Category Archives: Miniatures
Ok, I saw a post on r/wargaming with a prompt that was just too juicy. There’s others in the post I’ll be stealing but this one should really be the lead for the series so here we go!
Can you discuss what makes the strategy, tactics, and feel of the Napoleonic battles different to those of other popular black powder era was such as ACW, AWI, French & Indian etc.dboeren on Reddit
Great question. The answer to this question is: Yes.
First, the feel of the Napoleonics. The awesome and terrible pageantry of 19th century warfare peaked early, and it peaked here. A well-painted Napoleonic army is an absolute joy on the table, and something that has to be seen to be believed. Regiments wore a bewildering array of brightly colored uniforms that contrasts sharply with later wars as uniforms became more drab.
These armies also featured very professional officers. Despite some of the reputations that came from the war, from Battalion command on up, there were few truly awful officers, and while some armies struggled to comprehend Napoleon’s way of war (Sorry Mack) there weren’t many mistakes due to poor soldiering. At the same time, command and control was basically writing a note and sending it with a rider to whoever was carrying it out. Many games model this quite well, with General d’Armee / GdB doing it particularly well.
Strategically and Tactically the Napoleonic wars come at a very interesting time. Infantry combat featured both fire and shock tactics, requiring different formations, changing formations and maneuvering under fire, intricate marching, timing, communication under the most dire circumstances, and situational awareness in a field covered by noise and black powder smoke.
Cavalry formed the apex of military strength, with the Heavy Cavalry of the Cuirassier, Carabiniers, and Heavy Dragoons being nearly unstoppable, with infantry forced into densely packed squares simply to defend themselves. Artillery could be devastating, being able to roll up and unlimber within canister range and unleash withering fire, especially in the tightly packed columns and squares of the more shock-oriented infantry formations. Infantry remained the bulk of most armies, and could deliver its own devastating attacks in close formation, or spread out in long lines to deliver impressive short-ranged firepower of its own, and with a good ruleset all of this is modeled quite well.
There are varieties among troop types. Line infantry differs from Light or Grenadier infantry, Guard troops often have their own rules, setting them apart. Conscripts often represent the most and least enthusiastic troops. Some are willing to die en masse leading the charge and some aren’t willing to even smell powder lest it affect their delicate constitution. Light cavalry darts around the edges, often struggling to make much impact, but presenting a real threat to exposed units, and forcing their enemies to account for them, battle cavalry presents more of a threat but lacks the fleetness of foot of their light brethren, or the strength to face heavy cavalry, which are the true monsters of the field. Artillery forms the last of the major components, dealing long range fire, in attack and defense, to support the line or create breakthroughs against vulnerable elements of the enemy army. Additionally, it comes in several varieties, foot artillery comes in regular and heavy batteries, you also have horse or light artillery which moves faster without sacrificing much in striking power, and Austrians get the Wurst artillery.
Which neatly brings me to national character. The armies of this era each has their own national flair, which I’ll go deeper into later but to give you an idea, in 1805 alone you have: A French army that consists of a mix of new, but well-trained and drilled soldiers, veterans from Italy, the elite Imperial Guard, and massive artillery. The Austrians have a much more ponderous army, with far less in the way of light troops and skirmishers to screen their movements and keep the enemy at arm’s length, but their units are large and their morale tends to be quite good. The Russians have equally large battalions, but their training is awful. This is mitigated somewhat by excellent morale and massive artillery batteries. Finally you have the Prussians who are slow, poorly led, and not that well supplied in support troops, but they do have high morale… until Jena…
So, I hope I’ve adequately answered the question presented by dboeren. I know I didn’t really compare the Napoleonic wars directly to the others, and perhaps that would be a good article for later on, but for now I think I’ve adequately covered what I wanted to.
So I’ve been painting 15mm Miniatures, both for Team Yankee (Modernish 1980s Israeli Defense Force) and Napoleonics (French Imperial Army)
15mm is a VERY different scale from the 28/32 mm I’m used to. It’s a bit more involved process, and it forces me to really embrace assembly line painting in a way I haven’t had to do since I gave up on Orks and Goblins.
