Sunday, 29 January 2012

Woodland Indians

In keeping with my intention to focus on painting up units from the Horse and Musket era in 2012, my latest completed unit is a war party of 18th century North American woodland indians. Almost all of the figures are from the superb range produced by Perry miniatures, apart from the two chiefs dressed in French military coats that are Front Rank figures. The Perry figures are slightly smaller than the Front Rank items but that doesn't seem to be an issue once they are painted. Both product ranges are highly detailed, making them easier to paint. I particularly like the poses created by the Perry twins which seem more life-like than some other manufacturers.

These proved fast to paint but I did have some difficulty in getting the right look in regard to war paint on the faces. In the end I kept it simple mainly due to my limited painting skills and left it up to a bit of dry brushing and washes to bring out the details of the figures.

I intend to use the war band for both the French & Indian War and the American War of Independence.

I'm currently working on Canadian militia and coureur de bois to accompany the indians, while I've just undercoated a unit of Front Rank FitzJames' Horse which will be my first SYW French cavalry regiment.     

Monday, 23 January 2012


Geoff Martin of the Southern Strategists recently light-heartedly described me as a 'wargaming snob' in that I have only ever shown any interest in gaming historical periods. However, I prefer to consider myself a 'wargaming purist' as it is the history of war and the human experience of it that is reflected in the gaming I prefer. Needless to say I was somewhat sceptical of any enjoyment factor when Geoff proposed that we have a zombie game at the Mess last week. I had previously only experienced fighting against zombies once in a Victoriana African exploration game where they proved near impossible to kill....and of course to the purist fighting zombies is hysterical not historical!

Never the less, the zombie game was held and fun was had by all who played. Geoff and his mate Bradley have constructed a shopping mall model for their zombie project which includes a car park, a number of shops and cafes, as well as an escalator. While this model is yet to be completed, it proved an ideal layout for such a game where three of us played as humans, with three character figures each, while my 10-year-old son and his friend played the multitude of zombies that we had to combat.

The aim of the game was for the humans to enter the mall from the car park, search the shops within the mall for a number of packages and ammunition, and return to the car park with the items without losing any characters. Each character was armed with a variety of weapons, including swords, pistols, shotguns and a chainsaw (which came in very handy for cutting through walls).

The scenario proved to be challenging but the humans gained a minor victory by retrieving most of the loot and escaping while losing only two characters. Sadly, one of my characters ( the bald guy with the Samurai sword) drew a dud chance card that saw him being surrounded and killed by zombies only a few steps away from the finish line. I like to think he sacrificed himself so that the others could survive.

This proved a very enjoyable and simple game that was fast moving and held the interest of all the players. The kids thought the game was 'cool' and it certainly proved fun trying not to be killed by an every-increasing horde of undead. However, it's unlikely I will be dragged in to playing such a game very often as for this 'purist' it was certainly on the fringe of what I consider wargaming.

The Shopping Mall  and car park. Entry to the mall was through the glass doors at the front

The humans being attacked by zombies as they first enter the mall to begin their search.

The humans escaping and about to cross the finish line as the zombies close in on them.

My samurai sword character holding off the zombies so that the others could escape...well that's my version of events anyway.

My three characters at the start of the game approaching the mall. The shotgun-wielding cop and the samurai sword bloke proved very effective in disposing of zombies.
Rodger Wood took the photographs of the game and more of them will be able to be seen on the Southern Strategists blog once he uploads his report of the game....hopefully this week sometime.       

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

SYW Highland Foot Regiment

It's been a long while since my last post, which indicates the small amount of painting on my part and lack of games being held at the Mess. However, just prior to Christmas I finished painting and basing a unit of 25/28 mm Seven Years War Highlanders. The battalion mainly consists of 25mm Dixon figures, although it also includes some 28mm Front Rank troops as well as 'Big Wully' who arrived at the Mess with my copy of the 'The Last Argument of Kings' from Warlord Games. Actually, two 'Big Wully' figures are included in the unit as Warlord kindly supplied me a second figure after the original had arrived with a bent and broken sword. The Front Rank figures were included in the command stand as the Dixon standard bearers were too small to accommodate the favoured GMB flags that I use.

I originally intended this unit to portray the Black Watch for my '45 and SYW projects, hence the buff coloured facings. The regiment didn't get royal blue facings until 1758 so I figured I could get away with the facing colour for the early part of the French & Indian War. However, several other Highland regiments had buff or yellow facings during the period which allows me to make the unit fairly generic. GMB currently don't have the buff regimental flag for the 42nd Foot (Black Watch) so I've just used one that I already had from my AWI collection.

Most of my battalions for this period consist of 6 stands of 4 figures, but in this case I have gone for 8 stands of 3 figures (apart from the command stand). I did this so that I could portray the regiment as skirmishers as well as making it a bigger unit numerically. The Highland battalions were historically larger than normal foot battalions in the British Army as many Highlanders flocked to the colours to avoid starvation and poverty in the mid 18th century. There are also more officers in this unit than I would normally include, but again this was historically correct.

I've also painted an individual dismounted senior officer. The Front Rank figure is of Lord Loudon but could be used as a generic commander.

I'm currently working on finishing a warband of Perry Woodland indians, as well as Canadian militia and Coureur du bois. Despite friendly pressure from other Southern Strategists, this year I'm determined not to be side-tracked into other projects until I have finally complete my own projects.....this could take a while!