You may recall that when I started this little Kirbekan diversion I had as an objective to get enough bases to do the scenario as presented in Peter Riley’s draft colonial rules so I could lure him to demonstrate the rules for me – I think I am almost there with the miniatures. There is still some desert terrain and hills to be done before I can call this project done.
If you want to catch up on previous progress and some further background on this project have a look at some of the old blog entries:
In the last update I showed some nearly finished 19th Hussars, some British Leaders and some Mahdi Dervish Irregular Infantry. I based these and added flags as appropriate (All are from Baccusm 6mm colonial range, link here).
First out the 19th Hussars (more about them here).
…then the Leaders
And finally the completed British Contingent for Kirbekan:
(I also made all of them in marching column)
Here are the Dervish Infantry
And the more or less completed Mahdi Contingent for Kirbekan. Missing the leaders bases – Moussa Wad Abuhegel, Ali Wad Hussein and Hamisd Wad Lekalik.
Next step is to do some terrain, I intend to play this on a 4’6″ by 3′ mat that I will make using the good old acrylic mat trick and with some sand cladded styrofoam hills. The idea with this was to have small bases (40 by 20mm) and being able to play games on a normal kitchen table.
I stole this quote and the map from Peter’s Draft document.
“The terrain is very Hilly, with rolling hills that have flat and sandy bottoms between them. All of the hills have gentle slopes, even the two contoured ridges are gentle slopes up to the summits and ridges.”
From the unpublished “Polemos Colonial Wars – A Steady and Deliberate Fire”, by Peter Riley.
In other news, I and the Little One had a go at Sword and Spear and had a blast (more here). We did a simple “DBA sized” game. We will definitely do a few more and perhaps do an AAR when we know the rules a tad more! We used the 6mm Punic War forces.
I also started the first step of rebasing some Prussia SYW stuff I have as I have a little idea for a Maurice based campaign (the good, and not so old, honour Game by Sam Mustafa) on a ALT-history version of the Swedish campaign in Pomerania during the Seven Years war (Sweden vs Prussia). Another long term project, but it would be fun to develop some specific command cards, etc. Hellish work in rebasing! It will be a long process and parts of me has regretted it already!
I also need to get going with the Poltava Project as soon as possible, I have loads of Russians and Cossacks to paint and another bloody big battlemat to do.
At some point this summer Rapier Miniatures (link here) were showing off some work in progress of some 6mm Gloranthan Bison Tribe cavalry. “Glorantha is the mythical world that can be found on the Other Side of our consciousness. First discovered by Greg Stafford over forty years ago, Glorantha has been explored in such games as Dragon Pass, RuneQuest, HeroQuest, and King of Dragon Pass (Taken from the Glorantha Webpage, link here.)”
The Tribes of Prax are a nomadic society consisting of a number of tribes based on a particular herd beast such as Bison, Giant Lizard, Ostrich, Zebras, Rhinoceros. Some non-human races even herd humans. In a nice twist the gods they worship forbid them to use horses, which makes finding proxy miniatures for Praxian cavalry difficult (I suppose you could make some zebras convincingly in 6mm with normal cavalry miniatures).
Nevermind, this range is spot on and I found out last week they were for sale, so I ordered a few pack immediately, it took them two days to arrive.
It did not take me long to get them primed up and ready for painting. They were like a good book and very difficult to put away once I started.
I then painted them more or less in the same way, with some variance on shields and loin cloth colour. I painted the spear heads and swords in brass simulating bronze weapons (as I had no bronze colour – I may get some and do some highlights). I based them on 50 by 25mm MDF bases – this because they would work with my Romans and Carthagians (based on the same kind of bases) and all my Saga armies (based on 25mm by 25mm bases).
Here some examples of bases for those other armies:
Anyway sorry for that diversion, you can read more about the Saga in 6mm stuff here.
Here are the pictures, and I was so happy I sent them to Rapier, and the gents put this first picture on their webpage.
