Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Spin of the Time Wheel

Flipflipflip.f l i p.. f...l....ip..

Ahh! Early 16th Century! 

Very good. 

Now to turn this smorgsborg of kit parts and existing figures into 6 'stands' of English, mercenary and French Gensdarmes (elite armoured lancers) for Rough Wooing.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Up Up and Away In My

By popular request. Some shots of one of the balloons a friend made for me a decade ago. 
2010 Picture of the first flightSee 2010 post North West Aeronautic Division.

They have seen action off and on since then and have appeared in quite a few blog posts but not many recently and there is no "balloon" label, so here are some more! 

The balloons themselves are plastic Halloween pumpkins, the baskets are made from textured plastic sheet and something for the wood frame (they came preprimed). Altitude is adjusted by inserting one of 3 perspex rods into the balloon, through a bit of brass in the basket and into a brass tube affixed to a large heavy-ish base. Ordinary garden twine from my shed provided the rigging. 

(I suppose the title probably shows my age, please note that this was NOT a favourite, just one of those earworms which received a lot of airplay in the '60's. But for those who are curious or nostalgic:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020



The Trade Mission approaches the Kyuquoit  border post at Bhieetown.

It is well know that since Kyuquoit signed a trade treaty with Oberhilse more than a decade ago, the Faraway Trading Company has been unable to even have their trade missions received. Now that the Origawn War is over and Faraway's right to exclusive  influence over Northern Atlantica as well as control  of the Origawn Territory has been recognized, the Queen, as a mark of her appreciation of the FTC's efforts in the campaigns against the Brethren of the Coast , has graciously lent the FTC two regiments of infantry and one of Lancers as well as General Milne, as an escort to a new trade delegation.

Opposition at the border post was stiffer than anticipated.

Upon approaching the Kyuquoit border post it was soon apparent  that they were prepared to resist our intention to cross the border. 

The army deployed with precision and attacked.

General Milne ordered the expedition to deploy and attack in hopes of seizing the town and border post before it could be reinforcemed. It was soon evident that the enemy had had prior knowledge of the expedition though and that reinforcements were already at hand. 

Fighting was fierce and prolonged. General Paz can be seen in the background, urging his men to resist the invaders.

A savage fight ensued and our redcoated infantry suffered  high casualties. The Buffs were forced  to fallback and regroup but the Green Tigers drove the local villagers from their stronghold and held their gains despite a heavy and accurate fire from some Oberhilse volunteers such had been spotted aiding the Black Fox. Many  were still wearing their old uniforms and one has to wonder if these are mercenaries, bitter men or are there with the secret approval  of the Elders of the Oberhilse Council, especially since they were being led by Brigadier Zinn formerly of the Oberhilse Field Force.

Faraway regimental Colours fly over the Kyuquoit town.

Casualties had been heavy and the enemy was obviously ready and able to resist any attempt to continue to advance but to retreat with so wounded across the wide plains of Kapelle with tribal horsemen  nipping at their heels was not to be considered. General Alfred A. Milne himself led the Buffs in another  assault which cleared the town and the enemy General signalled a retreat. 

The army is settling in now  to lick its wounds and prepare to hold this post until supplies and reinforcements arrive, or new orders. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Marvels of Modern Warfare

The townsfolk were ready and bravely engaged the redcoats, but then came the first whizzing, smoking rocket,  bursting amid the town with terrifying effect!

 Undaunted by the death and destruction, the defenders stood their ground. The Company's troops  pressed forward but in those days, it was a brave man who advanced in front of his own rockets,

As if summoned by the rogue rocket, the head of an enemy column appeared.  The battle had barely begun.


A spell of good gardening weather interrupted  the game a few turns later. The game will resume in the morning.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Scene is Set, The Actors Take Their Places

At last the Faraway force approaches Bhieetown and sees the old Kyuqoit post on the rocky hilltop. 
The view from the air.

It appears that a reception party is ready to receive them.

Let fly the dice of wargame!

Friday, May 22, 2020

From the Archives: June 2012, The Armies Clash

While we are waiting, here is a link to a blog post about a battle between these enemies back in June 2012. 

