Friday, May 19, 2017

Rorke's Drift Terrain - The Calm Before the Storm

Our Rorke's Drift Terrain is almost complete. The main terrain element still missing is the stone wall that ought to be in the region of the tree with the orange foliage at the top right of the picture.

You may note that the biscuit box retrenchment wall is missing in these photos, as is the mealie redoubt. This is because these features were added during the action and so they will not be there at the start of the game.
 A Zulu's view of the station. The vantage point is the garden of the mission station. I have decided to represent it as an orchard as I have seen it described as both a garden and as an orchard. In game terms it means that any Zulu hiding there can only be hit on a 6!
The front of the hospital. The men at the barricade in front of the porch will form it's garrison.

This section of the barricade was not manned during the fight as it formed an exposed salient in the line. Rather, the men lined the 'dog-leg' barricade to take attackers in enfilade if they tried the porch. Note that any Zulus who make it onto the porch are pretty safe!
And finally we come to a view of the rear of the position seen from from the terraces rising up to the Oskarberg. Note how vulnerable the men at the far barricade are from the rear from any elevation. Note what an intimate space it is. It's a good thing the Zulus are poor shots.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rorke's Drift Terrain Test

I'm preparing to put on a Rorkes' Drift game for some of the lads in the next fortnight and have been putting some terrain together. This was originally meant to be a convention game for Little Wars Melbourne. Sadly, convention was cancelled, so I have decided to put it on as a somewhat lavish game here at home.
Some really excellent Ox Wagons by 4Ground painted by me to resemble Boer carts with green bodywork and  red wheels with the paints just washed on over the MDF which I feel gives a somewhat weathered effect for very little effort. Unlike the movie, the wagons at the station were not tipped over to form barricades. Rather, they were run together with sacks of mealies and biscuit boxes used to cover the gaps between the wheels.
 
The mealie bag walls are made from DAS air-drying clay. I rolled it out, flattened it and then marked in the divisions between the bags. Strips of them are piled up to make lengths of wall 10-15cms long.
On the south side of the station was a rock wall about 2 metres high. I can't think of too many games I have read about that have made much of the difficulty the Zulu's would have had assaulting this wall. I have chosen to give the British a bonus in hand-to-hand combat if they are defending from an elevated position to reflect their advantage.
 This is the so-called well-built kraal. I threw it down from Italeri stone walling. This is a very useful and flexible piece of terrain from this well-regarded manufacturer.
Shewing the basics of the building's I'm making up is the Storehouse. The black walls are 5mm foam-core with the paper soaked off one face and with detail etched in with a sculpting tool. The gable walls of the station were of stone, so I used the 10mm foam-core I had in store. It's chunky and takes etched stone detail really well. I used the same technique for texturing the surface. The base is 3mm MDF which I cut out with my jigsaw and sanded with a block.

More as we get closer to game day.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Action at Chikaboogie Creek

Colonel Lawford had been tasked with the defense of the line of the Chikaboogie Creek.
Map for a table 90cm x 150cm
He had three regiments of infantry (the usual suspects - the 5th Alabama, the 1st Texas and the 9th Virginia) and a pair of guns.

A note on terrain: The Chikaboogie is a middling body of water crossed by a stone bridge. It is fordable east of the bridge. North of the river is the small hamlet of Mooresville which itself nestles in a small valley in the Black hills. The Northern side of the town is much encumbered by stone agricultural enclosures that form an obstacle to the free movement of infantry.

On the Southern side of the river, the land rises gently in a series of low terraces that are not an impedient to movement but do allow artillery to fire over the heads of infantry.

His orders are to prevent the Union from forcing the passage of the creek to defend the approaches to Greggton to the South.

Brigadier-General Guildenstern has four Union Regiments and a pair of guns. His orders are to take the bridge at Mooresville. He has determined that the best means of doing that would be to take possession of the heights to the South of the creek. He will attempt to do this by pushing two regiments through the town and over the bridge. His other two will ford the river and attempt to turn the Rebels out of their position.

Lawford has determined that he will put two of his regiments forward to defend the bridge while keeping his third in reserve. His artillery he will retain in the rear on the heights to keep good fields of fire.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Franco-Prussian Frenzy

I was very lucky today.

I was poking about on eBay and stumbled across a smallish collection of 25mm Tradition FPW figures. Imagine my surprise on looking at them closely (for they are very well-painted) and noticing they were painted by Stuart Asquith.

Well, considering it's my birthday, I could not really turn them down, could I? All I need now is to come up with rules for ten-figure units. A mere bagatelle, surely?

And here they are, a few pics (not the whole collection) that I nicked off eBay.
Bavarians
French Line
Thuringian Infantry
Tirailleurs Algeriens
Zouaves
I do like the fact that Stuart has supplemented the very limited Tradition FPW range by a few judicious additions from their WW1 range. Looking carefully at the figures (of which I already have some here) I think it might be possible to make up some Chasseurs d'Afrique out of their ACW cavalry, perhaps while also using some Union gunners to man the French Artillery. I love making do with old ranges - stretches the imagination and makes you really look deeply at what is available. Now, I wonder if the Scruby 25mms are compatible..?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Back on the Wagon

Now, despite the small setback of a few weeks ago, you might all be thinking I have been sitting here on my bottom having a jolly good sulk. tempting though self-pity has been, I have decided that onward is better than funk, so I have gotten on with a few projects.

In no particular order then, a Great War project using Emhar figures - and maybe some Revell ones if they emerge from the stash at some timely point. To date this consists of a pair of guns, a lumbering great A7V behemoth and about 40 infantry and gun crew; all Germans so far, although a number of British are waiting in the wings. as are a trio of Whippet tanks. This project has all been done in glorious 1/72 plastic which - as you will see - has been a bit of a theme with me.. This has been one of those neat little projects that has been put together purely out of the stash with nothing additional bought.

 Next I have started what I think may be the creation of a fairly ambitious army of Sumerians. Sumerians? Take a look here. Anyway, I have so far got 24-figure phalanxes for Lagash and Ur each painted up with another three planned and an option on more. Two units of skirmishers have also been completed and I am contemplating the first squadron of three chariots. All by HaT. Not quite out of the stash, but by heaven they are long daydreamed of.

As of today, though, I have been working on my Littler Briton's project which longer readers of this blog will doubtless remember. Having been spurred on by the rediscovery of some forgotten part-painted figures I have gotten on and painted a dozen British infantry and a few Gurkha's. My intention is to use them for some gridded war games per Bob Corderey's rules and as demonstrated so ably by Ross MacFarlane. As well as this, I wish to use them for some Wellsian games both on the floor and in the garden using some rules written up by Stuart Asquith by way of Donald Featherstone. Enough name dropping, eh? Just get on with it. Nearly there. Just need a few more cavalry.

I understand that without pictures this is all just words, so I'll try to take a few photos and post them up here soon.
The Shape of Things to Come?
And lastly, to return to where I began, yesterday the postman delivered two bags of RSM castings from the US which will in the fullness of time become the ersatz IR5 and II/IR6. I set the grenadiers up  on the kitchen table and they look pretty damn good to me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Verlorene Soldaten

To my unexpectedly very great distress, I have managed to lose a large chunk of one of my core armies. This has been the result of the very great disorder attendant upon our home renovations. It's absolutely bloody comical on one level, but I'm completely distraught on another. And it's not even the money they cost but the sheer investment of time and effort to get them to this place. I just cannot believe it.
Poof, gone. The French artillery.
 CR#5

 FR#35
 GR2
 GR2 bis
 HR1 and HR5
 IR#1
 IR#5
 FR#40
 IR#48
 The Saxon LeibGrenadierGarde
 von Bruhls' Foot
 The entire goddam artillery park!
Whatever will the King say?

UPDATE - he'll say, you forgot to mention IR#13 and the von Kleist Croats, idiot!