Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Present

On this penultimate day, I thought I might share with you all a small project I've been working on.

My nephew told me he wanted some toy soldiers for Christmas, so after deciding on a subject, I pulled out a box of Revell US Marines and a pair of old Armourfast Shermans and got to work.

About ten hours of painting later....

C'mon, get off the beach!

The whole darn thing
Some white star decals would have been nice..!
I have to admit, I nearly offered him $40 instead... Yet, I suppose I still have another box or two of them floating about still.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Terain Tiles

The past six weeks or so has seen me go off on a lengthy terrain-building project.

It all came about when we decided we would put on a Rorke's Drift game next year and I realised I had no really suitable terrain for it.

Casting my net wide I found a good article on the Matakishi's Tea House website (warning, it has so many good ideas that you are almost certain to be pulled off onto one hobby tangent or another) where he described in detail how he made a durable terrain tile system from cork flooring tiles.

I went to the local hardware store and bought a small stock of tiles and got to work with PVA to laminate them together in pairs to produce the basic tiles.

More pictures of them can be found in recent posts on the Fugitives' Drift game. In their basic form they looked pretty good and would make decent arid terrain, but pictures from the area around Rourke's Drift show quite a verdant scene.

Besides, I wanted the tiles to be useful for my Seven Years' War games and to work with the drop-on Built Up Areas that I put together last April.

Ebay has many vendors of cheap paper-backed grass matting so off I went and bought a few 50 x 50 cm sheets. Each of these serves to dress two tiles - one whole one and a few partials that I can fit to the leftover areas of the sheet. So, again it's out with the watered down PVA and the four-inch brush. Once glued on they get weighted down overnight between a  couple of doors (the "Terrain press"!) then cut and trimmed next morning.

It's early days so far, but from what I can see, this is a good-looking and remarkably flexible system.
Yep. That's the Karate Kid.
Each contour is about 12mm
A bit of blue cellophane and you've got a river

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Whistling Dixie

 Spencer Smith ACW.
This might carry me through the next couple of years, I think.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


I had a few Holger Ericsson figures floating about so I decided to use them to create a small unit of Jager modeled on some in the possession of Stokes. Just eighteen figures but just right in my view.

Not entirely sure, but they will probably join the Duchy of Alzheim Army with an option on that of the Kingdom of the Czechs of which more anon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Flight to Fugitives’ Drift - Rules

I won't pretend these are definitive, but they are my latest working copy.

The Flight to Fugitives’ Drift

British troops deploy at one end of the table at the bottom of the valley (see diagram). The 'valley' represents the Fugitives' Trail. At the beginning of every move the British player must throw 1D6. That is the number of British figures you may place in the British Entry Zone. Another 1D6 will tell you the number of turns for which that group may fire before exhausting their ammunition supply.

In the case case of the Zulu Player, both long edges of the table are divided into six 30cm wide Zulu Entry Zones. Zulu warriors may enter any of these zones (except for that adjacent to the British Entry area) as the British soldiers move down Fugitives' Trail. To enter the first zone, the Zulu player must throw a 6, the second, a 5 or a 6, the third, a 4, 5 or 6 and so on. If they enter, then a further D6 must be rolled for the number of warriors who may enter from each side, each side being diced for separately. The zones are activated as the British player crosses the boundary between each successive Zulu Entry Zone. Once activated, Zulu Zones continue to admit more warriors per turn as diced for on each subsequent move.

In a turn a player can activate all their units and undertake the following actions:

Move, Shoot, Close Combat
  • All movement is 8 inches.
  • Zulus may only Move or Shoot, Europeans may move 4” and shoot.

  • Shooting is done at 1 die per figure.
  • Regulars need to roll a 4-6 at targets nearer than 10" to his and 5-6 at longer ranges. There is no maximum range.
  • Zulus need to roll a 6 no matter the range to hit.
  • Officer Pistols have a maximum range of 4” and may be fired twice per move.
  • -1 on dice rolls if target is behind cover or has moved on the Move phase.

Close Combat
Takes place at the end of a players turn. Resolved using opposed dice rolls. Loser is killed or wounded. Ties ‘rebound’ figures 1”.

Close Combat Factors
  • Key figures (Officers, NCOs)                           +1
  • Infantryman                                                       +1

Not to scale and not 100% accurate, but...

Monday, August 08, 2016

The Long Road to Fugitives' Drift - 2nd Playtest

Over the course of this weekend, I play-tested the 'Fugitives' Drift' game a couple of times. The first time I learned a lesson or two which I applied to the second - primarily it was about British strength and to remember that the British were meant to be fleeing and not fighting! The scenario was pretty much as posted in my previous. I'll post up the rules I used soon. They are basically a one-page convention set that we have been using and modding up for the past 7 years. The current version has been re-jigged for the Zulu wars as a grand skirmish set.

 The 24 British soldiers start in the centre of the short edge of the table whilst two units, each of 10 Zulus come from each side.
It's a long Road to Fugitives' Drift
 The game was played down the length of a 3' by 6' table. Each cork tile is 12" square and represents a Zulu Deployment area.
The Zulu Leader - The Fat Induna
The first couple of moves saw the British moving in steady 4" moves down the table. Their fire was particularly effective at this point, killing 13 Zulu figures in the first move and another 11 in the second. The Zulus attempted to form large units bu mobbing up the units that were coming on as the British moved into the second 'Zone" of the table.
Zulu Reinforcements
 Poor initial rolls for reinforcement allied with the slow British advance meant that Zulu numbers were initially quite low.
More 'reinforcements'
 The British have taken no casualties at this point. The British player, seeing an opportunity took his next two moves as full 8" moves with no opportunity to fire. The Zulus continued to bring on only moderate amounts of reinforcements, however, the further unit id Zulus was starting to wax dangerously large, reaching 17 figures by the end of the fourth move.

 The British reverted to shot moves to allow some firing
 It was effective
 But it did seem the Zulus had a plan.
 A cunning plan.
 Although the British continued to move/fire, they were far enough down the table thatthe Zulus were now able to get substantial numbers of figures onto the table. The British lost heavily in their first round of HtH and never really recovered.
The last of the 24th succumb...
As British numbers waned, those of the Zulus waxed mightily and although they displayed all the pluck in the world, it was no match for the now massively outnumbering Zulus who enveloped them from all sides.
Only a few men survived to tell the sad tale . As to the fate of the rest of the 24th, perhaps it is kindest to simply draw a curtain...

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Fugitives' Drift

Just a brief follow up from my last post.

Here's how I'd do the nuts and bolt of a Fugitives' Drift skirmish game.

Quite a small table, say 3-4 feet by about 6 feet long. 20 assorted British figures have to get to the Drift. Game would be played down the length of the table. Aim is to get as many Brits off the far edge as possible. 

Zulus would enter from each table side as the game progresses. I imagine half a dozen entry points on each side that would activate as the retreating figures 'trip' them by entering each successive zone. Randomised numbers of Zulus then enter 1D6 per entry point. Except for the first where 10 Zulus enter from each of their table edges.

Give two of the British figures superior HtH stats to act as line-breakers.

The Zulus would move slightly faster than the British, or would having to engage in HtH slow them down enough?

What do you think? 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Isandalwana - a few thoughts should I ever do it as a Convention game.

This post is more a note to myself in case I ever need to go back to this. It's been inspired by the reading I have done around Rorkes' Drift. Apologies if it bores anyone, but this is more so I can get my own thoughts in order.

Rough OOB:

No 2 Column
Natal Native Horse - 25 Figs
Natal Native Contingent - 24 Figs

No 3 Column

Battery represented by 1 gun.
1st-2nd/24th Regiment of Foot - 80 figs
'Colonial' Cavalry and MI - 6 figs
Natal Native Contingent - 80 Figs
Throw in a handful of figures for Engineers, cooks, camp followers and so on.
About 200 figures in total.
Need at least 300 Zulus with casualty recycling.
Note i have dispensed with Durnfords' artillery and the rocket troughs. They had no effect on the battle and seemed pretty derisory to me anyway.
If ever this all came onto the table, I would picture a game of three parts:
1. The engagement and overwhelming of the firing line, which is where the OOB above would come into play. Since throwing down that OOB, I have learned that only half the infantry were in the firing lines as the rest were packing the camp up. Perhaps as few as 50 men per company. Maybe 300 infantry in the line Companies in total.
It'd look something like this.

2. The life-or-death struggle in the Camp. The remaining half of the infantry plus supernumerary figures fighting back-to back in a large skirmish game among tents and wagons. The goal would be to attempt to defend the camp or failing that to exit in good order towards Fugitives' Drift. Defenders ought to be outnumbered by three-to-one prima facie with casualty recycling.
3. The pursuit to Fugitives' Drift. 10-20 assorted British figures. Game would be played down the length of the table. Aim is to get as many Brits off the far edge as possible. Zulus would enter from each table side as the game progresses. I imagine four entry points on each side that would activate as the retreating figures 'trip' them by mofing parallel to them. Randomised numbers of Zulus then enter - perhaps 2D6 per entry point.
#1 would be a large scale game. #2 and #3 would be large and small skirmishes respectively.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Tough Day on the Firing Line, Zululamnd 1879

 Stadden Zulu War British.
24 down and 24 to go.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Stumped! Or, the value of older, overlooked books.

The tricky (troubling, challenging... pick a word) part of building such obscurities as the Brandenburg and Swedish armies is of course references.

I have managed to develop what seem to me pretty fair visual references for Brandenburger flags and uniforms; the Swedes are a more difficult proposition. The only decent volume I know of (Scanian War 1675-1679 Colours and Uniforms. Lars-Eric Höglund) seems not to be in print at the moment and is only available at ruinous prices on the secondary market. Oh well! What to do? Surely one can't go too far wrong with blue coats and yellow facings, right? Right?
Kannick - image pinched from Barry Hiltons' Blog.
Idle fancy took me to Kannick last night, and as I stook there in the shedio*,  gazing at the one plate of any use, my eye fell upon my copy of Knoetel, Knoetel and Seig. Well, duh. Of course. I opened it, flipped quickly to page 414 and there it was, a list of coat and turnback colours for the Swedish Army circa 1675.

Not a single blue coat with yellow facings to be seen, but at least a couple with blue-faced-red.

It's a start.

*Yes, the Shed-cum-studio is finished. It's slightly magnificent and I couldn't be happier with it. Pictures to follow in another post.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Painted Samples

Junior Officer, Pikemen and Senior Officer of the Leib Garde

Pikeman of the Kurfurstins' Regiment

Some rather hypothetical Swedes!
Painted wet-on-wet with some washes and layering.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Project for 2016-2017

More important politically than militarily, the Battle ofFehrbellin (June 18, 1675) will be the focus of a new project here in the Duchy of Alzheim.

Pinched from Wikipedia
I have admired for quite a while the Willie late 17th Century figures (Monmouths’ Rebellion, Tangier and so on…) and had been looking for an excuse to paint some up. This will be the excuse!
Pitting a well-balanced Swedish force which is attempting an orderly withdrawal under pressure against a Brandenburg army which is mostly cavalry, it is an interesting battle between two small armies of differing capabilities.

The Brandenburg army was somewhere in the region of 30 Squadrons of horse, slightly more than a regiment of Dragoons, 1350 infantry drawn from various regiments and 14 guns. The Swedes disposed of a similarly sized force but with a better balance between infantry and cavalry as well as a marked superiority in artillery. I do not have a precise breakdown of the Swedish force so I shall guesstimate somewhere in the region of twenty squadrons and about 2400 infantry along with 25 guns.

I will be using the Beneath the Lily Banner (2nd Ed) rules which seem pretty well right for the fight. For those of you who are not familiar with them, in BtLB2 an infantry unit is three stands of six figures. Another smaller stand of pike may be added  (decoratively and as a designator) behind the central stand for nations other than the Swedes. For the Swedes, the Pike are considered to be a part of the central stand. A squadron of horse is represented by a single stand of 2-3 figures.

What does this mean for me? If I went for a representation of each unit involved, then for the Brandenburgers I would be putting two units of foot (say the equivalent of two 600+ man battalions) on the table and 30 squadrons of horse as well as 2-3 guns on the table. The Swedes would get in the region of 5-6 units of infantry, 25 Squadrons and 5-6 guns. Were I to bathtub things, I would reduce the numbers of units by half and plan my ground scale accordingly.

Now, if anyone was able to get me Swedish Uniform and Flag references as well as a decent Swedish OOB for the battle, I’d have it made!

Pictures as I paint figures will be forthcoming.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Bit of an Idea for a Late 17th Century Regiment of Foot

Consider if you will the following:

       N         P P P P P         N

M = Musketeer
P = Pikeman
O = Officer
E = Ensign
D = Drummer
G = Grenadier

I'd base the musketeers on 4, six figure bases and the pike block on a single base. The grenadiers would be off on their own ready to be stuck in some Folorn Hope.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Heckenfeur - It's on us; real world consequences's-on-us:-the-real-world-consequences-of-our-politics/7375436

Now, under the Australian asylum seeker regime someone's gone and actually doused himself with petrol. And burned himself to death.

So proud of my country. So very proud.

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wither Wargaming?

Some news.

