Thursday, June 26, 2014


It is always greatly exciting to plan a new project.

I am looking at how feasible it would be to put together Royalist and Parliamentary armies for the English Civil War.

My primary inspiration is the wonderful old (1978) Osprey on Wargaming Naseby. Indeed, how could one not be inspired? With text by Asquith and plate after plate by Gilder, the book is a feast for the eyes and the imagination. I have loved this book since I was a young fellow impecuniously browsing my local bookshop.

What shape then is this project to take? Well, as an indulgence, I feel that all I can do is try to tread the path of the great man. If you pop over to the marvellous Unfashionably Shiny blog and read Gilder's article on building a wargame army, you will see that he advocates using historical orders of battle to yield details for one's wargame units. This is good enough for me.

So then, which battle? Stick with what you know, I think. I shall go with Naseby. Both armies are reasonably small and will be not too onerous to build up over the twelve to eighteen month timeframe I'm currently envisaging. They are also fairly diverse; all arms are represented and there is plenty of scope for making vignettes and building the assorted bits and bobs we like to add to our collections. Furthermore, If I decide to slightly broaden my scope, I feel that the siege of Leicester might become a part of things and complete the picture.

So that decided, which figures? Hinchcliffe seem pretty well mandatory, I feel. Shall I try to emulate the "Gilder style"? We'll see.

How many figures? I'll work on that, but I think about 1:20 might not be too bad. Most of the cavalry units ought to be in the 6-10 figure range.

Next time... I'll start working on an Order of Battle.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Little Wars 2014

A minor show in the greater scheme of things, yet one that looms fairly large in the Melbourne scene, Little Wars 2014 was held in the spacious, though somewhat dim environs of the Kingston Town Hall in Moorabbin a few weeks back.
Organised by Nic Robson of Eureka fame and the Nunawading Wargames club, somewhere around 400 people passed through the doors. 
I think there were nineteen particiation games on the go through out the day including my own Not Quite the Dambusters. 
S for Sugar takes a run
 Fool that I am, I was so busy as to almost entirely neglect taking photos. Unbelieveable!
There was a lot of variety. A smashing pirate game caught my eye. Spread over a number of islands, with native warriors, some kind of kraken, (only the tentacles of which were visible above the waves) and a horde of pirate ships. Others which stood out for me were the fabulous WW1 air combat game involving any number of Revell Nieuports, Eindeckers and De Havillands whizzing about a monstrous Zeppelin (at least a metre and a half long). The clock then seemed to mysteriously advance until a horde of Albatri DIIIs faced off against a gaggle of Camels and an SE5a. Marvellous.
I spotted a terriffic new laser-cut Samurai castle:
Not sure if it's in full production yet, but it seems to be priced at $AU150. Tempted? I know I was.
My own game went fairly well, despite a few umms and ahhs explaining the rules to our players. We ran it through about fifteen times and breached the dam on three occasions. Some of the players happily took copies of the rules away, so who knows? Maybe it will pop up elsewhere. We did come up with a few more rule tweaks based on our experiences, so our next run at CanCon ought to reflect those.
Lessons learned for the day - black base-coated, then dry-brushed terrain looks much too dark indoors under artificial light. Noted! Terrain made with a base cloth and assorted scaps od texteured cloth and teddy-bear fur can be quite interesting to look at and easy to transport with the correct forethought.
A good day, although a little exhausting!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Old School ECW

