Legio Wargames

The Legio Blog

By smacdowall, Mar 6 2019 02:04PM

My latest troops off the painting table are a bit of a departure from the norm.


This because I am running a small game based on the American invasion of Canada in 1775. A key unit in the defence of Canada was the Royal Highland Emigrants, later 84th Foot, raised from veteran Scots of the French and Indian War who had settled in Quebec. A second battalion was raised in Nova Scotia.


My AWI troops are 1/72 scale plastics
My AWI troops are 1/72 scale plastics

My AWI collection is all 1/72 plastics — a mix of Airfix and Revell. I am rather fond of them and have no desire to replace them with more modern metal miniatures, despite the excellent ranges now available. Raising a highland unit from plastics would, however, take more difficult conversion work that I was inclined to undertake.



Irregular Miniatures 20mm AWI Scots
Irregular Miniatures 20mm AWI Scots

So I looked to see if there were some metal figures that might fit in with my plastics. With some trepidation I ordered a small number of 20mm Irregular Miniatures’ Scots. My trepidation was down to the fact that some Irregular castings are, well, somewhat irregular. I was reassured by the fact that the website says this range has been designed to fit with the plastic figures currently available, and the photos (above) looked OK.



My unit painted and ready for battle
My unit painted and ready for battle

I was more than happy with the result. The miniatures are well cast, with an old school charm — their size and proportions indeed fitting well with 1/72 plastics. They were a joy to paint and I think the final result gave me just what I was looking for.


Royal Highland Emigrants 1775 uniform
Royal Highland Emigrants 1775 uniform

The 1775 uniform of the Royal Highland Emigrants was a typical loyalist green coat. It is likely that they did not yet have Scottish distinctions but I wanted my unit to stand out from other loyalist troops — hence choosing figures with Scottish bonnets.



The original regimental colours
The original regimental colours

I based the unit’s flag on an original held in the Fort Ticonderoga museum. Judging by the writing on the flag, it may be at this time the regiment was known as the Royal Emigrants rather than the Royal Highland Emigrants. On the other-hand this may have been nothing more than limitations of space.



My painted version of the colours
My painted version of the colours

I copied the original photo into my computer, added a copy for the reverse side, scaled it to fit, printed it and then painted it over. I find over-painting a printed flag looks so much better. Otherwise it looks too much like what it is — a computer print out — rather than colours that blend with the painted miniatures.


By 1778 the Regiment was in full highland dress
By 1778 the Regiment was in full highland dress

Later the Royal Highland Emigrants were kitted out in full highland dress with red coats and government tartan kilts, as shown in the above contemporary print from 1778.






By smacdowall, Feb 8 2019 11:42PM

The Malplaquet project proceeds with most of the troops now painted.


Having play-tested the Allied attack into the Bois des Sars last year, the next step was to try out the suicidal Dutch assault on the French right. Here 30 battalions of Dutch, Swiss and Scots attacked more than twice their number of French, Swiss, Italians and Germans.



The French entrenchments
The French entrenchments

The French front lines were entrenched. Their right flank was protected by woods. They had a massed battery of 20 guns sighted to enfilade an attack, and they had more than adequate reinforcements.



The 6x4 game table based on a battlefield map
The 6x4 game table based on a battlefield map

Our game was played on a 6 by 4 foot table with 15mm figures (mostly Minifigs) with each miniature battalion representing a brigade of 3 historical battalions.



The Gardes Suisse and Française
The Gardes Suisse and Française

The French left was held by the Gardes Suisse and Française facing off Rantzau’s Hanoverians and Orkney’s English. This was the centre of the whole Malplaquet battlefield but for this game we ignored that action on the western wing.



The Prince of Orange's command
The Prince of Orange's command

The Dutch attacked the French entrenchments in two divisions, The Prince of Orange commanding the right with Dutch and Swiss...


The Dutch Guards and Scots
The Dutch Guards and Scots

...Baron Faegel commanding the Dutch Gardes te voet and Scots on the far left.



Converged grenadiers held the far French right
Converged grenadiers held the far French right

The French far right was held by converged grenadiers backed up by Germans and regular French in the woods.


