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Thursday, May 18, 2023

My (Semi) Historical Late 19th Century Indian Army (Part One)

Yep. My games have a bit of Hollywood flair to them!

 As I have mentioned before, I'm a big Dave Mersey fan and my choice for gaming Colonial conflicts from approximately 1850 to 1914 is The Men Who Would be Kings. Based on the popular Knight Rampant, I love the approach that allows me to tailor the scenarios and forces in a realistic manner without getting bogged down in too many charts and mechanics. In addition, it's fun, fast playing, and allows me to have a "Hollywood" type of game!

As I started building my Indian Army, I did not have a particular table of organization (TO&E) or conflict in mind; I was picking units that I thought looked cool. As the force slowly took shape, I started focusing on the Northwest Uprising of 1897 - 1898 and still decided to pick units that looked cool! So don't expect to see the actual Indian Army forces organized by the historical TO&E when the uprising starts.

The first unit I painted were the 19th Punjabis consisting of these wonderful sculpts from Copplestone Miniatures from their "Back of Beyond" range and one Indian Officer from Artizan Designs. I love the way this unit turned out and it looks ready for action. The only problem is that they are uniformed and equipped for the early 20th Century with magazine fed rifles which Indian troops did not have at the time of the uprising. But they look cool - plus the commanding officer has a Wolseley helmet! Yep. And that is my interpretation of Rudyard Kipling.

Next up, also from Coppleston Miniatures, also from the "Back of Beyond Range" is the The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). Why did I do this unit? I love Wolseley helmets. As time went on the the collection, research and building of the force. the Royal Fusiliers are more appropriate for the early 20th Century as I was evolving my Indian Army forces to be from the 2nd Afghan War to the Boxer Rebellion. But they look cool! Last year I made the decision to auction them on eBay and they were able to provide some much needed funds from the Ministry of Finance to purchase the figures for the time period I wanted.

The Royal Regiment of Chaimbellistan

During my research I discovered, and had no idea, about the Princely Realms of India and the Imperial Service troops raised by the Princely States. So I decided to have my own Princely State and started working on the Imperial Service Troops of the Princely State of Chaimbellistan which is ruled by Maharaja Tukoii Rao II Holkar which is the setting for most of the (fictional) Anglo-Russian War. After looking at various ceremonial units, as I wanted the Royal Regiment to stand out, I became a fashion designer and designed the uniform of the Royal Regiment. All figures are by Artizan Designs (US Link and UK/EU,etc. Link) except for the European Advisor who is from Copplestone Castings (US Link and UK/EU,etc.).

The Himachal Militia known for its fierceness, marksmanship, and banditry.

Most of the militia of Chaimbellistan is little more than a rabble, but the Himachal Militia from the mountainous region near the village of Malana, not far from a tributary of the Amu Darya River, have a reputation for fierceness, marksmanship, banditry, smuggling, fixed card games, goat races, etc. As I am putting the forces of the British Raj and the fictional Princely State of Chaimbellistan together for The Men Who Would Be Kings, I wanted to have a mix of Regular, Irregular, and Tribal Forces. Thus enter the Himachal Militia/Bandits/Smugglers - you get the picture. Figures are from Pulp Figures.


1. Picking units because they look cool!
2. A controversy of color.
3. Turbans!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Most Viewed Post of 2022: WoFun Miniatures Peninsular War Starter Set Part 1: The Anglo-Portuguese Army

 Yes I am still catching up. With 825 views, closely followed by WoFun Miniatures Peninsular War Starter Set Part 2: The French Army with 518 views, here is the most viewed post from 2022:

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.

Friday, May 12, 2023

2023: The Plan

"You do realize it's May already?"
The Great Move is (mostly) over and I'm getting ready to start ramping up hobby time. I have had more success with my hobby by developing a plan over the last few years and 2023 will be no exception. This year will be a little different though. On with the plan!
1. Paint miniatures for Ogre. I love Ogre. It was one of the first games I purchased as a youngster and Honorable Son #3 (The Engineer) loves the game and bought the latest version which is a lot bigger that the pocket sized edition I had!  So of course I bought him Ogre game miniatures for the game and now that I can throw a rock and hit where he lives, it'll be time for some giant cybernetic tank action. Before I moved, I did some test paints for him to see if they fit his vision and I'm glad to say that they did. Some white spray paint and GW contrast paints; hopefully it won't take me too long to finish the project . . . and I am looking forward to painting the Mark III and V Ogres.
Part of the game board.
Heavy Tank.
The Ground Effect Vehicle (GEV) is excellent for hit and run.

The poor bloody infantry. Do not underestimate them!
2. The Northwest Frontier circa 1890. I use the rules The Men Who Would be Kings for my Colonial battles. My initial Indian Army is almost finished but the Pashtun/Afghan Tribal force is falling behind. 
    a.  Pashtun/Afghan Tribal force. When finished the core force will be:
        3 Irregular Infantry of 12 figures each.
        2 Tribal Infantry of 16 figures each.
        1 BFG.
The BFG.
    So far I have completed one Irregular Infantry, 1/2 of the second Irregular Infantry unit, one Tribal Infantry unit and the BFG. My goal this year is to finish the 1 1/2 units of Irregular Infantry and one more Tribal unit. All of the figures (with the exception of the BFG crew) are hard plastic miniatures from Perry Miniature's Afghan Tribesmen Box.

     b. Indian Army. Before we decided to move I was planning on adding 1 Highlander unit, 1 Sikh unit and 1 Ghurka unit. I have scaled this back for this year and plan on painting the Gordon Highlanders. Miniatures will be from Perry Miniatures.

3. Learn/play at least two new miniature games (well new to me anyway). Here is a hint of one of them:

4. Play some games and meet new gamers
Three of my Honorable Sons live near me now that I have moved and Honorable Son #2 (The Captain) has already committed to playing the French and Indian War using Rebels and Patriots.

We are definitely going to play a big battle Napoleonic game since I have never defeated Honorable Son #4 (The Greatest 18th Century General who ever Lived) in a game with muskets. Of course there will be some action on the Northwest Frontier and I'm sure we will get and English Civil War game in too. And who knows, maybe we will end up in an area of space a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I'm looking forward to meeting hobbyists in the area and have already checked out two stores.

Well that's the plan. Time to execute.