Sunday, 6 December 2015

London Toy Soldier Show - December 5th 2015

Yesterday I trollied off to the London Toy Soldier Show, I don't care for the commute into Town at the best of times but have to admit that I felt a little uneasy navigating the London Underground in the wake of recent events in Paris and elsewhere.  However, we can't let such fears dictate our lives and I was in desperate need for a fix of plastic and metal, so here are a few items that aroused my curiosity.

The idea of transporting medieval artillery is something which has rather slipped below my radar so I was quite amused by this piece, although not amused enough to pay £80 for it.  Somewhere or other I'm sure I have a spare set of Marx bullocks, from the remould western waggon, harnessed up like this which could be pressed into such service.

This one I really liked but I'm not sure how feasible it would be for that horse to push the gun forward like that, what do you think?  I didn't get a note of who made these two but they have given me some food for thought on future scratchbuilding. 

This King & Country stuff has to be admired but is way out of my budget (at £120), still, more food for thought and I know I have plenty of Britains camels and spare Saracens knocking around.

A Samurai group by First Legion, nice to see the armour details and colours, another project I've been squirrelling away the figures for and must get around to basing and painting (maybe over the holiday period)

So what did I get?  well quite a lot really but mostly figures from the junk boxes for conversions rather than collectable items and a small hoard of catalogues from an old timer who was having a clear out, more of this anon when time permits.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

7YW Cavalry.....but which Regiment?

Over the past few years I have been building up a Prussian army for the 7 Years War, some of which has featured on this blog and that of Vauban & Shandy  The quality of modelling hasn't been as high as the period deserves due to the limitations of my skill and patience, both of which are intolerably low, but they have a naive charm to them which works for me. 

So what is this ramble all about?  well, since before I started this project I've always wanted to have a unit of Hussars in mirliton helmets and about a year ago I picked up four suitable heads from Alexanders Toy Soldiers (ATS) - this is what I did with them:

The ATS heads on Dulcop Napoleonic hussar bodies and mounted on horses by Jean Hoefler, the later are a bit "My Little Pony" but I quite like their jauntiness and they paint up nicely.

Since then I've squirrelled away enough body parts to make 24 figures, which in my little Toy Soldier world equates to three Regiments - but what to paint them up as?

My original thought was one of those black clad Totenkopf outfits but now that seems a bit dramatic for the table top and in any case I do like a bit of colour.   Also, what to do with the other two Regiments?  I currently have one each of Cuirassiers and Dragoons so three units of Hussars would surely be too unwieldy?

I draw heavily on the Kronoskaf site for research and I'm currently recruiting for the armies of  Brandenburg, Austria and Russia, as well as others outside the 7YW period, so my question to you dear reader is what should I paint these three Regiments up as?  Your consideration in this matter is much appreciated.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Die Zinnlaube - issue 5

Recently arrived on my doormat (well about three weeks ago now) was the latest issue of Die Zinnlaube,  magazine of German collectors group "Freunde alter Spielzugfiguren".  This journal only appears once a year and doesn't get a great deal of exposure, it's very well produced and it's articles written in German are also translated into English and French (that's why it takes them a year to get each issue out), so I like to give it a plug where I can.

For the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo the cover sports a rare composition figure of  Napoleon made by Sonneberg circa 1840

A sample peek to show the style and layout of the articles

Contents are: Forward by the editor Ignacio Czeguhn.

Auslandseinatz 1850/51 - die "Strafbayern" in Kurhessen - Bavarian chevau-legers in tin.

Mont St. Jean, Belle Alliance or Waterloo - Napoleon's last battle. The course of  the Battle of Waterloo as depicted by various manufacturers in tin and lead.

