Sunday, 5 December 2010


You might get the idea not a lot is happening in Chateau Nyudrev.  You might be right...

As I've explained before,  I'd rather spend time getting my different projects organised than posting on the Chronicles.
First of all, slowly but steadily, figures are getting painted and restored.  You've allready seen pictures of the Hasselse Garde nearing completion. But between painting and blogging, I was loosing sight of something very important: pushing toy soldiers around the tabletop. To remedy this little problem, I'll do two things. The first will not be new to regular readers. I'll step up and make some serious work of sorting out that big box of 1/72 plastics and organising some ad hoc improvised napoleonic units. I guess if I put my back into it I can have everything sorted out, based and marked in a couple of weeks time.

For myself, I had the idea that I could temporary base the SSM troops I now have and use them to game with as they are. Working to restore one unit at a time, replacing an unit which I'll start work on with a finished one would mean that rotating units this way I'd always have enough troops for a game and at the same time get motivated as unit after unit gets the treatment. I've chosen plain beerfelt card to base, using a small blob of putty to fix the figures. Minimum effort, maximum effect.

Of course there's other hobby related stuff going on, but you'll have to read a certain Journal to know what that is about. In the mean time note that last weekend, I had to change the numbers in the "about me" section again.Speaking of Mr Olley and his endavours. Did you know that his Warcabinet has done the "Phoenix thing" and is know again alive and kicking? Of course you do. This is old news isn't it. Anyway, I'm making a point of becoming a follower and placing a link. But first, I'm making dinner.

So you see, the Chronicles are alive, but I don't find every little thing I'm doing worth  a special mention. On the blogging side of things, it will really get interesting as units get ready for the battlefield and there is something worth showing and a story to be told. In the mean time you can expect an and then...-ish

Happy gaming

Monday, 15 November 2010


Edited: I replaced the original pictures in this post with better (sharper) ones, but there still is room for improvement. I've also added two pictures.

As I was trying to figure out basing my almost finished Minden castings, I thought I'd take a couple of pictures...just to show of my flag I painted freehand on linen. One side of the flag shows the standard of the Hasselse Garde imagination unit, the other side shows one version of the DDU flag.

The Hasselse garde standard is based on the real life flag of the town of Hasselt and the designs I sketched earlier in my scrapbook. It shows the white and green banded background of the modern day Hasselt flag and the central part of the Hasselt coat of arms combined.

The DDU flag is based on the modern province of Limburg flag. I gave it a twist by having the blue band symbolising the river Maas -"the Meuse" which plays a major part in the DDU economy-, green for the fertile valley of the Maas and yellow for the sandy "Kempa" region consisting of moors and heathland. The central roman lettering are the mirrored initials of Leopold Van Loon, the first regent of the DDU. The second variation of this flag will carry the initials DDU.

I sketched some basing possibilities trying to figure out what would work well for me. The unit still needs two coats of varnish, espontoons fitted and the flagpole finished

Anybody having a 600 Euro state of the art camera laying about and wanting to get rid of it...just send it over. Mind you, I won't pay for the postage.

Happy gaming

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Classic Wargamer's Journal Volume I, Issue 1

Strangely enough, I haven't seen much feedback on the first issue of the CWJ. Myself, I'm still taking it all in. So I guess a lot of you are doing just the same as me: enjoying the moment of discovery. But in support of Phil Olley and the CWJ, I decided to do this small post in the Chronicles anyway.

I enjoyed reading Phil's editorial as he wrote another fine example of his "philolleysophy" (sorry Phil, couldn't help myself, I just love that word) under the "Soapbox Time" heading.
I think it's a strong first issue, clearly marking the way ahead for the journal and I'm convinced it will inspire a lot of wargamers -classic, old school, new school, whatever- to refresh their view on the hobby and go on with a new found "élan". I know it did so with me, as I spent yesterday evening painting Minden castings.

Through the CWJ, I even rediscovered Greg Horne's Duchy of Alzheim, which I had -for some inexcusable reason- lost track of. I've put a link in the "Inspiration" section on the left. Note that the Old School ACW blog already listed there, also is Greg's brainchild.

The CWJ is 100% pure wargaming fun, undiluted by merchandising. On second thought, I won't review the contents. Instead I invite you all to at least try an issue. There are two of them now: a pilot issue and the first "real" issue. Even if you don't like it, never mind, you've probably will have spent a couple of pounds or Euros on worst things than the CWJ.

There is one drawback though: I don't think I'll have the patience to wait until January for the next issue to drop in the letterbox. And I don't think issue one will last that long, unless I ration myself to reading  two pages a that's a silly and bad idea.

Tonight I'm playing an ancient wargame, using the Command and Colours game system. I'm looking forward to that.

Happy gaming

Monday, 11 October 2010

Links, rivers, roads and trees

Introducing a few more links and some more ideas and finds.

First of all I spent my hobby allowance for the next umpteen years ordering miniatures from the RSM95 (the old Rusty Sabre Miniatures) range. Following C.S. Grants thoughts for a balanced force for horse and musket armies as laid out in his "The Wargame Companion", I'm aiming to build two armies each initially comprising 8 units of line infantry, 1 unit of light infantry, 3 units of medium/heavy cavalry, 1 unit of light cavalry and one battery of artillery.

