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Monday, 29 February 2016

New French Regiments.

 I finally based the two French line regiments that Tony Runkee painted for me. I opted to buy the figures from Elite Miniatures, because it seemed to me that they were loosely based on the Gilder's Connoisseur ranges. Certainly the Napoleonic's are, but I have my doubts about their Seven Years War ranges. I had hoped that if they were similar to the Gilder style, Tony could really work his magic on them. I must admit that I was disappointed when the metal came as they seemed clunky and quite crude. Luckily Tony was still able to do a wonderful job on them, although he admitted that he had found them difficult to bring to life.
 I dont think my camera does the figures justice to be fair, as Tony clearly put a lot of effort into the figures.I dont normally commission figures, too expensive, and I do enjoy painting, but Tony does a wonderful paint job, so I think it was worth the money.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

More Saxons.

 To show that I do more than just type waffle on my blog, I thought I would post some Saxons that I have just completed. This regiment is my version of the Von Arnim Cuirassiers.
           The figures are from the excellent Eureka range, expensive but very nice.

 Below is my completed Saxon artillery, hardly going to set the world alight, but sufficient to hopefully cause some wargamers a headache. RSM crew, and pieces. Hopefully the units will see action at the AMG weekend, later this year.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Just another thought.

  Since my last post regarding the late, great  Peter gilder, I have been doing some more cogitating regarding his place in wargaming. For this, I would like to thank the wargame contributor, and general philosopher Conrad Kinch for helping me along the painful paths of stirring the old grey matter. Conrad is clearly a lot younger than myself and other members of this blog. He knows nothing of the contribution that Gilder made to wargaming, and in particular the inspiration that was derived from his wonderful talents, and why would he.
 Unless you collected the original 30 or so Miniature Wargames magazines one would have no idea who he was. Additionally if you had never attended the first Wargames Holdiay Centre and physically seen the collections then you could never appreciate the figures. Also there is a whole generation of wargamers that never attended Northern Militaire and saw first hand each new release from Hinchliffe figures, and the later Connoisseur figures, all crafted by Peter Gilder.
  Effectively Peter Gilder is just a fleeting wargame name that eventually will be forgotten as the older wargames generation moves on, and not just into retirement.
 So what can be done about this? The obvious answer is to create a record of Gilder's contribution to the hobby, and illustrate this in the best possible way.
 Clearly the best way to do this would be to publish an illustrated biography of Peter Gilder's contribution. It sounds simple, and doable, and I would be willing to attempt such a project.although naturally I have reservations.
 My concerns are that if I took on such a project, I would hate to fail and disappoint any wargamer who had actually made the effort to contribute in some way, secondly although I have written minor articles etc I have never attempted to put together what would effectively be [ I hope] a record of a persons achievements in the wargaming hobby.
 To do Peter Gilder justice his figures would have to be photographed to a very high standard, and although I know how to point a camera, I am no David Bailey.
 Finally if such a project was undertaken, is there any guarantee that it would ever be published, and if it was would it be viable enough to not incur a loss.
Anyway that's the negative side, but on the positive side I really think there is an audience in sufficient numbers to cover the cost of printing such a book [maybe that's wishful thinking on behalf]
Because there has been very little written about Peter Gilder, one would have to start with the basics, starting with his early life, experiences, etc that led him to become a wargamer.
   From experience sitting down with someone who knew a person in their formative years is a great way to sketch out that persons reasons for doing something.
 In Gilders case, the obvious choices would be someone like Frank Hinchliffe, if he is still alive, perhaps Gilder's son, who I believe was last living in the USA, or members of the Hull wargames group who were there when Gilder was a member.
 As regards the key part of such a book, the actual figures, units armies etc, again sitting down with wargamers who had links to the Wargames Holiday Centre etc could greatly help in compiling a number of images of the great mans collection.
 The issue is, that Gilder was savvy enough to employ some of the most talented painters in the wargaming world, and it would be important that the painters got their share of the kudos of their painting, so knowing who did what would be a good thing.
 Clearly their are wargamers out there who are lucky enough to possess some of Peter Gilder's collection, and it would be logical to compile a list of who's got what, and whether they would be willing to have them photographed and published etc
 By compiling just an outline of what would be entailed in such a project is enough to put off even attempting such a thing, but as I have said, it is a feasible project, that just needs a bit of a push to kick things off.
 So to make a start, I would ask that any wargamer reading this post, to get their thinking caps on and come up with some suggestions, information, rumours whatever that could be of use to putting together such a well deserved project.
 Any suggestions [ polite ones] to me at
In the meantime, I will also attempt to sketch out a plan/ business idea to sell to some would be well healed, mad wargaming publisher.


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Just a thought?

Over the last couple of years, several glossy books have been released, exhibiting beautifully painted wargames units, in various guises. Books by the Perry Twins, Ron Ringrose, Foundry, Flames of War, Games Workshop and of course John Ray.
Some were better than others, but all contained eye candy that I assume is meant to hopefully inspire, but more likely create a degree of envy. Being the saddo that I am, I bought them all, just to look at and paw over, and generally enjoy.
 However, and this may be just me, the one book I would gladly pay just to own and cherish, would be one containing the painted units that belonged to the late great Peter Gilder.
 I have often wondered what happened to the armies, that were owned over the years by Peter Gilder, and just how wonderful it would be, if images from all of these armies could be compiled into one book with a history of the great man included.
 I know that the American Civil war armies were sold in America, and that the Armies for the Sudan Wars were also sold to Keith Leidy also of the USA.
 But what happened to the wonderful Napoleonic armies, the armies of the English Civil War, the armies made up of the later Connoisseur ranges and other lesser known armies, such as the ancient units that Peter Gilder used in his competition wargaming.
 No doubt most would have been broken up, and scattered to the wargaming four winds, even I managed to locate and buy a very small number of renaissance figures.
   But for me, Peter Gilder was the main inspiration to attempt to make a wargame more than just a green sheet laid over some books.I just think it would be a wonderful book to own, in which there would be an account of Gilder's contribution to wargaming, anecdotes from people who were lucky enough to have gamed with him, and most importantly images from his wonderful collections. Not just the famous images from the early Miniature Wargames, and wargaming books, but quality images taken by the current lucky owners of his units.
 Obviously I know Peter Gilder, used various painters to create wargames units for him, but it was his collection, and I dont think as wargaming eye candy goes, his collections can be topped. So if any go getting would be wargaming author or entrepreneur would like to take on a small? wargaming project. Just a thought...............

                  The image, that really inspired me to try harder, [in my wargaming life]



Blucher, a 6mm refight.

Sunday,14th February was the inaugural Blucher 6mm game for me using my re based French and Austrians. I possess very large numbers of 6mm Napoleonic's, representing all the nations that fought in the war. However it is several years since I last used any of them, so Sunday was a milestone for me, as I returned to the scale. 
I had invited Paul Brown over for a game, with Neil and John Reidy, who both know the Blucher rules well, which came in handy, as Paul and I blundered our way through the game.Unfortunately for me, I was not at my best physically, and probably mentally due to a man flu thing, but I was determined to still enjoy the game. Neil and I took the french, Paul and John the Austrians. I opted for a 500 point game, which involved five corps per side.

As a wargame, it looked very nice, as a try out for the Blucher rules and fighting on a grandscale it also worked very well, however it became clear as we progressed through the game, that I had miscalculated the armies, and caused an imbalance, favouring the French. I can assure anyone this was not deliberate, but having to use the entire pack of  French Blucher cards in order to do the refight, I hadn't realised the big difference in the cost of the early and late French forces, which allowed the French to field more units cheaply. 
 As units of the French Reserve, ie the Middle Garde swept up the table to apply the coup de grace to the Austrians, it was clear that I had buggered the game up. I will put this down to experience, but it did sour the day for me, as I wanted to enjoy the whole spectacle and also see how Blucher coped with historically researched corps.
  Anyway, I will make certain next time that I have the armies correctly pointed, and hopefully, Paul will forgive me for making such a fundamental mistake. So did the rules work well for larger game, I believe they did, and once we had worked out how to move using the three dice then I thought the actual game mechanics were excellent. Anyway, next time, I wont be as so ambitious.

Leuthen, an Honours of War refight.

 In between bouts of feeling ropey, I wended my way up into the wilds that are Weardale to refight Leuthen using Honours of War. Colin had invited fellow Amateur Military Gentleman member, Mark Dudley to take part in the refight, alongside John Reidy and Dave Jarvis.
 I think the terrain Colin had created gave me a further dose of whatever ails me, as it was very effective looking.Colin has done a concise report on the battle on his blog Carryonupthedale, so I wont attempt to repeat the breakdown in how we, Mark, Colin and I, commanding the Austrians, lost the battle. Key moments for me, were our inability to halt the retreat of the Reicharmee contingent from move one, which I suppose was to be expected, our inability to drive the Prussian cavalry away, and the loss of my two best commanders, who were then replaced by two 'dithering' commanders which fairly scuppered any chance I had for aggressive tactics.
 Once the Prussian infantry were able to advance in numbers, the game was up for the Austrians.
 Overall I thought it was a very fair result.
 Having re fought Leuthen, with the Blackpowder rules and using Honours of War, I feel the latter gave a better account of themselves.
 There is nothing wrong with Blackpowder, but being a generic set of rules, even with the add on, Last Argument of Kings it just doesn't give, for me anyway, that express feeling of fighting in the 18th century.
 It is too easy to maneuver ones troops in Blackpowder, and it is also too easy to correct any error that a commander makes during a battle. Honours of War is less forgiving.
 If one attempts to replicate the tactics of the period, then you can do okay, which is a good indicator in my book of a decent set of rules. H of W doesnt take itself totally seriously and one can enjoy the experience without getting too hung up on the rules, which are easy to learn, however they are subtle enough to make a wargamer think about what they are doing, and what can be the repercussions should things go wrong.    


 My cavalry led by a 'dithering' commander stand, waiting to be swept away by the Prussian juggernaut.

 Mr Jarvis [ Frederick for the day] attempts to look like he knows what he is doing?

Lurgy Break.

I think the picture says it all really, although I hasten to add that I dont really look like that, [honest]
 It is how I feel however. I think the effort of travelling to the York show with some sort of virus/man flu, followed by two big wargames over the last week finally did for me.
 Excitement can only carry one so far before you weakly cave in like a Premiership footballer, [well perhaps not as bad as that]
 Anyway, I can still bang the keys as it were, so I will do a couple of post up dates to prove Im not nailed in the ground just yet.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

York 2016, A Rocky Mountain Rendezvous

                        Today was the first wargames show of 2016 for me, at York. For some reason it reminded me of a Rocky Mountain Rendezvous. [See explanation below of the term *]
Its probably a fanciful description of a wargames show, but I view York as a time to meet up with wargamers I havent seen since last year and generally catch up with what is going on, and what is planned by other gamers..
 This year, as part of my intention to clear some of my unwanted/ unfinished, not begun,wargames projects I took a bit of stuff down to their tabletop sale. As a consequence, I arrived early, ie an hour and a half before the place opened. I wanted to book a table for the first session, as I knew I had arranged to meet up with various people during the day, and I wanted to browse the halls.
 I was very kindly allowed to enter the show early, ie 09.15, and book the first slot in the table top sale. I would recommend the experience to any person wanting to sell on some stuff. One should however be realistic in their pricings, and also be prepared to bargain and haggle on the prices.
 The award for the mugging of the day [of me] goes to that cheapskate John [I am a poor pensioner ] Coutts, of Westerhope Wargames Group who weaseled some very nicely cast resin fortifications out of me, for the price of a bacon sandwich.
 I felt ashamed for him. He clearly knows no shame.
 Some wargaming items were clearly more popular than others. Anything involving Lord of the Rings? sold well. Well painted ECW was very popular, Well Painted Flames of War struggled?
 Is this signs of a trend.
 Anyway, I managed to sell a lot of stuff, although I couldnt shift any WRG lists or rules. Not even that cheapskate John Coutts was prepared to have them. Apparantly he doent use any commercial ruleset!
 After a quick cup of tea, it was off to meet up with some fellow members of the AMG group, and to chat about the coming weekender in Warwick. This is shaping up to be an interesting weekend, with Colin and I hopefully hosting two WAS games in 30mm, also members are putting on a 40mm SYW game, a large 28mm Sudan game, and a WSS game in 28mm.
 How good is that, a weekend of good crack, toy soldiers and beer.
 So having talked to fellow AMG members, it was off to meet up with Steve Lloyd a well known Sheffield wargaming entrepreneur who had kindly arranged to act as a go between in the sale of my very large 6mm Malburian armies.
 With an agreement in place, it was off back to the show to meet up with the illustrious Tony Runkee who had completed two regiments of French SYW cavalry for me.
 I bumped into enroute, probably the most generous wargamer I know, in Jason Williams, who travelling up from the South gave me the last of his 'spare' WHC renaissance painted figures.
 These were wonderful Acorn Miniatures Swiss, from the late Gilder collection, that he had surplus to requirements. Jason is what wargaming is all about, enthusiasts keen to talk about the hobby, and basically share items they dont need.
 If that wasnt enough Jason handed me an unwanted? £25.00 Warlord gift voucher as he doesnt use their range. I was for once totally nonplussed. I will think about what I should do with this kind gift.
 I then managed to bump into Pete Smith of Pete's Flags, who I hadnt seen for awhile. Pete is one of the most talented people I know, and has just completed a Franco Prussian flag commission, which I know will be of a very exacting standard. He has promised to return to the WAS, to create some more class standards.
Finally, I met up with the great painter, Tony Runkee.
 I had given Tony a large group of Elite castings, for him to work his magic on. When I had originally bought the figures, I had been disappointed with their sculpting, but Tony managed to give them a really first rate finish, although he had not been impressed with their style.
 So having rushed about al day, I finally managed to get a look around the show.
It was pretty clear that the show was popular, and that there had been a very decent turnout by the wargaming community.
 Games wise, I thought the number of demonstartion games on show had been cut, although the number of competition games on the third floor looked to have increased again on last year.

