Monday 15 May 2023

Navarre Infantry - 1st battalion

This is the third unit of Carlist infantry I painted towards the end of 2020 (I was determined to erase my Carlist War lead-pile).  I assigned it to Navarre, for no particular reason.  The troops are wearing the same greatcoat and trousers uniforms as my first Guipuzcoa battalion, although I used a deeper red for the trousers.  It's quite a smart look, I think.  Navarre, a northern province in Spain that bordered on the Basque region, was a natural recruiting ground for the Carlist cause.  The province's rugged, mountainous terrain made it difficult to subdue, and consequently it managed to maintain a semblance of autonomy from  the middle ages into the 19th century.  In fact, it was only with the Carlist defeat in 1841 that the province was brought fully into the territory of the Spanish crown.  Conrad Cairns tells us that twelve battalions were raised in Navarre for the Army of the North, together with the elite guides.

I remember that at this stage in 2020 I was having real problems painting the faces.  I hadn't yet bought my glasses, which I now have to use for any type of painting, and so I found the eyes particularly difficult.  Some of them are pretty crappy, to be honest; but others are ok.  The great thing about these figures is that there's not much detail on them outside of the faces - just overcoats with minimal kit.  So they were good figures to do whilst I was beginning to feel a bit visually impaired.  I'm going to need a few more units like this.    

20 figures.  Painted December 2020.  Flag by Adolfo Ramos.

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Valencian volunteers - 2nd battalion

This is the counterpart to the other unit of Valencians that I posted on Tuesday.  A "brigade" photo is below.  There's no much else to say that wasn't in my earlier post.  The jackets and berets were painted using the Foundry "Deep Blue 20" palette.  I like the poses of these figures, particularly the command figures (there's an excellent drummer with a bandaged head in the second row).  There's lots more FCW stuff coming up - more Carlist infantry, then Isabelino high command and cavalry.  Once that's all posted, I'll get up to date with the Paraguayan War.  After that, it will probably be time for some Frostgrave and 7-TV!     

20 figures. Painted November - December 2020.  Flag by Adolfo Ramos.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Valencian volunteers - 1st battalion

Now that Salute and the Coronation are out of the way, it's time to return to full-time blogging, with almost 4 years' worth of stuff to photograph and post about.  I'm going to start catching up with some First Carlist War units.  I painted two units of Valencian volunteers in autumn 2020, having spent most of Lockdown painting fantasy stuff for "Frostgrave".  The Perry range has two poses of these troops, marching and a more aggressive advancing.  Most of the Valencians troops were part of Cabrera's Army of the Centre, so they can join my Ontoria Hussars and Cabrera's Guard.  But both the Perry-published Conrad Cairns book and Gabriele Esposito's Osprey MAA state that there also two battalions of Valencians in the Army of the North, the troops having been raised in a Carlist march across Spain in June to December 1836.  

Cairns states that there were seven battalions in the Army of the Centre and some of these were dressed in trousers and greatcoats, so much like other Carlist troops.  He also states that "some  replaced trousers with the traditional zaraguell, a white kilt word by the inhabitants of the countryside around Valencia".  Esposito states that the first four battalions had dark blue greatcoats and white trousers, whereas the remainder had blue jackets and wore elements of civilian clothing, like the Zaraguell.  So that's what we have here.  I probably should have mixed up the waistcoat colours a bit more - they are mainly brown, albeit different shades of brown, drab and khaki. The flag is a "black banner", which were known to have been used by the Army of the Centre.  Apparently these troops were not particularly reliable, being more suited to hit-and-run skirmishing than stand-up engagement.

20 figures.  Painted October-November 2020.  Flag from Alberto Ramos (I think). 

Sunday 23 April 2023

Salute 2023

 This blog has had more false starts than the Grand National, but this time it really is returning.  I was going to post some stuff this week, but thought it would be better to wait until after Salute, because that always begets a long post that will bury anything posted earlier.  A few things have happened which have re-focused me on the historical hobby, although recently I've also been having a lot of fun painting figures for the 7-TV game systems.  Painting some AWI for a friend before Christmas helped the historical bug return, and also there's now a chance of some regular gaming.    

Anyway, Salute.  It was good to be back, and I had no idea that Salute and I have something in common - we both turned 50 in April this year.  I arrived at 10.20am and made the mistake of alighting the DLR at the stop after Custom House - yes, that next stop was closer to the show entrance, but it wasn't closer to the end of the queue, which I reached by walking almost the entire length of the Excel Centre.  That said, whilst the queue did look horrific (and I heard an Excel steward express concern to the Warlords on that point), it moved reasonably quickly.

