Thursday, 28 June 2018

Dollhouse shop finds!

I've discovered a dollhouse shop close to my house!  I stopped by there today and picked up some great new toys.

First up, for the princely sum of $8 (CDN) this little house.  The shop had a series of 6 different houses in this scale (nominally 1:48).  Artizan Lee Marvin figure added for reference.

The chief drawback is that it doesn't come with a back.  It is a dollhouse, after all!  I'll have to find something to cover that up.

I also purchased some other goodies.  Packs of plastic 1:48 furniture at $5/pack, plus some books and a miniature Persian carpet.  The carpet is a bit out of scale for my 28mm figures but I'll find a place for it somewhere!

Discovering this little treasure trove of a shop so close to my house will likely be quite bad for the health of my wallet!

72nd Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders

Thanks to a generous donation of Perry Miniatures plastic British Infantry for the NWF, I've now got a contingent of the 72nd Regiment, Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders for the Second Anglo-Afghan War.  Shortly after the end of the war, the 72nd would be amalgamated with the 78th to become the Seaforth Highlanders, with kilts of the McKenzie tartan, but in 1880 they were still wearing trews of Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan, which I've attempted to represent on these figures.

My research found depictions of the troops both with and without puttees.  Painting tartan is hard enough on a smooth surface, and the idea of painting it messed up by puttees gave me the heebee geebees, so I covered the puttees on the figures to give them trews.  The piper is metal, and has been waiting for years to be finished (he was originally intended to join my Gordons as a proto- Piper Findlater VC, even though the storming of the Heights of Dargai was not going to happen until 1897).  So instead he has been assigned to the 72nd.

Saturday, 23 June 2018


More from the unpainted lead vault!  These are from Eureka Miniatures.  Eureka calls them satyrs, but I prefer to call them fauns, as that's what Lucy called Mr Tumnus in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'.  Easy to paint, just the goat bottom and hair and bare flesh on top!  

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

29th Baluchis

The latest addition to the Indian Army are these troops from Perry Miniatures' Victoria's Little Wars line.  

They are sold as Jacob's Rifles (aka 130th Baluchis of the Bombay Army), but I ended up basing my paint scheme on the 29th Baluchis.  Specifically, I looked at this print from Richard Simkin (1885):
I was tempted to paint them with the black tunics as shown, but decided to go with a slightly speculative uniform with khaki tunics and red trousers, to keep them close in appearance to the soldiers that I've already completed.  I'll justify my choice based on my readings on the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War that indicated a preference for khaki for field troops, plus an absence of documentation to prove that my choice is wrong.  As near as I can tell, all the Baluch regiments favoured red trousers, so these troops could likely represent any Baluch sepoys in the Indian Army.  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Saving the Guns AAR

Having painted up my Afghan horse and completed the conversion of a WWI RHA limber, I invited a few gamers to join me at Peter's house to try a game.  The scenario was based on the Richard Woodville 'Saving the Guns at Maiwand' painting and Scenario H, 'Sigh of Relief' from the Men Who Would Be Kings rulebook.  

The British/Indian force had a field gun and 12 English infantry from the 66th Berkshire Regiment deployed in the centre of the table.   

Two units of Indian Lancers and the limber were tasked to rescue the gun and remove it to safety.

Eager to capture the gun for their own use, the Afghans sent three units of horse, two mobs of swordsmen and three groups of riflemen.

Afghan horse and swordsmen set out for a sneak flank approach to the gun.

Meanwhile, the gun crew is distracted by the approach of more horse and infantry to their front.

Initially, British musketry and gunnery is frighteningly effective, wiping out two groups of horsemen and stalling the advance of the Afghan shooters.

Afghan horse fleeing the table.

Meanwhile the lancers and limber are moving up to rescue the gun.

But wait, what's this?  Black banners climbing over the rocks, and horsemen coming up on the flank!

The gunners try, and fail, to fire once more at the Afghan horse.

Ghazi swordsmen fall upon the gunners and claim the gun, as the limber flees to safety, abandoning the gun.  The English officer is heard to comment, "if those beastly men continue to behave in such a fashion, I'll be forced to set down my teacup!"

Then the brave Berkshire men face the Ghazis,

and fight them to a standstill!

A second group of swordsmen fall on the 66th, but, displaying the stiffest of upper lips, are also seen off, but there are now far fewer Englishmen standing!

Finally the Afghan horse push back the two remaining soldiers of the 66th.  Meanwhile, the Indian Lancers have been halted, first by fire from the Pathan shooters,

And they then fall back in the face of the ferocious swordsmen!  The field belongs to the forces of Ayub Khan!

