Saturday 27 November 2010

2mm Colonial: More preparations for Ginnis

Now some more preparatory thoughts concerning re-fighting the Battle of Ginnis, with simplified Orders of Battle culled from the Savage and Soldier article quoted in a previous post.

General Grenfell, on his approach to Kosha and its besieged fort divided the Anglo-Egyptian forces into two mixed Brigades, with a further Cavalry/Mounted Brigade in attendance.

The First Brigade, under General Butler, consists of the 1st Berkshire, the Royal West Kents and the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry; these were backed up by a Camel Battery and 11th company Royal Engineers, the artillery having a small guard of sixty men from the 3rd Egyptian Regiment.
For Wargaming purposes, this boils down to the three Infantry Battalion stands we see below, as well as two guns (I'm imagining the camels of the battery to be somewhere else - these are rather tricky to model in 2mm - though I'm still working on it....)

Very sharp eyes will note that the stand on the right is still in Khaki - I felt that the 2DLI, in their 'light' role might have retained this - the others of course in the red tunic as ordered historically:

The Second Brigade under Colonel Huyshe consists of the Yorkshires, six companies of the Cameron Highlanders, a mixed unit from the IX Sudanese and the 1st Egyptians, three companies of the Egyptian Camel Corps, with a small detachment of their British counterpart, a Mule battery of 2/1 South Irish Division Royal Artillery, and two further Gardener Guns.

In the front, then, we have the two British battalions or their equivalents, followed by the Sudanese and Egyptians, then the Gardeners and the artillery:

The Mounted Brigade under Colonel Blake consists of the 20th Hussars, and a mixture of Egyptian Camel Corps and Cavalry, as well as a small group described as British Mounted Infantry of the Royal Highlanders; again, this will probably be simplified to the two stands below, 20th Hussars on the right, Camel Corps to the left:

As so often in the Colonial period, it is rather hard to pin down the exact nature of the Mahdist force - the Savage and Soldier article has some interesting information regarding the likely commanders and also posits the number of guns in their artillery, but it seems to boil down to between four and six thousand men 'under 40 flags' - I'll just be using them mob handed, you can be assured, unless I can track down some more detail.

Finally, we see Ginnis village itself, with the Mahdist camp beyond:

The tents are the BG158 group of Arab Tents from Irregular's 2mm Scenery range, and the village buildings are just made up of the usual flotsam and jetsam mounted on card bases - I've more of these for the village of Kosha itself, but am undecided as to whether or not to make a model of the fort there, that was held by the balance of the Cameron Highlanders and the IX Sudanese.
This is principally because I can find no images or descriptions of it, and moreover it played a limited role in the actual battle itself, merely being the jumping-off point, as it were.

So, things are firming up now on this little sideshow, with hopefully the battle itself to come in the near future.....

Monday 22 November 2010

ACW Naval: Fort Humpter ready for duty!

After some final painting, I am pleased to report that the scratch-built Fort Humpter is ready for service alongside the 1/2400th Ironclads from Tumbling Dice.

A rather busy weekend meant that in all honesty, I didn't have time to make a start on the Monopoly Hotels-as-buildings glimpsed in the previous posts, but luckily remembered I had some 1/1200th Rod Langton buildings from the 2mm Quebec project; alright the scale is a bit suspect, but actually they don't look too bad in these shots posed for the camera.

Currently you'll note a hand-dawn Stars 'n Bars fluttering over the casemate, but by the cunning expediency of putting some blue-tac in the flagstaff base, I can easily swap this for 'Ole Glory depending on the fort's occupants.

I deliberately kept the level of detailing low, both as a matter of convenience, but also in the spirit of my usual quick scratch-build - I was going for a piece that would look the part, rather than being a fine scale model.

Too close an inspection would have the U.S. Engineers shuddering at the shoddy building techniques, but as it will be acting as a shot and shell magnet in most games, I don't really mind!

Of course, she could see service in a number of guises and postures, from the ACW to Aero and Aquanef - definitely a nice large target..... quick and fun to build, and certainly cheap!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

ACW Naval: Progress at Fort Humpter

Construction work on 'Fort Humpter' continues apace, with the wall sections filled in and based with more of the cell-section card, as well as some internal buildings from a certain popular family boardgame - I knew those Hotels would come in handy one day!

The thickening of the walls has obviously led to an enlargement of the overall footprint, but luckily things still squeeze onto the original base, so it shouldn't look too huge up against the Ironclads once completed.

I've also been playing around with some large calibre guns as additions, in this case the high tech rendering of some cut up steel pins and pieces of card - at this size, and with my rough and ready style, these should do just fine once painted up:

I'll be using some coarse flocking gel to add some texture around the base of the walls next, to act as rocky outcrops around the construction, and need to sort out the haphazard walkway sections on top, but that is pretty much it bar the painting; some strips of card for the dock and approach causeway, and of course a flagpole and it'll be ready for action.

Whilst working on this, I stumbled upon a great website that has lots of contemporary Harper's Weekly newspaper pages, that have some brilliant drawings of the various original fortifications and battles; the narrative of Fort Sumter can be found here:

The contemporary newspapers are here:

Well worth a look!

Sunday 14 November 2010

ACW Naval: Scratching about with Fort Sumter

"Fort Sumter has been fired regiment leaves at Dawn......" or something like that! Yes, the recent flurry of 1/2400th activity has seen me leaving my regular projects to the side, and concentrate on the flavour of the moment, here in the shape of a rough idea for a scratch-built Civil War Fort.

