Saturday, 15 October 2016

Napoleon's Berlin Carriage & Fort Hilary


Two short articles this week. As I am still in the middle of my new campaign`s first ever table top battle, and want to wait a tiny wee bit longer before writing it up as an after action report: so bear with me a little while, and that will soon be revealed.

Meanwhile I thought I`d just do a quick review on a miniatures set I have wanted for a very long time now; then another  short `special` on the wonderful homemade model fort Hils has made for me.

Ah yes, and a small announcement from me as well. Will probably mean little if anything at all to most of you (you have to reach a certain age I think hehe): yet to me it is a flippin` great big mile stone in my hobby life. I was told it would happen by a couple of older... elderly gentlemen gamers I knew long ago in my younger days. One was G.W. Jeffreys: a wargame extraordinaire, historical author, and wargame rules writer from Edinburgh (all on the Napoleonic era). The other was the now late Donald Featherstone, who I had the pleasure to have known personally, and played a few very memorable wargames with in my time. Both of these `great men` separately told me (as neither of them knew each other in any way)  “son, the day will come, one day, when your collection is complete. You won’t plan it, you won’t even be aware of the day approaching, but it will happen, sure as cakes is cakes. You will just wake up one day and realise you don’t need anything else. Your collection is complete as it is, and you can just `get on` without any kaffuffle, and game happily with it ever more.”

You know what, they were both right! Happened to me last week. The sun rose to a brisk, breezy fresh dawn, and along with it came a blinding realisation; yep, my hobby collection was complete. Okay sure, there are last minute things... people will be bound to buy me Christmas presents, I have half a mind still to buy myself the whopping HUGE Warlord Games deluxe set of La Haye Sainte... one day. When Richard Borg brings out another expansion for his Great War series, I`m bound to buy it. And if I ever get lucky enough to see a copy of Timber Peaks, that too is coming home with me in a bag... and let us not forget I still have two paid for kickstarters (Super Dungeon Explore Legends and Rail Raiders Infinite) coming to me in the post, one day next year.. soon as they release them to us no doubt. But yeah, IN GENERAL, I can honestly say, the day the old fella`s predicted, has come. Geee, does that mean I will now become one of these old guys who will faithfully predict the same thing to some poor unsuspecting youth I meet one day at the club or at a games convention? In fact, the two old timers who told me the same thing, so many many years ago now, were they too once privy to ``the secret`` from that aged league of grumpy old men and this enduring... eternal, fated hobby knowledge?

Anyway, the point of all this is, I just bought a rather large, and very nice miniatures kit the other day. Things are tight rght now: the usual bills (which always seem to hit around October) before the onslaught of Christmas. And so, as a kind of last hurrah! And incidentally the last purchased `toy` in my collection... I bought myself a 28mm carriage. Oh how I have yearned for one over the years. How often do you watch the most memorable scenes from your favourite movies, conducted from moving carriages (with the background scenery moving incredibly fast on a wind spool, while prop extras rock the coach back and forth to create the illusion of motion). The Son of Monte Cristo has that wonderful cameo at the beginning where the Grand Duchess Zona is fleeing in a four horse carriage from the evil general Gurko Lanen. Or those wonderful scenes of highway men stopping the coach calling “Stand and deliver.” Oh and so many iconic set pieces where coaches feature strongly. Yet how many of us wargamers ever actually bother to add one to our collection? I know I never did. But, well... now I gone and did it woohooo!!! I`m soooo glad I did. It will fit in so many games I intend to play. From Fantasy and Imagi-Nation, all the way through to 18th and 19th century (Ending at Waterloo itself if I do one day get that elusive - last purchase - La Haye Saint set).


Napoleon's Berlin Carriage - Black Powder
The kit includes Old Boney himself, his Chasseurs de la Garde (personal bodyguard) as well as a fine detailed four-horse coach with coachman and two riders. Looking on from the front of the coach is Napeoleon's 'Mameluke' servant, Roustan... a perfect addition, and will double up as bodyguard to my re-vamped Bonaparte (who will play the part of ``ME” from now on in all my 28mm Imagi-Nation games).

The whole set costs £32:00 from Warlord Games.

The real life carriage was built for Napoleon's Russian campaign but was captured by the Prussians at the Battle of Waterloo while the Emperor departed on horseback. However, the style is somewhat generically reminiscent of the era, and will be used, diversely, in many of my future games. Tarot even tells me with surety; it could even be used in a certain episode of Blake 7 haha.

