Wednesday 20 April 2011

Salute 2011

As usual, others have beaten me to it with reports and photos, but I thought I'd still post the pics I took of Salute last Saturday. The general consensus seemed to be that the standard of games was up and attendance a bit down. The latter perception may have esulted from an extra feeling of space - the amount of space occupied by re-enactors was less than in previous years and generally the show felt less cramped. Another plus was the absence of the r/c tanks and daleks that have plagued recent Salutes - I have enough difficulty evading other punters and their rucksacks without having to dodge things that are racing around the aisles. First impressions were not too good. Having bought an "advance ticket" I arrived to see a queue that was about 3 times longer than the "cash on the day" queue. After 30 minutes I watched the latter queue reduce to nothing whilst those of us who had paid in advance were still snaking round to the back of the hall. Very irritating (not least because people with advance tickets who arrived after 10.30 am seemed to just walk in through the cash door, which those of us in the queue were not permitted to do).

Still, once you're in Salute is a mega-show, and I wouldn't want the points above to detract from my appreciation of the huge amount of effort that the organisers put in to the show. As stated above, the "terraining" of the hall seemed well thought-out and the bag of goodies upon entry was fuller than usual. I found most of the items I wanted to buy, and plenty others that I hadn't intended to. Purchases included: the Perry plastic 1815 Prussian infantry box; the Empress Miniatures New Zealand Wars release; the 3rd AWI scenario book from Caliver; the re-launched English edition of WSS magazine; a renewed Wargames Illustrated sub; the Olley/Grant "Wargamers Annuals"; and finally the Perry/Snook book "Go Strong into the Desert", which I've had my eye on for a while. Items desired but resisted included the Mutineer Miniatures Indian Mutiny range (beautiful figures) and the Empress Zulu War range. Given all the Perry 3-ups on display, I suspect next year's show will see my budget blown almost entirely on Perry plastics...

Anyway, here are some photos, in no particular order; as you can see, the standard was very high this year. Apologies to those games I missed.

Loughton Strike Force's siege of Budapest, 1945:

Newark Irregulars' Abyssinia 1935:

GLC Games Club's Chickamauga, 1863:

Battlefront's astonishing Grand Manner-built Gallipoli:

Crewe and Nantwich's "Alternative" Siege of Worcester, 1651:

Gentlemen's Wargames Parlour's "Battle of Ambridge" VBCW:

Lance & Longbow's/Painterman's/Darrell Hindley's Verneuil 1424 (winner of best demo):

On the left, Lundy's Lane 1814 by the Wigmore Warriors and on the right, Operation Barras, Sierra Leone by Deal Wargames Society:

Warlord Games' Antonine Wall (scenery by Touching History):

South East Essex Military Society's Norton St Phillip, 1685:

Thursday 14 April 2011

la Constitution Regiment - 1st Battalion

This is another battalion for the Isabelino side in the First Carlist War. They are all wearing caps and dressed in the standard winter uniform of greatcoats and grey trousers. I wanted this unit to look reasonably fresh and so there is none of the muddying that I applied to the Borbon regiment battalions. Line battalions had 6 centre companies and 2 flank companies, so the grenadiers and cazadores in this battalion are rather overstrength. There is no reason for this other than a need to use up flank company figures. I plan on doing a couple of battalions of light infantry in greatcoats and will then go back to the non-greatcoat/tunic look. I now have an Isabelino force of 6 army battalions and 3 militia ones, plus 4 units of BAL.

A couple of weeks ago someone asked about the colours I use for the Isabelinos. For turqui tunics and the caps I use the Foundry "Deep Blue" palette. For the figures in this post I used Foundry "Slate Grey" for the greatcoats and "Stone" for the trousers. As I think I've said before, I use a "blend as you go" method on the greatcoats, as the contrasts between the 3 "Slate Grey" colours are quite wide and I prefer a smoother look. It takes more time to paint them this way but I hope the end result justifies the extra time. I have finished my unit Armand's Legion cavalry and will aim to post pictures early next week. Nic Robson has now circulated his email with full pictures of both ragged and non-ragged dragoons to 100 Club members, so I can now finalise my plans for the cavalry units I intend to do. On the workbench at the moment are the final 8 figures for the 4th Chasseurs of the Guard and Count Pulaski (another Eureka sculpt). After those are finished I will probably paint up some of the new Empress Miniatures New Zealand Wars figures which I will be collecting at Salute tomorrow and then some more AWI dragoons.

18 figures. Painted February 2011. Flag by Adolfo Ramos.

Sunday 10 April 2011

A day at Eureka

I will remember Saturday, 12 March 2011 for two reasons. First, I visited the home of Eureka Miniatures in Melbourne. Heaven. Secondly, I lost my voice for the first time (that I remember). Bummer. That the two events coincided was a personal disaster - imagine spending months looking forward to meeting people and then when the time comes finding that you can't talk to them! It wasn't quite that bad, but conversation with the Eureka team was unfortunately limited and my voice gave out completely in the afternoon when Melbourne wargamer John Baxter took me out to wineries in the lovely Mornington Peninsular (although John was very good at "predictive text" conversation). I'd picked up a tongue and throat infection which the Kiwi had contracted earlier in the holiday; a course of antibiotics did the trick, but for 4 days I couldn't taste red wine - a disasterous state of affairs for an Allison on holiday.

