Category Archives: Foundry

‘Send a gunboat’ to colonial New Zealand


When we think of gunboats for colonial wargaming,  we normally picture a chunky  paddle-steamer chugging up the Nile, or a little steam launch chuffing down the Congo. However, few people know that gunboats were also used in New Zealand during the colonial period.



I’ve been working on a project to model one of New Zealand’s earliest steam warships, the ‘Avon’. I’ve previously posted about how I converted her from a cheap Chinese toy tugboat. She is now finally finished, complete with Foundry crew figures.


‘Avon’ was a 58-foot iron paddle steamer, launched in Glasgow in 1859, and shipped to New Zealand to work as a pleasure boat on the River Avon in Christchurch, New Zealand. She was purchased by the government in 1862 and converted into a gunboat.

James Cowan, in his book The New Zealand Wars, describes the ‘Avon’:

The work of making the hull bullet-proof was carried out by the engineer, Mr. George Ellis (now of Auckland), who states that the ‘Avon’ was converted into an armoured steamer by having iron plates bolted inside her bulwarks. These plates were ¼ inch thick and measured 6 feet by 3 feet. The wheel was enclosed by an iron house of similar-sized plates, with loop-holes. …

… The paddle-wheeler ‘Avon’ was the first steam-vessel to float on the waters of the Waikato. She was towed to Waikato Heads on the 25th July, 1863, by HMS ‘Eclipse’ and Captain Mayne, the commander of that ship, took her inside the Heads and anchored that night eight miles below Tuakau. Next day, watched with intense excitement by the Maoris, friendlies, and hostiles alike, she reached the Bluff, otherwise known as Havelock—Te Ia-roa of the Maoris—just below the junction of the Manga-tawhiri with the Waikato. She was not fired upon, contrary to the expectations of her crew, who expected a volley from the southern bank of the river at the narrower parts. Mr. Strand, of Kohanga, assisted to pilot the ‘Avon’ up the river.

On the 7th August Captain Sullivan (HMS ‘Harrier’), senior naval officer in New Zealand, took the vessel on a reconnaissance up the river, and near Meremere she became a target for Maori bullets for the first time. A volley from some Maoris under cover on the river-bank was replied to with the 12-pounder Armstrong. On several occasions later in the campaign the ‘Avon’ was under fire. This little pioneer of steam traffic on the Waikato proved an exceedingly useful vessel. When the army reached the Waipa Plains she carried stores up as far as Te Rore, on the Waipu; it was near there that Lieutenant Mitchell, RN, of HMS ‘Esk’, was killed on board her (February, 1864) by a volley from the east bank of the river. …

… Mr. George Ellis, of Auckland, who was engineer of the ‘Avon’, says: “Lieutenant Mitchell’s death occurred in this way: We carried out rather dangerous work in the later stages of the war when running up and down the Waipa River. Sometimes we took shots at anything that offered on the banks, and even landed to go pig-hunting. One very warm summer day, when steaming up the Waipa near Whatawhata, Mr. Mitchell remarked that it was too hot to remain in the iron wheel-house and that he would go outside; he declared that he would not be shot that day. He walked out on to the open part of the bridge-deck, and Lieutenant Easther (in command) and Midshipman Foljambe (father of the present Lord Liverpool) followed him. They had not been long there before a sudden volley was fired from the scrub-covered bank of the river—the east or proper right bank. The three officers were close together, with Mr. Mitchell in the middle, and, curiously, it was only the man in the middle who was hit. The volley was fired at an oblique angle. Mr. Mitchell was shot right through the breast, and died next day. We never saw a Maori, so thick was the cover on the bank.”



‘Avon’ displaced 43 tons, was nearly 18 metres in length, and mounted a single 12-pounder Armstrong breech-loading gun on her bow. Her shallow draft of just one metre made her ideal for river operations. Besides the metal plate armour, a wooden shed-like structure with loop-holes was later built on the aft deck to provide cover for troops.


She even had her own rudimentary self-defence system: pipes were fixed in connection with the boiler, so that a stream or jet of scalding water could be thrown upon any party attempting to board.


I’m not how, or if I’ll ever use her in a wargame. But it has been an interesting little project to bring to life a little-known piece of New Zealand maritime and military  history.



Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Foundry, Uncategorized

Napoleon and Wellington at my house


It’s such a nice day today at my place, and I have the house to myself for a few hours. “What can I take pictures of in these perfect photography conditions, to put up on my blog?” I thought to myself.

