Thursday, January 31, 2008


Well, here we are again, another blog posting. Maybe a few belated new years’ resolutions, too.

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet of late; boring old real life has been getting in the way of noodling around on the internet. On the bright side, Amy and I have gone a long way toward creating a native garden which in turn in drought-stricken Melbourne goes a long way toward saving water and making it possible to keep a garden alive!

So it goes.

In the blog world, I’ve not had too much to say and am trying to keep to a policy of not saying anything if I have nothing of substance to say. That’s the problem with blogs, I think. That empty page and the perception of an “audience” sometimes prompts me to write where I do not always have too much to say.

It is nice for me to put up yet another picture of the same dozen toy soldiers and say “Well, just did the highlights on their coats – what do you all think out there?” but it doesn’t always add to much to the greater discourse, does it?

Does it?

I resolve not to blog about having painted the gaiter buttons on the officers of the grenadier company of IR35, no matter what a terrific job I think I have done.

That brings me to another little niggle that’s been with me since I stumbled across an article in some Wargames mag or other while in the UK. Proper references later, but the gist of the article was what are you guys blogging about? Your miniatures? Please! I only want you top blog about well-painted miniatures, not some of the duff bits and pieces that I’m seeing.

This was accompanied by some photographs of some rather ordinary bits of painting (unattributed) on some decidedly unappealing bits of sculpting that allegedly illustrated his point that people were/are getting lavishly praised for any old thing.

I cannot begin to tell you how the patronising tone of this article got my back up. I fairly choked on my Full English breakfast!

I actually think the tone of posting that we have in the “blog-o-sphere” is possibly a product of the comments moderation policies of those of us who run blogs, rather than the fairly pathetic sycophancy that the writer seems to think holds sway.

I do think sometimes that commenters are over-nice or over-generous and that sometimes a post will be left as much to register a visit as much as anything else.

What are your thoughts?

I promise not to moderate any comments that are cranky, gnarled or spiky. And yes, you do only have my word for that!

UPDATE: The Article was "Wargaming Meets the X Factor" in WI #241, by Barry Hilton.

I'm strangely conflicted about the article insofar as Mr Hilton basically goes out and sets up a straw man - that the internet has bred a lot of people out for fame as it were and that this is coupled with a lot o people out there who'll praise any old rubbish. I think that what annoyed me was the broad brush approach he took and his complete lack of any real examples.

He then holds up a number of figure painters who he believes are worthy of praise.

Speaking for myself, I may enjoy the work of Holger Schmidt or Kev Dallimore, but really would not try to emulate them as I don't believe that their painting styles are sustainable over the kind of army that I am interested in raising. Indeed, modern painting exemplars strike me as being really only suitable for the single miniature or at most for the skirmish game. Taking the point just a little further, I really find the kind of painting admired by Mr Hilton just a bit depressing because I know that there would be no way I could ever finish of a 60-figure unit in anything like an acceptable time-frame.

Perhaps the failing is mine.

UPDATE the Second: I've posted reasonably lenthy responses in the to the comments in the "Comments" section.

*Who remembers "Blue Thunder"?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Vale Ed Hillary

It's a bit late, and not really on topic, but, well, good on you, Sir Ed.
There are not too many like you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sculpting Stuff Arrived

I just got a little parcel of sculpting bits and pieces from the good people at eBob.

It's a sort of a sculpting starter pack and consists of two sculpting tools, a 15cm strip of two-part epoxy putty and three "dollies" and 25mm circular plastic bases, similare to those you get from Games Workshop.

The dollies are almost an exact match in size and proportion to an RSM Austrian (German) Fusilier. Thus means that they are impressively dainty and I may need to buy some of those magnifying goggles to work on them.

I am already suitably intimidated - and a bit awed at how skillful our miniatures sculptors actually are.

So, what's the goal?

I want to sculpt up some French infantry suitable for the War of the Austrian Succession. You know the sort - collarless coats with no collars, although collars could be addd easily enough as they began to appear throughout the conflict.

These figures would form the basis for doing Spanish and even Piedmont-Sardinian infantry from the same conflict. Then there are the light infantry of several nations (not forgetting the Montagnards!), Hungarians and Pandurs from the same conflict, to say nothing of the Austrians...

