NAPOLEON versus Ridley-Scott; 25MM MINIFIGS; and a thirty years passion.

Visits: 227

Napoleon and Staff.

As it is, with the current NAPOLEON movie creating a bit (or a lot) of disturbance in the pacific waters of History I have decided to refresh this Post from long time ago.

I went to see the movie in a theater, in fact I was invited by my eldest son&family… so I could not decline (I planned to go for the Blu-Ray extended version or director’s cut if it ever is commercialized…). You see… I am a fan of Ridley-Scott movies… since I saw THE DUELISTS!… Blade Runner… Gladiator…Black Hawk Down… are very good too. BUT: one thing is “MOVIES” and the other History (different from actual facts sometimes too often)… I think it is a mistake to judge NAPOLEON by its History standards (which are very much distorted or incomplete)… I am grateful for an epic movie even if it is a bit too dark for my aesthetic taste… Kubrick was not able to do it (to his credit)… and I think it is fairly impossible to resume Napoleon Bonaparte in a 2 or 3 hours film… the period is too long to condense… and if you loose precious footage decapitating Marie-Antoinette etc even worse…

From an strictly cinematic experience it was boring, full of cliches, too many flags and a lovely lass!… would not go to a theater to see it again. It is a pity in a way because it could have been so much better. Would I still buy the Director’s Cur?… of course matter of fact!… KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is much better in that format too!. Joaquim Phoenix can not represent a young Napoleon and a sick Napoleon 25 years later as hard as he tries… not a bad actor… a bad script!… as for the battle sequences any Napoleonic Wargamer will tell you ad nauseam all the mistakes… me included! (but we are a minority… a learned minority perhaps in the napoleonic period… but I confess I am not an expert neither in the Romans (well a bit) or The Crusades (only have read an interesting book about it!). It is the same with the Little Big Horn or Greasy Grass … I own (and have read more than a hundred books about it… I just hope Ridley-Scott does not a film about it!).

My recommendation?… go to see it and judge for yourself!… if not a moderate expert yo will probably enjoy.

More than 200 years… and still present in our collective memory for what it was… a genius (with faults and virtues) and I personally think quite ahead of its time. Nobody seriously studies Napoleon without noticing that it was not exclusively Napoleon fighting offensive wars (mainly) but defending France against old monarchies coalitions because of the ideas (seen as dangerous) of the French Revolution (which has also controversy attached). Of course having a military background (after all he was an Artillery Officer) and following the European tradition that Clausewitz will formulate a posteriori he went to war frequently enough (understatement) as it was the custom in Europe, nowadays he is still remembered for his Civil Code (nearly 200 years of life) and abolishing feudal privileges. He also reinstated slavery in the Caribbean Sea (to his shame). He was not perfect but had a great brain and “je ne sais quoi”.

This post has really a lot of pics!

Napoleonic wargaming was my passion for almost thirty years, in 25mm because I was stupid enough to do not choose 15mm in the first place (minis in the late seventies had no such vast offer and traders… even if MINIFIGS did 15mm too!) so MINIFIGS 25mm (after all I was coming down from plastic 54mm and up from AIRFIX 20MM) I went for… and no regrets, was quite happy with my collection who also extended to other periods and wars (I though it would be very difficult to paint such small figures in 15mm because of the lavish uniforms of the napoleonic wars!).

Was interested for many years (obsessed is a better description) with the battle of Waterloo, could the Emperor have won? In context and after years of reading about it, I arrived at the conclusion that it was a NO WIN – NO WIN situation, it would have been 1813 all over again… with Austrians and Russians and what not invading France which was exhausted… and that’s that.

Have some pics of my years indulging in that particular wargamers fetish. And remember the fact that I painted myself all the Waterloo minis!… LOL

Battling with my little brother… many years from now… yours truly on the left.
Waterloo set on my “wargames room” in fact part of my office!… weekend well employed.
Prussians arriving on the French right flank… 1815. The dark green area was a removable extension of the biggest table at my office.
French Grand battery close up.
Waterloo 1815 (Solo wargame).
Another view.
Waterloo lateral view.
Waterloo view from the French side.
The British Heavy Cavalry charge. Waterloo 1815.
British “heavy” (in fact medium) Cavalry close up.
Waterloo Allied Cavalry close up.
Wellington under his tree…
British and Hanoverian Infantry 1815.
French Heavy Cavalry of the Imperial Guard + Cuirassiers on their left.
French Light Cavalry of the Imperial Guard.
French Grand battery (background out of focus)
The fictional South Essex of Cornwell’s Sharpe (see right of pic).
Ditto.
Denmark Infantry. With a change of Command stand they become Swiss…
The Prussians arrival!
Austrian Grenadiers, Swedish Infantry and Russian Grenadiers.
Portuguese Line and Light Infantry (Ca├žadores).
The 9th Leger “L’Incomparable”
Napoleonic units: early Spanish 1808 , Duchy of Warsaw and Wurtemberg Infantry.
French Artillery.
Different Napoleonic units: Kingdom of Naples, Saxons and Bavarians.
Aspern-Essling 1809

