Sunday, January 29, 2012

Darkest Africa

The latest issue of Wargames Illustrated, #292, has a number of original articles on Darkest Africa by Chris Peers and Mark Copplestone. Only the other day I was wondering if the age of the hobby magazine was passing, since there's so much information available online. It seems there's life in them yet!

One article, In Darkest Africa, deals with gaming encounters between natives and European expeditions. I'll use this for Willoughby Pond's foray into the bush in search of a site for his new trading post. Hopefully, I'll be able to play out the game using a mix of Chris Peer's and GASLIGHT rules sometime this week.

The latest batch of figures to clear the painting block are shown below. Africa's curse was/is slavery, with the Zanzibar Arabs being very active in the evil trade just about everywhere in the continent during the 19th century. These figures are by Eureka Miniatures.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New characters & a tembe

We've had a quiet couple of weeks, looking after my mother-in-law during her illness. My model-making, gaming and figure painting has had to take a spell on the back burner, but I found time to finish the figures I bought on eBob a while ago. 

I also completed a tembe for sale on eBob right now. I'll make another one for the upcoming game once I get my gaming room/studio back.  Here are a couple of photos showing the external and internal appearance.

 Colonel Trollope watches Private Lewis in action. 

 Zanzibar warriors garrison the tembe against upset natives.

Both doors to the courtyard open. I omitted the interior doors, as this is a gaming model.

And now, a few pics of the newcomers to Daftest Africa.

They're all Wargames Foundry. I've seen most of these in more than one collection over the years. My favorites are the red-bearded sea captain in his pea-jacket, holding a pistol behind his back, and the gentleman with the walking cane standing next to him. A few names for these folks are suggesting themselves to me already...

I did write earlier that I planned to use the linked scenario idea, as published in one of the hobby magazines. This I'll do, but a prequel suggests itself in the form of Willoughby Pond's latest scheme. For this scenario, I'll give the GASLIGHT rules a try. I hope to play it out in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My next game

Some Darkest Africa gamers might know the article (I believe it originated in Miniature Wargames) detailing a mini-campaign against slavers. A page of the article is shown below.

Basically, one Major Wilkinson is in command of a column of troops detailed to march upriver to a tembe (a fortified structure used as a refuge), where a band of slavers is holed-up, and destroy them. The course of the game is controlled by the drawing of four cards, each giving a table layout with events and encounters, the results leading on to the next until the fifth and final card - the tembe - is reached.

This fits in nicely with the current state of affairs in Ukraziland. The British are ready to expand into the hinterland and establish control there. A mission to destroy a rumored slaver hideout is quite feasible. The randomness of the terrain and encounters suits solo play, too.

I've got a few more weeks until the gaming room is available again, and I'll use the time to make a tembe for the game. The scenario mentions Sikh infantry, which I don't have, but the doughty Barsetshires will do just as well. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Zulus Finished

My Zulus are now finished - painted and based. I decided to mount them in pairs to ease deployment on the tabletop, whilst still retaining enough flexibility for skirmish purposes. They look good in mass, and can serve either as hostile natives, or, with white officers, as a kind of Natal Native Contingent.

And now for a kind of Public Service Announcement. There's a chap on eBay US selling a twenty-figure lot of Copplestone Zanzibari Regulars. These are quite rare, being out of production. I'm in no position to bid for them myself, so I post the notice here for any who would like to try for it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wargames Factory Zulus - almost there.

A shot of the work in progress, showing my Wargames Factory Zulu warriors. They're now glued in pairs onto thick plastic card bases using ordinary polystyrene cement. All that remains is to apply the groundwork. 

On the whole, I like these figures. They were relatively easy to assemble, take paint well, and the variety of poses is good. I've varnished them with Klear/Future, which gives them a glossy shine. Since certain African tribes had/have the practice of oiling their skins to protect them from drying out in fierce heat, I intend to leave the figures glossy for the most part, applying matt varnish to the hair and loincloths.

The group of four to the right of the shot are musketmen, some of the optional poses available in the pack. I added a straw hat to one, and an animal pelt jerkin to another. The whole I've painted up in a semi-Westernized style, so they can act as native tribesmen, tribal levy, mercenary askari, or wangwana. 

One of these days, I'll get around to making a model something like this...

It's a vehicle made entirely of wood, constructed around an early petrol engine by the two gentlemen seated within, sometime in the early 1900's. Although I don't like to speculate how comfortable it was, rattling over the veldt and kops with those wagon wheels and no suspension, hats off to the fellows for their enterprise!
* * *
On to the fate of Private Hare. Colonel Trollope has decided circumstances are such that a full Court Martial is unwarranted. After giving the matter due consideration, he has ordered Pvt. Hare to be subject to a month of kitchen patrol, followed by a transfer elsewhere as his punishment for fleeing from the enemy.

Hare has been a soldier of good conduct to date, and the Colonel is disposed to be lenient.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Old Year - New Year

So. Another New Year dawns. Personally, I hope it's a bloody sight better than 2011. Last year certainly had its ups and downs. As for 2012, for a number of reasons which I won't go into here, I sense interesting times ahead...
Wargaming does help deflect a lot of cares and woes. It gives me - and others, I'm sure - the chance to escape the pressures of life and work and delve into our own, highly-controllable worlds. Being a wargamer on a (very) tight budget has its moments, though. I'm not so much a gamer with 'champagne tastes on a beer budget' - more like 'beer tastes on a tap-water budget!'  

On the gaming front, I did manage to get my Daftest African campaign started. Three games made it to the tabletop, and were duly recorded here. Figures-wise, I managed also to pick up a few more odds and ends to expand the forces involved. One find was the Wargames Factory hard plastic Zulu figures for $9.99 via eBay.

Love 'em or hate 'em, the plastics do offer a useful way of expanding armies for less than the cost of white metal figures. Wargames Factory are compatible with Eureka Miniatures, and a shade larger than Wargames Foundry. They fit my collection nicely.

I began painting my Zulus over the holidays, and an experiment conducted with the cheap and cheerful Craft Smart acrylics had a happy outcome. These figures take the paint with no trouble whatsoever. Craft Smart are available in just about every hobby store in the US. Since an 8 ounce bottle costs about the same as a 17ml bottle of model paint, economically, it's well worth it!
As No. 1 Stepdaughter is residing in our spare room (my studio/game room) for another four weeks, I won't be able to play out any encounters in Daftest Africa for a while. Still, there's nothing to stop me planning out further encounters in and around the troubled areas of  Yabhouti and Ulraziland.

One such idea concerns the arrival in Yabhouti of a chap from the Colonial Office. Now Great Britain has secured her hold on the town, it becomes necessary to expand her power into Ukraziland itself, which will require diplomacy. The Colonial Office will be at the forefront in dealing with the tribes encountered. Inevitably, not everything will go peacefully, but the diplomat has the comfort of being backed up by the military might of the Barsetshire Regiment.

That louche character Willoughby Pond will also resurface, somewhere along the line. Then there's the arrival of an adventurous Dutch damsel, one Callida van Wert. What does she seek in Ukraziland? Time will reveal all...

I'm also contemplating a VSF foray into the area, using the GASLIGHT rules. One of the most appealing aspects of Major-General Rederring's site was/is its prolific use of landships, airships and sundry VSF goodness. Since these are things I can make without breaking the bank, it'll be full steam ahead - once I get my workshop back.

So, there it is. A Happy New Year to all. May your dice roll the way you want, when you want them to in gaming - and in life

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year!

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