Wednesday 23 December 2009
The family are recovering by degrees (and many thanks for all the good wishes - they have been much appreciated) and the last of the prezzies has been acquired and will be wrapped and tree bound early this evening after the last of the food shopping has been tucked away. The beers and wine celler have been placed on Defcon 2 or yellow alert in readiness for the digestive onslaught and I am at the happy stage of 'if-we-have-not-got-it-then-we-wont-be-getting-it'. It will be nice to have the break and it is my avowed intention not to set foot out of the door until boxing day!
In closing then, I hope that everyone has a great time and that Santa has remembered at least a few of the items on your lists - socks are useful but not as interesting as an Osprey or a battle pack of some description!
**Health, wealth and happiness is the toast - Cheers one and all!**
Sunday 20 December 2009
Cursing a cruel fate I set about tackling each of the tasks in turn and was well into them when the thought suddenly struck me. This minor weather blip has caused all manner of mechanical glitches of the frozen kind so how must it have been on the Russian Front 1941 - 1945 when temperatures down to minus plenty and then some were the norm during winter. It certainly puts a perspective on the sheer scale of the weather issue. If a simple thing like a back door lock and a cat flap can keep me amused for a couple of hours whilst suffering from a relatively minor winter ailment imagine trying to get a tank moving whilst suffering from frostbite, bronchitis and sundry other more serious cold related unpleasantness whilst people were busily trying to perforate you in numerous and interesting ways..........
Anyone that has not read Guy Sajer's - The Forgotten Soldier should do so for a fraction of the point I am clumsily trying (and he was much better able to) to make. It is also something that should realistically be factored into any winter or extreme weather games - the issue of winter mechanical reliability.
As mentioned yesterday, my new Bulgarian 75mm artillery has arrived for the Balkan Wars set up so I can at last tackle the serious business of preparing to get them (and of course the Turks) painted.
Friday 18 December 2009
I will have to go back to work on Monday so am hoping that the intensive regime of medication will kick in and get me there - sadly I don't get any sick pay!
I have managed to resolve the Bulgarian 75mm gun situation though so all is not lost!
Thursday 17 December 2009
Should any readers be able to shed any further light on this I would appreciate it - as would my 15mm Bulgarian gun crews!
Tuesday 15 December 2009
The one issue that is a little thornier though concerns regimental flags. I have seen some pictures of Bulgarian flags - of a pattern a little earlier than the Balkan Wars - that look very similar to Prussian/Russian types but I have no clue as to whether or not this is a standard version or whether the colours are regimental specific. There is always the old standby of the national flag which I could use if need be. I did find a Bulgarian military website, in Bulgarian, which had some great photographs on it but frustratingly little detail as far as flags are concerned.
The Turks are a little easier in that all their flags appear to be red with a white crescent with a stand of arms or crossed cannon barrels in gold with a gold fringe.
I suspect that just using the national flags in each case will have to suffice in the absence of anything more concrete.
Sunday 13 December 2009
www.irregularminiatures.co.uk so reference should be made to them for closer examination if need be.
These are very nice and certainly look the part - I was particularly taken with the Bulgarian Infantryman advancing as he has a variant with a blanket roll over his shoulder as well as one with the large furry sheepskin hat that certain formations used due to shortages of uniform items. They also feature the leather leggings that were a civilian item of clothing but again, pressed into service due to equipment shortages. The challenge I will have though will be locating details of what Bulgarian infantry flags looked like as standards were still carried (as they were for the Turks as well) in action. There are 3 infantry poses - the two advancing mentioned and a figure kneeling firing. With the revolver wielding officer and the standard bearer there is sufficient variety to be able to mix up the bases pretty well. The final infantry type is the HMG and crew of two - the firer is cast on the weapon whilst the number two is separate. There is a slight variation in these figures in that one of the number twos has a blanket roll whilst the other does not. The cavalry contains a mix of figures with sabres drawn at rest on the shoulder with carbines slung or with the carbine held upright and resting with the butt on the riders thigh. The horses are mostly standing or pawing the ground so the whole unit (8 figures) will look as though it is at rest which I prefer for my cavalry units. The field artillery is from the Really Useful Gun range and consists of a pair of Krupp 75mm field guns and Schneider 12cm howitzer. The gunners are in standard 'serving' poses so need little comment from me. I am not convinced that the guns are correct though - the Bulgarians did capture rather a lot of Turkish artillery (the Krupp 75mm variety) and made use of the same but their main pre war outfit was the the French Schneider QF 75mm which looks very different to the German piece. I will take this up with Irregular and see what they have to say. Finally, the Bulgarian staff officer (which I am using as the overall C in C) is a delight - fully bearded (considered the height of fashion and virility in certain Bulgarian quarters!) and wielding a sword as he no doubt urges his countrymen on to tackle the hated Turk!
