Thursday, November 25, 2010

Samuel David Horne

It's time to let the cat out of the bag and welcome to the world our newest addition, Sam. Sam was born today at 3.25 in the afternoon after a five-hour labour.

He's about two hours' old in the photo and has had his first meal of colostrum. Yumm-o!

We have had quite a nervous time with his gestation as his mum who lives with type one diabetes had a very bad hypo at about the 14 week stage of the pregnancy. I came home from work in the middle of the day on a panicky hunch to find Amy unconcious on the bed with our little girl Erin quietly sitting next to her.

Well, what with Ambulances, a trip to the Emergency Department and a week in hospital for mummy, we nearly forgot about the potential effect on baby.

Still what with MRIs that they can perform on baby whilst still in the womb, we were sufficiently re-assured and the result was well worth it and well worth the wait.

And his big sister seems hardly jealous at all.

No, I wasn't wearing a Violent Femmes t-shirt during the birth this time, but I'm bloody well wearing it now. I think I'll put the CD on. You know which one.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Things You Find... Redux

On a hunch tonight after I got home from work I combed through a little-regarded storage area here at home.


Perhaps it's a sign that I have too much toy-soldiery whan I discover troops that I have not only forgotten, but forgot when I last worked on them. Still, it's a nice surprise.

Starting with the Castaway Arts stuff:

Half a dozen Hadendowah Camels and riders - 90% painted.
A dozen "ansar" Cavalry minus their horses - 40% painted.
Ten "early" Ansar. Just need basing and a few weapons and shields painted.
A handful of Egyptian regular infantry and Bashi-Bazouks, about 80% completed.

Then there's the Conoisseur stuff.
40 Naval brigade, about 65% painted.
A handful of asorted Highlanders, bare metal.

I've taken this and added it all to my painted/painting lists and feel I ought to be able to come up with the following by about January:


3 units Ansar
1 unit early Ansar
1 unit Jihadiyya rifles
1 unit of cavalry

4 units Hadendowah
1 unit Hadendowah rifles
1 unit of Camelry

4 units of infantry
1 field gun battery

4 units of Infantry in Home Service Dress
2 units of Naval Brigade
1 unit Yorks & Lancs Infantry
1 unit of Camel Corps
1 unit of Hussars

So, now that I've stopped hugging myself, what to do with this bounty?

Looking at the British, I am thinking seriously about Wolseley's 1882 campaign against 'Urabi. Lots of appeal there for me, and incentive to build up my Egyptians and my Highlanders, too. I could use my Krupps and build lots of field fortifications as I seem to enjoy doing.

The Egyptians would let me defend Khartoum, any number of desolate garrisons, or let me see if Hicks Pasha might ever have stood a fighting chance.

Another possibility that occours is a campaign based on the Desert Column. The naval Brigade could proxy for some of the camel corps. The British would take a little more building, but the Sudanese are nearly there, I feel. An interesting element would be the British need to limit their casualties as they needed to remain a viable force if they were in the last instance to throw themselves into Khartoum. Likewise they would have to protect their wounded as they accumulated during the campaign. It might be fun to include Fred Burnaby as a special character.

What would you do?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Heckenfeur #2

The Sudan

*Note that this article is a placeholder until I organise my thoughts some more!*

I am as ever amazed at the resources that generous people make freely available on the web.

Here below is much of the excellent magazine "Savage and Soldier" free online:

Here Steve Winter (The Colonial Angle) presents his "Fire and the Sword in the Sudan, a campaign based on the Mahadist rising. The rules are an adaptation of those presented in "the Courier" 'many moons ago' for playing Pondiac's rebellion. The material he presents on his website include a thrilling acount of his re-fight of a siege of Berber. Wonderful stuff.

I'm not too sure how far people might be interested in the creative process, but I thought it might be worthwhile uploading a few cartoons of some Nile steamers that everyone ought to have in their collection if they are to embark upon campaigns on those blood red desert sands.

As I have outlined in my Defense of Melbourne Blog, my ship-building methods are pretty simple.

I make a blank for the hull out of expanded polystyrene with a lamination of balsa. The balsa when scribed and stained becomes the main deck whilst the poly is the hull, usually cut to the profile of the deck with my hot wire cutter. A sanding block takes care of any complex curves at the bow or stern. The bularks are of thin card, whilst the deck-houses are of daler board - available in art supply shops.

I continue to read and paint and imagineer.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The things you find....

Uh-oh. Serious trouble.

I was messing about in the car-port this evening after work (as you do) when I found what I thought was a box of Castaway Arts Indian Army figures. Now, it contained just that, but imagine also my surprise to find:

4 early Ansar;
15 Hadendowah and;
10 late Jiadiyyah riflemen.