That is the more large battle version ones, I did keep back a few for another purpose. You may recall that I and the Little One ran a participation game at Joy of Six a few years back using the Dragon Rampant Rules (see more in the link here) – we have a large number of fantasy units, and the way we based them allowed us to play games on a very small table. So I did 4 units of elite Bisons, enough for a 24 point warband.
And in more detail,
I almost forgot that there are some stuff coming – Broos and Morkanths (and Rapier already has Scorpion Men), so the range is growing and I suppose it will grow quicker if you buy them! Here is the link again, Rapier Miniatures, if you do not want to scroll up (link here). They also do some 28mm very nice Glorantha stuff.
Here a few pictures I found on the net on more stuff from Rapier!
The Iron Ring – Can Nordholmia be saved from doom?
Relaxation?, Comfort?, Breathtaking Nature? – Hotell Imperator
Nordholmia is in danger. The farmsteads of the city gets destroyed by an unknown powerful enemy and the mayor turns to the adventurers for help. During the adventure a big conspiracy is expose that could threaten the whole of the Pyri Commonwealth. The Player Characters are confronted with a investigative problem that leads to countless dangers, first in the city of Nordholmia and afterwards at the ancient hotel Imperator. Big skill is required by the players in addition they should have experienced player characters.
– Backblur from the 1985 scenario Järnringen (the Iron Ring) for the Swedish Roleplaying Game Mutant!
This was the first and perhaps the best of the adventures produced for the Swedish Mutant 1984 RPG (apart from the starter adventure in the box). The “Grey Death” adventures (I wrote about part 1 of those in here) were more epic but I think this is the one in the whole that captures what I feel was the essence – maybe because it came first? It was also funny that the scenario took place in the county in Sweden where I was born – Dalarna. I have written about this RPG in an earlier blog (link here). But in summary:
Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses. The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves. However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.
Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.
The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the 19th Century, give or take. There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc. Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.
The Prologue – The Postman dies once, but slowly…
Although the cover of the adventure is intriguing, not so much in what is happening on stage but more about what is going on in the crowd. But there is one picture that I think stands out in the scenario and it is the one that illustrates the opening scene.
The fog is dense around you. From a distance you can hear the howling from wild beasts prowling in the unknown. But it is not your main bother as you are fully occupied trying to figure out who really suggested that you would get out on the Moor. It has been raining all night and your are thoroughly wet and miserable. It is now the third day that you have been straying around the wilderness between Hardin and Torsvad. Comments like “Shortcut to Torsvad, my arse!”, “Are you happy now, when we have no food left!”, “I was against this from the start!”, “It was you that ….”, has been flying around during the last few days.
Suddenly you hear the sound of hooves approaching. A lonely rider seems to pass by at a distance in full gallop. The fog starts clearing and you can see the silhouette of some crags on the left. You realise that the rider must have passed behind them.
The silence is interrupted by a scream followed by two loud bangs of musket fire and another scream. From the crags a saddled horse without rider storms against you. When you carefully advance you hear voices and can soon see to whom they belong.
On the ground behind a large stone a man is lying down and desperately holds a shoulder bag against his chest. He holds his other hand against his bleeding shoulder and next to him lies a smoking pistol. Around him stands four creatures that all are directing their weapons against him. The leader seems to be a giant mutated moose and the other three are mutated lynx. The Moose grins against the man and asks him to hand over the bag. When the man refuses he aims his musket towards him to end his life.
Roughly translated from the Järnringen scenario book (page 3, this is from the introduction to the players). The picture is drawn by Peter Johnsson. I love this picture especially the “Bobby on the Beat” Hat! Proper “In Medias Res” – straight into action. It is how we liked to roll.
There is limited information in the scenario about these four creatures, apart from the information above and some mediocre game stats (they were not suppose to give our character any major problems), so in normal fashion I have fleshed out these characters a little bit in my take on them – given them some names (with my apologies to Alexander Dumas), sketched out a little bit of a background story and tried to find a suitable way of representing them on the table in miniature form.
As always these are not artistic master pieces, but I do hope a sufficient representation to give some kind of homage to an old Swedish rpg from the 1980s that I have so many fond memories of.
