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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

They're Back!

Here they come again! 
At last! The more things I get squared away, the closer I get to what I thought I would be doing now, playing 40mm Toy Soldier games. I had been making some progress but it took a delightful game on Steadfast Tin Soldier to spur me to action, along with finally starting in on my patient copy of Malleson's  book on the Indian Mutiny. I might have started earlier if I'd realized he was such a readable author and that he had been in the thick of things at HQ in Calcutta. Just the thing to inspire some games. (Don't get excited in the back, still not going to India.)

After my Crysler's Farm game I was sold on the strip basing of my toys to allow them to have the narrow frontage I wanted without losing stability or being forced into permanent ranks.  I can't remember why I chose 3 figures, possibly because I was thinking of 12 man units and also thinking 4 stand units for Hearts of Tin but it threw my tiny brain into a tizzy when I contemplated the current dysfuntional version of HofT which only allows the front stands of a unit to shoot and MacDuff which has 4 man firing groups. Now there is no reason why 3 man stands can't be used with 4 man fire groups but for some reason it irks me. This is why I used improvised thin cardboard test bases for a change. Some pleasant time was wasted exploring 2 man bases and deciding that they are just right. I also found that on a painted surface, the individual figures actually stand quite well on their own bases.

So today, I cleared the table and began the last game, hoping to prove that 4 x 5 is big enough if the regiments are based tightly enough. That illusion was shattered before the end of set up. The previous 5x6 is the smallest I can work happily with unless I go to a grid for all non skirmish games. I'll need a different solution to the lack of off table maneuver room between games but that is in the hands of the chief engineer as we speak and having consulted myself, I am convinced the new plan will work and eliminate the difficulty of taking pictures towards the windows.

The game was going to be MacDuff but after looking at the ranges, and the whole card draw, variable moves and so on, it just doesn't didn't seem right for a game with over a dozen battalions trying to maneuver over a mere 20 square feet. So I decided to give Rattle of Dice a go. Then I tweaked it abit for the mid century, and soon I found that I had reinvented the version of Hearts of Tin that I was using last year. The one used for Kinch's charge. Oh. Oh well good then! I didn't like the intermediate one but haven't had time to work on it while I sorted out the whole Square's issue. This is not the original element based one but the one which translated things like "1 die per stand" into "1 die per 4 figures" so I could use figures on bases or not on bases. It does use inches like the original rather than trying to be flexible. 

So far so good. The game will hopefully resume on Thursday, I'm off to have a social lunch and then sink some ships tomorrow. 

The game begins. Blue has launched yet another surprise attack on the Red Queen's territory,


  1. Darn-it, Ross, your mention of the Mutiny DID get me excited . . . I was all excited then you dashed my hopes . . . *sigh*.

    -- Jeff

    1. Just keeping you on your toes but for a couple of years I have had a colourful alternate version in my head and I'm almost ready to start.

  2. Dear Ross,

    Have you considered using some morph of magnetic basing for individual figures? This would allow you to use your figures for one-to-one skirmishes up to Charge type games where thirty-plus figures could be placed on movement trays. The different rule sets using three, four or even six figures on a base could be accomodated while casualties can easily be removed.

    Best regards,

    The Celtic Curmudgeon
    "Grumpy is good."

    1. Jerry, thanks for the suggestion. I have experimented with magnetic movement trays. They are pretty useful for SYW actions where units deploy in line in the ooen and just go forward and back. But I find when you get into later games on the fringes of civilization where units rrequently change formation and deal with all sorts of terrain then the trsys become a hindrance.

      Add to that the issue of the weight of 40mm metal figures. I have yet to gind a magnet that will hold a 40mm really firmly if he is on a narrow base let alone allow me to pickup a tray by 1 figure. I'm fairly clumsy to start with and have real issues reaching to the middle to grab a tray without knocking figures off. Sliding can work on the painted tabletop but not so well when the cloth is on.

  3. Looking forward to seeing the game progress...

    1. More delays I'm afraid but hopefully over the weekend.