Hello! 12-06

I used this iconic figure for years in Facebook., always had a crush for the NWMP because it was the first soldier I ever had. Not this one (of course) a 45 mm Indian rubber one by REAMSA!

I decided to create a Blog as a mean to communicate with the rest of the wargaming/collecting world -and a posteriori with my grandchildren- it is too dispersed an effort to comment on facebook, or in different threads on the Forum in Baccus for that matter! The Baccus 6mm miniatures are very good quality and my current passion, but I considere the idea of a Forum in their web page a particularly great idea of Peter!

I am in FaceBook as Alejo Dorca Bis but not obsessed to have many “friends”, there I follow groups akin to my interests or pet subjects on History, Toy Soldiers and Wargaming, and even comment from time to time, it is real fun sometimes but you also see a lot of “spam” unfortunately .

My idea or purpose is to continue giving advice -not asked for- on the subject of toy soldiers. Please note that in the term TOY SOLDIER I include everything related or remotely related to toy soldiers and wargaming. It is so for me.

I even wrote a book about it once but the passing of time has made the text a bit incomplete… so here is the way to explain what happened next -after 2016- quite a lot of things in fact! If you have any doubts or questions I can be contacted at adb@andorra.ad

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Cover and Back cover of the Spanish second edition. Sold even less then the first!

This book was what it started all. Well, to be exact -as it says in the caption- in fact this is the Spanish second edition. Silly of me I believed the saying “you have to put children into the world, plant a tree, and write a book”, as I had done the first two (a lot) I thought -once semi-retired- why not do the third? (in fact we also recorded a CD with Beatles covers!… lol… quite multifaceted…

Once upon a time I read an article on a newspaper saying how easy it was to auto-publish a book. I became interested. I learned about CreateSpace and the rest is history. I thought I was filling a void because there is not that much covering of the hobby in Spanish. Now I know why! I have sold really very few copies of both editions.

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That was the cover of the First Edition pic… finally discarded in favour of the following pic. A mainly Minifigs 25mm British Square for Colonial games.

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A variant… that finally got the honour… Sold so few books of the First Edition!… a minority interest somehow.

To make the tale short I decided to translate the opus to English myself because the Anglo-Saxon community (UK and USA) is where the hardcore followers thrive. It was a mistake, I was wrong again because sintaxis and language construction of the first edition were not good enough, and that is a big euphemism. Hard or even mild critics on amazon mentioned that specifically, so I got a translator and corrector for the English second edition and added more than a hundred pics in color. It is even available in kindle!. That completed the adventure (and ended the mess!)

But books have a hard limit: date of publication. What happened next remains out of it… so here is the reason of this blog. It is such a specific interest that I am not going to write MY TOY SOLDIERS & ME part II, never fear. It is much better to ramble here -I can even edit, add, reorder or delete!- and post the link to the blog in FB or twitter, so if someone is interested he or she gets it for free. I am enjoying myself – as only SOLO WARGAMERS do – doing it and keep you abreast of developments.

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That is the cover and back cover of the second English edition. Still on sale through amazon, both on paperback and kindle.

The “white book” was the second English edition three years after the “black book” fiasco. By now I am quite proud of it even if it is becoming slowly obsolete with no mention of the current trends and times… it does not mention LITTLE WARS TV for example (podcasts!), neither my current passion for the ACW in Baccus 6mm with Baccus and Leven scenery (renewed interest for a period). And some other collateral interests like the NWF, North of Africa Colonial French, LBH, Second Punic War -“counters” for a board game- Death Ride in the FPW etc. But this Blog hopefully makes up for it. In fact it complements the second edition in English nicely enough as an update.

I have sold it via amazon.com; amazon.co.uk; and did even sale some copies in Japan and Germany! In fact it sells better in kindle form (cheaper and able to zoom the pics I guess). I loosed some money in the process of course… and will never make the numbers square with a subject like that but it was a lot of fun… My only regret is having pestered my eldest son too much with things like how to include pics, and text arranged, could not have been possible without him. Thanks again son.

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The unfortunate first edition with an awful sintaxis… it seems it was too hard to understand for the average person… Word corrector is not enough to write in English, or so I learned to my shame. This is why I paid a professional to edit and correct the English second edition!

That ended my adventure in self-publishing… at least a reviewer in amazon.com was kind enough to say “IT WAS WRITTEN FROM THE HEART”… thank you kindly that comment made my day!

After 2016… (I) 14-06

Games in 75m were quite similar to RolePlay.

In the summer of 2016 I released the Second -and last- Edition in English of my book: MY TOY SOLDIERS AND ME. It will stop there forever. If forever exists. In later posts on this blog I will highlight what I considered interesting for the reader after more than sixty years in the hobby, but today I am going to sum up what has happened since. I think I said in the Epilogue that this kind of book is a mix of divulgation essay and memories but mainly an exercise in auto-satisfaction and a way to communicate with my grandchildren a posteriori.

