ALY MORRISON'S "BUTTERFLY" ADVENTURES IN THE WORLD OF WARGAMES AND TOY SOLDIERS

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Another excellent book...

While I am slowly working my way through the next WSS unit ...


I have started reading this book...





So far a very enjoyable and informative read...
And an excellent companion to this...




I would highly recommend both these books if you are interested in this colourful period.




All the best... Aly

Sunday, 2 December 2018

A bit more nostalgia... Miniature Warfare 1969

Greetings...


So here are another couple of images from Miniature Warfare...


These pictures inspired and influenced me quit a lot in my youth... (actually looking at them now still gives my wargames butterfly a flutter) they are all from Volume 2 1969


My father bought me a subscription to the magazine for my birthday... I was 12 years old.


This was the first time I saw miniatures representing troops from the Franco-Prussian War...I spent a considerable time poring over the images... even at my tender age I recognised that the miniatures were mostly conversions...
The artillery and cavalry looked like the were based on Airfix ACW... the others I wasn't sure about(even now I am not certain...)


I set about trying to make my own... mostly with ACW Union Infantry and French Foreign Legion... because that's what I had ... latter I got hold of some WW1 Germans and of course the first thing I did was paint them blue...


I was also given some copies of the Airfix magazine which had articles by Bob Gibson on converting figures into troops from the 7 Weeks War...this led to more creative butchery...


Of course none of these toys have lasted the test of time... plasticine dries up and nothing glued polythene... they probably did however kick start a process that led me to the career I am in now... and I still have a love of 19th century warfare to this day.














The credit on the pictures is Andrew Brown.
I have always assumed that they were his toys and I would love to know a bit more about him and his armies...


All the best   Aly

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The War of Spanish Succession... French Gardes Françoises.

Gardes Gardes...


One more unit finished...


Yet another 'spruced up' unit...The French Gardes Françoises.


These were a nice easy job... All I did was...


Put a wash over the flesh... mostly to tone down the eyes a bit
Tidy up some chips and scuffs...
Brighten up the 'metals'...
And paint out the highlights on the black... My own personal foible... I prefer black to be.... black.


They were then re-varnished and re-based... Again to suit my own preferences...


The standards were lifted from the web and tweaked on Photoshop... I think they have come out a bit soft... but they are not to offensive and I quite like the shade of blue...


I am slowly building my confidence with Photoshop and as this project continues I will try and make some more standards... failing that I will buy my daughter lunch and persuade her to do it for me...










Like the Gardes Suisses these chaps seemed to have got around a bit.



1701 Flanders and Brussels.
1702 Nijmegen.
1703 Tongres.
1704 Flanders and Rhine.
1705 Huy and Overische.
1706 Ramillies.
1707 Flanders.
1708 Oudenaarde.
1709 Malplaquet.
1710 Flanders.
1712 Douai and Le Quesnoy.
1713 Rhine, Landau and Freiburg.


Although they may have spent some of that time exchanging fashion ideas...


Of course... not on my watch... It will be battle, blood, disaster and defeat... as usual.


Next up... Bavarians.


The miniatures are Front Rank...
https://www.frontrank.com/product-category/18th-century/spanish-succession/
Bases from Warbases...
https://warbases.co.uk/?product_cat=premier-bases-metric


All the best   Aly.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The War of Spanish Succsession... French Gardes Suisses.

Greetings...


Yet another unit finished for this project... This time it is The Gardes Suisses.


This is another spruced up eBay purchase...
I spent a while wondering what to do with this unit as the red colour was a bit to orange for my liking... After some consideration I decided to give the figures a glaze of Evil Sunz Scarlet diluted with acrylic matt varnish... it worked a treat.
I only had to put a wash over the flesh and fussed up the white and silver...





A lovely unit and a must for any War of Spanish Succession collection...
They were fairly active during the war, seeing action at...
Louvain 1701
Eckeren 1703
Rhine 1704
Nodoue 1705
Ramillies 1706
Oudenaarde 1708
Malplaquet 1709
Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain 1712
Landau 1713


They are 24 figures strong... so one of the larger units in my French army.




The miniatures are Front Rank...
https://www.frontrank.com/product-category/18th-century/spanish-succession/
Bases from Warbases...
https://warbases.co.uk/?product_cat=premier-bases-metric
The colonels flag is from Maverick Models...
http://www.maverick-models.com/flags.htm
The battalion flag is from the web via Photoshop...


All the best   Aly.





Monday, 19 November 2018

Miniature Warfare & Model Soldiers...

