Moulds Galore

Cavalry

I have never been one to pass up on a sale. So when Prince August had a sale after Christmas, I availed myself of the opportunity to expand my selection of moulds. My purchases were chiefly intended to round out my 40mm generic cavalry for the 18th century. To that end I bought a variant cavalry trooper, a flag bearer, and a mounted officer from the Irish Wild Geese range. I also acquired an extra advancing infantry mould from the same range. Additional moulds do come in handy when casting a lot of figures at the same time.

Officers and infantry.jpg

I also took the opportunity to add a few new fantasy moulds to my growing collection. It is a bit of a random selection involving armoured skeletons, men at arms, and goblin wolf rider moulds.  I aim to use them eventually to cast some basic fantasy armies so I can play some of the rule sets I have picked up over the years.

Fantasy

Prince August recently had another sale and once more I could not pass on the opportunity to add to my collection. So yet again I am waiting in anticipation for still more moulds to come.  In the meantime I have been searching for a new light source to replace the old halogen lamp I used to paint by. It would seem that I am getting ready to start painting again if nothing interrupts.

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“Gone all Countrified”

home view

Another Christmas and New Year has come and gone since my last blog post and I have “upped stumps” and moved house. The experience of moving isn’t one I want to repeat for a very long time, if ever. However, it’s done and we are settled in to our new home in the country. We aren’t at all far from a sizable town but the aspect is decidedly rural. It is a real pleasure to watch the local livestock grazing and to look up and see an eagle fly over or to hear singing larks rise from the surrounding fields.

My toy soldier / wargaming collections survived the move without any major losses. The only casualties were a box of Vikings that I dropped from a small height. Thankfully they will mostly just need some weapons reattached and some retouching of the paint work. Only one chap was a write off, as he broke at the ankles.  Admittedly I could repair the damage but I never liked that figure anyway. He will in time be reincarnated via the casting pot.

One aspect I did enjoy about packing up my collection was rediscovering projects and miniatures that had been buried deep in storage. There were many exclamations of “ooh”,” ah”, and “I had forgotten about that!” Sadly a lot that stuff has once again been put into deep storage but there is the future prospect of a bunker / man cave where they can be stored more readily to hand or even displayed. However the journey of rediscovery has prompted much rethinking about where I want to head with gaming and collecting, along with thoughts about past inspirations.

I have made a few gaming related purchases both before and after the move. Before moving I acquired some pre painted miniatures from the long defunct Havok Skirmish game and a couple of Plast Craft Games sci-fi buildings. After our big move, I took advantage of some pre-Christmas sales and bought two rule books from Osprey and more moulds from Prince August. However most of my campaigning over the summer involves doing jobs around the house and the application of various edged weaponry to tame a heavily weed infested and over grown garden.

Unfortunately the two Osprey rule books were water damaged in transit. I contacted Osprey and they are kindly sending replacement copies. The books were the Dan Mersey rule sets “Dragon Rampant” and “Lion Rampant”. I have played the medieval set “Lion Rampant” before but didn’t own a copy of the rules. However I enjoyed the game enough to warrant buying a copy to put on my shelf. “Dragon rampant” is new to me but it seems like they will be a fun set of rules to play. I’m not sure when I will get around to reading or playing either of them as I still haven’t done anything with the “The Men Who Would Be King” rules I bought months ago.

pteravore

karn battle form

The Havok miniatures I bought were unopened “new’ old stock consisting of 3 boxes of Pteravore Razors and a boxed Karn Battle Form. I have added these to my Havok Skirmish collection that I originally acquired more than twenty years ago. As I am intending to do some generic sci-fi gaming down the track, I am attempting to build on the stuff I already have.

I have also been on the hunt for suitable sci-fi terrain. To that end, I bought the trading post and house pod to use with the Havok figures. The Plast Craft Games sci-fi buildings are pre-coloured and cut, so I only need to assemble them at some point.

