Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Posts Tagged ‘Partizan’

Party’s end for Partizan?

Posted by Martin on June 2, 2011

Red lancer by Clive Farmer from The Waterloo Companion.

Red lancer by Clive Farmer from The Waterloo Companion.

Like many others, Peter F., Paul Hammond (of Alban Miniatures) and I ventured to Kelham Hall, Newark last Sunday to attend Partizan. I say “many others” but, in truth, it was a smaller number than I’ve ever previously seen at this show.

I don’t quite know what to make of the reduced attendance. On the one hand, the extra space made the whole experience more enjoyable. I only got rucksacked once by an apologetic indvidual who reversed into me at a bookstand and there was plenty of room to work round the traders and demo games not to mention have a good chat with people. However, reduced attendances can’t be economically viable for Partizan in the long term and could be harbingers of its ultimate demise – which would be a sad thing.

We chewed over the possible reasons for the lower body count on the journey back to Calpe Towers and came up with several plausible explanations: the occurence of Sheffield Triples the previous weekend, the current economic climate, the fact that it was a Bank Holiday weekend and the absence of big names from Partizan such as Elite, Front Rank and the Perrys all came to mind. I suspect that no one factor was solely responsible but rather a combination of circumstances conspired together. However, since that discussion with Peter and Paul, a darker thought has crossed my mind which I almost dare not whisper. Is it just possible that time has caught up with Partizan? Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of my favourite shows and I always think of it as a day where our hobby gets together to socialize more than, say, Salute which is much more of a product-led commercial opportunity (nothing worng with that, mind). And I do love Kelham Hall’s quirky atmosphere.

Yet, now that we’re well into the 21st Century, can Partizan really have a healthy future if it carries on as it is? How much longer will paying attendees put up with the confusing rabbit warren of rooms, the dismal lighting and the woeful catering? I’m not convinced that the predictability of the traders’ stands is still outweighed by Partizan’s reputation for attracting the nation’s best demo games. Reluctantly, I’m edging towards the Darwinian conclusion that Partizan must adapt or die.

Enough philosophising, what of our day out itself? There were a number of positives. Notably, the chance to meet up with fellow hobbyists who I rarely see during the rest of the year. As ever, it was a delight to chat with the likes of Bill Gaskin, Peter Royle and Barry Hilton and catch up on their projects. Barry, in particular, has several irons in the fire. His Lace Wars demo game provided him with the ideal opportunity to display the proofs of the forthcoming new edition of his Beneath the Lily Banners rules and his new range of figures for the period. Of more relevance to BfK, we also had a chat about his plans for Republic to Empire and one development in particular has piqued my curiosity. Barry has plans to record short video clips of played through sections of the rules as an aid for newbies. So, if you’re not sure how to handle a cavalry charge or use manouevre points for an exploitation, then these video tutorials could be just what you’re waiting for. I think we may have to be a little patient though because Barry confided that he’s waiting to get a new camera before leaping into the director’s chair.

Peter F. remains convinced that “it’s all my fault” that he placed an order for a series of painted resin buildings with Grand Manner. We had a fascinating discussion with the proprietor Dave Bodley (you can see a photo of him in the recent Wargames Illustrated article about the stunning Gallipoli terrain he created for Battlefront at this year’s Salute). Of course, it’s not really my fault that Grand Manner has produced a limited edition range of buildings just perfect for the Autumn 1813 campaign in Saxony. Just like it’s not my fault that the next addition to the range will be a particularly tasty farmhouse complex. For now, I resisted that purchase but I did succumb at one of the second hand book dealers and acquired a copy of Mark Adkin’s The Waterloo Companion (Aurum Press, 2001). This is a book I’ve been tracking for a number of years since its initial publication but I’ve always avoided actually buying it because of its hefty retail price. So I’m rather delighted to have picked up this “pre-owned” copy in good condition at a reasonable price. All the more so because I’ve long admired the 16 pages of full colour uniform plates by Clive Farmer that adorn the middle of this volume.

The observant among you will have surmised that this outing to Partizan included a stop-over at Calpe Towers. Once I’ve gathered my thoughts, I’ll relay the latest gleanings about the French figures and, if everything goes to plan, share some new photos with you. In the meantime, I’ll sign off on a personal note. I was sorry to hear that young Simon, the “son and heir” of the von Peter estate was recently taken seriously ill with appendicitis. He’s well on the way to recovery now but I just want to wish him well from his friends up here in the Northern Hemisphere. But don’t feel too sorry for young Simon – after all, not many young lads have the Perrys travel halfway round the world to wargame with them!

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Phew!

Posted by Martin on May 25, 2009

What a scorcher! And I don’t just mean the welcome sunny weather over the last couple of days. After a good night’s sleep I’m able to reflect on a hectic weekend of hobby-related activity that has seen me escort von Peter and ADC Simon to Calpe Towers and then onwards to Partizan and back with Peter F. It’s hard to know where to begin so I think it’ll be simplest to take things in chronological order.

That means we’ll start with an overnight stay at Calpe Towers enjoying the hospitality of Peter F. and family. There was a lot of discussion about the usual topics: painting, uniforms, the imminent Saxon range (and some exciting plans beyond that!) and the upcoming adjustments to the website. It doesn’t take psychic powers for me to deduce that many BfK regulars will want news of the Saxons above all else.

Well, the full set of production moulds for the march/attack musketeers is complete and I’ve got a set of castings sitting here on the desk beside me in Bfk HQ as I write this. The number of variants is astounding: more than enough to do a 32-figure battalion without a single figure repeat. And there’s plenty of little details to admire across the figures. The three foot officers and three mounted officers demonstrate this brilliantly with their range of headwear, jacket and legwear options. Just make sure you read the uniform notes with care to get the colours right before you wield your paintbrushes!

