2009 Review

Seems rather too late to be posting this, but i wasn't sure if I would complete some more figures or not. It's not and I'll post the new arrivals for 2010 in the next couple of days.

2009 Review

Well, another reasonably successful year on the painting front, over 1500 items painted a higher level than 2008 and the same level as 2007 and with the extra effort of upgraded basing for everything this year

The breakdown by type is:
  • Infantry 1,149 (701)
  • Gunners 67 (119)
  • Cavalry 246 (449)
  • Guns, etc 59 (91)
  • Terrain 42 (12)
By period:
  • WW2 357 (230)
  • WSS 305 (87)
  • Revolution 251 (114)
  • Medieval 207 (330)
  • Renaissance 193 (125)
  • Colonial 91 (0)
  • Ancient 83 (267)
  • Napoleonic 50 (48)
  • Other 29 (123)

Looking through the list it shows the emphasis on the Crete big game and Gauntlet in the first half of the year (all WW2). Then there was the "final" completion of my Medievals (before I bought more), my French Revolutionary armies and nearly my forces for the WSS/Relief of Vienna. At the end of 2009 the stash is down to 5900 20mm plastic figures, a reduction of nearly 1,000 figures from the end of 2008.

High points of the year were unsurprisingly the Crete and Salerno games, then the trip to Salute to meet up with a lot of old friends and those I have met over the web.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my blog this year and I look forward to hearing from you all in 2010.



WSS Hessian Army muster

Following on from the Bavarians, here are the Hessians.

Again the only thing missing are officer figures, otherwise it's a nice compact force

WSS Bavarian Army Muster

Given the sun was out, a rare occurence at the moment I thought I'd have a review of my Bavarian War of Spanish Succession figures.

The only gap needing to be filled is a few generals. I had hoped that there would be a suitable figure in the Zvezda Russian Artillery set, but the box cover was deceptive. I'll have to try and find some suitable figures, perhaps the promised Zvezda GNW Russian Dragoons will have something suitable, but can I wait that long?


Bavarian Cavalry

Again to keep the balance I have added three cavalry regiments to match the three existing infantry regiments. This time one dragoon and two cuirassier units.
On the right the first rank of cuirassiers are Wolframsdorf and the second Arco and as before use the Strelets GNW Swedish Reitars On the left is the Arco Dragoons made from the Strelets GNW Russian Dragoons set. This was one of the earlier Strelets sets and the sculpting is not as good as the more recent production, particularly noticeable on the horses and the tricornes.


Saxon Cuirassiers

Since I had added a Saxon infantry regiment to my Imperial army, I decided to add a matching cavalry regiment as well, this is the Jordan Cuirassiers. Details on the Saxons for the Great Northern War can be found on Dan Schoor's site.

I went for the early pattern uniform, more in keeping with 1683 which had a buff coat rather than the later red coat worn over the buff coat and cuirass. Strictly the cuffs should be the same colour as the buff coat, but it looked a bit too plain so I gave them red cuffs (It's not clear what facing colour Jordan had) as facing colours were introduced sometime before the red coat was introduced. Figures are Strelets GNW Swedish Reitars.


Hesse-Homburg Dragoons

Well, another spate of cavalry painting has come to an end, so expect a number of updates over the next couple of days.

First off are Hessian Dragoons of the War of Spanish Succession period. There was a choice of Hessian Dragoons, but I had to pick these as they were so in keeping with the style of my mythical Frundsbergers. Although the riders are Strelets Lieb Drabants the horses are a mix of these plus a few left over Russian dragoon horses needed to make up the numbers.


It's Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to everyone.

I've had some interesting presents this year that will certainly get me started in the new year.

I got several boxes of Warlord plastic ECW figures, so one of my projects for 2010 will be the army of the Western Association commanded by who else but Sir William Waller. But before putting brush to figures I'll have to catch up on the period, since it must be 30 years since I last painted any ECW figures. It'll also be a shock painting 28mm figures in bulk.

