Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Madasahatta revisited

Way back in the mists of time (well at least thirty years ago!) there was a wargames shop in Manor Park, East London, called NEW MODEL ARMY. It was owned and run by Eric Knowles ... and to me it was almost heaven on earth! Not only did Eric have a large stock of wargames figures on sale (mainly Minifigs and Hinchliffe) and the usual wargames paraphernalia you would expect to find – books, paints, brushes etc – but his shop had a basement where a few invited wargamers were allowed to join him to fight tabletop battles. I – and a young man named David Crook – were amongst the chosen few, and we were both lucky enough to have taken part in Eric’s massive ‘Madasahatta’ campaign.

The background to the campaign (along with copies of the campaign newspaper that appeared during the opening months of the year-long campaign) can be seen on my Colonial Wargaming website, and regularly revisit it every so often because it brings back so many fond memories. But that is not the reason why I am currently studying the campaign map with a degree of intensity. The reason lies in a chance remark the David Crook made to me in a recent email.


What David asked was whether I thought that the map could be recreated in 3D on a six foot by four foot tabletop using Hexon II terrain tiles … and whether I had enough figures to re-fight the campaign using the sort of rules I outlined when I fought THE INVASION OF ROHAN wargame in July.

On reflection I am not sure that it is possible to recreate the island of Madasahatta on a six foot by four foot tabletop using Hexon II terrain tiles (the island is a funny shape, with all sorts of irregular inlets) … but I think that it might be possible using Heroscape™ terrain tiles. As to figures … well I have quite a sizeable number of suitable 15mm-scale figures mounted on both single and multi-figure bases so it might be possible.

I am hoping that this is not going to turn into an itch that I just have to scratch … but somehow I think that it might!

12 comments:

  1. You, sir, are not alone in occasionally looking at the Madasahatta campaign. Every so often I do too. How lucky you were to be a part of it way back when.


    -- Jeff

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  2. Thanks for posting this Bob. I have heard a lot about this campaign over the years (mostly from you...) so it's nice to see the map at last.

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  3. Hi Bob,

    That was a campaign and a half to be sure and was probably responsible for many of my own adventures over the years - especially for bringing to my attention the Seydlitz and the Turks although they did not really take off until the SE Asia campaign that followed Madasahatta.

    Heroscape would work for a more detailed mapping of the island in 3D - I did not get a chance to tackle this over the weekend - but I will see what I can come up with using Hexon. It will probably need some fudging around the edges but should still be doable. I would look to use the blocks rather than figures.

    I will certainly be interested to see how this goes and if the end result captures even a small amount of the spirit of the original it will be a job well done!

    All the best,

    DC

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  4. Bluebear Jeff,

    The experience of taking part in the 'Madasahatta' campaign was one of the most important influences on my life in wargaming, and I pleased that it does not just reside in the memories of those who were lucky enough to take part.

    I was also very pleased to see that you have enjoyed reading about it, and that you might just have gained a little inspiration for what you have read.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Tim Gow,

    I do have some larger-scale map sections somewhere in my files, and if I get the chance I will try to scan them so that others can share them ... and possibly use them.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. David Crook,

    'Madasahatta' inspired so many of those who took part that it needs to be given some sort of recognition ... and you and I can do that via our blogs!

    The Heroscape hexes are smaller than Hexon II ones, but should be large enough to contain one of your blocks. If so, then re-fighting ‘Madasahatta’ (or some version of it) becomes possible. If I get time, I may well give it a go … and if I manage to get anywhere you can be sure that I will write a blog entry about my efforts!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Hey Bob question for you? I am looking for an easy way to make a few campaign maps on the computer for our book Paul and me are writing . I looked at the free G.I.M.P. program to download but it looks very complicated to learn. I like the look and feel of ‘Madasahatta’ (or some version of it) ... Any suggestions here mate? Please post back to chorney.jeff@gmail.com
    Chasseur

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  8. Nice map and sounds like a great campaign. Thanks for sharing. In regards to Chasseur's question, GIMP has a steep learning curve but is a very powerful FREE tool that can be used for making maps. I have heard many good things about Campaign Cartographer (not free) software. You can also go to Cartographers Guild for lots of tutorials and advice.

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  9. Chasseur (Jeff),

    I am pleased that you like the Masasahatta map. It was drawn for Eric Knowles by a member of the group who took part in the campaign, and I am unsure what program they used to draw it. I will be in contact with you directly as soon as I can to explain how I draw my campaign maps.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Sean,

    It was my pleasure to share it with you ... and thanks for the information about both GIMP and Campaign Cartographer. I am sure that Chasseur and other will find it useful.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Not the Eric Knowles from the Antique roadshow per chance?

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  12. Tradgardmastare,

    Not the same person, I am afraid.

    The Eric I knew used to work for the Daily Mirror before taking early retirement and buying his shop, the former WALL MODELS.

    Eric Knowles was one of the 'generals' at the famous Battle of Waterloo wargame that took place in 1965 (see here).

    All the best,

    Bob

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