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                            The War of The Spanish Succession by James Falkner     The War of the Spanish Succession was probably ...

The War of the Spanish Succession by James Falkner The War of the Spanish Succession by James Falkner

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


                            The War of The Spanish Succession by James Falkner

 The War of the Spanish Succession was probably the world's first world war. It was fought in areas as far flung as the Seven Years War, which it preceded by fifty years. The war was fought between the French, and Spanish on one side, and the English, Dutch, and Holy roman Empire. It also had bit parts played by the smaller players that Europe abounded with at the time.

 Our story begins with Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and Carlos I of the Spanish empire. Through his mother and father, he was the heir to both of these along with the Netherlands and more. His reign saw the house of Hapsburg become the world's greatest multi-national dynasty. The story continues until the late 1600s when Carlos II reigned over the Spanish empire. He was unfortunately childless and represented the last true Spanish Hapsburg. Leopold I (Holy Roman Emperor), and Louis XIV (king of France) were both grandsons of Phillip III of Spain. They, with their children, had the greatest claim to the throne of Spain. There was a third candidate who was very important to our story (but who unfortunately for the the people of Europe and beyond) that died young. This was Joseph-Ferdinand Wittelsbach of Bavaria. He was the son of the Elector of Bavaria and the grandson of Leopold I. There were treaties in force between the major powers that would make Joseph-Ferdinand the king of Spain after the death of Carlos II. His death in 1699 turned Europe into a powder keg waiting to be lit by whomever had the will to strike the match. 

  Carlos II passed away, but before he did drew up a will. In it the Spanish crown was to be offered to a grandson of Louis XIV, the Duc D'Anjou. In the event that he or more to the point his grandfather turned it down it was to be offered to the Hapsburg Archduke Charles of Austria, son of Leopold I. 

  Louis XIV's and the Duc D'Anjou's (now Phillip V of Spain) acceptance of the crown struck the spark that turned into the aptly named War of The Spanish Succession.

  The book tells the story of the War, its military campaigns, political machinations, and final outcome. The war would see the rise of England to be a global power. It would also really be the last time the Netherlands was a top player in the world of European politics. France would be brought to the edge of ruin.  

 This being my first review of a book, I wanted to delve into the physical makeup of the book itself. I have some books that I have owned for twenty years that look as bad as some hundred year old newspaper. They are yellow and falling apart. I'm not just talking mass market soft cover books, but hard cover. The older mass market books are only fit for the inside of a reptile's cage. So what does go into the making of a 'good' book that will see you through the years? Well I am here to tell you don't start your search using book making. At best you will find a plethora of hits on 'la Cosa Nostra' etc. As far as the actual pages turning yellow, it is a process that is well known for making our lives more miserable, oxidation. Lignin is found in all trees to varying degrees. It is actually thought to be the reason that trees can grow to great heights. If too much Lignin is in the book's paper, it will oxidize faster. Some book pages are now bleached to make the pages more white. This can break down the page's cellulose and also cause oxidation to happen faster. Book bindings can be either sewn or glued. Suffice to say that in my delving into this arcane study I did find out one thing. The books that Casemate publishing brings to the public are built to last. So, leaving the actual makeup of the book aside, let us start on the Mr. Falkner's part of this endeavor. 

  Louis Le Grand was unlucky in the timing of this war. The Frenchmen that he ruled were still as courageous as they were at the beginning of his reign. The problem was, where were his generals? Turenne, Conde, and Luxembourg were all gone. Only two French Marshals, The Duke of Berwick, and the Duc de Villars were to shine in this war, but not as brilliantly as those older diamonds had.

  Marlborough was close to winning the war in 1709, but his casualties at Malplaquet caused his allies to hamstring him. The Dutch were always an anchor around Marlborough's throat, and even more so now. The political fighting between the Whigs and Tories in England sealed his fate. Louis XIV, with the help of Villars was able to fight on, and managed to broker a much better negotiated peace then was thought possible a few years ago. The author shows this and more in this well done history of the war.

  This book is a godsend for people who want to read about the history of the War of The Spanish Succession, but also the politics and warfare of the time. The author goes into all of the different areas of where it was fought. There have been a few books on Marlborough himself, and a few more about his battles. There have even been some on his entire campaigns, but none on the other parts of the war in recent years. To read about the actions in Spain and elsewhere, you have to spend hundreds of dollars, if not more, on some older books about the war and its personalities. There are some PDF and EPUB versions of these books, but the copying process has left them to be pretty much unreadable, at least to me.  