But that's getting ahead of myself.

Better learn how to sculpt first!

I'm thinking my first step might be to gently sever the little heads and trying to get some hats and hair onto them without mucking up too badly.

Let's see how we go.

PS - YES, there will be a seige move enacted this weekend, too.

Projects - good for Lead Mountain reduction

Having a project on focuses the mind.

Doing this siege game has really highlighted to me just how incomplete some of my units are/were.

Just a few examples, my Bavarian Leib Garde were short by a whole company, as were my Gardes Francaises.

Many of my French (or”Gallispan”) regiments while standardised on a three-company organisation were all short various NCOs.

When I started the project my Prussian (or Alzheimer) Fusiliers stood at less than half company strength – now they are at almost two companies and still going strong.

I had almost NO gunners – now I have eight Alzheimer and nine Gallispan (as well as an Ouvrier!) with more on the way.

I had no fortress artillery but for four unpainted and fiddly to assemble Hinchcliffe 12 pounders. Now I have a neat half-dozen from Eureka.

Hurrah for projects; the siege has boosted my forces by something like 70 figures since the start of December.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Note to self

Riding a bike in peak-hour traffic is a great way of developing ones coup l'oeill.

I think the modern term is "situational awareness"!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Second Move

Alzheimer Gunners about to give Johnny Gallispan a jolly good hiding!

No chance cards were drawn this move for either side, so the Gallispans made like busy beavers and began sapping forward.

They opened two trenches and, using three working parties on each, constructed two 36” saps, zig-zagging every 12” as they went.

This left them with an unoccupied working party, so these brave souls went forward along the left-hand sap and constructed 12” of the second parallel.

The Gallispans also now moved to occupy their works, The Gardes Francaises and the Bourbonnois regiments occupying the first parallel, whilst the Berry and la Reine Regiments received their orders to occupy the second parallel once it was completed.

On the Alzheimer side, “Kinsky” watched the sudden surge in Gallispan activity with not a small degree of alarm and while not relenting with his mining activities, determined to open fire on the enemy saps.

Batteries one and two in Bastion Kurprinz opened fire – Battery One demolished the Parapet thrown up before the incomplete second parallel, effectively destroying it. Batteries Three and Four in the Kurprinzessin failed dismally to hit a single thing, whilst Batteries Five and Six in the Kurfurstin Bastion were very successful indeed, destroying two 12” lengths of sap.

Neither side elected to make an ACTION move, so this concluded the second move.

Oh, the Gallispans were gnashing their teeth that night!

Chance cards – at the start of each move, each side draws a chance card from a deck of 20. Half are blank, the other half have various “amusing” (to me!) incidents printed on them.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Move One - Alzheimer

Oberst-Lieutenant Kinsky and his Chief of Engineers, von Fotze stood on the lip of the towns’ glacis.

Von Fotze lowered his glass and opined: “Herr Oberst-Lieutenant, it seems to me that the Gallispans have opened their first parallel and that they have almost finished buildind infantry redoubts at either end.”

“Very good, Captain. Ah, I see my fusiliers are taking a turn on the covered way today?”

“Yes Sir, but-“ and von Fotze lowered his voice “- their morale is low after the last beating they took. They looked more like refugees than soldiers when they came into town.”

Kinsky stuck out his bottom lip. “That won’t do! No, that won’t do at all! Let’s give them something to do other than just stand around. I want three listening galleries driven forward from the edge of the ditch. Knock holes in the counter-scarp if you have to. Start now – it’s slow work, so the earlier we get to it the better. By the time our Gallispan friends have sapped up, we might get far enough out to give them a nice surprise.”

One of the gunners had been trailing them like a lost puppy and now piped up. “Your Excellency, begging your pardon, but I’ve been taking the range and I think I could get a ball as far as the enemy lines.”

Kinsky turned to the man and shook his head. “No. We will wait until he has dug himself further into range before we start burning powder.” He clapped the man on the shoulder. “Don’t worry my lad, there’ll be more than enough to do, bye-and-bye! Now, von Fotze, a crown for each man in the working party that cuts the most clay – does that sound reasonable?”

