My First Napoleonic Skirmish!

My British Napoleonic army is steadily growing and it has now actually been on the gaming table. Even though I have only finished 40 figures, I was able to join in with a skirmish game that was played at the club that I attend. The skirmish rules were actually written by one of the club members, Richard, and worked really well, allowing us to play with a small force of Napoleonic Infantry rather than the normal large battalions. Basically, we were re-creating the sort of adventure that you read about in Bernard Cornwells’ ‘Sharpe’ novels. So we had a great game, lots of fun and I’m pleased to report that the French Army was prevented from stealing the gold from the Spanish Villagers!

On my last Napoleonic blog posting I said that I would discuss the difference between British Flank & Centre Companies and why there are different sets for Waterloo Infantry & Peninsular War Infantry. Of course if you are a veteran of the hobby you will already know the answers but if like me, you are a newcomer to Napoleonics, these things can be confusing and a barrier to starting your own army. So this is what I’ve discovered and if anyone out there reading this has any extra information or would like to correct any error that I may make, please contact me through my shop email and I will publish your email through the blog. Unfortunately, due to the huge amount of spam that I was getting through the blog, I’ve had to turn off the comments (Thank you to the Russian & American spammers and the Pharmaceutical suppliers that have contributed so far….).

So when deciding what British force that you are going to field, there is one final decision that you need to make. Are you going to model a force from the Peninsular War or do you fancy the period around Waterloo? Or to put the question another way, would you like to have your Line infantry wearing white trousers or grey? Now that’s a gross over simplification that totally ignores the historical perspective but essentially that’s the main difference between the two troop types. If you are desperate to have an army that will fight in Spain & Portugal with all the allies & enemies that go with them, then you need the guys in the white trousers. If you want to fight Waterloo and the associated battles, then grey is for you! There is one other significant difference, the type of hats worn by the officers & troops. In the peninsular, it was the stove pipe shako with the plume at the front for the troops and the Bi-corn Hat for the officers. At Waterloo, the troops wore the Belgiac Shako with the plume to the side and the officers wore the same except that the cord on the front was gold rather than white.

There are some other subtle differences but if you stick to the above, you will be about right. Remember, although the button counters of this world will delight in telling you exactly what shade of underwear the Coldstream Guards were issued with in 1815, we are trying to create an army that looks good on the war games table and in war time troops had a habit of improvising and adapting equipment, even in the 19th century. So you will see troops on campaign wearing a mixture of uniform in different shades and states of wear and tear. If you are happy with that simplification, join me on my next blog article on the construction of my Napoleonic Army and I will start to assemble some figures. Oh! and I’ll get back to you regarding Flank & Centre Companies!

Bolt Action Waffen-SS

I am in the process of reading Antony Beevor’s latest book, ‘D-Day’. A super read if you are at all interested in military history, even if World War Two isn’t your subject. Antony Beevor is one of those clever historians who manages to combine the big picture of army groups and brigades manoeuvring against each other with the accounts of the soldiers that were there doing the actual fighting. It’s riveting stuff and the truth of war appears to be stranger and more horrific than most fiction.

Beevor is not particularly complimentary about General Montomery and from the evidence presented, Monty appears to have been suffering from a bad case of over inflated ego. However, the idea that somehow the British and Canadian Forces were slower to break out of the Normandy beachheads than the Americans ( and therefore were perhaps less of a fighting force) is put clearly into perspective when it is explained that the British were facing the cream of the troops available to the Germans, the Waffen SS. Whilst in the main, the Americans were fighting the German line infantry, including many Russian and other foreign conscripts.

The Waffen-SS were the cream of the German army, well armed and equipped and highly motivated to the point of fanaticism. In Beevors book there are tales of Waffen- SS troops refusing medical treatment from the Allies, prefering to die for Adolf Hitler rather than surrender. There are many examples of SS troops fighting well and within the bounds of what we can call ‘civilised war’ ( if such a thing exists), but too many incidents of brutality occured throughout the war, tainting their reputation. That said SS units fought courageously, sometimes ferociously, against great odds until the wars end in Berlin, 1945.

Bolt Action Miniatures, the WWII section of Warlord games have just released their Waffen-SS set containing 20 metal soldiers. They are, as always from this Company, beautifully sculpted and produced and a must have set for any WWII wargamer. Also available are two support packs, An HMG-42 machine gun team and a PAK 40 antitank gun and crew. Heres a picture of the painted models courtesy of Warlord.

German Imperial Guard!

I couldn’t resist showing you these conversions. They ‘re converted from the new Bolt Action WWII German plastic set, with added Imperial Guard weapons and equipment.

I think that the guy with the flamer looks great! These are the first of what will be an Imperial Guard squad and they are going to look superb on the war gaming table. If I wasn’t so focused on my Napoleonic army & Necrons I’d have a go myself. Her’s a few more pics!

I’m already thinking that a Tiger tank in this scale would look pretty good as well. Why not a whole Imperial Guard army made from WWII Troops. Now there’s food for thought!

