Saturday, 4 July 2020

TLC for Old Lead Dudes 2

 This has been a long time coming. Half of these Lancers have been on my painting table for over a month. But while other fellows have been enjoying themselves painting away during the lockdown I have been sending out  lots of soldiers so they can paint them. This has left surprisingly little time to actually paint any of my own.
 Nevertheless I have managed a bit here and there. A few sepoys for the Sikh Wars project and these fellows.
 Well half of them anyway.
Polish Lancers of The French Imperial Guard.30mm

 Most are Stadden 30mm with a single Willie (stop giggling at the back there !) while the Trumpeter is an old Minifig 30mm on a refurbished Willie horse. The poor creature needed a new tail  which was provided by a broken Old Glory horse from my spares box.
As regular readers will have gathered these are going into the "Shinyloo" "retro" collection and when possible will be used along with "Charge!" rules for smallish Napoleonic games.
From the Front.

The whole idea of this project has always been a sort of pastiche  of and homage to wargaming in the 1960s and 70s. Back in the 1970s when I started, I may have ogled and lusted after Stadden and Willie 30mm but simply could not afford the price tag. Even 25mm metal in any quantity being beyond my pocket  until the late 1970s. Back then 30mm were usually  3 times the price of  the then 25mm (28mm being an invention of the mid 1990s of course) so it was not until   comparatively recently that I managed to amass a decent collection of these models- most bought secondhand and some in shocking condition , picked up at shows initially  and more recently on ebay.

Two more views of the same unit. 

So these Lancers and the Minifigs General (who although painted as French may not be so but since he arrived French albeit battered  I thought it better for him to stay French ) will join the forces of Napoleon Shinyparte to hopefully once again try conclusions with the Duke of Wellyboot across the tabe in my groups local pub...... Not today though.  The whole look is deliberately retro even to using retro style scenery where I can- old Britians and Merit Trees for example with some even older- but refurbished Britians farm haystacks and Johillco metal hedges 

The venerable Minifigs 30mm General. 

An older shot- when the collection was much smaller - but showing the Britain's trees. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Is an army ever "Finished"?

More than once on various blogs and Facebook pages I see a statement that runs  on the lines of
 "Only 1 more unit to do and this army is finished"
 This seems to be quite a popular thing out in wargameland so I wonder - how do you tell when an army is finished?
 Personally I can't tell. As far as I am concerned an army is only "finished" when I don't want it anymore. This is usually because it has not been used for several years.
 This can happen for several reasons. Usually it is simply because I have moved on the other periods- other bits of history if you like. I don't always dispose of armies that I am temporarily bored with- so I will never sell my ECW for instance  but others lose their magic. However that is not really what I am on about here. I suspect my real question is more on the lines of-
"How do you impose limits upon your collection - assuming it actually interests you in itself.and is not merely an aide to the dice rolling?"
 Again using my ECW collection as an example I can't imagine NOT being interested in the period, after all I have a bookshelf full of books on the war possibly two bookshelves, so I am hardly likely to "complete" my armies for the period any time soon.
This army is not finished. It will remain part of my collection .

 My 15mm moderns are not complete either despite the fact that I have not added any new units for a couple of years or more. I still want a 120mm Mortar battery for the "Harraquis" and an Engineer unit for the Brits. the "72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade" need some more pickups.
 Perhaps I don't"finish" armies because I am not a rules slave. I expect nay even demand that most of my armies can be used with more than one set of rules. I do not share the obsession with rules that many games players have. The rules are merely the means to an end and not the end in or of themselves. If a mere set of rules imposes limits upon my collection then in the bin it goes.
 Of course I can see a finishing point if you are reproducing the order of battle for a particular campaign. So I know a chap who is doing Gettysburg in 15mm and another Austerlitz and a third Waterloo. When they will finish is anyone's guess but they do have a finite finishing point supplied by the battle they are studying.
 This lot are finished. All  my 28mm  painted Brooks mins Brits and Taliban are for sale. I shan't be using  them again.

 In theory my ECW Parliamentarians are Essex's army in about October 1642  and the opposing Royalists  actually about 6 or seven months later but the chances of my finishing both armies is pretty minimal as I like large units and paint quite slowly.
All of these armies have seen table action  so on that level they are "active" rather than those forces such as my Indian Mutiny and even more recent Sikh War  which are still under construction .
 Other table ready forces- Sinyloo and my AWI collection are still having items added to them 
 So Gentle Readers a question. Do you "finish armes ever? 

Monday, 20 April 2020

Austrian Uhlans and 30mm French

Despite being busy getting stuff  out so other isolated dudes can get some painting done I am trying to get a bit done myself.
 Finally finished these Austrian Uhlans for my 1809 project- "Shinynine" which , like most others, is barely moving at the moment.
 Also finished some more  30mm chaps for "Shinyloo". This collection is now knocking on the door of almost 400 figures though Gawd knows when they will roll a dice in anger again (I don't do solo, sorry but I simply don't see the point. I'd rather read up on future possibilities) but it will be nice to have more of them when they do.
 There will of course be more of these Uhlans. "Charge!" style games demand decent size units  rather than a few scattered remains but for now these are it as I need to get back to the Sikh Wars and India and these prety chaps were cluttering up my painting table.
The next group area unit of Imperial Guard for "shinyloo". Stadden 30mm with a couple of Willies hidden in amongst them.
And finally.....
 Some more stadden 30mm . This time French Voltigeurs again for "shinyloo" which regular readers will know is Napoleonic but using "Charge!" which I find really good for low-ish level Napoleonic games without all of the fiddling about that is so common with some modern rule sets.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Isolation .... Busy

So I know plenty of chaps who are using the isolation and stay at home rules are  a reason to get some painting done. Personally I'd love to but it is not really happening. Why?- because I am shifting soldier out to customers who then get to paint  them while they are in isolation.

 I do have some half painted stuff on my table- some Austrian Uhlans for 1809 .and I did finish a few more items for "Shinyloo"- more TLC in a later episode !  But in general I am just a busy as normal - possibly a little more.
 Of course there are extra difficulties. We are only posting once a week to keep contact down  though I will do two post runs at absolute need- which is defined as "Shit I can't carry all these at once !"
 I am fortunate in having a splendid Post Office not more than half a mile away who take all my packages as currently I am not using couriers- sometimes this is a tad more expensive but what the hell - Get the stuff to the Dudes who have paid you.
 The only possible problem here is running out of stuff which is happening in a very few areas. I will be ordering from the USA as normal later this month but of course cannot tell when this shipment  will be able to be shipped. .
 Nevertheless we will keep going as long as we can. I still have about 200,000 soldiers in stock.

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 !