Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Duchess in Memoriam

The Duke of Fromagere stood, head bowed, before the monument. The mass of marble and gilt towered before him; chubby cherubs playing lyres and loosing arrows from little bows. To the side and a step behind the Duke the Archbishop droned an interminable liturgy that echoed around the great baroque cathedral.

It had been twelve months to the day since the Duchess had passed and the unveiling of the great memorial would end the year of official mourning that the Duke had deemed appropriate. Appropriate to the rest of Fromagere of course, excluding his favourite mistress, Catherine, and his second favourite Juliana. And the red headed maid that he insisted bring his breakfast on Sunday mornings.

A gentle touch on the arm brought him back from his thoughts. “Errm now a year has passed,” stammered the Archbishop. “It may be time to find Your Grace a new wife. A man ought not retire to an empty bed.”

“Poor deluded fool”, thought the Duke; but he had a point. Perhaps he ought to take a new wife and a large dowry wouldn’t go amiss. Those Parisian bankers did keep sending debt collectors every couple of months.

That evening the Duke summoned the foreign minister to his palace chambers. "I need a new wife Minister Gaperon; any suggestions?"

Ne're an eyebrow twitched on Gaperon's high brow. After a brief pause he said: "The Countess Dolingen of Gratz has been widowed recently,"


"It's a dangerous world Your Grace."


"She has a nice palace and a lot of land in Styria."

"Bit close to the Emperor."

"Perhaps, I may be so bold. The Countess Wilhelimina may be a perfect choice."

"Have you lost your senses Gaperon," spluttered the Duke. "Apart from the fact that those damned Mittleweins have been our sworn enemies for three hundred years she must be over forty!"

"But still a beauty. Perhaps it's time to make friends with our neighbours. Besides it makes more sense to acquire a bride with land adjacent to Fromagere."

"But her son, the Count. rules Weinpfalz, Gaperon, or had you forgotten?"

"It is a dangerous world, Your Grace. And the Count has no heir."

".... and possibly not too late for the Countess to bear another."

Gaperon was an excellent diplomat and without hesitation answered the seventy year old Duke. "No, Your Grace."

Friday, 30 December 2011

So that was Christmas

...and as usual entailed lots of running about for teenage kids and aged relatives with not much chance of painting or gaming, Ho Hum.

Santa was very kind however with volumes III and IV of Wargaming in History. I'm not much of an ACW buff but I couldn't bear to see I, II, IV on the bookshelves. Touch of OCD probably. Also the man in red provided Osprey's "Battle of Zorndorf". Nasty. The battle not the book. And a couple of nice CDs to paint by: C18 naturally - Haydn and Bach concertoes.

I didn't get nearly enough painted in 2011 nor enough games played so, hopefully, 2012 will be better on those fronts. Mental note not to buy any more figures until etc etc. We all know that mantra.

Although Hat may finally get those marching Prussians into production and 20mm Nostalgic Revival have some very nice new metal to match the Zvezda.

Finally I must get the Wars of Wine and Cheese back on track so a visit to the archives and diaries of Prince Lupus is pressing.

One of the highlights of 2011 was the discovery of "History of Rome dot com". An excellent podcast about - you guessed it - which has kept me informed and amused with 2,000 year old news. As we are now well into the C5th I shall soon need a new diversion - any suggestions?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

From Dave Beagle

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Rules & BWS

I have been writing up our games at Birmingham Wargames Society on this blog whilst other reports have appeared elsewhere. So BWS have a new blog site where we can consolidate our wargaming story - please follow the link if interested.

The intention is keep this blog for my attempt at creating the world of wine and cheese which I can hopefully (re) kick start over the forthcoming holiday period.

Firstly which rules:

As with many imagineers I started this project with the intention of using the seminal Charge! rules (Young & Lawford) that first revealed to me that playing with toy soldiers didn’t have to end with junior school. A joy just to read but also a simple, fun and subtle set of rules for horse foot and guns.

There is of course a “but” or two about to follow.

