Do Wargames Rules Writers have a Eurocentric View of Terrain?

In a post on Twitter, @GodsOwnScale noted:

And one more thing. The trend to base figures with a half earth, half grass look. Where did that come from. Standing in the middle of the field yesterday, I didn’t see how that style of basing reflects anything in reality.

The Parthian General

What GOS is describing is the current trend in basing Wargame figures with a mix of soil, gravel and static grass, as illustrated with the picture to the left.

When I first started wargaming, bases were simply painted in green, one of two shades. There was a dark chalkboard green used and another was the what became the somewhat ubiquitous Citadel’s Goblin Green. Gobbo Green was a colour slightly lighter than the shade of the grass mat to the left.

Many wargamers creating Armies based around the 18th century armies still use plain, green bases, paying homage to the armies of some of the grandfathers of wargaming like Brigadier Peter Young, Colonel J. P. Lawford, Don Featherstone and Charles Grant among them.

We then started flocking bases. Initially this was with model railway flock, sawdust and the like and was a universal green shade. For variation, some brown acrylic paint could be mixed with the PVA glue prior to basing to create a kind of green lamington. Now, many of us base figures on textured bases and using static grass.

A hawk’s eye view of the Nubians

Bases were made to look more and more like the terrain the Army being painted was used to operate in (and yes, those Nubians to the right are 15mm – I do sometimes paint giant figures).

Given a dry environment, more sandy gravelly stuff was on  the base with the odd tuft a dry grass.

GOS lives in England and there is a reason that William Blake, when protesting those “dark satanic mills” built during the Industrial Revolution wrote:

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

England is indeed a green and pleasant land. There is (mostly) constant water available to ensure the grass grows thick and green. The forests and woods are thick with trees that prevent light reaching the ground so underbrush really only appears at the edge of the forest, and that combined with the absence of light in the wood itself means that it is almost impossible to see anything actually in the wood from the outside.

A countryside ger from Sukhbaatar Aimag, south-east of Ulaanbaatar

However, outside of England, the land is somewhat different. The photo to the left is a ger (yurt) in Mongolia. This area is between the steppes of Dornod Aimag and the Gobi. The grass has a taste similar to chives, so the mutton herded here comes pre-seasoned.

The point is, that this is neither a green and pleasant land, although it is very pleasant, nor is it a desert, well leastwise, not this part of it anyway.

This segues nicely into the other part of this discussion, and what I really started to think about after GOS’s comment on Twitter. Wargame rules writers I was exposed to in my early days of wargaming were inevitably English or American, and the Americans tended to concentrate on the American Civil War, much of which was in the Eastern Theatre and therefore in green grassy lands presumably with forests similar to England.

It was always confusing for me to read about ambushes being laid at the edge of woods when with every wood/forest/bush land I had seen, I could see at least 100 metres into it. It was the same in many other locations I visited around the world. It was only after my first visit to the English countryside that I realised woods in England were such that you could ambush from within. Famous ambushes such as Teutoburger Wald and those of the French and Indian Wars now made sense to me.

When basing naval miniatures, I base them on a blue base because, after all, we all know the sea is blue. But on those trips to England and Scotland, the North Sea was far from blue, more a miserable grey colour. Surely, if I am painting and basing my World War I ships, I should put them on a grey sea base. Given that the sea colour is a reflection of the sky, and as I come from sunny Sydney originally, to me the colour of the sea is that nice deep blue of the Pacific.

Gravelly, grassy terrain on the base

As wargamers, we tend to see terrain through familiar eyes. I see forests through Australian eyes and therefore thin, and sea through the same eyes (blue). As for grass, well it may be green, or gold (OK, yellow) or brown but again, where I am from, it is thin and seeing gravel around it, or the grass patchy, is quite normal.

And as we have deserts in Australia (the well named Great Sandy Desert for one), deserts are sandy and more a pale brown than yellow or white.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then so is the terrain basing underneath figures.


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Peshawar Project — the American Ground Forces

The American Army and some buildings – ready for painting

Just over two weeks ago I collected a couple of parcels from the Post Office (see Next Project – Aircraft or Land Ironclads?). I decided to work on the 2mm figures so trawled through the lead pile here and extracted the American Land Forces. The setting for Peshawar is late 19th Century and the back story is based around the discovery of R-Matter which permitted the development of Aeronefs and Aerostats … ships of the air in essence. I will start painting some of them soon too, but first I thought I would work on the land forces.

