Saturday, 30 September 2017

Tiger Men

I’ve just about finished my Boxers and Chinese Imperials for TMWWBK, just a couple of Jingals to base.

Here’s the penultimate unit, Tiger Men from Blue Moon, they are very good figures and a pleasure to paint. 

Although all the Tiger Men models I’ve ever seen carry only a sword and shield in practice fire arms were part of their kit.  Sometimes they were fired through a slot in the shield. 

Tiger Men, contrary to what we might assume, were high grade skirmishers rather than do or die assault troops.  Their function, often supported by Jingals was to disrupt the enemy. 

One of the things they trained for was dealing with cavalry.  In this drill the Tiger Men broke into small units and formed tight defensive circles crouching (below sabre reach) and covering each other with their shields.  

When the cavalry broke up to surround them, presumably slashing ineffectively, the Tiger men would suddenly leap up yelling and thrusting their garishly painted shields at the horses’ eyes while cutting at the riders.  The idea being the startled cuddies would shy away and unbalance their riders thus rendering them more vulnerable to attack.

I have not come across any such encounter between Tiger Men and European cavalry but it’s a nice story so I thought I'd share it.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Was there ever a Haberdasher so plucky?

Bhekisisa (Black shields) is staring down the barrel of McHearty’s ominous looking gun he orders his men to go to ground.  They do so reluctantly.  

N’Konkoni (Red shields) is now behind the flank of McHearty’s gun and within easy charge distance his warriors begin to sing and to beat their assegais against their shields.

Ibubesi (mixed colour shields) and Indlovu (Black and White shields) tear into Mr Dewhurst’s volunteers at the double.  The volunteers are swiftly overrun but go down fighting causing 6 Zulu casualties, but wait, what’s this? 

Mr Dewhurst is still on his feet trading blows with Indlovu.  Was there ever a Haberdasher so plucky?

Mapoza sings out the command and his no longer silent warriors roll down the hill in a wave.  

Turvey’s Sailors turn to meet them. “Where did they come from?” Asks the Captain.  

The fighting is fierce and the eight Zulu warriors lie stricken but only five of the Sailors remain on their feet.  Old Topsey is one of them, he’s the very Devil with revolver and sword. 


Mc Hearty gets off a shell but then the warriors are on him, he gets one before it’s all over.
Captain Turvey and the Tars fight to the end but it quickly comes.

Gallant Mr Dewhurst is, well, butchered.

Sgt Fagan has led his men off at the double and intends to be as far away as possible as quickly as he can.  He will enjoy some fleeting fame as the only (White) survivor of the encounter and be promoted to Inspector.  In due course he will become a magistrate, always strangely popular with the natives. 

Bengal Lancers

Soon (ish) we will be off to the North-West Frontier with TMWWBK and so I invested in some sight unseen Irregular Miniatures Bengal Lancers.

I almost always like to see before I buy but Mr Kay does a good pugaree, perhaps the best, and so I took a chance.  I’m glad I did as I find these little fellows full of character.  Here they are and I hope you like them.

Next, we return to Natal. By the way, and not entirely off topic, Queen Victoria had a dog called Looty, from the Hindi "Lut" meaning plunder.  Not many people know that.  Could that be Michael Caine behind the binoculars?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Indunas

Mapoza is in position, invisible to the foe, his silent warriors ready to strike.  He will wait until the horns of the Impi have engaged and then storm the gun and kill the gunners. He is re inforced.

N’Konkoni (Red shields) races for the hills on the British flank.  N’Konkoni has now seized the high ground on the British flank.  Bhekisisa (Black shields) could do the same, but decides to go straight at the foe to fix them in position. They both move forward, Bhekisisa’s men now in the open and vulnerable to fire. 

Ibubesi (mixed colour shields) and Indlovu (Black and White shields) can see the British volunteers and intend destroying them before setting about the various Cape tribesmen who have cunningly taken up position in the rear. Off they go at a sprint.

Captain Turvey can now see there is no point in going for the high ground as there are Zulus on it.  He ponders, perhaps he’ll stay where he is.

A frantic McHearty orders his men to move the gun and secure a target and this they do.

