Selling my Eureka colonial New Zealand Wars figures

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I don’t sell painted figures often. In fact, in all my wargaming years, I think I’ve only ever sold about four painted units in total. I feel too attached to my work, bearing in mind the painstaking hours that go into painting such units. And even if they don’t get played with much, I enjoy seeing my soldiers standing resplendently in their display cabinet.

The few times I have sold my units was when they were surplanted in my collection by another manufacturer with whose figures they wouldn’t fit. And that is what may happen here.

For several years I’ve owned these twenty Eureka Miniatures figurines depicting the colonial New Zealand Wars. They include ten Maori warriors, five Armed Constabulary and five militia, all in 25mm scale. Most are fully painted and based, but one of the Maori warriors was never quite finished for some reason.

But lately, as anyone following my blog must surely know by now, I’ve been working on a New Zealand Wars project using the Empress Miniatures range. These latter figures are 28mm, so bigger than the Eureka models. Besides which, the Empress figures are from the earlier wars of the 1840s, whereas these Eureka ones are from the 1860s/70s (the Armed Constabulary and militia in particular).

So, I’m now thinking of placing these twenty painted Eureka figures on TradeMe, the New Zealand version of eBay. If I do take the plunge, it won’t be for a week or so, as I’m too busy with work for the next few days (including even the weekend) to plan a suitable time for the auction to close so that I can (if successful) promptly pack and post the wee men to their new home.

But if you’re interested, keep watching here for a link when they’re up on TradeMe …

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Colonial New Zealand Wars Māori and militia

I’ve been making some slow but steady progress on my colonial New Zealand Wars project, having painted eight more Māori warriors and eight militiamen over the last couple of weeks.  

They’re all from the wonderful Empress Miniatures range of 28mm figures for the New Zealand Wars (or the Māori Wars, as some call them) of the 1840s.

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Firstly, here are the eight warriors.  Half of them are armed with muskets, whilst the others have the double-barreled shotguns that were very popular with Māori warriors in this period.  They called the shotguns ‘tupara’ (based on the Māori pronunciation of the English words  ‘two-barrel’).

I don’t try to paint the intricate tattoos with which Māori warriors customarily adorned their faces and other parts of their bodies. I did try once, but the results looked too clunky and crude. So I think it is better to ignore them, as the skin is quite dark anyway.

The background is a mixture of trees and ferns from a range of sources, as well as a couple of sections of scratch-built palisade.

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Empress have had a pack of militia figures for some time, but recently added another pack with a mixture of civilian hats.  This gives a suitable ragged look, I feel.  I’ve painted them in a mixture of grey and blue shirts, but all with the red-striped trousers they obtained from British army stores.

I plan to base all these figures on sabot bases, similarly to how my friend Brian Smaller is basing his Zulu wars figures.  I’m currently getting some pricing on such bases from the same New Zealand company he uses, Dopey Dog.

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Finally, as a little sideline project, here is an unfinished progress shot on a couple of “ladies’ I’m working on.  These were an unexpected gift from my good friend Scott Bowman, who had a spare pack, and obviously felt my troops needed some female company!

An intriguing painting project, to say the least.  I still haven’t decided what colour to do the older madam’s dress and hair.  But her … ahem … assets have come out quite well.

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Review of ‘The Waikato River Gunboats’

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Previously I posted about a new book on the gunboats used during the invasion of the Waikato in 1863.  I received my copy of this book the other day.  And I’ve got to say it is even better than I expected.

The story is well-told and very readable and gripping.  It describes how the small flotilla of converted and purpose-built ironclad gunboats supported the invasion of the Waikato in 1863.

The story brings to mind lots of intriguing wargaming scenarios, such as troop landings, assaults on fortifications, bombardments and Maori ambushes – not to mention battling against the mighty Waikato River itself, with its sunken forests and ever-shifting channels.

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The illustrations are stunning.  There are many contemporary paintings (some I’ve never seen before).  The very detailed drawings by Harry Duncan of the vessels themselves will be inspirational for those making model gunboats, whether for the New Zealand Wars or elsewhere.

  • Title: The Waikato River Gunboats
  • Author: Grant Middlemiss
  • Marine draughtsman: Harry Duncan
  • Cover painting: Andrew Burdan
  • Over 80 illustrations on 124 pages in B5 format
  • Website: www.waikatorivergunboats.com
  • $NZ35.00
  • Available by emailing the author: middlemissgrant@gmail.com or in New Zealand through PaperPlus stores.

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Ironclads a’sailing o’er the bright blue sea

arteis:

My previous posting about the book ‘The Waikato River Gunboats’ reminded me of my own collection of little balsawood ironclads that I built way back in my 20s. I posted here about these models in 2010, but thought some of you might be interested to see these pictures again.

