God Must Be A Toy Soldier. Here’s Why.

  1. First, I pray to my soldiers when I roll my dice to see if I can move or shoot
  2. I donate a lot of money to them
  3. I believe in my toy soldiers. I pretend they are real.
  4. I tell everybody I believe in peace, that’s why I play with soldiers instead of fighting real wars.
  5. In reality, though, I fight wars with others about the ‘true religion’. “Age of Sigmar/Bolt Action/Field of Glory? Are you stupid? That’s childish/not realistic/overcomplicated (delete as appropriate)”.
  6. I try to convert others to my religion. “28mm? You really should try 6mm.”
  7. I believe in strict rules. No shooting at me beyond your line of sight.
  8. I will forbid my daughter to marry someone who doesn’t share my religion.
  9. I’m part of a community and we have regular meetings to practice our rituals. My orations about the purity of certain rules are described as sermons, by certain non-believers, like my wife.
  10. I have ten rules. All major religions have ten rules.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Amen!

ps: the goddess above is not my wife, unfortunately 😦 (photo Bethany Clarke)

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Uniform Guide: Russian Uhlans & Cossacks

Yes, painting guides for the white Russian Cuirassiers, green dragoons and colourful hussars are easy to find online. Apart from the Baccus Painting Guide I consult the well-researched website napoleonistyka.com. Russian uhlans and cossacks are a different story however, no easy results. A quicky below, in addition to the regular sources, for myself and the Napoleonic wargame community.

Russian Uhlan colours 1812-1815

Lithaunian lancers

Blue jackets, grey pants, girdles, and saddlecloths, with the following distinctions:

  • For the Yamburg — raspberry collar/facings/trim, white shapka headdress, with red braid and pompon; white top half to the pennon, with a narrow raspberry stripe, and a raspberry lower half,
  • For the Orenburg — as above, but with raspberry shapka headdress, with yellow braid and pompon; blue top half to the pennon, with a narrow raspberry stripe, and a raspberry lower half, with a narrow blue stripe
  • For the Zhitomir — red collar/facings/trim; blue shapka headdress, with white braid and pompon; yellow/blue pennon
  • For the Siberia — as above, but with white shapka headdress, with red braid and pompon; yellow/white pennon
  • For the Vladimir — blue collar/facings/trim; blue shapka headdress, with yellow braid and pompon; yellow/blue vertical pennon
  • For the Taganrog — as above, but with white shapka headdress, with red braid and pompon; yellow/red pennon
  • For the Serpukhov — blue collar; red lapels, facings, trim: red shapka headdress, with yellow braid and pompon; blue/red pennon

(Check Mark Conrads translation of a Russian 1853 army handbook for more details). Russian lancers are probably overlooked by wargamers because they were converted from or to cossacks or hussars and less ‘iconic’ for the Russians than the cossacks or the big cuirassiers.

French or Austrian lancers can be converted, but for my 6mm Russian army I prefer the Baccus ‘Austrian’ Lancers. French Polish Lancers have a big emblem on their czapka apparently.

Lead Mountains 6mm Vladimir Lancers

Cossacks

Cossacks had an irregular blue uniform. My Osprey guide:

“simple; a blue jacket (with a white frog on the cuff or cape), fastened with hooks; a pair of loose trousers, a black lambswool cap made from which depends a red pandour sack, a plume on the side of the cap, or a cloth cap with a kind of sack hanging behind, in which he stuffs his provisons and a white or black hair Circassian short cloak’.

Red facings and trouser stripes were common; and ‘a broad leather belt, Principal weapons are a pike about eight feet long, and a pair of pistols. A black belt crosses their left shoulder, to which is attached a sort oftin cartouch box, holding ammunition, and surmounted with a ramrod.”

Front Rank Miniatures
Lee’s figurepaintingtherapyproject blog

In 6mm they can be painted as above or with more colour variation, to accentuate the irregular status.

PS the lancers on the copypasted 28mm Russian Lancer-image that is the featured image of this blogpost were painted by blogger Lace&Big Heads. Great paint job!

Uniform Guide: Late Napoleonic Prussian Army


This painting guide is focused on the uniforms of the late Prussian ‘national’ army and not on the transitional period and the Russian campaign. It’s useful for all scales but I included 6mm Prussian painting tips..

After  the battles of Jena, Auerstädt and Eylau a defeated Prussia had a shattered army. Organization, staff and uniforms were modernized to meet 19th century standards. The Prussians remained neutral in 1809, and supplied a contingent Prussians to Napoleons Grande Armee.

After Napoleon’s failed conquest of Russia, Prussia broke with Napoleon and iron man Blücher became commander in chief. The United Kingdom quickly rearmed Prussia and in the end the Prussians saved the day at the Waterloo battlefield.

Regiments were several times numbered, reorganized and renumbered between 1807-1812. This is a paintin guide for the Leipzig 1813-Champaubert 1814 and Waterloo 1815 campaigns.

NB: my media library is incomplete at the moment due to blog domain change, so I included copypasted pics from other blogs and sources. Respect to the original artists!

Specific Prussian 6mm army painting tips

  • Basecoat: painting techniques differ. Personally I can recommend to basecoat your heroes grey. and wash them as undercoat, before block paint the jackets etc. I don’t wash after painting, that only darkens the colours.
  • Prussian blue is said to be darker than French blue. However,  for 6mm, mid-blue, same as the French, is best. A (too) dark blue dims the unit. 6mm needs extremely vivid colours.
  • Red cuffs/collars:  historically the Prussians used different shades of red (and other colours, see below): instead of different reds, just use bright red and/or orange, that works best.
  • Prussians had ‘waxed’ shako’s. Paint/drybrush them (dark) grey
  • Most (Baccus) Prussian cavalry looks very similar, with their waxed shako and blue Kollett. It’s hard to spot the difference between the dragoons and the hussars and the Uhlans (lancers) and the reserve cavalry with lance, in particular from a distance. So, for easier recognition
    • paint the hussars in a non-blue colour scheme.
    • Base heavy cavalry and Uhlans in a V-formation but base the hussars and reserve as a more irregular group.
    • You could also convert hussars with dolman and pelisse from other armies to Prussian hussars.
  • Reserve regiments wore originally grey but gradually received the regular uniforms in 1813-1815. As painter, make a choice. If for gaming purposes you want a clear distinction with regular line regiments, paint them all grey. If you want a more ‘historical’ outfit, paint them as line but with some variety.
  • The (Baccus) Austrian/Prussian general set  is not very varied and a blue painted Prussian general staff might look too similar to the French marshalls. Better paint a few of the figures in a different colour scheme, white/red like the cuirassiers or green like the Jägers.

Cavalry

Prussia had in 1815 a Guard Cavalry brigade (Garde du Corps Cuirassiers, Guard Dragoons, Guard Hussars and Guard Uhlans), 4 regiments Cuirassiers, 8 regiment Dragoons, 12 regiments Hussars and 8 regiments Uhlans

Cuirassier Regiments

All cuirassiers had a white tunic called ‘Kollett’ with collars and cuffs in facing colour, mid-grey trousers, a white shoulderbelt and a black cartridge box. Helmet: black with brass plate. Saddle cloth in facing color, lining white or red

Facings/trim, cords &  lining

  • Garde du Corps: poppy red/ silver
  • 1st Silesian: black/yellow
  • 2nd East Prussian: light blue/white
  • 3rd Brandenburger: poppy red/white

On campaign the Cuirassiers wore a dark blue overcoat, the Litewka. After 1814 sometimes cuirasses were worn, black by the Garde du Corps, captured French brass or white metal cuirasses by the others.  Below an example from Interloping Infantry & Falling Rigging:

IIR blog,

He thinks it’s too bright (I think not) but he painted them in blue campaign litewka. Many Prussian cavalry including Landwehr are dressed in the blue litewka. I prefer the white kollet, for easier identification on my tabletop.

28mm Cuirassiers, Blunders on the Danube blog

Dragoon regiments

Blue Kollett, mid-grey trousers, white shoulderbelt and black cartridge box. Shako: black with a brass eagle plate (troopers) or black & silver roset (officers) and trim & cords in button colour . Saddle cloth: light blue with saddle  lining in facing colour.

