Friday, August 28, 2020

The War Gaming Bucket List

 Come on, we all have one.

What war gaming period have you always looked at with half an eye and thought to yourself: one day..! 

Always the war gaming butterfly, I have several.

The American Revolution. Caveat - it must be with Stadden 30mm figures. I have always been drawn to the American Revolution because of the Stadden range. I weakened about a year back after spotting some of them here and bought all the named characters (Washinton, Howe and all the others) and some of the British Light Dragoons. I could stop there perhaps, but would keep on looking at the British Grenadiers, and if I have those then I would need some Continentals who would be gorgeous in blue and buff.

Next would have to be what I really only loosely would term "The Great War in Africa". Loosely as it covers the Lettow-Vorbeck adventure, but because there are so many lovely add-ons that you can throw in. Armed sailors in the Rufiji Delta. Germans defending Tsingtao. Australian naval types mopping up German colonial possessions in the Pacific. TE Lawrence doing his thing against the Hijaz railway. I could go on. In effect this is all late stage colonial war gaming with a touch of VSF thrown in in the shape of gunboats, armored cars and biplanes. There is a Heart of Darkness element if you consider the British Naval Expedition to the great African Lakes. All are epic stories in their ow right and together are almost too much to take in. Indeed, I am almost paralysed with indecision.

The Great War more generally. I've always been interested in the early war battle of movement - always so much more interesting than the dreary slog of most of the war. Likewise the later battles of the war when allied armor was able to be used after the last great German offensives of 1918. 

And then there is always the war in the air... Something where the players have a roster of pilots available with each his own abilities and a natty 1/72 scale aircraft. Each side gets a squadron of  fighters and some specials per mission.

Finally there is the clash of coastal forces as so ably done by Warlord with their fine "Cruel Seas" range. Splendid models, a well supported range and fun looking rules. All I have to do is commit.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Edward Suren


The 31st Foot at Sobroan
The 31st Foot at Sobroan

Regular readers of this blog will have long since twigged that I like Edward Suren's "Willie" range of miniatures. Well-sculpted, well-proportioned with a hint of caricature and tons of panache, these are the cool younger brothers of Stadden's elegant miniatures.

No-one could do refined elegance like Stadden, and no-body could pull off dash like Suren.

It strikes me that his miniatures were designed with the diorama-maker rather than the war-gamer in mind. I say this with the large dioramas that Suren made up for the Forbes Collection of Toy soldiers. Often the ranges are quite limited and the figures have separate weapons that can be a trick to attach as there are often no obvious attachment points. That is left to you. The limitations of the range are there because the range was often created with a single action in mind - I think of the mid-18th century range in this context with Carillion/Ticonderiga or Fontenoy being obvious contenders. If you needed a specialty figure such as Sgt McCabe of the 31st Foot at Sobroan, then you took the figure that suited the conversion, bent and twisted it a little, glued or more likely soldered on a musket an a flag-pole and off you went.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Up the Chamla with Willie


A WIP of the latest project. 

After spending the last couple of weeks on the HLI, I thought that it was time to pull out the screw gun team that has been patiently waiting on it's turn to be made ready for active duty. The castings were in fair condition, but did take a couple of hours to clean up - one of the joys of using figures that were designed more than 45 years ago. A small problem is that the gun's carriage was short shot and not fully formed in the mould, so I'll be scrounging some plastic card to make good.  

What you see here is the weekends' work. I have another three mules to finish along with a pair of gunners before I can tuck this one safely away. 

The basing is sand on PVA painted with one of the GW "crackle" paints. That's then dry-brushed with a bone shade and topped with three or four different types of grass tuft.

The Order of Battle is now:

The Infantry
The Buffs
The Highland Light infantry
The Seaforths
The Guides Infantry

The Cavalry
The 21st Lancers

The Navy
The Naval Brigade Gatling Guns

I am staking a claim to a Mountain and a Field Battery, some Guides Cavalry, perhaps some Lancers from Bengal and another couple of infantry units.

Then it's Pathans in a big way. Then perhaps a few Mahdists. An Ross, just to tease you a little, some Boers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Buffs (again)

With the Gatling battery and it's merry crew all painted, it was time for the infantry to get some love so I returned to the Buffs who just needed seven more figures to finish them off.

So, with no further ado, here they are sitting on the potting table in the last of the winter sun for the day.

I am not sure if I had gotten up a picture of one of the command staff - he may be Major Pettigrew, he may not, but here he is with his eager ADC.
I am not completely sure, but i think that the next part of the project may be to get through the Highland Light Infantry.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

More Sailors

Forgive the picture quality. Was done in the shed under artificial light very early in the morning!

Still, that's all the Gatlings done and 8 of the 12 Gunners.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Jolly Jack Tars

As you are doubtless aware, the Willie Ranges include a few artillery pieces.

Among them are a Gatling gun with an army crew.

I wanted a navy crew and there are a couple of sailors in the "Farewell Dolly Gray" range - an Officer and a marching rating. I hoped the rating might be a fairly versatile figure I could animate into a few different attitudes with the odd arm bend and turn of the head. Well, the figures arrived in the post this week. I was pretty happy with the rating - he marches, open handed. His rifle could equally be at the trail or in the slope arms pose. So, plenty of potential there. His sennett hat is not really attached to anything other than the crown of his head, so it's quite easy to snip away the brim and drop a blob of greenstuff on top to make a sailor hat. That same lack of attachment makes it easy to gently twist his head gently left or right.

Among the gunners that come with the Gatlings is a nice officer with field glasses who is getting a head transplant so that he may wear a peaked cap instead of a sun helmet.
The army crew will not be wasted. The "gunners" are infantry castings that are intended to be judiciously posed about a gun - yes there is one specialised figure in terms of a seated gunner, but I have plans for him and a 4Ground Wagon. His mates will either join the infantry or be used to crew some Connoisseur Field Guns.

I am organising this force for TSatF and will need three guns and a dozen gunners per battery. Gun 1 gets an Officer and three ratings, Gun 2 a Petty Officer and three ratings and Gun 3 gets four ratings.

One down, two to go.

PS - of course I am now buzzing with possibility. How about a crew for a Boer War 4.7"? I have the guns already... Or a couple of gunners for a light piece mounted hastily in a steamer? Officers to fit the wheelhouse of the HMS Implausible?  A handful of deck-hands. A small Naval Brigade?