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Thursday 24 December 2020

Catching up on my Reading 3

 I have had an interest in the late 17th century for some years- even though I currently own no armies for the period.  I have on my libraru shelves a good few of the books of the period. All of the usual suspects in fact. McNally Borrett, Childs, Lenihan Sapherhson,  Hall, Walton and Mahan(for the Naval side) to name but a few. I used  to be in partnership with Rob Anderson of Reiver Castings- we founded the company together- but could not give it my full attention  so sold my share to Rob some years ago. Rob is still a good mate in case you were wondering.

 So from that perspective  I have "form" so to speak so Barry Hilton't  "Every Bullet has its Billet  was if interest to say the least, especially as I am currently considering building armies for the Killiekrankie campaign. This last partly because I already have a bundle of Highlanders.

First impressions.

 The rather slim large format book looks good well up to the usual Helion standard. It is bright, full of eye candy and very colourful . Some might even say "inspirational". The actual text begins with a lightweight introductory gallop through some late 17th century campaigns, and none the worse for that if you are looking for a brief and not too taxing way into a new period.. For me this told me little I did not already know . The same goes for the chapter "Participating forces"- You will need to read more deeply to get a better picture but than what else would you expect. 

The Meaty Bit.

 However the real meat of the book- and there is some- are the chapters "Gaming the Period" and "Building and using a Force". This is where the book really scores- far better than I expected. I was particularly impressed by the section "Transferring Reality to the Tabletop" which every wargamer who  is more than a mere dice roller should read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. The photos here are particularly instructive to anyone who has little idea of how much space real units take up on a real battlefield.  I may not share Mr. Hilton's approach on all of these matters but here there was significant agreement. The book is almost  worth the cover price for this section alone. The book also contains a couple of scenarios 

This does not mean the book is faultless. I'm afraid I found the Naval section - while still very  useful- a little  like the Curate's Egg . I'm afraid the over enlarged photos of the tiny 1/2400 scale-  ships made them look  more than a little clumsy- which was unkind to those little models.

28mm 17th century Ottoman Turkish Spahis- Old Glory.

 The three scenarios- one Naval and two land are all tied to rulesets published by Mr. Hiltons company -  not sure if they would translate to other systems as I am unfamiliar with all three of the sets. Though the Donnybrook game should  probably easily translate to any reasonable low level skirmish system. As for the battle scenario I can't tell. Personally I feel the 12-18 figure units are a bit on the small side but then I like larger units for most periods.

Ottoman Turkish Command 28mm Old Glory.

The painting guides are useful  for those who don't know what paint feels like but again there is nothing useful there for veterans such as I. I have more paint than I can shake a stick at  and don't need to be told what size brush to use either. I know some chaps like such simple " How to's" but not me- been in the trenches too long.

Ottoman Turkish "Dellis" 28mm Old Glory.

The book finishes with the usual lists of products and resources which the new gamer will find useful. As you might expect this was somewhat selective perhaps reflecting some of Mr Hilton's preferences

Now before I continue I must admit to a bit of an interest here.   Just to make it clear. I am Old Glory UK. 

It is interesting that the "Miniatures" list details quite a few makers - perhaps most of them (Minifigs and Hinchliffe being absent despite the latters range of Poles and Ottomans and I'm pretty sure Minifgs do Ottomans and Marlburians and there may be others I am not aware of).  but while the mentions  in most cases give at least some details of what those makers produce - pertinent to the period- three in the list do not rate such detail- Front Rank, Reiver Castings and Old Glory. Reiver's range is extensive- Rob has expanded it far beyond what existed when we were partners in the venture including such esoterica as the Scanian War as well as models that I'll be using if I get the Killiekrankie project off the ground. . Front Rank likewise has an extensive range including some lovely Monmouth Rebels. As for Old Glory, well we have an extensive Ottoman range, the WSS and Pirates- as mentioned-  but also Poles Muskovites and Cossacks- all in 28mm Not to mention the Pirates- and ships- in the Blue Moon 15mm range as well as WSS and GNW  under the same Blue Moon label. Oh and a 10mm Marlburian range as well.  However this is merely personal nit-picking. So I will add a few pics to this post as extra -eye candy !

