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Carnage 2011

I recently attended Carnage on the Lake in Eastern Vermont.  It’s the only real convention in my home state and the only one that under three hours of driving.  There seems to be some sort of family emergency or sickness (once ended up with a 2 year old in the hospital the day before) that always seems to foil my plans for this con.  This year I made it for a full day, quite an accomplishment.  I even managed to make ONE game I was interested in, even better.

My Three Games

Lobositz with Carnage and Glory rules

I was most excited by this game as I’m a huge SYW fan and I have created this game in 6mm, so what’s not to like.  It was in 28mm at the con.  Now, I never understood why folks would use 28mm for large battles, I always felt the smaller scale offered more of a big battle feeling and 28’s would leave me wanting.  Boy, was I wrong.  The 28mm figures were beautiful and I instantly fell in love with the figures and game setup.  I still like my 6mm armies for SYW, but now I’m going to be painting 28mm Austrians and Prussians for some Sharp Practice at the next opportunity.

This game offered my favorite opponents, Prussians vs. Austrians, in my favorite period.  The new thing for me was playing Carnage and Glory, a computer controlled diceless system.  It was OK at best, I didn’t mind it, but the lack of dice left me wanting.  I was destroyed on my side of the table (I controlled all the Pussian cavalry) and only won two of the many melees fought, not very Prussian.  If I could have seen my bad rolls all game, that would have let me feel a little more involved in my losses, perhaps I would have felt more responsible for the performance of my troops.

My second shock (the first time I learned of this) in the game was that all of the figures were purchased painted from China.  The guy who ran the game bought them all.  He was a top shelf bloke, but I was surprised.  To me, painting is a major part of the the whole.  This seemed to be somewhat of a norm as I found out.

Civil War with Volley and Bayonet

This was some sort of Civil War defend the hill scenario, I was on the hill with Union troops trying to keep the rebs at bay.  I only played in this game as it came the closest to my interests, ie, they were using muskets.  Otherwise I find the civil war TERRIBLY BORING in every way imaginable.  Just not my cupa.

Volley and Bayonet seemed OK, not much flavor but got the job done.  I’m not really a fan of one stand units, but they were pretty and it was a game at a con, so I imagine on a larger scale, you could get quite a good game going.  No command tension in this one, the troops do what they are told and it’s a game of maneuver.

Some other Civil War game with Fire and Fury

My AWI game was cancelled, but I found some of the guys I had been playing with throughout the day running another Civil War game.  Again, take the hill with your bland, faceless Civil War troops.  Nothing against the guys running it, they did a great job, I’m just not really sure how you spruce up a Civil War game.

Fire and Fury has some command tension, which was OK, but I found moving up to 16-20 tiny stands of troops when you move a unit to be VERY FIDDLY.  Enough to put me off the system.

There were lots of 10mm troops in this one and very nicely painted.  Again, all purchased painted by the owners.

Finishing Thoughts

  • I found out that I really don’t like gaming the Civil War.  I always knew it held little interest, but now I know I don’t even enjoy moving them around the table.
  • I was surprised that so many people buy their troops painted.  The looked great, but I can’t imagine much satisfaction in owning/using them.  But that’s just me.
  • I don’t like games with large numbers of stands in a base.  It seems that you can do it in a much better way and I think many modern rule sets are doing that.
  • Only one game had any type of introductions between the players.  I believe that if I hadn’t introduced myself to some of the players, we could have spent 4 hours at a table and not know each others names.
  • Gamer funk seems to be prevalent in the Sci-Fi area of the hall and less so in the Historical areas.

He are some pictures of varying quality of the wonderfully painted and presented SYW figures in my Lobositz game.  I commanded the Cavalry of the Prussian right flank and was trounced.  The computer allowed me to win about 2 of maybe 15 encounters.  After the first few losses, it was 2:1 against me for the rest of the battle, since my guys were constantly rallying and returning.

 

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First Try at a Game of Might & Reason

OK, after 3 years of painting to get the forces ready to play a game of Might & Reason, about 4 months of purchasing and building terrain and a reread of the rules. I was ready to try my first game. I have been building the forces with two battles in mind, Lobositz and Kolin. I choose to try Lobositz first as a scenario due to it’s smaller size.

I set up the table and took some snaps in a previous post. So now, I’ve put all the troops on the table and lined them up neatly. I played the first four-ish rounds of the game and learned quite a bit. The first thing I learned was that I need to start with a much smaller force to get the hang of the rules. The M&R rules are not complicated, but I didn’t read them, apparently, with recently enough to help. So I think a smaller game with less details will help.

Over all it was fun to see the lines advance towards each other, but there was too much to remember for me to still be able to have fun and move everything. Once I become familiar with the rules and get some sort of system down for gameplay, I think the game will be great.

Having an opponent, rather than solo play, would greatly increase the ease of learning, but what are you going to do. I took a few snaps of the game in progress for those who like pictures of them.

The timing could not have been worse for my M&R figs as I have just gained and acted upon a new interest in the French and Indian war side of the conflict.

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Might and Reason Commanders

One of the things about playing Might and Reason is that each commander has a slightly different rating. This needs to be marked on each one in some way. I have played around with many different ways of doing this and nothing beats plain old English, unless you don’t speak it of course.

So I created these little unit tags from the scenario write-ups. I only changed them by moving the name up top to save space. Previously it was all one line and that was too long.

I drill a small hole on each base I make, line bases to command base, to allow me to do some very versatile things with them. It allows me to make bases very easily using shortened tooth picks.

Here’s how the commanders will be marked. I’d like to hear and suggestions or comments. (Yes I know they are Austrian tags on Prussian commanders, it’s what was handy when I had the camera.)

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Getting Ready for Lobositz

I have been painting 6mm Seven Years War figures for a number of years now and recently reached my goal of having enough troops painted to play the Might and Reason scenarios of Lobositz and Kolin. The next order of business was building the terrain so I could recreate those two battles. I think I’ve finally got the terrain ready for the games as well.

Here is my table ready to host a Lobositz game.

I have been slowly creating the hills, forests and towns over the past few months. The rivers and trees are recent acquisitions, but I really like them. They are a bit large for 6mm, but I wanted to be able to see them and fit a unit on it in column. The things we have to fudge to meld accuracy and gamability.

I have also included a few shots of the Austrian left to give some idea of what the battle holds.

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Beginning to Paint Prussians

Originally Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I haven’t had a lot to show on the web for the past few days, but I was working hard on the second round of figures. I decided to try a different uniform scheme for this batch as the Prussians have a great many variations of the standard uniform, if there is a standard.

For the second unit I used a shade of yellow for the breaches, cuffs, and hat lace. I really like the effect, as can be seen here:

I painted three sticks this time, as opposed to the two that I painted in the first batch, and I feel it took about the same amount of time. The actual applying of the paint doesn’t really seem to take that long. So I will increase the number of sticks that I paint in a batch until I feel I have reached the most efficient number.

I now have 15 strips painted and the 6mm effect is quickly becoming evident to me, even if I wasn’t previously sold. Here are a couple of pictures showing the mass of figures to the best of my cameras ability.


Over all I am very happy with the way that things are turning out. I wish that some of my books would come in though. I have jumped in with both feet, with very little knowledge of the period. I am hoping that some reading about the forces and time will help me to add the little things that really bring a force to life.

Next up on the blocks are the command strips and artillery.

COMMAND STRIPS

Painting has been delayed by my lack of … paper clips? The flag staffs on the command strips don’t seem very robust, simply a limitation of the medium. I plan to replace them with paper clips, which I need to acquire first. (they are in my pocket as I type this!) I read of someone doing this, and it makes a lot of sense to me. The bummer is that it has set me back from completing a stand for another two weeks. I’m on vacation with the family for a week starting Friday, then I have to modify them, prime, paint, and base. (I no longer do this as the newer models don’t need this at all)

ARTILLERY

I purchased the Prussian Artillery from Baccus6mm, but it only comes with the gun and four crew. The bases for M&R are only 25mm wide and that will only fit one gun across. So I need something to fill up the rest of the base. I asked on the Baccus6mm forum and Peter wrote that the War of Spanish Succession limbers would work. So I put them in my next order, but I will go ahead and paint the guns and crew now. These are learning experiences.

