Sunday, 6 December 2015

London Toy Soldier Show - December 5th 2015

Yesterday I trollied off to the London Toy Soldier Show, I don't care for the commute into Town at the best of times but have to admit that I felt a little uneasy navigating the London Underground in the wake of recent events in Paris and elsewhere.  However, we can't let such fears dictate our lives and I was in desperate need for a fix of plastic and metal, so here are a few items that aroused my curiosity.

The idea of transporting medieval artillery is something which has rather slipped below my radar so I was quite amused by this piece, although not amused enough to pay £80 for it.  Somewhere or other I'm sure I have a spare set of Marx bullocks, from the remould western waggon, harnessed up like this which could be pressed into such service.

This one I really liked but I'm not sure how feasible it would be for that horse to push the gun forward like that, what do you think?  I didn't get a note of who made these two but they have given me some food for thought on future scratchbuilding. 

This King & Country stuff has to be admired but is way out of my budget (at £120), still, more food for thought and I know I have plenty of Britains camels and spare Saracens knocking around.

A Samurai group by First Legion, nice to see the armour details and colours, another project I've been squirrelling away the figures for and must get around to basing and painting (maybe over the holiday period)

So what did I get?  well quite a lot really but mostly figures from the junk boxes for conversions rather than collectable items and a small hoard of catalogues from an old timer who was having a clear out, more of this anon when time permits.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

7YW Cavalry.....but which Regiment?

Over the past few years I have been building up a Prussian army for the 7 Years War, some of which has featured on this blog and that of Vauban & Shandy  The quality of modelling hasn't been as high as the period deserves due to the limitations of my skill and patience, both of which are intolerably low, but they have a naive charm to them which works for me. 

So what is this ramble all about?  well, since before I started this project I've always wanted to have a unit of Hussars in mirliton helmets and about a year ago I picked up four suitable heads from Alexanders Toy Soldiers (ATS) - this is what I did with them:

The ATS heads on Dulcop Napoleonic hussar bodies and mounted on horses by Jean Hoefler, the later are a bit "My Little Pony" but I quite like their jauntiness and they paint up nicely.

Since then I've squirrelled away enough body parts to make 24 figures, which in my little Toy Soldier world equates to three Regiments - but what to paint them up as?

My original thought was one of those black clad Totenkopf outfits but now that seems a bit dramatic for the table top and in any case I do like a bit of colour.   Also, what to do with the other two Regiments?  I currently have one each of Cuirassiers and Dragoons so three units of Hussars would surely be too unwieldy?

I draw heavily on the Kronoskaf site for research and I'm currently recruiting for the armies of  Brandenburg, Austria and Russia, as well as others outside the 7YW period, so my question to you dear reader is what should I paint these three Regiments up as?  Your consideration in this matter is much appreciated.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Die Zinnlaube - issue 5

Recently arrived on my doormat (well about three weeks ago now) was the latest issue of Die Zinnlaube,  magazine of German collectors group "Freunde alter Spielzugfiguren".  This journal only appears once a year and doesn't get a great deal of exposure, it's very well produced and it's articles written in German are also translated into English and French (that's why it takes them a year to get each issue out), so I like to give it a plug where I can.

For the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo the cover sports a rare composition figure of  Napoleon made by Sonneberg circa 1840

A sample peek to show the style and layout of the articles

Contents are: Forward by the editor Ignacio Czeguhn.

Auslandseinatz 1850/51 - die "Strafbayern" in Kurhessen - Bavarian chevau-legers in tin.

Mont St. Jean, Belle Alliance or Waterloo - Napoleon's last battle. The course of  the Battle of Waterloo as depicted by various manufacturers in tin and lead.

Die Reisen aus Wurzburg - Ferdinand of Wurzburg's coach, made circa 1820 by Ruckert

The tin soldiers of Carl Heidorn in Lubeck, circa 1850

Merten Figures - in metal and plastic, semi flat and fully round

With spear and rifle against tank and aircraft - toy soldiers depicting the Italo-Ethiopian War

The Iron Chancellor was sometimes made of tin and lead - character figures of Otto von Bismark

Gustave Vertunni - book review.

