Jemima Fawr’s Review of 2021

It only seems like a few weeks since I was sitting here writing my Review of 2020, but here I am writing my review for 2021!  Where the hell did that go?!  Disbelief aside, 2021 was a better year for me in all respects than 2020, but that’s rather like conducting a cost/benefit analysis of various methods of sawing off your own knob… 2021 was still generally shit, but not as shit as 2020.  So here’s my Review of 2021.  Most of the pics are clickable and will link back to the original article.

2021 has however, been a great year for me on the figure-painting front!  I started the year with a renewed love for the Seven Years War and plans to expand my SYW armies.  I’d already painted the complete Württemberg Auxiliary Corps during my ‘Württember Challenge‘ in November 2020 and on New Year’s Day I went straight into my ‘Bavarianuary Challenge‘, which was to complete the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps during the month of January.

Having already painted four of the ten required Bavarian battalions during the 1990s, the Bavarianuary Challenge was actually completed in two weeks, which then gave me two free weeks to paint whatever I wanted before getting stuck into the ‘Frogruary Challenge‘.  I already had some Russian Napoleonic foot artillery and Jägers undercoated and languishing in the ‘Paint Me!’ dump from the previous summer, so I cracked on with those.

The Russians only took about four days to finish, so that left me with enough time to paint three SYW Prussian regiments that I’d been itching to do ever since buying my first batch of Eureka Miniatures.  January was a productive month…

There were more Eureka figures waiting for me as I went into ‘Frogruary’.  I already owned SYW armies for Austria, Prussia, Sweden and the Empire, but decided to expand this further with a French army and a British-Hanoverian-Hessian-Brunswicker allied army.  My ‘Frogruary Challenge‘ was therefore to paint twelve infantry battalions from first line of the French army at Rossbach.  As it happens, they were so easy to paint that I also managed to paint the artillery and generals before the end of the month.

Another achievement during ‘Frogruary’ was the inauguration of this blog’s first official troll!  This sad and lonely little onanist (an American who at the time went by the name of ‘Minipigs’ on a couple of fora and who I’d never heard of) also tried unsuccessfully to have me ‘cancelled’ from at least one forum on spurious charges of racism… 

So while Minipigs was continuing to rant away to the other spammers in the spam folder, I cracked on with the month of ‘Marsch!’, the intention of which had been to paint some more SYW Prussian and Imperial troops and perhaps finally paint the Reichsarmee cavalry.  However, I was having so much fun with the French, I decided to paint a brigade of Swiss (who are German-ish…) and a brigade of Germans fighting for the French.

Then it was time for some more Prussians…

With twenty battalions plus generals and artillery painted for the French, I now needed some cavalry.  Sadly I couldn’t think of a pun-tastic name for the month, so just set myself the challenge of painting six French cavalry units during the month of April.  I actually only managed to paint five units and the sixth (the Royal-Nassau Hussars) is finally under the brush at this very moment.

With the French army out of the way, I was itching to get on with the Allied army, so I started with the British infantry at Minden.

As nice as they are when they’re finished, redcoats take MUCH longer to paint than the French!  They didn’t look right until I’d painted double-lines of lace on the cuffs, laced the waistcoats and painted the Horse of Hanover (ok, the Badly-Inflated-Balloon-Animal of Hanover) on every sodding mitre cap…  Thankfully, their Hanoverian, Hessian and Schaumburg-Lippe allies had far less lace on their uniforms, so were quite a bit quicker to paint.

However, it was now getting into August and the arrival of a Black Monolith of polystyrene signalled that I now had an increasingly urgent need to start building the terrain and painting the troops for my planned Battle of Murfreesboro demo game at Warfare 2021.  I was therefore only able to get the infantry done for the Anglo-Hanoverian army (18 battalions), so the cavalry and artillery will have to wait until 2022.

As always in the tropical paradise of Pembrokeshire, the weather was glorious throughout August and September, so I was able to do most of the messy terrain-building out in the garden and the battlefield took shape in just a few days, despite the dog’s best efforts.  The time-consuming part is the varnishing of rivers and then the sanding, painting and flocking of the landscape, which took me right up to October.