One of the “Imagi-nations” engaged in the Great Game around Peshawar are the Americans. Think of Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, Charlton Heston and 55 Days at Peking and you get an idea of appearance.

Test Base of Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery

The ground forces are designed for use with a simple rule set called Land Ironclads. Land Ironclads also makes allowances for, well, land ironclads and contraptions. These are like steam tanks from  the imagination of a Victorian Science Fiction writer who has had one mushroom too many. I need to get some Ironclads and Contraptions so currently the land warfare component will be based around forces similar to the infantry, cavalry and artillery of the late 19th Century.

Why 2mm figures you might ask? Simply because there are nominally the same scale as the aeronefs. They are also fun and quick to paint. I expect to have most of the army photographed above painted this weekend. In fact, the bases will take longer than the figures.

This week I started to do some test pieces to:

  1. See how they look
  2. Brush up on my painting technique
  3. Test some bases of buildings for colour

So, the test pieces worked out quite well, although I will be bolder with the colours on the infantry, cavalry and artillery when I start painting the figures in earnest.

Speaking of colours, the American infantry, cavalry and artillery will have blue jackets and khaki trousers. The American marines will have khaki jackets and blue trousers. All will be based on a dry terrain (the Khyber Pass of imagination although the actual area around Peshawar is quite green).

Anyway, here for my future reference and your viewing pleasure is the army, along with the test paint pieces … and yes, these little buggers are quite small … but they do look good when painted en masse.

Plastic Basing Material

When I was in Singapore I found a plastic sheet in 1m, 2mm, and 3mm thickness. It sliced easily with a carton cutter knife, resisted warping (although not totally as it seems from recent experience) an holds glue and paint quite well.

I have not been able to find it anywhere else until a week ago when I took a Saturday afternoon out at the mall. It was the first outing since the start of quarantine here in Manila, so first time out in 3.5 months. While out I stopped into the National Bookstore in Glorietta Mall for some stationery. Enjoying some loiter time (there were only about 8 people in the queue behind me waiting to get in so I figured I could browse for 10 minutes at least.

I came across this PVC board shown above. BLoody brilliant stuff and cheap as chips. As I can now find this in Manila, there must be similar in other locations. Great stuff!

Next Project – Aircraft or Land Ironclads?

Japanese late World War 2 fighters from Heroics and Ros

Or, 1/300 scale vs 2mm size. I finished the Anglo-Saxons during the week and had decided that I would like to do something non-historical. I have a lot of Aeronefs in the lead-pile and felt that working on the long stalled Peshawar project would be a good idea. Much time was spent (OK, the length of time for a nice cup of tea) pondering which of the Aeronef forces to paint. I also looked at the Land Forces. I don’t have any Land Ironclads here but I do have the makings of roughly 6 battalions of infantry plus supporting elements from the six imagi-nations in the set.

Fast forward to last Wednesday and as I walked into the office, I was handed two cards from the Post Office. There were parcels to collect. I then spend the rest of the afternoon, in between teleconferences, pondering which of the items I had ordered in January and February were waiting for me.

American late World War 2 bombers and fighter support from Scotia

Were they:

  • Aircraft and Buildings from Heroics and Ros
  • Aircraft and Buildings from Scotia
  • Book from Pen and Sword
  • A book from the Naval Institute Press
  • Rules (Bag the Hun in particular) from Too Fat Lardies
  • one or two other items I have forgotten

I went to the Post Office on Thursday and picked up the parcels. Aircraft and buildings from both Heroics and Ros, and Scotia. Damn. Now the usual indecision cut in … new toys or ones from the lead pile. Bright, shiny, glittering new toys, or old, dusty figures I have stored for several years?

Now I need decide what to paint next. The 2mm figures are my American ground forces for the Peshawar project but the aircraft are, if nothing else, impressive with the size of the B-29 (there are three of them) and the Shinden, which looks like it is flying backwards!

Decisions, decision, decisions!

 

Peshawar Re-Imagined

Way back in 2009 (yep, 11 years ago) I first made mention of S. M. Stirling’s Peshawar Lancers, which, as described in Wikipedia, is

“an alternate history, steampunk, post-apocalyptic fiction adventure novel […], with its point of divergence occurring in 1878 when the Earth is struck by a devastating meteor shower. The novel’s plot takes place in the year 2025, at a time when the British Empire has become the powerful Angrezi Raj and is gradually recolonizing the world alongside other nations and empires that were able to survive’.

