High Water Mark?

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To the bravery of BOTH sides…

Toy soldiers in fact represent those brave men that payed the ultimate price in so many wars… Lee’s?. Longstreet’s? Pickett’s? who really cares?… I do not believe in such things as THE HIGH WATER MARK or else… PBI YES!… Anecdotally Custer made his name today… Ride on you wolverines! etc.

By July 1863 the Union Army matched the Confederates in every aspect… and had more numbers, better Artillery, Navy, Supplies and whatever… it was only a matter of time (heroic if you please)… but there was nothing the South could do til the bitter end…

So for once Troiani is a better option than any toy Soldier pic.

Well, I could not resist it after all…

ACW (in a club)

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I do not think they are 15mm but all is posible nowadays (seen in Facebook)

ACW in large scale (at least they look like 25/28mm to me) is better suited to big tables and multiplayer wargaming. I am all for it… but as you know I live on the back of beyond… so it is solo wargaming in 6mm for me!

Awesome ACW wargames table (or scenery)

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Vastly superior to anything I ever tried on that field… seen in Facebook… Congratulations!

I am first and foremost a collector of Toy Soldiers (of course that includes wargames minis)… terrain has never been my forte… rather schematic I am (you need all sorts…)… see Napoleon or Waterloo Posts in this same web page or Blog and you will see what I mean… not landscaping for me (I did that as a job also so in a way it is probably easy to understand why I did not wanted to get too much involved in this side of the hobby… and of course also a matter of priorities I always chose to buy more “toy soldiers”… MY priorities…

Cheers.

Anniversary

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FaceBook source…

Quite by chance yesterday I finished reading the Bruce Catton’s book on the ACW on the anniversary of Lee’s surrender -and the subsequent end of the ACW war to all purposes- I could quote from this concise (and to the point) resume the courage and bravery of the soldiers on both sides but as it is a well known fact there is not need. It is probably the best single book about the ACW I have ever read (do not search in it “Ride on you Wolverines” details…) it clearly puts on writing that it was a NO WIN NO WIN situation for the South from beginning to end… but it showed spirit and incredible feats (both faces: brilliancy and incompetence)… I have read Shelby Foote Trilogy and even him acknowledge the fact that the Union would have prevailed in the end no matter what. It is a recommended read that would leave you wanting for more… Enjoy

My paperback edition.

Incidentally yesterday was also the Shiloh anniversary.

NEW Projects and “moves” 2021 (they were “new” back then)

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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. 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… a part from Pony Wars!). 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.

Early 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.
Zinderneuf view from the oasis.
Leven Fort, French Foreign Legion minis are Baccus proxies from the FPW range… all the work of Daniel Hodgson at REVEILLE…
Another view…

It was a promise (damn COVID for the long wait!) Actualized on the 10th of July 2021. I know it has been more than a year but there you have it!

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).

*At 70 years old and three shots of vaccine later have eluded COVID so far (12 April 2022)

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.

Currently reading a lot of books, specially mid XIXth century, Magenta and Solferino (Risorgimento), the wars of German Unification, the Austro-Prussian War etc. (No intention whatsoever to wargame those but still interesting reads). On the side and for a change I have read a bit of sci-fi … Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion… but also La Chartreuse de Parme (in French) I did read a translation when very young but somehow “different” in the original language…

Actualized post the 7th August 2021.

Cheers.

After 2016… (I)

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Full Union Army Baccus (and a bit of Rapier) 6mm is what I have mainly done using three Painting Services and only adding details myself (as some bits and flags ). 2020 pic.

By 2016 I had sold my 25/28mm collection -a hard but sound decision- , as a result of a deep crisis with that scale, I still like them mind, in fact I liked them so much that I already considered them Military Modeling stuff of the first order. The standards of painting had improved in a way that you can extend this to 15mm and lower, but let’s leave it at that. They are too expensive and beautiful to be handed and grappled (to do not say dropped) by uncaring hands. For me, by now they are minis to be displayed in cabinets. They seem to do some lot of skirmishing nowadays. The point is clear.

