Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Enemy In Sight!

It's been one of those days, but everything's ready.

One of the guerrilla bands of freed slaves has agreed to act as scouts for the French outpost.

"Look!  Enemy in sight!"

There's the French Sir!

To be continued.....

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Coming Soon To A Virtual Island Near You!

The troops appear happy to be back on their own feet (ok washer/base). I'm going to need more jungle-ish terrain, even over and above the excess plastic plants which are stored away ...somewhere....   And trees, I bought more palm trees of a similar height, but their fronds are about 1/4 of the size, I guess they are farther away.......or...??,  Well, I have enough vegetation to get started with a small encounter with a half dozen units a side, or maybe more. 

Hold the bridge!

To be continued........

Having organized and rebased (a total of  over 100 figures to go the close to 100 old period figures still mounted on washers. 

I also had to adjust the rules, including some old ideas which had been rolled in virtual cobwebs and put away in case I ever wanted to go back to this level and approach, as I do. 

Hopefully the guns will open fire tomorrow.

More vegetation, villages, mountains, etc to follow.

Friday, July 19, 2024

We're Back!

Belmont Island is about to become a warzone again and the heat and humidity in my room is adding a touch of reality to the setting......

I've just about re-based enough figures to get a semi-skirmish game on the table before the weekend is done.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Now What?

Once upon a time......or 2 years ago to be precise, I set out to prepare a 1790's Caribbean wargame to take to Huzzah 2023. 

See "A Desperate Affair"

but somehow, by the time I got to Huzzah, it looked more like this:

Yup, here we are in Egypt.....some navigator......
No I'm not sure how these things happen but they do. 

Anyway, it was fun to put together but that campaign is officially over, the French and British troops have been shipped across the Atlantic to the Caribbean as originally intended and the Egyptian and Turkish troops are sitting around smoking their pipes and wondering what their future is. Me too (except for the smoking part). 

The only thing that comes in mind is to pit them across my 16thC Imperial forces, Landsknechts, etc but at that time, Turkish cavalry spurned firearms and, well, most of my Mamlukes have them and none have the bow that was a major weapon for Turkish cavalry. The infantry is fine, its just a bit ironic because my original homecast Turkish infantryman was sculpted 20 years ago for just such a setting. A project which never got off the ground then, and which I don't feel like tackling now. 


Took along time for these guys to get dressed and on the table but at least I didn't have to worry about the fragility of the too thin bows they were sculpted with.

Trying to sell them is a very tempting option, if I can find a buyer, as it would put an end to that temptation when I'm trying to reduce and finish what I have I've been working on for the last 20 years........... I think I'll put up a page with pictures and see if anyone is interested in this motley crew of some 40 odd Mamluke/Turkish conversions, mostly home cast with the cavalry being semi-flats.

I also hemmed and hawed about my French camel company but I decided that I like the troopers enough to take away their camels for some other use, and ship them to the West Indies as local volunteer light infantry.(at the moment, Prince Valiant's Persian enemy Satrap has claimed the camels to keep his elephant from getting lonely).  

My hastily improvised Chouan Royalists will also be disbanded, part to go back to their original role as Canadian 1837 Patriotes and rebels, part to go back to being ex-slave guerillas. (see below)

Royal Navy attacks an inconvenient French shore battery in the West Indies.

Yeah, this means I'll be going (virtually) to the West Indies in the heat of summer rather than going in winter. Oddly, the only times I got close to the Caribbean were also  in summer, (as a young Naval officer) a stop in Bermuda while on exercises and a stop at Cuba when I was an exchange officer on a US Destroyer in '76 and as a foreigner was not allowed on shore at Guantánamo Bay! Ah well, it was also summer when I watched icebergs go by off the coast of Baffin Island.  

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Mayhem (now with captions)

This game could have been the basis of a good Prince ValierrrrMicheal story, but I was continually interrupted by 'other duties' and I was trying to design a new set of rules while I played. With all the confusion those situations usually cause, especially when combined, and the late hour, I've given up on a narrative. 

Note to self: I need to make a Bard figure to help with composing tales of high adventure.

The scenario was based on CS Grant's Wagon Train.

An alliance of 'Picts' (ie British tribes from North of the wall) and "Saxons"( ie Germanic raiders from over the sea" have joined up to seize a supply train headed for a "Romano-British" fort.

The garrison has a ballista or onager (I forget which one I used), some cavalry which can sortie, some archers, if anyone gets close enough, and some infantry whose role is to cheer loudly and hurl insults at the Barbarians. The "Barbarian Conspiracy" has a few archers, a few light cavalry, and a bunch of fierce but rarely armoured warriors. 

The column manages to hold off an ambush as they round the corner and start in on the home stretch, (Arrival time and place for the raiders is decided by dice, I think this lot shouldn't have lounged around the cook fires so long, dreaming about having a magical hot black potion that would perk them up.   

Blades and blood, well guys knocked over anyway, and the sheep are getting nervous.

End of the game, both armies are at their breaking point and both sides have some of the wagons, animals, etc and some are still in dispute. 

The Prince will return another day. 

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Now The Hurley Burley's Done...

 .. I'm not quiet sure if either side lost or won!  Hmmm....


Everything was fine, if not yet decided, but by the end of the last turn both armies were on, or just over, their breakpoint and most of the wagons/herds had been pillaged, at least a little and in a hurry before fleeing. 
So, I'm going to call it a loss for both sides with a slight win for the garrison because a good portion of the goods can be salvaged.

NOTE: If anyone is looking for the last two posts, I've just learned how to accidentally delete posts irretrievably. Well, as Joni sang: "something's lost, but something's gained in living every day".

In the works, an illustrated battle report post and a post about plans and rules and what's going on, 

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Allllllllright You Featherweights, Get Dressed!

Time to get back to painting etc this 1/2 painted mob of plastic 'Picts' of Viking descent, so I can play another, smaller, Prince Micheal adventure.......NORTH of "The Wall".

Elastolin Viking kits, one piece, just add weapons, and convert to taste.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Year 14! The Plan.

WELL, here we are again! Another new year begins!

 (For casual or newer readers, July the 3rd is the anniversary of my 2010 heart attack. (The only one if I can help it!) Celebrating it not only reminds me of a personal revolution in lifestyle, it also reminds me to look at how my New Year plan is going, and to adjust my plans accordingly. (Healthier than I've been in decades thank you, despite coming up on my last 60-something birthday in a few weeks time.)

One ongoing goal is to reduce the number of miniatures and books etc that are cluttering up my room. Some are there as remnants of long ago collections, some because of "haven't got around to" syndrome, others as "excess to requirement" stragglers, and so on. When I do reduce, I do not usually immediately re-home figures and books but wait for a few months/years to see if I miss them or if I've found a way to make them less redundant. However, as life goes on, I am losing patience with the overflow of excess boxes, bins, stacks etc and constant nagging thoughts such as "I really should get around to painting this lot some year" or "I ought to get these guys on the table as long as they're here..." and finally "If I haven't gotten around to these in the last 30 years, what are the odds I'll get them done in the next 10 or 15 years?". 

The truth is that while I'm a bit of a hoarder, and once wanted to do everything of interest to me, as 70-something looms next year, I find that in the 55 years that I've wargamed, I have at least dabbled in pretty much everything that I have had some interest in. However, too many of them were not pursued with the depth I would have liked and too many were taken up to match what friends were doing.  My main desires now are to spend more time on fewer collections, play more mini-campaigns even if they are just a series of scenarios with a narrative link, and reduce duplicating, including that of the "same weapons and tactics, different hats" syndrome.  (See the active collections here:

Almost all rules and plans have exceptions, so I am keeping three 40mm 'Horse&Musket' collections.  Two of these are inspired by, but not recreating, certain wars in my country's history. One is inspired by the British conquest of Acadia and New France, the other was inspired by a mix of the War of 1812 AND the Rebellions of 1837-38. The 3rd one is my Britain vs Revolutionary France collection which has absolutely no reason to still be here except that I put a lot of work into putting it together, mostly converted home cast figures, they reproduce my first 15mm armies in the early 80's, and it allows me to steal scenario ideas from CS Forester's Hornblower" stories, and, well......I like 'em!.

