Friday, March 29, 2013

Before and after...

Before...  


...and after..


...that's a bit better!

Thanks to Phil Broeders for the heads up on the cheap source of paint stands - wholly recommended..... if you want some, see here [clicky] for an example....

Friday, March 22, 2013

A new blog for a new boat...

So back in January I published four "nice to do" targets ('resolutions' are just too much of an unnecessary stress in a hobby that that should be a break from the rat race...)

...so how are they doing?
  1. a little more painting (I want to finish the Pz II and the Pz38T, and then balance the WSS forces with some opposition for Lord North and Greys Regiment) Going great guns on this one - I'm within 20 or 30 points of my 2012 total already....  the tanks were done, along with significant numbers of reinforcements to a number of projects...  long may it continue...
  2. the same number of table top games as last year if not one or two more... None so far - not good...
  3. new year new look - watch out for a change to the look and feel of the blog in January - I'll also freshen up all the project blogs as I go through the year...... Completed...
  4. BUT....   the main priority at least for the first half of the year, is to find a replacement for Papillon [clicky].... also as of this week COMPLETED!!

Welcome to the new boat... a bilge keel Hurley 20 of venerable age, and unsurpassed loveliness....!


Yep - currently known as Tjanna, but I shall (for the first time) be re-naming her....  can't say I'd have done it from choice, but the name doesn't signify anything specific (from what I can tell it's just a slightly unusual girls name), and I don't fancy having to spell it out every time I talk to a marina, or Heaven forbid, the Coast Guard..!

She'll be known as Sparrow - no specific reason other than the wing/flying analogy, they're also small, feisty, it's the same name as Bolitho's first command [clicky] which was always my favourite of the series....  and it's also Captain Jack's surname (and the family wouldn't let me call her Black Pearl)... and anyway I like it....



New blog added to the left.....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Body of British soldier found at Waterloo... part 2

Remember that post I did back in the summer about the body found on the battlefield at Waterloo [clicky]??

In the paper on Saturday I spotted this which brings the story nicely up to date ... it transpires that he was actually Hanoverian... read on, absolutely fascinating!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

33rd Virginia Infantry

Pushing on while the painting mojo is strong.... 

First though - that post I did on Old School has gone 'positively viral' (as the young people say) 800+ views so far, against my more usual levels of a tenth of that....  blimey....  still this post should manage to return us to more usual levels!

For a change of flavour (and a change is as good as a rest) this time I decided to make the next unit one for the American Civil war project, so let me introduce you to the 33rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry.

The 33rd was organized in the lower Shenandoah Valley during the months of April, May, June and July of 1861 but was mustered into service on 17 April 1861, it was one of five infantry regiments that made up the "Stonewall" Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia and comprised ten company's. The regiment was assigned to Colonel Arthur C. Cummings, a prominent lawyer
from Abingdon, Virginia who was a veteran of the Mexican War.


Cummings came from Washington County, Virginia and was the son of James and Mary Cummings; born October 1, 1822. He was licensed to practice law in 1846.In May, 1846, he raised, and was elected captain of, two different volunteer companies whose services were offered to the President of the United States for the war just beginning (Mexican American war); but the offer was declined (full quota of volunteers had been received) Undeterred he obtained a commission as captain of Co. K, 11th Regiment of U. S. Infantry and reached Vera Cruz with his company, July 1, 1847. 
Cummings was dangerously wounded in an engagement with a large guerrilla force at Paso Ovejas, near the National Bridge leading to the City of Mexico; and, on August 15, 1847, he was made brevet major for gallant conduct in that engagement. He continued to serve with great credit till the War ended. He was mustered out of the service, August 19, 1848.


On his return home, he resumed the practice of law but was commissioned colonel of the Fifth Regiment of Artillery, in the State's Militia, on October 22, 1849. In May, 1861, he was commissioned colonel of Virginia Volunteers, and was ordered to report to Jackson at Harper's Ferry, where he was assigned command of the 2nd (later 10th) Regiment.


In June, 1861, by order of General Jackson, he organized the 3rd Regiment, followed by the 33rd which he was then assigned the command of. He commanded this regiment at the first battle of Manassas, and until the reorganization, in 1862 where for reasons unknown (some say he'd had a disagreement with Jackson) he refused reelection as Colonel and went on to a career in politics. He passed away on the 19th of March, 1905
(Source: The Military History of the Virginia Military Institute from 1839-1861, by: Jennings C. Wise, Publ: 1915. Transcribed by: Helen Coughlin) 

The ten company's (comprising 60 to 100 men each) were as follows:

CompanyNameCounty FormedFirst Captain
"A"Potomac Guards (mustered June 17th)Hampshire County, WVP.T. Grace
"B"Independent GreysShenandoah CountyEmanuel Crabill
"C"Page Greys (mustered June 19th)WoodstockJohn Gatewood
"D"Mountain Rangers ( made up men from the small farms and cabins in the hills around Winchester; mustered July 26th))WinchesterFrederick W. M. Holliday
"E"Emerald Guard [clicky](made up mostly of Irish Emigrants; mustered June 1)New MarketMarion N. Sibert
"F"Mount Jackson Rifles (reported by a local newspaper, "...is made up of many of our best citizens and represents a large amount of wealth"; mustered June 15)Mount Jackson areaGeorge W. Allen
"G"Tom's Brook Guard Company (had so many members of the Crabill family in the company, it was oftentimes known as the "Crabill Company"; mustered July 8th)Mount Jackson areaGeorge Crabill
"H"Shenandoah RiflemenPage CountyWilliam D. Riffeter
"I"Rockingham Confederates (mustered June 22nd)Rockingham CountyJohn R. Jones
"K"Hardy GreysHardy County, WVAbram Spengler

By all accounts the 33rd saw hard fighting throughout the war - under Jackson, they fought at First Manassas, Kernstown*, Port Republic, Malvern Hill, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After Jackson's death they fought with the rest of the brigade at Gettysburg, Mine Run, the Wilderness Campaign and Spotsylvania, where the majority of the Brigade was overrun and captured.



Those that weren't captured were re-organised and went on to see action at Monocacy, Cedar Creek, Fisher's Hill, Petersburg, Saylor's Creek and finally Appomattox, where only 14 men were left to surrender!
The 33rd Virginia remained in the Stonewall Brigade in Thomas J. Jackson's Second Corps until the restructuring of the Army of Northern Virginia after his death in the spring of 1863. It was then put under Richard Ewell's command until the spring of 1864, when it dissolved at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

* The 33rd played a large role in holding a stone wall against overwhelming numbers, until being ordered to retire as their ammunition became expended. The regiment suffered 23 killed, 12 wounded and 18 captured out of  275 effectives at the start of the battle) See here [clicky] for a first hand account from Cummings himself...

Figures are 20mm from the inestimable Newline Designs [clicky] - flag is my own design, basic flag found on the web and then doctored...

Monday, March 11, 2013

One is not amused...

....currently laid low with a hideous lurgy* that the blog title may give some of you a clue to..... 

Much frustrated as I have a unit of Confederate infantry on the cusp of completion and today is the first day I've had the get up and go to actually start finishing them...  that's the next post.....

I have, however, enjoyed reading the outpourings from my fellow Bloggerati and was much enthused first by a post last week by fellow blogger Too Much Lead [clicky] So enthused in fact that I immediately ordered a set of these for the astonishingly cheap price of just over £2...

Even if it's only the more traditional brushes that work out OK (and they look good - they all come with protectors over the brushes), then I'm quids in - I'm fascinated by the longer brushes though. Either way, they've arrived so a more thorough review when I get to use them for real....

Then this morning I was reading Phil B's latest missive [clicky], which for once wasn't defamatory, dis-ambiguous, or libellous () where he discussed a cheap source for a paint stand....