Remember the inhereted SSM plastics and my E-Bay buy? These will be roughly devided in two to form the first part of both armies. Work has already started restoring the Grenadiers the France. My initial buy of Minden miniatures will be in due course expanded to more Old School/Classic proportions, giving me another three regiments of infantry. RSM95  miniatures will give me another 7 units, leaving the rest to be filled out with Minden. This will give me two armies approximately consisting of 40% SSM, 40% Minden and 20% RSM95. Reconfiguring these armies for rules such as Black Powder, Minden Rose or Rank and File -remember the careful planned basing?- would give me the double number of units.
Of course this will be documented in full -maybe even reconfiguring this blog- as the adventures of the DDU and its armies start happening.

Now, Tony, over at the Prometheus in Aspic blog has shown me the way ahead for my later Napoleonic projects. Although I'm not using hex based rules, nor his army organisation, his miniature painting and basing style are what I'm going for. You can follow -for some time now- his latest posts in the "inspiration" section on the left. I'm a big fan of his writings and sage advice that he gives as "Foy's Laws", which he comments and explains in no uncertain language, which I like very much...sometimes agreeing to disagree...great stuff.
The advantage of all this will be that all classic/old school terrain I build for my imagineering will serve at least two periods. Maybe the DDU will fight under Napoleon, or as part of some coalition against him...who knows?

Which brings me to terrain and I'm not talking about my garden. In the "how to" section I included a link to a recent post at the Too Much Lead blog, because that seems to me the ideal way to make rivers and roads for a classic looking battlefield. The TML blog is already listed in the "inspiration" section of these here Chronicles.
So, that's green paint, rivers and roads sorted, what about trees? Easy that one, Stokes in his Grand Duchy of Stollen blog suggested using plastic trees from a company making cake decorations of all things. I ordered item 2140 from the novelty items section of the Sugarcraft company.

They also do plastic evergreen/spruce trees and they even have a 1 1/4"-non marching- marching band (item S71)...lovely stuff indeed. You can also find bridges, fences and there's even an "army" section. Well if it's good enough for decorating cakes, it's good enough for my wargames table (after eating the cake of course).

And last, but not least, a couple of members of my local games club "De witte ridder" had thrown together all their old 1/72 plastic soldiers in one big box. The plan is to base a number of units and introduce those interested to Napoleonic gaming using the Black Powder rule set. Nothing fancy, just plain unpainted armies as used by my brother in wargame arms Ludo and myself a couple of posts ago, good fun, hopefully lots units on big tables and we'll see how it goes from there.

Well, that about sums up what I wanted to get of my chest. TTFN...

Happy gaming

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Green, green or green?'s all about paint,  green paint.

I was searching for a "classic" basing colour. As I don't have a store selling Dulux "Moss Green" in the neighbourhood, I compared following paints I had in the cupboard: Old GW Goblin Green (hexagon pots), New GW Goblin Green and a mat acryl mix from the paint store. I want both figure bases and base plates to be the same colour, which should also be the table colour.
-Top picture with colours automatically enhanced, lower picture as scanned.-

In reality (as above pictures distort the colours somewhat) the Levis mix really is  a good slightly olive green, just a touch lighter of tone than both GW greens and a shade just in between those two. I think I'll go for the Levis paint mix as I can have lots of it made cheaply, and I still have much of it left after making a wargames table for the boys' Warhammer armies (years ago). Also the Levis paint is finely grained/pigmented enough to paint the miniatures bases. Just add a tiny drop of washing up liquid to the water you dilute the paint with, just to break the surface tension.

Also, for the moment I'm not posting that much (yeah, thanks Pjotr, we didn't notice that, duh...). And the hobby time I have left I'd rather spend painting and modelling, so that in due time I can start presenting proper finished units and start developing the DDU story and commence other projects and...and...(I'm getting that 36 hour watch for X- Mas.

Anyway , next post will be the presentation of some new links I've started incorporating in the Chronicles. As always: remarks, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Happy gaming,

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Old School ACW

Just a quicky to share this Old School ACW blog with you. I've included it on the left in the inspiration section, so I'll know when new posts have been made. Of course, if you visit my blog regularly, you'll know too. In the mean time, I've been very busy on the gaming front, but in a very unexpected way. Some of you will find out what I've been up to in a couple of weeks...Also I've been -so very slowly- working on the restoration of Jan's SSM models. A tedious, but very satisfying part of the 7YW imagination project.

Happy gaming

Monday, 16 August 2010

1809 - Une affaire de postes

Last Saturday I was invited by Stephan  for an Old School game using a collection of 15mm Napoleonics in his safe keeping at his home. Stephen (really, with an "e" this time, just to confuse me) joined us later and Stephan moderated and umpired a scenario based on the Battlegames 20 table top teaser "An affair of outposts".

Stephan had cleverly adapted the scenario. We had to form three march columns each and with those troop dispositions we had to enter the "unknown" table/terrain and try and secure a line of outposts at the opposite table edge.
We each had four half battalions of infantry, two companies of light infantry and two squadrons of cavalry. I played Austrians and Stephen got the French. We used a slightly adapted version of Grants "The Wargame" rules. I took a couple of (mediocre quality) pictures of the game which I like to share with you.

On my flanking columns I put my light infantry and cavalry to secure my flanks, supported by a half battalion of infantry. These last were initially to reinforce the centre column of infantry.

