Napoleonic Medalist

The Napoleonic Wars have fascinated me ever since I can remember and I have always wanted some token (other than toy soldiers) that directly expresses my interest in the period. A few weeks ago, I was spending some late night idle time on Ebay and came across a replica campaign medal. There had been a few bids on it but they were still very low, so I placed a throw away bid on it and went to bed. To my surprise I won it and have recently received it in the post.

Waterloo Reverse        Waterloo Obverse

The replica is a faithful copy of the Waterloo Medal that was issued between 1816 and 1817 to all ranks of the British Army and the King’s German Legion, who served in the 100 Days campaign culminating in the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th June 1815. The reverse of the silver medal features an image of Victory with “Wellington” inscribed above and “Waterloo June 18 1815” below. George, the Prince Regent, is depicted on the obverse of the medal with his name and title. It is a fairly iconic representation of Waterloo and the Napoleonic Wars in general, so I am quite pleased to have one, even if it is only a replica. I have plans of placing it in a shadow box for display at some point.

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The long silence!

It has been more than a few months since I last posted on this blog and many a moon has passed since I last had a wargame. The last game I played was over a year ago. It proved not to be an enjoyable experience, so I have not bothered with playing wargames at all since. My more recent lack of posts is largely due to a sense of wargaming ennui and some real life unexpected events.

I haven’t been doing much painting either. Although I have made a little effort and daubed a bit of paint on some Tasmanian 40mm toy soldiers. Currently awaiting completion is the company of Launceston Rifles, that I started some time ago, and some Tasmanian Permanent Artillery. There is also a painted but un-based and unvarnished Viking that has been waiting to be finished for a very long time. I’m not entirely sure what to do with it as I find that I now prefer and enjoy a simple toy soldier figure style.

I have continued to develop a few wargaming related projects since my last post and have acquired a number of books as gifts and purchases. My collection of moulds for metal casting has been growing apace with acquisitions made from Prince August during their sales. I really like the idea of moulds as they are full of potential and can just sit in a box until you need a few figures.

PA Colour Party

The Prince August 54mm Traditional Toy Soldiers on Parade Colour Party was a particularly welcome addition. I have also bought some of Prince August’s 25mm fantasy moulds that I carefully selected for their usefulness in creating Dark Age armies. The cannon and crew moulds from the Prince August Wild Geese series have also been picked up to further round out my stockpile of moulds for the French and Indian War. I should probably explain that as I don’t think I have mentioned the project before.

I have long desired to do some aspect of the SYW and originally I had intended to do it in 30mm, using a variety of figures including zinnfiguren and old Spencer Smiths. However the cost of going down that path proved too prohibitive so I started to look around for an alternative. I then remembered Prince August had an assortment of moulds suitable for producing toy soldiers for the SYW in 40mm, a size of figure that I really quite like.

So I narrowed down the focus to the FIW, making the project more achievable. As a result, I have been buying and stockpiling moulds from PA’s Wild Geese, French and Karoliner series, along with moulds from the old Holger Eriksson Cowboys and Indians range. I chose these rather than the newer SYW range because they are more complete and being a bit more generic I can use them for both sides. However, I do want to collect the more recently released SYW moulds down the track.

While my focus has been on stockpiling moulds, I have had other projects on the go. Some of my hobby time has been spent making alien style plants for future sci-fi battles. My major project, however, has involved the continuing effort to gather a 54mm medieval battle host using Britain’s Herald and Deetail toy soldiers.

Britains Deetail Knights

I am a natural collector of things but these will, I hope, occasionally see some table top action rather than just be dust accumulators. I will blog about those in more detail another time. I hope to resume casting in the autumn and I am rather looking forward to start casting some figures for the FIW. So, as you can see, I am still doing hobby related stuff despite my long silence.

 

Battledress Brown, Hedges and a Highland Fling.

