Friday, 9 November 2012

It's all Greek to me! - old school 20mm World War Two

I didn't realise when I  started this clear out, after 26 years in the same house, what a nostalgia trip I had opened up.  I've successfully sold off all the Normandy troops, vehicles and special equipment and now I'm onto the plastic Airfix, Revell and other 1/72 scale figures which I started with when I discovered "Rapid Fire!" (Edition 1) in about 1995.  I got fascinated with the early part of World War Two by the superbly evocative scenarios, figures and terrain in that book and with a bit of research realised there were some good games to be had around the doomed British assistance in  the defence of the Greek mainland...and then that could move naturally into the more famous battle for Crete.

Forgive me for wanting to share some of these old photos with you (pre-digital and micro zoom etc) and use it as blatant advertising for selling many of the items on EBay - I only get one shot at this, then they are gone!

Here are two photos from our first big battle which was a refight of the defence by the Allied "W Force" rearguard around the town of Vevi in Northern Greece.


Top one is a Hurricane's eye view of the attacking panzer column which it is about to strafe. The Roco Minitanks half tracks are for sale on Ebay for about another 3 days from time of writing, here half tracks.
The motorcycles in the lower photo form part of a set of 9 vehicles and riders and are mostly scratch built and heavily converted. I'm very proud of them and will be sorry to see them go. Many more photos here German motor bikes but only about one day to go if you wish to buy them.

When we moved the campaign to Crete we started with the surprise attack on Maleme Airfield.
Top photo shows isolated pockets of German paratroopers gradually overcoming the Commonwealth troops' defence of  trenches on the high ground overlooking the airfield, and Maleme town beyond. Below, more paratroops and combat engineers have landed in gliders and are joining in the attack. There are several auction lots for these Germans and British/Australians such as
 Only one day to go on the Germans and two days for the British.

By the way, all these games took place on my old sand table  (at that time 7 feet x 5 feet).

I'm not sure how many Crete scenarios we played out but I've got information on the Battle of Heraklion and  first of all here is the Allied map (click to enlarge)

(Hmmm....seeing "the Two Charlies" on this map reminds I'll be glad to get back to Hussarettes one day......)

and the Allied Brief and Order of Battle (using early "Rapid Fire!")
and finally the Allied commander's (Mike T) hand written orders. Sadly I don't have the German equivalents. As you will see from the map Mike had a big job to sort out his troops into numbered groups and deploy them (including a lot of dummy markers) on the map in trenches, dugouts and buildings.
Here are some photos of the game:
Top - a very youthful looking Richard finalises the orders for the about-to-arrive Germans.
The other two photos show my models representing the partially damaged city of Heraklion. Most of these are for sale on EBay (with better photos) here Mediterranean buildings  and Mediterranean ruins. The Greeks, in the guise of Airfix Russians are available here Russian figures

One of the last games I can remember us playing in this genre was a fictitious Aegean island-hopping game involving various British and Germans but also Italians,  Greek regulars and also Greek militia and partisans
Here are some photos:
Top - A fifteen years younger Richard and Mike contemplate the battlefield which was a steep sided island with beaches, cliffs, winding tracks, settlements and agricultural obstacles. Below - local Greeks, aided by British sailors in the background, try to resist the highly professional German paratroops. And there are those buildings again.

In this one, at top, a German Mountain battalion has come ashore in landing craft, and with their Italian allies (a few visible in bottom right corner) are attacking to take a steep hill track. Below, a Messerschmidt shoots up the reinforcements who have come across a girder bridge. Some of these models are still for sale if you are quick:

Well, thank you for sticking with this. If you have any comments or questions please add them here, or email me personally Chris Gregg   I've also got European style 20mm and 15mm buildings and ruins on EBay at the moment, with rather more days to go on the auctions, and I hope to blog about them shortly.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Allied World War Two Tanks and Equipment now on EBay

Thanks to all those who have visited, bid on, or are watching the German support weapons and vehicle models I put on EBay a few days ago and featured in my previous posting, here's a link world-war-two-20mm-german-support.  Thanks also to all the purchasers of the German tanks, Normandy landing special equipment and the infantry battalions sold in earlier weeks. Some items have produced amazing prices (to me anyway) and others I've been surprised have only reached the basic starting price. The moral is, if you are looking for some 20mm or 1/72 scale toys for your World War Two battles, you might get a real bargain.