After a deep crisis with 25mm wargaming I sold them all. After some years toying with Playmobil (75mm) conversions and quite classical 54mm toy soldier collecting I went back to wargaming but in 6mm this time! (see the other Posts). Cheers

The Charge of the Heavy Brigade (Crimea 1854) 6MM Baccus Proxies.

Visits: 107

I have been very lazy and tardly to show those 6MM Baccus proxies… they have been in the cabinet for months (or weeks)… and they deserved a Post. Probably the less mentioned action of Balaklava!

My collection of 6MM is slowly growing (under control I like to think… lol).

This action has always been a favourite of mine.

The Russians are in fact german cavalry from the Franco-Prussian war… used just to give a sense of perspective!

Enjoy!

View from the British side
General Scarlett in front of the Scots Greys
Inniskillings
Frontal view from the Russian positions…

Dave Mitchel’s Diorama (ISANDLWANA).

Visits: 45

It has been a while since I first saw this pics from an awesome diorama.

I have been delaying getting into it and making a Post because in a way it is so much Military Modeling and sculpting that the term Toy Soldier did not seem to apply to it.

After much reflection I decided to make a Post… it deserves it in spades.

There are no comments on the five pics… they are self explanatory I guess.

Enjoy!

They are in the Post…

Visits: 52

November 2022… after a long reflection and no REPLICA in the works (yet)… I decided to contact Mr. Antony Spencer from Dorset Soldiers (Imperial Miniatures nowadays) about the possibility of completing some units as to have them organized in “dozens” – aka 12 minis each-).

No problem with “new” sets… you just order 12 minis units and the trick is done…

But it was different with the sets done by REPLICA a couple of years back… it was a task of finding the right hues of paint and the models themselves… mind, they are still in the Post… but have some pics to show you… so here they are!

Enjoy!

4 Toy Soldiers to complete the Guides set.
4 Toy Soldiers to complete the Gurkhas set.
Alternative set of Ensigns (GUARDS).
An NCO and Dr. Watson (Conan-Doyle’s character) at Maiwand.
A few good men for the kneeling set.
Variations on a theme…
Ditto…
Maybe redundant but I will find a use for him… that ends my Kakhi Collection for good…

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG 1862 in 6MM (X)

Visits: 36

Yesterday was the climax of the battle… Mansfield stabilized the right flank (Union)… Sumner was involved in a great firefight against the Confederates in the sunken road… Burnside did cross the bridge and went to the other side…

I expect to continue for a few more moves and see if DH HIll Division comes from Harper’s Ferry on time as in the real battle. I tend to allow that possibilitiy a high average of success because it did happen.

For those interested in the real thing instead of my ramblings read A LANDSCAPE TURNED RED by Sears… or even the Osprey would do.

For me it was like seeing a movie and understanding a lot of things… I would probably bore you till the end of it…

Enjoy (if you do).

Climax!
The sunken road fight!
Things are really hot but would petter out. Both sides been tired.
Burnside attacking on the left flank (Union)

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG 1862 in 6mm (IX)

Visits: 31

Today was a fantastic series of historical moves and actions!

Not only Hooker was wounded (and replaced by Meade as in real life!), Burnside troops crossed the bridge of his name in their first try!… part of the troops were heading for the ford anyway… Sumner is going to pitch against the sunken road… the last division of Hooker’s Corps is entangled with Hood’s Texans…

I am enjoying myself immensely… and glad to say so… it was worthwhile collecting allthose minis and stands.

Enjoy!

Hood’s Texans engaged with Hooker’s.
Part of Burnside’s troops goes to a ford found by a cavalry scouting patrol.
The bridge assault!
Zoom
Sumner’s second corps advances against the sunken road
The struggle goes on!
Aerial view!

Cavalry on the plains. (I)

Visits: 56

U.S. Cavalry has always been a cherished subject since childhood… those John Ford movies did an everlasting work!

I saw this on Facebook (by Dave Mitchell) the other day and thought maybe change a little from Antietam in 6mm (You all must be tired of the subject by now!).

So…

Enjoy!

I know it is Custer’s 7th
Spectacular fall…
Another view…

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG 1862 in 6mm (VII)

Visits: 35

There are seven Posts so far… but that does not mean it equals seven turns or seven hours… so do not extrapolate please… it is a slow and quite parsimonious tale.

After chaotic fighting for the cornfield Hooker’s First Division retires and he throws in his other two divisions supported by Artillery. The Confederates also replaced their tired troops by fresh one’s and the fighting continues.

Sumner is advancing as planned and so is Mansfield!

The morning goes on… but the day is young yet… Burnside continues doing nothing… (except sending cavalry patrols to find a ford) McClellan is worried by his imaginary inferiority in numbers (THAT is very difficult to translate to the tabletop… but I guess having Franklin and Porter in RESERVE account for that!).

I can only play about an hour or so a day (and not everyday because real life intrudes a lot… but it is fantastic to have a permanent table in a safe place!… you know what I mean…no one is messing with the tabletop at all… but me)

So far so good. satisfied… still working on mechanisms but the battle flows quite right!

Enjoy!

Follow up…
The Rebs have the cornfield (again)
Union passage of lines (retreating through fresh advancing Divisions…
Louisiana Tigers advancing…
Union fresh Brigades attack!
The clash!
Not through yet!… more to come…

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG 1862 in 6mm (VI)

Visits: 55

As promised… a division of Hooker’s Corps goes forward, a Brigade simply refused to move so instead of 4 brigades only 3 make the attack… Confederates have their problems too. All that because one thing is “to move around in the countryside” and other to move against an enemy. (Dice involved simulated field of vision and local orography… but also excuses -read officer’s characteristics-to do not move…).

So I used red and blue dices to show the relative strength in numbers of Brigades. Those are added to a six sided dice result and there must be a real difference in pips to have a decisive result (one or two pips difference are ignored)… More in following attacks. Brigades have a tendency to stand or even recoil quite easily… more difficult to press attacks… There was even a case of enfilade fire that did not succeed!… I had fun (not guaranteed)!

As I have said before 4 turns is the maximum “time” (time is flexible again) a Brigade can stand on the frontline fighting… afterwards must retire tired even if victorious… some exceptions will be worked on further on. This is shown with the use of white and black mini dice. So in fact I micromanage the fights that seems “hours” to participants… while the rest of the Corps (both sides) await results.

Quite if not completely satisfied with the first experimental solo rules… ties where resolved with the turn of a card for each side… if that also (it did not happen) was a tie I have gone to the deck of ultra rare or unpredictable tides of war situations that happened in real life.

My kind of “game” is quite impartial and develops like a film or scene… I am an spectator of it… but I expect Armies to behave like the Historical one’s. So far so good.

More next days.

Enjoy!

Some Brigades get lost or simply not move. Uncoordinated movements.
Long distance firefight. Skirmish.
Firing inside the Cornfield.
General view of First Division (Union) attack.
Sort of Climax.
Still polishing rules but satisfied.
End of first fight! (for the moment) Yellow markers means it is the end of the fight for those Brigades.

ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG in 6mm (V)

Visits: 53

Guess this afternoon I will proceed to reenact the first clash between Hooker and Jackson… it is slow sometimes I agree… but I am still experimenting with command&control and combat mechanisms. It must be tiresome to follow… but at least you have plenty of pics (curiously enough my mobile phone does it better than my old camera)…

My table is flat (got criticized by that in facebook) which does not mean the real terrain was flat at all that is taken care of by visibility options but also the fact that once firing starts smoke and noise will prevent God’s Own View… I mean it is probably God’s Own Scale… but the troops engaged where “lost” in the chaos of the firefight.

One of my phobias concerning Toy Soldiers is stands “balancing” in imposible positions over railroad scenery modeling terrain… sorry chaps… but this is what it is… neither troops fighting on top of woods a la LITTLE WARS TV way (which has very good points and creativity -aka Trafalgar- but not that particular one!)

Hope you follow me.

Enjoy!

Aerial view.
Hooker’s attack
Lees’s left flank
Sumner’s advance
Lee’s HQ with foreign observers…
Bottom right Burnside’s bridge
Confederate Army of Northern Virginia… Sunken Road represented by a rail fence.