and a few fields – not to forget all the miniatures).

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I always made some cards (actually mdf bases) with all the Commanders, there were a large amount to be done.

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Command Cards – yes I got the Peter card wrong and did rectify Russian to Russia. The +1 and +3 indicate Command Ability, Peter being Average (+1) and the Swede Exceptional (+3)!

And the command structures are all done…

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Boxes have been packed and it all fits in the car – we are all revved up and ready to go!

Looking forward to see some of you at the show and to take some pictures to share with the rest of you, until then keep on toy soldiering!

Here are a few files you may find interesting (the command structures, the poster and the command card)

Poltava 1709 Command Structure and Units TotSK v1 

Poltava 1709 One Pager TotSK v1

Poltava Command Cards TotSK v2

/ All the very best!

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Siege Lines and the King (TMT)

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In writing this there is about 10 days to the Joy of Six show 2019, the best 6mm wargames show in the world and a damn good show overall.  I am now just polishing off some old stuff I need to take with me and doing some play aids for the day – a little presentation handout for visitors, some cards for the commanders and a list of the forces we will use.

If you do come to the show, please come and say hello. I will appreciate it ,but do forgive me if I seem distracted and do not give you the attention you deserve – it is normally a tiring day and I tend to be a little bit emotional as very often it is the first time I see the fruits of my labour  – I tend to see the things I could have done better rather the positive things I hope others do! I had a vision on how it would look and the story I wanted it to tell and I hope it will come through.

Peter has invited me to some kind of panel during the day that I am looking forward to.

You can read more about who will be there on this link (Baccus homepage).

 

In summary Nick Dorrell, the Wyre Foresters and I will put on Poltava 1709, it will be 4,500 miniatures on the table and although it only at about 1/20 to the real number on the day I do hope it will give the illusion of a grand battle taking place – I will do a further posting on the battle mat that is now complete later this week as well as some files with the hand-outs, this is a short update showing some of the elements that will figure on the day, (i) the Siege lines and (ii) King.

Siege Lines

To provoke the Battle the King (Charles XII) laid siege to Poltava (and I have presented the rather large model of it before – link here) and there is a more elaborate story about this than the scope of the current battle. The Russian had counter redoubts and the Siege lines were more complicated.

To achieve some kind of stylised and re-cyclable solution I decided to use the coving strips I had used for doing the redoubts to create bases of trenches (link to those here) – taking this further one could make many of these and perhaps even do a little Siege game using tiles moving towards the besieged city/fort/town.  I used some engineers from Baccus to show the men working with the digging – these were mainly Cossacks. The basic idea can be seen below.

 

Adding some filler, sand and a little bit of paint and we got something like this.

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…then combining them with some artillery positions I created earlier (Baccus miniatures) creates that little point I want to make about some Siege lines and artillery being present on the day.

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The clutter (Barrels, sacks and boxes) are from Perfect Six miniatures (link here) who do a nice range of stuff for your battle fields to add that little flair that makes the immersion greater – they also do a range of 6mm fantasy figures that is fantastic. Below some of the fantastic stuff you can get from Perfect Six.

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The Swedish King

Charles XII was shot in the foot before the battle and was carried around on a litter during the battle – some accounts states it was carried by horses, but I chose to make is a man carried version – perhaps it was carried like this too?

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I then added some soldiers and officers to the base and used my non-trademarked method to take shots with some backgrounds (link here).

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/That was all for this time, hope it was of some interest

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Trees, tree Bases and small rocks (TMT)

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I have a lot of trees for my wargames tables and I love the effect they give, sometimes (if suitable) I just add some of them on the fringes whether it has any practical use in the scenario or not. I do think they enhance the overall experience, compared to say a dark green piece of felt (or even worse some 2D wood tiles).

As some of you may be aware, I tend to put on large tables for my games at Joy of Six. I have slowly increased my collection of trees and probably reached what I thought was a peak for my 2107 table showing the Battle of Lesnaya 1708 (more about it here).

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Lesnaya 1708 at the star of the battle before all the Russians come marching in. “Oh when Russians come marchin’ in, Oh when the Russians come marchin’ in, I do not want to be part of that Supply line, oh when the Russians come marchin’ in”

However, for this years Poltava table I needed more.

Even at the smaller scale I working with, the cost of buying some wargames specific trees quickly gets costly at the quantities I am looking for. So for my no-pine-tree trees I have gone for the ones you in bulk from china on ebay. This is a typical set of 60 trees at about 15p a tree.