Dragoon facings & saddle lining/trim, cords& buttons

  • 1st Guard Dragoons: crimson/white
  • 2nd West Prussian 1st: white/white
  • 3rd Lithuanian: red/yellow
  • 4th West Prussian 2nd: red/white
  • 5th Brandenburg: black/yellow
  • 6th Neumark: light red/ white
  • 7th Rhenish:white/yellow
  • 8th Magdeburg: yellow/white

Some examples:

Craig via the blog Paul Alba Napoleonics in Miniature
IIFR blog

Hussars

Uniform with dolman and pelisse.

  • The high collars and cuffs were in facing colour.
  • Dolman decorated with thick cords in the button colour (white or yellow) and three rows of buttons.  
  • Fur black or white.
  • Black shoulder belt. Waist sash in facing colour with lining in  piping colour.
  • Grey legwear.
  • Shako: black with a black & white  rosette (skull & bones for the Life Regiments). On campaign, shako covered with wax cloth. Saddle cloth in dolman colour with stripes in facing colour.

Dolman&pelisse/cuff&collar facings/buttons&cords&piping

  • Guard: dark blue/poppy red/ yellow

  • 1st Life: black/poppy red/white
  • 2nd Life: black/black /white
  • 3rd dark blue/poppy red/white
  • 4th : brown/yellow/yellow
  • 5th dark blue/dark blue/yellow
  • 6th green/poppy red/yellow
  • 7th black/poppy red/yellow
  • 8th dark blue/ light blue/white
  • 9th corn blue/ corn blue/yellow
  • 10th green/light blue/yellow
  • 11th green/poppy red/white
  • 12th corn blue/ corn blue/white

Uhlans

  • Blue Kollett with poppy red cuffs &collars, mid-grey trousers,
  • Shoulderbelt black (Guard) or white (Line). Black cartridge box.
  • Shako (pre-1815) black, with black & white roset, czapka (1815) black with dark blue top. On campaign headwear covered with wax cloth. Saddle cloth: red with white lining.
Baccus Uhlans, from IIFR blog

Landwehr/Militia Cavalry

Militia cavalry was ordered to wear dark blue litewka’s with collars & cuffs in the provincial colour. Headwear: black cavalry shako’s with white cross. The uniform under the litewka varied.

Line Infantry

During the 1813-1814 campaign the Prussian infantry consisted of 12 line infantry regiments, 12 reserve infantry regiments, numerous small troops of light infantry and volunteers and regiments of Landwehr. In 1815 Prussia could field 32 line infantry regiments.

Tunic: dark blue ‘Kollet’. Light brown knapsack and grey linen bread bag. Regiments from the same province had collar & cuffs in provincial colours (different shades of red, and white, yellow, pink or light blue). See below:

  • East Prussia – brick red
  • West Prussia – crimson
  • Pomerania – white
  • Brandenburg – poppy red (scarlet)
  • Silesia – golden yellow
  • Westphalia – deep rose
  • Elbe/Magdeburg – light blue
  • Rhineland – crab red

Grey greatcoat was worn rolled en bandolier over the shoulder. Trousers: grey, worn under grey or black gaiters, or linen worn over the gaiters.  Shako with oilskin cover. Belts white.

After Jena, the elite Foot Guards were dressed in the same fashion as the line infantry. They had a much higher plume on their shako, but only on parade.

The light infantry units (Schützen/Fusiliers) which where part of the Line regiments had the same uniform and facing colours as the Line regiment they belonged to.

Reserve Infantry

Until 1813 many reserve infantry regiments had all grey uniforms with grey caps instead of shako’s, and white belts, but from 1813 on the reserve regiments received new blue-grey uniforms albeit in a slower pace than the line regiments. Thus, the reserve infantry look much like the regular infantry in a more irregular style: sometimes with officers with blue Kollett but (some) troopers in grey;  sometimes with blue or linen trousers; sometimes with captured French shako’s without eagle crest; sometimes with a British Belgic shako or a cap or with a green Kollett supplied by the Russians. Paint them either grey or varied blue.

Light infantry

Uniform: as Line Infantry, but with dark green Kolletts instead of dark blue and black belts instead of white.

