Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Perry Brothers ACW Dismounted Union Cavalry

Good day and happy Sunday from Ontario, Canada, where March has come in like a lamb after dumping a LOT of snow on us.   The path to my front door looks suspiciously like a Great War communications trench!   

As I find some more time for my blog, which is more and more just a hobby diary with photos (and bless those of you who do sop by and comment), I have some photos of a project I finished over the Christmas holidays, which are rather a distance in the rear view mirror now.

I’ve become a fanboy for Perry Brothers miniatures, which though pricey and perhaps smaller than the heroic 28mm scales in vogue these days, are full of detail.  Here is a unit of 28mm ACW dismounted Union cavalry, to give me a second such unit for the tabletop.  The flag I believe is from GMB Designs.  Sorry, the lighting on these photos is not of the best.

Sergeant Davis is not having a good day.  He reminds me of a character in Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage:  “The lieutenant, retiring from a tour after a bandage, produced from a hidden receptacle of his mind new and portentous oaths suited to the emergency.  Strings of expletives he swung lash like over the backs of his men, and it was evident that his previous efforts had in nowise impaired his resources.

One of the curious things about these sculpts is that one set are cast in the classic cavalry piped shell jacket and piped riding breaches, while another pack look like mounted infantrymen: they have Sharps carbines but are wearing the classic four button sack coat, with infantry trousers and brogans (shoes) instead of riding boots.   I painted all of the collars with yellow piping to give a uniform impression. 

Ready to see off Johnny Reb while waiting for the infantry to come up.


In some decent lighting.


The finished regiment on the tabletop, awaiting they first fight.  They did well enough.   More on that in another post.

I have a box of Perry plastic mounted cavalry and two sets of householders to do next, and then, with my previously painted figures,  should have the makings of a tidy little Union cavalry brigade.

Blessings to your brushes!


Monday, February 24, 2020

Two More Crazy Canucks

Hello friends!

In the time since my last post here, I’ve been busy with work and also had the chance to travel to Africa and back to some church-related work in Ethiopia.   It was an amazing experience, and I hope to write about it on my “God blog”, www.madpadre.blogspot.com, in due course.

There has been some painting time here and there, including these two dangerous fellows for my Rockies Ablaze pulp project.

These two are figures are Bob Murch sculpts, figures from his Mad Trappers set from his Pulp Figures line.  

The fellow on the left is Ratko Gligic, Canada’s Most Dangerous Immigrant.   Rumours had it that he personally killed an Austrian general in a cafe in Belgrade, made him into goulash, and then served him to his troops.   He escaped from a Bolshevik prison camp, fought with the Whites, the Czechs, the Poles and basically anyone who had gold and booze, before escaping on the last ship out of Archangel.  He steals, curses, drinks, and only comes into town to trade furs for supplies and whiskey.

On the right, Old Jock Montrose has never paid the Crown for a trapping license, or for anything else.  Some say he won the Victoria Cross at Second Ypres, others say he shot his RSM, and some say both.   He once killed a bear with his fists and a broken bottle, and has threatened that any Mountie or excise man who comes near him will lose a foot in one of his innumerable rusty traps.

As always, they were tremendous fun to paint.

I hope to keep puttering away at this project, but the next few months ahead are busy.   I have a few interesting things to do before I retire from the Canadian Armed Forces in June, and then some planned travel this summer with my lovely bride Joy, though she has come to realize that the odd hour of hobby time is good for my mental health, so we shall see.

In the meantime, be well and blessings to your brushes.



Friday, January 17, 2020

Limbering Up: Perry Brothers 28mm ACW Union Limber Team

Hello friends:

I've been limbering up at the gym as well, but that gets harder as I get older and painting this delightful kit from Perry Bros over Christmas was much more fun than exercising.

Even though I am amazed at how much space my 6mm! Napoleonic limbers take up on a 6' by 4' table, there's something about having a limber team that denotes a certain seriousness in how one approaches the game, even if one only has one such model (for now).  So I splashed out on this set, having already assembled and painted the limber and gun shown here, which are from the Perry's plastic ACW artillery set.

The figures are beautifully sculpted and didn't require much cleaning.     They are also in dynamic poses, given the impression of a gun rushing into battle at a desperate moment.

The three limber riders are cast in one piece and fit perfectly on the seat of the plastic limber model.   I like how it looks like they are holding on for dear life.   Bouncing along on an unpadded chest full of gunpowder, that's not at all stressful!

I've based the horses separately in pairs so the team is more manageable to handle on the tabletop.

A quick story before I go, from my re-enacting career, such as it was.   In October 2000 I attended an event in Loudon County, VA, that was organized by a guy called Rob Hodge, who was one of the gurus of the authentic re-enacting community.   Hodge makes an appearance in the late Tony Horowitz's Confederates in the Attic, a book which is both amusing and insightful.

Anyway, I was part of a Union infantry "battalion", perhaps 75 in all, in line at one side of a long valley, perhaps 2 kms across.   I found a photo that I took from my place in the second rank that afternoon, showing a little infantry skirmish in the middle of the valley.   

Shortly after this photo was taken, from the spot in the treeline which I've marked in yellow, a Confederate limber team and gun appeared    I recall vividly how quickly they moved into position, well out of rifle range, unlimbered, and fired a few "rounds" at us.   The horses were a joy to watch as the wheeled to bring the gun into position, and the whole process seemed to happen in just a few minutes.    It was distinctly eerie to think that had it been real, round shot would be buzzing at my general direction and me powerless to return the favour.   I wish I had taken a photo of that gun and team.

There are however some excellent photos of a re-enactment group that knows something about guns and horses, and from what I can see, they are pretty convincing.

That's all for now.   Rabbitman is coming over this weekend for a dirty wargames weekend so more to say about that soon I hope.
Blessings to your brushes!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

B17 and all the Trimmings

In another totally gratuitous, non-wargaming use of my time, I made some model kits to amuse myself.    This 1/72 scale B17-F sits behind my desk at work, and was made in my office during my lunch hours over the past few months.     The model is by Academy, a Korean-based company, and the service vehicles are from an Airfix USAAF bomber resupply kit.  I purchased both kits from a store in Toronto, Wheels and Wings, on Danforth Ave.   It’s a great store for plastic model fans.   I painted the B-17 in the iconic aluminum and red paint scheme rather than the more ubiquitous olive-green, though both are good looks.  There is something quite American about the silver bomber, a curious mix of arrogance and naivety.

Autocar tractor and fuel trailer.

 Chevrolet bomb service truck and bomb trailer.

 Cushman package car, perhaps delivering thermoses of coffee and tomato soup before take off?

Like I said, no wargaming value that I can see in these models, but I greatly enjoyed putting them together and they make a nice display grouping.  Also a bit of a tribute to those brave men who got into these planes day after day to go bomb the Reich.

Cheers and thanks for looking.  Blessings to your models.


Monday, December 9, 2019

Picking Up Pickett - 3 of 3

Here is the last of three descriptions of a very leisurely conducted game of Reisswitz Press' ACW rules, Pickett's Charge, in which I think I've learned how to do charges more or less correctly, think I've understood the brigade morale rules, and think I'd like to keep trying these rules.

On the rebel right, the time seems opportune for an attempt to try and gain the hill which is the key to victory.  Unfortunately, the lead Confederate unit is more than 3" ahead of its friends to the rear, so it doesn't get the rear support bonus in the charge resolution dice, but the Mississippi boys gamely rush the hill.

However, in these rules, defenders usually get to fire a volley before the chargers close, which the Yanks on the hill do, decisively.  The attackers take three casualties, and the result is enough to force an Elephant (morale) test, which is not guaranteed but which usually happens at the deadly (hi rolls) end of the fire combat table.  The attackers are no up to five casualties.  Normal size units (five bases) disintegrate when they reach 12 casualties.

As a result, the Mississippians roll poorly and are Whipped (not quite as bad as Routed but nearly as bad) and fall back a long ways, unforming (basically disordering) the rebel unit behind them as they skedaddle through it.

Things get worse for the rebs.  On the Union right, the reserve regiment stood steady while the Whipped yanks passed through and sheltered behind them, giving the battered regiment a change to resume.  There partners in front have exchanged volleys with the rebel regiment which had previously charged and won the centre.   The rebels lose the firefight, taking four casualties and failing their "Elephant Test" from the incoming fire enough to go unformed.