By 2016 I had sold my 25/28mm collection, as a result of a deep crisis with that scale, I still like them mind, in fact I liked them so much that I already considered them Military Modeling stuff of the first order. The standards of painting have improved in a way that you can extend this to 15mm and lower, but let’s leave it at that. The point is clear.

Since then I have built a small collection of 6mm, it is small because of the scale but also because I concentrated on some periods and I did not let myself go as I did in my youth/middle age. They are mainly Baccus because of the sheer quality of the minis and because they suit my taste, but another reason is that the range -catalogue- is quite extensive and growing. But not exclusively, I have some Rapier ACW too. Curiously for such small things they do not seem to mix very well, but this is just a matter of taste, do your own thing, it’s ok.

I already had the Crimean Light Brigade of Tennyson fame. But after a stop or pause of several years I steadily built other periods. First of all I ordered from a painting service -more about that in an specific post- Roman Republic and Carthaginian Units to use in a board-game grid of a very old game (Metauro) whose 54mm plastic original figures had disappeared from the Earth after several generations of my family playing with them. I was pleased by the look of them Baccus -Up to that moment I had doubts about the quality/presence of Infantry minis in 6mm- All right then, I went Colonial British Khaki, I specify so because I am not doing some of the periods I used to enjoy in 25mm and on the contrary going for some who were neglected for lack of time or cash or space. It is important to say for your info that I do not build the Opposition anymore, gone are the days of painting hundreds of Zulus, Dervishes, Fuzzy-Wuzy, Pathans, Afridis, Ghazis, Plains Indians and what not; I never preach or try to impose my ideas and do not believe in proselytism so as a mainly solo wargamer it is my decision and that’s that.

Zulu Impi 25/28mm.

So, Colonial Brits with Bengal Lancers and Indian Regiments, Custer’s 7th (only Custer battalion), The French in North Africa aka XIX Corps late XIXth Century were added to the Crimean Cavalry, also a one off Von Bredow’s Cavalry Brigade from the Franco-Prussian War (the famous Death Ride) and last but not least the ACW with both sides present, meaning Billy Yank and Johnnie Reb. The ACW was my first love and a period played extensively with my usual wargames companion, my little brother (ten years younger than me). I think it was the Prussian General Von Moltke who said he was not interested because it was an affair of “two mobs chasing themselves in the woods”, I respectfully disagree. I will detail why I love it in subsequent posts.

Von Bredow’s Death Ride in Baccus 6mm (the Dragoons are out of the pic because some sources say they were detached from the final Charge).

My grandchildren were the recipients of the unwanted gifts of Playmobil Armies -build with love and a lot of fun- so the three males (11, 9 and 5 old respectively) are now the owners of the proud Armies of The Grand Duchy of Vlaufosk, The Bermil.lion Electorate, and The Whiter Shade of Pal Co-principality. Hope the seeds flourish one day. I gave each one of them also a company of British Guards with bearskin. Because I kept the Trooping the Colour set of Playmobils and Custer’s whole 7th (but I am selling the last one). As it is I am through with Playmobils having had a lot of fun with them but concentrating on my 6mm projects and my Old traditional 54mm Toy Soldier Collection.

A Cabinet more or less full of Playmobils 75mm while building periods when the “customs” frenzy was at its pic… I had real fun doing them!
Custer’s whole 7th in 75mm bathtubed at 1/9 aprox. (Still for sale at 900 euros + Postage by MRW anywhere at cost).

After 2016… (II) 17-06

I started again buying Baccus figures with Colonial British in mind, but with a change of colour, I went khaki because a read of MAIWAND made it compulsory -we wargamers are like this-. By then I had already decided to use a painting service -or several- not because I do not know how to do it myself, just because when you are near seventy years old… time is a factor and that was not the only project in mind. In fact due to real life work pressure I did use painting services in 25/28mm in the late old days of that scale unable to snatch the time to do the painting myself, so it was not a new experience at all.

30x30mm stands makes possible to field small Regiments, or big one’s, it dependes on how many stands you use on that particular game. See also ACW limbers pressed into colonial service (multipurpose equipment is used whenever possible). I use a stand 30x30mm to represent a company but in Victoria’s Little Wars the system is adaptable.

I was lucky, the painting service provided by Mersey Wargames, Turbil Miniatures and REVEILLE (found them on eBay) has been excellent: the ratio price/quality, the basing they use, and quite a quick turnaround, sometimes the packing is a bit loose but that with 6mm is not a problem. I have already mentioned that I put the flags myself and do retouch the final aspect with POSKA markers. Yes! the 66th carried their Colours at Maiwand… (I did a quick conversion to get the Ensigns using dressmakers pins).

Old pic already published on the Baccus Forum, since then I have cut out the bayonets of the minis

Now, for a bit of heresy, I use the same minis to fight Maiwand, the North West Frontier and The Sudan. It is a bonus of 6mm. I know Peter do the Camel Corps mounted and dismounted but I did not bought them because the difference between a dusty grey and khaki is quite imperceptible in 6mm. I can hear purists crying oh Dear!. But let’s push on. One of the main attraction of Baccus is the quite complete Catalogue, but of course it is never complete for maniacs of a certain period, then you use proxies. I had the lucky strike to get (from the WWI range) the minis with turban head I needed to my project -a coincidence in time mind, I had already started blindly when Peter added those figures to the Catalogue!- he did graciously acknowledged the point!

Great War Indian troops pressed into service on an earlier era -aka NWF-, see the Bengal lancers at the back. They do have Vicker’s too! I can see Lt. McGregor (Gary Cooper yet again) whistling for them in “Lives of a Bengal Lancer”. I always wanted a Regiment of Bengal Lancers (In 25mm I only managed 6 mounted Minifigs…)



So lets do a quick survey of the Baccus Catalogue for Colonials: The packs I used have the following references: CBR02 British Infantry-Firing (only problem the bugler comes with the marching infantry pack); CBR24 Highland Infantry-Firing (again the pipers are on the Marching pack); CBR04 Lancers (great pack no problems there); CBR05 Royal Artillery 7 pdr. , I used limbers from the ACW range -finally having 6 horses per limber- never managed that on 25/28mm! mind that I do not duplicate the stands I simply use my ACW limbers!; CBR25 Royal Artillery 2.5 RML Mountain Gun simply excellent, I also dissembled some mountain guns and glued them on mules from the mule pack and a perfect stand!; CBR26 Royal Navy – Gardner Gun did the same with them but with pack camels; and CBR08 Mounted Officers excellent again… have bought several because I use them as converted standard-bearers too. Somehow that ends the “normal” packs then as proxies: WWI range Indian Troops GWE10 Indian Infantry Advancing – GWE11 Indian Infantry Firing – GWE12 Indian Vickers Guns and Crew – GWE13 Indian Cavalry (excellent Bengal lancers) and GWE15 Indian 2.5″ RBL and Crew. Of course it is very important in that scale to have the transport baggage so I bought packs: EQU03 Pack mules (used too on the Little Big Horn project, the trick is NEVER use figures on the stand!); EQU01 Waggons; EQU12 Pack Camels (ABU KLEA in mind); and the Naval Brigade using Confederate from ACW08. I even managed to build a Hussars with Swords Cavalry Regiment using CBR03 and a bit of cutter work modifying carbines into swords and a bit of work on the scabbards too. Really satisfied with the result.

See the converted Camels and Mules to transport Gardners or Mountain Batteries.
A Regiment of “converted” cavalry with swords. Note the vedettes carry carbines.
A Regiment of Lancers.

After 2016… (III) 24-06

After taking a peek at the Outro of my book I guess it is time to say that 6mm won. The decade or so that I toyed with Playmobils is gone forever, mind, it was FUN and no dealing (well a bit) with paints and rigid figures (lead toy soldiers have a definite “position” and you can not change it) was a novelty for me -of course I could not resist painting some extra details on them- but what was really amusing was to dissemble them and do other figures exchanging parts- that way you could get the soldiers Playmobil never produced (even if they produced the parts!)… LOL

Probably the most convoluted customizations of Playmobil figures I ever made. Age of Reason. (There in the Armies of my grandchildren!)

So, the movements Up & Down in scale after a deep crisis with my beloved for years 25/28mm ended with an exclusive dedication to 6mm. I sold or gave as gifts to my grandchildren the vast majority of Playmobils and kept some for good old times sake. Currently in my office Cabinets there are only the Trooping of the Colour set, and the complete 7th Cavalry (recently have decided to sell them too)

Baccus (mainly) 6mm has won the contest without doubt and it is a scale I am really satisfied with for wargaming purposes. Gone are the days of detail obsession, fear of derision at doing something wrong on the painting scheme, the ever present search of the perfect set of rules, and other aspects that were nagging me as the lack of room to maneuver, the always secure flanks, the difficulty to present the tail of an Army, Lines of Communication and so on. There were intelligent tricks to represent all this on the tabletop in the larger scales… but got fed up with them in the end: dice to see if that flanking troops arrive!; dice to see in which place of the table!; take a chance card! etc. It was becoming Monopoly.

Grierson’s Raid in 28mm… suddenly more interesting in 6mm.

Maybe I should have explained earlier that for me not all the fun comes from winning a wargame, not anymore, it is equally interesting the disposition of forces in a marching Column, its movements, the scouting ahead and the flanks and rear, and the correct orders and ways to attack or pin down and flank an enemy position that a battle head to head so many times done in 25/28mm. I can move troops in 6mm! Suddenly couriers and vedettes have a meaning, where the troops “are placed” also, and moving them around is a serious business I enjoy. This of course is mainly done in small Colonial periods aka Punitive expeditions in the NW Frontier, Desert warfare in North Africa with the XIXth Corps (French you know), Tamai affairs (Osman Digna), Custer’s Battalion movements (an interesting mystery), Doomed Charges of Cavalry (or not), they all have the BONUS of space in my old tabletop. Of course that not exclude big battles as in the ACW period but are today less of an obsession and not the only target.

An ACW wargame against my brother using 25mm Minifigs back in the good old days! Using again Charles Grant Scenarios book.

So, to sum up and end this post 2016 actualization:

1) I have a nice -for me- 54mm traditional New Toy Soldier Collection on display and add items to its themes very very slowly and carefully!… It is real interesting when I find a firm as Replicametalsoldiers&models (Andrew Stevenson) who can do “special things” on demand. No change of main themes in the offing, but toying of with my own version of A GENTLEMAN’S WAR with 54mm… will keep you posted about that (a 2020 project).

All the Queen’s Men 7th cavalry in Parade Dress Uniforms. Sold them long time ago to make place.

2) Playmobils are in my past. But I still skirmish or parade them when my grandchildren are in the mood… not often enough.

Naval battles no more…

3) 6mm is my actual passion, I keep saying to myself: This is the last order… this is the last parcel to the painters… I have to write down some really good rules for 6mm just in case my brother turns up unexpectedly and we have a game like in the good old days… only reason why I built those ACW Rebels!.

Baccus (and some Rapier) 6mm Union Army on its tray.
Baccus 6mm Confederates on its tray (Cavalry and equipment for both are stored apart).

4) The old Boardgames of my childhood have new figures (METAURO has Baccus 6mm), and Little Big Horn has kept the only 25/28mm figures I own today a mix of Dixon’s for the 7th and Old Tradition of London for the Native Americans (Politically Correct nowadays!… it seems injuns or hostiles is not quite appropiate…).

Little Big Horn a boardgame from the series Great Battles of the World.

And I hope that makes clear what I am up to in the fall of 2019!

54mm is not the bigger of my scales… I even have a Napoleonic Chasseur of The Imperial Guard made of China porcelain… and even bigger than those shown!

And those imprescindible books by HEIMDAL… The French Line Infantry due in May 2020.

Foot Imperial Guard.
Horse Imperial Guard.
The last units you need to know about from the Imperial Guard.
All you need to know… pending the second volume for the Horse Artillery…

ACW (I) 05-07

Our first “serious” ACW battle with Airfix plastic Armies (scenario by Charles Grant). LONG, LONG, LONG time ago….

ACW was my first love, and thats that. Of course I did Napoleonic’s in 25mm MINIFIGS, but that was easy to understand too, everybody else did!… Imperial Guard!… Austerlitz!… Waterloo!… colorful uniforms!… you named it… The IQ of Napoleon would have astounded a lot of people they say… but someone who invades Russia in 1812 with an “European conquered” Army must be a bit mad too. Ok, enough.

The main reason of wargaming again the ACW (must be my sixth time) this time in 6mm is because it is well balanced (not their arms mind, Infantry was already paramount and Artillery badly used still was important, Cavalry I just love but been realistic it was quite secondary.

Shiloh 25mm MINIFIGS. My brother’s collection!
MINIFIGS 25mm. Union was my collection.

It all started with John Ford and THE HORSE SOLDIERS which I saw so many times when a child that left an everlasting impression, and I did not dig all the nuances until I was older, for me it is a masterpiece of condensation, nearly everything on the ACW is there. If you add to that my old 54mm soldiers, AIRFIX 20mm period, MINIFIGS, FOUNDRY. DIXON, TO THE REDOUBT, PLAYMOBILS and finally BACCUS… Recurrent is the word you are looking for…

Grierson’s Raid.
Close up.

If I say that I am still reading SHELBY FOOTE third Volume (finished nowadays) you may be surprised, but no, it has a reason, in the meantime I have read lots of other books about that war and others, but there is such amount of info per page that I have to take it slowly and gusto.

Probably up to Gettysburg the ACW has a feel of the Napoleonic Wars, fought by amateurs (as if they were not amateurs also in the Napoleonic wars… plenty of them!) learning hard lessons on the way. And after that it smacks a bit of WWI with all those trenches, fieldworks etc. DIG IN!… the King of Spades was Lee’s surname well before 1864!.

The Michigan Brigade at East Cavalry Field 1863.
Ride on You Wolverines!

Of course refighting historical battles as they do in LITTLE WARS TV is Ok, but I always enjoyed “doing my own”… it is very hard to simulate in the Tabletop the disinformation of Generals (The overestimation of The Southern Armies numbers by the Union Generals -aka little Mac- is a well know fact!). Still even so Bull Run (1st Manassas) is a favorite… but mainly I build a scenario with a bit of fog of war, try to enlist some generals from my brother downwards and that’s it.

There are a lot of other periods interesting of course!, Napoleonic’s dominated my wargaming life for thirty years… always have been tempted by the Franco-Prussian War (but it is so one-sided… hard to simulate the sheer incompetence of the French Army at Command level… and the Political intrigues!); there are very good books about this one. And the Uniforms are nice.

But, apart from other lines of entertainment with Baccus figures, at the moment it is the ACW who wins all bets. I have the Armies, the scenery and the will, but must write some easy to understand home rules for my grandchildren, always have loved simple rules but with a twist some place.

Union Battery, mix of Foundry and Dixon 28mm.
Foundry Rebels, some are customized exchanging heads.
I build the Armies with Playmobils too!
Playmobil customized Zouaves 75mm.
Playmobil ACW Armies ready for shipping elsewhere…

ACW (II) 06-07

Just for the sake of it. Baccus 6mm Rebels deployed. Painted by Turbil Miniatures.

So, to sum up: I started wargaming when a kid in a rudimentary form on the floor with 54mm “rubber” soldiers (1). I then discovered the plastic AIRFIX whole range in 20mm -in fact 4 different boxes; Union Infantry (blue), Confederate Infantry (grey); Artillery (medium brown) for both sides; and finally US Cavalry (Blue) that you had to paint for the Rebs- and went for them boxes like the quest of the Grail! (2). One day at the Tradition of London shop I asked for them and was politely informed that they did not stocked “plastic rubbish” -my first visit to a shop that later on was a fix appointment when in London- Then, after hard reflexion on the meaning of “rubbish” I discovered metal MINIFIGS -then based at SOUTHAMPTON near the Eye Hospital if I remember well- (3); the Armies grew and Old Glory were added to them, even some Hinchcliffe I think found their way into the ranks, and of course some old 25mm Tradition of London (made in Sweden). That was it for decades. I was proud and happy been soooo trendy!

Then the 25mm too big to play area crisis caught me and I sold them nearly all. Some of them -those Union painted by me- became property of my brother who had the Rebs and no crisis of confidence with that scale. We even exchanged some Napoleonic’s for them… I kept the 25mm Napoleonic’s longer than the rest… but they were sold too in the end!

Then FOUNDRY started an ACW range and I could not resist buying ACW UNION Cavalry under THE HORSE SOLDIERS influence, by then I was mixing riders and horses (Dixon) and making conversions -nearly military modeling- one thing lead to another and I got some Artillery… and then why not? some Infantry -you need some at Brandy Station I reasoned- of course I bought the Confederates too… That was my fourth effort! (4). Finally, crisis struck again and my faith in 25/28mm was shattered… sold them all.

With the funds obtained I started building Playmobil Armies for my first two grandsons… once organized I thought it was a way to confront brother against brother in a too realistic way and scratched out the project… Sold them all again. (5) And went “tricorne era” fictional Playmobil Armies much more clean in spirit!.

And where was I?… Reading Practical Wargamer… and there I found Baccus ACW Cavalry on the cover of one number!… nothing less than East Cavalry Field (again)… months of musing about it… I bought POLEMOS ACW rules and fell in l love with the color pics -Rules as it is I prefer my own as always- And then to make a long story short I went Baccus ACW 6mm for both sides (6).

Do not pity me!… I had tons of FUN in the whole process that lasted years and years…

So there you have it, I have build six times the period and have read a long list of books about it, by the way Paddy Griffith is very good at it!. There are two very good books to own by him: BATTLE IN THE CIVIL WAR Generalship and Tactics in America 1861-1865 with stunning artwork. And then BATTLE TACTICS OF THE CIVIL WAR. As per uniforms information the best to my knowledge apart from the Osprey’s, old Blanford, and Troiani’s and Kuntsler’s and Rocco’s paintings the best single volume is: La GUERRE de SECESSION Les armées de l’Union et de la Confederation- by HEIMDAL in France, and there is an edition with English text I guess or would be…

Very good textbook.
Excellent Illustrations. A must have book.

Now, as I have in my modest collection enough troops to have fun -megalomania is a pest to avoid- and all the references of Baccus catalogue! I am satisfied. I must confess the range is splendid and one of the best in Peter’s production, have put a limit (LOL… not true in fact!) to it and only 24 Union Brigades and 18 Confederate Brigades of Infantry make the nucleus, + Artillery -with limbers- (those limbers are used also in colonial affairs mind) and mounted and dismounted Cavalry. I even have some Rapier Union Infantry to add a bit of variety and also Rapier Cavalry on both sides. I even mixed minis from other periods getting French with kepi from the Franco-Prussian Baccus range too… anything to add variety. Im my opinion one of the best packs is ACW7 because it has hat and kepi figures and some with rolled blankets across the chest -always a favorite of mine- so, if I started anew building Baccus ACW Armies I would surely get all the packs but ACW7 would have the lion’s share of the purchase.

Enough for today. I provide old 6mm pics but will edit sometime this winter!

Union 6 Corps. -on the lid of a box!- (Nowadays I have more stands)
Confederacy 3 Corps. (Same as above could not resist adding stands)

ACW (III) 07-07

I wish I was at Joy of Six today… (not near me at all).

Stonewall Jackson

I wanted to explain -no need at all in fact- why I find so interesting the ACW. A quite modern Republic, with a great Constitution and not even a Century of existence torn apart by a political argument (and two very different ways of life). Was a State paramount in legislation inside his border limits? or do the Central U.S.A administration superseded those and could prevail over the State decisions?… in fact that was the original dispute brewing for years until it exploded. Of course the matter of slavery was an issue but it was used politically later on because the Constitution allowed it! Of course it was also the time of abolition everywhere around the world and the Confederacy “way of living” or economy if you prefer was doomed as it was.

That clever Prussian-Helmuth Von Moltke- said he was not interested in “armed mobs chasing each other through the woods“, which as a definition of the war was short sighted.

Phil Sheridan

You have a war to wargame that starts at Bull Run / First Manassas with similarly clad (some Union Regiments wore grey and some Confederacy wore Blue) amateur Armies. And from then on until Appomattox you have practically all, Attacks, Defenses, Sieges, Cavalry Raids, Cavalry Battles, Mini-Campaigns as Jackson’s Valley one!, Outflanking moves by whole Armies… the change from Napoleonic Warfare to nearly WWI tactics and above all a list of colorful characters, General Lee, who was offered command -and refused loyal to Virginia- of the Union Armies at the beginning of the crisis -tell me which other war has that characteristic- General Grant who understood modern war and was all business, Sherman (total war), Sheridan, Longstreet, Beauregard, JEB Stuart, Custer, Kilpatrick, Gregg, Buford, Meade, Picket, Hood, Johnston… I could go on and on. Even fanatics of naval warfare can have their day. Railways, Telegraph, Balloons, Ironclads, it is really a fascinating period… and it is “compact” meaning 1861-1865.

R.E.Lee

I enjoyed the Napoleonic period to the full but would not touch it again with a six foot Pole… -pun intended-. A veteran wargamer of the Napoleonic period can always claim his disgust of the long span of time covered and the CHANGES in uniforms and organization… etc. maybe one day I will write a Post about it, but it completely surpasses the lonely solo wargamer, I am convinced that you need a large Club to fully appreciate it, just the changes of uniforms and headgear on such a long period are a nightmare for me… the French Infantry used bicornes at Austerlitz… The British Heavy Cavalry in the Peninsula used also a different headgear as it was with the Infantry that had stovepipe shakos not usable in Waterloo… oh Dear! The more you read and learned the less exact were your wargames units in dress and composition… still a fantastic period mind!

Getting back to the point, and from a wargamer perspective even the sizes of the ACW Armies are manageable, no LEIPZIG thank you!. And what is more you can use them indistinctly for the Eastern and Western theaters!

Rules aplenty exist -I work my own- and some are very good, I used Fire&Fury with great satisfaction. You will pay your money and get your choice. I am quite liberally minded and do not preach or ask for proselytes -perish the thought- One of the FUN of the period is the sheer incompetence of generalship -not exclusively in the Union side- political appointed Generals who could not command a corporal’s guard. I love chance cards in my games, you know what I mean, you throw a six and have to turn a card… lol… The First division has lost its way and would not come at all; The ADC with the orders has been shot and you know nothing of the change of plans; A fall from a horse has injured and incapacitated the leader of your Cavalry; and so on…

U.S.Grant

Been solo has its rewards too. But a multiplayer game is real fun.

Because I fondly remember a Napoleonic game I staged for several people a long time ago where commander and sub-commanders could only speak to each other (on the same side of course!) when in base contact… all other communications where via couriers galloping with written messages!… I nearly died laughing seen the expressions on the faces of the Generals when reading messages!… puzzled does not even begin to describe it!.

So, let the ACW be with this last Post about it… (for the moment)… will probably actualize the pics later on. As Groucho said: Your Honor I rest my case!

It has not rested a lot!… just today I ordered more Infantry from Mersey Wargames for 1st Bull Run/1st Manassas. Brigades with colours inverted … blue one’s with Reb Colours and grey one’s with Union Colours… to add to the confusion of the first battle!… Have to write a Post about Disorders or Megalomania too!… thought I was cured!…

ACW (IV) 21-07

Ride on you Wolverines! Mainly FOUNDRY ACW but also DIXON and specially Dixon horses! I loved those on my 28mm days.

Not much to add to the previous posts but I thought it was worth to recommend a minimal Bibliography and Filmography to the period. You see, yesterday night I was able to finish reading the mammoth account by Shelby Foote THE CIVIL WAR in three volumes… if I had to write an amazon review of it I will be compelled -obliged- to give it five stars, the amount of information is so great that makes for a dense lecture. In fact it took me 25 years to end reading the trilogy -why the five stars? I can hear you say- first and foremost it is a deadly serious book which starts slowly and ends even more slowly!… I would be glad to find an Editor to give me such leeway!. Comprehensive, detailed, somehow the Southern perspective but to be fair it is well balanced, and a big plus explaining the political side of the war -that I would have edited out heavily as some biographical aspects of the life of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis did not appeal to me- as it is a tour de force and I wish I could write something like that myself… Those are minor comments -not even criticisms- because reflecting on it you really see the war as a whole. And that’s that.

After reading a lot of books in the 25 years lapse, many about the ACW too!, I would say it is for real hardcore fans of the period. For Wargaming or Collecting minis of the period it is unnecessary and some of you undoubtedly will find tedious reading. But it would be first on any Bibliography.

My first Video game…

ACW Filmography: GONE WITH THE WIND, THE HORSE SOLDIERS, GODS AND GENERALS, GETTYSBURG, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON, GLORY, MAJOR DUNDEE, SHENANDOAH, THE FIELD OF LOST SHOES, CLASS OF 61, RIDE WITH THE DEVIL and THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY… to name but a dozen… real fans should also see THE BIRTH OF A NATION and THE GENERAL (Buster Keaton) both silent movies.

ACW Bibliography: THE CIVIL WAR (Shelby Foote), THE CIVIL WAR (Bruce CATTON’S trilogy), CLASHES OF CAVALRY (Thom Hatch), BATTLE TACTICS OF THE CIVIL WAR (Paddy Griffith), BATTLE IN THE CIVIL WAR: GENERALSHIP AND TACTICS IN AMERICA 1861-65 (Paddy Griffith), DON TROIANI’S CIVIL WAR, BATTLEFIELD ATLAS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (Symonds), All Ospreys on the subject MAA and Campaign, “THE” Blandford book about Uniforms: UNIFORMS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR , 1861-65 -the first one I ever bought myself!- LA GUERRE DE SECESSION (HEIMDAL Jouineau-Mongin), THE QUEST FOR ANNIHILATION (Cristopher Perello), GETTYSBURG (Stephen W, Sears), GEETYSBURG: THE STORY OF THE BATTLE WITH MAPS (David Reisch and David M. Detweiler), THE CIVIL WAR: THE STORY OF THE WAR WITH MAPS (same), and in fact thousands more…

As an afterthought on ACW Historical Fiction: THE KILLER ANGELS, SHILOH, THE HORSE SOLDIERS, CONFEDERATES, GONE WITH THE WIND, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, THE MARCH, STONEWALL’S GOLD, UNTO THIS HOUR, CIVIL WAR STORIES (A.Bierce)… Frank Yerby, John Jakes, even the great Bernard Cornwell did 4 novels about it!

Yankees
Rebels

ACW (V) 14-08

Some stands customized by flags… some Baccus… some my own reductions of flags… I started experimenting with those so to use the stands of troopers both for the ACW and the Plains Indian Wars… while waiting for Peter to do those…(actually sculpting them!)

August is a very boring month… but after reflecting a bit it is also a time when new ideas creep into your mind and influence your projects.

I have done a Gettysburg bathtubing of my already painted ACW units with the result -predictable- that in fact I do not need “much more” at all to refight at a ratio one mini/100 man. Then I started considering the aesthetics of the thing, and some questions immediately become evident. Of course all come from reading about it (The ACW) say for example:

1) How do you represent the feat of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg?, it was a single Regiment NOT a Brigade who charged by orders ALONE! into a Confederate Brigade who was superior in numbers and also outflanked them on both sides… HOW DO YOU DO IT?… Don Troiani’s paintings as an inspiration… but not exclusively that. I am not shouting excuse the emphasis.

2) At the end of the ACW there were Rebel Brigades reduced so much that in fact had the strength of a Regiment…

Well, all of that has put me in gear to do some special stands, the theory is completed, once Baccus admits new orders and Paypal works again -my fault I admit- I am going to build new stands in the following manner:

  1. Using the standard 60x30mm Baccus stand I will represent units understrength, meaning NOT the usual two ranks of 12 minis and 4 skirmishers in front. Got enough of those!
  2. I will also represent isolated units with flanks unprotected -aka 1st Minnesota at Gettysburg- Using fewer minis in the center of the stand with no skirmishers and still two ranks.
  3. In the same stand I will put side by side two units with their colours but much reduced -Confederates- to represent late war status.
  4. Last but not least that induced other supporting ideas… why not push forward both lines and eliminate skirmishers from the picture making some minis in the rear rank a bit not aligned -that represents stragglers or tired soldiers trying to catch up- a new stand to give variety to the tabletop- and what about mounted officers of the Brigade?… THE MEN MUST SEE US TODAY!… just another variation… and so on… (still not shouting).
  5. And in my final order I included Brigades with flank refused, as in Little Round Top extreme of the line.

I did the drawings and schemes and post them to Greg at MERSEY WARGAMES PAINTING SERVICE, those “new stands” will gave my own rules more scope for variety.

I am probably not the first to realize the flexibility of the system that enables a more liberal composition of the minis glued to the base -I am not claiming originality at all- but I guessed it would be a good idea to post my thoughts about them.

Greg is going to do some stands with Cavalry wading a river too! meaning a column and minis cut from the bases in front and rear and no legs for the horses in the middle of the unit… sky blue river stand!… ideal for raiding! -and for both sides of course- plenty of rivers to Ford (pun intended).

ACW (VI) Special Stands 20-08

Had to find stands to fit the width of the BACCUS Bridge.
Pontoon Bridge (Baccus) and Cavalry wading special stand. painted by Mersey Wargames.

Today I am offering you some special stands and a painting instructions list for my next ACW troops (also “special stands” because of the gluing on of the minis in them stands even if they are all 60x30mm standard Baccus own). Compare with the pic of usual POLEMOS stands. I did found ludicrous to put POLEMOS stands over a Leven or Baccus Bridge -and for that matter I do not like to put troops over woods either (a la Little Wars)- well, that means that you simply need more trees to “make room” when needed. Hope you find tips useful.

Hereby find the instructions and diagrams -scanners attached- for the painting of the ACW Infantry and Cavalry.

1.- Union troops are absolutely REGULAR in dress, blankets Black tarpaulin (Impermeable gear). Only one Regiment of coloured troops (NEGROES) with white officers. Hats always black.

2.- Confederates mainly butternut and dark brown blankets. I appreciate if bits of grey showing be that kepis, jackets or pants in 50% of the  minis.

NOTE: These typed instructions have pre-eminence over the diagrams, in case of conflict between the two follow the present text. Of course, clarifications can be provided.

As you know these stands have NO skirmishers, have the standard double line (pushed forward because NO skirmishers) always central command strip with flags in the centre in the first rank -officer to one side, drummer at the other- with independence of the gluing of the minis on the stand which is the purpose of this present order: ADD VARIETY TO THE ASPECT OF THE STANDS. All minis are facing forwards, even when refused flanks or catching up… no minis running away. Remember NO NEED TO GLUE FLAGS ON THEM, just paint the guidons on the cavalry.

Diagrams to make myself understood by a painter of minis more than a thousand miles away! -Greg is REALLY helpful-
Diagrams above underway… painting by Mersey Wargames. (Greg for me)
The above stands finished with flags etc. Mersey Wargames Painting service and yours truly.

A.- Union Infantry stands:

A1.-    Number one on the diagrams, 20 minis glued as shown with margin at the sides, meaning as together (centred) as on a typical stand of 28 minis such POLEMOS.

There are two minis “catching up” at the rear, not much distanced, one and two base width is OK (on the diagram looks much distorted). All kepi with blanket.

A2.-    Same as above but a mix of kepi and hats. 4 minis in the rear rank “catching up”. Always same criteria as on A1.

A3.-    24 minis + Mounted Officer at the front (from the Cavalry packs), It is a standard POLEMOS stand with the addition of the Mounted officer instead of skirmishers and 3 minis catching up in the rear rank. Minis glued more forward to permit that.

A4.-    12 minis. All black hats. Centred in stand. Flanks unprotected.

A5.-    20 minis. Right flank refused. Same as above.

A6.-    Stand with two small Brigades. 24 minis + Mounted Officer. First rank of the rear Bgde.  and Second rank of forward Bgde.  can be aligned.

A7.-    Same as A5. But the other flank refused. (Left). 20 minis.

A8.-    Put as many kepis as possible in that one… at least 50%. Very similar to A1 but those are Coloured troops with white officers. Two minis “catching up”.

Another view. In 6mm rivers do look like rivers I guess.
Usual POLEMOS-Altar of Freedom -or any rules- “Normal” Stands. As you know the Irish Brigade is nowadays another stand! (change of flags).