It was a great read and certainly fired up my imagination and it looked like it would suit Brigade Models Aeronef’s and by extension, the Land Ironclads. I decided build a series of Imagi-Nations for that period. The forces contained would be a mix of Aeronefs, Land Ironclads and Contraptions, as well as standard infantry, cavalry and artillery. As the Aeronefs and Land Ironclads are nominally 1/1200 scale, it meant that 2mm figures were the perfect size to make up the ground forces. Irregular Miniatures make a great range of 2mm figures so they were perfect for the land forces.

Historic Peshawar

I had some Aeronefs already, painted, for British and French and that fit rather well with the world of the Peshawar Lancers. I decided then to call the project Peshawar and clicking on “Peshawar” in the Tag Cloud to the right will return a list of posts here related to this project.

The real Peshawar is a city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan – an area better known perhaps as the North West Frontier and the Khyber Pass. This was the area of the “Great Game” of the 19th century, where the principle players were Russia and Britain – Britain with India in the time of the Raj behind her and Russia looking to expand and open and control the path to India. The Khyber Pass was also the location for those famous movies such as Errol Flynn in the Charge of the Light Brigade (well, at least the start of the movie); Kenneth More in the North West Frontier; and perhaps the best – Sid James and Kenneth Williams in Carry on Up The Khyber – with Kenneth Williams playing the infamous Khasi of Kalabar!

A French raiding force of ‘nefs

The French have a small force of Aeronefs painted (and it will expand). The Aeronef models from Brigade are lovely models and as I have had some of them for 10 years, many have been redesigned and remodelled.

Some of the French – what they look like painted

I also used the French for testing the infantry and painted some and based for future use. I am not certain currently whether for the basing I will flock or just paint the bases a dry, Khyber Pass sandy brown. I did originally start with the prospect of lining up the British against the French and a green field seemed appropriate. Peshawar grew on after that.

Some French Battalions and Cavalry Squadrons formed up on flocked bases. In the background is a large British Land Ironclad as well as some scenic items such as a small wood in a hill and an English village. A couple of trains are also present. They may be small but they are great models. There is an Australian $2 coin in the photo for give some perspective, although I suspect that perspective will only be apparent to Australians and those who have visited Australia

Speaking of models, the little village in that background in the photograph above is from Irregular Miniatures as well. So are the trains. These have been painted for Europe rather than the Khyber Pass. I will amend in due course – or maybe keep as is … the joy of a long planning session, one gets to change one’s mind several hundred times.

Russian Aeronefs in Production Factory

The image to the left is some of the Russian Aeronefs waiting construction. These will be one of the main opponents to the British (along with the French, both opponents to the British and the Russians).

As you can see from the still to be constructed group here, they look significantly different to the French Raiding Force above.

Brigade also supply “spare parts” such as turrets, masts and cranes etc so that the models can have some gilding of the lily.

The Japanese form part of another of the nations in Peshawar.

Japanese Aeronefs in Production Factory

The image to the right is a Japanese Aeronef fleet waiting in the construction yards as well. The Japanese have a natural opponent in the American fleet and both the American and Japanese fleets were the first to introduce fighter carriers to the Aeronef world.

The six contesting powers in this Imagi-Nation world therefore are based around the following:

  1. Britain
  2. France
  3. Russia
  4. Prussia
  5. USA
  6. Japan and other Asian groups.

In addition to the above, I have Aeronef fleets for Italy, Spain and a few others. I keep promising myself to start working on them  and then something else bright and shiny pops up and I get distracted.

When I first started painting the Aeronefs, I glued them to the clear flight bases. I am thinking now to start to use the 3mm, 4mm and 5mm rare earth magnets to fix them to stands. Being able to break them down and lay them flat for transport is a driving consideration there.

As for the Land Ironclads, Contraptions and Land Forces, I do not have so many of the Ironclads and Contraptions so I am planning on starting with the more traditional forces initially, and will expand to the Ironclads and Contraptions later.

Some 2mm villages – Brigade Models on the left and Irregular Miniatures on the right

So, as I am finishing up the 6mm Anglo-Saxon army for DBA, and as there are books, rules and figures tied up somewhere in the postal system, and have been tied up there since early March (it is currently late June), I am thinking I should break out some work on the Peshawar project.

