Well, since I’m still painting nothing I thought I’d do a second Boxer Rebellion post, this time on my 20mm Allied forces!
In connection with this, though, I should mention two of my work colleagues who read my blog. My boss, StuG, commented that my last post, on Chinese Boxer Rebellion forces, was too long! I pointed out that I’ve done longer posts and he’s never commented on them, and that all the documents I write at work that he has to read are way longer and he’s never complained about them either! So, for StuG’s benefit, this should be a shorter post (spoiler alert – it’s not)!
And I also need to mention my colleague Holly, because I’ve included a mini book review here (just skip to the end, Holly, and never mind about the stuff in the middle). Holly reads a lot and has a history degree, so I can rely on her to keep me right on stuff, even though she thinks I use too many exclamation marks!!
OK, moving on to my 1900 Allied forces in China. Initial Allied troops sent to reinforce the guards at the foreign legations in Peking consisted principally of sailors and marines, as did the initial forces comprising the initial Peking relief effort led by Admiral Seymour. But with the Chinese declaration of war following the Allied storming of the Taku forts, more troops were brought in, this time regular ground forces. Most of the Allies had troops available at relatively short notice and in reasonable numbers – the Japanese provided troops from their homeland, the Russians sent reinforcements from their Pacific coastal territories, the US diverted troops from insurgency operations in the Philippines, the French dispatched colonial troops from Indochina and Britain sent troops from its Indian army (I’ve got British Imperial forces, but will cover them some time in the future, since they still need finishing off).
First up, since they were the first of the troops shown here to get started back in 1996, are the French (above). The two units on the left are Colonial Infantry, shown in the short-lived bleu mechanicien uniform, and these were all originally plastic ESCI Zulu War British infantry.
The command group (painted only last autumn) includes a HäT WW1 French officer and the Indochina mountain gun team includes both French and Indochinese gunners (French are Qualiticast Zulu War British gunners, Indochinese are Britannia Miniatures Vietcong and the gun is a converted 15mm artillery piece).
French sailors (above) are Kennington Miniatures Russian and Austrian Boxer Rebellion figures with pompoms added from milliput! Since I also wanted them to fight from gunboats and landing lighters I painted the bases to represent ships decks (and that reminds me that I maybe need to do a post at some point about my ship models).
Next to feature are my US forces and these were put together from a range of sources over the years. Above are US Marines, some from the Kennington Miniatures Boxer Rebellion range, some WW1 IT Miniatures US infantry with the hats filed down and Charlton Heston (kneeling with pistol in the front row) is a Qualiticast cowboy! The Jacklex Colt MG team is the most recent and featured in one of my first blog posts here!
The HQ group and artillery officer are also Jacklex figures, with the US infantry colour being one of the most difficult I’ve ever had to paint (no, no, I would never use PowerPoint, honest). Gun crew and infantry are WW1 Airfix US infantry with their hats cut down, while the gun is a generic late 19th Century field gun converted from a B&B Miniatures WW1 Krupp 75mm gun. The cavalry are either Irregular Miniatures Spanish Civil War artillery outriders or Newline Designs Zulu War irregular cavalry. US troops could be seen in either their light khaki jacket or blue undershirt.
Moving on to the Russians (above) I’ve got two infantry units, a mix of Kennington Miniatures Boxer Rebellion Russian infantry and IT Miniatures WW1 Russians.
The infantry are backed up with cavalry and artillery (above). The cossacks and mounted officer are from the B&B Miniatures Russian Civil War range, the gun crew are Irregular Miniatures Really Useful Gun Crew, the field gun is a Qualiticast Zulu War piece, the Maxim crew are Kennington Miniatures and the Maxim gun is a Newline Designs Gatling gun with a Maxim barrel replacing the Gatling.
Last, but not least, are my Japanese (above). The figures are mix between B&B Miniatures Russian Civil War Japanese infantry (the Japanese fought against the Bolsheviks in Siberia from 1918 to 1921) and Kennington Miniatures Boxer Rebellion Japanese infantry. The latter are very nice figures, although for some reason they seem to be incorrectly armed with percussion single shot rifles.
Backing up the Japanese infantry I’ve got a two-man HQ from Jacklex Figures and a field gun team. The gunners are B&B RCW Japanese again, the gun is another B&B Krupp conversion and the caisson (ammunition limber for those not familiar with the term) is from Irregular Miniatures. Also shown are another B&B Miniatures infantry unit in khaki uniforms. I based these on the description in the Osprey Men At Arms book on the Boxer Rebellion, which referred to Japanese wearing white or khaki summer uniforms, but I now know this to be incorrect, so at some point these will have to be re-painted in dark blue!
Altogether, including the incorrect khaki Japanese but excluding British Imperial forces, that give me around 150 figures.
So, on to the book review (or what passes for a book review)! I recently got a copy of Douglas Reeman’s historical novel “First To Land” for 50p from a charity shop. It’s set against the background of Royal Marines involved in China in 1900 at the height of the Boxer Rebellion, so it was right up my street. As far as the historical aspects go, it’s pretty good and I would say it gets across people’s attitudes very well e.g. 1900 Western attitudes to China and the Chinese people, and the combat operations are all described in detail and based around actual events. However, I had a problem with the main character and the inevitable romantic interest, to the extent that I felt it almost became a romantic novel with some combat in it, rather than the other way round. At least it wasn’t a long book and it was relatively easy to read, but it just left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. On the plus side, it was written before the advent of predictive text, so there’s only one typo in the whole book!
And having included that book review, I’ve now managed to make this post a bit too long for some people!