Wednesday 9 November 2011

Well its that time

Tonight seems a good time to put my blog to bed, pending my house move next week.
 I gave myself a bit of a shock moving my armies up my new house, there seemed an awful lot of boxes.
I dread to think what things will be like when I collect all my magazines and books that a friend kindly stored, for 5 years!
 Still I think its been worth the slog,certainly my wargames room looks worthy of my table[ when its built of course]
 One of the stresses of moving house is all the utilities have to be sorted, so I may be off air for a while pending my new internet supplier sorting things out, fingers crossed.
 I will however be at Smoggycon in Middlesborough, pending eather and any injuries I may sustain moving home.
Anyway, onwards and upwards.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

The move gets nearer.

Progress has finally been made at my new home, after some pretty bad set backs.
My hope is to move to my new home in late November,pending any more setbacks and the weather.
So my wargame painting has slowed considerably.

I have managed to do a couple of personalites for my projects.These are Jackdaw figures,from Andy's growing range.
And these chaps are Minden personalities painted as Hanoverians.
My big dread is packing everything up again, and risking damage to my boards and figures.Still its hopefully the last hurdle with the nice prospect of putting together my wargames room after the move.
I was lucky enough to buy some nice Hinchliffe Hessians from EBay which I have been basing,to supplement my allied army,to face the French.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Blackpowder2 or the Arguement of Kings.

In Issue 26 of Battlegames David Brown wrote a very interesting article regarding the plethora of modern rules that have a fixation with speed. I found the article thought provoking especially as my sloth like brain had been pondering the modern rule writers fixation with taking away the thought processes of wargamers and replacing them with something else,.
 David Brown also hit the nail on the head about the lack of written orders and their replacement by a dice induced mega move.
Which little preamble leads me onto last weeks game.
  John and I attended Colin's for a SYW game [ Blog; Carry on up the Dale], Russians v Prussians.
The idea was to stage a battle using The Arguement of Kings. Now I have played Blackpowder since their release and truthfully find them playable and usually they make for a decent nights entertainment.
 But the game didnt sit easy with me. Initially I thought it was to do with me losing the game,but I normally take losing almost as a given nowadays.
 I think what it was however was the mechanisms that the rules use.
 Firstly I was in charge of the Russians, whose commanders werent the best, just average. The troops under their command were however acceptable and imbibed with slavic stubborness.
 I was however facing a fairly more nimble foe, led by far better commanders. Additionally the Prussians were classed as trained, veteran or Elite.
The game however seemed balanced,as I did have slightly more units.
 My first gripe was Colin throwing a very low score on his dice which enabled him on move one to march right up to my first russian line. Under the new rules,this was offset by his inability to fire aftersuch a move.
Right I thought, lets see how the Prussians handle close range, and first volley fire from two large units.
 The result was quite easily really. A hand full of saving throws and a little bit of luck and the Prussian first line was unscathed.
 On the other flank John had managed to throw such a high throw that he couldnt move his units, well apart from those in march columns. Very un prussian like. This was to continue for most of the night for John.
 Next Prussian move I had to face a close range Prussian volley, not nice to say the least.You can guess the effect on my average troops. Due to their stubborness they managed to hang about, but after a second ineffectual volley, I realised that I was better off just charging in,which I did. Not exactly how I understood the SYW to have actually been. It didnt matter my Russians just got shredded. When John finally got moving my right wing was already in complete disarray, and the Prussians by another decent dice throw had turned my flank while I had to stand and watch. By the end of the night, I had only three regiments left and two brigades fleeing. The roll call for the Prussians was the loss of half a unit of skirmishers, and ONE figure casuality on the right wing.
 My gripe, it just didnt feel right. Now its a bad trademan who blames his tools, but it got me thinking; what if the Prussians had been facing my Austrians. They dont have stubborness so on move two they would have ran from the board.
 Historically right,I dont think so.
 If the Prussians had been that good, how come it was called the Seven Years war. Lets be right Frederick was lucky to hang on as he did, only poor generalship allowed him off the hook, not super troops.
 I intend to expand on this thought. The game itself was nice to look at, spoiled by something that is becoming a trend in wargaming, speed at the expense of accuracy.       

Sunday 4 September 2011

Border Reivers, Newcastle.

Well yesterday was our appearemce at Border Reivers in Newcastle.
Inevitebly it rained, as it has done every year, but it didnt seem to put too many people off.
 There has been criticisms in the past re the poor lighting, but this year seemed far better. It didnt really matter because I have some decent halogen lights,that I use.
 John,his son Neil and I put on a Flames of war game based in the desert in 1941.
I was a bit concerned because due to heavy demands on my time I couldnt really do any specific terrain, but had to use my generic show boards.
 I think they looked alright,and we got a lot of questions so we must have done something right. Oh and the Italians actually won,so that was a first.
I did enjoy the game,and not just because of the victory.

