18 August 2012

Random Wargaming-related Thoughts. . .

One of the most enjoyable facets of the wargaming hobby is periodically taking stock of where you've been and daydreaming about where you want to go.  Our weather here in the Grand Duchy is delightful.  Blue skies, puffy white clouds, and very comfortable temperatures in the mid-70s Fahrenheit.  A harbinger of cooler autumn weather and the start of the new schoolyear next week.  Following a delightful walk around the neighborhood this morning with my son Young Master Paul, then a visit to the park for time in the swing, and finally lunch for the pair of us whipped up by yours truly once we returned home, I've retreated down to the confines of Zum Stollenkeller to ruminate a bit about the ongoing Grand Duchy of Stollen project.  So, here are a few of the things currently bouncing around the ol' noggin. . .

1)  Sit down this evening for an hour or so, maybe a bit longer, and do some painting on the next two mounted staff figures for my next command vignette -- two English officers from the new Fife & Drum Miniatures range which focuses on the 1775-1781 American War of Independence.  There is also lots of other useful stuff here for a European context.

1a) The Colonial militia figures, in particular, could be used to make up a battalion or two of ragtag town guard or militia, to serve in various GD of S scenarios and battles.  Hmmm. . .  luckily the impending birthday and Christmas aren't too far off.

2) Look around my uniform books and online to find uniform inspiration for that converted regiment of 30 RSM hussars armed with lances.  I've come to prefer using/painting historical uniforms since these were so colorful anyway, and they are more plausible than the fanciful things I dreamed up initially when the Grand Duchy of Stollen project began in earnest six years ago in late July of 2006.

2a) While the Grand Duchy of Stollen campaign is (semi-) fictitious, I like some historical plausibility rather than pure fantasy.  It must have something to do with reading Fantasy Wargaming by Bruce Galloway many, many years ago.  Impossible playing rules, but the thinking behind them was intriguing.

3) Ditto a 30-strong regiment of plastic Spencer Smith charging dragoons, purchased from General de Latte during the fall of 2011.  I've got some spare Holger Eriksson command figures, including a standard bearer, that will work perfectly with these.

3a) I'll probably paint these in, more or less, uniforms worn by one of the regiments of Reichsarmee cuirrassiers or other heavy cavalry.  Similar to, yet different than their heavy brethren in the Austrian and Prussian service.

4) Daydream ahead about the small wagon train I hope to scratch-build and firm up plans for how I'll proceed here.  I'd like 10-12 wagons and carts.  I'll need to order spare wheels and horses from RSM95.  Still haven't decided who will furnish the limbers though.  I want the heavier kind with horses arranged in pairs, standing abreast of each other rather than in tandem formation, one behind the other.

4a) I suppose I could always make my own with whittled down matchsticks, toothpicks, or balsa.

5) Ditto a pontoon/bridging train with a company of accompanying troops.  Again, RSM95 seem to provide the most readily available and affordable means to do so though maybe a select few will come from the Minden and/or Fife & Drum ranges, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

5a)  Oh!  And those new 18th century ladies and gentlemen on horseback by Minden Miniatures are exhibiting an extremely strong pull on me!  I might just need to send an early letter to Santa Claus/Father Christmas about those.  Without a doubt, they could easily be fit into the sprawling Grand Duchy of Stollen campaign somewhere.

5b) These might also be useful in a fox hunting game that was laid out and described in issue #12 of Miniature Wargames in 1984 that I have always wanted to try.  That game was Napoleonic, but surely it could be placed in an 18th Century setting.  I wonder where one might find 25-30mm hounds?

6) Try out clear glossy polyurethane varnish as a way of completing figures.  This was recommended by the late Peter Gilder in his Military Modelling guide to figure painting many years ago.  Now, do I do this outside in all weather to avoid the noxious fumes given off by the stuff, or do it indoors and kill many millions of braincells in the process?

6a) Would most of my students even notice?

6b) And isn't it a shame we never seem to hear  words like 'cad,' 'bounder,' 'trollop,' 'tart,' and 'poltroon' anymore?  General conversation is much less rich because of it.

7) Dig around a little deeper for interesting scenes that might provide inspiration for future command vignettes as I paint new pairs and trios of such figures and tack down previously painted ones to scenic bases.

