Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why We Fight

 A few shots of the climax of the raid on Fickmuhlen.
 Much happiness here with regards to the look of the thing.
 von Browne's Foot in reserve under the watchful eye of the general himself.
 The Dragoons, awaiting their role as spoilers.
 The damned, useless guns.
Many, many thanks to Ross and Stokes for helping make this battle possible. Happy New Year to us all.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Long Live Borduria!

For some time I have been rather curious as to what went on in Alzheim in that period between the wars.
And I'll admit, rather inspired by this.
At the same time too I have accumulated a reasonably-sized force of Slovak troops along with a few Hungarians and Romanians, all from the Raventhorpe  ranges and whom I have been looking to put to wider employment than they currently have been.
I also have a liking for the old KP kits of 1/72 aircraft, especially those of the interwar Czechosloval air force.
So I think we can see where this might be leading. I’m imagining a small conflict between Alzheim and another party in about  1930. The issue would be over the possession of a small stretch of the border country in order that some group of lost brothers and sisters be reunited with their brethren across the border as they had been since time immemorial. This was I believe the fashion of the time.
I’d probably use the Rapid Fire rule set.
I regard this as an opportunity to build up a few kits in the stash and have a little Tintinesque fun.

UPDATE: I was poking about last night and found the following pictures.

Noble Alzheimer Tanks

Alzheimer (even nobler) infantry

Vile Bordurians

Vile Vordurian Armour

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Never Sell Your Toys

For you shall someday want them again.

About three years ago I had a large pile of plastic Spencer Smith ACW Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery.

There was probably enough of everything to build complete armies for the Union and Confederate sides. With sufficient leftovers to do things like staff groups, crews for paddle steamers, fortress gunners, engineers and all that.

Naturally I sold it all off as I had decided to do ACW with my Tradition 25s. At the time a difficult decision as I had really liked the look of John Preece's collection shown in The Wargame Companion and absolutely agonised over the choice.

Now of course I've gone and looked at the pictures again and thought well, you know what, I'd really like to do a few.

Learn from my sad example.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Experiments with Flats

I've recently been playing around with an idea for a war game inspired by Harry Pearson's article in MW after the change in management.

As you can see, I've been trawling about on German eBay for flats.

I'm not getting too hung up on figure ratios and all that sort of thing. As far as I am concerned, one stand is a squadron, battalion or battery. To my eye about four cavalry look good, as do a dozen infantry or a single gun.

Things are not too far along at the moment; I'm really just playing around with the aesthetics of the thing. That said, I envisage using mini dice to record combat attrition. I also envision using written orders that may be deviated from through the expenditure of initiative tokens. Different armies might have different numbers of them to expend per turn. I would expect the Prussians to have more than the Austrians who, in their turn might have more than the French.

Any feedback would be highly valued.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Valiant Miniatures Fallschirmjager

 I have a deal with my nephew.
I give him figures. He assembles them. I paint them and hand them back.

Here's the latest batch. Rather enjoyable to paint in the old wash and line technique. But I should have painted their chin-straps... And I wish they had more riflemen options and replaced at least some of the MG42s with MG34s

Sunday, September 06, 2015

A Diversion

Due to some home renovations severely impacting my available hobby space (!) I've consequently downsized my hobby efforts. This state of affairs ought to last until about Christmas.

So, then, i needed something o occupy my hands and mind but which needed to be quite self-contained. I have had a small collection of 54mm knights from the first "Knights of Agincourt" Britains range that have been nicely recast by Dorset Soldiers. These are pretty suitable for painting one at a time out of my small painting tray.

So, of I went and here's the first fruit. Sir John Chandos.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Glorious Cavacade (and a small Cannonade)

 Not all has been connoisseur toy-soldier nobbling and John Garrett reading, oh no, no, no! Here in the Duchy of Alzheim, we believe in the virtues of hard work, buckling down to it and of course, getting on with things. So, in that vein, a small reveal of the fruits of my various labors.

