10 November 2017

Veterans' Day (Armistice Day) 2017. . .

Yes, that's a German helmet atop the cross.

As a child, our nearest neighbors were Harrison and Florence Terrell, who lived across the lane from my maternal grandparents' place in rural southeastern Pennsylvania.  They were a generation older than my grandparents, Philadelphia Quakers, who had bought a place in the country sometime during the 1940s, to spend the weekends.  We visited their house often as children along with our grandmother, who was close to Mrs. Terrell.  

Mr. Terrell was an attorney, smoked a pipe, and always had a chessboard set up in his den, where he conducted play by mail games against various Philadelphia-area friends and acquaintances.  He was friendly without being overly so -- as seems to be the case with too many people in 2017 -- talked with ease about a variety of topics to both children and adults, and occasionally asked me to walk the perimeter of (some of) their property (they owned virtually the entire mountaintop at that time) to check the traps with him.  Mr. Terrell believed firmly in keeping down "the vermin,"  as he referred to certain animals, with a small bore shotgun and traps.  A contradiction of sorts, but there you are. 

Anyway, when he was a younger man, and although Quakers are pacifists, Mr. Terrell was drafted shortly after the United States entered the 1914-1918 war.  As unlikely as it seems, he answered the call and soon found himself somewhere in France in the midst of things.

I always meant to ask him about his experiences, but as a child you don't necessarily understand that people who have been through war might not want to talk about what they may have seen and done.  My own grandfather, an anti-aircraft gunner first, later a glider pilot and paratrooper during the 1939-1945 war, once quietly advised me not to ask Mr. Terrell about his time in France, so I did not.  

The two men may have shared their wartime experiences with each other at some point, but that is idle speculation on my part.  It might simply have been that, as a former soldier himself, my grandfather had a silent understanding with Mr. Terrell.  Like so much else about the world, and war itself to be frank, I simply don't know.

But as  a child, I idolized both Mr. Terrell and my grandfather, so I decided at eight or nine to let the matter rest.  I think of both men often but especially on days like today, Veterans' Day as we call it here in the United States.  At the same time, it is important to realize that families in other countries -- those who might have been on the wrong ideological side -- have also lost sons, daughters, and other family members in war. . .  soldiers, sailors, airmen, and civilians. 

As interesting as military history is, and as much fun as toy soldiers provide, war in whatever form it takes must surely be an awful thing to those who experience it first hand as combatants as well as those who are touched by it in some other way.  Somehow, though, that observation seems like an vast understatement, which simply cannot address the sheer magnitude, horror, and tragedy that war is in any form and by any name.

-- Stokes


Well, it seems I am a day ahead of myself, whatever that might mean.  But the thoughts and sentiments remain.

05 November 2017

Slow Tinkering with Flags and Flag Bearers. . .

  Standards apparently carried by the Baden-Durlach Regiment  during the mid-18th century (courtesy of Kronoskaf).

Nothing to show quite yet, but the Young Master and I spent a delightful couple of hours tinkering with our respective projects (soldiers for father and tinker toys for son) here in Zum Stollenkeller yesterday (Saturday) afternoon.  The two cats ping-ponged between us purring, vying for, and enjoying attention from the both of us enjoying the experience thoroughly based on the feline gazes and playful behavior.  

I can say that I finally got around to attaching and styling the various LARGE paper flags to those Minden replacement Prussian and Austrian standard bearers that I've been fooling with painfully s-l-o-w-l-y since last winter.  They're going to look really good once finished if you'll pardon the blatant self-promotion.  

There are, of course, many different and effective ways "to do" flags out there, but I've really gotten the hang of making pretty convincing representations using plain old white printer paper,  a thin coating of PVA white glue like Elmer's, and then a bit of patience and care to finesse the limp paper into various furls and folds as the glue dries.  I typically follow by painting carefully over the computer printer inks to prevent later fading and make the flags match my own figure painting style more closely.  A wargamerly paint by numbers if you will.  It's tedious at times, but when the stars align, the results are pretty darn good.

