Thursday, December 27, 2012

25mm Dixon ACW Sharp-shooter

25mm ACW Dixon Sharp-shooter
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I have slowed down painting large units
during the holidays, but I managed to find the time to paint this fine fellow. He is
a finely cast Dixon figure sold as a vignette piece. I added a few rocks and shrubs to
the base and I think he turned out OK. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and got plenty
of hobby stuff in your stockings and a game in or two! Take care - Cory
A close up.

Here he is looking at a big Federal officer off in the distance, and reaching
for another round!

A close up. His uniform is well worn and dirty. I love using washes!

He has a fine position behind the rocks!

Another fun time waster of mine recently has been this ACW game "1863"  for the iPhone:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Remarks on Scale and Terrain Design - part 1

Remarks on Scale and Terrain Design
by Dean West
A Miniatures war game table based on a ground scale vast enough to accommodate large battles of the Horse and Musket period on an average sized tabletop ought to convey the feel of wide open spaces. The visual impression should evoke a sense of spacious, uncluttered and rolling countryside that bears a strong resemblance to real farm and wood lands when observed from an airplane soaring 3000 scale feet above it. If we are interested in creating this harmonious, aesthetically pleasing panoramic effect, the buildings and other scenery and effects we use to create out tabletop scenery must be as compatible with the ground scale as possible.

Dean West running one of his 15mm "Final Argument of Kings" games.
Thanks to Jeff Knudsen at for the SYW Convention pictures.
Ground Scale vs Figure Scale
To explain, the ground scale of the grand-tactical American Civil War game Johnny Reb III (JRIII) is 1 inch equals 50 yards. A 6'x9' JRIII war game table represents an area of terrain measuring approximately three miles by two miles - enough ground on which to fight most historical ACW battles. To envision the scope of this large scale, consider that a modern football field would occupy an area measuring only 1-inch by 2-inches on the game table. The footprint of a scale model ACW period farmhouse should measure about 1/4-inch square by 3/32-inch high. Yet, I doubt any of us would consider using Monopoly houses with 15mm figures. On the other hand, that same farmhouse modeled in the exact scale as the 15mm figures we use occupies a space measuring at least 3 1/2 inch square on the tabletop - 175 yards according to the ground scale! That can't be too much smaller than the area occupied by Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Even more detrimental to the overall visual impression than the 15mm farmhouse's large footprint is that it approaches the height of a twelve story building. This means it is even taller than the museum according to ground scale.
The resulting visual effect of the 15mm farmhouse is as incongruous to grand-tactical scale scenery as is using those tiny monopoly buildings with 15mm figures. Consider that if we were to use one 15mm figure to represent one historical soldier in 15mm scale, in the same way that we use one 15mm model building to represent a single farm house, then a battalion of just 200 figures formed in 2-rank line of battle would have a frontage of more than four feet on the tabletop! To say it another way, if we based ground scale on the actual size of 15mm figures, the scale would be 1 inch equals 2 yards. A 6'x9' tabletop, therefore, represents a patch of ground measuring just 144 yards x 216 yards. This would be a pretty good ground scale for a western gunfight skirmish game.
An old picture of the terrain from  Dean's "Piedmont" scenario.
Issues and Solutions
It does not require a genius to conclude that the sensible way to solve this problem of incompatible ground to figure scale is to use either 5mm or 6mm (I hate the giant heads) or 10mm figures to fight grand-tactical battles. Obviously, the smaller the figure scale, the easier it is to reconcile both figures and buildings to grand tactical ground scale.
My problem with using a smaller figure scale is that designing scenarios representing historical battles and painting 15mm figures are my two favorite aspects of the hobby. 15mm is absolutely the smallest scale that satisfies my desire to paint detailed figures and I have no intention of giving up either. So over the years I've been compelled to develop a number of scenery techniques to mitigate the scale disparity as much as possible while satisfying both of my favorite war gaming interests. Some of my ideas follow:
15mm Figures
I'm pleased to report that 15mm figures are just small enough to look pretty good on an average size grand-tactical tabletop. To form my battalions, I mount them shoulder to shoulder, in two ranks, and I think they look great. The frontage of each unit is from three inches, to somewhat over four inches, depending on whether a unit contains 12, 16 or 20 figures. Based on the JRIII ground scale, this is the proper frontage of historical battalions of similar strength (JRIII figure scale is one figure equals 30 actual soldiers).
One of Dean's SYW
games at the SYW convention.
Sadly, unlike the figures, 15mm buildings, fences, and even most trees cannot be reconciled to the grand-tactical ground scale. The height of one of these buildings is even more offending to the eye than is the footprint of its base. One can justify the footprint by imagining that just one 15mm building represents the ground occupied by all the buildings and other farm stuff located within proximity to the farmer's house. Truly, it is the soaring height of the 15mm building that is the true enemy of proportionality and the same applies to 15mm fences or stone walls that are around one inch high, and trees that are five or six inches tall. I hasten to clarify that there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these 15mm scenery items, but I argue that they will look and feel more at home on a tactical or skirmish war game table that uses a smaller ground scale, say 1 inch equals 10 yards.
To reconcile these grand-tactical scale issues, close to twenty years ago I began to use 10mm buildings and fences with my 15mm figures (some N Gauge model railroad buildings also work). 10mm ACW buildings have a very small footprint, usually about one third that of a 15mm model of the same building, if not less. Even better, most are about half the height of an average 15mm building. Sure, this is till out of scale compared to the ground scale; however, like the 15mm buildings, 10mm buildings are just small enough not to appear conspicuously out of scale. The eye of the observer seems to adjust so as to view the tabletop scene as a whole, with the surface of the ground and/or woods taking center stage, visually. A few strategically placed 10mm farmsteads placed here and there actually enhances that sense of vast distance we're trying to convey. Moreover, a couple of small buildings gives a farmstead a more interesting and realistic appearance than is the case if representing it using one towering, incongruous edifice.
A 15mm building vs a grouping of 10mm buildings.
I have one tip to consider when painting buildings. Buildings probably should appear lighter than you think they should be. Buildings should never appear dark, not be painted in bright, solid colors. Sunlight washes out all building colors, whether they are made of stone, brick or wood. So when you think you've completed a paint job on a building, mix in a little more white (or sometimes yellow) to the color you used on the building and dry brush the building again a few times.
A 15mm wagon next to some of Dean's 10mm buildings and fences.
Fences and Trees
I used to build my own 10mm fences and stone walls to use with my 15mm figures. Building a sufficient number of these was a painfully tedious process, but then I was saved when GHQ came out with its 10mm figure line. In addition to producing exceptionally fine ACW figures that are so well sculpted that I was tempted to change scales, GHQ also offered two types of fencing, plus stone walls. These fences and stone walls are only a bit over 1/4 inch high, yet they blend in perfectly with 15mm figures. When these came on the market, it was if I had been released from bondage!
As for trees, just search for small ones made by Woodland Scenics, or forget about trees altogether and use gobs of Woodland Scenics foliage (we call it "munge") for forest, or a combination of both. I strongly recommend mounting your trees on flocked 1 1/4 fender washers to give them a low center of gravity, so they don't fall over quite so easily.
Another "airplane view" picture of Dean's
ACW Piedmont scenario.
Part 2 - of Dean's article will be coming in Jan.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More ACW figures

