ACW (IV) Special Stands

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Pontoon Bridge (Baccus) and Cavalry wading special stand. painted by Mersey Wargames.

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:

  1. Using the standard 60x30mm Baccus stand I represented units understrength, meaning NOT the usual two ranks of 12 minis and 4 skirmishers in front.
  2. 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.
  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.

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.
The above stands finished with flags etc. Mersey Wargames Painting service and final touch by 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”.

Had to find stands to fit the width of the BACCUS Bridge. I did also other Special stands of course see ACW II.

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).

Some Special Stands with customized flags (Custer at the LBH is not ACW of course) but the purpose of the pic is to show how easy is even in 6mm.

ACW (V) 2020 way of doing my last stands for the ACW.

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Rebels Division advancing.

update june 11th.- 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.

update may 8th 2020.- I have to correct my stupid impressions written down below… I can not get to the Post Office… I still get minis from Baccus (once the window is open on the shopping cart I simply can not resist), the painting services are of course also confined… but I can not Post the minis to them… Summing up things are pretty stagnated nowadays… so I will have to do other things to distract me (and hopefully you)… I have a brand new portable slim computer (thanks to my son who knows how to buy and what!) so it is easy for me to edit and write again. Next thing would be trying to do proper pics and add them to the blog… it needs some cables and connexions I will enjoy trying too… and see if it works!

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”. Enough.

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 a 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…

The whole process would be photographed and posted here.

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).

That was yesterday 27th of January… see how long they take to my arrive to Andorra in the first place. Some delays occurred when I changed my mind and stopped the order while reflecting about other periods… shit happens… after going full circle I finally come back to the original idea (after considering Mounted Infantry Colonials, Roman Imperial Legionnaires, and French&Indian War (7 years war in America) for days…).

Today the minis have shipped from Sheffield… or at least got an email who says … 21th February.

Will keep you posted.

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.

The whole lot. Union and Confederates.

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”.

Dismounted Cavalry on the flank.
Louisiana Tigers (Confederacy)
Grierson’s Raid in 6mm.
Close up of a grand Union advance.
Another view.
And another one.

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.

The Seminary at Gettysburg (LEVEN painted by REVEILLE). 6mm
Chancellorsville (same as above)
Dunker Church – Antietam (same as above)
And finally the caissons from Reveille /Thank you Dan).

Collecting Toy Soldiers (I)

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The “big” cabinet under the stairs where the main theme -not quite original- is displayed. The Household Division units by shelves. Some of them have been converted (lancers become sword troops) and some sold (Regimental Bands Mounted not in State Dress) to add specials and vignettes of the Trooping of the Colour ceremony (The Queen’s Birthday Parade). Middle of June every year.

The complete REPLICA METAL SOLDIERS&MODELS collection (khakhi), it was collected during 2020 but the last parcel arrived in 2021. Maiwand/Kandahar . Absolutely fantastic old Britains style but brand new. Andrew Stevens did such a great job following sparse instructions… Cabinet a bit crowded but a delighted collector!

Close up to show the Cavalry in the third rank…
Tradition of London Royal West Kent set complemented with some DUCAL made to order -aka RSM at the center back and the Band not included in the pic- , and even some “conversions” by me as the Ensigns with the Colours and the Pioneers.

For a Blog who deals on Toy Soldiers or has the burden of the topic attached from the very beginning I have waited enough to do a post on the subject. You see, at least for me, ALL of them are Toy Soldiers. But there is a firm distinction of what is considered a “classic” Toy Soldier -and we are talking Antiques here- a bit snobbish and pricey if you please… “New Toy Soldiers” is an even more puzzling definition which I am going to explain too and for once I will not write a lot myself, all has been written to perfection by others… I began collecting 54mm Toy Soldiers -I should have said New Toy Soldiers as you will see- as everybody else who does. I like them. Bring back memories of a happy childhood when I did parades of soldiers on the floor following the counsels of my maternal grandad. They were my favorite toys and that’s that. When visiting London as an adult I couldn’t resist visiting the shops of “Tradition of London” and “Under two Flags” and started buying some red boxes as a result. It probably all started because when quite young my parents come back from London with an spectacular gift, a set of Britain’s with Coldstream Guards on a big box with two trays inside -superposed- ColdstreamGuards Band, Guards Marching, Guards at the present, Officers, Ensigns with Colours etc. Later on I even bought the books who described all those goodies and even finally knew the reference number of the set.

Well, as I have said, I am not a collector of Antiques, neither Britain’s, Mignot, Lucotte, Heyde or the like, I do not particularly see the point of “flats” even if some are beautiful pieces themselves, and I firmly stayed with my times and the “new” products available then.