Immediate thoughts:

- the crowds were back after a quiet 2021 (and a non-existent 2022), as were the overseas attendees.
- Salute remains a showcase for the miniatures hobby at its widest - I reckon the split between fantasy/sci-fi and historicals must be almost 40:60 now; personally, I don't mind - the former games usually have spectacular terrain and must pull in a younger crowd.   
- as seems usual now, there were lots of smaller 3x3 or 4x4 games; these used to be largely fantasy/sci-fi but now include a lot of historical games as well.
- some of the games are repeats of "advert games" - very nice looking, but they seem to appear every year and don't change.  
- it seems that the days of loads of "wow" large historical games have gone, with the focus often on smaller, more concentrated games;
- the WW2 games are now where a lot of the "wow" factor is, particularly in terms of terrain.
- each year there are more families and children; this year there was even a drawing area with tables where the really young kids could do colouring etc.
- maybe I missed them, but there seemed to be fewer traders selling historical terrain this year, for some reason; on the plus side, however, there were traders selling decent brushes (which doesn't always happen). 
- the Warlords have sorted out previous issues with lighting and ensuring enough space to move around the show; of course bottlenecks around favourite traders remain an issue (and gentle note to others: please don't block the entrance to a trader in order to have a chat with the mate you haven't seen for ages). 

Purchases included a load of stuff from Caliver (Ottomans book, Sudan painting guide, Jon Sutherland's colonial Indian rules and scenario books), some fantastic brushes from Artmaster and a collection of random Perry metals.  I also met up with Rob and Stefan from the Writtle Independent Gamers, which is the club that's nearest to me in Chelmsford and which I'm intending to join.  

So, to the games....As always, apologies to those I missed; I went around the show twice and thought I'd seen everything, but looking back through the list of games it's clear there were a few I overlooked.  I should also apologise for the relative lack of close-ups.  This is because when I sifted through the photos at home it became clear that a lot of the close-ups were out of focus - lesson to self: bring your glasses next year.

Hornchurch Wargames Club's "Ntombi River" - 28mm Zulu Wars.  I liked how the colours of the terrain immediately created a sense of place:

Wargames Illustrated's Italian Wars game:

Rubicon Models had a brace of terrific-looking Vietnam games:

London Wargames Guild had a "Cold Doings in London" 28mm skirmish game.  I wasn't quite sure what was going on here, to be honest; neither did the players, from the sound of it!  Magnificent terrain, though. 

The Lardies had a number of games, including a trio of WW2 stunners (one of which was the Arnhem game they recently took to Holland):

Also in the "Lard Zone" was Dave Brown with a 15mm Napoleonic game using his "General d'Armee" rules:

Crooked Dice has a couple of participation games of 7-TV going, including this one with some marvellous terrain:

Jon and Diane Sutherland's Battle of Leuctra:

15mm WW2 action - Carentan from Retired Wargamers Reloaded:

The Indian Mutiny in 28mm from Hailsham Wargames Club had some excellent trees:

Wyre Forest Wargames had an "imaginations" game in 6mm, featuring figures painting by a number of people during Lockdown.  The game set up and figures are being sold for charity:

Warlord Games had their new ECW "epic" scale figures on the table:

Hugo's Heroes had a number of games.  The first was Swedes and Finns v Russians in the Battle of Oravais in 1808.  It was presented in two scales, with the 28mm game using the lovely Perry range:

Secondly, they had a couple of WW2 games based around old Airfix models such as the gun emplacement and pontoon bridge:

Nigel Emsen had a 1/72 scale ACW game using the "Muskets & Springfields" rules:

Caseshot Publishing had the Battle of Castiglione, 1796, in 15mm:

I wasn't sure who was responsible for this impressive ACW ironclads game:

An amazing "Battle of Fallujah" from Maidstone Wargames Society:

This looked like Republican Romans v Carthaginians, but I didn't catch whose game it was:

Two of the many small-scale fantasy skirmish games:

Peterborough Wargames Group's Dambusters Challenge:

The Battle of Ferozaphur by Crawley Wargames Club, First Sikh War action in 15mm:

A SYW games from Ardhammer Group, using 30mm "flats":

1/72 Wargames' "Kaiserschlacht 1918" game:

All Hell Let Loose had "The Glosters Last Stand" in 6mm.  The figures were quite difficult to spot:

Cornwall Wargames Association had this game using the Mark Copplestone "Little Soldiers" range:

The guys from Cornwall also had a large "Blood and Plunder" game:  

Another good-looking WW2 game, but I didn't catch who was doing it.  Maybe the Anschluss Publishing Eastern Front game?:

The Continental Wars Society had a Franco-Prussian War games using the latest Perry figures:

Newbury and Reading Wargames Society had a "Banzai - Seventeen Thousand Samurai" game:

An impressive "Antigonus at Bay, Ipsus 301 BC" game was courtesy of To the Strongest:

The Old Guard had Austerlitz in 25mm, with stunningly-painted figures:

Last, but not least...Warhammer 40K: