Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Terrain and stuff

It's over a month since my last post, and a busy month it has been. The family took advantage of cheap camper vans and we went to Northland for the school holidays. More on that later.
Wargaming wise, I've done a little bit of painting, but not as much as I would have liked. I've done quite a bit of terrain stuff though, so here comes the catch up.
I bought Infamy Infamy for the Gallic Wars, and although the figures aren't painted, I've prioritised terrain. So you can see below my hayfields, roads, marshes and Gallic homesteads. Also, half of the river - I've run out of Woodland Scenics 'realistic' water for the second half at the moment.
The new terrain collected together

Closer look at the Gallic homesteads with Renedra wattle fencing and resin buildings from Caliver Books' battlefield buildings range.

Change of period - we'll put a stone bridge over the river and march some Marlburians over it. 

The view from this direction gives a better of the effect of the realistic water. I feel it could do with being deeper...
C3P-0 and R2-D2

Death Troopers. An experiment of putting black contrast paint over a blue undercoat. It needed two coats, but pretty much worked.

General Veers

Taun Tauns for Craig.

I also painted a platoon of Goums for Chris and some villains and gangs for the Superheroes, but haven't taken any photos of them.

Northland is one of the more historic places one could choose to go in New Zealand, and our trip started with a detour to Ruapekapeka pa, the last battle of the Northern War in 1845-6. The rangatira Kawiti and 4-500 Nga Puhi warriors faced off against about 1300 British troops in a fortified position. It would have to be one of the best preserved of the battle pa left in New Zealand, which isn't saying much unfortunately. The gun pits and bunkers are still in place, although weather has taken its toll. I took photos of my daughter next to the 'holes in the ground' as a reference for how impressive the earthworks are.

Information board at the entrance  next to the car park.

Campaign map information board

Plan of attack information board

Looking toward the pa from the forward British position. It is the flat green area just behind the treeline.

The family at the gate after going down and then up a hill

At the pa - a carronade.

Number 1 daughter next to a bunker

Standing next to some of the entrenchments

Hopefully this gives an idea of their depth.

The Pou Whenua at the pa. A modern construction.

Walking back down the hill of the pa you can see the British forward and main positions in the centre of the photo.

Ruapekapeka is about 5 minutes off the main road between Whangarei and Paihia, and well worth a visit.
Flagstaff hill

The above is the flag pole that Hone Heke cut down multiple times - thus starting the Northern War (OK, there may be a bit more to it than that, and this is the replacement, not the original, but you get the idea).
We went to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, but my phone was out of battery, so no photos sorry. I highly recommend a visit though.
Hongi Hika's pa in modern Keri Keri

If you don't know anything about Hongi Hika, let's just say he made a name for himself throughout the North Island, becoming famous or infamous depending on where you live. Here is Rotorua I have seen him compared to Hitler (then again, what is an article without a sensational headline)! 
The Keri Keri Mission station and then general store - the oldest stone building in New Zealand. They had some Regal Enterprises 54mm New Zealand Wars toy soldiers for sale. I didn't buy any. Very restrained.

The lighthouse at Cape Reinga. The top of the North Island. 

Cape Reinga is quite a spiritual place (and that doesn't mean I'm about to open an aromatherapy shop). The legends say that the spirits of deceased Maori dive off the cliff here before heading to Hawaikii. But even without that, there is something about standing at the tip of your country that makes the hairs stand on end just a little bit.
Tane Mahuta - a 2000 year old monstrous Kauri tree.

So there we have the whirlwind sightseeing tour. One of the things about Covid 19 stopping international tourism is that Kiwis were out seeing their country in droves. It was fantastic, and we hope to use the next two sets of holidays to explore more with the kids. The only part of the country I haven't been to are the Wairarapa, Otago and Fiordland, so they are on the target list.

As to inspiration, the trip may have seen me commit to purchasing some Empress Miniatures figures, but more on that later.

I have some Star Wars Legion Wookies and rebel Pathfinders to paint for Craig. Then I aim to paint my armies for Infamy Infamy. Then Wild West Exodus figures for Craig. After that... well, there are plenty of options.



  1. Really enjoyed your post and pictures. Fascinating information on the Pa.

    1. Thanks. There's not much physically left of the New Zealand Wars. Ruapekapeka is probably the best preserved Maori Earthwork.

  2. My word, you have been busy! Really like the Star Wars stuff, but it all looks great.

    1. Cheers Michael. I'm loving that a good Star Wars tabletop game with fantastic miniatures exists! So the models get plenty of love.

  3. Nice to see you back Nate and great to see your trip up north - I think I have been to all these places - barring Ruapekapeka - but it was 25 years or longer ago. For some reason, we very rarely travel north - my wife has a bit of an aversion to the rod over the Brynderwyns! My last post but one mentions the game we played a year ago at Lake Tarawera using Empress Maori War figures and attempting to recreate the battle emanating from one of the flagpole chopping incidents.....

    1. Yes, it isn't the best road, although not as bad as I remember from the last time I went 20 years ago. Those Empress figures are beautiful.

  4. PS - my most recent post relates to my four day visit to the Wairarapa - definitely a recommended destination!

    1. Cool. I'm keen to head in that direction at some point.

  5. Good looking terrain, figures, and travel photos, Nathan!

  6. You passed up 54s?!?! Much more restraint than me!

    1. I know Reese - but they were $35 each! I was still tempted though.

  7. You’re certainly getting plenty done....
    Lovely scenery and historical sites...

    All the best. Aly

    1. Thanks Aly. Yes it has been a busy time. A game this weekend might be a good plan with that new terrain.

  8. Looks like you've been a busy boy! Love the bridge!

    1. Thanks Ray. I wish it half an inch wider, as the space between the pillars narrows and the 2"x2" bases don't fit.