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Thursday 27 February 2014

Little Darlings....

 I've just this day recieved pictures from Nick Bokarev of Drabant of his splendid new figures- soon to be available.  the new releases are Norman Cavalry a mounted King Harold and escort Norman Archers and Norman command.

This release sees Drabants first 28mm mounted figures and as you would expect given the quality of the 40mm Horses these are superb
 Norman Cavalry

King Harold and mounted bodyguard.

Norman foot Command

Norman Archers.
 I'm told the cavalry will come 2 in a box and I think UK price will be around the £8.00 per box mark
 Foot figure packs will be the same as they are now.
 I hope to have stock of these in time for Salute.

Friday 21 February 2014

Henry's Hat Trick.

 This is getting monotonous ...
  For the third issue in succession- "the boy done good"  Henry Hyde has produced another fine issue of MW- no 371
40mm Sash and Saber Iron Brigade. This pic is a few years old and these lads have been unused in their boxes for almost 2 years-  real life gets in the way of the Wargaming ....

 Top of the tree is Dillon Browne's article- Work in progress-  yep that's how it goes when you are  thinking about what you do and I will be using his"Generalship points idea for some of my games.
 Grandad's Battle- by Grahame Burke- another fine piece- linking the actually to what we do on the table and showing a little of the human side which is never a bad thing.
 As it happens I've recently met a 90 year old veteran of 16th DLI who fought through the Italian campaign and was twice wounded in action (he  says he was awarded an American purple heart for 24 hours- until the Americans realised he was a brit and took it off him while he was in hospital...) Bob is a splendid chap with a fund of stories- I hope I'm that fit when I'm 90.
 However moving swiftly on  I also liked Dave Tuck and the Grimsby clubs article on the Rise of the Boxers- I used to have forces for the fighting against the "Foreign Devils"  and quite fancy the idea again- this time in 15mm when Bluemoon do the deed. so this piece was a timely reminder.
Henry's editorial also  rang a loud bell-  Recently I've had little time to work on any personal projects and so far this year haven't played a game- I might fit one in come March - so I know exactly what Henry means
 There were other pieces too- the continuing series on Salamanca a piece on Cesar's landing in Britain - Stokes piece on using oils-  which I don't as much as I used to- still have a box full though.and a rather nice piece on Austria first "Tabletop" show.
It is always interesting to see how other chaps handle the hobby  and as I have customers in Austria this especially so. After all we are not all the same thank goodness and while I'm vaguely familiar with the hobby in Germany France Italy and Spain- as well as the Benelux countries until this piece Austria was more or less a closed book- more power to your Elbows Lads!
 So all in all another good issue stuff to read and ideas to think about ... 
 There was also a piece from a bolshie blogger of our acquaintance Gentle readers but we'll pass on that ....

Friday 14 February 2014

Are Todays Wargamers deliberate intellectual lightweights?

