Prussian Landwehr Cavalry 28th May 2015

Prussian Landwehr Cavalry

Prussian Landwehr Cavalry – Nearly finished!

It’s been a slow week or so for painting but at last, my Prussian Landwehr Cavalry unit is nearly ready to leave the work bench. As you can see, the command group is just about finished, with just the bases to highlight and detail. I’ll finish these off with a quick dry brush with an Iraqi Sand and Chocolate brown mix, and then a final highlight with pure Iraqi Sand. Once that is dry, I’ll add the Static grass ( I prefer the flowered field mix) and then my usual mix of grass tufts & flowers. I find that a bit of colour on the base will tend to lift the figures, particularly when they have a dark uniform. It will also unify the army if the basing is similar.

Prussian Landwehr Command Group

Prussian Landwehr Command Group

I’m quite pleased with the way that the horses have worked out – see my last blog post for details of the paint ‘recipes’ used. I’ll have a last look over the figures as I base them to decide whether to add any further highlights. It’s always difficult to know when a unit is really finished.  There’s always a compromise between producing my best possible finish or moving on to the next unit. Do I spend another session adding a few more highlights to the uniforms and a bit more ink to add shadows to some of the equipment or do I just get them on the table?

Regardless of the above question, the final job will be to add the lances and pennants and the flag for the unit. I have these ready to go, you can just make out the first two Lances added to the figures in the background and it will be another evening session, to finish that job – so these boys are about two evenings away from the war games table…

Close up of the Trumpeter

Close up of the Trumpeter

Actually, there is one other job to do before they are ‘table ready’ and that is to make the movement trays. I could use a ready cut MDF tray but will probably make my own as I have a different style that I prefer to use rather than a normal tray. It’s a straight forward job and I think I’ll show how I do this in another blog post.

So my Prussian brigade now consists of 2 Battalions of Regular Infantry, 2 Battalions of Landwehr Infantry, a Command base and a Regiment of Landwehr Cavalry, all in Silesian colours, making a total of 110 men and 14 horses painted. Next up, some Artillery – now can I get them finished for the 13th June, the date of our next big battle…..

Painting Horses – Prussian Landwehr Cavalry

Prussian Landwehr Cavalry - Work in Progress

Prussian Landwehr Cavalry – Work in Progress

I guess that you can make painting horses as easy or as difficult as you like, from just a brown coat to the more complex spotted greys. I have tried quite a few of the different techniques over the years but I’ve been trying to improve my results to make the horses look a bit more interesting without spending too long on each horse. It’s also been a good way of practicing highlighting and shading, without relying on Quickshade or Inks.

There are two techniques that I’ve been trying with this latest batch of horses. Both are very similar and both are based on using the three colour; shade, main coat , highlight technique that the professionals, such as Kevin Dallimore use to such good effect. Lets be clear, I’m a long way from that standard and I’m still set on producing regiments for wargaming rather than high quality figures for photography. However, practice makes perfect, as they say, and learning a particular style will help me speed up my painting process.

If any one is interested in seeing a master class in how to paint horses using this method, then I recommend this youtube video by Toby of Art Master studios – it’s an hour and a half of watching paint dry but still better than 90% of the stuff on TV these days! There are some great ideas here and I’ll just summarise them, as much for my own reference, although I hope that it will be useful for other wargamers.

First choose your colour pallet for your horse – using three colours will allow you to get variation on horses, even when using the same colours on a batch of horses. Here’s a few of my favourite recipes using Vallejo paints! All of them are used over a black undercoat.

For Browns:  German Cam. Black Brown,70892, Flat Brown,70894, Orange brown 70891 or Mahogany Brown 70846. Be careful with the mahaogany brown, it is quite red and adding white to it will make your horse look pink so if you want to lighten it, use a Light brown, 70929. Another useful combination is Chocolate Brown 70872, Flat Brown,70984, Cork Brown 70843.

For a light brown or cream horse, try Flat earth 70983. Cork Brown 843 and Green Ochre 70914. Or try  gold brown, 70877 as the mid colour.

For black horses, use Black 70950, Black Grey, 70862, and highlight sparingly with light grey,70990.

For Grey horses, Dark grey 70984, Neutral Grey 70992, Light grey 70990.

And for White horses ( still Grey really!) Light Grey 70990, Sliver grey, 70883 and Off White 70820.

So that’s the horses body done. I stress that these are just some of my paint combo’s that I have tried. There are plenty more out there but using three colours in combination will give you plenty of variety. I mentioned that I was trying two techniques when painting. The first one is to carefully paint one colour over the other building up the highlights by picking out the muscles on the horse. This is the most time consuming and if done well gives superb results. The other method is to use a dry brush technique with the the colours. This is much faster and the results are still pretty good but you will need to go back over the harnesses etc as the paint will cover them if this method is used.