On the subject of the Turks, they are even nicer and most of the comments applicable to the Bulgarians are equally usable for the army of the Porte. No blanket rolls or woolly hats but fezzes that are nicely defined. The Cavalry are lance armed types which are very nice and well suited to overawing the locals! Once again I will need to check the artillery as the field gun is the 77mm gun which was in use by the Germans during the First World War. The version that should be use is the 75mm Krupp 1904 variant of the 1896 gun - how similar that is to the 77mm I will need to check with Irregular. Finally, mention must be made of the Turkish General figure - he is absolutely glorious; overweight, wearing a full length greatcoat and looking not unlike Nazim Pasha so I am very much looking forward to painting him.
Aside from the artillery issues mentioned I will only need to order a few additional pieces from Irregular to round off the collection. I will need some more gunners and perhaps some extra advancing figures just to give a little extra variety to both forces. I need to consider supply wagons as well - mainly ox-driven. In any event, I am really looking forward to tackling these figures - the only issue I have is to find two differing shades of khaki to paint the armies with. The Bulgarian khaki is 'browner' whilst the Turkish is 'greener'. Oh, and the flags!
Saturday 12 December 2009
This is first class service and no mistake and I shall certainly be looking long and hard at their catalogue for some other bits and pieces for the collection.
The figures are pretty good and are close to 15mm and so seem a little on the small side against, for example, Essex. They are a little rough in finish but not excessively so and will look fine when painted. The figure mix (bearing in mind you have to rely on Irregular's choice of models when purchasing a pack type deal) was not too bad either although I will need to add a few foot just to round up the unit sizes. Also, the gun crews are only 2 figures in the pack rather than the 4 that usually get when buying a gun separately. All in all then, first class service and a very good selection of models for the price.
Friday 11 December 2009
The forces will be quite modest in terms of the number of models but will certainly have sufficient variety for all manner of one off games and scenarios using my rules of choice for this period: When Empires Clash by Bob Cordery. Each side will have 48 infantry, 8 cavalry, 2 x MGs, 2 x Field Guns and a Howitzer and a command group of a general, a cavalry trooper and a foot officer. This seems a little on the heavy side in terms of equipment but as mentioned, I really wanted to have the choice. The Infantry will be based in 3s and the mounted in 2s all on bases of a 40mm frontage. I have chosen the Turks and Bulgarians to begin with but will add the Greeks and Serbs in due course. Hopefully the Montenegrins will be ready at some point (Ian at Irregular has them on his ‘to do’ list) so the next battlepack will be Greeks and Turks with the final one Serbs versus Montenegrins. I know that the latter is not a historical match up per se but it is a viable way of taking advantage of the battlepack concept. It means that the Turks will be the biggest single force with the ‘allies’ having greater numbers overall.
Of course having Turks from the 1912 era does raise the question of perhaps some Italian opposition - in conjunction with some Sanussi tribesmen for the Italo-Turkish war at some point. My knowledge of the Italian army of the period is very limited and so I am unsure of what figures, if any, would be suitable for them in 15mm. The Sanussi are also a challenge as although they are ‘Arabs’ they have more of a wraparound headscarf than the usual Bedouin headgear. At first glance they look more like long robed and bare-legged Afghan tribesmen so I will need to research this further in due course.