Now there's a poser ?? And is it true???
This  train of thought started as I checked out some of my older posts and I realised that I'd actually said that 2 issues of MW on the trot were rather good  both 369 and 370 had Big Andy's approval.
As I've said before  I've lambasted Henry in the past for issues I considered less than splendid so it behoves me to do the opposite when" the boy done good "
 I do find it fascinating though that others consider these issues below par- but mostly avoid saying why  other than "its dull no pictures"- paraphrased from a comment of Steve-the-wargamers blog which is a tad harsh and Fritz's  comment that he seems to like mags I pan and visa-versa  which at least has the advantage of being amusing.
 Some chaps do seem to have bother articulating why they dislike something  That old circular argument  I hate it cos I hate it . Reminds me of a time at Newark show  few years  back  when this  ill- mannered oaf  comes up to the stand
 "Let me see your War of 1812 "
 So I gets him some out and he peers  at them  then says
 "I don't like Old Glory"
 More Peering
" They are Anatomically In correct and that is my Personal Opinion "
 And Yes he did Emphasise the  CAPITALS
 So -I not liking his  boorishness and   the Devil seizing hold of my toe, gave a steely glance up and down   his overly short and  rotund frame and says sweetly
 "Compared to What !"
 The point of course is that this fellow- who I believe ran some minor rules outfit or other thought his "Personal Opinion" was the word of God - without any kind of evidence- did he show me Leonardo's Golden section or  a Giotto drawing No  Gainsborough sketch -  nary a smidgin , a soupcon  of (for transatlantic readers ) Frederick Remington or Howard Pyle. No nothing, simply a Personal Opinion.
 Now  again in the great scheme of things this matters rather less than the price of my wife's next pair of  Jimmy Choos but having said that  surely there is need for some intellectual rigour within our ranks- it's what separates us from the workshop drones ( BUT  there is an argument to suggest that they have an intellectual rigour of their own- theirr "Universe" does have a consistant logic - however nasty  ). You know the ones who argue about a Games Workshop bolter having  a recoil  or not or  shout "They didn't do that in the 41st Century (and yes gentle reader  I've been present at both of those  altercations(and other similar asinine variants) and in both cases my  peals of unkind laughter were unrestrained.
 These days we are supposed to  accept that within our hobby there is no essential difference between one who does his  reading and plays his historically based games- at whatever level and some  dweeb who simply  parasitically feeds on anothers  imaginings as  " its all just gaming innit" and just gets them out of a box and rolls dice.. All one big happy hobby  with no separation of thought or  knowledge as bland and uninteresting as the as a busload of accountants on a trip to an office supplies convention..
 I beg to differ.
 It is the very differences that make this hobby so fascinating. There was a time when  the public face of our hobby- Show , book and magazines was very diverse indeed this is no longer quite the case- . And yes most of this is about "public face"  what Dudes do in private is entirely their own affiar .... also I'm coming to believe that there really is a disconnect between the "public face"  which includes many of the larger " Games Companies"  and some of the magazine content and what actually happensd in the Clubs and  wargames rooms all over Wargamesland. Of course any Games Company wants to sell its games- so fewer is best - you sell more of each  that way and its less bother for a larger margin.
 One thing that I haven't seen ttouched upon is the  fact that "non- historical gaming" is now  much larger than the historical side-(and I'm talking non GW here) just look at the number of  Kickstarter projects involving Zombies or similar silliness- and that a good 50% of the traders and games at Salute will be "non GW-NON -historical" yet the various sub-genres between them can't support their own glossy magazine not even one .
 I am forced to wonder why this is.
 Indeed we of the historical bent  are told all  non- historicals together  are  " just another period" which I, as an occisional Sci- Fi player, find   a tad  misleading to say the least likewise if I wanted  Horror or  non GW fantasy- there is plenty of choice out there but nothing seems to pull it together. Frankly I'd like to see  a non- historical gaming glossy- perhaps like RPI of the 80s  or the one off issue of Dark Horizons that MW did a couple of years back- something to pull all the disparate threads of  the various Fantasy and Sci-fi sub genres together- I'd even read it sometimes.
 A troop/ Suradron of Challengers to add to my modern British Force. I've added stowage and twiddly bits to personalise these models. Not for me merely taking them out of the box and rolling dice- how tedious.

 However now that we seem to have established that actual  real  battles have little or nothing to do with this hobby (see my 2  previous posts and comments)  I begin to wonder what the bloggers think it is all about and I don't just mean a glib reply using the F-word. In theory it should mean different things to different people but I'm wondering if the constant  commercial effort of Games companies to "dumb down" and "blandify" is having more of an effect on the bloggersphere than it is on the grass roots.
 Having said that- and playing Devils advocate to my own argument  I also wonder  if these same  efforts ARE having and effect on the grass roots. I've no actual proof  as the chaps I know all seem to be of  the more traditional wargaming view rather than the "gamin' innit" persuasion. Though I do know a fine painter who sometimes  seems to be less than impressed by the fact that a good number of his customers expect HIM to know more about the rules THEY expect to use for their games than they do  which must be a bit exasperating
Picture the conversation
 Customer  "paint me a unit for Wundarules version 69 army list 45.2 "
Painter  "and which one is that sir"
 Customer "What !! you mean I'm expected to know things - actually  in my own  brain OOOH "

40mm French Napoleonics.Despite the attempts of "Games Corporate  dudes" to  homogeonisev the diverse nature of our hobby as long as chaps continue to buy- and some soldier companies continue to make  diverse stuff they will fail.

