Lockdown and the Barryat of Lyndonia’s latest big battalion

On 17 August New Zealand’s long streak without local transmission of COVID-19 came to an end. This was the first coronavirus case detected in New Zealand for nearly six months.

Almost immediately the whole country went straight into what we called an Alert Level 4 lockdown, which had worked successfully for us during the initial outbreak last year.

Based on what had happened in Australia, where some states had delayed locking down when their first cases of Delta appeared, our government opted for the ‘go hard and go early’ approach. To us wargamers this strategy sounds somewhat like rolling a double-6 to seize the initiative before the enemy can!

This approach has so far appeared to be the right way to go (touch wood!). Though we aren’t out of the woods yet, especially as New Zealand’s vaccination rates are so low.

My wife and I were on holiday in the South Island when we went into lockdown. Travellers were initially given 48 hours to get home, but this was too tight for us to get a ferry booking. We actually weren’t too dismayed, as where we were staying in the town of Cromwell looked like a pretty nice place to lock down!

But despite the undeniable beauty of Cromwell, home is always best. So when the government gave travellers another 24 hours to get home, we managed to catch the last ferry to Wellington.

Of course a benefit of having made it home is that I now have access to all my hobby stuff, and time to work on it! So I have started to paint another big battalion for my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia.

An additional British battalion means I’ll have an equal number of real-life opposing forces if I want to play a game based on actual history (British/Prussian vs French). I’m using 1/56 scale Crann Tara Miniatures, half of which arrived just before lockdown, whilst the other half are currently on their way from the UK.

I especially wanted a unit that had the blue breeches worn by royal regiments, so as to differentiate them from my other British battalion in red breeches. So I’ve chosen to depict the 8th (King’s) Regiment of Foot, which was commanded from 1745 to 1759 by Edward Wolfe, father of General James Wolfe of Quebec fame.

The King’s Regiment (centre figure above) used the White Horse of Hanover (the symbol of the Royal Household) as its badge.

Why this regiment has managed to make it into the Barryat’s army, no-one knows! But I’m sure I can come up with a suitable back-story.

This will likely be my most challenging paint job ever. These guys have lots of little bits of lace everywhere. They don’t call this period the Lace Wars for nothing! Look at those cuffs and sleeves, the lacing on the fronts of their coats, and the intricate lace wings on their shoulders. And let’s not even mention the grenadiers’ mitre caps!

Note that the above picture of the 8th Foot uniform in 1756 was created by Frédéric Aubert for the Kronoskaf website.

With my current basing system for my 60+ figure battalions, as shown with Gale’s Regiment of Foot above, I have nine bases of 6 infantry figures each, and all my officers, drummers and NCOs are on small freestanding bases. But this makes for really fiddly setting up and moving.

So for this latest unit I am going to experiment with a new basing system of just six bases of 10-12 figures each, on which character figures will also be standing alongside or behind the ranks. The only figures left freestanding will be standard-bearers and the mounted officers.

Keeping flags freestanding will allow flexibility in which units I wish to represent. And it will also allow the big 60+ figure unit to be broken into two or three smaller ones if required for a specific rule-set.

If this new system is successful, I see a major rebasing project for all my existing Barryat of Lyndonia units!

As a side project, and completely unrelated to the Lace Wars period, I have also finally assembled the Renedra ramshackle house kit I bought from our local pharmacy (true!) a few weeks ago.

It still needs painting, but looks good. I plan to use the same colour-scheme as I did with Renedra’s similar ramshackle barn kit a few years ago. This could be said to be more like un-painting than painting!

On Parade! Victorian Science Fiction – Foreign Legion


This posting from my On Parade! series, in which I’m slowly reviewing every figure in my wargaming collection, features my small Victorian Science Fiction French Foreign Legion force.

Have you ever started a club project in a rush of enthusiasm, only to peter out a few weeks later with only some dribs and drabs of painted forces completed? Well, this force is one of those.

The idea had been to build up a French force to do battle in a Victorian Science Fiction campaign against Colonel O’Truth’s British and Scott’s Prussians/Zendarians.


I couldn’t find a range of 28mm late-19th century French who conveyed that particular Gallic look I was after. So I settled on the French Foreign Legionaries in Foundry’s range of Western figures.  While they didn’t quite capture the exact look either, they were so character-filled in other ways that I couldn’t resist them.

One thing I really liked about these figures was their comic-book style. They are nice and hefty figures, with wonderfully chunky features and exaggerated expressions. I know some wargamers look down on such non-anatomically correct figures – but I think they have a charm of their own.  