So let’s do a bit of a hobby post. Step one for infantry (which is all I’m going to talk about today) is to get them mounted for painting. You do NOT want them on their final base as painting everything will be too difficult in close order.
So first I cut out strips of hard cardboard I clip the edges with a heavy clipper, then score along the traced line, fold and tear.
Next I glue the miniatures to the temporary base. I use Elmer’s glue for this to make it easier to remove them later. These Chaussures a Cheval are a little closer than they might be but still looking good. I did glue the riders to the mounts so that’s something I may regret later.
Here’s some pictures of infantry, cavalry and cannons mounted for painting from a previous batch. I changed the orientation of the horses and I’m NOT painting the riders like that ever again. That much I remember.
I paint entire units in a bloc. One color at a time, for the entire brigade / battery. 15mm still has a lot of small details to pick out and I spend more than a little time going back to fix mistakes and do touch up.
Then we mount them on bases, of course I forgot I don’t need 6 men for front rank of light infantry units so I have an extra base to throw around.
Then we do some basing I like the citadel texture paints for gritty mud and soil. I will probably need to find some more before the Corona days end.
Then it’s back to the Elmer’s glue, using a toothpick to spread it wherever you want grass. Then dip the whole base into a bowl of flocking, lift it up and shake/blow on it to get it all off.
I can usually get a fair amount of work done, but with the coronapocolypse going on I’m hoping to alternate a brigade of frogs and a platoon of Israelis for the next couple of weeks. I’d like to get a battalion of Israelis and a corps of French done, we shall see how it goes.
So I finished my Dragoon Brigade. I made a bit of a mistake as I don’t think a single Yellow trimmed regiment of dragoons fought in Austria in 1809. Oops. Dragoons are actually probably going to end up being my least used type of cavalry in Fields of Glory. In General d’Armee it should see a lot more use.
I also got my officers, aides and hussars, which should see a LOT of use in both games. Tomorrow I have only a couple hours of work so I’ll get my artillery knocked out.
So this will leave me with the artillery, which should be done by tomorrow night, the Legere brigade, the Hussars, and staff. All told that’s 2 brigades and the equivalent of another (with all this being in FoG:N units). After that I will be looking at a light artillery unit (3 6-8 pound guns) some artillery attachments (horse artillery!) some light infantry attachments, (skirmishers/voltigeurs) a BIG Cuirassier brigade (6 bases, with attached officer, and probably the horse artillery) 24 more bases of Ligne (6 small or 4 large units).
This will net me a pretty respectable sized corps in Fields of Glory, and a good large division in General d’Armee. I’m also looking at a couple or potentially good changes outside gaming that will let me work on the community here and have more time to run a couple towns over where there’s an established group that meets every couple of months. Currently I have the General d’Armee book, but the FoG:N 2.0 book hasn’t quite come out yet, though I’m expecting it this month. Unless it’s unreasonably delayed I should have it in hand before I can head to the established group, but either way it does look like GdA will be a better one to use even if it’s more “narrative”.
Finally I’m going to talk a little bit about some things I really like about Napoleonics and both of these rulesets. One of the most important things to me is pageantry. I loved the way the battlelines of Warhammer Fantasy looked before Geedubs nuked it. I like the way ranks of toy soldiers look on the fields, and I really love the way the uniforms of historical figures look. The rules also tend to be very mature. The outcomes they are looking to generate are very understandable and predictable, the range of acceptable results is well defined, and the mechanics relatively straightforward. This isn’t something like 40k or AoS where mechanics will be radically different, the games are meant to work in a simple, understandable way without the flash and glamor of a more sci fi/fantasy game, and I’m ok with that. I want to recreate Austerlitz and Wagram and Talavera and Vimiero and Borodino, not the Siege of Terra. I mean, I DO want to re-create the Siege of the Golden Gate at some point, it would be a lot of fun, but I want something a bit more mature and deterministic rather than demons and primarchs.