Landwehr Infantry

Landwehr infantry troops were equipped by provinces. They were meant to be a Home Guard but fought also at Ligny. The men wore either a black, grey or dark blue Litevka coat with white, dark blue or grey trousers. Belts: white or black. Headwear: black cap. Cuffs, collars: in provincial colours, see table above.

Massed Miniatures Marvels blog

Artillery

In the end of August 1813 Prussia had 400 field pieces in 50 batteries, but not enough trained gunners. Untrained troops from infantry and cavalry provided manpower instead.

Uniform:  similar as the infantry but with black facings. Horse gunners: idem, sometimes with litewka.

How To Finish A Wargame Project

Old blogpost from the blogosphere, wise advice: ‘How To Finish A Wargames Project’ from Wargaming for Grown-Ups. Trebian writes:

In practice there is nothing more difficult in completing a wargame project than there is in giving up smoking or losing weight. You just have to want to do it. (…) The simple answer is decide what you want to do, buy the figures and paint them. Don’t buy anything else until you’ve finished what you’ve bought. (…) What are my other handy tips? 

  • Firstly, now, I buy all the figures I think I’m going to need up front. I’ll have worked it out from the rule book or from what I think my rules will look like when I write them. That means, when I finish them, that I’ll actually be able to use them. (…)
  • Secondly, when I worked out what I wanted I did it on a spreadsheet, so I know exactly what units I’m aiming to paint and can track them if I need to. (…)
  • Thirdly, particularly with figures sold in packets, I open the packets and sort them into units and put each unit into a ziplock bag. These then go into a box, lined up so I can see what I’ve got to do. (…) I usually also put them in the order they need to be done. Consequently I’m not just painting random stuff, I’m painting to a plan (…)
  • Fourthly I have a streamlined painting system using tinted varnish to finish the figures off [ed. dipping]. (…) I long ago gave up trying to paint all that detail on 28mm figures, or even to paint like people who paint them (…)
  • Fifthly make sure you have a regular painting slot and your partner agrees that it is your painting slot (…) One of our group who is retired gets up an hour earlier than his wife and just “potters about”. He then complains he doesn’t have time to paint. Why not do it then, before breakfast? The important thing is that everyone who has calls on your time understands that this is your time to do this one thing. The Quid Pro Quo is to have time for them when it isn’t that time. Otherwise you have a painted army and a note telling you you’re being divorced.

Full blog here.

Why I Hate Games Workshop Lawyers

They Did It Again!

Why are lawyers like nuclear weapons? If one side has one, the other side has to get one. Once launched, they cannot be recalled. When they land, they screw up everything forever.

I’m a lawyer. Sometimes I say I became a lawyer to fight other lawyers, because they are the scum of the earth. To defeat heavyweight boxers you need to become one.

Above the ‘War Banner’ name and trademark. They announced this month that they will become Dark Peak Games. Reason:

On the 1st March 2019 Games Workshop Limited (GW) requested the withdrawal of our trademark WAR BANNER as in their opinion it bears significant similarity to GW’s registered trademark WARHAMMER with our registration being sought in relation to the same classification of goods which GW sells under WARHAMMER.

In their defence GW has used its trademark WARHAMMER to sell sculpted miniatures, publications and accessories for tabletop wargaming since the release of ‘Warhammer 1st Edition’ in 1983. Over the years, GW has amassed considerable goodwill and reputation in this mark through its widespread and consistent use.

After seeking legal advice Mark Farr and Andy Hobday decided to comply and have worked with GW to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Above the ‘old’ logo’s. Below the new ‘Warhammer’ logo, revealed yesterday, April, 5th.

via Warhammer Community

UK and European trade mark law states that

“a person infringes a registered trade mark if he uses in the course of trade a sign which is identical with the trade mark in relation to goods or services which are identical with those for which it is registered”.[2] 

A person may also infringe a registered trade mark where the sign is similar and the goods or services are similar to those for which the mark is registered and there is a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public as a result.[3]

A leading case is the European ‘Arthur’ vs ‘Arthur & Felicie’ case. Both were fashion trade marks. ‘Arthur’ was a handwritten word, Arthur & Felicie not. The European Court of Justice decided that in in the fashion industry the two trade marks were too similar, And to make a long story short, it all depends on the circumstances, will a common consumer confuse the two brands/ trade marks? ‘Arthur & Felicie’ lost the case against ‘Arthur’ in the end.

