Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Chrsitmas World


It has been a very bad year for my hobby as I have not completed one single figure for 2013. Although I have finished the 17 horses for the French Carabiniers and the troopers are 75% finished I have not felt the need to pick up the brush to finish them for a long time now.
Is it that life is getting in the way and a rest is needed, who knows? As you have seen that I have been collecting bits and bobs for the hobby over the year, which is another box full of stuff that might never get used. Even trying to keep this blog going is also taking its toll. Still maybe after Christmas and the New Year, things will look a bit better as winter will have really arrived  in the UK by then so one thing I will not be worrying about will be the garden. 

I would like to thank my seven followers on this blog and for all of you who take a peek now and then a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the General.
 
 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A Good Year for my Bank Manager

It did not take me very long to spend some money on my hobby this year. I have this year spent a total of £70.44 pence on 19 items which is not very much really. This was due to the new Napoleonic sets from HaT that came out earlier in the year and two war gaming magazines.
I am now collecting material for my terrain building so another door mat was brought to add to my collection I now have four of them all for different fields which I plan to make (some day) but I did not realise how much material I still need to buy such as the bases, paints, making the fences/walls etc. 

  • 4 PAINT TINS £5.96 
  • 8 FIGURES (Boxes) £43.28
  • 1 SHOW £6
  • 2 BOOKS/MAGAZINES £9.24  
  • 2 PKT OF 7 FLICKERING TEALIGHTS £1.99
  • 1 DOOR MAT £1.99
  • 1 PK MOSS BASKET LINERS 99p
  • 1 PK COCO LINERS 99p

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Coldstream Guards


British- Coldstream Guards 

Figures used: AIRFIX British Infantry- 42 figures and one mounted Officer in a Box.  

Made in cream plastic 

Painted in Early 80’s 

The 2nd Coldstream Guards played an important part in the Battle of Waterloo with the defence of the Chateau of Hougoumont. This large complex of buildings was on Wellingtons right flank and used up a lot of the French troops throughout the day of the battle. 

The figures are not the best from Airfix but don’t forget that they first came out in the 70’s and there don’t seem to be any other companies out there that can beat them at the moment. I painted these up as the center company and I hope to add the light company to them later on.

H= Humbrol 
R= Revell 

H60 Jacket, base of plume
H64 Trousers, Blanket roll
H34 Belts, Straps, Shoulder wings, Hat Cords, Knapsack, Top of plume
H62 Backpacks, Hair, Musket
H65 Water bottle
H25 Cuffs, Collars and piping on jacket
H21 Boots, Ammo Pouch, Hat
H33 Sword & Bayonet Scabbard
H61 Flesh
H53 Musket Barrels, fixings
R11 Firing Locks, Bayonets, Sword
H16 Hat Badge, Ammo Pouch Badge, Buckles & Buttons
H80 Stand
Officers Notes
Epaulettes, hat cords & braiding on jacket - Gold
Gloves - white.
Sword Scabbard – Silver
NCO’s Sash H73, Gold braiding on jacket

Thursday, 28 November 2013

La Belle Alliance

 

On the morning June 18th 1815, Napoleon moved his headquarters from at Le Caillou, which is also the same place where he had spent the night passed the farm of Rossomme and moved up the road north to La Bella Alliance which was a small inn south of Brussels. This is where he spent most of his time at the Battle of Waterloo and where the Old Guard were deployed. This was at the centre of Napoleon’s line and he had a good view of the valley and of the battlefield around him. Late afternoon the Inn became a dressing station for the French soldiers but it was hit a few times when the Prussians advanced from Plancenoit.

 

After the battle at around 9pm, the Duke of Wellington and Blücher met close to the inn. Blücher suggested that the battle should be remembered as la Belle Alliance, to commemorate the European Seventh Coalition of Britain, Russia, Prussia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, and a large number of German States who had all joined the coalition to defeat the French.

Wellington, who had made the decision to stand his ground near Waterloo and commanded the allied army which had been in action all day with the French, instead recommended Waterloo, the village just north of the battlefield, where he had spent the previous night. The Duke commenting that it would not do to name the battle after the enemy’s command post. Nevertheless in 1815 the Rondell plaza in Berlin was renamed Belle-Alliance-Platz to commemorate the victory against the French.
 

 
Today, the building is currently a night club.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

SELWG 13 Report

Last Sunday I went to Crystal Place National Sports Centre to see the SELWG show in the pouring rain. It’s the only show I go to these days and just getting from the car park to the centre I was cold and wet. Still once I had paid my £6 entry fee I was in the warm building. I did not arrive there until 11pm, the reason was to let, if any, queue go down.
I do what I usually do at shows and that is to have a quick walk around the trade stands to see if there is any goodies and then to the war gaming tables.

I was surprised that on the top floor there were not many people around, so looking at the stalls was easy for once. The Bring and Buy looked a little busy but not that bad.
Down in the main hall, it was a different story with loads of people around the trade stands. One thing I did notice was the number of stands with the new 4Ground laser buildings. These seem to be going like hot cakes, although a bit pricey they look very good. Once again this year the 28mm figures were in abundance and it also showed on the war gaming tables. 

I did not have much on my shopping list as there are no new figures out from HaT for me this year. But once again not many stands stocked the HaT figures. I wanted to stock up on my bases but Warbases was not around this year. A shame really as I brought some of them last year and I wanted to stock up on these.

By 1.30pm I stopped for lunch and then went back to the start again around the trade stands to see what my pennies could buy. I stopped at Magnetic Display again this year as I brought some lovely walls from them last year. There was a nice pack of a wooden fencing but there were no corners to it, so I left them behind. Next stop was Harfields. They deal with a lot of second hand plastic figures in boxes or lose in a bag. My eye caught a bag full of the old Airfix Waterloo British infantry. These were painted but needed to be stripped and repainted as most were chipped. Still a bag full for just £2 bargain. Harfields are always worth a visit. Back at the Bring and Buy stand, there now seemed plenty of room around the tables but nothing for me here.

Back down stairs and nothing seemed to catch my eye and so I looked around the tables.
 
 

Deal Wargames Club-"Sunset Over Shumshu" 28mm WWII

 

Seems-"Tabletop Teasers on Tour" Spanish War

 

C.T.K Wargaming-"Battle for the Marn" 20mm WWI 

I did not stay long at the show but I was there for around four hours. When I got home with a nice cup of tea, I sat down and opened up my packet of Airfix figures. In this I had nearly a whole box and a half, but I was missing two possess of six figures from this packet but I can make it up to a full regiment of 50 with the spares I have. The other half will have to wait in my spare box. 

And I see over the weekend we have now had over 7,000 hits on my blog. Thanks to very one who has taken a look now and then, it brings a tear to my eye. 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

At Last a update


I thought that I would bring you up to date with my Regiment of the French Carabiniers (Italeri box No 6003) that I started way back in November last year.
The good news is that I have now completed all of the 17 horses for the regiment as shown above and I can now really go for the troopers. The horse furniture is what I think they had at Waterloo although there is no real evidence of what they were wearing on the 100 days campaign. In the front row are the Officer and Trumpeters horses. Still I hope, like me, that you like what I have done so far.

 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Frischermont


Not much is known about the hamlet of Fichermont at the time of Waterloo which was on the far left of Wellington’s position, but during the morning of the 18th June it was defended by the 2nd Dutch division commanded by Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar before his pickets were forced to abandon the hamlet by a French patrol at about 10.30am.
The old name of the chateau is Frischermont, but nowadays the name of Fichermont is used although there are several other versions can be found.

The first time the chateau has been mentioned in history was back in the year 1250. In that year Léon, seigneur in Brussels, approved of the donation of 1.75 hectares of land, at Fichermont, to the Abbaye of Aywiers.
At the end of the 17th century Antonie Xavier, maitre de camp and brigadier of the cavalry in Spanish service had the title of Seigneur of Fichermont. After his death at the battle of Seneffe in 1674, the territory of Lasne was established as a barony.
His descendants sold the chateau on 21st January 1805, with four hectares as garden to a Brussel lawyer called Jean Charles de Hardy de Beaulieu.
The chateau as it stood in 1815 probably dated from 1550 and its remains probably still existed in the early 12th century.
The chateau was made up by a series of buildings, comprising of the chateau and a farm, formed in 1815 in a rectangular shape of about 80 x 50 meters around a large cobblestone courtyard. It consisted of two wings with some annexes.
In its southwest corner was a huge barn with a high vaulted gate opened in a wall which connected the barn to the house. The front of this part was flanked by a large square tower, which had no windows, only loopholes. Each side of the tower was in turn crowed by a very small tower. This tower was situated in the northeast corner of the complex.
The tower and the adjoining buildings dominated the track which led in a steep slope towards la Marache. The chateau and the barn were on the north-west and south-west side of the courtyard. On the north side the complex was bordered by a garden and a park. High trees surrounded the whole complex which formed a small triangular wood but today the chateau is in ruins.
By midday of the 18th June, Prussian officers had been watching the French through their telescopes for several hours. Major. von Falkenhausen, leading a patrol of Prussian Uhlans, went as far as the main Brussels road south of La Belle Alliance, behind Napoleon's entire army. Farther north, General von Valentini, Bulow's chief of staff, together with few adjutants, entered Fichermont and encountered a farmer, who was seized, set on an artillery horse, and made to accompany the Prussians to the edge of the wood. As they made their way the ripening grain in the fields was taller than a man, and a few British deserters could be glimpsed walking back from the field of battle. Valentini pushed on beyond it (Fichermont wood), dismounted and studied the horizon with telescope. Here and there he spotted a few French sentries, but none of them thought to look to the right, in his direction.
The first Prussian corps to arrive was Bülow's IV Corps. His objective was Plancenoit, which the Prussians intended to use as a springboard into the rear of the French positions. Blücher intended to secure his right upon Frichermont using the Bois de Paris road. Blücher and Wellington had been exchanging communications since 10am and had agreed to this advance on Frichermont if Wellington's centre was under attack. French cavalry patrols were attacked and dispersed. Bulow then sent 2 battalions to link up with Wellington and protect his exposed flank. The Fusiliers of the18th and Fusiliers of the 3rd Silesian Landwehr marched toward Frichermont, Smohain and Papelotte. The Prussian infantry met the Nassauers and opened fire. The Nassauers replied and the musketry continued for 10 minutes before both sides realized their mistake.
General Bülow noted that the way to Plancenoit lay open and that the time was 16:30pm. Bulow writes: "It was half past four in the afternoon, when the head of our column advanced out of the Frichermont wood. The 15th Brigade under Gen. von Losthin deployed quickly into battalion columns, throwing out skirmishers. The brigade's artillery, along with the Reserve Artillery (of Bulow's Corps), followed up rapidly, seeking to gain the gentle ridge." Hiller's 16th Brigade moved out to the left. Prussian cannonballs began falling not far from Napoleon, some hit La Belle Alliance filled with wounded French soldiers. Napoleon turned his telescope in the direction the shots came from. Also about this time, the famous French cavalry attack was in full flow, charges by Domont's and Subervie's lancers and chasseurs slowed down the Prussian advance. One of the lancer regiment was led by Col. Surd who previous day after the combat at Gennappe had one arm amputated but insisted on maintaining command of his unit.
The cavalry charges were followed by a skirmish battle between the French and Prussian infantry. General Mouton's VI Army Corps was outnumbered by the Prussians and to prevent outflanking his right wing Mouton began retreating.
The French infantry tried to halt the Prussians with a very strong skirmish line but one of the Prussian battalions moved up and deployed, continually trying to force their way forward. Bulow writes: "The enemy disputed every foot of ground, but not with any great determination. Six battalions of the 16th Brigade now came up to assault Plancenoit. They formed three attack columns next to each other, with 2 battalions of the 14th Brigade following up in support. Just as this brigade formed up behind the 16th, the 13th Brigade under Gen. von Hake arrived and moved up behind the 15th."
The 15th Brigade IV Corps was sent to link up with the Nassauers of Wellington's left flank in the Frichermont-La Haie area with the brigade's horse artillery battery and additional brigade artillery deployed to its left in support. Napoleon sent Lobau's corps to intercept the rest of Bülow's IV Corps proceeding to Plancenoit. The 15th Brigade threw Lobau's troops out of Frichermont with a determined bayonet charge, then proceeded up the Frichermont heights, battering French Chasseurs with 12-pounder artillery fire, and pushed on to Plancenoit. This sent Lobau's corps into retreat to the Plancenoit area, and in effect drove Lobau past the rear of the Armee Du Nord's right flank and directly threatened its only line of retreat. Hiller's 16th Brigade also pushed forward with six battalions against Plancenoit. Napoleon had dispatched all eight battalions of the Young Guard to reinforce Lobau, who was now seriously pressed. (See The Battlefield Plancenoit)