Firstly while I love the look of individually based figures it does lead to a lot of messing about. Unfortunately I do not have a permanent wargame space and need to get games over and packed away in less than three hours. I get the impression that the Brigadier may have spent a day or two over his games. Also I am using the lovely Zvezda plastics which even when based on thin steel have a propensity to fall over if the table is nudged.

So the figures are now based up in eights (a firing platoon in Charge). This, of course, leads to the predicament of removing individual figures which I have solved with the use of steel bases and magnetic sheet. Gluing the front rank down and having the second rank on magnetic sheet. Choosing the simple Old Wargames approach of painted bases this doesn’t present too much of an issue. In fact painting the bases the same colour as the wargames table (Wittenburg green) means that you can’t really tell they’re on bases at all. The steel bases do slide easily across the painted MDF too. This does mean that officers and Nco are included in the unit total.

However there is of course the issue of individual cavalry melees. These can be fun but big fights can take an inordinate amount of time. I have therefore decided on new cavalry melee rules based on the old Wargames Holiday Centre Marlburian rules published in a magazine in the early 90’s. Essentially throwing a dice per figure in the front rank and determining total hits from a predetermined number.

Another thing that gives me headaches is the half and halve again after some firing. So while I intend to keep the half casualties at long range I shall adopt the “save” on top half of the dice for targets requiring half effect such as cavalry. While this will balance out over a game it can give more varied results.

Then there is the issue of morale. While the rules as written have the morale built in with regards casualties lost, the use of the 50% rule (ie a unit is fine at 51% but not at 49%) does mean that the point at which a unit will withdraw can, sometimes, be easily judged. Also, following a melee the loser will withdraw, very civilized but I would prefer an option to rout too. Finally one point I don’t like is that a charge cannot be stopped by fire. It can lead to a situation where a cavalry charge on an infantry unit can take a lot of punishment going in and get well beaten in melee and still leave the infantry in a disordered state that has to withdraw. There are many examples of cavalry being stopped short by steady volleys.

So, I’m going to try out the following morale tests. Firstly for units whose losses exceed 50% a dice throw (following firing) less casualties taken above half the original unit strength, a resulting score of 0 or less means withdraw as per rules, a pass allows the unit to carry on. Secondly for units charging in a couple of dice thrown less casualties taken during the charge a resulting score of 0 or less means withdraw before contact. Finally a throw of one or two dice for the loser (one if understrength) less the difference in melee casualties: a resulting score of 0 or less means rout otherwise withdraw as per the rules.

Hopefully I’ll be able to give these a whirl over Christmas. Calls for port and stilton methinks.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Octobers military disasters

I keep trying to get my son interested in wargames but to little avail. Not as exciting as Call of Duty or whatever the latest Xbox fad is.

However to keep his dad happy he agreed a quick game of Crossfire which, I told him, needed the same sort of tactical skills as COD.

Unfortunately the battery gave up on the camera so only a couple of shots of the table before deployment.

A typical Crossfire set up with lots of terrain pieces to move between.

We played a simple scenario with Jack (my son) ordered to assault the village with a couple of Italian companies and HMGs. I held the village and surrounding woods with half the number of French. Jack quickly grasped the simple mechanisms of the game and, with pretty poor firing on my part, had quickly outflanked the French and charged in decisively.

In less than an hour the Italians held the village and the poor French were destroyed.

Perhaps I need to get my own Xbox .

I forgot my camera for my monthly game at Birmingham Wargames Society this month but no doubt there will be questions in parliament.

As commander of a large British and native force it should (in hindsight) have been relatively easy to get a wagon train across the veldt. With a couple of cannon and a gatling gun I naively assumed we could simply mow the Zulu hordes down. There were of course "farsands or 'em" but "we are British Old Chap".

The Zulu plan, I discovered, was to draw us into the valley.

However Blackpowder's command system meant that the British really didn't want to move. Bored waiting in the bush the Zulus attacked. The British sent out the cavalry to hold up the impis but even the lancers had little success. Out in the open there were just too many natives and we were over run.

