Tuesday, 24 May 2016

21st Virginia

The 21st Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was raised in June/July 1861 and took recruits from the city of Richmond and neighbouring counties.  It saw action as part of the Army of Northern Virginia, participating in Jackson's Valley Campaign, the Seven Days' Battles and then Early's Shenandoah Valley campaign in the summer of 1864.  At Gettysburg, the regiment was in Edward Johnson's division in Ewell's II Corps and lost heavily in the Confederate attacks on Culp's Hill. 

The 21st Virginia appears in a few of the Valley Campaign scenarios: Kernstown (14 figures), McDowell (16), Cross Keys (24) and First Winchester (24).  Numerate readers will notice that I am 4 figures short, as there are only 20 figures here.  I can't explain that mistake, and it's too late now to As with the 15th Alabama, this unit contains many of the figures I painted in 1998, although I think there are a few more of the 2012 ones in the front row.  The flag is an interesting from GMB.  I needed a small flag as there isn't much space on the cast-on flag pole on the officer figure.  All I can find out about it is that this was a battle version of the First Confederate National Flag, and one was captured by Union forces at the Battle of Pea Ridge (fought in March 1862) in Arkansas.  So I don't know if any regiments in Jackson's command would have carried it, although it seems perfectly possible.

20 figures.  Painted June-July 1998 and May-July 2012. Flag by GMB.


Monday, 23 May 2016

15th Alabama

The 15th Alabama was formed in May 1861 from various militia units in the south east of the state.  After spending most of 1861 in training, the regiment was placed into Ewell's division in the Army of Northern Virginia, which was then transferred to Stonewall Jackson's corps.  Consequently, the regiment first saw action during the Valley Campaign of spring 1862 and particularly distinguished itself at the Battle of Cross Keys.  1862 proved to be a busy year.  The regiment participated in the Seven Day's Battles (losing a quarter of is strength at Gaines' Mill), then the Northern Virginia Campaign of August/September and Lee's Maryland Campaign (in which the regiment fought at Antietam).  In May 1863 the 15th was transferred to Longstreet's corps and formed part of a newly constituted "Alabama Brigade" under Brigadier General Evander Law.  It was in that brigade that the 15th Alabama fought what was probably it's most famous action, attacking Chamberlain's 20th Maine at Little Round Top at Gettysburg - the 15th Alabama was the regiment that Chamberlain famously counter-charged when his men's ammunition had been exhausted.  In September 1863 the 15th Alabama was transferred with the rest of Longstreet's corps to Bragg's Army of Tennessee and fought another hard battle at Chickamauga.  In May 1864 the corps returned to Virginia and remained fighting with Lee until the surrender at Appomattox. 

This unit contains many of the very first Dixon ACW figures I painted back in 1998, so the painting's a bit rough and ready.  I don't think I did much in the way of proper research into  uniforms, and so probably just used a variety of blues, browns and greys.  I'm sure ACW aficionados will be able to spot all kinds of errors.  I can't now recall why I chose an Alabama regiment - I expect it was because in those days I had grand designs about wargaming Gettysburg and so wanted to start out with the brigade that charged up Little Round Top.  I painted the two flags myself.  I did think about replacing them with more accurate GMB flags (the flags themselves are not permanently glued to the staffs), but I realised that I'm quite attached to these early efforts and so decided to keep them.  In the "Guns of Gettysburg" scenario book for Jackson's Valley Campaign, the 15th appear in 3 scenarios: Freeman's Ford (12 figures), First Winchester (20) and Cross Keys (24).
24 figures.  Painted July 1998 and April-June 2012. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

American Civil War Week

It's American Civil War week at Tarleton's Quarter!  For the next 6-8 days I'm going to aim to make one post each day on a project I spent the first half of 2012 working on, namely creating a brigade of troops from Stonewall Jackson's command of 1862 and some other ACW bits and bobs.  I had intended to run this series of posts back in 2012/3.  Why I failed to do so is anyone's guess now - I think because I was waiting to paint up my Jackson command stand and that fell by the wayside (even now it's still not quite finished....).  I can't believe it's taken me four years to do these posts, although it does explain why this blog was so quiet in 2012.  I did just one teaser post and then forgot all about it...Anyway, I'm planning on posting photos of one regiment a day until they are all finished.  I'll probably not do complete battle histories for each unit, as my knowledge of the ACW is still pretty weak and so that would take a lot of time and research.  It's more about posting some photos I enjoyed taking in the garden the other week and rediscovering these figures.  Like 'em or loathe 'em, you can't deny that the Dixon figures for this period have character.

