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 -