Saturday, 4 February 2017

Royal Corps of Engineers 1899 Yorkshire Campaign

Royal Corps of Engineers 1899. 

The Cholmondley Warner range of military contraptions suitable for every occasion.

Laserburn Glaive range from Armies.
As the websites are merging this link may not work.

Let me hark and hurrumph back to the superb Land Ironclads rules by Wessex Games available through Brigade Models. In it bumph there is the Engineers, which has grown into a separate mechanised force parallel to the regular British army. This force is manned by recruits from the technical schools. Officers and NCO's are drawn from its own ranks, grammar schools and technical college. These chaps who wish to “get on” are seen by the regular army as “oicks” and “Johnny come lately's”, even worse, they are not Gentlemen.

The Regiments field both the huge Land Ironclads and the smaller, more reliable contraptions. Much has been learned by the disaster of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879, where a detachment of early Land Ironclads were engulfed in grass fires once their ammunition had expired. Several prototype and home produced contraptions had varied level of success. Nothing forces change faster than failure. The fact that Rorke's Drift was successfully commanded by an engineering officer was not lost on the fledgling force.

I have attempted to scratch build some contraptions and, well, failed. Fortunately now produce this range which has a nice early feel and are easy to convert.

First a little background. These are efficient steam-turbine powered vehicles that use oil or alcohol as a fuel. If that seems strange, consider that nuclear power is still steam power by other means. Like their larger cousins they are coach built, being a light metal frame with oak and/or hardwood cladding reinforced with some metal plate and brass or bronze fittings.

Let me run you through the process. There are 2 types, the APC and the Scout. I'm adapting the tracked & wheeled variations, although the GEV option might make an interesting vehicle for Venus-.

The scout. I start by reversing the normal positioning for more of a “steam engine” look.
I made an open command car as my first attempt. Like its cousins, the moulding is very good, I washed them in soapy water and superglued while still damp. I'm very impressed by the internal detail.

For my wheeled (you get a reduction for 3) “roadsters”, which is to say replacing supplied wheels with Brigades spare small wheels as on-road vehicles. These are intended for Torchwood Institute, police or navy.

Tracked scouts. A gunned tankette and 2 “female” machine gun armed versions. These used bits from the Adder bits pack from the Ion Age.

The APC. I've already assembled 3 normal who are augmented by Brigade hatch covers and GZG stowage funnel. This time I'm “retrofitting” 3 tracked and a wheeled back to the steam trucks by slicing off the passenger cabins. The wooden backs are cereal packet cardboard. I've yet to devise or find a suitable “stovepipe”.

Infantry. I bought a packet of Old Glory dismounted Camel Corps. This gave me enough plus sergeants, buglers and a senior officer. I was torn between these and Irregular miniatures. Although the latter would have given me more poses, they are slightly bigger troops. This will make a difference .when used on Mars, as the Black Hat 18mm Martians are quite small.

The Prologue
Which leads me nicely to their first deployment in---- Yorkshire. I've been running a long drawn-out series of games with a VSF Yorkshire theme for some time. Each year I try to have a theme to my buying. Doesn't work of course – but like all wargamers I need to justify my purchases to a higher, disbelieving authority who feels the money could be better spent on black coats and assorted footwear.

Here's the list, you may wish to peruse these in particular preparation for pending perils! To make it easier, I've added the tag “Yorkshire” which should confuse some google searches!

One of our dinosaurs stolen. 15.2.16. I had fun writing the prologue up. Got to admit it derived from a Space 1889 game way back-. This game has evolved from a pursuit of a vampire-run land train oot-ont-moors through several stages of refinement as rules and kit have become available.

The next game Death of Sherlock Holmes 18.7.16 saw the great detective pursuing the villains, only to be ambushed.

Victorian cops vs Vampires 13.1.17 is the follow-on where the flying squad attempt to apprehend the villainous vampires.

So that brings you up to date. Suffice to say that the forces of law and order are preparing to manfully strive against the forces of evil. This will take the form of a reworking of Armies Army's three Active Edge scenarios over a short space of time, taking advantage of Tony's holiday to “pack 'em in”.

Crew insert, removed for dismount - different crews.