Friday, January 29, 2021

Steel Fist shiney's!

Click on the image to go to Steel Fist
I first heard of this kick starter months ago, on TMP of all places I think, though thinking further on it, it might have been a mention on the Ralphus's blog [clicky] that gave me the hint...
No one in their right mind spends time on TMP voluntarily...
Anyway, at the time they were starting up a kick starter for a new range of highly detailed 15mm English Civil War - at the time the kick starter was a little rich for me, but the more I looked at them the more I liked the look of them so just after Christmas I took the plunge and ordered two packs of foot - one each of pikes (ECWF1) and shot (ECWF4) and earlier this week they arrived, so I thought you might fancy a look..

First off the pike - you have to fix your own pikes, and Steel Fist provide a little bag of brush bristles but I may use wire instead..  lovely aren't they - looking forward to painting up a regiment of them

Next the muskets, and I have to say I like them even more than the pike -  I love the kneeling figures. Note also the supplied sprue of additional swords ..

Lovely detail..

No review would be complete without a size comparison - first off then Steel Fist on the left, Peter Pig on the right... Steel Fist smaller/slighter

I only had a Minifigs 15mm from their Marlburian range, but the following should give an indication, again the Steel Fist is smaller, but about the same heft..  look at the animation though - the officer shouting, and you can almost see the ball dropping into the musket..

Very pleased with them.. 
Cost analysis..  the Steel Fist are 28 figures a pack, 24 rank and file with the rest being command so they work out at about 59p a figure (ignoring delivery) compared with 44p for Peter Pig - so a standard regiment would cost £14.15 for Steel Fist, or £10.50 for Peter Pig. A fairly significant cost difference the value of which will only become clearer once I've painted a regiment..

Friday, January 22, 2021

Charles Churchill's Regiment of Foot

Charles Churchill (1656–1714),
Governor of Guernsey (1706–1711)
by Godfrey Kneller (1646–1723)
(circle of) Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery
After having completed the Regiment Angoumois for the French, I turned to the Blenheim order of battle in order to complete a matching Allied regiment. I field both sides so I like to keep them balanced...
So here is another regiment leaving the painting table destined for the miniature army of the Duke of Marlborough 
Better known to posterity as the Buffs this regiment had an interesting start in life being able to trace it's ancestry to 1572 and those English who fought for the Dutch against the Spanish in the Thirty and Eighty Years wars. 
By 1655 these troops were down to about battalion strength (and as the Dutch were at War with Britain at the time that is probably not surprising! ), under the command of one John Cromwell
After the restoration of Charles II (1660) he requested their return in early '65, and on the outbreak of the 2nd Anglo Dutch War (March 1665) those remaining English troops who refused to swear allegiance to Holland were cashiered - the remnants were invited to serve in a new regiment funded by Sir George Downing the English Ambassador to Holland. and returned to England  where they were ranked as the 4th of Foot.

They were first named the 4th (The Holland Maritime) Regiment and then in 1668 renamed the 4th (The Holland) Regiment. The regiment operated essentially as marines serving in the fleet, on board ship.

Four commanders later, and in the Monmouth rebellion the wonderfully named Theophilus Oglethorpe was appointed as colonel (October '68). He remained loyal to to James II and was removed from command after refusing to take the oath to William. 

After the Glorious Revolution, in the subsequent army reforms, the Third, or Marine regiment, was incorporated into the Second Foot Guards so the Holland Regiment was stepped up and now ranked as the 3rd Foot. To avoid confusion with William's other "Dutch" British regiments they were also officially renamed the "Prince George of Denmark's Regiment" (until 1708 when the aforesaid Prince died), but as was the more common usage of the time, were better known by the name of their Colonel..

That commander was Charles Churchill (he was Marlborough's younger brother) who funnily enough had joined the regiment as an ensign in 1674. 

Under him the regiment was sent to Flanders for eight years as part of the Allied forces. They fought at Steenkerque in August 1692, and returned to England in 1697.

In 1702 they were part of the expedition to Cadiz, and the landings near Vigo. In 1703 it was back to Flanders where the next year the regiment was part of the march to the Danube, where they fought at Schellenberg, and Blenheim. 

After Blenheim the regiment was used to escort prisoners to the United Provinces and remained in garrison the rest of the year.

