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. 

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