Brave Alpinieri raid the Mountain Fort and Railway – Bruschia Attacked!
My latest quick 30mm flat skirmish was played out on a rocky terrain of Heroscape hexes and a ‘paint and make’ your own push out wooden 3D castle set. A railway line was quickly added and train in a tin locomotive and wagons.
Solo game played using 30mm flats and simple skirmish rules (details from previous posts).
Early morning light … The Bruschian forces in the Mountain Fort are attacked by their rival neighbours the Alpinieri, crack Mountain troops.
The Alpinieri, headed by Capitano Alberto Bertorelli, aim to disrupt the train line, destroy supplies and possibly take and hold the Fort.
2d6 were thrown to work out when the Mountain Train will arrive with the fur-hatted Bruschian reinforcements to change the guard – it will arrive in turn 12.
Explosive satchel charge swung into place to blow the drawbridge down.
A Bruschian artillery shell hit the gathered Alpinieri troops around the drawbridge, knocking out three troops including Capitano Alberto Bertorelli.
More Alpinieri rush into the castle in a final attempt to capture it. There is fighting in the courtyard, as Bruschians fire down from the battlements at Alpinieri troops inside the courtyard.
They hear the morning train in the distance.
A blockade of boxes, ladders, barrels and carts has been made across the railway track by several Alpinieri. One of the Alpinieri takes aim at the train from the station halt windows.
Turn 12 – the train arrives!
D6 Dice thrown to see if the train will brake in time or be derailed. It smashes into the barricade and derails into the station building, flattening the Alpinieri rifleman inside.
Dice thrown for each of the Bruschian reinforcements inside the train carriage and caboose. Only two are killed, the other eight and their officer survive unharmed.
The last Alpinieri before his leap down the rocks to escape, only to be swiftly shot down.
The Alpinieri may have perished to a man but they achieved their mission – they damaged the railway system and the took out most of the Fort garrison.
WW1 troops 30mm Flats bought at random on EBay about 5 to 10 years ago. They were already painted but needed a little paintwork touching up in places.
This interesting rusty old female figure (below) was amongst an unexpected gift of some spare battered metal band figures from Alan (Duchy of Tradgardland) Gruber. Thanks, Alan.
It gave me an idea, after watching the Morecambe and Wise comedy film The Magnificent Two, 1967. This is set in the fictional 1960s South American ImagiNation of Parazuellia (think Mexico with a dash of Castro’s Cuba).
The female figure was marked by its maker ‘G B’ on the base, wearing what looked like 1980s British Army female uniform, possibly a band figure based on the double arm stubs.
Here are the other battered band figures along with some spare and useful heads from Alan Gruber, which were of no immediate use to his small scale infantry skirmish games. A real mixed bag …
A useful selection of heads including two useful Gurkha ones and a mixture of band figures. Many are still queueing along on the painting table.
There were several royal marine type drummers and buglers but also some headless drummers and two with pillbox hats with a feminine look.
What emerged was a female Parazuellian Womens’ Revolutionary Army pipe and drum band, sporting their battle bowler British type Mark II helmets at a jaunty angle, as in the film screenshot below:
Isobel Black (L) and Margit Saad (R) wearing their steel helmets in he Magnificent Two
As you can see, the helmet roundels are a red star on a white circle with green surrounding line.
Green, white and red are of course the colours not only of the Parazuellian Revolutionary Army in the film but also Mexico in real life. The Revolutionary red is picked up in the scarves, the green in the khaki or olive drab costumes.
Here is that rusty female figure remade as a Parazuellian general:
This could be a General Carla type figure, leading the Women’s Revolutionary Army.
Three side drummers and a piper, all with the national colours of Revolutionary red, white and green
I tried the figures without helmets but they lacked the charm of the ‘battle bowler’.
Luckily I had four spare steel helmets from an old Airfix Multipose set of Eighth Army figures.
I used two suitable spare Gurkha heads from the head pile for the two headless drummers. After filing down these pillbox hats in order to fit the helmets, I added some bushy female hair with tissue paper and PVA.
In the same way a piper’s cape was added with tissue paper and PVA, to cover the join of these slightly outsize (man’s?) bagpiper arms.
The officer figure’s arm stubs (originally for playing a musical instrument?) were removed and after drilling through, wire and masking tape arms were added.
As I used dark earth skin tones on the new BMC Plastic Army Women to match or suggest the South American ImagiNation of Parazuellia, I used the same skin tones and shiny toy soldier face style including copper cheek dots. These work better on darker skin than the usual pink cheek dots.
A final coat of gloss acrylic spray varnish toned the mixture of matt and gloss acrylic together in a suitable shiny toy soldier style.
Music was absorbed into their layers of paint and varnish throughout their creation. Accompanying the painting was some jaunty untraditional pipe and drum music on YouTube, Indian pipe and drum bands – at one point I thought these figures had the look of Indian female troops.
A more South American / Mexican pipe and drum sound can be found with the San Patricios or St Patrick’s Battalion pipe and drums (Mexico City), apparently remembering the Scottish and Irish troops who defected from the USA to fight for Mexico in the US -Mexican War of 1847.
My final entry for the FEMBruary female figure painting challenge are these fine new plastic 54mm BMC Plastic Army Women figures. They reminded me of the Revolutionary female figures in a favourite Morecambe and Wise film from childhood, The Magnificent Two (1967).
Read more from these two posts from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog:
Annie Norman at her Bad Squiddo official Facebook Group Baggy’s Cave is running an interesting poll about which historical female figures that gamers, mini painters and collectors would like to pledge towards or see produced in future by Bad Squiddo.
I thought of the Bronte Sisters (and brother Branwell) who were pioneering Role Playing Gamers in the 1830s through their juvenile fictions or ImagiNations of Glass Town, Gondal and Angria, inspired by a gift of some wooden toy soldiers.
These have been a great stimulus for my gaming to continuing or exploring these sketched out but sketchy Bronte ImagiNations
The fragments that have survived of these ImagiNations as we have mentioned before in Bronte posts are somewhat confusing but I found that Isabel Greenberg’s charming graphic novel version Glass Town straightens or smoothed many of these story and character fragments out.
I loved Isabel Greenberg’s drawings of these four Brontes in the same Regency / early Victorian costumes as their ImagiNations characters. You can see an example of such pages of Isabel’s work here on the interesting US based Solrad comics website:
Annie Norman’s Bad Squiddo figures are usually 28mm. I think that Bronte figures would be excellent figures – and even better if there was a set in ImagiNations uniforms and a shadow set as they were in real life portraits, always useful as Early Victorian Civilians.
Dual Use figures – saves costs, extends their play value and their potential market of buyers, as well as the Haworth Yorkshire tourism, the Bronte Fan and literary market worldwide.
Adding Bronte ImagiNations command or character personality figures means that with some simple dual flagging, a Napoleonic or Colonial 19th Century unit instantly becomes an ImagiNations one.
The Bronte sisters and Branwell grew up in an age of conflict in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, during a young Queen Victoria’s expanding Empire and Charlotte living up to the Crimean War. Their tragic deaths at a relatively young age meant they were all dead ten years before the American Civil War.
The same dual flagging works at 15mm with the addition of an Angrian flag bearer to my Peter Laing mixed ACW and ECW unit figures seen here seeing off Ashantee Warriors and rogue Highlanders in the ‘Tropical Yorkshire’ forest of the Brontes’ fevered Imaginations:
After a mad few minutes “Bronte Fan Bombing” the comments section of Baggy’s Cave on Facebook a little, I wondered what if Annie Norman and the Bad Squiddo Facebook folk don’t choose the Brontes as special figures?
I might have to scratch around in 20mm Airfix for Waggon Train women, both bare headed or in bonnets, and the Robin Hood / Sherwood Forest sets (Maid Marian on horseback!) to find suitable Bronte Sisters figures in uniform. I would have to do the same for my few Peter Laing 15mm civilian females.
The first group are ImagiNations armed Guild of Gelati or ice cream sellers on parade with their Neapolitan Ice cream based flag.
The second are armed traffic wardens on parade. No arguing with these over your parking fines with these fine well-armed fellows, keeping the local streets clear, safe and responsibly parked for democracy.
These are obviously based on the old fashioned British traffic wardens. I love the black uniform contrasting with the yellow stripes.
If you want them to be Italian / ImagiNations to match the Gelati, they would be called Vigili Urbani. I have no idea really what Italian traffic / parking Wardens look like other than those white gloved ones in 1980s Cornetto adverts and the 60s film The Italian Job. At least there is a spurious Italian link between parking enforcement and ice cream.
The Traffic Wardens do not yet have a standard or flag. Polite suggestions only please.
These were painted when I still used Humbrol Gloss enamel paints or Gloss Varnish over Humbrol enamels. I like this ‘Tintin’ old shiny toy soldier style painting still, although today I use Revell Aquacolor Acrylic gloss and gloss varnish. I have noticed that they need the final gloss spray Varnish as the flesh paint is matt, not gloss.
The two standing figures at ease (at the back, left) are not yet Traffic Wardens. They are inspired by 1860s British Customs Officers in Polperro based on a photograph by Lewis Harding of Polperro (taken from the book Lewis Harding Cornwall’s Pioneer Photographer by Phillip M. Correll, Polperro Heritage Press, 2000 email@example.com)
A few more random Prince August home cast figures from the same 2007 recently rediscovered box
Some of these figures were displayed to other’s bemusement at a local arts and crafts exhibition in my local village church / church hall about ten years ago as they scandalously had little or no boycraft or mancraftof any kind.
A blast from the home-cast past posted by Mark Man of TIN 14 November 2020.
Next post: back to the 54mm Spanish Armada 1588 / Aztecs and Mixtecs
The proudest part of the Thyer Brigadian uniforms is the brass cavalry style plumed dragoon helmets which are often copied by Fire Brigades worldwide. Interestingly these Volunteer Militia troops are also the Volunteer Fire Brigade in their various towns and villages (hence the variations in uniforms), making sure that their native Alpine wooden houses and mountain forests do not catch fire. A fireman’s axe is carried on fire duty and state occasions.
They display the Thyer Brigadia Volunteer Firemen’s flag of blazing red orb symbol on a yellow background, a flag proudly made by some of their wives and mothers.
Shiny Toy Soldier style faces with the pink cheek dot fit complete the look
Alan Gruber suggested that they should have some ‘wheels’ in the form of a Fire Engine. In the absence of an old fire engine (I’m sure I have the reissued 1/32 Airfix unmade kit one stowed somewhere) I made do with a 1940 Ford 1:32 scale fire truck (obviously imported from America). The uniform has obviously not changed by the 1940s.
I shall have to track down a suitable Dalmatian fire dog to accompany them on parade.
This gives me another unit / outlet for broken figures, once I have ordered some further arms and heads from Dorset in future.