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Saturday 10 December 2022

Catching Up On My Reading 15 - SAS Rogue Heroes,

 Now I have had this book since it came out in 2016 - my wife bought it for me back then and yes I have read it . So this is really a re-reading. I did this because I wanted to compare it with the TV Drama of the same name and vaguely the same subject. For the record I find the drama entertaining, but also quite irritating, historically speaking, the way it fudges and distorts and misinforms for dramatic effect but then as it is a drama with a different target why would I expect anything else?.

 Dramas often have to be simple- like the target audience! After all the punters need to know what they are buying. But sometimes the dumbing down and fictionalising  goes to far in order to fit the formula that the punters will buy into. This is especially true of the TV drama very very loosely based on MacIntyre's rather good book. Take the 'Benghazi raid' of episode 5 of the drama Yes Randolf Churchill was there  No there was no firefight. No they did not dress up in German Uniform . The true version is in the book and frankly is a better story than the violent crap on the screen but the TV director seems to want to cater to an audience that have the attention span of a backward haddock and need to be 'stimulated' by loud noises and bright lights every minute or so .

The book of course is far better than that in the same way a painting in the gallery is better than a postcard of it in the gif shop.

The evolution of the SAS is explained in some detail  with the development from L Detachment to two  British regiments two French and a Belgian . outlined and with no small amount of courage and sheer lunacy and horror - but without the gloating tone of the TV images. Yes some of the incidents of the SAS's desert war are 'reported' with some truth  in the drama but many even if mentioned were telescoped and trivialised . However the book has a seriousness which the drama conspicuously lacked. To portray the early SAS simply  as a bunch of irresponsible pirates is to give them less than their due.

 Mackintyre DOES NOT do this in his excellent book so bin the TV series and read the words- even if you have to use your fingers for the longer ones ! 

Monday 5 December 2022

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas - again and again.

Well Dudes it is that time of year once again.

 The time for nauseating sentimentality and culinary over indulgence . Yes Chaps and Chapeeses, Dudes and Dudettes it is Christmas once again - only seems like 6 months since the last one came by.

Now regular readers will know my opinion of much of the fol-de-rol and fiddle-de-dee of this time of year. Which bits I like and which bits cause me to wish for the magical appearance of an AK-47 in my hands -and yes I am aware of the irony in that statement- especially since we are supposedly now heading towards 'Christmas Magic'  Ah well.

No, as per usual Carole and I are looking forward to a few days off, a bit of P and Q to recharge the  worn down batteries.

So, to that end the last posting date will be  Tuesday December 20th. Now with the assorted postal strikes we cannot say stuff posted on that day will or indeed will not arrive in time- remember there is a strike  on the 23rd- but that is the last date in 2022 that I will be lugging a bag of parcels through the post office door.

Normal service will resume on January 4th 2023.

The website will still be open but no parcels will go out after the 20th December or before January 4th .

Don't know about you but I am looking forward to a bit of a breather. 

 So here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas (or indeed any other once religious now marketing holiday you may choose to celebrate)and here's hoping for a happy new Year.

Monday 14 November 2022

Battleground - November 26th. A date for the T.W.A.T.S.

 With the  (hopefully temporary) demise of the Durham Wargames Group Open Day - usually in June- the Tantobie Warfare and Tactical Society fancied doing a demo game at another local show. The obvious candidate was Battle ground in Stockton on November 26th  so having secured a table we will be there. 

No I'm not wearing my traders hat this is a gaming gig.

so NO Old Glory UK WILL NOT be there.

 This is a gaming gig, so we are doing a demo game.

Mechanical Shaun and Andrew the Tekkie are jointly in the chair. This means Tanks and other stuff with wheels and big guns.

3 pictures of a small part of Shaun's collection of 15mm moderns. These are all French. and should be turning up to fight the forces on non French cultural barbarism????.

