Call To Arms 3: Other spectacular games


My last two postings covered the two display games I put on last weekend at Call To Arms: colonial New Zealand Wars and a samurai skirmish.

In this last posting about Call To Arms, I’ll look at some of the other eye-catching games that were on show.

Carrion up the Nile

This was easily the most spectacular game at the show.  But unlike my own two games, this wasn’t just a static display, but a fully functional pulp-era game, alive with loads of Indiana Jones-style derring-do.

IMG_3249_aThe huge table was almost entirely covered in an impressive Egyptian city, populated with lots of beautiful little vignette scenes.

IMG_3296_aHere’s one of those vignettes – a market place beside the mosque.

IMG_3272_aIt seems the punishment for short-changing or over-charging is pretty swift in this town.

IMG_3251_aCoach tour to Cairo …

IMG_3289_aThe police station.  Love that chunky Ehrhardt armoured car.

IMG_3295_aA police interview in progress in the station courtyard …

IMG_3294_aA show band in the sand?  With mummies dancing like an Egyptian?

IMG_3306_aOh, it’s all just a movie!

IMG_3308_aDown on the river-front …

IMG_3297_aLast call!  All visitors ashore!

IMG_3250_aThe city-scape of towers and domes.  Note the pyamid complex just visible in the distance.

IMG_3310_aAnd here we are at the foot of the pyramid.  There must surely be a secret entrance.

IMG_3305_aThe entry-level of the pyramid.

IMG_3304_aAnd down in the basement,surrounded by a lava-filled moat, there’s no doubt something special.  At least, that’s what all those gathering adventurers think.

More photos and a game report can be found on Wade’s World of Wargaming.  I must admit that this pulp fiction is an era of gaming I could get into, especially with scenery like this.

Dystopian Wars

I don’t know much about this fantasy steam-punk game, but it certainly looked impressive.   The models were very intricate, and beautifully painted.  I liked the water effect, too.



The delightful little Japanese fantasy game was played with a handful of beautifully painted figures.  The terrain changed from game to game, using a range of typically oriental items, even  including aquarium scenery.




More fantasy Japan

I’m not exactly sure which rules were being used in this game. But my eye was taken with the dramatic scenery. It included some excellent use of the third dimension (height), which is so often underplayed in wargames scenery.

Plus I loved seeing the Plastcraft Games pagoda, a plastic card kitset I have coveted for some time for my own samurai gaming.




Filed under Interwar, Samurai

Call To Arms 2: Samurai

This second post about my display games last weekend at Call To Arms in Wellington features my samurai scenery and figures.

The games I put on were static displays, one in the morning and then a completely different one on the same small table  in the afternoon.  The samurai were the subject of the afternoon display.

IMG_3280_aThis was actually a quick change from the colonial New Zealand Wars game I put on in the morning.  Essentially the terrain stayed the same, but the buildings and some of the trees have been replaced to quickly convert New Zealand into Japan.

Or, as several wags commented, it was still New Zealand, but depicting the film-set for ‘The Last Samurai’ in Taranaki!

IMG_3300_aThis was a chance to show off my Shogunate period buildings, which are wooden kits from 4Ground.  The river sections by Miniature World Makers also created a lot of interest.

IMG_3301_aSome cherry-blossom trees and a few Perry Miniatures villagers set the scene.   In the background, the banners of the warring Takeda and Hojo clans begin to appear.

IMG_3281_aA view behind the Takeda lines.  The samurai and ashigaru figures are all by Kingsford Miniatures.

IMG_3286_aTwo mounted samurai charge into single combat, whilst their retainers battle it out with bow, arquebus and pike.

IMG_3282_aMy favourite Japanese figures are the set of unarmoured samurai made by Perry Miniatures.   They are really animated, and capture the feel of the TV series ‘Shogun’.  Here two of them battle it out in a field of waving wheat.

IMG_3283_aAnother couple of unarmoured samurai fight on an arched bridge, in the shadow of an ornate torii gateway.

IMG_3284_aIn the temple confines, the last two unarmoured samurai are locked in combat near a large gravestone, whilst a Perry monk watches anxiously.

IMG_3293_aA last look at the temple complex …

In my next post, I feature some other spectacular  games that caught my eye at Call To Arms.


Filed under 4Ground, Kingsford Miniatures, Perry Miniatures, Samurai

Call To Arms 1: Māori vs British

Call To Arms is the annual wargames show held by the Wellington Warlords.  I’m not a member of Warlords, because although I work in Wellington, I live too far away to return for games in the weekend.  But most years I’m involved in a demo game of some sort at Call To Arms.

This year I actually went one better, and put on not one, but two demo games.  Well, to be exact, I put up two demo tables, as they weren’t games that were actually played, but static displays.

Over the next couple of postings, I’ll put up some photos of each of the displays.  Today’s posting is on my colonial New Zealand Wars game.  As always, click on the photos to see them in all their glory.

IMG_3276_aAlthough the table was small, it included several separate vignettes displaying typical events of the colonial New Zealand Wars.

I draped the front of the table with the flags of Britain and the Confederation of United Tribes.

IMG_3244_aAt one corner of the tables, the doughty old chief Kawiti defends his fortified pa against a British attack.  His warriors shoot through loop-holes cut in the bottom of the palisades, protected by banks of earth.

IMG_3265_bColonial militiamen acting as sappers lead the British lines as they attack uphill towards Kawiti’s pa.  The sappers’ task was to attempt to pull down or scale the palisades.

