Posted on

Natal Mounted Police in 6mm

Natal Mounted Police or Martian Mounted Police

I have wanted to paint this unit for some time, and after finding the Through the Mud and the Blood rules by Toofatlardies, I felt I finally found a rule set that would justify painting them. They will do double duty in Africa and on Mars.

These lads are my first mounted troops for a skirmish game and I wondered how to base them. I started looking into unit sizes, it appears that Brit cavalry in the First Boer War mainly operated in “Troops”, but I couldn’t find a break down of the Regiments to see how big a troop is. But in the Zulu war, only 1-2 years earlier, a troop was 120 men. This wasn’t a big help, but I figured that about four of my groups would equal a troop.

I’m using 30mm round bases for the infantry with 4 guys on a base. I thought about two different options for the mounted troops first:

  1. 4 troopers on a 40mm base
  2. 2 troopers on a 30mm base, like the command/big man bases I use

After looking at them both, I decided on a third option, 3 troopers on a 30mm base. This gives them more “mass” than the sparser basing. I’m not sure how many bases to use to represent them when they are dismounted, but I’ve got time to think about it. I can’t wait to paint the dismounted troops though, as you can’t really beat black and white uniforms can you?

Speaking of black uniforms, I used Vallejo German Grey for the uniforms so they weren’t pitch black. You are usually recommended by those in the know to use a lighter shade for small figures, and they certainly look black but you can still see a bit of detail up close.

Posted on

Boer Wars/VSF Through the Mud and the Blood Test Models

I have been trying to find a good set of rules for the Boer Wars for years. I looked for so long that I finally gave up. For about the past year I have been interested in finding a passable skirmish game that I might like. See, I have been painting so many strips of row upon row of bayoneted troops for about three years straight. I really like painting them, but now I’m really interested in a change once in a while. So I bought Sharp Practice from Toofatlardies and loved it. Then I bought Through the Mud and the Blood, and about ten pages in, I thought “This would be brilliant for the Boer Wars/VSF in 6mm!” Before you can get anyone’s interest in a conversation about how to tweak the rules, you have to have something to show for it. Here it is, my first unit for my newest project.

This is 1/2 a company, 50 men or 1 unit in Through the Mud and the Blood. It is scarlet coated British troops in the green trim of the 24th.

Posted on

Stick with the Red Coats

As I near completion of my Saratoga Campaign project, I have been getting itchy feet for a new period.  I will not abandon AWI, but would like to expand my painting to cover two periods at once.  I don’t really fancy going back to 7YW yet as it still fills the same niche for me that AWI does, but I like AWI more.

My first choice was Colonial British wars in South Africa.  I love the uniforms and the period is dripping with atmosphere and great movies to watch for inspiration.  A quick trip to Amazon for Zulu and Zulu Dawn and some Ospreys later, I was definantaly ready.  Even better was the fact that Baccus was expanding it’s colonial british range at a fantastic pace, the stage could not be more set.

First roadblock: No interesting battles.  The more I read the more I realized British colonial battles are pretty much one sided affairs with the Brits decimating the natives.  So the redcoats stand there and volley at the charging savages until one side breaks.  With the occasional decimation of the Brits to almost break the monotony.   I like a bit of maneuver in my games.

Second roadblock: No rules that I like.  The more I looked at different rules, the more I decided there were no interesting battles.  The rules I did find were simple enough though.  I think this period is more suited to skirmish gaming, but that is a purely personal opinion.

So as I drifted from the Zulu wars, glazed over the Sudan campaign, I read more about the Boer Wars.  This was a fascinating conflict.  Two huge forces duking it out in the wilderness.  Problem is, how do you game Boers?  They were rarely seen by the brits (sometimes for entire battles) and there were a number of night actions and ambushes.  This war seemed to hard to game with any level of real flavor for the period and still be fun.  Worst of all, the British uniform switched from the brilliant red to boring old khacki for almost every unit.  Not much fun to paint.

Well, I realized this sometime between ordering the Baccus figs and their arrival from Blighty.  When they came, I had to paint a few, right, just to see how they looked.  When units arrived in SA, they had nice shiney white helmets that they quickly stained with tea so as not to stand out very much.  I didnt’ really like this look, so I did some test models both ways, white helmets and tea stained helmets.

I also painted my very first 6mm beard and mustache with this group.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and the figures are that good that you can see them.

I was quite impressed with them, too bad I won’t be painting more.  Here are the test models in all their glory.

I had my first mishap with an order from Baccus with these troops.  It seems about half of the bayonets were broken off during shipping.  I emailed Pete and he resonded with his usually high standard of customer service.

There was a game called Martian Emprires that I would consider with these troops, but I couldn’t find a suitable martian race in 6mm to even give it a try.  I’m not sure that I’m ready for VSF but if anything would get me into it these figures would.