Is this synchronicity?

Just one small order and I can add two more TSatF units to my Mahadist collection...

This is how new projects start for me. I already have the bones of a Mahdist army - about 7 TSatF units. Oh, and I also just found about 5-6 Conoisseur Fuzzies, to boot.

This means trouble.

And a new blog label.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bits and Bobs

Getting pretty close top finishing the block-houses at the moment. Just the details to paint in now. Then I need to ge on to making the barbed wire entanglements.
An interesting sub-plot might be how much space these things take up on the table. The block-house is about 80mm in diameter. The earthworks blow the foot-print out to about 300mm. By the time I have added barbed wire, I think the diameter of one blockhouse would be in the region of 370mm or so. Food for thought! Add another and you are taking up quite a substantial portion of your avarage 6' x 4' war-games table.

In other news, and prompted by the perfidious Jeff, I have been reading on the Sudan.
Let me please share with you some OOB and scaling thoughts that i have prepared in an anally-retentive half-hour.

The Desert Column before Abu Klea (13.01.1885).
Guards Camel Regiment - 414 all ranks
Heavy Camel Regiment - 400
Mounted Infantry Camel Regiment - 383
1st/35th (Royal Sussex) - 258
19th Hussars - 135
25th Coy, RE - 27
1/2 Battery RA - 38 (3 x 2.5" Screw Guns)
Naval Brigade - 58 (1 Gardiner Gun)

Ths totals out at 1653 men whaich at a suitably Old School 1:10 is close enough to 165 figure. Now, lets take that scaling and apply unit organisations from The Sword and the Flame and apply them:

The Desert Column before Abu Klea for TSatF
Guards Camel Regiment - 2 units (40 figures)
Heavy Camel Regiment - 2 units (40 figures)
Mounted Infantry Camel Regiment - 2 units (40 figures)
1st/35th (Royal Sussex) - 1 unit (20 figures)
19th Hussars - 1 unit (12 figures)
1/2 Battery RA - 1 x 2.5" Screw Gun - (four figures)
Naval Brigade - 1 Gardiner Gun - (three figures)

Which comes to 159 figures. A pretty fair approximation, I think.

Of course, you'd need heaps of Mahdists. But there are tried and true ways of dealing with that.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


My trusty hot-wire cutter comes through with the goods again.

I've opted to paint the block-houses in GW "Boltgun Metal" washed over with some burned sienna as a light tarnish and to add some definition on the corrugations.

I decided on this approach as there was no information really on whether the blockhouses had been painted or no. Besides, I squinted at some poor quality, black-and-white internet images for long enough to convince myself they were bare metal!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Block-house work in progress

Just a quickie to show you what's on here.
The idea here is to build a block-house in stand-alone form that I can drop into a terrain piece. The circular part is an industrial-scale toilet-paper roll cut in half with a saw, whlie the gable-ends and ceiling are of that perennial favourite, foam-core board.
The the roof and all the rest of the "corrugated iron cladding are a roll of finely corrugated cardboard I found a few years back in a stationers. It has a flat backing so it takes an even skim of glue well for when I have to laminate it onto a thicker card for stability. It's just been cut as a square and scored to fold for the roof.
The miniatures are Hinchcliffe in the Slade Wallace personal equipment. Very nice figures that I'd never really considered before.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Classic Wargamer's Journal

The latest issue (#1) of the CWJ is out now.

Take a look at Phil Olley's Classic Wargaming blog for details and take out a subscription while you're at it!

Getting out of the doldrums

You know how it is, you get into the project doldrums and you need a break. That's about where I'm at with my ACW project, I'd say.

I've long been interested in the Boer War, but not really wanting to commit too deeply.

Thus I'm going to do a little mini-project - a couple of Boer War Block-houses and a pair of TSaTF-sized infantry units. Not too much, just enough to slake that little thirst.

However, there are dangers; now I'm eyeing-off my Sudan collection.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Those Schombourg Dragoons (or - the Dragons de Saxe!)

Well, here they are, the Schombourg Dragoons, 17th in order of precedence after the Seven Years' War. Figures are complete, barring terraining the bases and providing a standard.
Advancing here as they are in column of troops rather than as by lines of Squadrons as is the case below, you'll notice they are are all RSMs with a line cavalryman standing in for a Cornet.
I have included a pair of trumpeters as ordinary troopers as the standard "Grant" organisation makes comparatively little allowance for command figures, a feature of the "Young-Lawford" organisations that I've always greatly enjoyed.
Squadron commanders are keeping a careful eye on the alignment of their troopers.
Bravely charging an abandoned piece...

I'm thinking seriously of painting some of the lovely RSM cossacks in similarly coloured uniforms and brigading them together to make a version of the Legion de Saxe; or a Legion de Horne as the mood takes me together with some fusiliers, a few grenadiers and a gun or two were I to fall into "imagination" mode. Certainly reading my copy of Wargaming in History has piqued my interest in that direction.

I may have mentioned already, but I expect sufficent deliveries in the next week or two to let me finish off La Reine and Royal Pologne in pretty short order. In the meantime I am painting up figures to complete the first squadron of the Royal-Cravattes.

Got any old RSM Cavalry you no longer want or need? Drop me a line at bloggeratorATgmailDOTcom.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Progress Report

Well, I'm six squadrons into the great 20 squadron cavalry push of 2010.

Very good, Greg, but what does it mean?

Glad you asked - in concrete terms, it means I have finished the Schombourg/Saxe Dragoons (bar the colour), and the first squadrons of La Reine, Royal Pologne, Montcalm and the Turpin Hussars.

I am within spitting distance of completing second squadrons of La Reine and Royal Pologne (just waiting on the next order from DPC) and I ought to be finished with the first squadrons of the Cuirassiers du Roi and the Royal Cravattes by the end of the month.

So there we have it, we ought to be at the 10 squadrons mark by the end of May - 50% of the way to the goal.

Pictures when I get time this weekend.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Cavalry WiPs

If the infantry be the Queen of the battlefield, then does this make the cavalry King? I had a minor review of the troops this afternoon and found that I have gotten myself together enough to put 74 (!) fully painted horsemen of 8 different regiments on the table.
Four are complete squadrons, the others are odds and sods as you can see - the Cuirassiers du Roi below being a prime example. I took Stokes method of dry-brushing black horses with Navy Blue and ran with it.My most complete regiment at the moment is La Reine. I'll be making it the subject of my next round of purchases.

My Schombourgs will be finished first though, as I have the second squadron lined up ready for painting and eight of their horses already done.
Royal Pologne will not be far behind - I've another half dozen troopers part-painted for them and will only need another half doz. on top of that to finish them off.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Progress Report

No pictures Jeff, the camera is playing up.

I have spent the past few weeks dilligently painting, basing and re-basing and here's what I have so far:

A squadron of a dozen Schomberg/Saxe Dragoons;
Likewise a squadron of a dozen Hussars;
Ditto, a squadron and-a-half of the La Reine Regiment.

Further, I have half squadrons of Royal-Pologne, Cuirassiers du Roi, Royal-Cravattes, Montcalm and some red-coated, black-turnbacked regiment whose name escapes me just now. Bless their hearts. Oh, I just remembered - Colonel-General.

More figures are on order; more Schomburg/Saxes for a second squadron, another dozen line Cavalry to wrap up the Royal Cravattes and Colonel-General squadrons. More Horses to mount another eight of the Royal-Pologne. Odds and sods of musicians and officers.

I will try to get some pictures taken this weekend. I promise.

Now, to market.

All this building and purchasing comes at a price, both in $$$ and in terms of storage, so I am going to be having a sell down, a paring down of the collection if you like.

I'll be making my first offer here and on a couple of relevant Yahoo Groups; I'll leave it up for a week and then anything left will go to eBay. Fair enough?

My first offering:

  • 17 Pax Britannica/RSM Prussian Fusiliers - note that they are older castings in the softer metal in the Advancing pose. Detail is much crisper than the current offering.
  • 19 Pax Britannica/RSM Austrian German Musketeers - in the Advancing Pose. Note that they are older castings in the softer metal. Detail is much crisper than the current production.
  • 20 RSM Austrian Hungarian Grenadiers - in the Advancing Pose.
  • Two boxes of Revell Austrian 7YW Dragoons, still in their boxes; the sprues have been cut up, but the horses and riders are still attached to the sprue fragments.
  • *SOLD* Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905. It's a Near-fine copy with an intact dust-jacket and only minor bumping on the cover boards.

I'll take cash or trade for them. Please contact me at bloggetatorATgmailDOTcom

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Guns, the guns the sound of guns

Taking maladministration and peculation on a massive scale as a given, let us admit that the Artillery of Gallispania and Alzheim have fallen into a sad state of disrepair, disorganisation and a great many other words starting with dis- and then move on, shall we?

I've always liked artilley models and have collected a great many of them from a great many manufacturers. Now, while this has satisfied my child-like appetites for pretty-pretty toys, it's not really let me build a useful collection of guns for the wargames table being a they are, all rather incompatible with each other and my RSM gunners!