-The right column encountered Stephens left flank comprising his two cavalry units. As intended my troops secured my right flank succesfully.-

Originally I wanted to push forward centrally to the opposite table edge with cavalry and light troops guarding the flanks, meanwhile trying to evade the enemy and not get pinned. Once on the opposite table edge I wanted to deploy/spread out left and right and establish a line of outposts. Stephen thwarted these plans by deploying his cavalry on his left and forming an attacking force of infantry on his right flank

-Stephen's columns speeding forward covered to the front by his light infantry.-

-In the foreground my flanking units doing their job. In the background you see (in white) my Austrians forming a firing line to receive the French infantry attack. I moved my left cavalry unit in reserve behind a hill as a support for my infantry.-

-My left flank, forming firing lines, cavalry in reserve,
as the French form attack columns and advance relentlesly.-

-Endgame: the French columns received an unhealthy dose of musketry and the Austrian cavalry charged over the hill in to the flanks of the attacking French seen here retreating.-

At this stage it seemed that what evolved in to a full fledged battle was over, leaving the way open for the Austrians. Having other commitments we stopped the game here, supposing an Austrian victory.

So went my first real "Old School" game with a real opponent. Probably the first game ever where I hadn't had the difficulty of second guessing myself (as Stephan aptly put it). I do thank Stephan and Stephen very much for their hospitality and for welcoming me open armed into their small wargaming fraternity.

All in all, a wonderful afternoon, which convinced me I was on the right track with my "Dietsche Unie" project. And I haven't even mentioned the fondling of each others miniatures, discussing rules and other gaming projects and so much more.

Happy gaming

Friday, 6 August 2010

Soldering on

No, that is not a typing error in the tittle. Let me explain...

As mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to convert some SSM minitures as NCO's. As two model  soldiers of the Grenadiers de France, the unit currently being reconditioned, had damaged muskets, I decided to remove these (ooooh) and replace them with scratch build espontoons (aaaah).

Now this would prove to be the tricky bit. Armed with some 1mm diameter wire, cut to length I set about carving some sort of espontoon "head" to put on the wire staff. Whilst I was busy, I also tried to sculpt a head for the staff of the unit's colours. I was quite proud of the result. But then I just had to compare with the Minden Miniatures "flagpole / espontoon" castings. I must admit that the roaring laughter from those -even though they should know better- looking over my shoulder didn't help...

But then I remembered something which would prove very important in this venture: I had a nephew. Actually,  I never forget that, he's after all the only family I have left. But the point is: he's a very accomplished military modeller, winning prizes in modelling competitions, writing articles for modelling magazines and all that sort of thing. And I've seen him do some eyebrow raising stuff with some brass wire and a soldering iron. So I phoned him explaining my problem. A date was set and he would teach me how to solder.

-Left my first attempt (steel wire and carved plastic sprue), 
in the middle the Minden cast and on the right the soldered espontoon. I was bit impatient taking this picture, 
but a bit more filing should make a perfect spontoon for my SSM's.-

Yesterday I found a store that had all I needed to start soldering myself. For about 15 Euros I had everything I needed. I think the picture speaks for itself, doesn't it. This also means I will be replacing the Minden staffs with brass wire, but keeping the cast heads. I guess you can also do swords and spears and lots of other weapons and implements for toy soldiers.

Maybe it would be a good idea, when I produce the next batch of "Kurzgewehre" to try my hand at a small tutorial, if there is any interest out there. Maybe I'm the last person on earth that didn't know how to solder?

Happy gaming

Saturday, 24 July 2010

WIP report, finally...

well, first up, a WIP report, rather obvious from the title, on the SSM Grenadiers de France and my thoughts on Phil Olley's newest project: the Classic Wargaming Journal.

Having had the "luck" last Monday of hurting my back -doing some 1 scale terrain modeling, I was able to devote some time to the hobby this week. I started with the tedious job of removing flaked paint from the Grenadiers figures. Remember I had already taken care of the flocked bases.
I was rather disappointed to find that quite a lot of flaked enamel paint came of, especially around the lower legs of the models. What I did expect was stripping the paint from the flexi-muskets.

- Removing flaked paint.-

Moving on, I undercoated all affected areas and those bits needing repainting with white gesso. This way the miniatures will be ready to receive new paint.

-Undercoating with white gesso.-

In the mean time I'm experimenting with colouring varnish to simulate the original yellowish varnish (through ageing and some UV bombardment, no doubt) to tone down the new colours. All models will then receive  an extra two layers of varnish, just because...I have a lot of varnish in the cupboard. Maybe I should add that by varnish I mean Johnson's Pledge Future Shine acrylic floor polish (also known under other names, just Google to find out what name the product has where you live). I also discovered I'll need to convert some soldiers to standard bearer and NCO's.

That said and done, how about the Classic Wargaming Journal (CWJ)? Well,  I love the idea. I will certainly try and have at least one article published. But I do hope the CWJ will find enough contents to keep alive. I think a lot of readers and contributors will be the same people writing, reading and commenting each other's wargaming blogs. I fear there might be a redundancy of contents in the CWJ. So I guess the message is: don't write everything in your blogs and save some special topic for a nice page filling article in support of the CWJ.

Enough damage done for one day...till next time...

Happy Gaming

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Books: future and present(s)

Last Sunday was fathers day over here.

And I did get some presents...I got Harry Pearson's delightful "Achtung Schweinehund" -no surprise there- and John Ellis' "Cavalry-The History of Mounted Warfare" which was a surprise. My oldest son picked up this title from Pen & Sword Military Classics in a bookshop in Gent, where he was following a course. Needless to say a went quite emotional after receiving such lovely gifts (not mentioning the cigars, beer, candy, festive breakfast and cards from the kids).

