Wednesday 1 November 2017

Boer Artillery

These are more of the figures I recently received from Ross. They’ve been touched up and rebased to my own basing scheme. The gun I believe is a British one but I thought it looked suitably ‘Boer-ish’ and in the absence of proper 20mm Boer artillery it certainly looks the part.

The gunners are a mixture of Jacklex and Scruby figures. Jacklex never produced any Boer gunners commercially although apparently some prototypes were made – click here. The Jacklex figures in this crew are BW6 Horse Holder and PEA5 Officer (from the Mexican War range).

There is good news on the Boer artillery front however as Newline Designs have just released a Pompom gun and crew. I already have a couple of Pompoms from Raventhorpe Miniatures but this newer offering looks a bit more businesslike so I will probably get some in due course.

Thursday 5 October 2017

Jacklex Maxim

The Maxim gun was invented by Hiram Maxim in 1883 and was the first proper machine gun to be deployed by the British army. It was used successfully in several colonial wars although it is said its effect was more psychological than physical. By the time of the Second Boer War there were two maxim guns attached to each British battalion.

“Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not”

The Boers however were not the spear wielding tribesmen the British were used to dealing with as they had invested in some state of the art weapons including the Mauser rifle and the pom-pom gun. The pom-pom was an upgraded version of the Maxim gun that fired a 2-pound shell and the British Tommies were not keen to find themselves on the receiving end of such a weapon.

This model Maxim gun and figures are produced by Jacklex (available from Spencer Smith Miniatures) and were amongst the figures I recently received from Ross. I had to touch up them up slightly so that they blend in with my existing British infantry and then base them to my own basing scheme. I’m really pleased with the way they’ve turned out.

Sunday 10 September 2017

Boer Reinforcements

I have just received some rather splendid Boer reinforcements that in one fell swoop have trebled the size of my commandos. The figures are a mixture of Scruby and Jacklex ones that were previously in the collection of Ross and appeared on his blog here.

A complete 12 figure mounted commando. This will save me
a lot time as I'm always slow to paint cavalry. My idea is to
have just one mounted Boer unit which can be used to
represent any of the foot commandos when required. These
are nearly all Scruby figures (JC54 & 55) with a couple
of Jackex (I think all the horses are Scruby).

This is a full commando on foot made up entirely of Scruby
figures (J50, J51, J52). They are charming slender little figures
full of character. That's Commandant Ross out front
leading them.

I believe this is Jacklex C6 Colonial Field Gun although it is
bigger than some I bought recently. The Boer gunners are
mostly Scruby J53 but I'm not sure where the gunner with
field glasses came from - great figure though.

This is Jacklex C5 Colonial horse drawn maxim gun and crew.
The maxim is a particularly nice model and just what the
Suffolks will need as back up against all those Boers.

I was really excited to receive this because it is the 'must have'
item for any Boer War British force. This is Jacklex N15 Naval
Gun. I will have to get some naval gunners to crew this.

Last but not least Ross included these Boers painted I believe
for action along the Canadian border but can be trasferred to
South African duty with a dab or two of paint.

Thanks to Ross for being noble enough to part with these lovely figures. I hope they will do him proud in my planned Boer War battles.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Suffolk’s on parade

The 1st battalion the Suffolk regiment is complete and are now being put through their drill prior to embarking for South Africa. The Suffolk’s didn’t actually take part in any of the battles in 1899 so I may have to stretch reality a bit to let them take part in my planned campaigns.

The battalion in close column, officers to the front. Roy's right, they
do look a bit like flapping seagulls!
Deployed in line and ready to advance.
Extended order - this new fangled formation is frowned
upon by the senior NCO's.
A half battalion - some scenarios will call for smaller British units.
The sergeant major on the right is sensibly carrying a rifle to
make himself a less conspicuous target. The officers however
may not last long once the mausers start firing.

I’m really pleased to have finished one British unit and hope to start on the next one soon. In the meantime I need to return to the Napoleonic figures on my painting desk who are feeling a little bit neglected.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

First British unit done – almost!

My first unit of British infantry is now varnished and based and only requires some base texturing to complete it. Overall I’m really pleased with the way these look and I think my final decision to go with 24 figure units has paid off. These are all Jacklex with the exception of one of the officers and the sergeant who are from Newline Designs.

I’ve gone through quite a few changes of direction since I started this project but these are now my final thoughts on things:

1. The British and Boers will be based to the same spec with 3 figures per infantry stand measuring 60 x 20mm. Cavalry will be mounted in 2's on a 40 x 40mm stand (some stands will be broken down to enable casualty removal).
2. Painting style – simple block colours. The figures will be matt/satin varnished – I had a go with gloss but it just doesn’t seem right for the look I’m after.
3. Bases will be textured and painted – I tried the plain green ‘old school’ style but again this didn’t seem right for this project.
4. The rules will be ‘traditional’ wargame ones but I may at some point try a Commands & Colors type secondary set.
5. I’m keeping this small, my aim will be – 4 British infantry units plus 1 cavalry unit and a couple of guns, 5 Boer commandos plus 1 mounted commando and a couple of pom-poms.

