Friday, July 31, 2015

Thought showers..How I get my ideas Part 1

The scratch-built Mortar Platform

Now if there is a phrase I particularly dislike it is 'thought shower'. It ranks with 24-7, tipping point, embedded and paradigm shift all of which are equally cringe making.
Ironic then that I actually have many of my most creative wargaming ideas in the shower. As my recent summer holiday came to regrettable end I was having a shower and mulling over the fact that the game communicated for this year's Claymore show was a Great Northern War effort for which I had done zero planning, zero painting and was basically not even out of the starting blocks with.
Merchantman rigged for wargaming!
With three weeks to go it was a fairly common Hilton situation. I had done some winter Donnybrook scenarios with the GNW but I wanted to get back home and actually paint something for the game and not just produce a rework of an old idea.

I also wanted to use my newly finished ships and so.....

The idea of a late war Russian encroachment into Sweden came to mind and then it all started to tumble out... a thought shower... ughh, more accurately, some thoughts in the shower.
Make in Deutschland, bought in Belgium, painted in Alba
There were many things to tidy up and finish but two particular ideas came to mind which I wanted to start from scratch.

The first was to put some of the new Great Northern War Swedes in trenches. This idea I had previously used for Napoleonic Russians but those were plastic and in summer trenches. I wanted metal models in winter trenches this time.
Cutting them gave me shivers
The second was a largish floating artillery platform with which to bombard Sweden.. well, not literally. This turned out to be something I am particularly proud of as I built it without drawings or plans and with old rubbish which I had lying around the garage. I measured very little, made most of the judgment calls by eye and used six tools - a Black & Decker domestic drill, a pin drill, a pair of pliers, a scalpel a steel rule and a small B&Q hacksaw.
A meld of manufacturers
This series of posts details my Claymore downhill skiing slalom - produced at speed, somewhat chaotic, very exciting and I think... quite successful!

As an appetite sharpener I have included one shot each of the some of the finished stuff. The 'How to' stuff will come later.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Enniskillen and Derry - The personal journey of a fellow enthusiast - Part 4

Friend of the Blog - Peter shares with us all his exciting visit to many of the locations featured in the forthcoming LoA Campaign book for Ireland...

With the 200th anniversary of Waterloo and the Barry Hilton week-long battlefield walk as referenced elsewhere on this blog, no doubt Mr Hilton will mention the glorious role played by both regiments right in the heart of the action at Waterloo! The 27th were in the centre of the British line, not far from Wellington and the crossroads.

Their role was to shore up the creaking line, stand in square and repulse the repeated French cavalry attacks whilst enduring cannon and musket fire that resulted in 66% casualties. They remained unbroken. Wellington said: ‘Ah they saved the centre of my line’. Their compatriots the Inniskilling dragoons were part of the Union brigade which made the famous cavalry charge alongside the Royal Scots Greys.

The role played by the Williamite defenders of Enniskillen and the surrounding lands was crucial all through 1689. Further north the town of Londonderry was under a long siege and stalemate and the starvation of the citizens seemed the lightly outcome. The Jacobites appeared in control and they threatened Enniskillen from the north, south-west and south. The Enniskillen defenders rather than cower on their island and await attack, sallied out to meet the approaching Jacobite forces  and launched raids into the counties of Cavan, Meath and Monaghan to capture, horses, cattle, sheep and other supplies – great potential scenarios for wargame skirmishes.

Lieutenant General Richard Hamilton
 They were attacked by Lord Galmoy at Crom castle, by the Duke of Berwick who came south from Derry; by Patrick Sarsfield who marched from Sligo and by Lord McCarthy who came up from Dublin and suffered ignominious defeat at Newtownbutler. The latter victory ended the threat to Enniskillen and not long afterwards the Williamite army, led by the Dutch General Schomberg landed at Bangor in August 1689 and made camp at Dundalk.

Patrick Sarsfield
The Enniskillen forces joined up with the Anglo-Dutch at Dundalk and were saluted by Schomberg for their resilience and military success.

In the next posts in the series we move on to Derry via Omagh, Strabane and the Foyle estuary – evocative names which have been witness to terrible events. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Soldiers of Killiecrankie - a lovely day out in Perthshire

The event was in the area occupied by Mackay's baggage train.
I swithered (for non Scots swither is 'to hesitate') about getting out of bed that morning. I had loads to do for the show at Claymore the following weekend and did not relish 4 hours in the car during the awful summer we are having here in Caledonia. In the end, the prospect of some good pics for the new books plus meeting some people I had been looking forward to talking to for some time won the argument so in the end, I went for it.
Dunfermline's Horse
What a great day!

I am told by Alan 'Wellington/Montrose' Larsen that the idea came during a chance meeting between himself as a battlefield geek and some interested locals which took place on the battlefield itself a few month ago.
The infantry march onto the field
I am glad they decided to bring this event to the public as it was a wee gem. The weather was suitably Scottish and a young visitor from the Emerald Isle asked me if the weather was always like this in Scotland. 'Raining you mean?' said Hilton ruefully. No said he, 'Raining and sun shine simultaneously!' Well, actually, yes it is quite common!
The men from Donegal and friends!
I met two men whom I had spoken with on the phone and enjoyed their conversation. In the flesh they were even nicer! One was the wonderful artist Sean O'Brogain of Boyne and Aughrim Visitor Centre(s) fame and illustrator for Osprey and Mike McNally's great titles. Thge other was his brother Thomas, historian, re enactment organizer and period expert. Their crew had travelled from Ireland to represent Purcell's/Cannon's Jacobites.
This lady made a superb trooper!
The camp was great, the equestrian skills of Alan Larsen and his group were outstanding. The weapon handling, drill instructions given in Irish Gaelic and fantastic engagement from Scots, Irish and far travelled English re enactment groups was really wonderful.
They started them young in 1689!
Perthshire looked majestic and I realize why I love this country when the sun shines - there is truly nowhere quite like it.
Galloper gun which fired a lot!

I will tickle your taste buds with a series of wonderful pictures (you can be the judge of that outrageously immodest statement!) what I actually mean is that the subject matter is wonderful.
Irish or French musketeer in Ireland 1690
I shot over 300 pictures during five hours of feverish activity. Having been at the Waterloo extravaganza and shared some shots on the blog previously you will see the difference in quality when you can get up close at a more bijou event.
Bonnie Dundee aka the ubiquitous Alan Larsen
This post is a general piece. The others will provide more detailed shots.

Enjoy! I did!

Monday, July 27, 2015

More and better piccies of the GNW Russians

Firing and Loading codes make a brilliant firing line
Things are hectic right now so I have been slow on the blogging front, receiving a B minus on my report card and falling behind on my class work... must do better Hilton , you slacker!
A lovely and interesting selection of poses in the Loading group
Anyway, enough.. here are more and better pictures of the GNW Russians with all 5 codes now included. They should be in my little paws by the end of this week and off for casting directly after that.
Firing group front on
Leaning into their shots in a convincing fashion

It is easy to see how we'll get two battalion configurations from these 5 codes - A battalion engaging the enemy and a battalion standing at the ready.
Very characterful poses once more

Here are the pikemen
Command front view

Monday, July 20, 2015

1701 GNW game: Dannie's Duna Delight!

Crossing the Duna, July 1701
Dannie Fogleman ran an absolutely outstanding version of the Swedish crossing of the Duna at Riga in July 1701. I do not have a commentary on the game itself but Dannie's table is both grand in scale and top drawer in quality.

Is is possible NOT to like pontoon bridges?
I am unsure whether he did all of this himself or was part of a team. Whatever the organization, the output was first class.
Impressive fortifications
There are many Warfare Miniatures featured both on the Swedish and the Coalition sides and there were parcels frantically traversing the Atlantic in advance of the event to meet Dannie's tight painting schedule.
Gunter Heim is NOT the only man with Bumble Bee guns
I was particularly impressed by the boats - which as I am sure the eagle eyes among you have spotted, I am quite into right now!
Mean Muthas! The Blue Machine
Enjoy the spectacle - Great Northern War in its splendour!
Saxon troops look great - if only they would fight like they look!
Bravo Dannie!
Is it possible to beat these guys pre 1709?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Enniskillen and Derry - The personal journey of a fellow enthusiast - Part 3

Friend of the Blog - Peter shares with us all his exciting visit to many of the locations featured in the forthcoming LoA Campaign book for Ireland...

Once these protestant undertakers or servitors had arrived and taken over their lands, all was changed, changed utterly for these indigenous Irish people whose way of life would never be the same again.

It is interesting to see how important the Irish were in filling the ranks of the British army over the centuries. This recruiting poster from the First World War appeals to the Irish sense of pride and identity and promises that wherever they serve in the world they will serve with other Irishmen… and the map illustrates the recruiting areas in Ireland for the various Irish regiments in British service. Queen Victoria spoke of ‘my brave Irish soldiers’ after news of the casualties in South Africa during the Boer War and she created the Irish Guards and ordered that Shamrock be worn by all Irish regiments on St Patrick’s day.

Tiffin’s foot regiment went to Flanders to join William’s army fighting there and in 1701 was posted first to the West Indies. This was literally a hospital pass as many troops died of yellow fever including Zachariah Tiffin himself. Despite the casualties and appalling conditions Guadalupe was captured from the French in 1703. Garrison duty on the island of Minorca then followed for the rest of the War of Spanish Succession. The Inniskilling dragoons (now Stair’s Horse) took part in a charge at the battle of Sheriffmuir against another group of Jacobites in Scotland in 1715.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The GNW Russians are coming!

Musketeers standing

Clibinarium has been very busy over the last few weeks. We have a preview of the first three sets of Russians for the Great Northern War.
Pikemen standing

It is likely we'll have five codes ready for the end of July which will allow us to offer Standing READY and Standing FIRING LINE battalions. Two further codes are being finished right now.

Command standing

Here are some preview shots of the first three codes. I am very pleased with the look of these sculpts and they bode well for the range which is going from strength to strength.

Command standing

Friday, July 10, 2015

Everything comes to he who is patient! - FRENCH DRAGOON COMMAND

Deep in volume two of the War in Ireland book whilst here in Portugal on holiday, I have come up for air with some excellent news.

Finally off the sculptor's bench are the Command models for the French Dismounted Dragoons. I know they have been a long time coming but about 120 Swedes jumped the queue.

Only one shot at the moment so here it is
French Dismounted Dragoons Command masters
Clib and I both apologize for the picture quality but it  signifies a dying camera. My plan is to get these mastered asap.

Mounted will definitely follow!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Enniskillen and Derry - The personal journey of a fellow enthusiast - Part 2

Friend of the Blog - Peter shares with us all his exciting visit to many of the locations featured in the forthcoming LoA Campaign book for Ireland...

Enniskillen Castle
The flag of St George flies over the twin towers of the Watergate. A reminder of the town’s fierce loyalty to William and the Protestant cause. These turrets with their conical caps are instantly recognizable and have long been the emblem of the Dragoon (the 6th then 5th Dragoon guards) and the Fusilier (the 27th Foot) regiments – a memory of that small watery town in Ireland wherever they were in the world.

When these regiments were first raised to defend the town, the cavalry were Conyngham’s Horse and the infantry were Tiffin’s regiment of Foot. In 1688 and 1689, these groups of protestant volunteers were organised into defence forces that defied King James and defended the towns and villages across the county of Fermanagh and beyond.

These Enniskillen regiments went on to take part in all the major campaigns and battles against the army of King James across Ireland. They fought at the battle of the Boyne in 1690 and were present at the siege of Athlone and the victory at Aughrim in July 1691. At the final stages of the conflict before the town of Limerick it was grenadiers, led by Colonel Tiffin and supported by their compatriots from the Inniskilling foot who forced their way into the city and brought about the end of the siege.


In the castle museum in Enniskillen, there are a range of great displays and items evoking the spirit of our period and the reality of day to day life in the late 17th century. Life-size mannequins tell the story of the defence of the town and the origins of the Inniskillings grey. Alan Cathcart here appears to be breaking the ice in the river around the castle with as much relish as if he was sticking a Jacobite with his pike.

Most of these historical exhibits are housed in the keep of the Maguire clan – in the centre of the castle grounds. Here they dined upstairs and listened to the tales of poets and story-tellers as they feasted. All of this before the arrival of the plantation families, the guilds and the troops from over the seas.

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