Monday 25 April 2011


The Serjeant intends to follow the example Miss Emma Watson (a particular role model of his) and take a break until the autumn.

It is his intention to return then, invigorated, with a revamped blog and hopefully something interesting to say.

He wishes to make it clear that any rumours that he was bullied into this are completely unfounded.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Too good too miss

I normally confine my musings on the history of wargaming to the Christmas period but recently my good friend, (and source for all things German) Martin T, wrote such an interesting addition to my thoughts on wargaming and the occult that I simply had to reproduce it in full here.

A rare shot of the venue for the infamous 1927 National Convention

Over to Martin......

In response to your recent blog entry "The Mystery of the Fourth Wargamer...", after studying the picture I have come to the conclusion that the man in the centre "chanting from a book" is probably intending to make the figures move of their own volition...

This brings me to another matter involving the Forces of Darkness, namely the way in which perfectly normal, rational people become possessed by malignant spirits (lets call them entities) when they go near a wargames table. You have probably seen this yourself- faces contorted with fury over some minor point not dealt with by the rules, etc. Although I have never seen anyone actually throw a table over, I have witnessed people packing up and storming out in the middle of a game... rules which seem to give particular scope for these entities include WRG 6th Edition Ancient Rules, and the Napoleonic rules written by a certain Mr Quarrie...

Further to your comments about Aleister Crowley in the same blog entry, I have come across the following in the book "Collision of Empires. Britain in Three World Wars 1793-1945", by A.D.Harvey (incidentally a great read for anyone interested in the British war effort in these wars; it also has a great deal of comment and detail about Britain`s allies and enemies): In 1907 J.F.C. Fuller, later a military theorist, historian and Major-General, published his first book- "The Star of the West: A Critical Essay on the Works of Aleister Crowley". This was originally the winning entry in a competition for a study of the works of Crowley with a prize of £100, set up by Crowley; it was the only entry, and Crowley never paid the £100.

Fuller later went on to write various pieces for Crowley`s magazine "The Equinox". Harvey then goes on: "Fuller`s instinctive leaning towards hocus-pocus also appears in his writings on military tactics, even a quarter of a century after his final break with Aleister Crowley: "It [the tank] is a two-dimensional weapon when compared to infantry, which is a one-dimensional arm; that is, it moves in lines and fights in lines. Whilst the old tactical form of war was linear, the new is based on plane surfaces (areas) and is developed in cubic spaces - three-dimensional warfare".

"Several questions arise from the above:Did Fuller, who had an interest in the occult, ever wargame with Samuel MacGregor Mathers, a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? If so, in how many dimensions?If we set up an 18th Century wargame with linear formations and tactics on a plane surface, would it then be three-dimensional? What might this look like?Why are some people more prone than others to possession when near a wargames table?

Martin T.

Unlike Martin I have actually seen a wargames table turned over, and yes it was WRG 6th. Assyrians and Romans if I recall correctly. But you know the funny thing is, now that I think about it I cannot remember anyone actually touching the table?

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Addendum : How should I paint this?

As I stated the Colonel of the Regt is to be the McNab of McNab and modelled upon an old wargaming flatmate.. The figure is a lightly converted Front Rank Bonnie Prince Charlie on a Willie horse. (my flatmate was a bit of a shorta**e. The shock of hair and purple suiting are also historically correct.)
But my question is this: if you look closely at the edge of his jacket and the cuffs you can see that it is edged with a fringe. Rather like Davy Crockett's buckskins. I am leaning toward painting this as white fur but I wonder if anyone is familiar with this figure or the source it was modelled from and can give me any better advice. I am not convinced by the idea of gilt fringe as I have never seen it portrayed in this way and it would surely be horribly uncomfortable as a cuff edging.

Friday 28 January 2011

A Shiny New Year to you all

And off the painting table march a unit of well glossed 30mm French infantry from Spencer Smith's excellent Franco Prussian War range. And they keep on marching straight to the storage box, because 2011 has officially been designated Year of the Tricorne here at Martial Villas.

But more of that anon, let me rush straight into one of the questions that will be preoccupying us over the next year or so: Are there any rules which govern the creation of fictitious uniforms?

I know at least one gamer who delights in the creation of violent juxtaposition of colours and takes pleasure in his units looking like a clown convention. But alas not for me, my military milliners agonise long hours over what year light infantry units adopted black belting or when the sword began to be worn under rather than over the coat. And in truth it matters even more to a fictitious country for as Bob Dylan reminds us 'to live outside the law you must be honest'.

So recently when I began to think about a 60 man unit of Highlanders I was drawn to the idea of creating my own regiment. I had the castings from Garrison. These were a metal casting of Barry Minot's 30mm plastic AWI highlander. Originally designed for Spencer Smiths Connoisseur range back in the 70's they are rather nice little chaps that will comfortably fit from the end of the SYW to 1800 at a pinch. In order to boost that flexibility I decided that mine would be one of the numerous short lived units raised from the highlands that never quite got permanently established established on the army list. Montgomery's, Frazer, Keith, McKenzie, Aberdeen all came and went. But mine would be Grant's in memory of a wargamer I once shared a flat with for six months without ever understanding a single word he said.
So Grants it is and the Colonel will be the Mcnab of McNab. But what tartan would they wear? In search of inspiration I looked at the famous 'death of General Wolfe' specifically the group of onlookers. Just the mixed bunch you could see any day slowing down opposite a motorway smash. But look at the highland officer at the back - that's not a government tartan! I spare you the research involved but eventually I was able to try it out as a sandy base with dark green overstripe and quite a lot of orange. It would have been wonderful in 90mm but take my word for it, it looked awful in 30mm.

So the final result used an orange base and much brighter contrast. 60 figures took quite some time but painting is finished now and I am fairly pleased with the result. Overall a lot more work than just copying a plate but it is my own creation and I am happy that it could easily have actually been worn without the rest of the army throwing rocks!