Tuesday, March 23, 2021

My Fenian Project v2.0

It was back in 1992, when I was flipping through Issue 15 of Command Magazine that I was first inspired to wargame the Fenian Invasion of 1866 and specifically The Battle of Ridgeway. There was an excellent article on the obscure conflict (and if you look at so many of the projects on this blog, you understand I love obscure conflicts). It had color photos of reenactors, color maps and a solid writeup. I was in high school at the time and the options for figures were a bit more limited in those days. The Fenians are fairly straightforward since they were primarily kitted out in ACW surplus and/or civilian garb. The Canadian militia was a bit trickier with the tunics, trousers, shakos and porkpie caps. 

(Queens Own Rifles)

(13th Battalion Hamilton Militia)

In the meantime, I purchased several other publications on the little-known invasion. Probably the best of the lot being Peter Vronsky's book on the subject. I even purchased a small portable boardgame in a tin in the battle (more on that later).

About 20 years later, I had tracked down relatively suitable figures for the Canadians in 15mm and painted some up...I even posted it on this blog. It took some effort to track down suitable figures and order them from a small manufacturer in New Zealand but that project stalled like so many others...

(The magazine issue that started the project...)

Years later, Pendraken released a decent sized range of Canadian militia specifically for the 1866 Fenian invasion. 10mm is my favorite scale by far but I had already gone through great effort to collect armies in 15mm and I had so many other projects in my lead pile.

Fast forward to now. Recently Pendraken held their painting competition and, on a lark, I submitted a couple of entrants into the ring. My Falklands Argentines here took second place. Ironically enough, the Argentines were purchased in part from proceeds from me placing in the 2015 Pendraken Competition with these buggers. I was very surprised and humbled when I found out my Argentines took 2nd place in their category, netting me a £20 gift certificate. I decided to apply that to a Fenian purchase from Pendraken. I also purchased some Canadian cavalry and artillery for what-if scenarios and figures from the ACW range for the Fenians themselves. The figures were sorted but what of the rules?

Ridgeway was a small battle with no more than 1500-2000 total participants, the vast majority of the combat seems to have been conducted in loose skirmish order. There were no massed ranks or Pickett's Charges in this one and some of the antics give the impression of a very amateurish donnybrook rather than disciplined combat. Casualties were very low, the Canadians didn't bring extra ammunition and their commanding officer mistakenly gave the order to form square when he thought he saw Fenian cavalry on the edge of the battle. 

I decided I would probably come up with some kind of home-brew quickplay ruleset for this unique battle. The company would be the unit of maneuver (giving each side around 15-20 units) and a company would be a single base with 4-5 figures on it in loose order. 

Back to that aforementioned boardgame I previously purchased...it had the rather catchy title "Army of Ireland" and it had some very simple rules that have a bit of flavor for the battle. I plan to borrow from these a good amount when I craft my own. 

At any rate, the figures are ordered, the brain is percolating ideas and I ordered another book on the subject to read when I ultimately embark on the project. As for the when...well, I want to tackle my high priority projects first this year but its possible we revisit this later in 2021. Hopefully its not another decade before I post on them again...

Friday, March 19, 2021

1/3000 Age of Sail - Form on the Admiral's Wake

I love the HMGS conventions, and one of the things I love most about them are Friday night age of sail wargaming with Brian DeWitt's "Form on the Admiral's Wake". Brian is an excellent convention GM, he gets what a convention game should be and he hosts multi-player games that are quickplay, fun and furious for all. His Admiral's Wake ruleset is one of my favorite and it inspired me to purchase hundreds of 1/3000 ships from Forged in Battle (FiB). Over the years I have only managed to paint portions of the French, Spanish and British fleets. Last week, I decided to take on the Dutch fleet at Camperdown (or Kamperduin for all of you Batavians reading this). I would speed paint the little buggers and try to take advantage of the drab Dutch paint schemes and GW's range of contrast paints. It was a success!

Here are the bulk of the Dutch. They are FiB's "small 3rd rate ships" coded NAP-24. Since the Dutch ships were a bit smaller, I wanted to represent them with a slightly smaller model.

Here is another angle of the same ships. The painting process involved prepping the ships (no assembly required), gluing them to bases and priming them Tamiya light grey. The hulls got a wash of GW contrast paint, rigging and masts painted dark grey and the sails where painted Reaper Polished Bone and then stained with a diluted wash of Skeleton Horde contrast. I then followed up with a drybrush of Polished Bone. Some hull details (gunwale stripes and stern windows) and ensigns/pennants were painted, finished up with the blue water on the bases.

Here are the four 74 gun "big boys" for the Dutch. The flagship Vrijheid is on the far right with a slightly different main mast pennant. You'll notice some hull color variation and this was because I used Cygor Brown at first but opted for Snakebite Leather for the remainder.  I also diluted some of the contrast paint with GW contrast medium. I like the variation in hull color and I read references that some ships were darker than others because of age and tar usage.

You may be wondering where the frigates are. If so, you are an observant and keen little admiral! I painted them but didn't upload any photos of them. Overall I am very pleased with the Contrast paints for these ships. They aren't as detail painted as my initial batches but they are good enough and they are done. I will be using contrast paints for the rest of my 1/3000 ships. I plan to use some reds and yellows for my French and Spanish ships. Stay tuned!


