Saturday, November 27, 2021

An old metal puzzle

I am hoping to get some help with identifying some figures.

I have been enjoying myself over the weekend creating the last of the databases for my figures: of the few, remaining 15 mm figures that I have, all for the French and Indian War (I already have one for the 1/72 collection (main one) and smaller 1/32 and, recently done, 2 mm figures).

Creating this database has been/is great fun and really interesting as I had to work out what was what. Then, I found that I had kept the original orders and/or invoices for most of them (circa early 90s), which made the task much simpler. All, except for the few shown in the photos below.

I think that they are Minifigs, but I cannot recall what they are or even where I got them from—really strange as the circumstances for the others came back as I thought about it and looked up the information that I had (then I got the exact details, which made it easier!). They are 'nominally' figures for the French and Indian War, but I cannot find a match amongst any of the current version of the Marlburian & Great Northern Wars, Jacobites 1688–1746, Seven Years War, Montcalm & Wolfe or American Revolution series.

Any suggestions welcome!


Above and below, Highland grenadier company.


Above and below, Highland centre company.

Above and below, Highland grenadier command (interestingly the standard bearer has the novel headress of the figures that follow these below).

Above and below, I am assuming a Highland grenadier company, but are they even Highlanders? Likely early 18th century and perhaps Jacobite?

Above and below, Highland centre company command

Above and below, British centre company command.

Just a few more entries and I'll have this, last of my databases completed. Unlike the others, this one will/should be a pure repository rather than an 'acitve file'!

I like counting!!

A Sesame Street favourite; second only to Grover for me [Image: www.sesamestreet.org]

This skit from the wonderful 'Not the Nine O'Clock News' immediately came to mind.


 



Thursday, November 18, 2021

Further wonderful voyages of serendipitous discovery

The beauty of my painting approach, having lots on the go at once, is that I can switch from one subject to another and/or take advantage of figures that are 'nearly there'. So it was recently that, painting Polish-Italian legion uhlans for 1796-97 lead me to think that I should get on and finish some Polish Winged Hussars at the same time. These latter have been sitting, for several years, needing 'only' a black wash, highlights and varnishing to be completed. 

"Righto, in they go."

Husaria! Scene from the film "Pan Michael"

'Cept it ain't that straightforward.

I had borrowed the first volume of Norman Davies' History of Poland (reviewed on my Napoleonic blog), chiefly to get a bit more of an understanding of the Kościusko Uprising. It gave me far more besides. Reading this book, along with the fact that Julian and I had planned to catch up to do a game of something at my place, made me think,

"How about I use those nearly completed Great Northern War figures and we do that game of Klissow that I have been thinking about?"

Yeah, 'cause then I can use it as an impetus to get on and finish the Saxons (and perhaps the Swedes as well), either before or after the game.

Great.

Oh, I need more Poles. No worries, I had some prepared, some even undercoated, so just 'throw 'em in the mix'. 

So, the focus switched from completing a few figures to making figures that I had undercoated and others not yet started presentable enough on the table. I nearly got part of the way there.

'Fortunately' we did not complete the game and so decided to catch up for a second session. This meant that I was able to add more colour to the troops in the time between the two.

I am now back to step one, but with added figures for the Great Northern War to be completed along with my early French and Austrians for 1796–97. Just a lot more of them now. All good.

Saxon and Polish forces packed away after the recent game of Klissow and ready, along with additional troops, for some more painting.

More, predominantly Saxons.

Swedes and more Poles.

Polish cavalry and some of the early French 'Napoleonic' infantry behind (these are all part of this extended production line).

Along the way there was some wonderful, related but serendipitous discovery.

Painting tends to make me look at books videos and such related to the period (over and above looking for details of uniform and the like). Also vice versa; reading books inspires me to paint figures of a particular period. I don't think that I am alone in this.

I had saved a couple of extracts of a show in Polish "Ogniem i Mieczem" (With Fire and Sword) in my sub-folder called 'Polish Winged Hussars' within my Audio and Video collection. I went looking for more of it.

Serendipitous discovery 1: the entire file of "Ogniem i Mieczem" (With Fire and Sword).

Having watched that I became aware that it was part of a trilogy, based on some famous, fictional books of the same name.

Serendipitous discovery 2:  the films Potop (The Deluge) and Pan Michael (Colonel Michael).

This trilogy of films were produced by a famous Polish director named Jerzy Hoffman. They were produced and released in reverse chronological order, so Pan Michael, then Potop, then Ogniem i Mieczem.

They are magnificent films.

The versions that I found online are in Polish, without subtitles, so I do not understand a word (perhaps one or two words, but precious little). It does not matter at all. The filming is sumptuous and powerful. There are magnificent scenes of the Ukrainian and Polish steppes, wetlands, large areas of ripe crops in summer, deep snow in winter. Rain, mud and marshes. The divide between peasant and noble is captured brilliantly. The in-fighting amongst the nobles, joining together when threatened. The tragedy and loss of it all. The battle scenes are magnificent (even if all the cavalry, including the Winged Hussars charge in really loose formation). Furthermore, the films are a great source of ideas of colours for troops that had non-uniform dress. Oh yeah, there are some lovely female leads too!

Winged Hussars attack a line of Cossack infantry (from the film Ogniem i Mieczem).

Cossack pike ready to receive Winged Hussars—their musketeers having withdrawn through their ranks (from the film Ogniem i Mieczem).

Powerful opening scene from the film Potop.

The Swedish army enters the Commonwealth (from the film Potop).

A bit about each film, using the information from Wikipedia.

"Ogniem i Mieczem" (With Fire and Sword) was produced in 1999 and is based on the third book. Apparently, "at the time of its filming it was the most expensive Polish film ever made". This film/book is a love/adventure story set in the Ukranian area of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the Khmelnytsky Uprising.

"Potop" (The Deluge) was released in 1974. It is based on the second book. The film "...was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 47th Academy Awards, but lost to Amarcord". This film is set during the time of the Swedish invasion of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1655–1660.

Pan Wołodyjowski/Pan Michael (Colonel Michael), based on the third book, was the first of the three produced, in 1969. This is set during the Ottoman Empire's invasion of Poland in 1668–1672.

Each of the films has had a spin-off or adaptation. A serialised adaptation of "Pan Michael" was made in 1969. According to information in the Internet Movie Database, the first part of a television version of "Ogniem i Mieczem" was aired in 2001. "The television version is almost 30 minutes longer than the version previously shown in the cinemas and contains four episodes. It includes some scenes that were deleted from the theatrical edition, e.g. scenes with Krystyna Feldman and Agnieszka Krukówna playing Ukrainian women or Magdalena Warzecha playing Gryzelda Wisniowiecka". For Potop, in 2014 "...a new cut named Potop Redivivus was released [...], which is two hours shorter than the original".

The films had me wondering. What about the books? Are they available in translation? The answer is 'yes' and what's more they are available as a free epub version from Project Gutenberg. The author, Henryk Sienkiewicz, was inducted into several prestigious academies and won the Nobel Prize for "his outstanding merits as an epic writer". He is perhaps most famous as the author of Quo Vadis? Something else that I was previously ignorant of.

So to my last bit of serendipitous discovery.

I was looking for some information related to the origins and development of the Twilight of the Sun King rules that I was using for the game with Julian. This lead me to a listing of the Best free miniature wargaming rules. In there I found:

Serendipitous discovery 3:  By Fire and Sword rules.

This beautifully produced, 160 page pdf file, with accompanying 257 page army list book are available to download for free. A rule book that stretches to 160 pages probably sounds like a huge negative, but it is not. The actual rules condense to about four pages. The book is long as it includes explanatory text about the rules, examples, the specific rules and loads of inspiring, beautiful and useful photos and diagrams.

A page from the rules showing the superb and clear presentation. Paragraphs in plain text are background to the specific rule, those in italics are explanation of the rules, grey italics are examples, while the scroll is the nub of the rule(s) being described on that page.

An example of one of the lovely photos in the rule book.

A page from the book of army lists. Like the rules packed with information, detail and gorgeous pictures/photos.

The rules have been played in Poland for many years and it is only with some interest from elsewhere and an English translation that they have become more widely available. They are detailed, small-scale (1:20) and contain a lot excellent background information and explanation. The books are worth it alone for the superb production values and lovely pictures. The rules look really interesting though and are definitely in the mix for me. Once I get to having a go, It will be interesting to see how they play. I expect well and easily.

 

All in all a great couple of weeks when, yet again, serendipity was my friend.

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Klissow in the Twilight, part 2

Julian came over today and we completed the second part of the game of the Battle of Klissow, 19th July 1702 (8th July Julian calendar, 9th July Swedish calendar).

We picked up the game in the third turn, the Swedish Livregimentet till Hast / Livdragon Regimentet charged the victorious Winged Hussars (top right) while the infantry continued to press in the centre. Saxon artillery concentrating on the Swedish infantry.

The Saxon infantry pushed back the attacking Swedes.

Meanwhile, the Polish dragoons (heavily disguised as reitars) and Saxon Garde du Corps regiment made a sandwich of the victorious Livregimentet till Hast / Livdragon Regimentet, breaking the latter.

View down the line, from the Polish/Saxon right.

Saxon artillery continued to pound away, inflicting a few 'casualties'.

Above and below: the Saxon infantry fired at the Swedish they had forced back.

At this stage, the Swedes were in serious trouble and it looked a matter of time until they were enveloped from left and right.

A rare Swedish success on their right: Rehnskiöld's Ostgota Cavalry Regt broke the first of the Saxons attempting their outflanking manoeuvre.

Then a breakthrough in the centre with the Saxon Kurprinz and Guard regiments broken.

Lubomirski's Polish cavalry continued their successful charges.

Polish dragoons send the Småland cavalry regt on their way.

Then it happened. Having broken the Saxon line, the Swedish infantry made short work of the second line troops (in both meanings of the term).

Saxon centre broken: game over.

Two views of the end of the battle, from the Saxon side (above) and Swedish side (below).

Losses: a unit of Saxon cavalry and five of infantry to one of Swedish cavalry.

It had been a really close affair.

Julian's audacious attacks, making use of his numbers, very nearly paid off. The quality of the Swedish infantry came through in the end and turned pretty quickly.

Another successful test of "Twilight of the Sun King" as far as I am concerned. I appreciate Julian having a go and especially playing it out since he was not overly in favour of these stylised rules.

I'm keen to put the finishing touches to these figures and add in some more so that I/we can try again with GåPå.


Rules

Twilight of the Sun King, 2nd Edition

Scales

Base width represents ~300 m, base width 50 mm, game area 1 m x 1 m

Infantry: units approx. 1 600, 2 000, 2 400 men for small, average, large.
Cavalry: units approx. 800, 1 000, 1 200 for small, average, large.
Artillery: approx. 12, 20, 24 guns for small, average, large batteries.

Of course, these numbers are interpreted really loosely as with most 'unit' based rules nowadays.

Figures (all 1/72)

Saxon

Infantry Mars Saxon infantry.
Cavalry Strelets Russian Dragoons of Peter I
Artillery Zvezda Swedish Artillery of Charles XII and Mars Polish field artillery (standing in as the Saxon 3 pdr guns).

Polish-Lithuanian

Hussars Zvezda Polish Winged Hussars.
Pancerni Orion Polish Winged Hussars.
Dragoons (heavily disguised as reitars) Strelets Reitars of Charles XII.
Wallachian light cavalry Mars Polish 'Lisovchiki'
(1st half of the XVII century).
Lithuanian Tartars Mars Lithuanian Tartars (1st half of the XVII century).

Swedish

Infantry mix of Mars Swedish infantry, Strelets Swedish Infantry of Charles XII & From Narva to Poltava.
Cavalry Strelets Lieb-Drabants of Charles XII and Zvezda Swedish Dragoons of Charles XII.

Monday, November 15, 2021

World traveller

Meet this world traveller. There may be less travel occurring from a human perspective at present, but this parcel nearly made up for it single-handedly.

Quite often the tracking for a package is pretty basic and unedifying. You know, departed country A, in transit for weeks (or months) and then suddenly turns up. Not so with this little fella. The tracking made for great ‘entertainment' in its own right.

It was an order that I made with Michael at 1/72 Legions in Plastic Depot. It left him on 27th August, and departed the U.S. on the 31st August. From there it travelled to Dubai, as you do when going US to Australia, arriving there on 1st October. After a whirlwind tour of some of the sites of antiquity (the figures are ancients) it headed to Sydney, arriving 10th of October. Leaving Sydney the next day, it headed over to here in the west of Australia, but was not processed until 7th November. Then, it finally traversed the hundred kilometres or so to arrive here late on Friday afternoon for me to collect today.

Boy, did it have some tales to tell.

I had ordered a box of Caesar's Egyptian Chariot and Ykreol Dead German warriors, both of which are a bit rare as well as a 'Custom Blend' of Michael's. This one was called 'Roman Republic Army Battle Set' and is a wonderful mix of brands and types of figures, predominantly Republican Romans, but few related types too. There was a Carthaginian, a Trojan, a couple of Greeks, some Airfix Romans (Imperial) as well as a sprue based on the Airfix figures from Barcelona Universal Models (you can make the acronym—Francisco has a good sense of humour) which includes a one-horse version of the chariot and some other slight variations.


The main contents: a custom blend from 1/72 Legions in Plastic Depot

Looking inside.

The 'custom blend' laid out as presented on Michael's website.

Two real bonuses in this blend: a sprue from Barcelona Universal Models based on Airfix Romans, ...
and an unknown, Roman chariot driver/rider presumably from a toy soldier set of pirate figures.

I always enjoy a mixed lot of figures and this was no exception. All going well, I'll make good progress with my current painting and then will be ready to make some serious in-roads into my ancients early next year so as to try out 'Lost Battles'.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Battle of Klissow (Klezow) in the Twilight

You remember last time... I had become busy applying basing and painting troops for the Great Northern War; outside my supposed 'focus' for the year. This extended to doing some preparation and conversions to have some pancerni cossack cavalry available too. As ever, ambition exceeds time available, but I had them 'good enough' for a game when Julian came around for a few hours last evening.

Schulenburg's Saxon army in their defensive position. These are the most nearly complete of the troops on the table.

Klessow, fought in the summer of 1702 on 8th July by Julian calendar, 9th July by Swedish calendar and 19th July by Gregorian calendar, was the third in a string of against the odds victories by the Swedes, lead by their young king Charles (Karl) XII, in the first two years of the Great Northern War. Karl an audacious commander with a fine coup d'oeil, was proving to be far more of a challenge for his enemies than they had expected when they sought to take Sweden down a peg or two upon the ascension of this little-known, until then flippant, even 'playboy' youngster to the crown. Moments maketh the man and he had more than risen to the challenge...

As with all great victories of history, the 'challenge', in a wargaming sense, is to emulate it.

The game, using "Twilight of the Sun King", provides plenty of bonuses for the Swedes (quality of troops and command), against the strengths of numbers and position of their Saxon and Polish-Lithuanian opponents. The latter are no easy beats, with mainly average troops, but also some top quality and poorer, but overall more 'flaky' morale.

For this game I used the version in the second book of scenarios for "Twilight of the Sun King". We used the 'early start' option from the scenario, so the Saxons and Swedes were in place while the Polish-Lithuanian army arrived on the Saxon/Polish-Lithuanian first turn.

View of same from Saxon lines.

Charles ordered the centre to advance, supported by Rehnskiöld's cavalry on the right, while the left-flank cavalry faced off the Saxons.

The Saxon artillery fired on the advancing Swedes, focussing on the Livgardet till Fot (heavily disguised as the Jönköping regiment), but failed to affect either morale or to stymie the advance.

The turn before the Swedish successfully negotiated the swampy banks of the stream, making a GåPå charge against the Saxon first line (guards and Kurprinz/Koningen regiments)—I thought that I had taken the photo, but obviously did not in my excitement.
Note in the top-right of photo, the distinct, 'Julian manoeuvre' of a cavalry turn to the left to head around the flank. Never one to 'sit on his @rse', he likes to seize opportunities and can be guaranteed to try something audacious.


Excitement over on the Saxon right. The 'finest cavalry in Europe' successfully charge the Södra Skånska/Småland cavalry regiments, assisted by a flank charge by the Saxon Garde du Corps regiment.
The Swedish cavalry were sent packing; dented morale, but not broken. Even though my cavalry were on the receiving end, I was elated to see the hussars make a successful charge. Mind you, I was fortunate to have rolled well and so avoided my cavalry breaking!
(The on-going mêlée between the infantry can be seen in the centre of the photo.)


That was the last turn of the evening.

We'd completed two turns each that were 'full' in terms of movement and action, with plenty of discussion and double-checking of rules (being only my second go with them and 18 months in-between the two). Things are looking up for Saxon and Polish-Lithuanian forces, but the battle is on a knife-edge.

Will the best cavalry in European history (and the best troops to be on any table top, even exceeding Napoleonic French cuirassiers—a big call for me!) continue to emulate the great Sobieski?

Can the Swedish infantry break the centre, or will the Saxon's send them packing?

Will Rehnskiöld prevail on the Saxon left, or will the Saxon out-flanking manoeuvre work? 

To be continued...


For me, another successful test of "Twilight of the Sun King". Highly stylised rules, but a set that has managed to incorporate key elements of quality, command, attrition, terrain, as well as historical tactics and feel. A rare, novel set of rules. Not the only game in town for me, but certainly a keeper for a larger-scale action, requiriing fewer figures, especially while I'm in the process of 'raising' armies! I'll use them for the Great Northern War, of course, but also for Ottoman wars of the 17th and early 18th centuries along with Polish-Lithuanian/Cossack/Tartar conflicts.

For Julian, an interesting and enjoyable outing that led him to conclude 'not for him'. Too stylised, too abstracted, so not a set of choice, but certainly not 'never again'. Hopefully he'll be able to find a few hours in the near future so that we can complete the three of four turns that I reckon we'll need to bring this to a conclusion.

There has been a bit of action in the shed the past couple of weeks, with getting figures 'good enough' for this game and some reorganisation of storage thanks to these two lovely sets of drawers given to me by friends; 'surplus' to them, greatfully received by me.

I was wondering what Xena was fascinated by the other day, but soon realised,...

it was one of the lovely Black-headed monitor's (Varanus tristis) that lives or at least spends a lot of time in our roof space, sometimes running along beams inside and out. They usually make tracks quickly (not nick-named 'racehorse monitors' for nothing), but this one 'posed' long enough for me get this photo. Great for rat and mouse control! Always lovely to see and I expect of interest to viewers/readers.

References

“The Battle of Klissow 1702” In Kling (Jr.), SL (Ed.) (2015) Great Northern War Compendium The Historical Game Company. pp. 159–164.

“6. Klissow” In Twilight of the Sun King – Scenario Book 2 – Great Northern & Ottoman Wars.

“The Battle of Klezow (or Klissow) 9th July 1702” Weapons & Warfare https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2015/08/27/the-battle-of-klezow-or-klissow-9th-july-1702/

“The Battle of Klezow (or Klissow) 9th July 1702” wgamers.org.uk. http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/resources/C18/klezow.htm

Rules

Twilight of the Sun King, 2nd Edition

Scales

Base width represents ~300 m, base width 50 mm, game area 1 m x 1 m

Infantry: units approx. 1 600, 2 000, 2 400 men for small, average, large.
Cavalry: units approx. 800, 1 000, 1 200 for small, average, large.
Artillery: approx. 12, 20, 24 guns for small, average, large batteries.

Of course, these numbers are interpreted really loosely as with most 'unit' based rules nowadays.

Figures (all 1/72)

Saxon

Infantry Mars Saxon infantry.
Cavalry Strelets Russian Dragoons of Peter I
Artillery Zvezda Swedish Artillery of Charles XII and Mars Polish field artillery (standing in as the Saxon 3 pdr guns).

Polish-Lithuanian

Hussars Zvezda Polish Winged Hussars.
Pancerni Orion Polish Winged Hussars.
Dragoons (heavily disguised as reitars) Strelets Reitars of Charles XII.
Wallachian light cavalry Mars Polish 'Lisovchiki'
(1st half of the XVII century).
Lithuanian Tartars Mars Lithuanian Tartars (1st half of the XVII century).

Swedish

Infantry mix of Mars Swedish infantry, Strelets Swedish Infantry of Charles XII & From Narva to Poltava.
Cavalry Strelets Lieb-Drabants of Charles XII and Zvezda Swedish Dragoons of Charles XII.