Looking around the show,there were some decent bargains in the bring and buy, including someone selling some of my old 6mm Russian napoleonics. I nearly bought them back.
I had to buy the civilain pack from Jackdaw miniatures, and Andy showed me his new Jackdaw Austrians, the grenadiers are excellent, full of character and style, and no seperate arm.
He also had a painted british regiment on show, which were very fine, and also 21st century Willie like if you know what I mean.
 The French line cavalry are due next, hey ho, more expense.
 Talking to Dave Thomas, he managed to virtually sell out of his plastics, turning in a very good profit. Dave was having to do an emergency order to get some more stock for Partizan today.
Also on sale was the Zvedva 15mm range which also sold out quickly. I think wargamers are realising the value of plastics,especially when they are detailed and made of rigid plastic.
I forgot to mention Pendragons latest product, plastic trees,which are very good and also very reasonably priced,check them out if you need decent quality trees. A good venture.
 I bumped into Charlie wesencraft at the show,who was again still bemused by the sucess of the re release of his two wargames books. He was saying that he has a set of corps level Napoleonic rules ready,but doesnt know if he should try to get them published.
Now that would be £30 I would be happy to pay.
 All in all a decent show. I tried not to buy anything, but managed to still come home with Charles Grants latest SYW book, a couple of magazines, and some more figures.
The mountain continues to grow.

Desert buildings created by Games of War from Seaham County Durham, definately recommended.

Monday 29 August 2011

Well its been a while...........

This is more a note,to show that I am still about;
The last few weeks have been quite stressful to say the least, retiring from a job I have had for 32 years, starting a new one, ending up in London sans the riots, becoming a grandfather again and having to make copious decisions about my new house, which is moving on at a fair rate of knots.
 Oh and apart from that suffering from a ricked back courtesy of a too enthusiatic desire to chop down some trees at my new garden.
 So where did wargaming fit into this? Well its been very hard. I did manage to purchase a lovely horse driven carriage for my SYW armies.I have always admired scenarios with a coach involved,and I couldnt help myself when I saw a Britains one for sale. The next question is, do I repaint it.
 John convinced me that we needed to exhibit a game at Newcastle on Saturday, so we will be trotting out an Italian/ British encounter in Libya,circa 1941, this will be followed at Smoggycon by two games, one being my SYW armies facing Colins horrible Prussians, so no pressure there then. Mind it is also about that time that I hope to move into my new home,so definately no pressure there.
 As a typical wargamer,even with the welter of things going on around me, I still managed to pick up some new figures, Minden Hamoverians, because I wanted them! even if they are well down the list of things that need painting.
 Why do we do this, what drives us to want more figures that we will struggle to paint and game with. The smart move would be to buy painted figures,but I have conflicting feelings about this. If I won the lottery,I definately would get someone to paint for me, but even then I think I would struggle to identify with the unit. Painting seems to bring the figures to life for me, probably because I have spent so long painting the things.Mind my favourite units always rout first,or never follow what I want them to do.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Plastic is Good for wargamers

 Slightly off my normal SYW ramblings I thought I should publish photographs of my latest WW2 Italian reinforcements, ie German panzer 3's, courtesy of the Russian plastic figure company Zvesda.
 These 15mm beauties retail at £2.75 each and snap together beautifully.
 The thing I liked about them apart from their cheapness, was the track system, which is in one piece and well detailed.
 Overall the model is well worth a punt,and fits well with their expensive FoW collegues.
 Wargamers have differing views about palstic,but the way I look at it is that in a time of recession,plastic is a great way to get gaming [unless its GW] for a moderate amount of money. Zvesda are bringing out panzer 4's next. The range at the moment is only small,but all are well crafted. 

The show goes on [just]

Looking at the amount of time I have in a day,its no wonder that my painting has slowed somewhat, between retiring,getting a new job, and sorting out things at my new build time has been tight.
 I think its the only thing wargamers can agree on is the lack of time we have to do all things associated with wargaming.

Anyway I managed to paint up my latest addition to my make belive force, in the personality of this lady who will command the Ducal lancers [ job sharing and condensed hours permitting]
 I would like to think that in the mid eighteenth century such considerations were de regeurre.

