Gold in them there forested hills of Gondal?

Northwest Gondal, 1870s

Rumours have reached the Redcoats at Fort MacGuffin that a gang of illegal loggers and miners are back in the hills to the NW edge of the Northern Forests. From time to time, rumours of past gold finds and limitless timber have lured landless settlers and gangs to try their luck.

Usually a Hunting Party of Forest Indians deal with any threats to their Hunting Grounds and Sacred Forests.

Redcoat patrols in the forest are warned to watch out for trouble. What will happen?

Turn 1

A small gang of armed miners is glimpsed at the entrance to the old mine, pulling down the boards that close it off.

D6 thrown to see at which turn or when next two parties of miners (Turn 4 and 9) and the next two Forest Indian Hunting Parties of five each arrive at Turn 6 and 7.

The Redcoat patrol of nine will emerge on the board and road to the south of the mine at Turn 11. Two d6 were thrown to determine how many redcoats are on patrol.

A Forest Indian Hunting Party emerges from the Northwest following a scrub turkeyfowl. They spot the Miners and some felled trees. This must be stopped! Where there are a few Miners, more follow.

The Forest Indians decide to scare the Miners off with some up close rifle fire.

Do the Miners post a lookout? D6 yes 1,2,3 – no 4,5,6.

Do the Miners see the Indians moving in the forest before the Indians fire? D6 Yes 1,2 No 3,4,5,6 – at this point Turn 1 and 2 the Indians are not seen approaching.

By Turn 3, the Miners do notice the Indians approaching. They are all out of range.

The first Hunting Party of Forest Indians uses cover to get closer to the miners.

By Turn Four and Five, firing has begun.

By Turn Six, the Melee between the Miner with the Pike and the Indian Braves sees the Miner and one Brave killed.

Photo: Turn Four, To the North a second Party of miners appears, weapons drawn.

Turn 8 – One of the first Hunting Party is in melee with the Miners’ Lookout, who is killed.
A higher bird’s eye view of the second Forest Indian Hunting Party advancing using cover of trees

Turn 9 – the final small group of miners appear on the track, south of the mine. Several Forest Indians and Miners are in melee.

Turn 10 – more Close Range firing does not lead to a mass of casualties due to some poor dice throws when firing and lucky Casualty Savings Throws.

Turn 11 A patrol of Redcoats appears on the path, south of the mine.

.

At this stage with three groups on the table, I chose what would happen next from six options for a d6 dice throw.

1 – Miners fire on Redcoats

2 – Miners try to ally with Redcoats against Forest Indians

3 – Redcoats ally with Indians against Miners

4 – Redcoats fire in Forest Indians

5 – Forest Indians retreat away into the trees

6 – Indians fire on Redcoats

The outcome this time is Number Four, that the Forest Indians retreat whilst firing and being fired upon by the Miners.

.

Turn 12 – time to leave?

The Indians departing and Redcoats arriving, the Miners throw a d6 to see if they stay to fight (1-3) and be caught or retreat (4-6). They wisely throw a retreat dice number, leaving their equipment behind.

Turn 12 As the Redcoat patrol advances, Miners hurriedly exit north and the Forest Indians disappear into the trees.

The Valhalla Queue – seven miners and a Hunting Party of five Forest Indians.

The fortunate Turkey watches the Redcoats load up and wheel away the Miners’ cart. It lives to gobble another day!

Before they departed, the Redcoats hastily used the gunpowder and explosives they found at the site to blow up the entrance to this troublesome mine good and proper, once and for all. If they can’t carry back all the Miners’ supplies on the cart, they will be buried for later or blown up in the mine entrance. No sense leaving it all for more Miners or the Forest Indians to find.

BOOM!

The fleeing Miners and Forest Indian Hunting Parties far away hear the sound and saw the plume of dust, smoke and rock spouting high above the trees as the Old Mine was sealed shut under a rockfall tumbling onto the Forest Path.

