Wednesday 22 January 2014


OK, I'm biased. As you know if you've been a regular visitor to the blog, John Ray is a good friend of mine, so let me declare that up front, for the topic of inspiration is John's book, A Military Gentleman.

With the book having been available for a while, I thought it only appropriate to now give you my first impressions, and to impress upon those who are fans of the horse & musket period (and the 18th century in particular), that this really is a tome worth investing in.

So, with my allegiance fully declared, here goes:

You know, there are those pieces of inspiration, whether they be books, artwork, films, in fact anything that stirs the hobby juices, that come along once in a while and really make an impact. This book is one of those. It's jam-packed with John's extra-ordinary and unique collection. It's got a style of presentation that is so professional and beautifully executed. The attendant artwork is superb, and the text itself is something of great interest and difference that it will hold attention throughout.

John's collection is simply stunning, and the combination of massed ranks of marching infantrymen interspersed with vignettes that capture the period so delightfully, is quite marvellous. In fact, it's that combination that really hits the sweet spot for me.

The collection itself is vast… with big battalions in that inimitable pose that John Ray has sculpted. And the vastness is matched by the consistently high quality of the paintwork, the simple and effective basing style, and the wonderful array of flags.

The extra-ordinary buildings (the large town scenes are breath-taking) have a believability that is often absent in model collections, and this can be said of the ships, wagons, coaches and other attendant paraphernalia… all of which has an authentic style that takes you right into John's miniature world.

The photography is first class and with the highest production values in terms of paper quality, John's massive collection is seen in full glory.

The addition of Brian Rigelsford's charming pen and ink sketches throughout the book is a lovely touch and adds to the overall elegance of the work. Then there's some of Bob Marion's work too, and again the colour and style of the plates compliments the book beautifully.

The text itself is a story, which is a neat idea, and allows John to showcase the collection superbly. Many of the vignettes and individual figures were created purely for the story too.

This book isn't so much a wargaming book as it is a work of art. It's a reflection of John's passion for, and focus upon, a very specific period. The collector and connoisseur in you will love it…

see the link to John's blog on the right hand side of this page for more details…

Next time I'll give some more progress on my own collection.
Until then, that's all for now…

Sunday 5 January 2014

A Growing Force

Firstly, a very Happy New Year... may your 2014 be prosperous.

Over the past few weeks, brushes have been wielded, notably by Mark Allen, and James Brewerton, to the extent that I now have a basing backlog!! (I know, I'm a slacker).

James has done a lovely job on the first of the French infantry regiments, and they are next in the basing queue. Photos will be coming once they are complete.
Meanwhile, Mark completed the Kronprinz Grenadiers, to accompany their sister battalion featured last time, the Pils Holstein Leibgarde.

Here is the embryonic Pils-Holstein army in full array, on recent manoeuvres.

Shown here are The Kronenbrau Kuirassiers, Holstein Hussars, Transvladak Uhlanen, Leibgarde Regt, Kronprinz Grenadiers, and Kurtz Jagers, along with 2 light guns.
A variety of commanders are in attendance.

And here's the Infantry Brigade, with their commander, Brigadier Maximillian von Bruch (painted by yours truly a few weeks ago).

This force will face a similar sized French array in a small action over the coming weeks, and I'll post a report here.

Meanwhile, best wishes for the year to come, and I do hope you will continue to visit and enjoy the blog. This year, as the armies grow and develop, things will start to get interesting. I promise...