Empress Miniatures


Haitian Shock Markers and other ramblings....

A couple of items that have been in the queue for quite a while.First up Haitian Regular shock markers, as the games have got slightly larger the need for more shock makers has reared it's head, these started out as British Militia from Trent Miniatures, but paint up reasonably well for the Haitian loyalists.I have opted for two dice spaces to try and reduce the number of counters on the table.They still need some static grass, something for Warfare tomorrow.Next up a Warning Beacon from the Too Fat Lardies it fits nicely into the campaign and can serve as a jump off point or simply table clutter. The cage needed a repaint as in a moment of madness I painted it as if made of wood, that would not have lasted long once it was alight.I used real twigs which did not look right so resorted to painting them, how mad is that.The Insurgents below show the size comparison.It's the annual trip to Warfare tomorrow as the Wyvern's lend a hand to Paul at Kallista with the Battle of Mohi. Another Hungarian adventure a

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Does historical wargaming trivialise or teach?

Wargaming as a way of learning? Especially for a series of wars that continue to have repercussions in my country to this very day? Doesn’t playing the New Zealand Wars as a game trivialise the on-going impact of colonialism on generations of descendants? My own story says otherwise. But firstly, why am I even mentioning this? Well, there’s increasing pressure on the New Zealand government to make the study of our colonial wars compulsory in the national education curriculum. I totally support this idea. Just like a person, a country should know its own history, especially where parts of that story still adversely affect the lives of many of its citizens. So how does wargaming fit into all this? As a youngster, for me ‘real’ history didn’t take place in New Zealand. Rather, it was the stirring battles and sieges that took place hundreds of years ago and far, far away in the fields, towns and castles of Europe, or in the forests and grasslands of America. For many years my hobby

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More Egyptian Infantry and a Victorian Hero.

The promised second battalion of Egyptian infantry for the Sudan and a couple of minor conversions (I changed the headgear) to create two figures to represent Col. Burnaby in his habitual patrol jacket and blue trousers. One mounted and one on foot. Both these figures come from Empress Miniatures from their Anglo-Zulu War range and the horse is from Perry Miniatures.

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Worst Case Scenario #19: SCW Rearguard during 'la Retirada' ('The Retreat') - Northern Spain, February 1939

This past spring we spent a few wonderful weeks vacationing in the south of France in the Roussillon area.  This region is ruggedly beautiful and steeped in history extending back to the ancient period. Roman ruins, medieval castles, an excellent privately run Napoleonic museum, you name it - it's all there to take in and enjoy. In addition to all this, I managed to find the gravesite and pay my respects to one of my favourite authors, Patrick O'Brian (creator of the superb Aubrey-Maturin series of novels). He rests with his wife Mary outside the beautiful seaside village of Collioure, where they lived in their later life.One of the other border towns we stayed in was Cerbere, which is situated along the Mediterranean right alongside the Spanish frontier. Interestingly enough, Cerbere was one of the major crossing points for Spanish refugees who fled from Franco's final offensive in early 1939. A bit of background. The Spanish call this period 'la Retirada', the Retreat. At

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Skirmish Sanguin at the club

 Tom ran a beautifully staged Skirmish Sanguin game at the club last night.  This as my first time with the rules and lets just say it showed!The scenario was a British Patrol, along with a squad of Afghan Police trying to sweep a Village.  Ed and I each took a four man British section with the Keith taking the Afghan Police.  Ed and I weren't too sure about the loyalties of the Police so had them take point.The high point of the game for my squad - landing a grenade close enough to do a little damage.  The rest of the scenario was pretty much a disaster.  Ed's squad found an IED the hard way, The afghan police got shot up but did have the best showing of our group.  I had one medium wound and decided that retreating was a much better option.My squad retreating.  I liked the rules, but this is a game that requires you to both really know the rules and likely takes 2-3 play through before you're proficient.  I would like to play again - especially on Tom's wonderful

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Colonial NZ Wars table at The Winterdale Tavern

At yesterday’s open day at New Zealand’s newest wargaming venue – The Winterdale Tavern on the Kāpiti Coast – I put on a colonial New Zealand Wars game. Well, I say ‘game’, but in fact because of it’s location right by the front door, we decided to make it an eye-catcher for visitors, so it was really just a static display. I actually love doing static displays, as it lets my imagination run wild in setting up a feast of lovely terrain, as well as providing an excuse to jam-pack the table with as many of my models as I can! Working from the back of the table, the first thing to capture the eye was a Māori pā, which was 3D-printed for me by Printable Scenery   A pā was a fortified settlement or position with palisades and defensive terraces. The pā was constructed of rows of strong log palisades. Behind the palisades there was usually a trench, so that the defending warriors were fully protected as they fired through loopholes at ground level.  Inside the pā is a

