Monday, 27 July 2020

A Few Days Away

As regular readers will know, I have been on a short trip to visit my niece and her family at the other end of the North Island. Hopefully the following images will be of some interest although none of them have any link to wargaming or toy soldiers!

Firstly an overview of the trip undertaken - and it did take approximately seven hours, door to door

Lake Taupo was created by a massive volcanic eruption millions of years ago and is around halfway between Auckland and Masterton. We stopped in the small tourist town of Taupo for brunch around 1130

After Taupo the next place of note is the Desert Road, which runs through the Tongariro National Park and is home to two active volcanoes, Tongariro and Ngarahoe


The land on either side of the road is also home to the New Zealand army's training area although, despite what the sign promises, I have travelled it many times and have yet to see a single explosion!

At the southern end of the road is the small town of Waiouru, which is to the New Zealand Army what Aldershot or Salisbury Plain is to the Brits. Hence it is the location of the QE II National Army Museum.

Above and below are views of the Tararua ranges which can be seen from our nieces back garden

Next few shots are the historic town of Greytown, where the council decreed twenty plus years ago that no buildings in the main street were to be modernised, and any old buildings in a state of disrepair had to be regenerated.

The result is that they have created a very picturesque reminder of what small town New Zealand looked like 50-100 years ago
Nice bit of lunch time refreshment!

Which was consumed at this attractive old hotel

By pure luck the local museum had a free open day so we had a quick look around

Another view of the Tararua's

And finally a field of farmed red deer, showing a few stags resting in the winter sun.

Nice way to spend a few days away from the hectic pace of life in Auckland - didn't miss the traffic or the work emails one bit! My next post will have something related to toy soldiers in in … honest!

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Great Wargaming Trip of 2019 - Part Two

Fresh from replying to comments on one of my most popular (based on comment numbers) posts of 2020, tonight I present the second and final instalment of the pictures I took almost exactly 12 months ago on our "boys and their toys (literally!)" trip to Lake Tarawera.

My wife and I are off on a road trip of our own tomorrow, driving approximately 8 hours south to stay a few days with our niece and her family in Masterton, a town about 100km north of our capital city, Wellington, so I wont be replying to comments for a few days, but please leave them in any case, I will acknowledge them all next week!

Game 3 Friday Maori Wars designed by Barry

This game was based on a famous incident in New Zealand history when Hone (John) Heke, a Far North Maori leader, made a protest against European incursion by chopping down a flag pole carrying the Union flag. I think it occurred at Russell, a small town which at the time was the capital of New Zealand, although I could be mistaken on that.
In the game, I commanded a small detachment tasked with guarding the flag pole (because Mr Heke has chopped it down at least once and possibly several time previously!)
Ensign Ross of the 58th Foot I believe
The local citizens are expecting trouble - things must have come to a frightful pass if they have armed the woman folk, b' gad!
Early morning and the "Natives" pounce, quickly overwhelming the under strength defenders on the hill.
The Maori war party start chopping...
More natives emerge from the primeval forest
The main defensive position of the Crown forces
At the other end of the small town, yet more Maori warriors invest the settlement
Sailors and Marines attempt to hold back the attackers
The British were gradually forced to give ground
Final shot of the Crown forces, who were compelled to retreat but did succeed in evacuating to an RN ship anchored in the bay, living to fight another day!
All the figures in this game were provided by Barry, and came from the excellent, though to my Scots mind rather pricey, Empress Miniatures range.

Game 4 Saturday Russian Civil War designed by Julian
This was a multi sided game. Each player had their own contingent - Czech Legion with the armoured train, Bolsheviks, White Russians, Cossacks, Anarchists and Chinese - and could make (and break) alliances with each other in the furtherance of their own particular goals! My contingent is shown above

Pauls Don Cossacks, who were allied with me, until they weren't!

The Czech Legion, who had a mound of gold secreted around the small town in the centre of the table

Chris commanded the Anarchists - identifiable by their black flags

The Czechs await assault from every direction - White Russians are in view over the horizon

My Bolshies advancing, supported by an armoured cart

Chris sweeps down from the hillside

An artillery hit on the armoured train takes out one of the turrets

More Bolsheviks - not mine, I think these were commanded by Mark - advance on the train

A view up the railway track

Pauls Cossacks surge forward with my infantry on the far (wrong?!) side of the track

I think this is Marks command again - they managed to locate some of the gold and haul it away I believe

Uneven fight - horsemen v armoured car

Barry's White Russians within spitting distance of the train

Those dastardly Cossacks break their pledge of fraternal solidarity and charge towards the rear of my unsuspecting troops....

….so, cop that you traitorous bourgeois scum...the Red air force comes to play! Those Cossacks will be laughing on the other side of their faces when we have finished collectivising their farms!

After taking out two Cossack units, the plane dealt a punishing blow to the bouncing Czechs too

Final view of Mark successfully retiring from the fray, weighed down with liberated Tsarist bullion!
A mixture of troops from many ranges although primarily Copplestone and Brigade Games, supplied by Julian, Rick and yours truly. The train is Ricks and I think is by Company B?
Game 5 Sunday (half day only) Modern Skirmish designed by Keith

This game was the first incarnation of the ruleset we used for the Sunday game I reported a couple of weeks ago. It was basically the same sort of scenario - an ISAF platoon of British infantry battling into a Taliban infested village in Afghanistan, circa 2010. All players had four Brits and a dice driven game mechanism produced randomly placed Taliban insurgents for them to engage with. Our Sunday game is always a shorter duration affair as we need to clear up and leave after lunch.

A fireteam in position in one of the Afghan compounds, supporting a Jackal vehicle as it advances into town 

Another fire team manoeuvres along the edge of the fields adjacent to the town

ISAF air support from a Blackhawk helicopter

The Jackal reaches a road block and engages "Terry" with its formidable weaponry

A Taliban sniper takes a shot at the Coalition forces

British fire team advancing cautiously

The Jackal continues to make progress

A second air asset - this time its a Apache gun ship
All the figures and buildings for this game were from my 20mm modern collection made up of various manufactures - Elheim, Liberation, Under Fire Miniatures, Britannia Miniatures and Wartime Miniatures amongst others, plus vehicles from Britannia and 1/72 plastic helicopter kits, with Elheim crew in the case of the Blackhawk.
Well that's it, all five games played at Tarawera in July 2019. We are all really looking forward to the event this year in around 90 days time.