Saturday 1 December 2018

28mm Redoubt model

Over the last couple of months I seem to have lost my figure-painting 'mojo', with my current project of painting up a battalion of Napoleonic French Gendarmes-a-pied taking forever. However, as a wee side project I've built a 28mm redoubt to house my 4Ground blockhouse. This ties in with the Gendarmes project as I intend this unit to be defending blockhouse in a future Peninsular campaign.
Inspired by Paul Darnell's book, 'Touching History: Recreating History in Miniature - The Napoleonic Spanish Peninsular War', I built the redoubt model along the lines Paul uses. I cut a 12 inch square piece of insulation foam board, cut out the middle and then glued the outer piece onto an MDF base. I then cut out strips of  balsa for the interior planking and glued them in. The final touch was to use filler to plug any gaps between the base and the insulation foam. I used a Black & Decker 'Mouse' sander to get the round edging of the embankment.     
The next step was to glue some railway flocking to give some texture to the embankment. I then painted the whole model with a dark brown base paint (cheap water-based stuff) and then dry brushed both the planking (light grey) and the ground (light brown). I wanted the redoubt to look as though it had been built for some time, so I was looking for the wood work to seem a bit weathered.  

This is the redoubt completed. I had initially intended to have defensive stakes coming out of the sides of the embankment, but decided that this would probably be a bit impractical in storing and transporting the the toothpicks I was going to use would probably easily break off over time.   

The beauty of this model is that I can use it for many periods and it will fit in nicely with my Napoleonic, AWI, ACW and SYW forces. Paul Darnell uses a drawbridge as a defence measure for the entrance to the redoubt, but I will keep it simple by making a couple of cheveax-de-fris to block it. 

I've added the 4Ground blockhouse to show how I intend to use the model. I made sure that I had enough space to to fit my infantry bases between the embankment and the blockhouse before I cut the foam out at the start. 

I can also use the model as an artillery redoubt, as seen here with my late 17th century Jacobites in Ireland.
   This was really easy to make and I hope it has inspired others to have a crack at simple terrain building. I've already got some other terrain project ideas that will keep me busy over the festive season.

Until next time - Yuletide felicitations to all! 

Saturday 8 September 2018

The Battle of Cowpens in 28mm at the Mess

It was nice to get my 28mm AWI troops out for bash at the Mess when the Southern Strategists met for a game this week. The game was loosely based on the battle of Cowpens in 1781 and the rules were a variation of  Lion Rampant. Unfortunately, due to a combination of  a slight miscalculation in making the rebel militia too strong in defence and poor dice throwing on the part of the attacking commanders of His Most Britannic Majesty's forces (of which I was one), the game only lasted an hour! We did manage to follow history in having the British force defeated, but unlike the real battle, the British only made it to the second line of defence before capitulating. I managed to get a few photos of the action before our troops disappeared from the table.
The centre of the British line as it advanced towards the rebels in the distance. The unhistorical von Munchausen-by-Proxy Hessian Grenadiers (in the foreground) formed the reserve.  

The centre of the rebel defence, with militia in the first line, State units in the Second, and Continental regiments formed in the rear. They never got to fire a shot.

The British light infantry and grenadiers advance on the left flank and should have made light work of the militia...if only they had without sustaining heavy casualties.

The rebel commander showing confidence in dealing with the enemy. 

These are Rodger's superbly painted Eureka Miniatures rebel militia. They proved to be a harder nut to crack than in the real battle.

The British light infantry push back the rebel militia, with things looking quite promising for British at this point. 

British Legion dragoons outflanking a rebel unit on the British right flank. Sadly, too many of Tarleton's boys were shot from their saddles and the unit was destroyed. 

The light infantry charging the militia, and like their counterparts on the right flank, they too suffered heavily and were destroyed.   

What a sorry sight! The British only had two units left after seeing off the militia. Now I know how Tarleton felt having to quit the field after receiving 'a damn good thrashing.'

Until next time!

Saturday 25 August 2018

Border Reivers in 28mm

Things have been a bit quiet in the Mess of late as we spent all of July sweltering in the heat wave in the UK, Ireland and Europe. The main purpose of our travel to the northern hemisphere was to attend a clan gathering in County Kerry, Ireland. But as we had our teenage daughter travelling with us, we thought we had better show her the obligatory tourist sites, so it was off to London, Paris, Rome, Florence and Pisa before we eventually got to the Emerald Isle. During this time I managed to get along to a few military museums and castles while the girls went shopping, so I intend to add a few photos of military interest in the next few posts that I've found inspiring for my wargaming projects.
As a little 'side project,' I've painted a few extra figures this month for my burgeoning Scots Border Reiver clan. These figures are by Graven Images and purchased through Hoka Hey Miniatures ( The 15th century tower-house castles that we visited in Ireland were basically built along the same lines as those on the Scottish border, so I suppose I can claim the trip to Ireland as wargaming research for building a model Pele Tower. If only I could claim a tax rebate for it.
These blokes are intended to be Scottish reivers, but could easily pass as English reivers as well.

