Shufflin’ off to Buffalo, er Wazzu

Herd 1

A chunk of my growing buffalo herd. Monday Knight Production buffalo in the foreground, being trailed by a more diminutive Dixon bison.

Taking a week away to attend my final student journalism camp.  It’s been five or so years in Bellingham at Western Washington Universtiy, about two and half hours away from home.  This year, due to construction in Bellingham, and the sweet deal offered by the Murrow School, camp has moved to Pullman in the opposite corner of the state, about five hours from home.  Today is mostly a travel day, tomorrow a work and preparation day, and then journo kids from Wednesday until about noon Saturday when things wrap up and I return home.

I’ve enjoyed my 13 summer camps, but this is last unless there is some awfully strong persuasion to convince me otherwise. Time for me to move on.

One of the projects I won’t be able to work on is my Buffalo Hunt game. I’ve been pretty steadily painting figures for this project.  Chiefly, i”m working on buffalo.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Smyth, a buffalo, is a buffalo, is a buffalo, get on with it already.”

And, of course, you’re right, sorta.  But they really aren’t and I’d like to offer my observations and recommendations. I’ve ordered the beasts in 28mm from five different manufactures, and here you go.


These are perfectly usable miniatures.  They come five to a pack for $15, which is a perfectly reasonable price compared to other manufacturers.  Available as part of Old Glory’s Cowboy range, they are cheaper if you have an Old Glory Army membership.  They are well-cast, with some, but not an unreasonable amount of flash.  There is a variety of types, including what looks to be a calf.  I found them quite easy to paint.  Highly recommended.


I gave two British manufactures a try.  Dixon was very easy to work with.  They have two varieties of buffalo.  I ordered four of each.  With the exchange, they were about four bucks each, plus shipping.  They are clean, well-cast, and easy to paint.  I found them to be a little small, but not ridiculously so.  Might work best with true 25mm figures or as part of herd, or just with other Dixons.  Not bad figures at all, but not my favorite.

Monday Knight Productions

These figures are old school, and part of the true 25mm Desperado range.  They are clean, and I like their size.  They come two to a pack for eight bucks, and I bought four packs.  They lack the detail of other figures, and aren’t super animated.  But I really like ’em.  They were easy to paint, and I like their proportions, though they do seem a tish flat. A little past their prime.  They come with their own large base, which makes them unique.  But I like ’em.

Acheson Creations

These large resin miniatures are from Acheson’s Primaeval Designs of Prehistoric Mammals.  They are called Steppe Bison and at seven bucks a throw, they are the most expensive of my buffalo miniatures. I need 36 buffalo for my project, and I certainly wouldn’t use 36 of these babies. But they are terrific castings–well cast with loads of detail and animation.  I use them as the leaders of each obstinacy (yes that’s what a group of buffalo is called) of six buffalo.  They do require some care.  They do have a little bit of flash, and require some soaking in soap and water to get that release agent off.  If you don’t do the latter, your figures will shed paint. After that, they are much fun to paint.  The absolute best of the lot, if you can afford them.

Foundry Figures

I should just leave this space blank because I don’t have them.  Ordered figures on June 17th, confirmed by e-mail on June 18th.  They are clearly coming by container ship through the Malacca Straits, Hong Kong, and Guam. This service is unacceptably slow by any important manufacturer, but especially one of such importance as Foundry.  Patooey.

This project still has some work to finish.  I thought I had enough Comanche figures, but decided to add another dozen foot figures from Warlord Games.  I still have almost all the Achesons to paint and one more pack of WestWind’s, but I find them fun and easy to do, so no biggie.  The Comanches are another story as they are special orders.  So we’ll see.

Look, I’m Painting Stuff: Hessian Grenadiers

Hessian Grenadiers 001

School is back in session, and having a much different course load than in years past is taking its toll on me.  I passed on last weekend’s Fix Bayonets, an excellent little game gathering at Old Fort Steilacoom in west Pierce County.  I hope it went well, and to all my friends I’m sorry I missed you.  Next game on the docket is Fire and Fury at the same Old Fort Steilacoom.

My games have been fairly few and far between.  I haven’t reported on my Labor Day Weekend gaming in Astoria, which I will do in the next day or so, but aside from that I’ve been pretty unavailable. But I have been painting.

I am kind of in a mood in which I’m painting whatever I damn well please.  First on the docket here is the Hessian Grenadier Regiment von Rall.  It was the only grenadier unit stationed in the south during the later years of the American Revolution.  The regiment changed names at least twice during the war.  The unit was sent to Savannah, where it fought French and American forces and took heavy losses. Von Rall was also at the siege and capture of Charleston and was rotated back to New York in 1780.  Unfortunately the grenadiers were not present at the big battles of the southern campaign, but for a one off game who knows.

The figures are by Foundry.  They were easy to paint.  I was short a couple of grenadiers so leavened them with an extra officer or two.  I found them fun and easy to paint, nothing difficult. They are the first Hessians I’ve painted for my somewhat dormant AWI project. But they certainly aren’t the last.  I have the Old Glory figures to paint the von Bose regiment, present at Guilford Courthouse. I also have some stray Front Rank Hessians I may fill out to 24 figures each for another musketeer and fusilier regiment.

The big “new thing” I tried out with this unit is the addition of GMB flags.  I’ve always been a flag cheapskate, downloading flags from free sites and taking what I could get. With this unit I decided to change.  Giles Allison uses GMB flags on his magnificent units. I have friends that use them.  Heck, what’s wrong with me.  I ordered on-line, which was easy enough. But I did catch them on vacation.  It probably took 2+ weeks to get them from the U.K. They aren’t cheap at three quid 45 pence, but they are beautiful and the color and detail is amazing.

A little closer up of the GMB flags. Very nice. Worth their cost.

A little closer look at the GMB flags. Very nice. Worth their cost.

Last night based the figures and added the flags.  I carefully cut them out and and wondered what to do with them next.  It would be helpful if GMB included suggestions or directions or at least posted some on their site.  Thankfully you can find anything on the internet, and was able to find some forum posts that were helpful.  I didn’t feel too adventurous first time out so the flags look pretty straight, but it does show the detail off nicely.