Saturday, December 16, 2017

The New Peter Laing "Little Wars" Army

       With the recent infusion of Peter Laing Victorian Parade Highlanders and Guards, I have come to the realization that I no longer really need to use my home cast infantry figures for my current wargames. I found that I can now form at least 3 Peter Laing Little War legions. Both the Guards and Highlanders will be able to muster 6 infantry units, with attached cavalry and artillery. Currently my "Regular Infantry" will consist of 2 infantry units and 1 sapper unit.  Thus, my home casts will be put into reserves.
    I do have several single Victorian Parade figures. Among them are a single Rifles Officer  and Rifles Bugler figure. I am thinking of using these figures the same way Sharpe is used in the Sharpe's series of books; having him take command of regulars for special missions.
4 Guards and 3 Highlander units, along with the Colonel of the Guards and bicycle unit.

The Colonel of the Highlanders receiving new paint.

1 unit of Guards, among with the 2 units of regulars and unit of sappers.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Battle of Hook's Farm: Peter Laing Little Wars

The newly arrived Guards and Highlanders were quickly moved forward to the front. They were part of the Red Army that were ordered to seize the ridge that Hook's Farm was located.
The Battle of Hook's Farm: The Red army on the left, the Khaki Army on the right. Several of the hill squares are green and cannot be seen in the photos.

The Red Army. Both armies have 4 infantry, 1 cavalry, and 1 artillery units. Usually I roll for the armies composition; this time I just used equal forces.

The Khaki army. They have their cavalry in reserve off the board. 

The Guards move forward to seize Firely Church. The Khaki infantry have already reached Hook's farm.

The Guards try to flank the Khaki artillery, while the red artillery moves forward.

Khaki infantry move forward to bring the red artillery under fire, killing one and forcing the battery back.

Khaki infantry and artillery bring the Guards under fire, killing one and forcing the unit back, who takes up position in the church.

The Guards in the woods drive back the Khaki infantry (And moves into that space), and the red artillery fires on the Khaki infantry that fired on them, killing one.

The Khaki infantry counterattacks, and with artillery support, drives the marching Guards 3 spaces back. ( I started using the "See the Elephant" rule, where if a unit has to retreat and it's line of retreat is blocked by a friendly unit, it can move back to a square on either side of the blocking force.) The Guards retreated the wrong way; they retreated to the right of the church, putting them in the line of fire of the artillery. Meanwhile, the Khaki infantry bring the red artillery under fire and wipes it out.

The Guards in Firely Church charges out and drives back the Khaki infantry.  The other Guards move behind the church to get out of the artillery fire. A unit of Highlanders grab the cottage at the base of Hooks ridge, and kill two of the Khaki infantry.

The Khaki artillery kills two guards, and drives the survivor back to the church.  The Khaki infantry attacks the cottage to try to drive the Highlanders from their sniper perch.  Not seen in the photo, the red cavalry moves up trying to position themselves to attack the Khaki infantry.

A Khaki infantry unit moves forward to protect the rear of the Khaki infantry that are attacking  the cottage and kills one of the cavalrymen.

The Guards occupy Firely church and drive back the Khaki infantry. The second unit of Highland Infantry starts to move in support of the Highlanders in the cottage, and kills a Khaki infantryman. Meanwhile, the red cavalry kills two infantrymen.

The Highlanders in the cottage kills the last two infantrymen on the ridge. The other Highlanders kill one infantryman, and forces the other back. The red cavalry kills one infantryman, and drives the other back. The Khaki's attempt to clear the cottage has ended disastrously for them. Meanwhile, the Khaki cavalry is entering the field at the very top, in an attempt to flank the Red army.

The Khaki infantry in the woods snipe at the cavalry and kills one man.

The Guards charge out of Firely church, at the same time the Highlanders in the cottage charge up Hooks Ridge and the crossfire drives the Khaki artillery back.

The Khaki infantryman in Hook's farm moves behind the bushes to engage the Highlanders, and kills one.

The Khaki marksman behind the bushes kills the Highland officer. The Khaki infantry  attacks the Guards, without success.

A lone Guardsman brings the Khaki cavalry under fire, killing one.

The Guards counterattack, and drives the Khaki infantry off the hill.

The Highlanders advancing on Hook's farm takes the time to kill the last Khaki infantryman on the Khaki left.

The Khaki cavalry finally kills the pesky Guardsman who held them up. The Khaki artillery and infantry attack the other Guard unit, killing one and driving the others back.

The lone Khaki infantryman that dispatched the first Highlander unit, now moves back into Hook's farm and his sniper fire drives back the Highlanders. 

The Guards attack the Khaki cavalry, killing one and making the last cavalryman  retreat. This move also  got the Guardsmen away from the deadly artillery fire.

The Highlanders finally clear Hook's farm of the lone Khaki sniper. The lone red cavalryman can be seen galloping  by the cottage, moving to support the left.

The Khaki infantryman, supported by the artillery, kills two of the Highlanders. Meanwhile, the Khaki infantry move forward to bring the Guards under fire from two sides. 

The Red cavalry launches a charge against the Khaki artillery, and kills one gunner.

The Khaki artillery kills the last cavalryman. The Red Army has lost 2/3 of their army, and must now retreat.

The Red general moves forward to meet his dispirited troops.

