Thursday, 14 March 2019

Shinyloo3 - The Affair at Trois Bras

Saturday 9th March 2019 saw a gathering of T.W.A.T.S. at our usual watering hole for the March game.
 I was in the chair and - surprise surprise thought I'd have a bash at another shinyloo game. My first thought had been the Indian Mutiny but they are not yet table ready so that will wait until later in the year. So Shiny it would be.
 As it happened both sides in this shiny war had received  reinforcements. The French had more Cuirassiers a 14 figure unit of Dragoons  and some more Line Infantry and the British had a few more rifles half a dozen more  Line Infantry and  the 1st Royal Dragoons- well a four figure troop thereof anyhow. Ancient 30mm Minifigs on Stadeen horses culled out of another ebay joblot with 3 more Scots Greys. The box of these is slowly getting smaller but there are still a good few too paint so the armies will continue to get bigger but Oh so slowly.
French Dragoons . Aged Hincliffe figures I picked up for a song. Once I had cleaned off the filth you could see that the chap who painted them knew what he was about. 

 So to the game Theatrical Steve took the British with Mechanical Shaun and Andrew the Tekkie taking the French. The scenario was based upon Quatre Bras but I only had enough road for three arms so Trois Bras it would be.
The Rifles hold Trois Bras. Mostly Stadden 30mm with a few Willies and a couple of Hincliffe. 

The idea was to have various forces arriving on table at different ties to see how the players would cope with not having access to all their troops at once. Also the French had to actually find out what they were facing and where it was..

Steve began by placing his Rifles- 2 companies -in the village of Tros Bras at the crossroads backed by a Footguards company and a weak company of the 92nd Highlanders.

The arrival of the 44th Foot.

Initially the French Dragoons came bowling down the road and  received fire from the Rifles which sent them back up said road at a somewhat smarter pace. However a Company of French Skirmishers using the other arm o moved onto the rifles flank and  caused a bit of bother eventually causing Steve to withdraw the Footguards to cover. At more or less the same time dark masses of French Cavalry started to appear  at the far end of the table. Cuirassiers, Chasseurs of the Guard and Polish Lancers all began to mass on the French table edge, Things were looking decidedly sticky for the Duke of Wellyboot!
More French troops arrive. Squeaky bum moment for Wellyboot .

However the Rifles clung on to the village- seeing off the surviving French skirmishers and just in time the 44th foot all 3 and a half companies  turned up and sloy moved through the woods. The following move as the French began to move forward with their cavalry the Royal Dragoons and the Scots Greys appeared on the British table edge. The Duke of Wellyboot's "squeaky bum moment" appeared over.
The Arrival of the Scots Greys and the Royal Dragoons 

 Shaun didn't hang about. A combined column of Lancers and Chasseurs of the Guard  steamed up the road towards the village at speed. However the Rifles were ready and being veteran troops held their nerve until close range ( decent dice for once from Steve) , The resulting volley emptied many a saddle and caused the discomforted cavalry to scuttle back and take shelter behind the newly arrived Imperial Guard Grenadiers.
The Frecnh thrust against Trois Bras,curtains for the Polish Lancers.

French Cavalry advance.Mostly Hincliffe - from the same source as the Dragoons but with some added Stadden and Willie
The French Standing about  The Imperial Guard Grenadiers are mostly Minot with some Stadded Napoleon Shinyparte is a Willie on a Stadden horse. 

 However the climax of the affair was at hand (!) Shaun's other cavalry, Cuirassiers and Dragoons moved past the village on the French left heading for the British baseline . Fire from a company of the 44th blunted but did but stop this daring thrust. The first Squadron of the Greys supported by the new shiny troop of Royals contercharged and a fierce two move melee ensured. Honours were more or less even but the casualties from fire and the fact that Steve still had a reserve squadron in hand meant that the French had shot their bolt even though the Royals were wiped out first time out !. On the other flank French Artillery had finally arrived  but its first rounds were singularly ineffective. Andrew was not pleased. At this point Andrew conceded and declared a British victory - even though no french Infantry - other than skirmishers had been involved. French morale had obviously been affected by the cavalry carnage.

The cavalry melee. The Royals will go down bravley but the French dragoons will also suffer. The reserve squadron of the Greys will then finish the business. 