Die Reisen aus Wurzburg - Ferdinand of Wurzburg's coach, made circa 1820 by Ruckert

The tin soldiers of Carl Heidorn in Lubeck, circa 1850

Merten Figures - in metal and plastic, semi flat and fully round

With spear and rifle against tank and aircraft - toy soldiers depicting the Italo-Ethiopian War

The Iron Chancellor was sometimes made of tin and lead - character figures of Otto von Bismark

Gustave Vertunni - book review.

Who made these? unknown figures

The Collection of Rob Wilson 

This issue runs to 128 pages illustrated throughout in full colour and costs just 10 Euro (+ 7 Euro postage) so shouldn't break the bank, it's available from: 
more info from: Gisbert Freber

Also awaiting my return was the latest issue of Plastic Warrior - see blog list on the left for details and watch out for a detailed review of it on the Small Scale World blog by Hugh Walters, who does it so much better than me.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Last Kingdom

A short break immediately after the Waterloo 200 wargame afforded me the time to reflect on so many toy soldier projects started then left in limbo for one reason or another, so I started a list with the intention of getting some of them completed on my return home.  Top of the list was a Viking warband, which has been sitting based and undercoated in a drawer for yonks, influenced after reading Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred of Bebbanburg novels, these chaps are intended to double up as Celts/Barbarians to oppose the Roman Legion I started several years ago.

I painted all of these up yesterday and very pleasant it was to have a break from uniform Regiments of Napoleonics or Frederickians.  The chap with the shield on the left who looks like he's eating a squirrel will eventually be the standard bearer when I print up an appropriate flag for him.  Mrs C is of the opinion that the Cherilea figures on the right are in the same poses as the male models that featured on knitting patterns in the 1950's, I suppose that might explain why they're wearing chain mail "tank tops" and Madonaesque bullet bras!

Anyway, the reason for the title of this post is pure serendipity, as I applied the last touch of paint to these figures this morning I opened my newspaper to read that Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred novels are coming to the telly, in eight episodes, produced by the same firm that brought us Downton Abbey and airing in the UK on 22nd October (also on BBC USA but I don't know the dates)

Here's the preview :    The Last Kingdom

Brilliant stuff 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Funny Little Wars - Waterloo 200 game

Yesterday saw 9 enthusiasts meet in a London park for the long awaited Waterloo 200th Anniversary Celebration Wargame.  The sun shone as 2,000 54mm toy soldiers were unpacked and positioned to refight the battles of  Wavre and Waterloo across two vast windswept fields.  I've always thought the importance of Wavre was rather underrated in the potential importance and significance it had on the outcome of the 100 days campaign, so I was glad to see it included in this event.  The players commanding on the Waterloo field set up their respective troops while the Wavre Battle was played out and therefore didn't know whether it would be Blucher's Prussians or Grouchy's French that would arrive to take part in the main event.

This isn't a battle report (look out for a full report on the Megablitz and More blog, see blog list to the left) just gratuitous pictures of some lovely toy soldiers out in the grass on a sunny day.

French light cavalry and horse artillery approach Mont St. Jean, in the background is the chateau of Hougoumont

A closer look at Hougoumont defended by British and Allied troops on the right flank

The farmhouse of La Haye Sainte viewed from Mont St Jean, beyond it is the sandpit defended by the 95th Rifles.   The flags in the background represent troops which are not yet visible to the enemy, some may be dummy markers.

French infantry and artillery deploy before La Haye Sainte, further back on the road Napoleon and his staff  confer at the Inn of La Belle Alliance

Allied artillery dominate the centre of the field from the heights of Mont St Jean, the much vaunted new fangled Rocket Battery proved devastatingly ineffective!

French cavalry masses on the plain before Mont St Jean

The charge is sounded

The infantry calmly form into square to meet the thundering tide of French cavalry

The squares hold as the horsemen surge around them

The cavalry reform for another attempt

The steady British infantry await the next wave

The Prussians arrive 

The Prussian artillery opens up..... support of the cavalry

The final act on the plains before Mont St Jean, the massed cavalry clash

The melee continues for several rounds 

Until both sides brake off  and retire

The field of battle was so large that you couldn't follow anything that was going on elsewhere, only the the action you were immediately involved with, and that's how it should be.  So this is just a flavour of the biggest game we've played to date and no doubt there will be reports on the many other actions played popping up elsewhere on the blogosphere like here on Wargaming Miscellany.

