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Tuesday 13 December 2011

Christmas is coming.... Bah Humbug ???

So here I am gentle readers sitting before the screen with a few moments in hand before setting about this mornings orders We are almost caught up with the backlog thanks toan after office hours packaqging session last night and a casting session during the day - making Jacdaw brits for a couple of customers and some Lanciers de Saxe likewise. I'm hoping a package from David lands this week - containg the first of the Swedish Napoleonics and - so he tells me some Chasseurs de Fischer. I'll post pics of the greens as soon as they arrive but it will be after Crimbo before they get into moulds. Actually going to be running a game this coming Saturday- WW2 western desert for which I'll be using Command Decision rules- probably version 3 . I've tried other sets but keep coming back to these as they treat you like and adult- they don't have the over simplification of Rapid Fire- or perhaps that should be Vapid fire as they bored the arse off me !! They don't have the patronising tone of Flames of War or the silliness of Spearhead. Indeed the only other sets of WW2 I considered were Lionel Tarr /featherstone but they were too limited So pics when I take 'em but in the meantime what is santa bringing me... well a new keybaord- which I'm using now- my old one snuffed it thespacerbargaveup- with odd results but in wargaming terms nothing of note since there is nothing I need tht I can't either do myself or cause to be done if I wish- mind you I do expect the beareded git to bring a bottle or two- Woodford Reserve Tennessee is one choice or perhaps a bottle of Red Brest Irish or The Antiquart Lowland Malt. Speaking of Lowland here is a pic of my most recent 15mm Malburian unit- almost the only thing added to my collection recently
The Royal Scots- as they would become- at this time Dumbartons then Orkneys so that little collection grows. I also have a Bavarian Dragoon regiment which only needs it flags adding- all these painted by John Reidyand the figures are of course Bluemoon

Thursday 10 November 2011

Russian Magic... again.

Nick Bokarev of Drabant fame has kindly sent me pic of the painted Britsh - shown a few posts ago as undercoated. Now here they are finished.
I really can feel a 40mm WSS force to be in the offing. I have a very small begining- but how to do it that is the question.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Finished 'em!!

Since I'm currently on a burst painting 40mm ECW Here are a couple of pics of the finished Sash and Saber Mounted Officers. 2 figs per pack - with alternative right arms and heads included for a mere £12.00.
I've built these 2 straight from the bag as it were with no conversion or fiddling about. Future variations will be different . I can see thise figues cropping up in various guises in the future-as TYW French or Imperialists with different heads and on other horses and indeed in different poses.. Now the Dragoons are out in the USA I must order some up for the UK chaps.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

More Drabant goodies

Another quickie this. Nick Bokarev of drabant sent me these pics of his up and coming Footguards Hatmen. Don't they look the business? I'll be having some of these when they come out .
Its a slow job but I am building a small collection of Drabant 40mm . Hopefully not too small in the long run.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Mixed Marriages....

By Gum!! Two posts in One day. well sort of. I've been trying to find the time to do a "proper" post for the last week or so but what with work and the rugger and one or two other things it just never happened.. Noiw some of you dear gentle readers , will be aware of my views on the" figure fascists" , those narrow worthies who have all their little men fr in one style from one maker and who opine loudly that all others are beneath contemp- usually if they haven't been sculpted by the 3 armed hydra. Now this is not about figure quality- well not really- but more in a way about the dead hand of conformity laying its cold and clammy fingers upon us however lightly. Why I ask myself in an age where there are more makers than ever are many armies less and less characterful . The same overpainted blandness trotted out over and over ? There may be more figures but there is a dammned sight less art. What I hear your cry Art?. Well yes in a very small way you understand. I'm not claiming I and my Ilk are akin to Michelangelo or Caravaggio- except(in younger days) for bar fights perhaps but good painting and modelling in our hobby is an art form albeit a very minor one. ( and you thought an Ilk was a funny animal that wanders aimlessly about the tundra.... well you may be right..) No what the dead hand of the FFs do is make it harder to do anything different
and no I'm not talking about warrior teddy bears or similar amusing silliness but about an attitude. An example , in the past Old Glory have been criticised- often quite brusquesly for using "different designers" well of course we did halfwits there was too much stuff for one bloke- unless he cloned himself and thats only been done once in this line of work-so we used different blokes for different jobs. We must have used 7 or 8 designers to date and I still use 4 - including David for Jacdaw. What that did was give us different styles for different tastes - how can that be wrong? However it was- apparently becasue it wasn't the same as the "designer minifigs" style prevelent both then and now(and no I'm not having a go at Minifigs they are fine for certain jobs). Now You also get all this sizist crap about "are yours 25mm or 28mm ". I covered this little gem in an article on the OGUK website so won't bore you with it again but its about presentation here. How you finish and present yoyr toys that is far more important than mere millimetres. So to somewaht "prove" my point- at least to myself here are a trio of pictures where mixed makers are used together. The ECW curassier unit are Old Glory figures on Jacdaw horsesand represent Colonel Balfours troop at Edgehill - one of 3 such troops in the Parliamentry army. The 18th cetury group is largely Old Glory but Soubise in the centre is a Willie figure on a Stadden Horse while the lady a la Hussard is a willie figure on an Old Glory Horse. To my mind all have more movement and style that repeated perryclones

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Black Powder- damp squib.

The weekend before Derby a few TWATS got together for an AWI game at our usual pub. Now I was in the chair as I planned to use British Grenadier however I didn't have a copy- I'd sold out so I thought I'd try Black Powder. Now mu=y earlier musing upon this ruleset in another place- wherein now I do not go- were mixed to say the least. This small game did nothing to change those views except perhaps for the worst. The Britsh force had 2 "brigades" with unit sizes rangeing from large to tiny 40 figs for a guards battalion and 5 for a light company of the 17th foot while the rebels had 3 brigades - 2 of militia and 1 of continentalsand out mumberd the brits about 3 to 2 . Add to that the defemsive position and the brits were on a sticky wicket but not by any means impossible. So to the game. We managed 3 turns - the turn and turn about system doubles the length if the game, the proprtions between the various ranges and movement are just twaddle the spatial relationships are just wrong for the AWI but far far far worse than all of the above is the simple fact that you can't find anything in the damned book.. There is no index. The contents page is only of marginal help and flicking hither and yon though all the " pretty little rich boys eye candy" to find a given page became a real chore. The patronizing tone was also a pain in the **** even when you found the bits you were looking for . It became obvious that BP is simply a pretty book for sale to the sycophants or the suckers with a few nice ideas hidden between the rich boys showing off pages. I do like the way you can personalise the units but set that agaist the set unit sizes - which I'd hate in any ruleset-and I like the idea of the order system- despoite its "poseurs charter" - which could be fun once or twice but could end up being deeply annoying at least to permanent TWATS. As an AWI set well no. But I still think they might work well 100 years later as a colonial set . I will have another go at 'em but not without a bit of serious butchering
The above pic shows a general view of the battlefield - British in the Foreground.
American Militia defend the bridge.
this pic shows the 1st foot.- Old Glory Second edition figures. The rest of the armies were a misture Old Glory - both standard and Second Edition ranges rubbed shoulders with Staddenand a very few Hincliffe X ranger- the Hezzlewood figs a lot like RSM. Its just a pity that the rules just didn't function. I've lent my copy to Andrew the Tekkie basically to see if its just me who thinks they are twaddle I await his " not quite a wargamer's " verdict. It will be interesting to see how he fairs finding his way around the tome. It drove him nuts on the day.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Off to Derby...

