Friday, 30 August 2019

The Battle of The Elbaubach

…  homage to The Battle of the River Elbow by David Barnes which was published in The Wargamer’s Newsletter in the 1970s.
This is the game Steve and I are playing at The Cotswold Wargames Day in Northleach on Sunday.

The Emperor of Astrovia and The Elector of Vaubaria are at odds, as the famous saying goes, so little introduction is needed. A balanced Vaubarian force of horse, foot and guns, under The Markgraf Karl von Orff, has been despatched into the disputed territory of Mundania which nestles between the competing states. 

Below: Markgraf Karl von Orff, commander of Vaubarian forces.

Here is the map of the disputed territory of Mundania, which is squeezed between the Electorate of Vaubaria (to its west), and the Astrovian Empire (to its east).

Only major features are shown on the map, including the capital of Mundania, Krisdeburg. The rest of this region is a patchwork of small hills, farms, hamlets, villages, woods, copses, rivers and  streams - perfect wargaming territory in fact!
Approaching The Elbaubach from the north, having made a wide sweeping move northward on entering Mundania, the Markgraf finds himself facing a similarly sized Astrovian force under the command of Reichsgrafen von Schwarzenatter arriving south of the river.
Whoever can command the crossing, will win the day.

The Markgraf Karl von Orff has with him the following Vaubarian force:
IR1 - The Leibgarde
IR2 - Regiment Dremel
IR3 - Regiment Breitner

Dismounted Dragoon regiment Muller
Vogts Cuirassiers
Podolski Hussars

2 Field Guns

For the Astrovians, Reichsgrafen von Schwarzenatter is in command of the following force:

IR1 - Frankl
IR2 - Schrodinger
IR3 - Grenadiers Mahler
Light Infantry: Karavani Croats
Klammer Kuirassiers
Czardas Hussars

2 Field Guns

Steve and I are very much looking forward to the showdown, and to meeting a few blog readers who may have made the journey to the Cotswolds. 

A report on the action will be forthcoming sometime next week.
Full details of The Cotswold Wargames Day can be found here:

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The Battle of The River Elbow

A while ago, Steve and I discussed a scenario which would suit our needs for the Cotswold wargames Day being organised by Keith Flint for this coming weekend.
We needed something that was appropriate for just a few units per side, and that looked sufficiently interesting in terms of terrain to give the armies a good 'run out'.

We settled upon an old favourite... The River Elbow, originally published as an article in The Wargamer's Newsletter c 1979, by David Barnes. The lovely sketches accompanying the original article are just so very special too.
Our game will be loosely based on this one, and I'll come to that in a future blog post.
For now, here is the original article.

Friday, 23 August 2019

More Hussars

For the upcoming Cotswolds Wargaming Day, I needed a unit of Astrovian light cavalry to even up the sides, and so set about doing a speedy paint job on these chaps... The Astrovian Czardas Hussars.

The motto on the flag actually comes from a 16th century Landsknecht motto, "semper in excretum, sed sole profundum variat." Translates as, "Always in the sh*t, it's just the depth that varies." This seems particularly appropriate for this unit of vagabonds, rascals, and ne'er-do-wells.
A spokesman for the regiment has refuted claims that the motto in some way refers to their brown uniforms.
Talking of which, whereas with the VaubarianPodolski Hussars featured a while ago, I left the pelisses off, for this unit, I decided to include the standard flamboyant hussar dress. Students of Astrovian military history will, of course, be familiar with the fact that this unit was the first to wear the fur lined attire, which led to the creation of the regimental march, "Fur Pelisse" composed by one Peter Von Hoven (aka Pete Hoven)... Are you groaning yet?!

Coming soon, the build up to next weekend's game...

Thursday, 1 August 2019


Just to show that it's not all about Journals, sketch maps and coloured crayons around here (see previous post), here is the latest unit off the Astrovian production line:
Astrovian Grenadiers von Mahler.

They are numbered IR3 in the regimental numbering system, but being Grenadiers have a certain business-like and elitist swagger about them.
Figures are Front Rank.
Painted, as are all the infantry in the Astrovian army, using the Army Painter dip, and highlighted. Fairly quick to do.
Flags are hand painted on metal foil.

In addition, I've painted a little vignette piece for the Vaubarian side...
The Vaubarian army marches to war with this cross carried at its head, reputedly made from the tree against which St Sebastian was martyred (Sebastian being the patron saint of the country).

The figure is from Trent Miniatures. I picked it up at Partizan in May whilst chatting to proprietor Duncan MacFarlane at his stand. He allowed me to break up one of his packs, and pay a small price for a single figure, as long as I painted the figure and showed him! So, if you're reading this Mr Mac, here he is...
Lovely figure actually, and I knew exactly what I had in mind as soon as I saw it...
He is accompanied by a Front Rank figure in the uniform of The Leibgarde.

More to come soon... 

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Campaign Journal

It was always my intention to create a 'Campaign Journal' for the Wars of the Vaubarian Succession (WVS) project.
So, I recently began collecting together all the materials for this 'tome' and putting them into a coherent record.

This is to be a combination of the back-story to the countries involved, and the regimental 'histories' for each unit, along with battle reports of the tabletop action.

It contains my maps, outline notes on the countries (Vaubaria, Astrovia, and the campaign area, Mundania). 
Steve's country, Hautmont-Etrurie, may also appear, but at the moment this journal is really purely a bit of self-indulgence.

The journal also has a double page for each regiment...
One side is the background on the regiment: uniform sketch, a photo of the wargame unit, some notes on the regiment.
Opposite is space for the unit's service record. This will include a list of actions (games) involved in, broad footnote on the unit's performance and involvement, and casualty return for the action.

I have got behind on the regimental pages, so thought now would be a good time to start catching up... 
Here's the page for The Vaubarian Leibgarde (IR1).

The rear portion of the Campaign Journal allows for battles to be recorded, with the usual sketch maps, orders of battle, and a short after action report, including pictures.
Just another part of the hobby madness!!

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Back from the Brink

In my previous post I made reference to a possible new project that had crossed my mind...
And thanks to those who commented and threw up their hands in horror, implying that I'd lost all credibility as a paragon of wargames focus!

You'll be pleased to know that, when I reflected on the benefits of the new idea, and compared it with what I am already doing with the Wars of The Vaubarian Succession (WVS), the latter won hands down.

A salutary lesson... 

So, how did I draw myself back from a precipice that would have seen me descend into a chasm-like new project?

First, I considered why it was that Steve and I had chosen to do the WVS in the first place. 
I revisited my notes: the rationale for choosing the period, the imagi-background, the figure range, the painting style, the rules,  the terrain style, the unit organisation and basing style, the planned steady build up of forces with teaser battles along the way. It all still makes sense. I just needed to reconnect with it, and pick up the brush again.

Second, I considered how much I had already got done for WVS. it dawned on me that whatever the new project, it would take me quite a time to get to where I am already with WVS. So there would be no net gain for quite some time, whereas by just knuckling down and continuing with WVS, I already have a platform to build on.

Then I got stuck in, started a fresh unit, and will have something to show for that in the next week, I hope.

Sometimes, a rest is as good as a change! The brief respite from painting WVS figures was just the break I needed.. 

So, we're back on track!.
Phew... that was a close one!

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Phil's Folly?

Famously, a journalist interviewed Thomas Edison for an article under the title, "Edison's Folly", describing how the scientist had conducted 5000 experiments and failed every time to succeed in creating the light-bulb (I'm summarising and simplifying, but you get the idea).
Edison's response to the young journalist during the interview was along the following lines:
"Young man. You don't understand. I haven't failed 5000 times to invent the light bulb. I've just found 5000 ways that it won't work... which puts me 5000 ways closer to the one way it will work."

I wish I could be so positive about the number of 'failed wargaming projects' I've conducted over the years.

Of late, however, I've been pottering around with a number of 'non projects' on the grounds that occasionally it's just nice to paint a unit here or there, and see where it goes. Free-wheeling, if you like.
And it's allowed me to go into periods I otherwise wouldn't paint.
Here, therefore, are a couple of non-projects I've been tinkering with...

First up: some Normans.
These are Perry Crusader range figures I picked up from Dave Thomas at Partizan (while Jerry Miller, painter extraordinaire, egged me on! The rascal!)

I enjoyed painting them. They're fairly basic once you've dry-brushed the chainmail over a black undercoat. Shield transfers and banners are by Little Big Man Studios.
They were for a 'very-much-on-the-back-burner' project set in the 11th century Mediterranean, with Normans and Byzantines fighting over sundry islands, not unlike Sicily, or perhaps further east. Nice to paint, but will it go further?

The next 'non-project' is The French Wars of Religion.

I've always had a liking for the period, and then TAG go and produce these lovely castings. These are Royal Swiss from the French Valois range. Just a few done so far, and whilst I enjoyed painting them, I may just dissolve the idea and leave it at that... We'll see. 

Anyway, all of that is a way of showing that even I can put an Edison-like positive spin on 'failed' wargames projects. 

Sometimes, it's nice to simply paint a unit, or a few figures, for no reason other than you like the figures. No harm done.

But, the experience has also taken me to a fresh little side-line that I may begin in earnest in September.
You see; for me, it's all about the figures.

In the end, I believe, you have to choose those figures you want to paint, and want to paint lots of, if you want a full-blown army (or two). 
I'm in awe of those who can build huge collections, and particularly those who paint all the figures themselves, steadily turning out high quality, in quantity. 

And, I like a challenge... with a heretical twist...