So, there we are. The plan, rather unusually, is only a tweak of last year's plan, but its working for me.

Monday, July 1, 2024


This game could have made a fun (for me anyway) battle report with a separate behind the scenes post, but for non-hobby reasons I decided that one sooner blog post was better than two later. So here we are with a melange of relevant topics!

My annual review and plan will follow in a few days so let me just say that my 54's are once again going back to individual toy soldiers fighting small actions. (I would call them skirmishes but in this hobby that usually means 1:1 semi-roleplay games.)  This is just the sort of game that With MacDuff To The Frontier was written for, so I dugout my copy of the Courier where the original, Colonial, version was published. It took about a minute for my brain to short circuit and I wondered what the heck I was thinking some 30 years ago when I typed up the first version, on a non-colour DOS (no windows) home computer and shared a copy after a discussion on the news group. (anyone else remember those days?)  Anyway, I started work on a one page set of rules for my 54's and after 5 or 6 turns of changing things (hence the cards showing on the first few pics) and finished with a one page set of fast play rules, borrowing many of the mechanisms in the battle rules. Here is a link to the rules as used for the last half of the game: "On The Frontier".  Now, on with the game!

When the Sapper's attempt to clear the wood failed with heavy losses, Col. Ross, in command of the Column, ordered the Sappers to fall back while supports moved up.   

(**Note: click on pictures to see them enlarged or double click for an even closer look.)

The GG Bodyguards and the mountain gun had formed a rearguard but now pressed forward.

The Convoy escort deployed for an assault on the ford, while securing their flanks.
(This was the last turn of card activation, one unit at a time. The rest of the game was my usual one side acts then the other.)

Ambushed!  Plug the gaps! Forward the Reserves! The Mounted Rifles had been forced to retreat by heavy fire and the Victoria Rifles were sent in to take up their place. The sudden appearance by some of the Hunters, allies of the Kree, startled the Dominion forces and they shifted troops to screen the convoy from this enemy on their right flank. For a few minutes, no one noticed the gap in the infantry which left the convoy vulnerable to enemy fire, not until a heavy fire of bullets was sent at the lead wagon.

The  Kree were known as good shots and one of the oxen collapsed, halting the convoy until the harness could be cleared away and some bodies rounded up to help move the wagon. While this work was being done, the infantry closed the gap and returned fire. 

The sun was starting to sink and Col. Ross began weighing the risks (to his career) of  retreating to the Depot and calling for reinforcements vs risking his battered force in an attempt to sweep away this human barricade. The old saw "Faint heart never won fair maid" echoed in his head and he ordered a heavy fire poured into the enemy while the Mounted Rifles were ordered to clear the Southern wood.
It had been a long hard day under fire, but the cheer at the order to attack, followed by a heavy and accurate fire, seemed to turn the tables and the enemy broke. (or to be precise, the Dominion troops sudden rolled unusual numbers of high dice and the ambushers broke on the 2nd to last turn). 

Up next:  ....ummh, I don't know! Any requests?

Sunday, June 30, 2024

News Flash: Convoy to Ft. Henry Ambushed!

 Renegade Kree have broken the truce! 

Her Majesty has summoned the house. 

Does this mean war or can the treaty be saved?    

That hopeful day 18 months ago.

More details of the fighting to follow!

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

A Welcome Stop

There's only one decent wagon road between the railroad and Fort Belmont but at least there's a warm welcome at Bob's farm along the way, and the latest news and rumours. 