Anyway, about Eureka. Visiting is to be presented with a real embarrassement de riches, the entire Eureka range available for perusal. On display are figures that have been beautifully painted by Nic's friends and colleagues - to name drop a couple of painters, the work of Mark Spackman, John Chadderton and John Baxter was particularly impressive. John C had worked up a terrific French Revolutionary infantry battalion, with no 2 figures the same (and with a couple of "ragged Continentals" thrown in as new recruits). In fact, seeing the 25mm Revolutionary Wars range in its totality made me realise just how extensive it is, with many figures and vignettes I don't recall being advertised. This is indeed a "signature" range for Eureka and one I intend to explore properly in due course - in the meantime I bought some figures for AWI French duties. But the main draw was the new AWI dragoon figures. Those who signed up to the 100 Club "ragged dragoon" figures will have received news of this range. Commissioned to make ragged cavalry to go with the ragged AWI infantry, Nic Robson decided to make "unragged" Continental dragoons as well. The result, in my view, is one of the key AWI releases of the past few years. Gamers now have the ability to model the whole gamut of AWI American cavalry, thanks to Eureka's method of releasing the figures with separate headgear and in ragged/unragged variants. Looking at these figures, and I saw some greens of the ragged troops, reminded me of the Don Troaini painting of Washington's cavalry at Cowpens. Now gamers can model a unit that looks just like the dragoons in this painting, in both coats and hunting shirts and with a mix of headgear.

Let me be quite clear up front: to my mind, this range is up there with the Perry campaign dress British infantry as being a revolution (excuse the pun) in AWI figures. I saw and bought the uniformed Continental cavalry, as the ragged figures had not been finished at the time. I gather than the ragged figures will consist of uniformed figures that have been "ragged-up" and hunting shirt types; I saw a few greens and they look fantastic. The uniformed figures are in two general poses - standing/walking and charging. The range includes officers and trumpeters for both poses. I was first struck by the horses, which are very well sculpted in animated poses (see photo below for the charging horses). There are 4 helmet variants: (1) brass helmet; (2) leather helmet; (3) jockey helmet; (4) turbaned helmet (or "tarleton"). These hats fit on the figure heads well, the heads having a plug on which the hats can be fixed. I found a bit of greenstuff was the best adhesive as you can then sculpt it around the head and cover off any gaps. the first unit I'm working on is Armand's Legion. I'm using the uniformed figures with (I think) the jockey helmet. A photo of these figures is below. As the comparison shot with a couple of Perry 17th Dragoons shows, the Eureka figures are a little bit smaller and thinner than the Perry figures. The next photos show variants of the two poses, and then the other 3 hats in the top row, with some of the "ragged" hats in the bottom row. When I've finished Armand's Legion I'll post some thoughts on dragoon uniforms using these figures. Incidentally, the photo above shows Nic doing his "we love metals and hate plastics" dance....

Wednesday 6 April 2011

57th Foot

The 57th Foot was originally raised in 1755 as the 59th Foot. The advance up the list of seniority occurred the following year when the 50th and 51th regiments were disbanded. The 57th acquired the county name of West Middlesex and is probably best known for it's bloody performance at Albuera in 1811. The call to the regiment by its commanding officer, Colonel Inglis, that it "die hard" provided the regimental nickname of "the Die Hards". Apparently at that battle the regiment suffered some 442 casualties out of a complement of 600. In 1881 the regiment was amalgamated with the 77th Foot to form the Middlesex Regiment, which in turn was amalgamated with other regiments in 1966 to form the Queen's Regiment. The 57th Foot lives on today in the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment. The 57th does not appear to have done a huge amount in the AWI. It appears just once in the "British Grenadier!" scenarios, as a 12-figure unit for Long Island.

I painted this unit in November last year and forgot to post pics. Ideally for the Long Island scenario you would have Brits in charging and marching poses, but I wanted to use up my remaining Foundry firing line figures and I had just enough for a 12-figure battalion. The Long Island scenario is in the newly-published 3rd "British Grenadier" scenario book, available from Caliver Books. I gather that photos of our 2008 recreation of Long Island feature in the new scenario book. He's a link to my post on the game to whet your appetite. I am sorry for the silence over the past 2 weeks. As so often, both work and family life intervened and conspired to reduce my available time for hobby-related activities. On the painting front I am close to finishing the 4th Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard for 1815 and Armand's Legion cavalry for the AWI. I have some completed Carlist War infantry who just need a flag and they should make an appearance soon.

12 figures. Painted November 2010. Flags by GMB.

UPDATE: 6 figures were added to this unit in May 2016 to bring the units up to 18 figures for the Hudson Forts scenario, as shown in the photo above.