Saturday, 17 January 2015

Saxe Lancers.

Due to ill health, yet again I have struggled to get much painting done. I was able however to complete the basing of my Saxe Lancers which were painted for me by Tony Runkee. Tony is a real gentleman and is modest of his painting ability. I look forward to finally putting a face to the voice at York in a couple of weeks time.Im not certain of the lancers effectiveness, but they will make a colourful unit anyway.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

A Critique of the French Army of the War of Austrian Succession.

In an effort to pep up my blog I thought I would give a frank review of one of the books I received at Christmas 2014. To be honest I only started reading this book last night, but managed to get in an hours reading so I feel qualified to comment on the matters that I feel are relevant.
 I dont know David Wilson but do have quite a few miniatures that he designed and which were sold under the Jackdaw label. I like the figures which clearly are greatly influenced by the Willie ranges.
 Mr Wilson clearly knows his stuff as regards the French army in the 1740 period.
 This book reflects this. He has attempted to provide an accurate description of the uniforms worn by the French Army and for that I have no complaints. In fact I applaud him for writing this book.
The book is not cheap costing a hefty £48.50 p from Caliver Books.
 I like the drawings that he has provided, although I would have liked more especially of the Foreign and Light regiments.
 My chief criticisms of the book are the poor and perhaps non existent proof reading of the book.Scattered throughout the book are typos and spelling mistakes.
My second and main criticism is the very poor sentence construction which litters the book.
 If I did not know otherwise I would have thought the book had been written by a Frenchman who had a poor grasp of English and not vice versa.

For example;...........
 '' For even though all commands & service was in the French language, at least for the French national regiments,and this since the times of Francois 1st [ Ordanance of Villers Coteret ]there were still some six different spoken & written languages as well as several strong dialects spoken in France,even today,with the exception that now most of these French peoples also speak French,this was not the case in the 18th Century''.

 Perhaps its me, and I admit I did not have a university education but I found this and many other sentences throughout this book damned nearly impossible to understand. The other gripe I have is the use of & for the word and. What is this about.
 From the short history that David Wilson has provided about himself he was born when punctuation and sentence construction were still taught ie, the 1960's onwards.
I know that I sound like Victor Meldrew, but at nearly £50.00 a shot I expect a book to be a pleasurable experience, I do not expect to be losing patience with the contents due to piss poor writing.
 Mr Wilson clearly knows his subject, he also has been able to gain access to primary sources which have not been used before. His actual descriptions of the regiments are good, although additional sketches would have been nice. But the actual book is in my opinion let down by shoddy proof reading and the inability of the author to write clear and concise sentences.
 Would I buy it if I knew what I know now?
Yes, but only if it was £20.00 cheaper & properly proof read.  5/10 must try harder.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Deux Ponts, done.

 Just to prove that I havent been totally sitting on my backside over the Christmas holidays I have finally finished my first regiment of Black Hussar figures. I have painted them as the Regiment Deux Ponts.

 I thought I would take a photograph of four regiments from my foreign contingent of the French Army. The cavalry are a squadron of Saxe Lancers these were painted by Tony Runkee.