Since then I have built a small collection of 6mm, it is small because of the scale but also because I concentrated on some periods and I did not ” let myself go” as I did in my youth/middle age adopting now a more prudent way of amassing minis. They are mainly Baccus because of the sheer quality of the minis and because they suit my taste, but another reason is that the range -catalogue- is quite extensive (which permits proxies) and growing which is a bonus (and a temptation). But not exclusively, I have some Rapier ACW too. Curiously for such small things they do not seem to mix very well, but this is just a matter of taste, do your own thing, it’s ok. It is always a matter of taste and in my case of “numbers”, I own now more ACW minis that I ever got in 25mm -and have BOTH Armies when in our youth my brother build the Confederates and yours truly the Union- My 25mm ACW troops went to the collection of my brother and where reunited with the opposition once and for all. Even in 6mm there are differences of measure so check compatibility before buying. Adler seems to steal the show with Napoleonics (some say the are big-headed minis… but for what I have seen in FB they look superb), got problems ordering from them BTW, I placed a small order of ACW minis and after quite a long wait (for me) it got returned to them… was not refunded and that was the end of the story, I must say -philosophically- that”shit happens”, but emails from them are not in the same level of friendliness as Baccus one’s.

ACW is my more orthodox approach to wargaming.

Me going to 6mm was a slow process: I already had the Crimean Light Cavalry Brigade of Tennyson fame (Baccus Napoleonic proxies). But after a stop or pause of several years I steadily built other periods. First of all I ordered from a painting service -more about that in an specific post- Roman Republic and Carthaginian Units to use in a board-game grid of a very old game (Metauro) whose 54mm plastic original figures had disappeared from the Earth after several generations of my family playing with them. I was pleased by the look of them Baccus -Up to that moment I had doubts about the quality/presence of Infantry minis in 6mm scale!-

All right then, I went Colonial British Khaki, I specify so because I am not doing some of the periods I used to enjoy in 25mm and on the contrary going for some who were neglected for lack of time or cash or space. It is important to say for your info that I do not build the Opposition anymore, gone are the days of painting hundreds of Zulus, Dervishes, Fuzzy-Wuzy, Pathans, Afridis, Ghazis, Plains Indians and what not; I never preach or try to impose my ideas and do not believe in proselytism so as a mainly solo wargamer it is my decision and that’s that. Talking about “cash” I did self-imposed a condition to my wanderings, or several as it is: 54mm toy soldier collecting will not exceed the volume of the cabinets that exist (and not going to build more “cabinets”) meaning if I want to buy something… other parts must go to make place. And the funds raised by selling my 25/28mm stuff and a large part of my Playmobil Collection will pay for the 6mm venture (not that in the end I do not indulge in investing more in a monthly pocket money basis), but I seem to keep financial matters under control… more or less.

Von Bredow’s Death Ride in Baccus 6mm (the Dragoons are out of the pic because some sources say they were detached from the final Charge). They appear in another pic in this Blog.

So, Colonial Brits with Bengal Lancers and Indian Regiments, Custer’s 7th (only Custer battalion), The French in North Africa aka XIX Corps late XIXth Century were added to the Crimean Cavalry, also a one off Von Bredow’s Cavalry Brigade from the Franco-Prussian War (the famous Death Ride) and last but not least the ACW with both sides present, meaning Billy Yank and Johnnie Reb. The ACW was my first love and a period played extensively with my usual wargames companion, my little brother (ten years younger than me and steadily going to sixty!). I think it was the Prussian General Von Moltke who said he was not interested -in the ACW not the age of my brother- because it was an affair of “two mobs chasing themselves in the woods”, I respectfully disagree. I will detail why I love it in subsequent posts.

American Civil War (I)

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Baccus 6mm Rebels deployed. Painted by Turbil Miniatures.

ACW was my first love, it still is, and thats that. The main reason of wargaming again the ACW (must be my sixth try), this time in 6mm, is because it is well balanced and a “compact period” 1861-1865.It all started with John Ford and the movie “THE HORSE SOLDIERS” which I saw so many times when a child that it left an everlasting impression, and I did not dig all the nuances until I was older, for me it is a masterpiece of condensation, nearly everything on the ACW is there. If you add to that my old 54mm soldiers, AIRFIX 20mm period, MINIFIGS, FOUNDRY. DIXON, TO THE REDOUBT, PLAYMOBILS and finally BACCUS… Well… Recurrent is the word you are looking for…

Of course it was not only the movies… I enjoyed reading SHELBY FOOTE three Volumes, a real tour de force! So packed with information that I had to read slowly to digest it -meaning I read a lot of other books at the same time- even about the ACW too!

Of course refighting historical battles as they do in LITTLE WARS TV is Ok, but I always enjoyed “doing my own”… it is very hard to simulate in the Tabletop the disinformation of the real Generals (The overestimation of The Southern Armies numbers by the Union Generals -aka little Mac- is a well know fact!). Still even so Bull Run (1st Manassas) is a favorite up to a point… But to be honest I mainly I build a scenario with a bit of fog of war, try to enlist some generals from my brother downwards and that’s it. Fictional battles are for me so much more fun after-all, in real war you can not pitch Stonewall Jackson against U.S.Grant for example… in real life they never fought each other.

But, apart from other lines of entertainment with Baccus figures, at the moment it is the ACW who wins all bets. I have the Armies, the scenery and the will, but must write some easy to understand home rules for my grandchildren, always have loved simple rules but with a twist some place.

Confederates deployed for action.

So, to sum up my progression: I started wargaming when a kid in a rudimentary form on the floor with 54mm “rubber” soldiers (1). I then -in my early twenties-discovered the plastic AIRFIX whole range in 20mm -in fact 4 different boxes; Union Infantry (blue), Confederate Infantry (grey); Artillery (medium brown) to be used for both sides; and finally US Cavalry (Blue) that you had to paint for the Rebs- and went for them boxes like the quest of the Grail! (2).

In due time I discovered MINIFIGS 25mm, then based at Southampton, so I graduated to “metal” and their Catalogue (which I still have) was my companion for years! (3). I still recall the sorrow when a Zouaves unit got “lead rot” and become unusable… of course I dutifully bought them again and painted them even better… those were my painting years. Afflicted by a bout of Napoleonic megalomania I swapped my 25mm Union Army for my brother’s Napoleonics (same trade mark) to do not have to transport them up and down because we lived 200 Km away from each other. It was a satisfactory solution, and I went to complete all Napoleonics nations as a result.

Then FOUNDRY started an ACW range and I could not resist buying ACW UNION Cavalry under “THE HORSE SOLDIERS” influence, by then I was mixing riders and horses (Dixon) and making conversions -nearly military modeling- one thing lead to another and I got some Artillery… and then why not? some Infantry -you need some at Brandy Station I reasoned- of course I bought the Confederates too… That was my fourth effort! (4). Finally, crisis struck again and my faith in 25/28mm was shattered… regretfully I sold them all. Some of them -those Union painted by me- became property of my brother who had the Rebs and no crisis of confidence with that scale. We even exchanged some Napoleonic’s for them… I kept the 25mm Napoleonic’s longer than the rest… but they were sold too in the end!

With the funds obtained I started building Playmobil Armies for my (then) first two grandsons… once organized I thought it was a way to confront brother against brother in a too realistic way and scratched out the project… Sold them all again. (5) And went “tricorne era” fictional Playmobil Armies much more clean in spirit, and much more toy soldier like, a la Charles Grant Jr.