 There is a bit of a building project afoot at chez moi.
The end result will be along the lines of a three metre by six metre studio-cum-man-cave for yours truly.

I am reasonably secure in the knowlege that this will only take a minimum of pruning (especially of books and plastic kits of various kinds!) and I ought to then be shoe-horned into a reasonable space with everything in the one place. I have dreams of a reading chair, a lamp and a kettle.

Until now, the greatest barrier to my fully exploiting the possibilities of the hobby has been the lack of a place where I might actually have a game or leave one set up for a few days, so, the fingers are crossed.

Now I might actually have to have some sort of a game with all these toy soldier thingies I keep on buying!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Da Wallz Uv Mektown

What's a GorkaMorka game without some big, orky-looking terrain?

Da Wallz Uv MekTown
A chum and I are preparing slowly for a GorkaMorka demo game at the end of May for Little Wars, Melbourne.

Not to give too much away, but we are looking at getting a tanker Trukk full of XXXX Fungus Beer (Old Toady qv) from Da BrooHaus to Mektown along a rolling track with 2-3 factions attacking to win the prize of bringing 'er 'ome for Da Big Wun; look, let's just say it's one huge Orky Kultcharal Festivul and leave it at dat.

Like Orktoberfest, but wiv more Gunz.

Anyway, here are the fruits of my labours on the weekend with corrugated cardboard, masking tape, gloopy glue, paint, water and plaster powder. The result seems pretty robust and just needs a lick of paint.

Job's a good 'un. But does it need spikes? The question of our age.

UPDATE - Oh what the heck, let me inundate you with Orky imagery.
A few uv da Boyz. Groink!

Trukks wiv Boarding Plankz. Raaarrrrrr!

Trukkz wiv Roll Cagez - an unushual vencha in OH&S for da Ladz

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

French Line Gunners - Foremost

Will I sound self-satisfied if I remark that I am very pleased with how these fellows turned out?

I suppose I need a gun, now.

Next up, I'll be starting work on some RHA. Already cleaned and primed.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Foremost Gunners - WiP

Hinchcliffe/Foremost Gunners.

These are rather nice figures and not incompatible with the Bicornes in the last post. Perhaps just a smidge taller. That's mostly due to the height of the bases though. heir anatomy is fairly natural and the sculpting simple, but not to the point of naivety. I do like the combination of smooth surfaces and shrply-incised detail which works well with washes. Likewise, I am very enamoured with the ability to add 7-8 figures to a single gun crew.


These miniatures are currently drying out their intermediate matt varnish coats in this picture. I often apply varnish to miniatures in the middle of the painting process if I think the paintwork will need protecting as the show goes on.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Help Me; I'm painting Napoleonics!

Well. at the Duchy of Alzheim we are busy packing things up as our renovations seem likely to re-commence next week. This is a good thing as it will render us with a more civilized amount of that unutterable luxury - more living space. In my personal case this will also mean a dedicated hobby space that I have taken to calling a 'shedio' - part shed, part studio and wholly man cave.

However, before this is to happen, current hobby activities need to be reduced to the size of a paining tray again and so I am now just painting - in dribs and drabs - just a few Napoleonics.This isn't really a problem as I am deciding on a few long term projects at the moment and deciding whether I can face painting a few hundred fairly gaudy troops will be a deciding factor. And just to complicate matters a little, I seem unable to choose between Spain and Egypt and so am plumping for both. I also am entertaining a horrible suspicion (based on starting to re-read Marbot) that I may also get stuck with the French and Austrians in italy in the 1790s.

Anyway, that's another kettle of fish and I have hopes of some inter-operability at least among the cavalry and the guns.

Here's today's issue. What's wrong with this picture? I started painting the line infantryman on the left initially thinking he's an elite company bod. Look at that plume! A Voltigeur, surely. Then I noticed he's got no epaulets. Uhh. Ok. A fusilier then. The chamois collar became red. That's right, I thought. But then there is that plume. Did they wear them? I always was under the impression that he ought to have a pom-pom (I'm thinking of the 6-company structure...). His shako is rigged for full dress, though, so perhaps a plume is plausible?

Then there's the officer. Is his plume OK if he's with the light company? Or ought it be white?

This is what Napoleonics do to a man.

The figures themselves are Bicorne and lovely. The officer was very easy to paint, the fusileer less so due to his strapping nature, but we got there in the end. Each took a painting session each to get through. More have been purchased.

Next up are some Formost 30mm Line gunners which look very dishy - technically for 1812 on, but I won't tell if you don't.