This posting is really to advertise that tonight I have put on another 20 auction lots. This covers all my Allied (mainly British) tanks, self propelled guns, armoured cars, towed artillery, jeeps, bren carriers, half tracks, etc and they can be found by searching on seller 7073chrisg for "20mm World War Two.......... 

Postage is a nuisance as Royal Mail charge one price - £2.70, for First Class small packets up to 750 gms in the UK. Since most of my items are only about 150-250 gms it's not good value for money on a single item, but, on the brighter side, if you win several bids it is not likely to cost you any more in postage. Obviously rates are different for overseas destinations and rise in smaller increments.

Anyway, getting rid of my collection does give me the opportunity for some nostalgic looking back at photographs of some of the World War Two games on the sand table. Here are a few of them, in particular concentrating on the British equipment now for sale.
First, three pictures from our refight of the "Rapid Fire" Mount Ormel scenario



And to finish, some photos from my rendition of the Kampfgruppe Oppeln 
counter attack on the afternoon of D-Day



If you love these little Humber Armoured Cars as much as I did you can buy them - here is the link
British recce vehicles on EBay

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

World War Two 20mm German Support Vehicles and Weapons

In an earlier posting I explained about the need to sell my "old school" WW2 20mm (1/72) collection
old-school-world-war-two and I said I would put a new posting for other batches.

So tonight the German support services have gone on sale on EBay - many different kinds of half tracks, trucks and cars together with artillery, AA and AT guns.
I'm particularly pleased with this item.

It is the Revell 105mm Howitzer set with two guns and a limber and full crew. Lovely models that paint up nicely and interesting because the Germans used so much horse transport but you rarely see it on the wargames table. You can see more angles on this model here Horse drawn German artillery on EBay and there are 8 auction lots in this batch, please check out the others if you are looking for a bargain. Here is an overall view


Here are photos of some of them in action in 2010




And a big thank you to the many folks in UK and in France, USA and Italy who have already purchased parts of my collection. I've still got the Allied armour and support weapons to sort out....

More on cavalry mounted fire

There are a couple of really useful comments made on an earlier posting when I got one of my Hussarettes to pose with her horse. Please see
can-blackpowder-era-cavalry-really-fire mounted

I can't satisfactorily answer the question posed by Archduke Piccolo without a photo and that is difficult (if not impossible) in the Comments section.

Yes, we did do some firing from the flank and here is an example
Yes indeed, only firing to the left seemed practicable and it resembles the Detaille sketch of skirmishing in the earlier posting. Bob seemed better behaved for this so I don't know if it was the rider's body position or the different pressure on the reins. However, the point I was trying to make was that lining up your mounted cavalry for volley type fire, as if they were mounted infantry, and popping away at an approaching enemy, was not going to be easy. If you wanted to skirmish then most troopers would have to put their steed at right angles to the enemy to fire from the flank. This would obviously take up more space in the battle line.

Firing with the pistol was no problem as the rider had full control of the horse with the left hand.

I deliberately entitled this posting for the "Blackpowder era" meaning up to say, the American Civil War, due to the generally lengthier firearms and difficulty in loading, making all horseback activities more difficult. It seems very likely that with the easy loading, quick firing, and generally shorter weapons of the late 19th Century some of these issues were mastered. It also seems obvious that if you save your firearm till your similarly mounted enemy is only 10 feet way then there is little danger to your horse as the target looms so large and at your level - so shotguns and pistols must have been tempting if your opponent had his sword drawn!

And it was not all serious..........Hussarettes need some fun to lighten the burden of historical research

Obviously the artist took this photo for the beautiful play of dappled light on the ...er....flanks :-)
Eyes Front!!!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Old school World War Two


Back in the 1960s my friends and I, like so many others, were inspired by Don Featherstone's "War Games" and his Airfix figures and scratch built tanks fighting across a sand table. We scraped together our pocket money and bought those boxes of soldiers and plastic kits. In 1968 we had grand plans to do Operation  Barbarossa, and particularly Stalingrad. For early war Germans you could only get a model of a StuG III in those days, and the more adept club members converted them to Panzer IIIs with scratch built turrets or Panzer IVs, not only with the turrets but also extra hull length to accommodate two extra sets of wheels. We never got anywhere near Stalingrad but had great fun and some grand tank battles along the way.

When the teenage and early twenty somethings went their separate ways the collections fragmented but some stayed in Cheltenham and saw good service in later years.  I repaired and repainted many in the mid 1990s, inspired by the "Rapid Fire!" rules, doing Greece, Crete and fictitious Mediterranean island landings. A few years later the lure of more high powered weaponry took hold and I invested time and money augmenting the collection to do something on the Allied invasion of Sicily, paratroopers at Arnhem, and a series of games on D-day and just beyond. I only ever returned to the Russian Front for a brief tour of duty - and this time with 2 mm armies. Hardly old school! But "Rapid Fire" unashamedly seems to be old Featherstone style and it introduced me to more modern ranges of figures and tanks and the realisation that, if you can afford it, you don't have to convert anything any more - just buy it complete!

Here are some photos of one of my games in 2010 of the German Panzer counter-attack on D-Day (this was when I had a sand table too)






Now life moves on and it's finally time to leave the Chateau de Grandchamp for pastures new, and the Duchess, quite reasonably, thinks it's time to thin out the old toy soldier collection. So hello EBay!  I've had some fun already and sold off my metal WW2 infantry, I've sold the stuff specifically designed for D-Day and now I've put up for auction many lots of German tanks and armoured support  - enough for a Rapid Fire Panzer Regiment and some of the fire support for the Division.
Here's a view of it all:

Most of them are painted in late war desert yellow mottled with green and dark red-brown, but some still retain the early Panzer grey - such as these vintage conversions at this EBay link
Panzer III tanks
There are 13 lots in all, including some less obvious  models like self propelled Anti-Aircraft armour and a Panzer III repair/recovery tank, just go to Ebay and search on "World War Two German Armour",  seller is 7073chrisg.

In weeks to come I'll be putting up for sale the German personnel vehicles and towed artillery and all the Allied armour, vehicles and artillery. Later there will be lots of plastic British and German infantry from those early war theatres and I'll put a posting on this blog when they are ready. If, like me, you like to do your wargaming on the cheap then please take a look as them as starting prices are very reasonable and the quality is quite nice.





Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Can blackpowder era cavalry really fire mounted?

Fans of Hussarettes, don't worry - here's a picture for you!
Emily - "five feet of fun"

and for Wargamers, don't worry, this is about wargaming (but also a little art) so here's a couple of pictures for you too.

Imperial Dragoons defend the honour of Reikland with musketry
while their French opponents steadily trot forward
(Battle of the Chambreuse Valley fought here at the Chateau de Grandchamp
in April this year - nine x five feet of fun!)
If life imitates art then, in my case at least, art gives an insight into life (wargaming is not just a  hobby is it?).  It was a few weeks ago, while the UK was enjoying a brief Summer in September, that I found myself on a  farm in South Gloucestershire conducting a photo shoot with my latest Hussarette model and her horse. To protect the innocent I'll call them Emily and Bob.
For those who need a reminder of what my Hussarettes project is about please see the previous posting
progress-on-hussarettes

I needed a customised photo shoot on horseback, preferably with a female rider, but I knew this would also give me valuable real life references for a wide range of military illustrations for the future. I have an archive of  American Civil War re-enactors, many mounted, taken in camp and more distantly, in battle at the Gettysburg re-enactment in 2008, but it's not the same as spending a couple of hours with horse and rider performing just for your camera. The Duchess came up trumps by introducing me (sight unseen) to Emily, who is a friend, and Bob. Emily was very willing for any opportunity to exercise with Bob and just seemed a natural in the tight jodphurs, waistcoat and neck stock.
If there was a downside it was that Bob proved to be 18 years old and rather hairy compared to all those classic paintings of valiant stallions ridden by dashing hussars from which we wargamers get our inspiration. At 16 hands he is big - the right size for a dragoon or cuirassier steed, but Emily is only 5 feet nothing. This left a little to the imagination of proportion to her historical counterpart soldiers, I hitched her sword belt up a few notches for the slim waist, and found she was not that much taller than the sabre!. But Hey!, she made up for that as a Hussarette , so who's complaining?
Emily wears sabre, sabretache cartridge box and carbine.
Safety first though - I left the fur colback at home as she had
to wear a riding helmet - love the colour!

