Monday, January 13, 2020

Salon de Guerre wargames room part 1

Just a little excited!

This week we have started the redecoration of the 18th century  “salon de Guerre”. The Wargames room on the first floor, using the name borrowed from Versailles Salon de Guerre, although it is has later  baroque interior. The Salon has unique curved corners and  door, squared 18th century panels and timber rails and a deep decorative cornice.

When we were looking for a house for the business twe were looking for a building with three entertaining salons. L'Hotel de Hercé (the houses name) fully met the requirements with two salons for entertaining guests on the ground floor and this Salon on our first floor.  

Every Wargamers dream is a permanent location for the Wargames table, miniatures and militaria collection, I used to in Australia, have a shed for storage and table or used the dining room table for gaming, but had no permanent location for wargaming.

I am quite excited to finally have such a fantastic room and permanent location for my collection of miniatures and militaria I have collected over the years. It will be a great asset for the business to have such a unique room for a wargames table that all of our Wargame Holidays and B&B guests can enjoy.

I have been planning this room since we purchased the house in 2017, researching colours and the layout of what I want to achieve, I am seeking a sort of gentlemans club feel, but also practical, and a inspiration for all of the wargaming community also. 

A have made a short video of the what the room looks like before we really get stuck into the preparation and painting. Plus added a few pictures of what it looked like before. Hopefully we will be complete in around three weeks for the preparation and painting.

Video here on my channel

And some images

The curved entrance door

The curved corners

Curved corners

Above the fireplace, the typical 18th century panels

The Lion d'OR cafe, 20mm building boom part 6

Completed my first piece of my 2020 list, a building this week, after discussion on Facebook about the name of a cafe that would suit all of the regions close to my house Normandy, Brittany and Pays de Loire. After a suggestion and the doing some follow up research I settled on the “Lion d’Or” which possibly refers to the Normandy and Maine/Anjou golden lion used by William the Conqueror and the Plantagenets in the region.

The building is from the Raventhorpe 20mm Normandy building range, the only additions I made were the paper sign on the side, the clear plastic glass from Christ card box, the curtains from tissue and the sign writing for the business sign and on the window with a brush.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

French Wargames Holidays Projects and Plans for 2020

The rise of 2020 a truly upon us, Christmas is complete with lots of nice presents for me and the Family has returned to Australia after their holiday in France with us.

I have had the opportunity this week to sit down and write out my goals and what I would like to achieve for 2020, both in the business and personally. As always I need to look at my priorities for the business to operate effectively, what is required for the growth of the business and make sure we are in profit also. I also look a what I would like to do and achieve this year personally, and goals for my hobby.

This year we have a few main items on the agenda, the consolidation of our "Walk the Battlefield in the Morning, Wargame in the Afternoon" tours, the continued renovation of L'hotel de Hercé, the new Wargames salon (the Salon de Guerre) on the second floor and building the new main permanent table within.

We have all the figures completed ready for people to play with for our current tour and wargame offerings. I will throughout this year continue to add to the armies to enlarge them and become more specific and small detail focused, particularly when it comes to units and personalities. Specifically medieval armorials for the English, French and Breton knights post Agincourt, and my ww2 collection.

I have resisted over reaching myself this year,  only 12 projects in total for each category, a majority of it is the already built, and some is part painted, part built and just needs details added. I am focused on what I want achieve, as I have set a high wargaming standard for the business.

I also want to post more regularly on my two blogs Storm and Conquest and my ww2 Kampfgruppe Willow, French Wargames Holidays Facebook accountFrench Wargame Holidays Instagram and make a few more tutorial terrain videos and Wargames holiday tour videos,  all posted on the L'Hotel de Hercé youtube account.

On the workbench in 2019, the future view from the Salon de Guerre when it is completed!

Business projects and Goals

  1. Consolidate our  "Walk the Battlefield in the Morning, Wargame in the afternoon"© . The ability to walk one of our local battlefields helps people understand the ground and the battle more. This is our unique selling point when it comes to Wargame Holidays worldwide. We have 60 battlefields locally within an hour, a particularly high concentration of medieval and WW2. The current tours worked very well last year and were most enjoyable for our customers. The author James Holland is a great believer in walking the ground, and as a ex military surveyor and wargamer the ground is very important to me also.
  2. Renovation of the new wargames room on the first floor the "Hercé Salon de Guerre", a fully timber panelled 18th century salon, renovations start this week with the removal of the wall tissue (fabric in the panels) then the staples, sanding, putty, floor renovation, then the painting. The paint scheme has been selected with a mix of three greys. The room measures 6.4m x 5.2m (21ft x 17ft)at the shortest length and width, heaters, fireplace and two french juilet balconies with a great view of the 16th century Chateau opposite. In 3 weeks we should be complete.
  3. Purpose built wargames table, one 9ft and two 5ft tables, on coasters so it can be shuffled around the room as required. In each table shelves, drawers, cupboards and a storage lip for cups, dice and rulers etc. I will have help from two friends on this, Bill and Micheal, one builder and one cabinet maker should help speed things along. Storage cabinets have been purchased to speed up things. 10 days to complete. 
  4. Promotion of our B and B L'hotel de Hercé. To tempt your partner to come also on your wargames holiday, we have the offer of staying with us in a 1720 former Barons town house, a four storey imposing L'hotel particular set in a historically listed 18th century square of noble Maisons with a central park, quite unique in France.  So while we are playing games or visiting the local battlefields, your partner can relax in the grand salon or the hectare of garden at the rear of the house, or perhaps local boutique shopping.  We will also begin the roll out of our exciting new "Walk the Battlefield in the Morning, Wargame in the Afternoon"© Tours in wargames magazines and media. Renovations of the L'hotel de Hercé will also continue through the year.
  5. Terrain tiles TTSFN©  (Total Terrain System for Now), the main focus for terrain this year, I have already completed 14ft x 6ft worth of table last year. This year more specific additions, First up my Mayenne board addition of large river valley with a sloped ww2 town layout board two TTSFN 600 x 600, I want to be able to use this for our capture the bridges across Mayenne WW2 game (as featured in Call of Duty 3 computer game series)), a majority of the buildings I have in my collection will be used but I will need possibly to construct some Mayenne specific pieces. A permanent railway station and siding board 600 x 300, plus need to add a raised railway embankment that can be dropped onto a table onto existing terrain. 
  6. A permanent Gaulois fort, I already have the walls built for this, now they will become permanent, at a pinch I could also use it as a Roman or dark age fort. I want to build something based on the Oppidum de Moulay on its own TTSFN 600 x 600 board three days work.
  7. A permanent 11th century chateau motte and bailey + a 13th century chateau on the same base, a chateau swap out,  based on Chateau de Sainte-Suzanne on its own board TTSFN 600 x 600. I will build this out of MDF and bamboo, 5 days work.
  8. A permanent 15th century chateau, based on Chateau de Lassay on its own TTSFN 600 x 600 board, I already have a small chateau 300 x 300 chateau I use but would like to build something more permanent so I can add detail. More of a want and not an essential piece  for the business at the moment, but will be when we add the new tour.
  9. A multiple medieval watermill river board, a marsh and eel ponds board for the battlefield at Baugé. One of my favourite local battlefields Two TTSFN 300 x600 boards will suffice  think. I commenced the construction and layout of the ponds and mill diversions already, just need to build the mills, thinking about making the Mill for moulding, so I could sell them to customers of the business. 
  10. Complete the Ardenne Abbey terrain tile, main building is complete and the tile is complete minus the 8cm high stone walls and three buildings to be painted on a TTSFN 600 x 600 tile, Not essential but a nice table piece for ww2.
  11. Pegasus bridge tile, TTSFN 300 x 600 tile is complete, just need to pour the river and paint the resin cafe!
  12. Improve my painting  and airbrush skills. I have several lessons booked this year with a friend Robin who is a well known modeller on the international plastic modeller medal winner. 

Personal projects aligned in 28mm and 20mm

  1. Breton wars of Independence armies French and Breton, By far the largest project mostly Perry WOTR figures, research is complete. I started this project last year and changed some of my WOTR figures to fit the 1488 period, I can put a game on the table but as I am fussy I want all of the armorial as correct as I can. I will add 12 additional units to replace the WOTR figures I currently use:- purchase one or two units of light cavalry and one box of perry WOTR mercenaries.
  2. 100 years war French and English additions to the collection. I can cover the early part of the HYW Breton war easily, but need to enlarge my post Agincourt English, French and Scot army for the battles of Bauge, la Brossiniere, Fresnay and Verneuil (all battlefield tour locations), painting focus this winter, research is complete for the armorials :- require some Perry horse sprues to make up seargents.
  3. Norman and Maine army 1064:- additions I can put quite large armies on the table for this already but I would like to add another 5 units of infantry of the new Victrix figures. more of a want than a need!:- purchase Victrix Normans
  4. Viking army for 9th century, additions I have a fairly large army for this already but I am adding some V and V character miniatures and the new Victrix Viking figures to my skirmish collection, as this period really lends it self to skirmish rather than large battles although we can visit three Viking large battles locally:- 24 single based figures some are actually already part painted:- purchase a bag of Victrix Vikings. 
  5. Gaulois army, additions I would like to add another 8 units to complete the army, they are very time consuming but I do enjoy painting them:- nil to be purchased.
  6. French Revolutionary army and my Vendee army is currently really a large skirmish force which is fine for Chouan games, but I want to enlarge it so I can play the larger local battles of Le Mans, Dol and Entrammes:- purchase three more Vendee infantry units of 16-24 and one cavalry unit to be purchased, plus additional french cavalry in Mirliton from the fantastic  "Revolutionary Armies range".
  7. US 2nd Armoured and 90th Infantry Division, additions of armoured infantry battalion and another company of specifically  marked tanks :- six 20mm Sherman tanks, 2 armoured cars, 4 trucks, 30 infantry plus arty required to be painted.
  8. French 2nd Demi Brigade, I want to add a specifically painted Free french painted units rather than using my generic American armour. I would like to build the units for the fighting south of the Falaise gap coming north :- require six 20mm sherman tanks + 2 M10s 
  9. 1st Sicherung Regiment complete the painting of the infantry and armour, thirty 20mm infantry on bicycles, two armoured cars, two at guns and one bus:- two skoda trucks required 
  10. 17th SS specific additions of armour and 30 Infantry to be painted would like to add specifically marked PIV L48 marked unit, plus some more infantry in camo:-nil purchase required
  11. 12th SS, I would like to add some more AT guns and specifically mark some already painted vehicles:- nil to be purchased
  12. 9th Panzer  Armour to complete, more additional detail, marking on tanks, I have nine PzIV and two Luchs to paint and some marking to be done on vehicles already painted:-nil to be purchased

Personal Terrain Projects aligned in 28mm and 20mm

These smaller pieces are mostly table scatter, but will beneficial to my table top. I plan to make some how to videos for these.
  1. Animals, additions to the collection, of pigs, cows and sheep and the odd chicken and goose, plus animal pens in 20mm and 28mm, scatter terrain mostly:- need mixed livestock.
  2.  Ploughed farm fields, additions to the collection, mix of hedges, stone walled or mixed rail fences for 28mm and 20mm, at least three more.
  3. Maize/Corn fields additions to the collection, the most predominate crop here in summer, about five fields worth, old Christmas tree decor to be used!
  4. Harvested flax crop field  additions to the collection,, the next most predominate crop here from Caesar too ww2. I want to add six fields, door mat purchased for the job
  5. 20mm WW2 buildings additions to the collection, another chateau, a Normandy  church, farm and village buildings, plus cast my power poles (current January focus) 6 pieces to complete. currently on the painting desk! 
  6. Ancient-Dark age village additions to the collection, more buildings, a church, a few hovels :-need to scratch build or buy. 
  7. 28mm French revolutionary additions to the collection, more period buildings, specially farm buildings:-need to purchase or scratch build a fortified farm piece.
  8. Medieval additions to the collection,  need to complete half completed buildings: nil purchase
  9. Bocage, additions include my Mark V improved horse hair hedges with trees in the hedges, I have noticed in our are of the Mayenne bocage a lot of trees in the hedge lines, now I will have permanent drawers the storage of these should not be as problematic.
  10. Trees especially larger 28mm, I have decided to add larger scaled trees for my collection just need to crack on with these, materials are ready, cut and glued need a day or two to do all of the flocking. 
  11. Fences Wattle and daub for dark ages and Napoleonic :- need to purchase some, will add them to the medieval village.
  12. 20-28mm Stone walls master is made just needs to be moulded, then cast in resin, made them last year, need to be done to complete the chateau/Monastery board and will help with the various town and village builds.
I will try to stay focused this year rather than getting side tracked on the latest "shiney" pieces and releases...... 1805-09 Napoleonics, 1940 WW2 and 20mm moderns to call out to me a lot!!!!!

All the best with your projects this year, leave a comment, and keep me on track!


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Happy New Year

may you're 2020 be successful and prosperous


Building Boom part 5

Moving onto some new pieces and trying to complete some others, two church's, one is a repainted the other belongs to a friend.