 Shaun has a very tasty collection of models for what might be termed 'Modern African Wars' based around the French adventures in Chad and similar places a long way from anywhere. So expect to see such French weirdness as Parachute Hussars (in tanks) and Marine Artillery (bearing in mind Chad is landlocked) as well as the Foreign Legion. What the opposition will be is still a mystery (at least to me)  but it is odds on that there will be some T-55 s about and  assorted Toyota landcrusiers with guns and unfriendly irregular gentlemen hanging off them.

 So looking forward to a fun day. 

Come and say hello! 

Monday 31 October 2022

Akhalis, Kala-Paga, and a thin red line.

 In between writing and selling soldiers I am actually getting a little painting done. Never as much as I'd like but then you never do really.  The fruits of the last couple of weeks appear in the pictures. 

 The Kala-Paga are the elite Maratha cavalry - several steps up from the Pindaris and suchlike that the bulk of their cavalry often consisted of and that the British were so disparaging about. No, these chaps  were the paid(in theory) more or less 'regular' cavalry of Maratha armies. Much better armed and equipped than most and able to fight as 'battle' cavalry as well as raid in the 'gaminia Kava' style of normal Maratha warfare. There were never that many of them and ten percent of Maratha cavalry is possibly a bit generous. I've given this first bunch the 'national flag' of the Marathas the saffron yellow carried from the time of Sivaji the Great if not earlier.

Maratha National flag. Models are mostly Redoubt but the standard bearer is an Old Glory Turkish Spahi on a Stadden 30mm horse.

Sikh Akhalis, warriors for their faith. These chaps fought Mughals, Marathas and indeed anyone else including the British. The British first encountering them in a skirmish in 1809. 

Sikh Akhalis. All Old Glory 28mm from the same pack, though there are more head variants than shown here. More to paint. 

British Infantry of the Sikh Wars period. These are the 31st Foot. Command and Flank companies still to finish. But we are getting there. 

Old Glory 28mm British Infantry from the Sikh Wars range. These from the centre company in shell jacket pack. 

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Wargaming De Boigne's Campaigns Part 2 Some thoughts on rules.

 Some years ago when I made a previous attempt at gaming De Boigne's campaign I knew a hell of a lot less about them than I do now. Back then we used a somewhat amended version of Warfare in the Age of Reason for the games using those armies. As I start the period up again  I began by thinking 'Black Powder'  or 'General De Brigade'  but I'm not sure either will quite work. Many of the BP mechanisms I find just a bit faffy. Now part of that is simply because it is such a pain to find stuff in the books but part of it is also that I hate pinning my colours to one ship - or in this case one rule set. Now this is not to say that BP does not have its points, it has some nice touches but wading through a 200 page book to find them and then to have to write 'em all down is frankly a pain when you only play a dozen times a year at most.

New group of Mughal cavalry - late 18th century. Deliberately a bit generic rather than specific on a 'Ghol' base.

 On the whole I prefer the simpler and more open ended mechanisms of Warfare in the Age of Reason but at least part of that is because I have played them a lot more than Black Powder. I may alter my opinion once I have played more Black Powder - and once I can find stuff in the over wordy  and eye-candy heavy book. Age of Reason is actually easy to navigate though the actual book is not as robust- that goes for all of my very well used copies though I don't yet have a copy of the 3rd Edition.

Old Glory 28mm Pathans. For De Boignes campaigns these will be Rohilla mercenaries
 and can fight either with or against him.

The unit sizes and command level for both sets are similar and can be made identical with almost no effort. My Seven Years War collection which was built around AOR uses battalions of 24 ,28 ,32 and even 48 . But of course I can use other sets if I choose- which is really the point as I am not and never will be a one set fanboy. And yes I know  the basic version of AOR uses 12 fig battalions but frankly they are simply too piddly  for my taste  so I have always used the  larger battalion variant with some local amendment to suit sub-periods and specific tactical doctrine.

Another view of the cavalry Ghol - this time on their single bases.

