Wednesday 29 December 2010

Further to 'A Nostalgic Whim'

If anyone would like a copy of these rules please e mail me a, I thought charging £4.00 plus p/p seemed reasonable. I do have pay pal but Im not to certain how I send an invoice,hopefully it shouldnt be too difficult [ said Mr Luddite]

Tuesday 28 December 2010

A Nostalgic Whim Rules Printed!!!

Well its good to be back,and with some news which I hope will lead to other things.
 I have managed to get our Seven Years War rules printed in a booklet format,and very nice they look to.
 My hope is that if I manage to sell sufficent of these sets,that I will be able to get them printed in colour. It seems that every current rule set,baring DBA is filled with eye candy, and it would be nice to showcase some 30mm SYW figures in full colour,anyway thats the hope at the moment only.
 The rules themselves are pretty good [ no bias there then]. I think John [Reidy] did one heck of a job putting together  my wishes,which were to capture the period and more importantly to capture the ethos of Charles Grant and Brigadier Peter Young. The rules do seem to play pretty well,and give an exciting game. Anyway I will be selling the rules around the various shows that I attend this next year, so hopefully people will find them enjoyable.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Battleground 1978

Yesterday I was very kindly given a dvd of several of the Battleground games that featured on Tyne Tees televison in 1978!!
 The battles I have managed to obtain are, Chalons, Edgehill, Waterloo and Gettysburg. The other battles were I think Trafalger and El Alamein, though I may be wrong on this. The whole viewing experience was a massive dollop of nostalga, especially seeing the likes of John Braithwaite of Greenwood and Ball fame and a very young Ian Dickie of Minaiture Wargames fame.
    One thing that struck me straight away is how difficult it is to make an actual wargame interesting to a person watching it on television. Peter Gilder who features in two of the battles obviously went for ' a bit of banter ' routine in an attempt to bring levity to the programme.
 Duncan Macfarlane [god how young looking] adopted a more serious manner. Really neither suceeded in making the wargame a piece of television.
 However I remember when I saw them the first time around being enthralled,especially the beautiful terrain and wonderful figures. Even now they would stand the test of time. The rules were in main  Gilders creation, and were complicated as was the trend then, in an effort to show everyone that we weren't playing with toys but actually re enacting history.[ Ah the conceit of youth]
 The programmes did bring it home to me how difficult it is to make a wargame interesting to a newcomer or passerby. I think the key still is, eye catching terrain and figures, a 'facilitator' to present the game and explain everything, whilst making it interesting [difficult  for most gamers] and a lot of friendliness from the gamers actually fighting the battle,to make the whole thing welcoming.
 Ideally a re incarnation of Peter Gilder would do! They man was always an idol of mine and whatever faults he may have had, he certainly knew how to present a game.
 So getting away from the critical points, I still think the television series was a must view for all wargamers, well done the now defunct Tyne Tees television. 

Monday 29 November 2010

Snovember and a bit more rant.

Sorry to steal a title used by the Sun newspaper, but due to the weather I cried off Smoggycon,which is unusual for me. The weather however was really bad,and now that I am living on a housing estate,trying to drive in snow is always very bad.
 Anyway I am determined to get to Recon at Leeds this Saturday. Weather permitting.
 I have been reading the reports by Barry Hilton of his trip to Histricon in America, which got me thinking about the state of things in England in comparison to the USA.
 I really think that there needs to be a massive change in the way conventions are done in England, and serious questions need to be asked of what we are trying to achieve at these shows. I can say that over the years,our small band have put on numerous games at all sorts of shows,both big and small. Some I thought were a sucess,others I thought were basically bollocks.
 I felt the best had a varied programme of things on offer, ie a painting competition, a best game award, different types of wargaming on offer, and one Napoleonic show which had a theme,with guest speakers and an Imperial guard marching band!
 Lets be right,most wargamers only attend shows to buy stuff.
 Some go to look at the eye candy,ie games, and some just go to sound off in front of other club members at the bar.
  Our image,especially in England has suffered to the extent that I once again get embarrased at the collective weirdness of some attendees.
Unfortunately wargamers who always had a number of eccentrics,seems now to have attracted a goodly share of the socially inadequate sprinkled with some very strange people who clearly have issues.
 Please dont get me started on the hygene problems that a large minority seem to have, my mam always said 'Soap was Cheap' but clearly not to the twenty stone balding havesack carrying male,barging his way through the bring and buy crowd. God knows what there homes must be like,I am afraid the image we portray doesnt help the lifeblood of the hobby. Dont think that I attend these shows resplendant in a tweed suit, but come on, take a bath,or in some cases a hose down. 
   There is also a greying problem that is growing in England on the wargames front, and in order to continue we as a collective need to find a solution to the recruitment problems that are clearly there. I dont think the way history is now presented in England helps, but that is a whole other topic, but I think to start with there needs to be a lot of thought into our presentation issues. I deliberately didnt include Scotland and Wales in this small rant,as I have never attended  a welsh show, and I have only ever attended Claymore in Scotland which I did enjoy,albeit was a bit of a journey to make.      

Friday 26 November 2010

Back at Last

After my move, I have finally got  back on line. Im afraid Virgin Media didnt cover them selves in glory, but at least I am now back.
 I forgot how unsettling moving home was, and unfortunately this is just phase one of a very stressful year I think.
 Anyway to cheer myself up, I am off to Smoggycon tomorrow. This is year two of this show, and I hope they can build on last years good start. Hopefully now that I am getting back to some sort of normality I can get my painting routine going...............

Saturday 23 October 2010

Clutter and more Clutter

Packing up your home is always stressful,but packing up a wargames room beats that hands down.
 Although there was a delay [expected] in exchanging contracts,I am moving in late October.However dismantling my room is very daunting,where did all this stuff come from. I seem to have hoarded various pieces of polystyrene,cardboard,old paint,sand and scatter flock ad infinitum.
 I am not certain when I decided that BLUE flock was necessary,but I have found a bag of it,why I have it is anyones guess.I have moved 80+ terrain boards to my temporart home,but still have another 20 to shift.Remarkably they seem in very good condition,barring the odd chip.Having seen them it makes me doubly keen to build a new room and finally see all my wargaming ideas come to fruition.
 I have just purchased a decent number of Dixon SYW prussians from E bay at a very decent price. They are nice figures,and will do perfectly for a minor German contingent. My metal mountain has however grown to Ben Nevis proportions and as soon as I settle down again I must crack on with the backlog. I have also got hold of a couple of the new Jackdaw French dragoons, so another unit will have to be bought just in case there is a meteorite that hits Old Glory HQ and wipes out there production.
 The one thing that has kept me going is my drawing of my hopefully final wargames room,so when things get stressful as they will and do, I can whip out the sketch and get on with it. 

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Moving Home.

As I have stated previously I have sold my home pending the completion of all legal matters,which has proved a problem in the past. I have had a couple of sleepless nights already realising the enormity of what my wife and I intend,ie. move home,find rented accomadation and then build a new home whilst pending retirement. No pressure there then.
 One of my worries is how do I pack and move ALL my terrain boards,all 70+. These boards have been built over the last 15 years and are all 2'x2' mdf. They are bulky and they are heavy. It also came as a shock just how much stuff you gather over the years when war gaming and collecting in general,and that's without what I have stored in a friends home,which is my war game magazine collection. I think like most war gamers I suffer from a hoarding illness,and hate throwing away anything, just in case........Heavens knows what the 'in case' actually is.
   In the past I have been quite ruthless about metal mountains,however I have been hoarding lots of RSM Hanoverian figures,just in case they stopped making them. I have also come across about 30 jars of paint,all in primary colours,just in case they stop making red,white and blue acrylic paint in the near future. Where does it end... Whilst contemplating the huge task of packing these things up, you start to think of the problems of next of kin,should I slip this mortal coil before I complete all my projects. Who would get rid of my stuff? Do they realise their true value? Who would actually care?
All answers on a postcard. Anyone got any cardboard boxes? 
My wife has always said war gamers were a strange breed,and I think she was maybe right.
[ She actually used much stronger words!]


I have finally finished  typing the ammendments to the SYW rules that we [3] use. I must say John did a good job of  taking my basic vision[thats a very pretentious word!] and creating a set of rules that I feel reflect the period while capturing hopefully the essence of Old School Wargaming. A tall order I suppose but they do work well,provided they are played in the manner required,ie. as a wargame, not a competition one. The problem that I now have is getting them printed as I added coloured photographs to spice up the dialogue,I also expanded the play sheets.So if anyone has got any suggestions as to how to get them printed cheaply then I would appreciate it a great deal. I tried Kreigskunst,Blackpowder and Minden Rose prior to John drafting these rules together,and although I am biased,these did work the best,but its all a matter of opinion as I do like the way Blackpowder work in other periods.
I have copied the title page and introduction just to give people a flavour of what they are about.

                         THE INDEPENDENT WARGAMES GROUP
                                              'A NOSTALGIC WHIM'
Being a simple set of fun rules for players of Old School War gaming for the period of the Seven Years War.
[ Based on the ideas of Charles Grant, Donald Featherstone, Brig. Peter Young and Stuart Asquith et al. ]

       [1] Introduction;

These rules were born out of a nostalgic whim.......

The intention was to create a set of war games rules that would be fun to play, simple to understand and based on the principles of the founders of modern war gaming.

The rules are simple to learn, but should not be discounted as merely chaff. They require each player to use the tactics of the historical period, that is the Seven Years War, latterly described as the first world war.

This period was chosen as it was littered with historical personalities, colourful uniforms, blaggards and néer do wells.

My old war games opponent, John Reidy has crafted together ideas taken from all the giants of modern war gaming to create a set of rules that are intended for FUN, a word sometimes forgotten in war gaming nowadays.

I therefore ask all players to use these rules, suspend belief and enjoy the experience of large war gaming units and handfuls of dice.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

My perfect wargames room.

Five years ago,my wife and I decided to sell our home, buy some land and build our dream home, what a naive pair we turned out to be.
  Between the perfect storm of the banking crisis,buying land at the height of the boom, having to fight the local planners for three years, and then being hit by a labour government intent on bankrupting the nation,its fair to say things have not gone to plan. The last factor has been the inability to sell my home, not withstanding the four sales that I have had throughout the process. Grand Designs my bottom.
  Part of my dream was to build my perfect wargames room. I am one of the lucky people that already has a wargames room,replendent with a 10' by 6' table, what more could I want.
 My hope was however to create a wargames room similar in standard to the one in the Callan film with Maximillan Schell, book shelves and all.
 Anyway we are now in the process of selling our home for the fifth time,and this time I hope to finally build my perfect wargames room with a larger and more refined table.Amongst the many chores has been the five designs that I have had to submit to the planners for my home, unfortunately due to financial constraints I am now in the process of submitting my sixth, with what I hope is the ultimate design for my dream room. The table in this one will be 12' by 6' with various sophisticated add ons a la the Wargames Centre,ie under table shelves and better lighting.
 If things for once go to plan I hope to be able to post photographs of the completed room on this blog in  eighteen months time. We all have a dream..................

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Model Soldiers for the Connoisseur.

I remember reading someones blog a few weeks ago [ sorry for forgetting which one ] mentioning the book, Model Soldiers for the Connoisseur which is by John G Garratt, [Weidenfield and Nicholson]. This sparked an interest in what the book contained and I managed to get the book from an  Amazon seller for £10.00. The book actually contains a potted history of most figure producers and collectors of that era,aka 1972,which probably wouldnt hold much interest to a person who paints Flames of War or Warhammer. However I found the book thoroughly charming and actually very informative.  The book is crammed with photographs and is 240 pages of nostalgia.
   It contains a potted history of many names from the wargaming past,but my favourite chapter is the authors trip to visit Brigadier Peter Young at his home in Tewksbury. I would give my back teeth to have met and talked to this man,what tales he could have told.
   It was interesting to find out that Peter Young had a large range of 30mm Stadden figures,which even in 1972 were expensive. He also posessed some of the figurines of Madame des Fontaines, figures  which featured in the early Military Modelling magazines, in bold bright colours. I can remember using a magnifying glass to admire the paintwork on these figures and hoping to be able to attain the painting standards of this woman, sadly I never did.
 I think it would be a great idea for a new book of todays collectors and sculptors to be created and published,mind you most of todays collectors would have to smarten themselves up,to compare to the ones in this wonderful book. Anyway,this book was well worth a tenner,and of great interest.
 Although I intend to stick to my Rsm figures, I was especially taken with the Hinton Hunt and Les Higgins figures.

Saturday 11 September 2010

A Strange to do with Durham Wargames Group?

I remember years ago in the magazines Miniature Warfare and Wargamers Newsletter an account of a big dispute regarding some allegations between two wargamers that led to legal action.Letters passed between the two litagants with claim and counter claim.  At the time I thought the whole thing pretty riduculous,as it concerned the playing with of toy soldiers. Also over the years I have also witnessed fallings out between wargamers over rules and the interpretation of such.Again I thought it really sad,because really its just meant to be a game,nothing more, nothing less.
 Which leads me on to the cause of this rant,because really that is what this is.
 I am the member of several Yahoo discussion groups,amongst them is the Durham Wargames Group,which is the group nearest to where I live.Most discussion groups are pretty innocuous and usually are about being in contact with like minded people. The group have been around for many years and its fair to say I have come to know quite a few members. I never joined the group,hence my blog title Independent Wargames Group but I always put a demonstration game on at their show,and also have gamed at their club when invited.
  However this year I didnt get an invite to put a game on,which whilst I thought a bit strange suited me as I was out of the country at the time of the show. John my long suffering wargame opponent decided to go through to the club prior to the show,to check to see if we had our normal table,where no one actually said we didnt have a table,mind you, no one actually said we did, ergo no one spoke to John at all!
  Needless to say John was not impresssed by the bad manners shown. I put it down to a new committee and tried to laugh it off.
 Which finally leads to this rant,.......... Our local council each year encourage local people to go to public buildings that are normally excluded from the public,amongst the buildings is the Durham Wargames Group one,which is the old 68th barracks in Durham, a fine old building. 
 However a member of the group posted a trite and sarcastic message on their site warning of this impending event and basically calling for members to go to the building to 'guard' the centre.He also likened the council to the 'Stasi' of east German fame, more like Herr Flick fame I'm afraid. 
 The mistake I made was to suggest that  it would be a great oppourtunity to stage a couple of exhibition games at the group to perhaps recruit some more members and would be wargamers.
 I did expect a reply, but not to be kicked out of the discussion group!!!
 I know its petty,I know its not important,but I also now know how those two guys felt like all those years ago when they went to the courts. Anyway tomorrow I am excercising my right as a member of the public to get a tour of the 68th barracks in Durham. I will keep you posted.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Border Reivers Newcastle Arena.