Fort Hilary
I wanted to buy a fort for my Liberty or Death.. forth coming Colonial Gothic Imagi-nation style adventures. And I poured over many on-line companies who make them, fine tuning plans and deciding which one I would eventually purchase. Price wise they were all much of a muchness: let’s say about £144 pounds (average) plus postage. All of them (bar one, from Warlord Games, which is sold fully finished and ready to go) came unpainted and unassembled. Hils said to me: “let me do it.” What!” I replied. “Let me make you the fort, just tell me what you need, give me some ideas of what you want it to end up looking like, and I`ll try and make it for you.”
Okay well, I was a little dubious. Like okay, I knew she was good, but hell, a fort???? Images of Lego Bricks and Camberwich Green started to fill my head, and I replied something like: “Well, ooooo----k then, if you really want to give this a go.” Sufice to say, I was not impressed, and imagined I would still have to end up BUYING my fort... and if anything I was secretly a little agitated that I would have to delay getting a `proper` fort while she dabbled away at her attempt. So I gave her some images to puddle about with, mostly of the real life colonial fort Ticondaroga, and then I left her to it.
Oh WOW, how wrong I was. Second she got back from England visiting her parents, she got to work making my fort. On and off, an hour here and an hour there, for about a week, until it was finished. I wish now, I`d done WIPS along to way, as I only have the finished version to show you. But yeah... wooohoooo!!!! I`m very happy with her efforts. Its nicer than any fort I could have bought (and she even painted it and the base for me herself).
Of course, she`s totally shot herself in the foot now, as I will be getting her to make ALL my terrain pieces from this moment on ^^
The fort will feature in the beginning portion of my latest battle report (article for it coming next week), and then you will get to see it being used in all its glory.






20 comments:

  1. It was a pleasure to make it for you babes, besides it hurt me to think of 140 pounds plus postage.. all unassembled and needing painting; which in all honestly, I knew I could make you for nothing. I`m just glad it came out ok for you, and you like it.

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  2. nice, nice, NICE work Hil. Seeing it now set up on Stevie`s table (I snuck in earlier to borrow a pen) and wow, set up amongst all the other table top terrain and figures crawling all over it, it looks absolutely incredible. I think he`ll get lot of use out of this, and just seeing the happy grin on his face when I mention his new playable diorama, I can see how much he loves it. I noticed that the main gates open and everything. I was dead impressed.

    I`m loving that coach and horses Stevie, strangely enough, I sat up and watched "Waterloo" with the lads a while ago, and I can still remember Napoleon`s carriage in the scene at the end of the film. It was a sad, moving part of the film, and I vividly recall the cameo, even now. The model and the figures are stunningly attractive and very highly detailed. I can see you using it in many of your games, not just for the purpose it was sold for.

    And congratulations on reaching the status of grumpy old gamer man. I shall have to make you a League badge *wink*

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    1. I`m loving my fort too, its all I could have hoped for, all I might have dreamed of... and much more besides.

      Grumpy old gamer.... hell dude I`ve been that for years anyway ^^

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  3. What a lucky man you are, Steve. Not only do you have nearly every figure you need, you also have a supremely talented wife. Of course, I see the fort and can imagine feral, undead natives scaling the walls...

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    1. {{I see the fort and can imagine feral, undead natives scaling the walls...}}

      Its funny you should say that Jez *smirks*

      Yeah I am lucky I know it. She`s an absolute frickin` star champ in soooo many ways.

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    2. The problem I have with this particular project is that I have the urge to buy a miniature of the relevant era, paint it up and send it to you, just so that I could have a character featuring in your game. Of course, I'd have to come up with a suitable character name and figure, but it's very tempting...

      Oh, and I may have found a suitable 'wendigo' figure. Not as monstrous as some out there, but very similar to the illustration you first posted, once suitably painted. And as it's from Moonraker Miniatures, not very expensive either.

      http://moonrakerminiatures.com/cultists.htm

      0166 Cultist 2.

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  4. Wow! Great post Steve and you really are a lucky fellow. The carriage I'm sure will be very useful and you're right we often neglect the ancillary figures that can add so much depth to our games if only we would allow room in the gaming budget for them.

    And then we get to the fort...... Lucky, lucky boy! Beautifully done Hils, really lovely work, better than the bought stuff without a doubt. Just excellent!