I also managed to finish my Hanoverian combined grenadiers,who were actually a pleasure to paint,albeit slowly. Steve Hezzlewood did a good job of designing this figure,they do look the part.
I was slightly sidetracked again by buying the latest Minden Austrian and Prussian command groups,which are really beautiful sculpts in their own right.
 I am looking forward to painting them,but perhaps not as Prussians.
 They may not be as cheap as RSM figures,but they do have their own charm.
 Anyway the next unit is the Hanoverian horse guards,which will complement the Horse grenadiers.
 Tonight I am around John's for a game,where no doubt I will be given a bit of a thrashing.

Wednesday 6 July 2011


I have been very,very busy the last couple of weeks,what with attempting to sort out the trades for my new house,work in general with people merrily being horrible to each other, my up and coming retirement and the arrangements for my new job.
 Anyway I was checking my wargames book [everyone needs one] and saw that 5th September 2007 was the date that I started building my Seven Years War armies.
 God its been slow, certainly slower than I anticipated, mind I did have the deviation of a Flames of War Italian army followed by a small Eighth army interlude. Still I am back on track, well at least I'm painting again.
 I seem to remember that in September 2007 I had hit what could only be described as Wargamers Block, that is when you ask the question, 'what are you doing? why are you painting toy soldiers?  and the answer comes back, I dont know!
 I think in the last 40 years or so its happened three times.
 Luckily I recovered my senses and I realise what would I do without my soldiers, the answer is my life would  have a big massive void in it, and what could fill that void, football, golf, drinking, music, Cheryl Cole, possibly but I dont think so some how. [ her loss].
 Anyway to counter the block, I took up painting 30mm figures, in colourful uniforms, what can you say.
 What a lovely feeling to lose yourself in the uniform of the Royal Escosse
 or the English Gendarmes. I defy anyone not to be impressed by the skill of the wargames designers who produce the toys we collect.
 Going back to mention of my new home, the roof is now on , which allowed me to peruse my potential wargames room.  The table I can comfortably have will be an Old School wargaming 12' by 6', god do I feel a very lucky and privilaged person, still I have to build the table yet. Mind there are a few walls and toilets to put in first.
 Anyway, any gamer who hits that 'Wargmers Block' feeling, just ask themselves, what could fill that void if there were no more toy soldiers to paint and push around a table.
 All answers on a postcard please.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

A minor diversion.

I think anyone who knows or has met me, realises quite quickly that I have the attention span of a knat.
 As evidenced by this group of Foundry figures that I painted,whilst painting Hanoverian Grenadiers and a half regiment of Perry hussars that I picked up cheap at Durhams show.
 A couple of the figures suffer from the 'orc' disease but mainly they are nice figures. Just what happened to Foundry? answers please.

 The last few weeks saw me able to attend two shows in reletively quick sucession, Triples and Durham.
 Triples as has been well documented changed venues. Personally I dont mind it,as I only got momentarily lost as opposed to my usually hopelessly lost at the university venue [even though John and I go every year] The show has lost something,but I cant really say what it is, I think the best description is BUZZ. Perhaps its down to my age, but somehow I dont think so as I really enjoyed York. I still managed to part with a fair amount of cash,but obtained some fine old school books to add to my library.
 Durham was well, Durham. I dont think it professes to be a show,more of a friendly open day,and a place to meet old friends and wargaming enemies.
 Again I managed to part with cash which was needed on other things [ like gas and electricity]

Both shows got me thinking about what I actually want from a show. I think most gamers go for the trade first, followed by a trawl around games that may interest them,and them some bait [ food] and then home, to peruse their purchases.
 Should we not be striving for more from these events?
How can they be improved? Do they need improving?
 Am I talking out my bottom...............
Personally I do think things need a bit of a shake up if we are to progress,otherwise we might as well call them trade fairs and kick out the games,which unless they are jaw droppingly beautiful are just by passed by the public anyway.
 I know as I have staged many games, and the effort rarely was worth the attention we didnt recive.
Mind I think a lot of it was down to the 'prejuidice against 6mm.
 Over 20 years ago Durham group staged what was tabled as a Napoleonic weekend, with living history, a battle, and wargames only from the Napoleonic era. There was an Imperial Garde band, and a book fair.
That seemed to draw big crowds of folk, and certainly the majority were not gamers.
 I have also been to a show where wargamers linked up with train groups, it was certainly different, but I dont think it was a sucess, Too much of a gulf was between the two groups, although the terrain used by the train people was inspirational.
 So whats the answer, a themed weekend or just a big trade fair like Salute.
 Now I have also attended Salute and was totally overawed by the event, and probably missed the best bits. I was too busy entering the painting competition and didnt get to see most of the games.
 I do think prizes should be returned to encourage gamers to put on top class displays.  You cant beat a nice cup to adorn the wargames room for a year.
 I also think guest speakers could be a consideration, and it wouldnt need to be an author, just a person that has something to say about wargaming and its many facets.
 Anyway back to the paining desk, to undercoat my latest diversion, a partly clad female Willie hussar! 
 What a bloke.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

What is a wargamer 2

I have given a bit more thought to what Andy wrote about wargamers,and what we are about.
 I also would like to thank him for giving me an excuse to consider just what it is about wargamers.I think my original post was a tad simplistic re FUN and wargaming.

