Friday, 3 December 2021

A groundhog moment, as I return to the past.

Its been a pretty crappy week all round, as Ive been sleeping more than a brown bear in Winter courtesy of my reaction to the booster jab. So my ambition to get a decent number of new units on the table was scuppered.Then my poor sister slipped on ice and ended up in AE after breaking her hip, so really Ive got nothing to whine about.

In the late 1980's I had a very large Burgundian army made up of numerous figure companies, most who have either disappeared or no longer are floating my boat. Of course in my great scale swap I sold the lot and started in 6mm. Ah, the impetuousness of youth. 
Whilst at the Battleground show the other week I had a long talk to the wargamer/collector who bought the Burgundian's. He still had them, but could I hell prise them out of his fingers. To be honest I knew I would never get them back, but shy boys get no toys as they say.. 
With the hardback rule book of Never Mind the Billhooks expected in the next couple of months with new European armies for the same period included I wanted to collect a small Burgundian army to use. They were never the most effective army to fight with and given they faced the Swiss who were at their murderous best who can be surprised, but they were beautiful to behold and as a wargaming army they always look pretty as they rout off table.                                

In my original army the Ordonnance pike were made up of the small Hinchliffe range, some Garrison a couple of units from Essex and then a lot of the original Citadel range, now owned by Foundry. My favourites however were the specific range produced by Corvus. Not the Corvus that now produces figures under the name Corvus Belli, but simply Corvus.

The small company had some beautiful figures for the war, including handgunners and crossbowmen with loose weapons. They also did a lovely coustillier, all very delicate but anatomically correct. For my gendarmes I used the old Citadel gendarme range again sold by Foundry with a mix of Essex, Vulcan, Garrison, Hinchliffe and for the mounted archers, the old QT figures. To be honest, like all magpies I was attracted to anything that glittered. 

 The artillery?   Corvus produced some lovely delicate field guns and crew with pavisse mounted on the carriage, I really liked those guns. I also chopped about a few Hinchliffe wagons and limbers to make an interesting Burgundian wagon train. 

 Charles the Bold was the Citadel mounted figure in full bard and if I remember correctly it won the single figure category at the very early Stockton wargames show.

And now? In the interests of saving cash I have naturally opted for the Perry plastics and mixed them with metal standard bearers where possible. But of course that is never enough and although they wear earlier costumes I've lashed out on a unit of Claymore Castings crossbowmen with pavisses. If there is an issue with the plastics its probably the chopping them about and gluing them up and the fact they are pretty stiff in some respects. But they will do.  

Im afraid the standard of painting of my replacement Burgundian army will be fairly basic, like Dave Bickley, Ive realised that painting eyes etc are no longer necessary. If they look right then they will do for me. To make the units look better I have always thought that great looking standards will improve even the most basic paint job. Unfortunately my go to flag producer, Pete's Flags only sells one sheet which is a real shame because Pete's are the best.  
So Ive mixed in a few Perry cardboard standards and flags from the Freezywater range with a lick of paint on them. Its not ideal but they will do I suppose. I dont plan how big an army will become and usually paint units until I realise Ive too many, so here are the first tranche of Burgundian's.
If anyone has any ideas what happened to the old Corvus range I would love to know. Ive an awful feeling they were simply scrapped and ended up in a skip somewhere which would be a real shame, they were a very decent range of figures.

My first commander. He is actually an Englishman who fought for Charles and unlike those dastardly Italians didnt sell out his employer, more fool him.
As a tester I usually paint up a couple of small dioramas, this one is telling his mate, the Swiss are coming. 
As an aside, I was reading through some old [naturally] Sword and Lance magazines.They were produced in the 1970's by one of my first boss's and were in the main a magazine about military matters and models with a smattering of wargames matters. I managed to track down a decent number and have enjoyed reading them between naps.

 Anyway in the magazine was a two parter regarding wargaming the Ancient Persians written by Derek Sharman who in  County Durham was a real driving force in wargaming and the creation of the Durham Wargames club. He also ran the only wargames shop in the area.

His forte however was his ancient Persian army which I had the privilege of using once under his supervision. It was quite a sight laid out across a ten foot square wargames table. What struck me in the article was Derek stating his army consisted of 18,000 figures built up over a period of eight years. I never saw his entire collection which was probably just as well but it made me feel a bit better.

 Its always nice to know there is someone more afflicted than you irrespective of whether its alcoholism or collecting toy soldiers.


Monday, 29 November 2021

Booster Day, hip hip hooray.

Last week was a strange one for me. I finally received my booster and then later the same day John and I fought a 240 point Never Mind the Billhooks battle. I was desperate to field my Irish light cavalry and the church I had bought at the bring at buy the week before painted by Gerry Miller. Yes Im a child, I admit it.
Normally I pad out my wards with levy archers which are cheap and give some firepower cheaply. Strangely this time I opted for better quality infantry, three pieces of artillery and my Irish gallowglass.
Of course, John being a difficult so and so opted for lots of levy archers and two units of light cavalry. So outnumbered, and threatened by flank turning cavalry I settled on the idea of  refusing one flank and piling in with my fleet footed Irish. Sounded good in my fevered mind, yes the booster was kicking in.
Sadly for the Irish it was one of those battles where the enemy archers were very effective, my artillery couldn't hit a barn door and my Gallowglass died gallantly.At one stage I felt I was actually winning the encounter as my Irish cavalry and Kern support routed a unit of Lancastrian cavalry. That feeling didnt last long unfortunately. My Kern died quickly and then John had the temerity to handgun my artillery which was a mean trick but very effective.

John's sacrificial light cavalry unit riding into oblivion. My Irish cavalry charged home and were supported by some Kern who appeared from the wood. I think it was my only victory and for a few minutes I was deluded enough to think I could win the encounter. 
Henry Tudor, as usual skulking behind loads of his men. There was no chance of getting at him.
Sorry about the image. Kildare pointing the way off the field of battle. It didnt save him or his gallowglass, they were slaughtered when the finally managed to charge into a Lancastrian men at arms unit. It was a comprehensive defeat for the Irish Yorkists. But a really enjoyable game and the church looked 'churchly.' If you know what I mean. After the battle I had to take to my bed literally. I found the booster knocked me for six.I was laid up for four days! Still Im grateful for having the vaccine. 


Monday, 22 November 2021

Battleground 2021.


What a pleasure to finally be able to write this post about the Battleground show at Stockton on Tees. Of all the wargames shows I attend when able this has always been the one I've enjoyed the most. It was always the most laid back and friendliest show from its inception back in the 1980's when it was run by those wargaming enthusiasts, Tom Davidson and David Clemmet until the challenge was taken up by Leon of Pendragon Miniatures when the original show had to close. 
It was never the biggest, but being at the end of the campaigning season it was always the show that got me enthused the most, and I still dont know why.
I knew it was going to be a good day as the sunshine blazed as I drove towards Smoggyland. Sunshine can be an unusual event down in Mordor, hence its name. Leon had laid on refreshments even before one entered the hall and I was able to pile into a very large bacon roll as I stood outside admiring the sunshine. Only £3.00 for a big butty, followed by free entry and free parking. What's not to like. 

John and I used to put a game on every year but prior to Covid we realised it was time to let others do all the hard work. Yes I do miss not having a game on but to be honest the effort is very tiring. Because of Covid concerns, Leon had spread everything out to allay any fears for the punters. It was a pleasure to walk freely around the hall but still have a lot to look at and of course buy. 

I must apologise for the poor images I took. I dont know how this happened, but it did sadly.
It was good? to see the Westerhope posse back at the show resplendent in their new more masculine coloured shirts, although they were easier to detect when they wore their day glo pink shirts. Here we have poor Malcolm beiung badgered by one of the Westerhope miscreants, probably was asking for a handout. Its tough in Westerhope, North of the river.
The group have entered the 21st century now and displayed their thousands of Warlord plastic ACW units. If I was younger it would have been the way I would have gone although some of the add on units are very pricey. Brian [ the sensible one] looked very happy keeping an eye on the gobby one [John]annoying the life out of wargamers attempting to enjoy themselves.

And to show you what I mean here he is begging off some poor punter. The man has no shame.

But after god knows how many years he very very kindly 'gave' me two units of painted Garrison ECW figures. So all is forgiven, especially as they were nicely painted and will look great in my armies.To be honest, they are great set of gamers even if they do come from North of the river.

Battleground is more than staging a game and meeting up with old faces is a pleasure. Additionally Leon had managed to organise the bring and buy which I always like to attend.
Not having any thing I needed I came away with a beautiful English church and surrounding graveyard created by Gerry Miller for a modest price, and I mean modest. I insisted Gerry sign the piece simply because his work is always quality. I also picked up a large bag of Wars of the Roses sprues at a knock down price. Frankly for a man who didnt need anything its always amazing what you DO need. 
Later in the day a gentleman appeared at the bring and buy selling off the armies of a deceased waramer. The boxes were full of old school ancient armies using early Mini Figs, Garrison and Hinchliffe figures. Sadly this is becoming more common, but I suppose the figures will continue to be used                                                        
It was a desperate temptation not to buy up all the Garrison Persians but somehow I didnt sucumb, probably more to do with space than anything else.

One game that deserves a special mention is Joshua's Game which is being used to raise funding for a very good cause. All the figures are being donated to Joshua's father by wargamers from around the World, based and painted by them. The armies will then be auctioned to raise funds in Joshua's memory. There were some lovely looking units.  

3D printing is starting to become common and John and I bought some beautiful sculpts from a stall selling printed Reaper Miniature figures. I dont do fantasy, but I do admire great figures. I came away with several groups of humans. Not cheap but very good figures.

Did I tell you about the cheap refreshments? Well the tea is only a £1.00 a mug, so really anyone who attends could probably feed a family of four for a tenner, such is the generosity of Battleground. As this nightmare recedes put this show in your wargaming diary, its a great day out. So thank you Leon for all your hard work.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Looking forward to Battleground 2021.

Another blog post, another group of units. These are an eclectic group. Some Irish light cavalry for my Wars of the Roses army. Nice figures provided by Antediluvian Miniatures that are very fine and fit with Perry figures nicely. They carry a Kildare banner and will add a small threat to his enemies I hope.  

Next, my final Covenanter regiment. I now have a brigade of four regiments which will do I think. I do intend to add some cavalry and a gun or so. I now need to get my finger out and set up Marston Moor.

One will notice a large dog amongst the troops. I like to shove the odd animal into the ranks to add a little story to them.

Whilst at Partizan earlier this year I had a look at Eagle Miniatures small ECW range. Their photographs dont do them justice and when I saw them in the flesh I knew I had to have some. I would describe them as a similar size to my Hinchliffe units, but with better detail. Really quality figures. Before any ECW buffs start researching which regiment this is, its mine. I made the flag up and opted for a simple white uniform. No doubt they will rout a lot due to poor dice rolls but they will look good whilst doing so.  The officer leading them is Empress Miniatures, Essex.
Tomorrow I will be attending the Battleground wargames show at Stockton. I am really looking forward to the day. Pendragon always do a good show AND its free to get in. Hopefully I will get some great photographs etc of the show.
As I type this I intend to put an additional post on my Renaissance blog, button at heading at top. This is regarding my new little project.


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