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Thursday, 16 January 2020

Some artillery for my Prussian Napoleonic army

The first batch of renovated artillery pieces I have completed will be allocated to my Prussian Napoleonic army.


I have repainted them so that the gun carriages are Cerulean Blue, which is the closest colour I could find to the colours featured in the reference pictures that I had.

These guns will replace the existing mixture of Del Prado British and French artillery pieces in my Napoleonic Prussian army, which will now be allocated to other formations within my collection.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

It’s Getting a Bit Chile ... is now available in PDF format

I understand the IT’S GETTING A BIT CHILE is now available in PDF format from Wargame Vault.

The cost is $19.95 for a watermarked copy, which makes it comparable in price to the printed edition. This also means that Australian and New Zealand wargamers, who cannot buy the printed edition from Amazon, can now buy a copy of the rules.

Monday, 13 January 2020

J M Thornton's illustrated books about warships

Almost five years ago I wrote a blog entry entitled INSPIRING ILLUSTRATIONS in which I mentioned several books, including the following:
  • WARSHIPS 1986-1970 (published in 1973 by David & Charles Limited [ISBN 0 7153 5998 3])

  • MEN-OF-WAR 1770-1970 (published in 1978 by Argus Books Ltd. [ISBN 0 85242 610 0])


A few days ago, J M Thornton's daughter contacted me via a comment on this particular blog entry. It appears that her father died in 2012, but that she still has copies of his books available for sale for $20.00 (Canadian) plus postage.

As I remember that several people were interested in these books, I thought that I would pass on her kind offer. If any of my regular blog readers is interested in buying a copy of either or both these books, please could they contact her directly via email.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

My latest book sales figures

This month, for the first time, I was able to differentiate between eBook sales for devices like Kindle and those that were just in PDF format. The results look like this:


The effort involved to make books available in PDF format seems to have paid off, and I shall definitely choose to do this in future, especially for the larger format books that do not easily convert to eBook format.

It is interesting to note how some books sell well in paperback format (for example, HEXBLITZ and WHEN EMPIRES CLASH!), whilst others (e.g. THE PORTABLE WARGAME) have sold well in eBook format. It is also interesting to compare the sales of the two larger, US Letter-size books (A WINTER-ISH WAR and TROUBLE IN ZUBIA) across the three formats in which they are available, especially as I am thinking of publishing my next wargame book in this larger size because it will enable me to present my rules in a somewhat less cramped way.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Guns, guns, guns ...

One thing that became very obvious as I began the process of moving my collection of Napoleonic figures into their new 'formation in a box' storage, was the general shortage of renovated artillery pieces that I had to hand. I have therefore decided to rectify that situation, and I am currently in the process of restoring some ancient pieces of artillery that I recently rediscovered (they date back to the late 1960s/early 1970s, and I think that I bought them from a shop in Hornchurch, Essex) as well as the rest of the yet-to-be-renovated Del Prado British guns that I have in my collection.

I expect that this will take me three to four days, after which I hope to begin work on renovating the Del Prado French artillery pieces in my collection. Once that is completed, I hope to begin moving the remainder of my Napoleonic figure collection into their new homes.

Friday, 10 January 2020

It's Getting a Bit Chile ... is more than just a book of rules

My copy of IT'S GETTING A BIT CHILE: TABLETOP WARGAME RULES FOR LAND CONFLICT IN THE WAR OF THE PACIFIC 1879-1884 arrived in Monday's post, and although I had read the draft rules, this is the first time I've seen the complete text, including the illustrations.


This is an excellent book in so many ways. Not only does it give a brief but very informative history of the war (including a chronology) but also includes a uniform painting guide (written by Alan Curtis) and a short bibliography of English language books that deal with the events of the war. (It is interesting to note that one of the books in the bibliography was written by Clements R Markham, the cousin of Admiral Sir Albert Markham, whose biography I recently reviewed.)

The rules are designed to be used on a gridded playing surface. The author uses 15mm-scale figures on 30mm wide bases on a 3-inch squared grid for his battles, but the rules can be used with large or smaller scale figures just as long as the size of the grid squares is adjusted to match any changes to the size of the base frontage.

The book is 76 pages long and is split into the following sections:
  • Introduction
  • A Brief History of the War
  • The Basics
  • Figures, Scales & Formations
  • Unit Quality and Equipment
  • Turn Sequence
  • Movement
  • Charges
  • Disorder
  • Firing
  • Hand to Hand Combat
  • Routing, Retreating, Retiring and Rallying
  • Commanders
  • Winning and Losing
  • The battle of Dolores/San Francisco
  • Playing "It's Getting a Bit Chile" without squares
  • Resources
  • And Finally
As an aid to readers, the author has included simple and easy to understand diagrams in the relevant sections of the books (e.g. permissible Infantry Formations).

The book also contains 15mm-scale colour representations of the battalion/regimental and national colours carried by the combatants, and purchasers have permission to copy these and the Disorder Markers for their own personal use. The back cover of the book has a very helpful Quick Reference Sheet (QRS) on it, and once players have fought through a couple of moves, this is probably the only playing aid that they will need during the rest of their wargame.

One particular aspect of the rules that I like was the way that the personal attributes of the actual commanders has been integrated into the rules. For example:


I understand the Graham Evans is hoping to publish his TAIPING ERA rules later this year, and I hope that sales of this book are sufficient to encourage him to do so.