So GW has kinda pissed me off of late. Their limp, unexciting releases, stirring around with problems with the rules while not actually addressing the root causes, just trying to patch over the problems. Despite the fact that they are WAY better than they’ve ever been in a lot of ways, I just don’t feel like giving them money. Especially when I have NO idea just what the heck will happen to Dark Angels (or any non-ultramarine chapters).
So I need to find something new.
So I’ve started Napoleonics. I’ve got the wonderful AB line of 18mm miniatures, and am planning an 1809 Army Corps from the big war with Austria. I’m looking at two rule sets, Fields of Glory: Napoleonic, a more competitively oriented ruleset currently being re-written down in Oz and VERY near publication, and General d’Armee, a ruleset that’s more detail oriented and narrative in scope from what I’ve seen. My area does have a historical group, they play a lot of games in the same basement where I first rolled dice in fact. But I won’t be playing games anytime soon, building a new army takes time, and basing these and going back to paint later just isn’t practical, so I’m going to do something I rarely do, take my time, work through my pile of shame.
So I’m going to talk a bit about what’s going on here. These figures don’t go one to a base, they go on in small units. Painting them lose is… well… not happening, so I attach them to dense cardboard so that I can paint them without going crazy. Er. Crazier.
Next I’m let’s talk about what’s in the picture, bottom to top.
- Two 12 lb cannons. French Heavy Artillery
- 12 French Dragoons. French Heavy Cavalry
- 24 Voltigeurs. French Light Infantry,
- 12 Horses. 4 legs, eat a lot, die if you look at them funny it seems.
- 24 Line Infantry, 8 artillery crew.
So this is 82 figures, and costs around 70 bucks. Compare that to a 40k army and you see some of the appeal. In Fields of Glory this is between 25% and 33% of an army.
There’s some odds and ends missing but again, in Fields of Glory this is a brigade each of Line Infantry, Light Infantry, Heavy Cavalry, and Heavy Artillery, without any attachments or officers. This would be a pretty substantial mixed division, although not one that would be legal for an 1809 French Army. So let’s see what all I’ve gotten done!
This week I’m finishing the Dragoons, probably with the 11e Regiment. Green collars and Red turnbacks.
Time permitting I’ll work on the artillery and knock them out as the uniforms aren’t terribly complicated and there’s only 8 of them and 2 guns. After that it’s the light infantry and then, round one is done. Next will be some light cavalry, officers, and aides de camp.
One of the things I like a lot about historicals is I can do a unit in a week with enough dedication without too much trouble. Even at a slower rate of one every other week it’s not awful. A typical army will have between 8 and 16 units in FOG:N. The one I’ve penciled in has 11 brigades, 5 attachments (single stands that go with other units) 3 division commanders, a corps commander, and 5 aides de camp. That’s roughly equivalent to 13 units, of which I’ve nearly got 2 done. I could have it done (money and time permitting) by New Years, and certainly by my birthday.
Which leaves the “then what” and, well, there’s a couple options, first is playing with the established group, which is infrequent and a good drive away, there’s playing with local players who haven’t started yet, some locals do have armies from before coming to my area, so starting a club shouldn’t be too hard. Of course there’s also the major cons, which would be VERY nice to attend should I get the option.
Next week look forward to the rest of the dragoons and maybe some redlegs! Who won’t have red legs because the general in favor of that uniform lost. Probably why they lost the war.
I like most of the new Primaris line. The models are well made, they look great on the table exuding a solid efficiency which goes especially well with the determined Dark Angels. While not as flexible as the classic Astartes they work well, especially in larger battles.
What I don’t like is the Repulsor. The concept of a heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle isn’t a bad one, especially for the 40k universe. The problem comes in the execution of… pretty much everything. The kit itself is something of a mixed bag. It’s highly detailed, solid, massive looking, but at the same time it’s busy, complicated, underscaled and fairly poorly designed.
When you assemble the kit it’s incredibly frustrating because gapping is inevitable. To have an $80 model that cannot be built without gapping even with a generous application of sanding, rubber bands and masses of glue is incredibly frustrating. And I still need 3 more to complete my battle company because it’s the only transport that can carry Primaris. In addition having a transport capacity of only 10 (as opposed to 12) means that any HQ characters need their own battle taxi. In addition even when fully assembled it looks busy. Every inch of the upper hull and turret seems covered with bric-a-brac. Painting these is going to be a nightmare.
