Sunday, December 30, 2012

Two Points to Port

Well here we are, the last game of the old year has been played and I am at the start of a new Winter Campaign season.

A universal Hearts of Tin ancients game reported on the Gathering of Hosts blog.

I was going to do a retrospective but its all there in my blogs and I've delved enough. My eye is ahead now, on where I am going. As far as this blog is concerned, the course is fairly well charted and I think the worst shoals are behind.  

Hearts of Tin has had its rehashing and some testing and is ready for more testing. I need to do work more on the Unit Capability Charts, both adding more units and special rules to the existing ones and starting additional ones but only as I need to for myself or someone else or if something grabs my interest. I also need to write up the grid adaptations and work on document formatting and presentation but there is after all the time, thought and testing over the last 2 years, almost nothing new, just various old rules shaken up and re-assembled slightly differently with more emphasis on feeling right and being adaptable. The current draft available at right is ready to be browsed and if any brave souls decide to read them or even try them, I'm ready for questions and comments. I'llbe doing some posts discussing the rules and design decisions, factors and intentions over the next few weeks.

The armies and campaigns are pretty much set as well and I anticipate more time finishing figures and terrain for existing armies and working on scenarios and storylines and less time pondering basing and organization and rules.

For my Gathering of Hosts blog however, I feel tremours as the earth rumbles and prepares for the world to reshape itself. In some ways its  small thing but playing those 2 HOTT games at the Captain's B&B in 2011 seems to have awoken a dormant monster.

I have my 40mm Toy Soldier fictional or Imagi-Nation and various more or less historical  collections but I have no fantasy armies and haven't had in a long, lonng time. I've been looking for a way to keep my ancients going with as wide a focus and as little work as possible and suddenly it just seemed to be the way to go so what started as a pseudo-historical Lydian Campaign capable of being fielded as historical Greco-Persian Wars one but started turned into a fall of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdoms collection with fictional overtones is about to become a full fledged fictional campaign with fantasy overtones, a few magicians and monsters and the like. More Hyborian than anything else. To make it worse, as part of my efforts to shrink my collections and focus more narrowly, I am going to be looking for new homes for anything that doesn't fit into one of the 5 armies. But more on that over the next weeks on the other blog.

As Red Green puts it "If you can't be young, at least you can be immature!"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Comox Valley Crossroads

 With Christmas out of the way, I've finally cleared my table and played my first 40mm game since October. A chance to get out some of my favorite toy soldiers, a chance to try the new Universal Hearts of Tin and a chance to try the smaller units and shorter movement and ranges. Actually, it turns out that after some pretty radical proposals were partially tested I've ended up with some serious formatting changes and rather minor rule changes from the Cobb's Farm ACW game. More on the rules in the next day or so. The current draft is posted but there is a lot of work to do, checking for consistency, shifting things to the new layout/format, adding charts and period rules etc. The game below was actually played out of my head.  I'll announce when I consider them done once again but anyone is free to browse if curious.
  The first clash as the armies deploy, Director General's Body Guard (white plumes) against Frontier Light Horse.

In order to test the feel of the slightly reduced game (about 2/3) I wanted a scenario that would not fill the table but which would allow a goodly portion of the table to be used. A meeting engagement seemed the thing but I figured it was time for something other than Sawmill Village. Flipping through a couple of books, my eye fell on  Crossroads from Programmed Scenarios. Yes, the one Jeff used for the first battle in his Alpian campaign that I have been enjoying taking part in. I figured, alternate choice of maps, different era, away we go.  Both sides had 4 infantry, 2 light infantry, 2 cavalry and 1 artillery unit, totalling 12 infantry, 4 light infantry, 4 cavalry and 2 artillery "companies" or 22 in all. The infantry companies are 4 strong, the others 3 strong. Since I was using single figures, I used 1 for each strength point, if using  my 1/72nd ACW I would have just tracked hits with each stand being a "company". The Break Point or Army Morale level for both armies was 12 companies lost and game length was set to 20 turns.

Faraway (Red) rolled an approach on 2 roads and rolled an arrival time of turn 6 for both columns. They ended up with Larsen's Lancers, the Victoria Rifles, the Dover Fusiliers and General Turner coming in on the left and GGDG, Royal & Uniake Fusiliers and artillery on the right. Oberhilse rolled an arrival on 1 road on turn 3. Given that the table layout rolled up placed the crossroads slightly closer to them, they had no problem occupying the town before Faraway was even on the table.  

