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

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Battle of Lonely Hill

There's no better way to come up with a solution for a nagging problem than to stop thinking about it.

The NorthWest Mounted Rifles had galloped forward to seize the hill (seebut were driven off by the Zouaves. The swift arrival of reinforcements allowed the Queen's forces to drive off the Zouaves in turn.
In this case my original intention was just to tweak my Square Brigadier rules so I could use more figures and play longer games without them dragging. However, lurking below the surface was that suppressed urge for something more like playing with toy soldiers and less like a board game even if that board game worked well and was fun.

Both sides rushed reinforcements to the front. An indecisive long range firefight followed while the armies extended their lines and prepared for a decisive attack.
What I ended doing, step by step without seeing where I was headed was creating exactly what I had wanted, a fairly conventional toy soldier game with units of individual figures (even if fixed to bases for convenience) but using a grid for measuring.
The Queen's forces won the build up race. (1 die each turn for 4,5,6 to bring on a new unit.

The key decisions were to use larger units on smaller squares and to allow units to spread across multiple contiguous squares, measuring movement, ranges and arcs of fire  separately by 3" square. (Invisible or nominal squares at the moment but soon to be marked.)

The Rebels have no option but to strike before the odds get worse or give it up. A fierce and prolonged close quarters fight resulted but the attack was eventually thrown back.
The result was so much like a simplified MacDuff game that I borrowed the morale and charge resolution and various other rules from MacDuff as well.

An attempt to rally was broken up by rifle and artillery fire and with all of the Rebel Brigadiers wounded, the Rebel army suddenly collapsed.
The result was exactly what I have been looking for. Now to bring my 6 and 8 figure infantry units up to 12, do some dismounted cavalry, get some limbers painted up  and......

The Defended Frontier (click on link to read the short, 4 page, version of the rules.)


  1. "lurking below the surface was that suppressed urge for something more like playing with toy soldiers" - an urge I understand too well. Congratulations on finding the key to making that happen. I have downloaded the rules and look forward to reading them over!

    1. It seems I've been gripped by another urgent desire to reorganize, rebase and reinforce.

  2. Hi Ross- always enjoy looking at your Battles esspecialy 40mm and 54mm -I do like 54mm -yet never played a game as such with 54mm- something which I've certainly missed out on despite making a lot of buildings and things for the members of the Sydney Toy Soldiers Club in 54mm- from Castles to Landing Craft. The Club is now defunct - sadly. All the Best. KEV.

  3. The game looks fantastic. I have a number of the figures you use as dismounted Mounties although mine take the role as Metis types. Are the mounted Mounties plastic Britains. I will print off the new version of the rules and give it a go soon.

    1. I recently got these cowboys to flush out my collection of wagon drivers and armed civilians but when I decided the scenario just cried out for the Mounties to appear it wasn't long before I realized that I needed to improvise a dismounted marker and there were the shiny, new to me, red shirted cowboys.

      and yes, the Mounties are Britain's eyes right 60's era plastics. I'm afraid they are in line to trade in lances and stetsons for rifles and pillbox caps.

  4. Ross Mac,

    An excellent and very inspiring battle report ... and I'll be reading your rules with great interest.

    All the best,


    1. It was a sudden step in an unexpected direction which hindsight tells me should have been the obvious one 2 years ago.

  5. Nice skirmish. I like this kind of action.

    1. It was just the right size and duration for the time and energy in hand.

  6. It looks like your MacDuff is coming along nicely. Its always interesting to read the thought process behind rules decisions. I have had to do something similar (and all rather rushed, but necessarily essential). I had all my units worked out to 8 man units of inf and 5 trooper cav, but since my discovery of FLW I have had to re-think to 10 man inf and 8 Cav units. Not a big change you might think, but it means I have had to go back and paint additional miniatures to bolster every blasted unit I own haha.

    Your game set up looks splendid I must say. I seriously considered using squares for my table too, but in the end was inclined to measure the good old fashioned way, using bound sticks, colour measured for different range bands and cannon ball bounce etc.

    Your Mounties look enviably good I must say.

  7. Always good to have the ability to reinforce units from "local suppliers" (like a cupboard full of relevant moulds ).

    I'm afraid the mounties won't look so enviable ere long when I regress their uniforms.

    1. A cupboard full of suitable moulds is always a bonus isn't it ^^

      Ooww I`ll be sad to see those splendid chaps downsized to their less developed state. Still, when the needs must and the devil drives.