Then my eye was caught by two command bases in my display cabinet. These two 28mm Wargames Foundry sets were both painted back in 2002 (what, 12 years ago already?!). “Aha,” I thought, “it would be interesting to look at these to see how my painting style has changed or stayed the same over the years.”

So, firstly, Napoleon and his staff …


This command base is based on the famous painting by Vasily Vereshchagin, depicting Napoleon and his staff at the battle of Borodino in 1812.


Well, the first close-up shows one thing that I hope has changed – those EYES!  Oh my, oh my, how couldn’t I see at the time that they were far too big and Tunderbirdish?!  These days I have given up painting eyes at all, just hinting at them with dark wash.


My basing style has remained remarkably the same since 2002.  I still use natural sand and crushed shell sprinkled over a thick coat of PVA [or white] glue. Unlike most wargamers, I don’t paint the sandy surface at all – I just leave it the natural sand colour.  Then I finish off with patches of several shades and textures of static grass and flock.  So this basing technique has stood the test of time.

Now, the Duke of Wellington and his staff …


I think by this time I had begun to use the rubbed oil-paint technique for horses.  But white horses (or greys, to be exact) can be really difficult, and I’m not sure I carried it off well here.  The horse furniture came out great, though.


Check that horse on the right with the human eye?!  Nowadays I paint horses’ eyes plain black.  I add the tiniest spot of white I can do in the middle to give a sense of gleam.


Back when I painted these figures, I hadn’t leaned about shading or highlighting.  And, actually, I think these simple block colours come out tidier in photographs than my current three-levels of shading.


Filed under Foundry, Napoleonics

Musing and enthusing on samurai

Print with header

For the last couple of months, I’ve been experiencing a  lack of major motivation for painting or gaming.   Nothing has really grabbed my fancy for a new project, and in fact I’ve been starting to think that perhaps my time in this hobby had finished.  But in the last few days my imagination has finally been stirred anew, and I’m finding myself enthusiastically day-dreaming again about a potential new period to game – samurai!

shogun 2
This new enthusiasm first emerged from watching a re-run of the old TV 1980 mini-series, Shogun.  This series, set in Japan in the early 1600s, really brings feudal Japan to life.  It features an English ship pilot, whose vessel is wrecked upon the Japanese coast. He is forced to deal with the two most powerful men in Japan, who struggle for the title of ‘shogun’, which will give ultimate power to the one who possesses it.   Whilst quite slow-moving, the story is beautifully told and filmed – every scene is so exquisitely Japanese in its setting, colour, custom and language.  I was entranced.

child of vengeance Then on a recent trip to my local library, my eye was caught by a novel about samurai, David Kirk’s Child of Vengeance.  With an endorsement on the front cover from well-known historical writer Conn Iggulden, this looked like it could be an entertaining read. And so it turned out.  As the Amazon blurb states, this novel is ‘a bold and vivid historical epic of feudal Japan, based on the real-life exploits of the legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto’.  I couldn’t put it down until it was finished (and, fussy reader that I am, that really says something!).

makers_foundry_1 Truth to tell, this is not the first time that samurai have caught my attention.  A couple of years ago I also began thinking of getting into this period.  I was initially inspired by the Wargames Foundry range of wonderfully characterful samurai figures.  These were originally old Citadel figures from the 1980s, I believe, before Wargames Foundry re-released them.

bushi no yume I even went so far as to purchase a set of skirmish rules, Rich Jones’ Bushi No Yume.  These are a very interesting set of rules, written by a guy who has been into Japanese ‘bujutsu’ (martial arts) since he was a child.  The core rules themselves are deceptively simple, but they have oodles of character-adding special rules and ‘karma’ cards covering both history and (if you want) Japanese fantasy.  So you can easily recreate the feel of a ‘chanbara’ movie, the Japanese equivalent of a spaghetti western.  

But something else must have distracted me from my burgeoning interest in samurai, because I never took this project any further. However, the idea has remained lurking somewhere in the back of my mind, and has now re-emerged as a result of watching Shogun and reading Child of Vengeance.

But what really inspired me this time was reading about North Star’s forthcoming release of factions (or ‘buntai’) of 28mm figures as a tie-in with the new Osprey skirmish wargames ruleset, Ronin.


This is a set of skirmish wargame rules set in late 16th century feudal Japan. Players build small warbands of models and battle each other, as well as non-player factions, in duels and skirmishes. The rules pay tribute to the films of Akira Kurosawa such as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo.  North Star have produced four buntai so far:  samurai and ashigaru, Buddhist warrior monks, martial arts school students, and bandits.


As you can see above, the North Star samurai/ashigaru buntai looks fabulous painted up.  Colour schemes can vary wildly depending on which clan you’re representing.  All in all, I feel these figures capture the look.  Right now there is also a special deal, in which you can buy all four buntai plus the Ronin rulebook for 100 pounds, with free postage anywhere.  I’m tempted by this, maybe as a shared project with other locals …

maker_perry_samurai fightingHowever, North Star aren’t the only options for samurai miniatures.  One maker in particular that is really worth considering is Perry Miniatures.  Their samurai figures look just as nice as the North Star ones, albeit not so heroic in stature (though that could be just the photos).  However, they don’t sell the figures as ready-made packs for each buntai, as this range seems to be aimed more at larger armies.  So it would be a matter of picking a number of poses and mixing them into a themed buntai myself.

maker_perry_samurai everydayLike North Star, there is no doubt that the Perry figures have captured the Japanese look and feel.  I especially love this set of samurai in everyday clothing.  They look as though they’ve just walked out of the Shogun TV series.

One thing I’ve learned from this latest rush of enthusiasm is that (like Western history) there are huge differences between samurai over the period of time.  The North Star and Perry miniatures figures are set in the 1500s and 1600s, or the ‘Sengoku’ (warring states) period.  Armour by this time had simplified from its hey-day.  For the much more lavish and boxy samurai armour, you have to look at earlier periods before the introduction of gunpowder.  And one company that makes figures for these times is Westwind Productions.  

Samurai warriors of the early periods were skilled archers.  These figures show the unusual quivers and asymmetrical bows used in Japan.  Whilst the figures themselves, from these photos, don’t look quite as good as those by North Star and Perry, there is something about  the boxy armour and the typical side flaps to the helmets worn in this earlier period that I really like.  And they appear to my eye more like those old Japanese samurai prints, such as the one heading this article.

Another maker of samurai from the earlier periods is The Assault Group.  They also look like quite nice figures.


This photo from The Assault Group’s gallery shows just how colourful the early armour is (in this case from the Gempei War that took place from 1180-1185).  What a wonderful challenge to paint! This particular figure was painted by Kai Teck.  

Back to the later Sengoku period, and there is yet another option – plastic!  Wargames Factory have put out a number of boxes of samurai troops. You assemble these figures, and can end up with a very reasonably priced army.  As can be seen here, they paint up well.  My only gripe is that they look a little wooden in pose.  I would prefer something akin to those dramatic exaggerated  poses seen in the old Japanese prints – which I think most of the previously mentioned ranges gave captured to some degree.

However, wooden poses or not, there is no doubt that painted up,  these figures can indeed look superb.
Yet another option – going bigger!  Steve Barber puts out a small range of 42mm samurai figures from the Sengoku period, which look rather well-done judging from  the photos I’ve seen.

At their large size, these would be awesomely impressive models.  That spear must be about 8-10cm long.  I also like the way Steve Barber has captured the asymmetrical bow correctly – many makers have their archers holding the bow in the middle as if they were European bows.

michtoys figure
If I’m looking at bigger figures, then I should also look at some smaller ones.  These are plastic 1/72 scale samurai made by the Russian firm Zvezda.  According to Plastic Soldiers Review, the Zvezda samurai are very good miniatures indeed.

The posing of the Zvezda figures in my opinion is great, with lots of dash and vigour.  If I was to go small-scale, these figures would certainly be worth considering.  And at the lower price, they would make large armies possible.  But I must say that I’m not used to painting figures this small, and I’m not 100% convinced about soft plastic.



So far as scenery is concerned, most of what I already have in the way of roads, rivers and trees will suffice (though with maybe a bit of cherry blossom added to some of the latter!).  However, to give it that Japanese feel, it would need some buildings or other typical Japanese bits and pieces.  Sarissa Precison do some attractive 28mm Japanese buildings as pre-cut wooden kitsets.



Another interesting scenery maker is  and Plast Craft Games (Fukei), whose simple but characterful buildings would really give that oriental feel.


Plast Craft Games also make some nice resin pieces, such as this Japanese grave set.

Anyway there it is – as you can see, my mind is churning over with the possibilities of collecting samurai figures and terrain.   Even the process of writing this posting has got me more enthused.  There are just some major decisions to make first, not the least being what scale, what manufacturer, what period, what rules …   Ah, the daydreaming will keep me going for some time!

さよなら, everyone!  



Filed under Foundry, North Star, Perry Miniatures, Samurai, The Assault Group, Uncategorized, Wargames Factory, Westwind, Zvezda

Pirate raid in Kapiti


Today I put on a pirate display at the Kapiti Wargames Club’s open day.  I say ‘display’, because it wasn’t a game as such, but just an excuse to lay out as much of my piratical terrain and figures as I could, in a static display piece.  

I guess I could’ve just as easily played a game on the terrain, but I was too lazy to do so.  Anyway, I just wanted to enjoy talking to the club members and any other spectators, and convincing people that good terrain needn’t be too complicated. 

The display was very much ‘Hollywood’ rather than ‘History’, with various anachronisms evident (eg a Napoleonic landing party in a Golden Age of Piracy game from a totally different century), and some definite confusion in architectural styles (ranging from a Spanish Main village to an American colonial boat-house and church).  

I took a pile of pictures, so here they are for your enjoyment.  They’re all quite large photos, so that you an click on them to get the full-size effect.

IMG_lg_1941An island, somewhere in the Spanish Main.  The terrain is a bunched up felt gaming cloth arranged over a commercial sea terrain mat, with some judicious use of real rocks and sand.  Simple, but eye-catching.

IMG_lg_1964Teddy-bear fur provided some fields of wheat.  Does wheat grow in the Caribbean?  Who cares? … this is Hollywoood, remember!

IMG_lg_1963This was a great excuse to drag out my home-made Napoleonic Peninsular War village, and the Perry civilians for that period.

IMG_lg_1962My Royal Navy longboat rows past a Dutch merchantman to battle the pirate invasion.

IMG_lg_1960The Renadra dilapidated barn kitset made a perfect boat-shed, just by adding some ladders and broken fences as ramps.

IMG_lg_1959To any small kids who viewed the table (and there were quite a few), I gave the mission of finding the pirate treasure.  Looking carefully, they would soon spot this cave …

IMG_lg_1958Outside the town the local garrison are on parade in front of the town worthies … little knowing that a pirate raid is eventuating beneath their very noses.

IMG_lg_1957The Dutch merchantman has now been overtaken by the navy boat as it heads round the point to engage the pirates.

IMG_lg_1955And whilst the pirates attack one side of the island, smugglers are busy on the other coast, moving their contraband inland on a convoy of wagons.

IMG_lg_1953The peaceful churchyard – one of two religious institutions on the island.

IMG_lg_1952And meanwhile the garrison continues its preening and parading in front of the ladies …

IMG_lg_1951… and the ladies continue their preening in front of the handsome officers.

IMG_lg_1950But some soldiers are hard at work at the fort on the point, firing the first shots at the pirate fleet.  The fort is a simple plastic toy I bought at a bring-and-buy.

IMG_lg_1949Some of the pirates have landed, disturbing a trio of young ladies who have been picnicking on the beach under the twirling sails of the (Grand Manner) windmill.

IMG_lg_1948The pirate fleet – including a scratch-built brig by my friend Scott, and my own converted Disney ‘Black Pearl’.

IMG_lg_1945If you look carefully, you’ll see a man praying at his father’s grave in the country churchyard.

IMG_lg_1944Another look at that fat Dutch merchantman – the fat ship, not the fat merchant!  This ship was originally a plastic toy in a boxed game, though it has been given a heavy makeover.

IMG_lg_1943Meanwhile the smugglers are making their way over the bridge and up to the village to dispose of their contraband.  The river, road and bridge are by Australian company Miniature World Makers.

IMG_lg_1940Here’s another look at those pirates landing on the beach, almost under the guns of the fort.

IMG_lg_1939The pirates’ flagship waits off-shore, ignoring the puny gun in the small fort on the point.

IMG_lg_1938One of the the lookouts in the fort tower is blowing the alarum trumpet.

IMG_lg_1937It’s a good thing this is Hollywood rather than History, otherwise that skeleton pirate would be right out of place.

IMG_lg_1936The table attracted a lot of interest right through the day, despite it being a static display.  The longboat is a terrific model by Britannia Miniatures.

IMG_lg_1935Here’s that boat-shed again.  You can also see how a sprinkling of real sand makes an effective touch.

IMG_lg_1934Life goes on in the the higgledy-piggledy village on the hill.

IMG_lg_1933Oh dear, they’re STILL parading.  Haven’t they heard the alarum yet?

IMG_lg_1932Nope, I guess not.

IMG_lg_1947Here’s a couple of the other games we put on … Scott and Paul did a great Flames of War game, with plenty of action.  They even had the screaming sound effect whenever the Stuka made an appearance.

IMG_lg_1946Stephen and Steve put on a lovely 15mm Seven Years War game.


Filed under Britannia Miniatures, Foundry, Minden Miniatures, Moonlight Miniatures, Perry Miniatures, Pirates, Terrain

Kapiti Fusiliers: Battles of Rusty Creek and Gettysburg

Getty_9This weekend marks 150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg, the iconic battle of the American Civil War.  

To commemorate this historic engagement, you could re-visit two old postings about my time as a Confederate soldier during the massive 135th reenactment event way back in 1998, first here and then more photos here.


Or you could read the following one of my resurrected postings from the old Kapiti Fusiliers website describing a Civil War game. Originally posted on September 2005 by Fusilier Paul Crouch, who had recently moved up to Auckland, it describes a spectacular game played on John Berry’s 14′ x 6′ table …



We played an American Civil War game. There were four on each side, so eight of us all told, including all my old wargame friends from many years ago. Fusilier Mark Strachan was along there too.

The rules used were a set put together by the group up here. They really do work well and capture the flavour of the American Civil War and the ebb and flow of battle.


John and the boys certainly put on games ‘in the grand manner’ and there was no lack of troops on the table. It was a magnificent sight. As you can see from the photos we reckon there were up to two thousand 25mm figures on the table.  They were mainly Dixon, but Wargames Foundry were in there too.

I tried to focus as many as possible of the photos on John’s buildings to let you get the feel of them. Hopefully you can see the work he does on them. The close-up of the forge (below) is brilliant.  He scratch builds a lot of the stuff you see in these pictures. Also the limbers and wagons in the photos are all John Berry originals.

rustyforge close up

The game was a fictional encounter somewhere in Georgia called Rusty Creek, late in the war … a last desperate attempt to throw the Damn Yankees out. I fought with the Johnny Rebs, and held the left flank with two brigades of infantry and artillery.

I was attacked repeatedly throughout the game – in fact my flank was under pressure from the word go. I had three brigade generals killed during the day, a battery of artillery smashed to pieces, and one of my brigades shattered – but they all died gallantly for the cause!


Above: My own Confederate troops make a guest appearance on the left flank. Under pressure for most of the game, and suffering heavy losses, they held the flank with honour.


Above: Brewer’s Farm, the centre of the Confederate position.


Above: Confederate troops mass around Brewer’s Farm.


Above: Through the cornfields come the Rebels under the command of our host John Berry, on their way to prop up the left flank. This shot reminds me of a scene from the movie Gettysburg … stirring stuff!


Above: Union troops – loads of artillery. Note the wagons that John Berry has made.


Above: Reb cavalry under Forrest move out on the right – almost to a man these brave lads were wiped out before the Reb infantry arrived.


After the smoke died down it was decided that (as in all these large games) a fighting draw was the outcome. The Union hadn’t really coordinated their attacks, and the Rebs had defended stoutly in the face of the blue tide.



Filed under American Civil War, Dixon, Foundry, Kapiti Fusiliers, Reenactment

Kapiti Fusiliers – ‘PRATZEN … DRATZEN! A Napoleonic game report’


This resurrected posting was one of the most popular on the old Kapiti Fusiliers website.  It describes a huge Command Piquet game that took place back in April 2005.  The article was originally written by Fusilier Brian Smaller (who now has his own fascinating Woolshed Wargamer blog) and the  dramatic pictures were taken by Fusilier Paul Crouch.


Above: Fusilier Greg Simmonds debuted several bases of Russian generals in this game. These are beautifully painted mini-dioramas, featuring various Front Rank and Foundry figures, many of them heavily converted.

The opportunity to play a Napoleonic war game on a 12’ by 6′ table with over a thousand painted figures doesn’t come along every day, so when Fusilier Greg Simmonds suggested such a game we jumped at the chance. The players who made it to the battle were Fusiliers Greg Simmonds, Peter Haldezos, Shane Saunders and of course, myself. The game was played in Greg’s lounge room, on a table suitably stabilized with six trestles. Given the weight of metal I think Greg’s field engineering was commendable.

