Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Pack Animals?

I thought that I would bring this subject to my blog because when you look at peoples blogs, either doing wargame shows or posting pictures of their current wargame, you don’t see any with pack horses being brought up to the front carrying spare ammo/food or bringing the wounded back from the field of battle or seeing them in marching columns moving across that well displayed gaming table.
Now I know that there are not many plastic companies out there that have these in their 20mm sets, but are these really worth putting into armies if you don’t use them? I think they are.

When I was running my wargame club back in the 80’s one of the members brought up his Airfix 01752 German Mountain troops and inside the box there were four pack horses in a walking pose. At the time he was going to start painting these but he had no intension of painting the four pack hoses. So I asked if I could have them and without any hesitation he said yes.

These were left in my too do box for a while as I then thought, well what am I going to do with them? Well we played a lot of little battles at the club and while we were going to playing a Zulu game, where the Zulus had to chase a column of British back to their camp. This is where they came into play. The Zulu’s had to capture these as they were carrying rifles for the British army. So I quickly painted these up (left of the picture) and made ready for the game in the following week. It was a frantic game as the British tried to get the rifles back to camp but failed to get them all back as the Zulu’s made off with two of them.
These four pack horses have all so played their part in the clubs Napoleonic campaign that we ran and it just adds that little bit of reality to the battle being played.

It was not until HaT started to bring out their plastic sets that I found some more pack horses. In their Prussian Foot Artillery 8007, there are again four of these in a box. As you know I have just finished painting this set up and have painted the four up on the right of the picture. Again they are horses walking and very smart they look too.
But look at the difference between the two sets. The Airfix horses are really small compared to the HaT set. So I started to look around with the other plastic companies to see if there are any more in their boxes.

The only ones I can find at the moment are the old ESCI 211 Italian Mountain Troops which have two mules but they are in a bucking pose, which really are not all that good looking. The Revell/Matchbox 02529 Anzac Infantry they only have the one and again, it’s a mule walking and again is not a bad figure to have. Waterloo 1815 have just released a new set of the WWII US Mountain Troops. These have three mules in the set and they look very good in a walking pose. I know that some of the plastic companies are going to include some more for future sets for this year. I am glad to have these in my army and I hope to add to them in the future. The good thing about these pack horses is that when they are painted up, you can use these for any period in history, so why not go and find some to paint up for your army and give it that different look about it?