This post isn’t so much prompted by what I’ve been painting, but more to do with what other people have been talking about! But there is a sort of link to my wargames stuff! This year, one of my colleagues at work visited Cambodia and really enjoyed it. And only last Friday another colleague posted on his blog that it’s somewhere he’d like to visit (his blog’s here and a good read)!
So, have I got any wargames figures related to Cambodia? “No” is the answer, but I can get close! Having built up various units for the Chinese and Western Powers for the Boxer Rebellion, I decided I could just add in some earlier period French troops to wargame the Sino-French War of 1883-85. I had a load of the old Esci Foreign Legion figures so I painted up a couple of units using them – people don’t expect to see “classic” Foreign Legion figures in a wargame with jungle in it, but these uniforms were worn early in the conflict by the Legion, basically until they wore out or rotted away! Haven’t got any pics of my Foreign Legion figures, but the cavalry figures in the featured image for the post on my home page are Irregular Miniatures WW1 French hussars painted to represent Chasseurs d’Afrique.
I added some Chinese figures painted as Black Flag irregular units and, once the relevant Wargames Foundry book was published, some more units as Vietnamese. These were converted from various Chinese figures, mainly by giving them matchlock muskets and big sun hats made from Milliput! But it turns out that the Vietnamese still used war elephants, so I thought “I’ve got to have some”. The very tenuous link to the start of this post is that most South East Asian armies still used elephants in the 19th century, including Cambodia!
I converted two elephants from Newline Designs’ models, just adding big sun hats to the drivers/mahouts and howdahs for the remaining soldiers. I converted a mix of Lancashire Games Chinese peasants and Kennington Miniatures Boxers to crew them, making up a two-man jingal crew for each elephant (a jingal is, effectively, a dirty great muzzle-loading rifle)! Eventually I added another Newline elephant to carry a Black Flag cannon, and a plastic elephant from HaT, with crew all converted from Newline figures.
Had to come up with some rules for them, but still haven’t tried them out! This is probably because they can be just as dangerous to the army employing them! Elephants aren’t daft – they know that the last place they want to be is on a battlefield!
And, finally, a naval aspect to the conflict! The French used gunboats along the Vietnamese rivers, so I scratchbuilt myself a 19th century “flat iron” gunboat (so called because it’s hull shape resembled an iron) from card. By keeping it suitably generic I can use it for most navies up to around 1900 and my Chinese can use it as well! I made the gun separately so crewmen can be fitted in around it, or it can be removed to put in a land emplacement! OK, it’s not to scale, but it looks the part and you can never have too many ships (or is that chips)!