Here are a couple of pics of the next victims:


RANDOM THOUGHTS…

One of the great things about gaming and modeling in WW2 is that you have access to more information that you could read in a lifetime. Not so with the SYW, and even less so if you don’t read German! Many great online plates are in German, so the best us English speakers can hope fore is a good guess at the nuances of the descriptions.

I used to frequent the Battlefront Flames of War forums quite regularly, they have an AMAZING gallery section on their forum where beautiful pictures are constantly displayed and paint color and technique are discussed with the artists. This is an amazing model that needs to be copied by anyone wanting to promote a game, period or model range. I tried to suggest this to Baccus6mm forum, what a great tool to make this happen, but they have decided to have a Photo Album linked to their site. This photo album requires a log in, and as far as I can tell is buggy as hell. I have registered and tried repeatable to get in, but haven’t managed and have yet to see the pictures. I bet they are amazing, but I might never know. Pictures of your products looking their best should be as accessible as possible. Great looking pictures where you could find out how the artist made them would draw people from other scales and create an accessible community. As it is right now, I think the only thing missing from the forum is a tumbleweed that blows by when you open the page. Granted, Peter Berry is very good at answering your questions himself if you post there. (The photo album has since changed, but still no tags or anything useful to find pictures you are interested in.)

Other places like the MightAndReason Yahoo group have photos as well, but they are few and far between. This is most likely as the rules are so new, but it has been my experience that the Yahoo groups rarely collect a great number of good photos.

I feel I must complement the quality of the Baccus SYW castings and figures again. I am truely amazed by the size and detail involved and to keep this level of sculpting up is great. I am very happy to be able to own and paint these figures. Some of the other ranges from Baccus are in bad need of upgrading, but I’ll save that for another day. (Upgrades are happening at quite a pace and many of the oldest lines are already done now!)

The initial expense of starting a new scale and period is quite high as well. I have no regular group to borrow books or receive painting or ordering advice from. I have to make all the purchases and mistakes myself, but hey, that keeps it interesting.

I must also mention The Miniatures Page (TMP) again. I can not say how much advice I have been gleaming from these 18th Century message boards. They have been incredibly helpful and incredibly knowledgeable.

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3 Squadrons of SYW Cavalry

About three years ago I started a SYW project to go with the Might & Reason rules.  I didn’t know a thing about the war or the combatants and used it as a springboard into serious historical war gaming and actual research on a period.  I have taken a few detours (like painting 2600 AWI troops) along the way, but it’s been fun.  Along the way I set Lobositz and Kolin as the two battles I wanted to be able to game as a goal.

I am now ONE UNIT away from completing my goal of having the forces ready.   I thought it was time to show the troops off a little.   The following gallery shows 30 units of Cavalry ready to go.  When I looked at them, I found I had very round numbers of these units, twenty units of dragoons/curassiers and ten units of Hussars.  I use 14 troopers to a unit and 10 units is 140 men, almost a full squadron on paper, and certainly as much as anyone had in the saddle in an engagement.  So I lined them up in three rows and took some pictures.  The third row consists of my Hussars and I only use 10 troops to a unit for the lights, so they would be a little light, but let’s not split hairs.

I think seeing large numbers of models in units like this really helps you to imagine the spectacle that would have been warfare in the mid 18th century.  This is a single 400 man unit, there would have been many battles with 12,000+ cavalry men per side.

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Slapping On the First Bits of Paint

Originally Posted Friday , April 13, 2007

Now, on with the painting. I am working from internet sources linked to from this site, but they seem pretty reliable. I have decided to do a rather generic, simple scheme for my first Prussian stands. White, blue, and red. Keep it simple and just get on with it!

