Tuesday 29 December 2020

A Bit of a Distraction

A couple of weeks ago an email appeared in my inbox from the Perrys announcing that they have released the first nine codes of a new Prussian 1806 range. That period of the Napoleonic Wars has always appealed to me and I know that to my inner magpie inner magpie this is going to prove irresistible. But the issue for me is the opposition, because no one in our group has 1805-1807 French. Then I remembered that Victrix have an infantry set in plastic and there us a local supplier (albeit at a significantly higher price that ordering from Caliver Books). Since the lead/plastic pile had been flattened and more stock not expected for at least another two or three weeks, on the spur of the moment an order. 

Then to my annoyance I noticed that the Perrys make a few sets in metal and they also make replacement heads for their 1807-1812 plastic sets. How did I miss that? I would have preferred the Perry figures because their real advantage is that most of them are in the march attack pose which tend to damage less by handling, whereas the Victrix figures have a high proportion of figures in more fragile poses. But the Victrix box was here within a day so I was able to at least start the project. Surprisingly I was able to create this first battalion all in march attack. 

Over the holiday break I continued Civil War rebasing project continued and another nine regiments were completed: eight Union regiments (three shown below) and one more Confederate. This leaves another five Union and six Confederate units to go.

Monday 21 December 2020

Last Game for 2020?

Yesterday (Sunday) while large parts of the globe are facing a worsening situation with COVID-19 seven of us got together on a hot and sunny day to play what could well be our last game for 2020 - a War of 1812 game.

Set somewhere in upstate New York stood a small town of significance because it held a good supply of grain. The place was guarded by a brigade of militia with a n antiquated gun. The town itself was protected by a blockhouse (with a touch of irony the game was played in the Auckland suburb of Blockhouse Bay about 800 meters away from the site of a blockhouse built during the New Zealand War in 1860 to protect the portage track between the east and west harbours of the modern city).

Intent of securing the grain the British mounted an expeditionary force of four brigades (19 battalions and four batteries) of regulars and Canadian militia. Upon hearing of the size of the approaching British force the militia commander called on four nearby regular brigades (14 battalions and 4 batteries) for help.

The British would arrive on the table in the position marked on the map on turn 1. The Americans would bring one column on turn 1 and the other on turn three. In the woods were five units of Indians, two allied the Americans and two to the British. The allegiance of a fifth Indian unit will be determined when contacted by rolling 1xD6 (456 British, 123 American).

The advance started slowly with the British working their way forward slowly, feeling out the woods as they went. They soon contacted a group of American allied Indians that roughly handled one battalion before they were shot to pieces by two converging British units. Then the second American allied unit was found. It too what defeated and sent packing, but not before it had delayed the British infantry for three turns. Meanwhile in the other wood the British found two of their own allied Indian groups and then when the found the fifth, it allied itself to them too.

The action started in front of the fort with the old gun popping away at the British, but doing little damage. Unknown to the militia commander the gun had the potential to burst after three shots and although it failed to burst, disaster struck the militia when a shot from a British howitzer set fire to the blockhouse and the militiamen failed to extinguish the flames. The fire quickly blazed out of control and the place was abandoned.

Meanwhile the Americans formed their main line perpendicular to the town intend in drawing the British on to them, using the militia (as the regulars delightfully described it) as “the speed bump to slow the British advance”.

The British infiltrated the woods opposite the town, but when they came to the edge found an American brigade drawn up facing them and were unwilling to exit the woods in the face of this force. One of the US regiments entered the woods to try to force the issue, but only got itself embroiled into an inconclusive fight that lasted for the rest of the game.

The British were now compelled to funnel themselves between the woods but soon found that the US artillery dominated the ground and although some battalions managed to make some initial headway against the militia, when one of the British brigades fell apart the game was up and they were obliged to concede.

It was a pleasant way to spend a lazy Sunday.

Friday 18 December 2020

American Civil War Rebasing

Well the rebasing of the Civil War armies is progressing well. The cavalry for both sides is completed, one brigade of four regiments each.

Also based is a brigade of five Confederate infantry regiments (with the VMI cadets front right).

I am really pleased with the result. Maybe over the Christmas break I will get them all finished and have a parade...or maybe even a game!

Friday 11 December 2020

Confederate Cavalry

The focus on the Great Paraguayan War armies since July has paused work on the American Civil War armies that had dominated hobby activities for the first half of the year. But with the last order I sneaked in a box of cavalry to create these two Confederate cavalry regiments: a small unit and a tiny one.

My earlier experiment using units on single bases has been largely abandoned (except for the tiny units). Since my lead/plastic pile is now flattened I have some time to take the the ACW figures off their temporary bases and fix them permanently. There are still a few dismounted cavalry figures to come to complete this project - probably some time early next year.

I have also been painting a few buildings for a friend. They have been a welcome distraction.

Sunday 6 December 2020


The majority actions of the Great Paraguayan War were fought along the Paraná, Uruguay and Paraguay Rivers and significant parts of those waterways were surrounded by a web of swamps and marshes. Now long term I plan to make terrain tiles that incorporate swampy areas, but my terrain tile project is on hold until I can sort out storage in the garage, and that is dependent on constructing some storage in the garden for the garden tools and lawnmower and that is dependent on replacing the back fence and that can’t be done until the anti-bird nets are removed from the blueberries...and that won’t happen until at late-February, probably into March. So I needed to make some swamps that will sit on top of the table and I undertook to make a trial piece.

Like my woods pieces I want these swamps to be muti-purpose - able to be used in many theatres - with interchangeable pieces, some with palm trees and some with other types of vegetation and with the interchangeable pieces held in place by magnets. Again I chose to use 3mm MDF to make the first trial piece from and I clamped two 240mm squares and cut out the basic shape. Then from the top piece I cut out the swamp areas, leaving the outer edge as a sort of bank and leaving a few “islands”. Then I cut out the inserts and glued the top layer to the base

When the glue was set I took a rasp to the outer edges to bevel them and the coated the whole area that was not going to represent water with coarse sand and then pointed it various tones of brown and green and added a number of twigs as fallen logs. Then the water effect was added, followed by grass tufts and   clumped foliage. Then the interchangeable pieces were made.

And the final result...

As a subtropical swamp...

...with one of the interchangeable pieces swapped out...

...and as a non-subtropical swamp, minus the palm trees and shot on a sunnier day, maybe in the Mississippi Bayou, or the Carolina coast for the American Civil War, War of 1812 or the Revolution.

I am really pleased with the way the trial peice came out and there will be two more pieces like this that will link together or will be able to be used independent of each other.