In their colonial policing role, the Redcoat Patrol gather up any dropped weapons and loaded them onto the Miners’ handcart. Removing any identification papers or personal effects that they find, the Redcoats quickly bury the Miners in one area.

That done, they bury the fallen Indians in shallow graves and cairns in another area, to keep them safe from wild beasts, knowing that the Forest Indians would return by nightfall to retrieve their fallen warriors and bury them according to the Forest Indian tradition.

By nightfall, even with the Miners’ Cart, the Redcoat Patrol should be back towards the safety of Fort MacGuffin by dusk.

Photo: The surviving two Hunting Parties of Forest Indians lurk to see what they can scavenge, including this small mystery barrel. Firewater? Explosives? Food?

Who knows what will happen next in the forests of North Gondal?

Conclusion:

An enjoyable short solo skirmish game in cluttered terrain, handling three different groups of characters for once. Hope you enjoyed it too!

I am enjoying the rough continuity of tensions between skirmish episodes amongst the various character groups and their background motivations.

The 54mm figures and terrain used are the following:

  • The Forest Indians are my repaired and repainted mostly Britain’s Hollowcast metal Indians
  • The Redcoats are my paint conversions of Pound Store Plastic copies of WW2 German Infantry
  • The Miners are Replicants plastics ‘Confederate Raiders’ sets, sourced through Steve Weston Toy Soldiers or on his eBay site
  • Trees are Bold Frontiers Australia tree packs.
  • The large dead tree and rocky mine entrance (a plastic pond edge or rockery) from Britain’s farm and garden sets in my childhood collection.
  • Charbens metal cart, repaired
  • Terrain is old fashioned felt pieces over big book hills with ‘logs’ and ‘rocks’ from the garden.

Rules are Close Little Wars scaled down adaptations of a Donald Featherstone ‘Close Wars’ appendix to his War Games (1962), book reprint or ebook copy available from John Curry’s History of Wargaming website.

Movement distances are again generally halved from the Close Wars appendix to reflect the smaller playing space available.

By chance, the Amazon.co.uk page for this book currently features in the sample pages / ‘see inside’ section a view of these Close Wars rules appendix – good choice, as you can see proof that it is a (reprint) book worth buying and reading!

Blog posted by Mark ManofTIN, 11 June 2020.

A Romantic Forest Walk Interrupted Part Two

North Gondal 1870s – A trip to the forest to gather herbs accidentally interrupted by a Forest Indian Hunting Party.

Young Captain Snortt and Miss MacGuffin square up to four startled Forest Indians.

First card of the Duelling draw …

Captain Snortt and RedJacket the Forest Indian knock each other out first blow …

That just leaves the plucky Major’s Daughter Kate MacGuffin with only a concealed pistol and a hiking staff (unless she can get to the Captain’s sword) and her dog Patch pursued by three hostile Forest Indians intent on taking her hostage.

Give up now, men, you don’t stand a chance!

Scenario:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/25/a-romantic-walk-in-the-forest-interrupted/

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, Tuesday 26 May 2020

Close Little Wars Forest Game completed

Captain Snortt and The Major’s Daughter Miss Kate MacGuffin behind the broken wagon

The set up

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/17/close-little-wars-wheel-meet-again-forest-ambush/

Redcoats of the Yestershire Regiment versus the aggrieved Forest Indians – Forests of North Gondal, North Pacific Coasts, 1870s.

A supply wagon to the Forest Fort has broken down. The Redcoat escort also protecting a civilian passenger, the Major’s Daughter Kate MacGuffin …

Forest Indian sentry keeps watch on the Redcoats

The game is now played – I am writing up the Skirmish / Battle Report this weekend.

Who won? Who lost? Who survived?

What happened to Captain Snortt and the Major’s Daughter?

Pistol Packing Major’s Daughter

Did the Rescue Party from the Fort arrive in time?

