Saturday, 3 April 2021

Against Spain - update time !

 I received an email from Graham at Crann Tara yesterday with some good news. The first of the figures to accompany "Against Spain", the sequel to Wargaming the Sugar Islands have been sculpted by Andy Stadden.

These Indian labourers will be able to serve the British as labourers, "lascars", without whom no European army in India could operate. But with the addition of muskets they'll become early Sepoys, "peons" as they were known, who were only just becoming more regimented and equipped with uniforms in the 1750's. The Madras residency were to supply trained soldiers to serve in Drapers expedition to Manila, but instead he was given fresh recruits and men straight of the streets. Many disappeared in the the countryside once in the Philippines, some turned their coat and fought for the Spanish. Some settled and built a new life and their descendants are still there to this day. 

A versatile set of figures, excellently sculpted by Andy, soon to be joined by a more steadfast force....the Cuban Militia. Watch this space for more info!

The book itself is almost complete. The last couple of sections have to be written, summarising the end of the campaign on both islands and of the conclusion of the war. The maps for the scenarios are done and but the notes for the scenarios have to written, but everything else is in place.

Wargaming the Sugar Islands is still available, from myself using the link on the left, from Crann Tara, and Caliver Books here in the UK or On Military Matters in North America . 
There's a review here if you want to know a little bit more

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Back to the 18th....again....!

The other week I had some time on my hands and started surfing the Amazon prime lists for a good film. Up popped The Emperor of Paris...period drama, European, Napoleonic, Vincent Cassell... hmm....oh but what's this..."The Conquest of Siberia" - 18thC, nice costumes, Russians...Swedes...oooh I'm in! 

A god awful film that seems to be hacked together rather than edited and whose plot meanders and twists more than the river they sail down, but which is based on two true events. One was the Russian expedition from Tobolsk up the river Irtysh towards the Tien Shan and the the Silk Road. They bumped into a Steppe Tribe - the Dzungar - and were promptly sent packing. 

But the Russians took with them Swedish prisoners who had been sent to Siberia following the Battle of Poltava and the people of Tobolsk included some Baltic Germans including women. One of the Swedes and one of the German women eventually made it back to Sweden. 

The film is awful and only worth watching (if that!) for the setting, the costumes and some of the battle scenes. But it did provide an inspiration. I've been discussing Kalmyk, Kazakh and other steppe tribes on a forum I'm a member of. I've also got some GNW Russians and Swedes but I've never gotten "into" them properly, probably because they are Wee Wolf Miniatures (ex Footsore, ex Musketeer) and now only available from the states. The are big robust figs, tall and chunky and so somewhat outsize compared to the excellent Ebor and Warfare ranges. Now however I didn't need lots of them (I have painted some myself, and have some painted by friends (Hi Paul) and some more from Ebay), and didn't even need more Swedes. 

Russian foot - Ex Musketeer

A Casting Room Miniatures Grenadier joins them.

But what about the Dzungar? These were a remnant of one of the Mongol Hordes and dominated the central steppe covering north eastern Kazakhstan down into the Tarim basin. They are portrayed in the film as very mongol looking horse archers and heavy armoured lancers. This seems to be borne out by some cursory research I've done into the backstory to the film - The Bukhholtz Expedition. So which figs do I get to represent them? 

Dzungar Tribesmen

Fireforge Mongol Cavalry! 

Relatively inexpensive, well sculpted and similarly sized to those chunky Russians...perfect.

This will be a skirmish game pitching some Russians and some Swedish foot with Cossack Allies against the Dzungar. I will use Pikeman's Lament or possibly Donnybrook, keeping it small and playable solo on the kitchen table. 

And so another lockdown project is born....hopefully the last. 




Oh...and I bought more Swedes...🤣

Sunday, 7 February 2021

19thC - Austrians

It was really the Franco-Austrian or Second War of Italian Independence which triggered my interest in the "hyphenated wars" of the 19th century and at one point I had a 15mm Austrian army long before I collected French or Prussian forces. So when I kicked of the FPW project I knew it would be extended back to 1859. 

I've had some of Piran's Warriors 28mm Austrians for a while. Initially I had just enough for a skirmish game so some expansion was needed to bring their numbers up. I knew that Pirans were due to expand their range so I dropped them a line. 

Originally comprising just line infantry in mixed poses and Hussars, the range now has Jäger, Uhlans and Cuirassiers. The infantry now have a marching pose to supplement their firing and loading poses. I understand that artillery and command are in the pipeline too. 

The figures are chunky and well sculpted and fit in very well with my existing Ironclad Miniatures French. I really like the marching pose, but the Jager are very nice. The Uhlans are an essential for an Austrian army. But IMHO, the best of the cavalry are the Cuirassiers, the sculpting style brings out the best of these big men in armour. 

(Not finished mine, so some shots off the Pirans Warriors Website)

I have decided that Austrian units will comprise of 4 stands compared to the 3 of French and Prussian units. That's because their regiments were 4 battalions strong in 1859, usually forming brigades of 1 battalion of Jager or Grenz infantry and a single regiment. Field uniform for line, Jager and Grenz was a lose fitting, double breasted, white tunic for all three types of unit and light blue trousers for line and Grenz and grey ones for Jager. Shako's for line and Grenz were covered in a black waterproof cover while the Jager wore a version of their famous hat, the brim raised on both sides. Crossbelts etc were black for Grenz and Jager and white for line. A simple combination of white and grey or blue but one which looks good on the tabletop. 

1859 Austrians from the Osprey "The Austrian Army 1836-66 (1)"

North Star do 1866 Austrians but, swathed in greatcoats, you miss the brightness. You might argue that an 1866 army can be used against Prussians and Danes of '64, so you get two wars to play, but then the Austrians of '59 fought the French with Guard, Zouaves and Turcos all heavily involved and they fought the Piedmontese both on the plains of Lombardy but also against Garibaldi's column in the hills, plenty variety there. 

So who to match these figures to? Right now....Ironclad French (if you don't mind the lack of epaulettes),  Athena miniatures do French Guard and Turco/Zouaves. Both of these companies figures are similar in style. Great War Miniatures Crimean French in Kepi are spot on in terms of kit and uniform. There are ranges from Gringo40's, Cibo's Little Dudes and Shako64 and Mirliton. And if you have an eye on what the Perry's are up to, their French will also be usable.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Sugar Islands News

 Wargaming the Sugar Islands Campaign is still available from myself, from Graham at CrannTara and now also from Caliver Books and from On Military Matters in the US. 

You can find details on the their websites, and the post below or by contacting me using the form on the right hand side of the blog.

Thanks to everyone who has already bought a copy and to those who have yet too, now it's even easier.