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.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A very nice Maiwand Day at the Muzeo

Things went very nicely at the MUZEO. I don't think it was a record-setting day in terms museum attendance, but the visitors showed lots of interest in the game, and asked lots of questions, and I think everyone there had a fun time. The Brits beat a hasty retreat back across Mundabad Ravine, and proceeded to fortify positions in the twin villages of Mundabad and Khig, even dismounting their cavalry to add to the firing line.

When the Afghans reached them, things went fifty-fifty, with the ghazis, irregular tribal cav and regular cav winning half the melees and the 66th and Bombay Grenadiers winning the other half, while the ill-fated Jacob's Rifles got an unfortunate "6" on their "Stand-&-Fight" die roll -- the only result which would have, and did, cause them to turn tail and rout off the table. At that point the museum was about to close and we needed to beat a hasty retreat in order to pack up and load out before they locked the doors on us.

I call the result at the time we ended a narrow Afghan victory. The Afghans still hadn't brought their powerful artillery train to bear on the villages, and their vast numbers of regular infantry had yet to make their presence known, so despite taking massive casualties, they had a good chance to overwhelm the British positions, despite their defensive strength.

At the start of the game, Hector Maclaine -- the firebrand RHA officer who ran his guns up to engage the passing Afghan army, somewhat contravening his orders at the time -- did exactly what he'd done in real life, sticking around a bit too long to fire at the advancing enemy, resulting in his gun being overrun and lost. In the game the figure representing Maclaine escaped the melee alive as a "fall back," which is much better than the real Maclaine did, being captured, held prisoner for about a month, and then having his throat cut just before British troops reached him in the Afghan camp at the end of the battle of Kandahar.

I'd like to thank my friend Matthew Rigdon for showing his Texas spirit by helping me out at the last minute, putting together a DVD of Second Afghan War imagery, plus the scene of the attack on the British residency at Kabul from "The Far Pavilions," which played in the background of the museum gallery behind our game table -- he even threw in some battle footage from "Zulu," and the final charge from the 1968 "Charge of the Light Brigade," all of which perfectly fit the Victorian British paintings and artifacts on display.

I'd also like to thank Harmon Ward and his fellow St. Crispin's Irregulars gamers of Anaheim, several of whom showed up to help out and to play -- and a special thanks to RJ and Rod Galati, who treated us to lunch and dinner.

And a very big thank you to several members of the legendary Bengal Club who made the trek down to help as well, and even brought some very nice hand-outs they had prepared for the occasion.

Last but not least I need to thank my entire family -- my mom & dad, my wife and our daughters, all of whom showed up to lend their support. But most of all, my son, who accompanied me back and forth from LA to Anaheim on Saturday & Sunday, loading, unloading, carrying a ton of stuff, lugging and setting up tables, and generally helping me out a great, great deal.

Here's a LINK to the video we showed in the b.g. of the game at the museum. As mentioned above, it includes period maps and photos, some nice pics of the Maiwand game from Colonial Barracks, and the scenes of the Siege of the Kabul Residency, from 1980s TV miniseries "The Far Pavillions," as well as a couple of other Victorian military movie scenes. It runs just under 40 minutes altogether…


With my family and I about to move, Maiwand Day will be taking a brief leave of absence. I hope to be back some with some blog activity in early 2012, showing off another Afghan/NWF rocky hill, which may even be big enough to use to refight the battles of Charasiab or Kandahar. In the meantime I wish everyone reading this a very Merry Christmas -- or, for members of my tribe, Happy Hanukah -- and a WONDERFUL NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


On Sunday December 18th, 2011, in conjunction with the ST. CRISPIN'S IRREGULARS gaming club, I will be bringing MAIWAND DAY down to the Kabel Gallery at the MUZEO museum in Anaheim, California.

This is being done in connection with an exhibit of Victorian British artwork, titled "The Queen's Gallery."

The doors open at 10:00am and close at 5:00pm and I expect to be there there all day. I'm going to try to set up the terrain boards and troops the night before, but that may not be possible, so if you are planning to attend, expect me to be setting up the table for at least an hour, until 11:00, at which point the game will kick off.

There is room for 8 Afghan and 3 British players, so any colonial-minded wargamers within reach of Southern California are heartily invited to attend. I know a few members of the St. Crispin's club will be volunteering their time to help me out -- for which I thank them in advance -- and hopefully they'll be able to play as well.

The main idea behind displaying and playing the game at the museum is to reach non-wargamers, giving them a surprise opportunity to enjoy the hobby, and possibly end up with a few new recruits to miniature wargaming. Since my game is so big, I doubt there will be 11 casual museum-goers who all want to participate at the same time -- and certainly not for the entire 6 hours -- so I'm confident I'll be able to give any gamers who show up to play, the opportunity to do so, probably for as long as they like.

Needless to say, there is an ENTIRE MUSEUM connected to the space where we'll be playing the game, so there will be a lot of other very cool things to see and do while visiting the Muzeo!

I look forward to meeting AT LEAST ONE PERSON AT THE EVENT who learned about it here on my blog. If you are that person, please let me know on the day!