You can put a slightly smaller piece of aluminum foil between the two halves of your flags to help maintain the desired furls and folds as your glue dries, and I have done so in the past.  When this particular method works, it really works well and results in very realistic looking flags.  But, it means an added layer of glue and another layer of material all of which must be aligned without getting any glue on your fingertips as you work to get everything just so before your glue dries.  As the song goes, it don't come easy.

This time, in the interest of speed and relative ease, I skipped the foil layer step. However, the various now dried-into-place flags still seem to look pretty good on inspection this morning.  They have indeed maintained their painstakingly applied furls and folds, so that part of the process is finished.

One final flag tip.  If you furl your flags just right, you can hide at least some of the complex and busy devices and coats of arms at the center, which speeds the later painting process immeasurably.

But I am getting ahead of myself just a bit.  Some touching up on the figures themselves first, then careful painting over the computer printer ink colors, some clear varnish, and the new figures will at last be able to assume their place with existing line infantry regiments before too much longer.  They are due to take over from their rather squat MiniFig predecessors, who have done yeoman's work until now.  It will then be time to add some additional standard and guidon bearers to my existing cavalry units since I would like each squadron to include one.

-- Stokes

 The Grand Duke and the Young Master at just eight and almost 51 respectively.  We spent late Saturday morning working on models of engine valves and pistons with one of the books Paul received for his recent eighth birthday.  He has lately expressed an interest in how engines function, and this is an area I know nothing about (beyond checking and adding the occasional quart oil and filling the gas tank as needed), so these joint projects provide interesting education for both of us.

01 November 2017

The Magazines Have Arrived!!!

The front cover of issue #1.

Kinda quiet here lately as work and real life continue their relentless assault on available free time (and the necessary calm, uncluttered mind) for wargamerly pursuits.  But.  The first dozen issues of the old Practical Wargamer arrived in the mail yesterday.  Hurrah!  Thanks to G. B. in the U.K.   Very rapid postal transit and well-packaged, so the 27 to 30-year old magazines arrived in fine shape.  

But what about the content?  In a word very good to excellent.  The photographs are, admittedly, not as prominent or, frankly, photoshopped as we have become accustomed to, but the articles!  Text heavy, interesting pieces by many familiar names in the hobby, both past and present, including a number of big guns, some still with us, others now departed.  Definitely worth the wait, and what a shame the magazine isn't still around.   Without doubt, I place it right up there with most issues of Battlesgames (to which PW seems closest in spirit), early issues of Miniature Wargames, and the first few issues of Wargames Illustrated.  

Haven't picked up an issue of the latter in more than 10 years, but it definitely had lost something by the late 1990s.  And to be frank, as much as I miss the independent Battlegames, things were never really the same after it was absorbed into Miniature Wargames, as published by Atlantic (I was always a bit anxious following that particular hiccup), to say nothing of the publisher after that.  

The other shoe did, in fact drop, not too long after when long-time MWBG helmsman Henry Hyde moved on to greener pastures.  The first issue or two of MW under new direction, and before my subscription ran out, just didn't quite scratch the historical miniatures hobby itch as well in my view.  Only my two pennoth, of course, but I felt as though the magazine lost its focus, and my will to write and submit something for possible publication dried up with it.  Take all of that with a grain of salt.  I probably don't have any idea what I'm talking about.  And maybe things have stabilized for the magazine in the time since?  Perhaps it has once again found its red thread, or raison d'ĂȘtre?

But back to Practical Wargamer!  I delayed looking at anything until  my own bedtime just following the Young Master's, who was out trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with the Grand Duchess in tow for a couple of hours early on Halloween Night.  After the usual pajamas, tooth-brushing followed by flossing, and bedtime reading together with said Young Master, I later spent a delightful two hours curled up in bed, paging through issues #1-#12 of Practical Wargamer and then reading a few shorter articles more closely before the ol' eyelids grew heavy, and I turned out the bedside lamp.  Can't wait to repeat the exercise this evening, but hopefully I'll manage to stay awake for a while longer.  What a windfall!  

