EXCERPT 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

ATLANTICA: 19th C "Colonial" Campaigns in an Imaginary Land


Much progress on this page expected over the spring of 2016 Winter of 2017 
Summer of 2018.
(getting closer folks!)

Game from Spring of 2018 (report)

Northern Atlantica. The chief native Atlantican power is Kyuquat in the north. Kapelle is technically a satellite of Kyuquat but is largely independent and contains a large percentage of people of mixed race. Oerberg in the south-east was formed during the mid 19thC by immigrants, largely from Oberhilse who have mixed with the Atlantican population.

South Atlantica (Neuland was the old name used by the first Europeans) The chief powers are Faraway and Oberhilse.

1. The original inhabitants of the island arrived "when the earth was young" when the great warrior Mithiqual crossed the ocean on the back of a giant Crocodile, the descendants of which  can still be found on its eastern shores. He fell in love with a beautiful young seal and she came ashore, married him and became the mother of the People. (ok so some of this may be myth)

2. The bulk of the native inhabitants that inhabit the island are of the same racial origins and show strong cultural similarities on both sides of the Tsentral Mountains despite regional differences. South of the mountains, in the areas partially settled by Europeans, most of the population were largely hunter/gatherers or fisher folk with only small settlements of farmers living in stockaded villages. One of the semi-nomadic Southern Tribal groups, the Saskwatchay is composed of taller than usual men and was originally reported as a race of Giants. (modern research shows that they are only 3-4 mm taller than the average toy soldier but with a corresponding increase in bulk. Fierce-some opponents in hand to hand combat for sure.)

 North of the mountains the situation was similar in the center and the west but with increased agriculture and larger, more numerous towns. . The climate being drier and less wooded, adobe was used for both houses and fortifications. It seems that originally these typically had thatched roofs but as the climate changed and became drier several centuries ago, flat roofs became more common and with the introduction and rapid spread of firearms into the endemic tribal warfare of raid and counter raid,  rooftop parapets  became common, turning every farmstead into a small fortress.

3. In the jungles of the North-East Coast, is a population of jungle/coast dwelling people, off shore fishermen who have been accused of practicing ritual cannibalism. These appear to be of different, though possibly related, race from the rest of the island natives and have comparatively primitive technology and social organization.

4. Most of the native population lived in tribal groups associated into loose confederacies at best but there were three exceptions. In the south-west, the area now known as Faraway,  was ruled by an hereditary line of Queens. These still reign in theory though the Faraway Trading Company Board of Directors is the defacto government. In the  North there are a series of independent, petty kings in the interior who occasionally form significant alliances and in the North West where there are actual native cities that have been in existence since before the 1st European contact, there is an hereditary King who rules a large chunk of the Northern half of the island.

5. In the south, traditional costume was largely made of animal skins but increasingly blankets and other woven clothing were acquired by trade with the North and with the South-West. A mix of European and native styles is increasingly popular. In the north, cotton and wool fabrics are widely used. In hot weather a simple skirt and head scarf were once common wear but now loose trousers are widely worn. Brightly coloured blankets and ponchos are still popular as are head scarves but the latter are sometimes large enough to count as a turban while broad brimmed straw or felt hats, copied from the Europeans have become popular.

6. Horse were introduced by Europeans but spread widely as did the custom of riding. Cattle and sheep are also raised domestically.

7. Finally, the subject of the European history of what is now Neuland, has been touched on previously but briefly, the earliest settlers were Danish Vikings, probably around ad 900 or 1000. They settled along the Hilse River in South-Eastern Neuland and over the years this area has been heavily settled by Europeans from various countries with cities spreading up and down the coast.. This settlement was largely one of conquest and occupation rather than co-habitation. Recently, this settlement pattern has begun to expand north of the mountains.  The Faraway Trading Company (FTC) holds a charter from James VII of Scotland  which grants them many rights. As mentioned above they have turned this into defacto control of the Western coast of the Southern half of the island while maintaining the semblance of a native realm. This means that there has been much greater interaction and co-operation between Europeans and the natives but there has been some influx of farmers as well as many tradesmen and a tendency towards assimilation or European-ization.

The question of economic and political control of the remaining native areas of the Island has been the source of various wars and is likely to be so again.

