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Sunday 27 March 2011

This won't do- write me down a victory!!

- From the diary of General Hertz Van Rentaals Saturday March 26th. Now I have entered the service of his majesty Frederick of Prussia it behoves me to tell you dear Diary of an action fought this day against the Austrian army commanded by my one tome comrade Avis Van Hire also from the United Provinces. ....
For the record this game - umpired and run by Jim Main and using his superb 10mm collection had a toal of 5 players, 3 Prussian and 2 Austrian. The Austrians had 48 infantry stands - each of 14figures in 8 6 stand Infatry battalions 3 cavalry regiments of 4 stands each - 4 figs to a stand and 2 guns . The Prussians mustred 11 Infanrty regiments at 4 stands each - so 56 little men per battalaion 4 cavalry regiemtns and 4 guns. Rules used were AOR - mostly unmodiefied. Each stand represented the usual 3 figure AOR base so the number of little men was- in this case for the look of the thing- in which they suceeded admirably.
now back to Van Rentaals Diary.
I disposed my forces in4infantry Brigades with the bulk of the cavalry on my right to my left front the Austrians skulked behind the mass of the Largerberg ridgeand our right outwinged them.They somewhat outwinged me on my left but such was their defensive posture that it concerned me not

After a little prelimenary movement the action commenced in earnest with Prussian cavalry charging the slowly emaerging Austrian Horse and after a sharp figt putting some- but not all to flight. In the left centre the Prussian guns gained the height of a small hill withing range of the Largerberg and commenced to batter the Austrian Infantry. The Prussian guns would perform somewhat above the norm all dayand effectivly accounted for 2 of the Austrian Infantry units.
Meanwhile on the right the Austrian horse- albeit weakened had rallied somewhat and while a major and prolonged firefight ragres along the main infanrty lines sought to hold the Prussian horse and even put in a couple of spirited charges against hard pressed prussian foot - capturing a brigadier in the process. However this brave action saw the end of the Austrain horse and with Prussian Hussars rampaging about their reras areas (OOOH Ar missus !!) and the rally Prussian Kurassiers again beginning tpo threaten the remaiming Austrian foot began to draw off..
The firefight in the centre had been long and bloody and had it not been for the preformance of the Prussian guns the day had gone hard for the Prussian foot. As it weas their weakend conditiion led to a most lacklustre follow up . Indeed there seemed to be a heavy sigh of relief about the Prussian camp as the Austrians staggered off into the dusk.
The actual game was fiarly fast running - starting at 1 pm and finishing around 5 - including beer, fag and buttie breaks.( alas gentle reader some of our bretheren still use cigges!!).
On the photos the dice next to units are casulaty markers so in AOR termsthe Austrians had 16"hoits" before a battalion was wiped out the Prussians 12 - though no unit on either side was actually wiped out- it was close a couple of times though!
All the figures were from the Old Glory 10mm range the infantry come in 5 figure strips which are- as Jim has proved easy to cut- his infantry bases have 14 figures on them . This makes for some fine lookin units - real linear warfare indeed.
I'm in the chair for the next game- hopefully sometime in April I have absolutly no idea what will take my fancy by then.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Busy busy.

Had a busy few weeks here at OGUK. What with bundles of new kit coming out left and right. More on the way too. Finally managed to get a few more JACDAW 30mm out French Grendiers- Charging Black Watch and more French Guards.
Biggest release from the UK is on the aircraft front though where we have a total of 7 new planes either out or iminent- all WW2 The picture is of a Fokker- no honest - in Finnish Service with skis to land on frozen lakes. We now have about 50 model aircraft and what started as a small project has grown a bit.
The 18th century pics are of course all JACDAW. These examples painted by sculptor David Wilson . This range also continues to grow albeit more slowly than the aircraft but there are now around 40 packs all told French ,British and a few Austrians with more to come.
As you know I'm quite taken with the Bluemoon 15mm Marlburians- well got my eyes on the ACW range last week and they are every bit as good - perhaps better. Now there is no way I'm doing ACW in 15mm go too many 40mm for that but these are very nice indeed so I'll be having a couple of display units painted for the shows and photgraphs.
For now though its back to painting 40mm Napoleonics - I need to have more French done by mid June for thre Durham show . These appear firsat as I almost always forget that you upload picture ares about face as Grandad Albert would have said- he was the one who rode in the TT in the 1930s so family legend has it . Certainly he was a great motor bike fiend so heres to the King of the mountain... Non TT fans might not get that but I always make a point of watching the TT races if I can .

Sunday 13 March 2011

And now for something.....

I've long had an interest in the middle ages. In my wargaming life I've had lots of assorted medieval armies. Normans- currently working on my 4th Norman Army this time in 40mm. Hundred Years War , at least 3 or 4 armies French English and Flemish - not to mention Scots. All long gone now except for a few disply Items. My 40mm Wars of the Roses have been about on this blog and are still extant - even slowly growing but that does not account for these chaps.
54mm "Toy style" Knights-over the last few years I've built up a small collection of mostly Britains levened by a few Mulberry and a single Jose Akmeyer. This all started with Peter Greenhills excellent book Heraldic Minuiature Knights which I bought years ago primarily for the info it contains. Nevertheless the pictures of Courtenay, Ping,Greenhill and Almeyer knights got me going. Now most of these are way out of my price range- a Courtenay mounted Knight can fetch around £1500.00 at auction assuming you can find one so not being awash with spare cash I picked up these few over the years mostly on ebay.
HenryV directing his archers are all Britains. The melee- with Price Philip "le Hardi" on the ground are all Mulberry. The Black Prince- with an extra lion on his caparison is my only Almeyer duelling with a Britains mounted Knight.
All of these of course come pre painted in the shiny style- only the Black prince has any attempt at "realism". I'm not sure where to go with these . They have charm and an attraction but I'm not sure Iwant to continue to collect... but we'll see Have not yet made my mind up.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Sikh Wars picture.

