Awesome by all means! He commercially uses the trade mark REVEILLE… so if in need of truly ell painted scenery (or 6mm minis BTW) there he is… google up! (Giving him the “plug” because I am a truly satisfied customer!… this webpage does not have publicity in it but I recommend what I like and that’s that (really personal and up to me)
PS: BTW you can see other pics from REVEILLE in other posts of this web page… ACW or FFL enjoy…
No blasphemy intended, 6mm is the scale to go IMHO to fight on the tabletop large scale Battles or Campaigns, the quality of the castings has improved a lot over the decades and even some truly amazing painters of minis achieve stunning feats of art with them!… but of course this is not the main point… gone are the secure flanks (aka border of the table), the lines of communication suddenly are there… you can even represent the tail of an Army… really a lot of things to ponder on. On the downside you lose detail (lovers of the last button would not be interested) and even your quite really good average painted minis lose detail on the distance (at naked eye view). As you know I am hooked on this scale and my passion is the ACW. See elsewhere on this web page under ACW.
Probably one of the best books so far readed by me is the single volume by Bruce Catton The American Civil War. A truly tour de force.
In fact it was the Baccus concept of basing 24 minis (or 28 with skirmishers) in a single base measuring 60x30mm and calling the unit a brigade who appealed to me. A genius move. (I evolved from there but that is another story).
ACW was my first love, it still is, and thats that. The main reason of wargaming again the ACW (must be my sixth try), this time in 6mm, is because it is well balanced and a “compact period” 1861-1865.It all started with John Ford and the movie “THE HORSE SOLDIERS” which I saw so many times when a child that it 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… Well… Recurrent is the word you are looking for…
Of course it was not only the movies… I enjoyed reading SHELBY FOOTE three Volumes, a real tour de force! So packed with information that I had to read slowly to digest it -meaning I read a lot of other books at the same time- even about the ACW too!
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 the real 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 up to a point… But to be honest I 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. Fictional battles are for me so much more fun after-all, in real war you can not pitch Stonewall Jackson against U.S.Grant for example… in real life they never fought each other.
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.
So, to sum up my progression: I started wargaming when a kid in a rudimentary form on the floor with 54mm “rubber” soldiers (1). I then -in my early twenties-discovered the plastic AIRFIX whole range in 20mm -in fact 4 different boxes; Union Infantry (blue), Confederate Infantry (grey); Artillery (medium brown) to be used 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).
In due time I discovered MINIFIGS 25mm, then based at Southampton, so I graduated to “metal” and their Catalogue (which I still have) was my companion for years! (3). I still recall the sorrow when a Zouaves unit got “lead rot” and become unusable… of course I dutifully bought them again and painted them even better… those were my painting years. Afflicted by a bout of Napoleonic megalomania I swapped my 25mm Union Army for my brother’s Napoleonics (same trade mark) to do not have to transport them up and down because we lived 200 Km away from each other. It was a satisfactory solution, and I went to complete all Napoleonics nations as a result.
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… regretfully I sold them 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!
With the funds obtained I started building Playmobil Armies for my (then) 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 much more toy soldier like, a la Charles Grant Jr.
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 from Baccus… and fell in l love with the color pics (eye candy) -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… and I am certified as SANE.
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.
Now, as I have in my modest collection enough troops to have fun -megalomania is a pest to avoid- and all the references of the Baccus Catalogue! I am satisfied. I must confess the range is splendid and one of the best in Peter’s production.
I use the ACW limbers and caissons also in colonial affairs mind, and also the horses for dismounted Cavalry. I even have some Rapier Union Infantry to add a bit of variety to the collection 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 Baccus 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 (the only drawback is ACW7 has only one standard-bearer!).
If you are new to the period I can recommend:
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 about 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), GETTYSBURG: 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 of course hundreds more…
And 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, THE NORTHERN WOLF SERIES (5 books I guess) RUTLAND’S BLUES AND GREYS, CIVIL WAR STORIES (A.Bierce)… Frank Yerby, John Jakes, even the great Bernard Cornwell did 4 novels (probably not his best novels though) about it!
