Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Losing one glove...

'Losing one glove is certainly painful,
but nothing compared to the pain
of losing one glove, throwing away the other,
and finding the first one again' (Piet Hein)

Well, this posting is not about gloves, nor about Piet Hein, but about something I had thought lost long ago.  Fossicking through my accumulated Wargames bits of paper, I discovered, to my joy, this!

Cover page set up for my ACW rule set.
The name 'Bluebellies and Greybacks'
was added later.

This was to be the cover page for my hand written rule set (still attached: nine leaves of foolscap. both sides, and with marginal notes and amendments).  But it was this picture that I missed most (dated early 1989 - 26 years ago).  

From four years more recent (i.e. 1992), the following is part of a map that was to be used for a 'Second American Civil War' set in the state of Tennessee.  This was a multi-player thing, and several actions were fought, with varying results.  But I did make two very bad mistakes with the thing. First, I wanted to play as well as run it.  That's OK for a two or three player game, but we had more participants here. It didn't really work.   The other was that I allowed the thing to begin before I was quite ready.  In the event, the largest armies met, I think at Shelbyville and the campaign bogged down.  After a bit of a contretemps with one of the players for reasons I no longer recall I got fed up with the thing and closed it down.

Page 1 of my 6-page map of Tennessee, the theatre
of the Second American Civil War.

But I kept the map!

The idea was that after the disaster to Schofield's Corps at Spring Hill and Thomas's Army subsequently at Franklin, the Federal election campaign, which had seemed to be favouring Abraham Lincoln, turned sharply in favour of his rival Gen. McClellan.  The increasingly bitter campaign was fought out amid a storm of criticism of the President and his favourite generals.  After one of the most closely contested elections in all American history, McClellan was sworn into Office in January 1865.  By this time an armistice had already been signed, and hostilities suspended.

Heated attitudes remained, however.  Apart from the slavery issue remaining unresolved and an even sorer point than before, there was the matter of the territorial settlement.  The Confederacy insisted upon the return of Missouri, North Arkansas,  East and West Tennessee, West Virginia, and added, rather gratuitously, a demand for New Mexico,  Kentucky and Maryland as well.  That was far beyond the price for Peace even President McClellan was prepared to pay; much less would he for a moment entertain the idea of 'returning contrabands' that the Jeff Davis led government was arrogant and naive enough to insert into their list of demands.  

Generals Lee and Cleburne led the CS Army's warnings that the talks would fail in the face of Davis's uncompromising attitude.  They expressed no surprise at all when the Union armies refused, pending a Treaty ratified by Congress, to yield one inch from the advanced they had reached by the War's end. Lee resigned in disgust; Cleburne accepted with relief a posting in Galveston, Tx; other well-known generals also found expression of their distaste for a renewal of hostilities in various ways. Never known for his patience, Davis nevertheless began rebuilding the Army of Tennessee.  Negotiations having stalled by the end of February, 1865, Richmond severed relations with Washington a month later.  

On 1 April 1865, the Army of Tennessee left its Mississippi and Georgian cantonments, and marched north.  The Second Civil War had begun.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Bring and Buy, ... and a question.

Bring and Buy, 2015:

Twelve French Horse Grenadiers of unknown provenance. The
two Minifigs Cuirassiers have been added to the picture by
way of comparison.
I didn't bring, but I did buy... a little.  The more or less annual modelling/war games Bring and Buy was held at the Woolston Club this year, and, ever in search of a bargain in matters of interest, I hied me along to said event.  In the past it had been held in the depths of winter, the first weekend in July. The two-month difference was much appreciated; it was a pleasant half-hour walk to the venue. 

Quite a colourful unit.
A bit of touching up here and there is probably called for: especially
the horses.

Well, I say half an hour; more like three quarters, stopping off at a petrol station on the way to buy a bacon and egg pie and a sausage roll by way of brunch, and stopping off at Linwood Park (also on my way) to sit in the late morning sun and eat.  Most pleasant.  There's been a howling southerly blasting through here since that evening...

