Wednesday, 24 February 2021

The joy of randomness

I generally get a buzz from serendipitous events or opportunities.

The plastic figure manufacturer Hät from time to time run a 'random sprue' sale. These are to clear out sprues that they have 'lying around', presumably because they are insufficient for a set, have a figure or more missing, some breakage or perhaps were test versions. If one is interested, all that is needed is to nominate the weight of sprues desired (they sell them by the US pound) and any preference for scale and/or period(s). The former can be guaranteed, while the latter they will fulfil as far as possible.

I eagerly jumped at the latest offering, asking for a pound each of 1/72 and 1/32 and "Napoleonic if possible". The box arrived today and they are a perfect mix for me.

Random sprues: a useful pile of assorted goodies 

All but five of them are Napoleonic. Those five (ancient, First World War) are all immediately of interest to me. I was particularly pleased to get a full sprue from set no. 8111 WWI Canadian Infantry (or so I thought). This is a set of figures that I have been wanting to get hold of, but that is currently out of production. I was even more pleased when I realised that it was actually not a sprue from the set, per se, but a test sprue and so had a lot of heavy weapons in addition to the infantry. They are gonna be great for my journey into the First World War + 105.

The Napoleonic specimens, in both scales will be really, really useful. There are French, late Prussians, Russians, mid-late Austrians, Brunswickers, Dutch-Belgians and British amongst the 1/72 and French, Prussians and Württembergers in the 1/32.

They will all be perfect to swell the numbers for certain units and/or to provide extra figures to use as markers or on bases that have taken casualties (i.e. with fewer figures on them). I like to do this as I then simply swap a full base with a part base to represent casualties, rather than remove figures—cutting them off the base always seems so brutal and results in a heap of repair and repainting.

All in all, a box full of random joy and future utility.

Monday, 22 February 2021

A wood full of trees

My tendency to have several things on the go at once works for me, but at times it can bear additional fruit. Perhaps that should be 'foliage', in this case.

I use a homemade basing material comprising a mix of sand, paint and PVA glue, with a bit of dried coffee grounds and tea leaves for added texture. Since my last post, my plan had been to apply some of this basing material to a few figures that have been 3/4 finished for many months. I would then add the finishing touches/highlights to those figures and also apply more base coat colours to my early French. This all changed at step one.

I had some green basing material that I made up late last year. Trouble is that, with several warm to hot summer days, it had, literally, taken on a life of its own. One of those metaphorical 'science experiments'. So, I scraped off the mould, ignored the smell that was akin to the 'bog of eternal stench' and decided that it would be best applied quickly, and in bulk to get it out of the container, exposed to the air and drying—as soon as possible.

I had just thing. A heap of trees that had been on my table for... perhaps a year, maybe more, waiting for me to have the time and inclination to attach them to bases, add the basing material as well as a bit of fixing up (in some cases).

These now moved to the front of the queue!

Seeing the wood full of trees

Amongst the trees were some that were trunks and branches only—to which I added various bits of lichen and other green materials. There were also some well-worn trees which had lost most, perhaps all of their former foliage. I wasn't planning to renovate these, thinking that I'd leave them as autumn trees, but a post on Matt's Storm and Conquest blog—part two of seven as it has turned out—inspired me to extract the digit.

Above and below: some of the well-worn trees with basing added.

Some of the finished trees with added foliage (back and left)

Renovated trees
Small ones ex-orchard trees, originally purchased when Dad & I first began wargaming.

More renovated trees

Some more modern, speccy trees that I purchased around the turn of the century

Most of these were from a mixed bag of scenery
that I picked up second-hand in the 90s from a railway shop

More from that 'mixed-bag', plus some more recent purchases of Dad's at the rear, some former Christmas tree 'leaves' at left—and even a couple of cacti from my friend Mark N.

While it delayed getting any figures painted, it was great to finally make the time to sort out these trees and to have them now based, foliage added and even some renovated. They are finally off the table and ready to use.

