Sunday 29 August 2021


Fresh off the conveyor belt today is another AWI British line infantry battalion.

Five more battalions to go…

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Argentine Generals

The latest additions to the Great Paraguayan War collection are these three Argentine mounted officers.

The completion of these will call a pause to the Paraguayan War collection for a while. There will be some more a little later, but I need to wait until the Paraguayan generals and Argentine artillery are released. 

Next off the conveyer belt will be another British AWI unit.

Sunday 22 August 2021

The Return of the Butterfly

If I think of my painting table as a leaf, I have spent the better part of this year as a caterpillar chewing steadily away at my yet to be revealed project. But the urgency of that project is diminished with the cancellation of this year’s Tarawera event and metamorphosis has occurred, freeing the wargames butterfly to flit between bright and shiny objects that have appeared near the painting table in recent weeks. 

Evidence of this change has been seen of late with the posting of the Great Paraguayan War artillery sets and mounted officers, as well as the terrain tiles. But it is with this post that the complete transition to butterfly tendencies is demonstrated with the return to the American War of Independence and a long overdue expansion to the  British force that I last worked on in January 2020, before the world went mad. The project yet to be revealed will continue, but at a less frenetic pace.

Presented here is the 9th Regiment of Foot, minus its standards (because I didn’t have the opportunity to print them before we were put into lockdown). This is the first of seven line battalions that will join the six that are already in the barracks. Another artillery set and a few battalions of Hessians are likely to depart foreign shores in the not too distant future to join them.

Meanwhile as I was preparing this post fresh reinforcements arrived from Nottingham.

These will be the cause of the butterfly going  into overdrive, flitting between an even greater number of projects in the coming months, most of which will be reported on the pages of this blog.

Friday 20 August 2021

Brazilian Mounted Officers

Riding out from the uniform store today are three mounted officers from the Brazilian army.

These three are the first of two sets of mounted officers for the South American conflict and will be joined by three Argentinians shortly.

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Another Brazilian Gun

 I have completed the second Brazilian artillery piece.

Once again this is an Armstrong gun, loading this time, and has some nice touches with a gunner with his hand in the breech screw and another about to insert the shot into the breech.

There will be another couple of Brazilian guns at some stage, when the Perrys turn out the other field guns, and I will need a mountain gun, of course.

As we settle into another lockdown I wish I had a few more sets like this on hand.

Sunday 15 August 2021

In the Sands of Egypt

Today’s regular Sunday game was set in Egypt in 1801. Having locked the French up in Alexandria, the British forces under Hutchinson have commenced their movement on Cairo. The fortified town of Rahamaniyeh was taken and the army advanced along the fertile edge of the Nile while a flotilla of small boats ferried supplies up river. Near Shubrakhit, some fifty miles north of Cairo,  the Nile bends and a broad island restricts the channel. Here the French have built a redoubt in which they have positioned a battery to dominate the channel. If the advance is to be pressed further the position must be carried. It is known that a significant French force is deployed in support.

The table plan with the Nile off table to the left.  The blue line shows the limits of French deployment. Where the line is on or outside the table edge, it shows a possible point of entry. The red line shows the possible Anglo-Ottoman points of entry.

The French force is made up of three infantry brigades and two cavalry brigades.

  • 22e Demi Brigade Légeré (3 Battalions)
  • 75e Demi Brigade (3 Battalions)
  • Light battery
  • 4e Demi Brigade Légeré (3 Battalions)
  • 9e Demi Brigade (3 Battalions)
  • Light battery 
  • 85e Demi Brigade (3 Battalions)
  • 88e Demi Brigade (3 Battalions)
  • Light battery
Cavalry Brigade
  • 3rd Dragoons
  • 14th Dragoons
  • 7th Hussars
  • One horse battery
  • 22nd Chasseurs a Cheval
  • Dromedary Regiment
  • Horse Battery
Unattached Artillery
  • Light battery
  • 3 x field batteries

The British had four infantry brigades and are supported by an Ottoman force of five cavalry and six infantry units.

Moore’s Brigade
  • 23rd Foot
  • 28th Foot
  • 42nd Foot
  • 58th Foot
  • Corsican Rangers
  • One 12lb gun battery
Craddock's Brigade 
  • 8th Foot
  • 13th Foot
  • 18th Foot
  • 90th Foot
  • One 6lb gun battery
Stuart’s Emigré Brigade
  • De Watteville
  • De Rolls
  • Minorca Regiment
  • Dillon’s Regiment
  • One 6lb battery
Guards Brigade – Stuart
  • Coldstream Guards
  • 3rd Guards
  • One 6lb battery
  • Hompesch’s Hussars
  • 16th Light Dragoons
  • 2 units Dismounted Light Dragoons
  • 2 12lb artillery batteries

Ottoman Forces
Five units Mamelukes
1 unit Jannisary infantry
1 unit Nazim-i Cedid infantry
1 unit of Albanian infantry
3 units of Ottoman infantry 

How the game ran.

The French chose to deploy one brigade with the reserve artillery in and around the redoubt and the two smaller positions. One infantry brigade, supported by the  chasseurs a cheval and dromedaries, was held off table to the immediate left of the redoubts. The third brigade and the cavalry brigade were held off the table opposite the village. 

The British chose to place Moore’s Brigade opposite the redoubts, with Craddock’s Brigade to their right. The Emigre and Guards Brigades were further to the right. Finally the Ottoman troops held the far right, way out in the desert.

The Ottomans swarmed across the long ridge and occupied the village, blocking the path of the French troops on the far left, preventing them from entering the fight.  Meanwhile opposite the redoubts Moore’s Brigade made slow progress on the fertile land, having to cross numerous irrigation ditches. The Guards moved sluggishly but soon got into a position where they could bring superior numbers against the French left. 

However the failure of the French extreme left to arrive sealed the fate of the rest of the French force as the British lapped around their flanks. 

The initial deployment, with the redoubt left centre. 

The Guards and Emigre brigades prepare to advance

The French right

Above and below, Moore’s Brigade advanced on the British left, with the Highlanders leading, against the redoubt 

The Ottoman cavalry swarm forward

The Hompesch Hussars press forward

Craddock’s Brigade advances

Above and below, the Ottomans swarm around the village

The Ottoman cavalry catch the dromedary troops out of square, and eventually break them

The Chasseurs a Cheval about to break the Ottoman cavalry 

Above and below, Ottoman infantry

The Guards and Emigre Brigades begin their swing against the French left

The British artillery preparing to pound the French in the redoubt

The Navy drags up the guns

The final position around the redoubt…the last two French battalions on the table

Thursday 12 August 2021

More Paraguayan Artillery

The Great Paraguayan War was not a war in which field artillery played a big role and these two Paraguayan gun sets complete the field artillery I am intending to join the Paraguayan army.

There will be more Paraguayan guns, but they will be heavy siege pieces that were positioned within the fortresses around which many of the campaigns were fought. But I have over spent my gaming budget this month, so these sets will be ordered a little later in the year. 

Next up is another Brazilian set.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Looking at Terrain Tiles Again

 In January last year I started a proof of concept for terrain tiles. I was more than happy with the results Part One Part Two and I have used them in a few solo games that that have featured on these pages. But as pleasing as the results were there were a few problems with the design. The size of 1200mm x 600mm (4ft x 2ft) that I initially liked because it reduced the number of joins proved to be main problem. First it was quite heavy and awkward to lay accurately on the table. Second storage was going to be a problem. So I needed a rethink.

Storage needed to be the decision driver. For storage I want to use a flat pack cupboard available at most hardware stores that will fit nicely in the garage. I can get a suitable one with a 450mm depth so 400 mm square was an option, but the widest I could get had an internal measurement  of 750mm so only one tile could fit on a level which would leave a lot of wasted storage space. In the other hand if I went to 300mm square I could fit two tiles across the width and make better use of the cabinet. So size was decided - 300 x 300 although 300 x 600 was still a practical option. Next was getting the weight down which was going to mean using some sort of foam. It would have been quite a simple solution to simply use a block of polystyrene, but I have this obsession with damage to the edges - one of my pet hates is to see terrain tiles where the edge has been damaged and exposes the white polystyrene - and I want to give some sort of rigidity to protect the edges. I also want to lock these together and solution for this is to use rare earth magnets. So another proof of the concept is required.

To hold the magnets and to give that rigidity and edge protection I need some sort of frame and for the magnets to line up those frames were going to need some precision construction. Now I can do a bit of carpentry, but lack the skills and workshop for precision manufacturing. What I am good at is graphic design and it only took a few minutes to knock up a design a frame that could be precision laser cut and I could accurately position magnets. I then sent the design off to a laser cutter who turned the job around in a day, providing me with four sets.

The raw cut pieces for four frames.
The frame assembled

With the frame assembled I cut a piece of 20mm polystyrene and fitted it. But why only 20mm when most other terrain tiles commercial and otherwise use 50mm (2”) insulation tiles? The answer is twofold: first is storage again because a 20mm depth of foam, plus a 3mm base and 2mm top coating (giving 25mm) means that I can stack two in the space of one of the thicker tiles; second is that the only time I can see why I would need to cut below the surface is to cut rivers, streams, gullies, etc, and I can’t see why that would ever need to go deeper than 20mm.

With that done I moved onto the surface covering which was always going to be the same felt that I used on my earlier trial. I did consider using a flocking gun, but it can be a messy process. I get away with a lot with what I make at home, but I think fine flock fibres finding their way around the house would be seen as a step too far by her indoors.

For my proof of concept I made one plain board and three with roads - one straight across the board, one diagonally across and a slightly sunken junction. In the shot below the plain board has had its edges trimmed.

For the base of the roads in glued a mixture of fine and medium grain sand. Oddly in the image below the road seems to bulge above the surface, but it is a total illusion because the area around the junction is actually recessed.

The next step was to tone down the green of the felt. In the past I have done this by spraying the cloth with first a bright green and then a yellow coat. But I need to spray in the open air to maintain domestic bliss and successful spraying requires dry and windless weather, two things that an Auckland winter lacks. So this time I dry-brushed the colours, first a bright green then yellow. I actually prefer the dry-brushed finish. Below you can see the difference between the first green coat (top) and then the yellow (bottom) applied over the top.

The roads were then undercoated in black ready for final colouring.

You can also see how two tiles could be joined to create a 300x600mm tile, something I may do to create some variation for say a river or stream section.

And all four pieces of the proof of concept.

Placed edge to edge

Stacked atop each other 

I still need to install the magnets that are still enroute from China, but I am happy with the results and will pursue further.