December 20, 2021

Eppinger's Dragoons - Part Two

Finished! I really got on a roll with this unit and painted twelve models (and based all three squadrons) over the weekend. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're excited about a project.

Really pleased with how this unit turned out. I already have three stands worth of foot dragoons and a horse holder base primed and on the painting desk - hoping to have them finished by the end of next weekend, but we'll see... there's something going on next weekend that might interfere with my hobby time. The pics could have been better as they were just snapped with my trusty iPhone sans my fancy photography lighting set up, but I'll try to get some better shots in the future.

December 12, 2021

Eppinger's Dragoons - Part One

I've been wanting to do this unit ever since I got into the period - somewhere around 2006. I actually purchased the models from Wargames Foundry, but other projects took precedence (we began working on Republic to Empire) and the models sat in a box (they're still there as far as I know).

In 2010, my real love for the period was solidified when Barry and I met at Historicon for the first time and put on the Battle of the Boyne as one of our games. No, Eppinger's Dragoons weren't present at the part of the battle we portrayed, but the game launched my desire to build armies for Beneath the Lily Banners. Our meeting also revealed the first fledgling steps (I got to see the samples of the first run of castings) of a new company - Warfare Miniatures.

My full investment in the period was delayed until Warfare Miniatures was up and running. Since I was starting out fresh, I wanted to use primarily the models we would be promoting. This meant I would be limited in my choices for a while. However, I needed tons of infantry and there were plenty of those in the first wave! I set out on the journey, content to wait for Eppinger's squadrons to become available in the future.

Now, there are only so many sculpts you can commission at once and ranges have a way of growing organically. One thing leads to another and soon you are buried under new models! The gaps in the range are always closing. It's only a matter of time before Warfare Miniatures has models for every practical troop type in the theater. 

Painted and photographed by Barry Hilton in the last century - the inspiration for my unit!

But I've been waiting for these mounted, fur-capped gentlemen forever, despite my whining (Argh! Fur-capped Austrians? Why do we hate the French?). Warfare Miniatures does have a set of splendid Mounted French Dragoons in caps, so the other day I decided to stop being lazy and make my own. I'm not an accomplished sculptor, but have enough confidence in my skill to add a fur texture to the existing bases of the caps. Each became successively easier once I'd gotten the hang of it. All it took was adding a tiny sausage of putty (no, that's too much... nope still too much... even less than that) around the cap, shaping it with my only actual sculpting tool, and then working in the texture with an X-acto blade. In about an hour, I was able to tart up twelve troopers. Huzzah!

Only twelve? Well, yes... I'm mixing in a few models in hats. The officers likely wore hats and I've seen several other representations of this regiment (including Barry's) drop in a few among the rank and file. I think it adds the look of a hard as nails regiment on campaign.

I've used the "regular" Warfare Miniatures horses rather than the ones that come with the dragoon castings. My initial units of dragoons were assembled before we had the ponies. I didn't want my elite troopers looking into the navels of their counterparts on the other side! Here's a few WiP, ready for action!

I have no doubt Warfare Miniatures will announce the release of mounted French Dragoons next week, but I'm really proud of how this regiment is progressing. It's cool to have a unit that's unique in the world! Even Barry doesn't have this unit (yet) in hunky Warfare Miniatures glory!

More soon!

June 11, 2021

Captain Morgan

 Following on the heels of my last command vignette, I present Captain Henry Morgan!

Though Henry Morgan is often thought of as a pirate, he considered himself a patriot and privateer and always fought under the colors of England. His forays outside of letters of marque were often due to the glacial rate that news travelled at the time ("What do you mean we made peace with Spain?"). Despite being placed under arrest by the crown in 1672 (a move to appease Spain after the sack of Panama), he was granted a Knight Bachelor by King Charles II and appointed as deputy governor of Jamaica in 1674.

I love making these kinds of bases and it's a treat after painting so many rank and file. This group displays a minor conversion. The brilliant Wargames Foundry model of Henry Morgan was looking back over his shoulder in a "This way, dogs!" kinda pose. This is fine for single figures, but as the center piece of vignette it meant he would either be facing away from the front of the base or look more like he is encouraging a hasty retreat! I made quick work of this problem with a jeweler's saw - the only tricky part was preserving the goatee...

The stones on the base were actual slate chips (the kind they make for landscaping in lieu of mulch). I didn't want to remove Morgan from his integral base because I didn't want to try and drill pins into the slate, nor trust the dubious solidity of glue two tiny feet to the stone. I trimmed the round edges from the metal base and scored the sides with a Dremel to mimic the texture of the slate. It turns our the silly thing was almost completely covered by the basing material and I probably could have skipped this step entirely! 

This vignette represents nearly the last thing I needed to paint for the campaign. I have a few flags to make for the Spanish cavalry and a handful of characters to paint for the Donnybrook scenario that falls between the two BLB games, but I will soon be able to round up a few partners and throw some dice!