The true story

Let me give you the true story – money. It’s a big wallet vs small wallet-situation.

The original Warhammer logo, with colours, and the ‘Warhammer 40.000’ logo bore no resemblance to War Banner. Every IP lawyer would have a hard case to prove that ‘War Banner’, two separate words, are similar to ‘Warhammer’ or, ‘Warhammer 40.000’. But.

You see: the new WH logo is black and white. It might bear a passing resemblance to the black-and-white War Banner logo.

That could mean that dwarfish War Banner, just like Arthur, might have had a case against giant Games Workshop. Warhammer is the older brand, though. So the possible outcome of proceedings is not sure.

GW has the biggest wallet. War Banner/ Footsore Miniatures is a tiny company. I’m quite sure that the IP lawyers decided to nuke the War Banner trade mark to prevent legal claims or other IP difficulties with the new black and white logo. A pre-emptive strike, in nuclear war terms. And an easy victory, because tiny War Banner doesn’t have the money to pay IP proceedings, anyway, not to mention damages if they would lose the case.

So big money wins again.

That’s why I hate Games Workshop lawyers. Not because they are not good in what they do, but because big money wins small cases. Why is money king?

(PS: A company ‘Peak Games’ immediately objected so War Banner, who adapted the name ‘Dark Peak Games’, will continue as ‘Footsore Miniatures’, their trade name. Peak/Dark Peak is quite similar of course)

Keep on moving :-(

I used to blog on our club website amsterdam6shooters.nl, just because that website had a blog option and I like to write columns. But our first website was hacked and our new website felt not really like a personal blog site for me anymore.

So I moved all my blogs from the past five years to blogspot.com.

Then Google stopped Google+. I don’t know what happened, but today I discovered I could not log in anymore to my blogspot.com account. The blog, Napoleoninelba.blogspot.com, still existed.

So there we go again. I will move all articles to wordpress, forever I hope or for as long as WordPress offers this free service.

Aaargh!

 

Spearhead WW2 Wargame Rules: Review At A Glance

What was I playing back in 1995? I remember I felt lonely, lost, abandoned, heartbroken (my first girlfriend had left me and I couldn’t get over it) and to chase the lonely hours away I didn’t drink whiskey – I played a computer wargame, Command & Conquer. It was the same year Arty Conliffe designed Spearhead.
Spearhead is a WW2-miniature wargame for mega battles, It’s scale neutral though designed for smaller scales, 6-15mm. Arty Conliffe was an influential New York tabletop wargame designer in the nineties, who wrote Crossfire, Armati, Tactica, Shako and Spearhead.
I write was because he’s not very active as designer anymore, as far as I know. Yes, he recently updated his famous ‘Tactica’ ruleset, after 30 years. But on TMP a wargamer who knew him wrote: “Arty got really burned out. He got sick of dealing with a million requests for this and that scenario or variant, people arguing about paces and drill regulations, or demanding the umpteenth justification for why the Saxon Volunteer Fusilier Cuirassiers were a +1 modifier and not a +2…. I last spoke with him nearly a decade ago, and he told me, ‘I don’t want to devote my life to this.'”

Anyway, since a year or so I have been busy with 6mm WW2 wargaming and if you ask around on Facebook, Spearhead is frequently mentioned and recommended as a (still) original ruleset. This weekend with 2 friends I played a test game. I will shortly summarize the game and give my first impressions/comparisons, for other wargamers, who, like me, are looking for the ‘perfect’ (6mm) WW2-wargame rules. For a long description of the game mechanics, try Phil Broeders’ review.