Arrived at the venue, I thought that, as I was on a very limited budget, I would do a circuit of the stalls before coming to a decision. Although I could have bought more, only two items really demanded that I part with cash.  First was the above lot of 12 French Horse Grenadiers.  As I had been wanting to get such a unit for my Imperial Guard anyhow, $25 seemed to me a goodish price for these colourful guys.  If I do put in an order for Minifigs later this year, it will now be for Garde Chasseurs a Cheval instead. Meantime, I was glad to return to this vendor the half-dozen British infantrymen that had snuck in to my inventory during the Waterloo event in June.

A certain amount of touching up will be needed, but nothing major - except for the horses.  I don't especially like grey war games horses, so although maybe three will be done as dappled greys, a couple more as blue roans, the rest will be bays, with maybe a couple of chestnuts.  

Palm trees - enough for a smallish oasis.
For the rest, these palm trees insisted that they were a 'must-buy' for my WW2 Desert War, my involvement in Brian's 'Harad' Project, and, as it transpires, my Army Men project.  Four bucks for eight trees seemed to me a bargain.  I could have bought more, but I'm not building a forest!  In the following pictures, the 45mm tall figure gives an idea of scale.  The PzIV is a toy from China at I estimate 1:64 scale.
Figure (45mm) added for scale, along with 1:64 (?) tank.

As these palm trees came without bases I had to find something upon which to mount them. Most fortunately I had some off cut bits of wood that had been kicking around against just such an eventuality.  I've bevelled the edges very roughly with a craft knife thing, but further work will need to be done with file or rasp.  A coating of sand will finish them off.  I was told that the trees could be painted with acrylics, after a good soapy wash, but I'm not sure I'll trouble. Possibly a dry brush of the trunks and the trees an overall ink wash will suffice.  If I do anything at all. Twenty-nine dollars, plus two to get in the door - that was well under half what I had budgeted for, and I came away well satisfied.  

What to do with these?

French Foreign Legion done up as ACW Union.
What is wrong with this picture?
These picture have nothing at all to do with the Bring and Buy sale, but rather with my sorting out my American Civil War armies.  Long, long ago, to augment my Union Army, I bought several boxes of Airfix French Foreign Legion figures.  From these I formed four regiments, of which three are depicted in the above picture.  Two comprise 27 figures (HQ of 3 plus 24 'other ranks') and the other 21.
The unit on the right of the picture painted as coloured.
The C.O. is left 'white'.  The darkened caucasian
features make an odd impression, I find.
As you can see, I never quite finished painting them.  Partly I think this was due to my not being able to make up my mind about them.  It was the havelocks, really.  Unpopular with the soldiers, they disappeared rapidly, so they are kind of unhistorical.  I was not keen to carve them away though.  In any case, painted white, they look quite elegant.  These are nice units
I was going to make them into a Coloured Brigade, and you might have noticed the deeper tan of the fully marching unit (except for the paler C.O.).  Interestingly enough from the photographs, the darker complexions do not much alter the generally Caucasoid appearance of these guys. But really, I still haven't been able to get past the havelocks.  Of course, the rifles look wrong, as well.  So I'm thinking they are likely to be recruited holus bolus into the Army of Azuria, or possibly of the Door - a vaguely Turkish opponent for Azuria and Ruberia... Unsure yet.  Any suggestions?

What of the fourth regiment. then?  Here it is: 
New York Zouaves: Airfix French Foreign Legion with
turbans added.  That two of the figures have been broken I hope
was due to accident and not 'plastic fatigue'...

These guys were painted up at least thirty years ago.
These are Union Zouves, Airfix Foreign Legion figures with plasticine turbans added. Understrength at 21 figures, this is, of course, a veteran/crack unit.  It will remain part of my Union Army, and was anyway part of a different brigade from the three other FL-figure units. Unfortunately two of the figures have snapped off at the ankles, and I don't know why or how. The flags will have to be removed from the other three, and that will have to be done carefully, I suspect.  They have been hand drawn on paper and coloured with the type of pens used to make overhead transparency pictures.  The distinctly 'lozenge' shape is not accidental - I find that paper flags 'drape' better if you begin with that shape.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

By The Deep, Six!

