Monday, April 23, 2018

Johnny Whitworth, best shot in the brigade!

 I have been looking for a good figure to represent a Confederate sniper with a Whitworth rifle. The scope was somethimes at a slight angle for long shots."Don't worry, at this range they couldn't hit an elephan......"

The bullets were longer than the minie ball and made a characteristic whistling noise when passing. Confederates armed with these rare  British rifles could silence a battery from 1000 yards, however because the artillery men were not armed, the sniper would give them a chance to retire before he started hitting them. He did this by a term calling 'ringing the battery', this is when the marksmen would hit the steel wheel rims on both of the cannons wheels. If they didn't move then he would start to pick them off unarmed or not.

All searches for a 28mm figure were turning up blank so I thought I would make one. A very easy thing to do, I cut a piece of lead standard pole off of a standard bearer and stuck it onto a Dixon Confederate figure. The sight on a Whitworth is strangely to the side of the gun but this does give it a unique character of its own.
 A nice rule in Bonnie Blue Flag allows for a marksman to be in your force, when he fires the other player has to roll over 40% on a D100. If he fails the commander is killed and all troops within 6'' suffer . The leader is replaced with a must lesser commander the next round. So you only need one marksman per Johnny Whitworth. Good old Dixon to the rescue again.

This image is very useful as it shows the red badge worn on the arm. This meant the 'snipers' could room at ease on the battlefield without getting mistaken for deserters. this version has a longer sight.

1st Corps Berdan Sharpshooters and painting guide.

 After being impressed by 1st Corps ACW range I thought I would order some more. I ordered a packet of right shoulder shift to mix with my previous purchase but also ordered two Berdan's Sharpshooters. Again I was impressed with their scale, not small like their ancient ranges but a good 28mm size, very compatible .
 The different poses within the two packs, one troopers and the other with command.
 The figures themselves are quite nice, again the rifles are a little bit over sized and a few of the uniform details are a little on the large side (buttons). Nice kepis though and loads of variety in the sculpts.
 Above is a figure left over from the Redoubt Berdan's Sharpshooters I bought over twenty years ago ( I painted this left over as a Infantry officer). The Redoubt figures are great figures but I fancy trying something new for this new game (Bonnie Blue flag). In BBF, sharpshooter units are made up of four bases, so I thought I would buy some more and mount them on bases rather than single skirmish bases like I did twenty years ago.

 Examples of Berdan uniforms. The colour is a forest green and has black rubber buttons, a feature that even the most famous ACW artist often gets wrong. I haven't checked my old sharpshooters but I doubt I got it right back then either.

 This picture above is my favourite as it is no nonsense and a good colour guide apart from the buttons again. I have been researching green colours and come up with some close matches.
 Dark Elf green as a base shade, next a layer of Black green. The miniature paints Dark Green might not be quite right. I will try a tiny amount added to the black green for a highlight...more to follow when I know more.
 I am playing around with different paints at the moment, so far a good find was dark Elf green by coat 'd' arms. I was sold on the name let alone the colour. Anyway this is my progress so far. I plan to do quite a variety of shades within the unit including blue sack coats and union blue trousers.
A sharpshooter with his base colours added. This is dark Elf green over layered with Black green. I will be washing this with black ink to give it more depth...WIP.

Monday, April 16, 2018

1st Corps ACW Review

I finally made the plunge and bought some 1st Corps ACW figures. I had been a little worried they would be true 25mm and be quite small, a fact I found with their Roman range. However, the figures were a good size and fitted in well with all of the other mid range figure companies, Foundry, Crusader, Dixon, Old Glory, Perrys etc.
 I think these figures must be selling well as they did have a little flash on them and needed a little clean up. Also I thought the rifles were a little on the large size, but nothing I couldn't live with. After a tidy up and a closer look I found that I liked these figures quite a lot, It's nice to find a new range that fits with your old stuff. The sculpting was good and I will defiantly be getting some other packs to add into the mix. Their iron Brigade looks good and so will be on the wish list.

So all in all these figures are recommended and they are fairly priced too, being under a pound a piece in the deals 1st Corps do.

 I have fallen back in love with lots of old companies I had turned my back on in favour of Foundry. Dixon are said to be pumpkin heads but I like them, they add a lot of character to formations and have a charm all of their own, they also paint up well. Here we can see a 1st Corps figure next to a Dixon one, the two match in size and will mix very well together in a unit.
 Another size comparison showing a Dixon, 1st Corps, Crusader figure. All these mid range figures mix well together.

Crusader, Dixon,1st Corps, Steve Barber models.
The causality pack is also recommended as they have many poses and some that can be used as men struggling to the rear, great for fighting units.

 1st Corps have learnt from other ranges over the years (Sash and Sabre) and have produced codes with multiple variants in. This vast host of poses looks great and is one of the strengths of this recent range. It might be worth buying a right shoulder shift pack as well to mix in with these advancing men to give even more of a mix of poses.

