Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Lead Poisoning, The Mountain Bites Back

I purposely missed last months post as I had a whole lot of nothing to report, well almost nothing and hoped this month would be a lot better. Actually it is but from a personal view point it was worse. I have managed to paint up the equivalent of nine battalions of 6mm British Napoleonic infantry but all these were for Steve, so nothing at all for me.

I will be mostly painting my own figures this month though I will try and get a bunch finished for Lee. The last two months have been the worst painting months I have had since coming back to the hobby over four years ago. This has been in part down to going on holiday for a week but mostly I have been slow at adjusting to the new work routine with the much later finish and almost double the time journey to work.

I plan to be more proactive, making more effort to get to the desk than recently. This goal will be much helped by the simple fact I will be painting my own figures which is that bit more rewarding than painting for others.

My mix will be different as well. Last night I spent a few hours on one of the Arena Rex gladiators from their Kickstarter, a very enjoyable few hours. I have a second one assembled and ready for undercoating with a few 28mm fantasy figures also waiting in the wings.

I also plan to get more of the 6mm Ancient army painted up, several pike blocks are demanding attention and yet more companion cavalry units look set to cross the table if not this month then next. I still have a few command bases to paint for Steve which will be done as I go as he needs them next month. I will also kick myself into gear and continue with painting my Leven Buildings and of course get back onto the Cowboy buildings that I have not touched in almost a year!!!

Another positive is that I have not bought any new figures in the last two months so at least the mountain has stayed the same size though with The Other Partizan this weekend that could change.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

And the Winner is..............

The Heritage of Persia will be the next book I crack open, For a time The Army at Dawn was leading the way. Thank you to the sixty nine who took time out to vote on this. Persia received 52% of the votes with 36 votes whilst The Army At Dawn received twenty eight votes and The Christian in Complete Armour received just 7% with five votes.

I will leave it a few months and then run the same idea again with two new listings and The Army At Dawn will be added to the mix again as it did so well in this pole. As for Christian, well that will go to the back of the bookcase but maybe just maybe it will get read in the future.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Friday Quiz 11 Guest Quiz

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Here we go with a  Friday Quiz with a difference, Roy from RoyW's Hobby Blog hope you all will enjoy the challenge.

Q1: In 2002, which country did the British Royal Marines accidentally invade during a training exercise?

Q2: What mishap befell the city of Nagasaki during the launching of the Japanese warship Musashi, in 1940?

Q3: What was the Diet of Worms?

Q4: What was the name of the Duke of Wellington's horse, that he rode at the Battle of Waterloo?

Q5: Which American athlete won four gold medals [100 metres, 200 metres, long jump and 4x100 metre relay) during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany?

I should have the answers sometime over the weekend, I will be having a crack at these too.

A big thanks to Roy, a great set of questions and here are the answers

1: In 2002, two dozen British marines on a training exercise stormed a beach they mistakenly thought to be in Gibraltar. As it turned out, they came ashore on a beach resort in La Linea, Spain instead. The marines only realized their mistake after the locals and two policemen informed them they were in the wrong place. 
The British later attributed the incident to bad weather and apologized for their error, a gesture which Spanish officials graciously accepted. In a parting shot, the locals wryly pointed out that Gibraltar shouldn't be hard to miss since it had a 426-meter (1,400 ft) tall rock for a landmark. 
To be fair to the British, they weren't the only ones who mistakenly invaded a country. The famously defense-minded country of Switzerland also accidentally invaded its tiny neighbor Liechtenstein—not just once but three times. They even had to compensate Liechtenstein once when Swiss soldiers caused a forest fire.

2: Due to it's massive size and weight, the Musashi unintentionally flooded parts of  the city of Nagasaki during its launch in November 1940. The process of lowering the huge ship into the water caused a meter-high (1.2m to be exact) tsunami that flooded the surrounding residential areas and capsized nearby fishing boats. 
Owing to the secretive nature of the launch, the Japanese military kept the flooded residents from leaving their homes. Fortunately for them, no further mishaps plagued the rest of the ship’s construction, which finally finished in August 1942. 

3: The Diet of Worms, of 1521, was an imperial council that was convened to decide the fate of Martin Luther. It was held in Worms, Germany. The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, presided over the diet.

4: Copenhagen (1808– 12 February 1836). 
Copenhagen was of mixed Thoroughbred and Arabian parentage, with his dam being sired by the Epsom Derby winner John Bull and his sire Meteor finishing second in the Derby. Copenhagen was foaled in 1808 and was named in honour of the British victory at the Second Battle of Copenhagen. Copenhagen did race in England for a short period, winning two races and finishing at least third in nine races out of his 12 career starts. Copenhagen was sent to Spain with Sir Charles Vane in 1813 and was then sold to the Duke of Wellington. Becoming his favourite, Copenhagen was the Duke’s mount in the Battle of Waterloo. The horse was retired to the Duke's estate Stratfield Saye House and lived there for the remainder of his life, dying on 12 February 1836 at the age of 28 years. His grave site is marked with a marble headstone that is situated under a 171–172-year-old Turkey Oak.

