Thursday, 19 May 2022

In the Shine again ....

 I've been up to my armpits in India recently - well as far as figure painting goes anyway  so I feel as if I have rather neglected 'shinyloo' and indeed other retro-wargaming projects.. I've done the odd figure or two but no new actual finished units. But I simply can't leave the shiny dudes alone ! 

When I look at my 'shiny' collection it covers three periods 

 ECW which is probably the largest of the three and  is still - very slowly- growing or at least is intended to grow as I have some Hinchliffe cavalry  to finish as well as about a regiments worth of foot- some to be added to units I received in the big bundle of shiny ECW my wife bought me for Crimbo some years ago and to which I have added quite a few bits to since, more cavalry for both sides mostly . Still some reconditioning to do  and 'painting in the style of'  to finish units. About 500 figures and far far too many guns.

A pair of very aged 30mm Minifigs after a bit of TLC. These are the only examples of these particular models that I have  but then I do rather like them. 

Napoleonic. Shinyloo' of course which is mostly a 30mm collection  and has posts of its own. Still being added to. At some point in the future I would love to do a 'shiny-demo' at a show . A pastiche of wargaming in the 1970s .... wonder if I still have a kipper tie ! This collection is now knocking on the door of about 350 finished figures and still growing Loads more to do at least 3 and a bit shoeboxes full oh and a veggie box full of limbers and guns and well ; stuff. ..

Two Stadden 30mm  Mamelukes. These will join the Chasseurs A al of the Guard. 

Old Glory Bavarians  for 'Shinynine' when it gets properly off the ground. 

I also have some more modern Napoleonics - Old Glory of course  for 'shinynine' an 1809 project in the same vein as 'shinyloo' , This hasn't really got off the ground yet as I have only done a few French and Bavarians and a single Austrian Uhlan unit.

Napoleon Shinyparte ! Boney is a Willie  but on a Stadden Horse

Finally 'shinyrev' The AWI in 30mm using mostly Stadden models with a few Willies. Still less than 100 models rebased and shined up  but more to do. including a good number that  are already painted, some by Dave Jarvis when he was much younger than he is now ! Most need a bit of TLC and rebasing as they fought through the 80s and 90s and even into this century and nice new shiny coats. These were the first 30mm I ever bought back in the 80s. I've added numbers since . I've 2 shoeboxes full of unpainted castings

An Finally a few Stadden  30mm AWI

Oh ... and just to be clear I have plenty of armies that are not shiny. Shiny does not suit everything. 

Monday, 16 May 2022

First De Boigne Battalion.

  So here is the first battalion of the First Brigade of the Army of Hindustan in about 1792 or thereabouts.

First Battalion First Brigade. Army of Hindustan .

 Models are First Corps with Old Glory AWI command  with some head swaps. The gun is an old Minifigs 30mm piece - which they probably won't keep.. Each battalion will have its own 'gun company' as in the original. So each model battalion of 24-30 figures will have in addition a gun and grew representing the 4 guns and a howitzer of the prototype. 

By 1803 there were 5 'brigades' in this army each of 10 battalions, more or less plus  cavalry  backed by hoards of not always useless irregulars horse and foot. In addition there were other 'trained brigades'  who would also fight the British and  give Wellington the fight of his life at Assaye..

Closer view - each battalion had its own integral artillery..

 The British- with more than a touch of paranoia often  called the recruiting grounds of this army in Northern India 'The French State' - which it wasn't but Boney did attempt contact with Pierre Cuiilir Perron the French Officer who succeeded De Boigne in command of the Army.

The period  fascinates and there are some decent books on the subject - by Helion naturally,

 Josh Provan's excellent 'Bullocks, Grain and Good Madeira' gives a fine account of the Second Maratha War from the British perspective with plenty of info on the battles and a lot of fine stuff on the difficulty of supply . I heartily recommend this book.

First of the British opposition. European artillery . AW miniatures figures with a Sash and Saber gun.

 As for the other side a little toot on my own trumpet here as my own study of the Maratha forces 'Their Infantry and Guns Will Astonish You' is also published by Helion. This covers in detail the formation of the Maratha regular forces which would oppose Wellesley at Assaye and give His Noseship  some tough memories of battle for the rest of his remarkable career. 

