Monday, April 29, 2013

Return to Bungstarter Station

I think that anyone who loves this hobby and especially colonial wargames have a debt of gratitude to a very special and emblematic website; Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page. 

It was this website which led me to collecting, painting and playing with colonial miniatures soldiers and let my imagination fly with those fantastic adventures settled in exotic places.

The website is not more longer updated but thanks to the "The Wayback Machine" you can access all the useful info, inspiring battle reports and modelling advices. Here you have the link

So I thought that the best tribute to the creators of that website would be recreate one of the most emblematic battles of the Major General website: The Relief of Bungstarter Station.

The story so far: Mr. Harry Thorn, experimented "bush" hunter led a porter column returning from Bungstarter Station toward the jetty located near the mighty Ouazu river.

There's he hopes to be picked up and escorted down river by the Royal Navy landing party of the tugboat "Hycker". 

Also, the Captain Phillip Josef Kurtzman, cousin of the decesed Major Kurtzman, (see The Relief of Bungstarter Station), worried about the Ookaballakonga tribe war drums, run to assits the Thorn's porter column with an improvised unit of  "Tommy's" and Sihks soldiers.

But unknown to everyone is that the jetty and the nearby wachtower has been taken by Suleiman Halif, a slave trader who has rise in arms the Ookaballakonga tribe and the pygmies of the Nanitos tribe. So the idea is ambush both columns and prepare the defense of the Oauzu jetty.

Suleiman owns a old but still in use cannon that will be ready to confront any menace coming up river.

Soon the Ookaballakonga launch an attack again Thorn escort and porters, but the experimented hunter and Askari escort manage to repulse the warriors with a hail of lead.

While Kurtzman patrol falls into the ambush launched by Suleiman men...

…to be finally annihilated

Captain Kurtzman reaches the same fate of his unfortunate cousin after a heroic defence, finally being speared to death when the attackers receive reinforcements with the arrival of more Ookaballakonga warriors.

Meanwhile the men of Lieutenant Moore get ashore on the jetty under a devilish fire from the fortified Suleiman watchtower. Midshipman Fullerton exhorts men to return fire.

The storm of lead that falls on the jetty is relentless. The first to fall is the midshipman Fullerton soon followed by the rest of the Marines.

Any hope of victory disappears after the tugboat is sunk by a cannon impact.

Thorn has hopes of reaching the river bank but suddenly, out of nowhere a rain of arrows falls upon the column of porters. The Pygmies have surprised them. Thorn knows he has few remaining seconds of life, the arrows were poisoned...

Some time later the din of gunfire stopped and the sounds of the jungle took their place.

The rules used were G.A.S.L.I.G.T.H. Like any game that uses these rules it was a very funny game, full of acts of courage and cowardly. Midshipman Fullerton was immediately hit after jump over the jetty and failed the save roll despite having a Save stat of 18!
The same bad luck was the impact that sunk the tugboat after roll a Catastrophic Hit result in the vehicle chart.

In any case, soon the news of this defeat will reach the ears of the colonial powers and Suleiman acts will be punished.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review Halfhyde at the Bight of Benin

"Beware, beware the Bight of Benin, for few come out though many go in"

I just finished the reading of the adventures of Saint Vincent Halfhyde. A Royal Navy officer novel by Philip McCutchan and the first one of a fifteen books serie. I look for it because I was a little bored of readings about nautical Napoleonic books so this gave me the opportunity to goes into the Queen Victoria era and look for steam and rivets ships.

Halfhyde is a half pay Lieutenant returned to sea duties due to his knowledge of the african waters and specifically the dangerous ones of the Guinea Gulf. The adage mentioned before who gave title to the book refers to an advice for the sailor about the dangers of the currents and shoals of this waters but specially because this place was full of slave tradery during many centuries. 

Halfhyde must obtain information about a new Zarist settlement and why the russians are interested in this remote place. The mission is full of dangers, the landing in a difficult coast under strong russian surveillance and specially the presence of the Prince Gorsinski, the zarist commander. Gorsinski have to settle accounts with Halfhyde that some years before escaped from him after a mission in Sevastopol.

The book is full of action,  covert infitration, a mutiny, fort assaults, boarding and naval engagements... A very light reading to obtain inspiration for new colonial and pulp adventures. So it's the perfect ocassion for go to Bob Murch webpage, Pulp Figures, and buy the Count Casimir Trans-Siberian Renegades and Copplestone Casting British Officers blisters to recreate this amazing confrontation. 

But be alerted, "Beware, beware the Bight of Benin..."

Friday, April 26, 2013

Zarpar el ancla

Tenía desde hace tiempo la idea de plasmar en un blog mi pasión por "jugar con soldaditos y barquitos" y todo lo que rodea a este hobby; historia, manualidades y sobre todo el acto social de juntar a varios amigos y pasar un rato ameno, alejados de los problemas y los agobios del trabajo.

Me ha costado un poco, pero al final me he decidido y hoy ha llegado el momento de hacer "zarpar el ancla". Espero sea una singladura provechosa y que los fantasmas de Yañez, James Burke, Jack Aubrey y hasta el mismisimo Haddock me inspiren en mis entradas al diario de bitacora para no aburrir al respetable.

Y que mejor motivo que un obsequio. Una joya para mi, tanto por su talento como por lo que representa. Aquí os la muestro.

Es el retrato que me ha regalado mi amigo y compañero Oscar Cerdán del capitán Nemo a quién pone rostro el actor James Mason. La foto no hace honor a la calidad de la obra porque os debo advertir que este retrato está hecho únicamente con boligrafo bic de color negro.
Si, un humilde bolígrafo y el inmenso talento de Oscar que le auguran un futuro provechoso en el mundo artístico tanto en el comic como en la ilustración. ¡Mil gracias amigo!

Por todo lo cual no se me ha ocurrido mejor manera de agradecer su gesto que usar la efigie de Nemo como Avatar en mi perfil. Lo tomo como una señal de buen augurio en esta singladura y ya sabéis lo importante que son los buenos augurios en la navegación, aunque sea en los mares de la red. Sino recordar los apuros que tuvo que pasar Curro, la mascota de la Expo 92 cuando tuvo que escapar a nado en la catastrófica botadura de la Nao Victoria el día de su botadura...

Gracias también a mi tripulación, la alegre y canalla muchachada del SGGM y en especial a Enrique, Edu y David. Sin olvidar a mi contramaestre y media costilla Mara y mi grumete Sara.

Sin más tardanza hagamos zarpar el ancla y coger arrancada para ganar franquía. ¡Buen viento y buena mar!