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.

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.

Confederate Prisoners Gettysburg Vignette

The first of my Confederates for my ACW project.  Everyone has seen this iconic image. Adventure Miniatures (available from Nathan at Elite Miniatures Australia) make a vignette of this famous scene.

confederate prisoners gettysburg bw

And on to my attempt at doing it justice. First painting I have done in three months as I have had bad tendonitis and holding a paint brush, or even the miniatures themselves, has been quite painful. That and I have been lazy.

Call to Arms 2020

Cta v Prussians 1The annual convention hosted by the Wellington Warlords has been and gone last weekend. I entered the Black Powder Napoleonic competition with my 1805-08 Spanish. Not the best army under the rules – Unreliable, Freshly Raised infantry; Small units of terrible cavalry; piss poor SR rated generals.  What the army had going for it was lots of brigades (I fielded seven brigades when most other people were fielding 3 or 4 tops) and lots of cheap as chips guerrillas which I finally think I know how to use in this game.

I got three draws and one win – the win occurring when I broke my opponents army by knocking out two of his three brigades. Had one incident where a rule was not read correctly and I lost an entire brigade of Guards after they were hit in the flank by Dragoons on a Follow Me order with their general but the rules clearly state that you cannot do a three move maneuver to get a flank charge in unless you start behind their flank.  I honestly think that if that had not happened I would have won that game too, although my opponent might disagree.    But still – Spanish infantry being ridden down by a flank charge is pretty thematic so I was not too upset. At all really. C’est la guerre!

The games were all enjoyable and it was great to catch up with other players and old friends who were involved in other competitions. Sad to hear that Brent Senior-Partridge passed away but they had a memorial trophy in his honour for the DBM Ancient guys.

Some pics.