I have a lot of ideas and pics to post this days… but those arrived yesterday and have got priority no matter what… My FFL order to complete an Army is underway and in good hands… simply ask Antony!… he will deliver… this is as silly as commending a good Restaurant… afterwards no way to book a table for you!… but he deserves it in spades… ask Scott Lesch if in doubt!
Since a very young child I was a fan of P.C.Wren, yes I was able to read at a very young age… since then The BEAU GESTE trilogy (in fact five books and some short stories here & there) influenced my taste for toy soldiers and have collected them in all kind of scales (see elswhere in this Blog). In 54mm my DORSET collection precedes the REPLICA BRITISH 2nd AFHGAN WAR at least a couple of decenies… influenced by A GENTLEMAN’S WAR wargame rules (Howard Whitehouse) I am nowadays squaring the collection into 12 minis units to fight each other (for fun and tweaking the rules a bit). Of course the minis are not only used for AGW… a lot of scenarios can be played with each Army alone… more of that one day.
I let you with two recent additions by Antony Spencer head of design at IMPERIAL/DORSET (and ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN too I guess).
I was rather laconic yesterday (health issues)… nothing to worry about too much I guess. It is not always fun to be seventy.
Today I will show you what excellent service means… You ask for some French Foreign Legion castings with a detailed note explaining what you want… then Antony from IMPERIAL/DORSET SOLDIERS takes the trouble to send you the pics of them TO BE SURE the match is OK.
You can not ask for more!
I will be back buying from them in a monthly basis… already other orders are on the pipeline. You can not have a better deal!
A book that is “different” in such a way… that the “lessons” you learn are not the same at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70 years of age. I know because I have read it at those ages and the perspective changes a lot. A critic would accuse Wren of racism, xenofobia, antisemitism, prejudices, mysoginia, white (anglo-saxon) supremacy, his phobia about “mixing races” etc etc etc… but he penned a masterpiece about “the decent thing to do”. It’s a fictional novel but with “morals”, it is a novel of adventure (boy’s own) but only in the surface… it is a Police Mystery novel (a “polar” the French say) but not quite… is it a “love story” (only in a way)… it is a Military novel and the abuse of power… (not at all but it served me right when I did my compulsory military service in the Spanish Army when the Sahara was still in Spanish hands… 13 months of boredom… so I know what “le cafard” is first hand)… I recently gave copies of the book to my grandchildren… would they ever read it?… I do not know at all… but I have passed it away anyhow…
Hope they do a lavish edition for the Centenary of its first publication.
At last 2020 is gone!… what messy times… a terrible year.
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.
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!
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…
It required time, but they are in the cabinet at last. I did found Andrew Stevens line of Traditional Toy Soldiers in FaceBook, his trade mark is REPLICAMETALSOLDIERS. They are quite Britain’s style but brand new, meaning no Antiquarian prices (or “oldies” look). I can recommend his products because I am really satisfied. I always wanted a range like that and he really adapts himself to your need (in fact so well that another order is on the way I fear!).
It was a long wait but worth the time, as usual I could not stop there and passed another order for some odds and ends and some Corps of Guides units (after a while I added Gurkhas and Highlanders too!). THAT would hopefully stop my collecting in 54mm for a while… if you do not count 5 SPAHIS I am asking for at Dorset Soldiers on the 1st of September.
It must be puzzling for some of the readers that I collect in 54mm and wargame mainly (when I do) in 6mm… but that is that.
After years waiting for them the officer of Spahis will get troops to command!, the parcel with 5 SPAHIS is on the post. I was very late on deciding to add them to my collection (after all at some point of their history they rebelled and killed their French Officer’s… similar to the Indian Mutiny but other times and reasons…)… a colourful outfit no doubt about it… but mainly because Henri de Beaujolais was an officer of Spahis… you must be careful with what you read when very young… Dorset Soldiers under a new management after Giles Brown retired.
Well, BTW excellent packaging, boxes, DHL, terms and time elapsed from command until arrival… everything went without a hitch. Customer satisfied. Will buy again from Dorset Soldiers.
The two pics above are from a megaset titled NAVAL BRIGADE, for once it is not mine at all (sadly… lol)… but could not resist posting the pics on the blog. That shows that collecting 54mm toy soldiers is alive and kicking. Andrew REPLICA Metal Model Soldiers. Someone must be very happy with this set!
