Friday, March 30, 2007

The drums of war are beating..

As mentioned previously, my trusty (or should that be rusty?!) wargaming buddy Darrell is coming over this weekend, and I've been hard at work running up a scenario.. in the end it wan't too hard, as all I had to do was visit my own Teasers page. After an enjoyable hour or so reminding myself of the contents of the various teasers I have listed, I ended up choosing the "Advance Guard" teaser as the subject of our action..

The table has been set:

The scenario has been set in the American War of Independance (purely to allow me to use the newly paintend Saintonge regiment, and a piece of terrain I picked up at Salute last year - the hay barn in the picture on the left).

The objectives for the scenario are for each side to try and grab the other sides objective, whilst taking every opportunity to also give them a "damn good thrashing".... the battery in the digital camera is on charge, so hope to post some pictures and a report soonest.

What with the game on Sunday, and a beer festival tomorrow (my first trip to Portchester beer festival - which happens to be in the village hall, just up the road from the Roman castle), I'm really looking forward to this weekend! J

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Happy Birthday...

..it's my birthday today, so happy birthday to me... J ..so what about the presents?? Well nothing particularly bright and shiny in the wargaming department, but to be honest after this number of years I don't really expect packets of little metal men wrapped in birthday paper, and anyway part of the joy of the hobby is being able to choose and buy yourself - if someone else bought them for me, what would I do??!

So what did I get??

  • Well, standing instructions to my nearests and dearests are "book tokens, please, plain vanilla, and in any denomination you care to choose.." What does he mean by 'plain vanilla', you ask?? Well, in the UK you can get book tokens/vouchers that can only be spent in a specific shop - hideous - I like the one's you can spend in any shop... my idea of a nightmare is to get WHSmith vouchers (a UK stationers chain for my worldwide readers) - their book ordering is a minimum 6 weeks, and that's if they can get it, and usually they're more expensive than anyone else.... Anyway I'm pleased to say I got a nice pile of "plain vanilla" ones this morning - now starts the cogitation, planning, thinking etc. about what to spend them on... ace! The only definite I have at the moment is the Saul David book "Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire" which is just out in paperback.. suggestions to me....
  • Beer - another one of my abiding passions! Four bottles of Hop Back "Summer Lightning" (absolutely classic ale - golden, slightly citrus, bitter), and four bottles of a beer that I seem to discover every winter Fullers "Winter Ale" (web site says it all - dark, malty, fruity, nutty, bitter).. I also got a bottle of Fullers "Vintage Ale" - not tried this before, but it looks like I need to treat it with reverence.. J
  • Books - just one, the new Alan Mallinson, Hervey of the Light Dragoons novel "Man of War" - I've been reading the Hervey books since the start of the series and wholeheartedly recommend them - this is the 9th book, and is set in 1827 (all the books are about life in a Light Dragoon regiment after the Napoleonic Wars, so not the normal re-hash of Sharpe). Previous books have dealt with conflicts in India, Canada, etc. Top notch reading, in the style of Patrick O'Brien....

So what has been happening on the wargaming front...?? Not much, to be honest, bit busy elsewhere.. I have been catching up on my reading, however, having just finished Falkners book on Ramillies. Falkner is rapidly becoming one of my favourite military history writers (see also his book on Blenheim in the same series), he writes clearly, lucidly, with good sources, and lots of eyewitness comments. He also has the happy knack of being able to keep me turning the page - very easy to read, and very exciting....

My wargaming buddy DG is down this weekend however, and the drums of war are already beating...

Final word this post, from "Ramillies" - how about this for a life??

"In memory of William Billinge, who was born in a Cornfield at Fawfieldhead in this parish in the year 1679. At the age of 25 years he enlisted into His Majesty's Service under Sir George Rooke, and was at the taking of the Fortress of Gibraltar in 1704. He afterwards served under the Duke of Marlborough at the ever memorable Battle of Ramillies, fought on the 23rd of May, 1706 where he was wounded by a musket, shot in the thigh. He afterwards returned to his native country, and with manly courage defended his Sovereign's rights at the Rebellion in 1715 and 1745. He died within the space of 150 yards of where he was born, and was interred here the 30th January 1791, aged 112 years.

Billited by Death, I quartered here remain. When the trumpet sounds, I'll rise and march again."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

last of the new batch of Teasers added

..just a quick post to let everyone know that the last of this new batch of Teasers has now been added to the relevant page (listed to the left).. this one is a test of Teaser No. 4 "Hold up in the Badlands" from the September 1978 issue of "Battle", and was fought using an ACW background...

..that's it for now - chafing to get painting again - I have some Lancers primed and ready for the Sudan if I could just find a few hours to start work on them!

Friday, March 16, 2007

More Teasers and a trip to the "smoke"....

Have added another two teasers to the Teasers page - these two date from May and June of 1978 so are quite early in the series - they comprise a test of the "Wagon Train" scenario, and teaser No. 3 "Advance Guard Action". This latter one certainly looks interesting....

On Wednesday, for reasons of work, I was in London to attend a meeting - the meeting was in the St. Katherine's Dock (East end docks area - mightily bashed during the war), and on the understanding I don't get up to London much (and am therefore easily pleased) I was pleasantly surprised by the area.... best by a long shot however, is coming out of the bowels of the earth (a.k.a the London Underground) to come face to face with the Tower of London, with Tower bridge behind... cracking site, and one that immediately brings to mind new wargame periods... Senlac Hill, shield walls, and Norman Knights.... are all wargamers similarly fixated, such that any walk, visit, or trip, is immediately thought of in terms of military history, and the aptness to the wargame/painting table, I wonder?!!

Either way, happily the meeting finished reasonably early, and I found myself with a couple of spare hours. Given I've always wanted to look round the National Army Museum, I headed on over to Chelsea for a visit..

Thoughts??

  • You certainly can't fault the location of the building - the museum is in Chelsea, not far from Sloane Square, certainly one of the more expensive parts of London... it's located at the end of a row of Georgian buildings that form the Chelsea Hospital (of Chelsea Pensioners fame); the museum itself is a bit of a concrete monstrosity, however..
  • The displays/content were OK - I've been wanting to go for some time, so maybe I had built my hopes up, but I have to say that my main impression is that the displays, and the way they are put together, is a little "disjointed" .. the museum uses "themes" as a way of hanging together the displays - at the moment the themes, or "exhibitions", are The Making of Britain, Changing the World, World Wars &
    Fighting For Peace, but there is also a standalone exhibition based on the Somme.
  • Of the exhibitions, for me the best were "the Making of Britain" and "Changing The World" as these cover off my main wargaming interests - in the former there was some (fairly limited) coverage of the wars of Marlborough, and in the case of the latter the Campaigns in the Sudan.
Highlights were -

  • Siborne's diorama of "Waterloo" - it is worth going to the museum for this ALONE! Quite astonishing.. at least 20 feet by 20 feet, and covered in thousands of (I guess) approx. 6mm home cast figures...
  • Lots of diorama's - plenty comprised of work/figures by the likes of Suren, Tradition etc. Rorkes Drift springs to mind
  • A full size mannequin of a private of the 10th Sudanese Infantry regiment at Omdurman - brilliant to see close up, and to see the colours of the component uniform parts...
  • Lots of paintings - especially the one's depicting battle scenes...
In summary? Well worth a visit, it does suffer in comparison to the Imperial War Museum, but then it's a fraction of the size, and the aims are different - the IWM covers the study of war, the National Army Museum is there to give the history of the British Army.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Some new teasers added..

As promised the first of the new Teasers have been added to my web page - follow links to the left.

I've added the first ever Teaser which dates to February 1978 and is entitled "Bridge Demolition" - this was originally published in "Battle". I've also finally got my act in gear and actually scanned the August 1982 Teaser, which up until now has been present only in JPEG format...

Keep an eye open here for more news on additional Teasers - I have another three to post in the near future.

I have to admit - I'm taking my time as these "Battle" magazines I picked up from eBay are brilliant - I'd forgotten how good some of these old magazines were, and with the sole exception of "Battlegames" there isn't anything to match them these days.. in the four I obtained alone, their are articles by:
  • Charles Grant on Marlburian Warfare, refighting Oudenarde, etc.
  • Tony Bath on the Hyborian Campaign (classic!)
  • Phil Barker on gaming in 15 mm (pictures of the hideous old style Minifgs 15mm's in strips!)
  • etc. etc.
...huge amounts of brain food - if you see any, I'd advise buying them..

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Saintonge in glorious colour, and Teaser news..

Just a small update to share some pictures of the completed Saintonge Regiment, as they're now based up and 'ready for battle':





Can't wait to get them into the next game!

I've also been busy over the last few days slaving over a hot scanner, the reason being, I was lucky to get four old issues of "Battle" magazine on eBay that had some "Table Top Teasers" I hadn't seen before, including the very first from way back in February '78!

Keep an eye here, and I'll post once I've put them up...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"Saintonge" Regiment joins the ranks..

