Wednesday, 12 February 2020

The Cottage of Madame Moulay

This cottage is the home of Madame Moulay. If you remember, she is a Soucouyant, a malignant witch believed to shed her skin by night and suck the blood of her victims. Madame Moulay has named her cottage, Mon Repos.

Angua and Others...

A few more figures painted up for the pirate game in November. The game needs a proper title which I'm working on, but for the moment the working title is 'Snapcase All At Sea'.

On the left is Toussaint Lafermature, a field hand on the Governor's sugar plantation. In secret Toussaint is planning a slave revolt on the island and he and his compatriots have been stealing firearms and ammunition as and when they can. Next is Rosalina. Rosalina is trusted to travel between plantations and has been carrying secret messages for Toussaint to ferment revolt across the island. Wolfgang Ewald Leo Helmuth Creutzfeldt is next. This 7' giant is known to all and sundry as 'Tiny'. Originally from Hamburg, Tiny has an excellent knack of appearing to be completely stupid as and when it suits him. On the right is Albert Tatlock, landlord of the 'Rover's Return' a tavern on one of the outlying islands. Albert is usually described as a grumpy old curmudgeon by his patrons but serves excellent porter. One of his customers, a certain Walter Gabriel refers to Albert as "that awkward old codger" and he should know!

The latest addition to the Town Watch is Captain Delphine Angua von Überwald. The other members of the Watch have been seen in an earlier post. Angua is the daughter of the Baron and Baroness of Überwald. Her surprising strength and tough attitude have made her one of the most feared officers of the Town Watch.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

More bit players...

...and now a few more bit players in the madness of Islas de Pasaje de Vuelta.

On the left is Albert Arkwright, a merchant of the islands and a pragmatic, miserly man with old-fashioned values, whose world seems to stop at his shop door. Arkwright is a devious and mildly dishonest character, who has many crafty tricks to try to persuade a customer to leave his shop having bought at least one thing. He will avoid spending his own money at all costs.

Next in is Clarrie Grundy, barmaid at a tavern near the dockside on the main island. Clarrie is Eddie Grundy's long-suffering wife. She became involved with him after her late father Jethro Larkin,  employed him to remove the range in their home. Clarrie spends much of her time sorting out problems created by her husband, sons and father-in-law. (I’m not very happy with how her face came out but fiddling about with it seems to make it worse!)

Third from left is Cardinal Richelieu;

(Fanfare of trumpets. Cardinal Richelieu enters witness box in beautiful robes.)

Cardinal: 'Allo everyone, it's wonderful to be 'ere y'know, I just love your country. London is so beautiful at this time of year.

Counsel: Er, you are Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu, First Minister of Louis XIII?

Cardinal: Oui.

Counsel: Cardinal, would it be fair to say that you not only built up the centralized monarchy in France but also perpetuated the religious schism in Europe?

Cardinal: (modestly) That's what they say.

Counsel: Did you persecute the Huguenots?

Cardinal: Oui.

Counsel: And did you take even sterner measures against the great Catholic nobles who made common cause with foreign foes in defence of their feudal independence?

Cardinal: I sure did that thing.

Counsel: Cardinal. Are you acquainted with the defendant, Harold Larch?

Cardinal: Since I was so high (indicated how high).

Counsel: Speaking as a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, as First Minister of Louis XIII, and as one of the architects of the modern world already - would you say that Harold Larch was a man of good character?

Cardinal: Listen. Harry is a very wonderful human being.

Counsel: M'lud. In view of the impeccable nature of this character witness may I plead for clemency.

...and last but not least, Foul Ole Ron, reduced to beggary on the islands after being marooned by his shipmates for his rather peculiar and offensive body odour!

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

The Governor's Bodyguards

Reginald and Ronald are the Governor's bodyguards. Twins, born of Violet Annie Cray in the East End of London. The home country has proved too hot for them after overdoing their cunning scheme of enlisting in the army, taking the shilling and then deserting. They were recognised on their fifth enlistment and sentenced to hard labour in prison. Escaping, they stowed away on a ship which was bound for the West Indies. Recognising their propensity for gratuitous violence, Sir Frobisher Fotheringay-Featherstonhaugh took the twins into his employment, feeling the need for personal protection in these unsettled times.