Many thanks to Peter for hosting, and to Jim and Doug for their excellent command of the Afghan forces!

The game was a nail-biter, with the advantage shifting back and forth.  Initially, I was concerned that the Brits in the middle were too powerful, as their gunnery and musketry successfully saw off two of the three groups of horse, and had pinned the Afghan shooters.  But the Indian lancers failed too many activations, and while the gunners were focussed to their front, Jim's swordsmen and horsemen came up on their right unchallenged.  Crucially, the gunners failed their activation just as the Pathan warriors were within charge range.  Despite seeing the gunners butchered where they stood, the 66th showed up amazingly well, facing off two charges by the skin of their teeth (outnumbered 16 to 12, they tied and pushed back on the first charge, and then outnumbered 12 to 8, they tied again!  But then the horse did them in).

I think the scenario is well balanced, and that showed as the advantage seemed to pass back and forth from side to side.  I'll try it again at the next Trumpeter Club Night.  Minor changes will be:
- No more testing for leader casualties.  It's fine when there's only one officer for the whole army, but tedious when you check for every unit, every time, and really only fail when rolling snake eyes.
- No testing for leader characteristics.  The Lancers were saddled with a couple of duds, which turned out to be pretty limiting on their ability to act (especially the yellow-bellied cavalry commander who could only shoot and never charge into melee).  Each unit will still test for leadership value individually.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Afghan Regulars

Here is a small unit of Afghan regular infantry.  Before painting them, I studied the Ian Heath article from a 1995 Wargames Illustrated entitled "A Most Villainous Cavalcade", which can be found on the Mad Guru's Maiwand Day website.  To be honest, these figures that I've painted are likely a bit more uniform in appearance than the actual Afghan soldiers of 1880, as the research indicates that there was little consistency in actual uniforms or equipment available.

The flag is the plain black flag of Afghanistan from the reign of Abdul Rahman Khan.  It's probably incorrect but I've not found a better flag to use - suggestions welcome!

Figures are Perry Miniatures from their Victoria's Little Wars range. 

Hmmm, I'd better clean up the collar on that officer.


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Cars for Pulp?

Scale comparison:  Pixar Cars and 28mm figures.

Plastic GW LotR Moria goblin on wolf.  I'm pretty sure the wolf is Ral Partha.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

French Artillery 1914

I found this model in my lead mountain, a French soixante-quinze, the canon de 75 modèle 1897, the quick-firing artillery piece that formed the mainstay of the French artillery in World War I.  It was a very successful gun, in use internationally for many decades in the 20th Century, right through the end of World War II.  I found one in place in Herat, Afghanistan just outside the Friday Mosque.  My colleagues thought I was a bit odd to be geeking out over an old cannon, after just having toured the absolutely amazing mosque...

This model is from Brigade Games, and the crew are wearing 'early war' uniforms, which will allow me to use it alongside my early war French infantry.  

Here is a colorised photo (I assume it's colorised, I could be wrong!) showing the effect I was going for.

And just for the record, here's the gun I saw in Herat!

Monday, 11 June 2018

Peter the Great - Russians finished!

Here's something you won't have heard me say very often:  I finished an army!  Hopefully I'll get better at this - I just need to learn to say, "enough is enough"!  I've reached a point where I don't need to grow my army of Peter the Great.

Here are the last couple of figures finished.  Here is Tsar Piotr Alexeyevich Romanov, aka Peter the Great.  The figure is from Reiver Castings, and I picked him up after doing a search for a PtG figure and this was the only one I could find in 28mm!  He is here with a mounted officer from the Warlord Games WSS plastic artillery set.  

And here he is with a Ebor Dragoon.  Flag is also from Reiver, and is the standard of the Ingermanlandski Dragoons.

A group shot to show relative size.  Peter is much more massive.  Of course, he was over 2 metres tall in real life, but was lanky, as opposed to this fairly hefty fellow.  He's also got a suitably massive horse to ride.

With these figures completed, I now have enough figures to field a fairly balanced force for Pikeman's Lament with a mix of cavalry (dragoons only, which was normal for Russia), infantry, grenadiers and an artillery piece.  Here are a couple of group shots of the entire force.  

Due to points limits, I would not field the entire army.  With what I have available, I can mix and match a bit.  Most likely, I'd field something like this, unless there were scenario specific reasons to change the selection.  The force would include 2 units of shot, 1 forlorn hope, 1 commanded shot (dismounted dragoons) and two units of dragoons - note that I would ask my opponent to accept my proposed rule amendments for dragoons that I presented here: