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Sunday, 9 October 2016

A quick post.

 Well just when I had posted that I am unavailable for a week, I manage to finish the Alexandria Rifles and another Louisiana regiment.
 The Rifles are a 'small' unit for the purposes of the rules, so I thinned them out even further.

Being a cheapskate at times, I also deliberately thinned out the figures in this unit by simply adding a load of fencing, personally I dont mind the look, some wargamers will probably baulk at the idea.

                  Only one more regiment to complete to make up the Louisiana Brigade, obviously there will be a battery of guns and a brigadier..

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Random thoughts and a couple of lists.

The image of these wonderfully painted Spencer Smith Bavarians actually has only a loose connection to the actual post but they are beautiful figures. Anyway I thought I should create a post before I take a weeks much needed break.
 It can be very stressful being retired honestly.
 Anyway on the Amateur Military Gentleman's forum there is a good couple of topic's that I think deserve a slightly wider audience.
 One was created by Graham Cummings of Crann Tara fame and is a bucket list for wargamers.
 Now like all nerdy types I do like a good list;
 So in no particular order, I would like to refight the Battle of Minden,
the Battle of Dettingen and the Battle of Fontenoy, all contain interesting tactical problems and I have never fought any of them.
 Another biggie is a refight of Leipzig using 6mm I actually have all the brigades for all the armies, but due to adopting Blucher, there is a need to rebase a lot of units, but if I could bestir myself that would be a real achievement.
 I have fought the battle in 28mm, but although it was a great weekend, I think using 6mm would make it a more intense affair and a sight worth savouring.
 I would also love to tackle Antietam again,this time using the Glory Hallelujah rules, it is a hard battle for the Confederates but would be a great test to try.
 I would also love a crack at Flodden, as this has been an interest of mine for years but I have never painted any units for the campaign, and probably never will.
 As regards the ancient period, I would love a crack at the Battle of Phillippi, which although a slogfest, would still be a test, and finally I would love to take a command at a refight of Cannae. So if there is any kind wargamer thinking about refighting any of these battles, then, yes I would be interested. I dont bite, honest.
   With the demise of the Battlegames aspect of Miniature Wargames, I got to thinking about the disappearence of Old School Wargaming from the wargamers radar. Now before everyone jumps in, I know that we are all Old School wargamers, but I am talking about the actual ethos behind the interest that was around about seven years ago. Is it really that long?
 The creation of this blog was motivated by my interest in returning to my original wargaming ideas, and the start of collecting 30mm RSM figures.
 So is the fad over and has everyone moved on to newer and shinier wargames projects, was the concept just a few old wargamers wanting to immerse themselves in  nostalgia, hankering after an age that never actually existed, well maybe for a privileged few.
 I think it was a cornacopia of a few things, nostalgia, wargamers wanting to have fun with some simple rule concepts, and an aversion to the way wargaming was heading, or more accurately has gone.
 I personally blame the release of Charles Grants excellent SYW war books, Harry Pearson's brilliant Achtung Schwienhund and of course Battlegames, which to start with was a great magazine.
 I think its a great shame that Old School wargaming has retreated into the background because for me it was a wonderful experience in so many ways and a great way to introduce would be historical wargamers to the hobby.

My final observation is again courtesy of the AMG site where one of the topics was, the best and worst decision you made as regards wargaming.
 For me it was a no brainer, my best was taking from the library for the first time, Charles Grants, The Wargame which fired my imagination and enthusiasm about what wargaming could be, whenever I feel a bit down I still reach for this well thumbed book and immerse myself in the pages.
 As regards the worst decision, I have made a few false starts in various periods and scales and have ended up wasting time and money on projects that I didnt really fire me up, but the worst was probably attempting to change scales to 15mm and buying massive painted Napoleonic armies. I was never able to find the heart to paint more of the 15mm ranges and eventually sold the lot for a large loss.
 I just could never find a love for 15mm, its very strange because I am happy to use Johns wonderful armies. So a bit of a mish mash, but hopefully something that you might find worth thinking about. See you in a week.

Friday, 7 October 2016

The Alexandria Rifles.

 In each brigade in Glory Hallelujah, you are allowed one sharpshooter, that is attached to a regiment. Its a nice fun feature to have included. These are my sharpshooters for the Confederates, and are from the Alexandria Rifles. I have exaggerated the green uniform colour , just to pretty them up. I know its more a Hollywood type of uniform, but I do like the effect.
 I have completed a small regiment of rifles to accompany the sharpshooters.I must admit the Perry twins did a fine job of sculpting these miniatures, they were a pleasure to paint.
 Just in case I get an ACW expert comment regarding the rifles, the unit was in Blandford, they were unusual and pretty, and I therefore felt the need to have them, probably not too accurate for the actual war, but they were too good to ignore. Wait until I start the Union regiments, because I hope to paint up some eclectic and unusual regiments.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Louisiana Zouaves.

 Well its been a little while since I last posted. This was due to personal matters and family commitments. As a consequence I was unable to attend the Derby show which was a shame in that it looked a good show with some quality large games on show. I would have particularly like to have seen the Thirty Years War game, and the James Morris  SYW one. Still perhaps next time.
 Anyway I have managed to paint up some more ACW figures, this time the 1st Louisiana Zouaves, which was a very pretty unit. I have actually a full brigade of units from Louisiana but havent completed the bases on the other two units yet. I have realised that the units I seem to select are determined by the prettiness of their flags or their dress.
 One will notice that this unit does not contain a full 24 figures, this is down to my cheapness, by sticking the odd piece of Rendra fencing on the bases just to add some randomness.I also padded out the unit with some Perry plastic zouaves, which look pretty good.
 All in all a nice regiment I think.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

All the Glitters etc............

