Monday, 29 April 2019

Sunday (Second Day)

Early doors again for our last day, due to the lousy state of Britain's roads and the M6 motorway in particular I decided to only have one game on the Sunday so that Mark and Mike could get home at a decent time, yes, that's where we are today, just wait till the lights start to go out as well, but I digress. It was Carolingians vs Normans for Stewart and Mark and a Roman clash between Mike's Legion and the Thunderbolts under my command now. I was looking forward to this as I have not led the Twelfth for some time now.

Once deployed I thought Mike's centre looked weak, it consisted of auxiliary troops, archers and infantry, the large archer units could cause a problem but once engaged they should fall to proper legionary's. I would use my Lanciari to threaten his right and hold back my left where he had put some of his legionary cohorts, hopefully this would not fall until I had knocked out the centre. Mike's idea was obviously to fall on my left and roll up the line.

Right from the start "there is something wrong with our dice today" as my archers could make no impression on the enemy advancing towards them, it was the same with the hourse archers, my planned advance on the centre was in disarray because Cohors I under the personal command of the Legate refused to move towards their target, my boys had never before refused an order! Worse was to follow as I threw the Praetorians in against some auxiliaries which they should have beat hands down but only narrowly avoided a draw, I had my own excellent auxiliaries on hand and they went in to support the barracks room boys, thankfully as it turned out as the Praetorians flailed wildly killing no one. My attack was running out of steam. Cohors II managed to rout their opponents but they managed to escape due to a small patch of rough ground, these men came back but did not survive a second fight with the Second but it all took time. I now had no one to move against the archers as I needed Cohors I for support against Mike's victorious troops on my left.
Romans to the left, Romans to the right (mine).

On the left I knew I would lose the archers but expected the cohort in that area to at least put up a fight, with disaster looming I withdrew the horse archers, only just in time as the flank collapsed. Over on the far right Mike had taken a cohort on a trip against my flank but when their skirmish supports ran foul of the Lanciari he turned them back, I sent the Lanciari running towards my left, a mistake I now think as they could have ensured the defeat of the lone cohort. At this point Mike looked like a winner but he also had problems in that his victorious troops on my left were too far away to influence the centre battle, time was now against him.

Just before Mike's centre went and my left disappeared.
 I now started to win in the centre and forced the massed archers to break formation, they were still a threat but now vulnerable to morale throws (which he kept passing). I now turned my troops towards my left apart from the Praetorians which I thought (once again) would easily take the enemy cohort all on its own on the right. Disaster now followed these moves as Cohors II crumbled as did the useless Praetorians, again scoring no hits. Cohors I now under threat of decimation redeemed themselves and although badly outnumbered halted and routed a larger enemy cohort. Time was up, the position of both armies had almost reversed and it had been a titanic struggle worth of two of Rome's finest although my die rolling had been abysmal on occasions, especially with the Praetorians. The game was so close I 'won' by one point 21/20, a Pyrrhic victory.

Stewart meanwhile had been beaten by the Normans, his army almost destroyed which is unusual although I think his dice were also getting some stick.

Normans on the left, Carolingians on the right.
 It only remained for the scores to be read out, Mike came first with 81 points, I managed to squeeze into second place with 67 and Stewart and Mark were joint third on 64, a die was tossed to see who got the wooden spoon, Mark lost.

Me, Mike, Mark, Stewart.
 When you don't play a game often you do forget stuff so the games were also a great way to remember mechanisms and generally get back to understanding the rules, I think we all benefited from this. We all enjoyed the weekend and I think would enjoy another later in the year, perhaps with a couple more players.

It only remains for me to thank Stewart, Mike and Mark for making the effort to travel, bring their armies and to give me some great games.

Oh, I almost forgot, I am now going to recruit a fourth cohort so that I do not have to use those damn Praetorians!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Saturday (First Day)

 The small War and Conquest weekend I had planned started with the arrival of Stewart for a bite to eat at about 0800, then Mike and Mark from the Leicester area at 0900 replete from a Premier Inn breakfast. Introductions were made and we got right into the swing of things, Stewart and Mike had a Roman clash (Stewart out of his depth commanding the Twelfth) while I faced off against Mark's Normans with my Patrician Romans. I have fought Normans a few times and have never beaten them, in fact I was pulverised on both occasions so I approached this game with some trepidation, my infantry were outclassed by the enemy, apart from one unit of Auxilia Palitina, however my cavalry were very good. Let battle commence.

