20 July 2014

Better Cart and Wagon Photographs. . .

 A large two-wheeled cart -- its load of freight is yet to be painted -- by Blue Moon, I think.  The driver is of course from the wonderful Minden line.  No attempt was made to model the reins between the driver and his horse since I wanted something that would stand up a bit better to handling, especially when the Young Master is a wee bit older and I indoctrinate. . . er. . . um. . . introduce him to tabletop wargaming.  You know, one of those many compromises all of us make in one way or other with our painting and modelling. 

You know, some mornings, just nothing goes right.  For instance, after a difficult and challenging breakfast with the Young Master, who clearly got up on the wrong side of the bed today, I retreated to the relative safety of Zum Stollenkeller with another mug of black coffee for some much needed time away from wife and child.  And to take some nicer photographs of that recently completed first batch of five wagons and carts.  


Here's a photo, especially for Ross, of 'Margarethe die Marketenderin' auf Deutsch, or Margaret the Sutleress in English.  She, her mule, cart, and supplies therein are a small set available from Eureka Miniatures.  The figure comes with a French Napoleonic forage cap.  I changed that to a three-cornered officer's cap with ostrich feather trim, by means of a fairly simple conversion (Off with his head!!!), which seemed only right and proper for the mid-18th century.


No sooner had I taken three reasonably nice pictures before my little Sony Cybershot TX20 informed me that its battery was out of juice, and then it promptly died without further ceremony.  Arrrrggggh!!!  I will not tell you what choice words I muttered below my breath in reply (you can probably guess), but after the breakfast episode, there were several as I plugged the camera and its charger into a handy power outlet.  So, three more hours or so before I can continue with the pictures.  Hell and damnation!


Finally, here is a close-up of Fräulein Margarethe, presumably on her way to hawk water, wine, perhaps a sack of coffee or flour, and a bunch of green onions to a platoon or two of hungry Stollenian infantry.  Unlike a full unit of 25-30 hussars, her dolman was actually fun to paint since there was only one. 


As usual, the painting on these was completed with a mix of very thin alkyd oils (Liquin Original is a huge help here) and washes of acrylic hobby paints over a white basecoat.  The horses and mule received an intermediary undercoat of orange, yellow, and brown Humbrol enamels before glazes of brown oils (mainly Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna) were applied during a subsequent painting session.  

The bases are carefully cut and trimmed 1/8" card, terrained with sand collected from my maternal grandmother's creek bed in the summer of 1984.  This was tacked onto the bases with Liquitex acrylic flat varnish.  When that was dry, it was given a wash of very thin dark brown acrylic paint.  The Woodland Scenics grass scatter material was tacked down with a bit more of the flat varnish the next evening, and the weed clumps were stuck on with dots of superglue gel the evening after that.  I might add just a smidgeon more of the grass material down the center of the wagon track, but I haven't made up my mind quite yet.  

Friday evening and Saturday morning, I got busy basecoating the next group of five wagons, teams, and drivers/drovers, but they aren't anything special to look at just yet.  In the meantime, tune in again later for a few more photographs of the finished models.  Once that blasted camera has recharged itself of course.

-- Stokes


Later. . . 

Ok.  Camera charged up and a few more new photos to add.  Here they are:


 The first of two Fife& Drum powder wagons.  This one has a large barrel glued into its wicker basket extension at the back.  The rider is part of the RSM9 range.  These models are almost nine inches in length, so I need to nail down better depth of field, so everything is in focus, and then I think my model photography skills will be reasonably good.


The second of my two Fife & Drum powder wagons.  This one has a large bundle, from Foundry I believe, glued into its boot, to customize things a bit.  I used a 2B (soft lead) artist's pencil for labeling the canvas cover before the two coats of gloss were applied.  Reasonably straight, reasonably centered, and reasonably weathered.  I was, you might recall, after a weathered and ramshackle look for my wagons and carts, and it looks like I did pretty well.  More dry-brushing might have been in order though.  I used a light gray and tan for most of that, but white for the canvas covers and the Foundry bundle here.


 Last of all, here is an ox-drawn hay wagon by Old Glory (or perhaps Blue Moon?), along with a Minden drover.  Once more, I left the harness and tether to the imagination (There's that word again!), opting instead for a model that might stand up a bit better to handling, especially once the Young Master is invited to command the other side in ol' Dad's occasional wargames.


So, there you are.  Not exactly hyper-detailed models like Gilder's and Mason's, with all sorts of soldered extra bits, for example, but they'll look nice enough on my tabletop.  They are painted to a neat, rather subdued  wargaming standard that doesn't look half bad to me.  Most important, they are done.  That's my new painting mantra: large, neat, and finished.  LARGE units, painted to a NEAT standard that looks good deployed en masse on the table, with everything FINISHED in this lifetime.  Or at least before failing eyesight becomes a real issue.  There now.  What an extremely liberating "aha moment" to have.  Perfectionist tendencies be damned!

16 July 2014

Presenting: The First Batch of Wagons and Carts. . .

Here they are, the first batch of wagons and carts all done except for a bit more Woodland Scenics foliage material to masquerade as clumps of weeds along the edges and down the middle of  each base.

Ok, I'm calling them just about done, barring a bit more tinkering with foliage material from Woodland Scenics this evening after the Young Master's bedtime.  What I was aiming for with the ground cover on each base was the impression of very minor, unpaved, and narrow roads, paths really, with grass and weeds along the sides.  

I recall reading somewhere in the last 20+ years of so -- perhaps in Jac Weller's Wellington at Waterloo? -- that prior to the mid-19th century many so called "roads" on the continent of Europe were rather vague and neglected.  As a rule, many were not paved, they could be 10-40 feet in width, depending on importance and proximity to population among other things, poorly defined and maintained, and treacherous in rain or winter weather.  

My own road bases still look a little too manicured to my eyes, but hopefully the addition of a few weed clumps here and there will help things to look a bit more off the beaten track and hinterland-like.  Otherwise, it's on to the next batch of five wagons, carts, teams, and driver/drovers.

By the way, the Eureka vivandiere above had her unmistakably French Napoleonic forage cap lopped off back in April or May.  It was replaced with a general's tricorn following the lobotomy of an unidentified 25mm early 18th century figure of unknown manufacture.  After some careful trimming and filing of course.  

The poor officer who lost his head to this fetching young marketenderin (an old-fashioned German word that meaning something akin to sutleress or vivandiere) was part of a large batch of primarily RSM95 figures.  If memory serves me correctly, I purchased these secondhand some years ago, and the good general's hat seemed about the right size for the young lady in question.  One of the many reasons to have a well stocked box-o-bits handy.

Anyway, now that she has been painted, glossed, and based, I'm somewhat happier with my conversion handiwork, which looked decidedly odd in bare metal.  Head and hat swaps are still difficult if not downright problematic for me.  However, it just goes to show that a reasonable paint job can hide a multitude of modelling sins.

-- Stokes


P.S.

By the way, these five wagons, carts, and teams were painted at a fairly leisurely pace, in twenty sittings that lasted between 30 minutes and two hours at a time, from May-July 2014.  If I'd been more diligent with the brush, things would have come together at a much faster rate. 


Finally, here's the next batch of five wagons with horse teams, riders, and drivers/drovers.  Just ignore the pile of freight and the two mounted offers at left for now.  On deck are four Fife&Drum pontoon wagons with a slew of pontoons, the delightful field forge model by Berliner Zinnfiguren, and a flatbed wagon, which will have its stack of freight painted and added later, is by Old Glory.  Or perhaps Blue Moon?  I never remember.  The riders are RSM95, the drivers/drover on foot is from Minden, and most of the draft/draught horses are a mix of Fife&Drum and Minden.  Base-coating tonight if the evening goes well.


13 July 2014

Back from the Edge of the Earth. . .

Here is where things stand with those first five wagons and carts.  Freshly glossed with two coats of shiny stuff and all done save for a wee bit of ground cover on the bases to approximate sandy tracks in the political, social, and cultural backwater that is the Grand Duchy of Stollen, somewhere in the vicinity of present-day Latvia.

In case anyone has wondered recently whether or not I've fallen from the edges of the earth, the answer is no.  Just trying to do too much with the little remaining free time before things begin gearing up for the autumn semester in about six weeks.  Sigh.  I'm already thinking about what needs doing where syllabi revisions are concerned (shakes head sadly).

