Monday, 30 August 2010

Back to Painting

So, again, my traditional apology for not having posted more frequently. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who was kind enough to wish me well over the past few months. My hands are now back to normal (I'm still having bouts of pain in my legs and arms but I just get up and walk around until it goes away or, confusingly, if I'm walking around at the time, I sit down for awhile). Apart from the course of drugs I haven't actually done anything (neither injections nor surgery on my spine appeal to me and I think I'm going to need another bout of problems to convince me I need to do something).

I recently had a conversation with a woman who works for one our customers who told me that everyone should buy private medical insurance once they are forty because that is when your body falls apart - obviously she's onto something because I'm 48 - when I mentioned this she pretty much suggested that I'd been on borrowed time then and was lucky I hadn't had this happen before.

So, this weekend I've finished the first nine Poland Uhlans (who, possibly confusingly, are Russian), a mounted French Line Infantry officer and six 10mm Pendraken AWI British Line Infantrymen. I've also got some more Uhlan at an almost finished stage. I'll post a picture up in the next couple of days - I must confess the 10mm Pendraken figures had been sitting in my half-finished pile for some time. I wanted to put some scores on the board as I'm desperately behind schedule.

I've done a few things while I've been "away" - one is to get a super-duper new PC after my old one died (excellent value and service from an online company called PC Specialist - -who were really good). Some time ago my step-daughter moved out to live in Reading where she now works. So the spare room was spare again and I wasted no time in moving my "stuff" back in - this involved quite a lot of reaching into the back of cupboards throughout the flat to pull out "stuff" that I "had" to buy seven or eight years ago but which then never saw the light of day again. Less embarrassingly, I pulled out a number of books from the cupboard that have been my friends for the last thirty years or so - so in no particular order:

Wargames by Donald Featherstone - I first came across this in my local library when I was about nine or ten and immediately put it to use with my Airfix plastic soldiers. I had many happy hours with this book (and it's successors - someone in my town must have been asking for these things because every book by Big Don was there or was bought as they came out). My copy is an ex-library issue that I bought at some point since.

Solo Wargaming by Donald Featherstone - this one was a Christmas or birthday present. A hardback from 1972 (price £2.40 - decimalisation was a new fangled thing at the time) I loved the article about Lionel Tarr stolidly recreating Barbarossa in his back bedroom - I think his level of megalomania has been a consistent influence upon me, or at least upon my aspirations.

Napoleonic Wargaming by Charles Grant - this was from 1974 and cost £3.00. Again I'm pretty sure this was another Christmas present and this was one of the books that really fired me up - I loved looking at the pictures of the terrain and troops from the Wargames Holiday Centre.

Operation Warboard by Gavin Lyall - from 1976 and published by Pan in paperback (£1.00). WWII wargaming - this book (along with "Battle: Practical Wargaming" by Charles Grant) formed the basis for my own set of house rules for WWII, and a happy time was spent moving US infantry (Matchbox) and German Fallschirmjager (Airfix) across a town made of houses intended for model railways - I loved urban combat rather than it's rural counterpart for some reason.

Setting Up A Wargames Campaign by Tony Bath - I have the 3rd edition (1986) but I must have bought this one when I first got back into the hobby after my "wilderness years". My school library had this book (my geography teacher was a wargamer) and I loved the idea of creating a fictional continent and populating it with characters.

Goths, Huns and Romans by Simon McDowall - I went through a period of being fascinated by ancient history (and as my local library had a copy of the WRG ancients rules I had the means to put together a properly based (if poorly painted) army. My main problem with ancients was that none of the rules I looked at seemed to give a result that matched what I imagined ancient warfare to be like - and then I realised that once battle was joined the general had little chance of influencing anything as he was in the middle of the fray so I was onto a loser - any set of rules that reflected reality would just give the chance to set up your troops in the order you want them and then roll dice for the result, without influencing how units moved or acted after first contact. I've been told Armati does just that - but it doesn't appeal much.

Some time ago I asked on TMP and GdeB if anyone could recognise some cavalry in bicornes - I managed to identify them as Austrian Chevau-Leger from the BH 15mm French Revolutionary Wars range. I'm now wondering what alternatives they could be painted up as. Someone on GdeB suggested Spanish cavalry as an option so I'm looking at that - I seem to be edging towards a small force for the Peninsula without intending to...