Look for the 4Play Invasion of Panama PDF this summer! 

April 25, 2021

Don Juan

No, not the fictional libertine who devoted his life to seducing women! Don Juan Pérez de Guzmán was the President and Captain-General of Panama in 1671 at the time of Henry Morgan’s invasion. He was a brave man and fiercely loyal to Spain. It was his duty to protect the small province under his command and maintain the flow of silver from Peru to the homeland. 

I always enjoy painting command vignettes. Don Juan was a civilian rather than a military officer at the time of Morgan’s invasion and I’ve chosen to issue him a rather fancier coat than the standard general.

The standard carried by the foot soldier is based on the personal coat of arms of the Guzmán family of the time as near as I can figure and is entirely speculative.

More soon!

April 19, 2021

The Natives are Restless

Forging on with Henry Morgan's invasion of Panama in 1671! One of the things that drew my attention to this theater was the variety of troops required. The Spanish forces are small and always supplemented with mulattos and native indians.

First up, I have several units of black militia. The training of these troops was suspect, at best. I've chosen to represent them in two ways. The first are (poorly) drilled troops equipped with firearms and led by European officers. This unit carries the flag of Varagua City, a town which sent troops to help defend Panama against Morgan's assault. These will count as All Musket in my games.

The second type of black militia are poorly armed with bows, spears, and other close combat weapons. I'm using the rules for Highlanders from The War of Three Kings to represent these.

Next up are the Central American natives (painted more like South American tribesmen, but they will work well enough for me), again treated as Highlanders.

Finally, a unit I don't specifically need for my current scenario, but they fit in with the rest. These are Ruga Ruga from the Wargames Foundry 19th century range, but I intend to field them as African pirates, escaped (or freed) slaves, or simply brigands. I was careful to avoid models with Remington rifles, cartridge belts, and the like. They will probably join Morgan's crew in the final attack.

I'm getting close to having everything I need. I still to paint a second unit of Central American natives, a handful officers (for the BLB scenarios) and characters (for Donnybrook).

Just in case I haven't mentioned this, I'm planning on publishing this project as a 4Play pack with three linked games so you can replay this short campaign! I don't have a time frame, but I'm hoping it will be available this summer...

More soon!


April 10, 2021

A Few New Flags for 1815

Napoleonics was my first love in wargaming before falling down the rabbit hole that led to the period of floppy hats and tricorns. While I've mostly concentrated on adding flags to the shops that can be carried proudly by Warfare Miniatures, I've had it in mind to expand to other periods. There's been a lull in Mad for War for the last few weeks while we've been going over the manuscript again in light of lessons learned knocking Mad for War Essentials into shape (don't worry, we're still on pace for late spring/early summer). It's not in my nature to be idle so I decided to wade into the future (of the BLB period, that is) and produce a few new flag sheets...

Well, ok... my OCD kicked in and I ended up with over 120 units - the entire French army for Waterloo (suitable, of course for any part of the 100 days campaign)! They are divided into divisions, which is how I normally set out collecting an army. Regiments were only issued one eagle in 1815 and this was carried by the first battalion. Opinions seem divide as to whether or not the infantry flags had fringe, but I decided to include it. If you fall into the camp of "without", it is easy enough to trim them off when you cut out the flag!

These will be available at Warfare Miniatures USA (in the US and Canada) and the League of Augsburg store (for the rest of the planet), though it may be a couple of days before they are posted...

Right! I'll have more flags for 1815 later this year. There are also a pile of naval flags (for both 28mm and 1/1200), WSS, and whatever I manage to find time for on the way!

April 5, 2021

Spanish 1671

There isn't much information on the forces of Panama and the other Spanish interests in the New World. There were no permanent Spanish tercios at the time and no official regulations of colonial troops. Units appear to have raised and equipped by various local governors. Theoretically, such troops could be painted in any manner desired.

I've chosen to stick with fairly common color choices for my first units. I've distinguished between professional troops and uniformed militia by using proper Spanish coats (with turnbacks that match the cuff colors) for the former. I've used models with "generic" period coats for the latter. There are a couple of Swiss models tucked in the back of the militia units to add a little more variety to the units.

These units will be for Beneath the Lily Banners at something in the range of 1 model per 15 men, so two stands represents a company. I'm planning on adding three more companies of militia with muskets, plus a single company of pike for both the regulars and militia. Pikes were likely not used in the New World during this period, but accounts often refer to foot troops armed with "lances" which I'm interpreting to be pikes... so there!

I have a few artillery pieces for additional firepower. I've decided to use naval guns as these were most common in the coastal forts and occasionally lug around on land as well.

