Eighteenth century


The thrill of being published in ‘Wargames Illustrated’

It was with much excitement that I opened up ‘Wargames Illustrated’ (issue#385, November 2019) today, as I knew it contained my article on my imagi-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia. Every writer knows the thrill of the first sight of a newly published article. Will it look good? Will they put the right pics in? Will it read as well as it did in my final draft? Well, I was delighted at how the finished six-page article looked. They even tarted it up by adding stills from the movie ‘Barry Lyndon’, on which my imagi-nation is based. Followers of my blog will be aware of the Barryat, as my project has featured here many times. When I asked ‘Wargames Illustrated’ if they were interested in an article about it, they were very keen. Hopefully readers will enjoy the article. It is a little different in that it doesn’t have any orders-of-battle, scenarios or ratings for particular rules.  Instead, it is a very general  jaunt through my project to merge movies and imagi-nation

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My latest article in ‘Wargames Illustrated’

Check out the sixth item down on this list of contents for the forthcoming November issue of ‘Wargames Illustrated’. Despite the cover illustration, my article has nothing to do with Judge Dredd. But it still fits within this issues’s theme of ‘fictional heroes’ … you’ll just have to wait and see! I haven’t received my copy of the mag yet, so can’t wait to see what my article looks like finished!  

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A Kiwi at Partizan

As I mentioned in my last posting, during my recent trip with my wife to the UK and Europe, I was able to fit in a day at the Partizan Wargames Show in Newark. This was actually the second British wargaming show I’ve visited, as back in 2013  I was lucky enough to attend SELWG in London. Based on that previous experience, I had some idea of what to expect. But despite this fore-knowledge, the sight of so many incredibly impressive games at Partizan was a real eye-opener to this colonial boy! The show was held in a very roomy and light venue at the Newark Showgrounds. I arrived just before opening time, and there was already a queue at the door. At 10.00 exactly the doors opened and the line moved quickly as the entry formalities were carried our efficiently by the organisers (including giving the first 500 visitors – including yours truly – a specially commissioned 28mm figure of the famous inter-war revolutionary, Rosa Luxembourg). I spent the next six hours happily wandering round the ha

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On Parade! Eighteenth century supply train and civilians

An army marches on its stomach, so they say. Thus no army is complete without its supply train. In the final installment of this inspection parade of my French army, let’s look at the supply train consisting of these four carts. And we’ll finish with some eighteenth century civilians. On the left is a four-wheeled ammunition wagon. Front Rank offer this with two different types of top – the rounded wicker lid as shown above, or the wooden one in the picture below.  On the right is a smaller ammunition cart drawn by one horse. It also has a wicker lid. The soldier walking alongside is in his red waistcoat, having removed his white coat. He is actually a French and Indian Wars miniature, with a hatchet in his belt. The supply wagon shown on the left is advertised in the Front Rank catalogue as a medieval cart. But I thought it would be totally suitable for the eighteenth century. I’ve added some sacks as cargo. The civilian driver is also by Front Rank, but I understand is quite an e

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On parade! Eighteenth century French artillery

The guns in my French army, all made by Front Rank Figurines, are wonderfully detailed models that were a joy to paint. Jean-Florent de Vallière (Director-General of France’s artillery) reduced the pieces in use to a set number of types of cannon and mortars. He also recruited Jean Maritz, who had designed and built a water-powered horizontal cannon-boring machine in Geneva. By 1732 the first Maritz cannon boring machine was operational in the foundry at Lyon, boring out the Model 1732 system equipment. These standardised pieces became known as the “Vallière System”.  Prior to the outbreak of the Seven Years War, the French army was equipped with the best artillery in Europe. But they were to be overtaken by Austria with their Model 1753 Liechtenstein system.    Source: Kronoskaf French gun carriages were initially painted red in the eighteenth century. But some time after the Vallière reform of 1732, the gun carriages were painted blue to distinguish them from the equipment of the supply train (cais

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On parade! Colourful French cavalry of the 18th century

My inspection parade of all the armies in my wargaming collection continues with French cavalry of the mid-eighteenth century. They’re certainly colourful en masse! These were all painted in the very early 2000s, so represent my level of painting at the time. But despite the fairly crude shading and detail, they do look really good on the table, and have in fact stood the test of time quite well. As with most of my armies, the basing hasn’t been done to align to any particular rules. I work the other way round – I adapt rules to suit my basing!   First up are the Colonel-General Dragoons. Dragoons were basically mounted infantry. Thus these Front Rank figures, with their boot-gaiters (‘bottines’), short red coats and muskets really look the part. French dragoons were equipped with tools, such as axes, bill-hooks or saws, instead of off-side holsters, and these are faithfully represented on these models. I particularly like the way Front Rank have posed the officer on th

