Saturday, October 22, 2016

1866 and All That

No, not the Austro-Prussian War, but the Fenian Raid of 1866 that resulted in the Battle of Ridgeway!

Fenian soldier
For years (and I do mean years) I have wanted to game the Battle of Ridgeway.  The issue has been locating suitable figures in 15mm and how to make the game suitable for four players or so.  For rules I have always wanted to use Fire and Fury (or the more recent Regimental Fire and Fury) with some sort of scale reduction, but figures were always the issue.  The Fenians are fairly easy, a mix of Federal infantry and dismounted cavalry would do nicely, painted in various blues and greens, but the Canadian forces have been an conundrum.  One could use Crimean War British but the shako isn't quite right.  One could use early Maori War British, but again the headgear, unless one wants to use the pork-pie hat, didn't work for me either.  So while I have collected books, started a Yahoo discussion group*, and thought about doing something many times, I have never gone forward with buying figures as I simply could not find what "felt right" in 15mm.

I had at one time even had a Eureka 300 Club offering that did meet the required 600 figures ordered by ten or more interested parties, but for some reason the figures were never put into production.

Over the years of discussing this very topic on the Yahoo group, Bill Braham was working an angle with Pendraken to do a range of 10mm figures ideal for 1866.  I never really wanted to drop down to 10mm as I have plenty of Federal 15mm figures I was going to use for the Fenians, but without true choices in 15mm, I have decided that 10mm is my path.

Pendraken did release a fairly complete line for 1866 about four years ago.  This includes infantry in various poses (marching, firing, running, kneeling),  foot command, rifle command, cavalry, guns with crew, along with field officers and generals.  The infantry is in the shako while the cavalry is in the pork pie cap.  For the Battle of Ridgeway one really only needs infantry and command, as the Canadians did not have guns nor mounted forces present, but these do come in handy if doing a mini-campaign as there were other forces nearby that did included a mounted and artillery arm.

Going with 10mm will mean that I will need to buy Federal troops to use as Fenians, but as the cost of a 10mm figure is rather low (at the time of this posting .17 cents per figure), the investment is minimal.

Next post will be about figure scale and basing figures to use with Regimental Fire and Fury.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The War of 1812 or Dipping My Toes in the Water Once Again

A few years ago I was working on a War of 1812 project, using the excellent Knuckleduster 28mm figures, and I had a dedicated blog.  Alas, space became a concern so a hard decision had to be made, so I sadly sold off my figures and closed the blog.  But the period does keep calling to me, and in looking at the fine range of Blue Moon 15/18mm figures, I may have a way to get back into this period.

I live in the old Northwest Territory, which saw a share of skirmishes, battles, and even sieges during the war.  There are also "massacres," raids, and naval battles.  Starting with Tippecanoe in 1811, the Northwest Territory offers a wide variety of troop types as one can game encounters with frontier militia, Indians, and regulars.  Whatever your cup of tea might be, one can find it in the old Northwest. 

I already have the naval aspect covered with the Battle of Lake Erie covered in two scales, and I even moderate a small Yahoo group that covers this battle.  So from a naval point of view, I am set.

For land engagements, there are numerous directions I could start.  Tippecanoe sees frontier militia and a regiment of U.S. Regulars against the Indian Confederation based along the Wabash in Indiana.  There is also Fort Meigs, which would involve a large fort to be assembled, and I really do not have the space for that.  Fort Stephenson would be a much smaller fort, with U.S. and British regulars as the primary players.  Hull's movements near Detroit offer a few ambushes by Indians against U.S. detachments.  Of course there are the actions near the Straights of Mackinac, and other affairs along the Mississippi.

Regardless of what action one wants to focus on, the forces are relatively small, which can translate to a smaller amount of figures to purchase and paint, depending on what rules one decides to use.

As always, more on this as I decide what battle to concentrate on and what rules I will use!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Plum Run Point - Part the Next: Confederates!

Picture from Pithead Miniatures' website
Thank you, Pithead Miniatures!  In such timely fashion they have released the Confederate Mississippi River Defense Fleet, in 1/1200.  These are of course, or maybe not of course for those who do not have knowledge of Plum Run Point, the ideal opponents for my burgeoning fleet of Thoroughbred's Cairo class river ironclads.  

I was tipped off by a post on The Wargames Website that these lovely resin castings had been released, so I immediately rushed to place an order, cost before shipping being about $50.00.  Phil Ireson, the owner, contacted me to let me know if I didn't mind a bit of a wait that he would send me a corrected version of the CSS General Bragg, as the first casting he offered was actually the Bragg that the Federals captured and modified and not the version used by the Confederates.  Of course I did not mind a wait for the correct model!
After a couple of weeks I received my order from the U.K.  While these Pithead castings might not quite on par with Thoroughbred's gorgeous models, they are darn close!  As mentioned, they are mostly resin, with metal guns, stacks, and masts, to go along with resin hulls and superstructures.  

I have started putting a few of them together.  Four of the smaller vessels have separate superstructures that need to be glued to the provided hulls.  The four separate hulls are identical  The guns are tiny and a bit fiddly to work with, but that is because I do not have quick setting superglue to hold the guns into place.  Once I pick up some different super glue mounting the guns by using tweezers should be a breeze.

In summary (for now, more as I build, paint, and rate up these vessels for Smoke on the Water), this range from Pithead is not only a nice addition to the 1/1200 scale offerings currently on the market, but they really fill in an often overlooked area of the Civil War, the early battles on the interior river, like Plum Run Point!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Fort Laurens Project

For years I have tinkered with doing some sort of Revolutionary War scenario set in the west, west being at the time anything beyond the mountains of the eastern United States.  There are some options that folks do not realize, like Crawford's Defeat, George Rogers Clark's taking of Fort Sackville, the Battle of Peckuwe (Piqua), the Battle of Blue Licks, and other small actions in Kentucky.  Recently I visited Fort Laurens (well, the site of Fort Laurens as there is no fort to visit) and it has me interested in doing some sort of project based on the Fort Laurens "campaign" of 1778-79.

