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Friday, February 25, 2022

WoFun Miniatures Peninsular War Starter Set Part 1: The Anglo-Portuguese Army

Okay, here is the solution to the problem I laid out in my last post about getting back to Napoleonic Gaming: WoFun Miniatures. When Peter Dennis started coming out with his illustrated paper armies that could be reproduced, I thought that was a great concept. Then I read an article about his partnership with WoFun Miniatures in Wargames Illustrated. WoFun is based in Romanian and they have patented a process to take take Peter's figures, already colored, and print them in plexiglass available in 18mm and 28mm. Huzzah! Instant armies! And the savings in price!

The box. From the time I placed my order it was 12 calendar days for my order to arrive from Romania and delivered in the United States.

What I plan to do is break down my order in several posts so you have an opportunity to see these great miniatures and the cost savings involved. Now don't get me wrong, the most enjoyable part of the hobby for me is researching and painting figures. But this option allows me to start gaming at an extremely reasonable price.

What they look like out of the box.

I decided to go with the 18mm option and here is what I ordered:

2. Dutch Infantry.
3. Hesse-Darmstadt Infantry.
4. Nassau Infantry.
5. Portuguese Line Infantry.
6. British Dragoons.
7. British Infantry Center Companies Blue Facings (it is really white facings, a typo on the website.).
8. Swiss Infantry.
9. French Chasseurs a Cheval.

Subtotal: $260.85 US
Shipping: $16.65 US
Total: $275.50 US

That's right folks: approximately 1,055 painted figures, with bases for $275.50. When ordering you have the option of selecting the "WoFun" standard bases which for 18mm Infantry is an additional $3.05. You can also select the "No bases" option and then go to their base products and select the bases you want in order to base them how you want depending on your ruleset, how you like your figures to look, etc. The last option is to get bases from another source. I'm lazy, I went with the "WoFun" standard bases.

So what do you get from the Peninsular War Starter Pack? Here is the description straight from the WoFun website and is based on the WoFun standard bases option:

The Peninsular War 18 mm Starter Pack in 18mm contains 387 characters on 5 sprues and a PDF set of wargaming rules for battles written by Andy Callan. The PDF rules will be available on your site account in the download section right after you place the order. No paints, no glue – all the hard work has already been done for you!

PDF Rules in color! Pretty cool with basic and advanced rules. (Photo courtesy of WoFun Games)

The Allied Army has seven units:

3 battalions of Infantry (two British, one Portuguese) of 5 companies (4 for the Portuguese) plus a

Command company (a Command strip including a flag, with 2-3 figurines in the rear rank).

A detachment of Skirmishers (6 companies) (British Riflemen (Greenjackets) and Light Infantry)

A Regiment of Cavalry, of 5 companies

2 Foot artillery companies.

The Army has 30 companies plus one mounted General giving a total Army Strength of 31.

The Army strength number is used later in the game to measure Victory in the rules provided.

The French Army is organized in the same way except all three battalions have 6 companies and

the skirmishers are 6 companies of Voltigeurs (muskets), for a total Army Strength of 32.

A Company (base) of Infantry has 2 ranks of 4 figurines

A Company of Skirmishers has 3 figurines, in 2 ranks

A Company of Cavalry has 2 ranks of 3 figurines

A Company of Artillery has a cannon and a crew of 4 figurines

First up the Allied Army and I will cover the French in the next post:

The Duke of Wellington would be so proud.

Generic yellow faced British Infantry Unit.

Above you can see the standard organization of the units I put together. They literally took me about 3 or 4 minutes to put together. My recommendation when placing the figures in the slot is to hold them firmly on both sides when inserting and start with the bank rank of the base. I learned the hard way, because I wasn't careful that the muskets can snap off when put the figures in the slot. Fortunately I only did this once, and since they are Plexiglas, I easily glued the top of the musket back on with superglue.

Highlanders! What a treat. By the way, the line in the center of the base is to help you measure from the center of the unit which is needed for some of the shooting and fighting in the provided rules.

The Portuguese unit is the Loyal Lusitanian Regiment.

British Light Dragoon unit.

British Light Infantry skirmish unit.

British Rifles skirmish unit.

Okay. The artillery. They are MDF and take your time. I'm not a great modeler and I broke several support pieces; fortunately they come with extra support pieces. WoFun also has an MP4 file which I wish I had seen earlier on how to assemble the guns. The gun and crew on the left are Portuguese; but oddly, the gun on the right has a mixture of Royal Artillery crewman with Royal Horse artillery. I'll be able to correct this in the future when I buy more artillery and swap out the crew. Needless to say the guns are out of proportion to the crew - but hey, it's okay for gaming.

Now the general for the Allied force is odd as it appears to me to be a French Cavalry General or some other French General or possible Aide de camp. I need to pull out my uniform references as I'm pretty sure that it is not British or Portuguese. Later I will be buying the Allied Generals and Officer pack so this will be corrected.

18mm Flat size comparison with Battle Honours Flames of War WW II 15mm American Rangers.

18mm Flat size comparison with a Copplestone 28mm figure from the Back of Beyond Range. The other scale WoFun produces is in 28mm.

Next: The French Army from the WoFun Miniatures Peninsular War Starter Set.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Secret Project Number One: Back to Where my Miniature Gaming Started

Secret projects. We all love them. I mentioned that I had two in my 2022 plan, if approved by the Ministry of Finance. I am pleased to announce that Secret Project Number One is a go. The project I am referring to is getting back to my gaming roots. Though I have really enjoyed the projects and armies I have done over the last 6 years there has been a nagging feel by Derek and the Dominoes just started on my playlist. Nothing like great music to write, paint and game by!)

Once upon a time, there was a boy whose father gave him a copy of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs and I was forever hooked. I traveled to Barsoom, and then Pellucidar and then the Hyberion Age with a certain famous barbarian who would be king.

It wasn't long after that I was in Lost Worlds, traveling with Lord Greystoke and fighting evil with The Shadow.  About the same time I discovered 1/72 scale Airfix plastic figures and a company called Avalon Hill. My father bought me my first board game, Stellar Conquest and I bought my second - Panzer Blitz.  Not bad for someone who was 11 . . . and the rest they say is history.

Yep. It's all Arfix's fault.

It was the plastic 1/72 scale Airfix Napoleonic figures that first really got me interested in gaming and collecting soldiers as a kid. Both my brothers got hooked too with gaming; but it was my brother who is 2 years younger than me (The Marine) who was my companion and explorer as we built miniature armies to fight the wars of Napoleon.

Go ahead. Try to guess my age!

We were making up our own rules and I bought a book called Wargaming for Beginners.
 Then I discovered Bruce Quarrie's Airfix gaming guide, that eventually became Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature that got be hooked on real wargaming with toy soldiers when I was a teenager.

A bit worn about the edges - but what a classic!

I have recently discovered this book and the rules that come with them and I'm going to give them a try.
In tribute to my first love of miniature gaming, I have decided that it's time to get back into Napoleonic gaming; specifically the Peninsular war. The challenge is:

1. Getting enough figures to fight big battles. For me, Napoleonic's need to involve battles of Brigade level or higher.

2. Painting the figures. It was the age of the "Military Tailor" and the uniforms are colorful. I'm basically a 25 to 28mm painter these days. It takes time to paint figures and I want to fight battles now! (Selfish, aren't I?)

3. Painting services (and figures too) are expensive.

4. I don't want to interrupt the other projects I am working on.

I'm still working on my Anglo-British Army.

So what to do?

Next: What to do.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Travel Time!

 It’s a long delayed travel time; but don’t worry, I’ll be back! Meanwhile enjoy these “attack of the dire wolves” pictures. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Mahbub Ali "The Red Beard"


"When a colt is born to be a polo pony, I think it would be a crime to bind him to a heavy cart."