I picked up this copy of Miniature Warfare & Model Soldiers... Volume 5 Number 2 May 1972... on eBay...


I never actually owned any copies from volume 5... so it was nice to have a read and visit the past.


One article really caught my eye...


An American Civil War Wargame Army For Beginners... by A. Mason.


I have scanned it so that you good readers can hopefully enjoy it as well.






The thing that I love about this article is that the information and advice is in my opinion as relevant now as it was back in 1972...


My basic starting point for an army is 8 infantry units, 2 cavalry units and 2 artillery...


I love the costing up at the end... £2.89 for two whole armies... I wish....


Here are some pictures to increase the nostalgia...










And yes... I am tempted...


All the best  Aly

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Wargaming the Sugar Islands Campaign.

Greetings...


Today I took delivery of  this lovely little book by Stuart Insch.






It is a guide to the British Expedition to Martinique and Guadeloupe in 1759... an often overlooked and unknown part of the Seven Years War....


I have only skimmed the book so far ... but I can say that it is well written and nicely laid out...
The contents cover the background, the actions in the campaign and scenarios for Wargaming... These are not tied to any specific rules so you can play them out with whatever system you are used to.


There are also some notes for Wargames... which include a list of suitable manufacturers... and a bibliography.


I am looking forwards to reading this....


The book is available from Stuart..
Here...
http://stuartinschwargames.blogspot.com/2018/11/now-available-wargaming-sugar-islands.html




All the best   Aly








Sunday, 11 November 2018

1918-2018

I thought by way of remembrance that I would post this picture of some of my family who served in the great war.


They are all from my fathers side.




The young chap at the front is my grandfather.


All the best.  Aly

Thursday, 8 November 2018

The War of Spanish Succession... French Ligondes Cavalry Regiment

Greetings...


I have finished one more unit for this project...


The French Ligondez Cavalry Regiment...




This is another unit that I bought on EBay... I have a few more in the sprucing up pile... I only had to add the standard bearer.


These guys didn't need a lot of work... I repainted the faces and cleaned up the white a bit... then gave them a wash of Aly's Brown Liquid.
Everything was given a highlight... once varnished and the leatherwork was glossed.






I must admit that the main reason that I picked this unit was the 'pale crimson' (pink) standard.


I will be posting a few more spruced up units... and then a unit of Bavarian Infantry I think.


The miniatures are Front Rank...
https://www.frontrank.com/product-category/18th-century/spanish-succession/
 Bases from Warbases...
https://warbases.co.uk/?product_cat=premier-bases-metric
And last but not least Flags are from Maverick Models...
http://www.maverick-models.com/flags.htm



All the best   Aly

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Talking about Taking Pictures.

Greetings...


I haven't had much time at the painting table over the last couple of weeks...
But as I was putting up my little photo booth/tent after the recent game in the woods I wondered if it might interest people to see what my little setup looks like...


So here goes...




This is the basic kit that I have...
A Photo Studio Box Lighting Cube Tent...
Mine is made by a company called Zyon... but it is very similar (if not the same as ) this one...


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Portable-Camera-Studio-Lighting-Backdrop/dp/B008V645ZG/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1541367678&sr=8-14&keywords=portable+photo+studio+light+box


Two A4 boxes and an A3 printed back drop...




The Lights are stored in pockets attached the rear of the light box...




The assembly is simple... unfold and connect with Velcro strips...
I place the two boxes into the light box... positioned as above.
This takes just couple of minutes to do...




The light box comes with some basic backdrops...




I use an A3 printout of a background that I found on the internet...
A search for Grey backdrops for photography brings up a number of options... and it is a simple case of saving to file and printing out at A3...


https://www.google.co.uk/search?rlz=1T4ACPW_en___GB368&biw=1607&bih=689&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=gGrfW8q-IcSlkwWb0rPQBA&q=grey+backdrops+for+photography&oq=grey+photography+backdrops&gs_l=img.1.0.0i8i30k1.33916.35385.0.38777.5.5.0.0.0.0.178.543.3j2.5.0....0...1c.1.64.img..0.5.534...0i7i30k1j0i8i7i30k1.0.TgPFw6UAYvs





The lights are placed pointing at the side of the box rather than at the miniatures themselves...




I have also started adding an angle poise lamp to flood light down from above...



Let there be light...
You can see that even with three light sources everything is nicely defused in the centre of the box.


So ... why the boxes?
First of all ... it allows the backdrop to rest nicely in a gentle curve...
And secondly...



I can rest my phone perfectly to take pictures of individual miniatures...
I have an IPhone...others my differ in height... but I cant imagine there will be that much difference...