 This book is an overview of the entire conflict and does not go into the minutiae of the separate battles or sieges. For those, you will have to look elsewhere. However, it does fill the gap in a book that brings the entire war to your finger tips. The author has a solid grasp of the history and reports it in a well done no-nonsense style without any hint of bias. I find this refreshing in a book about this war. Most of the books I have read on the subject have a definite English bias, at least in the amount of information about each side in the war.

 So thank you Mr. Falkner, and Casemate, for this book. It brings to life the war and its battles, and campaigns, and is a great addition to anyone's library.

  Mr. Falkner has the following books (among others) on the history of the times listed with Casemate Publishing:


Book: The War of The Spanish Succession
Publisher: Casemate Publishing, Pen & Sword
Author: James Falkner
 Review Date 8/14/2016

 Dear All, Welcome to our 7th Anniversary newsletter comprising some unique WW2 offerings to complement our Romans which made an ap...

Thomas Gunn Newsletter Thomas Gunn Newsletter

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Dear All,

Welcome to our 7th Anniversary newsletter comprising some unique WW2 offerings to complement our Romans which made an appearance last week. Kicking off with a new version of FJ020 but this time with 2 gunners with their MG34 set up in the HMG mode on a Lafette stand. There will also be an 'E' winter version but unfortunately it was not ready in time for this month's releases. FJ020D Anniversary set will be priced at $89/£70 and is strictly limited to 100 pieces worldwide.


The last of our FJ pieces for at least a year and a special promotion on this price for all orders received in the month of July. FJ028 set comprises 2 gunners with an MG42 in the prone position taking aim at the enemy. The A version is a winter variant with our 2 FJ's dressed in white smocks/trousers and the B version more suitable for Normandy with our gunners wearing late war style splinter pattern smocks and grey trousers. The normal price will be $89/£69 for the pair, but to commemorate our 7th anniversary this set will be available for the bargain price of $45/£35 for July thru ourselves and all of our dealers. After the discount period ends the price will revert to the standard price of $89/£69. Limited to 100 pieces of the winter and 80 pieces of the Normandy variant. Please note that a wooden DFS 230 glider will follow as well as JU 52 to accompany all of our Fallschirmjager pieces later in the year. Our new range of FJ's will make a reappearance next year in a format not previously released by ourselves and one we are very excited about.

RS042A/B Mortar: Two Aussies prepare to lay down a barrage on the enemy with their 8cm mortar. The A version Aussies are dressed in typical combat fatigues reminiscent for 1940's jungle warfare whilst the B version (to follow in the next month or so and not pictured) will be dressed in the early war style Battledress suitable for the Desert or Greek campaign. The A version is limited to 100 pieces and the B version will be limited to 80 pieces. Both versions will be priced at $95/£75.

RS043 Command Set comprises a super little set of an officer trying desperately to hear what is being said down the line whilst the noise of battle rages around. His number 2 patiently prepares to write down orders as and when they get through. This set also comes with spare weapons in the form of M1 carbine and Owen Machine gun for the 2 figures or to enhance your diorama elsewhere as standalone pieces. Limited to 100 pieces worldwide and priced at $85/£65 whilst stocks last. Our Japanese tank RS035 should be making an appearance soon with this being one of the final pieces for the RS series for the time being.

Roman Series: Don't forget ROM010, 012 and 013 released last week have already been heavily pre-ordered and have been as popular as ever, if you have not ordered yet I would strongly recommend that you do so. Next month will see the release of 4 new figures with some Auxiliary troops to follow later in the year in the form of archers and a few other surprises.

Wings of War WW2 Release This month we decided to combine our Mahogany WW2 aircraft with our figures and as such they are a splendid Axis forces selection, please read below for details:

WOW067 The Blohm & Voss BV 141 was originally developed from a 1937 requirement for a new reconnaissance aircraft with optimal visual characteristics. Arado were the preferred competitor but after the aircraft prototype failed to impress, the field was left wide open. Focke Wulf stepped in with the FW189 although this aircraft had two engines despite the RLM's requirements for a single engine aircraft design type. Blohm & Voss submitted a design with a highly unusual asymmetric design feature, which surpassed all requirements and was powered by a single engine. Unfortunately for Blohm and Voss the design was considered too radical and Focke Wulf were awarded the lucrative contract. Only 20 B&V aircraft were produced with some seeing action on the Eastern Front and several other examples captured by the Allies including the British, as they advanced through Germany. Our version NC+RI was the last from the initial production batch of 10 aircraft and is portrayed in standard Luftwaffe colour scheme for this period. Despite being a single engine aircraft the BV 141 was very large for its time with a wingspan of over 57ft and a fuselage of approximately 46ft in length. The BV 141 had a crew of three personnel and all in all this makes it larger than the Messerschmitt 110 we recently released! We have a limited number of 10 models available sometime in August, this very unique machine is priced at $799 and comes free with FJ029 Military police figure.

WOW086: The Messerschmitt BF 110 was a twin engine heavy fighter and served with success in the early stages of the war during the Polish and France campaigns but was hopelessly outclassed by the RAF's fighters during the Battle of Britain, where is served as a bomber escort. Redeployed as a nightfighter in the West the BF 110 was well suited to this role, especially when flown by aces like Major Schnaufer who claimed 121 victories solely in this type of aircraft. In other theatres such as the Balkans and the Russian front, the 110 soldiered on as a ground attack/fighter bomber and performed admirably. A 37mm cannon could also be fitted under the belly of the BF 110 which made this a formidably armed aircraft when used in the ground attack or bomber interceptor role. The 110 was also adopted by Italy, Romania and Hungary amongst others with over 6000 aircraft being produced during its operational career.


The BF 110 aircraft had a 53ft wingspan and was over 40 ft in length making it another large aircraft even in 1/30 scale. Our new version the C-6 was one of 12 converted with an experimental 30mm cannon fitted under the belly and was utilised by the Luftwaffe against RAF radar stations during the Battle of Britain. Comes free with Luftwaffe pilot and FJ figure as pictured in the promotion photos attached. Limited to 10 in number and available in August at a price of $799.




WOW087: The Kawasaki KI-100 was a superb fighter aircraft fielded by the empire of Japan in the last days of WW2. It was capable of intercepting the B-29 Superfortress that were plaguing Japan at the time, but was hampered performance wise by the lack of a suitable supercharger. No Allied name was given to the KI-100 as it arrived too late in the war to be to be christened, however its arrival came as something of a shock to the Allies nevertheless. An overall assessment of the effectiveness of the Ki-100 rated it highly in agility, and a well-handled Ki-100 was able to outmanoeuvre any American fighter, including the formidable P-51D Mustangs and the P-47 Thunderbolts which were escorting the B-29 raids over Japan by that time, it was also comparable in speed, especially at medium altitudes. In the hands of an experienced pilot, the Ki-100 was a deadly opponent and along with the Ki-100, the Army's Ki-84 and the Navy's Kawanishi N1K-J were the only Japanese fighters able to defeat the latest Allied types. Armed with 2 x machine guns and 2 x 20mm cannons the KI-100 could deliver a knock-out blow whenever it came into close contact with Allied aircraft. Our offering comes in a very colourful scheme of the 111th Sentai as it would have appeared in late 1945. The sentry and 2 officer Command set pictured with the aircraft are included free with the total package being priced at $550 plus P&P, with a limited availability of 10 models being produced worldwide.


WOW088: The afore mentioned N1K-J also makes an appearance in our catalogue and rightly so as it was one of the most effective Japanese Naval aircraft of WW2. Christened 'George' by the Allies this outstanding aircraft possessed heavy armament as well as surprisingly good manoeuvrability. This was due to a mercury switch that automatically extended the flaps during turns, these "combat" flaps created more lift, thereby allowing tighter turns. Unlike the A6M Zero, the George could compete against the best late-war fighters, such as the Hellcat and the Corsair. Despite its obvious capabilities, it was produced too late and in insufficient numbers to affect the outcome of the war. Our model is one based with the 301st hikoitai "Shinsen-Gumi", 343rd kokutai, Shikoku, during the Spring 1945. The sentry and 2 officer Command set pictured with the aircraft are included free with the total package being priced at $550 plus P&P, with a limited availability of 10 models being produced worldwide.

That's all for this month folks and I hope you enjoyed what was on offer. I am not expecting any WW1 aircraft in this month which I know will come as something of a disappointment to some, but hopefully August will see some all new biplanes. For those of you wishing to make a purchase directly thru ourselves please visit our website where all our figures will shortly be on display. For those of you wishing to purchase an aircraft please email me direct as these items tend to be slower getting loaded onto the site. Please note you can still make stage payments on all our wooden aircraft models, ask for details if this is of interest.

Best wishes The Gunn Team

Against the Tommies: History of the 26 Reserve Division 1914-1918 by David Bilton   For my first book review I've picked, by acc...

Book Review: Against the Tommies by David Bilton Book Review: Against the Tommies by David Bilton

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Against the Tommies: History of the 26 Reserve Division 1914-1918 by David Bilton


For my first book review I've picked, by accident, a book that is rather tricky to review as it's really a photographic journal of the German 26th Reserve Division - photos that  were initially compiled by the divisions Staff Officers in 1920 as a commemorative record of service for veterans of the 26th Reserve Division. So you can imagine text is thin on the ground and heavy on photographs which leaves little for me to analyse or discuss in any real detail. Saying that I've really enjoyed reading it and I'm actually quite pleased I chose it to review as I would never have read it as I normally steer clear of photographic war books.

The 26th Reserve Division is a Division I'm rather familiar with. They played a major part on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 1916, defending a portion of the front line trenches and continued to fight through out the Somme offensive. With the 52nd Inf Division on their right flank, their trench line started just north of Beaumont Hamel tracing a line south past Beaucourt, St Pierre Divion on to the infamous Schwaben Redoubt, then on through Thiepval and finally ending just south of Ovillers, where the 28th Reserve Division took over. If you've read any books on the Somme then your bound to have read of their exploits in that particular battle. The German Army on the Somme by Jack Sheldon, and another favourite series of mine The Other side of the Wire Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Ralph Whitehead, cover the Division in great detail, making this book the perfect companion to these highly recommended books.


Against the Tommies follows the 26th Reserve Division throughout the War, it starts with them attacking the French in the Vosges, then they were invovled in what became known as the "Race to the Sea" as both sides tried to turn the flank. The sides eventually reached the sea and niether had been successful, the only course was to dig in. The Germans pulled back to the closest high ground and dug in, the Entente got as close as possible and also dug in. The War on the Western Front became a 450 mile siege with the continous line of trenches we are all familar with. In the winter of '14 the Division settled in the Somme district until the end of the Somme campaign and winter '16\'17. They then retreated to the newly built Hindenberg line and were involved in fighting around Arras. In the summer of '17 they fought at Passchendaele, otherwise known as Third battle of Ypres. In spring '18 they fought in Germany's last throw of the dice, the great March offensive, where Germany came close to victory, the British and Commonwealth troops were driven out of miles of their front line and the Portuguese force disintergrated in mass panic. The result being the Commonwealth and British forces had to retreat until they had their "backs to the wall". However, after several months of bitter fighting the offensive came to a halt. The Germans had fought themselves to a standstill from which they'd never recover for the duration of the War. Finally, there are a couple of photographs taken during Germany's general retreat and the last photograph entitled "home coming" is a picture of a town center with it's deserted streets, which I think says it all.

As the Division was in the Somme district for a prolonged period of time it really adds interest to the photographs as we can see the towns, villages, churches and chatuexs slowly blasted to rubble brick by brick. You can see how destructive modern warfare was to the landscape at the time. One early war photograph will show a typical picturesque countryside scene and then further along the book  there is a photograph of the same view taken later in the War; that picturesque scene is now like a barren lunar landscape as the weapons and detritus of War take their toll and seem to corrupt nature itself. In fact there are a few cases in the book where several photographs have been taken over a period of time - of  a particular church or chatuex -  as if to record the slow and devatstating effect of artillery as it turns a beautiful building to rubble.


The collection of 405 photographs is extremely wide ranging in subject matter and most have never been published before. Many are of the trenches and the typical you'd expect: group photos, explosions, casualties, captured weapons, POWs and arty emplacements etc. However, it also includes many interesting ones of work behind the lines. Photographs of charcoal collectors, butchers, bakery, setting up weather balloons, troops using a threshing machine, bottling soda water and other normally unseen logistical work. One photograph really stands out from any other photo from WWI I've seen. It's a picture of a young German soldier 14th Kompanie RIR 99 who has an open, innocent face with a massive smile that seems to go from ear to ear! His Company Commander is standing just to one side behind him showing, what seems to be a fatherly look that could say "daft sod". He looks so young, innocent and happy, which makes it so poignant as I know he is only weeks away from the horror that was the Somme offensive and I wonder if he survived the attack and even the War, I hope so.

There are also some photographs of downed planes, and it would be interesting to do some research  to see if you can indentify the squadron and if possible the pilots name. In one photograph the RFC pilot is standing next to his crashed plane and another photograph has a German pilot standing next to the wreckage of one of his kills.

The book is divided into three chapters. The first chapter covers the start of the War to Dec '16. The chapter starts with a brief summary of  each of the actions the division fought in during that period. The next chapter carries on from the last until the end of the War. Again, at the start of the chapter are brief summaries of the actions the division was in for that period of time. Next are three large scale maps of the areas the division was in. The final chapter is a list of dates and names of all the battles the Division was in and finally the figure of killed, wounded and missing Officers. You are also given another total for NCO's and other ranks that the division suffered during the War. The book is 174 pages and 405 photographs. I'd have paid more if the paper used had been photograph paper and been colourised as I think that would have added another level to the book. Still, I recommend it if your looking for an interesting and extensive photograph collection following a particular unit. It's a great companion book to Jack Sheldon's German Army on the Somme or Ralph Whitehead's Otherside of the Wire.

You can purchase Against the Tommies directly from Pen & Sword or from Amazon and any other large book store. Hardback edition retails at £19.99.

MILITARY MINIFIGS Custom Military LEGO is becoming very popular indeed. Some tanks costing a fair bit of money. I actually love...

MiniFig Reviews Coming Soon MiniFig Reviews Coming Soon

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!



Custom Military LEGO is becoming very popular indeed. Some tanks costing a fair bit of money. I actually love it. It can be WWI or WWII themed which I'm obsessed about anyway but all wrapped up in nostalgia as it's also LEGO! Check out the Net. There are some HUGE warships out there that are very special indeed and some fantastic dioramas. Not only that YouTube has a fair amount of animated films.

So I've managed to get four companies who sell custom military LEGO agree to let me review their products. They are BrickManiaBrickArms, MiniFigs R Us, United Bricks and Little Legends. So expect to see reviews very soon!

Good day to you all, hope you are well and enjoying the blog!  Anyway, I've just received an email from Thomas Gunn about two pi...

Thomas Gunn Custom pieces for clients. Thomas Gunn Custom pieces for clients.

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Good day to you all, hope you are well and enjoying the blog!

Anyway, I've just received an email from Thomas Gunn about two pieces they have custom built for some clients. This is now part of their service. So below is a copy and paste of said email and some stunning pics of said pieces!

"Dear All

A quick 'Hello' and to introduce two new wooden Warbirds which we recently
made on a commission basis for two clients in the USA.

The first is the FW200 Condor a four engine maritime reconnaissance bomber
that served with the Luftwaffe and was also utilised as a transport
aircraft. In the anti shipping role the Condor could carry 900 kilos of
bombs and was later adapted to fire the Henschel Hs 293 guided missile.
Because of the lack of Allied aircraft available to intercept the FW200 in
the Atlantic, the Condor was able to sink a large tonnage of shipping during
the early part of the war and was dubbed 'the scourge of the Atlantic' by
Churchill.  With the introduction of CAM Hurricanes and other long range
aircraft the Condor was moved to the transportation role where it served
admirably, particularly on the Eastern Front.
With a wingspan over 107ft and a length of nearly 77ft this is the largest
1/30 scale aircraft we have made so far and as such will form an impressive
piece in any collection.

Our second aircraft is the Mitsubishi G4M Betty bomber also known as the
'flying lighter' and 'cigar' due to its propensity to light up in flames
after being hit by enemy fire, mainly due to its lack of armour and self
sealing fuel tanks.  As a medium to high altitude bomber the Betty performed
admirably due to its high speed and long range, the battleships HMS Repulse
and Prince of Wales falling to its torpedoes/bombs during the early stages
of the war. 
Our version is the one used by Admiral Yamamoto who was ambushed by American
fighters during operation Vengeance in April 1943. Yamamoto did not survive
the attack after his aircraft crashed into the jungle, a post mortem showed
he had been killed by bullets from the American aircraft during the attack.
Yamamoto was thrown from the aircraft during the crash and was found still
in his seat, head bowed under a tree, still clutching the hilt of his Katana
by a Japanese search team the following day. 
The Betty was over 65ft long with a wing span of approximately 81ft which
also makes this a very large aircraft for those of you interested in where
you would find the space to store one!

We now have a second factory that can make bespoke custom pieces for our
clients and if any of the above aircraft appeal to you or you have one in
mind that you have been hankering after for a while, then drop us an email
and we will quote you for your unique piece.  As each custom piece now takes
4 to 6 months depending on size, its easy to pay for the item in instalments
which hopefully creates less of a strain on the wallet.

Our figure release will be on the 6th June as the 4th falls on a weekend, we
have some Kriegsmarine and a Fallschirmjager anti tank piece for those of
you who collect WW2 items as well as a new version of ROM004 Repel Cavalry.

Best wishes
The Gunn Team "


Military History books published by Pen and Sword will be reviewed here soon.

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Military History books published by Pen and Sword will be reviewed here soon.