Saturday 16 November 2013

Reformed Blog

I have decided to restart the blog after a few months vacant with a greater selection of articles on a larger variety of subjects. So without further ado, welcome back.

Regards Carausius

Monday 14 October 2013

Warriors of the Week (what was uniform of the week)

I am aware that slowly my Uniform of the Week posts have progressed further away from uniforms and have been more about units themselves and I've decided that this is because I want to write about soldiers as opposed to what they wore, I may write some more posts showcasing uniforms but when I do I will not attempt to write my art critic style prose I wrote before.

Anyway this weeks warriors are the Saxon soldiers of the wars against Viking and Norman invaders, the Fyrd and Hurscals who fought for Alfred the Great, Harold Godwinson and many others. The Saxons have always been Saxons rather than Normans in terms of preference. I just liked the kind of noble barbaric Saxons as opposed to the more neat and obviously wicked Normans. My interest in shield wall warfare has been rekindled recently due to reading Bernard Cornwell books and so I thought I'd showcase the Saxons for this week.

Anyway I love Saxons in general, I know Hurscals and Fyrd are very different but lets face it their both cooler than any Norman, I love the society and I love the armour especially the helms of Saxon Commanders. Anyway the Saxon warriors of this period were much better than the Normans obviously and I now realise that changing the name has changed nothing.

In Praise of Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell is the English author most famous for his Sharpe series, his writing career began with Sharpe's Eagle and Sharpe's Gold. He is definitely one of the finest authors writing historical fiction recently and the sucess Sharpe books and subsequent television essentially restarted the historical fiction genre. I first discovered Cornwell having seen the Sharpe TV series a few years ago and I've just not stopped. Here's a look at some of his books.

The Sharpe Series
Having been introduced to Cornwell via the Sharpe TV series these were the first Cornwell books I read. Each book from the first book over thirty years ago till the latest book (2006) is simmilar in themes and style but is very much a separate work. The Sharpe books are basically just great fun, their is a real sense that the author enjoys writing the books as much as the reader enjoys reading them and in my case I enjoy them a lot. The books were not written in order so you can just dip in and out of the series.The stories follow the adventures of a British Rifle officer Richard Sharpe who due to his common birth competes with aristocratic scorn as well as his foes on the battlefield. I really love the Sharpe books and even the oldest are still great.

The Arthur Series
I have only read the first book of this series but it was pretty good, in this series Bernard Cornwell trys to create an Arthurian story that is as accurate as possible to recent historical thought (it's set in the 6th century). What I liked about the first book is that it kept the Arthurian magic but you are never sure to what extent the magic is real or just superstition and this is really clever. I did not like this as much as some of his other books however and I wish I knew why.

Gallows Thief
TV crime is so much easier to follow, I never really mastered this crime detective novel but I did read it pretty fast. It was kind of hard for me to get into this properly as I am so used to his military novels, I liked some of the characterisation and felt the book was lively but as I've said I  didn't really get because I'm a bit dull witted as far as murder mysteries go. I was glad that it was in a historical setting however but all I could think of in this regency thriller was Oliver Twist (from a historians perspective I find this embarrasing).

Azincourt and Redcoat
Azincourt bears very close ressemblance to the earlier Redcoat which I have also read except it is set at the battle of Agincourt rather than the Valley Forge Winter. I  prefered Azincourt so I like to pretend that it came first so that Redcoat is the copy. They are not identical but Azincourt is the superior book, I liked the way it showed a different side of Shakespeare's heroic Henry the 5th and it's characterisation was as always very good. Redcoat should not be dismissed however, my major problem with this book is that a certain character had to die just to give it its predictable happy ending and that character happened to be my favourite, oh well.

This one came out last year and I liked it a lot, yeah simmilar characters same kind of writing, still great. Cornwell always excites and theirs not much more to say on this one except it's great. Apparently Thomas of Hookton, the main character is also the main character in the Grail Quest series, I'll have to read those.

The Warrior Chronicles
I'm potentially leaving best till last here. I can never decide whether I like these or Sharpe better. Uhtred the exiled Saxon Warlord is a very interesting character, I like the fact that he is always pining for things he may never achieve and the fraying loyalty to Alfred that leads to all the tension. I think Cornwell describes the brutal glory of the shield wall really well and I would strongly advise you read these.

Those are just the ones I've read but I think if you're not into Cornwell yet then you need to be. A German family friend who is a keen history enthusiast taught himself English by reading Cornwell with dictionary in hand. I hope you like his books as much as I do and this has inspired you to read them.

Saturday 5 October 2013

Uniform of the Week (2)

I have been a bit inactive of late due to life and writing a few articles that are quite time consuming so these last to weeks have been a bit sparse in terms of content but I have reached a better time now. The uniform for this week is the Russian Cuirassiers (1812), I am in love with their ridiculous helmets that make these gigantic men appear even taller. I also think the contrast between the black cuirass and the white tunic looks impressive, professional and bold, the red also outlines the black and white nicely. A fine uniform for a very good unit.

Mega Article Coming Soon!

Just thought I'd let people know that I am writing a long article on Archduke Charles which strives to contain all the great content of various online sources and books into the most accurate account of his life on the web.

Uniform of the Week

The chronology of uniforms is something that has always interested me, I like how uniforms developed from peacock brilliance to drab, professional camouflage. This weeks uniform is essentially the Dorothea of Brandenburg uniform which I showcased earlier, updated a few centuries. The uniform is a Prussian Infantryman from the 1870s. I like the functionallity of the tunic and equipment topped with the ostentatious pickelhaube as it shows the evolution of uniforms from extravagant to proffesional. It is obvious how this uniform eventually became the famous German uniforms of the great war.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Perry Miniatures Plastic French Line Infantry Review

How to say this without sounding like a patriotic git and marginally racist...

The British are much better, the models have less flash, more options, less chunkiness and no decapitations!
I absolutely loved the Perry Redcoats (I'll have to get another set to review) and the hussars of grown on me but my dislike of these models has steadily increased since I purchased them. I believe this is either a very early or the first perry plastic kit and it shows, the models are stocky and the arms are held very close to the body but this is understandable since they are mostly one-piece castings other than backpacks. Being a modeler I hate one piece castings, the only models that are not one piece are the voltigeur and a few arms on command. Perry have decided to torment me however with head options and considering you only get 3 simmilar sprues (one is part command) for 42 men you'll want these. The problem is you have to decapitate the models just to do this and carve chunks out of the shoulder so the collar inclusive pieces don't look like somone is wearing a long sepperate collar. So I  now have a few french which I dared to convert which look like they are chicken men.

Chicken men that is until they are painted, I did test models with white and black under coats respectively and I have to say when painted the head swap isn't too obvious. To be honest they had potential and at that price (£20 for 42 models) I'm not complaining but I'd recommend you think about whether you're prepared to deal with the faff before you consider purchasing these.

Carausius Rating: 3/5