So its that time of year again and the City of Derby beckons.. For me- no longer the show sponsor there have been a few changes. Only 1 van full of toys this year. Floating Jeff no longer drives for me so its just me and Jim the painter in 1 van and a slightly smaller trade stand. 2 van was- due to the price of fuel- becoming unsustainable anyway so changes had to be made. Nevertheless we'll still be taking a "sh*****d"(to quote Slim Pickens) of models to the show including a fair bit of new stuff. As I write this I'm waiting for the pot to reach temperature so I can cast the new aircraft- 2 variants of the Cessna 337, one for Vietnam and the Lynx variant for the Rhodesians. Assuming I get time when I get back I want to get a start on my 15mm Moderns. I have some bits and pieces but not really organised forces. The bits and pieces syndrome is the curse of being in the trade." Oh I'll just get a couple of display units painted" and you end up with lots of half armies. Off the top[ of my head I have Trojan chariots, Polish Winged Hussars Greek Chariots Cairo Janisarries,Some Marlburian Spanish - all of whom have been photographed for the website but have never really grown past that- especially the Poles and the Trojans. At least the Janisaries and Mamelukes have beeen on the table a couple of times.
The Ottoman turks don't quite come under the Bits heading but they are far from a complete army. Again I started with just a couple of display units but they gre a little until they are almost an army but trying to get more done is problematic. I need to do some artillery and some more Spahis. The army is supposed to cover , by careful unit selection, a wide time period from the mid 16th century to about 1800 but the core is 1550-1650 so maybe I'll do some more... Of course that means I'll have to increase another set of bits.. The landsknects Oh Boy.
So here we see 3 pics of my Turks including the assualt of Fort St Elmo during the Siege of Malta- The Knighs are from the Old Glory Wars of Religion range- more bits from the collection - .I do like the look and style of the Ottomans but like many other projects they'll have to get in the queue. Nothing elso now before Derby - a fine show and the Flower pot is a cracking pub! Andy

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Old Glory -Wars of Marlborough.

As a period I've looked at Marburian on and off for the last 25or so years. I once had a small mixed force of 20mm Higgins and Douglas Miniatures I bought second hand- sold 'em about 15 years ago. I had a load of Minifigs Marburians and painted about 6. Thought about Foundry but never really liked 'em- too stiff and samey.
Dave Allsop was sculpting the Old Glory 25mm range when he died. As a range they are a good bit smaller than most OG stuff and closer to "true" 25mm- wahtever that means. The Infantry are covered in depth with 28 different packs . Cavalry less so since Dave died before these were completedand what we had was finished by another sculptor. Artillery represented by 1 pack of crew and a couple of different guns though other useful guns are available in the ECW and Jacobite ranges- including Mortars and Gallopers.
On the OSW Yahoo group the moderator opined that these had big heads. I don't agree- especially compared to Front Rank or Dixons BUT having said that one or twop do have small bodies. The heads were sculpted separately to be added one all the body variants were done and a couple of the bodies do look a bit small. Still not bad for a range that is getting on for 20 years old.
Ilove the 40mm Drabant Marburian range and am very very slowly painting up several of those without any clear idea of what I'll do with them but I've fallen for the little Bluemoon 18mm range and now have 4 units done and another on the way- I don't paint these little fellas .
This means that on the whole I'm not sure what I'll do with the Saxon artillery in the picture- There are about 80 infantry too- needing basing same painting style no longer to my taste I'd need to "Bring 'em up" before I used them. They date from a few years back when I part owned Reiver castings and we did a GNW range. The Saxons were to be opposition for the Swedes I painted which I think are in the current owners collection but as so often happens other stuff got in the way. They have been in their box since then until this morning... when I was remined of their existance.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Getting into a period. Part 1

Of late - when I read various blogs and magazine articles I wonder how todays wargamers get into a period- especially as the history is now at the back of the queue in these "enlightened" or perhaps benighted times. It a given that ex "president" Tone and his rich mates didn't like history -except insofar as it was cool Britannia and Dave and HIS rich mates are no better(except insofar as they can get punters into the stately pile perhaps). Yet history is still popular- witness the number of "heritage" shows on the box. Nevertheless in olden tymes when ye worlde was a different place players of ye warre gaymes usually got into a particular period because of the history- at least all the ones I knew did. This didn't stop us doing fictional campaigns but we read our history books- how else were you to find out how they did stuff?.
For myself its almost always been the history that has provided the trigger for a new period. In one sense - for me at least there are no "new periods" been there, done that but, having said that there are many nuances and of course it depends on what you mean by "period". To take the "Pre-gunpowder period" for instance in my time I've had Roman Republican and Cathaginian armies. Late Byzantines and Fuedal French(both competiton armies these way way back) several Viking and Norman armies over the years as well as Crusaders, English Feudals and Ayyubid - these are the ones I can remember some at least I've done more than once. I've been through more armies than Genghis Khan
Currently the collection is much more modest and in pre gunpowder terms almost non-existant. Tastes change. I no longer compete so "killer armies" no longer exist, if they ever did.
My main periods now are the 17th century and the 18th century but with a respectable look at the Peninsular War and the ACW - both in 40mm. The ACw is one of the few periods where a figure line got me interested as I saw the origonal Dave Allsop greens for the Old Glory 25mmACW range back in 1990- some of these still survive in the OG WBS range but in their day they were simply streets ahead of all the others but the ACW was really Bruce Catton's fault. His Army of the Potomac trilogy is still my favourite ACW reading. I'm one of those chaps who has to "read himself in" to a period before I do it. The depth I read may change but yes I read myself in whatever period it is.
I suppose I've really mostly been a gunpowder man. Though there was a time when I considered that nothing of much interest has happened after 1485. Knights and longbows wwre the thing - with a few "smokie gunners" for colour. Most of my Medieval armies are gone now barring a few units but I still have the texts ... just in case and a 40mm Wars of the Roses collection which I add to a bit at a time.
Modern- that is post WW2 has always been a minor interest - currently buzzing around in my head- bushfire wars post colonial wars call 'em what you will they have a contining interest. I'm re-vamping my collection here- it use to be 20mm - Cubans Angolans etc but now will be 15mm and consist of a collection of "Battle Groups" - Mostly British but with some Danish who will fight various enemies- Pseudo Iraquis and Afghans. I bought 3 LeopardII for the Danes from QRF . They are not bad but I was just a tad dismayed by the casting quality compared to my Challengersand Warriors- which are of course OG . Mind you they'll paint up OK- better than OK but it will take effort.

The Pictures.
40mm ACW Confederates. I fight regimental level battles using Featherstonian style rules.
Middle. Jose de Henradia Catellan of Ampaosta. One of my few medieval left. I ALWAYS tried to get the Heraldry right. That was the point.
Jim Mains 10mm Seven Years War Austrians. I love the period but won't paint this scale myself. See Jims pont though they look fine indeed en masse.

Sunday 24 July 2011

A day in the life....

That splendid blogger Wargaming for Grown ups often seems to have to fit his wargaming in around his life. It's not like that here - and yet curiously it very much is. Merely because I run a wargaming miniatures company does not mean I do a lot of actual wargaming. Now don't get me wrong here - its my choice, I've tried other lines of work and mostly hated 'em all more or less so there is nothing I'd rather do- at least in the terms of the actually possible, so all of the following is rather simply to illustrate what the hell I spend my working life actually doing - as its not all playing with soldiers.
One of the MAJOR advantages or working from home is the total lack of commuting thank God !! Man when I did it was the biggest pain- waiting for buses standing in the pissing rain or freezing cold- sometimes both or standing in a bus shelter that had been used as a urinal - frequently. No I don't miss it . The Civil service can do without me and good riddance says I.
So I can rise at 7.30 and be at my dest working well before 8.30 should that be needful- which it mostly is- sometimes earlier but no sweat.
Check the overnight emails- anything from Half a dozen to 50 or so depending upon what time of the year- or week it is- always more on a Monday AFTER the weekend.
Its a pretty fair bet that the phone will ring a few times too. I'm a tad old fashioned so am still happy to take Telephone orders. If you are planning to buy a fairly sized army its worth using the phone to take advantage of the "6 for5" deal. We can't do this on the website as the possible variants are simply too numerous(4500 to the power 4500 so my tame tekkie says ) . Our Sagepay payment system isn't able to deal with that. .
So sorted the emails - printed the order out - next job pull the orders from the stock bins and make out the order dockets. I still do this by hand as its the most reliable way of knowing the state of play on any given order- less chance of a cock -up - mind you those can still happen Not often though!.
If the order is Old Glory Sash and Saber or Bluemoon any missing stuff will be added to the next order to be sent to the USA(if it hasn't already). If its from a range I make here- Aircraft ,Romanoff Fireforce etc etc then If I don't have it to hand it goes on the casting list for the next casting day..
At this point my wife Carole enters the fray as packer and posting supremo. She's the other half of Old Glory UK . There are just the 2 of us here. My show crew only help me out at shows for the rest it's myself and Carole. Gophers I have none- don't want 'em.
By now its around lunchtime so usually a quick buttie and cuppa- often interrupted by phone calls - some from customers some from cold calling time wasters - " do you a website " "sell you some phones " " waste your time " - I've had up to 20 of these in a day and can get a tad testy- sometime **** off !!as you slam the phone down is really the only way to get rid of 'em . I've tried polite it does not work .
Afternoons can vary a bit. I may have photographs to take for the website or for a magazine article. I may have a bundle of paperwork to do - the bane of my life- or maybe its casting ., I have 4 or 5 orders to cast for tomorrow assuming I can fit it in and it doesn't have to wait until Tuesday.
Perhaps its a posting day so I'll walk the half- mile or so to our local post office with the smaller orders(larger ones may go by courier). We keep it local. We had a Post Office contract but they cancelled it - apparently the 5 grand a year I spent with them was beneath their notice. My local postmaster was more than pleased to take over. He and his girls do an good job.
The point here is that all of this stuff takes time. Some computer dudes forget that the web isn't real they are only pictures - someone has to make this stuff, pack and ship it and it takes time.
For instance photographs. The number of times I've been asked
"Why are there no photographs on your site"-
Give it a rest man there are over 2500 and still growing.
What they usually means is
"Why isn't there a picture or preferebly 27 of the pack I want to look at THIS MINUTE but have no intention of buying"
Now I fully understand but man a French Infatryman is a French Infantryman.
I have currently a bundle of about 100 pics from several chaps who have kind enough to give me permission to use their work. So I have to go through these - decide which I can use - re-size and sometimes otherwise fiddle about with them. Say an average of 10 minutes per photo 100 photos thats just over 16 hours work. Extrapolating this for roughly 4500 products thats 750 hours- doing nothing else - no wee wee or tea breaks no stopping to answer the phone almost 94 working 8 hour shifts doing nothing else to get 1 photo per code. And that assumes that I don't take the pics myself so
its pretty unlikely that I'll ever get everything photographed before I snuff it ! .
Especially as we keep bringing stuff out on both sides of the pond .
Nevertheless photos are added to the OGUK site pretty regularly As of this morning there were 2181 photos on the site not counting the homepage which has a changeing pic everytime you log on . By the end of the week that figure should have risen.
By now in my "normal" working day its pushing 5 O'clock and I've had enough. I needed to get some painting done but that didn't happen. Perhaps I'll do a bit later in the evening but frankly some days I'm sick of the little lead gits by 5 O'clock and want to think about something else. Fast Cars ... maybe... though that is my petrolhead wifes province Jane Austen... possibly A pie and a Pint very possibly indeed. Perhaps I'll cook. A little Penne al Tonno or maybe a Bruchetta or maybe something a little more substantial say a Chargrilled surloin with an Onion and Mustard dressing with a Green Salad and a bottle of Gamay ... . That will depend upon the seasonbor maybe I'll go to the Hoss or the Mary....

