Monday 26 April 2010

Salute 2010

Others have beaten me to it, but below are some photos from London's Salute show held on Saturday. For reasons I can't quite pin down, I was a bit underwhelmed this year. Perhaps it was because I had to leave early at 2.30pm to meet the family, or because I couldn't find everything on my shopping list, or because I thought the standard of games was not as high as usual (something I have heard others say). But anyway, Salute always provides an entertaining day out and the South London Warlords' organisation was, as always, top class (the queues to get in were absolutely enormous, but they moved quickly once the doors opened). Purchases included 3 boxes of Perry plastic Napoleonic cavalry (2 cuirassier and 1 hussar boxes - the latter will be converted into some AWI Hessians); some random Perry metal figures from various ranges; the "Crusader" ancients/medieval rules for my First Crusade project; some Renedra plastic tents; and, as a total "impluse" buy, a ready painted 25mm mosque (every table should have one in these multi-cultural times...). Talking of plastics, I was impressed by Victrix's new British Napoleonic artillery and delighted to see that the next Perry boxes will be mahdists for the Sudan and zouaves for the ACW - a photo of the 3-ups is above. Anyway, enough waffle, here are the photos.

First up is a 25mm AWI game by Uxbridge Wargamers, using Old Glory figures:

Loughton Strike Force's Busaco game. The fantastic terrain made by Richard Jackson was a deserving winner of the best terrain award.

The Perries' Wars of the Roses game:

Gripping Beast had a Viking civil war game:

Richard Gillingham won a prize for his Seminole War game. Small, but perfectfully formed and very evocative.

Honnington Wargames Group's Pegasus Bridge. This won best demo game.

Muswell Militia's Zama game won the "most impressive troops" award.

Oshiro Modelterrain had their Samurai display again. Unlike last year, this game was actually being played - an excellent advert for their wares.

Chemins de Feu had a very nicely presented Russian in Afghanistan game, "Red Hawk Down":

A few other games:

Last, but not least, South East Essex Military Society's Franco-Belgian border WW1 games:

Sunday 18 April 2010

Hessian Commissary

You can imagine the scene...

Commissary von Dumkopf: "Zis is very disappointing. You said you could supply ze Burgunder wine from Baden-Baden and now you say zis is not possible and I must do with some French rubbish instead?"

Mr Berry, purveyor of fine wines to the nobility and gentry: "Come on guv, don't you know there's a war on? You're lucky I managed to get anything past the Frenchies on blockade. Now my good friend Mr Gallo has managed to find me some excellent pinot noir from the south of France, the spiritual home of your Burgunder I believe. This is top notch stuff and as a gesture of goodwill I'll throw in a case of Louisiana Claret for no extra charge. Frankly, I'm robbing meself."

Von Dumkopf: "Vell, I suppose it will have to do. I am in need of supplies for winter and, to be honest, Colonel Rall will drink anything. I am sure he will enjoy Herr Gallo's wines at the Trenton garrison's Christmas Eve dinner."

These are the Voltaire and Frederick the Great figures from Eureka's latest 18th century civilians release. The story, linked above, of how US giant E&J Gallo had been duped into selling cheap French merlot as pinot noir provided the inspiration as to how to incorporate these figures into my AWI collection. The Frederick figure is painted as a commissary from the Hesse-Cassel corps. I could not find any information on the uniform of Hessian commissaries, so followed the Prussian uniform in the SYW, on the basis that the Hessians often followed Prussian practices and styles - it seemed a decent default option. A certain amount of artistic licence was necessary on the Frederick figure - this is clearly a very senior commissary. "Mr Berry" is named after the well-known and long-established wine merchants Berry Bros.& Rudd of St James Street, London.  The company that became Berry Bros. was started in 1698.  At the time of the AWI it was owned and managed by William Pickering and John Clarke, and by 1810 the business was in the hands of Mr Clarke's grandson, George Berry.  It has remained family owned ever since.  The company has a long history of supplying wine to the British Royal Family, starting with its first consignment to George III in 1760.  So it's not inconceivable that a representative of company might have been selling wines to the Crown armies' quartermasters during the AWI.  When the Kiwi and I got engaged, we agreed to place our Wedding Gift List with Berries and spent a happy afternoon choosing all manner of vinous goodies.  Unfortunately, unknown to me, the Kiwi then decided to set up a rival list at the department store John Lewis and told all her friends and family to buy from that one.  But the generosity of my family and friends resulted in some lovely wedding presents from Berries, which will keep going for another decade or so.  The barrels and crates are resin items from Warlord Games.

2 figures. Painted March 2010.