With the end of the long and inconclusive  Origawn War in 1849, the Kingdom of Faraway concentrated its efforts on expansions north of the mountains. The Farway Trading Company (FTC) was forced to relinquish stewardship over various lands which were being effectively rules from its trading posts. The crown then launched several expeditions to finally root out and disperse the series of piratical (or freedom loving depending on POV) settlements known as the the Brethren of  The Coast. This success was followed up by the establishment of various colonies and a claim to sovereignty over all the lands of the North Atlantica apart from the Kingdom of Kyuquat. The queen's advisers did  not consider it necessary to consult either the inhabitants of these lands or the other major powers of Atlantica. There were protests, some grumbling, refusal to heed laws or pay taxes and some banditry but nothing that the garrison couldn't handle. This garrison, originally raised by the FTC was, apart from the Horse Artillery and Mounted Rifles, recruited from the native population. Needless to say the pay had been more generous, the work easier and the service conditions less rigorous under the Company.      


The army of the Red Queen consists of 4 main components  The Household Troops, The District Troops, The Militia and the Faraway Trading Company (FTC) Troops.

In theory, Faraway's only permanent forces are the Household regiments but in practice many of the District troops have been embodied for years and are regulars in all but name while the FTC troops have fought side by side with the Queens troops for so long that its easy to forget they are essentially allies. not subjects.

There is a great deal of regimental variation in uniform and due to measures of economy, old style uniforms often continue to be issued, in some cases until the new pattern is itself obsolete and of course the Volunteers wear uniforms of their own choosing. There is also a tendency for District troops to wear locally acquired campaign dress items. However, some broad trends can be ascertained.

Cavalry: The Household Cavalry are all dressed in scarlet coatees with regimental facings, regimental headdress and dark blue booted overalls with a yellow stripe. The Queen's Hussars were an exception to this, wearing a scarlet pelisse and dark blue dolman. Supposedly a regiment of light cavalry, the Queen's uncle who was Colonel in Chief had selected the heaviest riders and mounted them on large horses, larger than the average Atlantica draft horse. Horses of this size are not bred anywhere in Atlantica and had to be imported at great expense. After the heavy losses suffered outside Thriegy in 1839, the need to rebuild the army meant that economies had to be implemented and the Hussars were disbanded.

The FTC Bodyguard were initially issued a short blue shell jacket with white facings, blue pants with a white stripe, hussar boots and a white metal helmet. Since the onset of the wars with Oberhilse, there have been several instances of mistaken identity since the Oberhilse cavalry also wears short dark blue stable jackets and plumed helmets though they normally wear peaked forage  caps on active service. As a result, the blue jackets have been replaced by red ones faced white.

Artillery. The artillery has always worn dark blue with red facings and this was adopted by the FTC troop of horse artillery although with their own flair: brass helmets with red plumes, knees boots and lots of lace. The traditional white trousers worn by the Faraway artillery have recently been replaced by dark blue for use on campaign along with the introduction of a dark blue shell jacket. The Royal Artillery replaced their white trousers with light blue during the peace of 1840/41 which led to an outcry due to the prevalence of light blue trousers in the Oberhilse army.

Infantry. Apart from the various rifle corps who wear a dark green uniform,  all Faraway infantry wear red coats with regimental facings. For full dress, and often in the field, this is a coatee, short tailed in the line, long tailed in the Household regiments, dark grey trousers with a red stripe and a shako apart from the Grenadiers who wear a bearskin cap. A broad topped shako had been originally been worn but a lighter straight sided one has been introduced. In the field, a short shell jacket and loose dark blue trousers are usually worn along with some form of forage cap, often covered with a white curtain in summer. When engaged in prolonged periods of bush fighting, it is not unknown for all sorts of improvised and adapted uniforms to appear.

Generally Volunteer units follow the  example set by Royal or District units but there are exceptions such as the New Dundee Highlanders, raised and equipped by Lord Bykirk at his own expense and recruited largely from Scottish immigrants, including many recruited abroad with promises of land grants from his estates in and about New Dundee. This regiment wears the full splendor of Victorian Highland regiments.

Here is a list of known regiments as of 1841. Those regiments marked in Bold type have seen service within the last 3 years. Those marked in Italic text are said to be incapable of taking the field until major recruitment, equipping and training take place,

The Household or Royal troops consist of 2 regiments of heavy cavalry, 1 battery of horse artillery, 1 battery of foot artillery and 2 regiments of infantry. The small staff of technical officers is also attached to the household. Oddly, despite the endemic border clashes, only the Royal Fusiliers and Royal Foot Artillery have been seen in the field in living memory and that only recently. This may explain some of the occasional mis-identification of units in various battle reports.

