Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Hooptedoodle #374 - Tales of Shopping during Lockdown

(1) The international parcel saga - as mentioned a few days ago, I made an online purchase in the USA, and it took 12 days for the parcel to travel from somewhere in Massachusetts to the Global Shipping Center at Erlanger KY. I am astounded to relate that, though the scope for detailed tracking rather dropped out of sight thereafter, the package duly arrived on my doorstep in South-East Scotland bang on the promised date, so the international part of the trip took only 5 days, despite the involvement of Pitney-Bowes [who?] and Hermes at this end.

So, as promised, I have to admit that I am very favourably impressed. Credit where credit is due. Well done, everyone.

(2) A happy coincidence - I was pleased to manage to obtain a pre-owned copy of David Chandler's Marlborough as Military Commander online for only £6 plus P&P, and it duly arrived, promptly and tidily, from a bookshop in Bradford. I was very pleased to find that the book was clean and tight, but was especially happy to find a label on the inner cover revealing that it was previously owned by Charlie Wesencraft, no less. Since I read somewhere that Charlie was a close friend of Dr Chandler, I had a mad idea that I might have got an author's signature for my £6 as well, but alas, no!

I now have a number of books which were previously owned by celebs, as it happens - a set of The Dickson Manuscripts and a set of Sauzey's volumes on French Napoleonic allies, both formerly owned by George Nafziger, and a couple of ECW books once owned by Peter Young. These were all just flukes - there are a couple more, but at present I can't remember what they are, or who they came from. I did once buy a book on eBay which had previously been owned by me, but that is another tale, and rather embarrassing.

(3) An unusually fortunate purchase on eBay [UK]. Someone tipped me off that there was an item which looked like the sort of thing I might be interested in (old toy soldiers of an old-fashioned size). I checked it out and, yes, I was interested. The seller was someone I've dealt with before, and he comes up with some very nice old stuff from time to time. Starting bid was £12. The seller was also open to offers - based on past experience of what these figures typically go for, I made an offer of £16. Rejected.

OK - I upped my offer to £21. Also rejected. This was getting a bit steep for me, so I just placed a normal auction bid of £16 - there were 6 days to go. I reckoned I would be happy if I got them for that, and I would have been fairly priced out of the market if I didn't.

I was out this evening, but got home to find that I had won the item for the £12 starting price. No other bids, no other interest. Obviously we win a few and we lose a few, but it demonstrates the risks of making (or not accepting) offers on an auction item - risks both ways, of course, but I'd have happily paid the £21...

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Featherstonia: Tony Bath's Medieval Rules

Another packet of gold dust from the Mighty Albannach. Have a look at this lot, then! Originally published by Don Featherstone's Wargamer's Newsletter.

Please enjoy - thanks again, Iain - you're a hero.

WSS - King Louis' Footbath

Time to get back to the WSS refurb work, so I'm starting with some easy stuff - let's soak the old bases off some ex-Eric Knowles French infantry, and clean them up, ready for retouching. In fact these guys look pretty good - there are a few bent muskets to sort out (and associated flaked paint) but by and large these look mostly like a wash and varnish job. [If I had a pound for every time I've thought this, I would have - ooh - several pounds, I would think]

First WSS job in the queue, strictly speaking, is an Austrian regiment, IR Haßlingen (2 battalions), which is hanging over from Phase 1, so I'll get started with them. These French chaps, once I have counted them and sorted out what's what, can get boxed up as potential battalions, then the next footbath load will be some more French, from elsewhere. After that I'm looking at British and Dutch, and goodness knows where we get to from there, but first off I need to work out a supply of cavalry - I have a load of cavalry figures, but they are all strip-and-start-again stuff. There will be a shortage of vintage figures for cavalry and artillery, so I'll also check out what I need to get in from Irregular. I'm also thinking seriously of having two standards per battalion for both French and British, just for the look of the thing, so I'll have a look at that. I also rather fancy getting some mounted officers from Irregular to provide French colonels, since the no-cuirass look is better for them

So - one step at a time - these French chappies can be soaking for a few days while I get set up to paint Haßlingen. Once they are clean and I have played around at organising them into units I can decide what else I need to get in. Busy busy. Idle hands are the Devil's fake news.

Footnote: today I have switched back to the "legacy" version of Blogger, since the new one will not allow me to set up a new post. The new one also will not let me collect a folder of images, to be inserted one at a time as I require them. With New Blogger, as far as I can see, you have to upload your images as you need them - if you don't insert them immediately, in a single lot, you will lose the folder and have to upload them again. Oh well. The new version has been going fairly well, and offers some facilities the old one didn't have - no doubt I'll like it again in a week or two, but at the moment it is a pain in the erse.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Hooptedoodle #373 - Annie Ross

Sad to learn that the death has occurred of Annie Ross, the singer - mostly known in Scotland as Jimmy Logan's sister, and mostly not known very much at all elsewhere. Annie was a class act - she joined the prestigious American vocal act Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, a move which was almost unknown for a British artist in those days.

Here's a link to (probably) their most famous record - Centrepiece, from 1958. Quality. Love this stuff. The trumpeter, by the way [nerd section], is probably the great Harry Edison, since he is credited as co-composer on the recording. [If the link doesn't play - which is happening to me a lot lately - just click on "Play in Youtube"]

Hooptedoodle #372 - A Modern Epic - Heroism in Very Small Steps

Morning run - the brave boys from USPS set off with another day's deliveries
Recently, I was brave enough to purchase something online from the United States. I used to do this from time to time in the past, but have sort of got out of the habit. Shipping prices and other overheads have become more problematic (various reasons), and I have a faint concern that the handlers will realise that the package is intended for the hostile liberals overseas, and may drive a fork-lift over it, or urinate on it, or similar (call me nervously imaginative if you will).

At the time I made the purchase, a delivery date of 28th-29th July was estimated, which seemed very optimistic, but no matter - I am not in a particular rush, and I am in any case now a veteran of a recent post-lockdown postal experience of air-freight from New Zealand which took a few months, so I have the calm which comes from experience. It's OK - these are tricky times - the brave chaps on the high seas will do their best for me. Whatever. We have to be grateful.

So I was pretty relaxed about my parcel - it will get here, but it might not make it by 28th July. Hey, there are lots of people in the world with real problems, so I can stand to wait a week or two. This morning I received an email message to say that my package had arrived at the courier, and was out for delivery.

Fantastic! - in a state of some excitement, I followed the links to get some tracking details of this miracle of space-age logistics.

Hmmm. What has happened is that it has arrived at the start of the international bit of its journey. All the previous toil and endeavour appears to have been local bits of USPS handing it on to each other - or maybe putting it back in the bin for tomorrow - or maybe rubber-stamping something [come on - I can't be expected to understand how these things work]. What seems to me like the hard bit has not begun yet, and I have not even mentioned import tax and all the glumph at this end. So I've gone back to my previous assumption that it will not make it by 28th. We have not yet got to tales of aeroplanes flying over the ocean, or Big Tam with the size 12 boots at the depot in Edinburgh.

Mind you, there's still 5 days to go. If it makes it, I promise I shall sing their praises on this very blog. I'm not too worried, to be honest - if it's late it serves me right for being rash - but this view of the innards of the gig economy at work doesn't impress me as much as I had hoped.

***** Late Digression *****

Nothing to do with the above (apart from implications of international shipping, I guess), but I've just got word from Allan at Lancashire Games that they will be stocking Vauban's Wars when it is printed and released. Just thought I should mention it...


Tuesday, 21 July 2020

British Dragoons Finished

I see that it is only three and a half weeks or something since I finished restoring the troopers for my two late-war dragoon regiments, but my painting mojo fell into a trough of some sort after that, and it's only now that I've finished the command figures to complete the units. Anyway, it's done, and I'm pleased with them.

These originally were part of Eric Knowles' vast collection. They were a single regiment, but I use smaller unit sizes than Eric did, so I have split them into two. Here, then, are the 1st (Royal) and 3rd (King's Own) Dragoons, which, as far as I can tell (courtesy of Mr Franklin's book), were pretty much identical. The only slight issue was that I came upon a trumpeter of the Royals in reversed colours in one of the plates in Commandant Lachouque's Waterloo, but that seems unlikely enough by this late date for me to disregard it.

The troopers are Hinton Hunt one-piece castings (OPC), catalogue no BN 40. There were no matching command figures, so my solution was to mount SHQ/Kennington officers and trumpeters on Hinton Hunt horses (BNH3). Everything went pretty well - a lot of carving was needed to get the castings to fit, but it was an easy enough job, and they look fine. In fact the separate HH horses are very slightly taller than the OPC jobs. I thought of filing down the bases a bit, but these are very old HH castings, and the alloy is very soft anyway, so I left them. They are fine.

I have now placed them safely in The Cupboard, and can move on to the next challenge with a light heart!

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Sir William Ponsonby

Over the last few weeks, my soldier painting has just dried up altogether. I was doing really rather well, but we've had some family problems, which have been a major distraction, and I seem to have just lost motivation. I'm trying to pick it up again this weekend. I hope to finish off the two British dragoon regiments I was working on - they only lack their command figures, and they are coming along now.

Since these dragoons are in the Waterloo period uniform, I decided it would be pleasing to paint up their brigade commander at Waterloo, Sir Wm Ponsonby, to go with them. I was very lucky in that Goya donated a repaired Hinton Hunt figure (thank you again, sir), and he is now ready for action.