Well autumn is drawing on,signalled by the show at the Arena Newcastle.This year,I didnt put a game on at the event. One of the reasons is the actual lighting in the place. Dont get me wrong its great there is an actual show at Newcastle,just the lighting in the place is not good. This year there was a lot of trade and as a result I had to resort to plastic to continue shopping. I also made a purchase of the new Jackdaw French SYW charging Dragoon. I really didnt need them,but couldnt resist the look of the figures,well recommended. Andy was telling me that the next releases are the Saxe Dragoons and the Saxe uhlans. Oh well a nother two units to buy.
 I bumped into Charlie Wesencraft who was still bemused at the popularity of his reprinted wargames books. I honestly dont think that he realises just how good the books were.Again I would recommend wargamers to buy a copy of both books. The ideas are still very relevant and they are well written.the new print copies are available from John Curry books,on E bay.
 I was able to purchase the new Osprey on the Hanoverian SYW army. Its a thin book but does help with the painting project that is pending.
 I had a look at the few games actually on show,and there were a couple that stood out. I did like the ECW/thirty years war game in 28mm,I can only apologise for the lack of knowledge of who presented it.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Terry Wise.

Its very sad that I hear that Terry Wise has passed away.
 I have recently managed to buy two of his excellent books, Battle Gaming and Medieval Warfare. Both are great books,with lots of interesting information. My best memories remain however of  Mr Wise's  column in the Military Modelling called ' Observation Post'.
 Like Donald Featherstone Terry pulled no punches and tended to call a spade a spade.
 The column had some great observations and ideas littered amongst his pithy comments.
 Sadly in the new world view  that has developed in  Britain pithy comments are frowned upon,if not howled down. I recommend that any readers interested in war gaming in general buy Mr Wise's books,especially  Medieval Warfare,which is a sound base for that period. I just wish I hadnt got rid of all my Military Modellings.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Ammended SYW Rules.

I have been typing my way through my ammended SYW rules each night.My aim is to give them a more professional look,by adding photographs etc. I am not certain how I will get them printed,as they now have colour added to them. There have been little tweaks to the rules,where from the few games played,problems were highlighted. However overall,they did play well. John Reidy who put them together used Charles Grant and Donald Featherstone as his starting point,throwing in a couple of ideas from Charlie Wesencraft. It all sounds very muddled but they do play very well. I certainly think they reflect the period better than a lot of current commercial rules,and certainly are a lot more fun,then I am a tad biased.
The best thing I found is they reflect the period well. Anyway,back to the typing.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

The wargaming Capital of Britain?

Its quite strange that Newark seems to be the epicentre of wargaming talent in England,if not in Great Britain. I suppose with the main sculpters for Games Workshop being based in the area it was inevitable that other talent would move there.

Yet looking back to the early 70's as one does in doddering decripitude [nearly], the wargaming movement was scattered to the four winds,with two exceptions,Southampton and London. Obviously Donald Featherstone living in Southampton with Tony Bath on hand made that an important enclave,whilst London seemed to have a really active wargames club scene. Anyway what about County Durham. Well I remember the hefty talents of Derek Sharman. I met Derek initially when he was selling wargames figures from a small shop in Durham City,and then went on to fight with him on a couple of occasions in Bishop Auckland. I was particulary impressed with his very large Persian army, with Garrison Cataphracti and Eithiopian archers. I remember we used the rules Derek had written. They were pretty good for the time,but I wouldnt say he was the best wargamer Ive faced.The other time I gamed with him,he insisted on moving the Garde horse artillery close to the British line,and then managing to lose the whole battery through rifle fire,not the best move Ive seen in wargaming. Still I would describe Derek as more of an ideas man.

Derek was also the driving force behind some really big shows, and I mean several thousand strong at Durham Castle and Lumley castle. These were great venues,with lots of noisy re enactments going on outside the shows.

Derek also opened the first wargames shop that I ever knew, the Wargamers Den. I think even he would accept that whilst he was very enthusiastic,his business accumen was a bit chaotic. Sadly the shop shut,and Derek I believe moved north to the borders. Which just goes to show,if Derek had stuck in maybe the North East could have been the centre of wargaming in Britain,and I wouldnt have to trek south to see some top shows. A big word, IF.

Saturday 14 August 2010

The Grand Plan.

Like most wargamers,there is usually an aim to what we are painting or collecting. My Syw project was different,it was as I have stated before,a whim.

I just kept buying RSM figures and painting them,with no real clear purpose apart from,I liked pretty toy soldiers of that era. Anyway,I have been giving thought to my collection and I think Ive managed to verbalise [what a word!] what I am actually intending to do with this project. Momentously its to buy more SYW figures,but more importantly paint an opponent for my French and Austrians. At the moment I can rely on Colin for his Prussians, but I would really like my own troops. Hence my buying of RSM Hanoverians. I have now however decided to expand this project to Hessians and Brunswickers,with a splash of the smaller North German states. So it looks like a new mountain of lead,which I usually try to avoid. I am basically aiming for 20 battallions plus cavalry and artillery. Not to much to aim for. I blame Barry Hilton for this,as I have just bought his new Napoleonic rules,and the photographic eye candy just set me away. If Barry can do that for Napoleonics,then I can do it for SYW,albeit in a more restrained and decourous style.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Peter Gilder

Whilst I have been laid up in bed,I have been trawling through some of my old wargames magazines,and in particular the Courier,[now sadly defunct]
One of the articles was about the top contributers to wargaming over the years.
I do like the way American gamers like to list the fathers of gaming, putting right at the top Jack Scruby. Now no doubt in the USA he was influential in what came later,however over in the UK, I dont think he played any part in the 'progress' of wargaming. I know its all down to personal opinion,but Scruby Miniatures were very hard to get hold of when I was a young wargamer,heavens knows buying Minifigs was bad enough.Anyway what did strike me was the total lack of credit for a man who was a giant in the wargaming movement,that is Peter Gilder. I know he was more of a figure designer than rule writer,but what figures and what terrain. How could anyone not be inspired to copy his style of gaming. The early Miniature Wargames was full of Gilder's figures and there wasnt one that could be called duff. One of the big inovations that Gilder introduced was the idea of a Wargaming weekend holiday centre. I have been several times,sadly after Gilder passed away, but I still cannot get over how good his figures were painted. I understand that he had people paint some of the units but overall,the broad use of brash colour is still so very effective. Which gives me a good excuse to show off some of my newly painted Austrain Jager,curtesy of the late great Peter Gilder. I dont know about their historical accuracy but they are still a nice figure.