 I can only apologise for not taking many photographs at the show. It was remiss of me, especially as there were some very nice games. Of particular note was a Kings of War game [ sorry no image] and a South London Warlords game. I was impressed by a well terrained SYW encounter, and a good version of the Alamo. Both were well presented games.

 Whilst checking out the trade, I came across a cabal of top wargames painters chewing the fat.
 Its not often you get the painting talent together like this, so for posterity I surreptitiously took a couple of images [ a bit like a paparazzi ] of Ian [ the best painter in six counties, according to him anyway. David, [Painter to the stars] Jarvis.  Shaun [ collector and painter of very fine figures, and probably owner of one of the best collections around ] Lowery, and two neer' do wells, Tony Runkee, and Shaunt [ Ask Ian who painted his 40mm figures] Bryant.

    So did York live up to expectations? Well it was certainly eventful, and although I couldn't savor the first rendezvous of the year due to commitments, I thought the event was cracking.
 So well done York Wargames Group, the show goes from strength to strength.
* Rocky Mountain Rendezvous (in trapper jargon) was an annual gathering (1825–1840) at various locations held by a fur trading company at which trappers and mountain men sold their furs and hides and replenished their supplies. The large fur companies put together teamster driven mule trains which packed in whiskey and supplies into a pre-announced location each spring-summer and set up a trading fair—the rendezvous—and at the season's end, packed furs out, normally the British Companies to Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest, and to one of the northern Missouri River ports such as St. Joseph, Missouri, if an American overland fur trading company.
Rendezvous were known to be lively, joyous places, where all were allowed- free trappers, Indians, native trapper wives and children, travelers and later on, even tourists who would venture from even as far as Europe to observe the festivities. It was described as a place full of  "Mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target-shooting, yarns, frolic, with all sorts of extravagances that white men or Indians could invent."

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Has anyone got any glue?

 As a retirement present, I bought and got constructed a shed/summerhouse in my garden. Well it looks like God had the last laugh, and sent the roof 10 yards over a nearby field. All that remains of the structure is the wall, ie one wall. So if anyone has any decent glue, I would be grateful.
 Oh and by the way, I dont think my insurance will cover the cost.  

Anyway, onto better things. A wargamer can always immerse themselves in their otherworld thank God. I have managed to get some painting done, due to the weather, so my Saxons, are moving along.
 The beauty about buying figures from RSM, is that there are always spare unwanted ones left. By that I mean, there is usually too many command and drummer figures. Similarly there is always a generous amount of artillery figures left. So as a little exercise I put together my first Saxon artillery piece and crew. The Saxon army painted their carriages with pitch and bitumen, so hopefully the colour is near the reality, and if not, sorry. Similarly they painted the ironwork a yellow, to match the ducal and royal colours.

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