Thursday, 30 June 2016

A City for The Mutiny and beyond

After much enjoyable reading and a few games I came to the point where I wanted to game the sieges and street fighting that characterised much of the war to re subjugate ‘The Jewel in the Crown’.  That meant scratch building a city and after a bit of research I decided foam board might do the trick.  Now it’s time for a disclaimer I had never attempted modelling on this scale before and I knew it would not match the work of the true artists in our hobby.  That said the finished product has attracted some kind words and I’m happy with it.

All in all, the entire project including material and tools cost me under £30.00 and that is pretty competitive so long as you have the time for the work.  Also there was a learning curve that has equipped me for my next building project – The Great City of Tenochtitlan.
So now I have a city which will serve as the fictional Krishnapur*, Delhi (though it’s the wrong colour) Kabul, Herat and at a push the Crusades and Muslim Spain.

Here it is.

The whole thing is modular so it can be put together in a variety of ways even to create a British Residency (of sorts). 
Best of all everything was designed to hold at least one unit and in some cases more.  No more sighing as defenders hurl themselves backwards from the parapet having lost their balance.  I might add a fourth wall as its currently the table edge.  Also for Kabul I need to make some compound walls favoured by wealthier residents.  The is a small voice in my head saying Sevastopol but I’m ignoring it.

A final photo of the city as Krishnapur.  That bridge needs more work.

* From JG Farrell’s great novel The Siege of Krishnapur.  

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Coming Up Soon

For the last two years I have been resolutely finishing off armies I began collecting decades ago.  Sometimes this has been a small matter of a few units.  Others required much more work, not only that there has also been massive rebasing as my taste in rules has changed from WRG to Piquet.  

Strictly speaking the latter was not necessary but I wanted a Piquet look.  Any how it is all showing progress as army after army is completed.

I also have two big projects I want to complete - the Nine Years War in Ireland and Cortez in Mexico.  The figures for both these projects are mainly done and you will be seeing the armies here in due course.  Both wars are quite demanding in terms of finding a rule set that can reflect how they were fought. 

For the Irish war I’ll be using James Roach’s Hell Broke Loose to start with. If I need to tweak it, I will and I’ll set out the rationale here.
The Mexican campaign means producing a rule set from scratch and by rummaging through the Piquet tool box I have a first draft.  The tricky thing was the Aztec custom of captive taking and, when successful, its impact on the Spanish. 
I’m now happy that I have a mechanism for that and I thank James Roach for his input on that.  The test games will feature here so don’t be alarmed if you see Aztecs in a Moghul city.  Tenochtitlan wasn’t built in a day.  
As a working title the rules are called Have a Heart and will be tagged for anyone interested in how they develop. 

I’m also itching for a game but “events dear boy” as Macmillan said.
Next up will be the last of the Sikh, Sikh War figure reviews. The British will follow in due course.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Khalsa regular Cavalry – A 15mm Comparison

Khalsa regular Cavalry – A 15mm Comparison

Black Hat, QRF and Irregular all make Khalsa regular Cavalry.  Irregular only make Dragoons and only Black Hat will supply you with command figures.  I’m pretty much going to let the pictures speak for themselves here.  So on we go.

The Dragoons, here we have QRF, Black Hat and Irregular.  The latter is a Mutiny Sikh but size and pose is very close to Irregular’s Sikh Dragoon.

Next the Lancers QRF followed by a Black Hat Dragoon command. The actual Black Hat Lancer command are modelled in turbans.

The cuirassiers, I’ve based a Black Hat standard bearer with a QRF trooper which just about works. 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Indian Irregular Troops in 15mm

Variety, they say, is the spice of life and some of us prefer it in our miniature armies too. Here are some figures from a variety of Manufacturers that could turn up in Indian irregular units. We'll start from the left and work our way right just like HG Wells.

First base Irregular, ERM and Irregular again, Second Black Hat, Third ERM, Fourth Dixon, Minifig, Dixon and the last base Two Dragons. 

Six command figures the first three from QRF the last three from Black Hat.   The latter are on deeper bases so please allow for that. 


Monday, 13 June 2016

The Tai Ping in 15mm

Hong Xiuquan failed the exams needed to ensure his entry into the Chinese Imperial Civil Service. He took it badly and upon going home had a series of visions. Some years later under the influence of protestant evangelical pamphlets he realised that the figures in his visions were God and Jesus and concluded that he was God's Chinese Son and the younger brother of Jesus. Significantly in one vision Confucius founder of the ethos of the Imperial Civil Service was being punished for error.  Much punishment followed.

Hong was a Hakka and so not from China's Han majority and his message proved very attractive to the then marginalised Hakka population. Hong's central message included overthrowing the Chinese State and replacing it with the Tai Ping Heavenly Kingdom, gender equality, killing landlords and the sharing of property. His followers armed and organised themselves and proved to be fearsome and disciplined soldiers who waged a truly massive war on Manchu China for about 14 years.

The Tai Ping were also able to recruit the Miao another minority population as allies.  The Miao, recognised as hard fighters, were equipped with long jezzail like matchlocks and spears and swords.

Despite a persistent effort to ally with the colonial powers and to secure modern arms Tai Ping armies had to mainly rely on traditional Chinese weaponry. Some Europeans fought for them.

For cavalry the Tai Ping mostly recruited the Ni'en who lived mainly by banditry.

If you would like a Tai Ping force almost all of the figures above are from Irregular Miniatures.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Khalsa in 15mm Part 1

We are going to look at some of what’s available in 15mm and for the regulars of the Khalsa that means QRF, Irregular and Black Hat.  The photos can speak for themselves for those of you thinking of a Sikh collection. When we get to the irregulars we can spread the net a little wider.

The QRF are the 20? year old Steve Shaw sculpts - very elegant.  Irregular are a recent range, good clean lines and as far as 15mm turbans go Ian Kay must be the prince of pugarees.  Black Hat is the newest and most comprehensive range - great detail and lots of variety of figures. 

QRF sell their infantry figures in packs of eight, Black Hat retail ten infantry and five command per pack respectively and Irregular sell individual figures. For cavalry QRF are four to a pack and Black Hat five with three for command.  Prices at the time of writing are fairly similar.

Let’s start with the Khalsa regular infantry and the good news is that the three ranges are compatible as we can see. There is no problem in mixing and matching any of these. 

QRF, Irregular and Black Hat

The guns next. Here is a Black Hat cannon with a QRF crew next to an Irregular Persian gun and crew. 

This substitution is because I do not yet have their Sikh one and the figures, apart from the hat, are very similar. Black Hat also offer two gun crews (Foot and Horse) and QRF have some nice guns - all work well together. The Black Hat cannon is a must have in my view and I keenly await their Sikh 6pdr.

For  convenience let's do the camel gunners here as well.  

Irregular Persians are standing in for their Indian ones, QRF Moghuls and the Black Hat Sikh.  The latter is too small for me and does not have a camel gun.  He would be OK with Peter Pig Sudanese Ansar and I think that is where he is going.

Next time we will look at the Khalsa cavalry and command figures.

Thursday, 2 June 2016


This is about my Manchu Ching Dynasty Army.  It has been a long time in the making and soon it will see table top action against the Tai Ping and oppose the British as part of a three side campaign. As armies go it is going to struggle to win as it lacks both firepower and high quality melee troops.  It is though an interesting army and a colourful one and will be more so once flags are added.  

There were three parts to the army the Manchu Banner Men who could turn up as cavalry or infantry, the Chinese Green Standard troops who were all infantry and the Mongol cavalry who the British called Tatars.  The Banner Men varied in quality but could on occasion put up a good fight.  The Chinese infantry were quick to run away but equally fast to rally and they would tenaciously defend fieldworks.  

The Mongols were brave and excellent horsemen but their hit and run style ran into trouble against superior fire power.

As far as armament went each unit had a mixture of melee weapons and either matchlock muskets or composite bows the latter being the exclusive preserve of the Manchu and Mongols.

Ingenious weapons like stink pots that released a choking smoke to confound the enemy were also deployed. Rockets were also used but not with much effect.

Much use was made of Jingals or Gingals a light gun carried and crewed by two men that could be very effective at close range although not at longer ranges.

Tiger Men were skilled and well-motivated skirmishers who often supported by Jingals would attempt to disrupt the enemy.

There was also effective artillery which lacking in mobility was often deployed to cover an area of the battlefield, occasionally from concealment, in anticipation of an enemy move.  These are the masked batteries much discussed by the British in the Opium Wars.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


We are going to have a slight diversion to China while I wait for an order to arrive to help inform the promised figure review and the stars to align to enable a game or two.

The next couple of posts will be on the Manchu and the Tai Ping at the time of the Opium War.

Thank you for your patience.