Wednesday 29 April 2020

The Ongoing Civil War

It has been a busy week. Last Wednesday was the first day back after my forced holiday and straight into redundancy discussions. 

Saturday was ANZAC Day (our Remembrance Day) and with all the social distancing regulations all remembrance services were cancelled and instead we were asked to stand in silence at our gates at dawn. In out little street of maybe 20 houses I think every household participated. We stood there in silence at 06:00 on a cold morning as the sun rose while from the local Returned Serviceman’s Association hall, maybe a mile and a half away, the notes of the Last Post echoed eerily between the houses. It was a strange yet moving moment.

Between the redundancy talks and ANZAC day I have managed to push through three more ACW units.  First is a Confederate gun set. I really like these plastic gun sets. The variety of poses you can get by mixing and matching arms and bodies is superb and the resulting sets look so natural.

Next is a Confederate infantry unit

And finally a Union regiment from the original Perry plastic set. While this set is excellent, the later sets have just become better and better. I am a huge fan.

Thursday 23 April 2020

Still More ACW Figures

With nothing else in the lead/plastic pile to paint here are two more ACW units.

A Confederate regiment...

And a Union regiment...

And then there is a repeat of a previous post, well not quite a repeat, but these two Argentine battalions for the Great Paraguayan War had to be rebased because their cardboard bases curled up severely. They now stand anchored to some more sturdy plastic bases.

I really want the lockdown to end soon so that more stock (with a bit more variety) can be ordered.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

American Civil War Campaign Turns 2, 3, and 4

Following on from Turn 1 - Spring 1861 of our strategic campaign game of the American Civil War, turns 2 (Summer), 3 (Autumn or Fall) and 4 (Winter) have been completed.

Summer 1861

Reinforced, the Union players planned to strike at Norfolk and in the far west to gain control of Missouri and the Indian Territory. Sadly the army in the east failed to activate, but in the west Missouri was secured.

Similarly reinforced the Confederates retreated back into Arkansas and fortified their frontiers. Some of their ports were fortified, but crucial forces on the south coast failed to fortify.

Kentucky remained neutral and neither side was prepared to break it.

Autumn (Fall) 1861

The Confederates continued fortify while west of the Mississippi they fell back onto Little Rock and dug in.

The Union continued to press forward in the west, occupying the Indian Territory and entering Arkansas. The forces on Cairo and Cincinnati decided to stay put, but in The east the Army of the Potomac attacked Richmond...and was repulsed.

Kentucky remained neutral.

Winter 1861/1862

The Confederates fortified most of the Gulf Coast and held elsewhere.

The Union consolidated their position in the west, occupying most of Arkansas. The Army of the Potomac retreated to Washington.

Kentucky remained neutral.

As winter closed, the attrition calculations found that the Confederates had three more brigades than could be supported by their supply grid and had to eliminate them.

As we enter 1862, Kentucky sides with the Union and reinforcements are due to both sides. What the campaign will the year hold?

Sunday 19 April 2020

Cavalry and Artillery

The American Civil War expansion continues today with the completion of two Union cavalry units and the first of two Confederate gun sets.

First, a small cavalry unit...

Then a normal sized unit...

Both units together...

And the gun set firing...

Monday 13 April 2020

146th New York

Over the years I have built four American Civil War armies.
  • In the early to mid-1970s I had a large Airfix 1/72nd collection
  • In the late-1970s to early 1980s I had a huge 15mm collection.
  • In the early 1990s I built up a very small 25mm Dixon collection
  • In the early 2000s I built up a large 28mm collection, to which I have been adding recently 
In all but the most recent collection I deliberately avoided specialist units such as the Iron Brigade, the Stonewall Brigade, Hood’s Texans or zouaves for that matter. Then when I saw that the Battle in a Box set that I bought a couple of months contained 24 zouave figures, the die was cast that I had to do a couple of units.

The first unit, the 5th New York was posted a week ago (link), but the unit presented here, the 146th New York, is perhaps my favourite American Civil War zouave unit because its uniform is modeled on that of the Tirallieurs Algériens, my favourite unit from the French Second Empire. Strangely the history of this regiment was deeply intertwined with the 5th New York to such an extent that the two regiments could never appear in the same order of battle.

Mustered in October 1862, the regiment was alternatively known as the 5th Oneida Regiment or the Halleck Infantry. It did not enter service in a zouave uniform and in the standard New York State uniform served at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After the latter battle the remnants of the 5th New York were merged with the 146th and the regiment adopted a zouave uniform in June 1863. The regiment went on to fight at Gettysburg, where as a part of Weed’s Brigade it helped defend Little Round Top.

Further honours followed at Williamsport, the Wilderness (where they were all but decimated in Saunders Field), Spotsylvania, North Anna, Totopotomy Creek, Cold Harbour, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, White Oak Ridge, Hatcher's Run and Appomattox.

The regiment was mustered out of service on 16 July 1865.

Saturday 11 April 2020

Confederate Infantry, Union Artillery

So Easter is upon us. What a strange Easter it is this year. In our house it was a quiet Good Friday....a couple of walks around the local park, watching the local family groups fly kites in the brisk southerly breeze, repointing a section of the roof and starting painting a couple of new units.

But in the pantry cupboards something was happening...

...strange there were only two this morning!

Off the painting table have come new units, again using the Perry plastics:

A Confederate infantry regiment

And another Union gun set

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Two More ACW Units

Day fourteen of the lockdown. Technically I’m on holiday...well more a working holiday since I am still on call and three hours of my first “day off” has been at work.