That's all for now folks!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Plastic Warrior Show 2015

The 30th UK Toy and Model Soldier Show, better known as the Plastic Warrior Show will be held on Saturday 23rd May 2015

Please note it will be at the New Venue that we used last year.

The Harlequin Suite at the Winning Post Inn Chertsey Road, Twickenham, TW2 6LS.  Saturday 23rd May 2015, doors open to General Public from 10.30.  Link to website:

Travel Directions.
By Car.  From Outside London take M25, M3, A316, go over one roundabout and entrance to the Winning Post is after 500 metres on your left.  From Inner London, after Richmond Circus follow A316 and continue straight on over 3 roundabouts.  You will pass the Winning Post on your right.  At the next roundabout take the 4th exit and entrance to the Winning Post will be on your left after 500 metres.
FREE PARKING.  There is extensive free parking at the site and in the residential roads behind the Winning Post, The Harlequin Suite is to the right of the main building.
By Public Transport.  From Central London and the South of England by overground train (South West Trains) from Waterloo or Clapham Junction to Whitton Station.  There are 8 trains an hour and the journey time is approx. 30 minutes, this is a loop line so 4 trains an hour run from two different platforms at Waterloo Station.   From the North of England by train to London arriving at Kings Cross St. Pancras or Euston. take the London Underground Victoria line just 6 stops to Vauxhall and change for South West Trains to Whitton Station as above.   Whitton Station is just 3 minutes walk from the Winning Post - turn left out of the station past Jubilee Avenue and Pauline Crescent, the next turning on your left is the entrance to the Winning Post.

Late news: There are no engineering works scheduled for 23rd May on South West Trains but the District Line underground will not be running between Turnham Green and Richmond (there will be a bus replacement service)

Should you wish to take the London Underground to Richmond as in previous years, the easiest thing is to change platform and take a South West Train service to Whitton Station as above (4 trains an hour from Richmond, journey time 8 minutes).  alternatively you could get a black cab or a H22 bus from the taxi rank and bus stop outside the station.
Oyster cards are accepted on all London Underground lines, buses and South West Trains to Whitton Station.
The Winning Post Inn opens from 07.00 to 11.00 serving breakfast or coffee for those who arrive early, the pub serves drinks from 11.00 and Lunches from 12.00.  There is a cashpoint on site but Whitton town center with a full range of shops and banks is just 3 minutes walk from the hall.  Within the Winning Post complex is a Premier Inn travel hotel for those who want to break their journey and stay overnight.  Link to website:

Friday, 17 April 2015

If only history lessons had been like this......

Every now and then it amuses me to Google the images for the search terms that have directed people to this blog and in the early hours of this fine Friday morning the Devil found such work for idle fingers, leading me to this fun piece of amateur cinematography:

It's the story of the Battle of Waterloo filmed as a stop motion video using 54mm toy soldiers, I thought it was great fun and enjoyed the soundtrack too.  It incorporates just about every Highlander figure you can think of and an impressive collection of Britain's Deetail French cavalry as well, while scanning the ranks to identify the figures used look out for the Lone Star Lone Ranger's horse Silver among the cavalry breaking on the Allied infantry squares.

I know that a lot of time and effort goes into making these films and I would love to have a go one day myself but in the meantime lets raise a Huzzah! to those fine spirits who make such works for our enjoyment.

With the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo fast approaching there is word that the Emperor has returned once more and is marching on a garden in England wherein the carnage will be renewed, albeit in reduced circumstances (54mm).  On that note I must away to dust off some Cuirassiers and Scots Greys.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Funny Little Wars at the Siege of Westmalle-Trapiste

With the weather in the old country turning pleasantly mild the Campaign season opened early and sees the Pragmatic army stealing a march to fall upon the unsuspecting Frederickians in the well appointed town of Westmalle-Trapiste. 