 One of the reasons why I chose wargaming [mind some days I think wargaming chose me] was my love of military history. As I have touched on before I had an excellent history master, a no nonsense controversial intelligent history master who questioned our thinking. I remember him conducting a lesson where he put forward that eventually someone would reason that Hitler had been a great man, and then allowing us to knock holes through his entire reasoning, quite brilliant.
 Looking back it was a logical progression to start showing an interest in wargaming.

My awakening came when I read Charles Grant's, The Wargame,after that I was hooked.
 I wanted well researched armies of toy soldiers, but I also wanted the thrill of tense games where I felt that I had re created history. Thinking about it now, I still do.
 Hence my quite considerable library of uniform guides. If they were only toys for fun,why do I feel the need to research the uniforms,flags and tactics?
 Additionally if I just wanted a fun game, why do I collect biographies of soldiers, the answer is to try and understand the periods I am interested in.

 In the 1980's John and I used Bruce Quarrie's Napoleonic rules. I loved the book,with its brief accounts of each nation and national characeristics, but I never was comfortable with the actual rules. Were the rules an attempt to far,to capture the accuracy! of the period, I dont think so,they just werent fun to play.

 I still think wargamers were attempting to justify their use of toy soldiers, and wanted to show the skeptical public that we were more than a bunch of freaks [geeks came later]

 Question,how many wargamers actually tell their workmates and friends that they wargame? 
 I certainly didnt,and I still am very reticent about letting people know what I am about,why? 
 I justify this by acknowledging that I work in a very macho enviroment,and always have, and I dont think I could handle the piss take that would inevitably follow. Is that wrong,probably.

So on deep reflection,I think being a wargamer is,
1] someone who loves history.
2] someone who enjoys playing games [ per se]
3] someone who probably enjoys their own company.
4] someone who also enjoys the company of likeminded people.
5] In my case a person who likes painting models.
6] and the most difficult to explain,someone who likes to escape by using their imagination.
The list is not complete,and no doubt will change.
 But thanks again to Andy for getting me thinking and giving me a bad head.
 Oh well back to my Hanoverians. 

Saturday 4 June 2011

What is a Wargamer.

Fresh from recovering from a cyber attack on my e mail system [ thanks T**t] I have been catching up on other peoples blogs.
Having just read Andy Copestake's blog [ glorious little soldiers ]about what is a wargamer, I think I would like to attempt to put my spin [horrible word that] on Andy's question.
 Wargamers come in many guises,which is great really,otherwise it would be a very boring hobby.
 The best ones in my opinion,enjoy the hobby for what it is. It is Enjoying military history,reading copious amounts of books which are either directly linked to ones interest, or indirectly linked through fictional accounts of people in history. 
 It is about painting [ and now to a lesser degree modelling] toy soldiers. You dont have to be a Kevin Dallimore but you must give the figure your best shot. Its about enthusiasm and encouraging people who would like to be a part of the hobby, dont turn them away,communicate with them.
 Most importantly its about enjoying the hobby for what it is and just having a bit of fun,without taking it too seriously.
  In the 80's and early 90's the fun was taken out of the hobby. I think to a certain extent it was an attempt to be taken very seriously, [no we are not playing with soldiers,we are re enacting history with actual scale models and terrain,coupled to piles of rules, blah,blah.] 
It was a ridiculous concept which still permeates through the hobby. Lets be truthful we enjoy collecting beautiful toy soldiers,the brighter the uniform or costume the better.
 I used to love looking at pictures in the Blandford book of world uniforms and getting strangely excited at the sight of Simon Bolivars bodyguard [ its probably an offence now] or the 7th Neopolitan line regiment [ Africa]  Just enjoy the hobby for what it is. I cannot think what I would have done if I hadn't trod the wargaming path, I certainly would have been a lot richer,monetarywise, but I would have been a lot poorer knowledge and ability wise.
 When things  got too much in my life,I could always switch problems and focus on my latest purchase,or figure that needed finishing off.
 I still think there is a lot of people who simply collect figures and have no desire to move them around a table,or throw dice near them. It doesnt make them wargamers in my eyes,but they still contribute to the hobby through their research.
 What doesn't make a wargamer in my eyes is a person, who criticises other peoples painting,game, rules or view of how certain battles were fought. History was always written by the victor, witness Tony Blairs view of the Iraq war [ war criminal or visionary?  answers on a postcard to the Hague] so really we cant give a definitive answer to any battle in history,the daftest view might actually be right. 
 Saying that I can remember being pulled at a show where we were exhibiting a lovely reconstruction of the Battle of Austerlitz and being criticised for having swans on the frozen lake!!! They couldnt have been there, [oh yeah,were you at the battle mate,my game my swans] It still rankles [ probably because they were right]
 Getting away from my rant, there are a couple of things that I disagree with on Andys blog. Fantasy does have a place in the wargaming world, it certainly is an oppourtunity to capture younger gamers, and Lord of the Rings is a great piece of literature, [discuss]
 The last thing to being a wargamer is bathing regularly, enjoy.

