Thursday 23 December 2010

Season's Greetings

Looking back over 2010 with some satisfaction (somesay smugness, I guess). It's been a good year, with the following "Classic Wargaming" highlights:
  • painting the Saxe Coburg regiment -  this keeps up the pledge of doing at least one "Classic Wargaming" unit per year, amongst all the other wargames activity on other projects. John Preece once said about his own collection building, that his goal was to simply add a fresh unit each year, of whatever he fancied doing, the idea being that over time a very satisfying collection can be created without too much fuss. Very much in the spirit of things in the CW genre methinks.
  • the Spurlash Down game at Claymore in August - a chance to play with the troops in good company (thanks Alan, Phil and Tony), and meet some fellow wargamers who have a similar approach and appreciate this style of wargame.
  • Publications such as Wargaming in History vol 2, and The Wargames Annual. Whilst not specifically "classic" in style, I include them here simply to bring them to your attention, and to say I am proud to have been involved.
  • The Classic Wargamer's Journal - I never realised that dipping my toe into the water would reveal such a fantastic level of support. We have sold 273 Pilot Issues so far, and have 178 subscribers, which is way beyond what I had imagined. I'm delighted, and thanks must go to you all for supporting the venture, and not least to those who have contributed articles and have made the whole thing a joy. The many emails and letters expressing really heartfelt thanks are very much appreciated, and gave me a genuine boost to launch the project proper after the Pilot Issue. 
  • receiving a letter from Don Featherstone- more on this in the next issue of CWJ.
Talking of CWJ ... I am starting to collate the many articles received for the next issue. As you can probably imagine, I am enjoying this immensely as my "business pen" has been put down for the year and I am now able to relax in an armchair with a glass of something seasonal. I can promise an issue that is definitely something to look forward to bouncing onto your door-mat in mid-January.

So, here's to you all... CWJ contributors, subscribers, and all visitors to the blog. Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas, and a prosperous 2011. I trust you will have some exciting items under the tree, and maybe a game or two over the holidays.
Best wishes

Monday 20 December 2010

Wargame Carols!

On one wargame forum, there's been a bit of mickey taking of what we might term "Old school Wargaming".
So, in the spirit of the season, here's a Carol (to the tune of Good King Wenceslas) about the old wargamer setting out his traditional boxing day game...

Old School Wargame, all set out, on the Feast of Stephen.
Contoured Hills lay all about, simply stacked and even.
Brightly shone his troops in gloss; others mocked him cru-el
This old gamer soldiered on, not trying to be kew-l

Ok, ok,....

More of these on my warcabinet blog.
Pop on over and add yours to the growing list of seasonal wargames tune-smithery.

Thursday 16 December 2010

A Proper Artist

When I put out a plea for a proper artist to help with some sketches for The Classic Wargamer's Journal, I was contacted in a matter of hours by one subscriber, Chris Gregg of Cheltenham, UK. 
Now, this is one talented fellow... on the wargaming front, where his well-painted armies do battle on exceptional terrain adorned with wonderful scratch-built edifices (I know this, because I've seen the pdf he produces for his club... and more of that anon); and also on the artistic front. Well, he's a proper artist you see, so as you can imagine I snapped up the chance to have Chris produce some sketches for CWJ (next issue is already looking good- but I would say that, wouldn't I?!).

In addition, having perused Chris's online gallery, I also commisioned a painting for my Christmas present. Now, the picture arrived - a wonderfully composed and executed piece showing a vedette of Bercheny Hussars on patrol.I only got a sneak preview before Liz whisked it away to be framed, but Chris also sent me a black and white scan of the piece, which is reproduced here, simply to show you what Chris can do, and as an insight into some of the artistry that will enhance CWJ in future issues.

You can view Chris' online gallery (see links). But be aware... he's a busy fellow, with a number of exhibitions coming up in 2011 for which he is producing some exquisite work. So, if you want to avail yourself of his services, you'll have to join the queue! If you are serious about getting some beautiful, original art, from someone who knows how to paint both landscapes and military subjects, I can certainly recommend Chris.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Otterlitz game

Just to show I haven't disappeared, buried under a deluge of submissions and subscriptions for CWJ (keep em coming...!), here are a few pictures taken at the home of Alasdair Jamison during a game last weekend. The game was a SYW version of the Otterlitz scenario recently featured in CWJ (and originally in War Gamer's Digest in 1957).

above: the town of Otterlitz, on the Rusian right flank, is about to have it's peace disturbed.
Above: Alasdair (on the left) seems confident about the Russian dispositions.
Below: the Prussians cross the stream
Above: The Prussian cavalry second wave charges the Russian right-centre.
Below: And now the chink in the armour of the Russian defence becomes a hole and the Prussian Dragoons prepare to exploit their breakthrough.

