Monday, 11 December 2017

HM 60th Regt. of Foot (Royal Americans)

Hello again.

This regiment has been months in the making.

I first bought the figures from Eagle Figures at the WMMS Show at Aldersley Leisure Centre back in March, when the "big push" started to get our proposed FIW game up and running for this year's "season". To date, given the length of time this regiment took me, they remain the ONLY British regiment I have completed so far. That project is still looking some way off...

Anyway, why the Royal Americans?

Well, I bought the "Ticonderoga" campaign book published by Osprey from Dave Lanchester at the Barrage Show in Stafford back in July and, within its pages, are numerous colour images of troops from both sides. However, not only was there a depiction of a soldier from this regiment, in colour, but there was also one of a grenadier too, albeit an officer rather than rank and file. I knew what the flags looked like from other research and the lack of lace on the uniforms of the rank and file would make the painting job a little easier, so there you go.

What really took the time, however, was not the figures but the flags. There are some very good looking examples available to buy from different sources, but I like to make my own from brass wire and calico. The experience was an intense one...Suffice to say, it took me ages! The figures emerged faster than the flags!!! Couple that with my general dislike of painting red and that pretty much sums up the mild discomfort that was finishing this unit.

The French represent a lot easier proposition with their pale grey coats over a black undercoat and the flags are simpler designs too but do look effective. Yet, you cannot fight battles in the FIW without Redcoats, so I will crack on with the Dragon Red spray can from Army Painter for undercoating and get on with the British.

Only around half a dozen more units to go and I will have the force I want for the planned show game...

I had better get on with it!


The entire regiment of 24 figures. The grenadiers will feature in a separate unit of Combined Grenadiers.
A closer view of the all-important but massively time-consuming flags.

"Right wheel!"

"Left wheel!" The viewpoint of a Huron scout or Coureur de Bois deployed in a nearby tree.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Wargamer, 2017

Hello again.

B62 8PJ.

I do not usually start with code and, to those who might be a tad confused, I have not done this time either. Well, not quite.

B62 8PJ is the post code for the venue of this weekend's Wargamer Show, to be held at the Leasowes Leisure Centre, Kent Road, Halesowen, Birmingham, UK, B62 8PJ.

The Wyrley Retinue normally debuts it's following year demo game outing at this show, but we cannot appear this year unfortunately. However, there will be a number of traders and gamers at the show, the former category including such luminaries as Warlord Games, Ainsty, Dave Lanchester, Eagle Figures and many others, the latter category including Alumwell, Kinver, Martin Hackett and the Border Warlords (great name for a folk rock band methinks!) and, again, many others.

Drop along if you can. Any purchases you make can always be passed off as Christmas presents to yourself on the grounds that no one knows what you want so you chose for them!!!


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The big bang

Hello again.

As I have complained before, life, work and the changing seasons have all conspired to limit my painting and modelling time to, well, "very limited"...

The FIW project is crawling along at a pace a snail would baulk at, but here are a couple more photos of something I have managed to finish, in the form of a battery of two French 8lbrs.

The figures are, as is now usual with my efforts for this project, Eagle Figures, and this little set up constitutes the whole contents of one of their packs, namely two guns with eight crew figures. I also have a pack of 4lbrs, but I have got nowhere near those as yet.

The crew are painted as French Royal Artillerie as, although few of them made it to North America, I still have visions of using this entire French army in Europe at some stage and the alternative of painting them as Cannoniers-Bombardiers was not viable as a result as far as I am aware. So, the massive distinction of yellow instead of white hat lace was duly made!

I am not entirely happy with the bases, which are 100x80mm Games Workshop movement trays in-filled with two layers of artists' mounting board to avoid warping. Not only do they look a little thick but they have also warped slightly anyway! Oh well...


I had to fabricate the rammers myself as the pack was missing them. I used brass wire with a strip of sticky label wound around the foot end and a piece of sprue, scribed and hacked to represent sheepskin, at the top.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Aeons in the making

Hello again.

When I start a project, and whilst wending my excited way towards its ultimate conclusion, I do a sort of project management thing, one of the aspects of which is timing the duration of various tasks involved. In this way, I can plan in activities and track their actual completion against when I thought they should have been done and amend things accordingly as necessary.

Every so often I get it wrong, but never so wrong as I did with these two worthies.

I painted the rank and file for my 60th Regiment of Foot several weeks ago. In fact, they were the first regiment of troops I painted for the French & Indian Wars that were not part of the original "Muskets & Tomahawks" set up. I set the command figures aside because a) I had to do some work on the ensigns to remove the cast on standard poles and b) I wanted to set the flags aside as a separate project as they needed their own special time window to complete properly without distractions.

That time window opened. That time window stayed open. That time window grew to such an extent that season passed into new season, birthdays were passed and all the while the light started getting shorter and worse as Winter hove into view.

So, after what has felt like aeons, I have finally finished painting the two standards for the 60th Regiment of Foot.

The figures are Eagle Figures and, as I said above, I chopped away the cast on poles and replaced them with brass wire. The flags themselves are calico. Since taking these pictures, I have at least managed to get the whole unit stuck down on the requisite bases but, as yet, none has seen the advent of any texture or terrain work. By the end of November, perhaps.

It is at times like this that I realise exactly why I concentrated my efforts on the French initially...

On another note, given the amount of time this single regiment has taken me to get thus far, it really does call into question my ambition to have the FIW game ready for the WMMS show in March 2018. A postponement of a year is unheard of for me, but it may well have to happen. Fortunately, I have other things I can largely drop into place with which to attend shows next year, so the "Wyrley Retinue" will see you somewhere!


I am not sure about the pose given what must be a truly hefty piece of drapery, but I am happy with the flag.

Possibly my favourite union flag, the 1707 to 1798 version. I just think it looks better without the red diagonals.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Not quite what I asked for...

Hello again.

Picture the scene.

You are at a wargames show. The shekel in your pocket is burrowing furtively through your trouser pocket cloth t find its way in the world, eager to make the acquaintance of a trader. You know what you want to buy, but there are just so many goodies on display form so many purveyors of fine wargames materials. But you know what you want and, there, just to the left of the guy with the shiny books, rests the emporium of one whom you know has "the business".

You sidle over, you act as calm as your frantically beating heart allows, you casually enquire of their ranges and they proffer you the show catalogue.

"Hmm," you think to yourself, desperate not to betray the fact that they could sell you anything and you would happily part with your coin.

"I think I'll have half a dozen of code X," you announce, looking at the floor lest the purveyor of fine wares catches the gleam in your eye for his leaden offerings. "A code Y, two code Z and..."

Your eyes flick from side to side, your breath bursting from your heaving chest with too much gusto for one who is neither exhausted nor having a cardiac arrest.

"And one of those cannons with crew."

Job done.

You get home later that day, broke financially, but elated at the offerings, trinkets and baubles of yet another wargames show, high on the elixir of expenditure and safe in the satisfaction that you have, with professional-level deviousness, managed to sneak a backpack full of a hundredweight of lead figures, a half ton of books, sundry sheets of magnetic materials and scenic matter and the odd board game past the love of your life.

Some time later, perhaps days later, when the emotions have cooled again, you trawl back through your purchases and sift through in a more diligent and leisurely manner than is afforded by the mad press of the wargames show, salivating and delighting at your delightful new toys.

And then you come to the cannon and crew.

It's a mortar.

"And one of those cannons and crew," you said to the imp who knoweth not his catalogue.

It's a mortar.

You want to fire roundshot straight down the necks of those scoundrels the Redcoats...

It's a mortar.

"I don't (insert your favourite expletive here) need a mortar!"

You secrete it away in a fury of realisation that you have been duped and dismayed by the bounder. You forget about it. You put it down to experience.

Then you decide you are going to do a show game featuring a FIW siege...

"How foresightful of me to buy that mortar," you muse to yourself.

So you build it, you base it, you paint the crew, you paint the officer it comes with also and you offer it up on the altar of the blog post.

Cue one Redoubt Miniatures French mortar with colonial Cannoniers-Bombardiers crew figures, together with said officer.


One mortar, which I obviously meant to buy really (!), duly mounted on a base made with coffee stirrer planks and my usual ground cover around the edges. I intend to build a little firing position in which to house it, with gabions, planking and built up soil banks, but that is a while away yet. I need to get the figures done first!

"I said lob it over there!" One officer of the colonial Cannoniers-Bombardiers in siege armour.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Rallying call for the Volontaires Etrangers

Hello again.

A new job and the demands of that and other factors have left little actual hobby time of late, but I have managed to scratch together and complete a couple of projects recently, the first of which I present for you here. Now the clocks have gone back, however, there will be even less time to paint with it getting dark earlier, so I had better get cracking with what time there is!

As you may know, I started my Seven Years' War In America (i.e. French & Indian War) units recently and decided to do them as 20 figures each for the French (historically smaller in practice than we Anglo's and less likely to receive help from the homeland due to the Royal Navy's control of the seas), which left me a few spares from the 24 figure packs of Eagle Figures I chose to build the regiments with. I will actually build them up to 24 anyway for aesthetic reasons, but the packs come as 24 figures and two of those figures are Ensigns. I only need one ensign per regiment for the FIW, so I was always going to have at least one figure spare.

"Not to worry", I thought to myself. "I can use the spare ensigns for command vignettes, give them spades and whatever and make them into engineers/ sappers and I can use one of them for my Volontaires Etrangers unit, which is all singly based for games of "Muskets & Tomahawks"/ "Sharp Practice 2".

It went something like that, at any rate...

So here is that rallying cry to those Germans (and probably a few other nationalities too) in French service in the Volontaires Etrangers, in the form of an Eagle Figures ensign with home-made flag from calico hung on a brass wire pole.

With most French metropolitan (i.e. grey-coated) units having either red or blue facings, the green is a nice change! The flag is also simple enough to be easy to paint but distinct enough to be both recognisable and something slightly different.

If I ever get around to expanding my Seven Years' War French to the European theatre, then I will not be rushing to provide Swiss units, as their flags were anything but simple (!), but Auvergne will be an early addition with the lovely purple facings and simple purple and black flag!


One Volontaires Etrangers Ensign, showing the obverse side of the standard

And the reverse, of both flag and figure

Monday, 16 October 2017

Derby Loot

Hello again.

After my belated post on the Derby Show, held on the weekend of 7th and 8th October, I thought I would muse on the things I went for, what I missed and what I bought from the show.

Perhaps unusual for me, I had actually made a definitive list of what I wanted. I reckoned I wanted two further regiments of French foot for the Seven Years' War in America/ French & Indian War. I also wanted another three British regiments for the same conflict. All five regiments, along with some half a dozen individual French figures, would come from Eagle Figures. I then planned on visiting Redoubt for some Highlanders and Light Infantry, together with a British gun or two. That would see me right for my FIW needs, I felt.

I also went with the express intention of boosting my 10mm Crimean War project, mostly with Russians, but I also wanted to check out Magister Militum's offerings in this arena, so that too was a definite. Most importantly in this project, I wanted the uniform book by Laurence Spring on the Russian Army, which Caliver Books had stocked at previous shows but I had not so far purchased a copy of.

I had planned to get the new "Ghost Archipelago" book, and possibly a few figures, new in from the "Frostgrave" people, but learned that it was not yet out (at the time of the show). Also, I wanted some Chinese Pulp-style characters for something I had in mind for the reasonably near future.

Anything else would be ad hoc.

So, what caused me to part with my money on the day?

A large selection of Eagle Figures SYW castings, which will bolster my FIW ranks considerably. I managed to get a whole single pack of British command from Redoubt too - their stocks were rather low, so I missed out on Highlanders, etc. The book looked interesting, so I picked it up from Paul Meekin Books.

A host of the desired Crimean War figures from both Pendraken and Magister Militum, along with a range of bargain books from Paul Meekin again. Almost £80 worth of books for less than half that! I now have a miniature British Light Brigade, the Heavy Brigade, the Guards Brigade, a Russian Light Cavalry Brigade, two brigades of Russian infantry and whatever the Pendraken packs hold. Quips that I want to host Balaklava in one-to-one scale are wholly unwarranted!
THE book I had set out to get, covering all aspects (I hoped) of the Russian army. A flick through showed just how much I did not know, such as Russian cavalry regiments having identically coloured horses within each regiment. I have started my first regiment of dragoons with their horses and had painted around half of them chestnut, with a view to doing the rest bay with the odd grey. NO!!! All chestnut now, which makes them either the Tsarevitch dragoons, Prince Emil of Hesse's dragoons...there are a few options! Flags are described too, so I can hopefully get them right as  well.

Related to my Crimean War interests, these two books were nice to have. The very new Osprey offering covers the Piedmontese but also other Italian forces in the unification struggles. Gringo 40's were at the show with some wonderful-looking troops for this conflict...The large, hardback book features loads of uniforms in colour for conflicts ranging from the Crimea to the Boer War (the 2nd one, featuring Spion Kop, etc). Ideal I felt not just for my Crimean interests, but also my latent ACW, 1859 and 1866 collections, all of which are awaiting their turn in the spotlight.

I have a passion for the Wargamers' Annual series, so this was a must-have. My currently dormant interest in the Thirty Years' War also meant I had to have the book on the Bavarian army too. Returning my 30YW figures to the tabletop is long overdue!

A hefty dose of whimsy! All looked interesting and "Bolt Action" may well see the light of day with my First World War figures, although I do have a 28mm Japanese army in the "To Do" pile...

And finally, more whimsy and necessity. I always need bases, but the Goblin Spider Rider and the two LOTR trolls were just "shiny".
So, I got a lot of what I went for, bought a lot of stuff on top of that, and still missed out on a few things.

  1. No Highlanders or Light Infantry for the FIW.
  2. No FIW British artillery.
  3. No Fu Manchu or similar for Pulp games.
  4. No "Ghost Archipelago".
  5. Rather stupidly, I did not stock up on magnetic sheet and steel paper. I used the last of my supply of the latter yesterday! D'oh!
But, that was what I call a successful show overall. Whilst I felt there was too much crammed into the hall, some games not really "on the money" in my opinion and it was a bit of a pig to get to from where Nephew Nick and I live, the trade was lively, the money well spent and the Winter reading and projects well stacked up.

I really should take stock of the mass and bulk of my "To Do" list, however, and curtail my expenses going forwards. That may well mean I curtail one or two show visits for the next twelve months and Derby may well be one I miss next year. We shall see.