First, to any and all followers of this blog, I want to apologize for taking so long to put up a post re: my somewhat epic trek there-and-back-again to New Orleans. Colonial Barracks -- the world's first-ever all-TSATF convention -- was a tremendous success, IMHO and also according to all the various other reports posted on TMP and individual wargamer's blogs. I'm very happy I was able to participate, and I'm proud of being awarded a "BC" by the Brom family hosts (it stands for "British Colonial" &/or "Brom and Carr -- as in Larry BROM and George CARR, sr., originators of the rules).

The Maiwand game played at the con was one of the best ever! It pitted 8 Afghan players against 3 British players, played for about 6-hours (approx. 10:00am to 6:00pm -- with a 1-hour lunch break and 1/2-hour convention group photo break), and resulted in a narrow Afghan victory. The British were able to withdraw all 6 of their guns from harm's way, as well as their baggage train and hospital, and ended the day ensconcing themselves in the villages of Khig and Mundabad. But they took serious casualties, relinquished possession of the field, and did not "defeat" Ayub Khan's army -- though they did inflict severe casualties on his Tribal irregular and Ghazi fanatic forces, virtually wiping them all out, leaving only the vast array of Afghan regular infantry, cavalry, and artillery intact.

I will post more details about the game, along with tons of high-quality photos, as soon as humanly possible!

I returned home from New Orleans just in time to sell my family's lovely home, so we can move to another lovely home we are now in the process of buying. Needless to say, at the moment there is not much time available for the hobby. The downside of this move is that we are not moving to a "dream-house" complete with game-room or game-shed (we looked at a couple of hose but for one reason or another they just didn't work out). The upside is I believe the garage is roughly equal in size to our current one, so hopefully I'll have about the same amount of space to devote to the hobby as I do now, though of course you can never be certain about such things.

For any followers or occasional visitors to this blog who reside in Southern California, or within easy reach thereof, please pay special attention to the next post, where I'll be discussing a forthcoming visit by MAIWAND DAY to the MUZEO museum of Anaheim, in Orange County, on Sunday, December 18th, 2011...

Monday, October 31, 2011

COUNTDOWN to Colonial Barracks begins...

Man am I beat -- between ref'ing soccer games all day Saturday, teaching an all-day class at the Boy Scout merit badge midway Sunday, and non-stop work the week before, I am literally about to keel over, BUT... somehow I have managed to eek out the time needed over the past couple weeks to get most of what needed doing done in order to be ready to pack "Maiwand Day" up in my wife's nice big Mercedes some time tomorrow, go to sleep tomorrow night, wake up early Tuesday to join her in taking our older daughter to a school interview, then drive back home (in my own more humble car), get out of my car, hand my wife the key to my car, kiss everyone (or at least the ones who are home at that moment) goodbye, climb into my wife's car (which will pre-packed to the gills with terrain boards, miniatures, playing aids, and maybe a toothbrush if I remember it), hit the gas and head to the 10-East, so I can start the 1900-mile trek to New Orleans.

Earlier tonight my wife and I took all three kids to visit a house in our neighborhood which became famous a few years ago for the incredible HALLOWEEN display put on by the owner and his family. The owner is an incredibly creative guy who puts on a dazzling show "spooktacular" show that's fun for all ages and is always filled with everyone from the littlest tykes to teenagers to old geezers and geeze-ettes (I don't count my wife and I in this category quite yet, but we are will be approaching it soon enough!). Here's a LINK for anyone interested:

Thing is, several years ago Boney Island went under, so to speak. It disappeared. I wasn't sure why, but I figured the home owner/creative maniac responsible had probably had enough and simply wanted a break from hosting hundreds unto thousands of enthusiastic Halloween visitors. But it turns out that wasn't the case. It turns out he had a neighbor who didn't take kindly to living near to one of the world's leading home-made Halloween haunts. This fellow made his feelings known to Mr. Boney Island, who chose to put the kibosh on it. But this year, the unhappy neighbor MOVED AWAY, so the ghostly curtain went back up and BONEY ISLAND has made a ghoulishly fan-tasm-tastic return from the grave, and I for one am very happy about that -- and my kids and wife make a minimum of five, and I know I saw at least a hundred others who would agree over there tonight during a mere 1/2-hour visit.

The reason I bring this up is that I think, in a way, Maiwand Day and "Boney Island" have a lot in common. They both involve men somewhat madly obsessed. In his case with turning his home into a larger than life haunted house, in my case with refighting the 1880 battle of Maiwand over my homemade terrain. We are both lucky enough to be able to bring our mad obsessions to life -- though in my case, only at a small miniature scale. Still, I know I am lucky, even more so to be able to take a "time-out" from my normal routines of work and family life, in order to make the trip from Los Angeles "LA" to Louisiana "LA". For that, more than anyone else I must thank my wife for being extremely generous and forgiving of this particular mad obsession of mine. Of course I have thanked her already, but I want to do so publicly as well: THANK YOU, DEAR!!!

131 years ago, Maiwand set Roberts' Kabul-to-Kandahar march into motion. Obviously my one-man highway sojourn is nowhere near as desperate or dangerous. Nonetheless, for me personally it will be quite an epic trek. So... to anyone and everyone who reads this blog, if you are a praying type, please say a prayer for my safe travel, and if you are not a praying type, please keep a good thought or cross your fingers, or just wish me luck in getting all my stuff get safely from Point A to Point B over the coming days -- and also that I don't leave anything I need for the game behind in my garage. I'll try to make daily posts regarding my progress, but I know it will be a challenge with my limited travel time and solo travel circumstances, so I'm not promising anything until I get to the convention site!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

66th converts back from Igor the painter...

Received my Pontoonier Third Burma War British Infantry w/helmet conversions to make them better resemble the 66th Regiment (Berkshire) at Maiwand. As usual, Igor did a wonderful job, as you can see for yourself:

(click on photos to enlarge them to full size)

These guys will be playing the part of the 66th Regiment's component of Major John Ready's BAGGAGE GUARD on Maiwand Saturday at the upcoming COLONIAL BARRACKS TSATF convention in New Orleans. They will be joined by elements of Jacob's Rifles and the Bombay Grenadiers, as well as a small cavalry component.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More on building 2-contour styro hill

My previous post (LINK) showed some pics of the first few steps of building this hill, namely:

(1) Carve contour out of 1.5" foam, using mix of coping saw, dovetail saw, utility knife, and X-acto hobby saw.

(2) Trace footprint of hill onto model aircraft plywood, cut plywood & glue to base of foam using white glue.

(3) Turn contour upside-down and stack books and reams of paper onto plywood so it dries and seals tightly.

(4) Cover carved foam edges with ELMER'S WOOD FILLER (or any similar material).

...we pic up the "story in pictures" below, having carved a 2nd contour and preparing to glue it down atop the first.

In the past I have kept my hill contours separate, for greatest versatility when laying out tabletop terrain, but since this new hill is being built primarily to look good, I decided to permanently glue the 2nd contour down, so the edges of both contours could be sloped and their surfaces textured to match my terrain boards.

NOTE: if you plan on using SPRAY-PAINT for your base or "primer" coat of paint, it is very important to COVER EVERY SPOT OF EXPOSED FOAM with wood filler or whatever spackle material you are using (I'm referring to those areas of foam which have not been covered with sand or pebbles). Any foam spots that are left bare and exposed to spray-paint will be eaten away by the aerosol spray. You can avoid this potential problem altogether by simply brushing on your base/primer coat with black latex house-paint.


I used the following colors for this hill, all of which -- except for the black base coat -- are identical to those used for my terrain boards:

2. BROWN (matched to Delta Ceramcoat "Dark Brown")
3. FAWN (matched to Folk Art "Fawn")
4. HONEYCOMB (matched to Folk Art "Honeycomb")
5. MUDSTONE (matched to Delta Ceramcoat "Mudstone")
6. SANDSTONE (matched to Delta Ceramcoat "Sandstone")
7. RAIN GRAY (matched to Delta Ceramcoat "Rain Gray")
8. QUAKER GRAY (matched to Delta Ceramcoat "Quaker Gray")
9. Final highlight coat of SANDSTONE

I used successively lighter dry-brushing as I proceeded, going from near-total coverage with the first coat of BROWN, to a very light touch with the final coats of Quaker Gray and Sandstone.

BEFORE PAINTING I textured the surface of both contours.

First I dug some spots out of the foam surface and glued in some small WOOD-CHIPS, which are meant to look like large slabs of rock-face or boulders. In addition to simply looking good, I did this so the hill wood blend in better with the previous hill I made almost entirely out of wood-chips (LINK).

After adding a few wood-chips, I spread some scattered patches of WOOD FILLER on the contour surfaces as well. I started doing this when I first textured my terrain boards, because I didn't want them to look too "perfect" from edge to edge, with nothing but an unbroken stretch of sand. I felt like that would look more like the Sahara or Arabian Deserts, as opposed to the more mixed ground cover in most of Afghanistan, so I used the wood filler to break up the sand.

Once I'd done my wood filler patches, I spread out FULL STRENGTH WHITE GLUE onto a stretch of contour surface, then I hand-placed several small and medium size PEBBLES where I though they would look good, and only then did I pour rough sand (actually HOME DEPOT "SOIL EROSION" ballast, an incredible bargain at something like $3.00 for a 10-pound bag).

I also made sure to use glue on a few spots along the slopes/edges of the contours, where I thought it would look good for rocks and sand to be scattered and link together the rocks and sand on the upper and lower contours.

Once everything had tried and I'd reclaimed all the loose ballast, I applied a coat of Woodland Scenics "Scenic Cement" -- which is nothing more than watered-down White Glue -- to bond everything together with one last coat of adhesive.

After that dried, I spray-painted my base-coat of FLAT BLACK, and then commenced DRY-BRUSHING.


To be honest, the carving, spackling and gluing is somewhat interminable, but it all leads up to the PAINTING, which goes really, really fast, and which I personally really enjoy.

That does it for the step-by-step narration -- now on to the visual aids...