Saturday, 16 September 2017

Mozambique 1894-95 in 20mm - Portuguese forces (colonial and metropolitan)

The Lancha-Canhoneira Capelo is finished and painted. I used the colour scheme of scale model present at the Museu da Marinha (Navy Museum) in Lisbon.

I added seven crew members, all of them conversions. The legs are from Revell Union soldiers  brandishing their rifles and torso and heads are from Australian copies. Their arms were then heated and twisted until they looked like manning a gun. Some have a small shell hardly visible on the photos.

The flag is from the Internet and is wrapped to the pole with metal wire.

I chose not to place any rigging on the boat as it would break easily on handling due to the small size of the model. Like this it became sturdy and detailed enough.

Batalhão de Caçadores 2 forming square. This tactic was used by the Portuguese on all occasions, marching (the right column would be slightly forward so the top part could bend left and form a square, the same happening to the bottom of the left column who would bend right), camping and fighting. The Portuguese army in Mozambique was around 2.600 in its peak  against a total 60.000 warriors in the ranks of Gungunhana so this defensive tactic, used also in the offensive, was well needed.

Most  of the figures are Foreign Legion Esci with some British colonials mixed in.

The Portuguese uniform had a black kepi, blue coat and white trousers. In africa the kepi was covered with a white cotton cover and the white fatigue coat used instead.

Only the officers used the blue dolman even if this meant a better target for the enemy.

The Polícia de Lourenço Marques (nowadays Maputo) was the best unit of the Portuguese army in this campaign and they even managed to restaure the broken side of the Marracuene square with a daring counter-attack something unique in Colonial warfare.

Caçadores 3 da África Oriental. These (mostly) Angolans had a similar uniform to the metropolitan units but usually they weren't wearing boots and the rest of the uniform had sometimes home-made pieces, specially trousers.

Figures are mostly Esci but to give different positions I used many legs from Revell Australians who donated their heads to this cause.

Batalhão de Caçadores 3.  In 1895 the broad-brimmed hat starts to arrive with the new Metropolitan troops and becomes a symbol of this campaign.

Again figures are Foreign Legion Esci with Australian heads from Revell. Also some assorted legs were used to increase variety.

Regimento de Infantaria 2. Again a mix of all plastics described above. This line of men, with the first rank kneeling, was the most suitable to form square under attack.

Esquadrão de Lanceiros 1 of Captain Mouzinho de Albuquerque. The hats could have one of the side of the brim up, specially officers hats, but pictures of this campaign show them  looking like Confederates ones at the end of the Civil War...

As I told you on the previous post these models have pieces from many origins and legs made of GreenStuff. Mouzinho de Albuquerque itself  is next to the cornet in its blue dolman.

B.E.M artillery pieces. WWII buffs will recognize the artillerymen as Germans from the PSC PAK38 A/T gun set. This set can easily spare many figures as each of the four PAK38 has six figures when for wargamers only three are generally used.

The tows for the B.E.M's. Airfix horses with Esci figures heavily converted.

The Nordenfeld MG's with its tow consisting of just one mule.

Again some of the crew are PSC with new headgear.

Next: wether back to Liberators in 10mm or to my last Gettysburg Union division made from the new StreletsR figures.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Portuguese campaign in Mozambique 1894-95 in 20mm - WIP

