Tuesday, March 29, 2011

more 'mericans...

The Splendid Little Warriors (hmmm... I think I'll use that as the name of my rules!) are also completed. There are a few more options in 54mm Americans for this period than there are for the Spanish. My Americans are composed of BMC and Armies in Plastic figures with a single old Marx Teddy Roosevelt thrown in for good measure.

As far as BMC figures go, these aren't too bad. There is a nice variety of poses and the sculpting, at times, is pretty decent. It would be nice to have as many poses in the Spanish as well as an equal effort in historical accuracy. C'est le guerre!

Perhaps one of the most awkward of the set is this figure of Lt. John J. Pershing. Apparently he was one skinny, one dimensional dude. Though from what I understand he had a pretty stiff personality. I guess that's what the sculptor was trying to convey.

Several of the American figures suffer from flat chestedness. But, golly, they carry big pistols. Portable hand-cannons.

Sometimes it takes some careful paint work to bring out the details. I failed miserably with this man's eyes.

I mounted all the figures on poker chips and then built up the chip with plasticine modeling clay to add a bit of weight to the base. Then I coated the base with white glue to seal the clay. Then added a second layer of glue and dipped the figures into a little tub of grout I keep handy. A little bit of brush work, static grass and bits of flocking finishes it off. I keep experimenting with the bases. This technique is almost too consistent in granularity to be believable.

Toy Soldier purists will no doubt gasp at my sacrilege against this next figure. Nya-nyaah! It's my figure. I'll paint it if I wanna. This is a Marx Teddy Roosevelt in 60mm. He was, after all, larger than life and a colorful personality.

Last Friday mi compadre y yo ran through a first draft of my Span-Am rules. (Shortly to be named 'Splendid Little Warriors'). The rules derive from my Aztec/Conquistador rules. How's that for a stretch? We mostly hashed them over, slashing and burning to make them as simple as possible.

The scenario was quite simple: two units of Americans (regiments? companies? Hmm... two units of 12 figures each) advanced along a jungle road to encounter the Dons. Two units of Spaniards were within a fort, the other could pop up at any time.

The Americans were trundling one Gatling gun along with them. For the Gatlings I cut down some BMC cannon carriages and mounted scratch built Gatling barrels on the. I thought the Armies in Plastic Gatlings were too large and too late for the Spanish American War.

Of course, the ephemeral Spanish unit popped up right in front of the American advance though they did take advantage of some brush for cover.

The second American unit, apparently with cased colors, worked their way around the Spanish flank and effectively suppressed the Dons. A firefight ensued with the Americans having greater numbers but the Spanish having an advantage of cover. Though, the Dons did take a bashing. As they should when outnumbered two to one, I think.

After a lot of rules tweaking we came up with a system which should be good for a fast, simple game. One in which results are typically death, suppression or retreat with no bookkeeping. I think it will be a pretty fast flowing game with lots of action. I've got another game scheduled for Saturday with a bunch of players who have never played the rules before. We'll see how it goes.

We did not get a chance to try out some ideas I have for sharp shooters. It seems like such an integral part of the Spanish American War that it simply has to be represented in the game. Though it will certainly be very abstract. My idea is to simply let the Spanish player send out up to six snipers who, at the appropriate time, will have the opportunity to take a shot at any figure on the table. The American player will have an equal number of contra-guerrillas which can be deployed. Each contra-guerrilla will supply a pip. The player can allocate those pips and roll to kill each Spanish sniper who has fire a shot. Simple, eh? I wonder if it will add to the game...

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