Not an auspicious wargaming month. At least we live to fight another day.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Wake me up when September ends

Long time no post. Summer stuff has got in the way of drivelling on the blog but it's dark at 7:30 now. Winter drawers on? Not quite as it was 28c today. Ridiculous temperatures for October.

Anyway - yesterday we got out Songs of Drums and Shakoes again. We took the scenarios from the main book and supplement (the sensibly named More Drums and Shakoes) and had three fun games with only a few figures. The first scenarios was the Foraging Mission which gave Richard the opportunity to show of his rather dapper sheep. Having more players than expected we stretched the table to six feet by three and had four British squads attempting to run off the Johnny frog and steal the mutton.

Very out of focus redcoats look a bit arty in the woods.

A single French squad hold off the Brits from behind the fold.

The gunfire soon brings reinforcements from the nearby farm and a protracted struggle ensues around the stone walls.

Eventually however numbers tell and the French run away to the farmhouse leaving the redcoats with the meat.

Brimming with confidence Major Gray has no hesitation in following the retreating French ever hopeful of more supplies in the farm.

A wide stream stretches in front of the fenced farmyard. But only one bridge.

Of course the question is always asked "is the river fordable?". The scenario in the book suggests that it should not be but as this was a mulitplayer game the rule was that a soldier may attempt to cross but must throw a D6 to see if he got wet. 4,5,6 meant a successful crossing, 2 or 3 and that meant a slip and damp powder so no firing for the rest of the game. And a 1 would lead to the poor soldier being dragged down stream and drowned. So probably worth a try as we will see.

Two French squads take up positions in and around the farm with the bridge well covered.

Good activation brings a squad of rifles quickly onto the bridge and get a quick kill. Good start by the chosen men. Another British squad follow up in support while a third intend to make a quick dash over the stream to assault the lightly held farmyard.

I suspect Private Boursin smokes too much.

However the French light infantry taking advantage of their cover hold their own around the bridge and quite a few Brits hit the deck allowing the French to charge in.

The outflanking movement reaches the stream. The first brave soldier wades in and Richard shakes his dice with the wry comment "and now he drowns." Of course a 1! Undeterred the next figure takes off his boots and dips his toe.


Another Brit floats face down.

It can't happen again - and doesn't. The third figure crosses the babbling brook.

Now for the fourth figure.


Oh dear!

It was about now I was struggling for breath - with laughter - for poor Richard had lost half his unit playing in the water and of course fails his morale.

On the bridge Major Gray leads a charge to break through but is brought down by a well aimed musket!

The rules suggest a game can be quick but this must be a record.

Scenario 3 Baggage Wagon

Wary that the Brits may come back the French load up the wagons and head off to the border.

All they have to is get the two wagons from one end of the table to the other. Given that no one else can be seen this shouldn't be a problem.

The wagons are allowed to move once every turn but the squads must activate as usual.

Due to poor activation the wagon starts to pull ahead from the guard.

The wagon train moves along the road unhindered for half a dozen moves but there is movement in the bushes and a crashing volley is delivered at point blank range.

Fortunately for the French it is Spanish guerillas hidden in the woods and there is no effect.

However at the head of the column the Spanish charge out and with odds of four to one manage to bring down sergeant Boursin.

All seems to be going well for the Spanish until a rash charge onto a wagon by Furia Roja himself leads to him being skewered on a French bayonet.

The resultant morale failure sees the guerillas scurry back to the woods and against all the odds two tired squads of Frenchmen make their wearyway towards the Pyrenees.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Through the streets

Song of Drums and Shako (cont)

The rules suggest that a game of SDS ought to last up to 45 minutes so I had hoped that in the five hours we normally have at the club would could get through 5 scenarios. However as the first game took us a couple of hours I decided to compress a couple of scenarios into one for the next game.

Having been pushed backs from the town walls the French fall back through the town. The standing orders in case of attack were to make for the church.

So in scenario two all the French have to do is get across the table. A table only three feet across. Of course success of the British assault has inspired the locals to retrieve their old guns, or recently captured muskets, from barns lofts or sheds and make trouble for the retreating French.

