Friday, December 30, 2016

Eclectic Holiday post #1 AFVs I have known

Well, it is the holiday season and I do have a lot of pictures in my archive so I thought I would share some of those as wargamers often like to see the real thing as well as toys. 

Sherman with long 75 - Utah Beach, Normandie - taken 2016

British Universal Carrier - Caen, Normandie - taken in 2008

M3 Half track - D Day Museum near Omaha Beach - taken 2016

Non penetrating hits on Panther glacis - Normandie - taken 2016
Killer hit? Panther, Normandie - taken 2016

Buffalo - Utah Beach Museum - taken 2016
M10 Tank Destroyer Bayeaux, Normandie - taken 2006
Captured Kettenkrad - Normandie - taken 2016
Sexton - Museum at Falaise, Normandie - taken 2006
Goliath - remote control bomb - Utah Beach Museum - Normandie - taken 2016

 Hetzer at Bayeaux, Normandie - taken in 2006 or 2007
Sexton with 25pdr - Caen, Normandie - taken in 2009

PzVI(E) Vimoutiers near Falaise, Normandy - taken 2006

If you find yourself looking at any of these and saying... 'that's not right, it doesn't look exactly like the Battlefront model'.... turn off your computer and make an appointment for the doctor asap..

Label and comments as appropriate..

 Russian T26, Turkish Army Museum, Istanbul - taken in 2013
Sherman - Avranches, Normandie - taken in 2008

FAMO - Heavy tractor - Normandie - taken 2016
 Churchill at Bayeaux, Normandie - taken in 2006 or 2007

 PzVI King Tiger..with  a Panther's barrel - taken in the Ardennes 2010

Whether an apocryphal tale or no, we were informed that following the end of the Battle of the Bulge American engineers could not get this beast on the back of a low loader truck. It had run out of fuel during the final battle. The local Mayor offered to buy it from the Americans who sold it for a bottle of brandy! Great story. Last time I saw it it had a different paint job.

If this post proves remotely popular, I have lots more but let's close the curtain on my tank obsession for now.

More holiday nonsense shortly,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Missing in action.. The Sleeper cell activates

A shot from a Walcourt game Toggy and I did for Warlord's Pike and Shotte rulebook

In the final week I fell at the hurdle. Work simply overwhelmed me and I was unable to get to the blog before the inevitable Christmas schmaltz experience engulfed me much to my traditional distaste for it all.

Battle of Tchernaya - DOB and I did this one a few years ago - I always liked this shot

In the last week during what I had intended to be a relatively easy wind down to 2016 I had to get the brush and pan out to clean up some more work doo doo laid by people who should have known better.

A long time ago... I still have all of this collection but it doesn't get out

So, as I sit in the post Boxing Day wreckage of my kitchen having played host to 30+ last night (I really must re-programme Mrs H's party ambitions to something more modest) I am relishing the prospect of a couple of idle days in which to catch my breath.

A Pirate Pulp game I played with Pat Connor.. lots of Ps in there

Sounds like Groundhog Day? Yes I agree but 2016 was an exceptionally busy year at work which has to some extent curtailed my hobby ambition. I could have done much more. I wanted to do much more.

when LoGW games were lots of fun.... Firebase in Vietnam

I will leave my reflections on the Hits and Misses of the year for a later post and for now, share some eye relaxation techniques with you. Skip through the pictures and breathe in. Feel better?

I blew up this Communist train once in Kazhakstan or somewhere

One of the tasks I have set myself over the down time period and have begun is the re organization of my photo archive. I have thousands of hobby related pix on file and my system of archiving was in need of a shake up.

Regrets? I've had a few.. Selling Schlammersdorff's is one such!

Of course, when you start this activity you end up looking at all the pix and it takes about four times longer than it should.

I was also a FoW nut - my Russians in action sometime, can't remember when

That's when you get annoyed with yourself for wasting time but then realize, that's what the photos are for in the first place! So I did take my time!

