EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Deja Vue Again

A little bit of deja vue. I'm setting off tomorrow to visit family and wish my mother a happy 92nd birthday. Just before going I've been trying to figure out whether or not I could fit my old Britain's onto my new card table gridded board for a stylized game. I suddenly remembered thinking about a Boer War Batttlecry game, looked up the post and found that it was 6 months ago, just before heading off to visit my sister on her birthday.

Toy Soldiers trying on the new board for size.

The urge towards Victorian British wargame figures, especially but not exclusively Colonial ones,  is deep seated in  me. In the days before I read Featherstone, Henry Harris had me converting my old toy soldiers into models and in addition to the few reference books I had at home, I used to grab every chance I could get to pop into the Black Watch of Canada museum during my army cadet days and make notes on uniforms to reproduce at home. Most of my military history books also centered on the British Army   No doubt due to my Mother's father's influence. Having Little Wars as my 2nd book on wargaming probably didn't help.


Picture lifted from eBay but this is the same one I have upstairs.
I wonder how many wargamers it spawned?

Its much easier to settle in to historical Colonial games if you don't start from a Little Wars/Toy Soldier background as there are no more bearskins and feather bonnets in the field by the 1860's, precious little pipeclay and too much asynchronous warfare. My 25mm and 54mm plastic Colonials were done in  more or less historical fashion even though often used in fictional games but my Britain's Toy Soldiers tend to stay true to their toy soldier heritage. I originally envisaged hundreds of toy soldiers marching across wide fields but hopefully that toy heritage, the illustrations of Morschauser's Britains marching across a grid as well as the memory of my Portable Wargame refight of Hook's Farm will allow me to accept and enjoy a fairly stylized game on a small grid. the idea being to keep the numbers and commitment of time and resources to a minimum.

Colonial mixed with Toy Soldier earlier this year.


My first instinct was to bring out the Nku  Khu again or break out my remaining Arabs but the board is too green for Arabs to be completely comfortable and I have an urge touch on the Little Wars aspect. The last two times I did Red vs Blue armies and will probably do that again but given what's ready to go, there is a strong temptation to do the Great Highland Rebellion of 1885 as a test game. If it does work, I want to do some houses that will fit the grid and be just tall enough to pass as toy scenery and hold a unit. If it works I want to make the most of what I have which include vintage highlanders, guards & sailors and Plains Indians, compatible plastic Zulus,  molds for a grenadier, zouave and US ACW troops and odds of sods of cavalry and artillery stretching from the Crimea to WWI. Most of the cavalry is of newer slightly larger style so that will take some thought and work or else money. A standard army will be composed of 8 or maybe 12 cavalry, 2 guns, 40 infantry plus general, brigadiers, a band and some pack animals.

Hook's Farm fought using the Portable Wargame on a 6" grid in March 2011.

This has been hovering in the background for years  so I am really hoping that it works so that I can organize and finish at least 2 opposing armies this winter.



14 comments:

  1. Ross, I also wish your mother a "happy 92nd" and thay you have a great visit with her.

    I just talked to my mother on the phone (she's 95 2/3 years young).

    You probably won't get to submit a move for Alpia before you go . . . and that's fine.

    Have a great time, sir.


    -- Jeff

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    1. Thanks Jeff. Never fear, I rarely stray far from the net.

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  2. Ross Mac,

    Best wishes to your mother on her 92nd birthday.

    Your goal that a 'standard army will be composed of 8 or maybe 12 cavalry, 2 guns, 40 infantry plus general, brigadiers, a band and some pack animals is not only very achievable but also very similar to what I have in mind for my own Colonial/Nineteenth century armies. Mine will not be in 54mm-scale, but it will follow a similar pattern. It is large enough to fight a battle using PW (or something similar), will not take too long to create and/or paint, and you are not likly to lose interest in the project or get diverted from it easily. It would also allow you to create a number of 'allies and enemies' as and when you feel the need.

    It sounds like an excellent idea ... and I look forward to it coming to fruition in due course.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Thanks Bob. I have a good base to work from and some castings just waiting but have been hesitating to do the work until I decided what it was all going to look like. This feels like it might work and I may have it ready to go as a Christmas present to myself.

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  3. I love the way you've done the grid on your new board. The squares are obvious and yet ... not obvious.

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    1. Thanks. its slowly coming to look more like what is in my mind.

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  4. That book was the subject of discussion at he Sheffield club a few weeks ago! I have the equivalent volume on the RAF. Oh, and nice looking game!

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    1. I hadn't thought about it in a while but this is of course where I first encountered Allenby and Gaza.

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  5. I am currently contemplating the viability of 54mm gaming for my own games. Your setup has lent added support for the idea. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. 54mm gaming was my main scale for about 10 years from 97, mostly plastic and homecast,

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  6. Happy birthday to your mother!

    I like your ideas on small Colonial games.

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  7. I hope yo don't mind, but I nominated you for a Liebster award:

    http://hardboiledzombies.blogspot.com/2012/12/liebster-blog-awards.html

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    1. WQ Not at all, thanks for the nomination and all it represents. I've added you into
      my response.

      http://gameofmonth.blogspot.ca/2012/11/may-i-have-envelope-please.html

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