 
Hamlet of Frischermont
 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Donald Featherstone 1918-2013


It is with great sadness that I have learnt that Donald Featherstone died yesterday in hospital after a fall at his family home. He was 95 years of age.
Donald was well respected in the wargaming community and he was a popular war gamer and author to many war gaming books in the 60’s and 70’s with his first, War games being published in 1962.

I have been building up my collection of war gaming books over the last few years and I have only about three of his books out of all those that he had published. With a lot of the books being re-printed these days, am sure that I will add a few more of his books to my collection. Don’s books are always well written and they appeal to the novice and old war gamers alike. It’s a great shame to the hobby but let’s hope that his books will always be in print to remember a remarkable man to the hobby.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

How it all started for me- Part Seven


So it was the late 90’s, that a new company was coming into play now and they were HaT Industries from the USA. They made their very first couple of Napoleonic sets in 1996 with box sets 8001 of the French Mamelukes and set 8002, Prussian Dragoons and set 8005 Prussian Uhlans. Today they are a very keen player in plastic 1/72nd figure scale and some of the sets they have produced lately, are very well detailed.
 
The first time that I saw the HaT figures were in late 2001 in the Model Zones model Shop in London. The shelves were packed with HaT latest figures. As well as more new Napoleonic sets there were also Ancient figures too. Again it was something new and fresh for the gaming table. While taking a good look at these new sets, I found a box of set 8003 British Rocket Troops that came out that year. I was to learn later, on via their web site, that there were much more on offer. I brought one box of Rocket Troops and a box of the Prussian Dragoons. Once home I had a really good look at these and on the next day, I went back to the shop and brought another box of Prussian Dragoons and two boxes of Prussian Uhlans. The Rocket Troop figures were well sculpted while the Dragons and Uhlans were like the old Airfix style moulds. But over the years they have grown in to a reputable company and with the number of Napoleonic sets available now, which we never had as a young war gamer but if you are starting up in this hobby today, you will be over whelmed with what’s on offer to you. HaT are also doing a very good range of French wagons at the moment including Light and Heavy Ambulances, six horse limber, baggage and pontoon wagons with the possibility of some Prussian wagons in the future.
 
I am now a very keen HaT collector and with new sets coming out each year, I don’t think that I will ever finish my Waterloo Army. There are many other and new companies coming out with plastic figures all the time and that the variety of figures and periods is now endless. Two companies that produce Napoleonic figures for more for the 1812 War are Strelets and Zvezada, both are Russian companies although Strelets were first produced in Russia but then moved to the Ukrain in 1998. Not keen on these but then again they are not for the Waterloo period.
There are far too many figure sets to write about but please go and look on their web sites. I have now collected more than I have painted, but that is the beauty of this hobby, it never ends.
 
 
My attention is now to the terrain on the gaming table and again this has grown so fast over the last ten years. If you follow this blog then you will know that I have been collecting the Hornby derelict farm set and also the Conflix fantasy buildings that don’t look out of place with my Napoleonic armies. New scenery is always being made and when I look at some of my old stuff it does look very old now. But until that time of when I can have my own war gaming room, then I shall hold off on buying these at the moment.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

6000 Hits!


It was very nice to see that I have had over 6000 hits on my blog yesterday. It has taken just three months to reach that number and here’s looking at the next three?

I would like to thank you all if you are regularly coming back to take a peek at what’s going on. I still have a load of new stuff to put up on this blog and I hope to take some pictures of some of the regiments that I have finished painting this weekend. 

I have been collecting a lot of stuff for terrain making over this first part of the year as although I have had a long break from painting, war gaming is always on my mind and when I go out shopping and I see something that I could use, I think to myself buy now and make later. But a part of me now feels that a bit of terrain making could break up my painting blues as I seem to pick up the brush one day and then leave it for a while before going back.