I have a slew of Blue Moon 15/18mm AWI figures already, many that I believe would be suited for the 8th Pennsylvania (officers in regimental coats, soldiers in mostly rifle frocks) and the 13th Virginia (blue regimental coats faced yellow).  I will have to see what I have for British officers and natives.

As for the fort itself, that becomes a bit more problematic.  Blue Moon produces some very nice frontier fort pieces, but many of their offerings aren't quite right for Fort Laurens, a couple of differences being the angled bastions and the single story barracks at the fort.  Yes, I could try to build my own fort, but I do not have the space to work on such a project, and really do not have the skills to pull off something respectable .  I could settle for what I can create with the Blue Moon pieces, but as mentioned the bastions and blockhouse would have to be somewhat different.  Doable I guess!

As always, more on this as I push forward with this and about a million other projects!

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Second Barbary Coast War

Time to get this project moving forward!  I have the terrain for North Africa, so just need to paint the figures and the Martello Tower from Thoroughbred and I can start hosting events.  So this weekend I spent getting the American Marines and their adversaries mounted onto 15mm round Litko bases in preparation for priming.  I am going to try a different method of painting these figures, taken from Legio Wargames, using a white primer (I usually go with black or dark gray) and the "secret ingredient" trick of washing the figure after priming and before base coating.  I typically prime, paint all areas, then wash.  I do not do outlining nor block painting, so attempting a new method is a bit daunting, but it will perhaps lead to a nicer looking figure.  Of course I will get a few pics posted on this painting process once I get to that point.

The American marines will look prim and proper in their navy blue jackets trimmed with red collar and cuffs and highlights of yellow braid, along with white pants, with reversed jacket colors for the drummers.  The Barbary pirates will be a mix of primary colors and I cannot wait to start painting them to see what I craziness I can create.

For rules I am still planning to do some sort of modification of Force on Force, but I am also willing to entertain suggestions.  Rules should cover morale, give different weapon ranges, use individually mounted figures, can handle large fortress guns (and eventually small ship bombardment), as well as house to house fighting (which is why I think Force on Force should work decently well).

Some resource links:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Basing the Legion - Part I

As you can tell by the lack of specific focus on this blog, I do have a bit of a problem staying on task when it comes to the hobby.  There are so many cool periods and so many fine manufacturers of these cool periods it is difficult not to stop and go "oh, shiny."  I am guessing that many of you have this same syndrome.

Back to the Legion of the United States...I simply must get something rolling with this period as the uniforms scream "oh, shiny" and there are great possibilities for skirmish, quasi-skirmish, and battle gaming, against pretty darn good native forces, that it just begs to be gamed!  Plus, I live near many of the sites and can visit them to wax my interests when needed.  Road trip, anyone?

I have settled on using Gettysburg Soldiers for the rules, at least at the moment.  I even came up with mods for GS to game the Legion that can be found on the GS forum.  Rules?  Check!

To mount the Legion and their Indian enemies, I will need to consider the GS rules guidelines for mounting and see if they will work with the Frying Pan & Blanket figures I am going to use.  What are those guidelines?  As follows (from the GS forum):

The Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery bases in our personal collection all have one (1) inch wide frontage.  The depth of the bases depends on types of figures.  Infantry can be 1" x 1", Cavalry can be 1" x 1.25" to accommodate the horses, Artillery Limber with Horse Team might need 1" x 2.5".

Okay, that is simple enough, and very much like Fire and Fury, a set I use for the Civil War, but....I had proposed the following mounting for my 1794 modifications as I think two ranks of figures simply look better:

93. Infantry are mounted on a ¾” wide by 1” deep stand, with four figures (two in first rank and two in rear rank). Cavalry are mounted on a 1” wide by 1” deep stand, with two figures. No need for dismounted cavalry figures. Scales have not changed…one stand is still 50 men and one inch is still 25 yards.

I will have to pull out the figures to see what will fit on a stand and what does wind up looking better (leaning towards the two ranks of figures, but might have to go to a one inch square stand to make the figures fit).  

For the Natives, there are a ton of options.  I could go with a scattering of figures on a one inch square stand, or mount the Indians individually and use horde type movement trays, but then that would most likely cause a frontage issue.  For the Wabash and Fallen Timbers battles, the Indians used (or tried to use for the latter battle) a crescent formation...basically one long angled line.  I believe that best be suited by two figures on a stand, in a single, slightly non-straight, rank.

Stay tuned as I tinker with the figures this week and settle on a mounting system!  Regardless of size, I will be using Litko bases, most likely in the 1.5mm thick plywood they offer.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Plum Point Bend - Part I: The Union

A multi-part series for my first foray into 1/1200 Civil War naval gaming....

I have settled on the Battle of Plum Point Bend as the basis for for my Civil War naval gaming.  

While the new range of Thoroughbred 1/1200 scale American Civil War vessels is currently a scattered mix of brown water and coastal offerings at the moment, I do want to start focusing my efforts on the first project I will work on using these ships and Smoke on the Water rules.  I have already purchased seven Cairo class ironclad gunboats from Thoroughbred, and using these as the basis for scenarios, will start a Plum Point Bend project.  Plum Point Bend sees six Cairos in action (Mound City, Carondelet, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cairo, and the St. Louis). Of course I am going to need a lot of other ships for this battle, and there are other companies offering some proxies for the various Confederate gunboats and the USS Benton, but I would hate buying other ships to only replace them in the future with further release from Thoroughbred.  I do have a few of the Titan resin ships, and they are rather inexpensive if I need to purchase more to fill in any holes until Thoroughbred releases the appropriate castings.  I would need to pick up their Benton, and that would complete the Union vessels needed for Plum Point Bend.
Titan's USS Benton

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Anglo-Persian War - Part I - Initial Thoughts/Figures

I love colonial gaming, I just never seem to get around to doing any.  I have started and stopped so many colonial projects as to be ridiculous, yet I keep getting pulled in.  What is it about colonial gaming?  British in their red coats?  Native hordes?  The chance that a native contingent could actually defeat a colonial power on occasion?  Exotic lands?  Strange troop types?  All of the above?  Yes!

