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Monday, 3 October 2022

Catching Up On My Reading 14

 These days I don't see many wargames magazines. I advertise in MW but no longer get a voucher copy merely a link to pocketmags which is a right faff and I can't be bothered. WI -I have not seen a copy of since before the pandemic but visiting the site deluges you with so much shazam - kapow  again I can't be bothered to faff about when I have books to write and soldiers to paint - as well as a business to run.. So the only mag I now see with any regularity is Wargames Soldiers and Strategy- for my money probably the best of the current crop.

Now to be clear magazine no longer occupy the place they once did. I have binned many of my old mags only keeping those that contained useful articles- which tends to mean magazines of some age. Much of the stuff I recently sent to the recycling was post millennium, usually because I find so much of that stuff intellectually bereft.

WSS is not like that at all. It  mostly treats you like an adult. The current issue is no different and follows its usual pattern with a decent selection of reviews and a good selection or articles presented in the usual eye-candy heavy manner. All in '28mm'  and all in the 'received style' that the punters seem to expect.




The Specialist subject this issue is the 'Wars of King Arthur'- the possibly historical one rather than the certainly mythical version-and the articles give a decent nod to the relevant sources before getting on with laying out the scenarios. Though the subject is not all that common the format for the articles follows the usual path and while being ostensibly not aimed at any specific rule set gives hearty nudges to the supposedly more popular sets.

There is a fine article on 'realism' by Alex Webster  which will repay careful reading - despite its slight slant towards WW2- and the rather odd choice of Napoleonic eye candy- this piece contains useful stuff. However I did think as I read the piece that most of the problems the author lays out , all of which are perfectly  to the point, could be solved by the use of an Umpire. I have never quite understood the  antipathy that many gamers seem to have towards umpires and games masters in the historical arena, nor the seeming dominance that is placed on two- player games. After all a decent knowledgeable Umpire will not only make the game run more smoothly but, if he knows his work, he can get the most fun (assuming his players are adults of course).

Jeff Jonas' piece on the wars of the Successors - though not my thing is also a well done piece and worth a read. Nice pics of Elephants though my own hathi  are  either mounts for the rajas or there to pull the heavy guns- but not until I  finish painting them.

One of my Elephants doing his duty. 


The Irregular column caught my eye as it highlighted wargaming in youth work and despite an occasionally patronising tone  accidental I assume, still had some interesting  things to say about 'teaching games' and how to do it - some of which I already use when Umpiring and some of which I had not thought of  but will use as occasion serves.


I can do Heraldry- even though it might drive me blind- this on a 30mm flat.


As for other stuff  the How to on  painting medieval troops might be useful if you know nothing but to be honest articles such as these rarely hold my attention  despite the quality of the painting. I can do Heraldry though I accept that some chaps find it difficult. Much the same goes for the modelling Bocage piece I have a tables worth if I need it though again the writer knew what he was about.

I must admit though that I'm not keen on the 'primacy' of 'games mechanisms' in today's hobby as exemplified the the 'Let's Play piece- they chose Lion Rampant 2 and lauded it almost to the skies - now since I thought LR1 was mostly lightweight cobblers largely because it slaved everything to a silly points system and therefore forced non historical organisations upon you then this was not going to impress - it didn't.

Despite the above all in all a pretty decent mag that gives even a 'veteran'  wargamer like me something to read. Can't be a bad thing. Recommended.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Tactically sound - but cubically challenged.

 Last weekend three T.W.A.T.S.  gathered in our new venue for a game. My turn in the chair but I was just a tad rushed due to pressure of work (I have a book that is nearing deadline and had back orders to ship out) nevertheless I did fancy a bash with my 40mm Wars of the Roses - so that is what we did.

 Mechanical Shaun took the Lancastrians and Andrew the Tekkie the Yorkists and the game would be played to Tony Clipsom's rather nice 'Large Skirmish' set ' Foray' - albeit with some few amendments to include gun powder.

We have used these more than once in the past and found them easy to deal with yet with a decent amount of that elusive 'period feel'  that we find so important.

 The forces were quite small with around 80 or so models per side. The Yorkist having more men at arms and the Lancastrians more archers. The Yorkists had the only cavalry unit.. The Lancastrians had the advantage of ground with a hedgeline to defend.