Before turning to more serious matters that actually pay the bills (it is 11:40am Wednesday morning here, and I am on campus waiting for my next class to start), I will leave you with this observation.  It was quite interesting to peruse old advertisements for figures in 1987, '88, '89, and '90 and take note of figure prices then versus prices for metal figures now.  Even Battle Honours Napoleonic unit, brigade, and division prices seem downright cheap by 2017 standards.  

I mention these figures specifically because they were what I coveted most all those years ago.  I think continuously rising metal prices -- the rise of the internet, increasing popularity of digital gaming, the rise of mobile phones (like an incurable disease, these infect virtually everyone), the phenomenon of and now the palpable need for instant gratification, short (-er) attention spans, etc. notwithstanding -- are a major factor in why so many fewer young potential miniature wargamers enter the historical side of hobby now versus, say, the halcyon days of the mid-1970s to the early 1980s.  Even the better sets of plastics on the market, while less expensive than metal figures, are not exactly cheap if enough are purchased for an actual "army" of, say, reinforced brigade size (4-6 infantry units, a cavalry formation or two, and some artillery).  Again, just a randomly passing thought.  Discuss! 

-- Stokes


Still enjoying these magazines several days later.  So much to read and think about.  Consideable bang for your buck with these old Practical Wargamer magazines, even thirty-odd years on.  Imagine my surprise to turn the page in one issue from 1989 or '90 and see a group photograph of several wargamers that included future bloggerati Robbie Rodiss and Colin Ashton, whose blogs I routinely enjoy in 2017.  Another little bit of fun that has come from seeing these magazines for the first time.

20 October 2017

Practical Wargamer. . . Anyone? Anyone?

The cover of an early issue of said magazine.

Another long week concludes in which real life has admirably got in the way of hobby pursuits yet again.  That seems to be the way lately, but this weekend is relatively free, and come hell, or high water, I am going to sit myself down to the painting table and do SOMETHING during the next couple of days.  What in blazes has happened in the last 40-odd years?  Life was not this nutty for our parents!

Still, a guy can dream.  And read.  Even when dog-tired and after collapsing into bed mid-evenings.  Which brings me to a related point.  

Might anyone out there have, and be willing to part with, the first dozen issues -- numbers 1-12 in 'good,' or 'very good' though not necessarily 'mint' condition -- of Practical Wargamer?  So long as your pricing and the cost of shipping don't stray into "Are you kidding me?" territory, I can transfer payment to you forthwith via PayPal.

Just drop me a line (stokes.schwartz@gmail.com), and let's work out the details.  Thank you in advance.  I now charge weakly and quietly toward bed this Friday evening to drown my hobby sorrows with a cold glass of chocolate milk (made with Hershey's syrup) and some Ritz crackers with JIF peanut butter spread on top.  Comfort food in its purest form.

-- Stokes


Later Monday Morning. . .

A dark, soon to be rainy, and  very Autumn-like Monday.  Well, the weekend was no a total bust.  I managed to sit down to the painting table for a couple of hours, separated by a long break, Saturday afternoon when I worked on finished those several pairs of Minden Austrian and Prussian standard bearers due to replace single MiniFig standard bearers.  Just some buttons and either red or black stocks left to paint in along with the inevitable touch-ups, then I can add the flags, slop on a coat or two of clear varnish, and Bob's your uncle.

The way I have handled flags the last decade or so is to print them out on plain old white printer paper, carefully attach them to the flagpoles with a thin layer of plain, old white PVA glue like Elmer's, furl them a bit, and set everything to one side for 24-36 hours to dry hard.  I come back later and paint over the printer inks with the usual hobby acrylics, sometimes changing colors in the process to personalize things.  

This time, however, I plan to stick as close as possible to historic flags carried by actual units simply because these were/are already so fancy and outlandishly beautiful, that they are, frankly, better than anything I might dream up.  This approach to flags worked nicely with that composite unit of Saxon Ernestine infantry that I finished during the late winter of 2016.  Interested parties can have another look at those here.

