Tuesday, May 2, 2017

BMC revisited.

My painted inventory before march.
About 6 years ago, I (re)discovered my BMC American War of Independence (Yorktown) figures my daughter had bought for me a long long time before.  This was through reading a blog by 'Uncle Thor' and finding out about his 'toy soldier art' and 'OMOG - One Man One Gun' rules for non-war gamers' war games that I could at last see how I could get some fun out of them.

Shortly after that their numbers were increased by a friend unloading his small inventory of BMC figures. Not knowing much about the figures, I painted the 'mitre-hat' guys as British Grenadiers, forgetting that at that time they rather favoured the fur cap, for some reason.  All the same, I made no attempt at reproducing the elaborate designs, or even just the 'GR' cypher on the fronts of this headgear.  The tricorn guys became US Continentals.

Back in about March, a friend ('Jacko' - he of the Painting Little Soldiers blog spot) was visiting Colorado (USA) on business.  There being a store near where he was staying he bought a couple of packs.  The larger of the two - a very generous gesture - was for me.  

In it were a cannon and mortar (now I have two of each), a whole bunch of guys with the metal front mite cap and ... eleven chaps with fur caps!  How was I going to 'fit' these into my existing forces?  I wanted the forces to remain more or less equal, but I am fairly sure the Americans didn't go for the mitre caps all that much.  Nor did I want 'all British' on one side; and a split force on the other. 

That left this solution:

Grenadiers of the Saintonge Regiment

The fur cap guys became French grenadiers of the Saintonge Regiment.  The choice of unit was based on the flags available. as much as anything.  The flag bearer was made from one of the 'hatted' guys with a pistol (the castings of the pistols was pretty poor, but that can be dealt with).

There being just 12 of these fellows - one of them stopping a fast moving object - they got the mounted officer.

A splendid little 13-figure company.

The dozen or so other troops became, to develop the theme, what they were supposed to be: German mercenaries.  I painted them up as Brunswickers of the Prinz Friedrichs Regiment.

Fusiliers of the Infantry Regiment Prinz Friedrichs
 I rather regret using the flash when I took these pictures, as it rather tends to bring out the worst in the figures.  But, otherwise,  I very much like the way these guys turned out.

Their numbers have been eked out to 15 figures by the 'Lafayette' (hatless) and 'Cornwallis' figures, and, of course, the obligatory flag bearer.  

Along with the cannon and mortar in the pack came some artilleryman, one of whom is carrying a powder barrel. Much appreciated: I didn't have one of him already.  I painted these guys up that they could be used for any army, even the British - the gunners' uniforms being so similar among the belligerents. For the ordnance, rather than paint the whole piece, I just painted the gun barrel brass, and the tyres and mortar my special gloss-black-and-silver mix for burnished metal.  The same formula was used upon the musket barrels and swords of the figures. 

Having painted these new guys up I held a grand review of all the figures, as if arrayed for battle.

Grand review...
There are enough gunners to provide all pieces of ordnance with a crew of 3.  But I've kept them and their crews, but for 3 red-coated gunners, sufficiently anonymous to represent artillery for either side. With roughly 45 figures a side overall, I reckon there is more than enough for der kleine kriege...
These forces are not designed for big battles, but for something more in the line of 'affairs of outposts'.  I dare say light troops and irregulars would be better suited, but I'm more than happy to see grenadiers, lini infantry and fusiliers take up these duties...


Travel Battle Campaign Map

Looking at Bob Cordery's Travel battle Napoleonic campaign maps, I was quickly struck by the rotational symmetries of the 4-piece quadrants in both maps.  I wondered if there was an easy way of eliminating, or at least reducing those symmetries.

To save a bit of time, I copied one of Bob's printed campaign maps onto a picture file, and, using Microsoft Paint (it might be primitive by industry standards, but it has the features I want and use often) made certain modifications.

1.  Selected the leftmost column of four, and transplanted it on the right hand  side.
2.  Observing that the top and bottom centre blocks of four were rotationally symmetrical, rotated one only piece in each, left 90 degrees..

Here is the map thus produced:

I agree, many would like symmetry as offering a fair and even playing field, as in chess.  But others will prefer asymmetry as posing problems of its own.

The above map offers useful  4 entry points on three sides; 3 on the north side if you discount the farm driveway at the top left.

North-south there are two distinct through-routes, but east-west there is but one.

Note that the above 4x4 array contains 24 gameboard pairs. The gameboard pairs offer 16 permutations.  So of the pairs above, at least 8 must be identical, however oriented (e.g. top left vertical and top right vertical; bottom left and right vertical, and I can see one other pair that appears four times.  

Interesting, this sort of thing...