Friday, 21 April 2017

Yet another new period idea.

Now I am a great admirer of World2Dave and his blog especially his 6mm setup.
 Every so often I will have a look at some of his pictures especially the ongoing Imaginations games between his two pseudo-Renaissance countries of Fleurie and Medetia. I have often thought of doing something like this but without being accused of copying so the Renaissance per se was out. Ancients was too much and far too varied because I really fancied something where both sides were not necessarily evenly matched but their equipment and weapons were on a par. Lace Wars, naaawww -too involved; 19th Century, nope -I already had ACW and am working through the FPW. I wanted something that was not too involved or extensive where I could pick it up every now and again and add bits and pieces when I wanted.
    Long story short, I happened across a programme on BBC4 a couple of weeks ago all about the Condottiere of Late Medieval/Early Renaissance in Italy. It wasn't until afterwards I realised I didn't need to invent nations or armies because this period had it all. I could make up factions of my own size and composition -up to a point- who could face off against or fight with each other whenever I wished and they would be as historically accurate as I could make them but with a definite Imaginations style background. Perfick! So now, not only am I researching early WWII but also checking out the Condittiere. As usual I am only looking to do this as a sideshow rather than a major enterprise but in 6mm who knows where it will end.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Nothing to do with wargames at all, just about other interests namely local football and photography.

You may notice dear reader, that I have amended the profile spiel to reflect the fact that I now have an interest in Sittingbourne FC, the local non-league football side. Through various contacts that we have my friend and I are now on the committee to help raise the profile of the club through social fact my friend is more knowledgeable about that than I am so I just throw in ideas and take some pictures of the games.  Here are a few of the lads in action against Carshalton FC last weekend. For the benefit of those who don't follow non-league football, Sittingbourne are in red and black.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Sorry about the wait.

For starters, I just want to say that I have been extremely lapse in my postings of late and that is due to a number of factors, not least of which was being diagnosed with the dreaded ‘D’ –Depression. Not only did this take a long before it was recognised for what it was by myself but also time for the prescribed medication to take hold. So it was late December before I more or less had the damn thing under control but it wasn’t until I had to change my medication –with a two week lay off period to shift the old lot out of my system- that I concluded that some of it may have been psychosomatic in as far as I was on medication for Depression therefore I must be Depressed. As soon as I came off the first lot I started feeling better so the new lot are still in the bag, unopened, unused and happily to say unloved.
Because of all of that I have painted next to nothing in the last 6 months or so but I have been doing other stuff, albeit extremely slowly. The writing has been coming along in fits and starts, I am now on my third draft/re-write/proof read of the manuscript and am on the last couple of chapters now.
Also in the intervening period I made a couple of visits to mainland Europe, both in the guise of a holiday. My friend found a little place in Flanders which is absolutely perfect for chilling and forgetting the world in general. It’s near Wormhoult in Flanders and the first time the four of us went (my friend and his missus, Ma Subs and myself) we travelled to Ypres and we had a look around the WWI museum there (photos duly taken) before finding our place.
Now call me daft or militarily ignorant if you will but I didn’t realise that Wormhoult and the nearby town of Bergues (a Vauban fortress by the way) were on the retreat route of the BEF on its way to Dunkirk and the only reason I found out was because there is a local church in the village where not only are locals buried but there is also an area which is protected by the War Graves Commission and there are the graves of 61 British servicemen. The regiments are known as is shown by the carving on the headstones with the Welsh Guards being predominant but the individuals are not. Very sad place so I thought I would take a picture of the sun going down behind the gravestones as my mark of respect.

The small but very poignant graveyard in the village of West Capell, nr. Wormhoult in Flanders

On our second visit we had more time so we went to Bergues, which is a lovely place. As I said, it is a Vauban fortress with all the wall trimmings but what interested me the most was the Abbey in the centre. Now consisting of only two impressive towers and a marble gate, the place was destroyed during the French Revolution, damaged by fire in 1940, destroyed by dynamite in 1944 and rebuilt again in 1961 and is now a World Heritage Site as of 2005!

The Abbey Tower in the front, a dovecote in the centre and the belfry in the middle of town at the back.