With an impending WWII game, I felt that I should finally finish some British for Normandy and the European theatre.  The figures are, I believe, old Hinchcliffe 20mm that I bought of EBay a couple of years ago and promptly stored them. Most of the figures are riflemen in various poses, with one officer and a PIAT. I originally had not intended to paint them as I thought they were already painted to a reasonable standard but I noticed the paint work was worn in a few places and one thing led to another. I completed the repaint back at the start of the year but have only just flocked the bases.

ww2-british

advancing-british

british-firing

en-garde

piat  british-officer

I have also recently completed some hedges. I made four lengths of hedge from an old unused luffa sponge.  It had been knocking about in a draw for quite a few years while I worked out the best way of turning it into a useful piece of terrain. I cut the sponge into quarters along the axis and then glued the pieces to MDF. I added some gravel to texture the bases and help conceal the bottom of the hedge. I spray painted the lot in dark brown and then over painted it to provide some contrast. Finally I flocked the top of the hedge and the base. The photo below is a sample to show how they turned out.

hedge

Last weekend my wonderful wife and I went to see the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in concert and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, my darling wife being particularly enamoured with men in kilts. The theatre was fully packed and the audience very appreciative of the performance, resulting in two encores. There was plenty of singing, sword dancing, piping and drumming, to stir the blood. Indeed it has taken a full week to get one my favourite tunes, “The Black Bear”, out my head.

Colonies to Commonwealth

I have been fortunate to recently add two new books to my collection. One I have sought for some time, while the other was a serendipitous find. Both books address my interest in Australian military history, and Tasmanian military history in particular. The first book, “Australian Military Uniforms 1800 – 1982” by Monty Wedd, I was able to purchase for $15.00 on EBay. Although second hand, the book is in reasonable condition (They normally sell for considerably more). The book was published in 1982 and features some 40 colour plates and many black and white illustrations by Monty Wedd. It details the various uniforms worn by the Australian military forces of the individual colonies and then the Commonwealth until the mid-seventies. I am very pleased to be able to add it to my bookshelves as it is a rare gem for anyone interested in Australian military history.

Australian Military Uniforms

The second book I was fortunate to pick up at a local book shop is “Preserving Our Proud Heritage The Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army” by L.I. Terrett and S.C. Taubert. The book was only published in November last year and is a very weighty and comprehensive tome detailing every aspect of the Australian Army through the customs and traditions it has developed and  maintained since its formation from the colonial defence forces in 1901. The book also includes a CD of the regimental marches and bugle calls of the Australian Army. I was able to pick up my copy of this brand new book for $15.00 due to it missing its dust jacket and having a very slight bump to the spine.   The recommended retail price is about $60.00 so I found a true bargain on a book that is surely  a must have for anyone interested in the history and traditions of the Australian Army.

Australian Army Heritage

Catastrophic failure and a disaster averted.

My darling wife and I were sitting quietly in the lounge room at home on Monday when there came a loud creaking sound from one of the other rooms. This was followed by an even louder cracking sound. We went to investigate the cause of the noise and found my painting cabinet listing heavily with some of the curios stored in it already strewn across the floor. With catastrophic structural failure imminent, my wife braced the cabinet while I raced to recover everything out of it.

I should explain that the cabinet was huge and featured a slide out desk top and drawer, many cubby holes and shelves for storage, and inbuilt lighting. It stood about four foot high and five foot wide, with a two and half foot depth. It was a massive cabinet that also acted as storage for miniatures and rules. The miniatures were of course saved first and no casualties were suffered. Paints, tools and rules were rescued next, along with various ornaments.

With the potential disaster of broken miniatures and paint everywhere averted, the cabinet  finally collapsed. A quick examination of the carcass revealed a major internal structural weakness that led to the catastrophic failure. So as I cleaned up the after the titanic disaster I could only think where am I going to put everything?

Games Galore

It seems that game shops in northwest Tasmania are like buses, none for years and then two come along at once. Two dedicated game shops opened in Burnie recently and I was able to visit them with my gorgeous wife just before Christmas. The first shop we visited was called Games on Board. We perused the many games on display that ranged from role playing games to board and miniatures based games. Tables were set out at the back of the shop for gaming and visitors could also try out some of the available games. We had a cordial chat to the owner and made a couple of purchases. The second shop is Mind Games and it offered more standard board games and puzzles that also appealed. Sadly we were unable to buy anything there as we had already spent our spare cash. However we did go back to Games on Board after Christmas and made a further purchase.

While I mostly play historical wargames my interests run to a wide variety of games and it is really great to see two game shops open in the region. While games can be easily browsed and purchased online it isn’t as satisfying an experience as going into a shop and seeing the games on the shelves like so much candy. Internet shopping can’t match the pleasure of picking up a game, handling and examining it before making your choice. There is also the advantage of being able to talk to the friendly shop staff about the qualities of each potential purchase. I wish both shops all the best.

