Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Toy Soldier & Model Figure Magazine Issue 231

The most recent issue of TOY SOLDIER & MODEL FIGURE magazine contains an article by James Delson* about using his huge collection of 54mm figures to fight large-scale wargames.

He starts his article with the following statement:
Playing toy soldier wargames on a grand scale is one of the collecting hobby's greatest pleasures. Each step in the gaming process has its own rewards, ranging from the creation of opposing armies to setting them up in realistic environments across an expanse of floor, table or lawn, and then maneuvering a wide array of troops through the final goal of fighting out the ensuing battles.
I suspect that this resonates with quite a few wargamers, regardless of the size of figure that they use.

The article then goes on to describe how he set up a particular battle that involved 2,000 Barbary Pirates, North African mercenaries and European freebooters in a fortress taking on 6,000 British, American, and Bombay Marines, Highland infantry regiments, British infantry regiments, and a thousand-strong force of 'characters' called 'Harold's Rangers'. ('Harold's Rangers' include Cyrano de Bergerac, Harold Godwinson, Richard Sharpe, James Brooke, Zorro, Richard Francis Burton, and Horatio Hornblower to name but a few!)

The figures are mounted on wooden battens (a twelve-inch x one-inch batten can take twelve figures), four-inch square six-figure bases, or three-inch square two-figure bases which are moved around on twelve-inch square company bases. There are even larger twenty-four-inch square bases that can take four companies for use in very large wargames!

The article gives no indication as the rules that are used, but more information on that score can be found on The Toy Soldier Company website, where you can buy a copy of HAROLD'S RANGERS GAME RULES.

* James Delson is the owner of The Toy Soldier Company.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A birthday present from an old friend

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and a good old friend of mine - Tony Hawkins - sent me a copy of GLADSTONE, GORDON AND THE SUDAN WARS: THE BATTLE OVER IMPERIAL INTERVENTION IN THE VICTORIAN AGE as a present.

The book was written by Fergus Nicholl, and is a reappraisal of the roles played by both men in the Sudan Crisis. As such it is a nice counterpoint to the generally accepted view that Gordon was the hero and Gladstone the villain, whereas the truth is not at all that cut-and-dried.

I am about halfway through reading this book, and I must admit that it has certainly given me pause for thought at times. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a better understanding of the political situation in the UK at the time, and it would be ideal reading for anyone who ever wanted to take part in the SAVE GORDON! Matrix Game.

GLADSTONE, GORDON AND THE SUDAN WARS: THE BATTLE OVER IMPERIAL INTERVENTION IN THE VICTORIAN AGE was written by Fergus Nicholl and published by Pen & Sword Military in 2013 (ISBN 978 1 781 59182 6).

Coincidentally, General Charles Gordon was born in a house on Woolwich Common, ...

... and less than half a mile away in Whitworth Road is the site where Gladstone gave his last speech to his Greenwich constituents on 30th November, 1878. The site is now occupied by Eglinton Primary School, and a plaque commemorating the event ...

... is fixed to one of its walls.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Nugget 306

The editor of THE NUGGET sent the latest issue of the magazine to me last night, and I plan to download it today, check it, and then take it to the printer by Wednesday morning. If everything goes according to plan and there are no delays, it should be printed and posted out to members of Wargame Developments by early next week.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the sixth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2017-2018 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can do so by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The current state of play

As far as sorting out the storage in my toy/wargames room is concerned, that part of the operation is now complete, and the room now looks like this:

(These photographs were taken starting at the door and going around the room in a clockwise direction.)

The next stage of the sort out will involve:
  • Going through each of the white-fronted draw units and sorting out what needs to be retained and what need to be disposed of;
  • Going through each of the stacked Really Useful Boxes and sorting out what needs to be retained and what need to be disposed of;
  • Re-arranging the contents of the white-fronted draw units and Really Useful Boxes so that it will be easier to find and access.
I am not sure how long this will take. For example, my Napoleonic collection is stored in quite a few of the Really Useful Boxes, and in their case all that is required is for them to be stacked so that each nationality is together. On the other hand, my World War II collection is spread between both types of storage and is rather jumbled up, and sorting that out is likely to be a long task.

I intend to take a few days break before I tackle this next stage as I know that the next issue of THE NUGGET will be due for publication very soon, and I need to make sure that I have the time to check it before taking it to the printer and sending it out to subscribers.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The end is in sight ... I think!

After several days of frustrating work (frustrating because I keep finding things and thinking 'I could use that for ...'), the end of this stage of the big sort out is finally in sight ... I hope!

With luck I should begin getting stuff back into place this morning, and by this afternoon I hope to be able to feel that I cannot do much more for the moment. I have identified stuff that I want to get rid of, and some of it already has a new home to go to. As to the rest ... well some might go to eBay and some might not. I hope to be able to make a list of the latter that I can share with my regular blog readers, and I would be willing to part with items for a reasonable price plus postage. Any proceeds will be used to fund present and future projects.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Getting there ... slowly

The big sort out continues.

What I had hoped would take a couple of days, looks like taking quite a bit longer, but the end result will be worth the effort. I should end up with a number of slimmed down collections that I will be able to access when I want to use them, and more space in my toy/wargames room. I have already identified stuff that I am going to dispose of by sale (probably via eBay) or donation to various needy wargamers, and this process will begin once the sort out is concluded.

The process of deciding what to keep and what to get rid of has given me a lot of time to think about the future direction of my wargaming ... and plans are beginning to come together in my head. These plans include:
  • Completing the renovation of my collection of pre-painted Del Prado 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures ... and writing a suitable set of PORTABLE WARGAME rules so that I can use them to fight campaigns and battles;
  • Rationalising my Colonial and nineteenth century figure collections so that they are compatible with one another (i.e. they use the same basing system and are the same scale);
  • Organising (and adding to) my rather eclectic World War II collection so that I can finally begin my long-planned for Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project.
Because of the sheer scale of the latter project, I am giving serious thought to following the example of Zvezda and going for a hybrid collection where 1:100th and 1:87th-scale vehicles will be used alongside 20mm-scale figures and 1:144th-scale aircraft. This will no doubt upset some wargamers (i.e. those who pride themselves on the 'accuracy' of their wargames), but I see this project as being more of a higher-level, three dimensional board/map game than a traditional figure wargame, with the playing pieces representing battalions/regiments.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

The sort out continues

Because the space in my toy/wargames room is limited, trying to sort stuff out is rather like playing a three dimensional game of chess. You have to be thinking several moves ahead all the time otherwise you find that you have just stacked a load of stuff exactly when you need to go next.

At present I have three cardboard boxes of wargaming bits and pieces that are already allocated to be given to an old wargaming friend who has a use for their contents plus a black plastic sack full of rubbish that is going to be taken to the tip. I have also moved the jewellery cabinet to its new home, and have begun to transfer 15mm-scale figures from their current storage boxes into its draws. This has freed up some storage space for stuff that was difficult to get to, and has allowed me to identify several items that I no longer need and that will probably end up being sold on eBay.

Like so many things in life, this sort out is taking far longer than I expected ... but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it should be finished by the end of the week.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Finding somewhere for my 'donation'

I have spent part of the weekend reorganising my toy/wargames room so that I have somewhere to put the jewellery cabinet my wife 'donated' to me. It gave me the opportunity to begin having a bit of a sort out, and long-term it should make access to some of my figure collections easier than it has been. In the interim, however, things are a bit of a mess, and when the sort out is complete, it will take time to get used to where everything now is.

Having a sort out has also meant that I have identified parts of my various collections that I am not likely to use again, and they have been earmarked for disposal. It has also resulted in me 'finding' things that I had forgotten that I owned (including a box of Zvezda models that I bought when I visited the Artillery Museum in St Petersburg!) ... and which I will have little difficulty in finding a use for.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Small Wars: New Perspectives on Wargaming Counter Insurgency on the Tabletop

It seems to be my week for acquiring new books. On Friday the latest addition to John Curry's 'History of Wargaming' Project arrived ... David Wayne Thomas's SMALL WARS: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON WARGAMING COUNTER INSURGENCY ON THE TABLETOP.

I have known the author ever since he joined Wargame Developments many years ago, and he is a regular attendee (and session provider) at the annual Conference of Wargamers. As a result I have seen in operation (and taken part in) some the games featured in this book, and I can assure anyone who buys and uses the rules therein that they will enjoy some thought-provoking and well-designed games.

Besides a Foreword written by Brian Train (who is probably the foremost designer of counter insurgency board wargames), the books has six separate rules for COIN games:
  • Company Level Actions in the Early 21st Century: Boots on the Ground (by John Armatys)
  • An Isolated Outpost: Six Months in the Sahara
  • Soviet involvement in Afghanistan: Eight Years in a Distant Country
  • Counter-Insurgency in South West Africa
  • The Irish Troubles 1920-21: Flying Column
  • LBJ’s War 1965-68: Good Morning Vietnam!
The book also contains an extensive list of COIN games and rules as well as a five-page bibliography.

The book is published by the 'History of Wargaming' Project, and costs £12,95 plus postage and packing (ISBN 978 0 244 65183 1).

Saturday, 10 February 2018

A birthday present to myself

It was my birthday earlier this week, an as a small present to myself I bought a copy of KURSK 1943: THE SOUTHERN FRONT by Robert Forczyk.

I already have the earlier KURSK 1943: THE NORTHERN FRONT by same author (which I thoroughly enjoyed), and seemed like a good idea to buy this companion book. I hope to read it over the next few days, and to get some inspiration for my long-planned Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project.

KURSK 1943: THE SOUTHERN FRONT was written by Robert Forczyk and illustrated by Graham Turner. It was published by Osprey Publishing in 2017 as No.305 in their 'Campaign' series (ISBN 978 1 4728 1690 0).