Welcome to Marauder Moments - a chronicle of the Mortimer Street Marauders; the games we play, the rules we use, the figures we play with and the scenery they fight over. Hope you enjoy these pages and maybe call back to catch up with our escapades.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Reflective moments - 2015 & 2016

As usual in January the Blogesphere is littered with retrospectives on the past year and some ambitious goal setting for the next - 2016.

I have just reread my similar post for last January much of which still stands. I think it's worthwhile taking some time to look at what happened in my life & hobby life, celebrate some good times and set out some plans for this year, so why not do so right here? I don't keep a diary as such so this is as good a place as any to put down some reflections and New Year Resolutions.

Russian & Prussian infantry advance in an 1813 game - stirring stuff indeed.

First up the wargames side of life. We played some excellent wargames last year, many of which are documented right here. The 100 Days campaign which Rich ran isn't written up and may not ever feature as the pictures weren't great and much of it is a blur now. Rather like the Borodino batrep it's on the maybe pile for the future. Speaking of Rich, he left Wiltshire for pastures new where I hear he is flourishing in his new role. Rumour has it he may sell his collection too, follow your heart my old friend. Rich also sold off the club's vast 15mm Napoleonic collection which injected some £'s into the Marauder coffers. This is earmarked for lots more French cavalry and more shelving for scenery besides other flotsam & jetsam!!! We might try to buy some of Rich's Old Guard cavalry if he really sells up and if it's affordable.

New for 2015, these Neopolitan Guards are fine & dandy fancy pants soldiers!
As one Marauder moved on we welcomed a new one. Tony Laughton (or French Tony) joined the ranks and fitted right in. He's caught the "Big battalion 28mm Napoleonic bug"  hook line and sinker. Having painted so much for Chris and I it took him to actually play a big game to get it and boy has he got it. Tony's first big command was as Napoleon in the Bachwald Schloss game where his grasp of strategy won the battle convincingly. Like everyone, getting to grips with learning to control masses of troops over time and space is very hard to master. The understanding of rules takes time as well. All of these aspects still challenge me greatly which is why I love Napoleonic's so much. Tony has already amassed a load of French to paint which is lovely as long my stuff still gets done too...

Napoleon and chums - another newbie for 2015. 
In 2014 I bought no new wargames magazines and for the most part this continued into 2015. I picked up a couple to read in Devon over the Summer and a few in November. I really shouldn't have bothered and will endeavour to steer clear in 2016. From what I read you'd think the hobby at large is tearing itself apart with civil war over points v scenarios debates, basing issues, competition games v friendly types, d6 v d10 etc etc. The historical articles have never appealed to me and still don't, give me a real history book anyday. There are so many well written blogs with so much talented work and engaging commentary I am finished with the mags - sad in a way as those early ones were inspirational and still are. I don't buy porn mags anymore for much the same reason.

These Scots joined the Peninsular collection in 2015 - apparently controversial on the TMP.  
In 2015 I bought a lot of new toys and got a lot more painted too. Surprise buys were the Napoleonic naval fleets I picked up on impulse along with some fast play rules by Osprey, I think, one day we'll play them, maybe. To go with this I ordered a blue hex cloth from some American outfit - the time to deliver was boring to say the very least, Pony Express or just Pony & Trap - Crap?

Prettiest addition in 2015? Very possibly so!
Talking of fill in games we managed to play no DUST this year so may flog the lot, no Bolt Action but we will do, some Maurice and will do more. Tony and I played one game of DBM which was excellent; not a picky whiny beard fest, more cheese and wine chin stroking. I picked up a large painted Carthaginian army and a larger Seleucid army too, both 15mm Essex Miniatures. Maybe there's a post on these one day. We Marauders are a fashionable lot so picked up the shiny new Team Yankee game and banged out some 400 point 6mm games on the larger table - it looks very wrong in 15mm on a 6 x 4. It's an OK game, just, the jury is out for me. I looked at Blucher but it's not for me either - 28mm's rock.

A new Austrian command base from Chris's army - just needs the base dry brushing old chap.  
So GW killed off Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I can't help thinking this is a very silly move. I have spent a huge amount of very enjoyable time playing Warhammer over the years starting with 1st Edition and ending up on 7th before parting company with it when 8th went wrong for us. I have sold all but a dozen Citadel Models having owned thousands. However I have picked up the various books and cards for my fave 5th Edition so may explore the Oldhammer malarky at some point. The calamitous Age of Sigmar leaves me colder than Nagash's intimate parts. I might look at Epic 40k again one day.

My fave edition of Warhammer - "Herohammer". 

In 2015 I painted  NO soldiers at all. This is a good thing.

Newly painted toys joining my collection were as follows,
3x36 Westphalians, 3x36 Nassauers, 4x36 Poles, 2x32 Middle Guard, 1x36 Portuguese Legion, 1x40 Brits plus 10 lights, 1x12 Austrian Uhlans, 1x36 Austrian Hussars, 1x12 French lancers, 1x36 Neopolitans, 1x36 Corsicans, 1x36 Piedmontese Legion, 3x36 Italians, 1 Polish battery, 1x10 French Cuirassiers, 1x48 Hungarian infantry, 2x36 Austrian Jaeger. Some generals too. Also the aforementioned 15mm Ancient armies and Fleets. I think that's it, maybe some others here and there. Many of these you haven't seen but will do in time. Rich's departure left some holes in the joint collection but that's being addressed rather well I think.

The lead pile was reduced considerably in 2015 but somewhat replenished over Christmas as Elite Miniatures had their annual sale. I now need to get this lot painted, 120 more Brits, 3x32 Spanish, 3x36 Poles, 1x Spanish battery, 1x24 Portuguese cavalry, 2x24 Polish cavalry, 2x40 Old Guard, 2x32 Middle Guard, 1x36 Westphalian Guard and 1x24 Westphalian cavalry, and 1 RHA battery. Lastly I found 36 more Foundry Bavarians which Nigel Cox had been hiding along with 24 Foundry Bavarian cavalry. This is a good thing.
 Actually there are also four battalions of Prussian Reservists but they can wait till 2017.

8 more battalions plus bits from Elite Miniatures arrive to replenish the almost finished lead pile.
No figures were sold but will be this year - the painters need paying.

I want to complete a small Peninsular collection and then call it a day for the most part on the Napoleonics. I know there will always be something to add but surely the bulk of this is done now, surely? I need some young Guard thinking about it, and some more Spanish and some......

Peninsular action - I miss the sunshine! 

Portuguese infantry make up the majority of my Peninsular allies so far.
Gaming wise in 2016 we have a loose plan - as usual we will play weekly - it's therapy. Between now and April we will run small 28mm Napoleonic games to nail the rules & house rules while enjoying the collection in comfort. These will be interspersed with Maurice and possibly some Bolt Action games maybe even some more DBM. In April Tony Laughton begins a large 1809 Danube campaign based on the Avalon Hill board game. This sounds excellent and saves me the trouble of doing something similar. That should run for six months leaving the late Autumn free to play something else. A quiet first quarter means the painters can crack on with new stuff for the campaign and other additions. The Wargames Holiday Centre still beckons too...

I went to Brussels in the early Summer with my father-in-law and two brothers-in-law, a boys trip. It was amazing.Naturally we went to see the new Waterloo centre which was also amazing. We avoided the bicentennial celebrations as I hate crowds and would have picked holes in the whole thing anyway, I am also suspicious of re-enactors. Here are some random shots,  

The very important farmhouse seen from the Lion Mound.  

It seems that Carabinier armour is a "red" brass colour not a goldy brass, I know, how did so many wargamers
and illustrators get this so wrong?
Brussels is a beautiful city. one of my brothers in law had tracked down some very excellent restaurants and bars which we pillaged with glee. Superb steaks and the best G&T ever at the Colonels was a high light, don't recall getting back to the hotel that night at all.

This little chap is a popular tourist attraction. He is available in chocolate too, also as cheap bottle openers, mine didn't open a single bottle, it broke on contact, proper tourist tat.  

We also visited some wargraves which was deeply humbling.

It seems it wasn't just white western soldiers who died at Ypres. Note the recurring names.
These were recorded on the Menin gate.  
This cropped up in a museum.
So in this pc world is it patriotic, nationalistic, jingoistic or just quaint? 
One of the stranger exhibits at the Waterloo visitor centre.
This is an excellent venue and essential for anyone who gets the opportunity.
"Belgium is a country invented by the British to annoy the French."
Charles de Gaulle

Personally I had a great year in 2015. Professionally it was tough ie hard work but so what? No one ever said it would be easy did they? We made some good sales and are proud of that. The massive Lottery Roll Over this weekend might ease the passage through life though! On the home front we had much to celebrate especially as we finally got a new dog - a Welsh Collie from the Welsh mountains. We traveled up to meet the owners, a shepherd and his wife who is a vet, good omens. Birdie is a great dog, way too clever really, quick to learn, very obedient with bags of energy and a few odd traits like biting trees, a strange one - she fits right in.

