Sunday, 15 March 2020

A Mighty Tome

While it would overstating the case to say my latest purchase from Helion's "Century of the Soldier" series gave my postie a hernia- it was a near run thing. This one is a meaty tome of some 400 pages

More Like Lions than Men : Sir William Brereton and the Cheshire Army of Parliament, 1642-46

It is also rather good and very useful.
 My knowledge of the Civil War in Cheshire was limited to R.N. Dore's dated but useful - and rather slim volume  plus the various  snippets in those books one may tem "The Usual Suspects"- Reid, Rogers and suchlike.
 The meaty volume fills that gap admirably.
 Sir William Brereton's Cheshire Army - fighting for Parliament- had never previously been studied in such detail and there is no doubt Mr. Abraham knows his stuff. Not only is there a narrative of Brereton's campaigns but more substantially details of units and organisation as well as  how the Cheshire Army was raised and paid for.
 We find out that Cromwell was not the only officer to have a "double Regiment" of cavalry- Brereton's was also a large regiment- though it did tend to fight in smaller sub-units that Old Noll's Ironsides. The colour section contains illustrations of many of the Cornets of the individual  troops of Brereton's Regiment along with - amongst other photos a rather splendid one of a re-created Dragoon.
It may well be that my ECW figure collection will now gat a Cheshire continget- to fight the "Lings Irish"- when I get a hold of THAT volume.
  This one however is highly recommended.

 Coincidentally arriving on my doormat a few days late was my copy of JSAHR Journal for spring 2020 . If I was only allowed to keep one  set of magazines or Journals  and had to dump the rest  it would probably be this one. This Journal is at the top of the list that most  current wargames magazines are near the bottom of in terms of choice of magazine reading. While the Arquebusier- Journal of the Pike and Shot Society runs it close. The JSAHR journal  covers a wider timespan. This issue no 392 has articles on the ECW, WW1, The War of Austrian Succession and the War of 1812 and very particular and detailed for their specific subjects they are- I now know the names and heights of some of the Drummers in the Canadian Fencible regiment for example!. This is not a usual wargamers lightweight read but for those of us who like to delve a little deeper.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

TLC for Old Lead Dudes!

 It cannot have escaped the notice of regular readers of this blog that I am rather partial to old and out of production 30mm model soldiers. Mkars such as Stadden ,Willie, Les Higgins and Barry Minot  do blow my skirt up certainly much more than the  sometimes rather tedious stuff you see about these days.

2 shots of the repaired Hussar. Painted as the British 7th Hussars. I have another half a dozen or so of these to restore- none need as much work as this chap did.

This is not to say that all modern stuff is boring, far from it,  there are a good number of modern makers I like and respect,but a good bit of it really lacks movement and style and that indefinable "difference" that makes it stand out from the crowd. Of course if you want your collection to be the same as everyone else's in some kind of conformity dictatorship go ahead , but not me...
  As I type this I am reminded of an incident that  happened on one of my trips to Historicon- a good few years ago now. I was doing a stint on the Old Glory booth and was talking to a rather pleasant chap who was interested in Napoleonics..... but wasn't going to buy any because he had to get WW2 "because Randy said so". Said Randy seemingly owned the gaming group because it met in his house of somesuch- the details now escape me but I still recall my own distaste at this .. after all it wasn't Randy's bloody money. Even then my thoughts were unprintable vis a vis Randy even though we never met. Peer pressure - shove it where the sun never shines- hopefully with sharp edges.
 So perhaps the foregoing illustrated in part my distaste for that kind of conformity in life as in wargaming-

"What are you rebelling against?"
 Whaddaya Got?

 Some things never change !

So these older 30mm are distinctive and different that is why I like them.
There is a downside. I often buy second hand groups of these and they are  sometimes not in the best of conditions so restoring them has become part of the hobby for me. The Stadden 30mm  hussar in the photos arrived without a sabre and his  Willie horse without a tail. I also had to add a saddle girth and other harness. From metal foil from a decent bottle of Burgundy as  I recall but almost any such foil will do. The sabre came from the spares box and if French as I didn't have a British 1793 pattern in hand and the horse's tail from an old Old Glory horse which I had managed to break at sometime in the past. .
Guard Horse Artillery. These did not need a huge amount of restoration beyns a few tools and a repaint.

 The Imperial Guard Horse Artillery are all Stadden 30mm crew but with Sash and Saber  guns as the bag of crewmen were gunless when I bought them.
 All of these figures will go into the ongoing "shinyloo" project which is currently growing  a bit for a public outing later this year.. Of course when I bored with old and shiny I will go off and paint some new and matt- Sikh Wars or Indian Mutiny .... But for now it is shiny in the driving seat ... but then I do have those Sikh Cuirassiers to finish......

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

A Proper Mixture.

