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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Setting the scene

One of the curses of gaming in a fictional setting of my own devising is that I can't flip open a book to look up answers when a question crops up. I'm forced to exercise the little grey cells to work on a back story that will hang together, provide me with the sort of games I want to play, tell me what the troops look like and be consistent with past games and blog posts.   Luckily it turns out this mental work is also a joy as well as good for my mental health as the far boundary of middle age slowly creeps ever closer.

Having read enough to get excited about the visual and tactical possibilities of Boer War, GSW and East Africa, the Caucasus and the Mexican Revolution, I have continued to read until I have some sort of handle on the downsides of each as well as the scope of trying to do them all. Falling back on the Atlantica plans laid out a few years ago, it is now my job to figure out what I am willing to do in terms of painting, how many simultaneous campaigns I think I can handle or which I might want to delay to do in serial fashion and how to tie it in to past "history".

The slaughter of modern civilized warfare in Southern Atlantica.



Looking back at what I've done during the last 15 years and 5 years and how much of what was planned didn't get done, inclines me to a tighter focus than trying to do everything. The goal is to have unlimited gaming potential and armies which are table ready sooner while capable of having tidbits added later, almost to infinity. No problem.

South of the mountains we find wars between 2 equivalent, modern, settled countries of Oberhilse and Faraway which puts things on a North American if not European footing. I see no reason that cannot continue into the 20th Century. North of the mountains we have a patchwork including a relatively advanced "native" state, which has yet to appear directly, and a mix of various native and colonial tribes and states which have been involved in various games. My initial instinct was to fight 3 wars, a Boer like war against Oerberg, an Irregular colonial war against the native Atlanticans and their allies the descendents of the mixed blood Brethren of the Coast and a regular war against the native state but it makes more sense to me to combine the first two and leave the last item to an indefinite future. This would meet established pseudo history while combining 3 interests, the Metis rebellions, the Boer Wars and  US dabbling in Mexico as well as allowing me to include aspects of other colonial sideshow campaigns. It doesn't leave much room for cossacks but as long as I have some wild horsemen and some shaggy caps I'll be ok.

Native  Atlanticans from the mid-19th century. One doesn't see naked spearmen anymore but the others remain fairly similar but with modern rifles. (Archive shot from2012)

I'll have to work on some socio-political bits but we know roughly what the Oerberg and Dene forces will look like, with the latter being a bit modernized from their last appearance. The Faraway troops will require choices since they will be homemade. My first instinct was to stay with my idea of WWI British troops in tropical kit but on reflection it doesn't quite fit and is a bit too limiting for the glacial rate at which I sculpt and make molds. Instead I have seized on something that will allow historical units if desired while keeping that Canadian flavour that I like to add. In Blandford's Infantry Uniforms Vol 2 is a plate labelled Pacific Railway Militia. I haven't been able to find out much of anything about them but from Steele's memoirs I believe they were formed largely with a view to quelling civil disobedience more than anything,  but, close enough. They wear drab uniforms with slouch hats turned up, high gaiters (easily painted as puttees) and bandoliers. They would not look out of  place anywhere from the Riel Rebellion to the Boer War to some parts of WWI or South America and something one could have pictured Britain's doing. Of course he could also be painted with a scarlet or dark blue tunic or be easily made into an armed civilian.

That's where I will start, perhaps with extra head in Wolseley pith helmet for conversions.


14 comments:

  1. I'm beginning to see more and more the appeal of the 1850-1910 period for war games. especially, outside Europe and the Middle East, given the enormous strategic scope contrasted with the limited military resources available. The sportsman in me tends to root for the indigenes - ever the underdog in these matters. My own Ruberia-Azuria gig was originally inspired by Little Wars, with the possibility of a 'Darkest Ebonia' as a theatre of war providing the 'native' peoples, and a semi-piratical Al Bhumen established in walled strongholds along the East Ebonian coastline.... ESCI plastics would have provided all the Ebonians (Zulus, mainly, with an admixture of Fuzzy Wuzzies, I dare say); some vaguely Turkic/Arabic types for the dreaded Bhurk, and Sepoy types for colonial auxiliaries or even Bhurkish regulars...

    Never happened, unfortunately... or at least, not yet....

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    1. The expansion of 1/72 ranges this century has opened many doors.

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  2. Personally one of the things about the Boer War that turns me off is that it was generally too "long range and impersonal" (i.e., too "modern"). So much of the action was artillery and effective long-range rifle fire.

    Yes, there was much long-range fire on the North West Frontier but there is a world of difference between the muzzle-loading jezails and modern rifles . . . and the NWF certainly had lots of man-to-man melee action.

    Which sort of action do you want for Atlantica?


    -- Jeff

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    1. There was a lot more hand to hand in the movies and on the table than on the NW frontier but nothing wrong with that. I will leave the big BW battles to the 6mm/10mm. Memoirs from both sides are full of interesting little actions including some cold steel. This is the sort of game I plan http://gameofmonth.blogspot.ca/2014/09/special-edition-old-cords-lights-fire.html

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  3. Ah yes, the "far boundary of middle age" - I can see it on the horizon... Nevertheless, and unusually, I did manage to locate my copy of Blandford's Infantry Vol 2 and, upon examining plate 59, I can see they look just the ticket.

    Good luck with the elusive "tighter focus" - I'll probably have to carry on with "vaguely blundering in the right direction" :-)

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    1. It belatedly occurred to me that I might have said " looked a lot like the CIV". Had to squash another urge yesterday to go back to 54mm Britain's style. At least I think I squashed it by offering a consolation outing.

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  4. Having lost out to another on ebay (regarding 40 semi flats to oppose my First Nations old homecasts) iI am casting about for ideas to use them in. I will probably oppose them with a mix of lead and plastic oldish toy soldiers. All I need to do is to think of a imaginary country to pop together my colonial,North West frontier Rebellion etc ideas into one melting pot...

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    1. I offer up Assinaboia.

      I think I may have some old Britain's that I can let you have. If you're interested.

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    2. Ross the old Britain s are are most welcome and I am indeed interested.
      Thanks
      Alan

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    3. It'll take a while to sort out but I'll be back to you.

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  5. Dear Ross,

    You can always add Cossacks. Work with me for a moment. You mention several different political entities all of whom might reach out for assistance to a certain northern Slavic state. The easiest way for that help to be extended would be to send Cossacks who are used to living on the land and who can be supported bylight artillery and machine guns. They could be sent by steamer secretly and could aid any one of the states you mentioned, but with an expectation of recompense either for their patron or themselves directly. Boers fighting Cossacks? It would make for a very interesting combat. Cossacks supporting a mostly infantry army against a raiding force or actually being the raiders...quite a set to. Just some ideas. I might have to get a Russian force together just to fight my Boer army in 28 mm.


    As one of the great TV heroes might wish "Live Long And Prosper!"

    Jerry

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    1. Thanks Jerry you are right, its on the far side of the world from cossack lands but before I figured out where it was, I had thought of a colony including disbanded cossacks but I replaced them with wild native lancers. It could still work, whether mercenaries, exiles etc I'll file it away for later.

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