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Back in the sadle


After a hell of a long time I am back at the table painting. I have not picked up the brush since the end of November last year and to be honest I am very disappointed with myself.
With half a year gone, I could have finished off the Prussian Landwehr, 2nd Elba regiment and the French Carabiniers, that I started back in November by now, and I could of started something else to reduce my pile of boxes waiting to see the light of day. But it’s not all that gloom and doom, as I have been not only getting things done for this blog but making planes for my casualty markers and other projects.

So with my painting mojo partly back, I have a lot to catch up on as not one single figure has been completed so far this year.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Plancenoit

 
Plancenoit is a large village in Belgium 1.3 miles NW of Waterloo and it was a key strategic point during the battle of Waterloo, as it was the main focal point of the Prussians’ flank attack on Napoleon’s army on the 18th June.
The village of 1815 had around 500 inhabitants and they had all fled their homes the day before the battle. In the middle of the northern part of the village lying on a gentle slope, stood an 13th century church called St Catherine made of white stone it had a church yard surrounded by a low stone wall.
St Catherine’s was severely damaged during the battle and it was demolished but rebuilt in 1857 and was designed by an architect called Coulon. The southern side was mainly flat with most of its buildings made of wooden like huts with straw roofs. Plancenoit had a main cobblestone street which ran from east to west and was divided by a stream.
 
 

The first Prussians to arrive on the Waterloo battlefield was General Von Bülow’s IV Corps at about 3.00 pm after a long march from Wavre. His orders from Blücher were to secure the village so that Blücher could launch an attack into the French right flank.
When Napoleon learned of the Prussian arrival on the field, Napoleon sent Lieutenant General Lobau’s French VI Army corps to oppose them.

First the Prussian 15th Brigade of Von Losthin some 6,000 men, attacked the French deployed in Frichermount with a bayonet charge they managed to push them out. They then pushed on to attack the French Cavalry and artillery on the heights.
Von Hiller’s Prussian 16th Brigade then moved forward to take possession of Plancenoit at 16.30pm pushing Lobau’s Corps out of the village. With General Von Bülow’s men in Plancenoit, the 15th Brigade linked up with the Nassau Brigade which was on Wellington’s left. 

Lieutenant General Lobau counterattacked Plancenoit in an effort to win back the village. Napoleon on hearing the Plancenoit had been taken sent his 8 Battalions of the Young Guard to reinforce the French VI Army Corps and to push the Prussians back. After some bitter fighting the Young Guard managed to retake Plancenoit only to be counterattacked and driven back out. To stabilise the situation Napoleon sent 2 Battalions of his Old Guard. They attacked with their bayonets and after another fierce fight they recaptured the village without firing a single shot.
 
 
The Prussians were still not giving up the village so likely, and with a combined grouping of around 30,000 men under General Von Bulow and General Prich 1 attacked Plancenoit again against 20,000 Frenchmen who were in and around the village. The Old Guard and the other supporting troops were able to hold on for over an hour before a massive Prussian counterattack evicted them after some ferocious and bloody street hand to hand fighting. Plancenoit was fought over around five times that day and each time the wounded and dying on both sides were bayonetted to death. The last to leave was the Old Guard who defended the burning church and cemetery. The French casualties were horrific; for example it is said that the 1st Tirailleurs of the young Guard suffered 92% losses while two-thirds of Lobau’s Corps ceased to exist.  

In June every year, the village plays host to an annual re-enactment of the battle. A monument in the village commemorates the Prussian troops who died in the battle.
 
 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

How it all started for me - Part Six


The 90’s really had a big impact on our hobby and my wallet as we saw the plastic figure companies take off with the Napoleonic Wars sets. Although we lost the Italian company ESCI in the late 80’s, Revell and later on Italeri started to bring out news sets for the hobby.

Revell produced the French Grenadiers of the guard in greatcoats Set 02570 in 1992, the first plastic set of figures in greatcoats and the British Infantry Set 02571. 
In the following year in 1993, they brought out another two new sets. The French Mounted Guard Chasseurs cavalry, Set 02576 which had 17 mounted figures including an Officer and Bugler with horses and one standing figure in dark grey plastic. The other set was the British Foot artillery Set 02577. This set had three cannons with crew plus one limber. There was also included a small section of accessories. The one I liked most in this set was the stack of muskets. All of the set was made in a light grey plastic.
 
 
In 1994, Revell gave us another new set, which was the British Life Guards Set 02578. This set had 17 mounted figures which included an Officer and Bugler again made in a light grey plastic. Then in 1995 Italeri produced the Scots Greys Set 6001. This was a new set which again included an Officer and bugler but had a total of 18 mounted figures, much better than the now old ESCI Set 217. They also gave us French Line Infantry. Although most of the poses were from the ESCI Infantry set, there were some new ones poses in the mix.

In 1996 both companies brought out some more new regiments. Revell gave us the Prussian Infantry Set 02580. This was the first time that we have seen Prussian line infantry and the British Rifles Set 02581 which gave us the 95th rifles. Both sets in light grey plastic. The British Rifles was the last ever set from Revell although they re-issued some Italeri sets, French Hussars, French Dragoons and the French Horse Guard Artillery. Italeri made the French Carabiniers heavy cavalry Set 6003. These were made in cream plastic and with 17 mounted figures it again had an Officer and Bugler. They also brought out some Highlander Infantry Set 6004. This was the second complete Highlander set since Airfix back in 1996. Then we had a set of Austrian Grenadiers and line Infantry, Russian Grenadiers, Prussian Cuirassiers and French Hussars Set 6008. These were made in a light blue plastic again with an Officer and Bugler.

