Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Colonial Wars - The Cavalry arrives

Hi Folks

Quite a big post this time round as I have virtually finished all the core units for my Anglo Zulu Wars. There are still a few bits I need to finish off but effectively the both forces are now complete and the games can begin.

First up we have the Natal Mounted Police sourced from Empress - 8 riders and 8 infantrymen.

All the figures are individually based and sit in trays from warbases...

Next up we have the Native Horse (again from Empress) - these guys were also known as the Sikhali Horse as per the film Zulu Dawn. Again 8 Horsemen and 8 infantrymen

Finally the Brits get bolstered with some regular cavalry - the Lancers. These have been sourced from AW Miniatures. Great figures (albeit larger than the Empress - but great value at £30 for 12 )

and there is more...if the Zulus dont have enough to contend with...the artillery

The Guns (9 pounders purchased from Black Tree Designs - limbers for these are on the painting table

and of course you have to have gatling guns (Empress) and Rockets (Black Tree)

Finally I picked up the Heliograph team from Black Tree and it makes a nice little unit.

So that just about delivers all the core units I need for my Zulu games...

So I now have 420 Zulus to pit against..................

112 British Line
12 Lancers
8 Natal Mounted Police
8 Native Horse
12 Mounted Frontier Light Horse (Boers)
34 Boers on Foot
20 Natal Native Contingent
2 Artillery Pieces
1 Gatling Gun
1 Rocket Team

I reckon that that is just shy of 650 figures so far painted in three more big projects this year

Whilst on the subject of games I recently acquired two more rulesets for this period...

The first is the Sword and the Flame. These have a big folowing amongst colonioal gamers so loking forward to playtesting these in the coming weeks.

In addition I purchased a copy of the MEN WHO WOULD BE KINGS from Osprey. Again these will feature no doubt in the winter months

We'll be kicking off our first Zulu Game soon using a shed favourite Black Powder. Come back soon to see the battle....

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Shed Build - Finished

I finally managed to get into the shed this weekend to finish of the workbench and generally sort things out.

If you want to read all about this build from the beginning head here

This has been a real labour of love and a big thank you to all those involved.

A few pictures of the final build...

Below you can see the new workbench constructed from left over timber ...

I then built some narrow shelves to hold all the various paints, and odds end ends.

Of course the new shed need a coffee station (including a serving hatch where the old window used to be !

The racking is virtually full ....

Ill be building (eventually) more shelving on this wall....

View from the old end of the shed towards the new build....

Below is a picture of the table (Set up for a Zulu game). Eventually there will be an extension adding another 5foot to the table.

I do hope you have enjoyed following this build.

Until next time

Monday, 26 September 2016

Shed Wars features in Blogs of the Month

Over the weekend I visited Kingston to pick up a few bits and pieces and whilst visiting WH Smiths I came across Miniature Wargames with Battlegames.

Having read that the editor Henry Hyde was leaving the magazine I thought I'd pick up a copy. To my surprise there was Shed Wars featured in the magazine along with a number of other great blogs.

A big thank you to Henry for promoting my blog and I for one am sorry to see you move on. If you want to learn more about the reason why Henry is leaving head here for a a very interesting pod cast.

Thanks for looking...

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Colonial Wars - Native Allies

Just a short post this time...

Twenty Natal Native Contingent added to the ranks of the Allies...

These are from the British Starter Box set produced by Warlord Games. Effectively they are the same as their Zulu range but with different heads.

Mine have all been given red rags around their heads to denote their loyalty.

More soon............................................................

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Colonial Wars - The Boers

Life can be cruel - there I was looking forward to heading down to Newbury last weekend for Colours when last Monday I awoke and found my heel of my foot swollen to twice its size.

I didn't need anybody to tell me that I had been afflicted by the rich mans disease - gout. I have in the past suffered from two such attacks (both in my large toe joint) and I can confirm the pain is excruciating. Not too sure what brought this attack on but its probably a combination of anxiety, too much red meat and of course too much red wine. Both of the latter had been consumed quite happily on holiday. Mrs Shed is of course now governing my diet and I am on strict instructions not to imbibe for a whole month !!

I made matters worse by struggling over to Ireland on business on the thursday - so much worse that I had to return home in a wheelchair. So Saturdays trip to the show had to be cancelled.

With mobility somewhat curtailed and under strict instructions from the Doctor to rest my foot I set about painting the next group of troops for the Anglo Zulu War campaign. This time the focus is on the boers.

These guys were ever present in the war and at apush can be used in any future congo setting. Indeed I could even rope them in for VBCW.

A couple of weeks back I took advantage of one of Black Trees sales (35% off - should have waited for the 50% off) and on friday a small box arrived containing 35 foot and 12 cavalry.

The problem of painting irregular (ie not uniformed troops) is that they take twice as long - but a couple of good stints over the weekend soon saw the force come together. These are not the best scuplts in the world but they were cheap and do look the part.

Apologies for the quality of photos - last time I'll be taking pictures of minis in bright sunlight

I reckon I have pretty much used every brown colour in my paintbox to turn these out and I am very pleased with the result.

The cavalry horses were a bit too uniform for my liking (all very static) but I recalled I had some spare horses from my ECW prtoject purchased off ebay. These nags are all moving and create a variety of poses for the fairly similar riders. I ignored the fact they had saddle cloths.

The Black Tree horses will probably be used for unmounted nags being held by a horseholder of some kind.

