A Room with a View: The armies take their starting positions. Darn those moving wooded hills! I'll have to put that back where it belongs.
Captain von Schenker reports to General von Tsschatschke (in pink), who has just arrived. And that looks like ol' Fred himself off to the left. It's seldom mentioned in the history books these days, but Frederick II was a keen observer of the War of the Buttons between Stollen and Zichenau, and he attached himself to von Tschatschke's staff on more than one occasion just to see how things panned out on the battlefield for his neighbor. The figures are by Minden, RSM95, and Minifigs. Can you guess which miniatures are which?
Meanwhile, General de Latte and his aide Major di Biscotti set up their headquarters at the foot of the church tower in Gneisenau. The former was heard to quip to the latter, "I say, old bean, nothing is better than a fresh cup of espresso before a battle, what?" To which di Biscotti replied with a flourish of his hat,"No indeed Signore. Eet ees, how you say, only better eef there are one dozen fresh raspberry jelly donuts to go weeth eet!"
Here's a general birds-eye view of the battlefield from the Stollenian side. But what's that in the lower right-hand corner of the photograph? Could it be? No, surely not. Learn the answer at the bottom of this post. But have a look at the other photographs and captions first. Come on now. No scrolling ahead!
Not to be outdone, here's a view of things from the Zichenauer side of the field. You'll notice it's pretty crowded, and I don't even have ALL of my painted figures out for this game. The Grand Duchy of Stollen collection has become potbound! Clearly a larger table is in order.
Meanwhile, here is the craven General von Drosselmayer (in dark blue), who also appears to be something of a turncoat now since he's observing things from the Zichenauer side of the field. The shame of losing so many past battles was obviously too much for the wicked old screw. These two figures are vintage plastic Spencer Smiths that I painted in October or November of '08.
Across the battlefield, the English military liaison to the Grand Duchy of Stollen, General Pipeclay Higginbotham-Bulling (background), and his aide Captain Alfred Maurice Caine (foreground) have turned up. You'll notice that the Captain bears a striking resemblance to a certain well-known British actor when the light hits him just right. Not a lot of people know that. Know what I mean? Figures are from the extensive Fife&Drum 1/56 scale range of figures for gaming the American War of Independence. And they fit in perfectly with those miniatures produced by Minden, RSM95, and Eureka.
Back across the river. . . Oh, no! A marauding Croat in the service of Zichenau brings down a Stollenian sentry with a lucky shot and stops to rifle through his pockets.
And here's another Zichenauer Croat out ahead of the main line already taking potshots at any Stollenian targets that might present themselves across the River Elbow.
Of course, one can't have a good battle without a few princely hangers-on to get in the way. "Schlachtenbummler" is the German term to describe them. Here, the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II (in crimson and green) -- with the long-suffering Hives in tow -- has stopped to ask two officers arguing heatedly over a map, "Oh, I say! Can you tell us? Which way to the garden party?"
Here is picture of a company of Croats, who are operating on the extreme right flank of General de Latte's army. They are making their way toward that wooded hill that keeps moving around. The unit is a mix of Minden and RSM95 figures, which was painted last summer and has, as yet, not seen service on the tabletop.
In this picture, a group of Zichenauer engineer officers discusses ways to deal with the two earthen redoubts constructed by the Stollenian army on the ridge above the River Elbow.
And in the village of Seydlitz across the river, a group of Stollenian officers interrogates a captured Zichenauer officer, who cooperates fully, telling them everything they want to know for the promise of warm, buttery toast with Damson preserves on top.
Much of Kaunitz society, always in the mood for diversionary excitement, has come out to observe and record the coming battle.
And finally. . . YES! It is them. . . The frolicking aristocrats have come out in force from Kaunitz for a dinner party with music and dancing. In the background, Maestro Bacharach and his combo finish tuning their instruments and strike up a new composition called 'Close to You.' For some odd reason, though, Maestro Bacharach insists on arranging virtually all of his compositions in either 5/4, or 7/8 time, which are not the easiest for dancers to manage.