I decided to attack on my left and hold back my right until I had sorted out the Norman flanking force, hopefully by shooting them to death, meanwhile if I could get near the massed archers I should be able to beat them in hand to hand combat. Things went well if slowly on my left, Mark's skirmishers simply would not run away and preferred to die where they stood, I cautiously moved up my one elite Legion only to have it charged by Normans on the hill. My boys stood like a stonewall, stopped, then beat the charge. Elsewhere my plan to shoot down the flanking cavalry was working a treat so I moved my centre up while keeping my poorest Legion back just in case.

Normans on the left, Patricians on the right.

With my cavalry now threatening the Norman right Mark threw caution to the winds and charged into my troops at the foot of the hill, I countered by charging my Bucellari into a weakened enemy infantry force which had suffered from the missile fire coming from the Huns and the bodyguard. Cavalry do not have a lot of luck in WAC and once again they took their sweet time to beat their foes but did manage it and ran them down like the dogs they are. Meanwhile Quinta Macedonica had beaten one of the archers units and turned to come back into the fray, my troops in the centre stood their ground in shieldwall and also vanquished the enemy. It was a Roman victory.

The end.

I was surprised at the result of this game as the Normans never managed to really threaten me and my troops fought very well, despite the cavalry not being too keen. My archers saw off the menacing Norman cavalry and Mark forgot the infantry on that flank for at least one turn as they were sitting under a wood, this basically meant they had no effect on the game

Stewart and Mike meanwhile looked to be having a desperate battle but Stewart lost out in the end, and Mike got a convincing win.

Romans left (Mike), Romans right (Stewart)
After lunch I lined up my Saxon Heptarchy against Stewart's Carolingians, I owed these guys a thumping after their last victory. I am fairly confident with the Saxons and again decided to lead with my left and then perhaps hit the enemy center while waiting to see what happened on my right, it worked in the first game. Things started well and sure enough I routed the right most Carolingian unit but they managed to run for the hills and escaped to rally later, this was an upset as I had to keep the victorious troops where they were rather than swing in against the enemy line. On the right I managed to shoot down the Carolingian cavalry but then made the mistake of sending my cavalry on a wide flanking move, only to find out the hill was difficult terrain and it was going to take me forever to get over it.

Saxons left, Carolingians right.

Just before it went to hell.

Now Stewart sent everything forward, my one time victorious troops were now routed by the returning enemy as was their support, my left had gone. My only bright spot was my harassed hearthguard under the King managed to hit some pursuers and rout them, they continued on into a second unit and beat them as well, but it was too little too late. Elsewhere my army fell apart, in a short while I had once again been trounced by the Carolingians and only the King, his Gedriht and the slowcoach cavalry remained.

 On the second table Mark fought Mike's Romans with his Normans, out of period but the whole weekend was a friendly. I think this was a hotly contested game but the Romans eventually came out on top, I was too engrossed in my own horrors to notice much.

Normans left, Romans right.
 So that was the first day over, one good win and one disastrous defeat, Mike had edged into the lead while the rest of us were within a few points of each other. We retired to the pub for the Recrimination Phase and moaned throughout about army lists and rules, as you do, we retired fairly early with all to play for on the Sunday.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

All quiet on the North Western Front.

I missed out on the club last night as I was away for the weekend and I had a lot of catch up with maps etc. East Prussia is done and dusted but I am now knee deep in the pre-Battle for Berlin strategic maneuverings. Winging their way to me are maps for a two volume history of the RAF (see what I did there) which should be interesting and different, so I am now involved in histories of both the RAF and Luftwaffe, the latter being a huge project with three volumes down and no sign of WWII yet.

I digress, no club last night but I should make up for it at the weekend, I have two friends and my son coming for a series of War and Conquest games, it was supposed to be an all Dark Ages affair but we lost two players early on, so a bit of both Dark Ages and Ancients coming up. I am hoping this is a success and if so may repeat it later in the year, I can easily put four tables in the Post Office which I am closing for the morning on Saturday, executive decision, wargaming comes first.