And where was I?… Reading Practical Wargamer… and there I found Baccus ACW Cavalry on the cover of one number!… nothing less than East Cavalry Field (again)… months of musing about it… I bought POLEMOS ACW rules from Baccus… and fell in l love with the color pics (eye candy) -Rules as it is I prefer my own as always- And then to make a long story short I went Baccus ACW 6mm for both sides (6).

Do not pity me!… I had tons of FUN in the whole process that lasted years and years… and I am certified as SANE.

So there you have it, I have build six times the period and have read a long list of books about it, by the way Paddy Griffith is very good at it!. There are two very good books to own by him: BATTLE IN THE CIVIL WAR Generalship and Tactics in America 1861-1865 with stunning artwork. And then BATTLE TACTICS OF THE CIVIL WAR. As per uniforms information the best to my knowledge apart from the Osprey’s, old Blanford, and Troiani’s and Kuntsler’s and Rocco’s paintings the best single volume is: La GUERRE de SECESSION Les armées de l’Union et de la Confederation- by HEIMDAL in France.

Very good textbook.
Excellent Illustrations. A must have book.

Now, as I have in my modest collection enough troops to have fun -megalomania is a pest to avoid- and all the references of the Baccus Catalogue! I am satisfied. I must confess the range is splendid and one of the best in Peter’s production.

I use the ACW limbers and caissons also in colonial affairs mind, and also the horses for dismounted Cavalry. I even have some Rapier Union Infantry to add a bit of variety to the collection and also Rapier Cavalry on both sides. I even mixed minis from other periods getting French with kepi from the Franco-Prussian Baccus range too… anything to add variety. Im my opinion one of the best Baccus packs is ACW7 because it has hat and kepi figures and some with rolled blankets across the chest -always a favorite of mine- so, if I started anew building Baccus ACW Armies I would surely get all the packs but ACW7 would have the lion’s share of the purchase (the only drawback is ACW7 has only one standard-bearer!).

If you are new to the period I can recommend:

ACW Filmography: GONE WITH THE WIND, THE HORSE SOLDIERS, GODS AND GENERALS, GETTYSBURG, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON, GLORY, MAJOR DUNDEE, SHENANDOAH, THE FIELD OF LOST SHOES, CLASS OF 61, RIDE WITH THE DEVIL and THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY… to name about a dozen… real fans should also see THE BIRTH OF A NATION and THE GENERAL (Buster Keaton) both silent movies.

ACW Bibliography: THE CIVIL WAR (Shelby Foote), THE CIVIL WAR (Bruce CATTON’S trilogy), CLASHES OF CAVALRY (Thom Hatch), BATTLE TACTICS OF THE CIVIL WAR (Paddy Griffith), BATTLE IN THE CIVIL WAR: GENERALSHIP AND TACTICS IN AMERICA 1861-65 (Paddy Griffith), DON TROIANI’S CIVIL WAR, BATTLEFIELD ATLAS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (Symonds), All Ospreys on the subject MAA and Campaign, “THE” Blandford book about Uniforms: UNIFORMS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR 1861-65 -the first one I ever bought myself!- LA GUERRE DE SECESSION (HEIMDAL Jouineau-Mongin), THE QUEST FOR ANNIHILATION (Cristopher Perello), GETTYSBURG (Stephen W, Sears), GETTYSBURG: THE STORY OF THE BATTLE WITH MAPS (David Reisch and David M. Detweiler), THE CIVIL WAR: THE STORY OF THE WAR WITH MAPS (same), and of course hundreds more…

And as an afterthought on ACW Historical Fiction: THE KILLER ANGELS, SHILOH, THE HORSE SOLDIERS, CONFEDERATES, GONE WITH THE WIND, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, THE MARCH, STONEWALL’S GOLD, UNTO THIS HOUR, THE NORTHERN WOLF SERIES (5 books I guess) RUTLAND’S BLUES AND GREYS, CIVIL WAR STORIES (A.Bierce)… Frank Yerby, John Jakes, even the great Bernard Cornwell did 4 novels (probably not his best novels though) about it!