Friday, 18 May 2012

Napoleonic Interlude

I thought I would provide an update on the Napoleonic part of this project. The Napoleonics has always been intended to be the larger part of the project but is a far more complex undertaking, involving all new design commissions for villages, redoubts and the like, not to mention the number of figures involved. Working out how to get the figures painted in quantity and quality is also a problem (never mind the financing!).

About a week ago, the tally of troops ready for deployment stood at the following numbers.
French line & allies : 39 battalions, 25 batteries & 15 Regts cavalry.
To refresh memories on the scale of things, each French Btn is a nominal 108 figures in 6 bases and each base is a company. Cavalry Regts range from 72 to 178 strong and gun batteries are done gun for gun.
The rules will still be "In the Grand Manner", being able to directly use the current edition and also a new addition that I am currently writing specifically for 10mm scale and major changes to many of the rule mechanics.

At the end of last year, I realised that the acquisition of painted figures needed to be accelerated. I decided to use Neil Kenneally in Bangladesh in addition to Alan Tuckey who has been painting since the start of the project. Initially, I sent Neil the bulk of the Russian infantry that would be needed, about 7,000 figures. Painting time?, about 7 weeks!!!!!!!!

Within 10 weeks of sending the box of figures out, the boxes returned, 3 of them. Now I'll digress slightly. I hadn't worked out how long it would take to unpack the boxes! I've no complaints either!!!!!
Each box contained slightly more than 2,300 figures. Every figure (yes, every one!) was individually wrapped. Groups of figures were then wrapped in newspaper, all taped up for safety.
The first piccy shows troops from the first box being sorted by the labelling on the newspaper that they are wrapped in.

Each regiment of infantry was in 3 or 4 wrapped newspaper packets. I should have mentioned that these are early Russians, so each regiment has specific facing and lapel colours (as opposed to later troops where the colour is common).
So this was stage 1, sort the newspaper packets by Regiment.
The next stage was to unwrap the individual newspaper packets, check the figures, count off that all figures were present and then put them into a plastic Chinese take-away cartons, by regiment, prior to basing.
Now here I advocate an alternate sexist vision of having a nice wife knitting at home in front of the fire. Far better to be unwrapping figures!

I kid you not, even with 2 of us, it took 4 days to unwrap and sort the figures. And I won't even mention a full dust bin with of rice krispies! (can anyone guess what the cryptic comment eludes to?).
Just to show that I was also working hard at the same time, I'm to be seen undercoating the French artillery pieces, all 180 guns.
Well, a month later, all the figures have been based, textured, dry brushed and flagged. The figures are exquisite for 10mm scale. Details is good and I'm impressed!
All the Russians are from Red-Line miniatures (main considerations are cost and they are new designs to my spec). The flags are all GMB, again done initially for my needs in 10mm. Anyone can now get Russian flags from GMB for 10mm scale. In fact, as they are early flags, I believe the Russian range has increased significantly, even for 28mm.
The figures you see are 12 Btns of Russian Guard in the foreground and 16 Btns of Russian Grenadiers in the background. Base width is 3/4cm per figure. So you are looking at troops with the same footprint as 28mm troops using Grand Manner rules when you compare the width of battalions. Depths here are shallower but each unit has the correct 3 rank formation. What I can see but I can't fully show or describe until the first game is setup, is that the increase in available depth on my tables will have a profound affect on how games will play using the current rules. I won't explain here, but I can get "into it" in a separate discussion.
The next piccy shows 40 Btns of Line Infantry.
Lastly, a pull back shot showing the lot.
The Infantry component is not finished as the Jaegers are yet to come. Hot off the design moulds, they should be with me a week from today. Also, being early Jaegers, the basic unifrom is a "flat lime green colour"
What's next? Well, at Easter, I shipped a further 18,000 figures out to Neil. Currently, 5,500 are in boxes on their way back. The rest will get back by the end of the month. These include French and Austrians. Also by the end of this month, another box with about 8,000 figures will go out to Neil.
End of year hopefully sees the best part of 30,000+ figs painted and ready to go.
More snippets! Russian light cavalry will be in 10 squadrons (2 Btns), heavies in 5 squadrons. Austrian lights will have 8 squadrons. Squadron sizes for some nationality/types will also differ to those currently used.
I hope this has whetted the appetite for what I hope the future brings. The Napoleonics hasn't been forgotten, it just takes a lot of resources and persistence to get it to where I envisage it.