Friday, 30 March 2018

Muskets and Assegaais

@ Golf Alpha Zulu 2018

Peninsular Wargames Group recently playtested the use of Studio Tomahawk's excellent Muskets and Tomahawks rules for a Eastern Cape Frontier clash set in the mid-nineteenth century.

A small force of British regulars, reinforced by some local allies (Boers, amaFengu) attempted to raid on the homestead of a troublesome amaHleka neighbour.

On a table representing a settlement in the dense thicket of the Eastern Cape river valleys, the British sent their Mfengu and Boer allies forward to do the dirty work of flushing out the first defenders, and torching the buildings.

But their regular troops couldnt keep up in the broken terrain, leaving the irregulars exposed to a brutal counter attack as they attempted to torch the first huts.

The Xhosa saw off the Mfengu, and killed the Boer to a man, but once the British regulars arrived at the edges of the village itself, the Xhosa had no response to their volley fire, and would not have been able to put up much resistance had the game gone on longer.

As they fell back in the face of the British lines, the Xhosa were concentrating on getting their cattle off table. It was a good strategy, as if successful, it could have saved the game for them. But as it turned out the dice decreed that the game ended at that point.

Both sides had failed in their main objectives (for the British, to burn at least 5 huts, and for the Xhosa, to keep all enemy troops away from the village) so its was down to each officer's sideplot and the bonus objective (cattle) to determine victory. By that measure, the British were ahead 2-1, so a minor victory to the red soldiers.

Not a great deal of adaption of the rules was required - the Xhosa needed some revised stats, and we dropped the "one shot weapon" for thrown weapons, given that the Xhosa fought primarily with throwing spears. In hindsight we needed to tweak one or two of the Xhosa stats (they were a little too deadly in hand to hand) but otherwise the rules made the transition from North America to South Africa very well...

@ Golf Alpha Zulu 2018

@ Golf Alpha Zulu 2018

@ Golf Alpha Zulu 2018

Friday, 22 December 2017

Moors vs Saracens

Just to wrap up the year, a few more images of some reinforcements for my Saga Crescent and Cross warbands. Some of these can be used in a Moorish force (as mercenaries) or to repurpose my moors as Saracens. Also, to represent the early invasion of the Iberian peninsula, the crossbows in the Moorish list can be replaced by bow-equipped archers.




Sunday, 3 September 2017

A few more Moors


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.
Another two points of Moors for my Saga Crescent and Cross war band. This brings the core force up to 6 points worth, but used with both the Ben Youssef and Black Guard options, the force can stretch out to 9 points.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.


I think the force is still sub-optimal. After a few games I have realized I would prefer another point of spear-equipped warriors, and there are not many arguments to take multiple notes of mounted hearthguard.

All the figures were from Gripping Beast - the Jund are more of the metal Saga range, and the Hashid were built from the plastic Light Arab Cavalry box. The plastic figures are fairly plain - I added greenstuff sashes and belts to the plastic figures, to bring them more in line with the fussier metal figures.

This is how the force looks currently:

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.
Warlord, and heavy cavalry (hearthguard)
© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.
Light cavalry and spearmen (warriors)
© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.
7-point Saga warband





Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Moorish warband for Saga

Moorish 4pt Warband for Saga Crescent and CrossJust off the painting table, the first few points of Moors for Saga Crescent and Cross. In keeping with Saga's somewhat tenuous relationship with historical accuracy, I made a deliberate decision to keep the palette very narrow, muted, and, dare I say it, anachronistic. If anyone asks, I will tell them its a fantasy army...

In keeping with my other Saga figures, I used a fairly quick and simple painting style for these. Not sure if they are my best work, but I think they will look okay on the table.

Moorish Warlord and Imam for Saga Crescent and Cross

Moorish Jund for Saga Crescent and Cross

Moorish Hashid for Saga Crescent and Cross

Moorish Hashid for Saga Crescent and Cross

Moorish Muhajid for Saga Crescent and Cross


On the face of it, it can work as a 4pt war band (one unit of mounted hearthguard/Jund, two units of warriors/Hashid on foot, and one unit of levy/Mujahid). By using the Ben Youssef figure as a priest/Imam, I can stretch it to 5pts. While I am not sure it will be effective, I can drop the mounted warlord, and instead field Ben Youssef as a Hero of the Crusade, the armored spearmen as an 8-figure unit of Black Guard, together with one unit of mounted hearthguard/Jund, one unit of warriors/Hashid on foot, and one unit of levy/Mujahid) for a total of 7pts!

The bulk of the figures are from Gripping Beast, and were a pleasure to paint. The crossbow-armed fellows are from Artizan, and were, I am afraid, a little less of a pleasure. Artizan are normally a favorite figure manufacturer of mine, but whether from idiosyncratic sculpting or from tired molds, this batch of figures suffered from a serious lack of detail in the undercuts, some nasty splitlines, and some weird blocks of pewter that made no sense and needed to be filed off.

This represents about the halfway point in the development of this force - twelve more cavalry figures (four x Jund and eight x Hashid) are already underway, and after that, a unit of 8 Bedouin scouts and a unit of twelve archers will round out the core options.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Rorkes Drift: 28mm Black Powder Game

Here be a few images from a 28mm Black Powder game of Rorkes Drift, recently hosted by PWG.

Based on the scenario presented in the BP Zulu! campaign supplement, the game was played on a 6 x 8 table, with 48 figures representing the British, and 280 figures representing the izimbutho of the Zulu.