Then there were lots of figures to paint and innumerable other jobs such as painting telegraph poles, making fences, impaling plastic trees on needles, making measuring-sticks, etc, etc…

The end result looked pretty good though! 🙂 Thankfully, it also turned out to be a cracking scenario and my players thoroughly enjoyed it.  It also won second prize for best demo game! 🙂

With Murfreesboro firmly out of the way, I’ve briefly returned to by first love (AB Figures Napoleonics), with the Young Guard Squadrons of the 2nd (‘Red’) Lancers and the Chasseurs á Cheval of the Guard (more on these later). 

So not including the Murfreesboro terrain, my grand painting total for 2020 was: 963x 15mm Foot, 114x 15mm Horse, 17x 15mm Guns, 588x 10mm Foot, 82x 10mm Horse, 21x 10mm guns and 13x 10mm Horse-Drawn Vehicles.  Out of idle curiosity, I totaled up the value at today’s prices (which have admittedly risen quite a bit in the last year) and rather worryingly, that weighs in at £1,080.23… 

I say worrying, because I’m pretty certain that I bought a lot more figures than I painted (who doesn’t…?) and I spent around £200 building Murfreesboro… and that much again going to Warfare… and let’s not forget all the paint, glue, brushes, books, costs for this blog… 🙁

Thankfully, in the unlikely event that Mrs Fawr ever reads this blog, she’ll have nodded off long before she scrolls this far down the page (along with a good 90% of my unsuspecting readership)… 🙂

In terms of actual wargaming, 2020 was not a good year for me, as I’m sure it wasn’t for a lot of people.  Back in February we were in the middle of our Third Lockdown and the snow was laying on the ground outside (a rare event here in the semi-tropical paradise of Pembrokeshire), so being trapped indoors with me, Mrs Fawr encouraged me once again, to go and play with myself in another room, well away from her… Once again, I blessed that day in 2018 (about the same time I started this blog) when I decided to get 10mm ACW, as there’s a host of Fire & Fury scenarios that will fit on my small dining table!  I picked the ‘Shiloh: The Hornet’s Nest’ scenario from the 2nd Edition ‘Great Western Battles’ scenario book and lost to myself once again.

At long last in April, lockdown lifted, we got jabbed and actually had a HOLIDAY!  🙂 The Carmarthen Old Guard also re-opened for (socially-distanced and masked) games and in July I headed down to Phil’s for my first ‘proper’ game of the year.  This would be our first Seven Years War playtest game using my ‘Tricorn’ adaptation of ‘Shako rules.  I chose the Battle of Lobositz as the scenario; partly because it was the first battle of the Seven Years War, but also because it has long been a favourite (and award-winning demo game) of mine.

The Lobositz game was a lot of fun and also turned out to be a superb playtest, highlighting weaknesses and flaws in the rules when trying to fight 18th Century historical battles with ‘Shako’ and also with my own rules adaptations.  The lessons learned were then applied and tested with another game in December, this time using the fairly obscure Combat of Görlitz as the test-bed.

The refight of Görlitz turned out to be an excellent, nail-biting game and thoroughly tested several areas of the rules (as well as the limits of Phil’s patience at my dice-rolling), so expect to see the first draft of ‘Tricorn’ posted here very soon!

I’m sorry to say that there wasn’t much here this year for lovers of Olive Drab, Dunkelgelbe or Jungle Green and I still haven’t posted my long-overdue potted history of 255th Indian Tank Brigade in Burma, but in May there was one brief ‘green’ moment when I did a showcase of my Cold War Canadian army, along with a potted history of 4 Canadian Mechanised Brigade Group.

And there was a review of Total Battle Miniatures‘ superb range of 15mm buildings and village tiles.

So that’s it for 2021! 🙂  And there was much rejoicing…

I’ve got a few plans for 2022.  In the immediate short term, I need to publish my ‘Tricorn’ rules adaptation for ‘Shako’ and that flippin’ article on 255th Indian Tank Brigade.  In the medium term I’d like to finish off my SYW armies and PLAY SOME MORE GAMES!  As part of the ‘playing more games’ plan, I’d like to kick off a SYW campaign based on Frederick’s 1757 invasion of Bohemia (something I’d hoped to do this time last year). 

I also might try a game or three of ‘Stargrave’, which I recently bought (along with the first supplement) at Warfare.  I’ve actually got a fairly large collection of 28mm sci-fi figures (mostly Grenadier, Copplestone, Denizen and Ground Zero Games figures) and they haven’t seen the light of day since the 1990s.  This would be ideal for a quick, easily-transportable club-night game and would probably prove popular among the club denizens.

In the slightly longer term, Paddy and I are planning to refight the Battle of Dresden of 1813 in 15mm.  This plan will require a considerable investment in terrain-building and quite a bit of figure-painting (the Young Guard Cavalry are the first wave of that painting schedule). 

So to anyone who’s scrolled this far; stay safe, have a great 2022 and tanks for the memories!

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45 Responses to Jemima Fawr’s Review of 2021

  1. Always a pleasure to read your blogs, all the very best for 2022

  2. Steve J says:

    That’s a great review of your 2021 year and you certainly have been very productive on the painting front! Let’s hope 2022 is better all round for all of us and I hope you are able to get some more games in. All the best for 2022!

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Steve! Yes indeed! something I forgot to mention was that I found going to club fairly miserable in facemask, as it’s an unusually ‘sweaty’ building and my glasses would always steam up. The lighting was also very gloomy, which exacerbated the visibility problem and consequently I hardly went to club. However, they’ve now got MUCH better lighting, which means I’ll be going to club far more often in 2022! 🙂

  3. Dinos Antoniadis says:

    Speechless! 2021 was so prolific for you! I have admired all your works of this year in detail, you have offered many “wow moments” with your beautiful and so historically accurate paintjobs! So amazing all of them, that any further comments are lacking of adequate superlatives! Thanks for sharing this grandiose review!!!

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Dino! Yeah, it was definitely a productive year. 2022 needs to be just as productive, so I can paint all the stuff that Mrs Fawr saw me buy when Fighting 15s were selling off all their AB stocks… 😉

      Anyway, ‘historically accurate’?! Most of my posts consist of pointing out my mistakes, so that YOU can be historically accurate… 😉

  4. Paul Smith says:

    Hi Mark

    Well I’m shocked I tell you, truly shocked, only 5 out of 6 planned French cavalry regiments painted in April! Hope you did some suitable penance.

    Thanks for a great year of blogging, always interesting and fun to read, what ever the subject. All the best for 2022 and by the way, which rules do you use for your 15mm Napoleonics?

    Cheers Paul

    • jemima_fawr says:

      I know, I know, I’ll try to do better… 🙁 If it’s any consolation, I finished the 6th regiment in work last night. I’ll be bringing in the New Year tonight with the Pavlovski Grenadiers. 🙂

      Which reminds me… I must look up the colour of their flag-staves before I go to work…

      I love Napoleon’s Battles, but my circle of fellow-enthusiasts in this part of the world has dwindled away to zero in recent years. 🙁

  5. Ian G says:

    Thank you for sharing your immense and still growing collections.
    Well done and well written. You help keep me amused in these weird times.

    My own eighteenth century troops are British and Hanoverians plus a few French. Most date back to the 1980’s. They have seen many battles but only one base change.

    Your Napoleonic figures inspire me too. Mine are mostly French and Austrian. It’s the spectacle of big battles for me. Preferably multi-player games with simple rules (and beer).

    Have fun.
    Vive L’Emperor of the Battlefield.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Ian! Yeah, I’ve tried to keep re-basing to a minimum. The only times I’ve needed to change bases are when I moved away from WRG single-ranked bases to Napoleon’s Battles double-ranked (and I only re-based the Russians in 2020, having put up with them for 25 years!) or when I acquired other people’s collections – many of which had been actually painted by me! 🙂

      Yes, it’s ‘La Gloire’ of the Big Battle that appeals to me. Skirmish games and small actions can be fun and good for a club-night, but they never hold my interest for long and don’t inspire me, unless they are part of a campaign. Drooling over the much-missed Duncan MacFarlane’s photos of beautiful Big Battles in Miniature Wargames are what inspired me to wargame in the first place, so that has always been my ultimate goal.

      And I WILL do Leipzig before I die…

  6. Dean O says:

    I am in awe of the productivity and terrific skill on display, and wish you a very healthy and happy 2022 with sixes all around!!

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Deano! You too mate and thanks, I need all the sixes I can get as I’ve used my quota up on Phil over the last 18 months… 😉

  7. steven says:

    Jolly good show in 2021. Here to a great 2022 … along with some jungle green. 😉

  8. Norm says:

    A very enjoyable read. Thanks for the content over the last year.

  9. Willz Harley says:

    Fantastic photo fest of brilliant wargame figures, your blog is always a good read.
    Thanks for all the posts and inspiration over the last year.

    Stay safe and a Happy New year,

  10. stephen marsh says:

    Absolutely brilliant Mark. Looking forward to more of your post in 2022. 🙂👍

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Thanks Stephen! So do I, as I think the Royal-Nassau Hussars are sending me blind… While the wife’s at home seeing the New Year in with champers, I’m at work, seeing it in with shabraques…

  11. Dal G says:

    Happy End of 2021, mate. You got a lot done in a short time, Mark. We seem to share the same taste in Prussian and Austrian SYW regiments, additional to having Los Rios swat the Württemburg Dragoons every time they meet in a game.

    Stay well and get some more games up for us to read, mate.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Dal! We’ve probably been working off the same orbats! 😂 I’ve got those regiments due to building up to a big demo game of Kolin back in 1998 😁

      You too mate! And I’m keeping your hat safe…

  12. Jason says:

    Well done Mark – very inspiring as usual! Looking forwards to the next installment.



    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Jase! Ah yes; forgot to add to my 2022 Short=Term ‘To Do’ list: “Send those bloody 28mm WSS French to New Zealand!” 😉

  13. DB says:

    Great review Mark!

  14. Kerry Thomas says:

    A great read Mark (which in a way is a shame- its 4,30 am here and I couldn’t sleep – this has woken me up more rather than the opposite!). Certainly a very productive and impressive painting year- best wishes for the next

  15. Neil Youll says:

    Thanks for a year and a bits inspiration: although it does highlight the fact that I don’t paint 15mm SYW figures as quickly as you do! (or as well probably).

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Neill! Yeah, but I do have the advantage of being able to paint on shift. 😉 I don’t know how anyone finds the time to paint at home… Added to which, the days of me having a group of mates all interested in the same thing are LONG gone, so if I don’t paint everything myself I don’t get a game! 🙁

  16. Andrew McGuire says:

    Just read this and echo all congratulations at your productivity and standard of painting. Wondering whether the colours – flags for the benefit of Johnny Foreigner – are hand-painted or printed. Also with, as I understand it, only twelve figures per battalion, how do you decide which design to use (assuming these foreign armies follow the British practice of having both King’s and Colonel’s colours, or something similar.)

    With regard to Napoleon’s Battles, assuming this is the set once published by Avalon Hill, which edition do you use? There seem to have been at least four and I don’t know how much they varied. Do you find it gives a more satisfactory Napoleonic battle than Shako?

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hi Andrew, these days I generally just go with printed flags. I either buy them in from people like Fighting 15s, GMB or Maverick Models or make them myself with my own laser printer. ‘Back in the day’, you either painted your flags or you didn’t have flags! 🙂 My most recent large-scale flag-painting efforts are the VBCW armies and the Fishguard 1797 armies.

      As for how many flags – I usually go for one flag per battalion, but some armies (particularly British and Royal French) just don’t look ‘right’ without a pair. A 12-figure battalion does look rather ‘flag-heavy’ with two flags, but what the hell… 🙂

      Re Napoleon’s Battles; I was still using 1st Edition (with house rules) until about four years ago, when I noticed an advert for the 4th Edition. I’d been blissfully unaware of the 2nd and 3rd Editions… I decided to give it a go and to my pleasant surprise, discovered that the authors had all the same ideas as us regarding house rules, so 4th Edition is basically the same game as our 1st Edition plus house rules (not all that different, tbh). Yes, I much prefer NB to Shako, but each to their own. I like the command & control challenge and almost role-playing aspect of the generalship in NB. It has the feel of a grand-tactical game and not a tactical game with bits added.

  17. Andrew McGuire says:

    Thank you for answering my tedious questions. For some reason I had only the vaguest awareness of Napoleon’s Battles. I see the fourth edition is published by Partizan Press, who have an awful lot of Napoleonics rules to their name, including the recent Shadow of the Eagles, which I’ve been planned to acquire. I may have to add both to my already excessive collection, along with another recent discovery, Imperial Eagle by Dermot Quigley of Campaign Game Miniatures.

    With regard to Shako, however, do you find it works better – with your modifications – for the SYW than Napoleonics? I’m currently that in spite of preferring NB, you didn’t use that as the basis of Tricorn. Surely it can’t have been just because of the hats?

  18. Andrew McGuire says:

    I received my copy of Shako today. I see the SYW amendments amount to less than one page, and look like a bit of an afterthought. I’m sure yours will make much more interesting reading- and, I hope, playing.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Andrew. Yes they were and very much based on some misconceptions. It also meant that the best tactic was simply to mount frontal cavalry charges against lines of infantry, as the infantry had very little chance of stopping them with firepower and the cavalry were then at a significant advantage in melee.

  19. Andrew McGuire says:

    Coincidentally I’ve just read about Prussian infantry reacting to cavalry encirclement by the third rank turning around and firing, thus driving the cavalry away. No need for a square here, though the formation was known and practiced on the drill field. I don’t know as yet how frequently, if at all, individual battalions formed squares of the type Napoleonic gamers are familiar with. It would seem well-trained troops didn’t really need to, though the above manoeuvre wouldn’t be much use against a flank attack as far as I can see.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Yes, the Prussian Leibgarde famously did the ‘rear rank about-face’ manouevre while withdrawing from Kolin, though I don’t recall any other examples. I tend to take the ‘holistic view’ that if infantry successfully beat off cavalry in melee, they probably adopted the correct method (i.e. just leave it to the dice, rather than have special rules for third ranks, etc).

      There are examples of squares, though they tended to be multi-battalion affairs; usually entire formations mounting a last, desperate defence as a rearguard action, though there is one example of a four-battalion square deployed immediately behind an artillery position as defence for the gunners. The Prussians and French tended to put columns between the two lines, in order to close off the flanks and turn the formation into a massive square. The Austro-Imperial Army also did likewise against the Turks.

  20. Andrew McGuire says:

    Fascinating stuff! I was aware of the huge squares employed against the Turks, rather similar to the tactics adopted by the British against Zulus and Mahdists, I think. I’d also noted Frederick’s plans for a multi-battalion infantry square to serve as a rallying point for cavalry but hadn’t yet come across any such deployment in practice.

    I’ve always been curious as to why the battalion square became the standard formation against cavalry in the Napoleonic wars after being seldom used previously. I assumed it was easier for hastily trained conscripts to deploy into, relatively speaking at any rate, particularly as they would normally be deploying from columns. Neither is applicable to the British, however, the most famous exponents of squares. Perhaps Brent Nosworthy’s book on Napoleonic tactics, which I’m awaiting, will provide the answer, or possible answers.

  21. Andrew McGuire says:

    I’ve just noticed that the Prussian officer in the foreground and adjacent to Fritz in the mounted staff group appears to be reading a tabloid newspaper. Unfortunately, as it’s upside-down from my point of view I can’t read the name of the organ or the headline, though I have a feeling it might be saying something quite pointed about Habsburgs. Would you care to clarify?

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Well spotted… 😉

      He’s the Duke of Bevern and he’s reading a copy of the popular Berlin red-top ‘Die Sonne’. The headline reads ‘HAB DICH!’ (‘GOTCHA!’), which is probably a reference to Frederick’s capture of the entire Saxon army at Pirna…


      • Andrew McGuire says:

        So I was right about the ‘Hab’ part, though I committed the cardinal intelligence officer’s error of drawing the wrong conclusion from incomplete data. Fritz would have me cashiered on the spot.

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