ACW (V) 2020 way of doing last stands for ACW.

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update june 11th.- Finally found a way to post my last ACW parcel to Greg (Mersey Painting services)… hopefully its gone today… and I have seen in FaceBook that Peter is probably opening the cart for orders next friday, that way Greg can get bases and the last pack needed!… ACW01 if you want to know. So with a little luck and in due time I will complete that period to satisfaction… meaning 50 infantry Union Brigades etc. Will post pics when I get them by summer’s end… In the post “New” in this hereby blog I explained how to add variety to the LOOK of the minis in them stands… I will not repeat myself. As usual I will add some finishing touches and the flags.

update may 8th 2020.- I have to correct my stupid impressions written down below… I can not get to the Post Office… I still get minis from Baccus (once the window is open on the shopping cart I simply can not resist), the painting services are of course also confined… but I can not Post the minis to them… Summing up things are pretty stagnated nowadays… so I will have to do other things to distract me (and hopefully you)… I have a brand new portable slim computer (thanks to my son who knows how to buy and what!) so it is easy for me to edit and write again. Next thing would be trying to do proper pics and add them to the blog… it needs some cables and connexions I will enjoy trying too… and see if it works!

I am not going to tire you endlessly with the permutations I do in my head with Baccus minis projects. I buy one thing having in mind doing for example ACW Division Generals (I know Polemos and Altar of Freedom do not use them but… I do what I want as everybody else!)… and then I get nagging doubts and decide to use the minis as brigade commanders of Infantry Units… Mounted standard-bearers have been considered for Rush’s lancers… even tempted by 60×60 stands to speed movement… I think that the Polemos approach is very well suited to the ACW even if I write and play by my own rules… the Tempo bidding is probably OK for those who like it… but for solo playing I prefer the “turn of a friendly card”… after all IMHO when two armies met on the field specially in 1862-1863 they meant business… aka friction/attrition until they called the thing of… war is mainly throwing things at the enemy and be brave enough to stand in the receiving end of what he throws at you (from the beginning of times I guess). So my ACW Armies do not need to be “motivated” they know what are expected from them… but of course they are subject to fog of war and the unexpected… the “chance of war”. Enough.

What follows I do not delete just to show you the mental processes I am going through. Take care.

Monday the shop at Baccus opened again. I could not resist buying some ACW stuff to polish my Armies even more… What “polish” means?… I am never a 100% satisfied with my collections… so I want to try a new approach on some units. That means the cumbersome task (FUN!) that the minis will fly to me in Andorra… I will convert, organize and even paint some details I can not do once finished and based by the painters… and then send to MERSEY WARGAMES PAINTING SERVICE to be properly finished. After a deep thoght about it I am going to rearrange the units of the Union Army and a bit of shaking the Rebs too… just for the ultimate search of perfection, if that exists mind…

The whole process would be photographed and posted here.

I have bought three packs of ACW07 and one each of Generals (USA and CSA). Five packs in all. I asked for strips with mounted standard-bearers first and foremost on those two last packs! Still not sure how I am going to base them so I did not bought the bases… that Greg can do once I have organized the troops (well, Brigades).

That was yesterday 27th of January… see how long they take to arrive to Andorra in the first place. Some delays occurred when I changed my mind and stopped the order while reflecting about other periods… shit happens… after going full circle I finally come back to the original idea (after considering Mounted Infantry Colonials, Roman Imperial Legionnaires, and French&Indian War (7 years war in America) for days…).

Today the minis have shipped from Sheffield… or at least got an email who says … 21th February.

Will keep you posted.

updated 14-March-2020: Well, got the minis at last!… in fact I have had them for a couple of weeks by now… useful information: If you buy three packs of ACW07 you will be able to cut from the strips the minis with kepi and blanket across chest in a way as to get two complete brigades of them!… of course that will leave you with 8 extra brigades of infantry with hat!… but THAT is what I wanted… The 2 kepi+blanket with 4 hat+blanket will make the six brigades (Union) needed to substitue the one’s I got with Rapier’s minis… they are not bad mind… but I prefer Baccus… I still do not know what to do with the old six… but something would be devised… still six brigades left that I would probably ask the painters to glue in column instead of in line… Another thing I did was buying packs of generals… some would go to the Pony Wars proxies… and I am still doubting if Division Generals would be a good move or addition… even if Polemos rules says no need for them… Also under the influence of magazine Battlegames number 15 full of cavalry eye candy pics I am considering a bit more of Cavalry for my Armies… East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg and Brandy Station (in inverse order of course)… so… waiting for the Postman again… and the reopening of another window in that flickering shopcart at Baccus!

