Friday, 26 April 2013

Gadzooks and Prithee! Tis well I packed my Prancing Pantaloons.

Is it just me or does anyone else feel that Cavaliers have really let themselves go, the last thirty years?
In happier days.
I was recently painting up some of the Hinchliffe Prince Ruperts Cavalry Charge figures. In case anyone doesn't remember or wasn't born yet these were pretty much state of the art when released in 1979. In fact I went straight to the Hinchliffe shop and bought mine the week they were released, I then put them in a box until I had time to do them properly.
So when I got them out again, last month, I was rather taken aback by the amount of feather plumes, lace embroidery and gold brocade which adorned them. I had forgotten that modern research had completely changed the English Civil War wardrobe.
Back then the well dressed horseman had a brightly coloured felt hat adorned with several ostrich feathers. Now of course, he wears something shapeless his Gran has knitted for him, (and lets be frank, she's not the most talented in the sewing basket.)
Prince Rupert, as the latest research shows
 that he really looked.
And not just garments but the colours have changed too. Goodbye to the yellow, scarlet or purple regts. Those are just the flags, any clothing issued will be in Grey or Venetian red, a shade so dull as to make rust appear positively psychedelic.

Thats if you even get a get a uniform, Parliament issued many thousands but always forgot the trousers. I can see that the absence of keks would be a shock to the new recruit but must everyone of them have come straight from digging out the dung pit without changing? Surely one or two would have been caught out wearing their best and brightest.
Charles II is unimpressed by the neglect of the English trouser
trade during his absence.

I have several hundred horsemen kitted out according to the latest word from Partizan Press and a more shabby dull and depressing group you will struggle to find. Enough! No more!

Break out the Royal Blue and Post Box red. Red feathers and gold edgings shall abound, it is time that Cavaliers made a comeback and the Revolution starts here.
A contemporary Dutch Cavalier, self portrait 1657 - not so shabby?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Google chrome is eating my posts

I have tried three times to put in a new post and each time it has disappeared. I have a new machine arriving next week and will have the software set up to enable frequent and entertaining posts. Utill then sorry for the delay

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

What I did on my Holidays.

It was my own fault, I should have known better. I should simply have put down my whisky glass, risen from the leather chair and walked from the roaring log fire at Asquith Towers into the deep Cotswold snow.

But when the present Mr Asquith, leaned forwards and confidentially asked me if I had heard of the Gottstein Flats I simply responded brightly, " Oh yes, Drag Racing?"

The Exchange
 With a  resigned sigh he explained to me one of the great legends of the wargaming world. How in 1937 the master flat maker Otto Gottstein collaborated with a young Oxford scholar to produce a range of 30mm solid figures for a proposed series of fantasy novels.  The novels eventually appeared but the moulds were lost forever.  

Safe at Last

The Great Man leaned closer, " but what if I told you I have been offered a chance to buy them? They have turned up in the effects of a warlord in the Carpathian Mountains. Why don't you come along, I could do with someone to drive the Bugatti and you could do with a little holiday."

He neglected to mention that the Russian Mafia and a Major Wargames Manufacturer were also in the market for the moulds. So it was that several weeks later I found myself wresting with the wheel of the roadster on a high mountain pass in the dead of night, while beside me grim faced and steely jawed sat Mr Asquith cradling a sub machine gun in his lap. On the back seat a bloodstained case of master figures and  far below us twinkled the lights of pursuing cars full of G**** *******P copyright enforcers.

And that is why I have been too busy to write my Blog recently.

All of which was a picnic compared to working out this new Blogger system. Google permitting, more posts to follow soon.

The Asquith Wheels

Friday, 13 January 2012

When the legend becomes fact print the legend: Bavarian Blue.

It has always struck me as a bit odd that people who are very knowledgeable about the uniforms of their period will admit that of course Bavarian Blue in the Seven Years War/ Napoleonic Wars/ Franco Prussian War was much darker during that particular period. Yet somehow the implication is that this was something of a temporary departure from the usual light blue that they wore through the rest of history.

Last year I was commissioned to paint the Spencer Smith 30mm Bavarians for their 1870 range. Wanting to get it right I started looking at some references which provided a surprisingly wide range of hues.

Inevitably the search started with the Osprey volume German Armies 1870-71 vol2, and very good it was too. I have cropped the picture above as I want to use the image for the purpose of fair review not just rip off the illustrators work. Nevertheless I am sure you can see that this comes in at the lighter end of blue shades and is not far removed from the classic idea that we have of traditional Kornflower blue.

Next I had the idea of looking at botanical illustrations of the Kornflower itself but this proved a dead end as they varied just as widely in the shade used.

So next up to the uniform bible itself, the works of Knotel. Surely he would be accurate especially on a German subject.

Now then, this looks pretty good, darker certainly but nevertheless light enough to clearly be a long way from Prussian Blue. I would have been quite happy with that but by that time I had started looking at the work of German war artists and it struck me that they were choosing a colour even darker.

Carl Rochling depicts the colour well here.

Then a bombshell; I had put out some feelers in Europe and out of the blue came this picture from the Bavarian Army museum.

I think you will agree Mr Rochling has it pretty well depicted. And yet this nagging doubt how could Knotel have got it wrong?

Well there is this one small thought. During the victory parade at the end of the war commentators noticed that the dye on the Bavarian uniforms had faded to a dark purplish colour. What if the uniform in the case has also changed over time? And Rochlings picture was painted in 1894, what if it was based on an actual uniform but a faded one? I regard the argument as still unproven though I do personally lean toward the darkest shade of blue.

And finally after all that what did I paint my own Bavarians?
Bavarian Blue of course. Who in their right mind would pass up the chance to have such colourful figures on their table. In any case I could not face a lifetime of having to justify the colour used every time I put them on the Table.

And as John Ford said : "When the legend becomes the truth, paint the legend".

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Thank you for your kind comments.

Many thanks to all of you who have taken time to comment on the return of this Blog.

Conrad asks about the chap with wine bottle, he is 20mm and comes from a set entitled armed Catholic clergy by CP models . I am not enamoured with all of CP models products, I have never felt the need for SS execution squads on my own table. But doubtless they fill a niche and they do make very fine figures. So tucked away amongst their lists are several quite characterful sets.

DaveWargamer wonders whether I should cut the 'spare leg' away from my standard bearers. An interesting idea, but I am left wondering why, having chosen a figure I admire, I would then want to start hacking bits off it? Nevertheless it is heartwarming that people are willing to help with suggestions and advice.

The picture at the top of the blog is taken from the wonderful French Magazine 'Uniformes' and shows french Cuirassiers relaxing sometime at the turn of the 19C. Not least interesting is the padded garment or Gilet they are wearing. This was worn under the Cuirass but is rarely illustrated.

And I leave you with a tantalising taster. What the hobby has lacked for some time is a blog or site dealing with 30mm figures similar to the excellent Lone S Ranger or other 20mm resources. I am awaiting exciting news on this front which I will share with you all as soon as it appears.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Just for Hugh

To celebrate the return of this blog

The Gentlemen of the Chorus perform the closing number from

'Holger Eriksson: The Musical'