General view of the field-  Lancastrians behind the hedge. 


Quite quickly the Yorkists decided to out flank the Lancastrians by moving their left around the Lancastrian right though the going was a bit slow simply because the Yorkists were manly slow moving men at arms . They also came under fire from the Lancastrian 'comedy bombard' which in previous games has reliably exploded at an inopportune moment.as well as archers ensconced behind the hedge.

 On the Yorkist right - things did not go well.  Andrew's own  artillery  misfired and exploded on the first shot. The exchange of arrows  was also in the Lancastrians favour though the Yorkists weathered the storm and began to advance- causing casualties on the Lancastrians with their own bowshot.

 The question was simple - could Shaun hold the line or would the Yorkist flank attack  destroy his right?.


The Lancastrians huddle behind their hedge. 


In the end some truly astonishing Lancastrian bowshot decided the issue (how many 6s do you need? ) First  halting the Yorkist right  then routing one retinue and forcing another back in disorder.

At this point with his artillery gone and a third of his army in disarray Edward of York decided enough was enough and left the field to take a fast ship to Burgundy muttering darkly about ' those odious cubes' and how he would get it right next time with some better guns ... Ah well so he might we shall have to see.

Lancastrian shooting. 


As it happened I got so tied up in the game as Umpire I forgot to take picture of the later stages so these are all it did. The game was suitabley light hearted but with enough interest  for those of us with a more historical bent. I slowly continue to add to this collection - though it is on the back burner currently  and Sikh Wars are very much taking precendence. However we will be back in the 15th century at some future date. 

  

Lord Clifford  backs up his longbow men - but he is not needed. 


Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Sikh Wars - Purbeah Infantry for the Fauj-i-Khas.

 This lot have been on my painting desk for far too long, but then so has everything else that is there. It is part of the price you pay for being in the business. Of course they could have been on some painters desk for 6 month or a year or even longer(as I know some chaps seem to wait for ever for 'their painter' to complete stuff) . Not putting up with it. So these days I paint most of my own stuff myself. Slow I may be but at least I know what is happening.

 So here we have a unit to be added to the Khalsa. This one a little different, being a purbeah' unit - that is not Silks specifically one largely made up of hindu sepoys many of whom were deserters from the EIC service.

French trained Purbeah Infantry of the Sikh army 1845.


The figures are all Old Glory 28mm from the Sikh Wars range  specifically pack ASW-16. I have painted these as purbeahs rather than in the Gurkha uniform which was the same style but in green with red facings.

Close up of the command group. Those flowery thingies on the flag were a bit of a faff to paint. 

Yes the pack is a firing line  or skirmish line - your choice. 


 The flag is the French style 'tricolour' - actually with 4 bands - as shown in Gurinder Singh Mann's excellent book 'The Rise of the Sikh Soldier' whose short essay on Khalsa flags renders  most of the various paper productions  of Khalsa flags for this war fit only for the bin. Of those I have well over half will be heading for that receptacle the rest will get a repaint.

Right back to work- soldiers to pack up  and words to write .

Saturday, 6 August 2022

How many armies.... a diversion.

 Regular readers may recall that I have been a wargame of sorts since 1970 (I started young Dudes!) so I wondered in an idle minute how many armies had passed through my hand in the following half century.

So I thought I'd make a list to see how many I can recall. Now I doubt if it will be complete. I am bound to have forgotten the odd army here and there but as far as I can recall here are all the armies that I have ever owned and  fought a game with - the makers included where I can rememebr them,. The list won't contain stillborn projects as my first Minifgs ACW which never took the field before I sold them on. Nor will it contain those display only units that have graced my display case at shows - so here goes. All 28mm unless otherwise noted- bearing in mind that most were called 25mm until the mid-1990s

 The Seventies

Started this hobby in 1970  with Airfix plastics and Don Featherstone and Terry Wise from the local lending library. The rest is - quite literally history ! (well mostly)

