Thursday 28 February 2013

The Re-Basing Begins

Having decided on the rules I'm going to use I've now started on re-basing the 500 or so figures making up my British and French forces. I've got three French battalions done so far and I've already got re-baser's thumb! This debilitating condition is caused by the sharp protrusions on the figure bases digging into your thumb as you try to carve away the glue and basing compounds.

I'm probably going to leave the bases bare until I've re-based all the figures and then add the scenic effects.

As I expected I've ended up with bunch of spare figures I can't use like standard bearers because the figures I bought were organised in units of 16, not the 24 I'm using. I'm also still pondering what to do with the Confederation of the Rhine units. The uniforms are too different to just merge them into larger units like I did with the French line units. I can probably make one 24 man unit and maybe one more with some judicious repainting but I may just put them all on eBay and use the proceeds to buy some more painted French figures.

Monday 25 February 2013

Quick Review: "Napoleon at War" Chasseurs a Cheval Brigade Box Set

Since I'd finally made my mind up about which rules I was going to use I could sit down and see what units I could make with my eBay purchases and what I still needed to buy. One of the things I would need was a brigade of light cavalry for my French. I had a look on ebay to see what painted figures were available and added a couple to my watch list. But I also had a look around a few online shops for unpainted options. It was then I spotted that Northstar had some of the N@W Chasseur brigade box sets on sale at £14 instead of the usual £27.50. As the price was a bargain and the uniforms are fairly simple to paint I decided to buy a box. For those of you not familiar with this range it provides box sets and blisters containing complete units including bases for use with the N@W rules. I suppose the idea is to help people new to Napoleonics have an easy entry into the game.

A few days later the box arrived. As can be seen below the front of the box shows a nice picture of the painted up figures

The back of the box lists the contents and has a painting guide. While the painting guide is useful it doesn't show the back of the figure or the saddle cloth, so it's of limited use. It also doesn't show the elite company figures who have a busby and someone new to Napoleonics may find this confusing. Just as well I have numerous reference books and the Internet to help me out.

The figures come in a plastic tray with foam padding and have no more bent swords than you would expect with the usual ziploc bag packing you get from most manufacturers.

The figures themselves are fairly flash free, on a par with most other 15mm figures I've bought from various manufactueres. The detail is fairly crisp and they should paint up well but they are not as good as AB Miniatures or Blue Moon figures but they are cheaper. The horses look a little chunky to me especially for light cavalry, but overall they're a decent set of figures.

Before I'd bought this set I had the impression that they were overpriced and you were paying over the odds for a box set with bases and a painting guide. They're certainly more expensive than Essex figures but they're 18mm not 15mm and they also have the benefit that you just get the figures you need. No more having to buy figures in packs and having some spares left over. Now I've had a look at these I think they're pretty good value for 18mm figures and I'd certainly consider buying more. However the prices are going up on March 1st so we'll have to see if the new pricing makes them less attractive. As I only paid £14 for my box I give them 10/10 but at normal prices I'd rate them about 8/10.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Too much choice is a bad thing.

My eBay purchase of Napoleonics figures arrived last week and they're about what I expected. The painting is ok but nothing great. However there was a problem with the French army. Half of them were Confederation of the Rhine Infantry which I had not been expecting. I went back to the listing and it said Napoleon's army which I had read as French so my own fault really for not checking. But now I have a problem with how I going to base the figures as they're in units of 16 or 20 and I was planning on using units of 24 or 32. With half of them being CotR troops I can't merge the units into larger ones as I'd planned because of the uniform differences

But the basing issues don't end there. I had intended to use either the Lasalle or FoG:N rules as they both use a 40mm frontage for their bases and I could base up the figures so they could be used for both rules. But  the Lasalle army lists don't have much flexibility with regard to the units you can take and the required number of units for a valid force would mean I'd have to buy more figures.

Fog:N, on the other hand, has more flexibility in what you can take. However it is a corps level game with units representing demi-brigades/regiments as opposed to Lasalle's battalions. This has the benefit of needing fewer infantry figures as you can replace a base of infantry with a base of cavalry or artillery to represent an attachment to the unit. However having looked at some pictures I didn't like the look of the units and it didn't feel right to base units that way.

