Saturday, 16 June 2012

Phalanx - Roll of Honour

Purchases aside, what did I think about Phalanx?

GAMES - almost all were of "wargames standard" rather than professionally-produced trophy magnets, which is not a bad thing, especially in this age of one size fits all and especially if you want to grab some new blood and not deter them, but there were some nice tables. My usual gripe, and one very much in evidence again today, is the guys who turn up to play and turn their backs on everyone around. If your are demonstrating something, then DEMONSTRATE IT!!! Too many games are used as excuses to put on something a bit bigger than the home table allows for, with no thought or desire to actually interest anyone else in what is actually a public event and an ideal showground for the hobby. (OK, I will climb down now, put the rant-a-phone away and carry on....)

Special mentions go, firstly, to the Crosby club for their Very British Civil War game, masses of mainly Metcalfe card kits forming a Coronation Street like vista on a 6 x 4 table, with Anarchists and other ne'er do wells trawling the streets or cowering behind barricades. As the writer of the Freikorps article that appeared in Battlegames issue 14 (my one and only article to date, thereby showing how lazy I have become...), this was a set up almost bound to catch my eye.
Secondly, the Victorian set up for the new rules from Westwind looked the picture too. Daft lad that I am, I did not get the name of the guy running this. The Critical Mass people also had a couple of tables showing off their sci-fi rules, one a sort of Ancient Egypt/ Stargate affair, the other a floral haven with multi-coloured trees. Simple yet very pretty.

TRADERS - special mention number 1 goes to Early War Miniatures, whose Mark V male tank and illuminated display certainly tempted my wallet - but I was on a mission not to buy what I did not intend to, so not this time. Special mention Number 2 to AW Miniatures, a name I had not encountered before, but their Indian Mutiny figures looked the part. Special mention Number 3 to Dave Thomas, who sold me much of what I bought, yet put in a discount I neither asked for nor expected. There was probably enough to interest most visitors, but one or two notable absentees who normally frequent bigger affairs. I think a "normal guy" could get most of his needs at Phalanx, though I did not notice any plastic kit suppliers anywhere that I recall.

VENUE - big enough (just!) for the show, but parking tight due to other commitments on the site - it is a sports and social facility. Lighting in these places also appears to be uniformly poor unless you like yellow.......

ACCESS - I thought the weather might make the journey interesting, but, those startled rabbit car drivers who lose the plot whenever it rains/ snows/ threatens to either rain or snow/ blows greater than force 1 on the Beaufort scale, aside, the journey was pretty uneventful. And then there is the daily outing of the National Stunt Drivers' Association, aka anyone in a lorry........

Actually, the venue is dead easy to find, being just a mile or so off the M62.

WILL I GO AGAIN??? - Oh yes!!!!!


Anarchist road block on the VBCW games by the Crosby club of Liverpool

The entire VBCW table

A varitable oodle of VBCW reinforcements (what is the collective noun for reinforcements?)

Those rabble-rousing Anarchists again

I always had a thing for steam lorries, ever since I saw one on the film "One of our dinosaurs is missing", with Peter Ustinov

The Ravenna game by the Lance and Longbow team

I like early cannon too
The game put on by Warlord games tos how off thier new World War 2 rules - more of the higher end game table

The other side of the Warlord Games demo

Some Indian Mutiny action, which looked rather interesting, but I cannot remember who was staging it.....Bally Badmashes to the flank look set to kill off a few kilties

Is this really worth fighting over? Mudbrick metropolis laced with Johnny Foreigner types who don't like good Queen Vic, Gawd bless her! 


The Phalanx Show has been and gone for another year and I did indeed make the jaunt up the M6 to St Helens. The weather promised to be foul, but was largely OK for an English summer, but the usual line up of startled rabbits (aka car drivers who lose the plot when the rain/ snow/ wind/ etc comes in) put in their customary appearance. Ditto the National Stunt Drivers' Association aka anyone in a lorry........

But I digress.

I had a budget. I blew it, but not by the usual margin, so perhaps I am either:
a) tiring of my lifelong predeliction for soldierly toys, or,
b) found little to my tastes on offer, or, there but for the grace of God,
c) I am becoming responsible and realise I have to curtail my expenditure once in a while.........

Here's what I bought.

If you recall my previous post, I was looking for more 1690 stuff (infantry, cavalry and artillery), as well as additions to my 30 Years' War artillery and a couple more bits as options.

From the picture above:

Front (l-r): 3 packs of Ancient Indian cavalry from Curtey's/ 1st Corps (AN INTENDED PURCHASE!), then Reiver Castings 1690 era cavalry and infantry (7 packs, ANOTHER INTENDED PURCHASE!!), then 5 30 Years' War guns with 2 crew packs (Curtey's/ 1st Corps again and YET ANOTHER INTENDED PURCHASE!!!).