So  do I recommend the book? - well yes, given the above reservations-  rather surprisedly I do . It was much better than my first impressions and while there was not a massive amount in there for me personally it will definitely be of use to a newbie in the period.

 However as always it is wise to be aware that there are "more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy"... and that goes for all of us. 

 So Merry Christmas one and All... 


Thursday 10 December 2020

Christmas 2020 .

So it is THAT time of year again another December 25th looms. The Ebeneezer Scrooge Christmas Appreciation Society is in session. Not that I mind a bit of Crimbo cheer and to that end our last posting date will be December 19th. as Carole and I are having some time off. No more little soldier for a bit. 
Orders received after that date will not be posted until after NEW YEAR as I reckon they are safer in my stock room than kicking about the countryside and in various Post Office and Royal Mail sorting offices - or worse in some couriers van.
 We will be back to work properly around Jan 4th and first posting will be around that time. 
 Hope you all have a geat Crimbo - covid not with standing. Personally I am looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet- and maybe the odd tincture ..... 

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Shinyloo quickie.

A few more shiny dudes finished means that this is now a four company French "regiment". Still some way to go- the rest of the Tete de Colonne for a start and for the look of the thing I want 5three centre companies at least. then with those and the Grenadier company the regiment will form an attack coloumn 2 companies wide and 2 deep. This should be pretty meaty under "Charge!"- which have become my go-to rules for gaming with this collection. Actual models are a mixture of Stadden  Hinchliffe/ Foremost and a few Connoisseur which last I have a bundle to paint.... when  I get the time .

Sunday 15 November 2020

Fifty years and still looking good.

 A few pictures of my very few Les Higgins 30mm Jason cavalry. Mostly ECW and two Marlburians- both the same figure in different colour schemes. . These chaps have been out of production since the mid 1970s. They still stand comparison with many of todays models. .

ECW Cavalry by Les Higgins. These are the now unavailable 30mm Jason range- compatible with much of today's so called 28mm. 


 The chap on the grey horse is supposedly King William III. - Though the Les Higgins figure is actually Marlborough.

The two more or less identical castings together as Marlborough and William. 

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Keep Calm and Carry On !

 More like Carry on  up the Government- without the bad 1970s jokes. Aye well,

An Officer of an Austrian- Hungarian Infantry regiment- now all I need to paint are about50 or so blokes to follow him- 28mm Old Glory. 

  Right up 'em - but never mind the everyday story of farcical folk. I'm currently trying to avoid entering "Thickies R'us" aka the House of Conmans (is that a typos I see before me? Perhaps not.)  So we shall move swiftly on to toy soldiers- they look more lifelike .

Been a bit of a thin time on the painting desk recently. Of course I did receive some lovely Drabant 28mm Saxons painted by David Allen  which I just HAD to base up  see the results on the Old Glory Miniatures UK Facebook page.  But my own painting has suffered a bit simply because my wife and I were getting all the back orders out after unpacking a shipment from the USA and frankly at the end of a days work there are times when I am simply sick of the sight of the little lead gits and cannot face picking up a paintbrush.

 Does not happen all that often but it does happen.

Nevertheless I have painted a few individuals over the last couple of weeks. 

Bizarre image of 3 40mm TYW pikemen that simply will not flip. 

Connoisseur Colonel on Willie Horse and an Artillery Officer of unknown make- Both French Napoleonic and both for "Shinyloo".

A couple of 40mm TYW Pikemen. The chap at "Charge for Horse was a bit of an experiment. I've had the body in a mould for some time but never made one up . Quite pleased with the result.

Another view of the same chaps with a couple of musketeers- one with a cat hair on his hat ! -and a Sash and Saber ECW officer who is doing duty as a Spaniard.. The rest are from my own Romanoff 40mm range .

As for actually gaming with any of these - well thanks to a mixture of brain-dead piss heads and government incompetence that is not going to happen soon. Even if I had enough painted 40mm TYW .

 Ah well  If you can't take a joke .........  

Friday 25 September 2020

Izzy- whizzy - we ARE busy.