I will probably start with the rest of the Brigade and Irregular Middle Eastern village stuff (see photograph to the left). I am thinking that I may reconsider the basing process here as well and maybe set the buildings a little closer together and on larger bases. The Irregular villages are groups on bases already (village to the right above). Dunno! Stay tuned for updates.

Once I decide on then approach to take with the Peshawar project, pictures of progress will appear on my Insta-Twit-book feed (See below). With that, gentle reader, good night!


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A New Period – American Civil War

I have had an abiding interest in the American Civil War (ACW) since my very first wargame which I lost to friend Jeffrey. It was a USA vs CSA battle in Airfix 1/76 plastic with the Airfix Cowboy set used to provide cavalry. Masonite table surface, hills from plasticine so the game also had that plasticine smell about it. I can’t remember which side I was playing but I do recall it was a loss for me. Rules were the Don Featherstone ones present in War Games and for the record, I won the second game as the Ancient Britons taking on the might of Rome, again using Airfix plastic figures – the charge of the Roman chariots was something to behold.

I had a large collection of 15mm American Civil War figures, where the Union was painted and I left them in Singapore with friend Anthony. I am still hankering for an ACW set however. I have toyed with the Baccus 6mm ACW boxed set, containing lots of figures (well over 800) for £82.50 for those of us overseas, more if you live in the UK or Europe. Also included are bases, flags and Polemos rules. I also considered Heroics and Ros as well as Rapier Miniatures (Rapier still appear to be off the air at the moment but the link is to their Facebook page where there should be updates when everything returns to normal).

However, much as I like Baccus figures (and H&R and Rapier for that matter as well), what has caught my eye is Commission Figurines. Their website is a single page only but it links to their catalogue.

Why do I like Commission Figurines so much for my future ACW project? I think the thought of trying these figures appealing, especially as they are wood (or more correctly, MDF). Apart from the novelty of MDF wargame figures, they are considerably less expensive than the current metal ranges with 88 ACW infantry costing about £2.00. It would be possible to build two reasonable forces for about £20.00. Very tempting.

I guess I could also argue that as they are wooden, I am not being affected by something new, bright and shiny  😉

Yes, one more for the list of projects so I think tonight I will plan a post Pandemic purchase of these.


#6mm #acw #wargames

Finished and in Progress

Soviet bombers protected by fighters are faced by Finnish fighters – November 1939 to March 1940

So, after settling into what should be my “New Normal”* I extracted digit and got stuck into clearing my painting table. I considered the option of simply packing them all away in a drawer but slapped myself in the face with a wet salmon, and decided to HTFU and as Nike says, Just F****** Do It! I did it!

The Soviet bombers are now painted, decalled (is that even a word) and varnished so my Winter War air wargaming set is complete. Complete, except for the rules. I have Raiden Miniatures Thunderbolt and Lightning set here and a copy of Mustangs but I am really waiting for my copy of Too Fat Lardies “Bag the Hun” to arrive. It is held up somewhere in the PhilPost system here due to the COVID-19 Enhanced Community Quarantine of Manila for the past 10 weeks. Now we are under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or hopefully soon a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), PhilPost may deliver them, or at least a card telling me to pick them up from the Makati Central Post Office. Also waiting at the Post Office (I hope) is more aircraft from Heroics and Ros and Scotia (late war US and Japanese – think B-29 Superfortresses, P-51s and various late war Japanese aircraft. There are books waiting there as well so I am hoping for Christmas in June … or July.

The 6mm Anglo-Saxons – next on the paint queue – finger for size reference

So, what’s on the workbench now? I decided to finish the 6mm Anglo-Saxons and base them for DBA. Later I will do a couple of extra bases so that they are a valid force for Basic Impetus. The reason for the Basic Impetus is to get used to that ruleset for the Baroque ruleset, which I am planning on using for the English Civil War forces (or maybe 30 Year War) that I have sitting in the Lead Pile^.

For these I had decided on a brown undercoat as the top colours dull too much on a black undercoat. I have used brown in a couple of areas now and it seems to work well. Maybe the next army I paint I may try back to a white undercoat. In 6mm, undercoat, then block paint the figure, then wash. This may work well enough.