On a slightly more positive note, I am extremely close to wrapping things up with the first five wagons and carts plus teams and drivers/drovers as you will observe above.  Only 11 to go, and then it's time to get to a rather large regiment of RSM95 infantry that's been in the lead pile for only about six years.  No rest for the wicked you know.

-- Stokes

22 June 2014

Painting, painting, painting. . .

This photograph shows the dark red -- not really right for a smaller room -- that was the old color.

The Grand Duchess and Young Master return sometime Monday evening, barring delays along the way due to predicted strong thunderstorms of course.  Yours truly has been busy the last week or so with some surprises for them, including repainting the upstairs bathroom as well as uncluttering (decluttering?) the living room and library on the first floor.

Of the two of us, I am really the more domestic.  While the Grand Duchess makes some fantastic things in the kitchen, I am the one who does our laundry each week, makes the beds, and keeps the first floor of the house straight and vacuumed.  It will come as no surprise then that it has occurred to me in the last 18 months or so that the rooms on the first floor could look even better with some careful rearranging and through simply putting away other various smaller items.  You know, getting rid of that cluttered late Victorian over-decorated look.  Bare surfaces, free of encumbrance are attractive and almost zen-like by comparison.

And let's face it.  Unless one is fortunate enough to live in a 20-room house, you just can't display everything -- the nick-nacks, the trinkets, the tschatschkes, the STUFF you acquire in adult life -- on every surface without it beginning to look junky after a while.  No matter how skillfully it is arranged.  You know, like the set of Sanford and Son on TV back in the 1970s (the American version of Steptoe and Son to you British and Commonwealth visitors).  Nope.  Clutter is the devil.  The devil.


Here, you can see the still wet first coat of the new color (Olympic -- Green Tea Leaf latex in satin finish) all done and in the midst of drying.


So, during the last marvelously quiet three weeks without wife and child, I've been able to 1) hear myself think, and 2) move a few things, put lots of stuff away, hang or rehang a number of pictures, step back, examine things, reconsider, and start again before finally getting it just right.  I was also able to move the lion's share of the books from the living room shelves into the the library -- where the Grand Duchess likes to work on her laptop while reclining on her maroon and gold fainting couch -- which only makes sense.  

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately?), I sold and/or gave away about four additional boxes of non-fiction and fiction books pertinent to my subject area the summer after I finished graduate school back in 2003, so that particular task was not quite as arduous as might have been the case.  Whew!  While I admittedly wish I still had the books now, the fewer one has to move, individually or boxed up, the better.

Anyway, all of this work is meant to be a surprise for the Grand Duchess.  Our eighth anniversary is on Tuesday, the day following her and the Young Master's return, and while I have a small gift for her to open, my various interior decorating activities are part of that.  I haven't said anything about it when we've spoken on the telephone.  Hopefully, she'll approve of everything that has transpired in her absence.


Finally, here's some fun stuff!  The first five wagons and carts almost finished.  Just a bit of detailing on the horses' harnesses, straps, and reins, then I can finish the humans and do something about varnishing and a tiny bit of ground work.


Last but not least, I've also been plugging away, here and there as time has permitted, on those first five wagons and carts, which you can observe in the final photograph for today just above.  They are very close to being finished.  Needless to say, with all of those harnesses, collars, and straps, painting up a supply and pontoon train isn't something to undertake lightly.  I now recognize why I have not yet bothered to add limbers and horse teams to my various artillery contingents!  

After examining quite a few photographs on the net of the harnessing and reins for draft/draught horses, I decided simply to wash the areas in a dark brown using a new #4 round brush with a good point.  The girths (around the horses' middles), however, were painted with a much lighter 'leather brown,' a small plastic bottle of Ral Partha color that is about 17 years old, believe it or not, and still going strong.  The gaming shop on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin where I bought it and a few other bottles of acrylic hobby paints that are still with me is, needless to say and sadly, long gone.

Today (Sunday), it's on to the front hall downstairs, which gets the same gray-green (Olympic -- Green Tea Leaf latex with a satin finish) treatment as the second floor bathroom.  I've done a bit of research online to find fairly authentic (correct) interior colors for craftsman style houses, and this particular green is the one I like best.  Not too dark, light enough to make a room seem bigger, and visually more interesting than bone white.  Green is also a calming color, which is something I desperately want and need in my life.  Calm.