We then had to wait till 1998 before was saw any new sets of figures from Italeri who were by now the only company still making Napoleonic figures.  Set 6015 gave us the French Dragoons. Made in cream plastic we not only had the Officer and Bugler but now a standard bearer. 17 mounted with horses but slightly bigger is size, but once painted up they look just as good as the past sets. In 1999 another first for the plastic company was a French Staff Set 6016. Our armies did by then need commanders other than NOC’s so this set was a welcome back then. A nice model of Napoleon on horseback with some mounted and on foot Marshals to accompany him on the battle field. By the end of the 90’s there were  few more plastic figure companies that had stated to produce sets but one of them was an American company called HaT Industries. They were to make a big impact on the war game hobby world.
 
 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Baker Rifle


The Baker Rifle was used by the British Army from 1801-1837 and was officially known as the Infantry Rifle.
The muzzle-loading flintlock rifle was used by the Rifle regiments in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Baker Rifle was first made in 1800 by Ezekiel Baker, a master gunsmith from Whitechapel in London and it was the first standard-issue, British made rifle accepted by the British armed forces. The British Army was still issuing the rifle into the late 1830s.
Before the formation of an Experimental Rifle Corps in 1800, a trail was held in Woolwich, London by the British Board of Ordnance on 22 February 1800 in order to select a standard rifle pattern, the rifle designed by Ezekiel Baker was chosen.

The first model resembled the British Infantry Musket, but was rejected as too heavy. Baker was provided with a German Jäger rifle as an example of what was needed. The second model Baker made, it had a .75 calibre bore, the same calibre as the Infantry Musket. It had a 32-inch barrel, with eight rectangular rifling grooves; this model was accepted by the Board of Ordnance as the Infantry Rifle, but more changes were made until it was finally placed into production.
The third and final model had the barrel shortened from 32 to 30-inch, and the calibre was reduced to .653, which allowed the rifle to fire a .625 calibre carbine bullet, with a greased patch to grip the now-seven rectangular grooves in the barrel.
The rifle had a simple folding back-sight with the standard large lock mechanism with a swan-neck cock as fitted to the ’Brown Bess’. Just like the German Jäger rifles, it had a scrolled brass trigger guard to help ensure a firm grip and a raised cheek-piece on the left-hand side of the butt.

Like many rifles, it had a ‘butt-trap’ or patch box where greased linen patches and tools could be stored. The lid of the patch box was made of brass and hinged at the rear, so it could be flipped up. The stock was made of English walnut and held the barrel with three flat captive wedges. The rifle also had a metal locking bar to accommodate a 24-inch sword bayonet, similar to the Jäger rifle. The Baker was 45 inches long from muzzle to butt, 12 inches shorter than the Brown Bess Infantry musket, and was almost 9lb in weight. As gunpowder started to build up in the barrel the weapon became much slower to load and less accurate, so a cleaning kit was stored in the patch box of the Baker.
 

When the Baker rifle came into service, more modifications were made and several different variations of designs were produced. A lighter and shorter carbine version was made for the cavalry including the Life Guards in 1801 and the 10th Hussars.
Following the German design the Baker was designed to accept a sword-bayonet of some 24 inches in length. The first bayonet for the Baker was a single-edged flat sword of 23 inches long. It was brass with handled with a knuckle bow and clipped onto a muzzle bar. It weighed 2lbs and as later reports confirmed, it created difficulties in firing when it was attached to the rifle muzzle. The sword-bayonets were contracted out to the Birmingham sword cutler Henry Osbourne.
 

The second pattern of Baker Rifle was fitted with a ‘Newland’ lock that had a flat-faced ring neck cock. In 1806, a third pattern was made that included a ‘pistol grip’ style trigger guard and a smaller patch box with a plain rounded front. The lock plate was smaller, flat, and had a steeped-down tail, a raised semi-waterproof pan, a flat ring neck cock, and a sliding safety bolt. With the introduction of the Brown Bess in 1810, with its flat lock and ring necked cock, the Baker lock followed suit for that then became the fourth pattern model. It also featured a ‘slit stock’- the stock had a slot cut in it’s under part just over a quarter-inch wide. This was introduced after Ezekiel Baker had seen reports of the ramrod jamming in the stock after a build-up of residue in the ramrod channel, and when the wood warped after getting wet.
During the Napoleonic Wars the Baker was reported to be effective at long range due to its accuracy and dependability under battlefield conditions. But with its advantages, the rifle did not replace the British musket, the Brown Bess, but was issued officially only to rifle regiments. The rifle was also used by what were considered elite units, such as the 5th battalion and rifle companies of the 6th and 7th Battalions of the 60th Regiment of Foot and the three battalions of the 95th Regiment of Foot that served under the Duke of Wellington between 1808 and 1814 in the Peninsular War and again at Waterloo in 1815. The two light infantry Battalions of the King’s German Legion as well as sharpshooter platoons within the Light Companies of the KGL line Battalions also used Baker rifles.
The rifle could not usually be reloaded as fast as a musket, as the slight undersized lead balls had to be wrapped in patches of greased linen so that they could more closely fit the lands of the rifling. A rifleman was expected to be able to fire two aimed shots a minute, compared to the four shots a minute of the Brown Bess musket in the hands of a trained infantryman. In the course of the Napoleonic Wars, rifleman used paper patches and even bare rifle balls when shooting in a hurry in battle, with faster loading time at the cost of accuracy.
Accuracy was of more importance than rate of fire when skirmishing. The rifleman’s main battlefield role was to utilise cover and skirmish against the enemy’s lines or to defeat the French skirmishers, whereas his musket armed counterparts in the line infantry fired in volley of mass fire. The skirmishers would face their opponents in pairs, so that one would fire while the other one reloaded.
The Baker as originally manufactured was expected to be capable of firing at a range of up to 200 yards with a high hit rate. Riflemen would regularly hit targets at ranges considered to be beyond the rifle’s effective range speaks for both their marksmanship and the capabilities of the Baker rifle.
 

 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Airfix Waterloo Farm House - Part Two


The next time that we see the farm house from Airfix came in 1975 when it appeared in the “Waterloo Assault set”.
I can remember how impressed I was with this set as not only did it have the farm building again in a grey plastic but it now came with eight boxes of figures including two civilian wagons and accessories.
The figures came from all that they had produced for the Waterloo Battle to date. There was one box of each of the following the French had Foot Artillery, Line Infantry, and Imperial Guard which was their new set that year and one set of cavalry the Cuirassiers. The British had Line Infantry, Highlanders, Royal Horse Artillery and Hussars. No Prussians figures were in this set as they had not been made then. The wagons were new from Airfix and unique as they were not produced in their own set. The Accessories included barricades and supplied for the two wagons with two civilian wagon drivers, as they would have been employed by the British army at that time to move supplies around for them.
I can remember this set being out for a long time before it disappeared and then in 2008, they brought it out again but this time called “The Battle of Waterloo” set.
This set had now grown into one hell of a set to collect. Everything you needed for your Waterloo Battle. Not only did it have the farm house and all of the 8 sets of figures from the previous assault set and the two civilian wagons with accessories, but now it came with a plastic base for the farm house, paint brushes and paints. This set also included a box of the Prussian Infantry, which was Airfix last Waterloo set ever to be produced by them. No doubt that this set will make another appearance very soon as the 200th Anniversary is coming up in a couple of years’ time. Now would that be great if it had contained a new set? Roll on 2015.
 Back of Box

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Chance Cards Part Two


I intended to make a total of thirteen different cards with a variety of instructions printed on them some more than others. The right balance has to be made, but I will not know this until I start using the cards. But here is how I have made the set up at the moment with a grand total of 40 cards in a set.
There are for ADVANCE x2, AMMUNITION x4, EAGER x2, HALT x4, LUCKY x3, NO RESTRICTIONS x5, NO TARGET x3, OFFICERS KILLED x2, RESUPPLY x4, RETREAT x2, STEADY x4, TEST FOR MORAL x3 and UNLUCKY x2. 

Now that I have sorted that out, I can now get down to making my cards up. Okay I have the front of the card which is a picture of the Battle of Waterloo map and on the reverse side a picture of the old guard at Waterloo with the written instructions printed on top of the picture.
I was first going to cut up stiff card to the correct size before gluing on the pictures and the instructions on both sides of the card. First the thickness of the card came into play and then they are going to get dirty very quickly and bent when in use over time. Lamination was the answer but card being too thin could still bend and too thick will not leave me much room for the lamination pouch to contain the card.

So after finding a shop with laminating pouches in credit card size, I brought a box of 50. This should give me enough even if I muck a few up as I have never done laminating before. Lucky for me my daughter had a laminating machine, so that part was solved.
Then out of the blue I had an idea, to use the well-known Lottery cards that you can fine at many shopping outlets in the UK that play the game. These are made out of credit size plastic card and they are very strong. These will be ideal for my chance cards. Once I had collected a few and printed out the front and backs to the cards, the assembling of the cards took place. Sticking the front and reverse side to the plastic card by a bit of sick glue just to place for positional guide, once dry I then inserted the card into the lamination pouch and here you can see the results and I think that they look very professional if I do say. Now I have to find time to play a game and to try out my new cards.
 
 

Friday, 12 April 2013

5000 Hits!


Today we celebrate the 5000th page view that this blog has now reached at last.It has taken a bit of time to get there but we are now there. I would like to thank you all for taking time to look at this blog which has been growing very slowly over the last five years. I hope that you have taken something away from this blog to help you in your hobby.
 
I still have plenty of things to do on this blog and once we get a bit of sunshine and time, I hope to but more pictures up of the figures that I have painted to date.
Progress has been very slow over the winter months and I have yet to pick up the paint brush and finish off the two units that I am painting up. But I have made the set of chance cards and doing more fine tuning of my house rules. So keep looking, more to come soon. Take care out there and thanks again.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Airfix Waterloo Farm House - Part One


The Battle of Waterloo had many buildings and villages that were fought over in the three days of Waterloo in June 1815 but three were made very famous by the battle. These were the farms of Hougoumont, Le Haye Sainte and Paperotte.
Le Haye Sainte was in the centre of Wellington’s battle line and it was defended by the 1st & 2nd Light Battalions of the Kings German Legion a regiment of Nassau Light infantry and the 5th Line battalion of the KGL while defending outside on the eastern side of the farm there were two companies of the 95th.
 
This complex of farm buildings became the hospital for the Allies and was fought over all day by the French with d ‘Erlon Corps with the 54th and 55th Ligne. The farm changed hands several times during the battle were at one stage the KGL ran out of ammunition and had to retreat out of the farm. Unable to move the Allies casualties, they were bayoneted to death by the French when they first over ran the farmyard and by the end of the day it was back in Allied hands. 

Airfix brought out the famous farm house in 1970 after they started to bring out the Waterloo figures for the battle. The 1/76 model was made in a grey plastic and has made a few appearances how and then by Airfix through the years. Once off the spur it took just minutes to assemble the farm and I still have mine although it needs urgent attention, another project for me to do to rebuild and base the farm house one day.