Well, this is the end of the ACW project. On the pics above you can see the results of pestering painters (and paying them of course!) the last two years. This is my more orthodox project so far, even have the POLEMOS rules (in fact it all started with a pic in the cover of Battlegames (nº15) featuring East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg!) then I bought the Polemos rules got hooked by the colour pics and the rest you know how it goes. Of course readers know that I did not stop there and added a lot more of Brigades of Infantry, Cavalry; Caissons, Wagons, Divisional Commanders and what not!… LOL (see elsewhere in this web page).
Well, here they are after the POSCA treatment, Greg provided them with dark blue kepis and grey kepis, so far so good. But after reflecting a bit and perusing the HEIMDAL book I decided to change the colors of the headgear because there were units like that -obscure militia maybe but they existed- So that gave me a sort of “twin” units or “mirror” stands, now I have Blue clad Confederates with red kepis and sky blue kepis, and Grey clad Union stands with red kepis and sky blue kepis… as you can see in the pic. I thought that this permitted more flexibility and the stands are going to be used not only in First Bull Run (First Manassas) but also later on in the big battles of 1862 and even 1863… after all the flags are all important in 6mm scale.
There you can see how easy it is to “customize” a bit, and it is really fast I assure you.
I wanted to explain -yet again- 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 a very important 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.
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, Infantry entrenching, 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 (a total war believer), 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…
Rules aplenty exist -I work my own as usual- but some commercial one’s 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… but all this is not “original”.
Been solo has its rewards too. But a multiplayer game is real fun.
I fondly remember a Napoleonic game (Yes I was a Napoleonic geek for thirty years) I staged for several people -my brother and his friends from Barcelona- a long time ago… Aspern-Essling it was (but the players did not knew)… As the umpire I decided (or ruled) that commander and sub-commanders could only speak to each other 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! long time friends did not understood the written instructions!… we had FUN!… lots of FUN and that is what is all about.
As a corollary, when at the end of building Brigade stands I stopped to think a bit, I decided to put variety and glue the minis differently on them stands, after all the 60×30 stand was already paramount in my Armies and had a lot of two lines of 12 + 4 skirmishers in front so… those questions come to my mind:
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 put me in gear to do some special stands, the theory was completed: I did build new stands in the following manner:
Using the standard 60x30mm Baccus stand I represented units understrength, meaning NOT the usual two ranks of 12 minis and 4 skirmishers in front.
I represented 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.
In the same stand I will put side by side two units with their colours but much reduced -Confederates- to represent late war status.
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).
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.
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.
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”.
B.- Confederate Infantry stands:
B1.- Number one on the diagrams, 20 minis glued as shown, meaning as together (centred) as on a typical stand of 28 minis such POLEMOS. But right flank refused as in A5. Mixed lot. Use different colours for hats.
B2.- Same as above but left flank refused.
B3.- 12 minis + Mounted officer.. All “straw coloured” hats. Centred in stand. Flanks unprotected.
B4.- Stand with two small Brigades. 24 minis + Mounted Officer. First rank of the rear Bgde. and Second rank of forward Bgde. can be aligned. Quite as A6.
B5.- Same as B4 minus mounted officer. When aligned like this they have to match B4 and B6 position glued as to look a “LINE”. In fact it would look as an standard POLEMOS stand with two sets of colours, no skirmishers and pushed forward.
B6.- Same as B4 but symmetrical, see diagram.
TOTAL of 124 infantry minis and 3 mounted officers. (Include 9 command strips).
For the Infantry stands you will need 14 units of 60x30mm bases NOT INCLUDED.
ACW Cavalry Stands:
Colour of horses predominantly Dark and Red Bays, some Black. All buglers on white horses. Mix a bit.