Who made these? unknown figures

The Collection of Rob Wilson 

This issue runs to 128 pages illustrated throughout in full colour and costs just 10 Euro (+ 7 Euro postage) so shouldn't break the bank, it's available from: 
more info from: Gisbert Freber

Also awaiting my return was the latest issue of Plastic Warrior - see blog list on the left for details and watch out for a detailed review of it on the Small Scale World blog by Hugh Walters, who does it so much better than me.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Last Kingdom

A short break immediately after the Waterloo 200 wargame afforded me the time to reflect on so many toy soldier projects started then left in limbo for one reason or another, so I started a list with the intention of getting some of them completed on my return home.  Top of the list was a Viking warband, which has been sitting based and undercoated in a drawer for yonks, influenced after reading Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred of Bebbanburg novels, these chaps are intended to double up as Celts/Barbarians to oppose the Roman Legion I started several years ago.

I painted all of these up yesterday and very pleasant it was to have a break from uniform Regiments of Napoleonics or Frederickians.  The chap with the shield on the left who looks like he's eating a squirrel will eventually be the standard bearer when I print up an appropriate flag for him.  Mrs C is of the opinion that the Cherilea figures on the right are in the same poses as the male models that featured on knitting patterns in the 1950's, I suppose that might explain why they're wearing chain mail "tank tops" and Madonaesque bullet bras!

Anyway, the reason for the title of this post is pure serendipity, as I applied the last touch of paint to these figures this morning I opened my newspaper to read that Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred novels are coming to the telly, in eight episodes, produced by the same firm that brought us Downton Abbey and airing in the UK on 22nd October (also on BBC USA but I don't know the dates)

Here's the preview :    The Last Kingdom

Brilliant stuff 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Funny Little Wars - Waterloo 200 game

Yesterday saw 9 enthusiasts meet in a London park for the long awaited Waterloo 200th Anniversary Celebration Wargame.  The sun shone as 2,000 54mm toy soldiers were unpacked and positioned to refight the battles of  Wavre and Waterloo across two vast windswept fields.  I've always thought the importance of Wavre was rather underrated in the potential importance and significance it had on the outcome of the 100 days campaign, so I was glad to see it included in this event.  The players commanding on the Waterloo field set up their respective troops while the Wavre Battle was played out and therefore didn't know whether it would be Blucher's Prussians or Grouchy's French that would arrive to take part in the main event.

This isn't a battle report (look out for a full report on the Megablitz and More blog, see blog list to the left) just gratuitous pictures of some lovely toy soldiers out in the grass on a sunny day.

French light cavalry and horse artillery approach Mont St. Jean, in the background is the chateau of Hougoumont

A closer look at Hougoumont defended by British and Allied troops on the right flank

The farmhouse of La Haye Sainte viewed from Mont St Jean, beyond it is the sandpit defended by the 95th Rifles.   The flags in the background represent troops which are not yet visible to the enemy, some may be dummy markers.

French infantry and artillery deploy before La Haye Sainte, further back on the road Napoleon and his staff  confer at the Inn of La Belle Alliance

Allied artillery dominate the centre of the field from the heights of Mont St Jean, the much vaunted new fangled Rocket Battery proved devastatingly ineffective!

French cavalry masses on the plain before Mont St Jean

The charge is sounded

The infantry calmly form into square to meet the thundering tide of French cavalry

The squares hold as the horsemen surge around them

The cavalry reform for another attempt

The steady British infantry await the next wave

The Prussians arrive 

The Prussian artillery opens up..... support of the cavalry

The final act on the plains before Mont St Jean, the massed cavalry clash

The melee continues for several rounds 

Until both sides brake off  and retire

The field of battle was so large that you couldn't follow anything that was going on elsewhere, only the the action you were immediately involved with, and that's how it should be.  So this is just a flavour of the biggest game we've played to date and no doubt there will be reports on the many other actions played popping up elsewhere on the blogosphere like here on Wargaming Miscellany.

That's all for now folks!