The back of the Anglo-Saxons – this is the side I hope to see in games and not their shields as they run away

Once I have painted these guys, then it will be a choice:

  1. Napoleonic Prussians (there are a lot of them) – already prepared for painting
  2. Coastal forces (1/1200 scale) – already prepared for painting
  3. Modern Naval air support for painted modern fleets
  4. Some 2mm Imagi-nations
  5. Buildings

These are the thoughts uppermost in my mind for next project however, if I know me (and I sort of do) then I am more likely to start something not on the list.

Stay tuned for more exciting indecision!


* My New Normal consists of adjusting to being required to retire, and the stress that follows from finding new work in the middle of a pandemic. Timing was absolutely perfect.
^ The Lead Pile is the number of unpainted model/toy soldiers or wargaming figures that are sitting in boxes and drawers. It is an increasingly misnamed term as modern wargame figures are made from lead-free pertwer, plastic, resin or MDF … but the term “lead pile” has been around for many years so lead pile it is!

The Bridge

So I noted that I had hit The Wall the other day. Last night I gave myself a good slapping for both The Wall and noticing that the refrigerator (fridge, ref) was empty of beer and it was 10 minutes after curfew!

Decided that while a coffee was a poor second choice, it would need to do, so I decided to settle down with a coffee and finish off the Soviet aircraft so I have one complete new(ish) wargame set available. Photos will follow as tonight I just need to varnish them all and then will photograph collection tomorrow.

Getting some paint time in allows me to clear my head and think clearly, or rather achieve a state of “non-thinking”. Buddhists achieve this by meditating, I reach the same state painting and have the added benefit of having painted wargame figures at the end of the process rather than painful knees and hips from prolonged sitting cross-legged on the floor and chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum” for hours on end.

So what was my enlightenment  last night? Basically (no dice needed):

  1. Keep painting
  2. Brush up on COBOL skills (demanded coders these days)
  3. Learn Java 😦
  4.  Send CV to all contacts that can assist with contract work (obviously)
  5. Pick up some beer on the way home tomorrow night

So, next on the painting queue after the Soviet aircraft tonight? The 6mm Saxons, followed by a few 1/1200 scale coastal vessels then some 2mm imagi-nations.

On the technical front? Get gnuCOBOL working on one of my laptops and start a little coding project (will likely also require a database so double skills refreshing). Start learning Java – at least two hours a day.

On the job front – send CV to at least three potential employers/clients and follow up two previous contacts each day!

There! Sorted. Bring on the challenges, I’m ready to kick arse (or ass for you ‘mericans)! Oh, and pick up some beer on the way home!

The Wall

I’ve hit a wall, at least with wargaming, painting and books, my three pastimes (included in that is historical research which cuts across all three). About halfway through the current pandemic, I had no issues. We had managed to have all our staff working from home so everyone had a job and was being paid, the typhoon passed through with no damage to friends, staff and relatives, and I was happily working on securing some more business for the company. Relaxing time was spent painting some 1/285 scale aircraft and catching up on books I had not read. That all changed when the company I work for decided that I should be mandatorily retired as I was 65.

Now I am out chasing work (or rather staying in as part of the General Community Quarantine, chasing work). As I mention frequently, “Have Passport, Will Travel” (with apologies to Sam Rolfe, Herb Meadow and Richard Boone). I am looking for contract work for the next two years or so, either project management, COBOL programming (I have many years experience there a lifetime ago), or even as a fill-in executive.

The timing of all this is just perfect — looking for work in the middle of a pandemic, with rising unemployment rates, and where I am supposed to remain inside, is a challenge at best. Still, on the plus side, the labor laws of the Philippines ensure that unlike the time my job was made redundant in Singapore by that French company, this time at least, I will walk away with enough to see me through for the next few months while I find a replacement gig.

The Wall? Well, I am sitting here, on a Saturday afternoon at my painting come work spot in the apartment, looking at some Saxons who need paint, some Soviet aircraft to complete, some coastal ships and boats I prepared for painting about three years ago, a Napoleonic Prussian army prepared for painting 10 years ago, and about 10 unread books waiting for review … and I am not sure what to do.

Wargamer’s Decision time:

  1. Indeciselevly sit and have a coffee
  2. Books
  3. Soviet aircraft
  4. Coastal vessels
  5. Napoleonic Prussians
  6. Saxons

Bugger! At least it is simple and quick. Time to slap myself, get up of my arse and get moving!

Now, where’s my coffee mug?

