Thursday 20 December 2012

A short report on the Hobbit.

The clue to this post is pretty evident. Last night I went to see the Hobbit part one.
 I must admit I was a bit concerned as the reviews that I had read had been pretty mixed,and some had been quite rude.
 Anyway,dragging along 'our lass'  [my wife] I lashed out £32.00! to experience 3d and Imex,whatever that is.
 I don't want to spoil the film for anyone and write a review of the film,but I will say that I loved it.
 I think its better than Lord of the Rings,and for me the 3 hours went very quickly.
 I'm not certain how it got a 12 rating as some parts of the film are fairly scary,in particular when Gollum appears on the scene.
Gollum by the way is better than ever. I was interested to see how Radgast the Brown would be interwoven into the film, but it works,and lends a bit of humour to the film. I think its alright to describe the character as a hippy type of wizard.
Personally I don't think the film feels padded out,and the additions work well.
I even liked the new arch enemy that is introduced into the film,who is clearly going to cause heartache throughout the trilogy. He certainly wins my vote for scary nastiness.
 My wife unfortunately was a herder person to please,but even she liked the way it was filmed. That's posh for I'm bored!
 Anyway if you were thinking about going,lash out,get the best seats,and enjoy the experience.I did.

Monday 10 December 2012

I admit defeat.

I thought that I would have accepted that I now have enough Seven Years War troops to say that my project was complete.
Anyway I had to re paint some more Hinchliffe Austrian cuirassiers in a colour scheme Ive liked for a longtime, green and white.

I know they are not historical,but I can always say they belong to my imaginary army,although they actually do exist,if you know what I mean. I cant decide whether to make this into a 24 figure regiment,or leave it as it is. Only another 48 cuirassier figures to repaint.

I also picked this figure up off e bay,and painted him as a brigadier of my Hanoverian's, I don't recognise the range,but think it might be Citidal. Its a nice figure though.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Is Old School dead,???

The phenomena of Old School Wargaming I think came about partly through nostalgia and partly as a reaction to increasingly complex wargaming rules,discuss?
Personally I think that because a lot of the wargamers out there are of the greying variety there comes a time when we look back with rose tinted glasses at not only their hobbies,but probably their lives as well.
 Henry Hyde's Battlegames magazine helped and became a catalyst for the hankering for Spencer Smiths, Mollwitz and imaginary nations.
 I know they were probably already out there but more wargamers wanted to be a part of the movement,if that is the correct term, and flocked to be a part of the movement.
Where's all this going one may ask?
Well I personally think that OSW, has now rejoined the list of passing fads and wargamers are probably looking for the next big thing.
 If one is honest, most wargamers are magpies,hopping from one fad to the next, collecting the next big thing then moving on.
There's nothing wrong with that,and god knows the traders need that mentality to survive.
I think we are all creatures of today's consumerism.
 This is not,by the way an announcement that I am ditching my SYW project and buying red indians or some other such new project,this is merely an observation of trends that I have witnessed.
 Firstly I am a member of the OSW Yahoo group,although it still is getting the odd new member,the posts are definitely drying up.
 Secondly,I think Battlegames the magazine is starting to struggle in its content and readership,I may be wrong but there is definitely a dearth of articles and the like. I will however continue to support it.
Thirdly I watch the sales on E Bay a lot [ I think I need a life] and its depressing that OSW books and magazines are going for a song.This is not a quibble but I sold a copy of Feathersone's Solo Wargaming this week,for £3.00! Similarly bids on the Wargames Newsletters were hardly inspiring either.
I didnt expect to make a killing,but one bid later, I think shows that gamers are looking elsewhere for their kicks.
I know its hardly proof but I think its an indication of a change.
Anyway if anyone who actually reads this blog is thinking of chucking in their beautifully painted Willie, Hinchliffe,Hinton Hunt etc armies I am willing to pay nostalgic 1970 prices for them.

 Moving on I picked up some new castings on e bay from a range called ALTE ZEIT MINIATURES .
They are described as Stadden like,generic Prussian mounted officer.
I can definately state they are Stadden like and the horse certainly has that style.The officer comes with a loose saddle,and would fit perfectly into a Stadden unit.

 This is the figure compared to a Willie figure,quite a size,I reckon about 35mm.  Go on buy some nostalgia,they will paint up beautifully.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Smoggycon 2012 Part Two.