Starting with the freshly-mounted CR#5, you may note that I have splashed out and bought the riders in from another painter with some money I was fortunate to receive for my birthday back in March. Well done Rich from DPC. I am well pleased with his tiny troopers as they sit astride my own horses. I have no fears they will not fight for me as those I myself have painted. My own generalship is far more likely to let me down.
My current butterflies have led me to the 7YW for the now, and thus I am inspired to get on with my Prussian Cavalry arm. Here (along with the Cuirassiers) we have the current state of affairs. HR#1 and HR#5 both provisionally complete but for a single wretched casting I was short for each. Nonetheless, close enough for now.
 The artillery has long needed limbers and so I have cranked a couple of out. I am just painting up another team or two to draw them as we speak (so to say) and am waiting on the first wash to dry before i paint their manes and harness.
 They do look the part, do they not?
What's next? hard to say. I have a regiment of dragoons who need a bit of a spruce-up before I will be happy t add them to the order of battle and a further half unit of von Kleists dragoons likewise in need of a little tidy up and a small reinforcement. That will bring me to two each of dragoons and Hussars and a single unit of Cuirassiers. I guess one more of Cuirassiers is in order and we might be about done for the Prussians. Although...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Alec Harrison

 I sometimes think that with two large 18th Century armies, a large Colonial army, various WW2 forces, quite large Ancient armies and so on and so forth if my days of building huge forces of 7-800 figures a side might be drawing to a close. Obviously this is nonsense, but if it were ever to happen (and there is yet time, I am but a mere lad of 47 years) then this is one diversion for my declining years.
 I was leafing through my old magazines over the weekend. What better way is there to pass the time these bitter cold winter nights, I ask you? Anyway, in between glasses of Shiraz, I came across these articles featuring the work of one Mr Alec Harrison of the BMSS in the March 1988 issue of Military Modelling and the inestimable Practical Wargamer of January/February 1994
His work is utterly charming in my eyes and has the advantages of using 30mm Willie figures, all converted to one degree or another yet retaining that certain poise of the originals. It has been a fun process trying to work out the original figures and I am tempted to say that much that may have been in the original catalogue may not now be there. I am lookng especially at the Gensdarmes above, although they have since turned up again as remastered figures in the Tradition Catalogue. The wheel turns again.

I would like to try my hand at this kind of thing at some time in the no too distant future. I just need to lay in a stock of lead foil and learn how to solder.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Omdurman 1898, a Sticky Situation

 Cor, what a pickle.
Willie Lancers with Perry Plastics.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Few of my Favorite Things

 Over the past couple of years I have been building what I would describe as a collection of figures rather than a complete war-gaming army. Every now and then I come across small collections of quite well-painted vintage figures by Stadden, Willie or Minot. Painted or unpainted they may be and I try to snap them up; sometimes in the face of fairly stiff opposition!
 I am very keen to leave them as much as possible in their original conditon if they are painted.
 They all seem to mix in quite well. A happy coincidence.
 Sometimes they are quite familiar subjects like these staff officers.
 And sometimes they are not like this Minot(?) Emperor at his work.
 They also work well together.
 Some are not quite so felicitous, but what the hey.
Unpainted ones I am happy to paint at my no pace. As I have no goals for this collection I am quite happy to potter about, take the Funckens and my Blandfords as references and simply enjoy the work of the master craftsmen who made these delightful miniatures.

Remember Majuba or; Up the Chamla with Old Buller

African or Indian?
He was beloved by his troops, reviled by Leo Amery as symbolizing everything that was wrong with the British Amy at the time and somewhat rehabilitated by Thomas Pakenham as the man who perhaps first taught the Army how to fight a modern war. This rendition of Redvers Buller VC is of course a simple conversion with paint of the Willie "von Bismarck" from their Franco-Prussian War range.
Some more Willies ready to give Johnny Pathan one up the Chamla. not too sure as to whether they may join the "Littler Britons" collection or my broader colonial forces. They were at least an entertaining challenge to paint.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Test Game

Well, I managed a small test of the rules this evening. I laid out three units of foot, one of horse and a gun per side, wavered and added another unit of foot to one army. And made it a guards unit. In for a penny, in for a pound.

The scenario involved an attack on a village. The weaker side was defending with two units and a gun lining a wall at the perimeter with the third staggered back a move outside to the flank but still in communication with the garrison. The cavalry were staggered further back again. The attackers came on, three units of foot abreast, the fourth tucked behind that on the right flank. Their cavalry faced that of the enemy although neither side really wanted to plunge in.

