Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Cropredy Bridge 1644 Book Review

After reading a few heavy books I fancied a change and went back in time both historically and when written. This is an old book from my rather large ECW collection. Written by Brigadier Peter Young and Doctor Margaret Toynbee and printed in 1970 just three years after my birth! The book is just a joy to read though it's neither page heavy running to 156 pages nor word heavy being larger type set and well spaced. Never the less they manage to pack in quite a bit of information and the style of writing is really easy to take in. The subject matter is that of the Cropredy Campaign in early 1644 that saw Waller pit his army against Charles I and was in fact the first time Charles himself was a direct target of Parliamentarian fire (lending a lie to the idea that they were trying to rescue the King from evil councellors.

Young and Toynbee had worked on a number of books together and all of the ones I have read were well worth the effort though you have to bear in mind that all the works are done with a definate Royalist slant. Not that they are in bad company regards the English Civil War as so many authors have an obvious bias towards one party or another. The book also has a reasonable number of colour and B&W plates and photographs of mixed quality or use and for a really nice touch it also has quite a few line drawings scattered amoungst the pages that really add a nice feeling to the book.

One of the many line drawings in the book.
But all this aside how does it stand up with facts and figures. Rather well is the answer, so much so from the point of a wargamer that I will be running a short campaign based on the information held within the pages. I have had to do only a little extra research to knit together a few external details so it scores high for the wargamer, supplying details such as a few coat colours, strength of many of the units and a good time line of events that impacted on the campaign. At the end of the book it prints in full a number of accounts of the actual battle which for me was great. Nothing like brushing up on your old English, a skill of it's own I can tell you, keeping a straight face whilst reading "the rest were forced to retreat, and came over a Bridge called Crapridden". I failed but thank you Richard Coe for the laugh!

For anyone interested in this period it's a must read, especially if you also like to wargame the period as not just the battle itself but plenty of other scenario ideas. General readers may well also like the story but I have seen it going for about £25 a copy it's not great value for the page and word count. Me, I would not part with it, one of the few books I have read in ages that was a joy to read. It's my favorite period so I am biased and it won't be the last book I re-visit from my collection.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Cataphracts get Finished.

A strange story of old figures and generous friends all combined in a few figures. In a recent post I mentioned a friend in Holland gave me a Principate Roman Army that he was no longer going to paint. Within this army was four cataphracts, enough for the DBM army but these would need friends for the FoG army. But for the Selucide army I needed a further 4 to make up the full complement. I also have some more but the castings are not great so had already decided I would not use these and would indeed get the extra pack I needed. The rest of the Cataphracts had been given to me by Martin who had fully painted about 4 figures and part painted another 15 odd figures. I have already painted up a further 12 cats way back in the painting contest leaving me with 4 unpainted figures which were the same Muesum Minatures as makes up the majority of this batch. The other 4 bases (12 figs) being Essex the same as the new ones. All in all it works out well and I now have enough to field in the Roman and the Seleucid armies. The biggest challenge matching up to Martins' style though this was made easier by being mostly metal coated. All figures needed attention after spending time in the tool box and suffering a fair bit of rub.

The new guys look rather mean!! I like the look of the essex far more than the Museum, mostly because the Museum are such small castings they don't really look the part. Also they have both front feet off the floor at the same time, not sure why as with all that weight I would expect them to pitch forward!

Very quick to paint and base and again it's nice to include some of Martins' painted work with my own. I am a chunk of a way off fielding a Seleucid army but I aim to do so before I have had the figures a year which is November. The clock is ticking.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

10K in hits, what a big number!

I am rather feeling warm and tingly, I broke the 10,000 mark yesterday so a big thanks to all you long (and short) suffers of my twaddle. It's been a blast so far and long may it contnue. I'm not going to do a giveaway right now, save that for 100 followers I think. Anyway that cheaky fellow Ray has stolen my idea for painting something up for you (in fairness I also stole the idea from someone else but I am not about to own up to that am I?).

So why is Ray being so out of character (generous that is, not nicking) well Don't Throw A 1 has hit 250K of visits (yes I know a tad more than me). So head over to his blog by clicking here to see what all the fuss is about. Err, wait till I have finished please  ;-)

One last thing though, mostly for my American readers. Can anyone supply a link to American Football castings of 28mm or larger. I keep drawing a blank on my searches and there must be someone out there who produces them. I want to get something painted up for James to celebrate surviving his first year. Oh I am soooooo happy they play in gold!!!!!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Weekend Post

OK not the most wargames oriented weekend but bear with me. Saturday was the trip to Nottingham for shoes and yet again neither of the kids was rotten enough to have grown. Joseph now has gone a year without gaining a size in his shoes!!! Whilst we were there we bumped into this guy.

Part of a free music and arts festival that was going on that weekend. I was interested in the evening gig with the Levellers, a snip at £15, oh well if you lived in the city that is. Outside it was somewhat more. Hold on did I say free? Guess the small print kicked in! Anyways this was a group that danced around this impressive figure and all had face painted skulls and bone clothes. Really fun to look at. Not needing shoes or a need to get back we stayed there for quite a bit. I bought a pack of 1mm wire to replace some missing pikes I have for my ECW and Ancients which will come in handy.

Sunday was planned out, watch James play American Football in the morning and Mum's birthday in the afternoon and evening. James plays for the Sheffield Predators and is a fairly new member (running back) so as yet he does not see a lot of play time so only went out in the fourth quarter. Here is a pick of him post running the ball.

He is the guy lying on his back, head raised dressed in gold. They played the DC Presidents a new team to the league so it was rather one sided 79-0 I think but it was still fun to watch and I hope to catch the last home game in a few weeks.

A shot of him upright a couple of plays later (number 19) as he leaves the field. I had planned to work on a set of campaign ideas I had kicking around upstairs but was enjoying following the whole game so they stayed put.