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As sold on ebay 12/06/19

You could then base them individually on bases, I tend to use washers, with small stickers underneath to cover the hole , cut the tree trunk and then glue it in the middle with some 2 part epoxy glue, before basing decoration. Do not forget to spray them with hairspray, scenic cement or clear matt varnish to seal the tree cover as this otherwise easily falls off over time.

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There is a clear benefit in doing this as the trees individually stores very easily in a box or something like that.

Another issue is that some of the colours are a little bit more unnatural looking than others.  You can rectify this at a very low cost by adding some additional colour to the tree.  I tend to use some Dark Green Coarse Grass from Javis as well as some of the Mid-Green variety and did a mix – but you may have some other suitable flock in your collection (perhaps avoiding the static grass type).

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Not a good picture, but this is it.

I then apply some PVA glue on the tree trying to cover most of it and dip it in the mix.

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Let it dry, then apply hairspray/varnish/scenic cement because this will fall off very quickly otherwise.

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A few dipped and ready!

This is a comparative shot, before and after (I think it is worth it).

In addition I wanted to make some forest tiles using CDs – most of us have tons of old CDs, or DVDs, and you could perhaps save a few from going to landfill. Make sure they are not your back-ups of old photos or something like that.

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Give it a little scratch in the name of adhesion

I made a fair few and although they are not as practical to store as the individual trees they allow a quicker deployment on the table and you can decorate the overall area (e.g. the CD) nicely.

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That is about 40 bases with 5 to 6 trees per base, say 220 trees in total.  Covering an area of 2 by 4 feet.  The trees will knock you back about £30 (based on the prices above) the filler, paint, epoxy glue and sand adds a little bit more. Then adding the cost of the Javis scatter and the spray adhesive, etc – call it a total cost of materials between £40 to £50 for this project depending on what you use. That is £1.20 per base and probably what you would pay for an individual based tree! So if you have no problem doing a little bit of work there are some savings to be made with the added advantage that you can finish them in a way so they work together with your other terrain.

They work well with both my 6mm and 15mm stuff — perhaps not as good for 28mm.

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Swedish tanker trying to spot a target (15mm)
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Great Northern Era Swedish Cavalry Units taking their horses for a spin (6mm) – perhaps more suitable given the title.
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Swedish WW2 era infantry (15mm)

 

In addition I bought some N Gauge rock / mountain / outcrop scenery pieces to use for the Poltava battlefield to break down he overall flatness of the kind of mat I will be using.  I bought the set shown in the picture below and another slightly more expensive.

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As sold on ebay 12/06/19

The work really well in the scales I am using (most of them can just be laid flat on the table). I think it will work wonders in creating that look of a battle field that is not completely flat and saved me some time.  They are made from plaster – I guess dental plaster – and painted and decorated as shown in the pictures below.

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The full set (2 packs)
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A few of them had some flat sides – I will make hills sections and incorporate these into them.
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Full set laid out, I think they blend in nicely on my little 2 by 2 game board that is similar to the colours and look of the Poltava battle mat.
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Some 28mm miniatures taking cover (yes they are from the Perry Miniatures Chosen Men – 95th Rifles set – and painted in strange colours and that hardly look like the typically Napoleonic Rifle – but in this shape they are part of my Mutant 1984 Post Apocalyptic campaign and soldiers of the Pyri-Commonwealth)

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Some Cavalry out on a spin (6mm GNW, Baccus)
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Swedish WW2 era AT team behind some rocks (15mm, flames of war)

Both the trees and the rocks will allow me to create that little extra flair to the battle board that allows that magic immersion to set in.

Hope that was of some interest!

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Playing with Matches (TMT)

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The accounts of the Poltava Battle and the Siege of the town itself states that the houses/village outside the city were burnt down in a measure to avoid them being used as hiding places for the Swedes as they laid Siege to the town (the rather big model of the Poltava itself can be found here).  This was a very common measure as a clear area was needed in front of the defensive walls.

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Poltava Town

I wanted to mark this on the mat for the battle by doing some ruined/burnt down buildings.  I checked quickly what was available to buy from various sellers but found mostly WW2 biased stuff in the scale, like bigger buildings and in general two storey buildings – it did not really fit my 18th century rural Russian theme.  I reckoned I could have a go at building something myself that would do the job, here is a rough guide showing how I made them.

This is a very simple project and I hope it is of some use! It is very quick to do! – provided you have some glue and matches. You could of course use tooth picks as well.