I use Vallejo paints almost exclusively now, not because I think they are the best out there and I have tried every variety of paint known to man. I simply ran across them and they do a fine job. I use them exclusively because I like order, and it looks nice when you have only one type of bottle in your paint selection, no other reason. These are the paints that I will be using in this section. White, flat flesh, dark blue, red, and beige brown. I will use black and GW Graveyard earth in the later stages.

I like to start from the bottom up at this scale, mostly so you don’t have to go back an put your brush where it can easily bump into something that has already been painted. And hey, you gotta start somewhere.

I mixed my white with the smallest amount of water to give it some flow, in 6mm thick paint will not be your friend. I then coat it on the legs only, not really worrying about if it gets on places that it shouldn’t be. I also use a brush that has been retired from detail work. This puts less strain on a good brush. Next I coat the top of the models with dark blue paint, again mixed with a little water, and again with an older brush.

The next thing I painted was the white cross of the chest belts (I will use proper terminology as I acquire it!) Now I wasn’t sure if I should give them some white shirt showing through or not, and I was thinking not, so I tried it on one strip with it and will show the results at the end.

It’s time to break out the fine brush and take our time with each stroke. The odd bad brush stroke will not show up in our overall army effect, but consistent sloppiness will.

Up next, red collars and cuffs. I was spared having to paint red facings and turn backs as the uniform doesn’t have facings and the turn backs are covered by ammo and other cases!

After the red, it was time for the muskets to receive the treatment. I used a beige brown, but this is the first color that I might end up rethinking. I wanted to keep the figures from getting to dark, but this color brown might be way to light. I will see when they are finished.

And the final stage that I managed in this session is the flesh. This step is one that I dread at 15mm as it always takes at least two coats to get a decent shade, then it must be washed with ink to bring out the detail. Well, not so in 6mm, just dab a little on and bob’s your mother’s brother.

This is the stage where the figures start to really pop!

The only things left to paint are the bayonets, tricorn trim, and bases. But, that’s enough for one day!

Well, I managed to find some more time today, so I finished the troops. Unfortunately, in my haste to finish them, I forgot to take pictures between each step. So I only have the finished pics, if I remember to take them while painting the rest of the troops, I’ll post the interim pictures at a later date.

Oops! I just noticed that I forgot to paint the hands holding the muskets on this strip, just my luck I take a picture of the only strip without flesh tone hands. I’ll get another pic up there next time I take them.

Now, I’ll admit, they look a little more like blobs up close than I had hoped, but when you see a few at a time they tend to look more impressive.

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The Forces Arrive

Orignially Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The forces have finally arrived! A word on ordering from a different country, be prepared for a longer wait. Milites Miniumus was great to work with, everything came in bubble wrap in a box. I have ordered this scale or similar before and they just came in a padded envelope, so I was happy to see the box. The figs were also insured, so I had to pick them up from the post office, I think I’ll have them delivered to work next time.

The Whole Lot (minus the generals)

They don’t look like much like this. 6mm don’t come into their own until they are painted and ranked up on the table with multiple units.

Musketeers

On the left, are the Prussian Musketeers in the package. They come in packages of 24 strips of four “guys” each. Four of the strips being command strips with a musketeer, flag holder, pikeman, and drummer (in that order). On the right are the Prussian artillery, which I will talk more about as I begin to paint them. First things first, I want to start small and get it right.

Artillery

These are the Prussian Infantry flags that Baccus sells. I have tried to take the picture in such a way as to not upset the owner. I believe the pictures gives you a good idea of the product without allowing anyone to produce flags from them.

I think these flags will be a welcome addition to the force. The amount of time it would take to research the flags and then draw them or paint them at 6mm scale, well I wouldn’t even try. (not yet) At $2.75 CDN, they are well worth the expense.

Prussian Flags

Now for a look at the figs themselves. First off, let me say, “Thank god I have a decent camera, because Holy Crap!! I forgot how small these are!”

Now that I have that out of my system, I am always impressed with the work that Baccus puts out. These are proving to be no exception. With the minor exception of trimming down a few bayonets and straightening them, there is no flash to remove at all. I tend to straighten their postures a little, as I feel this batch is leaning a little forward. But in no time at all, they are ready for paint.

Now before I set these guys up to paint, it’s time to paly with at the basing. I have read on the Might and Reason site, that for smaller figures, 1″ by 2″ bases are recommended. I have some 25mm by 50mm bases, left over from Blitzkrieg Commander figs, that will do the job nicely. So here are some pics: one based two strips wide and one with 3 strips on it.

Two Strips
Three Stips

I think what this is showing me is that I will have to meet somewhere in the middle. How about 9 figs per row for a base?

Perfect

There we are, Perfect! And it even satisfies my desire for symetry with three musketeers (heh, heh) on either side of the command figs. Here are some pictures of two bases in the various formations they will assume on the table. I think you can already start to see the advantages that 6mm brings to the table just by seeing two bases together. Please keep in mind that it shouldn’t take any time at all to paint up two bases once I have decided on a sound painting procedure. I plan to paint half a package, 12 strips, at a time to begin with. Perhaps 24 at a time when I get rolling.

6mm = Large, quickly painted armies.

Column
Line

Now, on to the painting then. I am a fan of using tongue depressors (referred to from here on out as “sticks”) to mount the figures on. So, as these are my first figs, I will only put three strips of figures on a stick. I many increase this but for now three is plenty. I also will be only painting strips of musketeers and no command stands in this first batch. I will need some time with painting references before I tackle command strips. I use Elmer’s glue (white glue to you continentals) to fix them to the sticks, only a little though. Then stick ’em on and let ’em sit.

The next thing that I do is use blue-tac (that stuff that sticks things to the wall) to fix the sticks to old spray paint caps. I do this so I can hold the figures and get in all the undercuts without having black fingers all the time. I prime with plain, old Walmart Color Place 99¢ flat black spray paint. It has treated me better than some of the “modeling” spray paints in the past. Short, quick bursts.

Ready
Stick 'em
Ready To Paint
Next up, Paint...

Well, they should be ready to go whenever I am next able to find the time to paint. Hopefully, Thursday or Friday, I’ll let you know how it went. I am hoping the references come through by then so I can start to discuss those as well.

Just a quick note, I now use different colors for base coats, depending on the color of the troops.  Troops with white pants get a white primer.

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Beginning of the SYW blog

Originally Posted on April 4, 2007

For the past two years, I have been building a force of 15mm WW2 Hungarians and US Paratroops. (as can be seen here) Well, now I am bored sick of them. Everything is painted three colors in the period. Green, Brown, and Grey, that’s it, yes there are variations of brown to use, but brown nonetheless. I have also reached saturation point on researching the units. In short, I am ready for something now.

I have had my eye on the Baccus range of figs for some time now and have been waiting for the time and interest to collide so I could begin using them. I have painted some English Civil War and Napoleonic figures before, but couldn’t find a set of rules that I was happy with.

Enter Might and Reason, by Sam Mustafa. He designed a Seven Years War game that also has a points based army builder. This is extremely important to me as sometimes I just don’t want to research a battle in and out just to play. It allows the easy creation of “what if…” scenarios as well. I like the control mechanics of Grande Armee also and they are the basis of Might and Reason.

So, now I have the figures I want to use, I have the rules that I want to use. It’s time for the research and acquisition to begin.

