Category Archives: slinghot

Update….painting, Slingshot and The Fort

Having gone slightly negative in my Neutral credits I figure I’ve got ’til the end of the month to get back positive again! I’ve made a slow start on the first 12 of my RSMs now that I’m happy with the colours. Flesh is done and hopefully on to jackets tomorrow night. It’s going to be a push to get them all done for the game but I figure it should be doable. Next week is half term so I’ve got two days looking after my daughter and I should be able to send her down the road to friends for an hour and get some painting done!

This week also saw the arrival of the latest Slingshot, 274 January 2011. I’ve only had a brief look but as ever, the letters page is a good read, there is good commentary on the tournament scene, and an interesting article, Scipio’s Masterpiece: The Battle of Ilipa, by Patrick Waterson which is right up my street! Other articles (full details here ) will get read on later visits to the loo! Big change this issue though is in the style of binding. The last few years have seen a proper bound magazine with glossy cover. The glossy cover remains but the mag is now folded and stapled. This is mentioned in the Editorial and the reason seems to be cost, which I fully understand, but I think it is a move in the wrong direction. When I re-joined the SoA I was VERY impressed with the quality of Slingshot, both in content and the physical presentation. It looked professional. The stapled version loses some of that shine I think. Content is, and I’m sure will continue to be, excellent, but it just feels ‘less’ when you hold it. I hope they can reconsider and return to the old binding. To be honest, upping the sub to cover it would probably not put anyone off!

And I’m also currently reading Bernard Cornwell’s The Fort. This is a novelised account of the Penobscot Expedition in Summer 1779 where a British force of fewer than one thousand Scottish infantry were sent to build a garrison in the State of Maine and the State of Massachusetts was determined to expel the British. I’ve read a lot on the AWI but mostly connected with the Southern campaigns and although I knew the event by name I had read little detail about it. I’ll not go in to the story here but I’m just over three quarters through and although I’m enjoying it, the enjoyment comes more from the subject matter than the quality of writing. I’ve read most of Cornwell’s books and have enjoyed them, but always found the style a little repetitive if you read a few one after the other (Pratchett suffers from this as well). His Arthur trilogy (Warlord) was the only set where I think he really hit the mark as a storyteller. However, The Fort seems just too formulaic. The characters make the unfortunate slide in to caricature, the marine officer and the American leaders (Lovell and Saltonstall) being the worst offenders. His portrayal of the main British officers, McLean and Moore, is much better. And I hate the ways he always finishes a section something like ‘Because the Fort wasn’t ready, the Americans were coming and it was too late’. He does this lots, and lots and it starts to grate. He also seems to repeat things way too often, as if you might forget them. It’s almost like the crap TV shows now where they spend a couple of minutes after the break telling everything that happened BEFORE the break! I just found it annoying…

It sounds a little harsh because I am enjoying it. It has made me want to read more about the expedition and also the Minifigs Continental Marines I have primed ready to be painted as British Guards may now actually be painted as Marines! I don’t know if he has other books planned around the AWI. I hope so. But I also hope he puts a little more creativeness into the writing.

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Society of Ancients

Last month, with exactly £20 burning a hole in my Paypal account, I decided to join the Society of Ancients. I can remember looking at copies of Slingshot many years ago and to be honest not being too impressed. I think then I was less well read on my areas of interest and more into the ‘game’ then (my ‘game’ being DBM) so the historical articles were of little interest. Things have now moved on. I spent 10 years in archaeology and through that formed a deeper interest in my ‘periods’ and slowly pulled together a decent library of both books and journals. And now, as family life takes its toll on my gaming time I find myself doing more reading, some painting and little gaming! So with the current return to Ancients I thought I’d give the Society another chance.

With membership confirmed I awaited the back issues of Slingshot for this year. Now this proved a good time to join for me as this years Society battle was Callinicum 531 AD and my favourite general, Belisarius. When the issues arrived there were a good few background articles for the battle, all of interest, and just to top things nicely, next years battle is Zama! So all in all some good stuff for me there. I have to admit the quality of the journal is excellent. The glossy cover and decent quality paper and binding made a very good impression, such that I ordered the 2008 and 2007 back issues. Now I may go back earlier, either on DVD or paper, but the 2007 cut-off covers what I see as the current resurgence in Ancient Wargaming. The whole Warmaster, WAB thing, the ‘death’ of DBM and the rise of DBMM, FoG and Impetus (and others!) are all covered both in battle reports, rule reviews/comparisons and articles by the authors themselves. Now I’m currently trying FoG for 15mm and will be using Impetus for my 6mm and with my lack of playing time it’s been useful to read informative articles on the rules. I particularly liked one where the author argued that DBMM was more suited to the BIG battle (say 30-40,000 a side) where as the feel of FoG was more akin to c.10,000 a side as reflected by the manoeuvres and control exercised. It almost makes me want to pick up DBMM and give it a try. However, I’ve been monitoring their Yahoo group and there is a LOT of traffic discussing upcoming amendments and I think I may wait until the next version appears!

I’m also intrigued by Neil Thomas’s Ancient and Medieval Wargaming and may pick up the book at the next show. Pete and Craig at Tyneside Wargames, also have their own Great Captain set of rules which are currently being rewritten and popular at the club and I would really like to give these a try in my games. I’ve played a couple of BIG games at the club with them (a couple of years ago) and enjoyed them and I think they deserve a wider audience. I’d quite like to try some comparison games versus DBMM, FoG etc. and write them up for Slingshot but that would probably require more time and effort than I could commit at the moment.

Either way, I’m enjoying reading through my Slingshots and getting a feel for the state of Ancient Wargaming at the moment (albeit a slightly skewed one!) and looking forward to the next years issues and the run up to the Zama battle.

And tonight, in a spare hour, I cleaned up 16 Balearic slingers, 3 spanish cavalry and prepped the first 12 6mm figures I will use for bucellerii. When I get chance to actually apply paint to them is anyones guess!

Oh.. and I’ve finally got round to sorting the skewed header for the blog!

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