Sunday 28 March 2021

At Last...A Game...

With the last two attempts to get together for a game foiled by local COVID lockdowns, today we managed to get together for a game. 

The setting is in Spain in 1837 with the Isabellino forces taking on the Carlists.

The setting was that four battalions of French Foreign Legion and five of the British Legion, supported by cavalry and artillery were bottled up in a village with a river to their back over which the bridge had been destroyed. Three brigades of Carlist infantry and two cavalry brigades were closing in, but help, in the form of three brigades of Isabellino troops were on their way.  Those Isabellino reinforcements could arrive on the table in either the eastern or western ends of the table on turn two, at the discretion of the individual brigadiers. The map (north up) of the initial deployment with the reinforcement areas marked  in orange, is below.

The Anglo-French force deployed first, then the Carlists.

The Anglo-French deployment 

A brigade of Carlist cavalry deployed to the west

The other brigade deployed to the east

Of the Isabellino reinforcements two brigades chose to come in on the western edge while the third brigade came  in on the east.

Above and below the Carlists reacted to the eastern arrival of the Isabellinos

Meanwhile the Carlist in the north and west of the town pushed forward against the town to try to take it before  the reinforcements could intervene.

The Isabellino reinforcements on the west advanced slowly while the Carlist in the distance pressed their  attack on the town

To the east a sharp engagement developed . Three Carlist battalions  managed to crowd in on a single Isabellino battalion and opened fire. When they fired they scored nine hits...

 And the Isabellino battalion rolled nine saves!

Finally Isabellinos from the west closed in and put pressure on the Carlist troops attacking the village, forcing them to divert troops.

Then with alarming speed things began to fall apart all over the table. First a brigade of Carlist cavalry decided it had had enough and quit the field. Then the Eastern Isabellino brigade decided enough was enough and it went too. 

Before too long the Isabellino line cavalry got itself into a sound position and swooped down on the now shaky Carlists, sweeping all before them.

With that most of the Carlists were put to flight and the game came to an end, with the Isabellino forces still holding the village.

And finally a couple of random shots

The French Foreign Legion cavalry about to be destroyed 

A Carlist mountain gun crew sight their piece.

Friday 26 March 2021

The Last of the Brazilian Infantry

This week sees the last of the Brazilian infantry leave the painting table.

These two battalions wear the winter jacket, but have a mix of trousers and other equipment.

They complete the eight battalions intended for the Brazilian contingent.

The passing out of these two battalions seemed too good an opportunity to pass up for a parade. So here they are, the infantry and the cavalry, of the Brazilian contingent.

The next project is some more scenery items.

Saturday 20 March 2021

The Latest Road Trip...Part Two

Day six of our trip dawned cool and clear. The helicopter ride to the glaciers that we had booked was confirmed and at 8:50 the lifted off in clear skies heading first for Fox Glacier, where we landed briefly on the ice before re-boarding and descending down Franz Josef Glacier. While I had seen significantly bigger glaciers in Alaska, I hadn’t seen glaciers this close before, nor from above or from the different angles.

All too soon our chopper landed and we were back on the road, heading north to our next destination - Hanmer Springs. To reach there we had to travel north along the West Coast in gloriously fine weather. We stopped for lunch at Greymouth then turned east through to Reefton and the Lewis Pass. 

We arrived at Hanmer Springs just before 4:00 and quickly checked into our motel. Then before the dust settled we headed to the springs and “took the waters” for a few of hours. We soaked in the pools with temperatures between 36 and 40 degrees C and found ourselves very tired at the end of the session. An early dinner and and early night were needed.

Hanmer Springs is a pretty place and well worth a return visit.

Day seven saw us heading north to Blenhiem, via Kaikoura. Another stunning drive on the inland road, through the Leslie Hills and Mount Culverden and Waiau Valley.

I hadn’t been to Kaikoura for 25 years and had forgotten how stunning the coastline is here. We paused for a picnic lunch at Rakautara.

From the coast we turned inland into the brown hills of the Marlborough region mixed with the bright greens of the vineyards. 

Then about 2:00 we pulled into Blenhiem.

Day eight started with a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre the only vaguely military thing in this trip. This is a superb place split into a WWI and a WW2 display. The former contains elements of Peter Jackson’s collection and the display work is magnificent.

The WW2 display was not as extensive (and some aircraft were out in the workshops). Sadly my photos of the Stuka did not come out - although it is not a real stuka. What was particularly impressive was the Stalingrad audio-visual display...a very Peter Jackson-ish piece.

We were sorely tempted to go up in the Fokker (below), but having done the helicopter flight in Franz Josef we thought we would save it for another time.

Having spent two and a half hours at the museum we got back on the road again heading for Nelson, our final destination for this trip.

And the final day of our little trip saw us heading across to Golden Bay. Again this is another place I had never visited, although I nearly did make there once before. Way, way back in the summer of 1972 we had a family holiday in Nelson and attempted to drive to Golden Bay only to be foiled by the car having a radiator issue on the Takaka Hill and us having to limp back to Nelson for repairs. This time the hill (791m at it’s highest point), with its stunning views of the Takaka Valley (below), did not defeat us. 

We drove along the western end of Golden Bay, pausing for lunch at Tata Beach on that seemed more like than a day in early Autumn.

The return to Nelson and dinner at the Indian Café, marks the end of our little trip - not too little at 1,896 kilometers - and we return to Auckland in the morning.