Saturday, 28 February 2015

Spanish 2nd Lusitania Dragoon Regiment - Connoiseur Miniatures

The 2nd Lusitania regiment prepares itself

As part of the 4th Spanish Cavalry Division the Dragoons of the 2nd Lusitania Regiment have often been much maligned as just "conscript style troops" that were typically second rate and good for little else than guarding prisoners and hauling supplies.  They did have their moments however to be fair, they were few and far between.

The Spanish Army had a particularly ugly day at Ocana in November 1809 which opened up the country to very aggressive French strategic manoeuvres that gave them a strong position, albeit temporarily, in Spain.

Connoisseur figures look perfect for this period

Another view as they manoeuvre into position
These are glorious Spanish dragoon figures from Connoisseur Miniatures, though I do think you could almost mistake them for Elite Miniatures as well.  Peter Moreby, the owner and sculptor for the latter I understand learnt quite a bit about sculpting wargames figures from Peter Gilder from Connoisseur so I guess that makes alot of sense.

Either way I find both ranges for this period superb!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Spanish Voluntario del Reggimento de Cataluna - Connoisseur Miniatures

Spanish lights advance at the double

Continuing with the Peninsular theme are some Spanish Light Infantry from the wonderful Connoisseur Miniatures range.  These are available through Bicorne and though limited in the variety of poses, still look good all these years after being designed and sculpted by Peter Gilder.  As you can see these still need a Dull Coat Matt varnish however the whether in Perth has not been conducive to varnishing anything at the moment as it has consistently been over 34 degrees Celsius and bloody humid!

I have always found that is a recipe for white powdery figures when spray matt coating.

Lovely pose on these figures though a bit more varety would have made them even better.

Very Latino looking Capitano, resplendant in Hussar Pelisse and lovely waxed moustache!

These were part of the volunteer style light regiments and battalions formed up and the uniform reflects the earlier years in the Peninsular Campaign which perfectly fits into the period we are gaming.  Would love to get the Red coated volunteers painted as well though various sources say they were also the Cataluna Battalion.  Either way, those crazy Spanish sure are colourful!

Some more line infantry are getting ready for parade soon.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

King Germans Legion Heavy Dragoons Peninsular Cavalry

 Elite Miniatures British cavalry in bicorne painted as the 1st KGL Heavy Dragoons

Great opportunity to post some images of the latest addition to the Peninsular collection.   These are once again off the brush of Nathan and are from his sensational Elite Miniatures range that he distributes under license in Australia.

Famous for being part of Major General Von Bocks brigade who distinguished themselves so well at the Battle of Garcia Hernandez in 1812.  They were famous for breaking the French squares of the 6th Light, 69th and 76th line.

I have kept a gloss on the horses to experiment on the horses working hard in the Spanish sun and having a sweat on their coat.  Jury is still out on that one at present.

I love this bugler sitting upon his stirrups in the saddle sounding the charge

Wonderful shot of the Regimental Colonel casting an eye over the galloping ranks.

When Henry Hyde , the current wonderful editor of Miniature Wargames, first wanted to get the concept of a new wargames magazine out in the hobby, he looked for inspiration and support from the global wargaming community.  He got it in spades and Battlegames was born.

As foundation supporting members, Henry had a print of the KGL breaking the square at that famous battle.  I am still waiting to find a perfect frame for it to have it up in the wargames room.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

A nostalgic view - Austerlitz at The Wargames Holiday Centre in Scarborough

Action at the WHC - Russians advance against French screens

I was looking over some old photographs (remember them?) from a trip to "Blighty" many years ago when I booked in a weekend at the famous, dare I say it, legendary WHC up north in Yorkshire.

The game on that weekend was my all time favourite -  Austerlitz 1805.  The glory of France in its infancy in the First Empire against the Kaiserlicks and Russian lapdogs on the plains made famous by such names as "The Santon", "The Pratzen Heights" and Telnitz and the Satchsan.

I had the time of my life.

The chance to push around so many wonderfully painted, converted and crafted Connoisseur figures with a fair spattering of Elite Miniatures as well was a thrill beyond belief.

Set up the night before as Herbert views the Orders of battle and tiles are placed upon the field. 
Excuse the big white gaps but these are scans of photographs and resizing them is well beyond
my Luddite skills! 

Massed troops prepare to come to grips "Crouch, pause, engage!"

Great view of French cavalry, Carabiners slightly out of correct attire for the period, but
when they all look so gorgeous, everything is forgiven!!

The thrill of playing with troops that you had originally seen inside wargaming
magazines and on the covers as a teenager was almost surreal.

Those damned French prepare to cross the stream whilst the massed
guns of the French Imperial Guard look menacingly across the field.

My command advances to meet and defeat the enemy.  If my recollections are correct I
had a reasonable battle, winning my particular encounters along my lines of responsibility. 

How impressive is this?  Massed Connoisseur Russian Cavalry supported by Austrians.
I am sure every one is a lovely Connoisseur figure.