Monday 18 July 2011

"Charge- your Pike " and comparative pricing.

An ongoing thread on the Old School Yahoo group about converting Young's Charge rules to the ECW got me thinking so there I was searching for appropriate info on what ECW stuff was available in those far off days when I came upon my copy of Military Modelling ISSUE 1 January 1971.
Afew comparative prices are absolutly intrigueing. I quote
Lamming 20/25mm Cavalry 2 per box - with horses- 7/-each Now as Mil-mod was only 3/- per issue at the time this would make1 cavalry figure more expensive than the magazine.
Translate that to today and you'd be paying a fiver for a single 28mm cavalry figure- given that most of todays glossies are 4 quid plus each - current Miniwargs price £4.25 . Around 3/- (15p) seems to have been the norm for mounted figures back then-(Garrison were 3/- each with fpoot at 1/3d each a box of Airfix would cost you about the same. Some outfits were more expensivew some less so but while comparisons are not exact its interesting that the actual models are in real terms cheaper than they were then - 3 bob was a lot of money certainly 2 or 3 pints (I was a bit young to know precisly) Now asingle pint will cost you about the same as a 28mm Cavalryman Hmmmm choices....
For me -despite the nostalgia for the old days - we have a better hobby now with more competititon - more companies and, on the whole, far far better product- at least as regards figures.
Now the photo is a depiction in 40mm - using my own Jacdaw and Romanoff figures a "battalia of foot a la Peter Young as depected in his article in the december 1969 issue of Bayonet. . I have placed the figures as he had them in the diagram- with the exception of the CO who I have placed- dismounted at the head of his regiement as would have been practice in the 17th century.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

In Search of Reality? part 3

The Gentle Art of the Active Umpire

Funny chaps wargamers - at once very broadminded and incredibly narrow in outlook. Now I'm long past the time where I expect my opinions to influence another. Almost 40 years a wargamer has taught me that rarely happens .
The ongoing discussion on the OSW has revealed little except entrenched opinions- at least in the more wordy cases. Its not really a matter of "wood for the Trees" but rather more often - "this is what I want and all others are wrong because they are not me" - these are the more vociferious you understand - by no means everyone
So it once again strikes me that perhaps I'm not a "true" wargamer in that sense at all but rather a historian who plays with toy soldiers in as historical a manner as he feels like at the time.
One of the surprising things has been the way quite a few chaps simply ignore or dismiss the Umpire as either totally unnecessary(because their chosen rules are perfect?) or merely a scorer or if present limit his role to simple adjudication.
By Gum they- and especially the Umpire himself- are really missing a trick there.
Perhaps Umpire is a poor word.
Borrowing from Role players perhaps he should be the "Gamesmaster" In India he would be "Janghi Lat"- the Lord of War .
In our group his job is to organise the game set up the scenario provide the toys- other chaps help of course- and then run the game to his rules his way. We all take turns.

"The Umpire is ALWAYS right - especially when he's wrong"

is the only rule we have in the T.W.A.T.S. We find we work better that way. Any printed rulebooks is almost always secondary to the Umpires knowledge. In essence the rules provide the mere statistics the Umpire provided the "reality" - period colour, fog of War - general military Friction basically all the stuff that a mere rulebook just can't do the stuff you can't legislate for unless you want a rule set that's like Britannica.
A computer can't do it its too impersonal and it won;'t work with "win at all costs" or "gamey" players.
However we find it does work with chaps who have a sense of period and who would rather play to period than to rulebook.
We've been doing this for years- certainly since the mid 90s if not before ands=d see no reason to change though there are fellas out there who find our approach a bit odd.
What it means is that we tend not to be stuck in a rut. We'll play lots of different games in many different ways- depending upon who is running the show .
For instance - our last game was the Durham show game.- see the earlier post. Our next will be a WW2 Naval affair run by Floating Jeff most likely in the Pacific. Jim the painter wants to do a FOG based ancients game - we haven't tried these yet so the first few games will probably be "by the book" . But we'll see - thank God we are not predictable.
As for the pictures- they simply show that I've dug out my Indian collection and am adding to it. The white background shot shows a recently completed unit of Matchlockmen- from the Old Glory Muting range . Then another shot of my small Dikh wars group and also a shot of WSR Hodson - Rugby school boy - cavalryman and possible purloiner of Mess funds - setting about the mutinerrs with some of his troopers.

It takes all sorts...

Sunday 3 July 2011

The Search for Reality- part 2


The ongoing debate on the Old School wargames Yahoo group which started as my poor first impressions of "Black Powder" has expanded beyond all recognition into dicussions of scale, battlefield Casualties and weapons effectivness. Some of it is pretty esoteric and basically boils down to the differences each of us has when we examine what we do. As an debate it's interesting but unlikly to change opinions. I've learnt a few things so its not been a complete waste but as ever I'm mildly surprised by - in what is a history based hobby - how many apparent "history haters" there are out there. Now that's deliberatly a bit strong and its probably truer to say that its the "empiricists" vs the "gamers" with perhaps a third faction - a small one- the "humanists" - having a bash at both sides as occaision serves .
For myself I'd say I'm a humanist with a shot of empiricism on the side- for me both are important. The "numbers racket" of the empiricists is a foundation and helps us quantify the quantifyable- weapon range movement speed etc. But the human element - mewmoirs battle reports history books prints and paintings put the flessh on the bare skeleton of the number crunchers.
Were our hobby a mere "gaming excercise" for "FUN" I'd be doing something else - watching paint dry perhaps or reading Paradise lost .
There are - contrary to the "Funsters" (another faction perhaps) many kinds of enjoyment and while I find some of them peurile that does not make them wrong in any way. Live like you wanna live Dude but that works both ways surely?
Now to be honest there is no such thing as a perfect set of rules - various systems do various jobs at various times. I shudder to think how many rulesets I've tried in 40 years but that doesn't stop me trying, maybe I'll get a bit of insight into how this or that worked.
In 40 years I've solved the odd problem- at least to my satisfaction latterly I've found most problems can be sorted by an Umpire who knows hisa stuff.
Quite why so many wargamers are anti- umpire I can't fathom. Its seems to be based around the fear that they may end up being one. Twaddle !.It's fun - in the broadest sense- espeially with adult players who also know the period. Its the normal way we run games at the T.W.A.T.S.. The idea of 2 player "head to head lead" no longer has appeal- I've done my shareand want a different experience one that - in an ideal world is intellectually stimulating , socially diverting and yes even that overused word !fun" - oh and preferably with beer in it ! .
What I don't want is to be patronised by over glossy rulesets with buckets of eye candy and comparatively thin content . Told that they are the best thing since sliced bread (to be fair NOT by the publisher) and if I don't like 'em I don't like fun - well not that kind I prefer to use my own brain thanks You can continue to plumb the shallows if you like
I'll not be dumbed down ...
The Resistance Lives on....