All figures from the collection of Alasdair Jamison.
I played the part of commander of the Russians (General Ivan Awfulitch), defending the ridgeline, ably asisted by Alasdair, with David Shuttleworth (see Wargames Amateur blog link) and Steve Ayers being the Prussian attackers. A full report is on David's blog... and in truth he has been kind to us Ruskis in his account. The reality is that whilst the game did hang in the balance till mid afternoon, in the end we were well beaten.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

It is done!

Tomorrow will be posting day... with all copies having now been printed, stapled, and enveloped, CWJ volume I, Issue 1 will be posted out to subscribers.

PDFs will also be sent out to those who have subscribed to that format.
If you haven't received your PDF by tomorrow evening (Thursday 14 October, say 8pm UK time), let me know (but check your spam filter/ junk email first!).

Similarly, I can see no reason why UK hard-copy subscribers won't have theirs by this weekend. Certainly, let me know if not received by end of Monday 18th.

And for overseas subscribers, last time it seemed to take around 5-7 days to reach the various corners of the globe. Let's say anyone who hasn't received by 28th October, let me know.

Similarly, I'll be glad to hear from the first to receive theirs (from the overseas folk in particular) - let us know on the comments here. That way we can see if anything has gone awry. Let's see who is the first Canadian/ US/ Australian/ New Zealander, and European recipient).

Cheers for now...

Wednesday 6 October 2010

CWJ October issue

Coming soon...

Classic Wargamer’s Journal, Volume I, issue 1... Autumn 2010.

I am really enjoying putting together this issue, which will be out next week... and includes such articles as:

Spurlash Down – the second part, with a full battle report on the action as fought recently. Stephen Caddy has written part 2 of his FireRaisers piece which began in the Pilot Issue, and Chris Stringer has provided a battle report titled, Advance Guard.
Greg Horne’s ACW project also features, and Peter Verduyn begins a series on his own Hyboria campaign. Stuart Asquith is marooned, and also goes in search of Hook’s Farm. David Shuttleworth offers ideas for scenarios set in the dark, and Stokes Schwartz sets out the case for Imagi-Nations. There’s also a skirmish scenario set in Darkest Africa by Ian Allen, along with a number of other battle reports (the regular feature Tales from the Frontline is up and running). We draw another “one from the archives” (this time a tabletop action from June 1957), and Conrad Kinch makes a first appearance, with a wry look at the hobby.

All in all, something for many different tastes. Thanks to the contributors, and to those who have already submitted material which will have to appear in the January issue! We’re on a roll!!!! Having a good stock of articles allows me to create a better balance covering many periods in each issue... and as always I’m keen to include battle reports and scenarios that, with a little imagination, can be easily adapted for many periods, any rules, and any number of figures.

And finally, thanks to all who have subscribed. As ever, I am very grateful for your support.

Copies will be sent out middle of next week.

Monday 13 September 2010

Sittangbad Day and other news

Happy Sittangbad Day! 13th September is mentioned as the day the action was fought in Charge, and Blasthof Bridge is 26th September. Presumably the games took place on these dates (I've no reason to make that assertion, or to doubt it, it just seems reasonable to assume!)

above: Blasthof Bridge, my layout.

So, in the spirit of Classic Wargaming, here's a little competition (no prizes, just for fun). How about sending a battle report on one of these two actions for the next issue of CWJ, and I'll print the best. Max 300 words (yep, just a short one). Any period, any scale... just the original essence of one of the scenarios.
Not that I'm stuck for content. In fact, far from it... I have lots and lots, and so much variety too. Thanks to all the writers of articles, and in particular those who have submitted battle reports on the actions contained in the Pilot Issue. It seems the journal has had the desired effect in some quarters of folks actually dusting down the figures and having a few games. The "Tales from the Frontline" section is building nicely.

I'm delighted with progress on the journal in terms of "sales" aswell. Thanks to all who have supported. We have sent out well over 200 pilot issues, and subscriptions are continually flooding in.
Just a small note: when you do subscribe, please note, the Pilot Issue is not included in the sub... it's a different payment. The subscription kicks in with Vol I issue1, in October. And also, please if you are placing an overseas order, do take care to order the overseas versions, not the UK version.

Finally, I've added a testimonial/ feedback page (see navigation bar above) simply because of all the kind letters and emails received. I felt it was important to share this as it's for the benefit of so many who have helped get the venture off the ground. I just do the stapling! I have replied personally to every letter and email received, and will continue to do so... it just takes a little time that's all and if I don't come back to you immediately, don't despair.

Right, back to editing the next issue, which will be out mid October (I'm aiming at around 15th).
Oh, and don't worry, there's some wargaming and painting going on at this end too. More of which soon.