French squads enter the table and head for the comparative cover of the central park.

However the locals of San Antonio have a score to settle.

A number of partisans were set up in ambush using the simple mechanism of laying a couple of markers down one being a dummy and the other the actual figure. Activated at will by the Spanish player or when the French move close enough.

Xavi and Pepe await les bleus.

An interesting thing to note with most wargamers is that although the oblective is simply to get across the table as intact as possible the temptation to stand and fire is just too great. Despite the fact that the British are just a couple of moves behind!

A sharp firefight ensues around the central park. Luckily the gunfire brought a supporting squad to the aid of the beleaguered French. Very poor movement dice for the Rifles prevented the destruction of the retreating French and eventually most of them got across the board.

The final scenario of the day ( as that was all we had time for) was the assault on the churchyard.

The standing order for the French forces was too retreat and consolidate at the church if attacked.

One French squad was placed in the churchyard and all the (now) allies had to do was get in take the gold. Of course other French squads could appear down the side streets to join in the fight.

The church of San Antonio under assault by Spanish and British alike.

A bitter battle ensued despite snake eyes Bob (defending) living up to his name. Luckily he didn't have to move much. Again the greencoats seemed hesitant to get stuck in whilst the Spaniards suffered by their impetuosity (or lack of support).

Soon the French support began to arrive.

It wasn't long before the partisans' reckless charges led to too many casualties and they were forced to retreat. Whilst the original French defenders were also whittled down to nought the reinforcing squads proved too much for the attackers who had a foothold arund the gravestones but not in the church itself and the British were repulsed. Leaving the payroll chest intact but and with fewer to pay.

I think most of the players enjoyed the game and indeed further orders have been dispatched to Front Rank to bolster the ranks a little. It made a change from corps or divisional level battles. Fewer than sixty figures were used. The rules were simple but subtle and made for a fun game. With a little thought many scenarios can be devised to create mini campaigns. Brigadier Gerard and Sharpe may yet meet in a little Spanish village.

I've now bought the Arthur and Merlin rules so watch you're back Jim, Adrianus of Pant Glas may ride again.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Once More into the Breach.....

The battered walls of San Antonio.

Song of Drums and Shakos is designed to be played by two players on a 3 foot square table (for 28mm). I wasn't sure how many players were going to turn up - but more than two anyway. So I took along the old sand covered boards; all of which were three feet deep but with various widths so we could choose what size when we set up. The rules suggest that the three feet deep table is used as routing figures with a bad morale throw are likely to exit rearwards. We decided on a five foot wide board for the six players that turned up. Each player got a squad each of 5,6 or 7 figures.

All the Britsh players had to do was get more of their figures on the town side of the wall than the French had. However the frogs began with more figures so some had to be disposed of.

Deploying first the French had to defend three breaches in the wall so were rather stretched. Sensibly Major Gray concentrated his forces on one breach and advanced without hesitation. Despite the victory condition the French squad furthest from the assault ventured beyond the wall to try to catch the British in the flank.

One of the nice subtleties of the game is the activation where one needs to equal or beat the Quality of the soldier on a dice One chooses to throw 1,2 or 3 dice to determine the number of actions allowed the soldier. The sting is that 2 fails means the end of activations allowed to the squad. Throwing one dice means that a fail is impossible but means that a) this leads to slow progress 2) some actions, such as reloading, require two passes.

Fortunately for the Red (and Green) coats the assault was made against the squad of "snake eyes Bob". I believe that chance of throwing double one is less that 3%. For Bob this seemed to have changed to 50%. Despite losing a couple of privates to long range fire the Brits advanced without further loss due to the nervous slow loading French and with accurate rifle fire and a bayonet charge routed Bob's French squad and had made their way into San Antonio.
Private Boursin mans the defences

Assault on San Antonio

Song of Drums and Shakos

January 1812 - the British march back into Spain and find themselves having to besiege a number of fortified towns and villages on their way. They have the manpower and siege train to do this but Marmont is moving westwards to meet them.