Of course the current pandemic has also disturbed my projects, including the pics making and the ability of sending minis to the painters… hope all ends well yourselves included. Take care.

Collecting Toy Soldiers (I)

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Tradition of London Royal West Kent set complemented with some DUCAL made to order -aka RSM at the center back and the Band not included in the pic- , and even some “conversions” by me as the Ensigns with the Colours and the Pioneers.

For a Blog who deals on Toy Soldiers or has the burden of the topic attached from the very beginning I have waited enough to do a post on the subject. You see, at least for me, ALL of them are Toy Soldiers. But there is a firm distinction of what is considered a “classic” Toy Soldier -and we are talking Antiques here- a bit snobbish and pricey if you please… “New Toy Soldiers” is an even more puzzling definition which I am going to explain too and for once I will not write a lot myself, all has been written to perfection by others… I began collecting 54mm Toy Soldiers -I should have said New Toy Soldiers as you will see- as everybody else who does. I like them. Bring back memories of a happy childhood when I did parades of soldiers on the floor following the counsels of my maternal grandad. They were my favorite toys and that’s that. When visiting London as an adult I couldn’t resist visiting the shops of “Tradition of London” and “Under two Flags” and started buying some red boxes as a result. It probably all started because when quite young my parents come back from London with an spectacular gift, a set of Britain’s with Coldstream Guards on a big box with two trays inside -superposed- ColdstreamGuards Band, Guards Marching, Guards at the present, Officers, Ensigns with Colours etc. Later on I even bought the books who described all those goodies and even finally knew the reference number of the set.

Well, as I have said, I am not a collector of Antiques, neither Britain’s, Mignot, Lucotte, Heyde or the like, I do not particularly see the point of “flats” even if some are beautiful pieces themselves, and I firmly stayed with my times and the “new” products available then.

Top of the big cabinet where the Household Cavalry are with some personalities.
Lower part part the Cabinet. Some specials and the RHA.

In fact you only need to read the books about it by the specialist James Opie. For me the unavoidable volume is Collecting Toy Soldiers, he has written a lot of books on Britains, one of them the real “BIBLE” (The Great Book of Britain’s: 100 Years of Britains’ Toy Soldiers, 1893-1993) -bought it in Hamley’s myself numbered edition and all- but of course there is no point for me in all that because I do not collect Britain’s, but if you do, get Opie’s books, really top stuff. Much more interesting for me was the book by solo wargamer legend Stuart Asquith The Collector’s Guide to New Toy Soldiers, a 1991 book -got a dedicated copie- who funnily enough deals with the new brands and manufacturers from 1973 onwards -post hollow cast Britain’s- that by now are “new classics” because in those nearly fifty years have ceased to exist or are much more less preeminent nowadays. Let’s mention DUCAL or FORT-DUCAL (Jack and Thelma Duke who become long distance “friends”), Tradition of London, Dorset Soldiers (Giles Brown times), Marlborough, and some other minor interests of mine.

I first collected whatever took my fancy… but then in following years I rectified, concentrated by themes and sold items (strange been FFL) to make place for others. Those I sold. Dorset Soldiers.
All the Queen’s men small 54mm. Also sold. Beautiful but not relation to my main interests.
Only the RCMP remains in my collection (now two shelves) and the marching constables have been modified with a gun at the slope idem as the Colour Party. The Denmark Royal Guard I sold with deep regret as the Band was done specially for me by Giles Brown from Dorset Soldiers using kits from Tradition and recast instruments. The Greys above also had to go because of lack of space.

Collecting 54mm traditional Toy Soldier gloss figures -not to be confused with 54mm Military Modeling figures- become an habit, and finally even purposefully build cabinets where made to show them at home… not playing stuff anymore I fear… and even less for kids.

The “big” cabinet under the stairs where the main theme -not quite original- is displayed. The Household Division units by shelves. Some of them have been converted (lancers become sword troops) and some sold (Regimental Bands Mounted not in State Dress) to add specials and vignettes of the Trooping of the Colour ceremony (The Queen’s Birthday Parade). Middle of June every year.
Always enjoyed The Trooping of the Colour and The Changing of the Guard ceremonies or pageantry. I even mixed manufacturers once… by now all are Ducal.