 The impending clash. 

After some preliminary scuffling by the cavalry in which the DGBG showed the Lancers how to take hits instead of giving them, the armies deployed and the Generals settled on their plans.

General Turner decided to screen the town and bombard it while sending his cavalry and the bulk of his infantry  to the right to cut off the town and force Blue to counter attack or accept a draw. A small force was sent left to circle the town from that direction. General Scott decided to hunker down and only counter attack where essential. He did, however, send the Green Mountain boys out on the right to  . skirmish with the Victoria Rifles.

The attack on the right didn't go so well. After letting the Bangor Rifles get away and sucking up some artillery fire, the red line rolled forward against the artillery and Oberhilse 2nd & 3rd Infantry. The artillery was driven back and almost destroyed but the Blue Infantry under Brigadier Zinn gave their Red counterparts a bloody nose.  The Uniake Fusiliers nearly captured the General Store but the whole Brigade was forced to retire or face destruction. At this point, it was about turn 17 and  Red had lost  8 companies to Blue's 3. The fat lady wasn't actually singing yet so Turner pulled back his line and sent in the Dover Fusiliers. With his army scattered and many companies badly shot up, Scott was unable to respond. By the start of Turn 20 Red held the Hotel and Stone House and both sides stood at 8 companies lost. Neck or nothing Scott sent his two remaining cavalry squadrons in against the Royals, upping the bodycount against Blue but not changing the result.. .
Red faces Blue across the street as the light begins to dim and the fighting dies down.

An encouraging game on all fronts. I liked the way the game fit the table, the flow of the game, how the rules worked given the tactics adopted and I liked the amended command control system. I was also strongly reminded of the HofT games in 2009 that had me putting all my other rules away. There is a strong temptation to reinforce and play again but I need to test the small board and I need to test the ancient/medieval version so the plan is to change the scenery  and troops and relocate to the Three Kingdoms 2,000 year ago.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Difficult Client

Its hard enough to design something  to please someone when you and they both know what they want. When they aren't sure what they want to start and then keep changing their mind it makes for a great deal of frustration all around, even when the person you are designing for is you!

Anyway, I've been experimenting with all the ease of design to be had from treating a unit as a unit regardless of numbers of figures or the basing scheme. It certainly makes design easier but especially for a toy soldier game lacks something in the "feel" department. So, I'm suddenly back peddling at full speed before tomorrow's test game.

 .   The stick is my replacement for a grid. It is marked in 3" lengths.
Musket range is 2 lengths, melee/close range combat is 1 length..

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yuletide Greetings

Merry Christmas
 Happy Winter Soltice 
to all.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Little-er Wars

Its still a week, more or less, until the start of the winter campaigning season. The new wood stove is installed and other reno's done but there is still lots of wood to split along with pre-Christmas cleaning and baking and more cups of tea and snacks to be handed in to my wife while she grooms double the usual number of dogs. Then of course ere will be family time and a feast and the like to be enjoyed, but while being busy with these sorts of things during the last 2 months,  I have still found a little bit of time  for the 5 P's of wargaming. What? oh, well, Planning, Procuring, Painting, Playing and Posting. Its the planning bit that has occupied me most during these weeks.
 Faraway & Oberhilse go to war over the new playing field.

I think it was the recent release of the Little Britain's that suddenly brought this to the forefront of my thoughts again but over the last 2 years I have been increasingly aware that the OSW paradigm behind my much of my recent wargame planning bares little relationship to the majority of games that I actually play or to the armies I build. This discrepancy is one of the main factors behind my inability to settle on rules and organization or to send  time and effort on figures and terrain for  what is supposed to be my area of focus. What I need  is to examine the various issues at play over the next few weeks, decide on a new model  and come up with a revised, more detailed plan for 2013 with a few (not too many) measurable, achievable goals to get me on track as well as the usual  overall framework.
The view from the other side as the new Universal Hearts of Tin gets a mini-test.

The aspect of all this that I am looking at right now concerns unit sizes vs numbers of units and maneuvering room vs looks and rules. For the last 5 years I have been focusing on unit size primarily from the points of view of looks, tradition and rule mechanisms. Since the maximum table size is set, there is a limit to how many figures may be deployed and thus the number of units is inversely proportionate to their size so I occasionally checked relevant historical sources to make sure I could fit the required number of units if  choosing a larger size or that if using small units that there would be enough to provide a decent game under the proposed rules. I also kept in mind the narrative advantages of having a small number of identifiable units. Having finally made my choices, last October I played a game with about 3/4 of the maximum number of units that I planned to field. There was no room for maneuver. Maneuvering room has always been more important to me than a dioramic look  so I am surprised that I overlooked this aspect or rather that I had pushed it aside and ignored it.

Yawner's Farm, a small battle with wall to wall troops.
After playing a larger 1/72nd ACW game  with 4 times as many units but more maneuver room as well as playing several games of  a Colonial variant of BattleCry with 5 figure units and experimenting with various card table games this fall, I am starting  to rethink things. There is good precedent for  units of 12 or so figures going back at least as far as Captain Sachs not to mention WRG's 1685-1845 rules and Stuart Asquith's Big Wars. When I throw in things like Morschauser's 4 man Basic Units, DBA and so forth, there is also something to be said for the sort of organization I was proposing for a revival of my 54mm Britain's armies with 6 man units of 40mm figures organized into 18 man brigades or regiments depending on the war being played.

Cobb's Farm. The table felt so much bigger with smaller units (frontage wise).

A Grant scenario played with such a brigade as "unit" would crowd the table every bit as much as Yawner's Farm but it would be more the size of a major Sikh  War or Indian Mutiny battle (too big for War of 1812) and would allow me to paint up say 18 infantry regiments in 18 uniforms. The other attractive alternative would be using 12 man units as scenario units. That would mean the same number of units as currently planned but fewer figures, more room for the games and more time available to work on support units and special figures.

 After all the years spent trying  to decide if 20 men were too few for my 40mm Toy Soldier units, this isn't something to rush into. As you can see in the pictures I have been experimenting with 6 man card table games using the 40's, after all, if these are supposed to be my "main thing" why should they be confined to the main table upstairs if I expect a fair number of downstairs card table games? Of course, once the winter campaign season gets under way, it may turn out that I can get in several games each month upstairs after all which  would make it a moot point. Still, the question then arises of what sort of games I could play with 1/2 size  units and 1/2 sized movement and ranges on the 5'x6' table. It would be like quadrupling my playing area. The first step will be to try the 12 man units upstairs, grid free but with reduced scale, hopefully between Christmas and New Year's.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A short while later

The commander of the Blue Guard discuss some important matter with General Scott's aide while a trooper of the newly raised Republican Lancers does escort duty on a borrowed horse.

To my great surprise I found time today to paint up the sample figures. With once last wistful thought about red pants I settled in to paint the Guard Lancer in the dark & light blue worn by Oberhilse's other existing guard regiment, the artillery and the Dragoons. Three quarters of the way through I was quite happy with the result but hauled out some figures for comparisons. ARGGHH!  I had grabbed the wrong dark blue so now not only was my new Guard the only one in full dress but he had a rather purple-y  shade of blue tunic. I could hear the derogatory "purple belly" comments so set about to find the usual midnight blue and the result was just right. Just the right amount of pomp and lace for a Republic and he fits right into the existing army. 

The same from the rear.

This "Imagin-nation" Atlantica business is not where I started out for these 40mm Toy Soldiers.  The original idea started out almost 10 years ago as a 'what if' Schlieswig-Holstein War with Britain and Russia supporting the Danes. It floundered in large part due to some un-toylike fussing about details like the Zinnbrigade 1900 Prussians having helmets that were too small and pants that were too tight. 
I shelved it and started in on the Carlist Wars using the Zinnbrigade Napoleonic French as Spanish (the origin of the San Carlos Grenadiers). Having discovered Scruby 40mm ACW  I had bought some for conversion to Danes in the new field uniform but these were now surplus. Another long delayed project was the Indian Mutiny and on a whim I converted a few of the Scrubies Indian Mutiny British.  The thought of doing  all those Carlists and Mutineers from scratch not to mention painting so many figures that had only one plausible setting led me to scratch both of these projects. Since I also had a 40mm 1812 project, I began to consider making some use of its figures and terrain for an alternate history setting starting with US involvement in the Canadian Rebellions of 1837/38 and the so called Aroostock War and ending with the Oregon Crisis going hot followed by an Anglo-Mexican vs US war in California and the Pacific North West. This fit pretty much everyone in with a few detail changes and a bit of imagination and I still like the idea but I kept tripping over the real history. Hence the resurrection of an old completely fictional 54mm project Oberhilse and Faraway. This is now the Atlantican Wars, an attempt to rope all sorts of  lose ends together into 1 project that I can sink another 10 years into without taking up too much money and shelf space..