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  5. Hi Andy, yeah those ancillary bits and bobs are the thing I`ve been concentrating on now, pretty much solidly this whole last year. From servants and slaves, household domestics, cooks, horse minders, surgeons, priests and nuns, kids playing, old men and woman, message runners, map holders, and especially casualty figures. Then there`s animals and... oh you get the picture hehe. Maybe I knew instinctively it was time to start collecting these finishing touch pieces to the table :-)

    As for the fort, I`m over the moon with delight. I sure am a v-e-r-y lucky guy mate.

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  6. {{The problem I have with this particular project is that I have the urge to buy a miniature of the relevant era, paint it up and send it to you, just so that I could have a character featuring in your game.}}

    oh GOD yes, do it, do it Jez, and I promise you a starring role in the new campaign (which will be an ongoing thing, hopefully lasting many years).

    Wow these Moonraker minis are incredible and that one you pointed out would make a perfect wendigo wouldn`t he. I couldn`t help myself, I had to look through the lists. I was blown away by some... no... MANY of these little beauties.

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  7. what a fabulous idea Jez just had. Oh go on Jez you have to. It would be simply so cool to have you in this campaign as an actual long term player character. I`ll make a deal with you, you do it and I`ll paint one too and we can both be in it.

    Is this going to be a joint participation game Stevie, or will it offer some play by mail openings in the future, or is it solely a solitaire affair of your own making?

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    1. Sold. And I think I have the perfect figure in mind, which comes in both mounted and on foot versions. Tricorns away!

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    2. Sold. And I think I have the perfect figure in mind, which comes in both mounted and on foot versions. Tricorns away!

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    3. Woooohoooooo Jez, I`m looking forward to it mate.

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  8. I`m afraid this is a long planned solo thing I have been working on for myself, for some considerable time now tar`. Its finally reached fruition and already begun, in fact I`m playing the first game now and writing it up as I go... first part should see these pages in about week. And yesssssss, anyone wants to be a character in it or even make their own mini and send it to me, I WILL add them AND the mini to the game. I`ll even happily send the respective minis back to their owners one day, tired and bloodied, when the campaign finally ends (of the character meets an untimely end).

    I will also be running a D&D `Play By Blog` game after Christmas, and will be looking for around 4 to 6 players for it nearer the time. Also I`m hoping to be able to host a bigger You Tube weekly - live rpg campaign around Easter time 2017.

    so yeah, fun times ahead :))

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  9. Steve, it must be so satisfying to be able to say, "I finally have all the minis I need. My life is complete." Good on you, mate. I imagine few of us will ever get to say that. I doff my cap to you.

    Your scratch-built fort is simply stunning. I'd love to see a tutorial from Hil on how she made it. Even a list of materials used would be useful. This is easily one of the best home-made scenery items I have ever seen. It is a thing of beauty!

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  10. Hi Bryan, lovely comments. How does it feel having my collection finally complete? Hmmmmm, strange really, kinda mixed feelings. Like when you realize you are too old ever to dance at the night clubs and discos any more because you look and feel too old alongside your kids (and just embarrass them too much anyway haha). Its a life milestone, the realisation that a stage... a long part of a routine is over. But nice also because another door opens and a new chapter begins. For me this new chapter is the knowledge that once all my current unpainted stuff is done, that's it, no more to have to do; coupled with the lovely realisation (and practical application) of the sheer amount of hours I now have just to PLAY and enjoy everything I have.

    Hil`s fort is lovely isn't it. I asked her and she says give her a few weeks... once the kids... who are currently visiting... go back, and she will write a basic tutorial on how she did it, and the materials she used.

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  11. Gorgeous, this carriage is gorgeous...and I love the fort, I hope it will be as effective as beautiful!

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    1. The carriage is gorgeous isn't it. It is one of my pride and joys, and will indeed see much use and action in my games I think.

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  12. Thank you Phil, Hilary is marvellous at creating models and terrain from scratch, isn't she... just from ideas out of her own head or even from photos/pictures. She`s a real treasure. The fort `plays` really well, and I have ran it through its paces with a few skirmish games already (using the Songs of Drums and Tomahawks rules).

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  13. Thanks Phil, I really enjoyed making the fort for him. Wasn't hard, and only really took me a week (with papier-mâché, glue, and paint drying time). The hardest part was collecting and cutting to size all the sycamore sticks from my garden.

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