The Three Lynxeteers – Arameow, Purrtos and Arthiss
These henchmen (or should that be henchlynx) are brothers and were born in the outskirts of Hardin to a very large and poor family. From an early age they had to fend for themselves and became reasonably successful in picking pockets and locks, and other illegal means, to make ends meet.
On the day of the annual celebrations in Hardin commemorating the killing of the Hound of Tandalsåsen (Sorry Lovecraft!), the brothers decided to pay a visit to the Mayors house. As was custom the Mayor, Signe Frihamn, held a speech and attended the celebrations with her family – the house would be empty – they thought.
On the morning of the festivities Signe’s husband Johannes, the previous Police Chief of the county, had woken up with a very bad back pain and had decided to stay home. The Couple had given their servants the weekend off to go and visits some relatives in Hindenburg. When the trio entered the house Johannes heard them from upstairs and armed with a rifle he went to investigate. She startled Arameow and Purrtos as they were rummaging through his belongings and held them at gunpoint. Arthiss, being elsewhere in the house, sneaked up on him and drew his knife and stabbed him in the back. The trio quickly took what they could, including Johannes trademark black helmet, and fled the house.
When Signe returned Johannes was still barely alive, but in his dying breath identified his assailants. A manhunt ensued and the brothers took their refuge in the Moorlands outside Hardin. Here they met a mutated Moose (Dart an Älg, see below) who realised that the three brothers could be useful for his needs – although the brothers thinks he has joined their gang. They are now operating as highwaymen and hiding from the law.
They recently robbed a short noble man who had a travelling wardrobe with a large number of coats – seemed a shame not putting them to use (this is of course to justify the choice of models and their clothing below).
The helmet worn by the constables of the representatives of law and order in Pyrisamfundet is based on a so called Custodian Helmet used by the police force of the former countries of England and Wales. The design was based on the Prussian pickelhaube and was used by constables and sergeants.
Signe and Johannes Frihamn were seasoned adventurers and apart from being the slayers of the Hound of Tandalsåsen in 86 they had travelled wide and far. They had worked as troubleshooters and mercenaries for the King of the Scottish Badgers and travelled in other parts of the Islands known as Ängland (meadowland, due to the green and pleasantness of the flora and fauna). In the forbidden zone of Batteracid (in former London) he had found his trademark black helmet, that he had worn since then. When he later became responsible for law and order for Hardin he had some copies being made for his officers – the helmet was now standard all throughout Pyrisamfundet, and some versions has even been developed for civilian use.
[Yes, this allows me to use Victorian Bobbies to represent the law and order in my version of Pyrisamfundet]
Modelling the Brothers
I ordered a few cat people form Black Cat bases (link here), and did a few modifications, like adding a policemans hat (you can buy some heads with Police hats from Crooked Dice, here) and weapons (I got some flintloque pistols etc from Black Cat bases too, link here). The cat with the sabre got a police hat, the cat with the parasol got a musket and the cat with the tray got two pistols.
Overall I am happy with the look (they originally did not had a fancy clothes but I thought they would look ok in the attire they came in).
Dart an Älg (The Mooseketeer)
Dart originates from the forests around Nordholmia (where incidentally this adventure will progress to) and worked as a trapper during his youth selling furs to the Nordholmia traders and occasionally working as a scout for the Army or other daring folk who ventured in the area. He gained some reputation as a reliable man and his fur trading grew to a healthy business. However Swizzle, one of Pyrisamfundets biggest trading houses did not like the increased competition. Swizzle’s operations in Nordholmia were run by the founders grandson Vizel Swissle. Vizel instigated a campaign to damage Dart’s business, bribing officials, burning down storage facilities, threatening suppliers, etc. However, Dart was resilient and seemed to recover stronger from every set-back. Vizel had to escalate his efforts and framed Dart for the murder of a local school teacher by the name of Elvira Snyft.
