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.