I managed to get out yesterday to the supermarket. While I waited in the queue to get in, respecting social distancing, a young supermarket worker came up to me and asked if I wanted to go to the head of the queue. For the briefest of moments I thought that this was some sort of  “lucky shopper” idea and being the fair minded chap I am, I declined. Then it dawned on me that this was allowing older people into the store more quickly. “My God,” I thought, “do I look that old!...I’m only 61!” Anyway, I did my shopping and was queued at the checkout, when the same chap came to me and took me to a special checkout...this time I didn’t decline. I figure sometimes there is an advantage to having some gray in your beard.

But back to the toys...and completed today are two ACW units...

. ..a Union gun set and...

... the 5th New York infantry, on their temporary base.

Monday 6 April 2020


As day eleven of the lockdown begins I look out my study window while I wait for some massive files to copy from a network drive to a shared drive to a gray day, although it is brightening now. Sadly it looks as though this will mark the end of the golden weather that has prevailed throughout the first ten days of lockdown, with rain and wind forecast for later in the week. Not that we should not be complaining about the arrival of rain because parts of the country are still short of water from the summer drought. But the mild early autumn weather we have had for the last two weeks had certainly made lockdown more bearable and we have been able to get out and walk in the sunshine or catch up with all those chores in the garden. It certainly has made the standing in supermarket queues that run around the full outer boundary of the carpark a better experience that standing in the wind and rain.

We are fortunate where we are in that we have a park near us, built around two large stormwater ponds. Yesterday morning was a stunning - warm, windless and not a cloud in the sky, as these snapshots show.

But while the day is grayer it was significantly brightened when a little after 6:15, as I waited for the laptop to fire up, a courier dropped of a carton of vital supplies.

This should see us through the rest of the scheduled lockdown, although if it extends beyond the end of the month another emergency delivery may be required.

On the painting front, work on the ACW armies continues with two more units completed, but not based, and a number of work interruptions yesterday prevented me from doing anything productive on the ACW Campaign front.

Sunday 5 April 2020

American Civil War Campaign - Turn 1, Spring 1861

The American Civil War strategic game I described a couple of posts ago (link)  has commenced.

Instead of four players per side we had three so one player was seconded to play the dual role of CinC and a field commander. The role of CinC will change at the end of each Winter turn.

While the US CinC had very little latitude in his initial deployment, being required to deploy six brigades in Washington and four brigades each in Cairo and Cincinnati, he did have the option of deploying  another five brigades anywhere in the Union states at his discretion. He chose to deploy three of those five brigades in Washington and one each to Cincinnati and Cairo.

The CS CinC had complete discretion with his thirteen brigades. He chose to four brigades in Richmond, two in Nashville, two in Memphis and five in Northeastern Arkansas.

The US intended to fortify Cincinnati with two brigades and, unwilling to break Kentuckian neutrality, shift three brigades to Cairo, while five brigades from Cairo were to move across the Mississippi to St Louis. In the East the Army of the Potomac was to fortify Washington with three brigades and attack Norfolk with six.

The CS intended to fortify Richmond, defend Tennessee by fortifying Memphis, while the Army of the West would take St Louis. 

So what happened. I rolled successful activations for all but the Army of the Potomac. In Virginia, the Confederates fortified Richmond while in Tennessee they abandoned Nashville and fortified Memphis. The Army of the Cumberland fortified Cincinnati and reinforced Cairo, while the US Army of the Mississippi crossed into Missouri where they met the CS Army the West at St Louis. Since both armies entered Missouri, the local militia was raised and the US and CS gained two brigades each.

In the Battle of St Louis the Confederates were defeated and suffered a loss of one brigade . The US force suffered no loss.

In the next move, Summer 1861, both sides are reinforced, Kentucky remains neutral, movement restrictions are removed and the US gets a navy.

Thursday 2 April 2020

Lockdown Crisis

When I woke up yesterday morning I thought for a moment that the COVID-19 thing might have just been a colossal April Fool’s joke. But alas not so.

Day eight of the lockdown  has dawned as a stunning, sunny autumn morning with barely a breeze, as it has been all week. From my study where I am working I can see neighbours out walking, maintaining social distance of course, and the birds are flitting through the garden searching for worms and bugs. Everything seems blissfully calm and strangely at odds with what is happening on our planet. But today in our household we have a crisis.

It is not a crisis of food or toilet paper, but we have run out of wine.

There certainly isn't a shortage in the country, nor is their panic buying, but no supermarket near us sells alcohol due to licensing restrictions, although approved liqour outlets are open. So her indoors turned up at an approved outlet last week to buy a bottle or three on the understanding that she may have to queue up while only one or two shoppers were allowed in the store at once, which is quite reasonable. When she got there, there is no queue, but a Neanderthal on the door says “ no, you have to order online and pick up at prescribed times.” It would have been really nice if that process had been described  on their website...and five days later it still isn't!

Mercifully a local wine merchant is still shear coincidence an email from him appeared in my inbox as I was still fuming over the Neanderthal’s words. I know number of conspiracy theorists would no tell me that this was no coincidence and it is all a plot by Google and big business to track us and control our purchases, but trust me as long as you keep wearing the aluminium foil skull cap you are perfectly safe. So a dozen bottles were ordered and further stocks, from another supplier, have also been ordered to see us through the lockdown. But they have not arrived! I rang the courier company who told me that they are having to deliver vital supplies I missing something isn’t vital?!!!!

Oh well I have officially clocked off now so its time for a walk around the park in the sunshine. Then maybe time for a Campari and soda before dinner.


The vital supplies have arrived!

Crisis averted!

On the hobby front things have been slow. In part because of the disruption caused by working from home and in part from a desire to preserve some of the lead mountain until there is a little more certainty around ongoing employment. Nonetheless I have completed another two Union dismounted cavalry units. These two, counting twelve figures each, I will count as normal sized units in my vignette based ACW project.

And here are all three units completed so far.

Another nine figures are finished, but I do not have the horse holders for them.