Sunday, December 2, 2012

One Reek, Two Reek...

Here are some pics of a Star Wars miniatures Reek, which you will remember from the first Star Wars prequel "The Jar-Jar Menace" or some such.

While the film leaves summat to be desired, some of the WOTC miniatures can be used for Victorian Sci-Fi - the less discriminating you are, the more you can use.

But I digress...

Pictured at right with a RAFM 28mm Soldier of the Queen, the reader should immediately see the possibilities for SPACE:1889.  About the scale size of a Rummet Breehr, and one doesn't need to kit-bash thissun, either.

I'm planning on having these brutes dragging my Martian Rogue guns, and maybe mount a Martian marabout atop the back, or in the Martian equivalent of a howdah.

- finis -

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Painted Chasseurs de Mars - Les Bouchers Bleus

Here are some piccies of my latest paint project - dismounted Chasseurs d'Afrique (on Mars) with some mounted officers, reviewed in a previous post.

These turned out well - Askari minis are fairly straightforward to paint, though their painting guides leave something to be desired as far as full coverage of the topic goes. Still, you can't beat the price.

Here are some mounted officers, also from Askari. Not shown is a third figure in tropical dress and helmet which will be leading the next punitive expedition against the Martians of the Tempe Hills.

Here the Askari officers ares shown with my old Frontier Chass d'Afs

 The difference in scale isn't terribly noticeable, and one comes to expect that officers and sergents will be better fed, both man and mount, than your rank and file Poilu.

 - finis -

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Œnotrian Cavalry

Or is it "Gashantry"?  which has a certain "Irish Fishing Village" ring to it...

This is my first troop of a flight of Œnotrian regular cavalry, which are intended to support my 7th "Bellicose" Œnotrian Legion in action against the Red Menace (Britain). I painted them in the purple livery that the 7th sports - I'l have to add some white trim to bring the flight into the proper historical canon.

One of the adjustments we made to Soldier's Companion was to cut the size of mounted units in half.  Gashants are pretty expensive, and RAFM's recent price hike hasn't sent me rushing back to buy more. 

IIRC, I picked up a batch of Gashants and Officers on eBay some years ago - these look like they might be a garage variation of the RAFM Gashant.  I have a lot of the RAFM gashants (which will be appearing eventually) but I like this variant because it comes with Martian "tack".

The officer had his arms altered by yours truly to give him a different look than the infantry officer (aka "First Sword") of the Legions of Mars boxed set.

Figures are RAFM (more or less). Lances are from Old Glory Accesories line - Short Thrusting Spears with Cast Tips. It would be interesting to try and outfit a troop of Gashants with javellin-armed riders, rather like the Irish in the 16th Century. It would certainly fit in with the Renaissance character of the Œnotrians.

- finis -

Monday, October 8, 2012

Royal Mounted Gashant Corps

Inspired as I was by an article in Transactions of the Royal Martian Geographic Society, Volume 1,
I decided to paint up a company of gashant-mounted infantry.

Formed in 1890 by General Willis under the command of Major. B. Lee Kendhall of The Border Regt., the Royal Gashant Corps are infantry, mounted upon Martian Gashants. Armed with the Lee Metford rifle, they dismount for combat, the gashants being simply a method to move them quickly to battle.

The corps badge is the Queen's Crown with the letters "RGC" emblasoned beneath.

In Soldier's Companion, the RGC is rated as V1 and treated as Mounted Infantry. For campaign purposes, the RGC moves as cavalry and receives a +1 benefit to their Forced March roll (more likely to succeed/negates the Humans on Mars penalty) due to their native Martian mounts.

Miniatures are Old Glory Boer War range MI, on RAFM Gashants with Martian Tack.  Despite its name, the Martian tack consists only of a set of reins, with no saddle. Since the OG figures come cast "in the saddle" the two went together with a minimum of work.

- finis -

Monday, September 17, 2012

Converted Seebattalion Maxim Guns

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I like the 28mm Boxer Wars German Seebattalion miniatures from Old Glory. They fit well with the RAFM Space:1889 miniatures, they're nicely animated, and they have good detail.  Regrettably, they don't come with much support, aside from a mixed bag of sailors as gunners; the Old Glory Boxer line doesn't feature Seebattalion maxim gunners.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across German maxim gunners in Old Glory's Spanish-American War line.