  • It is different. The majority of WW2-rules are tactical. A player commands a company or maybe a battalion. Spearhead lets you command a brigade or corps. Excellent for 6mm.
  • Many games I know rely on a statline and special abilities, that modify unit characteristics. Not Spearhead. The statline is just a few numbers, which was very revolutionary in 1995!
  • In all wargames I have played so far the battle plan was developed during the game. In Spearhead a commander must make his plan before the battle. In fact. what you have to do is study the map, study the terrain, devise a devious plan to capture the objectives on the map and write down ‘orders’ for your battalion. Like
    • 1st battalion will move ahead for 4 turns and capture hill #302
    • 2nd battalion will capture Beaulieu-Village and defend it. In the 7th turn it will move to the river bank
    • 3rd battalion will flank the enemy and enter the map on the 7th turn from the west
  • During the game, you don’t give orders, but you try to change orders
  • It’s not IGUGO. Players dice for initiative and the winner can go first or last.
  • You can’t pick your targets. In most of the wargames I know, your units attack ‘the greatest threat’ which is often defined as ‘the nearest unit in range’ with some limitations. In Spearhead units follow a strict target priority list. No matter how near a tank is, infantry shoots always at infantry first if an infantry unit is in range. And if a fixed machine gun is near an infantry unit, the infantry platoon must be picked first, even if the MG is closer.
  • On the other hand, shooting is quite basic and simple. 4-5-6 are hits, 6 are kills, with a +/- modifier depending on the relative attack/defense value of the attacking and defending unit. A piece of cake for us experienced wargamers.

We had the usual first-game-what-do-the-rules-say?-problems. However I think I got an impression of the strengths and weaknesses of the game compared to Blitzkrieg Commander, the other game that I’m testing for this period.

  • Spearhead is very scenario-driven. Which means that you have to find a scenario that suits you and your collection of miniatures. A brainless but funny pick up game is not really an option (you can find house rules for scenario generation here). The quick point-based scenario’s that I found in Blitzkrieg Commander II are easy and can be even boring. Spearhead promotes intelligent wargaming.
  • The layout and presentation are outdated. The rules as such are clear. Kudos for that. Conliffe is a better writer than 2fatlardies. But I can’t buy the rules online as PDF, the unit data are not published online and to put my army together I can’t go to easyarmy.com or an excel tool but I have to consult a booklet and put a list together.  That’s very 1995.
  • I don’t know why some wargamers consider it “too gamey”. What happens on the table is that a battalion moves according to a plan and shoots autonomously, according to the target priority list. That reminds me of Command & Conquer and other modern RTS-computer wargames: you draw a circle around a group and give them a command. Spearhead is the slower tabletop version of that idea. I think it reflects accurately the constraints of a WW2-commander. They have orders, but what to do if your enemy shows up suddenly in your flank and threatens the village while your battalion is moving to the river bank and your 3rd battalion is not on time? Is your subcommander flexible or not?
  • The scale it promotes is huge. I tried the ‘Beginners Luck’ scenario in the rulebook, and discovered that I needed about 20 American tanks and 60 infantry platoons. That’s the kind of scenario’s that Spearhead is meant for. My armies are a mixed bag, I don’t have the exact composition of specific tanks in the large numbers needed for this scenario. Maybe I should try out Rapid Fire scenario’s for Spearhead, like other gamers do. The scale appears to be perfect for 10-table mass multiplayer games. More than any other WW2-game I know.
  • Blitzkrieg Commander can frustrate you because you want your battalion to move, but fail your command roll. That’s a common trait of all Warmaster/Black Powder games. In Spearhead you might want your battalion to change course or to start moving, but you fail your order change roll, nothing happens. In particular if you play Americans or Russians: the chance to fail is 50% to 85%. The (weaker) Germans have much more tactical flexibility, they can change orders 5 out of 6 rolls. That gives them a tactical superiority that might reflect the 1941-1943 Russian front, but not necessarily the 1944-1945 situation against more experience opponents. So you can feel the same frustration as a Spearhead player (‘my Russians don’t want to move again’) that you have as BKC player (‘my Russians don’t want to move again’) But in Spearhead you can blame yourself more or less, ‘my original plan was not good enough’) while in BKC the dice roll frustrates you (‘this is the 6th time that I roll badly!’)
  • I liked how the rules promoted combined arms tactics. That’s injected in the priority list.

Do I like the rules? Not sure yet. It will, I think, depend on the scenario and the tactical challenge. If the scenario is too simple, the Germans might be too strong or the combat system too rigid. I need to play more games before I come to a final conclusion.