The naval side has already been taken care of with all the fleets represented (and ready to use) in 1/3000th scale with the exception of the Italians. This will not be a problem though as the redoubtable Mr Fox has a large collection of Italian ships, no doubt desirous of trying to force conclusions with the fleet of the Sublime Porte.
Thursday 10 December 2009
It was a no-brainer really although the Arab Revolt came a very close second - failing only because I cannot see any suitable figures for the Sanussi; either in 15mm or any other scale!
The order to Irregular will be on its way this weekend so watch this space for progress.
Tuesday 8 December 2009
In the meantime preparations for Xmas have been proceeding apace with yours truly dropping several broad hints about what he wants on December 25th!
I still think that small is beautiful and so will be pusuing the DBA style forces mentioned in earlier posts. I must confess that I am intrigued by the prospect of the Arab Revolt and have been looking at it anew - particularly the Sanussi invasion of Egypt. Turkish backed tribesmen with regular infantry, MGs, artillery and hordes of Bedouin opposed by Imperial infantry, yeomanry cavalry and Rolls Royce Armoured Cars certainly has my vote as a gameable period!
Much to ponder methinks..............again!!
Thursday 3 December 2009
By way of a diversion from the aforementioned college and work related ‘stuff’, I have been following with much interest Bob Cordery’s work contained within his inspirational blog http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.com/ in connection with the Modern Morschauser rules and am very excited by the possibilities they offer. They are a simple grid based set of rules designed by Jo Morschauser for the modern period (for modern read WW2 and earlier – basically the first half of the 20th century) and are ideal for fast play, solo or club night games. The original rules are very old – early 60’s vintage in fact – and Bob has been bringing these back to life and updating the core ideas in a more usable format suitable for today’s audience. They are very simple but challenging and make use of a square grid for ranges and movement. They suit my own ideas as to how rules should be written and games played and so I am eagerly looking forward to Bob’s final version of this set and fully intend using them for my own projects – in whatever form they eventually take! I remember reading somewhere that “anybody can write a complex set of wargames rules; writing a simple set is much more difficult”. How true this is and so, in my opinion, simpler sets covering a couple of sides of A4 should be more than sufficient for an evening’s entertainment. Simple does not have to mean simplistic and I could use the old standby of chess being a simple to game to play but rich in mental challenge.
I am hoping that my as yet unfulfilled interest in the Spanish Civil War may become a reality using these rules and so I have been dragging out the Peter Pig catalogue to see what is available for this conflict. My other two 20th century periods of choice – the Balkan Wars and the Arab Revolt – will be fought using another set of Bob’s rules - When Empires Clash - which are also available in a Colonial version for the small wars of the 19th century. As I mentioned earlier, take a look at Bob’s blog for some really informative and inspirational stuff, it is well worth a visit!
It has been quite liberating to take a step back from my ongoing naval considerations as they have taken up much of my gaming and modelling time this year and so a change of direction is most welcome. I was undecided as to whether to use 20mm plastic or 15mm metal but my current thinking is that 15mm will have the advantage of ensuring that I only need one scale of scenery. The associated considerations of cost and space are also significant so I am therefore thinking that from a practical perspective 15mm should be the preferred scale. Initially I was a little disappointed by this as I have always enjoyed 20mm plastics and the associated kit bashing but given that I will not actually need very much in the way of vehicles it will be a sacrifice I can live with. The Ottoman Turkish 18th century/Napoleonic army I have is in 15mm and also this is the preferred size at the club for DBA games so it makes even more sense for me to work in this scale.
As you may have gathered the three 20th century projects I have in mind (i.e. I would like to tackle each of them but will limit myself to just one to start with) are the Balkan Wars (Irregular Miniatures), Spanish Civil War (Peter Pig) and the Arab Revolt (Minifigs). I am really unsure as to which to tackle first although I suspect that either the Balkans or the Arabs will feature in the final showdown!
I intend to post an argument for and against for each of these periods and am unashamedly using the blog as a sounding board for the ideas around each of these periods/projects.
So there you have it - I know what rules I shall be using and what figure scale I will employ. I have the three periods mapped in my mind for consideration and have already identified the figure manufacturers I shall be using. All that remains for me to do is to decide which period will come first and that will be the next challenge!