Watch this blog space!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 23 May 2020

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 21: Angria Rebooted

It has been interesting chatting by email to other gamers like John Patriquin or Alan the Tradgardmastre about Imagi-Nations campaigns as I delve deeper into the involved worlds of the Bronte family’s young fictional countries and characters.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

What to keep and what to invent or extrapolate?
In some ways I am finding working inside or through the Bronte fictions are hard work because there is so much detail to them but also much is missing or that only made sense inside their four different imaginations / heads.

I want to steal their fictional geography and fill in the gaps as best I could. Here is my sketch map of a Bronte island country of Gondal, based on Yorkshire:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/bronte-imagi-nations-maps/

There are lots of scenario ideas here.

However I think another solution that I will explore further is to jump forward a decade or generation or two, past all the mess of complicated political and personal relationships of the Bronte characters to the Mid and Late Victorians. The Bronte tales are written in the decade before Queen Victoria was on the throne and into the early years of her reign, roughly 1830s / 1840s.

What would the Bronte countries have made of the expanding British, French and Other European Powers throughout the Victorian era?

Jump  forward to the Palmerston forts scares of Napoleon 3rd and the French in the 1850s, along with European Colonial expansion throughout the mid to later nineteenth century.

The Oxford Companion to the Brontes has entries on some of the conflicts before they were born (the Napoleonic Wars) and during their 1830s -1850s lifetime such as the Ashanti Wars, the Crimea and First and Second Afghan War, First Opium War, Russo Turkish War 1828 and Greek war of Independence 1821 – 1828. They would have read about these in the newspapers and journals that their father allowed them to read from a young age.

There were many Wars in the few years after their deaths which give the pattern for what was happening in their late Regency /  early Victorian world. The Second Opium War, the Indian Mutiny, American Civil War, Franco-Austrian War are all mentioned in the Oxford Companion to the Bronte chronology and timeline.

There are many other historical events to take into account of the ‘real’ world that formed the backdrop to the Bronte  Imagi-Nations or Paracosms of GlassTown, Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine.

There are other world events such as the Irish famine and emigration, the Bronte’s father being Irish,  the California Goldrush, along with more Britain based situations 1840s Chartist movement and riots (following on from the 1830s Luddite riots) whilst the late 1840s saw revolution in many European countries. Charlotte  Bronte’s novel Shirley covers this industrial revolution and Luddite period.

Victorian era constable faces down a rabble of Airfix Waggon Train  folks (Battle of Saxby plans)  

The Battles of Saxby

Even the railway boom led to conflict with landowners and aristocrats who did not wish to have the populace on the move and intrusion on their land such as the Battle of Saxby Bridge around Stapleford Park. I’m sure that some of the  Glasstown and Angrian aristocracy would have some of the same concerns.

https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2019/11/24/the-battles-of-saxby-or-lord-harboroughs-curve-1844-to-1846/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/24/the-railway-raid-in-the-spectator-23-november-1844/

https://www.le.ac.uk/lahs/downloads/WarnersmvolumeLXI-7.pdf

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stapleford_Park

Twentieth Century Bronte ImagiNations?

What of the Angria, Gondal and GlassTown involvement with the First and Second World Wars? Who did they side with?

I’m pretty sure that, being set in fictional Central West Africa and the fictional tropical Pacific islands Gondal (North Pacific) and Gaaldine (South Pacific), they would continue to be at risk of being Invaded by or invading “real” countries into the 20th Century such as Britain, German East Africa and Japan. Had the Brontes been alive they would have reflected these real events transformed into their imaginary worlds.

There is also the throwing off the Colonial leash and independence from Empire in the 1950s and 1960s.

I wonder how the Angrian Defence Forces dealt with WW1 colonial campaigns in Africa? Problems with the WW2 Vichy French rulers of Frenchysland off the coast of Angria?

I wonder how the rival provinces and rulers in Gondal or Gaaldine dealt with the Spanish / American colonial conflicts in the 1890s or the Japanese Pacific campaign after 1941?

I can see it now, the Bronte fictional countries but armed with early light tanks, bicycles, biplanes and Machine guns skirmishing in the tropical grassland jungles moors and rivers (fused / mixed with their familiar Yorkshire moors).

Vintage Airfix – Angrian Defence Force late 19th / early 20th Century

Being Imagi-nations, there are no restrictive uniform charts, and there is little or no guidance from the text to such things. This gives lots of freedom to experiment or invent with colour schemes but this is frustrating also. No comfort zone of uniform books or Osprey titles, but lots of period inspiration from them!

I’m trying to loosen my paint schemes on existing 15mm and 54mm figures and ones on the painting tray to make them flexible for real or fictional campaigns. Rebrand them with officers and flags and then campaign away, much as James is doing on the Quantrill’s Toy Soldiers blog.

Some of the Bronte books such as Branwell Bronte’s books edited by Victor Neufeldt are £30+ academic reprints each – in a trilogy – ouch! I have one. The others out of stock / print.  Maybe another time.

So I am “making do” with the digest of these stories in the extensive footnotes in cheaper paperback reprints secondhand, including Charlotte Brontes Tales of Angria edited by Heather Glen (Oxford) and the Oxford Companion by Christine Alexander, a useful A to Z of the Brontes lives and works. Helping me puzzle out and fill in my fictional Maps more …

I think if the Brontes had been born a generation or two later, the Bronte sisters and brother would have been part of the H.G.Wells science fiction generation, contemporary with H.G. Wells, Floor Games, Little Wars, matchstick firing guns, Gardens and lead soldiers.

100 plus years later, would the Brontes have been writing fantasy / dungeon / Victorian Science Fiction / Steampunk games and scenarios?

All inspired by Branwell’s original box of toy soldiers …

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Interesting comic graphic novel and gaming site which revisits the Brontes ImagiNations https://butwhythopodcast.com/2018/12/05/review-die-issue-1/

https://www.comicsmnt.com/?p=1784

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 21 December 2019.

Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 13 – the Art of the Brontes

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A new arrival from the local library …

Advent Day 13 – post number 300 or 301 – finishing a draft Bronte Gamer Blogpost at  last.

The Art of The Brontes is a thick Thames and Hudson by Christine Alexander and Jane Sellars, an expensive illustrated book which I thankfully managed to borrow  through  my local lending library.

It covers every known sketch, painting and doodle by each of the four Bronte children from their youngest childhood drawings to their adult drawings and paintings.

I won’t infringe copyright of paintings or drawings from private or museum collections by featuring them here.

Steel engraving lowered the cost of prints making them more affordable for the likes of the young Bronte sisters. IMG_2368

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Tropical Yorkshire in the Pacific?

I thought this might give me a clue to the possible backgrounds, terrain and landscapes for their fictional works of Gondal, Angria and Glasstown, upon which I have based some of my Imagi-Nations game scenarios recently.

Many of their fictional countries in the North and South Pacific or tropical West Africa are a bizarre blend of Yorkshire moors, the fashionable gothic or romantic art of their day with an element of the exotic gleaned from prints and journal illustrations of foreign countries.

I couldn’t quite get this blend of British or Yorkshire Tropical right in my head until I visited some of the sheltered and temperate gardens of Southwest England. Here you can see Victorian houses set in parkland with exotic planting brought back from many foreign countries giving that jungle or Himalayan valley and mountain pass impression.   No doubt there must have been such bizarre juxtapositions in Yorkshire big houses that the Bronte family might have known about or visited, being on the edge of gentry as a vicar’s family. These would be big early Victorian houses with their greenhouses, botanic gardens, plant introductions  and sheltered walled gardens.

I know this makes this Yorkshire Bronte Tropical fusion  sound almost as authentic as filming Carry on Up The Khyber Pass in Britain, with North Wales  standing in for the foothills of  The Himalayas.

Some of the sketches of landscape appear to be copies of prints, illustrations and drawing exercises as they learnt how to draw in the  style of their day.