Not all of the restrictions of the pandemic are a boring thing, in fact it has given me time to do things I have done on my mind for several years and never materialized because of lack of time and sheer laziness. The normal live I live keep postponing those things ad infinitum.
To begin at the beginning, I have always had a set of building bricks called EXIN CASTILLOS, it was a wonderful Spanish toy of the sixties, I played with them and build castles, so did my children when young because I purchased sets for them (nowadays have done so with my grandchildren too), one day of “cleaning up” at home I rescued the discarded sets of mine&my children from the list of things to throw away, put them in a box and stored them in my (then) office waiting for better days.
In the meantime my collection of Dorset Soldiers (thanks again to Giles Brown) was slowly growing up and the French Foreign Legion in action poses (mainly) occupied three shelves of one of the cabinets in Pal. So, one day I took the box from my office, cleaned the plastic pieces with soap&water and produced a mini ZINDERNEUF in 54mm to play with my Dorset Soldiers set. On another trip I had brought to Pal my camera/tripod etc.
This is the result: a solo game I play against “time”, will the arabs kill all the defenders of the fort before help from Tokotu arrives? Will “Beau” and “John” survive as long as in the novel?.
By the way, if you considere the BEAU GESTE trilogy (in fact five books and some extra short stories!) too old fashioned for you, you simply pass…
Now, that was fun!, it has been years since I did a model with those blocks!, it’s like riding a bycicle… you never forget those tricks with the bricks.
I have done it in 6mm (still in my Baccus collection), 28mm (To The Redoubt… sold), 54mm (Dorset Soldiers) and in 75mm with Playmobils (now in the collections of my grandchildren).
Yesterday, and the day before, I included some pics of the French Foreign Legion in my post, well, let’s go through with it, I am a fan of this elite corps since I read the novel –Beau Geste– when a child, in fact I read the whole trilogy -which is not a trilogy- Beau Geste – Beau Sabreur – Beau Ideal (connoisseurs know there are two more books about the Geste brothers Good Gestes and Spanish Maine*). Ever since I have not resisted the impulse to buy minis related to it and that’s that. Whatever my main wargame interest or collector fancy, there are always FFL soldiers in it. *The Desert Heritage in the USA.
So to make a clean sweep of this particular topic I will give you today the pics that shows my love for it -Legio Patria Nostra- a very particular elite mercenary unit which incidentally serves under the French Flag of Madame la Republique.
I have had Rubber India 54mm soldiers, 25mm Minifigs proxies, 28mm To The Redoubt, 54mm Dorset Soldiers, never got the Airfix box because I did not found it in the shops when visiting England, 54mm Military Modelling stuff from Andrea Miniatures, and I had to build them in GodsOwnScale (6mm) using proxies (see other posts), and of course customized Playmobils!
Too many pics probably… but this takes out of the way a personal passion (mania) which would have appeared recurrently on the blog. This is it and we forget about the FFL. Curiously enough I did my own compulsory military service in Spain in the (then) Spanish Sahara… so I know a bit about the desert myself. Always have tried that my sons and grandsons did not get the chance to repeat such a silly ordeal… and I still like P.C.Wren.
I did start with two Regiments of the French Foreign Legion -how not- afterwards come a Regiment of Chasseurs d’Afrique (Cavalry)… but was at a loss on how to get the Spahis until Igor suggested an obscure pack of WWI Irregular Arab Cavalry!… well, I ordered, organized and modified a bit!, sent to the painters (MERSEY WARGAMES aka Greg), and at the same time asked for Zouaves (European troops) and Turcos (Native troops).
The parcel arrived today. See pic. -There are also some ACW stands that would be the subject of another post).
I did remake the officers of Spahis with POSKA markers -they deliver paint- and added white lines to the burnous and a black line on the headgear. Not much to do with Turcos and Zouaves… slight retouching and adding flags.
I guess the pics are quite self explanatory. There are some special measure stands for skirmishers, rallying squares for both Turcos and Zouaves… and the rest are ACW.
Thought it would be interesting for other colonial wargamers of the late XIXth Century in North Africa. In other posts I have showed the FFL and the Chasseurs d’Afrique. See below.