Thursday 25 July 2019

Its official Marshal Saxe is pants, and a groveling retraction included.

Sorry for the delay in posting but I was on my travels again last weekend. Just before I left John, Steve and I fought a Seven Years War battle using the Rank and File rules again. When I set the game up I forgot that I had only used units of 30 figures and instead used their full complement of 36.
It proved cumbersome to maneuver but to be honest I found the sight very easy on the eye. Rank and File rules are a decent set to use and lend themselves well to the linear tactics of the Seven Years War.
Naturally I opted for the French with Saxon allies and gave John and Steve the better quality Hanoverian and Hessian troops with a smattering of Austrian cuirassiers. I sometimes think I heap pressure on myself as the army facing me was a tough nut to crack.
The battle itself was a rough affair with Steve piling forward with his Hanoverian's whilst John who had a full brigade of Grenadiers and Cuirassiers took a more measured advance. My intention was to hold up John whilst striking at Steve. Naturally that didnt go to plan and I had to switch attacks and attempt to split the allies by attacking the centre.
It is advisable if possible to halt and fire in Rank and file, one gets a better chance of hitting something, whilst moving and firing does give you a bit of a disadvantage. Not too much but enough to think about what you are doing. Naturally I messed things up a tad and watched as my French infantry wilted under sustained fire.
My Saxons fared slightly better but in one penultimate move John managed to shake the whole brigade which effectively caused them to leave the table.

They may be veteran figures in the truest sense of the word but these Garrison troops were very very effective fighters as they laid into my Saxons. I actually managed to charge them with a Saxon regiment that had been unable to deploy into line.They amazingly pushed the Hessian's back but then sustained vicious fire from the Hessian supports and simply melted away. It had been a gamble especially as they had no supports to speak of, but it was satisfying to see, well it was for me anyway.
The game was more about showing Steve how Rank and File rules worked and it didnt take him long to pick them up. Personally I thought he had been cribbing the night before as my French reeled from sustained Hanoverian fire.

Ive noticed that whenever Marshal Saxe is in charge he tends to lose his command very quickly. This was no different although he did manage to bring on the reserve heavy cavalry which allowed the Franc/Saxons to retire untroubled. John kindly granted me a losing draw, but it didnt feel like that to be honest. Still a very enjoyable game and a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

                                                         And now; a retraction;...

A couple of weeks ago I alluded to John of the Westerhope Wargames club as having a nefarious past. This was meant as banter but unfortunately proved to upset the said John. So can I assure you that John has never to my knowledge ever been arrested, detained or even spoken to by the guardians of the law and my ill placed attempt at humour was well out of order. He is a fine upstanding member of the community and a regular attender at church, or so he reckons.

Saturday 13 July 2019


Over this last year I have unfortunately lost one close friend and three school friends that I grew up with and to be honest it does focus ones mind a little. Like all wargamers of a certain age you look at your collection and wonder what will happen to it.
John has a more pragmatic viewpoint and doesn't see the disposal as a problem or an issue to trouble which is an enviable position to have.He feels he's used them, enjoyed their use and its not his problem once he's gone.
Me being a sensitive soul view it differently.
The issue is not just the disposal of the figures, but all the books, magazines, handy pieces of kit etc etc. Once such a worry wouldn't have been a problem. There was always another wargamer who wanted to buy another large historical army or buildings etc for their use. Usually one didn't make a large profit, but you could usually rely on getting your money back for the sale. One was also certain they wouldn't end up locked away in a cupboard or worse a skip!  But now?............... 
Clearly the wargaming trend these last few years has been for small [50/60 figures] a side games.  Additionally these gamers need less terrain and less buildings. Now I've got nothing against this type of wargame and I will admit I've enjoyed the ones I've played. They are fun.
  Then there has been the massive increase in fantasy table top games again containing less figures albeit beautifully sculpted ones.Clearly these people have no requirement for a load of historically researched books and biographies and definitely any historical figures.
When one attends wargaming shows the large historical games containing hundreds if not thousands of figures are a rarity now and their replacements are more of these skirmish type games probably of a non historical bent. Again I have no issues with these small games which usually are very well done affairs.
 The issue is that these gamers don't want of desire large wargaming armies and seem happy with their more modest displays and collections. Consequently the market for moving on large historical armies appears to be diminishing and the need for books is even worse. What does one do with a life's collection?
I am of an age who grew up in the years after the most cataclysmic event for many generations. As a child I was surrounded by the effects of the Second World War. I saw it on television, in comics, books, education and by listening to the rarely discussed question of family experiences during the war. As a child and teenager I was fascinated by all things military and was hungry for information. Once I discovered wargaming it became even worse? as I craved to possess armies and I mean large numbers of figures of wargaming figures. First they were Airfix plastics but as I grew older these were replaced by the 'adult' metal figures. How could you be playing with toy soldiers? These are pewter and impeccably researched and cost a lot of money.
I was lucky in a lot of respects, I had a job. As a family we had a little disposable income and more importantly working shifts meant I was able to find time at the oddest hours to collect and paint my soldiers. Yes the cash was tight but through birthdays, Christmases, overtime etc. I was able to build up my collection. And then I sold the lot and replaced them with 6mm armies which I again painted.  At the time I never batted an eyelid. I could build the armies again. I had time and some spare cash.
And then of course I returned to my first love, 25/28mm metal figures. I think the colour and heft was just too much for me. Who can resist  serried ranks of metal joyousness. The rest is history.
Unfortunately like a lot of wargamers one gets side tracked and begins to deviate from their main projects and buy figures that never will be painted or used. We've all been there if the readers are of a certain age. Younger wargaming souls appear to be different. 50 figures here, 50 figures there, they might make for a fun game but there is never a need for an army of hundreds if not thousands of figures.Books? Nah dont need them, just the latest set of rules and of course the inevitable lists of troop/monster types.
The net result is that as wargamers fade away, very few collections are wanted and certainly unless it is a very rare book, these beloved items are merely seen as candidates for a charity shop.In recent months Ive seen copies of my favourites being sold for the proverbial pennies. The Anatomy of Glory is a good example. I paid weekly to buy this book from a local shop until eventually I could own it. I felt I had won the pools [ a pre Lottery game] Recently I saw a copy unloved at a Bring and Buy selling for a fiver. It never sold? I nearly bought it because it was that cheap even though I still have my copy.
 I've nearly completed my English Civil War Old School collection and wonder if I should consider building further armies. I hope I would have the time but realistically speaking I have armies now that dont receive enough action so what would be the need for building further armies when these should be used first?
I am currently piling up unpainted figures that I will sell. My book collection is more of an issue as most of them have a personal memory attached to them as I strove for information and the cash to own the book I needed. But I also have very very large collections of 6mm Napoleonic armies that have rarely been used for years. Do I offload these to the ever diminishing market, safe in the knowledge that another wargamer will use them? Or do merely leave them in their draws until I shift this Earth when they risk being skipped with piles of magazines and books. The very thought brings me out in a cold sweat. I appreciate this is a problem for wargamers generally but as historical wargamers disappear who will want their large armies? Certainly not the gamer who uses the latest offering of rulebooks.

                The images are of my latest English Civil War additions. All Hinchliffe Miniatures.The cavalry were painted using a couple of pots of the new Games Workshop Contrast paints.Tried as an experiment.

Saturday 6 July 2019

Boston, July 4th 2019.

 Well a happy July 4th to everyone. Yes its a bit belated but I have just returned from Boston so can be excused the tawdry cheer for those nasty rebels. I could say I feel refreshed after the break but to be honest I really could do with a rest after a week tramping around Boston and its neighbouring areas.   One thing I will say for our American cousins they do celebrate their history and as I've said before are very proud of it unlike this country and its many disgraceful detractors.

 The drum major was magnificent and really added to the band who were excellent. Their uniforms were great to look at and showed how unwhite white is, if you know what I mean.
 I will admit that walking through Boston really fired me up for the wars of the revolution, hopefully I will be able to keep the urge under control.

 My poor wife was dragged up to Breeds/Bunker Hill on a very very hot Boston day. Foolishly we walked all 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill obelisk which we completed after several stops. It was a steady 90f. One can imagine the fug the poor soldiers must have been in tramping up to take on those damn rebels.


                 The Boston skyline from the top of the obelisk, a beautiful city if very very hot and humid. Luckily there are lots of bars serving a wide array of quality beer.
There is a nice little museum opposite the obelisk although there was a shortage of real weapons, uniforms etc.

                      The model battlefield is a great piece with excellent commentary.
                                              65mm models of the rebel defences.

 I would thoroughly recommend Boston to any would be traveler. It is a beautiful city with lovely parks and really friendly people. I would suggest taking some decent walking shoes because we walked miles each day, no mean feat given the weather. I would also suggest taking your passport with you to the 4th July celebrations because being over 60 is not sufficient to allow you to drink in the park and they wouldn't accept the new photographic driving licence although I'm certain I could have bought a gun if Id wanted.

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