My gaming buddy The G Dog has been running great Sikh War events in 25/28mm for years now, using Volley and Bayonet rules and mostly Foundry figures.  (Check out his Skill Level 0 blog)  While I really like the nearly complete and affordable range of 15mm offerings for the Sikh War manufactured by Black Hat, it would be rather silly doing a Sikh War project when one exists a half  hour away.  I have looked at doing some German colonial wars (that is another blog) but that would be more of a skirmish and not a large battle project.  Of course one could do the Mahdist Rebellion or the Zulu War, but everyone does those and I like the obscure.  I have looked at the Indian Mutiny, but the encounters are mostly sieges and hence not something I want to deal with (buying a slew of buildings is not something my wallet would want to deal with either).   

So, where does that leave me?  The Anglo-Persian War, of course!  

There are two companies making 15mm figures for the period, Irregular and Khurasan.  The Irregular range is far more complete at this time, and they look to be pretty decent castings.  They are also far less expensive than the Khurasan, and probably closer to 15mm in height.  The Khurasan figures were designed to fit with the larger 15/18mm figures currently on the market.  Chances are I will not be able to use the two ranges within the same unit, but perhaps I can add a few units of the Khurasan figures to the tabletop.  As noted previously, I do like to have my figures all from the same company for consistency, but the Khurasan figures are gorgeous and just too tempting not to use in some form.

Figures list:
Manufacturer Code Description
Irregular Miniatures FIEB01 Infantry in shell jacket advancing
Irregular Miniatures FIEB02 Infantry drummer
Irregular Miniatures FIEB03 Infantry standard bearer
Irregular Miniatures FIEB04 Infantry officer
Irregular Miniatures FIEB05 Light dragoon
Irregular Miniatures FIEB06 Gun & four crew
Irregular Miniatures FIP01 Regular infantry marching
Irregular Miniatures FIP02 Regular infantry drummer
Irregular Miniatures FIP03 Regular infantry standard bearer
Irregular Miniatures FIP04 Regular infantry officer
Irregular Miniatures FIP05 Russian Guard infantry standing
Irregular Miniatures FIP06 Russian Guard infantry standard bearer
Irregular Miniatures FIP07 Russian Guard infantry officer
Irregular Miniatures FIP08 Militia infantry with mace and shield
Irregular Miniatures FIP09 Regular cavalry lancer
Irregular Miniatures FIP10 Irregular cavalry with musket
Irregular Miniatures FIP11 Kurdish mailed heavy cavalry lancer
Irregular Miniatures FIP12 Camel mounted zambuck gunner
Irregular Miniatures FIP13 Gun & four crew
Irregular Miniatures FIP14 Gholam-Tufangchis or Jazaurchis provincial infantry with very long musket with bipod stand
Khurasan Miniatures QPIA Qajar Persian artillery crew
Khurasan Miniatures QPIC Qajar Persian infantry command
Khurasan Miniatures QPIM Qajar Persian infantry march attack
Khurasan Miniatures QPIS Qajar Persian infantry skirmishing/shooting

Until I receive the source materials I have ordered, I will not know what holes there may be for figures for this conflict, particularly for the Battle of Khushab, which is the largest action of the war, seeing about 4,600 British-led forces against 5,000 Persians.

One last thought for now:  Irregular also make a few Russian infantry figures for the theater which could serve as an ally for the Persians.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Summary of All Things Legion - Part III: Historic Sites

There are several sites that can be visited to learn more about the Legion of the United States and the short period in which they were in existence.  These range from simple roadside parks to a national battlefield.  The list below includes most of what the U.S. Army calls the Miami Campaign, so these sites cover roughly the period of 1790-95.

There are several other locations that may have a simple roadside marker, but those are so numerous as to be overwhelming.  These sites are worthy of a stop 

Tennessee

Tellico Blockhouse - ruins of a blockhouse that was manned by a detachment of Wayne's army.  Part of the Fort Loudoun State Park, and within sight of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Pennsylvania

Legionville - site of Wayne's camp during the winter of 1792-93.

St. Clair Cemetery - resting place of Arthur St. Clair

Wayne Blockhouse - first resting place of Anthony Wayne

Ohio

Butler County Soldiers, Sailors, and Pioneers Monument - site of Fort Hamilton.  Not only is the monument impressive, but there are numerous related markers in the immediate vicinity.

Big Bottom Memorial Park - Site of a "massacre" in 1791.

Fort St. Clair Park - Located in Eaton, this beautiful site has several historical markers covering a wide period of history.

Fort Jefferson Memorial Park - One of two forts built during St. Clair's ill-fated 1791 campaign, this quiet roadside park six miles from Greenville is one of my favorite places to just relax and ponder.  Several plaques donate areas that were important to the fort, and there are other markers that give the story of Fort Jefferson.

Garst Museum - located in Greenville, this museum covers a vast amount of local history, including Lowell Thomas and Annie Oakley, along with a room dedicated to Fort Greene Ville and the Indian Wars.

Fort Recovery State Museum - located where two battles took place (Battle of the Wabash and the Battle of Fort Recovery) the area is steeped in frontier history.  From the iconic monument a couple of blocks from the museum, to the two blockhouses, there is a lot to see.  The displays in the museum are very good.  Also has a shop with a good selection of related books (bring cash as the museum does not accept credit cards).

Old Fort Defiance Park - located at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee Rivers, this park has an excellent view, several markers, and is close to several other historic areas (Fort Winchester, Pontiac's birthplace, Johnny Appleseed).

Fallen Timbers Battlefield Memorial Park - Incorrectly located for the battle of Fallen Timbers, this is still a part of the general battlefield area and has several markers and monuments to read, and provides a nice view of the Maumee River.

Fallen Timbers National Historic Site - A newer unit of the National Park Service, this location is more correctly placed for the Battle of Fallen Timbers.  Interpretive trails and a new visitor's center enhance your visit.

Fort Miamis National Historic Site - Built by the British on American soil, it was here that the redcoats shut the doors on the Indians as they fled from Fallen Timbers.

If you are looking for a guide to take you to these and other period related sites, my company, Walking With History LLC, can arrange a tour for you.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Gettysburg Soldiers - Mods for 1794

Note: You will need a copy of the Gettysburg Soldiers rules to understand my masterpiece that follows. 

Modifications for 1794 (Battle of Fallen Timbers)

1. Terrain Features – Add in OPEN WOODS.
2. Units of Battle – INFANTRY Battalions, CAVALRY squadrons, ARTILLERY sections, and LEADERS
3. INFANTRY Battalion.
4. remove DISMOUNTED
5. No MOUNT or DISMOUNT
6. no change
7. no change
8. no change
9. no change
10. no change
11. no change
12. no change
13. no change
14. no change
15. LEADERS 
16. no change
17. add open woods (movement is 6 inches)
18. no change
19. Wheeled vehicles may move through open woods.
20. no change
21. add Open Woods 6”
22. Infantry – Ranges are now 6” and 3” (Close Range). Add King’s Howitzers at 24” and 12” (Close Range)
23. INFANTRY MAXIMUM RANGE OF FIRE is 6 inches, and CLOSE RANGE within 3 inches gets increased effectiveness
24. Cavalry may not fire
25. Add KING’S HOWITZERS MAXIMUM RANGE OF FIRE is 24 inches, and CLOSE RANGE within 12” gets increased effectiveness
26. remove cavalry
27. remove cavalry
28. no change
29. no change
30. remove cavalry
31. no change
32. remove cavalry
33. no change
34. Leader instead of General
35. no change
36. change to single battalion of infantry and remove cavalry
37. no change
38. change general to leader, remove cavalry, remove rifled cannon fire, add King’s Howitzers fire at close range +1
39. no change
40. change general to leader, remove Rebs attacking. Add Indians attacking +2
41. no change
42. no change
43. no change
44. no change
45. no change
46. change general to leader
47. no change
48. no change
49. no change
50. change general to leader
51. no change (open woods still counts as -1)
52. remove cavalry
53. no change
54. no change
55. no longer applicable
56. no longer applicable
57. no longer applicable
58. add King’s Howitzers at close range +1
59. no change
60. no change
61. change general to leader
62. change general to leader
63. change general to leader
64. no change
65. change general to leader
66. no change
67. no change
68. change to Indians attacking +2
69. no change
70. no change
71. no change, add open woods -1
72. no change
73. no change
74. no change
75. change general to leader
76. no change
77. change general to leader
78. no change
79. no change
80. no change
81. add four inch depth into open woods conceal troops.  All skirmishers may disappear in woods.
82. no change
83. no change
84. no change
85. no change
86. change to ghost markers MAY move at the infantry rate (based on terrain restrictions)
87. no change
88. no change
89. no change
90. no change
91. no change
92. no change
93. Infantry are mounted on a ¾” wide by 1” deep stand, with four figures (two in first rank and two in rear rank). Cavalry are mounted on a 1” wide by 1” deep stand, with two figures. No need for dismounted cavalry figures. Scales have not changed…one stand is still 50 men and one inch is still 25 yards.
94. change batteries to sections, remove rifled and add King’s Howitzer. Each stand represents two guns.
95. change generals to leaders
96. no change
97. no change
98. no change
99. no change
100. no longer applicable

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sword and Sabre - Stellar Service!

I was in the market for something different for the Napoleonic period, and was taking a hard look at the Swedish-Russian War of 1808 as a possibility.  Sword and Sabre has produced two booklets that have many scenarios for this war.  I wrote to them directly as their pricing structure was, to be honest, more economical than ordering from On Military Matters, my usual go to source for all wars obscure, and I wanted to make certain I had my conversion rates calculated correctly.  So, I ordered the two scenario booklets directly from Lars Rössle in Sweden, and the two booklets together turned out to be just a bit more than buying one booklet from OMM ($35.00 direct (including shipping) from Sweden for two booklets as opposed to $26.00 for one booklet from OMM in the United States).  Call it a quirk of the current value of the dollar!  Ordering was simple...I emailed Lars, told him what I wanted, and he sent me a PayPal invoice.  The whole transaction took just over a week, from my initial email, to payment, to receiving the books in the U.S.  I would say that is pretty top notch service!

Each book has several scenarios which include tabletop maps and orders of battle (at 1:20 figure to man ratio) and a bit about the battle itself.  The scenarios range from very small (just a few units on each side, perfect for short one on one games) to those with a few brigade equivalents for each side (which would make ideal multi-player games).

I am very happy to have bought these booklets, and to have received such excellent service from Sword and Sabre.  Their website has other supporting material, including a detailed accounting of Swedish uniforms.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Project - Flags

Back to the initial reason for this blog, the Mexican-American War!

The sole Battle Flag Mexican offering
Flags?  Yes, a post on flags.  Particularly 18mm flags suitable for the units that fought at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma.  In my various searches on The Miniatures Page and Google, I have come across a couple of companies that are making flags in a specific 18mm size, Battle Flag and The Virtual Armchair General (TVAG).  I am impressed with both companies for different reasons.  The Battle Flag offerings look fantastic but they have a limited amount of flags that they are producing for the Mexican-American War.  TVAG offers an impressive six sets of flags, with each sheet having numerous flags.  These flags are not as realistic looking as the Battle Flags ones, and each sheet runs $15.00, but there are flags for nearly everything I need, including dragoons and the red-legged infantry (the artillery battalion that fought on foot).  But, to get that red-legged offering, I have to spend $15.00 and waste the rest of the sheet.  I can buy all the flag sheets from TVAG for $60.00, but I do not think I would use 10%.

TVAG US regular infantry flags
I could mix the two companies together, but that means having some really great looking flags mixed with some decent ones, so the quality would not be consistent across the tabletop.  I could also go with 15mm as there are several more companies, in addition to Battle Flag and TVAG, that cover the MexAm War in 15mm, but those overgrown but oh so lovely Eureka Miniatures I have may overshadow the smaller flags.

So, I do have some decisions to be made.  Use two companies together, go with battle Flags and hope they release more flags in the future, pay for a lot of flags I do not need with TVAG that have a lesser quality, or try to fill and al all gaps by using 15mm.  I would be interested in hearing what others gaming with the Eureka Miniatures wound up doing for their flags.

New Thoroughbred 1/1200 ACW Naval Releases!

I just came across this on The Miniatures Page, and I am stoked!  I will be certainly picking up a CSS Arkansas and a USS Neosho to go against my USS Cairo classes I have already purchased!  All of these look great, but I am trying to focus on brown water operations.

Toby is also running a deal with 10% off of orders greater than $50.00 and 15% off orders greater than $100.00.

Pictures from Thoroughbred

left to right - CSS Virginia, USS Canonicus, CSS Arkansas

left to right - CSS Richmond, USS Neosho, CSS Neuse

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pony Wars

Overlooking the North Fork of the Big Hole River
Some months ago I became ill with the the Pony Wars bug.  I think I caught it from a post on The Miniatures Page, and went Googling to find figures and terrain.  I didn't want to replicate some of the more commonly known battles, like the overdone (and really not that important - gasp) Little Big Horn, and I did not want to paint loads of mounted troops (But Darryl, you say, they are called Pony Wars for a reason!), so I went for a battle that I have read about a few times, that involves the noble Nez Perce, has that chap of Iron Brigade fame named Gibbon, and was mostly fought on foot.  What is is you ask?  The Battle of Big Hole that took place in August, 1877, in Montana.

I am not going to try to recreate the wheel here and cover all the details of the Nez Perce War.  There are plenty of books and websites that do that already.  I am going to say that my source for information is a book by Aubrey Haines entitled An Elusive Victory (later released as The Battle of the Big Hole).  There is enough detail and decent maps to replicate this small battle on the tabletop somewhat realistically, even though the terrain for the second phase of the battle may be problematic as it took place on the lower slopes of a mountain.  The first phase occurred in the flat area near the North Fork of the Big Hole River, where the foot soldiers of the Seventh Infantry and a company of the dismounted Second Cavalry (along with some citizens that one might call militia) stormed a quiet village of the Nez Perce.  The first phase did not go well as the startled Indians regrouped from their initial confusion and forced the United States forces back to what was later called Battle Mountain where the Nez Perce warriors kept up a small siege until the rest of the village could get away.

The forces engaged were relatively small, a few hundred Americans against a smaller force of Indians.  For this I needed dismounted Indians, Civil War Union troops wearing floppy hats, Indian villagers, and some tepees.  To take care of the Indians and tepees I turned to Hovels' Pony Wars range of 15mm figures.  While the pictures on their website are a bit gaudy, which make the figures look cartoonish, I had some feedback from one of the Yahoo groups that the Hovels figures actually were fairly nice, being smaller 15mm, and quite affordable castings.  The affordable part is certainly correct.  A mounted figure runs .69 cents (mounted command a bit more), and a dismounted figure is only .35 cents.  You will have a difficult time finding any other 15mm range out there for these prices (the old Ral Partha Napoleonic range, now made by Monday Knight Productions, is the least expensive 15mm range I have yet to find).  The Hovels tepees come two to a pack, cost only $1.44 each, and stand nearly 40mm in height.  The foot figures run about 14mm from the bottom of the base to the top of the head, making them old school 15s.

I picked up five packs of tepees (giving me ten) and some assorted Indian packs, including mounted command, dismounted warriors with and without chiefs, dead Indians, a smoke signal set (the fire will work nicely within the village setting), a village set with various non-combatants and accessories, and a travois set.  I did not want to order all the Indians that I will actually want for this project as I was not certain what the figures would look like, but I am pleased with these diminutive castings and will be ordering more tepees, warriors, and probably another village set.  Placing an order with Hovels is easy using their online order form.  Just enter your details, type in your items, enter your credit card info (they also accept PayPal), and in a few weeks (they can be a bit slow on getting your order to you) you will have your goodies in the post.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Summary of All Things Legion - Part Two: Books

This is my rather extensive collection of books and articles related to Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne.  For those wanting a couple of good overall titles on the Legion, start with John Winkler's Fallen Timbers Osprey book, and Alan Gaff's Bayonets in the Wilderness (Gaff wrote an excellent book on the Iron Brigade at Brawner's Farm as well).  A good overall treatise of all three campaigns is the venerable President Washington's Indian War by the recently deceased noted Civil War historian Wiley Sword.  The Osprey Men-at-Arms on the United States Army during this period is less than desired as the uniforms depict what the Legion should have looked like, but in reviewing Wayne's papers as well as the quartermaster records I highly doubt if the Legion ever received enough materials to add such things as wings on the shoulders of the light infantry.  Unfortunately that theme of what they should have looked like was carried into Winkler's works (St. Clair's army was most likely attired like their revolutionary brethren, in cocked, not round, hats, but are portrayed in Wabash in round hats).

Be cautious with Calloway's The Victory With No Name...any book that repeatedly uses "canon" as opposed to "cannon" is suspect from the start, but it is a decent book on St. Clair's defeat.  Winkler's Wabash is probably enough to cover the Wabash battle, but Calloway does add more background information.

  • Adams, Randolph G. – "The Harmar Expedition of 1790." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, 50. Ohio, 1941.
  • Andrews, Joseph Gardner – "A Surgeon's Mate at Fort Defiance; the Journal of Joseph Gardner Andrews for the year 1795." Ohio Historical Quarterly. 1957.
  • Barmann, Floyd – "Chronology of St. Clair's Expedition" St. Clair's Defeat. Ohio, 1991.
  • Calloway, Colin G. – The Victory with No Name: The Native American Defeat of the First American Army.  2014.
  • Cone, Stephen D. – "The Indian Attack on Fort Dunlap." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publications 17. Ohio, 1908.
  • DeRegnaucourt, Tony – The Archaeology of Camp Stillwater: Wayne's March to Fallen Timbers July 28, 1794. Arcanum, Ohio, 1995.
  • DeRegnaucourt, Tony – The Archaeology of Fort Recovery, Ohio: St. Clair's Defeat, November 4, 1791, and Wayne's Victory, June 30 and July 1. Arcanum, Ohio, 1996.
  • DeRegnaucourt, Tony – The Archaeology of Fort St. Marys: Major General Anthony Wayne's Fort 1795 to 1796. Arcanum, Ohio, 1996.
  • Douglas, Albert – "Major General Arthur St. Clair." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 16. Ohio, 1907.
  • Downes, Randolph – Council Fires on the Upper Ohio. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1989.
  • Eid, Leroy V. – "'Their Rules of War': James Smith's Summary of Indian Woodland War." Selected Papers from the 1985 and 1986 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conference. Vincennes, Indiana, 1988.
  • Eid, Leroy V. – "Who Defeated St. Clair? Selected Papers from the 1989 and 1990 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conference. Vincennes, Indiana, 1991.
  • Furlong, Patrick J. – "Problems of Frontier Logistics in St. Clair's 1791 Campaign." Selected Papers from the 1983 and 1984 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conference. Vincennes, Indiana, 1985.
  • Gaff, Alan D. – Bayonets in the Wilderness: Anthony Wayne’s Legion in the Old Northwest.  Oklahoma, 2008.
  • Harmar, Josiah – "General Harmar's Journal." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 20. Ohio, 1911.
  • Heckaman, David T. – "'Badly Clothed, Badly Paid, and Badly Fed': St. Clair's Army, 1791." St. Clair's Defeat. Ohio, 1991.
  • Heckaman, David T. – "Organization of Major General Anthony Wayne's Legion of the United States." Treaty of Greene Ville Bicentennial Commission Research and Histories Presented in 1995. Greenville, Ohio, 1995.
  • Irvin, Thomas – "Harmar's Campaign." Edited by Frazer E. Wilson. Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 19. Ohio, 1910.
  • Lytle, Richard M. – The Soldiers of America’s First Army 1791.  2004.
  • Meek, Basil – "General Harmar's Expedition." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 20. Ohio, 1911.
  • Murphy, John A., ed. – The Greenville Peace Treaty. Pataskala, Ohio, 1994.
  • Murphy, John A., ed. – Letters, Journals, and Anecdotes of Fort Recovery and Fallen Timbers. Pataskala, Ohio, 1994.
  • Novak, Greg – "The Legion of the United States." Historical Gamer Magazine, Number 22. Lexington, Kentucky, 1994.
  • Palmer, Dave R. – 1794, America, Its Army, and the Birth of the Nation. Novato, California, 1994.
  • Peckham, Howard – "Josiah Harmar and His Indian Expedition." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 55. Ohio, 1946.
  • Priddy, O.W. – "Wayne's Strategic Advance from Fort Greenville to Grand Glaize." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, 39. Ohio, 1930.
  • Prucha, Francis Paul – The Sword of the Republic. Lincoln, Nebraska, 1986.
  • Rohr, Martha E. – Historical Sketch of Fort Recovery. Fort Recovery, Ohio, 1974.
  • Sargent, Winthrop – "Winthrop Sargent's Diary While with General Arthur St. Clair's Expedition Against the Indians," Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 33. Ohio, 1924.
  • Scamyhorn, Richard and Steinle, John – Stockades in the Wilderness. Dayton, Ohio, 1986.
  • Seiler, Toni T. – The St. Clair and Wayne Trails. Arcanum, Ohio, 1989.
  • Seiler, Toni T. – The Native Americans at the Greene Ville Peace Treaty 1795. Arcanum, Ohio, 1993.
  • Simmons, David A. – The Forts of Anthony Wayne. Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1977.
  • Simmons, David A. – "Military Architecture on the American Frontier." Selected Papers from the 1983 and 1984 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conference. Vincennes, Indiana, 1985.
  • Simmons, David A. – "The Architecture of Anthony Wayne's Forts." Treaty of Greene Ville Bicentennial Commission Research and Histories Presented in 1995. Greenville, Ohio, 1995.
  • Smith, Dwight L., ed. – From Greene Ville to Fallen Timbers. Indianapolis, Indiana, 1952.
  • Smith, Dwight L. – "Fort Recovery, 1794: The Climax of the Indian Resistance Movement." Treaty of Greene Ville Bicentennial Commission Research and Histories Presented in 1995. Greenville, Ohio, 1995.
  • Sword, Wiley – President Washington's Indian War. Norman, Oklahoma, 1985.
  • Thom, James Alexander – "Little Turtle, Destroyer of Armies." St. Clair's Defeat. Ohio, 1991.
  • Urwin, Gregory J.W. – "The Legion of the United States." Campaigns Magazine, Number 43. Los Angeles, California, 1982.
  • Van Trees, Robert V. – The Banks of the Wabash. Fairborn, Ohio, 1986.
  • Waller, George M. – "Regularity: Military Policy in the Old Northwest 1789-1794." Selected Papers from the 1985 and 1986 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conference. Vincennes, Indiana, 1988.
  • West, Bryan – "The Mapping of Greene Ville Major-General Anthony Wayne's Legionary Headquarters 1793-1796." Treaty of Greene Ville Bicentennial Commission Research and Histories Presented in 1995. Greenville, Ohio, 1995.
  • West, J. Martin – "Arthur St. Clair, Ill-fated General of the Republic." St. Clair's Defeat. Ohio, 1991.
  • Westheider, James E. – "The History of Fort Washington at Cincinnati, Ohio: A Case Study." Selected Papers from the 1989 and 1990 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conference. Vincennes, Indiana, 1991.
  • Wilson, Frazer, E., ed. – "St. Clair's Defeat: As Told by an Eyewitness-From Original MSS." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications 10. Ohio, 1902.
  • Wilson, Frazier E., ed. – Journal of Capt. Daniel Bradley. Greenville, Ohio, 1935.
  • Wilson, Frazier E. – Fort Jefferson. Evansville, Indiana, 1984.
  • Wilson, Frazier E. – Arthur St. Clair. Mt. Vernon, Indiana, 1990.
  • Wilson, Frazier E. – Around the Council Fire. Mt. Vernon, Indiana, 1990.
  • Winger, Otho – "The Indians Who Opposed Harmar." Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 50. Ohio, 1941.
  • Winkler, John – Fallen Timbers 1794: The U.S. Army’s First Victory.  2013.
  • Winkler, John – Wabash 1791: St. Clair’s Defeat.  2011.
  • Young, Calvin M. – Little Turtle. Mt. Vernon, Indiana, 1998.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Summary of All Things Legion - Part One: Figures

For those of you who may know me from The Miniatures Page, you will see an occasional post or response when someone asks about Wayne's Legion, known as the Legion of the United States.  The legion was only in existence for a few short years, fight one short "battle" at Fallen Timbers in 1794, and built a line of forts during the Fallen Timbers campaign, but there are a few companies making figures for this period, and I thought it might be a good time to summarize the existing ranges as a "one stop shop" so that gamers can find all the info they would need to make an informed choice as to what range to consider.

As I grew up about ten minutes from the location of Fort Hamilton (part of St. Clair's failed 1791 campaign that resulted in the Battle of the Wabash), I started an interested in what the U.S. Army calls the Miami Campaign decades ago.  Over the years I have collected sixty books on the period, have visited nearly every site associated with Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne (many of them several times), and collected figures.  Not certain if I am an expert, and I certainly do not agree with many of the uniforms depicted in the Osprey series, but I think I can provide a fairly good summary of the battles, personalities, and miniature figures from a gamer's perspective.

Figures


15/18mm


Blue Moon Manufacturing


Picture from Blue Moon's website
I have a love/hate relationship with this range.  I love the castings as they are animated and chunky, and they offer multiple poses, but the range is extremely limited in scope.  There are no rifle figures that would be carrying a tomahawk on their belts, there is no high command (although one could get away with using Rev War American high command), there are no artillery crews (some confusion exists on headgear...Legion hat or cocked hat), no King's Howitzers (small pop guns that Wayne used nearly exclusively), and no mounted militia (the Kentucky militia from their War of 1812 range would not be correct...too many top hats and fringe).  From a cost perspective the figures are reasonable - .53 cents per infantry figure, .70 per foot command figure, and $1.37 per mounted figure.

20mm


Frying Pan & Blanket Amalgamated


These are older figures with very little variation in poses.  Some would almost call them stiff I would imagine.  But, this is the most complete and accurate range available, which is strange considering how long the range has been in existence; one would think newer ranges would be more accurate, but they are not.

There are Legion line infantry. light infantry, rifles (with tomahawks), dragoons, artillery crews with King's Howitzers (but with potentially incorrect headgear as I believe the legion artillerymen wore a cocked hat), and high command.  Flags are cast on, which may be a concern for those not wanting to paint flags.  The cost for figures is very reasonable, almost ridiculous, with foot figures coming in at .42 cents and mounted at .83 cents.  Yes, you read that correctly, these 20mm figures are more less expensive than the 15/18mm figures offered by Blue Moon.  But, they are not everyone's cup of rum as they are stiff, almost toy soldier-like in their pose.  Also, ordering these figures can be a real pain.  The owners do not have a website, they do not give out their email, they do not accept PayPal, so basically no online presence.  One must write to them, obtain their figures list, then submit your order old school.  Their service in terms of turnaround time is not great, expect to wait a month for your figures.  Bear in mind that the owners both have full time jobs, so this is certainly a cottage industry-type company.  You must weight the advantages (complete and accurate range and cheap cost) vs. the disadvantages (older poses and old school ordering) of this line.

25mm


Parkfield Miniatures


Disclaimer: I had some input into the design of this range, so I am a bit biased.

Picture from the Parkfield website
This small but useful range offers only infantry, but for the most part Parkfield are accurate when compared to Old Glory (see below).  There are nine foot figures in this range, with a general and a line officer, an ensign (flagbearer), three line infantry, two light infantry, and one rifleman.  The latter three are wearing the light infantry cap from the Rev War period (which may or may not be accurate, but based on the materials I have researched I believe this to be correct), and the rifleman is carrying a tomahawk on his belt.  And while these figures are advertised as 25mm, they blend very nicely with the Old Glory range (which are probably closer to 27mm).  The figures are $1.15 each but for those living in the U.S. you have to consider shipping from the U.K.  However, these are nice figures to supplement the Old Glory range.

Old Glory Miniatures


Another love/hate range for me.  They were the first Legion figures I purchased at Cold Wars many years ago.  The gaming group did this as a joint project, painting up each sub-legion and Indians.  I even wrote a set of rules (Our Moccasins Trickled Blood which one can buy on Wargame Vault) and hosted a few games at the local game store and local conventions.  So I am fond of them for getting me into gaming the Legion, which is something I had dreamed about for years (being ignorant of the Frying Pan & Blanket figures at the time).  However, they are simply Rev War figures with new heads sporting the Legion headgear.  There are two packs of line infantry (advancing and skirmishing).  The light infantry pack has the traditional Legion headgear, which is most likely incorrect, and there are no riflemen.  They make dragoons and mounted Kentucky militia (the latter more accurate than using War of 1812), but no guns nor artillery crews.  Prices have certainly increased over the years, with a foot figure is $1.20 and a mounted $3.60!