Dart did not stand a chance against the resource of the Swissle House and ended up in a labour prison outside Hindenburg. Here he was , to put it in the words of the stern judge at the trial, “..to serve for his horrendous crimes until the day he died”. He felt betrayed by his town and his country, but most of all he had a raging anger towards the Swissle family as he was more than sure they were behind the plot. From the moment he put his foot in that god forsaken prison he tried to work out a plan to escape and seek revenge. As the years progressed he became more and more bitter. He made numerous attempts to escape but were caught and brought back and was punished severely with beatings and long times of isolation – somewhere along the way he went insane. One day when a group of prisoners were out working on a road repair job one of guards suffered from a heart attack. Dart told the second guard that he could save his colleague and lied that he had been a doctor as a civilian. The guard dropped his guard for a few moments whilst Dart pretended to help the his suffering comrade. The opportunity presented was quickly exploited by Dart who strangled one guard whilst watching the other man die. Needless to say he sought out Vizel and took out his revenge in the most brutal of ways. He was chased by the Nordholmia Sheriff and a Posse but managed to escape. Since then Dart has been an outlaw and have become a terror in the area around the Hardin Moors. One day he stumbled across on the three brothers who also were outlaws – a relationship was formed and the group operate as robbers and thieves in the area. They have successfully avoided capture as they are careful and knows the lay of the land very well.
I got myself a Garrison Caliverman from Perry Miniatures – it is part of their fantastic Border Reivers 40mm range (here is a link).
As you can see in the picture it comes with a number of heads – but none of them being a moose head. So I had to find it elsewhere. I got myself a Moose from Northstar (pulp miniature range, link here).
Some cutting later I had my Mooseketeer!
As for the dying Postrider, his name is Erjan, and I think he may be from a the body of a WW2 soldier I had in my bit box? I made the post bag from some putty (Somewhere along the way I forgot that he was bleeding from his shoulder and not his leg – my mistake).
Anyway here is the set-up, this should not have been a life changing encounter for the group but this is untampered nostalgia on overdrive – so why not! My 13-year old self would have been as happy as I am now!
So just do not stand there, get on with it…. what do you do?
Some other related stuff
I have painted a few models from the interloper miniatures range (link to their webpage), they are wonderful models. I hope you like them they form part of my overall Mutant 1984 “collection”.
/Hope that was some interest.
Currently I am working on another scene from the adventure – the Robot Attack in Nordholmia. But that is for some other time.
Busy times at the moment but I have made some progress on the Kirbekan 1885 project and this time mostly with regards to the Mahdists to fight the British. I have limited information on these forces in comparison of the detailed accounts of the heroics and sometimes not so heroic deeds of the British. I have mainly used the various Osprey titles for inspiration.
Anyway, for the battle itself Peter Riley, in his draft rules, suggests.
Moussa Wad Abuhegel – CinC
Organised Command Infantry – 1 base
Organised Rifle Infantry – 1 base Ali Wad Hussein – Commander
Organised Command Infantry – 1 base
Organised Rifle Infantry – 1 base
Irregular Dervish Infantry – 3 bases
Irregular Hadendowah – 3 bases Hamisd Wad Lekalik – Commander
Organised Command Infantry – 1 base
Organised Rifle Infantry – 1 base
Irregular Dervish Infantry – 4 bases
Irregular Hadendowah Infantry – 4 bases
So in summary, I would need.
• 3 No. command bases
• Organised Command and Rifle Infantry – 6 bases
• Irregular Dervish Infantry – 7 bases
• Irregular Hadendowah – 7 bases
I started out making the 6 No. Organised bases (40 by 20mm basing) and based these on the Baccus CMA07 – Mahdist Riflemen (all codes for the Mahdi can be found here).
…and the Hadendowah Sword and Spear men (on deeper bases 40 by 30mm), using the code CMA02 – Hadendowah Infantry – Spear, Sword, Shield.
In addition, I have spent some time doing some of the smaller units I need for the battle.
And some more Mahdists in the pipeline,
I also based the Horse Grenadiers that featured in the last update (see here).
I have done my first proper effort on the 2019 Joy of Six project – the Battle of Poltava 1709. As I have stated before it will be a full blown table showing not just the main battle, but also the besieged Poltava, the Monastery and of course the redoubts (more background at the end of a previous blog here).