Finally, I needed some cavalry. There are very few mentions of horse during this period, but seem to have been 400 cavalry at the Battle of Panama in 1671. At my chosen man to model ratio, I needed four squadrons of 6 models. I've decided to draft stands from my old ECW armies. The Spanish cavalry of Panama were described has having "buff coats" in one source. Some of the headgear will be a little anachronistic, but Caribbean fashion seems to have lagged a bit behind. Two of my squadrons will carry Spanish flags and should look the part for my needs anyway.

Next time, we'll look at one of my favorite parts of this project... native auxiliaries!

February 19, 2021

Buccaneers, Pirates, and Privateers

One of the things I knew I would need when I decided to jump into the Caribbean theater were pirates... lots and lots of pirates!

These models can be used as privateers and general ship crew for every nation in the West Indies throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. There will be a few anachronisms of dress across this broad range - tricorns in 1635 and ECW era trousers in 1750 - but the general appearance will serve, at least for me.

Right away, I knew I wanted to be able to use the collection for Donnybrook and Beneath the Lily Banners - The War of Three Kings and that meant finding a basing method that would work for either game. One option would be sabot bases, to group six singly mounted bases, but I've never likes the look of those. My foot dragoons for BLB have been simply left as skirmishers and I crowd them together to represent a standard formation.

In A Taste of Victory, Barry classifies ship crews as 'Tribal Infantry' and suggests using the rules for Highlanders from BLB:W3K to represent them. To me, that suggested not only different fighting abilities, but a different look on the table top.

I decided to go with a multiple basing system, inspired by Dalauppror years ago, that I've used for several other projects. This system combines the ease of movement and look of small vignettes with the flexibility of singly based models. They will also fit on my ships when it's time for Donnybrook at Sea! These bases can be clustered tightly together (they are spread out a bit for the photographs to try and show off the individual models) and only end up slightly wider than my regimental troops, which would not be unexpected for rabble!

I'll be adding more of these fellows in the future (I have at least another two units of 12 and there are characters on the way), but this is what I need for my current goal. These were fun to paint, but also took me longer than usual - the variety being both a blessing and a curse in these regards. With so many other models in the queue, I'm moving on to other things for the collection, but I'm really hoping to focus on this theater for some time.

I was torn on the basing for these... they will look a little strange on the deck of a ship. Mounting them on wooden planks would have required removing the integral base and they would have looked equally as strange on land.

We'll see how that goes... more soon!

February 14, 2021

Adventures in the Caribbean

Hi, folks! It's been a while since I've had time to blog, but I wanted to introduce my project for 2021...

From the collection of Mr. Hilton

When I travelled to Scotland for an LoA weekender a few years back, one of the games Barry was running was part of their ongoing Battle for Britain, set against a fictional, but possible series of events where the war between the kings continued beyond Aughrim. One of the theaters that opened up in this imagi-nation conflict was Jamaica. The eclectic collection of models and units gathered for this Caribbean campaign was amazing and the kind of forces that the wargamer and painter in me loves. It went onto my "to do" list, but other projects pushed it to back of the shelf and it faded to a dim memory.

Fast forward to 2020 and Donnybrook at Sea. This project sprouted from Mad for War, a book Barry and I were already working on. We compiled the supplement for Donnybrook in a matter of weeks not months, but somehow I wound up with half a dozen 28mm ship models. I started buying models to crew said ships, initially with an eye to fighting fictional battles as part of my 1690 Ireland project. 

I am complete novice to naval gaming and in order to get into the spirit while we were working on both projects, I began a spending spree on Amazon, buying both general and a few specific titles. I stumbled on the exploits of Henry Morgan and was struck by how well his battles would translate onto the table... ironically NOT involving all of these shiny new boats I was amassing.

Then A Taste of Victory (a book I had nothing to do with) landed at my door. Tucked away among the other scenarios was Sugar War!, set in Martinique and using some of the same units that had appeared in the Jamaica games. I'd already been thinking about the sorts of units I would need for Morgan's campaigns and this was the clincher. 

I'll be collecting and painting forces to represent most of the different factions that fought for control of the West Indies in the last half of the 17th century. One of the great things about this collection is that many of the units are universal. Sailors and buccaneers of the region look pretty much the same, regardless of nation. Locally raised militia are similar. Uniformed units were usually poorly supplied and ragged. Using Sugar War! and the other inspiration mentioned above, I've laid out a cunning plan to get the most out of this collection and be able to fight battles across the entire theater.

I'll be building units for Beneath the Lily Banners (with companies as the standard unit rather than battalions) and Donnybrook. The variable basing seen on these units will work equally well for both as tribal or irregular forces, while close order troops will be on my usual BLB bases, like this militia company (which could be used for ANY nation and incidentally is painted as a French de la Marine company).

Command models will be based individually or on half hexes to give me the maximum flexibility in organizing units. So far, I've been using models from Wargames Foundry and the Northstar 1672 range, but I have a lot of Warfare Miniatures in the pile for regulars as well.

There are also terrain projects and 4Play Scenarios! I'll share more as the project continues and I'm hoping to make this my central focus for 2021.