Round One of Lead Adventure Forum’s Lead Painters League 7 (LPL7) painting contest has wrapped up. The (non-mandatory) bonus theme for this opening round was “Headquarters”, so I touched up some of my Russian Civil War White Russian figures from Brigade Games.
By the time this is posted the Whites will have won their round against a rather nice Second World War company HQ of French goumiers – North African colonial troops – and Round Two will have opened. You can check out the whole contest over on LAF. LPL7 is ten rounds long, so ten weeks. I’ve got Rounds One, Two & Three done and entered, but things are going to continue to be fairly quiet around here as I’m neck-deep in painting up Rounds Four through Ten!
In a cavalcade of firsts this Sunday, my (mostly) freshly-painted Chinese met their match in our new armed train, all being played on our new gaming mat, some 6′ by 9′ of fully flocked canvas drop cloth.
The game, a preview of Brian’s Trumpeter Salute convention game, was the defense of a small Russian town by a combined White and Chinese force. Thankfully for the Whites, they had managed to scrounge up a field gun plus a machine gun. The wealthy Chinese warlord Wu Do also brought one along to the party. Facing against them were a large Red force, including the newly-built armed train and the armoured car.
Due to a lot of luck, the Chinese ended up being the central troops in the game. They had lots of officers and their cards kept coming up, so they quickly occupied the central building and started taking fire. Another squad rushed up a hill, only to discover what happens when a HMG opens up on you when you cannot respond.
The maddest moment of the game came when Sean’s Reds cavalry attempted to run down the White field gun. The gun was right in the middle of town, which meant that his close assault was rudely interrupted by two squads of Chinese, including the Warlord’s aggressive Household troops. This did not end well for the Red cavalry, which were slaughtered to a man (and horse).
By the end the train had done its job and had cleared a route into the town. We called it when it became clear that the Chinese would retreat (having no interest in defending this particular muddy bit of Russia to the death) and the Whites were too weak to hold back the largely untouched Red infantry (even if they couldn’t move due to bad card luck.)
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been rebuilding the entire deck of cards needed for Through the Mud & the Blood-powered Russian Civil War large skirmishes. I first made these cards back in November 2011, and after a year of use, we realized we’d wound up scribbling extra notes and other edits all over the cards we used, so I sat down and rebuilt the entire deck to incorporate the changes and edits we’d made while using the cards.
There are four pages for Reds and four for Whites, with ten Big Man cards per side, ten Command Initiative cards, a full set of the basic “National Characteristic” cards as laid out in the main M&B rules, and ten more Support or blank cards so you can customize your deck and add scenario-specific cards. The front page also has two Snifter and one Blank card per the main M&B rules, so one printing of all nine pages should give you everything you need for quite large M&B games.
Feedback in the comments, if you’re having problems, find a typo, or have ideas for the next edition of these cards!
In just under three weeks our local big convention kicks off – GottaCon 2013 is February 1st, 2nd & 3rd at the Pearkes Recreation Centre.
I’ll be running a Russian Civil War scenario, possibly with a Back of Beyond flavour. It’ll be a variant of my Even Whites Bleed Red scenario from last year’s Trumpeter Salute convention, mostly because I haven’t yet come up with a more entertaining title than that!
I’ve got Red sailors, cavalry and more Red regular troopers on the painting bench as we speak, and some nice scenery bits to add to my existing Russian scenery. Now, to get off the computer and back to that painting bench!
It seems “what colours do you use for WW1 Russian uniforms?” is one of those things that comes up again and again. I’ve been painting an awful lot of Russians (of various WW1/Russian Civil War flavours!) for a year or two now, and I’ve been asked for painting recipes in email, in comments here, and on forums. It’s time to do something I should have done months ago – write a flippin’ blog post that I can link people to, to save myself the trouble of typing the same thing out again and again…
I paint with Reaper Master Series paints, largely because they’re carried by my FLGS and the price point (especially when you buy in Triad sets) is better than GW or Vallejo. Reaper has this awesome web-gadget called the Power Palette that you can fire an image in, then extract the closest Master Series colours from. I scanned a couple of images from the Osprey Publishing RCW books and got the Power Palette to suggest a list of colours for me.