Birdie the wonder dog!
Better still we moved house. This was the culmination of an eleven year project to convert a tiny cottage into a large family home. After endless and harrowing setbacks plus eye watering expense we have finished our dream home and moved in. Next is the landscaping which happens as I write this. There is no games room BUT there is a brick out building measuring 60 feet by 20 feet internally as well as a slightly smaller one besides. My wife wants to run holiday lets - I really don't, I have other plans.

Nearing completion at the end of last summer
My three daughters are turning into amazing young women before my very eyes. Yes they are being teenagers but that's their job - mobile devices are hateful; i-con maybe? Mrs warpaint has taken up an art foundation course & loving it. Christmas & New Year went without a hitch so everyone is happy.

The Rugby World Cup came to Great Britain in 2015. I managed to watch Wales win at the Millennium Stadium.
Stirring stuff in the land of my Fathers. In fairness I am half Welsh half Danish, but the Danes don't do rugby.
Downers for me in 2015 were three deaths, Mr Mawr, an inspirational rowing coach from my youth, died. I went to his funeral, he was a dreadful chemistry teacher but brought the best out of me by being such an effortlessly dedicated eccentric, you couldn't help but share his enthusiasm for rowing. He got our crew to the National Schools regatta which we won, I still have the medal somewhere. A great family friend Don also died last year. He was one of life's "Good guys". He had a wicked sense of humour too. At the wake the pub caught fire so we all had to stand outside in the rain while firemen dealt with the faulty electrics, everyone said Don made that happen, which of course he did. I'll miss his stories, he took Coke Cola to Africa decades ago, funny times! Lastly of course Lemmy died just after Christmas. I saw Motorhead play twice, once at their spiritual home Hammersmith Odeon in the late 1980's and then 20 years later in Swindon - LOUD! Once I stood beside him in a queue to watch Sham 69 in London, wish I had said "hi" now. Might just watch his funeral live on youtube.

Brother Kilmister has passed.
Don't forget to sign the petition to name the newly discovered heavy metal element "Lemium", yes really, google it now.
So that's a wrap for 2015. 2016 already looks to be good on planet JJ, I shall play wargames weekly with the fine & upstanding Marauders; I shall eat fine foods, drink magical wines & hearty ales, I shall frequent the gym, walk my mental dog, goad my pc daughters; spoil my wife and till the fertile soil in my garden. I shall play loud music louder, and drive my business to pay for all of the above in even greater excess. Oh yes, I'll pray for world peace and an end to suffering too.

Happy new year, I really hope 2016 is exactly what you want it to be, it's there for the taking - enjoy.

Best wishes,




  1. Great post JJ. Thanks to you, Chris and Tony for the invitation to join the Marauders and such a warm welcome. The combination of great gaming, like minds and laughter cannot be beaten. Must admit, I feel blessed in gaming terms as am lucky to now have a close circle of friends to share my passion for the hobby with, you guys , and my chums Andrew and Gary for everything else not Napoleonic!
    Your review has stimulated the thought process and whilst I have had plans in mind for the coming year, first off I think I need to re-organise what I do in terms of time management for painting. I also need to put aside time for more historical research and enjoyment.
    To that end its a case of putting into practise years of business experience to better manage my painting schedules to ensure yours, mine and Chris's units roll off an ever expanding production line. I'm am also committing a hour a day to written work; this will cover a multitude of sins from historical research to rule writing!
    Of my plans, building up my French Army of 1809 is top priority ( 16 battalions, 3 cavalry regiments, a battery and assorted generals are underway ). I intend to throw in some Wurtemburger's as my allied contingent too.
    I also have my Russian SYW army for Maurice outings to complete, a mass of Carthaginians (both in 28mm) and a 10mm British AWI army to start. No distractions allowed, these will be finished this year. Going to be a busy time!
    Very much looking forward to running the 1809 campaign - if I can keep it interesting, generate some great battle's and keep the paper work to an absolute minimum, I will achieve my goals!
    Lastly, a very personal thing, I will get another tattoo to match the Imperial Eagle - been talking about it for too long, now I must do the deed!
    So here's looking forward to a great year, lots of pretty new toys and hour's of glorious gaming. I raise my glass, "vive l'Emperor"

    1. Hi Tony, glad to stimulate the grey little cells! I agree with your attitude to the hobby - plan it and go for it. It's so easy to get distracted by the next big thing, it rarely is and rarely lasts. I think "total" commitment is what has built the Marauder Napoleonic armies and will continue to do so. If you finish what you have outlined I'd be mighty impressed!
      I very muck look forward to your campaign.
      Have a great year and KEEP WELL!!!
      Best wishes,

  2. Bravo! The de Gaulle quote had me laugh out loud...

    1. Yes that's a good one, Winston Churchill remarked that de Gaulle "looked like a Lama surprised in her bath!"

  3. I do like your review - another great year of very good battle reports! I am always jealous of your collection of Napoleonic figures - my painting is nowhere near as good as yours are painted despite my best efforts! I also like the view of your house - it looks a great place to relax in and retire in. I agree with you about Warhammer - when 8th Edition came out, Warhammer died in my club - 20+ players giving up on it and turning to KIngs of War instead. Kings of War is fun but not as good as 7th Edition Warhammer. As far as I can see, only Elite produce accurate models of Prussian Reservists, so I want to buy some too. I last saw Motorhead at Download in 2013 - a band that I saw first time in 1982, and they will be much missed. Finally, thanks for all your great battle reports, I hope your house gets finished just as you want, and all power to your gaming in 2016.

    1. Hi Paul, I was down to see Motorhead at Swindon Oasis later this month, the Swindon advertiser suggested the show is "in jeopardy", understatement or what?
      Thanks for your kind words about our collection and battle reports, it is fuel to our fire.
      Have a great year and keep painting. Best wishes for 2016,

  4. Impressive array of Napoleonics. BTW, what's with the upside down horse?

    1. Cheers Dean.
      That horse thing baffled me too. I think it's something to do with the horse casualties at Waterloo but frankly I didn't read the caption just marvelled at the look of the thing.
      Be good,

  5. Excellent post JJ and your personal insights were both entertaining and heartfelt. Have very much enjoyed your blog, posts and ongoing battle reports interspersed with just enough naughty humour to keep me rollicking in my chair as I read them.

    Keep it up mate.

    1. Rollick right into 2016 Carlo it's going to be a good one!
      Very happy you enjoy our games and posts, also nice to share some real life moments here. Thanks,

  6. ...and now Bowie. Sad to lose such an influential artist and great entertainer. The good ones die, the others just get old...
    Love Bridie (or is it Bridie?) What a beauty she looks to be. A bundle of joy and love, I am sure.
    Looking forward to more reports of your colourful, big games and entertaining reports in 2016, Jeremy

    1. Yeah Bowie was a talent, not my thing but he wrote some songs that will still played in a hundred years time.
      Birdie! She's called that because she had a white smudge on her black back which looked like a bird had shat on her - hence birdie! Sadly the patch has grown out now so it's a bit redundant!
      You have a great year too James, it's always good to have you pop in to comment. Best wishes,

  7. Happy New Year Jeremy.

    I too love Brussels, for my birthday last week Victoria bought us a long weekend there in March. I suspect I'll be seeing a lot of Delerium.

    I also saw Motorhead at Hammersmith Odeon in the 1980s - October 10th 1987 - I wonder if we were at the same gig? Accompanies by Northstar Nick I saw them a few more times at Nottingham Rock City. We last saw them at the Foo Festival in Hyde Park June 17th 2006 - bloody hell I feel old now.

    It's great to read your blog and catch up on what old friends are doing. Hope we can meet up before I eff off to the colonies.

    1. Happy New Year to you too Scrivs - have a goody.
      When in Brussels book a meal at Colonels, outstanding. The locals like a place called Chez Vincent if I recall. Have fun.
      Don't feel old chap, feel good that you filled the years with fun and great experiences.
      So what's this "eff off to the colonies" then?
      Best wishes

    2. Victoria and I have a terrible diet whenever we visit Brussels, it tends to be street food bought between bars :)

      I've been offered (and accepted) a transfer to our Madison, WI office and visa approval permitting shall be buggering off in about three months (just in time for the thaw as it's -22C there today).