At Blenheim, Churchill (who along with Cadogan, was a key advisor to his elder brother) commanded the centre of the allied army, his regiment served under him, in Webb's Brigade commanded by Major General John Richmond Webb, along with Thomas Meredyth's Regiment of Foot, The Queen's Regiment of Foot, and 1st/His Majesty's Royal Regiment of Foot. They would have been part of the crossing of the Nebel, and the subsequent attack on the surrounded French foot in Blenheim.
Under Churchill, the regiment went on to participate in the breaking of the Brabant lines and Ramillies before getting a new commander when Churchill was promoted to command the 2nd Foot Guards. After him they served at Malplaquet and Oudenarde. Veterans..

Steady the Buffs!

So..  15mm Minifigs except for the drummer and the officer who I think are Dixons - painted January 2021.


Friday, January 15, 2021

I saw a mouse...

I saw a mouse, where 
there on the stair 
where on the stair 
right there...
A Windmill In Old Amsterdam

..move along..  no mice to be seen here.. but enthused by Norm's end of year write up that featured a cracking little windmill, I immediately hot footed it off to the manufacturer and ordered myself one, as I've been wanting to add one to the collection for ages..

So the first terrain addition of 2021 is this lovely little windmill from Ironclad Miniatures in 15mm [clicky]...

Simple enough kit..  main body of the building comes in four parts..  the sails in five (four sails and the central mount) I modified mine so that the sails turn by drilling a hole through the central boss and which I then inserted a flat top nail through tat I then glued into a hole in the main body.... simple pleasures..  😀

Quite pleased how it turned out..  black primed, dry brushed earth, dry brushed lighter earth, and then a very light dry brush of a grass green to imply age, verdigris, and growth..

So Ironclad Miniatures windmill in 15mm ..  painted January 2021..

Friday, January 08, 2021

Against all the odds...

Well what about that...  against all the odds, and after almost 4 years we've only gone and finished the Sudan rebasing project.. 

Turns out there were only about 15 or 16 bases to do so I had absolutely no excuse on a cold wet Sunday afternoon not to do them.. 

Better have a game with them now then!!

Sunday, January 03, 2021

2020.. a review...

So as we say every year... "here we go again"...

I'm still not really a 'blowing the trumpet', 'review your triumphs', etc etc type of person (I leave that to the business corporate types I work with), but like my 'end of the year' review on the sailing blog it is kind of nice to cast my eyes over the year gone, and remind myself of the ups and (this year, mostly) downs.... and besides everyone else is doing the same thing...

So by way of a joining up of the threads, and a bringing to a close of the last year, let's push on...

First, how did I do against my expectations [clicky]?? Note: I never, ever, make 'resolutions', just 'set  expectations', and thus when I inevitably fail to meet them yet again, it is not too demoralising or depressing an event..

1/. Play more games..
    Three table top games in 2020 (c/w four in 2019, six in 2018, and eight in 2017) which is atrocious (more below); 
    • ECW - "Incident at Chudley Bottom"
    • ACW - "Battles with Model Soldiers" - "Game 2"
    • AWI - John Corrigan Memorial game 2020 - "Attack on a Prepared Position"

    ..but on the other hand DG and I did play 6 (possibly even 7?) games of online DBN which was a bit of a hit this year - in fact we have a game on the go even as we speak, the Ottomans are taking on the French on Egypt for the third time...  we're using Battle Chronicler and exchanging moves via Dropbox.
    So all in all - not too bad I think...
2/. Try to keep up my painting efforts..
    I would say I did "OK" with this one - as is usual with me, my painting months are beginning and end of the sailing season, and despite there being no sailing season this year the same held true, so clearly it is the heat in the loft that's the deal breaker..   and this summer was HOT... there's 253 points worth here, which compares with 294 points in 2019... close, but no cigar... 
    English Civil War continues to feature heavily as you would expect given that was this was last years new project, but as it begins to get to critical mass, more items/projects from other periods also appeared...  the Marlburian infantry were the first I've painted in that period for 7 years.... there are more ECW units required, and I have an order for some of the new figures from Steelfist [clicky] which I'm looking forward to seeing....  this year will be a consolidation year, I'll add more to the existing projects, next year there may be a new project, we shall see..