OK anyone still here? With all this you could be forgiven to thinking I had done nothing at all hobby wise and whilst it did take a hit I am pleased to say I managed to rebase the phalanx and base up the Cataphracts. Both up to the green flock stage to do which I have done today and just tufted. I also have finished up a few terrain bits and hope to get pics taken at some point tomorrow.

That's not all though. I have also cleaned up and undercoated 60 odd 20mm plastics including what I think are a few cool conversions. Painting starts on these guys by tomorrow morning and I expect them to paint fairly quickly so it's not all been wasted time  ;-)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Numidian 20mm Army Advances

I painted up a box of HaT Numidian Cavalry a couple of months back and was surprised at the speed they were off the table. Well next up was a box of Zvezia which are a fair bit more detailed and showing less flash. This time I expected speed, OK not as fast due to detail and the extra figures but speed none the less. I was not disappointed, the lack of equipment on the horses make them a speed paint for sure.

The picture above shows the new arrivals, three light cavalry units and a medium. Based for Impetus as some of you may well know. I really liked working with this brand and only wish they did more figures that I could use, well worth the extra cost. The original units I based the lights four figures to a base and was not fully happy with this, so this time tried three and I like the look a lot better. I probably will remove the extra figure on the other two bases sometime and reposition giving me an extra unit!

This is King Joba, yet to be based as I want to get round bases for my command figures. I know under Impetus you are supposed to have them within the units but Barry and I decided we wanted to have them this way. I have copied the box rear panel. The detail is fantastic from his cloak pin through to the studs on the shields straps.

The HaT all have shields whilst these have about an even mix between shield and without which I rather like. I have bought a further two HaT boxes already so will have all the light cavalry I need (8 units) but not the 16 I could have!!!!

The medium cavalry unit. I was going to place six on the base but this was too crowded, I will save that for any army I do that has heavy cavalry in it. No this army just has the one medium cavalry unit, even the Roman deserters are lights!! I have four of the five figures with shield but I see it's more tactical use and numbers rather than armour that defines then medium cavalry.

The whole army to this point. Who would have thought buying that one box of Roman Auxillia would have ended up with a full army on the go? So far we have 6 light cav one medium and two Roman Auxillia. I have under prep all the light foot, these should be started next week and look towards finishing them late that week or the following week. Just waiting varnish and basing are 24 15mm Cataphracts which should not hold me up too much.

A view from above. I said last night that all I needed to do was photograph the figures then I could put them away. Cath asked if that bothered me as it meant they were not getting any use. After a small pause I told her no as I know they WILL get used and whilst that may be months away (as it is with some of the other figures I am working on) it will happen. I then went on to mention that some guys never paint their figures but play with armies painted by others whilst yet others just paint figures with no intent to use them, even if they are based as if for wargameing. She could understand the reasons behind the former but the latter was all alien to her. Oh well, bless.

Oh if your reading this and your not at The Blog With No Name then chances are your at the site of a theif who takes others work, pretends it is his and makes money out of it. What a cad eh?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

There Here!

At the end of the last post I mentioned I had been offered a Roman Army from a fellow gamer in Holland. Well surprisingly it landed yesterday as the sender had sent it priority post! This was more than a bit of a surprise as I was not expecting it for a few days more or longer. I really had no idea of what to expect as the conversation was fairly vague. Well the army is Late Imperial and looks to be right for the Dominate Roman list from the Legions Triumphant FoG book. If I have not missed my guess I will be buying that book sometime soon. The figures are all Essex Miniatures and was bought for a DBM project that never got started years ago (how many of us does that fit?). Looking on the Essex site they have this army as a starter pack and after sorting the packs out I will need to add a fair few to field the list as shown but given I have 36 packs (or 213 figures!) I have saved a bundle on the cost of the army. I was toying with the possible idea of a Roman army at some point so this has proven rather fortunate. Already I have the Catapracts out of the box and on my prep table as I needed just four more figures to complete the required unit from the figures Martin had given me (allowing me not to use the poor quality castings that also came in Martins force. I doubt I will do much with the Romans in the next few months as I have a couple of projects that are close enough to being finished that they will keep my attention but come later in the year these will be a great diversion from the other projects I am working on.

The stash!
From reading other blogs I have come to the conclusion that you can fit wargames into compartments based on how they react to certain things. OK give the majority a pile of shiny and we all get hot with excitement, only a few would ever groan. But, when you move away from this say bet into other areas it gets a bit grey. So how about answering these few questions about your self.

1. Long run of bad dice in a game, do you
a. Swap dice (again????)
b. Swap Dice as you can't be bothered to retrieve them from the far corner of the room.
c. Laugh it's after all ONLY a game.
d. Believe in the bell curve so know they will come good soon
e. Turn the air blue with every roll. even average rolls as the dice now owe you?
f. Use a pool of dice so who knows which are the nice dice and the ones for crushing?

In ASL I use precision dice so keep the same dice throughout. In dice fest games I just use a pool of dice

2. In a game you notice your opponent has missed an opportunity, do you
a. Smile, this is going to be easy.
b. Good I need the break, I may even win
c. Point it out, it's just for fun, right?
d. Wait till after the game and add it to the after game break down of what both of you did right and wrong.

Again in ASL I often point out such things, even in competitions, it usually bites my ass for it. Same really with figures. In the old days  it would have been a.

3. Your opponent misinterprets a rule to your advantage, do you
a. Grin, teach him to rely on my knowledge.
b. Say nothing, it balances the mistake in his favour last week.
c. Point out the mistake and take the lumps.
d. Ask are you sure you have that rule correct and let them find the error.

C Always C, learn from mistakes at the time, makes for better games.

4. You can't agree on a rule interpretation (really?)
a. Stand your ground, it's a point of honour.
b. Seek help within the club, Internet, the Samaritans.
c. Debate it out and go with the most plausible/historically accurate.
d. If you can't agree within a short period, roll a die and that's how it is for the rest of the game.

We used to argue like mad, a used to be the way then we woke up to the fact that wargaming was not fun anymore. Mostly it's d with a good bit of C thrown in.