Anyway -this is what I really wanted to share with you- I was browsing the second Ken Trotman Ltd catalogue for 2010 and found following:
Grant and Olley's Wargaming in History 2: The War of Austrian Succession (Dettingen, Fontenoy and Lauffeld) is being edited and should be ready for Christmas...This means it could be ready in time for my birthday...

These are good times for our hobby...
By the way, would the person having made the ten thousand hit please identify himself...proof delivered by screen-shot will be needed to receive a special -surprise- gift.

Happy gaming

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Work started

I've started work on the Grenadiers de France. Why not finish the Hasselse Garde first I hear you say? Well I was jealous of Dave (aka Littlejohn) over at the Lead Gardens blog. When I saw his SSM's, the way ahead seemed clear.

So what have I done so far? If you look back at the pictures of the Grenadiers de France, you'll notice that the minis where glued to cardboard bases and some bases were flocked.

Removing the cardboard bases took a couple of minutes, but I had to find a way to remove the glued on static grass. I took an old paintbrush and pored some Dreft Super Power degreasing agent in a cup. I guessed if it is strong enough to remove crusts from frying pans and ovens it would be a good enough for my purposes. I carefully "painted " the bases with the product and waited some 20 minutes. I then carefully scraped of the softened flock, glue and paint with a not to sharp potato knife as not to damage the soft plastic. I then neutralised the product by washing the last bits of in clean water using an old soft kiddy toothbrush.
I expected some damage to feet and lower legs, but all in all that was negligible. This will be touched up before painting the bases.

Next step will be removing the paint from the muskets and repainting of bases and muskets. The muskets have to be redone as the paint has flaked off of most of them. I'll also be converting new standard bearers and NCO's. But that's for later (although I have basing schemes already written up and sketched in my scrapbook).

I found that time or the varnish used has turned the white on the models slightly yellowish. I can do two things. First of all touch up the damaged gaiters using a slightly coloured white. Or, just paint white and add a tiny drop of a yellow/brown ink to the gloss varnish to finish of. That way the minis won't loose any of their aged character, rather than just repainting parts of the models. I'm starting to feel like somebody restoring an old expensive painting...

Good beginnings I think, ...As ever, it would be nice if you fine gentlemen (and lady) shared your thoughts...

Happy gaming

Thursday, 13 May 2010


I was wondering what to do first. Finish the Hasselse Garde Minden unit or start reorganising and touching up a Spencer Smith unit?
I've got something to ponder whilst relaxing on the Eurostar from Brussels to London. Hmmmm, maybe I should pack Grant and Olley's Wargaming in History Vol.1 as an inspiring read for the journey?

Happy Gaming

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Fourth and last part of the SSM

Sadly -or rather proudly- I announce the last series of pictures of the Spencer Smith Miniatures I inherited.

-This fine looking Austrian regiment of dragoons I presume

-Now something of a mystery. If it weren't for the colour of the breeches,
these cavaliers could represent any number of Austrian cuirassiers.
Because of the white breeches I think I'll stick with the ALTHANN dragoons.-

-A number of Staff officers and Regimental commanders.-

-Austrian artillery.-

-French artillery.-
-FREI BATTALION LOUDON protecting the flanks of the Austrian column.-

- Dutch (Netherlandish) IR.9 LOS RIOS, but not quite sure about the standard.
Maybe IR.28 WIED? Anyway, a fine looking Austrian unit.-

-These boys baffled me. IR.43 PLATZ had orange lapels.
Let's just call them the YELLOW regiment.-

And that is that. I hope I made Jan -the former C-in-C of this formidable army- proud to see his troops passing the review and I hope he enjoyed your comments and encouragement as much as I did.

So, what now? Well some thought will go into refurbishing and amalgamating the units, trying to keep as much of the original paintwork intact. I'll also try and create new Imagi-units. The reason is that in my future armies I don't want all Spencer Smith Minis on one side of the table, i.e. I would like a reasonable mix of different makes of miniatures in units representing both Prussia, Britain and their allies -such as the DDU-  ("huzzah") on one hand and dito representing the coalition forces ("boo, hiss").

The units will be at approximately 1/20 figure scale for "The Wargame" and other Classic or Old School rulesets. Extra command figures will make it possible to split these in 1/40 battalions for more modern rulesets as Rank & File, Die Kriegskunst, Black Powder, Minden Rose...

Oh, and please take a closer look at The Lead Gardens, if you haven't already. Another very inspiring blog, helping me to define my future plans. There Grolsteiners and Bleiherzen feature in very high standard battle reports with top class photographs. A link has been included in the "inspiration" section on the left.

Well, I hope I warmed some peoples hearts with the latest series of posts. As usual I do welcome and appreciate your comments, remarks and suggestions.

Happy gaming

PS: I'm visiting London 14th-17th May, any suggestions -wargames wise- which I can stumble upon quite by coincidence (SWMBO must never suspect anything)?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Being the third series of pictures of Spencer Smith Miniatures

Without any comments (on my part), let's get on with it...But for one thing: thank you for the very kind and thought provoking comments. Don't forget: these wonderful armies were collected by Jan and complements  should really be addressed to him. Pay him a visit here on his Napoleonic revolutionary wars blog called ça ira.

-Ranking 86th in the French army is ROYAL BAVIERE.
As with the next unit the colours do not fit. I think
Jan used some artistic license at the time.-

-French 106th LOWENDAHL ?-

-Ranking 39th is BOURBON, identified unmistakeably by the colours.-

-ROYAL COMTOIS (59th) might fit the bill here.-

I'm afraid the standard is to generic to help identify this unit.
It is French cavalry, isn't it?-

- Les troupes légères pour la petite guerre:

In the meantime I've decided that the Grenadiers de France will be the first unit to get a make-over. The miniatures will be de-based,  given a clean with a soft toothbrush and soapy water, flaked paint on muskets will be removed and touched up, bases repainted, faces repainted and finally re-based according to a very cunning plan...more of which later...much, much later...

And there's more, yes, really, ....
Comments, remarks, suggestions, know the drill.

Happy gaming

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Check this out

 What a find:

Mouillard 7YW French uniform and colours plates

Okay, you probably knew about these but forgot to tell?
I added the link.


Thursday, 22 April 2010

Spencer Smith units part two

Being the second -but not the last- series of pictures of the Spencer Smith models now under my command (some minor editing has occurred since the day of posting)

-I had some trouble identifying these chaps.
My guess is they represent the French BERCHENY Hussars.
In the comments, Musketier rightly suggests they are ROYAL NASSAU.
They are by far the most beautiful models Jan made and already my favourites,
me being light cav and all....-

-GRENADIERS DE FRANCE (ranking 40th) exercising "Charge" formation.-
-And changing over to "The Wargame" line.
These men do know their business.-

-ROHAN MONTBAZON  (ranking 32nd) marching by.-

-And back to Austria as I think what are the Hungarian Regiment IR.53 SIMBSCHEN or
maybe IR.37 Joseph ESTERHAZY.-

A lot of your comments were a plead to keep the models as they are (If it ain't broke...hey Matt). I'm still thinking of amalgamating similarly uniformed units by changing facing colours, but keeping the rest of the paintwork intact...good enough for you?

More to come, keep watching this space...

Happy Gaming

Saturday, 17 April 2010

First pics of Spencer Smith units

Well, the post title says it all...

First of all I would like to clarify that Jan, the former CinC of the miniature armies about to be presented to you didn't help me identifying the units. The reason is simple: I really enjoyed the challenge going through the process of studying my meagre reference works and finding which units represented what regiments. So, Jan, when reading this and finding fault with my gentle when commenting.

Remember, these pictures -and others coming soon- is in honour of Jan's work and of his amazingly unselfish act of giving overall command of his 7YW armies to me. Jan, I salute you.

-Regiment LA MARCK, also known as KÖNINGSMARK
This German line infantry regiment in French service ranked 66th during the Seven Years' War.-

This is the only Austrian regiment I could find having violet facings.-

-Regiment ALSACE.
Another German unit in French service, ranking 36th.
As with LA MARCK, the ordonnance flag colours confirm the identity of this unit.-

Please keep watching this space as more units pass inspection...As ever, your comments, remarks and suggestions are more than welcome.

Happy gaming

Friday, 9 April 2010

The way ahead

To use "Ross Mac"'s words: explaining away the magic,but first...

First of all: a big thank you to all visitors and especially to all those who took the trouble to leave a comment. It is very heart warming to see that sometimes something simple can brighten ones day. Please, anyone visiting or subscribing as a follower: leave a little note introducing yourselves, or just say hello. It's always nice and enriching to read someone's opinion or advice.

Second on the agenda: take a look at the "Dressing the Lines" blog run by the well known gamer Roly Hermans of The Kapiti Fusiliers fame (see the link under favourite places). Old meets new in perfect synergy. By the way, Hermans is a Flemish name...just so you know what part of the world those genes came from. There is hope for me yet. The blog will appear under the "inspiration" section.

As for the Magic Easter Box.  Yes, the box magically appeared on my dining table and the soldiers took over my house. We are camping in our garden shed and are making plans to invade our own house. The dog is doing a reconnaissance patrol as I write this.
Well, to be honest, the soldiers didn't really march forth out of the box, unless you really convinced yourselves they did. In that case you better stop reading here.

It all started some years ago when I first met Jan and Peter from the Alde Garde (on the picture that's Peter on the left and of course Jan on the right from where I'm looking. Actually Peter is on Jan's right). Now and then I corresponded with Jan through e-mail. Little over two years ago Jan mentioned his Box of Spencer Smith minis. Since that day I have been asking, begging, grovelling, demanding, threatening and asking again if I could have his box full of SSM's. Finally, he succumbed after holding him hostage for about 30 seconds when I met up with him in Rheindahlen.

So, last Saturday we met up again in Gent for the Red Barons & Bylandt & Thunderbolts Convention XXII. There Jan parted with his box of Spencer Smiths, praise him. I'm extremely honoured to having been given such a precious gift and I will carefully consider what I will be doing with these mini's, allways asking Jan's opinion before doing anything to the minis. By the way check out his new French Revolution wargaming blog called ça ira. I've added a link under "inspiration".

As for the miniatures... They are based and organised for the WRG Horse and Musket rules and can be used as is for Black Powder, Tricorn and Musket or Pro Gloria rules and maybe some others I don't know. The main issue is that given unit sizes are of around 12 models. They are not really suited for Charge or The Wargame. Well maybe Charge if you brigade the battalions and treat them as companies. Come to think of it, that way I can even use them for The Wargame rules, using main uniform colours as a guide.