Big Battalion Napoleonics - we did this at Partizan one year

I think some daily posts for the next few days are in order starting with some shots from across the archive in all periods. Next will come various bits and pieces which I hope you all might get something from.

Oh come on.. It's Chirstmas and these are my Donnybrook DARK Zombies

I learned a new term from Radio 4 this week. The last hole in your belt is apparently called the 'Yule Hole' here in Scotland. Well. I did not know that. I have slackened my belt to the Yule Hole, got myself a coffee and some of my daughter's Christmas cake and am going to read D'Alton's Irish Army List... I know how to live on the edge.

Skane War action with the Swedes on the offensive

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Solving a basing conundrum - GNW Russians

The original and traditional idea which of course, works!

I was very much looking forward to this task but at the same time had some trepidation. I worked hard on the painting, I loved the sculpts and the poses yet putting them all together in a unit presented some challenges.

Marginal bayonet overhang - still a nightmare for my OCD

From a slightly different angle

The chaps thrusting their bayonets forward instinctively look like they should be in the front rank yet giving them the space to do this meant that the entire unit would either have to be compressed towards the back of the base or I have to look my figure basing demon straight in the eye and have precious and potentially fragile bayonets overhanging the front lip of the base.

Front of base, regular bayonet wall, 3 ranks all on 60mm

Two musketeer stands together

Looking neater....

Damage and distortion would be almost inevitable - disproportionate heartache for an anally retentive soul such as mine.

Then, just as I was puzzling this through, I got an e-mail question from one of the Blog followers with the question - how was I going to do it? Serendipitously timed, I decided to mock up a couple of iterations to see what worked best. My final choice scores for me on four counts and does not on one. I think the result is a very good compromise.

Another angle and without the pikes

I can see alternative solutions when basing the unit again and going for a more irregular and combat disrupted appearance. For now though I believe this set up scores positive as follows:

1. Regularity of the bayonet wall.

2. Alignment with the front ran of pikemen.

3. Front 'ready' men appear to be protecting their second rank 'thrusting' comrades.

4. Enough space at the back of the base to place supernumaries on the two musketeer wings.

Incomplete but taking shape

My only regret I have mitigated somewhat. The full animation an visibility of the thrusting model is somewhat hidden by his place in the second rank but, by having him on the end of the row on both flanks his pose is visible plainly.

Next time I will jumble the poses up as if the are some disordered on contact.

Will be good to see what others do with these poses. The figures are now available for pre order:
Code R10.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

New GNW Streltsy flags

Having had two early Russian figures sculpted in the test phase of the Great Northern War project I decided to put them into production and thus needed some flags which were not in the later pattern to use with them.

I did a lot of searching and found some websites detailing various patterns of Streltsy company flags from the period 1600 - 1660. Bearing in mind the anachronistic nature of the Streltsy in the changing and increasingly regular military world of the late 17th century I thought that transitional units, possibly formed from men previously serving in Streltsy companies may have used older style or existing flags.

No definitive guide to Russian flags in the earlier period of Peter The Great's reign is available in English and so some guesswork and interpretive deduction has been applied.

Illustrations sometimes show the Streltsy flags as oblongs by we've kept these in the square shape.

This post is also by way of a disclaimer. Clarence and I want to be clear on the following points:

1. These designs are not conjectural by us, they are taken from illustrations.

2. We are not suggesting they survived till the late 1690s as they are from the 1650s. We are
     suggesting that they may have been used in the later period for lack of definitive information to          the contrary.

3. At least some of the western style units formed in the late 17th century under foreign officers are         likely to have drawn some of their rank and file from Streltsy companies which were being broken     up at the time.

We believe the flags are a very colourful addition to the range and of course could be used for traditional Streltsy units of the earlier period too.

Each sheet is now available in our online store

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Battle for Britain Part 8.. In the North, it's complicated

Right Lads! Where are we stashing this blagged gear? The story from the North

After a short interlude of news and other stuff we are back in 1692 Britain and joining the confused commanders about to do battle for their chosen King and take control of Britain...

In the three weeks running up to the weekender I sent campaign summaries to the commanders. The idea was to get everyone in the groove and thinking about their troops, alliances and approach. Of course we are all busy and in some cases I was not even sure whether people were receiving, never mind reading the chutney I was turning out.

As it happened, after a relatively slow start the responses and suggestions started. So, here is a very brief weave (not necessarily in exact chronological order) of what was happening.


The frontier between the armies ran very roughly along the modern Scottish Border. Above the line the Marquis de St Ruhe was overseeing the rough treatment of the populace of Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Dumfriesshire with haughty Gallic disdain. Two regiments of dragoons had exported, in a particularly French way, the concept of Dragonnades somewhat in the way America has given us Disneyland in modern times.

St Ruhe's Enforcers at work in South West Scotland

The Calvinist inhabitants of the South and West were experiencing the burning of Kirkcudbright, internment, the massacre of civilians for failing their religious beliefs GCSE and general rough handling from St Ruhe's Toughs. This harassment was so extreme that even St Ruhe's Scot's allies found it objectionable. Despite entreaties from Dundee himself, the French commander ignored all demands to desist. French troops massed around Dumfries and were unsurprisingly signally unsuccessful in recruiting any native Scots to King Louis's colours despite offering financial inducements!

Public executions were carried out by both sides for various crimes real or imagined

Dundee had challenges of his own. The 2,000 or so clansmen under his command thought all of their Christmases had come at once. They had three months to run riot (which they did on both sides of the border). They stole more sheep, cattle and farm animals than everyone else put together (mostly, I believe, to eat). Ignoring all pleas to 'leave it alone' they conducted uncoordinated military actions poorly and were a general nuisance to friend and foe alike. Cameron of Lochiel managed to be caught with his trews down at a lady's country estate near Berwick and was thrown in the town's gaol by the Danish garrison. Legend has it that it took seven men to capture Lochiel and the sergeant in command lost his nose when the Highlander bit it off.

Two well armed French Privateers bombarded Berwick more than once

A bombardment of Berwick town by French privateers damaged the gaol but an assisted escape attempt was bungled and the lusty Lochiel languished on stale bread and water. His eventual 'escape' appears to have involved a commercial transaction although such skulduggery cannot be verified.

Where his impoverished retainers obtained a large sum of cash is uncertain. Dundee himself was approached for the £3,000 in English coin by Lochiel's officers three weeks before his release but the  commander was not able to raise such a sum. Curiously, in Glen Trool forest about ten days before Lochiel's repatriation, the Marquis de St Ruhe's treasure wagon was ambushed by persons unknown and an undisclosed but massive sum in English coin, ducats and livre stolen.

Lochiel's Laddies were very keen to see their Chieftain sprung from Berwick Gaol.

The perpetrators were not apprehended and the escorts never found. St Ruhe reported the loss of £6,000 to Louvois demanding reimbursement from Versailles. Rumour of £5,000 being taken at Glen Trool circulated rapidly through the Jacobite army. Dundee received a request for £3,000 from Lochiel's officers to spring their chief and a further tale has it that an unnamed Danish officer trousered £2,000 in order to leave a certain postern gate ajar in Berwick on the night of the breakout.

The Marquis de Ruvigny, defacto commander of the military area in which the town of Berwick lay, is said to have received a donation of £1,700 Scots from an unnamed source two days after Lochiel reappeared with his regiment in Hawick.

