Simple-to-build cardboard European windmill


I made this complex-looking cardboard windmill in just one evening! It’s a cut-out model from Helion Publishing’s latest Paperboys book, European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames by Florian Richter and Peter Dennis.

Despite the intricate design of this windmill, with protruding attics and overhanging annexes, it was surprisingly easy to make. It was simply a matter of scoring all the folds, cutting out the pieces, folding them into shape, and gluing. Everything fitted perfectly.


This windmill is one of the many cut-out buildings included in the book, which covers both Northern and Southern Europe settings. Other buildings include two churches, a mansion, a watermill, houses and farms, bridges and walls, and much more.

Unlike the Paperboys model soldiers I’ve made, which need to be photocopied before assembling, these buildings can be cut straight out of the book. The pages are printed on light card, with only some instructions and explanatory photos on the back of each page, which (if necessary) you can simply capture with your phone camera before you start cutting out the model.

The book’s front cover also shows a column of figures from Peter Dennis’s other new Paperboys book The War of the Spanish Succession: paper soldiers for Marlborough’s campaigns in Flanders.  I bought this second book too, intending to use it just as reference.  But, boy oh boy, Peter’s figures are just so colourful and eye-popping (especially the French Maison du Roi) that I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist assembling some regiments!


The figures shown in these pictures of my windmill aren’t paper, though – they’re from my Minden Miniatures army.  But they show how well these cardboard buildings will go with any traditional 28mm army.

Peter’s preference is that his buildings are a little smaller than true scale so that they have a smaller footprint on the battlefield. But you can easily photocopy them larger or smaller if you wish.


Probably the most complex part of the assembly was the beam structure on which the windmill sits. But in fact this was surprisingly simple to put together. The trick is to score all the folds first, and then use Uhu All Purpose contact glue for very fast bonding.

The finishing touch with any cardboard building is to use a wash (I used green wash) to disguise any white card that shows through the folds or on exposed edges.

So there you have it – a wonderful windmill in one evening …


Newly released trailer for ‘Barry Lyndon’

Just as vibrant and urgent as it was when it debuted in 1975, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon is perhaps the perfect historical epic movie to be re-introduced to a brand new audience.

In advance of the July 2016 re-release of the film in the UK,  a new trailer has been crafted for the film, one that builds in a contemporary feel without sacrificing the film’s authenticity.

Only a cinema screen can do justice to the stunning visuals of Barry Lyndon. Inspired by painters such as Thomas Gainsborough and William Hogarth, the film has a beautiful, painterly look, enhanced by filming in natural or historically accurate light sources.

My particular interest, of course, is that the miniature army of my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia, is made up of the various units that appear in the movie, including Gale’s Regiment of Foot, the Régiment de Royal-Cravates, and the ‘Kubrick’ Infanterie Regiment.


The British contingent of the army of the Barryat of Lyndonia: Gale’s Regiment of Foot (28mm Minden Miniatures figures, GMB flags).


The French contingent of the army of the Barryat of Lyndonia: the Régiment de Royal-Cravates (28mm Minden Miniatures figures, GMB flags).


The Prussian contingent of the army of the Barryat of Lyndonia: the ‘Kubrick’ Infanterie Regiment (28mm Minden Miniatures figures, GMB flags).


Lynden Hussars join the army of the Barryat of Lyndonia


Looking somewhat Toytown-ish in their blue, yellow and red uniforms, a new regiment of hussars has just joined the army of my wargaming ‘imagi-nation’ (imaginary nation), the Barryat of Lyndonia.

After I bought these wonderful Minden Miniatures French hussars last year, I ummed and ahhed as to which French regiment to paint them as. Although my army is imaginary, I like each unit to match a real-life regiment from any of the warring nations of the mid-18th century.


So, were they going to be France’s famous Bercheny Hussars? Or perhaps those cut-throat rogues, the Chasseurs de Fischer? I just couldn’t decide … until the decision was made for me when I found out that the French army had a hussar regiment named the Aspremont-Lynden Hussars. How could the Barryat of Lyndonia possibly not include this unit in its army?!

Lynden hussars 3

The standard French light-blue hussar uniform would look striking in my army, especially with the colourful yellow facings and red horse furniture.


I painted the horses using oil paints, which give a lovely depth of colour, and a sheen that makes them look lifelike.