Thursday 26 May 2011

A Look at Vintage Wargaming Figures.

 This spiel is just to point would be SYW/Vintage type gamers in the right [ my opinion] direction.

  There doesn't seem to be a week goes by where some brave enterprising soul isn't releasing a new range of wargames figures, vehicles or buildings for the enthusiast to swoon over. Every period, every nation, real or otherwise is catered for. There has never been a better time to be a wargamer.
 However I sometimes wonder who the figures are actually aimed at. Just how many ranges of French Napoleonic figures does a person actually need? How many times do you need to update you're units, just because the latest figures are even better than the last? To me it all smacks of a Games Workshop type of mentality, and I do collect Warhammer figures so I'm not bashing that company. 
All are good, some are truly wonderful, however replacing your old units with the new improved ones are not only expensive but it is very time consuming.
 It should be noted that I have been wargaming for over forty years and like virtually every other gamer of that experience I progressed from Airfix figures to 25mm metal figures and then onwards ,ad infintum.

Three years ago I set out on a journey of re discovery and returned to my wargaming roots.

I decided that I wanted to fight with a simple set of rules, pushing around large wargaming units, and I wanted it to be fun with a capital 'F'.
I identified my aims as;

1] Simple but accurate rules.

2] Colourful armies.

3] Large units.

I also wanted to fight a period that I hadn't done before.

I opted for the Seven Years War, a period of beautiful uniforms and numerous battles.

There are several very good ranges of figures on the market, but I wanted my armies to contain figures from a by gone age. I opted for the ranges produced , by the late Peter Gilder ie. Hinchliffe and Steve Hezzlewood,ie .Pax Brittanica/RSM.
 Hinchliffe are now owned by Ian Hinds of Hinds Figures. Pax Brittanica or RSM are now produced solely in America by the Dayton Painting Consortium, [] when searching on the internet.
 Steve Hezzlewood was a wayward genius who produced anatomically correct 30mm figures, in practical poses from a wargamers point of view, they are elegant and in my opinion capture the 'look' for the period.

Peter Gilder in turn adopted a different approach, and created wonderful ranges of action packed characterful figures. Both had their detractors, both in my opinion were gifted designers.
 Gilder opted for a broad stroke approach which if then painted in that style look brilliant,research any wargames magazine from the 70's and 80's.

 Ian Hinds when he purchased the Hinchliffe ranges took the wise move of dropping the prices of the figures. There's not many wargaming companies doing that is there. His infantry retail at 75p per figure, his cavalry are £1.65p.They are extremely good value. Interestingly from my point of view, Hinchliffe sell an old Steve Hezzlewood range of figures under the name of the X range. These are really fine AWI figures, probably the best AWI on the market. Discuss.

The Dayton Painting Consortium sell the Steve Hezzlewood ranges for $29.00 per bag of 36 infantry, the cavalry retail at $25.80 per bag of 12 figures. That equates to £18.54 for a bag of 36 figures at current exchange rates.
Both companies do decent mail order, and both are readily available via the internet.

When buying from America you always run the risk of HM Customs, so I would recommend that you place smallish orders and come to some arrangement with the owner Richard Masse regarding how the orders are recorded on the parcels. It may help save the purchaser getting a bill for actually opening the parcel to see whats inside. The usual cost for this service from HM Customs is £8.00! plus tax.

I thoroughly recommend the service provided by Ian Hinds and would liken it to a by gone more naive era where trust was a given.

Finally what I would suggest is that before the reader goes reaching for the latest range of figures. They pause and consider what are now classed as vintage figures, they will be pleasantly surprised at what is out there and just how good they are.More importantly just how good value they can be. 

                       Hinchliffe Austrian Dragoons.
           RSM French Heavy Cavalry.


