I have had an abiding interest in the American Civil War (ACW) since my very first wargame which I lost to friend Jeffrey. It was a USA vs CSA battle in Airfix 1/76 plastic with the Airfix Cowboy set used to provide cavalry. Masonite table surface, hills from plasticine so the game also had that plasticine smell about it. I can’t remember which side I was playing but I do recall it was a loss for me. Rules were the Don Featherstone ones present in War Games and for the record, I won the second game as the Ancient Britons taking on the might of Rome, again using Airfix plastic figures – the charge of the Roman chariots was something to behold.
I had a large collection of 15mm American Civil War figures, where the Union was painted and I left them in Singapore with friend Anthony. I am still hankering for an ACW set however. I have toyed with the Baccus 6mm ACW boxed set, containing lots of figures (well over 800) for £82.50 for those of us overseas, more if you live in the UK or Europe. Also included are bases, flags and Polemos rules. I also considered Heroics and Ros as well as Rapier Miniatures (Rapier still appear to be off the air at the moment but the link is to their Facebook page where there should be updates when everything returns to normal).
However, much as I like Baccus figures (and H&R and Rapier for that matter as well), what has caught my eye is Commission Figurines. Their website is a single page only but it links to their catalogue.
Why do I like Commission Figurines so much for my future ACW project? I think the thought of trying these figures appealing, especially as they are wood (or more correctly, MDF). Apart from the novelty of MDF wargame figures, they are considerably less expensive than the current metal ranges with 88 ACW infantry costing about £2.00. It would be possible to build two reasonable forces for about £20.00. Very tempting.
I guess I could also argue that as they are wooden, I am not being affected by something new, bright and shiny 😉
Yes, one more for the list of projects so I think tonight I will plan a post Pandemic purchase of these.
There I was, happily minding my own business, preparing some World War 2 1/285 scale aircraft for painting, planning then to move on to my 6mm Anglo-Saxons, and then perhaps off to something nautical, perhaps 1/1200 scale galleys or modern vessels when Little Wars TV presents First Manassas. They show the battlefield, then discuss the tactics and Gen. McDowell’s performance. Just have a look at this.
Now I am getting an almost uncontrollable itch to paint 6mm American Civil War figures. Of course, to do that, I would need to purchase some 6mm American Civil War figures as I do not have any in the lead pile. English Civil War, Ancients, Napoleonics, World War 2 and Cold War figures in stock aplenty but no American Civil War figures. I have several sets of rules on the bookshelf, lots of reference works but no figures.
Sunday I finished putting the last of the American Civil War figures on wooden bases ready for decoration and later varnishing. I also had to do a quick paint job on five flags (which I am totally unhappy with and will get around to changing later … really). When all that was completed and the varnish was dry on my observation tower (see yesterday’s post here) I thought “exactly how many figures do I have”.
I laid them all out.
It looks a lot.I guess it is. A count of the figures tells me that I have:
188 stands of infantry
28 stands of cavalry
23 dismounted cavalry
7 stands of horse-holders
14 artillery pieces
14 general and aide stands
2 ammunition wagons
4 advancing colonels (one mounted)
8 low on ammunition markers
16 disordered markers
and one signal tower
Now all I have to do is decorate the bases for all these (and attach some flags to the standard bearers.
My test piece, a signal tower, for the Union 15mm ACW army I’m putting together is finished. I tested the basing on it today. The bases were covered in sand and some small rocks. Then just using ordinary acrylics from Art Friend here in Singapore the bases were covered in a sloppy mix of dark brown, then dry brushed with a red brown, then a yellow brown and finally an off-white (each dry brush layer was applied a little more lightly.
Glade green and yellow grass was then applied with the lot finished off by the addition of some meadow flowers. Done!
I managed to spend some time last night back on the ACW project. 8 Limbers are in the process of being based. After this I have some command stands to do then I can start the flocking process for the bases.
The Union forces (er, unbased) march on to attack the Rebs.
Anthony and I played a little regimental Fire and Fury last night in the process of trying to learn the rules.
This also meant that no work was done on the Koreans. More on them tonight I hope and perhaps over the weekend – especially as I am travelling next week – Jakarta first then back to Oz. I would like to finish the Koreans before I go so that I only have the Hungarians to finish before Cancon 2013.
In the meantime, Friday night so that means … Fish and Chips.
Jessica called me to the front desk today. When I arrived she handed me a box. It was from the nice folks at Miniature Lanka and should contain the rest of my Union ACW forces in 15mm. This should be another couple of regiments of infantry, a lot of figures for command stands, an ambulance, 10 or so artillery pieces and crew as well as a supply wagon or two and a brace of limbers.