The action heats up.
The photographs below have a particular fondness for me.  
Friend Gerry Elliot who has been a tremendous wargaming confidante and proof reader during my Sands of Sudan rule writing.  Very good bloke who I always think of fondly.  
Of course the late and wonderful Mike Ingham, longtime owner of the WHC and game designer and host extraordinaire!  
One can also see that Beau Sauveur Chris Cornwall who drove me to London on the Sunday night. What a gentlemen.  
John Bramley on the left also a lovely chap who was kind enough to send me several concerned emails not long after my return when he read about the famous bushfire's ravaging New South Wales at the time.

If anyone recognises a younger version of themselves in this photo please let me know.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

More Napoleonic Uniforms at Invalides

Great detail in these officer uniforms - such wonderful finery!
Surely a visit to Paris for any Napoleonic afficionado must involve a trip to the French Army Museum at Invalides.  It is far too important to pass up!

I took hundreds of photos over two different trips sometime ago however loved this photographs especially as they showed the detail, intricacy and finery of the uniforms of the time.

Guard bearskin from the Chasseurs; Early French Grenadier in bicorne

At the time in was difficult to photograph so many wonderful exhibits as they are, quite rightly, strict about flash photography and fade on their prize items.  The cynic in me also thought that the bookshop downstairs relied on quite a few lovers of the period to part with their francs (yes the first visit WAS that long ago!) and buy some of their wonderful publications and cards.

Make no bones about it, I certainly did spend a small fortune on so many wonderful items.

I also managed to make it to the Louvre with a colleague and we spent quite a bit of time enjoying the wonderful Napoleonic period battle scenes and portraits on display.  Not quite the scale of "The Hall of Battles" at Versailles, but still wonderful.

The scale has to be seen to be believed.  Famous paintings in the Louvre.

I have just had the lovely figure from Gringos40 based upon the painting above finished for me for a venture onto the fields of Russia 1812 sometime soon.

The famous Theodore Gericault painting of the Officer of the Guard Chasseurs or "The Charging Chasseur" is one of my all time favourites.  A large print hangs in my wargames room and the figure itself has been copied by Alan and Michael Perry, Frank Hinchcliffe and I believe Peter Gilder.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Walking the field of Waterloo

From the top: La Haye Sainte from the road today; The Lion Mound;
Marshal's confer in the museum 
A while ago i had the wonderful opportunity to visit the battlefield of Waterloo on a trip to Europe.  Having a spare day from a conference in Amsterdam I caught the train to Brussels whilst reading Andrew Uffindells "On the Fields of Glory" which described the site as it was and how it was to be found today (circa 2003).  Some four hours later I arrived and then took the local suburban line to Braine L'alleude.

Having arrived on a Sunday at around midday there was, much to my surprise, not a taxi to be found.  A quick walk across the road to the bar across the way revealed that the drivers had all gone home for their lunch.  The bar manager, finding out that I had come all the way from Australia, through the keys to the till to his friend playing cards, beckoned me to follow and within fifteen minutes his elderly mother and he had driven me to the visitors centre without wanting a euro in return.

A lovely memory of lovely, gentile and courteous local folks helping a stranger in need.

From right to left: French Horse artillery dolman and shako; The plaque on La Haye Sainte honouring the men who fought there; The "Wounded Eagle Memorial" to the French dead.

Having arrived at the centre on a rainy, grey afternoon, it was soon revealed that the regular tour guide had called in sick with a cold.  Never mind, we rang a local taxi company and for 50 Euros he drove me around the battlefield at my leisure.

It was amazing.

Hougoumont was wonderful and still a working farm from what I was told.  The museum near La Haie Sainte was both tremendous and hilarious at the same time.  So many wonderful exhibits behind glass with a button to push to hear an English translation of the scene.  Can you imagine my mirth hearing a Terry Thomas impersonator with perfect English Oxford diction, read his script on tape complete with rustling papers, glasses being placed on the recording table etc.

So good.

The opportunity to visit the Panorama de la Bataille, housed in a wonderful circular building was a once in a lifetime ocurrence.  Though my photographs were far too dark to show here, I did purchase a wonderful postcard that concertinas out to show the entire depiction of the battle.  Tremendous.

The pictures below depict from the bottom, the plaque outside the North gates of Hougoumont.  Directly behind this wall is "The Great Barn" which according to Mark Adkins, has changed little since the battle itself.  The plaque is a memorial to the 3rd Foot Guard, 2nd battalion, who died defending the gates.

The picture of the Carabinier and Cuirassier breastplates and helmets is actually from Invalides however I always think of the brassy, golden uniformed heavy cavalry of Napoleons charging during the 1815 campaign for some reason.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Peninsular action from years gone by

Great conversion work from Greg "The Unlucky General" B 

With the Peninsular War being back in the rotation I thought it would be a good chance to show a couple of quick shots of a game played many years ago when I was still living in Sydney.  This particular game was put on at MOAB in Sylvania by Dean, Greg, Grant and Matt and I was lucky enough to play as well.

I commanded the Spaniards, had a great time and thought the terrain and figures were first class.