SPECIAL THANKS. I would like to thank Paul Watson for his sponsorship of several lead figure collections on this blog. Having decided to clear his spare/surplus figures, he generously forwarded them on with no other requirement than they deserved to be restored. I would also like to mention George S. Mills, who kindly furnished a quantity of plastic figures which allowed me to complete another five or six military units, serving in several collections.

Wednesday 30 June 2021


On a flying visit to Castle Zenda, Crown Prince Rudolph has decided to visit his half brother, Prince Michael. While there, no doubt, he will wish to sample the local grape produce. Also in attendance was Count Rupert of Hautzau. All uniforms are based on the 1952 movie Prisoner of Zenda. 

Here is Crown Prince Rudolph (Stewart Granger).

Here is Crown Prince Rudolph being assisted to walk.

Here is Prince Michael, Count of Strelsau (Robert Douglas). In my humble opinion the rightful and best suited ruler of Ruritania. Was he not always the most loved son of the late king (confirmed in the book). Do you ever see Prince Michael carrying out his duties in a state of intoxication? Ask the ordinary people, who would they prefer to be their king!

And here is the ever-so-brave Rupert, Count of Hentzau (James Mason). 

In keeping with the good order and zeal which Prince Michael injects into all his works, here is his own regiment of Stelsau Cavalry.

Also on active service, still dressed in mourning for the late monarch, two members of the Black Guard Cuirassiers (from the 1922 movie). These guards have taken a vow of silence (lol)!

With the coronation approaching, it is hoped that the transfer of the Crown will be peaceful, and orderly, God Save the King!
(All character figures are a real hotchpotch, made from bits in my spares box, and milliput.)

Sunday 27 June 2021


Sorry to trouble others but I'm at a real loss as to what these plastic toy soldiers are. Just purchased them as I thought they could be useful for conversions,  but I might decide to keep them as nondescript 1800-1900 top-up cavalry. For all I know they could be new Chinese-made, or pre-1990 toys. Would welcome opinions, even if its only a guess.


Wednesday 23 June 2021


Clearing more from my spares box has enabled me to raise another twenty or so French and Spanish soldiers.

In several games it had become clear armoured cars still need infantry support. Have now formed a firing unit of three Paris Army Firemen that will be attached to the French armoured car, and will be allowed to claim hard cover. I do think their 1911 headdress must have inspired the Adrian helmet adopted by the French Army in WW1.

My Spanish collection has gained three more Regulares cavalry. I usually require four figures but as this unit will always serve as skirmishers it will do fine, I will also allow them to fire from the saddle, and move.

Yet another cavalry unit for the Spanish, used milliput to construct the high kepi worn by some of their mounted cazadores

Nothing major but it is nice to see this French Marines battalion now mustering twelve figures.

Paul Watson kindly sent these castings. Their design was quite distinct so had to be kept in their own formation. Replacing the broken rifles and adding some tropical helmets, they now represent Spanish Cazadores.


Tuesday 15 June 2021


Some time ago I picked up a collection of old plastic guardsmen for a few quid. I was able to form a small unit of Spanish infantry by replacing heads and adding superior pewter arms. But six others had the potential of serving in other capacities by using miliput to construct double-breasted tunics. I'm rather pleased with how they have come out.

Three figures are now representing Spanish Marine Artillery. They actually served in the previous war-game but with a new box of miliput arriving I've been able to add detail and varnish them.

Two more figures portray Spanish cadet officers. They can be attached to my army commanders, or serve as signalmen, as shown in the old illustration.

The finale figure joins my Spanish Army artillerymen, serving as their new commander.


These were fun projects although I confess putting them in the bin at one stage due to their poor condition, oxidisation of arms, etc. They are quite strong now with the pewter extras, superglue, and a good varnish. MGB

Saturday 12 June 2021

Battle of New Orleans PART THREE (Dominion Campaign)

The second day continued with the Spanish colonial cavalry charging the routing American troops, inflicting three casualties. NOTE, one adjustment from yesterday, I failed to notice a dismounted staff officer with the American brigade, this would not impact any previous moves but would permit an attempt to rally one of the routing units. A score of five secured the U.S. Marines, it was a fluke that they panicked in the first place having suffered no casualties. But move eight continued to inflict heavy casualties on the Americans, ten for the loss of only two on the allies. A counter charge by American cavalry neutralised the troublesome Spanish cavalry in move 10, but the American regiment was effectively broken too, and it was retired. The American field army now formed a new defensive line, where their light guns could have greater value.

The assault on New Orleans was resolute and bloody. As expected, losses on the attackers were heavy, typically two to one in subsequent moves. A Spanish colonial cavalry regiment made a gallant charge only to receive a perfect volley which scattered them with heavy losses, luckily this panic did not spread. American morale began to rise. They might just break the Allies on the city redoubts. 

By move thirteen the situation required some kind of conclusion. Losses had been very heavy on both sides. The two redoubts were still in American hands, but their far left had been taken. The American field army on the right was now reduced to one depleted battalion of marines and another comprising armed civilians. They had lost their light guns and were about to be crushed. For the Allies, they had seen four strong battalions destroyed before the redoubts. Only one battalion having secured part of the fortifications. In truth. It could take another four or five moves to confirm an Allied victory, and it would be pyrrhic. 

I asked a member of my family, Chris, to determine the results, he too felt it was a draw, with a possible Allied victory if played to the last man standing. I decided to play a few more moves. When the Spanish cadet cavalry also gained entry to the fortifications, terms of surrender seemed appropriate.



Franco-Spanish Commanders                        3

Armored Car                         3 (-3)

French Regt.                         12 (-10)

French Regt.                          12 (-6)

French Regt.                           8 (-4) Broke

French Marines                     12 (-4)

French Marines                     12 (-8) Broke

French Foreign Legion        12 (-1)

French Foreign Legion         3 (-1)

FFL Artillery                            6 (-1)

French M/Gun                         2 (-1)

French M/Gun                         2 

Spanish Siege Gun                  7 (-1)

Spanish Cadet Horse              4 (-1)

Spanish Cazadores Horse      4

Spanish Cazadores Foot          12 (-10)

Spanish Regt.                               12 (-10)

Spanish Regt.                                6 (-1)

Regulares Horse                          4 (-3) Broke

Regulares Horse                           4 (-3) Broke

Spanish Marines                          12 (-6) Broke

Spanish Marines Artillery          3 (-1)

United States Commanders                                   3

US Siege Gun                                6 (-1)

US Heavy Guns                             6 (-2)

US Light Guns                                8 (-4) Broke

NG Light Gun                                  4 (-2)

NG Gatling Gun                               3

US Infantry                                      12 (-11) Surrendered

US Infantry                                       12 (-6) Broke

US Infantry                                        12 (-7) Broke

US Marines                                        12 (-6)

NG Regt.                                              12 (-7)

NG Regt.                                               10 (-5) Broke

NG Company                                        6 (-4) Broke

NG Company                                        6 (-3) Broke

Armed Civilians                                   10

US Cavalry                                              4 (-3) Broke

NG Hussars                                             4 (-2) Broke

NG Hussars                                              4 (-2) Broke


Friday 11 June 2021

Battle for New Orleans PART TWO (Dominion Campaign)

Predictably, the siege guns opened up first, seeking to silence each other. and they both took casualties, despite the American gun having the hard cover advantage. As soon as the French armoured car came into range the American light guns opened fire, three hits but no casualties, the vehicle returned fire and took down a gunner. (NOTES, its wise to sometimes direct your fire so that if you over shoot it still inflicts a casualty. Hard cover casualties have a 50% saving throw. The armoured car has a crew of three.)

Move four and five saw small arms fire, the artillery having some problems with viable targets. The French inflicted slightly higher casualties but the American gatling gun penetrated the armoured car, taking out the third crewman. 

Move six involved three battalions charging, followed by melees. The first to break was American but the French success was short lived as their battalion was now charged in the flank and also broke. However, move seven was dominated by morale, it was a disaster for the Americans. Two D1 dice throws caused an additional two neighbouring units to break and run. Generals now moved at double time to try and rally their most salvageable units. Unfortunately for the Americans, a regiment of Spanish colonial cavalry was in the perfect position to disrupt American plans.

Will conclude this post here, as I prepare for dinner. Part three on Saturday.


Battle of New Orleans PART ONE (Dominion wargame)

Over the last six months I've been raising two small armies, one French and the other Spanish Empire. The collection is a mixture of metal and plastic toy soldiers, and the portrayals cover troop types operating between the period 1880 to 1930. Keen to incorporate these in my on-going Dominion Campaign, a dice was thrown to judge their participation. A score of ONE would see these nations declaring an alliance with the United States, and a declaration of war against the British Empire, with potential attacks on Gibraltar, the Channel Islands, and British West Indies. A score of SIX would see an alliance with the British Empire. I can confirm the dice score was a FIVE, a demand being sent to the American Congress for Louisiana to be transferred to France, and Florida transferred to Spain. But no formal alliance with the British Empire. With negotiations having failed to find an agreement, a Franco-Spanish army (everything I could muster) was landed near the city of New Orleans. For the American side, dice were thrown to determine the forces mustered for the defence of New Orleans. OK, unhappy with the number of regular troops, only seven formations (perhaps they've all gone to Canada?), I allowed additional dice for the contribution of local volunteers, this gave a further eight formations. The defenders rightly include a fair number of artillery units.

Here are some photos of the initial set-up, Franco-Spanish side.

And here is the United States defending forces.

Footnotes. Appropriately, the French and Spanish battalions have been increased to twelve figures by drafting smaller units, that sounds authentic to me! For morale purposes, I see no obligation to reduce the morale rating for American National Guard troops, the Americans were at their height of patriotism in this period, and fighting on their home ground too, thats my view.


With the arrival of some new-cast figures and lots of spares from REPLICA TOY SOLDIERS, I've been able to complete a number of war-game units.

Have just increased one French battalion to twelve figures, a mixture of original Britains and some reproductions, about half kindly furnished by Paul Watson. Another battalion, marching with shouldered rifles, is just waiting for some cast heads to complete, but four will be serving in the above game.

Some TRAIL ARMS have allowed six more Spanish Cazadores to take to the field, completing their battalion.

Here's another French regiment marching, in tunics, may well increase these to twelve.