Thursday, 14 November 2019

Essential reading without agony

Regular readers should by now have grasped that I am a bit of an ECW nut. The period fascinates me. Not merely the gaming but the whole thing- the models the characters  the figure painting,  especially the history as without the history the gaming would be, for me, a pointless exercise of itself. No more than mere dice rolling. So with that in mind new ECW books passing across my ken are always welcome.
 This new one from Helion being no exception.
 The Dundar campaign and the Anglo- Scottish War of 1650-51- sometimes called the Third Civil War is a conflict I have read off and on over the years.. So Arran Johnston's book is very welcome. It is in the usual Helion format in their excellent Century of the Soldier series of which I own more than a few titles. This is a fine addition to the series.
 Physicall the book is a meaty  softback of over 200 pages so has a little more heft than some but the contents do live up to the billing.
 Mr Johnston knows his stuff.

Essential Agony : The Battle Of Dunbar 1650

The book covers the Dundar campaign very well indeed wit details on the armies and a god selection of colour plates and some excellent photographs of the terrain as it appears today. Indeed  the route of Cromwell's invasion of Scotland in 1650 is covered almost step by step. Oders of battle are included and the coverage of the campaign overall is very good.
 However Mr Johnston also sets the campaign in context so  there is also a potted history of Scotland during the Second Civil war and of course the political upheavals in Scotland itself. I learned thing I didn't know which for me is the benchmark for a decent history book.
 The volume rounds off the account of the war with the Worcester campaign - Cromwells Crowning Mercy which ended the Third Civil War.

Recommended reading.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

The Encounter at Fiddler's Rise October 1469

Another thin month at the Tantobie Warfare and Tactical Society with only three memeber available for this month's game. Nil Desperandum however the three of us amnaged a fine little 40mm Wars of the Roses punch up with my collection of models in that scale and period.
 It had been a while since these last saw the light of day though I had managed to add a couple of extra figures to the collection.
The battlefield, Fiddlers Rise top right Yorkists on the right of the picture 

Lancastrian troops 
Some of the Yorkists

 Most of these are from my own Romanoff Miniatures range of late medievals - including a good few conversions the cavalry are mostly Irregular and the guns - two are Hinchliffe /.Foremost the so called Heavy Culverin in the Landsknecht range and the large bombard a scratchbuilt item. The few cavalry were Irregular with a single "Mindstslker" model on a Sash and Saber horse that I picked up secondhand and rebased  a few weeks ago.

More of the Yorkists on Fiddler's Rise. 

 Rules used were basically Anthony Clipsom's set "Foray" with  some local amendments to add in gunpowder and changing his metric measurements back to inches simply because I don't see Medieval games in millimetres as that system had not yet been invented !  The rules are simple D6 based but have enough flavour to make them interesting. Simple mechanisms and none of the  farting about seemingly so desired by many "games players"  so decisions are left to the players rather than the rule set. For this kind of large skirmish - small battle they work very well especially as they leave room for the Umpire to fiddle about and make the players think a bit. The table was a bit smaller than our usual being only five feet or so square and terrain was as simple as possible - wooden blocks under the cloth with my venerable collection of Britain's trees for the woods on top of Fiddlers Rise.


The cavalry charge. 
So to the action. The Yorkist faction was take by Mechanical Shaun and the Lancastrians by Andrew the Tekkie. I allowed both sides free deployment - simply to see what each would do  and at first both sides played it defensively, Andrew scoring an early success with a flukey double to destroy the Yorkist gun. This caused Shaun to advance and arrows  flew  but without major damage to either side, though the Lancastrian artillery did  cause a few casualties. Then the Yorkist cavalry charged  a unit of Lancastrian archers- in Percy livery but under Oxford.s banner(see what happens when you give free deployment!)  Andrews dice rolling was to say the least awful - several hist but not a single kill and the horse crashed into the archers who then failed their post melee morale and broke and fled . The horse pursued and overan the lighter Lancastrian guns and disappeared off the table.
A melee- the growling began next turn. 

 In other parts of the field honours were more or less even. A Lancastrian charge was held- just- and , though neither side broke the Lancastrians retired both sides then growled at each other, In the centre Shaun had kept his heavily armoured men at arms together and these advance upon the Lancastrian centre which looked decidedly unnerved and began to pull back.. However the Yorkists - who were slightly outnumbered overall- did not fancy assaulting  up hill  especially without cavalry support and something of a shortage of archers. As I went to the bar to get them in the fighting died down amid mild slurping of fine ale as neither side had the numbers or morale to finish the job.

As usual our thanks to Landlady Jean for excellent Beef Butties and fine pints of Consett Brewery Pale Ale.  Now off to paint some more of these for another game next year. The next meeting of our group will be  sometime in November. Don't know what period yet - therein lies the interest!

