Reviews: January 2012

Reviews: January 2012

Reviews: January 2012

January 2013

Our regular, monthly round-up of what's new on the hobby scene.


With Musket & Tomahawk Volume One:
The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777
by Michael O. Logusz
Casemate Publishing

Reviewed by Joe Krone

The American Revolution is an important event in world history and there were pivotal battles that highly impacted the results of the war. The war is often broken down into several campaigns or regions where the Crown Forces of King George III launched attacks in order to cutoff vital supplies or resources that the Patriots desperately needed. The Saratoga Campaign was devised and mostly implemented by Major General Sir John “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne. The concept was simple with Burgoyne striking with his forces from Canada moving south and General William Howe moving an army northward from New York City. They would capture strategic locations along the way and meet in Albany cutting off the upstarts from New England and quickly putting an end to the rebellion once and for all. The theory was sound but for both the British and Americans their plans never survived first contact with the enemy.
With Musket & Tomahawk Volume One: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777
Michael presents to the reader and fantastic tale of the Saratoga Campaign for both the American and British perspectives. He describes in detail the development of the plans from both sides and how they encountered difficulties from logistics, to weather, landscape, and enemy tactics. It is surprising to realize that both the Americans and British suffered from similar issues often at different times giving the enemy a key advantage. Political maneuvering and animosity in the upper echelons of command was rampant in both armies and the results were often more disastrous than the results in the field of battle. The author presents these problems to the reader and in some instances how each army overcame the issues in order to prevail.

Having a passion for the American Revolution and having done my fair share of reading about the Saratoga Campaign I was quickly reminded about how vast and difficult this campaign was for both sides. The unsettled lands of upstate New York presented a wide range of difficulties that the Americans and British faced on a daily basis. Heavy woodlands, marshes, lakes, rivers, sparse settlements, and a lack of road networks were just a few of the issues presented to both sides. Raiding parties and scouts were amply used in order to better understand the land as well as find the enemy. As a result The Wilderness War of 1777 witnessed several small skirmishes but mostly the campaign is remembered for its pivotal battles at Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights.

Michael’s writing style tells a tale as if it was a great Hollywood movie. The book describes in detail the characters, the setting, and the opposition leading the reader on an adventure until the climatic major battles resulting in Burgoyne’s defeat. Along the way you are introduced to people whose lives were impacted by the conflict and how they cooped with the war. An author often writes from the strategic viewpoint using diaries and documentation from governments and high ranking officers. This literary interpretation often leaves the subject matter cold and lifeless because of the lack of personal experiences but Michael provides both the strategic and tactical viewpoints bringing the reader a very personal account of the events that take place in upstate New York. 

If you are an avid fan of the American Revolution, a passionate historian, or even a wargamer interested in recreating the Saratoga Campaign in your games then I would highly recommend this book. It was enjoyable to read and truly inspired me to read more about the campaign as well as break out my paint brushes and begin working on a wargaming table.
American Church 1750 – Modern Day American Church:
1750 – Modern Day

Renedra Limited

Reviewed by Wayne Bollands

The kit received for review is the latest product in the Renedra range of generic 28mm buildings intended for battlefield use. The box provides an excellent colour photograph of the actual kit when assembled and painted. On the rear, there is another photograph that shows each part of the kit and acts as a useful guide to putting it together. I mention the box because, as a gamer, I want to be able to build the contents and get it on the table as soon as possible.
Renedra has provided me with enough visual detail on the packaging for me to achieve this objective and just the right amount to pique my interest in the event of future research.

The actual kit contains all the parts to create a well-proportioned, local church of a variety that is still to be found in the United States today. In fact, as the company’s use of title suggests, it would be suitable for a range of periods. A dressing station during the AWI, command headquarters for the ACW, resting place for the pious in the Old West or even a refuge for battered survivors of a zombie outbreak, this one kit can represent them all. Each section goes together remarkably easily, with cuts and angles that serve to support each other during the construction process.

The detail on the internal side of the church is quite minimal but on the exterior parts of the structure, weatherboard, roof tiles and other significant aspects are quite deeply etched and cry out for painting. I feel that the level of detail here shows Renedra’s skills in plastic kit production. This is not a new church, pristine and incongruous when placed amongst other terrain. Roof tiles, weatherboards, window frames and doors all have the appearance of being built by hand rather than manufactured. Just a glance at the roof shows where tiles have been repaired, badly laid or slipped to new angles. The boards have areas that look like they have been broken or worn away over time and the windows and shutters enhance the overall, rough-hewn appearance. To me, this provides a building that is not just there to be fought around but also has the potential to become a significant feature on the tabletop.

This feature aspect is enhanced by the fact that Renedra has provided a few ‘extras’. There are two sprues of picket fence to help in creating a churchyard, thereby defining the space around the building itself. In addition, there are two gravestones, a stone step for the front door, plus sculpted door handles and a sculpted on wooden cross. As Renedra already produce separate items, such as fencing and gravestones, there are additional options for a larger area to be created than that provided in this box. Overall, I feel that this great kit serves to aid the gamer or modeller in creating a realistic representation of a classic, perhaps even iconic, slice of Americana.

20mm WWII British Paras
Battlefield / Blits Miniatures

Reviewed by Rob Townsend

I have a sample from the new range of British Paras by Battlefield/Blitz Miniatures in front of me for review, so let’s see what you get for your money.  Firstly these 20mm figures come in packs of two, three and four. Ranging in price from £2.30 to £3.60. They are cast well and the uniform detail seems spot on, even to the point of the one I painted up has his Corporal stripes.
They are depicted wearing the type two smock of 42/43 origin with elasticised cuffs that I believe were available later in 44. The range also includes Glider troops with their small hip pack and Bergen. The miniature are well posed, they have the appearance of combat soldiers.

20mm WWII British Paras
The range includes most if not all you would need to field a fighting force including a PIAT team, Vickers machine gun and 3" mortars. Artillery is also available with both the 6 pdr and 17 pdr in airborne configuration as well as the 75mm light Howitzer, a point also of note is the inclusion in the range of a pack that consists of Polish Paratroopers in their distinctive beret that can be mixed in with the helmeted troops to produce additional  units of Poles who on Day 5 landed under heavy fire, but regrouped and provided some relief to 1st airborne and also helped in the final retreat, also included in the range is parachutes on the ground and a couple of packs of drop canisters
I have included a small comparison of SHQ and AB to give you an idea of how they stack up height wise. Finally to round up this is just part of what Battlefield/Blitz Miniatures, have to offer, I have promised myself some of their German Battle of the hedgerows range and if they are as much of a joy to paint then I will be really happy.

Last Updated On Tuesday, December 18, 2012 by Blake at Battlefront