 The Household Regiments are:
  • Royal Horse Guards  (heavy cavalry, scarlet coatees, faced blue, and bearskin caps)
  • Princess Charlotte's Heavy Horse nicknamed the "Black Horse".
    (heavy cavalry, scarlet coatees, faced black, brass helmets)
  • Queen's Lancers (medium cavalry, scarlet coatees faced blue, lancer caps, lances)
  • Royal Horse Artillery (braided scarlet hussar jackets, (it is unclear if this is the pelisse or a dolman)  fur busbies)
  • Royal Foot Artillery (Dark blue coatees, faced red, broad shako, light blue pants)
  • Royal Grendiers (scarlet coatees faced blue, bearskin caps)
  • Royal Fusiliers (scarlet coatees, faced blue, broad shakos)
Left to Right, Household Troops: Princess Charlotte Heavy Horse, Royal Artillery, Royal Grenadiers, Royal Fusiliers.

    The district troops consist of artillery regiments and artillery batteries based in the 5 districts. Each has a depot and a permanent cadre but are only embodied for local service when needed by calling for volunteers from the militia. The artillery is normally kept in garrison but the infantry has seen constant service and the meaning of "local" has been stretched to include anywhere in South Atlantica.  The regiments have many local nicknames but the following are the offical names.
    The District Regiments are:

    Victoria Rifles (Dark green, armed with rifles)
    Belmont Fusiliers ("The Buffs" red faced buff)
    Wye Fusiliers ("Green Tigers" red faced green)
    Dover Fusiliers (red faced yellow)
    Uniake Fusiliers ( red faced yellow)

    A, B, and D batteries are based in Dover, Uniake, Lawfordton and Wye respectively.

    Left to right, District Troops: Artillery, Victoria Rifles, Buffs, Green Tigers, Dover Fusiliers, Uniake Fusiliers


    All subjects are liable for service in the militia when called up. Lots are drawn for 5 years of service and those chosen are mustered once every 6 months. Little faith is placed in the militia but various volunteer units have been raised and some have done good service. In the central districts these Volunteers provide their own arms and uniforms and while they are sometimes looked down upon as Social Clubs for the rich, they train regularly and perform ceremonial and aid to the civil power duties. In some cases uniforms and weapons are provided by wealthy Colonels while in other cases individuals provide their own, On the frontier, volunteer companies are more likely to be non-uniformed volunteer light infantry raised amongst hunters and trappers, rivermen  and other woodsmen. Similar marine companies have also been raised on the coast from fishermen and sailors. There is no good record of these volunteer companies as yet.


    The FTC originally raised small bodies of armed men as guards for their trading posts and raised bodies of auxiliaries from friendly tribes as needed. As their interests and the area that they administered grew leading to increased conflict with various native tribes, they found themselves needing a larger force capable of a powerful, rapid response to threats. A regiment of mounted infantry was raised to serve as a combination police and armed force. This became the Director General's Bodyguard. A mounted rocket battery and a regiment of native lancers were eventually added. Once conflict with Oberhilse over the Rahdon gold fields became inevitable, the FTC troops found themselves acting primarily as auxiliaries to the Queen's forces.
    The FTC still operates on its own north of the mountains but the details of these operations have not been well researched yet.

    • Director General's Bodyguard (Medium cavalry, Originally dark blue faced white later changed to red faced white, white metal helmets. In theory they were to be armed with rifled carbines but I have not been able to confirm that this was ever done)
    • Larsen's Lancers (Green faced red, turbans, lancers, light cavalry)
    • Horse Artillery. (Blue jackets faced red, brass helmets with red plumes, armed with rockets or 6 pounders.)
    • Voyagers. These are various bodies of armed company "servants", hunters, traders, boatmen and the like. There is no official uniform but things such as coats are often provided by the company leanding an air of uniformity. Typical dress is a woolen cap and either a loose woolen shirt or blanket coat depending on the weather. 
    • Aeronautical Corps. The FTC has been experimenting with a balloon corps to keep its trading stations  linked together and well informed.
    • Native Auxiliaries. These are raised from allied tribes as and when needed.
    Left to right: FTC Troops: Director General's Bodyguard, mounted and dismounted, Horse Artillery, Voyager, Larsen's Lancers, native auxilliary of the Saskwatchay tribe.