For some VSF mechanical weirdness with which to arm my legionnaires, I bought a box of toys made by Bandai in Japan, based on the anime movie Steamboy. Although they were all differing scales, and not designed for 28mm figures, I thought that I could convert them to fit.

For example, the above armed steam tractor is in fact scaled for about 15mm figures. But as demonstrated by temporarily placing a 28mm figure behind it, it could possibly work as a smaller vehicle. As there is no room for a 28mm crew behind the gun shield at the front, I planned to convert the cannon into a gatling gun, connected to the driver’s position by guitar string conduits with which he could fire remotely.


Here’s a rather weird contraption to say the least. At the front is a peculiar bogie with road/rail wheels surmounted by the driver’s chair, behind which is a robot-like vertical boiler with arms. A raked horizontal boiler leads to the stoker’s cab perched just in front of the huge single driving wheel.

Again, it’s miles too small for 28mm (probably more about 10mm in this case). But with some work it could change from being a large road train to a much smaller sort of train-car-motorcycle thingumabob, with the driver sitting in the cab at the rear.

How long these models have been sitting ‘on the shelf’ can be gauged by the cobwebs and dust they are still covered in!


This walker is pretty good just as. I think in the movie it is actually a kind of diving suit. But here it could be a menacing armoured war-machine.

But how this tin-can could ever keep its balance in battle on those tiny trotters, I don’t know! It’s just asking for its legs to be lassoed and pulled over!


But in the end, as I’ve said, the project petered out, and here are the only figures I ended up painting for it. However, they are still very nice and characterful figures in wonderfully flamboyant uniforms, and so I rather like this little force. Maybe one day I’ll add its VSF equipment.

But in the meantime it is perfectly suitable for the period these figures were actually made for: the ill-fated ‘Maximilian Adventure’ to place a Hapsburg emperor on the Mexican throne during the 1860s, the scene of one of the Foreign Legion’s finest hours—the last stand at Camarone. I just need some Mexicans …

Don’t forget to visit my other On Parade! postings, in which I’m gradually doing inspection parades of every army in my wargaming collection.

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.


New blog by maker of that wonderful wild west town

The maker of Leadwood, the Wild West town that featured on this blog recently and that met with rave reviews, has now started his own blog: Colonel O’Truth’s Miniature Issues.

Besides more shots of Leadwood itself, Joe (aka Colonel O’Truth) has posted pictures of his scratch-built steam-punk walker and his pirate town project. He also plans to take us through a step-by-step guide on how he produces his amazing buildings.  

Well worth a look: http://colonelotruth.blogspot.com/

One of the nicest wargames terrains I’ve ever seen

No, this is not a film  set.  It is part of an amazing wargames terrain depicting a Wild West town.  This has just got to be one of the nicest terrain pieces I’ve ever seen here in New Zealand.

Joe, from Paraparaumu in New Zealand,  has hand-built this town on a 4’x4′ board.  The board comes apart into two pieces for portability, and he has even purpose-built cases for carry ing the terrain boards safely.  

What is cool is that Joe has used  film-set concepts such as the curving street to give an illusion of larger size.  There are also cut-off buildings at the edges of the board to add to the feeling of the scenery carrying on. 

The detail, as you can see from the following photos, is absolutely amazing.  Your eye is attracted to all sorts of little vignettes, like the coffin lids stacked outside the undertaker’s office.

The buildings are all permanently set into the board.  Despite this, the terrain is designed with so many entrance points that it can be used repeatedly for ‘The Rules With No Name’ gunfight games.   We also anticipate that the terrain, with a few tree-ferns dotted in for local colour, could double for the New Zealand Wars.

[photos by Greg Simmonds]

Washing hanging on the line, while nearby nooses wait for a hanging. Don’t forget to click on this and the other pictures to enlarge them to their full glory!

The brick bank sports some very nifty window bars to keep out the ne’er-do-wells. This picture also shows the effect of the curving street to make the board appear larger.

A stream flows behind the buildings, crossed by a rickety bridge, and powering the town mill.  Note the little outhouse poised to drop its contents into the water!

Note the barber’s pole and down the side of the building the stacked coffin lids (handily placed near the town gallows).  Back alleys provide lots of scope for gun-fighting adventures.

 The apothecary seems to be run by those notorious Perry twins – just what don’t they have their hands in?!

Shouldn’t that sign say: ‘Drugs, Remedies, Medical Supplies and Tin Soldiers’?