The regiment consists of 24 troopers, two trumpeters, a standard-bearer (yes, I know hussars didn’t carry standards into battle, but this is an imaginary nation, remember!), and an officer. They’re not based for any particular set of wargaming rules.


One problem was that I couldn’t find any information on the colour of the Lynden trumpeters’ uniforms. As French trumpeters often wore the livery of their regiment’s owner, I decided to paint them in yellow and red to mach the heraldic arms of the real-life Aspremont-Lynden family.   220px-Lynden_wapen.svgBy the way, in case you’re wondering, my imagi-nation is named after the Stanley Kubrick movie Barry Lyndon. And whilst the Barryat of Lyndonia might sound a weird name for a country, it’s no worse than the the real-life Banat of Temesvár,  part of the Austro-Hungarian empire!


Huzzah! French 18th century hussars


After a rather long hiatus in my painting activities, caused by not being able to recreate the sheer euphoria of painting figures for the WW1 Chunuk Bair diorama during the first half of the year, I’m now finally back in the saddle again, as it were.

I’m working on a large unit of 28 Minden Miniatures French hussars to accompany my imaginary Barryat of Lyndonia army.

To fill in those who don’t know about the Barrayat of Lyndonia (ie nearly everybody in the world!), it is an imaginary nation – or ‘imagi-nation’ – I’ve created for my wargaming army, based on the Stanley Kubrick movie, Barry Lyndon.

The Barryat does not recruit its own army, but instead contracts regiments from other states in Europe – which provides the backstory to allow me to mix and match whatever real-life nations’ units I wish.


Here’s my painting board.  So far, the hussar riders have been undercoated in black, and are just being tested for how they’ll fit alongside each other when their horses are attached in pairs on pre-cut bases.

You might be able to see that I’ve also converted one officer to hold a standard – hussars didn’t normally carry standards, but, hey, this is an imaginary army!

Also visible in the above picture are a couple of my previously completed Prussian dragoons, and various small items I’ll paint at the same time as the hussars, such as a Minden French general and some Brigade sailors, as well as a few miscellaneous bits of baggage.


A few of the wonderfully energetic galloping Minden horses, showing the results of my oil-based horse-painting technique. This entails spray-painting the horses with rust-coloured car primer, then painting on black or burnt sienna oil paint, and immediately rubbing it off again with a tissue so the rust primer shows through – quick and dirty, but effective!

Now, the big question, which I still haven’t answered for myself, is which French hussar unit I’ll paint these up as?  At the moment I have the following two options in mind.

Le régiment des hussards de Bercheny


The Régiment des Hussards de Bercheny was one of the regular hussar units of the Ancien Regime.  Like the other French hussar regiments, they were clothed in light-blue.  Their distinctive colour was red, as can be seen in this anonymous painting Le régiment des hussards de Bercheny en marche, vers 1752-1763 [Photo (C) Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image musée de l’Armée].

You can also see that the Bercheny trumpeters were dressed in brown coats with green turnbacks.

Bercheny Hussars Grantjpg

These aren’t mine!  This picture is only to show the look I would strive for with my painting of these figures. These Bercheny Hussars were painted by noted British wargamer and author, Charles S. Grant, the picture coming from Jim Purky’s Der Alte Fritz Journal blog.

I like this colour scheme, one of the nicest of the regular French hussar regiments. However, the standard French hussar light-blue is coincidentally also the colour I painted my one other cavalry regiment for the Barryat of Lyndonia, the Prussian Truchseß dragoon regiment.  Ideally I would like some more variety in my imaginary army.

Les Chasseurs de Fischer


The Chasseurs de Fischer were a volunteer corps of both foot and cavalry, established in 1743 by a former officer’s valet who made a reputation for himself guiding other valets in and out of the islands of the Moldau River.

I really like their uniform of green and red, as depicted in this great old print of one of the mounted chasseurs, entitled Frankreich. Fischer’scher reitender Jäger. 1743 (French Fischer’s mounted chasseur) by Richard Knötel.

MySYW-Chass de Fischer-8501

Here are some exquisitely painted flats from Crogges’s My Seven Years’ War blog from Germany. Though in my case  would prefer the shabraque (horse cloth) to be red rather than green, more like the Richard Knötel picture above.

The Minden figures are also cast with the fleur-de-lis insignia on their sabretaches (bags), whereas the Chasseurs de Fischer had a device with three crossed fish – but maybe at this scale that won’t show too much.

This is also the only picture I’ve been able to find that shows the uniform of a Fischer trumpeter (French hussar trumpeters wore entirely different uniforms from the rest of the unit).

So, choices, choices!  You’ll just have to wait and see which way I go …



Pirate raid in Kapiti


Today I put on a pirate display at the Kapiti Wargames Club’s open day.  I say ‘display’, because it wasn’t a game as such, but just an excuse to lay out as much of my piratical terrain and figures as I could, in a static display piece.  

I guess I could’ve just as easily played a game on the terrain, but I was too lazy to do so.  Anyway, I just wanted to enjoy talking to the club members and any other spectators, and convincing people that good terrain needn’t be too complicated. 

The display was very much ‘Hollywood’ rather than ‘History’, with various anachronisms evident (eg a Napoleonic landing party in a Golden Age of Piracy game from a totally different century), and some definite confusion in architectural styles (ranging from a Spanish Main village to an American colonial boat-house and church).  

I took a pile of pictures, so here they are for your enjoyment.  They’re all quite large photos, so that you an click on them to get the full-size effect.

IMG_lg_1941An island, somewhere in the Spanish Main.  The terrain is a bunched up felt gaming cloth arranged over a commercial sea terrain mat, with some judicious use of real rocks and sand.  Simple, but eye-catching.

IMG_lg_1964Teddy-bear fur provided some fields of wheat.  Does wheat grow in the Caribbean?  Who cares? … this is Hollywoood, remember!

IMG_lg_1963This was a great excuse to drag out my home-made Napoleonic Peninsular War village, and the Perry civilians for that period.

IMG_lg_1962My Royal Navy longboat rows past a Dutch merchantman to battle the pirate invasion.

IMG_lg_1960The Renadra dilapidated barn kitset made a perfect boat-shed, just by adding some ladders and broken fences as ramps.

IMG_lg_1959To any small kids who viewed the table (and there were quite a few), I gave the mission of finding the pirate treasure.  Looking carefully, they would soon spot this cave …

IMG_lg_1958Outside the town the local garrison are on parade in front of the town worthies … little knowing that a pirate raid is eventuating beneath their very noses.

IMG_lg_1957The Dutch merchantman has now been overtaken by the navy boat as it heads round the point to engage the pirates.

IMG_lg_1955And whilst the pirates attack one side of the island, smugglers are busy on the other coast, moving their contraband inland on a convoy of wagons.

IMG_lg_1953The peaceful churchyard – one of two religious institutions on the island.

IMG_lg_1952And meanwhile the garrison continues its preening and parading in front of the ladies …

IMG_lg_1951… and the ladies continue their preening in front of the handsome officers.

IMG_lg_1950But some soldiers are hard at work at the fort on the point, firing the first shots at the pirate fleet.  The fort is a simple plastic toy I bought at a bring-and-buy.

IMG_lg_1949Some of the pirates have landed, disturbing a trio of young ladies who have been picnicking on the beach under the twirling sails of the (Grand Manner) windmill.

IMG_lg_1948The pirate fleet – including a scratch-built brig by my friend Scott, and my own converted Disney ‘Black Pearl’.

IMG_lg_1945If you look carefully, you’ll see a man praying at his father’s grave in the country churchyard.

IMG_lg_1944Another look at that fat Dutch merchantman – the fat ship, not the fat merchant!  This ship was originally a plastic toy in a boxed game, though it has been given a heavy makeover.

IMG_lg_1943Meanwhile the smugglers are making their way over the bridge and up to the village to dispose of their contraband.  The river, road and bridge are by Australian company Miniature World Makers.

IMG_lg_1940Here’s another look at those pirates landing on the beach, almost under the guns of the fort.

IMG_lg_1939The pirates’ flagship waits off-shore, ignoring the puny gun in the small fort on the point.

IMG_lg_1938One of the the lookouts in the fort tower is blowing the alarum trumpet.

IMG_lg_1937It’s a good thing this is Hollywood rather than History, otherwise that skeleton pirate would be right out of place.

IMG_lg_1936The table attracted a lot of interest right through the day, despite it being a static display.  The longboat is a terrific model by Britannia Miniatures.

IMG_lg_1935Here’s that boat-shed again.  You can also see how a sprinkling of real sand makes an effective touch.

IMG_lg_1934Life goes on in the the higgledy-piggledy village on the hill.

IMG_lg_1933Oh dear, they’re STILL parading.  Haven’t they heard the alarum yet?

IMG_lg_1932Nope, I guess not.

IMG_lg_1947Here’s a couple of the other games we put on … Scott and Paul did a great Flames of War game, with plenty of action.  They even had the screaming sound effect whenever the Stuka made an appearance.

IMG_lg_1946Stephen and Steve put on a lovely 15mm Seven Years War game.

Tricornes and lashings of rococo gilt – Austrian staff

Austrian generals by Minden Miniatures

This photo shows my entire 18th century Austrian army.  Yep, these three generals are my Austrian army – all of it!  There is not one solitary Austrian infantryman or cavalry trooper amongst my miniature armies for them to command. Yet I have these three – so what’s the story?  

Why I bought these Minden Miniatures figures, I’m not entirely sure.  Whilst my ‘Barryat of Lyndonia‘ imagi-nation army is fictional, it is still based on the movie Barry Lyndon, and that movie isn’t exactly known for containing Austrians.  British, yes – French and Prussians too.  But Austrians, nary a one.

The answer is that Minden Miniatures don’t make any French generals (yet, I hope!).  They make a lovely set of Prussian general staff, which I’ve featured in an earlier post.  But they have no leaders for their French range to oppose the Prussians – only Austrians.   So, that means if I want some leadership on hand should I wish to split my Barryat army into two halves to fight each other for a game, Austrian generals it’ll have to be.

Of course, I could’ve gone for another maker, of whom plenty make French general staff figures.  But Minden Miniatures are so individual, being true 1/56th scale replicas of the human anatomical proportions, rather than the more caricatured (albeit charming) look of most other 28mm/30mm ranges.

Don’t get me wrong, I love other makes – after all, I own and treasure entire armies of them.  But for me, no other makers’ figures match in with Minden figures.  So for this particular part of my collection, it has to all be Minden or nothing.

So, there it is.

Now, imagine some strains of Mozart in the background, and meet my Austrian A-team:

  • General Franz Leopold Nádasdy
  • Field-Marshal Prince Charles of Lorraine
  • General Gideon Ernst Loudon


Military review in the Barryat of Lyndonia

Barryat of Lyndonia army on review

A military parade of the entire army of my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia, has been long overdue.  But today a combination of being on childcare duty at home whilst my wife works, and some lovely autumn light for picture-taking, inspired me to set out all the 1/56th scale Minden Minatures figures I’ve painted so far.

To fill in those who don’t know about the Barrayat of Lyndonia (ie nearly everybody in the world), it is an imaginary nation – or ‘imagi-nation’ – I’ve created for my wargaming army, based on the Stanley Kubrick movie, Barry Lyndon.  

The Barryat does not recruit its own army, but instead contracts regiments from other states in Europe – which provides the backstory to allow me to mix and match whatever real-life nations’ units I wish.

Instead of pursuing historical accuracy when painting my figures, I’ve attempted as much as I can to depict my soldiers as they appear in the movie, historical inaccuracies and all.  Therefore when some expert in military history tells me that the turn-backs on my Prussians should  be red, not white, or that they can’t possibly have those three flags together in one regiment, I can point out my figures aren’t representing real Prussians, but rather Kubrick’s take on them.  

So, for your delectation, on with the photos of the military review (don’t forget to click on the pics to see them in their full glory):

Austrian and Prussian staff,

The guests of honour are some famous personalities from nearby real-life countries, including the Prussian King Frederick the Great and the Austrian Prince Charles of Lorraine.   Also present are a number of the local gentry and their ladies.

Gale's Regiment of Foot

A long line of red emerges from the trees, as Gale’s Regiment of Foot, a fictional regiment from the movie, approaches the parade ground.  By the way, I think that the above picture is especially cool when clicked on to bring it up to full size.

Gale's Regiment of Foot

After having marched onto the parade ground in line, they’ve now deployed into column of companies (my infantry regiments have three companies per regiment). Headed by Lt Colonel Charles Gale, the officers include the Irish adventurer Captain Grogan, the foppish Lieutenant Jonathon Fakenham and his ‘particular friend’ Lieutenant Freddie, whose surname is not disclosed in the movie.

The movie depicts the drummers wearing tricornes instead of mitre caps, but I’ve kept to the latter because I like their mitres so much – and because that is the way the Minden drummers come.

Gale's Regiment of Foot

In the movie, the regiment has no grenadiers, but I have added these, again simply because I like their colourful and intricate mitres so much – and what better reason could there be than that?!  They were tricky to paint, but I think the final effect is worth the effort, and they’re my favourite figures in the whole army.

Gale's Regiment of Foot in the movie 'Barry Lyndon'

Somewhere in the ranks will be Private  Redmond Barry, the main character in Barry Lyndon.  He joined Gale’s Regiment of Foot after being tricked into a duel back home in Ireland. Captain Grogan has now taken young Barry under his wing, and Lieutenants Jonathon and Freddie will later provide him with an intriguing opportunity for Barry to improve his status in life (you’ll need to see the movie to find out exactly how this happens!).

Royal Cravattes

Following Gale’s Regiment of Foot,  the Régiment de Royal-Cravates enters the field.  In the movie, this is the French regiment that Barry faces in his first taste of battle, “only a skirmish against a rearguard of Frenchmen who occupied an orchard beside a road down which the English main force wish to pass”.  The narrator in the movie goes on to say that though this encounter is not recorded in any history book, it was memorable enough for those who took part.  

The drummers in their royal livery were tricky to paint, with all that red and white lace.  But I’m pleased how they came out in the end.

Royal Cravattes

Whilst un-named in the movie, in the original 1844 William Makepeace Thackeray novel, the French regiment that Barry marches against is called the Régiment de Royal-Cravates, so that is who they are in the Barrayat of Lyndonia.

Royal Cravattes

The Barryat of Lyndonia’s French regiment replicates the incorrect facings and flags as per the movie.  The flags are actually those of two real French regiments, the Grenadiers Royaux and the Régiment de Flandre, yet the uniform facing colours are incorrect for both.

Kubrick Regiment

The last foot battalion onto the parade ground is the Kubrick Infanterie Regiment, led by Captain Potzdorf on his distinctive white horse.  The movie doesn’t name this Prussian regiment, which Barry is forced to join after being captured as a deserter.  So in the Barryat army it is named in honour of the movie’s famous director, Stanley Kubrick.  I hope he looks down on this with approval! 

Kubrick Regiment

OK, so the movie doesn’t have any grenadiers in mitre caps.  But, like Gale’s Regiment of Foot, I really wanted some of those smart-looking guys, so I’ve conjectured how Kubrick would have shown them, had he wanted to.  Basically, they’re the same as his somewhat inaccurate Prussian musketeers, but wearing mitre caps instead of tricornes.

Prussian column led by three flags

 The movie’s inaccuracies are all faithfully recreated!  The soldiers’ coats have the wrong coloured turnbacks, they wear incorrectly coloured straps, and carry mismatched flags (the orange, black and white flags in the movie are actually from three different real-life Prussian regiments).

Prussian dragoons

The sound of jingling bridles and trotting hooves announce the arrival of the only cavalry regiment in the Lyndonian army, the  Truchseß Dragoons. This regiment is the first unit that veers away from the movie.  While there were some small numbers of rather plainly-dressed Prussian cavalrymen in some scenes in Barry Lyndon, I went for the real-life Prussian Truchseß Dragoons merely because of their splendid light blue and pink uniforms.  Another perfectly good reason!

French battalion gun

In the finale, the whole army masses behind the two guns of the Barryat of Lyndonia army as they prepare to fire a salute.  The French gun in the foreground is modelled on one that appears briefly in the  movie.

French cannon

The gunners in the movie wear the standard white infantry coats rather than the blue and red French artillery uniforms.  This is actually correct, because small battalion guns such as these were manned by men assigned from the regiment, not Royal Artillery gunners.  I’ve done the same with the British gun, manning it with crew assigned from Gale’s Regiment of Foot.

Minden Prussian staff

The visiting Prussian king, Frederick the Great, is so impressed with the turnout of the Barryat of Lyndonia army that he has instructed his hussar general, von Zeithen, to write a note of congratulations, which the latter is now handing to a courier to convey post-haste to the Lyndonian palace.

Barryat of Lyndonia army