Thursday 19 August 2010


Had the Grand Old Duke of York been a wargamer, he would not only have marched his men to the top of a hill before marching them down again, but he would have also paused at the top, and re-based them before making the futile descent, and then no doubt re-based them again (possibly back to their previous basing arrangement) before making them plod back up the incline, ad infinitum.

When it comes to basing, one of the joys of this Classic Collection project is that such decisions don't have to be made. That is, with the exception of the Pils Holstein regiment who originally were in their unbased form, then got based (twice if I remember correctly) in order to function alongside other armies, but have recently returned to their raw state so as join the other Stadden infantry in this army.

The Grenadier company has always remained unbased, and performed magnificently at Spurlash Down as an independent company. They have now been joined by the other companies, to form a 4-company regiment (Grenadier company, 2 Line companies, Light Company) following the Charge "mixed regiment" organisation structure.

And as a pure indulgence, this has allowed me to set up a long desired shot of "infantry advancing on a broad front", similar to that iconic image of the Electoral infantry at Sittangbad in "Charge".

Left to right: Erbprinz Regiment, Saxe Coburg Regiment, and Pils Holstein regiment, with Garde Jaeger Light Infantry company skirmishing to the fore.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Claymore Report - The Action at Spurlash Down

For those not familiar with the scenario as outlined in the Pilot Issue of CWJ, the action at Spurlash Down is the first in a series of battles in The Blast Valley – a sort of expansion on Blasthof Bridge, that hardy annual of the Classic Wargame.

Under the banner of “The Forth Coalition” (us all being within striking distance of the River Forth in SE Scotland), Alan Gruber (perhaps better known as Tradgardmaster in blog land), Phil Williams, Tony Barratt (a visiting pal) and myself, played out the game at the Claymore show last Saturday. A full report will be in the next issue of the journal, but herewith some photos taken by Phil Williams of the action unfolding.

above: A company of The Erbprinz Regt gets its feet wet.
below: an overview of the table as the game progresses

The game seemed very well received, with people recognising the retro nature, and saying things like “it’s straight out of the pages of Charge”, which was most gratifying, for that’s exactly what we wanted to portray. We managed to play the game right through, and with all 4 of us busily nattering to visitors to the table throughout I hope we were able to answer all questions and simply engage with all-comers.

A fun day. And we picked up a little prize for the display, which was very heartening given the number of high quality, “realistic”, diorama style tables on show. It’s good to know that people “got” what we were doing.

Thanks to all who visited the table, stopped by to chat, and buoyed us up!

And thanks for the continuous support of Classic Wargamer's Journal, both in terms of buying the pilot, and subscribing. And for the number of articles and contributions being sent in. All very welcome indeed.

Friday 30 July 2010

CWJ Subscription

Well, thanks to all who supported the Pilot Issue (which will continue to be available for those who want to sample the journal before subscribing).
Within the first 4 days we reached more than a hundred, and the steady pace has continued this week. So, along with the great many personal messages by email and letter which I received, as well as the positive comments posted here, this gives me every confidence that we can produce a regular quarterly journal.

Here’s how it will work:

Future issues of Classic Wargamer’s Journal will be available by annual subscription only.

Subscriptions are for one Volume of four issues, each issue being produced quarterly.
Your subscription entitles you to the current four issues, at whatever stage you subscribe during that 12 month period. So, for example, if you subscribe just as issue 3 is published, you will receive issues 1 and 2 immediately, as well as the current issue 3, and subsequently issue 4, before your subscription is then due for renewal for the next Volume.

Subscription for Volume I includes:
• Issue 1 - Autumn 2010 (October 2010)
• Issue 2 - New Year 2011 (January 2011)
• Issue 3 - Spring 2011 (April 2011)
• Issue 4 - Summer 2011 (July 2011)

and is £18 for UK subscribers, £24 for overseas subscribers; including postage.
The electronic (pdf ) version is also available online at £12 for the 4 issues.

Subscribing online - you may subscribe to both hard-copy and electronic versions using the paypal button

Subscribing by post and paying by cheque (available only to UK subscribers I’m afraid):
Please send your full name and address details (include postcode), plus a contact phone number or email address with your cheque for £18 payable to “Phil Olley” to:
Phil Olley, Classic Wargamer’s Journal, Phoenix House, 12 Houston Avenue, Glenrothes, Fife, KY7 6FL

It’s great to have you onboard. With your support, I know we can make this something really special, something to “put the joy back into my hobby of wargaming”, as one of the first subscribers wrote in a letter last week.
Thank you to those who do support the journal, and click on the button...

Button Removed 30 July 2011. No longer taking Volume I subscriptions

Tuesday 20 July 2010

CWJ - Pilot Issue is here!

The Classic Wargamer's Journal - Pilot Issue now available.

includes: 4 tyabletop scenarios (Spurlash Down and vanguards Collide, by me; Fire Raisers by Stephen Caddy; and a battle report from the very first issue of WGD back in 1957); plus articles on Tabletop generals' characterisation by Jeff Hudelson, and a guide to painting big units by Stokes Schwartz; an ACW riverboat project by Alasdair Jamison, and Bill Protz gets marooned!

Hardcopy and PDF versions are available via the paypal button below. Pricing includes postage.

For the PDF version, you will receive this as an attachment to an email from me within 48 hours of your order. Please ensure your spam filter is set to receive ok from phil "dot" olley "at"

For those who wish to purchase by cheque (UK only I'm afraid), send £4.50 payable to "Phil Olley" to:
Phil Olley, Phoenix House, 12 Houston Avenue, Glenrothes, Fife. KY7 6FL.

I am massively indebted to everyone who has helped put this pilot issue together, and has been good enough to offer encouragement, sage words of advice, as well as a fine batch of articles. Let me just say a public "thank you" to all of them.

And finally, thanks in advance to those who support this little venture, click the button and buy the Pilot Issue...

BUTTON REMOVED 30 JULY 2011. No further orders being taken for Pilot Issue

Monday 19 July 2010

Not long now!

Thanks for your patience. I know many are eager to get hold of the Pilot Issue of CWJ.
I'll be putting the paypal button up tomorrow, and also details of how to acquire a copy by post.

Sunday 18 July 2010

CWj- answering some queries

As I suggested last time, things have been progressing at some considerable pace, and we’re on track to have the pilot issue of The Classic Wargamer’s Journal (CWJ) available in the next few days.

It’s been encouraging to see the comments, and I hope in this post I’ll be able to answer some of the queries raised.

The aim is to recapture some of the “raw” nature of the hobby, before the glossy veneer took over. There will be scenarios and battle reports a plenty and some “how to” articles… eg scratch building etc. Simple stuff that anyone can do, plus game/ campaign mechanics articles.

Each article being no longer than about 4 pages, and some just a single page, all in, it should run to around 30 pages per issue. That will be pure content. Nothing fancy, but good old “war-gamers’ brain food”.

Periods covered:
efore I forget to mention it, this is not just for Horse & Musket folk. In fact, the Tony Bath ancients flats (as used in the Hyborea Campaign) which sit in my cabinets, are warming up for future issues, and there are a number of different periods catered for in the pilot issue. Many of the scenarios are generic, not period specific.

well, I thought long and hard about this… and for no reason other than gut-feeling and the overall ethos of the thing, I originally decided to simply take the hard-copy route.
However, in the biggest U-turn since Bonnie Prince Charlie reached Derby, I have now decided to offer a pdf issue aswell. So you’ll have the choice. Well, it would be silly not to use the technology we have in the interests of allowing as many people as possible to access CWJ. For that reason, I think the early pioneers of War Gamer’s Digest (Scruby, Featherstone and Bath) would approve.
For those dyed in the wool hard-copy only types, just ignore the pdf option!

by paypal online. Yes. I’ll be sticking a button on here so you can buy it directly, from anywhere in the world.
I’ll also have the facility to take cheques by post from UK subscribers.

The Pilot issue will be a one-off single payment – a chance for you to “suck it and see,” before committing to 4 issues, and we won’t be getting into subscriptions until the next issue.

To cover the cost of production (it would be a very short print run - in fact I’ll be doing it in-house myself) and the cost of postage, I anticipate each issue will be approx £4.50 for the hard copy UK version, £6 for overseas (including postage). PDF will be less expensive of course.

More news in the next few days…

…Get ready for the launch!
Or should that be the “Blast off” or even “Blasthof”!!!

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Introducing the Classic Wargamer's Journal

Having recently been fortunate to have the loan of Charles Grant’s collection of War Game Digest journals, starting from issue 1, March 1957, I’ve been absolutely enthralled by them. The whole tenor and style of articles has me captivated. They contain a real sense of wargaming community. Of course, that was way back then, when the pioneering spirit amongst the 40 or so initial subscribers was just that – pioneering.

But… now…

Well all of this got me thinking…

So, if a very amateurish publication was produced (no gloss, no adverts), just a sort of “club newsletter” style magazine or journal, perhaps on a quarterly basis, in the Classic Wargaming style, focusing purely on game reports, scenarios, the odd “how-to” piece, with contributions from many people, would others be interested? It would be something to look forward to clunking through the mailbox once a quarter!

And let me also say at this point, I view this very much as an “amateur” in-house publication, like one of the many wargames society newsletters/ journals. And even less “polished” than many of them - I’m talking staple-bound plain paper here guys!!