The original generic plan, stretching back to the late 90's called for 2 "European" armies, a Europeanized native army as well as a spear armed one and a "European" rebel army. Somehow I have gotten a bit lost as I have "gotten into" the fictional history and have accidental been contemplating something like 7 or 8 fictional armies set in various parts of Atlantica for what was supposed to be a compact affair where most troops had multiple uses. I persevered for the last two years because I planned to run an Aroostock game at a convention. That's done and I have no hankering to do it again so I can move on. Hence the re-think.

The Frontier Light Horse (FLH) gallops past in their usual style with their new Guidon. 

If I can I intend to restrict Oberhilse forces to the area south of the mountains. They were originally supposed to be of Danish origin, not American clones and I am going to follow up on an earlier resolution to soften the US-Mexican war look which tempts me to work on two more historical armies when I am supposed to be reducing and focusing. I still haven't decided how to do this but perhaps the addition of more non-Mexican War units will be sufficient without revisiting existing figures. At the same time I am going to proceed with a jump from the 1840's to the 1860's. Earlier Faraway conflicts may be revisited by calling on my 1812 & 1837 figures with less conflict of interest and duplication between historical and fictional collections.

The various Native forces will be amalgamated for wargame purposes and the  idea of a native regular army will be dropped although the  Irregulars will be beefed up by limited regular support, think Mahrattas, later Afghans or the Khaliffa's army rather than Sikhs or Mexicans.  The aim will be to use Oberhilse and Faraway for conventional games and Farway vs Atlanticans for asymmetrical Colonial games.

Last but not least a painted pony in almost every sense. I should probably have chosen a different shirt colour for the new rider but it'll all even out.

Now to revisit OB's, re-identify deficiencies and get back to casting and painting.

Variations on a theme

left to right,
native Atlantican lancer, Oberhilse Frontier Lancer, Republican Guard Lancer 
or a Prussian Hussar straight out of the Zinnbrigade mold.

Winter is fast approaching and with it, guilt free hobby time! Yesterday I found time to dig out some lancer castings done early last summer and get a start on them. The basic figure is a Zinnbrigade 1900 Prussian Hussar with lance. This is the same figure that I used for Larsens's Lancers. I have various ideas for them but would also like to do some straight out of the box, errr, well, mold. This lot was supposed to be all Atlanticans but since I've been waffling so heavily on the period, setting, style of warfare, unit sizes etc, not to mention uniforms and native costume, and since time is still short, I opted for a couple of samples.

The first is a native lancer on the hussar horse with big shabraque and no saddle or gear. The conflict here was between doing him in a civilized Mexican irregular lancer style or a more Apache-esque manner. I decided that the latter was more needed right now. About 1/2 of the pile of castings were crisp, the rest  were not good with loss of details and almost no face. I used some of these for the 2 conversions. trimming the hat on this one and adding hair, turban or head scarf and a new nose as well as the minimum required to turn the tunic to a cotton shirt.

The 2nd figure was not planned, apparently the Frontier Light Horse is adding a lancer squadron. It all started because I thought the Hussar might look good in braided  green jacket and  red pants, which then reminded me of a picture of a US Mexican Spy Company lancer in green and buff which in turn reminded me of my Frontier light horse, at least those in uniforms of some sort. The horse is one of my favorite range, the multi-pose charging British Dragoon horses. Anyway, I filed the tunic down to a stable jacket, swapped his head with one of my sailors, built the crown up a bit and added a feather. If I do more I will have to do some with open jacket's leggings, etc.  Doing militia lancers in chaps, ponchos and tall broad brimmed hats is going to be a fair amount of work  and I might be better off starting with the Napoleonic dragoon figure. This chap was easy enough though and will blend in with the Light Horse, although whether I have space in my Oberhilse OB for irregular lancers or whether he becomes just becomes a squadron guidon bearer remains to be seen. It depends in part on whether I go for 6, 10 or 12 man squadrons.