Bronte Gaming Scenarios 

Some of the PECO Landscapes seem very suited to Bronte country and fictional terrain – the mountain scenes or  the seaside with ruined castle, for example.

http://www.peco-uk.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=3309&CAT_ID=3331&numRecordPosition=1

Branwell Bronte, owner of the original twelve soldiers that gave rise to many of the children’s  fictional countries and campaigns, wrote and illustrated some interesting early “Battle” books as well with ancient or Napoleonic ‘toy’ soldier drawings.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/charlotte-bronte-as-gamer-1/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/the-brontes-games-scenarios/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/pretty-in-gingham-the-brontes-bloodhound-regiment-of-angria-1839/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/ashantees-or-zulus-reborn/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/bronte-imagi-nations-maps/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/a-skirmish-in-angria-close-little-wars-rules/

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, Advent Calendar Day 12, 12th December 2018

TSAF New Flying Banshee Biplane

++++++ TSAF Toy Soldier Air Force official Air Ministry photograph, Gondal. ++++++

++++++ Passed By Censor for Publication. ++++++

New Flying Banshee FLB Mark I has undertaken successful air trials in the skies over Gondal.

This new Dive Bomber Biplane variant of our previous Biplane is undergoing Air Trials at one of the TSAF field air stations.

+++ TSAF monoplane and new Banshee biplane Dive Bomber variant +++

TSAF Air Ministry Spokesman: “Our new Flying Banshee aircraft Mark I is designed to terrify ground forces or shipping from the air and smash the enemies of Gondal through aerial bombardment.”

TSAF Test Pilot and Squadron Leader “Lucky” Haworth: “Its rugged construction is designed to withstand the rigours of dive bombing targets on land or sea. It has recently completed some successful bombing trails from an undisclosed island air station. It can also operate from small island airstrips or forest clearings.”

This stocky Banshee Biplane variant is a development of our previous dive Bomber monoplane, pictured alongside it.

“The Flying Banshee FLB Mark I is a bit of a powerful beast to fly and has quickly became known to trainee or inexperienced pilots as the FLaB (or Flies like a Brick).”

Details of its armament, experimental wing whistles and performance are not yet being made public.

+++ TSAF Air Ministry communication ENDS +++    +++++++

 

Back to the Man of TIN blog

My regular blog readers might recognise the Moshi airplanes adapted for use with 54mm Toy soldier figures. If H.G. Wells had incorporated the Aerial Menace into his 1913 Little Wars rules, they might have looked a little like these biplanes or monoplanes.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/tsaf-new-aircraft-delivery

Upper wings were added from  three layers of stiff card, curved edged card scrounged from our household recycling, originally trainer sock packaging.

Stout struts were added using balsa wood, much in the model of the Curtiss Hellcat Dive Bomber variant. This machine will be in use in garden game scenarios so needs the ruggedness. Not elegant but sturdy!

img_3977img_3978img_3979img_3980

Two drawing pins hold the dip or angle on the main  top wing  / struts. This part was a bit of a pig!

Masking tape gives a doped canvas feel to the wing and also adds the  fake top flaps. Plenty of super glue used throughout.

img_3985img_3987img_3988

Colour scheme

Currently Test Flight or Interbellum Silver.

Status: Not yet on Active Service. So far we have not applied Gondalese or Gondalian Air Force markings or decals at this test flight stage.

Gondal is one of the North Pacific island Imagi-Nations invented by  the young Emily and Ann Bronte that we have fast forwarded  a Century into the future from its Bronte Juvenilia origins  (set in Napoleonic, late Georgian and Regency  / early Victorian  British Empire  period) through to the interbellum  1920s and 1930s.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gondal_(fictional_country)

Ground Crew

Amongst the growing ground crew you can see some recent conversions or repaints  to become ground crew including LAC Leading Aircraftswoman “Penny” Farthing, a former Britain’s Land Girl or farm worker.

Old childhood plastic Starlux Engineers in Khaki ground crew overalls work on the Banshee biplane. Oiling up the plane, wearing  the stylish new TSAF Gondal Air Ministry issue Blue helmet,  is a Crescent Mine detector figure repaired and rebooted from a broken lead figure donated by Alan at the Duchy of Tradgardland.

