Monday, 1 March 2021

Catching up on my reading 4

     One of the several downsides of being a relatively studious chap in today's whiz-bang -kapow world is that so much  of the wargames reading on offer is pretty lightweight. It is one of the reasons I don't often read wargames magazines any more - unless I find something in them to engage my brain. Now this does happen as there is sometimes still good stuff in their pages but so often the articles simply do  not interest me, being yet another scenario for a "game" I've never heard of and would not want to use anyway or perhaps a how to paint- this extremely expensive collection of assorted thingys wiv pointy ears or overly large ray guns, or even if historically based frequently merely a scenario for yet another skirmish game with little or no reference to the historical sources.

So it my come as no surprise that my reading is somewhat more "in depth" than most magazines can(or indeed would want) to provide. These glossy journals being at the shallower end of the  pond so to speak.

     Now currently I'm chewing my way through William Dalrymple's "The Anarchy" - which being Dalrymple is a meaty tome indeed in size much like his "White Mughals" and "The return of the King" and equally being Dalrymple concerning an Indian Subject. This time the rise of the East India Company from its comparatively humble beginnings in the 17thcentury to being  overlord of the Indian subcontinent by the  first decades of the 19th.  Shortly put and with massive over simplification the EIC stepped into the vacuum left by the crumbling of the Mughal Empire throughout the 18th century. There were plenty of bumps in the road  but that is essentially the main thrust of the narrative.  This is a subject close to my heart as Indian military history is definitely one of my "things". However this is not a purely military book but puts the battles, sieges and assorted political skulduggery into context. Therein lies its value, context is everything-otherwise there is little point to the battles we (or at least some of us) study.

Definitely recommended for anyone interested in the wars of India. 

Next up is Stuart Reid's Sheriffmuir 1715. Now this is a more military study as you would expect from Reid. Now it is a long way from the heat and dust of 18th century India to the rain and cold of 18th century Scotland  but that merely goes to show how wide my taste in history goes. Once again however this is a book which puts the Jacobite Rising of 1715 into its political context as well as giving us a fine breakdown of the armies involved in the campaign. I've actually had this one a few months and like most of Reid's books it is a good read (sorry !!). Stuart knows his stuff and since I have a Highland army in the throes of rebasing.......

Again recommended.- especially if you can find a cheap one.

As it happens I also have Jonathan Otes's book on the same campaign - but I have not read it yet . India was in the minds eys much warmer than Scotland so after Reid I went with Dalrymple..... 

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Snow Snow and a bit more Snow

 Waiting for a shipment to be delivered by UPS. Currently the tracker tells me Castle Donnington- that East Midlands Airport to you and me. At one point they said delivery yesterday but that didn't happen. Now they are simply saying "in transit" so we wait. At least the shipment is in the right country. 

 5th February Update.

 Had one box of the 14 box shipment delivered yesterday. The other 13 still "in transit" but have cleared customs. This of course is a side effect of the total balls up of Brexit- even though this shipment has come from the USA. No-one seems to know their arse from their elbow largely because our excuse for a Government don't know what the hell they are doing.

 Rest of the shipment will doubtless arrive in dribs and drabs over the next few days .

 Welcome to the world of "take back control" and "less red tape". God rot the bloody fools who voted for this. 

Monday, 18 January 2021

Sikh and Shiny.

 No Not a music hall act ..
.(I say I say Mr Shiny. My Wife's gone to the West Indies.
Jamaica Mr Sikh?
No She went of here own accord!.....)
 No it is not that all all - for which you may be thankful !
 While all you other chaps are painting away in isolation I'm managing to get a few items done while sending out gear to the chaps who are ... painting in isolation .
 So it goes.
 I am managing to add a few units to the various collections.

TLC for Old Lead Dudes 3

Minifigs 30mm British Napoleonic artillery of considerable age- about 1972 I think. 

Another view of the same group.

