Monday, 20 November 2017

Final preparations for Battleground on Saturday

This Saturday I shall be heading off down to Stockton for the Battleground show, one of the best in the country and a great location just off the A66/A19. Its also just an hour from home so quite handy too. In the new year, when we have moved, the show will be a mere 10 minutes from the new place! How good is that? For those who might have spouses in tow there is another battleground just over the A66, namely Teesside Park Shopping Centre.
Louis XIV halted by the opening of the sluice gates.
As my reader(s) might have gathered I’ve been madly painting the last of my 1672 French/Dutch War figures to get them ready for Battleground. In one of my increasingly frequent descents into insanity (do I ever climb back up some may ask?) and prompted by my good friend John the Red I offered to put a game on.  I had wrongly assumed that, as has been the case in the past, that I had a place with the Independent Wargames Group display game. Thats all water under the bridge now and this minor hiatus has had a very positive effect psychologically on me and built up my confidence significantly. I mean, apart from last year's Battleground and the private AMG weekends I've not put a display game on at a show since the early 1990's if not the late '80's. How on Earth was I going to be able to set up and run a game given my crappy health? However, a few emails and phone calls and I had recruited several friends and acquaintances to take part in the game. I could have doubled the numbers of eager volunteers were it not for domestic/work commitments or the distance. I am very much endebted to all the guys who will be there with me on Saturday as without their support I doubt I would have been motivated enough to get everything ready for the game. The same also goes for by beloved wife who has been 100% behind me, helping out with the production of handouts and other promotional material that goes with putting a demonstration game on.

Contemporary sketch of the battle.

The game itself is based on the Battle of Seneffe, south of Brussels, which took place in August 1674 between. French army under Louis de Bourbon, “The Great Conde”, and an army commanded by William III of Orange, the Stadtholder of the United Provinces, made up of Dutch, Spanish and Imperial troops, the latter mainly from such smaller states as Hanover, Brunswick and Celle.

I've taken some liberties with the orders of battle. Information is scarce but I do have the Dutch and French orbats but nothing for the Spanish or Imperial troops. Nevertheless the tabletop armies look the part and there are certainly plenty of troops destined to hit the table.

The Conde is unhorsed but saved by his son the Duc d'Engein
 So, roll on Saturday, but not too quickly as I need to finish sorting the terrain out and a few other odd jobs, ah yes, and try and finish another unit or two!

Do drop by and say hello on Saturday. You won't miss us as we're right by the door. Again, my heartfelt thanks to my 'army' of volunteers who will be helping play the game.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Evening the odds...well a little bit. Not much really.

This weekend I've been finishing off a few more bits and pieces for my 'Het Rampjar', the French-Dutch War 1672-78, collection. In an attempt to balance the appearance of four allied Germans regiments for the Dutch earlier in the week I finished basing this French unit, the Regiment Conde. I could hardly have an army led by the great man himself without his own regiment being present.

 At each end of the line I have placed a grenadier figure. Thats so we don't forget to give this unit and similar ones (mostly French) the advantage in the rules of having 'grenadiers present'. It might make all the difference when attacking a built up area or defences. Or it might not of course...

Below is a really yucky yellow regiment of Hanoverian or Celle (ist?) cuirassiers. I forget which but I had them in the box and now they're in barracks (a different box) waiting for their baptism of fire. The annoying thing about Copplestone's Glory of the Sun range is the separate scabbards and carbines. Actually thats not the annoying bit. It's loosing them God knows where, as they went INTO the box with them but in the passing of time they have vanished! Grrr.

I now just have half a dozen limbers and teams, four or is it six cannon of various sizes, the crews, several wagons plus tabletop ephemera to finish, and I am well on with the cannon, gunners and limbers. There's also enough figures for another regiment of French horse if I want plus another battalion of as yet unallocated infantry.

This evening I also noticed I was out of tufts. Quelle horreur!

Friday, 10 November 2017

More 'German/Imperial’ troops to bolster the Dutch

Four new regiments have been completed today. All represent units provided by Hanover, Celle (how do you pronounce that?) and Brunswick under their obligations to the Holy Roman Empire to the Dutch during the French War 1672-78.

  • Uniform details and flags were taken from the excellent Pike and Shot society book on the Armies if Hanover Celle and Brunswick in the latter quarter of the 17th century.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Crisis 2017

We completed our little jaunt to the Netherlands and Belgium with a visit to Antwerp and the excellent CRISIS wargames show organised by the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp. Unlike last year it was unseasonably warm rather than gale force freezing winds and horizontal rain so it was rather pleasant waiting for our taxi and the trundling to the event premises on the Scheldt. Like last year I had arranged a queue-buster ticket (nothing of the sort exists but I had negotiated to go in at the side door to avoid standing in a very long line of punters, including a certain acquaintance of ours Dave Docherty. We were ushered to the info stand by the legendary Willie Bogaerts where I paid our entry, bought some 'coins' and the two figures that complement the free give away set. Katherine then said she wanted to go round on her own as I walk too slowly so off she went, as did I. I will give a bit of a summary at the end of this post but will start with a run through of the photos I took of many the games. If your game isn't featured its either because the photo was crap or I couldn't find you, not because I was conducting any kind of trial by photograph by a died in the wool 28mm historical fanatic. Also, I don't have all the club names to hand as I'm writing this but will edit the post when I find my programme.

A rather excellent little Darkest Africa game. The boats and mud fort were cool.
A close up of the mud fort. I also liked the mud huts. I think they are Grand Manner, some at least as I have a  few just like them at home in Darkest Underthetableland.
One of my favourite games was this French Revolutionary War game set in Flanders in 1793 by Jan and Peter of Der Alde Garde club. Actually, they ARE the club, all two of them, and always put on a great game. There are more photos later on but I was especially taken by the fortress which Peter had scratch built. I had a good long chat with Jan (hello Jan if you're reading this) about the FRW and the 1799 Helder campaign.
Quite a colourful Crusades game 'Jerusalem', by the South London Warlords. It was very pretty but a bit the array of labels at the back of each unit tended to be a little distracting.

The Warlords again, this time with Daleks in 54mm. I liked this as I am a bit Dr Who fan (the old ones that were actually a seven year old at any rate!). Totally random fact, I have a Dalek in my Prussian SYW army too.

This and the photo below are of a good looking French-Indian Wars game featuring native Americans , Rangers and Colonial Militiamen by the Dortmund Amateur Wargamers.

Victorian Sci Fi on Mars. Not my thing but it looked good.
The pride of the French 'navy' on Mars.
And the Imperial Germans. Kaiser Bill's Martian fleet.
An excellent 54mm Ancient game representing the Battle of Plataea by a group called PMDC.
The long lines of very nicely painted Hoplites looked the part. did the hoards of colourful Persians.
Old Pikey's Hell's Highway.
The Battle of Trenton 1777. The snow had a certain realistic sparkle which turned out to be because of on closer inspection turned out to be salt crystals scattered over the table.
An ancient game using To the Strongest. Wine too!
The following few photos are of The League of Augsberg's 1690s game. As always, very colourful and some excellent tabletop ephemera.

The absolute star of the show for me was this refight of Poltava in the Great Northern War, by John and Diane Sutherland. Thousands of Warfare Miniatures figures and an excellent piece of product placement as the game was right next door to the Warfare trade stand. How good is that? The game looked magnificent. All the terrain was scarce built by Diane. The playing surface was that outdoor carpet often seen on decking or patio areas, painted for effect, and very good it looks too.
The Swedes overrun the first redoubts.

Russian reinforcements advancing en masse. It looks a little worrying for the Swedes.
Home made measuring sticks constructed from Wilko's chopsticks by Diane. You may recognise her nail polish.
More Russians.....

....and more Russians!

The Russian camp with, yes...more Russians!


I think this is the Kurphaltz Feldherren Wargames witgame entitled 1655.

Afghanistan 1879'ish but I can't remember if this is by the Two Fat Ladies or the Ligue de gentlemen  civilisateurs using Osprey's TMWWBK (The Man Who Would be King).
Tin Soldiers of Antwerp put on the Battle of Dorking using their own rules which I really must try as I bought a copy last year.
Two loves of my life, my wife....
...and some beer. We bumped into Dave D again in the bat.
The Leicester Phat Cats put on this Blood and Plunder pirates game.  Note to self. Find my sloop and finish it.

Back to Der Alde Garden and their Flanders 1793 game. The figures are all Eureka 28mm .

So there you have it. Apologies if I've misidentified any of the games. Overall I would say that Crisis is a well run event by a friendly and helpful club (TSA). It is sooo much better than Salute is these days; indeed its better than many UK shows I can think of. Then again many of the games and most of the traders are UK based, and one wonders what will happen to the show after Brexit? Certainly talking to several UK manufacturers they said that depending upon the level of custom controls (which is likely to be high) then it would not be worth their while to attend as their margins would be eaten into by customs charges and the mountain of paperwork that they expect will be required to take their stock to Antwerp and then account for their sales on the way back.  Crisis therefore could in a few years time be yet another casualty of Brexit, dependent upon what sort of 'deal' HMG manages to blunder through.

Enough politics. Mats. An abundance of table top terrain mats. There were at least three traders selling them. Tiny, Deep Cut and another one. Many of the games also utilised a terrain mat instead of sculpted terrain pieces. Much easier to carry and they can be just as effective. I have several and use them all the time.

Swag. Not much really. I finally got my flags off Flag Dude that I ordered at Salute this year. I also collected a couple of pre-orders, one from Early War Miniatures (rubber roads etc.) and Warfare miniatures (some limbers and other ephemera). I also had a good rummage on the Trent stand and picked up some Vendean rebels ro add another dimension to my FRW collection. Oh, and katherine was quite taken by the Deep Cut river sections, so I took advantage of this to buy a set (two actually).

We left around 2pm and went into town for lunch. Who did we meet when we were coming out of the restaurant? Why Dave Docherty of course.

All things being equal we shall be back next year as this was the end of an excellent trip.