Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dutchmen in space

Some stalwart Hollanders

I played the Quatre Bras scenario from Command & Colours Napoleonics with Sydney recently.  He is determined to learn how to use the British and their allies properly.  The game was a 9-6 win for the perfidious French and a full report will follow soon. 

However, what it did bring home to me was the fact that a goodly proportion of my Allied troops were still using blu tac'd bits of paper as unit labels rather than the rather nicer versions Capability Savage has put together.  Cue rattling through my boxes and drawing up lists and looking at uniform references as I've forgotten what regiments belong to. It's a nice little job that I can rattle along with between baby wrangling sessions. 

It's also brought home to me how Peninsula focused my uniform references are.  I'm good on Russia 1812 and after, the Peninsula and the broad strokes of most of the national armies (i.e. I can generally tell one from another) but I would struggle to identify individual regiments. 

More labels is probably a good idea then. 

In other news, I've been watching "The Expanse" on Netflix and very good it is too.  It's a multi-stranded look at a future in which Mankind has colonised the Solar System, but remains divided against itself.  Earth and Mars are at odds and "the Belt" (essentially everywhere else) is caught in the middle.  It's a slow starter and the first few episodes spend a long time setting out their stall, but the Expanse is good old fashioned science fiction about ideas and frankly that is thin on the ground these days. 

Highlights include the wonderful Shohreh Aghdashloo who plays a ruthless Terran politician with dash and aplomb. She is magnificent throughout.  Thomas Jane does a great turn as a conflicted and corrupt copper - a limited man struggling against his environment and his nature.  The rest of the cast are not bad by any means, but these two shine very brightly indeed.  Aghdashloo in particular puts me in mind of Dumas's Richelieu  - that antagonist-not antagonist, the likeable adversary and the compromised friend. It is a nuanced performance that accomplishes a great deal in relatively limited screen time.  I'm torn between a desire for more of her and the knowledge that such  would inevitably dilute the power of whats there.

Great stuff - and thankfully because its Netflix it is only ten episodes, so it dodges that usual American bullet of overstaying its welcome by being a million years (or twenty two episodes) long.  


  1. Thank you for bringing this series to my attention. I'll look for it and binge-watch next week when wife and child are off visiting grandparents on the west coast.

    Best Regards,


    1. I won't guarantee that you'll enjoy it - but I'd say there's a better than even chance.

  2. I'll have to check out The Expanse based on your recommendation then. I love the European/UK format of 6ish episodes and maybe two seasons and done.

    1. Thanks. It's a rare piece of work that can keep things taut over that period of time. I don't begrudge them the format - I just think that a lot of things work better in a shorter form.

  3. I always write the unit identification on the bottom of the base as it comes off the painting desk so I do not forget who the unit with red facings is supposed to represent. Good luck in your pursuit of unit identification!

  4. Just on to the fourth book in the series. I think the first series of the Expanse covers books 1&2. Well worth a read.

  5. Ah I never realised Bergerac and Last of the Summer Wine were American...

    1. Really?

      Not even after the spin off series?

      "Everyone loves Cleggy"
      "How I met Compo"

      and Peter Sallis's ill judged action movie career, though I thought "Yorkshire Ninja II" was probably the best of the bunch.

  6. Just on to the fourth book in the series. I think the first series of the Expanse covers books 1&2.