Sunday, 30 August 2020

Brigade Commander and Skirmishers

First off, thanks to all who have commented on the previous couple of blog posts recently. It's very much appreciated. Keep 'em coming.

Now, here's what I have been up to over the past ten days or so:
More of the steadily growing Napoleonic collection.

This is the Brigade Commander...

Plus the Brigade skirmish screen.

The Brigade so far...

Next, the remaining two battalions to paint in order to complete this first brigade.

The weekly VWC meetings are proving just the tonic to keep the brush wielded, as it seems to be for others. Yesterday's was a great session, with lots of material submitted by the guys for the show n tell section, a great presentation from one of the members on his collection of 20mm plastics, and a vibrant discussion in the breakout rooms. The banter level rises each week, and the chat box went to a record 130+ messages (and that's just the comments and asides). 
I'm grateful to all the participants, and each week I never cease to be amazed and inspired. The over-riding essence of the group is that everyone has their own way of approaching the hobby, and all are equally valid.
Much enjoyment can be found in listening to people describing their plans and ideas, many of which you will see on their blogs. Getting the 'inside track', and behind the scenes thinking, adds meat to those bones. It's a wonderful way to spend 90 minutes each week.

And new members are always welcome... 

Thursday, 13 August 2020

More French in Bicornes

Have completed the second battalion of the 4eme Ligne, circa 1805.

And here they are in support of the first battalion

And a couple of closer photos of both battalions.

I'm enjoying painting these, although there's a fair amount of work in them with all the straps, piping and so on. 
I don't know if I will ever get to the point of being able to do Auserlitz, such as Carlo is just now - see link

But, who knows where it will lead...

Tuesday, 4 August 2020


Last week I had some time off, so Steve and I agreed to meet up for a socially distanced lunch at our favourite venue/Fencible HQ in Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds.

One of the things that cropped up during our chat was my planning folder which I use to keep track of my hobby activities and plans. Each project has a separate section in which I have an overview (rationale, criteria, objectives, etc) and then things like scenarios, orders of battle, painting schedules, handy references, notes and ideas, and so on.

Coincidentally, at this week's Virtual Wargames Club, one of the members who was giving a short presentation on what he had been up to this week showed us some of the planning he does for his projects. This sparked a discussion which we took into the breakout session. It seems that the wargaming world is fairly polarised... some people like to have a comprehensive plan of what they are doing, while others are happy to simply do what takes their fancy. Neither is right or wrong, of course. It's just interesting to see how others go about things.

After over three months, it does look like the VWC is here to stay, and I'm indebted to the members who turn up week in, week out, to chat in a convivial atmosphere about the hobby. Many have messaged me privately to say how much they value and enjoy the weekly gathering and how much it has helped them in the current circumstances. For that, I'm very grateful.

At the moment we are collating a list of rules for all periods as a resource for members who may want to venture into new periods... 
… a sort of "Rules-Advisor!"
We also have a recommended reading list compiled by the members, and I've been stocking up on parts of my library as a result!

Last week we also got onto the subject of 'inspirational photos that got you hooked'. This has led to lots of old favourites coming out... magazine covers, books, and so on. All good fun, and the sorts of things you'd chat about at any normal wargames club. Add to that, inspiring presentations on painting, games, and other hobby activities, in all periods, and it feels like a great way to spend 90 minutes each week.

Meanwhile, I've been painting, and will soon have something new to show.
Until then, all the best...


Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Passing dalliance or new project?

A couple of years ago, on a whim, I purchased some Front Rank Napoleonic French in bicornes. I just like the figures, and fancied painting them up. I had been to Paris for a few days, and returned with the wonderful Musee de l'Armee in mind, and thought 'well, why not?'
But somehow, at the time, other things took over.

However, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give them a go.

And so, I present the first battalion, 4eme Ligne, circa 1805 or thereabouts.

Really enjoyed painting them.
So will it be a passing dalliance, or is a new project born?

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Jeux Sans Adversaires

We each have our own preferences in this hobby of ours.

Some love the game. 
Some love the painting. 
Some love the modelling, or the terrain-making. 
Some love the design, sculpting, and conversion of figures. 
Some spend more time on research, reading and studying the uniforms or histories of campaigns.
In fact, I would say, that for many people in the hobby, some or all of these elements will play a big part. But, at a push, most will have a preference, or a hierarchy of priorities. And each to their own.

The recent lockdown has been kind to me in terms of painting. Whilst I have been working hard at the day job, I have also used the time to get more done at the paint desk.

Where I haven't been so good is at the gaming table.

I openly confess that whilst I like a good game amongst pals, the gaming part of the hobby is not paramount for me.
And that makes gaming without an opponent seem, well, even more fruitless somehow.
I had long suspected it. But recent events have rather confirmed it. QED.

You see, I set up the Altekirche game at the end of June... and I have only done three turns since then, manoeuvring the armies into position.
Here's the state of play...

I'm not sure they will fire, attack, or just sit there glaring at each other for a while longer. For me, it's just enough to look at the scene laid out on the table.
Food for thought...

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Discovery of old photos

I can't remember what I was initially searching for (and I doesn't really matter now) but you know how you accidentally stumble across something that you thought was lost and you let out one of those gasps of surprise and relief and contentment (steady at the back there)...

I recently came across some old external hard drives, which I thought had been lost over time.
On one of these was a very 'important' folder... including all the old photos I took when Charles S Grant and I played the campaign for the book Raid on St Michel.

Many will be familiar with the book, I'm sure. It included the collection of figures features in Charles' father's book, The War Game. 

These pictures were, of course, reproduced in B/W for the St Michel book, but most have never been seen in colour before.
They show off that iconic SSM collection rather well I think.

I gave a presentation of the first action of the campaign to the Virtual Wargames Club last weekend, using these pictures, and discussing the campaign mechanisms (such as casualty recording and how the various teaser games were strung together), and I will be doing more from this campaign at the VWC this coming weekend.

As well as that, we have the usual high standard of in-depth wargaming chatter, pictures and banter from all the members. 
I am indebted to the VWC members who have all entered into the spirit of the 'club', developing genuine friendships, and making significant contributions each week with their pictures and information. It really has been the best possible way of finding out about how other people approach the hobby.
Last week our conversation went from Stalingrad to Tolkien to 18th century campaign mechanisms... and all stations in between. And I have picked up lots of little tips and tricks and techniques regarding the painting and modelling aspects of the hobby.

The group began as an antidote to lockdown wargaming blues, but has now become a regular weekend tonic and I can see it continuing in some form well into the future.

If you fancy joining us for a chat, the details are on the right hand side of this blog, including my email address.
Feel free to get in touch.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Encounter at Altekirche

Just a little table set up.
No guessing which game it's based upon.

The Pils-Holstein force will arrive from the northwest corner, and the French force from the southeast corner.

The Pils-Holstein forces, under Brigadier Maximillian von Bruch
  • Leibgarde Infantry Battalion
  • Oldenburg Infantry Battalion
  • Kurtz Jagers
  • Light gun

The French force under The Marquis de Genitalia
  • Auvergne Infantry Battalion
  • Orleans Infantry Battalion
  • Arquebusiers de Grassin
  • Light gun

Check back for reports in a few days...