I found this photo in an archive of mine while searching for some Napoleonic pictures. It's a selection of my 25mm Old Glory Sikh Wars figures- a period I've often thought about. I have a couple of period memmoirsand a biography of Joesph Thackwell- who led the cavalry - as well as several regimental histories from unitswho fought in the wars. I painted these -or had them painted , some are mine some not, as dsiply stuff for shows but Jim the painter and I both fancy the period so maybe it will go further.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Up the Frontier and"figure Fascists"

So there I was having a little tidy up - as you do- and Lo and behold out pops this golden box once containing cosmetics, now holding some of my venerable North West Frontier collection and incidentally containing the only Foundry figures I have left in my personal collection- the mountain gun crew- though the gun is an Old Glory piece. The rst are a mix of Willie and Stadden with the odd Connoiseur figure . These all mix pretty well with the Old Glory Bengal Lancers, Mountain Battery Mules and British Infantry I have its just that they have not fought for some years- The OG Bengal lancers need reconditioning after several years "on the road" as part of the display case collection. The whole period of course screams to be gamed but it isn't easyand while I've done it in the past of late it has fallen out of favour. Nevertheless I thinks it may be time to look again and get my Kipling out not just the Frontier but the whole subcontinent.
What caught my eye here was asusuall the movement of the figures and how despite the "figure fascists" they all fit together well becasue of the paint job . Now I don't claim to be the greatest painter about but despite the eyesight I can do a bitand its a matter of using the colours and the figure to create what you want. Not as the "system freaks" have it simply layering on painting by numbers style to create anothert clone. Now don't misunderstand here- paint any way you want after all they are your toys but be aware that there are other methods than the "recieved wisdom " of the "use this paint this way" brigade.
Again I don't blame the designers for figure fascism but rather chapsc who know no better and would if they could reduce us all to gaming with simlar clones of each other. Its odd to me that so many of todays figures are difficult to tell apart from the magazine adverts. However that as they say is for them.
As for the Frontier its tailor made for chaps who like me prefer Umpire controlled games and the scope for an evil minded umpire is enormous- assuming of course that he knows the period. Now I'll need to revise as its been a while but British India is probably the largest section of my not inconsiderable library (if you don't have the info how the hell can you game the period) not just the Frontier but Clive, Coote, Wellington Roberts etc etc all did a turn there so I will perhaps ressurrect these forces too - More tidying up Iknow I have a box of partly painted mutiny sepaoys somewhere.!!1

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Game or period.?

Now following on from some earlier posts ,Here's a thought. How do you play? Do youy play to "period" or do you play "the game" . Now to me this is a no -brainer -period EVERY time. One of the more depressing changes in the hobby in recewnt years has been the rise of "game" over "period" . This manifests iteself in various ways . Perhaps the most obvious is the re-appearence of multi period rules that purport to have it all "Black powder " and "Rank and File " being the most obvious recently . Now forgetting how good the "game" may be for a moment how the hell can a set of rules purporting to be historical cover conflicts as varied and different as the Seven Years War and the Spanish American War in one set that is not phone book thick?.
Now to be fair I have not tried Black powder- at £30 a shot it can whistle since its all-encompassing style is very unlikely to give me the period feel I want in any set of rules. Rank and File are however too generic with pre-set unit sizes(now common proactice in many sets)and repetitive mechanisms these are simplistic and lack nuance. Both of them are of course full of pretty pictures of mostly bland "perry-a-like" units which seem to be their main selling point.
Of course generic rules are not really new DBA M R MM or whatever has done this for years and there has alway been a tendency towards one size fits all in pre-gunpowder sets where at least the similarity of many weapons forms something of a basis but the DBs again are so generic and abstract that they are merely chess without the chess and like many such games soar majestically to the height of mediocraty.
Now for the record I use the following sets in my games
WW2 Command Decion- have tried others but keep coming back to these as they treat you like an adult.
ECW and TYW- Forlorn Hope- nothing else I've tried comes close though I do still have a soft spot for WRG- Gush 2nd edition as it handles the wilder stuff pretty well.
WAS and 7YW Warfare in the Age of Reason- Heavily fiddled with I use larger units in most cases but the basics are simple and elegant so I stick with them .
ACW - My own mostly based on Featherstone.
General De Brigade for larger battles but my own Featherstone a like for my 40mm games.
AWI- British Grenadier lately but also Warfare in the Age of Reason- with amenrments
The point here is that according to the publishers Black powder and Rank and file should be able to handle all of the periods from the 18th century onwards alone - excepting WW2 of course.
Now mostly I tend to prefer umpire controlled games- especially if you have an "Active Umpire" to make your life hard and change the conditions and rules to suit the scenario. So for me period knowledge is key not to mention crucial but these days is often absent in the mainstream- the "knowledge gap" filled apparently by the rulebooks. Some almost do this WHAB and FOG both being better than a pretty low average. FOG having the edge here mainly because of Osprey's publishing expertise.
Of course it never helps that I find rules reading a real pain- I'd rather read Charles Dickens!! . As I've said in an earlier post NO set of rules has EVER inspired me into a period (though Charles Grant came closest) it has always been History or Art that has done that - usually history so perhaps its no surpise that"games first history nowhere" rules tend not to get my vote.