Friday 30 August 2013

Campaign Characters

With every campaign project comes a host of characters who, to a greater or lesser extent, will play a role in the coming conflict.
Whilst I don’t want to go over the top at this stage with developing personalities and the like as I’ve got some way to go before they will be required, I feel it's worth introducing just a couple for now...

So, here is Teresa Pepisa, aka Tessa Pepisa
(aka Tipsi Pipsi when not in earshot, owing to her being known to like the odd gin or two).
 As daughter of a wealthy Italian financier, she attended the Austrian Hapsburg court on a number of social occasions in the 1720s and, once in the limelight, was soon spotted by a visiting King Ferdinand Adolphus of Pils Holstein. Rumours of her dalliances with him, which apparently broke the late-Queen’s heart, were heightened when she first gained an estate in Pils Holstein. Spending a lot of time there one spring, she was awarded honorary colonel-ship of the Holstein Hussars and an unspecified role as “General of Light Horse” adding to the speculation about romantic endeavours.

Tipsi is a Suren figure, painted many moons ago.
The ADC, Major Ligue, is a John Ray designed Hussar, again painted some time ago. His unit, The Transvladachian Uhlanen (Transvladak Lancers), will appear in due course (I have them painted, but can’t give you too much in one go, can I now?!) Tipsi’s unit, The Holstein Hussars, is also painted and again, look out for them in the near future.

Next, Johann von Arfeld.
A Brunswick officer, allegedly a dashing commander, a claim he will get chance to prove in the coming campaigns I’m sure. He has been awarded the post of Commander of all Pils-Holstein’s cavalry.

This vignette is by John Ray, painted by Mark Allen. Figures are John’s creations, the ADC being a Suren conversion. This piece was a kind gift from John, and is much treasured.

Talking of John Ray, I see there's news about his new book printing just up on his webpage (see "A Military Gentleman" link on right).

That's all from me for this week. Off to Partizan on Sunday, so may see you there.
Have a great weekend.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Justified and Ancients

Firstly, thanks to all who have commented, followed the blog, and emailed me personally. I am genuinely overwhelmed by the response to this mad indulgence! It shows my decision to resurrect the War cabinet was justified. 

Second… I was unhappy with the picture of the Kronenbrau Kuirassiers I put up previously. So here is a better version (I think).

And third… Ancient archive...

I’ve started putting a couple of pictures in the Ancients Archive (see navigation bar, top right hand side).

starting with Sassanids

The Byzantines… previously I did a mini blog within the old warcabinet website, journaling the development of this small project, and this subsequently featured as articles in the early issues of Battlegames magazine…

In addition, I’ve included my Mongol Army, which was fantastic to build.
It’s an “army” in the WAB (and Impetus) sense… around 50 cavalry figures.

It has seen wide service, as Khazars facing the Byzantines above, as Mongols of course, and being drafted into the 17C Cossack rebellion as Tartars… such versatility is one of the benefits of a horse archer army. The figures are Curtey’s Miniatures: full of real character, and charm, and lovely to paint.
And, the Mongols are for sale...
Having served me so well, along with a couple of Sung Chinese units, these are for sale.

So, if they are the sort of chaps who you would like to have on your shelves, and to smite foes on your tabletop, make me an offer at Phil(dot)Olley(at)

There are 50 cavalry figures (including the command vignettes), and 42 infantry.
I’m looking for just 700 gbp (that’s around 10 per cavalryman, and 5 per infantryman).

I’ll be at Partizan on Sunday, so if you want me to bring them and have a look, let me know. Similarly, I may also get to Colours later in the month if you want to pick them up there.


Sunday 25 August 2013

17th Century Poles & Cossacks Archive Gallery

Whilst the new project gathers momentum in the background, in the meantime, I thought I would just build some of the archive galleries.

One of my favourite projects was in creating a display game of the Cossack Rebellion 1648 based on the Jerzy Hoffman film “With Fire and Sword”.
I can’t believe it’s 6 years ago since I put the game on at Partizan in 2007.

Flambuoyant Polish Winged Hussars, siege towers, the Cossack Sich Drum, and storming parties, plus that moving windmill, all added to the fun.

For the full archive gallery, see the archive page link top right of this blog.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Visit to the Casters

Since some of you are itching for piccies of figures for the new project (yes, I know, I’m the same), here is one of my cavalry units that I painted recently. Previously I had this unit for my Classic collection using Holger Eriksson figures, and like many of my other former units they just had to be recreated for the new project:

So, I present: The Kronenbrau Kuirassiers…

Figures are John Ray sculpts, on Connoisseur mounts. This is a fictional Pils-Holstein cavalry regiment… in fact, the Pils-Holstein army being relatively small, this will be their only heavy cavalry regiment.
The flag is hand-painted on metal foil (as will be all of my unit flags for this collection). It shows the date the original regiment was raised, 1664, and the unit emblem, a Griffin. Talking of which..