It was not a straightforward process!, I bought sets that later I did sold to “make place” and finally concentrated in some themes dear to me and now is a fairly steady collection not subject to sudden whims or extreme changes of direction anymore. But from time to time I add a piece or two, always filling gaps you know…

As a picture is worth a thousand words hereby see what I mean.

DUCAL band of the Royal West Kent made to order purposefully.
Tel el Kebir set.
Cavalry by DUCAL and Mountain Guns by Tradition of London.
Last but not least theme on my collection French Foreign Legion by DORSET SOLDIERS, its former owner Giles Brown was really helpful.
Two models added in 2018 thanks to a gentleman contacted in Facebook. painted by me.
General Wolseley, Replicametalsoldiers Andrew, 2019 addition.
Same as above but French General. XIXth Corps d’Afrique.

Collecting Toy Soldiers (II)

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My most recent purchase. ReplicaMetalSoldiersAndrew 54mm Chasseurs d’Afrique.

Not that it is very easy this days to find what you need or want, so the core of this post is just to praise the excellent comms and service provided by Replica Metal Soldiers Andrew.

Here they are in its proper place with its officer and in reserve. Changed the colors of some pom-poms.

Andrew Stevens is a one man band and has a full daytime job and of course a family… so do not expect him to be FAST! (not shouting it is just emphasis)… but oh boy!… well worth the wait.

For those asking themselves about the officer I already had that one. They mix very well with the scale of Britain’s (of course) and particularly ok with Dorset Soldiers which since Giles sold and retired has not very good communications, I tried to buy from them and only got sorry excuses until I dropped the matter. Hope they got their bearings afresh in the nearer future.

This is a part of my hobby I do not indulge a lot anymore due to lack of space in the cabinets… but I manage to squeeze in something now and then.

Got 6mm Baccus Chasseurs d’Afrique and Spahis -thanks to Igor who suggested the proxies for the later- still searching for 4 toy soldiers in 54mm Spahis to complete my set.

That finish my Collection! (If I did not knew better…) But at least it is an actualized pic, compare if a fan of 54mm those in Collecting I and Collecting II posts).


The final Collection of The Household Division in 54mm + some extras.

Some specials from DORSET SOLDIERS.

Collecting Toy Soldiers (III)

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The last Eleven of the Berkshires at Maiwand 54mm Replicametalsoldiers Andrew.

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. 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!).

At arrival and unboxing, boxes are a delight on its own.
The whole order sorted out together.
The “hole”.
Fixing a hole.
Actually I needed two shelves which will be completed with the current order. Finally the RCMP emigrated to the Household Division Cabinet to make place. All Colonials now here.
The Colonel.

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. 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.

Waterloo 18-06

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Lateral view of the French Army , D’Erlon´s Corps and the Grand battery… mainly 25mm Minifigs… a passion that lasted at least a quarter of a Century!

I was going to post another theme and suddenly I realized it was the 18th of June. So what? Well, first thing first, when you have dedicated the best years of your wargaming life to Napoleon and Wellington -the later specially related with Waterloo- you need to acknowledge the fact. It is true that I did collect all nations at the very end of my Napoleonic period, adding Austrians, Russians, Spanish, Swedes and what not… but the main interest was for years the battle of Waterloo. It became an obsession, of course the more I read about it and the more I studied the thing it become evident that Napoleon’s days were over since 1812, and that the decision to invade Spain in 1808 to get to Portugal was a huge mistake, but as a whole, for all the might of France and his leader you simply can not take all Europe against YOU and expect to win in the end. I could talk about Leipzig but for what purpose?… My myth and the myth of so many other wargamers round the world is the final showdown at WATERLOO. There are even those who ignore the Hundred Days campaign and forget about Ligny and Quatre Bras… it is always WATERLOO!. And nobody cares about Wavre and Grouchy… have an excellent book about it by the way.

Waterloo. Mainly 25mm MINIFIGS (99%), some Garrison and others to fill gaps on the range. A view from the French side at the start of the battle. The top of my big table -at work- was already green for wargaming purposes…

I was fascinated reading about it by the way the British have done an excellent propaganda job about it, only digging a bit you understand the real number of Brits in it, the Allied Army and so on… you finally understand that as the joke says “you can not have enough Prussians”. German books insist that they won the battle. But what was even more puzzling is that the French stop short to call it a Victory!, only a cumuli of circumstances makes them retreat at the end after having won the battle at 18:00… damn Ney, damn Grouchy, damn the Prussians, damn whatever and anybody but The Emperor who as you know never did nothing wrong… that is the stuff of legends.