Jackdaw Command

I have been singing the praises of this project,and I thought I would show would be buyers what you get for youre money.

These are two of a group of four French Command Figures,but really they are mainly generic,apart from Marshal de Saxe,who does look like the historical figure.

I found them easy to paint and the horses are sturdy beasts.
I am looking forward to the charging French Dragoon figures,hopefully I can give a decent paint job. Anyway Old Glory should be encouraged to keep releasing this range, it is a good substitute for the now very expensive Willie range.

My enforced Stay off work

I suppose one good thing by being generally off colour,is that you can finish some projects that were on the back burner.

Mine was this battalion of Minden French. I have several half completed units of these lovely figures,but I just find them difficult to paint. I think basically its because they deserve such a good paint job,and I dont think I have that skill.
Their faces are well done and deserve a 'Saxon Dog' finish,however I know that I just havent got that in me,anyway they are finished and ready to go,which is the main thing.
I tend to exagerate my flags [ thats really that I like BIG flags] and being the cheapscape I am I also used only one drummer per unit.
I do like them now that I heve finished it,but I still cant find a quick but accurate way to paint white.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Flames of War

I have completed the last of my fusilier units for the Italian army,and am now crawling into my Besailgairi ? squads. What was meant to have been a small project,just seem to have expanded,why do wargamers do that? I must admit I am a completist but I forgot how time consuming 15mm figures are.
Anyway I reckon I am about 2/3 there,however I have just ordered the new Semovante and the italian heavy tank set, why?
I have found the range enjoyable to paint,but do have trouble with some of the weapon sets,there never seems to be any instructions,hence I always have at least one spare part.

Monday 9 August 2010

An enforced break

Due to illness,I have been able to catch up with my blog. I am grinding my way through the moutain of lead that is my Flames Of War Italian army. I am determined to finish this project sooner than planned as I am now very keen to move back to my SYW Hanoverian army. My aim is for 8 battalions,2 guard battalions,and 7 units of cavalry,nothing too ambitious!
I also want to edit the rules John put together for me and give them a more professional look.
Thinking about lists,I think the most important things wargamers need are,
1] Time, 2] patience, 3] enthusiasm, 4] imagination, 5] the constitution of a horse, 6] an understanding partner [very important], 7] space, 8] a steady hand, 9] a sense of humour, 10] and access to ready cash [always a problem]
Personally my most important things are time and cash. Sometimes its hard to justify locking myself away to paint,leaving my long suffering partner to watch the televison,saying that I think she is pleased sometimes.

A visit to Jackdaw Miniatures

Being in the area of New Kyo [why would you?] I dropped in to see the new jackdaw Miniatures command groups.Needless to say I ended up buying the group of four figures.I also got sight of the French Dragoons,both at rest and charging.
Once more the wargame brain engaged and the common sense one went west. I need this unit,the French Dragoon resplendent in cap just looks the part.
Some collectors may dislike them but personally I find the Jackdaw range as it grows perfect for OSW.
I also got sight of the British guard in full dress,again they look perfect albeit a swine to paint [all that lace]
Andy assures me that as each new figure comes out,the aim is to go for a single casting as opposes to the loose arm,which has caused me problems.
All in all I would recommend the range.

Sunday 4 July 2010

Slow going

As mentioned in a previous blog,sometimes there is a lull in a wargamers progress. It can be any number of things,usually in my less mature days it was a domestic issue that slowed up my latest painting project,currently it is the recession that is taking up all my spare time. With the recent cuts to public sector numbers,I seeme to have very little time at home as I get to cover for fewer co workers. This is not a gripe,at least I still have a job, but the hours just get longer. Anyway, I did manage to complete some of my Jacdaw figures, a couple of Flames of War units and half a Seven years war cavalry regiment. However I feel the need to be inspired to drive these projects forward, perhaps a good book or a decent inspiring wargames article.
These seem to be fewer in number nowadays, or is it just me getting old. I really miss the pithy editorials of Donald Featherstone and Stuart Asquith who really could beat themselves into a frenzy over some wargames issue. Brilliant.
I saw that another great passed away very recently in the shape of Paddy Griffith. Never one to shirk controvosy,Griffith really stirred up a nest years ago, when he wrote about 'was there a need for toy soldiers in wargaming'. At the time I was more annoyed with the term toy soldiers than the actual ideas espoused. Looking back it was all good stuff. He did write some good books with some very good ideas to inspire all wargamers.
A big loss to wargaming.

Thursday 17 June 2010

The long lay off!!!

Flames of War Italians,circa 1942.
Over the years I have found that I reach a point where I find it hard to devote my precious time to wargaming.I suddenly find that other things become more important,and I think I have just been through such an occurrence. Luckily it was only for a few weeks,and I still managed to continue painting,albeit at a much slower rate. A longtime ago I took an entire year out and didnt do any wargaming activities at all.

Granted I had only just been married and become a father,so perhaps that is understandable.Anyway I am back, and I'd thought I'd show off my Italian army circa 1942.
Progress has been slow,but persistance is finally paying dividends. The figures are a combination of Flames of War and Command Decision.I think they are very compatable,apart from the armour where Command Decision are slightly smaller.

I have attempted to customise some of the bases,and have incorporated camels and palm trees in an attempt to pretty things up.I do like the infantry from Command Decision,as they have pith hats,and shirt sleeve order.Very colonial and very Italian. For one of my squads I am going to paint a Black shirt unit,purely for theatre effect.My dad, God rest his soul was in the 8th Army,and although he very rarely talked about the war,gave me an officers Facista scarf,cap badges and officers tie. So I thought it would be appropriate to add some of Mussolini's followers to my army. I have made an elementary error for any wargamer,as I have stocked up with unpainted metal,which is unlike me.I am usually more disciplined. I have also alternated between scales and periods, and have continued my Seven Years War project,albeit very slowly. John my long suffering opponent kindly painted me a unit of Hungarian infantry,and I am part way through a French heavy cavalry unit.I missed the show at Durham last weekend,and havent been to a show since Sheffield Triples,which I do find a bit disconcerting.I was in New York instead watching England showthe world how to play football [ I wish ]I do like New York, although it is getting very expensive.

