Monday, 27 July 2020

Sword and Spear.

 I think this is the longest delay I've had between posts unless I'd been away on holiday. Obviously because of Covid I havent been on holiday so there shouldnt be any excuse for not creating a post.
Frankly I couldnt think of anything worthwhile to say that wouldn't have upset someone. Its always best to say nothing if one has nothing good to say. 
 Anyway Im now back and thought I would display the two small armies Ive painted up during the lockdown, one Ancient Greek and one Early Persian.The more astute will notice that some of the figures are on single bases but that is because I intend to use them for SPQR as well as Sword and Spear.
John and I played our first wargame using Sword and Spear last week and I obtained a creditable defeat. Pitching the Persians against Republican Romans perhaps wasnt the best of ideas but the result was closer than I thought although the command and toughness of the Romans was pretty high.As a first game of Sword and Spear it was very enjoyable albeit frustrating due to my poor positioning of my cavalry. 
 Still it was a wargame with a real opponent which after these last few months was a wonderful experience. We really are social animals and I think wargaming is the better for having real opponents. I never could get my head around Solo Wargaming although it looked interesting.
 Typically I have ignored the fact that in Sword and Spear one doesn't need hundreds of figures and have been painting up different bases of Persians and their many allies and of course I had to have a chariot or two. The eagle eyed will recognise the Hinchliffe King of Kings sat admiring his army.
 The Greeks are mainly Victrix from their excellent range, lovely sculpted figures. I keep hoping they will release their Persians soon. Tomorrow is a second battle using Sword and Spear so here's hoping I'm more astute than the first game.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Struggling through Lockdown.

Like many other wargaming bloggers the lock-down has taken its toll on posts. As the weeks dragged into months Ive found it increasingly difficult to put pen to paper as it were, similarly putting paint on my figures has also been a hit or miss affair. God knows what it must be like for people who dont have a hobby or even a small garden to fritter away the days. Debilitating I would imagine. 

I have managed to complete a few units for the planned return to wargaming sometime in the future. Initially John and I opted to utilise our SPQR figures to use for the Sword and Spear rulebook. As a consequence when I started building my classic Greek and Persian units I used separate bases which would allow the figures to be used for both rule systems.
However as I have painted more figures Ive started basing the units on one base with a view to building up larger armies. Im impatient to get the promised Victrix Persians that have been delayed by the virus so have used other companies to build the Persian units.
This will mean that when Victrix finally release their versions of the Persians which I will buy it will mean I will have a sizeable force far bigger than will be needed for SPQR and probably Sword and Spear. So effectively I will have done the opposite of what I wanted to achieve which is typical of my confused thought processes at the moment.
In the 1970's when I first saw my first Persian army it contained some strangely painted part naked chaps described as Ethiopians. It must have made an impression subconsciously because Ive wanted my own version and these are they. I dont expect them to be battle winners especially as they have fire hardened arrow points but I like them.
Strangely Ive found painting the Persian army quite difficult simply because of their love of colour. I think after so many years of painting uniforms Ive become conditioned. Anyway these are some of my Scythian cavalry in conservative garb.

                   A base of my Thracian javelin skirmishers with banner and not a rhompia in sight.
It must be well over 30 years since I last painted a camel unit but I did enjoy slapping the paint on these Newline Miniatures, again I dont think they will be great fighters but they look the part.

   Finally the first three Victrix Greek cavalry who are very nice figures and full of life.
 I hope to get myself back into the painting groove soon once Ive got my head around the new life we will all have to get used to and hopefully post more views re the hobby.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

On a Lighter Note.

 On a lighter note from griping I found this Hinchliffe set in my scrap box. I think I bought him about ten years ago in Scotland. Unfortunately there was no dais but the King of Kings is perfect as my C in C for Sword and Spear. Yes he is a bit crudely painted but the figures are well over thirty years old and Im even older.

 Two Persian sub generals to prove I actually own some new figures these are from the Mortal Gods range, in all their 32mm glory.
 Another couple from another scrap box and stored for a rainy day as it were.I haven't a clue who made these figures but they are very good sculpts and a pleasure to paint.

 And finally a couple of Garrison goodies that were spares from the couple of foot regiments that Rob Young very kindly cast up for me. So a couple of foot generals for Pike and Shotte.
To be honest I haven't just painted these few figures but the remainder are figures that belong in larger units yet to be completed fully.
 So I am still painting albeit a tad slower because of the weather and the lock-down which has become tedious to say the least.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

When Ignorance Isn't Bliss.

In an attempt to keep myself from slowly going mad I foolishly 'joined' a number of Facebook groups that interested me.I say foolishly because of all the ephemera that goes with joining any Facebook group. Anyone offered a Russian bride daily?
 Im not going to name names because in the main the people who contribute are decent wargaming souls and are in the same boat as me.
 But what is very very obvious is that a fair percentage of postees? and members of these historical groups dont possess the inclination, wit or whatever to research the period they are collecting figures for.
  Basically they cant be arsed.
 Im going to put my old git hat on here so I apologise now, but when older wargamers started out, information on regiments, personalities, generals, wars and even periods was difficult to come by.
 Information if found was shared whenever possible to other wargamers, sometimes in a 'know it all, arrogant sort of way' such as when an 'expert' assured me that the Russians no longer wore bicornes at Austerlitz? but then in the main it was shared with a view to helping other struggling wargamers.

 Who can remember the excellent Uniformo page provided by Military Modelling? I still have the compendium they provided and still like to thumb through the magazine for inspiration, but I digress.

 So getting back to the would be historical wargamers.Its clear that they think all they need to do is buy a load of unpainted figures for whatever period and then paint them, that is until they realise they havent got a scoobies about what they are doing.

