State of the 1809 Project

Two days ago, I finished painting two Sharp Practice forces for my 1809 project. This means I’ve painted 120 figures in six weeks, which is very fast for me. Ok, the figures are no works of art, but I wanted to get them on the table to play a game on my birthday. Well, I managed to finish them three weeks earlier!

Fortunately, Sigur had time for a remote game and joined me on Discord for a straight-forward encounter scenario. I had set up a table to try out my new fields and decided to use it for the game, dicing for the positions of the Deployment Points as indicated in the SP rulebook.

This is where we ended up:

The French DP was pretty much in the middle of the table, while the Austrian one was near the road and the bulding on the other side. The French force was light infantry, while the Austrians fielded a Hungarian regiment with one group of Wiener Freiwillige Jäger.

The game went well, at least for Sigur, who played the French. He at first out-skirmished me, very early driving off my Jäger with a couple of volleys by his skirmishers and keeping my right flank occupied with his second group of skirmishers. I merrily chased them through the woods, which tied down a large part of my force. He meanwhile had formed a large line which moved forward quicker than I thought, taking my main force on my left flank under fire.

The long French line.

I knew I could not stand this for long, and when my main leader was killed by a musket ball, I conceded. My force morale was at 3, while Sigur’s was still at 9.

It was a fun game, even if I’ve been thorougly out-generaled. Sigur managed to achieve a local superiority by tying down my right flank with his pesky skirmishers and made the most of it.

The situation at the end.

Unfortunately, my mobile camera, which provided the overview of the table, produced a pretty crappy video feed – maybe it was the light, or some other problem? So I’ve no images of the game itself. I have to work on that problem – when I saw how crappy the video feed was I had a really bad conscience about making Sigur play under such circumstances. So a big thanks to him for indulging me and giving me an opportunity to play with my new figures!

1809 – A New Project

For the last four years, my historical gaming, painting and research almost exclusivley focused on the America Civil War. However, already last year I noticed a certain fatigue, which was amplified by unpleasant developments in the US, culminating in the attempted coup. How nice would it be, I thought, to do a historical project which has no immediate connections to current politics?

My mates Sigur and Virago, as well as some other local wargamers, had some time ago started a Sharp Practice project set in 1809 and concentrating on the uprisings in the Tyrol. Because it’s in 28mm and it seemed to stagnate anyway, I was very reluctant to join in. However, the period seems to have been stuck in the back of my mind, as a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly decided to do some more research. And what I found immediately fascinated me! Rather spontaneously, I decided that this would be my next project.

As always, I will use Sharp Practice and collect both sides in 15mm. I’ve ordered a bunch of figures from AB Figures via their distributor in the UK, eureka.uk. As I ordered them in January, I had to wait a long time for the parcel to arrive and then had to pay import taxes. Welcome to the world of Brexit! Another bunch of figures came from Campaign Game Miniatures, which is located in Spain, so no fees there. Additionally, small stuff for Deployment Points came from Stonewall Figures.

While I waited for the figures to arrive, I build a house and some small scatter terrain. I have a big terrain collection, but much of it is modeled for the ACW and the Central European landscape of the 1800s was very different from the North American one. I find it important to have scenery which makes clear that, as the saying goes, we are not in Kansas anymore, so I plan to make more stuff in the near future. The 3D printer came in very handy, I printed a lot of fences and other small stuff.

My initial forces will be based on the skirmishes around Vienna. For the time being, I will leave out the Tyrol and concentrate on my immediate neighborhood. After we had to cancel our trip to Gettysburg last year, I kind of like the idea of going to a battle field by subway! On the Austrian side, I’ve started painting up figures for Infanterieregiment 39 (Duka), which defended the Lobau island against French troops from Molitor’s division. Painting napoleonic figures is actually a lot of fun after years of painting ACW!

IR 39 (Duka)
French Voltigeurs.

I’ve also built two Deployment Points, as this is always fun.

The Austrian Deployment Point features a Hussar from the Stipsicz Hussars and a sceptical looking woman. Incidentally, the fences, the rustic toilet in the background and the table with benches came out of the 3D printer (the food was modeled on with green stuff).

The French Deployment Point features a straggler enthusiastically greeting a Vivandière. The wayside cross was also 3d printed.

Last but not least, I’ve also bought a couple of books and I’ve started on the first volume of John Gill’s 1809 trilogy, which promises to be an excellent read and a great ressource. As the ability to do research is one of the key prerequisites to get hooked on a project for me, I was very happy to discover that many sources are available online, either via google books, archive.org or Gallica, the French National Library’s excellent digital repository.

I’m really enjoying myself with this new project and I’m already looking forward to having a first game. Maybe when I’m finished painting, it will even be possible to play again with my mates…