My lovely lady wife and I purchased three games in the end. We bought “Cthulhu Fluxx”, “Firefly Shiny Dice” and “Descent: Journeys in the Dark 2nd edition”. “Cthulhu Fluxx” is a card game and “Firefly Shiny Dice” is, unsurprisingly, a dice based game. “Descent: Journeys in the Dark” is a fantasy miniatures board game reminiscent of “Dungeons & Dragons”. Of the three games, I have only had time to play “Firefly Shiny Dice” with my family. It proved to be a quick enjoyable game that captured the character of the Firefly television series and Serenity movie. “Firefly Shiny Dice” is not the only gaming I have done recently in the Firefly universe. My wonderful wife and I have just started playing the “Firefly Role Playing Game” with friends.

 

Firefly RPG and Cthulhu Fluxx

 

Descent

 
On a completely different note I was given a box of the old Airfix 1/72 WWI German Infantry for Christmas. It may prove to be the start of another new period. However, I think it will be a long while before I accrue enough painted figures to have a wargame using the Machine Age rules from One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas.

 

Airfix WW1 Germans

A Bridge so Far!

Yuletide greetings! In my previous post I mentioned that I had completed some small terrain features. These consist of a bridge and hedges that were unearthed during a reshuffle of my wargaming stuff.

Bridge

The first piece is the Italeri Stone Bridge kit that I was given as a gift a few years ago. The kit went together easily and paints up quite well. The model is 1/72 scale but it will, I think, work with figures from 15mm to 40mm. So far the bridge is free standing but at some time in the distant future I intend to place it on a scenic base.

Hedge

The hedges, bought many years ago likewise emerged from the reshuffle. They are simply attached to MDF bases that I cut out and flocked. There were also some virtually complete anti-tank defences but due to an unfortunate accident I’ve had to set them aside for repairs.

 

Veteran Imperial Guard Voltigeurs

It has been a while since the last update to this blog but I haven’t been entirely idle in that time. Since my last post I have completed a unit of second generation Miniature Figurines Imperial Guard voltigeurs. They were bought second hand some time ago and required a few physical repairs before being repainted.

Young Guard Voltigeurs

Young Guard Voltigeurs Command
I have also been working on building the old Airfix 1:76 Bren Gun Carrier and 6pdr Anti-Tank Gun plastic kit (no pictures as yet). This is almost complete and it only remains for me to apply the decals and then a coat of matte varnish when I get around to it. I have further completed some small terrain features and have been doing a bit of home casting but all that will feature in another post.

A Walk in the Artillery Park

It is just a gentle stroll from the pavilion to the artillery park where over the past few months I have positioned a few vintage field guns that I won on Ebay. All are diecast Britains in perfect working order and still capable of firing projectiles. The first is the famous 4.7” naval gun beloved by H. G. Wells, while the other two pieces are “Royal Artillery” guns of different calibres. What will I do with them? Only a time traveller can tell!

The mighty 4.7" naval gun mounted on a field carriage.

The mighty 4.7″ naval gun mounted on a field carriage.

Heavy field gun of the Royal Artillery

Heavy field gun of the Royal Artillery

Light field gun of the Royal Artillery

Light field gun of the Royal Artillery

One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas

Another new acquisition is “One Hour Wargames: Practical Tabletop Battles for those with Limited Time and Space” by Neil Thomas. The many favourable reviews found on the internet, along with my past experience of Neil’s books persuaded me to purchase it. I have read other books by Neil Thomas and have played and own a copy of his “Ancient and Medieval Wargaming”. There is much to be found of great use in Neil’s books for they are an easy read and his rules are very playable.
The first part of the book provides simple rules for some nine historical wargaming periods from Ancient to World War II, along with a potted explanation and historical information for each epoch. Neil boils down armies to four basic unit types and the tactics and mechanics of warfare in each age to its most essential elements.
The second part of “One Hour Wargames” largely consists of thirty very useful scenarios with maps for gaming. Each scenario includes explanations and notes about the source of inspiration for them. There are also short sections that deal with campaigns and solo wargaming. Finally the book also has appendices regarding background reading and useful addresses.
“One Hour Wargames” is a delightful and thought provoking read for anyone interested in historical wargaming. The provided scenarios are an absolute gem and will be an inspiration for my little wars long into the future. While I have not played the rules they do seem on reading that, despite their simplicity, they are effective in creating a sense of gaming a particular period. “One Hour Wargames” is a handy book for any wargamer to have on their shelf.

“One Hour Wargames: Practical Tabletop Battles for those with Limited Time and Space”

“One Hour Wargames: Practical Tabletop Battles for those with Limited Time and Space”