What's this?

There's a "fantasy pack" of German maxim gunners, secreted amongst the Cubans. Why they are not cross-linked to the OG Boxer line is a mystery to me. Apparently, Spanish soldiers would lie awake at night while deployed in Cuba, dreaming of German maxim gunners.  To each his own, I suppose.

Anyway, the uniform was similar, aside from a soft bush hat which was more-or-less easy to fix with some head swaps from extra German marines in sun helmets, and so a conversion was born. Trying to match the field-drab-grey of the Osprey illos was a bit more difficult, and required a base coat repaint.

Also, the Old Glory text is unclear about quantity - there are two gun teams of three, with a gun each, per package.

Animation: 5
Detail: 4
Proportions: 5
Variety: 4

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

- finis

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Askari Chasseurs d'Afrique - dismounted

In discussing the previously posted French Exercise scenario on The Miniatures Page, not to mention the feedback here, it became apparent that the French needed a few more troops to balance the game.  This is due, I think, more to the conditions of the scenario than the actual forces involved - a French player, suspecting an ambuscade, could send forward a small detachment of two-to-three figures and spring the Martian trap.

Some helpful sorts suggested introducing The Foreign Legion, but I hesitate to do so, yet, simply because they are in danger of being over-done in French Coloniale gaming.

Instead, I picked up some of Askari Miniatures dismounted Chasseurs d'Afrique.  I didn't need any new mounted minis, because I had found some twenty-odd mounted Chas. d'Afs that I'd converted from old Frontier miniatures castings. I don't remember what the figures previously were, and it doesn't much matter as Frontier Minis is no longer operating and the moulds are languishing in a barn somewhere near Montgomery, Georgia.

There are two sets (shown on a 1" grid) which I'm reviewing here; the dismounted pre-1900 uniform (with a higher shako) and the post 1900 command pack.

The dismounted pre-1900 figs are the usual Askari "army builder" quality - well sculpted and proportioned with moderate animation. There are three firing and three loading in a pack. Al at Askari has informed me via email that upon ordering, customers may swap poses more to their liking, so if one wanted all six firing, they have only to ask Al in an email.

The command set is a bit more interesting - the officer is advancing while aiming/firing his pistol, the sergeant is gesturing "Allons!" and the bugler stands poised, ready to sound "Remonter!".

As for the Chas. d'Afs appearing on Mars, Il est naturel, mon ami - they are the first French cavalry sent to any foreign place, be it Tonkin, Madagascar, or Idaes Fons.

Dismounted Chasseur d'Afrique
Animation: 3
Detail: 4
Proportions: 5
Variety: 3
Overall: 3.75 out of 5

Dismounted Chasseur d'Afrique Command (Post 1900)
Animation: 4
Detail: 4
Proportions: 5
Variety: 4
Overall: 4.25 out of 5

I'd like to see Askari expand this line a bit, possibly by adding a Chas. d'Af command pack in the pre-1900 uniform.

- finis

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reviresco British Gun Weasel

What follows are some pictures sent to me by John at Reviresco Miniatures.  Apparantly my doddling about (q.v.) with his Fate Racing Car inspired him to do some conversions of his own, and here is the result.

Photo courtesy of Reviresco Miniatures

Photo courtesy of Reviresco Miniatures

Photo courtesy of Reviresco Miniatures

John added smaller seats and tracks from the Lenin Rolls winter set.   The solid wheels are extras from his automobile line.  The new sides and longer fenders were made from .03 plastic card. The gun is from the 6lb Quick Fire Set and the crew from the British Pith helmet artillery crew. The caterpillar tracks are from his Racer modification kit.

This makes for a distinctive tracked gun carrier that would do any Space:1889 wargamer proud, operating on Mars, Venus, or the Western Front, especially if you were considering “Weird War One” or (as has been suggested on TMP) Very British Civil War.. 