The rules for it are a mess as well. Instead of making it a super Razorback, with beefier weapons and maybe an additional secondary weapon, they made it a super Land Raider with multiple primary weapons and a plethora of secondary weapons that requires a cheat card during the shooting phase to make sure you remember all your weapons. Add to this the previously mentioned problem with finding a space for characters with your 10 man squads and these vehicles just have problems in the rulebook.
Finally, this Land-Raider sized vehicle is way too small. I’m not kidding. The doors are too small, the turret simply doesn’t have room for even a gunner and all the ammunition feeds for the half dozen weapons in it. The hull doesn’t have room for a drive system, driver, ammunition/power supplies for the weapons and more than a couple passengers. I really wish they’d brought in a level headed veteran to help them with the design. I think the vehicle would be vastly improved by removing several turret weapons, some of the hull weapons, adding a couple passenger seats, and just being about 25% larger. This would make it make more sense, be less of a time sink to use in a battle, and much more efficient (even with a slight price increase for the added size) as you don’t need an extra one just to be a 300 point commander’s taxi.
The problem with the Repulsor isn’t that it’s bad. Because it really isn’t. The problem with the Repulsor is that it’s mediocre from top to bottom. It can’t QUITE carry enough. It’s size doesn’t QUITE make sense. It’s got just a FEW too many weapons to use without being frustrating for you and your opponent. And the assembly is, frankly, bad. Yes when that huge wall of lead smashes whole squads and a tank it can be a lot of fun. Yes it’s real nice to zoom 10 intercessors out to an objective and then have a wall of metal and guns sitting there daring someone to make them move, but their captain is running along behind trying to get in range to bubble them, 10 hours later you’re done with your shooting phase, and all you can see is the gaps in the model.
Maybe GW has a Primaris Rhino planned for release. It would be nice.
So this has been a very productive year for painting. More than 40 miniatures painted, including several vehicles, and all to a standard I’m very happy with. December has been a rocky month with work being absolutely crazy but next month is already looking much better. I have 10 Hellblasters, 4 heavy weapons, a Sergeant, a Lieutenant, a techmarine, and a medic all ready to go Tomorrow or Saturday I should be able to assemble the other 6 heavy weapons and get myself ready to paint my heavy weapons infantry and remaining characters.
Sorry about the potato picture quality. I didn’t have much time to set it up. Better stuff to come.
Currently I have 22 Tacticals in 3 squads (6,6,10) 10 Intercessors, 5 Assault Marines, a Captain, 3 Lieutenants, an Ancient, Zeke, a Predator, a Rhino, a Razorback, 8 Terminators all painted. I want to get the 10 Devastators and 10 Hellblasters done ASAP. They are so good in this edition.
2nd and 3rd I’m going to be doing some painting, at a minimum getting the Hellblasters done. More than likely getting the devastators done as well. This will get me to the point where I really just have the Inceptors, some of the Assault troopers, and vehicles to get the battle company done. I know I’ve talked a lot about the bikes but I’ve re focused myself. I want to get the entire 5th Company painted and on the table. I need to get a couple other primaris characters, and paint a few others, but the command group is looking really good and the army itself is filling out nicely. Purchase wise I believe I’m down to vehicles unless I add another Intercessor squad. I have all the traditional astartes I need, including heavy weapons and specialists, while I do have a Veteran Squad I’d like to do they will be very expensive and require some additional skills I’ll need to work on to get them done. I also would like to do another 5 Dark Angel Assault Troops with Sanguinary Guard wings, but again, 90 dollars for 5 marines is a lot. Especially when I have 5 perfectly good assault marines sitting there waiting for paint.
I’m excited for next year. I’m excited to see where the hobby goes and where my skills take me. I’m already planning for Armies on Parade, for expanding beyond the 5th Company, and for what to do with all the Aeldari my wife has.