The big question is how do I find out if it would be worth doing?

The Classic Wargamer's Journal (CWJ)- Pilot Issue
Well, I have decided to put together a “pilot” issue.

And with a number of collaborators (some of whose names you will instantly recognise!) we’re working on getting it out at the end of July.

More news in the next day or so…

Monday 12 July 2010

General chit-chat

Well it looks as if the overwhelming vote on the mascot name went to "Blatter", so "Blatter" it is. Thanks for your input!

Meanwhile, I had meant to post replies to questions made in the comments earlier, but decided to post the answers here:
The base boards are painted with a Dulux emulsion paint (Soft Moss 2). It's actually a little more subtle than it appears in the pictures.
As for the crimson coat colour on the saxe Coburg regt; just plain Games Workshop Foundation Paint - mechrite red. It's more a claret colour really.

Finally, a table is booked at the Claymore show (Edinburgh, 7 August) for a small Classic Wargaming demo game. This is along with a couple of pals, under the banner of convenience of "The Forth Coalition" (us being based around the River Forth). So far, I've got the scenario drawn up, and all the figures are ready. Just some finishing touches and a handout to do. More news as the preparations continue over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday 8 July 2010

Promised Pics

As promised a couple more pics of the Saxe Coburg regiment.
Here in line formation, standing before the buildings that made up Eisenberg Village for the refight of Sittangbad we did at Partizan way back (2006... really, that long ago?).

These buildings (4 in total) are now for sale, and if you would like to make an offer, drop me an email: phil.olley at

And here the Saxe Coburg Regiment join fellows of The Erbprinz Regiment and the Pils Holstein Grenadier company, "advancing on a broad front".

Meanwhile, the other evening I spent a merry couple of hours surfing (something I very rarely get chance to do) and as a result I've been catching up with "blog husbandry" by adding links that I had neglected to include. If your blog or website doesn't appear, it may be an oversight on my part, so please do give me a nudge (in fact, why not just put the word "nudge" in a comment), particularly for those who have been kind enough to link to this blog. I do like to reciprocate where possible, and feel it's only right. So belated apologies to anyone who I hadn't previously linked to... hope that's now rectified.

Right, just a few hours to go in the big vote for the Saxe Coburg mascot name... Blatter is in pole position, just now. Is there time for a big turnaround?

Tuesday 6 July 2010

The Hyndford Plaque

Thought this photo would be of interest to readers. This is a photo in the collection of Charles S Grant reproduced here with Charles’ kind permission.

The photo was taken by David Chandler, who later owned Peter Young’s house “Hyndford Yately” and had the plaque put up:

On the reverse of the photograph David Chandler has written
“Put up at Hyndford on 13 October last: the 10th death of PY and the 30th (not at all death) of the SK.”
Which would make it 1998.

Of course, the name Hyndford appears in Charge… remember? Lord Hyndford, the gallant British officer who was charged with the Imperial rearguard defence as Lentulus made good his escape at Sittangbad. And a quick google search will reveal something of the historical figure, Lord Hyndford, which I’ll leave to you…

Friday 2 July 2010

Saxe Coburg Regt completed

Saxe Coburg Regiment is complete as you can see.

It is evident that the football theme got to me from the outset (I designed the uniform based on the Aston Villa kit of course!). And with an earlier comment/pun (thank you Donogh) about them forming up in 3 lines, I had to include the 3 Lions Passant on the flag.

There's also the mascot. Every regiment should have one! And in the case of The Saxe Colburg regiment I decided to use one of the Vendel mastiffs.

Now, as to his name... well, I'll leave that to you, dear readers, as the latest poll shows a number of options...
Place your vote!

click on picture to enlarge.

And thanks all for following progress.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Not even close

... or should that be Klose?

In the end I failed my challenge to get the Saxe Coburg Regt complete before England's exit from the World Cup.
It was a tall order, but with limited painting time over the past week, it was always a tough one. As the photo shows, I have managed to complete the main colours on all three companies, so with just the details (hat lace and buttons) and muskets to do, and the command figures, I fell short.

But, and it's a big "but", I can't help feeling I kept my side of the bargain, and that somehow the challenge was really failed by the bunch of prima donnas sent out to South Africa.

Let's hope the Saxe-Coburg Regiment perform rather better when they get to the table. Sigh...

Thursday 17 June 2010

Need to paint faster?

Following England's opening game there were some unkind suggestions that if the Saxe Coburg Regt was to be completed before the team were packing for home I had best get painting faster!!!
Here is the latest state of play: 2 companies with main colours blocked in.

Thanks to all those who voted in the poll. Most thought this regiment would lose the race to be finished in time, but it was close (20 : 17).
The third company is up next, but over the next 10 days there will be only sporadic painting due to a number of commitments that take me away from home. So I'll have to get my skates on when I return.