After much thought I decided to go with Lasalle as the rules seemed easier to pick up and learn and I would base in 24's and bite the bullet and buy some more figures. So I ordered a bunch of bases and got my pdf copy of the rules printed out. It was at this point that I encountered the 'Napoleon at War' rules.

I came across these on the TMP boards and did a bit of research on them. They seemed to be easier to learn than Lasalle and they were based on 24 man units, plus they had flexibility in the army lists to let me pick and choose to suit the figures I had bought. But the basing is really weird and not compatible with Lasalle or FoG:N. It would also mean buying yet another set of Napoleonic rules. So now I'm thinking about going with N@W but I've just laid out £20 for printing and bases for Lasalle. I briefly toyed with the idea of using the 40mm bases for N@W but decided against it  as I didn't want to have to fudge things to make it work.

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth I decided to go with N@W as they seem to fit best with what I want. Also I can still use them with Lasalle if need be as base sizes aren't critical as Lasalle uses base widths as the unit of measurement. So I've ordered a set of the N@W rules for £22 from Stafford Games as they were the cheapest place I found that sold them. I'm sure somewhere down the line I'll find a use for the 40mm bases I'd ordered. But I can't help feeling life would be easier (and cheaper) if there wasn't so many rulesets to choose from!

Monday 11 February 2013

Decisions, Decisions

Now the two painted 15mm Napoleonic armies I won on eBay are on their way to me I have to think about re-basing and rulesets. From what little I can see in the pictures it looks like the French are 24 figure units and the British 16 figure units.

The French

The British

Hopefully the French will be a straight swap for whatever rules I decide to use, although I may have problems with flank companies etc. But the British will definitely be a problem with their 16 figure units if they're painted up as distinct regiments.

My choice of rules is between Lasalle and FoG:N. I have both and I like elements of each of them so I think the final decision may come down to whether I have enough figures to make armies for the lists specified. I may have a problem with Lasalle as I don't think I'll have enough French troops to build an army with the listed requirements. Of course I can always try to trim things down but I'll only know for sure once the figures arrive. At least both systems use the same basing so that won't be a problem.

At the moment I'm leaning towards Lasalle as they seem to be a bit simpler to pick up, but I'll hunt around the net for some reviews and have a quick read through both again before I make my mind up.

Sunday 10 February 2013

I succumb to the lure of eBay again!

I've been wanting to get back into historical gaming (ACW, Napoleonic, WSS, Renaissance) for a while now, but not having any figures painted up has been a problem. The majority of local players don't play these periods so that means that I need to provide both armies to get a game. Although I have plenty of time to paint figures I'm terrible at getting things done unless I have a deadline to work towards. This is usually a game I've arranged which forces me to buckle down and get painting. But having to paint two armies really means I have to have them both done before I can arrange a game. So I'm in a bit of a catch 22 situation, I don't buckle down to paint without a game arranged and I can't arrange a game until I have the figures painted.

So I've been looking at painting services but I can't justify the cost when I have the time to paint things myself. That means checking out eBay on the off chance of a bargain. That's when I spotted two auctions of painted 15mm Napoleonic armies, British and French. The French army was listed as being over one hundred and sixty infantry, thirty plus cavalry, four cannon, one ammo carriage, eight Generals, one command tent, redoubts, and barges for river crossings.

Part of the French forces

The British was bigger with over two hundred infantry, over fifty cavalry, five arty and crew, four gun carriages, nine general officers and Wellington, command tent, redoubts, destroyed cannon and a gun carriage.

A shot of some of the British figures

The painting looked ok in the photos included. So I thought if I could get them for the cost of the metal it would be a good deal. I'd decided to go to £90 for the French and £100 or maybe £110 for the bigger British force. The French army finished first and I'd decided that if I didn't get it I wouldn't bother with the British force. So with 18 seconds left the bidding was at £67 pounds and I put in my max bid of £90 and waited. I got lucky and won the army for £69 + £10 postage. A good price as it was less than the cost of the metal.

The British force was at £55 and I put in my max bid of £100 with 18 seconds to go and it sat at £57 pounds until 1 second to go when it shot up to £100. A sniper had put in a bid of £100 as well but as I'd bid first I'd won.

So over 360 infantry, 80+ cavalry, 9 artillery pieces, 18 generals plus various barges, camps, redoubts etc all painted for a total of £188.98 inc postage. Well under the cost of the metal alone so I'm pretty happy with my purchases. I'll do some pictures when they arrive.

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