I just used metal washers as bases for these figures 

The next phase of this little project will be to purchase and paint some mounted reivers. At this stage I'm looking at using Perry Miniatures English Civil War Scots lancers and Moss Troopers, and with Fathers Day coming up in New Zealand in September perhaps I should buy these as a present on line soon to avoid getting socks instead.

Until next time.       

Tuesday 19 June 2018

SYW French Gendarmes and Chevaux-legers Guard Cavalry

Continuing on building up my SYW French force, the latest painting project to be finished was my combined Gendarmes and Chevaux-legers Guard cavalry unit using 28 mm Front Rank figures. Historically they were two separate companies of  19 officers and 200 troopers each. Members of both units were expected to be of good birth and income, and most were recruited from the landed gentry class. Originally I had intended on painting the whole unit as Gendarmes, but decided to represent the combined companies as one unit after securing another trumpeter for the Chevaux-legers.
The combined unit with the Gendarmes in the front line

Officers wore black waste-coats to distinguish themselves from the lavishly dressed troopers

Both companies dressed similar. The main distinctions being black cockade in the hats of the Gendarmes, while the Chevaux-legers wore white cockades

The trumpeters of the Gendarmes dressed in red coats, black cuffs and gold lace

The trumpeters of the Chevaux-legers wore the king's livery with a mixture of gold and silver lace

The rear of the Chevaux-legers showing their distinctive flag...another reason to represent both companies

In both companies the officers and trumpeters rode greys, while the troopers rode bays

Another distinctive feature of the dress of these units was that they wore small feathers on the brim of their hats

A rear view of the Gendarmes showing their lavishly gold embroidered standard. These flags are by GMB Flags
    I know these companies only saw limited active service during the SYW, but I love their uniforms and just had to include them in my French force. Most likely I'll hold them in reserve for saving the day in desperate times or inflicting the coup de grace on their beaten foe.

Until next time!

Thursday 26 April 2018

SYW British and French mortars in 28 mm

The latest additions to my SYW/ F&IW/ '45 British and French forces are the two mortar stands featured below. A while ago I had been given some second-hand old-style Front Rank British figures  that I have repainted and used on the stand. They had previously been painted up as Bavarians. The mortars and the French crews are recent Front Rank purchases to ensure my miniature forces had the ability to be effective in siege they provide something a bit unusual to the wargames table. I had also been given some old 18th century Front Rank cannons in various states of repair, so decided to use one I repainted to add to my French force.           
The purists will note that my French artillerymen have white lace on their hats instead of the usual yellow/ gold coloured lace. This is because the first stands I painted up where colonial artillery for fighting in New France and I've just carried this on.

As Front Rank don't produce a French artillery officer with a telescope I decided to use an old Front Rank British artillery officer here. Hence having to paint the sash white. Unlike the British officers, regimental level French officers didn't wear sashes. 

I've used an etched piece of Balsa wood as a base for the mortar

I used a recycled cannon to provide an extra artillery stand for my French force. 

Until next time!

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Canterbury Mounted Rifles on Anzac Day

It's Anzac Day here in New Zealand today, meaning, as a nation, New Zealanders gather together at war memorials throughout the country to commemorate the service and sacrifice of our soldiers throughout the 20th century. This afternoon my 'better half ' and I travelled out to the Greendale Domain in rural Canterbury for the service there. The draw for me was the attendance of the NZ Mounted Rifle Charitable Trust reenactment troop. Compared to other countries, New Zealand only has a very few number of reenactment groups, and this one was only established in 2014 to mark the centenary of the Great War. The unit portrays the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, which many of the farm boys from the Greendale area served in. I hope you enjoy the selected photos I took of them.

Unusually, many of the reenactors were of the 'fairer sex', but you can't really tell from the way they wear their uniforms.

Note the saddle blanket on this horse. It belongs to the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry - first established as a volunteer mounted militia unit in the 1860s, it later formed A squadron of the Canterbury Mounted Rifle Regiment of the Territorial Force from which the regiments of the NZ Expeditionary Force were formed.

Note the leather rifle bucket strapped to the saddle. Unlike normal cavalry units, the mounted rifles usually dismounted to engage the enemy with musketry and the bayonet.

The Aussie flag was carried to acknowledge the special bond forged between the soldiers of the two British dominions during the Gallipoli campaign. It was here that the colonials gained a sense of national identity that was strengthened by further fighting on the Western Front. After serving as infantry at Gallipoli, the Canterbury Mounted Rifles served in the Anzac Mounted Division in Egypt and Palestine until the end of the war. 

I spotted this bloke walking around but he wasn't part of the Mounted Rifles, just a local reenactor who turned up to add an infantry perspective.

This chap is dressed as a lance-corporal of the the Canterbury Infantry Regiment  circa 1916. He wears the distinctive 'Lemon Squeezer' hat that the New Zealander Division adopted when it was formed in Egypt in March 1916, prior to transferring to the Western Front. The standard British Army tin helmet was worn when serving on the front line. The green/ red puggaree of the hat represents an infantry unit, while the hat and collar badges identify his regiment. Note that the medal on his left breast indicates that he has been a serving soldier in the past.  

The whole uniform (apart from the unit badges and boots) was sourced through reenactment suppliers in the UK.

Lest we forget!

Until next time.