I understand that there were only five games on display at the Durham show, and I think this is the first time in over 25 years that I havent put on a game with John at the show.
Still sometimes a change is as good as a rest.
I have noticed that the Old School Wargame movement seems to have lost its impetus,so to speak,which I suppose is inevitable given the nature of wargamers. I will still continue to plug the idea,and hope to re publish ' A Nostalgic Whim' rules later this year.
It was also sad to see the demise of the Spanish wargames magazine,Soldiers and Strategy. I believe it will still be published in Spain.
I did like its enthusiatic approach and general layout.
Anyway well done for a valiant effort.
I hope to hold a photographic review of my entire Seven Years war armies next time.

Monday 19 April 2010

Sheffield Triples 2010.

Well I attended Sheffield Triples at their new venue near the Meadowhall shopping centre ,and location wise it is better than the old site in the university.I only attended on the Sunday due to work commitments,and it seemed to be quiet by the usual standards.The traders were placed in two big halls and there was plenty of room to move about,but it seemed a bit sterile and lacking in atmosphere.I would stress this is a personal opinion and no doubt other attendees thought differently.I still managed to hammer my wallet which baffles me everytime,I mean how many more figures do I really need.
I always pay close attention to the bring and buy,and again it was noticable that entries were down.Saying that the bring and buy is a good indicator of what is no longer hotin the wargames world,this time it seemed to be Flames of War. There was a lot for sale. There was also a lot of vintage Napoleonic figures for sale,all painted and ready to use.I do wonder where all the painted figures go to from over the years.God knows I've painted my fair share,and they never seem to resurface.Do they get thrown out at the end of a persons interest in gaming,or do they just moulder away in someones loft.Im always open to offers to buy up these figures,mind they have to be either 30mm seven years war or 6mm napoleonic and virtually free.
I do think the Sheffield lads should consider making Triples a large one day affair,to cater for current trends,what with the recession unemployment and my potential retirement from gainful employment.
At the show I got hold of the new Jackdaw miniatures marching groups for the seven years war,and they didnt disappoint.
There is an officers group with camp followers carrying food,followed by a rough looking dog carrying its own pack,and three really nice officers with shouldered partizans or flags,and some marching drummers.I particularly like the mounted officer holding his tricorne.
The other group are infantry with reversed muskets and packs. Very nice groups for any self respecting 30mm syw ite.I also was forced to buy the limber which has three draught horses and a couple of drivers,again a good piece to buy.
Well recommended.

Thursday 18 March 2010

My first Italian infantry and semovante....

I had a right chew making up the semovante,as I managed to put the tracks on the wrong way. It is a long time since I used tanks so I have an excuse. Anyway I am pleased with the result,only the rest of the army to complete.

Onwards and upwards.

I am waiting my first order from Flames of War,and I am intrigued to see how the figures compare.I enjoyed the painting,I only hope I can continue in the same vein.

Friday 12 March 2010

Jackdaw Miniatures,SYW British.

Last night,while buying Old Glory WW11 Italians,Andy Copestake showed me his latest releases from Jackdaw. These figures are just getting better,and consist of SYW British. The figures dont have loose arms which need glueing, and are excellent,with loads of character.
They are designed to look like Willie figures,but are better anatomically,but still have the charm of Willie figures.Andy also had a few French grenadiers in bearskin and some women camp followers which I cant wait to paint.
He tells me the French dragoons are nearly ready for release,there goes my pin money again.

Thursday 11 March 2010

I have returned!!!

The title sounds momentous but I have been really busy at work, which is a bit confusing as I was officially able to retire on the 10th March,so I thought I should be winding down,but anyway, I go on.........
I dont know how its happened but John my long suffering wargame opponent has talked me into taking up the WW11 mantle. It is years since we gamed this period,when we had really large Airfix armies with some really well painted armour, [where are these models now].
I can remember the periscope that we had to view the line of sight,an innovation at the time.
Anyway loving the underdog I have opted for the Italian Army in 15mm,and have bought the Old Glory infantry packs and some Semovante to start. I have also been talked into going the Flames of War route rules wise,the idea being they are simple to use and enjoyable to boot.
Now all I need are the tanks,artillery wagons and Foglore troops....and more importantly some time.
Whilst I have been under pressure at work, I try to unwind by escaping into wargaming literature,invariably I grab my well thumbed copy of Harry Pearsons 'Achtung Schweinhund, and read it again for the umpteenth time.
Being from the same neck of the woods as Pearson, I find it uncanny that I can empathise and identify with most of his writings.In fact this should of been the book that I should have wrote,the only difference being that I got the Napoleonic bug early on, and am a great admirer of Steve Hezzlewoods modelling skills and I dont come from Smogsville. Like all of Harry Pearsons work it is both funny,informative and full of pathos [ I should be paid for this] the book should be handed to all wargaming widows to read,digest and then discuss with their respective partners. Anyway now to go looking for some suitable paint for the Lybian desert.....

Sunday 21 February 2010

The trouble with Windows 7.

I have a bit of an annoying problem at the moment,I got a new pc last week,and when I came to add my camera software,windows 7 really didnt like it and crashed the system!!
I have now got the computer running,but have no photographs to add to the narrative.So please excuse the current lack of eye candy,I hope to resolve this soon.
I fought my first ever Russian Civil War game this week using the Two Fat Lardies rules.The game ran very well,albeit I lost,but nothing new there.
The figures were all Colins and were a fine array of Copplestone,Foundry and Old Glory.
Anyway Ia m away for a week with work,so this short note is to just prove I am still in business,happy gaming.....

Sunday 14 February 2010

Worst Wargames Rules

Moving on from the best rules list,I thought Id better balance this with a small list of rules that I found pretty poor.I would stress this is a personal opinion and I am not paid to promote one set over another [ I wish].
One set that always struck in my mind was Bruce Quarries Napoleonic rules,which I must admit I fought with for at least a year before I gave up on them. They were released originally in 1974 and then expanded on from there into quite a tome.The rules attempted to show that wargamers should be taken seriously and that we didnt just play with toys.Hence Bruce introduced the thorny subject of national characteristics,which caused endless arguments and on one occassion I can recall, nearly coming to blows over the abilities of British riflemen. Looking back it all seems very embarrasing but at the time it was important.The rules catered for every eventuality and while I still keep a copy,just to reminisce over I think they were pretty naff rules. A more modern set was the recent release, Minden Rose which I used only last year, I really disliked these rules, if only for the fact that they heavily penalised everyone but the prussians [syw]. I also disliked Kreigskunst again purely for the fact that they favoured the prussians, the only question I have got about the Prussians is,if Frederick was so great why did it take seven years to fight a war to a stalemate!!
The IWG was born out of a reaction to the then domination [in the 80's] of the Wargames Research Group who tended to dominate all wargames rules at one time. There is a pattern forming here I know,but I remember feeling lucky to escape injury when having been invited to a refight of Wagram using WRG napoleonic rules where a serious argument broke out about the use of Austrian 'masses' [ I would like to say it had nothing to do with me] the rules to be fair were well put together but were definately for the competition minded gamer, which I am definately not. John and I used for several years their renaissance rules by George Gush.
I have always liked Gush and his style of writing but the endless use of tables created long periods of inertia. My final naff rules have to include Peter Gilder's, In the Grand Manner.I have used these in three battles and each time have come away promising never to use them again. I hasten to add I only use them when I go to the Wargamers holiday centre in Scarborough,which I love,that is until I play with the rules. I think it is obvious that I like simple rules,with the emphasis on playability. Anyway just something to mull over...............