I think, in the general climate of Happy Meal/Jumble Sale vehicles that seem to be saturating the Victorian Science Fiction genre these days, John’s Gun Carrier, Mk. 1 “Weasel” offers a unique, yet reasonable addition to General Wood’s #1 Column advance on Œnotria.

John tells me that if there is enough interest in this model, he'll kit it up for sale.  Visit his website and let him know..

- finis

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tirailleurs Martien

Up to now, my Martian Tirailleurs miniatures have been RAFM British Martian proxies, and they have served well, if without distinction. I've finally finished off a batch of them in the uniform of the French Coloniale, which I think the reader will agree, is rather different.

This paint scheme was copied from the Tirailleurs Seneglais, with a khaki head cloth instead of a red fez.  This reflects the French sensitivities to to the realities of Mars - red is the colour of the Earthmen, so changing the traditional red  tirailleur headwear to khaki allows the Martians to retain a degree of their "Martian-ness".  It also makes for a less obvious target when its in khaki. Also, the figures didn't look right with white head cloths.

I had given some thought to detailing white cloths with tribal patterns for the headwear, but following the French example in North Africa, decided they would discourage tribalism in the Colonie Martienne. 

"Aujourd'hui, mes enfants jaune, vous êtes Français!"

Khaki it is.

Pupils not yet put in.

The RAFM figures lend themselves well to the different uniform - though in retrospect, I should have added a bedroll atop the packs, in the style of the Legion and the Zouaves. Also, the water bottle is off, the French using the equivalent of the "Ollivier" pattern. Maybe next time - Ce que sera, sera. 

- finis -

Saturday, August 25, 2012

C.G.V. Automitrailleuse Blindée

Charron-Giradot-Voigt Mk. 1 -1902 - Wikipedia
The first of the armoured cars, the Charron-Girardot-Voigt was introduced in 1902. Designed by the Georgian engineer Mikheil Nakashidze, the Russians were unable to produce it at home and thus it was contracted to the French automobile company Charron-Girardot-Voigt.

The Mark1 weighed 3000 kg., featured a Hotchkiss machine gun in an armoured cupola, and could achieve 50km per hour.

What follows is my Space:1889 fictional addition:
The Mark 2 weighed 4500 kg, features an Improved Lenoir Combustion Engine driving a dual rear drive-train, a Hotchkiss 3-pdr Revolving Cannon (later, a Hotchkiss 1-pdr Pom-Pom cannon) and could achieve 45km per hour.

The model was converted from the Reviresco  Six-Wheeled Racing Car.  The first caveat is, while listed at 28mm scale, it's closer to 22mm, being in the scale I refer to as "Old 25mm".  The kit has a lot of parts, many of which aren't needed for this conversion - canopy, baggage rails, valises,etc. which can go into the bits box.  I'll ceratinly be able to use the valises later for travellers on Mars.

 The 3-lbr H.R.C. came from the old Houston's Ships line, available from The Virtual Armchair General.  The armoured cupola is from the Reviresco Starguard line - it has lain in the bits box for a decade.

The rear side panels were cut from plastic styrene card - you can see the gap in the picture to the right where I didn't get quite flush. The front fender was converted from the rear luggage rack.  The twin engine was dremeled down a bit to provide more space for the gunner.
Shown with RAFM British Officer kicking tyres for scale

When I first unboxed the mini, I must confess I was a trifle disappointed with the size, but having muddled through, it's not quite as bad as I thought.  I was very set on matching the shape of the original C.G.V. bonnet/hood, and Reviresco's car was almost spot-on.

I still need to find a driver and convert a gunner.  I'm looking for the old Houston's 25s Zulu War Ox Wagon Driver in Pith Helmet, as the space in the front seat is tight.
Shown with RAFM British Officer for scale

Back to Space:1889:
The French have produced several prototypes – two are in Metropolitan France where they are undergoing tests. One has been sent to the Russian Tsar, who has expressed an interest in further armoured car projects. One has been sent to Algeria, and one has been sent to Idaeus Fons, Martian Colony, where it patrols the caravan routes along the old canal beds to Niliacus and Chryse along the edge of the Xanthe desert..

