Friday, January 31, 2020

Aulerci Diablintes tribesmen V

Off the desk this week some of the first clothed Aulerci Diablintes, quite happy with my  plaid on these, two more units not far behind.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Vendée Rebellion Tour and Wargame

Our newest "Walk the battlefield in the morning, Wargame in the Afternoon" tour and wargame, we are really excited to offer this to our customers as the war in the Vendée and the revolution has a relationship with our Maison. 

The tour will commence in our square, with a overview of the rebellion and the effect on Mayenne and the Nobles who lived here. We then travel to the site of la Croix battaillie and walk the ground, then onto Entrammes to walk the Battlefield located around the bridge. Then back to Laval and visit the Basilique Notre Dame d'Avesnières, and the Vendée memorial, at the top of town we lunch in the old city and finally visit the location of the execution of the Prince Talmont, in front of his family Château.

After lunch we return to L'Hotel de Hercé and then Wargame the battle of Entrammes in the 18th century "Salon de Guerre ".

Full details on our website


Friday, January 17, 2020

Aulerci Diablintes skirmishes

Another small skirmishes unit completed for my local tribe the Aulerci Diablintes tribe project, another 6 heavy infantry units and it will be complete, then I will move onto the Aulerci Cenomani (Le Mans ) again using Victrix miniatures, based for impetus.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Breton Domnonée Dark Age cavalry

A unit of medium Breton cavalry for my Kingdom of Domnonée project, another project from the 2019 pile that was partially completed and required a few steps to complete them. I am almost at a end for this army one more cavalry unit, a command and thirty figures. This will give me quite a large army for the 5th through to the 8th century and by swapping out some infantry and cavalry will stretch until the 9th century.

The figures in this unit are footsore with one converted gripping beast celt to make up the unit. Quite happy with the plaid on these.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Black Prince Edward III

If you have been following you will know that this year I am adding to my Early 100YW armies   using predominantly Claymore, Old Glory and selected Perry and Crusader miniatures, I have around 120 figures to add to my English, Scots, Bretons and French. I want to be able to fight the battles predominately in the west close to my house and relating to our wargamer "walk the Battlefield in the morning, Wargame in the afternoon" tours and wargame holidays in France.

In addition one of my goals this year I will  be also building a historical 14th century chateau for my TTSFN (total Terrain System For Now) table.

Edward the Black Prince, a miniature sculpted by the Perry twins. Released by Warhammer Historical quite a long time ago. I painted it for the “Metal” painting competition on the guild Wargamers forum.

We visited the Poitiers battlefield last September and walked quite a bit of it. The signs need some work but happy to see it not completely surround by houses.

Nearby I would recommend visiting Abbaye Saint-Junien de Nouaillé-Maupertuis in the valley. A wonderful Fortified medieval Abbaye with many stages of construction, much of the grounds are walkable. A book on the Battle and the Abbaye is available in French at the L’Hotel de Ville located in the Abbaye gatehouse.


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Confederate Marines

The last remnants of 2019 projects are leaving my table this week, first up a rebase and touch up of some Confederate Marines that suffered during our move from Australia to France. Basically highlighted and touched up the scratches and dings and re-flocked the base.

The figures are from the first corps range and are the only 28mm confederate marines I know of on the market. They were originally built for our clubs Atlanta campaigns.

A rare unit, as they mostly only acted in companies, serving the the ships and gunboats with the Navy. But they served on land was along with ex ship crews at the siege of Atlanta, they were formed into a unit and manned Fort Ogeechee, manning the guns and defending the bastions until the Atlantas surrender. The other battles that they served on land include Fort Fischer and at Drewy's Bluff after the scuttling of the Viginia-Merrimac. The last battle they served in was at Saylors creek, a battalion was formed with ex naval personnel and marines defending the James River fortifications.

The flag references a 1861 company flag, as I am unaware of any marine unit or dismounted ship crew ever carrying a flag on land and is hand painted. These chaps will join the sale of my ACW collection in the coming months.


ref Marine Corps Gazette, June 1978 Col T.J Saxon

Monday, January 13, 2020

The "Salon de Guerre" 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

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Lion d’OR cafe 20mm buildings part six

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 account, French 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!

Wishing you all a successful 2020, may the dice be with you!


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Summing up 2019

It's a wrap up for 2019

A fine year of wargaming at French Wargame Holidays at L'Hotel de Hercé, we had visitors from all over the world, United States of America, Canadians, Australians and French made up a majority of the wargamers followed by some surprises, Chinese, Swiss, Latvian, Maltese, and Indian.

Our most popular "Walk the Battlefield in the morning, Wargame in the afternoon" tours was World War Two battlefield tours and wargaming, followed by high medieval battlefield tours and wargaming, with only two each for dark ages and ancient battlefield tours and games and one Renaissance tour and wargame. A large majority were ex or current serving military personnel, the remainder from all walks of life.  

Our standard Military history tours were also very popular, particularly DDay American sector, the 100 years war, and William the Conqueror  followed by our historical cultural tours to Brittany and the Loire. We did have two requests to follow in the footsteps of relatives who served during the liberation of France.

A large majority of the guests attended with there partners, they both enjoyed relaxing in the grand Salons and gardens of  L'Hotel de Hercé ,  shopping and dining locally, plus most couples enjoyed together our military history tours or our cultural tours. L'Hotel de Hercé achieved a average 9.7 on our general bed and breakfast bookings, which we are very proud of. 

Modelling and wargaming sum up 

Most popular image on Facebook and the blog was my Breton tartan painting with over 10000 hits

Most popular video on my you tube Chanel was my modular wargames table project

Also very productive on the painting front results
28mm Miniatures
115 cavalry
2 artillery plus 8 crew
336 infantry
20mm Miniatures
32 Infantry
2 A/C 
1 bus
1 wagon
2 canal boats completed
3 rowboats
1 church
1.8m x 5m table 
Four 20mm bunkers
28mm Medieval Hot oil
20mm Monastery
4x 20mm buildings
three 28mm medieval houses
6 cows
14 trees
Kits built
16 1/72 kits

Most popular 2019 posts were DDay at Carentan, Wheats Tigers and liveries of war of the roses.
In summing up, a lot completed with bigger plans for the coming year. A big thankyou to all of our guests this year, we are feeling excited with what 2020 will bring and look forward to your visit. 

Matt and Nessa