Sunday 7 February 2010

Vapnartak 2010

I try to attend as many wargames shows as possible,from my base in the North east of England.
This year 2010,is no exception, and the first of the year was Vapnartak,the York Wargames show.
Wargames shows in the United Kingdom usually follow a common trend,of trade show first,wargames second. I once attended the Napoleonic Fair in London,which technically was not totally a wargames show,but had a lot of nice figures on show,coupled with some good games. The best thing however was the series of guest speakers,led by Colonel Elting,[Swords around the Throne] These talks were both informative and entertaining,something that seems to be lacking at typical wargames shows. Now I am not decrying the ability to handle and then buy wargames figures,I just feel there is a need to do more at these gatherings.
I digress from my visit to York,but it would be nice [ a bad word] to say have an additional reason to attend a show,ie a guest speaker talking about their latest rules, a noted figure designer explaining how he designs the masters, an editor of a wargames magazine telling us about the business etc.
I know its easy to pontificate when I dont have to be part of the organisation of a show,but these are purely ideas.
Anyway on to York show......
I really enjoyed this years show,there was a definate excitement about the place,probably caused by the fact it was packed to the gunnels with gamers young and old.
The show has built upon its sucess and with a good location has created a big event,so well done to the York wargames club. I particulary liked the Battle of Pavia in 28mm, a 28mm battle based around Mesopatamia 1914,a 15mm battle of Antietam and a 28mm battle of Raphia.
There other really good quality games,but I didnt record their details. The trade was as prolific as ever,with a wide range of stalls selling everything a wargamer would want,except 28mm Seven years war collectors.
I felt sorry for people attempting to place figures in the bring and buy as it was mobbed all day.
I was really tempted by a box of 54mm Irregular Miniatures franco prussian toy soldiers,but I am determined to complete my syw project first.I was also able to see first hand the new Perry twins, Wars of the Roses personalities,and these are lovely figures,crying out for a decent paint job,[any chance for a Charles the Bold chaps!]
The food was good quality if a little pricey, and I understand parking became a problem due to numbers,but all in all a very good show.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Best Wargames Rules

Like the anorak I truely am I got to thinking about the best wargames rules I have used,following the complaints about Black Powder at the Mollwitz re fight.
I have never been a lover of complex detailed rules ,but when I started gaming the emphasis seemed to be,if it was complex then we couldn't
be ridiculed for playing with toy soldiers,ergo complex meant it was a realistic re enactment of military history.
With age comes enlightement,and this is tosh.
Grant and Young realised it wasnt the rules that made the game an accurate portrayal of history,but the actual player who having read the history,used the actual tactics of that period in play. As a consequence I think the best rules are those that concentrate on a specific period in history,are not generic and encourage the gamer to fight as the army would in the period portrayed.
So my favourite rules in ascending order are;
5] A 'Nostalgic Whim' [ I know they were written for me, plagarising Grant and co,but they are good]
4] Folorn Hope. [ great ECW rules]
3] Armati. [Very unforgiving if you use non historical tactics]
2] Volley and Bayonet [ The original rules,perfect for BIG Napoleonic games]
1]The Lily Banners. [ An excellent effort, and perfect for the Williamite period]
Anyway,its purely a personal choice,but they all have one thing in common, subtlety coupled with simplicity.I hope to discuss my least favourite rules later,that is if I can remember the titles correctly.

Monday 1 February 2010

The battle around Mollwitz

There were mixed views from the players of Mollwitz. One view was that the Black powder rules failed to reflect the nuances of the Seven Years War and therefore were poor rules. My view [ granted I was the winner] was that on the whole the rules were perfectly fine, especially the command rules, and that the fault lay with the faulty deployment of the Prussian high command.
It is a poor tradesman who blames his tools. Anyway enough of the crowing, the day was meant to be a fun day and hopefully that was achieved. All in all not a bad way to start the week.

The Austrians face the might of Prussia.

Having survived the first Prussian brigades fire,the Austrian around Mollwitz,backed up by the only artillery battery in the army poured fire into a batallion of Prusian garde causing it to rout.
At the same time a second unit of prussian infantry was forced to retire to the battles edge.Things were not going to plan. Using a special rule to re create Frederick's well known cowardice at the actual battle,[Colin] was forced to dice for him.Frederick survived the throw,but it did not bode well for the future.
Properly stung by the Prussian setback,the Prussian commanders attempted to re assert their superiority.The black hussars charged again at another unit of Austrian hussars,whilst on the right flank the Prussian second and third brigades attempted to move forward and drive off the Austrian cavalry. This was not to be, as one batallion of prussians received a 'blunder' result and a second regiment refused to move.
Still out of position and unable to support the first brigades attack,the Austrian cavalry charged again,and surviving the fire were able to rout a second unit,whilst in the battle for Mollwitz,a further Prussian batallion was heavily shot up and forced to rout. The coup de grace was delivered when the Black hussars routed from the field of battle,quickly followed by Frederick.
By the end of the move,four Prussian units were retiring from the field, attempting to catch up to the four routing Prussian units,who in turn were attempting to catch up to their king.
It was only left to the victors to re write history.........................

Sunday 31 January 2010

Mollwitz Village

On the given signal,Romer [ John Reidy] brought on half of his heavy cavalry command from behind Gunnigen hill,much to the consternation of the Prussian infantry commanders.
The Austrian musketry fire was more effective than the Prussians,and their garde began to take a bit of a pasting.
The Austrian light cavalry continued to tie up the Prussian cavalry,and things were in the balance,as on the Prussian move they attempted to send the third brigade to cover the Prussian right flank. The attempt was a failure. The Prussian command was now strung out and whilst still a formidable force was not able to deploy, exploiting its strengths.
Romer elected to charge the Prussian infantry,and with a good throw was able to contact the front units of the Prussian line. In the centre the Austrian infantry continued to hang on and shoot up the Prussian garde.
Another poor showing by the Prussian infantry allowed the Austrian cuirassiers to inflict more casualities on them,which caused the Prussians to rout off table.

The battle for Langwitz marsh

The next Austrian move was slightly better as I could at least bring on the Hussars,and move to engage the Prussian light cavalry in an attempt to buy the Austrian infantry time to deploy.
The infantry were able to shake out into line in front of Mollwitz,and deploy our only gun battery.
The hussars charged the Prussian Black hussars,but lacked support from the other light cavalry,which proved to be a problem throughout the light cavalry encounter.
My hussars were turned back,but managed to at least not rout. In the centre,on the Prussian move,the garde brigade marched up to close range of the Austrian centre. The effect should have been deadly,unfortunately for the Prussians they were not able to disorder the centre units through fire,and Pauls saving throws continued.
More importantly the suporting Prussian brigade refused to move. Best of all the third Prussian brigade came onto the field of battle directly behind the centre brigades,thus leaving their right flank only covered by the gun batteries. Their cavalry brigade,continued to stand about supporting the efforts of the black hussars.