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On parade: 18th century French light infantry

Continuing in our inspection parade of my eighteenth-century French army, we now come to the light troops. After a period of preoccupation with massed fire, light troops were gradually being re-incorporated into armies during this period. Marshal Saxe considered the aimed fire of light troops as being the only effective fire. There were always parts of the battlefield, woods, copses, hedges and buildings where they could be used to good effect. So of course my miniature French army had to have at least a couple of these pioneering units.   The Chasseurs de Fischer were established in 1743 by a former officer’s valet who made a reputation for himself guiding other valets in and out of the islands of the Moldau River to pasture the officers’ horses. The unusual cap worn by these troops is called a mirleton, more commonly worn by hussars than infantry during this period. The officer wears a fur trimmed jacket. This is how he is modelled by Front Rank, but I believe the fur trim was worn by

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On parade! 18th century French guards and grenadiers

Having previous inspected the French and foreign infantry in my eighteenth century French army, we now come to the guards and grenadiers.   These Gardes Françaises were the first Front Rank figurines that I ever painted. I still recall how surprised I was at how easy the job was made by the fine sculpting of the models. The Gardes Françaises were part of the King’s Royal Household. Their uniform was quite ornate, compared to normal infantry uniforms. For instance, the belt slung over the soldiers’ left shoulders was lined with lace. I have always admired Phillipotteaux’s famous painting of the Gardes Françaises at the Battle of Fontenoy (see my more detailed posting about this painting), so I determined to paint my soldiers as shown in Phillipotteaux’s work, rather than from other sources which differ somewhat. The flags for my minature regiment are by GMB Designs. I added white cravattes made from paper. All French regiments had these tied to the top of their flag staffs. No

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On parade! Foreign regiments of the 18th century French army

The French army included quite a few foreign troops, amongst them Swiss, Germans, Swedes, Scots, Italians, Netherlanders, and, of course, the famous Irish ‘Wild Geese’.   I wanted to portray one of the Irish red-coat ‘Wild Geese’ regiments in my army, and so chose the Regiment Lally, which was renowned for its service in India. I liked the combination of red with green cuffs. I had never really used the black undercoat method of painting before, but found it worked very effectively. The red coats  were quite difficult to do, however, as the red paint remained quite dull over the black undercoat. The flags are by GMB Designs flags.  If I recall correctly, I reversed the colours of the quadrants in GMB’s version of the flag, which I felt were wrong. Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about the Irish Guards in the British Army of the First World war. This poem harks back to the days of the Irish Brigade in French service, even mentioning the colonel of the Regiment Lally: WE̵

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On parade: French white-coats of the 18th century

The French army of the mid-eighteenth century was one of the most colourful: white-coated infantry, foreign regiments in blue or red, light infantry in green or beige, cavalry in all sorts of hues!  They might not have been the most effective army of the period, but – mon Dieu! – they dressed well. In my previous ‘On Parade’ postings, a series in which I intend to inspect every figure in my collection,  I’ve covered  my Napoleonic and fantasy armies. Now it is the turn of the eighteenth century French, the first historical army I painted when in the late 1990s I  returned to the hobby of wargaming after a twenty year hiatus. This army is mainly made up of 28mm Front Rank figurines. The 24-figure infantry regiments and 8-figure cavalry squadrons are not based for any particular rule-set. It is many years since I’ve had this army out on the table. When I began setting them up for my inspection parade today, it immediately came back to me just how charming Front Rank figure

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More cardboard buildings from Paperboys

I’ve been quietly boxing on making some more of the cardboard models from Florian Richter and Peter Dennis’s book European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames. In addition to the windmill I have previously posted about, I now also have a mansion, a church, and a watermill. This impressive mansion will be perfectly at home as either a country house or a town hall. The book also provides roof connectors to so you join more of this model together to form a larger building – making the entire Palace of Versailles wouldn’t be out of the question! I’ve made this and the other models straight out of the book. The only additional work I have done was to strengthen the inner structures with some heavy card. The northern-European church looks surprisingly solid for a cardboard model. I think it is the buttresses that make it so sturdy-looking. If you wanted to super-detail this model, you could cut out the windows and then re-inset them behind the holes to

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