Their origin is inscribed in fine point indelible CD marker underneath – figure number and origin e.g. D of T. This makes for easy stock-keeping, honours the gift or origin and also helps with personalised wargaming.
Yellow and Black?
Like a swarm of wasps or angry bees? The starting original yellow tunic colour is well matched by the vibrant Lufthansa Gelb (Yellow) 36-310, the silk matt Revell Aquacolor Acrylic that I used.
Who could they be?
1. It also gives me a possible Mittel Mittel European ImagiNation or FMS Forgotten Minor State (Principality, Electorate, Empire or Duchy etc) of Gelberg. Gelberg is named after its yellow-tinged rocks and mountains glimpsed above the forest line (a bit like Golden Cap near Lyme Regis).
2. Alternatively the black, white and gold could be a regiment of Kernewek or Cornish Guards in British or ‘foreign’ service, hence the ‘redcoat’ facings. There are Irish, Scots and Welsh Guards, why no Cornish ones? These are led by one handsome Captain Russ Dolparke.
3. Some other bright (yellow) idea …
Pigtails and Details
As I painted, I noticed more and more fiddly details – straps, the powder horn and its thin straps, the tie back buttons, cockades, the pigtail and ribbon. These are well detailed figures for their time, ones that have aged well too.
Checking through Uniforms of The American War of Independence (Blandford) as suitably Tricorne era, I noticed that the British and American troops did not all have white wigs and pigtails, below the senior officer level.
Some left-over figures, possibly intended to be standard bearers, will serve as gun crew as needed.
The odd figure with a (gunpowder?) barrel is actually an awkward chimera that I made of two damaged figures, part French Artillery legs and Washington’s Army body.
You could spend forever tweaking paint on straps etc. I decided against a dark wash to bring out details, as I wanted to keep close to the simple fresh paint scheme on the figures from the original random bag.
There are some beautifully painted and highlighted examples of Washington’s Army online including on the Paul’s Bods blog site.
The main aim is to rescue the men and women of the Thyer Brigadia (FMS) troops, whose supply waggon cannot cross the missing or destroyed river bridge.
Has the bridge been deliberately destroyed?
The only remaining crossing is a small foot bridge to the south, too small for the waggon to safely cross. This crossing is below an old ruined trading post, burnt out long ago, along with the ruined windmill and distant village in the hills, all in ruins like much of this troubled and desolate frontier valley.
Fearing an ambush in this lawless and disputed border region, the stranded waggon party have sent back a rider to bring help. As evening approaches they have unloaded the waggon and taken refuge with their stores in this burnt out hilltop ruin of an old crossing post.
The old lady in their party is sick. The two feisty young Kontraupan sisters ‘Hetty’ and ‘Harriet’ have stayed with the troops in order to nurse her.
The Thyer Brigadia sentry on the opposite ridge sounds the alarm as a small patrol of red enemy Rugasian troops comes storming over the hillside.
Back of Postcard Rules (similar to the 30mm Flats game, loosely based on Featherstone rules) – see link end of this 30mm Flats post here . Adapted to work on a square grid. 1 inch from the Flats rules becomes one square (which is just over 2 inches).
Four figures or two horses can occupy one blanket square.
2 coloured D6 dice thrown to see which side has highest score and moves first – IGO YUGO – see rules at end of post. Winner moves first (any melee?), loser moves second (any melee?), winner fires first, loser fires second.
Turn 1 – The first Rugasian (RM or Red) troops move first, fast up the valley slopes from the West towards the lone Thyer Brigadia (TB or Blue) sentry Kverko who is keeping watch beside the dead tree on Wounded Tree- Knee ridge. Can they surprise and overpower him before he raises the alarm?
D6 thrown to see if the Thyer Brigadia (TB or Blue) sentry notices the RM troops – 1,2, 3 Yes, 4,5,6 N0.
The sentry Kverko fails to spot them on the first turn. No firing takes place as they are both / all out of range.