First, some project history.  I spent much of March to May 2012 painting 25mm ACW Confederates.  Almost exactly 18 years ago I bought a whole load of Dixon ACW figures.  I remember the date because I'd just finished my law school exams and I decided to treat myself to a new period; I recall Dixon were offering a discount on a "Jackson's Foot Cavalry" deal, or something like that.  I haven't ever counted them all, but I suspect there were about 100 infantry figures, plus some artillery and Stonewall himself.  I painted 40-odd figures that summer, before I started work in September.  I was still living "at home" back then, and somewhere I have a couple of photos of me painting these figures which were taken by my parents' 20-something Hungarian cleaner, who appeared to be fascinated by either these figures or my painting of them (there's more to that story, but as this isn't Legatus Hedlius' blog I'm not going any further!).  However, after painting those initial figures my ACW interest waned and I moved on to other things (Darkest Africa and SYW, I think) and never returned to Jackson, although several times over the intervening years I have finished off the odd ACW infantry figure that I'd part painted.  I also didn't base any of the figures I had painted - probably because I didn't know what rules I wanted to use and back in those days I had very limited experience of wargaming anyway and tended not to base anything I'd painted until I'd met someone else who was into the period and could advise how I should approach it.

Anyway, for reasons I cannot explain at all, four years ago I decided to get stuck into these Dixon figures.  Sometimes one just gets an "urge", and if it's to paint figures that have been in the leadpile for over a decade then it's best to give into the urge.  I suspect that Dave Brown's "Guns at Gettysburg" rules and the excellent scenario books by Paul Stevenson (all published by Caliver) had been sending me subliminal messages.  (My ACW project has taken so long that in the intervening years Dave Brown has released a new edition of GaG and has been developing an entirely different set of ACW rules.)  The figures I painted in 1998 formed elements of 4 regiments; 2 charging and one each of firing and marching.  All the figures needed sprucing up and basing and I had to add new figures to bring them up to strengths of either 20 or 24 figures.  I realised I was having so much fun that I painted another couple of regiments from scratch and started work on a couple of vignettes.  I still have enough figures for about 3 more regiments, I think, so I may turn to those later this year.  I then bought a few packs of the Perry "Bull Run" infantry, which had just been released and got stuck into those; I have two regiments finished and another on the way. 

So there's a lot to come over the next few days.   I've used this post to show all the regiment together, in something approaching a game situation.  Incidentally, I do have some Union troops as well, although most of those are very badly painted (the shades of blue I used were far too bright).   Normal AWI service will resume in a couple of weeks.  Currently on the workbench are Butler's Rangers, Highland colonels and Pulaski's Legion, and I see that almost by accident I've undercoated some more Dixon rebs...

Thursday, 19 May 2016

15th Foot

What became the 15th Foot was raised at Nottingham in June 1685 by Sir William Clifton, the Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, to help deal with the Monmouth Rebellion.  Clifton didn't remain colonel of the regiment for very long - he died in 1686, aged only 23.  After some years in Scotland and Ireland the regiment fought with Marlborough at Blenheim.  It was part of the Scottish garrison from 1714 to 1724 and in the 1740s fought in the Caribbean at Dominica, Jamaica and Cuba and at Cartagena.  Designated the 15th Foot in 1751, the regiment deployed to the Americas at the start of the French and Indian War and fought with Wolfe at Louisburg and Quebec.  The regimental lace was later amended to include a black line in remembrance of Wolfe's death.  The regiment remained in Canada until 1768, when it returned to the UK.  But it returned to America in 1776 and fought in the AWI until being sent again to the West Indies in 1779.  During the AWI the 15th acquired the nickname of "The Snappers" - at Brandywine the regiment ran short of ammunition and what was left was given to the best shots, with the remaining men simply "snapping" powder charges.  Unfortunately the regiment was captured at St Kitts in 1782 and had to reform from scratch (at which point it was given the county title of Yorkshire East Riding).  After five years in Ireland the regiment returned to the Caribbean in 1805 and remained there, so taking no part in the Napoleonic Wars.  The 15th returned to Canada in 1862 as one of the battalions shipped to the Americas in the wake of the Trent Affair (so one could also model it with the Perries' conjectural "British Expeditionary Force" figures).  The regiment was one of four battalions which fought in the AWI that are the ancestors of the modern British Army's Yorkshire Regiment, the other three being the 14th, the 33rd Foot (Cornwallis' own regiment) and the 76th.

