A colourful diversion into Landsknechts

This new period caught me more-or-less unawares. Whilst I’ve always liked the renaissance era as such, particularly novels set during this period (especially if they feature Leonardo da Vinci – I can thoroughly recommend ‘The Medici Guns‘!), I never thought I would ever collect a renaissance wargames army.

But my latest painting project has indeed been a renaissance one – Bavarian landsknechts, commanders and a gun – and I plan on adding to this army in the near future.

This new fad actually started two years ago, when on a whim I bought and painted a box of Warlord Games landsknechts. My intention at that stage wasn’t to build an army, but just an interesting one-off painting project to keep me occupied during New Zealand’s first covid lockdown.

I was happy with how they came out (as you can see above). But even then I never gave any thought to expanding my one unit into an army.

I don’t really know what it was that led me two years later to suddenly decide to buy another box of Warlord Games landsknecht pikemen, and then to order a few extra metal landsknechts from Steel Fist Miniatures. Whatever it was, it came hard hard and fast, as I had them all assembled and undercoated tout-suite!

This despite knowing absolutely nothing about the period (other than the afore-mentioned novels, and watching a season of ‘The Borgias’), nor even how a renaissance army should be organised.

And here is the result: the second pike-block in my little army. I chose to give them Bavarian flags to differentiate them from my first block.

I have probably shot myself in the foot for using these figures for gaming in my area. Rather than the 40mm wide bases that come with the Warlord box, and seem to be accepted as the de facto base-size here, I though they should be on 30mm bases to give more of a packed-in appearance. So that’s what I’ve done, games-standard sizing be damned!

However, I am sure that (once I eventually find an opponent) we can fudge a bit to play our respective base-sizes in the same game.

I was especially pleased with how Games Workshop’s Contrast paints worked so easily to replicate those colourful uniforms. Their flesh tone also does a fantastic job on the beautifully sculpted Warlord faces.

The armour was done with basic silver paint, followed by a black ink wash, then a Humbrol gloss varnish followed by a satin varnish – though the gloss varnish was probably an unnecessary step. It has certainly turned out looking like real metal.

I mixed in some Steel Fist Miniatures figures to provide a little more variety. Here you can see a Steel Fist officer drawing his sword on the left, and a drummer on the right. These figures are a smidgen bigger than the Warlord plastics, but as you can see, they fit in OK.

I also got this impressive gun and its crew from Steel Fist Miniatures.

This photo also reveals that whilst my figures look reasonably good from a distance, from close-up you can see my style is very impressionistic! But overall I hope I have achieved the effect of a team of scruffy, gun-powder-coated gunners.

The gun comes with two barrels – this one with the ragged burgundy cross, and one with fleur-de-lis. I have only lightly glued this barrel onto the carriage, so I can interchange it if I want a French-aligned force.

“You call that a hat?! Now THIS is a hat!” The first of these two Steel Fist commanders sports a big hat, the other an even bigger hat!

Here’s my whole landsknecht force so far – two pike blocks, a gun, a handful of arquebusiers, and the two commanders.

I also have a box of Warlord arquebusiers undercoated and ready to paint, so the ‘shotte’ part of this pike-and-shotte army will soon be extended to 36 figures. Keep watching this space!

An 18th century civilian painting project

I recently painted this pack of 28mm metal civilians by Ratnik Miniatures to populate the towns and villages of my 18th century ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia.

Whilst probably not that useful in wargames as such, they will add some interesting little vignettes from an aesthetic perspective.

I used my current preferred painting technique of a white undercoat (as above) followed by GW Contrast paints.

A gentleman in green and scarlet doffs his hat to a passing lady. Her sedan chair (with a demure hand poking out of the front window) is carried by a pair of liveried servants. A boy scurries ahead with a lantern to light the way once dusk falls.

In the market area a burly old woman pushes a barrow of bread buns, another woman carries her wares in a basket on her head, and one more pours some liquid from a jug.

Meanwhile a young man munches on some fruit that he has piled inside his upturned tricorne.

