Tuesday, 23 October 2018


The Astrovian arms build up continues with the introduction of some light troops.
I wanted to portray border troops from the Marlburian era... so didn't want to use SYW Grenzers, nor did I want to use the Croats I have for my TYW collection.
In the end, on the grounds that this is an imaginary army anyway, I plumped for some suitably ragged chaps from the Foundry Cossack range.

Here are Karavani's Croats which I've given a sort of themed/ semi-uniformed look:

Next, I'm working through some loose ends in a number of projects, and adding to this one too. So the workbench has Macedonian Successor peltasts, Napoleonics, TYW, and Astrovian artillery all on the verge of getting paint applied! I'm enjoying the variety, and the fact that I'm getting through some things that have been in the "pending tray" for some time. It's very cathartic!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

A Sicilian Adventure

26 years ago, my lovely daughter, Victoria, entered the world.
Where has the time gone?

We recently spent a week in Sicily where she got married.
A week in a lovely villa in the hills above Cefalu on the north coast, which we shared with my brother and his family and my siuster and her family... punctuated by a three night stay in the very top notch hotel Le Calette where the reception was held.

I've been to the island once before, but this time was extra special, of course.
I have never been more proud.

Just a few pictures...

The pool at the villa.

Below: with Dianne.
Wedding day... and I decided to look particularly Sicilian in this picture... to blend in with the "in-laws"!


Below: with my son, Christopher.

Below: the happy couple. As any parent will say, "I just want my kids to be happy." Result!

Later on, Victoria and Marco arrive at the reception... a typically massive Sicilian affair, overlooking the sea from the hotel... amazing.

Below: Two proud dads.

Below: the pool at Hotel Le Calette the morning after... 

 We added an extra day to our stay in the hotel... it was just so lovely.
Then back to the villa for a couple of days. 

With all the excitement over, I did get out my wargaming notebook to think and relax. I was joined by our tame gecko, Gordon, who sat on the adjacent seat for quite some time...

Below: meal out in Cefalu:
The rest of my siblings and partners and offspring... 
Brother, Steve (front left), and his wife Gina and baby Rye; plus sister, Cath (back right), and her husband Simon and their daughter, Layla. Plus my lad, Christopher (front right), and me at far end. Photo taken by Dianne.

I hope you'll forgive this personal intermission!
Soon I'll have some wargaming activity to report...

Friday, 14 September 2018

Heavy Horse

The latest unit to canter off the workbench is the Astrovian Kuirassiers von Klammer.
Fairly speedy paint job, but I think they look effective... in fact, quite threatening. Those Vaubarians had better beware.

This brings the orders of battle to the following...
Vaubarians: 2 Line Infantry Battalions, 1 Light Infantry (dismounted dragoons) regiment, 1 cavalry regiment, 2 guns.
Astrovians: 2 Line Infantry Battalions, 1 cavalry regiment.

Artillery from Hautmont Etrurie are being completed by Steve as we speak, and I'm going to be working on a unit of Astrovian light infantry next.
This means we will have enough for some games soon. Look out for the scenarios, layouts and deployments appearing here soon, and you'll also get some AARs too.

Meantime, I'm heading off to Sicily for a week, to be the father of the bride! My daughter, Victoria, gets married out there on Tuesday. Where did all the years go?

Monday, 10 September 2018

Field Commander

One of Astrovia's most villainous Generals, and a fiendishly skulduggerous member of the Imperial Court, is Reichsgrafen von Schwarzenatter.
He has recently been awarded command of the Astrovian Field Army... and that spells trouble.

His dark and devious personality is reflected in his choice of a black uniform coat, richly embroidered with golden lacework, representing the opulence of the Astrovian Court where his Machiavellian machinations are legendary.
Of course, putting him in charge of the Astrovian field force gets him out of the way a little... perhaps that's helpful to certain other members of the Imperial entourage.

His standard bearer wears the uniform of the Kuirassiers von Klammer, a regiment who I hope to be able to show in full later this week...

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Dismounted Dragoons

Next unit finished... Vaubarian dismounted dragoons.
This is regiment Muller. They operate as light troops, making them The Muller Lights. Groan!!

The workbench is groaning under the pressure of preps for a game (or three!) that I'm planning to host in the not too distant future - the start of this particular collection being used "in anger" on the tabletop.
I have 3 scenarios in mind to be played out in one day, and whilst the collection is in the early stages, and the orbats are limited somewhat, there will be sufficient tactical challenges to keep the two visiting commanders entertained for the day...
Can you guess which scenarios I have in mind (most readers will know them, I'm sure).

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Comments. Links and a note on Productivity

Thanks everyone for the comments on yesterday's post. I'm glad the Schrodinger pun wasn't lost on some people... 

Today, I added a few new links and updated the blogroll at the sidebar (it saves me having to keep looking in my favourites list).

One blog particularly worthy of note is "Chasseur." Now, I don't know the chap who runs it (I think he's on the underside of the world), but his blog is excellent. I particularly like his take on painting productivity. He bashes out Napoleonics at a phenomenal rate, and some of his older posts on the psychology of turning out such large numbers are really worth a read. Well done that man.

It reminded me of the old "Painting Points" concept that I originally put forward around 13 years ago. Yep, I checked, 2005. 
I still see people referring to "Olley points" or "Painting Points" occasionally, and many of them will have no idea who I am!

The idea behind Painting Points is to have a productivity measure. It doesn't have to be a huge target (this is a hobby, after all), but a sense of how much you are really getting done is useful. The scoring is 1 point for infantryman, 2 for cavalry (1 for rider, 1 for horse) and so on. Simple. The value is in both keeping tally of output, and also in planning new projects. It's no good planning, and hoping, to produce the Battle of Leipzig at 1:20, if your average painting output is 14 figures a year. You'll become despondent in no time, and the butterflies will take hold.

Think about it. How many figures have you painted in the last 6 months, or the whole of this year so far? Get the average monthly output. That gives you a clue as to what you can produce. Now, if you were really focussed I'm sure you could up it a little, just by turning off the TV, or setting aside a very specific part of the evening to paint, or whatever rhythm you want to create. So, if you've averaged 12 figures per month in the last 6 months, how about a stretch to 15; or if it's been 33, what about upp'ing it to 40 per month. If 87, why not aim at 100. It's not about bragging about who is whacking out the most stuff. What's important is the steady build on a decent output for you.

Now, there will always be distractions and things that prevent the brush getting wet. I myself have a varied and busy life. In September, I'll be travelling a fair bit, and have plenty of business and other stuff going on. And it may be that the month to come prevents me getting to the paint desk much at all. 

But, in the normal run of life, that's where the painting points helps you. It's not about those times when it would be impossible to paint. It's about those times when all is "normal" - and when all sorts of distractions and procrastinations could get in the way. Remove those distractions, get a clear target in mind, and go for it.

Take some time to read Chasseur's post about his approach to painting Napoleonics in volume. Then set to work.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Special Dispensation

This is Astrovian Infantry Regt 2. Schrodinger's Regt.

The Colonel of the regiment, von Schrodinger, visited the Emperor to get a special dispensation...
He requested that, instead of having the usual Astrovian black eagle on the flags, he might be allowed to replace it with a yellow one. He reasoned that, given the flags are black/white, it would be difficult to see the usual black eagle, and that people wouldn't be sure it was there or not.
The special allowance was granted.
Von Schrodinger's great, great, great grandson was to gain notoriety some years later - something to do with a cat.