The Prussians , Hemsdorf Village

Move two caused more anguish,as I attempted to off set the Prussian cavalry be deploying the Austrian hussar command [me] near Langwitz village.These failed their command throw!
As did the entire Austrian infantry command, all I could do was stand and watch as the Prussians took their turn. In Black powder it is feasable for units to move a total of three times in a turn. All the Prussian cavalry commander had to do was hold his nerve and he could sweep the Austrian march columns away. Luckily not only did they not declare they were charging,but they also failed their command throw.
The Prussian infantry however were able to plough on and deploy into line,in musket range of the Austrians. We had given the majority of the Prussian infantry 'first fire' capability,which allows an additional dice to be thrown once in a game by the unit firing. This is most effective at close range, luckily one of the Prussian brigadiers nerve failed and they fired at long range. By judicious saving throws [well done Paul] the effect was minimal [ie no hits] and the Prussian brigade had wasted their first fire. The large Prussian battery wasnt much better,and tended to overshoot.

Mollwitz Re Fight.

Mollwitz 1.
Well today Marie Theresa got her revenge on the Prussians.
I will try not to be too gloating of a comprehensive victory for the forces of Austria, but it will be hard......
When I initially decided to use Mollwitz as a battle to try out the Blackpowder rules I was a tad concerned about the superiority of the Prussian forces.
In order to give a historic feel to the game,the Prussian infantry had to be much better than the Austrians.I really thought that this would prove decisive,as the Prussians should have been able to out manouvre and out shoot their opponents.
This was balanced by the better and more numerous Austrian cavalry.
Anyway onto the account. The game was staged at the Durham Wargames club,which has a first rate set up as regards tables,toilets and kitchen facilities. Not withstanding their lack of clocks [hello Dave] the club are really lucky to have such a resource.
The battle was fought on a 14' by 6' table,and had four players a side. I attempted to give each player at least four units to command,without the artillery. All units started off table and had to march on. Again I was concerned that the Prussians would steamroller the Austrians unless I slowed down their deployment. The Austrians were deemed to move first. True to form, the Austrian infantry failed their initial commad throws,so could only march on table due to them being in march column. The Prussians had no problem,and more worringly the Prussian cavalry deployed straight onto the battlefield on the left flank facing Langwitz village.
I had to admit that Colin [ Ashston] totally wrongfooted me here,as I didnt think he would deploy his cavalry so aggressively, well done Colin.

Monday 25 January 2010

A word on Flags, Tip 1.

Most of my flags that I use for the Seven Years War are home made, and came about after a conversation I had years ago with Barry Hilton.
I use white cotton hankies[preferably mens] which I prepare by painting with a mixture of pvc white wood glue and water.When the hanky is dry I simply cut the flag to the necessary size,and then lightly draw on the motif etc.
Painting stiff cotton is fairly easy,and with a bit of dry brushing,over the colours, gives a good texture.Again copying off Barry I tend to make my flags bigger than they should be to make them stand out,unfortunately I haven't the patience to paint them as well as Barry Hiltons. The cotton folds really well and gives a really good effect,for just a little effort.

Sunday 24 January 2010

Mollwitz Part 3.

I have listed the forces for Mollwitz which I hope to stage next Sunday at the Vane Tempest Hall in Durham city,feel free to drop in for a bit crack.
The rules are the new Black Powder ones.
I hope that I havent made the Prussians too strong,but unfortunately on the day the infantry were just too good for the Austrians.
Foot Guards;.. 2 battalions
F/F,[+1] shot on first fire.
Elite.[ overcome disorder on a 4+]
Superbly Drilled..[free move]
Steady; [pass first break test.]

Grenadiers;…2 battalions.
F/F,[+1] shot on first fire.
Elite.[ overcome disorder on a 4+]
Valiant [re roll 1 break test]

Line; 8 battalions.
F/F,[+1] shot on first fire.
Reliable [+1 command]

Heavy cavalry;2 regiments.
Heavy cavalry
[+1 combat result]

Hussars; 1 regiment
Marauders [ignore distance modifiers to command]
Unreliable. [no move on = command roll]

3 Artillery batteries.


Line infantry. 7 Regiments.
Unreliable. [no move on = command roll]

Grenadiers. 2 Regiments.
F/F,[+1] shot on first fire.
Elite.[ overcome disorder on a 4+]
Valiant [re roll 1 break test]

Heavy Cavalry 6 Regiments.
[+3 combat result]

Marauders [ignore distance modifiers to command]

1 Artillery battery.

I have had to modify the cavalry regiments to fit the rules,so they are of six stands each.

Jackdaw Figures.

I have completed my first Jackdaw Miniatures French artillery crew and piece.
I did enjoy painting this piece,and found the figures easy to work with,for most of my SYW project I have used a gloss varnish,I think really just to give them more of a old school feel,hopefully the varnish wont act in an old school way and go yellow,which used to happen very often.
Anyway Ive attached a photograph of the crew,so at least people can decide wether the figures are worth buying.I would certainly buy more.

Saturday 16 January 2010

Battle of Mollwitz,part2

The end of the month is coming up fast,and as I stated I am hosting a refight of Mollwitz,using the Black Powder rules.Normally I would use the rules that John,my long time wargames opponent put together from the ideas of Grant and Featherstone, but I was asked by the Durham Group to provide a battle to use with the BP rules.
Basing the armies around the details provided by Charles Grant I have opted for the following sized game.
Prussians; C in C.. Frederick ,I hope that this will be only a fleeting appearence,as I intend to have a special rule in place to allow the chance that he will run away,as per history
Anyway there will be 2 Grenadier Batallions [36 figs each], 2 Garde Batallions,8 Line batallions.
Using the BP ratings these will be very powerful with various abilities unfortunately.
The Prussian cavalry were miserable on the day and will be represented by 2 heavy cavalry regiments and 1 hussar regiment.There will also be 3 field batteries.
C in C;.. Neipberg
2 Grenadier batallions, 7 line batallions.Their brigadiers will have a pretty poor rating to reflect the performance.
The austrian cavalry was very good,and will consist of 4 Heavy Cavalry regiments [24 figs each]2 Hussar regiments [24 figs each]
There will also be 2 field batteries.
Mollwitz is not a large game,but has problems for both sides,so hopefully it wont be a complete walkover for the Prussians.My main aim is to have an enjoyable days gaming,with a few laughs along the way.