Mahbub Ali is a famous Ghilzai Pashtun horse trader from Afghanistan, known for the quality of the horses he purchases and sells in the British Raj. He is quite wealthy and his nickname is "The Red Beard". In his travels he becomes a father figure and mentor to a young boy of the streets whose name is Kim; but his real name is Kimball O'Hara, an Irish orphan so immersed in the local culture that few realize he is a white child, although he carries a packet of documents from his father entrusted to him by an Indian woman who cared for him.

The young Kim lives a vagabond existence in India under British rule in the late 19th century, and he earns his living by begging and running small errands on the streets of Lahore. He occasionally works for Mahbub Ali, who is secretly one of the native operatives of the British secret service and his official registration number as a spy is C.25.  Mahbub Ali, one of the best, reports directly to the head of the British Secret Service in India, Colonel Creighton – British Army officer, ethnologist, and one who is not afraid to do field work.

Mahbub Ali and Colonel Creighton

I have based my figure of Mahbub Ali both on the novel Kim (Paid Link), by Rudyard Kipling and the 1950 movie (Paid Link) of the same name starring Errol Flynn as Mahbub Ali and a young Dean Stockwell as Kim. 

The figure was a pretty easy conversion as 97% of it consists of parts from the Perry Miniatures hard plastic box Afghan Tribesmen (Paid Link). After putting the basic figure together I added a kulla (the pointed hat sticking through the top of the turban) that I trimmed and shaped from the plastic sprue and then just glued it to the top. There were no hands/arms in the box that would hold a tulwar (sword) so I cut off the hand from a left arm and added a hand from the Gripping Beast Viking Hirdmen box. (Paid Link) I then added a hard plastic cape from an old GW plastic Pistoliers Box and once that dried, added a loose turban wrap from the Afghan box (Paid Link). The lesson? SAVE THOSE BITS!

"Son of 10,000 maggots. Mudhead, thy mother was born under a basket."
Here are some recommended rules for using Mahbub Ali (not play tested yet!) for The Men Who Would be Kings (Paid Link):

1. Mahbub Ali can be added to any British Indian Army Regular Infantry, Irregular Infantry, Regular Cavalry  (yep, going to make one of those too!) and Irregular Cavalry unit and if so, the following upgrades are available: 

a. Fierce (Infantry only): +1 point
b. He knows the Way! (Infantry only): Not slowed by Difficult Ground; +1 point.
c. Sharpshooters (Infantry only): +1 point
d. He knows where they are! (Infantry and Cavalry): All Hidden Units are no longer hidden; +1 point.

Mahbub Ali becomes an extra figure added to the unit; it does not count toward morale purposes, shooting or fighting. If the unit takes casualties, first roll for the unit leader and if he survives, roll for Mahbub Ali. If he is a casualty, all bonuses are lost except Hidden Units. If the unit is reduced to just the leader and Mahbub Ali, if the officer is killed, Mahbub sneaks away and lives to fight another day. If the leader is killed and it is an Indian Native unit, Mahbub takes over with a leadership of 6+ and no Leader Traits.

Russian spies that are very conspicuous along the frontier (yep, some more conversions coming!).

Here is a recommended Profile for Mahbub Ali for In Her Majesty's Name (US Link and UK and Europe Link):

Name: Mahbub Ali
Pluck: 3+
Move: 6 inches
Run: 3 inches
Fighting Value: +4
Shooting Value: +4
Speed: +1
Talents: Fearless, Hero +2 HP, Leadership +2, Marksman, Skirmisher, Stealth Attack, Stealthy, Tough
Basic Equipment: Muzzle-loading Rifle (Jezail, a precision weapon and has a range of 24"), Sword (Tulwar), Large Knife
Armor: 9 (Brigadine)
Points: 100

Mahbub Ali may also choose the following talents: Cavalry and Trick Riding. If he has these talents he can also (duh) have a horse. He may join any British Army, British Indian Army, British Spy Organization, British Affiliated Adventuring Company, and British Affiliated Pashtun Adventuring Company.

"Mahbub Ali does not die tonight!"