I have received almost everything I ordered recently, paints, figures, bases, flags etc. I only await the Waffen SS figures from Offensive Miniatures who I think were away for Easter when I ordered. I have been watching videos on painting techniques recently and bought some matt medium, I used some on the Grenadiers and it really is not for that, I do intend to use it with washes and highlights in future. I have not used the highlight method to be honest relying only on washes so it will be something new on the SS, if I can reign in my impatience, I did do a lot of shading when I started my WAC armies but fell by the wayside unless it was to make my generals stand out.

The French Grenadiers, like the last British battalion are coming along only slowly, the missus has given up a couple of music nights so I can't escape to the study for long periods now apart from one night a week.

So a busy week ahead, maps, some painting, then army lists for the weekend.

Oh, I also had a lovely time with the family over the Easter period at Center Parcs, but it only goes to confirm that I really dislike people, hogging the car spaces, cycling like maniacs, pushing to the front, leaving cars overnight when told not to, but damn it the staff were in the main terrific, oh well.

In the bowling alley no one can hear you scream..............

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Where's all the size 6 Shieldmaidens when you want them.

I had my second introduction to SAGA last night in preparation for the club campaign, first of all I normally would not play the game and if I really wanted to do a Dark Age skirmish type game I would jump for Dux Britanniarum (the only good thing I have ever seen from Too Fat Lardie's). Nonetheless I find myself co-Emperor of Byzantium and at the same time a Saxon warlord in Northern Germany, last night I was being taught the basics in order to prepare me for my conquest of the West.

We started off with only four units, one being the Leader, I had cavalry hearthguard, some warriors and some archers, I fought Ian (Vikings) with Dan umpiring and keeping me straight on the rules and tactics. In the first move my archers took a pounding and became exhausted having not loosed one flight of arrows. The were then charged but managed to survive and fell back. My warriors in turn managed to kill off the men who had thumped the archers, things seemed to be going my way, the Vikings were now down to three Saga dice and I still had my original four. The barbarians now got the drop on me and charged my cavalry, this was a fight between two hearthguards and I expected to either win or inflict heavy casualties. Once the pluses and minus' from the battle boards had been brought in to the melee I watched in horror as I was reduced to one cavalryman while the Vikings were almost untouched.

No, not Byzantines, they were being used elsewhere, but pretending.
 Never fear this effort had left the Viking hearthguard in a vulnerable position so I charged them with my Leader and his two henchmen, they managed to escape the slaughter with one man, I had narrowly failed to knock Ian down to two Saga dice. The battle now came down to a fight between the leaders, a titanic struggle now ensued in which both nearly killed each other, but it was my man who fell while Ian's was battered but still standing. Working out the result of this combat was fairly Byzantine and I am still not sure I understand it.

Things looking good.
Things looking bad.
 I don't know a lot about the game but the Viking battleboard did seem to have more going for it than the Byzantine one, the choices on mine had quite a lot to do with archery and only one was specific to cavalry, which you can only use of course if all your cavalry are not dead. The Byzantine armies were mainly known for their cavalry and use of mercenaries, not so much for their archery albeit much of their cavalry did carry bows, but mine did not. Perhaps I am being a tad ambitious about conquering the West. Elsewhere we had another Saga game, Bloodbowl and Age of Sigmar, the latter although not my cup of tea must be admired for the figures and the painting abilities of both Ryan and Julian, I shall take some pics in the future.

I am now, after years of prudence beginning to gather a small lead hillock, I am halfway through my Grenadiers de France so ordered up my next batch of SYW figures, two cavalry regiments and a couple of mounted officers. While idly googling I came across Offensive Miniatures and was very impressed by their Fallschirmjager and Waffen SS figures. As you know I bought Fortress Budapest, have just finished a series of maps for tank battles in East Prussia and am now working on a large project to reissue Bloody Streets which is the definitive day by day battle for Berlin. All this has me thinking of last ditch defences against hordes of Soviets; a broken Heer, SS, Volksgrenadiers and Volksturm on the edge of Gotterdamerung. So, I have ordered up two squads of Waffen SS the excuse being that they were in Normandy and I can use them on the Eastern Front and the defence of the Reich, if I ever go there of course or should I just give in and say it is only a matter of time.

The upshot of this renewed interest in WWII is that the SYW project will have to share my time with the expansion, I also have a lot of map work on the plate for the time being as well, the large American War of Independence Atlas is back on and the Berlin maps are a challenge.

