Saturday 31 December 2016

The Year in Review

So another year has ticked by and what hectic year it has been too. Work has been a constant round of travel, three major work projects completed, restructures and the some serious stress. I am so pleased to have this wonderful hobby to allow myself to drift away at times to preserve some sanity. 

Before I get on with the wrap up for the year, below are a few images of the final unit in the British Auxiliary Legion, the lancers. 

With the completion of this unit, the First Carlist War project is closed out. I have completed everything I set out to finish: the Carlists, the Isabelinos, the French Foreign Legion and the British Auxiliary Legion. The entire project, 630 Foot Figures,105 Mounted Figures and 13 Guns or Equipment, has been completed in just seven months.

That makes two significant gaming projects completed this year: The First Carlist War and the Crimean War armies.

By mid-year it was obvious that this shaping up to be my busiest hobby year for some time. It wasn’t intentional. I actually expected it to be quieter than 2015 because I had no big new projects planned.
However, I underestimated just how many Crimean War figures I needed to complete for the great game that was planned for, and played, in October.
Then I decided to start the Russian Napoleonic army, punching through five packets of Perry Miniatures plastics in a short space of time.
At the same I decided to have a bit of a dabble with the First Carlist War, originally envisaging just a few units built up over the second half of the year. And then Brexit came along and the pound lost 30 percent against the NZ dollar and I decided to accelerate the my plan, so much so that it is completed as detailed above.
And then there were a few buildings.

Finally I added a few Retreat from Moscow figures from the Perry Miniatures range.
So onto the final count.
Crimean War Project
  773 Foot Figures
  97 Mounted Figures
  19 Guns
  5025 Total Painting Points
Franco-Prussian War Additions
  22 Foot Figures
  7 Mounted Figures
  180 Total Painting Points
Napoleonic Russian Project
  132 Foot Figures
  3 Mounted Figures
  690 Total Painting Points
Carlist War Project
  630 Foot Figures
  105 Mounted Figures
  13 Guns or Equipment
  4330 Total Painting Points
Retreat from Moscow
  54 Foot Figures
  20 Mounted Figures
  5 Pieces of Equipment
  Total Painting Points
Scenic Items
  6 Pieces
  1360 Painting Points
Grand Total 
  1611 Foot Figures
  232 Mounted Figures  
  39 Guns or Equipment
  6 Pieces of Scenery
  12125 Total Painting Points

To illustrate the breakdown a few graphs. 

When I look back this level probably is lower than that of the late 1980’s – early 1990’s. Back in those days, when I was involved in Military Miniatures and we ran those wargames weekends in our wargames room, I had a huge output. I can recall at one point pumping out 36 battalions each of 24 figures of 25mm French line infantry in two months. At my most productive, when I was working on the Franco-Prussian armies, I can recall consistently completing a Prussian infantry battalion of 28 figures in a day. But those were very different times.

I know I said the same this time last year, but next year WILL be a smaller year. The projects will be limited to:

* War of 1812 (new project)
* WWI in East Africa (completion of an existing project)
* Russian Napoleonics (completion of an existing project)
* Spanish buildings for the First Carlist War and Spanish Civil War (new project)
* Some Retreat from Moscow figures (completion of an existing project)

On the games front, twenty-three games were played across twelve distinct periods that included; Dark Ages, Wars of the Roses, English Civil War, Seven Years War, American War of Independence, Napoleonic, Crimean War, Colonial, Ironclads, WWI, WWII and Modern.

I want to play more games in 2017.

Friday 30 December 2016

British Auxiliary Legion and other stuff

Well Christmas is over and done with for another year. This year we opted to get away from all of the hassle of the day and booked a luxury break at the Sofitel resort in Fiji. We flew there on Christmas Eve and were in the resort pool in 32 degree temperatures (water temperature in the mid-20's) just three and a half hours after leaving Auckland, with full butler service. It didn't have the cheeriest of starts when, after only a few minutes in the pool, the call went out for a doctor for a man who collapsed and wasn't breathing. But the crisis passed. Happy hour and a pleasant dinner overlooking the water followed, then another dip in the pool to round out the day.