 Indeed my original Wellington in India collection used AOR  with a number of  India specific mods. As far as I can recall these included making most Indian irregular units  morale level 1 or even 0 for the worst troops BUT adding extra commanders who could only affect the morale of their contingent. This tended to mean that large mobs of rubbish stood at the back waiting for something to happen and then ran away when it did. I even recall doing some 'mob stands' - all representing the space of 10 or possibly even 20 models- can't recall which- but having varying numbers actually on the  base  with bits of terrain to make 'em look more.  Chris Sinclair bought the  Mughal collection in the late 90s . I stupidly sold the Wellington in India collection to Ian Hinds a few years later- always regretted that. 

A mob of irregulars.

  Other rules mods included. Making the old fashioned traditional style Indian guns immobile and only allowing them to fire directly ahead. Can't recall if I gave Indian firearm cavalry a skirmish option but I should have done.

The only De Boigne battalion so far completed. Still a long way to go. 

So despite being up to my armpits in the Anglo- Sikh Wars at the moment and painting of anything going glacially slowly due to other commitments I have by no means forgotten De Boigne and his fascinating wars I just don't have enogh toys to get him on the table yet. 

Monday 3 October 2022

Catching Up On My Reading 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of my Elephants doing his duty. 

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 1 October 2022

Tactically sound - but cubically challenged.

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

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

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

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

General view of the field-  Lancastrians behind the hedge. 

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

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

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

The Lancastrians huddle behind their hedge. 

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

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

Lancastrian shooting. 

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


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

Tuesday 16 August 2022

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

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

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

French trained Purbeah Infantry of the Sikh army 1845.

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 6 August 2022

How many armies.... a diversion.

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

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

 The Seventies

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

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

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

The Eighties

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

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

The Nineties.

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

Armies in this decade included.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Noughties.

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

The Twentytens 

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

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

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

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

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

Additions to the Retro Colonials - mostly 30mm Stadden. 

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


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

Saturday 16 July 2022

Catching up on my Reading 13.

 Rise of the Sikh Soldier by Gurinder Singh Mann.

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

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

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

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

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

So what do we have?

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday 10 July 2022

More TLC for old lead dudes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A trooper. I rather like the horse. .

Thursday 30 June 2022

Shinyloo 4- Shinymanca !

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

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

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

Part of the British force.

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

Some of the French.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 We'll be back .

Thursday 9 June 2022

Time was when .......

 Got a shipemt in from the USA  today - unpacking it so  now stopped for a breather.

 It occours to me that not too many years ago this would have only taken a long morning to unpack the 8 large boxes. Now it takes me most of a day.

 This is because.

 I need to answer emails .BU it mainly takes longer because it bloody well hurts more crawling about the floor  than it did 10 yer ago.

 Ah well if you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined ! 

Friday 27 May 2022

Wargaming De Boigne's Campaigns Part One.

While I was at Partizan it came up in  a conversation  about my book- 'Their Infantry and Guns Will Astonish You that there aren't any ranges  available to wargame the campaigns out lined in the book.  Well that is both true and false. 

True there aren't any dedicated  RANGES for these fascinating campaigns.

 FALSE because there are plenty of figures out there if you look about yourself and stop being a lazy chap expecting to be spoonfed. After all building such an unusual army is part of the fun of this hobby.

The first place to look of course is any 'Wellington in India ' range, which of course you will understand when you have read the book.

One of DeBoignes battalions with its 'gun company' .Figures are First Corps with Old Glory AWI  command figs which have been give Spare Redoubt sepoy heads. 

 Redoubt have a good range in 28mm as do AW Miniatures though personally I'm not keen on the AW cavalry. In terms of size the 2 ranges are  fairly compatible  unless you are one of those anal dudes with a case of '3mm angst'. These 2 ranges will take care of most of the regulars but I also use some of the First Corps SYW Indian troops too. They do a couple of nice sepoys  but you will have to source other command figs. These are smaller than Redoubt 

Assorted Irregular cavalry - all models are Old Glory either from the Sikh Wars range or the Renaissance Persians

Foundry and Empress also do plenty of useful models  for the Mughals and other more irregular troops. Empress also have some useful  carts waggons and baggage items geared to Indian armies. 

