Friday, December 18, 2009

ECW - Sir Ralph Weldon Regiment of Foot

Since finishing off the last of my VSF stuff (for the time being), I have began working on my main project for 2010. English Civil War. My army will be based on Sir William Waller's Southern Association army which defeated Sir Ralph Hopton at the battle of Cheriton March 1644. The figures I plan on using are predominately the Warlord Games plastic 28mm figures however, I also plan to have a Cuirassier regiment from Renegade Miniatures and some personalities, villages etc from  Wargames Foundry.

The miniatures were base coated in black and then painted with Games Workshop colours. I applied a base coat of each colour (red was two coats, one foundation base coat followed by blood red top coat) and then used the army painter " miracle dip" technique which I had tried out on some zulus with good results.

I plan on playing some ECW skirmish games as well, so a few figures were based individually. I therefore decided to use the Games Workshop movement trays. I normally don't like movement trays but for this I will make an exception :)

So here is the first completed regiment... Sir Ralph Weldon's Regiment of foot.

Here is the command stand. I think I will buy some more command stands and paint them up with red sashes instead of orange so I can quickly convert these Parliament chaps into Royalist scum :)

Next up, another regiment of foot, this time with green coats.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Queens Own Skywalkers!

November 7th 1883.

Lord Harrington looked at his watched, 8 o'cock in the morning. He wrapped his scarf more tightly around his neck and wished he was back in his office at the Foreign office in Whitehall, having his first cup of tea for the day and maybe a couple of those terrific ecceles cakes Mrs Sunderland made. The morning mist lay in thick streaks across Salisbury plain and the wind had an icy bite heralding a cold winter ahead. He looked skyward and surveyed the dark clouds above and thought whether they held yet more rain or maybe sleet. Either prospect seemed to darken his already bad mood.

Since the news of the disaster on the Zambesi last month his office had been a frenzy of activity gathering more information on the fate of Major Robertson and Professor Pratt. People had been detained at the Cape Colony suspected of being Prussian Spies and the many traders that had come into the town from the North had been questioned for more information.

Initial reports from the Dauntless had indicated that the expedition had been completely wiped out, however a trader had reported a small group of whitemen being held captive by natives in a nearby village which gave him a glimmer of hope that they may yet salvage something from the disaster. Some good headlines to grace the cover of the London Times and better still take some pressure off himself.

He had discussed the possibility of a rescue mission with the war office and he had been introduced to Stanley Heathcote who was head of the conveyances division at the research headquarters in Hackney.
Heathcote was an short, rotund ,excitable fellow who seemed to perspire all the time and had an annoying habit of rubbing his hands together. Harrington looked over at Heathcote and he was doing it right now as he gazed skyward.

" Honestly Heathcote, this will not do! This damn cold will be the death of me! What are we doing here?"

Heathcote looked at Harrington and he seemed to relish the discomfit he was causing his companion.
" Ah yes, the purpose of our adventure into the "wild" , he said with his hands outstretched palms open.
" If you can for the moment, transport yourself from the cold of England to Africa you will recall the terrain in which our forces operate yes?"

Harrington shrugged, " Damn dense jungle, stifling heat, and rather aggressive inhabitants by all reports."

" Yes! " said Heathcote and raised his finger to empthasise the point. " What's more any attempt to retrieve our countrymen will not have the advantage of surprise as the natives know their country and will spot our forces long before we are aware of them."

" Damn it Heathcote, I know all this! What of it?" Harrington's patience was wearing thin.

Heathcote smiled gleefully, "Well, we at the Hackney division have developed something that will give our troops the vital advantage of surprise."

Harrington was about to respond when a noise distracted him. It sounded a bit like a flock of birds, however there was a mechanical aspect to the sound he couldn't quite place. " What the devil is that?" he said.

"There!" Heathcote shouted and pointed skyward over Harrington's shoulder. Harrington whirled around and looked upwards. At first he couldn't comprehend what he was seeing. it seemed a dark flock of large birds were approaching their position fast.

As the flock drew closer the mass of birds resolved into individual birds. No not birds, they were men!
" Its not possible!" said Harrington.

Heathcote laughed in jubilation, " Hah! Its more than possible Lord Harrington. I give you the Queen's own Skywalkers!"

The mechanical birdmen landed in front of Harrington in perfect formation. British redcoats with wings!

The platoon officer lead his men up to Harrington and then signalled them to halt at attention. He walked briskly up to him and saluted.
" Lt Pelham at your service sir!"

Stunned though he was with this amazing new revelation, He imediately realised the potential of this new technology. He turned back to Heathcote who was smiling and compulsively rubbing his hands in glee.

Lord Harrington smiled and for the moment he couldn't feel the cold, " Heathcote my dear fellow, I think you may have something here."


The Skywalkers are from Eureka miniatures.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

October WWI dogfight

Here are some pictures of our October game for our WWI Canvas Eagles campaign. 6 players took part flying Camels, DR1 and DVII with the night's honours going well and truly to the Germans winning 3:1

The highlight of the night was a mid air collision between a Camel (flown by me) and a DVII. The DVII player drew his first red damage chit and scored a "fuel tank hit, plane explodes". I put the chit back in the box and gave it a good shake and then pulled out my first chit. It was the same result! Both planes exploded in a flash of flame and littered confetti down over no mans land!

I am really not having much luck lately with my last three games ending with me getting killed!

For this game we tried clouds for the first time. Clouds add a nice terrain element to the games and made the games more interesting. We have enough players now that have played several games so we now can have tailing and clouds to really make great exciting games.

After the game I took some of the photos and photoshoped them to make some nice pictures.





The Golden Belasarius!

I have quite a few posts lined up for this month since I have some more free time on my hands.

At my local club Nunawading Wargames Association I am running the annual DBA tournament. Each year we get typically 30 players taking part.

This year I decided to make a really cool trophy that I hope will become a bit of a tradition at this event.
I call it the "Golden Belasarius" which is of course modelled on the DBA rule book confused general.

I sculpted the master in sculpey and greenstuff and then made a silicone mold for casting copies. After casting I fixed up any airbubbles etc with green stuff and then painted it gold.

I am happy to make copies for people wanting to use him in their own DBA tournaments. I would just need some money to cover casting/painting costs. Email me on  if you are interested.


Monday, November 2, 2009

My new project - finally!

Hello again,

I have finally started on a project I have wanted to do for the last few years. Now that I have finished my VSF stuff, my next major project will be The English Civil War.
When I got back into wargamming after a break of several years I wanted to do ECW, but I had to decide which scale 15mm or 28mm. I decided that 28mm was the scale I really wanted to do, but the cost of a 28mm army was an issue. I even tried sculpting up a couple of 28mm figures to see if I could make my own figures to save money.
Then I was saved by the appearance of Warlord Games plastic 28mm ECW range. I gleefully handed over my money and bought a few infantry boxes.
I had been doing a bit of reading on the period and would have initially gone with a Royalist force but another member at my club was doing Montrose Royalist scot so I sided with Parliament.
The battles between Sir Ralph Hopton and Sir William Waller (who were close friends) seemed to epitomise the period and so I started research on Waller's Southern Association army which was victorious over Hopton at the battle of Cheriton.
For painting I also wanted to try something different from my usual style. For this project I will be using the army painter strong tone varnish to paint the army quickly, but still give a good wargamming standard. I had tried the technique on a few different practice figures including a ECW musketeer and the results were quite frankly excellent.

The army painter system is another version of the so called "miracle dip" technique which has been around for several years. On a Seljuk Turk DBA army I had tried something similar using a chestnut ink wash over a basic paint job which came up nicely. I have also heard of other people mixing black paint with diluted gloss varnish too.
I bought a can of wood stain varnish as well, to compare it to the army painter system. The army painter varnish is the perfect viscosity for the coating miniatures and it is far superior to the wood varnish. While it is relatively expensive you can coat a lot of figures with one can.
Very important. You must spray the varnished figures with matt varnish to complete the effect, otherwise they will look awful.

The Warlord games plastic figures are excellent sculpts and the casting is very good with minimal flash, however gluing all the arms, hats etc. on the figures is a chore. I would much prefer a little less options so I could get painting them quicker but I am probably in the minority in that respect.

The assembled figures.
I have undercoated the figures in black and I am using GW movement trays. Movement trays is something I normally would avoid but since I may be playing some skirmish ECW games as well I have kept more figures on single bases.

I hope to post back with some eye candy of the painted regiment soon.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Disaster on the Zambesi!

October 5th 1883
Cape Colony
South Africa

Lord Harrington
Foreign Office
Whitehall, London

Dear Sir,

I am writing to inform you of a most terrible occurence on the Zambesi river earlier this month.
With the return of the HMLS Dauntless we have received news of the destruction of our expedition headed by Professor Pratt and Surgeon Major Robertson. At this stage we hold little hope of any members of the expedition being found alive.

