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It took me years to get those memories back on track… I fondly remembered that “special” mountie I had when a child… never seen one alike since then, it does not matter a lot to me that it was simply an undress dark blue patrol jacket… IT WAS MY BLUE MOUNTIE!… so I finally painted him myself! ANDREW STEVENS REPLICAMETALMODELSOLDIERS 54mm. Painted by myself.

“An adult who plays is a child who has survived.”

I decided to create a Blog – obviously and not originally named https://www.mytoysoldiersandme.com – because “My Toy Soldiers and Me” was the title of my book autoedited in amazon. It is a mean to communicate with the rest of the wargaming/collecting world -and a posteriori with my grandchildren- and specially with my small band of readers!

I have created today 28th October 2020 a Facebook Group evidently enough called mytoysoldiersandme.com for you to ask questions etc. This present blog does not permit it to avoid spam. Sorry about that. But it is the only way to communicate or solve doubts, anyway a month later nobody has written in it about this semiblog…

You must forgive me because this is NOT an orthodox Blog, in fact it does not function at all as one, it is more a collection of Posts. I do actualize those Posts when I have an idea or change my opinion about something, but not in the usual chronological way someone would expect. What is more I put them in order at my whim thinking how I would like to read them myself.

CATEGORIES

I even wrote a book about it once, by now, a bit out of date about my recent adventures, specially concerning 6mm ACW armies… so here is the way to explain what happened next -after 2016- quite a lot of things in fact!

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That is the cover and back cover of the second English edition. Still on sale through amazon, both on paperback and kindle. Finally this one sales regularly in the wargames fraternity and readers interested on the topic of Toy Soldiers.

This book was what it started all. Well, to be exact -as it says in the caption- in fact this is the English second edition.

Table of Contents (or Chapters):

.- Introduction

quote: …/… There are collectors who never play, wargamers who have not painted a figure in their lives, experts in military history who do not even think for a second about buying toy soldiers, and finally professional painters of figures who do it for others and do not wargame or collect themselves. …/…

Between those extreme limits we live and thrive and in the span of life sometimes indulge more in one aspect and then another.

.- I .- History as the First Step.

quote: …/… For those of us who go on to recreate conflicts on tabletops, however, whether those conflicts are ancient (history) or imaginary, or we simply enjoy collecting toy soldiers (whatever the scale), the ability to suspend reality and obviate the more disageeable aspects of our favourite periods is essential. …/…

.- II .- Basic Influences.

quote: …/… Who in their childhood did not read adventure books? Or at least got his hands in an epic comic, or saw a swashbuckling movie or a war film? And then, after the experience, went to the toy box, whatever the size of it, and recreated the story with little or no care about matching exactly uniforms, weapons or other details in general? …/…

“an adult who plays is a child who has survived”

.- III .- Wargames and the Question What If?

quote …/… Among those who have indulged in wargaming, the percentage of time actually spent gaming on a tabletop is very low compared with the total time dedicated to the hobby as a whole. We spend a lot of time thinking about it, reading books, organizing and building armies, searching manufacturers, comparing scale benefits, painting figures, basing them, pondering which terrain we are going to use, and so on. …/…

.- IV .- Wargames with figures. A brief Historical Introduction.

quote …/… This book is maybe an exercise in self-satisfaction. But if some of you profit from my experiences and avoid making the most obvious mistakes I commited in my lifelong journey, so much the better for you. And always keep in mind that even after more than sixty years in this hobby, I still do heavily blunder sometimes. …/…

.- V .- Miniature Scales and the Suppression of Reality.

quote: …/… After so many years of buying, converting, painting, mixing and selling parts of my collection, with all the alternatives in between (like sending figures to a professional painting service), my personal experience is inclined to those counsels given in function of your particular situation. Remember that only what YOU think counts in the end. …/…

.- VI .- Scaling Down. Proportions, and the concept of Multipurpose Unit.

quote: …/… Believe me, specially at the beginning, and if you build your army slowly, the big temptation is to paint a favourite elite unit – maybe the Chasseurs a Cheval de la Garde Imperiale 1805-1815. We have all done it. Would it influence you if I said that the more time you spend in the hobby, the better your painting efforts will get, and that the order in which you paint the units is important? Why? Simply that you run the risk that the last unit you paint – e.g., an obscure militia unit you needed to paint because it was present in the field and you want to be proportional – will look better when painted than the first elite or fetish unit you painted a long time ago. …/…

.- VII.- Playing with other people or solo: Wargames and the Tabletop

quote: …/… Sometimes, I guess, the discharge of adrenaline that occurs during civilized tabletop games diminishes or helps control the aggressiveness of real life, or at least I like to think so. But I also think that the best wargames are those played in your head in anticipation of the actual game. I don’t know why, but things always seem to depart from the initial plan after the first move. …/…

.- VIII.- The Battle: Historical ORBAT, Army Points and variations.

quote: …/… One of the recurrent fears of the dedicated wargamer is being anachronistic, fielding on the tabletop units that were nonexistent at the time or simply not present at the battle. Everybody knows that there were no Polish lancers of the Imperial Guard at Austerlitz, and what is more, they did not have lances at their disposal for a long time. Nor did they have lances at their famous uphill charge at Somosierra in Spain in 1808. See what I mean? …/…

.- IX.- Figures, Terrain and Accessoires.

quote: …/… Before you fall in love with a particular size of wargame figure, keep in mind that if you are going to indulge in different periods, as we all do, then you will also need to choose carefully all the buildings, rivers, roads, barricades, trees, bridges, pontoons, mule trains, wagons, horses (to dismount cavalry), and many other things if you are to use them in multiple periods. If you do have armies in different scales or sizes, you will need to double up the scenery. So in a way, sticking to a wargame scale is also a money-saving process. …/…

.- X.- Hexagons, Grids or a Metric Ruler?

quote: …/… As with everything else in the hobby, it is a matter of gusto, personal experience, or even a function of the period played or the rules used. Try them all, and in the end you will stick to the one you like the most. But keep an open mind. Sometimes you find the best games where you least expect them. …/…

.- XI.- Rule sets and gamesmanship. Where’s the fun?

quote: …/… I must clarify that in many years of wargaming, I have collected many sets of rules, mainly but not exclusively dealing with my periods of interest, always searching tips that work here and there – Napoleonic, American Civil War – nearly anything concerning the nineteenth century and also Ancients intermittently. …/…

.- XII.- Collecting.

quote: …/… You will also learn that a collection is seldom a “quite thing”. You will have the tendency to exchange, sell, and buy items to consolidate the part you love the most, even if that entails discarding items no longer part of your main interest. With time, you will concentrate on some parts, expanding them or specializing in a theme, or you will change your objective, and that will affect the composition and structure of your collection. …/…

.- XIII.- Painting the figures, or the Painting Service Alternative.

quote: …/… As with everything else, there are various options when it comes to painting figures. There are the wargamers who paint the figures themselves, and some of them are very good at it. Others prefer to use professional painting services. A third possibility is those who simply buy the already-painted and based packs of figures available in the market, be those first or secondhand. …/…

.- XIV.- The Conversions.

quote: …/… I am not going to be a bore and harp on this particular subject, but here is the place to mention the astute mnaufacturers who have developped ranges that permit easier conversions, casting upper torsos, legs, and heads so that you can design your own figures. These include Dorset Soldiers (and REPLICA model soldiers) in 54mm and Redoubt in 25/28 mm. …/…

.- XV.- Museums and Public and Private Collections.

quote: …/… Those changes of location and “on” and “off” dates of visit are frustrating, so it’s always better to confirm beforehand. After all, a trip is expensive enough itself without indulging in deviations from the planned route to see nothing …/…

.- XVI.- Megalomania has its necessary limits.

quote: …/… Finally, let’s mention what I consider the most common sickness of the wargamer – the “if I only had another battalion” syndrome-. It is at the root of the very large armies built by wargamers, who are always thinking about a second or third chance in the game. …/…

.- XVII.- Summing up: To avoid mistakes.

quote: …/… It sound logical enough, but you will be amazed to discover how we all make sorry mistakes, especially at the beginning. Temptations are great, and you won’t be the first to do things in great disorder or without perspective. …/…