C1.- 60x30mm stand with 9 minis (UNION) wading a river as mentioned in previous emails:
The idea is to have in a 60×30 Baccus standard base of 9 figures unit in column wading a river… IN LONGITUDINAL WAY DIRECTION FRONT OF 30mm … that means: To cut the bases of the first three (command) and the last two troopers, and the whole legs of the horses (4) in the middle of the base, glue them like that in a more or less “disordered way” but still in column… and paint the base sky blue… as WATER.
C2.- Same as above but Confederate. (No butternut)
C3.- A typical Cavalry Brigade of 9 minis (UNION) as per POLEMOS… but in arrow formation as seen in the Forum in Baccus webpage. Officer forward and troopers on each side a bit behind each time, so that the extremes are the more back figures. Quite straightforward.
C4.- Same as above. Confederate. (No butternut)
Now, what to do with the remaining mounted minis?. NO officer’s left but still guidons (standard-bearers) and buglers.
Please use 30×30 stands on the rest, groups of 4 minis, 2 in front 2 behind as you have done for me repeatedly.
C5.- 4 Union stands, guidon on front rank (right side), bugler front rank (left side). Two troopers behind. Please mix hats and kepis.
C6.- 2 Confederate Stands same as above. (No butternut)
C7.- 4 Union stands with 4 troopers mixed headgear.
C8.- 2 Confederate Stands with 4 troopers as C7. (No Butternut).
Finally found a way to post my last ACW parcel to Greg (Mersey Painting services)… hopefully its gone today… and I have seen in FaceBook that Peter is probably opening the cart for orders next friday, that way Greg can get bases and the last pack needed!… ACW01 if you want to know. So with a little luck and in due time I will complete that period to satisfaction… meaning 50 infantry Union Brigades etc. Will post pics when I get them by summer’s end… In the post “New” in this hereby blog I explained how to add variety to the LOOK of the minis in them stands… I will not repeat myself. As usual I will add some finishing touches and the flags.
I am not going to tire you endlessly with the permutations I do in my head with Baccus minis projects. I buy one thing having in mind doing for example ACW Division Generals (I know Polemos and Altar of Freedom do not use them but… I do what I want as everybody else!)… and then I get nagging doubts and decide to use the minis as brigade commanders of Infantry Units… Mounted standard-bearers have been considered for Rush’s lancers… even tempted by 60×60 stands to speed movement… I think that the Polemos approach is very well suited to the ACW even if I write and play by my own rules… the Tempo bidding is probably OK for those who like it… but for solo playing I prefer the “turn of a friendly card”… after all IMHO when two armies met on the field specially in 1862-1863 they meant business… aka friction/attrition until they called the thing of… war is mainly throwing things at the enemy and be brave enough to stand in the receiving end of what he throws at you (from the beginning of times I guess). So my ACW Armies do not need to be “motivated” they know what are expected from them… but of course they are subject to fog of war and the unexpected… the “chance of war”.
What follows I do not delete just to show you the mental processes I am going through. Take care.
Monday the shop at Baccus opened again. I could not resist buying some ACW stuff to polish my Armies even more… What “polish” means?… I am never 100% satisfied with my collections… so I want to try a new approach on some units. That means the cumbersome task (FUN!) that the minis will fly to me in Andorra… I will convert, organize and even paint some details I can not do once finished and based by the painters… and then send to MERSEY WARGAMES PAINTING SERVICE to be properly finished. After a deep thought about it I am going to rearrange the units of the Union Army and a bit of shaking the Rebs too… just for the ultimate search of perfection, if that exists mind…
I have bought three packs of ACW07 and one each of Generals (USA and CSA). Five packs in all. I asked for strips with mounted standard-bearers first and foremost on those two last packs! Still not sure how I am going to base them so I did not bought the bases… that Greg can do once I have organized the troops (well, Brigades).