The Brothers of Santo Marcas

On one of the outer islands of the Islas de Pasaje de Vuelta, stands an old church, the church of Santa Marcas. It is guarded by a group of rather fierce and secretive monks known as the Brothers of Santa Marcas. It is rumoured that they guard part of the Templar's missing treasure in the vaults of the church. How that treasure came to be there (if it is indeed there at all), no one knows.

L to R: Brother Chico, Brother Harpo, Brother Groucho, Brother Gummo, Brother Zeppo and Brother Sherlocko

Friday, 31 January 2020

Nobody expects.....

Animated titles. Music: Black Dyke Mills Band playing a slow dirge.
Stock shot of mill town at the turn of the century - at night.


Mix through to mill-owner's opulent sitting room at the turn of the century. Lady Mountback sits with her crochet. There is a knock on the door.

Lady Mountback Come in.

Enter Reg, cap in hand.

Reg Trouble at mill.

Lady Mountback Oh no. What sort of trouble?

Reg One on't cross beams gone owt askew on treddle.

Lady Mountback Pardon?

Reg One on't cross beams gone owt askew on treddle.

Lady Mountback I don't understand what you're saying.

Reg (slightly irritatedly and with exaggeratedly clear accent) One of the cross beams has gone out askew on the treddle.

Lady Mountback Well what on earth does that mean?

Reg I don't know. Mr Wentworth just told me to come in here and say that there was trouble at the mill, that's all - I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.

Jarring chord. The door flies open and Cardinal Ximinez of Spain enters, flanked by two junior cardinals. Cardinal Biggles has goggles pushed over his forehead. Cardinal Fang is just Cardinal Fang.

Ximinez Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our amongst our weapons.... amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again. (exit and exeunt)

Thursday, 30 January 2020

The Governor!

Finally the Governor of Islas de Pasaje de Vuelta makes an appearance. The Governor is none other than Sir Frobisher Fotheringay-Featherstonhaugh. He has just taken delivery on the quayside of his new mobile strong-box, straight off the boat from Bristol. I wonder if this might be the target of future raids by nefarious pirates? He is currently addressing the lugubrious Mr. Jaggers, "Well Jaggers, what do you think of me new cart, eh?". Mr. Jaggers is the Governor's legal advisor and as such, he makes important decisions such as how much of the Island taxes can Sir Frobisher help himself to without getting caught. Naturally, Mr. Jaggers has already helped himself to a small percentage as well, for administrative costs, you understand? Carson hovers in the background, deferentially awaiting any requests his lord and master may make.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

A Mysterious Prisoner and Others

Seen here from left to right we have Charles Carson, a mysterious prisoner, Old Scrotingsack and Madame Moulay. See below for more detail.

Carson (as he is referred to by the Governor) is the Governor's Majordomo and maintains order in Government House. No-one knows anything about the mysterious prisoner in the iron mask. He is kept in solitary confinement in the cells at Fuerte Indigestión, under constant watch of a detachment of Royal Marines under the command of a certain Captain Flack. Scrotingsack is the personal servant of Captain Teatime Snapcase and presents an ancient and wrinkled appearance. He is totally loyal to the Captain, even if somewhat put-upon. Madame Moulay is in fact a soucouyant, she looks like an old crone by day but at night she is said to shed her skin and suck the blood of her victims.

The three figures on the left were painted for the pirate game, Madame Moulay has been abducted from my stalled Witchfinder project.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Sir Charles Hawtrey

This is Sir Charles Hawtrey, close friend and confidante of the Governor of Islas de Pasaje de Vuelta. He has just returned from the Cayman Islands and had a bit of a rough passage in El Pasaje Ventoso, the straits which lead back to Islas de Pasaje de Vuelta. Something of a dandy, Sir Charles has a dubious reputation amongst the flesh-pots of George Town.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

The Town Watch

My pirate game will be set in a fictitious chain of small islands called Islas de Pasaje de Vuelta (Islands of the Back Passage). These islands will be located in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands.

The Governor of said islands has instituted a Town Watch to try and cut down on the lawlessness and violence that takes place every night in the major town. The Watchmen are very proud of their smart uniforms and have to be a very tough breed. However, they are not above taking a bribe to look the other way if the bribe is big enough!

L to R: Watchman Carrot Ironfoundersson, Apprentice Watchman Reginald Shoe, Watch Commander Samuel Vimes, Watchman Cecil Wormsborough St. John "Nobby" Nobbs and Watchman Fred Colon.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Captain Teatime Snapcase

I present my pirate captain for this year's big game, Captain Teatime Snapcase and his son, 'Bluebottle' Snapcase, The Saucy Strumpet's powder monkey. Not forgetting Errol Flynn the parrot!

I think we are going to have four six-man units for each force. These are my Sea Dogs, a very scurvy and salty crew!

Monday, 13 January 2020

Pirate Scenery

I've been working on a few bits of pirate scenery. Obviously, many barrels of rum are required. This is for a big game later in the year. More of this in future posts!

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Friday, 6 December 2019

T Class Submarine

Here we have a British T Class submarine which I can now add to my WWII coastal warfare game. The T Class subs were designed in the '30s and became the Royal Navy's standard ocean patrol submarine. They served in the North Sea and the Mediterranean and later in the far East.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Caboose Complete

Courtesy of Wiki:

Railroad historian David L. Joslyn (a retired Southern Pacific Railroad draftsman) has traced the possible root of "caboose" to the obsolete Low German word Kabhuse, a small cabin erected on a sailing ship's main deck. This was absorbed into Middle Dutch and entered the Dutch language circa 1747 as kabhuis, the compartment on a ship's main deck in which meals were prepared.

Eighteenth century French naval records also make reference to a cambose or camboose, which described both the food preparation cabin on a ship's main deck and its stove. Camboose may have entered English through American sailors who had come into contact with their French allies during the American Revolution. It was already in use in U.S. naval terminology by the 1797 construction of the USS Constitution, whose wood-burning food preparation stove is known as the camboose. In modern French, cambuse can refer both to a ship's storeroom and to the North-American railcar.

Camboose as a cook shack was in use in English at least by 1805, when it was used in a New York Chronicle article cited in the New English Dictionary describing a New England shipwreck, which reported that "[Survivor] William Duncan drifted aboard the canboose [sic]." As the first railroad cabooses were wooden shanties erected on flat cars as early as the 1830s, they would have resembled the cook shack on a ship's deck.

The earliest known printed record of "caboose" used to describe the railcar appeared in 1859 in court records in conjunction with a lawsuit filed against the New York and Harlem Railway.

So I had to look up the meaning of the word Caboose as I have now completed mine for the Hog Thief Bend Railroad Company. Once again, a 4Ground MDF kit.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

A Conclusion at Le Cateau

The decimated section of 1 Zug reaches the barricade at the crossroads. These would have been a 19 man section at the beginning of the attack and it looks like about 8 have made it to the town. They had the hardest job as they were advancing directly in the line of fire of the Vickers team. By this time however, the Vickers was only being manned by two of the team and thus the rate of fire had been halved.

It was time for the cold steel. The British had the advantage of fighting from behind cover but the Germans in most places were able to put 2 men onto 1, which made it difficult for the British to survive as they had to win two fights. I am very sad to report that it was here that Colour Sergeant Neddy Snapcase and Lance Corporal Spankhurst went to glory, refusing to give an inch of ground as a ‘Die Hard’ should.

No. 1 Section of the ‘Die Hards’ was under the command of Corporal Bunter and had spent three turns in a row not firing at the advancing German column led by Oberleutnant von Vagabund.

The other section of 1 Zug on the German left flank had arrived at Le Cateau relatively unscathed. Flashheart had been hustled to the rear at point of bayonet and Oberleutnant von Emvier can be seen here brandishing the family sword and ordering his men into the attack.

Helmut von Vagabund’s double column now split into two sections, one attacking the centre and the other heading to the Boucherie on the German right flank to see why no fire was coming from there!

My dice throwing suddenly took a turn for the better and the British were able to do very well at the hand-to-hand fighting but the odds were just too great. If a ‘Die Hard’ won a fight, then two more Germans would move into position immediately.

One by one, the valiant defenders were picked off by the advancing Magdeburg infantry.

Now the jubilant survivors of 1 Zug were into the town. Here we see the remaining five survivors, three more having gone down in the bitter bayonet fighting at the barricades.

The German soldiers now concentrate on mopping up the last remaining resistance from the Middlesex rearguard.

Just when they thought it was all over, a Belgian Minerva armoured car, commanded by 1.eme Lieutenant Charles Henkart appears from the town. Once again, a special event at the commencement of turn 5 and its location determined at random by a D6.