Sunday 15 May 2011

More Ducal Troops.

Finally I have completed two more units for my Ducal [ I must create a name] project. These are Pandours decked out in a more sedate green colour,for the odd skirmish.
The figures are Foundry that I had laid about in my mountain of metal. Definately one of their better models.The unit is a half batallion,of 12 figures,which fits in nicely with our rules, 'A Nostalgic Whim'.
 Light troops fire in twos,but tend not to be a battle winner.

Next up are my Ducal Lancers who are more for show than for effect. Light cavalry in our rules dont fight very well against line types, although they are effective against the odd wagon train.
Still they are really just eye candy and will probably just line up at the end of a table looking pretty.
 I have been very busy the last two weeks with work etc,but I now finally hope to paint some red on my Hanoverians,who have been sat in their black undercoat for a little while.
 Next weekend is Sheffield Triples,which used to be John and mine's favourite show. I felt the last few years it was showing signs of failing,but with a new venue,I hope it can re invent itself. Still, something to really look forward to.
 Bookwise,I have managed to but Donald Fetaherstones' Battle of Poitiers, which is a fine little book. Featherstone writes a good description of battles,which does inspire folk.[ well at least me]  

In my spare time [ !] I have been watching Game of Thrones on Sky,and I must admit that from a slow start,it is getting pretty interesting,and would make a great background story for a campaign based on a Tony Bath type of setup.
 The large number of Ducal [that word again] houses is perfect for a setup.
 Anyway there has been further progress on my house, and a nice suggestion from 'Alte Fritz'  re my wargames room.
Unfortunately his suggestion to have one massive room on the top floor of my new home,had already met with stony silence from my wife last year.I am just grateful that I am getting an indoor room after all my years of gaming.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

My New Wargames Room.

I thought it would be nice to show a bit of the plans of my new home,now that it is finally out of the ground and up to first floor level. This is the plan of the top floor with my 'games' room and guest bedroom across the landing.
 I didnt want to record the actual purpose on the original plan to the council,just in case, they thought I was some sort of risk to the neighbours. God knows I have had enough runs in with them. Dont be fooled by Grand Designs, unless you have shit loads of money, the planners will come after you,especially when you intend to live next door to one of the planning department.
 Anyway, enough of the bitterness. Why I wanted to publish this was I am trying to get the biggest use from the room, with the best shape for the actual table. The roof is a dormer shape,and will slope in from the windows,so there is a bit of an issue with height at the sides. Ideally the table will need to be an even size of two foot sections,to accomadate my boards. Please dont think I am being flash,because this dream has cost me dear,in both sanity levels,savings and the fact I am having to work on. But I cant complain and just feel lucky to have this oppourtunity.
 My aim has always been to leave the table set up over night,and allow any wargame guest to have the use of the room across from the table.
 So any innovative suggestions re table shape etc,please let me know. The key thing it will be used by 30mm figures,and 6mm figures. 

Friday 29 April 2011

Confused from County Durham!

Well I'd like to thank Moss Trooper for sending me this nomination for my ramblings, I am a bit wary because coming from a computer knowledge base of zero, I always worry there's some scam and my computer is going to melt with viruses or whatever.
 Anyway I accept, but I wont be doing a tearful acceptance speech.
 I understand that I have to nominate a blog for a similar award, and I commend the following, Unfashionable Shiney, purely on inspiration alone.
 I also believe that I am supposed to record seven things about myself;
 1] Typically I have been wargaming for over 40 years, the 70's were a great time to be a teenager.
 2] I am proud to say I have been to see Rod Stewart 42 times, but I am more reluctant to be down the front now, I always get covered in perfume and makeup from the other fans.
3] I have lost count of the number of times I have seen Bruce Springsteen, but never tire of being in the pit with the rest of the fans.
4] I still regret selling my 25mm Italian wars armies, and always ask if I can buy them back.
5] I regret not buying the fabulous Wars of the Roses armies that John sold years ago, they were one of the best I have ever seen, and would still out shine most other WOR armies.
6] I am glad I perservered with my SYW armies, as they have led me to other areas of wargaming and contacts with other gamers.
7] I am determined to make the wargames room in the house I am building an inspiration to new and novice wargamers, as I remember the first time I entered the room owned by a man called Dave Natrass and was literally blown away by the whole spectacle.Dave [god knows what happened to him] had a loft room with a 10' by 8' table, a Martini Henry rifle on show, and a uniformed manaquin of a soldier from Rorkes drift. He also posessed BIG Napoleonic, and Ancient Greek armies.
 I hope to emulate the excitement one had when you entered the room in my new room.    