The previous occupants of our house, students whose parents lived in another city and actually purchased the place for their son (and friends) to live in during his university 'experience' -- Talk about spoiled! -- painted most of the first floor in a light cocoa brown, which isn't a bad color, but when every room has it on all four walls, well. . .   It's a bit monotonous.  The painting was done rather sloppily too, so after six years of living in the house ourselves and making mortgage payments to our bank, it's time to fix things and do the job like it should have been done in the first place.  Know what I mean?

-- Stokes


Later. . . 


Here are two shots of the finished and put-back-together bathroom on the second floor after the inevitable and damnable small painting touch-ups late this morning followed by clean-up.  I like it, although it does call to mind those old photographs of doctors' and dentists' treatment rooms during the first half of the 20th century.



18 June 2014

Waterloo Day and an Interesting Question. . .

The Iron Duke at the Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815. 

Usually the day escapes before I realize it, but not today!  Hence the picture above.  Next year is, of course, the biggy.  The 200-year anniversary of the Waterloo campaign, but I am just as likely to be distracted by the "static" of family life and somehow forget.  So, I'll mark it today.  Somewhere, I have an old cassette of French Napolonic marches.  I wonder if it still even plays?

It's very odd, but the era when the battles that comprise the Waterloo campaign took place, 199 years ago, does not seem that far away to me.  Maybe that's due to my steeping myself in the campaign for so many years?

Some of you long-time Grand Duchy of Stollen visitors might recall that my first 20 years or so in the hobby centered on creating 15mm corps level Waterloo-era forces.  A goal that I never quite reached thanks to a number of common enough wargamer mistakes: not enough time (blame two graduate programs with an overload of related schoolwork, and four moves, one of which was overseas), not enough money, dancing around from one thing to the next without focusing my efforts when the time was available, trying to impart far too much detail on each and every figure, dabbling with writing my own hyper-detailed (simulationist) rules that made actual play difficult in the name of perceived realism, and so on, and so forth, ad infinitum.  All of the usual hobby pitfalls I think.  

Oh, and somewhere in there, I met, fell like a ton of bricks for, eventually dated, moved in with, and finally married the Grand Duchess, which took quite a bit of time and mental effort during the early 2000s.  Fairly easy to see, I'm sure you'll agree, why the 15mm Waterloo project foundered and eventually hit the rocks all together.  I still have all of the finished and as-yet-unpainted figures packed away.  Who knows?  They might one day see the light of day.  We'll see.  Somehow, I've never quite been able to reconcile myself to selling them off.  Yet.  The thought of organizing everything to photograph, itemize, and put up for sale on Ebay frankly seems daunting when free time is already such a rare commodity. 

To be honest though, 15mm just doesn't quite do it for me anymore.  Admittedly, the size was the best I could manage as a young high school student, who depended on a small bit of weekly allowance/pocket money way back in the early 1980s.  Of course, what I REALLY wanted were the 25mm Hinchlifffe and (slightly later) Connoisseur figures used by Peter Gilder at the old Wargames Holday Centre, as seen in those very early issues of Miniature Wargames.  Sadly, there was no way I could afford them in the numbers necessary for even a few of those 30-figure+ Gilder-sized units, and that's not even factoring in the international postage rates of the day.  However, when you consider present day figure prices and postage, it was awfully cheap by comparison.  Anyway, 15mm it was.  Sigh.  What might have been.

All of that nostalgia brings me to a related point.  I've been asked in a recent comment to say a few words about my favorite figures, those that I'd recommend, for the mid-18th century.  Easy.  In metal, I most like the 25-30mm figures by the following producers:

1) RSM95 (Dayton Painting Consortium)
2) Minden Miniatures (really 1/56th scale)
3) Fife and Drum Miniatures (also 1/56th)
4) Jackdaw (apparently soon available once again)
5) Suren/Willy (full of whimsy and character, sometimes a wee bit on the tall side)
6)Eureka (very nice although the muskets are a bit thick in my view.)

I've got a few figures by other makers in the Grand Duchy of Stollen collection, but these are my favorites.  All are slender, realistically proportioned (no overly large heads or hands), and with just the right amount of detail without going overboard in that department.  Thus, they are relatively easy and fairly quick to paint.  The old Spencer Smiths aren't bad, but they look a bit crude next to the others, so it's unlikely I'll add anymore of those to my collection in the foreseeable future.  That said, some wargamers and collectors have painted their Spencer Smiths to an amazingly high standard, so don't dismiss these outright.

I also have it on very good authority that the 25mm and 30mm figures by Tradition are wonderful with regard to correct anatomy and proportion as well as understated detail.  The latter are, however, huge figures, or so I have been advised, often standing at 35mm or so.  At some point, I'll order at least a few of these and have a closer look myself.  Maybe some more mounted officers at least?  A guy can never have too many Frederick the Great figures along with his officers on horseback after all. 

There are plenty of other popular makers of 18th century miniatures out there at the moment, who I won't mention by name.  Decent figures -- many love them -- but the problem with these for me has to do with the odd proportions, overly dynamic poses (not suitable for the highly trained automata that comprised the relatively small armies of the 1700s), bizarre facial expressions, and/or overly pronounced detail.  You'll have to be the judge, but all you need to do is look around online or in the hobby magazines to find plenty of examples of figures that are, somehow, off in one or more of these areas.  As with classic menswear (not the currently trendy skimpy stuff mind you), so often it's all about subtlety, proportion, and fit.  I think much the same can be said about wargaming miniatures in most sizes and scales.

Turning to plastics, I like the old Revell SYW range, which is on the tall side for 1/72nd figures.  Quite a few of these make up a few of my earliest infantry and cavalry units and artillery crews from 2006-2007 in fact, and there are a few guys out there who have amassed huge 18th century and Napoleonic armies made up of these figures.  They certainly look impressive from what I've seen via two or three blogs that I visit once in a while.  The more recent HäT SYW Prussians also look very attractive although I've only seen these in photographs online.  

The problem with plastics seems to be that the ranges are very limited, and it takes forever for the various companies that produce the figures to expand said ranges.  If it ever happens.  That said, I am not opposed to mixing plastic and metal figures within the same tabletop armies, but it is usually better not to mix them within the same unit.  Sometimes, however, that does work, but not always.  I might just need to order a few boxes of the HäT Prussians at some point to see for myself.

Well, that's the short answer.  ;-)  I could go on jabbering about this particular subject all day, but I need to return to the kitchen to refill the ol' coffee mug and then think about showering and shaving before lunchtime -- the joys of summer vacation, you know -- so, I'll sign off for now.  Caffeine (my true mistress) beckons to me from the kitchen.

-- Stokes

09 June 2014

Time for a Painting Breather. . .

Another couple of steps completed on the first five carts and wagons.

The Humbrol fumes seem to have abated somewhat here in Zum Stollenkeller.  My friend the 6' rabbit pokes his large head less frequently through the wall to my left at least.  The oil glazes have now been applied to the ox, horse teams, and mule as have the alkyd oil fleshtone and black to the hats, heavy riding boots, and a few pairs of shoes.  Time to let everything dry out a bit before painting the human clothing, and picking out various other details.

As usual, I have tinkered a bit with my painting approach, this batch of figures being no different.  For the black areas this time, I undercoated with an acrylic gray before applying Winsor and Newton Alkyd Oil black this morning, thinned liberally with Liquin Original.  As Peter Gilder suggested many, many years ago in one of those Military Modelling guide booklets, it looks pretty darn good already.  Highlighting and shadows accomplished in one fell swoop.  Previously, I skipped the gray step, and the results look reasonably good, but I always have felt like those black areas were just a bit too washed out if you know what I mean.  Add the gray undercoat before applying the runny black over it, and things look just right.  

Little by little, it seems (I hope) the look of my figures is edging ever closer to the appearance of all of those scrumptious large units of Napoleonic figures in Mr. Gilder's collection at the original Wargames Holiday Centre, featured so often all those years ago in early issues of Miniature Wargames and later Wargames Illustrated.  That has always been my painting touchstone and aim, but it has taken me this many years to come anywhere remotely close to it myself.  Well, the fun comes in trying at any rate.

Time for another mug of coffee methinks!

-- Stokes

07 June 2014

Here's where things stand at the moment. . .


So, Stokes.  How are things going with that supply and pontoon train?   Reasonably well, albeit at a leisurely painting pace.  The Grand Duchess and Young Master are away for 2+ weeks at the in-laws, and I am enjoying the utter peace, quiet, and time to myself.  Thoroughly.

You can see from these two photographs that the first four wagons and a vivandiere cart are about finished, and it's time to turn my attention the various beasts of burden and riders/drivers/drovers and the vivandiere herself.  Most of the horses have been given an undercoat of Humbrol enamel yellow, orange, or one of two browns.  

The air down here in Zum Stollenkeller was redolent with the aroma of solvent-based Humbrol this morning.  Cannot begin to fathom how many millions of brain cells I must have killed during last evening's two-hour session at the painting table.  However, I was able to make the coffee this morning and managed to shower and dress a short while later without too many difficulties, so things seem all right as far as I can tell.  Calculus and trigonometry might be a problem though, but then they always were.  And there is the question of that 6' white rabbit that keeps appearing through that wall to my left, checking its pocket watch, and asking, "Aren't you finished yet?  How about a dram of single malt and a cigar?  Come on!"  But I digress.

Anyway, the animals for the first four wagons and the vivandiere cart will next get the usual oil wash, white markings, etc. and then have their harness, straps, and collars picked out with various acrylic browns.  Last, but not least, the assorted humans will be issued with their flesh and clothing.  Finally, everything will be glossed, and the bases terrained.  Probably another four or five evenings of work on the current batch of vehicles et al.  Then, it's onto the next five wagons and carts.

In the meantime, be sure to tune in later during the week, to see the first batch of vehicles and teams all finished and ready to go.

-- Stokes


P.S.
By the way, my five painting sessions so far have averaged about two hours at a time more or less.  Seems to be a good block of time before I need a break since some of this is repetitive and tedious.  But we're getting there slowly but surely.



01 June 2014

Don't look now. . .

Don't look now, but guess who finally got off his painting you-know-what yesterday evening?  Yes!  And I managed to apply a white basecoat of acrylic artists' gesso to the first five wagons, carts, and associated beasts of burden.  So, it seems like the latest painting funk might -- just might -- be losing its grip on me.  If all goes well today, I'll begin slapping paint onto at least some of these this evening.

Now, one of you asked the other day how I plan to paint the teams and wagons/carts since they are already glued to their permanent bases.  Well, here goes. 


1) I went ahead and glued everything to its permanent bases simply to have something to hold onto during painting.  I've become used to doing this with all of the officer and civilian vignettes painted during the last 18 months or so.

2) Last night, I used as large a brush as possible to apply my white acrylic gesso basecoat.  

3) Runny washes of the gesso were applied to help reach those tight spots beneath the carts and wagons and on the insides of the various spoked wheels.  The nether regions on the bottom sides of the models will then simply get a coat of either black or very dark brown since we won't really see them when everything is finished.  I'll probably do this step first. 

4) The visible parts of the carts/wagons will next be washed with my usual thinned acrylic browns or brown oils thinned with Liquin Original.  Either treatment will help the paint to spread into those harder to reach areas and more pigment to settle in recessed areas, taking care of highlighting and shading in one fell swoop.  I'm assuming (dangerous, I know) that this will work since it has worked many times in the past with various infantry, cavalry, and artillery figures and/or horses.

5) Those carts/wagons that will be left a natural wood color will then be dry-brushed with a lighter gray once the brown is dry, to better approximate aged, ramshackle carts and wagons that ave been appropriated for military service.  The various metal parts (wheel rims, the ends of axles, etc.) will be picked out with back once everything else is dry.  The mobile field forge and the powder wagons will be painted to resemble actual Prussian vehicles, so dark blue of one kind or another will be used here instead of brown dry-brushed with gray.

6) Pairs of horse and single oxen/mules will be treated similarly in various browns and grays.  There is enough space between the two horses in each pair to paint the various straps and harnesses without too much difficulty using a #2 round brush with a decent point.

7) As has become usual with my painting during the last few years, I'm shooting more for creating a neatly painted impression of military wagons, carts, and teams rather than hyper- detailed museum display pieces.  As much as I would like to approximate tiny bits and pieces, these models do have to stand up to the rigors of occasional handling, storage, and, perhaps one day, transport.  