The fleet of jeeps and other interesting items recently
received theough the post.  The running officer is there for scale.

A very welcome phone call from Brian last week resulted in my receiving through the letter box a pile of much appreciated additions to my Army Men Project.  I was told about the jeeps - turns out there were 24 of these.  But one or two other interesting items snuck in as well.  Although underscale compared with the largest of my Army Men, this is all to the good.
A double column of  light vehicles - enough to transport a
platoon, at three men per vehicle.
Brian assured me that the alternative fate of these vehicles was to be garbaged, thrown out, discarded, made redundant ... well, you get the idea.  Tossed aside as surplus to requirements.  Ever the softy, I accepted their refugee status and have found them a home...   Nine or ten of these will fetch up as transports for my Kiivar Recon Group infantry platoon, and 3 men per jeep.  The Group will then comprise an armoured car company of 5 vehicles, a HMG technical platoon of 2 MG mounting buggies, an infantry platoon mounted in jeeps, and some support weapons, of which more anon.
Raesharn 909th Rocket Battery.

Meanwhile the above picture depicts what will probably be the equipments of a Raesharn rocket battery.  These will have to be a little 'down tech' from more modern missilery, and more cognate to an extra large 'Katyusha' rocket.  Its size might be explained by the huge payload.  I'll have to write special rules for these.  I'm thinking:
Command vehicle, comms, and towed twin launchers.
1.  One-shot deal per rocket, per battle.  Probably, at that, fired in salvo.
2.  Not hugely accurate.  Artillery grid applied for each rocket, instead of for the battery as a whole as for guns, howitzers and mortars, and always on the 'Indirect Fire' grid.
3.  ...But woe betide anyone in its 'beaten zone.' Counts as heavy artillery, and 'Heavy Anti-Tank' for any armoured vehicle covered at least partially by all four central 'on target' squares of the grid.  Not too flash, neither, for bunkers and such that are similarly placed.

The column comprises a command vehicle, comms vehicle, and two rocket tows with their twin launchers.
3 light AA guns with tows.  What I'll do with these three
is uncertain...
Also included in the package were 5 of these interesting pieces of equipment.  It is hard to work out what scale they are meannt to be, but they seems to be AA weapons.  The guns seemed a bit dinky for my Army Men scale, so two of them have been replaced with something more gun like as in the pic below.  These are to be AT/AA Dual Purpose guns.
These two have had their guns replaced, and will serve as
towed dual purpose light AA/AT guns.

The temptation is to to take the gun bits off the trails and place them on jeeps as portee mounted DP guns, then using the trails as the basis for infantry guns.  I'm still thinking about that.  At least one of these will be added to the Kiivar Recon group.
Light DP AA/AT guns in their AT configuration
(i.e. guns in 'flat trajectory mode').  One thing about Fantasy
Worlds: you can invent your own military jargon.

909th Rocket Battery deployed for action.  The vehicles
ought, perhaps, to be parked further off...
Among I think four hard plastic figures that I will discuss another time, this sword-wielding fellow appeared. Having nothing else in this line in this scale, I was a bit at a loss what to do with him.  But then it occurred to me he could be a statue (Pigeon latrine) of some well remembered, long forgotten nobleman.
A village statue of some local hero:
Vicomte Hughnon, or, as it may be, Hermann Graf Slingburger
Apart from the splash of Nuln Oil he has received already, and a suitable plinth, there he is as he will continue to be: Vicomte Hughnon de Hautemerde, depicted in the last moments of his rebellion against Louis X.  Or maybe it is Hermann Graf Slingburger of Bavaria offering terminal defiance to the House of Wittelsbach.  Or could it be Sir Willoughby Wibton of Wibshire, offering defiance to the Genovese crossbowmen at Agincourt? My, they don't make 'em the way they used to...
...Or is it Sir Willoughby of Wibshire?