Leading on from my last post regarding the plethora of 'new' wargames rules being released that seem to contain few new ideas, and in fact plagarise existing rule books. Wargames Illustrated have released the results of a poll they conducted? for which they received 1040 replies, which isn't a bad number really. The poll was regards which rules were played by the said wargamers.
 Now bearing in mind that this poll was conducted in the early part of 2016, it doesnt include the new rule releases of the last few months but it does on the face of it show the wide range of rules that seem the most popular at the current time.
 The first thing that I found interesting from my point of view is the fact that I only use Blackpowder and very very occasionally Hail Cesar, the rest I dont use at all, so clearly I am pleased to say I dont seem to be mainstream. Ah, I feel almost saintlike, with the virtue of not being on message.
  World War Two appears to be very popular amongst the pollsters, followed by skirmish level games in all their guises. Neither of which I play.
 So bearing in mind I actually use, Pike and Shotte, a derivative of Black Powder, Honours of War for my Seven Years War games, Blucher for my Napoleonic games, and Baroque for my 1690 games, and supposing I am a fairly typical wargamer, there is an awful lot of wargames rules that havent even been mentioned.
 How confusing must that be to any person thinking about starting wargaming?
 I sometimes wonder how we can justify having so many rule sets to choose from, especially as most use very similar mechanisms in how they play.
 I was tempted to list the various rules that I know of from my taking up the hobby in the early 1970's, but I think that would be too nerdy, even for the likes of me.
 So what conclusions can one draw from such a poll?
 Well the main conclusion I can see is that wargamers have totally bought into the shiny new toy syndrome, irrespective of how good their existing rules are, wargamers are still daft enough to shell out cash for 'new' rule books.
 Where once it would be a new range of figures by a new manufacturer, this has now moved onto new rule books that in the main dont really add anything to the hobby.
 Now and again, albeit very rarely, someone will release something that could be classed as worthy, but from what I can see most new rulebooks are just eye candy and fluff.
 But you pays your money and takes your choice..............

Friday, 23 September 2016

Rule Books, 'housands of them.'

 Well another Confederate regiment reaches completion, this time I opted for the 33rd Virginia, although apart from the flag and the odd dark blue uniform, the figures could represent any rebel unit I suppose.
 I have got myself into a productive place again and I must admit that there is a lot of enjoyment from painting figures that aren't too regimented. I am not up to the frequency of production that is happening in the wargame rule writing world, but still I am getting things done.
 Regarding the latest spate of rule books being released at what is now a weekly rate I am a tad confused. Not all of these books can be producing new ways to play wargames, and certainly in my opinion most seem to be more about revamping earlier rule systems that are still pretty good to play without shelling out more cash on them.
 I dont mind a bit of figure eye candy in a rule book, in fact that is one of the reasons I will actually pick them up so that I can admire the figures, but is there a demand for so many £30+ hardback books, I dont think so.
  In the early 1980's, we used to produce and sell a set of Napoleonic 6mm rules written by John, for the princely sum of one pound, that could probably make the transition to a hard back production with 28mm images attached, so if there is any would be company out there looking for some rules to transcribe into a mighty tome, please drop me a line, [ but dont tell John, so I can keep the advance]
   I hardly think producing a large hardbacked book, with maybe 20 pages of rules, padded out with a potted history of the said period, and then some images that usually dont help explain the mechanisms can be called good value.
I find it amusing that some companies, having realised that all historical periods have been done to death by rules have now started releasing £30+ rule sets for what if, and near future periods, again with the compulsory eye candy, of their latest ranges etc. Would it not be better just to fess up and call some of these new rule books catalogues of miniatures and leave it at that.
Personally, I think Osprey have got it about right, although I will push myself to buying the odd Blackpowder add on now and again, remember 'all that glitters is not gold.'
 So with that bit of sage like advice I will leave you.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Going Full Circle.

  Eons ago when I was a young wargamer I started collecting my first 'proper' wargames army. Naturally it was a French 25mm Napoleonic army. In those far off days decent information was in very short supply and like a lot of wargamers back then I relied on Blandford books which invariably contained beautiful images of random but colourful regiments. Naturally I painted these units, blithely ignoring the historical orders of battle.
   It wasnt that I didnt want a realistic army containing regiments which fought at specific battles, just the information was in very short supply. I loved the uniforms of the Irish Legion and the 7th 'Africa'  Neopolitan line regiment, so they were included in my army, Corsican Light Infantry, got them, Romana's Spanish Division, yep painted them to.
   It didnt bother me that these were seriously second rate units in reality, they were pretty and were in the Blandford's.
  Eventually as more information became available I replaced these units and finally changed scales, to replace them with accurate regiments, brigades and divisions. Accuracy was paramount. I would research every corps of my growing armies and make certain that it contained the correctly painted regiments.    
  For years I chased this 'wargamers Holy Grail' as if the accuracy was the most important thing in my hobby.  However as in most things in life, you go full circle and with my latest small project I have returned to collecting and painting historical units that bear absolutely no relation to the brigades they actually fought with. I just want  an eclectic mix of the exotic, famous and quirky. Hence the Tiger Zouaves.  Colourful, short lived and probably not that effective, but what the hell.
  I am now painting up Coppens Zouaves to complete my first brigade of the project. Probably not too historical, but they are great to paint. The Tigers are a mix of metal and plastic Perry figures.

             The initial brigade, minus the unpainted cavalry movement trays [ for Neil ]

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