1/2400 Renaissance Galleys

Continuing on with my barrage of photos of miniatures I painted previously, I decided to post some snaps of my 1/2400 renaissance galleys from Tumbling Dice miniatures. I picked these miniatures up because I am a fan of quickplay rules, a fan of naval wargaming and a fan of David Manley publications.

David has a set of quickplay renaissance naval rules called "Cannon, Cross and Crescent", I purchased them and really like the mechanics. It motivated me to pick up some fleets from Tumbling Dice and I managed to paint up a portion of my Muslim fleet.

Here are some "large galleys". These buggers come in several pieces: hull with masts, sails and bases with the oars sculpted into them. They sound fidly but they aren't that difficult to assemble. I decided my Muslim galleys will be mostly green.

Here's an aerial view showing all of those lovely galley slaves rowing to their hearts' content.

We have an overhead shot of the single-masted "small galleys", I made these guys a little more diverse in their coloring. 

Right now, you are probably wondering how small the "small galley" is compared to the "large galley", well here you go: small galley, small boats and large galley. Funny story about the pennants on the large galley, I picked them up from Tumbling Dice and had a helluva time gluing them to the ships and thought the paper was very thick and difficult to work with. I realized some time later that these are adhesive backed flags on a backing paper. Yikes! Very nice flags and I highly recommend!

Now you are probably wondering what the hell those small boats do. In the rules, they essentially feed crew to the galleys for boarding purposes. Here is another picture of them. 

The last picture here is of a large galley next to a wrecked and sinking galley. While the floating galleys are from Tumbling Dice, I picked up a bunch of galley wreckage from Hallmark's 1/2400 range. Cool right?!

I hope to finish this little project off sometime in 2021. Fingers crossed!

15mm Afghan Warlords

 In a previous post, I showed some pics of a T-55 tank I painted up as an Afghan warlord battlewagon. I finally took some pictures of the other Afghan fighters and vehicles. I envisioned two competing factions: one a typical warlord and the other a religious fundamentalist faction. I am nowhere near finished this project and its pretty far on the back burner at the moment but here is some of what is painted up:

BMP-1 (courtesy of Battlefront's Team Yankee range) in the service of the religious fundamentalist faction. I planned on placing a flag for the faction draped on the front fender. I had intended to make the BMP look more ragged  and battle-worn than it ended up. I added random baggage, put some dings in the armor and removed some of the side skirt. Good enough...

Another angle of the BMP, showing the crewman and the other rider. The rider is in the black of the religious fundamentalist faction and is sporting some sneakers (trainers to you Brits). The crewman is a whittled down figure from Flytrap Miniatures and the riders are from the Old Glory modern range.

Peter Pig Toyotas converted to "technicals" with the addition of Old Glory heavy weapons and crewman. The red and blue technicals have .50 HMGs and the white one has a single barreled 14.5mm KPV.

Another angle of the technicals showing the Toyota emblazoned tail gates. The crewman for the KPV was a doozy, I had to perform some frankenstein-style surgery to get the gunner to fit on the seat. The gunner in the blue Toyota had a head swap to give a slightly different look.

Some of the traditional warlord faction fighters. These guys are a mix of Flashpoint, Flytrap, Irregular and Old Glory. I painted them up in off-whites, khaki, greys, reddish browns and grey blues.

Another angle, showing off the different poses and the assorted array of small arms.

Closeup of some RPG gunners. I think the standing guys are Flashpoint and the kneeling are Flytrap.

Some of the religious fundamentalist faction guys in their predominantly black kit and very serious disposition. I gave them a "dushka" HMG for a little extra firepower.

10mm Romans for TTS!

 As promised in my aforementioned post on the Carthaginians, here are their blood enemy - the Romans. I painted up Roman and Allied Latin legions and differentiated them with red and yellow shields respectively. I believe all of the figures posted here are Old Glory.

The first units up are some allied cavalry, pretty basic fellas. I believe they had a clutch of multiple javelins in their hand but I mistook them as mold lines and filed them down a bit. Yikes.

And here are some proper Roman cavalry. How do I know they are proper? The red shields and cloaks of course.

Here is another shot showing the cloaks. My reading indicated the Romans wore a mustard yellow cloak and I added in some dark madder red to color it up a bit.

Some velites, really neat little sculpts and simple to paint up.

Another view of the velites, showing off their fur wolf cloaks. Mixed in some brown fur to get a little color diversity going.

The hastati, Roman and Allied. I gave them a black plume to differentiate them from the princeps. From the back, you can see the hastati are unarmored save for their helmet and shield. From the front its difficult to tell the difference and I like my opponent to know who he's fighting.

Front view of the hastati. These sculpts are angled forward like they are running to get at the enemy. I guess that's what makes them hastati.

Princeps showing off their lovely chain mail armor and their red plumes. In TTS, the hastati and princeps can form a unit with special abilities. I think it gives a nice field for the Roman system of combat in a simple way.

The veteran triarii. These fellas are nice little sculpts. The long spears were separate and attached by means of drilling holes in a dimple on the sculpt's hand. Much less fidly than you would think.

A rear view of the triarii. These guys can straddle squares in TTS and act as a reserve for different units in front of them.

Lastly we have some generals on foot and mounted. You know the drill, yellow are allied generals and red are proper Roman command. I cut up some of the strips to give them more dynamic looks.

Closeup of the Roman army commander. The one chap even has a nice "caesar" cut. How appropriate!

Closeup of an allied foot general.

I have yet to finish their army camp, its halfway done. I have a feeling it may end up a bit underwhelming...we will see.

10mm Carthaginian Army for TTS!

Back when we had wargaming conventions, I watched my gaming buddies played in a game of To the Strongest! (TTS) at Cold Wars 2019. We were really enthused with the ruleset and as luck would have it, my one buddy Rob found a steal of a deal for unpainted Roman and Carthaginian armies down at Wally's Basement. We bought the lot and split it up. The bulk of the figures were Old Glory 10mm with a smattering of Magister Militum and Pendraken. I subsequently purchased more figures to flesh out the armies. They've been painted for a while (still need to finish the Roman army camp) but I just managed to photograph them. Here is the Punic contingent:

My Carthaginian camp, its kinda sparse but I wanted it that way. We have a pack elephant (Magister Militum), some pack horses (Pendraken), a trumpeter and standard bearer (Old Glory), a general (Magister Militum Vignette) and a tent (Pendraken). One big, mixed, happy family of manufacturers!

Another angle of the army camp, situated near the standard bearer are some loose shields that I snipped from excess Old Glory Romans.

The pride and glory of my Carthaginian army, my elephants! TTS allows two bases of these magnificent beasts If my memory serves me right, the elephants with the draperies are Magister Militum and the bare elephants are Pendraken. I believe all the riders are Magister Militum.

Another angle of these fellas. I kitted them out with some Libyan skirmishers (Old Glory) so they would be considered "escorted" in TTS, giving them a little more staying power.

Here are my Celtic swords (and spears) for hire. The vast bulk of my infantry and cavalry are Old Glory. The majority come in strips with the exception of the skirmishers and cavalry. I wanted these guys in a bright cacophony of colors and stripes. OG provides several different strip variants in their Gallic infantry bags. They wanted these guys chaotic and diverse!

Here's another snap of the Celts with a look at their back sides. Alot of bare flesh here for these proud warriors. The Celts are one of the only groups in this army where you will see blues and greens. I thought it was important to mix in some stripes to give them that Gallic feel. The Celts are considered "deep" units so they have a deeper base and an extra rank of soldiers.

Now my Spaniards. Probably my favorite units because of their shields. I wanted certain uniform but irregular palettes and themes for my different units. The Spanish have a hodgepodge of  red, black, white and yellow. These guys pop with the colors.

Here is another pic showing their back sides. I should mention that the majority of the OG strips are shields in the front and tunics in the back. It makes painting them very quick and easy. The Spanish infantry had a neat little leather helmet with a plume on them. 

Not nearly as sexy but still kinda cool. Here are my Libo-Phoenician veterans. White shields with red and black trim and design work. Palm trees and Tanit designs to give them that punic feel. I used Micron pens to do the design work.

And their backsides showing the plain tunics and helmets.

Here are my Libyan javelin skirmishers. These are grimy little buggers with dark earth tone hues and mohawks.

Carthaginian foot general stands. These are "Greek" command strips from Old Glory, slap some Tyrian purple on them and you have Carthaginians. There you go!

Old Glory army commanders from their "Greek" generals with the obligatory Tyrian purple. Mago, Hamilcar, Hasdrubal? I dunno, whoever you want them to be. The gent on the right is a Spanish general from Pendraken.

And what respectable Carthaginian army would go without Numidians? Not this army! Here are my Old Glory Numidian cavalry. I really like the sculpt of the rider, he just looks so cool and calm and confident in his riding and fighting ability. Unfortunately, its the only sculpt in the bag. I tried to base them like they are wheeling about like Numidians do...
The Numidian rears, I should mention that I littered the bases with an occasional red or white shield. These were clipped from Roman "legionnaires" or something like that from the OG Gallic Wars range.

My Celtic cavalry. Say hello again to stripes, blues and greens and some blonde hair!
The Celts showing off their backsides and striped robes. I believe there are 3 or so different rider sculpts in this bag of Old Glory figures.

Spanish cavalry, more reds, whites, yellows and blacks. An obligatory shield on the ground.

And they wanted to show you their back sides as well!

That's the Carthaginian army. I should add that I only snapped pics of some of the figures from each contingent. I will have to go back and snap an army picture so you can see they are all one big happy family (provided they are getting paid). Its a pretty decent sized army and I am both happy and somewhat surprised to have finished them. It was fun to paint and I went with speed over paint quality. I quickly prepped them with a file and nippers, rinsed the metal dust and finger grease off them and primed black. After that I gave them a drybrush of tan to show off the details and block painted the base colors. They got some very basic and crude hi-lights followed by a light wash and varnish. I will post the Roman army next...