Napoleon’s Waterloo Army, Uniforms and Equipment — Review

My goodness, where to start with this book. Firstly, it is a heavy tome, weighing in at 1.86 kgs so after sitting with it in the lap and reading through it, it does get a little uncomfortable. This is definitely a book for reading at the desk, which has the added advantage of making it easier to take notes as you do read through it, you will mostly likely refer to the information jam-packed in the book if researching or looking for some specific information on a French regiment present at Waterloo.

Napoleon’s Waterloo Army — Uniforms and Equipment by Paul L Dawson is published by Frontline Books. It was published on 2 October 2019, contains 696 pages of information and 250 illustrations on the Napoleon’s Waterloo Army (ISBN: 9781526705280).

Paul Dawson is an historian and author who has specialised in the Napoleonic Wars, writing about the French Army, mostly around the time of Waterloo. His other volumes with Frontline include:

  • Battle for Paris 1815
  • Marshal Ney At Quatre Bras
  • Napoleon and Grouchy
  • Waterloo: The Truth At Last
  • Napoleon’s Imperial Guard Uniforms and Equipment
  • Napoleon’s Imperial Guard Uniforms and Equipment

The volume on “Napoleon’s Waterloo Army” to some extent extends the volume “Waterloo: The Truth At Last” and covers the troops that fought at Ligny, Quatre-Bras and Waterloo. The author has based his research and writing on thousands of pages of French archival documents and translations. The written information is backed by many photographs of original artefacts. The photographs have been supplemented with many colour illustrations and paintings by Keith Rocco, well known to many military historians, wargamers and modellers. This book is the most complete study of Napoleon’s field army of 1815 that I have seen.

There are 23 Chapters and an Appendix, as well as Bibliography and Endnotes, Introduction, Acknowledgement and Foreward in this book. In addition, from page 427 to 447 there are 21 pages of Keith Rocco Paintings covering various troop types within the French army. I keep turning back to those pages and looking again and again at those paintings.  The rest of the book is structured into the following chapters:

  1. Clothing the Army
  2. Remounting the Cavalry
  3. The Armée du Nord
  4. Logistics
  5. Headquarters Staff
  6. 1st Corps
  7. 2nd Corps
  8. 6th Corps
  9. 1st Cavalry Division
  10. 2nd Cavalry Division
  11. 3rd Cavalry Division
  12. 5th Cavalry Division
  13. 3rd Cavalry Corps
  14. 4th Cavalry Corps
  15. Support Troops
  16. Imperial Guard Heavy Cavalry Brigade
  17. Guard Light Cavalry Brigade
  18. Young Guard Cavalry
  19. Guard Infantry
  20. The Young Guard
  21. The Artillery and Support Troops
  22. Clothing and Equipment of Napoleon’s Last Army
  23. What Happened to the Men?

The Appendix deals with the 1815 Dress Regulations.

To write this book, Dawson has delved into the:

  • National Archives, Kew, London
  • Archives Nationales, Paris
  • Service Historique Armée du Terre, Paris
  • Personal record boxes of a number of personalities of the time
  • Officer’s records
  • Correspondence Hundred Days
  • Prisoners of War
  • Imperial Guard regimental boxes
  • Line infantry regimental record boxes
  • Light infantry regimental record boxes
  • Line cavalry regimental boxes
  • Artillery record boxes
  • Imperial Guard regimental muster lists
  • Line and light infantry regimental muster lists
  • Line cavalry regimental muster lists
  • Line artillery regimental muster lists

along with more recent works and digital sources.

The volume of research that is in this book is staggering and the information provided on the clothing and equipment of the armies appears quite complete with reasonable assumptions and reasoning behind the assumptions where necessary.

Taking the first chapter, “Clothing the Army” as an example, Dawson discusses the cost of clothing the existing army, as well as the additional costs for the new regiments. He looks at the material used for various items on uniform, the colour of those materials, arguing colour differences. For example, he examples a sample of Aurore cloth from 1823 noting that “Aurore has been shown by many artists to be a shade of yellow, when in fact it is a vivid shade of dark orange”. A colour photo of the cloth is shown as well. He looks at all the cloth used for various items of clothing, and at the end of the chapter, I knew more about the cloth used in the Armée du Nord than I ever thought I would learn in my lifetime.

If you are at all interested in the Armée du Nord uniforms and equipment, then this book is an indispensable addition and an absolute must to be added to your bookshelf. Very highly recommended.