Airfield Defence: Britain’s gun, pound store soldier sandbags and mix of old and converted Britain’s and homecast Air Force and  Navy figures,  Gondal being a proud island nation. Barbed wire is from spiral bound notebook wire after recycling a used small notebook.

Slowly building up suitable airfield accessories in  54 mm.

The planes now need a suitable adjustable altitude flight stand for garden gaming use.

The Banshee aircraft name was stimulated by the unlikely names of the Fantasy Name Generator aircraft names

https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/airplane-names.php

Blogposyed by Mark Man of TIN, 12 August  2018.

 

Bronte Imagi-nations Maps

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Branwell Bronte’s Map of Glass Town (British Library / Museum)

I am still slowly piecing together the complex history of four sibling’s imaginary lands and islands.

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Glass Town Federation with Angria added by Christine Alexander – really a map of West Africa. Map from

Christine Alexander the Bronte scholar has imaginatively sketched in where the kingdom of Angria should be, seen here in close up:IMG_3226

IMG_2346
Informative Key to Christine Alexander’s enhanced map of Angria and Glass Town from her Oxford University Press edition of the The Brontes: Tales of Glass Town, Angria and Gondal (OUP 2010)

There is no map by the Bronte family for the  Gondal sagas, set partly  on Gondal, a fictional island in the North Pacific which seems to be based largely on Yorkshire. So I drew a rough outline one.more detail will be required for when I set some skirmish gaming scenarios there.

IMG_1498
My Map of Gondal. Rough sketch from my notebook of a map of the Four Kingdoms of Gondal, using a Yorkshire map and the colonial habit of adding ‘New’ to familiar place names back home.

So that is where the map is roughly based on the four North, East,  South and West Ridings of Yorkshire.

The Bronte sagas are rather lush and overblown, a bit Gothic and tediously muddled in parts. After all it is their Juvenilia. Some of their adult novels have survived better (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre etc) with their Byronic brooding charcters, mad wives from slave islands in the attic, gothic houses, etc. All quite difficult to take seriously though. At least Jane Austen took the mickey in Northanger Abbey out of the fashion for Gothic novels and the products of a fevered girlish or literary imagination.

I have changed my view of Jane Austen and the Brontes since reading more about the historic events and Georgian / Regency social background in Jenny Uglow’s In These Times that I mentioned in a recent blogpost https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/in-these-times/

I like the fact that it was a box of wooden soldiers that kick started the Bronte sagas.

Often seen as early science fiction or RPG material, a paracosm or alternate world, if the Bronte family had been born at the end of 19th Century and played with tin or lead soldiers then I’m sure it would have been more Floor Games and Little Wars … like another famous science fiction author, H.G. Wells.

IMG_1505
Arise Angria! The Rising Sun banner of Angria.

There is a charm in the Mad Geography of inventing tropical pacific or African coastlines and islands but making them all moodily, ruggedly, mistily like the wild Yorkshire landscape that the girls knew.

In the next week or so I hope to post a potted history of each of the Bronte’s Imagi-nations. 

I find the Bronte juvenile sagas and poems hard going because they were never published in their lifetimes,  never edited and probably never meant to be read outside the family. Lots of events and character detail is implied, not stated or written down. The tiny books were split up and sold off by dealers. Usually scholars look at them for clues to the origin of their published novels and characters.

For the Gondal and  Gaaldine sagas, the prose stories by Emily and Anne seem to have vanished and only really Emily’s poems to and from different characters remain. I think the longest surviving sister Charlotte may have destroyed the most Gothic / romantic sections with multiple partners, affairs and children out of wedlock parts of them.

Gondal is set on a North Pacific island of four kingdoms. The other island Created by Emily and Anne Bronte is Gaaldine. Gaaldine is a South Pacific island or islands of six kingdoms, settled and interfered with by the ruling families, royalists and revolutionaries of Gondal, and presumably the original natives. I have not yet drawn the Gaaldine map.

