Being a mostly visual diary of the creation of high quality, historically accurate 25mm/28mm scale terrain
for a refight of the battle waged by the British and Afghans on July 27th, 1880,
in time for its recent 130th anniversary on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010.
Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.
The Infidel Army is about to attempt to fight their way from their camp to the Bala Hissar fortress, currently occupied by a regiment of their Indian lackeys. As they will be abandoning their camp, they will be forced to bring their baggage, womenfolk, and camp-followers with them, draping a blessed burden around the necks of our enemies.
Destroy all the cursed Infidels en route to the walls of our city, and if their lackeys venture forth from the safety of the ancient fortress, destroy them as well, and the resulting PURE VICTORY will gain you endless honor and glory, praise from the Faithful, and blessings from Allah, the Compassionate and Merciful!
Destroy half of them while preventing the remainder from reaching the fortress, and the resulting MODEST VICTORY will allow your praise to be sung.
Achieve less than that and the resulting DEFEAT will leave your followers looking for new chiefs... and your wives for new husbands.
ANGLO-INDIAN PLAYERS BRIEFING:
Food stocks in the Cantonments have reached a critically low level, but an abundance of supplies sits in the storehouses of the Bala Hissar, which remains garrisoned by a stalwart unit of the Regiment of Guides. Their orders will allow them to sally out to aid you in reaching the safety of the ancient fortress only after the first of your troops have reached Kabul, which will require you to enter through one or both of the gates in the South wall of the city.
It is of the utmost importance to reach the Bala Hissar with your supply train of ammunition and valuable personal belongings (of the officer class) intact, and without suffering casualties of more than 50% amongst your large number of civilian camp-followers along the way. Do so and if your army survives the coming Winter behind the walls of the fortress, the resulting PURE VICTORY will earn a Knighthood!
Reach the safety of Bala Hissar fortress with at least half of your fighting troops still standing, and despite whatever losses you may suffer, the resulting MODEST VICTORY will earn you a promotion.
Fail to do that, and the resulting DEFEAT will leave you blackballed by your fellow officers, laughed at by your men, and scorned by the Empire in general.
GENERAL GAME BRIEFING:
We'll use the 20th Anniversary The Sword And The Flame rules straight from the book.
I will add BLACK & RED JOKERS to the deck. If the RED JOKER or EITHER RED JACK is flipped, the British player will have to move or "Fire" (wastefully, without any effect) one of their FOUR UNITS OF CAMP FOLLOWERS (12,000 of whom were with the Anglo-Indian army, which added a great deal of chaos to the British withdrawal.)
If the BLACK JOKER is flipped, the Afghan Player will get to move the Camp Followers as they see fit.
So 3 problematic cards for red, and 1 potentially disastrous one.
Streamlining the historical OB for game purposes, the British will command the following TSATF basic units:
1 British Inf. (20 figs) 3 Indian Inf. (60 figs)
(+5 added Infantry command) 2 Indian Cav. (24 +1 added command = 25 figs) 1 British Horse Artillery Gun (4 figs) 2 Indian Mountain Guns (8 figs)
British Grand Total: 122 figures
Plus a large number of CIVILIAN CAMP FOLLOWERS.
Occupying various strongpoints between the British starting position and objective, as well as the ramparts of the walled city, will be close to twice their number of Afghans, in the following units:
Slammed with work but just enough time to post a few pics of the completed Kohistan Gate for Kabul. Nothing fancy but I think it blends in pretty well with the pre-existing set of generic fortress walls, certainly a much better fit than the Medieval European version I was using as a placeholder...
FEB. 4TH, 2016 - ADDING SOME PICS of the handful of terrain pieces I was happy to complete just in time for the first play-test of "Bala Hissar or Bust" scenario...
Last night I got back home from a very long & productive day's work and -- to relax, really -- spent the late night on something I'd been thinking about for the past few days, since finishing up my scratchbuilt Kabul Bridge... namely, scratchbuilding a replacement for the Medieval European gateway I'd been using as a similar "place holder" to the European Bridge I'd recently replaced in my "Bala Hissar of Bust!" terrain layout.
I used similar materials -- Blue, and cheaper white, styrofoam -- pieced together with hot-glue, and some cut out pieces of 1/16th" or so thick self-adhesive vinyl floor-tile, and built the gateway to fit the space I had available in the city wall, namely 4" wide by 3" deep.
As with my recent bridge build, I think this turned out pretty good and as the walls and towers flanking it were NOT build by Chris The Model Maker, it should have no trouble blending in pretty well. I still need to cover it with wood filler to add strength and texture, and then paint it to match the existing set of walls. In fact, part of me wants to paint over those existing walls in some paler mudstone and sandstone shades to better match the rest of my other Afghan buildings and the hill fort serving as the Bala Hissar, but I just don't have time right now. One reason for that is I may have finally, "hit the wall," with my terrain paint. These are the half-gallons and gallons I bought back in the Spring/Summer of 2010 when I was building my original "Maiwand Day" terrain boards, and which I have been using -- with only slight replenishments -- ever since. It's time to go back to the paint well, so to speak, and get some more custom-mixed supplies at Home Depot or Lowes.
Meanwhile, here's a few pics of what I've got so far...
NEXT UP: more pics when I finish plastering and then
painting the Kohistan Gate, hopefully before too long...
Been very busy with work and family since New Year's, but managed to complete one hobby project over the past 10 days or so.
My last blog post featured my "scratch" terrain layout for my What If? "Bala Hissar or Bust!" scenario.
One of several shortcomings of the set-up was that one of the two large bridges over the Kabul River was painted to serve in Europe or North America, not Afghanistan. Since bridges are rather prominent structures on a battlefield, this bothered me.
I didn't want to repaint it, so I set myself the task of building a replacement bridge from scratch.
The material I had on hand for this task was some "short-end" pieces of high-quality blue insulation foam, left over from building my river terrain boards last year. When the bridge's structure was complete, I strengthened the underside of its two arches and the base of the center column with Elmer's Wood Filler.
Then I used commercial Model RR "Flexible Wall" pieces from Chooch Enterprises, and some small pieces cut from a Plastruct sheet of bricks, to add stone texture to the bridge, all of which I hot-glued to the foam.
When that was done I covered the remaining visible foam surfaces with Durham's Water Putty, which has the advantage of drying very fast, and allowed me to keep working without having to wait for a long drying process first.
When that was all done I base-coated the bridge in dark brown and went to work dry-brushing it with multiple layers of several shades of mudstone and sandstone.
I'm pretty happy with how the bridge turned out. It's no masterpiece but I think it manages to fit on the same table as the similar size but far more masterfully designed and constructed bridge which Chris Riordan (aka: Chris The Model Maker) built for me, without looking too out of place, at least to me.
Next I need to replace a Medieval European gateway with another scratch-built section of wall including an arched entrance to the city of Kabul. On the bright side, I think that will be a bit easier than building this bridge was.
Here's a bunch of WIP pics, and a few pics of the bridge set down in its spot in the layout...