Friday, 16 April 2021

More Shiny 30mm Men.

 So blag posts have been thin on the ground lately  but like buses(anyone remember them)  there are none for ages the 2 come along at once. 

 The photos are of my latest rather small unit for "Shinyloo" my retro Napoleonic mostly  30mm collection. These aged chaps are from Barry Minot who made a good bundle of assorted 30mm Historicals in the 70s and 80s. These days  some are a bit thin on the ground - which is why this unit is only a dozen strong. I have a couple more of the figures but they need some TLC and repair before I start painting them. 

Minot 30mm Painted as Fusilers -Grenadiers.

I do now have quite a bundle of Minot Napoleonics. Some splendid French Cuirassiers and a fair number of British Infantry and French Imperial Guard but of course most of them need painting. Earlier "Shinyloo" posts show those I have actually finished - both Minot and other makes. 

Firing line. Again Minot

Loading - an Officer and Ouch that Hurt ! 

 The "Shinyloo " collection is now in sight of 400 individual  models- not quite there yet but I can see it from here. Still  plenty to paint though. 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Catching Up On My Reading 5

 Now as a general rule I hate reading wargames rules. The deliberately difficult language supposedly designed to stop players cheating added to often silly acronyms which have nothing to do with the period in question, but make the "game designer" feel clever (what are PIP, MU's and Fast Knights anyway and why the hell should I care?), make toiling through the average set of rules only fun to those who arrange their socks in numerical order and find half a shandy the epitome of excitement. 

So  it may come as something of a surprise to see this review of a set of rules from  the Helion stable that does not follow that well worn and oft repeated path.

In Deo Veritas actually reads very well indeed.

In these strange time reading is about all I can do with them anyway  but suffice it to say - Gentle Reader- that  once you can get to a wargames table they should also play pretty well too.

For the record the rules are for large, fast playing, 17th century battles in the smaller scales- so 15mm and below- and to my mind should do that very well. To me there are a few distant echoes of a 1980s-90s big battle set called Volley and Bayonet - which back then I played quite a bit of and enjoyed. In Deo Veritas being focused on the 17th century of course have significant differences but there are still echoes in the base sizes but the writer does acknowledge his debt to that ruleset and its writer Frank Chadwick.

 Using this set it becomes possible to refight such large 17th century battles as Lutzen and Marston Moor- that latter being one of 6 historical scenarios included in the book.  The accent is on the history- although for the gamey types there is a points system if you must.

 All the appropriate troop types are there from Spanish Tercios to late 17th century regiments, concentrating on Western style forces. I suspect a supplement might be needed to cover the Ottomans and the Poles and the Muskovites for example though with a bit of thought many  if not all of their particular troops could be organised or this game system. The accent here is definitely on "big picture" rather than regimental detail but that is as it should be for a "big battle" set such as these

Physically the book is up to the usual Helion standard though I could have wished for some captions on some of the eye-candy photos. However at about half the price of some of the hardback  paving slab sized rulesbooks you see about the place this softback is good value. 

 My preferred option here would be for the 30 Years War in 10mm  and for that or the ECW or for much of the 80 Years War and a decent chunk of the various Northern Wars these would fit the bill.

 Definitely recommended .... Now all I need to do is to get Jim to paint up a bundle of 10mm TYW troops ... well I do have most of the troop types in the Old Glory 10mm range so it might be rude not to/ ..... 

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Sikh High Command and Bengal Horse Artillery.

There are chaps out there who, because of lockdown, are racing through their assorted armies painters arms going like a fiddlers elbow, churning out figures left right and centre.

 Well I'm not one of them. Not least because I spend quite a lot of time SUPPLYING unpainted figures to these chaps. Now I'm not complaining  but it does tend to mean that when I should be painting I don't have the mojo because I am  temporarily sick of the sight of the little lead gits .!

 However this does not last. So here are a couple of pics of the newest additions to the Sikh Wars project..

Sikh Officers.

 The Sikh High command are all Old Glory and are 3 of the 6 different models in the High command pack in the Sikh Wars range- 28mm - aswe are supposed to call them now. 

 The Bengal Horse Artillery are much older being old 30mm Willie casting I've had in hand for about 30 years, relics of a past attempt at the Sikh Wars along with a few 16th Lancers.

Bengal Horse Artillery- 5 old Willies ! 

 The gun is a rather newer Eagle figure piece- I like their artillery and anyone who is into Napoleonic or 7YW should check out their ranges. They do some nice stuff. I like their Danes and Spanish. 

However that is by the by- their guns fit in rather nicely with these 30mm models. 

OK now back to a bit of writing. 

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..... 

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 .....