Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Talavera - New Table

With the completion of the Casa de Salinas play tests, the Talavera game plan moves on to the next two scenarios, which take place on field of the main battle.

Night Attack scenario map
The night and dawn attacks made by Marshal Victor on the 27th and 28th of July were focused on French attempts to gain control of the feature that dominated the battlefield, the Cerro de Medellin.

Dawn Attack scenario map
I thought I would set the table up as if I were doing these two games as stand alone scenarios, and thus I have just set up the terrain for the northern half of the French and Allied lines.

The contours shown are 100 foot intervals, with the Medellin above and overlooking the lower height of the French position on the Cerro de Cascajal.

These are my contours constructed as per the map and they are taped together and then pinned to the foam board that underlays my gaming mat. To smooth out the levels into a more realistic slope, I simply place a heavier felt cloth over them before replacing the mat over the top.

The next stage is to lay out the road and Portina brook, with the brook being pinned to hold the mat down in the bottom of the valley between the two slopes, thus emphasising the gradient. In time I intend to add a few rocky outcrops to capture the rough terrain, particularly on the Medellin.

Fighting the battle in 18mm means that I can include the northern valley when we do the full battle, and using a few strategically placed areas of broken ground to show the treacherous nature of the terrain, should anyone think of planning a reckless cavalry charge, I have again been able to pin the bottom of the valley floor.

Nestling on the lower northern slope is the ruin of Valdefuentes Farm, with the lower slopes of the Sierra de Segurilla bodering the northern limit of the valley, where Bassecourt's Spanish infantry operated in the afternoon of the 28th July.

Looking from the French end of the northern valley, the rolling terrain effect can be easily seen

The top of the Medellin has two specifically placed little rough ground markers behind which is the military crest, should the British chose to step back and avoid the worst of any French artillery fire.

The Salamanca road snakes alongside the Portina stream indicating the forward position of Langwerth's and Low's KGL brigades

The two markers indicating the military crest line, centre left
I really enjoy setting up a new table and trying to capture the look of a given battle, and there is a feeling of excitement when the map gets translated into the terrain. With the orders of battle needing some slight adjustments and the figures in the tin ready to go, I just need to get some dates arranged to play the next scenario, Night Attack - Talavera.

Next up the Badajoz Militia


  1. Subtly brilliant!

    How did you make the Portina? Quite nice.

  2. Hi Jon, thanks. I can't wait to get playing.

    The stream sections were constructed way back in 2013 (link below) when I put together the table for Vimeiro. They are made out of roof felt, and are quite flexible and easy to pin on to the mat.


    However the Portina is quite long so I'm going to have to make some more to do the full table, and I've got the Pajar redoubt to do as well.

  3. Your use of purpose cut foam under a felt mat seems quite a handy way of doing correctly shaped terrain for different battles! Nice idea. Where did you get your gaming mat from?

    1. Thanks. I find the mat is really great for flexibility and storage. My mat is from Terrain Mat.

  4. That looks really excellent. Lovely to see nice smooth contours on a wargmes board!

    1. Thanks LH. Yes I Iike my hills to roll, comes of living in Devon.

      Looking at pictures of the terrain I will need to add a few rocky outcrops, so this is just the first stage really.

  5. Jonathan your figures are lovely yet your terrain bowls me over as I wish I had your skill in analysing and producing terrain!

    1. Hi Paul, thank you for your comment, very much appreciated.

      I hope to show that producing a nice table and/or an historical layout isn't that difficult with a little bit of thought and attention to detail. With historical scenario creation, I think the latter is quite important, and I have noticed a trend that has seemed to accompany fast play rule sets to produce a table plan that looks a bit like the key features but with little attention to the size of one feature to the next or its distance from one to another, as if it doesn't matter. I accept that ground scale is a compromise, but that doesn't mean we can't keep a sense of proportion with the compromise we work with; and when it comes to working out how long my units will take to get across the Portina stream at night, then the size and relationship between the Cascajal and Medellin gets to be just as meaningful as to whether the Antiquera Light Infantry wore blue coats, probably more so.

  6. Looking very realistic and almost attractive compared to many more utilitarian table tops one sees. The final touch is of course the armies themselves! Any news on dates yet?
    Looking forward to this one. Have fun, Jeremy.

    1. Hi Jeremy, thank you, glad you like it. Yes you are right, the table is just the canvas back drop on the stage set and its the actors we have come to see.

      I am working to a set plan for the year which as you know has kicked off with Casa de Salinas and since September last year the completion of the German Division and British 3rd Division. General Portago's 3rd Spanish Division should be finished by mid April, by which time I should have the "Night Attack" scenario up and running in test games. Then we move on to the French 24me Ligne (3 battalions) plus Fane's British Heavy cavalry brigade which will complete the units to run the "Dawn Attack" scenarios, taking us into the summer.

      Then about July I will be doing the other 7 regiments (21 battalions) of French Ligne, plus Poles, Bassecourt's Spanish infantry and Albaquerque's cavalry, during which time I will be doing the test games on a "Pajar de Vagara" scenario, and getting the Southern sector of the table done with a few more olive trees and a Pajar redoubt model.

      The whole project should reach a crescendo early next year with the whole Allied and French battle lines at about a figure scale of 1:30 drawn up for the "Afternoon Attack", which should look pretty spectacular, and will be a "must do before I die" tick on the list.

      So plenty of stuff to come with some historical posts on the units as they get built, and some exciting stuff regarding developments with Carnage & Glory.


  7. Great looking table, Jonathan. I couldn't agree more with your views on terrain and I look forward to seeing the battle.

    1. Thanks Bill.
      Nothing like a new game planned and a table set up ready to go, to get you focused on getting the figures ready