The Citadel and town with it's outlaying earthworks, this is the City Bastion, to the north is the St Nicholas Bastion and to the south the New Works.  The approach of the Pragmatic army has been reported by a mounted patrol, the pickets have been pulled in and the garrison beaten to quarters.

The attackers range across the countryside, setting up camp and commandeering livestock, they quickly establish several batteries and commence the work of driving saps towards the enemy earthworks.

A steady cannonading from the defenders slows the progress of the saps and the attrition takes it's daily toll of the attackers, reducing the odds for when the final assault must surely come.

While the outer works are thinly held during the bombardment a strong reserve has been held back to counter attack any breach in the lines.

The Citadel of Westmalle-Trapiste is a stronghold but the outer works are too long a perimeter for the limited number of defenders to hold in strength.

The strong City Bastion is the bulwark of the defence.

While the heavy guns of the siege train pound away at the defences engineers just beyond the ruins begin tunnelling to sink a mine beneath the City Bastion.

The siege lines are a hive of activity as troops are moved up for the Grand Assault.

Both sides sense that their work is coming to a conclusion now, attrition has taken it's toll on both sides and the final effort must be close at hand.  At dusk the defenders carry out a pre-emptive sortie to destroy the Pragmatic sap before the St. Nicholas Bastion 

The storming party clamber over the damaged earthworks and wreak havoc with their grenadoes.  Just when the trench has been secured, the earth is rocked and the air rent by the sound of tumultuous explosions as mines and counter-mines are blown simultaneously.

The defenders have sunk counter-mines and after several attempts they can hear the unmistakable scraping of enemy diggers tunnelling towards them.  Mines and counter-mines are exploded at the City Bastion but they have all run short and are ineffective, to the north a mine breaches the works at the St Nicholas Bastion ....... and the assault goes in.

When the dust had settled the attackers were held before the City Bastion but stormed through the breach in the weakly held St Nicholas works, whereupon the opposing commanders presented their compliments to one another and retired to discuss terms over a good dinner.

Sadly the engravings shown here are of poor quality due to my archivist being supplied with inferior opticals, finer illustrations and a full narrative is provided by their worships over on the Vauban and Shandy blog

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Will the real Mr Churchill please stand up?

I've had these three little chaps tucked away for a very long time, they came to me as "extras" in a collection of early composition I bought at auction many moons ago and they've lain undisturbed until the latest round of my never ending tidy-up.  

I've never seen their like before and don't know who made them, anyone out there got any ideas?  They stand about 60mm and are made of a plaster material, similar but not as dense as the figures made in France by Bon Dufour.  They look to be caricatures and have indents in their backs that suggests they may have had a pin to be worn as some sort of broach (although they seem rather large for that) or perhaps they were pieces for a toy theatre, who knows?

I took them along to a recent collectors show where one of the German dealers remarked that the first one looked like Kaiser Wilhelm II in pre Great War Landwehr uniform with tschako.  The middle one reminded me of the well known photo of Winston Churchill standing alone after he'd been captured by the Boers, but of course the uniform is all wrong for that.  The Poilu on the end had us foxed, any ideas anyone?

As an aside

 I have recently been suffering from "the tyranny of the blog", a change in circumstances caused me to stop posting for a short while and then I found it very difficult to get back into it, the longer this went on the harder I found it to put fingers to keyboard.  I'm sure all bloggers get this at some time, there has been lots to report in the interim, shows, new toy soldier books and magazines, acquisitions and figure conversions, new projects started (then abandoned) but sadly not much in the way of gaming.  So this post is a sort of gentle slip back into the blogosphere.  I think going forward there may be more pictures and less text here, that's more the sort of person I am.