Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Memoir 44 in 54mm - Battle for Carpiquet

For those that don't know (which included me until a couple of weeks ago), Memoir 44 is the WW2 version of the boardgame Battle Cry, more specifically it's about the campaign in Europe after the D Day landings in Normandy.  The scenario we chose to play was the drive on Carpiquet by the Canadians of 8th Brigade facing 12th SS Panzer Division, Anthony and I have adapted Battle Cry quite successfully to 54mm for the ACW and Zulu wars but how would it fare with WW2?

The initial set up, the Canadians have five armoured and eight infantry units, The Germans have three armoured (two of which are elite) and seven infantry units all in well prepared defensive positions.  The Canadians objective, the village of Carpiquet, is on the right hand baseline, half way up the table nestling behind the hills and woods.

Canadian infantry advance, probing the way for their armour.

On the Allied right, the Sherman tanks of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers rumble through the winding Normandy bocage......

......while the Panzer Grenadiers are dug in waiting for them.

On the Allied left the Canadians begin clearing the small villages of their defenders.

The seemingly endless grind through the bocage.

In the centre the Canadians make better going as the land opens to rolling fields.

The mat and toys were all Anthony's, infantry units are represented by six figures and armour by a single tank.

The mortar units look impressive, for the purpose of this game they count the same as any other infantry unit.

More tomorrow, or the day after, perhaps.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

The Toy Soldier Artistry of Holger Eriksson

Lou Sandbote is a well known name among toy soldier collectors, he has been editor of the Holger Eriksson Collectors Society newsletter since the early 1990's and his enduring passion for the subject has been a great inspiration to all of us.  Since those early days there has always been talk of a book but it seemed as though it would never materialise, part of the problem being that it is a monumental story following the movements of several major characters across three Continents, new information was constantly coming to light and indeed it continues to do so.  The book is now published and here it is:

With just over 300 pages it contains pictures of 6,607 toy soldiers (I didn't count them but Norman Joplin says so in his Introduction to the book).  Chapters include a look at the individuals who made the figures, an Identification Guide, 54mm Comet-Authenticast and SAE, Malleable Mouldings, Eriksson's own connoisseur range, 30mm SAE and AHI figures.

A taster of the page layout and format of the book, every page is illustrated in full colour, it really is an inspiring piece of work.

This is a self published work so (at present) you can only order it direct from Lou Sandbote, 3521 Potomac Avenue, Highland Park, Texas, 75205 USA.  ISBN no. 978-0-692-08536-3.  I have Lou's email address but I'm not going to put it out on the internet, if you would like it please leave me a message.  Lou tells me that so far 200 copies have been printed and more than half have already been sold, so if you want a copy don't hang around, my copy cost $95 plus $69 p&p to the UK.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Battle Cry Isandlwana with 54mm toy soldiers

The new year has seen a long awaited return to playing games with toy soldiers, give or take a day it was the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Isandlawna so it seemed only fitting to recreate it on the table.  Anthony has been diligently building up a superb Zulu War collection made by Little Legion Toy Soldiers and found a scenario for Isandlwana on the internet using the Battle Cry game system devised by Richard Borg.  We were joined by John, a long standing enthusiast of H G Wells "Little Wars" who acted as umpire.  Here's how it went:

The Zulus deployed in traditional "Buffalo Head" formation, the main body (chest) formed up across the donga while the horns work their way around the flanks. The British infantry form up in line behind the donga, with Durnford's Natal Native Horse on the left flank and a gun in the centre covering the right flank.

The Zulu line makes an impressive sight, they have no firepower but if they can close to contact their units have greater resilience in hand to hand combat.  The Zulu also have a slight advantage in command control to reflect their mobility and tactical use of terrain.

The British depend on being able to bring their superior firepower to bear.

A few of my Zulus, produced by "A Call to Arms" made up the numbers, painting the laces on Zulu shields is a most laborious chore. 

The British line waits steadily for the onslaught.

The Zulu right horn falls on the British left flank and steadily wears it down.

Durnford's troopers attack the Zulu left horn and stall the advance on that flank but are wiped out in the process.

With the main action taking place on both flanks the Zulu centre waits to see the outcome.

The British line moves up to shorten the range and fires off a volley forcing some of the Zulu units to fall back.

With the flanks being steadily overwhelmed by the horns, the chest surges forward in an all out attack.

The British line fragments, and suddenly it's all over.

The game played out surprisingly similar to the historical narrative, which is the mark of a well designed scenario and what we always aim for.  It took about three hours to play (including a break for beer and bacon butties).   


The above event will be held on 16th March 2019 in Woking and you can find all the details on the Group Forum here: LWR Forum 2019 Games Day  Anthony plans to put on another game using his Little Legions Zulu War collection at the event and will be using the Portable Wargame rules devised by Bob Cordery.  So if you want to watch or take part in some great wargames played using 54mm toy soldiers why not come along for the day.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Lost and Found

I recently recovered the hard drive from a laptop long since out of use, among numerous pictures of cats and holidays there were a few of toy soldiers, including these:

Clearly the early moves of a wargame but I don't remember when, who was playing or what the rules were.  No matter, it's always nice to see old toys out on the table.  I think I originally posted these pics up on one of the old Yahoo Groups so there may be more of the same wafting around in the ether.

A close up of the Allied Command.  Most of the mounted figures came from the collection of John Ruddle and have seen action in his legendary garden wargames, a few of the foot conversions are my own humble efforts.

Wishing a peaceful, happy Christmas to one and all, hopefully there will be more toy soldiers in the New Year.

Friday, 16 November 2018

London Toy Soldier Show

It seems I took these pictures at the London Toy Soldier Show in December 2017 and started a post but never published it, so here it is, nearly a year late but at least it serves as a reminder that the next show will be on Saturday 1st December 2018 more details HERE.  I can't remember who any of the makers of these figures are, but they are all regulars at the show, so I'll just let the pictures do the talking.

If you know who made any of these figures do let me know and I'll give them the plug they deserve.  I use pictures like this to to give me inspiration when it comes to making conversions and also for ideas on painting schemes so I hope it will be of some help to others too.