 Just WHO did hit St Ruhe's Pay convoy.. tantalizingly out of shot to the left.. The Perps

This story could only be pieced together by examining the brief's of St Ruhe, de Ruvigny and Dundee, something that no single player was able to do. Where the 'missing' £4,300 English went (please refer back to St Ruhe's claim to Versailles and then on to de Ruvigny's surprise windfall) is anyone's guess. Did St Ruhe pull off an insurance scam by robbing his own trayne? Did he overestimate the actual amount taken in order to fleece Louvois? Did Dundee's Highlanders actually turn over their own allies? Were said Camerons pocketing a tidy £3,000 and then trying to get it again
from their 'mark' Dundee before winning major Brownie points from their fearsome chief? Why was the Dane paid £2,000 and not £3,000? Were the Highland Laddies pulling off yet another switch? What happened to the £1,100 which went missing before the paltry cash  sum in Scots money reached De Ruvigny? Danegeld or dodgy Huguenot clerks?

Is this a lesson in accountancy, a shortcut to scamming or a wargaming campaign?

Men of this ilk found Border Law was the only show in town from June till August

In summary, the activities between June 18 and August 12 1692 along the Northern frontier were totally in keeping with Border tradition going back several centuries - robbery, blackmail, murder, extortion, rape, rustling, raiding, double dealing and rank stupidity. By August 12th the Jacobites felt strong enough to push against the military positions along the Esk river on the Solway Firth - the phoney war was over and the shooting war began.

Monday, December 5, 2016

500 not out! LoA blog's 500th post

Luddite? You bet!

This blogging lark crept up on me. I am mostly definitely not the most social media savvy person on the planet and actively steer clear of Friend Face (IT Crowd reference!), 'The Twitter' (as articulated    - BBC Radio 4's Today programme), Insta-grab, What's Occuring or whatever the non Welsh version is called... well, you get the point... I pretty much reject all these faddy technologies outright and only use a computer because it is easier to carry that a small suitcase of notebooks.

Life on the road makes for plenty of blogging time.

I do however possess that good old fashioned characteristic of dedication to the cause. Combining that trait with the now dated form of technology you behold on screen and we achieve the 500th post on our blog which started, well, I'm not sure when but between four and five years ago. With all the other periods on my gaming radar I have surprised myself with the discipline prevailing for such a sustained span of time sticking with blogging the later pike and shot period alone (more or less).

I have loads to share that I have never had time to blog about... Caen Museum Normandy.

I've never got round to blogging about these....

Or these....

Or these....

Or these.....

I never realized I had so much to say! Well, some that know me well will shake their heads in disbelief  at this seeming lack of self awareness yet I have enough to recognize I am not short of an opinion or two (although I am physically, short).

Anyway, to mark the 500th post here is a look back through the archive and links to five memorable pieces - one for every century of blog posts.

Memorable because I either enjoyed writing them, enjoyed the responses to them or just liked the subject.

Final Report From the Front Line - Waterloo Part 6

A Shot in the Dark - Will We Get Any Replies?

Defensive Behaviour - Building Fieldworks

Glorious Obession, Part 1 - War Diaries

A Swedish Wedgie

It is my intention to 'Carry on Blogging' (and as a Carry On nerd for 48 years I know my meat from my two veg Ahaha!) much in the vein of the last 499.

That pistol is the only small calibre weapon in the picture

You can anticipate a mixture of boyish enthusiasm, exasperation with the species, what I think passes for sarcastic wit, admissions of stupidity, crimes against pedantry, pot-shots at the Wargaming Fashion Police, some Marlbritis (I have a bad case right now), pokes at the latest gaming fads and flashes in the pan (what a super applicable metaphor for wargamers) and general observations on hobby life which may or may not chime with your own thoughts and views. I promise to do that with my tongue pressed firmly in my cheek and a twinkle in my rapidly degenerating eye.

Cheers!.. my personal quest for this kind of pub measure continues unabated (Solihull 2016)

Thanks for sticking with the Blog over the years, it is a rather super way to keep in touch with the Brotherhood of Wee Sodjers to which we all pledge allegiance ...

See you in #501 soon

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