Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October. By popular vot e it will be set in the mid 18th Century.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Of Potluck, Pom Poms and Pretend History

I haven't read Courts of the Morning yet but I've flipped through an HTML copy and various summaries and put it aside until I finish Commando!  So, too soon to say the details have affected me, but already I have walked further along a path that my subconscious has been trying to open up. Rather than point you back to various posts, I'm just going to reuse some pictures (my on line album is already more than 50% full!)  and lay out some thoughts and see how long standing threads come together..

In random order:

1.I find myself drawn to Times of Transition in military history. The late 19th and early 20th Centuries are one such era when horse and rifle met steam, petrol, wire and machine guns and drab uniforms began to be adopted widely. This is one link between the Boer War, Lawrence, the Russian Civil War, and so on.  The political setting of such campaigns may or may not be of interest but is a separate question from the purely military aspects. .

2. I feel a connection and/or interest to my Grandfather's time. Oddly, or not, this is also the late 19th and early 20thC. I also like the look of glossy toy soldiers from that era. So did he.

3. Rebellion against what is perceived as External Authority draws me. Again, the politics and questions of  right and wrong of either side are separate questions. It is the idea of armed citizens standing up to professional (in the very broadest of terms)  armies. The period or authenticity of view points isn't all that important either, so Botha,  Bowie, Boadicea, Braveheart (sic), they all tick this box as do many others. For me this resistance to external power is one of the attractions of classical Colonial wargames and the Boer War in particular.

4. A mold in the hand is worth 2 OOP molds in someone else's hands.  I thought briefly of shelving this project until Mike had the old Scruby Colonial molds ready, after all, you can't do the Boer War without any British and if I made my own, where would the incentive be to buy the Scrubies, if/when they come out?  In the meantime I hauled out a couple of my homecast Zinnbrigade c1900 Prussians (sic). It occurred to me that I could start there and fit them in somewhere. I then hauled out my Frontier Light Horse and once again thought that the Scruby Confederate cavalry in slouch hats with rifles would make good Boers.  But where to fit the picklehaubes in, State Police perhaps?

5. My Standard Size (ie small 54mm) Britain's WWI machine guns caught my eye, reminding my of their last use. unfortunately, they just look too big for machine guns for the 40mm figures.

I wondered what weapon might look like a big MG.

Then I wondered what  Pom Pom guns looked like? Wikipedia? Ahhh, OK.

Boer and Australian Pom Pom guns From Wikipedia. Look like big Maxim guns on wheels to me.

5. Countries of the Imagination are only as narrow as you make them. It was in the middle of all this that Bob Cordery pointed me towards  The Courts of the Morning.  The first temptation for me is always to do a vaguely historical recreation of a campaign or campaigns that catch my eye, However, translated into a fictional setting, I see that I could weave a rich background like a novelist and incorporate most or all of the aspects that attract me while exercising my imagination.  The blank canvas of North Atlantica is wide open.

As I looked again at the figures on the table, various bits of already established Atlantican History began to fold together and I began to shift my thoughts about where to start. I will paint up some British troops but there is no reason that I have to start with them. Oberhilsian expansion North of the Mountains would be unlikely to be able to avoid conflict with the free settlements of Moose Jager and Natives in this area, pushing them to coalesce behind a great leader and fight for an Independent State. Exactly where Faraway and the British (whose presence in the 1860's is already attested) fit in, remains to be determined.

A plan comes together! It may take some months to appear on the table, especially as I have ancient, medieval, 18thC (NQSYW) and ACW  projects elbowing for my attention but, starting as soon as possible:

1) Finish a map of North Atlantica
2) Sketch the history from 1850 to 1910 and come up with names of places and people. Especially attention to the Brethren, the Moose Jager, the various native tribes and Metis or mixed blood societies and Oberhilsian expansion and the role of the FTC North of the Mountains.
3) Pick an opening scenario and establish an OB for both sides.
4) Cast up an Oberhilse army and paint them straight out of the Zinnbrigade Prussian molds but in drab/field grey. Infantry, Cavalry, and gunners. Obtain or build appropriate artillery and transport, wagons or train.
5) Assemble opposing "native"/"rebel"  forces from conversions of homecast molds, original figures and more Scruby Confederates.  Forces to be smallish units of free standing single toy soldiers. Possibly uisng Asquith's Big Wars but more likely I'll pick up on the idea of an expansion of With MacDuff To The Frontier into the early 20thC.


  1. Ross, it seems you are going to give HofT some kind of holidays?

  2. Not entirely as it will be used for the 1/72nd ACW. I am undecided about whether Brigadier Zinn will next appear using Hearts of Tin or MacDuff, but it will be a few weeks either way. Time for a break and give some other figures an outing.

  3. Well, considering the results of latest battles played with HofT, General Zinn will probably receive some McDuff games with a sense of relief.

  4. Perhaps item 3, rebellion against external authority, also has some emotional resonance with your Scottish heritage, as well as being a classic Colonial theme.

    I enjoyed reading MacDuff again, after quite a gap, still have a fondness for it. Late 19thC or early 20thC with glossy toy soldiers sounds great to me, best of luck with the plans.

  5. I was thinking it had to do with growing up in the 60's. I'm actually only 1/4 Scottish. 1/4 being study Saxon or the Wright stuff if you will. But hmmm the other quarters include Irish and Portuguese-Jewish. When it comes to resisting the imposition of external authority by more powerful neighbors, I'm doomed to resistance aren't I?

  6. You can't be that Irish Ross, you haven't organised "the split" yet.

    I love the etchings. The power that photographs will never reproduce. I've lost count of the number if books I've bought on the strength of their etchings.
    There's something amazing about these little gems being considered utterly ephemeral in their own time, fit for magazines, but nothing more.