IMG_3258_aA couple of sharp-shooters from the 58th Regiment of Foot support the attack on Kawiti’s pa.

IMG_3261_aA huge naval 32-pounder has been dragged miles through the rugged bush, and is now set up on a rough wooden platform, ready to pound the Māori defences.

IMG_3247_aElsewhere a family defend their homestead against a Māori raid.  This vignette includes one of my favourite Empress Miniatures figures, the young girl flinching as she shoots her pistol at an oncoming warrior.

IMG_3270_aBehind the farmhouse, the British encampment looks peaceful enough, but …

IMG_3257_a… the bugler suddenly blows the alarum as his sergeant spots a war-party fording the nearby river intent on attacking the British forward post.

IMG_3264_bOn top of a ridge, Chief Hone Heke (wearing the sailor hat) exhorts hiw warriors to fight off a British attack.  Behind the warriors, a cloaked sub-chieftain does a fierce haka, or wardance.

IMG_3253_bA party of Royal Navy sailors ford the stream at the foot of the Māori-held ridgeline.

IMG_3256_aMeanwhile, colonial militia escorting a supply column are surprised by a Māori war-party suddenly emerging from the thick bush on the side of the road.

IMG_3263_aColonial militia defend a churchyard from a Māori attack on two sides.

IMG_3246_aWell, this young fellow was certainly inspired by my display!

In my second Call To Arms posting, take a look at the next game I put on using almost the same terrain, but resulting in a totally different setting.


Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Empress Miniatures

Basing Royal Navy and Maori artillery for colonial NZ Wars


I’ve just completed basing my artillery for the colonial New Zealand Wars.  This has been a last minute rush, as I’m putting on a display at Call To Arms in Wellington tomorrow.

One of the guns is a huge naval 32-pounder that has been dragged miles inland into the bush and placed on a roughly-constructed wooden platform, to pound a Maori pa into submission.


Meanwhile, the Maori themselves have got a captured carronade with which to return fire on the British camp, using any old iron as ammunition.  The gun is mounted on a wooden slide, secured with blocks and tackle to a couple of handy tree stumps.


The figures and guns are all by Empress Miniatures.  The bases were cut to my specifications by local company, Dopey Dog.  I glued magnetic sheet underneath them to attach the figures, who are mounted on metal washers.

I’ve also used the same basing method for my British and colonial infantry, and Maori warriors.


I’ll take photos of the display tomorrow (along with a samurai display I’m also doing), and post them here soon.


Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Empress Miniatures

Police cars and uniforms


Before I got back into my old childhood hobby of wargaming in the later 1990s, my hobby was collecting model police cars and various bits of police paraphernalia from around the world. I built up quite a large collection, which up till recently was kept in a dark corner of the Wellington Central Police Station (where I haven’t been since 2005).

Recently I was contacted by the manager of Wellington Central, who told me that they were going to renovate the floor where the display cases were situated. “Oh no,” I thought, “here it comes – they want me to take my stuff away, and I don’t know what I’ll do with it all!”  But, no, instead he told me they were going to move the display into a much more prominent position in front of the lifts that lead to the cafeteria.

I popped into Central today to take a look at what they have done. I was delighted! So I just had to take some photos, even though all I had with me was my rather ancient phone camera. Here are the pics I took, in case any of you are interested in seeing this collection. There are even a few items that could possibly be used in a modern wargaming setting!

And, oh how I would love to own those display cases for my wargaming armies!  But although the collection is mine, the cases belong to the Police.


Display case 1

Top shelf: France, Spain.  Second shelf: Netherlands.  Third shelf: old Eastern Bloc.  Fourth shelf: Switzerland, Austria and Japan.


Below: A couple of 1/24th scale models of Dutch police vehicles.  The Mercedes traffic car is a standard kitset, but the Shorland armoured car I converted from a Landrover kit.


Below: A 1/43rd  scale die-cast French riot van reflected in a shiny French riot helmet. 


Display case 2

Top shelf: United Kingdom.  Second shelf: New Zealand.  Third shelf: Germany.  Fourth shelf: police shoulder patches from various Asian and Middle East nations.

Below: The blue and white helmets on the second shelf were the ones I used to wear many years ago as a young constable on the beat.


Below: German police vehicles in a range of scales from 1/18th (the cute BMW Isetta) to 1/87th (the water cannon).  The hat is a 1950s German police shako.  


Display case 3

Top shelf: Luxembourg, UN and Belgium.  Second shelf: USA.  Third shelf: more USA.  Fourth shelf: police shoulder patches from various Pacific nations.


Below: A 1/25th scale New York City patrol car, a lovely plastic kitset.


Display case 4

Top shelf: Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Australia and Tonga.  Second shelf: Italy and Hong Kong.  Third shelf: Scandanavia.  Fourth shelf: Greece, Canada, South Africa, Northern Ireland and Portugal.



Below: A South African Police Landrover. This started life as a 1/43rd die-cast pick-up truck, but I added the cage in the back. Not a very PC model, I know …


Display case 5

This is a bit different from the others, as it isn’t part of my personal collection.  These items were brought back by my colleagues who worked in Thailand doing disaster victim identification  after the Boxing Day tsunami.

Oh, and that of course is me reflected in the glass!



Filed under Police, Uncategorized

Selling my Eureka colonial New Zealand Wars figures


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 …




Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Eureka Miniatures, For sale

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.


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.


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.


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.


Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Empress Miniatures