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.

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