The Dauntless was unable to rescue any members of the expedition due to the presence of a large number of native warriors which overwhelmed the defences in a sudden and terrible surprise assault. The correspondent aboard the Dauntless was able to take photographs of the action, and from interviews of the Dauntless Commander and crew we have been able to piece together a rough outline of the event.

As you are aware the expedition headed by Professor Pratt was directed up the zambesi to investigate the site of a temple where there have been rumours of strange creatures and a mysterious power source. The aim of the expedition was to locate the source of the rumours and retrieve any useful material for our country. The expedition was to be conveyed via HMLS Dauntless with two infantry detachments of the 24th foot and Cameron highlanders under overall command of Surgeon Major Robertson.

The British camp beside the river. HMLS Dauntless in the foreground. The 24th foot postioned on the right flank and the Cameron highlanders on the left flank. The light steam tank which had been adapted for jungle terrain occupied the centre position

After establishing their camp on the side of the Zambesi river, a reconnaisance of the surrounding area revealed a temple to north west. A native village was found in the north east but the early contact with this tribe indicated they had hostile intentions. The plan was for the Dauntless to remain on station to protect the camp while the infantry and steam tank were to move towards the temple and secure it.

Our only photgraph of the native camp. By their dress and huts they appear to be related to the fierce zulus tribes of southern africa, possibly a tribe which migrated north following the wars of the great Zulu king Shaka.

Before the force was able to commence operations they were attacked by a Prussian force which had clearly been shadowing our expedition. It appears that there were two infantry platoons supported by marvellous aerial machines, armed balloons and some strange gyrocoptic conveyances employing some galvanic means of propulsion. It is unclear where the Prussians obtained their intelligence of our expedition but enquiries are currently underway in the Cape Colony to discover the source of the leak.

The attack began with the Prussian Gyrocopters firing on the british infantry with their gatling guns. Their fire forcing the infantry to move off the river bank and take cover in the elephant grass lining the bank.

The British take cover.

The infantry could see two armed balloons to the north and moving through the jungle two Prussian infantry platoons. The infantry seemed to be heading towards the temple while the copters and balloons pinned the british to the camp. Major Robertson ordered the steam tank forward to engage the Prussian infantry.

The steam tank moves out of the camp to engage the Prussian infantry.

The steam tank opened fire on the Prussians inflicting several casualties among the infantry and also killed the commanders black alsatian mascot. The Prussian commander was enraged by the death of his pet and ordered the balloons to engage the steam tank.

The steam tank took several hits from dropped bombs and eventually was immobilised when its steam pipe ruptured. As the crew attempted to repair the vehicle a bomb landed right on top of it and it exploded killing all crew.

The steam tank is destroyed!

The Dauntless proved ineffective against the Prussian copters despite scoring two hits. The Prussian infantry were about to secure the temple when they were assaulted by strange blue reptilean savages who assaulted the Prussians with spear, bows and blowguns.

The Prussians were surprised by this new menace and suffered casualties as the reptiles charged home. However the Prussians survived the initial onslaught and then combined rifle volley fire and machinegun fire from the balloons virtually wiped out the blue savages.

At this point in the battle with the temple about to be taken by the Prussians and the British steam tank destroyed and alert infantry man of the 24th spotted a large native force which had moved along hidden paths to assault the british right flank.

The British turned to face this new threat and the guns of the dauntless were aimed at the natives. Interestingly the prussian copters switched their attacks to the natives indicating some previous argument between the Prussian commander the native chieftain.

Despite concentrated fire from the infantry, Dauntless and Prussian copters, the dense grasses provided good cover to the advancing warriors so that they only lost one unit before closing the distance to the british and charging home.

The left horn attacks the 24th. As they charged they threw their assegai killing several british infantry.

The right horn of the buffalo screened by the chest and cover of long grass was able to charge home against the Cameron highlanders at full strength!

Once in contact the massed natives destroyed the infantry.

The 24ft suffered a similar fate.
The last moments of the Cameron highlanders as the piper and sergeant defend the colours.
The following photograph is the last image taken of the battle before the dauntless was forced to retire. We see the last moments of the 24th as they are overwhelmed by the natives. Surgeon Major Robertson standing beside his men. While no one on the Dauntless saw the major fall in battle it would require a miracle for the major and his men to have survived. Our only hope remains that maybe the Major was able to make it to the Prussians for refuge.
A new force is now readying to embark on the Dauntless from Cape Colony to return to the sight of the battle to check for any survivors and recover bodies.
I remain,
Your Obedient servant,
Sir Henry Bartle Frere
British High Commisioner South Africa