Thursday 14 January 2010

Wargames Magazines

I think its fair to say that most wargamers can be pretty anal.
God knows my wife thinks I am.One the many pleasures that wargaming affords me,is the ability to go to bed early and,tuck in, and proceed to read my collection of wargames magazines.I am currently working my way through the excellent MWAN,as edited by Hal Thinglum.
Hal handed the magazine on to other people over a year ago,and I think it became defunct. When Hal had control it was a great mix of rule ideas and general chit chat.The big thing was enthusiasm,which is important in any thriving hobby,and for some strange reason I always feel American wargamers are filled with it.We British seem to have adopted a more laid back approach,this is my own opinion,so I am happy to be convinced otherwise.
I unfortunately dont have a complete collection [just about 80 or so] which does drive me a bit nuts,as I am a completeist [read saddo]
Which then got me thinking to the best wargames magazines I have read/owned.
Here is my list,starting at my least favourite;
10] Slingshot [but only the early years,as I love to read the debates/arguements over the rules and of course the Rhomphia scandal]
9] The Arquebusier [ again the early years,especially the Andrew Murdin articles on the Italian wars,great to use in a refight ]
8] Military Modelling,especially the Battle supplement years.
AdditionallyCharles Grants Napoleonic wargame rules were excellent,especially when illustrated by the Gilder Waterloo terrain
7] Wargames Newsletter,you could always rely on Donald Featherstone to write an angry editorial,which I found thought provoking.
6] Wargames illustrated,again the DM years,until the last few issues,when I felt Duncan had lost interest.Great photographs,little of substance.
5] Miniature Wargames[again the early DM. years,the photographs of Peter Gilder's figures and my personal favourite,Doug Mason were really inspiring.Remember the Zastrow Cuirassiers.
4] Wargames,Soldiers and Strategy,a good informative magazine.
3] MWAN,as for the reasons stated earlier, Hal and his readership were really keen wargamers.
2]Practical Wargamer,which surprised me initially until I thought about the great cross section of articles edited by Stuart Asquith,who should be applauded for his efforts.
## 1] The Battle magazine which I am pleased to say I have a full collection of.
The Battle was a good cross section of information and ideas,I loved the Charles Grant series on Napoleonic personalities, and the visit to the SELWG with the 'famous' photograph of Bill Brewer holding up a wonderfully painted Polish Lancer,a great figure painter.
Anyway this is my first list.Discuss..................

Monday 11 January 2010

Jackdaw Miniatures

Well with the weather finally relenting a little I braved myself to start my seasons painting.
I should add that I paint in my garage cum wargames room,and it can be a tad cold,but what the heck.This year I am determined to complete my Seven Years war French and Austrian armies and at least make a start on my Hanoverians.
As usual I got a little sidetracked as my long suffering wife had very kindly bought me a French Garde regiment from the new Jackdaw Range[available from Old Glory UK]and two artillery pieces and respective crews.So I had to prepare some of them for painting.
The designer of the Jackdaw range also works for Tradition and has clearly been very strongly influenced by the Edward Suren style of figures.Willie figures are not to everyones taste,but I love them.
Anyway,the figures are big,but I would say pretty accurate,with a nice amount of detail.The infantry tend to have at least a seperate arm,sword and or bayonet.
I managed to lose three bayonets [how is it you never find the piece?]but put together my first company [6 figs].
The artillery piece is a very fine gun,with lots of detail over the barrel,the crew are in lifelike poses.I like the way Andy has included barrels,cannonballs and other bits and bobs.I would say they are as nice as the Willie range and a bit cheaper.
Andy [Copestake]has done really well to start this range,I already have one line batallion,and I am looking forward to the French Dragoons. If you like youre SYW figures,big and lively give them a try.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Battle of Mollwitz 10th April 1749

I am currently preparing a refight of the Battle of Mollwitz for the weekend of the 30th January,2010.
Although I use rules designed by John for the Seven Years War, I was invited by Durham Wargames Group to bring along our armies to have a game using the new Blackpowder Rules.
Just before Christmas I fought an ACW battle using these rules,and I did actually enjoy the experience. If anyone has used the Warmaster rules system then these rules are very easy to follow.
To be fair I probably enjoyed it more because I actually won which can be a bit of a novelty.
Anyway,back to Mollwitz,the battle does pose problems for the Austrian players as they are outnumbered and outgunned.Still life would be pretty dull if things were always fair.
The game is geared for six commands,three per side.I have taken the old Charles Grant book [The Wargame] as a basis for the orders of battle.Grant has his detractors,but I would still argue his research was very good.The Prussian cavalry on the day performed very badly and Frederick showed his true colours by legging it from the battlefield before his infantry won the day for him.So it can be argued that the Prussian cavalry will have to be downgraded,additionally their respective brigadiers will also be poor.Likewise the Austrian infantry will have to suffer a penalty and be lumbered with a poor brigadier rating.
So really both sides have problems.I only hope the snow finally stops before the end of January.In my next post I will record the number of units etc I intend to use in the game.

Sunday 3 January 2010

Who are the Independent Wargames Group?

I clean forgot to explain the title of the blog. The IWG was created? over 30 years ago in response to the trend to follow all things created by the Wargames Research Group.
There have never been more than three members [and I use that term very loosely]and usually only myself and my long suffering arch gamer John Reidy. At the present time we are back to three [Colin Ashston] but we still try to do things our way.
Over the years we have tended to go our own way,but the key for me was to create eye catching wargames,using well painted figures and quality terrain.
I attempt to put on a game at least at two local shows each year,sometimes more,just to motivate myself into painting more figures.Several of the games we played have featured over the years in the wargames press,perhaps the best being about Blenheim in the old Practical Wargamer magazine.
I am lucky in that I have a permanent wargames table and can fight whenever I want.
I hope to be able to scan our latest rules offering in the near future onto the site.

Friday 1 January 2010

Happy New Year to all

I can't believe its a new decade,and one which for me is very life changing as I am due for retirement which fills me with dread.
In theory it should be a time when I finally do things Ive wanted to do all my life,reality is always different however,still it should give me time to game more hopefully.
Anyway enough of this maudlin chit chat,onwards and upwards.
As I add photographs it is evident that I use a lot of RSM figures for my SYW armies,I was always impressed with the range by Steve Hezzlewood who was clearly a bit of a 'wrong un' but he certainly had a talent. My units are based on 36 figures per batallion and multiples of 12 for my cavalry. It is noticable that I also use Hinchliffe figures for some of my units,again I always admired Peter Gilder,who was likewise a bit larger than life in some respects.One of my regrets was never going to his enchanted cottage to game. I have been several times since his death to the sucessor in Scarborough and have enjoyed the experience,whilst not understanding the rules.Gilder was able to bring life to his castings,which upon close examination could look crude,but when painted just looked right. I particularly liked his Connisseur range,especially 'The Kings Lifeguard'.
I digress however, getting back to RSM, they are still available from the USA, via the Dayton Painting Company who are a nice group to deal with being very helpful.The range is fairly extensive for the SYW and I would recommend them. If you live in Britain,I would start with a fairly modest order or you will fall foul of HM customs.
Any way All the Best for the New Year.

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