Mines are dug at the rate of 1” per strategic move.

Detonating a mine or engaging in a day’s artillery fire (ie, firing one’s Artillery in a SIEGE Move) expends a unit of powder. Kinsky has 15 at his disposal. To win, he must hold out for 20 days. Kinsky is seeking to shorten the range before he opens fire.

Kinsky has three infantry units at his disposal. He can this dispose of three engineering officers and thus employ three working parties.

IR35 is on the covered way whilst IR13 mans the bastions and ravelin. The Leib Battalion is in reserve.

With all stragglers now in, IR35 stands at 31 figures.

The Gallispan siege lines are 72” from the salient point of the ravelin and thus at the uttermost extremity of cannon-shot.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

First Move - Gallispans

The Marquis de Gonsalvo

In the inevitably gray light that preceeds the dawn, silent files of men were issuing forth from the Gallispan camp.

Each man bore a burden. Some carried ordinary tools in the shape of shovels, mattocks and pick-axes. Others bore stranger items – long bundles of brush-wood that took two men to handle; these were called fascines. Some men wheeled in small carts or simply rolled gabions, large basket-like objects, open at both ends, woven from supple withies.

At the softly-voiced commands of their officers and NCOs all these men stopped and formed a long line facing the Alzheimer fortress.

The Marquis de Gonsalvo dropped his handkerchief fluttering to the ground. At this sign, his engineering officers made their last adjustments to the line, necessary since it was almost as long as two infantry battalions were wide! The men then planted each before themselves a gabion and started to dig.

As they dug, the soil thus excavated was flung up into the gabions, first to fill them, then to cascade in a natural rampart on the side facing the fortress. The fascines were used to bind the rampart laterally and to top the gabions off.

Whilst the line of the first parallel was being constructed, other parties, each under the close supervision of an engineer began to build one at each end, a redoubt roomy enough to hold an entire company of infantry. Gonsalvo noted with satisfaction that Brunetti his Chief of Engineers had taken him seriously on his worries about having strong places where he could shelter his infantry as they waited to counter-attack the inevitable raiders he was sure would come with mischief in mind!

He noted that Brunetti was keeping busy supervising the cutting of some embrasures in the new parapet. He was a good, conscientious officer. Breathing deep of the sour smell of the freshly-turned earth, he wondered if this might not be the odour of success?


Engineering officers are issued at the rate of one for each infantry regiment a side has.

The Gallispans have seven regiments\battalions and thus seven engineers.

A working party needs to be supervised by an Engineering Officer for relatively complex tasks. Each party can create 12" of parallel in a strategic turn.

"Gonsalvo" elected to build a first parallel wide enough to take two infantry units minus their grenadier companies which he intends to house in the redoubts at its' extremities. In the centre is a small battery position in which he'll be mounting a pair of battalion guns for protection against raiders.

My infantry units have a frontage of approximately 20" and thus we need four working parties to open the parallel, another two to build the redoubts and another to create the small battery position, for a neat total of seven fully-employed working parties.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rules, rules and more rules.

I just thought I’d take the time to lay out a few basics on the siege rules I’ll be using for this game.

The rules are based on a slightly incomplete set published in “The Courier” years ago by Gary Comardo and heavily modified by me as I like my rules a little less abstract, although I preserve his turn sequence intact.

There are two move types, SEIGE and ACTION.

The turn Sequence for the SEIGE move is as follows:

a) Attacker constructs new works
b) Defender constructs new works
c) Attacker places troops in his/her works
d) Defender places troops in his/her works
e) Defender explodes mines
f) Attacker explodes mines
g) Defender fires cannons
h) Attacker fires cannons
i) Defender fires small-arms
j) Attacker fires small-arms
k) Either side may call for an ACTION sequence

You can find many of the basic ideas that I have “plugged into” this turn sequence in earlier postings:

The ACTION turn is played out as a tabletop action, using your favoured war-gaming rules. I favour the Charge! Basic rules as they are quite straight-forward.

As I see it, SEIGE moves will largely be played out on a map, whilst the ACTION moves would occour on the tabletop.