I’ll add better shots of my painted figures eventually, but here’s my basic World War One/Russian Civil War Russian uniform recipe, all paints Reaper Master Series unless stated otherwise.
For all figures: Base: Khaki Shadow Wash: GW Devlan Mud (note that this is now out of production (thanks, geniuses at GW…) so I’ll eventually have to find an alternative…) First highlight back up with straight Khaki Shadow.
My Reds get a much darker Devlan Mud wash, the Khaki Shadow highlight, and that’s pretty much it.
My Whites get another round of highlighting with Terran Khaki. Officers in especially spiffy uniforms get a final highlight with Khaki Highlight.
Some Russian uniforms seem to have darker, greener trousers; I use Military Green as a base there, sometimes just as a wash over Khaki Shadow.
The Russian uniform procurement process, even before the Civil War started, was known to produce quite a bit of variation in what was nominally the same colour of cloth. I use Bone Shadow and Polished Bone as alternate base colours, especially in the Red forces. For the Reds, I also use a lot of other random colours – other greens, browns and greys especially, as the early RCW Red Guard/Red Army had enormous trouble (even by the usual Russian standards, which is saying something!) keeping anything like an actual “uniform” appearance!
The Whites had equal trouble at various stages, but I keep my Whites in neater trim than my Reds, purely so the two forces can be told apart on the tabletop!
For Cossack blue trousers, Soft Blue base. I need to rediscover what I highlight Soft Blue with, I appear not to have written it down in my painting notes… I also have no photos at all of my Cossack infantry plaston, which is a shame.
For Red Sailors, Worn Navy for blue base, Leather White for white base, Pure Black for black, Khaki Shadow (again) for khaki/green. Kerchiefs are Sapphire Blue.
The Worn Navy gets a very thin wash of 1:1 Worn Navy:Pure Black for shadows, then highlighted back with Worn Navy and Soft Blue. Pure Black coats get a highlight of 1:1 Walnut Brown:Pure Black. Leather White gets a Pure White highlight. The white stripes on hats and kerchiefs is actually a 1:1 Leather White:Pure White mix.
I’m probably going to go back into my entire batch of Red Sailors and do another round of highlighting on the blue clothing, it’s a bit bland currently. More Soft Blue, maybe with one further brighter highlight.
Hope this helps, I’ll add better photos as I take them!
As I mentioned recently, I’ve been rebuilding my Russian Civil War cards for Through the Mud & the Blood over the last few weeks. I’ve finally got the revised versions of my existing Red & White Russian card sets for RCW to a point where I’m happy with them, so for a change of pace this evening I set out to design some cards for some of the other forces we’ll have available.
Above, a quick screenshot of the current state of my cards. The Red Russian card has slightly changed background art; all the Big Man cards have a significantly changed layout with more information, and I’ve got a basic background for both British and Warlord Chinese forces! I have a small force of British in tropical kit, and late in 2012 my brother picked up a starter force of Warlord Chinese from Copplestone, which he promises to paint up one day.
One thing I’m not sure of: flag or star insignia for the Warlord Chinese forces? The flag fits in better with my other force cards, but the star works a bit better with text on top of it, as that black stripe on the flag really gets in the way of legible text. Opinions in comments below, please!
The British are also, of course, likely to be useful for other M&B folks, so I’ll get that set done up next, probably in February after GottaCon 2013, where I’ll be running an M&B-powered RCW game!
As we’ve played Through the Mud & the Blood-powered Russian Civil War skirmishes over the past year or two (has it really been that long?) we’ve gradually tweaked and modified several of the custom cards we use. This has lead to a number of cards with pencilled notes all over them, a few blank cards re-purposed as hand-written replacements, and various other inelegant things, so I’m taking advantage of some post-Christmas quiet to begin rebuilding my custom card deck.
I’m starting with the Big Man cards, which are by far the most common in an M&B game deck. I’ve removed the “Big Man” text, as it’s obvious without having to be pointed out every time. Command Radius has been joined by a reminder of how much a given BM can influence Fire/Melee die rolls, and there’s space for special abilities or whatever. I’ve also gotten rid of the “Big Man #x” text, as we found we were often ignoring it in favour of a simple pencilled number at the top of a card.