And thanks to those who continue to leave comments. Always appreciated. To the chap who asked about Old School ACW rules/ War Games Digest; can you let me know your email address and I'll contact you direct.

Have a great weekend from wherever in the world you are watching the football!

Friday 11 June 2010

Painting Challenge update

Thought a "Work in Progress" shot would serve here before I settle down for the big kick-off, and start studying the Wallcharts and sticker albums! Come on, admit it, we all do it!

Anyway, here’s the latest on Saxe Coburg regt. Main colours are done on first company, so going along steadily.

Next will be to take second company to the same stage, then the third, before finishing off all the detail, buttons, sword hilts, muskets, hat lace, etc, on the whole regiment. I have a few commitments over the next couple of weeks that will erode painting time, so don’t think it will be plain sailing. Thanks to those who’ve voted so far … a close run thing!

Tomorrow sees me settling pre-match nerves with a visit to the Durham Wargames Show. A longish trip for me for just an hour or so at the show, but I have other business to attend to in Durham so it coincides nicely. So I may see a few of you there.

Whatever you are doing this weekend, have a good one!

Monday 7 June 2010

Rekindling the Flame

So what got the Classic War-Gaming flame re-lit this past couple of weeks?

Well, in fairness the pilot light is always aglow, and it only takes a small spark to ignite a bushfire of enthusiasm (are you liking these “inflammatory remarks”?!).

Now, recently there have been two contributory factors:
1. Reading through old copies of War Games Digest on loan from Charles Grant. I’m up to 1960 (from 1957) and loving them.
2. A throw-away remark (always be wary of these) at the recent Falkirk show by the man better known as Tradgardmastere in the blogging world. “Why not display some of your Classic war-games collection at a show… just a small table?” he suggested, helpfully (cheers Alan!) Well, I’m not sure whether I will do that yet, but it did get me thinking about the project again.

So, as I say, the Staddens got dusted down (fortunately I had an unpainted unit in stock ready for such an eventuality) and this will become The Saxe-Coburg Regiment, so far just undercoated and the faces started:

Seeing a unit laid out at the start like this always makes the painting task seem a little daunting, so I needed some motivation….

The big question is, what will be finished first… The Saxe-Coburg Regiment, or England’s World Cup “dream”?!

The regiment will comprise 3 companies (each of Officer, Sgt, drummer, and 16 infantrymen) plus regimental command (CO, Std bearer, RSM) , as per one of the organisation options offered in Charge - actually, I’ll be a drummer short as the flash on one of the castings was just too much to remove and he had to step out of the squad at the last minute. Perhaps the Rio Ferdinand of the regiment!

Will England be on the plane home before The Saxe-Coburg Regt is on the tabletop?
Place your bets (just for fun) in the latest poll, and wish me, and England, the very best of luck! Viewers in Scotland have their own programmes (alright, alright...sorry, couldn’t resist).

Friday 4 June 2010

Back in from the cold!

Seems a while since The Classic Wargaming part of my overall collection was centre stage, and yet it’s the one part I do return to as a sort of relaxation from more earnest efforts with display projects like the Thirty Years War and so on.

Joe Morschauser once wrote:
“You say you have been war-gaming for years and you are bored! You say you may give it all up because you have tried everything! ... What you need is some fresh air to clear your head, some sunshine and a return to fundamentals –of war gaming that is.”
The War Game Digest, March 1961.

There’s certainly something in that…
And the sun is shining here. So, I’ve been getting the Staddens dusted off again, and a new battalion is on the painting stocks.

I’ve also done some minor tidying up on the blog appearance, and added a Followers gadget for those who like such things (it has taken a while for the penny to drop - with apologies to all you experienced bloggers who must have been rolling your eyes!!!).

Anyway, suffice to say there’ll be more developments on this blog over the coming weeks. Meantime, here’s just a quick photo from my archives …

The Pils Holstein regiment. My first full regiment of Staddens painted for the Sittangbad demo game 4 years ago! What? Four years? Really...
Tempus Fugit, as they say...

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Items for sale

Last summer's clearance sale of many items gave me lots of cabinet space. The trouble is, I keep painting figures, and so a further sale is required!
In addition to clearing some space, I am adopting a whole new appraoch to my collection... they call it rationalising I think. So any items on the periphery just have to enjoy a new lease of life with a good home elsewhere...
Many of these figures have appeared in wargames magazines over the years, and do hold some nostalgic value.

So offers for the following, by email to
phil.olley at

click on pictures for larger image.

First up: SYW Prussian Dragoons (with GMB flags) - 12 figures.

SYW Prussian Hussars: von Reusch regt and Zeiten command figure

Bosniak Lancers:

Next up, some Huns (Foundry figures);

Picts (again Foundry): 23 figures in all.
Dark Age spearmen (12 figures; including 10 from the old Citadel Dark Ages range... circa early 1980s)
and Old Glory Jannissaries (24 figures)

And now, a small skirmish collection for the North West Frontier:
starting with Gordon Highlanders

20 Pathans:

10 Sikh infantry:

and a scratch built Afghan village:

In all cases, sensible offers will be considered. Just drop me an email for more information or to make an offer.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Virtual Tumbleweed

Don't you just hate those blogs which are left with virtual tumbleweed blowing through them, are never updated, etc etc. So dilatory!

So... Sorry!

The Thirty Years War project, as some of you will know, is uppermost in that small segment reserved for the hobby in what passes for my mind!

However, even though the Classic wargaming part of my wargaming life is currently "off radar" I thought I should just pop a post up to assure you I'm still here!

So, with regard to Classic Wargaming, what to say, what to show?

Well, a while ago Bill Protz (known to many I'm sure as the man behind the BAR rules, amongst other fine contributions to the hobby), sent me some photos that I have held in archive for occasions such as this. And I am therefore able to present Brigadier Peter Young's Victory Column (remember the quote from Charge: "Celebrate your victories, and disguise your drawn battles").

Thank you to Bill for this.

Tempted to make one myself, and I'm sure many of you already do this for your campaigns.

Thank you all for continuing to visit (I suspect more in hope than expectation these days), and I promise I'll be back with more goodies sometime soon. As always, I have a plan...

Friday 22 January 2010

The Force so far

Been a busy week or so here, so not too much time left for blogging. But just so you know I'm still around here's a picture of the force so far, built over the past couple of months:

Artillery Battery, Erbprinz Regt, Marchmont Dragoons, and Garde Jaeger.

Just now I have a painting lull as regards the "Classic Collection", with some Thirty Years War items taking priority, but there's another consignment of Staddens on the way, so I should be catching up with the Swedish Ice Hockey results any day soon (for those not aware, when ordering the Stadden figures from Peter Johnstone at Spencer Smith Miniatures, they come from Sweden well-packaged, including some newspaper wrapped around for extra protection!).

Meanwhile, have a great weekend.


Wednesday 13 January 2010

Building your forces - Part Three

Cavalry were the most problematic arm to decide on as the figures photographed in Charge do not appear to be available any longer. So I had to make some compromises here, still capturing the essential Classic look. I confess to feeling that the Stadden horses are rather large for my tastes (albeit they are actually properly proportioned). And in Charge, other than some of the Staff Officers, I’m not sure any of the Cavalry are Stadden figures. In fact I’m pretty sure they're not, and the cavalry depicted look rather smaller than the Stadden infantry, so I decided to begin with a regiment of Holger Erikkson figures.

So, first up… The Marchmont Dragoons, which are as close in terms of pose as I can get to the cavalry regiment shown in the book.

above: The Marchmont Dragoons
Note: extra officer included to bring the organisation up to 30 all ranks. It seems far neater to have each squadron having an individual officer, and the Regimental standard accompanying the CO and Trumpeter.

and below, in Black and White for those who prefer.

A word of warning, however; these figure castings are no longer in the best state, and in reality do not represent value for money. They are very fragile at the legs, and require a lot of cleaning up. The detail is not very clear, making painting less than enjoyable, so I resolved to apply a very basic style to simply enjoy the finished spectacle.
For variety, my next cavalry regiment will be something different, and will be shown here in due course.

And, onto Light Infantry, The Garde Jaeger:

Above: The Garde Jaeger, Light Infantry company.

These are a copy of the figures used in Charge for the unit of the same name, being of course Napoleonic Russian Pavlov Grenadiers! Again, if this seems anomalous to you, and you wish to create light infantry more consistent with a specific army or time period, for example by creating some genuine Grenzers or Jagers for the mid 18th century, there is no shortage of such figures. You may even wish to incorporate a company of The Black Watch, or The Arquebusiers de Grassin. The choice is yours.

As I indicated previously, I felt that in Charge the Light Infantry were too powerful for my tastes (my preference being more 18th century than Napoleonic), and particularly when operating 4 company mixed regiments of the Line, where one of the companies is a Light Company. This would put too many light infantry on the table for me, and probably prevent players adopting linear tactics, and edging more towards a Napoleonic style game. I therefore decided to field my Light Infantry in individual companies, rather than as the 2-company battalions shown in the book (although I may also use the full 2-company regiments when suited to a specific scenario). To further diminish the impact of the Light Infantry, I may also limit their operations and firepower within the rules, but this is again a purely personal preference reflecting my desire to have my Light Infantry as a “nuisance arm” rather than “battle winners!”.

and for comparison, here are the relevant plates from "Charge!"