My new moulds from the pre-Christmas Prince August sale are fairly diverse.  I bought an additional horse mould and mould two of the “Great Britain: 1st Foot Guards” from their Napoleonic range.  I also acquired an eighteenth century cavalry trooper and trumpeter from the PA French regiments range of moulds and a Prussian infantry mould from their Seven Years War series. Lastly but not least, I bought  the Black Watch highland regiment mould set from PA’s 54mm Traditional Toy Soldiers On Parade.

pa mixed moulds

Prince August had another sale after Christmas, so I’m now waiting for even more moulds to add to my ever growing collection. I occasionally think I am turning into the toy soldier collector / wargamer equivalent of a “prepper”, just hoarding in case of a doomsday scenario.  I did do some 40mm casting before we moved but the figures were destined to be given as a birthday gift. However if civilization should be destroyed tomorrow I will still be able to play with toy soldiers…eventually!

house

In the post-Christmas sales I picked up a ready-made cardboard house ornament in a local craft shop for five dollars. The model house with a little work and some basic painting will prove suitable for gaming in a wide range of periods. Although it is a bit big for 40mm figures it will work well with 54mm toy soldiers. I have, however simply added it to my stash of gaming stuff for the time being.

I will continue to stockpile casting and gaming stuff when the opportunity presents itself. Hopefully sometime soon I will return to painting and gaming with renewed enthusiasm. In the meantime my new home and the garden demand my full attention.

 

Reading Roundup

Summer is now long past but I haven’t as yet resumed painting toy soldiers and I don’t have much inclination to do so at the moment. However, I have acquired some new books over the past few months. The first of these was “Great Military Disasters from Bannockburn to Stalingrad” by Julian Spilsbury. It proved to be an accessible read that gives some interesting perspectives on how great military disasters arise. While the causes prove to be many, good old human incompetence tops the list. Of course the book equally demonstrates how great victories were achieved by the opposing forces, and it certainly proves what a perilous undertaking it is committing your forces to battle.

Great Military Disasters

Next on my list of new books is “Wargaming an Introduction” by Neil Thomas. As the name suggests it provides an introduction to wargaming the major periods from Ancients to WW2. It also provides some excellent rules for gaming each of those. I read this book some nine years ago when I borrowed it from the local library. I enjoyed reading the book then and appreciated the elegance of the rules. The book still stands up as an enjoyable read and rules are still well-designed even all these years later.

I was prompted to buy “Wargaming an Introduction” after reading some online reviews of the WW2 rules it contained. I had been looking for a set of WW2 rules that weren’t too tortuous to play. I have played the WW2 rules contained in “One Hour Wargames” by Neil Thomas and enjoyed them immensely but I wanted to try something that could handle larger and more varied forces. I haven’t as yet used the “Wargaming an Introduction” WW2 rules but I look forward to doing so.

Wargaming an Introduction

“The Battles of Tolkien” by David Day I picked up in a local bookshop. It is a beautiful book to behold with its many gorgeous illustrations and faux tooled leather cover. The book came plastered with the warning “This work is unofficial and is not authorized by the Tolkien Estate or HarperCollins Publishers”. However, it proved an interesting read that more addressed what inspired Tolkien’s depictions of warfare in Middle Earth than an analysis of the weapons and structure of the forces involved. More care should have been taken in the preparation and production of the text in “The Battles of Tolkien” as there are some issues with its clarity and typography. The battle maps could also have been clearer. Despite that, the book is a handy reference and would bejewel any bookshelf.

Battles of Tolkien

My most recent acquisition is “The Soldier” by Chris McNab and was procured from ABE Books for a tiny sum. I bought this book after reading a very comprehensive review of it on the Man of Tin blog. The edition I have was only published last year and is very up to date. The book endeavours to describe the personal experiences of soldiers from the Seven Years War to present conflicts. It is a really well put together book filled with useful information and excellent illustrations and detailed colour plates of uniformed soldiers. It is best described as an “Eyewitness Guide” style book for adults.

The Soldier