This is something of a counterpart to the 44th Foot I painted at the end of last year - I wanted to use up my remaining metal British infantry figures and the 15th is the second and last full unit that I had in the leadpile.   Like the 44th, the 15th Foot is a useful regiment to have in one's collection if you like the big northern battles.  It appears in the Fort Washington, Brandywine, Germantown and Whitemarsh scenarios as a 16-figure unit and also as 18 figures in Monmouth 1 (i.e. the "morning action" contained in the second volume of "British Grenadier!" scenarios).  The classic Howe-era campaign dress of cut-down coats and slouch hats is perfect for these battles.  Incidentally, I've never really been sure whether the figure I've used as an officer is supposed to be a sergeant or an officer.  Under the 1768 Royal Clothing Warrant, officers were to carry "espontoons" while sergeants carried "halberts".  I know there is a technical difference between the two in terms of shape, and I think the figure here is probably carrying a spontoon.  If this chap is an officer, then he's removed his right-shoulder epaulette as well as all his lace.

These marching figures are among my favourites in the Perry AWI range.  They are straightforward to paint, with good faces (shared with the corresponding Continental infantry packs) and look quite elegant.  The 15th brings my tally of British line battalions to 32 (not counting converged battalions of flank companies and Marines).  I'll have some further thoughts on British line regiments in a couple of weeks when I post about the first batch of "reinforcements" that I've been painting over the past couple of months.

16 figures.  Painted March-April 2016.  Flags by GMB.


Monday, 16 May 2016

46th Foot

The 46th Foot was raised in 1741, initially as the 57th but then taking the number 46 in 1751.  From 1749 the regiment was in Ireland, but was transferred to Canada in 1757 upon the commencement of hostilities with the French.  The regiment was present at the assaults on Ticonderoga and Fort Niagara and the capture of Montreal in 1760.  It saw further action in the Caribbean, assisting with the capture of Martinique and Havanna in 1762.  The regiment had an active AWI.  It fought in most of the major actions of the northern campaign from 1776 to 1778.  In 1778 is was again posted to the Caribbean, where it remained until leaving for Australia in 1814.  Later service include the Crimean War.  In 1881, the regiment (which by this stage had the country name of South Devonshire) was amalgamated with the 32nd Foot to form the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

The 46th has been on the list for some time.  In the "British Grenadier!" scenarios is appears as follows: Long Island (12 figures), Brandywine (16), Germantown (16), Whitemarsh (12), Monmouth (16).  So it's very much a "large battles" unit.  Having used Perry Miniatures plastics for lots of loyalists, I thought I'd better paint some up as a battalion of British line.  The "at trail" pose is my favourite of the two that you can make up with the British infantry box.  I decided to put all the rank and file in brown overalls, and I used the various Foundry "Butternut" colours for this.  I confess that I found the flags a big problem.  As I've noted before in the context of the Perry French Napoleonic plastic infantry, the flag poles that come with the plastic sets are too small for GMB flags.  I usually solve this issue by adding a small bit of metal to the pole that's encase by the flag itself.  The issue this time was the plastic finials that go on top - I just could get them to stick to either the metal bit or, cutting the plastic pole in half, the plastic bit.  In the end I gave up and put two Front Rank finials on the top, which unbalanced the figures and then fell off anyway as I realised I hadn't left enough of the pole sticking up above the flags themselves.  All this is very tricky to do when the flagpole is part of the figure, and the end result is that the poles now look too big!  I took photos of the unit as it currently is, but the finials need re-working and they are rather wonky.  I might continue using metal figures for my remaining British infantry battalions and stick with loyalists for the plastics (as I don't give them flags). 