I'll be selling them off as far as possible to produce a more unified park based around the RSM range and the odd ring-in for perceived gaps such as in the fortress and siege artillery areas. And I may well indulge myself here and there... no! stop it!

I aleady have a few RSM guns and I like the few Eureks pirate ship guns I've been using as Fortress Artillery (they look good and the price is right) and will keep on going this way, but with limbers, horse teams, munitions wagons to properly support them.

On another note to the Imaginationeers (new word, add it to the dictionary today) who likes the idea of creating their own 18th Century-style Legion? The Legion de Horne for example?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Rationalising the Cavalry collection

It's not what you think.

What I have in mind is getting my French - er - Gallispan army onto a more "rational" basis. I mean, my stars, this is the Age of Reason, is it not?

I am starting with the Cavalry, a much neglected arm in my collection. Up until now, my cavalry has been two fairly well-developed (ie, laregeish) units of the Line Cavalry; La Reine and another gray-coated no-name unit. The rest has been scraps, really, eight or a dozen Gensdarmes, a similar number of the Bercheny Hussars and so forth.

Now, I've been re-reading my Charles Grant and am wanting to put my Cavalry on that sort of basis - 24 troopers, 3 Officers and a Guidon. I have been having a good old rummage though my assorted lead piles and have found numbers of varying types of cavalry figure I bought at various times but never got too far into painting, so I do have a start on building things up, but more purchases will need to be made.

I'm looking at a structure consisting of two Line and one Light Brigade of Cavalry with the following regiments:

First Brigade:
Cuirassiers du Roi

Second Brigade:
La Reine

Light Brigade:
Saxe Dragoons
Bercheny Hussars
Ratzsky Hussars

Each Brigade will have an appropriate Etat Major.

I have been getting back into the swing of painting having produced in the past two weeks a squadron each of Royal-Pologne and the Saxe Dragoons. Next on the painting table are some of the Bercheny hussars. My painting plan is to paint me each a squadron of each regiment in turn before going on to paint a second.

Next time - reorganising the Artillery.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I think I'm back

Been a while, hasn't it?

I've got to admit to having had a long, deep and wide hobby funk which I'm still slowly climbing out from under.

It's been a pain; my little hobby which has consumed so much of m time and effort for years was really starting to pall. I couldn't be bothered painting; setting up a game seemed an endless chore; all my old books seemed nothing more than just old books. My lead mountain was becoming a burden rather than a fruitful field of rediscovery. Finally, I really couldn't be bothered taking “The Duchy of Alzheim” anywhere.

I'm thinking this came about due to a number of factors – less time and sleep due to the baby meant that I'd rather take a nap than put another layer of highlighting on another ten soldiers. Perhaps a degree of burnout after the big CanCon demo game last year? I'm not sure. I was also conscious of wanting to do another show on the same scale but couldn't see a way to make it happen with my now greatly diminished spare time. That might have been a factor.

I think another factor has been my complete disorganization which has seem me build bits of armies as I went along rather than properly balanced forces. For example, I have something like 60 Croats and a unit of Hungarian Infantry for my Austrian Army, but no Artillery or Cavalry. I have more “armies” like this. This leads me to a situation where no project ever seems finished and of course discouragement sets in.

Not too sure.

Nonetheless, I think I might be on the road back.

I've read The War Game Companion, Wargaming in History (v1!), Raid on St Michel and am waiting to take delivery of The Annexation of Chiraz with increasing impatience. In the meantime I've been looking at some Teasers from Mr Grant and was tempted indeed.

I've also taken to painting the little pile of Minden French Command I bought a while ago and found myslf enjoying the process to the point where a couple of weeks ago I set myself a target and began to paint one a day. I've now got a dozen painted that I will soon be incorporating into my RSM units. I'm also painting a dozen of the RSM Saxe Dragoons with an aim of getting them up to a Grant-size unit. Longer term, I'll be building my forces toward a scale that will let me take on a Teaser or two.

This leads me in an awkward way to some decisions I've been making about the Duchy of Alzheim. Previosly it was more or less a German Duchy with a French Army! No more. It's just become a German Duchy with a German Army (more or less Prussian, but with additions...). My French Army has become that of Alzeim's western neighbor, Gallispania, while to their South is a quasi-Italy that will allow many oportunities for alliance-making, mountain fighting and so on.

I still have to work this out in more detail. Will the DoA remain an independent entity or will it become a part of some kind of United Free States (hm, in German that's Vereinigte Frei... hang on...)? Will Gallispania be one or two states as implied by the name? It will doubtless have an Opera Bouffe flavour.

More as it comes in.