Ok, time to stop wasting time and avoiding the inevitable.  It is after 9am Monday morning after all.

-- Stokes

12 October 2017

Campaign Background Redux. . .

The original map of the campaign area drawn in Septermber of 2006 (post-Auto Levels, brightening, sharpening, and cropping with the Pixlr online photograph editing tools).  The contested area in dark green is the Mark of Schleiz, a region rich in wildlife and other natural resources whose precise ownership has been long disputed by The Grand Duchy of Stollen and its enemy The Electorate of Zichenau.

Separated by the Lesser Zwischen and Greater Zwischen rivers, and sharing equally in delusions of grandeur and influence far beyond their frontiers, the Grand Duchy of Stollen and its mortal enemy, The Electorate of Zichenau, are set more or less within the real Europe of the immediate post-Seven Years War period.  

Stollen and Zichenau are surrounded by several tiny principalities -- Pillau-Zerbst, Pillau-Reuss, Werben-Steinau, Tauroggen-Fiebus, and Zeller-Schwarzekatze -- who vacillate between allying themselves with and/or fighting against either Stollen or Zichenau, depending on how the wind blows on a given day.  Typically, war is declared by one or another state in the region at the slightest pretense.  Conflicts earlier in the century have had as their catalysts: a royal love affair gone bad, temporarily misplaced crown jewels, a plagiarized monograph on metaphysics by a dilettante academic, an expatriate artist who failed to deliver a commissioned portrait to his royal patron by the appointed deadline, and, during the summer of 1767, the utter humiliation of Zichenau’s late Prince Ruprecht II at the hands of a highly skilled master tailor.

More broadly, this tiny patchwork of Europe is sandwiched between extreme eastern Prussia, Courland, Poland, and Russia.  As a further point of reference, Riga is about two days to the north by northwest, downriver from Krankenstadt, the sleepy Baroque capital of Stollen.  Stollen, Zichenau, and the adjacent principalities occupy only about 100 square miles on the map.  All were later absorbed by Prussia, Austria, and Russia during the final partition of Poland in 1795, which is why history books have had very little to say on the topic.

The population in the region (mainly ethnic Germans, Wends, Poles, Lithuanians, and Slavs with a sprinkling of Swedes and Danes left over from the days when the latter two held a more vested interest in the region) is fairly sparse, explaining the tiny armies that maneuver against each other occasionally. The respective forces number approximately 4-6 units of foot, 2-3 units of cavalry, and a few batteries of artillery each.  The principalities surrounding Stollen and Zichenau are also good enough to furnish a few infantry units or some cavalry when absolutely necessary, much like some of the smaller Confederation of the Rhine states did for Napoleon I in his later wars.

For their part, Prussia, Russia, and Austria regard Stollen and Zichenau with bemused detachment.  In fact, even the beleaguered King George III of England refused an offer of mercenary troops from the former, during the later war against the rebels in America.  Further, while he has Stollen never held forth publicly on the subject, behind closed doors, however, the English ambassador, Lord Pipeclay Higginbotham-Bulling is rumored to refer frequently to Stollen's Grand Duke as, "That empty-headed coxcomb!"  Likewise, the Prussian ambassador to Stollen, the Freiherr Heinz von dem Salat, once observed with a chuckle that the ongoing tug of war between Stollenian and Zichenau was not worth the bother for the main players on the European political stage.

How did the current conflict between Stollen and Zichenau begin then?  At its root was the disappearance during February 1768 of Pillau-Zerbst’s Princess Valerie, betrothed to the notorious French mercenary officer Phillipe de Latte, which sparked considerable upheaval in diplomatic and social circles of the time.  At the time, issues of Der Schimtten Zeitung and Die Krankenstadt Tageblat, two widely read newspapers in the region, were filled with numerous speculative articles on the matter. 

Popular consensus blamed Zichenau’s Prince Ruprecht II for Valerie’s abduction. Indeed, agents for Pillau-Zerbst reported that a young woman matching her description was seen at various springtime social events with Prince Ruprecht.  Various, convoluted, and half-hearted diplomatic efforts followed, yet these failed to produce an amicable solution. Typically, these high-level meetings carried on for a short while before one or another of the ministers involved in the talks would exclaim at the first available moment, "Oh, I say!   Did you hear?  The von So-and-sos are throwing a large ball this evening.  I do hope the orchestra strikes up Sir Roger de Coverly!"  

After some weeks, the parliamentary assembly in Pillau-Zerbst called impatiently for war during an emergency session in late May of 1768.  Unable to remain aloof any longer, the fashion mad, and at times delusional, Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II of Stollen, to whom detractors refer humorously as "that overcooked macaroni," offered the services of his army to Pillau-Zerbst several days later, expressing wishes to exact sweet revenge for the loss of the Mark of Schleiz to Zichenau twenty years before during the Brocade Wars of the mid-1740s.  

The situation intensified when Zichenau recalled its ambassador from Schmitten at the start of June 1768. Pillau-Zerbst and Stollen followed suit, issuing mobilization orders. Neighboring Pillau-Reuss, Werben-Steinau, Tauroggen-Fiebus, and Zeller-Schwartzekatz, watched the developing situation closely from the sidelines.  

After much initial shilly-shallying by the respective commanders and their armies, the first battle -- well, action really -- took place during late December of 1768 at Zollamtstadt.  There,  the Army of Zichenau managed to cross the Lesser Zwischen and establish a toehold in Stollen proper, driving the weaker Stollenians under General von Drosselmaier from that frontier town.  Stollen met defeat again in the later Action at Pelznikkel, fought during August 1769, and once more in the Action at Pickelhaubewicz at the end of November that same year before the armies went into their respective winter quarters at the tail end of December.

Fighting resumed the following spring, during April and May of 1770, when General de Latte struck deep into Stollenian territory with a combined force of Zichenauers and Stagonians, achieving another victory at the Battle for Saegewerkdorf.  Fortunately, torrential rain and flooding prevented the total destruction of the Stollenian army, but not before enemy soldiers had occupied and dismantled the sawmill whose parts were shipped back to the Electorate of Zichenau.  There followed a relatively quiet 14-month period before the two armies met again, this time in July of 1772 at the epic Battle of Teodorstal.  It was there, that the Stollenians were finally victorious, following the surrender of General de Latte to Stollen's General von Tschatschke, or that "Flamboyant Silesian" as he is surreptitiously known among his junior officers. 

Clearly then, this corner of the continent has enjoyed little appreciable peace since the conclusion of the Seven Years War.  Despite their current conflict, which some observers have wryly dubbed the War of the Buttons, it seems that the Grand Duchy of Stollen and the Electorate of Zichenau will continue to occupy the fringes of European political and military affairs for the foreseeable future.

-- Stokes

08 October 2017

More Photos from The Grand Review. . .

Two brigades of Stollenian infantry march toward the enemy.

The unassuming market town of Hasenpfeffer.

Stollenian guns and crew await the command to fire.

Stollenian transport  makes its way toward Hasenpfeffer.

Camp followers get up to all sorts of mischief.

My son the Young Master asked this morning if General von Bauchschmerzen ever feels well.  I replied, never.  'Bauchschmerzen' means something akin to 'tummy ache' in German.  One picks up all kinds of stuff when wife and child communicate in a second language at home.

A swarm of Zichenauer Croats screening the approach of their line infantry in a manner rather more appropriate for the Napoleonic era than the mid-18th century.

Zichenauer line infantry.

Zicheauer cuirassiers and dragoons.

Zichauer guns and crew ready to open up on the approaching Stollenian Army.

Stollenian hussar officers and trumpeter sound the charge!

Meanwhile, and as always, the upper crust of Hasenpfeffer decide to frolic in some open country just beyond the town limits.

"Wow!  Oh, my gosh!  Look!  When are you going to have a battle with them?" were the Young Master's first words when I took him down to Zum Stollenkeller here at Totleigh-in-the-Wold Sunday morning before breakfast to show him what ol' Dad had got up to late Saturday evening.  I had to explain, among the many questions that followed, that it probably would not be until the Christmas break when I would actually have enough free time for a small game or two.  