He spots them on the first move of second turn and sounds the alarm, letting off a warning shot at the Rugasian infantry, only to be shot down, easily silhouetted against the sky by the Reds.
In Turns 3 and 4 as the Rugasian infantry line the brow of the ridge opposite the trading post, the remaining Thyer Brigadian sentries start heading back towards the cover of the hilltop ruin. They are few in number, so were spread out on watch. They are all still out of firing range of the enemy.
By Turn 5, the jingling rumble of the Rugasian horse artillery is heard and they arrive in the river valley to the South along the Rugasian troop side of the valley.
By Turn 6 the first Rugasian infantry have crossing the foot bridge and are heading up the steep slopes of the hilltop ruin, within rifle range of the Thyer Brigadian troops. The first TB shots miss, although Hetty Kontraupan gets a pistol hit through a loophole in the wall on the first Rugasian trooper to reach the boardwalk outside the ruin, this is then deflected in a savings throw. Nice shot all the same, Hetty!
Her sister Harriet has drawn a wicked looking sabre and whirls this around menacingly over the rough old gate used to block the doorway.
By Turn 7, the first glimpse of Bluan infantry border patrol from the North’s distant Counterpane hills. A spirited “huzzah!” from the besieged blue coated Thyer Brigadians is heartily echoed by the Bluan troops racing to the rescue. The Rugasians turn their eyes briefly to the North, then push on.
The Thyer Brigadian troops and sentries, mostly safe behind the walls of the ruin, fire on the Rugasian infantry appearing in front of the ruin. One Rugasian Redcoat is hit outside the ruin window.
The last Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagono, still to return to the ruin, is using the abandoned waggon as cover; he fires on the Rugasian Cavalry and horse artillery riders opposite as they pass up the valley to deploy in flat ground by the destroyed Bedford river bridge. Vagono misses, and curses, knowing that once the gun is unhitched and deployed in Turn 9, it will be ready to fire at the hilltop ruin in Turn Ten.
If the sentry Vagano could only pick off some of the 3 horse artillery crew needed to man the gun, even if they replace them with willing volunteers from the Rugasian infantry, this will force the gun crew to delay firing and dice for readiness.
When it is the Rugasian turn to fire, they hit two of the Thyer Brigadian infantry in the ruined house window. Despite being behind cover, they fail their savings throw and both are killed. This leaves few defenders in the ruin.
Meanwhile, whatever alarm the arrival of the distant Bluan patrol might cause, off to the west shielded from view behind the Wounded Tree-Knee ridge, the second Rugasian infantry patrol enters the board.
Turn 8 – Tarantara! The Thyer Brigadian / Bluan cavalry rider sent for help appears to the Northwest. he heads towards the waggon in the hop to hitch it up and be able to evacuate the women and other defenders from the ruin.
Things are looking bad for the thinning number of defenders in the hilltop ruin as more of the Rugasian infantry patrol head down hill from the cover of an old stone wall. Before, they were in cover but just a bit too far away to get a good shot at the ruined house.
The Rugasian infantry outside the ruin now fire at Hetty, Harriet and the Thyer Brigadian soldiers. One Rugasian scores a hit – but who is the casualty?
A quick d6 throw resolves the issue – red, blue and white dice are thrown , 1 for each character. Both women are safe as the third Thyer Brigadian infantry man collapses to the ground, dead. As the defenders return fire, Hetty aims another pistol shot but misses.
The lone Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagono sheltering by the waggon is more successful – he fires at the Rugasian Horse artillery riders and scores a hit.
Which is killed though, rider or horse? d6 – 1,2,3 rider killed or 4,5,6 horse killed, rider dismounts.
Not only does the lone sentry Vagono manage to kill one rider, the Bluan Infantry patrol from the North are now close in range enough to bring down two more horses. Their Rugasian riders dismount from their fatlly wounded horses and begin unhitching the single gun.
