Friday 17 January 2020

Some SYW Hinchliffe goodies.

 I would love to take credit for these lovely painted figures but apart from the mounted officers they were obtained ready painted from Ian Hinds. However actually painted these Hinchliffe SYW Austrians truly deserves some credit because they are quality painted figures.
 I added a couple of Pete's Flags to the units and look forward to using them soon.

 Similarly I cannot claim credit for these beautiful SYW mounted dragons that are probably meant to be Saxon chevau legers. Well thats what I will be using them as. I particularly loved the use of pins to replace their swords a la Peter Gilder.

 I also purchased some badly painted Garrison SYW artillary which I repainted/ touched up to make several French battalion guns and one heavy piece. Its not that I really needed anymore guns but as I regress wargames wise I felt the need to have some Garrison figures in my armies. Its not the sum total of my painting efforts come the New Year but its the only finished figures to speak of.
I have been a bit busy with other matters but have managed to begin the re jigging of my wargames room with the intention of creating more space and less weight on the joists. I think it would probably be easier to simply start a diet.

Thursday 9 January 2020


Just a heads up for any wargamers looking to brighten up a dark damp Sunday. I've attended the last couple of years and enjoyed a couple of hours browsing toys, terrain and such like while chatting to fellow gamers.
 This year  I think I'll take some stuff along to sell off. Its free so whats not to enjoy.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Independent Wargames Annual 2019.

Welcome to the Independent Wargames Annual for 2019. I initiated the Annual in an attempt to produce something that was more than just a review of what I did, where and when in whatever year I was posting about.
That said as the year 2019 closes and 2020 beckons one is naturally allowed to mull over the campaign year and record what stood out and what could be done to improve the pleasures of our wonderful hobby for me.
 The standout moment of 2019 had to be the weekend giant refight of the Battle of Waterloo in Glasgow, where wargamers from across the world met up at the university to take part in using 23,000 figures to raise cash and awareness for injured veteran soldiers.

 My command, part of the Young Garde that since the game have moved on to pastures new. The weekend was a wonderful example of how to run a very large wargaming event and also a perfect example of how to publicise the hobby to the unknowing public.

Anyway back to other matters;
Colin over on 'Carryings on up the Dale blog posted the article that originally appeared in Practical Wagamer way back in 1990 of John and my re enactment of the Battle of Blenheim in 6mm. It was a real trip down memory lane although sadly I could remember very little of the event.
 Luckily John who has religiously kept a dairy of his wargaming since the beginning was able to provide me with details of that fateful weekend at Hunwick Community Centre. It was quite an event for me made extra special by the great Charlie Wesencraft accepting a command.
 John was able to tell me the battle was staged on 24th September 1989! hence the '89' Beano annual picture and we used the excellent 200 Years wargames rules. They were and are still very good and if I remember correctly were easy to play.
  The battle was a very tight victory for the allies and needless to say my French command was virtually wiped out. So nothing changes really. I sold the actual armies last year which was a shame but needs must sometimes.Some of the original terrain boards were given away this year, surprisingly still in very good condition. Clearly I poured some real love into their construction. What struck me about the actual game was just how enthusiastic we were about the whole event and how driven John and I were to get every regiment on the battlefield only to discover a year later that we had painted the right number of units but included some units that hadnt fought at the battle. Important in 1989 but now, well at least we had the unit numbers correct and the game looked right.

I found a couple of old photographs from that eventful day, the first one of the great Charlie Wesencraft throwing the allied command over the stream towards the Bavarian command with John's 'young' son Neil watching. Young Neil who was tea boy that day now has large 40K armies so something must have stuck.
  The second photograph is of the same part of the table pre combat, we always liked to do things big, even in the 1980's.

 In the weeks on the run up to Christmas John and I fought several English Civil War battles in both 15mm and 25mm. The rules we used were Victory Without Quarter that John had downloaded from 'The Lily Banners' site. The rules have been around a few years but I had never played them. They gave a really tense series of battles with uncertainty and real friction. Whilst this is not a review of the best rules of the year, I must admit I have thoroughly enjoyed using them and considering they are free to download are definitely worthy of my recommendation of 2019 even though I have come late to the party.

Normally I dont keep a count of what figures Ive painted and based simply because its something I have never seen as needed. With retirement I can paint regularly and luckily I am still able to paint unhindered by illness or injury. So I just put my head down and crack on. I know that in 2019 because of the Waterloo game my ECW project was delayed by the painting of my Young Garde Command but it didnt really stop me from completing most of what I wanted for the ECW.
My deviation into SPQR again stopped me painting some additional ACW units I have ready but again they are just extra regiments I wanted to add, simply because I bought some 'interesting' new figures that had just been released last year.  Hopefully the next couple of months will allow me to add to both the ACW, ECW and SYW armies. [all those W's]

Another thing I try not to do is announce that I have several resolutions for the new year, especially because any good intent lasts only as long as I can remember them which is usually about a nano second. I have however determined that I will re jig my wargaming room and also sell all my 6mm Napoleonic armies. Given how Napoleonic's was always my first love this will be difficult but to be honest I have whole corps of figures that have never been used since they were painted some 10 years ago. As a sign of my intent I finally disposed of all my terrain boards [sorry Dave] which was a shame in some respects, but weight and space have become an issue. I know they have gone to good homes.
 So the logistical nightmare of shifting several thousand 6mm figures beckons, hopefully I will be able to carry this task through quickly.

 2019 did see make a concerted effort to locate and collect the remaining Wargamers Newsletters that I needed??? for my collection. Only last month I believed I was nearing completion only to discover that the magazine started two years earlier than I thought! So now the difficult task of locating the magazines for the years 1962 and 1963 lies before me, and given the poor printing quality that Donald Featherstone and Tony Bath were forced to use Im not holding out much hope.
 Not wanting to boast I was really pleased when I was able to obtain some War Game Digest's which were the precursor of the Newsletter and it is very noticeable the quality of the magazines production in comparison to the English Newsletter. Even then the US wargaming scene prided itself on quality magazine and book production, and yet the British articles seem more relevant to what I term modern wargaming and historical research.

Whilst attempting not to make this a true review I must mention he wargames shows I attended.John and I attended fewer than usual but this was more to do with circumstances outside of our control than personal choice.My favourite was the first Partizan of 2019 which had the balance between wargames historical and otherwise about right. A close second however was Battleground staged on Teeside which is a lovely show that is definitely going in the right direction.
Best wargaming product of 2019 for me was the Games Workshop range of Contrast 'paints? The company has once again produced the next generation of paint to make wargaming even more pleasurable.
Declaring the best figures of 2019 is clearly a subjective thing and I love most wargaming ranges, but thats simply because all toy soldiers have a charm of their own. My personal favourites were however the Victrix plastic ranges of ancients and the new Steel Fist landsknects. Not cheap but real works of art. But then of course I also rediscovered the old Mini Figs ranges for the ECW and once more fell for their charm. Wargaming is a tough hobby sometimes. 
One thing that I clearly failed at was increasing the numbers of wargaming followers of my blog. The Facebook experiment became a real nightmare and frankly a waste of effort. I appreciate that blogs are somehow passe but for me they provide a great way to swop ideas, viewpoints and knowledge. Something that other more instant platforms dont. But at least I tried and I learned a little more about the curse that is the internet. 
But to end on a more positive note, the hobby for me appears vibrant and full of potential.There are clearly some wonderful and very clever wargamers out there who simply get on with enjoying the hobby and continue to produce some great rules and wonderful figures. So a happy new year to one and all and dont put off until tomorrow what you can do today.   

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