The last figure is cast as sold. I am finding opposing pulls between assembling these armies as consistent, planned armies much like I would if they were historical or trying to make it look like I assembled them like a collector of painted toy soldiers 100 years ago might have, assembling two armies by buying what I could find on the shelves in the store. (* A store that stocked every set that Britain's offered that is.)  A quick look through what was available provides plenty of inspiration. The urge was strong here  to go with one of the 1900 Prussian Hussar uniforms, the red coat being especially attractive for some reason but Faraway already has a unit of lancers and I want to avoid the red/blue battle report mix up issue where possible. Black tunics are still under consideration but I cast my net wider. Light blue with red pants was considered but rejected as too gaudy for Oberhilse. Green with red pants like Belgian Guides is still a possibility but I am leaning heavily towards a traditional Oberhilse look of dark blue tunic with yellow or red trim and light blue pants. I don't intend to do a whole unit of full dress dandies but will assign the Guard Lancers as an escort to the General.  It seemed obvious that he should go on the intended horse but the Generals he might escort are almost all on standing horses so I thought it best if the escort waits patiently instead of trotting off. I'll have to cast some up and maybe add some blanket rolls and the like.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In the Queue

I have long had a thing for signalers, radiomen, heliograph teams, semophore signallers and so on. It may be influence from my Dad having been in the RC Signal Corps, but I blame it in part on this picture.

I've been wanting to do my own version of this since the late 60's when I got Henry Harris's book at Expo 67 along with Vol 1 of Funken's  Le Costume et Les Armes des Soldats de Tous les Temps.

Years later I of course discovered that this was originally published in English as Model Soldiers

.Different cover, different language, same story and pictures.

When I discovered SoldierPac and found a copy of Andrew Rose's book, I began plotting to buy the parts needed to recreate the scene, 2 standing highland officer bodies, 1 kneeling highland officer, 3 feather bonnets, 1 set of binoculars, 1 set of arms from boy scout with semophore flags, 2 extra arms. Somehow though, the order kept getting pushed back, mostly because as always money and time were scarce, I wasn't a solo gamer at the time or an idle collector and we had just started into 54mm Ancients. Soldierpac ceased trading, I largely dropped from 54mm  to 40mm and the plan became to do my  own Highland signal team from scratch while doing an Oberhilse team (converted 3 years ago and still not painted!). . Welllllll, looking through the selection of bodies and arms and heads from the new Little Britain's range. Looks like I can get what I need to put together something similar to the picture but in 42mm..

I haven't found much (ok any) evidence for or against the British Army using wig wag flags in the 50's or 60's and the heliograph doesn't really come in until the days of khaki  but I can probably support the use of .redcoated signal teams in Faraway quite early on.

So, I'll put this back on my list, the longgggggggg list.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Don't you hate it when

you've been planning to do something and not quite gotten around to it and then....

remember that 54mm Dorset catalog and my determination to stick with my 40mm figures?  Well have a gander at:

lbb16 highlander charging 
New Spencer-Smith Shiny Toy Soldier Little Britain's 42mm Highlander body. Just like I was going to make except this one has better sculpting and better mold making.

 Anyone want to buy a spin caster and vulcanizer?

Sighhhhhhhhhh  .

Friday, December 7, 2012

Long ago and far away: The Alpian Wars

It just occurred to me that there may be some who don't follow Jeff's Saxe-Bearstein Blog and thus may be unaware that I have been taking part in a late 16thC PBEM mini-campaign.

The first battle between Murdock and myself has been fought out by solo by Jeff in accordance with our orders.  (Nothing quite sharpens your order writing like having some one else read and interpret them! ) Luckily I was able to send orders by email and didn't have to send a sailing ship  down the Bay of Fundy to the North Atlantic, down through the South Atlantic, around Cape Horn to the Pacific and up though the inside passage of Vancouver Island. Battle Reports can be found on the Alpian Wars blog.

