Saturday, December 29, 2018

95th Rifles (and magnetic skirmisher basing)

The entire unit, with bases of four at the back and individually based units in the foreground. Figures are 1/72 Italeri, a beautifully sculpted set. I read some criticism that they would not often have fought with the sword bayonets or forage caps, but I like the look of both. I originally cut off the sword bayonets in the individual figures but have left them on for the four mans stands.
I decided to add the 95th Rifles as my next addition to my growing British Peninsular War army. The British 95th Rifles don't need much introduction as they are a well known unit and much loved by wargamers. Up until now I hadn't really required them as the rule set I play is a brigade level game and the Rifles were generally parcelled out amongst the various brigades as extra skirmish troops, a company or two at a time. But I am moving towards gaming at a battalion level, especially for some of the smaller-sized Peninsular engagements and needed these in the mix as they fought throughout the Peninsular War in wellington's army.
My original intention was to base some on individual stands to act as skirmishers when required and others in group stands when I needed them in a more formal arrangement (march columns and line formations - rare for the Rifles but I believe they did fight in line on occasion). But I soon realized that this seemed an inordinate amount of figure painting as I needed to have duplicates for each unit, especially as I would need some skirmish units for all of my regiments in the future.
So I came up with the following basing scheme, probably not original to me but one that I think works very well. It allows for paired skirmish stands (which will work) and uses flexible magnet sheets purchased at a dollar store.
The only trick was pairing the magnets before I cut the top and bottom bases, as different magnets would sometimes offset the paired bases slightly through repulsion. As a result, I needed to number the base and its corresponding figures - not a big deal. I was happy with the result and am now in the process of converting the light company stands in all my existing regiments to this basing.
I thought other gamers might appreciate the idea.

Magnet basing. Two smaller stands paired with the larger four man stand. They needed to be paired before cutting and numbered as some magnets repulsed slightly, creating an offset.

Paired stands in skirmish formation. I think this still gives a good effect!

The command stand (a paired magnet stand, as all the four man stands are for my Rifles, allowing them to skirmish 100% - pretty seamless!) I love the front figure at right with his cradled rifle.

 



12 comments:

  1. Brilliant. Always irritating to have to paint the same unit/company twice.

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  2. Marvelous. I like your minis a lot, and the way you create your grass fields.
    For the magnetic bases, just like every magnetic object they have poles, so you must test them before glueing :)

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  3. At one time, I had all my bn size stands (@24figs) designed to easily "swivel" between line and column. In the beginning I had used a thin piece of wooden lattice w @24 figures glued or attached to it to represent a "bn in line" (12 in front, 12 in back), but had no quick & easy way for it to become a "bn in column" (6 figures x4 deep). So eventually I cut each bn's wooden lattice stand into 2 halves, then reconnected them back together again from underneath using a strong cardboard swivel strip fastened to the wood by 2 simple thumbtacks. Once positioned "just so" it allowed you to easily swivel the bn from a basic line formation to a basic column formation, and vice-versa. I had a small hole drilled in the wood in just the right spot, so that the bn's standard (flag) would always be roughly in the center of the unit, no matter the formation, without having to physically move it yourself. It was a great system, but did require upkeep!

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  4. My aim was always 90% visual ascetics, over overly complex rules and markers that were an eyesore. Sawdust & yellowy cushion foam from old chairs (sprayed green) made for great grass & foliage -- the foam crinkled from the spraypaint chemicals, looking just like the expensive store-bought foliage. You could add a trunk, but in photos it looked just as well without any! Sawdust also made good roads or trails, especially outside on a manicured piece of the backyard (which I preferred). I also eventially made most my building of cement by using small milk or oj cardboard cartons (like schools use), then whitewashing them with white spraypaint, and adding windows etc with a sharpy marker. They looked great & were durable, and never blew away or got knocked-over, and made great "weights" if you had to cover all your figures overnight or because of weather (using abundant cardboard trays from the supermarket)!

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  5. White cotten for stuffing homemade pillows ( which usually came in a rather large bag) was much more user-friendly & visually better looking that small cotton puffs one might use on their face. And you could always give some smoke (cotton) a slight "wisp" of orange or flat black spraypaint for those really serious out-of-control infernos that often broke-out in unfortunate villages in the crossfire! I also had a lot of roughly painted prone & broken type figures (and typical debree) that I could quickly & easily scatter around areas of the field that experienced particularly heavy fighting. It looked great, and spoke volumns when the battle had shifted, or had ended, but later you could still tell that something big had transpired at that spot!

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    1. So many good ideas here. I have incorporated a lot of what you suggest. The pillow fibre fill looks especially brilliant when attached to an electric tea light and sparked up!
      l agree, visual aesthetics on the battlefield are one of the main reasons I game. My gaming partners complain that their figures are always trailihg around bits of scenery flotsam as they maneuver!

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    2. Thanks for the comments. We probably have a lot in common. For no real good purpose (I suppose), I added 3 more comments describing my noble efforts at audio aesthetics -- back in the days of few hi-tech gadgets, but apparently a surplus of free time & impulsiveness! (how I miss those days!)

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  6. On the subject of aesthetics, and before hi-tech, I made several "audio" cassette tape recordings of musket-era battlefield sounds -- to add to my realism effort. Initially, these sounds came from my poor quality VHS tv-recording of the movie Waterloo (1970), but later included some sounds from others, such as the amazing bombardment from the Gettysburg movie. The first stage of my process, and most challenging, was negotiating the "record" & "pause" buttons on my old taperecorder, just at the right moments. This was to avoid recording two unwanted sounds: 1) any inevitable background music/score that always annoyingly started in any scene; and 2) any actor dialog or weird-noises that didn't need to be included -- for example, Wellington suddenly yelling, "Stop that useless noise!" or that French drummer making that weird screaching noise as he & d'Erlon's corps crested the ridge. To complete this stage, I just repeated the painstaking process until I had a full tape's worth of pure, unadulterated, and VERY "generalized" battle sounds -- nothing too dramatic or too catchy! (that was all for stage2)

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  7. The 2nd stage was to make several "specialized" battlesound tracks, in addition to my main "generalized" soundtrack (which would always be playing in the background while recording them). Examples of these "specialized" soundtracks included: 1) any intense or intentional period of bombardment, such as before a big attack; or 2) any louder-than-usual drums & cadence sounds accompanying a particularly big or important assault; or 3) any distinct upsurge in yells & musket-crackling sounds as an assault neared its objective and/or collided. Also, there were variations & remakes of these, and initially, I had all 3 examples above as part of one cassette tape, in the order given. However, through all of these "specialized" recordings, my "generalized" battlesounds track was always being played & heard in the background -- both for extra effect, and to avoid any sudden & unrealistic battlefield silence moments (like so often happens in movies).

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  8. The 3rd stage in my audio aesthetics effort (aae), was the making of several "xtra-specialized" soundtracks, which unlike the others, didn't require having my "generalized" battlesounds always playing in the background. These were of three kinds:
    1) a soundtrack of two period armies nicely deploying & taking-up battle positions, before the actual shooting started (which actually made the setting-up process a little more pleasurable than not; 2) a soundtrack of the tense, yet tranquil, bird-chirping calmness that proceeded the "all hell breaking loose" noise of the battle's start (ex. 20min's worth of intense opening salvoes & random echoey bugal sounds coming from various locations); and 3) a bonus optional soundtrack of post-battle sounds at night -- complete with muffled moans & groans of wounded, random gunshots (from who knows whom), and even occasional creepy & vile sounds of peasants looting & scavenging the dead & dying on the field (and as with setting-up, this track added a little drama to the rather boring cleaning-up process!)

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  9. Yikes! Sound tracks for your battles! Now that is seriously intense. :0)
    I'm setting up the battle of Roli├ža today for a game tomorrow and have been doing my usual battlefield prep, toodling around on Google Earth touring the battlefield.

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    1. Sounds like fun! There are several musket-like battlesound pieces on YouTube (hidden amongst dozens of ww2-type sound pieces), that come in 3 or 4 flavors -- distant, nearby, and intense (I think). If you type "18th cen battlesounds" in the search-box, they should readily come-up. The thumbnail pic that comes with them, I believe, is a commonly well-known painting of a French battle from that time period (ca.1743)

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