The Belgians open up with Hotchkiss MG but it looks to their eyes as if it is too little, too late. As the Minerva begins to engage the German soldiers, they can see that the rearguard have died to a man, buying vital time for their comrades to retire from the town and take up their positions ready for the day’s epic events to unfold.

The Minerva bursts through the barricades and turns north on the disputed road, firing the Hotchkiss as they drive.

1.eme Lieutenant Henkart decides that discretion is the better part of valour and decides to make a hasty exit from the town. A section of von Vagabund’s men is blocking the road but with great Belgian verve, Chaffeur Hergé drives straight through them, running two of them down as they leave the town of Le Cateau.

There, unfortunately for the British, the game came to an end. The British needed to defend the town until turn 7 but by turn 5, most of the rearguard were dead and the Minerva was unable to turn back the triumphant advance of the 26th Magdeburg. The scoring looked like this at the end.

All 32 of the Middlesex Regiment were killed. The 26th Magdeburg took 26 casualties. Lord Flashheart became a PoW but I’m sure he will escape shortly!

So, all in all I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Silent Invader’s scenery, rules, figures, Sopwith and Minerva really made it a visually delightful game. My friends, Doug and John made the game a pleasure to play. A fantastic weekend hosted by John and I am looking forward to seeing their game reports. I have absolutely no shame in reposting the photo of the Three Musketeers at the end of my game. Thanks, gentlemen!

The End

Wednesday, 27 November 2019


I'm building the caboose nest and I'm very impressed with the level of detail included on the inside. I took this picture now as I'm about to glue the remaining side on.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Hand Carts

I have added a couple of hand carts to the 3:10 from Hog Thief Bend. These will provide the necessary comedic aspect of the game. (Go on, Ivor, you know you want to buy some!).

I thought I would include a view along Main Street in Hog Thief Bend. When the train is complete, I have a station to build and then it may be time to set up for game. Here are the happy citizens going about their daily business unaware that the Iron Horse is about to descend on their sleepy town.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Flat Car

I have now added a flat car to the 3:10 From Hog Thief Bend.

Should be good for a bit of gunplay with some crates etc. stacked up on it.

Flashy Prangs His Kite!

There were some special events planned and the arrival of the Maxim teams in Turn 2 was featured in the last post. At the start of turn 3 there was another event planned.

At GHQ there were great concerns over the location of I Corps under the command of Sir Douglas Haig. Staff officers at GHQ were assuming that Haig would support Smith-Dorrien and his II Corps in the coming stand at Le Cateau. Instead, the only sketchy information which GHQ had received, indicated that Haig was drawing further away from II Corps instead of coming to assist.

Major Robert Brooke-Popham, commander of No. 3 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps was tasked with finding Haig’s location.

No. 3 Squadron were equipped with single-seater Sopwith Tabloids which were being used as scout planes. Major Brooke-Popham immediately sought out his most daring pilot, the Lord Flashheart and tasked him with locating the missing I Corps.

Sopwith Tabloid

The Lord Flashheart

Flashheart’s mechanic, one James McCudden had the Tabloid ready and Flashy took to the skies. His search began in the skies over Le Cateau and Flashy intended to widen his circle of search until he located the missing Corps. Unfortunately, it was not to be. A stray rifle bullet (probably fired by the 26th Magdeburg down below) ruptured the fuel line of the Tabloid which rapidly began to run out of ‘juice’.

The game required the plane to crash in the centre of a tile determined on a roll of a D6. I was fervently hoping that it would crash directly onto some German infantry. However, my dice rolling being what it was, Flashy came down fairly well and pranged his kite in the fields outside Le Cateau.

The Lord Flashheart scrambled out of the Tabloid cockpit and saw how close the approaching German column was. He readied his revolver and prepared to sell himself dearly.

The German commanders would score more victory points at game end by taking the pilot prisoner rather than killing him and this is what they did.

Lord Flashheart was surrounded by German soldiers and was forced to surrender.

Flashy was escorted to the rear to take no further part in the battle.

As this was taking place, the decimated section which had advanced up the cobbled road was reaching the British barricades. The next post will feature the vicious hand-to-hand fighting over the barricades and will show how the valiant ‘Die Hards’ fought a rearguard action worthy of their regiment’s name.

(It is true that a scout plane was sent by GHQ to look for Haig on the morning of the battle of Le Cateau. James McCudden was a mechanic and later observer in No. 3 Squadron until he trained as a pilot in 1916. He went on to achieve 57 aerial victories).

To be continued…