Monday 27 June 2011

The search for Reality- part 1

Descending to the Trivial

Now here we go again - while at War Torn last weekend I was given a copy of the latest Wargames Illustrated. I hadn't seen a copy for around a year for which I'm truly grateful. The magazine is bright, colourful and has plenty of very pretty- and some far from pretty pictures in it so style 7/10 - losing a few points for being a bit on the chavtastic side- I kept expecting page borders to be fake Burberry pattern- will succeeding issues arrive in a dayglo Vauxhall Corsa 2.4 with extra chrome?? .
Levity aside however upon perusal the magazine once again appeared to be written by and for the "yoof" market. "Its da gamin' innit" .. This size - in terms of page numbers is impressive but the content other than the pictures is almost nil. The depth of its triviality is spectacular. The distance between advert and articles is to all intents and purposes nil. Its a far far smaller magazine than it was in the Duncan Macfarlane era.
This got me thinking again - dangerous that ! Has our hobby become irredeemably trivial in its own eyes

Think about it most hobbyist in other fields don't view their hobby as trivial insofar as they practice it. It's something they enjoy at whatever level only we- as far as I know have a section of our practitioners who feel so insecure about what they do that they trivialise it perhaps as a defence mechanism. It has to be "easy" or "quick" or "simple" or some other weasel word that makes us less than we should be.
Now don't get me wrong I'm not in favour of permanently sweaty browed calculator wielding accountant-a -likes but neither does it have to bethe "bang you're dead" (with pretty pictures) that seems to be the norm in some quarters.
This - at least for me- ties in with a wider debate about "realism" in our games. Now the current discussion on the OSW group regarding the "Black Powder" rules has highlighted a few points upon what constitues "realism" for most of the debaters it seems to centre around how this games mechanism works or does not, but, in my view there are many layers of "realism" that we can put into the game before we get to mere rules.
Leaving aside the obvious one of model realism- are the toys painted and made up as their historical protoypes would have looked like - or if Fantasy does it have an internal logic of its own ? .
What you might term"organisational reality" - Could the units in your model army (or toy soldier collection) have fought in that time at that place in that manner(in those trousers!)?- This is more of a "does it feel right" question
At its simplist level that for me is "No macedonians fighting bloody Aztecs " but equally it could be no cavalry and infantry in the same brigade at that time in this place. Or perhaps - as it says in Black powder " Baker Rifles in the case of Britsh Napoleonic light infantry" (page 176)- this is twaddle they didn't . Light infantry regiemnts carried muskets Rifle battalions carried Rifles and is a small example of the simplfying to the trivial that seems to be current.
My point here is that - although many do know such statements to be twaddle other either don't or will seek to use it to ganin some trivial little advantge which simply would not occour had they been historically accurate. Another case- a custome recently bought a bundle of BMW motorbike combos for WW2 simply becase a loophole in his chosen rule- which may or may not have been FOW made these supertroops. "It gives me an advantage" he repeated ad nauseam. Being the chaps I am - an not really caring much I took his money and kept my gob shut but I did find it a bit sad nonetheless. However to be fair this chap wasn't claiming any kind of historical justification but simply wanted to score points off his mates - nothing actually wrong there then .
No I suppose my prime objection is that the simplistic lobby have the flooras its diffcult to argue with the "my brain 'urts when I fink" brigade because they trot out the "its only a game " liturgy over and over again like the responses at Mass.
And Finally- for the moment. Visual realism- a couple of pics of my collection King David has his correct Heraldry as does John Scymengour his standard bearer. The pikemen are from Denzil Holles Regiment of Foot in August 1642.A couple of months later and they would be a lot scruffier.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Fireforce 15 Miniatures.

I've long had an interest in "Bushfire Wars" - those post WW2and modern conflicts that still bedevil us. Those of the African continent being of more than passing interest.
I'd long wanted to take a closer look at the Rhodesian War where - however poor the cause - that small and undersupplied Army fought magnificently. So here at last are the first of the "troopies" in 15mm .
These are pics of the greens of the first couple of packs . Basically Moving group and firing group- each group having an FN mag as well as SLRs. An Alouette Helicopter is on the Drawing board - for both K car and G car roles as well as a Cessna. We already have a C-47 for the "paradaks" and a couple of packs of Old Glory African Irregulars for the "terrs" . Pick up trucks and plenty of Warpac/russian stuff for any "externals" you might wish to mount .
These will be available as soon as I can get 'em into production.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Durham Wargames Group Open Day.

8.15 on a slightly damp Saturady morning an Floating Jeff pulls up in his car to load the gear for the annual Durham show.
A samll event this so Old Glory don't trade as such- though we always take pre-orders for customers- the evnt is too small for us to get our trade stand in. No this is more of a "busmans holiday", we run a game at this very friendly show and as always its a pleasure to do so.So with my Umpire's white armband metaphorically in place we loaded up and awaited Garth then- ho! for Durham City and the Vane Tempest hall a one time Volunteer and Militia Drill hall. Good place for a wargames show.
Once there we set up and met Steve our 4th Player- Jim the Painter and Andrew cried off at the last minute due to work commitments so there were just the 4 of us. The game was to be "A sort of Fontenoy" basically just the middle bit from Fontenoy to the Bois de Barri and scaled to fit my collection. Not really a re-fight but more "use of the scenario"
Once we'd set up your author realised he'd left the box with most of the French Cavalry on the ****** packing table - Wrath and bad language ensued but not for long . After all this was a day off not work so relax man , take it easy dude !
Here follows the British OB .
His Britannic Majesty’s Army in Flanders.
Morning state
11th June 1745
Commander in Chief William Duke of Cumberland .+2

Cavalry Brigade. Commander Henry Hawley +1
1st Royal Dragoons 3 sqns. mv2 24figs 480 men.
Cobhams Dragoons 2 sqns. mv2 20 figs 400 men
13th Kerrs Dragoons 1 sqn.6 figs mv2120 men
Troop Horse Grenadier Guards. Mv 3, 3 figs 60 men .