  The British Napoleonic Foot artillery are very aged Minifigs 30mm  pulled out from a very mixed lot of  aged 30mm stuff I picked up last year . Mostly guns limbers and horses of which this is the first fruits of those I can refurbish. There is also another British  gun and crew and a French crew without a gun and bizarrely a couple of Russian - I think- limbers and a British limber with horses and  riders- in the wrong uniform.
 All will go into the  "Shinyloo" collection which is now well over 300 finished. figures and still growing.

Sikh Wars

Nice Command figures- shame about the marching dudes. Fine paintwork from Jim though. 

A couple of additions to the Sikh Wars project which again has a long way to go. The Foundry Sepoys were a happy re-discovery. My good friend James Main painted them for me about 15 years ago - or perhaps longer- before the OG Sikh Wars range came out anyway.  They then languished in both his loft and mine until we both decided to  get into the Sikh Wars when "as if by magic" they re-emerged covered in dust and dead spiders. . Jim's excellent  paintwork survived admirably after a good bit of a clean up and basing. With the exception of the rather nice Command figures the unit lacks movement  for me and the marching figures especially  look a little stunted.  Size wise they blend in pretty well with OG so no worries there Have to get hold of some of those Studio Miniatures to see how they fit in. Not that I care really It would be nice to have at least one unit from all the Makers of Sikh Wars stuff in addition to the OG collection.   Once flagged they will still be the 25th Bengal Native Infantry ready to try conclusions with the Khalsa.

This unit when finished should be 7 bases- 28figures strong. 

 The Firing line is the first part of a unit for the Khalsa depicting non-Sikh troops of which there were a goodly number. The finished unit will have French tricolour flags.
Officer of Scinde Horse. 

The single mounted figure is an officer of the Scinde Horse in full dress- which they probably didn't wear on campaign but he is pretty and is the 6th figure in the OG British High Command set. 

So still ots more to do. Oh and a book to finish as well. 

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Catching up on my Reading 3

 I have had an interest in the late 17th century for some years- even though I currently own no armies for the period.  I have on my libraru shelves a good few of the books of the period. All of the usual suspects in fact. McNally Borrett, Childs, Lenihan Sapherhson,  Hall, Walton and Mahan(for the Naval side) to name but a few. I used  to be in partnership with Rob Anderson of Reiver Castings- we founded the company together- but could not give it my full attention  so sold my share to Rob some years ago. Rob is still a good mate in case you were wondering.

 So from that perspective  I have "form" so to speak so Barry Hilton't  "Every Bullet has its Billet  was if interest to say the least, especially as I am currently considering building armies for the Killiekrankie campaign. This last partly because I already have a bundle of Highlanders.

First impressions.

 The rather slim large format book looks good well up to the usual Helion standard. It is bright, full of eye candy and very colourful . Some might even say "inspirational". The actual text begins with a lightweight introductory gallop through some late 17th century campaigns, and none the worse for that if you are looking for a brief and not too taxing way into a new period.. For me this told me little I did not already know . The same goes for the chapter "Participating forces"- You will need to read more deeply to get a better picture but than what else would you expect. 

The Meaty Bit.

 However the real meat of the book- and there is some- are the chapters "Gaming the Period" and "Building and using a Force". This is where the book really scores- far better than I expected. I was particularly impressed by the section "Transferring Reality to the Tabletop" which every wargamer who  is more than a mere dice roller should read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. The photos here are particularly instructive to anyone who has little idea of how much space real units take up on a real battlefield.  I may not share Mr. Hilton's approach on all of these matters but here there was significant agreement. The book is almost  worth the cover price for this section alone. The book also contains a couple of scenarios 

This does not mean the book is faultless. I'm afraid I found the Naval section - while still very  useful- a little  like the Curate's Egg . I'm afraid the over enlarged photos of the tiny 1/2400 scale-  ships made them look  more than a little clumsy- which was unkind to those little models.

28mm 17th century Ottoman Turkish Spahis- Old Glory.

 The three scenarios- one Naval and two land are all tied to rulesets published by Mr. Hiltons company -  not sure if they would translate to other systems as I am unfamiliar with all three of the sets. Though the Donnybrook game should  probably easily translate to any reasonable low level skirmish system. As for the battle scenario I can't tell. Personally I feel the 12-18 figure units are a bit on the small side but then I like larger units for most periods.

Ottoman Turkish Command 28mm Old Glory.

The painting guides are useful  for those who don't know what paint feels like but again there is nothing useful there for veterans such as I. I have more paint than I can shake a stick at  and don't need to be told what size brush to use either. I know some chaps like such simple " How to's" but not me- been in the trenches too long.

Ottoman Turkish "Dellis" 28mm Old Glory.

The book finishes with the usual lists of products and resources which the new gamer will find useful. As you might expect this was somewhat selective perhaps reflecting some of Mr Hilton's preferences

Now before I continue I must admit to a bit of an interest here.   Just to make it clear. I am Old Glory UK. 

It is interesting that the "Miniatures" list details quite a few makers - perhaps most of them (Minifigs and Hinchliffe being absent despite the latters range of Poles and Ottomans and I'm pretty sure Minifgs do Ottomans and Marlburians and there may be others I am not aware of).  but while the mentions  in most cases give at least some details of what those makers produce - pertinent to the period- three in the list do not rate such detail- Front Rank, Reiver Castings and Old Glory. Reiver's range is extensive- Rob has expanded it far beyond what existed when we were partners in the venture including such esoterica as the Scanian War as well as models that I'll be using if I get the Killiekrankie project off the ground. . Front Rank likewise has an extensive range including some lovely Monmouth Rebels. As for Old Glory, well we have an extensive Ottoman range, the WSS and Pirates- as mentioned-  but also Poles Muskovites and Cossacks- all in 28mm Not to mention the Pirates- and ships- in the Blue Moon 15mm range as well as WSS and GNW  under the same Blue Moon label. Oh and a 10mm Marlburian range as well.  However this is merely personal nit-picking. So I will add a few pics to this post as extra -eye candy !

So  do I recommend the book? - well yes, given the above reservations-  rather surprisedly I do . It was much better than my first impressions and while there was not a massive amount in there for me personally it will definitely be of use to a newbie in the period.

 However as always it is wise to be aware that there are "more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy"... and that goes for all of us. 

 So Merry Christmas one and All... 


Thursday, 10 December 2020

Christmas 2020 .

So it is THAT time of year again another December 25th looms. The Ebeneezer Scrooge Christmas Appreciation Society is in session. Not that I mind a bit of Crimbo cheer and to that end our last posting date will be December 19th. as Carole and I are having some time off. No more little soldier for a bit. 
Orders received after that date will not be posted until after NEW YEAR as I reckon they are safer in my stock room than kicking about the countryside and in various Post Office and Royal Mail sorting offices - or worse in some couriers van.
 We will be back to work properly around Jan 4th and first posting will be around that time. 
 Hope you all have a geat Crimbo - covid not with standing. Personally I am looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet- and maybe the odd tincture ..... 

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Shinyloo quickie.

A few more shiny dudes finished means that this is now a four company French "regiment". Still some way to go- the rest of the Tete de Colonne for a start and for the look of the thing I want 5three centre companies at least. then with those and the Grenadier company the regiment will form an attack coloumn 2 companies wide and 2 deep. This should be pretty meaty under "Charge!"- which have become my go-to rules for gaming with this collection. Actual models are a mixture of Stadden  Hinchliffe/ Foremost and a few Connoisseur which last I have a bundle to paint.... when  I get the time .

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Fifty years and still looking good.

 A few pictures of my very few Les Higgins 30mm Jason cavalry. Mostly ECW and two Marlburians- both the same figure in different colour schemes. . These chaps have been out of production since the mid 1970s. They still stand comparison with many of todays models. .

ECW Cavalry by Les Higgins. These are the now unavailable 30mm Jason range- compatible with much of today's so called 28mm. 


 The chap on the grey horse is supposedly King William III. - Though the Les Higgins figure is actually Marlborough.

The two more or less identical castings together as Marlborough and William.