5. Your close to the end of a project, do you
a. Speed up even at the cost of quality, maybe base them up wrong ;-)
b. Slow down and saviour that moment where you will complete something (if only till you see x)
c. No change, it's all the same when you look at the pile of lead to paint
d. Stop quickly and paint something else, it's so wrong to finish something!
e. Go on e-bay to see the going rate as you will never play it anyway
f. Start looking for the next big project.

I am a bit of a A though I do enjoy the run down.

6. Starting a new project, do you
a. Research the period, buying books, search the net for all references, compile a list of what you need and what order you plan to do it.
b. Get the rules sorted, get the army lists and bag the best army in the book (victory is mine!)
c. Do enough research to find a army that interests you and make a start.
d. Know what you want and start buying the figures etc. Later do research and start to replace the figures you thought were right.
f'. Have whats left after everyone else has selected the armies they wanted.

My Persians were 100% F, though they have done me proud. Now it's C with a bit of B thrown in. Playing a fun or interesting army is more important though.

7. You look at an army you have not used in a few years (decades?) Do you
a. Get it out, have a good look at it, remember the good games you have had and then put it back in it's box.
b. Get it out, wince at the standard of painting and wear and tear. Quickly bung it back in the box and forget about it for another few years.
c. Give a mate a call and ask if they still have x and do they fancy dusting it down?
d. Realise their was a reason for stop playing it and get it on e-bay for some other sucker to own
e. Bring it up to date with a few repairs, a touch up or ten, re-base for the in rules and get games in.
f. Give it the kids

A is where my heart is, E is what I have been doing and it's so much better than A. Who has not off loaded THAT army though?

8. New guy enters the club, do you
a. Look down quick, it's your turn anyway.
b. If it's a young one then sod them, GW fodder anyway, if it's older check them out, if they say the right things continue to talk to them, if not see a above.
c. Say hi and leave it to them to take it further.
d. Explain about your game, tell them the rules, ask about what periods they like and if you mesh offer a game for the coming week.
e. Take one look at your opponent smile and offer the guy a place in your game controlling a wing.
f. Take one look at your winning opponent and slyly offer the new guy half your opponents force to command

New = lifeblood, I tend to invite guys into my games, nothing hooks you more than joining in. It's a good way to get new opponents and be introduced to your next big thing.

9. The clubs going to put on a game at a con, do you
a. Offer to organise, you know a great place that rents vans, I can paint half of what is required, I'm off to buy the figures......
b. Join the organisation and help fund the project as much as you can afford.
c. Offer to paint figures for the project and play
d. Offer to help out at the Con but no time to paint
e. Sorry guys but I don't need my head examined and will see you there.

Now I am a C, got the time and inclination. Previously I was more inclined to be a E, never helped at a Con (organised a Sealed Knot stand once at Derby) and have had the opportunity just was not interested.

10. New rules/figure supplier etc etc (the bling effect)
a. New you say? I've had it months
b. Yep will buy it, just to take a look at it, post on the blog etc.
c. Been waiting for this to be done, buy it and get it ready and play it (what could be better)
d. Wait to see it in the flesh when someone else has bought it, seen at a show.
e. Wait for e-bay to provide it at a good price.
f. Why would I bother? I only ever have had this one army.

Tend to be a D, taken punts on rules coming back to the hobby with good and bad results, though for some e-bay has been the route.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Phalanx Number Three

Well I gave myself 10 days to paint and base the third Phalanx of my Macedonian Armies but managed to get it cleaned, primed, painted, varnished and based in six days, none to shabby. Well until I admit that I based them on the wrong bases!!! Now I have to take them off their bases and re-base them, which I will do over the next couple of days. At least I have a sense of humour LOL.

32 figures all of which are Magister Militum except the office on the far left which I think is a old Essex figure. I wanted a unit that would stand out so painted the shields white with a black Macedonian Star which meant I would not have to add a outline to the star as I have on the other two units. I purposely painted this unit up fast with the intent of seeing how much it impacted on my quality. I have to say that I would not like to paint this way all the time but did enjoy it and the quality drop off was not so much you would notice without looking really close.

Again I have mixed in a few of the blue helmets to show old vets. You also get in the 32 figure packs 8 figures with the helmet lacking the cheek guards. This time I mixed these into the block where as last time I had them all at the front with the 'portrait' shields. All told this gives a more varied look to the unit even if overall they all look the sake. The leather armour this time was done in ivory white rather than a leather brown and again I am happy with the result.

I also tried another new wash, sticking with Vallejo but this time Umber Shade 73203 which you would expect to be darker than Sepia but it's lighter. In fact when washing white it's much better than the Sepia so I will be swapping over to this colour I think. I will still try the Devlan Mud replacement when I finally get to Nottingham next week but it's got a tough act to beat.

The three blocks in the chequerboard formation. I have to say that I am really proud of these three blocks, two of 32 figures and the foot companions in the centre coming in at 48 figures. I recon these would fetch £200+ easy if I was ever to want to sell them and I am so glad I decided against the transfers. Next phalanx will either have  alight green or blue shield front. I have another 32 figure pack waiting to be started as well as over 100 figures from Martin, that's a lot of pike LOL.

Cath saw the shot and took this one, happens to be the best of the bunch in my mind. It really gives the image of a mass of pike. I may print this one off and stick it up near my painting desk to get that extra two blocks finished. Imagine what it would look like with another two units added to the line!!!

