Thursday 29 August 2013

A thank you....

I think it is very gratifying that so many wargamers have taken the time to reply to my musings, ie last nights post.
 Its also nice that while we have different views, we [ I mean wargamers] know that playing with soldiers, is really a wonderful but harmless hobby.
Thinking about it more deeply, I have to admit I am attracted by the ' glamour' of war.
What male wouldnt like to don the uniform of Napoleon's Chasseur a Cheval of the Garde.
 Bugger the fact he tried to take over Europe, he knew how to dress his men to look good. It still doesnt make my love of military history and playing with toy soldiers somehow wrong. Far from it really.
 Anyway thanks for all the comments, and yes Andy I will be at Gateshead, hopefully buying more soldiers.
 Which leads my indirectly on to a Kevin Bacon moment, ie favourite uniforms throughout history.
 In Achtung Schweinhund, Harry Pearson [ where is he by the way?] talked of Blandfords military uniforms of the world book and his top ten of uniforms in the book.
 Well, in third place, I have to admit I have a huge soft spot for the uniform of the Grenadiers of the 7th regiment from the kingdom of Naples, ie the regiment Africa, 1812. The white bearskin, and yellow facings always looked the dogs bollocks, ignoring the fact they weren't very good troops.
 In second place is the attire of any Polish winged hussar, especially if they are resplendent in a tiger skin, not really a uniform per se, but its my list.
 In number one spot, and still there after twenty plus years, the Lancer de Berg, original uniform, of white and deep crimson. My definite babe magnet attire.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Miniature Wargames September 2013.

  I must confess that I have always enjoyed the column written by Mike Siggens in the wargames popular press. Love him or dislike him, he always brought up some topic that piqued my interest.      Additionally being a bit of an anorak like him, his tips on paint and brushes were always of great interest to me. Hence the hundreds of jars of paint that I own.
 Anyway and here is the but, his latest 'Thoughts from an Armchair'  Miniature Wargames September 2013, he mentions that he is recovering from an operation, and this has led him to re appraise his wargaming.
 I don't know Mike Siggens personally, but I would suspect that he is of mature years, ie, over 50.
 Add to that having just had an operation, I would think he now realises that he is mortal, hence his look at life.
 That seems fair enough, in fact, I have gradually been rationalising my wargaming, and selling off things I don't really require anymore. Mind I seem to be replacing them with bigger and heavier toy soldiers.
 Anyway the crux of this post is where Mike Siggens states that, ''he now has some ethical concerns about what he is doing.''
 I assume he means collecting and playing with toy soldiers. [ I assume he thinks this is glorifying war]

For me ethical concerns are for things like , starting an unjust war, telling lies in parliament, and cheating generally, ie Tony Blair.

 This ethical concern about wargaming raised its head many years ago, when CND and the other loons saw wargamers as an easy target, hence the banners outside of some wargames shows and the change of name for the Reading show. Then of course we had the brief arguments about colonial/imperialist wars where the native population got a hammering by those terrible Europeans.
 In some ways its a bit like the fracking protests, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Research something thoroughly before you become appalled and protest.

   So I am going to generalise here, but most wargamers are not warmongers, are usually non violent,
[ unless someone picks up their figures by the pikes, ] and are all round decent people.
 A bit strange sometimes, but there should never be any doubt about the ethics of collecting toy soldiers. It is a hobby that encompasses, reading, painting, learning to lose, model making and numerous other skills.  I know some wargamers who won't wargame modern conflicts, and up until a few years ago, I wouldn't wargame past 1870.
 I think that was more to do with the advent of khaki than any moral reason.
I also remember the brouhaha about the Waffen SS reenactors being at Salute, in bad taste probably, but ethically wrong, I dont think so.

 So is wargaming ethically wrong? For me, no.
 I would have been lost without the hobby.
 Have I ever felt I was glorifying war? Never. Trying to understand it perhaps.
 So for me, carry on playing with toy soldiers, and be proud of what wargamers do.
Here endeth the lesson........................


Wednesday 14 August 2013

A small addition to my Austrian forces.

I was lucky enough to purchase three units of painted Hinchliffe figures from E Bay.
I may be wrong but I think they may be by Phil Robinson of 1980's fame, or certainly someone copying his wonderful style. Anyway, I've now completed the second of these units, by adding two extra companies and touching up some minor damage.
 I still love [ perhaps too strong a word] Hinchliffe figures, and can't help collecting them whenever I see some well painted figures. My poorer efforts are tucked away at the rear of the unit. I just couldn't replicate the black lining and grey undercuts of the other figures.
If anyone can actually identify the painter I would be very grateful. I also attempted to keep as much of the original basing as possible, as that was also well executed.
By the way, as means of a plug, I have also added a new post to my sister log. Aut Cesar.......

Thursday 8 August 2013

Wargaming Compendium, a review.

Moving on from my last post regarding reading material, I was lucky enough to receive my copy of Henry Hyde's WARGAMING COMPENDIUM from Amazon over a week ago.
 Some people complain about Amazon,but I couldn't fault their service. I have had this book ordered for months, and they kindly sold me it at the original ordered price of £16.00!
 Anyway, I should firstly confess I have only read the first six chapters. It is a very large book of over 500 pages, and I only read when I go to bed, so my time is limited.
 First impressions are very good.
 I must confess, I am a bit biased as I had a run in with Mr Hyde over two years ago, and I wasn't impressed with his rudeness, however I wont let it detract from his efforts.
 The idea is a very good one.
 The majority of wargamers are of an age that they assume everyone knows what wargaming is about, the scales, rule ideas and general concepts including how to collect and paint figures.
 This is a flawed assumption, and if we wargamers want things to carry on and actually grow then we need to be able to point new gamers in the right direction. This book fills that void admirably.

   Mr Hyde, starts with a brief history of the hobby, a good place to start, and then leads the reader through various books etc. that helped shape the hobby. This again is a great idea, as hopefully newer gamers can explore these ideas. I particularly liked his recommendation of Achtung Schwienhund, one of my favourite wargaming books.
 He then leads us methodically through choosing a period, and how to create battlefields. These seem pretty obvious to veteran gamers, but if you are just starting out, this is great.
 From there the book leads us to assembling our forces, scales costs etc, all obvious but a good way to educate a new wargamer.
 I am currently on the chapter regarding campaigns, skirmishes, etc using rules.
 Again basic ideas, but very relevant.
  Amongst the detail in the book is the influences of Games Workshop, fantasy etc, and also the current trend in rules.All very relevant.
 Would I recommend this book, from reading just the first six chapters,with another five still to go?
 Yes I would.
 Although it doesn't have the style of Charles Grant and the Wargame, or the panache of Peter Young and Charge. It definitely has a place in the wargamers library.
 If I had obtained this book in the mid 1970's I would have read it to death.
 All you need to start wargaming is there.
 Most importantly for fathers looking to get their children into the hobby, or for a person attempting to interest a friend or neighbour then this book should help a lot.
 The book currently retails for £35.00, but at least it will be relevant for a few years unlike some similarly priced rules.
Any criticisms? Henry Hyde names figure manufacturers, and I know there are a great number.
 However, regularly citing Perry, Warlord, Victrix, Bacchus tends to point new persons naturally in that direction.
 As regards great value for new wargamers, one can not look past Old Glory and Irregular Miniatures.
 Still only a minor gripe.
 Definitely worth a punt, but I still think Mr Hyde was rude.

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