Mr Dewhurst suggests to the chaps that they shoot at the Zulus.  They do, and down a couple but not the fellow with the blue feather who seems to be some sort of ring leader.   The fellows seem happy enough, Captain Turvey’s Sailors are protecting their flank and the very competent Sgt Fagan is waiting behind them in case they might need help.

Sgt Fagan holds his position but he’s thinking ahead.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

“I’ve cleared your field of fire Mr Dewhurst!”

The Zulus jog forward, the horns of the Impi moving out to turn the flanks of the British.  Just as mighty Shaka had decreed they should.  The lie of the land means that only the Zulu flanks are visible to the British.

A sailor sings out the soon to be immortalised words “Zulus! Sir, there seems to be quite a few of them".  There is a flurry of activity in the British camp.

Captain Turvey knows what to do, he’ll lead the sailors at the double up onto the high ground and secure the flank!  He’ll order close order and give them a volley!  He’ll let the Tars fire at long range to warn them off!  Somehow, he cannot make his mind up.

McHearty and the gun crew wheel the gun into position and are ready to teach the Zulu all about the value of modern ordinance, but they can’t as the Sailors are masking the on coming Zulus. 

Dewhurst decides to tell his lads about duty and the Queen Empress-they seem a little fidgety.

The ever efficient Fagan smartly leads his natives to the rear of Dewhurst’s men and loudly proclaims “I’ve cleared your field of fire Mr Dewhurst!”

Friday, 22 September 2017

It’s Awfully Quiet Out There TMWWBK

It’s time to try the Impi out. 

Here we have a hastily assembled Imperial force on its way to the border of Zulu land.  The core of the force is reliable enough being comprised of Royal Navy Sailors and a gun. There should have been some good mounted infantry too but they haven’t turned up*.  The supporting troops are volunteers from the Colony, poor shots as they are mainly counter wallopers or worse, and a native contingent.  Still, no one expects the Zulu to cross the river.  

I've given all of the commanders randomly generated Leader Values and Traits (like so) for players of TMWWBK, if you don't play lower numbers are better.

In command, we have Captain Foxlet Turvey (7+) known to his Tars as ‘Topsey’.  Captain Turvey is a Rum victim who never the less can be expected to march from A to B though not necessarily in a straight line. 

The gun is commanded by Bosun McHearty (5+) a capable son of the Empire. 

Sgt Fagan (5+) has been seconded from the Natal Police to lead the native contingent and is a model of efficiency and a secret coward.

Mr Dewhurst (7+), Dewhurst’s Quality Haberdashery, leads the Cape Colony Volunteer Rifles, he doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but- it shouldn’t matter.

The Zulus are led by:

Ibubesi (6+) (mixed colour shields) a capable and steady leader.

Indlovu (6+) (Black and White shields) capable, but a traditionalist, his men are short of ammo.

Mapoza (5+) (White shields) is destined for greatness.

Khethiwe (5+) (White on Black shields) is an up and at them sort of Induna and a veteran commander.

Bhekisisa (5+) (Black shields) is another destined for greatness.

N’Konkoni (5+) (Red shields) is thought in Induna circles to be a thoroughly good chap as well as a capable commander.  His nick-name is ‘The Slaughterer’.

The game opens with the British breaking camp and forming line of march.

* As dictated by the scenario, the British are outnumbered.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

More Roman Lion Rampant Units

I've painted more Roman Lion Rampant Units, these will be the last until the rest of them arrive from Donnington.

Here we have some dashing Gothic nobles, they would do for Franks too, or might turn up in a Roman retinue on the Eastern Front.   Goths could add a javelin and/or expert status at a cost of 1 point for each. Franks and Vandals seem to have liked to charge straight in.

Unit Name: 
Gothic Nobles
Points: 5

 Attack 5+
Attack Value
Move 5+
Defence Value5+
Shoot -
Shoot Value -

Courage 4+
Max. Movement 4
Armor 3
Special Rules

Some Legionaries next.

Unit Name:
Points: 6

Attack Value5+
Defence Value4+
Shoot Value
6 / 6"
Max. Movement6"
Special Rules
Testudo, Darts, counter charge

Finally, the backbone of the army appears, a British Legion that might fight anywhere in the Western Empire.  Do check this link if you are interested in the Late Roman army, especially the author's theory about identity and the wheel and spokes pattern shields of British and Gallic units.