Two of the last three posts have been about the little annoyances in life (well rather a large annoyance judging by the reaction to the thief post). So here is some balance for you. Yesterday I was on Facebook just killing a bit of time. A ASL buddy I only know via ASL forums messages me saying "Your a miniatures guy aren't you" and then proceeded to offer me a Roman 15mm army for free! What makes it all so much better when I obviously offered the postage he would not hear of it. Now I live in the UK, this great guy lives in Holland!!! Not only that but he posted it straight away in a rush to make sure he beat his PO closing! Now I am waiting eagerly for these figures to land, pics to follow when it does. How about that then?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Colonel Anthony Byerly's Regiment of Foote

The White Coats or Newcastle's Lambs are well known in ECW circles, mostly for how they died at White Skye Close almost to a man. This being very unusual in battles as most Regiments would surrender if their army was defeated and only when routed and pursued would casualties be great. But many wargamers of the period believe that the white coats were a single regiment when in fact a fair part of Newcastle's regiments were clothed in either white or undyed wool. (often plundered cloth taken from the cloth making region of the north that was strongly Parliamentarian in stance). So the Regiment depicted here is one of many. The Standards of Col. Anthony Byerly held a red cross with a blue background which in some cases were replicated in silk on the coat sleeves (shoulder) of the men. This lead to the belief that the regiment was Catholic led or had a high number of Catholic recruits though this is unlikely. The regiment was raised in January 1644 and got for themselves the nickname "Byerley's Bulldogs", wiki has it incorrectly - as do others, that this was a Horse Regiment. initially it was raised to act as a garrison unit of the Col's home of Middridge Grange in the area of Bishop Aukland, County Durham so was probably relatively small. Later in the year it joined Newcastle's Army in the defence of York and the disaster of Marston Moor which it survived but was disbanded soon after as the whole of the north fell under Parliament's sway.

It's possible that the background colour for the Standards would have been yellow, not the white as I painted it. It's far less likely that the pikes were painted white either, that is my personal licence. Despite the Bulldogs reference I would use this unit on the tabletop as average as I doubt they would have seen enough combat to prepare them for any major action never mind Marston Moor.

Stop Thief!!!!

Just been searching the net for some information and found someone who is lifting all my posts and displaying them as their own!!!

The blog is called Indahsariblog what a con.

It's worth checking via a google search for your own blog. It's easy to do, just type in a sentence from one of your posts a week or so old and see what comes with it.

I have tried to report it but the report process is a joke, had to use the feedback page. Lets see what we get.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


What a week! I had two games planned, the first fell through as a basing project was set to take way to long whilst the second was provisional on Andy having the time. Shame then that was the best part of the week. Been more than a little bit of a train wreck to be honest. First up my Doc handed over a sick note for 6 months and a diagnosis that I also have M.E., yep Yuppie Flu, I don't even own a car!!!! This means the likely hood of getting back into work anytime soon is errr , well it ain't happening! Explains why I am not getting better though as I need to change a fair few lifestyle things around and work against what I have been doing to get over the original condition, Brill! If that was not bad enough she also handed over new tablets to switch off the part of the brain that takes the signals from the nerves to help me start to sleep for over 2-3 hours at a time. Sounds good(and it is) but try walking when you can hardly feel your legs! Massive side effects and they spill over in to the day a little as I found out when I pitched over on my face in the kids school playground (honest I'm not drunk!!) Well at least it can't get worse, can it? (Marie don't read further!!!!) I have a new nurse to take my once fortnightly pint of blood, well she has done this stuff in Chemo loads but my procedure is slightly different and she was a bit flummoxed, first she forgot to check my blood results and take my blood pressure but then accidentally left the tap on too long and drew about 1 1/4 pints. So much that she had to clean excess blood off the floor LOL. Totally fazed she then took my forgotten blood pressure, yep you guessed it, from the arm she had taken the blood. Re-bleed time and boy did she blush. All said it was not a good visit and obviously I was rather wan after.

The one good thing is that I have managed to get plenty done on my Phalanx with just the varnishing and basing ahead of me. So it's not all bad and at the moment it seems that the only thing I can really concentrate on is painting so again I ask, can I get my figures on the NHS?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Liberation, Book Review

Liberation: The Bitter Road To Freedom, Europe 1944-1945 by William I. Hitchcock. (Bold added by me). This is a book not about the military actions themselves but what is left behind afterwards and as such was of a fair bit of interest for me. We all have read about the campaigns and battles themselves and of course the often used pictures of smiling civilians draping themselves on the victors etc. In fact the only ugly side you get close up is the shaving of the Women's heads if they had German boyfriends! Very little is written about collaboration at any level below Vichy Government so I had high hopes.
I bought this book in a small clearence book store for the princely sum of 99p yep less than a pound so it did not have to try hard to deliver value, but how about depth? First of all the reading of Hitchcock's military commentary left me a little concerned. He comes across as having a dislike of the military, possibly this is to show empathy with the civilian (the hero of his work) but it smacks of someone not well read on the subject. This is reinforced by a stunningly bad error in his coverage of Stalingrad. He covers the German Armies break out from Stalingrad where they torched the buildings and operated scorched earth tactics. Really? How many readers of this who have a slightly greater than moderate interest in WWII don't know that the Germans NEVER either broke out nor actually attempted to as a organised force? Sure the relief force was sent to them and if it connected then it was possible such an order was to be given but NO SUCH ORDER OR ACTION TOOK PLACE! This is such a major flaw, ignoring totally that the Russians were the first to operate scorched earth tactics that it brings into question his validity to use military doctrine and actions to back up his views. In fact the book has a number of other smaller errors and others I would have questioned if I could be bothered. All these errors did make me question his work in the area's I did not have knowledge, but by the time I finished the book I would say that he had a good knowledge of the civilian aspect but the suspect military accuracy is probably down to what seems to be a personal dislike of all things military. I did my usual guess his Nationality and did sway a bit during the book but when it came to late in the book it became obvious he was American (I was right he, is) due to his view on British Colonial policies and whilst he admits that the British made far greater progress at Belsen in the first 6 weeks than the Americans managed at any camp in their sector, he continued to use the Jewish propaganda that it was as bad under the British as under the Germans (only once did he dismiss this as the tactic to get the British to change stance on Palestine), in each other opportunity he let it stand. In fact he seemed to go out of the way to quote such comments even when it was not in direct need.

