Friday 24 November 2023

Napoleon - The Movie

 So last night I took myself off to my local cinema to watch Ridley Scott’s latest epic!

Now I’m going to look at this as objectively as I can and I would also suggest watching Mark Kermode’s review of the movie on You Tube.

First I shall try and look at this as a cinema goer with no knowledge whatsoever of Napoleon or his history.

On that count this is very much a story of his relationship with Josephine and perhaps that would have been a better title and focus. We learn little of  Napoleon’s background and what makes him the way he is.

Scott focuses on the story that Napoleon was infatuated/ besotted with Josephine and is really a little spoilt brat. (. Another variant of the Emperor Commodus ) I think you either have to take it or leave it based upon based upon what you may know about his private life. It is touched upon of the strong bond he has with Talleyrand ( one of my favourite historical characters) but that could have been developed much better. Trying to cram the time line into just over two hours is difficult and we globe trot at a pretty frantic speed, epic images of his army in Egypt, Russia etc. and you have to listen carefully to understand why he is undertaking the wars - primarily to destroy British trade. This journey is punctuated by epic, grim, gory battles which to the uninformed will look spectacular. So as a movie to a cinema goer it was ok, but it left you feeling there were a lot of questions unanswered about Napoleon himself and why the French admired him so much - maybe the 4 hour directors cut ( to be shown on Apple TV at some point in the future) will resolve some of that!

Now form a wargamer, amateur historians point of view then I feel you will be disappointed/frustrated, the Uniforms are good in parts, I enjoyed the siege of Toulon. Even the invasion of Russia looked good but Napoleon leading a Cavalry charge at Borodino - please!  But in the short time it was covered within the movie it is clear Scott puts the blame of the disaster firmly on Napoleons shoulders on his stubbornness to seek victory rather than retreat and sit out the Russian winter.

Austerlitz and camouflaging of the guns and ambushing the Allied army - it may be a good scenario to put on the Wargames table but it was pure fantasy.

Then we get to Waterloo -  all done in around 10 minutes- two armies lined up the British and the French infantry deployed in slit trenches!!! Admittedly the French cavalry attack on the British squares I actually thought was better than the Waterloo film ( no anti war sentiment) although not as spectacular but it wasn’t Waterloo for sure and Napoleon leading another cavalry charge against the British as a last gamble as the Prussians arrive!!  I could carry on pulling that battle to bits. From Scott’s point of view he would say he had the key elements, the rain, the march of the Prussians to the flank the need for the British to hold etc etc but Waterloo it wasn’t, and how long will it be before we see some gamers buy into Napoleonic gaming and start putting trenches on the battlefield.

So was it a waste of time? No I don’t think so, you very much have to leave everything you know on the shelf and as I said at the start I think this is more about Napoleon and his relationship with Josephine than anything else. If you’re going expecting to see another Waterloo/ War and Peace classic then you will be most frustrated.

I think the four hour version will be better but only in providing maybe some more story to Napoleon and his relationships the battles won’t get any better!

I know Robbie on Independant Wargamers Blog absolutely destroys the film but then he’s not as forgiving as me 🤪. 

On a different note it’s my local Wargame show tomorrow ( Battleground at Stockton) a decent sized show, free entry and is a well organised event by Leon from Pendraken miniatures still under supported by Northern gamers for some reason which is a great pity.

Then I aim to give a hobby update and game report next week.

Tuesday 31 October 2023

Month end update!

 Well I almost let this month slide out of view. I hadn’t meant it to be so quiet but with the birth of two more granddaughters it’s all been a bit  hectic, but I promise I have been productive and I will post a few pics as teasers with more in the next update.

I finished the redoubt for the Bunker Hill game and have started painting more militia to garrison it, a few command bases to come as well.

Pendraken have announced quite a few new pieces are coming incl. militia artillery crew, naval landing party, amusette etc so lots more to look forward to.

I also got engrossed in a series of videos on you tube by the Crusty Colonel on his Dux Brittaniarum campaign now I knew already had some buildings, figures and the rules so a quick check in the loft and hey presto two forces assembled. I shall show all the figures next time! I’m using Forged in Battle for the Arthurians and Wiglaf minis with a few Splintered light for the Saxons….. now I know the Saxons are far later period but I like them and it’s my game.

The fort is from Forged in Battle and I think is excellent, really enjoyed painting this which of course means my campaign will be based in the North.

Finally I managed to pick up a collection of very well painted ‘epic’ ACW for not a lot of money from a gamer who has suddenly decided to give up, some 160 bases of infantry, 24 artillery bases and 40+ bases of skirmishers. No cavalry unfortunately (but I have some to paint) but quite a few Zouaves and some Iron Brigade. This acquisition coincided with me buying ‘With Hot Lead and Cold Steel’ a new set of ACW rules which after a cursory examination look interesting and I hope to get a game played next week, it even got me to pull some of 1995 purchases of these scenario books by George Anderson and Ryan Toews

So let’s see what transpires have a great Halloween and keep safe…

Sunday 8 October 2023

The Other Partizan

 Today saw me attend the other Partizan at Newark showground, now I usually stay over and attend the show but with growing years I’m becoming more tight with the money and decided the money I would have spent on the hotel I could spend at the show and therefore in my eyes I’ve spent nothing.!!!! Go work that one!

The two hour drive was straight forward - a bit of fog but it was clearing I arrived and Partizan always seems to be blessed with good weather and today was no exception.

A large queue was present and I decided to wait until it was moving in, the organisers got the queue moving in quickly ( take note York organisers ) and we were in, it was clear from the start it was to be a busy show. 60+ games and 40+ traders meant there was plenty for everyone. 

I bought a few bits and pieces, bases from Warbases, paints and paint brushes from Corittani miniatures/ magnetic displays  and some dark age Irish from Forged in Battle.. There were other traders I intended to return to but never got back.

I just intend to do a photo dump of the games - the first batch are the participation games and even they are now of a quality that a few years ago would be called demonstration

I apologise for any games I’ve missed ( and I know I have) it wasn’t intentional and it was also nice to see that the organisers are encouraging some smaller scale games to make an appearance.

As always it was nice to catch up with people and chat but I’m also aware that I never got to meet others who I knew were attending. By 1pm with the sun shining I sat outside, bought an ice cream had my sarnies and decided to head home - leg was giving me jip.

I still feel this is the best show on the circuit by far. Negatives and there has to be some - the seating area inside  next to the cafe is small for the number of people attending and by lunch time the gents toilets get disgusting, soaking wet floors and blocked toilets ( a sad reflection on some of the attendees) but I will be back next year!.