Peter’s going to write up the release notes this week and “magic dip” some figures for proper photographs for the new section of the Calpe website. With that in mind, I’m going to restrain myself from including any homebrew sub-standard pictures of unpainted figures here. I promise you’ll see the official shots on BfK first plus, of course, WIP on ones that I paint. The intention is to aim for a 1st June release date. Meanwhile, on the Saxon front, plans are in hand for a second set of musketeers in advancing pose, line grenadiers, artillery and two sets of light infantry (plus all the other troop types required for the 23rd and 24th divisions of Reynier’s corps). Peter is also in the middle of sculpting the new versions of the Prussian dragoons that will have the saddle furniture integral with the mounted figure rather than on the horse.

Peter F’s already painting his first Saxon battalion so we spent a lot of time inspecting the workbench and leafing through uniform plates discussing colours, accurate uniformology and reasonable conjectures for campaign kit. This set my mind racing about the possibilities and I’m going to have to adjust several of my painting palette choices.

Sunday saw us take the road North to Partizan at Kelham Hall. The only disappointment was that none of the traders had the supplies I was hoping to pick up but that’s easily resolved with a bit of online ordering and more than made up for by everything else at the show. It really is a day when you seem to bump into everybody and share a pleasant cup of coffee and/or chat. I enjoyed seeing a WW1 trench warfare game, a bijou 1066 game that would have fitted on my dining table and what looked like something inspired by Ice Station Zebra.

There was also a second chance to see two of my favourites from Salute. The Perry Twins ran their Quatre Bras game again but this time with added cotton wool smoke and flashing red LEDs to simulate musket and cannon fire. If I’d had my tripod with me I could have captured the effect on camera for you. The whole thing was a source of much mirth and Alan didn’t seem to averse to the suggestion of visiting to take proper pictures. The other news from the Quatre Bras game is that the Black Powder rules are almost ready for publication. We do seem to be on the cusp of the apeparance of glut of new Napoleonic big battalions rulesets and I feel a big comparison review coming on at some point.

The other Salute re-appearance was Barry Hilton’s Peninsular War game. This time with the added attraction of several of Barry’s friends from Scotland. I was especially delighted to see David Imrie again. Particularly because the game featured his massive 100-figure French legere unit (split into two 48-figure units for the occasion but we re-arranged them when Barry waan’t looking) that I mentioned the other week. It looks even better in reality that in the photos and David confirmed several things about how he’d put the unit together and based it that will certainly inform my future unit plans. David also had an only slightly smaller French line unit involved in the action. I’m hoping he’ll publish some pictures of this soon too. And there’s the prospect of a Napolenic game if we can hook up on my usual Summer trip to Scotland. My sister-in-law will have to manage without the pleasure of my company on one evening of the holiday!

Posted in Calpe Towers, Clubs and Shows, Forward Patrol, Saxon Musketeers | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Planning for Partizan

Posted by Martin on May 17, 2009

If all goes to plan, at precisely this moment in a week’s time, I’ll be enjoying the refreshments on offer at Kelham Hall as I attend Partizan in the company of Peter F, von Peter and his young ADC, Simon.

Kelham Hall is at Newark (that’s “somewhere up North”) and I live in the West Country, so it takes quite an effort to get there and, as a consequence, I don’t go every year. This year, the trip has taken on the proportions of a ruthlessly planned mission because I have to pick up two of the party on Saturday afternoon and head for basecamp at Calpe Towers. Then we have an overnight stay there prior to our assault on the summit via the A1.

All the planning should bring a worthwhile reward though because Partizan is one of my favourite shows. Partly that’s because the very fact that I don’t go every year means I don’t get the chance to fall into complacement familiarity with it. Also it’s because Partizan has a unique atmosphere of it’s own in the way it combines the qualities of a big national event with the cosy camerarderie of a local club show. But the main attraction of Partizan is that it usually boasts the highest quality demonstration games.

You can never be quite sure which games and traders will be there until the day itself (the website doesn’t seem to be entirely up-to-date) but I’m already licking my lips at a second chance to see the Perrys’ Quatre Bras demo and the League of Gentleman Gamers’ offering. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the latter will provide an opportunity to inspect David Imrie’s new large French units. Ever since I saw some photos on Steve Dean’s forum I’ve been wondering about adopting some of the ideas – in particular the 60x60mm square bases.

The extra real-estate on these bases is something that David has used to enviable effect. It’s provided room for impressive use of the Silflor grass tufts. One thing I quickly realised is that there’s no point in being stingy with these tufts – the mass effect of lots of them to create drifts of grass is definitely the way to go. David also placed other items like dead casualties in this extra space and I intend to emulate him as well as adding abandoned drums, broken artillery equipment and muddy varnish puddles. All of this will come into play as soon as I get started on my first Saxon battalion. I’m also considering a move over to the 3mm thick versions of the Litko plywood bases to avoid warping given the larger 60x60mm size.

In fact, I’m getting really itchy palms just typing this and I’m hopeful of having a full battalion’s worth of Calpe Saxon musketeers in my hot little hands RSN. Peter F. and I have been discussing the changes we will need to make to the Calpe website when the official release date arrives and I hope you’ll appreciate the specific improvements we’re hoping to make.

In the meantime, I’ll be the one at Partizan feverishly looking out for the Andrea Miniatures white paint set (thanks for the tip, Harry the Elder), Silflor 6mm Autumn grass tufts and that trader who had Litko bases at Salute. If any of you know where I should look, let me know!

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