Years ago, after finishing my Anglo-Zulu War figures, I started another campaign were I could use once again the Zulu army without many changes. It was from the idea of reusing the Zulus that I started the actions around the uprising of the Landins and Vatuas (Shangane, for the British) of Mozambique against the Portuguese rule during the years of 1894-95. These African tribes were affiliated with the Zulus and most of its weapons and garments were similar so my 20mm Zulu army could be used once more this time a few years later and a bit to the northeast of Africa. The major battles like Marracuene, Magul and Coolela were big affairs not smaller than most of the engagements of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879.
The Portuguese army, both the colonial and the metropolitan, had to be made from conversions asnothing exists in 20mm.  First I made all infantry necessary using French Legionaires from Esci and heads from Confederates and Australians and many others to portray the Portuguese uniform in Mozambique. In my help came three excellent articles on this campaign by Jorge de Freitas in Miniatures Wargames No 144, 145 and 146. On those days of 1995 wargame magazines were packed with more information and had less pictures so the total 12 pages of the series gave a good insight of the military actions, organization, equipment and uniforms.  Then with a few extra books, namely the Portuguese Tribuna book 'Moçambique 1895, a campanha de todos os Heróis' by A.J. Telo, photos from my visits to the Army museum in Lisbon and nowadays precious internet, I got the rest of the information.
After finishing the infantry my patience finished too and I moved to something else. With the return to the period I'm making boats, artillery and cavalry so I can have a fair representation of any of the Portuguese Columns of that campaign based for Battles For Empire 2. 
The boat you can see is the Lancha-Canhoneira  (Cannon-boat) Capelo. Most of these boats were bought in England and then mounted in their destination. This one became famous by transporting Cpt. Mouzinho de Albuquerque on its daring raid that captured the leader of the Vatuas, Gungunhana.
The boat has a simple stucture of blue board carefully cut and sanded to shape. the rest is mostly Evergreen plastic card, some metal parts like nails, barbecue sticks and wood.
The boat was equipped with two 47mm guns and two Nordenfelt MG's (with 5 tubes of 11mm). All are made of plastic card and tubing.
The propeller at the stern is a bunch of four Poker files glued and cut together.
 Total lenght of the boat is 30 cm including the base slightly smaller than the original.
The Portuguese made B.E.M (Bronze, Estriado, Montanha) of 7cm was the main gun of the Portuguese for this campaign. The gun was entirely made in scratch. The blue part came from Esci/Italeri French Napoleonic guns, wheels from Revell and the rest is Evergreen or other bits of different styrene.
 A picture of the real thing for more detail.
To pull the B.E.M's a file of two horses were used. Here you can recognize the Airfix horses from the WWII German Mountain set with a few additions.  
 The Nordenfelt MG's (three tubes 11mm each) were used by the army (five tubes for the navy). Once again different plastics were used in its making.
The tow for the Nordenfelt's was a sole mule. This one is taken from the Esci WWII Alpini set. The driver is the wargaming useless figure from the Esci British colonial set that wavers its helmet probably at the end of Rorke's Drift action. I replaced the waving arm with one from GreenStuff, a new head from the Esci French Legionaire set and the rifle was also repositioned. 

The Esquadrão de Cavalaria 1 of the famous Cpt. Mouzinho de Albuquerque.

The horses are from several plastics, torsos from colonial British officers and Scots Grey with Australiam heads freom Chinese copies. For the first time I made the legs in GreenStuff so they can seat perfectly on the horse.

 Lances are from plastic brooms and rifles were placed on the troopers backs.
Next: Infantry and the above miniatures already painted.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Anglo-Zulu War 1879 in 20mm - The British army at Isandlwana

When you field in a 1/20  ratio the British at Isandlwana you understand why they didn't have much of a chance against the Zulu army. Using the 1/20 ratio the British have around 90 figures against close to 1000. But then the old question of how could a force of 170 men against 4.000 being victorious at Rorke's Drift and another force of 1.800, with some artillery,  against 15.000 (a better ratio for the defenders) could not win Isandlwana. Of course the answer is somewhere around the poor defensive plans of Column No 3 under Chelmsford's supervision and the orders he gave to Pullaine to follow him which apparently originated an organised but relaxed defence based on a dispersed camp ignoring the need for a Laager. The contempt regarding Zulu military qualities that Chelmsford showed, based on his experience fighting the much weaker Matabeles, would cost the British dearly.
The Natal Native Horse (NNH) under Durnford's didn't belong to Pullaine's column but ended up in Isandlwana being one of the few units who managed to retrieve many of its soldiers and even save several soldiers of the British army.
The figures are Union Esci soldiers with Confederates hats and shortened rifles. As I only used one pose I painted the coats in different shades of brown for the sake of diversity.
The Natal Carabineers stand for the several units of Natal volunteers present at Isandlwana. I chose them because of their striking blue uniforms.
The figures are ESCI British Colonial just painted differently with added rifles.
The Native Natal Contingent (NNC) were British auxiliaries drafted from the Basuto and Mponso  armed much like their Zulu foes with a few rifles distributed among them.
With one rifle for each ten they naturally wavered under the Zulu onslaught and that is why I chose some figures from the North American Indians set of Revell with a nervous attitude. They suffered plenty of alterations including plastic card shields. The NCO's are again Esci ACW figures with a few changes. Only 2/3 in each base have a rifle.
The six companies of the 24th Regiment of Foot. All are Esci figures with no conversions.
The Quartermasters are hurriedly distributing ammunition or defending themselves.  Also Esci figures some from the French Foreign Legion set (left) and others from the normal Esci British Colonial set. I glued a bit of sawdust on the top of the ammo boxes to simulate bullets and aplied brass paint on them.
The 7 pdr mountain gun. The gun is a Esci model from the British artillery set with a new barrel and a few cuts here and there. The figures are various plastics  with colonial helmets. The limber is built in Evergreen plastic card. The horses come from several origins and in some the extra towing harness was made in two component paste.
The civilian carts are some old chinese copies of I don't know what  and they came along some indian and cowboys sets. The animals are some wild game in metal from Skytrex. The drivers are the Esci Quartermasters with new heads and repositioned legs.
The flag of the 24th was encased more or less like this one and may not have been unfurled as many paintings of the battle show.
This Boer figure symbolises the several individuals or small units that acompanied the British army in this campaign. It was made from the relatively useless hard plastic figure that comes along the Hasegawa M-3 Honey light tank with an Australian head from Airfix and rifle.
Next: no promises has I have a new model at home with six days that will keep me busy for the next few years. Of course all will depend on the colours aplied on the diaper.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Anglo-Zulu War 1879 in 20mm - The Zulu army at Isandlwana.

After finding the Anglo-Zulu Wargaming group on FB I decided to rebase my Zulu army according to  Battles for Empire 2 rules which allows the big basing I prefer. Here you can see six different Zulu regiments from ESCI but only one is complete. There are at the moment close to 300 figures out of 1000 that are needed for Isandlwana. I have another 300 ESCI figures in stock and the remaining 400 will have to be HAT. Good news as they look to be the best Zulu 20mm around.
The figures are all ESCI but many were transformed in order to loose the exagerated decoration in the head they bring from origin. Cethswayo ordered his warriors not to use that decoration which was mostly cerimonial.
 Unmarried regiments sport their dark shields occasionally spotted with white.
Each regiment for Battles of Empire  2 rules has four units, each of 24 figures. Three of these four have two bases each of 12 figures with each base being 80mm by 60mm. One unit which is rifle armed, though only 12 figures out of the 24 have rifles, is on four bases each with 6 figs and 80mm by 30mm. So when they are together they are the same size as a normal Zulu unit (Paul Barnett text).
In some of the half bases for rifles I placed a shielded warrior as a commander. 
 One of the married regiments are conversions from the ESCI figure that is kneeling to fire. İts rifle was taken out and replaced by a hand weapon and shield. The kneeling figure is the closest I could find to the warriors placed in reserve at the back center of the battle line that in order not to hastily charge the enemy were ordered to remain seated and with its back to the opponent.
The 'shaven' heads of most of these warriors.
 Many of the figures in the ESCI box don't have enough shields and I made many in plastic card.
Casualty markers made from poker disks (4X4cm).
 The famous Horn, Chest and Loins formation designed to envelop the enemy.
A full regiment for Battles of Empire 2 rules.  
Next: the British army at Isandlwana.