    Date (click to go to post) Item description Period Make Scale Points Value/Total Pts
    5/1/20 Replacement terrace WW2/WSS 4Ground 15mm 15 pts
    11/1/20 Lord Mandeville’s Regiment of Foot ECW Minifigs/Peter Pig 15mm 24@1pt for 24 pts
    30/1/20 Lord Grandison’s Regiment of Horse ECW Peter Pig 15mm 8@2pt for 16 pts
    24/2/20 Sir William Balfour's Regiment of Horse ECW Peter Pig 15mm 8@2pt for 16 pts
    19/3/20 42nd Virginia Infantry ACW Newline 20mm 20@1pt for 20 pts
    10/4/20 5th Ohio Volunteer Infantry ACW Newline 20mm 20@1pt for 20 pts
    29/4/20 Essex, Bedford and Balfour's Cuirassiers ECW Peter Pig 15mm 8@2pt for 16 pts
    21/4/20 John Belasyse's Regiment of Foote ECW Peter Pig 15mm 24@1pt for 24 pts
    8/5/20 American Civil War generals ACW Newline 20mm 3@2pts for 6 pts
    The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Horse
    Peter Pig
    8@2pt for 16 pts
    English Civil War officers
    Peter Pig 15mm 3@2pt for 6 pts
    Iron (& cotton & timber) clad ships
    Peter Pig
    3@5pts;1@3pts for 18pts
    11/12/20 Lord Wharton's Regiment of Foot ECW Peter Pig/Minifigs/Gallia 15mm 24@1pt for 24 pts
    Colonel Thomas Blagge's Regiment of Foote
    Peter Pig 15mm
    24@1pt for 24 pts
    1/1/21 Regiment Angoumois WSS Minifigs 15mm 24@1pt for 24 pts

3/. complete the Sudan re-basing, 
    I reported last year that this was an abject failure and I'm afraid it has remained so - I  keep forgetting I still need to do it!  
    I'll carry this one over, and I also need to remedy the game situation!
4/. continue reading more non-fiction... 
    If I did nothing else in 2020 I read...  thank goodness for books...  slightly up on last year, but the quality was not as good though there was one of only two of my 10 plus's in the list..  Hastings again get's the laurels this year with "Chastise" which was utterly gripping..  (last year it was his history of Vietnam)..  the Yves Martin book is only slightly behind it... last of all a special shout out to the folks at Osprey for their lock down give away's...  what a lovely idea..  I took full advantage and a number of them appear here.....

    Score (out of 10)
    See blog post [clicky].. 10
    Fairly standard Osprey fare, and absolutely nothing wrong with that, but Tincey as an author lifts it for sure, and the phased/timed maps are outstanding..  illustrations, not my cup of tea..  bit Janet and John'ish if you know what I mean...  so, usual format..  background to the war, the opposing notable commanders and generals, brief run up to Edgehill, orbat's, run down of the battle, and then aftermath...  good stuff - recommended.
    During the current pandemic Osprey were offering three or four books free a week from their entire catalogue - a fair few of them didn't appeal but I took it as an opportunity to try some books/periods I wouldn't otherwise have tried.. so it was with this one. Quite fascinating..  cataphracts, kontos, armed with the panjagan (a multiple arrow firing device that fire five arrows at once) armed head to toe in chain and lamellar armour ..  they were the descendants of the Aechmenid Persians (Darius and Xerxes) but their direct antecedents were the Parthians..  the Sassanian's were perhaps the only empire the Romans never managed to defeat.. 8
    Another of the Osprey free "pandemic books"... an ideal opportunity to read up on the history of something you wouldn't have otherwise tried..  this one was fascinating. Jagdeschwader 52 was one of the key squadrons on the Eastern/Russian Front, and despite their earlier operational history being in the west, it was in Russia that they forged their reputation as one of the highest scoring squadrons of all time, and all nations.. some of their aces scored over 300 by the end of the war, and the book is a concise history of where they served, the planes and missions they flew, and the key personnel - this part is heavy on military decorations (Knights Cross, Swords and Diamonds got harder and harder to win as the scores racked up!) What I would have liked to have known was why they were able to rack up the scores - clearly training and planes - but why were the Russians so awful? A good read that left me with a few more questions...
    My second "ten plus" of the year - absolutely brilliant analysis of the Dam Busters raid in terms of the people, the planes, the bombs/technology, and the costs in terms of both people and damage. The book is especially good on the outcomes of the raid for the German civilian population (devastating), and industry (not so much, mostly due to the organisational ability of Speer). I found the depiction of Gibson fascinating (what a complicated man, not always likeable, but clearly very brave, and very driven). Hastings is not a fan of Bomber Harris, but Barnes Wallis comes across exactly as played by Redgrave in the film...  superb..
    See blog post [clicky].. 8
    Bought in the Osprey sale a while ago, this covers the same kind of ground as the book by Yves Martin (above), but clearly in nowhere near the same level of detail..  so a brief potted history, a very brief description of the organisation and tactics of the French in Egypt, even less on the Ottomans, and a very brief section on the he British... as an introduction it's good, and the plates are fine, but for choice I would go with the Martin book..