8) It would also take me far too many months to finish everything were I to attempt painting every single small detail that we might notice on actual life-sized wagons or carts.  So, you'll understand why I decided against  adding traces and certain other harness details with tiny wire in the grand manner of Peter Gilder's and Doug Mason's Napoleonic limbers and teams as featured in so many old issues of Miniature Wargames and early issues of Wargames Illustrated.  The thought did occur to me, but I decided against it in the end.

9) I am hoping that this broad brush (hee-hee) approach will help speed up considerably the painting and varnishing of these 16 assorted wagons, carts, a mobile field forge, horse teams, two oxen, a single mule, and the various riders/drivers.  That's the plan at any rate.  Look for photos in a few days time once I have a couple of early transport and supply train items finished.


There we are.  That's the planned methodology, to use a fifty cent word.  We'll see how things pan out in practice.  One thing that I mentioned "a coupla three" months ago (an old expression of my maternal grandfather's), even with everything lined up neatly on one end of the painting table, the models of these 25-30mm wagons and their transport animals occupy quite a bit of space.  That offers quite a bit of insight into the sheer size of the logistical tail of any army in the field.  Right up to the present day I would imagine.  

Under normal circumstances, I have read, the fighting end of an army in the field is relatively small compared to the various supporting units behind the lines.  The REMFs (look it up) to borrow from, I believe, fairly current U.S. military jargon.  As wargamers, we tend to paint and game with only the actual fighting units and ignore the rest due to time and tabletop space considerations.  

But the footprint of animal-drawn support units must have been considerable before motorized and air transport became the norm anytime an army went on campaign.  Fascinating stuff to ponder and a real "aha moment" when I realized it as the various bits and pieces of my planned transport and pontoon train have arrived during the winter and spring, have been assembled, and lined up to await painting.

-- Stokes

30 May 2014

The Spoils in Closer Detail. . .


The fully assembled Berliner Zinnfiguren Prussian mobile field forge with Fife & Drum limber horses and an RSM95 rider.

A few of you asked the other day for a peek at the items schlepped home from Berlin recently by the Grand Duchess, so here you are.

-- Stokes


Various Willie (Suren) 30mm ladies of ill repute, with The Naughty Lola at the center of things, and a 30mm Black Hussar Prussian military chaplain.  I'd say he has his work cut out for him. 


More 30mm Willie (Suren) sutleresses and vivandieres.  I'll use these in two or three small vignettes, one of which will include a couple of soldiers' wives tending a large pot of laundry over a fire and hanging wet things on a line.


 A 30mm Willie (Suren) plucky stable lad and running farm girl.


A 30mm Willie (Suren) bishop.  This one has, as yet, no practical application, but he was too good to pass up since he bears such a marked resemblance to Monty Python's Terry Jones.  "Oh no!  It's. . .   da Bishop!"


30mm Willie (Suren) dueling gentlemen, their seconds, and spectators.  A neat little vignette all on its own.  Eventually, I'll either add these to that bunch of Jacdaw frolicking aristocrats, painted in the spring of 2013, or make them dueling officers as part of a larger camp scene that I'm mulling over.


More 30mm Willie (Suren) figures, this time male servants and musicians, who will definitely become part of General Phillipe de Latte's retinue at some point in the not-too-distant future.  A very special "Thank-you" to my friend Stefan Schulz for his extremely kind and generous donation of the figures shown here and in the preceding photograph.  Much appreciated, Stefan.  Vielen Dank!


Finally, one of several items I purchased last Friday from Fife & Drum/Minden, which arrived Tuesday this week.  The 1/56th Fife & Drum French marshal on horseback, who is destined to become the "new" version of that most notorious cad and bounder. . .  the French mercenary-adventurer and veteran of the Seven Years War. . .  General Phillipe de Latte.  I opted to have him holding a spyglass and with his head covered, but the figure comes with an extra head and right arm holding his hat in salute, so there is a bit of room to create just the figure you want.  Just two small drops of Gorilla Super Glue, and voilà!  De Latte's arm and head were firmly in place.

28 May 2014

The Spoils of International Airtravel. . .

Various useful 30mm Willie figures and a Prussian SYW-era mobile field forge, courtesy of Berliner Zinnfiguren, a truly amazing little model that comes almost fully assembled.

Continuous insane laughter.  Nothing more need be said really.

-- Stokes

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