updated 14-March-2020: Well, got the minis at last!… in fact I have had them for a couple of weeks by now… useful information: If you buy three packs of ACW07 you will be able to cut from the strips the minis with kepi and blanket across chest in a way as to get two complete brigades of them!… of course that will leave you with 8 extra brigades of infantry with hat!… but THAT is what I wanted… The 2 kepi+blanket with 4 hat+blanket will make the six brigades (Union) needed to substitue the one’s I got with Rapier’s minis… they are not bad mind… but I prefer Baccus… I still do not know what to do with the old six… but something would be devised… still six brigades left that I would probably ask the painters to glue in column instead of in line… Another thing I did was buying packs of generals… some would go to the Pony Wars proxies… and I am still doubting if Division Generals would be a good move or addition… even if Polemos rules says no need for them… Also under the influence of magazine Battlegames number 15 full of cavalry eye candy pics I am considering a bit more of Cavalry for my Armies… East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg and Brandy Station (in inverse order of course)… so… waiting for the Postman again… and the reopening of another window in that flickering shopcart at Baccus!
Of course the current pandemic has also disturbed my projects, including the pics making and the ability of sending minis to the painters… hope all ends well yourselves included. Take care.
That’s it DHL collected the parcel with my last ACW Brigades… hopefully not long now… will take pics and show you what is the end of my ACW collection in 6mm.
Updated 26th October. Parcel from Mersey Wargames Painting Service arrived with my last Brigades (ACW), have to put the flags etc. EXCELLENT! Have a couple of pics.
A close up.
1st November 2020. Have added the flags (some from Baccus some from Stone Mountain) and now I am going to check the paint and add little details. Will add some real close ups when finished.
Here are some pics after last “touchs”.
Ok. Having really finished the ACW project. I am writing my own personal SOLO ACW 6mm rules, have no intention to publish them, but I am going to do the effort of putting them down as if that was the purpose. Of course the alternative of playing with others will be in mind… But first things first. I have discovered that it is over easy to complicate them enough for SOLO playing. The idea is that the mechanisms of resolving combat are well explained with diagrams and pics. After that it is more easy to introduce “fog of war” for various players and other imponderables. I have used Fire&Fury, POLEMOS and Altar of Freedom as guides but “biding” against oneself playing solo does not work of course, and also the idea of a “clock” is very alien to my playing. Of course there would be “chance cards” and other issues introduced to make for different alternative scenarios to develop. I have always ranted against commercial sets of rules and now it is my time to be criticized… LOL.
Yesterday, and the day before, I included some pics of the French Foreign Legion in my post, well, let’s go through with it, I am a fan of this elite corps since I read the novel –Beau Geste– when a child, in fact I read the whole trilogy -which is not a trilogy- Beau Geste – Beau Sabreur – Beau Ideal (connoisseurs know there are two more books about the Geste brothers Good Gestes and Spanish Maine*). Ever since I have not resisted the impulse to buy minis related to it and that’s that. Whatever my main wargame interest or collector fancy, there are always FFL soldiers in it. *The Desert Heritage in the USA.
So to make a clean sweep of this particular topic I will give you today the pics that shows my love for it -Legio Patria Nostra- a very particular elite mercenary unit which incidentally serves under the French Flag of Madame la Republique.
I have had Rubber India 54mm soldiers, 25mm Minifigs proxies, 28mm To The Redoubt, 54mm Dorset Soldiers, never got the Airfix box because I did not found it in the shops when visiting England, 54mm Military Modelling stuff from Andrea Miniatures, and I had to build them in GodsOwnScale (6mm) using proxies (see other posts), and of course customized Playmobils!
Too many pics probably… but this takes out of the way a personal passion (mania) which would have appeared recurrently on the blog. This is it and we forget about the FFL. Curiously enough I did my own compulsory military service in Spain in the (then) Spanish Sahara… so I know a bit about the desert myself. Always have tried that my sons and grandsons did not get the chance to repeat such a silly ordeal… and I still like P.C.Wren.