I did a inventory of the Swedish miniatures needed and found (not to a great surprise to be honest) that I have everything I need apart from some Cossacks and the models required for the Poltava Siege works (I want to make the siege lines, siege guns and sappers, etc), as for the forces on the table, all I need is (excluding artillery and command bases):
41 cavalry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
18 infantry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
24 Vallack and Cossack bases (large light horse bases 60 by 60mm)
That is 83 No. of bases (and detailed below) in total compared to 100 No. of bases for the Horka battle.
I will do the same review for the Russians, but I already know that there will be substantially more work as the number of bases for Horka was 155 No. but I will need a total of 259 No. for Poltava.
140 cavalry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
89 infantry bases (60 by 30mm bases)
30 Cossack and Kalmyk bases (large light horse bases)
Now all these did not fight in the main battle, but it allows a little bit of a reflection as to the relative strength of the Russians vs the Swedes in terms of available resources in the area. It will be a busy table, considering that it is about 40% more models (however they will be somewhat differently spread).
In the interim I do know that I have no Russian Horse Grenadiers and I need 3 No. regiments of 4 bases worth of models, so I have been painting some of these.
In 1708, Peter the Great, formed some Horse Grenadiers regiments, taken from the Grenadier company of existing Dragoon regiments. It is a little bit confusing and unclear how these units were uniformed at the Poltava battle and how many were present, so what follows are an interpretation. In game terms we will treat these as a better quality dragoon units and I have modelled these on a basis of 4 bases per regiment. Note that these are from Baccus Seven Years War range (and not from the WSS or GNW range) – they are wonderful little models and you can find them here.
A. Kropotov’s Horse Grenadiers
I painted these in the most common uniform combination of the Russian Army at the time with Green jacket with red facings, this is a speculative uniform combination. The flag is green and I am thinking of making some transfers to add some detail to them (I bought some printable transfer paper).
G. Kropotov’s Horse Grenadiers
Again speculative uniform – I made them as above but with blue instead of Green, apart from the flag.
von der Roop’s Horse Grenadiers
Yet again speculative uniform – I made them blue coats with red facings and a blue and red Mitre.
I have given them an ink wash (nut brown of course, see below) and will base them up shortly.
/ Hope that was of some interest
List of the Swedish units required for Poltava 1709 based on a rough guide of one base of 9 models of riders per 200 to 300 cavalry (about 2 squadrons) and the same for base of 24 models of infantry per 400 to 600 infantry (a battalion).
I recommend that you read the first part from last week (link here, that contains a little bit of an intro) as this is a rather short update if you have not already and if you are interested in the context of this.
I learned this week that Major General Earle who died at the Battle in 1885 is standing outside George’s Hall in Liverpool (where he was born in 1833). A very elegant statue that was unveiled in 1887 by Lord Wolsey, the Commander of the British Forces in Egypt.
Earle had started his career fighting in the Crimean War and fought gallantry at Alma and Sevastopol rising to the rank of Lieutenant. He later served in Gibraltar, Canada and India. In 1880 he was granted his Major Generalship and was sent to Egypt in 1882. Here he was the commander of the garrison at Alexandria. In 1884 he was in command of a campaign (the British Nile Column) to support General Gordon in Khartoum (Sudan). The city was under siege by Mahdist. Earle and his soldiers did not arrive in time and Khartoum fell in the beginning of 1885.
On the 10th February 1885, Major Earle, and part of the British Nile Column stormed the hills at Kirbekan and routed Mahdist force. Unfortunately Earle, as stated above, was killed in the battle together with about 60 British soldiers, including Lieutenant Colonel Philip Eyre of the First South Staffordshire Regiment.
So, to hang on to Lt Col Phillip Eyre for a moment, this week I did the second large British unit at the Kirbekan Battle 1885.
The South Staffordshire Regiment
The regiment was sent to Egypt in 1882 as part of the invasion and in 1885 it travelled as part of the unsuccessful column to lift the Siege of Khartoum, but came to play an important part in the battle at Kirbekan. Following Garrison duties it was later sent to fight in the Boer War. I let you read more about the regiment and its further adventures during the Great War and World War 2 on Wikipedia (link here).