Attack on Seelow Heights.
 Lastly here are a couple of battlefield pieces for Normandy, the figures are from Warlord and were disappointing, the legs of the cows were a bad fit and the 'horse' is more like my little pony.

Just noticed, I have not painted the harness, grrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

A success at last.

I was supposed to be playing SAGA last night, practice for a club campaign, I am Byzantines and Saxons, a goodie and a baddie, although I suppose it depends on what side of the Theodosian Walls you stand on. Anyway Simon fell by the wayside and after some frantic messaging Rob and I decided to do Bolt Action, it was a chance to maybe get some new units on the table.

My three new halftracks were 99% done by last night and I was tempted to take them but in the end my Wargamers OCD would not let me, finished units only. Rob brought his Italians with some laughable little  tanks, albeit one was a flamethrower and we all know I hate flamethrowers. The Eyties had only just changed sides and the local garrison had taken their German liaison officer prisoner, his men were determined to rescue him. To this end I had a fairly balanced force with infantry, two armoured cars, one a Puma, and my new 75mm field howitzer, the Puma I thought would take out the risible tanks and the gun would settle the infantry, job done.

I decided to make my main effort on my right and centre, my infantry edged forward while all the time waiting for the supporting artillery to suppress the Italian forces around the house where the officer was being held. A sniper had killed one of the artillerymen on the first turn and this seemed to throw them off their game as they either hit the dirt or fired blind hitting nothing, my infantry would have to take matters into their own hands while glowering up at the nearby heights. I now brought my second wave on and before they could get into their stride an Italian flanking force hit them, well they should have but the dreaded flamethrowing tank missed and found it had no fuel in the tanks. Despite this both the little tanks and nearby infantry poured fire on my Hanomag and the squad being carried refused to come out, the armoured carrier was effectively taken out of the game.

No worries thought I, the Puma would sort out these arrogant spaghetti eaters but no, the only time it managed to hit one of the tanks the shell bounced off, and these things normally could not stop arrows! Luckily Rob's bad luck evened things out as his mortar and anti-tank gun were just as bad as my seemingly useless artillery and armoured cars. I at last managed to get my squad to abandon the doomed halftrack only for their panzerfaust to also fail against the Italian armour, the Italian infantry managed to get their own attack in and took out the 251 just as I was hoping to rally it.

As the end move rushed towards us my gun had at last landed a shell on the Italian defenders and, as I had hoped, caused heavy casualties and pins, this also allowed my own infantry to close and shoot down the anti-tank gun crew and the suppressed squad, which was supposed to have happened at least four moves previously. I had also run the Puma up to the prison house and sent an HE round through the wall, wait, my own man could be hit, luckily he was not and a squad of Germans kicked what was left of the door down and rescued him at the last minute.

A quick set up and a great game, both of us had some rotten luck but I think this time Rob had the worst of it, I really enjoyed this tussle and no big cats, maybe next time. Although I joked above about the little tanks those Italian tankers were brave men fighting in those and they were lovely little models.

On the subject of models I have now finished all my latest kits, the trio of SdKfz 251's are ready to join the army. I will not go into the details of how they were painted this is elsewhere, but the colours are as follows, unless noted all are Vallejo Model Colour :-

Dark Sand (base coat)
Luftwaffe Cam. Green (green camo although almost any green would do)
Cavalry Brown (red brown camo, although almost any red brown would do)
Biege Brown (wood work, handles etc.)
Army Painter Soft Tone Wash (over whole model)
Gunmetal (spades, tools, wire etc.)
Panzer Aces Dark Rubber (wheels)
Panzer Aces Track Primer (tracks)
MIG Rust Tracks (wash for tracks)
Black (for weathering with sponge)

I think that about covers it, Panzer Aces is a Vallejo line with some nice vehicle paints.

 I now have a battalion of French SYW grenadiers to get ready and primed, these will not be finished quickly as I have too much on over the next month or so to give them more than a few hours attention a week. I also noticed on Facebook that Rubicon are about to release their second quarter kits, I don't need the LRDG truck but I am tempted with the Nebelwerfer and the heavy rocket launcher and how can I refuse to build a Wirbelwind as I am sure 2nd Panzer (nominally my German forces) had some in Normandy, some research coming up.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Let us pray.