Otherwise I've got some interesting reading
  • D Day by Robert Kershaw
  • Lost Battles by Phil Sabin
  • Infantry Tactics (a combination volume from Osprey) just as well I hadn't got around to reading any of the individual titles
  • and Donald Featherstones War Games, the book that started off my interest in wargaming, I must have had it on permanent loan from the library in my early years.


Hessian Horse Regiments

As part of the expansion of my WSS/Siege of Vienna armies I produced these to support my existing Hessian infantry and artillery. Due to the lack of other suitable figures I had to use Strelets Lieb-Drabants as the basis.

From front to back are the Lieb, Erbach and Spiegel regiments. I also spotted a flaw in the Robert Hall plates as the lion is facing away from the staff which is contrary to normal heraldry/vexillology practice, so I spend a while reversing the images only to realise that the direction is hardly visible on the flags!.


Russian Commander?

I decided that I would paint up the command sprue from the Zvezda Russian Noble Cavalry as either a Cossack or Polish Commander. I had bought the set in a hope of more usable figures for Cossacks/Poles. Regretably there were none really suitable. It's a shame that PSR can't keep up with the pace of recent releases, or my desire to purchase them.

Still it's an excellent group, but the exact appearance is more Russian than either Polish or Cossack, especially with the beards., however I'm sure they will appear in these armies at the appropriate time.

If anyone need extra noble cavalry I'll be putting the figures up on the Trading Department shortly as I try to limit my period creep!

New Zvezda Cossacks

I couldn't resist the new Zvezda Cossacks, even thought I already have a lot of Orion Cossacks and they are not that compatible in height/build.

The real reason was the extras that came with the set, firstly a huge drum with three drummers, a real bit of eye-candy to go with the army.

Then there was the wagon, with a light gun mounted on it. I'm not sure how effective it was, but it looks fun. One point to note is that no draught horse is provided in the set, I used a left over Napoleonic one.

The rest of the pack provided just enough figures for a couple of bases of infantry and a couple of skirmishers. I had to add a dead Janissary to make up for a missing figure.
Plus a full unit of cavalry, the lances are a bit over long for my taste, but I decided to leave them rather than cut them down or replace with wire.
Overall a very good set by Zvezda. Various figures came with separate arms, and I'm not convinced by this approach as on several figures the detail on the chest was indistinct because of the need to create the locating holes. However in a couple of cases I was able to swap the arms around to give a bit more variety to the figures


Italian Artillery and Support

I had debated the purchase of these Waterloo sets given the high prices, but when I saw them at Harfields at a substantially lower price I had to buy them. Regrettably they have increased in price since.

First off is the cannone da 149/40 modello 35 an upgrade of a similar same gun used in WW1 and still in use in WW2. These were nice crisp figures and generally well moulded, the only poor one was the figure with the megaphone.

Second is the Italian Support group, a very useful set of figures, but there was quite a bit of flash on the figures and it wasn't that easy to remove it all. The inclusion of an MMG, Brixia mortar, etc. made it very useful. I'm not sure if the bicycles ever made it to North Africa but I'll certainly use them for Sicily. I felt the presence of only two sprues in the box was a bit of a fiddle and certainly if I had paid full price


Recon show

There was certainly a surfeit of teddy bear games at the Recon show in Leeds yesterday. One was a land of counterpane-like game with colonial British bears against Zulu pandas and the other was a western gunfight. Overall the show was very much as last year, small and friendly. I was upstairs with the Lance & Longbow fighting with medieval cogs (ships). The Zvezda Hansa cogs certainly impressed a number of visitors. Rules were a simple set called Might and main published by the society.

The bring and buy had plenty of bargains, but the only thing that caught my eye was a couple of packs of the Revell SYW Austrian Artillery, which I particularly need for the limbers. Downstairs apart from the traders there was a massive Very British Civil war game.

I didn't take my camera, but there are some pictures here and the VBCW game here. I was tempted by a number of books, especially the reprints of old wargaming classics but didn't succumb.

Personally, I sold quite a bit of stuff so I returned home with more cash than I started, sorry Traders.



