Der Resin Kavalier

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Battle of Freeman's Farm, Part 1

Freeman's Farm: Preparation and Opening Moves

For those of us of a certain age, Young and Lawford's Charge! Or How to Play Wargames, was the holy grail as far as many of us were concerned. They were a relatively simple set, with both an "Elementary Game" and an "Advanced Game" sections. Many of the innovations we have seen in gaming had their roots here.

But time went on and new ideas, procedures, and eras proliferated.  It made the late 1960's and early 1970's and even into the 80's a veritable crucible of new and better ways of doing things...or so we thought. Things got more complex. Was it really better? That is a loaded question. For me...well it's been a mixed result. I've gone from simple to complex and finally back to simple. At my age simple is better!

Freeman's Farm is a return to my roots: toy soldiers, simple rules, and lots of dice. The scenario was simple: the Americans needed to drive Hamilton's Brigade off the table. Von Riedsel could arrive with his Brunswickers (cleverly disguised as Hessians) any time after turn four. Once that occurred, Frasier's Brigade in its redoubt would be allowed to actively move in support of the Royal forces. It was a race. Initially, the Americans under Morgan and Poor had an almost 2:1 superiority in numbers (not quality, however).

Morgan and Poor begin their advance. Frasier's Redoubt can be seen in the upper right
Off-board Movement: On the map given to both sides, there was a series of blocks. Each block required a full move to pass through before finally moving onto the table. The Germans were required to spend the first two turns in a "strategic reserve". Starting turn 3, they could begin to move toward the game table. The earliest they could arrive was turn 4, the latest (if they tried come on the flank) would be turn 6. Does one come on early, through a limiting space behind the British, or be more daring, and come on either the left of right flank forcing the Americans to face a fresh and relatively strong force of German Regulars?

Hamilton's Brigade awaits. Freeamn's Farm is just behind them
Frasier's Redoubt

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Basic Training (Sort of...)

Forming a New Regiment

In the last couple of installments, I reviewed some recent acquisitions produced by LOD (see link in previous postings). A minor criticism was the variety of poses that came with each set (16 figures, 8 poses). While absolutely outstanding for skirmish level games, many of us prefer our units to consist of the same pose, save of Officers, NCO's, Drummers, and the like. One reader went so far as to contact Ken (of LOD) about the possibility of producing sets of the same pose. I am happy to report, that he didn't say no...or yes for that matter. But hope prevails!

Today, however, I would like to talk about raising (painting) new regiments for our armies. Now, many of us belong to gaming clubs or have a few friends with which we carry on on miniature recreations of history. And so we plan games, draw maps, and collect the troops to be used in the scenario...and inevitably find that if we had just one more of this or that, things would be better. So frantically, we paint those few figures we want, and field them with the varnish only recently dried. At least that is what I found just be a recent Thursday night game with my local club (Old Colony Wargamers). I'll be publishing that battle report shortly.

But, at the same time after a game, I find myself inspired to paint up something new and perhaps make a dent into the many figures I have sitting in boxes awaiting the brush (a common situation for anyone who been wargaming for years...and years).

Below are two units just recently primed (yesterday) and soon to be painted. Both will become part of my AWI British contingent.  I am also trying something new by using Model Master (tm) Enamel primer, instead of my more frequent Acrylic type by the same company. The original switch was unintentional (I ordered the wrong type from my hobby supplier), since I have used water-based paints for some twenty-five years now. But I do kind of like the enamel. It covers well, provides a smooth semi-gloss surface that takes acrylics very well. Unlike water based primers, which sometimes leaves bare spots indicating areas you missed when washing off the release agent, these cover everything and ultimately saves time, although I have also found they take a bit longer to cure. The units are a RA light howitzer section and a British Foot Regiment (I haven't quite decided which one yet). Both are produced by IMEX whose figures I highly recommend. As they are completed, I'll post some pictures.
IMEX RA artillery crew with a light howitzer

The Colonel supervising the swordsmanship of the new company commanders 

The RSM working with the recruits, along with a drummer trying to be as inconspicuous as possible!