Ancient Uriah joins his Battle-Brothers. The banner isn’t terribly exciting yet but I’ve got a couple ideas. My freehand game is weak but I have a lot of transfers to work with so we will find some embellishments to add to it. I got Lieutenant Smiley and built him with a helmet. His smiling face might make it onto a librarian later, I decided to paint him by hand after priming him with an airbrush. All the green you are looking at is Caliban green.
Getting an even coat on the GW Base Caliban Green was not easy. He’s going to take a lot of touching up. I still have a total of 3 Lieutenants to do, an Apothecary and a Company Champion. Oh and some Tarterus terminators. That I’m doing cork bases for. You may have noticed.
I also got a nice gift from a friend including a Dark Angels venerable Dreadnought. The instructions are… The usual Forgeworld lack of instructions. It’s not like it’s a difficult model but wow that is sparse. I also have some Rhino doors to kit out the new Razorback. I need to get some assault cannons for it, but that’s easy enough. I also have a box of Hellblasters to assemble. That’s going to be a bit of a chore as there’s a lot of part for not a lot of poseability. They do look really good, and I can do a couple things to make them look even better, especially since the new Dark Angels Hellblasters box comes with not one but TWO accessory sprues and a really good Dark Angels transfer sheet that has both the Infantry and Vehicle decals all on one monster sheet. It could be arranged better but it’s still an amazing added value to the box.
This leaves me with basically a box of Devastators, two Razorbacks, two Rhinos, two Repulsors, a Primaris Apothecary, Chaplain, and Librarian, a box of assault marines and Sanguinary guard to finish the assault squad, and that should get me the models for the whole battle company. That’s an intimidating list, and I probably want another squad of Primaris Intercessors and their Repulsor as well just because they are so damn good!
Painting wise I’m going to whittle away at the command group a little bit more. I want to get at least 2 of the LTs this week, ideally all three, and the apothecary to boot. I’m still focusing on the “Greenwing” company, but I need to work on the bikes. They are too good in the codex to ignore. This project is going to last well into the summer just to get the company as it exists in the story on the table fully painted, but it will happen, and when it does, I’m going to have to find an Apocalypse game to play!
So the 5th Company, under Sergeant Obed with his Rhino is done. Actually there’s a bit of edge work around the bases but that’s literally a matter of minutes so I will probably knock out dozens at the same time.
This puts me on track for all of 1 week! Also the weather should be nice enough this week to varnish! Next week I’ll be going after the assault squad. I’m not sure if I’ll be doing 5 or 10 this week. 5 of them are ordinary assault marines, 5 of them have wings stolen from Sanguinary Guard.
More next week!
So I managed to get time and motivation to take pictures of the progress so far. The goal for January is all the infantry for the first Lion’s Blade demi company. I’ve got the two 6 man tac squads painted. The 10 man squad I’m still working on the paint scheme for. The old Mk III armor just needs a bit more to look like you aren’t mailing it in.
So there’s what I have. As you can see I’ve gotten a lot of green out there Not much else so far. Priority is on the big tac squad, and assault squad. Then at least getting the vehicles colored. I will treat myself by painting Master Balthasar at some point soon.
I did some modifications on the command squad. The sergeant has a power axe and one of the nice DA Power pistols, and the champion has a DA Power sword. I didn’t go for the robes, but I might eventually do some.
Assault squads are really underpowered in the current edition. I do plan on using them in a 10 man squad because I figure I need to make sure something is still there to hit when they finally arrive in close combat.
Need to touch it up quite a bit. I like the theme so far, but as you can see there’s a lot of details that I could add to it, but at a certain point I’m worried it will look busy, but anything short and it might look like I’m mailing it in.
I will be doing transfers on the shoulders. That will help a lot. But below the waist there won’t be a lot of detail, just highlighting and shading and… I’m not sure.
One last Mk III view. Got to fix the eye and the helmet, but not too much else, just highlighting, the bolter, and shading.
So the next project is the Mk III tac squad. Then I’ll probably do the Chapter Master. Depending on the weather I’ll be spraying the vehicles I have, to get them to mean green machines. Beyond that I’ll be working on the assault squad. I do need to work on how many devastators I want to have in this squad (and in the other squad).
