Thursday, September 11, 2014


We all experience times when life crashes into our worlds and upsets the balance.  Right now that's where I am.  Things are happening with me personally, at home and work, that are making it difficult to think that the future is so bright I might need shades.  Quite the reverse.
Having said that an hour a night at the paint desk, and that's about all the hobby related time I can afford, is almost keeping me on the right track.  So please bear with me whilst we get though this difficult patch one way or another.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


I've managed to play a couple of games since the Blenheim refight - both WSS.  since that game work has also increased exponentially and is now threatening to eclipse a lot of my free time between now and January.
Having said all that I do try and find an hour a night to paint, if only to take my mind of work and unwind a little (better health option than a glass of bourbon).

 So on the workbench at the moment are three squadrons of French horse.  The troopers are Front Rank and the horses mostly Elite with some Front Rank.  The Elite horses are nice and suit the Front Rank troopers very well.  My main criticism of the horses is the difficulty in bending them to stand up straight.  Elite uses a very hard metal that is difficult to bend without fear of snapping the horses legs - hence the lean on some of the figures.  One trick to alleviate some of that is to glue the horses to the mdf base using a layer of wood glue on the base and then superglue on the horses metal base.  The almost instant adhesion allows the figure to stand reasonably straight and the wood glue hardens to give more support.
 Also on the bench are two batches of infantry for Regiment Alsaace.  I've finished and varnished one batch and undercoated the other.
 The figures are from Ebor and paint up very nicely as always (now I understand the figure and the sculpting).  My only worry over these long term is the ability of the musket to withstand the rigours of play.  Nick uses a soft metal that bends very easily and I'm worried that the musket extends too far over the leading edge of the base.  So worried that I'm considering rebasing them onto a deeper base for protection.
Why does blogger do this to photographs?  I've posted these on another forum without any issue and yet here blogger has turned them through 90°.  Sorry about the crick in your neck as a result.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blenheim the Refight

So the big game is over and the ten players, five travelling guests and five members of the Grimsby Wargames Society, had a great day.  Or so they told me.  Certainly it is a relief that the day went well and the players found the rules easy to pick up and were thus able to concentrate on playing the game rather than looking at the rules.
I'm not going to provide a step by step action report, which needs a better write up than a blog post and, a more productive format.  Instead I have posted a number of photographs from the day that hopefully give some insight in to the time we spent on the figures and the fun that the players had.
 The large table showing the battlefield between Blindheim (far top right) and Oberglau (lower middle right).  This is a 16 x 6 foot table and was the scene of some of the most intense action.  The gaggle of officers in the foreground were latter dispersed around the various commands as the numbers of players assembled.

The second smaller table (only 10x5) depicted the field between Oberglau and Lutzingen.  This was table was a continuation from the larger one and proved equally as challenging to the players.  Troops were able to move from one to another and it came as quite a shock to some when they did.
The Bavarians defending Lutzingen on the extreme left of the French lines.

The defenders of Oberglau in the middle of the French lines.
Blindheim on the French right.  We decided to use the Danube as the table edge and moved the town slightly to give more table space in the centre where the action was going to be.

"Salamander" Cutts sent wave after wave of infantry against Blindheim.  The charge being led by the English.
The Danes were unable to breach the defences of Lutzingen despite several valiant attempts.  The initial attack was spearheaded by the Danish guard in their straw coloured coats.  Supported by Germans in Imperial service in blue.
A perplexed Anhault-Dessau ponders the situation around Lutzingen as a rather more relaxed Elector of Bavaria looks over to the action around Oberglau.
Oberglau was never threatened by the Allies who preferred to try and pin the defenders in place.  Contemptuous of this the French sallied forth and saw off repeated cavalry charges from the Allies.
Marlborough crossed the Nebel using several fascine bridges and it was the same in the game.  Five fascine crossing points were provided to the Allies to be placed where they desired in order to allow the horse and artillery to cross.  Infantry were allowed to wade through the stream.

This allowed the Allies to push their superior numbers of horse across but only in small groups.  These in turn were countered by the French.  For me it was one of the better aspects of the day in that we had a continual see-saw action across the battlefield as the Allied army struggled to get a unified effort together.
The French used their reserve to bolster the centre as Charles Churchill began to apply the pressure and cause some gaps to appear in the French lines.
Everyone smiling which is a good thing.  On the left  - Robbie (as Marlborough), Andy (as Charles Churchill) and Tim (as Cutts),  little John was a great help to all.  On the right Graham (as Tallard), Mark (field judge for the day) and David (as Clerambault).
One of the other great things about a multiplayer game is that, whilst you give the players all the tools you are unable to predict how they are going to be used.  Robbie was to be seen frequently holding his head in his hands as Marlborough was unable to roll more than 5 on two dice a number of times.  Marlborough may have been the victor on the day but he had earned the sobriquet "not enough".
Near the end the English First Foot Guards began to make their presence felt.  Here they are seen in the centre of the picture clearing a path towards the French camp (which is actually where the dark wooden panels are on the rear wall).

