Tuesday, 5 June 2007

News and views







For reasons I can't quite fathom, my painting output has slowed down over the past couple of weeks. I have slipped behind my 12 figures a week standard and the 4th Foot, which should have been finished by the end of May, is still 6 figures away from completion. Two long weekends were lost to a trip to Turin (alas, the Risorgimento Museum was closed for renovation) and a particularly arduous New World wine tasting in London (those Californians sure know how to make cabernet sauvignon; shame it's so expensive over here). I have also turned my attention to the Perry Sudan range as a bit of an antidote to my recent Napoleonic excesses - the first fruits of this project can be seen below. The American Civil War is also beckoning, a period I have long wanted to investigate. Anyway, my Kiwi chums over on the Kapiti Fusiliers forum run a monthly painting target system called "The Pledge" and I have committed myself to painting the 21st Foot, 4 guns and crews, the Perry Stockbridge Indian pack and a couple of the new ammunition carts by the end of June. Golly.

Times remain good for AWI enthusiasts. Alan Perry's 25mm range seems to have been rejuvenated and new packs are being released with the Perries' customary alacrity. I am currently waiting for the new 3-pounders and ammunition carts to arrive. Next up we are promised "amusettes" for Hessian jaeger and the Queen's Rangers - a sort of AWI equivalent of Napoleonic Swedish Guardsmen or Volksturm bicycle couriers. Front Rank have recently released a new 40mm line, starting with British regulars in Royal Warrant dress. I can see the attraction of 40mm for collecting or skirmish games, but for me it's a scale too far. One of the joys of wargaming the AWI is that the battles are of a size that is quite easily recreated on the tabletop and readily lend themselves to 25mm treatment with a generous figure to soldier ratio. Furthermore, the figures available in 25mm combine to make ths AWI in this scale one of the most complete ranges avaliable for any period.

A trio of new books have recently come to my attention. "George III: America's Last King" by Jeremy Black was published in November last year as part of the reliable Yale English Monarchs series. I have not had a chance to read it yet but a quick perusal shows that, as the title suggests, the book seems to concentrate on George as a political figurehead rather than providing an analysis of his private life and character (for which Christopher Hibbert's "George III" remains an excellent read). "Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought" by Michael Stevenson also looks interesting; it was published by HarperCollins in April. Lastly, from an online remaindered book service called Postcript Books (www.psbooks.co.uk), I picked up a history of liberal thought in the 18th century called "Nobody's Perfect", by Annabel Patterson (also published by Yale). This is clearly a weighty read, being an account of how "Whig" ideas developed in English society, but contains some interesting information. Looking up references to the AWI, for example, told me that Sir Joshua Reynolds announced his firm belief that the Americans would (and deserved to) win the war by betting with his friends that he would never be asked to paint the portrait of a captured George Washington.

The photo above shows fusiliers from the Hessian von Buenau Garrison Regiment. These are Perry figures I painted last November and it will prbably be a while before I complete the unit. Below, just for fun, are pictures of some Beja tribesmen from the Perry Sudan Wars range, clearly a long way from their desert home. These were painted the week after the Salute show in April this year. Later this week I will post some pics of the Rall Grenadier Regiment and British light infantry.


13 comments:

Callum said...

Nice to see the Perry "fuzzy-wuzzies" up on the site as well as the Royal Artillery and American Generals. I agree that the Perry twins AWI range is one of the best out there although I could still think of a dozen things I want them to do!

Also (and I apologise for the following shameless plug), if you are interested in starting AWI, I have a plethora of Foundry ACW packs I'm trying to sell. They're currently on the TMP marketplace if you are interested.

Keep up the good work as ever!

Callum said...

Sorry, the above post should read "starting ACW", obviously!

Also, I wanted to say thanks for ages ago for posting the painting guide for tartan. It certianly helped me out!

Greg Sapara said...

Speaking of books, I am currently listening to an unabridged copy of "Washington's Crossing" on CD. Incredible!

I live right in the area the author is talking about, and I just never knew so much happened in my back yard.

Highly recommended!

Regards,
GregS

Allan (AJ) Wright said...

If goverments ever ask for all their pennies back wargamers world wide will be in deep trouble!

Anonymous said...

Giles!
I must agree with callum that it is fun to see the Dervishes up on the site. The Sudan campaigns are one of my two favorite historical periods (the other being a renewed interest in AWI.) If you are looking for a good movie inspiration for the period, I would suggest to anyone who hasn't seen it; the 1939 Alexander Korda version of "The Four Feathers." It's fun and brilliant in that charming way older movies possess.

As always I am looking forward to more of your painting projects. Your blogsite is very inspirational to my budding AWI interest!

David S
Minnesota, USA

Anonymous said...

and the 39 Korda film features one of the original gunboats from the 98 campaign as well as (allegedly) some ageing ex-mahdists as extras.

Anonymous said...

Giles,

Do you base your line figures and so strictly according to the "British Grenadier" rules?

The site remains very inspirational to visit.

Theo

Giles said...

Chaps, thanks for all the comments. The Korda version of the Four Feathers is IMHO the best of the 3 (?) that may been made. It really captures the feel of the period doesn't it? But I haven't seen it for ages so I'll track it down on dvd.

Theo - I do base everything for "British Grenadier", although the rules are flexible and can withstand a variety of base sizes (as shown by my American riflemen who are on larger, more scenic bases and the Indians which I base singly). I will post a short run-down of the sizes tonight or tomorrow, as that might be useful.

Anonymous said...

Giles,

You're a great man for taking the time to answer all these little queries!

I'm about to plunge in and buy my first units of British and Hessians. Do you think it would effect things badly if I chose to make my British units of three 6 figure bases each or should I stay with the recommended 16?

By the way, have you heard of the Middlesex County Volunteers, an American fife and drum corps that specialise in the music of this era?

Theo

Giles said...

Theo

I have come across those folk before - I think someone posted a link on a comment somewhere else on this blog. I must try to hear them live at some point.

There's nothing to stop you basing your figures in sixes. If the scenario calls for 16 figures you can just make a note that it's 16 rather than 18 and carry on as usual. Alternatively, you can focus on one theatre or orbat and build up the regiments according to their historical strengths. I have many regiments based in fours to make up 16 figures because that's what the various scenarios usually require.

It can be tricky. The 33rd Foot, for example, is 12 figures strong at Fort Washington, 16 figures at Brandywine and Guilford Courthouse and 18 figures at Monmouth. I decided to model it as 3 bases of 6 figures and when I'm doing Brandywine or Guilford I'll just make a note that it's only 16 figures strong.

British line regiments usually come out at either 16 figures or 18, although a couple of the regiments at Bunker Hill have 20. Hessians are invariably 24 figures. Yanks can be anything between 16 and 24. Of course if you're not worrying about painting specific regiments for your Brits (one can follow a "generic" system of just painting regiments with different coloured facings), then there's no need to worry about historical unit strengths.

I finally finished the 4th Foot yesterday, which is the last unit I needed for Knyphausen's division at Brandywine. Once it's based, I'll take some pics of the whole division, to show how British brigades formed up.

Anonymous said...

Giles,

Thanks for the prompt reply! I'm just trying to visualise what my force will look like, work out how I am going to assemble and organise it and so on. I'm going to start buying at Claymore this year .. well, maybe I'll get one or two regiments before then ... !

I've been thinking of organising it around the army at the Brandywine, though may draw it from the entire orbat rather than from just one or the other division. That way, I can have some jaeger and maybe eventually some Queen's Rangers as well. ( Collecting the entire army would, I think, be too much for me!!!)

We'll see.

I do look forward to seeing the brgades drawn up - and thanks for the pics of Rall's Grenadiers.

Theo

Giles said...

Theo - Brandywine's a good place to start, as pretty much every unit that fought in the war is in there somewhere. Howe's army features several regiments that pop up time and time again in the war: 23rd (Brandywine, Guilford), 33rd (Brandywine, Guilford, Monmouth, Fort Washington), 42nd (Brandywine, Monmouth, Fort Washington), 49th (Brandywine, Fort Washington, White Plains) and the 71st. The Queen's Rangers are always handy as they can stand in for other loyalist regiments if needs be.

Best wishes

Giles

legatushedlius said...

"the 39 Korda film features one of the original gunboats from the 98 campaign"

There is currently a project to restore it:

http://www.melik.org.uk/index.htm