Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Stuff for Sale/ Trade...

I've a small offering of about 18 Sash and Sabre 7YW Prussians that I bought a couple of years ago as samples that need to go to a good home. I've nothing against them, but I settled a long time ago on RSM as my mainstays...

Some are undercoated black. Most are innocent of paint altogether.

Drop me a line at:

I'd trade them for a couple of boxes or Revell Brit WW2 infantry, for example...

OT - WW2 stuff - bits and bobs

Just recently I was browsing the blog "The General's Tent" and saw there some very nicely painted Revell WW2 British Infantry. This led me to the Plastic Soldier Review Sites' review for an in-depth and then I also stumbled across an article by Richard Marsh on the RF website on creating a 1944 battalion out of this very box!

Well, the local model shops were no use to me but eBay came through with a couple of boxes of these chaps. While I'm waiting on their arrival and eying off some others, I've gone through my old plastic armour collection to find pretty substantial amounts of Anglo-American vehicles; a converted Bedford from Airfix, M3 Half Traks from the same source, a Hasegawa M3 Scout Car, a couple of resin Cromwells, an Airfix DUKW and four Buffaloes in varying states of repair as well as a Churchill. Matchbox have also provided a Humber A/C, a Churchill AVRE - a chopped down bridge-layer, and another that didn't get chopped about.

Naturally I bought an Aifix refuelling set on the way to work this morning for the Bedford. I'll need to take a look at my Airfix guides to see what I can do with the AEC refueller leftovers. I need a few more Bren gun carriers, too. Good old Airfix.

NW Europe 1944/45 here I come?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Toy Soldiers

Ever since I came upon the "Brigadier" Toy Soldier shop in Beechworth a few years ago, I've harboured a desire to own some "Traditional" toy soldiers.
I ordered some castings from them recently and finally got around to painting one of the gunners this week.
He's all done in Humbrol enamels on a white undercoat with a sprayed on coat of gloss varnish to give him a nice finish. The one "painter's" touch he has is some black base-coating on his metalwork to make the "brass" colour pop out a bit more.
I'm a little unhappy with the blue of his coat - I feet it's a little greenish unvarnished, but it looks a bit better now.
I've put in an order with Soldier Pac for some of their Marching Infantry and a couple of Officers with Binoculars.
For the moment I'm gluing the "movable arm" in place - does anyone have any suggestions as to how to splay the head of the pin it hangs on to permit it to move?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

RTS Games as a Seige Campaign Model?

I've been thinking about some of the issues raised as I've been thinking about seige rules.
I've really been thinking of seiges as campaigns.
In this context, I wonder whether the ideas contained within real time strategy games might not be useful. Consider that a tunnel or trench might need so much wood per inch on the table. That forest or town might yeild a certain quantity of wood, but this would have to be processed into useful material via a Mill which would itself cost so many "Wood" and so many Ducats/ Loius d'Or. A town would yield so much Grain, but a bakery would be needed to process it into Bread.
For our Army to survive at full fighting strength and morale it would have to consume so many "Bread" and "Gold". Gold might be bought at towns for "Gold". An area of land might yield so much "Forage" to feed the cavalry for so may strategic turns dependant on type as well.
Likewise, goods might be brought from distant locations by Barges or Carts, each of which could carry so much Bread or Wood or even Gold to pay the Army with.
The beseiged would have a stockpile of Wood, Bread and Gold and would draw upon then to supply the garrison and repair the defences.
You could attempt to spin out the Food supply by going to half rations with the concomitant reductions in morale and Build effectiveness and a rise in the rate of Desertion. A fortresses Horses might also be converted into "Bread" but a Butchers might need building.
Any thoughts on this model?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Quiet week

I've not been doing too much this week, just pottering about finishing the Cuirassier du Roi Officer, doing bits of the troopers. I polished off five new recruits to la Reine, so that regiment is now 17 strong. Fouquet's is now up to 19 figures, which seems like the current establishment for my cavalry; Colonel, trumpeter, standard-bearer and two squadrons each of 7 troopers and an Officer.

For a change of pace I painted up an English officer of the 51st and a Hanoverian Jaeger, both as per my Blanford "Uniforms of the Seven Year's War". The rest of the 51st will follow with the French Lights as part of the same batch.

I've gotten my hands on a copy of Duffy's "Instrument of War". Odd book, poorly proof-read, witha strange format and choice of illustrations. It's almost a coffee-table book, handsomely bound with an annoying two-column layout that makes it a bit of a chore to read, especially as it's not a size you could easily manage sitting on the train or up in bed. The maps are oddly inadequate and difficult to make out and there are NO colour illustrations which considering the format, would have been a natural inclusion.

Oddlu too the text is a grab bag, a compendium of facts that seems to lack a narrative. The Seven Years War is the main focus, but little enough is done to put the Army of Maria Theresa in a broader context that I can see so far. How has the Infantry developed since the WAS? What shortcomings were addressed by the reglement of 1752..? One interesting part was a discussion in detail of the organisation of the military academy, but again this is a lost opportunity as there is no discussion of it's contribution to the course of the 7YW which IS the focus of the book, temporally. If it had no efect on the KuK Army of the time why talk about it?

