Tuesday 24 March 2015

Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance 1864-70

The mailman had a very pleasant surprise for me today. The newly released Osprey Men at Arms on the Great Paraguayan War. If you have managed to keep up with my anarchic list of projects in the last month you may have spotted that this is well-advanced on my to do list. I have accumulated a good 90% of the figures that I need, and hope to have acquired the rest in the next couple of months.

The appeal of this conflict is hard to explain. It starts while the North American Civil War is raging, but that conflict leaves me a bit cold for some reason I can't explain. It reaches its height in 1866, the year of Koniggratz - a campaign I have much more interest in but which is a huge conflict of massed armies. It sputters out with the death of the dictator Solano in 1870 - the year that the Franco-Prussian War breaks out - another of the conflicts that I find of particular interest. Yet this little known dust up in South America is the one that has captured my imagination. Why?

I studied a paper in Latin American history at University, and I think it was here that I first read a snippet about this war. The 70% death rate amongst the Paraguayan population was probably the first thing that caught my attention. Following on from that Military History Magazine had an article on the Battle of Tuyuti. For some reason I was hooked. Add into the mix the gauchos from the Empire of Brazil (yes, it used to be ruled by an Emperor), the 'mad' dictator of Paraguay, Solano Lopez, and the stoic Paraguayan infantryman in his kilt, and the mix is there for an enthralling period in history.

There isn't a huge amount of information on this war out there in English. I have Terry Hooker's book produced by Foundry which is very good, but I was really looking forward to it getting the Osprey treatment. I'm pleased to say that I'm not disappointed.

Gabriele Esposito has written an excellent introduction to the war. It is in the style of my favourite MAA books, where the war as a whole is given coverage and then details of the armies are gone into. There is an introdution, an outline of the road to war and then a chronology of the war. A little more depth is given for the campaigns of the war year by year with some good maps and an order of battle for First Tuyuti. This is followed by information on the organisation of the Paraguayan, Brazilian, Argentinian and Uruguayan armies. As an introduction to the war it does its job well, however details of uniforms are left to the plate commentaries and is quite thin. I wish that the book had been an Elite rather than a Men at Arms, as I think that the additional space could easily have been filled up with additional information on uniforms in particular. Having said that, there are black and white line drawings throughout the book with descriptions of uniform colours that supplement the plates.

On the subject of the plates I have to say that I am really impressed. I'm one of those that hasn't always found Giuseppe Rava's art easy on the eye, particularly in regards to ancient subjects. I think he has excelled himself in this book, the plates are absolutely stunning.

On balance I'd say that this book is a must if you have even a passing interest in the era or you just want to find out a little more about something you know nothing about. I think there are missed opportunities by making it a Men at Arms rather than a larger Elite title, but that doesn't mean that what is there is not worth purchasing. It is certainly making me contemplate bringing forward my 15mm War of the Triple Alliance project.


Monday 23 March 2015

A bit more progress with Eagle Rampant

With marking 55 assessments and finishing off Geoff's commissions not much has been done on Eagle Rampant since my first playtest. However, last week I managed to finish off my first 2 units, one of Roman Legionaries and one of Upgraded Gallic Warriors.
Legionaries in their 2 deep line in order to claim their drilled bonus.
Typically disorganised Gauls
I'm hoping to get through a solo playtest of a couple of scenarios I've put together this weekend. Joining me in working on Eagle Rampant is Mike from the Single Base Wargames Blog. He is doing Early Imperial Romans, but we are planning on collaborating with playtests and the creation of unit stats. The header picture is his work.


Sunday 15 March 2015

Giveaway winners

I assigned each entry a number, including the pimpings on other blogs. My daughter rolled the d20 and the cat acted as scrutineer (and had fun knocking the dice around afterwards) - and we have our winners:
'I really don't care one way or the other - will you just feed me?'
First number rolled was a 4, which was Ray! Yes his luck is unbelievable! His first choice was the Franco-Prussian War rules.
Second number out was a 6, which was Rodger. His first choice was the painted Sigurd and Thrudella.
Third number out was 4 again, but that had gone, so the next roll was - 4! Ray, what dice gods are you praying to? But then a 10 came up, which is Tim Knight. His first choice was gone, but his second choice was the first issue of Practical Wargamer.

Congratulations guys, and thanks to everyone who took part. Since the giveaway we've welcomed another 9 followers and crept tantalising close to that 50,000 hits mark.

If the winners can e-mail me at my hotmail dot com account - Natholeon is the first part @ that address - and I'll get your goodies off to you.


Saturday 14 March 2015

Beware the Ides of March...

...If you want to be in to win in the blog giveaway! The fateful day will be arriving in my neck of the world in approximately 3 hours, and the draw will happen 12 hours hence. Just leave a comment and trust to the luck of the D20.
Natholeon's blog giveaway - better than being stabbed 23 times!
The Imperial palace also took delivery of something eagerly anticipated today:
Primer, paints and playthings!
Hopefully I can paint the figures as nicely as Barks has.


