Sunday, 27 December 2009

Seasons Greetings

Had this great e-card from the Preobrazhensky Life Guards 1709 and thought you might also like it.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas To All!

May all of our
friends and readers
have a wonderful
Holiday Season and
New Year filled with
health, happiness,
prosperity and peace,
and continue to drop
by from time-to-time
to see where our
sometimes whimsical
tour bus decides to
stop next.


Merry Christmas

Hope you have a great seasonal break and
keep dropping by in the New Year.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Capture of Oppenheim

Wenceslas Hollar is the artist.

A couple of pleasant figures from Wm Britain

These two figures out of their Redcoat range are pleasing. One a Coldstream Guard pikeman of 1670 and the other Francis Hawley c1685.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Memoirs of a Cavalier by Daniel Defoe

OR A Military Journal OF The WARS in Germany, AND The WARS in England; From the Year 1632, to the Year 1648. Written Threescore Years ago by an English Gentleman, who served first in the Army of Gustavus Adolphus, the glorious King of Sweden, till his Death; and after that, in the Royal Army of King Charles the First, from the Beginning of the Rebellion, to the End of that War.
Published in 1720 this novel - in full online - tells the tale of a 17th century soldier from the Thirty Years War on to the Civil War. Another version here
I am not sure what the source for this book is - I remember reading somewhere that it was based on interviews conducted by Defoe - does anyone know more about this book?

Chateau Trompette 3 D model

Virtual exploration of a Vauban fortress. More on the place here.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Martin Hyde the Duke's Messenger

I think it's time we had something about the Monmouth Rebellion - this novel in full here by John Masefield is set during the Rebellion and might make a decent read.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Samurai reenactment

I know it's not really pike and shot but what the heck - it's interesting I think to look around the world - this festival in 2008 looks well done. Photos here

The Restoration Company

Some early music to soothe you through the cold days of winter. Info reads:
'The first part of a promotional video recorded by Restoration Company, a Dutch-based early-music ensemble specialised in historically informed performance of English music from 1650-1750 -- the era that encompasses Purcell, Handel and their contemporaries. The group's careful attention to the political, cultural, theatrical and literary context surrounding the music is one of its defining characteristics. Our video -- here split into three parts -- demonstrates the breadth and quality of Purcell's music, as well as the capabilities of each member of the group, and the resulting musical coherence. Visit our website for the texts of the pieces, some explanatory notes, and more general information on the group and its repertoire'.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Vauban fortifications

First part of a French tv programme on Vauban and his work. In 3 parts. Worth watching if you have an interest in fortifications and Vauban even if your French is basic (like mine).

Friday, 11 December 2009


Interesting little film about the leader of the Norwegian group recreating the era of 1704 getting ready and firing the group's cannon.
Kong Frederik den IV's Tambourafdeling af 1704.

See them at a display in 2009 here.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Gustav II Adolph

Today is the birthday, according to the wikipedia anyway of the man known to history as Gustavus Adolphus. Here he is at the battle of Breitenfeld at the turning point of the battle.

My Two Favorite Commanders Meet Osprey and Del Prado

During my recent mental health hiatus, I did indulge in some "retail therapy" which some of you might find interesting. I'm sure many of our readers are already familiar with Del Prado's 1/32nd scale figures offered by subscription through various retail outlets or direct from Del Prado. For those that are not, these encompass various subjects throughout history, grouped into sub-categories by subject matter, and are reasonably priced with the quality falling somewhere between "toy soldier" and true "miniature as art". One of their subscription series is titled "Cavalry Through The Ages" and features individual subjects ranging from Ancient Assyria (850 BC) to a German 1st Cavalry trooper in Russia in 1941. There are currently 25 different figures available, with "open" numbers left for 5 more to bring the total subscription to 30. However, they indicate that it will eventually comprise 80 different figures! Some of these are accompanied by a brief pamphlet produced by Osprey (hence their inclusion in my title).

Figure number CBH-009 is the subject I purchased, "Marshall Turenne, Battle of the Dunes, 1658". Included with this figure (of reasonable quality, both sculpting and painting) is a pamphlet by Osprey entitled "Cavalry Through The Ages, Turenne and Condé". Much of the material contained in the pamphlet is derived from the Osprey on Louis XIV's Army by René Chartrand, however, there is some excellent artwork that is not from Mssr. Chartrand's book. There is a brief outline of both Gentlemen's lives and careers along with some very nice woodcuts and the two paintings I have shown here. I have identified the painting below of Turenne as Lariviere's "Batalille des Dunes, 1658" (I think the correct title), and the Del Prado painters almost got it right, choosing for whatever reason to paint his sash and plume as a light blue instead of the correct white, as in the painting and the proper French "field sign" of the period.

This painting below is described in the pamphlet as "The Great Condé at the Battle of Lens", but I have been unable to find a painting with that title in the various on-line collections that I'm aware of. Perhaps one of our readers can help? I am hopeful that one of the "missing" titles in the series will be taken up with a figure of Condé based on this painting. Just in case it's not, I am already thinking about what would be required to convert an Airfix 54mm Royalist (really Charles I) to represent this subject. I love the pose and attitude of the white horse!

I happened to find my figure through a retailer closing out some "out of box" samples at a very favorable price, but even at the regular subscription rate of $20 US per figure, these are fair value. Do watch the accuracy of the painting however, they also do a figure called "French Captain of Musketeers, 1670" which has the figure on the gray horse of the 1st Company, but with the black hat of the 2nd Company. Easy enough to correct, but annoying none the less! Still, all things considered, not a bad way to add a little extra color and inspiration to the gaming room, den or painting table. I have my figure of Turenne on a shelf above the area where I'm working on his 15mm counterpart. Until next time....


Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Another Bila Hora 2009 film

Thought we might as well revisit this reenactment in the Czech republic. Maybe some of you might go down there next summer. I like this film - it puts you into the action with the pikemen on the left flank - you can almost smell the powder and experience the occasional bump on the head as someone's pike droops.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

European Weapons and Warfare by Eduard Wagner

Thanks to a reader in Toronto I have some scans to show the delightful artwork from this vintage book that makes up a unique introduction to the period. I really like the style of artwork - really sells the visual style of the era. Obviously my eyes are tinted with the rosey glow of nostalgia but as someone who doesn't like a lot of reading in a book (I used to be a proof reader) this is right up my street.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Jacobites in Derby

This weekend (6th/7th December) sees the return of an event to Derby - a weekend of reenactments and celebration around the visit to the city of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army by the Charles Edward Stuart society and their friends - the furthest south he got before deciding to go back to Scotland due to the lack of support from English Jacobites. It's not been ran for the last few years but it's back - this video shows the event in previous years. Article in local paper on the event and what's on and where.

Battle of Lund 1676

There's not many anniversaries of battles at this time of year for obvious reasons but the ones that do occur seem to always involve Sweden...Lutzen, Narva... and this one today from the Scanian War.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Spanish flintlock drill

Reconstruction of the loading sequence by some of the garrison at the Castillo de San Marcos near Fort Augustine in Florida.

A couple of images from the movie Alatriste

Has anyone seen this film? I have to admit from the clips I've seen it looks pretty good. These still images capture a certain something of the period and are tempting me but I'd like to hear from someone who has seen it.

Exciting News in Plastic!

From Plastic Soldier Review, there is exciting news from Mars today! While better-known to some plastic collectors and gamers for their "borrowing" of early Revell designs (a charitable term), Mars has recently begun sculpting and producing their own sets, some of which are very interesting. In recent months they have added new Imperialists, Swedes and Poles of the 17th century, some of which appear to be quite acceptable sculpts and very useful for filling out existing collections or starting new ones. Today they announced a venture into a new period, and one that is at the heart of this blog. Their newest announcement (no release date projected yet) is for Saxons of the late 17th, early 18th centuries, and the box art is presented above.

No individual figure quantities or details are available yet, but with a generous 56 figures, and several very useful poses offered, it is hoped that this set will find its way into several WSS or GNW collections. The uniform is very generic, except for the Grenadiers who are wearing the mitre cap, marking them as Germanic or British. There are several very useful command figures, musicians and sergeants, as well as what appears to be a pioneer with axe (which could easily prove useful in an artillery set). There are also three figures that will allow depiction of a three-rank deep firing line, depending on the quantities offered. All in all, this could prove to be a very useful set and offer a great deal of variety when mixed with existing StreletsR and Zvezda units.

As both this set and the Polish Haiduk offered earlier represent new periods for Mars, we can only hope that they will decide to add some cavalry to this venture, which remains our biggest shortcoming in this period. However, there was also a recent announcement and review of a set of "Hungarian" Hussars for the Catalan Wars period from GerMan that help address this shortfall. While there are some historical inaccuracies with the GerMan set, and their plastic is terrible (overly flexible and fragile), these are still very useful figures and could easily depict the earliest French Hussars. Keep your fingers crossed and light a candle, maybe we'll finally get some useful battle cavalry to supplement that offered by StreletsR and Zvezda's single set of Swedes. You can see PSR's full review of the Hussars here.

Until next time (hopefully without as long a delay!), enjoy the Holiday Season, ask Santa, Father Christmas, Peré Noel, or Kris Kringle for lots of new little toys, and be well my Friends.


My Absence and Apologies

To Our Readers;

First, my apologies for my lengthy absence from the blog. I have been in communication with Ralph and I believe he will concur that it was necessary, at least for my mental health. I do appreciate the personal e-mails that I received asking about me, and again apologize that I could not answer them in more detail at the time.

Ralph knows the full details of the actions that precipitated my absence, as my counselor recommended disclosing them to someone I considered a "close" friend. I will only speak in generalities here on the matter. Beginning in late August of this year, my Family has been exposed to an extremely traumatic series of events that I would not wish on anyone. This began when a Family member (by marriage I should note) betrayed the trust of the rest of the Family, and betrayed his responsibility as a Father by causing harm to another, defenseless and minor, member of the Family. This betrayal has had a "ripple" effect, resulting in criminal charges against the betrayer, my Daughter to be facing impending divorce, my Grandson and Granddaughter to now be without a Father, and my Wife and I to have to face our worst fears, deal with our own thoughts of retribution (biblical justice has entered my mind on more than one occasion), and try and keep the core Family unit together under the worst imaginable conditions. We are all undergoing counseling and hopefully will begin to see some return to normality in the near future. We did have a good Thanksgiving holiday under the circumstances, and hope to have a good Christmas, for the children if nothing else.

While I have kept up with goings-on here and on other blogs that I follow, and have attempted to publicise the blog in occasional postings on TMP and the OSW wargaming Yahoo Group, I simply wasn't ready to re-focus my efforts on painting, researching, writing and the other activities that are relevant to this blog. I think I am now ready to begin trying to function again, but I hope that you will bear with me, as we do still have pending legal matters that will probably occupy my thoughts and time facing us. Thank you again for your patience and certain individuals for your concerns. At least for now, I remain;

Sir William the Aged