Saturday, 22 May 2021

Bits. And Pieces.

 It has all been a bit heavy duty this year – all battle reports which no-one reads and book reports (it would be incorrect to call then ‘reviews’) which most people ignore. Not that I am complaining; being ignored is one of the good things about blogging. You can, after all, claim to be doing things in public while no-one is looking.

Still, in an effort to lighten to mood, I have a few things to show. The first is this:

 This is, of course, a Vauban-style‘ star fort’. The original is from Irregular, the painting and basing is my negative added value. It has to be said that it is a fair weight of metal. The guns, incidentally, are Langton naval guns, and the crew are from the same source.

You might very well object that there are gaps in the walls. Fair enough, there are. This is due in part to the way the fort is cast. If you look at the Irregular catalogue, you will find a picture of the said star fort. If you look more closely you will see that the picture is without the flankers to the bastions. It takes a little while to work out how it is all supposed to interlock, but it does, it is neat and ingenious. However, I am a wargamer who wants modularity in his scenic items, and so each piece has been individually based. Hence they do not really interlock any more. If I had put them onto a single base and filled the gaps, it would look more continuous, of course, but be less useful in a wagame.

I did, incidentally, consider the Leven alternative, but two things stopped me. While it is quite likely a very nice model in its own right it was a) a lot more expensive and b) a lot bigger. While the Estimable Mrs P is indulgent of her husband’s follies, a kit too big to use would not go down well in that quarter.

Still, in terms of the modularity I think it works, given that I can also do this:


 This is, of course, three bastions and two ravelins from the star fort with my very old Baccus walls (which have been painted / repainted), so I can also have a nice fortified town in the corner of the table. Again, I have ‘well garnished’ the walls with guns. The Langton guns and two crew fit nicely on a 10 mm by 15 mm base, which fits nicely in the ravelin and bastion spaces for them, and in the flankers. They also fit on the Baccus walls, as seen, but that was, admittedly, by chance. I also have extended my range of trenches, and also acquired (from the Irregular) some pioneers / sappers and painted up some officers and snipers (which I’ve had for years). I do not have any rules, as yet.

What, you might ask, are you going to do with all this real estate? I confess I am not entirely sure at this point, but a campaign will doubtless emerge. I feel an urge to return to Colonel Cranium; I am unsure as to whether the trace italienne was much used in early modern Muscovy. I have seen one work which categorically states it was not, and another which argues that it was. It might depend on which bit of Russia you are looking at.

Anyway, speaking (writing) of things Muscovite, the latest painting project (is there no end to the madness?) is here:

 This is, of course, an Irregular Muscovite army – 15 bases of cavalry, 16 of infantry, a general, and a gun. Behind them is a Russian village from the same source. All that is needed now is for me to paint them. The cavalry to the left, incidentally, have been cleaned up and stuck on lollipop sticks for painting. They are the noble style cavalry, I think – the horses are barded. To my eyes, they look very much like the Ottoman Spahis of the Porte from Irregular, but then Muscovy was heavily influenced by its Mongol and Turkish inheritance.

This more than doubles my Muscovite forces, or will when they are painted. That might take a while, however. I have also, way too late, solved the lack of Russian-style buildings in my collection, a lacuna noted during the Great Northern War refight recently. It might inspire me to have another go; the pictures still raise a smile.

Anyway, the Muscovites and the village were a birthday present. My birthday, incidentally was in February and, when I unpacked the goodies as above to take their pictures, I happened to glance out of the window and noted that Russian reinforcements had arrived already.

 General Winter had indeed arrived in force, at least for this part of the world in the Anthropocene era. It looks a bit more impressive than it was; as the Estimable Mrs P observed there was enough to be a nuisance without giving us an excuse for not doing stuff.

Finally in this rather erratic post, I thought you might like a picture of our resident Corporate Activist Terrorist and her activities in the snow:

That expression on her face is the one she reserves for ‘What is that stupid human up to now?’ and she is, indeed, curled up next to a radiator. She remains there until later afternoon when the wood-burning stove is lit, and then adjourns to the living room to snooze with her chin on the hearth. All I can say is that some animals have the life of Reilly, except for passing humans with cameras.

The other thing I can say is that I expect a surge of interest in the blog now, as cat pictures are supposed to achieve a boost in views almost as much as pornography is supposed to.


  1. Are the bastion flanks your own creation or did they come from Irregular?

    With you on the modularity front. That’s why I held back from ordering the Baccus fort.

    1. The flankers are Irregular's creation, they just don't appear on the photo on their web site.

      Modularity is good, if you can accept the gaps. I held back from the Baccus fort due to space and cost....

      Apologies for the delay in your comments appearing - I've had to switch moderation on because of a numpty in India advertising their wares.

  2. Came for the fortification, stayed for the cat. Your arrangement of the bastions and walls on one end of the table seems eminently sensible from a gaming point of view. Your cat is most fetching.
    Winter in May - you must be antipodean?
    Finally, I have just discovered your Truth Seeking blog and am mightily intrigued.
    Cheers, M

    1. It does seem to work as modular; I'm quite surprised.

      The cat (Piper) is sweet but very timid, and currently curled up on my feet. Snow in May is an artefact of how far ahead I got in blog writing - hence the occasional Wednesdays.

      The MOAT blog is mainly about me trying to sort my head out after a long and focussed academic stint. I'm not sure I have sorted it, but it has helped, and amuses me. Congratulations, by the way, I think you are the third person to look at it!

  3. I like the fort. Always good to have flexibility with these pieces of terrain as other wise they hardly get used.

    Good luck painting the Russians.

    P.S. I think the cat pictures are as far as you should go. :)

    1. Agreed about the flexibility. There is little point in having a beautifully modelled for if it stays in the box. The Russians are ... interesting to paint, but at least I have more information than I did in the 1990's.

      Don't worry: the cat doesn't like having her photograph taken and I'm unlikely to remove my T-shirt for the internet...

  4. That's a top looking fortress. Excellent how flexible it is.
    Regards, James

    1. Thank you; it looks most useful, I just have not found a use for it yet. I will...