Friday, November 22, 2013

Hurrah for the Gunners!

Fairly 'armless.
Awaiting their arms are a couple of Stadden infantry converted-with-paint to serve as gunners. I'm going to make a go of slicing some rifle arms about to see what can be done about their final look.

Thanks to everyone for their comments on the "Year Without Lead" post.

Having made the decision, I feel surprisingly good about it all. I've even had a friend join me in his own Lead Fast. Who knows - perhaps this could become the new "Movember"!

I'm planning to start on New Years' Eve and carry through the whole of 2014. To answer Jeff, yes I have a few last minute purchases planned.

Ross, I agree on your point about being more tightly focussed. A few small games would not hurt either.

PS - doing something about my eBay account might not hurt, either.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Year Without Lead?

For some reason this week I've been in something of a reflective mood with regard to how I've been approaching my hobby in recent months. I think it comes from looking at a painting desk littered with bits and pieces of projects begun with wild enthusiasm and then dropped about three weeks later.

I've seen myself do this before. I think it was what led me to become for a while a disciple of the "project management" approach to the hobby. This had it's benefits. there is no way opn this earth I would have painted quite so many Spencer Smith plastics as I did (about 1200) going about in my usual amateurish way.

I dropped it though as it seemed too joyless a way of pursuing the hobby. Sure, I was getting excellent results, but I wasn't really enjoying the process too much. So, in pursuit of fun, I let myself go mad and pursue any old thing with no goals in mind whatever.

Now this was very satisfying, at least to the spendthrift in me, but it did lead to a big painting funk in the second half of the year as my piles of unpainted or part-painted things started to sap my will to continue with anything much.

So what to do?

What to do? Part of me wants to take a complete break from the hobby for a year and see whether I want to carry on afterwards. Knowing me, I doubt that's at all likely, but I am really in a mood to pack everything up and at least NOT BUY anything for a year. Part of my current malaise is at least partly based on guilt at pissing away huge amounts of money on stuff that basically gets put on a pile and left.

I'm curious to see how much money I'd save if I took a year off - a year without lead as it were.

Perhaps this is the year I could live off my hump. Maybe I could try to turn my lead-mountain into a lead mole-hill.

A year without lead.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Colenso, 15th December 1899

I'm finding myself quite inspired by Ross's efforts on the Boer War at the moment and as a result have taken up reading Pakenham at the moment as well as warious other bits and bobs including the Practical Wargamer Yearbook for 1999.This has led me on to read up a little on Colenso, Buller's last battle before he was superceeded as the commander of thritish forces in South Aftrica by Roberts.

Colenso was planned as a battle fought in the cause of the relief of Ladysmith.

As far as battles go, it was something of a flash in the pan as things went wrong for the British from the get-go. The boers would see it differently, of course! and indeed they had made masterly use of terrain and concelment in preparing their positions which, in conjunction with the smokeless powder used by their rifles and artillery used, rendered them practically invisible.

Buller wanted to assault the Boer positions on the far side of the Tugela which meandered through the battlefield by means of certain drifts (or fords) which provided crossing points. It would have been a bloody business for obvious reasons, but Buller had numbers (21,000 men in five brigades) and ought to have been able to do it.

However, things went terribly wrong, and the battle turned more into a rescue operation.

Rather than fight the whole battle out, the following possibilities come to mind:

Pulling Hart's Head out of the Noose.
*Hart believes his own maps rather than his native guide and actually finds the Bridle drift. The battle is then a straight crossing of the Tugela by his four Irish battalions in the teeth of the fire of one Boer unit.
*Hart's western-most unit stubles across the Drift by accident.
*Hart sees that he's heading straight into a salient, realises his error and sends out patrols left and right to ascertain the location of the Drift. This could make an interesting game. Sort of a river crossing where you have to find the ford!

Pulling Long's Fat out of the Fire.
*Long realises he's too close to the boer trench lines and pulls back, covered bu the naval guns.
*It's all gone horribly awry for Long, and it's down you you to save some honour by retreiving the guns in the face of intense rifle fire. This might make a good skirmish game. The British player might be tested by deciding on more or less infantry fire-support at the expense of additional gun teams.

Keep the Kop!
* Your Cavalrymen and Mounted Infantry have taken Hlangwane. If you had some guns and infantry to protect them, your fire could enfilade the whole Boer position, rendering it untenable. But could you hold out against increasingly strong Boer counter-attacks and will the Staff reply to your pleas for re-inforcement in time... or at all?

The Walking Dead...

Urrrh... Brainzzzzz...
Not too sure why I painted these, really. I seem to have had them in my collection since about 1986. I guess they finally "arrived" in the painting queue!

I would like to get some suitably undead decals for the shields, though.

Now - evil glowing green eyes or not?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Slowly but Surely

The Band Plays On
 I'm taking my time with this job, obviously! The next 2-3 miniatures are primed for painting now.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Littler Little Wars

 I'm just starting to get into the swing of things for my "Littler Little Wars" project. As you can see, I've made a start on a few things as I try to come to grips with the overall look I want for the miniatures. I've compromised to a degree - I didn't really want to do a job as straightforward as that on the original Britains because I want to be able to use these with my Franco-Prussian War minis. 
 I won't be using line infantry as gunners. Fortunately the Stadden infantry come with a moveable rifle-arm on a peg which I will replace with something more suitable for a gunner. With a blue coat and a ball replacing the spike on his helmet, I feel he will do admirably.
How could I go past this glorious Boer War 4.7 " gun from TVAG? I bought a brace to make up a neat little battery. I tried to keep the paint job as true to the Britains gun as I possibly could. I might detail the spy-glass just a little... Half a dozen gunners to serve the gun with an officer to direct their activities per piece, two pieces per battery and a mounted officer to oversee the lot. I'd love to find something suitable to use as a GS Wagon.
 While I was away I took along a few horses and a few notions to try out. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out.
And Skinners Horse take them out for a spin. They all need degrees of touching up due to handling whilst they were being painted. Curses! Oddly though, in looking at them I am reminded that Britains boxes only held about half a dozen cavalry and eight infantry. Food for thought?