Much to the chagrin of Major Bull, having spent a day digging in a number of his artillery pieces behind some nicely improvised redoubts, the Duke sent new orders for him to rejoin the main force immediately to meet Marmont a few miles away. Only a couple of score shells had been lobbed onto San Antonio destroying half a dozen houses and knocking a few holes in the already ramshackle outer wall.

The Duke had quickly seen that little threat lay within San Antonio and no strategic import. A couple of companies of foot have been left behind under the command of Major Gray (bart) to keep an eye on the few remaining froggies. “May as well just leave ‘em to rot,” the Duke had said. “But don’t let ‘em out.”

However a prisoner, caught trying to escape the town, insists that the regiments pay chest is sitting under the altar of the church in the centre of the village. He also maintains that a number of partisans are roaming the streets cutting the throats of any bluecoats they find and searching for aforementioned strongbox.

Not only having lost his last decent mount to a broken leg but also a large amount of sovereigns to poor luck in whist game French gold does seem quite attractive to Major Gray. Obviously he couldn’t mount a major assault with both companies but a small party could break in and pinch a franc or two whilst the frogs are hiding under their beds from the partisans … and of course Bull had made a few holes in the wall already.

Scenario one: Once more into the breach...

With a hand picked bunch of the stony broke and desperate, Major Gray must lead his troops past the motley French guard and into the town.

The British win if they have more men on the town side of the wall than the French

Bases on the forlorn hope scenario in the rules.

In the rules figures are lost when they are killed, wounded or run away. Over the course of the scenarios the idea was that dead soldiers are lost forever, wounded may recover fully or recover with less ability or may die of wounds. The cowards would return sheepishly.

(more to follow).

Monday, 13 June 2011

Song of Drums and Shakos

May (and early June) sped past in a whirr of work. I've managed no figure painting for six weeks but I have put together a little Spanish village to fight Song Of Drums and Shakos over. I had a look at the resin buildings on the market and very nice they were too; and pricey. I figured that a nice size village would set me back at least £200.

A quick browse over t'internet led me to the lovely Kapiti Fusiliers site where the clever Roly Hermans showed me how to knock together a foam board village. (I recall similar from the sadly defunct Major Rederring).

So a quick trip to ye olde arte shoppe and for less than a tenner I got a couple of A2 size foamboards. I chose the more expensive black version so I wouldn't have to undercoat. A further visit to the local model train shop got me some splendid pantile roofs. For about £20 I made myself a village in about three weeks, probably 20 hours work. Being a fat fingered Klutz they're not as good as a purchased article but cheap and quick (there seems to be a theme recurring through this blog) and not too bad on the table. I also play with very nice people who are always complimentary.

Song of Drums and Shako are produced by Ganesha Games who produced mostly fantasy or futuristic small scale rules but have released some historical skirmish rules on the same game engine. If fantasy/sci fi players are going to convert to historical gaming I think this could be the way. Most of their rules are skirmish type games where each player has fewer then ten figures each. Based on a simple but subtle activation system with basic combat and morale it seemed right up our street.

The rules suggested that a game should take about 45 minutes so a mini "campaign" seemed in order. Or rather a series of scenarios like those computer game thingies the youngsters play these days.

The rules have a few scenario ideas so I started with these and added a bit of a twist. tbc

Monday, 2 May 2011

Winter ends (official)

On the medieval bridge of Clun the Green Man defeats the Winter Queen.

With his new bride, The May Queen, the Green Man and his Champion herald the arrival of summer.

A E Housman fans please note that Clun wasn't the quietest place today.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

April Painting

April's always a busy month. Working in finance it usually means year end processes so I wasn't able to take advantage of the long Easter weekend. Having a garden and an allotment I have been a bit busy outside too.

I have tried to set aside half an hour a day to sit in the shed and do some painting. Personally I think I get more done in seven half hour stints a week than in one long sitting at the weekend.

So attached are piccies of the new Weinpfalz regiment.