  Now the Yanks charge, and the rebs roll very poorly on their defensive fire volley.  The rebel regiment behind the shooters is unformed as a result of passing through the rocky ground visible behind them, where the rebel skirmishers evaded to.

The Texans are thrown back, Whipped, when the Union regiment decisively beats it in the charge dice comparison.  The Yanks elect to halt, Formed, to face the rebel skirmishers in the rocks.  Another Union charge next turn could drive the skirmishers back if they evade.

With two regiments Whipped, the Rebel brigade is now considered Faltering, which is one step away in the morale rules from its complete collapse.   It is possible to bring a Faltering brigade back to its normal state (called Obeying Orders) through the application of an available Staff Officer and some good die rolling.   Just for fun, and to test this mechanic, I was in fact able to get my brigade to stand, but in surveying the odds, the Union defenders were too strong and relatively unscathed, and with the rebel units mostly battered, I called it a day.

In this simple fight, described over three posts, I've essentially learned the easy part of the game (movement, formation, and fire combat).    The turn sequence is fairly simple - IGO/UGO, but the mechanics are not overly complex.  I like the fragility of units - seeing a brigade get chewed up relatively quickly felt right from what I know of Civil War combat.   The harder parts of the game are charges (though I conducted enough of them to feel that I'd understood it) and brigade/divisional morale.  Next time, I'll try several brigades a side and give the Command and Staff Officer rules a workout.

Blessings to your hardtack,


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Canadian Troops for The Rockies Ablaze Project 2 - Specialists

Good evening friends.   Finishing up my last post on the Gorgon Studios minis which will make up my interwar/ear war Canadian platoon for an ongoing pulp projects.  Again, I have lots of praise for the Gorgon sculpts, los of detail and character, and the variety of specialist figures allows for a well rounded platoon with supports to be fielded.

Here a Bren gunner and his assistant get to wok in the snow.  The rifle of the assistant is separately cast, which is a nice touch.


Bren gunner and No. 2 moving, both in leather jerkins, which adds some variety to the rest of the sculpts in greatcoats.



Sniper and spotter set up behind a snowy log.  Let’s hope they have silver bullets for that SMLE!

Forward observer with field telephone and map.

“Hello, I’d like to order a pizza delivered to the following grid reference."

Signaller team.  The fellow on the right carrying the No. 38 manpack wireless set doesn’t seem very happy.

Perhaps they’re calling HMCA Timber Wolf for pickup, or to send down some hot rum.

Major John Maynard holds his briar pipe and ponders while Platoon Warrant O’Malley chivies the lads forward.

Major Maynad consults with the local Mounties while his native guide looks on.

Thanks for looking.   Now that I have a significant number of minis finished for this project, I think I need to start gaming with them!

Blessings to your brushes!


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Canadian Troops For The Rockies Ablaze

I’m ridiculously happy to have finished this project, a platoon of troops for my late 1930s Rockies Ablaze pulp project.   I bought these minis from Gorgon Studios this spring and just finished painting them and finishing the winter bases.   My project assumes that the forces of good will need to call upon the Dominion of Canada for support, so I needed troops in winter coats with an early WW2 look. These sculpts would be at home in a Norway 1940 setting, but they serve nicely for Canadian troops in the late 1930s.  They could either be Permanent Force troops from Canada’s minuscule regular army in the 1930s (perhaps from the 1st Air Service Battalion, assigned to HMCA Timber Wolf) or more likely militia troops, possibly the Calgary Highlanders called out from Currie Barracks, which is almost in the foothills of the southern Rockies.  

 First section led by a sergeant with a Thompson.  He and some of his troops are wearing grey wooden gloves, which seems sensible.  As my dad used to say about his time in the army, there are no prizes for being uncomfortable.

Second section led by a corporal (far right).  

The paints used are mostly Vallejo, with a bit of wash and some basic highlighting, Buff on Canvas for the webbing, German Cam Brown Violet on English Uniform, and Citadel flesh paints.

Third section led by a fearless subaltern, who actually seems to know where he’s going.

On patrol.

 I’ll save the rest for another post, as this is getting a bit photo heavy.   Thanks for looking and blessings to your brushes!



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