Note my old 6'x8' table covered in hand drawn hexes which aren't being used.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

We Built This City

Well, town...... ok, village, or at least it will be a village once I finish this house and build a couple more. The point is that real imaginary little metal people live here.....maybe I should stop there and post a picture of some of today's progress.

I could have sworn I kept a piece of white foamcore for the houses. At least the spackle helps. 

I extracted a big blob (technical term) of spackle and tinted it as suggested. Its a little paler than I would have liked but makes it a good base for the green base paint.

Work continues, battle on the weekend is the latest expectation.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Can You Hear The Drums?

Ahh, nostalgia! I have great affection for and memories of this mob, my first glossy toy soldier army. (My first 54mm armies, even the  Britain's recasts, that I did in the 90's were all matte and detailed.)

I'm glad now that I listened to the little voice that said "you've done enough damage already, put them aside until you understand what you want and what will be practical going forward."

They are almost ready for battle again. I even went out and bought some Polyfilla (spackle) to use on the bases instead of glue and sawdust. The end finish matches the table top better.

The Faraway Forces.

Only the Queen's Lancers and the General are relatively new additions, four or five years old and in 1870's tunics then. The rest are from 2007/9

Kyuquoit forces.

The Dark Lancers are a hasty repaint of Oberhilse's short lived Lancers, the White coated regulars and most of the irregulars are a few years old but the foreign volunteers including Brigadier Zinn with a new hot weather hat, are from the old days (well, not that old, 2007/9)

I need to finish the basing, add 4 more irregular skirmishers, make a few buildings and I'll be ready for a game.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Where this came from and where its going

A few years ago, when I decided to trim my collection of toy soldiers again (still chasing the dream of having room to store/display and play with all of my "keepers" without duplication of period and game style), I hit one snag. The 40mm, 1840/50's British forces that I had initially created for campaigns in India didn't have an enemy and I had no idea when I was going to find/make one or an equivalent without duplicating my 54's. However, one has only to look at my blog header to see why I didn't want to let them go. Then the Great War bicentennial arrived and I decided that required my attention.
The Queen's troops  storming a Brethren of the Coast stronghold in  2009 during my play through of Scenarios for All Ages,

Now that "my" Great War is done and gone, and some of the Scruby Colonials, the figures that converted my to the shiny toy soldier look (See  Dick Larsen's Enfilade game) are available again, its time to get back to the planned Northern Atlantica Colonial campaign. 

I want it to be compatible with my 40mm War of 1812 as there are a number of units that  can do double duty when I'm in Toy Soldier mode and short a unit. (See "The Fox is in the Henns").

The last game, "The Fox is in the Henns"April 2017

I also want to go back to the look of the early days of these armies (see Blog Header) and of the last big Faraway vs the Brethren game before the Great War came to dominate things. However, I'm planning to stick with small quick games apart from special events so I am not planning the larger armies for this setting that I once dreamt about building.
Air and Sea expedition against the Brethren April 2017. Photo courtesy of The Newport Noodle

So here's what I expect to have available for a One Hour game sometime this week:

Faraway Trading Company
Brigadier Stonefort (Royal Army officer on Loan)
    Faraway Trading Company Troops:        Larsen's Lancers
        FTC Rocket Battery
        FTCM Landing Party (Heavy Gun
        Ross's Rifles
        (1st Kapelle Sepoys - not available)

Royal Faraway Army Brigade:
    The Buffs
    The Green Tigers
    The Royal Fusiliers
    Victoria Rifles

Royal Kyuqoit Army

General: ??
Household Lancers
Royal Grenadiers

Freedom Brigade (Foreign Volunteers )
1st Battalion
2nd Battalion
Mountain Battery

Provincial Forces
Local Scouts
2 x Local warriors 

Faraway forces currently  available for this campaign.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Small Steps

Not much progress today, too many outside Spring chores. At least we achieved a 2:1 majority decision (myself & I vs me) to go back to using 3 bases per unit (18 inf/6 cav) its not grid friendly but will work with several different rulesets and thats how the figures are painted so the least amount of work.

