Sunday 28 February 2010

A cruel misfortune

There's a very nice vignette on Jason's Place for miniatures etc for our period. Follow the progress of the project from start to finish. Excellent.

Battle of Helsingborg 1710

Today was fought this battle of the GNW in 1710 - shame it's not being celebrated in Helsingborg but that's modern life I suppose.

Saturday 27 February 2010

Nafziger collection online

When I heard about this I thought maybe it was a piracy thing but it seems all the Nafziger orders of battle are up for download. Great. Read about it on Steve the Wargamer with all the links.

Friday 26 February 2010

Seven Ages of Britain - Taking Sides

Episode dealing with the Civil War. Starts off with a visit to a Civil War reenactment and takes it from there. Good stuff if you missed it.

Thursday 25 February 2010

What are you trying to say Youtube?

Are you aware of the 'recommended for you' feature on Youtube. Well it throws ideas to view out based on things you have already watched - sometimes they are good - sometimes funny. Like this one I had just now
l How to Seduce a woman. Guide to...
Because you watched

Are they saying people who like model soldiers need tips on how to chat up girls...funny!

Friday 19 February 2010

An Update On The "Plastic Olympics"

As you all no doubt know, both Ralphus and I have been trying to keep abreast of all of the new 1/72nd plastics releases that are either already out or in the pipeline. And there have been many announced sets that have sounded very exciting and some that even showed stellar box art to whet our appetite's. Well, here is an update of sorts on what we now know, what we perceive, and what we suspect:

Zvezda - So far, so good, With only a few minor glitches reported by Will McNally on the Russian Artillery here, here and here, the great review of the Prussian Grenadiers on PSR here, and the advance shots of the Swedish Artillery, it certainly looks like Zvezda has captured the Gold medal.

BUM/GerMan - With all of the announced sets for the Catalan theater of the WSS, there was some real excitement building for these figures. And, to be completely fair, judging by both the PSR reviews and some samples that I've picked up, the quality of sculpting has improved. The inclusion of the resin-cast pre-terrained pieces will either be to your liking or not, but some are quite good. The inclusion of different troop types or artillery mixed in with the main, advertised troop type will probably be an annoyance unless one carefully factors in these "extras" when planning their orders. The biggest drawback is that they are still using that awful plastic that is a bit like an old artist's gum eraser. If one isn't careful, and uses a sharp knife or snips, you can actually tear a figure in half trying to de-sprue it! I say a Silver medal for Quality and Variety, but just barely.

Strelets - Haven't done a lot recently in their GNW range, but the "Narva to Poltava" set, reviewed here, is finally out and contains quite a few useful figures. Ideally, if one already had a GNW collection, these would provide several good character/officer/personality figures and enough infantrymen to still do a decent unit or just provide some variety in existing units. They still suffer from Strelets variable sculpting quality, but are better than some others out there. I would award Strelets the Bronze medal just on the basis of this one very large set.

Mars - Ah, now we come to real disappointment. After years of making copies of other's products, Mars finally set out to do some sculpting of their own and picked some useful subjects. I was really looking forward to their Saxon Infantry set, as well as their Polish Haijduks and possibly some of the TYW stuff. However, based on PSR's review of their Swedish GNW set here, and their Polish Haijduk set here, the excitement is fading fast. To quote PSR's review of the Swedish Infantry,

"They say that pictures are worth a thousand words, and that is something we firmly believe here at PSR. Our pictures of these figures speak as loudly as any, and seem to say, well, ugly!"

And, to make matters worse, Mars apparently have no idea what wargamers actually do with their figures based on the box contents. Each new set has contained exactly four (4) of EACH and every figure, command and non-combatants included. To be fair, the sculpting and casting quality of the Polish set is an improvement over the Swede's, and one can hope the Saxon's continue in this vein. However, based on their previous contents decision and extrapolating the total number of figures contained times the number of poses, the Saxon Infantry will contain the same four (4) of EACH pose (14), for the advertised total of 56 figures. While some of the ranker's poses look decent (assuming the sculpting and casting hold up to comparison), and you can actually simulate a 3-deep firing line if you wish, exactly 50% of all of the figures in the box will be command or other non-combatants! For the sake of argument, if one were to buy, say five (5) boxes to have enough ranker's for a few proper units, does anyone need 20 each of fifers, drummers, sergeants, ensigns, officers, colour bearer's and sappers? And I'm waiting to see someone use their Poles and do a 20-figure unit of "Young Rotamaster's Boys" carrying the great sword over their shoulder! Overall, I'm afraid I would have to give Mars a 10 for Intent, maybe a 7 for Effort, a 4 or 5 for Quality and a 1 for Performance. So far, they not only don't medal in this competition, they might want to consider if they're in the right game.

As always, my opinions are my own, your tastes may vary from mine. And, while I did award Zvezda the Gold, we still need those Russian Dragoons and some types of proper Heavy Cavalry before this range is close to complete.


De Ruyter's flagship

This is a webpage for the reconstructed warship 'The Seven Provinces' also moored there is the Batavia - this was damaged in a fire in 2008.
Incidentally the fantastic blog Anno Domini 1672 has an excellent contemporary image of Dutch marines. Maybe it's time we started a Dutch marine reenactment group so we can all go on these amazing ships?

Thursday 18 February 2010

Wargaming the ECW in 1/72

This blog Dux Homunculorum has an in-depth look at what's available in this scale both metal and plastic. Cavalry here Artillery here

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Army of Philip V

PSR reviews this 1/72 set of mostly grenadiers here.

Sunday 14 February 2010

Zvezda Swedish artillery of Charles XII

Well I am sure some of you are likely to be pleased by this new set. Usually Zvezda figures are superb and these look as good as their previous sets. Looking forward to the Russian dragoons.

Friday 12 February 2010

Gadebusch 1712

Today in 1700 the Great Northern War started so I thought I would post these images of the Swedish army at the battle of Gadebusch.
This was Sweden's last great victory and as far as I know the locals plan to celebrate in in 2012.

Thursday 11 February 2010

Assault on Copenhagen 1659

Today this action took place. Sounds like an interesting siege - the Swedes decide on an all-out assault and the defenders, a mix of soldiers, militia and students, forewarned are ready for them. These 19th century paintings are pleasant. I don't usually like 19thc historical art but these have something I like - maybe it's because I've never seen them before and it's a subject that is obscure.
2nd Northern War wiki

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Red Dragoons on Italian tv

This is great - the colourful Dragoni Rossi (recreating the era of Marsaglia 1693) on Turin television.

Monday 8 February 2010

An "Oldie" From 1970

Back when any decent form of reference work, in English, was very difficult to find for budding modeler's and wargamer's, René North published this delightful little book. "Military Uniforms 1686 to 1918" was certainly not encyclopedic, nor was it the last word on the subject. But it was a very well-done little "teaser", if you will, on the study of uniforms with some charming illustrations by John Berry (I believe a member artist of the Company of Military Historians). The book was published simultaneously in 1970 in the United States, Canada and the UK; by Grosset & Dunlap in the "colonies" and by Hamlyn Publishing in the UK. I'm not sure what the UK copy sold for, but the US copy originally retailed for $3.95, and I picked my copy up a couple of years later "remaindered" for a single dollar!

Imagine my surprise when this little gem from the past turned up on under their available downloads. For those not familiar, Scridb (with the "i" pronounced hard , as in "subscribe") is an online community, free to join, that allows users to both upload and download virtually any type of material. Educators use it for examples of papers, accountants for examples of balance sheets, and hobbyists for things like Msr. North's book as well as some Ospreys and others. Well worth checking out if you have some time to kill. The site is searchable and this book, along with the site, of course, can be found here. Now, if I could just find Henry Harris' old book on Model Soldiers and of course Garret's masterpiece.


Solomon Kane

This is a new British historical fantasy (set around 1610) opening on Feb 19. It is based on the character created by Conan author Texan R E Howard. James Purefoy plays the Devon Puritan swordsman (Purefoy was born in Taunton) which is planned to be part of a trilogy. Solomon Kane wiki

Sunday 7 February 2010

King's Army Whitehall March

If you missed last Sunday's march in London due to you living in Australia or something like that then you can see the event here in all its glory. 'The King and the Cause'. ECWS website
I read that the ECW is very popular at the moment - presumably partly because of the 28mm plastics that are on the market from Warlord Games. I try my hardest not to be negative on this blog but they seem a little expensive to me.

Friday 5 February 2010

Leuze 1691

Interesting image by Joseph Parrocel of the battle of Leuze fought in September 1691.
I must admit I am quite curious to see the forthcoming figures for the 1680s and 90s from Front Rank. Anybody seen any images on any forums?
Nine Years War wiki

Nehemiah Wharton

There isn't a lot of information from the ground in the English Civil War - from the ranks - but one man, a Roundhead sergeant of Holles' regiment, Nehemiah Wharton chronicled the early stages of the war - read about him here.
There's some gems in there:
Every day our soildiers by stealth doe visit papists' houses and constraine from them both meate and money. They give them whole greate loves and chesses, which they triumphantly carry away upon the points of their swords.
Things like that make you wonder whether the Civil War was really part of the general feeling of religious intolerance that was raging on the Continent - an add-on to the Thirty Years War if you like.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Hopton's Narrative of his campaign in the West

I read on Will's blog that he had an unsuccessful visit to Bath library to research the Lansdown campaign. Somerset in the Civil War and Interregnum by David Underdown is worth tracking down and this page on the Civil War in the West by Dr John Wroughton is also good.
Read or download Hopton's (see pic from 1637) narrative online here
There was a skirmish at Claverton in this campaign - now the site of the American Museum. Two cavaliers were buried in the church from this engagement. Hopton wiki
Hopton came from Witham Friary just outside Frome which answers Will's question about the sources being there.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Battle of Fraustadt 1706

Today in 1706 this battle was fought. This film from the Armemuseum is well worth watching if you don't speak Swedish - there's some pleasing reconstructions and some self-explanatory graphics. Part 2 here.
These Saxon-Polish redcoats look pretty smart - I don't suppose anyone reenacts troops from this nation in this period?
Anyway it's probably best to read the wiki on the battle then watch the programme.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Charles II - the power and the passion part 1

This BBC series from 2003 starts with a reasonable depiction of the execution of Charles the Martyr. The snow is an essential ingredient in any Charles I death scene methinks. I don't think I watched this when it was on tv but it looks worth watching and the Duke of Monmouth features in it somewhere.

Nell Gwynne

Today is the birthday of this famous actress of Restoration England. A fascinating life story on the wiki article telling a rags-to-riches tale that might make an interesting biopic.

Monday 1 February 2010

Skirmish at Bender

This event took place today in 1713. Charles XII and his retinue fought off Ottoman troops until Charles tripped on his spurs and was captured. Unlucky. There was apparently a 1983 comedy called Kalabaliken i Bender sadly I can't find any clips. Anyone seen it?