10 November 2014

Rediscovering a lost Treasure and finding more - The revised works of W J Rawkins reviewed

Back in the mists of time when I was a younger incarnation of what I am today. Just starting out on my lifelong journey of playing with toy soldiers, I used to collect all manner of reference books as money permitted at the time. Those I could not afford were loaned from the library ( yes they used to exist in almost every town). I still have many tombs that I purchased at the beginning of this adventure with me today, some are showing signs of a lot of wear but books are for reading not to be just stuck on a shelf and looked at.

My biggest area of interest has always and undoubtedly will remain the Napoleonic Era. There is something quite magical about the whole period that as a painter always draws me back like a moth to a flame. I like so many in this hobby get consumed by the history of a period and over the years have been consumed by several historical eras. The creative side of me though always enjoys painting figures from the flamboyant period of the Napoleonic wars a golden age where uniforms were more about the dash and dandy, as they were for the day to day practicalities of combat.


One purchase I made in those early days happened to be a black and white pamphlet on the Saxon Army, I have always liked this army from the first read of said publication by W J Rawkins. So I went to fetch it from the collection for yet another read to inspire me for painting a 28mm unit. Sadly time and over use has got to this and it was not readable any more. These things happen, but I really want to replace it as for me it was invaluable. Then I had one of those moments remembering an earlier blog post about my search for the correct Baden hussar uniform and another of Mr Rawkins Pamphlets I wanted to add to my collection. In that very post there was a reply from the man himself, informing me that sadly the book was no longer in print but he had been revising all the volumes and some were available again in PDF format.

So having been out of the loop for a while now I set about obtaining some of these books for my collection. My initial purchase has been for three volumes of the new editions which are priced at £3.99 each with free postage in the UK, postage worldwide is available for a small fee. I began with three volumes that I took a distinct liking too, one I had been looking to acquire in pamphlet form earlier. I chose the volumes on the Kingdom of Wurttemberg, Duchy of Warsaw and Kingdom of Naples as my initial foray. Purchasing these could not have been simpler as I placed them into the basket and clicked to make payment all handles via Paypal. All I had to do was be patient as I needed the Royal mail to do their part as they were dispatched the same day now that is great service.

In due course the Great Halls letter box clunked as a neat and well packed, padded envelope arrived. So I cracked the whip and got the thralls running on the water wheel and fired some life into the computer. Those damned thralls better keep running or there was gong to be trouble. I placed the first disk into the pc and I was off on my journey of rediscovery and adventures new.
I have to say these are a major improvement on the original versions fully expanded and containing a lot more information and plenty of colour plates, as a painter this is just the sort of thing that I consider a must have in my library. So much so that I am inspired to paint an several units from an army that until now I held little information on as it has rarely been documented so extensively.

What I like is the authors complete honesty regarding colours and in some cases he has used common logic to deduce what it was likely to be, and makes that very clear.

If you have an interest in this period then I would heartily recommend a visit to the History Book Man website (click the image below or in the right sidebar) and purchase a copy of what is currently available, Superbly priced at £3.99 a volume these really are true value for money. There are more on the way Saxons early next year I am reliably informed, with the Kingdom of Italy due for imminent release as well.


16 comments:

  1. Just checked out that website and purchased a couple of those ebooks

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    1. I hope you get as much out of them as I did Neil

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  2. Definitely interesting. The delivery system seems somewhat archaic as he is selling a ~130page PDF on a separate DVD for each one.

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    1. Its actually much better as you upload the disk to pc thus the disc becomes a back up and if you are like me I also have them now stored on a flash drive for extra back up.

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  3. Thanks for this Andrew as these look like some very interesting books there

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    1. LOL one of these may have helped you young Padawan

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  4. That looks like an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the subject, that didn't seem to do one on Martian uniforms though. :D

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    1. Yes Martians did not appear in the Napoleonic war which may account for the lack of uniform reference here :)

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  5. Great to have good reference material.
    cheers

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  6. Sounds like a terrific break for you! I know the thrill of getting another copy of something I treasure.

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  7. Thanks for the post! Need to look into those as I'm planning to get back to painting my Napoleonics forces again and smaller countries and duchies are definately needed.

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  8. These are truly excellent chaps and i can fully recommend them

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  9. Thanks. I will have to check this out.

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