The book itself is split into sections, first we have Normandy where as many French civilians died as Allied Troops died in the landing itself. Which obviously was horrendous but lets take a closer look. So the number of allied troops who died in one day was the same as the French lost in over three months! That's like saying the Germans lost 50 times more planes than the British in the Battle of Briton then throwing in somewhere later in the text total German losers during the war. Yes it was a high number and yes it needs highlighting but and intelligent reader will separate the two and reduce the value of what he is trying to get across. What he does a good job of is getting across the material damage. Whole villages were destroyed and well we all know what happened to Caen. In balance he went on to mention that for the most part the rest of France was spared the worst of the war as the Germans were in full retreat over much of France. What is obvious though is that Normandy got the lions share of destruction but aid both foreign and French were slow to come as much of France was wrapped up in the idea that their war was as bad as anywhere else and the Allies were busy fighting a war. He moved swiftly on to Holland and Belgium, both of which suffered in different ways to France. Belgium due to repercussions from the Germans when they recovered ground and Holland through starvation. The problem with Holland was that it became a strategical backwater after the failure to bounce the Rhine and the troops garrisoned in Holland almost became guards of their own prison camp. The issue was that Holland was not self sufficient in food before the war, requiring a large import to feed it's people, but what with the effects of the war and the virtual stopping of food imports the people of Holland were literally on the point of starvation and many thousands died in the last months of the war. Firstly Hitchcock felt that some form of military action should have been taken, even though he admits that would slow down the assault on Germany (he fails to consider the amount of Europe that would then be under control of the Russians by wars end!) and when this did not happen the slow speed that food aid was supplied into what was enemy territory and much of this aid would reach few of the civilians and much of the occupying forces. The fact that any aid was given was a small miracle (not a small amount was supplied once it started) and make no mistake war making was effected by these acts, such as the bombers that dropped food over Holland instead of bombs over Germany, ships carrying foodstuffs to civilians instead of supplies to the front, medicines etc etc.  The prostitution and spread of VD also gets a close look (as each Country is covered) and this again is quite interesting in how the military dealt (or mis-dealt) with the effects. Mostly the problem was either unlicensed brothels or women so desperate for basic day to day items that the only sure way to gain them was trade sex for goods. Also rape and other violent crimes are covered but either through poor research, political correctness or a disgusting wish to protect the Russians he played down the rape by the Russians and even made excuses for them. Not once did he mention that women were rapped over and over till they died (and often well after!) nor the age range that was acceptable (pre teen to 90+). Yes he said that some women killed themselves afterwards but it is clear his agenda is to focus on American and Commonwealth troops and such barbarity would get in the way of his real target. Not disappointing, it was sickening! That covers the first 122 pages and if the book ended there I would have been disgusted with this book, how ever it also covers the conquest of Germany and liberation of the camps. The first 100 pages covers the reaction to Tommie and the GI's reaction to coming face to face with German civilians and Ivan's blood lust. I recommend Hitchcock to read Last Laurels by Georg Gunter for a taste of Russian blood lust, it rather makes his view insipid. What is striking is first that especially the GI's the Germans are seen as rather polite, well dressed and clean people who stack up much better than the dirty French, the ungratefully Belgians and against all orders and attempts freely fraternised with the Germans. Good explanations for this and it made interesting reading. What comes next though for me was the best part of the book and I would say is Hitchcock's real interest and knowledge. That is the work of UNRRA, from formation to the end of it's work in Europe (it mentions but does not cover the work elsewhere). So have you even heard of it? If not then your not on your own. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration was a world wide (but principaly funded by America and a lesser degree Commonwealth) organisation that through Government Grants and private donations was founded in November 1943 with the aim to help the people of conquered countries , help with displaced persons and the high goal of helping stop the need for future wars. The members of this organisation were mostly American, often professional and in so many cases unprepared or unskilled for the work they were to do. The fact that they did so much with so little is amazing enough in itself. Truly this would make a book in itself and was worth reading the book in itself. Mixed in with this we also have the discovery of the work and extermination camps as well as an explanation of the death marches away from on coming armies. Again some of this was new territory for me and was  an eye opener in a few cases. I always assumed that once the camps were found that help was swift and all got what they needed, this was not the case and whilst I mentioned about Belson above it needs pointing out that whilst the best treatment was dished out by the Brits (they had the least Deposed People (DP's)) that the British were slow to realise the special needs of the Jewish DP's. In fact it's fair to say they refused to acknowledge this need. Hitchcock even belittles the good the British did saying rather childishly that they did it to show that the Brits were made of the proper stuff and wanted to be seen to be doing the right thing. I have a different theory, embarrassed by the fact that within days the British had specialist Doctors in their camp, proper food and had forced Germans to hand over clothing and forced a local bakery to supply the camp the Americans failed to do ANY of this within two months in any major camp. Hitchcock comes across really badly in this chapter and a line could be drawn through anything he writes about the British in the final chapters. A shame as it is useful, the official line and treatment of the Jews in British territory was ill conceived and was wrong, though events of today show that their reasoning was correct. The Jewish acts in the British sector get approval from Hitchcock and I think this especially the rough handling of Cpl Cooper when he ordered the removal of placards. I also found it interesting that had a guard been attacked in a German ran camp so many would have paid with their lives. Nothing was done in return, indeed many acts that would have caused the death of many and suffering of all got no more than a meaning less arrest or two and yet that was not mentioned by Hitchcock despite the consistent analogy that you could not tell the difference between SS guards and British.

So I was glad I read it, disagree with a number of points and question his qualifications to quote military actions or ability to understand them. Even taking this into account the book has a lot to offer and has given me some interest in UNRRA and what was the direct result of 100,000 Jews being allowed to migrate to Palestine and if it was all they had hoped for after such suffering. Now for a change of pace!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pimping A Blog and then a ECW Regiment

First up the blog. Really I don't see this so much as pimping as bringing it to the attention of anyone who is in to board wargames rather than figure gaming, or like me both!. Yockbo's Boardgame Blog already has a fair following of 58 peeps and over 61,000 hits so it's no fledgling. What I like about Stephen's blog is that he plays a very varied group of wargames and euro's, mostly wargames. He also plays ASL and other game series so you can get a real feel for some of the games he plays. Stephen comes across as a very experienced player and as he has several different regular opponents you get to see different styles played out. We get a little under a post a week from him on average, though these tend to be on the long side with lots of pictures. Basically a full Battle Report (After Action to us ASL bods). I have to admit I have tried to copy some of the style of Yockbo's so I guess I am a fan (hope he don't sue me now LOL).