 'Amongst the questions asked have been some pearlers;

Did Napoleon ever go to Spain?'  ...Just on holiday. [Sorry its what I thought for the answer]

'Did the Garde or cuirassiers ever get used in the peninsula?'

 'What is the funny rolled up thing strapped to the box [cartridge box] at the back of the figure?
 [A tampon]

'Is there any information on the Bavarian Army!  and did they fight for Napoleon?'


Most experienced wargamers and I include myself here actually like to help where possible but considering just how many wonderful books and sites are available out there you really have to question what is going on.
  Please accept that lockdown has become a real chore which could explain why my usual good humour has been tested but surely if one is going to spend money on the hobby one would think you would embark on a bit of research BEFORE you bought the figures.
 I've used some Napoleonic examples but there have been some corkers for other periods.

I appreciate that we have generations used to being spoon fed and coddled but apart from creating groups of people who really arent very good in any sort of crisis it doesnt make for knowledgeable wargamers who love the hobby for so many reasons and not just because of the figures, and dont get me started on rules and tactics that some would be wargamers seem to find acceptable and advocate.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Greeks and Persians.

During this lock-down I have attempted to paint units, terrain etc that would be of use to my existing armies. The thinking was simply that Im not sure I needed a new set of armies to buy and paint up given that I have a lot of units that have not be used in battle.
 Normally I rely on John to suddenly produce a new set of rules he has bought and then have a small game with them that may lead to me buying and painting up some units to play, using the new rules. If I dont like them I will simply not bother although to be honest that rarely happens. 
 However during this imprisonment John has been play-testing the Sword and Spear wargame rule book and because of his recommendation I treated myself to a set. I know they have been around a while now, but its a longtime since I possessed Ancient armies and didnt expect to be owning some new armies anytime soon.The rules look very playable.
 So guess what, here are my first new ancient units. When I was a young wargamer I owned a large Achaemenid Persian army using Garrison and Hinchliffe figures inspired by the massive ancient Persian army of Derek Sharmen the then owner of the Wargamers Den in Durham City. 
 Derek was a bit of an expert on Persians and his army was a host of obscure units ranging from Indians to Ethiopians painted black and white and armed with little else. Naturally I will need an opponent for the Persians hence the Greek hoplites. These are my first batch so please excuse the shields. The transfers are a bugger to put on the shields.The figures are from the great Victrix range and are lovely figures.

The long awaited Wargames Atlantic Persians were released a week or so ago and I got my pre- ordered box from Caliver. They are surprisingly good quality figures and well sculpted. The plastic is different from Victrix, Perry and Warlord but paint up well. Normally I splash the paint straight onto the plastic figures but with the Atlantic ones I would recommend that they get a wash with some soap and water. Im hoping that with the relaxation that Victrix will be releasing their Persian figures very soon. 

 Naturally I couldnt just concentrate on the ancient period and dug a couple of renaissance figures out of my store. I simply fancied having another cleric to attach to my renaissance armies. To be honest I wanted another beautiful standard on show using Pete's Flag range.
 I hope to make real progress with the ancient project so I can get back to painting my newly cast Garrison English Civil War figures very kindly created by the old companies owner, Rob Young. They are quality figures.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

People who influenced your wargaming 3.

 It was inevitable that I would select Charles Grant for my 'people who influenced my wargaming' posts. When I was struggling to understand what wargaming was exactly about in the late 1960's and early 1970's I managed to buy a copy of the Military Modelling magazine which contained an article written by some wargamer called Charles Grant concerning how to fight a Napoleonic Wargame. I was hooked from the onset as each month this man produced pages of information concerning the rules for fighting such a wargame and illustrated by black and white images of wonderful terrain and figures by someone called Peter Gilder.
 In the same magazine it was mentioned that Charles Grant had written a book simply titled  The Wargame and rushing to my library I ordered the said tome. I dont think Im colouring the memory too much when I finally obtained the book and found I couldnt put it down. I knew little of the period wargamed by Charles and his son but the whole account of fighting with imaginary Seven Years War armies captured my imagination like no other book. The sight of a purpose built table fielding large numbers of wargames figures and wonderful cavalry literally blew me away.

 Even now some fifty! years on I still paw over the book enjoying the images and wonderful writing of how to fight a large wargame. What dreams I had imagining owning such a wargames table and figures and back then I was desperate to command a regiment of Arqubussiers de Garssin, clearly a favourite of Charles Grant.
 I finally achieved this ambition some 35 years later when I finally bought the unit sculpted by Eureka Miniatures..I still think the original Spencer Smith plastcs were better than my metal figures.
 The rules themselves I realised would never be suitable for me, simply because back then I had neither the money or the space to create such a eye catching spectacle, but they were the ideal I aspired to for many many years.
 What I discovered was the enthusiasm that coursed through the writing in all of Charles Grant's books and what was very clear was the amount of knowledge involved in the writing. He didnt provide a scholarly lesson in military history but one knew the man had a deep knowledge of the period he was describing and had clearly researched the subject when producing his rules. It was using his list of references that I was able to read around the subject and understand more about the warfare being described by him. I now own all of the books listed by Charles Grant in the Wargame and the information contained in these books is still very relevant.
 I am lucky enough to own all the books he wrote and most of the articles he also wrote for the various wargames and military modelling magazines. All of them are an enjoyable experience and provide any novice wargamer with the information they may need to fight a period covered in the books.

 So for my third and one of my most important choices for influencing my wargaming I would like to thank the late Charles Grant again for all his endeavors and steering this novice onto the true path to wargaming heaven. I know we wont see his like again in wargaming.

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