Monday, November 16, 2009

Terrain, Miniatures and a New Book

My copy of Donald Featherstone's tel el-kebir arrived this past weekend and I have been enjoying it quite a bit. My knowledge of the period increases daily. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a hard-back first Osprey I have seen in hard-back. I have started building a scratch-built steam boat from a template by Gary Chalk that I found in Wargames Illustrated June 1999, which I bought at my local gaming convention a few weeks ago. I built one of Mr. Chalk's pirate ships from the templates on the Foundry page and have scratch built Dreadnought spaceships from card and foam core so I have a little experience at scratch building. The original plans are for 28mm miniatures so I copied the template at 66% for 15mm miniatures.

To the left is the beginnings of the stern-wheeler with a Peter Pig 15mm British officer fig on the upper deck. Speaking of miniature scale I have been going back and forth with scale for almost two-weeks now, the fear of selecting the wrong scale immobilizing me from ordering miniatures. I have done my Seven Years war armies in 10mm, 6mm and 15mm and they all have their merits. My first colonial miniatures were the Peter Pig 15mm but they don't seem to mix well with Old Glory, which for me in the U.S. is the best buy, my SYW is almost exclusively OG. I am tempted by 25mm or 28mm however the only appropriate miniatures seem to be Perry and they are quite expensive. Finally, I have been thinking of 10mm Pendraken, but having done the battle of Gettysburg in 10mm my painting style seems too dark for this scale or at least my impression of the level of detail gets lost. I have found a nice article on making a desert terrain board at the following link. I immediately ran out and bought everything to make some terrain boards. I plan to make some desert boards and a couple with a river running through it. I will post pictures when I start the first boards, that makes deciding my scale paramount this week. I emailed my imagi-nation enemy Paul from about possibly projecting out the Cavenderia - Bizercca war into the 19th century with the Bizerccans playing the role of the Egyptians and Cavenderi Imperial troops arriving to quash an uprising.

To the left another picture of the paddle boat started. If anyone would like a copy of the templates leave me a message, as Mr. Chalk published his pirate ship templates for free down-load I do not think he would mind my sending out an adobe of the paddle boat template. Cavenderi Colonialism seems like it would be great fun for a non-historical Egypt/Sudan campaign and allow me to paint up fictional Imperial units and fictional characters such as General Lindsey Wolsey leader of the Cavenderi expedition. I could even throw in references to the original 1757 conflict with names of ships, regiments etc. I will work on some fiction. Finally, I have been reading over Colonial Adventures by two-hour wargames and some house rules by Steve Hicks both seem very promising. My gaming group is playing Battlelore this Friday and with the holidays it may be a while before another rules review and battle report, however I will try and fill the time with posts on miniature painting terrain and book review, not to mention I put Khartoum in Que on NetFlix. Finally, Steve's rules can be played solo so I may be able to get in a battle report after all. Oh yeah nearly forgot, regardless of scale, rules, imagination or historical Captain Verbeek will be there for all of the action. I am thinking of painting up a Captain Verbeek in 28mm and sending him to Msr. Probst to see if he can't get attached to a military unit in his Captain Pedigree blog. Vive la Capitain!!

Yours truly,


  1. Regarding scale . . . there are two things to consider. One is the size of your available table top; and the second is the rules that you plan to use.

    Are the rules that you favor more along the lines of "semi-skirmish" or "mass battle"?

    If the latter, go for 15mm (or smaller); but if they are "semi-skirmish" rules (such as TSATF), then these are (in my opinion) much more satisfying if you do them in 25mm.

    The other factor to consider is the size of your game table. How many units will fit comfortably on it? How many moves can a unit make before it reaches the opposite edge?

    Old Glory (particularly if you use the "Old Glory Army" for 40% off) are well-priced for 28mm figures.

    But for "small 25mm" figures, the old Ral Parthas (sculpted by Tom Meier) are excellent buys also from Great Endeavors at 85 cents a figure:

    By the way, these two manufacturers do NOT mix, they are quite different in size.

    And numerous other companies make Colonial figures (not just Perry).

    Good luck with your project.

    -- Jeff

  2. Jeff,

    Could you suggest some other figure lines that would be compatible with the Ral parthas?

  3. I've heard (although I've never seen them) that the Scruby figures carried by Historifigs are compatible size-wize:

    Also that Frontier (USA) figures were . . . but that line is apparently unavailable right now due to owner's death and confusion (read as lawsuits) as to who owns them now).

    Since the RP figures are really small (true) 25s it might be that some of the plastic 1/72nd figures would match them (although I've never checked this possibility out):

    The Ral Partha figures themselves are very nice . . . although most packs have ten figures that are all the same so that you don't get a wide variety of poses. Some people prefer this, others like lots of different poses within a unit.

    I hope that this helps . . . and, again, I urge you to try a number of rule sets before you decide upon figures since the rules you want to play may well decide your scale for you.

    -- Jeff