Trying to keep up the Standards.

I also have been pimping up a old ECW Regiment. After all the blather about The George only being allowed to run the full depth of a standard of Royal Lifeguards I noticed a very old regiment I had rebased was missing it's standard and the two I had in my box both had the full George. Clearly I dare not stick that bugger to the base, you lot would lynch me! So instead I have repainted it first using a new blue I had just bought (Vallejo Andrea Blue 841).

I still of course have the best part of two armies to base up for a practise game of FoG:R, right now though those Macedonian boys are pulling at me. As can be seen by the progress, hoping to have them done by early next week.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Baccus Open Day Saturday 21st July

Baccus have another open day planned for the 21st July and a games day for the following day. Baccus are based in Sheffield so for the Northern unwashed and the hub that holds it all together (Midlands) it's potentially a rather good opportunity for seeing how it's done or playing a game. For full details click here.

The open day is the chance to get to see how Baccus cast their 6mm figures and they take you through the whole process from lump of lead to finished product. The tour takes about two hours and they have two session, morning and afternoon. I am booked in for the afternoon session along with a couple of desperate souls. Booking is required as it is limited to x amount of peeps and assorted hangers on (i.e. spouses). I am really looking forward to this and was worried we might miss out given it's just 6 weeks away. Obviously I will post on the even for all those of you who may struggle to get there.

The open gaming day is in fact a fair bit more. Several of the rule designers will be there to answer your questions on where and why? Display and participation games are on offer with possible table space for players to bring their own and have a game! If that was not enough a painting clinic is being put on where you can even have a go if your brave enough! All said it looks to be a great couple of days and I hope I can swing it that I can get on the second day as well.

Both days also have that rather nice opportunity to add another face to that lead mountain under construction somewhere close to you. Me it will be more French, infantry for sure but possibly guns as well.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Australians are good to go.

Finished off the basing just this morning by adding the tufts and jungle. Really happy with the speed these came off the brush and still retained the same standard as all the others.

As I mentioned on the previous post the uniforms are slightly darker to show a little less fading and have darkened the hats just a few shades. I think the Australians are some of the nicer Artizan castings, with that bit more movement to them.

So now they are finished I have moved onto the Phalanx. I did manage to get them all cleaned up on the night so primed them yesterday and have started them. 22 figures now have the flesh done with the other 10 waiting for me to finish this post before coming under the brush. I hope to get this lot done in less than 10 days which is possible.

After that, well I have a couple of projects waiting that will need some extra thought so these will be a bit time consuming but I will be adding more of the Numidian troops into the mix as they are really quick and easy. Then it's onto the French, Polish and Resistance Sniper Reminders, most of which I still have to choose the figures and order. Also the Baccus Open Day is July 21st so it would be nice to paint up some more 6mm Naps before to make space in the mountain for the inevitable purchasing.

Games planned. 15mm Ancients with Lee if things work out this week and 6mm Naps to try out the new rules with Barry some time in the near future and if things really work out I get a game of something with Andy between. I'm a busy lad.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A-Z Terribly Obscure...... Flammock's Rebellion

King Henry VII was levelling a tax to pay for military action against the Scottish which was as always not popular. Whilst most of the Country grumbled but paid up the Cornish planned to refuse. Thomas Flammock was a Lawyer and came from a wealthy family and argued that such a Tax was illegal as it should only be paid by the northern counties. Michael Joseph, a blacksmith was a very vocal commoner who it is said was always taking up arguments against authority in an attempt to promote himself (an early case of character assassination?) Between these two men they raised a large enough unrest that they had 6,000 men gathered ready to refuse to pay the £2,500 levy. On arrival of the tax collectors the protest went from demonstration to action. The 6,000 marched from Cornwall to Taunton in Somerset killing the Tax Collector there (Provost Perrin) and then marching a little further to Wells. Here they gained the leadership of Lord Audley said to be an impoverished Lord but still a Lord. The decision was made to march on London to present their grievances and demands, by this time this could be seen as no less than a direct challenge to the King. The march went through Salisbury and Winchester a march that on modern roads would be 170 miles from Taunton. Whilst original sources claim that the force that reached Blackheath (just outside London) was over 15,000 and made up of Cornish men I doubt 9-11,000 extra men were gained prior to leaving Cornwall and suggest that the majority were gathered on the march and would as such be a mix of Somerset, Devon and possibly beyond. After all all southern counties would share the view that it should be a northern tax.

Henry VII
Henry called back the army he had set off for the proposed campaign against the Scottish and whilst the Rebels were large in number they lacked sufficient leaders to command them effectively and were defeated on the 22nd June 1497. Though it was not plain sailing as Lord Daubeney was for a short time captured early in the battle. Both sides lost men in the battle. The Kings forces around 300 whilst the Rebels number given varies between 300 and 1,000+. The vast majority of the 15,000 were pardoned and allowed to go home but the leaders were executed. Lord Audley beheaded on Tower Hill whilst Flammock and Joseph were both hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn so rank even has it's privileges for rebels. For Henry the biggest concern was not that they had rose up in Rebellion but that they got to London without challenge. Whilst the London citizens had risen up in defence they had managed to march to London almost unopposed and without the aid of his field army the Londoners would have been unlikely to hold off the Rebels.

Wargameing the battle. Historical licence has to be taken to make this work. I would suggest a better command system for the rebels than they had. Further to this I would on turn two or three stop any more forward movement of the Royal Army for a undisclosed number of turns to represent Lord Daubeney's capture. How ever it would be played the rebels can not win a straight wargame so victory conditions should be designed to give them a win even in defeat. Possible ideas would be keep x units in good order for x turns. Hold X position till game end or inflict x causlties (unit breaks etc).