Prussian Landwehr Lancer on Brown horse

Prussian Landwehr Lancer on Brown horse

Next up, is the detail on the horses. The obvious ones are the mane & tail. You can either paint these in the same colour as the body of the horse or use black or green ochre to give variation. On the Cream horses, Biege 70917 looks good and on the greys, either a dark grey or white mane & tail looks fine. As these areas tend to have more texture, using an ink and then dry brushing with a light shade or even white will really bring the detail out.

The next area to look at are the legs – painting white or black ‘socks’ on one, two, three or four legs is fine and will  give variation in your regiment. Finish off the legs with the hooves. I paint them either black or a dark brown, it just tidies them up. You can also paint the horse shoes in steel if they are showing but it’s something that I tend to leave as a detail too far – besides , my thought is that they will be covered in mud…..

The last thing that I paint is the head. Again, a bit of variation here can make all the difference. I usually paint a white ‘blaze’ on the horses head. You can leave the muzzle the same colour as the horse or paint it black, dark grey or even a dark flesh colour. The eyes are painted black, although I will sometime use gloss black for this to get a shine.

The final bit is to paint the horse furniture and that is dependant on your Regiment and an article for another time. I have mentioned variation in horse quite a bit. Some of the elite cavalry regiments would of course ensure that the opposite was true. For example, the Household cavalry would be mounted on all black horses but I think that other regiments were less fussy and of course when on campaign or in battle, so long as the horse had four legs, it would do!

Work in progress - light brown horse

Work in progress – light brown horse

The pictures in the article show my latest regiment, Prussian Landwehr Lancers. As you can see they are yet to be finished, with some based with riders & some still not quite painted fully and none of them with their lances yet! I tend to paint horses in batches of three using one colour combo and then finish with the command group. As the trumpeter usually rode a grey and the officer would have had his own ‘posher’ horse, I leave these until last of all. Once they are all painted, I’ll go back over them all adding a few last quick highlights, correcting any obvious paint errors and of course detailing the bases with a few tufts and flowers.

So that’s my take on painting horses – Cheers!

The latest resident in LIttle Bingham - just the basing to finish!

The latest resident in Little Bingham – just the basing to finish!



Small is beautiful!

The setting for the Show was somewhat rural!

The setting for the Show was somewhat rural!

Having recently attended the largest Wargames show in the UK, Salute at Excel, this Sunday gone, I went to probably the smallest, at Owthorpe village hall, Notts. The show is hosted by Shaun Mclaughlin, who is well known for running the Wargames bunker holiday home. The show was themed as the Last of the Mohicans but it is worth having a quick look at the event page on face book to get an idea as to what was there.

The welcome was warm though!

There were lots of bargains!

The beauty of this event was its size. I have found recently that the larger events are great but it is difficult to settle at a stand or game to have a chat without feeling that I was in the way of somebody else. No such problem here. There was one large Demo game – a last of the Mohicans scenario, beautifully constructed with hundreds of miniatures and a fantastic scenic board as the centre piece.

The British Evacuate the Fort!

The British Evacuate the Fort!

There's more Indians coming!

There’s more Indians coming!

Supporting this were a few other games. A science fiction game with a very nice Thunderbird two at the centre!

Thunderbirds are Go!

Thunderbirds are Go!

The other game to catch my attention was a Dead Mans Hand participation game run by James Woodward from my local club. James had taken the Bushwackers and Jayhawkers scenario from Wargames Illustrated 320. Once again, there was a superb table to play on with all the figures provided so it would have been a shame not to join in! I actually played twice, completing the opening scene and second scene from ‘Ride with the Devil’. The games were played at a leisurely pace, as befitted a relaxed sunday morning, with plenty of banter from the spectators and much amusement at my ‘demise’ in both games. The photo below sums up my performance in the game…

The last man standing was about to meet his maker!

The last man standing was about to meet his maker!

And so on to the trade stands. I won’t list them all but I must mention the ‘Galloping Majors’ stand. This company specialises in the French Indian Wars and AWI periods and has a delightful range to support these periods. The owner, Lance, was happy to spend time explaining the differences between the various Indians tribes involved in the conflicts and was clearly an expert in this area. I came away with my first pack of Indians ( Mohawks) and an enthusiasm for a new period….It looks as though I will be painting an army for the Muskets and Tomahawks rules after all.

The Galloping Majors Indians - coming soon to my work bench!

The Galloping Majors Indians – coming soon to my work bench!

So all in all, a morning well spent! A couple of games of Deadmans Hand (I’ll be painting cowboys for this game as well it just plays too well to not have it as an option!), a few extra figures from the bargains stand for the lead mountain and a lovely pack of Indians that I will be painting sooner rather than later. Of course, the coffee, Kit Kat and conversation were pretty good as well. There’s a lot to be said for the smaller show and I’ll be going again!


Scenarios for Black Powder

The Guards line up ready for battle!

The Guards line up ready for battle!

