Above is a pic of Lt. Colonel James Galbraith, Regimental Colour in hand, alongside Bobbie the regimental dog and some of the other "Last Eleven" survivors of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, making their last stand in one of the walled gardens just South of Khig village, a few miles West of the Afghan town of Maiwand.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


You may be familiar with the LIEBSTER* AWARDS, given out to promote the efforts of fellow bloggers.  I am humbly happy to report that "Maiwand Day" has received one.

It's given by bloggers to bloggers, to help "spread the word" about them (relatively) far and wide across the internet...

(*In German, Liebster can apparently mean "sweetheart", "dear", "favorite", "loved", etc.  But as a hardcore military history geek and longtime historical wargamer, the first thing that jumped to my mind was "Lobster" -- as in 17th Century "Lobster-tailed helmet".)

I owe this thoughtful consideration and distinct honor to GARY AMOS of "wargamesleadslifenstuff" AKA: Happy Valley blog, so first off:



Gary was actually kind enough to nominate me a couple of months ago, but I was so busy with various "Real Life" distractions I couldn't get around to accepting until now.  You see, officially "accepting" the award requires a bit of effort, as delineated here:

1.  Post and explain the award.


2.  Thank and link to the nominator.


3.  Answer questions about yourself, as posed by your nominator.

Here goes...

1.    How would you describe your blog?  

Very humbly!  For various reasons it strikes me as a mere shadow of its former self, back when I was able to devote more time to it, had more gaming friends handy to play with, and my three children were younger and therefore less consumed with school-work, sports, music, etc. -- AKA: Ye Good Ole Days!

A more positive and useful description would be:

Gaming the Second Afghan War of 1878-1880 in 28mm, with terrain-building, figure-conversions, uniform guides, historical info, references, sources, etc.

2.  How did you pick your blog's name? 

It was a no-brainer, since the blog started when I built armies and terrain to refight the 1880 Battle of Maiwand on its 130th Anniversary, July 27th, 2010.  "Maiwand Day" was/is an actual pseudo-holiday which has been remembered and somewhat celebrated by British Army units descended from the 66th Berkshire Regiment and E/B Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, as members of both units performed heroic service on the day of the battle, despite being defeated.  Oddly enough, another battle I'm obsessed with -- Camerone, 1863 -- also is celebrated by the side that lost, the French Foreign Legion, so I have two blogs about two 19th Century battles, and both have "Day" in the title: Maiwand Day and Camerone Day.  The battle of Maiwand and perhaps the term "Maiwand Day" itself also provided the inspiration for the Rudyard Kipling poem "That Day", a painful reminiscence by a soldier who was present at a battle where his Regiment broke and ran.

To read the poem CLICK HERE

3.  Why did  you start blogging?  

Good question!  A combo of showing off and helping out.  A big part of it was having stumbled onto an incredibly-useful website -- Clarence Harrison's original Quindia Studios site  (handy LINK)-- while I was first researching how to build my terrain boards.  His site had, and still has, an article on building a set of desert terrain boards, and also a much longer article about building a more extensive set of temperate terrain boards including a river.  Finding those articles was a godsend for me, and I felt, in a much smaller way, I might be able to do something similar, by sharing how I built my own terrain.  That was a big part of it, and the other part was wanting to show off what I and my kids and our friends managed to pull off just in time for Maiwand Day 2010.

4.  How do you relax (if it's not blogging)?

Playing games with my kids (indoor and outdoor), rewatching high-quality TV shows from start to finish (The Wire, Breaking Bad, Fawlty Towers, Black Adder) and great old movies (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Kelly's Heroes, The Wind and The Lion, The Wild Bunch, The Wrong Box) with my kids; lying on the couch with my wife; and of course building terrain!

5.  Is figure painting a chore or pleasure?  

Yes.  (it's both)

6.  How do you deal with burn out? 

Oh, man... same as at work or wherever else, just grit my teeth and force myself to "power through".  Of course that's in reference to particular projects, which in my case usually drag on for a ridiculously long time.  To be honest, after being into it for about 40 years, I doubt I will ever feel burnt out on "The Hobby" in general.

7.  What are the three things you cannot live without? 

Hmmm... that one's pretty profound...

1.  Hot dogs
2.  My wife
3.  Motorhead


 4.  Sam Fuller movies

8.  What was the last book you read and the last you bought? 

Read:  A World on Fire, Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman, 2010, Random House (a very nice birthday gift!)

Bought: The North-West Frontier, British India and Afghanistan, a pictorial History 1839-1947 by Michael Barthorp, 1982, Blandford Press Ltd.

9.  Who is your favorite fictional character? 

Ooooo... that's a very tough one.  So many and varied great choices from so many great novels, short stories, and movies... but I think I will have to end up with... The Sergeant, as portrayed by Lee Marvin in Samuel Fuller's 1980 movie THE BIG RED ONE.

10.  Ball points, rollerball or fountain pen?

Ball point (for purely practical reasons)

4.  Nominate 6 blogs for the Liebster Award.

There are a lot of very good wargaming blogs out there... but as a colonial gamer, I freely admit I'm biased towards those who share my particular niche interest.  All these wonderful blogs delve into the Colonial period on a regular or semi-regular basis -- in between focusing on Zombies, Venetian galleys, and Tiger Tanks!

NOTE:  The below six blogs are arranged in NO ORDER WHATSOEVER.

NOTE #2: CLICK on the blog titles to VISIT the blog in question -- which I strongly suggest doing for each and every one of this Magnificent Six/Dirty Half-Dozen*...

(*I use "Dirty" here in only the best sense of the word, meaning very hard-working!)

