Wednesday, December 21, 2011

British Command reaches next level

After a little bit more work adding some greenstuffed sashes and sword belts, my collection of Officers and their staff is now ready for painting!

One of our new sponsors, Dragon Forge Design, provided the bases I used for the command stands. Jeff has a great range of sculpted bases, perfect for lots of sci-fi and fantasy games, but he also has a range of "base blanks" just perfect for this sort of thing. For the Brigade commanders I used 80mm round blanks, and for the Divisional commander I used a 120x95mm oval blank. 

So, here are my commanders: First Brigade - Femor (left) and Von Lowe (right, mounting up).

Second Brigade - Wheatley (mounted) calling for haste with the delivery of new orders to his sub-officer.

Third Brigade - Van DeLeur (mounted with telescope) observing the actions of the enemy and preparing to give orders to an officer of the RHA.

Fourth (Cavalry) Brigade - Le Marchant (mounted, wearing the bicorne) with von Bock (or Alten, I haven't decided, in the KGL Hussar uniform).

And finally, here is Campbell, commander of the Guards Division at Salamanca and "Divisional Commander" of the British for our little game at Adepticon.

As well as thanks to Dragon Forge Design, we would also like to thank the Perry's for their kind support in the form of these command models. Cracking stuff!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

All Must March.

I am somewhat late to this ball and have, to date, been remiss in posting the progress of the French third brigade.  So, I’m attempting to remedy that now, with a quick introduction and update on recruitment.

First, this project marks a full-circle return for me, as far as my wargaming career goes.  In high school, I used to frequent the now legendary shop of one Todd Fisher.  The Emperor’s Headquarters, here in Chicago, was a Mecca for wargamers in general, but Napoleonic gamers specifically.  Todd, who has been featured on the History Channel as a Napoleonic historian of no little renown, recruited some of us younger painters (we were, at that time, exclusively playing Warhammer 40K) to help paint his epic 15mm Empire armies.  Eventually, I rose through the ranks to the level of troop-pusher and even earned the right to an occasional brigade command.  But it was my college friend Sam (who infamously carried around the Empire rules- all 16,000 pages- in his pack during Desert Storm) who really got me enthusiastic about gaming battles that didn’t involve, to a lesser or greater extent, Chaos daemons.

But I apologize for waxing sentimental.  I now find myself, for the first time since those salad days of sprawling EHQ battles, painting Napoleonic models.  Dave Taylor is the kind of gamer who is so enthusiastic that you can’t help but catch some of his passion.  From the first conversation about a large, exhibition game of Black Powder at Adepticon, I was in.  100%.  I had already started collecting some of the Perry Brothers’ French infantry, so I was more than agreeable to take up arms alongside Brien and Joe, taking responsibility for the French third brigade for our Salamanca game.  I have no doubt that, come Adepticon, we’ll defeat the “nation of shopkeepers” long before the bar closes.

My first battalion (work in progress shot below) is nearing completion.  I’ll post some more detailed shots of the finished bases just after the holidays.  My plan is to update regularly and stagger my infantry battalions with guns, command, and my Dragoons.  Well, thanks for letting me drone on.  I promise my next post will be 90% photos of toy soldiers.

Vive l'Empereur,
Dave Pauwels

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What to quaff whilst we play?

From the start of this project we've talked about drinking some fine port whilst we play out our Battle of Salamanca. No doubt port would have been the tipple of choice of the officers in the Anglo-Portuguese army, what with them fighting so close to Oporto and all. (Although now that I've said that, please feel free to correct me).

Anyway, my mother visited us recently and brought the above bottle of 2003 Decompression Port all the way from Australia. You can only get this from the Divers Luck cellar door, about 30 minutes north of Newcastle, NSW. I've loved this port ever since I first tasted it there in 2003. This is one of several bottles that have made the trip halfway around the world over the years.

I'm hoping my fellow "Guns" enjoy it come April ; )


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Commanders starting to take shape

My order of Perry Miniatures "staff officer" models came in early this week. In an attempt to regain a bit of sanity (following the birth of my second daughter), I quickly cobbled together a few command base vignettes. I still haven't set my lights back up after our Thanksgiving party, so these were shot on the fly with my phone, my apologies for the lack of crisp detail. 

First Brigade Commanders: Here we have Von Lowe (mounted) and Femor (mounting up), the joint commanders of our First Brigade in the battle. In reality they each commanded a brigade as part of the Guards Division. I'll be adding a horseholder to this vignette, keeping Femor's horse steady while he mounts up.

Second Brigade Commander: On the right is Wheatley, commander of another brigade in the Guards Division (this one including two Highlander regiments - the 42nd and 79th). On his base are to ADCs, one handing off a packet of orders to the other (mounted). I've already switched out the original headwear of these three models, giving two of them the ubiquitous bicorne, whilst the other sports a shake that marks him out as an officer of a Light Infantry company seconded to Wheatley's staff.

Third Brigade Commander: And finally, for the moment, we have Van DeLeur (mounted) on the left, looking through his telescope towards a threat indicated by another staff officer on foot. Next to them sits an officer of the Royal Horse Artillery waiting to guide the fire of the batteries accompanying this brigade from the Light Division.

As most of these models are from Perry ranges other than the British, there are a few changes I need to make to their uniforms. Primarily it's the head swaps (done), followed by adding officer sashes, sword belts, and the occasional altered jacket style.

Until next time!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

You can never find a good staff officer when you need him.

There are quite a few nice models out there to represent various British Generals (and other ranks) and quite a few of those lovely models are from Alan and Michael Perry. One thing I have noticed, however, is there is an alarming absence of handy Staff Officers and ADCs to assist the commanders in the execution of their commands. Amongst the Perry French range you can find more packs of commanders, staff officers, hangers on than you can find artillery pieces! Not so for our poor British officers. Seems like Wellington was forced to write down his own orders and ride them off himself to his various sub-commanders. Surely not.

Anyway, this has inspired me to place an order for a variety of command packs from various ranges that I can then tweak a bit with head swaps and greenstuffed accoutrements to create some cool bases for the four Brigade commanders and one Divisional Commander I'll be painting up for our Guns of April game at Adepticon next year. I love the two officers at the table writing orders in the pack above. They'll no doubt make it on to the Division commander's base.

I love the horse holder, pointing officer, and rider about to leave with orders from this Dutch-Belgian pack above. They'll probably be spread across a few bases.

And Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimer (above center) will be on a base with the ADC mounting up next to him, suitably adapted to a "British in the Peninsula" style.

Oh, and the order will have a box of the new Perry Hussars in it, to be painted up as the 1st Hussars of the KGL.

I'm looking forward to getting started on all this over winter : )


Monday, November 7, 2011

An update from Brigade Chemineau

6th Leger 1st Bn Command
 So it has been a little while since the French have had an update and I wanted to post some of my experimentation on the Leger (Light Infantry).  As you can see above I have my first command models done for the first base of Leger.  It has been slow going with many side projects taking priority.

One of the many inspirational units I am drawing from

I will take a moment here and explain how I want to set up my portion of our project.  As you can see just above here is a unit painted by the talented Dave Imrie.  When I first saw this I thought, "That is how the French should look on the battlefield!".  Needless to say the quest is on.  I have procured all of my models needed for this project and will be trying to capture the feel of the models above.

I intend to base one unit of my Leger in marching rank and file.  This is the one I have started work on.  The 2nd BN of Leger will be similar to what you see above.  Muskets at the charge and ready to crash into the "Thin Red Line".  I will also do something similar to my Ligne or Line Infantry.  Also I intend to dirty up my boys with a bit of pigments.

If you do any research on the Battle of Salamanca you will find that the two armies marched for days in a constant game of cat and mouse. Sometimes the armies would be within a stones throw distance from each other.  And of course, the night before the battle was a severe thunderstorm.  Later thought to be a good omen for Wellington before his major engagements.

One of my Line Officers
Well that's enough out of me this evening.  I will get some more of the 6th Leger, 1st BN finished up and on its way to you lads!


Monday, October 31, 2011

Based in Spain

With a bit of hobby activity going on amongst "The Guns of April" crew, I've been asked to post up my recipe for my Napoleonic bases.

The Battle of Salamanca was fought on a fairly dry and dusty plain in Spain in the middle of summer. As such I decided (a long while ago) that the bases needed to be quite light, reflecting the dry feel of the area. As I've just finished off my 5th Ca├žadores unit (above), I figured they were as good a candidate as any to demonstrate the treatment.

Here are my five steps for "Peninsular Basing" success (from left to right):

1. Basecoat everything with Calthan Brown (GW)
2. Drybrush with Bubonic Brown (GW)
3. Drybrush with Dark Sand (Vallejo, similar to GW's Bleached Bone)
4. Drybrush with Pale Sand (Vallejo, similar to a mix of GW's Bleached Bone and Skull White)
5. Paint the edges with Calthan Brown and glue on clumps of Late Summer Buffalo Grass (Silflor, available in the US from Scenic Express)

Hopefully this little post will keep us all on the same track for our basing ; )


Sunday, October 23, 2011

2nd Brigade continues to recruit

The French Order of Battle has been posted and painting continues. Here is another update of my Brigade. There are some subtle details that I am considering such as the regimental numbers on the soft caps, cartridge boxes, and backpacks. For now I want to have the units finished and presentable and I will add the cool details later. I also have casualty miniatures that I would like to use to represent the hits taken by my units throughout the game. More to come on those at a later time. Enjoy the pictures.

