Sunday, 17 August 2014

Blenheim,the refight.

Well I have returned from my break in Cleethorpes/Grimsby where I took part in the Grimsby Wargames Club re fight of the battle of Blenheim, done in 28mm!
Firstly I would again like to thank Paul Robinson for his immense efforts in staging this re fight. I know how much effort normally goes into such things, but Paul exceeded this by not only painting extra figures [all done beautifully  I may add] but also laying on additional personal scenarios for each player in the battle, entertaining us the night before, and generally being a perfect host.
 Secondly I would like to thank all the Grimsby club members who either took part in the refight or acted as umpires. The whole set up was an absolute pleasure.
 An additional observation was regarding the actual wargames club itself. I dont think there can be that many wargames clubs who actually own their own clubhouse, and I mean a bone fide brick building.
 The setup is probably the model of how a wargames club should work.
 I think its fair to say that I have come back re invigorated as regards wargaming in general and inspired about staging or participating in a historic refight.
 What better way to spend a couple of days than talking about wargaming and then playing in a lovely looking battle.
 I hope Paul will be writing an article of all his efforts, so I wont dwell too much on the detail of the battle, other than to say the allies won [ narrowly] and John Churchill [Me] enhanced the wargaming world with his tactical nous, although my dice throwing still causes me pain.
 Anyway I have taken a few photographs of the event, which I hope can do the battle some justice.

The original allied set up facing towards Blindheim.

Some of the extra figures painted up by Paul for the game. As per the wargame rules, the newly painted unit in the white [Spanish I think] did bugger all and routed at the first opportunity.
 Obergalu Village.

                                                                                                 Blindheim Village

These Austrian cuirassiers while looking the business, flattered to deceive and failed badly in the fight around Oberglau village.
 The next three photographs dont really do justice to the painting standard of the figures. I hoped that I would be able to sneak them off the table but I failed. They were all painted by Andy of the Grimsby club.

My troops in the centre, lead by Charles and John Churchill showing how it should be done. In reality I spent a lot of time scampering back over the fascine causeway as the French turned my troops back. 

The French Musketeers attempting to hold up [and succeeding] in holding up my pursuit of the routing French Guard who are at the edge of the table doing what they do best, running away.
 The French reserve brought on by Tallard,

 A great game and a great weekend.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Did they deserve the title' Great?'

I was re reading the latest Wargames Illustrated last night, and after reading Barry Hilton's article Personality Crisis I got to thinking as one is prone to do about history's treatment of certain of the 'great' war leaders.
 Now I know Barry, and we always say hello when I see him at various shows, in fact I always seem to come away with a feeling of inadequacy when I have seen some of his wonderful games.
 However, I do think he has it in for John Churchill. I am currently reading Winston Churchill's biography on his great relation and I know it may be a little biased, but to be fair Sir Winston does try to show both sides of the argument about the Duke of Marlborough.
 Barry blithely describes Marlborough as 'dropping his old drinking buddy'. Now I know Barry is just playing a bit of devils advocate, but reading about all the problems Marlborough faced during his tenure in charge of the Dutch/ Imperial forces and what he was able to achieve in spite of these issues, I think it could be argued John Churchill deserved the title 'Great', not that it would have gone down too well at home.
 Now the famous Greats, I think deserve to be looked at more closely. Frederick the Great in my eyes, and it is a personal view, was a little s@@t,, but of course Frederick the S''T doesn't have the same cachet.
 The one description that I feel sums Frederick up, was when he was applauding and laughing at some of his grenadiers beating up a Silesian peasant in order to get information.
 This is the man that legged it at Mollwitz at the first sign of defeat. Personally I think the Prussian rank and file carried Frederick to his title of 'Great', not that they received any thanks, after the war.
 As this is only a post I am unable to really elaborate on this point of view.
 This leads me on onto that giant of the battlefield Charles Xii of Sweden. In my eyes, he comes across as a complete inadequate. Again his army was a superb tool, and I think even Augustus the Strong of Saxony could have led it to victory.
 I am always suspicious of people who turn down the offer of a good time from a beautiful woman, in this case the mother of Marshal de Saxe, and instead leg it out of the door, only returning when the Countess Kongismark had rode away. I think his encouragement to hanging women and children in Poland in an effort to get supplies out of them shows the real stature of the man.
 I cannot argue with his bravery, or should that be recklessness but his legacy was to ruin Sweden.
No wonder that there is a strong suspicion that an assassin actually shot him through the head, to relieve everyone's misery.
 And then of course there is Alexander the Great, who I have alluded to in a previous post. The army that he inherited from his father Philip was far superior to any other army at that time. Quality and high morale will always beat numbers and poor morale.
 Alexander believed too much in his own immortality and not enough in what he was trying to achieve.
 His successor generals showed a far higher standard of tactical skill in their wars and most had a clear strategic goal. If greatness means having Colin Farrell play you in that dreadful film, then you can keep greatness.
 So where is this leading one may ask, well being a sad male I like lists, and I think it would be an interesting experiment to compile a list of commanders that deserved the title great, but never received the plaudit. For me it would have to be Marshal Davout who far outshone the rest of the marshalate and it can be argued that even Napoleon was envious of.
 The period when he commanded the third corps in Prussia and Russia showed the stamp of the man, and yes I know his troops were of a very high standard, but it was Davout that oversaw the training of them. I know its all subjective but greatness should be grasped and fought for, being able to write French poetry and playing a violin hardly constitutes greatness.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Mes Reveries