 From what I can see most of these men are in forage caps rather than kepis. This is fine as again I haven't many figures in this head wear. On opening the pack I was a little put off by this fact until I researched it on line and found the peaks were really small. At first I thought it was poor sculpting, but it's right.
 Also a lot of figures in this pack were in shirts and made the unit look like a battle hardened tough fighting mob. Perfect for my Irish Brigade unit I thought to myself.
 Here is a Renegade figure with a smaller crusader drummer. The Renegade figures are the only ones I would put together in the same unit without mixing them as they are quite large. Saying that, the odd one or two here or there won't hurt, my units are all about variety of poses.

Painting by Don Troiani
Irish brigade at Gettysburg, note the shirt. I think these 1st Corps figures will be my Irish Brigade now. I have also fallen back in love with Old Glory figures and was thinking of ordering their Irish Brigade until these guys turned up.
These advancing 1st Corps figures with their bayonets and shirts just kind of tick all the boxes of a tough fighting veteran unit for me...job done!

Monday, April 09, 2018

Irish Brigade 1863 uniform?

I've been trying to research the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg for a war gaming unit and have come across many uniform varieties. Is there anyone out there that knows more about this subject.

At the moment I'm thinking about a unit in late war sack coats with maybe a few New York shell jackets sprinkled around. The coats will be all blue and without the green cuffs and collars that most uniform guides favour.

I have learned so much from readers that I thought I would throw it out for any advice. Many thanks Simon.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Dice markers for Bonnie Blue flag

I have been very taken with a set of easy to learn ACW rules I found on the Cavilier books site. I am always on the look out for interesting rules to do with the ACW as it is my first war gaming love. 
Being badly Dyslexic I have always struggled to learn most rule sets that go into loads of charts and detail but this set was simple enough to learn and gave a great taste for the period. So that said,I set out to collect the few counters I would need to play it.

 Basicily each unit requires an rating to see how much more attrition they can take before they quite the field, this is done with dice. I had tried to get mini dice locally but failed, so managed to secure some 12mm D6, these I thought though were getting on the large side. However after many frustrating phone calls my Pay Pal account was fixed and I could go to my favourite store...Warbases. They had everything I needed, including the coloured mini dice and even holders for them to sit in.
 I came up with a simple plan to hide the dice from view once on the table and to add to the scenery. These little markers will be covered in tufts and bushes to hide the dice from the opposing player. The less visible dice on the table, the better.

I have big hopes for this game and I'm desperately trying to get as much done before the curse of the war gamer gets me and I see something else which pulls my attention away. For this reason I am avoiding Salute and war games magazines like crazy.

These dice are 7mm and are perfect for hiding behind lines of guns or Infantry.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

ACW Artillery base size and colour?

 I'm trying out two options here, the long 120mm x 60mm and the smaller 80mm x 60mm. The smaller one makes more sense with turning arcs etc but the longer base gives more room for diorama. I'm using Infantry for layout and positioning only.
 I've done a lot of research about the gun colours, Olive green is mentioned but these guns always look more grey/green to me. I've found some great Tamiya paints which should cover this, they also do a good grey green which so far is my favourite. It's the first one on the colour strip.

 Warlord ECW horses help map out the size of the Limber base (120mm x 60mm) just so I can get an idea of the over all size of the unit when attached to the Limber.
 The Artillery base sizes next to each other. I think as long as the canon is set back from the edge and towards the middle the base shouldn't look too big. This also gives some nice space at the front to place the rammer and bucket etc.
The last paint colour here is a blue from Tamiya again this will be used to paint a couple of Confederate pieces.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Back on the old ACW trail again...

 Just thinking out aloud about some Artillery bases. Looking through my MDF collection I found I had a load of 120mm x 60mm bases I had bought for a rule set that never happened. I was thinking these could do for the section base. They already fit the four horse limber team, but I thought they might be a little long for the gun section. I noticed the Perrys include 100mm x 50mm bases for their guns in their plastics kits so I'm not too far off. The extra mm could help with the larger redoubt figures...anyway food for thought.
It would be nice to use all six figures that come with most Artillery sets and a long base could be the way. The pics above are just to help me place the team around the gun and the spacing with the figures. My limbers will be on the 120mm x 60mm horse team base. 240mm could make for a long Artillery base when on the move...I'll have to see when I get home.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Lady of the Forest...the Birch.

 I have been buying a lot of cheap trees from Amazon lately and giving myself the challenge of painting them quickly with spray paints. This is very rewarding and enjoyable, trying out slightly different colours. Some of these trees will be turned into Aspens with dots rather than stripes on the trunks.

 I will also give some Autumn leaves to add some variety. These birches will come in very handy when playing the French and Indian War. By sticking them on round bases I can scatter them around homesteads etc and provide some cover for sneaky skirmishers.

Had great fun preparing these probably because they are so quick and easy to do.