Movement: 4
Weight: 4 Tons (Metric)
Reliabilty: 4
Fuel Consumption: 1/4 ton Diesel
Crew: 3 Driver, Gunner, Commander/Spotter
Armor: H:1, RG:0, Crew:1*, Gun: 1 (front arc only)

*Crew get the armour rating as an addition to their saving throw.

Using the C-G-V Mk.II in Space:1889 presumes a slight acceleration of the historic technical timeline. The technology for an armoured car was certainly there, but the necessity was not yet quite clear. Etienne Lenoir had patented an internal combustion engine (albeit running on coal gas) as early as 1860, he sold the patent rights to the Compagnie Parisienne du Gaz.  Subsequent developers introduced petrol, and hey! Presto...

...Automitrailleuse Blindée!

 - finis -

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Askari Miniatures 80mm Mountain Gun and Artillery Mules

One of Askari Miniatures virtues is their focus on ranges outside the standard British Colonial paradigm, on the less well known areas of Victorian campaigning.

One of these less-well-known areas is late 19th century French artillery. In 1889, the French were using several types of field guns, including the De Bange (pron. de baunj) 80mm mountain gun. This weapon crops up on many Coloniale orders of battle, from Chad to Tonkin.

Askari do a nifty model of this gun, shown here with Seneglais crew.  There are also two European officers which I can't show at the moment, because they are still being painted.

Askari also make a set of artillery pack mules which will accept the dis-assembled guns for transport. Also included are pack "bits" (ammo boxes and marching packs) for fitting out a supply mule.

Often, I use the ammo mules as a general supply proxy. I'm of the opinion that as wargamers, we don't always pay enough attention to the supply train. In the 19th century, the colonial forces were often operating well away from their supply base, and including elements of the supply train is both accurate and tactically challenging, as one must task miniatures to guard the train or risk ruin.

- finis

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Irregular Warbands - Not Very Fast

Pictured below are some of RAFM's second-generation Space:1889 Canal Martian miniatures - I say "second" because they seem to have come along after GDW closed and Space:1889 first went out of print. They supplement the original miniatures released by GDW in the late 80's.

Happily, Space 1889 is back in print and available from Heliograph, Inc. online. RAFM is doing their bit by continuing to make the miniatures available.

These guys are great, and are useful in depicting "irregular" Martians outside the Martian Legions; civilians, bandits, even the auxiliaries we read about but have never seen.

 The one in the Lenape-style hairdo looks a lot like Wes Studi from Last of the Mohicans, down to the expression of contempt for "les anglais"...

The other figure wears trousers, cap and even a scarf, perhaps reflecting the cold of Mars at night.

Animation: 4
Detail: 5
Proportions: 5
Variety: 3

Overall: 4.25 out of 5.  Individually the figures rate somewhat higher, but the limitations of the line are also taken into account, and two figures in the same pose lose points on variety and animation.

- finis -

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Prussians are Coming!

Finally, after a month, I've finished my Prussian Seebattalion for China 1900 and/or Great War on Mars.

Miniatures by Old Glory, painted by yr. humble correspondent.  Overall, I like the newer OG castings - apparently the older lines are less satisfactory amongst some painters, but this lot suits me fine.

My only quibble with these minis is the black shoulder belts - they are essentially non-existant on the casting.  Maybe it's due to there not being many good photos of the backs of the belt gear, in which case the sculptor should have been told to make a guess or go with what evidence there is (perhaps go with what the rest of Europe was doing?).

Regarding the line itself - it desperately needs to be expanded. How about some Seebattalion maxim gunners?

Animation: 5
Detail: 4
Proportions: 5
Variety: 4

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

Here they are, pictured with the Panzerkampdreifuss Storch.

Now I need some Martian Askaris for the Kaiser to call his own.

- finis -

Saturday, July 28, 2012

L'exercice d'Entraînement: l'Encore

A re-fight of the scenario (see previous post) was arranged at our Friendly Local Game Shop.  Members of the Maplewood Irregulars took the parts of the French and the Indigenous whilst yr. humble correspondent played referee.

The game began in a similar vein - although the French commander, Capt. Andé, send a company of Tirailleurs to his extreme right flank, effectively out of close support.