The British command was split between 5 players and the Zulus between 4 players. One club member volunteered to act as umpire.

In order to make the game playable and balanced, the British units were assigned excellent command and control, and layers of special rules that made them unlikely to panic, while the Zulus had poorer command values, but positive special rules that reflected their eagerness to attack, but which "degraded" after their initial assault.

The game played out to a plausible historical result, with the Zulu's defeated despite breaching the perimeter walls and entering the hospital building. In fact, even when assigned a second wave of attackers, the British held steady and made their superior discipline and firepower count.

Many thanks to Lindsay Hall for contributing the bulk of the figures and the terrain, to Simon Hall for contributing additional figures, and to all the players and umpire. Many thanks to Lindsay Hall, Simon Hall and Richard Trevor for the photographs.


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

Monday, 1 May 2017

M10 Tank Destroyer, 1/11 Anti Tank Regiment, Italy 1944


© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

Following on from the Achilles M10 I completed earlier this year, here is the second of the M10 variants I have been working on: a 3-inch equipped tank destroyer as operated by the South African 6th Armoured Division in Italy from the second quarter of 1944.

It depicts a vehicle in the second battery of the 1/11 Anti-Tank Regiment in the camouflage pattern common to many of the vehicles used early in the South African's Italian campaign. Reference photos of these vehicles during the campaign show them to be heavily cluttered (and weathered), and I attempted to create some of that character. I think part of the excessive baggage is due to the South African M10s seldom being used in the anti-tank role - they were rather used as additional field artillery, and were often in static firing positions for extended periods.

From ww2online.org: Captioned as: “17 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-30001. Fifth Army, Porretta Area, Italy. An Italian woman washes clothes behind a line of American made M-10 T.D’s. of 3/24 A.T. Bat., 1/11 A.T. Regiment, S.A.A. 6th S.A.A. Division firing on German positions flanking Fifth Army front on Hwy [Highway] #64 near Bologna. Photo by Hartman. 3131 Signal Service Co.” Porretta Area, Italy. 17 November 1944

The model is based on the now out-of-production resin kit from Warlord Games. I have mixed feelings about this kit, and about the resulting model. First, I built the bulk of it simultaneously with the Rubicon plastic M10, and the extra effort that all resin kits demand made it feel like a bit of a chore to build. Second, the kit, lets be fair, was a bit of dog from a fit and finish point of view. A lot of careful filling and filing was required to get the angular hull shape even vaguely acceptable. On the other hand, a lot of the characteristic details of the M10 are well represented, even if a bit exaggerated and cartoony, and it appears to have a bit of depth to it that the more accurate Rubicon kit seems to lack.

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017


For the most part, the kit was built without modification. I found it was missing the driver and radio-operator's hatch covers, so these had to be press-moulded from another Warlord M10. I added the horizontal baggage rails (that appear in many of the photos) using styrene strip, and the stowage itself is an assortment of bits from Die Waffenkamer, Rubicon Models and Warlord Games. Crew member heads in berets were culled from Warlord British infantry packs. The .50 Browning and periscope gunsight were spares from the Rubicon kit. Again, decals were a mix of bits from Marshall/Starmer, Dom's Decals and Warlord.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

28mm Partisans: Heavy Supports

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.



My small partisan force (take a look at the basic infantry and their light supports) is great fun to play using rules like Bolt Action - they are a classic horde force that tends to gain victories by sheer force of numbers. Well-equipped they are not, but they can generate a surprising amount of small-arms firepower. This is great for infantry-only conflicts, but as soon as my opponent fields armored vehicles, even lightly armored troop transports and armored cars, they really find themselves desperately short of heavier weapon options.

With these reinforcements I hope to plug that gap.

First up is a captured Italian Cannone da 75/27 howitzer. It is a bit of a beast for a partisan force - too heavy to be easily towed - and those that were captured in the Balkans were more likely to be destroyed than deployed. But in Bolt Action terms I will use it to represent a light howitzer, the only artillery available to partisan forces. It looks the part.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.




The kit is the fine offering from Empress Miniatures in their "Italian Conflicts" range, and the crew are from the Empress SCW range, some with headswaps. The Cannone da 75/27 kit is wonderfully detailed, but be warned, it comes without any form of construction diagram, or even a parts list, so a fair bit of sleuthing is required before and during assembly. This is not helped by there being plenty of variations of this artillery piece, and a basic internet search throws up a bewildering array of images that, for the most part, dont appear to share details represented by this kit. That said, I eventually got perfect construction advice from an Empress staff member, and managed to plot the one correct route through a horde of incorrect possibilities...

Next, another recruit from the Empress Miniatures SCW range, with a head swap or two, providing my partisans with a much-needed medium machine-gun option.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.



In an infantry battle, no-one likes facing an auto canon. And they tend to keep light armored vehicles honest.  Light enough to be transported in the carts and mule trains that make up the transport options for my partisans, this is a really force multiplier. This 20mm Breda, or more correctly, Cannone-Mitragliera da 20/65 Modello 35 is from Company B. A tricky little kit to put together, mostly due to the very soft metal of the casting, it none-the-less produces a neat model.  It represents the weapon without one of the more elaborate anti-aircraft sights, which I thought was an appropriate arrangement for my part-timers. The crew received headswaps from the Empress and Warlord Games ranges.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.