As for the way ahead. Well first of all, I will photograph and identify each seperate unit and post them on the Chronicles as an homage to Jan's work and the beautifully Old School painted miniatures themselves. By then I should have decided if I want to go for 36 or 48 mini batallions. Next the figures will be stripped and repainted, keeping Jan's painting style and even keeping the names of a couple of his original units, adding to them any plastic or new metal minis I can find or buy. So eventually all models will be amalgamated into larger units.

So, as soon as my 7YW uniform books are back home I'll start presenting the units.

Tonight is club night...I'll be gloating all evening, maybe even getting free coffees in exchange for a peep in the box...

Happy gaming

Sunday, 4 April 2010

I'm a happy (Easter) bunny

 Without to much comments...just judge for yourselves...

-What is this box doing on the dining table?
Hey, the lid is moving and what are those strange noises?-

-What's happening? Are those toy soldiers?
Help!!! Somebody, help!!!-

-They are taking over the dining room...Save us!-

-It looks like these hussars are part of the vanguard.-

 -Even more cavalry supporting the right flank.
By god...there's even artillery near Charge Hill.-

 -Better get the wife and kids under cover...-

-Jäger and Hussars covering  covering the main body...
that commander does know his trade.-

-Cry havoc and let loose the minimilitivorous dogs of war.-

-There's the last of them, thank God...we might stand a chance yet.-

...doesn't this bring a tear to your eye...
Future posts will make all clear...just enjoy the pictures for now...

Happy gaming, indeed

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Battle of Groeninghe Vezel

Well maybe not a high class and  real battle report as many of you gentlemen and lady produce and maybe not a thorough review of the Black Powder rules, but just to prove we did have fun...

So, as planned the old Airfix soldiers (with a handful of newer Revell mixed in) were organised in a couple of brigades to have a go at Black Powder.
 The battle was a very simple set up with two French Brigade attacking British lines. The left brigade commander couldn't get his orders sorted out, lost a battalion of infantry in the process due to Artillery fire and then suddenly all went very fast as the brigade suddenly leapt forward into contact. The British Hussars (on the far end, near the farmhouse in the right picture) attacked the flanks of the French columns and all was over as the French lost two battalions at once. Here we learned much about support in H-to-H combat and mixed combat. One also has to think about defining orders (charging) and using full moves as brigades quickly become disorganised and arrive at the enemy lines in completely the wrong formation. One should try and not move to contact to quickly, but first organise units in a proper formation and then rush in making sure all support is there where you want it.
On the right flank (no pictures I'm afraid) the guard battalion speedily set of and got slowed down in some rough going just in front of the British lines. This gave the British the chance to use their initiative move and in real 52nd at "Waterloo" style enfilidaded the Guard Brigade to finish them of. Here we learned more about manoeuvring units and shooting.

-A minor rules dispute was settled in a very gentleman like fashion.
Not wanting to damage my copy of Black Powder and lacking fresh air, I gave in...
Before leaving for home, I did slash his car tyres...-

Anyway, we now know what to look for in the rules, and what sections need some more studying (especially on my part). We, my former friend Ludo and I, both thought the rules worked well and probably will get better as our games pick up speed and we slowly add more special rules and unit abilities.
Winner of the game were the Black Powder rules (oh, and Ludo came second).

As promised, it was a fun evening. I don't see this project replacing my "Old School" project in any way. Maybe ancient gaming will be the victim, at first...

Happy gaming

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Followship of the Blog and THE most important game of 2010.

Today a small apology to several people who are not in my blog-following-list-thing-on the left and a few words on the somewhat improvised and therefore nostalgic playtesting of the much talked about "Black Powder"  rules. 

First of all sorry to all those people who's blogs I would like to follow, but which I don't follow. For some reason some blogs don't accept my "membership". I'm sure it's one of those "settings" issues. Ah well, the world isn't perfect, is it? I'll try and tinker with my blog settings and see if I can join your "Followship of the Blog".

One of the good things of being a member of a games club is having of the bad things is having opponents. I was quite comfortable having laid out my four projects. But now I discover, or rather, fear, of being side tracked as fellow club members also have their preferred rulestes and figure scales. For the love of gaming I would quite easily join other gamers already existing projects, but even in Belgium, money does not grow on trees. So...will I allow myself to get sidetracked and maybe let go of one of my original projects. Should I be stubborn and be the only solitaire player in the club, whose only contribution will be commenting other players and sneering at their table top accomplishments?

Anyway...Black Powder. Having decided to give Black Powder a, wait a minute...have I told you you I was Googling Black Powder and found my way to a thread on TMP dicussing a review on Black Powder...I almost pissed myself laughing reading how so called "gentlemen" where reviewing each others posts and comments rather than the ruleset and trying to be just that bit more rude than the other, seeing how two "camps" developed and how some men just couldn't make up their mind and agreed and disagreed with anybody and everybody. The point of the whole exercise seemed to be to get at least one person to apologise for having expressed an opinion.
Oh dear, how sad,  never mind... 
My message to these table top zeros: "Stop whining, start wanking...", as a British battlegroup commander once said to one of his officers just before an attack (about a minute later I heard his voice in the radio..."Gentlemen, let's rock and roll"... as the world around me exploded with incredible sounds and lights)...but I digress.
So back to Black Powder. What do you do when you want to playtest a rule set...and you don't have any armies...and you don't want to wait another ten years to play the game? Yes, go and find that big box full of Airfix soldiers, you also find some beer mats (thank you bar keepers of the Officers Mess) and a tube of wood glue. Next Friday my Airfix Nappies will have their first game in ages...these unpainted plastic heroes of many a battle will rise and fight again. This will be the ultimate nostalgic, old school, yes even sentimental event of this year: the rebirth of my wargaming hobby,  a trip to the past,...and it's cheaper than a session of regression therapy. I'm really, really excited about this, yes I am...
Maybe I will be able to salvage my Airfix La Haie Sainte farmhouse? In the end I'll be able to field two brigades of infantry of two or three battalions each, two guns and a couple of squadrons of light cavalry for each side. Maybe, I'll even post a few pictures, just to prove that fun can be had whatever the circumstances. Anyway, this is what it's all about: HAVING FUN!!!!!!