Christmas morning dawned clear and warm, despite a forecast for rain. After breakfast on the beachfront and a walk along the shore, it was into the pool for the rest of the day. Lunch, mocktails and happy hour drifted by easily. The threatened rain stayed at bay. Dinner, followed by a night time swim, closed out a perfect day, although we did get a little too much sun.

Monday and Tuesday also defied the weather forecast and apart from a very brief rain shower one evening, the days were hot and sunny. The daily routine was pretty standard by now with breakfast by the beach, the days spent by and in the pool, happy hour and dinner, all without a care in the world.

Anyway we are home now, back to the more temperate climate of Auckland (indeed as I cooked the BBQ last night wearing a sweartshirt in the face of a cold southwesterly wind I wondered if it was summer at all). I still have another four days of leave to catch up with some painting and a few other tasks.

Yesterday I finished the bases on two units of British Auxiliary Infantry and a unit of British marines for the First Carlist War that I had painted before we went away. My BAL contingent is limited to just two battalions from the Irish Brigade - the 9th  Irish Grenadiers and the 10th Munster Light Infantry, the marines, plus the artillery sets posted a week or so ago.

The Munster Light Infantry (above and below)

The Irish Grenadiers (above and below)

The Marines

 The BAL staff set (below) is painted but not yet based.

I have one a unit of lancers to complete to round out my BAL force. The bulk of the BAL for games is being collected by my friend Keith at his BYDAND blog ( 

To close out this post are three sets from the Retreat from Moscow range. 

The dismounted cavalry skirmishing set.

The mounted cavalry skirmishing set

The light cavalry charging set.

Saturday 24 December 2016

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings to all...and what represents the season more than a sleigh in the snow!

So here is the Emperor "...dashing through the snow, in a three horse open sleigh..." the latest addition to my Retreat from Moscow collection crom the Perrys.

Friday 23 December 2016

French Foreign Legion Completed

Over the last weekend I completed the French Foreign Legion for the First Carlist War and finally I have them based up and ready to march off the painting table and into their storage trays.

I have made these two battalions of the FFL a little more scruffy than the previous battalions giving them a mix of trouser colours - not much of a variation I know, but it does provide a bit more variety.

I have started on the final phase of the Carlist War collection - the British Auxiliary Legion. The first two items are the Royal Artillery rocket and field gun sets. The former contains the scratch built rocket cart that I made about six months ago in anticipation of buying this set.

Finally I have painted another six Retreat from Moscow figures, this time it is the camp followers set.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

A return to painting

My recent trip to Thailand and a busy workload had slowed my painting production, but the last week has seen a return to the painting production line. Four items have been completed and run off the conveyor belt, starting with a squadron of French Foreign Legion lancers for the First Carlist War.

I chose to create the lancers in the early uniform, chiefly because I like the look of the red shako. At some point in the future I may decide to do a unit in the Czapka so that I can vary between early and later engagements.

Second up is the FFL mountain gun set. I chose to do this gun as a howitzer to create a point of difference from the Carlist and Isabelino sets.

Third is the mountain gun set in transit.

Fourth is the infantry skirmishing set from the Retreat from Moscow range.

Finally, a small milestone with this being my 200th post.

Sunday 11 December 2016

Early WWI Game

Today we pkayed our first game since late October. The game was an early WWI game, with a reinforced British battalion and a French battalion, with artillery and cavalry support, holding two small villages against three German infantry battalions supported by artillery, a machine gun company, some jägers and a squadron of uhlans.

It was a hard fought game which the Anglo-French force won on points in the very last turn. Both sides suffered dreadful casualties. 

Here are a few shots of the game.

The initial German deployment

French dragoons

German uhlans

The French artillery

The German batteries

British dismounted cavalry

 A German battalion attacks

Lasts ditch stand by the Scots beside the church yard