The Foot.
1st Brigade Commander “Daddy” Huske +2
1st Foot (Royals) St Clair mv3 28 figs 560 men
3rd Foot (Buffs) Howard’s mv3 24figs 480men.
17th Foot Forbes mv3 32 figs 640 men
34th Foot Cholmondley ‘s mv3 32 figs 640 men.
1 light battalion gun to be attached to a designated battalion.

2nd Brigade Commander Brigadier Ingoldsby +1
36th Foot Fleming’s mv3 32 figs 640men.
50th Foot Hodgson’s mv3 28figs 560men.
87th Foot Kieth’s Highlanders mv3 28figs 560men
1light battalion gun which must be attached to either the 36th or 50th

1 heavy gun
2 medium guns.

Total British troops 1060 cavalry 4080 foot plus artillery and staff

The regiments and were not necessarily present at the battle-Scale as 30mm and all minis were either Old Glory or Jacdaw with asingle Eagle regiment and a scattering of Warrior "real" strengths are calculted at a 1-20 ratio.

Here is the "Dutch" OB actually mostly Hessians.
Forces of the United Provinces and the Landgrave of Hesse.
General Hertz van Rentals.

Garde Dragonder1 sqn 8 figs mv2 160men.
Hussars 1 troop. 4 figs mv2 80men

Dutch Infantry and artillery.
Gardes te Voet 24 figs mv2 480 men.
1 medium gun.
1 coehorn mortar.

Hessian Infantry brigade- British subsidy troops.
Commander FMH Claus von Konigsegegegeg.=1
Infantry Regt “Von Donop” 48 figs mv2 960 men
Infantry regt “von Konigsegegegeg” 24figs mv2 480men.
Fusilier regt “Von Schorthausen” 22 figs mv2 440men.
Combined Grenadier battalion 14figs mv3 280men

Free Companies 12 figs mv1 240 men.

Total Dutch and Hessian troops
240 Cavalry 2880 foot plus artillery and staff
OnlyVon Donop and the Dutch Guards are real - the rest are remnants of my Prussian army so the regimental names are - as you may have guessed ficticios for this game! The Dutch were a mixture of Old Glory Sash and Saber with a single regiment of Stadden.
and Finally the French OB

Army of the Meuse. Morning State June 11th 1745.
Commander in Chief Armand De Rochefort Duc de Brie +2
The Cavalry.
Commander. Auguste Chateaubriand ,Comte de la Plume de Matante +1
Cuirassier du Roi – 2 sqns. Armoured mv3 16 figs= 320 men
Fitzjames Cavallerie 1 sqn. Armoured mv3 10 figs =200 men
Chabriant Cavallerie 1 sqn . mv2 6 figs =120 men
Bercheny Hussars/Chassuers de Fischer 1 sqn.mv2 9 figs 180 men
The Foot.
Brigade “La Reine”
Commander General Remy Martin Comte Courvasier+1
Regt. La Reine 1st Bn. Mv2 24 figs 480 men
Regt. La Reine 2nd Bn. Mv2 24 figs 480 men
Regt Augverne 2nd Bn Mv2 24 figs 480 men

Brigade Piedmont.
General Jean deRicard Sieur de Pernod.+1
Regt Piedmont 1st bn mv2 30 figs 600 men
Regt Piedmont 2nd Bn(detachment) mv2 11 figs 220 men
Regt Royal Eccossais mv2 24 figs 480men.
Regt Auxerre mv2 16figs 320 men

Brigade Roth. The Irish Brigade.
General Patrick Murphy O’Guiness +1
Regt Roth mv2 (mv3 in melee) 28 figs 560 men
Regt Dillon mv2 (mv3 in melee)32 figs 640 men
Regt Clare mv2 (mv3 in melee)28 figs 560 men

Unbrigaded troops.
Arquebusiers De Grassin mv2 6 figs 120men.
Grenadiers de France mv3 42 figs 840men

3 medium guns
1 siege gun .

Force totals 5780 foot 820 cavalry plus artillery and staff
However with the exception of Fitzjame Cavallerie all the French hore were "lost on the road" - thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it!.
The French Army was again mostly Old Glory but with a couple of Jacdaw units and the Grenadiers De France were elite minis. there were afew Willies about !! The missing French Cav are also Old Glory and Jacdaw .I'd decided to put my Front Rank ones on the Bring and buy as they simply didn't fit in.

So after a quich Coffee and Bacon buttie we were off. Battle was joined. Rules were Warfare in the Age of reason with a good few local amendments - mostly doubling of ranges and halving of Artilley movements to bring the "spatial relationships" into some kind of order with a few other fiddly bits to discourage unhistorical tactics.
Steve commanded the Brits- a tall order for a chap who albeit a wargamer of many years was new to the 18th century and more especially new to the T.W.A.T.S way of doing things .
Liam- thats Garth to us- took the Dutch and Floating Jeff took the French. Your humble author was umpire and general pest.
The battle began with a French Cannonade and a Dutch advance againt "Nontenoy" . At first the Britsh approach was decidedly tentative though the Free Companies did enter the Bois de Pisse - possibly to divest themselves of the looted wine but, running up against the Grassins engaged in a firefight which they eventually won.
On the opposite Flank Von Donop advanced againt the village taking fire from the French guns therein and an enforeced moral check
"OK Garth " says I as umpire "3d6 score 6 or more and all's well "
Dice are rolled and up comes Snake and a Half - 3 ! Von Donop - still over 800 men strong retreat in consdierable dissarray. General Van Rentals- who had been accompnying the unit decided that the proximity of roundshot to his coiffure was too much and retired to a safer distance.
The french foot were also taking a bit of stick from the well served British guns and after considerable punishment Augverne broke and retired into Nontenoy- there to remain - sulking .
Now was the time for the british to mount a full blooded assualt but alas they were not ready. Kieth's Highlanders dashed in but after taking fire from the French guns and a couple of Volleys from the Grenadiers de France they retired cursing in Gaelic and reaching for the Talisker!doubtless wondering where their support was.
By now the Dutch assualt wave was going in .However fire from the houses of the Village as well as the French guns took a terrible toll and first Von Konigseggeggegg broke and then Von Schorthousen causing and army reaction and a general Dutch retreat covered by the now rallied Von Donop.
With the timely appearence of the Irish Brigade in the French centre there was little for the now outnumbered British to do but retire in good order covered by their cavalry. which due to the dilatoy umpire far far out numbered the French Horse.
By this time of course the show was dismantling itself around us- at least one trader fleeing precipitatly- almost "taking out" my camera in his hurry- bad cess to 'im!His Apologies being entirely absent .
The other games were largely WW2(not all FOW thank God) with a single rather nice medieval skirmish and apparently some GW game or other which I compleatly ignored.
Once we'd packed up we repaired to the Queens Head- a fine hostelry of my aquaintance -there to wrap my tonsils around a couple of pints of Black Sheep
All was then well with the world.
Safe to say We'll be going back next year . I always enjoy the Durham show small it my be but worh your time it is.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