Smoggycon for me is a show on the way up. Its friendly,it has helpful organisers and its easy to get to for me.
 Southlands may be a sports centre,[a bit of a rarity in the North East since the recession.] but it has good parking,and the show puts on good value tea and food.
 The trade is a good balance of the larger traders,ie Dave Thomas, Irregular Miniatures,Old Glory and Pendraken,and the new smaller traders,just starting out.
 For me the show hit my wallet hard. I bought some more Perry Renaissance figures,when I say a few [thats for the benefit of my wife.] The reality was I bought quite a few.
 I also have bought two packs of Old Glory Gendarmes,to try them out. They look pretty good.
The reason being that Foundry had let Dave Thomas down,and he couldn't get me my Christmas present from my wife, 24 Foundry Gendarmes.
 I get the impression that Foundry can't get their act together and have management problems,may be next year.
 The big thing for me was I was able to buy 61 Wargames Newsletters from Ian Kay!
 To some gamers that might be a so what,but to me it was a great event.
 Some of the magazines are over forty years old,and I think still have a relevance today.[ Maybe I'm deluded.]
 Games wise,there was an Impetus tournament. These are good rules,and probably made for a good tournament, I cant say.It did seem popular.

 Games wise, I liked the ten mil. Malburian game, lots of figures,and a nice set up.
I also liked a 20mm Battlground Kursk set up.The rules look interesting,and I thought the set up was very effective.
I'm probably doing a lot of clubs a disservice at the show as I didn't get around them all due to the game I had running.
 I checked out the new style bring and buy,copying from the York show,unfortunately I thing E bay is starting to make big inroads to the bring and buys,I got the impression the set up was a failure,with very few being willing to sell their own stuff.I personally think its still the way to go.
So was the show a sucess, I know talking to three traders that they did very well,and couldnt complain. The numbers through the door again looked like it was up,and I left the show skint and knackered,usually a sign of a good show. 8 out of 10.

Smoggycon 2012. Part One.

I always know the campaigning year is ending as I attend Smoggycon in Middlesbrough.
It is probably the most apt name for a wargames show,as if you know Middlesbrough then you can understand the nick name Smoggy.
 As you travel over the A19 flyover I always think of Mordor,as the flames fly from the chimneys at the large incinerator,pretty it ain't.
The show however is good,and has tried hard to replace the defunct Parade ground show that was staged at Stockton.
 John and I weren't certain what to put on as a game,and due to time constraints, aren't there always,
I couldn't get my replacement terrain boards finished [or even started ] in time.
 Anyway I opted to put on another SYW game,just to showcase the OSW ranges of figures that are still available and worth looking at.
 We decided to use Blackpowder rules and opted for a mid size encounter battle, French against Hanoverian Hessians.
Its a testament to BP rules that after John forgot the quick play charts,and I forgot the rule book we were still able to play. The rules are that easy and that good.
 John took command of the Hanoverians and I took my customary French.I gave each side ten battalions of foot and six regiments of cavalry,with the od extra light unit to make things interesting.

Doing what the French do best,I opted for a very stately stroll forward,as the Hanoverians came on like a banshee. Smoggycon for me,is a chance to meet up with old faces,and also make new acquaintances.
This year was no exception as I met and talked to my old boss!, a closet wargamer,who never said a word before.I think he was impressed by our set up.

 John throws forward all his troops,in an effort to catch the French unawares....which he did.

 One of my claims to fame,was my Austrian allied hussars,blundering their way to undying shame,as after throwing a double six,they charged the nearest enemy. One move later they were gone like  summer snow..................
 A view of the Legion Brittanique and skirmishers,taking the corn field held by the Arquebusiers du Grassin.
 A shot of the Grassin,just before they disappeared.

 A couple of photographs of the camp scenes I like to scatter around the chaos.

 John's combined Hessian grenadiers attempting to hide.
My mystery French infantry,they still have not been identified,even after consulting Dave Thomas, Andy Copestake, Ian Kay and Phil Robinson at the show.
 Commander of the French army resplendent in all his glory,wishing he had taken out dual status,as his army starts to disappear.
 To be fair to myself,as the day wore on, I started to make inroads to John's position,but at great cost to my troops. A winning draw to John.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Some Hard Thinking.

Andy on his blog, Glorious Little Soldiers wrote a post mentioning me and a friend who was resurrecting his Airfix ACW armies, and he asked whether as you get older do you attempt to re kindle your youth.
Now apart from a quick reply on Andy's blog,his post got me thinking, actually some proper thinking for a change.Now apart from a short reply to Andy,this post got me thinking, really thinking actually..

 1] Why did I go back to 28/30mm figures.
 2] Why did I opt for SYW.
 3] Why have I tried to use figures from the 1970's,1980's period.
 4] Why a return to the rule ideas of the late 60's and 70's.