I’ll be adding some notes on the rules to many of other cards, especially Heroic Leader, Dynamic Commander and Friction, which often cause confusion. As well, I’m going to do up a series of “Troop Cards”, which will be quick reference cards for the players roughly the size of recipe cards, with basic details on the troop types, equipment and vehicles in their forces.
Ran my first miniatures game in ages yesterday (Sunday), with a friend running the defending Whites and a co-worker/friend who’d never played Through the Mud & the Blood before running the attacking Reds. I gave the attackers about a 30% manpower advantage, although they were short of decent officers (as the Reds tended to be, especially earlier in the Russian Civil War).
The photo is from fairly early in the game, with Sean’s Reds working their way around and over the ridge with the chapel of St. Boris the Intoxicated on it. The Reds wound up taking up a firing line along the hedges on the far side of the ridge and clearing the hamlet beyond with sheer weight of fire, while the Red sailors on the far left worked their way across the hedges, trying single-handedly to assault the right flank of the White village. Supported by fire from the ridge they did succeed in destroying one White section entirely, but at ferocious cost to themselves – nearly 50% casualties. Other Red casualties were fairly light, while the Whites got pasted, taking at least 30% casualties to their entire force, two rifle sections rendered non-functional and the other two withdrawing at the end of the game with a few casualties each.
While both players had fun, and so did I, I’ll do a few things differently next time I run a game like this. I should have thrown a Reinforcements card into the deck for the Whites, with some reinforcements (another rifle section or two, or maybe something more potent like an armoured car) coming in after X turns of that card. I was also shocked at how rusty I’d become about the M&B rules. We did movement through rough ground wrong for the first few turns, which really made the initial Red advance a slog — thankfully they were mostly sheltered behind the ridge, so the only effect was to make the first few turns more boring! Thankfully, everything I got wrong affected both sides more or less equally, so while it irritated me it didn’t screw the game up too badly.
Sean, the Red player, had never played Mud & Blood before. I’m not sure, but this might have been his first non-GW miniatures game ever. He’s stoked for more, enjoyed the rules, and I’m sure we’ll have him back in the proto-USSR in the New Year. He said some interesting things about Mud & Blood that I’ll expand upon in a future post, too.
So I promised to run a Russian Civil War game at a friend’s place on the Nov. 11th long weekend; I made the promise ages ago and suddenly looked at a calendar and realized that’s about two weeks away… and it’s been months since I’ve touched a paintbrush or even looked at most of my RCW stuff!
So this weekend it’s cracking on with the half-finished 20 or so mixed infantry, another dozen Red sailors, and the finishing touches on the mostly-painted cavalry force. I’ve also got an assembled field gun I might try and get painted and based, just to add variety and give whoever doesn’t get the armoured car in our game a weapon capable of actually killing the thing!
Right, fresh water in the pot, clear the crap off the painting desk… amazing how an underused space attracts random junk, isn’t it?
Britmis is an NMP republication of Major Phelps Hodges’ memoir of his participation in the British military mission to Siberia during the Russian Civil War and subsequent escape through the Gobi Desert to China when the Russian Civil War started going very badly. It has the gloriously Edwardian sub-sub-title “Being an account of Allied intervention in Siberia and of an escape across the Gobi to Peking”, and in addition to being interested in the Russian Civil War generally, I’m a sucker for any book with sub-sub-titles or chapter sub-titles that start with “Being an account…”, so I expect Britmis to be a fun read.
It’s a chunky little trade paperback, 365 pages or so and includes photographs taken by the author during his adventures. I read Beasts, Men and Gods in e-book a while ago, and Britmis looks to have a lot of the same flavour and interest!
The Great War on the Western Front by Paddy Griffith is one of the standard modern texts on the Great War, “revisionist” in the best sense as Griffith works away at the old myths that the Western Front was nothing but pointless slaughter and stupidity. I won’t be getting to this one for a while, but NMP had it on sale at an absurd discount (their regular price is pretty good too, mind you!) so I couldn’t pass up the chance to add this one to my library.