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NATO Scuba Assault Team

Here is a contemporary scuba assault team with their fast attack boat all ready to take down targets like a hijacked freighter, a terrorist controlled oil platform, or perhaps even a suspicious water skier.This set is from Eureka Miniatures. I thought it would nicely compliment the German special forces frogmen I did a few years ago.I kept the three kneeling poses on their stock bases so they would still fit in the assault boat. The other three's bases were trimmed so I could put them on clear acrylic like some of my other skirmish figures.As you can imagine these were pretty simple to knock out: black with increasing highlights of P3 Gravedigger Denim for the scuba suits and gear. Then black again with a VMC Blue Grey highlight for their weapons and metal bits. I find the trick to blending dark tones is to use a few thin coats of Liquitex Statin Varnish (which has an added bonus of providing a nice slick look to the wetsuits). I quite like the effect and may try this with some other figures (I thin

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Viet Minh Infantry and Palm Trees

One project which I'm happy to revisit is my slow foray into 1950s French Indochina. I've been working on this collection since 2013 and, heaven forbid, with this group done, I think I may actually have enough to put on a game. So yes, it may take a while, but the manic hobby squirrel eventually gets the job done.Here for you today is a Viet Minh assault squad along with some new palm trees for them to advance through as they close in upon their French foes.These figures are from Empress Games and are sculpted by the talented (and bewilderingly prolific) Paul Hicks. I had the pleasure of painting most of this unit while visiting with Greg in Winnipeg last month. Being pretty much an all khaki force, it allowed me to think-less and drink-more while working on them - a great, if often unsung feature of this period. :)This squad was originally composed of 10 castings, but I felt these boys really needed a banner bearer to properly send them off. I have this pathological need to have flags in as many units as pos

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Dressing For The Apocalypse - 28mm: more Soviets

Empress miniatures (as mentioned in a previous post) has a small range of figures for the Chechnya conflict. You do have to be careful, as the figures are a bit variable in size.These three figures are from CWR007 "Russians Fighting".Other figures by Empress, such as the Insurgents are useful. This is the PK GPMG figure from the INS03 set that is useable.This figure is based on the illustration of a South Ossetian Irregular in the Osprey publication "Elite 197: Russian Security and Paramilitary Forces since 1991".

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Dressing For The Apocalypse - 28mm: British Army

Currently Under Fire Miniatures have a range of Cold War figures comprising Soviets, East Germans, West Germans (police and army) and US. Unfortunately there are (currently) no plans for adding British figures to their range (but there is a possibility of a compatible range from another manufacturer).In the meantime, I want a set of figures representing British infantry that are a nice match with the Under Fire and Empress figures that I currently own.Luckily, I have a number of figures from Crooked Dice that will fit the bill.Crooked Dice publish the 7TV skirmish rule set designed for games based on the film and television output of a fictional British production company (and their American subsidiary). They have a matching set of figures for a number of their productions.There are two main ranges that will be the source for my British infantry.The first is their Army figures.This is one of their Army Privates with Rifles.The figures are supplied with tabs and (25mm diameter) slot bases. In this case I cut o

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Dressing For The Apocalypse - 28mm

As mentioned in an earlier post on 28mm figures, Under Fire Miniatures do a range of 28mm Cold War figures.As supplied, the Soviet infantry (in this case Soviet Pack RMR2) are accurately dressed, with the uncomfortable high boots.These would be fine for forces at the outbreak of war, but after four or five years of conflict, their kit would change. The obvious thing would be replacing the boots (and trousers) with more comfortable items - either manufactured for the troops, or those that the troops have picked up.The first change was to add some small squares of Greenstuff to the front of the boots, sculpted with a scalpel blade to represent the laces. This was allowed to set before more Greenstuff was used to extend the trouser cuffs.Soviet Motorised infantry were trained to be no more than 200 metres from their transport, so they do not tend to have large quantities of equipment, so only a couple of small bags or pouches was added.The other thing is that they are quite likely to have non standard

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Haitian Buildings.

For a while now I have been pondering which manufacturer to pick to make a small town for the Haiti campaign, many of Haiti’s towns and cities feature elegant colonial government buildings and cathedrals which were built during the years of French rule. In particular Cap‑Haïtien which served the administrative center is particularly noted for its colonial architecture sadly a number of the older buildings on the island were destroyed in the earthquake of 2010.Haiti has it's own unique feel to it which in wargaming terms can be represented in my opinion using a number of  the offerings on the market for Spain, Mexico or the Spanish maine all of which give me that Caribbean feel that I am looking for. I do like my tabletop to have some good functional scenary that can be played across and handled without flinching everytime someone walks by the table.Of late game and painting time seems to be under pressure from the real world so and with a backlog of figures I certainly don't want to be spending valuab

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The Big Push 6.

Captain R H M MacIntyre MC, Officer Commanding 7th Light Car Patrol, a Lieutenant as a driver and a Corporal frantically trying to signal the leading elements of the Desert Mounted Corps for the Syria 1918 demo game at Colours. The car is a Matchbox 1909 Opel.... it should really be a Model T but Adrian had this model and it needed to be used. It is, perhaps, a little large and out of scale but it is great fun. That is what it is all about as far as I am concered. The Captain, standing on the front seat for a better view, is an Empress Miniatures figure, as is the driver, and the Signals Corporal comes from GWM. All have had Woodbine headswaps.

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