28mm ACW
I've been extremely busy at work lately,and haven't had much time for bloging, but I wanted to share some of my recent projects. I painted two new 28mm Dixon ACW regiments, the 183 Ohio
and the 24th Tennessee. Here are a few pics:
A Wargames Foundry (Perry) "foot sore" Federal. The figure
was painted some years ago, but I rebased him on an improved base,
that ties in with my fences and other terrain.

The 24th TN. These lads fought at the Battle of Franklin. I'm continuing to
paint for this OOB. I hope to have a "Battle of Franklin" blog article out soon. Stay posted!
A close up of the 183rd OH

The 183 Ohio. These are 28mm Dixon figures. This unit also fought at
the Battle of Franklin - Nov. 1864.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

25mm ACW Game

25mm ACW Game

Here are some pics from our last ACW game. We normally use "Johnny Reb", but this time
we played with a home-brewed variant of DBACW. Please excuse the pictures; they were taken
during gaming breaks with my cell-phone. We had an enjoyable time playing! Here are the pics:

An overview of the battle. Two Federal brigades were trying
to push out two CSA brigades holding a farm.

The Federals were held up on their left flank by the woods and
some CSA sharpshooters.

The attack on the Federal right flank went in piecemeal and
didn't make much progress (mainly due to some serious
bad dice rolling!)

The heart of the CSA defensive line. I played the CSA and
basically just had to stay put!

A picture from the CSA left flank, with the Federal attack
grinding to a halt. The yellow markers indicate "disordered" units.

A sniper trying to take out USA officers. This is an old 1st Corp figure.

Some Old Glory 28mm Confederates!

The big Federal push on their right flank!

The Federal left flank attack through the woods. They didn't make much
progress, since each brigade attacked piece-meal.

I didn't take any pics at the end of the battle, but we had a great time and
called it a minor CSA tactical victory since they still held the farm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

23rd Michigan Infantry

The 23rd MI Infantry

Hot off the painting table....the 23rd Michigan Infantry regiment! This unit fought at the
Battle of  Franklin as part of Col. Orlando Hurley Moore's brigade. They were stationed
on the Union right flank between the 183 Ohio (2 companies) and the 118th Ohio.