Monday 12 April 2010

Lee's Legion infantry

Lee's Legion (raised by "Light Horse Harry" Lee, father of Robert E Lee) began life in June 1776 as a body of horsemen raised in Virginia and attached to the 1st Continental Light Dragoons. Within a couple of years Lee had been promoted and was asked by Congress to expand his unit into a "legion", comprising both cavalry and infantry elements. George Washington envisaged his Continental Army's legions, or partizan corps as they were also known, as being elite formations that could carry out reconnaisance and raids. Lee's Legion served with distinction in the Southern theatre. It was present at Guilford as well as several minor engagements and skirmishes. By 1781 the Legion seems to have mustered over 100 cavalry and 180 infantry. The Legion was disbanded in November 1783.

Uniform sources for Lee's Legion are minimal. There are references to the cavalry at least being mistaken for Tarleton's British Legion, so one assumes that they wore similar dark green jackets. The infantry may have worn something similar, although there are also references to "blue coats with red trim". However, the most well-known representation of the infantry is Don Troiani's painting of a soldier in a kind of purple outfit, and this is what I have followed for these figures (as did the painter for the figures on the Perry website). Where this comes from I am not too sure, but wiser heads than I have suggested that it may be faded blue. The officer figure here is in a different uniform to everyone else - a cut-down coat with lapels and facings. In keeping with the British Legion theme, I painted the coat dark green with black facings. I suppose I could have painted him blue with red facings, but this way he will match the cavalry element when I turn my attention to that. I think you could use these figures for the elusive British Legion foot as well - perhaps in a white uniform.

In the published "British Grenadier!" rules, Lee's Legion infantry appear only once - 10 figures at Eutaw Springs. I painted up both Perry packs, so I have 12 figures; at 1:20 that equates to 240 men which is probably more than actually served in the unit. Never mind. I toyed with the idea of basing them up on close order infantry bases; this would have been a nice look, but the figures are posed as skirmishers and reading about the Legion and it's activities I think on balance skirmish bases are most appropriate. I've been unsatisfied with my indoor photos for some time now so took these outside in the garden; hopefully the natural light improves them a bit.

12 figures. Painted February 2010.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Back home...

...and feeling the strain of trying to turn a 4 month-old baby back from NZ time onto UK time. Little Hugo did very well on the long flights out and back, only seriously losing his rag a couple of times on each trip. I can't really recommend taking a baby on a 26-hour flight, but Hugo was far better behaved than we expected and drew admiring comments from both passengers and cabin crew for his almost-invisible presence. Mind you, the cost to his parents of keeping him quiet was almost total attention during the entire trip (especially from the Kiwi, bless her).

After the obligatory 10 days' stay with Hugo's grandparents in Tauranga (and we were touched that several other members of the whanau had travelled from remote parts of the country to meet their new relative) we headed up to the area north of Auckland, the first time either of us had visited this part of North Island. We worked our way through the wineries of Kumeu, Henderson and Matakana, slowly drove up the west coast through kauri forests and then spent a few days in the Bay of Islands. This part of NZ is arguably the most "historical", in that it saw the first European settlements and some of the heaviest fighting between Maori and pakeha. Unfortunately we didn't manage to vist any of the surviving pa in the area, but I will add a post on the things of interest that we did see in a day or two.

As always with any visit to New Zealand, the food and wine were excellent; a strict diet is now in force for the foreseeable future. We enjoyed drinking up some of the wine we had left maturing at the in-laws' during our previous trips and during the course of our vineyard visits we tasted NZ's only carmenere, it's most northerly-grown sauvignon blanc, it's only chambourcins and it's pinotages (I didn't even know NZ made pinotage). In total we visited 19 wineries and my tastings notebook tells me that I drank (as opposed to tasted, so I had at least one full glass of) 115 different wines during the holiday.

Unfortunately I have only one liver, so I'm going to be on the wagon for a wee while now. But for those who are interested in such things, wine highlights were as follows: Peregrine Riesling 2005; Nga Waka Pinot Noir 2006 (you have to be very careful how you pronounce "Nga Waka"); Te Mata "Coleraine" 2005; Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2008; Mills Reef "Elspeth" Chardonnay 2008; Trinity Hill Noble Viognier 2008 (thanks, Kerry!); Millton Opou Vineyard Chardonnay 2006; Morton Estate Brut 2000; Sacred Hill "Riflemans" Chardonnay 2006; Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004; Cloudy Bay Pinot Gris 2008; West Brook Gewurztraminer 2009; Marsden "Black Rocks" Chardonnay 2008; Marsden Pinotage 2006; Seresin Chardonnay 2007; Lochiel Estate Chardonnay 2008; Cable Bay Reserve Pinot Noir 2007; Villa Maria Ihumatao Vineyard Verdelho 2008. Emirates Airlines deserve a mention for selecting the rather yummy Eroica Riesling 2007 from Washington state.