So for comparison I found this French Dragoon by Meissonier who is on a nag that looks quite realistic because he is not tall and sleek, he is a bit hairy and he looks disinterested. Probably not that well nourished or cleaned either (unlike Bob in these respects who was mostly happy and clean and loved his cantering).

We did lots of shots first with the sabre and Bob was very well behaved. He and Emily are life-long friends and he trusts her completely, but he's not trained with cavalry weapons and didn't like the sabre scabbard touching his flank. We had to take it off once that part of the shoot was done as he got a bit tetchy. That was my first real life insight into part of the military training necessary for horses, more was to come.

"They shoot horses don't they?"
Forgive the allusion to that 1969 movie title but this photo says just that to me! How did it come about?

I needed some real life references for cavalry firing from the saddle and got Emily to raise the slung carbine to her shoulder in the aiming position. So good is her understanding with Bob that she naturally dropped the reins on his neck and he stood quietly. But I quickly thought this did not seem right since to me, as a non-horse rider, surely with a combination of the rigours of campaigning, unfamiliar horses and riders, and the noise of battle, the cavalry soldier would have to maintain a hold of the reins lest the horse bolted? Emily gladly adopted this action for me and many times she tried to "fire" (no real shots). Each time Bob bucked his neck and moved a bit in protest and the photo results suggest that any ball fired might have gone anywhere but towards an enemy 50 to a 100 yards in front. In this case I think the poor horse would have got it between the ears.

So what can I conclude from this?
- There's no way cavalry could fire effectively while moving.
- Even when supposedly static the horses will move when least expected
- Lots of shots will be wasted, and there may even be "collateral damage"
- Wargamers wanting to fire their cavalry effectively while mounted will need to prove their horses are well trained and familiar with their riders. Not very common if we are to believe contemporary accounts of wastage and death on campaign among military horses.

Edouard Detaille - Hussars skirmishing.
My experience suggests these horses are far too well behaved!
So it was with some relief that this part of my bigger exercise proved that we might have it right in the recently rewritten rules about cavalry firing in my 18th Century wargame rules, "Wigs and Wine".
Here are some relevant extracts:
Heavy and Field artillery and mounted cavalry cannot move and fire; others may do so.

Only the first rank ....may fire.


Weapon Firing    Range to Target: Die Roll Deduction
1-5"        5-10"
Musket -1 -2
Dragoon musket (mounted)         -2 -3(8” max)

Lt Cavalry carbine -2



Well, I hope this has proved of some interest, please comment and let me know what you think. If you are a cavalry re-enactor with practical experience that would be particularly appreciated.

So I'll leave with a parting photo from a costumed photo session
Ideal view of a Hussarette? - kneeling firing



Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Progress on the Hussarettes

I first blogged about my initial foray into painting the female form in colourful military uniform back in the Spring. If you can't remember it please see lady-hussars-anyone
Since then, in between many of my conventional landscapes and other commissions, I've managed to paint a few more. One of my supporters has dubbed them "Hussarettes", so I decided I would follow a formula in my titling system by numbering them in sequence, and giving them each a name and a military unit based on the chosen uniform, with a date; as far as possible the name and unit start with the same letter. I also thought it would be fun to incorporate the girl's name into the design somehow.
I started off with "Lucille of Lauzun's Legion" who became Hussarette Nr 1 and you can see her on the earlier posting together with some very helpful and encouraging comments from readers.
Next I took the opportunity to paint a special one for a man who has been a great influence in my life and who, indirectly, is responsible for me going down the road of enjoying painting scantily clad ladies.
. "Natalie of the Nassau-Saarbruchen Hussars, 1747" is based on one of his wargame regiments and had to be fairly racy to do justice to her new owner. So here she is:
Natalie therefore became Hussarette Nr 2. and she was painted in acrylic on a 9 inch x 6 inch gessoed canvas which I left with a slightly raised texture. More on her later.

I then decided it would be suitably patriotic to leave that entrancing light blue behind for a while and paint some British regiments.  So I did a group of three, the first one of which, Hussarette Nr 3, is:
 Tamsin of the Tenth Light Dragoons, 1796. 