The Alsace Brigade is driven back
The Alsace Brigade is driven back

The initial Dutch attack went very well. Their long range artillery fire managed to wear down the Brigade d’Alsace holding the corner of the closest entrenchments. Led by the Prince of Orange in person the lead Dutch brigade stormed across the French entrenchments, driving the Alsatians back.


Excellent dice rolls helped the Dutch attack
Excellent dice rolls helped the Dutch attack

The success of the Dutch attack was significantly enhanced by some pretty good dice rolling. With a 5 or 6 needed for a result every die counted.


Close range artillery fire decimated the Dutch
Close range artillery fire decimated the Dutch

The French fed in the Navarre Brigade to hold the Dutch break-through while their enfilade battery decimated the middle column of the Prince of Orange’s command. By they time centre Dutch brigades reached the French entrenchments a volley from the Royal Italien sent them reeling back.


The Dutch Guards breach the French entrenchments
The Dutch Guards breach the French entrenchments

D’Artagnan (of Three Musketeers fame) commanding the French far right, turned his grenadiers to threaten the flank of the Scots, forcing them to halt their advance to meet the threat. The Dutch Blue Guards, however, were able to successfully storm the entrenchments, driving off the French defenders.



The Dutch did better in our game than historically
The Dutch did better in our game than historically

After 3 hours of play we called a halt as the pub was beckoning. The Dutch did far better than they had historically. Against superior numbers hey had breached the French entrenchments in two places. Even if they could not hope to sweep away the French right wing there would have been able to do much more than simply pin it which was their objective. Although they suffered more casualties than the French the numbers were far less than they suffered historically.


By smacdowall, Jan 29 2019 10:15AM

In 1777 General Johnny Burgoyne led the Royal army south from Canada to clear the American rebels from upper New York.



The British camp on the Hudson
The British camp on the Hudson

In present day Suffolk I am playing Burgoyne with a small but perfectly formed force of British, Brunswickers and Mohawks that is encamped on the Hudson River together with guns, baggage and camp followers. I am told by our kindly umpire that I need to break through the rebel lines to find a way through to Albany. Intelligence from loyalists tell me that the rebels are strongly emplaced, especially along the one road. I therefore need to find a way around the American flank.



Our Mohawks scout the forest
Our Mohawks scout the forest

Our plan is to probe forward on our right to find a weak spot where we might break through. To this end Simon Fraser with Mohawks and light infantry, backed up by the 24th Foot, push out on the right, The Brunswickers, their advance led by Jaegers, will do the same in the centre while I hold back the grenadiers, most of our guns and a brigade of foot to protect our camp and be ready to intervene if necessary.



British light infantry see off Morgan's riflemen
British light infantry see off Morgan's riflemen

It is not long before Fraser’s men are ambushed by Daniel Morgan’s riflemen and light infantry. A fierce fire-fights ensues but eventually our gallant British light infantry drive them off, our Mohawks not doing very much to help.


The 24th Foot close with the American light infantry...
The 24th Foot close with the American light infantry...


...with disastrous results
...with disastrous results

Encountering an open field the 24th Foot find it lined with rebel foot supported by a battery of guns. Taking casualties from the rebel artillery they decide to charge across the field with disastrous results.



Our Jaegers hold up the rebel right
Our Jaegers hold up the rebel right

To Simon Fraser’s left the Brunswick Jaegers encountered a similar open field and are able to engage the rebels on the other side with their long range rifles while the American muskets cannot reach them. A supporting battery of American guns is largely ineffective thanks to counter-battery fire from a well-sighted Hessian battery.



Burgoyne summons the grenadiers
Burgoyne summons the grenadiers

At this point if becomes clear that there are far more rebel troops than we had anticipated. Our only hope of a breakthrough is to concentrate our force on a single point while holding elsewhere. As the Brunswick Jaegers are doing such an excellent job holding the American right, Burgoyne decides to push through on the far right. He sends the British Grenadiers up to replace the decimated 24th foot and shifts the Brunswick foot to reinforce them while the Jaegers hold up the other American Wing.



The British concentrate on the right
The British concentrate on the right

What we do not know is that there is yet another wing of Americans advancing through the woods on their right towards our camp. As our Brusnwickers shift to their right, these previously unseen Americans shift to their left to follow them, pushing our Jaegers back as they advance.