Although the model is not historical correct as some of the windows to the rooms in the roof of the main house are missing the farm was also much bigger than the model, but space would be a problem for most gamers. I have seen this model painted up on other people’s blogs and what a good job they have made of it. I must admit that I liked my Airfix model back then and still do today but wouldn’t it be nice for Airfix to bring out Hougoumont and Paperotte for the 200th Anniversary of the battle as I know they will do with the farm house once more.
 
The farm House today
 


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

How it all started for me - Part Five


In the late 70’s a brought myself my first war gaming table. It was 8ft x 5ft and it was made of 1/2 inch chip wood board. The only place that I could set this up was in the master bedroom which gave us plenty of space to move around. This was archived by moving the double bed into the centre of the room and taking the headboard off to lay the table flat on the base of the bed. This is where the club members of the CWA would come along to my house on a Sunday to play our campaigns and other battles.
I painted one side of the board grass green for summer and the other size white for winter. We could set up over 1,000 figures on the table with still plenty of room for them to move around. Unfortunately the board has long gone as I had no room for it in the house that I moved into and live in now. 

We had to wait for another five years before any new Napoleonic figures appeared in the hobby/toy shops. In 1984 an Italian company called Esci made two new sets. The first was the French Imperial Guard and in the same year British Infantry mixed with highlanders. Then in 1985 they brought out two more sets the Scots Greys and the Polish Lancers. In the following year six more were added. A mixed box of Prussian/Austrians, French Line Infantry, British Hussars and Horse Artillery with no limbers and French Foot Guard Artillery again without any limbers and Russian Infantry.
 
 

All these sets brought new life to the club and many of the above sets gave the club members a wider choice of figures to collect. This is when I really started to paint up my figures and I would also help the club members to paint theirs on club nights. During the club years, we were able to purchase cheap figures from a toy shop in Welling, Southeast London, where we could buy boxes of figures from a company called “A-Toys” for a pound each. These were actually Esci figures in the box and they were very popular with the club members at the time. The last Napoleonic set for Esci to bring out was the French Cuirassiers in 1987.
So we now had figures available to us from two plastic companies A-Toys/Esci and Airfix, but in 1988 I had to pack up the club that I had been running for ten years as my work was taking over my personal life with working late on press night which was in fact our club night.

So I then became a solo wargamer and in 1992 Revell moved into Napoleonic’s and made two new Napoleonic sets. These were 02570 French Grenadier Guards in greatcoats and 02571 British Infantry. Now these sets were very more detailed than the old Airfix figures and better made than the Esci thin ones. So the 80’s was a really good year for our hobby but the 90’s was going to be even better.
 
 
 
 

Monday, 25 March 2013

French Old Guard-Grenadiers


Figures used: AIRFIX French Imperial Guard- 48 figures in a Box. Made in grey plastic 

Painted in Early 80’s 

The might of the French army had never failed in battle, until Waterloo. These brave old men of Napoleons Guard must have made a spectacular sight on the battlefield in their uniforms and big black bearskin hats. These Airfix figures were the only ones you could buy in plastic back in the 70’s and they can still hold their own today even though there are quite a few companies that have now added these to their range. These were the eighth Airfix Waterloo set to come out in 1975. The uniform is very accurate on these, well sculpted with plenty of detail, these were the best that Airfix had made up till then and once painted they look really great.
These were painted before we had the internet and the only research I could do was at my local library, but the Airfix box picture helped a great deal. These are another one of my favourite Airfix sets and I have painted these as another regiment which you will see later on in this section. 

H= Humbrol 

H34 Vest, Trousers, Belts, Straps, Grenade Badge on top of bearskin, Bearskin cords & flounders, Hair
H25 Coat, Coat on backpack, Collars
H21 Boots, Ammo Pouch
H62 Backpacks, Musket
H60 Cuffs, Coat-tails, Epaulettes, Crown on Bearskin
H25 Cuffs, Collars and piping on jacket
H33 Sword & Bayonet Scabbard, Bearskin
H61 Flesh
H53 Musket Barrels
R11 Firing Locks, Bayonets, Sword
H54 Musket fittings
H16 Bearskin Badge, Ammo Pouch Badge, Coat-tail Badge, Buckles & Buttons
H80 Stand 

Officers Notes

Epaulettes, Bearskin cords & flounders - Gold
Gloves - white
Sword Scabbard – Silver
NCO’s Bearskin cords & flounders – Red/Gold


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Chance Cards Part One


I thought that I would share one of my many projects that I have lined up to do at one point in my life with you now.  Being a solo player and having a nice set of rules to play with is all very well but when you do not have an opponent to play against, they can be very long winded in playing a game against yourself, not only that, you are in total control of commanding both armies on the table. To me although this is better than nothing, it will only be moral rules that will take away any control that you have over the two armies. So to get around this I have come up with the CHANCE CARD. 

I started this project back in 2008 after I found the idea on another war gaming blog, a club that was adding these cards to their games and I thought to myself that they could help me. I gave it a lot of thought and how I could incorporate these into my games.

The answer that I came up with is that I would have to draw a card when a unit is attacked in any way and that unit would have to act on what the card said. So I hope that the only rules that I need are for moving, shooting and hand-to-hand combat. 

I made the decision that the cards should be a credit card size which is easy to handle even with kids taking part in the game. The spec was that they are to be made in full colour front and back. So with a rough I made I now had to design my own cards.

With an aide of a computer I made the template of the front and back of the card. On the front of the card I inserted a coloured picture of the Battle of Waterloo map and on the reverse side was to be the text. This was my first draft and I later changed that to another picture on the back of the card with the old guard at Waterloo but lightened it so the text, being in bold black, would stand out from the picture.

So what was the instruction or chance that was to be made on these cards? Well again some of the instructions came from the war gaming blog but most were changed to help the game roll along, I hope!

I intend to make thirteen different cards with some of the instructions would be more than others. The right balance has to be made, but I will not know that until I start playing with the cards. There are for LUCKY and UNLUCKY, STEADY, HALT, RETREAT, AMMUNITION, RESUPPLY, OFFICERS KILLED, NO TARGET, TEST FOR MORAL, EAGER, ADVANCE and NO RESTRICTIONS.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Prussian Foot Artillery


At last I have taken a couple of pictures of the Prussian foot artillery that I finished off painting last year. Sorry to say that the pictures are a bit dull as they were taken on a very dull day, but you can get the general idea of how they look.

At the top is a picture of the Officer and drummer from the HaT Prussian Infantry Command set 8255. As you can see the officer’s right arm is the peg arm and although it’s a good idea from HaT to do this, so you can have a choice of positions with the sword, but putting the arm on the figure had its problems and so I had to cut the peg off when joining them together. But the overall effect makes him look like his arm is out of joint. Still this method should get better as they go along with the sets. The backpack was easy to attach to the figure and they painted up really good.

The drummer was the easiest to put together with is backpack and drum. I think these will look really good on the battle field as the Prussian Artillery set does not have a commander or drummer included in their sets. Both of these figures are made from the new soft plastic.

At the foot of the page, is a picture of some of the artillery crew with most of the elements in place. I have given the unit all four 6lb cannons. This is HaT’s Artillery set 8007 and they are made from the old hard plastic as it was one of the first sets made by HaT. The only problem with these is that their coat-tails are missing, so they went without rather than trying to paint them on. As my Prussian army grows, I think I will need another set of these in the future.
 
 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Pack Animals?


I thought that I would bring this subject to my blog because when you look at peoples blogs, either doing wargame shows or posting pictures of their current wargame, you don’t see any with pack horses being brought up to the front carrying spare ammo/food or bringing the wounded back from the field of battle or seeing them in marching columns moving across that well displayed gaming table.
Now I know that there are not many plastic companies out there that have these in their 20mm sets, but are these really worth putting into armies if you don’t use them? I think they are.

When I was running my wargame club back in the 80’s one of the members brought up his Airfix 01752 German Mountain troops and inside the box there were four pack horses in a walking pose. At the time he was going to start painting these but he had no intension of painting the four pack hoses. So I asked if I could have them and without any hesitation he said yes.

These were left in my too do box for a while as I then thought, well what am I going to do with them? Well we played a lot of little battles at the club and while we were going to playing a Zulu game, where the Zulus had to chase a column of British back to their camp. This is where they came into play. The Zulu’s had to capture these as they were carrying rifles for the British army. So I quickly painted these up (left of the picture) and made ready for the game in the following week. It was a frantic game as the British tried to get the rifles back to camp but failed to get them all back as the Zulu’s made off with two of them.
These four pack horses have all so played their part in the clubs Napoleonic campaign that we ran and it just adds that little bit of reality to the battle being played.

It was not until HaT started to bring out their plastic sets that I found some more pack horses. In their Prussian Foot Artillery 8007, there are again four of these in a box. As you know I have just finished painting this set up and have painted the four up on the right of the picture. Again they are horses walking and very smart they look too.
But look at the difference between the two sets. The Airfix horses are really small compared to the HaT set. So I started to look around with the other plastic companies to see if there are any more in their boxes.

The only ones I can find at the moment are the old ESCI 211 Italian Mountain Troops which have two mules but they are in a bucking pose, which really are not all that good looking. The Revell/Matchbox 02529 Anzac Infantry they only have the one and again, it’s a mule walking and again is not a bad figure to have. Waterloo 1815 have just released a new set of the WWII US Mountain Troops. These have three mules in the set and they look very good in a walking pose. I know that some of the plastic companies are going to include some more for future sets for this year. I am glad to have these in my army and I hope to add to them in the future. The good thing about these pack horses is that when they are painted up, you can use these for any period in history, so why not go and find some to paint up for your army and give it that different look about it?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The War Gamer by Charles Grant


Published by Ken Trotman 

Pages 191 plus covers 

This book has become one of the major classic war gaming books written by Charles Grant, one of our first pioneers of war gaming in Britain.
First Published in 1971 by A&C Black Limited, this was reprinted in 2007 by the Publishers Ken Trotman and it contains some extra text and a couple of coloured pictures.
Although the pictures and maps are all mainly black and white, there is a new introduction by his son Charles Stewart Grant and a set of eighteen century rules.

I received this book back in 2011 at Christmas and It has taken me quite a while to finished reading it. The reason for this is that the book is not heavy going but I seem to read a bit and then put the book down until I have another spell at reading. So in a year I have completed this book and it’s a great book to read.
The book starts from basic requirements for a game with knowledge to what the Infantry Cavalry and Artillery did in the 18th century warfare.
The book then goes on to constructing terrain (if you like DIY) and the effects your army has over them. Charles then goes on to Maps, Pioneers, River Transport and casualties.

At the back of all this there is a simple set of rules for you to play with. This section was not printed in the original book but I think that it raps the whole book up at the end. These you can add to or in fact take the bits out that you don’t need, but this sets you off in the right direction if you are waiting to make your own rules for your war game. It’s another book that I am glad that I have in my collection.