Anyone remember Sooty? or Sweep or Sue or even Ramsbottom the snake?  I suppose it depends how old you are.  The man who had his hand up Sooty was Harry Corbett in my childhood and I - at 6 years old was a fan. When he was casting a spell with his magic wand the cry was always "issy-whizzy0 lets be busy" and mayhem would ensue.

 Well the little furry bugger must have been waving it about something fierce  because we here at OGUK HQ are more than a little busy. A shipment came in this week so we have sorted it and made a good start on the back orders. Almost 80 parcels this week alone. I'm knackered ! More in the queue for next week . We will get there. Another order goes off to the USA in a few days to cover the next load of stock I need.  You might have guessed that in the time taken to get this lot from the USA other stuff has  sold out since. 'Tis always the way when you have such large and varied ranges as we do.

Ah well back to the grindstone ...... 

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Catching Up On My Reading 2


 This one is my friend Mike McNally's latest in the Osprey Campaigns series.  Now apparently some fellow has given it a bit of a spanking - which I have not read and don't want to. I shall form my own opinion thanks. 

So here is my own opinion.  Physically the book is what you have come to expect from this series and if you are an 18th century dude then you will want it on your shelf- assuming your read the books as well as push the little men about and roll the dice. Colour plates by Sean O'Brogain are well up to the mark.- my personal favourite being the Mouquetaires.  These plates are backed up by some reproductions of contemporary maps and paintings- some at least never seen before outside Germany. As usual Mike does his research- and I should know the amount of time Mike has spent bending my ear to  bounce ideas off me and let me pick holes in his theories- which sometime I have. All that does is make him go off and find more evidence to make me shut up or agree with him  or indeed to change his mind where such is needed. 

So back to the book  Dettingen is a well known battle but probably less well understood.. The traditional view is very Anglo- centric, this is probably because the presence of King George II as "commander" of the combined Austrian/ British ,Hanoverian forces was the last time a King Of England  commanded his army in the field - so became a lodestone for Victorian  historians such as Fortescue. The traditional view is that the British simply walked up to the French shot at them a bit so that they ran away in the usual style. Mike chucks most of the tradition out of the window and examines the facts and the ground- there are a good number of photographs of the battlefield today-   to give a different narrative of events. 

 Now I'm not going to give any kind of precis here- pointless- buy the book if you want to know how it ends ! But a few taster might be in order. The Allies do not seem to have had much of a coherent plan for the engagement and were  somewhat confused by events. What is clear is that the Allies were caught  somewhat unawares by the French who then proceeded to squander most of their considerable  advantages.  This allowed the Allies to escape by the skin of their teeth. The detailed order of battle for both sides is very useful indeed from a wargamers point of view- somewhat more detailed that the one I have in the aged(1972) Knights Battles for Wargamers  slim and traditional volume on the battle.

 Other delights in the book are the rather nice selection of photos of reconstructed uniforms. Some of these appeared in Mikes previous Fontenoy title in the same series but some did not .

Overall I liked this some of the political lead up to the campaign is a bit tortuous but it is stuff you need to know to put the action into context. If you are only interested in the battle- skip that bit. The usual biographies of the commanders are also useful for context but if you only want to lift the scenario for the battle- which would make a rather large but splendid game you can skip that bit too.

 Now I've almost got enough troops to refight this .........  


Friday 21 August 2020

Catching Up On My Reading .

 As you may have gathered it has been a bit hectic around here what with one thing and another. My painting has suffered  and indeed slowed to a crawl but not only that but so has my reading. Now I know that some wargamers out there don't do reading- unless it be rule books or "games"  but I do. After all without period knowledge how can  you tell if your currently chosen ruleset is twaddle or not?

 So at the moment I have three  new books in hand - though I have had two of them for some time. All are from Helion and all are a bit tasty.