Virtually all newly painted except the cavalry and the dogs. This covers everything I'm allowed, except the lists do give me the option of one extra gun.
However I'll wait and see if it is worth converting another. Close up of the centre

All the figures come from the old Revell conquistadores set and the gun is a cut down Revell TYW gun carriage with an Airfix Napoleonic French gun barrel.
Still suffering with the poor light and putting the figures on the table tennis table doesn't help.
All being well they will see action tomorrow evening.
I see the New World DBA site has been reorganised


On the workbench - December 2009

Well another year is almost over, it seems that time has flown since last Xmas, perhaps it's because of my age!! Anyway I've still got 8% of the year left and that means more painting.

Very much back on track with a definite plan for this month, but I'll see how much I achieve with family and friends visiting at various times during the month.
  • Finish the Conquistadores from last month - as I write the paint is drying on the bases, so they should be finished tomorrow
  • Waterloo Cannone da 149/40, a really big gun and crew for my Italians
  • Waterloo Italian infantry support group - a number of items to add to the forces and spruce up the army.
  • Zvezda Zaporozhian Cossacks - lovely figures just needed to be painted.
  • More WSS Cavalry - now I have received more from Harfields it's another push to paint enough for another game of Beneath Lily Banners in the new year I hope.


Aztecs finished - at last

I thought this would be a simple task, painting another 48 Revell Aztecs and then rebasing them along with most of my existing figures for the DBA-New World rule variant.

Now for the army, in general I mixed up the old and new figures, I'm not sure why some of the flesh colour is so different, but it is on my earliest figures, so they would have been painted around 20 years ago. This has been a "good learning experience" and has convinced me that rebasing to my current standard is not as simple as I thought. The first problem was the old paint plus scatter was quite firmly fixed, so I decided that I could easily paint over it - wrong - it doesn't adsorb well, so I needed to dilute PVA it first. Second, it was a much darker shade than my desert base coat (Wilko Coffee) so greater precision was needed in repainting. Finally even after painting the colour/texture difference is still obvious close up.
The army drawn up

Front rank - sling armed skirmishers
2nd rank - Military orders Eagle/Jaguar warriors
3rd rank centre - Military orders - mixed veterans
3rd rank flanks - mercenary archers
4th-6th ranks - Macehualtin clan warriors (I have mixed in some archers and slingers to make up the numbers)

Close up of the Military orders
Apologies for the quality of the pictures, the daylights not very bright at the moment.


French Revolution Rules now available

After another play test last week the rules have now advanced to a stage where I can publish them. They can be found with my other rules over on esnips.

These rules are basically a derivative of my AWI rules with changes to better reflect the period.

The typical size forces I am using in games is 10/14 infantry, 4/6 cavalry and 2/3 artillery units


French Field Forge Conversion

For my next distraction I modified the HaT French Field Forge into a two wheeled version. It was quite simple with just the front cut down slightly a pair of poles added and the rear wheels relocated to the point of balance. It's a pretty good reflection of the forge plan in the Almark book on the French Artillery by Michael Head.
The dismounted Dragoon in Polakem came from one of the Strelets sets.


Pontoon Wagons

As I mentioned under distractions these sneaked onto my painting table and have now been finished. I'm still not convinced by the new soft plastic that hat uses. Despite a thorough clean in the dishwasher the paint still takes days before it feels dry and I'm not sure how well the pontoon parts will stand up to being assembled and dismantled as the paint seems more susceptable to wear.

I haven't painted the woodwork the usually French Artillery Green but left it as wood so I can use them with other armies as necessary. I have painted the riders as Train d'Artillerie rather than the Train de Baggage or Train de Genie as the pontooneers came under the artillery branch.



Yes progress has been slow, it's because I've been distracted away from the Conquistadores and Aztecs.

I had started out sorting out stuff to take to Warboot this coming Sunday. Typically I came across my HaT pontoon wagons. These are moulded in their awful bendy plastic so it was a a keep or sell decision, I decided I might as well use them, so I sorted out some limber teams for them (from the baggage wagons!) and they are now under way. I also found the remaining HaT field forge and this also jumped onto the painting desk and has been modified to a one horse version based upon drawings by Michael Head.

Then it was a quick visit to Modelzone because I'd run out of paint and came away with the new Zvezda Zaphorzian Cossacks, a very nice set so these have also squeezed onto the table along with a few of their Russian noble cavalry.

A further distraction

Just got in after cutting the hedge all morning to find a box of goodies from Andy Harfield, this will keep me busy through to Xmas

2 x Waterloo Italian Heavy Gun
1 x Waterloo Italian Infantry Support Group
2 x Strelets Reitars of Charles XII
2 x Strelets Leib-Drabants of Charles XII
1 x Strelets Russian Dragoons of Peter I
1 xCaesar WWII French Army
1 x Mars Polish Infantry Mercenaries (Haiduki)
1 x Pegasus WWII Russian Infantry Summer & Winter


Troop storage

To answer a recent question here are a couple of pictures of the storage system I used for my figures. The basic tray is the top from A4 paper boxes, the sort that hold about 6 reams. I cut them down to a suitable height for the figures and then add a couple of partitions (usually I split the tray into 3 equal sized areas). The partitions also ensurse that the trays don't collapse into each other.

The trays then fit neatly inside a folding stackable plastic box (most of mine come from Tesco). Depending on the tray height either 6 or 8 trays fit each box


HYW English Army completed.

My Hundred Years War English army is now complete and hopefully see action this Thursday.

The last items to be complete were the archers' stakes. These were made out of sharpened matchsticks stuck into air-drying clay and then textured the same as the other bases.


Hungarian Insurrection Infantry

Rather an unusual unit, the Hungarian diet refused to raise any Landwehr, but rather agreed to raise the Insurrection for 3 years. They put in a very poor performance at Raab in 1809, but why is that a reason for not having a unit of them? Especially as I had some Hat Brunswickers that needed to be used somehow.

Strictly the unit should have tight Hungarian trousers rather than the loose ones shown here, but for recently raised troops I'm not sure all the uniform would be as per regulation. The flag is from warflag, but it is a Hungarian SYW colour and it makes the unit different and I'm sure old colours could have been reused for these units.

GNW Saxon Infantry.

Marching through the last of the daylight is the last of my GNW Russian Infantry, this time painted as the Saxon Regiment Sacken. A rather splendid sight, or is that just the effect of the red coats. although the majority of the unit are Zvezda, the musicians are from Strelets

I used the excellent Northern wars site by Dan Schoor for the uniforms and colours. There were Saxons at the siege of Vienna, but I'm not sure if the uniforms were exactly the same.

They certainly tempt me to continue with a few more Saxon units for the period


On the Workbench - November 2009

A strange moment, as I have been struggling to decide what to paint next. With 6K figures in the stash, availability isn't a problem, it's motivation or whatever. I had hoped to pick up some more Strelets figures for my WSS armies and some Resin tanks at Fiasco, but neither were available. Looking back at my year plan was not much use as it's virtually complete, except the work currently in progress and the extra WSS cavalry.

After some thought I have decided to finish off the last of my Revell Aztecs from the stash and then rebase them and some additional Conquistadores to be able to play DBA in the new world. I also think the Conquistadores could be used for fighting my Ottomans, Marks Mini Malta Blog gave me the idea.

Also I have to finish off the remnants of last months work
  • GNW Saxon Infantry (almost finished)

  • Nap Hungarian Insurrection Infantry (almost finished)

  • Stakes for my HYW English Army


Fiasco, a good day but....

An enjoyable trip over to the Leeds show are the armouries, but there seemed to be more problems than usual with non-attendance (maybe due to the weather)as two major display games failed to turn up.

I was with the Lance and Longbow and this time the game was Novarra 1513 where the Swiss surprised the French camp. both games played during the day recreated the rout of the French
Just nearby (beyond the SOA) was the Ilkley lads ancient naval game which looked impressive, but I'm not sure about the counters on the ships. (link)
In the other direction was an impressive display by Legendary Wargames advertising their weekend games, unfortunately my pictures of there excellent Sudan setup were blurred, so you need to have a look on their web site.
There was an impressive 15mm Israeli-Syrian conflict using Rapid Fire, which looked very tempting.