Well originally I think its fair to say my interest was re kindled with the publication of Battle games  and the inception of the Old School Wargamers.
 But what I quickly realised was that the figures I was buying,are figures that I still find very attractive and wanted to own and paint.
When Willie figures were originally released,I wanted them,but knew I could never buy them.
When Steve Hezzlewood produced his Pax Britannica ranges,I thought they were beautiful, but the SYW was not a period I was really interested in.
Things move on,and as you get older, but maybe not wiser, you realise that life is too short to not follow your instincts,if you can.
 I have always loved Peter Gilder's work at Hinchliffe, and inspired by the figures painted by Phil Robinson in the early Miniature Wargames of the SYW Prussian army I took a mental note that I would research and collect that period. After that it logically followed to pick up figures from the Garrison range,some of which I had actually painted in a former life.
 So I dont think nostalgia and a search for my lost childhood was involved in the thought processes.
If that had been the case, I would have gone right back and collected Airfix figures myself.
 One thing I will admit to was that I wanted athe rules I use to be enjoyable,and very playable,but with a feel for the period.
 The rules John wrote, ''A NOSTALGIC WHIM'' I think encapsulated the simple but fun approach, but by the same token, the use of Blackpowder was a set that allowed other gamers to come and fight with my figures, without any problems.
 So it was a win win situation as wargaming is hopefully about seeking out like minded people who can enjoy the experience. God I think it all sounds a bit pompous, but hey ho.

Anyway I think I've convinced myself, I didnt want to return to my childhood,especially the bit when you had to scrat around for information, and when buying your figures you invariably ended up short on the order and probably stuck with some alternative figures from a different period,which if painted and viewed at night in the dark could look similar to what you had really wanted!

 Pax Brittanica, Austrian, French and Prussian.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Wargames Illustrated.

Every month I make the ritual trip to W.H.Smiths to buy my Wargames Illustrated.
October has been no exception,as I lashed out and bought the November issue.
Like the saddo I am, I always make a point of not reading it until I am tucked up in bed. Often John is not allowed to show me any pictures from the newly bought magazine,or talk about any of the articles.
 At the same time, I had been able to hunt down a further three Wargamers Newsletters,in an attempt to finish my collection [some hope]
 The illustrated, took a very short time to read, although I do have some Flames of War stuff, its not really something I get excited about.
 So after reading through the stuff about bases and terrain, I had finished the magazine.
There is never any letters,views,opinions or articles that just might spark up a debate.
Is that what wargamers want? Somehow I would like to think that isnt the case.
 I then read the three Wargamers Newsletters, 188, 189 and 201.
 You could always rely on Donald Featherstone in his editorial to give an honest opinion on some topic loosely linked to war gaming. God knows what would happen now, if he was still writing an editorial.
Probably he would have ended up in court,and tagged a bigot or a racist.
These seem to be the most popular names that can be credited to anyone not on message. But I digress.
What I actually wanted to record is the fact that the Newletters were full of reading,relevant even today. There was fine articles by the late Paddy Griffith, an interesting synopsis by Donald Feathersone about the last 200 Newletters and how it came about, and some interesting letters,with differing points of view.
 All in all a damn good read, and no eye candy or professionally created terrain anywhere to see.
I must be getting old,or just a bit sour. I know I am definately not on message in the brave sanitised world that is the current wargaming scene.

A Project Never Finished.

Earlier last month, I decided to start a new army,using mainly Perry figures,to recreate my army of Cesare Borgia. In order to do this I thought I should shelve my SYW project and bring it to an end.
Well,that idea lasted about as long as my cat's attention span.
I actually started to miss painting the figures,and struggled to get a grip of my new renaissance figures.So in order to focus a bit, I started touching up a unit I had bought off e bay,of ready painted figures,that needed a makeover.
So I set too with half a regiment of RSM figures,Id luckily got cheap, and do you know I really enjoyed it,so much so that I also cracked off a unit of Romagnol infantry for my sister project.

 Not content with that,I had to re paint some command figures and add a couple of new ones. I probably have more commanders than the actual French SYW army, which had on its books, 900 Brigadier Generals! That is a fact by the way.

 I was lucky enough to finally hunt down and purchase The French Army in the Seven Years War by Lee Kennett.
  This is a fine little book, providing the reader with details of the French Army, and probably explaining why it did so badly in the war.
 Crippled with debts it couldn't deal with [ sounds familiar] and awash with too many Generals who had no role and spent their time intriguing against the Commanders, the army was lucky to actually function at all. Charles Grant had mentioned the book in the WARGAME, and I always wanted to read it.
Dont expect any uniform details, but a good book for any French SYW wargamer,who wants to understand the army they use.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