Napoleonic French- mostly Airfix but with a few Les Higgins, Hinton Hunt, and Hinchliffe.20-25mm Nobody cared back then.
Indian Mutiny- all Airfix conversion- doubtless horrible.
WW2 again Airfix but with the odd Fujimi or other Japanese maker of the time..
First Afghan War - both sides - all Airfix conversions- these lasted into the  early 90s
ECW Royalists- my first all metal army - mostly Minifigs. but with some Hinchliffe. A little later some Garrison.
Carthaginians- mostly Garrison - but with a bundle of Airfix Gauls.
A bundle of FRPG figures for D and D. Ral Partha, Asgard,Garrison Sword and Sorcery. These last until the mid 80s or thereabouts - maybe later.  
 Samurai- Dixons of course, didn't last long - sold them to a chap at UNI. I may have had them as long as 6 months.
Vikings- a right mixture I remember Asgard, Lamming, Hinchliffe, Garrison, a few Ral Partha and a short lived Scottish outfit called Viking Miniatures. There may well have been others. 
Byzantines- Lamming sold them to a different chap at uni
Lots of Lamming Medieval which became a Feudal French army once I added a load of Hinchliffe Normans and Crusaders.
1859 French and Austrians- all Airfix conversions.20mm
 Teutonic Knights 15mm Friekorps - my first 15mm army.
The only things I really have left from this time are a bundle of Britians trees  that I thought had gone in a house move but that I found  a few years ago in the garage covered in dust and spiders .

The aged Britians trees- behind some almost equally aged  but more recently restored 30mm  figures


The Eighties

Most of the 1970s armies are gone now but the assorted medievals and dark Ages have morphed into
 Wars of the Roses Both sides and Hundred Years War.  often with the wrong banners. mixed makers including Minifigs  Castile, Garrison, Hinchliffe and an outfit called Vulcan who made some gendarmes in multiple parts including different horses heads and sets of horse armour.I even had a small Scottish army which was stolen.
Normans. Lamming Minifigs, Garrison,  Asgard and later additions from QT and Citadel. 
 Feudal Spanish. A spin off from all the other Feudals in the Norman armies.
New 1980s armies
Sub Roman British and Saxons. Mostly Minifigs and Garrison.
20mm WW2 Mostly plastic Normandy didn't last long. .
Elizabethan English and Irish. English mostly Citadel - now Foundry with some Essex some Hinchliffe.  Irish a right mixture - Irregular Essex Dixons Lamming QT and some parts swapping. This lot last into the 21st century.
30mm AWI Mostly Stadden, the odd Willie, bought second hand. Still have these plus a lot more besides.


Roman Republicans and Carthaginians. All sorts QT , Britannia, Garrison , Minifigs  Lamming ,Essex and even a few Corvus..
1/32nd WW2 Normandy  Airfix and Tamiya- did a demo at Northern Militaire that got a very short mention  in Mil Mod and even a photo.
20mm  Congo 1960s - all plastic conversions.
ECW- Corvus and Lamming only small forces for Skirmish games.

The Nineties.

For a short period in the  early 1990s I am scratchbuiling model buildings to commission of which my largest  job is 36 square feet of Revolutionary Paris for Todd Fishers famous Storming of the Tuileries game. Biggest silliness of the 1990s was how Guernsey Foundry started calling their models 28mm (nothing wrong with that) THEN how  an awful lot of panicky  bandwagon jumping occurred as company after company started calling models that had been referred to as '25mm' for years- sometimes a decade or more, overnight, became '28mm'.  This era was the true beginning of  '3mm angst' and quite a bit of whining and not a few assorted tantrums. Personally I don't give a monkeys - if I like 'em I'll buy 'em.

Armies in this decade included.

ACW called 30mm at first,-the original Old Glory figures sculpted by Dave Alsop Both sides. Backed up by some Connoisseur and some early Eagle Miniatures.
Medieval - Hundred Years War - Hotspur Miniatures sculpted by Dave Alsop - these would go with Dave to Old Glory in the USA. These lasted into the next century but are gone now. 
Austrian SYW- Eagle Miniatures. Painted by Dave Mills of New York in exchange for some model buildings I made for him. Gone now.
From early 1992 I become Old Glory UK.
 French and Indian War  Mostly OG  a few Eagle regulars - still have the regulars in my SYW forces, which began in the mid 1990s 
 Vikings and Normans Old Glory- still had the 1980s armies at this time so had large Feudal and Dark Ages collections-  The Vikings and possibly the Normans appeared in the First ed of WHAB.. Still have a few of the Norman Cavalry  though they are for sale. 

Norman Knights  painted in the 1990s by me, though rebased more recently. Called  25mm when we made them .Have to be called 28mm now, though of course they are the same models, but then that goes for rather a lot of companies that have been around more than a couple of years.



Crusades  Lionheart and the Ayubids   played a lot of Revenge medieval rules. Armies gone -still have the rules. 
15mm WW2 Command Decision Normandy- Germans and Americans - with all the American jeep drivers on the wrong side of the jeep!
 The mistake pointed out by the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp !

ECW yet again this time Old Glory - both sides - still have them.
20mm Angola - Cubans and FAPLA  plus some assorted mercenaries. mostly Hotspur some plastics some platoon 20. Of course the Hotspur ranges were Old Glory for much of the 1990s
15mm Franco Prussian War Friekorps French and Minifigs Prussians for Volley and Bayonet. Gone now.
15mm Jacobites Bonnie Prince Charlies Army . All Old Glory. 
Fantasy -  Grenadier Medievals and OG Dwarfs (in seven figure units of course) OG Orcs painted green so I got a lecture from er 'purists'. Some nice Grenadier Barbarians. Gave up Fantasy  for good in the mid 1990s as it had become too regimented and over serious. Still have a set of the Grenadier 'Fantasy Warriors' rules somewhere.

Sci-Fi  Mostly Grenadier 'Future Warriors' range but some other stuff too. Bad Jokes abound- 69th Marine Independent Landing Force have Multiple Unguided Flechette &Fragmentation rounds  gives you some idea of the intellectual level here ! Still have them. The Baddies are in the photo below. 

Some of my small sci-fi collection Painted in the late 80s or Early 90s All Grenadier I think. Still have these.


Napoleonic Old Glory, French, British Spanish the last mostly made from Alamo Mexicans,  gone by the late noughties - though still have a few odd figures left and a British battalion painted by Steve Skinner. 
30mm NW Frontier Willie and Stadden to which I add some Old Glory later-. Still adding stuff .
Mughals and Wellington in India the latter being mostly Redoubt but with some First Corps, the Mughals being everything that might vaguely fit. Stupidly sold them- The first attempt at a 'De Boigne' army  The only armies I have really regretted selling on. Doing this again now.
A pair of old Willies painted in oils and enamels - which for me makes 'em late 80s or early 90s - by the mid 90s I had gone acrylic. 


The Noughties.

Comparatively little building of new armies - except in 40mm but additions to the 7YW French and British and ECW in 28mm.
40mm ACW Union and Confederate  Brigades  for smallish battle / big skirmishes - still have them but they are for sale along with the buildings I made for them.
40mm Napoleonic Peninsular  French Brits and a few Spanish. Sold on now.
40mm Dark Ages Vikings/Saxons and Normans- don't actually think these have ever fought more than once. For Sale now.
28mm AWI using Old Glory  which mix rather well with Stadden so long as you don't get the magnifier out . Still have these.
The beginnings of some 1/1200 WW2 Naval fleets Royal Navy, Italians and Germans still have these though they have not had a game for a few years. Mixture of plastic and metal models,
I start collecting older and out of production 30mm models  Napoleonic and ECW without much idea of what I will do with then yet ..... 

The Twentytens 

15mm Moderns British and 'Harraquis' - Nothing to do with the Gulf wars honest Guv..! Still have these plus insurgents of '72 Virgins Martyrs Brigade' Still use these, their next outing will be in late September I think. 
40mm Later  Thirty Year War and ECW some Sash and Saber and some Drabant but mostly my own 'Romanoff Miniatures' An ongoing project 
40mm Wars of the Roses. Originally Brooks Miniatures, now mine, plus some Irregular and a very few 'Mindstalkers' an Italian outfit - very nice but bloody pricey. An ongoing project.

Biggest additions have been to my 'retro' collections. 'Shinyloo' starts in this decade with 30mm Napoleonic and is still an ongoing and expanding  project. Bringing back some of these old models to life has become a small but important part of the hobby over the last decade or so.

Retro ECW - My single Les Higgins 30mm 'Jason' foot regiment. This range went OOP in the mid 70s when I could not have afforded them anyway. Picked these up in dribs and drabs  over the last decade or so. 



A 'retro'  ECW collection appears  bought by my wife Carole for me one Christmas and it has expanded since. Based around units that were once Peter Gilder's and appeared in Battle magazine and later the original Miniature Wargames magazine.

 The Kings Lifeguard 1970s style. Once part of Peter Gilders Collection. The look is very retro but the painting (not by me) is exquisite.  The  hand painted flags especially. 



Additions to the Retro Colonials - mostly 30mm Stadden. 

Currently working on several - mostly Indian projects -Sikh Wars, Indian Mutiny, Wellington in India and of course DeBoigne they will progress as they progress. I've never been one of those dudes who can single-mindedly start at one end of and army and finish at the other just to 'get it on the table' 
 An awful lot of metal has passed  under my eyes through the years wonder where it all went ?




..




More of the Gilder ECW collection now part of my retro ECW . 

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Catching up on my Reading 13.

 Rise of the Sikh Soldier by Gurinder Singh Mann.

 It is always good to get a different viewpoint, an alternative opinion. Lets face it the same old same old becomes monotonous. That goes for  many things including views of history.

You do get tired of the Euro- centric view or even a North-Americano- centric view and yes tired of an Anglo centric view  as well.

 So when this  new Helion title swam across my ken I was immediately interested not to say fascinated by the premise.

Regular readers of my blog will know of my interest in Indian Military History -and not just the British segment either- indeed I have written upon the subject and am currently engaged upon another such so I suppose you could say I have form.

 Not as much as Gurinder Singh Mann though, who has studied Indian and particularly Sikh history for many years.




So what do we have?

In 12 Chapters, Seven appendices and 260 plus pages we have laid out before us the story of the Sikh soldier  from the beginnings in the late 17th century until what might be termed 'the high point of the British Raj' in 1900.

 The early chapters I found especially fascinating detailing , as they do, the Sikhs fight for independence against the once  mighty Mughal Empire. A Sikh army, for example, occupied Delhi for a  time in the 1780s with an army of perhaps 30,000 cavalry. In the snakepit that was the political life of northern India in the 18th century they fought Mughals, Marathas and Afghans at various time as well as - quite often , each other as the various  Misls or 'Commonwealths' fought for territory. Yet despite not infrequent internecine squabbles the Sikhs would almost always unit against external enemies.

 The book also details organisation and tactic of the  early Khalsa before that formidable army's partial 'Europeanisation' under the Sikhs greatest leader Ranjit Singh during the first three decades of the 19th century. Further detailing the numerous campaign that Ranjit Singh and his generals both European and Sikh fought to extend the Sikh Empire throughout the Punjab and beyond.. The two short but bloody wars against the British are also covered- as one would expect but from the Sikh perspective. This certainly added depth to my Anglo-centric knowledge of these campaigns. The final chapter give a brief rundown of some of the campaigns of the later 19th century in which the Sikh regiments of the British Indian Army took part

Maps and illustrations are excellent including many I had never seen previously and the discussion on  the flags of the Khalsa I personally found very useful indeed. Gurinder Singh Mann's scholarship and knowledge of Sikh history is evident throughout and his use of Sikh sources often unknown to me add depth  especially to those parts of the story I thought I knew.

I have no intention  of going through this fine book chapter by chapter- you should buy it to do that. Suffice it to say that it belongs on any bookshelf with an interest in Indian Military History and of course of Sikh History in particular.

Recommended.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

More TLC for old lead dudes.

Over the last couple of years I have become quite enamoured of the old Minifigs 30mm ranges. They went out of production in the UK sometime in the early 1970s though I have been told that some are still in production in the USA, but, so far, I have not been able to track them down.

 Now I don't have a huge number of these chaps as - currently- as I understand it at the moment, they seem to fall into 2 groups which, for now, I shall call 'Early' and 'Late' .

Minifigs 30mm Scots Greys. These will be joining the 'Shinyloo' collection..


 The early chaps seem to have had separate arms but still the minifigs look I have some Chasseurs of the Guard  which I pit on Stadden horses as I didn't have any minifigs horses when I painted them. A bundle of highlanders - again with separate arms and all flank companies complete with sporrans, a couple of British light infantry in the tapered shako- separate arms and about a dozen  funny looking blokes in British style kit who may perhaps be Rifles  but seen to be supplied with muskets and don't have a rifles waistbelt.