5/. Salute and Colours...
6/. Tangmere visit
    ...ditto...  oh, hang on a sec..  our local drive through COVID testing centre is at Tangmere - close enough to see the old WWII control tower when one of the daughters had to go for a check, so maybe a partial success?? 
7/. Edgehill walk - unlikely but if we don't aim, we don't even shoot... (just call me Confucius the Wargamer....)
    ...another ditto like most of the travelling/social based events.. 
8/. Spend less time on Facebook - it's wasted time, and it's too easy to lose an hour that I could use doing something else
    ...funny how you change your focus when your horizon's close in to the computer/virtual reality - all the events/things I would have been trying to do were not happening, and shifted to virtual..  so Farcebok became a ways and means of keeping in touch rather than trite entertainment..
9/. Lose 3 stone - fed up being a fat bastard... 
10/. HMS Victory - been years since I last went ..
    ...yeah yeah.....  
...there you go... you may beg to differ, but as it is my blog I can once again report that all (achievable) targets and goals were achieved ...! Hurrah!!

In summary?? I've got to say that on the personal front 2020 was not the best year..

Not in any priority at all..... work continues to gobble up increasing amounts of what used to be down time, and a change of work location has added an hour to my commute time; while delightful, and I wouldn't have it any other way, the family and grandson also deserve time; there were worries about COVID (all my close family except grandson are key workers)... so all in all, I'll not be missing 2020, and yes, I know and accept others have it far worse.... on the hobby front I'll say it was an OK year...  no Salute/Colours/Warfare with DG but there were a few games, and a lot of good books..

There were 32 posts in 2020 including this one (c/w 49 in 2019, 35 in 2018, 45 in 2017, 58 in 2016, 69 in 2015, 68 in 2014, 84 in '13, 85, in '12) which is poor - the downward trend is back on again. I'm happy with Blogger, even like the new interface, I like to write and it suits my ordered mind, but I need creative inputs to prompt posts, and I wasn't feeling it in 2020... 

Three table top games in 2020 (c/w four in 2019, six in 2018, and eight in 2017) which is atrocious but on the other hand they are set against those half dozen DBN games DG and I had;
  1. ECW - Incident at Chudley Bottom
  2. ACW - "Battles with Model Soldiers" - "Game 2"
  3. AWI - John Corrigan Memorial game 2020 - "Attack on a Prepared Position"
....the "One Hour Wargames" book continues to be the best £10 I ever spent - oodles of small and immensely playable scenario's, two solo games (#1 and #2) and one via Zoom with DG, and all games excellent..

...apropos of absolutely nothing (I only have the number as I like to put reviews on the blog), 63 books were read in 2020, compared with 55 in '19, 43 in '18, 52 in '17, 54 in '16, and 46 in '15 - despite distractions aplenty I had a hugely enjoyable reading year..

Favourite books this year?

Fiction - these were my 'perfect 10's' of the year

Whilst browsing one of my favourite publishing houses web site the other month I happened to notice that they were re-printing the Rosemary Sutlcliff "Eagle of the Ninth" series of books. Most people have heard of the first book, what's not so well known is that she wrote a series of loosely linked follow on books - all set in Roman Britain, and detailing what was basically end of empire in Britain. Very much in the vein of the Wallace Bream/"Eagle in the Snow" book..  a frontier fort, manned by mounted auxiliary troops, Roman in name but almost as barbarian/native, as the people they are there to control. Very, very good...  reminded me very much of the Scarrow book of almost the same name and made me wonder if he had read this at some time..  read it!
Without a doubt my best book of the year so far so this one warrants a 10+. I've been a fan of this series since book 1, to the point that (unusually for me) I would pre-order books to get them on release date (and I haven't done that since Harry Potter!). The books feature the protagonist Harry Gilmour, a Royal Navy submarine skipper in WW2. The atmosphere and background is second to none, very realistic (it seems to me) depictions of what it was like to live and make war in a submarine of the era. No spoilers, but in this book - which is the final one in the series - Harry is skipper of a boat that has been transferred to the Far East Theatre..  brilliant - and I genuinely felt down when I finished the book...
I guess I must read Herriot every 3 or 4 years, I just find it very uplifting, funny, and inherently optimistic. For those of you living in a parallel universe who have never heard of James Herriot, these are the fictionalised memoirs of his time as a vet working in the Yorkshire dales from a period just before the second world war, up until his return to practice after the war..  this omnibus comprises the first two books, and deals with his arrival in the small market town up until the point he gets married...  just lovely..
I suspect very few people know of this series, but I loved it as a very much younger Steve the Wargamer, and still love it now as it has stood the test of time well in my view. This is the first in the series and introduces the three boys who are the main protagonists..  David, Arthur and Peter..  what can I say, they live in Yorkshire, their lives centre round the local church where they are in the choir, and in this story they investigate the secret of the mysterious case clock left by Colonel Sheperton with David's grandfather many years before and never collected...
Follow up to Colonel Sheperton's Clock and in this book the boys meet and befriend an Admiral who has moved in to a local house, whilst together they make plans to fire one of the Admiral's old cannons, they also rescue an old church from ruin and investigate the disappearance of a statue from their church. Amid all that they then get hit by the worst snow storm in generations... 10 an absolutely outstanding year for good stories - out of those, it was a close call but on on balance I think the Black book takes it..  it brings to an end a fantastic series of books based on the experiences of a WW2 British submarine commander..

