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.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

NEWS FROM THE FRONT LINE (Dominion War, wargames, trains, news and maps)


No sooner had the United States army arrived in the vicinity of Montreal than it became increasingly clear it was, for all practical purposes, impossible to besiege. Too many outlets were available for supplies to continue to reach the garrison. Worse still, reports were arriving (D4) that the Empire garrison in Quebec might be on the move, using the extensive 1885 rail network. This left only two options. ONE. To establish a permanent American headquarters at Longueuil. TWO. To launch a full scale assault on the city of Montreal. The advantage to the second option being, they could always revert to option ONE, and there was plenty of time to secure Longueuil for the winter. Having sent American brigades to key locations, counter-orders were now dispatched calling in most of these lesser positions. Empire commanders in Montreal looked on in some disarray, thinking (D1) all this had been carefully and correctly enacted by the Americans. This led to the Empire forces keeping some of their troops in unnecessary locations, fearful of an attack from some unexpected quarter.

A Royal Navy fleet recently docked at Quebec. Onboard were several high-ranking staff officers from London. It was also noted, a merchant vessel arrived with the fleet. You might say, peculiarly protected by the fleet? It rapidly unloaded a quantity of large wooden crates. Admiral Watson and General Kitchener can be seen here in conversation, one was overheard to remark "the Empire strikes Back".
(The plasticard merchant ship, newly completed.)

The recent raid on Sudbury (see wargame report), in which two buildings were burnt, has caused an interesting development. The local garrison had an influx of new recruits. Local miners are demanding to be trained and issued arms and accoutrements. Fifteen (D5 x firing sections) have enlisted as volunteer-militia, and another nine (D3) have formed a local defence association. 

Isolated communities throughout this region are forming 'Rocky Mountain Rangers'. These are independent troops of light horse, willing to augment the Northwest Mounted Police in countering border raids. Supplied with Empire weapons, ammunition and accoutrements, they appear to be quite determined characters, and fervently loyal to the unity of the Empire.  
(Not fictional, actually existed, the RMR were recruited in 1885 by Major John Stewart. Served for one year, each member got $80 and 320 acres of land as a reward.)

In January, Empire forces had occupied Seattle, but their stay was very brief. The capture of this city was strategically a big mistake. It just stimulated the entire American west coast into action. Shortly after its capture, eight military units arrived by train in Portland, Oregon, sent by California. When Empire Command in Victoria, B.C., was informed of their arrival, all Empire troops were ordered to hastily retire to British Columbia, vacating several posts on the Columbia estuary and also Seattle. Later, six United States military units re-entered Seattle, and, as feared, another five crossed over the border and encamped to the south of Vancouver. The latter arrival, however, was considered more embarrassing for the Empire than threatening, as the Vancouver garrison also mustered five units, was well fortified, and could rely on naval support. But what a change in fortune!

The Swiss ambassador recently requested an audience with the British Prime Minister. He apparently indicated that he was aware that the United States Government was not hostile to finding an acceptable conclusion to the unfortunate misunderstandings that have occurred between the United States and the British Empire. The PM apparently replied that he too was aggrieved that it had occurred, but the chief wrong had been committed against an integral part of the British Empire, that the loss in life and property of Her Majesty's subjects had been of a peculiarly disagreeable nature to Her Majesty, that all redress lies in the actions of others. The PM also mentioned that the present conflict between the United States and with France and Spain must also be of concern to the American President, in addition to our own misunderstandings. They parted.

The raw materials of the United States are enormous, and it is now being directed towards New York and the Chesapeake Bay area, where the shipbuilding industry is alive and well. 

The recent disastrous defeat suffered by the main French army in Louisiana has forced them to reconsider their options in this war. By gathering up the survivors, and reducing their posts, they have been able to form a new army to hold New Orleans, but they need some 'good news', and a new strategy.

The Spanish in Florida are also concerned. The Americans are gathering again on the Georgia-Florida border, and look as if they intend to have another go on taking St.Augustine. The Spanish and French commanders are known to be in communication, discussing future cooperation.


MY ARMOURED TRAIN, painted and ready
The first 'working' steam engine to serve on rails was constructed by the Cornishman Richard Trevithick in 1804. It pulled five loaded wagons and seventy ironworkers.  The first public railway was the creation of Englishman George Stephenson in 1825, it also utilised a track gauge still used by all trains, worldwide. Here is my armoured train, painted and ready for service, and working with complete reliability!


  1. Your merchant ship is beautiful Michael, the paint scheme is just right! Interesting information about the "Rangers," quite a handsome reward for their services! And last, but not least by any means, your armoured train is magnificent! And the fact that it runs reliably will really add a wonderful element to your future games! Very well done indeed!

    1. Thank you Brad. For my part, its nice to see some projects come together, and now able to contribute towards the colour and pageantry of 'toyshop wargaming'. The ship's colours are taken from a c.1900 toy, it had to be reproduced!

  2. Replies
    1. Cheers MJT, I was so lucky when Paul sent them my way, and to then discover that the plastic was totally compatible with the polystyrene glue, used with plasticard! Some plastics are really tricky to work with, particularly the flexible stuff, often used with food packaging. I'm thinking of something WW2, so as to use the train in a table game.

    2. I think your train would work well for the first half of the 20th Century

    3. Yes, I agree, MJT. its very similar to those used in the Russian Civil War. With my collections, I think it will be mainly 1930s scenarios, for example, the 2nd Sino-Japanese War. I guess there is no reason for it not taking part in the Dominion Campaign either 1880-1910 period.

  3. (Sorry previous comment was just plain garbled - deleted while I strive for some accuracy !)

    Just amazing work Michael - loved the info about the RMR's today as well. Can't wait to see how that amazing armoured train might appear in your games (you've been teasing us with the tracks for days, after all). I've almost finished the scenery (mainly sandbags and barbed wire entanglements) To go with a blockhouse and searchlight emplacement for a Boer War attack/defend the railway junction skirmish game that I plan to put on as a participation game at a couple of local game shows - Have t admit that I was flagging with it and your industry has just totally inspired me :) Bravo and splice the mianbrace !

    1. Hi Paul, thats exciting news to hear about your Boer War-Railway junction game. I do hope you forward some photos for my wargaming files. And keep us posted, in good time, on where and when, if possible. Concerning the armoured train, I'm thinking it will probably be used by my Japanese and Soviet armies, the civilian train will have a much greater range of scenarios., although I quite like the idea of some kind of ACW gun wagon in front. I have already compiled an interesting scenario involving my Dutch WW2, and the civilian train plays a very important part in that game. Yes, the Rocky Mountain Rangers (Canadian cowboys) is an interesting unit, and part of their duties was to stop 'rough' types crossing the border and causing depredation.