Rules- once again we used "Charge!" but this time I added in the morale test from Grant's Napoleonic Rules. More work needed here but the combination adds just a little more subtlety and possibly flexibility  to the Charge system and I shall persevere  and have another go,

As is normal with us Lunch was Landlady Jeans excellent Beef Butties and chips washed down with Consett Brewery Pale Ale- or  a disgusting  brownish liquid known as er Coke- for the drivers- filthy stuff  but unavoidable for those driving. Rumour has it that your gentle Umpire actually consumed a "fruit based drink" before his first pint. Andrew was heard to mumble something about "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" but no - nothing alien I simply didn't fancy a pint at that time ...... or did I ......

I am really take with using Charge for smallish Napoleonic actions that are larger than the current vogue for "skirmish- a-likes"  The game had a total of 300 or so  figures available for both sides though not all appeared so it was not by any means a big action. Their is an awful lot less farting about using these over say Black Powder. For larger actions upwards General de Brigade would do as well or possibly better. Now to get more Bavarians and Austrians painted. It will be a while before they are table ready  but shiny 1809 is on the cards

Friday, 1 March 2019

Still Shiny After All These Years

Now perspicacious reader may notice the allusion to a Paul Simon song here - well in passing anyhow.. Always been a minor Fan of Paul and Art ever since I first saw "The Graduate" with a young Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft in the leading roles. That apropos of nothing at all except that I wanted a snazzy title for this post.
Stadden 30mm Cuirassiers. The designs are at least 50 years old. Some of these castings were pushing that when I bought them TLC required.

Although I have been ferociously busy this last month- busiest Feb I can recall-  I have still managed to finish a very few new figures for the neverending "Shinyloo" project which continues to grow. The next game in the ongoing series- again using Young and Lawford's Charge! from thr 1960s will be on March 9th at our usual watering hole. Once again Napoleon Shinyparte will try conclusions with  the Duke of Wellyboot. Each having slightly larger forces than last time out as I repair and paint assorted old retro style figures that I could not afford in my youth.
Close up of the officer- who needed a new sword and hand. 

 Yes this project is nostalgic. Yes it is self indulgent but it is also a distinct antidote to the dice rolling mania of much of today's wargaming- lite. However having said that Charge! is not a complex system to understand. indeed it is very very simple but such are its nuances that it  punishes gamesey non period tactics which is as it should be.
Voltigeurs and Grenadiers again Stadden 30mm  of considerable age.

So recent additions to Shinyparte's forces include some Stadden Cuirassiers as well as some more infantry .The British have had some more Scots Greys added and even a small troop of Royal Dragoons both of which were pictured in earlier shinyloo posts on this blog.
Close up of the Hornist and Officer. 

Now next on the painting table are some Old Glory 28mm Indian Mutiny as I want to get that project on to the table by the middle of the year if I can.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Painting services.

Now in my line of work I come across an awful lot of figure painters. Some very very good indeed. Some not so and some middling. Prices are the same ranging from a good deal to  WTF!! is he having a larf ! Now all of these are of course subjective value judgements not facts. People will pay for what they want so some bloke will be quite prepared to pay £30.00 for a single 28mm foot figure.  Especially if they only want a dozen for their whole"army" . Personally I won't. Hell will freeze over first. Of course I can paint a bit myself but do not have the stamina to be a full time painter. I like to paint what I fancy when I fancy and it is never- for me- about "finishing an army". No army of mine is "finished" unless I sell the lot, usually because it has not been used on the table for a few years. As I have said previously once I sort stuff out quite a few things will have a "For Sale" sign over them . This will include units by some professional painters past and present.
These little 10mm dudes are part of James Main collection. The figures are Old Glory Gradscale 10mm. Jim has also painted numerous units for me and does take commissions but is not a full time painter. He is a builder by trade. 
These 15mm Old Glory Africans were painted for me by Jez at Shakespear Studios. I have always found him very reliable.

However over the years I have used more than a few painters and even pursued one through small claims court- which amongst other things showed me that there are painters out there who are complete arseholes.
 To counter that however many are not. Many are sterling chaps.. Of those in my collection who are still working  full time as figure painters I heartily recommend the following Shakespeare Studios- Jez does the most excellent 15mm moderns including camo and is tasty at other stuff too- including Napoleonics. He did my Falkland War and Rhodesians as well as African Guerrillas. Oh and a lovely battalion of Austrian -Hungarian Grenadiers. All are on the Old Glory UK website. Dave Jarvis  painted stuff for me before he went full time and before I was OGUK. I only have 1 unit of his left- again on the website these being Sikh Wars Ghorracharra  cavalry.
These Sash and Saber 28mm Rebs were some of the first models Darren did for me back in the 1990s 
Old Glory 28mm Turkish Dellis- painted again by Darren Taylor
A bit of wierdness- Cairo Janissaries and Mamluks in 28mm . Old Glory figures again painted by Darren Taylor. The Napoleon in Egypt project there were for stalled a few years ago. I may revive it.

