Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas! - Recap of 2014

Napoleon & Roustam.
The miniatures are from Perry.

What better way to end 2014 than by finishing my first ever command stand of history’s no.1 All Star: Napoleon. In this case the “Corsican Monster” is trotting around the battlefield protected by his mamluk bodyguard, Roustam. I’ll probably do the “sitting on a chair at Borodino” command stand as well. I’ve got the Foundry minis for it since 10 years back, so it’d be a shame not to, but all that belongs in 2015.

View from behind - quite a saber Roustam is carrying around.
Perhaps the Mamluk equivalent of a doppelsoldner!

I’ll skip format and not give you a long write up on old Boney – although my love of all things French is perhaps well known to any regular readers. Instead I thought I’d take a minute to summarize 2014. What projects did I get into, what books did I read and what sites and museums did I visit during the past year. 


PAINTING PROJECTS OF 2014

The Danish Horse Guards, Battle of Lund 1676

The Scanian War: A late 2013 skirmish game project with Michael “Dalauppror” inspired me to read up on the Scanian War period. An interesting and dramatic time in Scandinavian history, with large battles fought between Denmark and Sweden over the supremacy of the North in the late 17th Century. With the great 28mm range from Warfare miniatures to support a larger project, Jesper, Michael and I embarked on a complete battalion based collection for the war. Later during the year, an opportunity arose to go and host a gaming table at the Danish gaming convention, DFFcon, taking place in the historical royal armoury in Copenhagen. Of course this just added to the motivation for painting. Michael, Jesper and I had a great time and the collection will probably expand, although at a lower output, in 2015.


French lignards and chasseurs skirmishing.

The Franco-Prussian War: In my opinion the mother of WW1. A big interest of mine, if not the biggest when it comes to history, and 2014 saw some great additions to my growing collection in 28mm. I also read some great books on the period, and managed to visit some of the key battlefields this year accompanied by my lovely and understanding fiancé. These visits really fueled my inspiration. History comes very alive when you’re standing on the actual spot where a certain charge took place or viewing and understanding the size of an area where a battle was fought.


The 5th French Hussars. 

Borodino 1812: A project started in 2013, with the aim to build a complete French and Russian gaming force for this behemoth of a battle, using my current favorite ruleset - Black Powder. Over the past year I managed to expand my collection with 5 units, of which my favourite would probably be the French hussars. When visiting Salute, I found a suitable model of the Great Redoubt cast in resin by Grandmanner, which I'm looking forward to painting up. At the same time the Perrys are constantly expanding their range, so this project is moving forward with good steam.


WW1 Imperial German Battleship, Friedrich der Große.

WW1 Naval - The Battle of Jutland: Speaking of steam. A late addition to the project list of 2014 perhaps, but a project that really took speed after the Scanian War project was parked after Copenhagen. Inspired by my friend Mark’s collection of 1/285 planes for Check Your 6, I ventured out of my comfort zone of 28mm, and into the wonderful world of WW1 naval modeling, using GHQ’s highly detailed 1/2400 range. This period and scale has fast become a personal favourite in terms of gaming, and I plan to expand both navies for my Jutland project in 2015. Mark is currently working on a US Navy intervention force inspired by the actual 6th Squadron send over to Scapa, and I recommend a visit to his blog – beautiful ships.


SMALLER PROJECTS IN 2014

Spitfires scramble during the Battle of Britain.

Check your 6: Great rules which inspired me to paint up a few Spitfires to pit against Mark’s Luftwaffe collection. We've played a few games during 2014, and I’m hoping we’ll get a chance to play more in 2015.

6 points worth of knights for the Trolle army.

Lion Rampant: Michael hosted a game and got me hooked on these simple and smooth running rules. We’re now a handful of gamers from our local club, each with a12 point army, and running more or less weekly games, mixing up our factions freely in big skirmishes. Great fun and perfect for a 2-3 hrs club night game.

Imperial pike block under the Fugger banner.

Italian Wars: Together with fellow club members Jonas and Michael, I started building a battalion based collection in 28mm for the period around the Battle of Pavia, 1525. I really loved painting the Pro Gloria minis, but was waiting for more releases to build my collection. Pro Gloria just got sold to Warlord about two weeks ago, and it looks like they’ll be speeding up the release process in 2015. Looking forward to picking up this project again when that happens.


BOOKS I’VE READ IN 2014

“Borodino and the war of 1812” by Christopher Duffy

The book really zooms in on the battle and that exact point in history. It gives a great account of each sequence of this great clash of arms, and I took a lot of inspiration for what units to paint from the detailed description.