 Old Glory do plenty of the irregular types  hidden in the Sikh Wars and Indian mutiny ranges - some of their Pathans are doing duty as Rohillas in my slowly growing collection. .

 If you can source them Indus miniatures do some useful figures but beware some are, rather oddly, left handed.

Perry have a few Bombay sepoys hidden in their British Napoleonic and their plastic Afghans are a useful source of spares parts for conversions - as are the Wargames Atlantic plastics.

 Eureka in Australia have some very useful 28mm in their Golconda range  but they seem to be a little difficult to source.

A mob of Irregular Infantry again all Old Glory models  from the Indian Mutiny or NW Frontier ranges - with a couple of  Muslim Militia from the Crusades range for good measure. 

I have seen some rather tasty 20mm/1/72 scale models from Schilling Miniaturen - a German company  worth a look  certainly  as they are very sweet indeed. 

Elephant towed 24pdr gun  by AW miniatures.  Although from their Indian Mutiny range with earlier crew this piece will fit neatly into earlier campaigns .

Rohilla matchlockmen from Old Glory - actually out of the NW Frontier range. 

British gun and crew of the Bengal Artillery. Crew are AW gun is a Sash and Saber model

In 15mm Minifigs do a Wellington in India range - never seen them in the flesh but the pictures look OK. Freikorps 15 used to have a warfare in India range but no longer sure who owns these now.

 In the tiny sizes Irregular do some useful stuff in 6mm .

So building armies for these campaigns is very possible with just a modicum of effort.

Once you have the armies then you can think about rules.... More on this when I have had a little think .... 


Thursday 19 May 2022

In the Shine again ....

 I've been up to my armpits in India recently - well as far as figure painting goes anyway  so I feel as if I have rather neglected 'shinyloo' and indeed other retro-wargaming projects.. I've done the odd figure or two but no new actual finished units. But I simply can't leave the shiny dudes alone ! 

When I look at my 'shiny' collection it covers three periods 

 ECW which is probably the largest of the three and  is still - very slowly- growing or at least is intended to grow as I have some Hinchliffe cavalry  to finish as well as about a regiments worth of foot- some to be added to units I received in the big bundle of shiny ECW my wife bought me for Crimbo some years ago and to which I have added quite a few bits to since, more cavalry for both sides mostly . Still some reconditioning to do  and 'painting in the style of'  to finish units. About 500 figures and far far too many guns.

A pair of very aged 30mm Minifigs after a bit of TLC. These are the only examples of these particular models that I have  but then I do rather like them. 

Napoleonic. Shinyloo' of course which is mostly a 30mm collection  and has posts of its own. Still being added to. At some point in the future I would love to do a 'shiny-demo' at a show . A pastiche of wargaming in the 1970s .... wonder if I still have a kipper tie ! This collection is now knocking on the door of about 350 finished figures and still growing Loads more to do at least 3 and a bit shoeboxes full oh and a veggie box full of limbers and guns and well ; stuff. ..

Two Stadden 30mm  Mamelukes. These will join the Chasseurs A al of the Guard. 

Old Glory Bavarians  for 'Shinynine' when it gets properly off the ground. 

I also have some more modern Napoleonics - Old Glory of course  for 'shinynine' an 1809 project in the same vein as 'shinyloo' , This hasn't really got off the ground yet as I have only done a few French and Bavarians and a single Austrian Uhlan unit.

Napoleon Shinyparte ! Boney is a Willie  but on a Stadden Horse

Finally 'shinyrev' The AWI in 30mm using mostly Stadden models with a few Willies. Still less than 100 models rebased and shined up  but more to do. including a good number that  are already painted, some by Dave Jarvis when he was much younger than he is now ! Most need a bit of TLC and rebasing as they fought through the 80s and 90s and even into this century and nice new shiny coats. These were the first 30mm I ever bought back in the 80s. I've added numbers since . I've 2 shoeboxes full of unpainted castings

An Finally a few Stadden  30mm AWI

Oh ... and just to be clear I have plenty of armies that are not shiny. Shiny does not suit everything.