Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Little Wars Pictures

That's my troops in the left background. My Nemesis is in the foreground. The figures are mainly by Eureka.
The enemy's left flank. I accounted for their chariotry easily enough, but his skirmisers (en bloc!) nailed me in the end. I was amazingly lucky to survive under their massed fire for as long as I did.

Eye candy! Eureka carts going into the fortress to escape the onrush of the battle lines! Lovely fortress; I'm assured that this is nothing compared to the one they left at home.

I never got to see this game get unserway. The figures were all from the Eureka Pax Limpopo range. I love the steam-boats! Extremely nicely painted bits of kit.

Amazing Tower of Isengard with squadrons of minis. Brilliant!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Little Wars 2008

I went to the inaugural “Little Wars” show in Melbourne yesterday.

It’s a new event promoted in part by Eureka Miniatures as being aimed at getting gamers in touch with each other.

It certainly did that for me!

The venue was the German Club Tivoli in Windsor. I got through a liter of beer and a plate of rindsroulade mit dumpling despite the rather eccentric catering arrangements!

There were a good few games on. I noted a very impressive “Ring of Isengard” LoTR game that featured a colossal Isengard tower that must have been more than one-and-a-half meters high; this very much impressed the Duchess of Alzheim.

I played in a Sumerian Game – Water Wars with some very nicely painted Eureka Sumerians. It was also my first introduction to the Armati rules; all I can say is we may have done better at rolling for initiative at the start of each turn! As it was, my ability to roll a six with unerring accuracy at most other times kept my chariotry alive under an absolute hailstorm of missile fire for far longer than I deserved!

I picked up a few nice items both from the traders and from the Bring and Buy. Pride of place goes to my English Language edition of Engelmann and Dorns’ volume on Frederician Infantry Uniforms. Apparently all I need do now is track down the companion volume on the Cavalry and I’ve got it made… I picked up a large mixed bag of Castaway Arts oddments which will feed various projects nicely and I was pleased to come across a copy of the WRG 1685-1815 rules for a fiver.

I laid my hands on a copy of the League of Augsburg’s’ “Beneath the Lily Banner” rules for the 1660-1720 period and am now retrospectively very glad I never sold my old Essex figures after all!

Finally, I picked up a sample pack of Eureka’s’ new Saxons – not the tricorne era ones, but chaps from a far darker age. Very nice and they will give Gripping Beast a run, I think. Review to follow in the next few days.

I was very pleased to be able to spend some time chatting to Gerry from Castaway and Nic from Eureka and to bump into Maurice from the Old School Yahoo group. It’s such a shame he no longer seems to post there – he always was worth reading when he posted! Gerry showed me some newly cast command for his Colonial range – I noted British, Ghurkha and Bengal Lancer Command – so there’s a lot to look forward to from our Australian manufacturers – take note!

I’ll upload a few pictures this evening.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's all this Defense of Melbourne stuff, then, eh?

In the comments to my last post Jeff asked for a little more information on the "Grand Plan" for the Defense of Melbourne.

The DoM is pretty much my major project for this year. It's taking about 80% of my hobby time. The remaining 20% is turned over to little bits and pieces that I will take on as a break from the main project. It's the culmination of more than a decades' general interest in the colonial defences of what was the Colony of Victoria as well as more focussed efforts on over the past three years.

In the past six months I stumbled across some other gentlemen from Canberra who shared my interest in Australias' pre-Federation defense forces and together we have been working toward a fairly large demonstration game for CanCon which takes place in Canberra over the Australia Day long weekend.

The game will involve a Russian Amphibious assault on Fort Nepean, one of the cluster of Fortifications that defended the Heads of Port Phillip Bay, at the north end of which stands the City of Melbourne with seven millions of Sterling in the bank; a tempting prize for any raider!

It's 1887, and Britain and Russia are at War.

Russia has decided to strike a blow at the Prestige of the Empire and has decided that units of her Pacific Fleet will embark troops and raid the coastal cities of Australia.