On a related note, and although the Young Master loves our two cats Gunnlaug and her brother  Onyx, he was somewhat troubled when I informed him that after some photographs, everything would need to be carefully put away to protect it from said cats.  One might make the argument that my wargame table is more the cats' than mine these days, which means that anything hobby-related left unattended for more than a few hours is at great risk of feline molestation in one form or another.  

While our finished basement here at Totleigh, where I also have my home office, is fantastic, I wish it was configured differently with a room, large enough for the table, equipped with a door that  would keep the blasted animals out and OFF the table.  I'm spoiled, I know, but it would also be nice to be able to leave things out in situ once in a while without fearing for the safety of my vignettes, units, and scenery.  Sadly, everything seems to be fair game for chewing, knocking off the table, and/or abduction.  It's enough to give one heart palpitations!  That said, I too adore the cats, but they have some less than charming habits where toy soldiers and scenery are concerned.


Several new followers have hopped on for the ride in the last couple of months, so allow me to bid you welcome.  I hope the GD of S blog lives up to your expectations and remains inspiring and fun.  It has been a pretty wild and wide-ranging journey so far around here during the last 11 years.

Thanks as well to everyone for your kinds words the last few days where the rather hurried Grand Review was concerned.  It was a blast to see almost everything out on the table at once.  

Almost as I said.  Besides the cavalry shown in the pictures above, I have a regiment of Holger Eriksson dragoons, painted by John Preece in the U.K. and used in the Partizan 2006 Sittangbad refight, that I have not yet been able to detach successfully from their lozenge-shaped bases despite soaking everything in a shallow cookie sheet of hot water overnight not once but twice.  I think I managed to get two figures separated.  Otherwise, no luck so far, and the figures are fragile, so I need to be very careful to avoid tragedy.  If/when I can remove the rest of the 30 figures from the individual bases, I will tack 'em down to multiple bases and they will take their rightful place along side their 25-30mm brethren.  If anyone has suggestions on removing these fragile figures from the current bases, I'm all ears. 


So, besides some games in December and January, what is in store for the Grand Duchy of Stollen down the road?  Well, I have a mass of cavalry by various manufacturers to paint, mostly heavies and dragoons along with two squadrons of hussars (I know, I know. . . ), five to eight units of Minden Austrians and Prussians, replacement infantry ensigns and new standards, plus a few more mounted generals and ADC's, a wagon/cart or two along with draft animals, and some Russian guns and crew along with another couple of limbers at some point.  All of this stuff resides in the lead pile at this point, so it is simply a matter of finding the time to get it painted.  I imagine there is enough here already to keep yours truly busy for the next several years without any new purchases.  But.  We know how that goes don't we?  


I have also had the lingering thought lately that the Young Master will eventually need his own small unit of line infantry, possibly a company of riflemen, a squadron of cavalry, and a gun or two with crew before too much longer plus a mounted officer vignette to command his small legion.  Here, I think RSM95 figures would be just the thing.  The metal is harder, and the figures sturdier with fewer things to bend or break as easily.  Paul is not quite ready for some serious wargaming figures of his own, but maybe for his ninth or tenth birthday.  His eighth is coming up at the end of the month (Can you believe it?  I can't.), and for now it is still painting and drawing, toy airplanes, Star Wars, Legos, Mine Craft, insects, birds, geology, outer space, and weather although you can hardly fault a busy youth for those particular interests.  It seems like our blonde, freckled boy might be something of a Renaissance man even at seven going on eight.


But back to Dad's conspicuous consumption for a moment (and clearly I cannot point the finger at anyone)!  There are new items in the pipeline from both Fife & Drum/Minden as well as Crann Tara that look mighty tempting.  A small mule train about to become available from the latter company might be just the thing to go with my existing transport train.  At some point, I'd also like to scratch-build a camp for my troops with a field bakery.  Black Hussar has had some wonderful mixing, kneading, and baking vignette figures for a year or more, and these would be just the thing. . .  along with a few additional pieces for the envisioned camp of 12-14 tents.    But I'm getting far ahead of myself here!  Suffice to say, that wargaming, in its various guises and permutations, is an amazing and expansive hobby.  It certainly provides a vast litany of things to do, plan, carry out, and achieve over time.  A life-long hobby if ever there was one.