Probably more Fort Humpter than Sumter, I thought I'd sketch out a generic design based on the famous original, that might serve in some ship-to-shore action with the Tumbling Dice Ironclads.

A quick bit of internet searching found the U.S. National Parks Service site for the original, which has some very useful contemporary and modern views of the fort and its close compatriots, alongside some plan drawings:

A base width of 319 feet would see such a fort smaller in length than the large Kalamazoo Monitor seen in a previous post, so not much room for Columbiad guns, even if it is more to scale! As usual, therefore, I threw mathematics out the window, and went with what might look right.

I wanted to go the whole hog and have room for some scratch built artillery on the casemates, so I plumbed for a 120 x 120mm base card and freehanded a semblance of a fort as you see above.

Next up, some of that cell-centre packing card provided the start of walls, both internal and external:

and with the help of some blue-tac, we have, hey presto, the beginnings of something fairly suitable, I hope:

To give an idea of scale, I've thrown a TD Corvette and an ASV23 Stern Wheel Paddle Steamer into the photo, as it progresses, it should shape up to be quite a centrepiece for any Ironclad battle:

Alright, who am I kidding? It's not likely to go on when completed and win any model competition prizes, but will give a flavour of a contemporary fort for this new subsidiary project - obviously a long way to go yet, and I'm already distracting myself by sketching out some earthen batteries / artillery emplacements as we speak; but not bad so far for only twenty minutes or so of fiddling around - definitely more to come on this soon, so stay tuned!

Thursday 11 November 2010

A 1/2400th Fleet for Bolivia and some ACW Naval

The recent kind generosity of David Crook (he of a Wargaming Oddyssey and Ogrefencer fame) in disposing of some of his Lead Mountain has seen a large influx of 1/2400th vessels into the shipyards at SteelonSand Towers.
This means that my own Lead Mountain has now grown exponentially (Grrr!), however in one fell swoop I now have enough ships to fill the gaps in both the Pacific War and Nemo vs The Militarist 'what-if' Fleets, as well has have a bit of fun with some ACW Ironclads. (Yay!)

I was lucky enough to get my hands on multiples of various types from Tumbling Dice across their Victorian and ACW Naval ranges, and this has seen me thinking along the lines of producing a Fleet for Bolivia that will sail alongside the historical ones of Chile and Peru.
When the Pacific War broke out, the dictatorial president of Bolivia, Hilarion Daza, apparently appealed for ships that would fight for his country, and was prepared to dispense Letters of Marque, in a legitimised Pirate style, to all-comers. Historically, of course, his offer does not seem to have been taken up, but I'm not going to let that hold me back!
I have a scenario in mind where ex-combatants from the American Civil War, including of course Confederate renegades, put together a rag-tag fleet of surplus war craft, and hot foot it South in search of glory and plunder.....

The ACW range from TD has its critics, and perhaps rightly so, given the slightly a-historical proportions of some of the sculpts, and it certainly suffers in comparison to its rival 1/2400th range from Panzerschiffe. There are some very good points made about this in an excellent Workbench Article over at TMP here:

Now given that I am not too concerned about the realism of these particular vessels, I will be quite happy to make good use of them, and have been putting the first coats to a number of different types, that might see double duty if I feel like putting on a strictly ACW game; below we see a collection of Monitors:

From the top, we have the USS Kalamazoo, the Dictator, the Monadnock and Agamenticus, and a slightly converted Monitor herself. The middle pair will be familiar to readers from my earlier conversions, and the larger two are similarly nice sculpts at this scale, but the iconic single turret craft does have a few problems that I did try to disguise. If anything, the TD model out of the packet has more in common with the historical Canonicus class, so I chopped the funnel and painted in some deck grilles as you see below:

The lower model is the 'as-it comes' version, which I will retain as a Bolivian Mercenary vessel, and the above may figure in an earlier sphere of combat. Another slightly problematic sculpt is the ASV53 Cairo Class vessels, that have more in common with a British Waterways Canal narrow boat than they do with the originals, but they will easily serve as a non-descript type in the pay of El Presidente Daza:

One sculpt that is closer to the original, is the generic Cotton Clad ASV59, which has a good stab at portraying, say, the CSS Stonewall Jackson, and the size of it also lends itself to a quick conversion or two - a karate chop on the rear end, and a funnel swap produces a relatively realistic looking USS Tin-clad, the Fort Hindman:

There's some nice illustrations of the various types as wargaming models of a slightly different calibre from the Thoroughbred Models' 1/600th catalogue:

Similar small-scale conversion work has been done on an ASV56 CSS Texas, to produce another generic type, perhaps an Arkansas or Charleston:

Well, Okay, I just filed off the ship's boats/small protuberances from the stern, but you get the picture! :-)

Perhaps the height of the TD range in terms of general appearance are the pairing available in the ASV58 Pack, CSS Nashvile and Missouri - definitely the best of the bunch:

These are all still a work in progress, and I've yet to glue the sail sets to various masts for the sailing vessels, but hopefully soon I'll be able to deploy full flotillas, whether historical or imagined for all three protagonists in the Pacific War, (Yay!) and all I have to do now is resist the temptation to suffer project-creep into the ACW itself (Grrr!).....