And so it begins...

Happy gaming

PS: in the Black Powder rules, page 175, a reference is made to 30mm "Rusty Sabre Miniatures" Hussars.  Googling didn't give any results. Does anybody have any idea what manufacturer Priestley and Johnson are talking about?
PPS: Oh, and I have my name in print in Battlegames magazine, hurrah. Sadly in Italics as a runner up for the last competition and not in Bold as winner of that competition. Life's just not fair...I hope those weren't my five seconds of fame...that would be sad!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Wargamer Porn

No, you're not going to see any naked persons pushing around toy soldiers...well not here anyway. That makes me wonder: do you think somewhere on this planet one can find a nudist wargames club?:
-Okay, you can fire that third gun now.
-Hey mate, I've only got two nine pounder batteries on the table!
-No, I meant that tiny three pounder battalion gun at your table edge...

First off all I'm very happy to anounce two new books have been added to my library (this is the wargamer porn bit): Warlord Games' "Black Powder" rules and Ken Trotmans new series -I hope- Wargaming in History, Volume 1, "The Seven Years War" by Grant and Olley.
I think that whoever brought Olley and Grant together should get a medal and his own weight in wargaming figures...The "Seven Years War" book sets a new standard in wargaming books. It contains history, from there on it explains the rationale behind determining the model forces and terrain set up and in the end you get a battle report with the best pictures you can imagine...and this four times over...and then...some extra rules for "The Wargame" (using Frei Corps, Legions and the like...). I think this book is a must have... just because it is out there.
I would like to make one suggestion to the authors. I guess several hundreds of pictures exist from which the ones featuring in the book were chosen. Why not include a code inside the book cover, giving the buyer/reader login acces to a website where all the pictures in the book can be viewed and zoomed. I mean the pictures are just wonderful, but the size results in lots of detail going lost, especially in the panoramic battlefield views. I wouldn't mind seeing some of these pictures on my 17" screen.

Black Powder: what can I say? I can't say anything about the rules. I've read them diagonally, some bits more  intent than others. They do look promising, they invite you to play, they make you wish you had a couple of armies ready to deploy, they make you ponder all the clever things you can say to your opponent across the table...Oh, and there's pictures too.
Again a high quality publication, written by some of the better known names in the wargaming retail business. I think these are clear written rules containing a number of time saving mechanisms, but in the end probably giving the same results as more elaborate rulesets. Of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating (or something like that, no?). Warlord games have started online support. I've already downloaded some army registration sheets, quick reference sheets and the inevitable FAQ's. Again, in the book, there are a number of well worked out scenarios -each including a battle report- and eye-candy. These are good times for being a wargamer, bad times for the wallet though.

And next...ACTION 2010...The Rheindahlen wargames convention.

I finally made it to a wargames convention.  I had everything ready the evening before, good for an early start. I did forget my lunch box, which was on the table next to my digital camera...bother...
I had a great day. I had fun going round the tables, chatting with gamers from Germany, Britain, America, the Netherlands and good old Belgium. I really enjoyed meeting up with a long time E-mail correspondent and the other half of his wargames club the "Alde Garde" . These two guys gave a fantastic new set up every year, go take a look on their webpage...My club demonstrated a WW2 Blitzkrieg Commander game based on the local "battle for Hechtel" in September 1944 between part of the Guards division and German Fallshirmjäger units in a bid to secure the springboard for operation Market Garden. The game table was just wonderful and reconstructed the village of Hechtel anno 1944. If you held your eyes at table level, it was as if you where there. Great stuff and in my mind the best table at the convention, well done guys. You will have to imagine the pictures...great aren't they?
I also had great fun browsing the retailers...boy...those prices...I think I will revert to solely internet buying straight from the manufacturers.  I did manage to pick up some 15mm WW2 lead at 25% bargain prices, only to dicover that his prices were 20% more expensive than other traders, giving me a net saving of 5%. I had unbelievable fun fondling the floppy latex rubber terrain from -was it?- JR miniatures. (That bit of kinky wargames porn was not intended). And I spent to much time drooling over Perry, Foundry, Victrix and other figures at the superb stall of "Dave Thomas - 28mm figures from a multitupde of manufacturers". I also found three Osprey Prussian 7YW army books for 6.5 euro (about £6 each).
My greatest buys where, however: two Jamaica Ginger cakes, two Golden Syrup cakes, one large box of assorted Jacob's crackers and biscuits, 10 Flake chocolate bars, two large packs of Tetleys tea, two packs of Bramley apple pies,  a pot of custard powder, four packs of fresh scones and crumpets, a large bottle of HP sauce, Branston brown pickles, jelly I raided the local NAAFI store in search of some great British comfort food...
Sadly, it was announced that this was probably the second last convention held by the club...