Napoleon and his staff. The page at his left was painted by my brother.

So, I do not apologize for being so mesmerized by it for so many time, it was great fun, and I did paint all those minis myself (to know the right uniforms was a joy and time well spent), French, British&Allies and Prussians. No painting services used excepting some ADC’s. Boxes of unpainted lead on top of the cupboards for years, trips to Southampton and chats with Mr. Neville Dickinson included when annual vacations permitted (later they become compulsory… 30% less because no postage, no bayonets broken in transit, see for yourself, etc. The MINIFIGS Catalogue was my bedtime read companion for years.

Ok, that’s enough. You all know how it was ad nauseam and how the British used “his victory”as a jumping platform to build an Empire (another myth because it all started with the Seven Years War and later with Naval supremacy after Nelson’s Victory at Trafalgar!). I add some pics and that would be it!

Almost forgot to mention the immense pleasure for me that is “bath- tubing”, how to get proportional forces present in the field was a hobby inside the hobby. It would be easy with my experience to do it again in 6mm because even if the packs from Peter are a bit oversized in matters of numbers for say the Guard Cavalry… you can use the redundant figures as Elite Dragoons of the Line (bearskin), and Elite Chasseurs of the Line (colpack), a couple per stand do the trick and enhance your wargames table with the real flavour, making the units so true to life!

Wellington under “his” tree.
British and Hanoverian Infantry.
That was my solo Waterloo effort and that’s that. can see some Old Glory Cuirassiers on the left.
The Prussians arrival in the field…
Centre bottom the Gordon Highlanders… the first Minifigs unit I ever painted.

I still buy books about the Napoleonic era, and only a strong will refrains me to go Napoleonic again with Baccus (of course), the sheer magnitude of the task, the long span of time, the different uniforms in many campaigns and the idea it will all be for nothing -because he really stood no chance against the whole lot of them- helps me to it. I will only indulge in that with a Club like the Little Wars TV chaps… but none to be seen for miles around!

Little Big Horn 25-06

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54mm Military Modeling, Andrea Miniatures…. what everyone’s has in mind.

Anniversary today. What do you want me to say that has not been said hundreds of times? A NO WIN-NO WIN situation if it ever was one. And I am only trying to be realistic. The only order Custer never gave was GET BACK! and that was the only clever one. Of course it was against his character to do that.

To begin at the beginning, I saw They died with their boots on when a child, terrible ending Anthony Quinn shooting Errol Flynn at the end. It become an obsession to play with my toy soldiers that battle. The passion is still there today but much well understood in context -I own and have read more than a hundred books about it- and I think Custer had no chance at all.

When a serious orthodox wargamer I was very frustrated by the lack of figures. Finally going for Minifigs in 15mm because they were the only one’s to do the range. I never painted a single figure all went to the painters, and I had hundreds of Indians (on these days I always bought the opposition). Never fought a game with them.

Just then FOUNDRY did the range in 28mm, I sold the 15mm (they were the only 15mm I ever got -if you do not count a Peter Laing’s Crimean effort who come to nothing- and did it all again. I even did some conversions mind. A nice set who was sold as the rest of 25/28m when my personal crisis with that scale turned the tables.

Last Stand Hill in 28mm, mainly Foundry 7th, Indians from any manufacturer who did them.

Of course since then, as with all lifelong obsessions, I have seen the rest of the films about it, even the silent one with Francis Ford on the leading rol (the elder brother of John Ford), probably one of the best is the TV miniseries Son of the morning star but Keogh’s outfit does not appear in it… shameful oblivion for a purist. If a bit of a Custerophile avoid like the pest Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman, hippie culture revisionism of the worst kind. You’ve been warned.

It was one of my first Baccus proxies project, at least mounted they have a chance. I have no intention to build Reno’s and Benteen’s battalions they will never come.

6mm Baccus proxies (ACW range with cutted out sabers)… Get Back!… if you can…was probably the only sensible option after a few minutes of it.
The different stands needed to play the game. “E” troop mounted, skirmish line with horseholders, last hope with dead horses as ramparts and horses running. Do that for the 5 co’s and HQ. ACW Confederate cavalry with hat slightly modified or “converted”… no sabers at the LBH excepting two officers.

One of the things that makes it attractive is because it is the great “Greek Tragedy” of the “manifest destiny” idea, and on top of all… it comes at the commemoration of the Centenary celebrations… 1776-1876. The famed boy general of the American Civil War massacred!… that was the swan song of the Native Americans. Retribution for Custer was the only policy from then on…

Seriously, I enjoy trying to get out of the mess on the wargames table, but the only way is if Custer dies early on… and the next in command tries to get away from there! Not heroic? of course not. But I am talking about having a chance. Both Reno and Benteen have been vilified ad nauseam -with some reason mind- because they did not die there and then. History has been hard on them, specially Reno who was routed by himself and “charged to the rear” botching Benteen’s approach and even that of the pack train! I guess it is a fascinating little battle or skirmish because relative minor numbers were involved. I still do not know what will I do if Peter decides to make the range and Indians become available… Oh dear!… not again…

Great Battles of the World series… get the Indians if you can choose! A game that starts when all is already lost!
Playmobils 75mm, still in my collection, in a matter of seconds can be used for the ACW too… I am selling this part (the last) of my old Playmobil collection for 900 euros + free extra pieces to convert to ACW units etc. Contact at adb@andorra.ad

An useful FaceBook link is: Little Big Horn Discussion Group

or: https://www.facebook.com/groups/459982074026290/

Cheers.

Maiwand

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54mm gives plenty of flavour I guess…

After The Crimea and The Little Big Horn it was my third attempt at Baccus 6mm, Colonial Khaki instead of the 24th and the Zulu War that exhausted itself (and me) in 25mm. I always wanted to do that khaki period but never got around to have but very few Minifigs in my time!

The terrain is not a marvel of “modeling” in itself, neither is in Afghanistan I fear, but I wanted to show what it meant to me the have room for deployment. This is not staged to do a wonderful picture, it is what a game looks like after all.

The best books I have read so far on it are “MY God MAIWAND!” by Leigh Maxwell and “Maiwand The Last Stand of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment in Afghanistan, 1880”. I have said before that I consider myself a reader first and foremost, but reading ends up in -or leads directly to- wargaming what I have read.

Figures are Baccus painted by Mersey Wargames, Buildings are LEVEN done by REVEILLE.

A general view… that’s what I call room for deployment! at last!
One of the series of last stands of the 66 Foot (Berkshires). Up to “The Last Eleven”.
The Pack Train at Mundabad with a Company of the 66 Foot.
The deployment of the firing line of the 66th.
The last eleven… in 6mm for wargame purposes. Bobbie the dog is scratchbuild by me and it is far too big and the wrong colour… planning to use white paint on it. Did not find a dog suitable in 6mm.

And as Kipling wrote:

If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,

And wait for supports like a soldier.

Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains 

An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

In fact there was a Retreat to Kandahar… of the remains of Maiwand… and the famous March to Kandahar by General Roberts… and of course the battle of Kandahar.

If I had to start again

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As with your real life -I know you have one!- experience modifies the approach. Many people have uttered the nonsense sentence: “I wish I was twenty-something again”, it is understandable but I must add please let me take with me all that I have learned!, and that is valid both for your real life and your miniature fictional one.

My oldest game with a grid using 28mm Foundry Greeks. Now the figures used are Baccus 6mm.

Not going to bother you much with reminiscences but let me say that if I could go back in time I would have gone Heroics&Ros in the seventies, but with big bases as POLEMOS suggests, my mistake back then was to try to base them in twos or threes… what a mess! If the idea of basing Regiments or Brigades in a single base had occurred to me I would have enjoyed my games much more and saved a lot of cash!. Many projects I had in mind could have been done easily and simultaneously… All of this is of course an anachronism and wishful thinking. On those days, not so much today, I was obsessed to conform to the rules, and THE RULES (popular at the time!), how to play with them model soldiers without a decent set of Rules!. An Orthodox view was a necessity to me in those days…

Well, if you have read some of this Posts or my previous adventures in the Baccus Forum, you know I collect Toy Soldiers in 54mm, I buy, I sell, I found new interests, I change direction, whatever, but this is a cabinet display affair… “decoration” perish the thought!… they are decorative but the collection in itself is a way of gaming too… a Post someday will be done. But my main interest since a child was playing at war -aka wargames- and if a bit chivalrous the better, I loved gaudy uniforms and commanders leading from the front. I firmly put the stop or limit at 1900 for obvious reasons to me. My brother is a WWII nerd and I can accept that without problem but no thank you the XX century is not for me. But let’s go to the point, what did I learn in all those years?… not much I can hear you say… but one or two things are probably useful. See if it helps:

  1. Plan ahead. In a way I tried hard to do it but mistakes did occur nevertheless. You will have to choose a period (or several); Scale (or several even if that means multiplying gear), I am a firm believer in sticking to a scale no matter what.
  2. Choosing a period is a matter of taste and affinity, it helps a lot that a good or several ranges of minis do exist to begin with. At that point the Napoleonic trap is already looming on the horizon. If ever a mini is overproduced and available readily is a grognard of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard… Manufacturers know it and it is their bread&butter… anybody in the hobby, those who remain in it -and those who have tried and gone to do other things- have bought an Imperial Guardsman with Bonnet a Poil. Enough. Go for a period.
  3. Sticking to a Scale has the immense BONUS of not duplicating scenery, terrain, and equipment!… how many wagons, pontoon trains, tents, and what not are you going to get if you go for several scales? Specially if you are a solo wargamer -in the back of beyond as me- for those with Club facilities the matter is quite different.
  4. With the same stands you can play Free Kriegspiel or in a grid. Do what you like. I particularly hate metric rulers and the notion of measuring things on the tabletop… -probably a consequence of my profession in real life- and “counting stores” every half hour. Removing casualties is another thing to avoid in my experience.
  5. If megalomaniac, meaning you go for it BIG in scope even in the smaller scales, consider the multipurpose units, a simple exchange of the Command&Colours stand and you have a double or triple unit, but that is a useful concept only if you have planned that ahead. In the Napoleonic period it was useful, but I am talking 25mm here.

I will have to edit heavily this Post once I remember other useful things, but for the sake of it I have given you food for thought.

A paradigmatic multipurpose unit, I had 4 different command stands, one British as you can see, one ACW Union, one ACW Rebel, one French… and what not… it was useful to balance particular games changing sides as it was necessary. In fact all the figures are conversions with new heads.
In Napoleonic period the Swiss and the Danes are particularly able to be used changing command stands. And not the only nationalities you can tamper with.
I guess you dig the thing. In 6mm it would mean breaking in three parts that beautiful concept of Brigade stand… but only for a few units… and you avoid the repetitive process and cash inversion.
Playmobil 75mm paranoia… ok… just a different thing for fun!
A “thing” you can do with Playmobils that you can not do in lead… specially useful in skirmish games. It was fun for a decade or so. I am cured now.

Fun

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Hunter or Mountain Man…

I just wanna get fun. This has been and still is the motto, whatever I do it is for FUN. At my age one certainly looks back sometimes to see the long and winding road travelled. Of course, at least in my case, there have been smooth parts and rough one’s, but overall a sense of satisfaction prevails.

As a hobby Toy Soldiers seems pretty simple -and it is not- I guess I am fond of History and this is what lays as the foundations of it. If it was not for a love of History I would not have known about wars… and toy soldiers are a mean to recreate war in a most idealized way, your Toy Soldiers never die after all, they always live to fight another day, just like chess pieces.

Books…

Compared to the actual time spent playing wargames the time I have spent reading books -even about wargaming!- is so disproportionate that in the end it is as if I had not indulged in wargaming at all. Probably an exaggeration?… no, not at all. I have read and collected books about History, and of course good historical fiction related to my favorite periods. So I am first and foremost a reader, somewhat compulsive and obsessed by certain subjects as the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, the Crimean War, Colonial periods… in fact the XIXth Century is where I live when I grab a book. Mind, I have read my classics too. But apart from the second punic war have not been much tempted by Ancients… conflicting sources… biased works… a lot of holes filled by great authors… Republican Rome and Imperial Rome are in a way fascinating, and of course the Greeks before them, but you need very good writers to get hooked aka The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan as an example will suffice.

Not politically correct nowadays!

And NO I do not forget Alexander the Great!… but I am not going to do a full relation of the great captains of all periods… The title of this post says it all, very young I found that reading never let place to boredom, I guess I have not been bored at all -I can be very boring mind!- and had FUN reading, not that I do not like movies and music too… but when a film or record ends I grab a book.

Movies…

That the accumulation of “knowledge” about certain periods as the XIXth Century finally ends in a hobby like wargaming and collecting soldiers is just a consequence -not even logical- but a consequence nevertheless. In it lays the deep question “what if”… no one who reads about Waterloo or The Little Big Horn or The Charge of the Light Brigade can’t avoid thinking that it could have been different after all… some disasters let you puzzled by its idiocy -hindsight is that cruel- and of course if you have travelled the path of wargaming WHAT IF is what is all about.

Napoleonic sets of Rules…

FUN I achieved reading, but I achieved fun seeing films about my pet periods, enjoyed the music -the real and some soundtracks- and had lots of FUN searching for toy soldiers to play at it, organizing and bathtubing the opposing Armies, obtaining them, painting them, basing them, converting minis when not commercially available, choosing scales, choosing rules or doing my own… and finally playing with them with my brother. Later my sons. And now pestering my grandchildren about it explaining patiently to them there is FUN in it, while they play video games with all sorts of electronic devices… for what I have seen they consist mainly in characters parachuted into an island, collect things and weapons and try to kill anyone around… not so different from wargaming!… except the uniforms, my toy soldiers do not dress like a giant banana.

If you do not have FUN it is not worthwhile at all, as all other pastimes around.

Holmes & Watson

Disorders

Hits: 34

This band simply does not exist in the market, Giles Brown from Dorset Soldiers did it for me using arms from Britain’s and Tradition of London kits (they did only fifes and drums you know!). I sold them and it was a heavy mistake!…I really miss them!… but I needed space in the cabinet and was a theme not related to anything else.

Megalomania is a common affliction in the hobby, I have been infected by it several times in my long span messing with toy soldiers. Not a severe case mind, there are others much more sick that yours truly -I felt relieved when I knew about them- summing up it consists in a vague tendency to cope with too much by far, exceeding the limits of space, time, and also the patience of your relatives.

The tendency of taking a break from your main interest -be that what it may- because a certain tiresome feeling and repetition… or monotony on a certain period sometimes causes in the hobby what I call the sidetrack addiction. Wargamers when bored to death just start a new adventure -read period- instead of taking a holiday or try golf. they simply change scale (usually a mistake) or maybe try a new era.

Sometimes a Book opens new horizons… P.C.Wren mentioned them as I recall so I will have a go at them after all.

I have felt like a hamster on a wheel several times. But if your cage is spacious enough why not jump to that other wheel?. It is a well known fact that we are never satisfied by a single period, probably the mono thematic wargamer exists in some dark corner of the world and will be found before the extinction of the species… or dug out in the future who knows? but he or she is an exception to the rule.

Mr Sharpe and Sergeant Harper with the Light Co of the South Essex.

When confronted with boxes and boxes full of plastic bags with minis aplenty on your cupboard… say Napoleonic’s for a laugh!… you sigh and close the door. Then after “original” and sound reflexion you decide -eureka- that what you need is a breath of fresh air. You are not going to be unfaithful to your main interest! -never fear!- but what about trying that so different range of minis which of course been a minor period you will do just for fun. You have always wanted to raid in a Viking Ship!, or hunt buffalos!, or lead a small patrol in a skirmish, impersonate Sharpe, do a bit of swashbuckling… whatever…

Now, If you have a main interest that surely has happened already… but what if you have several “main interests”… and keep sidetracking all the time?… You then pass from Megalomania to a Lead Tons Hoarder.

Von Bredow’s full Brigade.

Usually Megalomania starts with the well know syndrome of “if I had another battalion…” At the end of a game and seeing your troops leave the battlefield humbled and in more or less disarray the thought appeared to you as the magic solution! Increase the size of your Army!… that way if your left flank gives way you will plug the hole with your reserves… one can never have enough reserves (or Prussians as Wellington said an 18th June).

This and superglued fingers are the two most common maladies of the wargamer, collectors do sidetrack too, and anyone involved in this pastime… even military modeler artists do stray from the “their right path” sometimes.

As it is a non infectious thing and do not cause premature death -in fact it can save you from a dead of boredom- I will leave it like that for your consideration… only old wargamers can resist the temptation taking a look behind them and thinking UF! I already did that some time ago!

The original Castle by Playmobil… now used as a frontal piece at the limit of the table… see future Changing of the Guard post!