 Napoleonics in strange parts of the world ....

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Catching up on my Reading -12

 Wargames Soldiers and Strategy.

 I have not reviewed any magazines for a couple of years. That is mostly because I don't see that many these days but also because those I do see often have so little content once you get past the sometimes useful  product reviews.

 So it was with no little pleasure that I discovered WSS no 119 actually had something to read in it once I got past the useful product reviews.

The featured subject this issue is Napoleon's Imperial Guard and the mag has 6 articles which feature various aspects of the Guard . These 6 include 3 scenarios for Napoleonic games none of which patronise me or treat me as if I was 14, this in itself is a major plus point as frankly I get seriously tired of magazine articles that assume I need fingers for the long words. The article on the Battle of Hanau was particularly interesting - an excuse to use Bavarians in an historical context.

    Other articles include one on early Tudor armies US Paras in Normandy and a nice  one on the Welsh Marcher Lords - actually Normans of course with a scenario for fighting the Welsh..

 All of these articles had a little historical intro to set to scene and introduce a little context  before getting into the scenario - if one was included  which for the 'how to' on the Tudors it was not.

 As usual the mag is filled with eye candy - all in the 'received style' but mostly none the worse for that though perhaps  some different styles of modelling and painting could be included once in a while - mind you the tiny 2mm(?) Romans and Germans were certainly different. Still it would be nice to see some 15mm , other than tanks, once in a while.

 Rick Priestley's 'This Gaming life' column  definitely struck a chord - much of its purport was on the use of Umpires - which is something I have been in favour of  since at least the 1990s- all the games featured on this blog are Umpire controlled and I wrote and article on Umpiring for MW several years ago now. Nevertheless  it is nice to see someone else advocating a similar set of methods. 

If I had a complaint it would be that on the whole the articles were on the short side - but then that seems to be the prevailing fashion these days. Some seem to find more that a couple of thousand words too much for the brain.

Still a fine mag indeed. Best mag I have seen for some months. . Recommended 

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Old India Hands ....

 Regular readers will know I'm a fan of 30mm model soldiers- specifically those of Stadden and Suren - but other makes too such as Barry Minot.

 Now most of my 30mm collection is Napoleonic - see the numerous 'shinyloo' post on this blog- but I also have a number of colonials  from the same makers- Stadden and Suren that is, I don't have any of Minots 30mm Colonial output yet.

I've picked up various Stadden colonials over the last few years  to go with the small number of Suren models I already have(but that need rebasing and a bit of TLC to get them back on the table as they were painted about 30 years ago).. Definitely old India Hands . These old chaps have a movement and style that is  lacking in many modern over produced models, even if sometimes detail may be lacking- after all you can paint that, style is not. Also you can tell one make from another . These days that is often more difficult  with the upsurge in perryclones and 'received presentation'. Whatever happened to individuality?

 Stadden 30mm Sikh  troops  though the mounted officer is a Connoisseur figure on a Stadden horse. 

A single Stadden 30mm sepoy. These match with most'modern' 28mm.

Close up of the Officer,

 All of these were for the 1897 Pathan Revolt or indeed for other North West Frontier campaigns and over the years I've added units using Old Glory models as well almost all for the British- Indian army. All I need now is to paint a load more Pathans 

A pair of old Willies- yes I have used that line previously but they are.
 These were painted about 30 years ago and are now up for rebasing and refurbishing.

The last photo  on this post is a bit of an oddity.

 I only have 14 of these wonder what happened to the range?

 There are 25mm figures made in the late 80s /early 90s by an outfit called- I think Valiant Miniatures - but I may be misremembering. They were sculpted by a chap called Peter Rogerson  who I know is still working  as he has just made some 40mm for a client of mine. These 2 are 'French Sepoys'  and the range   as I recall had several Indian figures in it  for the  late 18th/ early 19th centuries- Wellington in India in wargamerspeak- Madras Sepoys and Bengal Native cavalry  as well as a few irregular types. They were British when I knew them but migrated to the USA - possibly under another name - anyone any ideas  if they still exist? 

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Catching Up on My Reading 11

 Magazines and Journals. 