Just to show that all is not completely quiet on the wargaming front, last night (my other half being absent on work related matters) I took myself off to the painting table with the intention of reducing the pile of under-coated lead sitting in the "waiting to paint" pile.. as an aside, I suspect I'm not the only wargamer who is surrounded by index-linked piles of little metal men - there's:
  • the waiting to be opened pile
  • the opened and waiting to be organised into units pile
  • the units waiting to be undercoated pile which is by far the largest in my case - though depending on how organised (ie. anal) you are, then it may be the former... I leave you to judge how "organised" I must be..
  • the undercoated units waiting to be painted pile
Anyway - the unit I planned to work on were the tail end of yet another cupboard clear out by Lofty C. (aka John Corrigan; the diamond geezer who started me off on the 25mm AWI path) - namely more Minfigs 25mm American War of Independance... I haven't painted any AWI for some time, but was struck by something said by one of the guys on the Old School Wargaming group - basically that the periods you play in are "kept alive" by constantly adding to them in the way of new units, rules, terrain etc. It seemed to me to be very apt - hence the choice of unit..

So a long preamble, but in summary, at the end of the evening I'd finished another French Regiment - the Regiment Saintonge (regimental colours as follows from Warflag.Com) and very smart they look as well. White uniforms (naturally, being French!) with a darkish green turnback on the cuffs. Very easy, and enjoyable, painting... all that's needed now is some varnish and basing.

My research shows that they were also know as the 85éme regiment of the Line, and were originally raised in 1684 (may well have to paint this regiment for the WSS project if they were present in the North European theatre of operations!). 

From 1763 to 1768 the regiment served in the West Indies and French Guiana, but in 1780 the regiment was sent to America and took part in the siege of Yorktown. 

In 1782 the regiment returned to the West Indies, and then back to France and in 1783, following the French Revolution, they became the 82éme Regiment of Infantry.

Friday, March 02, 2007

22nd February - Game Report "Crossing the River"

Last weekend Darrell and I got together for the first game of the new year, click here.. for the report of a most enjoyable evenings gaming..
I've also completed painting my first unit of foot, using the Warrior miniatures that I reviewed on the homepage - these have joined the ranks of the French as the Royal Italiene. All I can say is that if they perform as well again in the next game, then all my regiments are going to be made up of Warrior figures from now on!

15th January - Ammunition Wagons, Dutch WSS troops and Sudan thoughts..

Some photo's as promised of the ammunition wagons I picked up at Warfare, and also the latest units to join the ranks of the War of the Spanish Succession armies - Dutch infantry and cavalry (click on the picture for a bigger view..)..

I'm beginning to think now that I'm hitting "critical mass" on the WSS project and that I can slow down and start putting some effort into the other periods I'm interested in - based on some fine brain food from the guys on the "Old School Wargaming" Yahoo group, thoughts are beginning to return again to the heat of the desert, sandstorms, gunboats, gatling guns, zariba's of dry thorn - yup, it's Sudan time!

In many ways what has stopped this project progressing has been the lack of a rule set - I've looked at a fair few but have yet to find a set that really "grabs" me... I've now ordered a set called "Pony Wars" which are for old west, US cavalry and Indians etc. but were used extensively by Peter Gilder for his Sudan games.. more when I get them.

11th December - the WSS army review..

As promised, I have now got the photo's from the first full review of the British and French armies, so without further ado let's proceed! All of the following (with the exception of the French Navarre regiment) have been painted in the period since Salute in April '06..

This is the French army (and at the moment it's purely French - Bavarian allies are next on the painting schedule) - you can click on any of the pictures to get a bigger version:

Running up the line and into the distance - first off the French cavalry (Orleans behind - all Dixon Miniatures), then the infantry (Bourbonnais & Navarre in the second row, Bearn in front)and beyond them the latest infantry regiment to join the ranks, that of Toulouse..(Minifigs & Dixon Miniatures - all flags by Warflag)

..another view, but this time from a different perspective, which gives a better view of the far end of the line in the previous picture...

..Now for the 'Allied' army (there is a Dutch regiment of foot present!); same view as for the first French picture, and as before, you can click on the image for a bigger view.

Running up the line and into the distance - first off one of the English cavalry regiments (Lumley's - Dixon), Ingoldsby's regiment of foot behind (Essex), then Orkney's (Dixon), and the other side of Ingoldsby's is the Dutch foot regiment "Beinheim" (Minifigs) and the Foot Guards (Minifigs) beyond them. In the far distance is the other English cavalry regiment, Schomberg's (Dixon). This picture also gives a nice view of the officer figures; the rules I use require figures for Brigade and Army commanders.....another view, slightly different perspective, which gives a better view of the far end of the line from the previous picture...

..nice view of Ingoldsby's and Orkney's.....