The first of the latest vehicles is finished, not counting the howitzer. My Allies are short of artillery so just in case they make it to the table top I thought I would do the Priest first, as I said the kit was not up to the same standard as the Rubicon models but then again it was a big lump of resin.

So, first up was a base coat of Russian Uniform, I try very hard to cover every area but there is always bits in corners etc. which don't take, to solve this I then give the whole model a watered down coat of the base coat, this normally does the trick. I generally put the decals on at this stage as I want them to weather with the rest of the vehicle. I follow this with a drybrush of the base coat but with some white added. With Allied vehicles I now give them a wash with slighty watered down Army Painter Dark Tone, if you don't like things too dark then use Strong Tone, the darker tones suit the green background. Before all this I had added a couple of jerrycans, a box and a bag to the rear deck so I now picked out some of the details, the tracks in the boxes (Track Primer) the shells (Brass and Black), tools and hawsers (Gunmetal), handles (Biege Brown) and finally the canvas cover (Canvas). I now turned to the tracks (Track Primer) and then gave all the metal parts a light wash of MIG Rust Tracks. Last but not least I pitted the edges with the sponge technique using black. For the deck of the cabin I simply used anything which turned out grungy, rust, brown, black etc. To top it off I cut up a piece of netting, washed it with PVA with a blob of green added and stuck it on the after deck. I have now sourced a couple of bags of storage so all my vehicles might suddenly sprout more 'stuff' at a later stage.

Someone mentioned buying an anti-tank gun and using the crew in the Priest, but I did not go that route and just scrounged the two I have used from my bits box, the others, Nobby, Chalky and Jock are nowhere to be seen, maybe having a brew before the big show.

So there we have it, I am quite chuffed with this piece and it painted up well despite my misgivings. I have now base painted the first of the German halftracks, the Flammpanzer, not sure how quick I will be with this as I have several map projects which Helion need sooner rather than later.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

British Grenadiers

Right, what with one thing and another it has taken me ages to get the grenadier battalion finished. I had thought of doing one stand from each of the regiments I had already done or was planning to do but decided this was too labour intensive. I therefore split the battalion into grenadiers from only two regiments, ironically two which I do not have.

Anyway I chose the 55th (green) and the 23rd (blue) regiments, the latter being the Welch Fusileers I am not planning at the moment to add either of these to my forces. Quite a bit of lace work and I just noticed on the photographs that one guy has slipped through with a bare left sleeve, need to get that done asap. I am pleased with the look and after one more British cavalry regiment I will have to make up my mind to do more British or move on to the Hanoverians etc.

Complete battalion.


I have quickly managed to get my 75mm howitzer done, it was not a complicated paint job, I tried to reduce the camo colours to show they had faded but it is hard to do without an airbrush. I have decided to use Dark Sand for the base coat now, the camouflage was Mahogany Brown, I can't remember now which green I used but any matt green is fine, I added a dollop of Dark Sand to both these colours to try and show fading. Dark Rubber of course for the tyres, at this point I always try and remember to order Black Grey but then forget, then a wash with Army Painter Soft Tone, black bits with a sponge and some very subtle rust streaks with MIG Dark Rust. The awkward figure on the gun looks OK now as I put some sand under one end of his base and it leveled him up.

I put a base coat on the Priest this morning and will give it another one shortly, why is it you always see bits you missed no matter how careful you are.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

George the Builder

The first build of my new WWII kits was the Warlord Priest, it only had a few parts being a resin and metal model, looked easy. On the one hand the casting has a lot of detail in the cab and the tarpaulin is a nice touch, however the tracks simply did not fit and I had to resort to my scalpel to make them fit, even so they were untidy and one of the tracks had a large bit of flash on the front, which no knife was going to cut. Apart from that it is a straight forward build, I had however to watch a video on where to put the extra metal pieces for the gun, I was uncertain about one piece which the builder does not show going on, I had to work it out from pictures. I had been intending to swap heads in order to make the crew British but gave up with this idea, the metal is poor and the poses did not lend themselves to a quick cut and paste. I did managed to scrounge up a couple of figures from my lead molehill and they will just have to do, although one seems to be doing an impression of "I'm a little teapot." The decal sheet with this kit is pathetic and of no use for a British vehicle, so much so that I threw it away and will use one Warlord packed with an earlier kit. The vehicle comes with the ubiquitous .50 cal. and I was unsure whether to put it on or not, so a quick Google of British machines showed most had kept their machine gun, so I also kept it.