Had a small crop of magazines and Journals recently  all of them interesting and informative in their  differing fields and  while all 3 had fine historical content, only 1 had anything directly to do with wargaming, which in the event was no bad thing. 

 Indeed these days I rarely see any of the 3 glossies- even when I advertise in Miniature Wargames the 'voucher copy' is  an e-copy via Pocketmags which isn't ideal, bearing in mind my eyesight problems. Even having said that, said glossies rarely have anything in them to engage my interest these days beyond the reviews. Many of the articles seem irredeemably lightweight or about  yet another 'game'  with 'innovative mechanisms'  and quite possibly more sodding Zombies (Gawd 'elp us) which I am never likely to be interested in  as it was some time since I was 12.

No longer my idea of 'fun' , if indeed it ever was. No I prefer- and mostly have preferred (barring some occasional light relief) something with a little more depth rather than more of the same old same old.

 So on to the three publications under my spotlight for this episode


 First BBC History magazine. This is a monthly that my wife bought me a subscription  for a couple of Crimbos ago  and yes I have kept on taking it because it ALWAYS has something of interest within its pages. This time the cover says it best but there is also a fascinating article on the  English Republic  as well as numerous reviews. Now I don't always agree with the sometimes desperately politically correct attitude of some of the writers BUT the articles make you think which is rather the point. Another plus point is simply that much - though as you can see not all- of the writing has no military content. This often  gives a little depth and context to what we do by showing that @there are more things in heaven and earth'  that there are on the wargames table. 

Now something which is very definitely military history  is issue 400 of the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. I have collected back issues of this journal for several years (it began in the 1920s) and joined the Society a few years ago for the Journal and the occasional special publications. Articles are always scholarly and frequently  fascinating  whatever period of the British army and its campaigns they cover. Samples from issue no 400 include the West African regiment 1898-1928- some interesting stuff for Colonial gamers here.  There are also transcripts of the Letters of Lt-Gen Sir Henry Pringle - during the Peninsular War. Pringle was not one of the best known of Wellington's generals so it is nice to see him featured here. Other articles in this issue include and examination of one of Lady Butler's lesser known works - together with a good quality colour reproduction- and and examination of the comparative treatment of Russian and British veterans in the 18th and 19th centuries  which while interesting of itself was a bit esoteric even for me.   The book reviews are also of use - indeed a review here has decided me against buying a book - on the 16th century English campaigns in Ireland  as the reviewer gave the book such a going over that I quite lost interest.

Finally Arquebusier - the Journal of the Pike and Shot society will be well known to more than a few of you. and is the only one of the 3 journals under consideration that has direct wargames content. this issue - volume 37 no 5  has plenty of interest - my particlar favourite being a list of the  English army in Ireland in 1629 but also and examination of the Duke of York and Albany's regiment of foot in Charles II's army. Direct wargame content in the form of a review of a set of rules called 'For King and Parliament which is a card driven system using a squared terrain  which the reviewer rather gushes over.- he is obviously a fan. Other gushing reviewsare present  but also anotherwhich put me off buyng a book I was interested in so it all works out in the end so to speak.

 I'd recommend all three of these magazines and journals for various content- depending upon your precise interests- thogh my personal favourite this time would be the Society for Army Historical research- though Arquebusier runs it a reasonable second. 


Saturday, 26 March 2022

When is a game Not a Game?

So there we were in a new venue for the first game this year. 3 of us managed to get past work and real life commitments to try to get a game in. I was in the chair so decided to give my small Sikh Wars forces their first outing together with some new jungly bits I had amassed during lockdown. I actually bought most of them in one lot off ebay but a few bits were made by my own fair hands as well. 

 Now being a new venue there was a bit of delay sorting ourselves out and of course none of us had seen each other face to face for some months so the craic was  perhaps a tad OTT nevertheless we got the game set up - the scenario being vaguely based upon the Battle of Mudki in 1845.. 

Rules were to be Black Powder - Second Edition-  which while an definite improvement on the first edition still has issues- most notably  the brown print on the off white paper which makes some bits a bugger to read in certain lights. There is also the serious faff involved in sorting out the units which I ran out of time to do - having a real life- though the idea here is fine as the units can be tailored to the scenario. For a large game with multiple brigades this could take a considerable amount of time but may appeal to the sort of chaps who regularly sort out their sock drawer in colour or alphabetical order. Most of course will take the Holy Writ of the 'game designer' for granted - even if he is talking twaddle- since that seems to be the 'received wisdom' there days 'finkin ain't Fun' for some at least. 

General view of the table.

So on second thoughts maybe I'll have to learn to organise my sock drawer, at least metaphorically speaking, rather than merely accept some of the historical howlers that appear in the sample armies for the scenarios in the book . There is still good stuff in the book even if much of it is hidden amongst a plethora of eye-candy and other associated fluff.

Sikh Irregular Cavalry 

Ghurkhas and 60th Rifles. 

The British Line 

Jungly Bits 

So to the game ... or rather not as with all the chat and ribaldry we only did three moves. Mind you - despite the seam in the playing cloth I did rather like the look of the thing and as I get more 'India' models painted - both for the Sikh wars and of course De Boigne's campaigns there will be more spiritual visits to the warfare of that intriguing subcontinent.

Models were mostly Old Glory 28mm - though one of the sepoy units is Foundry and the Bengal Horse Artillery are old Willie 30mm. All  blend in pretty well on the table so 3mm angst can go whistle. Check out the photos  you simply can't tell. 

 So to answer my title question .....  when its a good time with your mates .

 Our thanks to Norman Oyston| (that's Andrew the Tekkies Dad)   for allowing us the use of the  new venue- we will be back. 

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Catching Up on My Reading 10

 Another late17th century title came to my attention - from Helion naturally-  this one being Andrew Abrams latest . concerning the English occupation of Tangier during the reign of Charles II.

Now unlike the last book I reviewed concerning the Late 17th century this one is no lightweight gallop through the period, and of course is all the better for that. After all  not all of us HAVE to be assumed to have the intellectual capabilities of a backward haddock surely?

 No this one is for chaps who don't need to use their fingers for the long words. Mr Abram can read and write- no mean feat these days, and it shows in the 200 plus pages of. hard information within these covers .

 The English Garrison of Tangier - Charles II 's colonial venture in the Mediterranean 1661-1684, tells you exactly what it is about right from the first page.

The depth of research is excellent in 12 chapters plus 10 appendices Mr. Abram gives us a picture of Charles II's  small restoration army and it's first colonial adventure.  The 9 page bibliography gives us a hint of where all the information comes from.

 Tangier came to Charles 11 as part of his dowry  from his new Catherine of Braganza - his new Portuguese wife- Bombay came to be a colonial possession  by the same route  but that is another story. The plan for Tangier was to make it a trading hub  and entree into the hinterland ... but the local population were not that keen to say the least. 

So Charles II was saddled with an outpost which needed a small army to keep it safe or indeed  often not so safe.

The book give us some serious detail on the garrisonand a good amount on it's Moorish opponents.. There are, for example, 54  tables giving establishments , officers names , rates of pay and provisioning details type of guns in the various forts, all the information one might need to run a brigade sized 17th century army. should you wish to do so.

As you might expect there is a fair amount of info on 17th century logistics peculiar to the Tangier Garrison but there is also a  detailed narrative  of the various actions fought by the garrison against the  Moorish  forces and the reader quite quickly realises that Tangier was a dangerous place, if the Moors didn't get you then disease, bad food and too much alcohol might. 

 Abram makes it quite clear that Tangier was no easy posting and that conditions were often grim, the garrison was frequently ignored by the home government and often held on only by the skin of its teeth and because the Moors often had their own political turmoil.

 The book is profusely illustrated in black and white with copies of contemporary illustrations and pamphlets. there are also form very fine maps. One small niggle- although the Garrison's uniforms are described, as is the dress of their Moorish opponents  it would have been nice to have some modern artwork to put these descriptions into context. This being especially true of the Moors.   However that does not really detract from the overall worth of the meaty 380 pages in this excellent volume.

  There are sufficient battles, actions and skirmishes here  to fascinate and wargamer what wants something out of the usual rut but this book is much more than  that with its depth of detail and strong narrative . For those interested in the early history of the British army it is a mine of useful information.

 Highly recommended.