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Showing posts from August, 2008

New Blood Part II. . .

Is this the way to win lasting new converts to the wargaming hobby? This kind of mentoring is known as "Elmering" in the HAM radio hobby. How many of us might be willing to become an "Elmer" to a young person interested in historical miniatures?

The discussion on bringing new blood into the wargaming hobby is gaining momentum over at OSW, and a recent remark by Andrew Copestake of Old Glory U.K. just made a number of things click into place for me this morning.So, once again, I’m crossposting my reflections, originally posted at OSW, here on the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog too. . .
"For me the biggest change in the hobby has been in the last 10 years or so as it slowly evolved from a toy soldier led hobby to a rulebook led 'gaming experince'. Oh brother" -- Andy OGUK


Aha, that's it!

Presumably, what has attracted so many of us to the wargaming hobby in the first place is the spectacle of model soldiers in their hundreds. It's about that firs…

How Do We Introduce New Blood to the Wargaming Hobby?

I'll bet many of us began this way. . . plastic toy soldiers and a "fort".

There is currently an interesting discussion unfolding over at the Old School Wargaming Yahoo group about how to introduce younger, new blood into the wargaming hobby.So I thought I’d crosspost my thoughts here too.Based on my own experience, adult gamers have more expendable income and space than do their teen-aged peers. I think they also have greater patience as far as gradual painting and collecting are concerned, rather than wanting everything "in a box" at once.

The problem of introducing new blood is something also discussed in the ham/shortwave radio hobby. Many there have attributed the lack of interest among young people to the fact that the "gee whiz" curiosity factor has largely gone away. And why chase elusive radio signals that are subject to the whims of the atmosphere and sun when you can listen online without fading or static? Why, I listen online almost exclu…

A Quick Update. . .

A close-up of Stollen's decidedly lethargic jaeger corps as it emerged (FINALLY) from a copse on the southern side of Pelznikkel. . . too late in the day to have any influence on how the battle went for General von Drosselmaier and the Army of Stollen.

As always happens during the first full week of classes, things have slowed down dramatically here in Zum Stollenkeller.But I’m not worried about it too much.Once everything settles down to a dull roar, the painting will pick up again.Maybe not to the level of June, July, and August, but I’ll find time to get a couple of more BIG units painted between now and December.The Revell hussars and RSM fusiliers stand ready over on the painting/radio table.Here in the U.S., we have a long holiday weekend coming up, culminating in “Labor Day” next Monday.It’s always puzzled me why the rest of the world honors workers on May 1st, but we wait to do it until the Monday after the first weekend in September!Strange.In any case, the weather looks …

A Slight Change in Direction. . .

The regiment of plastic Revell Hussars, pinned to their magnificent steeds and just about ready for a basecoat of artists' acrylic gesso, followed by my usual black undercoat.

Well, I’m putting the cuirassier conversions on hold for a bit longer.But let me explain why.You might recall that my painting progress chart update from a few days ago showed only two units remaining unpainted for the Army of Zichenau, a 30-figure regiment of hussars and an 80-figure regiment of infantry.It occurred to me during the last few days that it might make more sense to go ahead and wrap up the painting for said army before proceeding with the rest Stollen's larger army.Mentally, having one of the armies concerned all finished by year’s end would help spur me on to keep going with the rest of the project.Not that I have ever considered stopping, but as all of you probably know already, sometimes it’s all too easy to let a BIG painting project slow down and take much longer than necessary.Hence …

A Two-Year Milestone. . .

Here's a close-up shot of Stollen's 1st (Princesse Waltraud's Own) Battery of Artillery in action during the recent Action at Pelznikkel. Of all the Stollenian units engaged that day, this unit acquitted itself well by all accounts. . . unlike the easily driven off allied dragoons and infantry along with the lethargic jaeger corps!

The Grand Duchy of Stollen blog is now just over two years old.While the kernel of ideas that have become the Grand Duchy of Stollen “classic wargaming” project can be traced back to December 2005, the continuing documentation of that project began right here on August 19, 2006.Australia’s own Greg Horne (the man behind the Duchy of Alzheim) had an article appear in an early issue of Battlegames that year, which inspired me to have a go at blogging about the hobby myself.And, two years later, here we are with 33,126 visits!As a thank-you to all of the wonderful friends, acquaintances, and interested parties around the world, who have helped to …

A Painting Progress Update. . .

Project Start: Mid-July 2006Anticipated Completion: December 2010Painted Units As of August 22, 2008:
Grand Duchy of StollenRegimentUnpaintedIn ProgressPainted2nd (Von Laurenz) Musketeers (60)

xJäger zu Fuβ Battalion (32)

x(Grand Duchess Sonja’s Own) Leib Grenadiers (60)

x6th (Princess Nene’s) Infantry (60)x

Von Auflauf Frei Infantry Regt. (60)x

4th Sapper Battalion (32)

Giddy up!