Sunday, 13 October 2019

More Mutiny men- and a bit of refurbishment

What with the World Cup causing the odd bit of skiving off over the last few weeks tjre jas not been a lot of painting done. However there has been a bit here and there . Indian Mutiny and a bit of refurbishment of some older stuff that needed a bit of TLC .

  The Stadden AWI cavalry were first painted in the late 1980s and have been used on and off ever since so they needed a bit of touching up . The Mutineer High command figure is a mullah so doubtless will be called "mad" by the British in any upcoming battles.!
Refurbished Baylors dragoons 30mm stadden for my AWI collection 
A second shot of Baylors. I have a good numner of these still to paint. Most aquired more recently than these /

The possibly "mad" Mullah 
Hodsons Horse- on the older possibly a bit thin OG horses. These  horses are no longer supplied with the pack  so you can tell how long these have been in the collection.

British gun crew for the Indian Mutiny

Saturday, 7 September 2019

The tale of the Dropped Lancer.

This is my first blog post for some time. There are many and various reasons for this. Not least the minor fact that I did my back in  unpacking my last shipment form Old Glory USA. This slowed me down a bit as amongst other things sitting typing was bloody painful so I didn't do it. Equally  other work still had to be done- getting out the back orders and sorting out all the stock. After all there were 10 boxes of gear o sort out - about 3000 packs of soldiers- maybe a few more. We got it dome, my wife Carole and I, but it was several days slower than I would have liked.

  So you can see , Gentle Reader, that not a great deal of figure painting has been done in the meantime. Yet as I recovered and the pain became merely awful  I did manage to finish a few including the mysterious Dropped Lancer !
 In a previous post  I showed you a unit of Bengal Irregular Cavalry I had painted for the Sikh Wars.  but there were only 9 so - since there were all from one pack of Old Glory figures and they come in 10s where was number 10 ? Answer on the bloody floor where I dropped him  then lost him. Much later he made his presence felt when I stood on him in bare feet. Wrath and bad language did ensue! But the little chap was undamaged  so I plugged in a lance hand and a wire lance and painted him (FYI in many Bengal Irregular units weapons were initially a matter of personal choice and in some only NCO's carried lances in other more or even the whole unit it rather depends upon when and where )
 So here he is,

The 40mm medieval man at arms I picked up from Colonel Bill's along with several other  painted 40mm late medievals from the Italian "Mindstalkers" range. These are lovely  models, actually Fantasy but with a useful number of late medievals amongst them. I have piced up the odd one here and there from ebay. When new the price was utterly eye-watering at around £8.00 per foot fig so I don't buy them new. This chap is actually on a Sash nad Saber horse  and has been though several owners I think. He needed a bit of TLC to repaint dings and scrathes but was in respectable nick overall. So a bit of  repainting and rebasing and he will join my 40mm Wars of the Roses- Late Medieval collection.

The third chap is another 30mm Stadden  of significant vintage (possibly at least 50 years old) for "Shinyloo" Colonel of the 69th foot. He has no regiment yet but will have. I don't add to this- or indeed any other collection in an orderly manner I mostly paint what I want when I want and to the devil with order. After all this hobby is supposed to be.... er    FUN!!!

In other news the new Sash and Saber 28mm FIW range listing is up on the OGUK website.

At the moment it is showing as unavailable- and will until stock actually arrives.  But you can see the  list of figures and the UK prices.
I have never personally though it quite the ticket to sell stuff I have never actually seen or held in my hand.
 Now to be accurate I won't have everything- .Initially no snow shoe dudes and no Highlanders and not all of the regulars. they will come across in future or as chaps order them. You can order stuff by emailing me direct on and I will see if I can tag it on to my current order  or failing that  wait until the next one goes off to the USA.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

More Indian metal

Here are some pictures of a unit I actually managed to finish!
 Shock Horror!
 These models represent the 2nd Bengal Irregular Cavalry- Gardners Horse raised in 1809 by William Linnaeus Gardner. The models are from the Old Glory Sikh Wars range which is actually pretty large having some 40 or so different packs of models including all the major troop types plus a few others !  There are also useful models in the Indian Mutiny range.

 The first risalah there will be others to make the unit  up to about 24 cavalry 
though I auapect I shall only do one European officer. 
 These troops are very versatile. Not only can they turn out for full blown campaigns such as the Pindari War  and the Sikh Wars but also for the everyday small change  of recalcitrant Rajas and  Zemindars who don't want to pay their tax bills ! Plenty of scope for games of different types- but all with an historical background.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Kiss me Hardy ! (where's that) !

  Now it is not that often that the Tantobie Warfare and Tactical Society  go floating about on the Briny  but this month Theatrical Steve was in the chair and decided to run a Napoleonic Naval game.
 So with four members turning up to our usual watering hole in the relentless rain we grabbed our backstays and clewed up our fores'ls and set off
 Steves rather spiffing 1/1200 ships were on the table and the rules were a set called Trafalgar- which I had never seen before. This last not surprising since it had been a good few years since I had played Napoleonic Naval though it has always interested me off and on over he years- C.S. Forester and Dudley Pope's fault, devil a doubt, with a side order of Alexander Kent  and perhaps a soupcon of Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo!
Early in the Action- The French Austerlitz places itself in the path of the Royal Navy. while the rest of the French try to tack

 However enough of the frivolity and on with the action
 The French Squadron facing the stalwart tars of the Royal Navy considered of thee 74s and  the Austerlitz- first rate manned as usual by a lubberly crew- Shaun and Andrew !!  Under my own hand were 2 74s a 64 and Victory - a first rate, I also had the Surprise- frigate 32 which was carrying important despatches and needed to be seen out of harm's way until it could show the French a clean pair of heels  and glory of glories I had the wind !
Discussion of who can do what to whom and from which angle.

 No it wasn't the beer. I had the weather gauge which  gave me a reasonable and unexpected  advantage in the upcoming contest. I had my four ships in line ahead with the 64 leading ad Victory at the rear shielding the Surprise from the French ships.. With the wind against them the French had something of a task, but of course the wind can change  and we did get a fog  bank which fortunately dissipated before any harm could be done. the opening rounds were fired bu Austerlitz and replied to by my little 64  in a vain attempt to slow Austerlitz down to try to slip Surprize through the gap and away.  This didn't happen - round one to the French .
Austerlitz in the centre of the picture getting a spanking .

 However despite losing a fore mast the gallant 64 bow raked the Austerlitz twice and since the French first rate also received a stern rake from Colossus 74  she  became a floating wreck - scuppers awash wi' blood. Yes Gentle Reader the odious cubes were actually running my way for a change! Shock Horror - how unusual, but rather nice.
yes there is a lump in the sea which is also a funny colour as I could not find my blue cloth

So I hear you ask what were there rest of the French doing all this time. Short answer- trying to turn round against the wind. Not easy indeed mostly impossible especially as the wind stayed steady. Yet despite this there was more for the Royal navy to do. A miscalculation on my part led to Surprise losing a fore mast and later its main to French fire though  it cost the French one of their 74s as Victory - slower than the others(was he bottom foul?) finally came to the rescue and escorted the limping , but still mobile, Surprise away from the action.

 I was pretty impressed with the rules- there were bits I didn't grasp which almost led to a fit of pique but Steve explained slowly using nice short words so I got it in the end ! I will happily have another go with these- even if I don't get the wind !

As usual thanks to Landlady Jean for superb Beef butties and chips and to Landlord Eric for Consett Brewery's White Hot - an excellent "session beer"  for convivial toping whilst playing a spendid and different  game.
 Ships were all from Steve's collection and are Langton miniatures. Lovely models.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

India/ Generic troop types for 18th - 19th century armies

 As regular reader may know I have log been interested in warfare in India. Especially from the 18th century onwards. I have been slowly building up forces for the Indian Mutiny of 1857 but having said that other campaigns have taken my fancy. . The NW Frontier is an obvious one but also ealier campaigns of the  18th century- but not only the usual ones of Clive and Dupleix but also those of the Marathas and Haider Ali and Tippo Sultan.

2 shots of Matchlock armed Infantry. Variously called barkanzyes of Najibs. Al Indian forces used them - even as late as the mutiny rebellious zamindars still had numbers of these.

 Si it struck me that-aside from specialist forces for these campaigns I would ned sme generic  forces to represent those troop types that were scattered all over  India and fought for almost everyone at one time or another from 1760 to 1860. Now that IS stretching a point but it seemed to me, reading the sources that assorted matchlock armed infantry  fought in Indian armies from the late 16th century to around the time of the mutiny with very little change in appearance.
 As for cavalry- that is a bit more complex but from the mid 18th century onwards  the bow mostly disappeared- though I will have some bow armed heavy cavalry when I finish them- and firearms Lances and swords take the lead.
2 shots of the irregular cavalry. These kind of horse were about from the mid 18th century to around the 1840s. The use of armour declined but I would be happy enough using large mobs of these up to and including the Sikh wars and smaller numbers thereafter. 

 So here are a few pics of the initial results of this line of thought. Some of the cavalry were painted by Dave Jarvis about a decade ago and have been given a reviver.
 All the models are Old Glory 25mm - or 28 if you prefer and come either from the Sikh Wars or Indian mutiny ranges. I shall also be using packs from the Renaissance Persian range and  from the later Ottoman Turkish
Wonder where this project will end up?