.- XVIII.- Playmobil.

quote: …/… Then suddenly I started to look at Playmobil figures in detail. With time and subsequent evolution, those crude toys from 1974 were slowly becoming less and less childish in design. I have to confess that …/… having in mind that I am a curious person by nature, I detected wargaming potential for adults. …/…

.- XIX.- Conclusion.

quote: …/… Enjoy whatever you do, and be your own guide Learn from others with more experience, copy whatever you like, adapt to your taste, convert to your needs, transform and work your own ideas to the last, but overall have fun with it, because any hobby is about having fun from beginning to end …/….

.- Update to the Second English Edition (Outro).

quote: …/… As it is, and especially from a certain age onwards, the “it is done” syndrome is present. At least this is what I thought around the month of August in 2008; at last I have finished my collections and pet projects, and I have written a guide about it. It’s a kind of self-help book for beginners, or “toy soldiers for dummies”, as those books are generally titled nowadays. I thought it was a fitting end, but as usual, time has proved it was not the end at all …/…

Reason of this Blog actually!

.- Acknowledgements and Final Note.

quote: …/… I think that the last words of the text need to clarify that entertainment with imaginary wargames on a tabletop is one thing, but real wars are a quite different thing. I have always admired the common foot soldier of any country, tribe, or nationality, – those who in history textbooks have been callously called “cannon fodder”- and I do include in this concept absolutely all of them. And I absolutely agree with the Duke of Wellington’s words after Waterloo: “Next to a battle lost, the saddest thing is a battle won”. This is why I love toy soldiers: they never die.

(Each Chapter has 4 or 5 colour pics at least).


The “white book” was the second English edition three years after the “black book” fiasco. By now I am quite proud of it, it is quite self-contained and exhaustive about the Hobby. But from my perspective it is becoming slowly obsolete with no mention of the current trends and times… it does not mention LITTLE WARS TV for example (podcasts!), neither my current passion for the ACW in Baccus 6mm with Baccus and Leven scenery (renewed interest for a period). And some other collateral interests like the NWF, North of Africa Colonial French, LBH, Second Punic War -“counters” for a board game- Death Ride in the FPW etc. But this Blog hopefully makes up for it. In fact it complements the second edition in English nicely enough as an update.

As it is, I first wrote the book in Spanish because I was born in Spain and that was my first language.

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Cover and Back cover of the Spanish second edition.

In fact I thought this “blog” would be useful because I can edit, add, reorder or delete!- and post the link to the blog in FB or twitter. I am having a lot of fun… started in December 2019 the blog has had 30.000 visitors and 144.500 visits… (counting robots&would be hackers! in them visits, and from 136 different countries… ) not bad as a whole for such a minority interest!

I once (quite recently) started a more orthodox Blog in one of the Posts but I did not liked much the result… I was giving away too much personal thoughts and snipets of me you do not need to know at all… after all I am quite an introvert person and would not like to publish a Diary at all…

Cheers.

NEW Projects and “moves” 2021

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At last 2020 is gone!… what messy times… a terrible year.

Summing up:

a.- I have finished my project in 6mm ACW Baccus (and some Rapier)… now I can refight any Battle at Brigade level. Must adapt some 6mm rules for my SOLO games and that’s it. Well, the last parcel from REVEILLE is here. And some Infantry Brigades and Skirmishers + Officers of Artillery for all Batteries!, and also Divisional Commanders for both sides. This is an ended project . My heterodox approach includes officers for Artillery Batteries and caissons for each gun&limber. Have also many “special” stands for skirmishing and cavalry different formations.

b.- Andrew at REPLICA METAL MODEL SOLDIERS 54mm has sent (and it has arrived) the second order of 2020 to finish my second afghan/british war collection… That would put an end to my 54mm collection of classic toy soldiers (in fact have ordered 4 more extra figures to give the last touch to it!). Andrew is a very nice chap but it is a unipersonal business and sometimes delays happen matter of fact… messy times again due to Covid. Finally got it without problems… nothing broken in transit… minor paint chipping I repaired quick enough!. And asked for an unpainted mounted general with wolseley helmet going to be painted by Greg at Mersey Wargames Painting services!… And THAT is all. For the moment… one never really knows. Some of the pics in Andrew’s web page keep nagging my brain!

c.- This part is kept here as an explanation of how to do “Special Stands”, they are already in my cabinets… Once upon a time I thought I have finished the Baccus 6mm ACW Armies… including “special stands”… No way… it was a only a matter of time for me to have “the itch” again. I am not surprised… it has been always like this. So I am going to explain it in this post and let you see how things evolved. In fact I am NOT through the ACW… I fear I am addicted to those Brigade bases 60×30 mm specially for the ACW… because they look like my old units of 25mm Minifigs.

I guess I am going to concentrate in the ACW period and leave it at that (meaning no other periods are going to be built). Better do one properly than disperse my actions with new periods. Have already sidetracked enough as it is… so at this moment ACW is paramount in my thoughts… A deep analysis of Altar of Freedom ORBATS manifests the sorely need to get 13 new Union Infantry Brigades and 9 Confederate new Infantry Brigades… that way I can play even Gettysburg (again)… The clear point is that what matters is the base and not what’s on it, so I am going to design new ways of glueing the minis on them and the way I placed them. By now they are all here at home and collecting ACW is finished (until Peter thinks of something else).

Examples: 1) Gaps in the lines; 2) Three Regiments per Brigade stands 6 in two ranks/one man gap/ 8 in two ranks with the flags/ one man gap/ 6 in two ranks… only minor changes in colour schemes; 3) Rear rank with less minis (attrition and filling the first line); 4) More space in the flanks of a brigade, have enough brigades with two lines of 12 minis… will go for some brigades with two ranks of ten; 5) A mix of all the afore mentioned. I love variety on the look of them. Will probably get them by the end of October 2020.

Updated 4th November 2020: Got the parcel from Greg at Mersey Wargames and have added the flags and actually doing minor painting modifications with POSKA markers (really slight retouching).

1.- New Project priority: Be able to solo play wherever I am… confined or not… that means reorganizing my wargaming life if science and medicine gives me a second lease of life… sounds a lot like a “saving throw”. 14 months of confinement gives you time to think a lot.

2.- I am using smaller bases for projects like the French Foreign Legion and guess some characters deserve to be in single stands. Nearly Role Playing you will think… in 6 mm?… well, why not? … Got them and are very playable for small games.

3.- No access to my 6mm figures makes the wait frustrating in this field. Those pics below seem very old to me.

Finally got my camera/tripod after a trip to my office, the Military Modelling post was done thanks to that. As Zinderneuf in 54mm.

Final stages… Fort Zinderneuf five times smaller that the one I used to have in 28mm.

FFL rallying square. Final stages… have to add flag etc. Baccus 6mm proxies from the Franco-Prussian War range.

Today 27th of February the Reveille parcel arrived!… Very good Zinderneuf Fort and legionnaires based in twos and singly (smaller bases by Pendraken), also trees stands, bocage or impassable terrain in 60x60mm bases and a Mill Building for the ACW!… as usual Daniel Hodgson does the best scenery around, but still very good painting minis too mind! have to do proper pics… in due time… access to my 6mm collection still restricted.

4.- Long, long, long ago I decided that I have not love lost for Dervishes, Fuzzy Wuzzies, Afghans, Zulus, Redskins etc. specially NOT in 54mm (But neither on 6mm). I still have temptations in 6mm… but so far I have avoided the minis… puffs of smoke here and there and dice throws will suffice… To each his own manias… I love MY Armies but do not have empathy with the enemy at all… wish there was a Wargames Club nearby sometimes … The only exception to the rule is the ACW (built both sides and love them all).

5.- Have a couple of pics from Replicamodelsoldiers Andrew… he has nearly finished my order for last December (2019) by now… January 2021…

In those four pics you can see part of the Infantry, the lancers, and the rearranged/reshuffled cabinet to liberate a shelve for them. By now the RCMP is gone to the other cabinet and two shelves are liberated, in fact after putting the Royal West Kent’s in “close order” I managed three shelves instead of two!