However when I was going back through my collection I realised that I have quite a few units painted by Darren Taylor- a chap I thought had stopped working- but I was wrong as we reconnected over a mutual client recently. Darren - even as I type is still at it. Over the years he has painted all sorts for me ACW, ECW Ottoman Turks and Napoleonics. The header picture for my first post of this blog are Kings Lifeguard that he painted for me in the late 1990s - still going strong.

These Sash and Saber Prussians were painted for me by Jim Main - as Hessians for my AWI collection. 
So yes there are plenty of painters out there doing a fine job but me I still like to paint my own. Some how I gives me a better sense of ownership of the units or armies in question.

More of Darren's Sash and Saber ACW in my collection. 
These 40mm Thirty Years War figures - Romanoff ans Sash and Saber were painted by me. Included here  simply to prove I do not only use painting services.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Floating about in the South China sea

The T.W.A.T.S.  most recent game was a modern Naval affair run by Andrew the tekkie

The link to his excelent Blog Tantobie Internet Tattler gives a detailed account of the fighting which ddidn't quite start the Pacific Rim War- but just might at a later date

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

NEW YEAR. Resolutions or Revolution?

OKay so here were are on January 1st 2019- well it was when I started writing this . A New Year. Will it make any difference?  Well prices will go up and the country to the dogs but that is simply normal . It has been - apparently happening since the Dutch sailed up the Medway !

So in the merry  hope of fiddling while Rome burns I am for the while going to ignore all of that shit and concentrate on important stuff such as what I am going to do with my figure collections and in toy soldier world in the coming year.

 Well in a nutshell it is going to be a case of expansion and contraction at the same time.
 Physically impossible I hear you cry ! Well no not really as I am going to expand some armies and  dispose of others that are no longer used or of interest.
 Indian Mutiny and indeed India generally- I am even starting to think about an early Sikh force for the very late 18th century, Rohillas too- should be fun sourcing those bits I can't get from various Old Glory ranges. Even Moghuls are a possibility.

Most recent addition to the Indian Mutiny forces. Old Glory 28mm but from the Crusades range and the Indian Muting range- mix in rather well/ 

Shinyloo and its offshoots will continue. Indeed a few more have been finished with more on the painting table.

More "Shinyloo" Scots Greys. Stadden 30mm of considerable age.
Old Glory 28mm Napoleonic Bavarians. Another shiny project slowly taking shape..

 ECW in its various forms is of course a constant and yes I want to do more games and continue to expand my armies both the Retro and Modern styles. I have about 50 or so ECW Scots foot to base  I I will also expand the 40mm though this tends to veer more toward the TYW  well sort of. Nevertheless a good few are later ECW for the 1648 campaign or even 1650-51. I do like 40mm for  small scale actions, the petit guerre as it were. Still need to settle on a set of rules. I have Featherstone which with a bit of fiddling might well fit the bill. Even if it is crap it will be better than the dross that is Pikemans Lament.
These 28mm Old Glory ECW cavalry are definitely staying 
and these.
and these 40mm Thirty Years War- Due for expansion I think.
40mm Scots too. My own Romanoff figures with Sash and Saber heads 

However the 40mm ECW is more of a modeling project than strictly a wargaming one. I make them because I like them. The same goes for the 40mm Wars of the Roses. there will be more of these as I want to do at least one and possibly more games in the coming year- Battle of Hexham perhaps or even Nibley Green.

In the smaller scales I still have a bundle of 15mm Ancient Germans to base up and the new Blue Moon Crusades range is really calling to me .
 I also fancy expending the 15mm Moderns but to be honest that is not a priority at the moment but maybe later in the year I will get a moderns kick on. You never can tell.