The References
I have been mulling this over for a little while now. I think it was being able recently to view the "Battleground" episode on Edgehill that have kicked me off, and I do think I would like to do something around the English Civil War.
I received the old Osprey "Wargames" title on Naseby from my favourite ebay seller and have been poring over the pictures of Peter Gilder's collection both there and at various locations on the web*. I am inspired and have a few initial ideas.
So, what have I read? The Airfix Magazine Guide, the aforementioned Osprey (I have others in my collection, of course) and Haythornethwaite's book on the Wars. A few magazine articles by Ian Weekly.
What do I want to read? Young's "The Cavalier Army". I recall seeing it at university all those years ago and recall some lovely little drawings in the chapter headings.
What should I read? That I leave that to you, dear reader.
Some people think that wargaming is all about being a steely-eyed warrior. These people are wrong.
It's really all about shopping. Checking the wargaming budget. Looking nervously at the lead pile. The squinting at low-resolution pictures of miniatures online. Yakking on about figure compatibility. Detail. Anatomy. Asking yourself if you really need to spend the money when you have so many unfinished projects littering the place.
Do this before you go shopping. Ho, ho, ho.
Nonetheless, try. I've not yet done the planning, but I think this will be quite a strictly limited project. Won't it? I hope so.
Probably Hinchcliffes, probably with a few Scrubies in the mix. Probably with a stab at approximating the Gilder style.
Two small, balanced forces with approximately a 1:1 ratio between the numbers of infantry and cavalry fielded by each side.
I think that's about the shape of it.
*C'mon Doug, help me out here!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Just for the purpose of Illustration.

Not a war-gamer
 Gratuitous shot of Sammy aside, the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle is purely for - ahem - illustrative purposes.
Traffic Jam!
Those Grant-esque units have quite a foot-print when deployed in line!

Comardo Dragoons
 Particular favourites of mine.

Alzheimer Light Infantry
 Perhaps a little overpoweringly strong for any period? They should be a jolly nuisance, but not a battle-winner!

A Tight Fit

From the blockhouse.

I played out the "Action!" scenario from the Grant book solo the weekend before last.

I had already made the bounce stick but decided I couldn't be bothered with it as anythin other than as a measuring device when push came to shove.

The rules I use are a bit of a hybrid beast that abstract the artillery fire somewhat (think "Charge!") and greatly simplify the over-complex (to say the least! Three pages in the quick reference version!) melee rules in the manner of TSaTF.

I really do like my rules on two pages of A4 at most.

You're all doubtless aware that each side gets two regiments of infantry, one of lights, a gun and a regiment of horse. My table is 7'x5' and there is not a lot of room for maneuver once you start plonking down those 50-figure units of Spencer Smiths.

On that note, I've nearly finished the infantry contingent for one of my Spencer Smith armies (the Empire) and wonder how on earth I'll ever fit the ten regiments of foot on the jolly table!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sweet Melancholy

Et je m'en vais

Au vent mauvais

Qui m'emporte

Deçà, delà,

Pareil à la

Feuille morte.*

The long sobs of the viols of autumn have now passed us by here in Melbourne, however, I continue to flutter about, much like any falling leaf.

In a recent post, I emphasised that one needs to be a manly man to apply paint to one’s otherwise recalcitrant Spencer Smiths. Now, if the mood takes me as it has for the past fortnight I can out-manly Bear Grylls or even Teddy Rooseveldt, but now, and with the days drawing in, I find myself in a more reflective mood.

So, let me turn up the lamp (but not too far!) and hold forth. I may, on occasion cough into a handkerchief. Do not dwell upon that!

I am, as many of you may have guessed somewhat of a two-sided character. One part of my nature is deeply practical and pragmatic, however I feel that this is something of a camouflage which conceals something of the decadent and the romantic. There is always the backward glance to the fin-de-siecle, the work of Beardsley and Wilde. The bold Cavalier, the dark and liquid eye that gazes calmly back from a Van Dyck.

This mood can be evoked for me by many things. A misty morning. Day-long rain. The way a thin wash of a beautiful yellow buff moulds the supple limbs of a Gilder Cavalier. Oh! The way in which it flows over the cleanly white of the undercoat. The perfect way in which a thin line of darkest brown finishes the shape. One yearns to apply the gloss varnish.

But! Patience! Patience! Consummation will be the sweeter for waiting.

*And I'm going

On an ill wind

That carries me

Here and there,
As if a
Dead leaf.

Saturday, June 07, 2014


 La Rosee Regiment in the foreground, flanked by von Brownes'. In the distance may just be discerned the Comardo Dragoons.
 La Rosee again, from the rear. Below, The Imperials march on. Weissenfels has already formed a firing line whilst the Buddenbrock Kurassier come up behind. Marching on in the distance are Salm-Salm-Salm.

We await the advent of the light infantry.
The scene is set. The lights are dimming. The theatre is hushed apart from a rusle of programmes and chip packets.