The worst lowest scoring book was still better than anything I could write, so I refuse to comment here on it..  authors work long hours, and they don't need someone like me who has never created a book, to 'diss' their efforts..  

This year?? Well I intend to keep exactly the same expectations! Fingers crossed...  
  1. play more games
  2. try to keep up my painting efforts.. 
  3. complete the Sudan re-basing, 
  4. continue reading more non-fiction... it is the heart and core of the hobby..
  5. Salute and Colours...
  6. Tangmere visit
  7. Edgehill walk - unlikely but if we don't aim, we don't even shoot... (just call me Confucius the Wargamer....)
  8. Spend less time on Facebook - it's wasted time, and it's too easy to lose an hour that I could use doing something else
  9. Lose 3 stone - fed up being a fat bastard...
  10. HMS Victory - been years since I last went ..
So finally, Happy New Year to all my reader - may the dice roll as required, your brushes always keep a sharp tip, the beer be hoppy and bright, and the books all page turners...

Friday, January 01, 2021

Regiment Angoumois

The following was sparked entirely by an entry on the "Not By Appointment" blog a while ago (link below in the further references section) detailing a most eye catching flag for one of the lesser known French regiments... so thanks, David!
Other than the following barest basics I have managed to find little else about the regiment, so if anyone else knows any more about their service during the Spanish Succession War I'd be grateful to hear it..  I don't even have a reference at the moment to what brigade or division they were in at Blenheim, other than the statement they were there.. they dpn't feature at all on the fairly detailed Orbat I'm working to...
So as we have seen before they were one of the 30 odd regiments that Louis XIV raised in September 1684 for the defence of the realm... named after the province they were raised in (just east of Bordeaux) they came into being on September 6, 1684. Louis raised a regiment a day in order to get round any issues with seniority, but as is the way of the army they came out about 75th in seniority. 

In 1700, at the very start of the War of the Spanish Succession the regiment was sent to Italy, and in the following February (the 1st, 1701), the regiment was increased to two battalions. These two battalions served independently for the entire war. The 1st Battalion remained in Italy, but the 2nd Battalion (the one we're interested in!) served in the low countries in Flanders and Germany.
The regiments Colonel at the time of Blenheim would have been Jean Gilles de Rougé, Marquis du Plessis-Bellière, who would have been (an astonishing) 22 at the time..
Love how this guy came out... I have no idea whether he served in the field with either battalion, but I would assume that if he did, he he was probably with the 1st, so not present at Blenheim. 

Jean-Gilles died 3 years later in June 1707 at the siege of Saragossa/Zaragoza (the 1st Battalion were transferred to the Spanish theatre in 1707, so that would back my assumption he served throughout with the 1st). His daughter (he already had a 2 year old son) was born 6 months after his death...  brings it home doesn't it...?

So, the 2nd Battalion, who served in the low countries in Flanders and Germany was present at the following...
  • In 1703, it garrisoned Landau after its capture. 
  • In 1704, it took part in the Battle of Blenheim and in the subsequent unsuccessful defence of Landau. 
  • From 1705 to 1710, it served in the Lines of the Lauter
  • In 1711, it was sent to Dauphiné (south Eastern France) - I wonder why?

The second battalion was disbanded in 1715.

So - 15mm, Minifigs (except for the officer who is I think Peter Pig, and the drummer who I think is Dixon), painted December 2020.

Further references: