Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Guns for Der Alte Fritz! : 28mm Front Rank Prussian SYW Artillery

Hello friends.   I hope you and yours celebrated as well a Christmas as may be hoped for in the second year of the great plague.   As the old year winds down, I’m trying to get some finished projects off the painting bench.   Here, mustered into service of my small but growing 7YW Prussian army, are two 28mm guns and gunners.  I ordered them just before Front Rank was sold by its owners to Gripping Beast, and the last time I checked the GP website the FR ranges were still unavailable, so glad I got them when I did.

Each set of four crew included the aggressively pointing officer, so I kept one of these two models in reserve for a command vignette of some sort.

These figures were painted using Foundry triad paints over a black undercoat, and I’m slowly getting comfortable with these paints.   The silver officer’s sash gave me some trouble, so in the end I painted it in white, gave it a black wash, and then picked out the raised pieces with a Citadel metallic paint (Axebreaker, I think it’s called).

The FR gun castings come with two barrels each, one I think a 12 pounder and these ones below I think are the 6 pounder versions.  I’ve painted and kept both and have not glued the barrels to the gun carriage, which I think gives me some flexibility in deploying them.  The carriages were painted somewhat expressionistically in Foundry Union Trouser Blue, which I think gives them a Prussian look.  The ground material is a latex scenic piece from Barrage Miniatures, and the backdrop is something I found after doing a Google search for “18th Century German landscapes”.

Getting ready to set up camp on the painting bench is a Prussian fusilier regiment, followed by a Prussian cuirassier regiment, and at the rate I’m painting, we may see on of these two units by February.

I’ll be back over the next few days with some last projects completed in 2021.  

Cheers and blessings to your paint brushes!


Friday, December 24, 2021

The Canadian Wargamer Podcast Christmas Party

James and Mike welcomed some friends to our CWP Christmas Podparty.   We also had a special visitor, Santa Grognard, though he seemed more interested in the Moose Milk than in our Christmas wish lists.

The usual silly seasonal natter and year end predictions.  We hope it gives you a laugh and a bit of cheer.

James and Mike with you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and thank you for your kind interest in our podcast!


"Moose milk" is a Canadian military tradition, favoured particularly at Christmas and year end mess parties and unit "sticky floor" parties.   There are a variety of recipes, and they should be approached with extreme caution:

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Episode 8 of The Canadian Wargamer Podcast is Out

In this Edition of CWP, James and I catch up after a month off the air by recounting our adventure at Lard, Eh?, the first Canadian wargaming event (to our knowledge) dedicated exclusively to Too Fat Lardies miniatures games.  We're joined by our friend and one of Lard, Eh?'s organizers, Chris Robinson.   Our conversation covers the planning of this event in the time of plague and whether it bodes well for the reopening of the live wargaming convention scene in the Great White North.  James and I also talk about our reactions to O Group; BLUF, it's fun, it makes your noggin a bit sore trying to figure it out, but it's an exciting game and very good at putting the player in the role of a battalion commander without worrying about which section has so many 2" smoke rounds left.

In the Canadian Content Corner, we're joined by our friend Dr. Brad St. Croix, making his second appearance on CWP.  We recorded this conversation on Dec 9 (the Defence and Fall of Hong Kong began on Dec 8, 1941), so it's a fitting date to speak to Brad about his speciality, the Canadian role in Hong Kong and the way it's been obscured over the years by some unfortunate historiography.  Though Brad isn't himself a wargamer, he was a good sport and helped us work through the battle and how it might be modelled on the table top.   Rumour has it that Mike ran straight from the interview to the Peter Pig website to grab some 15mm Japanese infantry!

Continuing the CWP tradition of finishing with some relevant Canadian military music, we end the episode with the march of the Royal Rifles of Canada, one of the two gallant Canadian battalions that were destroyed in the battle.

Brad's contributions to the CWP Virtual Library:

Tony Banham, Not the Slightest Chance: The Defence of Hong Kong, 1941.  UBC Press, 2003.

Marc Milner, Stopping the Panzers: The Untold Story of D-Day. U of Kansas Press, 2014.

Review on Stopping the Panzers: https://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1908&context=cmh

Info on Our Guests:

Chis' Blog: http://twothreesixmm.blogspot.com

Chis on Twitter: @LegendaryNoize

Dr. Brad St. Croix on Twitter: @OTDCanMilHis

Brian Hall: @Brian34586884

Brad's You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQZZQKAo8CqUzsUoOhuQdYw

Brad's Patreon Page:


Brad talks with the Juno Beach Centre about Hong Kong:


Closing Music:

"I'm Ninety Five": Quick March of the Royal Rifles of Canada: https://youtu.be/9DGOCtbJg48

Royal Rifles of Canada:



Saturday, December 18, 2021

Playing Lasalle with 3D printed 6mm Naps

“Hey, Mike, want a free army?”   That wasn’t how I’m usually greeted by V, the owner of my Friendly Local Gaming Store, and I was immediately suspicious, as V is a canny operator who has managed to stay in the retail hobby business for decades.   

“What’s the catch?”  I asked warily.

“No catch”, V said cheerfully, “you just have to paint it.”    V, who is a tireless (and sometimes cranky ball of energy), is an historical gamer at heart, even though the bulk of his business is a carefully balanced supply of action figures, GW kit, Airsoft gear, and Eurogames.   He’s also a born again 3D printer, has just bought a ton of .STL files, and proudly showed off a mass of 6mm figures that he’s recently stamped out.  Here is a stand of Spanish infantry in their distinctive bicornes.   As you can see, they are designed in the same block style that Warlord uses for their 18mm ACW and Napoleonic range, though less detailed.

And from the back.   The legs are not terribly distinct, and they are very well equipped for Spanish troops, but shouldn’t be that hard to paint.   

The .STL files also include a command stand (front left in the photo below), not terribly say to see in the black primer that V has used.   A command stand and three rank and file units make up a unit of foot in Sam Mustafa’s LaSalle rules, which V wants to use to play large battles.

Here are some photos of a LaSalle battle that V and I played this last Monday, an Anglo-Dutch army below facing off against the French.  V has painted enough figures to have a decent battle, and at 6mm, seen while looking down at the table while standing, they look perfectly acceptable.


LaSalle was new to me, though I’ve played Blucher and the concepts are generally familiar to anyone with some experience of Sam Mustafa’s games.  The game allows some tactical choices, while the fluid turn sequence, in which players can pass the initiative back and forth while spending momentum points (of which there are never enough) keeps things interesting.

The cavalry in V’s STL files print singly and look good enough when based, though they are all guys in shakos and swords, so it’s rather generic.

I agreed to take four of the Spanish stands home to test paint.   My own 6mm collection is single based, which work well for games like Blucher and TFL’s GdA.    Forunately they are about the same length as V’s bases in mass formation.

And two bases of my figures placed end to end equal’s V’s four bases formed in line, so our collections are roughly compatible.   V is quite pleased that I have large, ready painted French and Austrian armies (and apparently the makings of a Spanish army) so I think our two collections are generally interoperable.

I can happily foresee some H2H 6mm gaming in the new year, barring another lockdown.  It’s looking rather grim here a the moment.

Blessings, my friends.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Getting to Grip with Honours of War

Hello friends:

As I’ve said here recently, the SYW painting muse has captured my attention lately, and her sister muse of SYW gaming paid a visit recently.    As I’ve been slowly painting Prussians and rebasing a rather old collection of Russians, I’ve been slowly getting to know Keith Flint’s Honours of War SYW rules, published a few years ago by Osprey.

SYW was one of my early gaming loves, and back in the day the group I hung out with had two favourite rules.  The grognards all liked Phil Barker’s Wargamer Rules 1685-1845 (WRG), while the young turks preferred Tod Kershner’s Warfare in the Age of Reason rules (Emperor’s Press).  Both were hugely influential rules in their day, and I suspect most people would point to Black Powder as their most prominent heir and successor.  I confess I’ve only played BP once and didn’t find it terribly compelling, but can’t offer a fair and comprehensive opinion.

I had been following Keith Flint’s wargames blog for some years and so was tracking his own SYW rules and even received a playtest copy, though at the time my life was complex and my gaming time quite limited, so I put it aside,   I was also discouraged by the fact that the National Characteristics didn’t include the Ottomans, as for some reason I’d found myself with a Turkish horse and musket army.  