The last few weeks have been a very strange time for me what with a lengthy recuperation after surgery.
I think this has been the first time that I have been laid up, with a lot of time on my hands to try and fill. To most people this probably sounds like a great opportunity to get some painting in, but for me I really couldn't face picking up a brush, and to be frank I seriously kicked around the idea of packing war gaming in. Now a lot of wargamers reach that point in their war gaming lives, usually its to do with domestic problems, work, partners etc, some do actually pack in, most take a time out and then come back to carry on.
 I think with me its been a tad different, I wont go into any details but whereas I thought I had my war gaming future planned out things were turned on their heads and its taken some time to try and work out what I really wanted to do. This all sounds a bit vague, for which I can only apologise as this is a series of private matters between individuals.
  I have probably reached what most wargamers would aspire to, a purpose built room, a decent sized table, time to paint and disposable income to use on my hobby, wargaming nirvana and something that I once could only dream of. So what is the problem? There lies the rub, as there shouldn't really be one.
 Anyway, I am going to carry on. I am still going to post a blog and I am still going to paint.
 For the painting decision I have to thank Graham Cummings who has fired me up to paint some figures for Partizan 2015.
 The wargaming and blogging is a bit more problematical as I still haven't worked out how this will work, but at least I have typed this post, so there's a start.
 What I do intend to carry through with, is the sale of most of my collection of war gaming armies, not because I need the money, more to do with I dont really need them anymore.
 The title Mes Reveries seemed very appropriate as it was the title of a book written by Maurice,  Marshal de Saxe whilst he was laid up recovering from too much good living, a bit similar to my health problems, except I haven't been whoring everyday or drinking bumpers of port, [I wish.]
 His book was more to do with his ideas for a perfect army and his ideas of generalship. Most were flights of fancy some however were very revolutionary ideas.
 Unfortunately that's where the similarities ended, as I am struggling with any clear ideas at the moment.
   On a more positive note then, I bought a couple of first rate books over the last couple of weeks, one was titled Philip the Second [ Greater than Alexander] and the second was Marshal of France, the life of Maurice de Saxe.
 The book on Philip described how the father of Alexander created the Macedonian army from scratch and built a Macedonian state when at its lowest ebb. I came away thinking that Alexander just didn't compare to his father who was a greater general and a true statesman, whereas Alexander to me at least was just a chancer with no clear aim apart from undying fame, which he did achieve of course.
 The book on Maurice de Saxe, is a different kind of book, and is a real pleasure to read. It almost has a feel like the memoirs of Baron Marbot in that its writing style is quite humorous.My one abiding impression of Maurice de Saxe is that he knew how to live and crammed a lot into quite a short life.
 It would have been very interesting if he had inherited the Saxon state from his father. I certainly think that the Saxons would have posed a greater threat in Northern Germany if that had happened.
 So ignoring the doom and gloom, and hopefully ending on a more positive note lets see how next weeks big game in Grimsby pans out.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Time for Thinking.....2

For some reason I coudnt put any text with my original post,' A Time for Thinking'.
 The link is to showcase a local band from my local, who really are the dogs bollocks, and yes I know there is another band called the DB'S. But anyway what does that have to do with wargaming.
 Absolutely nothing, but the lads have a talent and I fancied something to cheer people up on my blog.
 So please play the song and admire the talent.
 Meanwhile I hope to have time to think about a few things and perhaps elucidate on these thoughts.