Tuesday 10 March 2015

Seventeenth Century Generals

And the last of this batch of figures from Geoff is finished. This time it is two 28mm Front Rank generals from their Late Seventeenth Century range. If there was only one range of figures in the world, I would choose Front Rank. Not only do they cater for this period which is one of favourite, but their figures are wonderful to paint. It is strange that I don't own any, but this is my retirement dream -  two late 17th Century 28mm armies made with Front Rank figures. Unsure whether I'd want to do 9 Years War or the Sedgemoor campaign, but I have plenty of time to think about it (another 25 years)!
Anyway, here are the pics:
I realise that I still need to highlight the sword, so I'll get onto that tonight.
The second general holding his baton. I think it may be bent from this shot - I hadn't noticed that.
A view from side and rear for completeness.
I'm not sure whether these are meant to be English or French (or something else) so I haven't painted any ciphers on the saddlecloths yet. I've also matt varnished them since taking this picture so the light won't reflect off them so strikingly.


Saturday 7 March 2015

Don't Selous out!

Here are the latest commissions for Geoff - Eureka Miniatures Selous Scouts.
All nine figures

Tracker backed up by some heavy firepower

Making their way through the Rhodesian/Zimbabwean savannah (I'm assuming they have savannah...)

Another bit of heavy firepower.
Aside from not knowing much about the topography of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia, I did quite a bit of research on these guys. My initial plan was to paint half of them as black troops, as there was a high proportion of black soldiers in the unit. Unfortunately none of the figures had the facial features or short curly hair that would make them look authentic, so this is an all white unit. I've got quite a few references from my old War in Peace magazines for the camo scheme and the colours of the singlets and shorts, and these came in handy.
I have to admit one major failure though. The sculpting is so fine on the faces that I couldn't paint the whites into the eyes. I gave it a shot, but they just came out looking like they had gone blind. I hope Geoff can forgive this.

And now that I've posted this, the blog giveaway will have slipped off the top of the screen, so make sure to check it out!


Friday 6 March 2015

100th follower - Blog Giveaway!

Welcome to the 100th follower of this blog, Mike of Single Base Wargames, and at the same time the 101st follower, Ubique Matt. I haven't made a habit of welcoming new followers, preferring to follow their blogs and link to them back here, but passing 100 is a bit of a milestone, so thank you to all who follow (and those who don't really follow anymore but who still pop up in the followers list) my rather erratic ramblings as I bounce from project to project.

I've really enjoyed being part of the blogging community of wargamers, and have managed to win a few blog giveaways over the past couple of years. First was Tim Knight's giveaway at Heropress where I won the Icons superhero roleplaying game. Then Dan Mersey's giveaway in January last year where I won three brand new Osprey Adventures books. In July last year I received Warfare in the Ironclad Age through the Canister and Grape blog. Lately I have had the fortune to win Captain Arjun's February giveaway over on Cor Blog Me which consists of some Colonial rulebooks, including Ever Victorious Armies which I had been looking for a while back but is now out of print.

So I've been waiting for an occasion to give something back. Initially I was thinking my first 100,000 views, but at the rate I'm going that could be a couple of years ago. So then I thought, maybe the first 50,000 views. But again, it seems my ramblings are not attractive enough to get me over that line any time soon. So 100 followers was the new benchmark, and here it is!

Now, what to give away?
Foundry Sigurd and Thrudella in poor lighting because I realised I didn't have a picture of them and snapped it in a hurry.
First option - genuine Natholeon hand-painted Sigurd and Thrudella made by Wargames Foundry. Have you ever wanted to own a genuine bit of Natholeon painting but can't find the six figure price tag*? here's your chance.
Nineteenth Century shenanigans
Second option - rules for the Franco-Prussian War. They Died for Glory and La Defense Francaise which was produced by Wargames Foundry.
More Franco-Prussian War? I sense a theme here...
Third option - the very first issue of Practical Wargamer magazine - my favourite wargames mag of all time and a constant source of inspiration. This is a mint copy - if by mint you mean it looks like it could have been used to wrap up some small sweets. But it is all there and holding together pretty well.

What do you need to do? Leave a comment stating which prizes you would like in order of preference. Then I will roll a dice to decide the winner. Given my dice rolling, getting in early so that you are a low number is probably a good plan. As I am a shameless exhibitionist, I will award extra entries to anyone who advertises this on their blog and then links back to here, and then tells me about it in the comments section. I will decide the winners on the Ides of March, because that has always been a pretty lucky day historically speaking.


* calculated in Zimbabwean dollars c. 2010

Sunday 1 March 2015

More Samurai civilians

My latest commission work for Geoff.
Some angry peasants.
More peasants with poor dispositions
Ahh, some gentle townsfolk, including a guy so ugly he has a basket on his head.
Son, did I ever tell you about the time...