The Scenario
The table was a scaled down section of the field of Austerlitz with, from the French perspective, a village on the right flank, a plateau in the centre and large expanses of open fields on the left. As this battle was a small part of a larger affair, the armies were deployed very close – in some cases infantry regiments were already in long musket range of the enemy.


Above:  Approximate positions an hour after hostilities commenced. Note that what appears to be an odd mixed cavalry/infantry formation in the right foreground is actually two cavalry units in the process of passing through the lines of an infantry battalion.

The Armies
The Allied army consisted of Greg’s Russians and Peter’s Austrians and Prussians. The French army consisted of everything I had painted, so was a bit of a grab bag of units that included two Italian, two Swiss and a Bavarian battalion. It was supported by a strong relief force of Fusilier-General Roly’s French, but the story of that command will be told later in this article.

Unfortunately, all our armies are uniformed for the later Napoleonic Wars, but we did not let that get in the way. Not only were they wearing these later uniforms, but we also rated them for the later Napoleonic Wars. We were therefore using 1813 armies to fight the Austerlitz situation.


Above: Russian general staff direct their formidable infantry forces forward. Greg’s Russians are Foundry and Front Rank figures, many with head-swaps and changed poses.

The Rules
The rules were Command Piquet which have already been reviewed on this site. Both Shane and I had played Piquet once or twice before, but never this variant. Greg and Peter managed to keep us on the straight and narrow.

The Game
The battle started with an immediate Austrian attack on the small village that anchored the French right flank. This position of honour was held by a crack brigade of Swiss with a battalion of Bavarians and a small Bavarian battery in support. Their mission was to hold until reinforcements arrived. For the entire duration of the battle the Austrians tried to break into the village and to cut it off from the French centre but were repeatedly repulsed.

4_done_a1Above:  The Prussians and Austrians march forward, supported by artillery. These are Peter’s Calpe and Front Rank figures with GMB Design flags.


Above: Austrian infantry attack the village.

6_done_f13Above:  Austrian artillery bombards the defenders of the village with close range artillery fire. More of Peter’s Front Rank figures.

In the centre, both sides battled for possession of the high plateau. Massed Russian infantry attacked the French centre but were beaten off by the 12-pounders of the Imperial Guard and repeated charges by the Grenadiers-a-Cheval and Gendarmerie d’Elite. Meanwhile, the French reserves climbed the plateau and took possession of the flat ground overlooking the enemy centre.


Above:  Russian infantry advance to the attack. These are some of Greg’s Foundry figures, whilst the flags are by GMB Design.

8_done_f5Above:  Grenadiers-a-Cheval and Gendarmerie d’Elite throw back the Russian advance in the centre.

9_done_f1Above:   Italian infantry march forward to consolidate the gains in the centre. These are Brian’s figures, which consist of a mixture of makes, including Connoisseur, Front Rank and Hotspur.

10_done_f4Above:  French reserve divisions advance. Again, these figures show the wonderful mixture of manufacturers in Brian’s French army.

On the left, the French attacked with great élan but despite some initial success with their dragoons and lancers, were stalled when their cavalry brigades were repulsed by concentrated Russian artillery fire and Austrian cavalry charges.


Above:   French Lancers charge to force back advancing Russian infantry.


Above:  But Russian artillery and Austrian cavalry are ready to repulse the French cavalry.

On the extreme left flank only the heroic actions of the 1st Battalion of 15th Legere managed to salvage what was becoming a serious problem for the French. A brigade of Austrian Dragoons and Hussars had broken the French dragoons and sent them scuttling backwards, but the feisty 15th Leger drove off the Austrian cavalry brigade with several well aimed volleys.

13_done_r9Above:   Austrian cavalry ready themselves to charge the French dragoons, before being themselves being driven off by the fire of a French light infantry battalion. Front Rank figures.

Late in the day the battle was going well for the French, or so it seemed. Their line was unbroken and they had possession of the high ground. The village was still in their hands and the serious position on the left flank had been stabilised. However, the repeated attacks had degraded the fighting capability of almost all brigades and looking across the field of battle the French commanders could see fresh divisions of uncommitted Russian troops and a huge cavalry reserve that had not yet entered the fray.


Above:  The Russian cavalry reserve awaits orders to advance.

The long hoped for French reserves had taken a wrong turn and in a prelude to the terrible events of 1815, had not marched to the sounds of the guns.