Best Regards,


07 October 2017

A Few Teaser Photos of The Grand Review. . .

 The term 'groaning board' comes to mind here.  The table is 6' x 10'.  Obviously for actual games, and depending on the scenario (I like those by C.S. Grant), not all available troops would be in use, fewer buildings would be present, and a somewhat larger table might be in order too. 


Here's a close-up o two brigades of Stollenian infantry and a few officer vignettes with part of the pontoon and trasnport trains in the background.

At the other end of the table various light units of infantry engage each other as Saxon staff observe, some transport rumbles by, and to companies of generic pioneers/pontooniers march toward town.

Finally, a close-up o some Stollenian jaeger (painted by John Preece and featured in the Partizan 2006 Sittangbad refight) facing two companies of 'Wild Geese' in the service of Zichenau along with a company of dastardly Croats in the distance.

Back tomorrow with more photographs taken, this time, with a tripod and timer which always produce sharper pictures, but these aren't too bad for quick snaps.  It's late, and I'm off to bed.  Nighty-night.

-- Stokes

30 September 2017

A Notable Anniversary. . .

Der Alte Fritz and his soldiers.

It would be highly remiss of me not to mention the tenth anniversary of Jim Purky's Der Alte Fritz Journal.  Where my own renewed and reinvigorated wargaming activities of the last dozen years are concerned, Jim has been and remains highly influential in a litany of ways, and he ranks right up there with the Grants, Young and Lawford, Featherstone, Gilder, and Mason in my book.  Drop by his blog by clicking on the link above and take a gander at his retrospective plus where he sees his own hobby going in the next ten years.

-- Stokes

29 September 2017

September Was (Re-) Basing Month. . .

The hurried, unpainted, ragtag, 'teenage-style' basing of the various units comprising my armies is now a thing of the past, thank you very much.  The somewhat more mature (Really?) rebasing with commercially produced materials has now been completed.  And the long suggested GRAND REVIEW of the entire Grand Duchy of Stollen collection (atop a scenic table no less) is coming shortly.  Stay tuned!

-- Stokes

28 September 2017

Freshly Rebased Artillery Crews. . .

A bunch of Revell plastic (Austrian) artillery crews man generic MiniFigs guns in front, with Garrison (Prussian) crews and manning two more guns by MiniFigs (yellow) and two by Holger Eriksson (blue).  In the far background is an RSM95 crew painted as Saxons and another Minden crew painted in the artillery uniorms worn by some minor German principality or other, both of whom service a pair of Minden Swedish 4-pounders painted red.  I'm rather pleased with the way everything more or less matches up size-wise although the RSM95 and Minden figures are certainly the tallest.  But the slender Revell figures don't look entirely out of place either.

Home a bit early today, and puttering around Zum Stollenkeller for a little while before I dive into a stack of student team-written essays.  I thought it was high time to share a photograph of the rebased artillery crews.  Only one more pair of Minden Russian guns (I've also got a pair of Austrian) and 13 related Russian crew, including a mounted officer, which I like to include as part of my infantry and artillery formations.

The one fly in the ointment with all o this is that I now must think over what to do with that final pair of cannon and crew.  I have recently discovered that Lauzun's Legion also included a small artillery contingent that wore French-cut blue uniforms, but faced with Lemon Yellow rather than the more usual red.  Since I like painting my troops in unusual or less commonly seen uniforms, the yellow facings for artillery crew seem almost too good to resist.  More on this anon.

Otherwise, all of my painted figures have been rebased, and in just under a month, save for a unit of metal Spencer Smith cavalry which I am retiring from service as they just don't fit in with everything else that well as much as I like them.  Time to forge ahead for real now and do some actual painting

-- Stokes


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