 As regular readers may be aware I've had the same conversation with the Idiot book brigade  on numerous occaisionsso its not at all unusual  merely a bit of a pity that chaps CHOOSE not to think about what they do  and seemingly prefer to be thick... That some at least seem to have de-evolved (devolved?)  to the level of children playing snakes and ladders seems to be apparent . I've even had a conversation with a somewhat hysterical chap in one of the Linked-in groups maintained that wargaming was about selling  lots of toy soldiers (product was his term)   and was in no way any kind of  intellectual excercise- he seemed to infer that the target market should be children - Well no I think not. As an adult I have "put away childish things"- well mostly anyway and have no desire to return there for a hobby or more especially be led there by the "Games Corporate Dudes"  who think  they can sell me any kind of  lightweight twaddle and I'll accept it because its in a pretty box..
Scotish Medievals with oversized banners- hardly  for the hands of the childish. The arms on the banners and shield are correct for the appropriate  knights. Why is this kind of- not too difficult- knowledge now considered  beyond the pale by the more child-like of our brethern .
There is no doubt that the  level of intellectual rigour and scholarship in the glossies- and therefore in the hobby generally has dropped like a stone in the last 15 or so years. Time was when we had articles by Ian Kinight, Guy Halsall Paddy Griffith and many other to both entertain and educate us.Where are their successors- and if they existed would they get published by history fearing editors 9or perhaps that should be blogger- fearing Editors )  Now we get Osprey's "Essential Histories" if we are lucky- ioften very lightweight in themselves  yet having said that you still see  well researched games at shows so whilst I might be having a right moan  at some quarters at others I can still applaud the effort that has gone into producing a game or display.
 So to answer my own poser... well sort of yes and no... maybe ... sometimmes- more than they used to be...

Saturday 8 February 2014

Thought experiment- a Continuation

 Following on from the Thought Experiment post and some of the comment made. I begin to wonder if many of the more vociferous amongst us are actually interested in battles and Military History at all.
 There are ,as Robbie Roddis comments ,still plenty of blokes who research their battles- any half decent show tells you that ,despite the numerous ficticious games,  you still see plenty of "refights"  but still thinking without the use of books I keep coming up with battles great and small that I can't recall ever seeing in a glossy. Most of these are fairly well known to Military historians
Her is Boney on his camel  in Egypt another campaign I can't remeber being featured in a mag- though I sort of remember Stuart Asquith doing something.

 Bannockburn- Scotland greatest victory  come to think of it I've never seen it done as a demo either but surely it has beem.
 Nevilles Cross - I've refought Nevilles Cross at least twice when I had lots of Medievals
Dupplin Moor
 Homildon Hill
Halidon Hill
Sikh Ghorracharra- Irregular Cavalry- some Sikh Wars battles have featured in the glossies- but not all .

 Stirling Bridge- again you'd have thought this one would have turned up after that godawful Gibson Movie
Otterburn- I know Dave Huntley-Sheepman- has a collection for this campaign but again I can't recall it ever appearing in a glossy - Mil-mod maybe as a Battles then and now but not a wargames mag.
 Also there is the not entirely irrelevant point that real battles provide scenarios for ficticious games  Anyone remeber Andy Callans article disguised Scenarios or Conrad Kinch column in the most recent MW.  Surely a real scenario is far far better than some "Command Challenge or Table top teaser"- where do you think those authors pinched the idea from in the first place? That even goes for the Fantasy and Sci-fi players many of whose source writers  pinch their ideas from real events.So why this antipathy to real battles and real history .
28mm Modern Brits from  the Brooks mins range. Only put in because I like them.