Of course some of the units were rebased for 2 stand, 16 figure, units  (with 2 spares left over) and so will need to be brought back to standard.

Thursday, May 14, 2020


Time to get the 1840's imaginary/Atlantica colonial confused mess of a collection set to rights and table ready.

Hmm, rules?  unit sizes? basing style? ....oh dear! This means making decisions doesn't it?

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Glorious 6th of May

Last May at Huzzah!, Rob Dean (of the Sharp End of the Brush blog) and I agreed to cohost an "A Gentleman's Wargame" French Revolution game for our entry at this year's Huzzah. I had pledged to myself that I would paint up at least six units per side if not eight but slacked off when it became clear that Huzzah was not going to happen this year. Still I managed 9 new units, all conversions of homecast figures and by substituting a battalion of SYW Brunswickers and Light Infantry and a unit of Napoleonic infantry I was able to put together a One Hour Wargame with six units aside for a Video-chat game with Rob. A poorman's Huzzah! but an afternoon well spent indeed.

Since I was using my smartphone for the video chat, I broke out an ancient ex-phone to use as a  camera. Alas, something was wrong and I didn't get a single picture. What follows  is an attempt to recreate events as closely as I could, except for the last picture which was taken with my current phone before resetting the table.
Early in the game. The French have stormed the first post in quick time and are about to push on.
The game was Scenario 15 from Thomas's One Hour Wargame, slightly modified to fit AGW. There were two main things that needed adjusting. The first was that the two fortified towns have an integral combat capability as well as a garrison. Initially I was just going to add a notional unit to Rob's army for each village but that would have meant that his force needed to activate more units per turn which seemed like an unfair penalty. (In retrospect I  almost wish I had done that because it would have helped me as the attacker!) 

The second thing is that the game has a 15 turn limit. We've played enough AGW now to get a feel for converting turns to Jokers so we went with the game would end on the 4th Joker and that worked well.  This scenario allows the attacker to remove his first wave of attackers on any turn and reenter the board with a fresh army on the next turn. I thought about having to make that call on a Joker but decided that at the end of any of my cycles was closer to the original intent.
A Damsel in distress emerges and pleas to be taken to "votre commandant", the poor helpless innocent.
Gen. Stewart
    42nd Battalion Royal Highland Regiment: Brave, Gallant
    Emigre Battalion de Brouiller
    Battalion of Brunswickers
Detachment Chasseurs St. Lambert: Marksmen, rifle armed (-1MD to fire)
Royal Artillery with field gun
Royal Scots Greys: HC
One unit must garrison each fortified village with a 1 deep line but fires 1d/figure instead of 1d/2
Choose 1 Cameo, either:  Spy, Mistress, or Messenger 

Gen St. Michel
1 Battalion 'Old' French Infantry,  Brave
2 Battalions of French infantry.
1 Battalion "Light" Infantry (may break into 2 x 6 skirmish detachments )
1 Field Gun
Death's Head Hussars LC,  Gallant
Choose 1 cameo: either  Cantiniere, Spy catcher or Messenger
The second wave has advanced in a hurry and threatened the British gun but the Grey's intervene. Their attack on the hasty square was bloodily repulsed but the gun was saved, for now at least.
I was tempted to take the Spy catcher in case Rob employed the Scarlet Pimpernal but also wanted to use my Cantiniere figure as a Cantiniere for once. Since I got to replace my whole army once, recovering a few casualties seemed less important so I went with the Messenger.

The messenger was damned useful until we took the first town, the first Joker turned up and with it, a woman from the town was brought before my General and that was it. He pretty much forgot all about sending messages for the rest of the game!   (The Messenger can dash off on the first card of the cycle to give a unit an extra activation as if they had pulled an ace but the Mistress cancels the first card in each cycle if its a number card, well..........guess who kept pulling number cards....)

A broader view of the same moment.
The game started with great promise. Taking the first town was almost too easy given the combination of good cards, the messenger, and dice that largely favoured me. The only fly in the ointment was my brand new unit of sans culottes skirmishers who couldn't hit the broad side of a forest or make a saving throw and managed to fail every single morale roll. For the second attack I reformed them and sent them in column but it changed nothing and they routed at the first opportunity. After all the time spent finding striped trousers for them and lovingly sewing on little patches.......this may have to be remembered when I'm assigning unit qualities for their second game!!

Once that tart showed up though, not only was my General too distracted to send the messenger out but the cards decided to become neutral and average out the long run of black cards I had enjoyed with a run of red ones.  My attempts to storm forward in column to prepare the final assault on the second post was met by volley after volley as Rob cycled rapidly through his compact force again and again. When I finally managed to complete a cycle I took the chance to declare my reset.

At last the gun is taken at the point of my men's bayonets and only a handful of Highlanders blocks the way. In  the background my latest unit again leads the charge to the rear.
The second half of the game was action packed across the board. This time I all but ignored the riflemen and made a rush for the second post, all except for one unit who re-secured the first post then pressed on to flank the enemy. It was starting to look bad for Rob, I had an infantry column poised to flank his gun and the Black Watch was down under half strength while facing two of my units but passed every morale check with ease.

The next few turns saw some fierce fighting and the low saving throws for columns hurt. My new battalion routed at the first morale check, the supply of face cards dried up  and that d__d b___h kept cancelling the first card in every cycle! Since I was in a wide arc to surround the town, brigade moves suddenly became harder, especially before I remembered that having a mistress didn't stop me from leading a brigade in person!  The action can be followed in the pictures and captions but it was nip and tuck as I watched the deck draw down until only four or five cards were left, one of which was the Joker that would end the game.  I began throwing in my remaining hold cards just to get my troops close enough to make some kind of rush.  At last I had my chance.

The final assault was easily repulsed. Please note the Ensign of the Black Watch holding off a whole battalion by the glint in his mad eye!
Well, Rob was due for a victory and he played his side well. My forlorn charge by a handful of men had almost no chance of winning though if the ensign of the Black Watch would have just laid down when shot or sabred, my 3rd, stronger battalion might have tipped the balance.

Can't think of a better way to have spent an afternoon in lockdown. These armies will continue to grow and see action under A Gentleman's War. Seems like that Whitehouse author guy knows what he's doing after all.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Ready to Roll

I'm now ready for tomorrow's game.
 If I was heading off to Huzzah next Thursday, I'd still be 2 units short of my committment but at home some SYW and War of 1812 units are ready to step into the gap.
The two 1/2 units of "Light Infantry" (ie French line infantry designated to act as skirmishers but theoretically capable of reforming) formed in column for an assault.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Nearly There

Almost got these guys finished today but hand, eyes and back called timeout so I took a break to do some housework and make cookies.

Not much left to do so they should be ready to join in on the attack on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Saturday's game is more or less set up. Scenario 15 from One Hour Wargames adjusted to be played with A Gentleman's War.  I have six more French infantry assembled with two rainy days scheduled in which to paint them but that will still leave one stand-in infantry unit on each side. SYW Brunswickers for the Allies, War of 1812 Americans for the French.

Here's a "Rob's Eye" view of the battlefield.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Recruiting Continues

At last! My French Revolutionary forces will see battle this weekend. It'll be a  Google Hangouts battle but I'm hosting so, work has started on the next unit.

Aux armes!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Back to the French Rev...Ahh..R2? (update)

R2..You're showing the wrong picture!

Beep whirr zip Beep!

Oh alright.  Today I bit two bullets and cut down the new Foam Core Colonial bases so they will fit in the armoured trains, lorries, sangars, houses, path up the mountain etc,  AND  I repainted my Scruby Colonial British from Red to Khaki so they can join in my early 20thC games.

Later I'll post about the upcoming AGW French Revolution test game. Happy R2?

May the Fourth be with you!


There seem to be a few people who have been deceived into thinking I've built my 40mm hill fort. Alas it is just a few old 25mm bits made from foam core and orange crates etc, the village part being some 30 years old, arranged to look like a fort. 

