I am first and foremost a collector of Toy Soldiers (of course that includes wargames minis)… terrain has never been my forte… rather schematic I am (you need all sorts…)… see Napoleon or Waterloo Posts in this same web page or Blog and you will see what I mean… not landscaping for me (I did that as a job also so in a way it is probably easy to understand why I did not wanted to get too much involved in this side of the hobby… and of course also a matter of priorities I always chose to buy more “toy soldiers”… MY priorities…
I started again buying Baccus figures with Colonial British in mind, but with a change of colour, I went khaki because a read of the book 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.
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 -never ever had nothing broken in transit- 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 with the Colours using dressmakers pins).
I use – of course – the same minis to fight Maiwand, the North West Frontier and The Sudan. It is a bonus of 6mm. 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! in a private email saying something about how sometimes -not frequently- small pieces seem to get into place to make someone happy! A great chap Peter Berry.
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.
This period is completed and does not need new additions, as other minor “one off” themes quite self-contained.
The one imposible to control up to today is the ever increasing ACW project!, but that is my particular pet subject.
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.
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.
As with your real life -I know we all have one!- experience modifies the approach. Many people have uttered the nonsense sentence: “I wish I was twenty-something again”, it is understandable… but I must add please let me take with me all that I have learned!, and that is valid both for your real life and your miniature fictional one.
Not going to bother you much with reminiscences but let me say that if I could go back in time I would have gone Heroics&Ros in the seventies, but with big bases as POLEMOS suggests, my mistake back then was to try to base them in twos or threes… what a mess it was! If the idea of basing Regiments or Brigades in a single base had occurred to me I would have enjoyed my games much more and saved a lot of cash!. Many projects I had in mind could have been done easily and simultaneously… All of this is of course an anachronism and wishful thinking. On those days, not so much today, I was obsessed to conform to the rules, and THE RULES (popular at the time!), how to play with them model soldiers without a decent set of Rules!. An Orthodox view was a necessity to me in those days…
Well, if you have read some of this Posts or my previous adventures in the Baccus Forum, you know I collect Toy Soldiers in 54mm, I buy, I sell (not much nowadays), I found new interests, I change direction, whatever, but this is a cabinet display affair… “decoration” perish the thought!… they are decorative but the collection in itself is a way of gaming too… a Post someday will be done. But my main interest since a child was playing at war -aka wargames- and if a bit chivalrous the better, I loved gaudy uniforms and commanders leading from the front. I firmly put the stop or limit at 1900 for obvious reasons to me (Boer women and children concentration camps is a no go zone for me… and I know the Spaniards did it in Cuba before too!). My brother is a WWII nerd and I can accept that without problem but no thank you the XXth or XXIth century are not for me. But let’s go to the point, what did I learn in all those years?… not much I can hear you say… but one or two things are probably useful. See if it helps:
Plan ahead. In a way I tried hard to do it but mistakes did occur nevertheless. You will have to choose a period (or several); Scale (or several even if that means multiplying gear&scenery), I am a firm believer in sticking to a scale no matter what.
Choosing a period is a matter of taste and affinity, it helps a lot that a good or several ranges of minis do exist to begin with. At that point the Napoleonic trap is already looming on the horizon. If ever a mini is overproduced and available readily is a grognard of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard… Manufacturers know it and it is their bread&butter… anybody in the hobby, those who remain in it -and those who have tried and gone to do other things- have bought an Imperial Guardsman with Bonnet a Poil. Enough of that… of course I did it too! Go for a period (or several).
Sticking to a Scale has the immense BONUS of not duplicating scenery, terrain, and equipment!… how many wagons, pontoon trains, tents, buildings, tress and what not are you going to get if you go for several scales? Specially if you are a solo wargamer -in the back of beyond as me- for those with Club facilities the matter is quite different.
With the same stands you can play Free Kriegspiel or in a grid. Do what you like. I particularly hate metric rulers and the notion of measuring things on the tabletop… -probably a consequence of my profession in real life- and “counting stores” every half hour. Removing casualties is another thing to avoid in my experience.
If megalomaniac, meaning you go for it BIG in scope even in the smaller scales, consider the multipurpose units, a simple exchange of the Command&Colours stand and you have a double or triple unit, but that is a useful concept only if you have planned that ahead. In the Napoleonic period it was useful, but I am talking 25mm here.
I will have to edit heavily this Post once I remember other useful things, but for the sake of it I have given you food for thought.
Now, this could possibly go under “Collecting Toy Soldiers” or even “Conversions” alone… a post I deleted once… and going to use in part to show what I mean for conversions.
Life is not perfect sometimes (we all learn to live with that), and mistakes or omissions appear in your collecting hobby. For example on my last order to Andrew (REPLICA METAL SOLDIERS&MODELS 54mm) I did not specify that I wanted my 92nd Highlanders pipers 1878 with pith helmet (Khaki)… to my surprise they come with a different headgear… a bit out of place when campaigning in Afghanistan… but not historically imposible… anyway after much thinking about it I have decided to change those heads. Andrew did loyally commented that they were (and are) one-piece castings, so the process would be “cutting off” and drilling a new hole on the neck to acomodate the new head (painted and supplied by Andrew) which of course implies the use of special tools I did buy long time ago for doing the same thing in 25/28 mm scale. Finally I did NOT convert those I love them as they are!
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.
200 years… and still present in our collective memory for what it was… a genius (with faults and virtues) and I personally think quite ahead of its time. Nobody seriously studies Napoleon without noticing that it was not exclusively Napoleon fighting offensive wars (mainly) but defending France against old monarchies coalitions because of the ideas (seen as dangerous) of the French Revolution (which has also controversy attached). Of course having a military background (after all he was an Artillery Officer) and following the European tradition that Clausewitz will formulate a posteriori he went to war frequently enough (understatement) as it was the custom in Europe, nowadays he is still remembered for his Civil Code (nearly 200 years of life) and abolishing feudal privileges. He also reinstated slavery in the Caribbean Sea (to his shame). He was not perfect but had a great brain and “je ne sais quoi”.
This post has really a lot of pics!
Napoleonic wargaming was my passion for almost thirty years, in 25mm because I was stupid enough to do not choose 15mm in the first place (minis in the late seventies had no such vast offer and traders… even if MINIFIGS did 15mm too!) so MINIFIGS 25mm (after all I was coming down from 54mm) I went I and no regrets, was quite happy with my collection who also extended to other periods and wars (I though it would be very difficult to paint such small figures in 15mm because of the lavish uniforms of the napoleonic wars!).
Was interested for many years (obsessed is a better description) with the battle of Waterloo, could the Emperor have won? In context and after years of reading about it, I arrived at the conclusion that it was a NO WIN – NO WIN situation, it would have been 1813 all over again… with Austrians and Russians and what not invading France which was exhausted… and that’s that.
Have some pics of my years indulging in that particular wargamers fetish.
After a deep crisis with 25mm wargaming I sold them all. After some years toying with Playmobil (75mm) conversions and quite classical 54mm toy soldier collecting I went back to wargaming but in 6mm this time! (see the other Posts). Cheers