All posts by briansmaller

I live in rural New Zealand and work for an international IT company. My interests are many but mainly involve rural life, politics, history and wargaming - not necessarily in that order.

Then Something Nice Happens…

A month or so back I was contacted on social media by a guy who I last saw in the 80s when he was a young teen and he used to come to the Manawatu Miniature Strategists Society club meets. He said that back in those days I was one of his inspirations to paint and collect wargame miniatures. I was really touched and it was great catching up and seeing where life had lead us.

He is quite a prolific collector/painter now. He saw I was doing ACW and sent me this box of Sash and Saber (and some Perry and Foundry) miniatures. I have not gone through it all but looks enough figures for a complete Union brigade, command and a regiment of mounted and dismounted cavalry. The box of Perry ACW cavalry is in a blue plastic – I have never seen them molded in that colour plastic before. I am guessing that is an old production run.

So now I am going through the lead mountain to find stuff I can send him as he is currently doing an Italian army for Black Powder Napoleonics. I know I have three or four boxes of Perry and Victrix French infantry, some command figures and some cavalry – a good start I hope.

It was interesting that a few Sundays at wargame club in the 80s had such an impact on someone’s life. I am still somewhat at a loss for words.

Thanks David. You are a top bastard.

Santa came early this year.

Look what arrived in the post today. To be honest, this was the second largest order I have ever done from overseas. I usually get bits and bobs. I get nervous forking out large sums of money and waiting on an order to arrive – but arrive it did. An ACW Confederate cavalry brigade including horse holders and dismounted versions. Lots of guns, limbers and limber horses. Dismounted Union cavalry and horse holders – a brigade worth. Lots of generals, mounted cavalry command and various command sets. Also bulked out my Anglo-Zulu Wars – limbers, command, mounted and dismounted infantry and Frontier horse. Everything was well packaged and not so much as a dent on a box.

“Not a Toy” Ha! Who are they kidding.

On the Workbench – 6th Nov 2020.

What I am currently working on. What are you working on at the moment?

A regiment of Federal infantry and a gun/crew undercoated and first blobs of paint applied (Perry Minis). Also, more artillery assembled and sorting out horses for more six horse limbers – found another 27 of those old Hinchliffe horses in the Woolshed in a box. Lead Mountains can be a great thing to have at times.. Also a bunch of Federal generals (Perry and Adventure Miniatures). found another 27 of those old Hinchliffe horses in the Woolshed in a box. Lead Mountains can be a great thing to have at times.

14th Brooklyn – The Red Legged Devils (Adventure Miniatures)

“Hold On Boys! Here come those red legged devils again!” Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, July 21, 1861, First Bull Run.

I got these great figures from Nathan at Elite Miniatures Australia. They are from the Adventure Miniatures range. This is an excellent range – if they were more readily available.

They were originally Mark Fenlon Miniatures and at some stage were resurrected as Adventure Miniatures. I have seen pics of other codes that were produced (mainly on Nathan’s Lonely Gamer’s Blog) but do not seem available at the moment – regular infantry, more cavalry etc.

The figures are large 28s. I probably wouldn’t put them in with other figures in the same unit but I have these chaps alongside Perry Plastic zouaves and they look fine. I suspect they would make Foundry figures look like hobbits.

Flags are the ones from one of the Perry set sheets. These sat for a while – I ordered them just before Ausssie and NZ went into lockdown and they took the best part of two months to arrive – thanks to Australia and NZ Post and barely any aircraft flying with cargo.

Monday Music: Paper Lace “Billy Don’t be a hero”

Painting Soldier Blues at the moment so…….


I had this on a Paper Lace LP back in the 70s until my bloody older brother repossessed his record collection that he had left at home for years while overseas. That is when I learned that possession being 9/10ths of the law didn’t really hold up. Hope you still have it Chris 🙂

13th Vermont Infantry Regiment – Redoubt miniatures

Another of my lock down regiments. This is the 13th Vermont. They are the 13th Vermont because I had the flag.

The miniatures in this unit are from Redoubt Miniatures. I got these many years ago off Trademe (the New Zealand online marketplace site) in one of those spur of the moment purchases that I never did anything with once I had them until I started this ACW project. The figures all come with separate heads so there is a lot of variation there. They are big solid figures but do not look out of place alongside the Perry plastics I have.

I probably could have done the trousers a slightly lighter shade of blue but overall I am pretty happy with this unit. I have to say that painting metals is much more satisfying to me than plastics. The heft of a base of these is somehow….comforting.

146th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment – Garrard’s Tigers

Finally got this unit finished a few weeks ago. I started it back in March but it sat on the painting desk mocking me as I lost interest. Finally got the mojo back and started back on them. . Glad I got them finished because they are such a colourful unit in an otherwise drab looking army. EDIT – Just remembered why I lost interest. My dog Snow, an Abruzzi-Maremma came into my room and his tail of death swept half the unit off the table and there were half a dozen broken bayonets and rifles. So before I could even start painting them again I had to repair a bunch of figures.

Apart from the Iron Brigade (post to come) I am not really doing any particular order of battle. Just painting units that catch my fancy or ‘generic’ regiments that can be used pretty much any time in the civil war period. So far I have the Iron brigade painted, a generic brigade and am working on a generic New York brigade that has three zouave units (5th, 146th and the 14th Brooklyn and a couple of other regular volunteer units). Not bad for lockdown period and was still working during that time.

These are obviously Perry plastic Zouaves. I had some left over from the 5th New York I did earlier this year and also had acquired the Battle in a Box set which had another sixteen figures (off the top of my head). I have a few left so might make then as skirmishers or perhaps as a company within another union volunteer regiment.

Flags are not exactly right for this unit but who is really looking at the flags when they are on the table top?

Confederate Limber

I really want some six horse limbers for my ACW armies because they just look so freaking great. But…they are an expensive addition to the army. I was looking in the Woolshed and found a box with a few dozen old Hinchliffe Napoleonic limber horses. When I say old I mean I think I got these in 1980. I looked at these, looked at the plastic Perry limber I had and thought – why not. OK – the collars are wrong, the harness is wrong…whatever. I can use the money I save to buy some dismounted cavalry.

I added a couple of Perry plastic artillerymen. One I sort of converted to a sitting pose.

At some stage I will add some harnesses from the horses to the limbers and between them etc. Not sure what I will use – maybe some crochet string and seal it with pva. Any ideas welcomed.

ACW Wargame – Boatswain’s Swamp

We got together at one of the lad’s places for a game of Black Powder: Glory, Hallelujah. 2-3 players a side. A scenario from the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 (Boatswain’s Swamp which was part of the Battle of Gaines Mill). The scenario and army lists were from an article in Wargames Illustrated. It was first outing for my Union troops that I have painted so far.

Fun game – my first with this version of Black Powder. Played really differently to Black Powder Napoleonics.

Technically a Union victory in that the main Confederate attack stalled and Union still held the objective. My flank I got a pasting from the Rebs who saved pretty much every hit I got on them. Game was probably six or seven rounds (maybe more) and I did not even shake a single Reb unit despite getting numerous hits. On the other hand, I got the crap shot out of me and ended up with my infantry brigade falling back and off the board. I had a small cavalry brigade that tried to hold the flank but they got overwhelmed.

Sorry about the pics – lighting not that great and my camera is really getting past it’s use by date. Just some general shots and not a story of the battle.