I decided not long into our five day break that I would quite like to do the Early War period, specifically, the war in the Flanders region so I took photos of nearly everything that looked old enough to have been there in 1940 for future reference. Mind you, apart from farms, hedges and trees, other terrain will be a doddle –the place is as flat as a pancake, so the hills can stay in the draw! The only tricky bit could well be the drainage ditches that are along most of the rural roads but I might just wing it with them. Dunkirk and Bray Dunes were also given a visit and more pictures of the local architecture were duly taken. We arrived back in the UK yesterday evening after a great rest with very warm weather and after a lengthy wine-necking period. After all, at €1.59 a bottle (about £1.25 at the time of going to press) it would have been churlish not to, now wouldn’t it?
   So now to the wargaming side of things. Early last week I had an FPW itch that I felt needed scratching and before the holiday I had painted and based 8 blocks of Confederation troops with another 24 half way through. Then it’s the remainder of the commanders, artillery and cavalry and I reckon I won’t be far off done with them…for the time being anyway. And now I’m to do a little research on the BEF and Wehrmacht in 1940.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

A soupçon of picture editing.

I'm going for a big 'reveal' here...well, maybe not so big. The pictures I have taken of the Polish were mostly taken in natural light -the garden- with my Olympus e-400 digital SLR camera on MACRO setting. Once taken and downloaded I then edit them with the picture program that comes with Microsoft Office 10 to auto edit the colour and brightness.

So, before edit:

After edit:

Keeping this in mind one of the Pendraken forum members mentioned about the brightness of my figures compared to his so I ran the same experiment on a couple of pics he had posted and here are the results:

Before edit:

After edit:

And again, before:

And after:

Saturday, 4 June 2016

More Renaissance Polish (II)

Next unit to be completed for my polish Renaissance army is one of Cossack axe armed infantry in Polish service. Due to the paucity of information on flags for units such as these, this standard is completely fictitious but I have tried to combine the Polish colours of red and white with a Russian religious symbol. I think it looks alright. The basing of the figures is a little higgledy-piggledy to represent the fact that it is more of an irregular unit. 
   Now all I have left is a command base -all of mounted troops- comprising of Lithuanian Grand Hetman Jan Karol Chodkiewicz (pronounced Hod-ki-a-vitz), two musicians and two husaria comrades as standard bearers. One of the standards will be the hetman's grand standard but still not completely sure about the other. Plus 15 infantry archers. reading about some of the earlier battles -Lubieszow, Kokenhauzen and Kircholm- I think I have enough infantry but will definitely need more husaria and pancerni before I make a start on the Swedes. These Swedes will actually start life as part of a projected ECW/30YW army but I have some plastic pipe that I am going to glue differnt standards to so as to portray the different units. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

More Renaissance Polish

Here are the latest results of this months painting output. they took a time to do not because of the complexity of the painting but because I had an operation earlier in the month and was recovering from that. Nothing too serious, just had my gall bladder out due to the somewhat painful development of gall stones.
   I'm going to have to order some more soon as I only have a unit of Cossack axemen, some archers and the general's stand left to do, hopefully they won't take as long to do as the cavalry.

Monday, 25 April 2016

More Krakow pictures

Just thought I'd post some more pictures of pictures from various galleries and museums that I took in Krakow.

Battle of Raclawice. Jan Matejko (1838-1893) 
 Unfortunately I didn't note down the details of this painting.
 Blue Hussars. Piotr Michałowski (1800-1855)
 Somosierra. Piotr Michałowski (1800-1855) Obviously it should be the other way up but...
 Retreat from the Environs of Moscow, an Episode from the Year 1812. January Suchodolski (1797-1875)
Prince Josef Poniatowski entering Krakow on July 15, 1809. Michał Stachowicz (1768-1825)

 Fight for a Turkish Standard. Jósef Brandt (1841-1915)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Huzzah, Husaria!

This morning I finally finished the bases on my first banner of Polish husaria and the weather has been rather sunny I thought I would take some pictures in natural light. I have no idea of the unit name but the lance pennants are from the Stockholm Roll. The standard is contemporary (apparently) but whether the pennants and standard are from the same banner is anybody's guess.  I also took the opportunity to take some better pictures of the infantry from the previous post. Next on the list is a unit of pancerni cavalry.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

First of the Renaissance Polish

I asked a mate to pick up a Pendraken 10mm Renaissance Polish Battlepack for me from the York show and I got them from him at Cavalier so I've been painting them ever since. Unfortunately you don't get any command figures in the pack so I had to put in order for those. In the meantime, all 84 of the hadjuks were painted and based plus I started on the first unit of husaria; all the comrades are done and the command -officer, kettle-drummer and trumpeter are half way finished -including a two-tone horse for the officer. (Pictures on completion) After that I have a 12 figure unit of mounted Cossack LC, a 30 figure unit of Cossack infantry and a unit of 15 Polish Wybranieke (peasant levy) archers. Gostomski's and Kazimierz are taken from the Stockholm Roll which shows the wedding procession of King Sigismund III in 1605. It is useful because it shows other units as well including hadjuks and husaria with examples of the lance banners.

All the standards are hand painted by me and all the pictures are clickable.

It can be found here:

 Hadjuk unit of H. Gostomski who was the wojewoda (military leader) of Poznan -a private unit either from his retainers or from the city levy and paid for by him.
 A hadjuk unit from Karimierz
Hadjuk's from Sandomirz.
The uniform is a green coat with red lining and the standard is copied from the city coat of arms. Whether the uniform is accurate or not I don't know, but the colours go and the sources only say that blue, yellow  and red  were the most popular that is enough of a grey area for me.  

All three units together.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A great days gaming in Norfolk.

Yesterday, after an interesting drive Iain Burt –EB- and I arrived at Gary’s (garyp) humble abode in the wilds of Norfolk for a day’s gaming.  Using only two large and lovingly painted collections –those of Gary and Iain, the sizable table was soon covered in lots of 20mm Les Higgins goodness for a game loosely based on the Battle of Minden. As Iain missed his chance and was too late choosing any other command except the Guards Brigade, he was by default made the French and allies CNC, while Gary’s friend Iain determinedly grasped the nettle and took on the mantle of the British commander.
Opposite me on the British right Mark (Peeler) and his host of Bavarian allies marched resolutely forward towards my stoic defenders who left the relative safety of the village to meet them in open ground. His cavalry soon outpaced the infantry and two cuirassier regiments decided to make a name for themselves and charged my infantry lines. Not knowing a great deal about this particular period it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I rolled the dice for musketry and was pleasantly surprised when, after a volley and melee, the French cavalry were pushed back in some disorder.
In the British centre, Iain and Peter (Purps) for the Brits against Iain (no relation) and Simon (Goat Major) for the French, advanced towards the town but with a shorter distance to cover, the French arrived first and set about defending the place.
On the British right centre and far flank, Peter and Tim (Tim Hall) began their steamroller advance despite being faced by at least six regiments of Simon and Gary’s French cavalry who, like the two against me decided to ‘get stuck in’ as soon as possible…with pretty much the same result.
With the Bavarians and my infantry soon in firing range we began blazing away at each other with positively alarming results and the casualties began to mount up. Alternatively falling back to recover and moving back up into the line, the fight went on for quite a while until my cavalry advanced. Seven regiments from Ian’s and my command charged forward across the killing ground and fought their way into the Bavarian infantry, forcing some to rout, others to retire, but worryingly, supported by two artillery pieces, one remained and for a time, held off all comers.
Behind the British centre, an angled second line had been formed to stop our victorious cavalry from wreaking any more havoc; it was just in time. In the centre, Iain and Peter were making inroads in and around the town while on the far flank, the French ended up with only one usable infantry battalion out of several brigades after some very spirited fighting by the British against determined defending.
Peeler’s Bavarians started doing some damage and my casualties were beginning to mount when fortunately, 'time' was called.
After the inevitable post mortem it was unanimously decided that the French would have been able to make a fighting withdrawal leaving the British in control of the field. The phrase ‘marginal British victory’ was bandied about by the French in more hope than anything -the British commanders just sat there with smug looks on their faces.  
All joking and partisan reporting aside, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day, great company and hearty cuisine -I mean you can’t really go wrong with jacket spuds and chilli- coupled with an almost endless supply of cakes, tea and coffee. Thanks must got to Gary and Iain (no relation) for putting on a really good game and letting the rest of us play with their little chaps and to Gary alone for his hospitality. Brilliant!   

 Gary's Wargames mansion.

 Mark's Bavarians facing me.

 Simon's infantry in the fore with Iain's (no relation) Guards Brigade behind.

 Simon's massed cavalry

British infantry of Iain and Peter waiting for the French cavalry to charge. 

 Iain (no relation) indicating to Gary how many ladle's full of vegetarian chili he wanted for lunch !

 Panorama just before lunch call.

 The single minded French -l to r, Mark, Iain (no relation), Simon and Gary.

 The thoughtful British - l to r, Tim, Peter and Iain.
 Traffic jam in the centre of the battlefield.

British pressure increases in the left centre and flank. 

 Gaps appear on the French right flank while the British movement gods continue to advance their army.

 A last panorama as the sun begins to set over Norfolk and the battlefield.

Perhaps a little too late, Marks Bavarians sense the British left is faltering...I had lost 3 battalions by this time and decides to advance.

A final note. From a period novices’ point of view the rules -Rank and File- seemed to work quite well, simple enough to pick up, reasonably fast paced and seemed to capture the ‘flavour’ of the period. Iain’s (no relation) innovative idea of using red flags to denote morale checks was a great success, with many of us thinking that the idea could find its way our own tables in the not too distant future.

Iain's (no relation) rather nifty morale flags in action.