Plastic German Infantry from Bolt Action – sprue shots

We’ve just received a sample sprue set from the new Bolt Action plastic World War Two German set that is due to be released later this month. Bolt action is the Second World War ‘section’ of Warlord games, the company responsible for the superb ranges of Romans and English Civil war figures. Up to now, the Bolt Action releases have been in metal or resin but it was only a matter of time before the Company released a plastic set.

As with their previous releases, the quality is superb and the production from Renedra plastics is first class. The detail on the MG 34 and MG42 supplied on the weapons sprue is amazing. I dont think that my photo’s will really do them justice but here they are!

The scale is 28mm, which means that they are ideal for the ‘Rules of Engagement’ rules set. They are also very well priced at

I owe Clive Owen an apology

I remember watching the film ‘King Arthur’ a while ago. It’s the one about the fall of Hadrians wall that stars Clive Owen as a Roman Officer and a group of Sarmatian Warriors that were on one last mission to rescue a group of Roman nobles for the clutches of the Barbarians in the North. It also starred Kiera Knightley, who whilst looking very attractive in a languid sort of way, didn’t really convince me that she was the warrior queen Guinevere on the grounds that she doesn’t look as though she ‘s got the strength to draw breath, nevermind a war bow.

Anyway, I digress, although, it was a worthwhile diversion just to have an excuse to put a Picture of Kiera in my blog. The point was that the film looked at the legend of Arthur from a new historical Perspective and set the whole legend at the point when the Romans were leaving Britian rather than in the Middle ages.

I found all this a bit too much to swallow and was particularly sceptical that a warrior group such as the Samartians would be in the service of Rome in Britain.

Well, I was wrong. I was lucky enough to have the time to go and visit Hadrians wall recently and I’ve got to say that it is well worth a look. We went to the fort at Birdosland and I was surprised to find that it was garrisoned by the Dacians and that the later history of the wall seemed to support the the idea in the film that as the Romans pulled out the existing population would have become self governing and the existing garrisons would have stayed on. Even more thought provoking was just how much wasn’t known about the ‘dark days’ as the romans retreated from the wall. So the premise of the film isn’t so outlandish after all.

So I think that I’ll be having another look at that film and this time enjoy it as a possible version of what might have been and not get too sniffy over the historical facts. I bet it will have some great ideas for wargaming scenarios as well…..

Finally, here’s a picture of Julie ( my Wife) impersonating a Roman Guard at Birdsoland Fort. Now, if she had been around at the time, she would have sorted out those Northern Barbarians…….

Even more new releases…Pegasus Models

I really like Pegasus Models as a company. Yes, I know I say that about all of my suppliers but I would n’t stock anything from a Company that I didn’t like. So why do I like them? Well they choose interesting and lesser known subjects for their models. I mean where else could you find a set of Californian Indians or Gold Miners?

So the latest release from Pegasus is a box set of the World War Two German Tank, the Pz-38T Light tank.

Although, the Tank served with the German Army , it was actually a Czech designed vehicle that was acquired when the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia. Considered to be one of the best light tank designs of the Second World War, it saw action in Europe and on the Russian front. The box contains two models , with 27 parts per model. Assembly is straight forward and the models are really ideal for wargaming and with a bit of detailing work, they will also make into fine replicas. At

And More…this time from Mantic

The Mantic range continues to grow and it gets better as it does so. This week sees the release of the Mantic range of fantasy Dwarves and very nice they are too!

There are two basic regiments available; the Ironclads are the footslogging, brain bashing infantry and the Ironwatch are the missile troops armed with crossbows or guns. Of course there are more releases in the pipeline but for now heres a quick look at the boxe art for the Ironclads:

Also available from Mantic is a new paint set especially designed for dwarf armies. Mantic have really thought through their ranges so if you are new to the hobby, you can pick up a piaint set which will include all the paints you need for a particular race as well as a sample sprue. The set also remains at a good price so you can be confident that you are getting good value when you buy these sets.

Here’s the box art:

So At

And there’s more….from Italeri

This is the latest in from Italeri and I liked it so much that I nearly started to put together a World War Two North African German African Korps army just to go with it…but I’m sticking to Napoleonics for the time being…

Anyway, the subject is a North African House in 1/72 scale and as you can see it looks superb! Italeri have released a steady stream of soldiers and vehicles from the Second World War North African Campaign and this is a lovely piece of scenery to go with these sets. It will make an objective for your battlefield or just a great centre piece for a diorama.

It’s moulded in Sand coloured plastic but there is plenty of detail in the kit so even a simple paint job with a drybrush & wash will result in a very nice looking model.

Here are the pictures of the sprues:

As you can see, the pieces are well textured and detailed.

The model retails for around

New releases, New releases, New Releases!

I’ve mentioned before that I have been very busy with an amazing number of new products that are being released at the moment. So here’ s the first of the latest batch to arrive. If all goes well today there will be more posted later.

The latest release from the Wargames Factory is a Science fiction themed set of Greatcoated Troopers or infantry for the far flung future universe. Armed with a mixture of Rifles, Flamers and Grenade Launchers, they will look good in any Science fiction army and the price tag of