So here we are folks the Boers for the Anglo Zulu Wars...another 47 figures completed

Up next the Natal Native Contingent

Friday, 9 September 2016

Colonial Wars - British Army part 3

The British Infantry all painted

Following on from my last post on this subject I am delighted to report that 106 British Soldiers can join the painted ranks of my Anglo Zulu War project.

part 2 can be found here

As mentioned before there are a combination of Warlord Games plastics and Blacktree design.

Warlord to front - slightly shorter and smoother pith helmet design

Painting these was both fun and painful. The volume of white webbing had me cursing on more than one occasion.

All ranked up with two mounted officers

Each unit has either been based on an eight or a six tray. Hopefully this will give me the degree of flexibility that the various rulesets are calling for.

Present Arms

The obserrvant amongst you will notice no red stripes on the trousers...just could not get it right !)

These all fit into two of the plastic A4 folders. If you recall there were seven ttays of Zulus.

A4 Folders - circa £2.50 each off ebay

Up next on the painting table will be the British Artillery (Cannons, Gatling Guns and Rocket Troops) followed swiftly by a dozen mounted Boers and 30 foot. All procured from Blacktree in one of their great sales.

I was hoping to attend Colours this weekend to purchase the final components of this project but a damaged foot prevents me from doing so. I'll just have to go online.

More soon

PS if you interested in this period and want to see who produces figures for this period I have put together a list of suppliers

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Congo - Initial game and thoughts

Put your Pith helmets on gentlemen because last night the shed hosted its first game of Congo, actually to be correct Alastair (of a wargaming gallimaufray fame) hosted the game in the Shed.

Congo is a game set in 19th century Colonial Africa and has been brought to the market by Studio Tomahawk. The same guys who wrote Saga and Muskets and Tomahawks. The game is designed specifically for two players but Alastair kindly made up some more cards so a three way spin was made possible.

Each player leads a 'column'. These columns can be one of a number of protagonists. With the figures we had to hand our game featured a white man hunting party with supporting soldiers, a tribe of the jungle and an African Kingdoms tribe (think Zulus). For our first game the teams were instructed to recover some sacred relics from a temple in the centre of the board. The temple was guarded by some fanatical warriors.

A good opportunity to use my jungle 

The Columns are divided into groups of different troops (each with their own abilities) and leaders who also have their own skills. These leaders (and special characters) must be assigned to one of the units within the column.

The temple in the jungle

Surrounding the temple were designated hard terrain areas where all manner of nasty things were hidden. Once the treasure was retrieved the player had to exit the board from a corner determined by tokens hidden in the jungle zones.

Atmospheric Shot (the White buildings in the background are for a frostgrave board !)

Unit activation is quite simple - each player has a deck of cards that denote a series of actions (eg movement, shooting etc). These have a variety of combinations each with an initiative value. At the beginning of a turn a player chooses three of these cards and places them face down. The turn consists of three actions. The first of the three cards are turned over and the player with the highest initiative goes first. Typically he might be able to move some of his units or fire some , or even a combination of both. Other cards include rally options and spell casting (for witch doctors)

So as the game progressed our units steadily moved towards the temple.

The brave white hunter and his askaris move forward

Rolf decided to enter the tough terrain near is corner to seek out the exit location early on. Surprise surprise his scouting party came across a rather belligerent Silverback which proceeded to rip and rend apart the hapless scouts. Melee combat is simple..each figure/troop type has a combat diece (either a d6,d8, or d10) to hit they need 5's or more. In other words the better troops have the larger dice. Once both sides have rolled their hits each side rolls a defence die according to the terrain they are occupying (open ground d6/ harder terrain d8 etc) - and again 5 or more is a success. The difference in hits is compared on a table and the casualties removed. On many occasions the sides then receive stress tokens (think pins) which affect their abilities as they build up. These stress tokens can be removed with successful rally activations in the turn phase.
Whats that hiding in the jungle !

Shooting works in much the same way with ranges being very simple (typically 8 or 12inches dependent upon the weapon used). Of course shooting at your enemy means you are safe from his stabbing spears.

The mechanic of card activation works really well - do you push forward with all your forces or take it nice and steady. Once each player commits their first card activation the second is drawn. Again the initiative is compared and the highest player goes first. He could either move / shoot the same unit played in the previous card or move/shoot another. Thinking ahead is critical in this game.

To further complicate matter and to add more fun are the totem cards. At the beginning of each turn each player draws a one of these cards. These add additional benefits to your orders (eg improve the initiative score on the card shown, allow your troops to move/shoot further or even add extra dice to attack/defence rolls. The combination of totem and card activation means no force is ever going to perform the same things.

So how did our first game play out. Quite predictably the two tribes clashed quite quickly with the natives intent on taking each other out. Marks Witch doctor decided to spice things up by casting some kind of curse spell. He decided to boost the spell by taking stress (whipping himself into a fervour) - he drew the stress tokens and sadly but very amusingly the Witchdoctors head exploded ! Did I mention that boosting your spell comes with an inherent risk.

The forces approach the temple...the natives battle it out !

Rolf threw his assegai armed troops into the temple and quickly despatched the guardians. By now my white mans expedition entered the fray. I decided to play a simple game. Let the natives fight amongst themselves and take out the others with my superior fire power. It worked. By the end of the game the Native tribes had wasted themselves on each other and my exploers were able to secure the relics.

Rolfs Tribals attack the fanatics 

The game was fast paced - had a great narrative and was easy to pick up. I'll probably buy a set if possible at Colours this weekend.

Thank you Alastair for putting on a fun evening