Which actually made little difference, as the Martian player, the notorious Dr. Goldwyrm, placed two bands of cutters in close proximity, though hidden from the advancing French, on the French LEFT flank.

Once the Tirailleurs came within detection range, both bands of cutters charged. Fire from the Tirailleurs was unable to breakup the charge,and in the ensuing melee, the Tirailleurs were run off.

The Martians regrouped for a turn behind a clump of red weed, and then charged the 80mm mountain gun.  The Idaeus Fons Artillery fought bravely for several seconds, then tore off for home.

The second cutter band had also regrouped, and seeing the marines as the closest target, charged them, and were shot down without ceremony..

On the right flank, the first Tirailleurs had reached within close rifle range of the village, while the Martians fired case shot, either too low or too high. The Tirailleurs closed into line and issued a double volley-fire on the Martian shooters, killing 80% (8 out of 10).

Did I mention "case shot"? Yes, because the evil Dr. Goldwyrm managed to prolong the American 6 lb gun down the stairs and across the village.  He had rolled well - though I was rather hoping he'd end up with the cannon lodged half-way down the steps like a bad moving day.

It was a good showing, but the French had to withdraw - the Tirailleurs to cover the withdrawal, and the Marines to recover the mountain gun, which the jubiliant surviving cutters were trying to drag back into the village.

Post Game Thoughts:

J Womack has suggested that this scenario might be too difficult for the French, and I'm beginning to agree. In Captain Andy's defense, this was his first game of Soldier's Companion.  Dr. Goldwyrm has played SC before, and upon being tasked with playing the indigenous, happily reached for my hidden movement counters.

I might try adding another band of Martians to the French side - these would be Irregular Mercenaries from the colony at Idaeus Fons; rather the equivalent of Bashi Bazouks.  The will provide a bit more "weight" for the French, without bringing too much firepower to the table.

- finis -

Sunday, July 22, 2012

L'exercice d'Entraînement

A detachment of the Friday Night Pals met to play another small training exercise using Frank Chadwick's Soldier’s Companion.

French Martian troops about to contact their wilder brethren.

The scene was a village near the Eastern Tempe foothills on Mars. Martian gunrunners from Nilokeras were delivering a cargo of modern rifles to sell to the Tempe tribes.  The French learn that something is up, and send a force of Tirailleurs Martiens and Infanterie d’Marine to investigate.

Martian Village
Someone with a bright future on the Quai d’Orsay decides that the mission would also make for a useful training exercise for the Tirailleurs, who have only recently taken the field under French officers. The Marines are instructed to hold back a bit while the Tirailleurs scout the village.

In the village, several bands of irregulars have gathered to buy the modern rifles. They spot the French column as it approaches and take up positions to resist this latest unwelcome incursion.
Teeming with Martians

Rob C., our resident Francophile, assumed command of les Bleus and the Martian Tirailleurs, Kenzie commanded the native Martians.   

The French had two 10-figure companies of Trained Martian Regulars and a 10 figure company of Veteran Marines, with an 80mm mountain gun in support.  Their mission was to seize any contraband weapons (i.e. Terran) in the village.

The French Arrive
The Martians had two warbands (20 figs ea.) of Martian irregulars and an old 9-pdr smoothbore muzzleloader, recently sold to them by Terran arms dealers. 

There was also a detachment of Martian regulars from the city-state of Nilokeras, off-loading crates of Remingtons from a small cloudship. The Nilokerans were under strict orders to avoid contact with the French, as Nilokeras is neutral and trying to avoid antagonizing the French while simultaneously working to undermine French authority in the Eastern Tempe.

The first two turns saw the Tirailleurs advance across the oddly non-Euclidian fields toward the village, whilst the French marines discussed whether they would be back to camp in time for lunch.

 "En evant, mes enfants jaune!"
On turn three, the 9-lbr lobbed a shell at the advancing Tirailleurs. Je ne pense pas que nous serons dans le temps pour le déjeuner..." muttered a marine, "...parce que la ville a signalé une heure.

"If that's the noon gun, I don’t think we’ll be back in time for lunch..."