Being of a lazy disposition I tried to speed up the processes even more than usual and tried a grey undercoat/primer courtesy of Halfords ie for car repairs, which I had seen recommended for 1/72 plastics elsewhere.

It looked excellent but started to flake off from the bayonets as soon as began to add a second coat. I continued with care with a heavy drybrush of light grey and then white. I'm hoping that the Klear overcoat will hold it all together.

The figures are Zvezda GNW Russians - I'm always surprised at how good Zvezda figures are

No more painting this weekend we're off to Clun for the Greenman Festival. Maypole, morris dancing and much beer no doubt.

Monday, 4 April 2011


French troops tuck themselves up in little village.

This week's game seemed to creep up on us from behind. So we went with easily organised 6mm Napoleonics because we have lots of the stuff tucked away in boxes we can just pick and run with.

A quick browse on the jolly old interweb thing provided "Hohenlinden", Austrians attacking French makes a nice change. However it did seem a bit too difficult for the poor old whitecoats so I made it little bit easier for them, principally by ignoring the nasty weather but also giving them a little bit more oomph.

The French set up between villages and woods.

This was our first game at our new venue after being run out of our previous abode. The Social club we now call home is cheaper, larger, has a bar and the best cheese and onion sandwiches! Silver linings etc etc.

The Austrians advanced at various speeds along the woodland paths. Our Black Powder based command rules can make for a frustrating afternoon. But all is going well. In fact the only blunder leads to a Charge at full speed result speeding up an assault on an outlying village. It did, however, expose a heavy battery that was subsequently lost.

Speedy Grenze appear out of woods to outflank the French and walk into an undefended churchyard.

Despite large amounts of Austrian horse being held up on forest paths the infantry march on regardless and on both left and right wings wear down the French; enough to break two divisions - which must withdraw.

Austrian infantry throw excellent dice and push the French back along the line.

After four hours play we called it a day with Hohenlinden still in French hands but with both flanks broken. The position would be untenable.

Good dice and a lenient scenario gave the Austrian too much of an easy time, particularly re assaults on villages but..

an enjoyable game that gave a good run out to our simplified BP rules. A couple more tweaks and they should be okay.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tiny Zulu

When Jim told us that he had painted a complete Zulu army of 1,200 figures in a weekend I should have expected him to bring them in a shoebox.

However a good time was had by all as a beleaguered British camp await a relief force that probably wouldn't make it across the veldt.

The splendid 6mm camp proved more than capable of holding off repeated attacks.

Natal horse valiantly charge the iNdlondlo in a vain attempt to protect the main column.

A game that swung to and fro with dastardly hidden units of zulu eventually over powering the relief column despite it's awesome fire power.

Another airing for Black Powder which gave an unpredictable and fun game. Despite my lancers failing to charge for three successive moves.

Sadly this was Birmingham Wargames Society penultimate meeting at the Community Centre that has been it's home for forty years. Council cuts mean that we can no longer be accommodated at an affordable cost. No doubt we'll find somewhere else to pursue our odd past time.

Not all things are bad in Brum. I spent an extremely pleasant hour at Birmingham University's Centre for Early Music Performance last week. Bach, Scarlatti, Telemann and Purcell - the Duke's favourites - performed by very talented students from all over the world. Nice to hear this stuff played on contemporary instruments.

Monday, 14 March 2011

That was February that was

Only just realised that there were nil posts in February. The armies of Fromagere and Weinpfalz once again took a back seat to another diversion. Having had a look at the Songs of Drums and Shakoes rules Richard reminded me that he had a couple of dozen Front Rank Peninsula Brits all ready and raring to fight.

So a quick note to Front Rank and within a couple of days a couple of dozen froggie voltigeurs were on the painting table. Not much flash to remove and I gave them a black gesso undercoat, then a drybrush white. The idea is that when the colour goes on the shadows fall in naturally.

And it does work to some degree. Another dry brush over the top should do nicely.

A few piccies attached of the boys two thirds completed.

I have to admit that whilst putting together the armies of wine and cheese I had some qualms about opting to go with 1/72 plastic when there are such splendid metal figures out there.