 These days  you are supposed to have units of identical perryclones, the "discussions" about millimetres are endless and while it can matter in 15mm vs 18mm  at least some of the time within the ranks of anything from "25mm" via "28mm" to "30mm" it matters far less than  you would think.
  The   company of the 92nd here actually has  five different makers within its ranks. None of them  sold as "28mm" which as a size did not exist when they were made. It has to  be said now that one or possibly two of the makers now call the same figures 28mm to follow the Foundry fashion of the mid 1990s  .
A Proper Mixture. 

 The rest- those that are still available are called 30mm
 So the makers are  Hinchliffe(Foremost), Connoisseur,  Stadden , Willie and Minot of which only the last is now unavailable.
All of these model are at least 30 years old - some significantly older- the Willie and Stadden figures sculpted in the 1960s or early 70s the Foremost a little later and the Connoisseur either side of 1980 but before 1985  I think and certainly well before 1990.
3 officers  Stadden, Connoisseur and Willie.

I like the mix- most are a bit OTT as befits a unit who are about to charge along with the Scots Greys they fit the bill for me. There is none of the tedium of so called perfection here. I like my units to move to be animated- at least some of the time and for some periods.

Sorry lads the Greys are at the other end of the table ! 

Friday, 24 January 2020

Bengal Light Cavalry 1845

So here is a small unit of the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry. Actually the 2nd Squadron. the finished unit will have at least three. The Sikh Wars and "Sepoy Army" project moves with glacial slowness but it moves.
 Figure are of course Old Glory 28mm  from the Sikh Wars range and all the figures come from one pack ASB-22 to be precise. I still have 4 more troopers to finish. The oversized flag is a repainted GMB napoleonic British one and the flag finial isa Raven Banner one- which I also sell.

3rd Bengal Light Cavalry. The Officer is in Full Dress.

I have wanted a "Sepoy Army" for many years as well as a selection of their enemies- of which the Sikhs were the most formidable perhaps. Finally it is starting to move that way.

Another shot of the 3rd

Add these to the other units I and Jim have and we will soon have enough for a small intro game. 

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Too busy to Blog ... well almost

Well been a while since I wrote a proper blog post. Frankly what with Crimbo and trips to hospital and recovery from said trip there has not been a lot of time for fripperies. Figure painting especially has suffered and is likely to suffer for some time. However I did manage to get a few things added to a couple of projects over the last month or so. 
 So however slowly we progress - little by little but we progress.

30mm Retro AWI. A mixture of Stadden and Willie with a single PMD fifer I picked up somewhere. The flag is foil from a rather nice bottle of Pugliese. I could have used paper but that somehow did not suit the reto zeitgeist!! 
 Additions to the Retro AWI collection first. This is not yet a stand alone collection- unlike retro Napoleonic- aka "shinyllo" or the considerable retro ECW collection I have. I do have good numbers of unpainted figures but currently the painted collection is fairly small and so gets used with the  bigger "modern" AWI collection I have. Betweem the two groups there are enought units for a decent game  using either retro or modern style rules. I like British Grenadier as the modern set and possibly Charge ! or Featherstone for retro.
Another view of the infantry unit- which has more to be added. Sorry tht the rattlesnake looks more like frexh doggy -poo but it does not always go according to plan.

American dragoon in Hunting shirt. A willie 30mm  found in a secondhand job lot. 

Another of the dragoon. 

Not everything is "retro" style. These Bengal Light Cavalry are from the Old Glory 28mm Sikh Wars range. The pack includes command but they are still on the painting table. 

Another shot of 3rd BLC. They are in the pre- 1847 uniform 

 Otherwise the  EIC India collection is slowly  growing the very first of the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry  for the First Sikh War - and earlier are done as are some Bengal Irregular Cavalry - shown in an earlier post. With my mate Jim also painting units this will be a new period for un in gaming terms though I have had my eye on it for years in terms of books and reading up on the period and of course on the Indian Army in  general. It is actually touch and go which bit of my library is the more extensive, India or the ECW, both have numbers of books. India covers a larger timespan with numbers of " sub- species" so it very probably the larger- though I have never counted.

Off to bloody hospital again later this month then will have to spend a small fortune on new glasses but there you go. Looking forward to Vapnartak in York in Feb- loads of new stuff that has never been to a show . At least three new ranges. More of that in a later post.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Christmas Humbug 2019

 Here at the Ebenezer Scrooge Christmas Appreciation Society we are gearing up for the Festive Season. Now I do quite like Christmas but NOT the over commercial  consumer -fest of outrageous greed that the Supermarkets and Department store adverts would have you buy into at peril of your health for the coming year.
 Frankly after a busy year I and my wife Carole are looking forward to a few days of P and Q.  As is so often the case weather we actually get it is in hands other than our own.
 Nevertheless as usual our last posting day will- this year- be Friday 20th December as the chances of anything else getting anywhere in time after than date are minimal to say the least.
 So Carole and I will be taking  a few days off  as we usually do at this time
 Hopefully I can catch up on a bit of painting though doubtless Government Bullshit will get in the way of that but I also have a couple of other projects in the works which need time to mature- of which more later.
 Overall though a bit of downtime isin the offing to recharge the battieries for next year.
  So Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.

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.