Originally posted on DRESSING THE LINES:

HMS 'Alexandra'

Tidying out my study wardrobe the other day, I stumbled across a shoe-box full of small ironclad naval ships that have been buried away for quite a few years.  These were balsa wood models I scratchbuilt some 30 years ago to play the ironclad rules in Paul Hague’s Sea Battles in Miniature.

The ships, each around 10cms long, are a little crude, but nevertheless still charming enough.  Some of the masts and spars are unfortunately the worse for wear after rattling round in their box for years, but the ships themselves are still sound. 

I also used to have laminated cards to go with each ship, on which you could use a ‘chinograph’ pencil to mark off damage and so on – but these have unfortunately long gone.

I’ve always liked the  ‘steam-punk’ look of the ironclad steamships of the Victorian era, with their forward thrusting bows, complex upperworks, old-fashioned masts…

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Ironclad gunboats on the River Waikato in 1863

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An old Police colleague of mine has recently written a book that will be of interest to colonial-period wargamers. The Waikato River Gunboats by Grant Middlemiss, and illustrated by marine draughtsman Harry Duncan, is the story of the gunboats used by the British during the invasion of the Waikato, New Zealand, 1863.

The Waikato Flotilla was purpose built for the New Zealand Colonial Government, and deployed during the British invasion of the Waikato 1863, when a force of 12,000 British and Colonial troops invaded the Waikato region.

To reach the rich pastoral land of the Waikato interior a reliable transport route was required to move the men and their supplies. The Waikato river provided that route.

production_cover.108194352_largeThe armoured iron gunboats of the Waikato Flotilla formed the base of a naval force and transport service to move the troops past the Maori fortifications along the river.

The Waikato Maori who took up arms against the British built sophisticated defensive lines along the river, and later inland, to stop the advance of the invading army.

This book tells the story of those gunboats and their life on the river during the Waikato campaign.

Framed_print-small.108194956_large2Here’s a poster by Harry Duncan, showing all the river gunboats of the Waikato Flotilla.

 

pioneerHMCS Pioneer, originally named Waikato, as she looked on her arrival at Onehunga from Australia in 1863.

 

koheroaHMCS Koheroa, built in Sydney and shipped to Port Waikato in sections where she were assembled in 1864.

 

avonHMCS Avon with reduced armour as she was deployed on the Waipa River in January 1864.

 

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The small gunboats Ant and Chub, two of the four coastal sailing craft that were armoured with iron plate and fitted with an Armstrong gun and Coehorn mortar.

 

  • The Waikato River Gunboats
  • Author: Grant Middlemiss
  • Marine draughtsman: Harry Duncan
  • Over 80 illustrations on 124 pages in B5 format
  • Website: www.waikatorivergunboats.com
  • $NZ35.00
  • Available by emailing the author: middlemissgrant@gmail.com or in New Zealand through PaperPlus stores

 

Here is the contents page of the book:

Preface ……………………………………………………………. 3

Overview of the conflict ………………………………………………… 5

Naval presence ………………………………………………… 10

Plan to invade: birth of the Waikato Gunboat Flotilla …………….. 13

Purchase of Avon ………………………………………………… 13

Avon arrives on the Manukau ……………………………………. 18

Maori threats concerning Avon ……………………………………. 22

From peaceful trader to armoured gunboat ………………………… 23

Construction of small gunboats ……………………………………. 29

Seizing Maori canoes ……………………………………………….. 34

Captain Mercer and his experiments ………………………… 37

Wreck of HMS Orpheus ……………………………………. 38

Avon deployed to assist rescue operations ………………………… 40

Intelligence from the Waikato interior ………………………… 40

Avon heads for the Waikato ……………………………………. 42

Battle of Koheroa ………………………………………………… 42

Avon reaches the Waikato river ……………………………………. 43

Exploring the Waikato ………………………………………………… 44

Avon in her first action ………………………………………………… 46

Maori fortifications July-October 1863 ………………………… 48

Consolidation of British position ……………………………………. 50

Arrival of gunboat Pioneer ……………………………………. 53

Battle for Meremere ………………………………………………… 61

Consolidating Cameron’s position ……………………………………. 66

Battle of Rangiriri ………………………………………………… 67

Capture of Ngaruawahia ………………………………………………… 74

Marching to the interior ……………………………………. 78

Establishing the Water Transport Corps ………………………… 81

Port Waikato naval dockyard ……………………………………. 85

Death of Lieutenant Mitchell ……………………………………. 87

Sinking of Avon ……………………………………………………………. 87

Arrival of Koheroa ………………………………………………… 90

Moving on to the Waipa Plains ……………………………………. 95

The raising of Avon ………………………………………………… 97

Move to Upper Waikato river ……………………………………. 98

The Royal Navy pulls out of the Waikato ………………………… 104

Epilogue ……………………………………………………………. 106

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Filed under American Civil War, Books, Colonial New Zealand Wars, Uncategorized, Victorian Sci-Fi

Baby singlehandedly closes lord’s wargaming room

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Lord Ashram of the blog Lord Ashram’s House of War advises that he is closing up his wargaming room for the foreseeable future, due to his second baby on the way.

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To celebrate (the baby) or commiserate (the closure of the room) he is running a very simple little “What was your favorite blog post?” contest over on his blog.  Sam Mustafa has kindly agreed to give a copy of his Maurice rules and a set of cards to the randomly-selected winner.

Lord Ashram asked if I could  post a link, as he would love  to be able to spread the word on such an easy contest with a neat prize.  So here it is …

http://lordashramshouseofwar.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-celebration-contest-with-great-prize.html

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Ronin samurai game at Kapiti club’s open day


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I had been kindly invited by the Kapiti Wargames Club to put on a display game at their open day today. Having recently completed painting my samurai armies and constructing suitable terrain, this was the perfect opportunity to give them a public outing.

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As I had a couple of hours to wait until my opponent Paul was able to arrive, I set up my terrain for the morning as a static display of a peaceful Japanese village lying blissfully unaware of the forthcoming battle.  And, yes – those are indeed chopsticks decorating the edges of the table to add a touch of oriental character to the display!

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The terrain consisted of buildings by 4Ground and Plastcraft Games, along with my el-cheapo Hong Kong blossom trees, and rivers and roads by Miniature World Makers.

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I populated my ‘morning diorama’ with some of Perry Miniatures’ delightful Japanese civilians, keeping my samurai figures out of sight beneath the table until the battle was due to start. This kept some open day spectators on tenterhooks waiting to see what the fighting forces would look like when they finally arrived on the table.

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The village scene included this small temple complex, complete with the typical Japanese torii gate commonly found in front of Shinto shrines, where they symbolically mark the transition from the profane to the sacred.

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This little bridge arching over a babbling brook looks peaceful enough here. But little do the mother and child know that this will shortly be the scene of the bloodiest fighting of the day.

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The peace is suddenly shattered as the opposing forces begin entering the village from each side, and villagers scurry to safety. My forces wear the yellow or blue sashimono back flags, whilst Paul’s are the figures with the red and white sashimono in the background.

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I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow description of the battle here, as Paul has already done that on his blog much more eloquently than I ever could. But here are a few shots of some of the milestone events of the day.

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I split up my force to attack each of the two river crossings. Here one of my groups rushes across the little arched bridge to assault Paul’s awaiting warriors.

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My leader in his ornate old-fashioned armour joins the stoush at the far end of the bridge, as both sides feed more and more figures into the fight.

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Paul’s leader, it must be said, turned out to be one tough samurai. Even though he was grievously wounded quite early on, he still managed to defend himself, and even inflict some telling attacks, before finally succumbing in the very last turn of the game.  He is seen here lying rather undignifiedly on the ground, no doubt to have his head removed soon as a trophy.

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Here’s the end of the game, as seen by a passing Japanese seagull.  At the top right is the final aftermath of the fight at the bridge.  Meanwhile, on the left one of my arquebusiers hides behind a rock after my attack at the ford has been resoundingly beaten off by Paul’s men.

We had to call the game quits at this stage.  But a result was still achieved, with me winning by a slim margin once the victory points were toted up.  In fact, we had both despatched the same number of enemy each, but I won because Paul’s losses were of higher ranks.  This included his doughty leader, who died as honourably as any samurai could ever wish for:   ‘The samurai’s life is like the cherry blossom’s, beautiful and brief. For him, as for the flower, death follows naturally, gloriously.’

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I also took photos of some of the other games being played, including this spectacular D-Day beachhead game.  Being a scenery-lover, it wasn’t so much the beautiful figures and vehicles that attracted me, lovely as they were, so much as the delicate portrayal of the waves lapping the beach, forever frozen in a snapshot of time.

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I’m told that despite a valiant effort, this time the Allies didn’t succeed.  In this particular universe, the war would have taken a totally different course.

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Just down the coast, meanwhile, commandos and glider-borne troops were raiding a heavily defended shore installation, with unfortunately much the same result for the Allies.

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These commando kayaks brought back memories for me.  These were the same as the first-ever Airfix figures that I painted as a youngster.  This was the first time I had seen these models since those long-gone days.  Almost brought a tear to me eye!

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I was also rather impressed with this lovely model of a Horsa glider, broken open after landing.

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Many thanks to the Kapiti Wargames Club for hosting us at their open day. Paul and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And it was great to see so much enthusiasm for gaming from such a wide range of ages. Well-played, everyone!

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Filed under 4Ground, Kingsford Miniatures, North Star, Perry Miniatures, Samurai, Uncategorized