Also in the box will be some 15mm Ancient Greeks. For the life of me I cannot remember buying these little buggers let alone giving them to Priyantha to paint but apparently I did. Looking forward to unpacking the box but I fear I do not have time tonight so you’ll need to wait until tomorrow night to see what was in there.
Most of the 15mm ACW figures are painted and just waiting basing. I had originally started basing on 30mm frontage bases when we decided that we would follow Fire and Fury basing – that is, a 1-inch wide base as the standard. This resulted in my “unbasing” some figures and rebasing on the 1-inch size.
When using a 30mm square base, I was basing 4 infantry figures per base. However, as we are changing to the 1-inch base, I will only be sticking three figures to the infantry bases. This will also give about a 25% increase in the number of bases available.
The photo to the left is a view of the basing material and the first batch of cavalry being based. I got my bases from Litko Game Accessories. LItko offers a plywood base as well as adhesive magnetic tape pre-cut to the base size. Mind you, it does take a while to stick the magnetic material to the bottom of the base, but the fit between the wooden base and the magnetic material is great.
The figures shown above were unbased to start with. I also had some 15mm cavalry already based which I needed to unbase and rebase. The picture below shows the figures based so far.
I had some American Civil War figures in 15mm scale from four manufacturers. OK, I had a lot of figures – both sides. Around 400 or so Union Infantry and about the same in Confederates. I was collecting them to paint about 10 years ago and have managed to leave them in the lead pile since then. I carried them from England to Korea to Australia and then lastly on to Singapore.
“Are you going to get round to painting them Thomo”, inquired Anthony.
“Yes, no, maybe”, was the reply.
I looked for a painting service. I have had figures painted in the past – usually by the children of Tony Barr of East Riding Miniatures. I wanted something local and preferably not too expensive. I sparked up Google on the laptop and started searching. There are a surprising number of companies painting figures now and based in Asia. Several companies in Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, China (well, Hong Kong SAR and China really) and Bangladesh. I have even tracked one down in Africa.
All have pricing near to each other and offer figures painted to a number of levels. All seem to offer ethical working conditions for their employees as well. I settled on Miniature Lanka for the first batch of ACW Union figures. I had a ten year old Minifigs Union Army so shipped that off to see what sort of paint job Miniature Lanka would do before committing the rest of the figures. I thought, if they can do a reasonable job on the Minifigs, then the Old Glory 15s and Essex Miniatures should come up a treat as well as the Lancashire Games.
They did a good job. I settled for collectors standard (they will paint basic wargames standard, collectors standard and museum standard).
Best was once the figures were painted, digital photos were sent for my approval then the figures were packed up and sent to me. The packing was brilliant with no paint chipping or bent flagpoles, muskets or bayonets. The photo at the top shows how each of the figures is sealed into its own little pocket in clear plastic. The sheets of figures are then laid on top of each other in the box and sent back to the customer.
The photo to the left is the completed artillery from Miniature Lanka with my basing. I will get around to taking some better photos later.
I was happy to be going up to Bukit Timah as well as it is a part of the island I have not seen yet. Nice area and the signs telling me not to feed the monkeys were encouraging – I wondered whether I would eat.
Armed with a packet of Pringles and a six-pack (of Chang, not of abdomen) I arrived around 7. After negotiating my way through the condominium grounds (you know it ain’t going to be easy when Anthony is in block 91) I managed to find the right condo.
Anthony had decided to christen the room with an American Civil War battle as he had the figures for both sides ready to use. The rules being used were the On To Richmond rules, written way back in 1983 and published by the now (I believe) defunct The Courier magazine.
The scenario we were trying was a Union division of 5 brigades and a battery were tasked with defending a river crossing and town from two attacking Rebel divisions supported by three batteries. What made the task even more difficult for the Union was that three of their brigades were off table at the time, set to come on at an unknown time in the future.
The battle broke down into a number of steps:
The Rebels came forward, the Union fired, the Rebels disappeared.
The Union fired.
The Rebels stopped.
The Union fired again.
The Rebels disappeared
Go to point 1.
The Union were lucky as their reinforcements arrived early and from a direction that allowed them to both support the centre and enfilade Rebs arriving from the bridge.
The result was a win to me and the Union – the perfect way for Anthony to christen both his wargaming room and his new terrain (all of which he made I might add) – a loss – 😆
A great game and I can see some regular gaming coming up in the future – possibly Wednesday night games!