I did start with two Regiments of the French Foreign Legion -how not- afterwards come a Regiment of Chasseurs d’Afrique (Cavalry)… but was at a loss on how to get the Spahis until Igor suggested an obscure pack of WWI Irregular Arab Cavalry!… well, I ordered, organized and modified a bit!, sent to the painters (MERSEY WARGAMES aka Greg), and at the same time asked for Zouaves (European troops) and Turcos (Native troops).
The parcel arrived today. See pic. -There are also some ACW stands that would be the subject of another post).
I did remake the officers of Spahis with POSKA markers -they deliver paint- and added white lines to the burnous and a black line on the headgear. Not much to do with Turcos and Zouaves… slight retouching and adding flags.
I guess the pics are quite self explanatory. There are some special measure stands for skirmishers, rallying squares for both Turcos and Zouaves… and the rest are ACW.
Thought it would be interesting for other colonial wargamers of the late XIXth Century in North Africa. In other posts I have showed the FFL and the Chasseurs d’Afrique. See below.
Unexpected maybe by you… and needed or not, I am going to elaborate a bit with my Baccus experience for your profit. If someone has read all the posts in this present blog it would not be much surprised by it but I have always indulged in summing up. As it is, I would arrange in chronological order my interest in the Baccus ranges, but you must understand the “context”, if instead of being nearly seventy I was in my thirties I would have gone Napoleonic straight away!… So my Baccus interests are much prejudiced by what I did on 25/28mm and become bored with… so no Zulu War this time… (read Daniel Hodgson – REVEILLE on FaceBook…he is doing it to perfection!)
Curiously enough, after selling my 25/28mm collection and in the middle of my ten years (on and off) interest on Playmobils (customs) I started a new interest for the 6mm scale, and was surprised by the sheer quality Baccus had achieved while I was distracted by other things. So, wanting to do BIG battles (ACW) and also BIG units (Colonials) for a change I went for it!… Mind, it was not my first experience with 1/300, I once, many years ago, painted a hundred or so French Cuirassiers which I finally sold via eBay because I never thought about bigger bases!… then I went 25mm Minifigs (many periods) and the rest is in my past.
I did the Crimean Light Cavalry Brigade using Baccus proxies suggested by Peter (who was very helpful… of course later I always took that for granted!), and I painted and based the lot myself. I was much pleased with the result. But I put them on the cabinet and did not go on with further developments of that period. So, even if I had a British Army in 28mm with both the Heavy and Light Brigades of Cavalry and Infantry & Artillery… and some multipurpose units for the French Allies… (I did not ever build the Russian Army and neither Turks or Sardinians for that matter)… I did not want to repeat the experience in 6mm. At that late time of my 28mm scale involvement it was more collecting, converting and military modelling… instead of proper wargaming (not even solo). I simply could not resist the nice Foundry range. Of course the intention of building this unit in 6mm is to have a game with it… my own rules… quite role playing… and obsessed by the possibility of getting the orders clear and go for the right guns… always “what if” in mind you all know.
Even if the later were a success I was concerned by the smallness of the Infantry figures, so I did not paint myself the second try… I simply ordered them painted from an eBay seller. I used 30x30mm Baccus bases to get the “counters” for an ancient boardgame about the Second Punic War battle of Metauro. The original plastic figures on the boardgame were 54mm, and the paint peeled a lot, lost forever by the use of successive generations… I once bought 28mm Greeks from Foundry (painted extraordinarily well in Madrid by the chaps at Atlantica Juegos) for both sides, trying to have a go at the Peloponessian War… but did not had the feel of the original Metauro game (even if the original did not had Gauls at all!) so when I sold my collection they parted too. Now I have Republican Rome and Carthaginian and Allies properly bathtubed, but this is as far as my interest goes for Ancients. That proved to me that Baccus Infantry was OK.
That prompted me to have a go at the Little Big Horn (yet again), but only concentrating the effort on Custer’s Battalion (Companies C,E,F,I,L and HQ), having the command mounted, skirmish line and last stand bases. I converted ACW Baccus proxies (just scratching out the sabers) and then sent to Mersey Wargames painting service. I enjoyed the result.
So, I went also British Colonial in Kaki, because I did not do them to the full in 25mm (in my time) and was much more nowadays interested in Maiwand/Kandahar; and the North West Frontier that going ZULU again. Incidentally I do with them the Sudan (Osman Digna British Squares affairs but also Abu Klea and Abu Kru etc) and I know Peter does an specific range for the Camel Corps… but I only bought the” pack camel minis”… in that scale in the desert my minis look the part without no need to repeat them in dusty light grey jackets! Better invest the money and time of the painters on other projects! In fact it is quite unfair to pester Peter about new packs or ranges when he does lots of periods and minis we simply pass from buying… the producer/designer nightmare I guess. And I am an example of how to use Baccus existing ranges to do my “own pet projects” in a quite heterodox way… even if I can be almost fully orthodox with a period like the ACW.
After seeing the results of my Colonial buys I decided to get a proper period in an orthodox form so to play with an opponent -be that my brother or other member of the family- so I choosed the ACW because it was my first love – thanks to the film THE HORSE SOLDIERS-and the minis and range of Baccus is quite complete (to say the least) even if I spruced the thing with Baccus proxies from their Franco-Prussian War range and even some Rapier minis. I dutifully bought ACW POLEMOS and also Altar of Freedom from the LITTLE WARS TV chaps (but I did not like their bathtubing of Gettysburg for instance… specially the Artillery present on the Confederate side… and NO I do not put Brigades over the top of the tress or woods); not much of a problem because I always tamper with the rules and do my own bathtubing no matter what!. Even so it is my largest (by far) and most typical wargaming approach of the lot. Nowadays finished building the Armies etc. -maybe shall post pics of the whole affair-
6 mm let me do “one off” adventures in a very non expensive way so I have a Prussian Cavalry Brigade from the Franco-Prussian War. Von Bredow’s own… “The Death Ride” etc. No way I am going to wargame the Franco-Prussian War, I have read enough about it and have nice Books about the Uniforms (a pleasure to see), but I found impossible to recreate the incompetence, jealousies and ambitions bordering treason of the French High Command. The Prussians mobilization and “modern” staff approach was a walk over even if they took a lot of risks and got more than one bloody nose in the process. Not for me thanks. BUT the famous charge kept the Cavalry in the Armies for fifty years more… IMHO it was already obsolete by Waterloo times as such… mounted infantry would replace them and with other tasks, gone were the days of the Cavalry as a Shock Weapon…
In parallel, I did the French XIXth Corps d’Afrique starting with French Foreign Legion -I always do the French Foreign Legion it is a mania- and followed by Chasseurs d’Afrique, Zouaves, Turcos and Spahis (thanks to Igor who suggested the proxies I had not perceived in the Baccus Catalogue!). Reveille is even doing a Zinderneuf outpost using pieces from Leven and small bases by Pendraken -another of my recurrent filias- No matter the scale my pet subjects are always the same as I suspect happens with a lot of wargamers.
After having an attack of second thoughts about Napoleonics, I was able to swap my interests at the last minute to Trees (badly needed) and wagons and pioneers all periods covered ACW and Colonials mainly.
Ranges from the Baccus Catalogue from whom I have bought items:
The Romans (Second Punic War); Napoleonic’s (Crimean proxies… so far I have avoided the real Napoleonic period… but it was a near run thing); American Civil War (like Coke the real thing!); Franco-Prussian War (proxies for ACW, French Foreign Legion, and even a Prussian Cavalry Brigade); Scenic items (XIXth century); Colonials; Bases and Basing Materials; Great War (proxies for my North West Frontier period); Equipment (quite multipurpose); Wargames Rules.
And also: Some ACW Rapier (not bad at all and they do mix well with Baccus… specially if you cut out the bayonets…) and of course lots of LEVEN and BACCUS buildings and accessories.