Saturday, November 11, 2017

Committing the Plan to Memory

Not human memory, that's as fleeting as it gets these days, digital memory, as in my blog.

After a week of poking about, contemplating exotic enemies, and reviewing present means and past unfinished business, I'm relieved to realize I don't need to start a new 54mm Toy Soldier campaign just yet. The three in hand will keep me busy for a year or two yet if not longer.

Last year I dithered a bit over  grid, unit size and army size but have now tested enough options that I am happy to settle on 4" hexes (or squares in the interim) and 4 figure infantry companies with 3 figure cavalry squadrons.

So the Campaigns in hand:

First and least is the "Portable Zulu War with Guest Stars". The Gordon Highlanders should not be there, especially not dressed for Tel el Kebir. Maybe one day they'll take me to Egypt but for now they'll do their duty wherever I send them. I have 4 infantry companies in sun helmets and 2 cavalry squadrons so for most games will have to include troops in less tropical dress for most scenarios but the glossy antique toy soldier creed allows that. The Zulus are in more than adequate numbers.

Practising for Huzzah last winter.

Second is the "Cyprus Hills" or "Northwest" Campaign. In the short term, I just need to add some Metis and terrain and tidy up a few units. Eventually I might want to add more troops in Riel Rebellion campaign dress including mounted scouts but I'm in no hurry.

The game that hooked me two years ago.

Third and largest is the "Defended Border" Campaign or what if the Fenians had been more like what the public imagination pictured? To put it another way, this is the perfect opportunity  for my " imagine if my Grandfather had fought a Red vs Blue wargame campaign with off the shelf boxes of toy soldiers" campaign. I now have lots of moulds for soldiers in long trousers and minimal equipment which are ripe for conversion to old toy style Civil War troops as well as Fort Henry Guards. I picture this campaign being ripe to eventually have enough troops for full CS Grant and Asquith scenarios with 18 or 20 units a side.

From the game fought last Canada Day.

While I was casting Guardsmen yesterday, I grabbed my Zouave mold and cast up a company of them as well. There  are plenty of Britain's Zouave & Turko sets to choose from for uniforms and I'll probably do some of the traditional blue with red trousers of the New York Zouaves but given the Fictional-Fenian context, I am tempted to paint some up as Papal Zouaves in grey such as were raised in Montreal to fight for the Pope.

Alfred Laroque, Papal Zouave, Montreal, QC, 1868
from the McCord Museum site.

I could even call them "Les Fils des Patriotes", sons of the 1837-39 rebels from Lower Canada who have joined with the Fenians.  After all, if using one's imagination, it doesn't do to rein it in too tightly.


  1. This all sounds and looks exciting Ross! Cast and paint away as I am eager to enjoy the forthcoming visual and gaming spectacles.

    Best Regards,


  2. Ross Mac,

    Three campaigns to play with! Now that is a good reason to get your moulds warmed up and the casting metal into the ladle!

    All the best,


    1. and the keyboard. This is going to need some background work!

  3. "Imagine if my Grandfather had fought a Red vs Blue wargame campaign with off the shelf boxes of toy soldiers"--a superb articulation for the genre, one that I'll spin for future uses. It's a good thing that you committed it to "memory."

  4. Part of the fun is imagining where these remembers plans are like to go. For us readers, it is like the unfolding of a story. Historical novels, whether genuinely historical (George MacDonald Fraser) or 'what-ifs' (Harry Turtledove) were ever my favourite genre.