Top of the big cabinet where the Household Cavalry are with some personalities.
Lower part of the Cabinet. Some specials and the RHA. You can see the Welsh Guards on top.

In fact you only need to read the books about it by the specialist James Opie. For me the unavoidable volume is Collecting Toy Soldiers, he has written a lot of books on Britains, one of them the real “BIBLE” (The Great Book of Britain’s: 100 Years of Britains’ Toy Soldiers, 1893-1993) -bought it in Hamley’s myself numbered edition and all- but of course there is no point for me in all that because I do not collect Britain’s, but if you do, get Opie’s books, really top stuff. Much more interesting for me was the book by solo wargamer legend Stuart Asquith The Collector’s Guide to New Toy Soldiers, a 1991 book -got a dedicated copie- who funnily enough deals with the new brands and manufacturers from 1973 onwards -post hollow cast Britain’s- that by now are “new classics” because in those nearly fifty years have ceased to exist or are much more less preeminent nowadays. Let’s mention DUCAL or FORT-DUCAL (Jack and Thelma Duke who become long distance “friends”), Tradition of London, Dorset Soldiers (Giles Brown times), Marlborough, and some other minor interests of mine.

I first collected whatever took my fancy… but then in following years I rectified, concentrated by themes and sold items (strange been FFL) to make place for others. Those I sold. Dorset Soldiers.
All the Queen’s men small 54mm. Also sold. Beautiful but not relation to my main interests.
Only the RCMP remains in my collection (now two shelves) and the marching constables have been modified with a gun at the slope idem as the Colour Party. The Denmark Royal Guard I sold with deep regret as the Band was done specially for me by Giles Brown from Dorset Soldiers using kits from Tradition and recast instruments. The Greys above also had to go because of lack of space.

Collecting 54mm traditional Toy Soldier gloss figures -not to be confused with 54mm Military Modeling figures- become an habit, and finally even purposefully build cabinets where made to show them at home… not playing stuff anymore I fear… and even less for kids.

Always enjoyed The Trooping of the Colour and The Changing of the Guard ceremonies or pageantry. I even mixed manufacturers once… by now all are Ducal.

It was not a straightforward process!, I bought sets that later I did sold to “make place” and finally concentrated in some themes dear to me and now is a fairly steady collection not subject to sudden whims or extreme changes of direction anymore. But from time to time I add a piece or two, always filling gaps you know…

As a picture is worth a thousand words hereby see what I mean.

DUCAL band of the Royal West Kent made to order purposefully.
Tel el Kebir set.
Cavalry by DUCAL and Mountain Guns by Tradition of London.
Last but not least theme on my collection French Foreign Legion by DORSET SOLDIERS, its former owner Giles Brown was really helpful.
Two models added in 2018 thanks to a gentleman contacted in Facebook. painted by me.
General Wolseley, Replicametalsoldiers Andrew, 2019 addition.
Same as above but French General. XIXth Corps d’Afrique.

Collecting Toy Soldiers (II)

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My most recent purchase. ReplicaMetalSoldiersAndrew 54mm Chasseurs d’Afrique.

Not that it is very easy this days to find what you need or want, so the core of this post is just to praise the excellent comms and service provided by Replica Metal Soldiers Andrew.

Here they are in its proper place with its officer and in reserve. Changed the colors of some pom-poms.

Andrew Stevens is a one man band and has a full daytime job and of course a family… so do not expect him to be FAST! (not shouting it is just emphasis)… but oh boy!… well worth the wait.

For those asking themselves about the officer I already had that one. They mix very well with the scale of Britain’s (of course) and particularly ok with Dorset Soldiers which since Giles sold and retired has not very good communications, I tried to buy from them and only got sorry excuses until I dropped the matter. Hope they got their bearings afresh in the nearer future.

This is a part of my hobby I do not indulge a lot anymore due to lack of space in the cabinets… but I manage to squeeze in something now and then.

Got 6mm Baccus Chasseurs d’Afrique and Spahis -thanks to Igor who suggested the proxies for the later- still searching for 4 toy soldiers in 54mm Spahis to complete my set.

That finish my Collection! (If I did not knew better…) But at least it is an actualized pic, compare if a fan of 54mm those in Collecting I and Collecting II posts).


The final Collection of The Household Division in 54mm + some extras.

Some specials from DORSET SOLDIERS.

Collecting Toy Soldiers (III)

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The last Eleven of the Berkshires at Maiwand 54mm Replicametalsoldiers Andrew.

Updated December 2020.