The Military Modelling figures are there only for protection and would be out as soon as new 54mm Replica Metal Soldiers by Andrew arrive.
RCMP moved on and are happy to be in the Household Division Cabinet.
Some of the last received REBEL ACW Brigades…
The last ACW Brigades batch from Mersey Painting service before adding flags…

So in a nutshell those are “the moves” actually happening, in the meantime reading a lot of books as usual, Little Big Horn, ACW, Western “classics” , a BD (read Comic Strip with French text) on the Maximillian Mexican War (splendid drawings by Meynet) and a wonderful English edition of War&Peace by Tolstoi (actually ended it and no wargaming use for it at all I am afraid… lol ) Actually in page 700 he mentions Blue coated French Dragoons to my everlasting surprise and disgust, at least the editor could have provided a footnote on the page explaining that French Dragoons were Green coated… (redundant and farfetched comment just for those who still think that is a new set of Napoleonic rules). Just bought the book ROSEBUD by Paul L. Hedren on amazon.co.uk because it seems interesting to wargame… in fact it is a very good read and I can recommend it!… also have finished volume 4 of Daniel Greene’s Northern Wolf… and rereading “Sharpe’s Eagle” (Bernard Cornwell of course) and Beau Geste/Beau Sabreur/Beau Ideal by P.C.Wren yet again, reread the whole Caspasian adventures due to the new one on kindle, and then went on to read BLACK HAND and the first Harry Brown book (fan of Anthony Conway/Nigel Price)… and indulging in some yet read again of Zane Grey.

And here we are… waiting for a vaccin to be developed or a cure (read drugs anti “the thing” that works)… any of them will do I guess. Not finding funny the comments on the news that only kills over seventy (been 69 puts you too near of the front line I guess).

Today I Added a Post… Playmo-pics.

Currently finished reading The Moon Tree by Anthony Conway/Nigel Price… great outpout BTW. (Rosamunde Pilcher with three shots of testosterone). Very quickly I read The Queen’s Gambit (well written) book always better than TV.

ALL the books mentioned above have been read cover to cover… today’s reading Sears ANTIETAM book…(finished) nearly as good as his GETTYSBURG… next CHANCELLORSVILLE (finished too). Going to read Junger’s Steel Storm for a change (really an horrid thing WWI!) finished it and then read All Quiet in the Western Front… (NO WAY I am going to wargame WWI !!!) currently reading TO THE GATES OF RICHMOND (Sears)… and have read again Rutland’s Curse (Roger Carpenter) (Second Anglo/Afghan War), a funny thing is that I finally read the novel Little Big Man (much better than the histrionic movie!) and curiously enough I loved the Little Big Horn chapters (to my surprise because I was prejudiced against by the film) I can recommend the book!.

Actualized post the 20th May 2021.

Cheers.

Military Modelling

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Crimean Highlanders 120mm aprox scale.

In my time I did indulge in Military Modeling, but not that much really, as I wrote in my book I have tried all the approaches to the hobby. Those chaps in Matt finish look very nice indeed but once you have finished them they are eminently “decorative” meaning by that there is no way to play “games” with them. Some I painted myself, some I bought already painted and based in a shop.

This is the biggest soldier I own and it is a china/porcelain item, quite big in fact, say 250mm. Quite a Chasseur a Cheval of the Imperial Guard from Napoleon. A very fragile thing,

I will show next a mounted officer from the Spanish Army in the same scale as the Highlanders.

1910 is a bit a late period for me but as long it is pre WWI it is OK.

And finally a Greek Warrior, Prince Valiant and Richard Sharpe all in 54mm.

I think they are from the Andrea Miniatures Range but not sure at all. 54mm. ( a greek hoplite, Prince Valiant and Richard Sharpe).

I stopped collecting them because they are quite fragile and when cleaning the bookshelves they are exposed to heavy damage, not if I clean myself mind, but sometimes the “hired help” are not careful enough. Did do some repairs on them several times.

Last but not least… Capitán Alatriste ( Vigo Mortensen), John Wayne (Fort Apache) and Gary Cooper (Beau Geste)…54mm.

I also have a Custer Last Stand model but I deleted the post Little Big Horn.