A couple of workmen are repairing the road. The chap on the right is in great danger of doing himself a back injury – ‘don’t use your back as a crane!’

Here’s another view of the whole group, bring the street scene to life.

The civilians bring me to the bottom of my lead pile, so I have thought long and hard about what to do next.

My decision is to add to my one existing unit of Landsknechts. I’ve now bought a further box of Warlord Games plastic miniatures to paint up, and have also ordered a few metal Landsknechts from Steel Fist. Watch this space for the results in due course!

Painting 40mm figures, and some tugs

After a long hiatus, I’ve finally painted a few more miniatures. They are 40mm metal figures from a New Zealand supplier, Triguard Miniatures, so I feel I am doing my patriotic duty to support them!

On a whim, I bought two sets of these figures to try them out. I chose two of my favourite uniforms of the 18th century. Firstly, the Gardes Françaises.

And secondly, some British grenadiers.

Each pack contains twelve figures, basically two variants of the privates, and one officer.

Here’s the final result of the grenadiers. As you can see, they look pretty good, even just quickly painted with GW Contrast paints, and with no attempt at basing.

There was a small amount of assembly required (heads, arms and swords). I really hate glueing together metal figures, as I always worry how sturdy they will be. Though I did manage to pin their heads on, so at least they shouldn’t come off in a hurry!

To face my grenadiers, here are the Gardes. The complex lace on their uniforms was quite easy to pick out in this scale.

Again, some assembly is required, and I must admit I wasn’t so happy with how some of the head-to-neck joints turned out – some of them look quite gawky!

The muskets also look rather precariously balanced on their shoulders so as to fit around their tricornes. How in the world did 18th century soldiers ever shoulder arms without knocking their hats off!

Here we see the 40mm figures arranged beside a base of 1/56th (roughly 28mm) figures by Crann Tara Miniatures. They are indeed very hefty models!

I don’t know if I will ever actually game with these large figures, but they will look gorgeous in my display case.

I’m actually dithering whether to make them look more like traditional toy soldiers by gloss varnishing them and leaving the bases untextured – something I would never do with my 28mm miniatures.

So why has my figure painting been in a bit of a hiatus, as I mentioned in my opening sentence? Well, its because I have been spending time painting pictures, a new hobby I have taken up in my retirement.

This is the tugboat ‘Natone’ moored at the Wellington docks in the very early 1900s. She was actually skippered by my wife’s great-grandfather. I did a lot of research to find photos of her, and then spoke to several steam-tug enthusiasts to get the colours right. The buildings in the background are still there today, though of course ‘Natone’ has long since gone to that great shipyard in the sky.

One of the enthusiasts I consulted for ‘Natone’ was so impressed with the final pic, he gave me my first ever painting commission. He wanted a picture of the steam-tug ‘Toia’ in Wellington Harbour during the mid-1900s.

I depicted her backing over her prop-wash as she manouevres out of the tug berth. Again, the background is researched to be as authentic as possible.

I’ve also painted a couple of birthday presents. This one was for my wife. It shows, Mount Ruapehu, her tūrangawaewae.

The tūrangawaewae is the Māori concept of tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. My wife has been coming to this mountain for skiing ever since she was a child, so it is a very special place to her.

For my 94-year old mother, I painted her childhood home in the town of Weert, the Netherlands, where she lived until she emigrated to New Zealand in 1953. Her house is the one with the round window in the attic.

Excuses, excuses, excuses! Why my wargaming has lagged

The last couple of months have seen little wargaming activity in the ‘Dressing The Lines’ household (though not absolutely none at all, as you’ll see further down in this posting). This despite the fact that I retired from my career late last year, so one would’ve thought I’d have more time to spend on the hobby.

There are several reasons for this pause, which I’ll explain here.

The first reason is that I have taken up a new hobby to sit alongside my wargaming: painting. Not painting miniatures, but pictures. I’ve already posted previously about my first efforts.

My latest work (which you can see above) depicts a church on the island of Santorini. This is intended as a wedding present for my daughter, who got engaged on Santorini just before COVID.