I've fallen behind of late with blog posting for various reasons, but I spent much of the weekend out in the garden taking photos so expect to see an uptick in posting from now on.  Currently on the painting desk are Butler's Rangers and Highland infantry command, all using King's Mountain Miniatures.  Also, coming soon, and after about 4 years' delay,.....is ACW week!

16 figures.  Painted February-March 2016.  Flags by GMB.



Monday, 25 April 2016

British/Loyalist casualties

I'm a bit behind at the moment.  So, in the absence of anything else, here are some casualty figures from the Perry plastic British infantry box, which come on the command sprue.  I've posted about such figures before - see here for Continental casualties and here for highlanders.  I put the same effort into these as "live" figures, so I might as well post them on TQ.  As I said in one of those earlier posts, I base casualty figures on small rectangular bases, so I can add hats, weapons and a bit of scenic stuff to make the figures more of an event.   These figures are painted as being from recent British and Loyalist units that I have been painting; so from left to right: 46th Foot, 44th Foot, New York Volunteers, King's Carolina Rangers. I'm currently finishing off the 46th Foot, so hopefully the full battalion will be up here in a week or so.    
By the way, in case anyone didn't realise it: my post of earlier in the month, "Washington's Ape", was an April Fool. That means the story wasn't real.  Its premise was taken from the strange tale of the "Hartlepool Monkey".  The story goes that some time during the Napoleonic Wars a French warship was wrecked in the seas off Hartlepool (a town on the north-east coast of England) and the only survivor washed ashore was an ape, dressed in uniform for the amusement of the ship's crew (one assumes).  The locals were concerned that the ape was a French spy, and so hanged it on the beach.  Who knows if this really happened?  To this day, the local rugby team is still nicknamed "the Monkeyhangers" and the story has passed into folklore.  As I mentioned in the post, the figure was a gift and I thought I'd transpose the story to the end of the AWI.  The point of an April Fool is to make it believable, and it occurred to me that people would be much more likely to think the story was true if the perpetrators were British or Loyalist soldiers.

It became clear from what I read elsewhere that some people didn't like my post.  I can't really help that and, while I love animals and personally would never hurt one intentionally, I don't really have a problem with models of dead animals or even of an episode of human cruelty like this.  Wargaming is a hobby that makes entertainment out of extreme violence and I'm afraid that I don't perceive any moral difference between modelling a gallows that shows a dead highwayman or pirate, for example (and there were several such vignettes on the tables at Salute this year), and one that shows a dead animal.  But that's just me - I understand others have different views and I respect that.  We all have a line that we won't cross in this hobby, and we shouldn't expect everyone else's line to be in the same place as our own.   I wasn't much impressed, however, with one suggestion that my post somehow glorifies the lynching of African-Americans - I don't have time for that sort of nonsense, to be honest. 
4 figures.  Painted January 2016.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Salute 2016

I've been slow at uploading my Salute photos, but I have an excuse.  Saturday was my birthday, so after Salute I headed down south to my parents, who babysat while the Kiwi and I enjoyed a (very rare) night out.  Then on Sunday we drove off to LEGOLAND (I've no idea why this word capitalises itself whenever you type it) for 2 days of, er, Lego fun.  The boys loved it; my feet didn't, especially after spending all of Saturday walking on Excel's concrete floor.  I didn't even get a chance to open my Salute stuff until Monday night when we returned home (and then only after I'd helped the boys build all their new Lego Star Wars goodies) and I spent yesterday sorting through my photos.  So I'm late, but I have a good excuse. 

Overall impressions?  The new ticketing system works like a dream.  I arrived at 11.20am and walked straight in.  The show was crowded and I'm sure that each year one sees more women and children.  As others have noted, as a historical gamer my feeling was that sci-fi and fantasy games and traders are on the rise and will in time outnumber the historical ones.  Nothing wrong with that in itself - Salute has always been a broach church and it's stated aim is to show the hobby in all its many guises.  On the historical side, I did feel a sense of "seen that before" with many of the games (I'm pretty sure there were a handful of games which were also at last year's show).  I suppose there are only so many ways you can do a large 25mm ACW game or a 15mm Napoleonic game, but I'm sure I'm not alone in responding more positively to those games which feature off-beat periods or present a familiar period in different light.  There were, of course, some large and spectacular historical games.  My own feelings on these are mixed.  On the one hand, they are beautiful to look at; on the other, they have the feel of large dioramas rather than "games" as such.  I wonder whether the much-publicised Peter Jackson Gallipoli and the Perries' Agincourt displays will have an influence on what some people try to put on at shows like Salute.  As I've said before in other show reports, simply cramming as many figures on the largest table available is all very well if the "game" hangs together, but quantity doesn't always equate to quality.