I put aside my urge to get stuck in to the halftracks and built Warlord's German 75mm light artillery howitzer, my thoughts on getting this piece is that it can add high explosive support on the table top and does not take up a tank slot. How will it actually perform on the table, who knows. The kit was easy to build although there were no instructions, sure it only has just over half a dozen pieces but you still need to know how the optics and little wheels go on the thing, I had one wheel which went god knows where, I also nearly got the barrel wrong. The model again feels like an afterthought, hopefully it will paint up fine. There are two really nice chunky crew figures with it but the third is in an awkward crawling stance which is just, er, awkward.

Next up was the Sdkfz 251/16 Flammpanzerwagen, I was looking forward to this little beauty, I am not a fan of flamethrowers in skirmish games but when needs must you have to fight fire with fire. You get the basic 251 D kit and then the upgrade turns it into the 16 with two flame projectiles. An easy build with easy to follow instructions, a large decal sheet and the option of two crew members with either flame protection or none. The only thing I wasn't sure of and it might just be me, but the crews arms seem rather long and they don't fit comfortably into the large cabin as the flamers do not leave a lot of room, but this is a minor point, for wargaming purposes you don't need to add a crew, I will though.

Moving swiftly along while no or very few customers turn up I put mapping to the side and got on with the 251/22 armed with the excellent anti-tank gun the PaK40. Again no problems with this at all, more thought this time has gone into the crew and there are two lovely figures, a loader and a commander sitting on the side of the hull peering at targets. You also get an ammo crate with two shells in it and a loose one, you can only really use the crate if you use a base for your vehicles as it wouldn't really fit in the cabin. I wanted the shells so cut them off their holders and will use them to litter the inside of the 22. All manufacturers should put a few shells or casing on a sprue.

I toyed with the idea of putting aside the last kit, the 251 which can be turned into three vehicles, the ambulance was out so I was left to choose either a 251/10 with a light anti-tank gun or the 251/7 assault engineer model but thought what the hell the customers can wait. This is an excellently thought out kit, you can build it as a normal APC, then if you do not glue the weapons down you can add the 3.7cm PaK for the 251/10 or take it off, put the machine gun back and then hang the bridging thingys on the hull thus getting a 251/7. No crew with this one though, which is no big deal as you can perhaps use the two spare from the flammpanzer (I will have to search my bin grrrr, damn my tidiness).

So within 24 hrs I have built all five models and primed them ready to go. I can now relax and get back to some mapping. My last thoughts are that the Rubicon kits are head and shoulders above Warlord's for decals, instructions, versatility and extras and all are around the same price.

Monday, 1 April 2019

My cup it runneth over.

I checked out my sales pitch on Wargame Vault the other day and there was a handsome reward sitting so I cashed in, I share these with my co-author and ACW expert Ryan Toews so we both came out of it well.

I mentioned that I seem to be getting pulled to the East in Bolt Action with the new Budapest campaign book and the work I am doing for Helion at the moment, so although I usually check on whether any new vehicles are historically correct for Normandy if they can also be used on the Ost Front as well this is a win/win, if I ever do go there.

Anyway as I looked through Rubicon's site I noticed they have a sale on, so instead of buying a halftrack and then having to buy the upgrade they had both for the same price as the original vehicle, how could I resist, despite feeling guilty that the Germans are getting all the good gear. I therefore went for three halftracks, one upgraded with a PaK40, one with flamethrowers and then a box which gives you the choice of three, an assault engineers transport, an ambulance or one armed with a 3.7cm PaK, I know which one of those it won't be. I also treated the Germans to a light howitzer and the Allies to a Priest, the latter may cause me some grief, I want a British crew and this means some head cutting and probable finger stabbing.

The postie and a courier brought everything today, so I may have all this built by the weekend as I do not expect any authors to get back to me until next week, barring new work. Although I also have my grenadiers to base, they are now complete and being varnished as I type, so mid week for them. Whatever is left of my ill gotten gains will now pay for two SYW cavalry squadrons.

So just to recap, base grenadiers, build and paint kits, order cavalry, start on French grenadiers, and in the words of the great Eric Morecambe, not necessarily in that order.