7b) 18th century paintings?  Old military prints?  Wargaming magazines?  Large scale figure painting books?  

8) Cut out 1/16" plywood bases and attach my Jaeger zu Fuss and O'Malley's Irish Grenzers to them in a similar way to the treatment I gave my Eyzcing-Csiklos Panduren a few weeks ago.

8a)  Paint the unpainted bases onto which long-finished figures were glued last winter with the same latex green I've used for my tabletop.  Olympic "Grassy Meadow."

9) Get a little braver with the knife, saw, file, and pin vice and try my hand C-A-R-E-F-U-L-L-Y at some slightly more complicated conversions, probably with the figures making up the command vignettes mentioned above since I already spend a bit more time on these.

9a)  Oh, Honey?  Please pick up my thumb and put it in the freezer until the paramedics and ambulance arrive!

10) Longer term, design and construct a few more buildings, for instance a Rathaus based on the one in Bremen, Germany, or something similar that might also be suitable for use as a university building.  I've long had the establishment of The University of Krankenstadt in mind with its four faculties of philosophy, law, theology, and medicine as a center of learning in the region.  How might this be worked into the campaign narrative though?

10a) Not every young man in Stollen, the Electorate of Zichenau, or the surrounding principalities necessarily has the means at his disposal to further his studies in Dorpat or Koenigsberg, you know! 

10b) A rural inn might also be a possibility if I can find something suitable online to use as a basis for my own model.  There are also some bridges I must finish at some point, so I can take a stab at some Tabletop Teasers at some point.  Oops!  Poor choice of words.  See Point 9a above.

11) Refine my horse-painting skills even more.  I have grown to really like the use of runny oil washes over a white, yellow, orange, or brown undercoat.  And the Peter Gilder method of applying fairly thick oil color and then wiping off the high points of the horse models also produces pleasing results.  But, there must be additional ways to paint the miniature beasts in a rapid and convincing way.

11a) And what's with all of this unintentional alliteration in so may of my posts?  Did I have a previous life in Dark Age Britain, Ireland, or Iceland as a wandering poet and story-teller?  Is it time for rehab after too much misuse and abuse of turpentine and linseed oil?

11b) Of course, I blame my mother.  As Norman Bates will tell you, it always starts with Mother. . . 

12) Almost forgot!  There are those two recently purchase Valliere 4pdr cannon by FIfe & Drum Miniatures to paint up before too long.  I'll simply go the French route and do these with red woodwork and black metal parts. . .  AND use artist's metallic oils for the gun barrels.  That ought to do these wonderful little castings justice, don't you agree?

12a) Can you tell?  I'm very excited by the Fife & Drum range and terribly eager to see it develop further.

13) Finally, nudge General de Latte -- who is deep in the throes of the American Civil War at the moment and has recently taken delivery of a huge number of vintage plastic Spencer Smith figures (well over 1000) still in their original plastic bags, the lucky devil -- and get the languishing Neu Sittangbad game restarted.  


Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

Plenty of things there to keep you busy.

I suppose its a bit late to mention that The Duc de Lauzon's Hussars included a substantial percentage of lance armed hussars.

Mike Siggins said...

I look forward to your horse experiments. I have simply been increasing the number of oil colours to ring the changes - Vandyke Brown and Brown Madder Aliz are two colours I have not used before. Also, different brands of Burnt Umber have different effects - interestingly some wash well, while others do not.

And good luck with the (yacht) varnish! It stinks. I would stick to water based products.

Scheck said...

Do not too much at the same time. I have the same symptoms: ten tousand ideas and in reality not the time to do it.
I also, immediately after the semester, strated to build the tabletop, parallely buildings, hedges and paint figures. All around in my room is full of sand, leaves, colours and so on.

Old School ACW said...

Come along then. Shall I fire first?

de Latte

Der Alte Fritz said...

It is always helpful to jot down ideas and post them to your blog just to see how the project is coming along. I tend to think that my Minden SYW project is close to completion, but then I remember all of the little bits and pieces that remain to be done. I will be several more years yet...

Your militia idea had me daydreaming about having some special militia figures and a drill instructor made for the F&D range. Maybe a von Steuben type with his cane held behind his back, and some raggedy civilians trying to look and act like soldiers, standing in a line.


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