A Time for Thinking............

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Another want completed.

I have always been envious of the windmill that Phil Olley possessed for his Polish renaissance game,and if I remember correctly,that windmill had sails that rotated. Anyway, since that first envious thought, I have seen several very fine examples at various wargames shows over the years. So biting the bullet I decided to obtain my own version of a windmill.
The beauty of the internet is the access to model dealers from around the world, and hence I was able to source my very own windmill from a Croatian company called TABLETOP WORLD. Definately not the cheapest model company, but certainly the provider of some first rate terrain pieces.
I would recommend the company to any wargamer who wants a very well modelled building. From the initial order, to delivery in the United Kingdom took two weeks, which I think is pretty good.The windmill is made from a lightweight plastic/resin and is very highly detailed. The kit comes in six pieces and is easy to build. More importantly it is a joy to paint. Im afraid I couldnt reach the painting standards of the windmill on the Tabletop World site, but it still looks good to me. Originally I intended to fix the piece to a base, but, having completed the painting I have decided to leave it free.

 I know not everyone is a fan of E BAY, but personally I have found the site very handy for buying some item, that I have always wanted, for instance issue 4 of the 1971 Military Modelling. A must for all anoraks.
 Anyway on an impulse I bid and won a small number of painted SYW figures from the site.
 I must admit I didnt need them, they were also of a true 25mm scale, so would look odd in a unit, but they looked interesting.
 When I got them, I was really pleased at just how good they were. Once I touched up the flesh, based them up  and did some work on the inevitable yellowing varnish, the figures came to life. I havent a clue of the manufacturer, or the wargamer who painted them, but they were worth the bidding. I havent given up on my own painting, but between various weekly doctors checks, the world cup and sleeping things have somehow slipped. Still I have started a regiment of Willie figures for a unit of my Wild Geese, so hopefully I will crack them off soon.

Monday, 26 May 2014

If wishes were fishes..................

 I have always admired wargamers and modellers who could transform a piece of plastic or metal into a beautiful piece of history, making it look either realistic or just a work of art. I know it is all very subjective but most wargamers have a favourite painter or painting style.
 The painters I always wanted to emulate were many and varied. Number one was Peter Gilder, who went for a broad stroke approach. Up close they could look a bit ropey, but when they were put down on the table they came to life. Doug Mason was another painter who added something to every figure he has painted. Best of all he still paints and takes commissions. My longstanding wargames opponent  John Reidy has always had a wonderful painting style, I know he wont thank me for this, but John could always make even a crap figure look good. I still trawl E bay in the faint hope some of the many armies he sold on come up for sale. Not surprisngly they dont.
Mark Allen who doesnt paint figures very often now, was always one I tried to emulate and fail to copy. I always wished Id had the money to buy his collections when he put them up for sale, sadly I was never well enough off. The list just goes on, Barry Hilton, Dave Thomas, Simon Chick and of course Dave Jarvis all could create a wonderful figure out of a piece of lead. Then of course there are the military modellers, number one for me was Shep Payne who created a story with ever figure he painted. I was inspired early on by Madame Desfontainnes whose figures even in the 1960's cost a fortune, sadly she went blind, probably from her painting efforts. I never really bought into the Kevin Dallimore style of painting. Clever yes, but somehow too cartoonish even for me. I was impressed by the paints that were created by Foundry to go with his style of painting. And the reason for this painting post? The figures that are attached. I am currently looking for painting inspiration for my next project, a Polish Renaissance army when I came across the above figure which is for sale on E Bay. Who wouldnt want to own this wonderful work of art, all you need is over £1000 for the one 54mm figure.Why is it I never won the Euro lottery? maybe because I never bought a ticket. But if I did, this painter would be commisioned to paint me a Polish army. Sorry Dave youre sacked!
Then of course if I only won the local lottery I would commision the painter of these Gendarmes to cobble together a modes army. Anyway back to reality.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating