Wednesday 29 October 2014

The Wild Geese.

 I think its fair to say that I have a soft spot for the exiled 'Wild Geese' who fought for the French after the overthrow of James the Second. Couple that with me attending and hopefully participating at Partizan in 2015 I have felt the need to paint up the said Wild Geese.
 This is the regiment Dillon part of the brigade. I am now painting my way through the Clare regiment, and judging from how things are going I wouldnt be surprised if I didnt do another of the regiments. It actually reads like I have no choice, which just shows you how strange wargamers can be.
 The figures are from the wonderful Crann Tara range by Graham Cummings who commissioned this figure for his Jacobite Wars. I can honestly say this was one of the nicest figures that I have painted, a real joy actually.
 Preparing for a public display has always given be encouragement to paint, and when Graham came up with the idea of Partizan, it gave me a right kick up the bum. So needing [not really] more French I thought why not do some Irish. Of course there would then be a need for Fitzjames Horse to go with the Wild Geese. It looks like its redcoats for the next couple of months.

Saturday 25 October 2014

The empty Throne.

Yesterday I took a day off work, originally it was to allow me to prepare for a night on the drink and to attend a Paolo Nutini concert in Newcastle.
 Anyway by chance I discovered that Bernard Cornwell was doing a talk at the Harrogate Historical Book Fair, so I decided to get up early and drive down there for 09.00.
 Naturally the talk would be mainly about the release of his two latest books, Waterloo and The Empty Throne.                                   The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate was mobbed by 09.00, and why would it not,considering how successful an author Bernard Cornwell is.
   I must admit I did enjoy the hour long talk, which covered not only some anecdotes from his early life as an adopted child, through his time in Northern Ireland during the troubles up until the current times. Mr Cornwell is a very good raconteur both verbally and with the written word.
 There was a Q.A session which was also interesting. My question regarding the Starbuck series was answered clearly and with no messing. There will be no more books in that series, purely because he cant face starting more research and because he recognises he is getting old. Mr Cornwell is 70.
 He has started the next part of the Alfred series and envisaged a series of 12 books in total.
 He also intends to write one more Sharpe book, going back to the late campaign in Spain circa 1813-1814.
He also talked of the BBC2 series that has started filming based on the Alfred series, and how he had no intention of reading the scripts or being on plot because he didnt want to spoil the whole event.
I cant wait for this series even though the director is the same guy that had done the Tudor series.
  During the early part of his talk he mentioned about the historical research he had to do regarding his books, and the realisation that he could not write a story and guarantee that it would be totally accurate. This was borne out by some helpful soul e mailing him to point out in the Arthur series that there were no Snowdrops in the Dark Age period! [I bet that person was a wargamer]
 Similarly during the question and answer session a voice piped up from the back with a question/observation regarding the Alfred series where Uthred nearly captured back his castle.
The questioner in a rather indignant voice wanted to know how Uthred had intended to gain entry through the inner gate of the castle, when he had no means of entry. Mr Cornwell carefully explained, and I must admit I was impressed with the authors depth of knowledge regarding his books that            Uthred knew the inner gate was never locked when he had bluffed his way through the outer gate, and would have succeed, if not for the guard dogs. One nil to the author.
 The incident took me back to a show many years ago where John and I were displaying the Battle Of Austerlitz in 6mm.
 We had made all the terrain especially for the game,painted up every unit that we knew had been there, and I had even been able to get made all the Russians in bicornes and early shakos. We even had our own lighting and a video playing of the battle, I dont think I could have done anymore.
 Until a skinny disheveled person piped up, ''I say I dont think there was any swans on the lakes behind the Pratzen Heights!'' Well of course he was correct in that the lakes were famously frozen over, but me being the anal wargamer I was then, thought that the swans may add some interest to the table for none wargaming persons, really a bit of artistic licence. It just shows you cant please everyone all the time.
  I still see that guy at various shows, and he is still the same knacker he was back then.
 Anyway I digress. So I got my Waterloo signed by Bernard Cornwell, shook his hand and thanked him for the pleasure he had given me. I would recommend that if he is in anyone's area giving a talk, go and see him, he was well worth the £11.00

Sunday 19 October 2014

Stand To, Shildon County Durham.

 Its a very brave person who decides to hold a new wargames show in the United Kingdom. One will be competing against a lot of shows that have become established and a lot of traders who tend to pick and choose their shows carefully to save on costs etc. Anyway the Wear Valley Wargamers are to be applauded in attempting to drum up wargaming support in my county, hence John and I attended Stand To at the Locomotion Railway Museum to stage a game.

[ Caption] The actual train used in the Railway Children, NB Jenny Agutter's hat on the front of the train] I was disappointed that she wasnt there, draped across the front.
 The show was never going to be a major event, but if it helps get ordinary non wargaming people interested then more power to the show. I sometimes forget when I am in my wargaming bubble, just  how popular trains are with the public, especially children. As a result there were a decent amount of families coming through the doors to be confronted by five games, and twenty wargames traders.
 And to be fair, it seemed to work. Certainly there seemed to be a lot of fathers and their sons, [aged 8-15] [not the fathers] who wanted to find out a bit more about wargaming.  Better was the fact that World War Two is of interest to the children through school projects so the children knew something of what was going on.
 Entrance is free to the museum, and what better way to spend a few hours in a train museum and then stare at some burned out men playing with toy soldiers. I honestly think it worked, and the venue seemed perfect for this type of event. I dont know if the traders had to pay anything for a stall, but hopefully it was just a token amount as it was always going to be difficult to make a sale to the non wargaming public. Saying that I saw one trader who I have never seen before with some fantastic scaled and painted World War Two aeroplanes that seemed to be doing well.He also had some beautiul 20mmm painted dicast tanks that were perfect to use on a wargames table.

 I thought it was a good time to air my 15mm desert war units, and John suggested using the Blitzkrieg Commander rules to make it easier to play. [that was for my benefit]
 Loving losers I wanted to use my 1941 Italian army, and as usual they didnt disappoint. Saying that I achieved a record 11 blunder throws! which scuppered any chance they had. [Thats 11 double sixes by the way in the command phase]

 The gents from Westerhope Northumberland kindly made the trek south, and put on their wonderful cut price wargame for the benefit of the public [ and me]
 Here's Brian showing off the result of his 5 and 2 diet. I apparently was very rude about him in an earlier post. So I can only apologise for that, he was a very good sport by the way.
 I would like this bombard, purchased from the Pound Shop and included in a large bag of soldiers.
 The men from the Westerhope group looking quite intimidating, they're actually pussycats really, with my favourite game of the year.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Stadden Grenadiers.

 These chaps have been gathering dust for over two years. My wife kindly bought them for me as a Christmas present. After that they just sat in a box with other piles of metal. I would like to thank Graham Cummings of Crann Tara fame for give me a necessary kick up the a##e, when he came up with the idea of putting on a SYW game at Partizan.
 These Stadden figures have been around a lot of years, but they are still up there with the best.
 Anyway I have completed them, which is great, all I need now, as you will have realised is the standards. Normally I wouldnt take any photographs until the unit is finished, but I know I may have to wait awhile for the standards. I am just pleased that they are painted. Of course I will now have to add a couple of Saxon regular units to the contingent. Starting with the Von Bruhl Dragoons.

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