You can only guess how this lit up a spark when you see what my painting table looks like ....

Errrr....  let's call this "before"......
Yep - the Vallejo's are stood in what used to be a Chinese Stir fry Vegetable container, the "thing" to the right is 30+ years old and used to be my fishing tackle box before it was pressed into service for it's current duties (the tubes of paint on the left are just for show by the way, it impresses the hell out of visitors ... )

Anyway - immediately ordered one (less than 10 squids for a 25 capacity stand, and that's with delivery!); I look forward to a far less cluttered "after" picture when it arrives...  I'll do a review here when it arrives....

It seems to me that the nail varnish/beauty business may be the source for all sorts of things cheap in the painting line......!

* and a hideous lurgy, as opposed to just a lurgy? One that stops you from work without guilt, but lays you so low you can't even pick up a book, never mind paint a figure.....

Monday, March 04, 2013

Lionheart - a review..

Took me a while but I've finally finished Lionheart! If you're thinking of trying it, be warned that this book is HUGE, but don't let that put you off .....

So what do you get in your 600 odd pages of very small print?? One cracking story...  this was originally intended to be a book in its own right, but Ms. Penman soon realised that the whole story was never going to be able to put in one book so she decided to split it in two...  this is volume 1 and basically covers the events of the 3rd Crusade up to when Richard departs the Holy Land....

The story covers his preparations in France, and his journey to the Holy Land via Cyprus and Sicily - there is a cast of thousands mostly drawn from actual history so we meet the treacherous Isaac Comenus, Balian the saviour of Jersualem, Sybilla, the Lusigans, Tancred, the weasely Phillip King of France, Joanna his sister, Eleanor of Aquitaine (his mother), the heads of the military orders of Hospitallers and Templars, and towering over them all is Richard Coeur de Lion...  a veritable force of nature if Ms Penman is to be believed....

What she's good at is depicting the minutiae of medieval life - illness, the importance of marriage in holding the warring western countries together (marrying off sisters to anyone who looked a threat seemed to be the done deal), diplomacy, bickering, politics - and all of this occuring at the same time as the 3rd Crusade....

The politics are treacherous...  the French under Philip won't always help Richard, Philip hates Richard among other reasons for not marrying his sister (who Richard was betrothed too at birth, but his father Henry had deflowered long before!), Richard doesn't have enough strength to carry the campaign on his own, but in the meanwhile the knights and families who live in the Holy Land, the "Poulains [clicky]", have their own agenda - they know that they will have to continue living in the Holy Land after Richard and Phillip have left and are more concerned about a strong succession....

Then there are the Saracens and Saladin - what I found interesting was the sheer amount of diplomacy that went on throughout the conflict - Richard never met Saladin face to face (so that picture from my child hood Ladybird book on Richard demonstrating to Saladin how his sword could cut through an iron bar wasn't the case.. ) but Richard did seem to get on very well with them - he even knighted some of the Saracen Emirs and at one time was hatching a plot to marry his sister to Saladin - not sure if he'd have actually gone thorough with it! The fact remains that Richard never completed the capture of Jerusalem, and when the war finally came to an end it was only because both he and Saladin had fought themselves to exhaustion and signed a truce.....

The depictions of battle are excellent - thirst, heat, flies, sand and the fundamental fact that if the Crusaders remained disciplined the Saracens could do little to damage them due to their heavy armour...

The medieval period is hugely interesting to me - I've long thought of starting a Wars of the Roses project (the first Sharon Penman book I read was the "Sunne in Splendour" set in that period and about the House of Plantagenet - also recommended by the way) but from a wargaming perspective I've always thought it might be a little dull (long lines of armoured men march towards each other, bash each other with large metal implements, and then die horribly) the 3rd Crusade however, offers an alternative.....

An absolute cracker - I rate this 8.5 out of 10.....  read it!