The King's Irish : The Royalist Anglo-Irish Foot Of The English Civil War

First up "The Kings Irish" by the ever dependable John Barratt. This is a workmanlike account of the trials and tribulations of those "Irish" troops who landed in England to  fight for Charles I in the first civil war. This book does exactly what it says on the cover. giving an account of those units who , from the English Army in Irealnd sent to  put down the 1641 rising were enabled to return to England because of the "Cessation" signed by Charles I with his Irish Catholic subjects. These troops were certainly battle hardened and  used to harsher campaigning  but by no means all supported the Kings cause- more than a few changed sides after the Battle of Nantwich.

I bought this as a counterpoint to Abrams excellent study of  Breretons Cheshire Parliamentarian army since  many of the Kings Irish units landed in Cheshire and North Wales and came into contact with Brertons forces. "Irish" troops were also involved in other campaigns and the book gives decent coverage here as well. This volume  gives a concise and readable account of a group of regiments which  the King thought might win him the war but never quite lived up to their potential . Fascinating. Recommended.  

 Physically the book is the usual "Century of the Soldier" format and a softback but otherwise sturdy. Colour  plates by Sean O'Brogain are well up to that artists usual standard as are those of Flags by Dr. Les Prince. Any other comment of mine is superfluous other than Buy the thing !

 The Most Heavy Stroke : The Battle of Roundway Down 1643

Next another ECW title- regular readers will know of my interest in the period. This one is Chris Scott's The Most Heavy Stroke" . This is an examination of the campaign and battle of Roundway Down. That most astonishing of Royalist victories where a force wholly of cavalry met and defeated an army of all arms more than twice its size. I had wanted to get this for some time but it was Steve Ede-Borret's review of the book in Arquebusier that spurred me to actually get the wallet out.  Steve knows his stuff so I took the plunge and was not in the least disappointed. Splendid book. This has arguably the best blow-by-blow account of an ECW battle  in print and is worth the price for that alone.  Like others in the series this follows the usual pattern and the account of the fighting at Roundway is detailed and to the point. This is the main thrust of the book . Why and how did the Royalists win such a stunning and unlikly victory- Buy this to find out. 

It has to be said that the Helion Century of the Soldier series is well... rather splendid. Personally I own about a dozen or more  of them  Mostly ECW but with some Thirty Years War and I have never been disappointed in any of them Where I CAN check the sources I have found the scholarship excellent and while I might not always agree with the arguments the authors make you think - which surely is rather the point. 

The Commotion Time : Tudor Rebellion in the West, 1549

Finally in this fine triumvirate we come to Dr Ed. Fox's "The Commotion Time" which covers a little known campaign in England almost exactly 100 years before the Civil War.  This one is in Helion's "Retinue to Regiment " series and covers the Western Rebellion of 1549. This is sometimes called "The Prayer Book Rebellion" and saw a series of rising across southern and eastern England against the imposition of the new prayer book imposed by the Protestant government of young Edward VI and Lord Protector Somerset. There were other causes- such as the loss of the monasteries and the subsequent land grabs of the gentry at the expence of the commons (Plus ca Change?).  Other books on these rising have concentrated on Kett's Rebellion in Norfolk and Suffolk and the battle of Dussindale but this volume concentrates on the fighting in Devon  and the Battles of Fenny Bridge, Bishop's Clyst, Clyst Heath and Sampford Courtenay. Militarily this campaign has much more interest than he Norfolk fighting as the rebels were rather more than the usual peasant mob- for a start they had a considerable artillery train.  I have read this period of an on since I acquired Julian Cornwall's  rather good but now a bit outdated volume "Revolt of the Peasantry 1549"- which covers  the whole of the risings of that year. Therefore this new work by Fox was a must buy.  Again not disappointed. The volume covers the campaign well and gives us a lot of informaton on the level of m arms and armour held by the militia of the various parishes. Not only that but the battles are - in wargaming terms eminently refightable being quite small- average of around 3000-4000 men per side over the whole campaign . The Royal Army - aside from the usual English style bows and bills of the period also disposed of some numbers of foreign mercenaries including Stradiots and Italian arquebusiers. Thought the two thousand or so Landsknechts in England at the time do not seem to have been used in this campaign. 
 If I have a critcism of this book it is the lack of colour plates. There aren't any.  Don't let this put you off  as the text and the maps  cover the action in detail.
 Again reccommended. 