The Frankfort am Main regiment and artillery markers ready for the final touch-ups.

Similarly for these four battalions of the Vistula Legion.

Now it is back to the original plan: finish the Frankfort am Main regiment, Vistula legion and artillery markers, while getting the white, red and a few other key colours on the early French. That is, of course, unless something else jumps the queue!

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Men want to be him, women want to be with him

No, not James Bond, but Antoine-Charles-Louis Lasalle!


Second-hand delights, newly arrived from Librarie Le Vieux Livre: biography of Lasalle, Tranie's first and second Italian campaigns and two, bonus, issues of Soldats Napoléoniens.

Since late 2019, my purchases have been directed (in the main) at 'resource gathering' for a structured approach to my self-paced reading-wargaming 'study' of the Napoleonic wars (and some other, specific conflicts). My planning moves to implementation this year with the quasquibicentennial—a made-up, latin-derived word for the 225th anniversary—of the 1796 Italian campaign. The long-term plan being to move through 1797–1815 over the next 14 years, switching to the 'vigbicentennial' (220th) from 1805. (So, a clear gamble on longevity!).

I have quite a few books and e-books (pdf files) about Napoleon's first Italian campaign. I was made aware of a book about the campaign by Tranie and Carmigniani by a marvellous write-up of the Battle of Voltri by Michael, aka Wargamerabbit, circa 2012 (along with the resultant game, one of many that he did of battles from the early stages of the Italian campaign). I already have Tranie and Carmigniani's books of the 1805/07 and 1809 campaigns, so was keen to try to find a copy. After a few searches I 'unearthed' a copy at Librarie Le Vieux Livre and got in contact with the proprietor (whom I now know as Luc). In the process I also found that he had Tranie's book about the second Italian campaign. Then I noticed Hourtoulle's biography of Lasalle in his on-line catalogue.

I have been keeping my eye out for a copy of this biography, ever since I saw it mentioned in Hourtoulle, Girbal and Courcelle's "Soldiers and Uniforms of Napoleonic Wars". If you do not have a copy of their book, published by Histoire et Collections and available in English 'from a good book store near you', do yourself a favour! Amongst the glorious illustrations are several of Lasalle (and troops) in Italy, Egypt, Germany, Poland, Spain and, finally, at Wagram. I realise now that these were taken from Hourtoulle and Girbal's biography of the beau sabreur.

I am in a long line of admirers of Lasalle, the 'hussar's hussar'. Famous for his dering-do, bravado, bravery and supposed casual attitude to death. He was, by all accounts a fine, upstanding family man, if one discounts the mistresses. Of course, by the standards of the day, having mistresses did not affect one's association with such an epithet, especially for a military man and extra-especially a light cavalryman.

Hourtoulle begins the book with the famous quote attributed to Lasalle:

Tout hussard qui n'est pas mort à trent ans et un jean-foutre 
Which can be translated as:
"Any hussar who is not dead by the age of 30 is a good-for-nothing"

I have seen the 'jean foutre' in this quote translated as 'malingerer' or 'blackguard', but I am sure that one of our French bloggers will be able to provide a more colourful translation!

This book only arrived today, but on first impressions I am not going to be disappointed. Along with Girbal's beautiful colour plates, there are several black and white drawings, photos of letters, many clear maps and some general orders of battle. The first chapter 'Les origines' is followed by a chapter for each of the campaigns in which Lasalle was involved. I look forward to reading it and to thumbing through it often.

Change in weather brings more opportunities for painting and basing

We had a big change in the weather last week, after many 35ºC+ days in November, December and January, plenty of them 40ºC plus. A cyclone that began off the coast of Broome, threatened but never made land-fall, instead turning into a tropical low. So, while, unfortunately, a large fire was the order of the day just west-north-west of us (which headed close to the north eastern outskirts of Perth, destroying bush, houses and buildings in its wake), the Pilbara coastal areas have been flooded. The low continued down the coast, drawing air from the south which has headed our way, so it has turned freezing. I am talking sub-30ºC, some days barely over 20ºC and minima as low as 11ºC. I threatened to light the fire. This is, of course, all a bit cheeky for northerners in the depths of winter. You can get me back in July. Besides, I thought that the sight of a blue sky in the photo below would cheer you all up.

Pelican's at the permanent pool a little way from us. At this time of year we often walk our dogs along the river bed to this spot. After the rain, the water is looking particularly lovely, not the 'bog of eternal stench' that it can be after hot days. The photo is a bit blurry as I did not want to get any closer and scare them off.

Anyway, while I have done some painting over early summer, the cooler conditions have made it easier to do so. It is especially good not to have to struggle with moths and Rutherglen bugs being attracted by the light! We are forecast to return to mid to high 30s from the weekend, which I love, but it may slow down progress with painting and related activities.

List of books mentioned above

Burgaleta, P (Ed.) (2008) Soldats Napoleoniens: Les troupes françaises, alliées et coalisées: L’Espagne en 1808 (1er partie) Numero 18 - Juin 2008. 'Soldats Napoleoniens' Series (Ed. R Pawly). Éditions de la Revue Napéon, Chaparon, France. 80 pp.

Burgaleta, P (Ed.) (2008) Soldats Napoleoniens: Les troupes françaises, alliées et coalisées: L’Espagne en 1808 (2e partie) Numero 20 - Décembre 2008. 'Soldats Napoleoniens' Series (Ed. R Pawly). Éditions de la Revue Napéon, Chaparon, France. 80 pp.

Hourtoulle, F-G and Girbal, J (1979) Le Général Comte Charles Lasalle, 1775-1809. Copernic, Paris, France. 260 pp.

Hourtoulle, F-G, Girbal, J and Courcelle, P (2004) Soldiers and Uniforms of Napoleonic Wars. Translated by A McKay. Histoire & Collections, Paris, France. 208 pp.

Tranie, J and Carmigniani, JC (1990) Napoléon Bonaparte, 1ère Campagne d'Italie. Éditions Pygmalion, Paris. 265 pp.

Tranie, J and Carmigniani, JC (1991) Napoléon Bonaparte : la deuxième campagne d'Italie, 1800. Éditions Pygmalion, Paris. 266 pp.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

It would be rude not to

Just when I am gearing back my wargaming spending, along comes a temptation like this one!

I was alerted by an email from VaeVictis magazine about this coming publication from Éditions Soixante with its pre-publication, discount price. It does not take much for me to buy a good looking book about a Napoleonic campaign, especially one that promises:

- authorship by Gilles Boué with assistance from Natalia Griffon de Pleineville and Jean-Marie Mongin,

- coverage of every battle between February and April 1814,

- illustrated by period paintings and uniforms plates,

- maps of the battles,

- orders of battle,

in a hard cover publication of 176 pages.

The preview pages, some of which are reproduced below, show examples.

 Do I buy it? To quote Blitzen in Robbie the Reindeer (out of context), "It would be rude not to"!

It will be on its way following its expected publication on 11th March. No doubt it will feature in a review on this blog not long afterwards.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

A thank you to our suppliers

I was inspired to do this post by one at the end of last year along similar lines on 'lorenzosenventh's', The Wargaming Erratic blog in which he thanked all of his hobby suppliers.

The post on The Wargaming Erratic blog that inspired this one.

2020 was my biggest year of 'resource gathering' to date. This is one of the largest single purchases of the year, a heap of (chiefly) Hat figures from Tactics. Lots of Napoleonic loveliness!

Like many (most) in our hobby 2020 was one of serious 'resource gathering', i.e. it was my biggest spending year on record! I know that I am not alone as I have spoken or been in email correspondence with people from several of the companies listed below and the common theme was that " was like Christmas from February (2020)...". This was, no doubt, marvellous for business, but we need to remember that it was done under difficult circumstances, changing conditions and rules, under the shadow of a pandemic and with a level of exposure of each of them to the risk of infection.

So, following lorenzosenventh's lead, I would like to thank the many people who support my habit... I mean hobby, especially in the past 12 months, or so.

A 'haul' from the Lucky Toy Soldier.
Just one example of a retailer who has kept on keeping on during the pandemic; no mean feat since he is in Italy and I made this order in April 2020. It took over three months to arrive, but did nonetheless.

Potemkin Russians from Hagen Miniatures.
Another example of a vendor going above and beyond. I knew nothing of this amazing little period of Russian military uniforms until this year. I wondered how I might represent them in 1/72, only to find that Hagen manufacture these beauties. With postage through the roof I thought that I'd be waiting until sometime this year or beyond to get them, but a clever and accommodating idea from Uwe and Andy saw them sent in a combined package.

Thank you to all of the people involved with the companies and businesses below!

Figure manufacturers


Over the past three to four years Strelets have become the premier manufacture of 1/72 scale figures in terms of range, quality and quantity. Throughout 2020 they managed to maintain a prolific rate of output of quality figures (including a completely new range of figures for the War of Spanish Succession).

Hät (Pacific Coast Company)

Hät were the premier manufacturer of 1/72 scale figures (with a smaller range of 28 mm and 1/32). They have 'hiccoughed' a bit lately, following a change of ownership and a move to a new production process based on computer design and production of masters. There are signs that this is beginning to bear fruit with a release of new sets late in the year, and more in the pipeline.

Linear a

A smaller manufacturer of 1/72 plastic figures that has been producing a range of novel, character-filled sets, particularly for early ancients (classical to early imperial Roman). The development and release of new sets seemed to have increased throughout 2020.


Another smaller manufacturer who focusses on figures (1/72 and increasingly 1/32 as well) for periods or ranges not covered by others. This past year I purchased some great additions from them for my increasing interest in 'things Ottoman'.


Yet another manufacturer of 1/72 scale plastic figures who fills some of the many gaps. The focus is on 'doing a range 'completely', so numerous sets are released around a specific campaign or range of troops. Their Russians for 1805–07, released in 2019, are a good example. I purchased some of their figures for my developing Ottoman army this year.

Hagen Miniatures

Manufacturers of specialised, metal figures in a range of scales, including 1/72. I have purchased a few, specific Napoleonic figures from them in the past, but this year picked up the wonderful Potemkin Russians pictured above.

Newline Designs

A good range of 20 mm figures in metal that blend in well with 1/72, as well as other scales that I don't use/collect.

Irregular Miniatures

Manufacturers of a wide range of figures in 'every scale known to man'! I have bought only figures from their 2 mm and 20 mm ranges. Ian always provides fast, efficient and friendly service.

Black Watch Miniatures

A new venture in which Uwe from Hagen has combined with figure sculptor Massimo to produce yet more specialised figures in 1/72 aimed at diorama makers and wargamers.

 Hinds Figures (Hinchliffe)

Not figures that I purchase often, but I have sought a few Hinchliffe figures, particularly the original molds/scale and Ian provides excellent service.




The best known, best and much loved miniatures store in Perth. My main hobby supplier. The shop is literally bursting at the seams with stock but they are still always happy to get in special orders. Even pre-Covid-19 I was increasingly buying from them via email requests and posted packages.

Military Hobbies

Base in Adelaide, Andrew is my 'go to' vendor for Strelets figures. It's great to deal directly with him. He sells a wide range of figures, many of them rare and second hand types, through his two shops (Military Hobbies and The Toy Soldier Experience).

Drum and Flag 

Rupert from Drum and Flag is friendly, efficient and helpful. He has a great range of new and second hand products to boot. Little wonder that he is one of the most respected vendors in the hobby (from the many positive comments that I see about him).

Transport Models & Kit Lady

I came late to Mark and Liz's shop when I was directed to them by Armies in Plastic. Based in Preston, England I dealt with them entirely via their excellent online store and email. Unfortunately (for us) they retired last year, although both of them have an eBay store in which they are selling their remaining stock.

'Cronwallis' (eBay seller)

While an eBay seller, Bruce gets a special mention as I have purchased from him several times. He has an excellent range of sets of 1/72 figures at reasonable prices, many of which are no longer available from retailers. He is situated in Adelaide, so postage is reasonable and simple, which is a bonus.

Ace Radio Controlled Models

Another local hobby shop in Perth (Midland). As the name states, they mainly stock radio controlled models but do have some plastic kits and figures, including quite a range of Pegasus and Emhar.

The Luck Toy Soldier

Fausto's online store based in Italy stocks new and rare plastic figures.

Bold Frontiers

Australian vendor of Armies in Plastic. Friendly and helpful, but do not carry the range that Transport Models did.

Various vendors that I have purchased from infrequently, including last year


Hearn Hobbies

Metro Hobbies




Wargame Vault

Various eBay sellers



Australia Games

Book and magazine publishers

Pen & Sword

The largest publisher of military books in English with a huge 'back catalogue' (including books of imprints such as Frontline and Greenhill) but also prolific new releases.

Helion Company

A publisher of titles that tend to be for less-written-about periods/aspects of periods. I purchased a couple of titles in their 'Century of the Soldier' series this last year, which are excellent publications.

Éditions Heimdal

A publisher whose books have featured on this blog quite a lot this year—'cause I love them!

Le Livre Chez Vous

Previously I have purchased back issues of their magazines and also books, simply via the website, but restrictions on postage has seen that suspended temporarily. I wanted to get some more back issues of Gloire & Empire related to the Italian and Egyptian campaigns. It took a few emails to organise, but the staff were really helpful and accommodating of an out of the ordinary request from the antipodes.

Karwansaray Publishers

I am particularly keen on Ancient Warfare magazine, which I buy direct from them on an occasional basis. They continued to publish last year and I picked up two issues of this quality magazine.

Baccus 6 mm

Chiefly a figure manufacturer, but I do not wargame in 6 mm. I have, however, purchased several of their Polemos rules in the past. This year I picked up Polemos SPQR (as a pdf) after reading several reviews and playtests on blogs.

Book vendors

Naval & Military Press

A fabulous supplier of discounted books who regularly has super specials. The books are keenly priced, even with postage from the UK.

Librairie Le Vieux Livre

A vendor from France with a fine catalogue of second hand books, chiefly in French. I only 'discovered' him this year.

Forties Factory

A vendor from France that stocks several military titles, chiefly from French publishers, amongst other militaria and bric a brac.


A large, online warehouse that is an excellent source of many hobby-related books. A great thing for us is that the postage is 'free' (i.e. included in the listed price), so one knows the total price.

Various vendors through AbeBooks

World of Books

Book Depository International

Thrift Books

Irish Booksellers

Salsus Books

La Boisserie

France Champagne

Cadeby Books


A bit 'off topic' but I also want to mention two categories of constant interest and stimulating content related to my hobby.

Little Wars TV

The fellows at the self-styled 'greatest wargames club in the world' produce some excellent, professional content. I suspect that they were originally aiming this at fellow wargamers, but they have now expanded to more of a promotion of the hobby (while still being of great interest to fellow wargamers).

I strongly recommend that you support them with a few dollars via patreon.

All Bloggers

I have a long list of blogs that I follow. Most feature on this blog, all of them are listed on my Solo Slow Wargaming blog.

Thanks to you all for your interesting, stimulating, often thought-provoking and or humorous content.


In ending I can do no better than to quote 'lorenzoseventh':

So thanks to them all for allowing me to pursue my hobby even in the midst of a global pandemic.