When you compare this to Kennets much more compact history of the French Army of the period or Duffy's own on the Army of Frederic the Great, I am left with the feeling that this is an inferior work.

Oops, here's some controversy...

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Cavalry Brigade

Here you have my brigade of cavalry. Leading from the left are a troop of the Gendarmerie followed by the Fouquet Regiment. Behind them (and very unhapy about it indeed) are the troopers of the La Reine Regiment who at least can relish the idea that the Turpin Hussars are eating their dust as they bring up the rear.

Looking through various boxes and bags I have scrounged up another few cavalry to take Fouquet up to 19 figures, La Reine up to 16 figures and Turpin's up to 14. In the case of the hussars, the five castings I found had already been part-painted, so they won't take too long to paint up. I think they plust the half-done Cuirassiers du Roi might be done by Monday.

I really need to paint an officer and an ADC as a Brigadier for this brigade.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Completed: The Regiment Fouquet

Anyone have even the remotest idea as to what flag I should give them?

Some finished Cavalry

Here are a couple of picture of some of the finished Cavalry I got through last night. Another five remain needing their horses finished. I've never gotten though a whole regiment in a week before and admit to a glow of acheivement!

I am quite inspired to do the cuirassiers now. Especially considering I have now found a total of four fully-painted RSM horses that were lurking on my painting table to sit them on.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A couple more Seige Warfare thoughts.

*Mining. I just had the thought as I was cycling home from work this evening that one way to randomise mining in a game where you couldn't find an umpire would be to establish the line of approach you wanted to take at the start of a strategic turn then roll a scatter die and prodeed in that direction. Perhaps that's a little extreme. Perhaps instead you could lay a right angled template at the mine-head, with each of the arms of the 'L' diverging at 45 degrees. Roll a D6. 1-2 takes you down the left-hand path, 3-4 takes you in the desired direction and a 5-6 takes you down the right-hand path.

Mines will only move at the slowest sapping rate. Only one working party may be working at a mine and this needs to be under the supervision of an Officer of the Engineers.

*Sapping. Every sap must at it's base line at the first parallel be either 18" from an adjacent sap or 6" from either the end of the parallel or an adjacent redoubt. Ths space is assumed to be where troops might assemble or stores might be kept.

Every strategic turn you lay a certain number of lengths of sap. As you get closer to the fortress, the length of each sap you can lay down gets shorter. Each new length of sap must proceed at a 90 degree angle to that which preceedes it. Perhaps in the range band of 72-48" you could sap forward at the rate of 12" per strategic turn; for that of 48-12" you could only proceed at 8" per turn and; in the final 12-0" (0" being the very top of the glacis) perhaps as little as 4" every strategic turn.

*Parallels. Could always be built at the rate of 12" per eight figure working party, with every three working parties needing to be under the supervision of an Officer of Engineers. As do saps, parallels give cover to beseiging troops.

*Engineering. The eight man working party is the basic engineering unit. One of these may throw a length of sap if supervised by an engineering officer. One may also throw up either a battery position or redoubt in two strategic moves if so supervised. Two may throw up a battery position or a redoubt in one move if supervised by two officers. One officer can supervise three working parties at the construction of 36" of parallel because this is relatively less demanding work.

Example: The first parallel has been determined to of necessity be 72" wide. The stern general directs that this must be completed in one strategic move. It will have a redoubt at either extremity. Thus he will devote ten working parties to the task under the supervision of six Engineering Officers. It can theoretically support as many as four saps.

Progress shot

Still a fair way to go, but you can see where we're going with these...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Progress for tonight

The CAvalry are getting there.

The mounts are nearly all done. Hats, hair &c are done. Swords are done.

The riders just need their lace painting and they'll all be there too barring the tidying up.

It's looking pretty imposing; an eighteen figure regiment of Horse and d as such the largest I own.

It's certainly making me want to upgrade the size of my others. The La Reine Regiment would be the easiest to do, being already at a dozen figures.

Another thing, I just found about a half dozen sample Cuirassiers in tricornes who would be perfect for a Squadron of the Cuirassiers du Roi, c.1740-47. That will be the next job - and I already have a couple of horses painted.

Cavalry Progress

I got all the re-blacking of hair, hats and boots done last night.

I also painted the little white wigs they all sport - all my C18th troops have their hair powdered, I know, not entirely correct, but there you go...

The horses are coming along nicely. I have nine of them painted sufficiently that I was able to glue their riders on this morning. I'm doing more tonight and highlighting those which are finished as well. Might be a good moment to to the swords and start gluing them into the little hands, too.

Monday, May 08, 2006

That nameless Cavalry Regiment

OK. I did all the red bits that needed going over a second time just before I left for work this morning, so that's off the list.

Next, I need to give the regiment a name. So far it's a gris-blanc coat, lined gris-blanc. Red facings, housings and shabraque. I've not yet laced the hats nor painted the lacing on the horse furniture.