Nice vehicles and terrain, but I did feel that the helicopters could have been a bit smaller
Once again I sold off a bit of my plastic stash, but I only bought a couple of pots of paints and some dice so not a good performance on the purchasing front. It just seemed that the bits I wanted were not on sale at the show and no new temptations appeared.
As always the best bit was meeting up with lots of other wargamers from forums etc.
Next show should be "Recon" in December as I mucked up booking Antwerp.


French Naps on Flickr

I've posted my old Napoleonic French army on Flickr for those that are interested

I certainly need to take the pictures again with a higher resultion as I had difficulty recognising some units.

Also the Bavarians/Wurttemberg units are missing


Hessian Grenadiers

As I mentioned in my previous post on the Hessians I planned to add one last foot unit of grenadiers and here they are. When I first got the Zvezda GNW Russian figures I was unsure about how I would use the grenadier figures, but they turned out to be just the job for the Hessians.

I'm off to Fiasco this weekend and hopefully I'll pick up some more Strelets cavalry figures for the period, although I wish Zvezda would produce some.


Vorwarts - Prussian Parade

As mentioned earlier I thought it was about time to review my Napoleonic Prussian army. It totals of 1,165 figures and the infantry are dominantly Springwood hard plastics. Most of the army is over 30 years old, but odd units have been added over the years as new figures have been produced.

Originally I started out with a pair of typical 1813 infantry brigades each composed of a regiment each of Line, Reserve and Landwehr. to this was added a Guards regiment and a grenadier Battalion. subsequently various oddments have been added.

Above is a typical brigade, front row is three half battalions of deployed light troops, one for each regiment plus jaegers, these are soft plastic mostly HaT. Second row is a Line Regiment with two Musketeer Bns and a Fusilier Bn (all first edition Springwood), next the Reserve regiment with the same structure (second edition Springwood British LI figures). ; Finally 4 Bns of Landwehr (second edition Springwood)

Above, the second brigade with almost identical composition to the 1st brigade. The reserve regiment this time is made from 2nd edition Springwood Prussian Infantry figures.

The odds and sods brigade, the lights are Lutzows and Volunteer Jaeger. The next row is the Guard and Grenadiers. Behind is another line regiment plus an unattached Bn, Finally a couple of line Bns made up of mixed Revell/Springwood figures, an extra Springwood Landwehr Bn and a very old Airfix Landwehr Bn.

My Landwehr cavalry, the front four units are recently produced, the rear pair are Airfix Cuirassier conversions

From Left to right, 4 units of hussars, 2 of dragoons and 2 of cuirassiers (all Airfix conversions)

To the right of the cuirassiers are newer units - the majority of the artillery is all Hat figures (these replaced older Airfix conversions) the only old unit left is behind the cuirassiers. The limber teams more Airfix conversions. The units are a couple of units of dragoons (HaT) backed up by a mounted and foot unit from Lutzows Freikorps.

The next couple of pictures are for the Hinton Hunter

The commanders of my Prussian corps are none other than Blucher and Gniesenau (both Hinton Hunt figures) The other assorted dismounted commanders are by Strelets (a combined set with Russian commanders)

One of the brigade commanders is a well used Hinton Hunt Prussian general

Overall Assessment

Certainly fit for another 30 years, the real gap is commanders, with the exception of the Hinton Hunts all of them need replace/upgraded. Looking across the scale of upgrading the basing is far too intimidating to consider at the moment. They are also due for an outing perhaps to try one of the new sets of napoleonic rules that are coming out


Last of the Prussians???

In theory these should be the last Napoleonic Prussians I need to paint(*). They certainly round off the the cavalry, which always understrength as no plastic manufacturer has ever produced Landwehr Cavalry. These are HaT Prussian Dragoons acquired recently as a trade on the Trading Department and painted up as Landwehr. One problem with using these is that it is not easy to add lances, the one I did add was to replace a broken sword.

The two units are the 1st Pommeranian (grey coats) and the 3rd Kurmark regiments based on my trusty Almark book on the Prussian Army by David Nash and backed up with information from the excellent Mont St Jean site.
* I think it's time for a Prussian parade to properly review the army, like I did with the French a while back, but on a forum that has since closed so I may repost it sometime.


Hussite Wagons

Here are the same wagons as used for the Poles, but in their original Hussite version. These are the original horse teams provided in the set.

the flags are from Alex's flags, then pick the Eastern/Northern European flags, then the Kingdom of Bohemia set. The ones I used were specifically signalling flags for use on the wagons, which are either red/white or green/black on opposite sides, not something I have come across before, so something to investigate when time allows.


Polish Tabor

At long last the wagons are finished,the reason for the delays were partly due to shorting out the basing for WRG 6th and then finding that I couldn't find any similar horses to the originals as I needed four horse teams rather than two horse teams. After much searching I found some old Imex ACW limber teams that were good enough. The barding on the horses is a matchstick and Slaters' planking concoction.
I also had a debate on whether to paint symbols/logos on the wagon hoarding, I decided to add a slot for flags instead so I could change them to go with ownership. I put the hoarding on the left for two and on the right for the other two, this is so I can cover the two flanks of the army.


D Day game next year

The player positions have been announced for next years big game and it's D=day and I'll be playing a German defender on Sword beach. The good news from this is that I will have very little painting to do as preparation. However I think I will take the opportunity to rebase some of my Germans in my new style.

To get a feel of what is involved look in a copy of the Rapid Fire D-Day supplement. (link)


Northumberland travels (3)

Yes, I'm safely back and already started on my October painting.

(Historical) high points of the last few days were another walk to Dunstanburgh on a rather damp but atmospheric day, certainly assisted by dropping in on the Ship Inn in Lower Newton on the way there and back, out of the selection of own brewed beers the Ship Hop Ale was my favourite, another great recommendation by Harry Pearson.
The next day was even wetter, so it was off to Warkworth, the Percy's second residence after Alnwick, It's a lovely old town dominated by the castle, which never gets mentioned in Kingmaker, just very soggy on the day we were there.
Our final day was gloriously sunny, but with a strong wind so we revisited Bamburgh twice, once by bike and again up the beach on foot.

We had debated stopping in Durham on the return, but settled for a short stop at Barnard Castle, named after Bernard de Balliol, quite an impressive castle overlooking a crossing of the Tees. The bit that amazed me was that it fell to rebels because its water supply was cut off, given it had a well, I wonder how this happened.

A lot of history in a short time, it was a shame that a number of sites had closed at the end of September, but there was still plenty to see and do. In general the weather was kind, so a successful "staycation".

More pictures on flickr for those who might be interested


Northumberland travels (2)

Now clearly in the ancient kingdom of Northumbria, not part of England until 1076. We cycled across to Lindisfarne on Sunday unfortunately with a tail wind, so it was heavy going on the return leg. While at Lindisfarne Priory It was interesting to learn that the remains of St Cuthbert were moved back to the island from Durham to avoid William the Conqueror's "harrying of the north".

Monday was a walking day along the coast from Alnmouth to Craster and back, so it involved another refreshment stop in the Jolly Fisherman, this time for crab soup and more black sheep. I should mention that the pub was recommended by Harry Pearson (Achtung Swinehund) in the Guardian a couple of weeks back (link) and I concur.
Today (Tuesday) was poor weather, so it was off to Berwick to do the town ramparts, unfortunately the barracks were only open until the end of September so I didn't get chance to visit the KOSB museum.

Then back south to Bamburgh castle, it's not EH, but was well worth a visit, it is a Victorian reconstruction, but still has the feel of the original and the Armstrong/Aviation museum is full of interesting items on engineering and local aviation history. My favourites were Lord Armstrong gun(s) and the items on German aircraft shot down. The state room also had some interesting arms and armour. Lord Armstrong seemed to be a typical Victorian engineer with lots of inventions to his name.