Another picture I completed in January is of the town of Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre district of Italy. My wife and had four wonderful days in that tiny yellow pension (‘Scorci di Mare’) during our last trip to Europe.

I really want to build my skill in painting water, so was trying something quite challenging with this picture, namely semi-transparent water. The seaweed-covered parts of rocks on the right are supposed to be under the water.

Now, before you get too excited, the above picture isn’t one of mine. But it’s what I aspire to. The reason for my earlier comment about learning how to paint water is that I would love to take up the art of marine painting.

I’m inspired by works such as this one showing Captain Cook’s famous barque ‘Endeavour’ being greeted by several Maori waka (canoes) in Mercury Bay, New Zealand.

I saw the inspirational ‘Endeavour’ painting on a plaque marking exactly where Cook landed in 1769 to observe the Transit of Mercury. This spot was just down the beach from the house where we spent our recent two-week holiday.

And now that I have brought up our holiday, this was the second reason for not much recent wargaming action. I mean, really, how could wargaming compete with spending an idyllic two weeks with my lovely wife in Mercury Bay, one of the most beautiful parts of the world?

Sand, sea, sky, uncrowded beaches – mmm. This is my favourite of the beaches we visited: Hahei, in Mercury Bay on the Coromandel peninsula. Click on the picture to enlarge, and you’ll almost feel you’re there!

Actually, we fitted in two holiday trips last month, as we also spent a couple of days in the central North Island. The highlight was a bike ride that included cycling across this spectacular decommissioned railway viaduct. Again, this adventurous activity hindered my wargaming!

Now, this pic is a blast from the past! This is me back in 1986, when I helped develop the New Zealand Police Museum. I was responsible for this display of worldwide police paraphernalia.

So why this photo? Well, since I retired from the police at Christmas, I have decided to volunteer at the museum, where I spend one day a week cataloguing their huge collection. Another chunk out of wargaming hobby time!

For those of you who want a closer look, here is the display. Sorry the picture is a bit blurry, but this was before digital cameras, so this is actually a digital photo of a paper photo.

And now for the ‘piece de resistance’ for why my wargaming hobby time is depleted. Last week I managed to break my ankle!

I have to keep the leg elevated at the moment, so it is too awkward to sit and paint. Though I hope once I get used to the cast that I may be able take up my paint brush again – for both seascape paintings and gaming miniatures!

And I do actually have some figures undercoated and ready to go once I myself am also feeling ready.

Firstly, these are some 28mm eighteenth century civilians from Russian sculptor Ratnik Miniatures. They’re splendid models which should be fun to paint. I am particularly looking forward to doing the sedan chair, and then somehow including it in my fictional ‘imagi’-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia.

My other awaiting project is to paint a few 40mm figures I bought recently on a whim. Here’s a bunch of British grenadiers.

They’re from a New Zealand supplier, Triguard Miniatures, so I feel I am doing my patriotic duty to support them. I don’t know if I will ever actually game with these large figures, but they will look gorgeous in my display case.

I couldn’t resist a group of their Gardes Francaises too, one of my favourite-ever uniforms.

So, lots happening, but not too much of it has been wargaming-related. But hopefully as I settle into my retirement (and my leg cast!), I will gradually get more organised with my various pursuits.

The 8th (King’s) Foot joins the Barryat of Lyndonia 

After a long gestation, the latest regiment of my imagi-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia, has finally arrived. The Barryat doesn’t have its own army, but contracts foreign regiments to fight its battles (clever!).

Initially the Barryat’s contracted regiments were all ones that had appeared in the Stanley Kubrik film Barry Lyndon. But as all the main units from the movie have now been used up, the Barryat is now employing random real-life regiments such as this one, the British 8th (King’s) Regiment of Foot.

The real 8th Foot fought at a number of the more famous battles of the mid-18th century, including Dettingen (1743), Fontenoy (1745), Falkirk (1746), Culloden (1746), Rocoux (1746), and Lauffeldt (1747).

The figures are all from the range of superb 1/56th scale metal models produced by Crann Tara Miniatures, which are now owned by Caliver Books in the UK.

In fact, I’ve really got to praise Caliver Books for being able to complete this regiment. You may recall that I previously posted about painting the grenadiers of this regiment, and said I was awaiting the remainder of the figures to be shipped from the UK.

After they still hadn’t showed up by several weeks later, I contacted Caliver Books to check the date they posted the package. I wasn’t angling at getting replacements (truly!), but Dave Ryan immediately replied saying that consignments did occasionally get lost, and that he would resend the missing figures, which he promptly did at no further cost. Now that is excellent service! The 8th Foot and in fact the entire population of the Barryat of Lyndonia salute you, Dave!

The colours (flags) are by Flags of War. This is the first time I have used their paper flags, and I must say I was very impressed with them. The shading and highlighting gives the effect of the light shining through the cloth.

Two hints for using paper flags:

  • Firstly, after gluing the two sides together, lightly crunch up the flag from the top corner by the finial down to the diagonally opposite bottom corner – this gives the effect of the weight of the flag dragging it slightly down, which you won’t achieve by just rolling the flag vertically as many people do.
  • Secondly, always paint the edges of the flag to match the design, so as the cover up the unsightly white edges of the paper.

The 8th Foot carry two colours:

  • King’s colour: Union flag, the centre decorated with the white horse of Hanover on a red field surrounded by a blue garter and surmounted by a gold crown; the motto “NEC ASPERA TERRENT” underneath; the regiment number “VIII” in roman gold numerals in the upper left corner.
  • Regimental colour: blue field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge as per the king’s colour. The Union flag in the upper left corner with the regiment number “VIII” in roman gold numerals in its centre. The gold king’s cipher surmounted by a crown in the three other corners.

The drummers of the 8th Foot wore the royal livery of red cloth, lined, faced and lapelled on the breast with blue, and laced with the royal lace (golden braid with two thin purple central stripes).

By using deep bases (60mm) I can put my officers at the front, and the NCOs and drummers behind the line.

The figures were painted almost entirely with GW’s Contrast Paints. I love the way these paints flow, and how they automatically provide some basic shading and highlighting. These figures won’t ever be painting competition winners, but they look fine from normal viewing distance, especially en masse.

Speaking of ‘en masse’, this regiment is big by wargaming standards. There are 54 privates, 3 officers, 3 sergeants and 3 drummers, along with another 8 figures on the command stands, and of course the mounted colonel. A total of 72 figures!

Here’s a picture of how I have organised the regiment, loosely based on the battalions in the old wargaming book Charge! or How to Play Wargames.

Merry Christmas! Mere Kirihimete!

I wish all my ‘Dressing The Lines’ visitors peace and goodwill for Christmas, or in Māori, Kirihimete.

It may seem ironic to wish ‘peace’ and ‘goodwill’ on a blog about a hobby that may seem warlike to the uninitiated.

But we are actually a gentle bunch who like nothing more than to be left in peace to paint our miniature armies, and to have good willing friends to face across the tabletop.

So from here in Paraparaumu, New Zealand, I wish you a merry Christmas, mere Kirihimete!

Five centuries of warfare in New Zealand

I’ve just had an article published in Wargames Illustrated (Wi409, January 2022). The issue’s theme is ‘wargaming around the world’, so the publisher asked if I could do an article about the history of warfare that took place in New Zealand.

If my commission was to consider warfare that actually happened here, as apart from the overseas wars that Kiwis have taken part in, it seemed to me that I needed to concentrate on the roughly five hundred years from when Māori first arrived here in the 13th century, to the colonial wars of the mid-19th century (OK, I now realise that’s more like six hundred years – maths was never my strong point!).

This meant taking a non-eurocentric view, as most of those centuries the warfare was between Māori tribes. Inevitably Europe did start to make an impact towards the latter part of this period, first with the introduction of the musket that asymmetrically changed the face of traditional tribal warfare, and then the full-on direct conflict between Crown and Māori over their land.