The grenadiers close with the enemy
The grenadiers close with the enemy

Our grenadiers fare far better than the 24th Foot, succeeding in clearing the Americans firm the edge of the open field. The Brunswickers do even better, sweeping battalion after battalion of rebels from the field. It is all going beautifully well until the Brunswickers decide to pursue their fleeing opponents and are shot to pieces as the right wing Americans come up behind them.


The troops from the American right flank manage to halt our potential breakthrough but the result of this is that they do not have sufficient force to take our camp which, as we discover later, had been their objective.



The British drive off the rebel left wing
The British drive off the rebel left wing

Although we players did not know it at the time, we were re-playing the Battle of Bemis Heights (or second Saratoga). The historical battle resulted in Burgoyne’s surrender after the Americans had captured the redoubts defending the British camp. It was the turning point of the American War of Independence.


Our game was a draw. We had failed to break through but we had inflicted heavy losses on the rebels while they had failed to capture the redoubts defending our camp. Who know what would have happened had this been the result in September 1777.


The game was played with Gary Kitching's beautiful 28mm troops using a varient of Andy Callan's Loose Files and American Scramble rules.





By smacdowall, Dec 15 2018 05:58PM

The latest troops to emerge from my painting table is the Austrian Thüngen Regiment, 2 battalions of which served with Prince Eugene of Savoy at Malpalquet (1709). The miniatures are 15mm Dixon


What follows is a step by step progress from painting to wargame table.


I base each figure on a handling base and always undercoat with a matt white spray. This gives more vibrant colours than a black undercoat and allows the translucent properties of acrylic paints to do much of the work, as a thinned down colour is naturally highlighted by the raised parts of the miniature and becomes darker in the folds.


An initial wash of highly thinned down Raw Umber helps to define the detail for painting and avoids any white gaps that might appear later.



This wash is applied with a thick brush and the ‘paint’ is little more than dirty water. This really helps to bring out the detail for easy painting later. I always do this with 6 mil miniatures, and often with 15 mil. When painting 28 mm miniatures I rarely find it necessary.



Tüngen regiment had ‘pearl grey’ coats with blue facings. I will achieve the very light grey with a near black wash. The blue also benefits from this so this is the first colour I paint — deviating from my normal practice of painting from the inside out in which flesh would be the first colour to be painted.


Next step is to apply a very thin wash of Payne’s Grey (which is almost black). This is applied in the same way as the earlier Raw Umber wash.


When dry the coats are a white-grey and the detail is clearly outlined. If you want further perfection you can pick out the highlights with an off-white, using pure white for the officers if you want to give them the look of wearing finer cloth.



I then paint the faces and hands with a basic pale flesh colour. When dry I apply Games Workshop’s Flesh wash which brings out the details and gives the skin a more natural look. The miniature on the right has had the wash, the one on the left not yet.



A tiny dab of brown in the eye sockets, red-brown over the lips, pale pinkish flesh on the cheeks and very pale flesh on the nose, cheek-bones and chin bring the faces to life.



Then it is on to the browns — buff belts, brown cartridge boxes, wood spontoon and flag shafts, dark brown muskets and various shades of brown for the hair.


Gun-metal musket barrels, black shoes and sword scabbards are next, along with silver buttons.


For the tricorns I use a dark grey first then touch up the low-lights with a black ink wash. This

helps to retain a three-dimensional look.



Then comes the part I really do not like — painting the hat lace. Invariably my brush strokes are not perfect and I have to touch up with black in those areas where the white over-spilled. For regiments with yellow hat lace I find it necessary to first do the lace in white and then yellow on top as yellow is not a strong enough colour to go over black. I try to avoid raising regiments with yellow hat lace!



The final step for the figures is another super thinned out wash of Raw Umber.



This further picks out the detail but, perhaps more importantly, gives the figures a realistic patina.



The final step for the unit is the flag. I design this first on my computer, scale it down to a height of 1.7cm for 15mm miniatures and print it out.



I then over-paint it. Why bother? Well a computer printed flag looks like a computer printed flag. Painting it makes it look much more natural and in keeping with the look of the unit.


And here is the finished battalion of the Austrian Thüngen Regiment, ready to move from the painting table to the wargames table









RSS Feed

Web feed