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Differing Visual Aesthetics in Wargaming

 There I was varnishing  some refurbished old lead dudes and a thought came to me- well it happens once in a while -  and this  singular occurrence prompted another thought. Wow two thoughts joined together I'll be doing stream of consciousness next ! But no, I am not James Joyce nor was meant to be, the thoughts were in fact idle musing upon the Visual Aesthetics of wargaming and how much they have changed and morphed over the years and equally how much my own views and attitudes to the visual side of the hobby have changed .

 Now to be accurate I have always viewed "the look of the thing" as somewhat more important than the actual dice rolling.

 After all, if this was not so, then I would not bother with the model soldiers in the first place but would stick to screens or little bits of cardboard. I am aware that this is heresy to some who view the actual game play as the epitome of their hobby. Fine. No problem, enjoy yourselves, that is the point do not involve yourselves in the rest of our hobby  there is no need you can get your  painted armies delivered  to your door and begin fondling your numbered  cubes over the table almost immediately.

 Now I am not(well not much) having a go at people who use painting services. I have done so myself. and, once in a while still do. There are some fine chaps providing these services. I have units painted by Steve Skinner, James Main, Darren Taylor and Jez at Shakespeare Studios to name but four and I have never been less than pleased with their work. There are of course other fine painting services out there who do sterling work to judge by the amount of gear I send to them repeatedly on customers behalf's.

Mind you, I have also  several times encountered painters who are complete pillocks and seem to spend half a lifetime telling you why they have not completed your order on time, or even started it yet, and the quoted "6 weeks" inevitably becomes 6 months or more. This is especially galling if you have been daft enough to pay them a deposit. I know of one customer who has been sorely tried by the fact that  for various reasons "Painter X" simply will not finish his commission and has half painted units scattered about like confetti... ten months and counting for some of them .As my Granddad  would have said "Sod that for a game of soldiers". Buying it done,  is not always the simple option.

 No hopefully this goes a bit deeper. The problem , for me at least,with buying your stuff  "ready to play"  means that if you are not careful you are buying someone else's view  of how YOUR collection should look  someone else's vision , someone else's aesthetic. Now if you are a games player you may not give a monkey's about this and that is all well and good for you. But not me. Being only a games player would be to deny  much of the interesting "other stuff" that makes up the idea of the "Compleat Wargamer" (to misquote Isaac Walton) and yes in some  very small way possibly a more complete, thoughtful and rounded human being- something that seems to be in shorter supply now than formerly, though mostly(only mostly) , in my experience, outwith  the wargaming hobby.
However, let us not be too precious about this, let us simply, for the sake of discussion, assume that you think the look of the thing has some importance for you . Okay so that is decided . Where do you go next?
Sikh Cavalry painted in the  "received style" of the 1990s. These by Dave Jarvis.
Indian Mutiny figures. Painted and based by me again in the 1990s received style.Though I always undercoat white or grey rather than the colour killing black.

Surely the next thing to do is to decide what kind of look you want for your collection and for your tables when you use that collection. Now when you go to shows or read a magazine or up to a point browse the zillions of wargaming sites on the internet the does seem to be a certain "received look" followed often seemingly by worshippers at the "Church of the Bloody Expensive Rulebook" and those who kneel to the altar of  the "eye candy" within said B.E.R. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes this is appropriate and even necessary but somehow these days I find all of these set ups looking very similar to each other so that you can barely tell one from another- especially when they have been bought and paid for rather than built by the owners fair hand. I've done a turn at "received look"myself, sometimes alone sometimes with   significant help (though never by simply buying it done) and sometimes still do,   but I have never been a slave to convention. After all the "received style" changes every so often as a new B.E.R. appears Indeed rather the opposite- "The Resistance Lives On" so to speak. I want something a little different something a little closer to unique. Not always, but sometimes when the mood takes me, I want out of the current wargaimng rut. 

The Need for Individuality.