I always begin to wonder whether one can weave a little story behind a figure painting and it can get a bit difficult in this "fantasy" genre because there were no real female hussar regiments. However, I think that Tamsin is actually preparing to sit for her portrait. She's just got her maid to do her hair in a fancy style and fit false eyelashes, but she doesn't want to conceal her curves by wearing with those horrible carbine and sword belts, nevertheless the weapons themselves are a natural accoutrement to her military status, together with her Tarleton helmet with its yellow plume......just then Bonaparte, the artist's mongrel, scampers in playfully and detects the unusual female pheromones........what happens next I leave to your imaginations ......but will Tamsin's hair stay in place?

With Tamsin and Lucille I had a fully clothed Hussarette, but part of the fun of this project is to stretch the boundaries of decency a little as well as challenge myself with more flesh to paint so it was time for another a bit more exotic. Here we have Hussarette Nr 4
 "Sophia of the Sixteenth Light Dragoons, 1810"
Now it's a warm Summer day in the garden of an English country estate. Captain Ponsonby of the 16th is playing cards in the summer house with fellow officers on leave, and his Spanish mistress, Sophia, brought back from the Peninsular War, is bored.  She's found his uniform and sabre and takes them out into the garden where she begins to play........and try to attract some attention...........what will the gardener think?

Last in this group we go back to a clothed maiden and some fighting spirit with Hussarette Nr 5.
"Rosalie of the Royal Horse Artillery, 1815"
Rosalie is a Quartermaster in the RHA....or should that be Quartermistress? Most of the women I know are good at organising and good with money so why not a woman to look after all those supplies for the gunners and their horses?  It's the day after Waterloo, and Rosalie, though not used to fighting, as the battle raged realised that it was going to be a "near run thing" so she joined in with the lads and was banging away with her pistol to bag a few Froggies. Now it's time to tidy up, but of course first she had to see that her hair was brushed nicely and her uniform and boots were clean and then that mucky old pistol with its congealed black powder had to cleared of its fouling before inspection. So she boiled up some water in a skillet, put her cleaning rag on a nearby barrel, and sat on a cannon to get on with the job...........But oh.....that nice young Major The Honourable Charles Pilkington-Smythe is coming over........and a girl can't be caught with a dirty weapon!

Tamsin, Sophia and Rosalie are all painted in acrylic and are each 7 inches by 5 inches. Rosalie is on canvas board, so you can see an indication of the grain. The other two are on smoother gessoed board so only a faint texture is visible. I experimented with Tamsin using a two tone blue marbled effect for the background.  The originals of all three are for sale at a mere £45 each unframed. Please email me if you are interested  Chris Gregg.  Likewise if you would like to commission something special reflecting your own ideas.....I can do conventional military subjects too.

But there is a bit more to this than just showcasing as I'm seeking opinions as to how to take the Hussarette project forward. It's been suggested I should do a calendar of say 12 different regiments and then a cover page of another one or more. I have in mind to do the French Napoleonic Hussar Regiments as the number of historic units would fairly well match the idea. But the theme could be anything from any period that involves uniforms with the light cavalry swagger - hussars, chasseurs, light dragoons, etc so I'd be glad of any comments you have on the subject, and any themes or particular regiments to suggest (Jean-Louis has already highlighted the French Guard Chasseurs as a possibility which I'm bearing in mind.) So please comment on this posting or email me if you prefer.

Thank you for sticking with me this far - and now back to Natalie
Despite her rather roughly  painted appearance Natalie is my favourite so far. I've had a canvas print made 24" x 16" and she sits in my studio with her eyes following me round the room with that come-on look, and she has no story.......she's just a kind hearted tart in uniform! 
This is very close to the expression adopted by my model when she took up this pose with the sabre, and with the rough hair and light catching her nose and chin, contrasted with the black stock, I think it's captivating.
If you do too here is a chance to have her in your wargames room, den, study or loo!
I'm offering an A4 sized print (approx 8.25 inches x 11.75 inches) laminated for stiffness and protection, of the full length Natalie as seen at the top of this post. All will be individually signed by me in the space at the bottom right corner and endorsed on the back for authenticity. They can be properly framed, or just stuck somewhere like a poster with thumb tacks or blu-tak.
Each will be just £8 including postage in the UK or £10 overseas. I can take UK cheques or Paypal. Please email me if you are interested in one or more. 

Addendum
A lot of time has passed since I first posted this and some even better Hussarettes  have been painted since. So anyone arriving first at this post may like to see these more recent ones also.
Natasha
Suzanne et Suzette

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Additional Guest Gallery

This is just a quickie to announce that Kevin East has just supplied me with another batch of photos of his superbly painted Waterloo period 28mm figures. This time Allied Infantry, and Artillery from Britain, Prussia and France.  Some of the photos are very artistic and worth your time perusing.

Here's a sample.

Please click on the Kevin East 2 tab above for more.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Apologies for the lack of activity...and a new guest

I'm ashamed to say I have not blogged anything since mid April for a variety of reasons. My last post featured updates to my 18th Century rules "Wigs and Wine" and trailed a big game I was having the following weekend.  Well, the game took place and I'm glad to say all involved (including me as umpire), enjoyed it. The rules worked pretty well and only needed a few more amendments. However, the prospect of writing it up and organising the photos for blogging, with captions, was a daunting prospect and then real life just seemed to home in on me....
I had an art exhibition to prepare for at the beginning of May,...... a whole 9ft x 5ft desert terrain to make for a World War Two game here at the Chateau de Grandchamp in June..... an unexpected landscape and race horse painting commission with a short deadline which found me jostling with Olympic Torch crowds at Cheltenham Racecourse ...then holidays in Scotland and in Germany in June .....a major exhibition in Cheltenham in July...and, just for a rest, the following three weeks painting about 150 miniatures for another 18th century "mini-campaign" weekend in mid August (while the Duchess watched the Olympics!)

I fully intend to report on the two big Imagi-Nation wargaming events at some stage but smaller posts are easier to handle, and my life isn't slowing down as the ever imaginative Ian Allen has commissioned a big  and complicated painting for his "Chronicles of Umpopoland" stories....oh....and I've got an order for a Japanese watchtower and some more peasant buildings in the next two weeks too.
Better give you a photo before I blather on more. This shows one of my  scratch built edifices acting as a temple in Paul's latest 16th Century Japanese game, complete with ceremonial arches in the background.
Leading such an interesting life obviously gives me a lot to write about if only I could find the time and the next posts will cater for the "light blue" fans, and the "Hussarette" enthusiasts, as the stats suggest those are the most popular posts after the wargame reports. Some other things I could  feature are:
- a how-to with photos on making terrain tiles and hills (green and desert)
- more features on my new 18th century units
- a report on my visit to Remagen Bridge Museum on the River Rhine
- some photos of the Medieval walled German towns of  Oberwesel and Ahrweiler
Please let me know if any of this is of interest. Here is a sample:
One of the impressive gateways in Ahrweiler, Ahr Valley near the River Rhine
New guest gallery
And finally I need to introduce a new guest, Kevin East.  Kevin saw some of my Hussarettes on exhibition in Cheltenham, recognized that only his old wargaming friend CG could do something so quirky, and got in touch after a 37 year absence! Once the shock had subsided for me I found out that Kevin had been without wargaming in his life for over 30 years of that time but a change of circumstances had led him to unearth his 1970s Mini-Figs and then replace them for modern 28mm Napoleonic figures.  In the 70s, as a lad, Kevin was a very talented painter of 2 Dimensional soldiers and also wild animals and he went on to a career in animation and related art and media activities.  When he showed me photos of his recently painted figures, and we had a good catch-up chat  I was overwhelmed by their quality and his enthusiasm and wanted to share them with my readers. So please have a click on the new tab above - Kevin East Guest Gallery and feel free to give your comments or email Kevin as he starts out once again on the great adventure that is wargaming.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

