Thursday 29 March 2012

Only God can make a tree

As I mentioned before, one of my other hobbies is woodwork, and I occasionaly pick up old Hobbies model and toy plans for my collection (going back,in some cases, to the early 1900s). Among a batch that I received recently was a toy farm, and on the sheet was a silhouette drawing of a tree. A light bulb moment. I shall be needing trees for my battlefields. Accordingly I scanned the design and printed it out at twice size, then fixed it to a piece of spare 1/4 inch poplar I had laying about. It's not just kit bits that go in the spares box!

Then threequarters of an hour with the hand fretsaw, a bit of work on a base,

Apologies for the lighting, but I think it shows the shape nicely. A quick undercoat, a coat of humbrol brown and green, gives us a tree,

The chap under the tree is  Tradition 30mm Stadden figure, (I think it's the Duke of Cumberland) and he will be C-in-C of my Minden British troops eventually.

That, for the next 10 days, is that. Julia is insisting that I now go and help pack the caravan, as tomorrow we are of to the Loire Valley until Easter. If I can get fuel for the journey, that is. Isn't our government wonderful, possibly a tanker drivers strike, so they tell everyone not to panic buy, with the inevitable result of massive quese and garages running out! But I musn't start to rant.

See you in two weeks.

Sunday 18 March 2012

The Lost Weekend

I was going to do some work on trees in the shed this weekend (a bit of fretwork) as it's the first time for three weeks that i've a)been breathing fairly normally, b) not aching in some joint or other. But a phone call from my elder sister (there are two younger ones about as well) informed me that my 93 year old mother had been taken into hospital after a fall. This meant a rush trip from Ipswich up to Boston and hospital visit. So nothing got done to my arborial endeavours. Next week, I promise.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Big Wars Battle

The following is a report on my first battle for many years, and was fought with the excellent aid of an umpire over a number of weeks using e-mail. The battle report was penned by Hagen Von Tronek (my alter ego) as commander of a small Russian force.


Having been kicking my heels around Odessa I was sent for by the Count Gueule De Bois, to be informed that there had been a Turkish incursion and I was being sent to take command of a small force that was to restore order and destroy the enemy forces. Iwas led to understand that there was a possibility of agents from a foreign power with the enemy, hoping to buy support for an insurrection.

I was given an Army Corps that was undergoing training in the area, along with with a number of displaced units known as the 'Legion of the Damned', as well as a few units of regular cavalry and artillery.Also, the Tsars cousin, Grand Duke Michael, would accompany me.

When my staff reached our forces I saw that the enemy and I occupied parrallel ridges, with that of the enemy crowned by a ruined Abbey. Most of their forces were hiding behind the hill tops. There was a small village on my left, skirted by a river. Iimmediately sent some units to check the village while forming the rest of my forces into line and moving forward. The cavalry were sent out to locate and report on the enemy positions.

As the units cleared the village they crossed the river to join my left flank, my Cuirassiers with Hussars in support, charged the enemy cavalry, driving them back, but a counter charge by their irregular cavalry forced us to retire. Meanwhile our infantry continueed to move forward.

During the general advance my right flank was held up by rough ground, but reformed and moved on. The line infantry were attacked by enemy forces pouring over the hill from the vicinity of the Abbey, and hard fighting took place. On our left we began to push back the enemy, and our infantry began a long slog along the ridge line. Our cavalry made a charge in support on the enemy centre, but were decimated by enemy fire.

The fight became a general slogging match along the whole front and it was debatable which side held the upper hand. Iwas confident that, should the light hold, we would be the victors. Unfortunately darkness descended quickly and it was impossible to continue. Both sides disengaged as best they could, and by morning the enemy forces had retired, soundly thrashed. Unfortunately we were unable to find the foreign agent or cammandeer his warchest.

During the night, it appears that Grand Duke Michael and his entourage left our camp heading back to Odessa. No doubt your honours have received his report in person. I shall return to Odessa as soon as the army is stabilised, fed and re-munitioned, in case of any further incursion.


As I said, my first battle for a long time, and using the Big Wars rules of Stuart Asquith and Jack Alexander, specially formulated for 54mm figures. I found the rules easy to follow, not too complicated by modifiers, and quick to reference if neccessary. I do find the four figure cavalry unit a little small for my taste, and will probably double this for my own use. As it was a 'postal' game I didn't have the actual set-up to work from, but did draw out a scale size table and used Monopoly houses and hotels as unit counters. Even so, I still managed to lose track of one unit for a couple of moves (it wasn't where I thought it was). I am grateful to Alan for being my oponent, and Brian for setting up the game, using his figures, following our moves, working out the results and forwarding photos of the action (the two accompanying this post are just a couple of many sent).

When the weather improves I intend to use these rules out in the garden with the small forces currently at my disposa, and no dobt the go General will be sending furthe action reports. In the meantime, I believe that Jeff Chorney is preparing a review of the rules to appear shortly in the Lone Warrior Blog.

Anyone wanting the full story can read a blow by blow description, along with many more pictures and umpires comments, on Brian's own blog  'Collecting Toy Soldiers'. (follow link on my 'blogs followed' list.

Monday 5 March 2012


For the last two weeks I've been spending time sitting on the sofa, breathing heavily and getting nothing done. The slightest movement seems to set me off into a heavy coughing spasm and I'm getting really p****d off with it. I can use my keyboard though, so thought I'd try adding a header picture to my blog. It hasn't worked as well as I wanted, but it adds more interest. The picture is actually a group of Staff Officers from the North London Yeomanry Brigade of 1900.

In the meantime, I continue to fight a cyber-battle over the e-mails, with Alan as my oponent and Brian as umpire and hardworking umpire. After all, he does all the hardwork of moving, dicing, ruling success (or failure) and sending us photos and detaqils of the results while we just e-mail our moves.

Hopefully I'll be ready to pick up a paintbrush again soon, then I can get on with things.