This is one of the reasons why I have- for some games and periods, some of the time- reverted to older "retro" rules. They have a different feel to them . It is the same with "retro" figures they frequently have more individuality. They lack the tediousness of "perfection". With many of today's plastic(or indeed metal) perryclones you are hard put to tell one make from another, still less when all are painted in the "received look"- often with extra knuckles.  I like models and units with a little  style and a little individuality so,  in some cases, I mix makers in the same army or even in the same unit. The idea of having the same army based in the same way for the same rules as every other  chap has absolutely no appeal whatsoever. One of the advantages of older figures was that you could tell a Lamming from a Minifig from a Garrison from a Willie . Variety was the spice of my earlier armies.

Even within my own pretty modest collection I don't want all the armies or games  to look the same. Up to a point each period should have its own look . Sure. there will be similarities and sometimes even a bit of crossover- especially with scenery - but the idea is to create something  with a little individuality rather than another same old same old. In terms of the look of the thing this might sometimes mean a more "stripped back" and simplified terrain more consistent with the "retro" look of some of my armies.
An example of a somewhat more "stripped back" terrain style which seemed in keeping with the  retro feel of "Charge!. by Young and Lawford. 

So my "retro" ECW collection looks subtly different from my "modern" one even though they  have sometimes appeared on the same table for a bigger game.  Its the same for the retro and modern AWI groups too. Though for these , being smaller collections by far -are not quite stand alone yet, but once they are will be used for different style games. The "modern " set being used for rules such as British Grenadier and the "retro" set for Featherstone. Of course they can, at need, come together for larger games in either discipline where a "pure" look  for either is not needed during er... playtime . 

"Retro" E.C.W. painted in the style I used in the 1970s- though these days hopefully with more skill. Most of the figures in this unit are Les Higgins 30mm castings out of production since  the late 1970s.
More "Retro" E.C.W. This time mostly Hinchliffe Foremost- still available. Again painted in the shiny 1970s  style .

You may have gathered by now that the actual game play is the bit of this hobby I treat with the least seriousness. The reason is simple, the actual dice rolling is of no consequence. I don't do competition so I don't often care about such minor matters as win or lose. Win UNHISTORICALLY mind, now that is of some matter -at least to me but  in our group that is very difficult to achieve in Umpire controlled games where the Umpire knows his period and the rulebook is merely a toolbox  for him to select the bits he needs to run the game. No army lists no points systems simply a scenario and a narrative.

The more usual "look" this time a 15mm game our group did at the Durham show in 2019. Models Blue Moon Marlburians from Jim Mains collection

 My point here is that each wargamer should be free to choose his own "look". I have for instance "gone off" - for some periods the heavy terrain boards in the Marlburian game photos in favour of the more portable cloths and "assorted things to stuff under cloths" to make hills and dead ground. For some games that approach is simpler and more effective. I have -in this case- reverted to an earlier time. 

Another demo game at Durham- this time 15mm moderns. Those MDF boards do weigh a bit- but look good. 
A similar game using the same models but with a different look.  That "desert cloth" fits in a holdall rather than a van ! 

The choice as they say is yours ... discuss! 

Monday 27 July 2020

Getting organised... Finally

I've had a small collection of 40mm models for the later 30 Years War for some time but I could never quite decide what to od with them.  The problems were all of my own making. 
I used my own Romanoff miniatures casting together with some Sash and Saber and Drabant pieces  but was never consistent in what I actually built or painted. There were bits of all sorts. Bavarian French Scots Danes and the odd Spaniard, as well as models that were really ECW. Also I could not make my mind up about basing. The earlier models were on 25mm square for foot , the newer on 25mm round for use with sabots. Rules had not been thoght about except for a vague idea to use a variant of Young and Lawford's Charge! from the 1960s as an antidote to the  points based faff and organisational twaddle that is Pikemans Lament. A variant on Forlorn Hope was also a possibility but I wanted to game smaller actions  rather than full dress battles and I was daft enough to think PL would do the deed.  Well I got that wrong so the project went to the back of the shelf for a while even though I liked painting the models and completed to odd few here and there as the mood took me.

40mm Thirty Years War French.  Castings are from my own Romanoff Miniatures range all painted- slowly- by me. Flags are hand painted paper.