This is the original image from the shot above...





This is the shot cropped... using the in phone app...





For unit shots I use my proper grown up camera...




Again the shot as taken above...



And now cropped...using Photoshop


I try not to do anything other than simply crop my pictures.
With practice I have discovered where to place my phone for the close up and the same applies for the unit shot.
Both the phone and the camera have a 10 second timer so it has become a case of click and wait...
In most cases one shot is enough.


I think that the most important thing is to get the setup sorted ...
If you know where the camera/phone should be and you know how the lighting should be the rest is composition ... I keep mine simple... the toy soldiers are the important thing.


I hope that this has been of some use... I don't say that this is the only or the right way to take pictures of your toys... its just my way.


All the best   Aly

Sunday, 14 October 2018

From my side of the table... I can't see the wood

Greetings...


For our game we decided to use my small but very pretty collection of Front Rank Napoleonics.
The rules we chose were Song of Drums and Shakos.


The scenario was quite simple...




Control the Ford...




And the farm...
And you win the game...




Mharaid in the guise of Captain Rust Junior took the British and started at the Farm.




While I in the guise of Capitaine Desespere took the French and started at the Ford.




Taking half the men I dash forwards... gloriously.





Sergent Baptiste follow me with a truly fantastic activation fail... which passes the turn to the enemy...sigh!





The British under Rust's encouragement also move forward...




Well... Most of them.






Sergent Baptiste fails to encourage his men or himself forwards...




Except for Dorian... Who buggers off on his own...




I dash off... on my own... sigh!





The British continue forward... except for Tom...




Everyone except Louis follows Dorian into the woods...




No one follows me...sigh!




Frank, Bert and co continue their advance...




Tom , Dick and Harry watch Sergeant Shirley and the rest of the men advance along the river...




 Rust bravely hides behind a tree...




At long last Tom , Dick and Harry start of towards the hill in the middle of the forest...




Sergeant Shirley and his men continue along the river...




After some unnaturally good dice throwing Sergent Baptiste and his men arrive at the river and open fire on the British...




And cause the first casualties of the game...
Horace looks on in horror as Bob is Knocked down and Norman falls into the river Hors de Combat. (as indicated by the red button... a death will be indicated using even more buttons)




On hearing the gunfire... and blood curdling screams... Rust orders some of his men back ... to protect him/hide behind.




My men continue to pour fire into the British... from the hill as well as the edge of the river... ( a black button indicates an unloaded musket )




Horace recoils in shock as Bob is once more knocked over and sergeant Shirley is thrown bleeding into the river...




Rust... Fails to do anything... Again!




Edgar makes a spectacular rush around the back of the hill... (my dice throwing has become unbelievably good... )




Oops!





Rust orders Walter and Dave to collect some bullets for him...



As more of my men follow me onto the hill... Xavier turns...




And joins Sergent Baptiste's men...





In knocking down the last of Shirley's men...
At this point I was starting to get nervous... I am not used to these kind of results...




Tom , Dick and Harry have been pondering on what to do...




Rust appears to pondering on where to hide...




Mharaid wanted me to show you what her average dice throw looks like...
The world has gone topsy turvy...






As my men continue to advance on the hill from all angles...




Walter joins Dave in a pool of his own buttons...




Rust orders Tom ,Dick and Harry to form a line and charge up the hill...




After a prolonged fire fight Bert , Frank and Gwilym finally disable Edgar...



Tom ,Dick and Harry start their seemingly unstoppable advance up the hill... has my luck finally left me?




Theo's buttons are now spilt on the crest of that terrible hill...




Frank ,Bert and Gwilym also prepare to charge the hill...




Xavier is the next to fall... Gasp!




Tom ,Dick and Harry seem invincible...




But... As they reach the crest of the hill Dick and Harry fall to the ground in a spray of buttons...




And Frank and Gwilym are knocked to the ground...




An enraged Tom makes a desperate charge  towards me...




But he is shot down and joins his comrades on the button slicked grass...




On seeing this Bert ,Gwilym and Rust... do a runner...




Hurrah!... Victory!


And what an excellent game...


The names and the 'blood' buttons my not be to everyone's taste but they added to our fun immensely... there were cries of "no surly not Shirley" and "Theo will be avenged".


Mharaid's dice throwing was truly awful... half her dice ended up being quarantined in a box because they couldn't roll anything better than a two.
She even suggested that I might have touched them all with my unlucky fingers .... (He! He!)


We also took lots of pictures... many more than I have used here... it all added to what was an excellent day of fun and games.


All the best   Aly