For the GlassTown and Angria saga more prose remains, based loosely on a map of West Africa but with European offshore islands and Regency / Naplenoic era heroes.  I have been skim reading some of the prose surviving sections for geographical clues to places to enrich the map, jumble of characters etc.

Troubled brother Branwell Bronte had more violent revolutionary and military storylines, often ones that had to be altered or revised by his sister Charlotte when he killed off characters whilst the sisters were away at work or school. Emily and Anne got fed up and invented Gondal and Gaaldine as their own kingdoms.

I like the Prisoner of Zenda type Ruritanian or even Fredonian aspects of the sagas.

Confused?

If it all gets too complex I will fast forward the nations through to the mid to late Nineteenth century when the established characters have largely died off or been deposed.

Lots of Royalists and revolutionaries abound, as befits the Bronte family growing up in the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars and new European nations forming and being fractured by revolutionary times throughout their lifetime. These  were the times the Bronte family were born into and wrote through and into the late 1840s.

Previous Bronte inspired Gaming blog posts  https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/ashantees-or-zulus-reborn/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/the-brontes-games-scenarios/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/brontes-waterloo-soldiers/

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, March 2017.

Ashantees or Zulus Reborn

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A pile of Zulus and natives ready for the painting table …

Recently I have been experimenting with using Revell Gloss Acrylic paints as they are not as smelly as the Matt Humbrol or Airfix enamels that I used in the past.

Just one whiff of enamel paint brings back happy memories of childhood and teenage years busily painting in a tiny fume filled room.

A spot of gloss painting is a change from several post Christmas weeks of  “F and B”, Flocking and Basing (or rebasing)  vintage Airfix and Peter Laing figures.

I am finding  it difficult to get a dark brown gloss Revell acrylic for painting savage natives defending their tribal lands against imperialist  aggressors.

Whilst I have been doing this, several interesting batches of Zulus have popped up in wargames blogs.

Ross Macfarlane on his Battle Game of the Month blogpost has been busy these last few days battling with some impressive Zulus. http://gameofmonth.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/the-published-portable-wargame-pt-3b.html

The Michigan Toy Soldier Company blog has also featured some impressive looking plastic 54mm Zulus from Expedition Force:

http://michtoy-from-the-front.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/tom-starks-plastic-passions.html

My fierce but motley playbashed bunch of Britain’s natives have been slowly collected together over several months  from job-lot, damaged,  scrap or for repair lead hollowcast figures bought mostly through EBay. Such damaged figures  have little value to collectors. So it doesn’t really matter if I repaint or repurpose them.

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Original paint play bashed or palely repainted, ready for the brown gloss paint.

I bought some Humbrol Gloss  Brown Number  10 and used this only very briefly on a couple of figures before I got fed up of the fumes  … not very family friendly!  Next time I will paint with these enamel paints outdoors or with doors and all the windows open.

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The end gloss results look promising already, even before gloss varnish, and suitably toy soldier like.

Shield designs aside, a suitable weapon such as a spear needs to be added to the hand. I have tried filing and adding a wire spear but on first attempt it did not stick.

These chunky Zulu figures are second grade Britain’s figures that were sold in A Series sets or singly. The fragile  knobkerry on each of these figures is usually found broken, the original is shown in Andrew Rose’s excellent The Collector’s Guide to Toy Soldiers (Salamander 1985/97).

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Zulus with arms – Detail from Page 89 of Andrew Rose’s The Collector’s Guide to Toy Soldiers (Salamander, 1997)

Andrew Rose’s book also shows various arm versions of the Britain’s classic running Zulus of Africa Set 147, 1906 to 1959 and another version of the set into the final Britain’s lead year of 1966.

Handy to see these more slender Zulu figures as shortly  before Christmas I bought a Britain’s Zulus “jigsaw  puzzle” in the form of a  job-lot of bashed legs, bodies and bases. This should keep me busy fixing throughout the year. Recast Britain’s type arms with spears or even rifles can be sourced from firms like Dorset Model Soldiers.

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A Britain’s Zulu “jigsaw puzzle” ready for repair and repaint.

Interestingly these loincloths on these jigsaw Zulus seem to have been painted by their owners in stripes and spots for a more tribal animal skin look.

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Spotty or striped loincloths added by owners? on these Britain’s Zulus.

Britain’s used to indicate ‘native’ or ‘non-uniform’ troops by using at random three basic colours of yellow, red and blue for clothing  –  “The loincloths were painted in three different colour schemes,  as Britain’s always did for native troops or irregulars who might not be expected to wear uniform.” (Page 107, Britain’s Toy Soldiers 1893 -1932 by James Opie, published by Victor Gollancz, London, 1985)

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Rough repair and rebasing using polymer clay (Fimo / Sculpey) of a Britain’s running Zulu and (left)  Crescent Zulu A162, a former Reka product.

Not sure whether to preserve (if  I can) the strange ‘Black and White Minstrel’ style extraordinary face painting on some of these Britain’s Zulus.

Not sure yet what to do with the shield designs as I don’t really intend these  to be Zulus, rather more Generican Natives or Ashantee tribes.

Ashantees?

In the Bronte juvenilia of Glasstown and Angria, these tribes are the savage Ashantees.

The Bronte family juvenilia stories feature various tribal forces such as generic ‘Arabs’ or also Ashantee warriors, for their map of their Glasstown Confederacy and Angria ‘Imagi-Nations’ was based on West Africa, the natives based on early 19th Century journals and prints (pictured in the blogpost shown below)

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/the-brontes-games-scenarios/

The Ashantees are led against Angria by the fictional Quashia Quamina Kashna, son of the equally exotically named King Sai Too Too Quamina.

Quashia was adopted as a baby by the Bronte’s fictional Duke Of Wellington and a rivalry grows up between Quashia and his stepbrother Zamorna, Wellesley’s eldest son who becomes King Of Angria.

Quashia and several Western characters successively invade Angria including Branwell Bronte’s fictional alter ego  ‘Northangerland’, Ardrah (who opposes the creation of Angria by Zamorna) and MacTerrorglen.

Confused? So am I, still slowly figuring out the complex and intricate Game of Thrones style cast of characters and events created  over many years by the young Bronte sisters and their brother Branwell. If it proves too difficult to create scenarios, I may keep the places but fast forward the Bronte  “Imagi-Nations” a few decades clear of the Bronte’s main fictional characters that populate their  Gondal, Angria and Glasstown sagas.

Stranger than fiction?

This fictional story of Quashia is not that dissimilar to true stories of how native princes were assimilated, educated or westernised such as Alamayu, the son of Theodore, King of Abyssinia (buried in 1879 at Windsor Castle Chapel and commemorated on a plaque by Queen Victoria). Alamayu  was captured in the Magdala Campaign of 1867-68.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Alemayehu   This  Wikipedia entry links to original Victorian photographs.

The Magdala campaign in what is now modern day Ethiopia is described in fascinating detail in Ian Hernon’s Britain’s Forgotten Wars: Colonial Campaigns of the Nineteenth Century  (Sutton, 2003), republished as  a compilation of a trilogy of Hernon’s books. You may have also read this as the first part of the trilogy previously published by Ian Hernon as ‘Massacre and Retribution’ (Sutton, 1998).

So the Bronte juvenile stories, albeit fictional, are not much stranger than some real life Nineteenth Century events.

The  Bronte family Gondal stories (devised by Emily and Anne) are based on North and South Pacific islands (mixed with a bit of Yorkshire for good measure!) so the islands of Gondal (North Pacific) and Gaaldine (South Pacific) no doubt have their own tribes.

 

Illustrations from the Ashanti Empire Wikipedia entry show left an Ashanti warrior and right one with a simple musket and powder horn.

Plenty of scope for many interesting scenarios. That’s why I’m keeping the figures “Generic” rather than “Zulu”.

Still lots of lovely repair and repainting work to do … I will post photos of the finished results.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, February 2017