Saturday, 31 October 2020


This is the second 'rant' post in a week. I shan't make a habit of it, I promise. This blog should be about figures, books, history, ideas, analysis and games in the Napoleonic era.

I beg your indulgence once more though.

How Not to Stand Out in Any Crowd, Steve Kayser

My topic relates, somewhat, to my tongue-in-cheek request last week asking people to post less frequently. As I said, I really enjoy following the blogs of others and derive great joy, knowledge and interest from the marvellous range of figures, games, projects, reviews, campaigns and so forth that are the subject of people's posts. Keep 'em coming.

There is one thing that detracts from this: TLI/TLAs.

Three-letter initialisms or acronyms, where the number three can also be two, sometimes four, occasionally more. I have even seen it done for one! Sheesh.

The Woodchips, by J Daniel

Sadly there is far too much of this in my field (agricultural science). It is not as bad as in medicine, for example, although there are still plenty of times when one reads stuff and thinks, “did that really need to be made into an abbreviation/initialism?” There is enough space. I particularly dislike it as notation for a treatment. I was most pleased to see this topic raised as a concern in a recent issue of Nature.

If it is bad in science, it is out of control in wargaming, particularly wargame rules. Every unit type, factor, test, many of the outcomes; right down to the near ubiquitous use of D6 (gosh, I am guilty of that one!). You find yourself having to flick back to find out what the BMV or UFF was.

It does not stop there. It is done for nearly every war—mind you, I have never see the Napoleonic Wars referred to as NW, thankfully. Just another way in which the period is a cut above the rest, haha?!

The one that really, really drives me bonkers is names of rules. It seems that no-one can resist. Have you tried BP? No, what about NB? Surely you have heard of DBN (which one?) or SII, GNBAS, FOG, B, ESR, BE, GdB, MdE, GdA, GdD, CDB, RtR, L, LB, MA, MN, M&M, NFD, SB, SN, VlE, V&B, GB?

Arrrrrgh! Just write it in full, so everyone knows what the hell you are talking about!

If you won't do that, then please, please take a moment to pause and ask yourself, "do I really need to abbreviate this or to create an initialism?". Is it really understood by all?

Here endeth the rant.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Tom the Wargamer

I was directed to this fabulous young fella's videos thanks to a post on Graham's Scotia Albion blog.

Open and genuine. I encourage you to have a look at his You Tube channel. Perhaps even subscribe? Great stuff from a youngster in the hobby.

Another chip or two

A few more kinder steps with these early French.



The brown that began with Ottoman Deli cavalry carried on to adding backpacks and musket wood to these before it took me to First World War German infantry!

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

First world problem

When I began blogging, back in the day (2010) it immediately became an enjoyable part of the hobby for me. Equally and increasingly, I came to enjoy reading and looking at other blogs with a wargaming/figure painting/amateur history type of bent. Initially I limited myself to 'follow' those blogs with a focus on Napoleonics or at least a lot of content related to the period. Progressively, and in recent times, exponentially, I have expanded the range and number of blogs that I follow. It is now up to some 359.


Hence the title of this post #. I am having trouble keeping up!

(# Unlike many, many words and expressions that are adopted by business, commentators and the public, 'first world problem' is not in my list of the 20 number 1 expressions that I hate. To me it is a modern version of 'poor little rich kid', but I particularly like it as it is self-effacing and a reminder to have a little perspective.)

This is not purely due to the number of interesting blogs that I am trying to follow. I don't know whether it is a factor of many bloggers having more time at home, but some of you are posting several times a week and I need you all to slow down. I could make this 'following' thing a full time job and I do need to get some work done!

All jests aside, I really enjoy the range of content and particularly the excellent photos that people take and post. Besides which, those with a lot of pictures are easier to follow!

Keep it up and long may you all enjoy your hobby and blogging.

Here is a list of the (current) top 20^ number 1 expressions that I hate (in no particular order)

1. Elephant in the room
1. Back in the day
1. Sounds like a plan
1. Like
1. Élite (the best example of this was a sports commentator speaking of ‘élite communication’ on the footy field)
1. Park that
1. Issues board
1. Workshopping
1. At the end of the day
1. Punches above its/his/her weight
1. It is what it is
1. Agile
1. Move forward
1. Take home message
1. Artisan (as in artisan toast)
1. Organic (when it has nothing to do with carbon-based molecules/lifeforms)
1. Evolve organically
1. Not Robinson Crusoe
1. Fake news

(^rapidly expanding to 100: new normal, unprecedented... probably should be in the top 20)

Actually, I do have a number one: elephant in the room. If there *was* an elephant in the room I reckon that I, at least, would point it out. Quite effusively, in fact. I was shocked, surprised and saddened to learn that the origin of this is not 21stC business but likely from Dostoevsky referring to a fable "The Inquisitive Man" written by Ivan Krylov in 1814. Of course, it was not over-used, back in the day.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Fleshing out plans

An extended morning of painting today let me finish applying flesh to 233 early French infantry that are at the forefront of my 15-year plan; focussing my Napoleonic reading, collecting, painting and likely some games or other ‘recreations’ with miniatures around various quasquibicentennial / vigbicentennial^ events of 1796–1815.
^My best attempt at 'latin' terms for the 225th/220th anniversary; pleased to be advised of more appropriate terms.

French revolutionary infantry: undercoated with flesh applied

I really enjoyed the focused activities for the Napoleonic bicentennial, but, not starting until 2010 meant that the Revolutionary and early Empire did not get included (not to mention only re-fighting some of the battles of the latter Empire). I now plan to go back to the 'beginning', starting next year with the 225th anniversary of 1796.

The Revolutionary French infantry that I applied flesh to today will initially represent troops of the Army of Italy, later being pressed into service for the Egyptian campaign (initial phase) as well as part of the forces for the Marengo and 1805 campaigns.

The vast majority of the figures are Strelets' excellent French Line Infantry (Egypt), with half a dozen Hat Napoleonic Early-Mid French Marching, a couple of Italeri French Infantry 1798 - 1805 and four officers from the Hat 1805 French Line Infantry. They took a while to prepare ahead of undercoating with a number of head-swaps and some more major alterations to make drummers and standard bearers.

Hat 1805 French Grenadiers and Voltigeurs, with a pile of fusiliers in the foreground

These early French are now in the pipeline along with the other Napoleonic—early French in greatcoats, Oudinot 'grenadiers', French foot dragoons, early Russian infantry and later French in greatcoats—as well as non-Napoleonic figures that I am painting.

Oudinot 'grenadiers': infanterie légère

Oudinot 'grenadiers': infanterie ligne

1805 French in greatcoat (actually not issued until 1806)

Foot dragoons for 1805
Early Russian infantry

Late French in greatcoat—thrown into the mix