Nostradamus 2015

I suppose it is usual to look back on the year that has just finished, to assess what if anything has been achieved in that time by me. But as I sit here in front of my PC listening to the gale howling outside I think personally it would be a bit more interesting if I reviewed 2014 from how war gaming from a purely subjective view was last year and how I see things going this year.
 So nailing my predictions and views firmly to the mast, here goes;
 It seems to me that the trend will continue with smaller ie. skirmish type games. By smaller I mean the actual number of figures used. It perfectly suits the manufacturers of Steam Punk, The Back of Beyond, Saga, Donnybrook etc. if this was to continue, and I suppose it makes sense to war gamers that they can buy, paint and play these games whilst spending less on the hobby.
 For war gamers who want big games I believe that 6mm and 10mm will continue to sell well, as will that old favourite 15mm.
 I can't see a let up in the release of new plastic ranges in the various scales, given the success and quality of the products on offer. Of course the the release of a range of 6mm plastic war games figures, which seems pretty logical to me, would be the ultimate heresy to some war gamers.
 However given the quality of the plastic figures currently on offer, if I had the money I would be sorely tempted to give the project a go, especially if a quality Napoleonic range could be created.
 Anyway period wise, I think it's a given that Napoleonics will be very popular this year, given that it is the anniversary of the 100 days campaign.
 I expect that some one will release a specific set of rules for the campaign,no doubt in a glossy format with lots of colour photographs of figures from the usual suspects. On thing for certain is that the rules will be in the £30- £40 range. Or is that just the cynic in me peeking out.
  Products wise, I hope the Perry twins will return to their European Wars range and fill in a couple of gaps, ie French mounted archers, some specific Spanish types both mounted and on foot, and an organ gun and crew.
 Having initially supported the Indegogo project for the landsnecht range from Pro Gloria, I cant wait for their release now that Warlord have taken the range over.
 Being from the hippie era, I worry about the growth of such companies, but by the same token I know that the company have the wherewithal to actually produce the range.
 A bit hypocritical of me I suppose.
 I would like to see less MDF buildings being released. I know they are practical, especially the ones that have ready printed features on them, but personally I just find them bland, and a tad smelly.
 I also think that their cost has been rising so their attraction is lessening even more.
  Wargames Magazine wise, I honestly think one of the big three will go the journey.
   Again this is only my personal opinion, but if Miniature Wargames doesn't sort itself out I think it will lose out. Saying that, I am not that impressed with the Wargames Illustrated overall, and feel that the company has backed itself into a corner which has led them to publishing a magazine that is frankly very predictable.[ Fur coat and no knickers springs to mind]  
     So those are my predictions for 2015, so really no change overall.
Hopes wise, I do hope that some enterprising person will attempt to re vamp the format of the wargames show and perhaps make the event more than just a trade affair. I have been wittering on about this for sometime and I honestly think that there is some mileage in making a show a bit more than what they are now.
 Lets be right there has been little to no change since the 1960's.
  No actually these shows offered more in some respects. Perhaps its time for a re think on how many shows are actually put on each year, but God knows how you could organise that, given the nature of wargamers.
               Now my list of 2014; [again only my opinion]
Best Wargames Show;  York 2014.
Best New Rules;  A bit of a cheat here, Black Powder Rebellion.
Best Wargames Book; A Military Gentleman by John Ray.
Worst Wargames Book; Mega Wargames by Ron Ringrose et al.
Best Wargames figures; Seven Years War French Fusiliers,  Black Hussar of Germany.
Most Improved range of wargames Products;  Wargames Factory
 Biggest Disappointment wargames wise of 2014, The none release of French Gendarmes by Pro Gloria.

So what does 2015 hold for me wargames wise. Well hopefully I will be well enough to enjoy Salute.
 I cant wait for Graham of Crann Tara fame releasing his Fitz James Horse.
 I hope to complete my Seven Years War armies, and finally say enough is enough.
 Aspiration wise, I would like to complete the sale of several armies that I no longer require, I would also like to rationalize my wargames terrain and shrink the number of boards I have by a lot, before the bedroom ceiling falls in.
 I would also like to re vamp my Waterloo terrain and stage the battle both at a show and as a game.
 Apart from that, just to be able to continue to participate in this wonderful hobby.



Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas is Over.

 Well Christmas is over for another year, and I now await the arrival of my grand children. I hope everyone had a good Christmas I did, without really doing much.
 Naturally I have been unable to sneak up to my painting desk with family staying for a few days, but I was able to complete the basing of these fine chaps, The Cuirassiers du Roi.
 This unit had been in the possession of Charles Stuart Grant and painted by the great Phil Olley. I had to touch up a couple of things to make them compatible with the rest of my French army and naturally re base them. I also had to replace the flags, but nothing too drastic. So the SYW armies move on in inexorably, especially the French.  
 I must admit I am looking forward to the new wargaming season in 2015 and cant wait for the first shows of the year.Santa was very kind to me again this year, with another unit of Black hussar French, the two latest wargames annuals and David Wilson's splendid book on the French army of the WSS.
 I also took delivery of a commissioned unit of the Lancers de Saxe, painted by Tony Runkee who has made a brilliant job of them, these are part based and I hope to sneak up to my room to crack on with them. So wargaming is still alive in this period of quietude.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Back from Munich.

Well I have just returned from a long weekend in Munich, and its fair to say I'm knackered.
 What between walking the length and breadth of the city, doing a lot of Christmas markets and eating loads of meat, my senses are a tad battered.
 Still I would recommend a visit, as it is a very nice city, and the natives are friendly. But this is not trip adviser but a wargames blog so,...
The military and wars are a little problematical in Germany even after 60 plus years. I still get the impression that the whole militarism thing is difficult.
Especially Bavaria and in particular Munich, the birthplace of the Nazis. Without getting too heavy I can understand why Bavaria was receptive to Hitler,the state is a rich one, and any threat from the communists must have terrified the middle and upper classes, link this to the recession that decimated the savings of the working classes, Hitlers message must have been compelling.
 To be fair, whilst touring through Munich, the locals are no longer reticent about the past and acknowledge the role the Nazis had in the city. It probably explains why the Allies battered the place to pieces.
 Anyway that is not the purpose of the post.
Below is the famous photograph purporting to show Hitler celebrating the declaration of war in the Field Marshals Hall in Munich in 1914.
 Whilst walking around I ambled into the square known as the Field Marshals Hall which was commissioned by King Ludwig the First to commemorate the Bavarian army. Next to two fine looking lions are the statues of Marshal Tilly of Thirty Years war fame and Marshal Wrede? of Napoleonic Wars fame [ read notoriety]
 Tilly I could not argue with as a first rate commander, but Wrede....
  Napoleon famously said after the debacle at Hanau in 1813, ''I made Wrede  a Count I could not make him a general.'' as the Guard marched over the poorly placed Bavarian army.
 I think the best anecdote concerning Wrede,was during the Battle of Wagram where Wrede's Bavarian division stood in reserve. The Bavarians were sent in to support Marshal MacDonald's attack and Wrede suffered a bullet graze leading his men.
Fearing the wound was fatal, Wrede told MacDonald '' Tell the Emperor I die for him. I recommend to him my wife and children''.
 Macdonald, who was well used to wounds himself, retorted '' I think you will be able to make this recommendation to him yourself''.
Wrede miraculously recovered and continued to lead his men.
Wrede was made a Marshal in the Bavarian army in 1814 in recognition of his services to the allies
 [ read betrayal of the French] and subsequently prospered.
 Hence the statue.
 There is an old saying that ''the Devil looks after his own'' and I think Wrede is proof of that.
 God knows what I will write should I go to Sweden, and see the statues to Marshal Bernadotte, the ultimate Judas.
 I have to finish with a photograph of standard Bavarian fare. I must admit it tasted pretty good, but after several days of eating this food, one hankers for a slice of toast.
 By the way, the round object looking a little like mashed potato is actually a local delicacy called Potato Dumpling. I defy anyone to say they have found this nutritious and enjoyable, [ imagine chewing a tasteless rubber slipper] Still a good city to go to...........................

Monday, 24 November 2014

The Beauty of the Internet.

 This last month, I have been mainly painting Seven Years War troops. I foolishly thought that I had sufficient toys for this period, and sold a lot of my metal mountain at low prices. Well that was a mistake. I have now realised that I need some more. Why one may ask? Unfortunately I cant answer that sensible question, I think basically I was drawn back to the colour of the armies and wanted to paint some of the figures from the new ranges on offer, including Crann Tara, the new Minden stuff and Black Hussar from Germany. That is the beauty of the internet, the world is at the feet of wargamers. These RSM French dragoons came from the USA, even though they had been originally created in England. Minden Miniatures is now based in America, Eureka are in Australia and Black Hussar are in Germany. Gone are the days of writing a letter to a one man war gaming company and hoping that they have cast enough of the figures that you want, now you can actually see the figures real time, you can converse in minutes, and the figures can be here within days. What I think is really great is that any wargamer who has the balls and naturally some cash, can create their own range of figures. Who wouldnt want to have that special regiment, or troops from that one campaign that no company sells. Truly wargamers are blessed [ and no I haven't o'd  on Prozac]

Marshal de Saxe,has always been a character that interested me. Larger than life, very brave and clearly a gifted general he lived life to the absolute limit. By the time of the Battle of Fontenoy  his body was struggling even if his mind was still very active. When Minden Miniatures produced the figure of him in his infamous portable cart, I knew I had to have one. The actual model is very delicate and is a work of art. Unfortunately I was only able to do an adequate job on the model. I also managed to get the colour scheme of his outrider wrong, he actually should be in green pants. So a bit of artistic licence was employed. Still a great model.   

Another bonus for wargamers and the internet, is all the 'how to' advice on the net. On the WSS site, there are a series of tutorial about painting. One in particular is about how to paint standards. Nothing new, one would think. Well on this tutorial, the talented lady paints a standard using Japanese calligraphic paper. The advantage of this is that when it is wet with pva glue, the paper can be moulded into any realistic shape, without tearing, and when it is dry, it stays in that shape.This is my first attempt, obviously not up to the standard of Mark Allen, but not bad for a first attempt.

 Finally, photographs of my next three units. Firstly the Regiment Bentheim, [ Black Hussar]
 My solitary standard bearer of the Irish Regiment Rooth. [Minden.]
 and last but not least, my interpretation of the regiment Deux Ponts.[ Black Hussar]

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