IT'S GETTING A BIT CHILE: TABLETOP WARGAME RULES FOR LAND CONFLICT IN THE WAR OF THE PACIFIC 1879-1884 was written by Graham Evans and published in 2020 by Wargaming for Grown Ups Publications (ISBN 978 1 797 56040 3). It is currently available in printed format from Amazon.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: World War II-era

One of my loyal followers and users of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules - Stephen Briddon - has started his own blog - NARRATIVE SOLO WARGAMING - and his first blog entries are a couple of World War II-era battle reports.

Pitched Battle 1




Pitched Battle 2




Please note that the photographs featured above are © Stephen Briddon.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

The demise of the Blackheath Tea Hut?

Today's blog entry is nothing to do with wargaming. Instead, I am going to mention a local south-east London landmarks that was demolished yesterday as a result of an accident.

The tea hut on Blackheath has been there for over one hundred years, and was built to serve the needs of the growing number of motor car drivers and motorcycle riders using the old Roman road (Watling Street) that connects London to Dover. The section of road upon which it is located is now called Shooters Hill Road, and the hut was located at the junction with Goffers Road.

(Goffers is the eighteenth-century word from which the modern word golfers is derived. Golf was played on Blackheath from the time of the accession of James IV of Scotland to the English throne as James I. He set up his court at the Royal Palace of Greenwich, whose grounds (now Greenwich Park) abut the heath.)

Over the years, the Blackheath Tea Hut has become a local landmark, and until yesterday it continued to supply thirsty and hungry drivers (including a large number of police officers) with hot and cold drinks and food. It was not, however, popular with the Blackheath Society, which was set up in 1937, 'to preserve and improve Blackheath'. They have regarded the hut as an eyesore for years, and no doubt hope that it will not be rebuilt.

It would appear that at about 8.00pm last night a Mercedes car driving eastwards up Blackheath Hill left the road just after it becomes Shooters Hill Road ... and hit the tea hut. The impact was so great that the hut was turned through ninety degrees, and the member of staff inside was trapped and injured. She was rescued by a number of bikers who happened to have stopped at the hut for a drink, and was admitted to hospital with broken ribs and injury to her sternum. At present there is no information about the fate of the car's driver or whether or not they had any passengers in the car at the time of the accident.



Both images © @dougiedickson/Twitter

At least three ambulances and several fire appliances attended the scene as well as numerous police cars. Local roads were closed until late into the night, and bus services across Blackheath were diverted.

According to a statement made this morning by the hut's owner, the remains of the building had to be removed overnight as it was almost completely demolished. Emergency work had to be carried out at the site as the hut had both mains gas and electricity supplies which were severed, and were therefore dangerous.

For three years I drove past the hut almost every morning and evening going to and from my place of work in Brockley. I also had a car accident nearby when my old Mazda Tribute 4x4 was driven into by a builder's truck whose driver had not realised that I had stopped because the traffic ahead of me had come to a halt. His claim that he had been blinded by the sun was laughable, as we were both travelling eastwards (in the same direction as the Mercedes car that hit the tea hut) at about 5.00pm ... when the sun was behind us! Needless to say, his insurance company agreed that he was liable, and my car was repaired at no cost to me or my insurers.

I do hope that the hut is rebuilt, and that the Blackheath Society do not manage to block its rebuilding. Over the years, too many of these old local landmarks have gone (usually in the name of 'progress'), and it would be a shame if this one was not reinstated.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Formations in a box: Some Napoleonic examples

Having experimented with a couple of World War II 'formations in a box', I decided to see if it would work with figures from my Napoleonic collection ... and it does!

The A5-sized WestonBoxes will hold:
  • 8 x Infantry bases (i.e. 4 infantry units)
  • 1 x Artillery base
  • 1 x Artillery crew base
  • 2 x Cavalry bases (i.e. 1 cavalry unit)
  • 1 x Commander base
As these are ideal-sized formations for use with my PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME rules, I hope to move the entire collection from the A4-sized Really Useful Boxes they are currently in into A5-sized WestonBoxes.

The following are examples of formations I have already moved over into A5-sized WestonBoxes.

French Imperial Guard (Old Guard)

The French Imperial Guard (The Old Guard).
French Imperial Guard (Young Guard)

The French Imperial Guard (The Young Guard).
Dutch-Belgian Army

The Dutch-Belgian Infantry Division. The artillery has yet to receive its equipment.
The Dutch-Belgian Cavalry Brigade, the Infantry Reserve, and the General Staff.
Prussian Army

The Prussian 1st (Regular) Infantry Division.
The 2nd (Landwehr) Infantry Division.
The Prussian 3rd (Landwehr) Infantry Division.
The Prussian 4th (Landwehr) Infantry Division. It has yet to be allocated its integral Cavalry Regiment, and its artillery is currently equipped with a French gun.
The Prussian Landwehr Infantry Reserve, Garrison Infantry, Reserve Artillery, and the General Staff. The artillery has yet to receive its equipment.
Hanoverian Army

The Hanoverian Army (which includes an Infantry Division, Infantry Reserves, and the General Staff). The army lacks any cavalry and the artillery has yet to receive its equipment.
Brunswick Army

The Brunswick Army (which includes an Infantry Division and the General Staff). The army lacks any cavalry and artillery.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: American Civil War

Recently, Dave Humm wrote an interesting PORTABLE WARGAME battle report on his COMMENT-DELETED blog. The American Civil War battle used the nineteenth century rules from the book, and the scenario was based on the Battle of Hook’s Farm from H G Wells’ LITTLE WARS.




Dave has also written a detailed review of my PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME on his blog.

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Dave Humm.