The attackers declared a charge after two moves of steady advance. Steady artillery fire had removed a pip from one of the enemy units in the village and it was this that the Guards (who were also a little depleted in their pip store) attacked, driving it back from the wall and electing to follow up with another round of melee which drove  their opponents from the field. Their comrades had likewise been driven back, but had manfully rallied and cast their own opponents back out of the village.

The remaining units continued their advance until within musketry range, their generals joining them in order to prepare to bolster their pip store. One General lost a pip when his unit was fired on. The attackers had their fourth unit in close attendance on that which was to the fore should it need to fall back.

So, three moves played out in thirty minutes on the living room floor. Lessons learned? I think the defender ought to have a cover bonus when being fired on. Can't believe I missed it, really! Also, I think a defender ought to be able to shoot as a charge reaction. Evading as a charge reaction? I don't think so.

The rules seemed to work fairly well. I like the shooting rules, simple and fast moving. The melee was rather fun with some real ebb and flow. The Guards were tough, but now overwhelmingly so. I'd like to try a larger game with say six units of infantry per side to check the command and FBIGO rules.

So far so good.

ALSO - I thought it might be a good idea to put a copy of the rules on their own page. I'll just update that so the most current version is permanently up there.

Monday, June 01, 2015

The Age of Linear Warfare

I've been tinkering a little with a set of convention rules. The basic idea is to get out either the Prince August and Meisterzinn moulds and get casting.

Any comments would be welcome:

The Age of Linear Warfare

*Equipment: A 48” baton marked in 4” increments. A number of six-sided dice for the adjudication of combat; a number of six sided mini-dice equal to the number of units on the table and; one extra token to mark the extra pip Guards units may have.
*Units, be they Foot or Horse, have an 8” frontage. Figures are mounted on two 4” wide wood strips. As many figures as are regarded as aesthetically pleasing may be used.
*Every unit gets a number of pips (generally six). When this store of pips has been exhausted, the unit is considered destroyed.

*Line Infantry 8”
*Light Infantry and Line Cavalry 12”
*Artillery 8”
Any unit may expend a pip to gain a double move to charge. Charges must be declared at the start of the turn.

*Infantry – I die per stand. Range 8”.
Cavalry do not shoot.
*Artillery – 4 8” bands: Band 1 – 5 dice, Band 2 – 3 dice, Band3 – 2 dice, Band 4 – 1 die.
Procedure: roll dice and pray for 4+. Every Hit thus obtained removes one ‘pip’ from the defender’s store.

*Melee is adjudicated with a simple opposed dice roll with modifiers as follows: +1 if Guards, defending a linear obstacle, charging unto melee or if the pip difference between the attacker and defender is two or more "pips".
*Loss of the Melee results in a one-move push-back for the loser and  the loss of one 'pip'. The victor may elect to follow up with another round of Melee with a +1 advantage on the dice roll. A subsequent second will result in the losing unit being destroyed regardless of remaining 'pips'. Draws result in a mutual push-back of a full move.

*Units down to the last pip may perform no offensive action.
*When half the army has been destroyed, the remainder must withdraw.
*A unit may choose to Fall Back In Good Order. It retires a full move during the next move Phase. Thenceforth, it may recover one pip per turn in which it may perform no other actions.
*Guards units may have an extra “seventh” pip. Light Infantry have four pips only.
*Generals. Have two pips. They are not affected by morale rules. On joining a unit, they will recover a pip for that unit. Any unit attacked whilst with a General attached must flip a coin to see which of them bears any pip loss.

EDIT - Melee Rules updated. 
EDIT #2 - Melee rules updated again.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Down t'pit

Just digging through the lead pile at the moment, and just as I send the boy down the mineshaft to see what he might pull out next, my eye alights on these:

I think the mounted officer is from the mountain gun set
Hmmm. Willies. All dressed up for the Boer War. Or the Sudan. Or even rather usefully on the North Western Frontier.

The Conoisseur gun looks good with them, and I think the boy has come back, all smirched with dust and dead daddy-longlegs with...

Nineteen of the 21st Lancers, a mule-borne mountain gun (5 mules, assorted gun bits, 5 muleteers, four gunners and an NCO - one question though, are the long strips depending from their hands casting vents or walking sticks?), assorted British and Highlander infantry and enough Ghurkas to bring a tear to the old man's eye. And look, there are the sample Pathans, Boers and Zulus I ordered at the same time. And the extra Bismark I wanted to paint as General Buller.
Imagine me in khaki
Oh dear, whatever shall I paint next?