    Armies of Atlantica: Part 2 - The Oberhilse Free State (mid 19th C)
    It is common to see references to Oberhilse as a Republic throughout the 19th Century. In part this is because we are used to thinking of Oberhilse after the 1849 constitution but mostly it is because so many of the accounts originated from visitors to Faraway where they absorbed the local view that any state that wasn't a monarchy, must, by default, be a republic. Oligarchy is probably a better description of Oberhilse Free State in 1841. Technically, the Council of Elders which ruled Oberhilse was elected by all citizens, which is to say, male land owners either descended from the original settlers or granted citizen ship. Since, by the 1830's  Outlanders, those not holding citizenship despite owning land and paying taxes,  constituted over 75% of the population, in fact the government was in the hands of a small number of "Old Families",
    Oberhilse Volunteers: (Left to right) Peipur Tigers, San Carlos Grenadiers, Frontier Light Horse in short jacket and hunting short, local volunteer and Bangor Rifles.

    In theory, the defence of Oberhilse rested on an armed populace. One citizen in 5 was obliged to maintain arms in good order and know how to use them. Since the militia laws also didn't apply to Outlanders, this system had become obsolete by the 1830's. In its place was a system not so different from neighboring Faraway. There were three components:

    1. The Council Guard (later the Republican Guard and often referred to that way). This was much smaller than in Faraway and consisted of a troop of largely ceremonial Horse Guards, a battalion of Grenadiers of the Council and the Guard Jaegers. These were all drawn from the ranks of the Militia, it being seen as the duty of all the Old Families to contribute as least 1 son for a 3 year stint in the Jaegers. Outlanders were not eligible to serve in the Guard prior to 1849. The Jaegers, better known as the Blue Guard were the only component of the guard to see frequent field service..

    2. The Volunteers. To fill the deficiencies, volunteer regiments were raised when needed. Most of these were raised primarily from Outlanders at the start of a campaign and the expense was born by the government. Some however, were true volunteer units, amateur soldiers who assembled and trained in peacetime at their own expense while other short term regiments were raised and paid for by wealthy citizens as a patriotic gesture, (especially if seeking a seat on the Council). Occasionally  units were recruited overseas with many of the soldiers tending to settle and become Outlanders when the regiment was disbanded.  Faraway tended to regard these as mercenaries rather than volunteers. Similarly, the regiments raised in Hougal or San Carlos technically served Oberhilse as Volunteers rather than as allies.

     3. The Oberhilse Field Force (O.F.F.). Legally, this was just another volunteer formation but since it was kept in arms from 1836 until the establishment of the Republican Army in 1849, it was a regular standing army in all but name. The O.F.F.  consisted of 2 regiments of Dragoons, 6 regiments of infantry, and 2 batteries of artillery as well as a small technical staff.

    While there were no national uniform regulations prior to 1849, blue coats had been traditional for all arms since the mid 18th century and the cut of uniforms  tended to follow international fashion. Due to close commercial and social ties and heavy immigration, American influence is often evident.

    Oberhilse Regulars: (left to right) OFF Artillery, Guard Jaeger (Blue Guard), Dragoon, Infantry Officer and private.

    1. The Blue Guard. Battle prints and Toy Soldiers depicting the Guard Jaeger almost inevitably portray the famous 1849 uniform regardless of what era is supposedly being depicted.  Since their inception, the Jaeger have worn a leather helmet but prior to 1849 it was not the helmet of Prussian design, worn with either plume or spike but rather one based on American Revolution Light Infantry Caps. With an eye towards economy, the horsehair crest was changed in 1831 to allow it to be removed. The difference between this cap with its small brass comb and the later spiked helmet is of great interest to uniform enthusiasts but of no interest to the general public. Likewise the double breasted, thigh length frock coat is quite different than the shorter single breasted 1849 tunic but again the distinct is minor and the more familiar later uniform is what the public expects. Cynics might also suggest that the market being small, repainting Prussian Toy Soldiers in Oberhilse colours makes more business sense than commissioning a more accurate model that the public isn't familiar with.

     2. The Volunteers. Considering how many units have been raised only to be disbanded  within a year or two, all uniformed at the whim of the Colonel, or of the volunteers themselves, it is not really possible to lay down firm guidelines for how units looked. Some of the more famous units include the red coated Peipur Tigers in their Tarleton helmets, the Bangor Rifles in Grey fatigue uniforms and the Frontier Light Horse in round or slouch hats and either short jackets or deer skin hunting shirts. The uniforms of the Grenadiers of San Carlos are typical of that widely worn in the 1820's, a shako, blue coat and white pants, though in their case, they hung onto to it until the 1850's.