At the time we called a halt, I believe that nothing short of a miracle would have saved the French army. While most of the French army was intact, it had fought itself to a standstill. It is almost certain that one more push by the Allies would have seen the right flank collapse. If only the reserves had arrived……

We played about five or so hours at a fairly leisurely pace. I can only talk for myself of course, but I quite like the Command Piquet rules in that they give a fun game with a lot of surprises. What I don’t like about them is the all-or-nothing nature of combat. Shooting/Melee either does huge damage or virtually none. Still, you take what you can get, aye?


Above:  Fusilers Shane Saunders and Brian Smaller (French), Greg Simmonds and Peter Haldezos (Allied) holding a mascot in between them. Not in this photo are Fusiliers Paul Crouch (who took these superb pictures), and Roly Hermans (who failed to bring his French reinforcements to the game, but who designed this web-page).

PS: For the eagle-eyes, here’s a challenge – in one of the above photos, can you find the Seven Years War figure that had to be pressed into service for our game?!


Filed under Foundry, Front Rank, Kapiti Fusiliers, Napoleonics

Old Stuff Day

old stuff

March 2 is Old Stuff Day.  OK, so I’m a day late here in New Zealand, but as it is still March 2 in some parts of the world (I’m looking at you, America!), I think I’m still alright to post this.

So, what is Old Stuff Day?

“On this day, each blogger can go through their history and find posts that they’d like to shake the dust off and present again to the community at large. Some suggestions for content that would be good to post: 

– Posts that you considered special that didn’t receive as much attention as you thought they deserved

– Content that people liked in the past, but haven’t seen recently

– Posts you might have created before your site received much traffic, and now deserve to be reshown

– Or any content you’re particularly proud of!”

So here’s some of the old stuff on my blog that I’m particularly proud of:

Trumpeting on about my forebear

This was the first in a series of posts that I did on my family history. While reading other people’s family histories can sometimes be a little boring, I thought this particular character in my lineage would be fascinating to others besides myself – especially on a military history/wargaming site – as he was a trumpeter in Napoleon’s army.

Uniform of a trumpetter of the 12th Draggons

More on my father’s Dutch war service

As the title suggests, this was the second of a couple of postings about my dad. I thought this might be of interest to my mainly Anglo-centic readers, as my Dad’s war service was in one of the smaller European players of WW2.

My father is on the left of this picture, in the front row.  Note the red cross emblem on his collar, showing his service in the Medical Troops.

A fantastic landscape diorama – and I do mean fantastic

This posting constantly sits in the list of my most visited postings.   It features an amazing diorama in the Netherlands.  I think it is particularly inspirational in showing the effectiveness of the dimension of height in a diorama – so often they are very flat.


One of the nicest wargames terrains I’ve ever seen

This is another much-visited posting, again on terrain.  It was instrumental in starting one the most popular wargaming blogs around. My posting featured Joe’s amazing Old West town, and it got so many hits that Joe realised he was missing out on something not having his own blog, and thus Colonel O’Truth’s Miniature Issues was born.


My Minden miniatures finally based

This posting was one of quite a number about my ongoing project to paint 18th century army along the lines of the movie Barry Lyndon. The pictures in this posting came out rather well, I thought, despite just being posed on my old painting board in the garden.


My Barry Lyndon armies

And this is the post in which I first established my Barry Lyndon ‘imagi-nation’. I refer to this posting quite often to remind myself what I had in mind for this project, and to re-inspire myself with the magic of the movie.

Gale's Regiment of Foot in the movie 'Barry Lyndon'

Photos of finished colonial New Zealand wars figures and terrain

This posting includes some of my favourite shots of my New Zealand Wars armies.  The model kiwi terrain in the background of some of the shots also caught people’s interest.


A pirate’s life for me

This posting features a niche period I’ve dabbled in, and that has been a lot of fun. Many visitors to my blog obviously also share my delight with pirates (however nasty they might have been in real life!), as this remains a very popular posting.

My favourite battle painting

Another really popular posting. I’m really pleased with the way this one turned out, particularly with the clarity of the detail pictures I took from the painting.


Is history important?

An under-rated posting?  Well, this posting was my attempt to be a bit controversial. While it caused a little bit of interest at the time, overall it slipped under he radar for most visitors.



Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Eighteenth century, Empress Miniatures, Family history, Foundry, Minden Miniatures, Napoleonics, Pirates, Uncategorized, Wild West, WW2