Vive l'empereur!

Ask and ye shall receive!

We are just starting out with our armies where as Mr. Taylor has been working steadily for a year on his.  But don't lose faith my friends!  We have assembled an equally talented (yet slower) team that will bring you a beautiful army! I promise!  Since Dave has already covered the basics I will jump in to the winning French OOB. To the right side of each unit you will notice one of our names.  That is the person who will be building and painting that specific unit.

And now on to the good stuff!

French - Foy's Division, supported by Feyer's Division and cavalry from Boyer's command

First Brigade (Brigade Chemineau) - Brien
• 6th Leger - 1st Battalion (24) - Brien
• 6th Leger - 2nd Battalion (24) - Brien
• 69th Ligne - 1st Battalion (24) - Brien
• 69th Ligne - 2nd Battalion (24) - Brien
• Foot Artillery (1 gun) - Joe
• 25th Dragoons (small unit - 8) - Joe

Second Brigade (Brigade Desgraviers-Bertholt) - Joe
• 39th Ligne - 1st Battalion (24) - Joe
• 39th Ligne - 2nd Battalion (24) - Joe
• 76th Ligne - 1st Battalion (24) - Joe
• 76th Ligne - 2nd Battalion (24) - Joe
• Foot Artillery (1 gun) - Joe
• 3rd Hussars (small unit - 8) - Brien

Third Brigade (Brigade Menne, from Feyer's Division) - Dave
• 31st Leger - 1st Battalion (24) - Dave
• 31st Leger - 2nd Battalion (24) - Dave
• 26th Ligne - 1st Battalion (24) - Dave
• 26th Ligne - 2nd Battalion (24) - Dave
• Foot Artillery (1 gun) - Joe

Fourth Brigade - supporting cavalry - Mixed
• 6th Dragoons (small unit - 8) - Joe
• 11th Dragoons (small unit - 8) - Dave
• 13th Chasseurs (small unit - 8) - Brien
• Horse Artillery (1 gun) - Brien
• Horse Artillery (1 gun) - Dave

A selection from Brien Dulaney's workbench.
Nous sommes la terreur de nos ennemis!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Welcome to our little blog!

The 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameron Highlanders) ready for action!

Welcome, one and all, to our very first post on this blog! The first of vary many, we hope.

What's all this about? Well, rather than hash over it again, I'm going to guide you to the "About THE GUNS OF APRIL" box in the right column. That'll give you the basics.

Essentially though, we're a group of veteran wargamers (with closing in on 100 years of wargaming experience between us), but we're all relative newcomers to the world of Napoleonic wargaming. Drawn by the wonderful tales and colorful uniforms, we've decided to stay and put our best foot forward... by presenting a Napoleonic battle at an event we all love, AdeptiCon (held every year in April in the Chicagoland area, IL, USA)

In later posts I'll go into the reasons behind our choice of this battle, but for now I'll leave you with the British Order of Battle (for Black Powder) for this epic project. Units listed in bold are currently completed, units listed in red will be painted by my partner in crime Jamie Wellings, and units in italics will be painted by me.

BRITISH - Campbell's Guards Division, supported by Alten's Light Division 
and cavalry from Le Marchant and Anson's Brigades

First Brigade (Joint Brigade, Femor & Von Lowe)
• 1/Coldstream Guards (Large unit - 36)
• 1/3rd Guards (Large Unit - 36)
• 1st KGL (24)
• 2nd KGL (24
• Company of the 5/60th Rifles (Small unit - 12)

Second Brigade (Wheatley's Brigade)
• 2/24th Foot (24)
• 2/58th Foot (24)
• 1/42nd Foot (24)
• 1/79th Foot (24)
• Company of the 5/60th Rifles (Small unit - 12)
• Foot Artillery (1 gun)

Third Brigade (Van DeLeur's Brigade from Light Division)
• 1/52nd Foot (24)
• 1/95th Rifles (24)
• 1/44th Foot (24)
• 2nd Cacadores (24)
• Horse Artillery (1 gun)

Fourth Brigade - supporting cavalry
• 3rd Dragoons (8)
• 4th Dragoons (8)
• 11th Light Dragoons (8) or 1st Hussars KGL (8)
• Horse Artillery (1 gun)

Hopefully some of the Frenchies will chime in soon with information on how their forces are progressing.

The 2nd Ca├žadores, Portugal's light infantry formation