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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Projects, Projects and Projects

I think most miniature gamers at one time or another get into the same dilemma that I find myself in now: so many miniatures, so little time. The amount and variety of good, quality miniatures and periods available literally stagger the mind (at least for this gamer, that is!). It's come a long way since the early 1970's with my plastic 20mm Airfix figures.

I usually have multiple gaming projects going on concurrently; some take longer than others. In early 2001 I was trying the Ancients Rules De Bellis Multitudinis (DBM) I knocked out a Late Roman Army in 15mm in about 2 months.

Love that Late Roman Period!

I've been working on my 28mm Napoleonics for about 5 or 6 years (sigh). Yep, some projects take longer than others.

So why did I finish the 15mm Late Roman army so quickly? Motivation. I was invited to play in a DBM tournament and I needed an army. Nothing like motivation to get that paint brush painting. It also helps if the period or army you want to game is interesting to you (why would you paint it otherwise?). Another factor that helps is if you have a group to regularly game with. Unfortunately, right now where I currently live (other than my 5 Honorable sons) most of the historical gamers I have found live about an hour away. When you have to paint both sides in a battle, it does take longer. As I mentioned, I'm feel like I'm treading water - time to finish a project. So I'm systematically doing a mental inventory of what I have done, what periods I like, what I have and where I want to go.

Projects that are kinda sorta done. Shiny new units and additions are always welcome!

1. The Late Roman Period in 28mm. I'm probably going to add a few Huns here and there and maybe one or two more infantry guys to the units. Yeah, and the cavalry needs to be beefed up . . .

Like I said, you can never have enough barbarians.

2. The War of Spanish Succession in 15mm. Essentially done here with about 50 infantry regiments, 25 cavalry, etc. What needs to be finished is the artillery, which I have, and the odd unit that catches my eye.

Linear Warfare in the Grand Style.

3. The Afrika Korps in 15mm. I'm pretty sure I'm done with this army and happy with the way it turned out.

Gaming in the Desert.

4. German WWII army for the European Theater: 1942 - 1945. Another army that is basically done. I may add the odd vehicle, tank or command stand.

5. Warmaster Fantasy Army in 10mm. Now here's a good debate - is it done or not? I have a gazillion Elves, Dwarves, Ogres, Trolls and a total of 2 (count them) 2 "human" units. Might have to add some forces for the human race, but currently I don't have any. By the way, Warmaster is one of the most playable and innovative rule sets out there and has spawned a historical Warmaster Ancients, many variants for other periods and is the basis for the new Blackpowder rules.

Guess I need to take some pictures of my Warmaster Figures.

6. The American Civil War in 15mm. I use the rules Fire and Fury and recommend to any one starting out that this is a good period to start with. Most everyone knows something about the Civil War and most of the "basic" units are fairly easy to paint.

Anyway, I've come to a point where I want to focus on one or another project and I need to decide which one:

1. The Napoleonic Peninsular Project for Volley and Bayonet. My longest, longest long range project. Those Airfix 20mm plastic Napoleonic miniatures are what got me to fight out battles on the tabletop. I've been working on both the French Army (plus allies) and an Anglo-Portuguese army in 28mm ever since I sold my 15mm collection around 8 years ago.

Mon Dieu!!! Where is the rest of the Grande Armee?

2. The Indian Mutiny in 28mm. Scratch what I said above; this is really my longest, longest long-range project. I started doing the Indian Mutiny in 28mm in late 1999. Again, I've been doing both sides. I love this period!

Old Glory Miniatures Highlander officer.

This is one of my favorites from Wargames Foundry Miniatures.

Royal Artillery by Old Glory Miniatures.
3. German WWII Paratroopers in 15mm. I have everything I need for this army as other German forces that I have can support them. Just need to paint a lot of paratroopers.

4. American WW II Paratroopers in 15mm. I've done a few test figures, have some forces but need to get painting.

5. English Civil War in 28mm. Another one of my most favorite periods. I use to have a large collection of 15mm which I sold.

Now I want to do the English Civil War in 28mm. With Warlord Games extensive range of hard plastic and metal miniatures, I'm itching to get back into it. I've purchased 4 boxes of their hard mutlti-part hard plastic and I have done "part" of one unit. In addition, I picked up some extra Wargames Foundry command on eBay.

Wargames Foundry Officer.

Hard Plastic Pikes from Warlord Games.

Decisions, decisions! Which should I finish? Time to do some thinking this weekend.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Family History and the Peninsular War Part 2

I have started my research of the units that my ancestors served in during the Peninsular War. Allan M'Dougall was a Lieutenant in the 38th Regiment who died at the age of 22 unmarried. The 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot was formed in 1705 and amalgamated into the South Staffordshire Regiment in 1881. Later the South Staffords were amalgamated with the North Staffordshire Regiment in 1959 to form the Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales).

In the spring of 1985 as a first lieutenant I was the the Executive Officer (XO) of Combat Support Company (CSC), 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry. At that time, 2/47 Infantry was part of the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, WA. When I was the XO of CSC our battalion hosted the Staffordshire Regiment for combined training. Little did I know at the time that an ancestor of mine had served with that unit during the Peninsular War!