How not to win a battle

One good thing about the internet is that you can get in contact with likeminded people,and meet them.
Through the power of the internet,I met and invited Mark Dudley from Leeds up for a SYW game. Mark had never used Blackpowder and was interested to try them.
Anyway on Sunday Mark arrived in company with Tim [ more about Tim later] for a battle.
I had invited over Paul Stevenson to balance the game, and John very kindly offered to come up,to umpire [read interfere ] and provide a scenario.
 Paul was C in C of the Austro French armies. Tim was C in C of the Hanoverian Hessian armies.
Now Tim reckoned that he was an unlucky wargamer and never seemed to be able to throw the right dice at the relevant times. I should have known he was a ringer,but I digress.
 Due to John's scenario, lots were drawn out of the hat to give the commanders of each side various extra characteristics. Paul very kindly landed the French with one hesitant commander and one timid commander!
 The Austrians were endowed with heroic status,and launched themselves at Tim's, Hessians.
 Mark,true to Black powder form couldnt really get his command to move as he wished,well not to start with.
[The Hessian combined grenadiers,fought on heroically,stopping the Austrian advance,by some nifty sixes!]

  Me, true to French ethos, dug in around the outskirts of a village,hoping to shoot Mark's command to bits,which to be fair is not my usual game,but I was playing host as well.Everything was running well for the Austrian attack,the cavalry advanced at will,and the infantry rolled forward.
And after that things began to unravel as the Hessians doggedly held on.
Tim managed to throw sixes at will causing the Austrian centre to slow down into a slogging match.The Hessian cavalry,although made up only of dragoons and hussars,not only hung on,but broke the Austrian cuirassier command. In an effort to help I issued follow me orders,and sent my cuirassiers across to finally tip the balance.Wrong. What happened was that Tim's dragoon command forced them to retire,leaving the wing in stalemate.
[The French cuirassiers,led by a Timid general,manage to get a draw facing Hessian dragoons!]

[Tim's Hessian rifle skirmishers,show how to kill,Austrian hussars with impunity!]

  Realising that I needed to force the issue,the French infantry were ordered to advance and keep the Hanoverians engaged.Well that's what was intended,what happened was that the best French infantry sat about as the Hanoverian cavalry swept around into the centre of the table,to confront my by now battered French line.

[In an effort to halt the Hanoverian advance,my Arquebussier du Grassin, waved a flag furiously,before being ridden over]

[The Hanoverian cavalry,hit the weakened Regiment du Seuede, sweeping them away. ]

Once the line had routed, Mark very kindly followed with the rest of his cavalry command,no half measures there then. All I could do,was offer to make the tea,in an effort to slow down proceedings until night time.
All Paul and I could do was gracefully accept defeat,and allow the Hessian/Hanoverian army gloating rights. Sometimes nothing goes right,and becomes enjoyable in a sadistic sort of way.
As a game I thought it was great, I hope Mark, Tim and Paul,enjoyed it. Black powder again showed itself to be a fun set of rules. I voted Tim man of the match,but will check his dice next time.

Thanks to John for the scenario, and kindly dumping me with two surrender loving French commanders.

To cheer myself up after such a defeat,I think its only fair to display my latest re painted French unit,which luckily I didnt include in the defeat.
[ Maker still unknown.]
''Vive la France''

Saturday 6 October 2012

When is a project completed?

When is a Wargame Project classed as completed.
If anyone were to check my other blog,you would realise that I am embarking on another wargame project,this time the early Italian Wars.
Today I attended Derby World championships where I bought part of my new army from the excellent Dave Thomas of Perry fame.
However when I returned home,I checked my SYW war unpainted figures,and still have a lot of metal stored away,not counting three battalions of secondhand painted foot figures and three regiments of secondhand cavalry regiments,all to be repainted.
So when do you decide enough is enough. In the past I have based my armies around specific battles or campaigns,hence my complete Malburian armies for 1705, and my complete armies for the campaigns of 1805,1810, and 1812. Luckily these are in 6mm and dont take up that much space.
However for my SYW project,I just set away painting with no real target for the units,just a quick wants list,which is probably not the way to do it. I still need more allied cavalry to counter the Austro French army.
For Christmas last year,my wife kindly checked my Santa's wish list and bought me a regiment of 36 Stadden Prussian Grenadiers,so they need to be painted, then I have a regiment of Hanoverian dragoons to paint,not counting two regiments of Minden French,the list just goes on.
I think in the case of my two projects I will have to alternate between the two armies,concentrating on doing a two for one painting job.That is two renaissance units to one SYW unit.

Anyway,deviating further from my meandering,I have just finished the latest Minden civilians,and very nice they are to.
Oh I also knocked off two artillery crews,one British,one Hanoverian,from my EBay box.
I know the Foundry figures,look a bit bizarre facially,but they are nice uniforms to paint.
Here is the British one.

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