Friday, July 31, 2015

New Books and Plans

     Since finding HORDES OF THE EMPIRE  by Paul Potter, Blake Radetzky, and Terry Webb, and WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! by Bob Cordery, and their armies list, I have started work on my British colonial figures.  In a couple of practice games, the results seem that either side could have won the battle. I have started looking through my Peter Laing figures for opponents to the British. I have found several, and have ordered new rubber to make molds of these figures.

    I think anyone who has studied the colonial wars have come across Michael Barthorps' books on different campaigns of the Victorian period.  I have several of his books and went looking for more. I have bought several books  in the last week by various authors about British colonial wars and they have started arriving. In the meantime , I have started reading Donald Featherstones' KHAKI AND RED, which is a good overview of the period.

   When I started getting back into toy soldiers one manufacturer that caught my attention was William Hocker, who made a line of colonial British soldiers along the style of Wm. Britains. At the time I bought a catalog of color picture of his line. Looking at the pictures, I have been thinking of painting some of the Peter Laing figures using the Wm. Hocker pictures as a guide. I have already painted a unit of the Royal Berkshire Regiment.
This book covers the first Maori War.

My Peter Laing Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Another Zulu Wargame

   I wanted to try a couple of ideas for using my colonial troops. I came across Bob Corderys' WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! rules (I ordered the book online) and wanted to try his point system for troops. I rolled a 20D to decide on how many points the armies would have (what would I have done if I rolled a 1? Not the smartest system!) I rolled a 16. The Zulus would have 8 units, the British 4 infantry units, 1 Natal Native Contingent, and the Frontier horse. I used Bob Corderys' MEMOIR OF BATTLE rules.
The Zulus enter from the left, the British from the right.

The Zulus swarm over the large hill in the background.

The Zulus push back the NNC, the Frontier Horse, and two infantry units.

The British rally and push the Zulus back.

The NNC overruns one Zulu unit.

The Frontier Horse pushes back the Zulus left flank, but is now surrounded on three sides.

The Zulus now slam into the British line, causing heavy losses. One British unit is overrun.

Another shot of the slaughter in the British center.

The British, despite their losses, rally and eliminates three Zulu units. I was using Bob Cordery's rule where once an army loses 50% of their units, it can no longer advance. The Zulus have lost 4 out of 8 units.

For the British it looks like a victory.

However, at this point I realized that some of the Zulus were in contact with British forces. The British have already lost one unit. If the Zulus could eliminate two more units, the battle would end in a draw.

The Zulus strike! They manage to destroy one British infantry unit, however, their hopes of eliminating the Frontier Horse fails; the Frontier Horse retreats. At this point the British infantry can just hold back out of range of the Zulu spears and pick off the Zulus. Wisely, the Zulus retreat.

I find using the army point system makes it easier for me to make balanced armies when using native troops. I believe Bob Corderys system is better than the Hordes of the Empire system, as most of the HotE units are rated at 2; Bob Cordreys breaks the different units down into 4 different rating. In this game if I had used HotE, both armies would have 8 units. As it was in this game, it was a near run thing.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Artillery Depot

In the last war-game, the machine gun manned by the sailors was a Nordenfeldt. However, in the Zulu war actually they would have been armed with a Gatling gun. For this game I didn't want to have to search for a Gatling gun model, so a Nordenfeldt was used. This made me decide to do what I have been planning to do for a while, which is to gather all the artillery which can be used for different time periods and put them in one storage drawer. This would eliminate searching for a particular gun. Some will stay with the period figures, such as the WW1 artillery. While I know some artillery doesn't match the period figures I might be using, one must remember that for the most part I am going for a "toy soldier" look to my games and not a serious recreation of a particular period or war.
Some of the Peter Laing guns which will go into the depot. The white envelops at the top left of the picture have unopened packs of Peter Laing guns.

These are some of the guns that I use for Horse & Musket games. They are from Heritage and came with sets used to be mounted on cardboard counters used will Strategy and Tactics games. The Heritage RHA officer is used for scale.

One of the box covers from the S&T games miniature conversion kits.

The inside of the kit. There were 18 cannon in this set; and I have had three of these sets, which gives me quite a lot of these guns. They might not be the right scale, but they work for me.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Zulu Wargame

       In the past I have mentioned using Horde of the Things army list to fight battles. With my current interest in the 19th century British army, I started looking for army lists for the period. It has been pointed out that many of the enemies of the British army during this period were armed with spears and other hand weapons, in which some battles can result in the slaughter of the natives before the natives have a chance to engage the British army. However on has variations of the HotT rules, called Hordes of the Empire, which gives rules for the 19th century colonial wars. I wanted to see if their army lists would give a fairly equal armies. For this game I used Zulus (as I have a large collection of Peter Laing Zulus) versus the British army.  The Zulu have 12 war bands. The British have 6 infantry units, 1 machine gun manned by sailors, a troop of frontier horse and the 17th Lancers. I did use Bob Corderys' Memoir of Battle rules to fight the battle.
The British army on the left, Zulus on the right.

The Zulu left horn holds back as the "loins" close in the center. The British advance to give themselves room to retreat. The British general brings the Highlanders behind the line for reserve. The British open fire, with no success.

The Zulus overrun the machine gun. Another Zulu unit has pushed back one infantry unit.

Another view of the above picture.

The Frontier horse holds back the left  horn of the impi. The Highlanders are in the right spot to hold back the Zulus in the center. The Zulus lose 13 figures this turn.

The Zulu left horn forces the Frontier horse back. In the center the Highlanders are routed off the board. One Zulu unit gets behind the British line. The British general had joined one infantry unit to recapture the machine gun.  The Zulus kill four of the five in that unit, including the general! The 17th Lancers tried to hold the right horn back, but is pushed back. 

Suffering heavy losses, the British start consolidating towards the center, except the Frontier horse, which pushes back two Zulu units.

The Frontier horse continues to distract the Zulu left.

The 17th Lancers overrun one Zulu unit.

The Zulus eliminate the 17th Lancers and the two rightmost infantry units. The Frontier horse  is finally pushed back when it is attacked by three units. At this point the British won the roll for initiative, which allowed them to retreat.

This was just a sample game to see if these armies would work out. The game worked out better than I thought it would.  At first I thought it would just be a slaughter of the Zulus. As can be seen, quite the opposite occurred. The armies are based on Army points: these armies were 24 APs  for the Zulus and 20 for the British.  It would be easy enough to base the armies on lower APs, or even roll for APs.  This army list could make my gaming easier.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A week with Little Progress

   I have been back from camping for a couple of days now. I brought several books with me, along with some home cast figures to paint. Unfortunately little reading or painting was done. I did read a couple of Osprey books on the British army. One pointed out the different variations on uniforms while on campaign. Of course, this does add more variety to possible paint jobs  on my Peter Laing figures.
To add to their toylike appearance, I added faces to these figures.

Add caption

Sunday, July 12, 2015

More on Molds and Casting.

   I was working on painting some of the newest Victorian Parade marching figures. After examining the figures, I brought up the mold and did a little work on it. A quick casting session and I found that I now had more usable figures. It was another lesson in casting, always have good lighting, magnifying glasses, and a sharp hobby knife, all of which I haven't  had in the last few casting sessions.

   I also spent more time prepping the figures. I trimmed the mold lines more than normal. Also the back peak of the helmet stuck out more than I like. This time I used files and a hobby knife to shape the helmet so it didn't look like a tropical pith helmet. The photos below will show what the little extra work to the mold and figures resulted in.

   Donna and I are preparing for another week of camping. I poured some more figures to take along with me. While going through my log of molds, I came across one of the first molds I did, a mounted Victorian officer in a spiked helmet. I casted a few of these. I was disappointed originally with this mold as the spike didn't form correctly. However, I really never painted any of these figures up so I'll bring them along and finish some of them.  I've been toying with the idea of forming 12 man regiments of Peter Laing Victorian Parade figures; these mounted officers could be their colonels.

   I also did get a war-game in this weekend. I dare say it really isn't worth the effort to report on. I will just post a couple of picture of the action.
The figure on the left is before I worked on the mold, the figure on right after. As can be seen the arms and base are complete on  the right figure. I also tried to shape the helmet to look more like a home service helmet.

You can see the difference in the helmets. The figure on the right still needs some paint before getting its' coat of gloss lacquer.

The Brookshire army (on left) is trying to hold onto the crossroads, the Shiak army is trying to  seize it. This game was based on ONE HOUR WARGAMES scenario #27.

The Shiak army formed two units of jagers for this campaign.

The Shiak army captured the crossroads. Brookshire reinforcements arrived (including a unit of cyclists) . The Brookshire counterattack falters and Shiak wins the day.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Two Steps Back

    It seems that I have taken a big step back in my mold making. Of the last 4, only two seem to make usable figures.  I am preparing for another week of camping.  Perhaps time to rethink how I'm making the molds.

    I am also planning to bring a couple of Byron Farwells' books with me. I have started reading MR. KIPLING's ARMY ( this will be for the third time) and will try to start ARMIES OF THE RAJ. Perhaps that will be motivation to work on the PL colonial Indian troops in my collection.
Two of my casting of Egyptian Camel Corps. Unfortunately I broke the rifle off the master. I am thinking of getting a small drill that I could add rifle barrels to the figures.

ECW standard bearer. The space between both set of legs is solid metal. I was thinking that this figure could be used as an ACW guidon bearer. Not a great success but can be used in a pinch. I also made a mold of an ACW flag bearer on foot; again, the space between the legs are solid, but still the figure breaks at the legs. 

My FOURTH  attempt at the Victorian Parade marching figure in a spiked helmet. Another figure that is a disappointment  but could be used.