Middle (l-r): 2 boxes of "1672" infantry from the former Copplestone range purchased from Dave Thomas, along with 4 packs of Crusader Woodland Indians from the same source (I AM ON A ROLL HERE !!!!!), topped off with 2 large (3"/ 75mm) and 4 medium (2+"/ 60mm) metal discs for command elements for 1690 and a pot of brown Basetex, all from Magnetic Displays (who seem to be at every show I ever go to - top performance there from them).

Back (l-r): 2 largely random purchases - the "Charlie Don't Surf" rules from Too Fat Lardies (which may help kickstart my Vietnam stuff) and the "Enduring Freedom" sourcebook to "Force on Force" from Wargames Emporium.


So, is it "a", "b" or "c" that is to blame?????


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Phalanx Show

Looking forward to an anticipated venture north this weekend to the Phalanx show at St Helens. I have only attended once before and, if memory serves, found it to be a fine show, with just enough packed in to the space available to make it both busy and yet uncramped.

Had those scurvy wretches who answer to the cry of "Wyrley Retinue Minions" been available, I would have pushed for an outing with a demo game, but they will go working Saturdays........and Nephew One is getting married next week, so he probably would not be allowed out anyway.

So, what is on the purchase list???

1) 1690 cavalry. The website says Reiver will be there, but no mention of any suppliers for Dixon, Warfare or others.
2) 1690 foot - command and pike to go with my Reiver infantry with apostles.
3) 30 Years' War artillery and crews. 1st Corps for these, I think, and if I buy enough guns, some may make it to 1690 Ireland.
4) Expansion of my Ancient Indian army is long overdue, so 1st Corps again for some more cavalry and command options that do not involve use of elephants.

What will I return with????

If I had the cash, my fledgling 1314 project would benefit from some Curtey's medievals and I may add a few more bits to my Taliban, aka Mad Mullah Chapman's Turbaned Terrors. I also recently purchased the "Muskets & Tomahawks" 18th Century skirmish rules, so a few Pandours/ Iroquois/ Sepoys/ Minutemen might make an appearance.......

Watch this space.


Monday, 11 June 2012

Continuing to the left

After finishing painting Sarsfield's Horse, I put together some plastic Wargames Factory WSS cavalry and selected Montpuillan's Horse as my second cavalry regiment for my 1690 project.

Sapherson in "William III at War" says this regiment was raised in 1672 and commanded by Armand Nompar de Caumont de la Force, Marquis de Montpuillan. Grant in "Armies and Uniforms of Marlborough's Wars, vol I" gives grey/white as the colour of coat, cuffs and lining.

I have seen no details at all for the flag(s) I get to conject! (Is that a word???)

So, how did I create a flag for this somewhat enigmatic unit? Well, given the name, date of origin, etc, I was thinking Huguenot French - white crosses, fleur-de-lys, you know the drill. I also checked out "Montpuillan" on the interweb and found out that it was in the Lot-et-Garonne district of Aquitaine.

Thus, a white flag, with a white cross, fleur-de-lis in each canton and the arms of Aquitaine in escutcheon in the middle. Job done.

The main issue I have with these figures is the size differential between these and the Reiver figures I used for Sarsfield's Horse. It may have to be one or the other.....


The flag in all its "glory". Painted calico on brass wire pole, as are all my flags for this project.

This photo clearly shows the sub-bases I used to try and raise the height of the figures to try to bridge the size differential I mentioned - bits of lollipop stick, cut down plastic bases, thick card etc all came in handy.

The entire unit, just one squadron in Beneath the Lily Banners terms.

I quite like the sense of movement in the figures seen from this angle. The horses are rather long, which I think is a little inaccurate anatomically, but adds to this sense of movement.

Victorious cavalry chasing off after the enemy.

Turning left....

....has brought me here.

After the best part of a year away from this project, I have effected a return with some Reiver Castings horse I bought at Derby last year. Where better to enter the fray with my first regiment of horse than with James' Guards, aka Sarsfield's Horse?

As with so much of this conflict/ era, the banner is a subject of some conjecture. I have seen various versions of the royal standard, with or without a French element in the form of a fleur-de-lys or two. I thought long and hard about memory told me we had given up claims to the French crown sometime before, and I did not think it politically appropriate to reinstate that claim when the French were actually "helping" James regain his throne, so settled on the current version, courtesy of the recent jubilee celebrations. No fleur-de-lys then.

Now someone will write back to tell me exactly where I have got it wrong!!!

I varnish and base in batches, several units at a time, so will post some finished pictures at some point in the future.


The aforementioned Royal Standard

Ballyneety in miniature....

And from the other side. I used liquid green stuff to hold the separate right hands and carbines in place more strongly. The fit was not great initially, being far too loose, so the filler helped greatly

Bono's great, great, great, great...........whatever relative. Music is in the Hewson family blood. Someone less kind than I may well claim it skipped a generation where young Paul (aka Bono) was concerned......

And his showy coat, with silver lace and hanging sleeves

Two squadrons to the Beneath the Lily Banners rules, 11 figures plus the broken cannon

Close up of "sir"

And finishing with the standard again. The other side is identical - honest!