Another view of the Greys - considering these fellas are some half a century old they stand up rather well.


 The 'later' blokes don't seem to have separate arms I have both British and French  gun crews and some rather nice limber horses  and a single British limber. Some very sturdy British guns. The bulk of this group are cavalry, including the newly restored Scots Greys in the photos. I have Prussian Hussars and French Cuirassiers still to restore as well as some of the aforementioned gunners.


The Officer model-. I had to file up a new sword blade when I broke the original.



By today's standards these are  by no means perfect  (on these chaps facial details is pretty basic) but then 'perfection' is overrated, not to say boring, at least when it comes to toy soldiers/ wargames figures/model soldiers (take your pick) 'Perfection' tends to lack character and difference. I like to be able to tell one maker from another thanks  rather than have to deal with  collections of perfect clones. One of the reasons I like some older ranges is simply that they have some differences from each other. There is no 'tedium of 'perfection' here. 

A trooper. I rather like the horse. .


Thursday, 30 June 2022

Shinyloo 4- Shinymanca !

Now ensconced in our new venue a band of 4 stout members convened for a game  this month.

 I was in the chair and decided to get the shinies out since it has been more than a few months indeed years since this collection of retro models has seen the light of day. Indeed I checked back and it has been  Three YEARS since thse fellas were last on the table. 

The scenario would be based very very loosely upon the battle of Salamanca - or so I thought when I laid out the terrain  but well - as you shall see it wasn't.

Part of the British force.


So the scene was set the beer was pulled - well lager actually but Moretti is very drinkable on a warm June day and Young and Lawford's Charge was to be used for the fighting - with no amendments simply because I wanted to re-familiarise myself with the rules as they were written before I started fiddling about. So very retro old chap. 

Some of the French.



 The forces were somewhat larger than earlier games because I had been adding to the collection over the last 3 years. The French especially were stronger in cavalry but this would in Napoleonic terms still be a small action rather than a battle. In round numbers the French had about 140 foot 40 cavalry and 3 guns. The British 150 foot 20 cavalry and 3 guns. All retro 30mm figures mostly Stadden but with a few Willies rather more Minot and a small number of Minifigs 30mm. There were a few Hinchliffe gunners too and a sprinkling of Connoisseur which while being a tad small fitted in in terms of style  and movement which is far more important than mere millimetres.

Andrew the Tekkie took the French and Theatrical Steve the British. Mechanical Shaun arrived late  having been unavoidably detained but would later join the French.


More of the French- from their rear. Note the very retro Merit trees from the 1960s



The fight opened with artillery fire which didn't actually do any damage at first but then first blood went to the British when they killed a couple of the newly painted Lancers . The Brits then advanced a rifles company on their left to counter a wood full of voltigeurs and a little popping fight began which again did little harm to either side.

British Artillery. A mix of Hincliffe and Stadden Horse artillery and Minifigs 30mm foot artillery.


 Now at last the French began to move. They massed their cavalry in an attempt to smash through the British centre. Very Marshall Ney- especially as they didn't see fit to support the attack with any of their infantry who simply stood about looking pretty.

Don't fire till you see the shine of their varnish !



 The resultant carnage was definitely a case of Magnificence  rather than war. Cuirassiers and Lancers fell to British artillery and musketry and although the Chasseurs of the Guard made contact and caused casualties amongst the 44th Foot they didn't do enough harm to cause the British more than a slight inconvenience.

 The rebuff of the cavalry charge seemed to unnerve the French who simply repaired to the bar after calling the game over, which whilst a bit premature perhaps was almost certainly the correct decision as will almost no cavalry left they would have been at the mercy of a British counter attack had Steve got around to it.

Other points. I should have used a bigger table but since we are still finding our feet at our new venue I underestimated the number we would need- more are available- and the next time this lot come out the table will be twice the size. Also although I like Charge  I may try other retro rules here such as Grant or maybe Featherstone . I even have a set of the very old London Wargames Section Napoleonic rules which are at least 50 years old. Of course I could also use In the Grnad Manner of General De Brigade if I so choose. That is the advantage of non  rules specific armies.

 Thanks must go to Andrew the Tekkie's Dad Norman for  allowing the use of the venue.

 We'll be back .