As I did last time I used the excellent Perry Painting Guide from their webpage (link here). I made six bases (40 by 20 mm) with firing poses and six bases with Marching poses – as the British did a lot of marching and I fancy a long column of soldiers in the end. Of course when I checked this out I realised that the South Staff Regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red at the Kirbekan Battle – I painted mine with the grey/blue uniform last week – Oh well perhaps the Scots did not listen to the English commander, or I have to do another set of them in red!
14. South Staffordshire Regiment This regiment and the Black Watch were ordered to wear red to storm the ridge at the battle of Kirbekan, 10th February 1885
From the Perry Painting Guide
Anyway, here is how the South Staffordshire gentlemen turned out (they are 6mm Baccus from the their colonial range, link here).
/ Hope that was of some interest, next time I will do some Mahdists I think.
My friend Peter Riley who has written a number of Wargames rules, including the Polemos American Civil War (ACW) and the Franco-Prussian War (FPW), sent me a copy of his unpublished colonial rules “A Steady and Deliberate Fire” a long time ago to try out and give him some feedback. Doing something and giving them a try is long overdue.
By the way Peter is one half of the Wargamer Collection Calculator Crew that I have talked about before on this page, check them out here.
In addition they are doing a Little Big Horn Project in 6mm that I have been following with some interest (here is a good starting point).
I did acquired a large amount of 6mm Baccus Colonial miniatures in a “bring and buy” sale many years ago and have wanted to find some inspiration to do something with them. I did some colonial stuff using the Men Who Would be King rules for 6mm Skirmish (link here, here and here). That was really fun and The Little One and I have had fair amount of fun table time with those.
However, I wanted something for bigger battles – and skimming through the rules Peter had sent me last week I found the Kirbekan Battle in 1885 (link here) that would require about 30 bases to play on a 6 by 4 table using 60mm frontage, and with 40mm bases it could be played on a normal kitchen table, on a 4’6″ by 3″ table.
The rules are extensive and although I have not yet understood them I have decided, as a little side project, to do the two sides of the battle and use it as a vehicle to learn the rules. In future posting I will write more details about the actual Battle and these rules.
With regards to basing (from the rules):
a base of Infantry represents an Infantry Company, about 65 to 180 men.
A base of Cavalry represents a Cavalry unit of about 65 to 130 men and horses.
Support Weapon bases represent and group of 1 to 3 guns.
According to Donald Featherstone’s excellent Khartoum book (published by Osprey) The British General Earle had the following force available at the battle (the book also contain the typical Osprey 3D map of the Kirbekan battle):
The Black Watch – 437 men.
South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men.
A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men.
A half company of Egyptian camel company – 47 men.
Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men.
This translates to the following set-up in the rules:
The Black Watch – 437 men – 6 units (bases)
South Staffordshire Regiment – 556 men – 6 units (bases)
A squadron of 19th Hussars – 83 men – 1 unit (bases)
A half company of Egyptian camel company (Camel Corps) – 47 men – 1 unit (bases)
Egyptian Camel Battery (2 guns) – 24 men – 1 unit (bases)
I thought I start with the British Side and from the top..
The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
The regiment was created in 1881 in an amalgation of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot and the 73rd (Pertshire) Regiment of Foot (more here and here).
The regiment fought extensively in the Anglo-Eqyptian and Mahdist wars at the Battle of Tel el-Kebor 1882, Battles of El Teb 1884 and the Battle of Kirbekan 1885. The regiment also fought in the Second Boer War.
As for painting them I consulted the very good resource on Perry Minatures webpage written by Michael Perry about the Sudan 1883-85 (link here). It has a uniform guide that includes the Black Watch (the grey I have used is perhaps too blue, because I used blue).
Each base represent a company of men, I made them in Marching and Firing poses on 40 by 20mm bases.
Next up the South Staffordshire Regiment, at some point in the future.