“The Battle of Jutland” by Geoffrey Bennet

G. Bennet offers and interesting insight to both the tradition and mind set of the Royal Navy and German Imperial Navy. He treats the battle in a very useful step-by-step fashion, giving me as the reader a full understanding of why the admirals did what they did. Also, he skillfully recreates the drama of the initial encounter of the Cruiser forces, the climax of Jellicoe’s T-crossing maneuver and Sheer’s night action. It’s a great book on the battle, treating both navies and their relative gains from the battle with great objective fairness in the chapter “Who won?”. Recommended!


“The Franco-Prussian War 1870-71, Vol. 1; The Campaign of Sedan” 
by Quintin Barry

There are two books in this series. The first covering the initial Imperial part of the war, the second focussing on the desperate Republican part of the conflict. I really enjoyed reading this first book in the series, as perhaps the most detailed account I’ve come across on the war in modern publishing. Q. Barry is a methodical writer and each actions and responsible commanders are carefully analyzed to present an objective and detailed overview. The book also offers useful OrBats for the mayor battles of the campaign.


“Alphonse de Neuville; L’épopée de la défaite” by Phillipe Chabert

The book offers a portrait of one of France’s greatest military painters. It’s in French, but that shouldn't put off any period enthusiast. Even for those who don’t read the language, I warmly recommend it for it’s wonderful imagery on the Franco-Prussian War. The book accounts for Neuville's complete life but focuses on the later part, and his friendship and work with fellow master, Edouard Detaille.


MUSEUMS, CONVENTIONS &  BATTLEFIELDS VISITED IN 2014:

The old cemetery gate known from Neuville's painting of the battle.

The battlefields of Mars-la-tour & Gravelotte-St-Privat: I visited this historic site in mid-May, and the weather was mild and generous for walking the grounds. It was my first trip to an actual battlefield, and these two are really a great place to start. With the 2014 addition of the new museum on the Franco-Prussian War located in Gravelotte, the visit to Lorraine was a real success, and something I look back on as a turning point in my hobby and interest in the Franco-Prussian War. 


Napoleon's field furniture along with the famous grey jack and hat.

Musée de l’Armée; Les Invalides: Recently renovated to boast some great new technical details like multiple 80” screens in the floor telling the story of certain battles or conflicts. The rich history of France is carefully presented with a HUGE collection of uniforms, historical artefacts like Napoleon's uniform, hat and field furniture, and offers the visitor a complete coverage from pre-historic weaponry to WW2 and the liberation of France. It’s well worth the 10 Euro entrance fee. In fact, I admit I’d pay that just to gain access to the museum’s book shop.


The fields around Woerth bore many scars of war.

The battlefield of Woerth: Set in the beautiful hilly countryside of Alsace, only a short drive from the German border, this battlefield was really a fantastic place to visit. The post war German remembrance work on the big Franco-Prussian War battles, had seen the construction of a tall panoramic tower in the middle of the battlefield, offering a great overview of the complete area. The local townspeople were very friendly too, and we fell in conversation with an old lady in Woerth, who fetched the local church keeper to open the door at the village church, in order for us to view the memorial plates hung there in honor of all the fallen soldiers. Apart from an interesting history, Alsace also offered some great food and wine. All in all I think it's one of the best, and most overlooked, regions in France to go for a holiday.


D-Day display at Salute - huge and very very impressive.

SALUTE 2014: This show just seems to get bigger and bigger each year. This year I did myself the service of pre-ordering all my purchases, but with the huge amount of minor/new traders present, I must admit to a certain degree of spontaneous shopping as well. Most memorable from this year Salute was probably the unusually high quality of the gaming tables on display. A wonderful weekend in London, and something which will be repeated in 2015.


Beautiful WW1 table with 1/300 bi-planes from Shapeways.

DFFCON 2014: A great little convention held inside the Royal Danish Armory. There was about 10-12 different games of high quality, all open to participation. I got to try out some Samurai skirmishing, walk a tour in the museum, plus we enjoyed great interest in our hosted Battle of Lund table. As an added touristic bonus, Jesper and Michael got to try the Danish open sandwich specialty - Smørrebrød, which was consumed with much approval by the Swedes.

With that summary of 2014, I wish you, dear reader, a merry Christmas! Hope you’ll all have a great one, and find time to sneak away for an hour or two of peaceful solitude at the painting table during the holidays, I know I’ll be!

Thank you very much for your support and readership in 2014!

31 comments:

  1. Awesome painting skills on the figures...would love to have a copy of Borodino and the war of 1812” by Christopher Duffy..I'm still searching :o)

    Thanks for your work and articles during the 2014, looking forward to view/visit your during 2015

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

    cheers,

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    1. Thanks Phil, and thanks for your readership during the past year. I think I found my copy of the Duffy book via Ebay.co.uk - otherwise check out paulmeekins.co.uk, they have a large offering.