I've tried to paint them with the look of a grizzled, veteran, Western theater Federal unit. The fences
were built with a bunch of craft sticks and I spent many hours gluing about 12 feet of fencing! I experimented with some different fence colors, but I think they look most natural with a grey "weathered"  wash. 

 I've had enough painting for a while and it's time for a game! 
My next blog report should be an AAR about a battle we have set up on the table right now!

28mm ACW Dixon Federals marching to the sound of the guns!

Dixon has an excellent ACW range. Check it out!

The 23rd MI Infantry - 20 figures (400 men)

A closer view of the 23rd MI.

I'm sure my neighbors wonder what the hell I'm doing taking pics of all
these little men and trees in my backyard!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

28mm ACW - The 15th / 30th TN Infantry

28mm Dixon ACW Figures

I haven't been gaming much recently (just a little DBA / HOTT), but I have been
spending some time at the painting table. These guys are my latest creation and are hot of the table and  ready to hit the tabletop! 

I painted this unit as a late war consolidated CSA Infantry unit, the 15th and 30th TN
Infantry. They fought at the Battle of Franklin in Nov. 1864 as part of Brig. Gen. Thomas
Benton Smith's brigade (Cheatham's Corps & Bate's Division). Other units in the brigade included the 2nd/10th/20th/37th TN Infantry, the 37th GA Inf. and the 4th Battalion GA Sharpshooters. The brigade was fortunate to have been engaged on the Federal west flank, where the fighting was less intense. At the battle of Franklin, the brigade suffered 47 killed, 253 wounded and 19 missing.

I have a unit of Federals on the painting table right now and I'm making a bunch
of rail fences. I don't like shopping much with my wife, but I don't put up much
of a fight when she wants to go to the arts & crafts stores. I can always find something 
useful for gaming!  I recent picked up some bags of cheap cut wooden sticks that make 
perfect 28mm fence posts! 

The boys advancing through a farm! It's a Hovel's barn and a
Perry plastic fence. I really like Hovel's buildings.

A close up of the TN boys getting ready for some action! The
Dixon figs have some odd sized heads, but have a lot of
character and charm!

Back of the unit. I included two flags since it's a
consolidated unit...why not?!


The command stand.

I like the figure waving his hat!

This is a large regiment for "Johnny Reb 2". This is a 25 figure unit
representing 500 men.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

28mm Warlord Games Roman

28mm Roman Centurion

This guy came with the "Hail Caesar" rules and I figured I might as well paint him! I don't have
any other Romans, but like many wargamers, I have had the nagging thought that I eventually
need to paint one! Every gamer needs a Roman army, right? Well, this figure painted up quite
easily and I just might have to order more. At the moment I'm leaning toward the classic
Imperial Roman vs Barbarians (Germans?) approach. Can any one recommend some good rules?
I'm looking for something that focuses on larger battles and uses units in the 24-36 figure size range. 

I might go with my old standby "Tactica", but I think it would be a good idea to get out of
my comfort zone and try something new. I've read "Hail Caesar" but haven't played the rules. 

Thanks guys! Cory

28mm Warlord Games Centurion

I think I'm going to repaint the Celtic shield a different color...too much red.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Glorfindel - 28mm LotR

Glorfindel - The Lord of the Rings

I had this GW blister of Glorfindel sitting on my table for years and 
I thought it would be a fun and quick project while taking a 
break from painting ACW figures...I was right! I was able to paint
both figures in a couple days and it was refreshing not having 
to paint another canteen or knapsack! 

Glorfindel is an elven lord, and appears in the LotR books, but is replaced by Arwen in the 
movie. Here is a good Glorfindel link:

The mounted Glorfindel. 

His cloak.

28mm Games Workshop Glorfindel

Mounted and on foot. 

Another angle of both figures.

An iPhone camera effect.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More 28mm ACW!

More 28mm ACW

I have been staying on course with my 28mm ACW project. I'm trying to
get enough units painted before Nashcon 2013 in the Spring of next year. I think I'll have
plenty of time, but I like to have a set date in mind as my goal. It keeps me motivated! I'm starting
to feel a little ACW burn out now, and I think I'll switch over to some LotR figures in
honor of the new GW store that opened near my house!

My latest unit off the painting table - the 31st TN. They fought
at the Battle of Franklin and were part of Otho Strahl's brigade
and Brown's division. 28mm Dixon figures.

An overview of our latest game with some of my hobby room
mess in the background!

Another "Johnny Reb" game shot! The rebel charge in
the middle has just been shot up and repulsed!

A "shaken" morale marker.

A shaken unit. I had painted some of these before, but they
blended in with the terrain too easily. These really stand out!

A "routed" unit and marker.