Thursday 28 April 2011

Wagon Trains

 I am a bit eclectic about my painting. I try to be disciplined and complete a unit at a time,but my attention does wander and I will paint up an odd figure,or more recently a wagon or limber. Lately I have managed to create a wagon train, bigger than the one toted around Saxony by the Prussians.
[ I exagerate a tad] I do like painting Hinchliffe wagons etc, as they have a charm about them. Gilder and Frank Hinchliffe were way ahead of their time with such models, especially their artillery pieces.  
Meandering on, I was pleased to see that Lamming figures are to be re released. I loved their medeaval range with the separate heads etc, and their renaissance range, especially the landsnects. I dont know how they will compare to current ranges,but still good news. What was also good news was that Bill Lamming is still alive,he was a great ambassador for wargaming. Buy some figures when they are released.

He Died Old.

The title of this entry is a curious one, but is the title of a book that I have just finished reading called, 'He Died Old' by Alfred Duggan. As I have stated before I am a bit of an anorak when it comes to collecting things,whether wargames figures,books or magazines. the same goes for authors. I have always enjoyed the books of Alfred Duggan,after being recommended to read ' Foundling Fathers' by my late mother [god rest her soul] when I was a pallid teenager. Duggan was an excellent author of historical fiction who had an idiosyncratic way of writing. Over the years I have slowly put together his collection of books and He Died Old is one of the last that I needed.[ Well technically I didnt need it, but I wanted it] He Died Old isnt a fictional book,but an enjoyable life of Mithridates VI `the Great' of Pontus.
 Now I knew very little about this figure,but having read this book, I want to know more. He was known as the poisoner king,who in order to survive took poison every day to build up his immunity. He fought three wars against Rome,and apart from marrying his sister and then having her executed,also sired numerous off spring,one of whom finally betrayed him.  He also inspired immense loyalty in the Hellenic world. Oh and by the way,instigated a massive pogrom which saw 70,000 italians/roman civilians killed. Duggan manages however to provide an enjoyable read to a massive character of ancient history and I do recommend this book as a good start to learning about Mithridates VI.
 I would also recommend 'Foundling Fathers' the story of Romulus and Remus, 'Family Favourites' the story of the Emperor Eglablagus?, 'Knight with Armour' a story of the first Crusade, ' Threes Company' the story of Lepidus and all right then, any other book written by Alfred Duggan.
 Some have been re released and are available on Amazon, buy one give them a try. I have been viewing the photographs of the painting competition from SALUTE 2011. The standard is as usual very high,but I have noticed that what is classed as a wargames unit is becoming smaller, with some being five figures or less,but set in really nice terrain. We used to call these dioramas. It is my intention to go back to Salute next year after a lay off of several years, I think I will enter the painting competition, I can proudly say the last time I entered I came second in the wargame unit section. That occassion it was with a unit of 20 Aztec Eagle knights.I dont think I am up to the present standard however.

Saturday 16 April 2011

The ducal artillery and train,for the game that never was..

Following on from the last posting,I thought Id post photographs,of part of the ducal artillery and wagon train,again just to gee myself up. I had some spare! RSM figures so I cobbled together these gunners resplendent in their green and yellow.
 the wagons I picked up on e bay and are Hinchliffe,which I still think is a terrific range.The grenadier,was a sample sent by Warrior Miniatures,and is a fine figure and at a cheap price,even now.
Anyway back to my Hanoverians.

The game that never was.

The game that never was,or how an imaginary wargame,actually was just that. The last few months I have deviated from continuing with my SYW project to paint up units from a place created by my imagination,actually following in the footsteps of Charles Grant as it were.
The intention was to be able to participate in a weekend game organised by Henry Hyde,editor of Battlegames.
I do like Battlegames,and have briefly spoken to Henry Hyde once,several years ago,he seems a fairly decent type of person if you can form such an opinion from his editorials.Anyway I thought I had enrolled [if thats the word] in the weekend several months ago,and offered up a sizeable force to fight.
 The game is due at the end of April,and after a few feverish telephone calls,I was kindly offered a shared billet at a pub near the hall where the game is to be played.
All well and good,until I received notice the list of participants was closed.
Huge disappointment,to that news,and a fair amount of bemusement as I thought I was sorted for the game.[ I was bemused by the terse yet hysterical e mail I received] Anyway I thought I would post some of the stuff that I had completed just to cheer myself up.Hopefully it wont put me off building on what I have already completed.
I opted for purple,yellow and blue as my ducal colours,and thought a combination of French flags dotted with the odd colour mixture would look eyecatching. Trying to find something positve to say after the let down, I think this will focus my attention on my Hanoverians.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Hanoverian Horse Grenadiers