At this point, whilst most casualties have been left where they fell, I removed the mounted figures and replaced them with some handy dismounted Herald plastic lifeguard figures.
With several defenders of the ruin fallen, three Rugasian infantrymen on the board walk outside the ruin try to climb inside through the barricaded door and ruined window.
Are they successful? Quick d6 throw 1,2, 3,4 – remain outside, 5, 6 climb inside.
Only one Rugasian makes it into through the barricaded doorway. He is then close enough to instantly melee with the sabre wielding Harriet Kontraupan.
Sadly despite inflicting two wounds on the Rugasian attacker with her sabre, Harriet is fatally wounded three times and collapses to the ground, only yards from her sister Hetty.
The 3 wound or life points tally system used in Melee can be seen here in my gaming notebook alongside Kaptain Kobold’s very tidy dice version of the Gerald De Gre origin / Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming ‘Parry and Lunge’ duelling or melee rules.
In the Bluan / Thyer Brigadian turn to fire, Hetty aims her pistol at point blank range at the Rugasian infantryman who slew her sister. However, tears in her eyes, she again misses her target. Bad luck, Hetty!
More successfully the flag-carrying Thyer Brigadian Ensign Flago puts down his sword and flag to pick up an abandoned rifle. He shoots the Rugasian attacker – Harriet is swiftly avenged!
Ensign Flago dodges another bullet (savings throw) from two Rugasian infantry at the window.
The Rugasian cannon is now deployed ready to fire.
Rugasian infantry move first, crossing the bridge , they turn to meet the first Bluan patrol closing in on them. Above them up the slope at the ruin, two more Rugasian infantry try to scramble in through the window frame. As one succeeds (d6 throw), he confronts the Ensign Flago in Melee – and the Rugasian loses!
The Bluan infantry patrol led by Capitano ‘Harry’ Counterpane / Kontraupan split as he heads towards the red troops at the bridge, whilst others aim for the Rugasian cannon.
As the Bluan / TB cavalryman hitches up the waggon, the lone Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagano heads up the hill to the ruin to join the remaining defenders.
Boom! The Rugasian Horse artillery cannon fires – at Close Range up to 6 squares needing a 5 or 6 to hit, then roll d6 for number of casualties. Up to 5 characters in and around the ruin are hit. 5 d6 savings throws are thrown including for those under cover. Two characters under cover roll successful savings throws – that means the casualties are one Rugasian infantryman hit by his own side, the lone sentry Vagono and one defender under cover.
But which defender?
Three coloured d6 are thrown – the old sick lady (red), Hetty Kontraupan (blue) and Ensign Flago (white). Sadly Ensign Flago takes their hit for the team, the last of the Thyer Brigadian escort troops.
With just the old sick lady and Hetty left in the ruin, they both consider what to do?
d6 1,2 – retreat via window towards the hitched waggon, 3-4 freeze, 5,6 stay put. They roll 5 and so stay put.
The Bluan patrol fire at the cannon and second unit of Rugasian infantry arriving from the west, knocking out more of the cannon crew.
Turn 11 – Huzzah! Waving their flag, the second Bluan infantry border patrol appears to the North.
Meanwhile back in the ‘valley of death’, as red and blue bodies pile up, Capitano ‘Harry’ Kontraupan of the Bluan infantry loses his second Melee with a Rugasian redcoat at the footbridge, becoming one of several more Bluan and Rugasian melee casualties.
Thankfully the Rugasian cannon remains unable to fire.
By Turn 12, the second Redcoat infantry group which has arrived from the West now fires on the second Bluan infantry platoon.
By Turn 13, several Bluan infantry reach the hilltop ruin to join Hetty and the sick old lady who are sheltering there. The Bluan waggon is hitched and now heads for shelter behind the ruin but Hetty stays put.
During Turn 14, the Rugasian horse artillery cannon is hitched up and led off. (d6 Saddle up cannon? 1-4 yes, 5-6 no). In exchanges of rifle fire across the river, the Rugasian redcoats fire poorly and the Bluan forces fire well. More redcoats fall.