It required time, but they are in the cabinet at last. I did found Andrew Stevens line of Traditional Toy Soldiers in FaceBook, his trade mark is REPLICAMETALSOLDIERS. They are quite Britain’s style but brand new, meaning no Antiquarian prices. I can recommend his products because I am really satisfied. I always wanted a range like that and he really adapts himself to your need (in fact so well that another order is on the way I fear!).

At arrival and unboxing, boxes are a delight on its own.
The whole order sorted out together.
The “hole”.
Fixing a hole.
Actually I needed two shelves which will be completed with the current order. Finally the RCMP emigrated to the Household Division Cabinet to make place. All Colonials now here.
The Colonel.

It was a long wait but worth the time, as usual I could not stop there and passed another order for some odds and ends and some Corps of Guides units (after a while I added Gurkhas and Highlanders too!). THAT would hopefully stop my collecting in 54mm for a while… if you do not count 5 SPAHIS I am asking for at Dorset Soldiers on the 1st of September.

It must be puzzling for some of the readers that I collect in 54mm and wargame mainly (when I do) in 6mm… but that is that.

After years waiting, the parcel with 5 SPAHIS is on the post. I was very late on deciding to add them to my collection (after all at some point of their history they rebelled and killed their French Officer’s… similar to the Indian Mutiny but other times and reasons…)… a colourful outfit no doubt about it… but mainly because Henri de Beaujolais was an officer of Spahis… you must be careful with what you read when very young… Dorset Soldiers under a new management after Giles Brown retired.

Original paint from DORSET.

Well, here are a couple of pics… finally the officer has got his troop!. BTW excellent packaging, boxes, DHL, terms and time elapsed from command until arrival… everything went without a hitch. Customer satisfied. Will buy again from Dorset Soldiers.

Officer Royal Corps of Guides 54mm REPLICA METAL MODEL SOLDIERS
Raj Indian battery.
Simply great!
This one is dedicated to Nigel Price.
Queen’s Own Royal Corps of Guides 54mm.
Last but not least the Gordons in Afghanistan (Kandahar).

The two pics above are from a megaset titled NAVAL BRIGADE, for once it is not mine at all (sadly… lol)… but could not resist posting the pics on the blog. That shows that collecting 54mm toy soldiers is alive and kicking. Andrew REPLICA Metal Model Soldiers.

Lord Roberts of Kandahar… Andrew REPLICA METAL MODEL SOLDIERS (painted by yours truly)

If I had to start again

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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.

My oldest game with a grid using 28mm Foundry Greeks. Now the figures used are Baccus 6mm.

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, 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 XX century is 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Go for a period (or several).
  3. Sticking to a Scale has the immense BONUS of not duplicating scenery, terrain, and equipment!… how many wagons, pontoon trains, tents, 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

A paradigmatic multipurpose unit, I had 4 different command stands, one British as you can see, one ACW Union, one ACW Rebel, one French… and what not… it was useful to balance particular games changing sides as it was necessary. In fact all the figures are conversions with new heads.
In Napoleonic period the Swiss and the Danes are particularly able to be used changing command stands. And not the only nationalities you can tamper with.
I guess you dig the thing. In 6mm it would mean breaking in three parts that beautiful concept of Brigade stand… but only for a few units… and you avoid the repetitive process and cash inversion.
Playmobil 75mm paranoia… ok… it was just a different thing for fun!… I am over it now!
A “thing” you can do with Playmobils that you can not do in lead… specially useful in skirmish games. It was fun for a decade or so. I am cured now.

Small Conversions, as part of collecting.

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Now, this could possibly go under “Collecting Toy Soldiers” or even “Conversions” alone… a post I deleted 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.

For once, I am going to post the pics as it goes instead of a posteriori, just to see if it helps some of you. In fact the idea occurred to me as a result of asking Andrew for a small order (Only 4 toy soldiers) because you can always try to improve displays… I asked for the second ensign of the 92nd (with the Regimental Yellow Colour), a RSM for the 92nd, a bugler with pith helmet if you please!, and an extra officer for my guns at the time of the Zulu War or Tel el Kebir it does not exactly matter. Then I asked Andrew to provide three plug in heads: two for the pipers and another for “Bobs”. To come already painted in toy soldier style.

They would probably be here sometime in July if all goes well.

This head is probably going to be replaced or either repainted anew… not decided yet. Not pleased by the look of it. I did it myself and it is a bit too realistic for a Toy Soldier.
A samples pic to help Andrew to identify what I wanted and the exact “positions” of the Toy Soldiers, the one on the right is a RPWTS (Robert Prati).
Here are some of my OLD conversions of Foundry 28mm figures for the Crimean War, I still have in my possesion a Nolan figure (left of pic) for sentimental reasons. Do not ask for them and pester FOUNDRY, they are not in the catalogue, I wanted a mounted Highlander officer, a mounted colonel of Rifles, a general based on Raglan (the one wawing sword and some other assorted pieces. I used horses from their range and some heads from REDOUBT (those with havelock).
My most “convoluted conversions” Tim Tyler’s Ivory Patrol minis in 28mm. Maybe too long to explain how I did them because the use of parts was really complicated.
A very simple swap of heads and another general (it was a Turk originally) added to my collection (now sold out). FOUNDRY 28mm.
I was really obssesed with doing “conversions” at that stage of my wargaming life.
And for RolePlay and skirmish games I did make a lot of versions of mounted and dismounted pairs of characters in 28mm.
See what I mean?… the sky is the limit…
Another example… the RED CAVALIER…
Another mixed lot… in 28mm.
A sample of the scales I messed up with in my wargaming life… and a couple of my childhood toy soldiers… the one in the bike and the mounted RCMP. Both from Spanish manufacture in some kind of cautxuc or rubber composition.

ZINDERNEUF

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Fort Zinderneuf, a lonely outpost in the Saharian South manned by the FFL, if you have read P.C.Wren or seen the films not much explanations required. 54mm Dorset Figures.

Not all of the restrictions of the pandemic are a boring thing, in fact it has given me time to do things I have done on my mind for several years and never materialized because of lack of time and sheer laziness. The normal live I live keep postponing those things ad infinitum.

To begin at the beginning, I have always had a set of building bricks called EXIN CASTILLOS, it was a wonderful Spanish toy of the sixties, I played with them and build castles, so did my children when young because I purchased sets for them (nowadays have done so with my grandchildren too), one day of “cleaning up” at home I rescued the discarded sets of mine&my children from the list of things to throw away, put them in a box and stored them in my (then) office waiting for better days.

Detail of ramparts and interior.

In the meantime my collection of Dorset Soldiers (thanks again to Giles Brown) was slowly growing up and the French Foreign Legion in action poses (mainly) occupied three shelves of one of the cabinets in Pal. There is were I am semi-confined. So, one day I took the box from my office, cleaned the plastic pieces with soap&water and produced a mini ZINDERNEUF in 54mm to play with my Dorset Soldiers set. On another trip I had brought to Pal my camera/tripod etc.

Here you have the full set of pieces, I did not use the circular one’s neither the too Dark Ages bits for ZINDERNEUF, but I always sort them out before “building”

This is the result: a solo game I play against “time”, will the arabs kill all the defenders of the fort before help from Tokotu arrives? Will “Beau” and “John” survive as long as in the novel?.

Quickly built with nearly exhausting the rectangular pieces.

By the way, if you considere the BEAU GESTE trilogy (in fact five books!) too old fashioned for you, you can always read the Douglas Boyd (a great Historian of the FFL) novels…

Another close up.
View from the back.
Lateral view.

Now, that was fun!, it has been years since I did a model with those blocks!, it’s like riding a bycicle… you never forget those tricks with the bricks.

I have done it in 6mm (still in my Baccus collection), 28mm (To The Redoubt… sold), 54mm (Dorset Soldiers) and in 75mm with Playmobils (now in the collection of my grandchildren).

Leven Fort, Baccus proxies all done by REVEILLE.
When I did it in 28mm.
Major de Beaujolais column arrives from Tokotu…
Close up.
John and Digby desert after jumping the wall… End Game.

FFL Interlude

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With Cavalry and Mounted Companies support. Some Dorset some REPLICA.
Dorset Soldiers 54mm Toy Soldier Collection displayed in Cabinets in Pal.

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 GesteBeau SabreurBeau 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!

Some Conversions… Havelock heads from To The Redoubt ACW range…
That was more complicated… but the FFL is always “capable de se debrouiller”.

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.

Lets depart from the theme with a pic showing the separation of the brothers Geste… Digby is going to Tokotu with the their Americans friends Hank and Buddy to train on the Mule Mounted Companies. Playmobil 75mm customized.
And finally 6mm Baccus -proxies-
Captain Danjou FFL Companie on the road to Camerone*, for once 1/1 scale (all are there represented by a mini) . Foundry 28mm. It includes some “conversions”.
*Hacienda de Camaron.

XIXth Corps d’Afrique

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My 54 mm Collection, Mainly DORSET but also some REPLICA METAL SOLDIERS&MODELS.
The final shape of the Spahis (thanks again to Igor!) Bacccus 6mm.

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.

Units finished with French Flags (Napoleonic of course).
Contents of Parcel on arrival.

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.

The rest of the French Colonial force.

That concludes my French Colonial Army.

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