The local defenders have been listening with rapt attention to news of the War Scare from Home when, of a sudden, the telegraph cable goes silent. It is Easter and the Militia are already enbodied and at their encampment on the Mornington Peninsula when the Russian attack falls!

Can the defences at Point Nepean hold while a relief column rushes to it's aid? Will the Fort's guns be silenced so a Russian Cruiser Squadron may raid up the Bay?

Who can tell?

That's the general idea. We're constructing a three metre by one metre model of the fort, models of a Russian cruiser and torpedo boat, a Victorian Monitor, a gunboat and spar torpedo boat (I want the model boats to be on tea trolleys, circling the main display... we'll see). The Victorians will have 30-40 figures at the fort and another 100 or so marching to it's relief. The Russians will be attacking with Huge amounts of Infantry, Machine Guns, artillery and the obligatory cossacks.

Rules will be The Sword and the Flame.

I think we are aiming pretty high for this game, but we have more than adequate research resources, the figures are pretty well all sourced. We are in the process of scratch-building the warships, and I am in the fortunate position of not having to build the fort - although i'll be providing sundry barracks blocks &c!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Introducing... The Colonel

There he is, freshly varnished, the Colonel of my 1st (West Melbourne) Battalion of the Infantry Brigade of the Victorian Military Forces.
He's a conversion of this cavalry casting - a head-swap from an infantryman and a gauntletted right arm built up from greenstuff on a paperclip armature. Oh, I also spent ages getting a HUGE moustache to adhere to his top lip.
I think he looks a bit like the illustration from the TVAG (google it) website! and none the worse for that.

Here he is giving orders to his ADC, Capt. Smedley. Young Smedley looks delighted to have a CO at last.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Quickie for Fitz

I finished off my Victorian ADC tonight. This shot of him is as he was just after getting the coat of matt varnish that goes over the initial coat of gloss I put on.

You'll remember that originally he was basically a hussar with neither head nor right arm.

His new head comes from a spare infantryman, whilst I sculpted his arm from a coil of greenstuff which I wound around an armature made from a bit if bent paperclip that I superglued into his shoulder.

The only tricky bit was sculpting his hand as it wobbled about on the wrist with a millimetre or so of wire poking ot of it as a kind of wrist. I only hinted at the lace detail on the cuff, knowing that I'd paint it on later.

Obviouslly he still needs basing. I'm probably going to use 1mm thick plastic card in a blobby, rounded, "no shape" shape to harmonise with the coins I'm using for the Infantry.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Loose Ends and Norman Nonsense

I've been painting away at lots of "Victorian" infantry the past few weeks and now have more than fifty of them lined up, ready to go, but the TSaTF rules need a batallion to be commanded by a mounted Officer. Now, sadly, the HLBS range never had any mounted Infantry command, so I have have had to improvise somewhat.

Fortunately I had surplus one Line Cavalryman and one Hussar who I thought would make a splendid "Colonel" and a glittering "ADC". So, it was out with the razor saw, a quick zip-zip and off with their heads. I had a pair of infantry colour-bearers going spare, so took their bally heads off and hey presto!

Neither figure has a right arm; the originals were sword arms, and I have no suitable substitutes. I have decided on a tentative venture into the world of sculpting and will create my own.
To have a small break from the Nineteenth Century, I have taken a brief trip back down the time tunnel to both the Eighteenth Century, at last painting the last of the Stadden Command figures for my Prussian Fusilieer Regiment Number 35 per the tip from der Alte Fritz. They look very satisfying and go extremely well with the RSM Fusilieers.

Oh, if only Stadden had done some Austrians!
Finally, some while ago I took delivery of some few Mirliton Normans. I am intending to use Norman figures as the basis of a First-to-Second Crusade Army, and started painting them last night. They are no better than "average" being very stiffly animated, but I'll see how I go. I'm looking about for decent Norman or Crusader figures, but haven't really seen anything I really like at the moment. I don't mind the look of the Black Tree Design ones, and I quite like the Perrys' take on the First Crusade.

Does anyone have any recommendations? My basic criteria are realistic anatomy and good horses.