(1)  Wargaming With Silver Whistle

Pat's blog is one of my go-to locations on the web.  He is a perfect gentleman who builds incredible terrain, paints beautiful armies, and actually plays wargames and manages to blog about them on a semi-regular basis.  His Empress Miniatures Zulu War armies were so awesome they were featured in the Black Powder Zulu War supplement published by Warlord Games, but he also has a very impressive AWI, Ancient and Wild West collections, and lately has been churning out tons of gorgeous drab-and-gritty WWII Germans, Brits, and Russians.

(2)  The Anderson Collection

Willie Anderson's site is one of the first hobby blogs I found my way to.  His collections seemingly have no end, to the point where sometimes I'm not sure if I'm in awe or jealous -- but Willie comes across his blog pages as such a good-natured and generous spirit, no one could stay jealous for long!  He builds and collects armies and terrain for everything from Ancients to Colonials -- and I do mean everything in between -- including such rare and exotic periods as 15th Century Ottoman Turks and Eastern Europeans, and the Sikh Wars of the 1840s.  Lately he's been on a spectacular Crusades binge.  Willie's wide-ranging collection includes a fleet's worth of Renaissance and Napoleonic ships, and a variety of Castles and fortresses.

(3)  28mm Victorian Warfare

Michael Awdry... the man's name sends shivers of excited anticipation through miniature gamers across the blogosphere!  It's ironic, Michael's blog is literally named, "28mm Victorian Warfare" but probably features less of that than all the other blogs on this list of mine, filled as it is with his own miniature works of art from across an eclectic range of genres, including gothic horror, dinosaurs, and the aforementioned Zombies -- as well as Pathan tribesmen, Naval artillery crews, and a wonderful collection of Third Burma War figures.  Michael's cheerful enthusiasm for all things hobby-related oozes off every page of his blog.  I suppose in a way he and I have opposite approaches to the hobby, in that my efforts are pretty much all focused on one tiny sliver of time and place, while his galavant around the globe and historical timeline, as well as into the fantastic realms of horror and sci-fi, but that's probably one of the reasons why I love his blog so much.

(4)  Waziristan on a Fancy

I remember the excitement I felt when first discovering Juan Mancheno's refreshingly original blog focused on the Third Afghan War and Waziristan campaigns of 1919-1920, about a year ago.  The North-West Frontier and Afghanistan are somewhat popular theaters of colonial wargaming, but the post-WWI sub-genre has always been a sparsely-populated one.  Juan has dived into it with great gusto, generating well-painted figures, tanks, and biplanes, and sharing his palpable excitement over the new Empress Miniatures range devoted to these campaigns in particular.  He's also commissioned some nice custom Afghan terrain pieces, which he's using for 1919 as well as modern Afghan gaming.

(5)  Last Stand Dan

I met Dan in November 2011 at the first-ever "Colonial Barracks" convention in Metarie, Louisiana, just outside New Orleans.  A couple of years later he began an impressively entertaining Sudan campaign which he's been blogging about since it kicked off.  Featuring cool terrain, scenic backdrops, and a small fleet of exquisite homemade Nile gunboats, it's a campaign not to be missed by any Horse-&-Musket gamer.

(6)  Sgt. Guinness

Jeff Baumal, AKA: Sgt. Guinness, is something of a legend in the wargaming circles of Florida, if not the United States in general, for the high-quality of the games he runs for his club and at various conventions.  My son and I met Jeff when we met Dan, at that first Colonial Barracks con in 2011.  My son and I were lucky enough to play in Jeff's "The Wind and The Lion" game (based on the climactic scene of my favorite movie), one of the most enjoyable games I've ever been a part of.  Now Jeff has started a blog of his own, which has featured several posts devoted to another iteration of his awesome "The Wind And The Lion" game which he recently ran at the Hurricon convention in Miami, Florida.  When it comes to running or playing games, Jeff is a jack-of-all-trades  -- equally focused on fun, playability, game balance, and historical accuracy, and his new blog has started doing the same online.

Whew!!!  Almost done with my part...

5.  For the 6 lucky (at least I hope they see it that way!) bloggers above, here's my version of the requisite TEN QUESTIONS for you to answer should you choose to claim your Liebster Award...

1.  How would you describe your blog?

2.  How did you choose your blog's name?

3.  Why did you start blogging?

4.  What is your own favorite post from your blog?

5.  What is your first miniature wargaming memory?

6.  Single-base or multi-figure base?

7.  What are three things that make you happy?

8.  Terrain cloth or terrain boards?

9.  What is your all-time favorite movie?

10.  Convention games -- play in them, run them... or run from them?

One last word to all my NOMINEES: please do not feel obligated to go through the steps outlined above.  I know how busy people are these days, and I will take no hint of umbrage if you are too busy with other stuff to spend the time required for this.  Even if you don't officially lay claim to your LIEBSTER, you're ALL WINNERS on my blog!

Now for whatever reason I usually wait until I'm all done with a terrain project before blogging about it, but my current project is taking so long, I'm going to break that tradition and post a few pics showing my pair of Logar River terrain boards as they now appear, probably about three-quarters of the way to being completely finished.  All the difficult stuff is done, except for the resin-mixing and coloring and pouring and drying, which will no doubt be an adventure unto itself, but for now, I hope you enjoy this handful of pics showing the proto-boards en route to completion...

All that remains is to glue down sand and pebbles over the open ground-cover, then paint them, and fill the river channels with clear two-part resin.  All things considered, I think they'll be done before the end of the Summer, though whether or not I'll manage to also complete the far less complicated but still time-consuming 6'x2' Kabul River board by the end of the Summer is anyone's guess!  If not, hopefully I'll get that one done soon after, still in time for the 135th Anniversary of Charasiab this coming October 6th.