The battle was a near run thing. Once again, the army holding the strong defensive position  left that position and almost lost the battle. At the time I though the Khaki army could roll up the Red army's right flank.

While walking my dog before this battle, I started to get some ideas on how to use my new Peter Laings. I hope to have a posting soon about it.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

New Peter Laing Victorian Parade Figures; A Tale of Two Extremes

    A couple of posts ago I wrote of working on my Peter Laing "Little Wars" army. In the comments Derek Moore made an offer I could not refuse. He wrote that he had Peter Laing Victorian Parade Guards and Highlanders that he would send me. I sent him a couple of emails to try to set up the details. I didn't hear back from him, and I'm wasn't even sure if I was sending the emails to where he would get them.  When someone makes kind offers like this to me, I will try to contact them a couple of times. If I don't hear back, I will back off; I don't want to start harassing people when they are just trying to help me. I then suddenly had a burst of interest in "Backyard Wars", and put "Little Wars" on the back burner.

   This Thursday before going to work, I started work on a second mold for Backyard Wars. I intended to finish the mold after work. When I get home from work, I only have time to grab the mail, and when I walk through the door, my dog starts his jumping on me to go out and play. He gives me just enough time to put my keys and lunchbox down, then expects to go out to play ball.
This day when I got the mail, I noticed a small parcel from the UK. As I only was expecting a package from the USA, I was confused, until I saw the customs declaration label with Derek Moore's signature on it! I put the parcel down, with the intention of opening it after playing with the dog. I found myself so excited I violated one of my rules; opening a package outside. As I have really wanted some Peter Laing Victorian Guards, I wasn't disappointed  with the figures. First I saw two bags of figures; Guards marching and Highlanders advancing. There were several bundles of paper towels. In the paper towels, there were probably the best painted Peter Laings I have seen; definitely the best painted figures in my collection.

  For the painted figures, I will use them as painted. To destroy such fine figures would be a crime. Unfortunately, the unpainted figures are doomed to be painted by me! And that means the basic "toy soldier" paint job. I have already painted one unit of Guards, which you can see below.

I want to thank Derek once again for his kind gift of these figures. One thing I truly love about the hobby is the willingness to freely give unused figures to other enthusiasts. Hopefully I can "pay it forward" to Derek, or another hobbyist.
The Derek Moore painted Highlanders.

The Derek Moore painted Guards. My photographs don't do the figures justice!

The Peter Laing marching Guards. They are doomed to one of my paint jobs!


Peter Laing advancing Highlanders.

My first unit of Peter Laing "toy soldier" Guards.


The extreme between two different paint jobs. When I see Derek's paint job of these figures, I believe if critics of Peter Laing figures saw these figures, they might reconsider their criticism. When painted by a competent painter, there are little works of art.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

First Homemade 54mm Toy Soldier Mold

     The Saturday after Thanksgiving was  glorious, with above average temperatures. It was one of those days where you feel guilty staying inside; doubly so if you own a dog.  While sitting outside, my mind started to wander to Backyard Wars, and why I never did much with it. I started thinking of my British Heralds troops and how to use them. In one of my earlier posting, several writers responded about using Little Wars or Funny Little Wars rules. At first I shot down these ideas, leaning towards using dice. However, I realized that this is just bringing an indoor game outside. However,  I started to rethink my objection. Perhaps I lost interest in the game because of using dice instead of toy guns.

    I also started thinking of the figures I was using. While I like the Herald figures, I was also thinking of using Britain's hollow cast. Among the few Britain's I have are some ACW figures. While I have tried to use standing figures outside, but because the rough terrain, they won't stand well. However, I brought the kneeling firing outside and found that this figure works quite well in the grass.

   I decided to  thy a mold of this figure. I must admit that I rushed this mold, and had my doubt about the mold working. I was pleasantly surprised that the figures turned out the way they did.

Painting my new casting.



Out in the field.


 With these figures, I am thinking of painting them with different uniforms used in the Civil War. I've also started working on some simple rules to use with these figures.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Work on a New Peter Laing "Little Wars" Army

     When I started looking for Peter Laing figures, my main goal was to get as many Victorian Parade figures as I could. I have managed to get a few of them. I will admit, that I was a little disappointed with the line. I was hoping the cavalry would be mounted on the early "ponies". I believe this line was a later line and Mr. Laing was getting the horses more to scale. Also, the marching infantry in home service helmet was another disappointment. The helmet just doesn't look right.  I was really looking for that early toy soldier "Britains" look.
The new home service Peter Laing figures, after having their washers removed.


Mounted on their new plastic square stands.



A column with the artillery in the lead.



    Today I started to do some work on my British Boer War figures; removing the figures from the washers and remounting them on square stands.  While working on them, I pulled out some of the marching British painted for the Zulu War. Four figures I painted the helmets as home service helmets. Although they don't have the spike on top, I had put a dot of brass paint where the spike should be. With my increasingly bad eyesight, they actually didn't look bad. before I knew it, I had started repainting 16 figures for "home service", with the goal of having my games resemble as best as possible, "Littles Wars". Looking at "Little Wars", the margin sketches have several pictures of Royal Horse Artillery in dress uniforms. I have some beautifully painted PL Crimean War RHA and British Crimean War cavalry which will work perfectly with this project.