What is a Wargamer part III

Following on from Robbies remarks on the Independent Wargames Group blog- good blog that- I find myself sort of agreeing but then after a little though perhaps not so much. Its a delicate balance after all these days subtle debate is not in fashion its more a sort of "tis tisn't" style so beloved of the over simplistic media., In reality its NEVER that black and white- whatever the subject. Now personally I've always enjoyed the cut and thrust of adult intellectual debate which used to be a part of this hobby but alas is now pretty rare.
Now the assertion - very common now- that we are merely playing with toy soldiers is one of those statements that would bear looking at merely as a point of interest you understand. Now call me old fashioned but its only true on one level. On another it denigrates and infantalises what we do - especially as regards the "other stuff" already alluded to in earlier parts of this series. If you view yourself as thick go ahead ,fine I don't and have always considered our hobby to be for those of at least average intelligence or better but in the last 10-15 years I've seen a massive dumbing down of the mainstream as our little hobby descends from Wargaming to " its gaming innit" . Now don't misunderstand I don't CARE well not much - but I do regret and the acquiescence of many of us in this dumbing down is negligent in some ways-the simplification for the mythical "yoof" market - how bloody patronising I'd trell you to shove it were I a "yoof".
You are not thick just cos you are under 330 you know - we often now see Orwell like simple =good, complex =bad - not always true as if it ever was. I've become of the opinion that perhaps just possibly "the playing with toy soldier chaps" - in this context are rather more the defensive as regards the hobby - after all if you trivialise it and infantalise it, it must be harmless and you'll attract less opprobrium from the unknowing . Now that doesn't mean that we all have to be furrowed brow intellctuals all the time but we don't have to be dumbed down cretins either.

Saturday 4 June 2011

What is a Wargamer part II

So contiuing more or less with my previous post I ask what IS a wargamer is he as I have found in the past a nerdy social inadequate who thinks Tolkien's world is real and often needs to stand closer to the soap or as I have found at least as often an Historically based polymath who knows his stuff and is willing to learn- and no those last are not mutually exclusive. Both of course exist but as ever the truth lies on average somewhere bewteen the two.Though the pernicious influence of fantasy based "gaming" is making the polymath somewhat endangered- at least on the show circuit. The major change in the hobby in the last 20 years or so has been from "model figure centic" to "rules and gaming centirc" or even more to "instant answers only" as if actually knowing stuff is harmful to your health. Oh and most of all no LAFFIN and lets have FUN in large letters of course which tewnd to mean IMHO Intellectually lightweight but deadly boring gaming innit where victory is all at the expence of style and knowledge. If our hobby was just about winning I'd play bridge or whist instead.
No its at least as much if not more about stuff other than the mere gaming and exactly what the "other stuff" is will depend upon the individual. For myself its about historical knowledge Toy soldiers, or models if you prefer and on gaming day a few beers with the lads and a larf or two but never submerging "the period" in favour of mnere gaming even with SCI-FI it has to have an internal logic of its own however daft.
So the 3 pics show some of my recently unearthed Sci - Fi collection
From the bottom up
Fidel Ernesto Guevara Smith President of the Republic of New Nevada on O'Toole's World wit his henchmen .
Middle One of the Dictators Robots- Call -me-Constable Collecting parking fines.
"But I only stopped for a minute"
Denzil Washington Snipoes and the resitance fighters of the Armed Revolutionary Socialist Executive prepare for another mission.

What is a wargamer.... ???? part 1

nO I'm not about to go all deep and meaningless on you but it does bear a thought or two. Now thankfully our hobby is a very broad church - even if I exclude the Dwarf fiddlers and Zombie strokers which of course I wouldn't ... resally even if its something I find a little odd amongst adults- even when consenting. Sorry but I just can't take Fantasy seriously even when I fiddled myself (and yes gentle reader I did -mea culpa mea maxima culpa ! but I got out of therapy years ago )I did it mainly for laughs the armies and games were full of daft puns and silly jokes and the whole thing was deliberately light relief- I had a gay dragon who would only eat male virgins! and a Jewish Vampire so the cross had no effect- not my idea this but Alfie Bass in "Dance of the Vampires". The human armies- my Grenadier late medivals with a bunch of character figs bolted on were the "human league"- lots of frilly shirts and dubious hair dos. Barbarians were all conanesque. Dwarfs were in 7 man units... think about it .Ideas were stolen left and right but whenver I ran a game at our old Games Workshop heavy club the outraged seriousness of the nerd brigade knew no bounds- now theese were not kids- my risque games were for grown ups- but knew how to act like 10 year olds. I even ran a game at a convention- based on a Conan story which was basically a bsattle between Conan and a bunch of Samurai .
Once again the bafflement and outrage- albeit at a more subdued level was palpable At this point I packed it in . The Fantasy suff was sold off- exit villain sneering. So now the only non historical stuff I have is an equally light hearted Sci - Fi set upo which owes nothing to GW but a fair bit to SF author Gerry Pournelle.
What made me cringe over the whole sorry farrago of idiocy was the idea than fantasy HAD to be of a certain type. I remember the debate in the late 70s early 80s in Battle and Mil mod - people were trying Fantasy because it was- in their eyes then -more free form and less complex. Yet afew years later this was no longer the case-AND fantasy had become as tired and anal as historical player were contantly accused of but in my expoerience were not.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Latest 28mm Moderns

Just arrived this morning from one of my sculptors is the British 50cal and crew for the Brooks miniatures 28mm Modern range . Following not very fast on the heels of the ANA packs relased ealier this year- or was it late last year time flies when you are having fun- these add to the Brooks miniatures range.
My own interest in post WW2 and modern warfare means that both the 28mm Brooks range and the "CDMODS" in 15mm will continue to grow. Not only that but watch the Firforce 15 label for more intresting stuff as soon as another sculptor has finished his current project..
The pictures show the 50cal team in both Front and rear views- made as black and white images simply becase they are clearer on the "greens" . I'll have these moulded up and in production as soon as maybe.