Here's a photograph, taken during the recent Action at Pelznikkel, of the Stollenian cavalry general, Count Pavel Petrovich von Butinski and his ADC Herr Major Georg von Gorgonzola, who hails from a prominent Prussian family of Lombardian origin.

Well, it’s been a few days, but things are back in action here in the Grand Duchy of Stollen, following a family reunion and memorial service for my maternal grandparents, which kept the Grand Duchess and I busy for several days last week and during the weekend.It was especially nice to see some more distant family members and the country where my grandfather grew up.Oddly, there was nothing sad about the occasion that brought us together.It was, rather, a joyous, happy, and humorous celebration on a number of different fronts.A very fitting way to end the summer I think.I began teaching again this morning, and that went pretty well as far as first meetings go.I have a nice bunch of students, and helping them to improve their writing skil…

Back to Normal. . .

Things are just about back to normal here in Stollen Central, and the excitement has just about died down..The soldiers are put away, carefully packed in their plastic tubs, and the gaming table is apart and stowed for the time being.I use the same room as a practice space for our oldie band, The Indras, so I couldn’t leave the table up indefinitely.

So, it’s back to converting and painting.Lots of it over the next few months!Yep, there’s nothing like a good game to reignite one’s enthusiasm.So, in the top photo, we have those plastic Zvezda Saxon cuirassiers that still need new Revell Austrian heads in three-cornered hats. Gotta get cracking on those since I took that little detour to paint up the Wolmar-Bock Regiment a couple of weeks ago.

And behind those, stand about 80 RSM Prussian fusiliers, which will become the second BIG regiment in the Electorate of Zichenau’s army. Some of you might recall that the Grand Duchess gave these to me for Christmas 2007 last year. Anyway, they…

A Post-Game Report. . .

For you fans of cavalry, here are a couple of pictures. Above, we see the underutilized 4th (Trakehenen) Dragoons on the Stollenian left flank before the battle began in earnest.


And here's a second picture, this time of the Electoral Garde Grenadiere zu Pferd, who actually sat out the whole battle on De Latte's southern flank. It is reported that some of the officers and troopers wept with rage at not being able to join in the fray.

Thank you everyone for your enthusiastic and supportive remarks during the passed few days.It has been terrific fun playing the game and posting the photos/updates for you to enjoy.We’ll do it again really soon, as General von Drosselmaier’s superiors in the Stollenian War Ministry are, shall we say, not pleased.Neither is Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II, who emerged from his miasma of Greco-Roman fantasy long enough to rant about von Drosselmaier’s abilities and defeat at the hands of General de Latté.I thought an order of battle and a summary of the…

Stollen's Darkest Hour Is at Hand. . .

"I suppose in Krankenstadt, they will say I have been beaten." General von Drosselmaier and his officers reviewing the battlefield a final time before turning up the postal road toward Krankenstadt.


General Phillipe de Latte and his closest officers, Captain Paolo di Biscotti (left) and Major Heinz von Gherkin (right) riding triumphantly into Pelznikkel at the end of the battle.

As the sun set last evening and the shadows grew long, General von Drosselmaier made the difficult decision to withdraw his remaining forces from Pelznikkel and begin moving up the postal road toward Krankenstadt, remarking to one of his officers, “I suppose in Krankenstadt, they will say I have been beaten.”For his part, Zichenauer general Phillipe de Latté moved into Pelznikkel with his usual French flourish, called for his pipe, Colonel von Finknottle, and his fiddlers three.He then sent word to Princess Antonia III, informing her that he had won the day, von Drosselmaier’s army was in flight, and …

Photo Update at End of Turn Eight

The picture really says it all. Despite some early small triumphs, General von Drosselmaier rolled low again and again when it came to hitting his targets and determining the number of casulties.


The Zichenauer battery inflicted lethal damage on the Von Laurenz Musketeers throughout most of the game.


Stollen's 4th (Trakehnen) Dragoons did manage to disrupt a flank attack by O'Malley's Irish grenzers during Turn 6 and Turn 7.


In Turn 8, General von Drosselmaier finally committed his reserve -- the Leib (Grand Duchess Sonja's Own) Grenadiers. But it may be a case of too little, too late.


The same might be said of Stollen's Jaeger Corps, which messed around in this copse for most of the game without contributing much to the unfolding military action around them.


When last seen, the remaining Von Laurenz Musketeers were fleeing up the postal road toward the Stollenian capital Krankenstadt.


As they did at Zollamtstadt last December, "The Newts" under Colonel Gussi…

Turn One. . .

Major Heinz von Gherkin rides up and invites Genral von Drosselmaier to fire first.


"The Newts" and Freiherr Wilhelm's Pioneers (in the background) move out to assault Pelznikkel.


The independent company of Pillau-Zerbst's Wolmar-Bock Regiment follows in support.


On the far side of the battlefield, Stollen's senior infantry regiment, the Von Laurenz Musketeers, advances on the eastern side of Pelznikkel.


A view along the second line of Stollenian troops.