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.

Monday, July 27, 2020

10 YRS ON MAIWANDDAY GETS A NEW HOME - plus Info on Afghan/NWF Flags

Greetings valued visitors to this humble hobby blog,

Today, July 27th, 2020, is the 140th Anniversary of the Battle of Maiwand.

It's hard for me to believe it's been a decade since a bunch of friends (foremost among them Nick Stern from Northern California, who I had never met in person before he showed up for the game!) and myself, plus my three at the time very young children and some of their friends, played our original Maiwand refight game.  Over the intervening decade this hobby blog, though it's ebbed and flowed, has taken a substantial portion of my time and effort.  Blogger has its good parts and its bad parts, and a few years ago I reached a point where I really wanted to move away from it and onto a site of my own.  I asked my daughter Isabella to do this for me.  One COVID-19 induced endless Spring Break later, Izzy has come through.  It took awhile but she was busy, first finishing her Senior year and graduating from high school, then attending West Point for 2 years.  She arrived back at school this morning and I'm introducing Maiwand Day's new home to the hobby world today, and announcing a big THANK YOU, IZZY!!! to the world as well.

If all goes well with the new site this will be the last new post here on MaiwandDay.blogspot.com but fear not, news of the continuing preparations for, and then playing of, the big upcoming BATTLE OF KANDAHAR aka: BABA WALI GAME will continue over on MaiwandDay.com

Speaking of which, if you'd like to visit the new digs, here's a handy LINK:


The first new post over there is a compilation of info on mostly 19th Century Afghan and North-West Frontier MILITARY FLAGS.  This is a subject I've found to be challenging on the research front, so I'm glad to make the results of my own humble research on it available to anyone/everyone else who may be interested. 

Here's one sample of illustration -- it's by J.N. Karafin and titled: "Mullah preaching war against the Russians":

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Kandahar Game post #7: Connectors done; Last Layout Change; Terrain Board Progress, Bespoke Karez Hill, etc.

Since my last post it's been a busy few weeks here at the Maiwand Day household.  In the era of self-quarantine time stands still on one hand while blazing past at warp speed on the other.

My middle child and older daughter, Isabella, finally received her orders to report back to school at West Point towards the end of July.  This will bring to an end the one good thing our family got from Coronavirus: the surprise of having her back in our home with all of us, not for a holiday weekend or one-week during Winter Break or between Summer training, but for the past 3 months.  We probably won't get to spend this much time with her for at least another 7 years (2 more years at school and then at least 5 years on Active Duty).  We have had more family laughs -- and fights -- courtesy of her presence back among us, and we have all enjoyed the hell out of having her around.  We'll be very sorry to see her go, but glad she's going back to her life.

On a similar front, soon after Izzy returns to West Point, our youngest child, Sarah, will hopefully be leaving to start college in NYC, much closer to her sister in the Army than to us here in Los Angeles (I say "hopefully" because the official decision re: in-person attendance has yet to be made by her school, but it looks like that's what will happen).  After college our son, Skylar (the eldest!) got a good job here in Los Angeles and moved back home, but he's a full-blown adult who pretty much takes care of himself, so... when Sarah leaves it will be the start of the next phase of life for my wife and myself.  For some time I've had an expectation that when my wife and I become "Empty Nesters" I'll  be able to do more actual wargaming, be it at my own home or at friends' homes or at a wargaming club.  But having spent a great deal of my free time over the past 4 months working on the Kandahar 140th Anniversary Game... that will have to wait for a while.  After the game is played, -- be it in person, remotely, or some hybrid of the two -- I'll be spending my free time doing whatever my wife wants me to do, around the house, in the yard, or elsewhere, for the rest of 2020 at least.

But for now I am keeping my eye on the prize of Kandahar +140!  Here's the update...


Here's the 1880 photo of the real thing...

Followed by a matching B&W pic rather brilliantly suggested by Bob:


Bob was also kind enough to send me one of his Armstrong 40-pounder RBL guns.  Four were present with the besieged Kandahar garrison, and the entire battery fought in the battle, positioned near Piquet Hill...

(2) THE 3 ROCKY HILL CONNECTORS GOT THEIR LAST 2 SHADES OF DRY-BRUSHED PAINT AND ARE ALL DONE, as seen in this second batch of photos I think they blend in well with their flanking hills, so I'm happy with how they turned out:

(one facing East & one facing West)

(3) I MADE ONE LAST ADJUSTMENT TO THE LAYOUT, bringing it closer in line with the info on the more detailed battlefield maps in the Official Record and Hensman books.  This particular change involved adjusting the path of the CANAL running close to the village of Gundamullah Sahibdad.  I had put the canal EAST of the village, when in fact it ran to the WEST, between the village and the ridge, while also flowing to the East, towards Kandahar proper.  Making this adjustment required using one more bridge, which I luckily was able to scrounge one from my hobby closet.  It also required using literally every single CANAL piece made for me by Chris The Model Maker back in 2015 for my Charasiab terrain layout.  Chris made me many more canal pieces than I'd asked for expected to receive, and at the time, while I was very grateful and very happy about that, I did not really expect to ever really use them all at one time!  If you're interested, here's a LINK to the post I put on this blog when he sent me pics of them --

-- and here's another to the post I put up after I received them in the mail and added them to the Charasiab layout for the first time --

Luckily it turned out I had just barely enough canals and bridges to make this last -- and I hope most accurate -- version of the layout work.  The main difference is that in the previous version of the layout, the canal was between the British start-line and Gundamullah Sahibdad village, whereas now the canal is between the village and the ridge.



The previous kidney-shaped version, which was too wide (going from top to bottom in this pic)...

The new version still has room for some troops and/or guns but doesn't reach all the way to the edge of Gundamullah Sahibdad Village, which is an improvement...

A bunch of smaller tasks and one really big task remain before this tabletop battlefield will be complete...

(1) The "Big Task" is to finish gluing ballast & pebbles to 10' x 2' of 3 raw terrain boards.  I made some progress and finished the first of the pair of 2'x2' boards.  Now all that remains is the second 2'x2' and the 6'x2' Great White Whale -- or perhaps better to call it the "Great Blue Whale"... since the styrofoam is blue?

Here's a few WIP pics of the first 2'sq terrain board being... "terrained":

...Then comes small tasks #2 thru 9:

(2) Make a bunch of waterfalls using Woodland Scenics REALISTIC WATER, which I will use to connect multiple ends of the canal system to what is meant to be the Arghandab River.  I also plan to make a series of these same type of pieces to create an actual WATERFALL feeding the canal that runs near Ayub Khan's camp.  For years now I've wanted to build rocky wood-chip hill featuring a waterfall, and this temporary version will be a good first step in that direction.

(3) Paint some supplies & campground paraphernalia for Ayub Khan's camp.  I bought some really nice pieces for this purpose from Bad Squiddo Games and Acheson Creations, and need to get at least a few of them painted and possibly based -- though some of them came a bit "pre-based" which made me that much happier about buying them -- in time to serve their purpose for the game.

(4) Add a flagpole and black pennon banner to Ayub Khan's command tent.  For this I am awaiting a banner made and mounted on a pre-cut to perfect size and spear-pointed pole being sent to me by good friend and accomplice Jeff "Sgt. Guinness" Baumal (CLICK HERE to visit his awesome blog).  Jeff is also sending me a unit of 60th Rifles and 3rd Sikhs, specially painted for use in the Kandahar game.

(5) Do some tests and learn if I can successfully spray-paint the magnetic movement trays I plan to use in an effort to speed up play, without weakening their hold on the bases of the figures they're meant to move.  Some of these bases I've owned for more than a decade, while others I recently ordered expressly for this game.  The old ones are drab green and the new ones are dark brown, and both would blend in much better on the table if they were a sandy brown.

(6) Update the bespoke charts I created for my Charasiab game 5 years ago, so they include all the troop types and weapon categories present at the Battle of Kandahar (there were no Ghazis or Afghan Regular Cavalry at Charasiab, nor 40 pdr. British guns), and also print out a few more British move/fire cards for the bespoke 800 Fighting Englishmen card deck I created for that game (CLICK HERE to visit my 2015 blog post featuring those cards).  Luckily for them, the British simply have MORE BRIGADES at this battle than that one!

(7) Decide exactly what building I will use to represent the British "OUTPOST" located near the Eastern end of the Murcha/Mirza Kotal, and get it ready in time for the game.  I have a couple of choices and the one I will probably use needs some work done before it will be "game ready" so to speak.

(8) Make a handful of ACRYLIC CAULK ROAD PIECES to better fit the table.  These will mostly be made to fill in missing exit roads off the West end of the table, to better the angled exit road connecting the Mirza Kotal with the East end of the table, and to improve the look of some intersections.  Making these roads is not very difficult but it is time-consuming.

(9) This last item is more aspirational thing than necessary.  During a recent visit to a local lumberyard I've frequented for years, I discovered they sell small sheets of high quality 1/8" plywood, labelled for "HOBBY" use, for a reasonable price.  I bought one 12" x 24" piece, one 12"x12", and a pair of 12" x 6" pieces.  I plan to use them as baseboards for walled crop fields, orchards, and gardens.  I doubt I'll be able to get it done in time for the game, but you never know.  I like the look of my current fields, all made for the 2015 Charasiab game, but they don't come with walls.

It's possible the exact plan for the game will be finalized before my next post.  Whenever it gets nailed down I'll pass the info on, just for the heck of it.  Till then, take care, be well, stay healthy... and try to get a game in now and then -- or paint some figures and build some terrain!