Shopping was moderate: AWI British and paints from Foundry; Perry AWI, early Napoleonic British and the new Cape Wars figures from Dave Thomas; the Perry/Snook Cape Wars book; subscriptions for MWBG and WI; Napoleon's carriage from Warlord (largely courtesy of the £25 voucher that came with the WI sub); a few palm trees; various figures from Eureka.  Some of those purchases are for a new project - Cape Town, 1806.  More on that in due course.

Anyway, to the photos.  As always, apologies to all those games that I managed to miss (particularly the Agincourt game and Dalauppror's medieval Denmark game - gutted to have missed those). 

First up is the first time I've seen Maoris, courtesy of "Little Wars Australia" and using Eureka's excellent figures.  This showcased some forthcoming rules for pre-pakeha era skirmishes.

One of the best in show for me was Loughton Strike Force's "Winter War 1939", precisely what I mean by a familiar period (eastern front WW2) but in a different light (Russians v Finns for a change and outstanding terrain).
Crewe and Nantwich Club had a huge ECW game, a hypothetical siege of Bristol.  The scale and detail on this game were very impressive, but there was a sense of deja vu as the club did a similar siege of Worcester game in 2011.



Dave Brown, Richard Gillingham and friends had a lovely 25mm ACW Antietam game, which used Dave's forthcoming new ACW rules, "Pickett's Charge!"  This game shows what you can do with a green terrain mat and lots of nice features and vignettes.  
Maidstone Wargames Society's Israelis v Syrians, 1982 in 3mm at 1:1. A good-looking game from a period one hardly sees, but were all the tanks a bit too close together?  I wondered whether the look of this divisional-level game would have benefited from a larger table.  A terrific effort, though.
"Calvados and Chips" by the League of Gentlemen Anti-Alchemists.  Platoon-level WW2 with excellent scenery and terrain.
I think this is Newbury & Reading Wargames Society's 15mm Battle of Koniggratz.
The Battle of Hastings in 28mm from either the Lance and Longbow Society or Newbury & Reading - sorry, I don't know which!  Lesson for show organisers - don't have more than one version of the same battle....
Mansfield Wargames Club's Battle of Gorodetschna, 1812.  Russians v Austrians and Saxons makes a nice change.
Ian Smith had a 40mm Napoleonic game (mainly Perry figures, I think), based on the fictional Battle of Adrados from Cornwell's novel "Sharpe's Enemy".  For me this caught the balance between spectacle and playability perfectly.

The Sons of Simon de Montfort had this North-West Frontier game, based on the Kenneth More film of the same name.
I missed the names of these, but the scenic effects were very pretty.
This was one of my favourites -"The Adventures of Paul Drake" from Oshiro Model Terrain. The game used pretty much every 25mm 18th century civilian figure available.  
There was lots of Seven Years War action this year.  This is Kunersdorf in 25mm from the Essex Warriors.
Bill Gaskin's SYW set-up was much praised.  There's no denying the spectacle and Bill's hand-sculpted figures were beautiful.  I'm told that they did start playing the game at some stage.

An award for the most inventive game would have gone to the RAF's "Formula Minion" game.  Lots of kids having fun with this one.

And my boys would have loved this superhero game from Simple Miniatures Games. 
Finally, the Essex Gamesters had a customarily large game, Vietnam in 20mm.  Again, I'm not sure if this was being played, but it did look good.
So that's it for another year.  The blog's been a bit quiet of late, mainly because I have loads of stuff that's either being based or is near to completion.  On the painting desk at the moment are lots of AWI British infantry and Pulaski's Legion (both mounted and dismounted).  So lots of AWI to come over the next few weeks.