The Allies won but it was a close run thing and in the end only determined by the fact that the French were running out of time to draw troops across from Marsins (ably portrayed by Julian who whilst not able to get troops to go forward was able to stop troops retiring) command to fill the gaps.
Other players not named - Tony as Eugen, Mike as Anhault-Dessau, Chris playing the Elector of Bavaria and, James with a split personality as St. Pierre in the centre and also assisting Marsin on the left.  Andy H was the sideline judge.
The troops were provided from the collections of Mark, Andy H, Chris, Ashley (unable to attend but provided some magnificent Spanish troops for the French side) and myself.  Thank you all.
Thanks also to Andy H & Malcolm (was prevented from playing due to a double booking with a holiday in Florida) for building the fascine bridges specially for the game. 
I must also thank Tony for helping with the ancillary equipment of dice, rulers and signage. 

I can have no better reward for the day than to read that one of the players left with renewed vigour and enjoyment of the hobby.  Wargaming should be a fun hobby and for me the most important part of the whole thing is that all involved had a great day.

So coming in 2015  - Ramillies.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Reliability of Source Material

It's no secret that my favourite period is the War of the Spanish Succession.  It is a period that defined Britain's role in European politics and cemented the reputation of the British soldier.  And yet it is a period about which we know so much and at the same time so little.
The reason for this post springs from a question I posed on a forum recently regarding the uniform colours for drummers in the Regiment Royal Italien.  I am working from two, secondary sources, Funcken "Lace Wars" & Grants "Armies & Uniforms of the Malburian" (titles are close enough).  Neither of which states categorically the uniform for the drummers but both concur on the standard uniform of brown (maron) coat, red cuffs, red waistcoat & breeches, white stockings and yellow lace.  However, over the weekend I saw a blog that I admire depict the regiment with black lace, yellow waistcoat & white breeches.  I don't believe he states his source or reference for the uniform though.
The same blog also stated that Regiment Provence wore a brown coat.  A quick check showed that depiction also didn't correspond to my references (which is good because I'm not going to repaint my unit).
This is one of the reasons I like the hobby.  The ability to chase down information and do a little research into something that most people wouldn't have noticed or bothered about.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Fortnight to go

So what does all the frantic painting of cavalry over the last few weeks mean?

It means that the new additions for the big game look like this.  One large (and now quite heavy) Useful box full of cavalry.  Twenty new squadrons of Spanish (in white) and French horse ready to take to the table. 
Whilst they have been created to go towards Project Ramillies they will be first blooded in two weeks time.

So what's next on the paint table?
Well a busy Saturday afternoon listening to the thunder and the rain saw me prep and paint a third of the figures for Regiment Royal Italian.  The only unit I shall be producing for Project Ramillies in brown coats.  Front Rank figures this time.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Home from Vacation

It's been rather quiet on here recently but I do have an excuse.  I've been away in the States on vacation for the last couple of weeks.  One week in New York & one in Las Vegas.
New York was terrific.  Vibrant, busy, buzzing and never a dull moment.  Loved it.  Always something to do but we were in no rush to do it which was great (especially as everyone else seemed in such a hurry).  Weather was superb albeit a lot more humid than expected (and unseasonably so according to the weather reports. 
Las Vegas was overall okay.  Yes it's bright, trashy, exciting and busy.  But once you've been to the Grand canyon, seen all the casinos, done the shopping, gone to the shows the only thing left to do is gamble away your money.  After a while we found the repetitive gambling tedious and playing cards at the tables wasn't always enjoyable and certainly not sociable (people take it soooo seriously!).
But that's all behind us.  All that is left are the memories and the fading tan.
In front of us is the Blenheim game.  Just two weeks away now and I'm still able to offer commands if needed since a couple of players have had to be placed on injured reserve to use football parlance.
Saturday 16th 9am a the Grimsby Wargames Society if you want to drop in.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Away Last Week

I was always conscious that time was going to be an issue for the Blenheim game, especially since I have a number of figures I want to paint before the big day to boost the number further.  One of the causes of that was the need for me to spend a large part of last week in France visiting a couple of food companies for some new projects we are advancing.
There are many issues with the French food industry but one of them I have encountered regularly is that I'm never sure if they are trying to make you look like an idiot or whether it is actually part of their routine procedure.  The photograph below is a case in point.

The gentleman in the centre is the owner.  Dressed in a standard three quarter length food coat as per the norm.  To either side are myself and my account manager dressed in the garb given to visitors.  Now you tell me that they aren't taking the piss.