Tuesday 31 May 2011

June days.

Well that's May as good as over. Its been a busy month what with 3 shows and all the normal Mail order to deal with. Two shows in 2 weekends in the same catchement area - not wise- I'm talking about triples and Partizan - about 40 miles apart on successive weekends. Needless to say both shows suffered and between the two made up 1 decent event between 'em .
My next show is the Durhan Open day on the 11th June. I'm not trading but as usual running a game. Though some lads always seem to oder gear which I'll happily bring along . This year it will be an 18th century affair - very loosely based on Fontenoy using a slightly modiefied version of Warfare in the Age or Reason but with proper sized units.
There will be about 700 figures on the table or thereabouts and I've modiefied my origonal scenario to leave out those Front Rank cavalry units.
Here are a coupl of pics to show what I mean. The Dragoons de Saxe are superbly painted but still somehow lack any life. The Irish Brigade staff group has 1 FFront Rank fig and 1 Old Glory - the OG boy simply stands out as more natural. It used to make my blood boil when OG used to be poorly compared to FR . Now I know that they just were not looking so sod 'em !

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Variations on a theme

Now all in all despite my butterfly habits when it comes to wargaming and model soldiers I do seem to keep coming back to the 17th century. I have largish ECW armies in 25/28mm(take your pick they are of course the same). Ealier posts will show you at least one of the battles- see Battle of Theakstons Folly.
I suppose it's what comes of sapending 10 years as an ECW re-enactor but the period has always been one of my favourites not just ECW but the Thirty years War too- especially the involvment of English Scots and Irish Mercenaries. So here we see the first of my "Munroe's Regiment" in 40mm - equally it could be Mackays since the latter became the former. In Danish and then Swedish service until the 1630s there is even a little evidence to suggest that the remnants ended up in Ireland- certainly Robert Munroe did- in the army defeated at Benburb by another Mercenary come home Owen Roe O'Niell - who had fought for the Spanish..
There was a lot of that in those far off times. Professional soldiers following the Drum across Europe. ECW Generals Waller and Hopton both fought in Bohemeia and the Earl of Essex fought for the Dutch. Lesser names fought in Poland Saxony and all across Germany. The Scots especially providing troops and Officers for Swedish, Danish, Moskovite and Polish and Dutch armies- but especially Swedish.
So thinking upon these variations the next 3 pictures show officers of various armies of the later 30 years War period- most of whom would be equally at home in ECW armies. All are 40mm and like Munroes they are made from a variety of parts. Mostly Romanoff but with Sash and Saber heads or jacdaw with Romanoff heads . The parts are all pretty interchangeable /. They were designed that way. I wanted the interchangeability. - this would be a pain in 25mm but the bits are big enough to get your fingers round in 40mm .
sculptors do this sort of stuff all the time- small variations in a basic figure. Some charge the bloody earth for it too . I've been quoted £40.00 for a simple arm variant- about 15 minutes work according to the lad who got the job- and DIDN'T charge anything like that.. Some sculptors are just taking the **** but if you are daft enough to pay then fine. However there are plenty of lads out there who do a good job for a fair price so you takes your pick...

Sunday 24 April 2011

Ancient and Modern.

Now as you know I'm a bit of a polymath- thats posh for "never stick to one project for long" If I was female it would be called multi-tasking and I would be told how good at it I was but I'm not I'm a chap so while women never finishing anything is called multi-tasking and if OK even laudable if you are a bloke its called never finishing anything and is simply part of life.
So the 40mm Greeks are one of those projects that stutter on and off. The plan is to do Pelopennesian War forces for battles between city states. However this was disrupted when I opened the box after a show last year and discovered they had been given a right "elvising" - ie "all shook up"- laugh,I thought I'd never start ! . So away they went out of sight out of mind sort of thing.However the recent extract from Hail Ceasar (que - Sid Jmaes!!) in Miniature Wargames caused me to dig 'em out and see how bad the damge was. Nothing a bit of superglue couldn't put right - and a drop of paint here and there so here they are . Now all I need is about another 200 or so plus some more peltasts anda few cavalry- all of which I have or can make but painting will slow the job down.
At the other end of the scale are these 15mm Moderns- painted for me by Paul Cotton . These are "Middle Eastern Regulars" from my 15mm Modern Range and are deliberately generic . They'd even do as Cubans at a pinch, its all in the paint job. Now my pattern maker has finished the new Warrior W.R.A.P. and its out on the site I'm on a bit of a moderns kick at the moment but as ever it won;'t last and other stuff will catch my eye.
Next game won't be 'till June as I have 3 shows in May. Falkirk on the 7th being the first the Tripleson 21st and 22nd then Newark on the 29th I think so a crowded month 30% of a years' shows in 1 month - "somone has blundered" methinks! Actually its the venue owners for Triples- they dumped on the organisers from a great height so it was take it or leave itas if basketball actually matters- at least on this side of the pond. However it takes all sorts so they tell me.
However said game will be at the Durham Wargames Group Open Day on the 11th June. Now this is a small local show as I've doubtless said beforeand The T.W.A.T.S and I have been doing a game the for the past 5 years or so. This year its a toss up between ECW and 18th century- and the probability is that it will be 18th century.. Especially as I'm told Robbie Roddiss and his crew can't make it this year.
In a roundabout way this has brought me to a decision. I'm getting shot of some of my 18th century collection. Only a few units - all Front rank because they are fat and I just don't like the look of them anymore. There are at least 3 French Cavalry units maybe 4 and some French Light infantry . Painting ranges from the Superb- by Steve Skinner- to the not half bad- by me to the They'll do . As more Jacdaw come out the FR will be replaced by them I've always had an ambivelent attitude to FR. Casting quality and detail is excellent -posing and anatomy ranges from the OK to Gwd 'elp us. Detail while excellent is often overdone. I can see why chaps like 'em but they are so static so now the Jacdaw De Saxe Dragoons are fairly imminent and then Gendarmerie these FR units can move on .