Friday, April 24, 2015


 Well, it would seem to be a case of another week, another regiment. In this case it's they Kreytzen Fusiliers. Still waiting on flags, so the standard-bearers are not in the shot.
I'm told this was a fairly undistinguished regiment, although did see it's fair share of action in the Seven Years War. Yes, I did paint them for the fairly unique pink small-clothes. The white gaiters are a piece of semi-artistic license as I felt that black would suck a lot of the life out of the pink.

That might do me for the immediate future as I seem now to have enough Prussian infantry to be getting on with. I've also painted my way out from under my pile of RSM Prussian infantry, as well. I'll be moving onto renovating and fleshing out three or four regiments of cavalry that I have knocking about here and the it'll be time to get on with some games.

Although, as Chris said in a recent comment, I might do a few bits and bobs just for the fun of it. I have a couple of dozen von Kleist grenzers that need basing up and then too I'd love a couple of Jaeger detachments to round things out. Oops, then there are some limbers that need painting as well.

Plenty to do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How Large an Army?

I am currently painting my seventh unit of RSM Prussians and in the process have just about painted myself to the bottom of my Prussian Infantry silo. Don't get too excited. There are plenty of other silos.
That being said, I laid out the first six of these 36-figure units last weekend and thought, phew, chappie, these do take up a goodly bit of the table-top, watteau?
Now, I've a French army that with a bit of stretching could easily come up to - shall we say - 10 units if infantry and 6-8 units of cavalry of thirty-six and a dozen figures respectively. I can't imagine that you could really get many more figures on a table without it collapsing under the strain and the combined weight of figures acheiving some kind of critical mass and forming a singularity. If I were to hive off some of the grenadier stands I could probably come up with a few more units as well. Likewise the Prussians. They could easily be made up to nine units of infantry if we combined the grenadier companies from the existing units and settled on 30 figure units of foot. I've three units of Horse in varius states of repair and enough bits and bobs to flesh them out.
It may be that I am at the point now of having workable armies for most occasions. The end may be in sight.
Now what do I do?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Built Up Areas

 Change is slow to come to the Duchy of Alzheim. Still after many years of contemplation, I have finally started making the change over to using 15mm scaled buildings.
 The buildings are resin Medieval types by Hovels and not the Franklin Mint, although you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise.  They are nice buildings, decently priced and very easy to paint. I could have gone for their "European" range, but they speak to me a little too much of Belgium when I am looking for an effect more reminiscent of Bohemia and Silesia.
 I hope this picture shows what I am doing. I've taken a leaf from Keith Flint's book and standardised my town sizes. The square of felt is 12" to a side and roughly equivalent to my unit frontage. This is the smallest town size. More can be grouped together to form larger conurbations.
 A battalion/regiment/unit can defend two sides of the area. These buildings represent light cover. They are not proof against artillery fire. Only the entrenched position shown below is.
 The village below is garrisoned appropriately enough by Garrison Regiment #2. It's still awaiting its flags and standard-bearers, but is close enough to being finished to be worth photographing.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Painting, painting, painting

As you do.

 First off, I scraped up every last RSM Prussian I could find to put together most of IR#1. Six figures (as you may recall) need to be sourced. Althouh it may not be too clear from this picture, I've decided to use the AWI marching British Officer as the standard bearer as the RSM "Cadets" just don't do it for me. The Colonel is just about ready for paint, so expect to see him soonish.
 I also scrounged up this heavy HE piece and four-horse limber. I like this gun and it will make a fine 12-pounder for my Prussians. The Limber is quite nice and the horses look fine from what I can see on the Spencer Smith website. I'll be remaining strong however!
I'm currently about 40 percent through another Prussian unit. They are shaping up to become either Garrison Regiment #2 or the du Verger Freikorps battalion. Both have quite similar uniforms and are being painted up from the RSM Russian casting which, while not perfect, is all there is available from the range to really represent these canaille.

After they are finished and providing I still have the strength to go on, I'll turn my energies to another unit of Prussian Fusiliers, possibly either FR#40 or FR#52, although the former will require a small conversion-with-paint with regard to the lapels of the figure.

I've bough some of "Body's Banners" from the Redoubt web-store to flag and even re-flag my Prussian infantry. I'm dying to see how they look in the flesh.