Well that's it for today. Stay tuned and be patient...things are still evolving and slowly taking shape...

Happy gaming

Monday, 15 February 2010

I say, I say, I say...

Pjotr: I say, I say, I say, ...
All: What do you say?
Pjotr: My Spencer Smiths have no nose?!
All: How do they smell?
Pjotr: Terrible!!!!!

On the blog front all is quiet, but plans are being made, old stuff sold off in various b&b's, a visit to Action 2010 in Rheindahlen has been planned, rules are being hoarded, I re-inlisted as a member of the local De Witte Ridder gamesclub. I might have found a conspiring brother-in-arms with this fellow running the Unpainted Lead Syndrome blog. Ludo and his friend Stef  share some ideas with me and I think something playable can come from this...we'll see.
And a big thank you to all you gentlemen (and lady) commenting on my last couple of posts, especially the T-i-C one, that was very educational...

No nose,... smells terrible,...very funny Pete, way to go, lol and stuff...been sniffing acrylic paint again? last?

Happy gaming

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


The Spencer Smith plastics have been de-flashed and washed -twice- in warm soapy water. They already look presentable. I'll post no pics this time. So let's throw a stick in the hen house...

I've been musing on that famous "tongue in cheeck" humour almost everybody is talking or writing about. I mean, do you have to use it to be classed as Classic or Old School and aren't you allowed to use it to be "modern". Some already consider a French unit named Regiment du Camembert or a general called Boursin  as T-i-C.  Some people -I feel- are just trying to hard ,but -to my taste- it does only really work when it comes sporadically and naturally. Unless of course you're making a movie or writing a book, gently poking fun at some aspects of a certain genre, while still relying on its conventions. And if writing gaming rules or books: what genre is the subject of the T-i-C humour? Real war, the gamers themselves or other game rules?
So, yes, I do think T-i-C is a bit overrated. Maybe one should, when writing something not to be taken seriously, just use a subtle sarcasm or use a more ironic, slyly humorous writing style, instead of all that T-i-C stuff.
Or is it me living "abroad" -being Belgian, no less- that I just don't get it? I guess that's what happens to a population that lives in Europes most fought over and occupied piece of land: they loose their sense of humour.
Now where is that chocolate?

Happy Gaming

Friday, 22 January 2010

Recruiting cavalry and "classic" Vs. "Modern"

This time introducing the birth, or rather, conception of a new unit. And some thoughts on unit organisation.

Leopold sat in his office wondering why it was taking Kolonel Nyudrev that long to equip what was to be his prime unit. But he guessed that in a young State as the DDU it would not be simple to set up or change, from one day to another, all the administration and regulations and laws so that even the smallest thing as paying for uniform buttons could be performed. But he knew (from his "inside" men) Kevinovich Nyudrev was earning his pay.
More importantly, he had just heard of a band of horsemen roaming the east banks of the river Meuse. He suspected they were former Flemish-Austrian cavalry that had deserted. His idea was -as he didn't have the means to try and catch them- to find a way to approach them and offer them a job as the first cavalry unit of the DDU army. That way he would have solved the problem of the rogue horsemen holding up merchants and travelers and at the same time he would have the means to catch other highwaymen. Maybe they could even serve as his mounted bodyguard, or as messengers or even as spies at the borders.

-A band of  horsemen ready to rob unsuspecting travelers, kill their women and rape their dogs.-

As you can see, a small Ebay purchase was delivered by post this morning. So I'm now the proud owner of some original plastic Spencer Smith miniatures: 13 dragoon troopers and two charging officers . Two smallish squadrons?

I've been contemplating how to fit in"classic" (as defined by Phil Olley) and other (modern?) wargaming. The clue is that I reversed my reasoning. Instead of combining several smaller "modern" units into a "classic" unit and calling that a brigade, I'll be deviding the "classic" units in smaller "modern" ones. Clever, not?
The classic 48 model regiments can be broken up in two or three smaller "modern" units, depending on the rules being used. All that's needed are a couple of extra standard bearers as there will be enough drummers, officers and NCO's. Now that will of course give three identical units, uniform wise that is. That doesn't really trouble me. Maybe I can fidle around with pompom colours or something. My smaller special "modern gaming" units (i.e. The Hasselse Garde) can then become "Charge" or "The Wargame" independent companies or detachments.
I"ve also started -again- to study painting techniques. I have yet to decide a name and uniform for the new DDU cavalry unit, but the painting style will be totally different from the (in)famous Hasselse Garde. Slowly but surely things progress...
Does anybody have any idea how to straiten the swords on the plastic Spencer Smiths, hot water maybe?

By the way, anybody wanting to get rid of Spencer Smiths, Willie by Suren or Tradition by Stadden can always contact me. But I don't intend paying as much as I did for the plastics, knowing I can buy new models in metal. Also, I probably wouldn't consider paying to high a price for painted miniatures as I would probably end up stripping the paint anyway. That's why I didn't bid on those Spencer Smith Cavalry and infantry on Ebay. I should know who the seller is. From the background on the pictures on Ebay I'm sure I've seen pictures in some publication or on the net of his gaming table before. I also know that in the end the units weren't sold. It's a pity...I wish I could contact that person. 
As always: any comments, ideas, suggestions, remarks, free miniatures or cash are welcome...

Happy Gaming