As for stuff that has done its time and needs to move on. Well 40mm Dark Ages and 40mm ACW  are top of the list and I am seriously thinking of thinning out my 28mm SYW collection. I also have a bundle of 28mm Moderns that have not seen a firefight for several years. Not since I went to 15mm for that period. None of this is pressing as I need to actually count the Dark Ages- roughly 50 Vikings/ Saxons and maybe 40 Normans  including 15 mounted knights ish !

These 40mm  lads- and their infantry as well as the Viking/ Saxon opposition could be finding a new home.

However we shall see.  After all it is only Mid- January

Monday, 24 December 2018

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas- HUMBUG! (or maybe not)

Well Dudes and Dudettes it is that bloody time of year again. The Crimbo madness is upon us. Not that I actually mind this of itself but when the adverts and shops start in bloody October it can get more than a bit much. So by the time I actually get to participate well, honestly I don't really feel like it. I need a rest thanks .
 However having said that and despite being over a week late posting due to work the T.W.A.T.S.  did get a meeting in last weekend- the 15th.  There were only 3 of us present myself Andrew the Tekkie and Mechanical Shaun and to be honest not a great deal of fighting took place in our refight of the Battle of Krimisos. An encounter between Syracusan Greeks and Carthaginians. There were several reasons for this of which more anon.
 However we started off with the best of intentions Shaun providing all of the troops and the initial idea for the game. I was umpire- although I started off as the Greek commander but Shaun - not knowing the Tactica system as well as I, was a bit unsure so I thought I'd Umpire in his stead. No worries.

The Greeks- all from Shauns splendid 15mm collection. 

 So we got going and the opening moves went well. The game was developing into a nice time and motion study. Could the Carthaginians get across the river and deployed before the outnumbered Greeks fell upon them and destroyed them  in detail?
Ehe Carthaginians- covered by thier chariots  try to form a battle line.

The Carthaginian Noble chariots (this was a pre-Hannibal army)  sorted out the Greek cavalry in short order giving Andrew time to deploy his Sacred Band and some other heavy foot in a battle line of sorts. The victorious chariots then unwisely charged some hoplites and came a bad second being destroyed in an untidy brawl which was not proper for such nobles- or so the social calender avowed!
The Greeks advace trying to close down the amount of space available for the Carthaginians to form up . The arrival of lucnh slowed everything down... 

At this point Lunch arrived. Now Landlady Jean had offered to prove we T,WA,T,S, with a suitable Christmas repast and since it would have been churlish to refuse we sat down and prepared to do said spread JUSTICE. A full 3 course dinner later- over the Coffee and Mince pies we decided that further physical movement was unwise in the extreme, at least for a while so play was suspended  whilst digestion took place.
At this point the weather intervened as an ice storm stuck NE England- a rare occurrence indeed and damned unpleasant as freezing rain struck already freezing surfaces and coated them in ice. Driving conditions were awful . So with some regret we decided to pack up and go home. Even packing up was tricky- ever tried carrying 300 hoplites over an uphill  ice rink. Not the easiest of tasks.
 Despite this turn of events we WILL retirn to Krimisos in the future . The battle has all the makings of a very refightable encounter .
 As always thanks go to Landlady Jean for here excelent catering and to Landlord Eric for the Consett Brewery's fine White Hot.
And Finally a bit of politically incorrect miniature seasonal cheers. Two 30mm Les Higgins Ladies - OOP since about 1973.

Right now I'm off to do a bit of Crimbo-ing - last day ans all that but what the Hell.  In the words of the great Noddy Holder 


Thursday, 6 December 2018

Arrivals before Crimbo

The season of Good Cheer is upon us so they tell me. Believe it when I see it myself!  Mostly it is a load of striped minty sweets!
However there is some good stuff about. This coming Monday UPS will be delivery a HUGE 20 box/crate Resupply to me from the USA. This should mean that loads of chaps waiting for stuff will have their patience rewarded. It had taken a while. I ordered  the bulk of this lot in mid October the added to it in Early November. In the meantime the USA had Fall-in- the show then the bloody mid-terms then thanksgiving all of which held the job up somewhat. Frustrating thinks I!!
 However all now appear well so on Monday begins the mammoth task of unpacking, sorting and despatching all the toys chaps are waiting for . Nit to mention putting together the next order which will go off just before Crimbo to arrive in time- hopefully- for the York show at the beginning of February
 Will I manage a few days off over Crimbo .Dammed right I will  though doubtless our Gloriuos Government will want its say about that bloody paperwork- and now they want to make it all digital- so it takes longer and they have more control over your every breath.