Saturday, 5 November 2016

1st Commando

Having said that I wouldn’t be mixing different manufacturers figures within the same unit I’ve gone ahead and done exactly that in my 1st Commando.

This unit is comprised of  5 x Newline Designs, 6 x Jacklex and one odd Raventhorpe Miniatures thrown in for good measure. To be honest I don’t think there’s actually that much difference between the figures once they’re based up. It would probably be much more noticeable if I did the same thing with the British.

Next I’ll be turning my attention to my first British battalion which will be a Jacklex one.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

I painted my wagon

Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood would be proud.

This is the completed Jacklex Voortrekker wagon BS1. Considering that this project is already a distraction this item has to be labelled a distraction within a distraction. That said, I really enjoyed the challenge of constructing, painting and basing this model.

Next I will be turning my attention to finishing off my first Boer commando which is already half painted so hopefully won’t take me too long.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Rebasing already

Here I go rebasing again! This is a group of 3 Jacklex Boers lurking near a Kopje no doubt waiting to give fire on some poor Tommy Atkins.

On discussion (with Roy) I’ve decided on a more traditional approach to basing my Boer War armies. A standard infantry base will be 60mm x 20mm and will hold 3 Boers or 4 British. Each unit will have one base split to allow for casualty removal and officers and commandants will be individually mounted on 20mm circular bases.

A Boer Commando will be 12 figures plus 1 commandant and British units will be 24 figures with 3 officers. I’m going a bit heavy on officers because my rules will have a strong rallying element for the British with officers trying to prevent their unit from getting pinned by Boer fire. I’ve got a half fleshed out set of rules now but more on that in another post.

Saturday, 1 October 2016


I received my first proper order from Jacklex a few days ago and I couldn’t resist adding in these 6 oxen to pull my Voortrekker wagon. They really are superb little models and I think the wagon will look great with these added to pull it over the veldt.

Also in the order were enough British figures in the running pose to make a full 24 figure unit and some more Boers to flesh out a commando or two. I’ve also taken delivery of a unit of firing British infantry from Raventhorpe so I have plenty of figures to get on with. Now I just need to find some painting time!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Voortrekker Wagon

Yesterday I was very fortunate to receive an unexpected package from Clive. In it was a 20mm Jacklex Voortrekker wagon complete with original Harrow Model Shop box and assembly instructions. The instructions are necessary as this model is surprisingly detailed and contains quite a few parts. I’ve started to put it together and I think it will look great when finished.

This was the type of wagon used during The Great Trek of the 1830’s and 1840’s when Dutch speaking farmers left the Cape to set up farms on the fertile interior of the Transvaal. The move was prompted in part by a drought in the 1830’s but also by the desire to get away from British rule.

I probably wouldn’t have bought one of these models as they are quite expensive new and not of much value for wargaming. However I’m really pleased to have this one and it will add a bit of period flavour to my Boers force, just need to get some oxen. Nice one Clive.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Figure comparisons

Thanks to some super sleuthing by Roy in tracking down the UK distributor for Raventhorpe Miniatures, I took delivery of some samples this week from their Boer War range. The figures are really excellent (as was the service) and this now opens up a whole load of new options for units. Most importantly it gives me access to some decent British infantry that match in perfectly with my favoured Newline Designs Boers.

Jacklex BW5, Newline BOE01, Raventhorpe BO02

I thought I would post some comparisons of figures from Jacklex, Newline and Raventhorpe in case anybody else is thinking of dabbling in this period in 20mm as this would have been helpful to me at the start of this project - click on the pictures to take a good look.

Jacklex B5, Newline SUD04, Raventhorpe BO13 (uncovered helmet)

The Raventhorpe British infantry come with separate heads (there are covered and uncovered helmets available) which gives the potential for a great deal of variation and they have some lovely poses. They also make a very nice model of a Boer pom-pom gun and British Maxim but more on those in a future post.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Basing bore

I do have a bit of a thing about basing and I’ve been scratching my head trying to work out the best way to base figures for this project. I’m currently thinking that I will go with the system shown here with two figures on a 40mm x 30mm base. Groups of bases will then represent a commando for the Boers and companies/battalions for the British. The Boers will be allowed to space out into extended order but the British will have to stay in base to base contact.

I did think about taking a more old school approach by putting the British in close order (perhaps on bases similar to my Hinton Hunt Napoleonic’s) and having the Boers on individual round bases but I quite like what I’ve come up with – for now anyway. The bases will also have some scenic additions with rocks etc. and the size chosen will enable me to place a few lying down firing figures (Jacklex do a nice one).

The Boers shown here are Jacklex and they actually look quite good now based up. I’m not sure if I will lose the gloss finish or not, probably but I’ll see. As you know I’ve been in two minds about which figures to use for this project but it occurred to me that there’s no reason why I can’t use both Newline and Jacklex as long as I select figures of compatible size and don’t mix them within units. That way I get the best of both worlds.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Great Boers

I finally received my packet of Jacklex samples this week and set about painting a few up. The first thing I noticed was that, as Matt had warned me, they had quite a lot of flash metal and it took about 45 minutes just to de-flash them and file the bases. However that said they are surprisingly charming little figures although sadly they suffer from the same problem as the Newline range – they’re not to a constant scale. The marching highlander for instance is a good few millimetres taller than his advancing friend.

Jacklex BW4 Boer running with separate rifle - simple but charming

This is a shame as I could have been tempted and I particularly like the running figures with separate rifles. It’s a bit fiddly gluing the rifles to the hands of the figures but it’s well worth the effort, the regular British infantryman is the best of these. So far I have only painted one Boer but I will post the rest here in due course.

Newline Designs BOE02 - Boer cavalry

I’m glad I got these samples but in the end in it just reinforced my original decision to use the Newline Designs colonial range for this project. This decision was also helped along by the recent release of Highlanders by Newline (see my last post). The one remaining problem is artillery as I can’t find anybody who makes 20mm Boer artillery and of course I must have a pom-pom! Jacklex do a decent range of British artillery including a very grand looking 4.7” naval gun and a deadly maxim gun. I may possibly be able to convert or scratch-build some Boer guns, I’ll have to see.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Is it a sign?

Newline Designs SUD32 Highlanders Firing
I was idly checking the Newline Designs website yesterday only to discover that they have just released some Highlanders. The figures look nice and I wonder if being a new release they may be a bit larger than the other British infantry figures and fit in better with the Boers? There are also some figures listed as York & Lancasters which may be passable for Boer War British although they have blanket rolls.

So as you can imagine this has brought the Newline range back into the running. I’m still waiting for my Jacklex samples to arrive and then I will finally have to decide which figures I'm going to use.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

New school? Old school?

Having said in my last post that I was definitely going to go with Newline Designs as the figures of choice for this project I’ve had a bit of a wobble. One of the problems I have with Newline is that although the Boer figures are absolutely superb the British ones are a bit disappointing being noticeably smaller than the Boers and less animated. Also, rather crucially, they don’t do any Highlanders and I really wanted to include these in the OOB of my British force.

So I decided to put in an order for sample figures from the Jacklex range just to see if I could maybe convince myself to go old school once again. The Jacklex range is comprehensive and does indeed contain Highlanders but the figures are quite simplistic and I need to see some in the flesh to help me make up my mind (I do have some Zulus and I’m not too keen). In many ways an old school approach may be better for the sort of games I had in mind and may also make the task of painting easier.

While I wait for the samples to arrive I thought I’d paint up a few more of the Newline Design figures. The picture shows one of the mounted Boers in their range getting ready for the brush – you can see why I have been drawn towards them, truly brilliant little works of art.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Test Figures

Having decided that I wanted to do this project in 20mm I was pretty much limited to a choice of three manufacturers. Firstly the range in plastic by Srelets (the figures look ok but plastic isn’t really my thing), secondly the comprehensive range by Jacklex (perhaps the most logical choice but I wasn’t sure if I wanted another ‘old school’ project), and thirdly the colonial range by Newline Designs (limited range but the Boers in particular are very nice). In the end it was the picture of the Boers on their website that swung it for me and I plumped for Newline.

Newline Designs Boer from pack BOE01 - very nice figures

I put in a mixed order for the Boers and various packs of the British infantry from the Sudan War range as I felt these would be near enough to pass as Boer War British. It was slightly annoying that the website doesn’t show any pictures of the British infantry which is a bit inexcusable in this day and age. However, order done I settled down to wait for the troops to arrive which they did a few days later.

Sudan War British from pack SUD02 'Standing at Ready'

As this is a side project to my main Napoleonic one I decided that I didn’t want to spend hours painting these figures or I’d never get anywhere. Fortunately the uniforms are all quite drab and the figures lend themselves well to block painting followed by a wash of GW Ogryn Flesh. I still found myself trying to include too much detail and had to go back several times to simplify the paint job but I’m quite happy with the result.

Next I need to decide on the organisation and OOB of my armies and then put in a proper order to swell the ranks.

Sunday, 31 July 2016


I first saw the Boer War memorial in the market place at Bury St Edmunds in 1965 shortly after my family moved to Suffolk from London. I was nine years old but I remember being struck by the size of the thing and impressed by the figure of the soldier on the top. This was no stiff statue in heroic pose but the form of a soldier who had lost his hat and was half sitting on a rock and who quite frankly looked a bit scared.

On the sides of the memorial were the names of some 193 soldiers (mostly from the Suffolk regiment) who had lost their lives in the South African War 1899-1902. I knew nothing of this conflict as my military history was limited to a little bit about the First and Second World Wars (mostly gleaned from Commando comics and war films) and a small amount about the American Civil War (all of which was gleaned from the information on the back of my set of ABC bubble gum cards).

However, being a child and being interested in playing with toy soldiers, the idea went into my head that someday I should include the Boer War in my list of possible periods to play as a wargame. I did try half-heartedly a couple of years later to convert an Airfix WWI soldier into a suitable figure by adding a plasticine helmet but this was not very successful. At the time there was a distinct lack of suitable commercial figures for the period and I was soon lured away into other wargaming interests and pretty much forgot about the whole idea.

Until now that is.