I seem to remember in the 80 and 90s there was a trend towards the obscure battles and campaigns - so much so that these once forgotten are now no longer so - The Maori Wars , Cape Frontier Wars, More obscure bits of WW2 such as Eritrea Spanish Civil War and these only  are the ones I remember- wargames mags gave us the intial wherewithall to get into these more obscure campaigns- showing the way so to speak  ,  this is now rarely the case yet there are plenty out there who are comparatively new to this. Are they so in thrall to the "Corporate Dudes" of the "Army List and Vacant stare" brigade that the simply don't want to think outside their little box?.  I really don't think so but there does now appear to be an element of that in the public face of our hobby - or perhaps I should say the commercial face. This might sound odd coming from a bloke who makes his living at this but I sell  toy/ model soldiers NOT games. Military history is an integral part of what I do.. I think I've shown that there are plenty of obscure battles and a good few not so obscure but the outcry against "retread history"  is now so loud I'm led to wonder if an editor would dare publish articles on mere battles after all what have battles got to do with wargaming

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Thought Experiment

 I've commented previously on the relastive narrowness of the current crop of Glossies compared to formerly  and Robbie Roddiss opined that he thought every battle had been cobered at least one by one or another of the mags. Me I'm not sure, there are buckets of battles never covered for one reason or another so withoput resorting to books or any kind of technology other than my brain here is a list of battles and fights  that I can't recall ever being in opne of the mainstream Glossies.Though some- especially the Medieval ones may have appeared in specialist journals such as Hobilar.
Some of my Wars of the Roses looking for a battle they haven't yet fought

Battle of Gelt beck 1571- in Cumbria Leannard Dacres Rising.
 Wagon Box Fight- Plains wars - can't recall the date,
 Battle of Dranesville- ACW- I've done this as a demo way way back
 Big Bethel- another small ACW action
 Lincelles- 1792 Flanders Campaign - Its on the Grenadier Guards Colours 
Battle of Muret- Albignsian Crusade 1215 ish
 Battle of Shrewsbury 1402- Not sure about this one- I know I've refought it at least once and I seem to recal it may have appeared in PW .
Cravant- later Hundred years War.  Though I have seen it as a demo By the Land L soc I think 
Agincourt- has this ever appeared I don't know I can't recall  it ever doing so .
 Nicopolis- 1396 ish
 Crossbarry and Kilmichael- 2 actions of the Irish War of Independence
Piltown- Ireland Wars of the Roses
 Knockdoe- also Ireland 1502 ish
 Ancrum Moor 1547- surely a must for Scottish gamers -  ya beat the Basta' English !
Most of the battles of Tyrones  rebellion- or Nine years War- Elizebethan Ireland though the last battle Kinsale may have appeared..
 Palo Alto - Mex- Am War
 San Jacinto  Tex- Mex
Goliad  Tex Mex
Megray Hill - 1639 Bishops War - well ECW in Scotland then
 There are also buckets of small ECW battles- eminently fightable- how about the Battle of Surbiton for one.  or Wigan lane or Corbridge or Tadcaster- which I've seen done as a demo game.
 Battle of Mentana 186- something Palpal forces and French troops defeat Garabaldi
 There was a lot of fighting in 1848-9 in Northen Italy and Hungary  between the Austrians and everyone else- and unusally for the 19th century the Austrians won

 I'm not altogether convinced that any of the major  HYW set pieces have appeared though doubtless some have. I'm deliberaterly NOT referring to any books or journals the whole point of this is to do it from memeory. I suspect that with the current primacy of Idiot books  and Gamin' Innit  then actual battles are of less interest than they used to be.After all these days it has to be a "good Game"- whatever that means- but surely thats the job of the Umpire/Gamesmaster or whoever organises it.
 What surprises me these days is the narrowness of historical span . There really does seem to  have been a narrowing of interest in some respects as regards magazine articles and books . I have no idea why this should be as . I still sell  stuff in all sorts of periods  I'm beginning seriously to think that there really is a diversion between the Grass roots who buy the stuff and the "names"  who publish the  showing off books . I wonder if "Been there, Done that" is having an effect-can't see why or there wouldn't be the endless  stream WW2  stuff out there.
 Perhaps other chaps can add to this list.
40mm Zulu War Brits- but equally they could fight the Xhosa  a year or two earlier  but would anyone notice...
 Later .... the following day  I wonder if its a combination of accessability  and laziness. There has been a narrowing of periods at some shows too  Demo games seem to be  often a bit on the strange side now. Lots of assorted WW2 often very pretty but a bit samey. I'm not sure if this is just but  more games do seem to be "xorporate"  games than used to be.