A skirmish also happened at Guildford, this obviously was not a defeat for the Rebels so could be a good action to represent. Obviously the cream of the army was not used in the major action and this should be taken into account in any battles that are played. The Rebels were mostly armed with Bill and Bow as you would expect. They were surprised on the 22nd expecting the attack the following day, this means they were prepared to fight a real army so I would expect a fairly high morale for them. Given a good set of VC's and scenario rules to reflect the situation you could get quite a good and interesting battle out of this.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

An Afternoons Painting

I am all charged up to get my third phalanx of pike done for the Macedonian army to make it a legal army before moving on to the Seleucid Army which of course uses the pike as well. Sitting in front of that task was four Australian WWII 28mm figures which were primed but that was it. Well after returning from Lee's this afternoon I have cracked on and painted them up super fast for me. These figures are fairly easy to paint which made the job so much easier. The picture was taken just after applying a wash so is shinny. I hope to get them varnished and on the base before bed tonight and the basing done through tomorrow. Tonight maybe will see the pike cleaned up ready for priming, well I can dream can't I?

Not a lot to do on these to get them all finished up. The uniforms are a little darker on this bunch which was intentional and I think look that bit better and that bit less faded. The bush hats are also a few shades darker which is not obvious on this photo.

So once these are finished it's the pike as mentioned, but I will also start some of the 20mm Numidian cavalry. Also whilst at Lee's I picked up the 10mm ADC's I committed myself to paint for the guy who used to run the Wargames Holiday Centre for his new project. Turns out there are 13 of them, I will also fit these in between projects, yep I'm not short on diversions!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Field of Glory AAR Good Mates Get It On!

I kind of feel I have gone full circle, should I wrap all my stuff up and call it a day? As journeys go this one has been a total blast, I remember so many good times and the odd bad one just acts as a reminder of how lucky I have been in my choice of hobby pursuits.

What the hector am I talking about? My very first opponent came back to the area for a good part of the week giving us the opportunity to get a game in without any rush or distractions (well almost LOL). It really felt that all things had just come back to what was right. Andy just happens to be my type of opponent and in fairness to all the others I seem to have been lucky enough to fall in with guys who play to have fun first and win second (win at any cost never comes into it). Don't get me wrong we all have a strong desire to win but not at the cost of a good game. So without spoiling the AAR I can say it was such a great game, against that most special of opponents (THE FIRST) so can it ever get any better and if not why go on? Obviously such questions are utter bull clag and just serves as a reason to go on but I like a bit of drama to start the post.

Andy has not played in years (14+ to be more exact), not played ancients for 3-5 years more and never played using my figures or played rules even close to these (I smelt blood in the water). To add to the shock effects we were playing at Maelstrom Games and whilst I mentioned they  had tables I had not really gone into detail. His face when we entered the room and he saw rows of them was worth the effort alone. The fact it's free to use (this includes any terrain you need) just added the sucker punch.

I could field a Late Achaemenid Persian Army no bother, but the Macedonian really was going to be a struggle. I got the 2 Cavalry units painted giving me more than the list used needed but only by a couple of figures. Pike wise I was short by a whole unit but this was after all a friendly. The big question was would I play with the shinny new almost never played lot or the re-based boys I already had played with three times before? In the end Andy had the Macedonian lads as it was closest to his Bactian Greeks of old. Rather than use the correct terrain set up we took it in turns to set it up and then used the correct system for final placement.

Andy loaded his right with the Companion and Agema Cavalry fronted by some light horse, leaving the Prodromoi (light horse lance armed) to cover the left along with Peltasts, Cretan Archers and Agrianian light foot (just off camera). The ever ready pike stuffing up the centre. You can see the sole surviving hill just in front of the Cretans.

A full view from the side. Woods bordered both sides of his army with a olive grove to the front and brush in the centre.

My right flank had a single average Persian cavalry unit supported by a light horse unit, a unit of crescent shield bearers (Light Spears) with the centre just held by two large units of skirmish troops (1 each of bow and sling). My left had 2 more Persian horse but Superior, a unit of Kappadokian cavalry, a light horse bow armed. Behind all these was a single unit of Hoplites ready to plug the rout for any cavalry that forced their way past my horse.

The first lack of knowledge and understanding of the new rules came when I was able to intercept Andy's first charge (I had explained the rule before starting but I explained a lot!!) His charge was meant for my Parthyaian bow horse) but the Kappa's intercepted thought he stepped forward to make contact with my lights. A fairly predictable series of events that saw him both loose a base but also over the two rounds drop to fragmented before finally being routed. These were never to come back and off the table they went. His second charge was on the other flank as his lance armed lights hit my javelin armed LH. Andy had to win the melee to get the extra advantage of the Lance in later tests but instead his dice were cold (as they were all day) and I won the melee though just a disorder.

In the centre I had pushed forward my bows to end that nasty double move bonus, here you see them trying to do harm to the pike. Not going to happen. The problem with these is that you have to use them either in 6 or 8 base units, if only I could have them in 4's.

Andy really needed his LH to last another round on his right to allow him to get his three Cavalry units into position. This lead him to feed them in over two turns which allowed a certain amount of ganging up (his nearest unit failed the test not to go in).Again poor dice by Andy and good dice for me was more than making up for facing better troops.

The battle lines, I still have one Persian Horse in reserve alongside the Hoplites whilst Andy is already down a base with his Companions. My Persians are 6 bases to his 4 bases. No help in the impact phase but nasty come the later melee rounds. Right at the top left you can see the lance armed lights making large for the rear though my lights up that way are starting to get themselves into trouble.

The new guys turn up at last. Again not being able to get both the remaining horse into position at the same time was going to hurt. Rather than wait I charged the lead unit and surprising Andy I made off with my light horse allowing for the Hoplites to move forward to plug that gap whilst me reserve Cavalry came around on the extreme flank to prepare for the next series of charges. Both of us were throwing our Commanders into the action in an attempt to get or keep the advantage. Typically I would in these situations roll a couple of 6's and the rest would be 1's. The re-roll obviously coming up with a 5 or 6 (feeling good about the new dice).

