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Sunday, February 27, 2022

Vimiero 1808 - Test Game

 Vimiero 1808 is the largest engagement I have tried thus far using Muskets and Marshals, so before having a full crew over to play I wanted to get in a test game.  To that end I had a couple of brave volunteers willing to brave the cool temps in my garage head over to test the game (Thanks to SD and JD for their enthusiasm and great ideas).  Once again the rules performed very well with results that seemed historically based.  I have been consistently pleased at how well this simple set of rules has performed.  I did make a few tweaks to accommodate my big battalions and I wanted to make sure they did not adversely affect game play.  Not wanting to give away the game entirely since there is another bigger game day planned, I'll just present a brief overview of the day's action.


Starting positions as a French brigade faces off against three British brigades a few miles North of Vimiero.

British assault up the hill.

View from the French side as the battalions clash - Note the skirmishers have retreated behind the line.
Intense fighting at the top of the hill.

The British breakthrough in the center and their right has pushed back the French, but on the left of the line the French have mounted a stubborn defense, delaying the British advance.

Brennier's brigade arrives in the nick of time - maybe too early - with a regiments of Dragoons in the lead.

Lead elements of the British advance around their left flank, form square in the nick of time and the Dragoons flow around the square taking heavy casualties in the process.

The next British regiment suddenly finds themselves unprepared for a cavalry assault and still in line.

More bad news for the British - Colonel Macara of the Black Watch goes down!

On the left of the British line the French refuse to give ground and send one British Regiment streaming to the rear just as a second engages them.  Despite overwhelming odds the French hang on by the skin of their teeth!

Oh the shame of it all!

But what is this?  Major Dornier of the French 69th is down!

More good news for the British as their second flanking battalion form square just as the French Dragoons bug out due to British fire from the first square.

At this point it seemed like a good place to call it for the day, as the next phase of the battle was likely to take some time to resolve.  The game was a great test of the rules and really helped identify a few questions I need to ask, and most importantly, how to calculate the victory conditions and the timing of reinforcements.  Many thanks to SD and JD for their input and of course Stryker over on the Hinton Hunt Vintage Wargame Figures blog, for his development of the rules and willingness to share!

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Terrain for Vimiero and Works in Progress

 After taking over ownership of the Tennant collection and starting in on the repairs and re-basing, I thought it would be fun to recreate the early Peninsular War battles using the figures.  Little did I know what an all-encompassing and time intensive endeavor that would be!  The initial online battle was Rolica, fought with Wellington Man of New Zealand using a turn by turn passing of orders and each of us rolling for outcomes and fire results while half a world away.  Almost a full year and a half later I am finally knocking on the door of readiness for the subsequent battle of Vimiero.  

The year is 1808.  The French have fought a successful delaying action at Rolica, but were nonetheless, resoundingly defeated in the field of battle by the aggressive tactics of the British and Portuguese forces under the command of Wellington.  Their sacrifice did however buy enough time for the French forces to combine and converge on the small town of Vimiero, where Wellington lay camped and hopefully (if you are French) unsuspecting of the rapid approach of the French army...

Vimiero was essentially two battles; the battle for the town, and the battle several miles to the North.
The northern battle was fought on gently rolling hillsides separated by deep ravines

When scaled to the footprint of the miniature battalions, my wargames table is ~ 1.1 x 0.6 miles, which corresponds to the area of the battle shown above, and centered on the small farm of Ventosa.


Construction of the hillside begins with 1/2 inch thick blue insulation foam.

A hot wire foam cutter that I got at half price from the local art store long ago makes short work of trimming the edges, but open garage doors are a must!

Frequent reference checks are required.  The final map is marked with a grid to make the transfer of the hillside shapes reasonably accurate.

Getting there.  The magnifier is essential for reading the contour map!

Still had plenty of left over paint from building the Rolica terrain.

The hillside assembled with roads and rivers added to the ravines.

The main road along the ridge was just painted onto the hills with a thick textured paint made from white glue, sand, water and brown paints.  At this point the battlefield is essentially done and just awaiting the arrival of the troops!

Works in Progress

In the meantime I have been working on a variety of different modeling projects that have piqued my interest over the last month.

After painting the Legion du Midi, I really wanted to paint some figures with well sculpted figures.  The Franznap Bavarian foot artillery is an amazing set with beautifully sculpted figures and details.  Here you see the artillery and limber almost done.

The limber will be pulled by a six horse team.

I realized I need another light infantry Colonel for the Vimiero battle, so here he is coming along.

The Bavarian artillerists

One of the 54mm sculpts from a friend's dad's collection.  I'll be priming the whole piece white shortly now that construction is done.  Getting the light foil of the reins to behave is proving to be a challenge however.

Some guard Chasseurs a Cheval from that collection.  These were quite the challenge to assemble, but if I can ever find the time to paint them will hopefully look truly impressive!

I was inspired to add a bridge to my collection of terrain when I saw a post by Wellington Man featuring a river crossing, so I pulled out the Linka castings I had on hand.  My son had cast up a ton of these from dental plaster, and I had just enough of the required pieces to pull this out of my hat.

The bridge before adding a dilute plaster wash to smooth the joints and the placement of the end pillars.

The diluted plaster really does an amazing job at disguising the seams, but I still wanted to texture the roadway pretty heavily to further hide the joints.

The final piece.  The variegated stone colours add visual interest as well as functions to disguise the seams.  This was a super fun and quick project that really only took a couple of afternoons since all of the pieces were pre-cast.

I hope you have enjoyed this rambling post.  The next post I had hoped would be all about Vimiero, but alas, I miscounted and need to prepare one more British battalion.  The 23rd Welsh Fusiliers are prepped and should be a relatively quick addition as I am only adding a few command pieces.  Until then, stay safe and happy gaming.