Baccus is a small company and is generally not widely available in the USA. There is (from what I can tell so far) a great little company in Canada that sells Baccus figs by mail, called Milites Minimus, where I put in my first order. Stu (the owner) seemed a very nice bloke to deal with over the email, I’ll comment on the figs when they arrive in the post. I decided to start with Prussians as they seem to be one side of almost every engagement of almost every battle that I have read about, and Fred seems to be the biggest mover and shaker of the period. I ordered the following:

* SPR-01 Seven Years War Prussian Infantry

* SPR-07 Seven Years War Prussian Artillery

* SPR-08 Seven Years War Generals

* SPR-71 Seven Years War Prussian Flags

* NFR-01 French Napoleonic Line Infantry

(for a different project)

Total $28.25 CDN + shipping = $33.30 CDN, not bad for the amount of figs I’ll be getting. This is one big draw of 6mm, aside from the great look of massed armies you get on the table.

Well, what the hell does an 18th century Prussian look like? I’m sorry to say that at this point I had very little idea. Where do I start? Well, the old reliable starting place is the Osprey Men-at-Arms series. With a little digging, I found Fredrick the Great’s Army (2), which is the one that deals with Prussian Infantry.

I think the Osprey series is a good starting point, like wikipedia is a good starting point. It is not to be the end of research, just something to wet your appetite and tide you over. Perhaps it could be considered the McDonald’s of military research. Dependable and filling, but you know there is better sustenance out there.As it turns out, this particular volume of the Men-at-Arms series is out of print and somewhat harder to find. I was looking at ordering it from Amazon for 22+ dollars when I asked about references on TMP and was told that Warweb had it, and it was on sale for 30% off the list price, so I ordered it for $12.76.

Not much to do now, except wait for the models and book to trickle in.

It is worth mentioning that I have had contact with Peter Baccus during the time that this process began, and he is very helpful and knowledgeable resource. I will be putting together painting references on my site and submitting them to his site as part of the project. I am flabbergasted whenever I begin to look for uniform information on the web and find there is very little out there. There are a great number of people interested in these types of things, why is no one putting it on the web? Any way, gotta start somewhere.

Originally Posted on April 5, 2007

2 days into the blog and time to make some changes to the game plan. Upon further communication with Peter Baccus about the painting guides, I have decided not to collaborate with him. We disagree over the need for copyrighting the images. I have a deep personal belief that these images should be available to everyone for use as they wish. I see it like this, “Who owns the color of a coat used by the Prussians in 1753?” I harbor no hopes of financial gain by making the plates, so there is no reason, in my mind, to copyright.

My fear is that I will not be able to supply the information now without the help of a generous artist out there. If you have skills with paint or any other computer graphics program, please contact me atI am looking for a basic black and white outline of the uniforms that I will be able to fill in as I figure the colors out.

One thing that I forgot to mention is that I have yet to lay eyes on Might and Reason yet! I am progressing with the faith that it will be of similar quality to Mr. Mustafa’s other work. I am waiting for an ebay item to pay off before I will have the funds to order it. 3 days, 10 hours to go!

Originally Posted on April 6, 2007

The first hurdle overcome! I contacted the generous and talented Scott Washburn, through a message board we both frequent, and asked if he could supply me with the copyright free uniform blanks for my project and he did so within hours! So I am full of confidence and inspiration once again. I will have to fill in the new plates with Photoshop rather than paint, but not a problem as I have the program.

For those of you who don’t know Mr. Washburn, he is a wargamer who runs a small company called Paper Terrain. Paper Terrain, as described on his site, is “a range of paper structures in a variety of scales and periods. They are printed on a heavy cardstock and are ready for immediate assembly and use. Our structures are sturdy, lightweight, economical and attractive alternative to resin.” Once I have some figures painted and am ready to take pictures of them, I will be picking up some villages from his store to help make the pictures more attractive.

I have also received some great feedback from readers with helpful suggestions and kind words. Thanks guys.

Now, will those figures and references arrive soon so I can get on with the meat of the blog!

Originally Posted on Saturday, Apil 7, 2007

No figs or books in the mail today. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, so two more days minimum before anything happens.

Originally Posted on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007

Well, the ebay auction ended and I now have the funds to order Might and Reason. Ordered from the Warweb again, and picked up The Austro-Hungarian Army of the Seven Years War by Osprey as well. (I made a little more than I expected!)