5: James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist.
At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Owens won international fame with four gold medals: 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4x100 meter relay. He was the most successful athlete at the games and as such has been credited with "single-handedly crush[ing] Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy."

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Anatomy of Glory, Napoleon and his Guard Book Review

Originally written in French by Henry Lachouque and adapted into English by Anne S K Brown. Brown (1906-1985) was an American who as a young journalist became very interested in France and Napoleon. It's a heavy hitter running to just over 560 pages.

Lachouque is unashamedly pro Napoleon and France and it shows greatly in his treatment of some of the sticker subjects such as living off the land and the treatment of the Spanish even stating that the Spanish resisting French domination was the core reason for these acts. Not that she was uncritical of French actions but even when she admits to any wrong doings she tended to give excuses for such as if that made such actions OK.

The main focus of the book is how the Guard was dressed and at what cost and goes into great detail down to the smallest of items. Whilst this is actually the least interesting part of the book for me it was still fascinating to read of the shear scale and cost that the Guard. In uniforms alone the expenditure ran into millions of Francs and these costs were not one off's but were regularly repeated. In the later years when the Guard was at it's largest this cost was such a burden on the state that it could be argued that the day to day running costs and regular uniform orders actually helped bring around the fall of Napoleon as France struggled to keep the army equipped and the difficulty juggling the finances to keep the country fiscally viable.

The campaign details are far less detailed and as it's focus is on the Guard tends to be incomplete. That's not to say it's not of interest to the reader who is solely interested in the military campaigns but it certainly helps to have a reasonable knowledge of the battles when reading this book. 

What I was a little disappointed in was that it was somewhat repetitive. Each time Napoleon stopped for the night Lachouque goes into detail of the Palace and who guarded Napoleon and often the comments are echo's of the previous few nights. The same can be said for when the Guard was at a battle but did not fight, the comments on their disappointment just seemed to be lifted from the previous battle and inserted again.

On the other hand I have to say that the illustrations are probably the strongest part of the book. Most of them will have been seen before but these are referenced in the main body of text and as such have greater meaning than in some other books I have seen them in.

What becomes very clear in the book is how little the Guard actually took part in the battles, they being mere spectators so much of the time. Again of great interest was how the Guard coped with the retreat from Moscow and the level of losses it sustained. I was not aware that post Russia the Guard started to recruit heavily from conscripts from the army and civilians who met the height criteria of the Guard. Indeed when reformed for the Hundred Days campaign the amount of untrained men in the ranks (especially the Young Guard) had to have effected their ability to fight and sheds some light on their performance at Waterloo.

I did enjoy reading the book and recommend it to anyone interested in the Napoleonic wars as Lachouque casts light on so many details than the typical Napoleonic book may not even mention.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Friday Quiz 10

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After a week off we are back to the quiz. Next weeks should be something a little different but you will have to wait and see why.

1. What event brought the term Decimated into military use?

2. How was Scotland's James II killed in 1460?

3. Name the first outright French victory of the Franco-Prussian War?

4. Name the only US serviceman to be shot for desertion in WWII?

5. Name the common name for the main deforestation chemical used in the Vietnam war?

Hopefully a mix of easier and harder questions this week. Last quiz we had a couple of full marks which was impressive.

You can use Google etc to find the answers but please let us know if you did.

1. Punishment of Roman troops where one in ten was put to death.

2. By Friendly Fire one of his cannons exploded at the siege of Roxburgh

3. Coulmiers (9th November 1870)

4. Private Eddie Slovik

5. Agent Orange

So next week we have a guest quiz master, I get to try my hand and probably shame myself LOL

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Some Downtime

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Just to let you know the blog won't be updated for about a week as I need to get my computer serviced. Hope to be back to it by the weekend.

Also don't forget you can still vote on my next book the run down on the books are here. You can place your vote to the right of this post.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Paint Rack II

I may not have been painting as much this last few weeks but it has not stopped me wanting to remedy my space issue for my paints. I looked at various types of rack to house the overspill of paints from my original rack. I was looking for one that worked best with Vallejo droppers as my other rack can hold different shaped pots and was restricting the size so as not to cause a major shift on my table.

I settled for this rack from Ebay for £10.95 which holds 40 bottles, far more than I need at the moment but lets face it our paints only increase in numbers. I would have given a link to the supplier but as their policy is zero feedback till they receive it I won't bother. A pet dislike of mine is traders who hold you to ransom until you have given them feedback. Why? If something went wrong with the supply would that make my prompt payment any less prompt? 

The new one is on the left and has some neat holders for nearly empty bottles, though they still go in the holders reasonably well upside down anyway but could act as natty reminders of which paints you need to restock.

I have to say putting it together was something of a chore, it is not a tight fit at any point and trying to build it up was a bit of a challenge and unlike the one on the right had to be glued together to stay together. Still it was all done in about 45 minutes and nice and sturdy the following day. For the price it was perfect. If I need to get another I will probably replace both racks with a much bigger set up but before then I may have to increase my paint options by about 30 more paints so not yet awhile I say.

The off cuts from the sprue's look like little people and the kids will have some fun painting these up, especially the other sprue that comes with extra heads and legs. See nothing is wasted and the kids have some creative fun, well worth the cost.