Battle Honors for the Peninsular War are:
  • Rolica
  • Vimiera
  • Corunna
  • Busaco
  • Badajos
  • Salamanca
  • Vittoria
  • St Sebastian
  • Nive
  • Peninsula

Dog Fight: Starship Edition

Games are supposed to be fun; that's why we call them games. I have found a fun game. Well, actually, the game found me. Dog Fight: Starship Edition ( is a collectable card game with a table top/miniature component.

I have recently joined a new small group at church and to my surprise, there is a game designer in the group! Michael Fox is the designer of Dog Fight: Starship Edition and he offered to come on over to my house and demonstrate the game. Involved in the play test was myself, Michael, Honorable Son #5 and new acquaintance Jim Abernathy. I loved the game.

The game is played on a hexagonal star map which is available for free as a downloadable PDF file from And did I mention that the rules are also free? Each player controls a star ship (I commanded the mighty, but slow, FAS Intrepid) and has a card for the ship that provides the movement, attack, hull strength and the amount of "energy" the ship starts with.

The Mighty FAS Intrepid

Players have cards that can customize their ship; e.g., special weapons, more armor, engineering crews to repair damage, etc. and a deck of cards that drives the actions and events in the game.

Players can have up to 10 cards in their hand that they "deploy" during "tiers" that allows the ships to attack, move or allows them to draw more cards or energy.

The USPV Inferno, commanded by Honorable Son #5

I downloaded the rules ahead of time and it took Michael about 10 minutes to review the basic game outline. Honorable Son #5, who is 9, was able to grasp the rules and concepts immediately and came close to winning the first game. The game is easy to learn but hard to master! With the combination of cards and the ability to customize your deck, each ship has tactics and techniques it can employ to defeat it's opponents.

Though the game is easy to learn, it is challenging and engaging for adults (do I move in close now and use my torpodoes doubling the damage against that enemy ship . . . or should I hide behind that planet, repair my ship and launch the less powerful) missiles? Since the first game on 11/13/10, my son and I have played a 5 games. With two players, each game takes about 30 minutes. The game also has advanced rules (fighters, space stations) and optional rules that increase the difficulty of the game.

There is a great video review of the game here: Currently there are 6 one ship starter decks that are $8.00 US Dollars, 2 ship packs for $12.00 US Dollars and various other combinations available through the website. One aspect I like is the ability to build your own booster pack. Who wants to keeping on buying booster packs trying to get the one card you want?

The graphics are excellent, the game mechanics smooth, and it neatly combines with miniature gaming. What more could you ask for?

We played the game using miniatures from Games Workshop. The game can work with any miniatures set.

Captain Honorable Son#5 smiles after Dad's ship explodes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wargames Foundry British Artillery WIP #4 and Done

Finished the first two batteries of the Royal Artillery for the British Army in the Peninsular. I'm going to work on the table of organization for the British Army today for Volley and Bayonet; but I think I'm going to do two more batteries of the Royal Artillery and then 2 batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery.

Again, a special thank you goes to Honorable Son #5 who helped with the pictures and the setting up of the terrain for the final pictures.

Family History and the Peninsular War

Fortunately for me, my Uncle Gus has done a great job in researching our ancestors. Since I've been on a Napoleonic kick lately, finding some ancestors in actual units of the Napoleonic Wars gives me an incentive to paint. Since my middle name is Campbell, you can probably guess which army they served in:
Colin Campbell, Laird of Kilmartin from 1856 to 1861. Colin was born on June 14th, 1828 and was the second and only surviving son of Alexander Campbell. He married his cousin Helen Charlotte on September 14th, 1856. She is the daughter of his uncle, Major Neil Campbell (my 3rd Great Grandfather).

Colin's father was Alexander Campbell (my 3rd Great Uncle), 4th son of Colin Mor of Kimartin (my 4th Great Grandfather). He studied medicine but during the Peninsular War received a commission in the 77th Regiment of Foot and was a lieutenant in 1814.

Colin's mother was Catharine M'Dougall and her brothers were:

1. Coll, Captain of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment (The Black Watch). He retired as a consequence of a wound which ultimately caused his death.

2. Kenneth, also an officer of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment. He was wounded in the foot at the Battle of Nivelle in 1813 and died from its effects in 1827.

The above is not the 42nd Highland Regiment but the 79th Highland Regiment. I'm going to do the 42nd next.

3. Allan who was a Lieutenant in the 38th Regiment who died at the age of 22 unmarried.

4. Robert who was an ensign in the 71st Highland Light Infantry. He died of measles soon after entering Paris in 1815 at the age of 19.

The 71st Highland Light Infantry.

By my count I need to research and paint the 42nd Highlanders, the 38th Regiment of Foot and the 77th Regiment of Foot. Now there's a incentive to Paint!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wargames Foundry British Artillery WIP #3

Slowly but surely Honorable Son #5 and I are making progress on the Royal Artillery.

For the jackets I decided to use GW's Royal Blue and the lace is Sunbright Yellow. Unless I use a base of white you usually need to give yellow two coats as it does not show up very well on dark colors.

Figures and cannon drying on their bases; and yes I glued the labels first! English Civil War pikemen in the background.

The faces still look dark and are not finished yet. I use a brown wash on the skin surfaces to give them some depth. After the figures dry (because I forgot to do it!) I will go back and lighten the highlights of their faces.