So here we have it gentlemen (and ladies) here is YOUR chance to interact with the hobby. Provided the regiment existed between 1740 and 1750, you get to pick it within the constraints mentioned above. Nominations will be open for the next two days. Get your kicks in now!

New Cavalry Regiment

The new Cavalry Regiment continues apace with all black-lining, buff small-clothes and gauntlets and faces done. The troopers are starting to get a finished look to them.

Tonight I'll be re-blacking the boots and hats, painting the hair and hat-lace and doing the facial highlights. I also need to give some of the red areas a second coat where I can still see too much of the Undercoat showing through.

I'll get a start on the horses tomorrow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sample HE Cavalry all completed

Well, here they are then. Click on this image too get a larger version.

I think that overall I like them quite a lot and will soon be putting in an order large enough to finish the regiment off. They paint quickly and painlessly. I got these done in three days of evenings, not really batch-painting, just going two or three at a time.

You'll notice that the flag is blank. I left it that way because when I started painting them i had (and have) no idea what the Carabiniers standards looked like. Time to put in some research...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

New Toys

With the internerd still being down at home, here I am puting together a post at work...

More RSM goodies arrived in the mail last night so I'm now putting together a French Heavy Cavalry regiment. It's pretty generic at the moment. Coat and lining are gris-blanc; facings and housings are red.

Just for once I've decided to go from a black undercoat. It'll sace me some time painting boots, hair and tricornes. I have always liked the fact that with black undercoating you have less miniature to paint. I'm also dry-brushing the coats which turns out to have been a BIG time-saver. I'll paint on a little pure white here and there to tidy up and to put in some of the most prominent highlights. Some black-lining also serves to clean things up later in the painting process.

Faces and buff small-clothes tonight. I'm aiming to see how quickly I can get the eighteen figures of this unit painted. I'll need more to flesh it out to twenty-eight to twenty-nine for the Grant/Young-Lawford worlds.

I also got my French infantry in the "Advancing" pose, so work can commence on my light corps soon, too.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Seige rules - some considerations.

In the past two years I have read about a half dozen sets of seige rules. I've read Christopher Duffy's "Fire and Stone". I've read the Osprey "Fortress" on Vauban fortification (rather derivative text, brilliant colour illustrations). I've even read the article in the 1983 Military Modelling annual on this same subject. Naturally I now consider myself to be an expert.

On the basis of this deep research a few points seem salient.

*There will be two time-scales operating - strategic and tactical. The tactical move might be declared at either the end of the strategic move and needs to be enacted on the table. The strategic move might be defined as "as long as it takes to do 'x'" - with 'x' being something like opening a parallel, or building a redoubt, or driving a sap forward or building a certain number of gabions.
*Per strategic move each player ought to be able to expend a certain number of "build points" to construct or repair works. This number ought to be based on the number of available troops. There ought never be quite enough of these "build points". Perhaps it might be better to call them engineering points. Some of your regiments will NEVER condescend to do manual labour - Maison du Roi anyone?
*On the strategic scale of things, a battery of seige guns ought to have a certain "batter" value equivalent to the number of guns. Per strategic move this ought to be subtracted from a target's build point total and modified further by the build points a defender is prepared to expend maintining the works.
*Parallels should be opened in one movement virtually by the whole army and ought to each take about a night to provide the necessary protection.
*Ricochet batteries. Their task is to demolish the traverses within the covered way. once their points value is reduced to zero, the covered way is untenable and troops in this sector must withdraw to the ravelin or bastion behind.
*Sapping forward. As you sap more closely to the fortress your trenches should become shorter and possibly more acutely angled - ie, progress should be slower as you progress. Perhaps they should cost more build points?
*Mining. Best not done without an umpire. Still, strategic move by strategic move attacker and defender could cut their mines and counter-mines with both sides making their listen rolls (sounds like CoC!) and the umpire ruling that the mine was detected. The map moves made by attacker and defender could be marked on the umpires master map. Intersecting tunnells would trigger a tactical move of underground combat. Mines would produce a zone of destruction relative to the charge placed therein. The amount of powder placed in the mine needs to be limited. Building tunnels costs build points per inch driven. A fortress ought to start the game with a number of listening galeries already built.

I see seiges as being campaigns in their own right. As such, the only real question is how complicated do you want to get? I think supply rules would have a place in determining the limits on the beseiger in terms of what resources they can bring to bear.

More as I think it up...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Staddens - ooooh.

I was mucking about in the cupboard last night and happened to stumble across a dozen Stadden British infantry that I'd bought as samples a few years ago and never got around to painting.

Wow, was I impressed! These are just the acme of 30mm toy soldiers. Such finely-engraved detail I've never seen. Pricey, too at a pound and 5p a go.

To me they look like they might do better for the 1740s rather than the Seven Years' War. I'll get some photos done tonight and see if I can match the codes up to their descriptions.

I also found a "Willie" Cumberland, too. I'd love to get my hands on their Fred the Great figure to complete the "set" - I have a Soubise somewhere.