Saturday, 30 November 2013

Water Cart

In order to transport water from one of the wells or the stream to the troops I needed another water cart with a barrel.
My first one was an old model by Erich Erich which I had bought decades ago for my army of flats. It was a nice water cart with a tapped barrel. However there was no draft animal nor a drover. So I bought these from Front Rank Miniatures, a nice looking ox and a drover in a smock.

The drover is a bit chubby, and he carried a whip. I didn't mind the physical appearance so much. There are chubby people, aren't there. And the whip I could easily be exchanged for a prick. At that time (in 2009) I was about to build my French expeditionary force. So the cart was painted blue, which limits its usability though. But I left it as it was (for historical reasons of my collection, so to speak).
With my new water cart I avoided this mistake: It is colored in a neutral wood tone. And I scratch-built it, using a fat barrel I had picked up at a fair (don't ask me from whom). As wheels I used a pair from a somewhat over-sized model of a 3-pounder galloper gun by an Austrian producer. They might go for those over-sized wheels  on agricultural vehicles which were customary in the 18th century. (These big wheels made transport easier on muddy roads, because of their large diameter and broad tires.)
The drover is a Minden miniature who was equipped with a prick by drilling a hole into his right hand and fitting in a bit of wire sharpened at the end.
The oxen are a pair from Mirliton Miniatures from Italy, the yoke originally belonged to a pair of draft oxen from Colonel Bill's Wargames Depot. The original animals are quite nice, too. But I needed walking animals because the drover is walking.
 The oxen I painted as New England cattle, hoping that this race was in existence in 1779.
Now the incident card "hot weather" may be drawn.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Need for Wells

Our war-gaming group (5 members between 24 and 80)  had begun to revise our set of home-made rules. Actually it is a constant process of revising, trying to adopt the rules to new historical information one of us has come across.
Having read about the effects of hot weather on the troops at the Battle of Monmouth, we decided that this ought to be taken into account.
Our rules contain the element of "incident cards", i. e. cards that are drawn every round which describe unforeseeable events in war, for example a change of weather. Drawing the card "Hot weather" (c. 110° F or 40° C!) would have several consequences:
  • The movement of troops would be hampered; 
  • a certain percentage of the unit would suffer from heat strokes;
  • horses and oxen would have to be watered at the nearest stream, pond, or lake;
  • soldiers would have to fetch water at a stream or a well at a neighboring farm or house if they were to move at all. 
So far so good for our attempt to get as close to reality as possible in a game.
However, we did not have enough wells to put this into practice. We could have said that there was an invisible well at every house. But we like to have scenery and not just imagination. otherwise we could play with cardboard bits on a bare table.
Scrap building wells causes some difficulties in my eyes.  It would be manageable with a log built well near a cabin.
My scrap-built log well
But how to achieve the form of a stone well? I had no pipes in my cellar of the right diameter. So I looked for wells to be bought.
Up to now I have discovered two wells at Thomarillion. They are fantasy products, but serve my purposes well enough. I added ropes and buckets (made from a surplus ballpoint pen), and the smaller one got a superstructure with a pulley.
Village well (no. 40339) by Thomarillion
Well (no. 41294) by Thomarillion
with scrap built superstructure of my own

So that's a beginning anyhow.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Red Bull Tavern

I thought a massive stone building on the table might be something like a fortress for the party who took possession of it first. (A nice scenario, isn't it?)
McConkey's Ferry Inn, where Washington stayed before crossing the Delaware

For an isolated building only a country tavern came into account. I studied several historical buildings and then constructed one, following my own ideas. A slight remembrance of McConkey's Ferry Inn is not to be denied.
Red Bull Tavern, a product of my imagination
My house is built of quarried stone walls, has got an upper story and a verandah. The roof and the upper floor are made detachable. I even cherished the luxury of interior walls and a staircase. I even didn't forget the door to the wine cellar!
The ground floor
The upper floor
As material I used plywood, cardboard, and all kinds of scrap wood from my collection. For the wall structure I used a model railway maker's mold  for a quarry stone wall, which I filled with a mixture of waste paper, white glue and a filler. And finally I used two sheets of slate roof to cover my building. The windows I bought from a producer of architect's material.
Front view
Rear view

The tavern sign

The tents are ready

I have devised a ridge tent for my figures. In the Internet I found the site of a firm that produces tents for re-enactors. So it wasn't necessary to do all the research myself. I just had to use their measures, do a bit of arithmetic (feet and inches to cm, and reality size to model size, 1:56).
Adopted drawing from the tent-maker's website (measures in cm)

The rest was drawing and remembering my geometry lessons. And printing my work onto thin cardboard, of course (4 tents per page).
My finished tent layout of a French or American Ridge tent with half-bell
Then I started building my first tent.
First I cut it out, folded it, and glued it together. Like this:
The cardboard tent
Then I prepared the base of thick cardboard. I cut it to size (about 5x9 cm), drilled the holes for the tent poles and the pegs (when I did my first tent I forgot to drill four holes on the long sides of the tent, I corrected this later). I cut two poles from tooth pricks (3.7cm), and glued them into their holes. Then I painted the tent floor in ocre (later it would be difficult to reach all the edges).
The base with the tent poles
The next step was adding the cardboard tent, and gluing the pegs (tips of tooth pricks) into their holes. The peg for the tent line was glued in later, in order to be able to straighten the line which might come loose by the cardboard base bending in the process of painting it. At the moment it is just stuck into its hole to hold the line in place.
The assembled tent
Then I painted the base an olive green and put grass around my tent. I also added some paint to the edges and "seams". And finally I straightened the line and glued in the last peg.
The finished tent (sideview)

Front side

Rear with the half-bell
The ridge of my tent model is a bit straight, I must confess. But it does not look too bad, I think.
One of the flaps I threw open, put some straw inside, and added the closing tassels to the flap.

Waiting for my Perry camp figures to be painted.

At the moment they look somewhat "ghostlike" or like virtual figures.