 I will probably still have to repaint a few Officers Sashes but finally I begin to have some actual units. What I actually fancy are the early campaigns of Marshall Turenne against the Spanish and Bavarians  and possibly the War of the Fronde in the early 1650s.  Lots of scope for small actions around sieges  and suchlike.  Also quite a few of the troops are pretty interchangeable.
 As for rules well - still a bit of a problem but nothing that can't be solved. Using Featherstone ECW rules as basis  but adding some command rules  might serve but I will need to test the theory as is using a Charge variant . What I don't want is the same old same old just because it is popular - indeed rather the opposite.

Close up of the pikes and colours in the centre. 

So here are pictures of a reinforced rebased and revamped Regiment Champagne chosen because my wife and I like Champagne and always have a bottle or three about the place. Next regiment for the French will be Picardy - with  some of the Queens Cavalry on the go as well. 

 The first officer for Picardy. He is a Sash and Saber figure converted by adding the half Pike the Sword and his hat from Romanoff parts.

Saturday 4 July 2020

TLC for Old Lead Dudes 2

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

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

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

Two more views of the same unit. 

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

The venerable Minifigs 30mm General. 

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

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Is an army ever "Finished"?

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

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

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

Monday 20 April 2020

Austrian Uhlans and 30mm French

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

Monday 13 April 2020

Isolation .... Busy

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

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

Sunday 15 March 2020

A Mighty Tome

While it would overstating the case to say my latest purchase from Helion's "Century of the Soldier" series gave my postie a hernia- it was a near run thing. This one is a meaty tome of some 400 pages

More Like Lions than Men : Sir William Brereton and the Cheshire Army of Parliament, 1642-46

It is also rather good and very useful.
 My knowledge of the Civil War in Cheshire was limited to R.N. Dore's dated but useful - and rather slim volume  plus the various  snippets in those books one may tem "The Usual Suspects"- Reid, Rogers and suchlike.
 The meaty volume fills that gap admirably.
 Sir William Brereton's Cheshire Army - fighting for Parliament- had never previously been studied in such detail and there is no doubt Mr. Abraham knows his stuff. Not only is there a narrative of Brereton's campaigns but more substantially details of units and organisation as well as  how the Cheshire Army was raised and paid for.
 We find out that Cromwell was not the only officer to have a "double Regiment" of cavalry- Brereton's was also a large regiment- though it did tend to fight in smaller sub-units that Old Noll's Ironsides. The colour section contains illustrations of many of the Cornets of the individual  troops of Brereton's Regiment along with - amongst other photos a rather splendid one of a re-created Dragoon.
It may well be that my ECW figure collection will now gat a Cheshire continget- to fight the "Lings Irish"- when I get a hold of THAT volume.
  This one however is highly recommended.

 Coincidentally arriving on my doormat a few days late was my copy of JSAHR Journal for spring 2020 . If I was only allowed to keep one  set of magazines or Journals  and had to dump the rest  it would probably be this one. This Journal is at the top of the list that most  current wargames magazines are near the bottom of in terms of choice of magazine reading. While the Arquebusier- Journal of the Pike and Shot Society runs it close. The JSAHR journal  covers a wider timespan. This issue no 392 has articles on the ECW, WW1, The War of Austrian Succession and the War of 1812 and very particular and detailed for their specific subjects they are- I now know the names and heights of some of the Drummers in the Canadian Fencible regiment for example!. This is not a usual wargamers lightweight read but for those of us who like to delve a little deeper.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

TLC for Old Lead Dudes!

 It cannot have escaped the notice of regular readers of this blog that I am rather partial to old and out of production 30mm model soldiers. Mkars such as Stadden ,Willie, Les Higgins and Barry Minot  do blow my skirt up certainly much more than the  sometimes rather tedious stuff you see about these days.

2 shots of the repaired Hussar. Painted as the British 7th Hussars. I have another half a dozen or so of these to restore- none need as much work as this chap did.

This is not to say that all modern stuff is boring, far from it,  there are a good number of modern makers I like and respect,but a good bit of it really lacks movement and style and that indefinable "difference" that makes it stand out from the crowd. Of course if you want your collection to be the same as everyone else's in some kind of conformity dictatorship go ahead , but not me...
  As I type this I am reminded of an incident that  happened on one of my trips to Historicon- a good few years ago now. I was doing a stint on the Old Glory booth and was talking to a rather pleasant chap who was interested in Napoleonics..... but wasn't going to buy any because he had to get WW2 "because Randy said so". Said Randy seemingly owned the gaming group because it met in his house of somesuch- the details now escape me but I still recall my own distaste at this .. after all it wasn't Randy's bloody money. Even then my thoughts were unprintable vis a vis Randy even though we never met. Peer pressure - shove it where the sun never shines- hopefully with sharp edges.
 So perhaps the foregoing illustrated in part my distaste for that kind of conformity in life as in wargaming-

"What are you rebelling against?"
 Whaddaya Got?

 Some things never change !

So these older 30mm are distinctive and different that is why I like them.
There is a downside. I often buy second hand groups of these and they are  sometimes not in the best of conditions so restoring them has become part of the hobby for me. The Stadden 30mm  hussar in the photos arrived without a sabre and his  Willie horse without a tail. I also had to add a saddle girth and other harness. From metal foil from a decent bottle of Burgundy as  I recall but almost any such foil will do. The sabre came from the spares box and if French as I didn't have a British 1793 pattern in hand and the horse's tail from an old Old Glory horse which I had managed to break at sometime in the past. .
Guard Horse Artillery. These did not need a huge amount of restoration beyns a few tools and a repaint.

 The Imperial Guard Horse Artillery are all Stadden 30mm crew but with Sash and Saber  guns as the bag of crewmen were gunless when I bought them.
 All of these figures will go into the ongoing "shinyloo" project which is currently growing  a bit for a public outing later this year.. Of course when I bored with old and shiny I will go off and paint some new and matt- Sikh Wars or Indian Mutiny .... But for now it is shiny in the driving seat ... but then I do have those Sikh Cuirassiers to finish......

Tuesday 11 February 2020

A Proper Mixture.

 These days  you are supposed to have units of identical perryclones, the "discussions" about millimetres are endless and while it can matter in 15mm vs 18mm  at least some of the time within the ranks of anything from "25mm" via "28mm" to "30mm" it matters far less than  you would think.
  The   company of the 92nd here actually has  five different makers within its ranks. None of them  sold as "28mm" which as a size did not exist when they were made. It has to  be said now that one or possibly two of the makers now call the same figures 28mm to follow the Foundry fashion of the mid 1990s.
A Proper Mixture. 

 The rest- those that are still available are called 30mm
 So the makers are  Hinchliffe(Foremost), Connoisseur,  Stadden , Willie and Minot of which only the last is now unavailable.
All of these model are at least 30 years old - some significantly older- the Willie and Stadden figures sculpted in the 1960s or early 70s the Foremost a little later and the Connoisseur either side of 1980 but before 1985  I think and certainly well before 1990.
3 officers  Stadden, Connoisseur and Willie.

I like the mix- most are a bit OTT as befits a unit who are about to charge along with the Scots Greys they fit the bill for me. There is none of the tedium of so called perfection here. I like my units to move to be animated- at least some of the time and for some periods.

Sorry lads the Greys are at the other end of the table ! 

Friday 24 January 2020

Bengal Light Cavalry 1845

So here is a small unit of the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry. Actually the 2nd Squadron. the finished unit will have at least three. The Sikh Wars and "Sepoy Army" project moves with glacial slowness but it moves.
 Figure are of course Old Glory 28mm  from the Sikh Wars range and all the figures come from one pack ASB-22 to be precise. I still have 4 more troopers to finish. The oversized flag is a repainted GMB napoleonic British one and the flag finial isa Raven Banner one- which I also sell.

3rd Bengal Light Cavalry. The Officer is in Full Dress.

I have wanted a "Sepoy Army" for many years as well as a selection of their enemies- of which the Sikhs were the most formidable perhaps. Finally it is starting to move that way.

Another shot of the 3rd

Add these to the other units I and Jim have and we will soon have enough for a small intro game.