Wednesday, 7 October 2020

In The Wars Again

It has been a while since I last posted. Originally work was the main factor but with my continuing amazing luck I am back in the wars again. And nowhere near as heroic as these chaps.

I have been struggling with my eyesight for a number of months now with lots of "floaters", general blurring of everything in my right eye especially which I put down to age and the need for new glasses. I had also noticed an occasional visual disturbance as if there was a strand of silver tinsel glinting in the outside corner of my left eye. A visit to SpecSavers was made, followed by an immediate referral to the local hospital where I was diagnosed with a detaching left retina and cataracts.

I am now recovering from emergency surgery and effectively blind in my left eye for Gawd knows how long. With as yet untreated cataracts my field of vision extends to a maximum of about 10 inches from my right eye.

All in all not great. I can use my mobile phone and Kindle as they are back lit. Cannot even see the TV properly. Not sure when I will be back painting or gaming. 

I have been able to view your posts by holding my mobile phone close up but until this evening could not leave comments using it. Hopefully this fix will work on all blogs whatever the moderation level you have.

Many thanks to my daughter for getting the mobile phone comments working and with this post.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Rebel Movement

At last I have something new to post. I have been busy decorating and as soon as one room is finished the others look shabby in comparison, so it turns into a vicious circle. 

For my 100th post I give you more figures for the Classic 20mm ACW collection.

All figures are Jacklex. 10 new infantry stands and a gun and crew. Flags by ROFUR in 1/72nd scale.

They include the new Confederate infantry in kepi and blanket roll, rather than having to use the Union infantry with backpacks. A very useful figure. The three figures to a base feels right for an old school collection and my new measuring sticks are made, painted and waiting for the layers and layers of gloss varnish to dry.

Obviously the gunner with the rammer will only be used in summer campaigns!

I am now working on more Union infantry and the first of the General command bases.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Jacklex Confederate Cavalry

I have not quite managed the figures output of previous weeks but I have had time to finish these 14 dismounted cavalry. I have also got a long line of Confederate infantry on the go, so fingers crossed I may have another post for early next week.

The officer and standard bearer are converted figures from the Jacklex Colonial range. The officer is a British Naval officer with a Boer head, the standard bearer is a Sudanese officer with a head swop from an old broken Naval infantryman. Flag from Rofur.

Monday, 25 May 2020

My Classic 20mm ACW Collection Has (Finally) Started

As mentioned in earlier posts I have been planning a classic 20mm ACW collection for a number of years now. Finally I have started and by choosing to start with the Union forces this time I have managed to build up a couple of infantry units and a gun and crew in just over a week.

First of the artillery. These are vintage Hinton Hunt figures (for those interested in these things they are: US 11 Gunner in Kepi, manning gun; US 12 Gunner in Kepi, with rammer, ramming home; US 13 Gunner in Kepi, with charge held in hands; US 14 Sergeant in Kepi, holding lanyard, about to fire). The artillery piece itself is from Jacklex.

Sadly finding Hinton Hunt ACW figures is no easy task, I have enough figures to complete a second gun crew and a small Zouave unit. The rest are tantalizing missing enough figures to make up whole units - I may even have to resort to a spot of home casting!

Moving on we have the infantry, both units using Jacklex figures. Fortunately these lovely figures are still in production AND being added to.

These figures are the new "Union Infantry in Frock Coat and Hardee Hat". The standard bearer and officer have new Hardee hat heads pinned and superglued.

Figures are based in threes for the Andy Callan "Bull Run to Bentonville" ACW rules available free from the Jacklex site here.

All flags are from the Rofur 1/72nd range. I am working on more Jacklex figures, with a dismounted Confederate cavalry and infantry unit coming along quite nicely. 

Sunday, 29 March 2020

In Defeat, Unbeatable: In Victory, Unbearable

Winston Churchill's description of Bernard Law Montgomery in 1945 sums him up perfectly* 

My choice is probably not the most popular one, but despite expressing  outdated and controversial views in later life during the Second World War Montgomery was exactly what the British and Commonwealth forces needed.

As a child I remember Montgomery appearing on the news or in the papers quite regularly after saying something particularly ill thought out, The films "Patton" and "A Bridge Too Far" are not exactly pro Montgomery and so by the time we get to "Saving Private Ryan" it is established Hollywood fact that Montgomery is "overrated". Unfortunately it is these post-war antics that have blighted his record.

For a far more balanced view I thoroughly recommend this fantastically researched and written book:

So what is it about this prickly egotist that I admire?

Montgomery learnt in the First World War to value his troops lives and was a vocal critic of those prepared to accept high casualties. His criticisms hindered his inter-war career but he did learn to curb some of his excesses and was determined to be the most professional soldier he could be.

His singlemindedness paid dividends during the opening stages of WW2. He handled his troops well in France and eventually was given the desert command for which he will be eternally famed for. He was the master of the pitched battle. His attention to detail meant that nothing was left to chance. He kept his troops informed, he visited them and in return he was seen as a soldier-general they could trust.

The D-Day landings were his plan. His success.

He has been roundly criticised for Market Garden. However, having effectively destroyed the bulk of the effective German Army at Falaise Pocket his plan was approved. Clearly others believed it could work too.

His later Rhine Crossing was a return to his meticulous preparations. He saved his troops lives.

Interestingly he did admit to making mistakes, like not capturing Antwerp as a major priority. I cannot think of many other Allied Commanders who did that in their memoires.

And finally for those who believe he was slow and unimaginative you only have to look at his much underplayed role during the Battle of the Bulge. It was Manteuffel himself who described Montgomery's counter attacks as follows:

"The operations of the American First Army had developed into a series of individual holding actions. Montgomery's contribution to restoring the situation was that he turned a series of isolated actions into a coherent battle fought according to a clear and definite plan. It was his refusal to engage in premature and piecemeal counter-attacks which enabled the Americans to gather their reserves and frustrate the German attempts to extend their breakthrough"

*My favourite anecdote regarding his monstrous ego however is that attributed to a conversation between Churchill and King George after VE day. 

While Montgomery was playing up to the crowd Churchill is alleged to have said "I think he's after my job". 

King George's response "Thank God for that, I thought he was after mine!"