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I took some bases and basically cut some matches and used some PVA glue to build these kind of structures. I did the first level complete but then proceeded to some random parts.
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When it was dried I put some black ink (mixed 50/50 with water, the ink works better than paint giving that kind of coal glow – if you know what I mean) on the wood and some brown sand (or any sand just painted brown) for ground cover. I also added some additional matches, to represent collapsed beams etc.
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Grey dry-brush and a little bit of dead grass. I guess I could have added a little bit of more grey here and there to add to the effect.
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I then added them to some tiles that I decorated to blend in with my normal ground cover.
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Good enough! – no Swedes will hide here
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I also made a few tiles for the Villages not burnt down. The buildings are from Timecast Miniatures (http://www.timecastmodels.co.uk/) and the Churches from Battlescale (https://battlescale.com/). Both companies doing some really nice 6mm stuff.

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Some Riders from Nylands Cavalry Regiment! (these and the other miniatures are of course from Baccus, https://www.baccus6mm.com/)

That was all for now, Please play with matches carefully!

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By the way, you can use them for other periods too 😉

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Redoubts and Casualty Markers (TMT)

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In an earlier blog posting I showed my prototype Russian redoubt for the Poltava Battle (see link here, that also describes how they were made). These were hastily fortifications that caused the Swedes a lot of trouble during the march up to the field where the main Battle was fought.

You can read more about the redoubt battle on the eminent Tacitus webpage here.

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Screenshot from the Tacitus page (link above)

In this update we will cover:

  • The finalised redoubts
  • Some casualty markers to show whether a redoubt has been taken or not.
  • A few Swedish Siege Artillery pieces

All scratch built  with Baccus 6mm miniatures, using a lot of their dismounted dragoons and casualty figures from the WSS and GNW range.

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Here are the final Redoubts, note that one is empty as the units were on a toilet break at the time.
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Some of the redoubt were not completed when the Swedes attack, I have added digging engineers to these.
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Another angle.
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Each of the redoubts comes with two markers, this one showing it having been taken. In essence a glorified casualty marker.
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…and the one showing it fully defended.
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Some more casualty markers.
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One with a Dalregiment solder waving the regiments standard. This one actually not a Baccus miniature but a converted Peasant from Microworld Miniatures (I have since rectified the chocolate cake look around his mouth).
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The first six, these are 40 by 40mm bases.
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Some additional ones done from left overs, 60 by 30mm bases.
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The last four, 40 by 40 mm bases.
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Another close up of one of the bases with a Swedish Officer, perhaps reflecting on the horrors of war.
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I also did some Siege Batteries for the Poltava Siege
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Guns and Mortars
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Close-up of the Mortars

Hope that was of some interest!

Let us see that Dalregiment gentleman again! – the flag with the Dalecarlian bolts is waiving in victory. Wish it had gone like that on the day though!

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Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – the Swedish Camp (TMT)

In the last update on the Poltava project that will be laid out at Joy of Six in July this year I presented Poltava itself and I wrote about it here.

As I have stated on a number of occasions, this is just one of the many features I want to capture on the Battle Field.  In an earlier update I showed some plans I had in doing the Swedish camp.

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I had no idea whether a tent was standardised or not (but since everything else was I assumed it would be) and got some input from Oskar Sjöström who works at the Swedish Army Museum (and also wrote a brilliant book on the Battle of Fraustadt 1706) in the form of photos of tents from re-enactment groups (the one below representing enlisted tents).

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In addition I came across this old document from 1699, showing an officers tent. It is signed by the King himself (Carolus, Charles XII) – straight on top of the drawing.

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Another prominent feature of the camp are the Swedish Supply wagons, these were based on another design from the Period (I wrote a blog on how I made these wagons for the Lesnaya project here).

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The overall design of the camp is based on how a battalion camped during the era, and I used the following picture as an inspiration (from the book Poltava 1709 – Vändpunkten, by Moltusov and Lyth).

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Inspiration
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Initial thoughts and planning – tents are from Baccus 6mm
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Some further work – note the Supply Wagons discussed above. The blue foam is a perimeter wall around the camp. I made the camp on a 6mm mdf board, about 2 by 1 feet in dimension.
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The Tents – I made these on separate bases to allow some flexibility.
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Another angle…
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Some camp followers
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Some fires
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The tents in the Camp
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Some meat is being prepared

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Adding some supply wagons
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The final spectacle with enough space for some troops. Putting it away until the show, there is much more to do.

/ Hope that was of some interest