Some more Huns, same stats as last time.  Their noble cavalry will appear later.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

I Did It Anyway

A long while back, I bought a bunch of MY Miniatures Sedgemoor 15mm figures.  They were lively and characterful and no damn use at all in terms of compatibility with my, then, ever- growing Essex and Irregular Williamite War 15mm armies.  So, I went through the classic stages of denial-they don’t look so bad, I’ll paint them and they’ll blend in!  Finally, I thought bugger it, I’ll stick one of them on an Essex horse and say he’s Sarsfield (for Patrick was a big lad) and put the rest away-which I did.  Resentfully.

Then, The Pike Man’s Lament appeared and I liked playing it.  A thoughtful gander at a LOA size comparison post on the spendid

revealed that Donnington’s Wars of Louis XIV were lively and characterful and likely a size match for MY Miniatures.  

There is a very sound military maxim about not re enforcing failure.  I havered as the Scots say, surely, I’ve done the LOA. I don’t need to order more biggies that won’t fit with everything else.

I did it anyway.

So, Royal and Rebel Companies for The Pike Man’s Lament will appear on this blog.  When they do, the figures will be lively and characterful biggies and it won’t matter at all.

The catalyst for all this was, of course, the lovely pics and illustrations in Stephen Ede-Borrett’s Army of James II.

Here we can see some of the MY Miniatures looking big, lively, characterful and unfinished-but not for long.

You can see some of the Donnington’s, look for big hats, if you click the link below to Ray’s Don’t Throw a 1 blog.  Characterful and lively, aren’t they, and big.

If you are interested in MY Miniatures here's some of the mounted figures, note the small horses, good for Dragoons.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Romans Rampant - The Barbaricum

You can’t do Romans Rampant, endless civil wars excepted, without their opponents and sometime allies from the Barbaricum.
So, let’s see what we have got and suggest some stats. I intend to add a single unit of Hun armoured nobles but the figures have not arrived yet so today its the rank and file Huns.  

Fearsome Huns

The point of these lads is their powerful bow and great mobility.  If cornered they can put up a fight too.

Unit Name: 
Points: 4

 Attack 5+
Attack Value
Move 5+
Defence Value5+
Shoot 6+
Shoot Value
Hit on 5+ Max range ‘8
Courage 4+
Max. Movement 5
Armor 2
Special Rules
Counter-charge, Skirmish, Evade, no minus on shooting over ‘6

When considering the various barbarian foot war bands I thought it would be more interesting to try and reflect their different fighting styles.  I make no great claims of accuracy for this save to say it reflects what the sources tell us.  

So, the Frankish charge is a fearsome thing, their initial volley of Angons and Francesca will discomfit the enemy. Visigoth foot, to appear in a subsequent post, will be better than most on the defensive while other Germanic warriors will shower javelins on the foe.

Unit Name:
Points: 4

 Attack 6+
Attack Value 5+*4+
Move 5+
Defence Value 6+
 Shoot -
Shoot Value -

Courage 4+
Max. Movement  6"
Armor 2
Special Rules
*Angon improves attack value to 4+ for first charge into contact only, wild charge

Other Germanic War Bands

These fellows are from Donnington's Age of Arthur range, Angles and Saxons, nice figures I think.  

Unit Name:
Points: 4

 Attack 6+
Attack Value 5+
Move 5+
Defence Value 4+
 Shoot 6+
Shoot Value
Hit on 6 / 3"
Courage 4+
Max. Movement  6"
Armor 2
Special Rules
javelin, wild charge

More soon and then some games to see how, or indeed if, it works.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Non Mint Imperials

Not all imperial forces in the high days of nineteenth century colonialism were made up of superbly drilled, well-armed professionals- sometimes commanders had to just make do with what was to hand.  Most of my force to oppose the Zulus are irregulars which should be fun. 

The Natal Native Contingent as Tribal.

 The European civilians will pretty much do for anywhere.  

The fellows on horse will be Mounted Infantry.

The Sailors and gun will be Regulars.