Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hurrah for the Portuguese

A French column marches on Le Cor's men. 
(Please click to enlarge)

One interesting side effect of last week's entry was an email from a regular reader of Joy & Forgetfulness, who was not aware that I write regularly for Miniature Wargames. I shall save the poor chaps blushes as he is a subscriber and had been reading "Send three & fourpence" for a while, but had never connected the two. 

Keeping up the column has taken more application that usual over the last year - but as my faculties improve it is getting easier.  It also gave me the excuse to have a look at the battle of St. Pierre, part of the 1813 battle of the Nive, where Sir Rowland "Daddy" Hill held off far superior numbers under Marshall Soult. A goodly portion of his forces were Portuguese and I found that after taking the pictures for the article, I had completely missed out the "Fighting Cocks" of the army.  The scenario will be appearing in the next issue of Miniature Wargames.  It was a bit of a challenge, as the battle itself involved the defender facing two to one odds and winning.  

The view from the French side
(Please click to enlarge)

My miniature photography is slowly improving, but I really need to work on my post production. The white balance in these is all over the place. That background could do with a bit of an iron as well.

I might have tilted the camera slightly, er, 
what I mean is I tried out some Rodchenko angles
(Please click to enlarge)

It seems ungrateful  as these fine fellows have done Trojan service over the last few years, but the Ykreol plastics are without doubt some of the most lumpen figures in my collection.  If only I had realised that HAT Peninsula British would do as well with a lick of blue paint.

With drums beating the pas de charge - the French close on the Portuguese line
(Please click to enlarge)

On the other hand, my venerable NIKON D40 is still doing stalwart service, even if it does excite some eyerolling when it is produced in public.  It isn't broken, it takes perfectly good photographs and I see no reason to go for a more expensive option.

The Portuguese musketry begins to tell
(Please click to enlarge)

Arranging some toy soldiers for photos is actually a very pleasant pastime and I should do it more often.  I've never really understood the diorama impulse before, but I think its attractions are beginning to dawn on me. 

....and casualties begin to mount. 
(Please click to enlarge)

French peasants regard the occupation forces with curiosity tinged with fear
(Please click to enlarge)

The chaplain from one of the British regiments converses with some local monks
(Please click to enlarge)

The ill fated Col. Bunbury makes inquiry of the corporal on guard 
(Please click to enlarge)

I hope you've enjoyed these. I certainly enjoy taking them. Perhaps we might see a little 
more of this sort of thing. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Someone has blundered....

The Remnants of an Army by Lady Butler

...and I am that someone.  I recently received an email about my recent piece in Miniature Wargames Issue 411 from Mr. Andrew McGuire.  The piece was a scenario for "The Men who would be Kings" ruleset based around the battle of the piquets which took place at the beginning of the Little Inkerman battle.  Mr. McGuire wrote;

"I just wanted to make a small correction to Conrad Kinch's article on adapting The Men Who Would Be Kings to the Crimean War in his Little Inkerman article in MW 411.

In his order of battle, Conrad refers to the British 95th regiment as the 95th Rifles, and gives them the rating of sharpshooters. This would be applicable to the 95th regiment of the Napoleonic Wars, but not to that of the Crimea, as the 95th became the Rifle Brigade in 1816, when numerous regiments were disbanded, and the regimental number 95, along with many others, became vacant. It was reassigned to a newly raised regiment in 1823, as the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot. This is the regiment which fought as part of the 2nd division in the Crimea, and has no connection to the 95th Rifles. 

Two battalions of the original 95th's successor regiment, the Rifle Brigade, served in the Crimea, but not at the engagement described in the article."

He is, of course, absolutely right.  Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  This is a case where if I was thinking I would have realised that I was making a blunder, but I saw the regimental number and my brain temporarily went on holiday.  As it happens, I would argue for keeping the sharpshooter (4+ shooting) rating for the 95th on this occasion.  There are two reasons, the real reason and an after the fact rationalisation. The rationalisation is that the lads on the field only represent a small proportion of the regiment deployed as skirmishers and therefore is quite possible that they were the best shots. The real reason relates to game play; in the scenario two British players have to compete to hold off the Russian columns for as long as possible while vying with each other to earn a Victoria Cross.  The 95th are deployed far back on the board (because that was where they were stationed) and will therefore have little chance to fire in the early portion of the game.  This would handicap their player, so I rated them as marksmen so that when they did get to fire they would be more effective - which leveled the playing field a bit and made it more of a contest. 

Thank you very much to Andrew for writing and pointing out my mistake.  It's rare to get specific feedback on anything, so I was very glad to get it. 

Prof. Spencer on lessons learned from the Boer War

I've been laid up recently and so spent rather more time listening to YouTube than I would usually.  Thanks to Rob Enfield of British Muzzleloaders, I came across the Western Front Association which has put a series of lectures on the Great War (including ones of the Eastern Front!) up on YouTube. There is some really fascinating stuff there, by genuine  historians working in the field,  and their channel is well worth a browse. 

A look at Marshall Petain's Great War service. 

By the way, if you enjoyed the lecture on the Boer War, the same author has an article on the differences between British and Boer marksmanship, which you can read here

Now, if you'll excuse me I had to go and see what blunder I should commit next. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A painter once again

Trooper Hobbes 

Babies, physiotherapy and all the other demands on my time have left little time for painting.  My eyes are functioning quite well these days, but the problem is stamina*.  Close work is quite taxing and I find myself saving that for writing work at present.  However, the yen to paint was on me quite fiercely a little while ago and I pulled this chap out of the box. A Rogue Trader era Squat Trooper, I think he is a Bob Olley sculpt. 

I decided that this should be Trooper Hobbes of the Imperial Army.  The name came to mind as he is nasty, brutish and short and the rest followed on from there. 

Ready to zap things for the Emperor 

Going back to painting after such a long time away was actually quite intimidating, but after some great help and encouragement from JB over at the Lead Plague blog, I got over the hump.  Another excellent example of the Freemasonry of the hobby. JB helped me pick colours which would work together, something I'm usually hopeless at.  Since so many of my figures are historicals, there is rarely much choice in how to approach them.  Total freedom tends to breed a sort of analysis paralysis. Many thanks JB. 

Stylishly turned out for the battlefield of the 41st Millenium

Trooper Hobbes is a recent addition to the Imperial Army, which he enjoys for the regular meals and the possibilities for violence.  I do not think that the officer that tries to tell him that his natty white gloves and boots are "not regulation" will have a good time of it. 

This way towards enemy

I'm very pleased with how he turned out.  It was an evenings work and cost me a blinding headache, but I was determined to finish him.  With a bit of luck, he may get some pals in the near future. 

*Ahem...that's what she said. *hilarity ensues, calls for order, much merriment, etc* 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Well done chaps. Do keep it up.