I have a few more cavalry done, some for French service some for Pils-Holstein (in total over 80 figures, some of which have been seen before), and I’ll post more pictures up in the coming weeks.

And so, to the infantry…
With sufficient cavalry to tide me over for quite some time, courtesy of John Ray’s amazing figures that I am so lucky to have in the collection, it was time to get the infantry mould done, and off to Griffin Castings I went, having booked time to chat with Stewart who is known to a number of you, worldwide.

How fortunate for me to discover that...
...they are practically on my doorstep, being just a few miles away.
Fitting in with a couple of business meetings I happened to have lined up in the diary nearby yesterday, the timing was therefore perfect.

It was great to meet Stewart and one or two of his team, and get a welcome cuppa whilst chatting about figures, casting, and indeed many other things - such as Stewart’s own hobbies too. No, he is not a wargamer, figure collector, or anything to do with our hobby… but it’s nice to know that he has an interest/ obsession himself that allows him to appreciate what we do. I’ll leave it to Stewart to let his particular cat out of the bag to those who deal with him!

I am utterly reassured
by the Griffin approach, and for any of you who get your figures cast by the company I can assure you of their professionalism and quality – Jim Purky (Fife n Drum), Frank Hammond (Minden), and many others I believe. But then you knew that already, I’m sure.

Anyway, I recorded the visit with a picture just for posterity…

In just a couple of weeks, the mould will have been spun, quite a few times, and I'll have a nice shiny horde of metal to work on! Can't wait...

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Introduction to new project and TYW archive

A number of years ago, having been in the wargaming and figure collecting hobby since my teens, and having worked on many projects covering many periods in history, I considered my "desert island wargaming" question - if I could have only ONE collection/ project, what would that look like? What period? What figures? What about the overall style/ look of the thing, the basing, terrain, painting style, buildings, flags... in short, what would be my ideal project, in every aspect?

And here’s what I realised…
For all my wargaming life the 18th century has been a constant; that one period to which I have returned time and again. But I had never felt I had got it quite right.
And so, for this my new project (and one to which I am now committed as my main collection from now on), it was natural to settle on that period.

And so…
This blog is about creating and building a collection of miniatures for a campaign set in the mid-18th century.
So, now, join me on the journey as I record the project from the start. It's great to have you along…

Above: de Saxe... a key French commander in the campaign. Suren figures, some conversion. Hand painted flag on linen.
From the outset I decided to field French and Prussians, to ground the whole project in “real” armies, and to include some fictitious elements (namely from Pils Holstein and environs - a place that exists only in my mind's eye, somewhere in western Europe) to satiate that particular inclination for the imaginary.

I also decided…
that I wanted unique figures, and a particular pose, so the majority of the 30mm tall figures have been commissioned for my private collection. I am indebted to Steve Shaw and John Ray whose figure-making, sculpting and converting talents turned my rudimentary sketches and ideas into reality.

Today, I reached a first landmark…
when I visited the casters, and dropped off my infantry master figures for the first mould. How lucky am I to live just a few miles along the road from these guys! But I’ll tell you all about that in tomorrow’s post…

Meanwhile, for those who have asked
whether I would be including lots of pictures and material from the old Breitenfeld Blog and previous Warcabinet, the answer is yes. I am putting up some archive galleries, and have started with the Thirty Years War… see pages links top right hand side of this blog.

Nothing to do with this project. This is part of my TYW collection – see archive gallery page top right hand side of this blog. More to come soon.

Thanks again for visiting, and for the warm support and enthusiasm with which you welcomed the warcabinet back online. I was genuinely touched by that – I thought most people would have forgotten my previous efforts by now!

Tuesday 20 August 2013


Remember the old warcabinet (first as a website in the days before blogs existed, and then for a very short period as a blog)? Now, I've decided it should return… please note the web address has changed.

So, what am I going to put here?
Well, first it will be a place to share my progress on my latest project, more of which anon.
Second, I will be posting up galleries of all my previous collections, just as a set of archives.
Finally, it will be a place where I can post some battle reports, especially when the new project gets to that stage.

So, what  can you expect?
In a couple of days, I’ll introduce the new project, and show some of the steps I’ve already taken.
But, just be sure, I haven’t got very far … yet. In fact one of the exciting notions for me about starting this blog right now is that you are joining me at ground zero… I hope you might like to follow the steps, and even use this as a pace-maker for your own project if you fancy starting afresh too, and I’ll be delighted to hear of your progress and any comments.

here is one of the command pieces for my new project: Prinz Albrecht of Pils-Holstein.
And before you label this as yet another one of those "imagi-Nations", think again... and more on that next time.
Suren figures, with some conversion work (Prinz Albrecht's tricorne is scratchbuilt, and the standard bearer has a scratchbuilt cloak and a John Ray designed head). Flag is hand painted on linen and depicts the arms of Pils-Holstein.