"Wigs and Wine" updated

I introduced readers to my Mid-18th Century wargame rules back in November.
about-wigs-and-wine
As with most rules they are a work in progress and the battle-of-futonville threw up quite a few suggestions for changes, which i have now worked on and incorporated. Apart from changing the figure scale from 1:10 to 1:15 there are no other scale changes. I've standardised on no infantry battalion being bigger than 48 figures, and many are smaller, which makes the units more manageable but they still feel satisfyingly  "big". A lot of the changes involve cavalry which I've found difficult to get feeling right, yet still simple. There is some trade off between firepower and melee effect so that cavalry in certain circumstances have the choice to fire or counter- charge. Many troop types have slightly less melee points now and the melee saving throws are slightly easier - so hopefully less wholesale slaughter.  My test game showed cavalry are still very effective against infantry though with their swords! I've also  introduced/redesignated Heavy and Field artillery and battalion guns; these light guns are not very effective due to only one die per shot and fewer crew so one can afford to have plenty without ruining the game. There are some restrictions on double move distance and I've introduced a small "charge distance" - very old school. Also no individual prisoners from melee saving throws now but more drastic surrendering from units with very poor morale who are still in melee. You can download a copy (Version 4) from the Downloads side bar under Imagi-Nations, or here is a quick link.
Wigs and Wine Version 4


CB reviews his opening dispositions,
still with about a third of his army just off table
I was lucky to be able to test many of the new features last week by enticing my very oldest friend, Chris Beaumont, back to the 18th Century gaming table. Although I hadn't played him since about 1975 it was like we'd never been apart and it wasn't long before Chris was arguing the toss with me and inventing rules amendments like he used to as one of England's youngest wargamers back in the mid 1960s.  Now recently retired he's thinking of doing what I did and turning his various artistic and cultural pursuits into a way of making a living, but hopes to fit in  the occasional game with me from time to time.


I kept this game pretty small, about 500 figures total, with my "Allied" army strung out to defend a road stretching most of the way down the table. For CB's benefit, and as we had no umpire, I revealed all my units first, including those in cover and let him deploy his French force. He sent light troops on his right flank and a strong brigade of infantry to attack a little hamlet at his left centre. Artillery topped his central hill and , off table, reserves of infantry and cavalry were kept to either side, biding their time. It's not my intention to give a blow by blow account but I hope you will find a few key photographs of interest.
French Infantry followed by cavalry approach the Allied held hamlet
On the other flank Hussars square up for a clash........
....and then the French charge
But they eventually come off worse, partially due to flanking fire from the
Liccaner Grenzers and some unlucky saving rolls
Meanwhile the Le Noble Fusiliers have been forced out of the chapel
and defend the remaining houses against French pressure
In the centre the 4th Regiment of Foot receives a full blooded charge by French dragoons;
but this photo is before we removed the casualties from their volley!
And this is after a couple of rounds of melee.
The infantry are shattered but the red dragoons will retreat  from a poor morale die roll
 while the blue dragoons, weak though they are,  remain in possession of the position.
Hessian grenadiers have come up to protect the flank.
The incongruous looking general officer is CB's contribution to the game.
 A nice looking figure from probably 30 years ago painted up specially in "old school" Humbrol gloss
and plain bright green base..........I'm trying to persuade him to go to water-based matt paints in the 21st Century.
Next Chris brought on his reserve infantry columns and the sustained fire of the
Hainaut Grenadiers forced the Grenzers from their wall and back through the woods
A general view near the end.
My Grenzers have decided to leave the field at half strength while in the centre
my depleted but brave hussars charge the French Royal dragoons, who being at quarter strength,
 have no choice but to surrender. The 4th Foot head off in disorder and the Le Noble fusiliers have finally been destroyed in the hamlet. On my right flank a practically intact French battalion executes a pivotal move across the vital road.
I leave you with a close up of my untouched dragoons, which, with the Grenadiers,
will soon make an honourable retreat. My cavalry commander has gone forward to assist the
Hussars take prisoner the enemy dragoons, guidon,  and their commander  as a final act. So I couldn't
hold onto the road but the defeat was not without prizes and some credit....
and what  a fine day it was to relive some memories with CB and welcome him back to wargaming with a victory.
This game was very much a warm up for a big game I'm holding this weekend with over 1200 figures and about  6 or 8 players. It will be a follow up to the Battle of Futonville using half the previous battlefield and more surrounding it. This will be the showdown by which Savoy's Duke of Deuxchevaux will have to prove his worth to King Louis by a make or break contest with the Imperial General Urff.  I expect to be reporting on that within the next couple of weeks.