You can also follow the thoughts of Duke Michael of Alpia on his blog.

Alpian troops taking Gun Hill from the vile Stagonians.

Thanks to Murdock for being a challenging opponent  (we are talking a game where victory hung in the balance down to the last set of melee rolls) and to Jeff for hosting a very enjoyable affair.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Scale Creep

There's nothing like a few  hours of highway driving in light traffic and good weather for growing good, small, ideas into monsters. Last Sunday I was thinking about a small project to let me use some existing toy soldiers  and unpainted castings, this morning I found myself confirming that between existing figures, molds and Dorset Toy Soldiers that I could build everything I would need for several campaigns and found myself double checking unit sizes in Big Wars and wondering if I should be planning armies so that two portable units made a big wars unit. It took finding the unpainted RHA limber horses bought nearly 15 years ago, a good head shake and grabbing a few 40's off the shelf to bring me back to reality. (The RHA limber would stretch about a foot once assembled, a little big for a 30" wide board.....)

Ivan, my first born. The first figure that I sculpted and cast from scratch. I only painted one since the 54mm Crimean project went on hold but it would be easy if dangerous to spit out 3 dozen.

One problem of course is that HG Wells and most boys of the day used what they had and didn't bother worrying about things like which ACW figures could be converted to Russo-Turkish War Russians  or whether or not Guards in Bearskins and tunics should be seen fighting enemies in Khaki or Crimean Era Russians whereas I'm still fighting decades of conditioning that games should at least have historical uniforms and plausible opponents. It didn't take long, especially after I once again started to browse Dorset's seductive lists, for this expanding idea of resurrecting 54mm armies to start duplicating campaigns I have in mind for my 40mm Faraway and Oberhilse armies. It never takes long to remind myself why I downsized but it seems that I do need reminding now and then. After all, I didn't stop because I couldn't get what I want or that I stopped wanting it, I merely recognized that I couldn't do everything and that slightly smaller fit my space better.

So, I have decided to clamp down on the sudden revival of the idea of adding a few hundred 54mm Toy Soldier armies, have reaffirmed my intention to refurbish existing figures and add as few new ones as possible to make a small Red vs Blue set up. To avoid serious thought about Crimean, Russo-Turkish, Plains War US or Boer War 54mm armies right now, I will stick to Red vs Blue using largely if not entirely British forces for both sides. (for now...)

Cavalry units will be 2 figures, infantry 4. I would prefer 3 and 6 but while they just fit, it is too crowded especially if there is any terrain, and there is no room for an attached commander.

Red's Army will consist of:  General with escort
Guards Brigade with Brigadier and 3 units (4 figures each):  Grenadier, Coldstream and Scots Guards
Highland Brigade with Brigadier and 3 units, Black Watch, Gordon's and either Argyle's or Ross-shire's
Fusilier Brigade with Brigadier and 3 units, Royal, Scots and Welch Fusiliers (well I have extra Guardsmen which will be close enough for this even if the Bearskins aren't quite right)
Heavy Brigade: Brigadier and 2 units, Scots Greys and an as yet to be determined Dragoon or Life Guard Squadron. (These are all bare castings at the moment, waiting for conversion.)
Light Brigade: Brigadier and 2 units. To be determined. possibly 16th Lancers and NWMP
2 guns. The crews will be problematic to make it fit the red theme. The NWMP manned one gun in the
Riel Rebellion and that may be of use, the other may be manned by gunners in blue or by Guards.
1 MG
Pipe Band

Blue's Army will consist of a similar force but with:
Naval Brigade
Volunteer Brigade (composition and uniforms tbd possible grey )
Rifle Brigade  (only 2 units so far, 3rd tbd)
Hussar Brigade
Lancer Brigade
Royal Horse Artillery gun
Royal Foot Artillery gun
1 MG
Field Hospital

In the mean time, I have become increasingly unsure how often I will be able to play upstairs so I have decided to back down from my decision to try to keep card table and full table armies separate and will try a small 40mm Faraway and Oberhilse card table game this weekend before they fade from my mind.

40 mm figures trying out the first grid prototype in March 2011

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.