Note the plate showing a “regiment of light infantry” appears actually to be two separate companies of Light Infantry (note one half have dark gaiters- these I believe to be one company of the Garde Jaeger LI regt- and one half have white gaiters, and I suspect the latter is the Light Company of the Erbprinz Regt as it comprises 16 privates, reflecting the organisation of Light companies of Line regts in the book).

More next time.

Monday 11 January 2010

Clearing up confusion... I hope

Following the discussion in the comments section after my last post (by the way, thank you to all who left many kind words), I thought it would be appropriate to clear up a little of the confusion around things like basing, rules and the like.


This Classic Wargaming collection is a project I am doing which is very different from my other wargaming armies. The "basing" (or lack of) is a direct result of the desire to recreate the units shown in Charge, unbased.

For my other armies, as used in some of the books with Charles, I have used multiple bases, and am quite happy with the way the rules worked. We used rules from The War Game, with some slight alterations to accomodate multiple bases, but really it was very straightforward.

For the Classic collection, I am creating rules based around those in Charge.

To give a simple visual reference as to the difference between this Classic collection, and my "normal" 18th century wargames collection, I hope the follwing picture will help:

This is my "normal" 18th century collection, with multi-basing.

Compare this with the photos of the classic units seen on the rest of this blog.

Now, I'm not saying one is better than the other. But only one is what I would call "Classic Wargaming"... and I am approaching it in the same way that someone reconstructing a Classic Car would be reproducing it as faithfully as possible to the original.
One of the most liberating factors with reproducing units as seen in Charge is that no decisions need to be made about basing at all.

Cavalry that tend to topple over if left are being glued onto thin pieces of metal, purely for stability. Apart from that, it's very straight-forward.
I think...

Sunday 10 January 2010

Building your forces - Part Two

Taking the organisation of a simplified force laid down previously, now to choose the actual regiments.

Remember first, I am not being straight-jacketed by a specific period or theatre of war, and am happy to mix my units from any in the Horse & Musket era. And, as in Charge, that means being comfortable with the anomaly of Napoleonic RHA taking the field flanked by SYW Grenadiers, and supported by AWI Light Dragoons if need be.
Now, for some, such anomalies may be too much to bear, and in particular for those people not “au fait” with the book, and whose experience of wargaming is confined to the past few years where period accuracy and faithfulness are taken as a given. If you object to such a cavalier approach for your own Classic collection, then feel free to indulge in your own way, and to stick to a specified time-frame, or even to go as far as replicating only Prussians from the years 1757-59 or whatever your chosen personal preference.

Not to labour the point, but for me, it was very much a conscious decision to go with the essence of Charge, and the mildly eccentric approach of having anything I fancied from the “Horse & Musket” period.
So, first, I wanted to replicate certain units from the book, and in particular:
The Erbprinz infantry battalion
RHA batteries (for both sides)
a company of Garde Jaeger Light Infantry

pictures of the Jaegers coming soon... when I've finished painting them!

That left me with a few units to invent and name, all of which will be revealed in due course. Somehow it’s a good feeling to have given your army some sort of character from the unit names even at this early stage.

We’ll come onto replicating the cavalry and my first regiment of horse next time.
Meantime, do continue sharing your army building activities ...

Thursday 7 January 2010

Building up your forces

Most recently completed unit is a battery of artillery, seen here during a Sunday afternoon drill session outside "The Fox and Hounds" obviously!

One of the questions people seem to like to ask is how to build an army. Now I’m not going to go into chapter and verse on this, and everyone will have their own way, their own approach, but I thought I would just share some ideas over the next few posts, and include some of the jottings from my wargaming journal where I tend to plan such things.

In the case of this Classic wargaming collection, I already had a few Spencer Smith battalions, as you’ve seen previously, but to recreate the essence of Charge in particular, I want to have plenty of Tradition/ Stadden figures and others to give that certain “look”.

The sensible (?!) approach seemed to me to simply build a small Stadden force, and use the SSMs to add to this as the collection grows.

So, what would a small force consist of?
Remember, we aren’t talking thousands of figures here. If your table is as big as 8' x 6' you can still fill it with just a few battalions. A 6' x 4' table means even fewer are required.
Given that I’m intent on the large battalion unit organisation, the following sketch scanned in from my Wargaming Journal seems a good target to aim at…

scanned in from my journal : click to enlarge:

Meantime, I would be interested to know whether anyone is currently starting from scratch to build an army of this style, inspired perhaps by what they have read here, or elsewhere, and simply following the journey. So feel free to comment. Your story may help other readers too. As always all comments are welcome, even if I do not get chance to answer specific queries in too much detail.
Right, back to the painting desk for an hour...