This all seems quite achievable but we will see.

Monday 7 August 2017

First of the Guards

I couldn’t resist painting up this test figure for what will be my Guard battalion – no particular one in mind but possibly they’ll represent the Coldstream Guards who took part in the actions at Modder River and Magersfontein.

The figure is from Raventhorpe Miniatures ref BO13 British standing firing. I really like this range as they are amongst the few 20mm models available specifically designed with the Boer War in mind. There is a lot of character in this pose that somehow conjures up that Boer War feel.

I’m going to need more British troops because I’m hoping to receive some Boer reinforcements shortly and we can’t have the Boers outnumbering the British as that just wouldn’t be cricket.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Tommies - thousands of ‘em!

Maybe not thousands but a lot for me and representing a rare attempt at mass production. I normally paint in very small batches to fend off boredom and also because my Napoleonics required a lot of fiddly detail. However in an attempt to get this project properly off the ground I decided I have to make a bit more effort.

I’ve impressed myself because I have managed to de-flash, glue on rifles, undercoat and completely paint these in 5 evenings. They still need touching up, especially the white straps but the hard work is done. I’ve even ordered some laser cut bases to speed up the basing process and try and get them off the painting desk in super quick time.

Once these are finished I will be able to give my rules a proper test albeit on a very small scale of one British unit attacking one Boer Commando.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Maxims & Mausers

I’ve just finished the first draft of my Boer War rules Maxims & Mausers. Those of you who have played my Muskets & Marshals rules may notice the odd similarity in mechanisms and format. Obviously there are also a lot of differences to cater for the changes in tactics and weapons since the Napoleonic Wars.

The rules are devised with solo gaming in mind taking the part of the British player but I guess they would still work as a two player game. The emphasis is on getting the British units far enough forward to attempt a charge on the Boers. However the pinning effect of the Boer fire power makes this a bit of a challenge.

These rules are very much a work in progress and will need a lot of play testing before I have a final version.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

British Infantry – test base

I found some time to work on my first base of British Infantry. The figure is Jacklex B7 British infantry running with separate rifle. The painting style is deliberately basic to facility speed of production but I still might give these lads a brown wash for a bit more realism.

Following my first ever game of Commands & Colours (click here) I’ve been thinking a lot about how I might develop my own Boer War rules using similar mechanisms. I could even be tempted to use hexes (there, I’ve said it) as I think this might give me just the sort of solo game I’m looking for.

My current idea is to have units of 6 figures (2 bases) for British infantry and a single base of 3 figures for the Boers. These units could represent anything from a company to a full battalion depending on the scale of the battle being fought. This has the advantage that I could refight some of the large scale battles of the war using less than 100 figures - surely even I could achieve that?.

Saturday 21 January 2017

Gordon Highlander

After the last post I couldn’t resist painting up this Jacklex marching highlander B16. As my reference I have of course used the illustration of a Gordon Highlander Private (1900) from my Blandford “Military Uniforms of the World”, the same source I used for the illustration in the previous post.

My thoughts on this project are slipping more and more towards Old School and as such I will be using this same figure to make up a full 24 figure unit at some point. I think I will probably be opting for simple plain green bases as well in a similar fashion to my Napoleonic forces.

I have kept the painting detail deliberately basic which is also in tune with the Old School theme and will enable me to build up my forces relatively quickly - once I can find some time to pick up a paint brush again that is.

Thursday 12 January 2017

Boer War Project

I was very lucky all through my school years to having some very inspiring history teachers. In junior school my teacher got us making a model of a Norman Keep out of balsa wood and papier-mâché, so much better than just looking at pictures in a book. He also read us stories from the Greek Myths, not history as such I suppose but those stories of Jason and Odysseus really grabbed my childhood imagination.

Later at Secondary School I had another great teacher who really brought everything to life from the royal progresses of Elizabeth I right through to the implementation of the Schlieffen Plan in 1914. I loved history lessons and I’m sure they were largely responsible for my continued interest in the subject right through to this day.

A few years back I discovered in my parent’s house a dusty project folder entitled “The Second Boer War”. It was quite impressive really with 35 pages all written in my own fair hand probably at about age 14 and this rediscovery became one of the motivating factors in my starting this blog. One of the pages contained this illustration of a Gordon Highlander from 1900 shamelessly copied from my Blandford uniform book but still possibly the best drawing I have ever done (click on the image to expand).