      Happy New Year!

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  2. Great write up Soren! It has been a very good year for me! It was great to be able to meet you when I was new to Sweden and also thank you for introducing me to the club. We have had some very fun games and I look forward to this coming year of games. But of course we still have one more big game this year! Can the Union turn things around and change History? We will see!!!!
    Merry Christmas!!!
    Mark

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    1. Thanks Mark, indeed it was a great year. I'm glad you decided to join the club, and took time to introduce us all to Check Your 6. I'm planning to extend my ACW collection in 2015, so there'll be many more games coming up, and plenty of chances to rewrite history. Looking forward to more games in the year to come!

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  3. A fantastic year, no doubt! Splendid minis (and photos!)...can't wait for your future productions...
    Merry Christmas!
    Phil.

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    1. Thanks Phil, it was a pleasure following your blog as well, with those amazing AAR!
      Joyeux Noël!

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  4. Wonderful vignette/command stand, Soren. Indeed, what better commander to send off the old year and ring in the new. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Cheers Dean - I though so too, and since I didn't have any Napoleon painted for my 28mm collection, it was the perfect choice for a wrap up. More Napoleonic stuff coming in 2015!

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  5. What a great year, some very cool minis too, have a great Christmas and New Year!

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    1. A great year indeed, those battlefield visits stand out though. Thanks for your readership during 2014. Merry Christmas Ray!

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  6. Outstanding Napoleon vignette! Great review of a very successful year!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher - I've had the Napoleon & Roustam minis laying around since Salute 2010, so it was about time I got my act together :0) I hope 2015 will offer us both many good hours at the painting table! Happy New Year!

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  7. Your Napoleon vignette is outstanding and your Italian Wars pike block unbelievably colorful. your brushwork is always first rate no matter what the subject but I think my favorites are your WWI naval. Those little ships are detailed expertly. I hope to see more of this in the new year.

    Like you, I enjoy battlefield tours. I hope to see more of your adventures in 2015.

    Merry Christmas, Soren!

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    1. I'm happy you favor the ships, I really love that period and the collection will be growing in the year to come. As I'm looking forward into 2015, I'm taking up work on my ACW collection again. That in turn has inspired a wish to go to the US for some of the real classics in ACW battlefields. But, we'll see - so far only Salute with a weekend in London during April has been settled.

      Thanks for your continued support and readership on the blog, it fuels further motivation as we head into a new year with new project plans.

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  8. What better present than an opportunity to see more of your lovely work? Happy Christmas Sir.

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    1. You're too kind Michael - wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and hope to see more of your wonderful work as well in the year to come!

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  9. Great works, so many great models.
    Merry Christmas to You

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    1. Thanks Max, and thank your for your support in 2014! More good projects in 2015, and soon some Finnish cavalry units for the Great Northern War!

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  10. Good ol' Boney really is agreat little vignette from your talented brushes again! A pretty eventful 2014 it seems and I hope your 2015 will be equally successful.
    While I really loved all your shiny goodness you presented to us in the course of the last 12 month your Franco-Prussian stuff as well as your WW1 Naval goodies were my favourites and I hope to see some more of it in the 12 months ahead.

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    1. Can't beat Old Boney, right :0) Yeah 2014 actually held more events than I remembered, so doing this little wrap up was quite helpful just as a reminder to myself. Happy you favored the FP and WW1 stuff - and rest assured, there will be much more coming on both subjects for 2015. I'm planning a big extension to my Battle of Jutland navy, and for the Franco-Prussian War I've got an "Ace" up my sleeve. But more on that later :0)

      Frohes Neues Jahr!

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  11. Excellent recap Sören !!!

    Glad to have you as My friend and big thank you for all Greate gaming during the year !!!

    God jul !!!


    Best regards Michael

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    1. Right back at you matey, hope you're having a nice Christmas up there in beautiful Dalarna. See you back in the city for some ACW in the weekend!

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  12. Exxcellent overview of the year! Lovely painted figures, great books and your visits to interesting places! Thanks for sharing!

    Happy New Year!

    Greetings
    Peter

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    1. Thanks for dropping by for a read and leaving such a nice comment!

      Happy New Year to you too Peter!

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  13. Superb artwork in your figures and dioramas! Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year :)

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  14. I really love the base you've done on the WWI ship --- can you explain how you did that?

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    1. Thank you very much Jay - I actually did a step by step painting guide to the WW1 Micronauts from GHQ, you can find it here: http://blackpowdergames.blogspot.se/2014/11/a-step-by-step-guide-to-painting-ww1.html

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