A repaired Britain’s household cavalryman takes away the sole Rugasian horse artillery gun.
By Turn 15, after desultory firing by the last remaining Rugasian soldiers, they throw a d6 deciding roll (1,3,5 retreat or 2,4,6 attack) and retreat.
By Turn 16, the Bluan flag flies over the hilltop ruin. Huzzah!
In the aftermath, Hetty and the Blue Cavalaryman escort the sick old lady home in the waggon, returning with the stores and bodies of Harriet and Harry Kontraupan back to the safety of Thyer Brigadia.
The Bluan troops quickly bury the dead. Keeping some spare stores from the waggon, they leave a three man patrol in the ruins to watch for further enemy activity.
Verdict: An exciting solo game, worthy of the finest pound store figures and vintage hollowcasts alike. Only 5 slow years since the sketch of the terrain and the playing.
Playing using the blanket squares as movement and firing range did lead to some oddities of measuring that hexes normally don’t present for me.I think that Bob Cordery in the Portable Wargame book / blog and Phil Dutre in his blog have explored the grid square reasons for this.
A few old hollowcasts and other plastic figures were mixed in for good measure, along with some suitable wooden scenery blocks, building and gun to match that older Land of Counterpane vintage feeling.
These days it would be plastic figures but you can still picture the old Toy Soldier collection of Mr Turnbull and his town model of Notting Hill in G K Chesterton’s The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904).
I like a nice steam fair, not just for the shiny, steamy and clanky vintage transport, but also for the stalls and auto jumble.
This year at long last I saw a steam waggon amongst the usual and commoner traction engines and steam rollers. This was of great personal interest as my Great Uncle, killed in France as an 18 year old in the last months of the Great War, was in civilian life back in Home Front Britain a steam waggon stoker. Now at last I have seen up close the sort of conditions where he would have worked.
This machine was a 1921 Foden steam lorry – 25 mile range, one and a half hours to steam up, top speed 14mph. Loads of many tons could be carried by this wonder
Several times over the last few years I have taken a gamble over a tightly packed bag of vintage plastic glimpsed amid the jumble of a steam fair stall that you couldn’t quite make out what was inside. Another vintage plastic owl pellet …
There were some useful Hong Kong made plastic civilian farm worker copies of Herald (or tiny Lilliput) figures.
Amongst a jumble of bashed toy cars in a bucket on a charity stall, I spotted the plump form of Sir Topham Hatt The Fat Controller (70mm) from Thomas the Tank Engine – Mine for one pound. He will make a suitable civic dignitary to rescue. He has a slightly Churchill look or a mini Mussolini.
Later on in a craft tent I spotted this new large 95mm Guards Officer made by GG. I think he might be painted resin – only £2. Other similar ceremonial figures were for sale.
The first thing I spotted was a tiny selection of not so common Britain’s Deetail figures. Afrika Korps. French Foreign Legion. Waterloo French. Complete ones were £1.50, armless ones for repair 50p. I did not have either of these two Afrika Korps figures which are well animated.
Oddly the French Foreign Legion, Sons Of the Desert, get grass green bases. The Afrika Korps get sandy ones – why?
The very last thing I bought was a £1 bag of 50 figures of flimsy and thin plastic.
These Henbrandt figures (£1 a bag for 50 figures) are generally pretty poor quality. They are remarkably thin, almost semi-flat. I did not examine them well on the stall, buying them at the end of my steam fair trip. If I had, I would probably have bought the other few bags as there were a few interesting poses amongst them. These standing guardsmen for one, shown next to 54mm Airfix and Matchbox originals.
My favourite figures were these thin spacemarine type figures and their officer figure, that you may recognise big and small from my other pound store purchases. This set have the head turned to the side.
I’m sure that they were there last year, so they may be there at next year’s steam fair!
So another successful haul of cheap convertible plastic and some happy stall holders.