By this point it was rather obvious the Pike were not getting much in the way of play time. In spite of this I took a picture of them as they look rather nice.

Andy continues to drive forward with the Hypaspists whilst swinging the Foot Companions to now try and rescue the horse from a possible disaster. The big problem for this game was the placing of to much terrain in the centre. I think it ended up giving me too much of an advantage and would have been a more interesting "Normal" game with less, not that the game was not fun.

My slings face off against the better trained Cretans but numbers (dice) can count more and the Cretans pick up a disorder bringing their effectiveness further down. At this point I really should have charged but with them on the hill I just kept up fireing on them. My horse in the background were in trouble. I did not want to evade as that would disorder the unit behind so if they charged I would try and stand.

Of course he charged and of course he charged with two units!! So charged in the flank and pinned from the front, what did I do? I stood and took it like a man! Well for a turn. I rolled nice and high to receive and they paid for it. They survived the contact just losing a base and even only dropped from Disordered to Fragmented in the melee phase. The following turn they were routed but by then I had made the space and my Persian Cavalry was threatening the pikes flank.

Andy had been forced to react to my horse but in doing so presented his flank to my light bows. These passed the test and charged in. It was never going to be a winner for me but it did manage to halt them in their tracks. My horse was never able to take advantage of this though as they had other issues to deal with, but the Pike were not going to get involved any time soon.

Two units of Andy's cavalry were routed (one removed due to being down to one base) and the Agema charged after the unit it was fighting as an overlap with fled. All three of my cavalry on this flank were in excellent condition. The only one of Andy's left was disordered and odds were rather long. The pike is coming to try and help but my pursuit looks to take me past them with the closest unit.

The centre about to be punished. The bow was taking more than they should have. The disorder being all I suffered in two rounds of combat (told you his dice were bad).

The last act. As Andy struggles on his right he tries to intercept my charge on the left, the dice say yes though all it means is I get to chew them over instead of the big bash at the back. Andy lost his last horse on his right bringing his lost units to 5 and pushing him over the army break point.

The verdict? Andy had a great time, that sparkle in his eye for wargaming has returned and I can see him pulling out his figures again with intent. But what did he think about the rules? He certainly liked the idea of no book keeping, the speed of play and low complexity to result also sat well. He did admit to struggling at the start as it was all new to him and not helped by my lack of confidence as I still learn the rules. We did a few bits wrong but no game breakers. As for me? Well it confirms for me that FoG is the direction to go. A few bits still don't sit perfectly but I can accept them in with the rest. Impetus still has it's place and still is fun and faster but I won't be looking for another set to fill the space.

Lee is a little tied up with work but believes he will have time for a game as well so looking good for FoG, though the Persians will be the army for that game I hope to get either the Macedonian or the Later Seleucid out on the table with me at the controls soon.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Pimping Time - The Lead Legion

OK I have planned to do a little payback since I received the pimping that got my blog the extra followers but predictably the first pimping could end up benefiting me. Lead Legion is a painting service that has a fantastic offer. Follow the blog, leave the usual comment and either plug the blog on your blog or like on facebook. The reason is hitting 50 followers and rather nice is the prize, that of £50 of painting time. You supply the figures and they supply everything else. They have a good number of shots of their work and it looks all rather good. You only have till I think next Sunday to get in on the act.

Another painting service that has recently had a giveaway is Fog's Soldiers. This blog has quite a few posts that have little to do with the painting service itself (as does Lead Legion) which makes for an interesting read, nip over and see what you think.

A great thing about Painting Service Blogs is that you can measure yourself up against their standards, marvel at output and steal the odd idea just like any other blog. But what you get extra is the possibility of checking out a possible supplier of reinforcements if you are hard pressed or just not into painting. I actually spoke to the wife (yeah I know) about the LL offer and her response was

1. Shut up I'm watching the Telly

2. It speaks!

3. Who the hell are you?

or 4. But would you want stuff painted by someone else?

Now that's a good question but then again I have all those pikemen, all waiting to be painted so my response would be

1. Sod Off

2. Sod Off

3. Sod Off

4. Sod o..... I mean yes dear.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Agema and other Companion's

Spurred on by the opportunity of a game I managed to get painted and based 24 Companion Cavalry in less than 7 days. This is possibly the best work to quality result I have had to date in figures. So to reward myself I did this..........

I was the only one not to cheat!!!

Yes as a surprise for the kids we had a street party in the house for the Queens Jubilee, well it was raining though it's quite possible I would have been less wet outside.

Praying to the dice gods?
It is doubtful we have had so much laughter in a day as we had yesterday and I really don't care how much painting time was scrapped for it.

So back on track, I painted both units up at the same time which speeded up such as the Horses and tack etc. Here is the second unit of Companion's which in fact gives me more Companion Cavalry than I can use with the Alexandrian Macedonian list but the Later Macedonian would use them.

Shown all drawn out and yes that is a telegraph pole each man is carrying! I went for red tunics with yellow cloaks so they will stand out on the table.

All figures are 15mm Magister Militum in both units. I have started to use the Vallejo Sepia Wash for all but the sniper reminders that will use the Devlan Mud until used up. I am finding the Sepia not to be even close to DM but works well enough that I will continue with it.

The Agema, I used three different reds for the different sections of painting and whilst it is not obvious at first look in the flesh you can see enough of a difference to make it worth the effort. I really like the in your face finish on these figures, lets hope they do well when on the table.

The face masks on the helmets really took my fancy and I like the result. I realise the unit is the cream of my cavalry but I felt they would look better if the armour and helmets had a little difference between them so whilst many have the same, I included enough changes to break it up a little.

Overall I am rather pleased with the result. OK both units are supposed to be lance and the Agema are dwarfed by the rest of the lances in my army but I can turn a blind eye to that, now all that needs to be seen is how well they all do on the table. It's going to be fun fighting with/against an army that has for the most part never been used and those that have managed just a single learning bash.