 A 40mm fort IS coming! Hopefully this year.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

(Updated ) Reflections on Games "In the Days of King Arthur"

This week's focus on my Elastolin Prince Valiant figures has reminded me of three things.

Firstly, I get a great deal of pleasure from my Prince Valiant figures, converting and painting them,  playing games with them, and blogging the games.

Secondly, I don't really enjoy playing the sort of semi-roleplaying  game that our hobby calls 'skirmish' games.  I do quite like games based around what was called petite guerre in the 18thC, raids, ambushes and the like but played with simple, fast play rules and a half dozen or so small units rather than a few individuals.

A game of Grant's 'Wagontrain '  (my name)  scenario using one page rules called  Castle Dangerous that I wrote 2 years ago for this game with friends.

Thirdly, I blogged this same discussion last fall (see Battle by Lamplight), and reached the same conclusion that I reached last week.  The simple rules that I had come up two years ago for a one off Prince Valiant game with friends, based around 4 figure cavalry/archer and 8 figure infantry units plus characters, were about right for what I want to do and that's what I used for the Saxon counterattack in the previous post.
 Battle by Lamplight fought last September.
The rules need a new name since, due to a shortage of inspiration at the time, I called them  "Castle Dangerous". I like it but that was an historical fiction novel by Sir Walter Scott, set in 13thC  Scotland, and had nothing to do with Dark Age Britain or the world of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant.  They also need to be flushed out to cover more than the basics and, if I can find something I like better, I need an effective replacement for the armour saves that I initially used. 

The initial quick reference for a proposed merged version of the rules is now available for the curious. I've decided to use just the first part of the first name: Stout Hearts

But now its time to get back to the French Revolution and maybe some 19thC Colonial action.

Friday, May 1, 2020

The Adventures of Prince Micheal: Episode 20

(Storm Watch Pt 2)

The morning was well advanced by the time the hammering in the woods was done and the creaking and bellowing began in earnest.  

The Saxon archers crept forward behind wheeled mantlets, stopping periodically to loose carefully aimed arrow. Soon they were joined by the creaking and thudding of catapults hurling their missiles with great force.  
Aeric Redlegs led the first Saxon band up the hill. Using their shields expertly to protect themselves against the defenders arrows, they chopped and pushed the first entanglement over the cliff edge and then crept forward to work their way forward over the abatis. They came slowly but they came steadily.  By the time they were braced, ready for the charge, the tower had reached the cliff and dropped its bridge onto the plateau. With a YELL the Saxons charged!

The fighting at the barricade was fierce, bloody and prolonged. The din from the cries of the men, the hammering of swords on shields and the crash of the huge rocks being tossed by the catapults was deafening. It seemed the warriors on both sides were determined to die before they would give an inch. Helgin sent half of his huscarls around the base of the tower to attack from the rear but the footing between tower and cliff edge was uncertain as both parties crept slowly forward.
At length Aerics's few remaining warriors turned and fled but he himself stood firm and continued the assault singlehanded while the next Saxon band clambered upwards, over the abatis. Behind the barricade, Micheal was left with Kenneth and the last 2 of his men. Above him only 3 of the Duke's men remained to hold the tower itself.  Warning his men to be ready to run for the doorway, he stepped forward to meet Aeric. The blows were swift and hard but protected by his armour he dealt Aeric a heavy blow that brought him to the ground. "NOW!" cried the Prince  but as they turned to go, there was a loud crash as the seigetower collapsed, unable to withstand the battering any longer. Almost instantly, there came a loud fanfare of clear trumpets followed  by the thunder of hooves.

Against hope, the Duke had arrived! Helgin was ready to fight but with half their number dead or wounded and the tower down, his men began to run for the woods. There was nothing for Helgin to do but gather his huscarls and join them. There would be another day on which to gain his revenge.

"You are a most welcome sight Sir, but how did you know to come so urgently to our need?" "Why,  a little bird told me Micheal. Where is the Lady  Alison? This was ever a favourite haunt of hers. No doubt she has gone off to the quiet of the woods."