So in the article I divided the period into three sub-parts: pre-European conflict; the inter-tribal Musket Wars; and the colonial New Zealand Wars.

My article features not only photos of my miniatures, but also several from my trip to Tawhiti Museum earlier this year, including a particularly eye-catching shot of a haka diorama that heads the story.

The publishers particularly wanted a scenario as part of the article. As I didn’t have one ready, I called on a fellow enthusiast for the period, Australian Mark Piper, who has devoted a lot of time to developing amendments to the Muskets and Tomahawks ruleset to suit fighting in New Zealand.

Mark and I initially thought we would co-write the article, but then the publishers came up with the surprise news that between us we had given them enough content for a two-parter. So Mark’s scenario will appear in Part 2.

Wargames Illustrated commissioned artist Neil Roberts to paint the impressive cover picture, featuring a Māori chief with tattoos based on those of Hongi Hika as sketched in 1820.

The Māori cover highlights that this issue contains content about wargaming set in New Zealand. But not only from my article. There’s also a great article in the same issue by one of the developers of the Tribal ruleset, Aramiha Harwood.

What makes Aramiha’s article especially interesting is that he is himself Māori, and so can provide a unique viewpoint on the warfare experience of his people. His article even starts with a pepeha, the traditional Māori greeting which Aramiha describes as ‘a means of placing the self in the physical and the social worlds we occupy today, while also tracing our history through our ancestors and the canoe (waka) we originally travelled to Aotearoa (New Zealand) on’.

I hope these articles give a shot in the arm for wargaming set in New Zealand. But, if nothing else, I trust that they inform people all over the world about the little known but incredible history of my country.

Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia! (Māori for ‘Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!’)

Basing the Barryat of Lyndonia’s big battalions

Whilst waiting for an overdue shipment of figures to complete my current painting project (hopefully just held up by the international supply chain issues at the moment) I have done something I have been meaning to do for some time now – rebasing the regiments of my 18th century ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia.

When I first began painting the various foreign contingents that make up the Barryat’s army, I was inspired by the big battalions in old wargaming books like Charge! Or How To Play Wargames, with large regiments of several companies of fusiliers and grenadiers being led by figures depicting the officers and NCOs.

I achieved the look I wanted by combining six-figure bases for the soldiers with single bases for their officers, standard-bearers, NCOs and drummers.

But whilst this certainly looked good, it made the units very fiddly to set up and move on the table. So I decided to try something different.

I have now introduced a new basing system that I hope retains that same nostalgic look, but that is much easier to handle and manoeuvre. By using 40x60mm bases, I can fit two ranks of privates with the supernumeries marching in front and behind.

For flexibility, I have kept the standards on separate bases. These bases are narrow, but still as deep as the main bases, which means they line up perfectly when incorporated in their parent unit.

The flag-bases also work perfectly fine when the standard bearers are out of the line, albeit the long narrow bases are a rather odd shape.

I cheated a bit with rebasing, as I didn’t remove all the figures from their existing bases, but merely glued the existing six-figure bases on top of the new bases. As both the old and the new bases were quite thin, the combined height was still acceptable to me.

I then built up the terrain to blend the bases in. Although you can still just make out the line of the old bases (as in this French regiment), it isn’t too obvious.

I did un-base the supernumeries from their old single bases though, such as the officers and standard-bearers in this picture. But as there weren’t so many of them, this wasn’t too onerous a task.

Another advantage of rebasing was that it helped solve a problem I had with charging figures, whose muskets stuck well out in front of the old bases, and were in danger of being bent or broken. The new deeper bases will give them some extra protection frm clumsy fingers.

By the way, for the above picture of a re-based Irish regiment in French service I lined them up on a textured plank that I sometimes use for photographing my miniatures. But note that that plank isn’t part of the basing.

As you can see here, the effect of the drummers and sergeants trailing behind the line gives a great effect.

Likewise, having the officers stand out in front adds an extra dimension. This worked particularly well with my Gardes Françaises, with the officer stepping out to politely doff his hat to the enemy.

For the Gardes Françaises, I massed the drums together to form a ‘drum corps’ standing behind the line. But with all my other regiments, which are organised in a totally fictional way of three companies of 18 privates, each company has its own drummer.

One of the reasons for the separate flags is because I wanted to be able to capture the idiosyncratic way that flags are deployed in the movie Barry Lyndon. For example, in the movie the Prussian regiment carries three flags together that actually belonged to three different regiments.

But if I prefer to pose them as a real-life regiment, I can just remove the flag-bases I don’t need.

Anther advantage of the separate flag-bases is if I choose to play a game using smaller regiments, I can just divide the unit into two, and give each half a flag. Simples!

My light troops had also used the same size bases as the line regiment, but with only three figures per base. I again just glued the old bases on top new 40×60 bases, and arranged their officers and musicians behind or in front.

By staggering the figures, they give the irregular look of troops engaged in la petite guerre (the little war), like these Hanoverian Freytag Jaegers taking on French Volontaires de Clermont-Prince.

The larger bases for the light troops still work fine to depict skirmishing, as you can see with this picture of the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont-Prince taking pot-shots from behind a fence-line.

My original artillery had separately based gunners, as you can see in the picture near the top of this posting. But I have now reverted to the traditional system of mounting the gunners on the same base as their weapon, as with the above Royal Artillery.

I didn’t feel the cavalry needed re-basing, as their existing system works quite well. So I will leave well enough alone.

So that’s my re-basing done and dusted. Now I just need to head down to my letter-box and hopefully find that my overdue parcel has finally overcome the supply chain problems and arrived safely, so I can get on and finish my next unit!

The nicest-looking AWI game I have ever played in

My most memorable American War of Independence wargame took place nearly 20 years ago at the Wellington Warlords’ (the wargaming club of New Zealand’s capital city) annual wargaming competition, ‘Call to Arms’.

At the 2002 event, one of the demo games at ‘Call to Arms’ was a refight of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, put on by three of the Friday Night Fusiliers – Paul Crouch (3rd from left), Steve Sands (far left) and [a very young-looking!] myself (2nd from left).

A few years after this game, Paul moved to Australia and sold all the wonderful troops in these photos. However, I heard from him recently that he has decided to re-do this project, buying up and painting the troops all over again. He has set up the Sons of Liberty blog to follow his progress.

In talking with Paul, he told me he still has hardcopy photos of the original 2002 game. So I suggested he copy the photos so we could look back at what I think was one of the finest AWI wargames ever, even though it took place nearly nearly two decades ago!

The original Battle of Guilford Courthouse took place on 15 March 1781, between General Cornwallis’s 2,200 British troops and the 4,500 Americans under General Greene.

In the above photo, the British redcoats march out of camp on their way to do battle against the Americans. In the foreground are two cannons and some of their Hessian allies.

The figures and the scenery used in this game all belonged to Paul Crouch. In the main, the figures were by Front Rank, but there were also a few Dixons and Foundry figures.

Paul, Steve and myself were all firm “visual” wargamers, rather than “competitive” or “simulation” players. For us, the main thing was the game had to look good – to be a moving diorama, in effect.

A closeup of the British advance. You can almost hear the drums beating and the fifes trilling The British Grenadier! Behind the redcoats is a battalion of Loyalists, wearing green coats and white trimmed hats.

The British flags were by GMB, who made the best flags around. Paul made the Loyalist flags himself. Note how the flags are realistically shaped – too often the effect of such beautiful flags is spoiled by having them standing out straight like boards.

On the left flank of the British advance are some British light troops, some German Jägers, and even a few Indians.

Paul’s bases were beautifully done – each base was like a mini-diorama. And his figure painting was absolutely exquisite. He used a black undercoat technique and acrylic paints.

The British advance steadily across the clearing towards the first fence-line, where a line of Americans can be see waiting. Behind them, way off in the distance, are more troops in front of the Guilford Courthouse.

The base cloth we used really set off the figures well. It was green baize, but had been sprayed with a mixture of colours. Under the baize was an old carpet which had been laid over some pieces of wood, giving the effect of slightly undulating ground.

You can also see this same photo at the top of this posting, but retouched to make it look a little more real.

Nervous American militia await the redcoats behind a typical switchback railing fence.

These are not the steadiest of troops. But if they can get off a good volley or two before they run, they might slow the steady British advance.

Steve Sands was busy for several nights producing much of the fencing used in our battle.

One of the features that really made this game was the fact that all our battalions were big (at a time when 12-figure units were the popular standard). Each unit had at least six bases of around three or four figures each. Anything smaller does not look anywhere near as good.

The British have forced back the militia through a line of trees. The militia stop, rally bravely, and try to hold the next fence-line. A British and Hessian volley rips through the air.

In the foregound is the last line of American defence. But these troops are no mere militia. These are the regular American infantry, the Continentals. They’re made of sterner stuff, and the British might be worn down by the sniping of the militia before they get to Continentals’ line.

A close-up of the British and Hessian volley. We were using a very simple set of rules called Gentleman Johnny’s War, which made calculating the effect of volleys such as this very easy.

You can never have enough trees in a demo game, especially one set in America. Paul had a huge amount of Woodland Scenics trees, which really looked good on the table.

For the sake of the simplicity, it was decided that trees only interrupted visibility, but didn’t hinder troop movements.

One of the British units charges towards the militia.

By sheer coincidence all the figures in this photo are posed perfectly, as if this was a set-up shot. The charging infantry are in a running pose, while those firing are pointing their muskets. Behind the fence, the militia take pot-shots.

No, the militia can’t stand yet another British volley, so they turn tail and they’re off. But, just as in the movie The Patriot, have they done enough to whittle down the British before they come to grips with the waiting Continentals in the foreground?

Our first sight of the magnificent Architectural Heritage model of the Guilford Courthouse itself. This is a miniature of the actual building. If you look very carefully, you’ll even see the judge standing in the doorway, no doubt encouraging the steady Continentals lined against the fences.

Paul always liked to dot his games with little bits of scenery such as the haystacks you can see in the picture. These were for visual appearance only, and didn’t effect play at all. They were simply moved out of the way when troops passed through.

From behind the Continental lines, you can see the last few militia, and way off in the distance a Hessian flag denotes the British advance.

During March in America, there wouldn’t really have been autumn (‘fall’) trees! But the occasional touch of autumn colours in the trees just gave a lift to the table appearance.

The white house in the far background was hand-made by Paul.

The judge looks on as the battle rages between the British and the Continentals. In the end, the British manage to puncture the Continental centre and creep round their left, so the Americans have to yield the field, just as happened in real life.

Note the barricade of barrels in the foreground – another nice scenic touch.

You would think that General Cornwallis must be feeling pretty pleased with himself. However, in real life the battle cost him 532 casualties against the Americans’ 260.

So instead of pursuing his defeated enemy, he retired to the coast. If this game had been part of a campaign, the result might have been pretty much the same.

There is more fun with scenics in the background – an ammunition dump and wagons to bring powder and balls up to the guns.

One of the most asked-about units in the game, but one which never really came into play, was Tarleton’s Legion. This was because the main protagonist in The Patriot was apparently modelled on Tarleton (though one cannot say that the film representation was at all accurate!).

In the real battle the cavalry did get to grips, but in the game the day was won before they even got onto the scene.

So, just as in real-life, a marginal British win. But more importantly for the Friday Night Fusiliers, a win for presenting the sheer beauty of hundreds of exquisitely painted figures marching and fighting across a gorgeously terrained board!

A special thanks to Wayne Stack, a fellow Fusilier, who took all these wonderful photos as part of an assignment for a police photographer’s course he was on at the time! He was enthusiastic when I told him that Paul still had his photos, and readily gave us permission to publish them here.

I hope you have enjoyed looking back at this spectacular game, and that you’ll follow Paul’s progress on his blog as he recreates his exquisite armies.

