Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chinese Warlords: Heavy Weapons

Progress on my Chinese warlord army continues with two heavy weapons units; a machine gun and mortar.

Both  units use the excellent Copplestone figures from their Back of Beyond range.

Of the two sets, I have to say the mortar team is my favorite, and that is all down to the third figure enjoying his noodles.  It's such a quirky figure to include, but makes for a very fun vignette.

I've predominately used my earlier blue greys for the uniforms, but also decided to include some green greys for a more rag tag look.  For these tones I used Vallejo German Fieldgrey WWII 830, Green Grey 886, and Green Grey 886/Green Grey 971 50:50 mix. The machine gun was painted Dark Sea Blue 898, then drybrushed with Gunmetal Grey 863 and Fieldblue 964. For the mortar I used Brown Violet 887, Russian Uniform WWII 924, then highlighted with Khaki Grey 880 and natural Steel 864.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

German Boma Raid

Today Victor, Steve and I met up to try a raid game using the newly finished  German boma.  I played the German garrison, while the guys fielded a force of Egyptian and coastal Arabs.  Their goal was to capture the boma's arsenal within 10 turns.

 At first everything looked quiet  at the outpost.

But soon hostile forces were spotted in the treeline and coming through the banana crop.  All the men in the boma were called to the gun loops and windows.

The Arab irregulars worked their way towards the administrative office of the boma, while the shots of the defenders were mostly ineffective.

 The Arabs began breaking out of the cover of the banana trees and started their charge towards the building, intending to break down the barricaded door. The defenders on the second floor managed to pick off a few of the raiders.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian forces swung around the side of the boma, hiding just out of range of the German defenders manning the gun loops.

The European troops moved to the lower floor of the office to defend the door, while Askari  stepped out on to the balcony to continue firing at the advancing Arabs.  The first Arab unit was almost completely gunned down by the Germans, but a second unit quickly rushed up behind them.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian artillery piece managed to blow a hole in the side of the building, giving the Arabs a new entryway.  This was the only time the Egyptians manged to pierce the walls.

A German Askari patrol appeared, hoping to outflank the Arabs.

The Arabs attempted to storm through the hole in the wall, but were slowed down my its small size.

 A second German patrol then appeared, and prepared to engage the Egyptians. This would be very fortuitous, as the Egyptians would succeed in killing almost all of the defenders manning this wall of the boma.

Hand to hand combat broke out in the administrative buildings, but it was a desperate fight to stem the flow of Arabs rushing into the building.

The German askari continued to rush forward in an attempt to help relieve their comrades in the office.

A shooting battle erupted  between the Germans and Egyptians, and despite losses on both sides, neither unit broke.

Hand to hand fighting continued to rage in the building, while troops from both sides rushed forward to join the battle.

 The Arabs continued their attack in the office, until only the German command was still alive.

Outside the boma, the surviving Germans turned their attention from the Egyptian infantry to the Egyptian command, and caused significant carnage.

Eventually the Germans succeeded in killing the Egyptian commander.

But between artillery fire and attacking Arab swordsmen, the last German askari unit was driven off.  Things were looking very bad for the few surviving Germans, but fortune was ultimately in their favor, as time had run out for the Arabs to loot the boma. 

A very fun and close game.  If it had gone just a few more rounds, it would have definitely have turned into an Egyptian/Arab victory.  The boma itself proved a very tough nut to crack.  Upon dissecting the battle, Steve and Victor felt a second artillery piece to knock additional holes in the walls might have given them enough of an edge to win.  I also now think a machine gun to defend the front of the boma might have helped in reducing the number of Arabs who made it to the office.  It would be interesting to try this again in the future and see if these options would make any difference.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chinese Warlords: Bodyguard Unit

Now that my African project is winding down, I've had some time to start working on my Chinese Warlord army for our forthcoming Back of Beyond Games. For my army, I will modelling the Muslim Hui forces of the Ma Clique, found in western China along the Tibetan frontier. We'll mostly be playing in the 1920's, but my hope is to have a force flexible enough to move into the 1930's when they became the 36th Division of the National Revolutionary Army.

For the initial units, I am starting with figures from Copplestone Castings. Their Chinese figures are of a reasonable size (unlike the the British in the range), so I am hopeful I'll later be able to expand the army with figures from Pulp Figures and Brigade Games. The sculpting is well done, and the casting quality is reasonable (there seemed to be a lot of flash build up behind the right arms of many figures).

 The first figures off the table are designed to represent a Warlord bodyguard unit, as specified in the Back of Beyond supplement for "Contemptible Little Armies" by Chris Peers. As these are elite troops for my army, I decided to give them a smart, more uniform appearance than the motley clothing I'll be using for regular troops.

The officer uniforms are painted Vallejo Field Blue, Dark Blue Grey, and Blue Grey Pale, while the troops are slightly lighter, using Dark Blue Grey, Blue Grey Pale, and Pale Greyblue. To keep them from looking too drab, I also added the red collar patches. This unit carries the white sun flag of the Kuomintang party, rather than the Islamic Crescent that could also be seen in this region of China.  Since the theater can be either rocky and barren or grass covered plains, I've decided to leave the bases mostly rock with just a few tufts of grass. Hopefully this will look good in either environment.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Neu-Moschi German Boma: Finished

After almost 7 months of work, my take on the German boma at Neu-Moshi is complete. While the scope of this piece doesn't capture what really existed at the site (from the few photos I could find, the boma was likely 3-4 times as extensive as my layout), it should work perfectly for my table size.

Here are a couple of photos of the real boma found on Flickr.

For more details on the construction, please feel free to follow the links below: