ACW (VII) Afterthought 23-08

Some Rebs.

Read that as a complement of ACW (VI), here is the rest of the order and a comment by dourpouritan that I sent to the painters considering it quite to the point. Hope dourpuritan does not mind. A great thing the Baccus Forum!

B.- Confederate Infantry stands:

B1.-     Number one on the diagrams, 20 minis glued as shown, meaning as together (centred) as on a typical stand of 28 minis such POLEMOS. But right flank refused as in A5. Mixed lot. Use different colours for hats.

B2.-     Same as above but left flank refused.

B3.-     12 minis + Mounted officer.. All “straw coloured” hats. Centred in stand. Flanks unprotected.

B4.-     Stand with two small Brigades. 24 minis + Mounted Officer. First rank of the rear Bgde.  and Second rank of forward Bgde.  can be aligned. Quite as A6.

B5.-     Same as B4 minus mounted officer. When aligned like this they have to match B4 and B6 position glued as to look a “LINE”. In fact it would look as an standard POLEMOS stand with two sets of colours, no skirmishers and pushed forward.

B6.-     Same as B4 but symmetrical, see diagram. 

TOTAL of 124 infantry minis and 3 mounted officers. (Include 9 command strips).

For the Infantry stands you will need 14 units of 60x30mm bases NOT INCLUDED.

ACW Cavalry Stands:

Colour of horses predominantly Dark and Red Bays, some Black. All buglers on white horses. Mix a bit.

C1.-     60x30mm stand with 9 minis (UNION) wading a river as mentioned in previous emails:

The idea is to have in a 60×30 Baccus standard base of 9 figures unit in column wading a river… IN LONGITUDINAL WAY DIRECTION FRONT OF 30mm … that means: To cut the bases of the first three (command) and the last two troopers, and the whole legs of the horses (4) in the middle of the base, glue them like that in a more or less “disordered way” but still in column… and paint the base sky blue… as WATER.

C2.-     Same as above but Confederate. (No butternut)

C3.-     A typical Cavalry Brigade of 9 minis (UNION) as per POLEMOS… but in arrow formation as seen in the Forum in Baccus webpage. Officer forward and troopers on each side a bit behind each time, so that the extremes are the more back figures. Quite straightforward.

C4.-     Same as above. Confederate. (No butternut)

Now, what to do with the remaining mounted minis?. NO officer’s left but still guidons (standard-bearers) and buglers.

Please use 30×30 stands on the rest, groups of 4 minis, 2 in front 2 behind as you have done for me repeatedly.

C5.-     4 Union stands, guidon on front rank (right side), bugler front rank (left side). Two troopers behind. Please mix hats and kepis.

C6.-     2 Confederate Stands same as above. (No butternut)

C7.-     4 Union stands with 4 troopers mixed headgear.

C8.-     2 Confederate Stands with 4 troopers as C7. (No Butternut).

i subsequently attached the following to my order because I am a bit tired of Confederates looking like Boers.

As many modern US articles now make apparent, many existing grey uniforms have been affected by light over the years and have faded to a pale brownish colour. This gave the impression that the majority of ordinary soldiers wore butternut coloured uniforms, which is not the case. Secondly, butternut uniforms were produced but mostly in the early part of the war. This was because the Confederate commissary had not got up to full steam and requested that soldiers’ families provide them with uniforms  where the state did not have enough to go round. The rural population used readily available cheap butternut dye to colour these uniforms. By 1863 the state and Confederate suppliers were much better organised with several main supply depots across the Confederacy plus more imported uniforms getting through the blockade. Nevetheless, there was no standard grey colour – the tone varying from almost white to dark bluish grey depending on which depot had produced the uniform. Many of the imported uniform items were of the bluish grey variety (which led to friendly fire incidents). Similarly the regulation light blue trousers were rather uncommon. Many were infact captured Union trousers, and these were eventually ordered to be redyed or bleached before wearing, again owing to friendly fire incidents. This is not to say that home made uniforms and butternut disappeared entirely. Rather they became less common as the war progressed (contrary to the oft pedalled myth that the Confederate army of 1864/5 was just a bunch of ragamuffins). dourpuritan comment posted in Baccus Forum.

Guess that makes ACW (VI) and (VII) more comprehensive.

ACW (VIII) 07-09

Thr POSCA markers I use to alter details here and there… those Regiments have had a change of flags and kepi colour changes a posteriori of the pic!
The Union stands from above with different kepis on the flanks so to represent a Brigade of various Regiments as mentioned in Posts in Baccus Forum.

I said it and here it is, in ACW (III) I told you about them (lets copy paste):

“It has not rested a lot!… just today I ordered more Infantry from Mersey Wargames for 1st Bull Run/1st Manassas. Brigades with colours inverted … blue one’s with Reb Colours and grey one’s with Union Colours… to add to the confusion of the first battle!… Have to write a Post about Disorders or Megalomania too!… thought I was cured!…”

Well, here they are after the POSCA treatment, Greg provided them with dark blue kepis and grey kepis, so far so good. But after reflecting a bit and perusing the HEIMDAL book I decided to change the colors of the headgear because there were units like that -obscure militia maybe but they existed- So that gave me a sort of “twin” units or “mirror” stands, now I have Blue clad Confederates with red kepis and sky blue kepis, and Grey clad Union stands with red kepis and sky blue kepis… as you can see in the pic. I thought that this permitted more flexibility and the stands are going to be used not only in First Bull Run (First Manassas) but also later on in the big battles of 1862 and even 1863… after all the flags are all important in 6mm scale.

One of the books to have about uniforms… in fact it aglutinates the two previous volumes by the same authors.

Excellent information and computer generated images. I think that the two ancient volumes by Histoire&Collections had English text editions. Not sure about the HEIMDAL book though -probably in the offing- The out of print H&C are very pricey lately.

Lets compare with the pic of arrival of the parcel:

There in the background you can see the original painting scheme, plain blue and grey kepis!

There you can see how easy it is to “customize” a bit, and it is really fast I assure you.

As you can notice from this series of ACW I have increased the number of “Brigades” and currently waiting for Greg to finish (if he has started them) the special stands I “designed” to add variety on the Tabletop.

Well, days and days of deep thought… I am so near of the end of it, meaning having enough troops to do Gettysburg “a la LittleWars TV” (but with a different bathtubing)… just one more order to arrive and I will get all the stands recommended. That will not put a delay on other Baccus projects, but I always liked to be coherent… so ending the ACW project will take preeminence. That’s IT… just glued the last flags on them… order arrived (thanks Greg)… ACW is finished!… guess it took me nearly two years… And now Peter has told us PONY WARS been sculpted… Huuuummmm… terrible thoughts…

Have fun.

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Collecting Toy Soldiers (I) 23-06

Tradition of London Royal West Kent set complemented with some DUCAL made to order, and even some “conversions” by me as the Ensigns with 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, Guards 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 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 (Gilles 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 specilly 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.
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 Gilles 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.
Inspector General NWMP or RCMP painted by yours truly. Also REPLICAMETALMODEL ANDREW.

Collecting Toy Soldiers (II) 02-09

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

He 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.

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 know 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.

The five foot Regiments Top to bottom: Grenadiers, Coldstreamers, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guardsmen.
Door closed.
The other cabinet. Also closed and ended…

Little Big Horn 25-06

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.

Waterloo 18-06

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… heve 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.
Close up of the Heavy Cavalry of the Imperial Guard, FOUNDRY officer of Horse Grenadiers. I finally added trumpeters and Standard-bearers in the final stages of my obsession.
Another view from the Allied side. See the Scots Grey’s?… one of my first ever buys…
Close up of British “Heavies”, Life Guards and Heavy Dragoons.
Close up of Allied Light Cavalry.
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.
Just for fun… I even started customizing Playmobils!… I stopped there with those two.

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!

If I had to start again… 22-06

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 me with me all that I have learned!, and that is valid both for your real life and your miniature fictional one.

Greek Wars in a grid. Beautiful minis by Foundry in 28mm NOT painted by me.

My oldest game with a grid using the same 28mm of the pic before. 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…

One of my standard French Napoleonic units, metallic thin bases, 23 figures, call it a Battalion, a Regiment, a Brigade or even a Division in function of the game… I did. Note the Command square is a 5x5cm stand instead of the 5×2,5 of the infantry stands. It took me years to learn the distinctions between Fusiliers, Voltigeurs and Grenadiers of the Line.
Using the same stands, a bigger unit, suddenly the meaning change formation from line to column and viceversa becomes more real. I was obsessed by those things for a time as the Column versus Line firefight. Those were the 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!
Skirmishing Greek Wars with Playmobils 75mm. Note the grid.
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.

Do whatever you want 17-07

Some of the TOTEMS of the hobby.

When I decided to write a book about my personal experiences with Toy Soldiers -and as Dan Allen has remarked some Toy Policemen- it was fun. But it has turned a sobering experience. I first did it in Spanish -just to find that nobody was interested in my ramblings- and secondly I translated the book to English myself… that was really stupid!… First edition not up to par I fear… so in the end just because sheer stubbornness I payed for getting the manuscript edited and revised to make it readable and apt for human consumption. Will never compensate finances involved with sales of the Second English edition but I was less mortified -satisfaction finally was achieved- so far so good.

It would have done me a good turn to read a book like mine when starting in the hobby, but to be really fair maybe I would not have bought it!… there where a lot of other priorities around! So, I must admit it was and is a paradox. Same happens with your experience in real life it is very hard to pass on the hard learned lessons.

Full Brigade of Prussian cavalry -Dragoons at the back-

After careful consideration I summed up my experience with Toy Soldiers in some principles -read advice-

1) Be respectful with other wargamers/collectors choices.

2) Be sure you will have to make compromises with real History.

3) Be free and prime composition over compatibility.

4) Try to be proportional. No 100% Elite Units in an Army.

5) There is no such thing as perfect rulebook so learn to adapt them.

6) Choose your games companions with care.

7) Before buying minis inform yourself.

There you have it in a nutshell.

Old 25/28mm collection. All sold.

Not much original I agree. But those counsels would have saved me a lot of time and cash. I am not a socialite by nature, but leaving far away from places with more common interests did not help at all. Luckily enough my brother shared the interest (because of my bad influence!) and that was enough for me, in fact he has gone over the top and actually WORKS in the games sector for real!… what was a hobby has turned business… well, I always sustained that it is much better to work in something you really love.

As far as it goes nowadays all I can say is ANYTHING GOES! (just emphasis not shouting) -as long it is fun for you- not for me to say what will do for you. I will stand as usual in the fringes trying to be the less obnoxious I can manage… Interacting with real people through my computer is quite satisfactory. No need to buy them drinks, be told his phylias and phobias -and even worse why is that so- a hobby can be boring too if not shared with people within the same range of affinities.

So, there you go, I will end this post with a thought on equipment. Imagine you think getting a Pontoon Train is a good idea… why not?… there are rivers aplenty to ford… Berezina comes to mind!. So what can be said about it?… first of all if wargaming in 6mm your Pontoon Train, deployed or in Transports is quite affordable… I will surely get both versions… on the march and mounted over a river. IF you do not use minis on the stands the same set will be used in no matter what period, glue those Engineers and Pontonniers in separate stands. I have found firms -a google search will suffice- that will cut your stands to measure to suit your needs (Baccus compatible). The Idea of NOT getting minis glued in the stands of your Equipment is extensible to Mule trains, Camel trains, Wagons, and Transports akin, and I never use mounted soldiers on my limbers!… they are useful for a lot of periods that way! You lose some of the appeal of the Military Modeling part of the hobby but gain in space of storage and cash. If you do wargame in different scales at the same time yo will need the double or triple of scenery&equipment… I am not specially fond of investing too much money on scenery, I try to have a few things of quality but not overcomplicate the tabletop landscaping to the full. Be free to do whatever you want yourself!

This pic is not mine. Found on Internet. And I went Playmobil for a decade more or less as a consequence! If a copyright infringed will delete without problems!
Grand Duchy of Blaufosk Infantry. Now owned by one of my grandsons (the Video-games addict!)

Fun 13-07

The Three Musketeers + D’Artagnan

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
Hunter or Mountain Man…

Disorders 10-07

Military Modeling as a distraction…

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! -perish the thought!- 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…

Tatanka!

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.

I guess not many of you have indulged in that!

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).

Seriously, and I am deadly serious, sidetracks are a lot of fun!… you know you will get to paint after difficult research that obscure Opolchenie Russian unit… but what about an Apache Raid?

Apaches!…Where is the cavalry?

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 “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!

This band simply does not exist in the market, Gilles 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.
Pilots in distress…in North Africa.