Recently I’ve been rebasing my Russian SYW troops from their WRG-era bases and putting everything on standard size bases, since most rules these days seem basing agnostic and I can’t be bothered cutting fancy and precise bases for skirmishers vs heavy cavalry.   I sound like a grumpy old git, but there you go.   Feeling that I’d made enough progress to get some troops on the table, I divided my Russians into two forces, each of two very small brigades, just to push some figures around and get a feel for the rules.

Clearly wanting to modernize their thinking, the Russian army stages a mock battle on the drill fields outside Moscow.   Both sides have a brigade of two horse units, and both have a brigade with two batteries, a light infantry regiment, and a line regiment.  All units are rated as Standard and all commanders are rated as Dependable, just to make the test drive easier.

In some of the reviews I’ve read, people don’t like the initiative and command and control,system, and others like it.  I'm in the latter camp.  I liked the uncertainty of which brigade gets to move first, which breaks up the chess-like feel that SYW games sometimes have.   I also liked the fact that an average or good commander might get two moves in a turn, vs another brigade’s none, which introduces a very fluid feel.   

As others have noted, the game uses the same results table for Fire and Melee combat, which combined with fairly few factors makes it a quick study.   Units are rated as Inferior, Standard, or Superior, depending on their troop type and national characteristics.   Units suffer degraded performance once they take thee hits from shooting or melee, must retreat at four hits, and are removed from the table at five hits. Here hussars (Front Rank) and my newly painted cuirassiers (Foundry), each already with two hits, collide, each deals three hits, and both units are done.   It’s all quite bloody and fast.  I might have rated the hussars as Inferior and the Cuirassiers as Superior, just to make it more interesting.

You'll see a bit of a WRG hangover in these bases, as the hussars on the left are based on larger bases to depict light cavalry, while the figures on the right are on the generic 40mm square base that I now use for all my stands.

Another feature about the Fire and Melee table is that it uses average dice.  I had to beg some off a kind friend, as I'm not mentally agile enough to adjust the dice AND the modifiers in my head.  As my friend warned, don't let those average dice get mixed in with your regular d6 dice or you could have poor luck rolling sixes when you need them!

What keeps units on the table is their ability to rally if not closely threatened by enemy units, and especially if close to their Commanding General (a clever mechanic is that each turn players can relocate their Commanding General, which can aid a key part of the battle by increasing a brigadier's performance and helping units in the Rally Phase at the end of each turn.  Units with four hits must retire from the fight and reform, which takes time, provided that they are protected by fresh units, which is another nice mechanic.

The line regiment on the right in this photo will lose the fight because it’s being whittled down by one of the guns to the left and by the fire of the light infantry.   As some players have noted, light infantry can seem unduly powerful in this game, unless one remembers that they should usually be fielded as small units and as Inferior troops, so they shouldn’t be left in the open.   Here I had meant to retire the lights through the line infantry on the left, but at the key moment discovered the rule preventing voluntary interpenetration of units if they begin their move within 20cm of an enemy unit.   This is why we train, to learn things like this.

Luigi the Catbeast of Muscovy declares ENDEX and all troops return to barracks for extra vodka while their officers must attend a long and tedious AAR conducted by the Observer/Controller staff.

People have been writing reviews about HoW for a few years now so I have little to add that’s new.  Quick final thoughts:

- Simple, highly playable rules that still give a convincing SYW feel.

- I like the Command and Control and Initiative Rules, very clever and they give a very fluid feel that would keep players on their toes.

- As others have noted, it’s a game that I think is best played with large numbers of units.  With only 6 units a side, as I found, it’s over very quickly and the tactical choices are fairly limited.   I think the simplicity of these rules makes them a good choice for larger battles.    I’m starting to regret my choice of 28mm for this period, but I’m too far in to go back on that decision.

- These rules are well supported by the author and have their own forum, which isn’t true of all the Osprey blue series rules titles I’ve seen.

I’m pretty sure I’ll have more to say about these rules in posts to come as I get more units on the table.  

Blessings to your dice rolls!



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