Once the mail had been dropped off and some news and rumors exchanged, the column got back under way. Suddenly there was a stir in the column as its attention was drawn to a distant hill. 

"Sir, we're being watched"

   .........stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Battalion! By Company! Reeee_BASE!

Some readers may have noticed that my plans don't always (no sniggering!) survive contact with implementation, but there are some threads that weave through my attempts. Logic, alas, does not seem to have much influence on the eventual outcomes of said plans.

Anyway, every now and then I get an idiotic urge to bring everything into line, same basing, same style of rules,  etc. etc..  Then, I recover and get back to enjoying some variety. This time I caught myself early. My one set of "Horse & Musket" armies for scenarios, has officially turned into 3 because they already existed and I wasn't really ready to let any of them go. So I switched my sights to my 54's. Having stuck them onto bases again a few years back, they weren't really giving me a different sort of game and they were appearing less often. I was starting to wonder if it was time to let them go . 

Battalionssssss, DEEEeee BASE!

Yup, took about 30 seconds to change tack and start looking for other options, starting with past blog posts. In short, overall, the small, story driven, 54mm actions were generally more fun than the bigger, long drawn out battles. So, I decided that its time to downsize my 54mm forces and to focus on small actions, and to once again fall back to individual figures, partly because I like the look, partly because it can sometimes add to the storyline, and partly because it will be a change from battles on a crowded tabletop. 


Friday, June 21, 2024

Defaulters: Case of the Missing Blog Roll.

 Sahh! Commissary Hull reporting as ordered! Sahh!

"Well sergeant, can you explain to me why our posted blog list ceased being available to the general public  and why I was not informed of this" 

    "No Sir! I was unaware Sir! Worked just fine on base Sir! Received no complaints sir!"

"Well Sergeant, I HAVE been informed, and the good Captain here has now fixed it for you! In future keep a closer eye on things and ask for help should you need it"

"Sergeant Major, make a note in the log, Commissary Sergeant to be confined to base for two weeks, stoppage of rum ration, and barred from the nco's club for that turn. Carry on!"

    "Sahh! "Defaulter! About FACE! Quick MARCH!"

(Sorry about that folks and a BIG thank you to those friends have let me know the blog list wasn't working for anyone but me. Problem has been resolved but  one never knows when another glitch happens so, please feel free to enquire or notify me whether by comment or email, carrier pigeon, etc. if something's not working for you of if you have suggestions or questions.)


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A Near Run Thing


An illustrated eye witness report! 

At last the crest was taken, but on the reverse slope, the enemy still stood, protected from the Queen's artillery! 

As the sun sank in the sky, the remnants of the Queen's infantry reformed and readied themselves to make one last effort to break the enemy line and drive them  back along the Wood's Road. On the right wing, the Heavy Dragoons and some riflemen kept the Oberhilse cavalry and riflemen occupied, while the Light Dragoons were ordered to move to the center and prepare to charge. 

Reform! Forward!!

By the time the troops were in position, the sun was setting and the skies clouded over. This last effort HAD to do the job! There would not be anymore chances tonight and by the morning, there could be more Oberhilse troops pouring down that road or fortifying the woods. The attack went in as the sun dipped below the horizon.


The ridge was quickly scoured clean of Bluecoats, but beyond it, the Oberhilse line stood like a rock. A fierce firefight ensued, followed by a sudden cheer.


After a severe fight, the Bluecoats had suddenly broken, heading for the cover of the woods. The Queen's light infantry soon followed, determined to keep the enemy running as long as they could.

( PS: Don't forget to 'click' once on the pictures to see a larger view of the pictures or twice to get an even larger one.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2024



An illustrated eye witness report! 
Desperate defense of a wood behind our left flank by Oberhilse riflemen against Voltigeurs and veteran militia light infantry. It was afternoon before our lads were able to push forward.

Our attack was widely discussed as being planned as a surprise dawn attack and we were expecting to seize the hill and march our army through the woods via the woods road and deploy to fight the enemy in the open. Rumour had it that their forces on this front were quite weak, as ours had been before the two battalions of volunteer Fusiliers had been recalled to active service. 

However, our talk may have been overheard by the wrong people and the information passed on.

We were not expecting any enemy reinforcements to arrive before noon but they must have marched all night, as an observer in the Newport News hot air balloon, dropped a message: "They are here". 

Archive photo fm 2010 post 

They were there right enough, by the time our troops had stormed the hills, a second line had formed. Worse than that, the enemy Volunteers in the centre had managed to hold the Veteran Royal Fusiliers until the Lafayette Volunteers arrived to support them.  The fighting raged for hours until the roar of musketry, canon fire and the wooosh-BOOM of our rockets made it hard to think.  

The Royal Fusiliers being led by their Brigadier in a charge which would have swept the hill if the Grey's Brigadier hadn't risked his life to steady them..

Ed note: Fighting is still ongoing but our correspondent had to send this dispatch or he would have missed the evening paper.  Which ever way the battle goes, we will have the news tonight and the results for you in tomorrow's edition.  

( PS: Don't forget to 'click' once on the pictures to see a larger view of the pictures or twice to get an even larger one.)

Monday, June 17, 2024

Now The Battle's Lost and Won

 At last! Today I finally managed a free morning and let the eager armies go to it.

(click on the picture for a closer look)

Battle report to follow tomorrow.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Early Addition: News from the Front

An illustrated eye witness report! 

Ever since Oberhilse launched a mid-winter surprise attack, we have waiting to see what the Queen's response would be. Today, we have an answer, she has struck back!

Fighting is still ongoing but our correspondent is on the site and we will keep you advised.  

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Here They Come!

 "Enemy cavalry spotted on the SouthWest Road, Sir!", 

"Very good."

"Sir! The enemy riflemen near the Inn have just been reinforced by some Redcoats"

" Sir! Enemy Infantry have been spotted marching towards us on the NorthWest Road"

"Captain, What time did that courier say the rest of the brigade expected to be here? This could be a long morning...."

Monday, June 10, 2024

Ready For The Fight (2)

Several hours later, a messenger arrived with a response to the warning. The rest of the army was on its way.

"Major, The enemy riflemen are lurking in the town and woods and you and especially your....companion... are in danger. Word has come that the rest of our army is already on the march and if you meet them on the narrow road through the forest, you will slow down their advance and it might cost us the battle and this position and we'll both be in trouble.
If you leave now, you should be free of the woods before you meet them, so please do so." 

"Soldiers! Our comrades are threatened by the Queen's men! We march to battle!"
"Brigade! Form column of sections to the right!" 
(Note: In the above picture, the Bluecoats on the right of the line (your left) are mostly Zinnbrigade Napoleonic homecasts, the Grey coats on the left are mostly homecasts from my own original sculpts. (The exceptions include 2 Perry 40mm Peninsula samples, 1 each in these battalions. Feel free to spot'em.)

The battalion in the middle, the Lafeyette County Volunteer Rifles were homecast by their Sculptor and sent to me as a gift in 2012. (See their debut battle report, including video, here: " Stony Creek Surprise". be continued....

Sunday, June 9, 2024

"How'd you get wounded son?" (1)

 "Well, Sir, it was like this........"

"Word has it that the Redcoats are planning something after we captured that bridge awhile back, so we've  been posted here to keep an eye on the enemy while the rest of the army is called up, and ev'ry morning we stand to." 

"I guess the muster of Volunteers is going a bit slow but they'll be fine with a bit of drill and stuff to get them back into fighting trim"

"Well, I thought I saw something moving down in the town but looking into the rising sun made it hard to see, so I just pointed at the town and hollered 'Hey Cap'n I think..' and there was a flash and a "Crack" and that's the last I 'member till I woke up here"

to be continued......