Summation


I hope I have been able to give the potential Legion gamer the salient pros and cons for each range.  It really comes down to how much of a stickler you are for accuracy and completeness vs. cost and ease of ordering.  If Blue Moon were to expand their range with correct figures then I would be personally very tempted to sell of my Frying Pan & Blanket figs (gave my Old Glory ones to a gaming buddy) and go with them as the cost isn't bad when compared to the quality and animation of their figures.  However, until that happens (and no inkling that it ever will) I would recommend Frying Pan.  It is a complete range, nearly 100% accurate in the uniforms and equipment, and they offer some nice militia (both mounted and foot) and Indians in their Rev War range.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Skill Level 0 Blog

My gaming buddy The G Dog has quite the 1/600 scale American Civil War collection, and has been busy building and painting ships, and then blogging about it, as he pushes into 2016 with great gusto.  Give his blog a look:

Skill Level 0

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Unboxing Day!

The opened box of goodness!
In yesterday's post I received a small box from one of my favorite manufacturers, Thoroughbred Figures.  I had placed an order for their newish line of 1/1200 American Civil War vessels.  Over the years I had purchased many of their 1/600 scale range, but having smaller space to game and to store gaming materials, plus the fact that my gaming friends, particularly The G Dog, has about every 1/600 scale vessel known to man, I thought heading towards 1/1200 would give me the scale that worked for my space limitations, while also allowing me to focus on specific projects without hopefully getting overboard (pun intended).  I have a few other 1/1200 scale resin vessels from Titan Military Miniature Products, but haven't really done anything with them, and when I saw that Thoroughbred had released 1/1200 scale ships, I knew they would be the premier range to own (nothing against Langton Miniatures but I have never purchased any of their 1/1200 ships).  So, I sent an email to Toby Barrett and placed my first order for his 1/1200 scale ships.

I decided that I would stick with the brown water navy, meaning mostly riverine actions.  Currently Thoroughbred only offers the USS Cairo for river battles, and seeing that the Cairo is probably my favorite class of ironclads from the war, I decided to go big and buy seven, one for each ship in the class, the main distinction being the colored bands painted on their smokestacks.  This will allow me to use the correctly painted ship for any of the actions I want to game.

After just a few days of placing my order with Thoroughbred, I received my goodies.  I eagerly opened the box to find not seven, but eight little boxes with ships! Toby has a history of providing me with excellent service and on occasion some extra goodies, and in this case added in a little something extra as he delayed shipping my box by one day!  Really, he was that concerned about not sending out the package one day sooner that he added a surprise for my "troubles."  Amazing service!

Here are a few pics for viewing to give you an idea of what to expect when ordering these little gems from Thoroughbred.  They are superbly cast, no mold lines or flash, perfectly scaled, and really should paint up nicely.


A stack of Cairos, anyone?

What's this?  An extra ship?

She's a beauty

Sizing up the Cairo

A "super" CSS Albemarle was included in my order

Monday, February 1, 2016

1/1200 American Civil War

I have always thought the 1/600 scale Civil War vessels from Thoroughbred Figures to be some of the nicest ship castings available, no matter what period and what scale.  But my gaming buddy The G Dog has about every 1/600 scale vessel known to man, and with living in a condo with limited and temporary gaming space (the dining room table) that scale is not just too large for me.  Toby Barrett from Thoroughbred has provided a potential solution...go small with great quality with his newish 1/1200 scale range.

Admittedly the offerings at this time are limited, but Mr. Barrett already has several more castings in the works, so this promises to be the epic range for 1/1200 scale Civil War naval gaming.  He also provided me a couple of pics of his current offerings.

CSS Albemarle, USS Cairo, CSS Atlanta, USS Passaic

USS Monitor (early), USS Monitor (late), CSS Tennessee, CSS Super Albemarle

Friday, January 22, 2016

Second Seminole War Eye Candy

Mark Luther was kind enough to give me permission to use any of his Second Seminole War pictures for my blog.  I will simply post this picture of his amazing terrain as a tease, and you see more by clicking HERE.  Great stuff, and thank you, Mark!

What miniatures terrain should look like!

Force on Force for the Barbary Coast

Photo from Thoroughbred Figures' website
For some time now I have owned a few of the excellent 15mm figures from Thoroughbred Figures for the early 1800s, specifically a couple of packs of U.S. Marines (Code TB03) and three packs of Tripoli Pirates (Code TB01T).  These are finely detailed, well animated, and cleanly cast figures for the War of 1812 period.  The U.S. Marines would not be suitable for William Eaton's expedition against Derna (Derne) in 1805, but would be perfect for later brew ups against the North African nations into 1815.  They measure about 14M on the Barrett Scale (developed by Thoroughbred's owner, Toby Barrett), meaning they are about 14mm from sole to eye and are of medium heft or build.  There are also British and Marines and crew, and several smaller ships and boats within this range (called Sea Eagles). 

As I already have some excellent 15mm North African/Arab terrain, I thought that using these figures within a Force on Force setting would be ideal.  

The Marines would be attired as indicated in this uniform plate, although I would probably go a shade darker on the coats.


U.S. Marines - Photo from Thoroughbred

Some basic ratings could be as follows:

Prelim thoughts on using FonF for the early 1800s.

US Marines
Quality - D8-D10
Morale - D8
1D per figure firing.

Barbary Coast Dudes
Quality - D6-D8
Morale - D6-D10
1D per every two figures firing, fires only at optimum range.  Gains an extra melee die for use of pistols, knives, pikes/spears, and swords.
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