In an ideal world, where we all have plenty of time and unlimited resources for our hobby, we could spend hours re -enacting all the battles of the Napoleonic era, exploring the ‘what if’s’ and ‘if onlys’ of history on accurate terrain boards, with all the right troops in all the right uniforms! It would be the ‘Carlesberg wargaming club’.  However, for me the reality is that I get to the club once a week on a Thursday evening and we fight a battle that lasts for about 2 hours using the troops that I have to hand with a rules system ( Black Powder) that allows an easy flow to the game on a gaming cloth with a few pieces of terrain to make it look pretty. Sure, once in a while we get to play the ‘mega’ battle on a posh table with special scenario rules and the correct force but that this is a rare exception in my gaming calender.

The real problem is that there is a tendency to just line our armies up on the table and try and win the game by breaking more of the enemies units than he breaks of yours. OK, it’s still good fun but it can get a bit repetitive. So we were looking for a quick fix to make our games a little bit different and to start to introduce a bit of narrative into the games –  this is the ‘back of a fag packet’ ( in our case more likely to be the back of a crisp packet….) solution.

The Line Advances!

The Line Advances!

We quickly came up with a list of 6 simple scenarios and before our game we roll a dice to decide which scenario  we will play. The exception being of course, when the same one has come up and every one groans ‘we played that last time’ – just roll again and let the dice decide. Here is the list that we are using at the moment. The intention of course is to add to them, rolling a D10 or D20 would be even more interesting!

Scenario 1 – The River

The battle is fought on a table with a river running across it. We use strips of painted paper to represent the river. It’s not the quality of scenery that you would find in Wargames Illustrated but quite adequate for a club battle. The river sections are about 12 inches long and we place a dice on each section. As a unit attempts to cross the section of river, roll the dice. On a 1 to 3 the unit will become disordered as it crosses. A roll of 4 to 6 means that the unit crosses safely. These are just our basic river rules – we have quite a few variations but these simple rules add another dimension to the game and will give commanders something else to think about when planning their battle.

Scenario 2 – One of your brigades is late!

Just pick a brigade on each side and roll a dice. The dice roll indicates on which turn ( 1 to 6 ) it arrives in your deployment zone. A variation on this scenario is to test each brigade in the army. Roll for each brigade, on a 1 or 2 ( or whatever you deem appropriate) the brigade is late. Then roll to see when the late brigades arrive. Great for players with Prussian armies…..

Scenario 3 –  Flank March

The two opponents roll a dice. The winner will get the flank march option and can choose a brigade that will deploy on one of the side table edges. Roll a dice to decide which on turn ( if it’s turn 6 it can be tricky…) your brigade will arrive. When the turn arrives for deployment, roll a dice. On a 1-3 you can deploy on your left flank, 4 -6 it’s your right flank. We allow deployment anywhere on the side of the table so beware  – you may have an enemy brigade that is  effectively deploying in your rear!

Scenario 4 – Off Table Deployment

Both armies start off the table. Before any orders are given to a unit, roll a dice. In the first turn, on a roll of 5 or 6 you may place the unit in your deployment zone on the table and issue it with an order as usual. On this first move, movement is reduce by one order. In other words the maximum that you can move is two ‘orders worth’ of movement. You can apply the rule to individual units or brigades or a mixture of both. After that, movement is as per normal Black powder rules. On turn two, the dice required to deploy is reduced to 4,5 or 6. Turn three, you need 3 to 6, turn 4 you will need 2 to 6 and this stays in place so if you throw a one in turn 5 your brigade still will not arrive!  It happens and can be quite frustrating. We rename those units as the Grouchy Brigades…

Scenario 5 – Capture the Flag!

A simple objective is placed in each half of the table. The objective is to capture the opponents objective whilst protecting your own.

Senario 6 -Pitched battle

Straight forward enough – back to the usual set up in deployment zones and beat the enemy. You can give this a bit more flavour by altering deployment zones rather than just lining up along the back of the table.

The other interesting variation is how to place the scenery. Rolling a dice for this is a good idea but we just tend to take it in turns to set the table out each week. We have had some interesting results when we have asked a non participant player from the club to set out the scenery though!

Stopped by the Cavalry!

Stopped by the Cavalry!

The scenarios have certainly thrown out some interesting games. The pictures that I have used for this blog article are from our game last week where I had the Flank March. I thought that I would easily pin my opponent and out flank him with an extra brigade of three battalions of Infantry. As it turned out he held those battalions in check with his cavalry and after forcing them into square, proceeded to pound them with his artillery. I was then forced into trying to rescue my flank and more Battalions were drawn out of position and the army was eventually broken as they were pushed into square as well and shaken by artillery fire. It was the most effective use of cavalry in a Black powder game that I have seen and despite the musket fire that the cavalry were facing, by clever use of rotating the cavalry and rallying them it was the infantry that broke first!

The Flank is in Trouble!

The Flank is in Trouble!