Master Balthasar saw the blue-skinned xenos as soon as he crested the knoll, passing close to the copse of trees, with two squads to his left, and another working its way through to his right, his squad screened the Devastators of Sergeant Simuels 9th squad who would set up on the top of the knoll after Balthasar’s command group had cleared it. Balthasar boomed out the Dark Angels battle cry “REPENT, FOR TOMORROW YOU DIE” He swung his relic blade into his left hand, hoisting the massive Combi weapon one-handed he fired a bolter into the squad of xenos blocking the road beneath, as a large, fast-moving hovercraft blasted down the shoulder towards the Chaplain’s attack.
“Bring down that ship!” Balthasar cried, even as Simuel’s Missile Launchers and Plasma Cannons barked several shots, smashing the sturdy craft to the ground, where it began to burn even as the survivors of the squad within tried to crawl free, into the bolter fire of the rest of the devastator squad. The tactical squads to Balthasar’s left also raked the wreckage, keeping the survivors from rallying under their cruel scourging fire. Balthasar’s attention was jerked to his right as a shell struck his shoulder pad. Across the road at some distance las-fire flickered from a position that was held by humans.
“Matthias, the hunt is on, your quarry is across the road on the far hill, call for support when you have closed in” Balthasar tongued the stud switching to his command frequency. “Brother Librarian, Sergeant Matthias is closing on the enemy. I believe the signal you seek is near him”
“Very well Master Balthasar, we stand ready to drop on his signal. For the Lion” came the reply of Brother Librarian Herod. The Iron Armor of the 3rd squad crashed out of the trees at last, at point blank range to the defenders currently firing at Balthasar’s group. Other positions across the road had engaged the squad’s to Balthasar’s left and the Devastators were engaged with vehicles trying to force the road before the Chaplain could break through. The clumsy, heavy armor of the 5th squad shrugged off the surprised, desultory fire of the defenders of the road, and the staccato bursts of their bolters sent the survivors of the attack fleeing. Balthasar ran forward, leaping the barricade “Fifth, secure the barricade and aid 1st and 3rd. Matthias are you in position?”
“We are, bring in the reinforcements”
Even before Balthasar could speak the booming chime of a teleporter announced the arrival of the Deathwing. 11 suits of Terminator armor, in the midst of the traitorous humans pinned under the heavy weapons of Matthias fast-moving speeders. Lasgun and Bolter fire smacked into the terminators, not even slowing them as they opened a lethal close range fire, silencing nearly all resistance.
“The xenos are breaking!” Called Eleazer, at the left of the line.
“Judah, harry them and destroy them”
“As the Emperor wills!” called Eleazer, even as the jet packs launched them into a headlong pursuit. Balthasar raced up the hill as the Speeders orbited at a safe distance. The Devastators had chased off the xenos vehicles, one of which was burning, and smoke indicated other damage to the ones that limped away. The bone-white terminators were in a ring around a small, sunken bunker. One of them, armor picked out in blue, called out as Balthasar approached.
“He’s in there. I can feel him.” His powerful fist clenched on the staff he carried. Balthasar looked around him. “Purify the battlefield” he directed his squad “Herod and I will attend to this”
Herod hefted his staff and Balthasar blasted the door with the Combi-Weapon’s plasma gun, then stepped back as the bulky terminator-armored Librarian rushed the door, allowing him to heft his relic blade and race in on the Librarian’s heels. A robed figure in simple armor faced them.
“You have forsaken us, and that word.”
“You have forsaken the Imperial Truth, and all the Emperor stands foAAHHHHH” he cried, as a halo of pink and purple danced around the Chaplain’s hood. As the figure started to buckle; Balthasar leapt forward securing the prisoner. The librarian was speaking with the ship on another channel. Balthasar hefted the prisoner to his feet the Librarian reached out a hand, grabbing the prisoner roughly. “Begin the withdrawal, we have what we came for, our campaign is over”
“It is indeed. Chaplain Maccabeus, send our transports to grid 10371138. Have the apothecaries see to the wounded, and the fallen. Inform the guard we are required elsewhere, the battle barge will be withdrawing us soon.”