    3. The Oberhilse Field Force(OFF) Officially all ranks were issued both a full dress uniform consisting of a shako, dark blue coatee and light blue trousers as well as a fatigue uniform consisting of a soft dark blue peaked cap and a short shell jacket, light blue for infantry and artillery, dark blue for cavalry.  The evidence suggests that dress uniforms were never issued and were only seen at social events, being worn by officers who provided their own. Officers frequently also provided their own dark blue frock coats as an alternative to the shell jacket. Once again, it is not hard to find illustrations and toy soldiers  showing the OFF Artillery in 1849 full dress but purporting to represent them in earlier wars..

    More discovering Imagionary Peoples and Places.

    Last summer I talked a bit about resuming my exploration of a fictional setting for my toy soldier campaigns. All the usual reasons that one sees in various OS books apply, the ability to fight wargames based on various historical campaigns without building an unlimited number of armies, the removal of national prejudice and political/morality issues that might surround militarily interesting historical campaigns and so on. However, the more I indulge in this business of creating a fictional land, the more interesting it becomes as an exercise in its own right.

    I'm not a linguist, despite having managed to rate as functionally bilingual in French in my younger days, which  meant no more than being able to read tolerably well and to carry on basic conversations if the other person spoke slowly and listened thoughtfully, and having picked up a smattering of Scots Gaelic a few years ago. So don't expect an explosion of colourful invented languages and names. I'm not a sociologist or economist either so expect no more than the merest scattering of background such as the average dull witted tourist might pick up on a whirlwind tour. Oh and it may be a long time before the facts uncovered appear anywhere, collected and presented in a coherent fashion. Instead, snippets will appear here and there as they occur to me or as it becomes relevant to a game, partly because I tend to write what I am thinking about with little filtering and partly because I benefit from milking comments. Right, off we go then.

    Last night I sat down with pen and graph paper (couldn't find a pencil which I would have preferred), dice and an early copy of BG and drew the basic map of the Northern 1/2 of Neuland. (suggestions for a better name for this island are welcome, both possible native ones, mangled or not and European ones given original discovery/settlement  by Danes and Scots.) The first order of business was to establish the coastline, a topic not actually covered in Henry's Faltanian Succession cartography article. Not being able to remember how I did the first 1/2 other than that when I drew the 1st map, 5 or so years after the cretion of Neuland, I used Henry's article as a guide. I finally decided to start in 1 corner and veer left on a 1,2, go straight on  a 3,4 or veer right on a 5,6, intervening only if it got really silly. There are a few saw tooth stretches of coast that I may  soften a bit but over all it worked well. Once or twice I completed a circle which then became an island and I backed up to create a strait. There were also some interesting peninsulas. All to the good. Next mountain/hilly areas and woods. Here I was a little nervous since I had an idea already of the effect of backwards (sic and apologies to all the Southern Hemisphere readers out there) prevailing winds and mountains on locations of deserts and jungle, but I let the dice go and they didn't let me down. .The biggest area of jungle is on the East coast esp on a low lying peninsula just before a small mountain range. The interior and west coast are either steppe or scattered light woods. For cities, the dice co-operated again, landing a couple on large bays and one at the confluence of 2 rivers. There are lots of details to add over the next weeks but those will be done on the computer rather than by hand. Once I get the map scanned in, I'll share the work in progress.

    Adding history, culture and peoples is going to be longer and harder (ie more fun) but the rough outline has been there since before I began. (It really does feel like discovering rather than inventing). As I have said before, I do not wish to copy too closely any real precedent but neither do I wish to stray too far from actual history. With this in mind I have been refreshing myself lightly on various European vs non-European contact in North & South America, South Africa and India. A patient, wise man would spend a year or 2 doing this more deeply but instead I am relying primarily on suggestion from browsing and instinct drawing largely on what I have already ingested in the past. These last few weeks were somewhat shocking to me when I realized just how little I actually knew of the history and peoples of South America, especially prior to the 19thC. Something to be remedied in future but to be honest, at the moment, too deep a knowledge is almost not good as it makes it harder to not copy any one history. Besides various details have already been published in the past on With MacDuff on the Web and I need to be as consistent as possible as I explore this land..

    So, having said all that, what do I have so far?

    1 comment:

    1. I use dice to decide geographical feature for each hex in my imaginary lands of Bogavania, Beerstein and Fezia. I hadn't thought of using dice to make the coast.

      The use of dice to create lands (and also details about royal or prominent families - as in Tony Bath's work) is very rewarding as our little world's create their own character.

      James O'Connell, of Quantrill's Toy Soldiers