Saturday, 8 January 2011

'Conquer or Die!' - A South American Diversion?

Well this one came out of nowhere and no mistake! You may recall I had mentioned that I had received a £20 gift card for use at Waterstones for Christmas from my son. I have looked in all three of the branches nearest to where I work and to be honest I was not hugely impressed at any the sale stock. Succumbing I suppose to the inevitable 'judging a book by its cover' or my insatiable appetite for obscure conflicts I spotted the above title. Written by Ben Hughes and published by Osprey the book is concerned with the British involvement in the wars of liberation in South America just after the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars. In particular, the aid given to Simon Bolivar and his campaigns to liberate Gran Columbia from Spain.

I must confess that the subtitle of 'A tale of defiance, courage, disasters and man-eating crocodiles' had certainly pricked my curiosity and the scale of the operations depicted appear to lend themself to gaming quite nicely - there is even a naval perspective for aficionados of the wind and water variety. In short then, it would appear to be ideal gaming material and I will report back when I have read it.

At this stage I cannot in all honesty see myself acquiring any kit for the period although given the huge amount of Napoleonic 20mm plastics available it would probably not be too difficult to cobble up something - I am almost certain that Hat Industrie produce Spanish Guerillas and many of the other uniforms could probably be 'painted over' existing figures. I will investigate this further but very much on a low priority basis.

As a postscript I should perhaps point out that the seed of an interest in this era (I am also sure there is a Sharpe novel set in the period) began back in 1979 when Eric Knowles managed to sell me (and some other equally wide eyed and naive gamers!) some 25mm Minifigs Napoleonic Spanish irregular lancers (complete with the customary wide bottomed horses) from some old stock from his shop - The New Model Army Limited in Manor Park, East London. As I recall the figures were wearing broad brimmed hats and as to what became of them I cannot recall. The plan to game the South American Wars of Liberation never progressed further than that despite the astute piece of salesmanship from Eric in clearing some old stock!


Steve said...

Sharpe's Devil is the one you are thinking of (and the one ITV hasn't filmed)

David Crook said...

Hi Steve,

Many thanks for that - is is any good?

I am not sure what direction this will take if at all but I will try and acquire the Osprey uniform title as well - just in case!

All the best,


Conrad Kinch said...

It's an entertaining read. I picked up a copy of Conquer or Die myself just before Christmas, though I haven't read it.

Hornblower did some gadding about in South America as well I believe.

David Crook said...

Hi CK,

I will keep a 'Sharpe' eye out for the Devil! IIRC Thomas Cochrane was involved on the naval side (at least somewhere in South America) so I will keep a weather eye out in that direction as well.

As I say, not sure how much mileage there is in terms of gaming for me but we will see.

All the best,