Sir Wm Ponsonby, MP for Londonderry 1812-15.  He is riding one of his second-string horses, a fact which he must have regretted when the lancers got after him at Waterloo. Damn bad luck.
I had a HH Ponsonby some years ago - it wasn't a great casting, and it got cleared out when I had a sudden rush of blood to the elbow and decided to replace all my 20mm generals with 25mm ones - an idea that must have lasted all of six months. My previous Ponsonby had a light tan riding coat - I didn't have access to Marcus's painting instructions in those days. This new one is a much better casting, and I've painted him as Uncle Marcus would have wished.

This is not just a one-hit Waterloo special - I shall use the figure to represent John Gaspard Le Marchant in an earlier period (he didn't last long either, come to think of it). I can ditch my current Le Marchant figure, which is an S-Range conversion of mine that I have never liked. In fact, given that his uniform is more or less invisible, this new chap can serve as any odd British commander. Useful.

Anyway - here we have Hinton Hunt BN257, painted and everything - he should have a brigade to command by Sunday night.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Vauban's Wars - more evidence

This may be old news (I hope it isn't fake news), but Eric Burgess's long awaited siege game rules, Vauban's Wars, are scheduled to be released first week in August. It is hard to sustain actual excitement for 9 years, or whatever it is, but I really am quite excited. I've been waiting for this since it was called Coehorn's Wars (before the takeover?).

Here's a completely unauthorised snapshot of the back cover (regard it as an advert, if you will), borrowed from the Piquet and Field of Battle Facebook page - final proof-check should be next week. I've been following the playtesting on the Piquet site and on Eric's and Gonsalvo's blogs, and it all looks good.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Wargame Pioneers - pictures from the archives

A friend passed me this - remarkable - it shows early trials of The Portable Wargame, in Leningrad in 1924.

[Editor's Note: this is, in fact, a lie. The occasion depicted is obviously a game of very large chess, though the date and place are correct. It was a demonstration game played between two Masters of the day, Peter Romanovsky and Ilya Rabinovich. Why? - I don't know - I'm just the bloody editor - maybe because they could? Observe that the rooks/castles have artillery, which must have been a handy thing to whip around the board in a hurry. Presumably you could stop your clock while the guns were limbering up. Are the pawns expected to clean up after the knights, I wonder.]

Reluctantly, I must add a couple more photos:



And they did make their moves by telephone! Also megaphone, as you see. That may be Romanovsky on the right. Right background is the Alexander I monument.

Here's a more recent bash at the same idea:

Featherstonia: ACW Rules

Once again with sincere thanks to Albannach, today we have Donald Featherstone's American Civil War Rules, as marketed by Wargamer's Newsletter, back when real men carried roundshot bouncesticks.

We're going to slow down the publication rate now - this just to whet the appetite and get things started! Many thanks, Iain - Nobel Prize nomination is being worked on.

***** Late Edit *****

At the end of these rules Don makes reference to the morale effect of having a Fife & Drum band handy on the table (Airfix, converted), to cheer up the troops. This is interesting - you don't suppose Don happened to have such a band available, do you? To set the mood appropriately, here's some Fife & Drum music from the ACW [Google kindly suggested I was looking for Drum & Bass]

I'm interested in this aspect of wargaming - I have been known to discomfit visiting players by subjecting them to my mp3 collection of Napoleonic marches and fanfares during games. While I'm on this digression, I keep meaning to get more seriously involved in putting together companion collections for other nations. I think the Austrian and Prussian material is probably available - British music is a problem - most collections of British Napoleonic marches are played by modern military bands, which probably means saxophones [aargh] and other unacceptable anachronisms, and usually means that you get the Dam Busters in there at some point.

If anyone has any clues on this (off-)topic, please get in touch!


Sunday, 12 July 2020

Featherstonia: An Occasional New Series?

I was very pleased with the reaction to the posting of the programme for the 1965 Military Festival at the Duke of York's HQ. As a result of this, Iain (The Mighty Albannach, no less) has offered to make some more of his personal collection of old documents available for sharing in this way, which is not only very generous, but also suits me very well for a number of reasons, since my painting efforts have stalled for the moment, and actual wargames are likely to be few and far between for a while. Thus I am delighted to take him up on his kind offer.

We'll see how this goes, but he has a good collection of wargames rules (by a number of authors) and of historical and wargaming notes, all of which were available as "handbooks" and could be ordered through Donald Featherstone's Wargamer's Newsletter back in the day. It is possible that some of this material has been collected into more modern publications, but at least you can be confident that the original documents posted here will have been proof-read at some time, which is not always the case elsewhere.

First off, then - appropriately enough - is DFF's very own Rules for Napoleonic Wargames. I believe the rules employed at the 1965 Waterloo game were a cut-down version of these. Please enjoy them, and please treat them with the respect they (and Albannach, and I!) are due. Potentially, there are some real goodies in the pipeline!

Thanks again, Iain!