Having spent so much time painting up a score of Front Rank I think I was right. I've enjoyed painting the bigger boys but I can't ignore the detail. And there's a lot more lace on a SYW grenadier. I would think it would take me half a year to paint up a regiment of 72 28mm figures.

Of course such a regiment would cost me £75 not a fiver.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

WMMS Alumwell 2011

A quick trip to Wolverhampton today for the Alumwell show where I managed to restrain my spending to a few paints and a box of Zvezda Black Hussars. And some grassy tufts, And a box of Perry ACW infantry. And some matt varnish. Mmmmm not as restrained as I ought to have been.
Shows ain't what they used to be but still nice to go and see a few games and perhaps get some new ideas and spend some dough without p&p. A few piccies below of the very nice AWI game that fellow Birmingham wargamers Jim and Tony put on.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

January 2011

After New Year January seems to loom ahead like a dark cloud of cold and, well, dark cloud. Now however it seems to have flown by. It's been a busy month on the work and family front but some wargaming projects have progressed a little; some well and some disappointing.

The year began with a decent multi corps 6mm Napoleonic battle. We played this using a simple set of rules based heavily on BlackPowder mechanisms. They seemed to work quite nicely.

On the workbench four sqadrons of dragoons have (finally) been completed as have another three companies of foot for the forces of Fromagere.

I had hoped to be well into a regiment of hussars for the wicked old Duke. However the priming went sadly wrong. I have been using Plastikote primer for the plastic figures and have had no problem with it. However I did find that a couple or three bayonets of the new infantry had flaked which I assumed was simple rushing the spray job and missing these spots - easily fixed.

The hussars however were a disaster. The plastikote simply didn't dry - they are still tacky after three weeks. I suspect that's a couple of dozen figures wasted. Fortunately they only cost about £7.00 for two boxes. Had they have been Foundry or Front Rank at £2.50 a horseman I might have been upset.

I did wonder if it was the soft plastic of the Hat figures that didn't like the primer but my best guess is that the atmospheric conditions were too poor. Perhaps too cold or too damp or both. Anyway most disappointing.

After extensive research ie browsing the websites of fellow wargames bloggers I went down to the local art shop and purchased a jar of gesso. I have primed the next company with this interesting stuff and while the process is a fair bit slower than spraying I'm hopeful it will be a foolproof method of priming my plastic - and possibly metal too.

As no wargamer can resist a bargain and a digression, I found myself buying Songs of Drums and Shakos, I think for $5 for a Pdf that I received within the hour. These simple but subtle Napoleonic skirmish rules have had great reviews on TMP and other sites. Needing only a dozen figures a side, at most, it shouldn't prove too difficult to paint up a couple of squads to play on the dining table.

Of course as they can, with a little tweak or two, be used for SYW freikorps actions, C18 American wars, Revolutionary wars, Carlist, Italian Independence, Colonial etc etc etc. I suspect a few more wars can be visited for minimum cost. I think I can smell the Vendee not far away!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year


Snow has now gone from Fromagere and Weinpfalz but after watching German Art on BBC4 wanted to have a Caspar Friedrich painting.

Holidays almost over but managed a bit of painting last week.

One of the sure things about his time of year is that the camera is out of battery power. So no piccies of the four squadron dragoon unit newly recruited for Fromagere.

Being of a cheesy disposition I chose yellow coats - never again. I hate painting yellow. Figures were the delightful Zvezda Swedish GNW dragoons.

Also a new company for each of the three infantry units are well under way. This will bring the regiments up to 72 men and officers. The aim is to be able to be divide a regiment into two companies each giving a "battalion" of 32 hatmen and 4 officers. (Again Swedish Zvezda).

Santa proved generous this year. Some jolly nice CDs - Bach and Art Pepper (not jamming together but would have been interesting), a few boxes of Zvezda (GNW and SYW grenadiers) and the Duchess bought me a Kindle e-book. Downloaded "Brigadier Gerard" in seconds - for free - and "Barry Lyndon", though that was 74p!

New Year resolution - play more games.