 Well I finally finished my Garde Grenadier half regiment. In our 'Nostalgic Whim SYW Rules' 24 figures make up a regiment of horse,but the Hanoverian regiments were small,so these are a 12 figure regiment. I will add the horse element at a later date to make it up to a full regiment.  I do like this unit,which will no doubt jinx it for its entire wargaming life. My last favourite unit, was a full brigade of Young Garde Tirailleurs,who managed to always either rout,or just plain runaway before they have a chance to do anything. I try not to curse my troops too much,but sometimes you imbibe imaginary status on what turns out to be a completely naff unit. Bring on the peasants I say.
 My imaginary! units move on a pace,with a battery of guns nearly finished,and the garde lancers underway. I have decided to go to the imaginary SYW weekend at the end of April so I am attempting to pad out my contingent as quickly as possible. When I say imaginary weekend it does actually exists, put I cant think of another name for an excuse to turn up with make believe,operatic uniformed units and hopefully socialise with likeminded people. 
 On another note, I have just completed re reading Charles Wesencraft's 'PRACTICAL WARGAMING',
 and again I came away thinking Charlie was vastly underated as one of the driving forces of wargaming. His ideas were well before their times and are still very relevant in todays climes.
 Charlie is 83 this year [I think] and I still bump in to him at North Eastern shows, but whenever I bring up about his contribution to wargaming,he just doesnt get it.
 I have been lucky to game with him twice,once when John and I put on a refight of Blenheim,which featured in the Practical Wargamer and then in a refight of Borodino. Both times he was a tough bugger to game against, but he did have a cracking sense of humour. 
Anyway onwards and upwards, next my ducal wagon train with artillery attached.

Sunday 3 April 2011

Ducal String Quartet

Well, the painting continues anon, with my version of Eurekas string quartet, painted in the ducal colours of deep yellow and purple. The figures were a pig to fix to the chairs, but were still a nice figure to paint,so cant really complain to much.
 I took receipt of a small number of painted Spencer Smith cavalry this weekend, I had forgotton how simplistic these figures are, with very little detail etc to paint. I have attempted to touch them up a bit but they are still not very good,and certainly not a patch on my RSM figures, but its all a matter of personal taste, and if they were good enough for Charles Grant then who am I to gripe about them.

I have nearly finished my batallion of Garde Grenadiers  [ I think I will use the French spelling from now on] again in deep yellow, they dont look too bad all things considering.
 I intend to maintain some discipline and alternate between one batallion of Hanoverians and one from my new side project, well thats the theory anyway.
 As stated previously I have been attempting to collect an Old School wargamer library and have been attempting to obtain copies of a lot of the books that set me on my way in the wargaming world. I think it may be of interest if I downloaded bits from some of these books. I still find a lot of the stuff relevant, even if we have moved on as regards to the availability of figures etc. But even there I still find, Hinchliffe, Willie, Rsm and Warrior of a decent standard compared to modern figure designers, even the Perrys and Eureka.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Now for something completely different

I have stated before that I tend to jump about a bit and seem to have a bit of a low attention span. Well  I have been greatly inspired by the blogs etc of people with imaginary nations, and lets be right Charles Grant, Robert louis Stevenson and H. G. Wells,all created such nations.
 So I have been painting up my ducal guard lancers and ducal guard grenadiers. Why is it that wargamers tend to start with guard units? I had a few spare RSM Russian units [if there is such a thing] and decided to model the army around the basic colour of deep yellow. I have always been interested in the historical figure Augustus the Strong of Saxony and Poland [ what a name!] and decided that the duke of my nation/state would be one of the many illegitmate children that he fathered. The army will be a combination of east meets west, hence the eastern guard lancers.

I was inspired, after I had seen this RSM figure in the excellent  LEAD GARDEN blog, and had to have such a unit. So well done for the inspiration and help. I will have to include a jannisary type guard  [ again] unit to bring a bit more exocticism to the army.
  Again these are not the best painted unit Ive done, but I wanted a more toy soldier simplistic look.  I am also doing a ducal string quartet, curtesy of Eureka miniatures.

Finally RSM Hanoverians.

Well I have finally completed my first unit of RSM Hanoverians, ie Regiemnt Von Scleither.
 I tend to paint the flags oversize as I like to show off more colour on the wargames table. The figures themselves are slightly slimmer than the other nationalities, and had a bit more flash on them, still I do like the elegance of them, I think they typify the image of the lace war era.
 I will next paint a combined Hanoverian  grenadier unit, as there will be a right hodge podge of colour.
 These are probably not my best paint job, but I did enjoy painting them.

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