Kenzie had to make a difficult choice in holding fire until turn three – the Tirailleurs had entered the cannon’s range on turn 2, but were still out of musket range. He correctly hoped to break the sketchy morale of the Francofied Martians by hammering them with as much shot as possible, and so had waited until they moved a bit forward.

Rob had gamely played the scenario as if he didn’t know what was waiting for him in the village, but with the sounds of hostile artillery and rifled muskets, he sent forward his artillery and Marines.

The villagers had yet another surprise waiting, as a loose band of cutters burst out of a clump of red weeds and charged the Tirailleurs, who were just picking themselves up from the hostile cannon shot, when they noticed their officer was wounded. (They had missed a morale roll by one, hence they were “checked“). A redoubtable sergent dragged Capitaine Baudoin behind the firing line.

Capitaine Baudoin is down.

The Tirailleurs let loose a ragged volley, which failed to halt the charge, and we had our first melee. The Martians were a grade better than the Tirailleurs in training, which gave them a +1 on the melee rolls. The Tirailleurs took one “Pushed Back“ and two “Dead“ results. One of the dead was the sergent defending the wounded Capt. Baudoin.  The Tirailleurs bolted.

 Normally, the Martians would have butchered the wounded, but they failed their post-melee morale, went Frenzied, and immediately went chasing after the fleeing Tirailleurs. As the Tirailleurs retreated, Capitaine de vaisseau Buquet, commanding the French, galloped to intercept them.

The wounded do their best to play dead...

 On Turn 4, the Native Martians had the initiative, by virtue of winning the most melees in the previous turn. 

The cutters, though disordered, launched a frenzied charge upon the fleeing Tirailleurs, who were hopefully being steadied by Capitaine Buquet.  Another ragged volley was enough to drive the indigs off.
Cannon bursts.

 The French advance was checked – the only bright spot for them was the bursting of the 9-lbr (having rolled a 1, followed by a six) and the killing of one of the crew by a sizable chunk of metal bearing the legend “City of Vicksburg – CSA”.

The French Marines were detailed to take the position of the now shamble-ated Tirailleurs, who had been reduced to about 50% of their original strength, and by rights would have routed if it had not been for the rallying by the Capitaine and his trumpeter.

By turn six, it was becoming apparent that the Martians were going to get all of the weapons back aboard the cloudship. Kenzie had drafted his surviving cannon crew as lascars, and although one sub-band of musketmen had been driven off the walls, the other was making life interesting for the Marines, having forced a checked result after a few stray shots.

Checked Marsouins?  This could bring down the Government!

To further impede the French, another band of cutters had occupied the path the Marines were intending to take, making another melee likely.

We agreed that the Martians on both sides had accounted themselves well, and that the engagement was a marginal victory for the villagers.

Post-Game Thoughts:

I must admit to being tolerably pleased with myself for this scenario.  What I thought might have been a walk-over for the French turned out to be a tough little scrap.

The French firepower was off-set by the Martians taking cover in the town, plus the advance was kept off-balance by judicious use of Martian melee troops.

The added element of a French objective that might lift off at a turn's notice forced the French player to push on, rather than stand off and subject the town to cannon and rifle fire.

The Soldier's Companion initiative system (once tweaked) is simply the best I've seen to simulate the fortunes of war and how a battle can suddenly spiral out of control.  The three turns in which the Tirailleurs were battling for their lives essentially brought the French advance to a standstill. As long as the natives are winning the melees, the army (and time) slows down to reflect the outcome "hanging by a thread".

This goes some way in off-setting the European players technical and quality advantage.

- finis -

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Not terribly sexy and prone to peck off your head if you're not careful, the Gashant is Mars' answer to the evolutionary question, "What was I thinking?"...

Seriously, I think these figures are brilliant.  Kudos to "Uncle Frank" for taking a dinosaur and giving it a beak.

This particular pattern was inspired by the Great and Terrible Rob C., who has challenged and vexed me greatly for decades. At least I think it is, or else I'm subconciously thinking about budgies, which can't be a good sign...

These are actually the first is a set of Martian Cavalry I'm working on. Details to follow...

- Finis(???)