A sideline into the hobby of landscape painting

Yeah, I know it has been a long time since my last posting. And to make matters even worse, this posting isn’t even of a wargaming nature!

I’ve got some figures on order from the UK to complete the big battalion of 18th century infantry that I have been working on. However, they must be caught up in the current supply chain problems, as they are a month or so late now (especially considering the first half of the unit that I ordered earlier in the year made its way here to New Zealand in a matter of days).

So whilst I’m waiting, I’ve decided to give a new pastime a go. I’ve always quite fancied painting a landscape, but have never really had the time. So, armed with a new box of artists’ acrylic paints and three blank canvases, I’ve made a start into this sideline hobby.

Oh, don’t worry, I’m not giving up wargaming! With retirement due at the end of the year, I’ll have more than enough time for two hobbies.

My first painting was inspired by this lovely photograph of the Tararua Ranges as seen from the Wairarapa side, which I saw in an online newspaper travel feature (oddly, in a British online paper, The Guardian!). I really liked how it portrayed so much in one deceptively simple scene.

Because of the long shape of the three canvases I had bought, my painting would need to based on just the middle third of the photo. But I thought this might give a really cool forced perspective effect, with the road and telegraph poles, rolling fields, foothills and mountains in layers, one above the other.

I worked from the top down. I found the mountains worked well, and was especially pleased with the folds in the hills and the misty effect at the bottom of the foothills. Whilst the end result is quite different from the photo, I guess that’s what the phrase “artist’s licence” means!

My road is not quite as bumpy as the photo either. In hindsight it would’ve been more interesting if I had tried to copy some of the bumps. And I wish now that I had left out every second telegraph pole, as I think there are too many of them.

Nevertheless, for a first effort at landscape painting, I was happy. I think the forced perspective that I had really wanted to recreate from the photo worked very well.

Having painted one mountain scene, I decided that my other two paintings would also be of mountains so as to make a series, and would feature other places that my wife and I love here in New Zealand.

My wife was actually away on a skiing weekend with her friend, so I picked the mountain where she had gone, Mount Ruapehu. OK, she wasn’t staying in the lovely Chateau Tongariro (she was staying in a much more modest ski lodge), but it is such an iconic scene of Ruapehu, so that is what I chose to paint.

Again, I worked from the top down. The mountain and its lower slopes worked OK, though maybe the lighting is bit odd, as if something is shining from behind the second and third ridges. However, that effect does add some drama to the painting.

I loved doing the Chateau. I guess having made so many wargames buildings, I’m a bit of a detail man. And I love how its angular lines are such a contrast to the irregular shape of the volcano looming above it.

For the last of my three paintings, I decided to portray one of my wife and I’s favourite places in New Zealand – Queenstown. Its backdrop of the rugged Remarkables Range would continue my mountains theme.

There was also the added bonus of being able to try my hand at painting water, and also depicting the gorgeous old lake steamer, the TSS ‘Earnslaw’. This was going to be fun!

I tried something quite different with the mountains this time, using somewhat different colours than what you would usually think for snowy mountains. I also tried out a poster-like effect with lots of hard edges to the ridges and valleys.

The trees were fun, especially that Norfolk pine on the right. But, as I suspected it would be, my favourite part was painting the old Lady of the Lake, the ‘Earnslaw’. And, boy, I’m pleased with how she turned out.

The water worked quite well too. I was especially happy with the slight reflection of the steamer, though this was really the result of a ‘happy little accident’ than an actual planned part of the painting!

So here they are, the three paintings of my ‘Mountains Triptych’, which fit nicely above our mantelpiece. And you can see that one member of our family seems suitably impressed!

By the way, the other painting hanging on the wall to the right isn’t one of mine, but was a birthday present from some years ago. And, no, those aren’t wargaming houses on the mantlepiece, but glossy porcelain souvenirs from our travels to the UK and Europe!

Now, hurry up with my British fusiliers, Mr Deliveryman – I want to finish that big battalion!